Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Short Update

so today I had to spend a good portion of my computer time wrangling the wayward print system here at the local library because I had to print out some visa-related documents. So this letter probably won't be very long... So, a quick update on the visa:

Bad news, I will not be going to brasil for at least another transfer. I received word from church travel saying that my FBI clearance expired and that I need to redo it. Good news: Church travel said that they had actually received word from the consulate informing them specifically that my FBI clearance was expired. In other words: the brasilian consulate actually LOOKED at my application--like, it actually ended up on somebody's desk and they looked at it and saw that the FBI clearance was invalid. This is kind of a big deal, because as far as I know this is the first time my application made it so far as to be LOOKED AT. So, yeah. That's the good news.

It was kind of a slow week, unfortunately. But that is ok. We have big plans for this next week! We scheduled tons of members to come out with us this week when we were at church yesterday. So its going to be a good week. Elder Fata is doing great! 

Sorry I forgot my camera again....I know, I am the worst! I promise I send pictures next week! 

love yall


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Dear family and friends,

Holy smokes this has been a crazy week. So I believe I mentioned in my last email that I went on exchange with an Elder Bock who ended up having a pretty bad bicycle accident. [ps sorry that I am emailing today, yesterday was memorial day and all the libraries were closed.] Anyways so it turns out that Elder Bock broke his wrist. Because he is no longer able to safely ride a bicycle, we were forced to have an emergency transfer wherein Elder Bock joined Elder Evans in my old area (which is equipped with a car) and I joined Elder Fata up in NW area. The catch is that Elder Fata is a brand new missionary, which means that I am training him! I'm, like, his step-dad I guess. Anyway, Elder Fata is a super awesome guy. He is Samoan and from Southern California. He laughs a lot, and eats a lot, and he used to power-lift so he is kinda huge. He works really hard, which is all anyone can really ask for in a companion. All around, Elder Fata is just an awesome guy.

NW area is RIGHT next to downtown--like, we can see the skyline from the majority of our area. I love it.

Oh, cool story: so last night just as we left P-day to start proselyting, it started POURING rain. We had a lesson scheduled with an investigator with a member coming as well, but we had to reschedule. We received a text message on our phone warning that the area was on flash flood watch. It was way cool. So we stayed in for a little while and ate dinner and watched as the waterline came closer and closer to our door. Luckily our apt didn't flood. When the rain slowed down and we headed outside, it was gorgeous--one one hand a ginormous rainbow and on the other the most ridiculously spectacular scarlet sunset. And then we rode over to Harrisburg road to find that it was practically a RIVER. Harrisburg is a large, busy road but at this point there was almost no one on it. We road straight down the middle of the road, trying to keep our tires right in between the two yellow lines because they marked the shallowest route, but even so, we were still riding through at least six to eight inches of water. The sides of the road were feet deep in water. It was pretty cool.

Kelly's baptism was on Saturday! It was great! I got to play the piano with an hermana for a spanish baptism at six and then I got to give a surprise talk on the Holy Ghost for the baptism at 7 and then play the cello. The service was fantastic. It was the most well-attended, and the most spiritually edifying baptismal services I have attended on my mission. Kelly's son Steven was able to baptize her. It was wonderful.

Well that's what I can remember from this week. Love you all!

elder wilder

oh btw I have lots of pictures, I just need to find my camera cord in my bags--I am not 100% unpacked yet because we have been busy busy busy but I will send pictures next week.

love yall!

oh btw. New address: 810 Fair Oaks Rd #79
Houston, TX 77023

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hey Guys

hello everybody!

So Kelly Bradley is getting baptized this weekend! We are very excited. A few weeks ago we had an FHE with her at the Bishop's house where the bishop's son forced elder evans and I to play the flute and the cello together, and Sister Bradley apparently liked it because she requested we play at her baptism. So I will be playing the cello for a baptism mom, just so you know. We are going to be rehearsing today during pday (bishop's son is bringing his cello) so that should be a lot of fun.

I went on exchange this week with Elder Bock, who is like this big buff guy from cali. He's pretty cool. But unfortunately he crashed his bike while I was with him and now he can't move his wrist due to swelling...so that's not good. Other than that though the exchange was fun and we even got a new investigator for northwest and committed him to baptism! and he showed up for church the next day!

In other news, I tried some of that mexican candy that is coated in spicy chile dust. those things are actually delicious!

Also, the family heirloom of a shoulder bag that justin gave to me is falling apart....is there such a thing as fabric glue? I will be looking for something along those lines at the store today.

I honestly never know what to put in these emails anymore....and I'm only like nine months into my mission. That's bad. Well. Rest assured that we are doing well and that stuff actually does happen in my life from week to week--I think I am just to braindead on monday to remember any of it.

