Monday, May 25, 2015

25 May 2015 Letter

Week 17

¡Buenos días todos!

Hi everyone how is it going in the USA? So this next week is my last of the transfer and I will almost definitely be getting a new companion. So Elder Espinel and I are going to make the most of this week.

Just a couple things that happened this week that I want to talk about. Well, maybe just one.

The week went pretty well. We broke our previous record in lessons and found some great new people to teach so we will see how that comes along. I imagine nicely. A difficult thing was definitely Tuesday night when we had to drop some investigators. They were great people and were learning so much, but weren't progressing enough. We have certain requirements people need to fulfill before we can let them get baptized, even if they want to before. They need to have taken all the lessons from us and learned all the basics. They need to attend church three times for all three hours. They need to be keeping their commitments with us. Sometimes we leave them with something to do or to read in between lessons. And then need have an interview with another missionary. Those are  the concrete requirements. There are also requirements in the scriptures that are just as important, like their true desire to be baptized, that they have faith in Jesus Christ, have truly repented, and are committed to live the Gospel the rest of their life. So when these things aren't happening, we can decide to leave them time to think about all we have taught them. It is usually for the best. Even though it is really hard because I love these people. I want the best for them though, and when I know what is best for them, I need to do it and help them.

The other thing I wanted to show you all is something different. Every week we have a meeting with a few other missionaries that serve in the areas that are close to us. At the beginning we have an opening song and prayer and a spiritual thought as usual, but we also recite two "mottos" One is our objective as missionaries, which is found on the first page of Preach my Gospel. The other one is a quote from a modern day apostle, a leader of the church. His name is Bruce R McConkie and is a well know late apostle. The quote is called the missionary commission.

"Soy llamado de Dios. Mi autoridad está por encima de todos los reinos de la tierra. Por revelación, he sido seleccionado como un representante personal del Señor Jesucristo. Él es mi maestro, el Él me ha escogido como su humilde siervo para ponerme en su lugar, para decir y hacer lo que el diría o haría si Él personalmente estuviera ministrando a la gente a la cual Él me ha enviado. Mi voz es so voz y mis actos son sus actos. Mis palabras so sus palabras y mi doctrina es su doctrina. Mi comisión es hacer lo que Él ha hecho, decir lo que Él ha dicho, para ser un testigo actual de so grande y maravillosa obra en estos últimos días. ¡Cuan grande es mi llamamiento!"

That says something like this.

"I am called of God. My authority is above all the kingdoms of the Earth. By revelation, I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Master, and He has chosen me as his humble servant, to put me in his place, to say and do what He would say and do if He were personally ministering to the people He has sent me to. My voice is His voice and my acts are His acts. My words are His words and my doctrine is His doctrine. My commission is do what He has done, say what He has said, to be an actual witness of His great and marvelous work is these latter days. How great is my calling!"

I know that that is all true and I am honored to be a servant of Christ and to be His representative.

Elder Wes Wilcox

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

18 May 2015 Letter

Week 16

As we near the last two weeks of this transfer, I have really been preoccupied for my next companion. I will probably stay here in my area and receive a new companion. We have kind of hit a brick wall here in our area, which apparently is one of the most difficult in the mission, and we don't know what to do. So maybe a new companion will freshen things up and we can start getting more work done but maybe not.  When the area is slow like this, with almost no investigators that are really progressing and assisting the church, it is really difficult.  We really start wondering what we are doing wrong, how we can improve, and what we can start doing.  So we will see how things go.  I know I am ready to lead the area.  I know all our investigators, where we are in our teachings, street names, the ward and all that jazz pretty well now.  It is crazy how fast you learn that stuff when all you do all day is walk around.

Anyway the week went fairly well even though it was a bit slow about midway through but we broke records on Sunday with lessons and new investigators and contacts.  So it was fun.  I was so tired at the end of the day.  P-day we played on a giant turf field as a zone with 20 missionaries for a few hours which was a blast.  The rest of the week was normal until Saturday night and Sunday because we had Stake Conference.  It was the best.  President Boswell (my mission president) and his wife spoke, along with a seventy (church general authority), and Elder Uceda, the general area authority in charge of the church in all of Northwest South America. That includes Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.  They spoke on some awesome things about ward councils and how wards need to function with the missionaries.  It was an answer to every missionary's prayer here in the Campoy Stake, I know.  Elder Uceda also talked about the Sabbath day in a way I have never thought about it.

So dia de reposo, or sabbath day, translated into Hebrew means dia de expiacion, or day of atonement.  He talked about how Sunday is the day that we repent.  It is the day that Christ resurrected after having suffered and died for our sins so that we might have eternal life.  So the sabbath day is the day in which we keep in memory his Atonement, when He suffered for our sins so that we can repent.  In Doctrine and Covenants section 20 verses 75 and 76 it talks about how the person blessing the sacrament kneels WITH the congregation.  We obviously don’t kneel but we should be kneeling spiritually and in our minds.  We can truly thank our Savior and show deeper respect as we do this on Sundays.  It is the most important thing we can do every week and is actually necessary for our salvation.  I testify that is true.

Love you all and miss you too.

Elder Wes Wilcox


Monday, May 11, 2015

11 May 2015 Letter

Week 15

This week was full of action! So on Monday we didn't have P-day because the next day we went to the temple. My companion got sick Monday and we had a rough time walking around as he was dying. But it was interesting seeing someone sick besides me! That night he asked me to give him a blessing and I gladly did so. That night he had a really rough time but in the Morning he was much much better. My testimony of the power of the Priesthood grew. Even though I know I could have given a better blessing in English, the power is the same and we both knew it would help. The power and faith were the same no matter what language we speak.

Tuesday we went to the temple and it was so great to be able to understand everything. It was the best!! It was fun to go back to La Molina and visit those sacred grounds. It had only been 2 months since I had been but felt like forever. It was a relaxing day. Then we got haircuts and finished our preparation for the week.

Wednesday was a special day. My companion completed one year in the mission! So after a good day of teaching, we came back to the room to do a tradition many missionaries like to do. At the year mark, it is customary to burn a white church shirt to signify one year gone and one more to go. It was super fun burning it and playing a bit with fire :) I think it really hit Elder Espinel that he has been out a year and doesn't have much time left.

Thursday we had a great day with tons of lessons and about 6 new investigators. We have really been working hard on finding new investigators and have been studying hard in Preach my Gospel on how we could find new people to teach. We have been working with the members more and talking to everyone on the street. We have been knocking doors and doing small acts of service whenever we see the opportunity. It has been working.

This week I have really seen something in Preach my Gospel come to pass. That a missionary’s success is based on how committed they are to finding people and teaching them. As we make that our goal, we accomplish it. I have also been able to meet a lot of new missionaries. Some of these guys have tons and tons of baptisms and have been out for 18 months but I can see they haven't learned a thing. Sometimes disobedient missionaries have success. Sometimes the ones that don't even want to be here and have terrible attitudes baptize lots of people and have high numbers in their weekly reports. We are here to change the people, yes. But also ourselves and the people back home. I have made it a goal to have a great attitude always. I have seen that I don't miss my family and that days go by faster and my study time is more meaningful as I really lose myself in the work. President Hinckley advises that if we want to be happy we should lose ourselves in the service of our Heavenly Father and others around us. I love working here and am really starting to realize that I need to give my all. It is the best thing I can to for the Lord right now. I have more to say but not enough time so I will talk to you all next week. Love you all and thank you all for the prayers.

Off to go play futbol!! And eat Peruvian hamburgers!

Elder Wes Wilcox


Monday, May 4, 2015

4 May 2015 Letter

Greetings from Peru! This week was the best, as always. For p-day I got to know some of the guys as we played soccer at the stake center for a few hours. I really like the new guys and know they are all great missionaries. So this week I would like to touch on another conference talk by Elder Gérald Caussé, the First Counselor in the First Bishopric. He listed 3 things we should do:

1. Never tire of discovering or rediscovering the gospel.
2. Anchor your faith in the plain and simple truths of the gospel
3. Seek and cherish the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

We should always be seeking to repeatedly renew our testimonies in the Gospel. I was reading in Preach My Gospel in chapter 5 I think about Moroni's promise in his tenth chapter. It asks us as missionaries to continually be putting his promise to the test. Often we may think that once we have already received an answer that we are good to go. We should constantly seek the reaffirmation of the truth of the Gospel and strive to strengthen our testimony every day. I have been doing it and the fruits are really amazing. Think. Even the disciples, who were in the presence of the actual Son of God, needed constant reminders and miracles to fortify their testimonies. How much more we need to seek those testimonies is staggering.

