Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Little Neck: The Big Beginning

Well just as the title says! I am in a great big place called Little Neck! It is crazy! I thought that I would stay in the City for almost my entire mission! Well I guess not! However I am so happy to know that this is where my Heavenly Father wants me to be for a specific purpose. It was a tough goodbye with Elder Martinez! I love him with all of my heart and I will never forget the time that I spent with my best friend and companion in this mission here in New York, but I am here and I am ready to start anew once more!

I figure that I should say who my new companion is! I am now with Elder Schreiner! He is great! I served with him when I was in Zone 1! So that was a sweet surprise to be able to get a new companion who I already knew! I am so grateful to be with him! I am excited for the time that I am going to be able to spend with him. I always learn so much from my companions so I am grateful to be with Elder Schreiner and to be able to learn and grow with him here in this part of New York where the Lord has trusted us to work.

It is an amazing area here! Wow! I love it already! I have missed nature so much and it is here! The trees are so beautiful with the fall colors on the leaves. It is just these little things such as the seasons changing that just makes me so grateful for all of God's creations; little and large no matter what they are.

Transfer meeting was so great and inspiring! I always love being able to hear from our mission president and his wife. They are such wonderful people and so loving. We all feel a sense of urgency for this work of salvation that is happening here in New York and also all over the world. I know that it truly is the work of our Heavenly Father to share this wonderful knowledge that we have as missionaries and as members of this incredible church. I know that it is true. Not because someone told me it was or because other people have told me it was. I know that it is true by the power of the Holy Ghost. That is what I love about our Heavenly Father so much. He could give us all of the facts that we want to prove something was true. But yet he doesn't. I had always wondered why there weren't things that could prove the church was true specifically and something that could just say "HEY THIS IS THE TRUTH!!!" and then we would accept it and know. Now I can say I understand why. Because we wouldn't be living by faith. It really is that simple. If we didn't live by faith and trusted man and material means to prove these things to us, we wouldn't be fulfilling our purpose here on the Earth. We came here to learn and to grow and to live by faith! That is why we are here! To become like our Savior and our Heavenly Father.

One analogy that I always love to think about is this: Being here is like taking a test. If we are sitting in a room and taking a test and all of the answers are up on the wall, the only thing that we are going to do is copy the answers down turn it in and say we are done. Then we know it is an instant pass and 100%! Yeah sure that is great and all but in the long scheme of things did we learn anything? The answer is no. BUT. If we go to the other way of going through the same experience, as we are taking the test and trying our hardest to get things right and to get the best grade that we can, at the end of it we really have learned. Yes it was hard, but when we come out of the experience we are so grateful when we see that the efforts that we have put in to prepare and during the test were worth it.

Life can be the same way and so can be trying to figure out what God's plan for you is. I love it. I love our Heavenly Father. He is so good to us. Yes sometimes change comes and we are not happy about it, but we end up finding that the change was to benefit us, even though at first we fought against it. I am grateful for trials and for change. Not because they are easy but because I learn so much through it and and grow closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Also I learn so much about myself and the eternal potential that I have. I am so grateful to be here in New York. It is the experience of a lifetime. I am grateful for faith. I am grateful to have a loving family. I am grateful for the spirit and communication that I receive through this great gift in my life. It is something that is so wonderful! I am grateful to be here! I am grateful for all of you! God bless you all and remember to walk by faith, even in the hard times.

Friday, October 25, 2013

God, He just keeps on Giving!

I have to start off saying the words wow. That is about all that I can use to describe the blessings, well in better words miracles here in Brooklyn New York. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and His church are continuing forward and it is being spread to all ends of the Earth to everyone especially those who are pure in heart and looking for the truth in their lives.

This week has been one full of amazing miracles let me just say. After our lesson with Miguel on Tuesday night of this week we honestly were completely floored. This man is so ready to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his life. I remember thinking a while back how these types of miracles don't happen very often, but now my opinion has really taken a 180 degreee turn. I KNOW that these miracles happen all of the time. It is just a matter of the missionaries exercising their faith, praying, and doing the best that they can. The Lord always prepares His children at times in their lives to accept this Gospel and to put it into practice in their lives.

So on Wednesday of this week we had 2 appointments at the same time so Elder Martinez and I parted ways with each other for a little bit sadly! I went on a mini exchange with Elder Bills to visit a member in our ward Hermano Nocelo, and Elder Martinez stayed at the church with Elder Garcia to teach Miguel again!

So the night went great! Elder Bills and I had a wonderful time at our appointment and on our way back we met a man who was here in New York visiting from Brazil! Oh how I wish that I knew Portugese! It is so sweet! But I do have to learn Spanish first because I am definitely not perfect let me tell you all! :) So when we got back with the Elders and met up with them I got to here the story of how the lesson went. Oh my goodness. Miguel. This man is just incredible. As Elder Garcia and Elder Martinez were teaching him and talking to him about the Book of Mormon and how it could bless his life he told the Elders that he already knew it was true! Oh my goodness. It is amazing to see how when some people really are ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ the really are READY. I have noticed, especially here as a missionary how everything honestly just makes sense to the people we are teaching. The things that they learn just add to their joy of their previos knowledge and they in turn have even more to treasure than before. I love seeing the light in their eyes. Their spirits are lifted and they just smile because they know, and more importantly, can feel from the power of the Holy Ghost that it is true. Our new friend Miguel is a prime example of this. He has told us of how he wants to leave his previous life behind him, because when he moved here he fell away from God and fell into things that weren't good for him. However now, his resolve to change and leave everything behind him is something that completely motivates me. His determination is incredible. All he wants to is follow Christ and he wants to do it so badly! He told us how he is already changing his work schedule so he can come to church next Sunday and how if he needed to he would ask for less work so he can come to church. This man is amazing!

We taught him yesterday of the Plan of Salvation one of the most pure and beautiful doctrines that we believe as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And he was just so incredibly happy learning about it. As we got closer toward the close of the lesson Elder Martinez asked Miguel if he would like to be baptized on the 24th of November, and Miguel responded so fast and excitedly "Por supuesto!" (Of Course!!). It was one of the most amazing things to hear because Miguel knows that this is the Church of Christ that has been restored completely once again on the Earth today.

In closing all I can say is one more time, wow. This is the true work of our Savior Jesus Christ. He loves us. Our Heavenly Father loves us, and we are here for a reason. I know that for a fact. I have no doubt about it. Please remember YOU are loved even when you might not feel like it, you are. That I know with all of my heart. Our God is a God or miracles and all that He wants for us is to be happy. He just keeps on giving! This Gospel, as we live it, and put it into practice in our lives, brings peace. It brings joy and a true and lasting happiness. One that we can only feel as we follow our savior. I love being a missionary. I love this work. I love my family. I love you all so very much. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. He Lives. And please remember there are those like Miguel waiting and searching for the truth. So for those of you who are already members and have these blessings; share them. For those of you who are my dear and beloved friends please experience this joy that awaits you. This is the reason why I am happy and I know that it is something that we all are searching and hoping for, even though sometimes we don't think so. It fills our lives with light and hope for a better future. I love you all, and remember as Thomas S. Monson says "The Future is as Bright as Your FAITH"

With Love from Brooklyn!
Elder Waidmann

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He Always Hears Us When We PRAY

Hello all!

Yes it is once again that time for another post! I hope that all is well where you everyone is at who is reading this! Because all is certainly well here in Brooklyn!

So the big news is that transfers are coming up soon and I can say that I am definitely scared to hear the phone ring nowadays because I don't want the conversation to contain that I am leaving in it! But I have to get used to the phone ringing off the hook because we have Free English Class Flyers literally EVERYWHERE here around the church and on 5th Avenue! So let's just say that we get a lot of calls with questions! But I love it though! I think that my favorite part is where I answer the phone in Spanish but, the person on the other side of the phone call asks "You speaka Spanish?" in the thickest accent ever! It is so funny and then I am always able to say yes I do! And ask what their question is. It honestly never gets old! :) I love it!

So this last week was seriously so wonderful! Brooklyn continues to grow on me and I am loving it here! It is such a wonderful place filled with so much culture clashing! It is so cool! You literally con feel like you are in 4 different countries within minutes of walking it is pretty amazing! That is what I love about the Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and Sunset Park areas of where we are pretty often!

We have been using facebook now and I am starting to like it as a missionary a lot more now. It is definitely still a little weird being connected to everything still but it really can also be a blessing to us in missionary work. We can do things now that we haven't ever been able to do before which is awesome! And I love being able to update my blog too! It is great! :) I am so blessed to be here in this mission in New York to have all of these wonderful privileges.

 I am loving my time here with my companion Elder Martinez! Man he is great! So funny and he loves Christmas! Let me tell you that much! He has the countdown started already! Also we officially started the Christmas season in our companionship! Elder Martinez has been playing Christmas music and we are loving it! A little early?? Yeah probably! :) But hey we love it!

Last Friday night our ward, or also known as Congregation, got together and had our annual Noche de Hispanidad!!! Oh my goodness was it wonderful! I loved it! There was some amazing food as always! Because hello the Spanish food here is the BEST! :) I am so blessed to have tried so many different things! I basically am becoming every type of Spanish person with all of the different foods I have eaten and all of the different people from many parts of the world! There definitely isn't only one culture here! Which is so cool! We also as missionaries performed a little skit/act and it was a lot of fun! The members here loved it and that is what we like! :) We love our ward members so much!

On Saturday we were privileged enough  to be able to go to Midwood, here in Brooklyn to help out the missionaries there! It was called Operation Good Shepherd! We went out as missionaries and looked for all of the people that were on the list of the ward that hadn't been to church in a long time to help them in any way that we could and to love them back into the fold! I went on a mini exchange with Elder Nyre who speaks Creole! That was sweet! We had a good time and got some good done! :) That is what we missionaries do! We go and spread the Good News of the Gospel and try our best to always go about doing good! I just love it!

Sunday was a beautiful day! We had a great day at church! There were many people there who were investigating the church and who were there for there first time! It was awesome! A man named Luis who we had met earlier last week came and he loved it! He is such a humble man and is so ready to continue to learn and accept the Gospel and Christ into His life and to live according to Christ's teachings. He told us that he is looking for something to fill his life with and we are so happy to be a part of it! We also met with a wonderful couple named Elizabeth and Elmer and they are such a wonderful family! They have such a cute little daughter named Allison and she is just hilarious! :) We talked to them about a lot of things and shared out testimonies with them! They are wonderful members of the church! We shared with them the importance of the temple in their lives and they put their vision there at the temple to go and be married and sealed for time and all eternity! We are so happy for them! It was awesome! And they fed us too! Bonus! :) They are so nice! :)

And okay! So about the title of this blog! I have been continually praying that we can continue to see miracles here in this area and I have been trying to do my best to find them no matter how little or big they might be. So yesterday as we were finishing preparation day and riding the B9 bus that runs on 60th Street right next to our church we get a text message from our Relief Society President saying that there was someone who was interested in learning about the church in the church. And she asked if we were close and if we could come. So since we literally were right outside of the church when she texted us we got off of the bus at the nest stop at 8th Avenue and headed over. Elder Martinez and I thought that it just might be someone asking for information about English class, oh but lo and behold we were wrong! When I hopped off the bus I was hoping that it would be someone that would want to learn more about the church. Then we got into the church and our relief society president, Hermana Casiano began to tell us of what had happened. A man had came in wanting to learn more about the church and since we weren't there she talked to him and gave him a Book of Mormon and explained some things about what we believe and she let him into the chapel to pray. So then we went into the chapel and waited for him to finish praying. It was so great to be able to sit there and just feel of the spirit that is always present in that room. Then he finished and Elder Martinez and I introduced ourselves to him. It was then that we learned his story.

His name is Miguel. He told us that he had come into the church to pray and find peace. He had seen one of our Free English Class Flyers on the street and he said that he was interested in two things. 1) That it was a church, and 2) that it was offering free English Class. So he said that he got off of work yesterday early and had nothing else to do so he made his way to the church. He said that he couldn't find it and then went and looked for the paper again to find the address. After walking 15 blocks he found it and then went to the church. And then, that is where our paths crossed. Miguel is such a humble guy. We still don't know too much about him but I know that He is one of our Heavenly Father's children who is looking for the truth of the Gospel to fill his life right now. He said that when he moved here to the United States he fell away from God, but now he wants to bring himself back. That was one of the most amazing things that I have ever heard. These people. I just wonder. How? How do we cross paths and meet these people that are so hungry for the truth? And then the answer obviously comes to my mind. It is simple and one word. GOD. Yep that is really the answer. God. He is so aware of everyone and everything. He knows who His children are and He knows them by name. He is all knowing and all powerful. He wants to bless us and have our lives filled with truth and with light. That is why He has given us the gift of prayer. It is our straight line of communication with Him. He is always listening to us at ANY TIME and ANYWHERE. I know that this is true with all of my heart and soul. God listens to us. And when we are acting in Faith of the things that we have asked for He Will Bless us. I have no doubt about it. I have seen it and I have felt it. I know that there are no such things as coincidences. Just only ANGELIC ARRANGEMENTS. And I am grateful to have been able to been a part of one yesterday. Miguel is so ready and so humble to learn and so willing.

I would love to invite all of you to do as he did. Search if you don't know. Be patient and listen after you pray because your Heavenly Father will answer you about anything that you ask. He will answer us especially as we serve others I love what President Uchtdorf says: Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own. 

 I love Him so much. I love my Savior Jesus Christ who did something that I could have never done for myself. He is the one and only person who knows all of us perfectly. His grace is sufficient and perfect even when we feel that we don't deserve it. I know that this is true. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It is simple for us to live and all that we get from living it is pure and true happiness. Not one that the world thinks is happiness, but what God knows is happiness. He loves us. Me and YOU and everyone on the Earth. How we can never comprehend. But we can know it. I know it and I feel it. God's love is the best! Elder Terrance M. Vinson describes it so beautifully :
I believe that if we could have the privilege of walking physically with the Savior, that we would feel His arm draped over our shoulder just like that. Like the disciples heading toward Emmaus, our hearts would “burn within us” (Luke 24:32). This is His message: “Come and see” (John 1:39). It is personal, inviting, and embracing in its invitation to walk with His arm around our shoulders.
May we all feel as confident as Enos, as reflected in the last verse of his short but profound book: “I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father” (Enos 1:27).
Because of the multiplicity of experiences and the power with which the Spirit has witnessed to me, I testify with absolute surety that God lives. I feel His love. It is the sweetest feeling. May we do what is needed to align our will with His and truly love Him.

 I love you all so much. And remember Miracles are possible when we ask and when we ask in faith! I love you!

With love from Brooklyn,
Elder Waidmann

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spreading the Gospel Through New Manners: Online! :)

Hello all! This is actually me! Yes! As a part of being online missionaries I also get to update and edit my blog! I want to first thank my wonderful and amazing mother and my two incredible sisters for doing such a wonderful job keeping this up to date when I send home emails about what is going on here in New York. I am so grateful to have such an amazing family back home who supports me!

Well since it has been the second of October that this has been updated, I should definitely give an update on what is happening in the happenin city of Brooklyn. Wow. That is the words that I can basically only use to describe this place. It is completely different than any other place that I have ever been! Well I haven't been to many many places but this city by far beats them all in everything I must say. New York. It is one place that turly lives its name. The City that NEVER Sleeps. It really doesn't and I just am amazed at how things are always running on all cylinders here.

The people here never cease to amaze me either. You can never experience the same routine each day because things are always changing. And literally things are always changing. Brooklyn, where I am living as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is one place to behold. When I imagined Brooklyn I could have never thought of what I experience on a daily basis but I am so grateful for every single day that I get to spend here. It is so much fun and also so much work to be a missionary. To be completely honest though, I wouldn't trade this experience that I am having now for anything in the world. Yes that phrase is used way too much sometimes, but I really do mean it. Everyday isn't a cake walk here. It isn't just me and my companion Elder Martinez going around and seeing the sights of Brooklyn. It is us laboring in this wonderful place to find those seeking for the truth. Yes that sounds kinda funny that we are laboring and trying to find people to share our message with but that is what we as missionaries do. We believe and we know that the things that we teach which are central in Jesus Christ and families can change the lives of others for the better.

There really is nothing better than meeting someone who says to us that they have been looking for the truth everywhere and haven't found it yet. Because then we are able to ask "Well have you heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints before?" And when they reply that they haven't and as we begin to share with them the teachings of Christ the understanding that comes to them is incredible. I know that this is true because I have seen it. I have blessed enough to experience it first hand. I know that The Gospel of Jesus Christ really is the "good news" that will one day fill the entire Earth. It is a way of happiness. A way of love and a way of personal peace and righteousness.

Since the last update a lot of great things have happened! Namely General Conference! It was just incredible! I love conference so much and I am so grateful for it every time that I am able to see it! Here in the mission it is like our Super Bowl or Righteousness! :) It was so much fun! It was my second General Conference here in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and oh it was a good one! I would encourage you all to watch some of the messages that were shared! They are incredible and honestly for each and every one of us they can also be life changing. They can apply to all of us in different ways and I know that they have helped me.

I am so grateful for these messages because they have helped me to look inside myself and try to work on things that my Heavenly Father wants me to better about myself. I know that these messages can help us all have meaningful introspection and assist us in the everyday lives we live. I know that these messages are true with all of my heart and I invite you all to listen to them and to watch them. We can truly be edified by the uplifting spirit that they all contain. I am so happy to be a missionary to be sharing this message with thosse here in New York. I am loving every day that I have here. I love you all. I know that what I am doing is true. Like Nephi from the Book of Mormon I am proud to say "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."-3rd Nephi 5:13

I love you all and thank you for your continuous support! Christ lives! We are so blessed!
With love from Brooklyn,
Elder Waidmann

And ps! Here are some of my favorite talks from conference! Check them out!

"You Can Do It Now!" by President Uchtdorf 
"Come, Join With Us" by President Uchtdorf 
“I Will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake Thee” By President Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"The Lord is so true to His promises to us"

"Here he is!"
 (Elder Waidmann, our investigator, a member in
our ward and Elder Martinez right before the baptism)

Hi all!!

I hope that you are doing well and that everything is going well with you! So this past week was definitely one to remember! It was amazing. Yesterday we were able to see the amazing miracle of our dear friend and investigator get baptized. It was truly incredible. The service went wonderfully and it was so great to be able to see him enter the waters of baptism. The smile on his face was just so wonderful to see and was so prevalent yesterday!  Elder Martinez and I were so happy and it was such a great experience to be able to see this happen. It really shows that the Lord prepares his children to receive the Gospel in times in their life when they are humble and when they are ready and willing. Not every person is the same, but everyone as I can see, comes to the point where they realize that they need to know the truth and so it can help them everyday.

Meeting, teaching and getting to know our investigator truly was a miracle of our Heavenly Father.  He was placed in our path and we were placed in his. It is amazing and is so incredible. The Lord is so aware of every single one of us.  Our investigator was baptized by a strong member in our ward, and is a great friend. It is so wonderful to see the fellowship that is happening and the love that the members of the ward have for him already. They supported him wonderfully yesterday and helped us out so much with the baptismal service. It truly was a miracle to see everything come through the way that it did. The ward members were such a great help and I am so happy that they were so happy with the baptism that took place. Members said to us how happy that they were to see our investigator get baptized. 

I am so grateful that our Heavenly Father is so aware of every single one of us and how He helps us to know that our efforts here as missionaries are for a great purpose.  I am so happy to have been here and to have seen this amazing story unfold before my eyes. The Lord is so true to His promises to us. The more we love and serve Him and try and show our faith, the more that he will bless us. It is so true. I know it.  Jesus Christ is so close to this work because this is His church. He is so aware of us and I know it.

The Church is true. I have no doubts about it at all. It is so wonderful to see our investigator, now a brand new convert, that has just been baptized, share his testimony and say how he “felt just like Joseph Smith”. How he “had searched everywhere and couldn't find the truth”. How felt good when he came to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He said that he knows that it is the true doctrine of Christ. He said he knew that the things that we were teaching were true when he had dreams about Elder Martinez and I teaching him. That was so amazing to hear! Elder Martinez looked at each other in the lesson when he said that, and we about died! That seriously was the coolest thing ever to hear! I was just floored yesterday!  I love how, to know if the Gospel is true, all one has to do is feel it. The Holy Spirit will provide that witness and feeling to your heart.  I know that our investigator feels the truth, peace and joy in his life right now. It is amazing. That is all I can say. I am so happy!!

Overall everything else is going great! I am continually learning so much and I am so grateful to be here.  I know that it wasn't by accident or coincidence that I was put here. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the truth within them.  I am grateful for my wonderful companion. This week was so great! I got to go on an exchange with Elder Parker, our district leader (who looks like Chris) too and that was way cool! We learned how to cook some way good rice and beans from a member, and man that was sweet! You guys better watch out when I get back…because I got the authentic cooking skills down! Haha. Okay not really, but let's just go with it!  I love you all so much!


Elder Waidmann