Monday, January 25, 2016

25 January 2016 Letter ONE YEAR

Wow, I will hit one year out here!! I can't really comprehend it or believe it. Two years ago I was finishing the last semester of high school. Last year on this exact day, a Monday, I was packing my bags, even though we waited 'til laaaaaate at night to do that.

I was set apart as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, to live on a higher plane, and higher level, to be able to teach to the world the Restoration of the His Gospel. Awesome. The sad thing, I only have a bit over eleven months left to fulfill that sacred calling. I decided to leave all my life back home and give my heart to our Heavenly Father. It is the best decision I have ever made.

I never would have imagined all the things I would learn, all the people I would have the opportunity to help, love, and serve. I never imagined I would become the person I am now and the person I still have time to become. My time here has and will continue to decide how the rest of my life will go. Will I apply all that I have learned, or forget it all and think, yeah that was fun but now it is time for my life? The whole point of giving my heart to the Lord for two years is just so I can get used to doing the same, just without a shirt and tie, for the rest of my life.

I had an interview with Pres. Boswell today, and he told me it was time to step it up. He knows I can always do better, and I know the same. he let me know that here pretty soon when the huge groups go home, there will be more than a 1/4 of the mission entering within 2 months. Someone has to train them and be their leaders. The Lord will look to us, hoping that we will be prepared to accept the calling when the time comes. That means there are things to change and improve.

This week we had a sweet baptism also. We are working with the Baldeon Family. They are so cool. The dad has a baptismal date for next transfer!

Elder Wilcox











Represent.




Elder Wilson and Elder Wilcox celebrating One Year!

Lovin' it.

#ElderWes




Sunday, January 24, 2016

19 January 2016 Letter

Hey fam ;)

Sending some pics home finally 'cause I found a good way.

This week was awesome. We are really focusing on going back to the basics. I think we have done well finding new people. We hopefully have a baptism this week on Sunday morning and we will see how it goes. We are teaching this awesome family. The Baldeon family. The mom is less active, Elisabeth. We are rescuing her. We had gone in with the idea to baptize her 10 yr old daughter and then taught her husband and now he wants to get baptized. His name in Juan Carlos and their daughter is Alisson. They also have a 3 yr old named Danna. They are such a beautiful family. We are really focusing on them. I will send a pic. They are sitting on the right side.

I know that families can be together forever. It is something that if it weren't true, there would be no hope. The family is the center of everything. Everything we do is for our family and for our eternal family. I love that doctrine. It is key to our happiness and thanks to Jesus Christ, it is possible. I am sorry I don't have a lot of time today 'cause we have 30 mins less. I miss u and love you guys and pray for you every night, even when I am completely dead from the day :)

Elder Wes

Family Home Evening last night with the Baldeon fam (right),
the Jauregi fam (older couple), and the Beltran family (left)

Jorge's parrot hehe

video
New Years' fireworks gone bad

Elder Wilson and me

Elder Gonzalez and me

#ElderWes




11 January 2016 Letter

Well this week, nothing really special happened. We did find like 3 new families to teach and they are all pretty cool. We found one just knocking doors and they let us in. The other one was a reference from a member. They are a PF (part-member family). They have one son who is a member. The last family just showed up to church but they didn't come yesterday.

The cool thing recently was a few weeks ago in Ñaña, the Cajavilca family and Max and his wife were both married! And then the Cajavilca parents (Juan and Norma) and Max all got baptized, all in the same day. It was so cool to hear that and I was just overwhelmed with happiness. Juan and Norma both asked if I could go back to baptize them after their baptismal interviews. It turned out that the Zone Leader forgot completely and never askeed permission from President so I never got to go and found out it happed like 3 days after the fact. I was pretty bummed, but I know I did my part. I was too happy to find those people, teach them, love them and then find out that right as I left, they could finish the job. Now, in a year from now, they will be sealed in the holy temple. Awesome!!!!

Elder Wilcox

4 January 2016 Letter

Wow... what a crazy week. So we have been able to progress a lot here in Santa Clara and I think it will only get better here. This first week of the transfer was a bit rough, being New Years and all, but I am really looking forward to this transfer. Elder Escribano and Elder Birkeland left us here in Santa Clara and my new comp Elder Gonzalez came. We were good friends over in the Chaclacayo stake so this should be awesome. He is the first comp that i actually have known before the transfers.

Elder Birkeland left and Elder Wilson came in!! I can't believe it. I think President is testing us to see if we will be obedient or something. I know there will only be success. The four of us here are going to do work. I think it is great that the four of us get along so well because it is something this ward really needs.

