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Monday, June 29, 2015

Week #53: Say it with me...Chikungunya it's more fun to say than experience


     Well I must say I don't really think I like being sick. but I guess If I started my first year in Guatemala being sick it is only logical that I would start the second year in the same way. On the plate this week was the lovely plague of chikungunya, it is all the rage here and very trendy... but I can at least count my blessings knowing that I don't have pillory or amebas like some of the other missionaries in the Zone.
        This week was filled with alot of overcoming of the sickness kind of stories. I remember the days back home when I didn't want to go to school or to whatever activity that it was, I would just "be sick". Being sick kinda has a whole knew meaning to it now and that whole "staying home" part really doesn't interest me nor apply here.  The show must go on. Being sick now is something that just makes the normal activities hard and the hard activities all the harder. Being sick means having to lose time to get back to normal. There have been days this week were I was in the shower for a good 20-30 mins just sitting under the water to drop my temperature. (fyi back home a 20-30min shower is normal because there is that whole warm water luxury here we bath in freezing cold water so 5-10 mins is a long shower 20-30 well you can do the math)
       But at the same time all of this was happening we had one of my favorite lessons in the mission. We went over to visit one of the recent converts of the ward who had fallen pretty ill herself. Once over there I would not have know that this little girl was even sick. She was climbing the trees like a monkey swinging and jumping from tree to tree throwing us down rambutan and other fruits as she went.  When she finally came down so we could talk to her we had a full meal in front of us of pure fruit from the trees. When we finished eating we went over to talk to a neighbor with a member named Jose. At this lesson we we started teaching a lady and two of her little kids. But we started the lesson with a hymn and slowly but surely a family of nine scrambled out of their little nooks and crannies in the house and made their way over to listen to what we had to say. All of them except the father of the family. Though as we began to teach, he started to hover around within earshot ever so slowly he come closer and closer to us, until finally by the end of the lesson, as we began to teach the first vision he was there sitting in on the lesson and beaming at us like the rest of his family. As we finished the lesson he began to speak saying that the things we said are good and are of God but that we cannot really think that there is a true church of God here on the earth today. He began to say that there are so many churches and all of them do good in teaching people of God but that all of them were flawed and that none of them could be the true church. At that moment feeling one of the strongest impressions of the spirit we simply bore our testimonies of what we knew to be true feeling completely guided in what we needed to say and by the end of our testimonies no one could say anything. It was one of those moments where nothing really can be said. I dont know what is going to happen with them but I do know that I am excited to see.
       This week has been good and as always we are looking forward to what the next week will bring. Changes are coming and with school ending back in the states I would assume that a lot of new gringos will be coming into the mission soon. At anyrate I feel better now and hope that this time it will actually be true. Being sick used to be fun but now it just kind of sucks.

Anyways love you all and see yall next week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week #52: A river, a rat and Father's Day!

It has been a good week. I am still a bit under the weather and have a horribly annoying cough but at least I can think more or less at this point.  Things have really been going well this week.
    Life here in this area is seriously different. One challenge is this rat problem.... we can't keep food anywhere that the rat can get to and so for the last little while we have resorted to putting all of the food on top of the fridge and putting the fridge away from walls. It was working for a time until we came home one day and looked on top of the fridge to find holes in all of the bags and a nice big mound of mouse chocolate (not really chocolate) in the center of it all.  You won't believe all that it ate, it is now; 1) Extremely fat or 2 is giant... Long story short the quest "kill the rat is still on".
     This week, much like the last, we were going crazy finding new people to teach in the Zone. If we met our district goal we would be given the chance to go to the temple with President Ruiz next week. Not only did we meet it but we also passed it. We are doing some pretty great stuff.
     I got to know some pretty amazing people this week. One is an investigator in the area of Hermanas Haws and Jimenez. This amazing 11 year old girl is actually a professional swimmer who is competing all around the world holding titles and records and has done all sorts of amazing stuff. I personally have a hard time believing that she is only 11 and an even harder time realizing just how lazy the rest of us are. If she can do all of this stuff at the age of 11 what are all of us really capable of doing? Anyways this amazingly pilas little lady will be getting baptised soon and it has been a pleasure getting to know her.
     I guess I feel kinda weird at this point in the mission. Things that once felt so amazing and extraordinary have now become something that is just an everyday kinda thing. Its not to say that they are still not amazing things but what was once so different has now become the norm, and what was once the norm as now become so different. Even within the realm of father's day. The once norm of sneaking pie out to eat with Brother Raleigh on Sundays is now something very weird come to think about it I haven't even seen a pie in months... I dont know if I have ever seen a pie here in the mission. But like I think I can understand why it can be difficult for people when they come back home after the mission. We are in a completely different kind of world here.
     This week we have been working alot with two different missionaries that have returned from their missions in the last little while. Its pretty easy to see that they are adapting to the change and it helps us out because they want to go out and do splits with us not only because of the desire to go out (which they have) but more so that they have forgotten how to do anything else, and it comes naturally!  Oh that we can all feel this and remember that always.
    Other news for the week:

We had a really cool baptism in a river!

