Monday, January 21, 2013

Living Among the Sand People

Dear Everybody,

This week we were coming back from appointments and were in another crammed combi (not quite an everyone touching everyone crammed up against the windows and doors, but there are other times like that). When on the radio comes this song ''Corre Corre Corazón'' (highly recommended if you want to look it up). I was just standing there not thinking, yet thinking about it all at the same time. I saw this lady sitting there with her baby and the love for the people of Perú just flooded into my heart. I hadn't really felt that in a while so I thought about it some more. Something just came to me that I needed to give her some pamphlets. I thought ''that's really weird'' and then immediately followed up with ''you're a gringo in Perú with a white shirt and tie, Elder Wheatley, everything is weird about you''. So as I was getting off the bus I just said these are for you and gave here the pamphlets. It just felt so good to feel that love even though I can't describe it. I think that's what charity really is and I'm not going to let it go.

One other cool thing about this area, apparently it didn't exist 20 years ago so that's cool.

Yesterday I was just really concentrated on what the investigators and ward needs here. My thoughts were so focused and I realized after a little that I have never thought so hard and what the people really need. This ward is so amazing, but there are a lot of less actives. The bishop is helping us a lot and the members want to help too. I feel a real concern for all of them and somehow that just makes me so happy. I know there is a lot of work to do, but I also know there are miracles just waiting for us if we exercise faith. Elder Aubrey is an awesome companion and is helping me so much. We just have a great time together, two gringos who don't know Spanish as well as we want, just doing the work of God. It is so amazing to be a part of this. We joke around a lot in the apartment and have fun walking from place to place too. He's way faster at climbing the sand, but I'm getting there.

We went looking for a new apartment this week and had a great time. The new place is just beautiful and it will be great for the 2 new missionaries that are coming. I love my apartment right now too though and am feeling really blessed. It was fun to spend a little time with Hermana Dorius and get to know her and President a little better.

I read through 2 Nephi 4 this morning and I love that chapter so much. I know that we just need to trust in the Lord and it will all work out. Of course 2 Nephi 2 is just amazing as well and it's so fun thinking about you reading along with me too Mom.

I read a couple of great talks this week. One is by Sheri L. Dew that says ''You Were Born to Lead'' or something like that from a BYU Devotional and it changed my life. I have been praying to understand the language of the Spirit and I fasted to do so as well. Fasting has never meant so much to me and I am so grateful for it.

Another great one was ''The Infinite Power of Hope'' by President Uchtdorf and I highly recommend it. It's so funny how an amazing talk can just go along unnoticed until we really need it. I've needed a lot of help on my mission so I've learned a lot too. A couple of other good scriptures 1 Nephi 20:10 and Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.

Congratulations to Rosie on her mission call, the mission is the greatest decision I have ever made. Keep preparing Hillary and every one else.

Please tell Bishop Barrett and Sister Nibley thank you for their Christmas cards. They meant so much to me.

I love you all so much and am praying for you all. Tell Oma and Opa and the whole Wheatley and Moulton families I love them so much. I'm excited for you all who are going on missions and I love hearing about everyone else just staying strong.

Have the greatest week ever! Talk to you soon!

Elder Aaron Wheatley

p.s. I HAVE FLEAS!!!!!!!! What a world I live in. Don't worry though, it's not as bad as it sounds.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome to Zapallal 1 Ward

Hey everybody,

My new area of Zapallal 1 is the most ridiculous thing. I am living in the sand dunes and the first day I was here I just felt like I was camping. It is so crazy to be walking up this huge hill of sand and knocking on makeshift doors for a makeshift houses, but I love it. I was thinking the other day about a kind of gross hotel in the US and how I would feel if I had to stay there. I then just broke out into laughter because I realized I am in so much worse pretty much everyday of my mission. It's crazy to me how fast we can become accustomed to something that used to be so foreign. Things don't seem so dirty anymore and I don't even think twice when I am in a house with a dirt floor. I know there are a lot poorer parts of the world, but this is just my experience and I'm so grateful to be here in Perú.

My area is so, so big (at least for what I'm used to) and there are way too many less actives in this area. Elder Aubrey is so awesome though and we made a great plan to help the ward. He's from South Jordan, has the exact same time in the mission, and has been here for his whole mission. We're just having a lot of fun together and teaching all the people we can. I just feel so much happiness as I can be among the people. I love making them laugh and smile and it just keeps getting better.

Real quick before I forget. Please tell Jake Happy Birthday for me. Also, please tell Sister Nibley and Bishop Barrett thank you so much for their letters. It means so much just to know that people are thinking about you. One more thing. Did Johnny see the video from Skype? I've been thinking about him a lot this week and just make sure you tell him and everyone you see that I love them and am so grateful for their influences in my life.

That was so great to hear about Hillary going through the temple. I am so proud of you Hillary! Just make sure you go as many times as you can, I miss the temple so much. I love getting updates on family members, so thank you so much. And thank you for all of the pictures. I'm so happy that the New Zealand letter made it to Nomi, I've been praying for it to get there. Maybe someday I'll be a writer, who knows?

The ward here is so strong and I don't know the people really well, but I can feel a great love from and for them. They are all really willing to help us and that makes it so much easier as a missionary. We had a great Ward Council yesterday and I know as we all work together and trust in the Lord this ward will grow bigger than we could ever imagine. The other cool story about this ward is how beautiful the church building is. It's only a couple of years old and it's so clean. The benches are padded not only on the seat but also the back and the piano can play itself. Yesterday this drunk walked into sacrament meeting and just started making a rucous. He clapped when the first speaker was done and then screamed out that we all needed to be like little children. A member of the stake presidency helped him leave. I had no idea what a drunk acted, or smelt like before the mission but I am pretty well accustomed to it now.

We had some great lessons where I could feel the Spirit. It wasn't like an overwhelming feeling, just a nice presence. I am feeling pretty comfortable with my teaching, but I will make sure to keep learning and growing.

Oh yeah, that reminds me of the story of the week. So last week I was kind of feeling like I was going no where. Things were too easy although I loved it so much. I have never prayed for a trial, but I was pretty close. Instead I decided to pray for the strength to get through whatever trials the Lord knew I needed. When I first got to this area I knew I was going to grow in so many ways. It was all so crazy, but I felt so good as I read the scriptures and I know as we take it one day at a time it will all work out.

Have a great semester Mom, Dad, Brianna, and everyone else. I hope you get feeling better Mom and Dad. That was so great to hear how Nomi is feeling and I'm so grateful to have such a close and loving family.

Keep working hard this week and I'll do the same down here in Perú. How crazy this life is.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I hope you can go to Austria too Dad, that would be so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have the greatest day ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never forget that I'm praying for you.

Love your best friend,
Elder Aaron Wheatley

Aaron's new area.  If you look close you can see the LDS chapel in the middle of the picture.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Love It!

