Friday, December 30, 2011

17 More Days Until Our Missionary Comes Home!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? This week has been great. Christmas was awesome. Church was kind of strange, because they decided to do the three hour service instead of just one hour like the First Presidency said, but there were no classes prepared... Anyway. After church we went out looking for new investigators. We didn't have a ton of success, but sometimes it takes alot of faith through fruitless efforts before the blessings come. In the evening we went to the Jesperson's and had a super good dinner. We had chicken, salmon, mashed potatoes, broccoli with coliflower and peppers, a super good salad, wild rice, and a fruit salad. Then for desert we had ice cream wrapped in crepes with strawberies on top. Definitely the best meal of my mission so far. Sister Jesperson put alot of effort into it. Then we did the chimes christmas song thing like we always do at Bams. That was pretty fun. Then we read Luke 2. Then we watched a video about the pioneers that was really good. Then the Jespersons gave us each a gift. We all got our own box of cereal. Some Elders got cinabon cereal or captain crunch, but Sister Jesperson got healthy cereal just for me, because she knows that's what I prefer. It was a pretty awesome evening. We were seven missionaries with President and Sister Jesperson, three of their kids, and a possible future son in law. It was a good Christmas.

This week has gone well with preaching and everything. We went with one of the ward missionaries to visit David the chef. Last time we taught him, Elder Zobell left him Helaman 5 to read. When we visited him he had a few questions about the chapter. As we talked we got on to the theme of building a strong foundation upon a testimony of the Savior. He paused for a moment and said "You know, I'm glad we talked about foundations today, I've been thinking about that alot lately." Then he sort of kept talking about other things, then all of a sudden he said "I've been thinking about what I've read in the Book of Mormon, and what I've felt when I've prayed, and all that stuff, and I'm ready to be baptized." We were super happy. We talked about his baptism, and he decided he wants to be baptized the 7th of January. Right now he's out of town for new years, but it was awesome to see his resolve and firm decision to follow the Savior. The most awesome part of it all, is that we hadn't even been able to teach him for weeks because he was working so much to be able to take the Holiday Season off of work. All that time he was just reading and praying, and the Spirit just touched his heart. Elder Bednar always talks about how we as missionaries need to make sure we don't get in the way of people's conversion. I don't think we necessarily have to stop visiting a person, we just need to make sure that the true conversion is taking place as the investigators begin to truly comune with the Lord.

Rigoberto was pretty sad about having to wait for his special permission to be baptized. We talked to him a little more about what things had happened in his past, and we realized the situation wasn't quite what it seemed the first time we talked about it. I called President Jesperson and explained to him what happened in Rigo's past, and it's possible that he'll be able to be baptized after all. President's going to let us know today what the plan is.

