Monday, August 26, 2013

Ahh...the ocean

Being close to it for like half my mission really makes me miss it here in hilly Padre Las Casas. Looking forward to the next beach trip in aproximately one year.

Glad to hear you all had a great time, if not very busy with all the rugrats. The kids are adorable, and I can't wait to get to know them better.

I'll go ahead, Dad, and start working on packing some simple things to send home. Sending them, as you know, is not terribly cheap (but actually not terribly expensive either), so if you can make sure I've got enough on the home card, I'll try and send some stuff out next monday.

This week was good in the work of the Lord. We're progressing with the Bucarey family, despite their limited time schedule. Unfortunately the parents still have not attended church, as they like their sleep on Sunday mornings (worst excuse!), but Elisa's, the oldest daughter, is doing GREAT and came to church for the second time yesterday. She really is incredible, one of the best investigators I've taught. When we were teaching her family on Saturday, she had already read all of the material, and knew it really well. She helped us teach her parents, haha. It was practically like teaching with an already-member. So we're really happy about that.

Also thrilled that Rocío was baptised last saturday. Unfortunately she couldn't do it with her son, because of some small family issues, but she was really happy with the service and was confirmed yesterday and looks really content. (This is the Rocío that read the Book of Mormon in a month. Super smart.)

The Adventist family, The Pacheco family, is progressing as well. Really interested in the Book of Mormon still and hopefully will attend church with us this sunday. Now we just gotta get their two kids to participate in the lessons as well.

So that's the morning report. We're happy, working hard, looking for miracles, and seeing them. I appreciate your comments, Heather, about the importance of references. So true! 

So I want to hear experiences, if there are any! Was anybody able to use the phrase "that's what I love about my church" or something similar the other week?

Wishing you the best in all your efforts this week, and keeping you in my prayers,

with love,
Elder Wilcox

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Beautiful Week

Full of tiredness and some frustration, but also some really high highs.

We are currently teaching two families right now and they're awesome. The first is the Bucarey family, whose oldest daughter attended church with us yesterday and loved it. Afterwards, she suprised us with an invitation to have lunch with her family! We were blown away and very grateful. I do believe it was the first time in my whole mission that I've had lunch with an entire family of investigators. We're hoping the parents can attend next sunday with Elisa.

We're also teaching the Pacheco family. They're very interested and had a lot of great questions about the Book of Mormon. When we invited them to baptism, it wasn't an emphatic yes exactly, but they definitely did not say no. They're going to progress great.

So we're really happy with all the tremendous potential the Lord has blessed us with in our sector. In the zone we've also seen a lot of miracles. There are three invesitgators that we just found out actually live within the Llaima ward but that have been attending church for the last 2 months in the other stake. So they'll be getting baptised here.

What I've learned this week is the importance of being an intrument in the Lord's hands through our own personal decisions. Every action we take either draws us closer or pulls us away from being an effective tool in His masterful hands. When we do decide to humble ourselves and follow the promptings of the spirit, He literally guides us by the hand to do his will. That is why the Paul explains so emphatically that whatever good works we do are actually not ours, but the Lord's. We have faith and decided to follow the Spirit, and the works flow naturally from within, as God uses us to bless the lives of others.

I want to be an instrument in his hands, because I know that it brings great joy.

May we all strive to do so this week, is my prayer.

With much love,
Elder Wilcox

Monday, August 12, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

A big friendly hello from Elder Wilcox down here in Chile to all my family, friends, and other readers.

Thank you for your letters. They inspire me. I love your lives; they are rich with action, hope, virtue, and love. I am especially grateful for the missionary spirit that the Lord has poured out upon the Whitewater ward and upon us as a family. Thanks, Ashley for your willingness and enthusiasm to serve.

Thanks, Mom for sharing that incredible missionary story. It truly brought me to tears of joy as I read it at the computer and then re-read it on the bus on the way to the center. It made me so grateful to be a missionary and to have the restored gospel that I couldn't not share it, and immediately started talking to the two men sitting behind me because I couldn't wait to tell someone about this! Well, they were not terribly interested, but that's okay.

Yesterday we had a great experience. We have been praying a lot with Elder Hanes for the work to pick up here and praying to be able to find a family that we can teach and baptise. While we were out tracting in an area we had prayed about and picked beforehand, we came across one house out of which came a fairly nice man, who explained that he is Adventist, and thus not very interested in receiving us. He said he doesn't like to argue about religion. We explained that we are not here to argue, only to help, and bore humble testimony of our message. After a short pause, my companion asked once more if we could come in. Jaime (that's his name), thought about it a moment and said, let me ask my people. He went in and after a few moments came out again with keys in hand to open the gate and let us in. We met his wife, Karina, his daughter, Daniela, and his sister-in-law, Elizabeth, and we had a wonderful spirit-filled conversation with them. They were all fascinated by the Book of Mormon, as they had not known that Christ had come to the Americas. They asked a lot of great questions, showed lots of interest, and at the end, as Jaime said the last prayer, he asked God for us to be able to meet again. Elizabeth also insisted that we stop by her house to teach her more about all this.

