Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? This week went well. Well, I've seen better weeks, but it was a good week. We had the baptism for Alejandro's family. It was a little bit of a bummer, because it was going to be a baptism for Alejandro, his wife, and his two kids, but due to some past transgressions, Alejandro is going to have to wait until November to be baptized. His wife Ana Rosa, and his son Alejandro Antonio were both baptized. It turns out that his daughter is only seven, so she didn't get baptized. But it was neat to see the baptisms. I got to baptize both of them, and it'll be a great help for Alejandro to see his wife and son progressing in the gospel as he completes his repentance process.

Claudia is doing well. She seems to be growing in testimony each time we visit her, and is also giving us references for us to visit her family members that live in other parts of the zone. She's also most likely getting married soon, so that will be cool.

Francisco is doing ok - more or less. He has an interest in changing his life, but his wife isn't super excited about the whole deal, and they seem to be lacking a little bit of faith, because they still put alot of temporal things as a higher priority than the spiritual things.

The companionship has been going well. I think that one of the greatest lessons I've learned on my mission is how to like everyone no matter what. I'm sure I can still improve in that way, but I've learned alot and I've been trying to put it into practice. I love the Savior's sermon on the mount, because it's really just the key to spiritual and social progress.

I've been thinking lately about the way the Spirit works, the way we interact with other people, the importance of Christlike Attributes, and all that stuff. It's interesting to see that basically everything is based around feelings. The Spirit comforts us. Choosing the right makes us feel good. Sinning makes us feel bad. Developing Christlike Attributes helps us to help others feel good, and that makes us feel good. Even the Atonement of Christ, is a great power that brings us feelings of hope, security and love, and saves us from having to feel alot of guilt, pain, and things like that. It kind of helps me to understand why a simple smile, or really showing someone that I'm here to help them, allows them to feel a little better, open their heart, then feel much better as the Spirit testifies to them of the truthfulness of the gospel. Once the Spirit takes the wheel, it's amazing the things the Lord can do with our lives. It seems like the feelings and the social stuff is super common sense for most people, and for all the other missionaries, but it's always kind of been a struggle for me. I'm just glad we have such a great amount of scripture and modern revelation available today to help us each with our own challenges like that.

This wednesday we'll be going to Guadalajara again for the zone leader meeting. I talked to Elder Jaen today, who is now a zone leader in Uruapan, my old zone. His zone is exploding. They baptized more this month than that zone has been able to baptize in a long time, and last week they baptized twice as much as they had originally set as a goal for the week. Elder Jaen said he's going to give me some tips on wednesday for how to help the zone. That'll be sweet, because I really don't know what I'm doing. haha.

Well that's all for this week. Love you all!

Shash- That's crazy that you've got your own laptop now! Love you! have a great week!

Den- Sweet job on your straight A's! Love you! have a great week!

Dig- Sounds like you had a sweet time in Idaho man. Cool! Love you! have a great week!

Mom- That's fine if that money goes toward the bike thing. Thanks for the updates on everything at home, it's always great to hear about everyone. How's Tanner doing by the way? Is he still planning on leaving soon? Love you! have a great week!

Dad- I'll talk to Elder Tibbits on wednesday about the bike thing and let you know. That's super sweet about the peacocks! haha. That'll be cool to see them when I get home if they don't get eaten. Love you! have a great week!

Nay- That's funny about Philip. He's a super cool dude. Congrats on your graduations and everything! that's sweet that you got to do the musical number at the seminary graduation. You know you're probably like the most musically talented person I know right? Love you! have a great week!

Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Aguilar

Elder Aguilar's House

Alejandro & Ana Rosa's Marriage

Alejandro Antonio & Ana Rosa's Baptisms

Going to a Chinese Buffet

The Chinese Buffet

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pray for Francisco, Claudia, & Alejandro's Marriage

Hey Fam!

This week has gone well. The area looks good, and the zone looks good, and we've been having success.

