Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dec 16

Sorry I´ve taken so long to get the Skype plans. I had to call the mission president this morning to ask him about it. He authorized me to use a computer from a member´s house. So I´m going to try for Christmas day in the morning. We have the whole week but I think that Christmas day would be the best. I´ll confirm the details next week. Also my companion was wondering if he can use your account too to call his family? I also don´t know the time difference between here and there.

This week was really great. We´ve been really concentrating on the less active members, and it has really been a joyful experience to see some of them return to the church and to see the difference in them and in their family. I love teaching the less active members because they´re always great people tht just need some help coming back. I loved president Monson´s message in the Liahona recently called to the rescue. It´s all true. Work with less actives there too.

We are teaching a lady named Karen. She is the daughter of a member couple, and her brother is also member. He got bak from his mission a year ago or so. She is progressing really well with the help of her family. She´s going to get baptized on the 28th of this month and has really shown the desire to do so. But she has her interview this Thursday and we still have a lot of eaching to do. She gets back from work every day at 8:30 at night, so teaching her has been a real challenge with the rule to be home at 9. But She can be ready. We assigned her brother to do some of the teaching.

I´m going to send photos of another investigator named Yandry. she´s only an 13 year old. She also is great but has some problem keeping the commitments to read the Book of Mormon and attend church becuase she´s out of school and getting a little lazy. but we have some great youth from the ward working with her and talking to her every day. This ward does a great job with helping the investigators.

I´m doing great down here. It feels weird that it´s Christmas time, I think because it´s hotter than ever and we work hard just like always. I´m going to have to send my shirts to a lady to sew them smaller pretty soon. Also the tread of the Rockport shoes is really soft and is wearing out really fast, but there are people here who can put on a new sole for cheap. You get what you pay for there, but I think it will work for a while.

My companion and I get along well. He works hard even though he´s got less than a month left. When Elder Uceda was here his wife talked about things that a mom hopes for her missionary son. She said that they don´t ask that their son has a good companion but that he is a good companion. So I try to do service a lot and really just get along really well.

I love you and hope you have a good week.
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dec 9

Soccer today. Note the horrible tanlines on my neck. I guess that´s a missionary classic

Daniel and his family. I don´t know why it looks like I got photoshopped in there. It was an awesome baptism


This week was great. I´m sending a lot of pics

Daniel´s baptism was awesome. A lot of members came which is always the goal. Plus a lot of little kids came which I loved because the kids here are the best. We get along really well.

Elder Uceda was also really great. He chewed us out like they always do. I did well on the piano. Something I realized is that the church is really revolutionizing the mission system. Learn more on the church website about pressuring the work. They call it now the work of salvation and it´s all about working with members and teaching a lot of less active members. Yesterday not a single investigator came for the first time in months, but a less active member came and it was incredible to see him there. It really does bring a lot of joy.

In transfers I stayed with Elder Franco. It´s his last transfer of the mission so we´re determined to stay strong until the last minute. This week  I also heard about Susana, who got baptized in Los Robles, from the missionaries there. She´s still super strong, and now her son and 3 daughters got baptized. I love this work. 

Children I hear from Krysti that you´re having problems with eating oatmeal. Every morning I eat raw oatmeal in milk. With a lot of chocolate milk mix. So really I can´t blame you if you don´t like it. Haha sorry Krysti I can´t help you.

I love you all and hope you have a great week. Also I hope you watched the Christmas devotional. It was great as usual. How are you doing with the nonmember family that you invited to church? Do you still talk to them?

Elder Wilson

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dec 2

Christmas here is a huge deal. Everyone repaints their house a new color, decorates the streets super nice, and works like a maniac to have extra cash for the parties and whatnot. it makes it hard to find people. The put me as the snowman for my size

Hello family!

Sorry but I dont have the Skype plans yet. I guess in this mission they give us a week to do it because the internet cafes fill up so much. I asked president today in my weekly letter what the schedule is exactly and if he would let me do it in a members house.

This week Elder Uceda, the Area President, is coming to our mission. We are all super excited. Except they assigned me to play the piano so now I have to pick out some hymns and practice. I had to play for the fireside with Pte Searle the other week and I realized that so long without playing has really taken a toll on my skills. I hope I can play well, pray for me!

We have transfers again this week. I really cant predict what will happen. Its 50 50 that my companion goes, so I really cant say. This tranfer has been way tough. We have worked and worked and worked without seeing hardly any results. By the way we walked about 50 miles this last week. But Im not sure how accurate the pacemarker is, I think we walked more. But the point is that at last the Lord seems to be blessing us with results. We got a reference from a member this week who asked us about baptism before we could ask her, and she seems way excited about it. Daniel is getting baptized this Saturday. We were able to find a lot of new investigators this week, and a lot are progressing. So its really great to see that the Lord was trying our faith and pacience, but now is blessing us with some results. Actually I think that my whole mission has been a huge trial of faith because my companion told me it was the hardest transfer of his mission but I thought it was normal based on my past.

I bet its super snowy there by now, and Im jealous. Its hotter than ever here.

Im going to have to cut this letter a little bit short this week because I want to send pics and sometimes it takes a while to upload them. But I love you, and hope you all had the greatest Thanksgiving ever. I forgot it was thanksgiving until I was lying in bed Thursdaynight. But I still fell asleep right away. I dont think that in the entire mission its taken me more than 3 minutes to sleep any given night.

Elder Wilson

Friday, November 29, 2013

Nov 25

 Here we are after the game. I get a little sweaty running in Barranquilla. Actually I get sweaty sleeping here. By chance the young man in front on the right in black is Emanuel, the guy I did divisions with.

