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Monday, February 23, 2015

Week #35: Some time in San Pedro...

This has been a really good week. For the most part I was not in my area at all this week but it was still a really good week.
    Elder Cardona wanted to do divisions and go up to Rio Blanco to see how things are going up there.  Being that Rio Blanco is so far out of the way when we do divisions over here it usually lasts for four days minimum. I won the lottery and got to come down and be comps with Elder Amundson for the week.
    To start off we headed out to go and teach one of their investigators "The Professor". However on the way we stumbled across a joven that was smoking on a little side path, as we passed by we felt the need to go and talk to him so we turned back sat down on the ground in the middle of the path with him and started to teach him about the gospel. He was super open to everything and is really looking for a way to change his life and I know that this is the way he was meant to be found.
    The next day we decided to try our luck breaking the mission record for "Books of Mormons Placed" this isn't an actual thing anymore but we wanted to try being like Elder Calhoun and Elder Rogers from the 'Best 2 Years' just to see how things would go. So we went to the house grabbed a box of Book of Mormon and left for the San Pedro town square and tried our luck placing them. This ended up being one of the coolest things I have done yet in the mission. For one, I was going solo (we split up to cover more ground) and for another I don't think there was a person that we talked to that didn't actually want a Book of Mormon after we finished talking to them and explaining what it was. By the end of two hours in the park the box was just about empty and it looked as though everyone in sight was holding, reading, or walking with a Book of Mormon in their arms. Super cool Exp.
    A little later in this same day we went walking over on the same path that we had taught the joven the day before. I was thinking as we started over there "it would kinda be a shame if we found him here smoking". Luckily this didn't happen. This time as we went along the path there was a man who had just a little to much to drink and was puking his guts out on the side of the path. As we passed by he asked us to pray for him; and so with the same zeal as the day prior we kneeled there on the path with this man and prayed with him. As we finished the prayer we noticed that he wasn't completely drunk and so we began to teach him. As we went into the lesson we noticed that he had a desire to actually change so we took down his information and put a date of when we could come back to teach him....With the luck that we are having on that little path we might just need to pass by there everyday.
   On Saturday we had a baptism over here. She is actually the daughter of a family that will be baptised sometime next month.  She is just a little beautiful light for her parents to follow in the next month. It was super cool to be apart of her baptism. I remember or at least think I remember someone using the Egg example for my own baptism 11 years ago. I thought it would be fun to do the same for her. So right before the baptism I went to a tienda across the street and grabbed an egg (being able to run across the street and get an egg at a tienda will be something I will miss dearly when I'm back in the US) boiled it and all was ready in time for the baptism. She loved the example and I loved eating the egg shortly after my little message was done and I sat back down.
   Sunday was just full of good noticias. For one Elder Amundston, and I put a fecha with an investigator. We had four investigators in church here as well as four over in Maclen meaning that we get to go to the temple tomorrow. The zone leaders are actually heading over to Reu as I write this and will be bringing my package with them when they come back up. I might even have it in time to take pictures at the temple. All and all things are good. (sorry no pics Elder Amundston left for Reu before I could get the pictures we took this week).

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week #34: Changes, matrimony, service and ripped pants

