Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Moments in the "fleshy tables of the heart"

Family and Friends,

Family. I love you! It was great time to chat yesterday. I guess we`ll wait until mother`s day to talk again. Number 1on the list of most tender feelings is a missionary`s heart as he talks to his family.

We had a good week getting ready for christmas! The mission is doing so well. Like I said last week, we can really just feel the spirit of consecration and hard work. I am proud to be a missionary in this great mission BAO (Buenos Aires Oeste). More importantly, I am proud to be a member of the church! I am proud to know that God is my loving heavenly father. Like Elder Hallstrom said in the April 2016 conference, that knowing that we are children of a LOVING Heavenly Father ¨instinctively simple that it can seem to be ordinary, when in reality it is among the most extraordinary knowledge we can obtain.¨ I love that quote. Sharing that information is sometimes new for people. It`s one of the most incredible things that a missionary can see when the Gospel REALLY comes into the heart of a person. They immediately want to share it with others. For example:

Some of our investigators Sonia, Aimara, Alejandro are a small but very nice family. Sonia is the mom. She often feels depressed because Ale has health problems and might have cancer. We were thinking about dropping them because they weren`t doing much at all. But Aimara finally came to church with Ale! The next time we came to visit, Aimara was completely different. She wants to get baptized, and apparently wants to serve a mission! What?? Her heart has been changed. Like PMG says, ¨Commitments are essential steps to repentance.¨ 

Another small moment was yesterday after the phone call home. I was with Elder Jimenez from Mexico. He stopped at a couple on their porch. They were sewing something, most likely to sell later. They wouldn´t look at us. I was about to give them a card and go. Well, new Elder Jimenez wouldn´t take no. He pulled out his hymn book and asked if we could sing a hymn. They didn´t say neither no nor yes. But we (me feeling awkward) sang ¨Venid, Adoremos¨ (Oh come all ye faithful). I don´t know if they felt anything, but from the Gospel fire of Elder Jimenez, I felt the Spirit. That was a marked moment in my heart. And the christmas spirit isn´t something you feel much, because of summer and stuff. I know that he wasn´t a ¨respecter of persons¨ and was gonna preach to whoever. I need to follow that example. The mission is great!

Gotta go! Have fantastic week people!


Elder Wilcox

Christmas Cockroaches

Hello and Merry Christmas my friends and family!

Let´s see if I can get the lyrics right to this Argentine christmas carol: ¨Old trash burning on an open fire. The bad stench nipping at your nose. Tiny rats, with their eyes all a´glow, will find a lot to eat tonight.¨ 

Haha just kidding, we are having a wonderful time here in the great BAO mission! They have really cracked down on ¨things of this world¨ here. For example, a few months ago they took out meetings of more than six missionaries, besides zone conferences. So pretty much, no more p-day futbol. There is too much traveling involved, and they want the Elders to be ready to work by 6 o clock on mondays. We are just doing the most we can to simply ¨Teach repentance and baptize converts.¨  Last year, as a mission we went to the temple, and afterwards had a big mission gathering thing for the day. This year, temple trips for missionaries have also been banned, and instead of activities and what-not, we are just baptizing. Isn´t that great?? Truly there is a spirit of consecration and hard work. I love it. 

Well, I´d better tell my cockroach story before anything happens.
So the other night, I slept on the floor because my bed frame is broken and lame and hurts my back sometimes. So I´m just having a wonderful, perfect, rest-filled night. Just sleeping away. When all of a sudden, this huge, ipod nano sized cockroach climbs onto my neck. I was asleep, I had no idea. But that may have been my downfall. In my sleep, I grabbed that cockroach and started rubbing in in my fingers like you might rub a blanket or pillow! Well, that poor cockroach died that night. I was about 98% asleep, and sometime in that murderous rage, I realized what was in my fingers might not be the average booger. So I let it go, woke up immediately and looked with the light of my cell phone. I almost barfed. Needless to say, I didn´t sleep much after that. Partly for guilt of killing that little guy, and partly for fear of killing others. 

Well, sorry for being graphic, but that´s my story today. Need I mention the mosquitoes at night? They come and buzz in my ears! It´s like a soft, angelic whistle. It´s quite beautiful actually. 

