Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Office

Hey fam!

How is everyone? This week has gone well. We've been a little busy in the offices, but not that busy. So we've had a lot of time for preaching which has been sweet. The area is doing well. We're finally starting to find some new investigators. This is the first ward I've served in on my mission so far that actually has the chapel in the ward boundaries, and it makes a big difference in the proselyting. It's sweet to go knocking on doors in the neighborhoods that are around the chapel, because everyone that answers the door says "oh are you guys from the church over in the intersection?" Which already starts the conversation and gains a little of their confidence. It also makes it more likely that the people will be able to fulfill their commitments to come to church, which is a huge difference from the other areas I've been in. Now, instead of leaving an hour and a half before church starts, pass by four or five houses, and pay all the bus tickets to truck our investigators in from out of town, we can leave like thirty minutes before the services, walk to the investigators' houses, and walk with them to the church. Awesome. Anyway.

The bishop gave us the names of three inactive families this week to start working on getting them back to church. We've been going around visiting them, and they're in difficult situations. In one of the visits with one of the families in particular it was a pretty sad experience. We went to visit an elderly couple that have been members of the church for about twenty five years. We started talking to them, and we found out that each Sunday they go out to a little farm house they have in the country and work on their crops. I asked them if that was the only thing that had been keeping them from going to church. They said that it wasn't, so we started to talk to them about what had really been keeping them from coming to church. They started to list off not so great experiences from the past, about how they felt mistreated by others at church. None of the things they were listing off were at all serious, only simple things, like asking them to bring more food to an activity that most other members had to bring. They ended up talking to us about that for kind of a long time. We shared our testimonies, and I read a few scriptures, and we tried to remind them that their testimonies should be founded upon the Savior, and not the actions of others. We tried to help them see that the church isn't there simply as a social club, but as a place to worship God. Regardless of our efforts, they stayed fixed on their decision, that their inactivity in the church was everyone's fault but their own. While I sat listening to them, I was pretty sad. I felt bad that someone could get so confused about the gospel, that they could forget entirely the teachings of the Savior, lose sight of their eternal goals, and become so blind about their situation. Later on I was looking over Grandpa Ellis' funeral program, and imagining what a special spiritual experience it must have been to be there. I started to reflect on his great example to our family, and the enormous impact that he had on our family, his ward, friends, neighbors, and others. I pondered on the extreme contrast between Grandma and Grandpa Ellis, and the couple we had visited. I wondered what could have made such a difference in the outcomes of the lives of these people. Once again my thoughts came back to testimony. I think the difference is really just that Grandma and Grandpa Ellis lived as disciples of Christ. I've never seen them look for the mistakes that others make, they've always just striven to love and serve in every opportunity that came up. Their testimonies have been built upon the Rock of Christ, Our Redeemer. The other couple, however, seems to have spent the last twenty five years looking for, finding, and dwelling on the mistakes that others make. They've spent so much time judging, criticizing, and taking offense, that they no longer had time to recognize all the blessings in their lives, or appreciate the great attributes that other people have. Anyway, I'm not just saying this to point out negative things about those members. That's not my intention, and we're going to keep praying for them and trying to help them make it back to church someday. But I do think it's a good learning experience. We should always be striving to grow in our testimonies of the Savior, and really become what He would have us be. Just going through the motions, or waiting around for some exclusive opportunity to act on what the Lord has commanded isn't going to get us anywhere. We need to be anxiously engaged in this great cause, and take full advantage of every opportunity to come closer to Christ, and strengthen our testimonies of Him.

I love you all!

Bam- thanks for the e mail Bam. Sounds like your new dog is great for you and for the whole fam. haha. I'll be excited to get the pictures. I still haven't sent the fourth of July pics, sorry. I'll be sure to send them next week though! The package really was awesome. Everyone was blown away by all the stuff. We enjoyed the table decorations, and all the little toys, and of course the candy. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- P-day is Thursday for me now, to answer your question. This week we had it changed to Friday, because we had a meeting on Thursday. But it's always going to be on Thursday unless it's a special case like that. Thanks for the updates on the fam and stuff from the reunion. And thanks for the advice and everything Mom. Thanks for being interested in my happiness. Haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like the toys from Idaho were pretty awesome! And all the water fun too. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sounds like that lava trip was a blast denny o! Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Those new canal sports sound pretty extreme. haha. Thanks for all your love and support Dad. I always appreciate your testimony. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Sounds like ya had a pretty fun week man. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That mini triathlon sounds like it was way fun. It's crazy that you're already getting your room stuff set up for college. You're getting old! haha. JK. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Elder Aguilar

I think these are all the Elders that work in the office...

Elder Buckmiller

Elder Galindo (His old companion)

Elder Martinez

Elder Tibbitts

Elder Villanueva

Elder Woodhouse

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