Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015

This week has been splendid! We got a lot done, as a zone and as a companionship! We have been working again through the members a lot. We tried giving them a break, but it was apparent that is not the way of the Lord! As we find through them, the work hastens, and it is time for that! The fundamental for the week was teach people not lessons. It’s been really fun to push myself to talk to more people and grow as you try to connect with them on all sorts of levels and realize everyone needs the gospel and it is something all of us can have in common. Rasta or rich. Shack poor or skanky. EVERYONE needs it. Wednesday we had the opportunity to go on splits in Ochi with our new district leader Elder Jones and Cox. I went with Elder Cox on bicycle and have already set the goal to go running a few days. I am WAY outta shape!!! EVERYTHING fell through, but I loved it. Gave me and him both a chance to bond and then express our testimonies ALL DAY, and just grow! So much fun! Funny enough though, we must have found an ELECT person cuz we went to a specific house, and they were great and then when we met back up in the night Elder Henderson and Elder Jones went to that same house hours later! The spirit is so boss! Another sweet moment that day was we took additional studies with them as Elder Cox is still in training, and randomly in the middle Elder Henderson asks Elder Cox why he came on a mission? The spirit was sooo strong as he talked about the atonement, we all got to listen to this powerful, yet simple testimony on the atonement. And from there he was in tears and felt like he wasn’t doing a good job. We got to bond them and Elder Henderson shared some spot on thoughts to lift and bless. I am blessed to serve with such a spiritual giant!! He shared this story if you can find it. It’s great, and I’d like a copy. It’s called: "Marks of a man." Just kind of compares the start of a missionary’s mission and then another at his end, compared to the mission of Christ. Look it up! 
Thursday we woke up at 4:30 to get to Kingston on time, clean the truck for inspection and then have our 7 hour long MLC meeting. It was fantastic! President Brown for his doctrine part threw down on Doctrine and Covenants 84 and expressed how the temple was the central point of the restoration compared to the rest of time that the other prophets, even Jesus Christ was trying to establish. Gosh I wish I could get recordings of these, or at least attend them for the rest of my life. So many power house people I have been blessed to know! I’m shore my grandparents and parents are same way, but I’m slow to realizing it! 
That night we traveled back to Ochi where I had the opportunity to interview a police man, who usually gets to do the grilling, for interview for baptism. I don’t think he was too comfortable with that. Haha, but very prepared anyhow. Ochi had 2 baptisms this week, and the zone is having them frequently.
Friday morning we headed back to Mo Bay, completed studies and weekly planning, and had pine sauce. We got to sit down with a new investigator named Latoya, she is great. I love when investigators like to take notes during lessons, that always puts a smile on my face! She is cool, but most likely moving to Canada soon.
We also got to meet with Joy again. Her friend Kassandra came as well. Both hearts were softened and actually Kassandra works with our branch president... we didn’t tell her what his duty was, but now we have a bulwark of strength working behind the scenes!! They just need to read and pray, but we aren’t letting them go anywhere! Oh, they would look so good in temple white! We had a pretty successful saturday as well. Nothing has stuck out too much in my mind though, so let’s talk about Sunday. Church was great! Man, I love the first week of new years! I love the going out strong, and starting a new. It’s great! New attitudes, energy and desire to do what’s right. Too bad years don’t start every 4-5 months when we forget or stress! But church was wonderful, too bad no investigators but lots of less actives back! The cool thing bout today though is we learned that sisters will be coming in the area. We had to split it again. Move the biking elders in with us and switch their area more close! Plus sisters will have a car, so half our work is gone! Very sweet and sad to a degree, but we still have zone limits to see all the wonderful scenery that I haven’t taken pics of for you. I’ll repent... soon! :) We also got to sit down with Patricia again. Her baby’s father is back. He is a Rasta, but is very interested in the church and another set of scripture on this our continent and especially how the church is strictly volunteer work rather than how churches out here are structured as businesses! It’s perfect to get Patricia going as before it was the problem :) Tender mercies all around! 
But, like I said, we need to move the Elders today and find a new house so we are out of here! Love you all! Set some SMART Goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic.Timely! Take care and have a blessed new year!!

