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 known...in 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 us.....so 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 know..how 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!!