Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Letter #24 from Australia

January 3, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

          HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! 2016 is finally here!!! How are you all? I haven't talked to you all since last year!...;) Haha. I hope you all had a safe and happy New Years Eve and New Years day! For myself and Elder Solomon, it was just another day in the mission. We don't get to stay out late, or go to a party. Nothing like that at all. We had to be in the flat by 9:30 and lights out and in bed by 10:30. So we pretty much just woke up and it was a new year! But it was fun to visit with some of our members on New Years Eve and day. 

          It was a really successful week for Elder Solomon and I. We were able to meet with Laurence and Max a lot to help them continue to learn in preparation for their baptism on Saturday!!! Max finally came to church yesterday and that was a big miracle in itself because of all the health problems that he suffers from. We gave him a priesthood blessing on Saturday night and blessed him that he would be able to come to church and that his health problems wouldn't act up and hold him back. Sure enough, Sunday morning came and he walked in! It was great to see him at church and he said that he really enjoyed it!! We are so excited for the two of them and their commitment and dedication to get baptized. 

          This is the last week of another transfer and this one has gone by fast as well! Elder Solomon and I have no idea what to expect with transfer news. We both have a feeling that one of us will be transferred but we also have a feeling that we will be staying together, so it honestly is up in the air. Before I would have comfortably said that I will be transferred, because I have been here for 5 and a half months, but due to a new church wide mission policy change, it is now more likely for missionaries to stay in one area for a period of 6 to 9 months. So I have no idea and we will just have to wait and see. Part of me wants to stay and part of me wants some sort of change to happen. But I will let you all know next week!

               I wish and pray for you all to have a wonderful and successful year!  Enjoy 2016 and stay committed to those resolutions!  Don't quit now!!  I love you all!

Elder Wheeler
Gummies and a letter from the best brother out there!!!
​Me enjoying some home made gummies that 
Mitchell made me!! They are the BEST!!!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Letter #23 from Australia

December 27, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

          Merry Christmas!! I hope that you all enjoyed this special day this year and that you didn't eat too much! My Christmas was a great one and very memorable! We had a great week and tried our best to do as much work as we could, but with the holiday season and everyone finishing their shopping, a lot of people weren't home or interested in talking to us! But other than that, it was a great week!

        Christmas day was great and I had a package to open that morning from the best family in the world! We had a little morning present opening time and we got a lot of boxes of chocolates from the members in our Branch! It kind of felt like Valentines Day;) hah. After that we got ready, had studies, and headed over to Elder and Sister Murray's house to Skype our families! Elder Solomon was up first and his family is doing great! Then it was my turn, and oh boy did I like it!! It all started just like old times! The call connected and nobody was there. It was just a cardboard cut out of a kangaroo, from my sisters wedding, and then I heard my Dads voice but in high pitch form talking for the kangaroo! After laughing for a couple seconds they all came into the cameras few and saw me there with a Santa beard and hat! It was so good to be able to laugh with all of them and have a great Christmas with them! It was just like I was back at home laughing with all of them about anything and everything! I love my family more than anything and it was so good to see and hear that they are all doing well!
Skype picture - We enjoyed a 2 hr call in which the Haka was performed, there was singing, speaking Maori and, of course, joking was included as well.  Familiar Bryce in full character.  Loved every minute of it.
          We had a good rest of the day and had a fun time volunteering at the local Uniting Church in town to help feed the homeless. We were able to talk to them and cheer them up. It was a great time and we all enjoyed it! 

          Our investigators are all doing really well and we are continuing to prepare them for their baptism in the up and coming weeks! 

          I love you all so much and I am so grateful for you all in my life! I hope you all enjoyed Christmas and had a fun time with your family and friends! Have a happy and safe New Years! Love you all!

-Elder Wheeler

Package from family!!

Wearing my new Christmas tie.
American cereal for breakfast! We both loved it!
Christmas Eve drive up into the mountains and we saw a mod of kangaroos!!

Letter #22 from Australia

December 20, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

          It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, in photos from home. Wow it is hot here in Australia!!! This week we have hit record highs and have been having a lot of fires in the area. Do not worry, Mum, we are safe and the fires are about 30-45 mins away from us. So we are safe and protected! The hottest it got this week was 42 degrees Celsius, which is about 107 degrees Fahrenheit, so it has been pretty hot. But it also has been a very strange week as well, as far as the weather goes. Yesterday, Sunday, it was 41 degrees as we were leaving church but it looked really cloudy. We had a lot of bush fires start yesterday because of how hot it was. Then about 2 hours later, it was hailing and a huge thunderstorm hit. We were now on thunderstorm warning instead of bush fire warning. We went from fires to floods in a matter of a couple hours. Weird day but we are safe and all goods!

