Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Becoming A Good Person

Hey family! It's good to hear that you had such a fun Thanksgiving.  Do you know that Elder G and I spend our Thanksgiving stuffing ourselves. Course the stuffing was not as good as your's dad but it was good. We had three back to back to back dinners, I slept really really good that night. 
   This week has been a week of miracles. We found a lot of really cool and interesting people. A Russian kissed me four times on the cheek. I know it's his culture but I still felt really weird. My companion Elder G felt the same way. I feel like all my stories I can't relate very well over email. And I get exhausted when I think about trying haha. I know I am a wimp....
    Lately I have been thinking what it really means to be a good person. A lot of this thought was brought on by Stan our Russian friend. His Mother was a prostitute and he was born in the slums of Communist Russia. He described to us the absolutely evil things that happened to him growing up. Later on in his life He defected from the Red army in the 80s, came to America and found Christ. He is an amazing humble man who just by looking at him you can tell he is filled with love and compassion. He is not the most intelligent, talented, or funny guy, but good radiates from him. 
     I want to be a good man. There is nothing in this world that matters more than developing attributes of Christ. In these last few months my desires have changed. My whole mission I have wanted to become the best missionary possible for good and also bad reasons. The bad being for self recognition, and to make myself and my family proud. Now I view my mission as preparation for the rest of my life. I don't want to come home and be like a lot of other return missionaries I have met out here who rest on those two years as the single most important thing they have ever done and will tell you stories on stories about how great they were and they were Ap and zone leaders and will council you on how to be better, but when push comes to shove they won't even go out of their way to say hi to someone who it's their first time coming to church especially when it is blatantly obvious that that is the case. 
    To me all the bold words, finding and teaching skills you develop don't mean a single thing If you can't apply them to real life situations without the badge and without the expectation to baptize that month. I know I am ranting right now and I need to calm down, but I have been noticing that a lot of missionaries hearts including mine are not in the right place. 
     I have been most impressed on my mission by good humble people whose only desire is to better the world through the gospel. These people are not loud about it. They show it by where and how they spend their time. These people don't have to be Bishops or Elders Quorum Presidents. These people are the ones that call us and ask in what way can they help. That don't have to be poked and prodded to share the Gospel or to sign up for cleaning the church. They do it inherently because they have a testimony of what the gospel has done for them and most importantly have not forgotten about it. 
     I desperately want to be that person and it has taken 22 months for this thought process I have been having to come full circle. I am glad that I am starting to figure this out before I come home haha. 
    Sorry again for the rant take from it what you will! I love you all so much and look forward to hearing from you. Love Elder Wagner.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Hey all. This week was crazy. So I have calculated and am 98% sure that I am going to end my mission here in Spottsylvania. I am staying here to kill Elder Hopkins (this is his last transfer), and then I will stay here to get the new Zone leader adjusted. After that I will have one Transfer left and it wouldn't make sense to move me at that point. When I first came out it seemed like the mission was a dream and back home was the reality. As I get closer and closer to going home, the mission has become reality and home is the dream. Whenever I think about time my brain short circuts for a moment at the thought that it has been 4 years since I started Senior year. It completely dumbfounds me. And now I am looking at Kysa's senior picture!!! Regardless of all that things are going fantastic here!
   There are 4 people right now that I either have worked with or am with who are only 2 weeks away from making covenants with God. K and P I have already told you about. O  is someone that me and Elder H began to teach but passed off to other missionaries and the newest fellow we met last who's name is J. To get straight to the point I had a hard time trying to set him on date because he became to over joyed with the original prospect of "when you know this is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the priesthood authority of God?" At this he kept on Saying Yes and how this is something that he desperately wanted and needed. We eventually set him for October 10th.
   Flash back to the day before and we had a little time to tract before our dinner appointment. Some college kids Pulled into the next house so we began to talk to them. They were not interested in the least bit so we moved on. With little success for the rest of the cultasack. We head back to the car. Once again we walk by the house where the college kids pulled in they had all gone inside except for an older fellow who was hard at work in the drive way. As we walked by him. I was prompted to talk to him. I ignored it because they had just rejected us about 5 mins ago. We keep on walking and the prompting comes again. This time I follow it. As we meet the fellow it turns out that he is actually the father. Without hesitation he invites us back the following day. During the appointment he tells us about how his wife just left him and his father dies a month ago. He said " I believe you were sent here." That we were.
   The Spirit will tell you all things which you should do. If you follow him you will be blessed as well as others. If you don't you are missing out. Love you all! Elder Wagner

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 24, 2015

 The other day I was on going on exchanges with some biking Elders and we had a rude encounter. We were not quite sure where to lock up our bikes so we see street sign which was almost on this guys lawn. It was kind of one of those places where the person marks it as his territory simply because he runs his personal lawn mower over it if you know what I mean. Also smack dab in the middle of his lawn he parked a classy muscle car so we figured it was no problem. About 30 mins later we are talking to this slightly slower nice old country guy outside when this old dude pulls up in a car and says (In different words) "Hey get your darned bikes off of my lawn!!!!" I respond matching his voice "Is it your Pole???" He yells back " No, but it is on my lawn!!" Then in a much gentler voice I say "oh we our terribly sorry, that must be such a bother we will remove them immediately." The old dude Peels out and the country guy that we were talking to says in his slow southern drawl "U can park your bikes on my lawn if u want, I wont yell atcha." "why thank you!" says my companion for the day . We were laughing about that for the rest of the day.
   There are a couple cool things happening but the number one is Pat the lady that I wrote about las week/ We have had some really awesome lessons with her since I last mentioned her. She  is so ready. She is one of those people who just wants to repent but never knew how. She is a reading machine as well. Its absolutley lovely meeting with people who want to progress rather then spending all of our efforts trying to get them to want to.
   Well that is about all the news that is news. Finnley is adorable, you guys look great and so does Oregon. The VA is about to get real pretty real soon, as fall starts coming in. I love you all so much and pray for you often -Elder Wagner

August 31, 2015
*A side note - Kaleb was born in WV, his dad went to Dental School in Morgantown WV so we lived there for 5 years then we moved to Waynesburg PA were his dad worked in a clinic 30 mins away in WV.  We lived in Greensburg PA for 6 years and attended a small Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there. Season was a teenager who got baptized while were in this small branch. )* Their family had the missionaries over for dinner (Elder Wagner and his companion) and made the connections. It's a small world in the church. (Kaleb was 4 years old when we moved to Oregon) I learned about pepperoni rolls from a friend while we were living in WV, they were created so they could take them down in the coal mines for their lunches. WV is know for their coal mines. * K'Lynne
I have really been digging back in my memory lately to my eastern days. It was really cool to meet Season. She is in our ward and known as Sister T. We were talking about our backgrounds and things started to line up! She asked me if my name was Kyle and if I had a little sister named Krystal. I told her the real deal and she remembers everything. She remembered you and Dad really well. She said that Sister Wagner probably won't remember me, but I told her that you would haha. Also I was talking to a member in our ward who is from West Virginia and pepperoni rolls came up. I told him that I had not had an in years! So the next day he went to the store and bought me some! I will send you a picture. I don't think it was the legit stuff though haha.
   So We are continuing to work with Pat. That clever pide piper has really been on her these last 2 weeks. She was so supposed to be Baptized on the 5th but last Sunday morning her husband fell and bruised his kidney and she had to take him to the hospital. This Sunday something went wrong with her pancreas and it put her in the hospital for 3 days! We went to visit her and she said this is either really Bad and God wants me to avoid you guys at all costs or this is really good and the devil wants me to avoid you at all costs. We assured her it was the latter haha.
   Something I learned from that though is Usually God does not take away our trials, rather he gives us the strength to be able to bear them. We learn how to do that through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being here has really changed my perspective on a lot of things. I don't think my testimony is any stronger than when it was when I left. However I have come to know what my responsibility is now because it is true. Sure I know the scriptures a lot better, as well as how to answer the tough questions, but most importantly I am learning how to be a better person. I thought I was a pretty good guy before the mission and I was, but there are so many times when I look back at some of the stuff I did and literally do a face palm. Repentance is real folks!
    We ran into a guy this week who told us that he was raised in a church that taught him that he should not talk to us. He had no idea why, but didn't want to hear the message. When people say things of that nature it really makes me do a double take. I imagine in my head someone putting their fingers in their ears and yelling LALALALA I can't hear you! Usually people do that kind of thing when the other person is saying something that is true and it is easier to just shut them out rather then hear them out. Preach My Gospel says find them that will receive you so fortunately we don't spend to much time with people who do that kind of thing.
   Overall it has been a great week. two members in the ward helped us find new investigators this week which is always amazing. Inviting friends over for dinner with the missionaries is the best way to do it. it can be intimidating but if you have got a good companionship it always turns out well. Try it!!
   Love Elder Wagner

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Aug 10, 2015
Hey family! This was an interesting week to say the least. T is
postponing his baptism till next weekend because he wants some of his
non member friends to come. 80% of the people who attend baptisimal
services get baptized as well. So we are not to worried about him
waiting a week haha.
 Unfortunately I won't be able to teach him in between that time
because I am getting Transfered!! I got a call on Saturday night that
I will now be serving as a zone leader in who knows where haha. I was
pretty positive that I was leaving, but I am kind of sad because
school literally gets started here a week after I leave so I will miss
the hordes of people that is usually the  norm around here. I am
always ready for a change though.
  We had an amazing miracle this week. So that picture with me and
Elder N and the city in the back round. We asked some fellow near
by to take the picture. Afterwards we talked to him and eventually the
conversation turned from him saying he was a logical thinker to
unloading a lot of his struggles that he had been going through that
left him tearing up. He is a retired navy guy who has a professional
career and is about to retire but he told us that he has been asking
himself desperately "what's the point?" He feels like he is existing
but he is not really living. He has been such a logical linear thinker
for most of his 50 years of living but for some reason he can't
describe, his emotions are taking control. For example he hasn't talked
to his Grandpa since he was a kid but he is missing him really badly.
   Simply put he really unloaded a lot of things that the plan of
salvation so easily would answer and give him comfort. It was one of
those times where it was so real. We talk to people everyday and try
to pull some concerns or questions out of them but there is no sense
of urgency or importance to them. Then here comes someone who simply
took a picture of us and then after talking we find out that the only
reason that he is still living (suicide ) is because his kids need
   We testified of a lot of things In those few moments and put our
whole heart into it. He became very interested in meeting with
missionaries, we got all of his info and gave him the Book of Mormon
with some chapters to read.
  I feel like I am not giving this situation justice and how much it
impacted me, but the Lord is always going to put someone in our way
who needs us. It may be big, it may be small. Either way it is such a
big boost to run an errand for the Lord. I will probably not see him
again. But I Will treasure the experience

Aug 17, 2015
Hey All
   This week has flashed by quick, there are a lot of responsibilities that I have now that I never had to worry about haha. The Area I am in now is Spotsylvania. Its rather country but it has a lot of suburbish areas as well. People here are really open for some reason. We taught about 75% of the people we talked to which is really good. There are a lot of people here who are right on the edge of being baptized. Its kind of unusual for me, for the last 10 months I have been shotgunned into an area where not to much is happening and we have to start from scratch. That is not the case here. My companions name is Elder H he has a bout 3 months left on his mission. He is really awesome I have already learned a lot so much from him. I am probably going to end up killing him off (missionary talk which means he will send him home at the end of his mission) which will be sad, but I definitely want to stay here for a while. " Perhaps until the day I die( when he comes home the end of January)" haha. Who knows.
    We had a really cool experience this week. We were about to start teaching this girl on her porch when her Mom came out with arms crossed and her tough momma face on. She sat into the lesson and began to object to everything we said. I got to the point where we handed her Moroni 10:4,5 (4. And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.) and asked her to read it. She read out loud and by the time she finished her whole countenance changed. I wish I could reenact it for you! She covered her hand over her mouth and it was quiet for a little bit, then she said "I am going to look into this." We asked to her to explain what she was feeling and all she could say was " I am going to look into this more."  She committed herself to come to church and we commited her  to be baptized on a specific date; she readily agreed.
   I have never seen such a change come over someone so quickly my whole mission. Something in that scripture stuck out to her in a way that only made sense to her. The scriptures really do have the power to soften peoples hearts. I saw it happen right before my eyes. I am really grateful we have so much time to study them every morning and experience that change everyday.
    I love you all and love to here your stories keep em coming and I will send some your way as well.

Elder Wagner

Monday, August 3, 2015

For Pedro Rivera

July 27, 2015 *Elder Wagner's good friend from High School died suddenly and this was his response.

I knew Pedro extremely well. I studied with him, I ran with him, I worked with him. I can't believe it. I have actually thought about him a lot on my mission, not just once but multiple times. Which is odd, because I don't think about people from home to much.  He was the definition of integrity a great leader and a wonderful example of what a true friend should be like. I have known him for a long time, but we became better friends my senior year when me and Max convinced him to join Cross country. I remember a race where he set a goal to break 20mins for the 5k so I told him that I would run with him and set the pace so he would not fall back. He did it! He was more of a sprinter type so later on in track we would always joke about who would win in a 200 meter Sprint. Just as I had walked him through how to do the whole distance thing he walked me through how to be a sprinter. He even showed me how to use blocks haha. He beat me by a second which is pretty good when it is that short of a race. 
   We always sat next to each other in class, and on the way out we would talk about what we thought we knew about politics, ethics and history. He was wicked smart, and loved to teach people how to do an equation or how to an easier way to memorize material. He never acted like he was superior to anyone and related with everyone. I love him and have nothing but complete respect for who he was and what he did. 
   This life is not the end. I know it. Whether we live 80 years, 20 years, 15 months or 2 days it does not matter, we will all shut our eyes at some point. It is easier for us to accept someone's death when they are 90, because they have lived their life, and had every opportunity. But for someone who's life is cut short we often say " they had so much ahead of them" which in our perspective they did, but in Gods there is so much more in store. 
   Pray for the Rivera family that their hearts will be comforted. 
  Honestly after this news I feel like going through the details of this weeks events should be saved for another time. Sufficeth to say worldly pursuits like knowledge, power, work, play, and pleasure crumble before moments as real and as sobering as this. Why? because the only thing that matters is love, true unselfish, undefiled love. When that pure love is at risk of being broken we begin to wonder about the big picture, we start to ask the big questions. I know that those questions can be answered. Right now I have the opportunity to help others find those answers. 