Love you all! Hope you're treating the missionaries in your ward extra well in honor of me!



Monday, May 12, 2014

Dear All,

Hi everybody! It was so fantastic to hear from everyone yesterday! It was great to hear all your voices and to hear that you are all doing well and everything.

So we had a good week! It was a little slow but Sunday made up for it--we had a fantastic showing of people at church. We felt blessed far beyond what we deserved. It was great.

Well I am sorry, I don't really know what to say! We had such a great conversation yesterday and I feel as though I already told you all about my week. 

So I am going to go buy a camera and take tons of pictures so I can send them next week. For real this time, I will try my best to take lots of pictures.

Love you all! Hope that you all have a wonderful week!



Monday, May 5, 2014

Baptism 3.0

Dear all,

So we had a baptism!!! Actually we had 3! This is kind of my first official baptism since I've been out on my mission, because my converts from liberty got baptized a few weeks after I left there. These ones are official though. AND I got to perform one of the baptisms!

So the three people that got baptized were: Gracie Herrera and her daughters Melanie and Mina. There was also a man named Adam who got baptized the same night. At first Gracie, Melanie and Mina were all planning on having a ward member named Brother Mather do the baptism, but then, at the baptismal interview, Mina said she didn't want to be baptized by Brother Mather. Elder Thomas, the zone leader who was doing the interviews, said, "You don't have to have brother mather do your baptism. Who would you like to do your baptism?" And Mina said, "Elder Wilder!" And my heart melted a little. She and Melanie and just wonderful, adorable little girls. And now their baptized!

In related news, I basically forced Elder Evans to play the flute for the baptism. It was pretty funny. I found a member who had a flute and asked her to bring it. I was pretty proud of myself. Elder Evans was pretty mad, but I think he secretly enjoyed it. And it went really well. He played as part of a musical number where Melanie and Mina both sang "I am a Child of God" with Sister Walton and Sister Baxter (the missionaries who taught Adam) and I accompanied on piano.

The next day in church, Elder Evans performed the confirmations. The Herrera family looked so happy! It was wonderful. And Kelly Bradley managed to make it to church for the second or third sunday in a row. She is doing great, but we had two postpone her baptism a few weeks because she was having such bad withdrawals from trying to quit coffee and decided she would need to quit gradually. The nice thing is, the new baptismal date we suggested for her happens to coincide with her husband coming back into town from an extended work project, so he will hopefully be able to witness the baptism. From what Kelly has said, he is very supportive of her decision and said, "well, we needed to find a church anyway." so things are looking good for Kelly.

And we had another new family at church--Willie and Trisha. They are young but Trisha is apparently really good at spitting out twins because the have two sets. In total they have like six kids all under the age of 8!

Also, the lady in the Spanish ward who is from Brazil invited Elder Evans and I to come over for dinner!  So I can teach my first lesson in portuguese since the MTC to her and her husband (although he only speaks spanish). So that will be fun.

Love you all,


Monday, April 28, 2014

Transfer 6!

Well it is day one of transfer six. I am excited! I am staying in Broadway with Elder Evans, and Elder Evans has been made a district leader...hopefully the power doesn't go to his head! haha just kidding its not. Although I like to pretend so. As missionaries we all have to have texting signatures so that at the end of each one of our texts it automatically says something like, <Evans&Wilder>. So lately any time I text another missionary, I modify our signature to say some variation of  <DISTRICTLEADEREVANS&packmulewilder>. Yes, I know its dumb.

Sadly, our district leader, Elder Jones, and his companion Elder Willey are being flushed out of their area. I'm pretty sad about that.

Things have been going well in the work. Gracie and her daughters are still progressing towards baptism. She has said that she has a testimony of the gospel and of the restoration, but she is still really nervous about being baptized. Part of this might have been because she attended the baptism of a paraplegic(sp?) man who ended up having to be dunked three times before he was fully immersed...anyways we are still hopeful that gracie and her daughters will be ready for this saturday. We are having a family home evening in the home of a member tomorrow so we'll see if that helps.

Sunday was the birthday of Neil, who is probably my very favorite member of the broadway ward. He is a big, burly, thirty five year old guy with a slight mental disability. When he was younger, his family got in a car crash. His sister died, Neil was left with brain damage, and the family was left emotionally shattered. But then missionaries found them and they joined the church. Now Neil's mom is the relief society president and works tirelessly to help the members of the ward and the missionaries, and she usually brings Neil along for the ride. Neil is just about the sweetest, funniest, most genuinely loving guy I have ever met. He always comes up and greets investigators and less active members at church with a warm smile and makes some weird, funny off the wall comment. He's a great guy. So: happy birthday to neil!

