Monday, March 29, 2010

Hola Familia!

Hey fam!

How is everyone? Here I am in Mexico having a blast and working hard. I thought the day would never come. This week has been incredible. My companion´s name is Elder Moberg, he´s an awesome guy. He´s from Washington state, and he´s an ironman finisher! (i´m sure dad will want to meet him someday). We´ve been having a great time together, and the first thing he told me after we found out who our companions were was ¨i like to have a good time, but i like to obey and work hard¨ a great way to start my mission eh? he´s been out for eight months now and he´s quite fluent in the language. His trainer actually went to Hunter, and I sort of knew him back in the day, which is pretty funny. Anyway, we have alot of progressing investigators, they´re all incredible. Sometimes at the end of the day I just want to keep finding people and keep inviting the spirit into their homes and watching their hearts be converted. It´s incredible.

My mission president, President Jesperson, is incredible. Our mission has recieved a goal for a certain number of baptisms a month from one of the apostles. President Jesperson encouraged us to have the faith to see miracles, and to always trust in the Lord to help in the completion of His work. He said I should pray every time I get a chance for help in all I do, because there is no way I could help these people with my own strength and knowledge. I can´t wait to get to know President Jesperson better, he has an incredible relationship with the Savior.

One of our investigators looks just like Yacopo (i think that´s how you spell it) from the count of monte cristo. He works making backpacks that they send into the states, so we go and teach him while he´s working at his brothers house. His brother and his family are members and they´re all incredible people so it´s a great environment to teach in. He´s extremely receptive to the gospel and I can´t wait to see what happens with him in the future. His little neices and nephews are always there at the house while we´re teaching him. They range from about four to nine years old and there are about five or six of them. They love when we come over because they like to tell us stories (which i usually can´t understand) and make us play pretend war with them. Since they can all say Elder Aguilar pretty well they all yell my name the whole time we´re over there. it´s pretty awesome. Yesterday in church i made the mistake of sitting behind their family. One of the little boys was turned around on the bench and yelling my name through the whole sacrament meeting. I kept telling him to listen to the talk but he wouldn´t stop. The stake president kept looking over like he was embarassed, so was I. Oh well.

Well our house is actually pretty nice. it´s like the one on the best two years but it´s two stories which is pretty sweet. We have another companionship that lives there with us, it´s actually Elder Portuese, my MTC companion, and his new companion Elder Jaen.

So I´m happy to say that pretty much all the bad rumors I had heard about Guadalajara were false, and all the good ones are true. One rumor was that you can´t buy normal milk here, you can only find it warm in a box. We have an abundance of nice cold normal milk in milk jugs in our fridge, and you can get it at any of the little stores around here. Another was that it´s super hard to find clean water, and that you usually can´t drink it at the members houses. Every home is equiped with giant jugs of spring water in these little dispenser things, and we´re never worried about not having water to drink. Another was that I might not get alot to eat here. The members are all incredible. They feed us until we literally can´t eat anymore. And they feed us everyday. We have our daily food appointment, and every time we visit anyone´s house, they give us food and water. The other day a kind lady from the ward fed us lunch. Shey gave us each plates with way more food than we could ever eat, and when we were almost done eating she brought over another plate piled high with taquitos, so we had to eat a bunch of those. I really thought I was going to die. on our way to our next appointment I had to stop and sit on the curb because I was about to throw up from too much food, all the people on the street were laughing at the missionary with the weak stomach. It was great. Another rumor was that packages that are sent here don´t often make it. Of all the missionaries I´ve asked, I´ve only heard of two packages not getting here completely in tact, and those two weren´t in bad shape. So you can send packages if you like but it does take a long time so I don´t know how well anything edible would get here.

Ok so just a few things that are different here than in the U.S. One, they don´t really have yards, so they keep their dogs on the roof. The roofs don´t have fences of coarse, the dogs just stay up their because it´s too high too jump down. It´s pretty scary sometimes because we´ll be walking and all of a sudden there´s a pit bull right above our heads getting pretty mad at us. Also, all the stores and venders are things are just little small shops in people´s homes, they´re everywhere. All the houses here are really bright colors, and all very unique. Other than that it´s alot like home.

