Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a Whi...GREEN CHRISTMAS?!

Hello everybody! This has been quite the fun week, filled with holiday cheer, love, and goodness all around! I love the Christmas season so much! People generally seem a lot happier. I have really gotten to learn a lot from reading the four gospels in the New Testament about Jesus Christ and how amazing he was to the people. It really enriches what I already loved about Christmas.

On Monday, we had P-day! It was a lot of fun, and we got to hang out with Brother Bennett. We also had the opportunity of going to a YSA activity with the sisters as well as some of the other members of the ward. It was a lot of fun, and a couple less active members actually came to it! So that was good!

Tuesday was a pretty busy day as well! We helped out at the Food Pantry with people wanting their Christmas dinner, so that was a really good service opportunity. Elder Knowles had to get his haircut because the lady was booked on P day, so I managed to talk with a couple people at the haircut place about the gospel. They were very nice, and very french, which means they weren't interested due to their Catholicism, but hey. You never know! :) Later that night we went to the White's for a speedball game, and I had the best game of my life. I scored 5 of our 7 points, and even though we lost, I was a force to be reckoned with. (Humility implied.)

Wednesday was Christmas Eve! Which means we had a District Meeting! We had to drive all the way down to Houlton for it. One message that we really pressed was the need for faith in our mission work. Faith is the first principle of the gospel, meaning everything that we do stems from it. For instance, asking an investigator to have faith in Christ is prerequisite to them repenting and being baptized. The same goes for missionary work. Faith comes before miracles. I really thoroughly enjoyed that! For Christmas Eve we also went to a huge party at the Benson's house! It was so fun, several members and nonmembers were there. We played games, ate Sweet and Sour Meatballs (so good), and sang Christmas carols! Towards the end of the night we played songs using nosewhistles, and some of the children played instruments for us. It was so cool! The Benson's also let us go inside their snow cave/igloo thing in their front yard! It was so warm in there. :) It was a fantastic Christmas Eve.

Thursday was Christmas! Obviously :) Well, kind of obviously because it was rainy. It was so rainy, in fact, that it removed a good portion of the snow so that we could see the grass. People told us that it was the first green Christmas they've had in 30+ years. Wow. Anyway, I woke up at 6:30, and wore my Christmas sweater, and opened up my presents by the light of the Christmas tree. It was so neat, and I had a lot of fun seeing all of my presents. Thank you all for your generosity, I got five ties, a lego set, a pair of gloves, some boots, 115 dollars in Subway money :), sweaters, and some beanies (or tooks for my international friends) and a watch. I also got a lot of candy and some pistachios! I appreciated all the letters I had received from all of you family and friends :) It really means a lot. Afterwards we ate botulism and Dr. Pepper at Brother Bennett's house, visited a few members, and I also got to talk to my family! It was good to see you :) and I love you so much Mom!

The rest of the week was fairly bland. It's a tough time to meet, however, good things are happening. Tonight we are meeting with some of our new investigators, so hopefully we will be able to commit them to baptism! :) If it's the Lord's will, it will be done.

Thanks Everyone! Merry Christmas!

Staying warm in the snow cave!

The outside of the snow cave/igloo.

Here is our Christmas tree.

Christmas morning

I had a great Christmas!!  Thanks everyone!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

'Twas the Week Before Christmas'

Merry almost Christmas everybody! We've had a pretty successful week this week!

To start, we had a YSA game night on Monday with a few members, specifically Brandy and Jared. It was a lot of fun, and we are starting to invite investigators and youth to them as well! It's really helped get the younger members of the church involved in finding people that would be interested in learning about the church.

On Tuesday we had a great day! A member family invited us over for dinner and told us that we would be teaching a lesson to a couple teenagers. That was pretty exciting by itself, because we haven't had too many people to teach. We went to their house and it turns out that 5 people were interested in learning more about the church! We got to teach them the first discussion, and it went really well! All of them accepted Book of Mormon's, they all committed to pray, and three of them actually came to church! Hopefully we will be able to continue to teach all of them! I see really good things happening here in Caribou. :)

We've also been working with a guy named Anthony. He is a member's fiance, and is interested in the church. He might not be baptized in my time here in Maine, but he definitely will someday! It's been admittedly tough to set up appointments this week because everybody has been so busy with Christmas and New Year's. Hopefully we will be able to continue to find new investigators, even during the holidays! :)

One thing that I have really loved this Christmas season is reading about Christ's life. As a missionary, we represent Christ, and I've really been able to see Christ-like Character in my life here in Maine. I am called to serve this people, and share the truest and most peaceful message this world will ever know. Like the angels "bring glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people", we do the same as missionaries as we look outward and teach others the true meaning of Christmas.

Thank you all for supporting me, and I hope that you have a merry Christmas :)


Elder Wanlass

A member took this picture of Elder Wanlass and Elder Knowles and shared it with our family.  He said, "Your sons are both wonderful examples of what a missionary should be.  I'm glad I have had the pleasure to meet with them." 