   Love Elder Wagner
Aug 3, 2015
Hey family this email will be brief. Our good friend T is getting
baptized on the 14th! He just kind of fell into our hands and readily
accepted to be baptized! It always seems to happen that way. We work
really hard  then the Lord places someone right under our noses. We
are really excited for him.
We were around our mission President last night and he took me and
Elder N aside and said. "I got a really interesting comment from some
people in your ward." At that we got kind of nervous haha. " some
people have told me that you are the best missionaries that this ward
has seen. You are friends with everyone, you work hard and most
importantly you don't flirt." Apparently that had been a problem in
the past.
 That really made me happy, we were not seeing as many results as we
expected but the ward appreciates our work. It is fulfilling :)
 Read your scriptures everyday and pray
Love Elder Wagner

July 20, 2015
Hey Family!
I don't have much time today so I will just summarize. We have this
area appointment book we are digitizing everything which has been pretty stressful.                                                                                                                                                                                We are taking all of the records of our pi's,
investigators, converts, and less actives for the last 6-8 years and
typing them into our I pads. It is exhaustive but when it is done it
will be an enormous help to hasten the work.
   This week has not been the easiest. I struggle a lot with
executing. I usually know what I need to do most of the time at least
it is in my brain. However turning my head knowledge into action has
not been the easiest. I guess that is where the spirit comes in. I
guess the reason this is on my mind is because yesterday we had a
lesson that did not go so well. There was not much we could have done
differently but I was still annoyed at myself for not handling the
situation better.
   We were teaching 2 girls who are best friends they both seemed to
have a debilitating case of ADHD. It took an hour to read about 8
verses. The spirit was not there and I was loosing my patience and
Elder N thought it could not have gone better. We asked them if
they were actually going to look into this and they both said no. Then
Elder N spouts out "sweet when can we meet with you next?!?" In
my head I was just thinking that we should drop them right then and
there, but my companions optimism got the best of me. We told them,
that if they would read and text us about it, that we would meet with
them again. Lo and behold we got a text from them this morning! They
have both read!
    Negative emotions are never good. It can turn a good situations bad
and a bad situation worse. So why even have them? Of course it is not
easy when those feeling do come, but I made a decision before hand not
to let my negative feeling affect anyone else. Especially my awesome
    So that is what I learned this week. I love you all
Elder Wagner

Monday, July 13, 2015

2 awesome people

Happy Monday! We are getting in the swing of the bike. It takes us
about 30mins for us to bike there. But we don't bike everyday the
members are really helping us out. Occasionally we will get a ride in
the morning and then hope and pray we can get a ride back haha.
Something that is unfortunate is our day is cut short due to the
travel. We have to leave by 8:10pm most of the time because we talk to
people on the way back. One time though we had a lesson that got out
at 9:30pm and we thought we had a ride. We find out at 9:40pm that we
actually didn't. So we got to bike back home and got there at about
10:15pm. That's really late for us haha. So we are working it out so
that never happens again.
  We are teaching 2 awesome people right now and I know I have at
least mentioned C. She is slowly progressing. When we first met
her she said she did not believe in God and now she believes that he
is possibly there! One step at a time haha. The spirit is really
working on her right now she can feel it and her family members are
noticing the difference as well. She has some unique challenges though
that would stop her from being baptized quickly. She is going to be
finishing the BOM within the next month probably. She is really fun to
teach. She has got brilliant questions that put a little extra spunk
into my personal studies. It's great.
  K is our other Investigator she is also actively reading and
praying. She came to a baptismal service yesterday where we were
actually asked last minute to present the restoration. It worked out
really well because we were able to directly aim it at her. Afterwords
a member asked her why she was investigating and she she said " if
someone is claiming to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ I
would not be Christian if I didn't want to look into it." :)
Halllelujah some people are able to think clearly. What makes them
able to do that comes down to being humble.
   Elder N continues to entertain and inspire me. There is not
one spot of guile in that man. I want to be like him haha.
I love you all so much - Elder Wagner

I am not naming her this time because I don't want to get attached... Like I did with Victoria my last bike haha