Monday, January 31, 2011

"Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight?"

Hey Fam!
How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week was a good week. We saw alot of success in the area, had a lot of great spiritual experiences, and some funny experiences as well.
A little while back, one of the members gave us a referral for a part member family that hasn't been to church in a long time. The dad actually use to be a member of the branch presidency (back when our ward was a branch), and their family even got sealed in the temple. They have a youth age daughter who isn't a member though, and they haven't been to church as a family for like eight years. The dad comes every once in a while by himself, but it's like once every four months. Anyway, so one of the members gave us their address so that we could go visit them, try to get them to come back to church, and teach the daughter about the gospel. We went to their house a couple times and they were never at home! They kept telling us what time of day we should go there, so we kept swinging by at different hours, hoping to catch their family at home, but we never did. I actually even remembered knocking on that same door one time when we were contacting in that area, and they had told us no... Then their neighbors started to tell us that they didn't live there anymore so we sort of gave it up. But then the member who had passed us the referral said he was sure they lived there still, because he had recently spoken with them, and asked if they had moved, and they said no. So one last time, we went to their house in the evening to see if we could find them, and... nothing. There was nobody home. So we went to an area nearby where we hadn't really contacted before to see if we could find some people who were ready for the gospel. We knocked on the first door, nobody was home. We knocked on the second door, nobody. Up until like the sixth door there wasn't a person in sight, then on about the sixth door, we knocked, this younger kid came out, and said "oh one second." He went back inside, then his dad came out and said "come in." We hadn't even told them who we were yet, so we were a little shocked with his invitation to come in. We went in and sat down, and I started to look for clues in their house that might give us a hint of what their family was like. They had a lot of family pictures on the wall, alot of entertainment around the house, and an ash tray on the computer desk next to a box of cigarrettes. There was also a little bit of a spirit of contention in the room. I figured it looked like a pretty good family in need of the gospel. I asked what the man's name was, and he told me it was Yurik. It sounded familiar to me, so I asked if he had spoken with missionaries before, he said that he had about ten years ago. We began to talk a little more, and it turned out to be that family we had been looking for... What? They told us that they hadn't ever moved, but the member that gave us the referral must have confused the address. Anyway, We began to talk about how they were and get to know them a little bit, and we then set an appointment to come later and share them a message. We came back later in the week, and talked with them about the Restoration. At the end of the lesson I quoted a line from "Come, Come, Ye Saints" that I really love, that says: "Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight?" The dad suddenly broke out in song, and we all ended up singing the hymn together. The Spirit was very strong, and hopefully the experience will help their family out.
This week we went on divisions with the Zone Leaders. I went to their area with Elder Ricks, and Elder Vasquez came to our area with my comp. While Elder Ricks and I were contacting, we got to a house where a couple young kids were playing outside. We asked if their mom was home. They said yes, and the older one ran in to call her. I made the comment, that if everyone would become as a little child, they'd all get baptized. Elder Ricks then turned to the little boy and said "Hey, do you want to get baptized?" He nodded his head, then kept playing. We laughed. Then we were walking toward another appointment, and we came across a shepherd, and his herd of sheep. I'd never seen a herd of sheep grazing at a park in a neighborhood before, it was pretty cool. We contacted the shepherd, then continued on our way. Suddenly, one of the sheep came running towards us, and of course, if one comes our way, they all come our way, so we were chased by a herd of sheep down a neighborhood street. They weren't really going after us, but it was pretty cool.
Dad- Thanks for the other e mail dad, I'm going to print it out and read it later tonight. About the question of Preach My Gospel with Dig. I really don't know where you should start, it's all just so important. But the first six chapters are probably what you should focus most on. I'd probably start with the lessons in chapter 3, because that'll help with testimony and understanding of the gospel all around. By the way, a new Preach My Gospel should be coming out in July I think. At least that's what I've heard. It shouldn't be too different, all I know about it is there's no longer a soft commitment for baptism, they'll be yes or no and put the date every time now. haha. Sweet. Love ya Dad, have a great week!
Mom- Thanks for your e mail too mom, I'll be reading that one later tonight as well. The shoe size thing should work out fine. The ones I have now are the same size and they fit perfectly so it should be just great! Thanks for the reminder from the Meet the Robinsons song. It's really true. It'll help me to find joy in the journey. I love you Mom, have a great week!
Nay- I can't believe you got bit by a dog! Oh man, you're tougher than me probably, I would have hit the dog with the viola, haha. just kidding, that'd be a huge waste of money. Sweet job with your audition though! It sounds like everything turned out really well. I think you had a pretty miraculous week haha. Love ya Nay, have a great week!
Shash- Good job anyway on your spelling bee Sloosh. I bet next year you'll win the whole thing no problem! And I'll be able to come cheer you on! Sweet. Love ya Shash, have a great week!
Dig- That's sweet that the team's doing so well in wrestling. I bet you'll get a match soon. Just keep going all out in practice so you can dominate everyone when the tournaments start! haha. You'll probably end up facing your varsity in the final and it'll be a super showdown. haha. I can't believe your shaving by the way. Love ya Dig, have a great week!
Den- Sweet job on your game denny o! Sounds like you and Luky tore it up! You know speaking of Luke, My companion's name is Elder Walker, and he wants to name one of his sons Luke Sky, that'd be sweet huh? haha. Love ya Den, have a great week!
Love you all!
 Elder Aguilar