Monday, December 15, 2014

I'm Still Here! (Not Vertical Horizon)

Hello family, friends, and acquaintances! It's been another busy week in Caribou! We had our Christmas Zone Conference this week in Moncton, New Brunswick, and I finally got to see some of my MTC friends! Sister Bowden and Elder Kruger were both there! It was a good time. We got to watch "Meet the Mormons", and then we had a gift exchange. To top it off, Santa came! And he looked exactly like Elder Knowles' sweater. It was perfect :)
Luckily for me, I get to stay in Caribou for at least another transfer. So that's good. I seriously love the ward here. I've made a lot of good friends, and I hope that I will be able to continue makingthem.
This week we managed to find a couple new investigators, so that is good. I don't know if they are going to be baptized while I am here, but they definitely will someday. We also have been seeing a few recent converts, and one of them named Mason is deciding to serve a mission! It's so cool, so we are going to reteach him the lessons, and then he is going to try to head out! At the end of the week, my Caribou Ward had a Christmas brunch. It was a lot of fun, and a bunch of people did show up! I love meeting people that way. We also had a  gingerbread house contest, and me and Sister Smith won hands down! (Even though I did less work on it)
All in all, this week was amazing! We did work hard, we had fun, and I'm glad I can spend another month here in Caribou!  And it's almost Christmas! Well, I have to get off, because these computers are super slow, but hopefully the next letter I can make a little longer.
Love you all!

Elder Wanlass

My winning gingerbread house.  (o.k so I tied.)

My new planner that the Sister Missionaries made.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Below Zero

Hello everybody! This week has been pretty sparse as far as teaching goes, but we've been trying to find more people. Technically we have zero people being taught at the moment, but that's okay!  We are working on it! Aside from that, we've had a pretty fun week and we have several appointments scheduled for next week! It's going to be fun!

To start, the weather here has been more fierce than ever before! Right now as I speak, the weather is -15 F outside. It's definitely fun, but I must say, when you breathe that cold of air, it freezes the inside of your nose, and then it thaws almost immediately. It's the strangest feeling ever.

So as far as Maine culture goes, I had a new candy bar called a fried potato (because it is a fried potato) and it tastes exactly like an almond joy! How weird is that?! Some members gave it to us! It was so good! Another member actually gave us a stereo for our apartment and it hooks up to my iPod so I can jam out to my motab! :)

Earlier on in this week we got to watch a light parade in Presque Isle! It was so cool, and it went on for a solid hour! So many people were there, and it was pretty cool to see the place so busy! :) I promise next week I will write a much longer letter! I'm just not feeling super great at the moment, so I will have to make up for it next week :) Thanks for all of your support, and I love you all!


Elder Wanlass

My awesome district.  

Enjoying the snow!

My ugly sweater for Zone Conference.  Thanks Bro. Bennett!! (Nice touch with the unicorns, don't you think?)

Here is the sweet sound system that Bro. Bennett hooked us up with. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Real Thanksgiving!

Well, another week has come and gone. In fact, it was Thanksgiving! :D We were the only people in the whole mission (along with the sisters) who got to celebrate it! It was so nice, and we got to talk to a bunch of nice people.

On Tuesday, we had a chance to eat dinner with the Harper family. They are both such nice people, and I really enjoyed their company. Most of their kids are out of the house, but they have one daughter named Abby, who has high functioning autism. She reminded me a lot of Reagan. She was very sweet and apparently loves to listen to the radio in her room. Such a great family! We also got to stop by this older gentleman named Bernie Cyr. He was a very nice old man, and had a lot of stories to tell us. Particularly about the Bigfoot race, Lizard people, and other things. He loved Genealogy, and said that he loves doing it because it's a spiritual journey. It was really cool, and it made me think that I should focus on doing more family history when I go home.

Wednesday was a fairly slow day, but we met this older lady who gave us a candy made only in New England called a Peach Blossom. She gave a package of them! They taste like Reeses' hard candy. Definitely interesting.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, obviously. We went and played Turkey ball in the morning with some of the men in the ward. But due to the weather being 15 degrees plus wind chill, we decided to end relatively early on. Afterwards, we hung out with Brother Bennett. People do not like proselyting on Thanksgiving day. Then we went to spend Thanksgiving Dinner with the Nouhans'. They were very kind, and gave us a lot of food. We were definitely taken care of :) After dinner, we had an amazing Ping Pong match with the family. I'm not very good at Ping Pong, but I tried my best. :D We then went to Brandy's and played a couple games with her and the sister missionaries and Jared Reed. It was a fantastic Thanksgiving! Brother Bennett also ordered me and Elder Knowles ugly sweaters...I'm so looking forward to wearing those :) Pictures shall come.

Here is my moose burger!

Ping Pong Playa!

I will say, one of the things I love most about my area is the sheer amount of support the members give the missionaries here. They are so nice to us, and I'm so grateful to be serving here.

Now that it's December, I have a little message to share with you. Christmas is coming up, and l started a countdown that my mother gave me! In Hymn 207, "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear", it reads: "Peace on Earth, good will to men, From heaven's all gracious king. The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing." The message of Christ is a peaceful one, a hopeful one. One that we can all love and cherish. Focus on Christ this Christmas. It's the best thing. :)

I love you all,

Elder Wanlass

A member gave us homemade Reeses and Almond Joys.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holy Crepes! I'm The Elder!

Well, it's official, I am The Elder. At the Food Pantry we serve at, they have deemed me with that title, and Elder Knowles as the Other Elder. I got a promotion!