Nay- Sounds like you got some pretty sweet gifts for Christmas. That's cool that you got to go to lunch with Gram. I got to go eat there at her work just before coming out on the mish. It's cool to have one on one time like that. Thanks for the pistachios. I love pistachios, and nobody has them here. haha. Oh, and before I forget, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW!!! I can't believe you're nineteen. So old. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Thanks for that Rice Pad shash! I heard you made that yourself! That's some serious talent. It's a way sweet gift. I'll be using it for a long time. So have you made little mini cupcakes yet for your american girl doll? That sounds pretty awesome haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That stinks that your bike got scratched up right after you got it! And right where you had that super sweet sticker too. Darn. Oh well. That's life sometimes. Thanks for that chapstick Denny o! How'd you know that my lips hurt real bad! Haha. Just kiddin. But really that's way usefull out here in the mish. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- That's too bad about Sister Smith. It's a good thing they've got strong testimonies of the Plan of Salvation, and John's got a great ward there to take care of him while he goes through the trial. I can't believe Braden's married. That's so crazy. That's cool that they'll be in our stake. I'm pretty stoked about my Christmas present. I'm not letting it be a distraction, but it's going to be way sweet. It'll be my first time seeing a comedian live. Awesome. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Trust me Dig, that slavery cleaning the house stuff is worth it. There's some missionaries that get out here that don't even know how to sweep. haha. It's good preparation. It's a good time to ponder also. Thanks for that book you sent me for Christmas Dig. The most important part of the message we share is based on what it says in that little book. It'll help me teach people about Christ. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- Everyone's engaged or married I guess. That makes me feel kind of weird. Alex got engaged way fast. Crazy. Anyway. Thanks for the Christmas Dear Elder. It was awesome to hear about all the Christmas stuff. That's way sweet about Christian's gift to Kate also. He's a clever guy. Thanks for that Journal. It's a way nice one. I think I'm going to start it with my homecoming. I'm working overtime to get my mission journal more filled in these next few weeks. I'm attaching pictures of our office gift exchange and me with my gifts on Christmas morning. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can't wait to talk to him in 2 MORE DAYS!!!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has gone well. At the start of last week we had a ton of challenges and alot of things were just coming out wrong with appointments and stuff. Sunday arrived. We went by some of our investigator's houses, but no results. We waited at the chapel for others that had said they were going to arrive on their own. Nothing. We were pretty bummed out. When we went into the Principles of the Gospel class, however, we were surprised to see a couple new faces. There were two visitors brought by friends who are members of the Church. Raul and Rigoberto. Raul recently suffered a serious accident. I don't really know the details of what happened to him, but he's in bad shape. He has to use a walker now, and he's been going to therapy to get treatment for his leg and stuff. He loved the church services, and we'll be visiting him on Saturday. Rigoberto was actually there for the second time. We set an appointment, and visited him on Tuesday. Before we even said the opening prayer at the lesson, he told us that he had considered things, and that he wants to get baptized. He still hasn't learned much about the church, but he said that he had been praying alot, and that the Lord had answered his prayers, and part of that was introducing him to the church. His baptism is programmed for the 30 of December (Shenay's Birthday!) He told us a little bit about what he's been through. He use to be a bandit, and lived a life of crime. He's been shot over 15 times, and still has like 3 bullets in him. Two in his head and one in his torso. He's gone through alot, but he's very repented. His only desire is to follow his Savior.

So I found out that Elder Zobell will be my replacement here as the new Executive Secretary. That's kind of a strange situation. A secretary usually never gets transferred to be a different kind of secretary. Another missionary will be taking his place.

Two nice families in our ward volunteered to feed us on the 24th and 25th, so that's good. It'll be neat to see more Christmas traditions in the different families.

Bam- That's so awesome that you got to see President Uchtdorf! What a neat experience. And in such a casual setting also. Cool. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- That's way cool that your friend got you one of those blue watches also. Fun. Sounds like that David Archuleta concert was pretty crazy. I'm not surprised that Nay and Marquie started crying. haha. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Sweet job intermural champion! Awesome. That's way funny about what you said to your teacher during the Christmas assembly. haha. I laughed way hard when I read about it. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- Sweet job getting third place man! After having to miss part of the tourny and being a new wrestler that's way good. Hopefully your knee gets all better soon. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- That's way funny about Sister Gallaher. That's good she found work. Thanks for sending me the note from Cristobal. He's a great guy. I'll be writing him alot of dear elders before he gets home. I can't believe Denny fell asleep at the Christmas Party. haha. That's so funny. Good old Denny. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Those dates for the homecoming talks sound fine to me. It'll be awesome to see the old ward again first. Sounds like Grandma Ellis is doing well. I look forward to being able to visit her. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That would be so funny if Sam introduced you to David Archuleta. haha. Sweet job on your grades. Hopefully Biology turns out well. haha. By the way, I'm fine with the driving you back to school thing. I guess we'll decide that kind of stuff later though. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well.

This week has gone well. It was our Christmas activity yesterday for the mission. We went to a buffet, then to the temple, then had a gift exchange and did a piñata. It was pretty awesome to get to go to the temple again finally. The last time I went was during the last Christmas activity. The Jardines Reforma ward was there at the same time as us. That was pretty awesome. I got to talk to quite a few people from my first area. It was nice to see them all again. I got to hit the piñata blindfolded too. I didn't break it open, but I scalped Santa. That was pretty cool.

