Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Through the Fire and Flames on Expert Mode (May 16,2016)

So this week we had the opportunity to have a guitar in our apartment.

We had an activity in our ward (and a baptismal service) where we planned to do a few musical numbers, and with permission from the mission president we got to borrow a nilon string acoustic guitar for a few days. Which, was awesome. We performed "We'll Bring the World His Truth". I played the guitar and the other Elders sang, and it turned out pretty well. I've been learning a lot about music with Elder Mumford (he's been giving me piano lessons on mondays), but it was cool to actually do something that I know how to play. I was happy to share that with everybody.
After such a long time your hands really start to hurt, though. 

We also went to another 6 hour leadership conference in Asunciòn, which meant two 4 hour busrides and staying the night in the mission office. A fun experience, with a bit of heated advice from President about the Area book. A lot of 
"How would you like to hand Christ your area book right now" sort of stuff. It's a very effective strategy to get us to do our job well. I really do have a testimony of keeping things organized here in the mission. It's impossible to find someone and to help them get converted if we don't write these things down. I love getting to an area and seeing that the missionaries did their job as far as that's concerned. I've been working a lot on the gift of discernment recently, trying to really take my time when we teach to observe and listen instead of just talking to the people. I'm a bit of a talker, so it's been good to bridle that a little bit and feel the spirit even stronger in lessons. Stop, look, and listen.

Carlos Chavez, our recent convert, baptized his son Carlitos as well. Such a cool thing, really. That's my second convert to baptize someone else while I'm here, and it's so much more rewarding that actually performing the ordinance myself. I did get to participate in the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, though. Always cool, always cool.

I'll keep you updated if anything happens on my birthday this friday!


Elder Wilson

My convert Yesica singing
Finally playing the guitar

Elder Franchini taking a selfie with Carlitos

Monday, May 9, 2016

Final Round (May 9, 2016)

I was recently informed about the transfers for these next six weeks, and I'll be staying with Elder Mumford here in Ca'aguazu. Elder Dyer from Vegas and Elder Franchini from Argentina (the Zone Leaders will also be staying with us. I was also informed that Elder McDermott is going to be ending his mission in Paraguarì! He had been asking for like forever to go back there, and it'll be great to hear how he's doing and about the branch. I'm happy to be here in Ca'aguazu, and I know it's where Heavenly Father needs me right now. I'm very excited for these last six weeks. It's a one-shot type deal so I'm making it count!

Yesterday my convert Carlos Chavez gave his first talk in sacrament meeting. It was about the gifts of the spirit, and it was all great until he talked about the time last week that he went and "said a prayer by the laying on of hands" to a small child! We swiftly retaught him about the division between the lesser and greater priesthoods. A funny experience, but an innocent mistake. He has great faith, and the girl actually did get better. I'm sure he'll be an awesome Melchezidek Priesthood holder. He's going to be baptizing his 8 year old son this saturday as well. He got interviewed already and everything. His name is Carlitos and he's my friend. I'm very proud of them. There's another little kid named Christian, (also my friend and aso 8 years old) who is way crazy and barely sits still. He loves movies and quoting stuff, and it reminds me a little bit of me when I was little. We're trying to teach him how to read the book of mormon but gosh dang he can't keep still! Super smart. When describing worthiness in the priesthood, he said

"it's like... they give you a machinegun, but they don't give you bullets until you know how to use the gun!"

So he's pretty cool.

We've also got another Elder in the District with Dengue. What a pain! It's winter time but somehow those mosquitos got him. His name is Elder Brownlee, and he's from California. His companion, Elder Morales, also from California, and I, went on splits on friday. It was a good time, and as always a nice time to help out newer missionaries. He gave me a wide-eyed "what advice do you have for my mission?" It's always fun to make new friends and pretend that I know anything about missionary work. Really, it's a pleasure to serve. I think serving in Ñemby for such a long time helped me to realize that no matter where we are or how we serve, we should always consider the Lord's work of the highest importance. 

