Monday, February 23, 2015

Fort Kent and the Land of Ebola

Hello Everybody! It's been a good week, we've seen a lot of amazing things happen, (and a lot of not that great things) and we are pressing forward. Caribou is doing pretty well right now. We found 3 new investigators this week: Alan and Amanda, and John Cook. It was also 30 degrees yesterday! So warm! I could actually feel the sun! Unfortunately it is back to -30 today, so I guess I will still have to wait before I can get a tan.

We finally got in contact with Omar. He had been in Portland for almost two weeks, so we lost contact for a bit, but we have a lesson scheduled this afternoon, so that will be good to see how he is doing! He should still be progressing towards baptism, and I can tell that he has that desire to come closer to Christ!

We had a pretty cool experience, we were going to stop by one of our investigator's homes, but he wasn't there, it was a little disappointing, but afterwards we were about to leave, Elder Beacham gets called over by a guy a little down the street. He gave him a hug, and I knew something was up, so I hurried and got out of the truck and talked with the man. The guy is named Kenny, I guess he was a former investigator, and he said that he would like to come back to our church. We didn't hesitate to set something up with him, of course! So we hopefully will be getting some baptisms soon! I know that as long as we believe that we can get something, and we show through our actions that we want it, God will grant it to us! I really want to help people, and I feel like I've gotten to already!

We found John Cook through a former investigator record. He wants to join our church, believes it to be true, loves it because of his parents (they were both active members). He also knows a few members, so that is also pretty good for fellowship. We just need to help him get to church!

Alan and Amanda are a young couple that are really open to learning from us. We also found them through the area book. They were really cool, and they are making arrangements to feed us and have a lesson with us as well! We will keep you posted on how things go!

This week we also had the opportunity to go on an expedition to Fort Kent and Madawaska, the northernmost parts of our area, and also an hour and a half away. Fort Kent is a very Catholic/French speaking area, a college town, and coincidentally, was the place that lady lived when the Ebola crisis was going on. (She refused to be quarantined, etc.) So we decided to take a trip and see if it was worth meeting with some former investigators up there. Long story short, it wasn't. We had people yell at us, college kids flip us off, not fun stuff. It didn't help that the 12 members on the ward list basically all moved away, so there wasn't anybody to go visit. However, overall, we had fun, but I don't think we will be going back up there anytime soon :) We didn't even get to see a moose! However there was a lot of beautiful pine trees, so it kind of made up for it.

This week we also had Mission President interviews! President Leavitt stopped by the Caribou apartment, and we got to talk a lot about how I was doing as a trainer, missionary, etc. I love President. He is a funny and sarcastic guy, but he really does show that he cares. I'm glad that I get to serve with him, and when he leaves the mission in June, I will miss him!

Well, that's pretty much been our week! We have been spreading the gospel everywhere! We've found a lot of people! It's just been a great week! I love you all, and I hope you have a fantastic day! :)


Elder Wanlass

Fort Kent....Land of Dreams.

I found a little bit of sunshine.

I am standing on the most North sidewalk in America.  Canada is right behind me!

The bridge to Canada!

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Least Lonely Valentine's Day

It's true! It really was! I had Elder Beacham with me the whole time :) Hello Everybody! This week has been quite great! We had a lot of adventures, we saw a couple miracles, and we've been working really hard to fulfill the Lord's work! Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, Marilyn told us that she didn't want to meet again, which was pretty rough unfortunately. Anthony also backed out and said he isn't ready for baptism at this time. So! We've been diligently working on finding new people. We spent roughly 20 hours searching through old records, calling people, knocking in the cold, facebooking, etc. The mission life is very different than how it used to be. President Leavitt has encouraged us to be innovative in the ways that we find people, and technology really allows us to have those opportunities. We've seen a bunch of success through the area book and facebook use together!

