Sunday, November 8, 2015

Letter #16 from Australia

November 8, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

          What a great week it has been here in the deep bush of Australia, also known as, Wangaratta. We have done heaps of service this week and it has been rewarding, amazing, and exhausting. We have set a baptismal date with our investigator Laurence and are very excited for him and for his willingness to be baptized. Due to the warmer weather, there are more spiders and they are getting bigger and coming out more frequently. (Just a heads up, I do have pictures and I will be including them in this email, so if you are scared or do not want to see them, DO NOT LOOK!) 

          Service has been a huge part of our week and it has been great to get out and do a little manual labor for a change. We planned to do about an hour of service for a member of our Branch Friday morning, but it ended up turning into a 7-hour service project that took up the entire day! But it was so great!! I am not complaining at all! Since he has so much work to do at his property, he asked us to come back the next day (Saturday) to help him out some more. We accepted and told him we would be there at 1 p.m. After getting home Friday night and preparing for bed, we received a phone call from Elder and Sister Murray (the senior couple in our area) and they asked if we could come tomorrow morning (Saturday) and help do some service for a member who lives up in Beechworth. We told them that we could as long as we were back in Wangaratta by 1 o'clock. I will just say that we were completely worn out by Saturday night. I love doing service even if it means I am sun burnt, exhausted and dirty. 

          We set a baptismal date with Laurence for the 21st of November! He was very keen and excited to set the date and work towards that goal. He is doing amazing and continues to keep his commitments for reading the scriptures and praying about the church and what we are teaching him. Heavenly Father has definitely prepared him over the years and I am so happy and excited to see him become a member of the church and make that sacred covenant with his Father in Heaven.  

          The spiders that we have found are a Huntsman, White Tail and heaps of Red Backs. We decided to go look in our garage the other day, because I have never been in it before and have no idea what is even in it. As we opened the door and walked in we saw a lot of dead spiders and a lot of alive ones. We found about 8 Red Backs and they were all very very big because it is nesting season. So pretty much we found a bunch of pregnant spiders...haha! We found a Huntsman too and then later on in the week we found another White Tail in our flat, but it was just a baby one...which is either a good or a bad sign. We haven't decided yet. Hah. 

          I love this work so much and love serving and being in this area. The people are great and the work is really picking up here in Wangaratta. I am so excited and grateful for all of the blessings that we continue to be blessed with by our loving Father in Heaven. Thank you so much for all of your great support and letters and emails of encouragement. I am sorry if I don't reply to your emails for a long time, but just know that I will reply to them as soon as I can. I miss all of your wonderful smiling faces and I love you all so much. Be faithful and remember to serve God, by serving your fellow men. 

-Elder Wheeler

Celebrating Shaelyn's 22nd Birthday with another Twinkie, candles and a
cute sign made by me! Happy Birthday Shaelyn!! I love you so much.
Celebrating Colten's 22nd Birthday with a Twinkie and some(22)
candles! Happy Birthday Brother! I love you lots.
This is the "baby" Huntsman spider that we found. This picture
is zoomed in. He is about the size of a small role of tape. 
We decided to keep him...his name is Helaman the Huntsman.
That is how big he is compared to my hand. 
One of the "Pregnant" Red Backs that we found in our garage we think???
Yes...we kept him?...her?...too. Named it Teancum...but I am sad
to inform you all that Teancum died days after we got him/her...R.I.P. Teancum.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Letter #15 from Australia

November 1, 2015

Dear Everyone,

          What an amazing week it has been!! We had our baptism on Saturday and what an amazing day it was for the girls, their family, and us Elders. We have gotten a lot of work done this week and have been really successful in all of our efforts. It has been an amazing blessing given to us from Heavenly Father! We did have some trials though this week, of course, because there has to be opposition in ALL things. Without those hard times this past week, we wouldn't have been able to appreciate the amazing times. And what amazing times we had this week.

          So I will start out with the first miracle of the week. On Wednesday, Elder Solomon and I had a half hour set aside to do some previous investigator finding. (Which is were you try and contact some of the investigators that were being taught, but then stopped for some reason.) As we were going through the list, I saw a name that popped out at me and I felt impressed to contact him. I texted him a message along the lines of this, "Hey Laurence. This is the Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We would love to meet up with you sometime this week and share a message with you. Is there a time that we could come by?" It wasn't long until he texted us back and told us that he would love to meet up with us. When we went to his house on Thursday morning, he invited us in and was very happy to see us. At the beginning of our lesson, we asked him what he was expecting to get out of our lessons and his reply shocked both Elder Solomon and me. He said, "Well boys, I want 2 things. First, I want to learn more about the LDS Church and Second, I want to be baptized in a couple of weeks. These are our 2 goals. Okay?" Haha talk about the perfect investigator!!! 

          Now let me tell you about the baptism. What an amazing and special day it was. T'leisha and Shaye looked beautiful in their white baptismal dresses!! (Yes that is how you spell their names. I have been spelling them wrong this entire time...) We had such an amazing turn out too! We were only expecting about 13 people, but there ended up being about 30!! It was so good to see the branch come and support them and their decision to be baptized!! The girls asked me to baptize them and I was so honored to. It was my first time actually baptizing someone and I was pretty nervous to be honest, but as soon as I got into the water, I was so calm. The Spirit was so strong and everyone could feel it! The girls mother Regan had tears in her eyes as her girls were baptized and I knew she was feeling the Spirit! It was the best Halloween that I have ever had and made all of the work and lessons that we taught them worth it. Jason and Regan will hopefully be getting married soon and we will start teaching them this week. Since we had been focusing more on the girls during the lessons, so that they could be ready for their baptism, we are going to re-teach the lessons and focus on Jason and Regan. 

          I am so happy to be out here on a mission and especially to be in the wonderful bush area of Wangaratta!! Amazing miracles are happening each and everyday and we are being blessed with success. I am so grateful for all of you and the support that you show and give to both my family and me. It gives me great comfort in knowing that I have such an amazing support team made up by my friend and family!! I hope you all enjoyed Halloween and that you got heaps of sweets!! Since Halloween isn't too big over here, there weren't many kids out trick-or-treating. But Elder Solomon and I almost went door knocking at night to see how many people would think we were trick-or-treating and in hopes that they would give us some sweets!!;) But we didn't. Haha. Enjoy your week and remember that I love you all and that Heavenly Father and Jesus do too! 

Elder Bryce Wheeler

P.S. Birthday shout out to my amazing and beautiful older sister, Shaelyn!!! And to her fiancĂ© and my future brother-in-law, Colten!!! HAPPY 22ND BIRTHDAY!!!! I love you both so much!! 

Me with T'leisha and Shaye in our baptismal clothing. We all look so good!
Jason and Regan with all of their kids. Plus me and Elder Solomon!!
Everyone is looking at different cameras! Haha
The two newest members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!!:)
My Halloween costume...a fake mustache that my wonderful 
family sent me in my last package!! How do I look? I am thinking 
about growing a real one when I get home! Thoughts? Hah
Halloween sweets sent to me from my family!!! Loaded with American chocolate!!
Oh how I have missed it!!