Daniel is a kid 10 years old that we are teaching to baptize. Hes great and has always come to church. Hes the kid right behind my companion

Well this week was very difficult because of various things that happened each day that robbed us of proselyting time. Sorry I don't know how to spell that. But the good thing that happened was the fireside with president. Not a single investigator came, but I was able to feel and see your prayers when around 15 nonmembers came with their member friends. I have never seen that level of effort from the members to invite and bring friends, so it was great and inspiring to see it this time. The bad thing that happened was that my companion has had a lot of back pain, and the doctor gave him 3 days of staying in the house. And that same day I got another fever. Thats 2 fevers in about 1 month. But Im better now.

A great experience I had this week was being able to do divisions with a ward missionary for a day. He is 18 years old and is waiting for his mission call. He's only been in the church for about a year. So it was cool to watch him teach and testify about the plan of salvation and the atonement. It was also really cool to see how God helped me to make up for not working with a really experienced missionary and working with a basically recent convert. I felt a difference in my ability to teach and contact, because I really wanted to make him contact, that came from the Lord.

Sorry but I really don't have a lot of time today. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nov 18

This week was really great. We didn´t teach as much as we´d have liked to but it was because of some solid activities we did. First off, everything is all set up for the fireside with Pte. Searle this Wednesday. Please pray that lots of people come and bring investigators. It´s a big sacrifice for him. We had a movie night this week We watched 17 miracles. The idea was for members to bring friends, but not one nonmormon came. So that made me sad because we spent a lot of time setting it up.

In good news, the ward is finally starting to put together a ward mission plan. I anticipate a lot of success and miracle as a result of their efforts to synchronize the missionary labor. How many people assist thge ward there? also, are you aware of the ward mission plan, if there is one?

That was cool to hear that the whole ward is doing a house-swap type of thing. I´m sure we can use this opportunity to do a lot of service. But also I´m really proud of all that you are doing to help the victims of the typhoon. I brag to all the missionaries from this ward.

We played soccer again today, I made 2 goals. Golazos actually, if you understand what that means (Covey). Basically an awesome goal. McKay great job on your talk, I read it. My ward here is working on reverence. Emma I´m super jealous of space camp. I went twice when I was a kid and one time is was super scary and I had nightmares. But it´s awesome.

Sorry I don´t have pics this week either. But I´ve been inspired to start trying to take more. I just don´t have a lot of opportunity since we can only use the camera on Mondays.Krysti I hope your lesson goes well. I recommend Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-8. I love that scripture as a missionary.

I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday. Im not sure how it´s worked out this way but it´s the first of my mission. But when you´re a missionary, you don´t feel as nervous about public speaking. I talked about how to present the Book of Mormon to friends. It was more of a training than a talk. But I really wanted them to hear it so it was good.

My testimony of the Gospel has really increased this week as I applied the principles of repentance and faith to our biggest companionship weakness of talking to everyone. There is a rule as a mission which requires us to talk to 10 people in the street every day. I really want to do it, but when I get out there and it´s burning hot (there weren´t clouds in the sky all week, it´s been horribly hot) I lose the motivation. Plus a muscle in my leg has really been bothering me lately when I walk. So I don't talk to as many people as I should. But I´ve been focusing on the Gospel to improve, and I have seen that God helps us. And forgives us when we aren´t strong enough. So I´ve had a great week with that. Even though I still need to improve more.

Things are great with my companion. He´s a great missionary. He was a zone leader. And yesterday we had the chat about how I don´t want him to end his mission bad (he goes home in January) so we´re going to finish it off super strong. Though in all likelihood I get a new companion in transfers the 4th of December. Elder Franco has been in this area 6 months. But the prophet made a rule of a missionary in the same area 6-8 months. So we´ll see.

Well I love you guys and hope that you have a great week!
Élder Wilson

Monday, November 11, 2013

still sick but doing great

Hola Familia! 

This week was great. First off though, Im still a little sick with a cough and a runny nose. But nothing too bad. Its really funny here when it rains, everyone stays inside their house. For example, ward council was canceled because it was sprinkling even just a tiny little bit. But anyways they do this because they think theyll get sick if they get slightly damp. so when it was raining and I was sick and visited people, they all started to tell me I needed to stay inside or whatever. But I didnt, and now Im still sick after over a week.

I played soccer again this morning with some of the youth from the ward. Im still really bad, but it was fun. Also this week a met this awesome lady thats Taoist. I studied Taoism before the mission in college so it was cool to meet one. Especially since it was a Christian shake-up. They encourage readinbg the Book of Mormon becuase its all about being calm or whatever, and they believe in doing the things of least resistance. So it was really cool to meet her.

We´re still struggling to find new people in this area, so we dont really have anyone thats progressing. We need some big miracles, but Ive got a feeling theyre on their way. Sorry the typing is bad again, im on the same computer that doesnt work well. My companion and I are getting along really well, even though hes from Uruguay. No just kidding hes awesome because hes from Uruguay. Hes about to go back home after his 2 years, but he stays working hard. 

Well sorry I dont have much to share this week but Im glad to hear youre all doing well.

Elder Wilson

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I got transfered! I´m in an area called Cuidadela. It was a super far transfer; Cuidadela borders my last ward. My new companion is from Uruguay and his name is Elder Franco. He was looking through my pictures and he saw one of Covey in a Peñarol jersey and he got very excited about that. He keeps a Uruguay flag in the house hanging there. He´s a super great missionary with a lot of experience. He only has like 3 transfers left counting this one. The cool thing about him is that his strengths are almost exactly my weaknesses. He´s super bold and really good at managing the time. I´m really excited to be able to learn from him in our time as companions. I took some pics but I´ll have to send them next week since te computer isn´t uploading them right.

The ward is great. They love the missionaries and have had a baptism almost every week. I hope to keep that going; it´s a good tradition. But right now we don´t have anyone progressing. I´m sad in a way about my last area. My companion and I both got transfered out. So I know that it doens´t matter how good the new missionaries are, some people will get lost. For example the other day we passed some lady in the street crying and we talked to her and we were going to come back but neither of us knew the address, so she´ll get lost for sure. There was supposed to be a baptism yesterday but it didn´t happen. I know it wasn´t for anything the new missionaries did wrong, I´m just sad I wasn´t there to try to help it.

Today I played soccer for the first time in my life against a bunch of latinos. I´m sure you can imagine how I did remembering my athletic past and my lack of experience. But it was super fun. I left covered in sweat because we´re on the coast of Colombia playing soccer. I almost scored this one goal that was going to be sweet but then I didn´t and that was the best part I think.I´m going to show everyone up next week.

I really have lost a lot of weight here. Unlike the last house this one has a mirror and when I saw it I was very surprised. I look uglier because when fat people loose weight fast it´s gross. But I´m also in perfect condition now to build muscle. I just don´t have any weights or bands or anything, Tips?

Well I don´t have a lot more to say. Just that I´ve walked 40 miles in my 5 days in this area. I´m still struggling to learn the names of the people here. And I haven´t been eating dinner since I´m fresh out of money. But don´t worry I know how bad that is and we already set up a dinner contract. We´re just waiting for the cash to arrive.

Love you all!
Elder Wilson

Monday, October 21, 2013

This week was very good. We've been finding a lot of new investigators, which for us is a slow but rewarding process. I use being a white guy to my advantage. The other day some child yelled to us from in a tree that we should go visit this house right there. I think it was a reference from God but we ignored it. But yesterday we went to the house and I yelled in (we don't knock doors much, you just yell because the windows and doors are always open) and the lady pulled chairs outside for us before we said anything. We asked why and she said it was because she likes the way gringos talk hahaha. But turns out she seemed to like the message too. People here really have a good time with gringos. For example we had stake conference with Elder Camargo of the 70. He likes to joke about gringos a lot, it was hilarious. He wanted me to read a scripture and he yelled at me "hey gringo! read!" and then he was like "oh I mean Elder. The mission president will kill me." It was hilarious. Plus he said even the gringos have hope of the resurrection. He was also messing with the gringos when he visited us in the CCM. He's a great guy, very spiritually powerful.

The downside of this week is that it was blazing hot. Even hotter than usual. The thing was that is was really sunny. I'd be okay but it really efects the missionary work. It's so hot that all the street vendors and such just sit there. I think the missionaries are the only ones that work in these times. But we walk slower I noticed, and when we get to a lesson it is soooo hard to stay awake for being so tired and so hot. But we're looking into a house that comes with AC so that will be a huge blessing if it works out.

We're having changes this week. Cambios. I don't know what they're called in English. But I think my companion goes and I stay. We'll see what happens. I'm excited and nervous. The problem is that your companion becomes your friend and then transfers and done. I think they're called transfers in English.

We've been thinking really hard about what we can do to get more investigators and use our brains to our advantage in the mission. We'd kind of fallen into the trap of always doing the same. But this week we're going to start English and Bible classes. It's going to be great. Or if we don't start this week it will be this month. We haven't been able to have ward council lately so we'll have to do that first. Elder Camargo told us that as missionaries we need to baptize every week. The standard here is very high. I just pray for God's help to meet it. Please pray for the same thing. That I can get a baptism every week to obey the council of the Lord's servants. I love you and hope you're all doing great.

Elder Wilson

Monday, October 14, 2013

susana's baptism

susana and part of her family and her neighbor and the guy from the ward that did the baptism

Well this week was really great. Obviously the best part was Susana and Victoria's baptism. It was so great to see them take that step. It was really hard for Susana because of her arm, but she did it anyways. I love her example of faith. I  think I'm always going to remember this experience because of the was it shows the power of the gospel in people's lives. In the first place she called us. That was a miracle. Then she got baptized even though she had a broken arm and it was very painful for her. But she never complained about it. It was actually cool to see a baptism where the person didn't get fully wet and there were 2 guys in the water to help her. Awesome first baptism.

Benedicta and Hernando didn't arrive at their baptism this week. They have 2 main doubts. One is that it's really fast, and their family has been saying stuff to them about how they should take their time. The other is that Benedicta thinks that Hernando might mess up again after his baptism with the Word of Wisdom. So we're really going to work hard with them to get baptized the 26th of this month. They keep saying they'll do it then. The good thing is that the ward members really want to help and so they all are going to do visits. That will be really great for them to feel that support.

Joyce and Derwin have been struggling with their commitments. We were going to stop teaching them again but they came to church this week. They read the Book of Mormon together every day, and Derwin told us that he's secretly saved up enough money to take out their papers for marriage. So they just need to actually do it, and also save up money for the actual marriage.

The watrd members have been making great progress. It's like a speeling giant that just woke up. They're moving really slowly, but at least they're thinking and talking about references now. And they're working on doing their home teaching, especially to the new members. It's really scary to turn new members over to the ward when they don't visit them at all.

I love you guys, and I pray for you. Let me know if you have a problem or a doubt that I can help you with.

Elder Wilson

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

weekly letter

First off, I got the package this week. Thanks! It was really cool to get. My favorite part is the photos of the family. I show them to the investigators and members all the time. Also the suckers are very good.

