Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm not going to lie - I got a little emotional too. What a Great Missionary!

Hey Fam!

How is everyone? This week has gone well. The new companionship is going great. The two Elders that arrived are super focused and hard workers. We saw a major difference in our results this week, and were able to find alot of new investigators. We'll see which of them end up progressing.

The down side of this week was that we didn't end up having the baptismal service for Anthony and Lety. Their mom is still against the idea, and said they can come to church whenever they want, but she doesn't want them to get baptized. Oh well. We're going to keep visiting them every once in a while and make sure that they keep coming to church, so hopefully as they start their teenage years they'll be able to have that support and security that the gospel offers them, and be able to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost to be a guide for them to help them avoid all the bad things in this world.

The Lua Herrera family (the ones who recently the mom and the son got baptized, but not the dad) have been going through some tough times. Their extended family has taken some really hard hits and it started to affect them. The difference was super noticeable when we'd visit them. The Spirit just wasn't really there when we'd visit them, they just seemed a little less excited about the gospel. We'd been trying all kinds of stuff to get them excited and stuff and more united as a family but it seemed to make no difference. Yesterday (Sunday) we went on splits, and I went with the ward mission leader to visit them. When we got there everything was the same as usual. They invited us in, but just didn't seem thrilled to talk to us or anything. I had no idea what to do, and I felt bad because all the progress their family had made would be for nothing if they just went inactive and continued in life without the blessings of the gospel, but nothing seemed to lift their spirits. I said hi to them and asked how they were and stuff, they just said the normal 'oh we're fine'. Then I just sat there. And nobody talked. And everything was just silent. I just didn't know what to do. It seemed like everything I know, I had already tried to share with them before. We were all silent for probably about two minutes straight (which might not sound like much but is really a long silence), and suddenly I had a flash back to the earlier days of my mission. I remembered two young missionaries, not knowing all that much about the gospel, not understanding hardly a word anyone was saying, not having any idea what we were supposed to do, and just depending absolutely 100% on the Holy Ghost. Then all those little miracles that had happened in those times started flooding back to my mind, and I'm not going to lie, I got a little emotional. I was just so thankful to be here as a missionary, serving my God. Then I remembered the words of President Jespersen from just a few weeks ago: 'If you want to learn to rely on the Holy Ghost, put yourself in situations where you don't know what to say or do.' So there I was. Sitting in silence with a small special family that I've really come to love, not knowing what to say or do. So I just opened my mouth, and the words started to come. The Spirit filled the room, the family expressed their feelings and doubts and trials that they had been going through. And I had the opportunity to feel and watch the Lord prick their hearts with the Spirit, and remind them of the testimonies they've each received from Him. It was a great experience, and it helped me to understand a little better the Comforter, Companion and Friend, that I'm so priviledged to have. A Heavenly Messenger, testifying of the Father's love and plan for us, His children.

Shash- Sounds like the Spruces were a blast Sloosh! Awesome. Love you! Have a great week!

Den- Happy B day this week Denny oh! I can't believe you're already going to be twelve and recieve the Priesthood and stuff! Sweet! Love you! Have a great week!

Mom- That story about Caleb sounds pretty funny. Good thing he didn't make it all the way to the water. That's going to be such a great experience to be Tina's escort. You've been a pretty big influence for good in her life. Love you! Have a great week!

Dig- The fourth of July is going to be awesome with the new fire work regulations man! Sweet. Love you! Have a great week!

Nay- Repelling huh? I repelled a few times on scount camps and it was pretty fun. That's cool that you can check that one off on your list of fun things to do. haha. Love you! Have a great week!

Dad- I loved that talk from E. Rendlund. I remember being impressed by it during the conference. It's a good one to help in personal spiritual development. Love you! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Companion!

Hey Fam!

I'm running a little short on time this week, so the e mail might be kinda short. This week has gone well. We saw a ton of progress in the area, and especially in the zone. The family from Utah is doing great. They came to church on Sunday, all except the mom. I don't know what we're going to have to do to get her to open up but we're not giving up hope. The kids of their family are doing really well, and the two oldest will probably be baptized this upcoming Sunday.

We had transfers in our companionship today. My new companion is Elder Vasquez, who was my zone leader in Uruapan, and Elder Zuñiga went to a different area as a senior companion to finish his mission there. We also just found out that we'll be recieving a new greeny here in our companionship. So there's the two of us, (Elder Vasquez and I) and there'll be a third missionary that we'll be training. That'll be sweet, because it'll give us alot more opportunity to go on splits in the zone and get to know the other companionships a little better. Anyway, that's all for this week!

Dad- HAPPY LATE FATHERS DAY!!! I hope you had a great fathers day yesterday. That's sweet that you'll be headin out to the Spruces this week. Next year I'll be there. haha. Yes the rain season is just getting started. We've only had a couple good rain storms so far, but judging by the clouds that are out right now, the rains are just getting started. Sweet. The bike thing is just like you assumed. They're going to start by choosing an area per zone that would most benefit from the bikes. So if I'm in one of those areas I'll get to use one. Anyway. Love ya! Have a great week.

Den- Sounds like that singing and cutting the ties activity in church was super sweet! haha. Maybe I'll figure out some way to use that idea in missionary work. Love ya! Have a great week.

Dig- Sounds like you've got quite a bit of cash coming your way for that bike. haha. Cool! That's good that you're gettin stoked for your mish already dig. Keep focusing on what you can do to prepare, because it'll be time for you to head out before you know it. Six years can go by fast. haha. Love ya! Have a great week.

Shash- Sounds like that trip to Lagoon was a blast! That's sweet you could go on so many rides. Cool Sloosh! Love ya! Have a great week.

Nay- Sounds like that Mtn. biking experience was pretty intense. haha. That's sweet that you got such a good job. Sounds like it's pretty tough. Cool. Love ya! Have a great week.

Mom- Thanks for that update on the pikes and everyone else. That's so awesome that Tina's gonna go through the temple. Tell her I said congrats. The spruces is probably going to be a blast. Can't wait till I can go again. Thanks for letting me know everything about the package and stuff. I'm doing fine on cash by the way. I'm just purposely living on a super low budget so I can learn to spend less money. I've been eating well though. I've actually gained weight recently. Finally. haha. Thanks for everything mom. Love ya! Have a great week.

Monday, June 13, 2011

17 Months Today!

Hey Fam!

How is everyone this week? I'm doing well. I'm currently in Guadalajara. I came to sign some VISA paper stuff, kinda takes up the whole P day, but oh well.

This week has gone well. We've been finding more and more people who seem ready for the gospel, it'll be interesting to see in the coming week who's progressing and who's not. We found a family that's part member. The dad's been a member since he was eight, but his wife and kids aren't members. They actually lived in Utah for like the last fifteen years. They lived in South Salt Lake at like four hundred south and two hundred east or something like that. When I first met the dad I could have sworn I had seen him before. How crazy that I had lived my whole life a few minutes away from a family, and maybe even seen them before, but then met them in Zamora Michoacan hours and hours away from home, where they're first starting to really get to know the gospel. The kids in the family are super cool. They have a daughter that's like eleven, a boy that's like nine, and a girl that's like seven. They all love when we come over because they can speak in english for a little bit and talk about Utah. haha. They miss it alot. The family has all been progressing well, and they have even been reading the Book of Mormon together daily. The tough part has been gaining the trust of the Mom. She always seems a little bored in the lessons, and still hasn't shown any desire to come to church, even though her husband and her kids beg her to come. We'll have to see what happens, what the Lord can do to soften her heart.

On tuesday night I was on divisions with Elder Gerome, another missionary that was in town for a zone conference. We were in a pretty rough neighborhood, and as we walked past a small group of rather drunk men, one of them who looked pretty tough stood up and shouted "Hey! Come here!" We pretended we didn't hear him and kept walking. He followed us and kept shouting, but we just shouted back that we were in a hurry and couldn't come, because he was pretty drunk. A couple days later, Elder Zuñiga and I were walking to an appointment when a man stepped outside of his house. He looked kind of timid and nervous, as he quietly stepped forward and said: "hey would you have a little chance to talk with me?" I felt pretty bad when I realized it was the same guy, that had wanted to talk to us a couple nights before. This time he was sober. We stepped into his house and started to talk. It turns out he's a thirty one year old man trying to start a family, and he's had alcohol addiction problems since he was fifteen, more than half of his life time. He explained that when he had seen us that night he was just sobering up for the first time in two weeks. We taught him about the restoration and the word of wisdom, and he promised to stop drinking. Since then (about five days ago), he still hasn't had any alcohol, and is already seeing a difference in his family. It's going to be awesome to see the change in him as he decides to put his life into the Lord's hands.

In our house we ran out of gas (for cooking, hot water, etc.) like two weeks ago. All I really have in the house is food that's cooked on the stove, so I was starting to get tired of finding other ways to eat, not being able to cook anything. I finally decided to experiment a little with the things I have in the house. I remembered that we have a microwave, which is kind of rare in the mission, and I had never really used it. I grabbed the food that I had, and using the microwave, I made french toast, pancakes, and scrambled eggs. It was pretty sweet. I prefer the regular stove, but now at least I know what to do if there's a natural disaster, and the only things I have available are pancake mix, eggs, milk, and a microwave.

Den- Sounds like that was a sweet talk on the waters of Mormon story! Sorry about Chunk denny o. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Way to jerk-dance at the dance. For your talk I would recommend Preach My Gospel Ch. 1, and the primary answers (read scriptures, go to church, say prayers, etc.) Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like you had a super fun week sloosh! Awesome! Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- I got the money taken out and turned in to the mission for the bikes. Thanks for the help, I know there are alot of good things that will happen in the Lord's work with the extra resources of transportation. Thanks for the info on the new YSA stuff, but don't be too rushed cause I've still got over a half year left to go in the field! haha. Just kidding. Thanks for the reminder on the smiling and spirit stuff. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That's sweet about the music building testimony thing. When I was with Elder Walker he use to focus on that alot, and it really helped us have more of the Spirit in the lessons when we utilized hymns. That's funny about your first singles ward experience, haha. You'll have to tell me about any sweet activities and stuff. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- As far as treats in the package go... Double stuff oreos are always cool. I would actually love if you could somehow safely ship me like powder mix for gatorade. I don't know how easy that would be though. I haven't really felt any need for new PJs or anything. The ties were all trades and gifts, like you said. I think i've spent a total of like four dollars in clothing items since I've been out, and it was for white socks for baptisms. That's funny about dad's dream. haha. Maybe it has some sort of profound double meaning that has to do with future events. just kidding. That might only be funny for someone who's been a missionary for a long time. Anyway. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sorry so slow posting Elder Aguilar's email this week!  I was out of town.  He's doing great!  Enjoy...

Hey fam! How is everyone? I'm running a little low on time this week so the e mail might end up kind of short.

This week was rough in our area. We had a really hard time seeing success, and it was tough to stay excited and happy in front of the rest of the zone so that they wouldn't get discouraged, but it was worth it because the missionaries here are doing super jobs, and our zone is actually leading the mission. So that's cool.

I don't remember if I ever mentioned this, but a few weeks ago we were walking down the street when a man yelled over to us. We went over to talk with him and it turned out that he's the director of a rehab center. He invited us to come talk to his group about the gospel, and we accepted the invitation. When we got there we were surprised to find that it's a pretty intense rehab center. It's a sixth month program where the patients are kept in their rooms 24-7, for six months! They all live in the same big room in the basement of the guy's house, were they recieve various treatments to help them get over addictions. There's a huge variety of people there, from guys that have had serious problems and are no longer able to socially function, to guys that had mild alcoholic problems and just want to be the best they can be for their families and stuff. There's also a seperate room upstairs for the girls who need treatment, and one of them is a mother of four kids. It's kind of sad to think of the things these people have had to go through, but it's great to see them making the changes. There's about five or six out of the group who have absolutely loved the message of the restoration of the gospel. In our lessons they've even stood up in front of the rest to bare their testimonies of how Heavenly Father answered their prayers, and blessed them with testimonies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. They also love the story of Joseph Smith, so we promised them we'd bring the movie of "Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration" for them to see. That's the one that's like an hour long. We didn't really have a way to watch it with them, so we asked the assistants if they could lend us the mission's projector. When they were in town they brought it to us, and they actually came to the lesson, with President Jepsersen. So that was kind of cool. President was impressed with the group, and told me of a similar experience he had in Ecuador when he taught in a prison.

Anyway, that's part of what's been going on lately. haha. Love you all!

Shash- Sounds like that thanks lesson was super! Gratitude is very important. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That BFF thing would have been sweet! haha. Too bad it didn't work out. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sweet job making comp soccer man! cool. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Have a blast in Lava man! The quest trips are the bomb! Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for that advice on the burrying the weapons thing. I'm thankful for a wise worthy priesthood holding father that can always give me advice in the time I need it. If only all fathers were that way this world would be a different place! Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- Thanks for the updates on Tanner. Thanks for your dear elders too. I love getting them everytime, and just like you often mention, it feels like you're just talkin to me in real life when I read them, which helps me alot. The picture attached is of us with a few of the members of the Rehab clinic I mentioned in the e mail. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar