Monday, September 14, 2015

Letter #8 from Australia

September 13, 2015

Hey you amazing person (yes you),

          What a week! It has been another great week here in the wonderful bush area of Wangaratta. Elder Kelsch and I had a good week filled with lessons, tracting and all of the amazing experiences that you can only have while being a missionary. We spent a lot of time this week working with less actives, which is so good!!! Elder Kelsch and I have been fasting and praying to know what it is that we are supposed to build here in this area, and we received our answer this week. We need to help the less active members. Yes we will continue teaching our investigators and tracting, but we feel like we need to focus on the less active members. There are a lot of less actives here in the Wangaratta branch. Over 80% of members on record are less active. So we definitely have our work cut out for us, but we are so happy and ready to start. 

          All of our investigators are doing great and are really progressing. Three of them are all ready for baptism, but just need to either come to church, keep other commitments, or get their parents permission. So we are definitely happy about that. Of course we are praying so much for them and for them to be baptized in the coming weeks. So look forward to some exciting news. Now how about another door knocking story? Haha, this one will just be a short one. We knocked on this guys door and the first thing he said to us was, "Did I invite you to my house?" Of course we both wanted to reply, "No, but Heavenly Father sent us." That would have really made him listen;)  But we replied and told him, " No." He then told us to..."Piss off (Which isn't a good word to say anywhere in the World, but especially here in Australia.) and go get a real job." We told him, "Okay, have a great day sir!!" In which he replied, "I will now that you are gone." Hahaha I love Australia and all of my Aussie Brothers and Sisters. It is a really weird feeling that you get after being rejected or yelled at. You feel really happy for some reason, which is weird, but you just do!!:) I personally think it is because I now know what Christ went through when he was here on Earth ministering. Even when someone rejects me, and the message that I am sharing, I still love them so much, just like Christ did for all of those that rejected Him and His message. It is weird I know, but I love it. 

          So I have some exciting news. Last week in my long email (sorry about that) I mentioned a guy that Elder Porter and I met with while I was on exchanges in Albury/Wadonga. Well here is the good news. HE IS BEING BAPTIZED!!! Elder Porter and Elder Larsen called me this week and told me the news! They also had him (the guy we met with) call me and talk with me for a little bit. I was so happy to hear the great news and to be able to talk to him. I told him how proud I was of him for his decision to be baptized and for his great work with being off of the drugs.(He is now 14 days clean.) Elder Porter and Elder Larsen call me each night and give me an update on how he and his family are doing. He also asked me if I would come up for his baptism, which I told him of course I would love to be there. That is my good news!!!

          So I have done a lot of thinking and personal reflection this week about myself, and my abilities as a missionary.  I have found a lot of areas that I can improve in, which I think is great because I am always looking for ways and areas that I can improve myself. Especially when it is about missionary work and missionary skills. I can't wait to improve my skills so that I can be the best missionary that I can be. I know that with focused studies, meaningful prayers and hard work, I can be the missionary that my Heavenly Father wants me to be.

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the amazing blessings of life. I love you all and miss you all heaps!! 


Elder Wheeler

Elder Wheeler and Elder Kelsch at the Wright home. 
Elder Wheeler tying a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue.
Even Elder Kelsch did it.

Letter #7 from Australia

September 6, 2015

Dear my beloved Family and Friends,

          I cannot even believe that my first transfer is over. It is so crazy how fast the mission is going by. I know that I still have heaps of time left on my mission but it seriously is going by really fast. So I am guessing you all want to know if I have been transferred or not...I did not get transferred so I will be staying in Wangaratta!!! I will also be staying with Elder Kelsch!!! I am so happy because I know that there are people that I have met and people that I haven't met that I still need to help. A lot of our lessons fell through this week and tracting wasn't as successful as we would have liked it to be. We only got a couple new contacts, which was good because we need as many as we can get. We just want to teach as many as we can, because we know that our message can bless and help anyone, no matter what circumstances they are in. This week was fun though because we went on exchanges with our District Leader Elder Larsen and his companion Elder Porter.

          Elder Kelsch and Elder Larsen went down to Wangaratta and Elder Porter and I stayed up in Albury/Wadonga, which is their area. Because Elder Porter and I came into the mission in the same intake, we can't drive yet so we were on bikes that day! (You start driving around your 3rd transfer) So that was really fun, but really hard. Albury and Wadonga are really hilly, so it was hard biking up and down the hills. I am sure it would have been a lot easier if we would have been used to riding bikes, but since we weren't, it was hard. We had a lot of funny, scary and amazing things happen that day. We also had a huge miracle happen, the biggest one so far on my mission. 

          So the funny things that happened are the ones that you come to get used to being a missionary here is Australia. People are always swearing at you. We were going to go visit a less active and when we were walking up to the door he was out on his porch smoking so we waved and said hello. But right when we said hi, his dog started to bark really loud, so we couldn't hear what he said. So we just kept walking towards him while trying to talk over the dog. Well when we finally got close enough so we could hear him, he was telling us to...freak off. (But using the more colorful language of course.) So Elder Porter and I asked if he was Brother Frank, and his reply was the same. So Elder Porter and I said okay, have a great day! Same reply. haha. He probably said it like 6-7 times. We of course just laughed it off cause that is what you have to do because you get it everyday here in Australia. The scary thing was that there were people honking and yelling at us cause we were riding in the "Bike Lane". Here in Australia, if you are older than 12 and you are riding a bike, you have to ride in the bike lane. You cannot ride on the sidewalk. But apparently the bike lane is for cars too? We almost got cut off and were honked and yelled at by quite a few cars, but we were pretty sure that people were doing it because they knew we were missionaries. People don't really like the missionaries here in Australia. haha. At least up here in the bush. But all goods cause the Lord protects and watches over us. 