David is doing well. He's read a ton in the Book of Mormon. He's still not super sure about his baptism, but he's growing in testimony, so it shouldn't be long until he makes up his mind. He invited us to come over today for some home made pizza. Practicing up his chef skills. It should be pretty good.

This week we were looking through the area book and we found a baptismal record for a little girl named Karla that was recently baptized. We went to her house to see if we could meet her and her family. Her Grandpa Pedro and her Aunt and Uncle are all members of the church as well. They all live in the same house with a bunch of her siblings and cousins. Anyway, we started visiting their family to help them reactivate. They're kind of animal lovers. They have a gigantic white rabbit at their house and they buy pounds of some special rabbit lettuce for it to eat. They have a super old dog, and like 50 pidgeons on their back porch 24/7. Pedro buys bags of bird feed and feeds them a few times a day. He's a super awesome man. Very sincere. He's full of good. He loves serving and taking care of others. His day is 100% focused in helping his family. His grandchildren are also very well fed. That's my favorite place to visit now, because I love being around all those little kids. They're super hyper and they love when we come to visit. It reminds me a little of home. The other day Lupita (Karla's little sister) had her birthday, so we took her a little stocking of candy. Then on Tuesday we went there and just before we got to their apartment we put on Santa hats that Bam sent me and passed out candy canes to all the little kids. They thought it was awesome. They came to church last Sunday and plan to come this week as well. It's kind of a struggle though, because Pedro is the only adult that brings them to church, and it can't be easy to get all those kids ready in the mornings and get them to church. They're doing great though.

While I was at the Temple yesterday I was thinking alot about the Scriptures and the basic Doctrines of the Gospel. I thought of how many times since primary I had been hearing the same stories and learning the same principles over and over and over again. There's just so much to learn from the plain and simple things in the Lord's Gospel Plan. None of it is really complicated, it's all plain and simple. But when we really seek after it, when we search the scriptures, live what we learn, all the little things like that, each time it just gets better and better. It's crazy. I've been teaching the same principles to every person I've met my entire mission, things I've been surrounded by my whole life, and at the same time, I learned a ton about those same principles yesterday in the Temple. Some times it's incomprehensible how much the Gospel is worth. There are so many great books and resources in all the world, but nothing even comes close to the great worth of the simple words in the Scriptures. I can't imagine what things will be understood after this life.

Nay- Awesome job on your musical classes! Haha. That's good that you're having success. It'll be nice to start Christmas break I'm sure. Catching up on sleep especially. Are your classes for next semester all the same or are there lots of changes? I still know basically zero about college life. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I got the Christmas package. My tree's all set up with the presents under it and everything. The Khangs sent me a package too, and it's huge! I'm going to send you a separate e mail with a little note for them if you could e mail it to them or drop it off to them please? That's cool about the little girl that had a sweater like yours. Did you ask her where it was from? Ok, so as far as the Christmas call goes. Here in the offices we have web cams and a screen we could hook up to the computer, so that we could do a big screen skype with the families. I don't really know how skype works, but Elder Tibbitts knows how to get everything set up, so I'd like to do it on skype. Just let me know if we have a camera and microphone and everything back home to be able to do it. About the idea of driving nay back to Utah State, I think that'd be great. It'd be awesome to be able to chat for a while on the way up. I'm attaching pictures of the temple trip, Elder Zobell and me at Pedro's house with his grandkids, Elder Zobell and me with our Christmas trees, and one of me wearing Santa's hat that I chopped off of the piñata. Anyway, I'll have the specific info for the Christmas call next week. Just let me know about the skype thing! Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like you had a busy week Sloosh! That's awesome though. You're so talented. Good luck on your performances for the rest of the week. I'm sure you'll do great as usual. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dig- Interesting mutual activity with the missionaries. We would be in huge trouble if we spent an evening playing dodgeball with the young men instead of being out preaching and stuff. I would feel like a major slacker too. So you're tearing it up in the wrestling tourny eh? Awesome job on those pins! Sounds like you're starting a pretty successful season. Keep up the hard work Dig. Love ya! Have a great week!

Den- That elevator story was crazy! haha. I can't believe you were in there for two hours. That's funny what caleb said about the corners and stuff. Sweet adventure story. That's too bad you got sick and couldn't wrestle that day. Oh well that's life. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Ok, about the money. The problem with the accident was that the insurance company had nothing registered to say that the van was covered. So I payed the money to the people who's car I hit, and we signed a document with the other insurance company saying that I'd get the money back as soon as our insurance got things figured out and fixed the other guy's car. So the first step was fixing our insurance stuff. So we've already got everything in order and have it proved that the van was insured at the time, and the church's insurance is already fixing everything for the other guy. Now I just had to fill out some papers for the other insurance company that they needed in order to make the transaction and write out the check. So that's filled out, scanned, and sent in to the church representative so that he can get it all worked out, and the check should be here soon. The downside is that the worth of the dollar has gone up a little since then, so the exchange rate isn't in our favor, haha. But it won't make that much of a difference. Thanks for letting me know about the Christmas money from Gram and Grandma Ellis. I'll write them a seperate e mail as well. Bam's package got here as well, so I'll write her one too. My flight itinerary has been here for a while now. I'll attach it to the other e mail I'm sending in a second. Anyway, thanks for everything dad! Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar
Elder Zobell & Elder Aguilar at Pedro's House

Elder Zobell & Elder Aguilar with their tiny Christmas trees

Elder Aguilar &  Elder Zobell at the Guadalajara Temple

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hey Fam! How is everyone? I'm doing well. This week has gone well. It's seemed kind of long, but it's been a good week.

Joselin's baptism went well. It was a pretty cool experience to see their family a little more complete in the gospel. The next day the four of them were able to be confirmed together in Sacrament Meeting. Hortencia, Andrea, and Joselin were confirmed by President Navarro (the old stake President,) and I got to confirm Hugo. It was a pretty awesome experience. President Navarro and his family helped alot during the conversion of their family, so it was cool that he was able to do those confirmations. He mentioned in Hortencia and Andrea's confirmations that the dad, Hugo Sr., would soon join the church, thanks to Andrea's example. So that was awesome to hear. He's been warming up to us a little more. Last week he brought menudo home from his work for Elder Zobell and I. I loved it, Elder Zobell not so much. Menudo is the cow stomach of coarse. I guess most people even in Mexico don't even like it, but it's considered quite a delicacy. It's actually over 50 pesos a plate where Hugo works, that's pretty expensive for Mexico.

So Elder Olson is home now. He's already talked to our converts on Facebook. He actually got in contact with them before we even visited them on Monday. The Salas Ríos family was pretty bummed out to see him leave. On Monday night the new American missionaries arrived, and one of them is named Elder Olsen, so I took him to visit the Salas Ríoses, they thought it was pretty cool.

The new companionship is great. Elder Zobell is an awesome missionary. He's really got his head on straight and understands the work well. I'm learning alot from his example. We've been seeing some pretty awesome things lately in the area, and I think it has alot to do with his arrival. He brings alot of spiritual power into the lessons.

David is looking good. He's reading daily alot in the Book of Mormon. We haven't seen him much this week because he's had finals at chef school, but next week he'll be free. He's praying right now to decide if he should be baptized on the 17th. His testimony is growing and he's looking pretty awesome.

Elder Walker (one of my companions from Uruapan) is training this change. It's the first time one of my trainees have trained. So I now have a "grandson" in the mission as they say. I must be getting old. haha.

Anyway, sorry the e mail is kind of short this week. I actually have to run do some secretary stuff downtown right now so we're in a little bit of a hurry. Next week's e mail will be longer though!

Dig- That's crazy about the scoliosis thing. I bet you're right about not really having it. Thanks for the update on Persie. It's nice to hear how she's doing. You'll have to let me know how that in school wrestling tournament goes. Love ya! Have a great week!

Shash- Mom sent me a picture of one of your dance concerts and you look great! I can't believe how big you are already shash. It's crazy. Sounds like the dancing at Golden Living went well. You'll have to let me know how the choir performance goes. That's awesome you have your own Christmas tree in your room! Lucky. Love ya! Have a great week!

