Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey Family! How is everybody? I hope you're all doing great! So this week has been pretty cool. We've got some work done and seen some miracles. Sweet.

This last Saturday, I had the opportunity to baptize Paco. He's the husband of one of the younger sisters in the ward. A couple weeks ago after we talked about missionary work with the members in sacrament, Paco and his wife came up to us and asked if we could come teach him. I don't think I've ever seen anybody quite so prepared for the gospel. He said he had begun to just feel good in sacrament meetings, and decided he really wanted to learn about the church. In the first lesson we brought a recent convert with us who shared a really strong testimony. We taught Paco the Restoration, and challenged him to read 3 Ne 11 and pray. The next time we came over he was just excited to learn more, and committed to be baptized. When the Zone leaders came over for the baptismal interview, Paco told them that he had a ton of questions and doubts about the church, but from the moment he knelt down and really prayed, he knew it was true, and he said that with that testimony from the Spirit, his doubts and questions just didn't really matter anymore. He was baptized Saturday and Confirmed Sunday. (I forgot my USB hookup for the camera but I'll send the pictures from his baptism next week.)

So about four months ago, Elder Moberg and I contacted a man that lives by one of our old investigators. He said that he'd welcome us anytime, but we just felt like he wasn't really sincere, and we sort of forgot about him. In the following weeks I saw him two or three times, and the Spirit just told me that I'd be teaching him someday. Then this last Wednesday, Elder Ripley and I were a little frustrated, unable to think of where to go in between appointments for about an hour and a half. Normally we just start contacting and everything's fine, but this time we just felt like there was something else we were supposed to do. We stopped by a gas station to use the bathroom, and I remembered that we happened to be right near that man's house. After Elder Ripley got out of the bathroom, I just told him I had an idea and started walking to the house where the man lives. The man answered the door, and I said "Hi, we're here to share you a message," he let us in, we talked for a little, found out his name is Petronilo, and we taught him about The Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end of the lesson he committed to be baptized. Then his wife got home and she said "if you two can fix that man's problems, I'll join your church too." Petronilo came to church yesterday even though he was a little sick, and he loved it. It was a pretty cool experience. Of coarse on the way to the next appointment Elder Ripley asked me how on earth I knew exactly what house to go to where a random man was ready to get baptized, so I explained to him the background of the whole situation.

I was thinking that I haven't really said much about my companion Elder Ripley. He's from Alabama. He was in the marching band at his school, plays the trombone (if that's how you spell it). He was also really big into choir, and drama. He actually won a state competition for drama one time with his friends, and was invited to nationals. He knows The Book of Mormon backward and front. I can actually open it to any verse and read it to him, and he'll tell me what book and chapter it's in. Crazy! Anyway that's a little about my companion. The other day he had a rough experience. There's these spiky catarpillars (once again I have no idea about the spelling) that hang on the leaves of some of the trees here so you have to be careful when you walk by trees on the sidewalk. Elder Ripley had one land in the collar of his shirt and sting him pretty bad, then right after that he almost stepped in some dog doodoo on the ground, but he missed it. When he looked up from the dog doodoo his face went right into the branch of a rose bush and he got a big scratch on his forehead. haha. I was laughing pretty hard.

So I was thinking about my experiences in the mission the other day (I'm still in my first area by the way, but there are changes in a couple weeks so hopefully I'll go somewhere new), and I recognized that every baptism we've had so far has either been a reference from a member, or somebody that contacted us. We've never baptised someone that we've contacted. The other day we were talking to an investigator at his work about the Book of Mormon. He said the reason he wanted to talk to us is because he saw the Book of Mormon, and recognized it from his friend's facebook page, because he's got a picture of him with the book with a caption that says "The book that changed my life." I was thinking about all of that stuff and I thought "Wow, there's not much that happens in missionary work if the members don't participate!" I never recognized how important it is to always set that good example for our friends and neighbors etc. and invite them to learn more about the gospel. Especially those who are going through alot of trials in their lives. It really is incredible to think that people go through such tough times, just wondering why they're even here living this life. They really need to know the purpose that the Lord has for us, and his Plan of Happiness. Missionary work is the bomb.

