Wednesday, June 7, 2017
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.
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....
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??
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,
Photo of ¨concilio¨
photo of the baptism of Amy! Baptized by her brother Elías
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.
some fotos of a family home evening/birthday cake we had for my golden bday😁