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!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 Months Left!

Hey Fam. How is everyone? This week has been great. The weather hasn't. I guess there's a hurricane on the coast of Jalisco/ Michoacan, and the effects are felt here in Guadalajara as well. It's not stormy, it's just freezing cold! And it's constantly raining. It doesn't rain hard or anything. The amount of rainfall doesn't change though, it just keeps raining and raining and raining. And it's soooo cold! I don't know what's going to happen to me arriving home to Utah in January! I'll be wrapped in a blanket in the warmest room in the house, not moving for like the first 24 hours. So the weather has been rough, and the office work is still... office work. But despite the dreariness of it all this week has been filled with a warm spirit. Things have just been going well, and I've felt the influence of the Lord alot in the work this week.

A while ago, Sister Jesperson challenged the whole mission to focus on 1 Christlike Attribute per month. I chose Humility. It's been quite an experience. When I first decided to focus on Humility, I drew up a study plan, looked some things up, wrote down some scripture references, and got everything planned out to teach myself to be humble... hahahahahaha. For whatever reason I thought that I myself was going to teach myself humility. Funny. Anyway, as a part of it all, I've been praying for the Lord to Humble me. I must have been sincere in at least one of those prayers. It's interesting, when we set up our plans and have everythinig figured out and know exactly what we're doing, then our Loving Heavenly Father looks down and kindly re-draws our plans, and helps us to achieve our goals in a much more perfect way than what we originally were going to do. This time was one of those times when I thought that all the things I was planning on were falling apart. For a couple weeks I started to wonder why it would be so hard to just humble myself a little, then, after a couple more weeks, I realized that the Lord had humbled me. I still have plenty of room to improve of course, I'm just thankful for His mercy, in helping us accomplish our goals. Alma 26:12

I've been focussing alot on being able to recognize our part, in contrast to what the Lord does for us. Ultimately it's all thanks to Him of course, but with the things that go on in our lives, we also have to do our part. It actually makes or breaks our progress. The Lord is willing to help us to any degree, as long as we're trying to do our best. I heard a quote from John Longden (given in 1968 while he was an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve,) that says "The man who has done his best has done everything, the man who has done less than his best has done nothing." It doesn't matter what our best is, we just have to do it, and it will suffice. We are the only ones who decide what happens with our personal progress. To paraphrase Richard G. Scott: "You become what you want to be, by being what you want to become." I think a large part of givinig our all, is also avoiding anything that could take us in the other direction. Before true progress can take place with any Christlike attribute or principle of the Gospel or Testimony or anything, we need to make sure there are no roadblocks. I also heard in the same talk today from John Longden that each of us has a divine spark so to speak. Regardless of how our progress is right now, there's divine fire within us. For some it might be a forest fire, for others it might be a very small, almost invisible flicker of a flame. Regardless, if there are ashes or soil or sand placed in front of or on top of or around that flame, it won't grow. First we need to remove the soil and ashes, then add more fuel to the fire. It's amazing the amount of confidence and power that comes from a clear conscience. Joseph Smith was able to speak with great power and authority due to his clear concience, and the Savior of course, had an unspotted concience, and was able to speak with all power and authority. Anyway, I don't know if any of that makes sense, just scrambled thoughts that I've been having this week I guess.

The investigators are doing well. The Sanchez family continues progressing. Sunday was quite a hassle with them, and only the Grandmother and one of the Aunts came to church, Luis and Mauricio (the ones getting baptized) didn't go. But we've figured out why, and now everythings on track for the upcoming Sunday. Adolfo (Diego's friend,) is doing awesome. We found out that whether he previously had any serious problems with harmful substances or not, he's no longer an addict to anything, so that's great. He's been really reading and praying, and has alot of questions, His biggest doubt right now is that he feels that an organized church is unnecessary, if anyone has any suggestions for that doubt let me know. I've found some good scriptures for him, but sometimes it takes a little something extra.

This week we found a new family, in which the parents are very friendly, and great people, but not very interested in the Gospel. The kids are super excited though. The Oldest is named Daneisis. She came to church on her own the day after we first met their family. Her little brothers are way excited to come this week, and she's already been inviting friends as well. We'll keep praying and looking for what we can do to get the parents involved I guess.

Bam- That beach experience sounds like it was pretty scary. I would've been pretty stressed out. That's good that everything turned out well. Thanks for letting me know about the package by the way. I'll keep my eye out. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- That's tough with all the grades and stuff man. Just enjoy it while it lasts. haha. That might sound crazy right now but Junior High is a blast. Just keep on keepin on my brother. haha. But seriously Dig you're awesome. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That stinks about the soccer loss. Oh well. Like it says on DDR, there's always a tomorrow! haha. Just kidding. Today is better than tomorrow. Do you still play DDR? Hey I heard that you and Dig bought parafenalia from a college that wasn't the U. hmm. That concerns me. haha. Just kidding. But really man come on. Haha. No just kidding it's fine. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Are you excited for Disneyland?! That's going to be so fun! I'm missing out. You'll have to let me know how the trip goes. It's too bad that the hotel room was a little uncomfortable at the aggie tour thing. How was the icecream though? There's crazy icecream here in Mexico, I'll have to tell you about it someday in the future. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- So the big Disneyland trip is coming up. It'll be cool to drive there. You'll have to let me know how the trip goes. That's crazy that the Meier's are already back home. I'll be excited to hear about their experiences. I'm sure they have some great stories. The fedex guy just delivered the dear elders, so I haven't read the one you sent me yet. I'll be able to coment on in next week I suppose. Just wondering, my two pairs black slacks are both pretty worn out. I don't know if there are any packages coming soon, If so I'll send the pictures for the slacks, but I don't want it to be an inconvenience. I know it's alot of errand running to get the new ones. Besides, with the postal service here I might get them just in time to wear them like twice. haha. What do you think though? Anyway, thanks for everything mom. Don't worry about Dig, he's a smart fellow. One day when Dig's on his mish he'll be thankful for the extra encouragement to do good in school. I sure am. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- So Romney's representing well eh? That's true all the stuff you said about the Chruch's reactions. The Lord's nature always proves more successful in the end. That story about Duncan was pretty crazy. I wonder how he got his leg like that. haha. How's Pers doing? Every time I meet people with elderly dogs I ask them how old they are and wonder how Persie is with health and stuff. Anyway, thanks for everything dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- Hope to hear from ya soon! haha Love ya nay. Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hey Fam,

How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has been great. Conference was awesome as usual. I especially enjoyed the Sunday Morning Session, because of the talks by President Eyring and Sister Dalton. Every time I hear President Eyring speak it just impacts me. It's like as soon as he begins to speak, the Spirit's already a little stronger. It was awesome to hear his story about being a witness of Christ, even in that difficult situation when they told him he couldn't do so. What courage. It's a great example for me in the final part of my two years as a representative of Christ. Sister Dalton's talk was awesome too. Instructions I'll be able to apply more in the future I guess. I really enjoyed her talk from last conference as well. The leaders of the church are all just so great.

So this week we found some lists of less active members divided into areas of the ward. Every time we've planned this week we've included nearby less actives in the back up plans. We found a really special family named the Sanchez family. The grandparents, three of their son's, one with his wife and kids all live there together. One of the three sons has down syndrom. His name is Julian, and he's a great guy. The first day we visited them he came up and gave Elder Olson and I a hug, despite never having seen us before. The son that's married with kids has three boys, one of which also suffers from a disability. He was dropped on accident when he was a baby, and landed head first, and ended up with brain damage. The grandpa is also having a tough time with his health. He recently had to have a kidney removed, and went blind in one eye. They live in pretty humble circumstances, and make their living as shoemakers. The other two grandsons are preparing to be baptized in a few weeks. It'll be awesome to see the reactivation of the family and the baptism of the grandsons.

After the last session conference, a member named Diego came up to me to say hi. I was surprised to see him, because I had met him when I first got to the ward, but he had moved shortly afterward to a different stake and I hadn't seen him for a while. He explained that him and his family are back living with his mom now, and will be coming to our ward again. His friend came with him to conference, and he introduced us to him there. Yesterday we went to teach him the gospel, and he is pretty prepared. He had talked to missionaries in the past, and had actually planned on getting baptized, but the missionaries suddenly stopped coming. We're helping him to plan for a baptism in a few weeks. He'll possibly have some struggles with drugs or alcohol, but in the closing prayer at the end of the lesson yesterday, he asked for strength to be able to avoid vices and temptations. His prayer was sincere and heartfelt. We'll be focusing on anything and everything we can do to help him get over the challenges he's facing.

Office work is getting caught up, which is relieving. It's so boring after a while. I heard that in other missions the secretaries don't get to leave to preach the gospel though, so I guess I major lucked out. I would go insane if that were the case here.  Anyway, that's about all that's been going on this week.

Nay- That's not good about your wrist. I'll be praying for ya. I'm sure that avoiding texting and the computer wouldn't hurt. They did talk about that a couple times in conference you know. haha. Just kidding. Sweet deal on those track shoes. They're not the ones with metal spikes are they? haha. That's awesome that you found them. You're probably right about them being blessings right when you needed them and all. Let me know how the family visit goes this weekend. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sounds like that almost goal was sweet man! You must have kicked that thing pretty hard to almost score from so far away. Way to read the over thrown throw in by the way. Sweet. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- So what's the zombie program going to be like? Is it just like a singing program? That stinks about not having the song on your cd. It's kinda tough to practice your dance without the music I bet. Anyway, Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Sounds like the good old Utah weather is holding true to it's reputation. It's going to be crazy to get home in January. Especially if I'm still in Guadalajara at the end of my mission, because they say it stays pretty warm here during the winter months. It'll be quite a contrast to go from sunny GDL to snowy SLC. Haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- You're on armor staff? Sweet man. I never had that opportunity. When I was an SBO in ninth grade I got to help with the year book a little, but not much. I bet they're thankful to have your artistic skills there though. So what's smash burger? I've either never heard of it or totally forgot about it. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- That thought about proxy work compared to the Atonement is pretty awesome. I've definitely never thought about it that way before. I'll have to keep that in mind during my study time and stuff, try to gain a greater appreciation for what the Savior did for us. Thanks for sharing that with me. About the CEU thinig, I'll be going in the fall. haha. I think it'll be good that way, give me some time to get everything ready, remember how to do math and stuff. I also think it'd be a good opportunity to spend some one on one time with the fam before I go start the rest of my life. Besides, starting a week late at school the day I get home from my mission seems a little overwhelming. So you can let Mr. Olsen know haha. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar