Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May 19

This week was pretty tricky because almost every day we had some last-minute errand to run for the zone and we weren't able to teach as much as I wanted. It's always a little frustrating when that happens but the good news is that the Lord doesn't really need us to do His work and we happened to have the best sacrament meeting attendance this week since I've been here. In fact, 2 non-members who we've never taught and live in our area just showed up this week because they felt like it, which was a powerful testimony of what it says in Moroni 7:29-32.

The area has really been worrying about improving ward councils here in the mission. This Sunday we went to an area broadcast about having more efficient ward councils, and I loved every word they said. They always just fucus on the basics, like what it says in the church handbook, but this time they really talked about how our motive to work must be a sincere love for the people. At least, that's what the Spirit taught me during the training.

I have really felt that this week when I haven't had time to visit people. I worry about them. It's cool to see how God has helped me develop chirity during the course of my mission, and I can't imagine how much he'll keep shaping me after the mission.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Wilson

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 12

This week was incredible. Sorry that I wasn't able to write you all yesterday, I went to the beach and it was super awesome and I'll send a ton of pictures. But the best part was a couple of really spiritual experiences we had. One of them was terribly sad but really cool too. 

We are teaching a family in a really poor part of our area where there is a pair in free union and they have 5 kids. The father really doesn't spend any time at his house, he just goes to eat lunch and to sleep. We went on Saturday and it was one of the worst moments of our mission. First we arrived at some members house close by, and they told us that this family hadn't been able to pay rent and that very day they were going to kick them our of their house, and they had no place to go. We arrived at the house with those members, and when we walked in, we found her lying on her bed, groaning in pain because of some sickness in her stomach. She was groaning, sobbing, dry heaving, and everything, and as I watched her I knew that she wasn't crying from the pain but because her heart was broken because her kids weren't going to have anywhere to sleep. They called the dad but he wasn't about to show up there. So we were watching and up until this moment we hadn't said anything and she didn't know we were there. Then I said "Sister, we're here to help you. We are the missionaries" and in that very moment she stopped crying and sat up in her bed. We gave her a blessing and we promised her that she could be calm. Se calmed down quite a bit and then we had to go. I was sad because there really wasn't anything I could do, but I knew and she knew that God would provide. The day after we went to visit and we found her and her family living with those close-by members, even though it's a house with 2 rooms and there are like 12 people living there. I was so grateful for those selfless members and for God's cautious care of each of His children. I was really able to feel the authority that we have been given as missionaries when I promised her that even though I don't know how, I know that God will provide a way for her.

Other than that, I had a great time at parque Tayrona. We had to walk in really far to get to the beach we visited last, and it was super hot and sunny. That's why you can see in each picture that I'm super sweaty from the walk. But it was really pretty and I'd love to come back someday to actually jump into those clear blue caribbean waters. Well I love you all and I hope you have a great week.

Elder Wilson

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27

This week has been really great, My new companion, Elder Selman, is awesome. He's from Tremonton, Utah, and has only been in the mission for about 8 months. But he has a ton of energy to work and loves to learn more about the zone and being a missionary, and I know he'll help me keep working hard until the end. The only bad part is that he likes to ask me questions about my home and my plans for after the mission and trunky stuff like that. But we already get along great. It's weird for any gringo to have another North American companion, but he's my 3rd.

This week was really spiritual. We were working in a remote area called Villa Sol, if you want to look it up it's carrera 3 with calle 6 in Soledad, more or less, but I doubt you'll find that address on a map. Anyways we were walking and we saw a family sitting outside their house and we stopped to talk to them. Turns out they're super interested in the message. I guess they have some problems in their house and they have a lot of faith that the message can help. So much faith that the mom walked all the way from her house to the church, which is ridiculously far away, carrying her baby the first sunday after we taught her. I really want to prepare a family to get baptized before I go and I really hope that this is the one. It's just so very hard to get the families here to progress but I know that God will help. Something I've seen here is that it's really common for the mom of a family to get baptized first, then her husband years later according to the Lord's time.

Another cool experience is with Beatriz and Raul. We decided to invite them to fast this week so that their papers could all be ready for them to get married. They did a fast for the first time ever and on Sunday Raul went to church even though he had work that day. They were calling him to go in but he just didn't go. The best blessing of fasting is the spiritual strength we aquire when we realize that our spirit is stronger than our flesh. We also fasted with Alex, a member who is becoming active again but they offered him a job in another town where the church hasn't quite got there yet and he has to work Sundays. It was really great.

Well love you all, have a great week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20

Well transfers just got here and I guess that I'll be finishing my mission here in Soledad 2000, but with a new companion. I get to train a new zone leader again right before I go, which should help me stay strong until the end.

As far as my area goes, there's really not much to say. We've had a lot of success with less-active members, and a lot of them are attending church regularly now, even sometimes when we can't visit them.

We still don't have a ward mission leader, but the stake is really starting to get involved with this ward to help them get one, so that should really help them get a little more active in their work. 

We have a couple with plans to get married on May 15th, but here it is a nightmare to get people married. They need certain records that they can only get in the city where they were born, and both live far away from their birthplace. They each found some records that a family member sent them but I saw them and I realized that they were the wrong records, and they'll have to try to get them again. We really need your prayers so that they can get all their papers that they'll need.

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13

A convert took a picture of us teaching him a lesson. Here it is.

 Last leadership council with the assistants and zone leaders of the mission

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6

I absolutely loved general conference this week. I felt very strongly the Spirit and I confirmed my testimony that this church is true, that Thomas S Monson is a prophet, and that each of the 12 apostles has keys to receive revelation for the church.

We had a less active member assist the saturday morning session, where they talked a ton about marriage and family. He has been living with a woman for a long time and doesn't want to get married yet. We are sure that the Spirit of the session will have touched his heart.

There is also an investigator who has attended church for forever and has never wanted to get baptized. He listened to 2 sessions of conference and told us when we met with him after that he decided that now was the time for him to get baptized.

I had been praying and looking for the answer to know how to leave this area stronger than I foud it, because it has been really hard to get investigators to go to church. We have had a ton of progress with less actives since I got here, but few results with investigators. I felt an answer to my prayers as the apostles and seventy talked about the importance of family, the power of testimony, and the sweet music of the Spirit. I know that as I put their council in practice I'll be able to baptize in this ward before I have to head back.

I was able to watch all sessions of conference live in a small room in the stake center in English, in a small screen. Whenever they started to speak in Spanish, we'd run over to the chapel to see it in Spanish, and then we'd run back over to the English room to keep listening in English. I was sad to not be able to hear Elder Scott speak, do any of you know if he's sick or something?

Well I love you and hope you have a great week!
Elder Wilson

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mar 30

This week was pretty good because I was able to feel the guideance of the Spirit in many instances. In one lesson I remember that we invited someone to come to church with us but he told us that he goes to another church and wasn't going to be able to go with us. I told him to pray and ask God if he should go with us or not, and at the end of the lesson he knelt down and praed and asked. After the prayer we asked him what he felt and he said that he knew that he had to go to church with us. I was awesome to hear that.

Another day I was on exchanges with another elder and a recent convert started to say that she was doubting her testimony of the church because of some small doctrinal points that she didn't agree with. At first we started to talk about the doctine she mentioned, and then I realized that it wasn't right and that we had to talk about something else. I prayed to know what question to ask to find out what she really needed. I received an answer and asked her if she felt that God answers her prayers. She said no and started to cry, because for a long time she wanted to have a child but hadn't been able to have one. She felt that God didn't love her and that's why she hadn't wanted to talk to the missionaries for a while. We talked to her about God's love, and in her last prayer she expressed gratitude for all that she had and for our visit as well. It is an incredible feeling to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.

Well I love you all!
Elder Wilson

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mar 23

This week was an excellent week. The area is really interested in hastening the work of salvation, so they have been doing a lot to improve ward councils here in Colombia. This week the area president, Elder Uceda, came and met first with all the zone leaders and then with all the members of ward council in the 3 stakes from Barranquilla. In the first meeting he gave us a time to talk about all the challenges that there are which prevent ward councils from being very effective. He also gave us an awesome training in the importance of inviting with actions, not just with words. He said that a lot of us missionaries just ask them to pray or tell them to go to church and that's it. But we have to pray with them, read with them if they don't read, and pass by them to go to church so that they can know that our invitations are serious. I already do those things but it changed the way I see invitations. 

The meeting with all the ward councils was awesome, first because I have served in 4 wards and 1 branch from Barranquilla, so I was able to see a lot of people I already knew. Yalissa Rodriguez, a convert from Alfonso Lòpez, was there as well and I was so happy because I saw that she's still very strong in the church. People really glow with a spiritual light when they're converted to the gospel. I also loved the training because they talked about one of the ideas that I'd given in the first meeting (using an agenda for ward council to prevent everyone talking about whatever) and that made me feel smart.

Other than that the week was a little hard because we had a lot to do in the zone and since our zone is part of the city and 2 small towns outside of the city. I live right by the transport terminal in Soledad, in the Calle 54 with Carrera 15 or something like that. In that general area. 

My companion is really great. He loves eating healthy and doing lots of exercise, which should help me get in good shape before I head back.

Love you all!
Elder Wilson

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mar 16

So this week I got transfered out of Valledupar. I'm actually super sad about it because I really grew to love that place. My area, the members, the investigators, the zone. I came  to Soledad as zone leader again. I started my mission in this same city, which is really just an extension of Barranquilla, so I can say that I speny my whole mission in just 3 stakes and 2 cities. My new area is really good. It's super huge and there's a lot of potential to get a lot of good work done here. the members are great and the bishop is a huge help as well. The only problem is that we don't have a ward mission leader but I'm sure that we'll get a new one soon.

We don't really have a lot of investigators yet because they split the ward into 2 areas when I got here and most of the investigators we had went to the other area. But the people here are really receptive and it's pretty easy to find new ones. The members are helping us out a lot with a lot of referrals.

My companion is awesome he's from Ecuador. Elder Vélez. His old companion, the one I'm replacing, is the newest assistant so he's had some great examples in companions and is also a great example.

I found out today that one of my old companions is less-active now and it made me really sad. But I'm sure that what he learned about repentance in his mission will help motivate him to repent some day soon.

Well I love you all!

Elder Wilson

Sorry I forgot my spiritual experience for the week.

This week we did exchanges with some elders from our zone and I went to work in their area. we were walking in the street and I felt like we needed to talk to a lady. So we walked over to where she was and I contacted her. Turns out she's super interested and that she's gone to church with her husband a bunch of times before. S I thought it was cool to see how the Spirit guided us there. But then when we finished up and left,the missionary who I was with told me that he had been searching for this lady for a long time because she was an old investigator from their area book. I loved seeing how the Spirit works through all the missionaries to accomplish His purpose. It doesn't matter if they have a lot of time in the area or just a little, He guides each one equally.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mar 9

Hey I'm really sorry but today we had a zone activity and my companion and I had to stay after cleaning and I don't have time to write today. There are transfers tomorrow and I'm pretty excited to see what will happen. I really have no clue this time.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mar 2

This week was a pretty great week. We were able to have zone conference and it turned out great. President Searle has been really concerned lately with helping missionaries really consecrate themselves to the work. Help them give everything to serve the Lord. I really liked what was said because I was abloe to receive a lot of ideas on how to help the zone and more importantly how to consecrate myself.

A cool experience to share this week happened yesterday when we were finished with the day and heading to dinner. We always walk up the same street when we're in this neighborhood at night, but yesterday I felt like we had to walk up a different street. We did, and while we passed by a member's home my companion felt like we had to stop in and see why one of them didn't go to church that day. when we got there, she started crying and told us that she felt bad about some sins she had and decided that she couldn't go to church for a while while she was fixing them. We testified about repentance and invited her to church again. I really liked the experience because I know it's a lot easier to prevent someone turning less active than to rescue someone who already fell away. I loved acting as an instrument in the Lord's hands. 

Well sorry that's it for now, I got to Internet late because we were doing a deep cleaning in our house (it needed it). I love you all!

Elder Wilson

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 23

The highlight of this week was probably that I drank coffee. The first time I broke the word of wisdom I was in my mission. We found this awesome family and had a great lesson, and then they offered us arepas with coffee. I'm usually really careful but I was negligent this time and I drank without smelling first. I took a big gulp before I realized it was coffee and spat out what was left in my mouth and said sorry I don't drink coffee. I think the funniest part was that after I spat it out my companion saw that one of the investigators drank it hahaha. But hey, they say that Colombian coffee is literally the world's best coffee, so who could resist??

We are working really hard here in our area and in the zone. We have some investigators with a ton of potencial. Santos and Ana Dilia are ready to get baptized as soon as they're married, and the ward is getting mobilized to help with a fund raising activity. We are working with a lot of families and we are seeing a lot of progress. 

This week we recieved a few referrals, which was awesome because it's not all that common here. One was a young woman who has already been to church a few times. She's really excited and even though her parents aren't interested, they gave her permission to get baptized. She has a baptismal date for April 4th.

This week is zone conference and we're pretty excited for that. President Searle has been teaching a lot about consagration lately, and it's been awesome to see the difference he's made in the mission. I know without doubt that he receives revelation for the mission, just as any church leader can receive revelation for his stewardship.

I love you all!
Elder Wilson

Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16

 the Guatapurí river here in Valledupar, with the siren in the back. The legend is that if you bathe here you never leave Valledupar, because of the siren.
 my companion, a member, and another missionary from the zone. He's a great friend and he lives in Pleasant Grove. He's headed home next month.

 my companion and I with Edgardo, an investigator we've been teaching who happened to be in the river. While we were there he jumped off the bridge in the background into the water, and I got it on video :)

 an airplane they shot down, story goes it had drugs inside

This week was really great. We were able to work hard and pass our goals for the lessons we taught. We have been working with a couple investigators who are really great and are progressing a ton. Two of them are Santos and Ana Dilia. They are really getting excited about the message and have plans to get baptized beginning of March. The problem has been that they need money to get married and it's hard for them in their situation. Please pray that the promises we've made that if they try they'll have the money can be fulfilled.

This weekend Breiner Murillo will get baptized. He's just 11 years old but his sister and cousins are already members. He's a great kid and I know he'll be a good missionary.

Elder Wilson