I think I have developed allergies to citrus...

This is an attack chicken, they should not be taken lightly...

We just got back from eating at Irtra( a really fancy hotel place) with President Ruiz. Elder Goodman has emergency changes and will probably be the ZL of some zone now. Last but not least we might just might be going to the temple.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week #51: Rain, contacting and more rain...

This week has been a very wet week.  We had some rather fun divisions over in Compromiso. We went crazy, with a competition going on in the week to see what zone can find the most new investigators in the mission.   We also had a good eight or so interviews to time was a little limited and we had to become a little creative in order to do contacts. We tried it all; from bathroom contacting to asking for water, to playing soccer. At one point we were even walking down the street and I heard Minecraft music coming from one of the houses and we used that to get into a house and teach a lesson to the family. There are a lot of fun ways to contact people when you put your mind to it. As a zone I would say we did well finding some 137 new investigators, coming in second place by only a few. We will just have to do a little better this next week.
    There was one day this week where we were a in a lesson and the zone leaders called us to ask if we could come and do an interview which normally isn't a big deal, but there was a giant rain storm going on outside and flooding on just about every road/street. Everything was soaked, including us after only a minutes running through it. We took a bus over to the plaza got out and walked to the next terminal, becoming drenched to the bone,  but it didn't end there.  The only bus in sight was already full and we were already hanging on to the side of the bus during a vicious rainstorm, we finally made it down to the interview. We felt like we had been swimming more than walking for the last four hours.  Thus, as you can imagine I am kinda sick now and feel more like I am rambling that writing a good weekly report of activities.
     Rather than go on I think I'll just end it here for the week.  My mind is just a little out of sorts today, but with some extra sleep I will be right as rain (haha get it!! wait you don't get it you are in California with a drought!!).

All is well, the mission is awesome and we are doing some amazing work here in Mazatenango.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week #50: A bamboo hut, and what you can become...

I live in a bamboo house!

Well the last week in the subida has just ended and now time is really going to start to fly. In exactly one year from this day we will be in a change meeting (that being my last change meeting). Hours after the meeting to be leaving this world behind and heading back to the states. It is a weird, baggy, thought. As I mentioned last week my trainer in the mission, Elder Goodman is in the same zone and we see each other two or so times a week. When I came into the mission he was just finishing his first year in the mission. Every time I am with him here, I feel as though I have just gotten out of the CCM and just barely starting the mission. But now its been nearly a year since we were companions and that is just a little hard to believe.  As I talk with him I am amazed at how good his Spanish is and how much HE has learned this last year.  :-)   Being in the same zone with Elder Cook and Hala again is really cool.   Amazing to think a year has gone by, but at the same time feels like just a short while ago we were all at the CCM.

      Things have been a little different this week. Most of the week as predicted was spent out of our area. Between all of the new meetings, conferences, and interviews I didn't get much of a chance to get to know my new area. Life has become a little more complicated with this change, and now more than ever I believe I will learn the art of planning and planning well.
      On Wednesday we had a district leaders meeting over in Reu, which is only an hour away in bus. This is so much nicer than the four and a half hours to get there from Rio Blanco. Elder Goodman is the other DL here and so we went down together to the meeting. It was a fun, going to the meeting as a trainer and not-so-green-anymore companionship. Even President Ruiz got a little chuckle, out of it as he saw us together.   The meeting was great!. A nice big machete, as most meetings, are but I learned a lot and learned all of the new stuff that I will need to be doing.
      The rest of the week I spent doing all of that new stuff. I was area jumping and interviewing all week long. I honestly think that the interviews are probably one of the coolest things to do. For one you are only talking/teaching the most positive of all of the people in the other areas.   They usually just need to be taught a little bit more, or to clarify something, but other than that already have a testimony of the Gospel. It is absolutely amazing to have the chance to really get to know all of these people right as their faith is beginning to grow.
     One of the things that they were really focusing on in the meetings this week is to really look at each person for what they can become. In one of the meetings they brought a picture of a family that was baptised some time ago. With this photo he asked someone, "What do you see?" Everyone replying a family with several kids, a family that is happy and was just baptised. A family that has just taken a major step in their lives. He continued on to say"yes but here in this photo (pointing to one of the kids) I can see a Stake President, (to another) a temple worker, (to the last) a Mission President.  Our mission president." Sometimes we as missionaries lose our focus, lose our sight. we forget that every single person that we teach that we pass by on the street has the ability to be a god. The song "Look through Heavens eyes" from the Prince of Egypt has become one of my favorite songs here on the mission.
      On Friday we were teaching some jehova witness missionaries. In one part of the lesson they shared one of their believes that after we die in this life we become nothing; lose all consciousness of who we were and that in general that we do not have a progression. Something spoke within me saying that simply cant be true. I responded to this, " so hermano do you have kids? no. Ok well lets say that you have one for the moment. as a father what would you want for your son? I would imagine that you would want your son to have everything that you have and more. Now God is our father in heaven. He loves us more than we can comprehend, more than even our own fathers. What do you think he wants for you?"
     As I think of this and about what God truly wants for me and for all of his children, life is simply a little different. The gospel is just a little bit easier to talk about. and the love for the people comes all the more easier. I truly know that each of us has a divine potential, the only thing that we really need to do is fulfill it.  The easiest way for us to do so, is to help others onto this path, This church, this gospel.