Alejandro and his family are doing great. They continue to grow in testimony and understanding of the gospel, and they continue to grow more united as they prepare for their marriage this week, probably on Thursday. We were able to see a small miracle with Alejandro at his work. For their marriage, we've had to gather some papers together, and set up an appointment with the judge. The judge let us know that they can get married any time monday through saturday, in the morning or afternoon. Alejandro just happens to work every monday through saturday, in the mornings and afternoons. We told him about the appointment and asked if he would be able to get work off. He let us know that he had recently pulled a couple of no shows at work, and was actually about to be fired for it. He said his boss had told him that the next time he doesn't make it to work, he'll lose his job. So we invited him to go talk to his boss, and explain to him the reason why he was once again going to need to miss work. We prayed for help with the situation, trusting that something could surely happen so that Alejandro could miss work in order to get married, so he can be baptized with his family. In a later appointment, we asked him if he had talked to his boss. He said he had asked the permission, and his boss replied "Well it's about time. So many of you guys are living with ladies that aren't your wives, and how many times have I told you that that's just not right." So he gave him permission to miss work, and get married. Cool. So their marriage and baptisms will be this week.

The other day we were looking for an old investigator that we had found in the area book. We arrived to the address, and knocked on the door. A lady answered, and my companion began to ask her about the person we were looking for. While they were talking, I noticed a guy sitting in an SUV parked on the side of the street that was staring us down. He got out of the SUV and came up to us in a slightly confrontational way. He introduced himself as Francisco, and explained that anything we had to say to his wife, we could say to him as well. I noticed that he was holding a cigarrette, a bottle of beer, and drugs, and appeared to be consuming the three of them all together. He was looking pretty rough. We explained that we were missionaries and everything, and he asked if we could help him leave behind his addictions. We said that if he threw away the bottle, the cigarrette, and the drugs, we could talk. He did. So we sat down with him and his wife and began to talk. He explained to us the difficult childhood he had to go through that led to his current problems, and the damage that it was causing to his current wife and children. Then he started to cry and said he was tired of suffering and wanted to change. We set an appointment for the next day, and went back when he was sober. It turns out he's actually in a pretty good financial situation, and has alot of influence in the community, and really doesn't consume drugs and alcohol that often, he just has breakdowns every once in a while due to his difficult past. They look like they've got a pretty sincere desire to change, so it'll be neat to watch their progress.

Last night we visited with Claudia. She's also been going through some tough times, and has recognized she needs a change in her life. She use to be mixed up in some weird beliefs and worship habits, and ended up super depressed and confused, but she's realized she needs to change. Last night she told us that she's going to do whatever it takes to follow Christ's example, be baptized, and start a new life. It's just cool to see the hope she's recieved as she listens to the gospel.

Anyway, that's what's been going on in the area this week.

Dad- That's funny about the milk juice thing. haha. It seems like I remember it tasting really.... strange. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That's sweet that the tramp is up. Just keep working hard to pay it off man. It's a good lesson to learn. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- What's with all the i pod action man? sounds like you're rolling in the dough. haha. just kidding. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That dance thing sounds hilarious! haha. Way to think fast with the swaying and snapping thing... haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- That's sweet about the jazz attitude tryouts shash! I bet you did great! Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- Thanks for the updates on family and friends. It's always sweet to hear about that stuff. About the jelly beans, so far we've eaten enough to take like an inch layer off the top. But I have three other missionaries to help me with it so it shouldn't take too long. Thanks for those thoughts on preparation, sounds like it was a pretty awesome talk. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

16 Months!

Hey Fam!

How is everyone? I'm good. This week has gone pretty well. The Zone Leader thing was pretty fun. We got there in the night on monday, and we made banners for our zones. The idea was to paint the success that we wanted to have, so that was pretty sweet. We ended up getting to bed super late, then we woke up at five thirty in the morning to go play soccer and basketball. I got to be a team captain, our team did pretty good. Then we went bowling, and I was on a lane with Elder Jaen and the President. President beat all of us. Then we went back to the offices and talked about how our zones are doing, and what we are going to do to improve and reach our goals etc. We also watched a super sweet short video as part of the training called "Validation" on youtube. It's a black and white video about a guy who stamps validation cards at a mall, and makes everybody smile by giving them compliments. It was pretty cool.

This week we found a family that is awesome. It's the family of Alejandro and Anarosa (the parents) I've met alot of people on my mission that have been prepared by the Lord, but these are the most prepared people I've meet so far. They're a super happy energetic young family. They have three kids, a nine year old son named Alejandro, an eight year old daughter named Mari, and and a three year old daughter named Perla. They all loved church on sunday, and they already read the Book of Mormon and pray as a family every day. It's going to be awesome to see all the blessings they recieve as the continue to progress in the gospel.