Gram: You were right about the cooking thing. Some of the ladies here can take a potato and a couple tortillas with some hot sauce and make a meal that´s out of this world. I´ll be writing you a letter as soon as I get the chance, after I learn how to use the postage here!

Bam: That´s awesome about your booth at the BYU thing! I´m sure you´ll do great with it.

Hardings: Thanks for your dearelders, I loved the stories about austin´s quotes and everything it was hilarious!

Timmerie: Thanks for your quotes also, that´s awesome that lincoln has his new style.

Family I´m writing you a letter soon!

Love you all,
Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar

Isn't that the best letter ever?  I know he's doing great because he said 'incredible' 7 times!  I'm the happiest mom!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hola Mexico!

Our fam was able to talk to Elder Aguilar on Tuesday for quite some time while he was at the airport.  It was so great!!!  I told him he needed to either call me or e-mail me when he arrived.  This is what we got on Wednesday:

Hey family!

I made it to Mexico safe and sound and I'm doing great! I'll send a real e-mail monday (p day)

Elder Aguilar

Can't wait until Monday! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010

I got to talk to Dallas again today!  I answered the unfamiliar phone number on my cell phone and heard "Hi Mom" all calm and collected in his deep voice.  He said they fly out tomorrow at noon!  He is excited and ready to go.  The great news is...he gets to call AGAIN tomorrow!  If anyone wants to happen to be at my house around noon, that's alright with me. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Week 9--and still at the MTC

hey family,

how are you all doing this week? did everyone have a good st. pattricks day? nobody actually realized it was a holiday here because everything just went on as usual. i did get that package from bam, which was awesome, thanks for all those pictures from the boys (exclamation point) i also got the package with all the candy and things in it (and the monkeys in a barrel) which was super cool so thanks fam.
so there's already been one elder in our district who got his visa. in fact he left on monday like was originally planned. as for the rest of us, we've recieved word that we'll get to meet with the consolate soon and we'll probably be flying out sometime next week (exclamation point). i'll get to call home again when we know when we're leaving exactly to let you all know the specs.
this week has been pretty strange. since we don't have set teachers or other meetings anymore we spend alot of time practice teaching. i've been the investigator in the trc quite a few times now and i'm learning a ton about the importance of: first being humble as a missionary and letting the people see that i'm there because i care about them and i'm not selling the gospel but inviting them to the happiness that comes through the gospel, and second: the importance of delivering the lesson like a real person with a personality, and not a robot who just has a checklist of items to talk about before i can leave. i'm learning to truly understand their needs, and make it all about them. it's awesome (exclamation point). one of the lessons that i was in was taught to me by two elders who's first language is spanish. it was really fun and i understood everything they said, but by the end the front half of my brain was pulsing pretty hard since we were all talking so fast in a language i didn't know at all a couple months ago.
the devotionals this week have been great as usual. the sunday fireside was from an administrator of the mtc, and he had some people who recieved the gospel within the last couple years come up and talk about their conversion experiences. it made us all even more excited to leave. then the tuesday devotional was from quentin l. cook (exclamation point) it was so awesome (exclamation point). just think, the first day we should have been in mexico, the lord sends an apostle to give us some advice. it was incredible. he talked about the gifts of the spirit, and how truly being a witness that the savior lives comes from a continued diligent search, and accumulation of many small sacred spiritual experiences. the spirit was super strong in the meeting. then he talked about how d&c 112 came in a year of great economic distress. the years before had been very prosperous, the kirtland temple was built, and many wonderful things happened there. everyone was doing well financially and many sections of d&c came forth during it all. but due to some bank problems in great britain, economic downturn spread throughout the world. people couldn't get their houses sold to move to be with the rest of the church, many lost their jobs, and most struggled to feed their families. d&c 112 was the only revelation that came during all of this, and guess what it was about? missionary work (exclamation point) the lord called many to europe to spread the gospel, and they soon came to realize that there wasn't a better time for people around the world to search their souls and realize how much the gospel would help them. he compared this to these times of coarse, and pointed out some very similar events that happened then that are happening now. he said that we should all be grateful to have the opportunity to spread this gospel in a time when people need it so greatly. he said the lord saves great missionaries for times like these, when he knows many of his children need his help. elder cook then gave an apostolic blessing and closed. i was super excited (and still am of coarse), and i'm so glad that i got to hear that talk before i leave. i can't wait to get out there to start helping people.
well i was glad to hear about the offer on the house (exclamation point) i knew it wouldn't be long until everyithing came together. i thought it was kind of funny, i was reading the ensign while my companion was at the hospital one of the days, and i noticed that just about every article this month ties into being thankful for our trials, and not wasting opportunities to learn and grow from our hardships.
i loved everyones letters and packages
mom- that pinata was awesome. we still haven't found a stick to break it open yet, but we did have a little not leaving party. we thought it was pretty funny, because on tuesday morning elder tibbits was talking about how lame it is that we're still here, and he said "we were supposed to leave on the fifteenth and it's already... the sixteenth" we all started laughing and realized we've been a little dramatic about it all. i loved your letters, thanks for your example mom. love you.
nay- i've been thinking about you a ton lately because everytime i learn something cool in the scriptures i want to tell you about it. and at the fireside on tuesday we sung the efy meddly with the whole mtc for one of the prelude songs for the first time since i've been here and the whole time i was thinking of how great it was when we were singing that at efy just this last summer (exclamation point) that was definitely one of the best days i can remember, cuz i was with my little sister and i could feel the lord's love for us so strongly.
dad- thanks for the letter. i love the advice you give me. we talk alot about examples here, and i always think of how thankful i am to have had such a great example in my life for a father as someone who was always there, always loving, and always worthy to give me a blessing when i needed it. thanks dad. i love you.
dig den and shash- i love reading your letters every time (exclamation point) denny your letter was hilarious when you signed it "ya whierdy." i laughed for a while after that. shash i can't wait to see how good you get at that oragami. and dig i'm glad you're enjoying that lovesac. it sounds like your new room is super cool. i always tell the other elders here how cool my little bro is.
thanks for everything i love you all (exclamation point)