Hola Everybody,
This week was full of so much craziness and I'm just going to write so bear with me.
I just found out that I am being transferred to the ward (or branch, I'm not really sure) Zapallal in the zone Puente Piedra. My new companion is Elder Aubrey and he has the same time as me in the mission so it's going to get pretty real here pretty soon. We'll see how much Spanish I really know and I'm looking forward to it. The mission is just one long adventure made up of a lot of small ones and I am so excited.
I am praying that Nomi received my letter, which I  sent. The mail doesn't always make it though so prayer is all I have. If you get it please tell me, if not  tell me too because I might have to write it again. Let's just say I could have been a poet or a novelist with that letter.
Also, please thank the Crandall's, Thursby's, Mead's, and the old stake presidency for their Christmas letters. It just means so much to know that people are thinking about me.
I'm so excited for Hillary to go through the temple this week. I will be thinking about you Saturday Hillary and know you will feel the Spirit so strong in The House of the Lord. I love the Salt Lake Temple and I'm looking forward to going to the temple with all of you when I get home. Also, if she needs to know more about her mission, Dane Taylor is there right now and I'm sure his parents would love to talk with her if she needs anything.
This week we got to go to the airport and had such a good time eating Papa John's. It was so amazing and it was lots of fun to just be in the airport.
We went in a mototaxi this week for Elder Brimley's first time. He was really happy so the next day I decided we should do it again. We got in and she really didn't know how to drive. She was just learning and it was a crazy ride. We stalled about 8 times including in the middle of one of the busiest streets in our area. I was just laughing so hard, but Elder Brimley was less impressed with this ride. We started walking to our appointment and talked about the crazy ride. A guy said hi and we just said hi and kept walking. I didn't think anything, but then he called us back. He said he was a member for like 12 years but hadn't gone to church for 11. He gave us his name and address and said he wanted to go to church so we told him we would send the missionaries from his ward to his house to help him get to church. His name is Marco Antonio and it just amazed me how God worked it out perfectly. We stalled the right amount of times and he walked down the perfect street so we could meet and help him come back to church. I know the Lord's hand is in his work more than I can ever imagine and I am so grateful for His help. I can't do it without His help.
I worked with Elder Brimley all week and it was amazing. We just talked and had such a great time, but when we were in the lessons we got down to business. He is such a great missionary and I'm so grateful for the time I got to learn from him. We have been teaching a man named Jorge and he is just crazy. He wants to know everything about everything and it's a little hard to get him to focus on the most important thing which is reading the Book of Mormon, but I know Heavenly Father can help him. Silverio Jose is just so ready to be baptized and he already knows everything he needs. I am so grateful Heavenly Father helped us meet in the street to help His son be baptized into th e only true church.
Gustavo was baptized yesterday after us knowing him for 2 weeks and having taught him a total of 3 times. We taught him everything he needed, it just went  by so fast. He was already reading the Liahona and the Elder's Quorum manual. It was just another tender mercy of God that he could be baptized right before I leave. I am so grateful for all of the experiences I had in the wonderful ward Faucett.
I'm going to miss watching the planes taking off and just having a fun time with Elder Brimley and Elder Aparicio. I have learned so much this transfer and I hope I can just continue to learn and grow. Oh yeah, the fireworks were even crazier on New Years than Christmas and I will never forget the time I spent here in this area as I'm sure there is no way I will ever forget this time I'm given to be a missionary. I am really learning to love my mission and am so grateful for all the experiences I've been given.
One more thing. Thank you so much for telling me about the funeral and how perfect it was for Papa. I know Nomi will be taken care of, but it makes me happy to think that you will still be there with her. Thank you Aannaliisa for  staying with her and I'm so excited for your decision to serve a mission. Everyone out  there, just pray about it if you are thinking about going on a mission. I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything, the bad just as much as the good. I love my mission and you will love yours too Aannaliisa and Hillary.
I love you all so much and continue to pray for you. Please pray for  all the missionaries, we really can't do this without heavens help.
Have the greatest week ever (with school and work hitting full speed again)!!!!!!!!!!!
I love you with all of my heart!!!!!!!!!!!
Love your son, brother, and friend,
Elder Aaron Wheatley
This is a muneca.  They explode them!

Gustavo's Baptism
Peanut Butter is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, January 6, 2013


