Hola mi amigos!
So! We're already on our third week here. I can't believe how time flies. The days are the longest days of my life, but the weeks move quick. Such is the paradox of being busy. A few days ago, we all thought it was about 7pm and that we had already had dinner, when in fact it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. This was in part due to the dreary weather we had that day (and every day since. Utah threw another signature curveball, and as Heather put it in her letter, Provo has skipped Fall entirely). As you may have also heard from her, we had our first snow two days ago! And the mountains are all beautifully snow-capped. It's a wonderful sight, and it's nice to see a change of clothing in the student body here too.
Before I get going, I want to thank you all for your fantastic letters! How I wish I had the time to send personalized and detailed letters back to each person. But please know that it makes my week to hear from everybody, and I'm thankful every day for your love and support.
Where to begin...How I also wish that I could remember and share even half of what my life brings me every week, but I've kept up my practice of making notes of things I want to share throughout the week, so I'll start with that.
Conference! Was fantastic. I can't even describe how cool it was to watch it with 2,000 young men and women who have dedicated their time to the Lord. Such a powerful experience. A few of you have asked me what my favorite parts were. I have to say the Temple announcements were up there. Everybody cheered at the sound of another Provo Temple, and it sent chills down my back and brought water to my eyes. And of course I thought of Jenn at the announcement of the Paris Temple. What a blessing for the French saints! I love the temple. And I love being able to go every week. Our district leader, Elder Christensen (from Star Valley) was super excited by the announcement of a temple in his hometown as well. Basically, I am thrilled that the Kingdom is rolling forward on the Earth. I was also very impressed as all of you were by the number of talks centered around missionary work. My notebook filled up very quickly, let me tell you. For those of you that didn't hear Elder Holland's talk during priesthood session, I encourage you to read it when it comes out. Powerful words from him, as always. One of my favorite talks was actually from Sis. Dalton about Fathers teaching their daughters, and for some reason, Heather and Sam, I could not stop thinking about you. Sam, I'm way excited for you to be the father of a daughter, and I know you'll be an excellent example to her. Another highlight: during Music and The Spoken Word, The Tabernacle Choir sang a song arr. by Mack Wilberg titled Brother James Air. It captivated me! It was one of the most beautiful melodies I've ever heard. Can you somehow find it for me?
That's crazy that Anna met my teacher!! And very kind words on his part. Although, I have to wonder if you met the right teacher. That was some pretty high praise, and as it happens, there is another Elder Wilcox somewhere in the MTC also going to Chile Concepcion South! I keep hearing about him, but have not met him. Was this teacher you met named Jackson Ames or Andrew Welch? Those are my two instructors. There's also a third Elder Wilcox, whom I have met (not going to Chile), who happens to be the son of Brad Wilcox, speaker extraordinaire. Cool beans!
Ay ay ay...Too much to say and too little time. I'll be brief.
-I was thinking about things I miss here, and things I've left behind. It occured to me that I don't miss things. I miss people and doing things. I don't miss my phone, I don't miss Facebook, I don't miss texting, I don't miss the computer or television. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss spending time with people, in essence. My thought is that unimportant things are a lot less important than we maybe realize. Like Ian S. Ardern said in general conference, we should be as quick to pray as we are to text.
-Please tell Joseph Gooden that I use the diary he gave me every single day. Thank you so much for the gift.
Sheesh! For two weeks now I've been wanting to share some funny things about Spanish and various anecdotal stories, but I'm out of time again, and I want to leave you with things that matter, and things that uplift.
This last week has, in fact, been very difficult for me. Learning a foreign language is difficult. Teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with charity and love and in such a way that invites the Spirit of the Lord is difficult. Teaching cooperatively with someone is difficult. Doing all three with little experience is next to impossible. Every day is a struggle. Every day is a challenge, and I often get frustrated. And yet, when we pray for the Lord's strength, and we open our mouths to speak, the power of God is with us. Our lessons are not perfect. Far far from it. But when we bear our testimony to those we teach, and we pray with them to a loving Heavenly Father, the spirit IS there. I don't know how 52,000 19-21 year old boys do this work, but I know that it happens, and every day, one by one, souls are brought to their God and their Savior. Every day I face discouragement, but I also face sublime hope, and my faith is ever growing in the Gospel. Hermano Ames has encouraged us to treat learning Spanish as a sacred opportunity. We're not just doing this for fun. We are learning this language so we can help God's children feel the same love and hope that we feel, so we can do His work on Earth. I pray every night for the people in Chile. I pray that they will be prepared to hear the glorious message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restored church. And I hope when I get there, I'm prepared to share it.
Thank you for all your letters and support! I wish I could write for hours, but now it's dinner time. Until next week, adios! (To God - just like adieu. Jenn gets it. :)