One example of this involved us calling people from the area book. One guy named Michael answered his phone. He had talked with missionaries a year ago, and when Elder Beacham tried calling him, the guy got super excited when he heard we were missionaries. We have a lesson set up with him for later this week! :)

We also took an expedition to Washburn, and a lady (who met with missionaries before) said: I've never seen anybody like you guys before. She seemed like she had at least some alcohol in her, so we just gave her a card and told her to call us if she was ever interested. People are funny. :)

One miracle and one way that I know the spirit is always guiding us was right before we took the expedition, Elder Beacham pointed out that we needed gas. I could have just driven to Washburn and gotten gas there, but instead I felt like I should turn back and go to Caribou. So we did, and we went to the gas station. Luckily for us, George (a potential investigator) was there, and we were able to get his Facebook information, his number, and email! We also got a chance to help Brother Bennett run some errands because he was sick, talk to people at the grocery store, and talk to a member who is recovering from cancer all because I decided to turn around. The spirit is constantly guiding us. No matter where we are.

Later on in the week, we took another adventure to Presque Isle, and stayed there for the day. We met with a bunch of members, potentials, tried to get some lessons set up, etc. We went to this guy named Kenneth's house. The Sister Missionaries referred us to him, and we went to his house, but he wasn't home. We looked through the area book, and it turns out a potential investigator was never contacted, but lived right around the same area. We went to his house a minute away, and the guy let us right in! His name is Nolan. He has had a rough past with drugs and alcohol, but he has a sincere desire to stop, and we talked about it with him for a minute. We gave him a Book of Mormon, he seemed to appreciate it, and we told him to watch the video "The Hope of God's Light." Which is a fantastic mormon message and I encourage you all to check it out! At the end of our lesson with him, he had tears in his eyes as we prayed together. He's really cool, and I believe he will be baptized. His girlfriend said that she would be willing to learn more tonight as well, so we are meeting with them tonight to teach about the Restoration of the gospel.

We also met with another guy named Arthur, who was a member referral. He is an older man that used to be an alcoholic, but has quit cold turkey. He has a few mental disabilities due to drinking, but he understands the message that we share, and he wants to try out our church. It's pretty neat to share the First Vision with people for the first time, and see their whole disposition change.

The gospel really does change peoples' lives without them even knowing it. It's so fantastic!

The weather up here, however, is not so fantastic. It is literally -30 degrees today. Most of the apartments are cold, the weather is cold, everything is COLD! And I love it! I hope you all have a good day! :) Stay warm! Happy Valentine's Day and President's Day!

The First Vision at TAMC

Monday, February 9, 2015

We are gonna have a Baptism. It's Gonna Happen!

This week, my friends, was so fantastic! We've seen so many miracles, so many blessings come our way, and I know without a doubt that my Heavenly Father has been with me each step of the way. I guess I will start with the most important aspect of the work. Our investigators!

To start, we have a new investigator named Marilyn Mayne. She is an older woman who lost her leg in a bout with cancer, however, she has a sincere desire to find the truth. She actually found the church through her granddaughter who is investigating in Florida. She told us that God had saved her life and told her that she had to do something before she could pass on. "Maybe you can help me find that. :)" She said. So exciting!!!

We also found somebody named Sarah. She is a younger girl, but she recently had a close family member pass on. She had a lot of questions about the afterlife, and such. I think she has a lot of potential to be willing to listen to the gospel again.

Omar is doing fantastic! We've taught him about the Restoration of the gospel and about The Plan of Salvation! We have committed him to be baptized, and he said yes without hesitation! I can tell that he is prepared, and I'm so glad that I get to help him come closer to Christ! :) His only major concern was "How many lessons until I can get baptized?" So cool!!! So prepared.

We had a busy and successful week this week, and we've seen so many miracles. We hit all of the goals we set for this week and far exceeded them! So that was cool! I feel like the work in Caribou has excelled far past what my ability is, and it really shows that this is the Savior's work, and not mine. He has given me promises as a missionary, and I'm here to fulfill them. In Alma 37:17-18, it reads that the Lord cannot withhold promised blessings as long as we are doing the things we are supposed to. Such a hopeful thing! I love my God and my Savior!

I encourage you all to read the lyrics to "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". I want to be able to cry to my Lord that I'll be willing to do anything for him, because of my love for him.