This week I had the opportunity to fast. Looking back I know that what I fasted for, I am being blessed with right now. But fasting is a whole different world in the mission. It is a full 24 hours with all the crazy walking we do in the scorching sun. It is difficult. Usually in my house when I fasted, I felt hungry and thirsty, yes. But I always thought, Oh it is just because I am hungry or because I am weak. About one or two hours into my fast I had the strongest, strongest desire to drink water or buy a snack from the corner store. I realized I wasn't even really hungry. I was being tempted by the adversary, I never thought of my weakness or hunger as a temptation. Satan knows the power of fasting and prayer. Alma and the sons of Mosiah were blessed exceedingly because of doing so. And now Satan knows that I am stronger and am fasting for things that will bless people's lives. He was trying so hard with me. I have never had this much trouble in only 24 hours without food or water but I have never seen blessings like this. I encourage you all to fast and pray with a sincere desire or blessing in mind. When you complete your fast, you will definitely see the fruits.

This week I also really saw how much the people love the missionaries. Sometimes people call us Satan worshipers or followers of the devil. That we pray to a man who was a liar (Joseph Smith) or that we baptize dead people and will all go to whatever they think is hell. But this week a few times we had members and investigators thank the Father in their prayers for the angels he has sent, or his disciples. We were meeting with a family in our ward and two little kids were running around like crazy and the dad asked them over and over to calm down, that it was as if Jesus were personally there. Lots of the members say that and I can tell they actually believe it. I am honored to be here as a representative of Him. I know that is my calling and what I am doing right now.

I don't really have a lot of time this week. We don't have p-day today, only internet time, because tomorrow we have our temple trip and p-day so I am super stoked for that. I love all of you guys and hope you all have an awesome week.

Elder Wilcox


Friday, May 1, 2015

27 April 2015 Letter

Hi everyone!

So this week I don't have time to share a conference talk. This email will be a bit short so sorry in advance. And pictures are sending suuuper slow so we will see what you all get.

This was my first week in the new transfer and we got a ton of new Elders here in my zone, but that also means a ton left. I will definitely miss those guys but I also know I will become great friends with the new ones too. I am no longer officially "green" but I don't feel any different so nothing really changed. Just a few things.

We, as a district, have made a goal this week to use the Book of Mormon more since it really is key to conversion. If the Book of Mormon is true (it is by the way), then that means Joseph Smith really was a prophet called of God. And that the priesthood was restored in actuality and that we know have the actual same church Christ established while on the Earth and the fullness of His gospel. So it is pretty key. I saw the fruits of utilizing it more as we have seen huge progression in a few eternal investigators and all the others. Instead of trying to prove things and using the Bible to cross-reference stuff, just reading the truths from the Book of Mormon to testify is all we need. It truly has all the answers and the fullness of Christ's gospel. We especially noticed it in a lesson with three women we are teaching. We shared a couple stories and scriptures that completely changed their view on baptism so we will see how the next appointment with them this week goes. I know they can know all things through the Holy Ghost just as the ancient prophet Moroni promised.

Another thing I have really noticed on my mission is the importance of working with the members. Sometimes they may think that missionary work in the ward is our job. It is, but only to a certain extent. They aren't here to help us. It is the exact opposite. Missionary work is their responsibility. After all it is their home here. We are here to help them. Our job is just to find people and bring them to the ward and prepare them for baptism and a true conversion. None of that is possible without the members, though. It is difficult to get them to come with me to lessons. We have a rule that we cannot enter into a house where there is no man older than 16 present in the room. And so much better when it is a member. I wish I would have realized the ramifications of that before my mission. I feel bad I didn't go out with the Elders more and realized they probably weren't able to teach an actual person, a child of God, one of our brothers or sisters, the doctrine of Christ just because I wanted to play a videogame or take a nap after a long day of school or work. I now see how important this work is, not for me just as a missionary, but for everyone. The whole membership of the church is responsible for this work. I know I can do my best here to help this area by animating and encouraging the ward and that I always have divine help. This work really is more of a privilege and I see that more and more every day. And with that realization, I am more and more grateful and honored and humbled to be a part of it. I know this is the true church of God on the Earth and that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God to restore the actual church of Jesus Christ. We have proof of that restoration in the Book of Mormon, the most correct book of any on the Earth and that we have a living prophet today, Thomas Monson who talks face to face with the Lord, like Moses did in time of old. This is the only perfect thing on the Earth today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Dias. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen. Love you guys.

Elder Wilcox

YAY first baptism. He chose me to perform the ordinance