Well anyway, thank you all for all your support! I love hearing about stuff back home, especially the funny stories and stuff. I love you all! Have a great week!

Bam- I've been thinking about the birthday thing and I can't think of anything. :( It's tough to think of stuff I need as a missionary. haha. Maybe if you could send me some more investigators? haha. Just kidding. Thanks for all your dear elders and packages and stuff Bam. I love ya! have a great week!

Mom- Thanks for that Dear Elder that you had to write like ten times. I loved it! It was a great letter. Sorry I haven't written you a letter very recently, I'm sending one soon. And next thing ya know I'll be calling home for Christmas! That was funny the story you told me about Xander Humberg swinging his belt above his head in the Kindergarten reading thing. haha. You'll have to let me know how Merrill's campaign goes by the way. I haven't seen that picture in the Liahona you mentioned, but it sounds just like Guadalajara. :) Hey Cristobal Villegas wrote me a letter from the MTC, but now he's in the field and I don't know his address, could you maybe see if you could get it for me? Thanks! Oh I decided on a scripture for my other plaque, Doctrine and Covenants 112:19. I love that section. It's the one Elder Cook asked us to read when he came to the MTC. Well thanks for everything Mom. You're the greatest! Everyday I appreciate what a great example you are to me more and more, and I'm always more and more thankful for everything you've always done for me. Love ya mom! Have a great week! :)

Shash- That's so sweet you got to go to the Real Salt Lake game. The only time I ever went there they played the Guadalajara Chivas! Woohoo! haha. Ya know Shash, One of the notebooks mom sent me to use for writing letters has a talk in it that you wrote about missionary work. It's such a great talk! You have such a strong testimony Sloosh! I love ya! have a great week!

Den- I can't wait till you go to your first U game man! You're gonna love it so much! Those are like some of my greatest memories, going to the U games with Grandpa Bob. Sweet. Make sure you get a bratwurst with onions when you're there! They're the best! haha. Love ya denny-o! Have a great week!

Davin- Haha. That's funny about your parent teacher conference. Mine were always like that too, because they always do them at mid terms and my grades were always horrible at midterms. But by the end of the term they always ended up fine. I'm sure yours will too. Just work hard man! That's awesome about your art teacher! I'm still waitin on some of your sweet car drawings! Concept designs are sweet. I always loved looking them all up when the big car shows for the year started going around. Love ya dig! have a great week!

Dad- Your first lesson is on Isaiah! sheesh! That's gonna be crazy! Let me know how it goes and all the sweet stuff you teach. That's cool that you and Christian were talking about those old mission experiences. If you ever want to share some with me I'd really love it. I'm sure you were as great of a missionary as you are a dad and a hard worker. haha. Thanks for everything dad. (oh by the way I had to pay the bills for the house because nobody else had money, and the office doesn't have any money to reimberse with right now so I'm going to have to take out money from my home acount again but once they pay me back for the bills I'll be set for a while. Just to let ya know! Thanks Dad! Love ya! have a great week!

Nay- Sounds like homecoming was pretty sweet! Way to dress modest nay. That's so lame when teenagers discount the importance of virtue. It's not very fair to their future families either! That's awesome about Phillip. I remember those good old days when I was an aid in his class. He's a fun guy. haha. Hey maybe that will come true like you said and we'll end up going to the U together! Then we could go to the games together and stand in the student section! haha. Awesome. Well I sure love ya nay. Keep being such a great example for me and the fam. Have a great week!

I love you all!
Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hey Fam!

How is everybody!? I hope you're all doing well. So this week has been pretty cool. I'm not really sure what to write about because it was really just a normal week. We had a goal in the zone for each companionship to have at least twenty lessons more than a half an hour long, two hundred contacts, and complete the whole ward mission plan. I was a little stressed because we've never actually done that in this area before, but we focused on being really obedient, trusting in the Lord, and just focusing on our investigators and their needs and not really worrying about the numbers. All our lessons were taught by the Spirit, and we ended up reaching the goals. It was pretty cool.

So yesterday we were at church, and one of our investigators that's getting baptized this upcoming saturday came to elder's quorum with us. The teacher in elder's quorum tends to ask alot of complicated questions, and venture a little from the actual lesson manual. We were a little nervous because we didn't want our investigator to get weirded out in a class about anything more than just the basic principles of the gospel. Everything started out great, but by the end the teacher was way off track, and actually started teaching some false doctrine! We were pretty stressed out but the investigator didn't seem bothered by it. Everything turned out ok.

So the independance day festivities sound like they went pretty great. We had to go home early the night before and we couldn't even be outside in front of the house, so I didn't see anything exciting. Infact, the parties all started after we were already in bed, so to us it was almost like it never happened! haha. This last weekend the ward had a party friday and saturday night to celebrate the independance. We were going to swing by the dinner party on saturday to introduce our investigators to some ward members and hopefully get some food, but our investigators weren't able to make it so we didn't end up going for the dinner. Oh well.

We went to visit that man I mentioned in the last e mail that we found the day after I contacted him in the street. We got to his house and he was leaning back in a chair watching tv in his front room smoking. When we asked him how he was he just told us we could leave and puffed out a big cloud of smoke. haha. Oh well. He had mentioned to us more than once how badly he needs a change in his life, but faith without works is dead (James 2). Maybe he'll read that chapter one day and decide he's ready to let the Lord start guiding his life. Hopefully!

This week my companion had the giggles a ton! I don't know why but he was like dying of laughter. There was one point when we were knocking on doors when we actually just had to stop between two houses and wait while he laughed for like five minutes straight! I guess it's good he's having a good time. haha.

Well that's about all for this week. Thanks for all your letters and support! I've send a few letters out this week to some of you so watch the mail!

Mom- I was thinking, did you guys check the books I had in my room? It's possible that dad's journal is with those. Oh by the way I sent that package with the presents for the kids. I used that microfiber towel and the empty dried fruit package just to help with the packing. Tell dad he can try that microfiber towel out for washing or drying the cars, because I'd imagine it might work good. I don't know for sure though. For that missionary plaque I would like to put a different scripture on there, so if I can think about it and look for one and tell you next week that would be great. So the other day we were walking down the street and a guy stopped us and said "your good young men. you must have wonderful parents." :) I told him "yes I do." I thought it was pretty cool. Thanks for your comments about feeling that peace when we're on the right track. It really is the best feeling. Just remember not to worry so much about the job and the move and stuff though! Find joy in the journey, come what may and love it. :) Love ya mom! Have a great week!

Dad- That's sweet that your teaching gospel doctrine on the Old Testament! That's going to be so cool. You'll have to let me know when you learn really cool stuff and find sweet scriptures. By the way, you should ask uncle Christian about the talk called "Teaching by the Spirit" by Gene R. Cook. He gave me that as a gift to help me out here in the mission field and it's got some sweet stuff that you could use to teach your class. By the way a quote I love from Elder Holland about teaching by the Spirit is he said "you should always prepare way more material than you could fit into the lesson, and then let the Spirit tell you what to use" I think that's pretty sweet because then you don't have to worry about not being prepared, but at the same time, you don't have a super set lesson, so the Spirit can really guide the class. Anyway, you'll have to let me know about it all! Love ya dad. Have a great week!

Den- Hung out all weekend huh?! sweet. Sounds like you had a good time with your friends. I remember those good old days of sleepovers and stuff. So you caused a few penalty kicks in soccer? haha. cool man. You keep working your best on that team. It's a good chance to really get better and better so that when you're on a really good team you guys can be the very best and you'll be the all star. haha. coolio. Well I love ya denny o. Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like you had a fun water party thing! I can't believe your team won so far in soccer! Sounds like that one boy is a pretty good player. That's good that you're making alot of new friends on your team too. I love ya sloosh! Have a great week!

Nay- Holy cow your coach is crazy! Your practice thing sounded ridiculous! haha. Be careful! I guess it will make you guys a pretty tough team though. So you're going to homecoming with a guy named Royal? I don't know him. He better be a nice guy. haha. That's good that you love your seminary theme so much. I use the seminary themes that we had every now and then to share with investigators or families in the ward. haha. Isn't marquie seminary pres? That's sweet. Well keep having fun your senior year Nay, and keep me updated on it all. Hey could you let tanner know that I sent him a letter and it's on the way? Oh and if Laura asks you, her address that came on the letter she sent me is wrong, so I can't write her back. haha. I love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Scout camp sounds like it was pretty fun! even though you didn't get to skate and stuff. Haha. I remember a few times showing up to firesides dressed wrong too. No big deal though man! Every day I walk outside and say "oh darn it's a casual dress day again! and we're both wearing shirts and ties!" haha. just kidding. So your in MESA huh? man if you go to all the activities and do all the projects with that and keep up with it until high school is through you will learn a ton of sweet stuff! and you'll probably get a super good scholarship! That MESA thing is a good program. You'll have to let me know how it goes! Love ya dig! Have a great week!

Love you all! Thanks for everything!
Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar

Monday, September 13, 2010

8 Months Today!

Hey family! How is everybody? This week has been pretty sweet. I was super looking forward to the work this week because it just felt like there was alot to get done, and I was just full of energy and a desire to find people who need the gospel. It's amazing how perfectly things work out when you put your trust in the Lord! So at the end of last week things started to get a little tough, because we had alot of investigators who seemed right on the edge of really changing their lives, and they were all so ready, but they've been sort of forgetting the importance of the gospel. We've spent alot of time bearing alot of heartfelt testimony and praying to know the needs of our investigators. Things are going well.

Anyway, so we started out the week and things were just normal. I got into this little mode where I just am happy because I know i'm not doing anything against the Lord's will so everything that happens must be right. We ended up having a few little miracle experiences. We ran into a guy one day and I just felt like he needed the gospel, so I contacted him. He seemed super interested, but by the end of the contact he decided he wasn't actually that interested. The next day we got to our lunch appointment and they weren't ready so they asked if we could come back for a half an hour. I was on divisions with one of the zone leaders (in my area) and we started to think of what we could do while we waited. I remembered in a talk by Elder Bednar when he said when ever we're not sure what to do we should just start walking and contacting and things will work out. We knocked on a couple doors and talked with some people. We were about to knock on this house when I noticed a for sale sign, and also that it had been a half an hour and our food was probably ready. I was about to suggest we go to the food appointment, but Elder Fuentes (the zone leader) just knocked on the door. Anyway, the house ended up not being for sale. I don't know why that sign is up. But the guy I had contacted just the day before that decided he wasn't interested lives there! And he said that if the Lord sent us to his house the day after we tried to contact him in the street, it must be for something. We ended up teaching him and it went really well. Later in the week we had two more experiences almost exactly like that. It was so sweet!

So here in our area we've had a tough time getting what's called "the ward mission plan" into full effect. It's a program that's designed to help the members get excited about missionary work to give us references and help befriend the recent converts so they can stay strong in the gospel. On Sunday the bishop gave us some time to talk about the ward mission plan in sacrament. I was going to bring a talk from Elder Bednar that would help them to feel a little more responsible for the work but I left it at home on accident, so we just had to sort of wing it. The meeting ended up really spiritual and afterwards people just started coming up to us asking us to come to appointments they were already setting with nonmember friends and family members. It was pretty cool because for me that's the best missionary work we can be doing. There are so many people that need the gospel, it's just awesome to see the people help their loved ones change their lives, especially when it's a step toward completing what will become an eternal family.

So we had a baptism saturday and I got to baptize a young eight year old girl named Paola. It was pretty cool because she comes from a family that's had some tough experiences, and due to certain circumstances her mom and dad have never joined the church. It was cool to see her mom there for the baptism and everything, and the Spirit was really strong.

I don't know if I mentioned but one of the missionaries in the house with us is also named Elder Aguilar. He's a good friend of mine and we've had alot of good times. We found out last night that him and my buddy Elder Newell from the MTC are going to have a special assignment to open an area together where there hasn't been missionary work in a while. The area they're opening is a huge tourist spot where a ton of really really wealthy people live on a big lake. Their ward is actually english speaking too. It's going to be cool to hear about their experiences. Anyway I just thought I'd mention that because I attatched some pictures of Elder Aguliar "2" and I.

The weather has been cooling down a little lately and we've been having some pretty cool flash floods. Nothing dangerous or serious, it's pretty fun actually.

Oh this week is the independance day of Mexico, on Wednesday. The parades and stuff have already started in the streets, I can't imagine what the actual festivities are going to look like! haha. It'll probably be pretty cool!

Well I love you all! Thanks for all your support!

Dad- I think it's going to be pretty cool to see all the changes in Dig and Den when I get back. I just can't wait to be able to be a part of everybody's lives again now that I'm learning to appreciate what an awesome family we have. That employment story you told me sounds pretty sad. We've seen some situations similar to that, and I just wonder how people keep moving forward sometimes without the gospel. Thanks for your little advice about the area. My view of the mission has really been changing alot. It's just so clear how important this work is, and every day I'm more thankful and excited to be blessed to be a part of it. Thanks for everything dad. Love ya!

Nay- I think we will all be a little different when I get back. haha. But only in great ways! So you guys totally destroyed cyprus it sounds like. Sweet. Take advantage of all the fun stuff in your senior year. You'll be missing it all before you know it! haha. That stinks your Ipod got stolen. That's cool they left everything else though. haha. Anyway, I sure love ya Nay, I love hearing all about what's going on with ya at home too. Hey I'm going to get to call on Christmas! That's only like three months away! haha. Love ya!

Dig- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Feliz cumpleaƱos a ti! haha. I can't believe your a teenager man. Be the responsible kind! But have fun too. haha. So how'd you like your quest field trip? seems like I was going on those just yesterday. Quest was sweet. Work hard in those classes dig it'll make high school a breeze. Sounds like soccer's going ok. Remember the most important part is to have a good time and leave that field knowing you did your best! Love you Dig!

Sloosh- I can't wait for your dear elder! I can't remember if I told you happy birthday or not. well if not, Happy late Birthday! haha. Love ya shash!!!

Mom- I'm excited for the dear elder! thanks for everything. Oh by the way, the next time you see Tan could ya let him know he's got a letter on his way? Thanks mom! Love ya!

All the fam that wrote in my email- I didn't have enough time during our e mail time to read your messages but I'm printing them out so I can read them later! I'm sure they're great messages! Thanks for everything fam! Love you all!

Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar
Elder Aguilar with Elder Aguilar :)
2 of them!
Paola's Baptism
Happy Day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I hope you're all well. So this week has been crazy. The work has been super strange this week, I've never had so many ups and downs! So this is what happened. First at the start of the week pretty much nothing was happening. We had a family set up for baptism that ended up changing their minds at the last minute. We had recently recieved a ton of references from the ward, but the members have been taking their time with getting the first appointments set up with them all. Anyway, so the week started out a little rough, so my companion and I decided we were really going to hit the contacting hard and try to get into as many doors as we could and just find some people who need the gospel that we could start working with. Well we contacted and contacted and knocked and knocked and found nothing! It was so frustrating! within the first few days of the week we had a ton of contacts, almost no lessons, and no new investigators. I was super bummed. It started to get harder and harder to work with the right intentions, because it seemed like we weren't finding anyone who was ready for the gospel. Then in the last half of the week we suddenly started finding a ton of people. They were just coming out of everywhere! We would just be walking down the street and people would come up to us and ask to know about the message and stuff. We started recieving a ton of references too. Things started to look pretty great. We ended up getting to Sunday planning to have at least ten investigators at church with us. Things looked pretty great! Then Sunday morning we went around to pick about six of the ten up to take to church with us, and none of them were home! We thought that at least maybe the other four would be there, but none of them showed up. I was pretty sad about it, and my companion was super down. It was a rough week, but we learned alot, and we're looking forward to a new week to keep working. By the way the family that decided not to get baptized is still getting baptized! They just felt like they weren't ready. But I see their testimonies growing daily and they're really excited about the gospel!