Tell everyone hello, and that I love and miss them!

I received letters from the YM/YW, pretty darn cool, especially hearing about the incredible human hungry hungry hippo game that I was told many times that Tanner George's group won.!

Elder Wilcox

Ps: to start the count anew at this moment I have 37 mosquito bites
Pss: oh and I live in a bamboo house
Psss: Elder Cano isn't my only roommate.
Pssss: Elder Cano and I have a companion goal to kill the rat.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week #49: Mazatenago, Elder Ochoa and changes

Well I am sure you have guessed it and at the least probably know that I have had changes. I am now actually in the same Zone as my trainer and  Elders Hala, Cook and Cano from my CCM group.  I am in an area called San Bernadino Mazatenago.  It is probably one of the coolest zones in the mission. I guess after being in Rio Blanco for so long, deprived of all American food,  President Ruiz decided it was time for me to come down from my cave and into the City.
       It is really cool here. Not cold by any means, that is not what I mean,  but it is pretty sweet to be here. The only weird part would be that I am now a district leader and Elder Goodman my trainer is the other district leader, but in the same way it is weird it is actually convenient.  If there are any questions that I have I can just go to him. It is a bit different being responsible of something more than just your area. In fact its weird that I am really not in charge of my area per say at all.  I have now started to get accustomed to long nights, much more to plan, pray about, and much, much more to do.
       A lot has changed in the mission is just the tiniest bit of time. Just about all of the people in our group are training now and all of the people that we knew when we entered the mission have just finished the mission or are just about to. At lunch today I was talking to Elder Cook and someone started asking about how much time we have in the mission.  We told them and started to think, wow we are pretty much at the year mark. In a week and year our time in the mission will be done and we will go back home into the weird world that the States are. We started to make a few plans for after the mission, a little premature but sometimes looking to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow makes the journey just a little bit more exciting.
     So it was my first week in the area and I don't really know anything about it.  There are a lot of new people to meet, members to get to know, and much to learn about, not just in my area but in the areas in the district in general. I keep having moments here were I have to say to myself. well "your not in Rio Blanco (Kansas) anymore".  Oh how this is true!  I don't know if a bigger change even could have been possible.
    This week was Stake conference. (Oh by the way this is my first ward in the mission as well.) And well it was calidad. President Ochoa of the 70 was here as well as our Mission President and even the President of the the Xela Temple.  First thing that was amazing was our Mission President, President Ruiz. He sang a solo in his testimony only moments later to be called back up to the stand to do a duet with Elder Ochoa. In the same conference our mission president taught the restoration in his testimony and challenged everyone to be baptized. Yeah he is kinda one of the coolest mission Presidents in the world.
     Though there was another message that really struck a cord in the chapel. As you could imagine they talked a lot about sharing the gospel. Elder Ochoa in specific reiterated a story he had told us months before about an opportunity he had to share the gospel. One day he was in an elevator with two missionaries going about his normal day. He was thinking to himself at this time, "What would the Savior say to me if I had but only a short little elevator ride to talk to him. What would he do? would he simply look around the elevator? look down at the ground and think of whatever was going on in the day? or would he look into my eyes reading and reaching into my soul searching for the words that I needed to hear in that moment. what would he say to me so that I may know him and know what I need to do."  No sooner did I begin to contemplate this than did a man enter the elevator. He turned to the man looking into his eyes and asked, Are you a member? the man replied "of what?", "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" replied Elder Ochoa.  Then the man said something that left the Elders in the elevator just a little dumbfounded. "No. But what do I need to do to become one."  After some preparation from the missionaries this man was baptized, shortly after with his family and many others.  At this moment some 43 people have been baptized through this one man and the simple courage one man had to talk to someone about the church.  Surely this will not happen every time, but the thing is, if this happens even every once in a hundred times how will you feel?!  How much joy will it bring to your soul to know,  I was an instrument of God and helped someone find the Iron Rod. What can all of us possibly do if we simply have a shred of courage to talk to those around us?

My new companion is Elder Cano from Honduras, a great missionary.  I took the place of Elder Rasmusnon, he is from the Murrieta Stake back home, maybe you could look up the family say hi.  We have a really cool living situation, we live on a ranch in a bamboo hut - this will be great for the air flow as it is back to hot, sticky humidity...there isn't any hot showers...but then again with the heat, who wants a hot shower.

Oh and Mom, thank you so much for the package, it felt very heavy and looked really cool.  I surely hope the man that stole it on the bus ride enjoyed it and feels inspired to learn more about the church...that was the package that had Meet The Mormons DVD in it right?

Overall I am excited and animated for the new challenges of life that are coming my way. life is pretty awesome right now and I look forward to see what lies ahead here.

Sunset on the white field...

When your tie needs ironing and you are in a hurry!

My new home...