Monday, March 30, 2015

30 March 2015 letter

Week 9

Awesome stuff down here in Lima! So I found out that my area is actually one of the nicest areas around which was actually really humbling because I thought I was in the slums. And our room is one of the nicest in the mission. Crazy! Anyway this week was action packed so I'll just get started.
Monday was cool. For P-day we played soccer as a zone on a turf field for only 3 soles for 3 hrs. One dollar!!! And after we had a couple lessons, we are really struggling because we have plenty of investigators, but almost none of them are progressing. But we are doing a great job in reactivating, which is about half of our work out here.

Tuesday we had a trip to central Lima to migrations. I got my Peru ID and documents all finished. It took almost all day but it was fun because I got to meet up with a big portion of my district from the CCM. Three elders didn't show up because there were some crazy mudslides in the far end of our mission where they were. They are all safe. All the missionaries have been pulled out of Chosica and put in other zones for a while. The mudslide destroyed entire neighborhoods, and lots of homes have dried mud about 4 feet high in their homes. You can see the top of their stoves and stuff. Some sister missionaries can walk into their room through the window with ease and they live on the second floor!! So they have been doing a lot of service up there. My area was not too badly affected. They just shut off the water for a few hours a couple times this week. Oh yeah! And then after migrations we went to Papa John’s and I almost ate a whole pizza. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Rice is good and all, but a break was amazing.

Wednesday we had our district meeting and lessons all day and the same with Thursday. Friday we went on exchanges with the Zone leaders. And that never happens but it was cool, ‘cause Elder Bischoff, one of the gringo zone leaders, has 23 months in the mission and is super cool. I learned a lot from him and he is a great missionary. We went knocking doors in the poorest area I have ever been in. He serves over in Campoy on the other side of the Elder I went on exchanges with last week. It is wayyyyy poor there and even dustier than my area. And at one house, a random guy who knew nothing about the church let us in, and after a five minute lesson he accepted baptism. It was my first time anyone had let us in to teach right then, and he wanted to be baptized. So that was awesome.

The next day, Elder Bischoff and I studied together and he said something really cool. He was talking about how we have the authority from God to teach as the Lord would teach if He were personally ministering here. If we are obedient, He will give us the power to say and do what He would say and do. He asked me,” Have you ever had anyone reject you?” I obviously had, some the day before with him. Earlier this week, a guy we were teaching said he had no confidence in me because I didn’t know enough Spanish to fully understand him, and he said God would never send someone like that. Then he asked us to leave. This was one of our investigators too. I felt awful. I wondered, if I am only making things worse, if I can't talk to or understand people well, then why am I even here? But Elder B. said that we just need to be direct and tell people what they need to hear. Jesus was very direct. He was also the perfect missionary. And what did the people do? They didn’t like Him at all. In fact they really hated Him and how He made them feel. He knew what they needed and they got angry. And what did they do? They killed Him. They crucified the Savior of the world. They weren't ready. If they are, they will accept our message. Anyway it was a really cool way to look at missionary work and the hard times we very often have. It remotivated me and it was exactly what I needed to hear because this last week was really hard. We had a lot of failure and people yelling at us and some being really mean only to me. Whether it was ‘cause I am super tall and skinny, or white, or new in the language. But I am better now.

Oh I also gave my first 2 blessings in Spanish. Super scary!!! But afterwards both of these ladies were crying. And a good cry too. So I guess the spirit told me what to say ‘cause I had no idea.

'til next week,

Elder Wilcox!

ps  I don’t know what I ate or drank, but it was bad and it comes back like every other day. I think I just need to get used to the food here. Yayy crocky. What a survivor. Good thing Hyrum didn’t eat him.


Monday, March 23, 2015

23 Mar 2015 Letter

Week 8? (I think)

Awesome week. Awesome. I love this place and I love the people here. I love all the Elders in my zone, they are the coolest. Last P day we all went to this big shopping center in the middle of Mission Lima Central. It was cool to see all the historical buildings there. And oh my goodness, so many people!! Like way more than Los Angeles. Way more. It is a way cool city. I would love to explore it some day maybe in the future. My English is getting worse as time goes on, so pardon me.

So Tuesday was really cool, I got to do my first exchanges. I spent the second half of Tuesday and the first half of Wednesday with Elder Morris over in area Campoy. It is poorer than where I am and was super cool. All of our plans went well and we taught 6 out of 6 lessons. So it was super fun and really nice to spend the day with a white boy and speak some good ol' English. I love that I was able to take part more in the lessons 'cause his Spanish isn't perfect either and it was also cool to be with someone who has been in my shoes before. He understands me really well. It was a successful divisiones!

The rest of the week was normal. Except Friday, we had a multizone meeting. 3 zones all nearby met up with the mission president and we had Elders give talks and do practice lessons with tough investigators (Presidente and his wife). Later he gave a talk and the assistants spoke. And we ate lunch and then watched Meet the Mormons (a huge treat apparently.) Also it was my first time watching it in Spanish so that was super cool. And I was able to see Elder Tadje again and talk a bit with him. I also got to see Elder Thorpe from my district in the CCM. We were both talking about how hard/awesome the mission is. He also has a Latino companion who doesn't know much English.

Saturday was the kicker. After lots of studying for our investigators and a beastly weekly planning session, we headed out of the apartment super stoked for the day. After about 6 hours of walking around, every single one of our appointments and all of their plan Bs fell through. We only got into one house, an active member. It was definitely my first disappointing day out here. I felt so heart-broken and tired and just dead. We got back to the apartment kinda depressed, not really even talking to each other much. It was definitely not cool. I prayed long and hard that night. I was trying to think about what we had done wrong, what we could have done better, and asked the Lord for help. After my prayers I was lying in my bed, all hot and sweaty, and I felt this overwhelming feeling of peace, that everything would be OK. And why wouldn't it? I realized there will always be days like this. I am not a perfect teacher and my students aren't always perfect either. It was a good day after all because I realized that my Heavenly Father is always with me.

And Sunday we had a lot of investigators show up to church and got a guy to commit to a baptismal date that we would never have expected. So it was a testimony to me that the Lord knows what to do. He knows best and I might not know why certain things happen but the Lord does. I just need to have faith in the Lord and put my trust in him. This mission will be super duper hard. But it can also be the best 2 years of my life.


Elder Wilcox

ps  I have officially gotten sick. I have had diarrhea for 3 days straight. I'm out of PeptoBismo haha. But I'm getting better so its all good. Good experience though right?
Area Campoy

Area Campoy

Practice makes perfect!

Crazy Elders

First Alpaca sighting

Tell Zach an investigator gave me one of his GoGos


Thursday, March 19, 2015

16 March 2015 Letter

Week 7

Well where shall I start? I'm out in the field finally! I'm serving in area Campoy, barrio Portada del Sol. The ward here is massive!. On Sunday they filled up almost the whole chapel and cultural hall. The main problem in Lima is the activity rate. Here somwhere close to only 25% of members are active. So lots of our work involves trying to activate them. We also have tons of investigators though so I am blessed with a full day everyday. There is never nothing to do.

My companion is a Colombian named Elder Espinel. I found out he does speak some English, but only for things like praying and bearing testimony. Otherwise, we have to communicate in Spanish. Well our apartment is pretty cool. It is normal to me now and I am used to it but when I first walked in, I just stood there like wow. This is my life for the next two years. Forget all the needless comforts of the United States like a couch or water you can drink. Forget a clean room with insulation and calking around windows and such. Bugs can come right on in and the DUST!!! It's everywhere. The second day I went crazy and dusted the whole apartment. All the dust is back now. It is really humbling here. The middle class is nearly nonexistent. Some houses are really nice, like a rich person's would be in the states. Others have 4 foot tall tin doors and no windows. so it's really quite the experience.

