Hey everyone! Happy New Year! That's great that you guys had a great Christmas and I'm glad to hear that everyone is safe and happy. Did anyone get any awesome presents? Thanks everyone for the presents you´ve sent they are all great and in one piece!! haha Christmas was completely different this year. It was really hot and humid and there were mosquitos!!!! ha I had to spend Christmas Eve with another companionship in our room and I had to share my little bed with another elder. In Peru they have their Christmas dinner at midnight and then after they open their presents and stay up until around 3:00 to 6:00 am. Then the next day they just visit family members and hang out in the plaza, and if you´re not a member you drink, a lot!!! Everyone was drunk in the streets and everyone sets off fireworks until about 2:30 in the morning.
Christmas Day I woke up and got to call my family. It was the best gift I've ever received to do that, and after we went to Pacasmayo and played soccer until 1:30. After soccer we had our Christmas lunch and watched movies, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar. After that we went back to our rooms and all the natives called their parents and we just chilled in our rooms until we went to bed. For Christmas dinner here they have turkey, which is really expensive for them to buy and tamales, paneton, bread and chocolatada or hot chocolate with real chocolate. Overall my Christmas was really fun.
Does anyone have any fun plans for New Years? I don't think we do anything for New Years because i'ts dangerous to be outside. We have to be in our rooms by 6:00 pm I think.
That's crazy that in another 3 weeks or so that my mission will be 1/4 the way over. It's going by way too fast and I hope I'm doing what I'm supposed to because I still feel like I don't know spanish or how to teach yet, haha.
For service projects here all we´ve done so far is help shovel dirt into someone's house one time, one time we did patch work on cement walls to prep the walls for painting and the other time I helped the pensionista in Pacasmayo cut out Christmas ornaments that she sewed for her friends and family. Overall I was able to have a really great Christmas because I had the chance to learn more about the Savior's birth and the blessings that we have in our lives because of his love and atonement. We truly should remember every day of the year the things he has done for us, but in these moments of the holidays we are able to strengthen our testimonies of this and make it our priority. I don't have my scrips with me but I think it is 3 Nephi 13:30-33 or something that says we shouldn't worry about worldy things and should put the Lord first. I know this is true and that we should do this during the holidays.
I love you guys and hope you have fun this week,
"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets."
On this Christmas Eve let us all remember and be grateful for the birth of our Savior ... the reason for the season!!
Hey everyone Merry Christmas!!!! How is it there in Utah? Here it's just getting hotter and hotter. It stopped being nice weather about a week and a half ago and now its just too hot and humid. haha
It's just a little bit different weather than I'm used to for Christmas.
The mosquitos are starting to spawn now too so they are starting to bite....haha. My new companion is Elder Samayoa and he is awesome. He is very confident and has been zone leader for more than 9 months. He is from Guatemala though I must have mixed that up in the email.
What are you guys going to eat for Christmas dinner and for New Years? Everyone always asks me what we eat and I can't remember!! haha My mom said that the weather report says it's in the 70´s here but I don't know if that's right. There is a huge difference from Trujillo to Guadalupe. It's like going from central Utah to Saint George. So if you figure out what its like in Guadalupe let me know.
I cant wait to call you guys!!! I haven't really thought of what to ask you yet but there isn't really much going on here that I can think of, so I hope you have questions to ask me. I know I haven't written you hardly any letters on my mission yet so I've made it my new goal to write you a letter every pday now no matter what. I enjoy getting letters from you and I know you would feel the same way.
I bought a usb and saved all my pictures on it and plan on sending the memory card in the mail today if I can. There is about 350 or 400 pictures on it. When you get it don't plug it in our computer though because it might have a virus. My usb already has a virus and that might too. Everyone downloads things illegally here so they get viruses except its not illegal here I don't think. haha
The program went great and Sister Turk was very coordinated and helpful. She did about all you can do to make 100 young men sound good and look like they know what they are doing. Elder Samayoa knew a lot of people that came so I got to meet a lot of people from Trujillo. I miss you guys a lot and wish I could be there for Christmas but I know I'm going to enjoy Christmas this year. Even though there is no snow here, and not many lights, and not many Christmas songs, and I'm not with my family, and I don't get to relax and have a vacation it is the best Christmas I've ever had. I have more love for my family and what they do for me than I've ever had. I'm grateful for every little thing that I have back home. Also I have more of the spirit of Christmas because I get to talk about the Savior all the time and give service to others. The other day when I got a letter from my dad I was happier than I've been in a long time. It made my Christmas! It said that his back is doing better than it has ever been since I left on my mission. It just made me know that my family is being blessed and that they are alright and that they are okay. If we have the Spirit of Christ in our lives we have the spirit of Christmas... always remeber in these days about the greatest gift we've ever received.
"We all enjoy giving and receiving presents. But there is a difference between presents and gifts. The true gifts may be part of ourselves--giving of the riches of the heart and mind--and therefore more enduring and of far greater worth than presents bought at the store." -James E Faust
Hey guys! The changes are here........and I'm staying here in Guadalupe for at 1 more change. The news though is that Elder Perry is going to Primavera, Trujillo. My new companion is going to be Elder Samayoa from Guatemala. Everyone tells me that he is a great missionary and very nice. This is going to be his last change so I'm his last companion. I hope I don't ruin the last few months for him haha. Now I have to remember where everyone lives all by myself and lead the area for a while. Also I won't be able to speak english at all anymore because I finally have a native companion. This will pretty much be my first native companion because my other native companion was Elder Rojas in the CCM and it was for 3 weeks and I pretty much didn't know any spanish then. Also I think that I'm going to be the only gringo in my district. Elder Samayoa is going to be the district leader also for my area.