I left the house very greatful, and made a committment with my self and God that I would not stop praying for them, if He would let us continue to teach them and baptize them.

I've been trying to focus on being grateful recently. Every day I try to include something astonishing in my journal entry for which I am happy. I realized that the happiest people are those who think less about themselves (and, consequently, think more of themselves). Generosity and gratitute seem to go hand in hand.

I'm tremendously grateful as well to have seen some of my favorite people on this planet at stake conference yesterday, since Carahue is part of our stake. I saw Ana and Aracely as well as some others. I was going to send a photo, but this computer won't let me. I felt as Alma, when he saw his brothers after 14 years of missionary service, and what increased his joy was knowing that they were still his brothers in the Gospel. (Alma 17:1-3)

There's a million other things I could mention, but I won't. The Gospel is true. Being a missionary is awesome, and I'm devastated that it's ending so quickly.

I hope you all have a wonderful week of miracles, and I invite you to use the phrase "That's what I love about my church" two times this week. Ready, set, go!

Much love and affection,

Elder Wilcox

Cool photo from San Martín when I was with Elder Badger

Monday, August 5, 2013

One Crazy Week

Seriously...It couldn't have been crazier. Oh how I wish I had the time to tell it all, but I will try to give you a summary. (At any rate, I took a lot of videos to document moments, so in a few months I'll show you).

Monday - Big activity that you know about making Ají de gallina and then in the evening the setting apart of Sister Sandoval, a young lady that left on a mission from the Maquehue ward. Pictures included

Tuesday - Transfers day! In the terminal all morning waiting for the new missionaries, got home around 5, but then had to turn around and head towards center again to the urgent care, because my comp had these three weird unexplainable spider bites on his leg. Day of the Lord's work, lost.

Wednesday - District meeting, and afterwards a special meeting with the DL's and STL (Sister training leaders), got home a little after lunch, worked normally. Good day for the work of the Lord

Thursday - traveled the whole day to Concepción to be able to stay the night in San Pedro, in preparation for Lidership Council on Friday. Fun night being in my old sector again, despite sleeping on the hard wood floor with one blanket.

Friday - crazy day. President Martínez blew our minds with his part of the council. I wish I had time to explain in all, but I don't. Needless to say, he helped wake us all up and rejuvinate us with a greater sense of urgency in doing the Lord's work. After we left council, we headed back to Temuco and got in late, at around midnight. However, during the trip we get a phone call from President letting us know that the Sisters' house had been broken into and robbed earlier that evening. Luckily, the Sisters were not there and nothing happened to them, but it was a big scare and they lost some things. In order to keep the house safe while the Sisters stayed in another location, Elder Hanes and I and Elder Braga (one of the DL's) and his comp were asked to stay the night in the house to make sure the robbers didn't come back. So Elder Hanes and I ended up not sleeping at all that night as we waited for someone to break in. Luckily, no one came (we think. details are in the videos you'll see in two months). But it was a wild experience, one I never thought I'd find myself in.

Saturday - After leaving the Sisters house, headed back to the clinic for a check up for my comp and worked the rest of the day exhausted from zero sleep.

Sunday - the blessing. 3 investigators (Ximena and her two daughters, Amalia and Mimi) came to church for the first time in a long time! And they liked it a lot. Ximena's heart is softening and we're trying to help her prepare for baptism this month. After a crazy week, the blessing came. And I'd do it all over again if it meant the same result.

Again, wish I could go into more detail about the week. Wasn't much time to do the Lord's work, which makes me grateful for everything to be back to normal. And I'm thankful to be a missionary.

Seriously, this work is SO important. It is SO urgent! There is nothing, absolutely nothing more important than the Lord's work. It is the work of salvation. It is the whole reason we're here, why we came to Earth in the first place. It is His work and His glory, His plan of salvation, the reason His Son gave it all for us. How grateful I am to be part of it and to be able to dedicate my whole heart to it. I love the Savior and I know He lives. Let us honor him in ALL that we do.

I love you family, and am ever grateful for your examples.

Elder Wilcox.

P.S. Love the new travel plans, Mom. Thanks!