Hey Everybody,
I love you all so much and want you to know the peace I am feeling right now as I just heard (or read) that Papa passed away this morning. You really don't need to worry about me for one second, but I do ask (even though I know you already do it) to pray for all of us missionaries. We need your help and support. I don't want to talk to much about this because I have a lot of crazy experiences I want you all to enjoy too and I feel like the Spirit is with all of us and we all know Papa is in a better place, where he wants to be. I just know he's already started hugging his loved ones and working up there. He's never going to stop working and I know that's exactly what he wants.
This Christmas was the most different Christmas of my life and I think it was equally crazy for all of you. The night sky was lit up for about 15 minutes at midnight and it was so amazing. The fireworks here, as just about everything else, aren't very well controlled so everyone was just going crazy. I've never seen anything like it and I'll try to send the video home somehow within the next little while so you can all enjoy it.
It was so amazing to be able to Skype you and just see your faces. I'm so grateful I was able to see Papa and tell him that I love him. It was so much fun just to talk with all of you and to see the house. I love getting your pictures to see what things are like, especially when it's probably 90 degrees down here with quite a bit of humidity. I was a little afraid of becoming homesick after seeing you all, but it's had the opposite affect. I am more focused than ever and I love this work. The other cool part about Christmas is that Elder Brimley got really sick so from about 6 in the afternoon and for the rest of the night I was in the apartment as he was throwing up. Definitely not going to forget my first Christmas in the mission field and first Christmas away from my family!
This week something has been happening with my brain. I really hope it means Spanish is just starting to infiltrate my brain because that's what I need. I am feeling so much more comfortable and I know it just takes time so I hope the time is now. The other crazy thing this week is how comfortable I felt here as we were driving. It felt clean somehow and more than anything like a vacation. That's the best way I can describe it. It felt like I was driving through St. George and was just excited to be there. It's somewhere I'm happy to be and it feels like an adventure. It's getting hot and that makes me feel happy and like a vacation too. Maybe I'll have better words to describe it all next week, I'll try my best.
A couple crazy things about Peru. Here everything is fake and illegal, well I guess it's not illegal here. One member family runs a shoe factory where they make fake nike's, adida's, puma's, really what ever you want. The cell phones here are fake, the clothes are fake. Some times I wonder if the plants are bamba (the word here for fake/illegal merchandise). The people are real though and I love them.
I got packages this week from Bekkah and The Aunties and that was so kind of you. The experience was another thing that I won't soon forget as I waited in Serpost (their post office) for 4 hours to pick up the packages. The fee was like 4 dollars, so in the end it was no problem I just have a great story to tell. I almost cried like 20 times, but I held it in somehow. Thank you so much to The Aunties, Mom, Dad, and Brianna for the amazing and very useful presents. I was so grateful to see the Conference Ensign as it still hasn't arrived here in Lima (everything is just so slow). Please tell Bekkah that the package got here on the 8th, but I didn't get it until the 28th. It was all intact and they opened it up in front of me just to make sure that there was nothing inside (you can only send clothes with tags on them, no used clothes). It cost practically nothing so you don't need to worry about that. Thank you so so much for thinking about me.
Now I want to talk about two amazing investigators. That Silverio guy that I was telling you about last week came to our church yesterday. We got to talk with him some more and had a great lesson with him. It's so amazing to me how Heavenly Father prepares his children not only to hear the word, but also to accept it. The other man is named Gustavo and I have never met anyone like him in my entire life. He just keeps telling us that he wants to be baptized and that he wants to be a missionary like us. He is 37 and said that he is just waiting for a girl that he can go and preach the gospel with. He has so much faith and I have never heard anyone pray, or even talk about prayer, the way he does. He is so ready to accept everything. We leave a pamphlet with him and he reads it all and believes it all so when we teach the lesson all we really do is talk about what he read really quick because he already has a testimony. We were walking with him to church yesterday and he was telling the people ''venga a la iglesia, La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias''. He is so amazing and his baptism is scheduled for this Saturday so I'll be writing more about him. Oh yeah, one more thing about him. He said that he has a hunger and thirst in his heart, but it's not for food or water it's for the word of God. He knows the Bible so well.
Oh yeah, my companion was transferred so I'm in a trio with Elder Brimley and Elder Aparicio for this week until transfers next week. I love being with them and I learned how to be even more patient and persistent from Elder Perez. I'm grateful for the time we got to spend together and I will continue to learn from all of my companions.
Thank you so much for all of your love, support, and prayers. I loved reading Alma 7 and Luke 2 this week and I would suggest reading them if you didn't have time. I'm looking forward to reading the Book of Mormon again and I'm grateful that I get to do it with you Mom.
I'm praying for all of you and know the Spirit will be with us as we pray and read our scriptures and do all that is asked of us.
HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love you all so much.
Love your son, brother, cousin, nephew, grandson, and friend forever,
Elder Aaron Wheatley