Monday, November 12, 2012

Strange things are happenin'

Straaaange things. Name that movie.

Well it's been an interesting week. Like I said before, there have been a lot of big changes in the mission, changes that probably won't mean a whole lot for you all back home, but it's crazy for us. After the visit of Elder Arnold, president of the Area Sudamerica Sur, and a long consejo with President Martínez and the asistents, it's been decided that we're changing the way we work in the mission. For more than a year, we're wanted an increase in the average of convert baptisms, always striving and working hard, but nothing ever worked. We realized that we were working hard, just not in the smartest way. So now, they've taken out contacts as a key indicator (finally!) and put a bigger enfasis in references. This is a change that should have happened a long time ago, as we've always known that the better way to work is through the members, not alone, but better late than never. So this week, Elder Badger and I spent a lot of time visiting a lot of members, less actives and recent converts, teaching them the doctrine of Christ and asking for references. It's gone really well. It's definitely a different finding and teaching process than we're used to, but after a few more week and in the long run it's going to be so much better. I truly believe that convert baptisms AND retention in the church will increase, which is exactly what Chile needs. Jenn, I would love to sit down with you after the mission and have a long talk about the way your mission way organized, what plans they did, and how everything was executed, or maybe during this Christmas's skype, because this is an important time for the Misión Chile Concepción Sur.

Anyways... It was a hard week, we felt VERY lost, and unsure, but we worked hard and feel confident that everything will turn out right in the end, and we're content. We were also blessed tremendously yesterday when one of our investigators who we had thought wouldn't progress until at least next month, magically showed up by himself to sacrament meeting. We were astonished and thrilled by his commitment to come even without us saying anything. He literally just showed up. So we're going to keep on teaching him and we hope to be able to help him prepare for baptism by the end of this month. His name is Jorge, and he lives with his mom, Lidia, and his little sister, Vanesa who we're also teaching (hopefully they'll progress for December too). We were also thrilled to see that three nonmembers were there who some new converts had brought to church. Unfortunately they don't live in our sector (for now, one couple is thinking about moving), but we're still excited to see the spirit of missionary work increasing in the ward, and members doing their part. There are good things ahead.

Thanks for filling me in on all the goings-on back home. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!! Although I know you're not too thrilled, haha. I'm glad to hear the book is going well and that your impromptu talk turned out okay.
Dad, FYI, you asked for some pictures of the outside of our house, so by the way I sent a picture a week or two ago with me in front of a house with a little pavillion thing out front. That's our house, but if you want more I'll send more. Also, I am really liking Los Angeles. Loving it actually. It's a fantastic ward. This sector reminds me a lot of Lagunillas, it's very similar. Los Angeles is indeed big-ish, but not nearly as big as Temuco, actually. But it's cool having a Hiper-Lider (Chilean Walmart) here, so we can get lots of gringo food.

Speaking of getting things, just so you know mom, I think in the next few weeks I might be spending a little bit of money on the home card, because I want to start getting a package put together to send home for Christmas. So I'll let you know how that goes.

Interesting to hear about the elections...I really wish I could say more than that, but I just don't feeling like expressing political opinions is appropriate as a missionary.

I will however alwyas support Gospel Doctrine, and say that there are certain eternal truths, that no matter what a persons opinion is, cannot change. And as long as any government representative supports policies that are contrary to the declared will and commandments of God, we should question whether that person is a good choice for our nation. I am reminded of great leaders from the Book of Mormon, like King Benjamin, or captain Moroni, or others that were chosen specifically for their righteousness before God. That's all.

Well, to finish up, I read a fantastic talk the other day called The Way by Lawrence Corbridge that I want to recommend to all and add my testimony to his. That Jesus Christ is the way, the only way, and that through him and no one else we may be cleansed of our sins, through repentance and faith in His name. I know that Christ is my Savior and the director of this mighty work that I am in. I love love love being a missionary and wouldn't trade it for the world. Thank you all for your love of God and your examples of righteousness and faith as well.

Till next time,
Elder Wilcox

 Our command center, complete with holographic map and clip board. We will soon be buying laser pointers to pinpoint locations without using a coat hanger

A greasy bag of sopaipillas, you know, fried circle bread, that I bought from a sister from the church who was doing fundraising for EFY

And, a big plate of cake that the wonderful Solís family brought to our house last night completely by surprise. They are now officially my favorite members here.

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