Saturday, February 27, 2016

Letter 31 from Australia

February 21, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

          This week has been a very good one, but also a very sad one. It is the end of another transfer, it seems this one has disappeared too quickly, and we received the transfer news last night. "Elder Wheeler...you will be staying. Elder Theurer...you will be leaving. Elder Wheeler, your new companion will be Elder Zimmerman. Elder Theurer, you will be transferred down to the Mornington area." It came as a shock to the both of us and we are trying our best to handle it! Elder Theurer has been my favorite companion that I have had on my mission thus far! It will be good though and we will make it through! Besides, he lives in Salt Lake City, so he is only an hour drive away! So we will see each other again! I don't know my new companion, but I have heard that he is great and that he is from America! So he will be my 3rd American companion! Haha.

          I am very excited though to be staying here in the Yarra Valley area! This past transfer, all we have been doing is finding, because we need people to teach! Well this week we had some amazing miracles and we now have quite a few people who are interested and ready to learn! On Tuesday and Wednesday, while we were GQing, I talked to 4 people and all 4 of them were interested! It was a huge confidence booster for me and one that I needed.  It was also a huge miracle for Elder Theurer and me! I met a guy who is in his mid 20's, who I have met and talked to twice before. He is very interested and we will be meeting with him this next week! We also met a couple of families who are interested who we will also be following up with and teaching this next week! The work here in the Yarra Valley area is starting to pick up and it is so exciting to be able to stay here and continue working with the people we have found!

          We went to lunch today with Elder and Sister Murray, who will be going home on Wednesday! They have been a huge support to me while being on my mission and I love them so much! They are like family and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to serve around them and serve with them up in Wangaratta.

          I hope you all have a great week and keep up the great work that you are all involved in! Huge shout out to my great friend Kayla Green, who got her mission call this past week! Congrats Kayla and good luck in China! I love you all so much and am grateful for all the support! Have a safe and exciting week!

Love,
Elder Wheeler


Found my true colors in a mall last week! haha
Saying goodbye!!!:( It is a hard thing to do!​ I loved Elder and Sister Murray!
Got a little sun while working on a retaining wall! haha​

Letter #30 from Australia

February 14, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

          Happy Valentine's Day! This is one of the weirdest holidays to spend while on a mission. But all goods. So this week was a really good one for Elder Theurer and me! We got a lot of work done here in our area and we were also able to go to Wangaratta for a baptism over the weekend! So it has been a very good week and one that I have loved!
         
          The work here in our area is continuing, but it is still going slow and we are still struggling to find people who will talk to us, let alone let us teach them. It is a really humbling experience right now, but I know that there is a reason why we are going through this! It will make us stronger and more dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ! We haven't been able to meet up with April this week, but we pray that we will be able to this week! She has just been really busy and hasn't had time! We are still doing a lot of door knocking and street contacting around our area! We have a plan to meet with a lot of our members this week and teach them, but then ask them for any family or friends that we can go teach! Members are the key when it comes to finding people to teach! So I will let you all know next week how that goes!

          Over the weekend we were able to travel up to my bush home, Wangaratta! Where it all started for me.:) Haha We went up for Max Lewis's baptism and were able to participate in it and visit all of the amazing members that are up there. We took a train up there on Friday afternoon, but because it was so hot, the train couldn't go all the way to Wangaratta. So we got on a bus half way and took that the rest of the way up there. I sat next to a gentleman who was extremely dirty, with his actions, thoughts and words, not appearance, who only wanted to talk about...chastity related subjects the entire time. It was really interesting but I took it as a teaching opportunity and taught him about...the law of chastity!! Haha But it didn't seem to help. All I will say, is it was an interesting 2 hour bus ride! We stayed over Friday night and visited Karyn and Steve Friday night! They are both doing really well and it was so good to see them and to talk and laugh with them again!:) Saturday was the baptism and it was so amazing! It was a huge testimony builder for me and I will tell you why.

