Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas, Baptism, Wedding, Transfer.......and more

What a week! Definitely have never had a Christmas like that.

First off, it was so good to talk to my family! It was definitely a bittersweet thing. Trunky, but at the same time loving the mission. It´s a confusing mix of emotions...very confusing. But you guys look so good, and I got to talk to the newly weds-congrats my friends. That is so exciting: Christmas, Star Wars, and a Wedding all within a week or so! I was a little saddened that my little bro has a deeper voice now-I am missing these years while he is in puberty´s grasp. But it was a great great week nonetheless!

First off, we had a BAPTISM! Nahuel, he is a great great capo of an Argentine. So happy for him. We had invited almost all of the ward. But to not all that much surprise, only 10 people showed up...including 4 missionaries. Me, my comp, and the two other Elders of Castillo. It was on Saturday. Baptisms are nice because we have to be at the church while the font is filling, which takes about 3 hours. During that time, we read the scriptures, and I plunked out some primary songs on the old piano. We had a talk about baptism by Carlos, a counselor in the Elders Quorum. We then had the baptism, I gave a talk on the HG, and we had a musical number by another Elder in the ward. Haha the ward counselor who conducted REFUSED to say my name, even though it was WRITTEN on his paper! That actually happens a lot. He just looked at it, then asked me ¨what´s your name again?¨ ¨Wilcox.¨ ¨Oh...Elder.....Weeel..col¨ Close enough. But it was a really good baptism. I think Nahuel will make a great member of the ward. He advanced through the lessons so quick! He knows quite a bit of english, and loves to read the BOM. He also made his own progress. By that I mean he made changes without us even asking. Por ejemplo: he told us one day he stopped listening to his regular music because he knew it was bad, and we hadn´t even said anything! This gospel changes lives! Yesterday in Church, I got to confirm him member of the church. It was pretty scary in spanish, not gonna lie. I messed up, to say the least. But it was a really good experience.

Christmas was great too! For the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) we had a great asado dinner at Walter y Mirta´s house, a family of investigators. They are awesome, and are really progressing to baptism! In fact, they might already be there, but she has to get divorced, and then they have to get married. But that was fun, DELICIOUS asado steak and sausage and stuff. Haha we had to order a remis (taxi), because we were allowed to stay out til 10:30 if we got one. I thought it was gonna be at least a good-ish car. But it turned out to be a complete piece of cardboard on wheels! I was pretty sketched out. He had incredibly loud music playing, but the car was wobbling the whole time, like it was gonna fall apart. Haha fun stuff. Argentine Xmas is really just getting drunk, high, and eating asado. And also.....fireworks. Lots and lots of them. Mostly just loud fire crackers. But at midnight on the Noche Buena, they let loose. For you Heber folk, just imagine the Memorial Hill finale, but literally EVERYWHERE around you! So many fireworks, for like 25 straight minutes! It was insane! Christmas day was fun. We had lunch with a member, and a visit with a couple others. We stayed in the members house where we called for a while while we all called home.

I am going backwards on this email. But on wed, we went to the Buenos Aires Temple as a mission! SOOOO GREAT. My first session ever in Spanish. It was pretty different, but it´s a beautiful temple. They had a great program at the mission offices after that. That took all day, it was our ¨Christmas P-Day¨. Awesome.

We got transfer calls only about 3 hours ago. They are really last minute on those. But it looks like I will be staying in Castillo, yay! But....Elder Stuart, my dear Papi is going away. He is going to a zone called Marcos Paz. But he is gonna be district leader AND finish someone´s training, which means I´ll have a step-brother! I´ve never met him, but my new comp is named Elder Campos. I could be wrong, but I´m pretty sure he´s Chileno. I´ll meet him tomorrow. Oh, and he´s gonna be District Leader, so he´s got to be a good guy! I am pretty sad to see Elder Stuart go, but change is good and helps us grow.

No mo time, better get. I love the mission, and love these people! Missions are the best. Keep the faith everybody. Also, keep the commandments.

Love Elder Wilcox

Pic 1: Nahuel at his Baptism!
Pic 2: This is Carlos, Eva, and Marcos. My FAVORITE member family. Carlos (guy next to me, who spoke at the baptism) loves rock, as you can tell by his hair. He also loves Star Wars, so we get along great!

What's Two Years? (Dec 21)

NOTHING, that´s what! This mission is the best thing that´s ever happened to me, ever! To paraphrase Elder Holland, the mission is CRITICAL, absolutely ESSENTIAL, and worth more than anything in time and eternity for my testimony and personal growth. As a missionary, I am growing in every way possible: spiritually, mentally, in maturity, in how to treat people, language skills, and more! Ha I guess I´m growing physically too.

This week we got training from my Gpa, Elder Christensen, and our zone leaders on how to best teach lesson 2, the Plan de Salvación. This, combined with the training on lesson 1, makes me feel invincible! We know all about teaching these lessons, obviously, but this is tuned to us and our mission and our investigators. Ha these Argentines NEED really simple lessons. That´s probably true throughout the world, but the point is that we have been using these new techniques, and it works. We are combining lesson 2 with Chastity. Because in any given city here, maybe one couple will be married. NOBODY gets married, it´s a real challenge! But I am seeing the lives of Gustavo y Monica, our awesome golden family, just change change change. It´s all in the eyes. You can tell that they have interest, that they are humble, and want to change. The Lord prepares people, and some need more preparation than others! We are getting SO BLESSED right now with a massive teaching pool. Nahuel, great great guy, is getting baptized this saturday and I am stoked! PEOPLE: dont ever judge a missionary harshly for not getting baptisms, or good for getting lots of baptims. We are ALL a team and who takes the credit? Whose strength do we boast in? The Lord. And nobody else.

This week Elder Stuart completed a year, and we burned a shirt! That was fun. We bought a couple pizzas to celebrate. (Argentines aren´t that bad at pizza). Well lesson learned, NOT to buy pizza from the pizzeria called ¨La Napo¨. If you´re ever in Rafael Castillo, go elsewhere! I barfed that stuff up hard all night! The other three didn´t barf, but we did get multiple reports of some weird doo-doos.

Oh yeah Christmas. So happy and stoked! This for sure isnt normal´s much better! We have been having real trouble finding someone that´ll accept us for the Noche Buena (Christmas Eve). Our bishop and his fam (who are awesome and like family to us!) are leaving mission boundaries and we cant go with them....BUT, one of the families we are teaching invited us over that night! The Lord provides. Haha we were worried we were gonna get stuck in our pench that night eating cereal. But it´s ok here. Xmas here is like Labor Day back in the states. People check their watches and they´re like ¨Oh yeah, I guess it is christmas time.¨ But I am quite excited, plus we are gonna call fam! I heard there was a birth in the family? Or adoption? WEDDING, that´s it. I´m gonna talk to a new brother. There´s happiness in the air!

¡Ciao! ¨I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.¨ Best wishes from good old....

Elder Wilcox

Pic: Us burning the shirt! That handsome devil taking the selfie is Elder Donnelly.
Other Pic: un Hermano in the ward had us at his parilla (grill) last p day and fed us! Awesome!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Its beginning to look a lot like...summer

Real talk! But it started looking like summer long ago. anyway...

It´s fun getting xmas greetings and feeling that excitement from home! I´m definitely enjoying the season as well, just in totally different ways. People dont really sing christmas songs here, but many do have christmas trees, it´s fun to see those.

This week I gave my very first priesthood blessing in Castellano (argentine spanish). Kind of a scary experience, but amazing nonetheless. I think I have said before that giving a blessing is one of my favorite ways to feel the spirit. You can feel the love the God has for that person, it´s awesome! I have done the annointing plenty of times, but never have I done the actual blessing. It was for a girl that is having real migraine problems. When we left, she tried to kiss us goodbye, but we had to deny her. That happens like 20x a day! I´ve denied many women kisses haha. But not men, it´s okay to kiss them ;)....on the cheek of course.

This week has flown by! Elder Stuart and I are just doing SO great right now with investigators and éxito and happiness. So fun to actually see the fruits of labores. This whole transfer has flown by really.

This week was PESADO, AFUL. In other words, incredibly hot and humid. Ha so many people are like dying either in the house or out, and look at us and ask ¨Why are you wearing those clothes, aren´t you dying??¨ Why yes, yes I am, thanks for asking. The ward had a xmas dinner this week. We had invited some investigators. The dinner was supposed to start at 7. Then at 8 ish was supposed to be a show. They had asked us to do something for the show. We had the other two elders with us from Castillo, E´ Donnelly and Estrada. We changed our plans like 3 times, but didn´t actually get to do anything....because the dinner didn´t start until about 8:50! Argentines....very late people.But our golden golden family, Gustavo y Monica, showed up! SO GREAT. I was so happy. Haha as soon as they came at 9:20 we had to go. But we talked to the bishop and his family yesterday and they said the Gustavo and Monica had a really good time, and things are working out. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary. The work is so fun to see the changes people are making. We are NOT salesman. We are God´s army, ready to combat sadness and bad choices and replace them with joy and love. How great is that?

Haha something that the members always do when I say I´m from Utah is they make some joke like it´s the ¨factory¨. ¨La fábrica.¨ I got so used to that that I accidentally used it in street contacts! As in, ¨Yeah I´m Elder Wilcox, and I´m from Utah. La fábrica hehe.¨ And then non members who don´t know anything get way confused. STILL LEARNING. Every day. Love it.

Ok, I need to get. We are getting close to having a brand new couple in our midst! Congrats to Shaylee and Michael, hope you have a wonderful wedding. Also to everyone with a white christmas, count your blessings! I love you all, and I love this work! Trying me best everyday to improve, and I know I can through Christ our Lord. ¡Ciao!

Keep on keepin on,

Elder Wilcox

Pic: Its true humility to send a sopping-wet-right-after-the-rain picture. This is how we look. Not too guapo, but can still teach a lesson!

Other Pic: This is a few weeks old, but it´s when we got transfer calls and found out we were all gonna stay together!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

When I get where I'm going (Dec 6)

Greetings, friends and family. It´s christmas season, yay! And so hot outside. Doesn´t seem to be xmas at all. I´ve never actually had to dream of a white xmas haha. I started this week out singing a bunch of christmas songs, but quickly stopped. There´s only like 2 christmas songs ever that don´t talk about home and family and snow and mistletoe and everything that isnt in my life right now. But that´s ok, we are doing just dandy down in Rafael Castillo 2! Miracles are seen EVERY day if you look.

This week´s subject comes from a song that I heard this week by Brad Paisley. It´s actually a really beautiful song. It says something like ¨when I get where I´m going, there´ll be only happy tears. I will shed the sins and struggles I have carried all these years.....When I see my makers face, I´ll stand forever in the light of His Amazing Grace!¨ What a great message! Good old country music, eh?

Right this moment I am stricken with a fever, but the rest of this week has been great! Tuesday and wednesday were rough days. It was hot and humid. REALLY hot and humid. No one wanted to talk and no wanted us around. BUT....something changed eventually. We ended this week with a LOT of lessons, and 10 new investigators! That´s a lot. But guess what else happened? We found ANOTHER familia de oro (GOLDEN FAMILY). The parents names are Walter and Mirta. They have two old kids that are baptized and inactive. But we clapped their house, and they let us right in, no questions! We were kinda surprised, but happy. Then they told us their story. They´ve heared missionaries many times before. But we had a GREAT GREAT first lesson and they committed to come to church. That was on friday. I was happy they committed to come to church, but so do a lot of people. People tell us they are coming to church alllll the time and never show, even when we call them night before, morning of, etc. But they actually came!!! And brought their whole family! Couldn´t believe it. Church yesterday was the best three hours of my life! We had 7, yes, 7 investigators at church! Our mini chapel was full...almost. It was so great! The gospel principles class was taught by our ward mission leader, and not by us, like it usually is. And it was testimony mtg yesterday, a great great time for feeling the spirit. I love to see the ward doing great, all on it´s own! That´s a comfort, seeing these wonderful saints getting the blessings from a restored gospel.

Remember the other golden family, Gustavo y Monica? They are still golden, just much harder to meet with. They always set appointments up a week or more apart. BUT we had a fantastic lesson with them on friday. I felt the spirit more strongly than ever in their little living room. Gustavo brought up some very valid questions. Their concerns are all very valid, just hard to get around. They have NO time, and that´s why they don´t read. The most spiritual lessons are when I worry the least about messing up in the language. I feel the spirit, and they feel the spirit. And THAT is the real teacher, not weakling Elder Wilcox with mediocre castellano spanish. ¨I boast in the strength of my Lord¨ ya know?

Ok, must get going now. This ¨cyber¨ (internet place) is being lame, looks like I cant send any pics today. Have a great week. And remember that Elder Wilcox loves you! ¡Ciao!

Elder Wilcox

Family reunion and giving thanks (Nov 30)

What an incredible week it has been! INDREDIBLE, I tell ya.

Most everything was going normal until friday. Just good old working hard and moving the work along. But Elder Stuarts Papi (trainer), Elder Christensen, was made a traveling assistant pretty recently! And if you´re wondering, Elder Stuart is my Papi (even though I´m done with my training now), so that means Elder Christensen is my abuelo, hence the subjec line ¨family reunion¨. He is such an AMAZING missionary.

Friday Elder Christensen and his comp came to do a three day division with us. Elder Christensen came with us and his comp, Elder Furtado, went with Elder Donnelly and Estrada. So the pench that is crowded with four Elders had six for a few days..... Anyway, the weekend was just so good. With him, I kinda realized ¨What am I doing? I could be doing SO much better!¨ At contacting, at teaching, at being confident. He really helped us make a jump on our ánimo. We found 5 new investigators, 3 of which are VERY promising and seem so ready to accept the Gospel. Just this morning on the bus, I talked to three people, and gave out the new xmas cards we missionaries have. (BTW. Spanish report: the castellano is coming along very nicely! Elder Christensen said that I speak really really fluently!)

Elder Christensen also taught us a lot on teaching lesson 1, the Restoration. Simpler is better. So much better. PMG says It´s true intelligence to take something complicated and simplify it so that a child can understand. Or so an Argentine can understand. We put that into play, and after one lesson I saw a HUGE difference, in the spirit during the lesson, in the understanding of the investigator, etc. Seriously, my tesimony just grew right up this week. Plus being with my papi and abuelo was SO FUN. We really did get along great. I give more thanks for all these experiences every day. I would never trade this mission for anything. Nothing. I´m missing my family, yes, but it is so worth it. I will look back on these good times forever.

Funny story of the week: the members we live with have a dog, a really friendly pitbull named Leona. Somehow she got in the pench during the night, and snuggled right up to Elder Christensen who was sleeping on the ground. I heard this terrible licking sound and woke up. I thought it was my comp, but it was her, and I could smell her BAD, she was wet from the rain. She was busy licking my abuelos elbow! He never woke up, but I had to do the right thing and grab her and banish her from the pench. Funny stuff.

Love you all! Excited for diciembre to finally start! Goodbye have a great week.

Love Elder Wilcox

Pic: our family reunion. My papi and abuelo are much buffer than I......

The Gospel Truth (Nov 23)

Bless my soul, the work is on a roll!

The spanish is improving bastante! Still definitely not fluent or anything close, but I have left lessons this week and then realized that I didnt even worry about what I was saying or grammar or whatever. I think the Don de Lenguas is a real thing, it just takes a little time and work.

Political energy is in the air! Argentina is just finishing elections. We are not allowed to talk about them to anyone except members, and yesterday were the actual elections and we stayed in our pench all day. But the guy that we were secretly hoping for to win won! And he might make it possible for missionaries to get packages! That would be sweetness. Also we heard from some members about bombings in France, that sounds scary. But we also heard something about an attempted bombing in New York(?) I know nothing, but no one mentioned anything so I guess no news is good news.

I think that this is the greatest thing of my life. Is it too cliche to say ¨The Best Two Years¨? The church is just so true and this is just so fun and sometimes so hard and long but that is ok! Gospel aside, a young man grows so much when he leaves his family and tries to something worthwhile and learns along the way. He lives with other young men doing the same thing. Oh, and they do it all while speaking spanish. I want so badly to help the investigators I have and make their lives better! We found yet ANOTHER awesome awesome family to teach. Cesár and Andrea. But she is insanely evangelica, which translates to ¨wont listen¨. We tried to introduce the Book of Mormon, but she just said something like ¨You guys have your conviction and I have mine. Jesus is the way, the only way.¨ We were like ¨yeah we know, and this can help-..¨ But she just interupted and said a bunch of stuff. I agreed with about 99 percent of everything she said but an hour later she was still talking and convinced we were weird. Hopefully her heart can be softened and we´ll be able to get a word or two in. It´s been a great week. Had more progress with David, a wonderful lesson where he really opened up on some questions he has.

The rain continues. It´s actually kinda cold ish when it rains. But the next day the sun comes out (do do do do) and it gets SO HUMID and SO HOT. I hope everyone has a good thanksgiving. We weren´t planning on anything, I actually just remembered thanksgiving today. BUT a member family invited us to dinner for their sons birthday! We´ll probably get a full asado (spread of different types of meat) and I am STOKED! That is good. But most other food is insanely bland. All I want for xmas is pepper. I miss pepper so much. They put way too much salt and absolutely no pepper. I bought some red ¨pepper¨ stuff at the store but it just turned out to be red dust, nasty.

Well I had better get. Not a lot of time. Love you guys! Happy b day recently to Travis ¨BuckWalk¨ Wilcox. 60 has never looked so good! Ha. Have a great week and remember that its only another month til Christmas and Star Wars 7! Not that I´ll watch it or anything....

Love, Elder Wilcox
¨Blessed are they that write to Elder Wilcox, for they shall have favor with him.¨

Pic: Elder Stuart and I outside our front door in the rain. I think only my parents will understand the face I´m making....

The Castillo Crew (Nov 16)

SO....transfer calls were this week.

And to my surprise and the surprise of many, Elder Stuart and I are staying together for another transfer and we are still gonna be seeing milagros here in Rafael Castillo! Lucky us. Also Elders Donnelly and Estrada, the two we live with are still here as well. We got the call from our zone leader and were all jumping up and down, ¨Yay! The family is staying together!¨ I am the little hijo, E. Stuart is my Papi, E. Donnelly is the uncle, and E. Estrada is the exchange student from Guatemala. But he`s like family.

I am really seeing the Castillo 2 ward pick things up as well! Much of this transfer we have talked about how to strengthen this ward. How how how? That`s kinda the whole point right? It profiteth us nothing if the missionaries baptize people....and thats it. They need a ward family to accept them and give them callings and really make a spot for them. Well last night, we did visits with some priesthood brethren. Me and my comp split up. I went with a recently returned missionary named Gabi, and elder stuart went with his dad. It was great! I`ve never done a split with a non missionary before, so it was interesting. Really tested my spanish. I can actually kinda hold my own! We had a little bit of a hard time conversing, but we talked about his mission in Brasil and it was good. None of the members we had planned on were home or available, so we just contacted some investigators of ours. We didn´t get in to any houses, but I gave a Libro de Mormon away and Gabi said he was impressed we have so many investigators in this area!

What else happened this week? OH. Got fed blood sausage. I guess they eat it in Hungary too, I hear from elder fitzgerald. Well I am totally with you Elder Fitz, blood sausage will NEVER be good. It´s literlally blood formed into a sausage and cooked. They eat it up here, but I avoid it.

The weather has manifested itself unto us. Quite ferociously (is that how you spell it?) too. Last monday we had a lesson with our awesome friend David. But it was raining. We wore our ponchos, it wasnt too bad on the way to the lesson. But after the lesson, the rain came down HARD. Now this wasn´t some petty utah shower. It was more like God said ¨haha check this out suckers¨ and gave us everything. In the paved streets, we could have floated home on tubes. But on the dirt roads....its a constant struggle to make it out of there alive. Mud bath of mud baths.
But later this week it got realllllly hot. Humid too. The heat and humidity make it rough to sleep. But we are enduring and loving it too.

The progress is awesome! Had great great lessons this week and some service opportunities tambien. We helped a woman move, way across the area. That was fun. Imagine two elders stabling an ancient fridge, in the back of an ancient truck. We stopped and helped a woman shoveling some dirt in her yard, and she totally talked to us afterwards. Service is the key people!

We also had an ¨open chapel¨ and that was great. Dont have much time but just want to say to always be an example of the faith!

3rd Nephi is great isnt it?

Love Elder Wilcox

The white shirts are coming (Nov 9)

My mission in a sentence: ¨I saw a bum here the other night, there were two bums. And I thought to myself, lets talk to these guys about the gospel.¨ -Nacho Libre

What a great week! Why is is that only at the END of the transfer you feel like you start to pick up and be awesome?? Lame. The transfer ends next week and I dont want to be separated from my beloved Elder Stuart. He´s a real capo and friend.

We decided to really start opening our bocas and trying to find new investigators. And stopping by people on the potential investigator list. Something I´ve learned this week is to STOP worrying and dont give up. There will be an hour or so some days where I just want to stop and sit down and scratch my bug bites and rest. Things get hard sometimes! But Preach my Gospel counsels that ¨If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease.¨ That is a real thing. We found the most PERFECT family to teach and had a great first lesson with them last night. They are from a contact we made weeks ago and thought nothing of. But we talked outside of their house for quite a while about missionary work and stuff. They were super intrigued.Gustavo and Monica. He was so impressed-haha asked like 20 times ¨So what you´re telling me is that you leave your own country for TWO years and never talk to your family just to teach about your church?¨ It felt so good to be validated and appreciated. Not even the members realize the work that the missionaries put in. And then we had a great lesson a couple days later! The fruits dont come quickly, but THEY COME.

We also have been really trying hard and making small progress on David, a son of a recent convert named Pina. She helps him a lot with reading and even coming to church, but he is reallllllly struggling with depression. Poor guy, he has real potential and he´s only 22 years old. And he´s super nice. We finally got in with him last night and had a lesson. I was thinking how we dont know him all that well. We got him to play his guitar for us. He is INCREDIBLE, at playing and singing. I feel like I know him so much better. After that he really opened up and the lesson blossomed. He also committed to a date. Crossing our fingers!

One other person who we´re hoping will be golden is the husband of a recent convert. La familia Guzman. They are so nice and have fed us a couple times. And guess what his name is? Gastón. Great name right? ¨No one reads like Gastón, no one prays like Gastón. No one climbs in the baptismal font like Gastón!¨

SO. The primary program. Super cool experience. The primary in this ward is like a ninth of a typical primary back home, but nine times as crazy. About fifteen or so little creatures with unbridled energy. We practiced on saturday, and it was so crazy. First of all, the piano is just something they are not familiar with at all. They have one, but no one EVER plays it so it´s almost too much for them to handle. Everyone sings! But they are used to acapella, so when I came in with the piano everyone (kids and adults) were like melody? tempo? Whats that? But we eventually figured it out and it was awesome. They fed us panchos (hotdogs) and they only eat them with mayo. The kids are crazy like I said, and both Elder Stuart and I got some mayo stains from the kids climbing on us with a pancho in hand. But it was so fun, and in sacrament mtg it worked out so well. What a spirit there is with a primary program! I love the words of a childs prayer. ¨Speak, he is listening.¨ La verdad.

Scripture of the week. Helaman 5:6. I am Parker TRAVIS Wilcox and proudly so. You´re awesome President Wilcox! Keep it up.

I will go forth boldly declaring the word of God to all of Buenos Aires West. I boast not of mine own strength, but the Lord´s. Unto this end, I close mine epistle. I am Elder Wilcox, son of Travis.

Pic: Elder Donnelly (the one next to me) had a birthday! And bdays in Argentina are cool. We made empanadas and they were way good! They have a tradition where you basically tar and feather the person, but with eggs and flower. We got him gooood, right after this pic was taken. But then the Hermana got all of us with eggs.....

Week of Ramos Life (Nov 2)

This is a crazy country. I´ve said it many a time, and probably will many more times. For instance, only an Argentine would run to catch the bus...while breast feeding. Or drench lettuce in oil and call it a salad. Or go CRAZY all night when their soccer team wins. I dont know, maybe other people do that stuff. But that is just a few things I have seen this week.

So. I live in a town called Rafael Castillo. And the church offices are in a bigger city called Ramos Mejía. To get to Ramos is about a 30-40 min ride on the colectivo (bus). And we went there EVERY day. Monday to play bball with our zone. That was fun.

Tuesday we went to Ramos for some trainings with the Mission President, President Robertson. He is such a CHAMP. I have loved getting to learn from him. We had different trainings on new computer things, but the best part was the interview with him. I could feel the spirit so strong. Half the time, we werent even talking about spiritual things, I could just feel the spirit with him. He gave some GREAT counsel. It was so awesome. He told me he was impressed with my spanish, and to keep working hard. One thing I loved that he said was to look to other missionaries and prophets for ideas. Dont ever be scared to look to others for good examples on how to work and share the Gospel.

Wednesday we didnt plan on going to Ramos. But the other Elders we live with went and forgot something, so we had to bring it to them :( It was good though. I actually got a seat on the bus, which never happens, and read about when Moroni and Pahoran beat the tar out of the Lamanites through their great FAITH. Keep the faith!