This week has been pretty nice! We have had a couple solid lessons with J. involving tithing and the Book of Mormon! No problems there, he is still almost ready for baptism! December 13! One really exciting thing about that day is that the ward is doing a Christmas activity on that day, so he will get baptized while we are celebrating Christmas! :D

On Thursday we had a really cool lesson with Sie, a recent convert. We watched the talk by Tad R. Callister called "The Blueprint". It's such a powerful talk, and I love the testimony born at the end of it. Christ's church is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend it! It's a great talk to help build your testimony in how amazing our church is, and why the restoration of the gospel is so important to everybody--members and nonmembers alike. We also had a lesson with Brandy about enduring to the end.

We also met with the O'Connell family. They are converts of about a year and a half, and they have such strong conviction of the gospel. I love their family!

On Friday we had interviews with President Leavitt, which went well, and I feel like I am doing well as a missionary. President is a very uplifting person to talk to, and I'm glad that he is such a great guy! He told us that we need to use our Facebook's a lot more to contact potentials and members. He got after everybody in the mission for not using Facebook enough :P Back home it was usually the opposite...

On Sunday we had a pretty fun day! A lot of people come to church on Sunday! It's really cool! After church Brother and Sister White invited us to something called a crepe off! And guess who got to be the judges?! You got that right! The missionaries! They made some really great crepes, and I loved spending time with the family!

One of the crepes the Elders judged.

That's about everything noteworthy that happened this week! I hope you all have a fanTASTic Monday! :)


Elder Wanlass

Selfie with Papa's tie he gave me.

Elders and Sisters serving in the area with our friend Brandy.

Banana Bread to take to our awesome investigator.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Most Beautiful Gift

Hey everybody! How are you? Well, this week went alright for me! We had zone conference on Tuesday, so we got to travel all the way to Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Zone conference was alright. I still get a little intimidated because I don't know most of the missionaries in my mission yet, but I will over time!

Elder Knowles and Elder Wanlass

So far, our prime investigator, J., is doing really well. He still wants to get baptized, and he has just started a stop smoking program, so he should be ready for baptism by mid-December. One of the members, Brandy Downer, decided to give a quad scripture to J. since he was going to get baptized soon. He has really enjoyed reading his scriptures, and now he has a set of all of them! He told me that "It was the most beautiful gift he had ever received!" That really touched my heart.

Speaking of gifts, a couple members up here named the Stepp's went down and visited Utah this past week. I guess, in a crazy turn of events, they ended up visiting my home ward! They met my mom, and were able to talk to some of the members of my ward! I even got a gift from my Priests/Teachers quorum! A quarter of a donut! It truly is a beautiful gift...

I also got a piece of newspaper that dates back to the 1860's, and I held a Bible that was from 1890. This family named the Mandevilles' gave it to me, and there house was built way back then! They are such a great family! They have 10 dogs, a pig named Fernando, and a mechanical horse riding simulator, that, yes, I rode. The members here are so great!

One of the coolest guys I've met on my mission thus far would have to be Brother Bennett. He is 6'8", a Texan, and works for border patrol. He likes having the missionaries over, and he talks about his mission in Mexico City. He always gets me pumped to do missionary work, because I want to have as many fun stories as him. He bought us lunch on Friday at an Italian place.

One of the greatest things about my mission thus far has been having the spirit constantly with me. I think that it is one of the greatest gifts that anybody can possibly receive. Sometimes being a missionary is difficult, but because of your support, and the love of the Savior, I know I can do anything :) The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!

I love you all!

Elder Wanlass

Monday, November 10, 2014

Green Jello, Goodbyes, etc.

Hey-llo everybody! It's great to hear from all of you! This week felt pretty long because of transfers, but it has been really good! This week was pretty fun, because both Elder Woodbury and Bate were leaving, we said goodbye to a lot of the members in Caribou/Presque Isle. It was a bittersweet moment, but on the plus side, we had green jello! Apparently nobody eats jello except in Utah...so that's cool!

I got my new companion, Elder Knowles. He's really cool, he's been out on his mission for 22 months and is turning 21 in December! He is really athletic, and rumor has it that he can dunk a basketball and he's only a couple inches taller than me. So that's exciting!

We haven't had any major snowstorms yet, and many people think this year will be a bit milder. I don't mind it either way, I can't wait to get -40 degrees :D So much fun!

Other than that, we've been meeting a lot with members. Since I'm the only missionary left that has been in Caribou for a little bit, we all are trying to get to know people in the ward as well as find new people to teach. J. is doing a lot better. His uncle died recently, so I was a little nervous about his smoking and drinking. We have a meeting with him this Wednesday, so hopefully things will go just fine.

On Saturday we went to The O'Connell's daughter's wedding reception! It was really cool, and we got to talk with a lot of nice people from the ward and from around town.

All in all, this week has been good. Next week my letter will be longer, I promise.

The scripture I've been focusing on right now is D&C 58:26-27.

"For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;"

As we are constantly looking for ways to help others and to share the gospel, we will be blessed for taking initiative and doing what is right, not what is easy.

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Wanlass

The Amish park their buggy's in the parking spot!

Green jello!!

Our farewell! (with Elder Bate & Elder Woodbury)

While we were walking.....

This is the Balloon of Peace in Caribou.  Colonel Joseph Kittinger from the U.S. Air Force, lifted off  from Caribou, ME, aboard this helium-filled balloon. (1984)   86 hours later, he came to rest in Italy, having completed the very first solo transatlantic balloon flight. 