It was also cool to see my family yesterday in Skype. Love you, mom!
Also big thanks to Dan, Ann, Fiona, Meagan, Rhys, Teague, Brigid and Tara for the package they sent. One of my favorite quotes is from Meagan which reads

"I hope you had a fun time being a missionary!"

Love you all!

Elder Wilson

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Skype Call (Mothers Day)

Wait, is this CRACK? (May 2,2016)

I'm happy to hear, first off, that Ethan is doing good and in the MTC. Very content with how he's doing, and it makes me remember my time in Argentina. I'm more than happy, really. It's a great thing, and when I think about how much I've grown in the mission, I think back on those first, incredibly long few weeks of my time as a missionary, I'm absolutely filled with gratitude. They really are the best two years. I don't care if I say that all the time because really I couldn't be happier with the Savior for letting me have such a personally fulfilling time serving him. I hope that everyone at home can find missionary experiences and pray to be lead to at least one person every day that they can invite to hear the message of the Restored Gospel, and eternal families. Because that's really what it's all about, and if they don't hear about it, or don't accept it, they're not getting the most out of their time here on Earth. 

Elder Arango, who I assume is his teacher or something, was my first Zone Leader in Coronel Oviedo. We shared the branch with them, and he has one of my ties. Wait, I can get that back! I want it back! Ethan, please get it back! It's blue and he told me he would use it in his homecoming talk! Tell him that I used his fanny pack for like 70% of my mission. Okay, back to the normal email.

This week we taught a man named Crecencio, who has a crippling addiction to crack cocaine. When we first arrived at his house, he came outside and was all wide eyed and out of his mind, and started to tell us how he wanted to renounce crack and everything. He was talking, and took something out of his pocket and gave it to me. It was a tiny little back with a nice little brownish crystal in it. I was like "what is this" and he said "I do this all the time" and I repeated "what is it?" and he said

"It's crack" 

"Wait, is this CRACK in my hand right now? Elder, what should I do with this crack?!"  We talked to him for a bit about destroying it, or getting rid of it, or giving it to us so we can get rid of it. He was absolutely cracking up, so we just gave it back. 

It was a fun and unique experience, but we keep passing by and he seems to be doing better. We've taught many people about the Word of Wisdom this week, and several (not crecencio) went to church this week. I testify of the truth of the Word of Wisdom. I love to keep it, and I'm proud to say that I do. It's a better way to live, and it brings happiness to one's self, and to all of their family and friends. I hope the lightness of the email is okay, but I'm in a happy mood and really in love with the mission. My companion and I are doing great, obeying the rules, and trying as hard as we can to help out in the District and the Branch. 

Don't do crack!


Elder Wilson

Tilicum the Man-Eating Killer Whale (April 25,16)

We've been having a super great time in Ca'aguazù, and Elder Mumford and I are starting to get to know each other a bit better. He's a really great missionary and extremely diligent. Very happy to have him around. To tell you a little more about him, he told me a funny story this morning about how his family cried at seaworld because of how they mistreat the orcas. "Save the whales, man!"  I've always gotten along with people like that. It was pretty funny because when we were talking about it I mentioned that he killed a duck last week, and we were all laughing. Really I'm super happy he's my companion and we get along super well. He's very spiritual, and even though he's a lot newer than me, I have tons to learn from him. We taught a lesson entirely in English to an english teacher, and during the middle of the lesson we were both like "wow the spirit is so strong right now!" and the man we were teaching really opened his heart to us about the book of mormon. He had an English copy, and it was cool to read from the scriptures to someone in English for the first time since Elder McDermott and I taught that volunteer guy in Paraguari. This time was way better, though, because the spirit manifested itself in a very strong way. 

This week we had a pretty high attendance in sacrament meeting, and we've been working hard with the branch to get things moving. We had a big splits activity with the Elder's Quorum which was cool. We added up to about 7 companionships in total of missionaries and members. The purpose of the activity was to jump start the home teaching program, and from the looks of it, it was a success. Now we've gotta be working hard to retain those fruits and keep it growing. It's an interesting thing here in the branch, and working with Church administration in general, is that it's dependent on everybody playing theirpart. The missionaries do all we can in our own position, and the spirit that the members feel will help them become self-sufficient. The plan isn't to make things really really great immediately by doing literally everything ourselves, but to
help them help themselves. I love it, and it truly works. As far as I can tell, of course. I'm only 19.
It's a pleasure to be a helping hand in the Lord's vineyard.

I also had the opportunity to give a talk on sunday. I shared some stories and scriptures, mostly about not judging others and loving one another, related with sharing the gospel with otheres. I really do love giving talks. It's a perfect way to communicate a message, and if you do it just right, with the spirit, it can be a great tool to bring to pass a lot of good things. It's for introspection and self change, and it's obvious why the General Conference is such a big deal. It's a sacred way to communicate a message.  I remember when I left I was always so nervous and scared to give talks. Which is weird because I remember that I talk a lot. But that nervousness is gone, and a sort of... happiness that always wants to share a message and be a part of the work. That's not to build up my homecoming talk or anything. I have no idea how it'll be in English. Can I just give my talk in the spanish-speaking Branch? Just kidding!


Elder Wilson

Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord (April 18, 2016)

Dear Family and Friends,
This week we went to the Temple! I love the House of the Lord, and cannot express just how much I love to be there, and what a blessing it is to even be allowed in once a year. Every time it's just a renewing and revitalizing experience, and I would invite all of those that are worthy, but not participating in temple ordinances on a regular basis, to exercise their faith and go eat a feast at the dinner table of the Lord. It truly is that awesome. I make that invitation knowing full well just how easy it is to say that kind of thing while I'm 24/7 working for Heavenly Father and on a mission, but I have a personal goal concerning temple work after the mission and I truly know that it will help me to grow, help others, and recieve personal revelation. Baptisms, Endowments, Sealings, whatever it is, just go! What more can I say? I love to see and be around the temple, and being there with our Mission President and his wife along with all of the missionaries was absolutely stunning. It's such a sight to see a spotless, white, basically perfectly glowing building with a huge golden statue on it, right across from the local Burger King.  Have it His way. haha terrible joke.
I also got to go to Coronel Oviedo rama 1 again! We had a district conference for all the members in Caaguazu and Coronel Oviedo with the mission president, and it was crazy to go back and see everybody and be inin my first branch again. My convert Mariela Gonzales from Ñemby was also there, with her new fiancè! She's going to get married to an active melchizedek priesthood holder who lives in Coronel Oviedo. They're to be married on May 12th. They can't go through the temple yet because she's a new convert, but in a year they're planning on getting sealed. That will be a great day. We took some pictures on her camera to send to the members in Ñemby. I was pretty stoked.  The Chaves family was also present at the conference, and they're doing really well. We stopped by their house last night, and their daughter was studying her Seminary manual, the mom was cooking brownies (that we showed her how to cook a little while ago), and the dad was watching the Joseph Smith movie. Elder Mumford almost passed out he was so excited.
Elder WIlson
District Meeting

Killed a duck

Elder Dyer from Vegas

Goat Selfie

The Duck

101 Things To Do When Your Companion Has Dengue Fever (April 11,16)

of the Chaves Family
Carlos, Cinthia, and Yesica

This week we had a wonderful baptismal service for the Chaves family. They're a great family with humble hearts and testimonies. They're a tender mercy of the Lord to us as missionaries and to the branch. It's been really cool to see them grow in such an incredibly short amount of time, seeing as they got visited by the missionaries for the first time only like 2 weeks ago. Elder McDermott, who is from my group and was my companion in Paraguari, is the other District Leader out here in Caaguazu as well, and there are some new rules about interviews, but basically I can't interview my own converts, and the ZLs live in our same ward, so he had to do it. It's nice to be out here among friends in the Caaguazu. The Chaves family had a nice, simple wedding service followed by a great baptism. I baptized the mom (Cinthia), and the next day I confirmed the dad (Carlos). It was the first time I've ever done the speaking part of the confirmation (normally we delegate that to a member and just participate in the circle), but we're in a tiny little branch with less than 40 attendance, so it was necessary. The spirit was very strong in that meeting. I love this church. 

