Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Elder Zach Beckman

I feel so great about receiving my mission call it is such a relief to know where the Lord wants me to serve for the next two years of my life!! So… as most of you know I got my call to the Cincinnati, Ohio Mission and I leave on July 10th. When the day came that I got my call my parents kept reminding me that I was going to get called to a place where the Lord wanted me to go. And when I opened my call and read Cincinnati I just knew that’s where I was supposed to go. I felt like such a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and such a feeling of relief and peace.  I feel so happy and excited about going to serve a mission but at the same time I am really nervous because at the same time I haven’t even graduated high school yet… it is all happening so fast it is CRAZY!! But I am most definitely excited to go out and serve. Another thing that means a lot to me about serving a mission is that I will be setting an example to my two younger brothers to also go and serve a mission I often think about if I had chosen not to go what they would think or what they would do when it was their time also. Good thing I don’t have to worry about setting a bad example for them by not serving. So yeah, I'm way excited I am going to serve a mission in Ohio I know that it is where I am supposed to be and I will bless a lot of people’s lives and I know that by this choice my life will be eternally blessed!!
-(soon to be) Elder Beckman

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Elder McCade Tracy

McCade Arrived in Louisville Kentucky on March 18th.  He is serving in a town outside Louisville called Shively. These are pieces from his last 2 emails...

April 8th...
Felton & Unique are struggling, Elder Carson has told me that it's been a long struggle to get to this point. I can probably get a picture with Felton, but Unique won't even meet with us anymore.

For some people we are teaching first lessons and others are just reading from the Book of Mormon, the teaching pool is starting to get smaller but that's why we tract! General Conference was amazing! Yes we did go to the church to watch it, and we got 5 investigators there as well.

This past month has flown by, it's scary to imagine how fast the rest of the time I'm out here will go by. but I'll enjoy every minute of it no matter what.
High for this week was conference, low: there wasn't really a low point this week, it's all been very good and positive, I can't wait for what this next week has instore for me, and the challenges that come with it!
Now it's time for me to get back to work! Love you and miss you guys!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

April 15th....
Things are going amazingly! Even though every week seems to go by quicker and quicker, I'm trying to take it all in and remember all of the great moments. Elder Carson and I are doing great.
Things with Felton are going alright, all we can do is pray and put it in the Lords hands. As things are going right now, his bap date is gonna get moved back again but I know that he will get baptized eventually. Our other investigators have been progressing very well, we actually got 6 to church yesterday! Hopefully we can get a few of them baptized next month, which will be awesome, and plus one of our gators, Josh Payne who has been investigating for the past few years all he's been waiting on is papers, and President Woodbury has told us to set a bap date on the 27th with him and Josh chose me to baptize him! I have no clue why he would choose me, but I'm very excited to get this opportunity. 
Love you all and thank you for all the packages and letters! I love them, Keep working hard and having fun and don't ever give up!
Love your Son, and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Elder Colton Richins