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yummy - Cement

Hey fam,
 How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has gone ok. We ALMOST got a whole week of work. I thought we were finally going to have one, then we found out we had a conference for the stake on Saturday, and it took up like half of the day, and we had to cancel like five appointments. I was pretty bummed out but that's ok.
This week we were able to find alot of new people, and many look pretty ready for the gospel, so that's good. Now if we can just get them all to come to church every week. I met a man while we were knocking on doors that's a Messianic Jew. I thought that was impossible, but I guess there are actually Jews who believe in Christ. It's kind of strange, but the know alot about how the true church should be. It was interesting to talk with him, and I think if he just read the Book of Mormon and Jesus the Christ and maybe some doctrinal books of the church it'd blow his mind to recognize that the Lord's church that was on the earth since Adam's time is well into it's last dispensation. Sweet.
This week we had our stake conference on Sunday, and it was done by video transmission over all of Mexico, presided by Elder Holland. Elder C. Scott Grow of the seventy directed. He's my favorite seventy just cause of his name. haha. He speaks pretty sweet spanish. Elder Holland was the concluding speaker, and started his talk in spanish. He has a super thick accent in spanish. He said "I apologize for my poor spanish, wait let me correct myself: I apologize for my terrible spanish." That got a good laugh. Then he gave the majority of his talk with a translator. Regardless of the language barrier, the Spirit was very strong at the end, when he closed his talk, bearing his testimony in Spanish.
This week we were eating at a member's house in their front room, because they were re modeling their kitchen, and the workers were hammering on cement and making kind of a mess. The kitchen and the front room were on either side of where the construction was going on. As I got to about half way done with my beans I suddenly bit down on a chunk of cement with my back left molars, that dissolved into like a million pieces. It was disgusting. I tried to pick the pieces out of my mouth discretely, but I just had to swallow most of it, so the Sister who fed us wouldn't think I was spitting out the food she had made. The saddest part of this story, is that it's not the first time it's happened to me since I got out here.
Well sorry this letter is kind of boring, hopefully there will be some more sweet experiences this next week.
Dad- Thanks for sharing that story with me about the testimony meeting. Love ya Dad. Have a great week.
Den- Sweet job on your B ball man! Sorry I don't write as many letters to you and the other siblings as some other missionaries who are just your friend do. And I'm your Brother! I'm a slacker. I'll get on that and have some letters coming to the fam soon! Love ya denny o. Have a great week.
Shash- I've missed ya extra this week sloosh! How've ya been? How's school going? Love ya shash. Have a great week.
Dig- That's sweet the team rocked in the Wrestling meet! haha. Hopefully you'll have a match this next meet. Hope ya get better soon too! Love ya dig. Have a great week.
Nay- Sheesh nay! Good luck with your try out things. I'll be keeping you in mind and pray for ya on Saturday. Why is this semester harder by the way? Love ya Nay. Have a great week.
Mom- You can go ahead and get me the Propets. I'd prefer the ones without laces this time if that's doable. haha. My other Propets are wearing down quick, so I can trade those in for new Borns maybe in a few months. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya. Have a great week.
Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hey Fam!!!

