Monday, July 24, 2017

Week Ninety-Three: All on the Same Team

Dearest All,

This last week we had a zone conference in Gweru for the zones on that side of the mission, and we went on Exchanges with the Zone Leaders who serve in Kadoma. I got to spend the day with Elder Billings, who came on mission with me. We had a great time and I got to contact flats for the first time. (knocking every door in apartments basically)

Tomorrow we have the other zone conference for the Harare zones, Bindura, and Mutare. And then following that we should have exchanges with the Bindura Zone Leaders. (Previously we had planned to do that but it fell through.)

As for the baptisms we had scheduled, we had a young man named Earnest and a Brother named Tinashe scheduled for the 29th. However, because Earnest has been attending the other ward with his Cousin's family, we are allowing them to baptize him. Also Tinashe failed to come to church for the last couple weeks and he is traveling to South Africa for the next few months. So we are going to give his information to those missionaries so they can baptize him there.

It is wonderfully reassuring to know that this work isn't a competition. "When one baptizes we all baptize."

On the other hand, the family that we were planning to baptize on the 5th is still on date, their marriage banns are going smoothly and so their marriage should occur on the 5th, and the baptism on the 6th.

I know that this work is good. I am so grateful to be on the best mission ever, the Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Book of Mormon is true and a powerful testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ. And truly, it brings all who read it closer to Him. I know God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I love you all.

I hope you all have been doing well, are doing well, and continue to do well.

Have a wonderful week,
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-Two: Missionary Work

Honestly, it is the best.

My dearest everyone,

I am very very happy right now. And I wish to share with you why.

Because this last week I have had a renewed conviction to serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength.

I have been reading more from the Book of Mormon each day, I have been trying harder to talk to more people, and I have been sharing my testimony with more people.

Trials abound, but they can be overcome. The work cannot be halted.

Life is good for the missionaries.

As for upcoming baptisms, there is hopefully some on the 29th, but then we have some on the 5th of august.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. The Lord is blessing His children, and things are looking up.

I love you all and wish you the best.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety-One: Every Day is "Monday"

In the Mission Office, Monday is the busiest day. Last week, every day was Monday.

To my dearest everyone,

Last Monday was transfer day, where missionaries move between areas in the mission. Tuesday is the day that finished missionaries depart and new missionaries arrive from the MTC. Wednesday we normally have training for the new missionaries, and then following that everything is calm.

Not this week though!
Monday went as expected. Tuesday we got 4/5 departing missionaries out of Zimbabwe. The 5th one however had her flight itinerary changed with no notice to us and so instead of leaving her at the airport as expected, we had to bring her back to the mission office with the new missionaries.

On Tuesday we also got 4/5 incoming missionaries. The 5th one was supposed to arrive straight from provo on the evening of Wednesday. Unfortunately, his passport wasn't gotten to him in time, and so his flights were delayed. He didn't arrive until Friday evening.

On Wednesday the trainings occurred and mostly went smoothly. We then had to pick up a returned missionary from the airport at 11am to take him to the bus stop. His flight had a technical problem and thus he was dropped off in Zambia. The alternate flight was to have them here by 5pm. When we went at 5pm, we learned the flight didn't go to zambia at all, and actually the passengers would arrive at 11pm. By Midnight there was no sign of any missionary.

The following morning, Thursday, we finally were able to pick up the Elder at 11am. And take sisters to their area. And we worked with President on agenda's for upcoming meetings.

Friday we finally were able to teach some lessons, but then we had to return to the office in the afternoon for some more logistics and then in the evening picking up the new missionary. His companion, Elder McDougal had been with us since Monday.

And on Saturday we did the orientation for the new missionary including Breakfast at the mission home.

Every Day was busy, every day we went to the Office, every day was "Monday"

But nevertheless, the work is good. The work is moving forward. This week is MLC and we also hope to do exchanges with the Bindura Zone Leaders, so we should make some good progress.

