Monday, December 31, 2012

And a Happy New Year

Heyyy it was great to see all of you for Christmas. Definitely the best Christmas present posible. Before I forget, I want to thank you all for the wonderful Christmas package. I enjoyed every last part of it. I also need to send a long overdue thankyou to Grandma and Grandpa for the increcibly surprising and incredibly delicious peanutbutter chocolate bars they sent me a month ago. I couldn't believe Grandma found a way to send those so far over seas and have them arrive in such pristine condition! Thank you so so much Grandma. They brought joy to me and several other missionaries here in Los Angeles, Chile. Very merry Christmas to you both, and a happy new year.

Right now I'm short on time. I'll just let you know that I love you very much and I'm grateful for your love as well.

Being a missionary is the best thing in the world, and unfortunately it has to end this year. However, I am determined to end on a high note and work as hard as posible to make good use of this precious time.

I wish you all a fantastic 2013 as well, until we meet again on Sept. 10, because, surprise! Our release dates are all getting moved up 2 weeks, do to a change in the MTC. Merry Christmas!

One other thing. As this is the year that, potentially I'll be going back to school, I'm getting kind of nervous about what exactly is going to happen and how I'm going to do it. Mom, can I request (not that you don't already have a million other things to do) that you look up information from BYU about when I need to apply for scholarships, how to restart my tuition, etc. I will be very grateful.

Love all,

Elder Wilcox

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Like... a lot! Today was a lot of fun. We put on a big double zone activity (since there're two in Los Angeles), and it was a big success. We got together in the morning and did a short scripture study about Helaman 14 and Samuel's profecies of Christ's coming, after which we played some futbol. We also got permission to watch Home Alone which was awesome. We ate completos for lunch (we made 80 in total!), and did a secret santa gift exchange. A good time was had by all, our zone is more unified, and I'm happy everything turned out swell.

We also had our Stake Christmas program this last weekend, which received a standing ovation at the end (those that endured to the end), half because they liked it, and I think half because they were glad it was over. Not that it bad by any means. It was actually quite well executed, but it was very very very loooong. More than 3 hours nonstop long. But worth all the effort as we got some good references out of it, and fun to celebrate the spirit of Christmas in Chile once more.

Elder Badger and I are having a great time. This last week was a little rough and we had some challenges, but all in all things are good, and I couldn't love this ward any more. Tell Sis. Gally thanks for the great missionary idea all the way from Russia! I don't remember if I told you, but we're doing the same thing now through the whole stake. Invitation sunday that is. We have participation on a stake level and all the members in our ward are super pumped. We've handed out invitations to invite people (redundant, I know) and have been visiting the members a lot to encourage them. I really think it's going to be a huge success, and we expect to have a lot of people in Church this sunday.

Luis got baptized this saturday and confirmed on Sunday! It all went really well, and Luis is really happy. He's such a changed man, it's incredible, and makes me think of President Monson from Priesthood session when he said simply enough, "Men. Can. Change." Yup. God has worked some impressive miracles in Luis's life. He hasn't drank at all and doesn't even have the desire to. He looks happier, acts happier, and there's a new light in his eyes. He always liked the church but just always had a bunch of doubts. But when he first met with us, I think he just had a King Lamoni's dad moment, and despite not knowing everything, just gave up his will to God and said "whatever it takes to be saved, I'll do it. Whatever I have to give up, I'll give it up, and whatever I have to believe, I'll believe." He truly showed submission to God and pure humility in this process. And now, he's a new man. This Sunday, without us asking him to, showed up in a white shirt and a tie and a suit, and in priesthood even stood up front and gave his testimony. So we're thrilled, and excited to keep helping him in this important transition in his life.

Baptising is the best. It is such a testimony of the power of the Gospel and the atonement of Jesus Christ put into action. Being a missionary in general is the best, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not even for a beautiful white Christmas like the one we watched in Home Alone, no matter how hard it tried to make us trunky! Haha. God bless everyone of you and have a beatiful last week before Christmas. See you next monday! (It's gonna be around 5pm Chile time by the way).

Elder Wilcox

Monday, December 10, 2012

Healing Waters

This week I saw a beautiful video made by the North Carolina Charlotte mission to try and inspire members to do missionary work. I touched me deeply and gave me an increased desire to work in the service of the Lord and search for His children that He is preparing to receive the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the remission of their sins through baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I invite you all to watch this video and reflect upon the way God prepares His children and uses us as a means to bring light to others' lives.

We've been very excited lately with a lot of support from the members here. We stole Stacey Gally's idea about Invitation Sunday and we're doing it in all of the wards in the whole Los Angeles South stake. We got the Stake President to email the bishops and the missionaries have talked with them to make this 23rd a very special day. During this Christmas season, in the midst of so much gift-giving and recieiving, a good question to ask ourselves is, "this Christmas, what gift shall we gift to the Savior." And what better way than inviting someone who does not know the Gospel, or someone who has strayed to attend church and participate of the Spirit of the Lord. All the members are really excited here to invite someone, and I'm confident it's going to be a fantastic sunday. I invite all of you as well to think about what gift you can give the Savior this Christmas, whether it be in terms of missionary work, or personal goals too.

The song in the video is called Healing Waters by Michelle Tumes, and I'm excited to see some healing waters here in San Martín this Saturday as well as Luis receives the remission of his sins and is born again. He's so excited and very prepared. I still can't believe who effortless the process with him was, and am only grateful to God for this blessing. The best part is, his friend Milton is going to baptize him! Fantastic.

Well, that's all for now. Sorry I didn't have time to respond directly to your emails.I actually have to print them out and read them later because the assistants gave us yet another fun report to do on monday.

So you know, the 24th we will be alowed to do skype, not on the 25th. So we'll be calling around 4 o clock Chile time. Get ready folks!

I love you dearest family and friends. Thank you for everything. Till next week.

Elder Wilcox

Chile has the sickest buses
 in Hualpencillo staying the night for Zone Leader Conference in one of the nicest missionary houses I've ever seen
 a rice and hot dog concoction that our token Spaniard, Elder Ramón, made
 a bunch of photos from a service project we did on saturday. President Martinez has a piece of land out in the country from Los Angeles right next to a house that our stake president has out there as well. So we went with President Montanares and a few missionaries to go cut grass and clean up the property. President Martinez has no idea, and he won't find out until the fotos show up in the slideshow during the christmas conference this month. Hehe.

 yesterday the Fuentes family made us an asado for much food. I love that family.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On the 3rd Day of Christmas

it's P-Day. Today was lots of fun. We left early to head to el Salto del Laja, a beautiful waterfall in the Laja River close to Los Angeles. We spent a few hours there and I bought a few cool souveniers to try to send home tomorrow in a package. We'll see how that goes. Hopefully it's not too expensive, and if I can get it sent, hopefully it doesn't arrive in february. But I belive in Christmas miracles.

Great to hear the Red Hat conference is going to be good. I hope you get tons of publiblicity out of it, Mom.

This week was kind of rough. Generally it's like that. If there's a great week, the next one is not so great. We had such a hard time planning lessons to be able to teach our progressing investigadores, Luis, Camilo, Lidia, and Vanesa. They've still got baptismal goals for the end of the month, and we were able to talk to them a little bit at church yesterday about the importance of punctuality and not missing appointments, and they understood so hopefully this week will be better. We're still trying hard to get references and help the members do missionary work, but it's been difficult. It's a principle so basic and obvious, that missionary work is better with the help of the members, but it's not going to be easy changing the mentality of all the saints of Chile in just one or two transfers. A lot of them think that sharing the Gospel is the missionary's job, and going to church is the member's job. (Not making a blanket statement. There are some wonderful members who are helping a lot), but we've got a lot of work to do. If anybody has any creative or simple ideas about how to help the members do missionary work, they would be more than welcome.

So we're on a good path, and a lot has changed already, but there's definitely a lot more work to do. Other than that, I'm happy as a clam. Trials are hard, but helpful, and I'm confident about the investigators we have which is good. Luis is a remarkably changed man. He's given up alcohol 110 percent and is so excited for his baptism. Yesterday, he explained to us perfectly the Restoration and said he wanted to try and read the whole Book of Mormon before his baptism on the 15th. Elder Badger and I are just beside ourselves. Luis is a Christmas miracle for sure, and it's awesome to be part of his life and conversion to Christ.

Getting excited for the Skype on Christmas! It's going to be fun. I am indeed going to be with Elder Badger again, at least until the middle of January, and I'm really happy about that. We get along well and work great together.

Sorry Mom that I never mentioned what I wanted for Christmas. It kept slipping my mind, and honestly I'm fine with whatever. Some socks or ties might be nice, but that's it. I'm always happy with whatever package I receive.

Well, time's up this week. I hope you all are having a wonderful time preparing for Christmas and that the Spirit of Christ is lighting your lives in this special season. Tell my friends to write me before the year ends. I wanna know what's happening in their lives! Are you still alive??

Corey, that foto I sent a while back with me holding a bag of haribo gummy bears was for you. I found it in this store called Jumbo and thought of you. Hope you're well.
Austin, how's the comedy biz going? Have you figured out what you're doing with your life yet haha? If so, then you're way ahead of me...

Anna, great to hear from you!! Hope you get your letter soon. I'll be sending out another christmas one very soon as well. Good luck on your exams!

And to all, a good night.

Elder Wilcox