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 PerĂº.

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 PerĂº. 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.

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