This week was great because of the conference. I loved all the talks about missionary work. They really helped me out with some questions I have. Sometimes I don't do a very good job with talking to everybody because I feel worried about getting to an appointment on time. so I really liked in President Eyring's talk in Priesthood when he talked about the Good Samiritan. I had never thought about it that way, so it was good to be able to learn from the Bible in new ways that directly answer questions. It looks like I should forego arriving on time to help more people.

Krysti - in terms of eating right, I eat the same thing every day so I can let you know. For breakfast I eat oats in milk and sometimes yogurt or a fruit. The oats I eat are like oatmeal but hard, so I eat with a spoon. I also mix in chocolate milk mix so it tastes delicious. For lunch, it's whatever the members give us, but really it's just always rice, beans, meat, and sometimes a delicious sancocho soup. For dinner, it's sandwiches or pasta. So I think I eat very well actually. no sweets because the sweets aren't very good.

I'm pretty sad because Joyce and Derwin haven't come to church a few weeks in a row, so this week we're going to stop teaching them. I hope they come next week so we can pick up where we leave off. They've been working so hard to make changes in their life, but they aren't obeying in certain things. That is easily the hardest part of being a missionary. When you love people but they don't choose the path that brings the most happiness because of some trials along the way. But really that's not just investigators. Think how many times each of you have chosen the easy path over the correct path. The good news is that everyone can repent and come back to Christ and receive happiness (Alma 36).

We have the goal of 4 baptisms this Saturday. Pray for Susana, victoria, Benedicta, y Hernando. Two of them already did their interview so we're just going to work to make sure that nothing too bad happens this week.

Elder Wilson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

 these guys are everywhere down here. This one was trying to get sneaky on me during personal study.

me with hand sanitizer burning on my hand. Probably not the best companionship study, but pretty fun.

Dear family,

This week was great. I realized that I had subconsciously lowered my vision of what was really possible. What happened was we did an intercambio (I don't know what that means in English, we traded companions for a day) and Elder Henriquez and I taught 7 lessons in one day which is a world record I think. But the thing is it just felt normal that day, and it helped me realize that great things are possible.

This week was hotter than heck again, but it started raining again the other day. Last night I thought it was the end of the world it was raining so hard and it was super windy. It was really cool.

I'm super excited for conference this weekend. Seriously I can't wait. Being on the mission really helps a man get excited to listen to the prophet. We have plans to use conference to contact this week, we'll see how that goes.  I am so excited to hear what the living prophet has to say to us about God's will. I know Thomas S Monson is the prophet. I also really love the video about him On the Lord's Errand. It's the best.

I'm glad that you've been studying the Old Testament as a family. There are a lot of great insights that you can learn from it if you take your time and study prayerfully. I recommend also using the institute manuals to help you see the symbolism. I have been finding a lot of stories there that help with my investigators. I've also been studying a lot out of the New Testament to learn how the Master taught and how He loved people.

We have a goal of 9 baptisms for October 12th, and I believe we can reach that goal. We have some investigators ready for this weekend but since it's conference it doesn't happen. The investigators are really working hard in spite of all the opposition that they face. And it's been interesting to see how the Lord takes the little they offer and turns it into something great. I think that's the true meaning of the miracle of the fish and the loaves. We have nothing to offer, but he can take what we have and make it sufficient for His divine needs.
We talked to president, and it looks like Susana can be baptized with a bag on her arm. Joyce and Derwin still don't have money but are moving forward with faith.  Benedicta y Hernando are doing great with the Word of wisdom even thought tey both were coffee addicts. Benedicta stopped completely the day we taught it, and Hernando has gone like 6 days without drinking coffee. The Familia Nuñez are working on reading more often, but they have a desire to learn more. They come to church every week even when it's so blazing hot. WE've been finding new investigators but they haven't been progressing as much, so we're working on being more bold to find those that truly have a desire to learn.

Elder Wilson

Monday, September 23, 2013

pictures, and another awesome week

my district. it's been the same for the last two changes

 i've lost a bit of weight... my clothes are huge

I still haven't found a scale, but I don't need one to know I've lost a ton of weight. How much do you think it is dad?

En cuanto a advice from Brady, I haven't cooked since I got here so I don't know. Every lunch is from members, and we have a dinner contract with a lady from the ward. That's what I love about this place, we even have a contract for a lady to wash our clothes for us. and it's way cheap. In fact each morning a man hand delivers a washer to our second story apartment for the things tht only we can wash, and picks it up 3 hours later. How much does it cost? $2 haha.

This week was great but hard. something happened every day and we didn't have a single full day of work. Plus we found out that something happened to Derwin. He and Joyce were saving up money for the wedding when his boss saw him reading the Book of Mormon and he fired him and didn't pay him what was owed. So with them and Susana, it's easy to see the opposition that happens to each investogator with a sincere desire to get baptized. But I know that these children of God will have the opportunity to get baptized in the future.

This week has been riduculously hot all the time. I think it's because it hasn't rained. And that reminds me when you told me about how it keeps raining and flooding at home, when it rains here it doesn't do things halfway. Last week we got caught outside in the rain by a big arroyo. I don't know what that is in English. But anyway, it turned into a river with like 5 feet of water, and there were trees going past and everything. The rain here is crazy, I understand why Partick recommended not bringing an umbrella. They're useless.

As of right now, we're stuck in this awful spot of having 0 investigators that are progressing because almost no one came to church yesterday. But I have faith that we are going to have 3 baptisms this Saturday. It's a family that have been investogating for years, and they were all set for the interview a couple of weeks ago but we decided they need more preparation. But now we think they're ready. So pray for the Familia Nuñez.
Well I don't have a lot of time this week, but I love you. I've been doing really well down here, and focusing on develpoing charity and using my talents in the work instead of worrying about my weaknesses. WE had interviews with Pte Searle this week and they were great. He's a great guy and an excellent president.

Elder Wilson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hello family!

How are things in the old UT? I realized this week that I miss seeing the mountains there. But I´m doing great! To answer your questions Dad, my weight is good. I´m going to weigh myself today because I´ve had some trouble finding a scale around here. But I´m practically skinny, my shirts are really big on me. Haha just kidding about being skinny, but I´ve definitely lost a bunch of weight. My feet are fine, they don´t hurt or have blisters or anything. Actually I have a weird blister on top of a toe that I have no idea how I got it. It´s not on top but on the tip of the 4th from last toe.

My clothes are doing good, they cover my body nicely. They are baggy but it´s okay. As for the language, I understand almost all of what they say but I have a bad accent that´s hard for some of them to understand. But the language doesn´t really impede me too much anymore.

I don´t know why I remembered this but the other week something hilarious happened. We were in a lesson with a less active and I kind of spaced out a little. My companion asked a question, the guy talked for a while and then my ompanion looked at me to say something. So I had no idea what was going on and I asked "And what do you think motivated God to restore his church?" and the member looked at me funny and says "Well that´s the same question that your companion asked, and what I said was..." It´s really funny now but not so funny then hahaha.

Susana finally came back home, but with some bad news. They had to operate on her arm, and she has 6 months of recuperation. That includes not getting wet, and you can´t baptize by immersion without dunking the arm too. So she´ll have to wait. Joyce y Derwin assisted church again this week. They´re doing great. The difference in them after they came the first time is huge. They have this light, and when we meet them they have questions for us about they church that are great questions. This week they had a lot of stress, and they told us that it was because their baptismal date is approaching (28th) but they don´t feel like they´re progressing. So they have a real desire to move forward. They need more money to get married, so we´re going to do an activity with the ward. The ward has a great desire to help in the missionary work, and we´re just working on getting them to be able to do it. Because it´s hard to share your testimony with a friend, so we´re encouraging them to do it. We need new investigators, and we´re determined to get them through references.

My companion helped me to see a problem that I´ve been having this week. Basically, I´ve been focusing too much on the things I needed to improve upon, and because of that I wasn´t progressing very well.  So I´ve been working really hard at focusing on my talents to rely on them while I build up my weaknesses.  But I love the mission, it´s the best. Sometimes I have these nightmares where I get injured and have to go home for a while, and the whole time I just want to come back to Barranquilla. And then I wake up and feel relieved that I´m still here. Even though I´ve been sweating for the last 2 months straight. Well that will be all for today, I love you and hope you´re all doing well.

Elder Wilson

Monday, September 9, 2013

This week was very difficult. On Tuesday I had to go to the doctor because a vein in my eye exploded. Don't worry, everyting's fine, but we missed all our appointments that day. And when that happens it's hard to catch up. So we weren't able to teach many lessons this week, partly because of that and partly because we didn't plan very well. Oh plus we did exchanges the day of the national soccer game, and I was with the missionary who has some issues with desire to work. It was also raining that whole day, so when we stopped in at a member's house to talk about a lesson we were going to have there, he said he was sick and that he couldn't go out. So we watched the soccer game, and then after he said he felt all better. So I was a little upset because I didn't want to lose any more visits that day, but it's okay. We've repented of losing time and have planned a little better this week. Also Colombia won and is now #2, so if Argentine loses we'll be #1. So I'm praying that Argentina loses. Haha no I'm not.

We were going to have a baptism this week, but they told us last minute that they were actually going to have a vacation. Basically what we found out is that she doesn't have a desire. I think her husband might be causing some problems for her baptism because she acts different around him. She's excited when he's not there and she doesn't talk when he is. But we're going to keep working to get her to strengthen her desire.

The hermana Susana that we found the other week, that's a golden investigator, had her baptismal adte fall through. She fell off a 4 foot ledge and broke her arm, and has been in the hospital for more than a week. Saan really works hard to prevent baptisms in any way he can. So it's been hard since we haven't been able to visit her, and she couldn't com to church 2 weeks in a row. But she's so great I think she still has a strong desire to be baptized.

We've been teaching a lady Joyce and her partner Derwin for like a month, and they hadn't come to church. But we felt like we couldn't drop them since we hadn't done very good at helping them make friends with a member. 

 So this week we taught every lesson in a member family's house, and they came yesterday. And I never understood before the mission how important it is for investigators to attend church, but they told us before we even asked that they felt so good, so peaceful while they were there.  It was awesome to see how the Spirit works through church attendance.

My testimiony in that the Spirit can teach through us was also strengthened through them. We watched the Restoration video on Saturday, and Joyce asked us yesterday why if the church is true there was so much opposition to the saints. And I felt prompted to share with her 2 Nefi 2:11, and it was perfect. We used it to talk about all the thuings that have happened to her the past month on sunday mornings when she tries to go to church. Satan always opposes good. And she also related it to her scripture reading. It was awesome to see that.

This work is very hard. A lot of things happen that make me feel like I'm not doing a good job, and it makes me sad to see when investigators can't overcome the obstacles to their baptism because they lack true desire. But I know that it's the Lord's work, and that he gathers his elect through us if we work our very hardest. And at least we work hard here to improve in every way. I love you all and I'm so glad for the example you set to the family and to your friends who live without the joy of the Gospel. My companion always says "Quiere ser feliz? Sea Mormon." It's the truth. I pray a lot to know if there are experiences I can share to help you all. I love Jesus and I'm so grateful for his sacrifice for all of us individually. I love the people here. They do a lot of really funny things that sometimes we joke about, but I love them for it. My only hope is that the Lord knows that he can trust in me to do his work for him here. I strive every day to show that to Him in my actions. Sometimes I fail but that's why we have the gospel, to turn strengths into weaknesses.