elder dallas aguilar
p.s. i could really use my electric shaver soon because we could leave at any time and it'd be nice in mexico

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We Finally Got Pictures!

Quoting Dallas:  "Me reading 'Jesus the Christ' in our room at my desk.  Notice the three boxes of food under my desk, the pack of Mexican candy and box of cinnamon rolls on my desk.  I've been eating well."

"That's me showing off the goodies from my Guadalajara package."

"Me and Elder Mangray.  Elder Mangray is from Trinidad.  He is a good friend of mine and an incredible example of humility and hope.  We taught him how to play 4 square and how to eat things like american breakfast food.  I don't think I ever saw him frown."

"This is me at the temple on a Sunday sitting at the fountain with Elder Tibbits and Elder Newell.  (The ones who met Pres. Uchtdorf.)"

"That's a sign at the entrance of the MTC.  I thought it was pretty funny even though the 'field' it's talking about is the soccer field across the street."

"From left to right:  Elder Portuese (my companion), Me, Elder Tibbits, Elder McNiel (the ultimate fighter), and Elder Newell in the corner.  We're eating the cookies Mom sent me."

"Elders Tibbits, Newell, Me, and Elder Portuese.  We're all going to Guadalajara and we're roommates."

"This is our district.  From left to right:  Elder Hall, Elder Gant, Elder Combe (with his hand on his hip), Elder Allphin, Elder McNiel, Elder Newell, Elder Tibbits, Elder Choate (the one with the night terrors who accidentally said his brother was dead), Elder Portuese, and me."


"Me in front of the temple."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last Week? Maybe Not.

I've decided to switch his writing to blue so that Kevin can read it. :)