Elder Gonzalez is 20 years old and has almost 22 months in the mission so I will probably be "killing" him... finishing his mission. He is from Ayacucho, Perú - my fourth Peruvian, but the first that isn't from the north. We have three investigators right now with baptismal dates and some less-active members with rescue dates as well. Also, we are finding a lot of new people together. He is a good guy and a great missionary, applying all he has learned in all his other areas. What a stud.

Today we will probably watch a movie and play soccer and eat pizza, probably not in that order.

This week we had a cool experience finding a teenager. His name is Kevin and he is a friend of Alex - the kid that recently was baptized. This is the third person he has brought to us since he has been baptized. The kid is cool and I don't know if he will ever be baptized but I do see Alex's testimony increasing more and more. He comes out with us almost every day to the lessons and it is great to have him bear his testimony with others investigating the church, seeing that any normal person can have their prayers answered and be baptized - even if they were baptized for tradition in the Catholic church haha.

It is so important that we introduce people to the Elders. It is okay if they feel a bit uncomfortable. If they aren't super ready or prepared, it is OK. If they dont get baptized, it is OK! Just do your part and share the gospel. It doesn't matter if they say no. If you dont ask them, they will never be able to say yes, will they?

Love you guys. Then make this a great year!!!

Elder Wilcox

(Note: Wes sent many many pictures of a wedding where two couples were married, some investigators we believe.  It appears the baptisms followed the wedding.  I'll post just a few . . . )







#ElderWes




28 December 2015 Letter

Well, this week was awesome. It was Christmas (as you probably all know) and it was a bit different here in Perú. They have some traditions that are a bit different but it is all pretty much the same. The main thing to eat is called Panetón which is like fruitcake but it is actually really good. Also, hot chocolate. YES! They celebrate Christmas more at 12 oclock [midnight] on the 24th right when it changes to the 25th with fireworks for like 30 minutes straight. I couldn't sleep. I looked out the window and I saw fireworks (ones that would be way illegal in the States) as far as I could see. It was crazy.

This week we didn't have a lot of lessons but we had a lot of fun and spent time together as missionaries here in the stake and also with the families in our ward that felt bad for us 'cause our investigators didn't want to let us in. I was happy though becasue despite all that we still found a way to find a lot of new investigators. We found two that came to church last week and then taught them, put a baptismal date, they accepted and then came to church this week! It was really cool. Hopefully they will continue progressing. One is Ivett and the other is Alisson. They are both super cool and are super receptive. We have another too that we want to challenge to baptism. Pray for them and for us.

Today we will find out the transfer information and I have no idea what will happen. The most probable is that my comp and I will stay together, knowing my mission president. I am ready for whatever comes, hoping for more learning experiences.

Elder Wilcox

21 December 2015 Letter

Hi everybody.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! From Peru :) I hope everyone has a wonderful week with their families and if they're away from fam, that it is great too.

Last week we all received letters from the First Presidency and they were super cool. I took a pic but left the camera in my room. Also, Elder Holland wrote our mission president who sent the letter to all of us wishing us a Merry Christmas along with a brief but very special message. This past week we did not have Keysi´s baptism because we haven't been able to find her to teach her and she thought she would just get baptized on Friday. We explained to her the order of things, but we aren't sure when it will happen. This girl is way too busy for a 15 yr old.

This week we had a few Christmas activities as well. On Saturday we had a stake one in the morning where we went super far up into the hills and 2 hours before the activity went and knocked doors inviting everyone to come for free hot chocolate, panetón, haircuts and gifts. So many came and it was sweet. We played with all the millions of little kids and sang for them. They were all so poor but also poor in spirit. Love this time of year where everyone serves each other. It is how we should always try to be. This weekend could be super great - the last one of the transfer!  We shall see.

Elder Wilcox

#ElderWes

14 December 2015 Letter

This week was probably one of the hardest in all of my mission. We thought that the fast would help a lot and that things would change but they actually took a turn for the worst. This week in total we only had 15 lessons. That left us with hours upon hours with nothing to do, all because the whole week, we didn't have a single person to accompany us to the lessons. That means that in homes where there are only women, we couldn't get in. Almost all of our investigators are women, so we had a super slow week. My comp is struggling too and isn't really wanting to work so I feel like I am pulling a lot of the weight. I try to motivate and encourage him, but it is hard. We knocked doors and street contacted like mad men this week. We talked with hundreds of people, literally. I found though, that as I did things with a good attitude, we found a lot of great people and are looking forward way more to the coming weeks.

It is never worth it to have a bad attitude.

So this week we are having Keysi's baptism and we are excited. She always had some doubts in the past but never really opened up to us. We finally found out what it was. She might be moving in the near future to super far away and didn't want to be baptized 'cause she didn't know if the church would be there where she was moving to. We helped her see the church is everywhere and it is the same everywhere. She is ready now, without any fears.

