Monday, January 16, 2012

Another week bites the dust

Seriously, time is really starting to fly in the mission. I can't believe we're already in our third week of our second cambio!

Dear Dad,
I'm sorry to hear that your 40th birthday is swiftly approaching. It must be weird having been in the Whitewater ward for so long and having seen so many changes there over the years, but it's good that the Wilcox family is still able to be a pillar of the ward.
I misspoke in my last e-mail, but by a slight detail. We can take pictures other days, but the handbook says do not take pictures during proselyting time. And since that's almost every moment of every day, I don't take many pictures other than on P-day. Besides, after my experience with being robbed, I'm very hesitant to carry on my person at any given moment anything that isn't absolutely necessary for the day's activities, such as a lot of money, cards, camera, etc. But it would be nice to have some pictures with the members and investigators and such, as well as our apartment and what not, as you mentioned. I'll try to get some new scenery to you for sure.
Thanks for the e-mail, Dadio. I'm glad to hear everything's going well. I hope the practice is thriving, and that you're thriving as well. I love you, Dad. Talk to you soon!

Dear Mamá,
1) Woohoo!! I'm a free man! I'm glad, after almost one year since the incident (holy cow, has it really been that long?) that everything's all cleared up for good. Now I can laugh about it!
2) WOOOOHOOO!!! That is a tremendous relief! Thank you for taking care of that. Now the only problem is (well, in a year and a half), I don't know how to go about registering for classes, scholarships and all that good stuff while in the mission.
3) Thanks again! Sounds good.

I had a ball reading that letter from Zach Taylor. We definitely have it easy here in Chile. Poor kid. But at the same time, what an adventure! I know he's going to end up loving it, and it will feel weird sleeping in a bed one day. He's going to be a great missionary.
Thank you for keeping Andrea in your prayers. She is progressing miraculously! Yesterday was zero day, and she did it! Now the battle is keeping the record going. We gave her a 7 day plan that the Church has to stop smoking, and she's following it religiously (pun intended). Yesterday we stopped by to visit and offer encouragement. We watched Finding Faith in Christ and shared some scriptures from the Book of Mormon, including Alma 7 and 3 Ne. 9. We talked a lot about the miracles of the Lord, and about the miracles Andrea has seen in her own life since learning about the Gospel. She said, "my entire life I've tried to stop smoking, and I've never been able to do it. I don't know why now I'm succeeding." So we helped her see that it's thanks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his involvement in her life. Christ heals more than just sins. Andrea is more than prepared for her baptism, and I know she's going to be a powerful member of the Church here in Carahue. Her daughter as well is very prepared. It's going to be a great Saturday. I can't wait! We have another investigator as well named Felipe, an 70 something year old man with a heart of gold, who can't hear very well, but is doing everything he can to learn about our message. He's been to church twice, is reading the Book of Mormon, and already has a date baptism the 18th of February. He has a strong evangelical background and says "amen" to almost everything we say, so it's pretty fun teaching him.
Other fun story. The other day, we were in an intercambio, or companionship exchange, and another Elder and I were working here in Carahue. We had a wonderful lesson with Marisol and her daughter Alicia. They're super receptive. But what struck me was that in the middle of the lesson, Elder Lusk felt prompted to share the words of Joseph Smith concerning the first vision. While he was reciting it, I hear Marisol reciting the words with him softly under her breath. She knew them more or less by memory from the pamphlet we left her! Afterwards, there was a little silence, and Alicia said simply enough, "muy fuerte." Or so to speak, very powerful. I was really cool seeing how the Spirit was working in them to testify of the restoration and how God has prepared them to receive this message.

Back to news! I'm glad to hear Romney is doing so well. I mean that in the sense that I'm glad the Church is getting publicity. I'm obviously not in the loop at all of what's going on politically in the United States. In fact, it's really strange to think about elections and everything. Normal, ingles speaking life in the States seems like such another world. I hope though, that in the midst of all the publicity, that people understand that Mitt is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and not of the "Mormon" Church or worships Joseph Smith or something. We spend many moments everyday explaining to people that the folks that they call mormons, worship Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to whom the Church belongs. It's a shame that so many people don't understand, but at the same time, it's always a great teaching opportunity, and an opportunity to introduce the Book of Mormon, which testifies of Christ.

