Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

All ye who are loved by me,

How´s it goin, y`alls? Hope it's going well for everyone. So transfers were last week, and I got a call on Monday night from my zone leaders. They said, "Elders, we have good news, especially for you, Elder Wilkinson. Tomorrow, meet us at the airport at 4:00pm. You´re going to Santa Cruz to pick up the Elder you´re going to train." So I did all dat, went to Santa Cruz, had a training for trainers, and now I'm training a new Elder named Elder Bailey, from Ogden, Utah. He´s really awesome, and we're gonna learn a lot together. His weakness is the language, so I think he got paired with me for a reason, because I have a pretty sound understanding of the language, and I can help him a lot with that. It feels really good to know that the Lord trusts me with training another Elder after such a short time being here. And now that I don't have a Latino companion, or even a companion that speaks Spanish, I have no choice but to take the initiative and talk to people. I didn´t know how much Spanish I knew until I HAD to use it haha, and I know a lot! Now, I´m praying a lot for the gift of interpretation of tongues and discernment so that I can understand people and understand their needs. But together, we speak a little bit too much English.  The opportunity is such a temptation, and we´re making goals to not speak English so that we can continue learning Spanish. We´re having a great time and working hard. Its so weird to be teaching lessons pretty much all by myself now. Until he learns a little more Spanish, he´ll being giving comments and testimony, but not full principles. 

So that´s my week. I´m also a lot more stressed now because I have to make sure we don´t fail haha, maybe that´s the senior companions job. But its daaaaang stressful haha. But at the same time, I love it a lot because I feel like I´m actually getting a lot done and helping a lot of people. When I went to pick up my new companion, we were all at a stake center in Santa Cruz, and my old companion walked in, because he had to come to Santa Cruz in order to go to his new area by plane. So I saw him one last time there, and HIS trainer was there, so he and his trainer, and my new companion and I took a picture or four generations of mission "fathers". That´s what we call trainers haha.

- There are dog skulls and cow spines all over the place here
- Dad, there are a ton of old Toyota Land Cruisers that look like FJs here, you'd love it. It´s like the Icon factory

This is such an awesome time in the world. Have you all realized that one year ago, the Lord lowered the missionary age? And now, He´s changing the way we do the work, and its so awesome to see this all happening! He is hastening His work with programs, councils, and inspiration through Bishops, Mission Presidents, and Stake Presidents. We had a training last night where all the Ward Councils in the Stake went (Tarija is only one stake), and so I sat with our ward council as we learned more about how we can effectively work together. I think only a missionary would be thrilled to watch a ward council training, and oooohhhhh was I thrilled haha.

That´s all the time I have. Dad, I wish I could work in your ward council with you. That would be unreal haha. So awesome! I love you!

Elder Wilkinson

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 11, 2013

Hey mom!
I don´t have much time to write this week, and the computer won´t send pictures today, but I have a list of the pictures I wanna send, so be expecting those in about the next year or so. 

This was a good week. You know, I've always been an arguer. You know that. In fact, you know that more than anyone else in the world haha. And I like to think I´m pretty good at it. But in Spanish, lemme tell ya, I do not win haha. I've learned that no one wins in an argument, because afterward, both parties are afflicted. I've been working on becoming more Christlike in that, when someone has a "suggestion" for me, or criticism, I actually listen. That wasn't the case before haha, I HATED criticism or being told what to do, but I´m working on accepting criticism and suggestions, even when they are very rudely given. This week, my lifelong gratefulness for my trials began. I realized that I would be a boring rock if I didn't have to endure trials. We all would be. It's the same principle that we wouldn't feel joy if we didn't feel pain. That´s why we have pain in life. In the same way, we can´t grow and learn if we don´t have opposition. We are so lucky to have trials, because without them, we would be nothing. The trick is to gain the Lord´s help in dealing with those trials. And that is done through a simple, fervent prayer. And continual prayer. I know that the hard things I have to face here will greatly bless the lives of many others through the course of my life. My friends, you guys, my future family, random people I meet, people I serve in the Church, etc. Many people will benefit because I've suffered a little, and that makes it so worth it.

Mom, can you give me some healthy eating ideas. I don´t really wanna get diabetes while I´m here. Dad, some exercise ideas please. Again, diabetes = sorta bad. If you haven't sent my packages yet, I also want a picture book of church paintings to use during lessons, and the book of church administration. Or send them for my birthday. Or have someone else send them. Or don´t send them at all. Whatever happens, its all good haha, not vitally important, but it would be nice. Thanks for everything, especially bearing the burden of having to know me! haha no that´s a joke. You guys love me. Can you tell me how other missionaries in our ward are doing?? I wanna know how my fellow servants are handling their responsibilities.

There´s a popsicle here that this lady makes, its just frozen milk and sugar, but I think there might be a little bit of eternal joy in there too. There is a drink called "jugo de sesamo" made out of sesame seeds. It tastes like liquid peanut butter, which gives me exceedingly great joy. I was listening to a song this morning, and its about José Smith (oh yeah, we say José Smith instead of Joseph Smith) and it talked about how the truth will fill the Earth, and I felt the Spirit so strongly when I heard that, because that line, along with many verses and prophecies in scripture, describes what I do every day here. I am sounding the Gospel in every ear, taking it to every kindred, tongue, and people. I am helping to fill the Earth with truth. The word awesome, even in the true sense of the word, greatly fails to describe how I really feel about my calling. We are so lucky to live in this time, in which the Gospel rolls forward, unstoppable, with increasing speed. 

Quiero testificar en mí nuevo idioma, y quiero que ustedes sepan, que yo sé que este Evangelio es verdadero. Mí testimonio crece cada dia, más y más, y yo estoy llegando a conocer Jesucristo. Esta obra es la obra de Dios, que nosotros llevemos a cabo "la inmortalidad y la vida eterna del hombre." Les amo más que puedo expresarme, en inglés o castellano, y estoy más que feliz que ustedes son bendecidos gracias al servicio que estoy haciendo cada dia. Nos vemos!

Elder Wilkinson

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

Mom (and everyone), 
I'll send a picture of my little yellow room so you guys can see. The Lord humbles missionaries the moment they arrive so they won't be stupid haha, so that they realize that they can't serve their mission without Him. I'm glad He does that, and did that for me. Thank you for your letter mom, I'm glad to hear you're all doing well with everything. 

The address I gave you is wrong. The mailing address for packages is:

Misión Bolivia - Santa Cruz
C. Saavedra esq. Cochabamba
Torres CAINCO Piso 7 Of. 1 y 2
Telef. 333-7072 Fax. 222-7074
Casilla de Correo: 2024
Santa Cruz - Bolivia

I hope you didn't send anything already haha. On Saturday, we baptized Jorge Aramayo (Serrano) and yesterday he was confirmed. It was all a very special experience. It's so cool to see people change so drastically. We have an investigator named Edmundo. His family is Jehovah´s Witness, and we have been teaching only him, but his parents are totally okay with it. We taught him about the Restoration, and I honestly thought he was really uninterested for a few reasons that aren't important to say, but when we invited him to church, he said yes, like everyone does. But the weird thing is that he actually came! So he has been assisting the church for like a month, and Mutuals too! We don't even have to remind him to go, he goes on his own. Well we were talking to a teenager in the ward, and he told us that during church one Sunday, he asked Edmundo, "So when is your baptismal date?" Well we hadn't invited him to be baptized yet, so his response was, "I don't have one. But what do I need to do to be baptized?" When we heard that, we were super excited, but we didn't know exactly what to think of it. A couple days later, we stopped by his house to visit him. He answered the door and told us that he didn't have time right then, but we chatted for a few minutes at his door. We asked him if he had any questions about the Book of Mormon, the lesson we taught, or anything he had seen at church. He said, "Yeah, I have a question. What do I have to do to get baptized?" You can imagine our faces at that moment haha, well we told him that its a very important promise we make with God, and that really, all he has to do is learn more about the Church. He said, "Oh ok sounds good, because I wanna get baptized." Imagine the moment!! We were so happy! We hadn't even invited him! (Which we should have, but don't judge me, I´m still being trained) And even more, we have permission from his parents! That is the part we worried about most, but they said it's okay, and we're gonna ask them to sign the permission slip on Tuesday. How great though! During our lessons, you can so tell that he believes. It's amazing to see people accept the Gospel.

That's my story for today. Here are some things I thought of during the  week:

- I was thinking that, if I need too much stuff and am asking for too much, you could have other members of our family send it to me for Christmas too....
- On that note, I would love some Abercrombie and Fitch cologne haha
- I have a question for dad that I would really like a response to:
Dad, what can I do as a missionary to work with the ward and the Bishop more effectively? What do you want from the missionaries in our ward at home? Thanks!
- If you could send me a video (or have someone else send me) The Testaments in English, it would help a lot with proselyting and personal study and contacting ideas. Now that I think of it, send me everything in English and in Spanish haha.
- The weather is wacko here. The other day, we were walking in the heat on a cloudy day, and it started to hail, and the hail was the size of large grapes. And they hit me on the head, legit. And it hurt.

- I don´t know if you knew, but in Spanish, the Sacrament at Church is called The Holy Dinner, La Santa Cena. Pretty interesting.
- It is no longer called "Missionary Work", they changed it to "The Work of Salvation", because this work is not just for missionaries, it's for every member. So there are 15,000,000 missionaries!

I´m gonna send some pictures today! I love you all!

Elder Wilkinson