Dad- Oh man I'm missing Grandpa's chile. There's some good spicy stuff here, but nothing like good old green chile. I'll have to have a chile eating contest with Denny when I get home. That's funny about Josh's car. That guy's a worker. He's going to accomplish some great things. Well, I hope I don't get transferred to Taylorsville. haha. That's funny about those dreams though. Thanks for everything Dad. Love ya! Have a great week!

Mom- I'm not sure about the details on the Christmas call yet. I should know next week for sure. That's cool that you've been in contact with Elder Zobell's family. He's told me a little about them and they sound like great people. Thanks for those pictures of the fam. I still can't quite believe how tall Davin and Denyon are. That Shash is turning into a Young Woman already. It's so crazy! A lot can happen in two years I guess. Anyway. I attached a picture of Elders Olson, Zobell, and I at a buffet to celebrate Elder Olson's going away, a picture of us wearing wigs at the church when the ward missionaries made us lunch there, and the picture from Joselin's baptism. Thanks for everything Mom. Love ya! Have a great week!

Nay- That's crazy about your surgery! Actually, I had that same problem during wrestling. The two bones in my forearmes were separating at the end where my wrist is. I'm sure it wasn't as serious as your's though (obviously,) because I only had to do stretches and it got better. It kinda stinks that you have to get surgery but it'll be way good once your wrist is better. Sounds like that sledding trip was pretty sweet. Shower curtains huh. Never thought of that before. Oh by the way, I can't believe you don't remember the Rudolph and Sam song! You would sing it to the tune of the icecream truck! I remember that like it was yesterday. Anyway. Love ya! Have a great week!

Bam- Thanks for the update on the adoption progress. Hopefully everything turns out well soon with all that. I had no idea about the picture in the Ensign! That's definitely Jud, Denny, and Shash. I haven't seen my Christmas Package yet, but I'm sure it'll be her any day now. Love ya! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Thursday, December 1, 2011

He is such a wise 21-year old. We are so proud of him!

Hey Fam! How is everyone? This week has been great. We've all been preparing for the visit of President Tenorio who came for a mission tour. Tomorrow he'll be doing a zone conference with our zone at our chapel, and after he's coming to check out the office and do some interviews. He's going to interview the assistants and one other missionary. I've heard from the other zones he's already visited that the conferences have been pretty awesome, so I'm excited.

So Sunday after church was the baptismal service for Hortencia, Hugo, and Andrea. It was awesome. There were tons of people at the baptismal service. The talks were really good, and the three of them were just happy and excited. It was awesome to see their faces coming out of the font. I got to baptize Hugo and Andrea, and Elder Olson baptized Hortencia. The baptism of Joselin (the older daughter) is programmed for this Saturday, and will be Elder Olson's last baptism. He goes home on Monday. His last week is turning out to be a pretty great one.

The whole challenge with Axel's birthday being on Sunday didn't affect the baptism at all. We went by their house Saturday night to help Hortencia prepare all the food for the next day, and everyone gave an extra effort to make sure the birthday party was ready so they could come to church and not feel rushed at their baptism. The only thing missing was a cake, so on Saturday night we called up the Sister that had made me a cake for my birthday and asked if we could buy an urgent cake from her. She had it all ready on time. We took the cake over to the party in the afternoon and everybody loved it. We had the opportunity to talk with the dad (also named Hugo) for a little while there at the birthday party. He's still super nice and way fun to be around, but he was also drinking. He was excited to see us though which is a good sign. Hortencia said she's been sneaking gospel talk into their daily conversations every time she gets a chance to see if she can get him to come to church or something. It's been so fun getting to know that family. They're great.

Raymundo's kids have been hard to get a hold of. It's kind of a tough situation with them, because Raymundo is separated from his wife right now, and she's of a different faith. I don't think she normally has anything against the church, I think she's just nervous that if their kids get involved a lot with the church they might feel closer to their dad and distanced from their mom. That's totally understandable, but it kind of stinks because those kids are pretty awesome. The oldest is about eighteen, and the other two are teenagers.

About a week ago we got a call from Elder Cedillo, who was staying here at the offices until he was released for medical reasons. He passed us a referral for us to visit his friend's boyfriend (the girlfriend is also a member of the church.) His name is David. He's from a pretty wealthy family. He's twenty three years old, and he's studying to be a chef. He's pretty good. He's got a job at a nice restaurant right now, but he's been thinking about switching to a different place. Anyway, he came to church on Sunday. He's read about half way through 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, and he's looking awesome. He really understands his relationship with Heavenly Father, and it's awesome when he prays, because he's really just talking with his Father. He's 100% determined to receive his own personal witness and testimony of the truth. His mom use to have a pretty good job, I think that's where the money comes from, but she recently suffered from an accident and is no longer able to work. She's very friendly. It's been cool to see how mature David is while he goes through the trials in his family and stays so positive. He's going to do great things with his life.

This week I listened to a talk called "The Key to Learning," given by John H. Vandenberg in 1972. It talks a lot about the importance of reading. There's a part in that talk that I really liked that helped me understand agency, obedience, things like that. He says (I'm not quoting, just paraphrasing) that somewhere in the future there's a man (or woman.) That person is you at your fullest potential. He's watching you, and hoping that the decisions you make will allow the things he's accomplished to become reality. If we make poor decisions, it thwarts everything he's done, and all those accomplishments cease to exist. When we make decisions of what to do with our time, we should think "Is what I'm doing right now giving the future me the tools and opportunities he needs? Or are the things I'm choosing robbing him of what he is, and keeping the future me from being what he can be?" I thought that was pretty awesome. When we have a choice between reading the scriptures or watching TV, it's good to think about how it affects the future us. Which would provide him with more wisdom to be able to make good choices? When we're interacting with others, and we could either make another sarcastic, careless comment, or maybe instead give a compliment or express gratitude, it's another choice that can make a big difference. Which choice will provide the future me with more integrity, and a greater capability to befriend and love others? How could it influence the "future me" of the person we're about to either compliment or criticize? Anyway, I don't know if that makes sense. I just thought that was a good way of looking at things.

That's pretty much all that's been going on this week.

Dig- Sounds like that indoor soccer scrimmage was pretty crazy. I had a blast at indoor soccer. It's a great sport. Love ya, have a great week!

Dad- Thanks for the update on the U. That's good that they had a sweet season. That cabin family trip planning sounds like a great idea. You know I would actually love to set up some Christmas lights right now. Even in that kind of weather. My area is a pretty wealthy ward so there's some houses here that have some sweet lights and decorations and stuff. My companion (Elder Zobell) frequently makes comments about Chevy Chase when we see houses that are really decked out. haha. Love ya, have a great week!

Den- That's too bad about the U kicker huh. We need King Louis again! He was the best! Hope you feel better! Love ya, have a great week!

Shash- Sounds like that activity with the thanksgiving rolls was pretty awesome! You're reading the BFG huh? That's a great book. You'll have to let me know if you like it. Love ya, have a great week!

Mom- That's so awesome about the Hardings! That's going to be so cool! What a great month for their family. Awesome. That talk "How Lucky Can You Be!" was given the 13 of October 1964. I found it on this podcast called "Classic Speeches" that we have here on the office computers. It's a free podcast I guess. I don't really know how that works but you can probably download it for free on iTunes. It's a selection of talks by General Authorities from 1960 to 1974. They're pretty awesome talks. With the picture sending dilemma, I'm pretty sure we should have a program on the computer that can shrink the size of the picture so you can send alot of them. I usually just use Microsoft Picture Manager. By the way, I attached the picture of the baptism for the Salas Ríos family, and a picture with Hugo jr. and us, and Hugo sr. and us. Anyway, thanks for everything mom. Love ya, have a great week!

Love you all!
Elder Aguilar

Baptisms of the Salas Rios Family :)

Elder Olsen, Elder Zobell, Hugo Jr., & Elder Aguilar

Elders Olsen, Zobell, and Aguilar with Hugo Sr.