Monday, August 27, 2012


Lo siento, querida familia, hoy día no voy a  poder escribir una carta muy larga como la de la semana pasada, ya que el Presidente Martinez me desafió a que no escribiera por más tiempo que la establecida hora. Me cuesta tanto no decirles muy detallademente todo lo que está pasando en mi vida y en mi mente! Pero bueno, voy a intentar a keep this short. Here goes.

Yasna got baptised!!!! Woooohoo!! It was a beautiful  baptismal service, one of the best of my mission, and there was a great turn out from the ward. Annnd Yasna's husband, mom, two sons, and a few friends were able to attend, so that was awesome. Currently we're teaching her husband and son as well and we're hoping they'll get baptised too in september. I have this crazy dream: Yasna will stay active, her husband and son will get baptised this month before I complete a year in the mission, and then after a year of being active members of the church, they'll go to the temple in September of 2013 and when I'm on my way home from the mission I'll be able to go with them and watch  them get sealed together as an eternal  family! That's my dream anyway, and I'm praying that it works out that way. But for now, we're teaching and helping them keep moving forward. They really are a wonderful family.

We're also teaching a good man named Eduardo. He's about 50 and he is a professor of math. He's got great intentions, he's very very smart, and understands the Gospel theoretically, but not in his heart. His faith is weak and has trouble making commitments. But he always reads the assignments we give him and is very receptive. The biggest issue is he's living together, and needs to get married. We had a great lesson with him yesterday and his faith is growing.

Other than that we're pretty short on investigators right now, so we gotta get out there and get looking, because the field is white already to harvest. The Zone Coronel is good too, and we came a lot closer to our goal for this month than last month, so we're progressing. The elders, the majority of which are quite new (that's weird to say, I'm  pretty sure I'm still new), are growing in their testimony and becoming more aware of the power and authority  of their calling, and their responsability to open their mouth and declare the  Gospel to everyone. Things with Elder Aparicio have been good, and we're constantly learning to work better as a team. Overall, I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world. (I am however, happy that the beach trip was a success, and I LOVE the pictures. I promise I'll be there for the next next one.)

I leave you with  my humble testimony that Christ lives. That he is literally our savior. Our savior from sin and torment, from being cast out of the presence of God. His way is the only way, and I'm so grateful to God for creating this beautiful plan and making posible the rescue of all of his children by  way of his gospel. It is that gospel that we preach and teach to everyone, and it fills me with joy. I know I'm in the right place, and doing the right thing. I love you all very much and wish you a wonderful new week.

Con mucho cariño,

Elder Wilcox

P.S. Mom, I read an awesome article in the Liahona from January of this year about staying astonished. It's called Rediscovering a Wonder of the World, something something. I highly  recommend it.

The lake outside our apartment.
 Yasna's baptism!!!

 Birthday gathering for Elder Aparicio. We made empanadas and afterwards there was cake.

 The beautiful beach of Lota Bajo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Here Comes the Sun

da da da da! After almost a whole week of rain, the rain has stopped and the sun has finally decided to show his face. They say that August is the most difficult month here in this part of Chile, when the most people get sick too. It's constantly back and forth between heat and cold and rain and dry and it's very unpredictable. But luckily, I've stayed pretty dry, and have avoided sickness. The only tricky part is our very very humid and moist apartment. It's a trick every week keeping my things from getting moldy. I can't leave anything sitting around for too long, because even books will start to get fuzzy on the binding, and I've even had to wash my english scripture case because of the mildew build up. But we're hanging in there, anxiously awaiting the summer.

It's been a good week, and the work is progressing in Lota. We have a baptism coming up this weekend which we are thrilled about, because it will be the first one in the Lota Branch in many months. Hopefully we can get good turn out from the members. Her name is Yasna, and her brother is a recent member of the church. She has a little baby named Vicente and another 10 year old son named Matías. She's had a lot of doubts throughout her preparation for baptism, and a lot of fear of taking this big step in life, but in the last few days her faith has grown a lot and she feels a lot more ready for saturday. Sweet!

Samuel, haha good hearing from you buddy. And happy to hear you and Heather made it safely back to the homeland. I wish the very best for both of you in this new chapter of your lives.

Mom, awesome to hear about the power and reality of revelation working in the process with the book. The way you are always in tune with spiritual promptings and the voice of the spirit is an example to me and I desire to be able to develop that ability to always be guided by the Lord in all my doings. Thank you for always sharing such wonderful experiences with me. Not to mention I'm pumped for the party in 2014!

Dad, very cool about the conference with Steve Martin. I remember watching a program about him on TV with you one day and it amazing me how multi-talented he is. I would still like to read that book about him you always told me about. Sorry I never read it before. I'll definitely do so after the mission. I imagine that your calling in the Church now has you very busy, but I'm also sure it has helped you to learn a lot about the Lord, His work, and yourself. About not aspiring to leadership or responsibility in the Church, i never did/don't either. But if there's something I've learned on the mission, it's that being a true, christlike leader has very very little to do with aspirations or natural ability. It has everything to do with humility and willingness to do God's will. When God called Moses, he didn't want to be his representative. He said he was bad at talking and wouldn't be good for the job. But he was humble, and God assured him he would put the words in his mouth that he needed to speak. I know that if you've never aspired to leadership in the Church, then that is exactly why God has called you to it now. Looking back on my life, when I lead Men of the Mill or whatever else, I always thought I was the right one for the job because I was the most talented or the most able, and now I realize that I was in the wrong, because that's terrible leadership. A good leader is one who everybody thanks when things get better because of him. But a great leader is someone who doesn't get thanked for anything, because when things get better, everyone thinks they did it themselves. He gets lost in the work. I think of Christ, how he was a man of sorrows, he was lonely, and unappreciated. But that's what made him a great leader, his perfect humility. I love the example in John 13 about him washing his disciple's feet and then saying that the servant will be the master and vice versa. I guess what I'm getting with all this is that the mission has really helped me to change the way I look at true leadership, and helped me understand why God calls who he calls. I'm so proud of you Dad for your willingness to work humbly in the ministry to which you have been called, and I know that with Christlike service, you will be a great leader. I look up to you very much. Something that I love reading that helps me remember the sacred nature of the priesthood (and especially the High Priests) is Alma 13. I recommend it. I love you Dad, and I pray for you success as well.

Ashley, hang in there, sis. The summer can sometimes be pretty lame, but try to make the best use of your free time now preparing yourself for the mission. In the down time, Satan will work very hard to unmotivate you and distract you from what's really important. Try to keep youself busy with productive and edifying projects and service, and you'll be prepared. I'm proud of the way you prepare your classes so diligently every week and I love hearing about how seriously you take that calling. I know you're doing a great work already, teaching the living water to thirsty people, and giving food to the hungry as well hehe. In this class that you have to prepare now, since it's a lot of material, I invite you to think less about just covering material, and more about how specific principles will help your class to be better people. In the MTC, you're going to learn a lot about teaching people, not lessons. It's the same in all Gospel teaching situations. The lesson material is there as a base that prepares the spirit to testify to the hearts of the hearers, but the most important part is the application, and the spirit will be strongest as you invite your listeners to act. There's a wonderful article about teaching for conversion in the Ensign of july I believe. I highly reccomend it. Let true conversion always be your aim as a teacher. Way to go for being so dedicated, and thank you for always writing me :) Let me know who things are going with the mission papers!

Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing that wonderful experience of service. You truly are such an example to me and I'm grateful for the way you are always trying to help people and do the right thing. I'll be praying as well that Beth can soften her heart and start to attend more frequently. Keep it up!

Joseph, Cómo estás allá en el gran CCM? Cuánto tiempo te falta ahora? Ya estás por salir, verdad? Gracias por las cartas que me enviaste, recibí cada una y me ayudaron mucho. Agradezco tu amistad y tu ejemplo en esta gran obra, igual que tu consejo. Sabe que yo te admiro mucho a ti también y estoy orgulloso por conocer a un misionero tan bueno como tú. Siempre esfuérzate por ser humilde en todas las cosas y seguir el ejemplo del Salvador. El mundo aprecia talento e inteligencia, pero esas cosas son secundarias en el evangelio. Lo que importa es si realmente has entregado tu corazón a Dios, porque eso es la santificación (Helamán 3). Procura ser diligente pero siempre manso. Te quiero mucho, amigo, y sé que es un gran misionero y que ayudarás a muchas almas a conocer la verdad y recibir la remisión de sus pecados mediante el bautismo. Dios te bendiga!

 Anna, Wow! No puedo creer que ya estás a punto de entrar la universidad otra vez! Que vuela el tiempo! As it is said in the classic film what's up doc, don't be nervous, just remember, everthing depends on this. Haha but seriously, I know it will be great. New experiences and adventures always bring great times, although being a little freaky at first. I know God's always there to comfort you as well. I still love that favorite scripture of yours that you shared with me a while back in John 16 right? Paz os doy, no os la doy como el mundo os la da. It's definitely true, and it's something that can't be counterfeited. Yes, please keep me updated on all of the happenings of school life. Let me know what classes you're taking! And if you happen to run into Robert Tanner, one of the Asistents here who just got home from his mission, tell him I say hi! Thank you for always writing. You're my best friend as well :)

Well, that's my email for the week! I'll let you all know how the baptism went! Bye bye!

Elder Wilcox
9 terrible pens I bought on a bus for 2 dollars. Fantastic deal.
The mission really wears out the feet.
Time for some odor eaters.

Elder Zuñiga cooking up some Milanesa.
Hermana Silvia is a fantastic cook. I plan on having her write down all of the recipes she knows so I can take them back home and show everyone some classic Chilean cuisine. 
It loves me!
And it's happy to see me! (This was our delicious lunch with Hermana Silvia and her family today. We go there on p-day a lot to cook up delicious things with her.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A New Era

Well well well here we are again, another week down, and yes another week closer to the one year mark in the mission. Not that I'm counting, but it really is weird how fast the time flies, and yet it seems life time since I began. I'm truly excited for what's happening in the mission these days. We're seeing a lot of changes in the administration of things, and new focuses as we continue to try and adapt to the present needs of the mission and the missionaries. We're prepared for big things, and I really believe that soon we're going to see great things happen. There are going to be more baptisms, more worthy sincere converts, who will then remain active and steadfast in the faith. I'm excited, and hopefull.

And impressed, by the wisdom of those the Lord has called to guide His church in these latter days. As I continue to serve in the mission and in positions of leadership, I continue to learn and apreciate what it takes to be a leader in the Lord's service, and have a greater respect for the sacrifices that so many people make every day because of their testimony of the truth. I always want to be willing and worthy to serve in whatever capacity the Lord calls me to in the future, and I want to be able to give Him all that I am, to love Him more than these (John 21). Today we had a wonderful oportunity to receive instruction from the new Area President, Elder Arnold, who gave a training meeting with the leaders from both the Concepción and Concepción Sur missions. I won't go into details, but it was astounding, and the power and authority (and above all, love) of that man was a testimony to me of the inspired nature of this Church, and the involvmente of the Lord in it.

We're doing well now here in Lota with my companion. Things aren't perfect, but we're both learning, and I think it's been a great experience for both of us so far. We've learned to manage our pride more and put ourselves in each others shoes. I'm grateful for all of the support and advice from everyone who wrote me this week. Thank you, mom, for your words of wisdom, and Jennifer for sharing your experiences. I'm grateful for my knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, to know that all of these things happen for a purpose, and it is for our good. Christ commanded us to be perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect, and it's a pleasure to know that He's on my side in that endeavour, and that here on Earth, we're all in this together.

The work is going well here in Lota, there's a lot to do, and day by day we're finding more people to teach, which is exciting, because I love being booked all day. We have a baptism coming up for a young mom named Yasna and potentially her son, her cousin, and her cousin's son. It won't all be on the same day probably, but we're working on it, and they're progressing a lot. It'll be the first baptism in a while here in Lota from what I understand, so we're pretty excited, and we're trying to help the members be excited too. They're kind of asleep right now, but we have wondeful leaders who are working hard to help them wake up.

Well, that's all I have time for this week. Thank you all for writing me. I always love to hear from every one of you and am grateful for who you are. Have a fantastic week, and always fight the good fight, for Christ is on our side!

Elder Wilcox

P.S. Thank you, Mom, for sending the package! I haven't received it yet, but surely will next tuesday, as we have mission conference in Concepción.

Beach adventures last P-Day in Playa Blanca

 The universal baptism symbol, appropriately pointing to the ocean.
With Elder Phelps! Oh yeah I never told you! He's the new companion of Elder Zúñiga, who also lives in our house, so once again I'm together with my first ever mission companion
 Special shout-out to a special person.
With Elder Ramirez, who also got transfered up here to Coronel a few weeks ago. He's in Arauco about an hour away from Lota, so it's pretty cool getting to see him a bunch again
This is Umberto the crab, he was a smelly crab (in the Lota market, which goes on every day, and it's awesome)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Lota Lessons to Learn

Haha thank you Jennifer for the delightful play on words that never occured to me. I will be using it a Lota more now.

Happy to hear about so many miraclulous outpourings of the spirit this week in the far off land of the United States. In the midst of such a physical drought, with so much spiritual rain, I am reminded of the promise of the Lord in Isaiah 44:3, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." Surely the Lord spoke nothing of the physical, but the spiritual, and if He has poured so much spiritual water upon you all this week, then I guess my best advice would be that of the Dos Equis man, "Stay thirsty, my friends."

This week, as all weeks, has also been a spiritual flood for me, as my understanding of the Bible has grown tremendously, and my testimony of the Savior continues to be more personal and my understanding of his power and mercy more full. Especially I am struck by His perfect example of humility. I will be honest, this week was hard, as I faced more than a few collisions with my companion, he, like me, being very passionate about what he believes is correct. The perfect world of a new companionship has passed, and I've had to have a lot of conversations with him about what we're going to do about this problem. My conclusion: I am prideful, very prideful. Not in a boasting, glory hogging way, but rather in a much more subtil and more dangerous way. I seek what I want, and am not very concerned about the happiness of others, unless it affects me, and I'm always looking for the flaws in others, so that I can be right. It was a painful process this week coming to this realization. I reflected a lot upon my actions, and how my pride has affected some of the people most important to me. I've always considered that I might be a little prideful, but never in my life have I truly accepted it, because I didn't want to admit it, and I never did anything to change it. Now being in this companionship, God has given me an oportunity to change my heart, and therefore change the rest of my life. I want to extend an apology to all those that I love, to Mom and Dad, to Jennifer, Heather, Ashley, to all of my friends, and especially to Anna (I thought a long time about the way I acted with you, and whether you ever realized it or not, I did not always treat you like I should have). To all: I'm sorry for all of the many times that I didn't take your opinions into consideration, that I sought your flaws, or that I didn't feel a sincere love for you, because I was too concerned about being right, or being better. I know I've still got a long way to go in what is going to be a difficult process of stripping my self of my pride. It's going to come one decision at a time, but I am grateful to God for having given me a companion that is honest and wise enough to help me do it. He has made me search my soul more than anyone I've ever met, and has helped me find things I never wanted to admit were there. I'm grateful for the example of the Savior, who was humiliated, beaten, spit upon and crucified. He never once opened his mouth, and never once thought in his heart, "I'm right, this isn't fair, these people are foolish." He never once rejected them, but rather, with perfect sincere love said, "forgive them, for they know not what they do." I am also grateful for the many acts of service that you shared with me in this weeks letter, Mom. It couldn't have come at a better time. Thank you for your examples of selflessness, love unfeigned, and charity.

I'm out of time for this week, but that's what I wanted to say. I'm trying really hard now everyday to be more like Jesus, meek and humble of heart. Thank you for all your help. I love you all and wish you the very best of weeks.
Elder Wilcox

P.S. Ashley, the best way to prepare for the mission is to study the doctrine of Christ and to really understand what it means to receive a remission of sins. Study faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and persevering to the end. Pray that God will help you to understand Christ's doctrine, and how to help others live it, because there is nothing more important in this world. I love you and I am so proud of you for your decision to serve. I know that the Lord will bless you richly for every effort you make.