Monday, September 29, 2014

Cuz Ive Had The Time of My Life....

And I owe it all to Him....

Hola a Todos!

Well this is it. The last email that you will all be getting from me! I hope you have enjoyed reading my experiences as much as I have enjoyed sharing them and living them. 

It was a crazy last week but it all paid off to see Gerald all dressed in white. He told me that when he entered the water he felt like he had been brought to stand before God and he felt pure and utter peace knowing that he was clean and worthy to be there. He said coming out of the water was like tasting a small piece of heaven. That for me... is some thing I shall carry in my heart always. 

On Sunday Gerald was confirmed and he also recieved the Aaronic preisthood and was ordained to the office of presbitero.... after church one of the members was showing him and another newly ordained presbitero how to prepare, bless, and clean up after the Sacrament. He will bless the sacrament in two weeks and though I will not be there I know that in a years time I will be recieving an email from him letting me know that he is going to serve a mission of tiempo completo. The branch is very excited about him and he spreads rays of animo and entuiasmo wherever he goes.

We also had the joy of seeing Maris interest go up. She hasthe desire to learn, wants to be baptized but needs to get married. The problem also exist that her boyfriend needs to get a divorce first so my companion will have her hands full. I feel privileged to have met her in such a miraculous way and I left my info so I hope to be hearing about great things later. 

To end this email... it was really just a week of tears... Gerald showed up at the last minute and asked my companion and I to sing one more time for him the hymn that we had sang at his baptism. He cried, Hna. Rios, my old companion, and the member that was there cried also. Everyone except for me. I dont know... I just feel this profound peace... I feel like I gave it my all and God is happy with what I have done. When I first came to Panama I felt like I was returning to a place that I had been before and now I understand why.

I feel grateful for this time that I have had to serve my Savior. I have come to know many people in Panama. I am grateful that God trusted me enough to feed his sheep here in this beautiful country. While I watched the Gospel change their lives... they changed me. And when I looked into the eyes of those who thirsted for the truth I saw the love of my Savior. I saw a Man of Sorrows, acquinted with grief... who has asked us to go unto all nations.. baptizing in the name of the Father and the son... I love my Savior so much. I am grateful for this time that I have had to consecrate to him. I ache for it again but know that this is not the end. The best is yet to come...

I love you all so much! Thank you for all your love prayers and support throughout this experience. It was the hardest experience of my life but also the greatest. I am ready for whatever God has planned for me. I hope to see and talk with you all very soon.

If you wish to respond to this email send it to the following...

All My Love, 
Hna. Wilson

Monday, September 22, 2014

We Are Seeing White

Hola A Todos!

So a lot of things happened this week so I best just jump right in!

We had a rather interesting week. On Wednesday Satan really did not want us to work. My companions shoulder is so bad that she is under orders to not carry any kind of bag for three weeks. I have been carrying one backpack for the both of us all week. I weighed it, It was between 15 and 20 pounds yesterday. 

Anyway, as I was saying on Wednesday Satan did not want us to work. I fell twice that day and it was excrutiatingly painful. But I have always been kind of hard headed and told my companion that we were not going home because we had scheduled to work with Gerald and another youth that day. Anyway, when we were leaving lunch we walked right up on a family and talked to them. They are married, were attending the Adventist church but stopped and accepted for us to come and teach them. We will go back on Wednesday and hopefully they will accept to be baptized. I fell again that night on the way home but it was not that big a deal because we were just walking ot the house. 

Our zone leaders this week invited us to put five new fechas. I am happy to report that we were able to do it. My goal has always been to leave my areas better than I found them and I plan to continue working hard this week so that Hna. Hanson and her new companion are kept nice and busy.

One of the really special moments of the week was when we went and visited Rueben Saldaño for the second time. He was a contact from the week before and when we were planning the night before I felt deep in my soul that he would accept the baptisimal date. All day on Wenesday I felt it and that was one of the reasons I did not want to go home early. We he did accept the fecha and he always promised us to come to church this coming week. We shall see how he progresses. The good news is he is married and he pays a lot of attention when we teach. his wife not so much. But maybe he is the pioneer of his family.

