Friday, November 13, 2015

Suffer the Children‏ (Nov. 9,2015)

A long long week.

So at the beginning of the week, a small child named Thiago asked me to baptize him. His dad is an ex-bishop and stake high counselor, but couldn't do it, so he came up to me and said "hey... my baptism is Tuesday... can you be the one to baptize me?" of course I said yes. It was a great service, but I just couldn't find my baptismal clothes. So I had to baptize him in the classic baptismal onesie jumpsuit. It reminded me of both baptisms for the dead, and my own baptism. Especially since after it was all done he had his 8th Spiderman Birthday party, which was really cool. They did a good job for a birthday party/baptism, and I was very happy to perform the ordinance for Thiago. His parents were really grateful as well. 

On wednesday the Bishop's son came home from his mission in Argentina, which was interesting. He seems really cool, and he was instantly called to be Young Men's President in the ward. How crazy is that? We all saw it coming from a mile away, and in less than a week it was a reality. He's going to do really well, and he wants nothing more than to go out and work with us. A great example of someone who's planning on being a missionary for his whole life. 

Also, in a sad, sad note, the sister missionary that we helped went home. I tried. It was really sad, and I honestly felt like the prophet Mormon ... not sad because I didn't do my part, but sad because it was in vain because of the wickedness and temptations of the adversary. She could have been a good missionary. She got replaced by a local sister from a nearby city. What a shame. The Zone is in some hard times right now, but we're doing our part. Everybody's sick or they don't listen to our council and get into trouble. But we're serving them, and I love the missionaries here in Zona 6. 

In related news, I'm finishing up another round of the Book of Mormon, and just finished Mormon and I'm going into Ether. Really just the best book ever written. The Area Presidency asked the whole church here to start over and read it again before April General conference. So I'm planning on reading it again like twice or three times if I can. 

This week was also the best week ever because we had the Primary Program. It's always a blessing to see the kids sing and play and act up on stage. The kid that was conducting was hilarious. "We would like to thank sister... uh... and sister... uuummm.... well... all of the sisters from the primary for their work on the program" that got a laugh out of everyone. The primary program is the best sunday of the year. Apart from General Conference. 

Heavenly Father knows that I really do love little children. It's always been a soft spot for me, and I know that Jesus Christ loves them as well. Reading 3 Nephi really set that in for me, and I'll work really hard to be a good father, teacher, and friend to my own children. It's just such a blessing to get along well with kids. They're the best. 


Elder Wilson

Consejo de Lìderes‏ (Nov. 2,2015)

So starting off this week we had our leadership council meeting, which was a great way to see the direction that President has for the mission, and to hear the opinions of the other Elders. A good experience and a fun time to learn and grow as a missionary. There's a big focus on retention of recent converts, and we're shifting the focus of the mission a bit, but it's all one work anyway. It's all the work of the Lord. 
We do a lot of splits as Zone leaders. About once or twice a week, on tuesdays and fridays. We make lots of calls and we usually help out in the district meetings of the two districts under our charge. I went on another split in San Antonio, which was crazy. There was a ton of rain and it was a hard hard day. Nobody let us in, except for the baptismal interview which I was there to perform. It was a good growing experience. 
I also got a package which is always a blessing. Very happy to recieve letters and packages at any time. Hint hint. Just kidding, but it was good to get some fun stuff in the mail, right on time for my comps b-day and other fun stuff.
We also had the chance to help out some of the missionaries in the zone. There are some who are hospitalized and one that wants to go home. I had the opportunity to make a few calls and to try to calm her down and feel the spirit work through my companion and I. I know the Lord loves his missionaries. 
Not a lot happening lately, but I'm enjoying Ñemby and working really hard. We've got a christmas activity planned as a mission and we've got a talent show. If anyone has ideas shoot them over.

Elder Wilson

Also, my trainer is engaged. that's weird.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Short again, next week longer (Oct. 26,2015)

So I'm still in Ñemby and so is Elder Sander. We're going to be together another 6 weeks here working our hearts out. We got an injection of new elders and sisters in our Zone that will be a new challenge and hopefully a blessing. This week was one of the best and hardest of my mission, but I feel like I'm progressing well. We worked hard with little results, but the ward is stronger than ever with a lot of progress for the missionaries and my comp and I. It's raining like crazy, and I hope nobody gets mad for the length of my letters. 

Today is Elder Sander's birthday, and he's pretty excited, so we're going to have some fun on P-Day. Eat some good stuff. We've got another one of those Zone Leader conferences this week, which will be great for our excitement and the work. I'm happy to be here in Paraguay working hard. I'm making good friends in the field and in the wards here, and we're working as hard as we can.  


Elder Wilson

Conner and Elder Sanders with Victor Aricha

Scary Bridges (Oct. 19,2015)

Our vision for the work here in Paraguay is a strong, fortified, and happy church. We're trying really hard to get that into the Elders and Sisters here in our Zone, which is kinda hard because they're sort of fighting it. We did some "checking up on" some of the Elders, and we found their apartment a total disaster-  disgusting and unclean. No wonder they haven't been having success. We're working really really hard to try and help them out, and it's sort of working? This week is the week of transfers, and I'm pretty sure I'm staying here in Ñemby with a new companion.
We've been travelling in our area quite a bit and checking out new places to work. I'll try to send some photos of some cool bridges in my area. It's always a fun time in Ñemby. Elder Sander is probably my best companion so far. We get along great, teach well together, and have the same dreams and visions for the church here. I'm happy to have been here with him for these six weeks. We cooked some Thai Panang Curry this week, which was actually super amazing. I was really happy to be able to try something distinct and different after literally a year of noodles and beef. It was so good.
This letter is really short, but It's sort of a crazy day. We had a baptism of the sister missionaries this morning, which was actually the baptism of Kevin who I talked about. He moved last week to their area, but I still consider him my convert. It was awesome to see him taking this step in his life, and I hope to be able to help him grow and get better, even if I can't visit him.
Elder Wilson
                                                                     Finally made Panang Curry

                                                     Things unique to Paraguay
Scary Bridges

San Antonio (Oct. 12,2015)

This week is largely more of the same. I would love to say that it was incredibly different and crazy, but it was mostly just running around, growing a bit and trying to learn. Of the few things that happened, I did go on companionship exchanges with Elder Chura from Bolivia, in his area "San Antonio". It's a nice little town based around a single street, with the pretty LDS chapel right on the highway. It's been raining pretty constantly, so I've been soaking wet for days. We're trying to help the Elders be a little more intelligent with their Agency, which is working for now. 
I've learned in my mission that in order to help people in the gospel you have to love them, and show them that you love them. At first, for example, I would try to sort of show people why the gospel was true with information, then later on in my mission, tell them why it was true while respecting their beliefs and other aspects, now... I sort of just tell them the truth with love. I don't know how to explain that well, but basically I've found that people react well to honesty, frankness, and love. It's not that hard, but it's something I've had to learn. It's been a good change to show everyone with a smile that their Heavenly Father loves them, and that's why he sent us to them. 
We had the opportunity to attend the baptism of the Sisters in our district, who baptized a man with terminal cancer and his mother. The mom gave a wonderful testimony at the end of the service, and I had the opportunity to confer the Holy Ghost upon their heads. What a blessing it is to be a holder of the Priesthood of God. It's a privelage and an honor. I know I touch this subject a lot, but it shocks me just how much I've learned to appreciate that. 
I'm reading about the two thousand stripling warriors once again in Alma 56, which is a great chapter on the faith of the Ammonites. They're way cooler, and incredibly ripped, than I'll ever be, but I'll try to mimic their faith and remember that my own mother is probably very similar to theirs.