          So, onto the miracle. We stopped by a less actives house and her husband, who is not a member, answered the door. They know the missionaries and have talked with them before, so he told us to come in. We went inside and sat down and he immediately started to cry. He told us that he has been going through a really hard time in his life. He explained to us that he has recently quit using marijuana and has been having a lot of withdrawals. He also told us that they will be evicted from their house at the end of this month and they can't find a new one to move into. After he was done telling us that, he just sat there crying with his head in his hands. It was silent for a while because Elder Porter and I didn't know what to say. I was silently praying so hard for Heavenly Father to help me know what to say. Then it came to me and the Spirit took over. I cannot tell you what I said exactly because I don't really remember. All I know is I wasn't the one speaking; the Holy Ghost was, through me. I was saying the words, but I didn't think of what to say. It just kept coming to me. It basically was about how our Heavenly Father knows exactly who we are and what struggles and challenges we are going through. He loves us so much and always wants to help us if we just ask Him for help. We can hit a trial and go two different ways in our life. We can go towards God or away from Him. I told him that he needed to turn towards his Father in Heaven and do the things he knows is right. I bore one of the strongest testimonies that I have ever born about how much our Heavenly Father loves us and knows us each personally. The spirit was so strong and he felt it because he kept telling us he did. He told us that we were the answer to his prayers. He told us that about an hour before we knocked on his door, he said his first prayer in a long time and asked Heavenly Father to help him get through all of this. Once he told us that I felt the spirit so strong. He asked us to come back tomorrow and that he wanted to start learning the lessons. We were so happy and as we walked away from his door we both knew that we helped him and were the answer to his prayers that day. 

          The reason I am out here on a mission is so that I can be the answer to people’s prayers. I know that we were inspired that day to see him and that Heavenly Father was using us to help his child. Don't ever forget that Heavenly Father loves each and every single one of you. He knows who you are and knows the challenges and struggles that you are going through. Turn towards Him and He help you though them all. I know that to be true and have experienced that in my life so much. I love you all and appreciate all of your support. Have a great week.


Elder Wheeler

Orange moon in Australia
Bike riding with Elder Porter.  Took a lunch 
break eating squished PB&J's.  Yummy!!
Beautiful Australian Sunset.  Welcome to the bush life.
Came back to the flat to go to the bathroom and get a snack.
Elder Kelsch fell asleep so I seized the moment and took a picture.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Letter 6 from Australia

Sorry everyone.  I thought I posted this prior to my leaving town the other day.  Enjoy the fun letter and pictures.

August 30, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This was the best week so far on my mission!! I love it so much because we had a...BAPTISM!!!! YAHOO. But before I go into more details about that, I will just start at the beginning of the week.

Not a lot happened this week other than tracting because Elder Kelsch and I have had to drop some of our previous investigators so we don't really have that many people to teach. We currently have about 9 investigators right now but we want more!!! We had a lot of new contacts (people you meet that could be a potential investigator) but this week we visited them all and they all told us that they were not interested. So we now have no new contacts now but we have done heaps (Aussie slang word. American translation: lots, tons) of tracting and finding this week. My feet hurt so badly and they feel like they are going to fall off...and we need to do more this week. But all goods. I love tracting and finding cause you meet very interesting people. Which leads into, STORY TIME! Alright folks...I will give you all a little break to go to the bathroom, get some popcorn and to buckle your seat belt cause this one is so funny and is definitely a good one!!

All right, Saturday after the baptism, Elder Kelsch and I went tracting (door knocking) for 4 hours!! It was a very long and tiring time but all goods. PAUSE: When Elder Kelsch was in 2nd grade he had the biggest crush on a girl named Bailey. PLAY: So we knock on a door and a young girl (about the age of Elder Kelsch) answers and starts talking to us. Elder Kelsch is doing great and is talking about the church and what we believe in, you know the typical door step approach, when he pauses and says, "I'm sorry, I didn't get your name. What is it?" And that is when she drops the "B" name...(you probably have figured out by now why that minor detail was added above.) Her name is Bailey!! Haha. Just then Elder Kelsch has a freeze up moment and then quickly snaps back in to it. We finish talking to her and say bye. As we were walking away he just keeps saying how bad it went and is freaking out about it. But it went really well and I actually have a good feeling about her! She seems like a keen (Aussie slang word. American translation: Cool, really interested) new contact. I had a good laugh about it all and I hope you all did too. If not then I guess you just had to be there;) 

Now on to Steve's baptism. It was such an amazing experience and such a great service. Steve kept smiling the entire time and was so excited to be baptized. Elder Kelsch baptized him and it went so well. Steve asked me if I would speak at it and I of course told him that I would. He said he felt so clean and definitely felt a difference after being baptized. Elder Kelsch and I are so proud of him and for his amazing decision to make that sacred commitment to his Father in Heaven. I can't believe that I had my first baptism this soon into my mission. Although Steve was taught a little by the previous missionaries before me, I consider him my first baptism.

I cannot describe the feeling of happiness that I feel after helping someone join this church. It truly is an amazing feeling and I love that feeling so much. I can't wait until I meet and teach other people and help them come back into the fold of our Savior Jesus Christ. I love being a missionary and love the good and the bad times. Yes, even the bad times. Because that is when I know I am growing the most. That is when the master sculpture (My Heavenly Father) is sculpting
me into the best missionary, man, future husband and future father that I can be. 

I appreciate all the constant support that you all give me and for being the best support team out there!! Remember to read your scriptures and say your prayers everyday!! I love you all so much!

Elder Wheeler

Elder Kelsch, Steve and Bryce.
Elder Kelsch, Steve and Bryce.
Elder Kelsch, Karyn (Steve's wife and member) and Bryce.
Not sure what's going on here.
Elders who taught Karyn and Steve.