I hope you all have a good week! Remember that I love you all! Sorry this letter isn't as long, but I just can't sum up all the amazing experiences that I've been able to have! I will share them when I return. See you next week!

Look at this beautiful place I get to serve!!

Zone Conference earlier in the week.

Picture courtesy of Bro. Bennett.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Want His Beard...

Well, January came and went! :) The beginning of the week we were preparing for transfers, so we didn't end up getting in with any of our investigators. It was really too bad. However, we did meet a really nice lady that came up to me and Elder Knowles. She said "Hey! I went to Salt Lake by the temple during a conference thing, and it was the most peace I've ever felt in my life." When I tried to continue the conversation, she said "Oh! I'm devout Catholic, but I just thought I would let you know!" It was pretty funny, but cool at the same time. :) People love us here in Caribou.

For travel plans this week for transfers, we went to Fredericton, NB and stayed the night. It was really cool, because we got to stay with the Zone Leaders, Elder Tusa and Torrie. I think I've mentioned them before, but in case I haven't, Elder Tusa is from Australia, and he and Elder Knowles were both going home together. Elder Torrie has one more transfer left, and then he goes home. Crazy! Anyway, Instead of driving to Halifax, (7 hour drive) I got to stay in Fredericton during the day with Elder Torrie and work on things, while Tusa and Knowles both drove to Moncton, NB.

Elder Torrie and I had a lot of fun. We are both pretty similar, and love missionary work, studying the gospel, and our personalities are just similar! He taught me a lot of things while I worked with him, and I really enjoyed his advice and spending time with him.

So now, I got a new companion, straight from the MTC! His name is Elder Beacham. He is from Salem, UT, loves to fish, hunt, camp, hike, and has a heart of gold. I can really tell that he has a sincere desire to serve God, and I'm glad that he is my companion. He is a farm boy, so he has no qualms working as hard as he can. Which is exactly how I am, so that's good.

So his first night, we contacted a couple potential investigators. Neither of them were interested, but they both liked the missionaries, so that's cool. We also had the chance to get in contact with people who wanted to do lessons with us. One thing that was kind of funny, I visited a less active member that I had taught a few months ago. We went into his house, and talked about a couple things. He then just started to talk about a bunch of anti, and how he had a lot of doubts....and I was like. "Well, yeah, what do you expect?" I then was able to bear a powerful testimony about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and our purpose as missionaries. He admitted he knew the Book of Mormon was true... but he refused to listen. His mom said that she never wanted us to come back and that we really needed to think and pray about the "Mormon religion". It was funny. :) Good first night for Elder Beacham!

The next day we ended up finding 4 new potential investigators, through former records and street contacting. It was pretty cool, and Elder Beacham is doing really well! He knows how to talk to people, and it was good to have him around. We are getting this work done! We received a referral from a member. She wasn't sure if he wanted to learn more about the church, or if he just wanted to debate. Well, we decided to go for it, and we went and contacted him, and he invited us right in, and talked about how he is having a hard time with things in his life. He said he wanted to come to our church, and to take the lessons. Awesome! His name is Dan, and I know that as we teach him, he will be able to feel happier and come closer to Christ. It was a really cool experience.

On Sunday, we had a good day at church, and we focused a lot on Elder Beacham's training. It went well! :) There are so many good families in this ward, and I'm glad that he is here to start his mission! Good things are happening here in Caribou! :)

I should elaborate on why I put the title "I want his Beard..." Elder Beacham was talking about how he wanted to grow a beard. And he was trying to describe it to me. He found a picture of Jesus from the passalong cards and said. "I want his beard." I literally laughed forever,.

Love you all,

Elder Wanlass

One of our last times with Elder Knowles.

Saying goodbye to Elder Knowles before he heads home to Logan.

Elder Torrie and I are mission companions for the day.  Both of our companions were headed home. 

Here is my new companion, Elder Beacham.  He is from Salem, UT and just came from the MTC.

Here is the beard that Elder Beacham is thinking about growing after his mission.