Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hey Fam!

How is everybody? This week has been pretty great! This letter might be a little short because I don't have a ton of time. So this week started out super stressful. We were having very little success. We weren't finding any new investigators and almost all our appointments kept falling through. When we reported dats on Thursday the only thing that looked up to par was our contacts. On Tuesday morning the assistants called all the leaders to let us know that the President was asking for us all to complete the standard of excelence this past week. As I mentioned in my last letter, I've never actually been able to do that before. I was really stressed by thursday, and started to think it just wouldn't be possible. Then I realized I was being very faithless. I remembered that these numbers don't gain us anything. The only reason behind them is to help us work harder to bless the lives of others. I decided that if the Lord had revealed those goals for us, he obviously wanted us to complete them so He can bless more of His children who need the gospel. So if the Lord wants us to have success, and we want to have success, and it's all for the right reason, to follow Christ's example and serve others, then what was going to stop us? The opposing side certainly isn't as powerful, the Lord will always provide a way. Anyway we started to work more faithfully, and continued diligently to the end, and we completed the standard of excelence. We also saw some incredible changes in some of the families we've been teaching, and the Spirit was alot stronger in each of our lessons.

Saturday was a special day, we had a baptismal service for Benita Garcia Espinoza. She's seventy six years old, and she's just beginning a new life. Awesome. I had the priveledge to perform the ordinance, and I was thankful to be a part of that special day, but it was kind of scary. She doesn't walk very well, hear very well, or see very well, so I had to guide her down the hall to the font. It was a zone baptismal service, so the floor was already a little wet from the first baptism. As we turned to go into the font, I was getting a little nervous about the slippery tile, because it would be so bad if an accident happened right before her baptism. She didn't end up slipping and falling. But I did. I think it scared Benita a little but I was ok. I had to tell her really loudly in the font that she had to keep her nose plugged when she went under water. She said ok. But when she went down under the water she got a little stressed and breathed in a little water. Then as I was pulling her up she wouldn't stand up all the way, and the Zone Leaders had to reach into the font from the outside and help me stand her up. It was pretty crazy, but it was a really neat experience. Her daughter and granddaughter recently joined the church, and they were really excited for the baptism. A few of her other children are also preparing for their baptisms.

After the service we went to visit a really neat family we recently found, the Martinez family. We had taught them the restoration, and also lent them the DVD of the Joseph Smith movie. As we began to ask them how they were and everything, the father began to talk about how they appreciate what we shared with them, but they aren't sure if they could come to church with us, because they felt like anywhere that talks about the Savior is fine, and that they didn't really need a change. The wife began to speak, and was echoing what her husband had said. Then she mentioned that they actually hadn't attended any church services in a while, then she began to cry, and expressed the need she feels for a change in her family. She said they really need the Lord's help with their kids, and that she just wants to be happy, and not have so much contention in their home. We testified of the Savior's love, the plan of Salvation, and the power of prayer, and put a baptismal date. It'll be neet to see how they continue to progress.

Dad- Thanks for the District leader advice. The Zone Leaders asked me to do some interviews in the district tonight, and I'll keep in mind what you said. I'll be pulling that $100 from my birthday out today just so ya know. Love ya dad. have a great week!

Dig- That u game sounds like it was sweet. Man your making me wish I could go sledding too, it doesn't even exhist here! Love ya dig. Have a great week!

Nay- That's crazy that the bagger thing was so tiring. I've never really thought about it but ya that'd be pretty tough. haha. I don't feel like christmas is here still. It's blazing hot in Uruapan. Live it up this Christmas for me though Nay! Love ya! have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like you had kind of a tough week! It's ok though. Just remember the whole fam loves ya, even in the bossy times. haha. I love ya sloosh. Have a great week!

Den- Man you saw shaky when you rushed the field! That sounds awesome! That's sweet what you learned about tithing too denny o. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I'm pretty sure the letter should arrive ok, I sent it with a special international stamp. I still haven't recieved mail in a while. The Zone Leaders are going to the offices this week, and they'll bring the mail with them. But it's possible that I won't get the Christmas stuff in time. I do have a picture from the birthday family night. I'll send it next week if I can. I included pictures of the baptism this week, and one of me in front of a cathedral. About your question, Yes I always feel your love through the letters mom! Thanks. It helps me stay focused on why I'm here, and remember what an awesome fam I have. I love you mom. Have a great week!
Elder Aguilar
Benita Garcia Espinoza's Baptism - She is so cute!

Cathedral in Uruapan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hey fam!

How is everybody? I'm doing well. So this week has been pretty up and down. It's been up because the area is exploding. The first three days of the week we found ten new investigators, had reached about two thirds worth of our number goals already, and set alot of baptismal dates. This place is really super prepared for the gospel. Then friday we found a new family of five as well. Everything was looking perfect. Sadly, we decided not to give it our all for the entire week, and I felt horrible by the end. There's nothing worse than thinking about the last week, and wondering if more people could have come unto Christ if I would've been more diligent. We ended up missing the standard of excellence goal for the mission by one person not making it to sacrament meeting, and one baptismal date too short. That would have been my first time getting the entire standard of excellence for the mission, and usually there are only about four or five companionships in the mission who reach it per week. The president came on thursday for interviews in the zone with the assistants. He gave us good advice that will help me alot. I don't want to sound like numbers are the only thing that matter by the way, they're mostly just a way to keep ourselves on track, and a way to show the Lord how much we need His help. We know we can't do anything alone, so we give it our very best to hit our goals, so the Lord can take care of the rest, and miracles can happen in the lives of His children here in Uruapan. Anyway, I was thinking about what things I need to change for this upcoming week to do better, and I came to the conclusion that sacrifice is what I'm missing. If I want to see sacred experiences happening here for these people, I need to make more sacrifice. I don't think it's ironic that sacrifice and sacred have similar word roots. I've been thinking alot about how the Savior said "he that findeth is life shall lose it, but he that loseth his life, for my sake, shall find it." (or something similar) Anyway, I was thinking about that, and I realized that if I'm worried about what's going to happen after the mission, or if I'm always thinking about memories from life before, or if I'm seeking more for my own gain than to complete the Lord's will, I'm searching for and more or less finding my own life, and in that process I'm losing it! I need to completely dedicate every single thing I do to Him, losing my life, then I shall find it. Maybe that's a simple principle I should have been able to figure out earlier on, but I'm just thankful the Lord is opening my eyes a little more. It's crazy how the more I learn about the simple basic principles of the gospel, the more I realize how much there is to improve on! sheesh. haha.

Me and my comp are doing well. We have similar mind sets and priorities, and it's been pretty cool working together. A little more about him, I found out his favorite food is rice. I thought he was crazy when he told me that, but then he made me some peruvian rice, and it's sooo good. He's going to teach me how to make it. He knows absolutely nothing in english, he's actually trying to read my e mail right now but he only knows the word yes, so he's not getting very far. We're working on his english and my spanish in the mornings for our language study hour. He's from an area in peru where many drugs are legalized, and he actually had a job before the mission, guarding a cocaine truck with a machine gun while they delivered to various distributers. Utah is a pretty nice place.

My birthday went well. We had a decent work day. A member family bought me a cake, and they all sang happy birthday to me at a family night. Thanksgiving actually isn't celebrated in Mexico, so that stinks. But I found out everybody makes turkey for Christmas, so I can pretend that Christmas and Thanksgiving are smashed together into one holiday.

Thanks for everything fam!

Shash- That's sweet about Rhino's Christmas tree! What did you get him for Christmas? That's good you're doing a little better on cleaning your room now. It always feels better to be in a clean house instead of a dirty one, and the Spirit can dwell there stronger. :) Did you take pictures of the snowmen you built? It sounds like that was super fun making the snowmen. Love ya shash! have a great week!

Dad- That experience from Sacrament is insane! I can't believe that actually happened! I've never seen that happen before. There were a couple classes in the MTC that I was in when a missionary made a comment like that, those doubts were usually answered in a word or two or ignored. District Leader is going alright. I'm now in the second district that I'm in charge of, and they've both had the companionships that are struggling the most out of the zone. It makes it a little stressful, but I feel like it's an great opportunity to learn. I'd appreciate any advice on how to get them more excited about the work. Anyway, thanks for always being such a great example dad. Love ya! have a great week!

Den- Sounds like you had a super fun week man! you're just livin the life right now. haha. Way to take on the challenge of a two verses one airsoft fight too. Love ya denny o! have a great week!

Mom- So the package business... I never got Bam's halloween package, and I haven't recieved any birthday packages yet. I did recieve a birthday card from the Hardings with a note from each of them though which was great! I'll see when the Zone Leaders will finally be heading to the city and make sure they check the mail room in the offices really well. That's too bad to hear about Mr. Keddington, he was the man. Thanks for letting me know about him. Thanks for getting that jacket sent, it just so happens that's the style down here (the professional missionary type style of course). Let me know when you get my letter! I love you mom! Have a great week!

Dig- That's sweet about your new airsoft guns. That pistol with the silencer sounds sweet. I did that same car project at kennedy! Love ya dig! have a great week!

Nay- That stinks that you got the whiniest fake baby in the world for your project haha. At least now you'll be extra prepared for a fam in the future. That stinks about your leg injury too. Keep me updated on that one. I hope everything works out ok. Let me know about the results from all your college apps too! Love ya Nay! Have a great week!

Love you all fam!
Elder Aguilar

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Months and a New Area!

Hey Fam!

How is everybody? This week has been pretty sweet. Thursday after we had eaten lunch I got a call from one of the assistants, and they let me know that I would have special changes the following day, even though changes aren't for another week. Anyway, I'm now in a city called Uruapan, Michoacan. It's super sweet here! It's gorgeous! It's like a little tropical paradise jungle in the middle of nowhere! And the work here is great. The ward I'm in is doing really well. We've got over twenty investigators in teaching, we had twelve investigators at church yesterday, and four confirmations from baptisms earlier on in the week. That's a ton going on! We still have a ton of work to do though, because the majority of the investigators we have aren't actually progressing, so we're going to be working on finding new investigators this week, and... we have two marriages to take care of before the twenty seventh, so that those four investigators can make their baptismal dates. Sweet. The ward is super excited about the work, the members give tons of references, and everybody here is related just about, so the part member families bring about alot of interested people. Sweet. Tonight I'll be teaching the district meeting even though I don't even know the other elders in the zone yet. This will be my second change as district leader. (Note from Missionary Mom:  I didn't even know he was a district leader!)

My new companion's name is Elder Bricenio. He's from Peru. He's a super great guy, very humble, and is absolutely obsessed with the work. He hasn't been out very long, so he's still got tons of great ideas from things he learned in the MTC and stuff and it'll be great to learn from him.

A little bit more about the area. Our area has a national park in it, and we have to cross into it sometimes to get to certain appointments. There are rivers and waterfalls that go through the area, and we've got several members and investigators that live in little wood houses up in the mountains. The roads are about half dirt half cement. There are dogs everywhere! There's a sister in the ward who owns the largest hotel in the area, and will feed us every monday and every once and a while through the rest of the week, we can go to this restaurant and have whatever we want under her name. SWEET.

As far as the things that were going on in the old area, everything was going well. Alba's kids were ready for their baptisms, and the other investigators looked great.

Anyway, thanks for everything fam! Have a great week! I'll send more pictures of the new area next week!

Mom- I attached the pictures from Alba's baptism, a couple from the new area, some from my last day back in Guadalajara, and a couple of my Born's shoes from the missionary mall. The soles are getting a couple holes in them and are really thin, my other shoes are still great, but if I could get a new pair of the Borns that would be sweet. Thanks for that dear elder that talked about D & C 90:24. I loved the letter and I've been thinking about that scripture alot, and using it with recent converts. Speaking of letters, let me know when you get the letter I sent ok? Thanks for those ideas for activities, even though I'm not in that ward anymore. Maybe I'll have another chance to use them in the future. Don't worry abou the cold mom. It's still scorching hot in the day time, it's just like the last three hours of work. The sun has been going down at like six, and we work until nine forty five, so it gets a little chilly towards the end. I did already buy a sweater though, so I'm fine while I wait on that other jacket. :) About my birthday stuff, it hasn't arrived yet, and in my new zone we only get the mail about once a month, so it might be a while. But, the President is coming to this zone on wednesday to do interviews like he did a while ago in my old area, and he just happens to be coming on my birthday. So if the assistants bring the mail, I'll probably get the stuff right on time. If not oh well. haha. Thanks for everything mom. I love you! have a wonderful week!

Den- That's sweet you're going to get to see harry potter soon! I won't see it for a little while. haha. Good job on your duet denny o! I bet you and shash did awesome! have a great week den. Love ya!

Dad- That'd be sweet if I got to report to you at the end of my mission in the high council thing. Kobey is still growing his hair out? It's going to be huge when I get home. Speaking of hair, your grey hair comment was pretty funny. Are you really getting greyer? I didn't know Elder Salazar was headed to Korea! That's sweet, he'll be a great missionary. Thanks for everything dad, have a great week. Love ya!

Shash- Thanks for that reminder about the importance of the gospel sloosh. You have such a strong testimony! How great that you can be such a good example for me to help me be a better missionary. I heard you did great in the primary program. Great job! Love ya shash. Have a great week!

Dig- That stinks about the U man! oh well. Maybe next season. Sounds like your scout trip was pretty sweet. Are you still doing wrestling? You'll have to let me know how it's going if you are. That's sweet that you're getting excited about the mission dig. Awesome. have a great week dig! Love ya!

Nay- That's so crazy that you're practically in college already! It even makes me stressed out. Try not to stress about it though. I'm sure wherever you go things will turn out great. Just remember to spend alot of time at the institute building! haha. So where did Dallin Sweet go? I didn't even realize it's already time for those guys to be leaving on missions. I sure miss ya nay. I hope your enjoying these days cause things are going to start changing! But they only get better! Just think, before too long, we'll be having barbecues and group dates and talking about how hard college is. haha. Love ya Nay! Have a great week!

Bam- Thanks for the money for my birthday! I'll use it on something good! Love ya Bam! Have a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Aguilar
Alba's Baptism

Elder Aguilar, Elder Aguilar, Elder Ripley, and another Elder

Elder Aguilar & Elder Ripley in Guadalajara

Wearing out his first pair of shoes!

Elder Aguilar in Uruapan, Michoacan (wow - that's a mouthful!)

Elder Aguilar in Uruapan, Michoacan

Elder Aguilars last day in Guadalajara (Nov. 11, 2010)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Alba's Baptism

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I hope you're all doing well. This week has been pretty awesome. Last week was a little rough. We had decided to focus on a richer part of our area, because one of the area seventies said that there could be ten times as many people in Mexico that could be getting baptized and changing their lives if the missionaries focused more on the wealthy educated class. He pointed out that many of us are nervous that the wealthier people don't feel a need for the Savior in their lives, or that they just know to much to be able to learn anything from a couple of nineteen year olds. But he reminded us that it's not us that changes and teaches people, it's The Lord through the Spirit. Regardless of the people's situation, they need to know that their Redeemer lives, and what His plan is for them. Anyway, so we've been spending all day focusing on the wealthy areas and we've been finding alot of people! It's been pretty awesome. The other night we actually taught a lesson at the largest house in our area. It's huge! And the people are pretty rich there, and they know alot about the bible. But as Elder Oaks said, the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't just to help us know something, but to become something. We've had great experiences in the new focus area, and we continue talking with all people we come across, not just the rich ones. haha.