We also had a conference this week. It was really trunky because I saw a lot of missionaries that I am going home with and that was basically all we talked about. We also did like a scripture chase with Preach My Gospel... I won twice right off the bat and so then my mission president said I had to let other people win... 

Also on Thursday when we were working.. we had gone out early to work and we were trying to contact. It was going horribly. So we decided to stop and pray and we asked heavenly Father to guide and the next house that we contacted after the prayer was a family... a dad a mom and two daughters... the parents are not married but they recieved us and even gave us soup and some thing to drink. They seem interested. Their names are Miguel and Mari... just keep them in your prayers that they will accept more of the message that we will share with them.

Now to update you all about Gerald...

Gerald is as golden as ever.. yesterday he showed up to church in a white shirt, tie... basically he looked like a missionary without his name tag. He also has been reading the Book of Mormon.. he started on Sunday and I believe by now he is halfway through Alma. He plans to finish it before he gets baptized. He also promised us that he is going to every thing in his power to serve a mission. He should get his mission call next October if all goes the way we want it too. That will be a happy day. I will share that wiht you when it happens. He is getting baptized on Saturday at 5. Then the plan is that for my last day here... Sunday... we are going to work with him as a baptized and confirmed member of the church. I could think of no better way to end my mission then working with him.

I feel so blessed. So deeply blessed by the Lord. Some times I dont know weather the tears that come are tears of sadness because I am leaving.. or joy because of all the miracles I have seen and all the blessings I have recieved. When I came to Panama... as the plane touched down on the run way... I felt like I had been here before... like I was coming home... truly... a part of my heart will be staying here. 

That is all for this week. as my mission comes to a close I just hope to make all of you and Heavenly Father proud. 

Lots of Love, 
Hna. Wilson


​Gerald and I... he came to church looking like a missionary :)

Gerald my companion and I!

​I do not know what kind of animal this is... but I got to pet it!

​​Eating ice cream with Gerald!

Monday, September 15, 2014

And God Said Let There Be A Baptism

Hola A Todos!

So this email is going to be basically all about Gerald. he is more than golden and I feel privileged to witness his conversion. 

This week it rained every day. Every single day. Like no members wanted to work with us but there was one person who did. You guessed it. Gerald worked with us every day almost... Wednesday through Saturday. And we kept apologizing about him getting wet and he just said.. no importa... necesitamos predicar! He wants to be a missionary! He tells everyone. He also tells everyone that he is getting baptized on the 27th. I have never seen the Gospel change someone so much. 

When we had the family home evening with him on Monday we taught the Resturation and when we finished the lesson we asked him if he had any thoughts and he said... just that its true.. and the world needs to know it... and i am so happy to be here with you guys... because I want to be baptized. I want to follow my Savior...  

then on Tuesday he went to a family home evening wiht us and on the way he told us... do you guys know what I did today? And so we asked him what and he said... I burned every thing bad that I had... bad music... bad movies... every thing... I had always wanted to do it but never had the courage and now I do... and  then in the family home evening when we talked to him more in depth about the Book of Mormon and gave him the formal inviation to read the book of Mormon while we were reading the introduction we aske dhim if he wanted ot say any thing and he told us how happy he was that he had repented and changed his life and how badly he wanted everyone to read the book of Mormon. 

Then on Wednesday we went to work with him we were walking in the street... we had been rejected by numerous peoploe and he asked if we could stop and have a prayer.. He asked... not me, not my companion.. the investigator asked to pray and offered it. He asked that we could find someone that would let us in and that God could forgive us for any thing we might have done to keep us from being able to listen to the Spirit. So then we went and contacted a house. A lady named Frances, who lives by herself, let us in. We taught her about Joseph Smith and she accpeted to be bapitze don the 11th of October... unforutnately she suddenly took off to Santiago so we will not see her for a week but it was amazing to see Geralds faith.. and how God answered his prayer.