#LDS Conf (October 5,2015)

General Conference is just a blessing.
You know, I just really feel electrically charged with the spirit after such a powerful General Conference. I'm happy that I was a missionary during this conference. I was really excited for the whole thing, and it really pays off to pay attention to the word of the Lord. 

Once again I am appalled at the thought that I once thought Conference was "boring". What a dummy. These are the most important weekends of the entire year. I know this might just be the missionary talking, but I don't ever want to miss a session of General Conference ever again. After all, they're ALL talking directly to me, and to you. 

Some of my favorite highlights were, of course, the words of our Prophet. His talks in both priesthood session and Sunday morning were inspiring and heartwarming. He truly is a prophet of God. I also felt a great love, as always, for all of the First Presidency, as well as the Quorum of the Twelve. Their inspired council is helping me to be a better missionary and disciple of Christ, as it should for all of you. I have no doubt in my mind that these are inspired men. 

We spent the whole week inviting everyone and their grandmother to the conference, and we had a bit of success as far as that goes. Our investigator Kevin is set to be baptized this saturday. He attended both the Priesthood Session and the session on sunday morning. 
My mind is like a conference soup right now, so it's a little hard to think straight, but I just want everybody to know that the work is going well, and we're having a great time. The Zone's biggest deal right now is having low levels of hope, or power in teaching and working. We're going to try to give our same spirit and excitement for the work to these great, but unexcited Elders and Sisters. With the help of all these talks, it'll probably be a bit easier and fresher in their minds.

Elder Wilson

Nearer My God to Thee (Sept. 28,2015

Not a huge week, but some interesting stuff happened.

As far as us in the work this week, we're doing good, and had a lot of lessons with several investigators that are progressing pretty well. We have quite a few people with baptismal dates set for the 10th and 17th after General Conference. It's going really well, and we're trying to help out our Zone a ton by going on splits and checking on areas and trying to get everyone excited for the work. The numbers in the mission have dropped dramatically in the past few months, and a spirit of dissapointment seems to be going around the mission. My companion and I are working hard to keep everybody super happy and with the spirit of the Lord working in their areas. It's more difficult than I thought it would be, but we're seeing progress.
We also had the chance to sing at a catholic funeral this week. My companion and I went to the house of a part member family and they asked us to sing some hymns and say a prayer. We sang  Nearer my God, To Thee, and God be with you Till we Meet Again. It was really nice to see the people react to the hymns, and many were crying. One lady there approached us and told us that she was a less active member, and that it reminded her that she needs to return to the church and respect the covenants she made. It was quite an event, and in the house it was funny to see a picture of the Temple in Asuncion right next to the idolatrous statues of Mary and San Cayetano.
We also did some splits this week, which were cool. I had the chance to help out a brand new Elder in his area, and it was the first split with a leader in his mission. A wonderful opportunity to ponder my mission and think about the beginning of my mission and how crazy it seems and how fast-yet-slow it's gone. He really seemed changed and moved by my advice, something which I had never thought of happening in my mission.
Also we noted the passing of Elder Richard G. Scott this week. What a crazy cascade of events this year. We thank Elder Scott here in the field for his awesome talks and work, and we await anxiously for the conference this saturday and sunday. I'm way excited. We're listening to Motab to get pumped up for the first sesh.
Elder Wilson

                                     Leadership manual (I'm pretty much Captain Moroni)
   The computer place I'm at. You know you've got a good cyber when you're looking for your camera on          the computer and you accidentally click "3 1/2 inch floppy".
                                                                Our house

Zone 6 (Sept. 21,2015)

This week was a hectic mess of all sorts of meetings and craziness.

I'll start with monday. So we had our big ol' jedi council meeting on monday, which I talked about last week. The Elders from my group ask a ton of really obvious questions and it's a little embarassing, but pretty funny to see what's going on with all of the different missionaries, and the direction that President wants the mission to go as opposed to what the missionaries think. 