And then thursday and friday I had to go into Capitál, like the big part of Buenos Aires for something called trámites. That is thing we do to gain a two year visa or whatever. Mostly it was lines in a government building. I met some english speakers and got to talk about missionary work! One from Ireland, one Australia, and one England. (Super cool accents!) Haha the lines and stuff reminded me of Brian Regan: ¨Angry people here, livid people here, keep it organized!¨

Some wonderful other experiences this week! We had a great lesson with a lady named Eliana. Really nice and receptive to the Gospel. Seemed to understand the Restoration really well, and to put that in perspective....NOBODY understands the Restoration. Especially from a young Yankee like myself. (Yankee is like the word Gringo here. Except in Castellano its pronounced ¨zshankee¨) We have been having great lessons with a recent convert named Eva, who I saw baptized my first week here. But in church and in her house, she never wants to pray. What?? How could you not want to? Pray for Eva to see the great importance of PRAYER. It is one of the greatest gifts we have. The Great God who has plenty of things to do wants to talk to him personally.
I have been playing the hymns every week in church which I love to do even on a laaaammmmme piano. I got asked on the fly to play for the primary program next week, so we´ll see how that goes. Funny story from yesterday. Sacrament mtg, I was about to play the sacrament hymn. But before, our stake president was gonna make an announcement. All I was listening for, and all I heard was the ¨hymn number 118¨ from the counselor who was counducting. (The piano faces the wall). I started playing the hymn while the president stood patiently at the pulpet, until someone tapped me to stop. Wayyyyyyy embarrassing, but whatevs. Yankee life for ya!

Love ya! I dont care who you are, I love you. Have a wonderful week. Hope everyone had a great Halloween. I celebrated mine with a little bit of obra misional. Mmmm, delicious.

Elder Wilcox

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week of Pench Life

Hello again from the ever heating up Arj!

Although it´s heating up and thats nice.....I miss the cold. It was pretty cold when I got here and I kinda miss it! The morning chill is even gone.

We had some good lessons this week! Something I am really trying to improve in the work here is having more contacts. Talking to EVERYONE and making ourselves known. We did a lot of that in Cali and I am missing the army of new investigators and interested people! Something I think I have learned this week is that goals MUST be set. And the schedule must be followed. Only exact obedience brings the blessings, it´s important! Oh and also be quiet in sacrament mtg, the ward isn´t wonderful at that......

My poor Papi (trainer) Elder Stuart fell ill this week with a clenching fever. We had only a couple hours of work on thursday before it got the better of him. We stayed in the pench all that day and then all of friday. But it gave me plenty of study and ponder time! I also watched some good videos on our little DVD player, in spanish! Speaking of spanish....its going good. Sloooowwwwly improving. Sometimes I feel like the ancient grandma. Everyone laughs at what I say, even if it´s not meant to be funny. Haha I´m thinking, no that wasnt a joke! And then when I do speak up everyone in the room is like ¨Shhhhh! Grandmas talking!¨

Saturday was good. We decided to get 10, yes TEN fechas (baptismal dates) this week but got the fever. We did however get three. Which was awesome. One investigator broke his leg real bad, and afterwards it got infected. We took a bus to a REALLY sketch hospital to share a scripture and give him a blessing. I felt bad, everything in the hospital was dirty and I just prayed I never get hurt. BTW, Argentina aside, I am terrible at the bus! Everyone stays standing solid like a tree, but I fly about 8 feet each way when it stops and goes, speeds up and slows down. Hah how embarrassing! We take it a good amount because it takes to long to walk some places.

One thing. Hate is a naughty word for missionaries. So here goes: it sufficeth me to say that stray dogs (which I think there is about 4 million of) and cockroaches are not my best friends.

We had yet ANOTHER day of being in the pench yesterday because voting and political stuff is going on. I guess its not the best idea to be out. BUT we had church, which of course was awesome. We teach gospel principles class which has a grand total of three usually, but the class is so great! That book rocks. Wednesday we had a FHE with some families in the ward. We watched the restoration video and I got to testify. The Restauracion is so important! Its what sets us apart, its what makes us the true religion of Christ! We have the restored, COMPLETE Gospel. It rocks.

Well thanks for the emails and prayers. I love them. You never know the power a prayer will have. Have patience. I love being a missionary!

Elder ¨Weeel...cough¨

PS Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Life is flourishing, just never in the ways you expect them to. It takes work. If we put in the time and effort and love, we will see miracles! I have seen it. I am more and more grateful for my weakness. It´s my opportunity to grow. And Elder Wilcox has a lot of room to grow.

Yesterday was Mothers´ Day in Argentina! That was fun. During sacrament mtg there was a bunch of members that bore testimonies of mothers and the power they are to us. After church we went and did lots of visits. Everyone was outside with their families eating asado (big hunks of meat with no thought to take off ANY fat). We got THREE different meals. And long stories short, I was so stuffed to the brim and couldnt walk. The people here just grab my plate when I´m not looking and fill it up completely. I´m not hungry anymore! I even said ¨No more please, I´m full.¨ Maybe my bad spanish said ¨yes please give me more!¨ haha they are very generous with food here. We got to share scriptures about the striplings warriors of the BOM. They were strong in war and in their testimonies because of the strength of their mothers. My mother is pretty heroic, and I am forever grateful for her love and patience. Like Elder Holland at conference, I salute all you mothers, and express my love and admiration. BrenDawg, this is for you!

This has been a good week, one of patience and long suffering. The weather, thankfully, has been good. When I got here it was REALLY cold! But as all you people in the northern hemisphere cool down, it is really starting to warm up here in the south. I hear la navidad and January are really really hot.

We had some wonderful lessons this week. I am grateful for a comp that is really good at spanish. He has to translate for me a lot, but it´s teaching me humility. It´s not always easy being forced to be shy. We had divisions with our district leader, and I was with a certain Elder Tingey. He likes James Taylor, so you know he´s a good guy. We had a very spiritual lesson with an old lady and her 12 dogs and sick husband. All I could see was sadness. But in my yankee castellano spanish (gringoes are yankees here. But pronounced ¨zschonkee¨) I was able to testify of the Lords love. I think the gift of tongues isnt you all of a sudden speaking perfectly. It´s you not caring about the mistakes, and you all of a sudden speaking with the spirit. That´s a language all missionaries must learn. ¨The sweetest tears I´ve ever loved to cry came I as I opened up my mouth and testified. Between the tiny walls of a strangers living room, the spirit told their hearts my words were true.¨

Also I want to tell all members everywhere to never forget the examples they are to the world. We watched Meet the Mormons for a FHE with a recent convert, and the whole time I just marveled at how much ONE person can do. Preach My Gospel says something like ¨If you lower your expectations your effectiveness will decrease.¨ Please never think you don´t do much in this world. If we plant the seeds, eventually the fruit will grow.

I am so grateful for this mission. I love to think of myself back three months ago and laugh. I know I´ll do the same in a couple years. The growing will never stop, IF I let it keep going. Thanks for all the examples and messages. I love people here, and Jesus Christ.

Love Elder Wilcox
PS: shoutout to Preston B Willey who should be leaving sometime this month (?) and Mckay Sperry for getting a call! YAY missions

Monday, October 12, 2015

The one and only Argentina

Distinguished colleagues, dear family and friends, and everyone else...

Back to Calhoun status.

Haha i thought I knew stuff back there in van nuys! Nope. Remember when I said that Van Nuys was scary compared to home? Well Van Nuys is paradaisiacal glory compared to where I am now. Dont worry I am absolutely loving life right now, just much harder than anything in cali.

this spanish keyboard is really difficult....sorry

SOO. I had a good trip here. Shay thanks for the jet lag stuff. I was still plenty jet lagged at the end, but I´m sure that stuff helped. There is so so much that has happened there´s no way I can write it all. I´ll try to write a lot. I flew over with some other visa waiter buddies from the MTC which was AWESOME. So good to see them, we had some good Alma 17:2-3 action. We even contacted some people at the airport and it was so cool to see all of our growth over the last bit. Shout out to Quynn G, I used the BOM you sent to me, thank you!

All the apartments are called pensiónes, or a ´pench´ as the americanos call it. My pench.....well it´s good. I definitely slapped myself for ever thinking badly of my apartment in cali. I spend the morning huddled around a dribble of lukewarm water in the shower. But that´s only happened twice. The other mornings I do the good old bucket shower :)but the bucket shower really isn´t too bad. I can at least cover myself with water, where the showerhead can not. then we eat some breakfast. Praise the HEAVENS we have a microwave, which most penciónes dont so thats good. Carpet does NOT exist in any way, shape, or form, it´s all tile. and on that tile is an eternal layer of dirt. My comps name is Elder Brendan Stuart from fresno. He is a really fun guy! I´ve been enjoying being with him. We live with two others, Elder donnelly from alabama and Elder estradas from guatemala. Elder Estradas speaks no english, so that gives me good practice.

The members here are very nice! I have been fed almost every day. At lunch time though, that is the biggest meal here, not dinner. This place is very poor, I´d say more so than my visit to Iquitos, Peru. But the members are very nice in feeding us a lot. Something they feed us a ton is milonesa, which is just a thin piece of chicken or beef that is breaded and fried. super greasy but pretty good! also pizza, and pasta. Not dominoes, homemade pizza dough and all that. Not mexican food or anything of that like. In fact, I might miss mexican food at the end of two years just as much as Whit! Maybe not that much. OK here´s some more culture for you: 1.everyone kisses me and expects me to kiss them back. I can´t kiss women, but men love to kiss just as much.on the cheek, one the cheek, don´t worry. 2. milk is sold in a bag. hmmm. 3.everyone shakes hands different. They grab your hand and then up around your thumb. people do it in the states but it´s every time here. 4.EVERYONE drinks from a family maté cup. a cup with mate herbs and then a special straw that filters the water through. its just their form of tea. We have only three rules. Don´t drink water from the tap, dont drink mate, and follow the white handbook. 5. most people have gates in front of their door (and bars on windows) so what we do is clap, not knock. I still kinda chuckle at that....but it´s fun! 6. pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. The roads are more or less a free for all. most people drive bikes, but there are lots of cars too. a good amount of horse pulled carts as well. There´s only one busy road in our area, and crossing it is like a life or death frogger game. Haha, not quite that dangerous, but a lot like frogger! (btw we walk. I was so blessed to have a car back in cali!) 7. mostly dirt roads. i pulled out my camera to take a picture, and elder stuart was like ´what are you doing??´ he looked around and said thats bad because it could get us robbed. OHHH....

I´ll tell this one story quick. Saturday night, it was late and we stopped by the ward mision leaders house. On the way, two drunk dudes were yelling at us on the corner. We just answered their question (what time is it) and kept walking. One followed us to the leaders house. He came right up and was talking to us. He was RIGHT in our faces, he was drunk out the wazoo! We tried to show him the BOM, but he was so drunk he was falling over. He kept muttering to us, ´i want money....i want to´ We left of course, but he kept following! E. Stuart told me to walk faster. We sped up, but so did he. ALL OF A SUDDEN, he jumped forward and grabbed me! E. Stuart was like ¨dude run!¨ We ran like a block. Isn´t that creepy? Wow, I´m sorry. Life here is great. I´ve been only talking about my harsh culture shocks.

My ability to feel the spirit is growing and growing! Spanish....still hard. But we´ve given like 5 blessings this week. That is my favorite, quickest way to bring the spirit. Sacrament meeting was great! The ward is very small, like 50 people. But SOO NICE. The bishop asked me to bear my testimony right there at the start. But I thought he was just introducing me. I smiled but everyone stared. I finally got it. I also got to play the hymns! The church has one very old piano with a hollow sound and a broken pedal. But they love it, and i love it. We had a BAPTISM on saturday as well. We did studies at the church to wait for the font to fill. A cute little lady named eva and her 30 year old rocker-mullet son Carlos. They are really nice. LOVED IT. THis is such a wonderful mission.

Ok no time. I¨LL write more spiritual things later, so sorry! Just know i am good, and loving it. Its hard to adjust and stuff, but life is good.

Elder Wilcox

´How should we think to earn a great reward if we now shun the fight?´

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tell everybody I'm ON MY WAY

After this wonderful transfer here in Van Nuys (pronounced "Van I's") California it looks like I'm.....LEAVING TO ARGENTINA. I'm so stoked! The other day we found a less-active old guy from Argentina. He seriously reminded me so much of the old Italian guys in that movie "Return to Me". Anyone know what I'm talking about? He had dark olive skin, and spoke spanish with an italian accent. He even did the classic kiss the fingers italian hand gesture, you know? Anyway, now I'm ready and SO EXITED. I leave at the end of the transfer, which is Oct 6.

But I ain't leaving until AFTER conference. I'm more stoked for conference than any football fan has been for the super bowl. It's gonna be SO GOOD. We listen to talks and stuff in the car and it just gets me so excited! I want to get all the Elders together and do some tailgating in the church parking lot beforehand. Just kidding, but that would be funny wouldn't it?

This week has been great! What a wonderful thing, a mission. I get to talk to people about their way to happiness......all the time! Have I ever mentioned that Elder Durrant is a diabetic? He had his doctor's appointment this week, and we got to talk to some patients about the good word. So fun! Yeah he checks his blood a bunch of times a day and then shoots himself with insulin at meals and stuff. It's type 1, which I guess is more rare.

We had another baptism last night! So AWESOME. My district did the same little restoration program, it was so awesome.

We have been going to see Amber every single day this week. There are details that need not be discussed, she's just having trouble with her kinda-husband who does a lot of illegal drugs. We have been helping her move out and she's doing allll these things with a brand new baby girl. She is an amazing amazing example of faith and perseverance. She said she's just gonna "take whatever comes" because she trusts in the lord and his strength, even when we have no more.

WHITNEY. I listened to that Brad Wilcox talk, His Grace is Sufficient. It is very inspiring. That is such an incredible and simple message. Why does the world worry about repentance so much? We CANNOT understand the significance and power of the atonement. There is power to redeem us even in the "gall of bitterness". But it isn't free, we have to work. Elder Holland once said something like "Repentance isn't something that takes years or months or weeks. It happens as soon as we say 'I want to change.' We may have to spend our whole lives staying away from sin and proving our repentance, but that forgiveness is right there and forever." Grace isn't the light at the end of the tunnel, it's the light that guides us through. So grateful for my savior. I want to be like him someday.

Yesterday was testimony meeting. I was kind of nervous because my mission president was present, but I got up and told the ward I love them, and will miss them. I hope they can all realize the blessings of the atonement and work to bringing other souls unto Christ as well. After church, an old man who was visiting asked us to give him a blessing of health. It was my first time in spanish! I just annointed, and Elder Durrant blessed. So cool! He stood up, with tears in his eyes, and called us "angels of the lord". (Angeles del Senor). Very humbling. I never want to boast in my own strength, but I will boast in the strength of my lord. Just like Ammon. He's a champ. We taught a lesson later yesterday and it was in English! So.....weird. I said a prayer in english, and it felt weird. I'm not saying I'm good at spanish, just used to stumbling through that instead of english haha.

Well, I need to get going but so happy for everyone back home. I think I'm allowed to say that now we have a newly engaged couple, Shaylee and Michael! Congrats you two. And congrats to you and BrenDawg for running your marathon this week.

Hope everything is going well for everyone who ever might read this. Hope you realize how much Elder Wilcox loves you and how much more the Lord loves you. Keep on going.

LOVE from Elder Parkisimo

Pic: this is the 2nd counselor and his cute little kids. We have FHE with them every week. I asked to take a picture, and he immediately was like "yes. you sit here, and I'll stand here and the kids here...." like he'd done it a million times before. So funny! They are awesome.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2 weeks worth of letters

"Riff raff? Street rat? I won't buy that. If only they'd look closer. Would they see a poor boy, no siree. They'd find out there's so much more to me [and my religion]."

Sometimes I feel just like Aladdin did, these people here don't know what they're missing! One guy the other day during out knockout was yelling about "false doctrine" and stuff. We talked to him for just a moment about his doubts and stuff. He had a lot to say, particularly how the BOM is made up blah blah. but the whole time I was just thinking "Bro, you would make such a good mormon!" THIS IS THE TRUE CHURCH. This is the right way to be going. I walked away aching for him, wishing I could bring some spirit into his heart.

Email time is limited with a busy schedule. Sorry. I need to reorganize what I'm doing so I can email more.

These past two weeks have been great! Two saturdays ago, the stake (only spanish) had this AMAZING culture activity and we had a lot of success bringing investigators and less actives. They are all from different places here, they did different dances from El Salvador, Chile, Mexico, Argetina (that was the weirdest one; everyone was like "Elder Wilcox that's what you have to look forward to!" haha) etc. It was great.

