Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hopping Fences and Climbing Windows

Hola Hola!

This week for all you readers I have three mental images:

Mental Image #1:
Elder Wilcox speeding along, fast as he can, on his bike in good ol´ G. Rod. on a dirt road. Bikes are fun! Even if they are old and break real easy. I´ve never been on bike before now in my mission. Haha they are nice for the days when you have tons of appointments that live really far apart. We leave from one, and go quick to the next. Elder Cortes and I get a laugh at ourselves, when we get onto a paved road and go fast, we start singing the William Tell Overture at the top of our lungs. Sounds lame on paper, but I think it´s hilarious.

Mental Image #2:
We met a cool old guy named Hector last monday. He was nice, told us about his life, he used to be a teacher (Argentines LOVE to talk. Talk talk talk. Sometimes it makes challenges during lessons). BUT he´s really old and his sister had taken his keys from him so he can´t escape the house. He, like most people, has a front gate and fence. But we were like, ¨That´s ok, we can climb your fence and teach you if you want!¨ ¨Seriously? You won´t die?¨ ¨No way!¨ So we climbed his fence and taught him haha. Turned out to be a great great lesson! We even came to get him and take him to church on sunday morning with a member and their car! But he couldn´t because his sister still had the keys :( It was awesome though. I happened to have my camera with me, and a moment like that just needs a picture.

Mental Image #3:
Elder Cortes (yes it was him) happened to lose our keys early this week. Wonderful luck. We do live with two other Elders, but they need their keys too, so we can´t borrow them! Luckily we live on the second floor of a small apartment building. So what we do is go back behind the building (1 fence hopped) where we keep our bikes. One of us then climbs up the bars of the ground floor window as far as we can and reaches up to our window. Then you have to open our window (no screen) and scramble up to it, go down the stairs and let your companion in. Pretty cool, I know. Thus far, I have pulled three of those reverse-Jason Bourne type stunts. But I think we are replacing the keys soon so it´s cool.

Oh I almost forgot! THE Elder BEDNAR is coming to visit us this week! Whuuuuut. I am so beyond stoked. Wednesday of this week. It´s gonna be awesome. I imagine also that he´ll speak to us in English, that´ll be sweet.

This area is INCREDIBLE as far as the people go. It´s huge so there´s just so so much to do. We have a young family. Named Exequil and Milagros. Milagros means ¨miracles¨ in spanish and she really fits her name. They were already progressing when I got here. But we taught them the word of wisdom, and they committed. They are sooo prepared for this. It´s incredible to watch.

ALSO one more INCREDIBLE thing, sorry this email is so long. But in Argentina during the summer, all the teenagers and chorros just sit on street corners and smoke and stuff. That´s alllllll that they do. Well we chatted with one group for a while, and then asked them for a reference (Do you know anyone close by here who could benefit from our message or needs help? Something like that) and told us one guy, Lorenzo, just had his wife get killed. So we passed by his house and talked to him, and got his number. I called him the next night, trying to set up an appointment. He TOTALLY opened up to me and said he wants to improve his life and quit smoking and he needs to care for his kids more than ever and on and on and on. We talked for like 20 minutes. It was AWESOME. I explained some of what we do, and he seemed interested. He couldn´t meet with us the next day, because he was gonna be on the news about his wife and all that. I called him that next night, and we chatted for another 15 minutes. We still haven´t met with him, but I feel like we are best friends. It is absolutely incredible to experience Christ-like love for people like I feel for Lorenzo. I feel like he´s already ready to change EVERYTHING in his life.

Anyway. Have a great everybody. Life´s pretty awesome if you step back and let go of the problems. ¡Ciao!

Elder Wilcox

Pic: Mental Image #2
Pic: Sorry dark picture, but they actually have some nature here! That they do NOT have in Castillo

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Out of the frying pan, into the fire

(10 points for a J.R.R. Tolkien quote)

During transfers at the church with all the missionaries getting transferred, I already knew the name of my new comp: Elder Cortes. I ran up to him and was like ¨Dude, we´re comps!¨ Gave him a hug and stuff. He looked at me weird and said, ¨umm no I´m a trainer...¨ I said, ¨No you´re not, you´re with me. Let´s go!¨ Turns out, there are two Elder Cortes in the mission. Haha silly me. Doesn´t help that in the Latino world there´s only about 10 last names and 5 first names.

What a long but wonderful week! Things have definitely changed. I am in my new area of General Rodriguez A, which is HUGE HUGE HUGE. It´s like 4, maybe 5 times as big as Castillo! We have bikes, but they are ancient and we´ve only ridden them once in my first week here because they break a lot, and the guy at the ¨bicicletería¨ doens´t do a great job! The pench is another pench of four!!! Wooh, I´m glad about that. Another bonus is that I´m living with my old pal Elder Donnelly again! His comp is Elder Mattinson from Boston. They are both awesome. The pench is good, really quite hot, but I guess they all are.

Elder Cortes, my new comp, is a total capo. Overall a phenomenal missionary. He is from Chile, just finished his training, and is a super hard worker. First thing he told me when me met was, ¨Ok, we have a baptism on saturday, and many more to come...¨ I was kinda blown away but it´s true, with such a big area there are lots of people and lots of potential.

The people here are still just awesome Argentines! But in my week here so far, lots more people have commented on my eyes. EVERYONE points out how my eyes are different. I´ve been asked a lot on the mish if I am German, but everyone here just points out my eyes. Or how I am a yankee, or don´t speak their language haha. I never think of myself as THAT different, but the way they talk here you´d think I was a total clown or one of Floop´s Fooglies or something like that.

We are in a ¨branch¨, and I don´t know about the rest of you, but I always thought of a branch as a tiny group of 10 meeting in a house. But this branch is BIG, wayyyy bigger than the ward in Castillo. It´s like....almost-a-Utah-ward big. They meet in a big beautiful chapel with a lots of space. It´s awesome. Elder Cortes, Mattinson, and I gave talks yesterday at church. I talked about peace and how we can acheive it through perseverance and hope. I talked about my Aunt Misti and how she is a wonderful example to me. Misti I hope that´s ok, didn´t really ask permission ;)

Also, the baptism was great! Super strong spirit. We were waiting for one of the speakers to show up, so I led a bunch of hymns while we waited. Elder Cortes baptized a wonderful old man named Edgardo. Him and his wife will be awesome members.

Anyway, there is tons to write about (like always) but gotta get. I´m super stoked about this new area! We will have fun. Make sure to say your prayers everybody! And be chaste for goodness sake.

Love you, Elder Wilcox

Pic: Edgardo and his wife Graciela at their baptism
Pic: Satan checks under his bed at night for...Elder Wilcox haha

Saturday, February 13, 2016

However long and hard the road (Feb 8)

Hola Hola,

This week has been another whirlwind! So many things to say! Well, I can summarize it in one word: VICTORY. Victory in staying positive, victory against Satan, victory in our numbers, victory we had a BAPTISM, victory I can´t name it all it´s so awesome!

Let´s start on saturday! Saturday was the baptism of cute little Alejo, our investigator, son of Walter and Mirta. They would´ve gotten baptized as well, but Mirta´s divorce papers still aren´t in, and they have to get married :/ But the baptism went AWESOME. First baptism I´ve had that some people actually showed up to! Elder Campos and I went early in the morning to the church to kick the futbol around the gym, and then do our studies while the font was filling. Takes forever, like three hours. We tried to turn on the water heater, but it´s rough, and anyway who WANTS hot water with all this heat? We just had a great great experience. I got the privilege of baptizing him, in that rich delectable cold water. The next day at church, Elder Campos confirmed him, and gave him the sweetest little blessing that he can grow to be an example for his family. I think my favorite part was after the baptism, changing in the baño, and Alejo´s two less active older brothers walked in and were crying and gave him a hug. That made it worth it for me.