This was a great little week full of changes matrimony and service. Well that and ripped pants....
          So there have been a lot of changes going on over here in the last week. Stuff like emergency changes, interviews with the mission president, painting houses, going over to the church building at 5am in the morning to set up a wedding, and good news from my last area.
          I guess we will start out with the emergency changes. Thursday morning my comp Elder Quispe and Elder Roman were sick as many are right now with all of the crazy temperature changes. With them being sick Elder Flores and I left the house in the morning together to go and prestar servicio to one of the hermanas in the rama, that is going to be married on Sunday. We were thinking with all that is going on helping her out in whatever little way that we can, would take a little bit of the stress off of her back. When we got to her house they were about to start painting and so for the next few hours we very, VERY carefully painted without getting a single drop of paint onto our white shirts or pants. As we were finishing up Elder Roman called from the house telling us that when we were done we need to get back to the house as soon as possible.  It turns out, moments before President Ruiz had called him and told him that he has changes and that we all need to get down to San Pedro by 5:00pm. Several scrambling moments later we managed to catch a ride down and get to the house of the zone leaders.  I guess mormon standard time applies here as well because the ride didn't end up getting there until about 7:30 or so.
    And so without further adieu I give you Elder Sevilla as the new member of the icy mountains family. He is a pretty cool guy from Honduras, and was actually companions with Elder Cook from my group just before coming here.
   On Friday we had interviews with president which is always a fun little activity and it is always fun to watch those who get nervous, be nervous as they wait for their turn. One of the cool parts of interviews is the lessons that accompany them. As we wait our turn, the leaders put on a kind of workshop.  I don't know if it is my, but as I am learning any kind of lesson in a workshop, devotional, district meeting or other, I seem to always re-think the lesson and put them into terms of football. And that is Football and not Fútbol.  It always makes things a little clearer and a little simpler to understand. My interview with President was cool, we talked about our area and about the people we are teaching and all that accompany them. He said that I will for sure have at least have one more change over here in Maclen, Rio Blanco and maybe even more in one of the new areas nearby that will be opening up soon. I think I would be pretty cool to have a good chunk of my mission up here in the mountains I like it here.
          I like it here so much that I am even willing to do crazy thinks like get up at 4:30 to get over to the church and set up a wedding for some 400 people in attendance (wow now that is a lot of references). We did everything from setting up the chairs, the tent, climb trees for the anchor lines, decorations, and even blowing up some 200 balloons. You could say it was a little bit of a crazy morning. But the wedding went awesome and we had the chance to talk to a lot of people and lighten the burdens of many others.  They had seven wedding cakes so it was worth it.
         And to put a cherry on the top of the week Elder Garcia told me that the papers for some of the people we were teaching in my last area had gone through and they can finally be married and baptised! The luck with the papers didn't stop there as the following day at church we were talking to another family that we are teaching and the papers for them went through as well and so they to can finally be married and Baptised.
        It was a wonderful week!  Sorry I don't have any pictures, I just hope that the package with the new camera will get here sooner or later..missing out on a lot of opportunities for photos.  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week #33: Pioneer Children (and Missionaries) sang as they walked, and walked, and walked...

The Waters of Mormon?

I continue to love life in the Maclen area.  I am very very sore from the amount of walking that we do up and down the mountains and hills and it definitely puts some wear and tear on these legs...but it makes for a good nights rest, knowing we have done all we can.
        Tuesday and Wednesday we had divisions with one of the zone leaders Elder Amundsen. My comp stayed down in san pedro while we took Elder Amundsen up to Rio Blanco.   Most of our time there was spent walking and trying to get interviews done for these people who are ready for baptism. However things didn't go as planned and when we talked to the father about the baptisms of his kids and wife he said no.  But it was a "flexible" no in that if they continue to learn and have a desire they can be baptised sometime in the near future. So we will be sure to pass by them frequently and to keep their spirits strong.
       The other man that we visited has been an investigator for nearly a year, knows just about all the doctrine and even defends the church from bolos trying to mooch off of the wifi. (wifi mooching is a big problem here). This guy has a testimony of the temple of the Book of Mormon...he just doesn't feel like he knows enough, or all that he needs to. He is probably one of the most pilas members in the branch Rio Blanco but he isn't even a member.  He even said that one day he will get baptised he just doesn't know when.
      Here in the mission there is a certain reputation that the mountains have. It is said that these people are cold and don't really want to listen to the gospel. But I don't think it's true. I honestly believe that the culture here is just a little bit different than that of the coast. In the coast the people will follow on faith alone and will go to church without an understanding of any bit of the doctrine. However here in the mountains the people remind me of those from the US they wait and think about what is placed before them until they are dead sure that this is the way. Its almost weird to think how culture can be so different when the areas are so close.
       On Thursday we took another trip to Chuicaval to visit some of the people we are teaching over there.  That trip never gets easier... 3h 31min 37sec walking up and down the mountain sides and we finally reach the house that we have over there... But this time there was the coolest little moment of pure Christlike love.  As we trekked the long trek, we were about three hours into the journey and we had just taken a little trail down one side of a mountain, all the way down to the bottom and were taking the trail back up. We were dead tried, each step heavier than the next.  Somehow we kept moving along the long winding path up and up until we reached a little clearing near the side of the main "road".  The clearing had been well kept and the people that lived nearby use it to play soccer in.  As we crossed the clearing and started to climb the little makeshift staircase path to the road, a little old mother whistled to get our attention as she sent her daughter running towards us with two perfectly cold gatorades. It really wasn't much but at that moment, it was just a beautiful thing! I can only imagine how bad we must have looked trudging across the clearing for her to send her daughter running to give us just a little bit of help, a little bit of hope, and a little bit of love.  That small act of kindness made the pain of a long hike go away for a few moments and we were extremely grateful. She truly was just what we needed, at just the moment we were in need. Someday I am going to go back to that little spot and I am going to do all I can to help her in anyway I can.
    This Pday was pretty cool! we went over to some waterfalls that are pretty close to here. When we got there was a little kinda pool resort place but none of us even looked at that we went straight on through,over to the waterfalls. I was one of the first to head over to the falls but ended up slipping into the river as I tried to jump one of the gaps and was soaked from the waist down.  At that point I was like...great...but made the best of it and propped my leg up in a way that everyone else could use it to get over to the waterfalls without getting wet. We took a lot of pictures and it was one of the cooler Pdays that we have had in a long while.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here with the people of Guatemala. So grateful to be able to see know some amazing missionaries and serve alongside them.  The love, kindness and charity that they show to all they come in contact with is one of those things that can change the life of others.