My new companion is Elder Knowles from Logan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Snow Way Out!

Well, This week overall has been pretty good! Unfortunately for us, a lot of our lessons had fallen through due to people cancelling on us. and it was Halloween, so we couldn't go out during that day. However, we still did some pretty interesting things!

On Tuesday, we went over to Sister M's to talk with her about Jason, and how he is doing. She was super stressed out at the time, and we really needed to talk to her. I got out my mini hymn book, and talked about how hymns bring us happiness and comfort when times are tough, and we sang "Where Can I Turn for Peace?" After the song was over, the whole room was just...in awe. The spirit can always change things from chaos to peace.

A lot of people have been freaking out about the Ebola virus that is going around. A lady up at Fort Kent (a town in my area) who traveled to Africa to help fight it refuses to get quarantined from it, and so a lot of people are scared to death right now. We have taught a lot about the peace that comes from the gospel. Specifically to members.

On Wednesday night, there was a Trunk or Treat at the church. I really feel like I've started to get to know the members better here, despite only being here for a transfer. It was fun to see so many people involved in dressing up, games, and bringing food! The ward in Caribou is so great! We had to leave in the middle of it, because we had a couple lessons to do. We went to Will and Lisa's, and as we were about to start the lesson, a couple blue flashes in the sky happened. All the lights on one side of the river went out. However, before we left for the Trunk or Treat, I had felt prompted to take my little blue flashlight and put it in my bag. That was amazing, because I hadn't been carrying it at all week. We proceeded to teach lessons in the dark by flashlight and candlelight. It was such a powerful experience. With Will and Lisa, we've really been trying to help them read the Book of Mormon. They have been reading it, and they are really starting to gain a testimony. I know it!

In other news, it snowed last night, and it looked dark at 4:30... FANTASTIC! :)

Snow at 4:30 p.m.

We found out the results of this transfer...So, I am definitely staying in Caribou, but what is surprising is that BOTH of my companions are going to Canada, and I'm getting a different companion. The two sisters by us went home, so essentially, I'm the only missionary with any knowledge of the area at all. It's a little freaky, but I'm comforted by knowing that I'm not doing this alone. We had a CES devotional last night about building our foundation on Christ, and I know that as I build my foundation, the Devil's mighty winds will never shake me! (Helaman 5:12)

I will never forsake :) I love you all! I hope you have a fanTASTic week!


Elder Wanlass

Selfie with Elder Woodbury

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Harvest is White Already to Field

Hello Everybody! Things are going pretty nicely in the Maineland. This past week has been fairly slow, but also pretty cool. Now I don't know how cold it is in Utah yet, but up here it is 30-40 degrees all the time. It hasn't snowed yet, but everybody keeps telling me it will snow before Halloween... Which is in four days. So that's exciting!

 We managed to get a new investigator this week! His name is Narayana. (Ne-Ryan). He used to be Hindu, but is really accepting of the gospel, and wants to get baptized if he knows that our message is true! He has been reading the Book of Mormon, and has enjoyed it thus far. We taught him almost four times this week, which is super exciting!

 On Wednesday, we had kind of an interesting experience. While we were knocking, a lady drove up to us and started yelling at us. She had a younger girl in the passenger seat who looked super uncomfortable. She told us to stop knocking, which was okay, because we only had a couple of houses left. She then drove off. After she left, we finished knocking the street, and then proceeded with our day. We came to find out from a member of our church (her coworker) that the lady went back to her workplace and talked about how terrible 'Jehovah's Witnesses' were and that when they knock on her door it scares her son, how we shoved our beliefs down her throat, and all these other terrible things.

Elder Wanlass and his $3 scarf

 The lady complained to her manager about it, and it turns out that her manager was the lady who bought us hot dogs a couple weeks ago for serving in the community. She told us that we were the Elders and that we were the best young men ever, and that we could teach them things that will make them happy. The lady who yelled at us is now in a lot of trouble with her work because she took a company car and an intern over to yell at us, rather than doing her job. So the Lord protects his missionaries!

 The last event that took place this week was an amazing ward activity called the Harvest Social. In Maine, they do this party annually and invite members, nonmembers, investigators, and everybody in between to come and eat food. A lot of it is potatoes and turkey, because that is what Maine is known for, and it was a lot of fun. We had a couple investigators come to it: Randy, Will, and Lisa. Randy and Lisa are brother and sister, and Will is Lisa's boyfriend and a member of the church. Randy is so cool, and he wanted a tour of the church. So we gave him one!

 We were expecting to see all of them at church, but they didn't come... so that's a bit of a shame. Oh well!

 The Harvest Social was so fun though, I met so many members, and I really feel like I'm starting to become a part of the ward here. we also achieved our sacrament attendance goal two weeks in a row now! Hooray! People are coming!

 The scripture I've been thinking of this week is James 2:17-18: "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without they works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works."

 I love this scripture, because so many people feel that if they have faith, they don't need to do anything else. But their faith will truly be shown by the efforts they put into loving God and others. On the contrary, if you are doing good works, but don't have that faith or hope that truly brings conversion, you will not be able to progress and become better. You need faith AND works.

Love you all!

