Monday, January 27, 2014

I H/ate Coffee

So here we go,

This week was one of the craziest and most stressful of my mission, but the good news is that it's over. That's what's so cool about the mission. I can leave that all behind me now and just have the best week this week.

Sorry it's been a long time, but Happy Birthday shout out to Matthew tomorrow (so cool to be so close to him) and Katherine on Sunday. I hope you both have the best birthdays ever.

I was reading the letter from Hillary and I feel exactly the same. We are working so hard on getting people here to do the little things like family scripture and prayer and family home evening. I am just so grateful for our family and that we did the little things. It means so much to me now and I know I wasn't always so happy to participate, but thanks Mom and Dad for helping us make that habit early on and for just being consistent and constant. I always tell people that it doesn't matter how much you read, just as long as you do it daily. I think they're starting to catch the vision and like Hillary, I just feel so blessed to come from such an amazing family that took time to do the little things that really count.

I went on a cool work visit this week where this lady decided to tell us her whole life story. Like ALL her life. Way too many details to keep it brief. Well, we had a cool lesson about repentance and her son decided to be baptized last Saturday. I told him ''who are we to say we're not ready or worthy? if God has said we are, then we are.'' That thought came to my mind first and I just felt the Spirit telling me it's the truth in my life too. I got to interview the boy and it was so cool. He didn't know if President Thomas S. Monson was a prophet so I invited him to kneel down right there during the interview and to ask. He did it and just said he felt peaceful and now had a testimony. That was such a cool experience and he's such a great guy.

We also taught a family about the Sabbath day and the wife just looked at her husband and said ''you know what, we've been missing something, we're not gonna work on Sundays anymore'' before we even really explained it. That was so cool. Well, she went to church yesterday but he didn't so half cool, but we're on our way. Welcome to the mission.

I saw a guy walking down the street the other day and he was wearing a Utah Jazz jersey. Then I saw that it was number 32 and I was like, that is too cool. He passed by and I wanted to stop him and just buy his jersey or something, alright I was gonna contact him, but my companion wasn't as tantalized or intrigued by the fact a guy in Lima was wearing a Utah Jazz jersey so he just kept on walking. Oh well, maybe he's a member anyway. Next time I'm just gonna ditch my companion though. I guess we'll see.

Alright, now for the lowlight of my week. There's this investigator that says he wants 1000 friends, but doesn't really want to be friends with God. Okay, maybe not so drastic, but he just wants us to pass by everyday and doesn't really want anything else, I think he's just a super lonely old guy. He called us on Saturday and told us to come by his house. We had like 20 minutes and wanted to pass by to drop him once and for all. Well, that totally backfired. It was his birthday and it was super uncomfortable. We told him we only had 20 minutes, but he wanted us to sit down and eat and he's just kind of creepy now.

So finally we accepted a piece of cake. I was kind of scared but took one bite and it was chocolate. Then I was suspicious and took another bite and another and then didn't feel so good. I thought it was coffee, but was in such a hurry to get out of there that I didn't want to ask. I couldn't see another alternative so I downed it as fast as I could. I felt really bad afterwards because, well, I should have asked. It was so disgusting and now I'm never EVER going back to that house. It was funny because for anyone else I would have said it didn't matter, but I felt bad. I told President and he just said God understands the circumstances, so now I'm fine. But for real, it was so disgusting. I wanted to run, so next time I'm gonna pull a Joseph in Egypt, 100%. The rest of the day my body was all sorts of crazy. DON'T EAT OR DRINK OR ANYTHING WITH COFFEE. My testimony of the Word of Wisdom was strengthened though, that's the good news.

I was also thinking about Uncle Ray and Aunt Sharon this week. Please tell them once again thanks for the fun time in Washington and please tell the whole family how much I love them.

The work keeps moving along. A real quick story I wrote to President.

A great spiritual experience happened yesterday as we went to meet with a less active. She has been going to church for 4 weeks straight and we've tried to visit her several times now. She was there and so was her husband, who is also super inactive, and her grandson was there with his mom. We were talking and I just felt I needed to share some scriptures, specifically Doctrine and Covenants 64:9-10 and also Matthew 7:1-5. I felt the Spirit as I testified and explained the words that were said by our Savior. Then Hermana M. said it was an answer from God. Earlier while she was washing dishes that scripture had come to her mind and me sharing it with her was a confirmation that it's what she needs to do. It's what we all need to do and so we met 2 new investigators who are part of a more than less active family and we all felt the Spirit. I felt so good, just like I was in the perfect place at the perfect time and there was nothing more important for me to be doing. I'm so grateful God can guide us all.   We're going to reactivate the whole family and baptize those 2 people (Elva and Alonzo). I know God will help us every step of the way.

Have the best week ever and know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I love you more than I could ever say. Thanks for all of your love support and prayers.

Love your repentant sinner and best friend forever,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley

Monday, January 20, 2014

Loco Peru!

Hey Family (Friends are Family too),

This week was so awesome.  I am just loving it here in Perú. I mean, every day isn't the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, but I am so happy after all is said and done. I really feel like I am doing the Lord's work and accepting His will too. There was one night this week when I especially felt good. I just lied down at night and felt I had done all that I needed to (not all that I could, but all that I needed to, all that was necessary) and I just felt so fulfilled. Life is great!

So Elder Carrillo...he's the bomb dot com. But for real, I am loving my time so much with him and already feel like we know each other so well. We just talk about all sorts of things and it's super fun. He's alright at English, he can work sentences out in his head, but I'm not sure how much he understands. It's fun to joke around with him though. I say ''NO PUEDE SER'' a lot and he laughs everytime. He says that I say it really dramatically like something tragic has happened. It means like ''no way'' or ''it can't be'' in English so now he started saying ''NO WAY'' and it make me laugh way hard. It's super fun to be with him. He has almost a year in the mission and is from El Salvador (everyone here thinks he says Villa Salvador which is a place in Lima and that makes me laugh so hard). It sounds like a pretty crazy place.

Alright so about Loco Perú. I was trying to sleep the other night and was doing a good job until at 12:30 some bombs went off. Well, I knew they weren't really bombs, but they were so loud and it was funny because they made some car alarms go off. I knew they were really fireworks, but they were so loud. After like 10 I finally get up to see if they are at least pretty and look out the window. So some crazy people decided to buy fireworks that just go up into the sky and explode without making any beauty. I don't know what loco bought them, but he got gypped. They stopped for like 30 seconds so we laid back down and then he decided to shoot off some more. Welcome to Perú!

So the same night. I finally get over the trauma of the bombs in the sky and an ambulance decides to drive down our street at 1:30 in the morning with its sirens on. I don't know what he was doing because I've never actually seen an ambulance arrive at a house here before. But he chills there for a minute and then drives off normal speed and without his siren. I was gonna hunt him down too, but was too tired. 

We met some really awesome people this week. Well really we had met them both before, but finally got to teach them this week. One of them is Fernando. He is actually our neighbor and he yelled out to me in English so we talked and then another day we were walking by the school he owns and he called out to us again. He lived in Kentucky for a couple of years and speaks English really well. He had a lot of friends that are members of the church, so he's heard a lot. He's super cool and prayed to know that the Church is true for like 10 minutes at least (my knees were dead). We need to help him understand that he needs to act on his answer, but he's just awesome. He's been to Utah before too and a bunch of other states. I'll keep you updated on him.

The other is David. He actually lived in Utah for 6 years and knows a ton about the Mormons. He has a U of U sticker on the back of his car, but there's always time to repent. It's cool to identify him though. He's a great guy and just needs to leave behind some bad habits. It turns out pretty much his whole family are members of the church so that's super cool. He speaks English really well and I'm just loving this.

Things are going so well and I see the Lord's hand in so many things. We are just so blessed and I'm so grateful to be here in Perú.

Know that you are all in my prayers. And Brianna, I hope you get feeling better soon. I love you all more than I could ever say. Have the best week ever!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy the weather and school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk to you all next week!!!!!!!!

Love your happy, happy, happy son/brother/friend,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley
We had Chilean "completos" with our Zone

Good-bye to Elder Herrera

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm Gonna Miss Him!

Hey Family and Friends,

So, this week has been absolutely loco and I'm so grateful for it.

Last Monday was a great day. We went to the biggest patch of green I've seen in our entire mission and had some fun playing kickball (kind of frustrating because no one knew the rules, but totally awesome still), we ate some good food, of course we played some soccer (ran full speed into a tree and felt like I had just been hit by a train, it was awesome though because I couldn't hear for a couple of seconds just like a great tackle in football), and of course the water came out so we all got soaked.

Then Tuesday rocked our world. We went to the leadership meeting and they told us that Elder Herrera was entered in the system to finish his mission on Wednesday. That was so so crazy. He talked with President Archibald and got everything worked out so he is headed home today at like 11:00 Lima Time. I'm gonna miss him so much, but am happy that he can go home and bless his family.

Pretty much all week was focused on getting things worked out between the doctors in Cordoba, saying goodbye to the ward (they're all going to miss him so much), the baptism that we had which was awesome, and of course his interview with President.

He shared a lot of cool things with me from the interview with President and it was just fun to talk. More than ever I am so grateful to be here on the mission and just want to work my hardest with my new companion Elder Carrillo who is from El Salvador, he's super cool too.

So yesterday I was just thinking a ton about all of the things Elder Herrera and I have been through together. I've never been with a companion as long as him (16 weeks) and I've learned and grown so much everyday. We haven't always done things right or always been happy, but we've never fought and we've always been able to work things out. It's been so amazing and just looking back at it all I feel so grateful and so blessed.

I'm so used to him and it's gonna be really weird to look to my side and not see him there. I've been forever changed by him and it's been so special to be with a companion that was also my best friend. He tried so hard to make the relationship work and that's what really counts. I'm gonna be praying for him a lot now that he might be having surgery for his knees. He'll know Thursday so please keep him in your prayers.

I'm so grateful for all the good, bad, awesome, marvelous, painful, and miraculous. Los Próceres is such an amazing ward and we've started a great thing here in Estaca Los Olivos too. I can never forget these times we've had together and we're just going to keep up the good work with Elder Carrillo and the Lord to guide us along the way.

It's so crazy how fast the time has flown by from when we were both new and lost.  I wouldn't trade these times for anything in the world. I have grown so much with Elder Herrera and am so excited for what is ahead.

Heavenly Father is blessing us so much and we are seeing so many miracles.

Thanks for all of your love and support. I wish I had more time and words to write, but all I can think about is Elder Herrera. What a great guy!

I'm loving the mission so much and am so happy right now. I know hard times will come-a-knockin´again, but I'm just enjoying the time I'm given now.

I love you all so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have the best week ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love your happy, happy, happy missionary in Perú,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley
Santiago Family -- I love them so much!
Baptisms in our Zone

I fell asleep while my companion was writing goodbye letters. Well really, it's not all that uncommon,
but he left me there until 1:30!  I was grateful for the blanket/knee saver.

My great friend - Elder Herrera and my new friend - Elder Carrillo

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Welcome 2014

Hey Everyone,

This week was absolutely amazing.  Life just keeps rocking it down here in Peru. I'm so grateful to be here and see the hand of the Lord so much in our work. This is the greatest experience I have ever had in my life. Actually, Tuesday was kind of hard now that I think about it and Wednesday no one was home for New Years so it started off really weird, but that's life. I'm really learning how to be happy with what I'm given and to not worry when things don't work out as planned. I am learning a lot about how to be more patient with God, myself, and others and am so grateful for that. The mission just keeps surprising me and I'm so excited for what lies in store this week.

So this week I started reading in the Book of Mormon (3 pages a day, remember you are all invited to join me too, it's not too late, I'm on page 19 after today). Alright, so I just love reading the Book of Mormon so much and this week was absolutely amazing. I was just going to read it all so fast, but I get caught studying the footnotes everyday.  I am so grateful for the scriptures in our lives. They are so amazing and I just am filled with the Spirit every time I read. I've been trying to study Preach My Gospel more and in more depth too and I can feel the difference. I love reading, studying, and pondering the scriptures so much.

On New Years I definitely enjoyed all of the fireworks and the pure awesomeness. It's a little weird thinking that I won't get to see another one in Peru though. So there was no way I was going to sleep before the fireworks, but I did want to sleep. I thought, that would be kind of cool to wish my family a Happy New Year at there time, but definitely didn't want to stay up until 2. Well, it almost worked out. The fiestas were so crazy all around us and the music was so loud that my ear plugs pretty much didn't do anything. Peruvians definitely know how to party. Well, the last thing I remember was looking at my watch and seeing 1:55. I'm glad I finally got to sleep, but it's funny that I only had 5 minutes left until your New Year. I hope you all enjoyed it so much. That sounds so awesome about the sky lanterns.

This week I had one of the coolest experiences from my whole mission. My spiritual experience this week came one night as we were heading home. It was like 8:55 and I felt there was still something to do. I didn't feel like we could enter another lesson because it would take too much time, but I felt there was something. Gotta be honest here, we always are eating late and get home pretty late so I was wondering if I should just let it go so we could get home early instead of late. I said a prayer that Heavenly Father would guide me and then tried my best to be open to the Spirit. I didn't know if it was a door to knock or what but I just walked down the street trying my best to listen to the Spirit and then a guy called out ''elderes''. I knew we had to talk to him. It turns out he's a member from Iquitos and is really inactive, but has never forgotten about the Church. Actually, he was enjoying a nice cold beer when he called out to us. We got to teach him and his family this week and he went to church with them yesterday. That was so special to me and I'm so grateful I was open to the Spirit and that the Lord guided me to His lost sheep. So awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also saw a lady with a Mormon Helping Hands shirt on and said hermana, and she just said, ''you're confused''. I thought ''no, I wasn't, but now I am''. Funny stuff.

Alexis is a joven that accompanies us and he's so cool. He read from 2 Nephi to Alma 20 in one day and just wants to be the best he can be. We met a really cool guy yesterday who said he just wanted us to teach him religion. And then another kid ran up to us in the street and said he was a member who was looking for the church. He was baptized last week, but came to live with his mom. He's 11 and that's a lot of courage. 

Things just keep going awesome down here. Sacrament meeting was so full yesterday.

Oh yeah, and I saw a commercial with Ricky Rubio playing for the Timberwolves and it was awesome!

Have the best week ever! And enjoy school starting up again!!!!!!! I love you all so much. Thanks for all of your love, support, and prayers.

Love your hot and sweaty friend,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley

Santa in Peru!

Christmas with Familia Santiago

Drinking mate from Argentina ("Kind of weird but I liked it!")

Chowing down on pizza -- YUM!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

HOLA 2014, HERE I COME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!‏

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so looking forward to the fireworks down here and all the loud noises. They do like bombs and stuff, so I'll take a video that you all can see, it's really awesome, and I'm sure horrible for the atmosphere. Bienvenidos a Perú (welcome to Perú). Gotta love it.

So this week was absolutely jam packed full of awesomeness and I hope you enjoy my take on things.

The greatest part of the week hands down, turn around, all that jazz was talking with my family on Skype. You all look so amazing and I love you so much. It's funny though how nervous I was to talk to you all. I mean, I walk up to complete strangers and knock random doors, but calling my own family gets me nervous, I'm gonna work on that one. I just was so excited to see you all and it was more than I could have dreamed of. I love writing you every week, but nothing compares to seeing your beautiful faces.

That reminds me. For those of you that haven't seen my face in a while, well funny story. So we had to get our hair cut and all the places were full. Finally we settled for a place that costs way too much. I told her I liked it pretty short and that's where it all went downhill. She just went to town. She started on the sides and I was like, oh well, it's done now. She then went to the top and too much again. Then I thought she was just going to go around the ears, but she didn't. I got a hack job. I just was thinking the whole time about the story from my dad's mission where the guy sitting next to him just kept saying ''too short''. It's really nice in the heat though even though I did get a little burned. Gotta love the fun experiences.

We had some awesome activities in the ward this week including a parrillada (grill) that brought more people than the regular sacrament meeting attendance, Christmas day there was fútbol and ceviche (which I didn't get to eat, we're not allowed and a member of the mission presidency lives in our ward), but the best was Christmas going around to the kids and giving out Christmas presents along with some panetón. It was really special and united our ward so much. We destroyed it this week in Sacrament Meeting with so many people and I love it here so much.

One of the most special parts of Christmas was Christmas Eve which was our p-day and we got to be together as a zone. We ate so much pizza and I was stuffed full for one of the first times on my mission (PizzaPie Café, Imma comin). Then my companion had the amazing idea to have a testimony meeting. He said it was the assistants who had suggested it, but it really was just an amazing idea from him. I felt the Spirit so strong and remembered so much about what I have learned on the mission. He talked about Galatians 6:17 where it talks about the marks that Paul carries to remind him of Christ. He said they are the scars we all have and I thought about the scars I have received in this life and even more on the mission. Not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. We're not perfect and we're not whole, but we will be someday. Those scars might never fully heal in this life, but I rejoice knowing that one day we will all be made whole and perfect again and they will be taken away. But for now I too rejoice in the scars that I have received serving my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We had an awesome baptism this week with freezing cold water as usual. It was Alex the son of Lucy who was baptized last month. He escaped us like 3 times for his interview, but we finally met with him. He's just a little kid that loves playing with his friends more than he remembers his interviews though and so innocent. He understands it all so well and is the bomb. It was really special too because Rocío, the lady that knocked on the church gate, was baptized too. She was taught by the hermanas, but is still one of the coolest stories from my mission and I'm grateful I was able to be a part of her story. The other baptism was a kid named Vasilay, he's the son of a recent convert and counted for the ward, but wanted me to baptize him. He was so awesome. The water was freezing, but he didn't even complain one bit. He jumped out of the water and was just so happy. That's such a great example to me. What a stud.

Then Sunday we get to church and I'm sitting there and the bishop says I'm going to confirm Alex a member of the Church. I've never done that before and it came out of the blue, but it was so special. I feel so blessed to hold the Priesthood of God and be able to bless other peoples lives. That's something I'm never going to forget.

I read ''Jesus Christ-Gifts and Expectations'' by President Ezra Taft Benson this week and it was absolutely amazing. It's so crazy how much things change when we are happy and loving life, than when we are going through trials. I know hard times will come again, but I'm just loving life right now. I wouldn't trade the hard times either, but this is extra special. I just felt several times this week how special it is to be able to be a servant of Jesus Christ during this time of year and love being able to testify of Him and His restored gospel. I love the mission so much and love Perú. It's not the most beautiful, but this is my Waters of Mormon. I'm learning to love the people, the culture, and the language and am so grateful to be here. I love Perú!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finished el Libro de Mormón this week and am so grateful I was able to read it in Spanish. I learned so much and love that book more than I can ever express. But now all I want to do is read it again. I'm going to read the Book of Mormon again this year before my birthday. I'm going to read 3 pages a day and want to invite any and all that want to join me on this amazing adventure. I just thought it would be a fun way again to feel close to all of you. Let me know what you all decide!

I'm loving it with Elder Herrera right now. We are being so blessed. He's most likely going to go home around the 15th of January for knee problems. It's only one transfer early, but I'm sure gonna miss him. Keep him in your prayers please. We are being so blessed and I'm learning to be lots more patient. Heavenly Father is so good to us and I can feel your prayers in our behalf. Thanks so much!!!!

I love you all more than words. Have the Happiest New Years ever and know I'm thinking about and praying for all of you. Thanks for all of your love and support. Talk to you next week/next year. Gotta love those jokes. See you all soon!!!

Love your happier than ever in Perú, New Year partying, good looking, best friend forever and ever,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ¡¡¡¡¡¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!!!

I love you all!

I'm so excited to skype tomorrow and can hardly believe that a whole year has passed since my first Christmas here in the mission. This year has definitely been different than I ever imagined, but I wouldn't change a single second of it for anything in the world. I'm so grateful to be a representative of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ during this very special time of year.

So real quick about the week.

The coolest part was just all of the amazing new things I learned or felt about the birth of Jesus Christ. In church we just talked about His birth and I realized just how amazing it all was and how special (or maybe not so special). Many times in this life we think that God doesn't love us because bad, or unexpected, things happen to all of us. I was just thinking about how Joseph and Mary would have felt on that special night so many years ago. They were going around from inn to inn, just trying to find one room, but there wasn't a single one in the whole city. So then they finally find the stable. They both must have felt like pretty big failures that they couldn't even give a room to the King of us all.

Then I was thinking. Heavenly Father is Jesus's father too. He could have made it happen if He wanted, but it was His will that His Only Begotten Son was born in a manger in that sacred stable. Joseph and Mary could have felt that God didn't love them or wasn't helping them, but I think they were lots better than I am about accepting the will of God. I had never thought of it that way before and know when things don't turn out as I planned or I even think God isn't watching over me, I can just remember the birth of Hes Beloved Son. HE ALWAYS LOVES US, even and maybe especially when we are passing through hard times and trials. I hope that brings you all some peace and joy in this Christmas season.

We had a cool Christmas activity as a mission and it was tons of fun to see some of my friends from the mission.

I've been chowing down on good ol' panetón, which like Hillary said is pretty much fruit cake, but AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it so much and am going to have to get it imported when I'm back home. And yes, I've found like 10 treasure maps and 50 skittles already.

It's been real cool this week going out with the jovenes (young men) in the ward and we have helped one make the decision to serve a mission that's so rewarding. Also, the ward is just so kind to us and we ate some cool food from the selva (jungle) the other day.

Oh yeah, we watched that awesome animated Bible story of Jesus' birth and it was so cool because I remember watching it when I was a little kid. I love looking back on this Christmas's and then looking forward and knowing there is so much to come. It was just so special and I thank you all for being a part of Christmas past and of course Christmas future.

I am really enjoying Christmas present.

Thank you all so much for your support. I'm so excited to finish el Libro de Mormón tomorrow and hope you all are reading that sacred book too.

Have the best Christmas Eve ever!!!!!!! And of course Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love your best friend,
Elder Aaron Micah Wheatley