Monday, December 9, 2013

A Couple of Pictures

Hi everybody!

So for whatever reason Elder Kalilimoku's sd card works with these computers while mine refuses to do so...I'll work on that. But for the time being, these happen to be two of the only photos of me on Elder Kalilimoku's camera...The photos are of us posing in front of a very fancy car and generally just being really good missionaries. We are thinking that one of these photos would make a good album cover when we start our RM boy band.

Um, what else happened this week? It has been kind of a weird week... We have been having a lot of trouble getting our investigators to progress lately, which is a little discouraging. But, on the other hand, this has been a great week for finding new investigators. We have really been led to some wonderful new people. One of our new investigators is an old man named Norman Tate, who I met my very first week here in Liberty and always thought we should try to teach. We would see him on occasion and talk to him. But it wasn't until an exchange this week with our zone leaders that I felt prompted to actually schedule a lesson with him. We went and taught him the first lesson and it went really well. Brother Tate is a great guy. He is a widower who lives alone with his cat and a couple donkeys named Rosie and Junior. We are really glad to have the chance to talk with him.

We also met a wonderful new family to teach. We just happened to be walking by as they were raking their yard and offered to help. Then we helped them put some christmas decorations up. And they turned out to be very receptive to our message.

It was a good week. However, we lost our companion Elder Hendershot for this coming week, which is a bummer. One of our zone leaders has been made an assistant, so Elder Hendershot had to go be comps with the other zone leader for the last week of the transfer.

In related news, this is the last week of the transfer! I am pretty sure I will be staying here in liberty, but, just in case, it would probably be best for y'all to hold off on mail for the time being.

Thank you so much Brother Minor for the Christmas package and the cards! Those Harry and David munchies were very tasty! My companions all wish that they had a Brother Minor! Seriously, thank you so much.

Love you all! Make sure you all stay warm and safe in all that snow. Hopefully sam doesn't crash the car again on his way home. Tell him he probably should avoid watching top gear while driving!



Monday, December 2, 2013


Dear Family,

Well, Thanksgiving was really good! I ended up not eating at the librarian's house, but with our good friend Sedrick, who is a 21-year-old recently reactivated member (and yes I spelled his name right). Sedrick recently opened up his tiny, one-bedroom apartment to a family of four that recently became homeless, so we all had thanksgiving together in Sedrick's tiny apartment! It was pretty great. All the food was really tasty. We have been teaching the family, and things are going very well with them. They have two little kids--a 5-month-old and a 23-month-old who are both absolutely adorable.

Our other investigators are still doing well. One of our most rapidly progressing investigators, Steven, is having difficulty getting off of work at Walmart to come to church. He is a very quiet shy person, so we went in to walmart to talk to his manager, Mizz Patty, for him. And it did NOT go well. She wasn't very happy about us coming in to talk to her. So we just smiled at her and held in our tears (just kidding) and wished her a good day and left. Its okay though--Steven is currently working three jobs so he seems pretty apt at finding work. Maybe he will quit the Walmart job at some point or something like that.

Things are good here in Texas. Thank you so much to Jordan's mom and family for dropping me off an AWESOME thanksgiving package! Thank you to Brother Minor for all your letters! I hope your marathon went / goes well! Thank you so much Vivi for writing my so much frequently than your husband!

Love you all!


Monday, November 25, 2013

It's Cold!

Hi family!

It is really cold here in Texas right now! I am actually wearing my winter coat. Wasn't expecting that. So there is really not much to report this week. My companions are GOOFS. Seriously. Good missionaries, but goofs. For example, every time we drive to our investigator Kalilah's house, we pass a big pack of dogs, and Elder Kalilimoku cannot resist rolling down his window and barking at them like a maniac till they surround our car and chase us down the road. As another example, one of Elder Hendershot's favorite activities is to start telling a story about his childhood--except that it isn't really from his childhood, but rather the plotline of some famous movie like Transformers or Super 8. The story usually starts out somewhat believable until he drops a line like, "and then a giant came and busted down the door and told me I was a wizard."

