Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Asombro me da

"Wonder it gives me," or "It astounds me" is the title in Spanish of one of my favorite hymns, "I Stand All Amazed."

This week, I've thought frequently about the curse of complacency. What is it in human nature that makes us so easy to forget the blessings and wonder we experience from day to day? Why, when we eat a lot of ice cream, do we not taste it anymore? Or when we listen to a song we love too many times, does it sound like every other? When our Lord and Redeemer took upon him the sins of the world that fatefull night in the Garden of Gethsemany, Christ's closest friends slept. Why are our senses so quickly muted by apathy and familiarity? In these moments we generally forget what it was in some thing that amazed us in the first place, and we set it aside, searching for something new and exciting or perhaps quiting the search all together. Sometimes we just go to sleep.
I've thought a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I've thought a lot about the love of our Savior and the fruit that is delicious beyond all others that Lehi saw in his dream. And while I realize that the everlasting doctrine of Christ is neither ice cream nor a catchy song, the principle is the same. After tasting of that fruit in Lehi's dream, many people let go of the iron rod and were led away into dark paths. After being baptized and confirmed, many members of the church fall away. It is both surprising and sad that from the one source of joy that never ends, the very well of living water, people choose to withdraw. It is a problem as much here in Chile as in all parts of the world that causes those who continue to drink from that well to remorse over their brethren who have wandered.
I've thought a lot about my own mission, and my own life. And although I don't see myself wandering from the Lord any time soon, I do find myself often guilty of the same attitude that plagues so many of God's beloved children - the attitude of apathy. That's not to say that I'm struggling with apathy right now, or that I'm sad, depressed, or anything similar. Not at all. But I have been thinking about el asombro que me da la vida, y el mismo asombro que no veo. How many blessings, even miracles, has my Father in Heaven poured out upon me that I have taken casually, without the astonishment that his daily acts deserve.
Today I spent some time reading through some old letters, cards, and dearelder's that I've received throughout my mission, especially some from the MTC. It was such a blessing to be able to look back and relive a little bit of the excitement that I and all of you experienced when I first set out on this journey, and to receive yet another small reminder of the whole reason that I am here, away from all of you who give me so much joy - to experience a joy even greater, and to help others do the same. Family and friends, those who read my letters, I have tasted joy beyond description. I have drank from the living waters. I know my Savior Jesus Christ, and I am honored and privileged to be sharing his Restored Gospel with the people of Chile. There is no greater work than this. And there is nothing better we can do than let God into our lives, so that we might see the riches He has surrounded us with. If any of you are feeling bored, lost, unastonished, or tired, look around you at all you have. Say a silent prayer. Count your blessings. This life, this Gospel is ice cream that doesn't get old. It's a song that's always exciting, but we have to do our part.

"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and ahappy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."
- Mosiah 2:41

I want to share my testimony with all of you that I know Christ is our Savior. I know that this is His church. I know we are in this life to be tried, but we're also here to be happy. Sure, at times I get bored, at times I forget, and I have wandered, but I know without a doubt that this Gospel, this message and this Church that I will represent for the next year and a half of my life bring greater joy and greater blessings than anything else on this Earth.
Thank you all for writing me. Thank you for your love and words of encouragement. Thank you Austin, especially, for writing. It was so so good to hear from you. Please know that you are always welcome in my house whenever you want. Get some singers together. I know my parents would love to have the MOM's over any time!
Well, gotta go. I admit I spent a good bit of time trying to perfectly word this letter instead of my usually chaotic thought-slop, but it feels good to have written something literarily admirable once again. May God bless each and every one of you. You are all my light.

Much love,
Elder Ross Wilcox

 a lovely bright moon over two neighborhoods in Carahue. Taken from the landing outside our apartment
another one of the many fires that continue to burn around the Araucanía region. This was taken from our kitchen window
 a note we left at the door of Aracely y Leo, along with a little chocolate, for not stopping by in a few days

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