Well transfer calls came, and I predicted correctly that I am out of Castillo....which is so sad for me. BUT, I am headed out to the zone of Lujan, in an area called General Rodriguez, which I think is a biking area (?) There are only a few in the mission. Well all of Lujan is what they call ¨campo¨ (field), so there´ll be lots of space which I love! I will be the senior comp of an Elder Cortes, that´ll definitely bring in some new adventures. But I don´t think I will have another Utah elder to talk to :(, I will definitely miss Elders Campos, Estrada, and McCardell.

I got up to bear my testimony in church yesterday, and right before I got up the bishop cut me off, and said ¨we´re gonna give the time to Elder Wilcox, his transfer is up tomorrow and will probably be leaving.¨ In my mind I was like ¨wateryoudoing??¨ haha, we are really close with the bishop and his family. But he only did that because he knows I don´t like attention all that much. After that, everyone was asking me to come see them, kinda uncomfortable, mostly because I have no time :(

Anyway, twas a great great ending to a transfer and my life in Rafael Castillo! Love you all!

Elder Wilcox

Me and Alejo!
This transfer´s last district! We got Elder M and I (utah), elder campos (chile), E estrada (Guatemala), and H Dos Santos (brasil), and H Alvarez (spain).

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Gospel

Fellow disciples,

Have any of you ever sat down to write an email? And you had so many incredible things to say, and you didn´t really know which ones to put in your email? I´m sorry to say I am suffering from that today. If only I could sit down with all who are willing and sip some Argentine maté, and tell you firsthand what being a missionary means to ME, then you might believe me. It´s a terrible shame we can´t do that, but here goes. I haven´t much more time today.....

This coming week is the last of the transfer. President basically told me in person I will be leaving. I am starting to brace myself for the call to leave Rafael Castillo, but I don´t want to! I LOVE THIS PLACE. I mean yeah, it smells, the dog population triples that of humans (one of which bit me this week..on the shoe dont worry), there´s plenty of drugs and worldy nastiness, but I couldn´t be happier!

Elder Campos is the greatest companion ever! He´s a real Chileno hoot, he can sure make me laugh. We are working like house elves over here, breaking number barriers and teaching more lessons than ever! This week we got a reference in an area that we don´t usually go to...because it´s pretty destitute and the chances are high of you getting robbed. For that I didn´t want to go all that bad. But we went and taught one of the best lessons in all my time here! Not that we taught, of course, it was the Spirit that did that. But so awesome, a familia named Rios, they are so ready to accept the Gospel in their lives. I could talk on and on about them.

The ward called Hermano Farfan to teach Gospel Principles in church, so we aren´t doing it anymore! That is a real bummer, because teaching that class was one of my favorite parts of all the Sundays! Getting into a real gospel discussion, where everyone is interested, brings the spirit so strong, and then we get taught! To paraphrase Elder Holland: ¨Really, if you recieve not the spirit, you SHALL NOT teach. Not you won´t teach much, or it´ll be pretty shoddy teaching. You SHALL NOT teach. We must pray to have the spirit with us!¨

I´m telling ya: READING THE BOOK OF MORMON WORKS. It´s that simple. Reading with a sincere heart equals repentance! Oh the things we learn from that book, and the things my investigators are learning. Sometimes, I just want to smack ´em on the head when they dont read.

Argentines are so funny. Some just love to bring up the war that the USA had with Mexico and ¨stole all their land.¨ They say that and then scowl at me as if it was my fault. Also, for not liking the states much, all the little boys REALLY like Capitan America. I dont know why I find that funny. Other random American things that are insanely popular here: the Simpsons, Coldplay, the Walking Dead, Whitney Houston, Jim Carrey, Hellmann´s mayonnaise, and a legion of others. It´s hilarious, everyone thinks that all americans lives revolve around these things. It´s just exasperating telling everyone, ¨Well yeah, I guess Hellmann´s is alright but...(?)¨

Congrats to Whitney Wilcox for arriving home safely! So happy for you dood!

It´s leviOsa, not levioSA.

Sending love from Elder Wilcox, have a wonderful week! Keep the prophet in your prayers!

Pic: Mission Handbook: don´t keep pets of any kind.;) Just kidding, she´s not ours, just comes in uninvited all the time.