On Thursday when we went to teach him he told us that the night before he had been praying and asking God if he was fogiven for all the bad things he had done in his life. He said that he had never felt such an intense heat and he knew that God loved him.. and that he was going on the right path. He also told us that just a few days before we had met him hed had a dream. 

He said in his dream he was walking from one part of our area to another. He was surrounded by light and up ahead he could see two girls... and some thing told him that they were preaching. Then he said that Christ was beside him and told him that if her wanted to progress and recieve all the blessings that God had prepared for him that he needed to turn on the light... or in other words.. make God a bigger part of his life. Then he was told that two girl would bring this light to him and that he should never ever turn away from it. That if he accepted... God had great things planned for him.... that was his dream... then two days after that... we knocked on his door. 

Saturday we had a Hawiian activity.. it was pretty neat. Of course Gerald came and he ended up break dancing in front of everyone which was a big hit. Our biggest challenge with him is getting him to feel included with the members. He is very mature for a 17 year old and already wants to serve a mission. There is not really anyone else at the moment that is preparing to serve a mission int he branch but I feel like his conversion is deep enough that no matter what happens he will be strong member of the Church.

Today we are going to buy Gerald a white shirt and black pants... he does not have any and he really wants to look nice when he comes to church. Anyway, on Sunday we gave him the challenge to read the whole book of Mormon before his baptism... that was after he had showe dup to church thirty minutes early.. I am pretty sure he was one of the first people there. Anyway, I called him last night to remind him about today and he told me that he was reading the book of Mormon.. that he had started that afternoon and had beern reading almost all evening. i asked him where he was and he told me page 40. He told me how much he loved it and how glad he was that he was changing his life. That he knew it was all true. When we got off the phone I looked up to see how far he had read.. in one afternoon he had read 16 chapters! 

I told my companion that I feel so blessed. I feel like this is the stamp of approval that God has decided to put on my mission. I feel like I came here to Panama to find him.. and these past 17 months I have only been looking for him... its a strange feelings.. but I feel so blessed to have a front row seat to this miracle.. and to see God change Geralds life. It has strengthened my tesitmony of the truthfulness of this Gospel.. of the love our Savior has for us... and the power of the Book of Mormon to bring people unto Christ. 

Apart from Gerald there was also a less active who came to church that has not come for a really long time. We hope she keeps coming. All the members were really happy to see her and she told us she was happy to be a there. 

That was pretty much my week.. while we found a few other positive people they all pale in comparison to Gerald. He is more than golden. he already things he is a member. He just needs to get baptized and I cannot wait for that day. i think I will cry with joy. I feel liek he might too. I love this work so much and I love my Heavenly Father... this work really is His.

I love you all so much! I will talk to you next week!

Hna. Wilson

Monday, September 8, 2014

And this is how we shower.. out of a bucket... 

​A gross beetle thing.. I putt my hand there to show how big it was!

Clay In His Hands

Hola a Todos!

I hope this email finds you all well! The titles is based on a song that I have been listening to lately that talks about how we are clay in the Saviors hands and he molds us to make us into beatufiul things that we could never imagine!

This week for us was a roller coaster. I learned a new word... piojo... if you dont know what that means it is lice. Yep.. you guessed it... my companion and I found out that we had lice. When we called the mission nurses to see exactly what we needed to do the firs tthing the lady told me was that I needed to cut my hair... which sent me into tears. I have grown out my hair my whole mission. I was devastated at the thought of having to cut it three weeks berfore I go home.

Anyway.. we ended up not having to cut it but Thursday we had to wash EVERYTHING and I mean every thing.... We did maybe 10 to 12 loads of laundry.,.. it was completely by hand... it was in one of those machines that you have to fill with water that washes it then you rinse it by hand and put it in a spinner thing that helps to dry it... in total it took about 4 hours... then we had to wash our hair and brush it out with a special comb to get all the lice out... it was a long day.

Apart from that I lost my agenda... thankfully when we went back looking for it I found it but for a space of about 30 minutes I was going crazy! I have had a planner since before my mission... I live by them... and in the mission. My agenda is my life. Not to mention it was a gift from a former companion... they decorated it for me to celebrate my last change. I shall send you all a picture momentarily.