On Saturday we baptized Ana Delia. Her husband and all her children are members, but she hadn't ever been baptized. She said the closing prayer at her baptism. She later told us how good she felt when she came up out of the water. It's awesome to see that family more united, and ready to prepare to become an eternal family.

Our companionship is going well. I'm kind of having a tough time, because up to this point in my mission I've always done almost everything, since I've had almost all green companions. It's making it a little harder to stay focused and energetic, because I feel like I'm on vacation or something, but I've been thinking of ways to fix the problem and overcome the challenge so that I can keep the momentum going in the work I do. I'm just thankful to be here period, and I want to do the best and the most I can in the Lord's work.

Dad- I forgot to mention to you when we talked on the phone that I was thinking the other day about how hard it is to help people understand that the Book of Mormon isn't a new Bible or a revised Bible or anything, but Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Then it hit me. The wood tie you sent to me has a hinge in it, and I figured out it's a perfect object lesson to help people understand the relationship between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Both halves of the tie are made of wood, they're the same color, they both have lines, but with only one half it's not a tie! haha. Sweet. That stinks about your triathlon bike by the way. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Thanks for your lightning speed typed letter due to your good eating habbits and healthy lifestyle. haha. I got a kick out of that. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sounds like the father son's was sweet! Wish I coulda been there man! Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- That's awesome about snowball sloosh! Sounds like "El Habanero" had some pretty good food. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- You wouldn't believe what happened the other day. Back when I was in the MTC, Elder Tibbits and I use to see Elder Lusty at lunch and stuff sometimes, and Elder Tibbits knew him as the guy who liked my little sister that had a super weird name. haha. Elder Tibbits is an AP now so he's in the offices. The other day, Elder Aguilar 2 got a letter in the mail for a missionary that doesn't belong to this mission, so he gave it to Elder Tibbits. Elder Tibbits looked at it and saw the letter was for Elder Lusty from Shenay Aguilar, and had a flashback of the MTC. He peeked inside, and found that the letter was actually written to me, but that you must've accidentally written Elder Lusty instead of Elder Aguilar. Good thing Elder Tibbits was there or they would have thrown the letter away! Crazy! That's funny that story about Philip. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- Sounds like Dad's talk was pretty awesome. I did get my package. I opened it up, and was pretty bummed not to see the Bornes, but my disappointment disappeared after my first day of using those shoes. They're super awesome. haha. I attached pictures of the baptisms of the Juan family, Alejandro, and Ana Delia, as well as the pictures of the Juan family signing their papers at their civil wedding. I recently got a dear elder from you that helped me with a trial I was going through. Thanks for being such a great Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Ana Delia's Baptism

Alejandro's Baptism

Juan Family's Baptisms

Juan's Civil Wedding

Monday, May 9, 2011

We were able to talk to Dallas yesterday!  Greatest day of the year!!!  He is doing great!

Hey Fam!

How is everyone? It was sooo great to talk to you all on the phone yesterday. Sweet. Good re-charge to keep me working hard.

So this week has gone well. We baptized a family, the Juan family (that's really their last name, even though it's usually a first name.) They're super awesome. They've had to make alot of changes, get married, and leave some old habits behind, but they stayed strong through the whole process, and I'm impressed with the way they progressed. We also baptized Alejandro, a younger man that has had many family problems, and is currently living with a member family. I had the priviledge to perform all the baptisms, and I've got the pictures but this computer doesn't have the program to format them, so I'll have to send the pictures next week.

The other day I was working with Elder Flores in a different area in our zone. In the morning we were looking for new investigators, when we came across a lady and her husband that said they didn't really want to hear the message, they just had a few questions. When we entered their house we quickly noticed alot of pretty expensive looking historical items that all had to do with the Catholic church. They also had a big "line of authority" thing for the Popes of the catholic church that went all the way from the current Pope back to the first Pope. They offered us a glass of water, and as we started to talk with them, they asked us about genealogy. It turned out that the wife had become very interested in genealogy recently, and when she talked to the Catholic bishop in the cathedral in Zamora to try to obtain some documents, he recommended she talk to the Mormons. haha. We explained to her the prophecy in the scriptures that talk about our latter day interests in genealogy, and then explained to her a little about the temples etc. That opened a window for us to talk about the priesthood authority that's necessary for such ordinances as baptism, and we were able to share a little bit with them about the restoration. Then when we showed them the Book of Mormon they were blown away, and explained that they had done some studies on the possibility of Christian beliefs in the Americas from before the Catholic invasion, and they were excited to find out about a record of the ancient people of the continent. At the end they were pretty stoked about what they could learn, but they didn't seem super interested in conversion. haha. But it was neat to see another angle that the Lord uses to help His children find the gospel.

Well today we're heading off to Guadalajara for our meeting with the president, and according to Elder Moberg, we'll be playing soccer tomorrow morning, and then going bowling in the evening. Sweet! Then we'll have the big meeting and stuff in the night time.

Love you all! Have a great week!
Elder Aguilar

P.S. Mom- I also thought that the Charlotte's web song said that, I recognized the lyrics right when I read it. haha.
Oh and dad, The street we live in is called Amado Nervo crossing with the street Constitucion. They're in a section of the city called Jacona Centro. We live like three houses in from where those streets cross.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hey Fam!

I don't have alot of time but I have a ton to say so here it goes.

This week has been really well. I'm in an area that is just full of potential. Zamora is a land of abundance when it comes to people who are prepared for the gospel, and I'm super excited to be working here, especially with the awesome missionaries that are in our zone.

The other day we were on the bus, and Elder Zuñiga and I were singing hymns. When we got off the bus we started walking up the hill. Elder Zuñiga was talking on the phone, and Elder Jimenez and I were reading aloud from the Book of Mormon. When we got to the top of the hill a lady came up from behind us and introduced herself. I recognized her as one of the people who had been on the bus with us. She explained that she had heard our hymns and scriptures, and that she wanted to know where the church was so she could come. We gave her the directions to the church, then found out that she actually lives way down at the bottom of the hill, so she followed us up the whole hill just to ask about the gospel. Sweet. We'll see what happens there.

We found a guy this week named Cuautemoc. He just came up to us in the street and gave us his address and asked if we could come to his house to help him stop drinking. When we went we taught him about repentance and baptsim. It's a catholic tradition that when someone is baptized they also recieve their Godparents, or Padrinos in spanish. When we gave him the baptismal invitation, he said yes, then he turned to Elder Zuñiga and said 'Will you be my padrino' He said yes, then Cuautemoc stood up and gave him a big hug. He was pretty excited about it. But then when we went to pick him up for church he was a tiny bit drunk, and when we were stopped in front of another house he just hopped out of the truck and disappeared. Oh well, we'll find him sooner or later.

Jose Manuel from Uruapan is being called to be part of the Sunday School Presidency! Sweet. It's been awesome to be able to watch all the changes in his life.

For the call on Mothers day you can call me at 6 20 PM (Utah time) on Sunday night. It's the number of the Ramirez family. If the phone is busy, try again in like five minutes, if it's still busy, it's because I messed up on the time difference, and you can call at 7 20. haha. But I'm pretty sure I got the time right.

It was sad to hear about Grandpa Ellis, but I'm thankful for his example, and for all the time he had in this life and the huge effect he had on us his family and on so many other people. I love and miss him.

That's all for the week..

Mom- Happy Early Birthday!!! Did you get the package yet? I didn't get the easter package, but I will be getting mail better now in Zamora. Jefe Fuentes means boss fountains (or sources). haha. About Skype, we can do it, but it's too late to plan it. We'll have to plan it for Christmas, even though it'll be right before I get home. I included some pictures of me studying, drinking water, helping Elder Sargent paint his apartment, and my last day in Uruapan with Elder Petersen and Elder Cardona. Love you! Have a great week!

Nay- That's sweet that you scored all three goals! haha. Splice girls is a pretty sweet group name. Love you! Have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for the reminder on D n C 121. I love the leadership advice there. Love you! Have a great week!

Shash- Sorry to hear about Rhino sloosh. He was a great hamster for ya, I'm sure he's thankful you took such good care of him. Love you! Have a great week!

Den- That's sweet that you're helping Seth come to church man! Love you! Have a great week!

Dig- Snow soccer sounds like a blast! haha. Love you! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Painting Elder Sargent's Apartment

Elder Aguilar & Elder Petersen

Elder Aguilar & Elder Cardona