Oh! I forgot to mention that last P-day, after I emailed, Elder Hendershot sprained his ankle. So this week has been a pretty slow week. We spent a full day inside, and since then he has been limping around Liberty. We also had zone conference, which was really good.

I am going to miss you all so much on Thanksgiving! I don't really know what our plans are.... no one has really signed up to feed us yet, but something will probably come up. We have only a half p-day today so that we can have a full p-day on thursday. If no one wants to feed us, we will probably just kick it with the other missionaries.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!



Saturday, November 16, 2013

No Baptism

Hi family,

Well the baptism didn't happen this week. That's okay though! Kalilah is still very ready to be baptized soon. He just had some family drama happen the last few days before that made him feel like it wasn't the right time.

Oh by the way, sorry my email didn't come yesterday. Apparently libraries close on Veteran's Day, so we didn't have computer access. I just back from transfer meeting. Still here in Liberty! Elder Henrie has departed from us (sad day-- I will forever miss the sight of Elder Henrie gnawing on a whole and wholly unadorned cucumber every morning for breakfast) but Elder Kalilimoku and I are still here along with our new companion. I'll make sure to take pictures of us and send them. I'm sorry mom! I know I said I'd have pictures this week from the baptism--I'll just take random pictures this week and send them to you.

So, the reason the baptism didn't happen is that Kalilah got into a fight with his Grandma and said some things he regretted. Then the next night he was out late with his friend which worried his Mom, who had been out working all day as a security guard at a prison. So we went to go find Kalilah and found him almost immediately. When we got him home, his mom wanted to give him a whoopin', which terrified Kalilah. We told Kalilah we would try to convince his mother not to give him a whoopin'. This turned into a long emotional scene. I won't try to write out everything that happened. But it wasn't a great night. Anyway, Kalilah's still working towards baptism. The great thing is seeing Kalilah so ready to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ in his life, to be able to repair the mistakes he has made and move on from them.

Other than that, we had a couple of fun days. We do service at the library fairly regularly, and this week we helped them make scarecrows to put out in front of the building. We also had a really good dinner with a family in our ward--which doesn't happen as often as you would think.

Our old investigator, Anna, the very first person I ever taught in the field, has started progressing again (for a while she was not). She has been praying and reading the Book of Mormon and her faith has been increasing, and she seems to be seeing a lot of blessings in her life--with her work situation , etc.

My friend from my MTC district, Elder Zendejas, got his visa and left for Brazil yesterday. It was kinda sad not seeing him at transfer meeting today, but that's okay.

Thank you everyone! I hope you are all doing well!



Monday, November 11, 2013

Transfer Two!

Hi Everyone!

I cannot believe it is transfer two already. The time is flying by. Our new companion, Elder Hendershot is an awesome guy. He's kinda goofy. As an example: this week we were walking through a parking lot, and Elder Hendershot pointed up at a building and said, "Hey let's go to Taco Barn!" We looked up at the building to find it was called, "Tobacco Barn."

So things are going well here in Liberty. We are having a little bit of a struggle getting Kalilah back on track after his setback last week. However, we started teaching his older brother Steven (who goes by a number of aliases, including but not limited to: phatcat, slowmotion, feecee, lil stevie.) Steven is a great guy; he wants to be baptized on the first of December, so hopefully he and Kalilah will both be ready by that date.

Other than that, our investigator, Anna, has been progressing a lot. We've had some great lessons with her this week; she is actually keeping commitments and has been seeing blessings in her life.

Hope everything is going well back home. I'm gonna miss y'all a lot come thanksgiving time!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Keep Calm and Gospel On

Dear Family,

So I definitely enjoyed the time change as much as you did Mom. I realized when I woke up yesterday morning that fall daylight savings days are the ONLY two days during the entire mission where you are authorized to sleep for longer than 8 hours. So its pretty special.

This has been a somewhat harder week. Still good, but a lot of our investigators have been struggling and as missionaries we have been struggling to remain focused and purpose-driven. I guess this is a common thing right at the end of transfers (can't believe we are now on the last week of my first transfer!). Anyway, our investigators Brandon and Tyrin are practically not investigators anymore. Tyrin suddenly lost interest; Brandon's mother had a stroke, and so he's dealing with that. Another of our young investigators, Brittany (who is 13 years old) was caught smoking the other day. She lives with her Grandpa, and he yelled at her all day until she was so angry that she could barely talk to us when we came over. It was, however, really wonderful to see how a prayer and a brief lesson on the Gospel could help Brittany calm down a little bit. Later that day, our young friend Kennedy, who is not our investigator because her mother says she can't get baptized, but who often participates in our lessons and is probably the wisest ten-year-old I have ever met, asked if she could doodle on the back of my planner. I handed over the planner, and when I got it back it said, "Keep Calm and Gospel On." I thought that was pretty adorable.

On a bright note, Kalilah is getting baptized this Sunday! He's really nervous about it because he doesn't like being in front of lots of people, but other than that he is very ready for baptism. I'm really sorry I haven't sent any pictures Mom (no I haven't lost my camera), but I will be sure to take lots of pictures at the Baptism and then send you a bunch next Monday.

Have a great week everybody!


Elder Wilder 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls and Eternal Salvation

Dear Family,

So yesterday was a lot of fun. Lately our district has been trouble getting members to come to church--which is a problem because coming to church is a big deal because it's a place where they can feel the spirit. So we decided to unload our secret weapon on a family of investigators: Cinnamon Rolls. This is a tactic developed by master tactician Sister Crawford, our mission president's wife. It goes something like this:

First we made a big gooey pan of cinnamon rolls (just the pull-apart kind you get in a can at Wal-Mart). Then we brought them to the door of our investigators and knocked. Eventually some bleary-eyed soul stumbled to the door.

"Good morning!" we said. Then we went about the house, wafting the delicious smell of cinnamon rolls all over the place. A couple of our investigator friends, Tyrin, Brandon, and Brian, were having a sleepover so we actually went into the room they were all sleeping in and held the pan under their noses. Within no-time, everybody was up. The hard part was getting all these guys to actually ready. "No cinnamon rolls until you are ready to go," we said. Is this teaching by the spirit? Nope. Its bribery, pure and simple. But hey, sometimes you just gotta do what works. Sometimes you have to think like a sleepy twelve-year-old boy. Sometimes cinnamon rolls are the gateway to eternal salvation.

Just kidding.

But it did work. We got five people to church that day! And it happened to be the Sunday of the Primary Program, which was adorable.

Then later that day, The Liberty Ward split to create a new Liberty Spanish Branch. This is kinda sad--I will miss all the bilingual lessons and sacrament prayers--but also exciting.

Then that evening, we were able to attend the baptism of Pablo, an investigator of the Hermanas in our district. This was really cool. Pablo said he felt "como una pluma"--like a feather--after the ordinance was performed. Its cool to see these simple principles and ordinance changing people's hearts and lives.

Well. I would tell y'all about what happened the whole week leading up to Sunday but who can even remember that far back? Not me.

So there is a sister in our ward who said she knows Reid Arne! Apparently she went to BYU Hawaii; so that's cool. The Arnes must just be really popular, because one of the sisters in my district in the MTC said she was really good friends with Louis.

I hope everyone is having a great week! Thanks so much to Vivi for writing me! Glad to hear you and Justin are doing well. Also, as always, thanks to Brother Minor, my rock and my foundation when it comes to mail.

Elder Wilder

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halfway through my first transfer what?

Dear family,

First of all: Happy birthday to Mom and Rachel! I feel terribly that I didn't remember to say that last Monday but know that when the seventeenth rolled around I was thinking about you. I hope it was great. Ray, I'm sorry you got so sick. For a late birthday present I'll tell you a little about all the stray dogs that live here in Liberty. They are everywhere. Our investigator has a big dog named Pookie that has to be kept chained not because he is mean but because his favorite hobby is to sniff the front fenders of cars while they are trying to drive. As people try to drive out of the little dirt road, he dodges in front of their cars again and again--I don't know how he is still alive--causing the driver to yell, "Pookie! POOKie STOP it! POOKIE!" in a Southern Black person accent. Its really funny. So now that is one of our favorite things to yell at stray dogs we see as we walk from place to place. "Pookie! Pookie stop it!" There is also another dog that got run over a while back and so neither of his back legs work. But that doesn't stop him--he hops around on two legs, all around the neighborhood. He's pretty fast too. I'll try to take a picture of him for you.