hey family,
the enter button seems to be working this week but the capital letters still don't work and most punctuation still just does a question mark. i'm writing the e mail a little early today because we got back from the temple earlier than usual.
this week has been unique. a few days ago my companion was complaining of some back pains, so we went to the doctor and found out he may have a bulging disc. i don't know what that means but he had to get an mri and a bunch of other tests so i've spent alot of time this week sitting in waiting rooms at a couple different hospitals, ignoring the television and magazines, studying my scriptures, and realizing what a sheltered environment i've been in at the mtc. it was a little awkward being in the outside world again but it really just made me excited to get to the field.
which brings up the other peculiar part of the week. we won't be leaving on monday. in fact most missionaries going to mexico have been delayed. i get to call home to explain the situation tonight. i'm going to call around four o clock, maybe a little earlier or maybe a little later. i'm going to call the home phone, and if nobody picks up i'll try mom's cell.
anyway, we all already said our goodbyes to one of our teachers because he finished early to go visit his family in arizona, so he'll come back to find us still patiently waiting to leave
the trc scenario last night was interesting. we were all super down because of our visa thing so it was hard to take the scenario seriously, since we all just want to be in mexico teaching real people. we taught a woman from honduras who doesn't actually speak english. it was pretty neat because i understood everything she said and i was able to speak spanish so that she understood the message. but like i said we were kind of down, so the spirit wasn't there. we weren't focusing on the investigator, and that mindset of selfishness doesn't invite the spirit well. although my spanish was great and we were able to answer all her questions, she almost fell asleep (another worker noticed and came in portraying her son so she'd wake up a little). it was embarassing to make such a huge mistake, but i'm glad i learned that lesson here instead of in real life. it strengthened my testimony that the spirit is what converts the people's hearts and testifies to them that the message is important and true. if i don't have the spirit when i teach, it's not worth the lord's time. i suppose that's why he mentions in d&c that if ye have not the spirit ye shall not teach. i don't plan to ever attempt a lesson unless i feel like the spirit is going to be there, because that's what the people i'll meet in guadalajara deserve.
anyway, sorry for the boring monologue. the devotionals this week have been really good. we met some elders from mexico and ecuador that are going to california and canada. we have a blast talking about our cultural differences together and it makes us all even more excited. we've been helping eachother with language, so on sunday we all sat together, and the elders from mexico and ecuador would ask us what certain words meant in the talk, while a couple of our elders borrowed their headphone translator things and listened to it in spanish. on tuesday we had a member of the seventy who gave an awesome talk about gaining a true testimony. he said testimonies are like a three legged stool. one leg is knowledge, one leg is that "spark" or the manifestation from the spirit, and one leg is experience (or taking action to see results that will strengthen your faith). if we don't know about the gospel, we can't have a testimony. if the spirit doesn't manifest to us, we can't have a testimony. if we don't apply it's teachings to our lives and perform the lord's will, and later see the blessings and miracles that come from it, we can't have a testimony. we've all heard about faith being a little seed. he reminded us not to just let the seed sit there and assume that that's sufficient testimony, becuase it's not until the tree is grown that it begins to produce fruit. we need that experience, that knowledge, and that continued manifestation to see the results of our testimony in our lives. i thought that was a pretty cool analogy.
nay- i loved your dearelder. it sounds like the dance was a blast (exclamation point). that sam fellow sounds like a cool guy. i'm glad you had fun :) that's great that you've got a viola student, you'll probably have quite the schol going when i get home. there was a violin player at the fireside on sunday who was incredible. he would play two strings with his bow as the melody and harmony, and pluck a third string for the bass part (exclamation point) that's crazy huh? i can't wait for your next letter nay i love hearing from you. love you.
denny- thanks for tellin me about your snowboarding day with dad. it sounds like a blast (exclamation point). that's awesome that you had such a sweet day.
dig- yes you may have my lovesac in your room if you'd like. you can also have any of the ties i left behind. i wish i would have brought more, but i've done some pretty smart trading and boosted my tie reserve to about twice what it was before.
mom- i'll talk to ya at four ish, by the way the pictures should be there today or tomorrow.
bam- thanks for the cookies you're the best.
dad- thanks for your letters i love your advice.
shash- i can't wait to hear from you again
i love you all (exclamation point) have an awesome week (exclamation point)

We did get to talk to Dallas today at 4:00 for 4 minutes!  It was so great to hear his voice!  We put him on speaker because everyone was home except for Shayne, so we did a conference call with him at work, and the whole family got to talk together!  Dallas even spoke a little spanish for us, and it was fabulous! (As far as I could tell.)  His companion is going to be just fine.  They don't know when they will get to go to Mexico, but he's thinking it shouldn't be too long of a wait or they would have sent them all stateside temporarily.  Maybe he will get to call again when he finds out! :)  He asked that everyone keep sending him letters--he loves them so much!  His address is the same until further notice.  Thanks for your love & support!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Week 7

