Monday, August 29, 2016

FLASH! Ahhhhhh...

Soooooo. Lots of surprises. I feel like I say that a lot. But that´s the mission, I guess. We worked our tails off this week! There is so much going on in Marcos Paz 1A. SOO happy to be here! I actually won´t be here anymore though....saturday night President Robertson called me informing me of a ¨flash¨(unexpected change). Elder Oscariz Choi is going home early for school, and I will be replacing him as zone leader in Ramos MejĂ­a, the zone I was ¨born¨ in! Should be a fat challenge and learning opportunity!

I realized that in recent letters home I have not talked much about my investigators. I hope that doesn´t take away from how I feel about them. They are the Lord´s elected. HE prepared THEM for this time and what they going through right now to be able to learn and accept the truth of the ¨Lord´s kingdom once again established on the earth.¨ Truly merciful and incredible when you think about it. And when I say incredible, I mean ¡completely credible! God deserves the credit. 😉

GRACIELA. Is a truly devoted woman. Devoted to God. Her daughter and husband are members, but she has been ¨Catholic¨for years. She is basically an active member of the ward though! She goes to activities and our english class and everything. Well, we´ve had some long talks in these past weeks and she is ready and willing now to accept baptism. She got interviewed and is getting baptized on saturday! She and her family were begging me to beg President to let me come back here on saturday to baptize her. We´ll see......

I ain´t got much time, I´ll write about other people later! I am NOT happy to be separated from my mission son, Elder RIGSBY! He is SUCH a capo! He is seriously incredible, and I´m grateful he is the kind and I can work with, AND laugh with. He is a hard worker and willl have a mission of gold.

WE are the messengers of GOD. These are His truths, and they will lead to eternal life. You might call us the Proclaimers. *and ay would bike five hundred mayuls, and ay would bike five hundred mo, just to be the mahn who bikes five thooosand mayuls to come and knock yo door*

Love you allll. God bless you, every one.

Elder Wilcox





Saturday, August 27, 2016

Holiness to the Lord (Aug 22)

Okeeeee. If I´ve ever had a crazy week it´s been this one. Let´s go.

First, Happy Anniversary to two of the biggest buckwalkin´ weirdos out there! BrenDawg and Travis, happy 25th, may you have many more. *starts the anniversary song from the movie ¨haunted mansion¨* ☝👆

MONDAY: we played a bomb game of futbol at our church here in Marcos Paz! We had more investigators than members!! It was so much fun. Pablo, a progressing investigator (but has trouble with José Smith and the restoration) thought it would be the best way to get his sons out to the church, and it was! We shared a scripture, and had a great time! All of my soccer friends from wasatch better watch out.....

TUESDAY: we had divisions with the zone leaders in their area called Mariano Acosta. They are AWESOME! Really focused, go get ´em Elders. They switched district leader/zone leader divisions to where all four of us work in their area for the day. I was with Elder Oyola, from Mendoza, Arg. He is a total capo! One thing I learned with him is that we can´t be afraid to invite. Invite, invite, invite. It´s part of our purpose.

WEDNESDAY: We got cut somewhat short, we had to go to Marcos Paz 2 and do a baptismal interview. I don´t usually like getting interruptions with the work, but hey, baptismal interviews are definitely worth it! The boy´s name is Lautaro. Poor guy was somewhat nervous, and will be getting baptized soon! All he needs is a good strong knowledge of the restoration and of the Book of Mormon! Those things are KEY. I know that the Book of Mormon will give us pure, un-changing doctrine that we can rely on. ¨A study of the gospel doctrine will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.¨ How profound is that??

THURSDAY: I think I forgot to mention last week of our planned TEMPLE TRIP. WE ACTUALLY WENT. I still am energized by that holy place! Just the thought. I will never take living in Utah for granted. Saints in Utah, you had better GO and serve the Lord and others in the Temple. It was our first trip since christmas, about 8 months. It was fantastic, and really cool in spanish. I have grown I think, didn´t have any trouble with the temple spanish.