With lots of love,
Elder Wilson

Monday, September 2, 2013

pictures and FAQs

 view from outside our window. not very special

Susana and her neighbor at the family night we had. The pic isn't very good to see what the house looks like, but it's super typical. Except this house has more stuff than most. Usually it's super barren. But they're not too small and like 10 people live in each one usually.

First I'll answer Dad´s questions. We don't really tract at all. We walk to apointments and street contact along the way, but hardly ever tract. I guess it's different here because no one stays insidde. They sis in chairs outside their houses for the heat so tracting is really street contacting.This week we taught only 16 lessons. But we als had lessons with converts and members to train them in missionary work, but still our munbers are really low in the lessons we teach. But we are making a lot of progress. We also lost time this week since me companion is district leader and does baptismal interviews. So that's our goal. We are also working on contacting more, since we are having to drop investigators for not progressing and we need new ones.

I don't eat a lot of fruit as fruit, since it's always as a juice, but I really like lulo and granadilla. All the fruit here is great, i'm going to miss it when I get back. The exercise is difficult at 6:30 in the morning, but we've been jogging and it's so easy down here because there's a ton of air. And I don't know how many miles I walk. At least more than 5 or 6 every day, but I don't know how much more than that. I've lost a lot of weight but I don't know how much because I don't know where to weigh.

As for the blessings, I don't know where to start. First off, I walk all day but I never got blisters, my feet don't hurt, and I have energy to keep going. Some of that probably comes from my Rockport shoes, but the tread is already wearing off from the bottom haha. But the shoes are great. And the blessing from the Lord is greater. Spiritually I've been blessed with happiness. I know a lot of new missionaries get really frustrated and some cry and miss home and all that, but I've been blessed to never have that. I've been blessed just with a desire to work until my weaknesses become strengths (2 Cor. 12:9).

One specific thing I've learned is setting goals and working towards them. Because when I got here I felt like everything in this area and companionship was being done wrong. But I learned to identify specific things to improve and set goals to improve them. Because if you just feel like you need to change everything, you'll do nothing. Trademark Elder Wilson, that was a powerful phrase right there.

I haven't specifically felt mom's presence, but I know I'm surrounded by ministering angels (DyC 84:88) and I'm sure she's one of them. Discouraging things to us are that no one assists sacrament meeting because they work, and that chastity is dead in this city. I feel like half the new mothers are only 17 years old or less. Also the ward mission leader needs some work, and the ward missionaries are inactive.

But none of that matters because it's the Lord's work, and we are his humble instruments. Susana didn't come to church this week and we're not sure why since we haven't been able to visit her yet. Joyce and her partner didn't come either, and we were planning on dropping them but we felt like we didn't do good enough at helping them have a member friend, so we're going to try one more week. Plus there was a fight with smoke bombs and everything going on in front of her house when it was time to leave for church.

We had a great reference family this week, where the dad read until omni in 3 days and then came to church and asked questions in class and everything. And he had to make some sacrifices to come. We haven't met with him yet since church yesterday, but I'm sure he felt the Spirit. Except for maybe when he got into an argument during Gospel Principles about the origin of sin and adam and eve with some old guy. It was hilarious because that's the question we always avoid to avoid contention.

Well more or less I'm out of time, but I'm glad to hear you're all doing well

Elder Wilson

Monday, August 26, 2013

This week was pretty good. We've had a little more success in our area with getting investigators to attend church. Yesterday we had 2 priesthood show up, where one was inactive and the other nonmember. So it was great to se that, since this ward seriously needs more priesthood to bear the load. Some quorum presidencies aren't complete here, and it hurts the effectiveness of the quorum. Thanks Covey for the advice on working better with the bishop here, it's something that's been on my mind a lot and that I'm going to work on. 

The lady named Susana that we've been working with has been progressing niecly. She has a huge amount of faith and desires to get baptized and share what she knows. In fact, the inactive priesthood that came yesterday we didn't even know until the other day we were going to visit her and she was talking to him about how he should come. But I just realized that I think I wrote that last week.

This week I've been feeling like I have a lot of weaknesses as a missionary that impede the work. For example, Our companionship isn't very good at all at using time effectively, and I think it comes down to the fact that we never get references. We ask but not very well. There's a great training video from Pte Monson that says right there that you won't get references just by asking "Do you have references?" So we're working on planning an activity with the ward to get references. But I feel like we need to meet with the bishop and make a ward mission plan that involves the members. So that's one thing that my companion and I have been thinking about all week. 

And now we're going to do it. Basically it's really hard to identify the major problems that we have in a companionship when I haven't seen an example of someone doing them well, but luckily that's exactly the purpose of the Spirit and PME and the church PME videos. And my companion is always really willing to make big changes in the way we do things. We also made a 1st visit lesson plan that works great for when you keep in mind that in the first visit they don't listen to you very well and that they kjust want to talk. We only teach about a living prophet a little and focus in the LDM and prayer. And that leaves us extra time for the baptismal invitation, since when we ask they typically go off about whether or not each member of their family is baptized, a neighbor they know with a cool experience, and why we're both named Elder. So the new plan is better for that.
I've been studying a lot from the New Testament about the teaching method of Jesus Christ. Mostly I've learned about boldness, and authority. Because we have the same authority to teach as Jesus had. So I can tell people that they need to be baptized in the only church with the authority of God, and there is no room for misunderstanding.