hey fam, the new e mail thing won't let me do capital letters or use the enter button so if this is hard to read i apologize. this week hasn't been super exciting. the spirit has been incredible as usual. we had some great devotionals. one was about obedience and they told some really scary stories about elders disobeying that scared us all really straight. it was good though because you can never do too much of the right thing. the other devotional was about the seriousness of our call. it was a great message from one of the presiding bishopric. his wife quoted mother theresa's quote "we haven't been called to be successful, we've been called to be faithful." that's a good concept to keep in mind, especially since faith brings about success anyway. we all did really well in the trc scenario this week. nobody made any funny mistakes. sorry. i'm actually catching on with spanish really well lately. i met some missionaries from mexico (one is from right next to guadalajara) and when they speak spanish to me at a normal pace i can understand 90% of what's being said. that gives me alot of confidence. we taught the plan of salvation last night in all spanish, the spirit was doing most of the teaching and it was a very sacred experience. i was practice teaching hermano catt though and i accidentally said a bad word that i thought meant miracles. he made sure i was nice and embarassed about it so i wouldn't make the same mistake in mexico. i'm trying to have as many of those moments as i can while real investigators aren't involved. i only have a couple more weeks of it though. well less than that. our travel plans are in the mailbox right now i'm going to go pick them up when i finish. i'm almost positive we leave on the fifteenth so expect the phone call (at our home number) then. me and elder tibbits have 200 pass along cards that we're going to try to get passed out between the two of us at the salt lake airport and wherever our layover is. i'm pretty excited for that, maybe it will plant some seeds. shash- the food here is pretty good. i've been eating pretty healthy lately because the regular food counters repeat themselves alot. i usually have something like a grilled chicken spinach salad with some fruit and a roll. for breakfast i usually have cracked wheat and some fresh pineapple in yogurt with some grape juice so i've been feeling really good. hardings- thanks so much for the cinnamon rolls (exclamation point (this computer doesn't do exclamation points)). they were huge and super good. thanks for the note too. :) i really appreciate it. bam- i don't know much about the shipping process to guadalajara. i know it's got a much better chance of getting here if you put a bunch of pictures of the virgin mary on it but even then it's not for sure. thanks for the beef jerkey and the chips (exclamation point) i have so much food every night it's awesome, but i'm running out of time to eat it all. thanks for your letters i love hearing about home. congrats on your lesson i'm sure it was incredible :) mom- i wrote you another letter. i was kind of surprised it took so long for you all to get the ones from last week. i love hearing from you and i love you tons. thanks for everything. i hope you get the letter soon. egans- thanks for the snacks (exclamation point) i especially liked the transformers shoe box they came in that was pretty awesome. i loved the note too. :) family- thanks for the mexican soda and treats, they were awesome and all my room mates think they're super cool. i know you're all a little stressed with moving and everything. in one of the firesides they said cherish the moments and make these your greatest days. don't let any of heavenly father's blessings go unnoticed, and make every day the greatest day so far. nay- thanks for your letters. i heard elder lusty called you from the airport. i'll be spending all my call time talking to you and the rest of the fam but i guess that was his choice... i'm not trying to be mean it's just like i said in the letter i'm your big bro so i can't like that guy very much. i loved your dear elder about being best friends and the story from sister banza. i can't wait for all the incredible times we're going to have in the future. i can't wait to be able to just chat and laugh and all together again. i know i said that already but it's ok. one thing we learned this week is that part of heavenly father's plan is that things always progress and get better. every time a new person is called to a certain calling, they build off what the last person did and do even better. every group of missionaries that come in are even better than the last. every great idea we have is greater than before. anyway you get what i mean. but i bring that up because when i get home we're both going to be alot different. everyone in our family will be alot different. but the difference will only be better. things just get better. every day that goes by is just a little better than the last. it's awesome (exclamation point) anyway i hope that made sense. i love you nay. i took my memory card to get the pictures developed. i'll be sending them soon. it won't be as much as you asked for mom but i'm in them all and like i said there isn't much else to take pictures of here (plus i don't have much time) i think i'll have one more letter to you all, then i'll be in mexico (exclamation point) thanks for all your support. i love you all. i hope you have a wonderful week (exclamation point) love elder dallas robert aguilar