December 22 – Week 10

Feliz Navidad,

Sorry about last Monday. My companion said that last Monday we could only write for 30 minutes, so I wrote to the mission president and he said it had to be in spanish so it took me the whole time to write to him which sucked and we had other things to do that day. Oh well, I get to talk to all of you my family on Christmas which will be awesome and I can’t wait. Mom, I don’t have a skype but I’m about to make one. My skype name is going to be NASCAR2448885, just like that its nascar and the numbers are each of the drivers on hendrick motor sports and their numbers. Anyways… I don’t know what time I will be skyping you but I can skype for about 40 minutes which is awesome, but it’s not along time. I’ll be on the computer for about an hour and try to skype you. I have no idea what yalls Skype names are, but oh well I’ll figure it out when I cross that bridge.

Dad it’s awesome to hear that you have found a job. I have a million things that I need fasting for, but unfortunately in the mission they tell you that your family shouldn’t fast for specific things in my mission such as investigators and stuff like that. But you can always pray! Praying works and the Lord will answer our prayers and He for sure hears them. We’ve been having a lot of issues here. I still have no idea what the flip people are saying here. I feel like I know a lot now, but it’s not enough. I learn new words everyday but still that isn’t enough either. It really sucks.  Spanish is really hard because I don’t know Spanish.  Also the food here is terrible. What goes in and what comes out all looks the same. Sorry to be repulsive but it is true. I can’t stand any of it. We ran out gas on Tuesday and we finally got more today so without gas there is no stove or hot water hahaha but it’s not as bad. I also had to go to the doctor because my foot has been not good for 2 weeks now.  I have some ligament and some tendon issues in the top of my left foot. The doctor grabbed my foot started playing with it and asking if it hurt.  One of the times it did he said “injectar o tomalo” injection or take it. Injections here are always in your butt, so I told him pills will be fine and he gave me a prescription for pills and gel. The gel actually works, not anything miraculous but it works. It sucks because we still walk 4 and 5 miles everyday, but it’s okay and I usually keep things in to my self because I don’t want to be that missionary that always has excuses or something haha because that’s not me!! Anyways the Lord will bless me, hopefully I wont have any serious issues.

Mom, I didn’t get the package you sent me which means it’s lost in Mexican mail or some guy took it and sold it or gave it to his kids, so you might have to use that insurance. Good thing you got it!! But everything has been pretty good here. My card stopped working last Monday when I tried to buy some pants for my companion and some ties which sucked because the place we go to get that stuff is called Marco Plaza and it is like an hour away. It probably got rejected becasue they saw it was being used in Mexico, or someone saw I was american and scammed my card and robbed us.  Oh well… hopefully it would have done him some good, but i have no idea!

I hope everything is going well in Jacksonville.  Did you watch that “He is the Gift” video? Also, did you have missionary experiences on the cruise and the different islands you were at?  I prayed every day that there would be and that you would be courageous to share! The weather here isn’t really cold its like 50s or 60s in evenings and mornings and like 70 in the day, but it has rained a couple of times which sucks because everything here is dirt and when dirt gets wet it’s all mud. I hate the mud – it gets on everything and it’s a pain to clean up. But right now everything is bone dry again.

Mom, can you send me some american candy? The candy here is rolled in salt and chili powder and its freakin gross! I don’t see how it is so appetizing. That’s one of the things that I won’t ever like.  They even have chili centered bubble gum.  It says fresa on it which means strawberry and I was like ooooh – bit it and almost threw up haha it was gross. I have been taking a lot of pictures here.  I wish I could send you some but it takes forever and I’ll try on Thursday.  I still haven’t opened that box you sent me in the MTC.  I’m excited! The other box maybe I’ll get for my birthday, but probably for Easter is more reasonable.  After January 1st no more sending packages to the border in Cali.

Also I forgot to mention that I finished the Book of Mormon and now I’m almost half way through the Doctrine and Covenants. After the D&C I’m gonna read all of the Bible, Old and New Testament and I’m starting to put together this book of what the doctrine is. There’s a really good talk that Bednar gave about the doctrine, I forgot what it was called, but he said the truth is always in the doctrine which is true and most missionaries only use the applications of the doctrine to their investigators. To every doctrine there is principles of that doctrine then under that there is applications. It’s hard to explain on paper but watch the talk it’s like 40 minutes look up David A. Bednar, then doctrine and truths or something.

Anyway, Dad and Pawpaw, we’ve been having a hard time getting our investigators to come to church. I’ve been here 5 Sundays and not one of our investigators came to church.  We’ve tried, fasted, prayed, invited and all! But they don’t come and its frustrating because these people want to be baptized and have desires to know more, but they don’t come to church. Anyway, I won’t give up, but all is well here in Tijuana! Love all of you!!

Les Amo mucho, el senor bendeciremos por toda de nuestro dificultades y desafíos pero, tenemos orar con el cada dia, por fuerza!