Elder Wilkerson 

Marks of a Man
As I jumped on board my flight from Miami to Salt Lake City, I paused for a moment to catch my breath. Seated near the front of the plane was an excited young man, probably 19, sitting with his parents. His hair was short, his clothes new and sharp. His suit was fitted perfectly; his black shoes still retained that store bought shine. His body was in good shape, his face and hands were clean. In his eyes, I could see a nervous look; his movements were that of an actor on opening night.
He was obviously flying to Utah to become a missionary for the LDS church. I smiled as I walked by, and took pride in belonging to the same church where these young men and women voluntarily serve the Savior for two years. With this special feeling, I continued back to where my seat was located.
Marks of a ManAs I sat down in my seat, I looked to the right and to my surprise saw another missionary, sleeping in the window seat. His hair was also short, but that was the only similarity between the two. This one was obviously returning home, and I could tell at a glance what type of missionary he had been.
The fact that he was already asleep told me a lot. His entire body seemed to let out a big sigh. It looked as if this was the first time in two years that he had even slept, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
As I looked at his face I could see the heavy bags under his eyes, the chapped lips, the scarred and sunburned face caused by the fierce Florida sun.
His suit was tattered and worn. A few of the seams were coming apart, and I noticed that there were a couple of tears that had been hand sewn with a very sloppy stitch. I saw the nametag, crooked, scratched, and bearing the name of the church he represented, the engraving of which was almost all worn away.
I saw the knee of his pants, worn, and white, the result of many hours of humble prayer. A tear came to my eye as I saw the things that really told me what kind of missionary he had been. I saw the marks that made this boy a man.
His feet, the two that had carried him from house to house now lay there swollen and tired. They were covered by a pair of worn out shoes. Many of the large scrapes and gouges had been filled in by countless polishing.
His books—laying across his lap—were his scriptures-the word of God. Once new these books which testify of Jesus Christ and his mission were now torn, bent, and ragged from use.
His hands, those big, strong hands which had been used to bless and teach, were now scarred and cut from knocking on doors.
Those were indeed the marks of a man. And, as I looked at him, I saw the marks of another man, the Savior, as he was hanging on the cross for the sins of the world.
His feet, those that had once carried him throughout the land during his ministry, were now nailed to the cross.
His side, now pierced with a spear, sealing his testimony with his life.
His hands, the hands that had been used to ordain his servants and to bless the sick were also scarred with the nails that were pounded to hang him on the cross.
Those were the marks of a great man.
As my mind returned to the missionary, my whole body seemed to swell with pride and joy because I knew, by looking at him, that he had served his Master well.
My joy was so great that I felt like running to the front of the plane, grabbing the new missionary, and bringing him back to see what he could become, what he could do.
But, would he see the things I saw? Could anyone? Or, would he see just the outward appearance of that mighty elder, tired and worn out, almost dead?
As we landed, I reached over and tapped the returning missionary to wake him up. As he awoke, it seemed like new life poured into his body. His whole frame seemed to fill as he stood up, tall and proud. As he turned his face toward mine, I saw a light that I had never seen before. I looked into his eyes. Those eyes. I will never forget those eyes. They were the eyes of a prophet, a leader, a follower, a servant. They were the eyes of the Savior. No words were spoken. No words were needed.
As we unloaded, I stepped aside to let him go first. I watched as he walked, slow but steady, tired but strong. I followed him, and found myself walking the way he did.
When I came through the doors, I saw the returning missionary in the arms of his parents, and I couldn’t hold it any longer. With tears streaming down my face, I watched these loving parents greet their son, who had been away for such a long time, and I wondered if our parents in heaven would greet us in the same manner. Will they wrap their arms around us and welcome us home from our journey on earth? I believe they will. I just hope that I will be worthy enough to receive such praise, as I’m sure this missionary will. I said a silent prayer, thanking the Lord for missionaries like this young man. I don’t think I will ever forget the joy and happiness he brought to me that day.

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