Sorry I'm getting the e mail out so late. Today was a really weird P day because we had to go to Guadalajara again last night and didn't get back here until like five and we had to go straight to the district meeting, and then they let us leave early to have a little time for some P day stuff we hadn't had any time for.

This last week has been rough. I feel like we haven't had a full week in the area forever! It's driving me crazy, because things are going great here, we just haven't had time. On saturday we lost the whole day of work because we had to go to a different city for a big conference with the area president. It was a sweet conference and I learned alot, but I'm looking forward to an upcoming full week of work.

This last week we've found alot of new people in our contacts that look to have a lot of potential. It's been great to see them all progressing, especially seeing many of them make it to church this last sunday. We had quite a hastle getting them all there, because we had one member that could help us drive people to church, and he just has a regular car, so we went around to the investigators houses, stacked them up in the car, and he took off to the church while we ran back down to the main streets to grab a taxi. It was pretty sweet.

We found a new investigator this week named Jose Manuel who's best friend recently died in a car crash. He had the newspapers of the accident and everything, and he's been pretty bummed out. He's loved learning about the gospel, especially learning how to pray, and loves feeling the comfort and love of the Lord when he prays.

In the conference we had, President Johnson talked about the real definition of desire. He talked about how the Lord is always here to help us, and has all the strength and the means we need to accomplish anything in the world, all that matters is that we're being obedient, and that we have a true desire. He defind desiring something as wanting something, and doing EVERYTHING necessary to achieve it. EVERYTHING! He helped us all to realize that if we really have desire for anything, it will happen. It made me wonder a little bit if I've ever actually desired anything before. When we really have that desire, the Lord takes care of the rest. That'll be my focus in this upcoming week.

The companionship is doing great. My new comp is awesome. He's super funny and very focused on the work. I'm very excited for the time we'll be working together and the ways we'll be learning and growing.

Well sorry the letter is short this week but I didn't have a ton of time due to some strange circumstances. But this week is sure to bring some pretty great experiences.

Love you all! have a great week!

Mom- That's crazy that Braden is home! It'd be so weird to not be a missionary any more. That story of the hashbrown lasag was hilarious! haha. It does sound pretty good though, maybe it'll become a new family favorite. Maybe we could make it with hashbrowns AND cheese. I'll send a pic of my comp and I next week. Oh by the way, I'm out of contacts again if you could send me some more when the next package is coming out. It's no rush. I'm actually not out, I'm on my last pair though. Thanks! Love ya Mom. Have a great week!

Nay- Isn't it weird it was a year ago when I came out here? crazy. Sounds like that sleep over with the Stones was pretty sweet. I hope everything works out for your try outs with your wrist and everything. Just don't forget to pray for help! Remember, if it's important to you it's important to Heavenly Father. Love ya Nay. Have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for the updates on the dogs! I saw a dog the other day that looks just like persie, and I was wondering how she was doing. Alfredo has been doing great, still reading the Book of Mormon. The only thing that stinks is that he hasn't been able to come to church. We're working on helping him fix the situation though. Love ya dad. Have a great week!

Den- That's sweet about your b ball game den! That sounds like it was fun going back to our old ward too. Love ya den. Have a great week!

Dig- Man I can't believe I'm missing your first wrestling season! Oh well you'll be a super stud when I get home to see your matches for next year if you keep up the hard work. Love ya dig. Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like that birthday party was super fun shash! Awesome job with the spelling B!!! You probably spell way better than me by now, I haven't done any school type stuff in a year! haha. Love ya Sloosh. Have a great week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

One Year Today!!!