But my companion didn't get to go to any of it.

That`s right! Elder Mumford has Dengue fever. It was so sad because it was his first baptism, too. We tried to get permission from the mission president, but they turned us down on that one.
Elder Mumford is a real trooper, so he was all like ``oh that's okay, I'll just go with them to the temple for their sealing in a year``. We've been confined to the house most of the week, and I'm pretty sure I've watched every movie or video ever produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Watching Special Witnesses of Christ was really awesome. President Faust's testimony almost made me cry! But seriously it's been really weird seeing as I haven't been really really really sick, like bedridden, since my training, and now Elder Mumford is going through that. The four of us in our house have been taking turns staying at home with him so we don't go crazy.

We also had a meeting in Asunción for leaders... again. Normally just the ZLs go, but now President is inviting the District Leaders as well. It was a four hour busride there, and another one back, and we got to stay in ``the cave`` at the office. Which is a dark room with a bunch of beds where the new missionaries stay their first night.

It was a good week, but seeing as we didn't work much with my comp being sick and two full days for this meeting, I'll probably have more to write next week. Tomorrow we go to the temple, and I'll make sure to send a ton of pictures. If I can.


Elder Wilson
Chavez Wedding

Cutting the cake
More photos from the wedding

The other elders have the baptism photos on their cameras so I'll have to shoot them over next week! I used one of those white jumpsuits again but this time I'm 99% sure it was made for a child. Way too small! But it was a lovely service and on sunday Brother Chaves got up and gave his testimony and it was honestly pretty great.

Ca'aguazu (April 4, 2016)

So now I live in Ca'aguazu. It's a city that sits about a 3 hour double-decker busride from my last area. It passes my first area, Coronel Oviedo First Branch, and goes way out into the boonies over to Ca'aguazu Third Branch. I'm no longer in a stake, and after being in the city for about a year, I'm back in the long open fields and wooden houses of the field country.

And I love it.

My companion is Elder Mumford, a relatively new Elder (he's about 6 months in) from Washington State. He's really a great guy, and kind of a hippie (he puts peace signs on the registries and stuff next to his name), which is always fun. We're getting along really well and working hard. He's very diligent and obedient, like I like to be, so we get along and arent seeing any problems. We've got a family in plans to get baptized this saturday. It'll be a wedding/baptism, and they're really just humble to the core and are filled with faith. 

Here in Ca'aguazu there is only one latin Elder, Elder Franchini (our Zone Leader) from Argentina, who I live with. I'm living in a four man house as well. I'm also a District Leader again. This time I've got about 3 branches in my district. It'll be fun to run around the District and help out all the Elders. The majority of them are really really new and inexperienced. Our branch president, President Dewett speaks english as well. He's South African and looks like he's had a pretty hardcore life. He literally looks and talks like one of those old timey hunter guys with the khaki outfit and big hat and rifle with the feather and everything. He's pretty cool, and we're all excited to help the church grow here.

Saying goodbye to Ñemby was, of course, pretty hard. I love the people there so much, and it was my favorite area for sure. For almost 8 months I worked a ton with the ward and investigators, and I love them all so much. They were with me to help out in every facet of the mission, and I can't wait to visit them again. Good friends. 

One sister, from the Baez family, who we reactivated early on in my time in Ñemby, who was recently called as counselor in the young women's program, and her husband, who was also recently called to the ward high council (an ex missionary) , we're notably hard to say goodbye to. They moved to the sister's area my last few weeks there (we had eaten with them every other saturday in my time there as well, and so I had to say goodbye over the phone my last day. It was nice and everything, nothing too crazy, but the sister missionaries (who were at their house at the exact time I called) later told me that the Sister Baez had tears in her eyes as she put down the phone, and told the sisters about how I was the most important Elder to ever pass by their home. They had been inactive for quite some time, and right when I met them I had felt inspired to talk to them about family prayer, and asking god whether or not they should attend. Apparently the other Elders before me had just sort of chatted with them after lunch, and I happened to be the first Elder to try to share something in one of those visits. The sisters said that they'd never seen something like that for a missionary. I was, needless to say, touched at the sentiment, and that kind of love is one of the many blessings of being the Lord's servant. It was very humbling for me. Like, I don't think I'm that special, but I do know how much I love them all. That's only one of the families as well!

The General Conference of the church this year was wonderful as well. An outpouring of the Spirit on so many levels, and a wonderful last conference for my mission. I'm so happy I got to watch every last talk, and soak in the spirit of it all. Elder Holland, as always, had everybody in tears. Watching he and the other apostles give their testimonies, as well as our beloved and amazingly fearless Prophet Thomas S. Monson, is an inspiration and a strength. I along with Elder Holland invite everyone not to forget about the conference. Application, after all, and action, are the essence of the Gospel. Love, love, love.

Also, I forgot to mention that my ex mission president, Pedro David Agazzani, was called as an Area 70 in the conference. He was the first name when they said the names of the new area authorities.
Everybody jumped out of their chairs!

Haha these letters are a lot longer now. 
I guess better late than never!


Elder Wilson

Serious Easter Letter (March 28,2016)

So this week was Semana Santa, which is the best time to remember the Lord and the sacrifice he made for all of us. We've been working hard with the new "Aleluya" campaign, and invited tons of people to church. It was good to share the message of repentance with tons of people this last week, and it touched the hearts of many. We had a good attendance at church, which was another blessing because it was a chance to invite everyone to General Conference this next weekend.
I'm very excited to see what the General Authorities say this time around. I have grown to love and appreciate the spirit of conference and the words of the Lord directed at me through the prophets. I know that they really are prophets of God, and that if I (and all of you) listen to what they say, every single talk will have something to do with something happening in our lives. What a blessing.

I also had the chance to give more priesthood blessings. I feel like a fish out of water without my consecrated oil. It's a good feeling to know that if the Lord needs me, I'm here and ready to run an errand. He's blessed me with so many opportunities to serve in that priesthood as well as executive administrative capacity, and it's giving me lots of experience. In the mission you get to be a pastor, a preacher, a psychologist, a councilor, a doctor, a president, a friend, a disciple, and a leader. You get to see so many problems and so many solutions, and from what I've seen, any problem in any family or home is always caused by pride, in one way or another. It's the worst and deadliest kind of sickness, and laziness is usually the most common form. Charity on the other hand gets us through all of our problems. Those are just a few of the things I've learned in the mission that are helping me out every single day. I love Christ and his atonement. It's funny because we always require charity for others, but so often we forget that we also need to put it into practice. With companions, with investigators, mission and church leaders, and with everybody. Just some food for thought. All you need is love. 

This week is transfer week as well, which is stressful as always. I don't see the need for all the cloak & dagger stuff with the transfer info, but I'm sure Heavenly Father has his reasons.  We'll see what happens. I'll just end well and do a few cool tricks on the way down the slope. 

one last thing- so in Paraguay everybody spends this whole week watching 
The Passion of the Christ
What in the world happened, Mel Gibson?! Seriously everybody had it on at every house and wow the bloodiest "christian movie" I've ever seen. Like we had to tell people to turn the tv off so many times. Impossible to feel the spirit. The priest guy from the Fifth Element is Ciaphas, I think? Also they did a great job with the Jesus actor for making him look exactly like a catholic painting. All skinny and sad. Sorry for the movie rant okay okay okay calm down elder. See you next week!

Elder Wilson

Just Pictures this Week (March 21,2016)

Cooked BBQ with District 1

Sis. Banry,Raymondi 

San Antonio River

Elder Kidd from Idaho
Elder Juan A. Urra of 70