Monday, December 29, 2014

christmas


   Hey Family! it was great seeing you all for Christmas! That was the best gift, other than that the members spoiled us with a ton of stuff we weren't expecting. 
   This last Sunday was pretty interesting. First off Me and Elder P gave talks about how our parents have helped us, so I had a lot of good things to say about you guys. We also had a total 4 inv's from Sierra Leon. In our ward we only have one active member from Sierra Leon so he was really excited to see some people to relate too. Come to find out that one of the people we brought was his Niece!! They hadn't seen each other since he left Africa 8 years ago. Whats more is that the other two folk that we brought new each other too!! One had been this girls teacher back in Africa when she was 10 years old and had not seen her since she left his class. She is now about 25. All this happened in a gospel principles class in an LDS church in Virginia. It's a small world after all!
   Elder P was kind of sad this Christmas because his parents didn't really send him anything. And you guys sent a ton so I felt pretty bad. So I surprised him with a ton of gifts for Christmas. Most of it was my own stuff that I knew he liked. So I wrapped it all up and Christmas morning he had a ton of gifts. He was excited :) It truly is a lot better giving than receiving. I really like to think about creative things I can do for people and then watch their reactions when they see it. Just warms the soul. 
   The work over here is awesome. Transfers is coming up and I feel like I might be sent off, I really don't want to go though... I have grown to love this ward and to love my companion. Plus we are working with some pretty solid people. Who knows though I could be here for six more months. Where ever the lord needs me I suppose. 
   Well I love you all keep the missionary spirit up. I love your stories! Stay strong and carry on!



Monday, November 17, 2014

Cool story time. We were walking around a sketchy area late at night talking to every thing that moved when we got to a man by a dumpster. We talked to him for a bit and it became apparent that he was missing something. He told us that he was in the dangerous trade of "supply and demand" and that he was content with his life. Elder P is really good at asking questions and it got to the point where he asked this man  "What are you missing in your life?" Things got really quite and the spirit came rushing in when he said "My Momma." This man had plenty of rough edges but he still clung onto the one person who had ever shown him true sincere *undefiled affection. We told him of someone who had as much love and more love for him who created a plan that allows us to be with our loved ones again. We don't really knew how he took it but he did say that he was waiting for us to go over and talk to him when he saw us walking around and that he was glad that we did. We are getting in contact with him 2 days from now so we will see what happens. I am thankful for those opporitunities that the Lord gives us to meet someone who has been prepared and is looking for truth. It takes a lot of trust on his part which leaves a lot of responsibility on our part. Always be ready to share the Gospel it needs to be on the tip of your tongue and when it is the Lord will bless you by seeing others come to Christ. I love you all and to all a goodnight -Elder Wagner


Thursday, November 13, 2014

This week has gone by incredibly fast. The ward is really beginning to like us a lot! we have dinners scheduled for the next month and a half it is a miracle! Also the work is really moving along as usual when we got here the elders were not working with anybody, but now we have got appointments scheduled almost every night. We are still Working with the family from Uganda and have a meeting with them tomorrow. Now that we have all these people that we are working with now we just have to sift the wheat from the tares. I have a feeling that I am going to be here for a while which I am perfectly content with. I love Woodbridge it is busy busy busy with all sorts of different people.
   Alright funny story time. Elders do this thing sometimes where they have pictures of girls they are staying in contact with and they show them off to other Elders. This happened once in Farmville and it was a picture of a highschool graduation picture of somone in a ward this Elder had served in. I thought she was quite cute but I also thought it odd that she was writing him because this Elder was very interesting. He talked about how they have future plans and stuff and I was a greeny so I didn't really know anything. Any way so fast forward to yesterday. We are at a members house and I was looking at the pictures on the wall of their children and one of them was the exact same picture that I saw in Farmville. I asked the family if they new a "certain" Elder and they said yes. "We even sent a picture of our daughters graduation photo to him and his companion because we thought they were nice." The light bulb went off in my head and I started laughing really hard. I explained to this family the experience that I had 8 months prior and how this elder thought he was going to marry their daughter. The whole family looks at me shocked. Then we all start laughing. I feel bad for that Elder but is to funny not to share. 

   Miracles continue to happen here. I have knowledge that when we pray in faith for something and it is a righteous desire and we then go out to accomplish it God will answer our prayers. Its just a fact. I have seen it time after time. The only problem is that we have to remember to do it. Recently I have been constantly checking myself to make sure I am applying all the things that I have learned because if we don't use it we forget it and if we forget it we might as well have never had it in the first place. I remember in Elementary school they taught us how the government is full of checks and balances so things don't get out of control and so we must do with our lives. Check yourself before you wreck yourself! Love Elder Wagner

Monday, November 3, 2014

October 27, 2014

I got a lot to say so I will just dive into it. My new companion is Elder P. I actually served around him in Charlottesville and we get along quite well. He is a hard worker, obedient, loving and happy. So Mom yours and my prayers were answered! 
   So we are shotgunning an area. Which means we don't know anything, and we don't know anyone. This last week has been just trying to figure out what is going on in the Dale City area. We still don't even know our address yet haha.
   The last elders that served here pretty much just sat in the apartment for 3 months straight so we are practically opening a new area. Our days have been filled with tracting, visiting members and trying to get in contact with way old investigators. I can't say any major cool things have happened. We are just trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
   It is especially hard when neither of us have a GPS or a map. So we have gotten lost quite few times. What has made it even worse is that our bikes got stolen the other night. We left them unlocked for a very short amount of time and we came back and they were gone.... So that is unfortunate. Though there are some bikes that we can use for a little bit so it is all good. My time is limited so I will leave it at that. The church is true and the book is blue. -Love Elder Wagner




November 3, 2014
 Dad you crack me up. It is actually really funny we taught this guy named J for quite a while and he said he used to steal bikes all the time ( I'm pretty sure he still does haha) so I was going to call him up and ask for some advice but I lost his phone number. Dang it! I am riding a sister bike right now and probably will stay on it till it breaks down. I took a picture of it, but I forgot my camera, More pictures next week I guess!
   Sounds like you had an interesting experience with the missionaries Mom. It is quite frustrating for us missionaries when people cannot recognize the spirit, but the thing is that people will recognize the absence of it when the missionaries stop coming by. So either way they are influenced by it and then it becomes their choice if they want to feel it again.
   As far as being converted you should read a talk by Elder Bednar. He explains pretty well that being converted never ends and that so long as you are making progress you are good. I have to tell myself that quite a bit. The more I ask Heavenly Father to help me improve the more I notice things that I need to improve on. Before the mission I never gave it much thought. I thought I was a pretty good kid and I was to some extent. But now when I am the best person I have ever been in my life as far as trying to develop Christ like attributes, I feel so inadequate. Ether 12:26-27 clears up that mess pretty quick though so it is all good :)
   This week has gone by pretty quick. We had a cool little miracle. This week me and Elder P have done away with logical finding. By that I mean when ever we go tracting we used to just pick up where we left off from the day before. But after a powerful zone meeting we realized that is not the way God would have us find his prepared children. Instead, everyday we pray for God to send us to specific area and then when we get there we pray again for God to guide us. Then we turn into Finding Machines. We look for any sign of movement in the neighborhood, Talking to every single person we see, knocking random doors on nothing but a whim, and being incredibly persistent with people. We know that God sent us their so to pass up any opportunity or impression would just be plain out crazy.
   Immediately after we tried out this new finding technique. Crazy stuff has happened. We were doing just this when we biked into some strange *coltasack. We passed up about 5 houses talked to a guy who was definitely not interested. Than knocked on a house a couple houses past him. A teenage girl who is from Uganda opens the door and Elder P goes into the usual door approach. She tells us that her family is Catholic and that they probably would not be interested. She begins to close the door when I say "Mam we have the most important message that you could ever hear in your whole entire life please would you spare a short amount of time to hear it. She Contemplates for a little then motions for us to wait. She walks inside the house and brings out her father. He comes out and says in his Deep Ugandan accent if you are talking about Jesus you can come inside my house. We go inside and he motions for us to enter. He then calls his whole family up consisting of 4 children and then says please share your message with us. Me and Elder P then taught him and his family the restoration. He was taking notes the whole time and his family was intently listening. It was a powerful lesson and we set the whole family to be baptized on the 29th of November to which they said yes to. We walked out of that lesson thinkin what the heck just happened? Experiences like that where the whole family is involved in the first lesson rarely if ever happen. We were no doubt led there and I am grateful that God aloud us to be the Elders to find them.
   Other miracles have happened but they are also long stories. Simply put the Lord will provide. I love you all and am grateful for everything You have done for me. Love ya! Elder Wagner
   


                              

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hey family! Sounds like things are going well. I really love how you are reaching out to others in any way you can. Whether it be service, facebook and media! That is absolutlely fantastic. Our mission got to watch meet the mormons before it came out and I loved it. It will be a great tool for members to use. Soo use it! ha ha
   So to be honest this area is really tough and I am having a hard time with my companion. I have to drag that guy around everywhere and he always tries to do things that take up time that don't involve real missionary work. He is doing his time not the work and it is really hard to be the guy who has to hold everything together. Every companion that I have had before there have been rough patches, but we always had one thing in common we just want to get out there and do work. This guy is just ineffective and lazy. I could go on and nit pick about all the stuff that goes on, but it will only make me more frustrated. It sufficeth me to say that I probably need to pluck the beam out of my own eye. We do get out and work though so I can't complain. 
   The work here has been way slow. I know there is someone here that is seriously looking for the Gospel, but so far we have not found them. As far as stories go the only interesting thing that has really happened has been people trying to bash us. And since we never get the opportunity to really talk to anybody I sometimes indulge myself ... I know it is terrible. 
   Yesterday though we had a light shine through the dark. We were tracting a pretty rich neighborhood with little success. Until we knocked on B's door. He opens up and we immediately start talking about how families can be together forever and ask if he would be interested in hearing a message and he was like "ya, it is actually funny you guys came by, a couple days ago I found out that I might have cancer and so I have been thinking about that exact thing, come back next sunday in the afternoon and we will talk." Me and Elder R were just like Yes SIR! So there are little miracles here and there that I am very grateful for.

   Recently I have also really been valuing personal study. I learn so much everytime. The lord gives us so many tools to better our lives, but one thing that Dad pointed out that is the best tool is simply charity which I have really been lacking lately. I need to love my companion more, I need to love the people in our area more and I need to love the Lord more and acknowledge him in all my doings. Be grateful for everything you have and give the Lord thanks for it and you will begin to love life. That is my words of wisdom love -Elder Wagner

Monday, September 29, 2014


Here in VA things are kind of slow but we have found some new people to teach and are working really well with the ward. I don't know if I told you this but this whole next week all we are allowed to do is read the Book of Mormon. President wants us to finish it in a week and it is exhausting! But really cool at the same time. Something I have noticed is how much it says "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandment ye shall prosper both spiritually and temporally. And Inashmuch as ye shall not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off." It is so simple and so important! I bet ya it says those words or something along those lines about 50 times in the first hundred pages haha. It must be important or something!
   Oh yeah and S got baptized!!!!! I wasn't able to make it to hers but in the first lesson we invited her to be baptized on the 20th, but we had to push it back to the 27th. She is no longer smoking, or drinking! it is incredible she has been trying to quite smoking for the last 50 years and all it took was some desire, a couple of meetings with the missionaries, and a ton of prayer. It is a miracle. I am writing her, F and R. I am going to stay in touch with them as long as I can So that when I get off the mission I will know where to find them if I ever get a chance to make a visit. Well that is all the news that is news Stay strong and carry on! Love -Elder Wagner

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hey Family I will just jump right into it. BYU played UVA which is the big school in Charlottesville. So I was glad to hear BYU beat them. I heard from the members I heard it was pretty close, which is unfortunate, because I wanted BYU to utterly destroy them so that this place can learn how to be humble haha, but I guess " I ought to be content with what the lord hath allotted me." Quick quiz! What chapter and verse is that quote form in the BOM???
   This past week has not been easy. The area I am in is very country and it is not easy to find people to teach and it is hard to get members out with us ase they all live so far away. Driving from one end of the ward to another takes an hour and a half! However we have been teaching quite a few people. One of them is  someone who I will just refer to as B. 
   She wants to be baptized but she is in a very complicated living situation that she needs to move out of before she can. She is practically dependent on her ex boyfriend who doesn't like missionaries who hates her but won't let her leave. And there are 3 kids involved.. it makes me sick. The other night we felt we should stop by and it turns out we caught them outside in a heated argument about whether or not we should come over anymore. When he stormed off  B came  towards us and started going off about she is not going to lose us ( tears were falling down her face as she said this) and that we can only come by during the day and her ex isn't home. 
   Just then the guy walks towards his shed and begins to tell us that we are home wreckers and that he is going to call the church on us. The only thing that went through my head at that point was to control myself and keep my mouth shut. What I wanted to do was have me and my Hercules of a companion walk over there and show him what the word "wreck" means. Ohh but that is kinda of a hard one when you have the saviors name written across your chest. Anyway things cooled down and we are still teaching her. Keep her in your prayers she needs everyone of them. 
    Besides that nothing to crazy has happened just walking, knocking and talking to folks who claim to be die hard Christians but when asked "if there was more to learn about Jesus Christ would you want to know about it? and they say "no thank you I am comfortable with my beliefs." I just want to shake them while saying "He who hath ears to hear let them hear!!" Sometimes I do say that but it is pretty much pointless by then. The Best thing is just to smile and leave. 
   Hey Dad I am very interested to know more about your families conversion story! Could you share it with me sometime?

   I love you all and am proud to be apart of this family - Elder wagner

Quick week in review.

 A ton of stuff has happened this week. I will just blow through it super quick. We interpreted a blind mans dream, found one of investigators totally messed up on the side walk, made a full grown man cry when we asked him what his purpose in life is, met the missionary who baptized my companions parents 15 years ago, tracted in a torrential down pour for 2 hours with nothing save our testimonies, told a man that he is a modern day Pharisee, casted countless pearls before swine, Set a lady named Sheree on date to be baptized on the 20th of September, as of yesterday she has quite smoking, bought some awesome shoes, gained a greater faith in Christ and his redeeming qualities, and biked.

   That sums up my week you are in my prayers love -Elder Wagner

transferred

Sept 8

Being transferred! and two baptism planned  :)

I am getting transferred!! I have been in the Lakeridge 2nd ward for almost 5 months I love everybody there so much. I'm pretty sure I also know everybody better there than I do back at home haha. I cannot possibly imagine a better ward. Don't get me wrong I am sure there are better but there was something special about this one and I will come back to visit someday!! I know everybody says that, but I really am going to try super hard too.
   Oh hold on a second I will be back this weekend, because Flavio is getting BAPTIZED! I got a member ride and everything already. We have been working with him this whole transfer and just yesterday he finally made the decision. We had a grand scheme. We knew it would be fast and testimony meeting and those can be absolutely great or just the opposite. So instead of leaving it to chance we called a ton of people the night before who we thought that their testimonies would be beneficial for Flavio. We then called the Zone Leaders and set up a baptismal interview right after church so he couldn't escape. And it all worked out and he felt the spirit from some awesome testimonies as well as throughout church. Then afterword's we asked if he really did want to be baptized and he said Yes! So then we were like ok great meet Elder Johnson down the hall way in 2mins, he will be conducting your interview haha.
   He really has progressed a lot and he is super ready. His girlfriend is going to temple square to serve a mission and now the next step is to just get him to go!! Man that would be the best thing ever.
   So the following weekend I will be coming back to this ward again for Sheree's baptism! She is awesome within three times of teaching her she had a full testimony of the BOM Joseph Smith and the church. She could have been baptized in one week if it weren't for cigarettes. But in a week in a half she will be ready.
   At the beginning of this transfer I was pretty down and frustrated with the lack of  progressing investigators, So we pretty much dropped everybody and looked for those who were willing and ready. We knocked on practically every door in our area and from that we found a lot of potentials, many investigators, and 2 people who have been prepared. This work is hard mentally physically and spiritually. Sometimes I find myself thinking how am I even doing this right now, but there is something about knowing the truth that pushes you to do things you never thought possible.

   I do not know where I am going yet but I am sure It is where I need to be. Remember the church is True and the book is blue ;) Love Elder Wagner

Monday, August 25, 2014

A baptism on the horizon

Hey Family,
   We are expecting to get ipads by the end of the year. I am super pumped! They would be so useful! For example we would be talking to someone and say " and we believe that there is a prophet on this earth today." and they usually say "oh really who is this guy and why have I not heard of him?" Then we would whip out our iPads and show a sick Mormon message about him and they would be like "Oh shoot maybe there is something more to this..." instead of them Asking sarcastic questions and not getting a fit response. For that and many other reasons ipads would be splendid. However I will not read the scriptures on them. Don't ask me why I just won't haha.
   So update on the work we have been finding a ton of new people to teach, which is awesome but even better than that is that one of them is getting baptized in two weeks! His name is Flavio and we have been teaching for a little less than a month. He is the boyfriend of Bailey who just got called to serve in the temple square mission. We kept on pestering her and her family to invite us over to dinner with him and they finally broke down and did it. We taught the restoration and at the end of the lesson invited him to be baptized and he said yes. I wish you could have seen the look on everyone's face when he said yes. Her whole family was shocked, it reminded me when the missionaries invited Sydney to be baptized haha.
   Ever since then though everything has gone almost to easy. When someone has been prepared for the last 5 years to be taught the teaching goes pretty smoothly. He is going to be baptized on September 13th and I am super excited for him. Now we just got to get him on a mission ;)

   Sounds like everything is good at home! I pray for you guys daily Stay strong and carry on love -Elder Wagner

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I have a new companion! his name is Elder H he is from Louisiana. He is pretty sweet. He is a hard worker so that is all I can ask for. This week not to much has happened. Besides the fact that we dropped like 10 of our investigators because they were just not making any progress and not keeping appointments. We will still make an effort to see them but now we are focusing on really looking for people who are prepared. We will plant seeds along the way but someone has got to pick the fruit from the plant that has actually been growing. So pretty much our whole goal this week is to find as many people as humanly possible and create a new teaching pool.         
  Nothing much interesting to say besides the fact that I got yelled at so loud by this women that I had to wipe the spit that was flying out of her mouth off my face that was fun.
   

Love you guys -Elder Wagner

Monday, July 28, 2014

Unusual as usual

Things here are unusual as usual. 

Hey Family!! Sounds like things are as usual back at home. Things here are unusual as usual. My companion Elder P is getting transferred which means I will have a new companion come tuesday. I was super bummed! I learned a ton from Elder P He was much more organized and way good at planning which are my 2 biggest weaknesses. Now I will just have to apply those things he taught me. He would always say "The kingdom of God or nothing!" to which i would reply with Brigham Young's quote "Work hard or go to Hell!" haha We both really buckled down. The only time we weren't doing missionary work was when we went to bed. During lunch we would make a quick pb and j and spend the rest of the time scheduling appointments and calling members to come out with us. At night we would spend an hour planning and then the last 30 mins before bed we would cram down some food brush our teeth and maybe write in our journal (ususally not haha) . 
  It's funny I don't look at food the way I used to. When I eat now its simply to just fill up the tank. We bike so much it is almost disgusting and by the end of the day I am completly drained. That's why it is so nice to have members come out with us cause that means we get to ride in a car for a short while. Of course that is not the real reason but it is certainly a plus.
   Tomorrow I reach my 6 month mark!! I know that really is not to long, but everybody says your first 6 months are the hardest. Looking back I honestly can only remember the good times so I am definetly looking forward to the year and half more of swell times haha.
   I have found the secret to being a happy missionary is talking to everybody. It is never easy to do it and I can't say I am 100% proficient at it, but as we try to improve the Lord blesses us with the ability to do it even better the next time.

   Well thats all the news that is news hope all is well love "Yall" ;) -Elder Wagner

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Elder Swagner


hey hey hey hey!! We run into a ton of spanish speaking folk over here. One day I was just so frustrated, so for personal study I tried to pull a Kolly Pokie and read from the spanish Book of mormon and then translated from the english copy. I did it for like 10 mins and gave up haha. I have a couple of different phrases memorized though! Like how to get their information, where the churhc is at and that I don't really speak spanish but I know missionaries that do. It is actually pretty effective we give the spanish missionaries a ton or referals. I don't ever know if they go anywhere though.
    This last Sunday Reginald was sitting next to me at church and someone was giving a super powerful talk and whispers to me in his cool accent. "What does it mean when you get goose pimples? I was like HOLD THE PHONE YOU ARE FEELING THE SPIRIT!!! and he was like "But where does it come from?" Me: "It comes from Heavenly Father" And I then showed him a ton of sciptures about it. I don't know if he really understands it yet, but he knew that he felt something and he knew it was significant. I can't tell you how grateful I am for that moment, because for the first time it really hit me that I am not alone in this work and that a power far beyond understanding is at work in this gospel.
     Later on that day we talked to a lady who was a sevent day adventist and my companion asked her why she was a member of that church and she had 2 reasons that just baffled me. 1.) I'm a third generation adventist my Grandpa was converted in Africa. 2.) I am comfortable with their teachings. Honestly in my head I was thinking those are some pretty silly things to base your testimony off of. Most people don't even consider the possibility that what they believe may be incorrect. That is one of the things that I love about this Gospel, the challenge is always to read and pray to find out for yourself and inquire to the source of all truth to find just that, truth. "Seek and ye shall find" Open your heart and the spirit can enter. And thank heavens Reginalds heart is open enough to be recpetive to the guidance that the holy spirit provides. I have high hopes for that guy and Heavenly Father has higher.
      As far as other stories all the youth in the ward call me Elder Swagner I pretend like I don't like it, but I secretly do haha. This ward is really cool about 30% of the ward can't tell anybody what they do for a living, because they work at DC in things like the Secret Service, CIA, and Homland security. It's pretty cool. Apprarently the governement likes to hire Mormons because their backrounds are as clean as a babies bottom haha. Maybe I'll work in the CIA one day ;) just kidding it's way to humid over here. Anyway all is good over here hope all is well there! love-Elder Wagner

Missionary work is fun and super and enjoyable


   This week has been very unique. I think I told ya in my last email that me and Elder Y were staying together. Well come to find out that the zone leaders forgot to call him so half way through p-day that he was getting transferred. We were both super bummed. I don't think I will ever have a companions who has so much in common with me. He will be missed. I have a new companion now named Elder P. He is the opposite of Elder Y in a good way. Me and Elder Y were always the kind of go go go kind of people which is good but sometimes we were a little disorganized. We would spend all our time doing missionary work and never ever doing any of the paper work. Which made us lose track of a lot of things one of those things is the people we met and what we taught them. So Elder P is helping me to slow down and stay organized. I'll send a picture of him next week 
   With Elder Y gone that means I am taking over the area which is I was completely unprepared for. As soon as he left I realized that I really didn't know the area very well haha. While biking around town I had always just tucked my head down and tried to keep up (Elder Y was insanely quick). However I am starting to figure it out so no worries.
  There is not to much more to share about events that happened, but I have been thinking about a quote lately which I will probably miss quote haha. " That which we persist in doing becomes easier; not because the nature of the thing has changed but our ability to do has increased". I don't know who said that but I whole heartedly believe it's true. Missionary work is fun and super and enjoyable, but it also incredibly taxing. When I come home the only thing I want to do is sleep and when I do it takes like 10 seconds and then I am out I guess that's a good thing though. I constantly have dreams about my investigators. The other night I had a dream that Reginald Wanted to be baptized and I was sooo happy and then I woke up.... haha. All good things in time. Anyway love you guys and love the pictures! keep me updated on everything love Elder Wagner

Rain doesn't stop anything


My companions  is everything you would expect a long distance runner to be. Funny, Goofy, Hard working and stubborn haha. Just like me!
   Soooo this week was interesting as usual. I had guy tell me that I was going straight to hell because of Joe smith and that blasted Book of the Norman. I don't know why its so difficult to say Mormon... But most of the time that's what black folk call us. Fortunately I learned my lesson last week and simply bore testimony and humbly thanked him for the conversation and we left on good terms besides the fact that he prayed that are wayward souls would come to know who Christ truly is. But we didn't get mad or defensive like I did with the other guy so I gave myself a pat on the back :)
  Also for the first time I had the chance to teach the law of chastity to a family to which it would actually apply. It was pretty intense as we talked and discussed I realized what a blessing it is to have parents who are not only married but also ceiled in the temple. It is such a comfort that I am truly grateful for.
  We have one solid investigator who I might have talked about a couple of times. His name is Reginald. he has been attending church and meeting with us like 3 times a week. And just this last Saturday he attended a baptism. He liked it and He said that he felt the spirit. Me and Elder Yardley are staying together another transfer so we have faith that Reginald will get baptized before next transfer.
   This week I learned that rain doesn't stop anything. No matter what the weather is we are always warm and wet. I would rather be wet due to water than to sweat so I actually like it when it rains it also helps get inside peoples houses ;)
   That's about it for the weekly report Hope all is well, stay strong and carry on love -Elder Wagner
 p.s. I like receiving pictures to even of the boring stuff so don't be afraid to send some my way :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

The best time to teach is when people are willing to listen


Hello family! This week has been an interesting one. Three times we have run into people who really want to bash it out with us. One of the guys honestly got me really angry. He said your wasting your time and that 20 years from now we will look back and wish we had never come out. And I said to myself “if only you knew.” We promised the guy that the gospel could bless his life amongst other things to which he replied “I’m too far gone I have experienced to many things.” I thought to myself again. “ If your conceding to the fact that what we share might be true, than are claim that it will bless your life may be true as well and that if you really wanted to change your life you would, which you  just admitted that you wouldn’t. Sooo in about 5 years from now you’re going to look back and wish that you listened to us, because your life is going nowhere but downhill.”
                Of course these are all thoughts in my head and I really shouldn’t be thinking them. It is not very Christ like haha. But on another experience I went a little farther and said exactly what I was thinking. This grumpy old guy who knew everything was testing our knowledge on how well we knew the bible. It turned more into guess what’s in my head game which I am pretty sure most everyone is terrible at. Anyway he would ask us a question and the moment our answer was beginning to make sense he would ask us another silly question before we could answer his first. It was so frustrating..  It finally got down to the point where my companion was literally trying to pull me way because it was worthless but I had to get at least one complete thought out there and if I was going to, it would have to be a good one. He had a lot of problems with the Book of Mormon ( which he had never read ) So I said “Sir I promise you if you read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it’s true you will be answered by the source of all truth that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph smith is his revelator in these last days and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints is Gods kingdom restored on the earth.” To which he replied The only reason I would read the Book of Mormon would be so I could tell all you Mormons how wrong you are!” Then I said “Please do that, because once you read it, any words of anger and hate towards the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints will go no farther than your throat and when they reach that point you will choke on them.” And then we walked off.
                We had a couple more experiences like that, but I won’t go into them. However I did learn something. We were taught that the best time to teach is when people are willing to listen. And if they aren’t its best just to walk away. So next time I will be a little more courteous. \
                Spiritual experiences... On Splits me and member from the ward taught a young family about the plan of salvation. At first the lesson was kind of scatteres but as soon as we started testifying of eternal mfamilies the spirit was there and I know they felt it. Hopefully we plan on having Family home evening with that same family tonight
               We gave Reginald a baptisaimal date but we just found out that he has a real bad smoking problem that he doesn't plan on getting rid of anytime soon. I am sure we fix that though ;)
               We are still teaching the basketball dude his name is Jujuan. He loves the BOM!! I'll send you some picks of him :)
            Well I love you all remember the gospel is true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love-Elder Wagner.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Future Missionaries advice


Hello Family,
 I appreciate the pictures! It is so good to see your faces. This email is dedicated it to answering the Q's and saying what is going on. 
  If you could give future Missionaries advice on preparing for the MTC so they will be more prepared than you were what would you tell them?
There is nothing you can really do to prepare for the MTC. It will be a shock no matter what you do. However The number one thing I would suggest would be to go out with the missionaries as much as humanly possible. No amount of Mission prep classes or studying Preach my Gospel will help as much as hands on experience. I look back and I am so grateful for  the missionaries letting me go out with them so often. I can still remember Elder Gabbitas and Elder Mckenzie as clear as day being incredibly bold with people and leaving me feeling incredibly awkward just sitting there watching, but that was the number one thing that helped me prepare for the MTC and 10x more important for the mission field.
Dad really whats to know how you ended up in the mud puddle? The mud Puddle... There is this power line trail that is a huge short cut that takes us to the mall. The trail though is extremely rugged and steep. And there are some muddy areas. If you look to the left of the picture there is a small little path that goes right beside the mud puddle that we ride on. As I was going to get on that little path my tire went side ways and I flew over the handle bars right into the puddle. I was soiled and my bike was spotless haha.
  What has been your favorite meal at members home? I don't really care about food as much as I used to haha. Now it's just like putting fuel in the tank. So no meal really sticks out to me.
 Are you teaching any of the kids that took a Book of Mormon after they watched you play basketball and you taught them? We are still teaching the basketball dudes. One of them in particular is very interested and loves to read the BOM. However he likes it because its history not because he thinks it's true..... I don't get it either haha
 Anyway I have to get going but I love you all Stay strong and carry on. -Elder Wagner

Saturday, May 31, 2014

If you love Him you will feed His Sheep

Hey everybody! sorry you didn't get this email Monday. They switched p day just for this week because people are home for the holiday.
   As a missionary we are very limited to what we can do. Honestly we need about a 100 hands to be effective, but we only have four so every little thing that members do to help the work along is so crucial. You may receive a call from the missionary's and think "can't they find someone else to help?" and on the other side of the phone the missionaries are thinking the exact same thing. But the truth is that every investigator is precious and so we only put them into the hands of people who we trust. And the people we trust are the ones who are truly converted to the gospel. I know the missionaries are so grateful for everything you do :)

  I love Bednar's talk that you mentioned (Bear up Their Burdens with Ease, April 2014) I could write a novel just commenting on the subject material.
  As far as missionary work goes it has become harder to differentiate what things I should share with you because the abnormal has become normal and those amazing spiritual experiences happen on a regular basis. To some up the work here we have a lot of investigators and we teach a lot and there is some progression. We went to dinner with a fellow named Reginald last night. I tried some things I never thought I would eat. Like squid, Octopus, Crayfish, some weird stuff that had the consistency of deep fried snot it was great! Anyway this guy Reginald is really Awesome he has a testimony of the BOM and of Joseph Smith but he won't agree to a baptismal date. He has some block that we haven't quite figured out. But I am sure we will. Anyway I got to get going love you guys continue to serve because if you love him you will feed his sheep : ) I love you all and pray for you reguraly -Elder Wagner
Took a spill into the only mud puddle in our area haha


Monday, May 19, 2014

When we keep the commandment we find happiness

Hey family! Life in Virginia is pretty awesome as usual! Mom I am so glad that you are going out with the missionary's! It really does give you a ton pf perspective. In Farmville most everyone we taught were very poor and when they saw a couple of white guys in white shirts and ties they immediately thought we were there to judge them, but to their surprise it was the exact opposite. We were there to help them and after talking to us for about 5 seconds they could see that.
    Woodbridge is the exact opposite of Farmville. Just about everybody works in DC for the government and are very well off. Fortunately we don't do any tracting. We just ride our bikes around and offer service and talk about the gospel with those who are outside and if that goes well they will let us inside!
    Last week we saw a couple of black guys playing basketball and our appointment fell through so we challenged them to a game of 2 on 2. Me and my companion are perfectly unified so we destroyed them haha. While we were playing all the neighborhood guys came out and started watching us and taking videos. After the game one of the black guys we played said " the lord has blessed you fellas with many gifts" haha. Afterwards we taught everyone in the neighborhood another lesson, but this one was called the Restoration ;) We didn't have enough Books of Mormon to hand out by the end of it haha, but there were enough for the ones who were actually listening. It was super awesome.
    It is awesome having a supportive ward we have members come out with us to almost every lesson. I cannot tell you the difference that makes. Everyone can see how devoted the missionary's are but when they see members who aren't missionary's but are just as devoted it kind of blows them away.
   Funny story time. So a lady in our ward works for Safeway so she has access to all the food that has expired that they are going to throw out. The food is still good though! Its mostly just different kinds of bread with some sweats as well. So instead of throwing it all away she gives it to the missionary's. We take a couple of things and then donate the rest of the food to the homeless. Beside global foods there is this forest that has this huge hobo camp, we call it tent city. Apparently this has been going on for years but this was going to be my first time doing it. So we both walk back there with this huge bag of food into the middle of the camp and ask some guys where we should set the food so that everyone can have access to it. This guy walks up and is like "The best place to put that is in the trash can! We don't want bread we want meat." someone else pipes in "Bread is bird food and I aint no bird" and to put the cherry on top someone else said " Don't you Jesus boys know that Jesus didn't eat no bread he ate meat!" I was flabbergasted... Jesus was a JEW!!!!! all they ate was bread! To make a long story short we end up walking out and setting the food beside the trail. On the way my companion whispered "I never thought I would meet a prideful hobo" haha so that was interesting..
   Me and my companion are getting along great we are both goofy crosscounty kids so I am super grateful to have him! Chapter of the week is Mosiah 4, When we keep the commandment we find happiness. soooooo KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS!!! haha love you all! look for opporitunities to share the gospel Love -Elder wagner

Monday, May 12, 2014

Embrace the awkward

My companion is awesome. We push ourselves everyday to be better missionaries. In the mission we have this saying " Embrace the awkward" Cause there are so many circumstances that are just plain weird like teaching the resotoration while wadling on your bike trying to keep up with a fast walker or slipping up while teaching a lesson and both you and your companion know it etc.
I loved talking with all of you it was so great to see all your faces I truely am blessed to have such a loving family that includes extended family :) I love you all -Elder Wagner


Our attempt at preventing rain from getting in our shoes it didn't work haha

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Elder Bednar


This past week has been crazy... I guess I will just start with Elder Bednar. Woah. That really just sums it up. He truly is an apostle. The missionaries around these parts call him Shrednar because he just tares people apart haha. At one point he said "if you want to grow a beard as soon as you get off your mission those two years were in vain." That was like a slap to the face! I had just talked to Elder Jorgensen about how that was the first thing I was going to do haha.
But he mainly talked about the difference between a testimony and conversion. They are not the same. The only thing I can do to maybe explain it better is to read a talk called "Converted Unto the Lord" by David A. Bednar. That is my HW assignment for all who are reading this and if you don't read it, having just read this you will be held accountable ;) ahaha. But really it is an amazing.
In other news I am being transferred!!!!! And be for you even ask I have no clue where. I won't even be able to tell you where I am at till next when I email you next week. I do know that I will be biking so I am probably going to be in more populated area.
It is hard thinking about leaving Farmville though. I have developed some very close friendships with the missionaries, our investigators and the members of the branch. Believe it or not I am not looking forward to going to a ward. Simply because when you are in a branch you really are a part of a family. Me and Elder Jorgensen had a especially close bond with the branch president he is an amazing man and I hope that someday I can be like him.
I am looking forward to new challenges and new people. These 3 months have zipped right by, because we have worked so hard. And I expect no different in any other area that I serve. That is the one thing that I will never go back on. Get up at 6:30 and work till 9:30. I have 2 years and I have no intention of wasting this precious time that will dictate the direction I will go for the rest of my life. I love you all and look forward to skyping with you. I have got some pretty crazy stories to tell and I can't wait to hear yours -Elder Wagner


This is a link the the talk Elder Wagner mentioned by Elder Bednar,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"yes lords!" and "thank you Jesus's"


Hey home sounds like things have returned to normal. Except the part about Mom giving a thirty Minute talk!! Where did that come from haha. So a storm is moving up this way? I hope it is not any worse than the one we had last week. There was this huge thunderstorm striking all around us. One was so close it hit a power line near by and knocked out the electricity for like 5 hours. I took a couple of videos that I will send to you guys one day or another.  I got your package thanks a ton for the music and goodies. I am now in possession of 4 toenail clippers! And Yes! I do use them! It’s just that my right foot is about half an inch bigger than the other foot and a lot of the socks I have are pretty thin so they wear out pretty easy.  The package was super appreciated though, there is nothing better than getting a box that says Elder Wagner on it :)   I am looking forward to skyping with you guys too, but I have no idea how that whole deal is going to work. Mostly because I probably won't be in Farmville. The thing is that we don't know if we get transferred till this upcoming Saturday and even then we don't know where we are going till Tuesday.  By the way a three way Skype should work so long as the members computer I am using can handle it.                          

Now for Missionary stuff. These past couple of months I have held Elder Jorgensens hand much more than I would like to admit haha. Now before you start jumping to conclusions you have to realize how people pray around these parts! When they pray holding hands is a must, and just last night I discovered a new aspect of prayer. It was late and we had just finished a lesson with an interesting fellow and I offered to say the closing prayer. So us 3 guys held hands as is customary and then I began to speak and immediately I hear a big MMMMMHHhhhmmm! Yes Jesus! I almost started to laugh but I quickly caught myself as I probably would have been struck down by lightning. I tried to continue to pray with real intent but it was very difficult with all the "yes lords!" and "thank you Jesus's". Sufficed to say I was not able to get use to it so I cut the prayer short haha. People here get very excited about God and we will get plenty of Amen's until we start talking about Joseph Smith haha. That part though is the best because it's when you can see that their wheels in their heads start to turn instead of just mindlessly agreeing.                      
 I have got myself a soccer ball and am working on my soccer skills during the hour that we have before we go to bed. I should be pro by the time I get back haha.                   
 This Saturday We are going listen to Elder Bednar at a special Mission conference so I have been preparing myself by reading a hand full of his talks. Man that guy is a great teacher. One thing he said that kinda sunk pretty deep was that " Life lessons are caught not taught." This concept is pretty important in missionary work. We are trying to get them to make one of the biggest changes they will ever make in this life and believe it or not it does not come through teaching thee perfect lesson. If we can just get them to do 3 things consistently and with real intent they will be converted. 1.) Pray 2.) Read the Book of Mormon 3.) Go to church. That is it. I can throw 100s of balls at someone, but unless they make an attempt at grabbing one we can never play catch. Otherwise they will just be standing there with balls bouncing off their face. It may take a few tries but it is possible. I remember teaching Kysa how to catch a ball back in the good ol days and now she is pro! right Kysa? ha ha           
Well the work here is like the tide when it goes out me and Elder Jorgenesen Scramble to find those precious souls that have been washed up on the shore before the tide comes back in to take them back to the Ocean of worldly life. So far we have had some special moments with people but have not been able to get them home before the tide washes them away.
Though we are teaching a wonderful lady named Nichole! She is scheduled to be baptized on the 24th of May so we are still holding!!!!! And it seems that she is holding on as well :)
Anyway all is good here I learn something new each week and am loving the opportunity I love you all, stay strong and carry on - Elder Wagner

Thursday, April 24, 2014

My testimony is strengthened and my heart is filled with love



Spring has finally reached Virginia. And holy smoke it is beautiful! They Have this tree here called dogwood and when it is in bloom it is absolutely stunning. Everything is green and there is not to much humidity yet. Sometimes its there but so far it hasn't been to bad. The only thing is that the pollen here is insane. They call it the "green haze" its like a mist in some places. It's pretty foreign stuff to me. So foreign my eyes and nose think it is toxic. During the sacrement on easter sunday my eyes and nose were really acting up. I am pretty sure everyone thought I was an emotional wreck or something haha with all the sniffing and blood shot eyes, tears poring down my chin... I think my body is adjusting to it though slowly but surely. I sang in the choir for Easter Sunday. Apparently we did really well, because we got plenty of compliments afterwords. Choir has never been my thing but this time around I kind of enjoyed it :)         I can now understand Virginia's native tongue and am particularly fluent in the old black man dialect. Its awesome. And also makes teaching them a lot easier. The key is to really strain your ears.              My companion Elder Jorgenesen was made district leader a while back so we have been going on a lot of exchanges with the missionaries in our district. An Exchange is when you switch companions for a 24 hour period. That being the case I have had the opportunity to see a lot of different teaching techniques which has bee super beneficial to my learning process. Transfers is in on the 6th of May, which means I will most likely get a new comp and be taken out of Farmville. This also means I am done being trained!!!!!!! WOOO HOOOO!  Of course I will always still be learning but it will be nice to have a little more experience on my hands.             As far as the work goes me and my good old comp are still working our butts off everyday. We walk a ton, we tract a ton, and we teach a ton. Its not to hard to get lessons but thus far we haven't taught anyone past the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the start of the third lesson). I have found though that baring my testimony is my favorite thing to do in lessons. Because even if they tell us they are not interested or they don't feel like our message is worth the time of day. At least I know that I poured my whole soul in to them for that short 45 seconds and that they can make of it what they wish, but I will walk away with my testimony strengthened and my heart filled with of love which helps me bring the spirit to the next random stranger who I talk to. All is well here and it sounds like all is well there so I will leave it at that. Love you guys! -Elder Wagner
Zone P Day



Henry the Recent Convert


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Live, Laugh and love others Unconditionally



Kyle is a married man huh? Well I am super happy for him as well as emms of course.  I was thinking about him all day Saturday. He is such a great brother and honestly my best friend too. I was thinking the other day "How cool would it be if me and Kyle were companions!" We would be so awesome together and have a great time as well. Now he has a different companion who I am sure he will work a lot better with :)  Oh by the way Kyle totally stole my idea about going to a foreign  country and teaching English with the wife.... you dog haha.   Anyway that is to funny about Grandma and Grandpa meeting Elder Chaves!!! my MTC companion.The joke in the MTC was that he was going to go to the wedding and rub it in my face later haha. SUCH a small world. I have decided I don't like fried chicken at all. Of course I am a missionary and I will eat anything, but I won't go out of my way like I did for Bojangles to eat it.              

Soooo Missionary work. As far as proselyting goes we didn't do so hot. We have some how been roped in from service project to service project none of which yielded any new investigators. In fact about the only thing it produced  was a stiff back and a sore butt. Of course service is always good, but saving souls is a little bit higher on the priority level. We always do make good friends and good experience from it though. At one point we found ourselves in the middle of a tick infested forest hauling 60 pound logs on our backs for about 4 hours. It really made me feel like a man! haha.                          

I guess towards the end of my email I write out some of my epiphany's that I had within the last 7 days. And so far I can really only think of one. It was when I was reading the good old BOM and my mind was kinda drifting. You know when your eyes are going over the words but your thoughts are completely somewhere else? Well sometimes that happens, but this time one line just kept on repeating over and over again in my head. "Pure love is not idle." i don't know where that came from but it really rang true to me. I guess it kinda goes along with the theme of things I have been learing which Micheal Jacksons sums up pretty nicely in Man in the Mirror. One line says " If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make that change." Live laugh and love others unconditionally "as Jesus loves you, try to show kindness in all that you do" I love you all so much stay strong and carry one -Elder Wagner

Monday, April 7, 2014

Light Bulb!


Hello family :) Sounds like you got an extra session of conference dad haha. That is some really cool stuff though. I liked the line that "pain is inevitable in life but suffering is optional." Its sooo true.  I really love Bro Sanders and hope to see him when I get back. Kyle and Emms are getting married a lot sooner than I thought! I’m sure that will be an interesting experience being on the other side of a wedding. Probably a lot less stress :) haha Be sure to send me some pictures though!                         
 General Conference was pretty cool I have never been much of a note taker I like to just sit and take it all in. Back in previous years that meant lying unconscious on the couch haha. But this time I really tried to apply some of the principles being taught. My favorite talk was probably Uchdorfs talk on be the same in the dark as you are in the light. That really hit me. I want to be Elder Kaleb Hugh Wagner all the time. And not try to be some other shadow of another missionary or a different version of myself. I just have to incorporate the things I am learning to who I am.                                          
 In the branch me and Elder Jorgensen have this program to help the priesthood get their home teaching done. We call and remind people to do it and if their companion is busy that week then we will go out with them. It hasn't always been that successful though. So we were going to call the elders and high priests directly after priesthood session which would have probably generated a 100% yield haha. But it was too late to call them so we will see how it goes this week... Oh yeah there is this old black member in the branch who thinks it called "home schooling" hahaha I wanted to correct him but I couldn't bring myself to do it.                        
We got dropped again this week, by someone who had a baptismal date. It was really hard. I couldn't help but think to myself. "What could I have done better?" "Did we go about teaching him the wrong way?" I know everybody has their agency, but it still is emotionally taxing. He sent us text telling us he doesn't want us coming by anymore and that he wants to come by and give us his book of Mormon back. After reading that I don't think either of us said a word for about 10 mins which is beyond unusual for us. It’s awesome helping preparing people for baptism, but I think I am ready to find someone who has Been prepared. That would be to easy though haha.                            
I had another sad, but cool experience this week. We were asked by our branch president to go visit an elderly sister in the branch who has been under careful watch for the last couple of years because her health has been decreasing.  Her son in law came with us and we helped him give her a blessing. In the blessing he told her that her time was finished and that she needed to rest for a short season. The spirit was super strong and his blessing was guided by it for sure. A little less than two days later she passed. Words cannot describe the feeling in that room when the blessing was given, but everyone in their knew that she was ready to move on. I will never forget that experience.                      
  Also this week I had a light bulb moment. I found myself wanting Sunday to come quicker so I could take the sacrament. It then dawned on me that I had never really thought about the sacrament other than on Sunday. I have come to the conclusion that if we are not looking forward to renewing our covenants then we aren't truly repenting. It's not like we are committing these huge transgressions, but there are thing we do that need the cleansing power of the atonement. I am so grateful to be washed clean every Sunday and start a new!  Hope everything is well in Oregon! Remember that God does love you as do I -Elder Wagner  
P.S. Can you send me a dictionary? I need to translate Jesus the Christ haha                                                   
First time eating five guys burgers and fries (Potatoes from Rexburg)

This is what happens when you open the door to the missionaries!
Conference picture

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Elder Kaleb Wagner’s email home 3/31/14




I am convinced that the lord does not want me to email.. Every week something happens. Either its snow, terrible planning, or the computers shut off at the library for no reason. Right now I am emailing at the senior missionary's apartment just for that reason. Elder and Sister Chapels are their name and they are the best. Since the branch isn't to large meals and rides are limited. So they are pretty much like our parents away form home. Today they took us out and played tennis for a little bit and a couple weeks ago we played ticket to ride with them over at our apartment on P day. I am so grateful for them. I hope that someday I can go on another mission ;) You and Dad should plan on going someday!               

We got dropped by three people within the last two weeks two of which were soooo promising. Ones fiancĂ© told her to stop taking lessons from us, because he wants her to go to his family's church. And the guy who's car we washed who even had a baptismal date that he prayed about and received an answer for dropped us because his wife didn't like us to much... I don't know why, I think me and Elder Jorgensen are pretty hip. Besides that it has been a great two weeks! Missionary work is actually pretty fun and being bolds my favorite thing. We were teaching the restoration lesson to this black guy on his porch. He was chewing and drinking at the same time while we taught. When we started talking about prophets and how they lead and guide us. I just busted in there and said “Modern day prophets like Joseph have revealed to us a new commandment called the word of wisdom" haha so we taught him the word of wisdom right there whilst he was sipping on his beer and spitting out chew. He was slightly drunk so I don't know how effective it was but we got a return appointment next week!                                                                      
 I really like black folk. There is a recent convert named Henry who we are preparing to receive the priesthood. He is 84 years old and quite a hoot. On Sunday he was talking about how the dry cleaner wouldn't give him back his suit  or something and he told them in as southern accent as you can get " If I don't get my SUIT! thers gonna be trouble in the lan." I busted up laughing it almost brought me to tears haha. But he is such a loving guy. Last week he told us that he wouldn't miss a lesson with us for a million dollars while grinning and gave us big old hugs. That almost brought me to tears too. I'll send you guys a picture of him when I can.                                    
There are a couple of strange things about Virginia. 1.) Apparently people don't really bike around here because cars have no idea how to deal with us when we are on the road. They won't pass you unless we get on the side walk. It is really annoying. 2.) In Farmville there are hardly any side walks. 3.) everyone has some sort of carpentry experience I don't know why...                                        
All is well over here and I hope all is well over there I love you all so much stay strong and carry on - Elder Wagner