Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Had Such a Great Title for This Email in My Head Yesterday

...but now I can't remember. Oh well...

Well, it's been another week of miracles here in Carahue. I am truly astonished. But first, a bit of fun news! So, as you all know, I'm sure, David Archuleta will be serving a mission. You are correct, Dad. He will be serving in South America. But I hear from very good sources (by that I mean David Archuleta told his family who supposedly told a reporter, who told the news station, who broadcasted to the Great Salt Lake area in the evening news) that he will be serving somewhere in Chile! Yep, that's right, I'm going to be training Elder Archuleta. Well, we'll see, but it would be pretty wild if he ended up here in Concepción Sur. I'm not sure how close you were all paying attention when the MTC choir sang in Conference, but several times David's face showed up in the camera. I believe he was on the first row of the choir, not surprisingly. Let's keep our fingers crossed for Concepción Sur!

So the miracle. Remember Karol from last week? The girl who decided she wanted to "try again." Well, all of last week we had been prepping her and her sister for General Conference. We promised them that if they came to conference with a question in their heart, that that question would be answered. To the thrill and delight of Elder Ramirez and I, sure enough, they showed up to the first Sunday session yesterday (which, for me, was one of the most powerful sessions of conference I have ever attended, perhaps because I spent the entire session praying that the words of the leaders of the church would reach their hearts and answer their doubts). During the conference I sat behind them, and I noticed them nod their heads several times in agreement with the words that were being spoken. Even more remarkable, President Monson quoted Wordsworth, a poet about whom I had just been discussing with Karol only a few days before. And to top it all off, the session finished with my favorite arrangement of Come Thou Fount, the which left everyone in the Chapel astonished.

After the session, Karol and her sister Alicia left immediately after shaking our hands goodbye. At that point Elder Ramirez and I were very nervous as to what would be their response, and their faces displayed either pure astonishment, or distaste. It was difficult to say. So, we stopped by in the evening after the second conference to talk about what they thought, felt, heard, experienced and everything. Turns out, they both in fact did have a specific question in their minds when they went, and it turns out that that question was in fact answered almost immediately upon entering the Chapel. They had been reflecting on an unfavorable rumor about the missionaries that they had heard a few days ago (opposition in all things), and they were having a heard time not judging. But they said that President Uchtdorf's talk penetrated their hearts and made them reflect deeply on their situation. In addition to not judging others, the message of not judging yourself struck Alicia powerfully. She told us in her lesson last night that she had done something in her past life, for which up until now she has never been able to forgive herself. I was prompted to share a few verses from the book of Enos with her, and before I could finish verse 4, Alicia was in tears. I began to testify to her of the necessity of forgiving oneself as part of repentance, and it came to my mind the experience I had had in the MTC that honestly I had never thought about since it happened (see email week 5ish), and I felt prompted as well to share it. I couldn't hold back the tears. I felt the Spirit working through me, and I knew that my words were exactly what Alicia needed to hear. Once again, it was one of the most powerful lessons I have had in my mission. We invited them to pray mightily and plead forgiveness from God and from themselves, so that whatever barrier that might be stopping them from receiving a testimony of this gospel be removed and replaced with faith.

I am astonished. It is amazing that these two incredible people, whom we were so close to losing, are now progressing again and have gained a stronger testimony of modern day revelation as well as the power of Christ's Atonement. It is thanks to our hard work, but even more thanks to the miracles of our Father in Heaven who loves His children and wants them to be happy. Perhaps I don't understand exactly what it is that drives me to be a missionary and share this Gospel with everyone. Perhaps I don't know why or how I feel so happy when I live it in my own life. And perhaps, reflecting on the redemption of my own soul, I ask, like Enos, "Lord, how is it done?" I don't think I'll ever be able to explain sufficiently what the Gospel and this Church mean to me, but I know how I feel. And I have seen how it has made others feel. I love the Lord. I'm so grateful for the miracle of forgiveness and the power of purity.

Thank you all for you love and support, and especially for your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of all of our investigators. I love you all, and may we all put into practice what we have learned from General Conference. Sorry I didn't share many thoughts from the talks. Perhaps it will have to wait a month or so until Mothers Day!

Much love,
Elder Wilcox

 In the  house of Aracely with Leo and Angel
 Angel found my water bottle...
 Pretty small turnout for the second Sunday session, but the first session was pretty packed! I was pleased.
 With the branch president, trying to look tall.

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