 Elder Wanlass

Monday, October 20, 2014


Well, this week was a little bit interesting. The first few days were pretty eventful, but the last couple have been a little bit dry.

On Monday, we had the opportunity to go thrift shopping at a store similar to Ross (I hear). I got a coat for 30 dollars when it was originally 200! Best deal ever! It's called Marden's.

Tuesday we went to see a few investigators, and we even got to have a fakesgiving dinner with one of them! They made turkey, peas, fresh mashed potato, and carrots! Potatoes are super popular up here because Maine is a potato state. I guess Maine and Idaho are in competition. The potato I had here was the best one I had ever had. Hands down. Brother Bennett also bought us Subway sandwiches.

Wednesday we went to a very small town called Limestone! I had never been to Limestone, but I ended up getting a collector's pin and met a couple members. One of the members decided to come out on splits with us, so we divided up into Me/Bate and Woodbury/Member. I think it went pretty well! I felt super great knocking on people's doors, I felt happy and excited, and I got yelled at and I was still super thrilled. The coolest thing happened. We weren't going to knock one of the houses, but we decided to anyway, and when I did, a man came out and was super friendly to us. I asked him if he knew anything about us, and he said that he had worked with mormons because he lived in Utah. He told me he was from Layton!!! How crazy is that?! He wants to meet with us and learn more about what we believe. So amazing.

Thursday we taught the gospel to some investigators, raked leaves at the hospital, etc.

Saturday was a pretty good day. We did a lot of member work. We carved pumpkins with the YSA and with a less active member, and I carved the angel Moroni! It looks so cool!

To make up for missing Friday and Sunday, I want to share a scripture I really loved this week.

Joshua 24:15 - And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

I find such power in that statement. If we do not choose righteous things, we are not going to have the strength and power of God with us. As I serve God, I know that I will be able to benefit immensely from my mission experience. I love you all!

Elder Wanlass


Monday, October 13, 2014

Happy Fakesgiving!

It's Canadian Thanksgiving today, but even more importantly it's Columbus Day! Hooray! This week has been quite busy. We had a lot of stuff going on as far as district training, exchanges, zone leaders staying over, and the President interviews.

Monday: Last Monday after P-day I got the chance to try elegant Chinese food at this place called the Oriental Pearl. By elegant I mean...It might have been the grossest food I've ever eaten. It's a tradition among the missionaries to go there at least once during your time here in Maine. So I feel like I have been a true Maine-iac.

Tuesday: The Zone leaders came over for the day, which was pretty fun. I got yelled at by my first lesbian today, which was admittedly pretty funny. People overreact really bad sometimes to the missionaries asking them questions.

Wednesday: We had exchanges with the Woodstock Elders! So Elder Woodbury went down to Woodstock, New Brunswick, and Elder Craig came up to Caribou with Elder Bate and I! He is such an amazing missionary. He is already training an Elder and he has only been out a couple months. Usually you don't train until you've been out at least 3 and a half. We met a couple potentials, but nothing really happened today. I also scheduled a meeting with one of our investigators: Lisa, on Friday at 8. (This will be important for a little later.)

Thursday: We picked up Elder Woodbury and traded Elder Craig back, and we went to a new investigator's grandmother's house. She is a 13 year old girl who wants to get baptized into her Grandmother's church. She will be learning from the sisters from here on out, but this means I'm going to contribute to 2 baptisms by the end of this transfer!! The people of Maine are pretty accepting of the gospel. It's fantastic. It's mainly through members that we find people who want the gospel. We also met up with a recent convert named Brandy who gave us a few presents from her trip to New Hampshire! I have a pin on my shoulder bag already.

Friday: We had a miracle happen today. I set up an appointment with Will and Lisa on Friday, but unbeknownst to me, we had a less active visit already planned for Friday night. We were about to call Will and Lisa and tell them we would have to reschedule, but before we did, the less active family cancelled on us. So we went to do a lesson with them, and another guy was with them. It turns out it was Lisa's brother. As we started teaching, he started asking us questions, and I felt a strong impression that I needed to talk about the Book of Mormon. As we talked about it, he looked like he really wanted to know more, and he is investigating the church now! If I hadn't set up that Friday appointment, we never would have met him. It was amazing!

Saturday: Another Miracle!! We spent a lot of time knocking and street contacting today, which I feel like I'm starting to become more comfortable with. As we walked down the street, a car pulled up and this guy asked "Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" and we said no, and that we were from The Church of Jesus Christ, and he said "Me too!" It turns out that he was a member of the branch in Caribou 40 years ago. We weren't even planning on knocking that street! After talking with him for a bit, he bought us dinner at a really good Italian place called Napoli's, and he wants us to teach the owner of the restaurant, who is one of his good friends! We also get free food from there occasionally because we are missionaries. It was so cool!

Sunday: We had a few investigators of ours come to church! A couple came with their two kids, and they seemed to know a lot of people and they liked it. Hopefully they will be interested enough to come again! After that, we checked on a few potentials in Presque Isle, and then went home.

It's been a great week. Many more to come!

Love you all!

Elder Wanlass

Thursday, October 9, 2014

I Hope I Don't Get Stephen King'd!

Seriously, Maine has it's graveyards right next to the roads. No fences, no sidewalks. They're just there, watching the cars as they pass. Ominous. No wonder Stephen King wrote all his books here.