FRIDAY: We had a sweet movie night at the end of the day. Graciela came, and she is still feeling swell and ready for her baptism date! She has trouble with the thought of leaving the catholic church, but the Spirit of the Lord has taught her well. Line upon line, for years now! She´s ready. Also, Elder Rigsby is a SUPER powerful missionary. He teaches with the spirit, not with his head. He is very focused and impresses all with his scriptural knowledge.

Then the weekend ended with us finding the most beautiful family ever! Also another man who could potentially be a great member.....Miracles happen all the time. I love the mission and the changes the Lord has wrought in me, and is wrought-ing in me! My eyes have been eternally opened, and will never close.

con cariño,

Elder Wilcox

Elder Rigsby and me - 1st Pres. Photo - haha
Soccer
Me with elder cobb







Plancentero, Oh what a Joy! (Aug 15)

What a wonderful world! I don´t know if everyone knows this, but in the spanish hymns, there is one called ¨Placentero nos es trabajar¨ (no. 88) great hymn! One of the missionaries favorites. The first line roughly translated is ¨Oh it´s a joy for us to work in the vineyard of the great king Jesus!¨ Well I want to raise my voice and let the world know I ain´t quiting any time soon, and truly it is a joy.

Something that my good old uncle Boyd sent me once is ¨even though the roots of service are sometimes bitter, the fruits are always sweet¨. We are working hard here, and it´s hard to see sometimes that investigators aren´t quite confident enough in themselves to get baptized. Or they have trouble accepting the restored gospel through Jose Smith. Or they just have so much to fix in their lives that they get discouraged and stop. (all of those are people in our area right now). There is hope and love and good things ahead in the atonement of Jesus Christ. I know and testify of that! If we do all that we can (develop faith, repent, be baptized, follow the spirit, and endure to the end), then there is no reason to worry EVER. We can be happy and buoyant and ready to face the next obstacle.

Well I am out of time, and still have foto issues. Sorry BrenDawg!

Elder Wilcox

Monday, August 8, 2016

Welcome to Arg

Well, I will be somewhat hurried writing this email, I am almost out of time. But, this week we welcomed a brand new Elder into the mission world! 6 pounds, 5 ounces. And just a little more. His name is Elder Rigsby and is from Ohio. He is a capo! Ready to learn and ready to work. In mission lingo, he is my hijo (son) and I am his papi. That lingo has WAY more truth to it than you know. He is doing good adjusting though. Poor guy didn´t expect the cold winter, he had NO jacket whatsoever except for a suit jacket. We had to get him that and some other stuff. This first week is finally over and questions like ¨What´s this?¨--¨That´s a bidet. No toilet paper.¨ aren´t being asked any more.

We are loving adjusting though! Arg sure is different, but he is doing awesome. He really wants success and is prepared to work for it! He has a lot to work on as far as spanish goes, but I am learning a lot about the gift of tongues, how iit is a SPIRITUAL gift, even more than suddenly having spanish flowing out of your mouth.

For example, just yesterday(!) we practiced a lot in the morning the baptismal information. We later taught a PF family, who the mamĂĄ is active in the church but NOT baptized, she almost refuses and claims she is Catholic. BUT, I looked at Elder Rigsby in the moment we had discussed, he invited her to be baptized. She then told us what she has never told anyone! How her family was very catholic and would be offended if she changed. She said she said she goes in and out of having desires to be baptized. We then talked with her towards working toward baptism, and how if she bears testimony to her family, then they would change their minds. In my mind, I was like ¨Capo Elder Rigsby!¨ Good learning moment.

Some things surprise him that make me laugh, things I dont think about anymore. Such as lots of dogs, and I was sleep talking in spanish. We had a meeting with our ward mission leader, and I had a flash back to Van Nuys, California where a skinnier new Elder (me) didn´t understand a thing. Elder Rigsby is awesome!

Quick MIRACLE. The less active man I wrote about last week came to church ¨for the first time in forever!¨ AND bore his testimony, and talked about the visit we had with him, made him think a lot! First testimony given in 25 years, he said! MIRACLES happen once in a while!

Lots of love,

Elder Wilcox

Monday, August 1, 2016

Have you ever seen the rain? (Letter from Aug 1, 2016)

This week there was some good rain storms. I don´t quote cheesy EFY music much, but really truly when we have the spirit with us ¨It´s like walking in sunlight when the whole world is covered in rainclouds.¨ And Buenos Aires is covered in rainclouds very very often! It´s a good thing that the rain gets into my boots, otherwise my feet would be dry!

I also did some reflection. I don´t need an ipad or anything like that. I just need a pair of gloves that are possible to keep on AND clap someone´s door! haha here we clap the doors, and it´s necessary to take my gloves off EVERY TIME.

Obviously there were many many miracles this week. During a particularly rainy day I did a division with Elder Wasson. We had some awesome plans in place for lots of success that day! But, as the bikes broke, and the rain set in the lessons also went away. It was rough, we weren´t able to teach anyone that day...until the end of the night. We had a ward movie night, and 7 investigators came! We watched a fantastic movie called ¨The Book of Mormon: How Rare a Possesion¨. I would highly recommend it. I was very happy to see them all there, obviously. But I was also very humbled and grateful after reading Éter 12:6, that no witness will come until AFTER a trial of my faith.

Marcos Paz is doing so good! It´s incredible to see the changes that the Spirit works in people´s hearts ¨line upon line, precept upon precept¨. But, it really is that simple. And sometimes that slow. I love the advice from Elder Bednar ¨May I suggest that many of us would commonly expect AN answer or A prompting from God in response to our ernest pleadings and questions. But the answers we get from God are small, incremental, and sometimes hard to recognize individually. It does not come all at once.¨I am glad for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. It is an unmistakeable gift. It is distinct, and powerful. People often wonder why there is so much bad in their lives. We visited a man who is less active yesterday, and he asked us all of those questions. We simply asked him what he thought we were gonna say, or what the solution we might bring up was. He said something like ¨I know, I know Elders. Say my prayers, go to church, read the book. My family doesn´t support me in those things, and I don´t see much difference when I do them.¨ We explained that those things are good, but the core is missing. At the root of EVERYTHING we do is repentance and a sincere love for the Lord. Why do we go to church, or read or anything else? Because we align our thoughts and desires to be more like the Lord´s, and not our own. Then, we will have the promised companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Quick story. Yesterday (in the rain) we visited a man named Ariel (investigator, his wife and son are members). His family wasn´t home, because they were apparently with the police, he had done something bad, and they all left. He was bawling histerically, really quite honestly like a toddler. He was so shattered. Long story short.....Elder Cobb did some clutch quick thinking, and we went outside, out of the smoke ridden house. We knelt in a field and offered a prayer. He was very calm after, and told us how he wants to be baptized.

I love the work! Keep on smiling everyone. It´s the only way to keep the Spirit in the hard times.

Elder Wilcox

I love the mission (letter from July 25, 2016)

Weekly culture comment: Here, as a term of endearment, people call their spouse ¨gordo¨ or ¨gorda¨ which is pretty much ¨fatty¨.

This coming week will be the last of the transfer! Wow. Time moves so fast when you´re spreading the word.

This week was a good one! I really truly believe that people are prepared to hear the word of God. God is a God of preparation. He makes everything happen. I love love love what has been said that ¨there are NO coincedences in missionary work.¨ Yesterday, we were riding along and a guy asked us if we were the police. We stopped to talk, kinda chuckled and told him no we are not the police. We are missionaries. He immediately started speaking quite fluent english to us, it was very surprising! He told us how he lived in New York for about 5 years. He was THERE the day of 9/11. His name is Ignacio. He said it traumatized him a lot. He eventually got sick of all the conflict and war and trouble after a few years and came back down to Arg. He left a lot behind! He almost got married to his girlfriend in NY, but decided to leave. He wanted peace in his life, and found it back in Marcos Paz. He said it´s not as nice as NY, dirt roads, cheap brick houses and whatnot. But it´s better to not have conflict. Great guy! We introduced the Book of Mormon, and he was very interested. Said he had seen it, and knew about it, but had never read it and wants to! He invited us in, where another friend of his Rodrigo was visiting. We were able to teach them about the restored Gospel, and they both accepted the invitation to be baptized! So awesome! I love missionary work.