I've learned a lot about obedience so far, since there were some problems when I got here. The biggest one was taking an hour and a half for lunch, because the members don't eat with us and sometimes we hae to wait for them to finish preparing or to eat after. But what I've noticed is that the Lord always provides a way. It helps me teach my investigators. For example, 2 Sundays out of 5 the members have given us money to just go buy lunch. But we just go eat whatever's left in the apartment, and we have the energy we need for the rest of the day. Well I love you, I hope school goes well, and make sure to read Scriptures every day.

Elder Wilson

Monday, August 19, 2013

weekly letter

Dear family,

This week's been really great. A lot of the problems that we've been working on as a companionship have been improved upon. And Nick, cut your hair son. I'm excited for you all to be starting school.  In case you aren't excited for it, read D&C 131:6. Then you'll be excited.

Well the coolest thing ever happened this week and it strengthened my testimony that this is the Lord's work. On Wednesday I think it was we were walking towards a guy that was just sitting by the road to talk to him. But his neighbor yelled to us from the window, and told us that she wanted us to talk to her rebellious daughter. She and her daughter saw us walk by the day before and she wanted to call us then, but her daughter felt embarassed. 

So we taught their family, and she's a miracle investigator. When we taught her again on Friday, she had read like 5 chapters out of the Book of Mormon and told us it was "stupendous". Then she brought her daughter, her granddaughter, and her neighbor to church on Sunday. We stopped by Sunday night, and she said "I want to be baptized, when do we start preparing?" Oh also when we went by Sunday night she was at another neighbors house sharing the Liahona with him. He's inactive but he said he wants to come to church with her next Sunday. So basically she's already doing reactivations even though she's not a member. I know that the adversary will do his best with her, but I have faith that she can do it. In fact, she's friends with a preacher that has called her like 10 times since we started teaching her, including like 4 times in the night, to try to dissuade her. But she told us she was going to tell him this time "too bad, this is your problem. Because I'm already Mormon." So yeah she's great. We just need to work closely with her son in law, since he's the only priesthood in the house and the ward needs more priesthood.

I didn't fall asleep this week a single time when I wasn't supposed to, so I'm proud of that. Not even during personal study. As for what I'm eating, it's great. Each lunch is from a different member, and we have a dinner contract with a member. So I eat well without having to cook. And seriously the juice here is delicious. Too bad a lot of the good fruits don't exist in the States. but there is a really good juice that you could probably google how to make that's jugo de melon, or cantelope. Also they make a great juice from watermelon. But all my favorites are fruits that don't exist there, like guayava, lulo, Guayavana, and tomate del arbol. Oh jugo de mora is the best but we can't drink it in the mission. It was in the CCM. You can make it there if you like, and then you can be real Colombians. Mora is blackberry.

I found a great joke in the missionary manual here that says something translated like "sundays and holidays are great for finding people." Here in barranquilla, holidays are useless, and Sundays are difficult. Because everyone rents huge speakers, and they bump this ridiculous music. I seriously mean everyone, I don't think there has been a moment during a holiday where I haven't been able to hear music. So you have to shout to everyone to talk to them. Plus everyone gets drunk.

Elder Wilson

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dear family,

That's crazy that school's starting so soon. I hope it all goes well for you.

This week was really good. We heard from the zone leaders some ideas that can really help us organize and plan better. One of them went out with us on Tuesday and gave us some advice, and then we had a zone conference where they talked about it even more. So I really think that our numbers will go up this week and following weeks. 

We've been having trouble with getting investigators to come to church on Sundays because they all have work. We've been teaching a lady named Joyce and her family for a few weeks, but they haven't come to church a single time because she had work. But she told us yesterday that next week, if her boss doesn't let her come, she's going to come anyways. So it was great to see that faith from her.

The language is coming along nicely. I've improved a lot in my level of understanding what the people are saying. So I feel now like I can actually teach based on what the investigators say, which really makes it a lot easier to rely on the Spirit. Plus I've been improving a lot in my confidence to talk to everyone on the street, and to have a real conversation with them. And as a companionship, we've really improved in controlling the lessons. Basically it comes down to not asking questions unless they are truly inspired, because it's very likely that the people will talk for like 10 minutes answering one question. So at least it's really easy to figure out what people's needs are, because they tell you on the street when you greet them.

My companion is doing great. He's the district leader and there is a missionary in our district who's having some problems, so he's always having to worry about it. But he's great, and I learn a lot from him about charity and pacience. Well I don't have much to say about this week, except that 2 nights ago my neighbor was bumping this horrible music until 5 in the morning, so I fell asleep in church the next day and apparently everyone in the ward noticed haha. so I'm repenting of that. I am always tired, I think because of walking around in the sun. But at least I don't sleep in the lessons. Love you guys!

Elder Wilson

Thursday, August 8, 2013

weekly letter

Dear family,

This week was pretty good. I finally ate something I didn't like, but it was just because a lady from the ward overcooked the rice so it wasn't very good. But seriously the juice here is the best. And as for the rice, they have something here that I've only eaten once that's called rice with coco. Basically what they do is cook rice in coconut milk, and it's super delicious. You should all try it at home. But there might be more to it that just cooking it in coconut milk, so look it up first.

I have a few more photos to send this week, which is good because I don't have that much to say. But I love everything about the mission so far. Even the walking is great. It's blazing hot, but it's the best because everyone's playing this happy, tropical music with like steel drums and whatnot, everyone stares at me with this hilarious look on their face and tries talking to me in English, and just because everyone here is super friendly. We don't really have a problem with getting in. The problem is with the investigators not keeping commitments. And because some of them don't listen to us because they're distracted by everything, no matter what we do to get their attention. Sometimes it's hard not to laugh, like yesterday we taught this guy and I invited him to be baptized, and he totally missed the question and started talking about his son. So it's funny but frustrating. And some people love to talk, so it's hard to teach a lesson under a half hour. Actually I don't think we have done that yet. So those are some of the problems we have but it's still great.