          Max has a prosthetic leg on his left side and so he had to take it off for the baptism. He had a hard time getting into the font so, three of us had to carry him in and then carry him out. It was a struggle because of the small walkway that leads down into the font! The entire time though, he never once wanted to give up! He knew the Lord would help him and that it was very important for him to be baptized! He is an amazing man and it was an amazing baptism! After the baptism, I went to visit T'leisha and Shaye and their family and they are doing great too! As I was getting out of the car to walk up to their door, they all ran out yelling "Elder Wheeler" and gave me a huge cuddle (Hug)!! Overall it was a great little trip back to Wangaratta! It was all topped off when Elder and Sister Murray told me some amazing news! Not including Max, 6 other investigators that my companions and I found and taught, are getting baptized in the next 2 months! It was so great to hear that great news and an amazing feeling to know that the seeds we planted will soon be harvested!:)

          I love this work so much and love the many miracles and blessings that Heavenly Father is blessing us with! I love you all and am continually grateful for the support and love that you give me! You are all the best and I love and miss you all! Have a great week and help the missionaries in your area out as much as you can! Build up the kingdom of God!

Love,

Elder Wheeler
We were right in the middle of the city! It was so cool!!!​


Southern Cross train station here in Melbourne city! So cool! And no
there wasn't a platform 9 3/4! I checked. ;)​

Max, Elder Harper, Elder Stevens and me! These are the Elders who are
serving in Wangaratta right now! A great day for us all!!​

Letter #29 from Australia

February 7, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

          This is going to be short, so I’ll apologize in advance. This week has been a great one and one filled with a lot of fun work and great blessings. Elder Barrozo has been with Elder Theurer and myself again this past week and will be with us till Wednesday! He will be training a new missionary and is excited for that! The reason why he is with us again is his second companion of this transfer was really sick and was sent home to get better! Crazy transfer for him! Hah. We had a blessing this week of finding a new investigator! Her name is April and we have already met with her and will be meeting with her again this next week!! So we are very happy about that!!

          We were able to go to the Mission President monthly fireside yesterday, Sunday, and that was really good! It is for investigators, members, recent converts, missionaries and anyone else who wants to come to it! So some of you might know an Elder by the name of Richard Long. He is from North Ogden and has been out of his mission, here in the Melbourne Mission, for about 23 months! Well him and I knew each other before the mission, but weren't super close. Since coming out on my mission, we have had the opportunity to serve around each other and become quite good friends. Well he goes home in about 5 weeks and because of the no more transfer meetings rule, we don't know when we will be able to see one another. Well we were able to see each other yesterday at the fireside and we took some pictures and said our goodbyes! It was great and I am so grateful for him and his example to me here in the mission! He is truly one of my good friends! And I will be sad to see him go!

          We have had a great P-day today! It all started with watching the Super Bowl this morning at one of our member’s houses. Of course we had permission to watch the game!!;) It was so great to see the Broncos win and I am so happy for my boys in blue and orange and for the great game and win the got! It was hard to watch though, knowing that this could be the final game I watch Payton Manning play in. I have always been a huge fan of his and of the Broncos and it was a great day! So proud of them and so happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to watch the game!!:)

          I hope you all have a great day! I miss and love you all so much and am grateful for your support! Have a great week and know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you all. Oh and don't forget, the Broncos are Super Bowl 50 Champs!!!;)

Love,

Elder Wheeler
Me and Elder Long's see you later! :(​
​Watching the Super Bowl!! Go Broncos!!!:)
I ordered some Maori name ​badges a couple of weeks ago, and they finally came! I
 love them so much!! Maatua Wiira is Elder Wheel in Maori! haha But still cool as!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Letter #28 from Australia

January 31, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has come and gone and this one was slow! Which is great because I hate it when the weeks just pass by fast!!! So to update you all on the work that is going on here, we are continuing to tract and do our best to find people to teach!! We haven't had much luck, but we keep pressing forward because we know that we will find someone!!! We have found about 12 New Contacts, which is someone who accepts the invitation to meet with us again, but when we have gone back to meet with them, they haven't been interested! At least that is the case for 9 out of the 12 new people! We hope that the other people will work out, especially this one family that we found. They seem very interested about learning more about the church so we really hope they work out!

We have had some really funny experiences while door knocking and talking to people on the street. We have talked to drunken people in front of pubs, about very interesting and very PG-13 topics. We have door knocked into bible bashing Grandmothers, who seem so cute and nice, but are so rude and vicious!! But all in all, I wouldn't change the experiences that I am having here! We wish and pray that we will be able to find someone to teach, but we trust in Heavenly Father's plan and in His will! Because it is His kingdom that we are building up!

We had an exciting P day last week! We went to the Healesville Sanctuary for the day and that was really fun! It is a sanctuary not to far from our flat, just about a 20 min drive, and it is a really cool place! It only has Australian animals in it, so it is not like your regular zoo! We saw some kangaroos, a platypus, some very dangerous snakes and much more! Which reminds me, we saw the #3, #2, and #1 most venomous snakes in the world at the sanctuary! Because, yep you guessed it, they live here in Australia!! Cause hey, there aren't enough things that could kill you here in Australia, so why not more?;) But it was fun and a great day!

I hope you all are doing well. I just wanted to share something that was given in a talk at our ward yesterday! The speaker was talking about setting goals for 2016, and gave a study that shocked me! It was this, the average child will laugh about 300 times a day!! But the average adult will only laugh about 15 times a day!!! Think about that! 15 times compared to 300! We live in a day in age where people are caught up with the things of the world and the many, many stresses that are thrown at us! As we grow older we forget to take a break once in a while and to relax or just laugh about something! Think of the world to a child. Not too many worries and a lot of time to laugh and have fun. Now I am not saying that everyone should just not worry about things, but take the time to enjoy life! We are only here for a short time and so we should take some time to laugh, spend time with the spouse or family, or just take a break to relax! I guess what I am trying to say is, laugh more often. Hah.

To conclude this email, I just wanted to tell the worlds best Mum, Happy Birthday! I just want all of you to know that I have an amazing Mum in my life! She has always been there for me and always been so supportive of the decisions that I have made in my life! She has always helped me with anything that I needed help with. Whether it was school, church, girls or just wanting a snack. She has always helped me and has been the best! I thank Heavenly Father for sending me to her and for having such an amazing person to raise me, and to not only bear me, but to continue to bear with me throughout the years! I love you Mum, and Happy Birthday!!

I love you all! Have an amazing week and know that people care about you and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do as well!

Love,
Elder Wheeler
We had some Strawberry cheesecake on Wednesday, to celebrate my
Mum's birthday! It would have been so much better if it was Raspberry White ​
Chocolate Truffle cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, because that is our
favorite kind (my Mum and mine) but they didn't have any here! Oh well!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM! I love you so much!!
It was sanctuary selfie day, so we had too! Me with my District!!​
​This is the Costal Taipan! The third most venomous snake in the world!!! Ahhh.

Letter #27 from Australia

January 24, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

As another week comes to a close, I am reflecting on how fast my mission is going and I am saddened. I don't want it to go this fast but it is a good motivator to get back out there and work hard! As far as news goes, this week Elder Theurer and I got a new companion! Elder Barrozo, who is from the Philippians! He won't be with us for long because he is assigned to work in the Croydon area, an area right next to ours, but he doesn't have a companion yet. So he has been with us since Friday and will be with us till Thursday! We are excited to have him with us and we are doing awesome work with the three of us!! It is a little awkward door knocking with the tree of us, because people think we are there to bash them or something! So we usually just have one of us stay on the side walk while the other two go up to the door! But all is good and it is really fun! We never have a dull moment with the three of us with our sense of humor!

We have just been doing the same work as last week! Doing lots of finding and trying to find those people that we need to teach! We received a referral this past week from the office and we are hoping and praying that it will work out! A referral is when someone tells you to go visit someone they know, who may accept our message! An office referral is when someone goes online, to LDS.org, and either puts their information in or someone else's information in and requests visits from missionaries! We really think that this one will work out because the girl has been living with an LDS family for the past couple of months in Cali. We will visit her this week after she gets home and will hopefully start to teach her the lessons!

All is well here in Yarra Valley and we are heading to a wildlife sanctuary in our area today, so I will have a lot of fun and cool pictures for you all next week! We were just told by someone here at the library that the Denver Broncos beat the Patriots. All of you know that I am a huge Broncos fan, so as you could guess, I am VERY happy with this outcome!

I want to thank all of you for being amazing friends.   I appreciate all of the support that you have continued to show my family and me while I am serving. I love you all and hope that you have a great week.

Love,
Elder Wheeler

Elder Solomon, my last companion, just barely got his Christmas package
from his family, and they added some gifts for me! A Maori cultural
calendar and a Maori phrasebook! ​Yes, I am still learning the language
and it is coming along great!
 
Here is our "Haka" poses! Pretty scary eh?
Some more crazy times!! ​



Letter #26 from Australia

January 17, 2016

Dear Friends and Family,

          This week was a good week, but one of the hardest ones so far on my mission. As most of you know, last week I was transferred, so I am now in a new area. I am in the area of Yarra Valley, but the city that we live in is Lilly Dale. It is city compared to my last area. It is not in the straight city of Melbourne, where all of the tall buildings are, but it is about a half hour away. So compared to the bush of Wangaratta, it is CITY!!! My new companion is Elder Theurer, who is from Salt Lake City. I am glad that I am once again, reunited with a Utah missionary!!! I am still trying to adjust to my new surroundings, but it is really hard. But I will make it and it will all work out. On Wednesday afternoon, I got a call from one of the office senior Sister missionaries, informing me that my Uncle Mark passed away. He had been battling brain cancer for a really long time, and all though it wasn't unexpected for him to pass, it didn't help my week at all. So this week was really hard for me, but I am trying to stay positive about everything and trying to loose myself in the work. But it is hard.

          Elder Theurer and I get along great. We both love the same kind of "worldly" music, we both love to golf, we have been out on the mission for about the same amount of time, (Him-5 months. Me- 6 months, which I hit 3 days ago!!) and we both have a girlfriend waiting for us!!!...wait...never mind...only he has a girlfriend waiting for him. But all goods, doesn't matter! So it is great to be serving with someone who is so alike and with someone who I really get along with!!

          This area is great!! It is a ward, but a small one. We have about 50 active members who attend each week. But still a lot compared to Wangaratta! We have an awesome bishopric and an even more awesome ward mission leader. Brother Bryers is his name and he truly is amazing!! He is from New Zealand and loves to golf! So I can continue practicing and learning Maori!! Oh and, we can continue to practice our golf game, cause he takes us golfing on P days!!! He doesn't take us every P day, but he takes us every 3 weeks! So this morning, we woke up at 5 o'clock to make a 6:10 tee time! hah. It was amazing and it felt so great to swing a golf club again! The last time I went golfing was about 6 months ago, so it was really nice to play a round of 18 holes and especially to do it in Australia!! My score was no were near as bad as I thought it would be, for not playing for that long, but it was still not good. But being honest, I didn't care! I just soaked it all in cause it was my first time golfing in Australia and my first time golfing while wearing my nametag!! Defiantly a moment that I won't forget!

          So because we are so close to the city, we go down to the mission office a lot. On Friday, we found ourselves down there for a leadership meeting that I attend each week. We got talking to some missionaries after the meeting and the topic was about the new policy for the MTC and English-speaking missionaries. The new policy is that all English-speaking missionaries will now be in the MTC for 3 weeks, instead of 2. Because of this change, it has thrown off all of the transfers in our mission. Next transfer will be an 8-week transfer, instead of the normal 6. But then after that, we will go back to 6 weeks. But the news doesn't stop there. My visa expires July 15, 2017, exactly two years from the day that I started my mission. I was assuming that I would be going home the Wednesday before the 15th, which would be the 14th of July 2017. But with this new policy and change for English speaking missionaries, all departure dates have changed. I found out on Friday that my new departure date is June 14th, 2017.  That is the day that I will be coming home. I am a little upset about this, but more shocked about it. But everything will work out! hah.

          I hope you all have a great week and keep your heads held high and your testimonies bright!! I just want to share my testimony about the Plan of Salvation. This week, my testimony on it has been strengthened immensely. I know that I will see my Uncle and all of my loved ones, who have passed away, again. I know that our Father in Heaven has a plan for each and every one of us and that it is for our best. We may not know why things happen to us in this life, but we can take comfort in knowing that His will is what's best for us. I know that my Uncle lives on and that he is building the kingdom up in the Spirit world. I love you all and you are always in my prayers. May the Lord bless every one of you and may you all take comfort in the wonderful Plan of Salvation.

"Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father's plan,
I always want to be with my own family, and the Lord has shown me how I can, 
the Lord, has shown me how I can."   


-Elder Wheeler

Elder Theurer made us a meal. How good of a cook is he! I did cut the
veggies up though...so I guess you could say I am a master assistant
chef;)  We are really healthy eaters, cause we don't want to get fat!! ​
Had this 5 foot tap in for birdie this morning! Not too bad for not golfing in 6 months;)
Yes folks, this is a bug. It is a leaf bug here in Australia! Totally harmless
but looks dangerous!! One of the less actives in our ward has heaps of these!!!​