This week we had zone trainings/interviews with President. Man, if I could I would interview with that man every day. He´s just so awesome! I love the help he gives all of us. Our PURPOSE is to help others come unto Christ by accepting the restored Gospel. Some have a realllllly hard time accepting the LDM. But the book (and the prophet, the church, the commandments) is the way established BY HIM to accept Him! ¨There is NO OTHER way.¨ (or something like that) 2 Nefi 31:21.

Anyway. Sorry BrenDawg, but the computer is having a rough time loading pictures today. Poor thing.

Have a great week! I might write more later, but a story that really helped me this week was HelamĂĄn 5:40-43. God helps us out, WHATEVER our cloud of darkness may be!

sending love from Elder Wilcox

The Elect (letter from July 18, 2016)

Broshkums,

I don´t usually do this, but let´s just talk about saturday, since it was the most AMAZING day ever. God really truly does prepare the hearts of the people! There are many of the elect (or we call them ¨elegidos¨) just waiting to be saved!

I dont have much time. BUT. Saturday was just so awesome. We had taught a guy/girlfriend Nico y Brenda last week. We went back, and Nico had read and remembered EVERYTHING perfectly. We also taught his brother Franco, who came to church the very next day! It was awesome! They will definitely be baptized sometime soon.

We also went to teach one of our progressing investigators, EvelĂ­n, who has a boyfriend Esteban that we are also teaching. They are awesome, but they are juntado, and for that they don´t have a baptismal date. Well, we went to see them, but turns out they are separated now. That was unexpected, and obviously a shock for us. They separated for some unfaithfulness and drug problems on Esteban´s part. But EvelĂ­n was literally filled with the spirit. She didn´t cry, she was calm. She was SOO shining with some Gospel light, seriously. She told us how she wants to live all the commandments and be baptized. She hasn´t even been to church yet! But she is completely converted to the restored Gospel through the book of Mormon. We explained to her that she could be baptized, if they really are committed to stay apart, and then one day get married and start a family in the Gospel. Next best thing: our district is realllllly focusing on working with members. In fact, besides baptism goals, we just have goals for lessons with members present. AgustĂ­n, a CAPO 11 year old recent convert passed by on his bike. We asked if he could sit with us for about 15 minutes and share a thought. We committed EvelĂ­n to baptism, and AgustĂ­n was able to bear powerful testimony! It was great. Just so many more miracles that day.

I gave a talk yesterday in church. Talked about Christ-like examples in my life. One that came to mind was a certain Lincoln Rasband. He died right around the time of my baptism, but a few days after, I recieved a letter from him in the mail, bearing his testimony and cheering my on. I will always have that in my heart.

So, I made the mac n cheese mom! It rocked. Sorry I forgot my camera, I´ll send a picture next week.

Keep on keeping on! Hurrah for Israel.

Elder Wilcox

Feliz 9 de Julio (letter from July 11, 2016)

This week was 9 de Julio! The good old Argentino independence day. They don´t take it quite as serious as they do in the US of A but it was fun to see it.

This week I want to talk about just some small things. Little things that happened that would seem so not important, it´s a good thing the scriptures teach us to despise not the gifts of God, and of the Spirit.....or they would´ve passed me by!

We had a rockin 9 de Julio party in the ward. Ever since I got here a few weeks ago (and before) we had been inviting people to this party. It was a big success! TONS of empanadas were made. They are amazing. It is like a big dumpling or potsticker but filled with carne or chicken and I love them. We had some dancers perform from the ward, and fun argentino gaucho clothing to take pictures with. Anyway. We had some investigators come! Pablo, a great guy that is single, about 55 years old. His son Esteban and his wife EvelĂ­n came. I think the person I was most excited to see was a woman named Thamara. We met her just knocking doors the other week. She is a less active member, but like alllllll of her life. Baptized young, and then forgot. She seemed real sad when we met her. But the party brought this peace to her countenance. She smiled the whole time, and chatted with everyone. Afterwards, we set a family home evening with her and another family. She told us she was super content, and happy that she came. She just said something like ¨Interesting, isn´t it? You didn´t even know I was a member when you came to the door.¨ Wow. Miracle. This is the work of the Lord for sure.

We taught a lesson with a young couple this week. Brenda y Nicolas. They were very interested. At the very beginning, I read with him 2 Nefi 2:11 in answer to some things he had said. Immediately, he asked where he can get one of these books. The book anwers questions of the soul! Also, at the end Brenda said that we had a wonderful peace with us. A powerful peace. We explained that is the Spirit. And that she needs to follow it.

Pablo is a great great investigator but has crazy doubts about Joseph Smith, and the LDM. He always convinces himself they are fake. But we are trying to help him see how much changes there are in his life becuase of the church and it´s teachings of the Gospel. That way, he can bear testimony to his kids. He bore the sweetest little prayer about his kids, and how he doesn´t want them to be in sin. It reminded me of Nephi, ¨Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin!!!!!!¨

It was a wonderful week. Here´s to many more! This week I will hit the year mark. I used to think of that point in time, as a hurtle, like a point to say ¨Half way! Almost done!¨ But now I am realizing that I only have one more year to do this work that God has for me, and that is a very limited period of time. I am not here to maintain the work, I am here to hasten the work!

Elder Wilcox

Freedom Day! (letter from July 4, 2016)

¨YES! I´m a man who comes from other countries. YES! I´m a foreigner as you can seeee....¨ (anyone who can name that quote gets ten Parker Points.) (also I´m so used to being called Elder even writing my own first name is weird.)

Anyway, have a fantastic 4th of July everybody! I hope all you northern hemisphere-ers enjoy the heat! But I am basking in the cold glory I never got at christmas time, so I don´t complain.

This week we saw many many miracles. God had prepared some people to recieve us and we had wonderful experiences teaching them. Something that I´ve heard before, but didn´t stick with me until my mom wrote it to me is that there are no accidents in missionary work. 3 of the people we met my first week contacting now have baptismal dates! I just want so bad for these people to read-pray-attend and see the difference that brings the Gospel. Their names are Esteban y EvelĂ­n (the son and girlfriend of another investigator) and Lisandro. Lisandro was almost jaw-droppingly ready it was awesome. He´s MARRIED. Absolutely no one gets married. Nobody. And he´s a really friendly Bolivian. I don´t know about you guys, but I love love Bolivians. Every Bolivian I have ever met is awesome. The problems.....he´s hard to find, and his wife wants nothing from us. That is ok! We´ll keep going anyway.

This weekend, I cannot lie was quite difficult. It has been raining so so so much. My bike broke, and we never got a chance to fix it. So walking around literal lakes was our activity. Because it was also hard to make appointments with the rain, haha nobody wants to accept a soaking wet missionary in the rain! But that´s why I´m here to testify of the reality of the Lord´s knowledge of all that we do. Just as Mr. John Moss regularly said, ¨We all have our little jobs, and if we ALL do our little efforts well, everything comes together.¨ If not, everything doesn´t come together. There is so much power in going outside of what you usually do to make a difference. There God sees you are willing to really be an instrument. Yes, God will get his work done with or without us. But why not with us?

This week, Elder Cobb crashed his bike on Maipu. hahahahahah😏

Happy 4th to all, and to all a good winter!

Elder Wilcox
PS. MOM YOUR LETTER WITH THE MAC N CHEESE PACKET CAME. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. I will eat that in your honor, and in honor of sweet American justice.

Pic: Flag en the agenda. Brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue.
Pic: We call this ¨creepy railroad way¨. Those dots are only because of the insane fog.