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.)

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