Oh and I met a brazilian lady at church the other day and struggled to say anything to her in portuguese without accidentally slipping into spanish. I can still read portuguese just fine, but apparently my conversational abilities are pretty shot. oh well...

love you all!

Elder Wilder

Monday, April 21, 2014


dear family and friends,

whoa. I am currently beginning the sixth week of what I believe is my 6th transfer. whoa.

Well, we had a really successful week this last week. We managed to get lots of members out to lessons with us and just had lots of success. We now have a baptismal date set with Gracie and her daughters Mina and Melanie, as well as with Kelly, the lady whose son just received his mission call. They are all set for 3 May! The sisters in our ward also have a baptism set for that date, which means there should be five people getting baptized on the third of may! So thats pretty cool.

We had exchanges this last week. I got to go up to the NW area again with Elder Willey. Elder Willey is awesome; I love going on exchanges with him. For one thing he always insists on going out to eat for dinner every exchange--which is fun because Elder Evans literally never goes out to eat. So we went to this hipsterry place called Bohemios where I got a really really delicious sandwich. Also, the northwest area is really interesting. We talked to a homeless man named Mark who was fascinating if a little vulgur, and a medical student named Caroline who was super smart and was the first person I had ever met who actually asked about key indicators. haha.

But yeah, things are going really well here in Houston. No news on the visa, though I have heard several stories of long-time visa waiters getting their visas just recently--so, who knows.

As I mentioned, we are in week 6, which means transfers are next week. But I feel certain I will stay here. Elder Evans might become a district leader for his last two transfers. who knows. we will see.

love you all!


Monday, April 14, 2014


hello family,

I can't come up with a good title for this email. I don't really know how to summarize the last week in a couple of words, or in a couple of paragraphs. But let it be known that it has been a good week, once again!

Gracie is still doing great. She has a baptismal date of the 26th of April. We're very excited. We are also having great success with a lady named Kelly Bradley whose son is a fairly recent convert and is planning to go on a mission himself. We had a really wonderful lesson with Sister Bradley and the Bishop's wife, Sister Guajardo. It was fantastic.

Sorry, this email is not going to be very long. I don't have a lot of time today because we are having a special bi-zone p-day over in Baytown. we will be watching The Saratov Approach, a movie about a missionary in Russia who gets kidnapped and all of the subsequent shenanigans. Hopefully it will be good. Although it doesn't really matter, because when you are a media-starved missionary, anything is good. Sometimes I like to tell other missionaries that the Saratov Approach is about my older brother. Of course that's not true. At least, not as far as I know... Those russian missionaries are full of dark secrets.

well, that's pretty much it. Things are good. We've had some fantastic weather, which we don't expect to last for long. Transfers are coming up in a couple weeks, which I cannot believe.

love you all!


Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference 2.0

Dear family,

So general conference was this week! (obviously.) It was way fun! Gracie and her daughters were able to make it to one of the sessions, and seemed to enjoy it. I hope that all of the women have seen or will soon take the time to see the priesthood session, because it was really good. Especially Elder Oaks talk, which declared that while women in the Church are not given priesthood keys or offices, they are in a very real and literal sense endowed with both priesthood power and authority--not just in regards to the temple endowment, but in regards to all church callings and other ordinances. I appreciated this definitive statement by Elder Oaks. 

Oh, another note from conference: that 70, Elder Aidukaitis (I do KYE cheess) was the same seventy who toured our mission a month or so ago! When the conductor announced that Aidukaitis would be speaking, all of us missionaries went "no way!" haha. 

Another interesting note: if you want to watch general conference in English at the Broadway building, you have to go to the Relief Society room, because the majority of the members who attened church at the broadway building are spanish speakers.

So in between sessions on Sunday I taught my first real lesson in Spanish. I speak spanish all the time to contact spanish speakers we meet on the street, but this was the first time I actually sat down and taught a lesson. It was fun! Just so everyone knows it wasn't on purpose--what happened was: we had set an appointment with a potential investigator from Honduras who seemed to be quite proficient in English, but when we got to the appointment, he had a friend there who spoke pretty much no English. So we went from teaching in English and translating as we went to just straight up teaching in spanish. Luckily one of the members that was with us also spoke spanish, because Elder Evans barely speaks at all. Anyway, so we will be handing Jean Carlos and his friend off to the spanish Elders.

There were a ton of great talks this conference: I particularly enjoyed Elder Bednar's talk and pretty much everything that came out of President Uchtdorf's mouth. 

Other than that--well it has been another fast week. The transfer is flying by. I feel like there were some other things I wanted to write about in my email today but by the time p-day rolls around I honestly can never remember anything. Its terrible. Anyway, I love you all very much!



Monday, March 31, 2014

My Visa!!