Alrighty here I am! Sorry for the wait! So this week has been insane. It has been an Brother Gouveia week. This last week I got a very frightening text message from him. This is what he sent me... ''Elder Richins. I only feel true peace when I am with you guys. I came home feeling calm but depressed. I cried a ton without anybody seeing me when I remembered your words 'that it is an honor..' No elder, it is a curse. I know that you suffer for me because you have the love of Christ. I suffer knowing that you have suffered and suffer for me. But I don't have the faith and testimony that you have. Yesterday thoughts of suicide passed through my head. I am not kidding. I am scared. I am depressed. Elder I love you a lot but we cannot meet anymore. Elder I will die, I swear, or I will go crazy. Elder forgive me for all the suffering that I have caused you. We will not be meeting anymore. I love you, brother, but I cannot resist anymore. I can not stand this any longer. I hope you will forgive me, Elder Richins. I will never forget you. Please accept my decision. Goodbye, my friend. I will miss you. Tonight when you finish visiting with my wife, I will appear to say goodbye.'' After receiving this message, I sat, freaked out a little bit...then me and Elder Failes decided that we needed to go to the chapel and begin pleading the Lord for help. After what seemed like forever, we feel like we received revelation of what to do. We found the scripture in Ephesians that talks about putting on the WHOLE armor of God. We decided that the only way to rid him of Satan was for him to put on the whole armor of God. We also planned on showing him the talk of Jefferey R. Holland on faith. That night when we met with his wife (with our branch president and his wife) he never showed up to say goodbye to us. So we knew that we had to call him after the visit. So...I dialed him up. He was in tears...I have never ever heard him in such a terrifying condition. His voice shook as he cried and told me how scared he was as if a little child was lost in a big crowd, frightened and pleading for help to find his way. I will never forget that phonecall. The words ''Elder...I am scared....I am scared...'' will echo in my ears for the rest of my life. He told me that he had NEVER had thoughts of suicide before. He said that the devil is literally trying to kill him. It was scary. Satan truly has great power over him right now. I have said it before and I will say it again, in my 4 months of working with this man I have seen the power of the Devil, and I have seen the power of the Lord. all in all, however, it completely depends on the free agency of that person. (2nd Nephi 2:27) I told him that me and Elder Failes knew the solution to his problem, but that it wouldn't be easy. We marked an appointment with him for that Sunday (2 days later). I told him that if he did not read or pray then he would not be able to find refuge from these feelings. I committed him to reading and praying before he went to bad that night. At 1:30 a.m that next morning we received a text message from him saying, ''I read. I prayed. Now I will rest in peace..'' So then Sunday came. Me and Elder Failes were pretty nervous because we knew that this would be a ''make it or break it'' lesson. When the lesson began, he told us that before we had got there, he had felt impressed to go off and say a prayer. He said that normally when he is with us, he feels like an iniquitous person in front of the just. But at that moment, he felt completely calm. This strengthened my testimony on revelation. I know that he received that impression so that he would be more open to accept the revelation that we received from the Lord. So we talked to him about putting on the whole armor of God. That he would need to make the decision spoken of in 2 Nephi, to either choose liberty through the Messiah, or captivity through the devil. He asked us...''Elders. Will I ever have the vision of eternal life again? Because I don't have that anymore'' We promised him that if he would make the decision to put on the whole armor of God, deciding right then to keep all of the commandments, he would have protection from the Devil, and through this he shall regain his vision of eternal life. We then watched Elder Holland's talk, and then I gave him the quote from Elder Henry B. Eyring, ''I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ.'' Elder Failes then drew a picture of a knight and we labeled all of the corresponding parts of armor with the contents found in Ephesians 6. He then signed the paper saying that as of the 14th of April 2013, he put on the whole armor of God. And me and Elder Failes signed underneath as testimonies. It was a very powerful lesson, and a very good experience. I know that if he keeps his promise and tries with all his might to go through with this decision, the Lord will bring him back home. I know it. Last night we called him, and he said that it was harder than he thought. And that he was struggling. We told him that we will be his crutches for the first couple of weeks, but that we confided in him, and so did the Lord. So the battle continues on. I really hope he makes this happen. But that was basically the big story of the week.
Yesterday we had a zone conference. After the conference, all the leaders in the zone had to meet with president. President has a goal set for finding 5000 new investigators this transfer...and that we as leaders have a very high responsibility for making this possible. Which means that each companionship in the mission needs to be finding an average of 9 people a week this transfer. And we need to help our districts and zones acheive these standard. Hence why last night I told you that I was a wee bit stressed out. Also president chastized me because Jose, a week after receiving the Holy Ghost, returned to smoking. He told me that I may be in this area until he stops felt like kinda a threat. But whatever. I am doing my best. That was another reason why I was a little stressed out yesterday. The church is very small on Madeira and we need more priesthood holders to keep it going. And Jose needs to receive the priesthood but is currently unworthy...and so President told me that I need to take care of that problem. 
Anyways, that is about all I have for you from my end.
Well I hope everything is well with you guys! I will try to send a picture...but remember mom, technology here is no where near as advanced as it is in the U.S. So everyone is VERY behind on that area. But I am on the chapel computer and I think I will be able to send a couple! I will try! I love you so much mom! Thanks for everything you do for me! Until next week!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins

Elder Zach Benard

 Zach was just transferred to Corvallis a couple of weeks ago.  He's been in Coos Bay ever since he arrived in Oregon 4 months ago.  Change is good but he sure is gonna miss the beach; he's always loved the ocean.  Here are some pieces of his last e-mail.

Hello Everyone!!
It's been pretty different here in Corvallis, the people here are more into...tracting. They think that tracting will bring baptisms and that asking members for referrals isn't as good of an approach, that's what we were doing in my last area and we actually had more appointments come through. But that's ok cause I've been tracting in the rain most of the time  and I'm perfectly fine with that. ;)
Elder Phair has been out 8 months and is really... obedient. He's one of those "tool" missionaries, but he's good at teaching and I've learned a lot from him. The people really seem to hate us or like us here and they say that we don't know what we believe cause we were raised in the religion and we can't choose for ourselves. I had the experience of kinda falling away and choosing for myself to come back and I told this guy a little about that and how he shouldn't say that we don't know what we believe, cause we CAN choose for ourselves! He said, well I'm a scientist and I'm just not interested. 
There are a lot of Mexicans and Hawaiians here, they are cool cause they know how to eat a lot of food and cook it good, and they give us the left overs! :) They are also really funny cause they like to have the 'Best 2 Years' playing in the background.
Well hope you all have a great week and love you all!!
My address is: 2788 SW Pickford st. #106 Corvallis, OR, 97333
Love you!!
Love Elder Benard

Monday, April 15, 2013

Elder Seth Garner


        Well I have made it through my first week in the field! You are all probably wondering where I am and how things are going. I guess Heavenly Father knew I don't mind the snow, because where I am, it snows every month of the year... Wait, it snows in San Diego? That's right, it's a little town called Julian, and it is AMAZING here! It is the only place with snow in my mission, and it is 4,000 feet above sea level. My first day in the field I spent an hour shoveling snow. Julian just opened up in our mission, and my companion and I are the first full time missionaries to serve here, and we are the ONLY missionaries here. My area is so large, it covers the snowy mountains and the dry desert. I am so blessed to have been sent to Julian, because the Julian Branch has been praying to receive some missionaries. This place needs a lot of work. I guess The Lord thinks I might be the right one for the job! My companion's name in Elder Dennison, and thankfully, he is the BEST. He is strides above where I am, and believes in exact obedience. I am super grateful to have him as a companion. I have been trying my hardest to work with exact obedience, and I think it's coming along really well. Here in Julian, there are a total of 25 active members who show up to church. As you might have guessed, since there are not a whole lot of people who come to sacrament, my companion and I basically run the Branch. My first sacrament meeting, I was able to pass the sacrament and give a talk. The little town of Julian is VERY interesting. Every house we visit is guaranteed to have at least three cats. The apple pies here are INCREDIBLE. There are llamas in the street. The branch president owns a gold mine in his backyard, and of course, it snows here. In fact, today we are expecting 16 inches. But the best part of all, are the people here. There is not a mean person in Julian. Even if we are turned down, it's always somehow in a nice, sincere way. Everyone grows there own food, and there is not a night where we aren't fed an amazing meal! Except for last night, that was the worst meal/experience of my life... But that is a story for another time. I have already had amazing spiritual experiences that I will never forget. Our goal here is to turn the Julian Branch into the Julian Ward. It won't be easy, but with the lord on our side, hard work and diligence, there is not a doubt in my mind that we can get this done. I hope you are enjoying the crappy weather back home, because I sure am enjoying the crappy weather here! THIS IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE!

Love you all,
Elder Garner

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Elder Martin and Sister Jeanette Evans

Elder and Sister Evans are currently serving as service missionaries for the Tabernacle Choir.  Instead of buying white shirts and ties and skirts and blouses upon receiving their call, we found them purchasing black shirts and pants so they can serve as stage hands for the choir broadcasts, concerts, and drive truck on choir tours.  They have this to say about their experiences to date:

"We have had some great experiences since getting our call in August for a service mission the the Tabernacle Choir.  We serve 3-4 times a week and most recently at the Christmas Concert.  Our assignment was to oversee the dancers.  It was our job to have them in position to go on stage.  From the back of the auditorium or up top (stage) or along the sides, we had to make sure they were all there and ready to go on. It was a GREAT experience with GREAT kids!

"Next we got to help with the inauguration of Governor Herbert in January at the State Capitol.  We had to take risers (24 of them) into the capitol.  It takes at least four men to carry one riser--and they had to take them up three flights to the rotunda.  It was a lot of work!!!  We also had to take in everything for the orchestra (65 chairs, stands, timpani, bass, harps, keyboard, chimes, etc.).

"I will never forget hearing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as it echoed through the rotunda.  FABULOUS!

"We are now looking forward to going on tour with the choir and orchestra in June."  

Elder Bremen Acord

Bremen is currently serving in an area called Monte Sossego in the city of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente in the country of Cape Verde that is 350 miles off the western coast of Senegal, West Africa. If you are like me, the first word you probably recognized in that sentence is “Africa”…maybe “Senegal”. He has been in his new area about four weeks now. Following is a quote from one of his last e-mails.
Dear family,
How is everyone doing???? Things are going pretty good here. I am now in an area called Monte Sossego. It isn´t very big, but it’s pretty sweet. We opened up a new branch, branch 5 here in Mindelo. Things are looking pretty good, we  have a good branch president and good leadership. Right now there are only about 40-50 people going to church though. It will definitely start growing here pretty soon. I am working with a new comp, Elder Pugmire. Things were a little bit better this week, and we are working hard, so that’s what matters anyways. The language and the culture and the climate are all very different here than on Santiago. No joke, every Island is a completely different mission. The Creole language here is A LOT different, but I’m used to it now. A lot more people here actually speak Portuguese though. Unlike Santiago, I have met very few people here that can’t understand Portuguese. The people here are also very different, everyone is much lighter in color. There is a lot more education here and people are always out doing stuff, like soccer or volleyball or handball or dancing... Mindelo is one of the more recently established cities, so it’s actually pretty nice. I can get almost anything food wise, except for real milk and good meat... I can’t even tell you guys how much I miss really good milk... That is probably the number one food or drink that I miss. The milk here is just nasty... We get to play basketball here on p-days so that is a lot of fun actually. Better than soccer! So ya, things here are pretty good, the next place I want to go is Santo Antao. It is sooooo pretty and green and has waterfalls and stuff. Its sweet. I hope everything is all going good back at home. I love you all soooo much! have a good week!
Elder Acord

For those of you who are like some of the rest of us and know nothing about Cape Verde but would like to know more, please use the links below to learn more!  The Church's video is so touching and soooo great!  If you have no time for anything else, make sure you make time to watch it!!!   It is amazing!!!

Church Facts and Statistics about Cape Verde

Church News about 1st Stake in Cape Verde,

Great Church Video - Cabo Verde: Land of Light

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's New with the Willow Wood Ward Missionaries?

Please join us weekly as we add all of the missionaries in the Willow Wood Ward to the blog and just a little about what they are doing in their area of service.   Look for their pictures and a little about what they are doing and perhaps an experience or two that have been meaningful to them in the last little while.  Hopefully, we can build the missionary spirit in our ward.