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