I loved your letter Mom! No, Liberty is not the inner city. Its very country. Its just kind of a poor area. A lot of the areas we work in look like the kind of swampy foresty trailer park-y places you would expect to see in the backwoods of Louisiana or something. Of course, it basically is the backwoods of yeah.

We have an awesome couple of new investigators: Tyrin and Brandon. Tyrin is the 16-year-old brother of Kalilah, our investigator who will hopefully be getting baptized in a couple of weeks. And Brandon is Tyrin's best friend. Brandon is probably about 5 feet tall and only has one arm, and is probably the sweetest and bravest kid I've ever met in my life. We had invited Tyrin over and over again to listen in on our lessons with Kalilah, but he showed absolutely NO interest. Then one night were outside talking to Kalilah (and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes) and Tyrin just randomly came out and joined us. It took us all a few minutes to realize how weird this was. And then one of us asked, in so many words, "Tyrin what on earth are you doing out here?" He said he had been playing a video game and then a "deep thought" came over him, and he paused the game and came outside. He was incredibly receptive to what we had to say and we committed him to baptism that evening. He said he has had a feeling for a while now that he needs to get baptized.

A few nights later we invited him to mutual and his friend Brandon came. At the end of mutual we took them on a little church tour and had a lesson in the chapel. I recited the first vision (Yay me! in our mission the first vision goes from verse 10 to "This is my beloved son; hear him" so its pretty long.) When we asked Brandon how he felt, he said it was a good feeling and then, in his own words, "I've never felt this way before."

A few nights ago we got them and a few other friends to come to the Ward Halloween party. They dressed as vampires--by which I mean, they wore black and red capes. It was fantastic.

Thanks so much to Brother Minor and to Vivi for your letters! And a big thanks to Sarah Jones for the Halloween package! Y'all are the best.


Elder Wilder

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cockroaches were invented by the Devil

Dear Family,

I cannot believe it is already P-day again. Its been a good week! We taught like twenty something lessons--which both my companions say is a lot. No Mom, we haven't really had a lot of dinner appointments but we kinda got that figured out this Sunday so I think we will be getting more from now on. And yes we have a car, but we like to walk when possible. We also like to ride bikes, but unfortunately because I was supposed to be in Brazil, I don't have a bike...Elders Henrie and Kalilimoku both do, so it has been a companionship goal to find me one. Sometimes we like to ask random drunk guys on the street if we can have their bike--so far no luck.

Here is an excerpt from a journal entry to give y'all an idea of what missionary life is like:

"Today was a crazy and fun day. We went to visit a lady and the appointment fell through so we went contacting instead. Ran into this old black couple sitting in their front yard--the husband was completely drunk and acting like an absolute scoundrel. It was really funny. Among other things he made fun of Elder Henrie's nose, cursed like a sailor, said some terribly inappropriate things, and taught us a little about the history of the CRIPS (he showed us a tattoo on his chest that apparently means he IS a CRIP, and then said that CRIP is an acronym for California Revolution In Progress. haha) The wife was super great though and we got her contact info to come back and visit with her when the husband was sober.

We then met a really old and slightly crazy and barely intelligible man who called us into his house when we knocked. It was kind of a cool experience; here he was sitting alone on the couch next his portable toilet thing and a plate of uneaten food sitting on the table next to him. He seemed rather desperate and told us that he didn't want to be a burden on his daughter and wanted to be put in a home. He said he believed we were sent by God to help him.  We said we believed the same thing. We took his daughter's number off the kitchen counter and promised to contact her for him. We tried to tell him he wasn't a burden and that his family loved him and God loved him. We prayed with him and left.

Then we locked ourselves out of our apartment. Oops. So we said a prayer. Still locked out. So we walked to our next appointment, which was with Kalilah, a twelve year old who's kinda from the hood and who is preparing for baptism. His uncle sat in on and tried to help teach the lesson while drinking a bottle of malt and smoking. (incidentally we weren't teaching Word of Wisdom). Then we tried to get rides for Kalilah and his friend to go to Mutual, but we couldn't get any, so we walked there and showed up about an hour late. It was all good though. We played basketball for a few minutes with our two investigators and the Young Men of Liberty.

We all got a ride home with Elder Devereaux, who turns out to be a profession window guy (having been in the business for 15 years), and was able to pop one of our locked windows open for us from the outside. Thank you Heavenly Father!"

So that's a little of what mission life is like, except we try not to lock ourselves out to often. We've had some really awesome experiences and some let-downs.

Mom, I wish I would be home to help with all the cooking at thanksgiving! Its crazy that by the end of this transfer we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and then in the next transfer we will be celebrating Christmas, and by then I will be an old hand at this whole missionary game.

Love you all!
Elder Wilder

OHHH I almost forgot. Elder Kalilimoku believes that cockroaches were created by Satan himself... It didn't help that one fell from our ceiling onto him last night while we were doing daily planning.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Hi y'all!

As you can tell from my salutation I am hard at work learning the native language here in the Lone Star State. It is beautiful country. The clouds here are the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life. We went out to see a potential investigator out in the boonies (though to be honest we are kind of already in the boonies here in Liberty) the other day, and never managed to find her, but I was thankful to have an opportunity to see the dense forests, murky swamps, and golden fields here in the backwoods of East Texas.

The joke of the Texas Houston East Mission is that it is T.H.E. Mission. I know--pretty funny right? Being here has been wonderful. The MTC was getting to be a little like a prison, so I am glad to be out in the field finally. The first investigator that I got to teach was a lady named Anna who suffered a heart attack a few years back and is a little bit crazy. She was super nice but really hard to teach. Everything she said prompted a different approach so that by the end of that lesson we had no idea what we wanted to teach her the next lesson. I walked out of the lesson thinking, "That investigator is long shot." Well, Anna attended TWO sessions of Conference this weekend and has progressed so far that I consider it nothing short of a miracle.

I think as church members we forget how much Jesus Christ's gospel can change people's lives. I have seen it again and again in just one week. Here we deal mostly with poor downtrodden directionless folks, and it is incredible what a little bit of light can do in their lives.

One of my favorite parts of missionary work is just meeting all of these strange interesting people. I am in a trio, and one of my companions, Elder Kalilimoku (who also happens to be from Oregon) is really good at remember the rule to "Talk to everyone". I also get to practice my spanish with random hombres on the street--although it often comes out slowly as I know have it confused with Portuguese ("muito--muito--muito--MUY bien...disculpe")

This week has been full of miracles, and as Elder Henrie has said, its been probably the busiest week he's had since he's been out.

Thank you so much for all your love and everything you've done for me. Being away from those you love seems to be the most effective way of learning to appreciate them.

I really loved all your letters! Especially Rachel's--haha. Justin, your's was uncanny in that the shark motif was already a running joke in my MTC district. Do you have some sort of surveillance equipment to keep track of me? As a note, its "Tuburao" in portuguese.

Thanks again to Bro Minor, as always! He knows how to put even the best families to shame in the field of faithful correspondence.

com amor,
Elder Wilder

Sorry all, I forgot to include this on yesterday's email. Here is my address which you can use to send me letters and packages and what have you!

Elder Luke Wilder
528A Oklahoma St
Liberty, TX 77575

ate logo


September 30: Arrived in Texas

This is the e-mail that we received from the mission home.  We didn't get a letter from Luke yet, since he arrived on P-Day.  