This past week has been very piano filled!! On wednesday I got asked last minute to play for a stake youth activity. I was about to play the opening hymn, but they said they were gonna make time for me to play prelude and bring the spirit. what a fun last minute assignment! Then on sunday (last minute) they asked me to play for sacrement meeting. I went to play prelude. These two sisters started jabbering away in spanish. All I got was that they asked me to play a specific hymn. I was like ok cool and started playing it. Then halfway through, they stood up on the roster and started BELTING it, at the beginning, in front of everyone! I was so confused. They kept singing, and I kept playing, but it sounded terrible because we were at different parts.They kept glancing at me, and me at them and all the while the whole ward is watching this happen. They kept looking at me like i should've my head i was thinking What do you want from me??! haha turns out they were just wanting to sing to bring the spirit, but wouldn't that have been nice for me to know? THE SPANISH IS COMING. But things like that still happen haha.

The other piano was last night at a baptism that was the most AMAZING baptism ever! It was for a guy names Juan that some Hermanas in my district had converted. They put together a little program for my district to do. It was so fun. I played "come thou fount" softly while they said memorized parts about the restoration. Then they talked about apostasy and restoration, and they sang "La oracion del Profeta." (Joseph Smith's first prayer). It was SOO GOOD. And to top it off, all the elders there got to stand in, and President Henrie himself showed up and confirmed him! Spirit was so strong. Such a good night.

I have learned a lot about FAITH and HOPE. And other christlike attributes of course. But it is SO IMPORTANT to have faith to get through the hard days. Faith motivates us to act, and hope is the trust that good will come from that act. I know that is true, and have seen it help me in hard times.

I have been on TWO exchanges, one per weekend. They last 24 hours. They are SOO FUN. I get to see life with another Elder and learn all types of lessons from him. My first one I was on bike, learned that life :) then I realized that i will be walking in Argentina so it won't even be THAT good. The car life really spoils me!

AMBER HAD THE BABY. Finally. I was worried sick. Seriously, all it was was childbirth. I think I was worried about it more than Amber was. I was always praying and asking her. but it's okay now. She kinda has been stressed, but I think she'll get through it. Victor is having a hard time though. he's a member but totally been inactive. He was doing good for a little there, but we're pretty sure he relapsed (drugs) and doesn't want to see sad :( I love him!

Ok better get. LOVE Y'ALL. (yall is just the allowed thing, cant say dude or nothing)


PS. I guess James Kennard just got home from THIS mission. WOW!

hope i haven't sent this pic before....this is just the best district the church has ever seen!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The prophet said to say hello... (Sep 7, 2015)

......he said to to say. Hell-o! Do do do do.

Well I think it goes without even saying that I most certainly say hello! I'm a missionary that's what I do. but often after that I have to be bailed out by Elder Durrant. Poor guy, his spanish is good, but it's just 3 months good.

The phone is our real challenge. Just the word phone makes me flinch. I don't know about all missions, but here it's a rule that the phone must always be on speaker phone. And on speaker it's hard enough to tell what people are saying in ENGLISH. But when they jabber away in spanish, it all goes down the drain. Por ejemplo: the other day we were talking to a guy, and he kept saying some really long sentence and the ONLY word I got was tamale. So it was something like "safjaefeofiaeflaefjaoeifaef tamale aldksfjaoefijlaekfjaelf." Turns out it was "tomar", a totally different word but you get the picture. We kept looking at each other like what? and then asked him to repeat what he was saying. Yeah it's rough.

Contacting on the street is fun though! For us it's about 70 spanish, 30 english. So LOTS of spanish speakers here. I can do alright if they talk slowly. Too bad that nobody talks slowly. Some of the members do because they understand how hard of a time we have. Church was good again! My first fast sunday. Sacrament meeting is last...lame. The classes are hard because I don't understand much, they talk too fast. But sacrament meeting is always good. I passed yesterday, and Elder Durrant blessed. The deacon sitting next to me was the bishop's son. They had little cards showing me where I would walk and stuff. He was taking it serious, he told me and then was like "Ok tell me where you're gonna go?" I was laughing inside, saying cute little deacon doesn't think I know. But then while passing I actually did mess up, missed the priests bench. BE HUMBLE. We also bore our testimonies, and that was great.

And restaurants. Has anyone ever had a pupusa? It's a salvadorian thing. But they are really good! It's like a corn-flour-pita-pocket-thing with cheese and meat and what not. Most people here are from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Mexico. Sometimes Chile or other. My first day here we were talking to this american guy about our age. We asked if he had ever met missionaries before. He said no, but he saw some in a game once. Inside I was like what kind of game has missionaries? After a little bit of talking, we found out he was thinking of "mercenaries". HAHA I got a good kick out of that. We are not murderers.

One thing that confused me forever is when we ask how someone is doing, they say "Bien, gracias a dios." (Doing well, thanks to god.) But I thought forever they were saying "Doing well, thank you goodbye." I asked Elder Durrant why does everyone say goodbye to us?

Amber, the prego lady is doing SO WELL. Still hasn't had the baby, but she's due this week. Little bit worried about that but spiritually she is in heaven. We taught her chastity the other day, it was great she took it well and had a lot of questions. The other night we stopped by and shared a scripture quick. She stopped us in the middle and just went off on how much she enjoyed us teacher her. She said we are the ONLY ones that really care and give, everyone else takes. She said how happy she is becoming and she reads a lot. She still swears sometimes, and has troubles in life, but really seeing the happiness and change has inspired me. She came to church last week when I played the piano and said she cried when I played. She is great.

Dont' have time to explain, but scripture of the week is Alma 37:46. Read it, and abide by it!

Goodbye, love from Elder Wilcox.

PS my P-day IS on monday, it was just on wednesday because of the mission conference.

me and elder durrant at a new missionary training.

Its not that easy being green (Sep 2, 2015)

I am Elder Calhoun

If you would like a documentary on my life, please refer to "The Best Two Years", pay close attention to the dorky new Elder Calhoun who doesn't know a thing. Yep.

But WOW! The field is so cool! I love being here in Van Nuys, California! It's really been an adventure. There is so much that has happened to me since I got here, don't even know where to start. But a very good place to start is the beginning, probably there.

I got to cali and the AP's and mission president treated us to a hotel stay and many hours of sleep because of our jet lag! Ha I laid there in a big queen, thinking "a mission isn't so bad! What's everyone talking about?" I was so young back then. We had transfer meeting the next day at a church, which was fun and funny because they conducted it like a game show! I won the prize of my great new trainer, Elder Durrant. He's a champ. Really nice, pretty quiet. Great singer. Great trainer. He only just finished his own training, so the mission president must really think a lot of him. I was so dependent on him for those first few days, like a newborn or something. I mean, I still am, but not like "Elder, is it okay if open the fridge? Elder, where are we? Elder, how do you say this? Elder, where are we?" Haha I actually still ask questions like those.

Being trained is really fun! I love being here and learning. You can learn so much here, way more than MTC. I absolutely loved the MTC, but they shelter you. You gotta get out in the world and have some doors in your face! It's the only way to learn humility. I thought our apartment was really bad when I first walked in, but like you said Shaylee, I've learned to appreciate it real quick. Welcome to the land of one-ply toilet paper and kitchen's smaller than Harry Potter's cupboard. I'm sorry,I make it sound like I'm bitter. I LOVE THIS MISSION and everything about it, the ups and the downs. "We are the Great California San Fernando Mission, and we baptize!" Every day we get up, I eat maybe some oatmeal, or I've made some egg/mcmuffin type sandwhiches (I am an EXPERT cook. Not really but I try) we do an hour of personal, companion, language, and "the first 12 weeks" study. 12 weeks really helps. I've learned a lot about really, REALLy studying. There's a difference between reading and feasting, Studying and learning, Teaching and bringing the spirit, respectively.

I loved something Elder Holland once said. he said that why would we (missionaries) wonder why it is so hard, when it was NEVER easy for jesus? Christ, the very one whose word we are teaching, had the hardest time of all. I am loving to learn to be more humble and teachable.

We already had some investigators and stuff, when I came, so YAY. There is a less active named Victor, and a investigator named Amber who live right next to each other. They are both so cool. They both speak perfect english, so that's a blessing. Amber is very pregnant, so needs a lot of help. Poor lady is moving, and can't fit her furniture in the storage unit, so we helped her get rid of ALL of it. Sad. But teaching her is fun and very spiritual. She's made some mistakes (hence her pregnancy), but really feels the love of Christ and wants to change.