I do enjoy the role of Missionary. It's definitely the hardest role I've every played, but by far the most gratifying. Yesterday Elder Salas and I learned a scripture mastery (I think) while walking in the streets. "He aquí, soy disípulo de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. He sido llamado por Él para declarar Su palabra entre Su pueblo, a fin de que alcancen la vida eterna." I hope we can all play the part of disciple of Christ all the days of our lives.

I'll trade weather with you for a day if you want! It's been pretty hot here, not Georgia hot, but hot all the same. Especially when we're in church clothes outside walking all day. Yesterday Elder Salas and I did 80 contacts. Or in other words, we preached the Gospel in the streets and houses to 80 individual people over the period of 6 hours. We were so exhausted at the end. But we reached our goal for the week of 140 contacts! So yay, we're a good example to the rest of our district now. But yeah, oh would I give for one day of cold...just one though. Brusters Ice cream woo! I hope you get it! (like Chorus Line, anyone, anyone, Anna?) We do have ice cream in Carahue, but it's generally pretty expensive, so we only treat ourselves to it every once in a blue moon. In Chile (I'm going to miss this when I get home) there are a bunch of little hole in the wall stores/shops that are called negocios. They're located in randoms places, in the middle of neighborhoods and all over the place. They sell lots of candy, treats, small selections of beverages, fruits, vegetable, occasionally bread, basically like a mini mini supermarket. But they're everywhere! And treats in Chile, like candybars and the like are always ridiculously cheap compared to the States. My favorite is still Cariocas, but I'm gaining a liking to Golpe+, which is like a crunch bar but in rod form? I'm not sure how to explain it. One day, I will have tried all the many treats and sweets they have here but not in the States. Hope everything's going well dearest sister! I love you muchly!

I apologize, I'm running out of time, so this might be a little short! First off, I have no idea why it says someone from Chile logged into your account. I don't even know what your account or password or anything is. Very weird. I'm so so so happy to hear everything about Lexie and all of your experiences as new parents. And so happy to know that you are both learning and growing so much together in this. I can't wait to see pictures from your new place! In case I never said it before, congratulations! I will be sure to pray for snow for you. What's going on in Utah with the lack of snow?? Crazy.. Haha at first glance at that picture with Elise and Alexis in matching outfits, I honestly thought, "That's weird, why are both of their shirts in English when no one can understand that." Then I realized you're in America. It always makes me laugh seeing people here wearing shirts in English when they have no clue what it says, and I enjoy translating for them, especially one's that say things like "I make good babies" or something. Love you, seester! Hang in there and keep being a super mom! Thank you for writing :)

No, you're amazing! ;) I'm glad to hear your semester is going well so far, and super pumped to know that you're loving your major!! That's awesome. Here, I'll help you decide. Remember when we talked about Music Therapy? You're still minoring in music right? Just a thought. But other than that, I really don't know what one does with a Psychology major either, so I wish I could be of more help :P I'm not surprised you have a lot to say in your sociology class. No doubt you're the smartest one in it. Haha yay Addie! I'm glad your family is fond of me. I can't believe you don't like completos! So so delicious. I'm actually about to eat one in a few minutes at one of my favorite places in Carahue. Yo como pura basura cada P-Day, me encanta. I actually have heard the song I believe! They performed it at the Tony's. It's...interesting haha to say the least. But yeah, the message is pretty good. I have a song recommendation for you! I heard a song here that I have absolutely fallen in love with. It's called Tabaco y Chanel por el grupo Basilos. Son mejicanos, yo creo. Pero se me quedo pegada esa canción en mi mente todo el día. Search it! I'm going to finish writing you a letter today. Be excited! Until then, chao mi amiga :)

WOO! Congrats!!! Way to be a champ and hang in there for so long. I can't wait to hear what it is. Let me know as soon as you find out! And many thanks to your family for the letter and the kool-aid. Es muy rico! Love you, buddy. Keep learning, keep progressing. You can never be too prepared for the mission. Talk to you soon :)

"A pack of Miss Palma's cigarettes that we disposed of for her."
"my AWESOME package from the youth of the whitewater ward. I had such a blast looking up those scriptures, and eating the treats of course."
 "I did my best with the puzzle."

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