Elder Caballero and I get along really well, and he's been a great companion for me. He's really good at teaching especially.

We had 4 investigators show up at church and it was great to see them. Plus an inactive family we've been teaching.  2 of them were from a great family, the Nuñez family, who got married so that they could be baptized. They have a date for the 24th but we still have to teach some principles. The mission rule is not to teach more until they keep their commitments, so the teaching goes slowly. Plus an investigator who we can't actually teach because he has some mental problems, but he's great, comes to church anyway.  We found out during gospel doctrine that I guess he's already a member, but I think he maybe was a little confused. And the other person that showed up is Gisela. She's the mom of a member. She's attended a lot but not baptized.  She only speaks to me in English. But she's great, she just feels really lonely because she doesn't have anyone in her life but her daughter, and her son who's in the army. So yeah, that's what's going on here. I've been pondering on Mosiah 2:41 a lot this week. Read it and think about it.

Elder Wilson

Monday, July 29, 2013

week 2 in the field

I don't have any pictures this week. It's because we can only use our camaras on p-day or during service. We did some service on Saturday but I didn't bring my camara, and today I haven't taken pics since we come first thing in the morning after study and whatnot. But I'll take some pics today and get them to you next week. Oh and we can use our camaras at baptisms but I haven't had any of those yet.

FYI I didn't withdraw any money yet, I'm just trying to get it all figured out.

The struggles that I have and my investigators are the same.  I get really sad because we teach great lessons, the spirit's there, they make committments, and then they don't do anything. Well some do, but no one attended Sacrament meeting yesterday except a guy we met on the street and invited, but he has mental problems and I was definitely not expecting him. But it was great, I just need to figure out if we can really teach him or not. But we're teaching a few great families. One is the familia Nuñez. They are old investigators who weren't married and when transfers happened a while ago they got lost. But we found them again, and they told us that they got married so that they could get baptized, and really they're great. We're also teaching a lady named Joyce. She has a great family, but we haven't really met her boyfriend yet to teach him. So those are only a couple. We have lots of investigators with a baptismal date, but we keep having to push it back for whatever reason.

Something that we're working on as a companionship is being more on time. The people here love to talk, so lessons take a while, and then we get to walk across the area to talk to the next person, and we show up late. So we're really trying to think of ways to fix this, since to for us to show up on time the lessons would have to be like 20 minutes or less, which is really hard here. My companion is great. He works hard and we get along really well. He's really super good at establishing relationships with investigators in the first lesson.

As for the language, it's hard. The people here on the coast speak unbelievably fast, and they have a thing where they sometimes only say like half of the word. So I really struggle to understand what people are saying, but sometimes I can at least get the gist. But I miss Bogota Spanish. And they can for the most part understand me.  i had this hilarious experience 2 sundays ago when I asked some little kid when his mission was (in spanish) and he said "No entiendo ingles". So I was laughing pretty hard about that.

I don't really know how far I walk each day. It's pretty far but I don't know. So I guess a pedometer would be good in that package, so I can keep track of how far I walk. But it could also be depressing, like when I look at that thermometer I have during companionship study and it's like 90 degrees in my room at 10 in the morning. I had to put that away because it made me cranky.

Congrats to Jen and Jared, you two rock and I'm happy for you.

Also I get these great looks when I walk around here. Everyone literally stares at me with this funny look on their face. So it's great for greeting people all the time, since in the mission the rule is hablar con todos. I'll send pics of my apartment next time. but I live there with my companion, and elder Quiñones and Elder Calderon. Elder Calderon was the guy in the back of the pic I sent last week.

Yeah so that's all, love you guys!
Elder Wilson

Thursday, July 25, 2013

first week in the field!

1 - my comp and I
2 - typical Barranquilla park, this is right by my house

You know that feeling when you step out of a hot shower and the air feels great for a minute but then you realize that it's hot when you step out of the bathroom? Well here, it's like that, only you never step out of the bathroom.  Seriously it feels the exact same, so if you want to feel what I feel, turn off the bathroom fan and take a long, hot shower. But i love it.  My first few days here I was super blessed because President was out of town, so my transfer didn't happen for a few days. In those days I got to be companions with the AP, Elder Andrus.  He is an awesome missionary, so I was super glad to work with him for a few days.

Now I've been in dos Robles for a few days, and I love it here too.  My companion is Elder Caballero. His parents are from El Salvador, so he speaks perfect Spanish, but he lived in the US his whole life, in Vegas, so he speaks perfect English too.  he's an awesome guy, I'll send a photo. Which reminds me, can you send me a family photo, like in that package you're talking about? I want one to show people here. Or more than one photo, like pull some off my facebook of friends too. 

Well the members here are awesome.  We eat with them every day, and on my second visit I got the entire fish experience. Seriously though the head tastes really good. Sorry I'm jumping all over the place, I don't have tons of time and I'm going to try to send some photos. The biggest problem we have here is that the people talk too much. We spend all day walking to visits, only to have people say thaey don't want us anymore. We don't have a phone so we don't call ahead. Then we walk to our next visit, to hear the same.  Then we finally get in somewhere, and they talk and talk, and don't really listen. Or when we eat it takes like an hour and a half because the members take a while to eat too. My spanish isn't really good enough to rush a conversation, since I can't understand what people say. But it's good, we work hard. We just are working on a way to teach more lessons in the day, since we're out all day and teach like 3 lessons and make like 8 contacts, and we never teach everyone.

I sweat constantly but it's no big deal since everyone is willing to give us water or juice. and the juice is delicious.  Well I don't have much more to say, chao!

Elder Wilson