Contacting on the street: I thought I hated it at first, but it's actually a lot of happiness at the end of the day. Every day, from 4-6 we do "knockout", which is two hardcore hours of finding and teaching on the street. My spanish was shy at first, but I've learned to just talk and make the mistakes, who cares? For the fifth sunday, all the missionaries gave talks. SCARY. But it went well. I got so many compliments later this week on how good they thought my spanish was! I also played a musical number in church which was a lot of fun. I'm gonna play for a zone training meeting tomorrow.

I don't have time for my 1,001 stories. But i'll write about the mission conference we had. I am LUCKY to be here, they only have them every six months or so. At a church the whole mission showed up, and Elder Hamula (Hemula?) of the seventy talked to us for a LONG time. It was so fun. We got fed lunch, and had a Q and A session. Really spiritual. Elder Hamula is a cool guy.

Alright better get going, thanks for the emails and stuff! I love being out here on a mission. The language will get better, it just takes some faith. Challenge: smile at a random person in a public place and see what happens.

LOVE from Elder Parkisimo Wilcox

My humble abode.  It is Glorious!!

Monday, August 31, 2015

President Nelson is a champ!

What a fantastic week! Every week gets better. Every day gets better.

First off...THANKS for the mail. The mail helps and gets me through the week! WHIT your letters rock, thanks for writing. haha "gapagoll ham".  Pullan family, I don't know your email, but thank you so much for your package! You guys are great. And also the package from Anna, Haley, Mays, Madi, and Syd. Don't know your emails either, but thank you!! Letters of any kind are greatly appreciated. Mom maybe you should thank these people for me ;) OH and speaking of Anna...guess who I saw last week at the temple?? Jaren! Not my brother (I wish), Jaren Hunsaker and his dad. SO GOOD to talk to them for like two minutes. I have seen someone every week so far at the temple, including Amber Ellis, John Ackerson, Mr. Turner, Jaren. Yesterday I talked to Hannah Holmes, who just got a job here at the MTC. Pretty awesome to see people you know. 

We've had some good rain this week. Gave all the Elders a chance to try out their sweaters and stuff. We play a lot of volleyball either in the sand pit outside or inside the gym. Gym time here is so much fun. It's importance is stressed a lot because "a bow string won't stay strong if it is stretched so much, sometimes you have to release the pressure on it." 

Hosting on wednesday was super dooper cool! Brought back memories from what feels like an eternity ago, when we got dropped off. A little awkward though because you have to be excited and greet the family and stuff, but very few families are happy to see you. Mostly it's a huge cry/hug fest and no one is happy to see the host missionary. But the new Elders and Sisters are generally pretty excited. The first few days are great. It's a fun job. 

Haha finally had the first sleep talking incident. Elder Trent sleeps on the top bunk. I guess he got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I was muttering something about the BOM. He decided to ask me about it, and I ANSWERED. I was like "Yeah I love the book of mormon, my favorite book is ammon....and..and.and...and...and...and..." He just left to go, and when he came back I was still muttering "...and...and...and..and.." funny.

Last week I played the piano in sacrament meeting. So far I've played the hymns and a special number (come thou fount). I love music, just wish we had some more of it. We have to resort to singing it and it's not pretty. 

As you can tell from the subject...on tuesday devotional we had an amazing talk given by..Sheri Dew! Just kidding, we had her on sunday. But she did great too. Tuesday was the one and only President Russell M. Nelson. The spirit in that room was very very strong. His talk was very simple and brought some good truth to light. He talked a little about pornography, and how Christ will forgive "as oft as we repent." But it has to be TRUE repentance. He talked about his history as a heart surgeon, and talked about how we missionaries are "epistles of the lord." We are literal messages and testaments of Christ, walking about. I loved that he said how the spirit burns into our hearts and becomes part of us. He said it is written in the "fleshy tables of the hearts". I LOVED that, because on the quote that Uncle Brad gave me, he wrote a little note on the bottom that said "I know you can commit this not only to memory, but write it in the 'fleshy tables of the heart.'" We had a district review of the devotional afterwards, and I talked about that. Our branch president's wife, Sister Swenson, was kinda crying. His wife also gave a good talk about we are a heaven based church and not a utah based church. PS did you know that he remarried like in 2006, when he was in his 80's? He's a cool guy. 

Lessons and spanish continue to improve greatly. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary. If you try, you can really be happy. 1 nephi 31:20..I think. Wherever it is, it says we must "press forward with a perfect brightness of hope". That is important. Haha me and Elder Trent have this new thing where we read out of the spanish BOM and try to translate to english. The other guy reads english and corrects him. It has some funny outcomes too. 

Well better go. Thank you to everyone who may ever read this, I am so glad for my friends and family. I love this gospel and how I am HAPPY all the time becuase of it. Also just know that is impossible to write everything I want to, so sorry about that. See ya next week!

Elder Wilcox

Ps: "And they traveled forth to the land of building 1M to do laundry, their bags being great with dirty clothes. And they washed their clothes in the washer, and it was well. But when the time came forth to put the clothes in the dryer, the lint thereof was exceedingly gross." The lint in the dryer is NASTY.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MTC shenanigans

Hello from provo to Heber! (that doesn't sound very cool. Eh whatever, it'll sound cool when it's Buenos Aires)

The MTC is sooo great! I can't wait for the field. But was it dad (?) that said if he had to finish his mission just after the time in the MTC he felt it would've been a success. That's totally how I feel. I think that being here you can really sincerely change your life for the better.

Funny stuff: its the most spiritual campus on the planet, but we still have 18 year old boys running around. My district is 10 guys, and the residency rooms are three bunks so room for 6 guys. The room that I'm not in has an extra bunk and they filled it last week with two english speaking elders. We had been there two weeks so we were basically veterans to them right? So we walked in to find them unpacking. Every night we do a district prayer, but that night we had them join us. We had our poker faces on, and said totally serious "Here in the MTC they want us to be friends and have love for each other, so we hold hands when we pray." There were like ummm ok? So we all held hands and said our district prayer. They were super weirded out it was funny. I said it in spanish, so they had no idea what was even going on the whole time. I said "we are grateful for our new elders, Elder joy and elder rogers." But joy in spanish is gozo, so I said that. As soon as I said gozo, the whole district busted up laughing. I think they think we're really weird haha. That night laying in bed the guys staged a loud conversation about the last elders that were in those bunk beds the new guys were in. The new guys don't have pillow cases. They said "That would be terrible to get sent home just for getting pink eye." "Wasn't it just because they didn't have pillow cases?" "Yeah that's the only reason." HAHAHA they woke up to find Elder Rogers had wrapped a t shirt around his pillow. But it's okay we told them we were just joking.

Language problems: pez is fish and paz is peace. We've told investigators a couple times that if you pray often you can have fish. Things like that.

We are continuing to teach Jose. What a great guy! We taught him tuesday and thursday. On tues he hardly even let us teach. He had a marathon shirt on and said nice shirt i am a runner too! But then he just went on and on about how life is like a marathon. It was nice what he said, but we didn't really get a chance to get to our lesson. On thursday we taught him about faith and repentance. Plan of salvation and stuff. He listened hard and asked good questions. It was so easy to talk to him, I could just feel the spanish flowing! I think that's where the gift of tongues kicks in, when we really care. We also did member lessons this week. That is where actual members come in and we just give a little lesson. It was HARD though, because we didn't know them at all, and they talked really fast. I couldn't understand almost all of what they were saying. But with Jose, we have gotten to know him and really love him. On thursday he started crying and told us how him and his wife have had financial problems. His daughter is handicapped and life is hard a lot. But I just bore testimony that with faith and diligent prayer, we can overcome our challenges. Not get rid of them, or make them easier, just overcome them. I told him I thought he was a really loving guy, which is important because we need to have charity, the pure love of christ. I wasn't planning on saying that, but I think it was the spirit. he was so nice. He said "thank you so much for your beautiful words and message." The learning the language is going slow but good.

We got a TON of heber missionaries this week! SOO awesome. haha heber gets a lot of hype becuase there are so many of us here. People really think heber is a small cowboy town. Funny. I saw Elders Ritchie, Lindsey, Root, Strong, Harmon and Roney are companions (isn't that CRAZY?), and others. It's so happy here.

The sunday and tuesday devos are so good. One great part is the MTC choir. I LOVE singing in the choir. It is so great. We sang "A child's prayer" this week and I took a break from tenor to do base. HA it really was so fun. The director, Bro Egett, is so cool. Really really cool. He's spiritual and funny.

Thanks for all the letters. love everyone! make sure and pray daily. Read the scrips. I love everyone at home! Until later.

Elder (Ooh-wee-de-cock-oo-soo)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weeks fly by, days feel like years

wow. The MTC just gets better and better. Yesterday evening we had some study time outside because the weather was just perfect...and the sounds of the pioneer day fireworks sounded pretty cool. It was fun though, I finally memorized the baptismal commitment and countless gospel vocab words. The language is coming along great! I am so lucky and blessed with my past high school spanish to help me. Some of the guys, bless them, don't know companion included. It's fun though, I get to bail him out during lessons. Who would've thought we would be teaching people in the SPANISH LANGUAGE? Weird huh?

This week has been truly incredible. Just like every day. "The days go slow but the weeks go fast." so true. Every day feels like yeeeaaaarrrsss, but this week has really flown by. I love the spirit that is here. I love that fact that everyone here is a missionary. Like the fact that it is cool to bear testimony all the time, or wear garments, or sing in the shower, or whatever. I've seen mighty changes of heart in myself and those around me. We talk about the blessings we have, or the amazing growth in spanish we've had in only a week, or the spirit or whatever....when I know only a few months ago that these kids wouldn't have made comments like that. Feel me? The gospel is true. I wanna go onto KSL or something and say BREAKING NEWS: Parker is not who he once was. Dad, mom, Misti, thanks for the letters. You guys are awesome. Love each and every one of you. Mom your package is amazing, the district and I loved the no-bakes. Dad your quote by George Cannon is cool. Ha I work in the cannon building....coincidence? I think not.

Lessons learned: the spirit is everything. Without the spirit, you cannnnnnnot teach anything. Or learn anything. Way back last P-day, in the evening, our teacher Hermano Barfuss was with us. We were kinda rowdy and hyper from P-day and stuff. Eventually, he said (in spanish) "Ok, we need to take a break, because we don't the spirit with us." Wow. I was kinda hit hard. It amazed me how true that was. We said a prayer as a companionship and I calmed myself down. It took a little while, but eventually it was one of the best classes ever. And if you don't have the spirit with you in lessons, you're toast there too. We started doing TRC this week, which is where real investigators come in with the new missionaries. Elder trent and I are teaching a cool guy named Jose. (there's an accent but I can't do it on this keyboard) He was SOOO tired the first time we taught him because he had just gotten off a late flight. He literally fell asleep in front of us for like 20 seconds, right after we asked him a question! awkward. He looked so uncomfortable, and was fidgeting the whole time to try and stay awake. He wouldn't have anything we were saying, and was kinda pessimistic in general. But the next time we taught him, we really prepared. We had a great lesson about the plan of salvation. He was in SUCH a better mood that time. But still kinda pessimistic. I started off telling him the topic for the day, the plan of salvation, or the plan of happiness. He disagreed and said it was just a plan of salvation because it was hard to be happy. We showed him the He Lives easter video and the spirit was there. We bore testimony and even more spirit came. It was such a good lesson. He kinda shut up and was convinced in his heart of the truthfulness of the things which we said (good scripture language eh?) Near the end of the lesson, I remembered what he said earlier, and testified it was EASY to be happy with the gospel in our lives. He was really nice that day, and the lesson was so awesome. We've also been teaching a girl named "Elizabeth Ortega", and she was a fun investigator. But she turned out to be our teacher yesterday, haha we knew the whole time, shh don't tell. The spirit was always strong in her lessons, and she was really nice. She taught a great lesson when she turned out to be our teacher. That was fun. But her fake identity had a boyfriend and a daughter. We decided to teach her about the law of chastity. But the whole lesson was kinda awkward, because 1.its kind of a weird topic. and 2. we knew hardly ANY vocab about that topic. I spend 30 minutes trying to talk with any words I knew about the law of chastity. "You shouldn't baby....before married." It was fun. s

Sunday and tuesday devos were both awesome, spirit so strong in both of them. By the way, there's no way I can write everything i want in this email, so sorry. We sang in the choir and that was awesome, sang praise to the man. Watched "character of christ", a talk by Bednar, it was amazing. To have the character of christ, we have to be turned constantly outward, NOT inward. Missionary work should be soooo selfless, we should never be worried about ourselves.

Thank you for your emails! Please me! Really, seriously. It is so awesome to get one during the week. You'll understand you guys once you're in the MTC. See ya. LOVE FROM......

.....Elder Wilcox. Ever stalwart

 Tie Exchange

Monday, July 20, 2015

Crazy Things!

Wow, what an experience this has been. I am just starting to understand the "work" part of missionary work. I got dropped off like three days ago, right? Wrong. That was like three years ago. The MTC schedule here has us doing so many things, every day feels like weeks. Seriously. Any one of you guys going in soon will realize this.

STUDY: there is a lot of time for study. Out of the 16 hour day, you're studying for about 10. I actually really have enjoyed the spanish classes! They are pretty fun. We have a teacher, Hermano Barfuss, that speaks only spanish to us. I am so grateful for my previous spanish knowledge, because some of the elders in my district don't know any spanish at all.

LIVING: not too bad at all. The bunk bed that me and Elder Trent (my companero) are on doesnt' have a ladder so poop Elder Trent has to hop up there awkwardly every night. There is a big public bathroom with decently clean showers so nothing to complain about there! Here in the MTC the sinks are always sooooo HOT, never cold. And the showers don't get all that warm, whadoyou know? The cafeteria is HUGE with lots of options! And i've only had two bowls of cereal so far. There is a district in our zone that has been here for two weeks and they've all taken us under their wings ha. They are all way nice, they just show us around, helping us get to class and stuff. We have had one gym hour so far, we went and played soccer/kickball with some other elders. The MTC is SO COOL because there are so many elders/sisters that are so nice and we are all learning and together! When I first walked in there was an orange sticker on the name tag and that means you are new. So literally EVERYONE smiles and says "Welcome to the MTC!" Pretty funny hhaha. I got hosted around my first time by none other than Elder Colt Sargent! He and his district were so stoked to see me and were freakin out about Shaylee. Having Shaylee and Morgan at the MTC is really really cool. Hermana Ferrell was just walking around my classroom building one day and I was so excited to see her! I felt like I was cheating because she is my friend from home. But the elders in the other district were all surprised that i knew her, they love her! Morgan you must be a pretty good teacher. Then yesterday, we were all studying in our classroom, and who else walks in but Shaylee! That really was the best thing that's happened all week. Shay you get to see inside my district and meet my companion and roommates and see how we are learning spanish and everything! Around the MTC I've also run into Elder Larsen, Hallows, Johnson, Trenton Wright, Mckay Gordon, Sargent, Sister Cottle, Lazenby, Biesinger, Jones, Hall and Dow! I get to see Elder Dow lots of times every day because we are in the same zone. Oh and GUESS WHO IS IN MY DISTRICT, NAY STAYING IN MY VERY ROOM? Elder Richie Lowe, cool right? So I spend my whole day with him in class and we are with each other all the time. Heber has an AMAZING showing here. Seriously we have so many elders, and sisters. My district always asks me and Elder Lowe how we know everybody. My district is super cool, I think even after a few days we are super tight. We have a big polynesian Elder Wihongi from new zealand with a really cool accent. Ten of us guys, most of us from Utah. My companero, Elder Trent, is a really nice guy. We have a lot in common: both play the piano, both love hiking and rock climbing, and both of us try to be really obedient.Thursday night he got made district leader! So did Elder Dow. So we get to check the mail and stuff. OH marcene sent me the nicest package with candy and a note, she is so awesome. I love that lady. Whit you were right the MTC is the best place on earth. The spanish comes really easily! It is so much fun. We had our first lesson in spanish, with a latino girl named Elizabeth. It was cool because she understood us, and we could understand her (mostly). Our branch presidents name is President Swenson, a really nice guy from midway, who knew? I love the spirit he brought into our first meeting. The whole presidency is three really old, funny guys who laugh out loud and make jokes. Right now I'm doing laundry, mom that yellow soap works miracles. Its easy for everyone to look scary, but get to know them and they're nice. I keep getting that feeling like I look like I'm two years old, and everyone else is 30. The spanish is coming nicely. Already we've learned the basics of conversation, how to pray, how to bear testimony, and lots and lots of gospel vocab. It's amazing what you can do in two days. Normally it would take me two weeks to get the stuff done that I have already. Well gotta finish my laundry and stuff, talk to you later! PS, forward this to whoever you want.