My area is in the top left corner of my mission. So the north boundary of my area is the boundary of Mission Lima North and the west border of my area is the Mission Lima Central boundary. One side is super packed all really commercial and the other is really hilly and still packed I guess but not commercial.

My pensionista is a member of our ward. She lives just across the street. We eat every meal in her kitchen, often with her family (all members) on the 5th floor of this house occupied by like 6 families. All members too so it's pretty cool. They have four kids and I already love them all. They're family lives in a tiny two room house on the 4th floor. We eat on the fifth. Ill send a picture. The food here is great. Breakfast is usually tons of rolls and maybe a smoothie or a glass of milk. Lunch is huge and is around 2. Dinner isn't till 8:30 or 9 for some reason. That's just how is is here in Peru and the dinners aren't very big either. But the food is all great so I cant complain.

We have about 15 investigators I can think of off the top of my head and countless number of inactive or less active people. I have lots of work to do. We are hoping on having about 4 baptismal dates by the end of this coming week. I am amazed at how receptive everyone is here. I've met tons of people and we knock doors, or rather bang on gates, all day. And I haven't met a single person yet who doesn't believe in God and Jesus Christ. So I am really happy to be here.

The language is tough, people speak so fast and slurred and I get like almost nothing out of some people. I can almost perfectly understand others and my companion. Speaking is a different story. My comp almost always looks at me at random times in the lesson and doesn't say anything - his queue to me that it's my turn and hes not covering for me. It's good though and I'm learning so much. I will be trained for 12 weeks here in this ward, hopefully all with Elder Espinel. My goal is to be able to understand everyone and be able to teach a whole lesson without looking to my companion. We'll see how that goes.

What else, oh yeah! DOGS!! Everywhere!! There are seriously hundreds in my area, all just chillin' like they own the place. We are always calling to them and messing around with them. They cross the crazy busy street with all the traffic with such confidence, it motivates me that I probably wont die. All the vast majority of them are really nice dogs too. I haven't been attacked but I've definitely been chased or rather kept out of its territory. But they're fun.

We've been waking up some days at 5:30 to play soccer over at the stake center. All churches have soccer courts in the back on concrete.

Well I'm out of time. I am working hard and I am so happy to be here. Love all of you and thank you for your prayers.

Elder Wilcox

The District

The legacy begins

Crazy Elder Espinel!

Pensión ('board', apartment)




(Views of area)

(Views of area)

(Views of area)

(Views of area)

(Views of area)

My favorite candy here

Wesley wished me a 'Happy 44th' birthday, complete
with a doodle on a page of his study material.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring and the mutt

I accidentally sent this to the blog instead of to Wesley . . .

I don't think we are out of the cold entirely, but we have had some really warm and nice weather that is causing the flora to wake up and flower.  People are worried that a coming frost could do damage.
Hyrum cooperated for a quick picture here . . .

Thursday, March 12, 2015

11 March 2015 Letter from President Boswell, Peru Lima East Mission President

President Boswell writes:

Dear Wilcox Family,

Just a quick note to let you know Elder Wilcox is out in the field and working hard already. It was a great pleasure being with him yesterday. Thank you so much for sharing him with us and the wonderful people of Peru.

All the best!

President Boswell

Elder John W Wilcox IV, President John W Boswell III, Sister Susan L Bowell


10 March 2015 Letter

First day

Hi everybody. Today is my first day out in the field!! I got my companion Elder Espinel. I am writing to all of you from my first area. Its called Portada del Sol. It's in the zone Campoy.

I'm on the fifth floor of the crazy tiny house of a member down the street from my apartment. My apartment is super cool looking and is pretty good sized. I'll send some pictures on Monday. Well this area is pretty big and they just had a baptism last week. We have a few progressing investigators and a few less active members that we are teaching to right now.

