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.