Then on thursday I gave my first Zone Training, which was super cool. It was a double Zone Training with Zones 6 and 7. It was a little boring, because we were talking about pamphlets and medical stuff, and many other such like things, but I think we did really well. Our Zone has been suffering quite a bit as far as numbers go before I got here, and most of the Elders and Sisters have almost completely lost the vision to baptize. It's interesting to see that at a certain point in my mission I've changed my way of thinking quite drastically. I've had a few companions with bad attitudes about Baptism, but right now, where I'm at, I love preaching baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. There's nothing like it, and I hope that my cheery attitude and the attitude of my companion can help kick the Zone into gear and start working like crazy to preach repentance to the people of Ñemby. I want President to be like "woah what's going on in Zone 6? it's like the waters of Mormon over there!". 
I think that's going to be just wonderful. We talked about it for a good half hour in our Zone Training.

There's a big Elder in Zone 7 named Elder Sherwood who always lifts me in the air for a bear hug and cracks my back in a million places. He's pretty cool. He played football for Mountain View in AZ, for those of you who know what that means. 

The next day we supervised interviews with President Wilson, which was amazing as well. I love having the opportunity to express my feelings about the mission and learn from someone so filled with inspiration from on high. President enlightened us a bit about his vision for the mission here in Paraguay, and I was filled with the spirit and am 100% ready to help establish Zion here in Asunciòn. How cool would that be to hear after my mission that Paraguay is basically the Utah of South America. In it to beat Peru haha just kidding. 

Other than that Elder Sander and I are doing just fine. Other than a busted AC unit, our house is great, our area is better, and the work is in progress. We have an investigator named Kevin who is going to get baptized the day of General Conference. He went to church yesterday with his family, and the young men's program jumped right in to help out. They even went over to his house to hang out and share a little bit. What a blessing. 


Elder Wilson

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ñemby‏ (Sept. 14,2015)

I got transferred this week!
So right now I'm in an area called Ñemby 1.1 as a Zone Leader, and my companion is Elder Sander from Uruguay. Ñemby is impossible to pronounce.
A little about my new area, it's about 50% campo and 50% city, which is pretty nice. There are some spots that remind me immensly of Coronel Oviedo, and it shocks me to think that I was there over a year ago. People start to tell me in lessons that I'm like almost done with my mission and stuff and I'm just like "NO!! I'VE STILL GOT TONS OF TIME LEFT" it's pretty funny. I'm loving the work we're doing as well right now. Yesterday we confirmed 2 kids named Hugo and Samuel Vera, who are super great and I had the opportunity to participate in conferring the holy ghost on them.

The reason I'm late today is because we had a Zone Council meeting in Asunciòn today, and it took forever. It was a nice meeting, with a good spirit about it, with some minor and major changes to the way we do things in the mission. Overall really interesting, but definitely spiritually edifying. 
It's pretty great. Honestly I feel really awesome about everything that's going on right now. The spirit is so strong with us as we work and serve.
Elder Sander is pretty great. He's obedient, spiritual, and fun to be around. We get along great, and we work hard, and my shoes are getting absolutely decimated again. Finally. We're having an awesome time and I'm sure we'll have tons of success while we're helping out the other missionaries here. Also, Elder Sander is super tall! Hooray! Another huge companion. The kids here in Ñemby love my eyebrow movement thing, and now that I have the Thomas S. Monson-like  ability to wiggle my ears, I'm making a lot of friends, really really fast. 
The work is going super well. I'm happy to be here, as always. I also hear that Elder Garbett is doing good in Ka'aguy Rory with his new companion. As is Elder Jara.
Elder Arrington is home now and has a beard.

Elder Wilson

Monday, September 7, 2015


This week was really really good. Generally just a spiritual boost and well exciting for the work.

Being the week of ward conference, we had a lot of activities. I had the opportunity to bear testimony about etarnal families in the ward family night activity that we did early on in the week, which was a great time and had pretty good refreshments.