Dear family and friends,

I would like to announce that my visa has finally arrived!

not really. haha. Apparently Chase bank switched all their customers from Mastercard to Visa, so my Mom sent my new card to me in the mail (thanks mom!) Anyway so I had more fun than the situation warranted telling people that my visa had arrived in the mail. ha I'm so funny. Yeah now that I think about it, its a pretty dumb joke.

anyway. So we had to drop one of my favorite (they are all my favorite but this guy was especially interesting) investigators this week. His name is Alex. He is an energetic black guy with dreads who came into contact with the church a little over a year ago now and has read all of the standard works as well as the apocrypha and the dead sea scrolls. Alex thinks that he is a prophet. In our last Book of Mormon class, which we hold on Wednesday nights, Alex introduced himself by saying, "Hi my name is Alex...some people know me as the black Joseph Smith!" One of Alex's favorite pastimes is to get on metros and read passages from the Book of Mormon or the Bible (but especially the Book of Mormon) to the passengers of the metro at large. We have been trying to help Alex develop a testimony of the restoration of authority, but Alex believes that his lineage as a Hebrew Israelite entitles him to all the authority of the Melchizidech(sp?) priesthood. He also has trouble accepting the idea that the Law of Moses was fulfilled and is superseded by the higher law taught by Jesus Christ. He therefore has a hangup with the church's practice of observing the Sabbath on Sunday (the first or Lord's day) rather than on Saturday (the last day or Sabbath), among other concerns. anyway Elder Evans suggested we drop him because he has not been progressing at all, and while I really didn't want to, we decided it would be best to drop him for the time being. Dropping people is the worst.

On the bright side, Gracie and her daughters are still doing fantastically! They came to church for the third week in a row! and next week is General Conference, which ought to be a fantastic experience for them. Last week at church I had the opportunity to play the piano for the primary children during the last 20 minutes of church. Those kids are adorable. And Gracie's daughters, Melani and Mina LOVE primary. The children were preparing for Easter by practicing "Easter Hosanna." I had totally forgotten how beautiful that little song is.

Also there is a Brasileira living in one of the spanish wards here in Broadway. She is apparently marrying one of the guys from Broadway 2nd Ward. So I will have to find her next Sunday para praticar um pouco de Portugues com ela.

Love you all!


Monday, March 24, 2014

Crawfish Boil

dear family and friends,

two words: crawfish boil. 

I really love food, and east Texas / Louisiana have some really fantastic culinary traditions -- not the least of which is the Crawfish Boil. The Crawfish Boil is more than just a meal; it is an event. I had been hoping to have the opportunity to indulge in some of these spicy Cajun mudbugs before leaving Texas. So, I am very happy to report that on Friday evening of this week, Elder Evans and I ate heaping helpings of crawfish, clams, mussels, shrimp, crab, potatoes, and corn, all boiled together in a pot full of highly spiced boiling water, in a small 2nd story apartment not to far from Hobby Airport in the city of Houston. It was DELICIOUS.

So Gracie and her daughters continue to progress wonderfully. They are really just loving everything. We are working towards the day of april 12th for their baptism. We had stake conference this weekend, and Gracie and her daughters seemed to have a great time. 

I got mildly sick yesterday, which wasn't too fun. I slept through most of my study time as well as through my lunch break (because I was certainly in no condition to eat!) While we were out proselyting, it got cold and started pouring rain (Texas is like that). By the time I went to bed I felt as though I was starting to develop a fever. I was super achy and hot. But I prayed that I would be better this morning. And I woke up feeling 100% better. So that was great. 

Well. I know more stuff happened this week, but I'm drawing a blank.

from Houston with love,


Monday, March 17, 2014

A Great Week!

Dear all,

This was a great week. Why? I don't really know. Our numbers weren't really any better than last week, which was disappointing. We are on the cusp of dropping a number of our investigators. So why was it a great week? Still not really sure, but here are some awesome things that happened this week:

1) We are teaching an awesome new family--a mother and her two daughters--who actually came to church this Sunday, the first time we invited them. There is no more definite sign of true interest than an investigator coming to church. And it feels so great to teach someone who is really, truly, genuinely interested. Instead of trying to generate interest, you just get to teach the gospel and watch the investigator embrace it with open arms. Gracie (the mother) is someone who is searching for truth. Teaching her and her daughters has been an absolute pleasure for the grand total of two lessons we've taught. 

2) I got to go on an exchange to the Northwest area. The area is just north of ours and lies pretty much right in the shadow of downtown houston. In other words, you can see the fantastic Houston cityscape from a majority of the area. I was with Elder Willey, who is a super cool guy. We had a blast. We also got completely SOAKED--to the bone--by a freak houston rainstorm. We were wet enough that we started riding our bikes through puddles and splashing water everywhere because we were just THAT soaked that we could not get any wetter--so why not ride through a puddle? Another awesome thing that happened on exchange was that we went to Shipley Do-nuts, which is THE doughnut shop of texas, and got kolaches and doughnuts. Yum.

3) yeah I really don't know what else happened, but like I said, it was a great week.

I love you all!

elder wilder

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Slow Week

Dear family,

So we had kinda a slow week. It was a great week--don't get me wrong--but for whatever reason from like thursday to saturday we had like twelve set appointments fall through, and it seemed like pretty much all of our backups led to nothing either. It was weird.

We did have a miracle on Sunday, however. We have been having trouble getting investigators to church--particularly our three most promising investigators. We invite them to church, they commit to church, we wait, they don't show. So this last week, I was determined to get someone to church. Normally this would mean going around to people's houses Sunday morning to personally invite them, but we had coordination sunday morning so we were stuck at the church. So I made a list of every investigator and less active that we could call to invite. It was about 15 people. Elder Evans and I called ALL of them. After we had made the calls, we were talking to a couple other missionaries (there are 5 sets of missionaries in the broadway ward...I know, crazy). Anyway, I told them I had called a bunch of people, and then I laughed and said that most likely none of them will show up. In response, one of the sister missionaries in our ward said something like, "where's your faith, elder?" That kinda hit me. I realized I had had hardly a hope of any of our investigators showing up. This thought echoed around my mind as the minutes rolled by. Finally, I was sitting in the chapel and sacrament was about to start and we had no investigators. The thought came to me that I had done pretty much all in my power to get investigators to church. Then I remembered that there was one thing I hadn't done: asked God. At least, I hadn't asked him since I had said my morning study prayer. So, I asked. I said a silent prayer in my heart. It seemed silly to ask so late, because the meeting was about to start.

The meeting started--no investigators. The meeting ended. I stood up from the pew, stretched and began to head out into the foyer when all of a sudden I noticed a black guy sitting in the pew right behind me. There are only like four black guys in our whole ward here in Broadway. It was our investigator Jkorry! (yes, he has a very black name). I couldn't believe it. Jkorry loved church. He stayed for Sunday school where we talked about prophets and participated a ton. It was great.

So. You gotta do all you can. But you also gotta have faith. And you have to ask. "ask and ye shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. amen."

lots of love,


Monday, March 3, 2014

I can ride my bicycle with no handlebars!

Dear family,

Oh my goodness I can not believe it is my third week in Houston already. It is absolutely mind-blowing to me. The adage "the days are weeks and the weeks are days" is becoming more and more true. I am so grateful to be serving where I am--it is a wonderful, ridiculous area.

So I just got my valentine's day package! Thank you so much mom! It was full of delicious surprises and I felt very loved. As you seem to have known already, the package arrived at my apt on valentine's day but we weren't here and apparently they don't just leave packages lying around in these parts, so they carted it back to the post office...which I was finally able to visit today! So that's the story on that. Anyway thank you so much family! Thank you anna and rachel for your contributions--they were cute.

We got to go to the Houston Temple today--it was a wonderful experience. It is such a beautiful place, and it was such a lovely day. I had been hoping I would have the opportunity to go before I left for brazil, so I was very happy.

This place is crazy! I am still blown away by the number of people that live in our area. There is one apartment complex called Broadway Square that has apartments numbering into the 8000's--it can sometimes be difficult to find addresses in such complexes, and I am often left to reflect that there are more people in a single apartment complex here than in many of the towns I visited in my last area. It is a lot of fun. Lots of people equals lots of energy. This is why I have always loved cities. As boisterous and poorly layed out and godforsaken as they often seemed to be, they always seem to PULSE with energy.

I am getting to know my bicycle very well--every day here is a workout, which is actually very nice. And I have now learned to ride my bike with no handlebars--this is something all missionaries apparently need to know how to do.

We have found some great new investigators--a young guy named anthony who might be serving a small (month-long) jail sentence for driving under intoxication, but who is so completely dedicated to better his life. He works crazy hours at his job, so it can be hard to get ahold of him, but when he is free he is always excited to meet for a lesson, and he has come to church both Sundays since we started teaching him. He lives with and takes care of his great grandfather, who apparently has a large collection of suits. So Anthony is showing up to church in a different suit each week--the first week he wore a baby-blue three-piece with a contrasting red bible tucked under his arm. We are also teaching a wonderful lady named Magdalena, who is an awesome lady and a mother of two. We have yet to be able to teach her husband, but we are hoping to be able to teach the whole family--we shall see. 

Like I said last week, we meet and teach all kinds of people. This week I invited a man named Mohamed Coulibari to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. He is from Mali and is Muslim. 