It was also a week of service projects. I learned how to peel oranges with a knife so it all comes off in one big peel. I was pretty proud of that. We spent a lot of time cleaning houses. We also got to see pictures from a familys trip to Italy.. which made me rethink where I would like to visit some day. They even went to Marsielle... which is the setting of the Count of Monte Cristo.. which is one of the best stories ever! 

But the biggest story of the week is a guy named Gerald Miranda. He is so amazing! We decided to break into a part of our area that we had not been in yet. Well we were walking and my companion found a key a on the ground and we decided to contact the house that we were in front of to see if it was theres. Anyway... we met a lady named Diosalina Miranda... Geralds mom.. and she told us how elders had come before and taught her... but she is not married. Then she told us about her 17 year old son who lives with her mother and wants to learn English. She gave us the address and we immediately went looking for him. Well we found them. We talked for a little while.. got to know him and invited him to English class. But from there did not think much of it. 

Well he called us like four times to know where he had to meet us for English on Saturday. We did not answer because we  were cleaning out an apartment of some members but he told us he would meet us there and every thing to go to the class. After the class he asked us if he could walk the opposite direction from his house to see where the church was so we were walking with him and I was walking in front with him and my companion was walking behind with some other investigators and he was telling me about his belief in God and all this stuff. Then all of the sudden he says... Hermana I have never been baptized and I said... would you like to be? And he told me that he would. I invited him to read the Book of Mormon... which I gave him in that moment and pray. Then invited him to prepare to be baptized on the 27th and he accepted.  

So we showed him where the church was then the next morning called him at 830 to see if he was coming and he informed us that he was already in the church waiting for us to get there. Which is very unusual for Panama. We got there and during the meeting he got up and bore his testimony! He just said some thing like... I am so happy to be here. This is the first time that i have come. I hope you all accept me. I love my Savior. And then he sat down. My companion and I were just kind of in shock. Then we introduced him to a member and we are doing a family home evening with him tonight in ther home to teach him about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.. formally. 

After the meetings he was telling me how he wante dot go out and work with us. He told us he could go every day. I said... well we work with OTHER members.. like I had forgotten that he is not baptized... and we agreed to work with him on Wednesday and Friday. I seriously believe though that he is golden. Please remember him in your prayers! That every thing works out great! He talks about how he wants to be a missionary like us. I am just praying tha tit happens. 

Gerald was basically the highlight of our week but we also got a goal from our zone leaders to find 60 new investigators by this coming Sunday.. we have 26 so we are on the right road... anyway.. thats basiclaly all I got for you guys right now... pictures to come! 

Hna. Wilson

Monday, September 1, 2014

Como Un Niño Pequeño

Hola a Todos!

So I think God gives us experiences to humble us. To mold us make us submissive like litle children. Like it says in Mosiah 3:19 that we must put off the natural man and become as a little child.. submissive.. meek.. humbly... easily entreated... and honestly thats what I think Heavenly Fathers goal with me is this change... I guess I should just all tell you about what happened this week so you understand. 

Monday night we went with the twins and we went with their teacher from YW. It was a super spiritual lesson and the twins agreed to get baptized this weekend. We were elated! We went and celebrated with milkshakes. The next day we went and bought every thing for the baptism.. stuff to do programs and we were going to decorate glass bottles and put the baptisimal water in it after they got baptized. Some thing that they could have forever. So bought those and decorated them and put a scripture about baptism on them. We had all the talks lined up... and my companion and I were practicing a musical number to sing at their baptism. Then on Wednesday... they were not ther efor our scheduled appoitment. So at 730 we went by and taught them the last lesson. We had finished and asked them when they could do the interview. One of them went to ask their mother and she came out and said that they could not get baptized this weekend because the mom said no. It took all my will power not to break down in tears in front of them. When we got out of the lesson my companion and I walked home in silence and both cried. 

