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 eat....money...´ 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?´