We recently started teaching a guy named Guentino. He's had a super tough life. He use to have some problems with drugs and alcohol, but he ended up letting all that go when he had a big accident. He was actually struck by lightning, and he lost his arms. Later his sister passed away at a pretty young age, and all of those challenges put him into pretty bad depression, and he tried to commit suicide a few times. He's trying to get a business going, but it's a struggle for him. The good news is he loves the gospel. He definitely recognizes the need for the gospel in his life right now, and he's anxious to start seeing the blessings that will come as he puts his life in the Lord's hands.

We had changes a week ago by the way but I still didn't get changed. I thiink this will probably be my last transfer in this area, but when it's over I'll have been here for like seven months. Haha. I definitely feel like there's an important reason that I'm still here, and I'm excited to see what ends up happening in the next month or so.

We've had some pretty crazy rainstorms this week. They're pretty awesome. The whole city just gets flooded in a matter of like forty seconds. It's always helpful when we're knocking on doors because people just let us right into their houses to get us out of the rain and we can start teaching them. I don't mind the rain at all, but the people just see a couple of young men from a different country soaking in the rain, so they have a little more compassion on us.

Thanks everyone for everything! I love getting your letters and hearing about life back home as always!

Nay- Sounds like you had a pretty fun week. Keep letting me know about all the fun stuff in your senior year. Those were the good old days. You had a pretty sam filled week too, I still don't know that guy of coarse, but I guess if his mom taught such a great relief society lesson that's a good sign he's probably a decent guy. That's funny about Katie Omer. Oh by the way I can't write her a letter until I get one from her because I don't have her address. So you should tell her to write me! haha. Anyway, Love ya Nay, have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for that story about Howard W. Hunter. What an awesome example of a true disciple of Christ. I've been studying about and praying for Charity this week, and it sounds like President Hunter probably had that down pretty well. So the U game went well huh? I still wouldn't mind if you guys recorded those games for me so I could watch them when I get home... But until then I better try to focus on the work. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya. Have a great week.

Denny- Sounds like that sleep over was pretty sweet. haha. Too bad you guys didn't get to spend the whole night on the tramp, but it sounds like you still had alot of fun! Love ya denny o! have a good week.

Mom- Sounds like that was a pretty fun visit from Tanner and Taylor and Cory. You should tell those guys to write me some more dear elders. haha. If you see Taylor soon, or maybe you could have Nay tell him, let him know I'm looking for something sweet to send him. Thanks for keeping me updated on the Egans. I'll be sure to keep them in my prayers. Hopefully everything turns out ok with them. I think it's pretty crazy that it's been a year since I got my mission call! It doesn't seem that long ago. Next thing ya know I'll be calling you at Christmas time, then it'll be a year since I left! Crazy! Oh I don't know if you sent that package already, but I was wondering, if it's ok with Dad, I think it'd be cool if you could send me his mission journal. I think It'd be neat to read about his experiences and learn from his missionary example while I'm out here. Love ya mom. Thanks for everything. Have a great week!
Shash- You got to tend like all the little cousins huh? sweet. That's great that you have so many new friends in your class! Love ya sloosh! have a great week!

Dig- You'll have to let me know how your trip went when you get home! Love ya Dig!

Bam- I forgot to let you know that the cookies in the package you sent made it just fine! Thanks again for the package Bam! Love ya!

Love you all! Thanks for everything!

Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar