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