The next few days were really hard because we had to tell everyone that the baptism was actually not going to happen. I imagined it is somewhat similar to how it would feel to be left at the altar on your wedding day. Then on Sunday we went back and visited them. We watched the hour long Joseph Smith movie with them and invited them to prepare for the 20th of September... they said they would ask their mother. And then we shared our testimonies about the truthfulness of the Gospel. It has been a long time since the Spirit has moved me to tears... well not a long time but it has been a while since I have cried in front of the investigators because of the spirit. Anyway... I think they could see how much we loved them... and they wanted to get baptized before I leave.. it just all depends on the mom. 

We got rejected a lot this week... I think we are just getting to know all the Evangelicals in Volcan... who let us in but when we try to put a teaching appoitment to come back they dont want anything. One lady even said... I can accept every thing... except Joseph Smith.. and then she started ranting about how we should not esteem one man above another... and really she just wante dto argue so we left.

We got a new ward mission leader. He is young... like the same age and me. Has never serve a mission and is terrified of his new calling. But we are all confident that he will rise to the ocassion. 

You guys all know that I wrote poetry so here is a poem that I wrote this week. My companion gets migraines when she is heavily stressed and this week was a really stressful one so on Thursday we ended up staying in the house and while she slept I wrote a poem. I wanted to share it with all of you. 

My Uncarried Cross

My tired shoulders ache
My back so very sore
By the time that we
Walk through the blessed door

Some times I feel so weak
That I do nothing right
Why did the Lord call me
To fight a soldiers fight

To my knees I slowly fall
Next to my well made bed
The tears they stain my cheeks
As I gently bow my head

The cross, I say to Him
Is just too hard for me
I dont want it anymore
Oh Father, cant thou see?

I cannot do the things
That thou thinks I can
How could all this pain
Be part of thy great plan?

That is all I say
Before I fall asleep
And I dream a dream
To profound and deep

I am in a garden
In the midst of night
Somethings heavy in the air
The moon, she hides her light

Not too far away
I see a man upon the ground
I do my very best
Not to make a sound

Father, He whispers softly
Its just too hard for me
I can hear the quiver
Of a voice in agony

I do not want to drink
The cup in front of me
The pain it is too much
Please, Im begging thee

I tightly close my eyes
And hide my face in shame
For the words that left my lips
Had been the very same

Then the scene does change
Surrounded by a throng
There are shouts for death
The smell of blood is strong

Then I see The Man
From the night before
He had begged for less
But God had asked for more

I break through the crowd
As He falls beneath the cross
He bows His head below
The taunts the crowd does toss

Please I beg a man
Please just let me in
The cross He does carry
He carries for my sin

But then the scene is changed
For a second time
And we are on a hill
Three crosses in a line

I walk to the center
Where my Lord is hung
Guilt it fills my heart
I know that for me, its done

Father please forgive them
The humble cry does come
Please accept the offering
Of Thy Only Son

Then my Lord does die
Hanging on the cross
The earth trembles in he grief
At Her Creators loss

Suddenly the sun is bright
As it stings my face
And I know that I am in
His final resting place

Then I see my Lord
Standing, dressed in white
And the sobs escape
The tears I cannot fight

He stands in mighty power
And the marks are plain to see
I kneel before the One
Who suffered just for me

Your cross, He softly says
On your shoulders will never rest
So long as you are worhty
Of the name across your chest

And often it is hard
It also was for me
But you are not alone
With you Ill always be

And if the weight seems heavy
All you have to do
I remember that my cross
I carried just for you

So go and feed my sheep
And when you feel the pain
Know that you can never lose
More than you will gain

Go forward strong and brave
Never looking back
And I wilol make the difference
For all that you do lack

And when you have done
All youre called to do
Know that here I will be waiting
With open arms for you

We have a couple of positive people that we are working with. The challenge as always is getting them to come to church. Just pray for us this week that we can find more people to church who have the desire to accept the Gospel and come to church.

The time is drawing to a close but my testimony only strengthens  about this Gospel and the truthfulness of this church. I love my Savior and I love all of you. Until next week.

Hna. Wilson