This place is called the dusty area 'cause all the roads are dirt and there's still a freeway! The air is kinda nasty and there's always dust everywhere in the apartment. It's awesome though.

I love my companion. He is super cool. Or as i call him, chevere. Even though he speaks almost no English. It's a little lonely. I can say everything I need to but not everything I would like to. Like the joking around stuff.

Well I left the CCM this morning and left my district and met up with tons of Elders for my mission. Today 20 missionaries went home and 16 came in, including me. And I even got to see Elder Tadje from back home in Eagle. It was super fun to see him. I also got to meet Elder Kent, from Eagle, who also lives in Eagle, who goes home this week.

Well gotta run. We have a few appointments tonight. They aren't giving us a lot of time today but I'll get the full hour next week on Monday (my new p-day by the way).


Elder Wilcox

Sunday, March 8, 2015

4 March 2015 Letter

Week 5!

All I have been doing is teaching. Teach, teach, enseñar. I wonder what it will be like to teach an actual lesson to an actual investigator, though. Well, I'll get to find out soon enough. This coming Saturday we teach in the field with a trainer so that should be great and scary too but it's OK. I only have 6 more days here in the CCM and I'm just itching to leave. My Spanish is nowhere perfect but I know I can get by.

Elder Wilson and I have been doing a lot better in our lessons. They were a bit rocky for a while but we have our groove down now so our lessons are much smoother. The teachers are only making it harder on us. I have been studying 150 new vocab words the past few days and it is seriously killer. It's a lot of work. I don't even know how I'm remembering this stuff. I know it's the gift of tongues but it's just kinda crazy actually seeing it at work. I do miss teaching with Elder Manzanera, my real companion, though. We get along so well and we're just both super laid back guys and we mesh super well. Hopefully I can feel comfortable with my trainer in the field. I pray for it every day, in fact.

My district is done with grammar lessons now. So all we do is teach and they leave the Spanish learning to us in our study time. We do have a lot of time but it's still super duper stressful. I love it though. I really do. So this week I hit my one month mark and the Hermanas in my district being all nice as they always are gave all us Elders each a paper filled with compliments to us. Just things they like about us. Mine was full of stuff like how they thought I was funny, or that I knew a lot of Spanish but I was humble about it, or they looked up to me, or they liked how I give small acts of service a lot. It really meant a lot to me. I know I probably sound like I'm prideful or building myself up as I'm writing this but I really loved that my hard work doesn't go unnoticed. It really pushes me to do even better. That's why they put us in districts. So we can all strengthen and learn from one another. I have learned so much from the Elders and Hermanas of district 112 and I love them all so much.

We had an action packed week and I don't have time to tell all about it. We had two devotionals. The one on Sunday night was in English!! The director of all the international MTCs spoke to us. He speaks about 8 different languages and helped put out chapter 7 of Preach My Gospel. The 'Learn the Language' section. Super smart dude. Anyway he gave an awesome talk about the power of Preach My Gospel. He said something like this: "Maybe the fact that 2 bedridden apostles told their secretaries what to correct and add to Preach My Gospel for months will help you to realize it is from God."  Pretty powerful.  I want to utilize Preach My Gospel more effectively and study from it much more. The second devotional was an Area Seventy who spoke on missionary work obviously. But he said something along the lines of "Don't be the missionary who counts every day he is closer to going home, but be the missionary that makes every day count."  I thought that was so cool. I don’t even want to go home yet so hopefully it doesn't come to that point, ha ha. No. But in all seriousness though, it is super hard not to count the weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. It really is. I want to make them count.

Love you all,

Elder Wilcox

These are the stinkin' courts we try to play on

Mi objectivo esta en las paredes de los corredores
(Translation: My objective is on the walls of the halls)

Bus ride home from the temple

Nice places

My most favoritest companion

The district again

Elder Manzanera getting ready for some ping pong. We've been playing
a lot and I lost 16-21 versus the MTC President this week. He's so good!

The Viking district and I