I know that I am doing the work of the Lord, even though it may not always be the standard "thrusting in of a sickle". I know that he is really there and that he loves us all. I hope you all have a wonderful week.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Ninety: Transfer 16/17 - Busy Busy

Hello my dear everyone,

I am sorry for the lack of information recently, things have just been very busy. So let me hit some highlights.

Today is transfer day, I am still with Elder Scoresby as AP. And this time we had to organize everything all day. Which is why I have very little time to write today.

We baptized sister Tsungi last week and she was confirmed that following Sunday. She was so happy, she speaks practically no English and she is very shy, but she bore a simple and sweet testimony in Shona after her baptism.

We have been teaching many people recently, and honestly, we are just having a blast. Everything is going very well. We found one of our Recent Converts was struggling, and we were able to catch him at the perfect time and help him when he needed us. It was wonderful.

And lastly, many of you may be curious about when I am going home. I have been talking to the Mission Secretary and she is in the process of requesting our travel itineraries. So I should know soon (hopefully next week) when I come home, and then I will send my itinerary to those who need it. But for now, this is the most recent update of information: she has told me that I can let my family know that I should be home on Friday the 29th of September, possibly in the morning/early afternoon. Which is awesome, because it will be just in time for General Conference.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, I love you all very much.
-Elder Wilcken

Week Eighty-Nine: I Don't Have Much to Say This Week

But I love you all.

This week we got to do office stuff and proselyting stuff. This next week we are hoping to do exchanges with some of the zone leaders. It should be great.

In our area we had two families that were supposed to be baptized this week, but they hadn't been coming to church to get their marriages sorted out, so they hopefully will get baptized next week. We also had 4 other investigators with baptismal dates, yet two of them weren't coming to church. Two of them had come to church, yet we learned that one of them needs to get married before baptism. So in short: 10 people with baptismal date, 2 of them made it to sacrament meeting, and one of them will get baptized this weekend. The others we are going to work with for July.

But I think things are going well. The mission is on track to hit it's yearly goal, and so we know that the work is progressing.

I love you all, I know that this is truth. I know my Father in Heaven loves me and that His Priesthood has been restored to the earth for the benefit of His children. I know that Jesus Christ lives and guides his church in these last days.

Have a wonderful week,
-Elder Wilcken.

Week Eighty-Eight: Been to Bulawayo

But I still can't speak Ndebele.
And now for a chapter from the Book of Wilcken:

The Assistants to President Mkhabela travel to Gweru for a Zone Conference. They Perform Exchanges with the Bulawayo Zone Leaders. They return to Harare for a Zone Conference. Week 88

    1. And it came to pass that we traveled to Gweru for the gathering of the Missionary Zones and we did organize them and did teach them the will of the Lord pertaining to their gatherings and their record keeping.
    2. And we saw that the Elders, yea, and even the Sisters, did understand the word of the Lord and they did accept it with gladness.
    3. And it came to pass that we did proceeded forth unto the land of Bulawayo where we dwelt with the leaders of that zone for a time, and worked with them in bringing souls unto Christ.
    4. And behold, the field is white, and we beheld that their labor is not in vain.
    5. And it came to pass that I, Elder Wilcken, said unto my companion "These Elders are doing well."
    6. And he spake unto me saying, "Let us go back up to the land of Harare, unto our own area. For it must needs be that we organize the Missionary Zones there and in the land round about, that they too may know the will of the Lord pertaining to their gatherings and the keeping of their records.
    7. And it came to pass, that we did take our journey into the wilderness, and did pass through the city Gweru, and the city of Kwekwe, and the city of Kadoma, and the lad of Chegutu, up until a time that we were stopped by the way and were questioned about with many words.
    8. And behold, we did impart unto them of the Word of God, and they rejoiced among themselves as we continued our journey into the wilderness.
    9. And it came to pass that we did join the servants of the Lord that dwelt in Harare and in the Land round about, and we did administer unto them according to their needs.
    10. And we did behold that their labor was pleasing unto the Lord. And thus ended the 86th week since Elder Wilcken entered Zimbabwe.