Love everyone and this week think about what you plan on giving our Heavenly Father and Savior for Christmas,

Elder Wilcox

The companionship

#ElderWes




7 December 2015 Letter

Wow. So much to tell. So this new area is called Santa Clara. It is the furthest part east in the Vitarte Stake. It is super cool. We have all the southern part of the area which includes La 5, Campiñas, Priale, Manylsa, Los Jardines de Santa Clara, El Bosque, Remanso, Granja Azul, and a golf course. We live in the other Elders' area, which is more city, but we all have hills filled with little houses.

The ward is cool too. Our bishop reminds me so much of a Mexican comedian named Gabriel Iglesias, but obviously the Peruvian version.

Our pensionista is named Erika Chavez and she lives in a fancy condominium, like apartment buildings on the fifth floor. It is cool 'cause we get to take an elevator up every day. She cooks super well and healthy too which is a first.

This past week we had a baptism. his name is Alex. He is a convert's son who was completely atheist about a year ago, but little by little saw things in his life to help him realize that there is a God, and that he loves us and blesses us every day. This last cambio [transfer] the Elder and my comp that were here helped him a lot. For a year he has always accompanied the missionaries, not even being a member, just helping them ingress [be able to get] into homes where there wasn't a man present. Well, about three days before I got here, they taught him and put a baptismal date as a goal. We taught him everything super fast and the Elder who was here last transfer was able to come back to perform the ordinance.

The cool thing was that Alex wanted it to be a surprise for his mom, so she didn't know until he literally walked into the baptismal room all dressed in white at the baptism. The mom is the first counselor in the Relief Society and we just told her a woman who belonged to her organization would be baptized. It was so cool to see her cry and hug/slap/punch her son to death 'cause she was so irritated and happy at the same time. She bore her testimony about how she had always taught her kids the principles of the gospel, hoping that one day Alex would soften up a bit. Then his 9 year old sister Kassandra sang "When I am Baptized" holding back tears. When she came to the second verse she just lost it and the music kept going so we all started to sing it together and finished the song. The Spirit was so strong and I loved it. I just loved it so much. I was so happy. It was like something from a movie, just better, 'cause it is real and I was there, witnessing that God still performs miracles.

We have a baptism here in two weeks for a young woman named Keysi. She is 15 and the young women and the president are doing a great job fellowshipping her and helping her to feel loved in the church. It is so important that the members fellowship because the converts would just go inactive after the missionaries get transferred.

See you all next week.

Elder Wilcox


One of the converts here is a DJ


video
Teaching primary in Ñaña

video

#ElderWes




30 November 2015 Letter

Well, this week was cool! On Monday we just went to the church to play soccer and ultimate frisbee which was all fun. This week was tiring.

I was reading in Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard from the 12. There is a part about a story of a fireman who kept running in and out of a burning building, each time with a child in his arms. The people told him to stop because the building was going down but he kept going back in. He saved 5 children from certain death and ran in one more time .The people outside told him there were no more children, but he insisted saying he swore he saw another child. The building collapsed with an explosion before he could come back out the last time. After hours of picking up the rubble and wreckage, they fould the fireman's body next to a crib, huddled protectively over an unharmed and unscratched...porcelain doll.

This story moved me to tears. I think of sacrifices that good people make everyday for others. Afterwards it talkes about the greatest sacrifice of them all. That of our Savior. He died for all of us. I wondered why reading that story about the fireman made me cry, but the part about Christ's sacrifice didn't. Its not that I don't appreciate it or am not eternally grateful for it, it is just that I realized we are so easy to forget, or cease to be grateful. I think we can all do better in thanking God every day for giving his Son for us. And using that sacrifice in the way we should. Having faith and repenting every day.

I am out of time but would like to write more. I have another couple of things but I will have to write them next week.

Chau,

Elder Wilcox

Alex Vilca's baptism this Saturday.
Elder Nunja (in white) came back from his area to baptize him)




#ElderWes




23 November 2015 Letter

Hey everybody!

News!! Well, I got transferred to a new area and a new Stake. I am in the Santa Clara ward in the Vitarte Stake. It is the biggest stake here in the mission. There are 26 missionaries and like 10 or 11 wards. My ward has four Elders, so there are two companionships. We live in the same apartment building and it is a load of fun.

My new comp is Elder Escribano from Perù, Chiclayo. He is 20 and has 18 months in the mission. This is his third mission, as he has been reassigned, and had a few problems in his mission(s). I am here to help him, just as he is here to help me. I know I can learn a lot from him. He is a great guy and very spiritual.