It is a challenge sometimes being the only person in Rio Blanco that speaks English, but this only makes the language skills improve all the faster.

Love to all!

-Elder Wilcox

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week #32: Teaching the Plan of Salvation

Rio Blanco Zone with President and Sister Ruiz and Elder Adrian Ochoa

The ball has started rolling over here in the mountains, and things are going good. This week has been filled with alot of traveling and long bumpy hours in buses.
      The week has been a little bit scattered to say the least. we were only in our area Tuesday Wednesday, Sunday and part of Saturday.  This hurts our ability to go out and find new people in the week, which is one of my favorite parts in the misión. Every time we find or start talking to someone new it;s like jumping into a new book a life completely different than our own, with new tales, stories and adventures that are completely unique.
            However, on the bright side we did have the chance to listen Elder Adrian Ochoa on Reu in a conference.   Traveling to Reu is always an is about a five and a half hour bus ride from my area - except it is split up in three difference bus rides so there is added time finding and waiting for the different buses.   I don't know any of you have seen the buses here - but we are not talking about luxury bus lines or even Greyhound.  They are crowded to the brim with people three to a seat and two to the little gap in the isle.   And the buses are not quite built for me, if all of you back home remember I am about 2 meters tall...or in other words to big to ride this ride (the buses).  When we were traveling to away games during football season in high school,  legroom in a normal bus with two people in the seat was a challenge.  Without a doubt my knees hitting the seat in front of me caused knew pain by the time I get home, it is a different level here, with no room and no personal space the whole ride.  But this just adds to the adventure and creates opportunities to talk to fellow bus riders and their animals as I bump, hit or stumble upon them.
          The week has been overall successful.  On tuesday we took a 40 min walk to a part in our área called sector Perez (I assume there must be a lot of Perez's there) and visited a family (not named Perez) we have been visiting for a good month or so now. When we arrived over at their little house on the top of a great big hill my comp started to help Carmelina, the mom, with the dishes she was washing and started to teach her.  In the mean time I walked over to a sunny little patch of grass that the kids were doing their homework in. As my comp taught their mom I pulled out the little puzzle of "el plan de salvacion"  that my parents sent me.   I made a game out of it all and told them all about the plan of salvation. When we finished the puzzle and explaining the different parts  I asked each of the little ones which of these 3 do you want to go to? (the sun , the moon, or the stars) they all said: the sun.( Why?) because its brighter and Jesus lives there!  I told them that we need to do a few things in order to get there.  Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost and to endure to the end.  After a little bit I asked Grace if she thinks she needs to be baptised. and she said she wants to be baptised on the 7th. Cool right! (would have been cooler if the other little ones didn't loose parts of the puzzle when I went to talk to their brother but kids will be kids right and the loss of the parts was worth it because Esben the brother said he wants to get baptised as well) five minutes later the mom came over interested in the puzzle as well and so I went through the whole thing again with her children helping along the way. She too accepted the 7th as a day for her to get baptised.
      Sunday was a pretty interesting day as well. In the morning we woke up early to head down to the house of this family and bring them to church.   The mom ended up not being able to come but Grace and Esben could and on the way down from their house we ran into Alejandro (their uncle and our investigator).  Church went great and the both of them loved it.  During the 3rd hour I got a call from one of the pilas members in the branch asking if we could do divisions and go visit someone with him real quick. Of course I said yes and so I went outside to go with him.  Little did I know that he was about to take me on a motorcycle ride to Manzanas, and after the ride the joven ended up not being there, but we left a note with him and came back.  This was the first time I had ever been on a motorcyle in my life (because Dadio doesn't approve of them, but I bet the mission dad, President Ruiz doesn't approve of them either, but it was for a good cause, in doing good) and going through all the twist and turns of the mountains made it all the better.
       This week has been great. and I love this área more and more as I come to know these members more and more.  Things are great and the misión life is good!   Tell everyone to right, and if they have any recipes to send them along.  Looking for something different we can make in our skillets.