-Elder Wilcken.

Week Eighty-Six and Eighty-Seven: Busy Busy

Hello my dear everyone,

So far being an Assistant to the President has been very very busy. On the first week we had to perform logistics for the departing missionaries and the new missionaries. In one day we had to go to the airport for 5 different flights throughout the day. We had to set up, attend, and host two different dinners and lead a portion of the Training Meeting for the new ones.

Last week we had the Mission Leadership Council on Monday and Tuesday which included hosting another dinner and training the Leaders on policies for meetings and record-keeping. The rest of last week was more normal in that we got to go to our area for most of it.

We have found quite a few new investigators as a companionship, and we also have many investigators on track to be baptized this month. There are two couples that want to get married so that they can get baptized, including their child(ren). Things are looking very up for us.

Today we have to drive from Harare to Gweru (about a 4 hour road trip), so we are leaving a little bit before preparation day ends. Tomorrow we have a zone conference there and then we are going to Bulawayo on wednesday to do exchanges with the zone leaders there, then back to harare for another zone conference on Friday. So this is going to be another very busy week. But the work is good.

I hope you all are doing very well. I am grateful to hear from those who are able to write.

I know that this is true, that really God is there and that he knows us. I have felt the peace that comes from going to him in prayer. I know that truly Christ died for our sins to allow us to be forgiven. I know that they love every single person in this world.

Have a wonderful week, I love you all.
-Elder Wilcken

Weeks Eighty-Four and Eighty-Five: Transfer 15/17

Hello my dear everyone,

I missed emailing last week because we went to Masvingo and Great Zimbabwe.
And while on that trip I got a phone call to tell me I got an Award from the Mission Office.

The Award is called the Broken-Piston Award.

Here is the Mission-News article about it:
"The Broken Piston Award is given to missionaries who do something ill-advised while driving their car. The first award goes to Elder Wilcken who was approaching a toll station. He was looking down trying to find money when he ran into the back of the car in front of him. Elder Mwaja did not help his companion by having the money available for him or warning him about the car in front. They further compounded the problem by not getting the other driver's name and phone number after the accident. Everyone, learn from their mistake."

So yeah, not the best award, but let me explain what happened really. We hit the spare-tire of a car, deflated it, and the tire rim scratched our hood. So not at all a terrible accident, but still a foolish mistake.

But that brings me to why I am in the mission office to pose with my award:
This transfer I am serving in the Mbare Area of the Harare East Zone, with my companion Elder Scoresby, as Assistants to the Mission President. 

So I am back in the Mission Office, but this time as proselyting elders. We will only be in the office for transfers, meetings, and all that Jazz. Still expect to hear about the baptisms in coming weeks.

But for now, I hope things are all well for you. Things will be if you stay on the right path.
I know this is the true gospel. I really do know. I have had so many things to prove this to me. 
I know that God lives and loves us. I know that Jesus Christ dies for our sins and that both of Them appeared to the boy Joseph Smith to start the restoration of the Gospel.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week,
-Elder Wilcken

Week Eighty-Three: Going Hiking Today

Well that's the plan at least. We were invited to go Hiking in Shurugwi. I hope to be able to get some pictures from my companion as my camera is still broken.

Not much to report this week. We had a baptism of the two twins who were home from school holiday. They left today back for school.

This Saturday we have scheduled the Baptism for Brother Simon's wife, and even next Saturday we were hoping to have our first Shurugwi Baptism. Unfortunately that one might fall through till the following week. We will see.

I know that this is the Lord's work and that his hand is in it. I know that we are not alone in it. I know Heavenly Father loves us all. Jesus is the Christ.

I love you all, I wish you the best this week.

-Elder Wilcken

Week Eighty-Two: It's MLC Monday Again

Hello my loved ones,

Yes, even you. You don't think I know that you read this. But you are one of my loved ones as well.
It is time again for the Missionary Leadership Council. And as such I am in Harare again. It was a long trip on the Bus, and I sang hymns for most of it. I thought the engine was too loud for me to be heard, but apparently the missionaries around me could hear me, and apparently I disturbed their sleep. But one of them joined me in singing near the end, so it wasn't all bad.

Let me give details for what has occurred recently with our baptismal goals. Earlier in the Month we Baptized Bro. Lesley and Sis. Panashe, and though one of them had a delayed confirmation, they both are confirmed now. This last Saturday we baptized a brother named Leonard and he also got confirmed yesterday, so we had 3 baptisms for our area.

Our Zone ended with a total of 23 Baptisms, 20 Confirmations for the month of April. Our goal was 40, so in short, this was much better than last month's 13.

"Even Miracles take a little time."

Our goal this month is 43. Because that is what the missionaries sent to us. We were well pleased.
And in other news, Shurugwi is being prepared by the Lord.

I went there on Wednesday on exchanges with one of the Assistants to the mission president. We had 4 lessons set in an area called Ironsides, but all 4 of them fell through, and it was still early in the morning. So we went tracting and found 3 lessons to make up for it. That last lesson was a bit of a miracle.

We were heading towards our car, and I stopped at a pathway, put my arms out to the side for emphasis, and declared "I have never gone past this line." I stood for a few seconds, then dropped my arms and said "Lets go find someone."

We walked to the next street, and I stopped and saw a man walking up the road. I decided to talk to him, and I stood awkwardly in the middle of the road as my companion and our Ward Missionary went to contact some people on the side. I stood there until the man got near, then I greeted him in Shona. I introduced myself in Shona and he was impressed that I spoke. I told him I was still learning and then shared the message of "The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" with him. I showed him the pamphlet and summarized the message as I flipped through the pages. When I nearly finished, he interrupted me and asked "Are you selling this?"

I explained "No, we give them for free but we also put our phone number on the back if you have questions."

He responded simply with "I need this."

I asked where he was going and he said home, I asked if he was busy and he said no. I asked if we could come and share the message right then and he said of course.

We followed him to his house, he introduced us to his neighbors, showed us clearly where he stayed so that we wouldn't get lost, and then sat down with us and let us share. As we share the message with him, he loved it so much. We testified of it's truth and he felt the Spirit. We invited him to come to church and he eagerly accepted. Then our ward missionary invited him to prepare for baptism, and he accepted a baptismal date. It was wonderful.

We have had so many other wonderful experiences in Shurugwi that I cannot describe in brevity. But the last one I will share is our trip on Saturday with President Mkhabela.

He agreed to go there with us because I felt strongly that it needed a branch. We rode with him in his vehicle and as we brought him to the first neighborhood we wanted to show him, he was very impressed. So impressed that he actually slowed his car to a stop in the middle of the road and looked at all that he could see. He then stated that this place needs the church. As we lead him around he became more and more amazed, even began making plans on the quickest and best way to get a branch there. Also explaining that we need to bring the Stake President there to see it, how he wishes we could've brought one of the Area Presidency there, etc. The more he saw the more he agreed, this place needs the church.

The current hope is that the Stake can extend the boundaries to include it, and then start a group and a branch. That should be much quicker than starting a mission branch, but if it isn't going to work out President Mkhabela said he would be willing to try.

This place is so ready for the Gospel that we are literally seeing so many things fall into place. It is wonderful.

I love you all, I love this work. I have had so much joy recently, it is wonderful.

I know that Heavenly Father lives and that he knows me and each one of you. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that he lives and that he loves us all. I know this through the unspeakable power of the Holy Ghost. This is truth, and I love it.

Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Wilcken