Friday, December 30, 2011

17 More Days Until Our Missionary Comes Home!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? This week has been great. Christmas was awesome. Church was kind of strange, because they decided to do the three hour service instead of just one hour like the First Presidency said, but there were no classes prepared... Anyway. After church we went out looking for new investigators. We didn't have a ton of success, but sometimes it takes alot of faith through fruitless efforts before the blessings come. In the evening we went to the Jesperson's and had a super good dinner. We had chicken, salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli with coliflower and peppers, a super good salad, wild rice, and a fruit salad. Then for desert we had ice cream wrapped in crepes with strawberies on top. Definitely the best meal of my mission so far. Sister Jesperson put alot of effort into it. Then we did the chimes christmas song thing like we always do at Bams. That was pretty fun. Then we read Luke 2. Then we watched a video about the pioneers that was really good. Then the Jespersons gave us each a gift. We all got our own box of cereal. Some Elders got cinabon cereal or captain crunch, but Sister Jesperson got healthy cereal just for me, because she knows that's what I prefer. It was a pretty awesome evening. We were seven missionaries with President and Sister Jesperson, three of their kids, and a possible future son in law. It was a good Christmas.

This week has gone well with preaching and everything. We went with one of the ward missionaries to visit David the chef. Last time we taught him, Elder Zobell left him Helaman 5 to read. When we visited him he had a few questions about the chapter. As we talked we got on to the theme of building a strong foundation upon a testimony of the Savior. He paused for a moment and said "You know, I'm glad we talked about foundations today, I've been thinking about that alot lately." Then he sort of kept talking about other things, then all of a sudden he said "I've been thinking about what I've read in the Book of Mormon, and what I've felt when I've prayed, and all that stuff, and I'm ready to be baptized." We were super happy. We talked about his baptism, and he decided he wants to be baptized the 7th of January. Right now he's out of town for new years, but it was awesome to see his resolve and firm decision to follow the Savior. The most awesome part of it all, is that we hadn't even been able to teach him for weeks because he was working so much to be able to take the Holiday Season off of work. All that time he was just reading and praying, and the Spirit just touched his heart. Elder Bednar always talks about how we as missionaries need to make sure we don't get in the way of people's conversion. I don't think we necessarily have to stop visiting a person, we just need to make sure that the true conversion is taking place as the investigators begin to truly comune with the Lord.

Rigoberto was pretty sad about having to wait for his special permission to be baptized. We talked to him a little more about what things had happened in his past, and we realized the situation wasn't quite what it seemed the first time we talked about it. I called President Jesperson and explained to him what happened in Rigo's past, and it's possible that he'll be able to be baptized after all. President's going to let us know today what the plan is.

Nay- Sounds like you got some pretty sweet gifts for Christmas. That's cool that you got to go to lunch with Gram. I got to go eat there at her work just before coming out on the mish. It's cool to have one on one time like that. Thanks for the pistachios. I love pistachios, and nobody has them here. haha. Oh, and before I forget, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW!!! I can't believe you're nineteen. So old. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Thanks for that Rice Pad shash! I heard you made that yourself! That's some serious talent. It's a way sweet gift. I'll be using it for a long time. So have you made little mini cupcakes yet for your american girl doll? That sounds pretty awesome haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That stinks that your bike got scratched up right after you got it! And right where you had that super sweet sticker too. Darn. Oh well. That's life sometimes. Thanks for that chapstick Denny o! How'd you know that my lips hurt real bad! Haha. Just kiddin. But really that's way usefull out here in the mish. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- That's too bad about Sister Smith. It's a good thing they've got strong testimonies of the Plan of Salvation, and John's got a great ward there to take care of him while he goes through the trial. I can't believe Braden's married. That's so crazy. That's cool that they'll be in our stake. I'm pretty stoked about my Christmas present. I'm not letting it be a distraction, but it's going to be way sweet. It'll be my first time seeing a comedian live. Awesome. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Trust me Dig, that slavery cleaning the house stuff is worth it. There's some missionaries that get out here that don't even know how to sweep. haha. It's good preparation. It's a good time to ponder also. Thanks for that book you sent me for Christmas Dig. The most important part of the message we share is based on what it says in that little book. It'll help me teach people about Christ. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- Everyone's engaged or married I guess. That makes me feel kind of weird. Alex got engaged way fast. Crazy. Anyway. Thanks for the Christmas Dear Elder. It was awesome to hear about all the Christmas stuff. That's way sweet about Christian's gift to Kate also. He's a clever guy. Thanks for that Journal. It's a way nice one. I think I'm going to start it with my homecoming. I'm working overtime to get my mission journal more filled in these next few weeks. I'm attaching pictures of our office gift exchange and me with my gifts on Christmas morning. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can't wait to talk to him in 2 MORE DAYS!!!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has gone well. At the start of last week we had a ton of challenges and alot of things were just coming out wrong with appointments and stuff. Sunday arrived. We went by some of our investigator's houses, but no results. We waited at the chapel for others that had said they were going to arrive on their own. Nothing. We were pretty bummed out. When we went into the Principles of the Gospel class, however, we were surprised to see a couple new faces. There were two visitors brought by friends who are members of the Church. Raul and Rigoberto. Raul recently suffered a serious accident. I don't really know the details of what happened to him, but he's in bad shape. He has to use a walker now, and he's been going to therapy to get treatment for his leg and stuff. He loved the church services, and we'll be visiting him on Saturday. Rigoberto was actually there for the second time. We set an appointment, and visited him on Tuesday. Before we even said the opening prayer at the lesson, he told us that he had considered things, and that he wants to get baptized. He still hasn't learned much about the church, but he said that he had been praying alot, and that the Lord had answered his prayers, and part of that was introducing him to the church. His baptism is programmed for the 30 of December (Shenay's Birthday!) He told us a little bit about what he's been through. He use to be a bandit, and lived a life of crime. He's been shot over 15 times, and still has like 3 bullets in him. Two in his head and one in his torso. He's gone through alot, but he's very repented. His only desire is to follow his Savior.

So I found out that Elder Zobell will be my replacement here as the new Executive Secretary. That's kind of a strange situation. A secretary usually never gets transferred to be a different kind of secretary. Another missionary will be taking his place.

Two nice families in our ward volunteered to feed us on the 24th and 25th, so that's good. It'll be neat to see more Christmas traditions in the different families.

Bam- That's so awesome that you got to see President Uchtdorf! What a neat experience. And in such a casual setting also. Cool. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- That's way cool that your friend got you one of those blue watches also. Fun. Sounds like that David Archuleta concert was pretty crazy. I'm not surprised that Nay and Marquie started crying. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Sweet job intermural champion! Awesome. That's way funny about what you said to your teacher during the Christmas assembly. haha. I laughed way hard when I read about it. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sweet job getting third place man! After having to miss part of the tourny and being a new wrestler that's way good. Hopefully your knee gets all better soon. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- That's way funny about Sister Gallaher. That's good she found work. Thanks for sending me the note from Cristobal. He's a great guy. I'll be writing him alot of dear elders before he gets home. I can't believe Denny fell asleep at the Christmas Party. haha. That's so funny. Good old Denny. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Those dates for the homecoming talks sound fine to me. It'll be awesome to see the old ward again first. Sounds like Grandma Ellis is doing well. I look forward to being able to visit her. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That would be so funny if Sam introduced you to David Archuleta. haha. Sweet job on your grades. Hopefully Biology turns out well. haha. By the way, I'm fine with the driving you back to school thing. I guess we'll decide that kind of stuff later though. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well.

This week has gone well. It was our Christmas activity yesterday for the mission. We went to a buffet, then to the temple, then had a gift exchange and did a piñata. It was pretty awesome to get to go to the temple again finally. The last time I went was during the last Christmas activity. The Jardines Reforma ward was there at the same time as us. That was pretty awesome. I got to talk to quite a few people from my first area. It was nice to see them all again. I got to hit the piñata blindfolded too. I didn't break it open, but I scalped Santa. That was pretty cool.

David is doing well. He's read a ton in the Book of Mormon. He's still not super sure about his baptism, but he's growing in testimony, so it shouldn't be long until he makes up his mind. He invited us to come over today for some home made pizza. Practicing up his chef skills. It should be pretty good.

This week we were looking through the area book and we found a baptismal record for a little girl named Karla that was recently baptized. We went to her house to see if we could meet her and her family. Her Grandpa Pedro and her Aunt and Uncle are all members of the church as well. They all live in the same house with a bunch of her siblings and cousins. Anyway, we started visiting their family to help them reactivate. They're kind of animal lovers. They have a gigantic white rabbit at their house and they buy pounds of some special rabbit lettuce for it to eat. They have a super old dog, and like 50 pidgeons on their back porch 24/7. Pedro buys bags of bird feed and feeds them a few times a day. He's a super awesome man. Very sincere. He's full of good. He loves serving and taking care of others. His day is 100% focused in helping his family. His grandchildren are also very well fed. That's my favorite place to visit now, because I love being around all those little kids. They're super hyper and they love when we come to visit. It reminds me a little of home. The other day Lupita (Karla's little sister) had her birthday, so we took her a little stocking of candy. Then on Tuesday we went there and just before we got to their apartment we put on Santa hats that Bam sent me and passed out candy canes to all the little kids. They thought it was awesome. They came to church last Sunday and plan to come this week as well. It's kind of a struggle though, because Pedro is the only adult that brings them to church, and it can't be easy to get all those kids ready in the mornings and get them to church. They're doing great though.

While I was at the Temple yesterday I was thinking alot about the Scriptures and the basic Doctrines of the Gospel. I thought of how many times since primary I had been hearing the same stories and learning the same principles over and over and over again. There's just so much to learn from the plain and simple things in the Lord's Gospel Plan. None of it is really complicated, it's all plain and simple. But when we really seek after it, when we search the scriptures, live what we learn, all the little things like that, each time it just gets better and better. It's crazy. I've been teaching the same principles to every person I've met my entire mission, things I've been surrounded by my whole life, and at the same time, I learned a ton about those same principles yesterday in the Temple. Some times it's incomprehensible how much the Gospel is worth. There are so many great books and resources in all the world, but nothing even comes close to the great worth of the simple words in the Scriptures. I can't imagine what things will be understood after this life.

Nay- Awesome job on your musical classes! Haha. That's good that you're having success. It'll be nice to start Christmas break I'm sure. Catching up on sleep especially. Are your classes for next semester all the same or are there lots of changes? I still know basically zero about college life. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I got the Christmas package. My tree's all set up with the presents under it and everything. The Khangs sent me a package too, and it's huge! I'm going to send you a separate e mail with a little note for them if you could e mail it to them or drop it off to them please? That's cool about the little girl that had a sweater like yours. Did you ask her where it was from? Ok, so as far as the Christmas call goes. Here in the offices we have web cams and a screen we could hook up to the computer, so that we could do a big screen skype with the families. I don't really know how skype works, but Elder Tibbitts knows how to get everything set up, so I'd like to do it on skype. Just let me know if we have a camera and microphone and everything back home to be able to do it. About the idea of driving nay back to Utah State, I think that'd be great. It'd be awesome to be able to chat for a while on the way up. I'm attaching pictures of the temple trip, Elder Zobell and me at Pedro's house with his grandkids, Elder Zobell and me with our Christmas trees, and one of me wearing Santa's hat that I chopped off of the piñata. Anyway, I'll have the specific info for the Christmas call next week. Just let me know about the skype thing! Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like you had a busy week Sloosh! That's awesome though. You're so talented. Good luck on your performances for the rest of the week. I'm sure you'll do great as usual. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Interesting mutual activity with the missionaries. We would be in huge trouble if we spent an evening playing dodgeball with the young men instead of being out preaching and stuff. I would feel like a major slacker too. So you're tearing it up in the wrestling tourny eh? Awesome job on those pins! Sounds like you're starting a pretty successful season. Keep up the hard work Dig. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That elevator story was crazy! haha. I can't believe you were in there for two hours. That's funny what caleb said about the corners and stuff. Sweet adventure story. That's too bad you got sick and couldn't wrestle that day. Oh well that's life. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Ok, about the money. The problem with the accident was that the insurance company had nothing registered to say that the van was covered. So I payed the money to the people who's car I hit, and we signed a document with the other insurance company saying that I'd get the money back as soon as our insurance got things figured out and fixed the other guy's car. So the first step was fixing our insurance stuff. So we've already got everything in order and have it proved that the van was insured at the time, and the church's insurance is already fixing everything for the other guy. Now I just had to fill out some papers for the other insurance company that they needed in order to make the transaction and write out the check. So that's filled out, scanned, and sent in to the church representative so that he can get it all worked out, and the check should be here soon. The downside is that the worth of the dollar has gone up a little since then, so the exchange rate isn't in our favor, haha. But it won't make that much of a difference. Thanks for letting me know about the Christmas money from Gram and Grandma Ellis. I'll write them a seperate e mail as well. Bam's package got here as well, so I'll write her one too. My flight itinerary has been here for a while now. I'll attach it to the other e mail I'm sending in a second. Anyway, thanks for everything dad! Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar
Elder Zobell & Elder Aguilar at Pedro's House

Elder Zobell & Elder Aguilar with their tiny Christmas trees

Elder Aguilar &  Elder Zobell at the Guadalajara Temple

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has gone well. It's seemed kind of long, but it's been a good week.

Joselin's baptism went well. It was a pretty cool experience to see their family a little more complete in the gospel. The next day the four of them were able to be confirmed together in Sacrament Meeting. Hortencia, Andrea, and Joselin were confirmed by President Navarro (the old stake President,) and I got to confirm Hugo. It was a pretty awesome experience. President Navarro and his family helped alot during the conversion of their family, so it was cool that he was able to do those confirmations. He mentioned in Hortencia and Andrea's confirmations that the dad, Hugo Sr., would soon join the church, thanks to Andrea's example. So that was awesome to hear. He's been warming up to us a little more. Last week he brought menudo home from his work for Elder Zobell and I. I loved it, Elder Zobell not so much. Menudo is the cow stomach of coarse. I guess most people even in Mexico don't even like it, but it's considered quite a delicacy. It's actually over 50 pesos a plate where Hugo works, that's pretty expensive for Mexico.

So Elder Olson is home now. He's already talked to our converts on Facebook. He actually got in contact with them before we even visited them on Monday. The Salas Ríos family was pretty bummed out to see him leave. On Monday night the new American missionaries arrived, and one of them is named Elder Olsen, so I took him to visit the Salas Ríoses, they thought it was pretty cool.

The new companionship is great. Elder Zobell is an awesome missionary. He's really got his head on straight and understands the work well. I'm learning alot from his example. We've been seeing some pretty awesome things lately in the area, and I think it has alot to do with his arrival. He brings alot of spiritual power into the lessons.

David is looking good. He's reading daily alot in the Book of Mormon. We haven't seen him much this week because he's had finals at chef school, but next week he'll be free. He's praying right now to decide if he should be baptized on the 17th. His testimony is growing and he's looking pretty awesome.

Elder Walker (one of my companions from Uruapan) is training this change. It's the first time one of my trainees have trained. So I now have a "grandson" in the mission as they say. I must be getting old. haha.

Anyway, sorry the e mail is kind of short this week. I actually have to run do some secretary stuff downtown right now so we're in a little bit of a hurry. Next week's e mail will be longer though!

Dig- That's crazy about the scoliosis thing. I bet you're right about not really having it. Thanks for the update on Persie. It's nice to hear how she's doing. You'll have to let me know how that in school wrestling tournament goes. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Mom sent me a picture of one of your dance concerts and you look great! I can't believe how big you are already shash. It's crazy. Sounds like the dancing at Golden Living went well. You'll have to let me know how the choir performance goes. That's awesome you have your own Christmas tree in your room! Lucky. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Oh man I'm missing Grandpa's chile. There's some good spicy stuff here, but nothing like good old green chile. I'll have to have a chile eating contest with Denny when I get home. That's funny about Josh's car. That guy's a worker. He's going to accomplish some great things. Well, I hope I don't get transferred to Taylorsville. haha. That's funny about those dreams though. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I'm not sure about the details on the Christmas call yet. I should know next week for sure. That's cool that you've been in contact with Elder Zobell's family. He's told me a little about them and they sound like great people. Thanks for those pictures of the fam. I still can't quite believe how tall Davin and Denyon are. That Shash is turning into a Young Woman already. It's so crazy! A lot can happen in two years I guess. Anyway. I attached a picture of Elders Olson, Zobell, and I at a buffet to celebrate Elder Olson's going away, a picture of us wearing wigs at the church when the ward missionaries made us lunch there, and the picture from Joselin's baptism. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That's crazy about your surgery! Actually, I had that same problem during wrestling. The two bones in my forearmes were separating at the end where my wrist is. I'm sure it wasn't as serious as your's though (obviously,) because I only had to do stretches and it got better. It kinda stinks that you have to get surgery but it'll be way good once your wrist is better. Sounds like that sledding trip was pretty sweet. Shower curtains huh. Never thought of that before. Oh by the way, I can't believe you don't remember the Rudolph and Sam song! You would sing it to the tune of the icecream truck! I remember that like it was yesterday. Anyway. Love ya! Have a great week!

Bam- Thanks for the update on the adoption progress. Hopefully everything turns out well soon with all that. I had no idea about the picture in the Ensign! That's definitely Jud, Denny, and Shash. I haven't seen my Christmas Package yet, but I'm sure it'll be her any day now. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, December 1, 2011

He is such a wise 21-year old. We are so proud of him!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? This week has been great. We've all been preparing for the visit of President Tenorio who came for a mission tour. Tomorrow he'll be doing a zone conference with our zone at our chapel, and after he's coming to check out the office and do some interviews. He's going to interview the assistants and one other missionary. I've heard from the other zones he's already visited that the conferences have been pretty awesome, so I'm excited.

So Sunday after church was the baptismal service for Hortencia, Hugo, and Andrea. It was awesome. There were tons of people at the baptismal service. The talks were really good, and the three of them were just happy and excited. It was awesome to see their faces coming out of the font. I got to baptize Hugo and Andrea, and Elder Olson baptized Hortencia. The baptism of Joselin (the older daughter) is programmed for this Saturday, and will be Elder Olson's last baptism. He goes home on Monday. His last week is turning out to be a pretty great one.

The whole challenge with Axel's birthday being on Sunday didn't affect the baptism at all. We went by their house Saturday night to help Hortencia prepare all the food for the next day, and everyone gave an extra effort to make sure the birthday party was ready so they could come to church and not feel rushed at their baptism. The only thing missing was a cake, so on Saturday night we called up the Sister that had made me a cake for my birthday and asked if we could buy an urgent cake from her. She had it all ready on time. We took the cake over to the party in the afternoon and everybody loved it. We had the opportunity to talk with the dad (also named Hugo) for a little while there at the birthday party. He's still super nice and way fun to be around, but he was also drinking. He was excited to see us though which is a good sign. Hortencia said she's been sneaking gospel talk into their daily conversations every time she gets a chance to see if she can get him to come to church or something. It's been so fun getting to know that family. They're great.

Raymundo's kids have been hard to get a hold of. It's kind of a tough situation with them, because Raymundo is separated from his wife right now, and she's of a different faith. I don't think she normally has anything against the church, I think she's just nervous that if their kids get involved a lot with the church they might feel closer to their dad and distanced from their mom. That's totally understandable, but it kind of stinks because those kids are pretty awesome. The oldest is about eighteen, and the other two are teenagers.

About a week ago we got a call from Elder Cedillo, who was staying here at the offices until he was released for medical reasons. He passed us a referral for us to visit his friend's boyfriend (the girlfriend is also a member of the church.) His name is David. He's from a pretty wealthy family. He's twenty three years old, and he's studying to be a chef. He's pretty good. He's got a job at a nice restaurant right now, but he's been thinking about switching to a different place. Anyway, he came to church on Sunday. He's read about half way through 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and he's looking awesome. He really understands his relationship with Heavenly Father, and it's awesome when he prays, because he's really just talking with his Father. He's 100% determined to receive his own personal witness and testimony of the truth. His mom use to have a pretty good job, I think that's where the money comes from, but she recently suffered from an accident and is no longer able to work. She's very friendly. It's been cool to see how mature David is while he goes through the trials in his family and stays so positive. He's going to do great things with his life.

This week I listened to a talk called "The Key to Learning," given by John H. Vandenberg in 1972. It talks a lot about the importance of reading. There's a part in that talk that I really liked that helped me understand agency, obedience, things like that. He says (I'm not quoting, just paraphrasing) that somewhere in the future there's a man (or woman.) That person is you at your fullest potential. He's watching you, and hoping that the decisions you make will allow the things he's accomplished to become reality. If we make poor decisions, it thwarts everything he's done, and all those accomplishments cease to exist. When we make decisions of what to do with our time, we should think "Is what I'm doing right now giving the future me the tools and opportunities he needs? Or are the things I'm choosing robbing him of what he is, and keeping the future me from being what he can be?" I thought that was pretty awesome. When we have a choice between reading the scriptures or watching TV, it's good to think about how it affects the future us. Which would provide him with more wisdom to be able to make good choices? When we're interacting with others, and we could either make another sarcastic, careless comment, or maybe instead give a compliment or express gratitude, it's another choice that can make a big difference. Which choice will provide the future me with more integrity, and a greater capability to befriend and love others? How could it influence the "future me" of the person we're about to either compliment or criticize? Anyway, I don't know if that makes sense. I just thought that was a good way of looking at things.

That's pretty much all that's been going on this week.

Dig- Sounds like that indoor soccer scrimmage was pretty crazy. I had a blast at indoor soccer. It's a great sport. Love ya, have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for the update on the U. That's good that they had a sweet season. That cabin family trip planning sounds like a great idea. You know I would actually love to set up some Christmas lights right now. Even in that kind of weather. My area is a pretty wealthy ward so there's some houses here that have some sweet lights and decorations and stuff. My companion (Elder Zobell) frequently makes comments about Chevy Chase when we see houses that are really decked out. haha. Love ya, have a great week!

Den- That's too bad about the U kicker huh. We need King Louis again! He was the best! Hope you feel better! Love ya, have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like that activity with the thanksgiving rolls was pretty awesome! You're reading the BFG huh? That's a great book. You'll have to let me know if you like it. Love ya, have a great week!

Mom- That's so awesome about the Hardings! That's going to be so cool! What a great month for their family. Awesome. That talk "How Lucky Can You Be!" was given the 13 of October 1964. I found it on this podcast called "Classic Speeches" that we have here on the office computers. It's a free podcast I guess. I don't really know how that works but you can probably download it for free on iTunes. It's a selection of talks by General Authorities from 1960 to 1974. They're pretty awesome talks. With the picture sending dilemma, I'm pretty sure we should have a program on the computer that can shrink the size of the picture so you can send alot of them. I usually just use Microsoft Picture Manager. By the way, I attached the picture of the baptism for the Salas Ríos family, and a picture with Hugo jr. and us, and Hugo sr. and us. Anyway, thanks for everything mom. Love ya, have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Baptisms of the Salas Rios Family :)

Elder Olsen, Elder Zobell, Hugo Jr., & Elder Aguilar

Elders Olsen, Zobell, and Aguilar with Hugo Sr.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hey Fam! Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving has already been way better than last Thanksgiving. A family in our ward invited us to a Thanksgiving dinner at five o clock, so that'll be awesome. And for lunch we had a Thanksgiving dinner as well! We used all the stuff that Bam sent me in my thanksgiving package. I baked the cornbread and the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, made the gravy (a can of gravy exploded on me while I was trying to get the lid off), and the stuffing! I was pretty proud of myself. Elder Tibbitts donated another two packs of potatoes, so we had double the potatoes. He also donated a pasta salad, and Elder Zobell donated some Christmas cookies. Oh by the way. Elder Zobell just arrived to the offices. He's Elder Olson's replacement, and will be my new companion. I'm pretty stoked, because Elder Zobell is pretty awesome. He's about a year into the mission, and he's energetic and desirous about the work. I'm looking forward to the upcoming change.

So Sunday was supposed to be the baptism of the Salas Ríos family. Saturday night, the dad arrived home at about midnight. He was drunk, and he and his friend began to consume ilegal drugs. Hortencia told him he had to leave, but he was too drunk to understand what was going on. She was furious, so she took the kids and left. They went and spent the night with her mother in law, then spent Sunday looking for a house, so they could start a new life. They're not going to officially move for a while still, but things are already in motion for the change. Anyway, they were pretty bummed out that they had missed their baptism. Andrea gave the prayer at the end of the lesson, and asked Heavenly Father for forgiveness for not having been baptized. Their baptismal service is now set up for this upcoming Sunday. It's also the littlest son, Axel's birthday. So we're trying to see what we can do, because they have family members coming over to celebrate, so they're stressed about getting back to the house too late. But I'm sure things will work out.

Carlos hasn't been progressing, so we had to drop him. We told him that when he's ready to make a change, we'll see him at church. I hope we do because his family really wants him to change. We'll see what happens.

There's a member named Raymundo that helps us alot. He's from a member family, but had been innactive for years, after beginning his own family with someone of another faith. He recently started coming back to church, and he's doing awesome. He's really an example for the whole ward now, because he fulfills all his responsibilities the best he can. Anyway, his mom is in town from Las Vegas, and she invited us over for lunch this week. We went to the lunch with Raymundo and his three kids (not members.) After the lunch we had a lesson with the whole family. It was a pretty good lesson, and at the end we invited his oldest daughter Liz to say the closing prayer. She accepted the invitation, and as she began to thank her Heavenly Father for the blessings in her life, she was overcome by the Spirit, and began to cry. She finished her prayers, and was pretty affected by what she felt. The other day Raymundo brought her to the church for the second lesson with her, it went well, and she talked about her desire to know if there's a Prophet of God on the Earth. We gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, and she's reading and praying. We'll se them again this week to see how things are going.

This week I heard a talk from President Hinckley called 'How Lucky Can You Be!' I know Thanksgiving will probably be over by the time anyone reads that, but that is an awesome thanksgiving time talk, I highly recommend listening to it. I'm sure reading it would be good too, but there's alot of added emotion in his voice. President Hinckley's awesome.

That was pretty crazy to hear about the story of getting stuck on the way up to the cabin. That's awesome that your prayers were answered and everything turned out well. Who all was the trip to the cabin with? You'll have to let me know how it went.

I'm attaching pictures of the food preparation from today, one of Elder Olson and me with Carlos and two of his sons, one of Elder Olson, Elder Tibbitts, and me with the Briceño family by their Guadalajaran Christmas tree, and one of Elder Olson, Elder Tibbitts, Elder Woodhouse and me with the Salas Ríos family at their house.

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Elder Olson, Elder Aguilar, & Elder Tibbitts with the Briceno Family

Elder Olson & Elder Aguilar with Carlos and his sons

Elder Tibbitts & Elder Aguilar's Thanksgiving Feast from Bam

Exploded Gravy

As close to Thanksgiving as you can get in Mexico

Elder Woodhouse, Elder Olson, Elder Tibbitts, & Elder Aguilar with the Salas Rios Family

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Elder Aguilar!!!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm tired. haha. Sorry if this e mail doesn't make alot of sense but I'm super worn out! This morning we went to drop a missionary off at the airport. I was already kind of in trouble (I'll explain that in a second) so I went to bed super nervous about whether or not I'd wake up when my alarm rang to get the missionary to the airport on time. From being so nervous I think, I woke up by accident at midnight, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00 in the morning to check the time and make sure it wasn't time to get up yet. Then we got ready at 5 am and took off to the airport. So I'm worn out.

Anyway, This week has been interesting. I got bit by a dog. We were talking to an investigator in his driveway, and I was leaning against his truck. When we went to walk away I felt something grab the back of my leg, then I heard a little tear. It was his dog that had been hiding under the truck. It bit my leg (not very hard) and tore my pant leg. Sweet.

This week we had two extra missionaries in the offices with us. One was Elder Cedillo, and the other Elder Hernandez. It was sweet to have them around to help with doing splits and stuff. It was also a pretty unique experience, because they were both here waiting for news from the doctor on their health situations. They both ended up being released this week for that reason. Now, part of my responsibility is buying the plane tickets for outgoing missionaries, and notifying their families of their flight numbers and arrival times etc. When a missionary goes home early, however, the things are all done a little more suddenly and rushed, and sometimes either the President or the Assistants call the missionary's family to let them know what's going on. Anyway, so Elder Hernandez went home yesterday morning, his flight arrived in Mexico City at like 11:30. Later on in the day President called me to ask me if I had notified Elder Cedillo's family about his flight (which was today). When he asked I came to the horrible realization that I had never called anyone to let them know about Elder Hernandez's arrival. I looked at the time. It was about 6 pm. Oops. Big mistake. So the poor assistants went speeding back to the offices (Elder Olson and I were out proselyting) and called Elder Hernandez's Stake President and Bishop and Family. They got to hear a lot of complaints. So last night I called to apologize, and explain to them all that it wasn't anyone's fault but mine. Crazy day. But anyway, what's done is done. No use crying over spilled milk. The good news is, I doubt I'll forget to call anyone's family again about flight plans.

Carlos Contreras is doing ok. We gave him a calendar, because he always says that he feels like his baptism is coming too soon. So right now he's reviewing the calendar to choose his own baptismal date. He recently found out about some heart problems he's been having. I guess his health isn't very good right now. We'll keep praying that he'll get an answer about his baptism, and that he'll be ok health wise.

The Salas Rios family is doing great. This week we found out that the Mom (the one that we talked to on the street who told us she was a member) is not a member. She was baptized, but never confirmed. So now she has a baptismal date with her kids. The oldest Salas Rios child, Joselin, is suddenly all rebelious. She went and got a lip piercing, and keeps saying that she doesn't need to be baptized. I think that seeing her family's baptisms will help her alot though.

I heard a sweet quote this week from James E. Faust, in a talk titled "Lost Horizons." In that talk he talks about how people often loose sight of our ultimate goal by focusing so much on something else. The distractions often times aren't necessarily bad things, but when the ultimate goal is changed from eternal progression to something else, we end up with lost horizons. He used the example of college graduation for example. There are some people that see their college graduation as the peak in their career's progression, and then often times don't end up accomplishing much further on. He mentioned that while the accomplishment is a great thing, it shouldn't be viewed as a final destination but more like a watering hole in the middle of the desert. You come get a drink to gain strength, then you keep pressing forward toward your true destination. If you stick around at the water hole forever, you might not ever make it to your true goal. I think that can happen on large and small scales in life. Anyway, the quote says: "Excelence comes in to being, riding on the confidence one has in one's self." James E. Faust. That's pretty cool. Self confidence is really important. I think it's also important that self confidence doesn't have to dissapear for us to be humble. A humble servant of God can be confident in himself, knowing without a doubt that everything comes from and depends upon the Lord. Self confidence is something I'd like to learn more about.

Oh by the way. Today for my birthday I baked my German Chocolate cake, and the Assistants and Elder Olson sung me happy birthday and we all used those little party horn things. It was pretty cool The cake turned out nice.

Mom- Sounds like that Jordan North 1st ward reunion at the wedding was pretty fun! haha. What an awesom bunch of people. I loved my birthday present. It's sweet. I'll have that for a very long time. The companionship is doing well. Elder Olson goes home in two and a half weeks. I don't have a replacement secretary to train any time soon, so that means I'm going to be finishing my mission here in the offices. Out of the six off us that are here, five will finish our missions here within the next two months. I attached a picture of Elder Olson and I with Elder Cedillo and Elder Hernandez during their last moments here. Elder Hernandez is on the left by me, and Elder Cedillo on the right. I also attached a picture of me with my cake. It's kind of a lot of candles. Thanks for everything mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Sounds like the anniversary was good. Classic banner. Haha. Happy late anniversary to you and mom. That's some sweet insight on James and the things he wrote. I'm not sure if anyone realizes the amount of difference a person can make. Like you said, that one verse changed the world more than any other. That's awesome. Thanks for everything dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Awesome Spanish singing skills in my letter shash! Thanks! So you made me the best Christmas present huh? I can't wait to see what it is! Sounds like that play you saw was pretty awesome. Really long though. Three hours. It's a good thing it was a good play. Imagine if it would have been a three hour boring play! That'd be tough. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- So.. How tall are you? You're as tall as the mad hatter in that picture. That's pretty sweet that you know how to do 180s on your bike. I've never been able to do tricks like that. I guess it's because I've never practiced like you have to learn them. So it's looking to be an easy wrestling season huh? That's cool. You'll have to let me know how it goes at the wealthy neighbor's cabin. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Hey Den. How are ya? Sweet spanish speaking skills by the way. Where'd you learn so much español? Sounds like that football game in the gym was pretty intense. Way to go man. Is Eric Kinikini your age? Anyway. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- Sweet poem. That's good poetry skills. I especially like the part about 21 empanadas. I love empanadas. haha. I also liked Guadalajara rhyming with mom and dad buying me a ferrar..a haha. I guess there aren't many things that rhyme with Guadalajara. Love ya! Have a great week!

Bam- I got both of the packages. Thanks a bunch bam. Everyone I know wishes they were your grandson so they could get such great packages. Haha. I'm way excited to make the snickerdoodles. Let me know how it goes at TOFW. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar
21 Years Old!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has been good. It's been a pretty normal week, but a good week.

So, all that focussing in on the Salas Rios family, Alejandro, and Carlos Contreras, and it ended up that ALL of our investigators went to church on Sunday except them! Hay Carambas, as they say. Anyway. It's been interesting. But we were able to get the Salas Rios family to the church during the week for a lesson, so that was a big improvement, and Carlos' family finally started to read the scriptures to him, which is good. Alejandro's having a tough time however. There was an incident in his home caused by drug overdose that scared him a little bit. One of his family members just had an attack and Alejandro and the little kids were the only other ones home. He ended up super scared trying to calm the situation down, and way stressed out with all the little kids witnessing the whole thing. Anyway, he doesn't like to be at his house anymore unless it's absolutely necessary, so we're going to have to start teaching him in a different venue.

This week I've been studying alot about Repentance. It's so awesome. It's incredible that the Savior has done so much for our salvation, and it's pretty humbling to realize that now that His part is done, everything literally depends on whether or not we take advantage of His Atoning Sacrifice. That's a huge deal. We really shouldn't procrastinate the day of our repentance. I've noticed in my life that of all the things Satan tries to get me to do, he seems to focus most of his attention on trying to persuade me to avoid repentance. He knows how vital it is for us and he's willing to do anything to keep us from repenting. It's cruel. haha. No surprise, he's Satan. Anyway, I notice a lot as we work with people here, that they can be great people, doing good things, worrying about the welfare of others, and lots of other great things, but for whatever reason, they feel like repentance is just something they should avoid. Why?! It's such a mind game. Repentance brings us self control and freedom, there's nothing about it that we should ever not want in our lives. That's the whole purpose of what we do as missionaries. What's gospel? Good news. What's the good news? That all men, everywhere, in any situation can repent, and be forgiven of their sins, in preparation to stand before the Lord at the last day. That's a day when the last thing we want to remember, are the things we didn't repent of (Alma 5:18). So why don't we all just gladly accept the great news and follow what the Lord has commanded? There's really not a single reason not to. Repentance only brings prosperity (Helaman 4:15). I was reading in Preach My Gospel about how to help investigators overcome addictions through repentance, and there's a part that I love. I can't remember exactly where it is, but it talks alot in ch. 3 about how when we repent, our view of ourselves, the world, and the Lord change. The part I like the most is that when we repent, we realize we don't have to keep being a certain way or doing a certain thing. So many people feel like they just have to keep being or doing things that they don't even desire to have in their lives. Well there's the big secret, we don't have to. The price is paid, let's not let it be in vain. I'm just thankful that the Lord has that kind of love for us, to save us from our sins.

Anyway, this letter's a little shorter than usual. This week's just been... interesting I guess. I'm just thankful.

Dig- So the other day I was knocking an investigator's door waiting for them to come answer, when I saw a guy in the street doing some sweet bmx tricks! He was doing all kinds of stuff without any jumps or anything, it was pretty cool. It made me think of you. Sweet job pulling that 3/4 stack! Classic move. Sounds like this season will be sweet for ya. I started wrestling in eighth grade, so you're already way ahead of where I was. Off to a good start. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I received those letters from Aunt Katie's ward's primary this week. They were great! That's pretty exciting about your new calling. Primary's the best. As for your question about the christmas tree, I left it in the Uruapan house with the other Elders. I got my package. I'll be opening it in about a week! Sweet. I hadn't heard about the Elders from Texas. That's tough. I'm sure there was a reason behind it all. Anyway, thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Let me know how things go in California. haha. Thanks for the separate e mail. That advice was great. I love learning about the experiences in the lives of General Authorities, they're the best examples. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- So there's a couch in a cage in the basement? That's sweet! haha. I never would have imagined that. A very comfy looking couch too? Cool. You'll have to keep me updated with everything as wrestling gets started man. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like your dance costumes are going to be super! haha. I wish I could see your primary program too. I bet it's going to be great. Your just so talented Shash. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That's sweet what you said about the forget me not stuff. I should check that out. It's from a talk right? Good luck on your exams this week. By the way, It's definitely legal to attach pictures to the e mails. haha. So what's the idea behind planking? Anyway. Love ya! Have a great week!

Bam- Thanks for all the updates on the fam Bam! Thanks for all the birthday stuff and everything. I'll be watching for the packages. I'm a pretty spoiled missionary. haha. And I'm thankful for it! I'll be sure to check out the moon tonight by the way. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Anyone can be healed through the power of Christ."

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has been great. Our investigators have done well with keeping their commitments, and they're starting to really see some results.

There's a family in our ward named the Contreras family. I don't remember if I'd mentioned them before. The mom, and six of the seven kids are members. The father and one son are not members. The son (Fernando) is friendly, but doesn't seem to have any interest in the gospel. We've been teaching the father (Carlos) for a while now though. He's always had a desire to truly follow the Savior, but he's suffering from a strong addiction, and he doesn't know how to read, so he feels like he's hopeless. He came to church for the first time on Sunday. He enjoyed it alot. It's great to see his progress, and the way that his family is helping him and supporting him in his struggle to prepare for baptism despite his challenges. I've learned alot about the enslaving power of Satan's methods as I've gotten to know Carlos better, but as we watch him do his best, I've also been learning alot about the incredible strength of the Atonement. Anyone can be healed through the power of Christ.

We've also been teaching Alejandro. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned some things about him in the past, but just to review his story. A month and a half ago we were knocking doors, and we found a lady named Maricruz. She's a single mother of like six young young children, and she looked pretty interested in the message. We came and taught her once, but she didn't end up seeming very interested after that. A couple days later we were walking down the street, and a man with a lit cuban cigar in one hand, and a bottle of strong liquor in the other hand stopped us on our way. He was in the more advanced stages of drunkenness. He introduced himself as Alejandro, and explained that he's Maricruz's brother. He talked about how the time we came to share the gospel with Maricruz, he could hear us from the kitchen, and just felt something special while he was listening. He said he wanted us to come talk with him, and teach him a little more about what we represent. We set an appointment, and later arrived with three of the ward missionaries. We found him drunk once again, but well aware of the appointment, and ready for the message. We talked first about the word of wisdom, then about prayer. He refused to pray or allow any of us to pray. He said he just doesn't like those things. We ended up focusing the remainder of the visit on the word of wisdom, and he committed to quit drinking that day. The next time we visited him, he was sober. He explained to us that he had continued to drink until midnight that night, but that since that day, he hadn't consumed even a drop of alcohol. We talked about the Plan of Salvation a little, according to some questions that he had. He still refused to allow any prayers to happen, but he enjoyed the lesson. The next visit we went with him to the chapel. He talked about how he had joined an Alcoholics Anonymous group to help him stay away from his addictions, and that it was helping him so much. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in front of the baptismal font, and invited him to be baptized. He didn't accept the invitation, explaining that he felt he just wasn't prepared enough to be able to be faithful to the covenant, and that he wanted more time. We shifted our focus to prayer, and finally found out that he does pray, the way that he should pray. The prayers he was against were the prayers he had heard in other settings that were mostly memorized vain repetitions. Once he realized what we meant by prayer, he allowed us to close with a prayer. Later he faced a major trial, when his friend was beaten nearly to death on a Sunday morning. He decided not to go to church, and ended up getting drunk again. Later we were talking with him, and he talked about all the peace and comfort he had felt once he had left the alcohol behind, and begun to pray and read the scriptures, and how bad he felt for having fallen back into his addiction. Anyway, last Sunday he came to church, we finally got the opportunity to share the message of the Restoration with him, and he's looking stronger every day. This week he had a special personal experience with answers to his prayers. It's been awesome to see his progress. Out of all the investigators I've ever had, he's probably had the most difficulties, but he's working hard and facing all his trials like a champion, with the Savior's Atoning Power supporting him every step of the way. Sometimes I think that guys like him would be the only ones strong enough to make it out of those tough life situations, and maybe that's why they're there. It's a good example to me. But anyway, he's still got some work to do, some good enduring to his baptism, then of course enduring to the end. So I'm sure your prayers will help him.

Daneisys has been giong to seminary and everything, she's growing in testimony daily. She's become really good friends with everyone in the ward really quickly.

We found another family last saturday named the Salas Rios family. They're living in humble circumstances. The mom was baptized a long time ago, but has been innactive for sixteen years! They have four kids, three young teenagers and a baby boy. The three older ones are preparing for baptism as well. The dad is a great guy and works super hard to provide for his family, but he seems to have a tough time. I hope we can help him out. It'll take some sincere intentions and charitable attitudes.

Anyway that's about all for this week.

Mom- I just got a dear elder from you. It was an awesome letter, the one that talked about the Meier's homecoming and Alex's talk as well. About the weather, it's super hot here again, I think it was just while the hurricane was going on in the south that things cooled down. So I hope you didn't send me a coat. haha. But if you did I can just throw it in my suitcase and bring it back home I guess. To answer your question about the lamanita, I send a new one out to the mission every week. It's pretty fun. The hardest part lately has been getting pictures from baptisms, nobody seems to send them anymore. Oh well. haha. I attached pictures of Elder Olson and I in our halloween costumes that Bam sent us (Elder Olson looks just like Charlie Chaplin I think), and new pictures we took for the Christmas Card. I guess Sister Jesperson didn't like the other one. We got a little goofy taking the pictures. The Elder using the camera was shaking or something because they kept coming out blury so it took forever, that's why we started goofing around. It's nice to get out of the regular office setting and have fun every once and a while in the mornings. I'm writing letters today finally, so I'm going to write one to Bam and tell her thanks for the Birthday present. Love ya mom. Have a great week!

Dig- Your bowling game sounds just like every time I've ever gone bowling in my life. haha. It's always that way, do well on the first couple of frames, then all I can seem to hit is the gutter. So the NBA players are all on strike? Do they think that millions of dollars is just too little for them to play a fun game every day or something? haha. Interesting. Thanks for the dear elder by the way. I enjoyed your comments about the mission. That's good that you're getting stoked about it early on. Seriously Dig, participating well in your quorum right now is going to make a huge difference on how your mission goes. I learned alot from my time in young men's. Anyway, Love ya Dig. Have a great week!

Shash- You got hot chocolate from the gas station? Sweetness! Yes I remember that time when you and I went to get hot chocolate. Those were the good old days huh. Sounds like your halloween was a blast. That was a good costume idea you and your friends had. I bet you all looked awesome. Love ya Shash. Have a great week!

Den- Well you've got a point den, I guess I can't say anything about your aggies hat if I'm not even going to the U. But the U is still the best! haha. So wrestling is getting all started up huh? What do they have in the basement? I remember wrestlers used to go down there alot, but I never went down there, I don't know why. So you're in Ms. Mcbeths huh? Ya I know who she is. I can't believe she's still there. haha. She seems like she was a really cool teacher. Love ya Den. Have a great week!

Dad- I know you were just joking about that comment that I'd maybe be a fan of some other college team once I get home and start school and stuff, but just to make sure everyone knows, I'd like to recall the countless times I stood on the third row at the U games and sung proudly the line "who am I sir, a Utah man am I, a Utah man, sir, I will be 'till I die." haha. Just kidding. But for reals. So that book about President Monson sounds pretty great. I can only imagine the things to be learned by his life example. Thanks for that little part about filling in the gaps with faith. That's awesome. I'm going to focus on that. Love ya Dad. Have a great week!

Nay- Don't worry about not writing last week. No biggie. I understand. haha. So about your questions and stuff and your situation. Sounds tough. I know how you feel when you talk about those feelings. There's been alot of times when I feel just like that. Especially in the mornings. I remember one time Elder Moberg told me something that changed my mission. He said "Some days, you'll wake up, and just feel bad. You'll just feel like you can't do it. You'll feel like you don't have what it takes, or you don't quite amount or whatever. You'll feel tired, and you won't want to go out to work. On those days, you need to get up, say a prayer, and tell Heavenly Father exactly how you feel, then tell Him that even though you feel that way, you're going to go do what you're supposed to do. Ask Him for help, and if you do your part, He'll help you every time." That's not an exact quote, I'm paraphrasing. But the idea is the same. I'm not joking Nay, there hasn't been a single day when I've tried putting that in to practice, and things didn't turn out ok in the end. My problems weren't all solved in an instant, I didn't suddenly no longer have trials or weaknesses, but I felt peace and love, and things just turned out ok. I don't know why I talk about that like it's a thing of the past, because it's actually something I have to do like every day. But it works. I'd say about two out of every three days, I get up feeling just like you talked about in your e mail. I read a quote on a bus the other day. The driver had stuck a sticker quote on the window between him and the passengers. It said "Don't tell God you have a great problem, tell your problem you have a great God." I really liked that. Just stay awesome Nay, I hope I can be like you someday when I grow up and go to college. haha. Anyway. That's awesome news about Jesus Navarro! You should see if you can get his family's address so I can figure out where they live. That's so awesome. I remember he use to ask me and my friends why on earth we would ever want to go on missions, haha. He's a good guy he'll be a strong member I bet. Anyway, Love ya Nay. Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has been a good one. Daneisis's baptism went great. The service was really nice, there were quite a few members there to support her, and she was pretty excited. Her mom and her little brothers came to the service as well. She's getting involved in seminary, and she's even preparing to go do baptisms at the Temple soon. Awesome.

Our other investigators are doing alright. We're going to be focusing mainly on finding new people prepared for the gospel this week though, because we really don't have alot of investigators. This last week we found a new family. The dad's name is Salvador, and the mom is Ana. They both have college degrees in literature, and they read alot. Salvador reads about 100 pages an hour. That's alot, to me at least. He said he's really busy with projects right now, because he's actually a literature professor. So right now he'll only be able to dedicate about fifteen minutes a day to the Book of Mormon, but he said that when the semesters over, he could read the whole thing in a week. Wow. Sweet. Anyway. I just thought that was cool. They're going to be slow progressing investigators for now, we can only visit them on Saturdays.

Yesterday Elder Tibbitts and I went to the Federal Palace to sign his visa. We weren't planning on going, but then I found out he was going to be out of town for the rest of the week, so we decided to go while he was available. Since we got there late, we had to wait in a way long line. We ended up being the very last ones to leave the building about an hour after they had closed. haha. While we were waiting Elder Tibbitts fell asleep, and had a short conversation with me while he was sleep talking. It was pretty funny. On our way out we stopped for some lunch, then started heading towards the train stop. To get to the train stop, we walk right in front of the famous cathedral of Guadalajara. As we drew near we noticed that there was a huge line up of people surrounding the cathedral. We thought that was a little strange. We started to squeeze our way through the crowd, when we realized just how many people were there. Across the street the entire plaza was filled with people as well. I remembered hearing someone mention that somebody famous was coming to mexico, so we asked one of the ladys standing in the line. Elder Tibbitts said: "Hey are you all waiting for someone?" She said: "We're waiting for the Pope!" Just then a bunch of cop cars pulled up to the cathedral, along with three white vans, one of them had the Pope's picture on the side of it. The people all went crazy, as the doors opened, and a small group of men hurried into the cathedral. We were about thirty feet from the front doors of the cathedral, and had actually been standing right where the van had stopped about a minute before it pulled up. So we came home to the offices and let everyone know that we accidentally ran into the Pope in the city center. Everybody thought that was pretty cool. Later we found out that it wasn't the current Pope, but Pope John Paul 2. The one who died a long time ago. I guess they still have funeral processions and viewings for him and stuff. haha. It was an interesting day.

So I've been reading "Our Search for Happiness" lately by Elder Ballard. I like the way he describes the time between the First Vision and the actual beginning of Joseph Smith's work in translating the Book of Mormon and Restoring the church and stuff. I always teach that story, and imagine it as if the First Vision was actually the moment that Joseph Smith went to work, but I learned that there were actually years between the First Vision and the time when he really starts to figure out what his call would be as a Latter Day Prophet. Elder Ballard explains that for a while, Joseph was probably feeling a little confused and stressed and hopeless even. Imagine having such a profound and important Spiritual Experience like what happened in the Sacred Grove, receiving the answer that no church had the authority of God at the time, and then just not really knowing anything. No more visions, no more breakthroughs, nothing. That was probably a pivotal time for Joseph to learn patience and diligence, and it helped him get a little more serious about living worthily of the responsibilities he'd soon receive. I think that we all sort of have those times. Where we feel the Spirit, grow in testimony, learn some great truth, or something along those lines, then the Lord gives us some time without any aparent advancements, to see just how converted we are. To see if we can continue on our own so to speak, obeying and pressing forward, even without frequent reassurances that we are doing what's right. I've noticed that when those times have come on my mission, it's been times when even more than usual, my choices really matter. It's been times when the future events depend on how I hold up while nothing really seems to be happening. I'm amazed sometimes at how perfect the Lord's way is, and the amazing blessings and development we can achieve when we're just following this path He's set up for us. It's the same Gospel all over, but somehow perfectly tailored to our individual needs.

Well that's all for this week.

Mom: Thanks for writing. haha. It's great to hear about Draper. Can't wait to meet him! I included some pictures of Daneisis's baptism. Also some of Elder Olson and I with Guillermo's little brothers at a family night we held for them at the church. They're a goofy bunch of kids. There's also a picture of Elder Olson and I with some of the members that go on splits with us alot, and some pictures of the decorations from the sweet Halloween Package that Bam sent me. Let her know that I've been handing out the treats from the box (tootsie rolls, gum, and suckers) and the little kids love them! They're all things they don't sell here, so the little kids all think it's super cool. Let the fam know I love them all and I hope to hear from them soon. haha. I'm pretty sure dia de los muertos is after halloween by the way. Thanks for the info on Tanner. Let the fam know it's no big deal that there wasn't time to write this week, I understand haha. It wasn't an ordinary week. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! and have a great week!

Elder Aguilar

We are the lamest family and forgot to write to Dallas this week!  I guess because we were out of town--I don't know.  I figured out we had forgotten this morning, so I quickly sent him an email.  Shenay forgot too!  Poor Elder Aguilar, what a mean family he has!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hey Fam,

How is everyone? I'm doing well. I've been getting things done way fast here in the offices which is sweet, because this Monday we're getting 17 new missionaries, and ten of them need visa stuff done when they get here. That'll be fun. haha.

This week has gone really well. Daneisis, the girl that came to church on her own last week, came again this week, and is super excited for her baptismal date for this Saturday. She was super prepared for the Gospel. Her family is way supportive of her as well. It kind of stinks that they aren't as interested in the message, but i'm sure that with time her good influence will rub off on her family members. We were talking with her and her mom the other day about her baptism, about what time they wanted it to be at and stuff. The Panamerican Games are going on in Guadalajara right now, and her mom reminded her that they have alot of tickets for the events, and told her she better make sure the baptism isn't scheduled for the same time as one of the events she might want to see. Daneisis responded with alot of conviction, that no matter what's going on she just wants to get baptized this week. She said she just doesn't want to wait anymore. I thought that was pretty awesome, because her biggest chalenges so far have been her friends, who are pretty into innappropriate worldly activities. I could tell since we started teaching Daneisis that she was worried about having to leave some social things behind, but I think she's just realized what's really going to make her happy. She said she's tired of the bad influences in the world, and she's just done with that stuff. She's excited to do the Lord's will. Awesome.

I was studying a little about the Sermon on the Mount this week. In Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage comments that the Sermon on the mount shows us the true results of our actions, as the Savior lists off various ways of being and living, and the consequences/ blessings that come as a result. He comments that there's a difference between pleasure and happiness. But why? I like what he said about the difference: "Mere pleasure is at best but fleeting; happiness is abiding, for in the recollection thereof, is joy renewed." Wow. Sweet logic. That's awesome. Things that bring pleasure make us feel good for a moment when it happens. Then afterwards, in many cases, we feel embarassment or regret when we think back on the moment. Things that bring happiness, however, make us feel great in the moment, and we feel great every time we reflect back on the moment. Awesome. The trick is figuring out which things bring true happiness. That's why the Lord gave us commandments. What a blessing! He could have easily just sent us down here and said "well, trial and error I suppose, hope they figure it out someday." No, His desire is that we can have every opportunity to be truly happy, and that's why he gave us commandments, so that we wouldn't have to learn the hard way which things bring true happiness. I think Daneisis has that figured out.

Well, other than that, the rest of our investigators are having some struggles. Adolfo wasn't progressing well at all, but it turns out that he was mainly holding back because of the pressure he felt from Diego. We talked to him on the side, helped him clear up some doubts and stuff, and now he's back on track. It'll just be a little more time.

Today's P day has been kind of cool. This morning I did Yoga. It was the first time in my life that I've ever done Yoga. We did the P90X Yoga. It was pretty hard. It lasts an hour and a half. Then we went to this barber school and got free hair cuts. Luckily today was their exam day, so all the students were doing their best work. Anyway, That's about all for this week.

Nay- Sweet job on the Psych test! How often are there tests in college? It seems like alot. haha. I hope all turns out well with your wrist. You'll have to let me know how it goes. I'll be praying for ya. Love ya! have a great week!

Dad- That's awesome that you saw Bro. Ika. He's a great guy. If you see him again somehow, let him know I said hi. haha. What was all the work that had to be done on the Meier's home? Wade always has the craziest funnest experiences. Thanks for the advice on 'The Living Christ.' I'm going to include that in my study time this week. Love ya! have a great week!

Dig- Sounds like Disneyland has been sweet. What's been your favorite part so far? You'll have to let me know what the Ocean's like, haha. I've never seen it. Love ya! have a great week!

Den- That's sweet about the free dinner man! Mom told me you got a free bubble gun too. Sweetness. Did any of your stuff fly in the air on the tower of terror? Love ya! have a great week!

Shash- You got a baby Dumbo? Cool Sloosh! Gotta love Disneyland. That's going to be fun heading out to the Ocean tomorrow, you'll have to let me know how it goes. Love ya! have a great week!

Mom- Those tithing miracles were pretty sweet. Remember when the elderly man let us butt the whole line on the aerosmith roller coaster? That was sweet. That's cool that you got to see Andy, every once and a while I look through my pictures and see the picture of him and I at my farewell dinner. What a great guy. Thanks for the updates on Katrina and Kathy. I'll keep them both in my prayers still. That's crazy about Shay's baby. It seems like I just barely found out she was expecting. Time goes by quickly. I'm attaching the pictures we took for the Christmas card this year. I get to be in the special secretary picture this time. Only one of the ones we took turned out ok for the card. The others were all just kind of us goofing around. I told Elder Olson you and Dad and the kids are in Disneyland and he said "they have to visit my family!" I guess he lives like fifteen minutes away from Disneyland or something. haha. So I thought maybe if you have time on your less occupied day tomorrow you could swing by and see if the Olson family is home. Just if you have time. Anyway. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! have a great week!

Bam- The package has arrived! haha. Wow Bam, that package is sweet! The little kids are going to love the suckers and the gum and stuff. And those decorations are sweet. It's going to be cool to be able to get everything ready for halloween with anticipation. Feel like the good old days. As far as any requests for the other package, I have none. You're packages are so great already. Thanks for that quote by E. Holland. That's a good one. I wrote it down. Love ya! have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

The Good One!