We are doing fantastic! Here in Villa Amelia, we will be having two baptisms on friday, and they will be confirmed on christmas day! One is Agustin, a 12 year old boy whose brother is also a member. He was somewhat confused about the word of wisdom at first, but we explained that the physical health always has to do with the spiritual health. He is totally ready now. The other is Miguel. He has been investigating long before I got here. He has had a long hard battle with quitting the drink. But he has stopped and is getting baptized. His convert recent family is so happy and I am so happy for them! They are the Salas family. Just imagine the mom as Grandma Dets. And Miguel as little hermano Manolo in the Timp Meadows ward. That´s what they look like to me haha. 

May we all remember that Christmas is a time to reflect on how we are doing on God´s mandate to serve him. (Mos. 2:17) 

I love this Gospel and my time as a missionary! Jaren, Whitney, Shaylee, I hope this year you were UN-deserving of the potato that you will undoubtedly recieve in your stocking! Look for Santa´s note with that super weird square handwriting!

Love from Elder Wilcox

photo from Luis´s baptism!
this is the new pench crew. Elders Sales, Newton, and Jimenez.

Christmas Time


Greetings from Villa Amelia! What a crazy week. But aren´t they all?

My new companion is fantastic. Elder Sales is a great great missionary. I sure have been blessed with some good comps. I am grateful that he is latino! I haven´t had a latino companion for about 9 months now, and it is fun to get back into the groove of things and speak spanish all the time, not withstanding my language weaknesses! I am living in a pench of four. Also haven´t had that in a long time. The other two are Elder Newton from Nevada, and Elder Jimenez from Mexico. Elder Jimenez is just starting his mission, so it is super funny hearing him learning all of the ¨argentine lingo¨ I guess you could say. Argentines and Mexicans sure speak differently. 

This week we were seriously just swamped with business and work and lessons and interviews and on and on. We had a baptism on saturday! His name is Luis. Luis Paniagua. It´s funny because his last name is literally ¨bread and water¨ in english. He sure has a strong testimony of the sacrament. 

Sorry about the shortness! Gotta go.

Elder WIlcox

Who made man's mouth?


I´d like to start my message today with some verses I found from the Totally Rad version of the scriptures...
Ether 1:37--¨And it came to pass that the brother of Jaren did cry unto the Lord, and the Lord had compassion on him and his companion also, that they were not sunburned.¨ 
Genesis 3:19--¨In the sweat of thy face thou shalt teach thy lessons, till thou return unto Utah...¨
D y C 110:3--¨The sun was as a flame of fire; the watch tanline on his wrist was white like the pure snow, his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun, and he wished he had the rushing of great waters...¨ 

Needless to say, it is very warm here indeed 😨

Well, I come with announcements this week. Transfers came! I actually found out about them only a few minutes ago. But it appears that I will be leaving the beloved ward of La Tablada! I will be going out to a zone called Castelar, in the area called Villa Amelia! I am so excited to be going there. I will be comps with the Elder Sales from Brasil. They are having great success over there. I have loved my time here in Tablada and wish I could stay a little more, but I am ready for the challenges ahead in Castelar. I will grow a lot I am in my spanish! Elder Sales will be my first latino comp in about 9 months. 

This week was great. Just a hard working classic week. Elder Texiera (Seventy-Area Presidency) has challenged us all to stay focused and baptize every week during december! We have JUMPED forward so high and so much in response to this challenge! It´s incredible how much you can acheive with high goals and an elevated vision. Haha me and my last companion, Elder Ortolano, used to sing a song ¨High goals make you work¨ to the tune of ¨Love is an open door¨. It was awesome and speaks the truth. 

I had some good learning experiences whiles studying this week. In the church, there has always been, and always will be much learning and much teaching. Both of those happen by the Spirit. There is always a need to ¨train¨, to help others be and teach like the Savior. Positions in the church change all the time to teach us that it is NOT us that teach! ¨If you recieve not the Spirit, ye shall not teach.¨ (DyC 42:14) Might I add we shall not learn if we don´t have the Spirit! All we must do is testify of what we know and invite others to do the same. (DyC 88:121-122) ¨Freely ye have recieved,¨ said the Savior, ¨freely give.....for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.¨ (Matthew 10:8,20) I think that sometimes we mistake fear and doubt for humility when we turn down assignments or callings to teach. Then not only do we deny our priviledge to teach by the Spirit, but also to learn by the Spirit. (Alma 1:26) Who made man´s mouth? God did! We must trust in him in everything we do. I have loved to see this principle and apply it in the mission and my testimony! Anyone can light the world with their light! #iluminarelmundo

Well, keep at it everybody. Remember that Elder Wilcox keeps you in his prayers! 

Elder Wilcox

us with Luciano (investigator) and his dad
us with Amy (recent convert) and her little cousin Alma


My beloved brethren and sisters,

We worked our tails off this week! Turns out Elder Ortolano is leaving La Tablada! NO, he was such a good comp. He could speak perfect spanish, portugués and english with flippin everyone. I am recieving Elder Dye from Idaho! He will be great, this is his first time being a zone leader!

I am still getting used to navigating the villas.  I still need some time to be an expert villero villa goer guy. The trick?? DON¨T LOOK LOST. If the people see that you look lost, they will ask you if you are lost, and then promptly ask for your watch and your cellphone and your backpack and try to take it from you and then you are toast man.

 Also, hahahah this week we were talking to a family outside. One of them was a member, but he was drunk dang it. Something we might call a ¨wet investigator¨ (someone who was baptized long ago but has forgotten their covenants and vaguely says ¨yeah I think I was baptized in the mormon church...¨ there are too many of those, it´s sad) Well anyway one lady asked to take a picture with us. We accepted, it wasn´t the first time that has happened to us. Next thing I know, she has her creepy arms wrapped around me, making a kissy face to the camera and being weird. Then she did the same thing to E´ Ortolano! Needless to say, ¨he got him out.¨ (Genesis 39:12) Just sooo uncomfortable! #snakes. It´s crazy how being ¨rubio¨ here makes you so different. I either get racism or oddly exaggerated acceptance, like the story I just told! Being a missionary is the best. 

Ok story of a MIRACLE. We have a recent convert in the ward. Azucena. Just the sweetest, nicest lady ever who loves the missionaries. Reminds me of my gma Dets. She owns a tiny little clothing store....
.....we also found a really nice lady named Gisela. She was great! Has two adorable daughters. We had to go by a few times until she let us in. But we eventually got in and taught her and she understood VERY well! She is golden! She reads the book of mormon, and is doing great. SHE CAME TO CHURCH. She CALLED us and asked to call her to wake her up for church. She only showed up for sacrament, but after said that she wants to go again all three hours. She met Azucena and said hey! i know you! she had bought clothes from Azucena a few weeks earlier. Anyway. After church Gisela called again and THANKED us for church. She loved it. NOBODY does that! Ever. Wow.......
......well after church Azucena told us about before Gisela came to buy, her little store was not doing well. She needed money pero mal. So she said a prayer, as faithful people do, and Gisela came in and bought like 1500 pesos worth of clothes (a considerable purchase). She was so happy she thanked Gisela and then after said a prayer, asking God to bless Gisela. Which was right around the time that we found her. What a miracle. God knows exactly what he is doing. 

Well. That is it for my time. Today. In Alma 7:26, he tells the people of Gedeon ¨and my soul doth exceedingly rejoice, becuase of the exceeding diligence and heed which ye hath given unto my word.¨ Would God say the same thing of us? 

chao from Elder Wilcox and Russell!

this is my new best friend, Russell. the rain came again this week, and Russell helped me through it all.
this is Asunción, a convert of an old friend, Elder Healey. He is getting married now wow....


Queridos Amigos,

You know you are on a mission in a foreign country when, getting onto the computer to write the family, you realize that it was thanksgiving on thursday! Well, even if we forgot the holiday, Elder Dye and I are still super happy to be out here and serving the Lord in this white field of his! Weather update: this week was quite hot, and humid. Summer has arrived and it`s beginning to look a lot like christmas and women that need a lesson on the law of Chastity!

Speaking of chastity. L, whom I mentioned last week, is quickly on his way to baptism! He has 15 years, and is super excited to be baptized. He has really been reading the book of mormon like crazy. He is quite a shy kid, and loves to draw. We taught him the law of chasity last week and as he learned it all, he asked a question. Some of his drawings were of characters from Guitar Hero. Not awful, but somewhat questionable. We said that, and so to be obedient he tore up his artwork right there in front of us. What a capo. He came to church and is doing awesome. 

I`m sure that everyone already knows about the thing the church is doing for christmas. Light the World, keep going and love the work! Participate in the activities every day! It will be awesome. #iluminaelmundo

Speaking of women. This email carries the name ¨snakes¨ with it. I shall tell a tale of awkward proportions. While reading this tale, remember not to try this at home, and that I am a good concentrated missionary. In the mission here, the Elders have a term ¨snakes¨, which are creepy girls who prey on the missionaries, if you know what I mean. They are flirt monsters, but if you know what you`re doing, you´ll be okay. Well, our progressing investigator Gisela turned out to be one of those. She is STILL PROGRESSING. So don´t worry about that. She is so completely converted to the restored Gospel. But that`s just it. Sorry I´ll go back to the beginning, a very good place to start.....
.....G is 27 and has boyfriend and two daughters. Her time as an investigator has been awesome. Her life has changed, and she is more happy. My comp was on the phone the other night with her (on speaker) and all of a sudden she asked about me. (translated) ¨Can I tell you something?¨ ¨Sure.¨ ¨When does your companion go back to the states?¨ ¨In about eight months...why?¨ ¨I am in love with him.¨ I was calmly writing plans for the next day, when I heard that and I got wiiiiiiiiide eyes and looked fearfully at my comp. He just swallowed and chuckled and confirmed the appointment in a few days. He hung up and we were like WHAAAAAA?? What are we gonna do? This the type of thing that gets you out of an area quicker than lightning. So instead of going to the appointment the next day, we didn´t go just passed by and asked if we could come another day. She was giving me creepy snake eyes the whole time. We walked away and were like yep I am going to have to be transfered.

Well we went back and taught her, and she told us a very humbling story for her and for us. Before we met her, she was in the hardest thing of her life. She wanted to die, she didn`t want to live anymore. She was thinking suicide thoughts. She said the first prayer in years, then we came and met her and gave her the Book of Mormon. Then she had her conversion story and stuff, and her life is so much happier because of that. She was so much happier when we came to teach her about the commandments that make her life better. She already has friends at church, and the ward is a good family for her. So long story short, she´s not in love with ME, she is increasing in her love for GOD. She is just misinterpreting it. We need to have a frank talk with her though if it gets any worse, and tell her NOOOOO, you are not in love with me, or my comp, or any other missionary. Just God. Love the musician, not the instrument. 

So haha, there is your funny story for the week. I know this Gospel is true and I love the changes God is making in my heart and in my life! Trust in the promise of Ammon made in Alma 26:22.

I gotta go, we have a meeting with President Robertson and our stake president tonight!

Love Elder Wilcox

this is us and G the would-be snake
empanadas this week! ha thanksgiving??


Hola Hola, 

What a week, what a week😨 there is lots to do, lots to teach. Like Elder Holland says, ¨This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance.¨ I hope to always stay focused on my purpose as a full time servant of the Lord! I know that the more ¨digno¨ I live now, the more of the Spirit I might have with my tomorrow. And the Spirit is EVERYTHING as a missionary. I appreciate letters from the past from Uncle Matt and Aunt Misti, they always tell me, ¨We are praying that you will have the Spirit with you as you teach.¨ Other things, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Cholula brand hot sauce will come later. But right now they don´t matter. 

We have a massive pool of great investigators! The thing is we are finding so many, sometimes it is hard to keep up on every one of them. On divisions with the asistentes, I really learned that I need to trust more in God´s promise that he will put prepared people in our path, and also give us the words to say. Here are some incredible people we are teaching:

Gisela: She is the one found by way of a miracle. (see ¨Russell¨, Oct 24). She has had some really good experiences as well. She says the perfect things like ¨I feel more happy as I read this book...¨, or ¨I REALLY want to get baptized!¨ We don´t hear that as much as we would like from people. She has a baptism date for the 10 of dic. Pray for her!

Amelia:  Also found in a random way. She helped guide us through a muddy road while it was raining one day. Then we thanked her and asked if we could come by one day. She is one of those gma´s that is very nice to missionaries. She knows that God put us in her path for something (says that a lot) but still has trouble coming to church. She lives in a rough neighborhood and could get mugged leaving the house sunday morning. 

Others such as Luciano, Uriel, Karina, Marta, Nicole, Azul, Alma, Ernesto, and Maximiliano also have miraculous stories of how they were found. 

Lucas, Milagros, and Amy (all siblings, and Amy cousin) are doing great. They have all been baptized recently. Lucas and Milagros go to seminary every day, today we are playing ping pong with them at church, and Amy (11 years) is super happy all the time and loves being a member. I know their family is being strengthened. 😁

Last week we did THREE divisions. That is a lot. Divisions are great because they usually reap many miracles and you get to learn from other Elders. I was on one in my area with Elder Porter from AZ. We ran into this guy that totally started speaking fluent english with us. That is WEIRD when people do that. Almost never happens. He took us to his little factory, and introduced us to his yankee wife from michigan! It was so cool to speak english with someone! They actually live in the BA north mission, but we will teach them at work and see if the Spirit will prick their hearts! Ha we were describing to them about our lives as missionaries, and the BOM and stuff, and we were having a ROUGH time thinking of some words in english. Funny.

Better get, today I am cooking myself some pday meat, and playing ping pong! 

Oh happy thanksgiving and happy birthday Pte Wilcox! I love you and hope you had a great bday. Eat a lot and try not to think about your old age ;)

Que sigan bien,
Elder Wilcox🍂🦃

Photo of ¨concilio¨
photo of the baptism of Amy! Baptized by her brother Elías


Hola Amigos,

Today I just want to write some more thoughts that have come to me during the week. 

First thought: It isn´t over till it´s over!

This is what Elder Holland said various times in a talk he gave to BYU students that I have. That we must press forward always with faith! I think that applies to the mission and to life. Word hard till the end! Elder Pietz, my new companion, is fantastic! From Louisiana, ready to work! Ha I´m pretending to be Argentino these days and NOT SPEAK english to practice his spanish. We have to always keep our guard up, to keep ourselves away from the enemy. As Severus Snape poignantly said, ¨The Dard Lord. ISN´T. Resting.¨ As Sean Kelly likewise says, ¨It´s cool to care.¨ Satan will always weaken us if he can. I am about to finish the book of mormon. The nephites learned that lesson over and over and over! Persistence is key.

Second thought is a variation of the first: Don´t give up!

Two areas ago for me (around christmas time) I was in Villa Amelia. Easily one of my favorite areas. We had a fantastic family named the familia Monasterio. Estela, Tatiana, and Mía and others. We were really trying to get them going for baptism, because they were so ready and so prepared! They were just scared for that step. Well, I left and they didn´t get baptized. But this week I got a little package in the mail. Estela sent me a little foto of her baptism with a tie and a two page letter. I was shocked/humbled/grateful and very happy! She thanked me for my persistence in helping her and her family. She thanked me for little things (giving her the book of mormon, inviting her to church, calling her and her family to see how they´re doing, etc.). What a blessing and miracle for me that was. 

Third thought:  Here am I. 

That phrase, or ones like it, are used many times in chapter 22 of Genesis. That is where the Lord commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. This was an insight given by Elder Pietz this week. Abraham is a great example of obedience. He could´ve taken the attitude of (some of my investigators) and said, ¨Well, God doesn´t need me to KILL my son to know that I have faith and I´m obedient. God knows me.¨ But he didn´t. When he was about to do it, the angel called him and he said ¨Here am I.¨ To me, it´s kind of communicating obedience. Here am I, I´m ready to serve. I will do thy will, Lord. 

I love my family and my investigators and Elder Pietz! Thanks for everything.

Elder Wheelcon

some fotos of a family home evening/birthday cake we had for my golden bday😁