Elder Evans and I have high hopes for this area--the field is undeniably white. Which reminds me: our mission was visited by a Brazilian General Authority last week--Elder Aidukaitis. I took a certain amount of pride in actually knowing how to properly pronounce his name (AYE - do - KIE - Cheess). Anyway he was a wonderfully invigorating speaker.

Oh, and I was unable to see the baptisms of my investigators, the Youngs back in Liberty, which was sad. But I did get to talk to them on the phone--they are doing wonderfully.

Thats all for now I suppose. Love yall!


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Fakeout of the the Century

Hello family!

So I have had my share of visa-has-arrived fakeouts during my stay in Texas but this one was the best. Last thursday we found a message on our phone from Elder Cook, the guy who handles all the missionary finances. He said something to the effect of, "Hi Elders, I just wanted to let you know I put $35 on Elder Evans' MSF card for Elder Wilder [because I am a visa waiter I don't get my own card, my money is put on my companions card] Anyway, I know Elder Wilder is leaving on Monday so be sure to pull that money off for him." So Elder Evans and I were both like,

"WHATTTT?" As you can imagine this made it difficult to continue with weekly planning (though we did anyway.) That whole night I was, in the back of my mind, nervously awaiting a telephone call from president. Didn't come. The next morning at District meeting, the Assistants showed up at the church building. I went up to Elder Wright and said, "Elder Wright! Do you know anything about my visa?" "Yeah," he said, "Didn't you hear it came in?" "What?" "haha just kidding. Your visa hasn't come in, that's the french visa waiters who are leaving on Monday."

There are four parisian visa waiters who are probably at the airport right now preparing to board a plane. Apparently Elder Cook got me confused with them.

The good news is, though, that apparently my FBI clearance did come through this last week! So we are one step farther along in the process.

This week we taught a lot of lessons but found no new investigators...sad. but we did manage to find two lost sheep (this is geeky missionary lingo for a member of the church who for whatever reason has been inactive for years and has disappeared off the map as far as church records are concerned.) One of these lost sheep actually stopped US one day as we were walking down broadway and said, "Hey I need another one of those books!" Her name is Danni Porche, she is ex-military and pretty cool.

None of our investigators came to church :( but Sister Apolinar, the lady who was inactive for years after the death of her husband, came to church for the second time in a row this week! Yay!

thats about it. Love you all!


Monday, February 17, 2014


dear family and friends,

whoa. I cannot believe this week has gone by this fast. Wait did I say that last week? These emails probably get boring.

Well things are going well here in broadway 1 west. We found a lady about a week or so ago via miracle, a member of the church who went inactive after her husband committed suicide about three or so years ago. After having a really wonderful visit with her on saturday (during which she fed us a delicious mexican soup) she agreed to come to church on Sunday. She said she had been talking with her son just a few weeks before about how they needed to go back to church. And so she did! and she had a wonderful experience.

In other news, we got six new investigators this week! Which isn't bad. Its also actually not all that great for this area, now that I think about it, but it is a new record for our companionship, so thats good.

Also, another one of my investigators from back in Liberty was apparently supposed to be baptized this Sunday but wasn't...the only explanation I have been given so far is "ward complications"...I will have to give the Liberty Elders a call today to find out what happened. In any case, Hopefully Steven Kelly will be baptized next week!

But yeah. Things are going well here. I feel like God is trying to boost our confidence. Like, "hey, I'm gonna throw you a bone this week." 

It's a good thing I am not a prophet because, if I was, the scriptures would be about as eloquent as that last paragraph.

I love you all! 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Houston, baby

Dear all,

I am in HOUSTON! This is very cool for me. Elder Evans (my new comp) and I have been flushed into the area known as Broadway 1 West. Flush is a missionary term for when all the old missionaries are transferred out of an area, and an entirely new companionship is brought in. Being flushed into an area is quite an experience because neither you nor your companion have ANY idea what you are doing. All you really have to rely on is the area book; unfortunately, the last Elders in this area lost their area book (I don't really know how that happened exactly, because the area book does nothing but sit in the apartment all day). Luckily they threw together a few teaching records for their current investigators and a few of the recent converts and less actives so we're good to go.

One of the first questions we were asked when we got to the area was: what happened to the puppies?? Apparently the last Elders had adopted a dog which had then borne a litter of presumably adorable pups. We really can't say what has become of them because when we arrived at the apartment, the only critters that greeted us there were some less-than-adorable cock roaches. The lady who dropped us off at the apartment (who is a super awesome, no-nonsense relief society president, btw) referred to our complex as the "roach motel". Well. She was right.