          This week was great!! We got a new investigator named Zach Edwards and he is awesome. Elder Solomon and Elder Lin Khaisong, tracted into him about two weeks ago, when they were on exchanges, and they set up a time for us to come back the following week. We visited him on Tuesday and he invited us in as soon as we got there, not what we were expecting at all. Especially because he is 29 years old and young adults aren't usually interested. We went in and taught him the restoration lesson and he was really interested!!! We challenged him to be baptized and he accepted it!!! His baptismal date is set for the 9th of January. We are excited for him and for his commitment to be baptized! We hope all goes well and that he continues to be keen about learning the gospel. 

          I hope that you all have a great Christmas and enjoy all of the wonderful traditions that you have. I love this time of the year and the amazing opportunity that we all have to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Remember what is important and give back to our Savior by serving someone this year! I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Elder Wheeler
Mission Christmas party down in Melbourne! Here are all of us
back together! We all were in the MTC together and it was
great to see everyone and ask how they are doing!!
Especially Elder Wiser!!! 
Branch Christmas party was fun! They asked me to be Santa Claus...
it was...interesting to say the least.
As you can see, we all had a lot of fun...at least some of us did...
Little Ryan sitting on Santa's lap!! 
I asked for Steve to come up too! I didn't think he
actually would!! Fun time though!!
We finally got around to decorating our flat for Christmas!
The presents, aka packages from home, are all under
the tree ready for Christmas morning!!!

Letter #21 from Australia

December 13, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

          The Christmas season is upon us and it is such a wonderful time of the year! Elder Solomon and I had a pretty eventful week! I started to get sick last Monday with some kind of flu that has been going around. I didn't feel better on Tuesday or on Wednesday, but we kept working and visiting people. On Thursday though, I woke up and was feeling a lot worse so we decided to stay in the flat that day. It was really boring and frustrating because we weren't able to do much other than sit in the flat all day and study or sleep! I am feeling a lot better though now and am on some medication so we will see how that works.

          We have gotten a lot of work done though this week, well on the days that we weren't traveling to meetings and stuck in the flat. We were able to finally meet up with Max and Laurence and re-set their baptismal dates. Laurence is now set for the 9th of January and Max was set for the 19th of this month, but he didn't come to church yesterday, so we will have to re-set his date again. We finally were able to find out why Laurence kept pushing his date back further and further. It is because he teaches at the Cathedral in town every Sunday morning. He told us that once he gets baptized he becomes a member of our church and he will have to leave his congregation and stop teaching them. He told us that he doesn't want to just leave them without a teacher but that he will be getting a replacement at the end of this year. We have set his date for the 9th because transfers are on the 12th and I will most likely be leaving, so he would like me to baptize him before I leave. 

          We have had amazing miracles happen this week and on Sunday Seth, the young man that we are teaching, came to church after sacrament meeting because he promised us he would come. We were finally able to teach him a lesson and taught him about the Plan of Salvation. When we were done teaching, he told us that if baptism would allow him to have the chance to live with Heavenly Father again, he would like to be baptized!!! It was such a surprise especially because we have asked him a couple times if he would like to be baptized, and every time he has said that he doesn't see himself getting baptized anytime soon. It was such a great miracle and a great way to start a new week!!! 

         I would just like to end this weeks update with a message to Shaelyn and Colten, my sister and future brother-in-law, who will be getting married this week on Friday!! I am so happy for them and their decision to not only get married, but to do it in the right place, the temple. I love you both so much and I am grateful for your example and the love and support that you show me! Enjoy your day and know that I will be celebrating with you, half way around the world!!! 

          Have a great week all of you and enjoy this time of the year that we have to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Elder Wheeler
Shaelyn and Colten were married on Dec. 18, 2015
Elder Wheeler and his companion.  (In paper form in order to
attend the wedding.  The Elder in the blue tie was made from a
picture Bryce took at the zoo when he put his name tag and tie
on a kangaroo. Amazing that it sat for the clipping of the tie
onto its fur and placing the tie around its neck.)