Another activity we did was going on splits with some of the ward members on saturday. Elder Garbett went with Bishop Torres, and I went with our ward mission leader Luis (who is prepping to return to his mission this january). It was a great experience, and really cool to be able to get a few lessons done with important investigators at the same time. I suggest that all the young men and young women go out with the missionaries as often as possible. I did it, and it was pretty cool to get to proselyte with Maren and the Sisters. I remember being kinda scared to knock doors in the states, but since I've been here I can't really remember being scared to talk to anyone. 

That all lead to a bunch of people coming to church for the ward conference, where I, along with the young men, young women, and other elders, performed a mix of "Love One Another" and "Donde hay amor" in front of the crowd. It was pretty great. Just kidding it was just pretty okay. Paraguayans are tone deaf. 

I also got more opportunities to use the priesthood this week in blessings, which is always a testimony builder. Seeing tears stream down the faces of people after you get done performing the blessing always warms my heart and reminds me of why I'm here. It was sort of a standard week other than that, with not tons going on. Lots of proselyting and spirit and fun. Currently I'm reading through the New Testament, and I'm absolutely in love with the Scriptures right now. Really it's just the greatest blessing to have such a huge resource of help, advice, instruction, and information at my disposal, and I can't go without reading the Book of Mormon every day. Read your dang scriptures, people! They're amazing. I also got a tiny pocket new testament in spanish, which is really useful. I signed the back where it asks you to sign if you accept Jesus as your personal savior, so I think that means I'm saved. 

Also this thursday we also have a meeting with Walter F. Gonzales from the Area Presidency. It's just for the missionaries, so I'll report back about what happens. 


Elder Wilson

Happy Labor Day! (Sept. 7,2015)

Baptism of Mario Arce
Elder Garbett and I had our first baptism this week! Elder Garbett performed the ordinance. Mario kept on not going in all the way, so poor Elder Garbett had to perform the baptism like 6 times. Well, the first one is always a little interesting. He did a great job, and Mario didn't really seem to care. 

Mario's conversion was a tender mercy of the Lord for Elder Garbett and I. Essentially what happened is that the first few times we visited him, he like screamed at us because so many missionaries had tried to convince him to get baptized. Then one day at sacrament meeting he came up and said "Elders... it's my time. I want to get baptized. You guys need to teach me everything again and I want to get baptized in like 2 weeks." So that's what we did. It was wonderful to see and experience and he seemed genuinely happy to be finally baptized. He's quite the character, but he's got a tender heart and his wife and grand kids will be there to support him. It was a miracle for Elder Garbett and I, and we've been working really hard for 3 months with seemingly no results, but we've been blessed by the spirit of the Lord with a lot of growth and experience during the few months we've been together. Having a baptism isn't really the important part, but it was a great time anyway and is sure to help Elder Garbett out in his mission. I'm glad I was here with him for his first Baptism.

Some other news from this week 

We're also now allowed to drink Coca-Cola as a mission, which was music to my ears. Literally every family just buys coke, and then they're forced to by an extra soda for the missionaries at every single lunch. Without fail. It at least makes the lunches easier. Very good news for me.

We also had splits with ZL Elder Lema from Ecuador, who I've been living with for the past 4 1/2 months. We had a good time, and I tried to help him out with his area a bit. They've been struggling for a while and it was nice to help him feel the spirit of the work in his area again.

other than that, transfers are this week, and I'll write about what happens next week.


Elder Wilson

Also Oscar Franco, my convert, got the Melchezidek Priesthood this week!

So proud!
                                                                                    Baptism Day!
                      There's a super weird guy in our ward named Flabio and he makes me laugh.

                                                                        Chillin with Sabio Flabio
All the missionaries in the ward.
                                                    With Elder Lema and Elder Eloff (tall) and Flabio

Monday, August 31, 2015

Stake Conference (August 31,2015)

Okay I'm just going to start the letter this time. It's really hard to start these sometimes, you know? 

This week my convert Oscar got ordained to the office of Elder in the Melchezidek Priesthood! I'm extremely proud and so happy to see his progress. He's 100% my strongest convert, and really really loves the church. He is absolutely going to be a leader of some kind. Next stop: Temple (and Finding him a wife so he can be the new Bishop). It's really a blessing to see the fruits of our labors as missionaries, and I know he'll stay strong and active in the church. How awesome. 

We also had our meeting with President Gonzales, which was quite awesome. He really knows how to use the scriptures. Everything he said he followed with "Book of Mormon- So in Alma blah blah" It was really a great time and we got to shake hands with him which was great. Next thing I have to do is shake hands with an apostle. I only ever saw President Monson's dark silhouette at the Temple Celebration in Atlanta, so I would like to get a chance to maybe see an apostle in real life. Not that I need that to know they're apostles. 

Speaking of Apostles, we had a Stake Conference where Quentin L. Cook and Robert D. Hales spoke via satellite to the saints in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Also Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the 70 spoke entirely in Spanish, which was cool. They're great men, and spoke mostly about missionaries, the family, and keeping the sabbath day holy. All of those are well needed by the stakes and wards here in Paraguay. A great experience. In the same conference we sustained Oscar as a Melchezidek Priesthood holder. 

We've also got an investigator who'll be baptized this saturday. I'll give more info after the Baptism, but it's going to be an awesome experience, especially since transfers are the 9th of September, and we haven't had one yet as a companionship. We've been working pretty hard and improving little by little, and it's just wonderful to see the ward spring into action and improve with us. As we've gotten more spiritual, as has the ward, and our investigators. 

So anyway, it was a good week. We also ate "Mondongo" which, as they've described it to me... is: The part of the cow where it stores it's waste.

It was kinda chewy. 

4 1/2 Stars out of 10


Elder Wilson

Happy Birthday Brynn and Maren! Brynn, be careful on the road, please. I'm gonna want the car when I get home. Just kidding! Love you two!

Monday, August 24, 2015

A Good Week! (Aug 17,2015)

Hey so an update about my investigator Carlos: He went to church this week in Paraguarì. He's doing really great and tells us he has a testimony of the restored gospel, and of the Book of Mormon. He has a little bit of fear concerning baptism, but I'm sure with some more knowlege and help from the spirit, he'll do just fine. 

Also a guy who always goes to church (the best friend of the bishop), who always rejects us when we talk about baptism, came up to us at church on sunday and told us he's going to prepare to be baptized. It's such a blessing to see the miracles that the Lord can work if we endure, pray, and diligently search the scriptures. Many missionaries have taught and preached to this man, and I'm so happy to have to chance to see this change wrought on his heart. 

We helped the other companionship of sisters move this week as well. This time they lived on the 5th floor, and it was really funny to see President Wilson throw the mattresses from the top floor all the way to the bottom just for convenience. It was pretty great. We did it a lot faster this week, and it was a fun time for everyone. Although I am a little sore, I'll admit.

I would like to touch on something that happened this week. The Ex-Missionary who lives in our ward but hasn't been active for 10 years, denied my testimony a second time this week. I gave a short little testimony, and he said "you know... that feels empty to me". So I decided "bueno, I'll try to be as honest and sincere this time as possible" and I gave my testimony again, after hearing him explain why it doesn't make sense that Jesus would force us to work for salvation and how mormons are just scared of breaking the commandments, and that's why we believe that God is real, just out of fear. In my testimony, I started to weep a little bit, and I know that what I said will stand as a testimony before God and Angels against him at the last day. We invited him to come to church. The most beautiful thing I can think of happening to him is to baptize his wife and children and be sealed to his family. So we're not giving up on him. He was a missionary at one time, after all.


Elder Wilson

                                                                         NEW SCRIPTURE CASE
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