The other Elders in the ward are cool too. Elder Birkeland from Orlando, Florida and Elder Flores from Arequia, Perù. I am still learning the area, how to get around, people's names and all that fun stuff. We eat breakfast in the room here and do all our own laundry which is time consuming but fun :)

This week we found a lot of new people to teach. This area is interestng. There are some normal parts. SUUUUUper poor parts and a rich part with a golf course. We haven't gone there yet and probably won't be spending much time there. We have a baptism this Saturday and hopefully another in a few weeks. Alex is 17 and has always accompanied the missionaries, is the son of a convert, but never wanted to be baptized. He was very cold on the subject. This past week, right before I got here they challenged him to baptism and he accepted! So now we are preparing him like crazy, teaching him every day so he can pass his interview this Thursday, even though we already know he will pass. He is a cool dude.

We are working hard because this ward is not very supportive. They just recently opened up my area so we don't have much. We are going to organize a bunch of activities and cool ideas to encourage the members and get them to help us out, 'cause no matter how good the missionaries are, if the ward isn't right there with them the whole time, it is suuuper hard, and even if some people get baptized, they will easily inactivate right after.

There is a lot of work to do here, but we are going to work hard.

Also, super funny thing - well 2.

1. a girl hugged me after a lessons where their whole family was crying in a first lesson when we knocked on their door tracting... I had no idea what to do.

2. My comp was comps with Elder Ysla in Arequipa, Perù while they were both waiting for their visas to leave the country. Elder Ysla served in our ward when I left on my mission. We are going to try to do a get together here in Lima! It is a small world!

Love you all. Thanks for the support.

Elder Wilcox








Elder Escribano, or as I sometimes call him:
Elder Escribaño

#ElderWes




16 November 2015 Letter

This week was rad because we actually went golfing this past Monday on a super nice course. I will try to send you pictures. In the week we were able to go to the temple with Erick and plan two marriages for two couples that we be married and then baptized. One of them is Norma and Juan, the Cajavilca parents, after so much hard work. The other is Max and Pamela (Pamela ya es miembro) [Pamela is already a member], a couple that has reunited after some drastic and miraculous changes and steps. This work is full of miracles, kinda like the New Testament, well... all of the scriptures.

I really don't know if I will be transfered. We saw President this week in our stake center and talked a bit. He only said, "We will see you too soon... maybe in the next week. Or maybe not. Who knows?" Thats helps me a lot. So I have just had the goal to work as hard as I can no matter what happens. I'll go where He wants me to go.

They will give us the transfers right after we all finish writing home. Darn Zone Leaders! So you will all have to wait to see what happens.

 Love you guys and I want to testify that I know this work is necessary and precious. It is very dear to me. My calling is one of the most important things to me apart from my very own mother. I know everything I do is blessing the lives of others. What greater joy could I possible feel?

Stay tuned!

Elder Wilcox

#ElderWes




9 November 2015 Letter

Well this week has flown by super fast. We worked super hard and have really seen the fruits. In the past weeks we have been able to "rescue" about four inactives from inactivity and are now coming every week after we taught them all the lessons and they were interviewed by Bishop Luis. We have also had an amazing baptism and have about four people with baptismal dates for the next transfer. I am content with my work here because I know I am giving my all and so I know that the Lord is also content with me.

We have transfers this next week so this could be my last transfer here. But the truth is that I really have no idea if I am staying or going. I have had impressions that I am staying and others that I am going. I really want to stay here because I love this ward and this area. Thanksgiving and Christmas are both in this next transfer and I would love to stay here for those holidays. This holiday season is interesting and it really is a bit difficult. Maybe we can find people 'cause they are with their families and all that stuff but lots of people use that as an excuse to not listen to us. We are just starting out but they are already selling Christmas stuff and it is getting hot again (yeah, weird, I know).

Something that I have really learned is that no effort is in vain. Every thing we do has consequences. Some are immediate, others take time, and others are eternal. I just heard about three people from my last ward in Portada del Sol that are getting baptized. The funny thing is that I found two of them and started the teaching and thought that they would never progress or that they weren't ready. Maybe I will be able to go back and see the baptisms but I am not sure. I know that planting that seed was my job and the reason I was in that area.

We can see this every day and I know this is an eternal principle. Nothing we do is in vain. The saying really sounds better in Spanish, "Ningun esfuerzo es en vano." There is probably a better translation for that. We have to do everything possible that we think or feel or are prompted we should do so that when we walk away (transfers), we are happy and the Lord is happy for us. I know this is true.

Love you all and thank you for the prayers.

Elder Wilcox




















#ElderWes