We live very close to downtown Houston, and even closer to Hobby airport (Hobby is literally probably a five minute's drive away.) Our teaching pool here is far more diverse. One of our investigators is a recovering drug addict, another is a Cuban New-york expat. We have met people from Nigeria and Mali, and taught a first lesson to a Hindu man from India. 

Our area is also a bike area, so I get a lot more exercise. The days go by FAST here. There are so many people to talk to ALL the TIME.

Oh, and a family back in Liberty that I taught is set to get baptized this Sunday! So hopefully I can find a ride to go back for that.

my new address:

Elder Wilder
7950 Bellfort
Apt 133
Houston, TX 77061
US of A

much love,


Goodbye, Liberty!

Dear all,

We got transfer calls on Saturday night. Elder Hendershot and I are leaving. Transfer meeting is tomorrow, so tomorrow morning will look something like this: wake up, drive out to kingwood, meet new companion, discover new area, drive to new area, get to work. This is exciting but sad. I LOVE Liberty. I really can't wait to visit again. I love the ward, tiny and unusual as it is. I love our investigators--many of whom are so CLOSE to baptism, and some of whom are no where near. One of my favorite investigators, Keith (who falls into the latter category), said to us on Saturday evening, "Tell them that they can't transfer you, because there's this guy named Keith here in Liberty who still has doubts, and you three are the only ones who can help him out." He texted us later on that evening to ask us who was being transferred, and when we told him, he texted back: "Mikayla and Michael are crying." Mikayla and Michael are their adorable 8 year old twins who usually just call us "the cool guys." haha. Anyway, there are so many people here that I will miss. I take comfort in the fact that Liberty is in Texas and not Tibet, so it is likely that I will be able to come back and visit someday.

Well, that's really the big news of the week. I would give y'all my new address but I don't know where I'll be. All President told me was that I would "really love" my new area. (of course he says that to everyone).

Oh also: Our ward had three baptisms this week! All three were from Dayton, which is the town just up the road from Liberty. Its strange because the church building is here in Liberty, but almost every member in the area lives in Dayton. That's okay though--hopefully the families we've been teaching here in Liberty will be baptized and become a firm foundation for more growth. That's what I pray for anyway.

Well, I believe I will be able to email briefly tomorrow to let you guys know where I am...we shall see.

Love you all! Thank you for being so wonderful.

elder wilder

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Dear family and friends,

It SNOWED! In Texas! Well, kinda. I mean, I didn't actually see it happen and the amount of snow on the ground was so minute that it could have been some sort of crystaline dew formation but we're in Texas so this is very exciting! We have had some very cold days here this past week. Freezing cold. One day for morning exercise we went to play basketball and I slipped on a patch of black ice...but the cold here is different. Degrees-wise it doesn't get that low, but the air is so full of moisture that it feels like -- I'm not feeling creative enough to make a good comparison, but it feels very cold.

The work has been going well with the Young family (the widow and her daughter who we recently found). They came to church yesterday even in spite of a flat tire! Things have also been going well with Keith and Deidra. It has been fascinating getting to know Keith better and realizing that he spent most of his life trying to turn people away from religion. He told us that once, in his youth, he left a party to go throw stones at a catholic church building (stoned out of his mind, according to his own description). He also used to give mormons a really hard time--there was one mormon in particular, a co-worker of his, that he harrassed for years to the point of ostracization (is that a word?); he feels terrible about this now. It seems that it was really fatherhood that caused him to begin looking into religion again. Now we are just focusing on trying to help him build a relationship with Heavenly Father. Anyway its incredible to see this kind of metamorphosis. Keith is a wonderful man.

I feel as though the moment I get transferred from Liberty, we will probably have about twenty baptisms. No worries though. If that happens, President will most likely let me come back and see them.

That's all for this week. Love you all!


Sunday, January 26, 2014


Dear family and friends,

The big news of this week is that I accomplished yet another step in my visa application process! Yay! The Brazilian government has now upped the ante for all visa applications 2014--now all applicants must submit a criminal background check via the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So today before I had my interview with President Crawford in Baytown, we went to some sort of legal / government-y building in houston to get my fingerprints done. This background check takes 4-8 weeks for the FBI to process, and then it goes to the brazilian consulate for an infinite--pardon me, indefinite--period of time. And then I'll be well on my way to Brazil. Which means that I will almost certainly hit my six month mark here in Texas. (Oh btw, today is my 5-month birthday! Time REALLY flies out here.)

President Crawford said some really nice stuff to me today during our interview (one thing that he said was that he hopes my visa gets lost and that I will stay in Houston for the rest of my mission. haha.) But then he said that I will most likely be transferred this next transfer cycle. YIKES. Transfers are in two weeks, so all of you that were planning on sending me mail and packages (yes I know there are many of you) please plan accordingly.

