Monday, January 4, 2016

The Engineer (1/4/16)

This week was very interesting and a little hard at first, but it turned out really, really well. 

So I went to the temple to clean on Monday after writing, which was an incredible experience, and helped me take my mind off of all stress or worry. I felt the spirit of the Lord as I pondered all of the artwork and meaning of the rooms, the ordinance room, the celestial room, and the sealing rooms. It was cool to see the office and the different things that go on inside the temple, and I love the House of the Lord.

Tuesday we had splits with Elder Hansen and his companion is San Antonio, which was great. We got to talk a bit in English for a change, which was great. We got to talk some stuff out about the Zone, the District, and even stuff at home. It's always great to get second opinions because nobody is a perfect leader or a perfect person.

We also had a meeting wednesday with the Assistants, which was cool. There were special transfers in our Zone because of some of the things they were doing, which is never great, but we're doing pretty good other than that. We talked about being more like Captain Moroni and submitting ourselves to the Lord. I had a great time, and it's cool to see the mission from a top-down view. 

We also went out with the office guys for like 3 hours on thursday, running around and putting up whiteboards in the pensions, and delivering late packages, one of which was for me! Speaking of the package, Star Wars must be pretty popular over there right now. The Elders are still freaking out about it here. Funny to see that it's fame carries over into Paraguay. Just great to get some photos and the excitement of the new year.

Speaking of the New Year, we had a free day all day, and hung out with the Zone. It was really nice to get to just chill and talk with all the other missionaries. They're actually a quite helpful and kind group of people. I'm making lots of friends here, as their leader, I feel like I'm not doing to shabby either. But of course, it's all in the hands of God.

Okay, so, about the Baptism we had yesterday! We Baptized a man who has been investigating the church for about a year and a half, and it's just such a beautiful and heartbraking story and I don't know how much I'm going to be able to explain it fully. I'll try to make a short synopsis. So Alejandro Montero is a Chemical Engineer that lost about 2,000,000,000,000 Guaranies (that's two billion) in a dirty business thing with a bad company. He owned a farm of Ka'a He'e (stevia in guaranì) and it's all abandoned now and destroyed. He found the missionaries on his way to commit suicide. One of the Elders through the spirit told him that he knew where he was going, and that they had to stop him right there. He then started going to church. 

When he moved to Ñemby a few months ago, he was the first person I visited, along with his live-in girlfirend and their children.  After that also fell apart about a month ago, he stopped coming to church, lost his job at a pizza joint, and basically gave up on everything. The Lord sent someone to go visit him, and he came back. Our mission president interviewed him in another miraculous development, and he was baptized yesterday. Turns out he studied at the same university as President Wilson, and the man that passed by his house and invited him to church as well. Miracles happen every day.

It was an outpouring of the spirit, and something that I desperately needed this week. I felt the love of the Savior so strongly, and everyone was filled with love, faith, and charity. These are the mission experiences that everyone talks about.


Elder Conner James Wilson

                                  We baptized Alejandro! He bore his testimony and it was very strong. 

                                                        Christmas Package from home

                                                      Taken at the Christmas Activity
                                                                                      Elder Page

   A man that has been a member for 60 years his name is Kike 

                                                               Silly Elder Garbett

2016 (12/28/15)

The new year is on it's way!

I'm looking forward to tons of new stuff and good times in the mission. The Lord is helping me every step of the way. I'm trying my best and rolling with the punches. Every day there are new challenges to face and new mountains to climb, but I'm willing and ready to face it, as I near the end of my mission in Paraguay. I'm thankful for the blessings of the Lord, from friends and family, and from everyone. I'm glad to be here. 

This week I got to talk to my family which was great. I felt the spirit strong and had a good time. I love them all so much and I'm thankful for all that they have given me. I testify as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ that families can be forever and that the greatest love and strength comes from that relationship. I also testify of the truth of repentance and forgiveness, and of the atonement of our Savior. I pray that all of these blessings can be mine and yours. To all of you.  

We're working really hard as zone leaders and having some fun experiences with crazy investigators. 

I love the Lord, and my family, and all of you

Sorry for the short letter, but that's all for this week!

Elder Wilson

Star Wars Christmas Special‏ (12/21/15)

Merry Christmas everybody!
This week we had our annual mission christmas activity, where the whole mission got together and played sports, had a talent show, ate, and had fun. It was awesome to catch up with old friends, take pictures (the cyber I'm at doesn't let you send pictures, so... next week) and generally have a good time. I got to talk to all of my old companions that are still here, which was sweet. 
Speaking of old comps, Elder Sander laughed really hard when he saw that we arrived in the 3i (my favorite bus) which we rented for a day for about a hundred dollars as a zone. I got to see Elder Garbett, who since he went out to the countryside has thinned out quite a bit, and Elder Jara as well. Elder McDermott was there, and it was fun to be with everybody again. We played a lot of soccer as well over there. Lots and lots of soccer. I'm not very good, but, what are ya gonna do?
My family also has a dog now. I have no idea how that happened, but we'll se how that one goes. Star Wars also came out, which is nice. I'm a bit of a light enthusiast myself, but I'm happy to be here in the mission field. :-)
No but really i'm not as upset as I thought I would be a year ago. I'm content with the mission and having a great time, and feeling the love of the savior. Trunkiness isn't affecting me like I thought it would. Despite all of the packages and christmas and stuff. I'm happy as can be. 
I'm also pretty excited for the skype.
Before I go, I would just like to testify of the wonderful beauty of the birth of our Savior. What an amazing, transcendent, beautiful event. I am forever grateful for all that the Lord has done for me, and that, in his infinite mercy, has saved us all from a worse fate. I am a personal witness of the spirit of the Lord in my work and the work of others. I love the Lord, and I know that he loves all of his children as well. For my last christmas in Paraguay, I hope to make the most of it. 
I love Christmas!
Elder Wilson

8 de Diciembre‏ (12/14/15)

Dearest Family and Friends,
The yearly "8th of December- March to Ca'aucupe" celebration happened this week. It's where everyone in the country walks to the basilica in Ca'aucupe to worship the porcelain doll statue of the Virgin of Ca'aucupe. It was funny because the Elders in Ca'aucupe had to sleep in the mission home for like 2 nights because it's dangerous in their areas. It's always interesting to see the holidays and other things that the people do here. Very different. This one was better than last year's.
Also, the bridge I took photos with fell and was destroyed this week during a thunderstorm. Looks like I'll never be crossing it after all.
Also about Antonio, so he's a recent convert that helps us out a ton. I gave him some ties and shirts that some other Elders left in the house, and he always comes out with us to work. He's the greatest guy, and he's 47 years old and unmarried, but he lives his life in the service of others and in the service of his fellow beings. I convinced him to get sealed last week and he's on the hunt to find a wife now. Hilarious, really. He's super funny. Wish you all could meet him. I think about the great members of the ward who are living in impoverished conditions but hold fast to the iron rod, and it brings a tear to my eye to think of them living as kings and queens with our Heavenly Father, exalted in the kingdom of heaven. What a great reward for these loving souls.
We also had another Leadership Council meeting, which was funny because I'm getting to the point where all of my missionary friends are at home or are going home soon. Elder Abarza who lived with me in Paraguarì was there, and he just hit a year. I watched him come to the apartment on his first day here!
This week we also have the mission christmas activity, which should be fun. I'll try to take loads of pictures and send them all over. I'm on the lookout for a Cerro Porteño jersey to take over there. It's "my" soccer team here in Paraguay. I prefer it because it's "the team of the people". The fans are really crazy and usually occupy the lower class, which is awesome. It's fun to go along with the people and be friendly toward the people here. Just a great time to make friends and become more Christlike. 
Christmas in Paraguay is always cool with lots of fireworks, loud music, and barbecues. It's summer time, so that whole "silent night" peacefulness of Christmas in the states doesn't really exist. It's more like "let's go crazy because the messiah is born woohoo" . I love Paraguay. Makes me laugh every day.

Elder Wilson

The Terminal (12/7/15)

Dear Family and Friends,
This week I have some sweet updates before I talk about what's happened.
So I had the chance to talk to some of my ex-companions in the terminal in Asunciòn, and found out that my convert Oscar is second councilor in the Elders Quorum presidency! He teaches the class and is "awesome". I knew it. It was such a pleasure to watch him grow and get baptized and get the priesthood, first Aaronic, then Melchizedek   a quorum presidency. Just wonderful news. Elder Garbett went to a place called Eusibio Ayala for his second area, which is a huge contrast from Ka'aguy Rory. It's the only area in the mission where the missionaries are the branch presidency. Should be fun. Elder Jara also went to serve in a place that has no branch or ward. Super crazy. He wasn't too excited.
So Elder Sander went off to Villarica del Espiritu Santo. He was a great comp. We had a lot in common and it was easy to talk to him. I always made fun of him because even the members and investigators always asked him which part of the states he's from. We were able to collaborate and truly have unity as a companionship. He also has a killer accent in English. All of his companions have been Americans. Even his new trainee is american. To be honest I kinda miss having him as a companion, but I know that the mission continues on. 
My new companion is Elder Vasquez from Peru. I'm training him to be a Zone Leader, and he's only been in the mission around 9 months. He's been in the same city for those 9 months as well. He seems nice, and although it's an adjustment, it'll be good to serve him and the Zone.  Elder Vasquez breakdances and loves The Fast and the Furious movies. Very much like most of the Elders from Peru.

We also have a guy named Antonio in our ward who is super great and came to church with a hurt baby burd to clean it off and then set it free. I'll say more about it next week, but he's truly good and without guile. I convinced him to find a wife this week as well. Super funny guy.
Also I heard from Elder Garbett that my investigator Carlos got baptized and has the priesthood now! What a blessing. 
Elder Wilson

                                                                   Me and  Elder Vasquez

Transfers This Week (11/30/15)

Not much really happened this week. We've been working tons with different members, which is always a great time. One member, a recent convert named Antonio, comes out to work with us all the time. He gets dressed up in a shirt and tie, and comes out with us in the worst, hottest part of the day, because, as he says "I'm not doing anything else, and... well... It's great to share my testimony". He's really a great example of pure humility and testimony. He may not be rich, or powerful, or eloquent, but he's got a powerful testimony.

So this week we have transfers. Elder Sander and I are kind of freaking out because he's been here 5 transfers, and if he stays, it would be like a Misiòn Paraguay Asunciòn record. We're pretty sure he's going this time. 
It's been a great 2 transfers with Elder Sander. We've been working really hard, and this week we had about 8 or 9 inactive families that we've visited during our time go to church. It's not even that we visited them often, it's just that we felt the spirit and did what we thought was right. One sister told my companion and I that we were the most important Elders that had ever come to visit their family, because instead of just being friends with her family (her husband is an ex-missionary), we helped them get back on their feet and go to church. They've been active for about a month now.  Just something that made me happy.
I'm sure I'll have more fun news next week.

Elder Wilson

                                                                     From the inside of a bus

Las Lomitas (11/23/15)

This week was pretty normal, but with some cool updates and stuff. My companion who's next to me on the computer just asked me "anything interesting happen this week?". But I'll try to make it interesting.

During my time in Ñemby the ward has grown substantially. We've been working hard with the ward to-- well... just to open up communication and talk with the Bishop and the presidencies to make sure the missionaries are doing their work pretty well. It's worked out great, and this quarter we've seen an average of about 25 more members every week. Before we had about 90 and yesterday we had 118. We've also started doing Ward Council and Mission Coordination meetings, and this week we're going to have Priesthood Executive Council. It's been incredible to see the ward blossom like a rose here. All of the leaders are so selfless and amazing. 

As a Zone Leader we've been doing lots of splits. We ride tons of buses. My favorite bus is Linea 3, which the locals refer to as "3i" or in their accent "Chre-i". It's a tiny little bus with tons of people in it that goes really really fast and we always have a good laugh about it with the missionaries and members. This week I went to an area called "Las Lomitas" with a new Elder named Elder Kidd from Idaho. He's a great missionary, and we had fun talking about the mission and getting him excited. Then we had to go help the Sister Missionaries move houses (for the third time) which was, of course, wonderful. Only about 3 stories this time. It's funny to see how the new Elders talk and act and are. It reminds me of when I came at first. The mission is the best.

Also in Las Lomitas, another new Elder, Elder Brown, got bit by a dog and had to go to the hospital. Of 7 companionships, only Elder Sander and I haven't had to pay a visit to the hospital this transfer. I don't know what is going on, but we're doing more meetings with the district leaders and trying to get everybody excited for the work. Focusing on the Spirit and the Book of Mormon is something that I love doing. Just trying to push everybody up a level as far as the work goes. 


Elder Wilson

Conferences (11/16/15)

I'm excited and happy to say that I had a wonderful week filled with new information and excitement concerning conferences. We had a Zone Conference this week, and I had the opportunity to present to the mission the idea of "Working close to the chapel and the homes of members" not exactly my favorite subject, but we did pretty good. It's interesting to see that the missionaries really do need things to be explained to them well, and I felt that the spirit was with us during our presentation. We got to learn from our President, and I'm very happy that he's here with us now in the mission. His words are inspired from on high. We're going to start holding zone meetings with the district leaders to get things rolling. Just an idea we had the other day, and it'll be a good chance to better help the Elders and Sisters of the zone. 

But the best conference this week was Stake Conference, with President Wilson, The temple president, and Elder Walter F. Gonzales of the first quorum of the 70. What an amazing man and teacher. He spoke about the purpose of working as a team in the church, as well as tithing and the rising generation of youth. Our President also gave the challenge to gift a copy of the Book of Mormon to a friend with their testimonies written inside, and we gave out tons of copies yesterday. I have an absolute testimony of this work, and there is nothing that will ever stop this church from progressing. Something he said was that the church will keep going on even if we don't. So true. He also realted tithing with "thou shalt not steal" and helped us out to work better in councils and meetings. 

They came to the conference to choose a new Stake Presidency for "Estaca Ñemby" , because the old one has been around for 10 years. The new Presidency gave great talks, as well as their wives. It was funny to see how much they are like their wives. The big giant first councilor has a big giant wife, the little second councilor has a little tiny wife. Just a funny observation that made a few of the Elders chuckle. They're all great men, and really the only option that there is. President Walter Gonzales teaches using the doctrine of Christ, but comes off as humble instead of cocky. His teaching is the most similar to that of the Savior that I've seen up close, and it's a nice way to set the bar high for the missionaries. 

Not much more than that happened this week, other than some rule changes about who we can and cannot teach. Basically now we just follow the manual. Pretty cool though, and it's been a tough week as far as lessons. Friday was I think the hottest day of my entire life. I ate a half kilo of ice cream. Really, the mission is the best thing ever. I've never done anything so fulfilling in my entire life, and I don't think anyone ever can. I know it's the work of the Lord. I'm so blessed.


Elder Wilson