Letter #20 from Australia

December 6, 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

          What a week it has been here in the Wangaratta area! On Monday we got a text message from our Zone Leaders and it said that I had been assigned to be the new District Leader. For those of you who aren't familiar with the terms that I have just used, a mission is split up into Zones. A Zone is a big area, which is then split up into Districts. A District is then split up into smaller areas, and then missionaries are assigned to serve in those areas. Two missionaries, who are companions, are assigned to be the Zone Leaders and are in charge of overseeing the work that is done in the whole Zone, as well as making sure the missionaries in their Zone are working hard and are doing what they are supposed to be doing. Then there are District Leaders. In a companionship, only one missionary is assigned to be the District Leader. I have been assigned to be the District Leader in my District. My responsibilities are the same as the Zone Leaders, but just on a smaller scale and in a smaller area. I work with the missionaries who are in my District and serve them and help them in any way that I can. With their area, their investigators, and their abilities as missionaries. I organize District Meetings each week and give trainings that will help the missionaries in my District improve their skills. I also conduct baptismal interviews for the investigators that have been taught by missionaries in my District and a whole bunch of other responsibilities. Haha. Hopefully that all made sense.

          I am really humbled at this opportunity to serve as a District Leader. At first I was over whelmed and felt inadequate because I have only been out on my mission for 4 3/4 months! I was just barely getting the missionary lifestyle down and now have to adjust to the more responsibilities and work that come from being a District Leader, but after talking to President Maxwell about it all, I felt a lot better. I know that this is an assignment from Heavenly Father and President Maxwell and I feel humbled that I have this amazing opportunity to serve as a District Leader. Okay, moving on now...

          This week was great and one that I really enjoyed! I celebrated my first Birthday on the mission and it was one that I will always remember!! I am now a big 19 year old;) Ha. Thank you to all of you who took the time to send me a Happy Birthday wish on email or on FaceBook through Karyn's and my Mum's page! It really meant a lot to see and read all of them at dinner on my Birthday. 

          We didn't have a baptism this weekend...Max hasn't contacted us in about two weeks and Laurence was out of town again. We aren't sure what to do with Max, but we will keep trying to contact him and hopefully he still has the desire to be baptized. Laurence's baptism will be this weekend hopefully, but don't be surprised if it is changed. Roberta is doing great, but we have had some stumbling blocks with her. Last Saturday, her daughter showed her a 41 minute long anti-Mormon video and it brought up a lot of questions and concerns with her. We are currently working through them and will hopefully help her to work past them all this week and still get baptized this Saturday! 

           We experienced an amazing miracle yesterday and it strengthened my testimony of prayers and how they really are answered! Yesterday,Sunday, we had a sacred music night up in a town called Finley, which is about an hour and half North of us in New South Whales! It was for our District(Stake) and all of the Branchs(Wards) were invited to prepare a Christmas hymn and perform it for everyone. We only had 5 people from our branch want to participate. Elder and Sister Murray, Elder Solomon, myself and Sister Hall, a member of our branch. We only had one practice and we decided to sing 'What Child Is This' and 'Oh Holy Night'. When we got up there, and were listening to the other branchs perform, we realized that two branchs already sung 'Oh Holy Night'. As we were talking about what new song we would perform, we decided to sing 'Silent Night' but to perform it acapella...without any practice. We were the last branch to perform, because we are Wangaratta...alphabetical order. As we got up on stage and started to sing, we sounded amazing!! Everyone took different parts and it sounded so amazing together!!! While we started to sing the 3rd and final verse, the crowd started to join in and sing with us. The Spirit was so strong in that gymnasium and it was such a great way to end an amazing musical night! I know that Heavenly Father answered our prayers and helped us to perform that song like we wanted to!!! 

          I love being a missionary so much! Even thought it has its hard times and times where you feel over whelmed, it makes all of the amazing and great times even better!!! I hope you are able to watch and enjoy the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional tonight! We will be streaming it live through LDS.org and can't wait to hear the amazing Christmas music and messages! I love you all so very much! Have a great week!!!

Elder Wheeler
Birthday cake made by Karyn Wright (a member).
Birthday dinner!!!

Birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant.
A birthday treat from the Wright Family
The Wright's son Fabian who shares the same birthday as me.
He turned 22 yrs. old and I turned 19 yrs. old.
Birthday parcel from the family! I have the best family ever!!
Birthday tie making me look fly;) hah
One of our Filipino members grandson!! He just wanted
me to hold him all night!! Then he fell asleep! haha


January 4, 2016

I did it again and fell behind.  SO SORRY!!

Life is now back to normal with the wedding over, Christmas over, vacation to Bear Lake over, New Years over and school break over.  It was the best and yet the craziest month ever.  I apologize that I had to add 5 letters.  So much has happened in Australia with Elder Wheeler that I hope you don't fall behind in your own duties by reading the updated blog.  ENJOY!!