Yesterday we had a baptismal service planned for Alba. Yesterday (the day of her baptism) we were a little stressed out to see that she wasn't at church! As soon as Sacrament Meeting started and she still wasn't there, we decided to go with a brother from the ward to swing by her house real fast to see what had happened. we were dissappointed to find that she wasn't home. But when we got back to the church, we found out that she had got there right after we left. It was the first baptism we've had of someone I actually contacted. It was so sweet! We were walking down the street one day, and we were going past this little house where a lady sells clothes in front. We usually don't contact people who are working, but she didn't have any customers, sowe decided to contact her anyway. She invited us back to teach her. After we taught her, she happily took the challenge to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The Lord answered her prayers, and she committed to be baptized. As we taught her about the commandments she made all the necessary changes in her life, in order to be in harmony with the will of God. She never complained about the commandments or made any excuses not to obey. And yesterday she was baptized. Awesome. What a great example of someone who really follows what it says in the scriptures, and strives to become as a child, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us. It was a great experience, and thanks to her example, her children now plan to be baptized this upcoming saturday! sweet.

Anyway so that's been this week. By the way the weather is changing. It actually is getting pretty cold and night and in the mornings. It's weird because the sky is clear, there's tropical flowers and palm trees lining the streets, tons of sunshine, and it's cold. haha. It's not so bad for me since winter's alot worse back home of coarse, but the people down here are already in their winter coats. I'd say it's gotten as low as maybe fifty or fifty five degrees. haha.

Love you all! Have a great week!

Nay- Katie has written me three letters!? I've only recieved one. And I wrote a letter back, I just haven't had a chance to send it yet. haha. There's no mail places in our area. But let her know I'm not just being rude or anything. That's cool that you got to visit Grandma Draper. That's funny that she didn't remember about her apple trees. haha. If you see her again soon you'll have to let her know I say hello and I love her. Love ya nay! Have a great week!

Den- That's awesome that you lost a tooth denny o! Sounds like the byu game was alright, I guess if you didn't have anything better to do that day. haha. Just kiddin. I'm sure it was fun! Love ya den! have a great week!

Shash- Yes I remember when I use to say hummenah! What good old times huh sloosh. That's so exciting about your duet with denny. I bet you're going to do super good. I think about you lots slooshy. I miss ya! I love ya Shash. have a great week!

Mom- We don't have any furniture in our front room? haha. Why? It sounds like our new ward and stake is sweet. Dig let me know that Asiata from the U is in our stake and that he sees him at church. And our home teachers sound awesome. haha. I'm excited to meet them all when I get home. That's exciting to hear Karli is going to Florida. That'd be a super cool place to serve a mission. About the Christmas package, if you could send that jacket that I got in the West Valley City Youth council that'd be sweet. I'd have to pull the label off but that'd be just about right for winter temperatures here. The bishop's been asking for some good ideas for activities in the ward, and I let him know that my mom and dad have both served in the stake youth, and that my family would probably have some good ideas for ward activities. If you could give me some tips on fun activities that would be awesome. If you wrote anything important in dear elders recently I still don't know about it. haha. The assistants were going to bring me my mail when they visited our baptismal service yesterday, but they forgot to give it to me, so I haven't recieved anything in a few weeks. haha. Anyway, sorry this is sort of an all business note. I love you mom. I miss ya. The more I see and learn on my mission the more thankful I am to have been born of goodly parents! Love ya mom. have a great week!

Dad- I haven't done anything with the tie yet, I did read your note and your suggestions though. All the other missionaries think it's super sweet. I'll send some pictures to ya of me with the tie and other cool stuff. Maybe I could get one with the President wearing the tie, that'd be sweet. haha. Thanks for your advice about the opening the mouth thing. I've definitely seen the results that come from talking to everyone, but I definitely needed that reminder and the examples you gave me. Love ya dad! have a great week!
Elder Aguilar

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hey family!!! How is everyone? This week has been pretty good. We've been working really really hard and seeing the Lord's hand in the work. In the past while we hadn't found any new investigators, but this week we found two new families! And the funny thing is, they live next door to each other. Sweet. That'll cut down on the time we spend walking from appointment to appointment.

So Margarita and Rene are pretty much set for their marriage, the only problem is that Margarita works all day monday to friday. When I say all day, I mean from nine in the morning to ten at night. Wow. That's alot of work. Anyway, they haven't had the chance to swing by the hospital to get their blood tests that they need before the marriage. Spiritually speaking they're doing great though! We had a baptism planned for this Saturday with Yenis, a friend of one of the members. On wednesday or thursday, we called Yenis' friend to set up another appointment to go teach Yenis, when her friend let us in on some bad news. Yenis was in jail. Yes, jail. haha. She ended up mixed up in a little domestic dispute, and the cops came and took everyone involved to jail. Anyway, she's out of jail now, and she's not in trouble for anything, because she wasn't actually part of the problem. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We haven't had a chance to visit them since then but we'll see what happens this week. As far as Petro, we had to drop him. He refuses to quit smoking. When we ask him when he plans on smoking the next time he usually says "tomorrow." So we had to stop visiting him. But his step son Ricardo still loves the gospel, the only problem is, his mom has been super busy. Last week they didn't get to church on time, and this week they didn't come at all, so Ricardo still hasn't been confirmed! We'll be focusing on getting him there this week no matter what!

The other day we were studying and Elder Ripley noticed out the window that a little boy neighbor of ours (about two years old) was playing with some baby chickens in the front yard. Then we noticed he wasn't really playing with them so much as he was fighting them. He was chasing them around in this little tiny square garden, and kicking them. Then he would grab one of them and drop it down a little hole in their grass and leave it there while he chased the other ones, then come pull it out again. It was so crazy! We were laughing super hard. The day after the chicken incident, was a pretty weird day. I don't know if it was my tie or what, but all the little kids just loved me! When we left the house in the morning we were walking down the sidewalk and all of a sudden this little kid I had never seen before just came running at me from about a block away and gave me a huge hug! It was a little awkward. Then a bunch of other random kids were just waving at me and saying hi and trying to give me high fives. Kids usually like missionaries but this time was unusual. The whole day little kids just wanted to talk to me or give me candy and stuff. It was strange. Anyway, so that's been my week.

Nay- I can't remember but I think I totally forgot to tell you the tricks of using that bag I sent you! If your bag broke don't stress, when I get to talk to you on Christmas remind me to explain how to use it, it's really simple. haha. That's hilarious that you made concert choir and then you lost your voice. Haha. but sweet! that will be fun! Sounds like you had a pretty awesome halloween week. Love ya Nay! Have a great week!

Den- Sounds like halloween was a blast! Man denny you know how to celebrate. haha. You would like halloween down here. It's a three day celebration. First is Halloween, adopted from the USA. Then the second day is the day of the children, they make little alters with food that the kids like and the little kids get to eat it. Then the third day is day of the dead. They make food the dead people like, and somehow the dead people are supposed to come eat it. haha. Oh and yes we do answer the phone like on the best two years. I'm supposed to answer, but my comp always tries to get to the phone first. haha. Love ya denny, have a great week!

Sloosh- Sounds like you had a great time on halloween! how was trick or treating in the new neighborhood? That's too bad you were the only one who got a cola. haha. Oh well. How did the party at Bam's go? did you already have it? Love ya shoosh. have a great week!!!

Dig- Sounds like that spook alley was sweet man. Why is this your last year of trick or treating? I'm pretty sure me and tanner went until eleventh grade. haha. By the way you should tell tan he needs to write me more dear elders and let me know how he's doing. haha. Love ya dig! have a great week!

Mom- Thanks for the info on the birthday package. I'm sure it will probably get here on time. I'm excited! Elder Ripley's birthday is december 27, but I might not be his companion anymore by then. Anyway, I've been thinking about you alot lately mom. I sure miss you. Yesterday in church one of the counselors in the bishopric encouraged us to make life goals, and he read of some life goals of a latter day Apostle. One of his life goals was to always try to show his mom how grateful he is for what she's done for him, and he pointed out that the majority of the time that a mother has in this life, is focused toward the well being of her children. What an incredible calling! I'm just thankful I have the best mom in the world! I love you mom. Have a great week!

Dad- That's sweet it's snowing up there, down here it's just the same as since I got her pretty much. That would be so awesome if we got to speak in sacrament meetings together when I get home! It'd be incredible. Thanks for the little updates on the U. Don't worry I won't let it distract from the work, but make sure you let me know how the blackout went. Love ya dad! have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Dallas Robert Aguilar