President Turk did come to Guadalupe for the priesthood meetings this last week but Elder Perry and I had appointments and we had to go to teach.
Elder Perry says that we pretty much get to pick when we want to call on Christmas so I will try to call 7:00 Christmas morning unless Pres Turk has other plans for us. We go to the Christmas pageant on the 19th I think in Trujillo and I don't know if we will be staying there or coming back because Guadalupe is 2 1/2 hours away from there. I got your boxes and presents and everything and I will wait to open them on Christmas and share with Elder Samayoa thanks!!!!
The fair was fun... it was pretty much a bunch of booths selling clothes and different kinds of food from Cajamarca. There were a few ladies from Cuzco that were selling sweaters made from alpaca wool and Elder Perry and I bought some. Also they had a bunch of carnival rides and foosball tables and we played foosball with one of our investigators the first week of the fair on pday.
I bought a flashdrive so I'm now going to save all my pictures today and send you the memory card. You don't have to send me anything more in the mail because I don't really need it and I don't have room anyway. I'd rather you just save the money for a vacation or something when we get back or for the mission fund.
It doesn't really seem like Christmas here yet. People somtimes put out one string of lights in their front window and like 5 or 6 investigators have Christmas trees out, but that's about it. I'm glad I was born in a place where they celebrate Christmas a lot. I'm glad you guys get to go to the Christmas dinners and I hope you enjoy them. If you do anything fun for Christmas let me know. Also I need to come up with a few ideas for ward activities to do an activity with the ward where I can invite investigators so if you have any ideas let me know.
Tell Steve I said hi and thanks and make sure to tell Grandma T to say Merry Christmas to Grandma Selma and Lecta too. I hope Grandma Wilk had a good birthday and you guys had a good anniversary and I hope this next week is fun for you guys. I miss you guys and love you a lot. I think about you all the time and wish I could be there for Christmas. I pray for each one of you whenever I can and I hope you guys are happy. Good luck in this next week and enjoy your breaks with school and work.
Also this week I learned the strength of the hymns of the church. a lot of the inactives here don't remember hardly anything about the church or what we believe because they have been inactive so long but when we talk to them for a while they tell us that they remember a few of the hymns and even some of the words still. The hymns are very powerful ways of getting messages across and learning about the gospel and they invite the spirit very strongly. I know that songs are prayers to our Heavenly Father and that every time we sing we feel the spirit of the lord.
Well I have no more time to write so I better stop. Good luck this week and stay happy...Elder Wilkinson
We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.
I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.
We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled.. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. 'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik.
My husband and I exchanged looks,
'What do we do?'
Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.'
Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby. Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.'
Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.
My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments.
We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. 'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.
Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.
I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'You take care of this baby.'
Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.
He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift.'
I said nothing more than a muttered thanks. With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, forgive me.'
I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?' when He shared His for all eternity. How did God feel when he put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.
The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, 'To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.'
Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all; it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you are.
And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all - they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
Hey guys! I can't believe that it's December already. It doesn't seem like the Christmas season at all here. Happy Birthday this week Grandma Wilk!!!! and Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!! We had two investigators with birthdays this week that we went and visited and brought them cake. They are brothers and their birthdays are 4 days apart, so it's kinda like Sadie and me. We also have a birthday coming up for a less active teenage kid that we are going to go try and visit.
One of our elders left this week in my district. Elder Hererra... his real mission was Venezuela but his paper work didn't come through for 8 and a half months so he is finally leaving now. We watched the church Christmas devotional last night but we went to the pensionista's mom's house and there were 3 kids running around screaming. About 40 percent or more of the kids here have ADHD problems. Their parents never taught them how to act and I'm thankful more and more each day for the manners that my parents taught me. I got Grandma Tuttle's presents this last week so tell her thanks and not to worry about them. I have a question about your presents though. Did you say I could open the yellow package that you sent me or no? I can't think of anything that you could send me, maybe a little bottle of eye drops.
That's crazy that Preston is going to Brazil already, and that I'll have 9 months in the mission. I'm glad that Brittani's shower went well and that you guys had fun at the Christmas work party. Is dad going to Steve's Christmas dinner this year? I sure wish I could eat at the Roof right now.
I'll be sure to let you know about when I can call you and I'll try for Christmas morning at 7 here.
Hope all is well and that your next week is great. Today were going to the beach for pday and later we're going to the big fair that they are having in Guadalupe.
The other day I was reading in Alma 37:6-7 and it teaches that by small things do great things come to pass. I can apply this to my mission but I feel that it could help you guys too. The Lord converts people just from one little conversation that I have with someone or some little thing that I say during the lesson that makes them know it's true or by one little example that I show. In our lives we can receive huge blessings from obeying one little commandment and by helping someone with something or being an example. Then we are able to accomplish great things in our lives. I know this is true and I know the Lord can help us with every little thing in our lives and that we are blessed when we put our trust in him.