One year today! One year today!  One year today!  As Shayla likes to say - "Only 12 more Fast Sundays!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

One Year Over & A New One Starting With A New Companion

Hey Fam,

How is everybody? I'm doing pretty well. This week has been a little rough, but it's ok.

This last monday morning Elder Briceño took off for Tanaquillo, and I was in a trio with the other companionship we live with while I was waiting on my new comp. It stunk being in a trio because, unless I was in divisions with one of the members, there wasn't much time to work in the area. Finally on Thursday morning I took off at about eight thirty in the morning to Guadalajara by bus. It was the strangest time of my mission because I had to go all the way to Guadalajara... alone! It was so stressful. The bus wasn't super bad because I just slept the whole time, but then when I got to the bus station in GDL I had to walk out into public alone (well I sort of ran), find a taxi alone, and ride all the way to the mission offices in a sketchy smelling taxi, feeling pretty alone. I did get to have quite a lengthy discussion with the taxi driver about the Book of Mormon though, so that helped pass the time. When I got to the offices, I waited with the other trainers while our new comps arrived from the airport. Then we got to go to a buffet, which was pretty sweet. Then we came back for the orientation, found out who we'd be training, and ended up having to spend the night there and then come back to Uruapan on a bus the next morning. My new comp is Elder Walker (texas ranger), from Kaysville, Utah. He's a very focused, excited, Preach My Gospel following missionary. I don't know what I could really help him with to be a better missionary, because he seems to have things down pretty good, and I still feel like I'm just getting started. We should be able to have some great experiences in the field together.

As far as the area goes, I'm a little stressed about it because we haven't been there alot. Not many investigators made it to church this Sunday, and as a result, some baptismal dates fell. We did get ahold of Alfredo, one of our investigators we hadn't been able to find at home in a while, on Sunday in the evening. He's looking great! He's been reading a ton in the Book of Mormon, and focusing on repenting of his past transgressions. It's been awesome to see the Spirit touch him and teach him through the scriptures.

Anyway, that's about all that's been going on this week. I'm excited to get going with this next week, because I just want to get back to the missionary work! so that will be good.

Shash- Good luck on your spelling B and your science fair Sloosh! I bet you're going to do great in both of them! :) That's great that Rhino loved the bread! haha. I bet he can chow down quite a bit of it. Did you look it up or something to see if it's normal to feed hamsters bread? I hope it is. haha. I sure love ya Shash. have a great week!

Den- That stinks you lost your game denny o. oh well. Sounds like your day with mom was pretty sweet! That's good that the HP movie is pretty accurate with what the book is like. Love ya denny. have a great week!

Nay- So did your Ipod just like bounce out of your purse when you were running? Did it get scratched up? What kind is it? haha. Technology is going to be so different when I get home. That stinks there's not a scholarship program for music therapy. There should be. haha. Oh well. Love ya Nay! have a great week!

Mom- Sounds like having Phillip over was quite a blast. I remember he was pretty funny when I used to TA in his math class. Yes, the new years festivities are finally over. And I found out that Christmas didn't officially end until the 7th of January. Crazy! This country loves to party. They already started their parties for one of their holidays for the Catholic Saints now. Then it'll be time for Valentines. haha. Could you let Julie Stinnett know I got the letter and the package she sent? I'll send her a thank you note too, but just so she knows that they got here. I love ya Mom. have a great week!

Dad- The weather reports your reading sound like they're probably pretty accurate. haha. Thanks for letting me know of the people that are asking about the mission. That's sweet that Fui is training! I think this time I'm training more because of the things I need to improve on and re learn than for the things I'm doing well. haha. There's alot of changes that will be going on with the work in our area soon. Well I love ya Dad! have a great week!

Dig- That's sweet about wrestling man! I wish I could be there to see your first season. Oh well, I'll be there just in time for your eighth grade season next year, when you're even more pro. haha. Sounds like you've been having a blast with your friends Dig! Sweet. Those UFC sleepovers are the funnest. haha. Love ya Dig! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Monday, January 3, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Two emails in one - we missed the first one. :(

(Sent 12/27/10)
Hey Fam!

How is everybody?

This week has been great. We had a little bit of a tough time with the christmas stuff going on, because nobody wanted to make time for appointments on the weekend, which is understandable, they all had family get togethers. But we did the best we could to take advantage of the holiday season to find more people.

On Tuesday we left on a bus early in the morning to go to the big christmas thing in Guadalajara. On the way there I had the opportunity to talk with a few missionaries I knew from the MTC and earlier on in the mission which was pretty cool. We arrived to the President's house at about noon and had strawberry cream waffles for breakfast, then did a gift exchange, and then had a piñata. The whole thing was pretty sweet because I haven't had waffles in forever, and it was just fun to be there and feel the christmas spirit and stuff. Elder Peterson, Elder Sanchez (who live in the house with us), and I forgot to get gifts the P day before the activity so we had to just throw something together with what we had at the house. Elder Sanchez and I each wrapped up a hot chocolate mug and filled it with candy, and elder peterson just wrapped some kool aid packs and a couple batteries(to give it a little weight) in wrapping paper. At the gift exchange the President put two extra gifts into the pile for a little better variety, which also meant that two gifts were going to be left over at the end. The two left over were mine and Elder Peterson's. We found out later that those two were set aside for Elder Moberg and Elder Jaen. Kind of stinks for them.

After the Christmas thing we got to go to the temple. It was so great to get to go, since it's been like a year since I've had the opportunity. It was especially neat to go through in Spanish. I took alot of pictures at the temple with some other Elder's I've been able to serve with in the field.

On Christmas eve, the other companionship in the house, Elder Briceño, and I went out caroling and contacting. We went to a super wealthy neighborhood first, but not many people were home, so we tried it at a department store, but they told us we couldn't sing there, then we went to the park in the city center and sang and contacted there. It was pretty cool. Christmas day we got to call the fam which was the sweetest! We were supposed to work for a couple hours in the night but my comp got stung by a bee or something on his upper lip and I think he might be alergic or something because his lip was huge! He wouldn't let me take any pictures of it though. The next day we went to church, and afterword went to a few appointments. We spent quite a bit of time looking for new investigators in the evening Sunday, and we ended up finding a couple families who had talked to missionaries in the past who want us to come back.

There's a sister in our ward who's the only member in her family, out of all her kids and grandkids and everything. One of her grandsons, Jose Francisco Navarro Nieto (or Pancho for short) has wanted to be baptized for a while, but his parents never let him. They finally gave him permission, and he was baptized saturday the 18th. I had the opportunity to baptize him, and it was pretty neat to see him set the example for his parents and siblings. Yesterday (a week after his confirmation), his older brother let us know he wants to be baptized as well, and is just praying about what day he wants it to be. Sweet. They're a great family.

On Christmas eve we visited Maria de la Luz, one of our recent converts. Their family had killed a pig for Christmas, and her husband was explaining to us the tradicional way to prepare it, using all parts of the pig. It was pretty interesting, and the bowl of fried pig skins and onions they gave me was pretty good. Definitely a flavor I hadn't experienced before.

I still haven't sent the picture from Maria de la Luz's baptism because it's on my comp's camera and he keeps forgetting to bring the cable to download it. But I sent the pictures from the temple trip, Pancho's baptism, and me on christmas eve with my tree, and Christmas morning with my presents.

Love you all! Thanks for everything! have a great week!

Elder Aguilar

Pancho's Family, Elder Aguilar & Elder Briceno

Pancho's Baptism

Elder Aguilar at Guadalajara Temple

Guadalajara Temple - Christmas Trip

Elder Jaen, Elder Aguilar, Elder Moberg

Dallas with missionary friends at the Guadalajara Temple

It must be Christmastime - they're all wearing red ties

Elder Aguilar's first Christmas Eve in the mission field! (Thanks Bam!)

Christmas morning - opening gifts from the fam
We got to talk to him today - SOOOOOOO GREAT!!!
(Sent 01/03/11)
Hey fam how is everyone?!

I guess you didn't get my e mail last week? I think it might have been from all the pictures I had attached. I'm resending it with the pictures in a smaller format, so hopefully you'll get it this time!

Well this week has been good. We had decent success, just the last half of the week went a little slow due to the new years festivities! The party here starts on the thirty first at like noon and goes until the second at like six in the morning. Crazy. Yesterday it was like the whole city turned into a ghost town because everyone was sleeping to make up for their three day sleepless parties. That had quite an affect on the amount of investigators we had in church, which was kind of a bummer, but oh well, it's all over now.

This week we had a pretty crazy experience in the street. We were walking to an appointment down by the city center, and this older, kind of rough looking guy standing in the doorway of his house called over to us and waved for us to come talk to him. I was a little reluctant at first because we were already on our way to an appointment, and usually when people call us over it's because they want to argue about the bible or something (which we don't do). But we decided to go over just to see if there was something we could help him with. When we got over there he said "so how many baptisms have you had?" At this point I thought "oh great, he's gonna be some internet researcher guy who thinks all churches are a conspiracy to make money or something." We told him that we don't really count. He said he had recently seen a program on television about "Mormon Missionaries." I thought at that point that it must have been a program from some anti group against the church, but then he went on to say "It's about these missionaries in Holland that are working super hard, and one of them is about to go home and he's never had a single baptism. One day he even passes out like sixty copies of the Book of Mormon, and finally right before he goes home he gets a baptism. I think one of the missionaries was named Elder Callhoun." We laughed and said "oh yeah that's a movie called The Best Two Years." He later let us know that he was baptized in the 1970's and never went back to church, but he's read the Book of Mormon a ton! He started talking to us about how we should follow the example of Ammon, and serve the people first, and have charity for them, and always be worthy of the Spirit, so that we can baptize a whole city like he did. Then he began to share a very strong testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the way the Savior worked through him to reestablish His true church and authority on the earth once again. It was cool to talk to him, and after we told him that he had to start coming to church again. It was a pretty cool experience.

Well yesterday we got a call from the Zone Leaders, and we had changes. Elder Briceño left this morning for Zamora, and I'm with the companionship that lives with us for a couple days while my new greeny arrives! I'm going to get to train an American again, and I'm pretty excited! It was kind of sad to see Elder Briceño go so soon though, because he's a super missionary.

Well that's a little about my past week. Love you all! have a great week!

Nay- Happy late birthday! I super forgot to mention that in my last e mail and on the phone! I hope it went well! Hey where did Eric Martinez go on his mission? That's awesome you had such a sweet Christmas. Sure love ya Nay! have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for those parts of your talk, that really was awesome to read about. It sounds like Garth was a pretty sweet dude. That quote from Pres. Uchtdorf is awesome too! I've been applying it in the contacts especially! Love ya dad! have a great week!

Mom- Thanks for sending me gramps address! I'll be sending him a letter soon and some letters to all of you too! Thanks for letting me know about the news in the fam too so I can keep everyone in my prayers that's going through tough times. I sure love you mom! Thanks for all your love and support! Have a great week!

Dig- Sounds like your Christmas was sweet man! Now back to school... Oh well. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Hope you've had a great New years and all denny o! Love ya! Have a Great week!

Shash- It was great to talk to ya on the phone! Miss ya sloosh! Love ya! Have a great week!

Christian- I just wanted to say thanks for the CDs because they're awesome! They're really the greatest to recieve because I loved hearing everybody's voices. It was awesome to hear more about your mission experiences too. Thanks for that! I'll be keeping you in mind with my fasting and prayer, and I'm sure my mom will keep me updated on how your doing. I'm sure everything will turn out ok! Thanks for your support and example! Have a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Aguilar