Things are going well with our investigators. We found a new family to teach via media referral and they are the most receptive investigators we have ever taught. Sister Young is an older woman who just lost her husband. She lives with her daughter Emily and a baby girl named Addelyn (who I believe is Sister Young's niece). Lessons with them are always fun because one of us gets to babysit Addelyn. The hard part is that missionaries aren't allowed to pick up children, so it involves a lot of awkward shepharding. It's fun though.

Congratulations to Justin and Vivi!!! That's wonderful! I'm gonna be an uncle!

hope you all have a great week!



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

(Title Pending)

Dear Family,

I don't really know what to title this email. We have had ups and downs this week. Things are going pretty wonderfully with Valarie (the lady we found via last week's miracle story). PS she makes jewelry and sells it on Etsy so if anybody's interested in buying some I'll dig up her username. She would probably appreciate it. Anyway, Valarie is wonderfully literate and intelligent and seems to strive to follow God in her life. She has been doing a great job reading the Book of Mormon and we had a wonderful lesson with her in the chapel on Saturday after doing a church tour. Unfortunately, she didn't make it to church. She is somewhat reclusive and also suffers from insomnia, so either or both of those may have been a factor.

Things are still going well with Steven. I love him. Everything he says, he thinks about. When he gives prayers for example, there will sometimes be 10 to 15 second moments of silence--if you didn't know him, it would be funny, but really he is just very thoughtful about the things he says. Unfortunately Steven is also struggling to make it to church because of a work conflict. Hopefully he will be at church next week!

I tried to send Anna a happy birthday card...sorry anna! For Christmas someone in our ward gave us these little notes that fold in on themselves to become really tiny envelopes. But apparently the US postal service doesn't like them because the mini-happy birthday I sent to Anna wound up back in our mailbox a few days ago. So, happy birthday anna! and you too Sam! hope your birthdays were swell!

Other than that, things have been good here in Liberty. Hope y'all have a great week!



A Quick Story

Here is an excerpt from my email to president crawford this week. It sounds kinda smug the way its written but its a good story so here you go:

"Elder Kalilimoku and a member were in a lesson with an investigator family, so Elder Hendershot and I spent an hour tracting out the surrounding apartment complex. We had gotten some good results and were feeling pretty good about ourselves and our work by the time we reached the end of the hour. It was starting to get dark as we walked back to our car to meet Elder Kalilimoku and the member that was out with us. Although it was already six o'clock (our prearranged meeting time), Elder Kalilimoku was still in the lesson. We felt prompted, rather than going and sitting in the car, to knock just a few more doors. We knocked three with no success. Then we knocked the last door (in fact, probably the only door in the whole apartment complex that we had yet to knock on) and it opened. The lady who opened the door was very receptive to our message. After a few minutes of talking to us, she said she recognized us. She said she had seen us in traffic the other day. All the sudden we remember: This was the same lady that we had waved to and let into our lane on the street a few days ago. In fact, both of our windows had been down so we even said hi to her (on a busy street no less). At the time we thought we were just been kind (and goofy). Little did we know that we would tract into her a few days later and that she would be so receptive to the gospel. We returned the next day at the time we had appointed and had a wonderful restoration lesson with her. She is an avid reader, and was incredibly excited to "dig in" to the Book of Mormon to find out for herself if it was true. This is the first time I have ever taught an investigator like this. I am very glad that Elder Hendershot and I decided to follow the prompting to knock just a few more doors rather than sitting in the car and waiting."

love y'all!

Happy birthday Anna! And Sam! Let me know if you get my card.

com amor,



Whoa I forgot that I hadn't written home about Christmas! It seems like forever ago.

Well, my Christmas was fantastic! It turns out you don't need your family to have a great Christmas! haha just kidding, I missed you all a ton, and loved getting to talk to you over skype. But we are all brothers and sisters in God yes? So I spent Christmas with family, and it really was pretty great.

For Christmas eve we went to this really fancy house (the Jamisons) and ate beef tenderloin. When Sister Jamison served dessert, she dished out the plates one at a time and I noticed that everyone waited till the last person had gotten some dessert before they started eating. Everyone, that is, except for Elder Hendershot, who upon receiving his slice of cake promptly took a healthy bite. This KILLED me.

On Christmas morning we had a hearty morning exercise that consisted of removing the wrapping paper from our presents. Thanks for all the presents everybody! Then we went to the Waddells for most of the day. I got to open some more presents, cook, play guitar, play catch, and play boardgames. It was a great day. I played a lot of guitar. Like. my fingers blistered. And I got to talk to y'all, which was the best part of the whole day.

Then after Christmas was over we got right back to missionary work and I kinda forgot all about it until I started writing this email.

hope everyone had an amazing christmas!