Anyway, hello everybody! It's been a great week in Caribou! It was actually a little slow because of General Conference and Zone Training in Canada, but other than that, It's been wonderful!

On Tuesday, we had a lot of service activities. Particularly stocking and handing out food pantry items, as well as having a 2 and a half hour orientation at the hospital we want to serve at. It was alright I suppose, but it took way longer than we were anticipating. After that, we went and knocked doors on Milk Street. (Yes. Milk Street.) Let's just say, the carton was empty. Everybody here either has their own religion, or just disregards anything we say and closes the door. We got a referral for this big black guys house. He was super nice, but he kept telling us that the Bible was the only word of God. He then said he loved the work we were doing despite disagreeing with us.
We also went to a members home and ate dinner with them. They had a slide from the top floor of their house to the bottom, and I got to go down it! Who needs stairs?

Wednesday was kind of a boring day. We had Zone training, but not much else. We went to a Members house and they had a pigpen with a black potbellied pig living in their dining room. Then we drove through moose country. The woods are creepy at night.

On Thursday, we went to Canada. Because my mission is dual countries, we cross the border a lot, and we went to see members who live in Canada, and we had dinner at their house with members and nonmembers alike. They gave us Rice and Chili (A Newfie Tradition) and then we went home. I also got to commit our new investigator Jason to baptism! He is such a great guy, and he really desires to become a better person. He's already been to church 3 times and we just had our first lesson with him.

Friday was a little bit of a slow day, because people keep cancelling on us. We went to a gas station though to look for a member, and a couple of nonmember ladies saw us and offered to buy us all food and drinks. They insisted. My companions got Hot Dogs and I got a Diet Coke!

The weekend was filled with General Conference and it was amazing. We stay at a lot of members houses watching it, so it's pretty cool. I will say, I do miss the mountains and many of you, as I was watching conference, I thought of all of you watching it, but 2 hours earlier in the day than me. good times...

We also had a chance to go to another church on Sunday. One of our investigators wanted us to come, and we decided to. It was different. It seemed to be a blend of Pentecostal and Christian Rock band. The Preacher didn't look too happy to see us at all. Let's just say, I can really tell that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, because it feels warm, peaceful, and calming, rather than strange and irreverent.

I love you all, and I hope you all have a fanTASTic day!


Elder Wanlass

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Well, Sort of. On Tuesday we flew basically all day. Coming from the MTC to the airport is probably the biggest 180 somebody can make. We went from being 12 in a crowd of thousands of missionaries, to most people looking at us strangely as if we were from a foreign country. (I guess the airport in Chicago is kind  of a foreign country though).

We made it to Halifax at about 11:30, and we went to the mission home at around 12:30 for immigration. It was weird. They had kilometres, litres, french everywhere, and it certainly felt different. That night, President Leavitt told each one of us what area we would be serving in. One Elder went to New Brunswick, two to PEI, three to Newfoundland, and five to Nova Scotia. And then there was me.

I guess Canada really didn't want me for long, because I was the only missionary sent back to the States! Caribou, Maine here I come! I had a seven hour long drive to get to my area, which was the longest by far, but I finally got to meet my companions and cross the border. I like Canada, but there was a feeling of patriotism I got when I got to cross the border and see the MPH signs and the American Fleg once again! Only US missionaries can serve in Maine for whatever reason, so my companions and I had a huge talk about why America was so great. 'MUrica!

I keep saying my companions! I will clarify, I'm in a trio. One of my companions is Elder Woodbury, and he's my height and has been out 20 months, so he's super experienced. My other companion is Elder Bate, who is 6' 10" and has been out six weeks. So for those who said I would be with somebody really tall, you got your wish I suppose! The funny thing is, Elder Woodbury is probably going to be transferred, so that leaves me and Elder Bate! Exciting!

For those who have no idea where Caribou is (most, I assume), it is on the border of Maine and Canada. The name is a bit of a lie, however, considering you don't even get to see Caribou. Only Moose. Throughout the small town, there are about 100 different churches, and most people are very religious in their particular faith. It's honestly pretty cool, because even though there are a lot of religious people, nobody has been mean to us. They actually support missionary work. So they won't accept it, but they give us drinks anyway. We also have an investigator who was trying to convert us to be a Seventh Day Adventist. (Not sure what is is still)

Caribou actually has the strongest ward by far in my entire mission. The congregation is about 200 people, and we have a few really faithful investigators right now. The growth of the church here is astounding! We have three on date to be baptized in November, and hopefully a couple more will commit! With so many members, we've also had a 3 dinner appointments in the last 5 days. We do a lot of member service up here as well. I actually have a bit of a miracle that happened on my second day. Us Elders were helping the Hudson family move in to their apartment. As we started loading furniture in, a car parked in the driveway, and an old man came out livid. It turns out he was a landlord. He was screaming that we weren't allowed to do this, and that his assistant made a mistake and that he was going to make us move them back out. The old man went and yelled at the dad, and I thought we were going to have to pack everything back up. As he continued to shout, I said a silent prayer that his heart would be changed. Soon after, the man had calmed down, and allowed the family to move in once he knew they were LDS. He met us, and was actually quite polite. After that, he went outside, drove to a different apartment, and started yelling at someone else. Nice guy. Nice guy.

I also got to dedicate their house for them! Which was pretty cool, I had never done it before.

The most momentous occasion happened on Saturday. We went Subway contacting at the local Subway, and I figured out that the sandwiches are cheaper up here! We also met this really nice guy named Donald and talked to him about what we do.

Basically, a lot has happened since I last wrote. Mondays are now my designated P days, so you should receive emails a little more often. I love you all! I hope you are doing well, and I am constantly praying for you!


Elder Wanlass

PS: Some fun facts about Caribou:

1. The trees are incredibly beautiful here. Unlike anything I've ever seen. Red, Yellow, Brown, Orange. It's so nice.
2. There is an old man that smokes a different colored pipe everyday, and he just walks around town.
3. There are two guys that I guess have been trying to sell this old bike since may, and they walk door to door trying to sell it.

My new address is:

40 Sweden Street
Caribou, Maine

The "Beg" the "Fleg" and the Name "Teg"

Hello everybody! I guess it's been a while! It's been super busy here at the MTC, but it's been quite an amazing week. First of all, I've been teaching, planning, studying, and that's basically all for quite a while now. The food here at the MTC is pretty good, but I can't wait to actually head out into the mission field. I actually get a Diet Coke every lunch and dinner just because it reminds me of home.

My companion is Elder Astle. He is from Colorado Springs, and he loves lacrosse and somehow figured out how to play the kazoo with his nameteg. He is my height, and looks young, just like me! We get along really well. The rest of our District is all pretty fun as well. We are kind of a family, and there are four Elders and four Sisters. The Elders in our district are pretty lucky, because there are six beds in our room and only four of us, so we have a lot more space. Sadly, our room still was written up as "Unacceptable" even though we did the best in our zone. Hmm...

The other Elders names are Elder Kruger (As in Freddy), and Heimonen (not to be confused with Hermione). They are basically a part of our companionship, because we always sit together in class, lunch, and we share our room together. Kruger is the big teddy bear in our group, and Heimonen is kind of the buff guy that does impressions of Gollum. The Sisters are Sister Pitcher, Sister Lambert, Sister Bowden, and Sister Moore. We are all super fun and get along really well, which can lead to distraction, but we're working on it.

I didn't actually think this would happen, but it turns out that it did. I figured that a few people in my District would live in Provo or close to the MTC, but it turns out that I'm the closest one in the District! Three of the sisters and the other Elders live in Canada, and one Sister lives farther away from Provo than me, but still lives in Utah. So that's interesting! I have my Canadian initiation going on, where I learn all the different lingo, accents, and such. Like Name'teg', for instance.

Speaking of accents, there's a British guy in our zone. He asked me where the loo was, and then said cheers. So that's exciting :D.

We had a chance to meet our Branch President, and he selected District Leaders from our zone. President Stice is super cool. He looks like a military general, but he is really nice to the Elders as long as they do what they are supposed to. He wants us to practice giving blessings to each other, so we offer the sisters as well as give companionship blessings. It's pretty cool, because some Leaders actually don't allow the missionaries to practice. President Stice also told me that he had a son that did ballroom and that he married his partner! Maybe foreshadowing for me..?? 

Anyway, that leads me to my next point. They called me to be the District Leader. Which I guess makes me the Jeff Winger of my District. I have to call on people to give prayers, pick hymns, speak, and I also am in charge of picking up the mail. Thanks Grandma and Mom for giving me things! :) Nobody in my District except for me and Sister Pitcher receive things constantly. So that's been cool. 

This Sunday we got to go on a temple walk, and today we actually got to do an endowment session at the Provo Temple. It was nice to feel the peace of the temple. You know how at Disneyland, they play constant Disney songs? Well at the MTC, it's kind of the same thing except I have a constant hymn playing in my heart. 

As the week wrapped up, Richard G. Scott came to speak to all the missionaries. His talk was about prayer, which spoke to me at that particular moment. 

Well, I've really been thinking how to become more like Christ throughout the week, and the best way I think is by Charity. We watched Elder Bednar's "The Character of Christ" and he shared a story. It reminded me that "My mission isn't about me, it's for the Lord." I'm so excited to continue serving. Continue onward everybody! :D


Elder Wanlass

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mission Farewell Talk

Mission Farewell Talk on August 24, 2014

How to Find Peace

Hello brothers and sisters, I'm really glad to see all of you here today.  I want to take some time to thank all of you for everything that you've done for me.  I have really good friends that have helped me through hardships in my life, an amazing ward that I've been able to feel at home in, and a supportive family who I love, and I'm blessed to know they love me too.  For those of you who may not know, I have been called to serve in the Canada, Halifax mission.  My area is right above Maine, and covers all of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and a tiny sliver of Maine.  It's crazy, because there are some parts of my mission where the church is so small that they don't even consider themselves a branch of the church.  So they call themselves "The Sticks".  So luckily for me, even though I am a little nervous to speak to you today, this is probably the biggest group of people I'll have to speak to over the course of my mission.

While I was thinking of my topic for my farewell, I really wanted to talk about something that I've had experience with these past few months.  I'll be honest; it's been a pretty hard summer.  Sometimes I'd be feeling happy and confident in myself, while other days I felt really down.  We all have times like this in our life, and it is especially important that we seek for guidance and help during these times.  When we ask Heavenly Father for help in faith, we can feel a Spirit of Peace overcome us, and know that we are not alone.  I feel that everybody needs to know how to find this peace and love of God at some point in their life, and when they seek, they will be able to find.

Finding peace can be easier said than done.  Sometimes our trials can seem so tough that we can't handle them ourselves.  Luckily for us, in these times of struggle, we do not have to face these challenges alone.  Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome all things through him as long as we believe that we can.  Christ's Atonement doesn't only help us recover from sin and death, but it can help in all things that we may need help with.  In one of my favorite hymns:  "Where Can I Turn for Peace"  It says:

"Where is the quiet hand, to calm my anguish?"
"Who, who can understand? He, only One."

Jesus Christ knows each and every one of us individually, and knows our feelings, our thoughts, and our hearts.  He suffered for us because he loves all of us, and wanted to help all of us return to our Heavenly Father to become more like him.  In D&C 6:36, the Lord tells Joseph Smith, "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."  If we do this knowing that our Savior loves us, then we will be able to find peace through the Atonement.

We can also find peace by following Christ's example using the three main attributes of Christ: Hope, Faith, and Charity.  Hope assures us each day that Jesus Christ's atonement will be able to help every single person.  Faith in Jesus Christ gives us knowledge of the truth, and Charity offers us a chance to act as Christ would.  The best witness one can receive of a gospel principle is by acting on it first, and then seeing the blessings that come from them.  If we ever feel discouraged or troubled, the best way to fix that is to help somebody else who is going through a trial of their own.  If we constantly seek to follow Jesus Christ's example in this way, he will be able to grant us blessings of peace.

One of the best places to go when you feel you need guidance and peace is the temple.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a temple week.  Early on, I had the opportunity to go to the Ogden Temple Open House and see the new temple with my family.  It was a really cool experience, and it was a nice start to my week.  The spirit was strong, and you could tell that it is a place where amazing things will take place.

In his 2011 General Conference "The Holy Temple-A Beacon of the World" Thomas S. Monson said this regarding temples:  "My brothers and sisters, temples are more than stone and mortar.  They are filled with faith and fasting.  They are built of trials and testimonies.  They are sanctified by sacrifice and service."

I again had another temple experience a couple days later.  I'm a Primary teacher, and all the Stake Primary kids and teachers got together to walk to the Bountiful Temple.  Even before the walk started, the spirit was invited with hundreds of kids singing "I Love to See the Temple".  We couldn't see the temple over the mountain, but we could feel it in our presence, and when we made it, the peace there was amazing.  Sometimes we can't immediately feel peace that we need, but when we exercise even a particle of faith, and keep moving forward in our lives, Heavenly Father can grant us anything that we desire.  It will all be worth it.  Two days after that I had the opportunity to receive my endowments in the Jordan River Temple.

Some days we may not be able to make it to the temple.  However, that does not mean that we can't feel the spirit in our home. You can invite the spirit by reading your scriptures, listening to happy and good spirited music, learning more about the gospel, or simply praying to your Heavenly Father daily.  If you do these things consistently, you will feel a gradual strengthening of the Spirit in your life, and be stronger against trials and adversity in your life.

One really cool thing that I got to do in preparation for my mission was study some of my genealogy.  I had wondered for a while if I had relatives from my mission because my ancestors were Scottish and English, and Nova Scotia means New Scotland.  Well, I figured out that on both sides I have relatives that lived in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, both areas that are in my mission.  I'd like to talk specifically about my Great Great Great Great Grandfather who was born in Halifax, Daniel Starke.  Daniel Stark became a member of the church early on in his life in 1843 at 23 years of age.  He was a carpenter, and a very hardworking man.  A few years later, about the same time many of the Latter-Day Saints walked the plains to Zion, Daniel and his family, as well as 238 other members got on a boat headed to California.  On the boat, they had a room where all of them would gather for morning and evening prayer and devotionals.  They were to travel all the way around South America.  Later on in their travels, a really bad storm started to freeze the sails of the boat, and the strong wind prevented the ship from being controlled easily.  The captain of the boat, who was not a member of the church, went down to the room to warn and prepare the Saints for the worst.  However, rather than panicking, he found them singing hymns and praying with the utmost peace and composure.  They eventually made it to Hawaii, and then traveled to California after staying there.  Even in this possibly perilous storm, my grandfather and the other members of the church put their trust and faith in the Lord, and made it safely.

I have another story which is one of my favorite examples of peace.  It's in D&C 121.  Jospeh Smith and some of the Latter-Day apostles had been taken to Liberty Jail, the Saints were being persecuted and forced to leave and abandon their belongings in Missouri, it was a dark time for the church members.  While he was still in the jail, Joseph Smith prayed to God, saying:
"O God, where art thou?  And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?" D&C 121:1.
He asks God for how much longer this torment of the Saints will last.  Surely, this was not a peaceful time for any of them.  Sometimes we may feel this way in our own lives, and may want to ask the same things.  However, after 6 verses of Joseph Smith pleading, Heavenly Father responds to him:

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.  Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."

The Lord is always beside us as long as we live righteously.  However, sometimes God will allow trials to impact the righteous because he wants us to become stronger, he knows we can handle them through the Atonement, and he knows that as long as we put our faith and trust in him we will have peace in the end.

O' Canada!

Receiving the Mission call on May 7, 2014.