Your Missionary has arrived safely to T.H.E. Mission!  Upon arrival we met your missionary at the airport and took them directly to the mission home where they were fed Texas Bar-b-que and met the office staff.  An orientation by the office staff followed lunch while individual interviews were conducted by President Crawford.  That evening they were invited to share their testimonies.  The following morning was focused on training after which they met their new companion and were transported to their area of service.  They are now out diligently searching for our Heavenly Father's children and doing the work of the Lord. Thank you for sending your daughters and sons to us, they have added great strength to our small army here in the Texas Houston East Mission. We love them and are so grateful to have them with us. You will find attached a picture of your newly arrived missionary with Sister Crawford and myself as well as their arriving group and Trainer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Last Week in the MTC!

Dear Family!

This week has flow by. Honestly the time has gone faster with each passing week, and now I have my reassignment, as you all know! I'm very excited to be going to Houston East--in fact I really don't think I would have it any other way even if I could. In answer to your question Mom, Yes I will be going to Houston with one Elder from my district, Elder Zendejas, who is an awesome elder. Only two people in our district (Elders Rogers and Graff) actually got their visas in time to head straight out to Londrina; the rest of the district is spread all over the country from vancouver washington to virginia.

In other news, I was stripped of my voice this week! I woke up one morning and it was almost completely gone. It has been getting progressively better each day, but in the meantime it has been sad to not be able to sing hymns and whatnot, or to sing them in a very limited and very gravelly bass.

Um there is not a ton more to say. I'm really excited to talk to you all! Let me know what numbers I should call at what times to actually be able to reach people while I'm in the airport. I don't know about that package, but that's not a big deal. I hope everyone is doing really well.

Somebody said at some point this week [and I jotted it down in my planner without providing a reference for myself]: "The day a missionary is happy is the day [s]he cares more about others than about him/herself." I think that is true not just of missionaries. What does it mean to follow the will of the Lord if not to love and serve others?

Talk to you soon! Love you all! Special thanks to Vivi, Grandma Hamblin, and Brother Minor, whose letters complete me.

Com amor,
Elder Wilder

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Familia! Today I received my reassignment! It was a trial of patience because we expected them to be in our district mailbox at noon but they didn't come till dinner time. I think I was more nervous and excited than for my original call. Anyway so we all gathered to read them and when my turn came I read that I was called to

TEXAS HOUSTON EAST! For obvious reasons this was super exciting to me. I am VERY excited. I leave on Monday at 2:30 in the morning. I have a two-hour layover in Dallas from 10:05-12:15, which means I will be able to call home!

PS mom is anna still putting these emails on the blog? I ask because I think Jordan's mom will probably find this interesting.

Love you all! Looking forward to talking to you!

Elder Wilder

Week 4: September 20, 2013

Dear Family,

It has been a busy week! Mom, I got made a zone leader last Sunday! I figured you would be really proud of this, while Justin would scoff and say that being a zone leader in the MTC means nothing. Either way it is a lot of fun but takes the small amount of spare time I used to have and negates it. This week was a lot of fun. We got to host new missionaries into the MTC and then Elder Rogers and I got to orient the two new districts in our zone. They are a squirrelly bunch. Bringing them to meet the Branch Presidency reminded me just how crazy and eccentric our Branch President is. He walked in 15 minutes late and said, "You finally got here!" followed by his favorite and oft-used line, "Welcome to the True Church." Then he turned to Elder Rogers and I and said, "Never play defense," and then promptly laughed heartily at what was apparently a pretty funny joke. I still have no idea what he meant by "never play defense", which makes it all the better.

Elder Rogers got his visa! Because we are only TEN DAYS from shipping out [TEN DAYS!] he will be remaining here in the Provo MTC and will leave the same day as the rest of us. I don't have any news on my visa (mom maybe you could call church travel or something just to double check that things are actually happening), so I am preparing to receive my reassignment about a week from today! No, mom, they generally don't make a special effort to send people to portuguese-speaking missions; but yes it would be super cool to go to Florida. I actually thought about it just the other day. They also apparently have Portuguese missionaries in Boston (and probably other major cities) but I suppose I oughtn't get my hopes up. Here's to a UT Provo reassignment.

Parabens to Justin on the big move. Also thank you SO MUCH Viviana for sending me letters! They always make my day. Mom, if you want to send me something in that package, send stain remover. Thanks!

Here's a spiritual thought - lite: There was a woman who spoke at one of our devotionals the other day (apparently her husband helped produce 17 Miracles) and she said something to the effect of: "If you are struggling right now its because God wants you to struggle, because it will help you to grow." I genuinely believe that. As some other speaker once said, "Life is a classroom". But, like, a really fun classroom.

So yeah, I will be getting out of this joyous prison soon and into the field! Looking forward to that!

Thank you all! I love you so much.

Elder Wilder

Week 3-September 13, 2013

Dear Family,
Well it is week number 4! Thank you so much Mom and Dad for the letters and the package! I won't waste time trying to describe exactly how much they make my day, but there are two letters wheeling their way to Medford for you. The mangos and the chocolate were DELICIOUS.

So yes Mai, I will be leaving at the end of this month, and from the looks of it I will not be making it out of the states right away. I'm kinda excited though, as I have said before. They used to send pretty much all the reassigned missionaries to Salt Lake (which would be cool enough) but this last week we saw a wave of really cool reassignments. The ones I heard were: NYC south, Atlanta, Chicago, and Houston. All super cool missions. So you never know. 

Anna: Congrats on your volleyball games! Who cares if you don't win? You're still an awesome loser:) but seriously, you're a great athlete, don't worry about who wins or loses. BTW I am getting pretty professional at volleyball here at the MTC. It is my favorite exercise activity. I can bump, set, and spike like nobody's business. So be ready for me when I come back dude.

Rachel! Glad to hear you're enjoying school! I loved middle school. Just remember to look out for the kids that aren't as cool and quick-to-adjust as you. 

We could actually hear the cheers from the BYU UT game from the MTC campus as we tried to do language study. It was a little bit heart-wrenching. Hard to be so close to campus and yet so far away. And we saw the storm coming in from our fifth-story classroom window! It was interesting to watch. 

We get to host new missionaries next week which I guess means I'm starting to get to the tail end of my MTC experience. It has flown by.

Well, I am pretty much out of time! Love you all! 

Ate logo,

Week 2-September 6, 2013

Hi family!

I was a little worried when I logged on this morning to print out my emails and didn't see one from you guys! But I guess it was like 6am your time so that makes sense. This week has been great! People are right when they say that missionary life feels like both the longest and shortest experience of your life. (Does anyone say that? Well its true.) I have been here just over two weeks, but it feels like I am in some sort of time warp like in Bill Murray in Groundhog's day where I've been waking up and doing more or less the exact same routine for my entire life:

Wake up. Curse the alarm clock. Get in the shower. Bless the shower. Go to breakfast. Go to class. Study scriptures. Practice lessons. Go to lunch. Teach mock investigators. Exercise. Go to dinner. Study language. Get distracted. Get back on task. Pray. Pray. Pray. Hope for a letter or a dearelder (side note: I could probably handle a few more of those. Thank you Vivi for sending me one! It totally made my day! Also thank you once again to Brother Minor, to whom I owe about half all the letters I have received!)  Go to residence. Get ready for bed. Portugues prayer. English prayer. Blessed sleep. Cursed Alarm clock....

 At the same time, I can't believe I've already been here two weeks. I can't believe how much I've learned in that amount of time! I can't believe how much I still have to learn. The Portuguese is coming well! No word on visas, except to say that reassignment is a very regular part of life here (like breakfast or death). Personally I am excited at the chance of reassignment! We'll see what happens.

Rachel! Glad to hear you got into Algebra. Mr Dick is a very cool teacher huh? Middle school is fun. You are going to have a good year!

Mom I hope you are staying sane. Sounds like you all are very busy. Everybody had better treat Mom very well!

Hope Dad is doing well! Tell Justin congrats on his thing and it is about time he moves out.

Congrats to Anna on volleyball and whatnot! Hope her love life is simmering down a bit. (Anna are you posting this stuff on the blog? I hope you are not planning to edit anything;)

Oh and I need Sam (brother sam)'s address. I wrote him a letter.

I think I forgot my shoe-shining kit, so maybe Sam could send me one in a package? BTW just to shame y'all, Jordan's mom actually sent me a package while was in Provo dropping off her daughter. Between her, Brother Minor, and Vivi, I have to wonder: what is it with non-blood-relatives that makes them so much more apt to send me things? Is it something in the Wilder blood?  (In our defense, I think he received a package later that day!)

Hope you all are doing really well! I pray for all of you every night. 

I got a new sd card reader so we shall see if I can attach some pictures.

Elder Wilder


Week 1: August 30th, 2013

Oi Familia!

My P-day has finally arrived! Its every Friday, but missionaries don't get P-days during their first week in the MTC, so we pretty much had the maximum possible time from MTC entry to P-day arrival.

The MTC is fantastic. It is exhausting and ridiculous and very rewarding. I am learning MUITO in a very short amount of time. My teacher, Irmão Rodrigues, is fantastic. I feel the spirit every time he teaches us. He also speaks perfeito portugues e ingles, because he was born in São Paolo, grew up in the states, and served his mission in Portugal. He is also a ridiculously handsome guy, which makes class very entertaining because all of the sisteres in our distrito have what might be termed "missionary crushes" on him.

I LOVE my district. My companion, Elder Rogers (ala Best Two Years) is fantastic and a lot like me, which makes it easy to get along (because who wouldn't get along with me? just kidding). Elder Zendejas does a great job as our district leader, and Elder Graff takes the role of the tough, gruff, tri-cities WA elder. Then there is Elder Copenhaver, a portly, bespectacled Elder with a lisp and a fantastic sense of humor, who before his mission worked variously in construction, a chicken processing plant, and composing the epic 21st century masterpiece BERGENSTOFF, a story about "Five modern day children who are magically transported back in time to a mythical land filled with satyrs, centaurs, and troblins (half-troll, half-goblin). The author himself treats us to renditions of this epic work when we jog with him during exercise hour. Then there is Elder Edwards (in brazilian Portuguese we call him Edgey-warjees) who is the always reliable New England ginger of the district, and Elder Wambach, a hidden gem from Montana. He doesn't say much, but what he does say is either inspired or hilarious or both. We also have five (formerly six; one received her visa and is now in São Paolo) sisteres in our district, who are all really wonderful. 

We spent our first week teaching Larissa, que é Brasileira. Except that Larissa is not really Brazilian, and her name is not Larissa. Her name is Amelia Jean Wells and she is from Utah of all places, and after we finally committed her to baptism, she became one of our instructors along with Brother Rodrigues. It is hard to decide who is a better teacher--Irmão Rodrigues or Irmã Wells. Even though they weren't real, the lessons with Larissa were very instructive and kind of nerve-racking, because unlike Sister Wells, Larissa fala solo Portugues. And even though we knew she wasn't a real pesquisador, we were still psyched when she decided to be batizado. It is incredible how much we learn in here. I am already reading O Livro de Mormon em Portugues and entendendo most of it. I think my five years of Spanish was a HUGE help, but a lot of it seems to be divine intervention. Muito obrigado a Deus.

It is definitely exhausting here; I spend about half of my day feeling 100% ready for a nap. But I am glad that we don't waste time here. It makes you feel like you are using every day to its full potential. 

Thanks to Brother Minor for all his letters! There should be a response winging its way to Medford for him. As to err'body else, let me just say that letters are the best. Also, Sam: Send me a package already! It costs two bucks via BYU mail.

Mom, Dad, Justin, Vivi, Sam, Anna, Rachel, Grandma Hamblin, Grandma McSheffery: I love you all and miss you muito! I hope you all have a good week.  Até logo!

Elder Wilder

PS I just tried to attach some pictures that I took during our temple walk but haven't figured it out. If I do figure it out before my email time ends, I'll send them in another email.