December 8 – Week 8

Greetings from Tijuana,

This week has been freaking awesome! In reality it was okay.  I’m always positive and it’s a great strength that I have and it’s great. So mom and dad and family, my ward here is awesome and it has about 100 or so members that attend and are active. It’s called the Terrazas Ward and we are in the Estaca de El Florido (El Florido Stake).

Last Sunday was an intoduction of myself and I was asked to give a talk on “How do I Receive Answers to Gospel Questions.” I talked about the Holy Ghost, personal revelation, and prayer. This past sunday was fast and testimony meeting. I didn’t go up because I didn’t really have a chance to because people rush up there to bear their testimonies and it’s wonderful!  We should always openly share our testimonies as much as possible and as frequently as we can. I’m probably gonna follow Brother Rodrigues’ example and share mine every fast and testimony meeting and I challenge all of you to do the same. The members here are very loving and as a missionary everyone wants to shake your hand, even the primary kids as well. It’s awesome!

I still can’t figure out why the Lord has sent me here. I’m in this area for 6 months. I don’t know if i told you that yet. I hate the food here. Honestly it makes me sick and I’ve eaten beans for about every meal now and it sucks! I hate it, but I swallow my pride along with the beans and do what i have to do. I’ve been getting used to them and the food here as well. People give you so much freaking food I can barely eat it all while my companion eats like 3 plates full and it’s ridiculous. But I do get fed good. Also, I have a lot of walking I have to do.

My companion is great! He is learning more and more english everyday. We actually talk a lot about different things and we get along just fine. Also, here i told people that I know how to cook so they call me Master Chef. We are having this Christmas party on the 20th and I’m cooking the turkey.  Mom, I need the recipe for the turkey that you make with the oranges and stuff in the inside, the temp, and how long you cook it.

The area here is great. I’m used to it now, but it’s really different and there are always dogs fighting and screaming. People light random fireworks and throw them in the middle of the street so theres always like gun shot sounds going off all the time and something here is always on fire. Monday and Tuesday it rained all day. I got soaked, my companion got soaked, but we did what we had to do and unfortunately we weren’t able to teach anyone those days. Either no one was home or they couldn’t do it at that time and we get that a lot so it sucks.  I can teach the first lesson now all in Spanish and my Spanish is getting better and better. I still don’t understand anything, but that’s is getting better as well. Before i couldn’t understand a lick and now I can understand about .25 of a lick.

Yes Mom, I was able to watch the Christmas devotional- I’m sure it was great. It was translated in Spanish so I didn’t understand anything except the music. The Mo Tab was beautiful and they were great, but it sucked that day because I was pretty much sick and I could barely walk, but today I’m all better.  The only thing I really miss besides all of you of course, is American food. I’m eventually gonna go to Chili’s because there is one by the temple. I really miss sports and country music too. That’s awesome that Tennessee is playing in Jacksonville! I really wish i could go to that. I hope tennessee will rip the heads off of Iowa.  Also I miss Nascar! The other night I had a dream that Jeff Gordon came to our house, and in that same dream I met the prophet as well, so it’s like the 2 best people in the world! I wrote about in my journal.

This week I asked someone, one of our investigators, if she would be baptized and she accepted and it was wonderful. Now we just have to get her to come to church. It sucks becausae people want to get baptized and a lot of people need help in their lives but they don’t come to church!!  Also in the ward it’s great to see that absolutly everyone pays their tithing. Even our recent converts are excited to pay their tithing and it’s a wonderful experience to see because these people have almost nothing and they are so happy and they always want to share their testimonies and they want to pay their tithing. It’s great! I feel the ward here is really strong.  Also, mom I write in my journal everyday and I havent missed a day yet. It’s pretty much a habit now. My time here is about up so I have to go now. I love all of you and miss all of you.

Missionary commitment for you all this week is…. Attend the Temple this month in December! Also I challenge you to share the video He is the Gift (or El es la Dadiva) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and get everyone to watch it and tell all the kids and family to do it as well. Also, share it with the family that Jordan skateboards with and tell him that here in Mexico there is always kids skateboarding in the streets, and give them a Book of Mormon!
 Okay love you and mom don’t forget the recipe.
Elder Wilkes
Feliz Navidad
Oh yeah about Navidad, look up the video El Es La Dadiva, or He is the Gift.  We have these cards we have to hand out to random people to watch the video that’s on Youtube and it’s wonderful. It’s about the true meaning of Christmas and the church is making it big. It’s gonna be on the top advertising spot on Youtube and is estimated 220 million people will see it.
Also here in Mexico its gonna be the whitest Christmas of my life and forever, because the field is white and is ready to harvest.
Hola momma, my companion is awesome! I just need like 50 bucks because he needs some more church pants and he doesn’t really have money for it. He lives in Campeche, Mexico – well he is from there. I don’t really know about his background and family life but that’s all for now. Pants here aren’t too expensive actually at like one of the stores they’re like 170 pesos which is about 13 dollars. And my card works here. Also i have too buy him a couple of ties as well. They’re like 13 to 20 dollars tambien but I’m only gonna buy two.
I’m gonna send pics at Christmas because they are too hard to send on these computers.
Love you more momma!!!

December 1 – Week 7

Tuesday we got off the plane, we went throught the gates and at the bottom of the escalator there was this smaller gentleman and his lovely wife. It was my mission President! President Garcia and Hermana Garcia. We got into a taxi and we crossed the border. There were 10,000 people coming into the States and about 5 people going into Mexico. That’s including us and the mission president.

Despues… we went to the mission president’s house (or condo or apartment), I don’t know what it was, but it was beautiful and we ate lunch there. No one eats dinner here we just eat lunch. Then we went to the the Mission office and I was introduced to my companion, Elder Segoviano. He’s from Campeche, Mexico. I speak more Spanish than he does English. it is really hard to communicate sometimes; well actually all the time. I’ll send you some pics here in a sec. Entonces, then we were assigned to our fisrt area. It is in El Florido, Tijuana, Mexico, and our area or town or whatever it is called is Terrazas. I forgot what it means. I’ll have to send you pictures of it next monday. When i was assigned here, one of the mission president’s assistants said, “good luck and don’t carry more than 12 pesos on you” which is like 93 cents and i was like sweet, awesome, can’t wait.

We got someone to drive us to our area. His name was Hermano Norris.  People’s names here are ridiculous cause theres like 5 names so i just call people Hermano or Hermana. We got to our area and it is very very different than the U.S. For me to explain this is really difficult but here goes… take the worst slums in America – probably in Chicago or New York, and then times it by 20, take away the asphalt roads and put in unfinished dirt roads with some rocks, and a crap ton of trash and move it to the sides of the roads, fill it with a million dogs, both dead and alive, and there is my area! Oh and then add a bucket of half full feces and put it on the side of the road so all the people can smell it.

Our apartment isn’t bad, it’s like the size of the upstairs living room, including Jordan’s room and the bathroom, minus 100 sq feet. All the houses here are unfinished concrete structures, well the nicer homes, and have a some sort of wood roof. Other houses here (which is most) are made out of wood, doors, plywood, sheet metal, rebar, rocks, and dirt and thats about it. But honestly I love it here. No one complains about anything, no one really has anything, and every one is happy and every one wants to hear the gospel! But, they don’t really come to church haha. We have about 6 or 7 appointments a day and most of them we are able to go teach them, but alot of the times they say no.

Oh yeah there is nothing green here everything is dry and it doesn’t rain here at all. The only grass here is at our church and our church building is beautiful. And it has AC. But there is no AC anywhere else period. At least not in my area. But this time of the year it’s pretty cool tempatuere wise. We do a lot of bus riding and about 4 or 5 miles of walking a day, most of which is uphill, and it sucks because my companion i swear could win an olympic gold medal for speedwalking because that is all that he does –  he walks super fast. The people here are great and we have 4 baptism dates for the month of Deciembre. The hard part in my area is getting people to actually come to church, you have to go to church 5 times to be bautizarse. But it is great. I love the people. The area is different, but all is well. I’ll be here in this area for about 6 months.

I don’t understand a single word that comes out of people’s mouths and I feel really out of place, especially because I’m big and white and everyone here is small and brown haha but it’s great! I’m about to send some photos of my companion, presidente, and some maestros en la MTC. My Spanish is definitely getting better and I’m definitely relying on the Lord every single day here. My companion is the distrito leader. There are 6 elders and 2 hermanas in my distrito, 3 of us are new. One elder here is from Kentucky so he translates what people say to me. I have been showing people those pictures that you sent of the sharks I caught and all of them are amazed haha! Also my companion lets me teach some of the lessons. It’s difficult but I press forawrd having hope in the Spirit to help me know what to say and it’s awesome! I hope every day of my life I can learn to rely more on the Lord as much as I am doing here.

Also today we went by the temple. I forot tmy camera and I’ll have to send you pictures later – I’m here in the area for 6 months.. pero, the temple is beautiful and when I looked at it from the ground at its whole, this overwhelming sense of peace fell upon me, and i felt really peaceful, and i knew that the church is true. It is a beautiful temple. It will be done next November. Honestly, the nicest part of Tijuana is the temple. On the mountain that the temple faces it says “Jesu Cristo Es El Senor” and it’s awesome. I only have 45 minutes to write because i have to write the mission president the same time, but pics are coming within 3 min. Love all of you.

Elder Wilkes
Elder Wilkes, his MTC Spanish teacher and his MTC Companion
Elder Wilkes & his new companion (yellow tie) in Tijuana.