Monday, July 29, 2013

Missionary 101: Writing Letters Home

I'm so sorry my letter was so short last week. I think I've finally learned how to prioritize my letter writing: Mission President, big one to you, family and friends. It's just hard to fit it all into one hour.
This was a great week. We knocked a LOT of doors (it's Elder Walker's go-to whenever we aren't teaching or have other plans), and we found some people I'm really excited about. One is Lucy de la Rosa. We knocked her door on Saturday. She let us in, and we taught her, her son, and her grandaughter the first lesson, and when we asked her what she thought about the Joseph Smith story, she look at us with tears in her eyes and said, "it's true. I know it's true." She was going to her church every week before and reading the Bible on a regular basis, so I think she could be a VERY strong convert if things work out. She didn't come to church yesterday, but we're visiting her this week to find out why.
Also, the last two weeks we've had nonmembers just show up to church, which was a huge blessing from the Lord because most of our investigators haven't been coming. One of the them is really cool story: the familia Vasquez. The husband has been inactive for years, and the wife and kids aren't members. We stopped visiting them pretty soon after I got here because we could only every occasionally find Bro. Vasquez at home. Then, out of nowhere, they came to church yesterday! And gets better: we visited them yesterday evening, and they told us that they're schedules changed and they're now available every afternoon. I was just blown away by how every worked out. It really taught me that we should never give up on anyone, and any person or situation can change. The field is ripe, whether we see it or not, and it's not ours to judge what people will or won't do.
  The food is delicious. DELICIOUS. I've gained 5-10 pounds since I got here. And the Texas heat really isn't as terrible as every says, or at least it hasn't been so far. 
Also, we taught one lesson to a family this week that believes in a different living day prophet, some guy in Peru I think. So that was interesting. And then we talked to a guy who had converted the back of his house into a church. That was an interesting street.

I hope you're all doing well, 
Elder Gaughan

Monday, July 22, 2013

Settling In...

I am so sorry. I have 40 seconds, I was writing Nick and President and doing some other necessities. Investigators are good. Love you all very much!
Elder Gaughan

Ok, Elder Walker was nice and gave me some of his leftover time. But I'll still have to be short, I'm sorry. Our most exciting investigator is Hilda Vanegas. She's consistently reading the Book of Mormon, comes to church whenever possible, and just gets it. We're hoping she can get her family interested too. No pictures, I'm sorry! I'm buying a camera cord today so I can send some next monday. 

Missionary thought for the week: "Follow thou me, and I will make you fishers of men." Read that scripture, and think about the context. Part of being a disciple of Christ is being bold, both in obedience and inviting others to follow Him. Obviously there's a time and place for everything, but it's a good principle.


Elder Gaughan

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

So here's what's been going on: we have five progressing investigators right now, and I'm really excited about some of them. One is named Moises--the first time we sat down and talked with him, he told us he'd absolutely join a church with a living prophet, and he knew he'd know it was true by the feelings God put in his heart about it. and he lives in our apartment complex, so it's really easy to visit. We've had trouble getting a lesson because he wants his whole family to hear, and they're usually not home at the same time. We'll figure it out though.
    The language is going pretty well. It depends on how fast people talk, but I can usually follow the conversation and can always express myself. I definitely need to keep learning though. I was talking to a recent convert, David Garcia, about two weeks, and we had a little miscommunication. I tried to ask him if he had read about Lehi's dream, but I don't know what he heard, because his reponse was "Si, si... orange juice." Haha it's going pretty well though.
   I'm learning a lot about really being centered on Christ. One of the things that I've loved about being a missionary is talking with so many people who have a strong love for and belief in the Savior. Just before I sat down to email I was talking to a woman for 10 or 15 minutes about how she came to believe in Christ and what that means to her. A less active woman asked me and my companion this week, "Do you really know Jesus? Personally?" I've been thinking about that ever since. There's a scripture in 2 Nephi that talks about rejoicing in Christ, prophesying of Christ, speaking about Christ, etc., and I think we could all doing that--putting him at the center of hearts and minds.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, July 8, 2013

Questions and Answers

I'm on a timed computer at a library this time, and depending on how things go, I might not be able to write more than a few lines. It's complicated. Things are great here though, and the work is going pretty well. We set two baptismal dates this week, which was really exciting.
1. What area/city are you serving in?
 Oh... haha yeah I guess that's important. Oak Cliff West is my area. I think it's about 15-20 minutes outside of downtown Dallas, I don't know in what direction.
2. How are you coming with the language?
 It's going pretty good, I understand about 50-70% of what the native speakers say, and I can usually find the words to express myself. Funny story next week if I remember.
3. What's your favorite/coolest thing about your first week in the field?
 uhhh can't think of anything. no time! sorry! maybe just hearing peoples stories and helping them. I think that's it. People have very different lives here.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, July 1, 2013

Transition to Dallas

I'm not gong to lie, it was really weird landing in Dallas last Monday and realizing I'll be here for two years. We had a day and a half of training, then went out into the field. My trainer is Elder Walker. He's from Lehi Utah (just like my MTC companion) and he's on his second to last transfer. He's really easy going and flexible, so we get along well. The work is going fairly well--I think more than anything we just need to exercise more faith and be more goal oriented. We found a guy yesterday that seems golden--he understood why the message is important, said he wanted to know if it was true and would know by what he felt as he read and prayed. We have a few other great investigators and less-actives we're working with, so I'm excited to see what happens this week.
Oh and guess what? We got into the first house I knocked! Unfortunately we've had trouble getting a return appointment with him, but we'll try again this week.
   It feels so different than I ever expected being in the field, but I'm making the adjustment. I had a moment yesterday when it hit me that every single one of the people we talked to are precious children of God, and that that's why He sends us out to serve. You cannot successfully and diligently minister without a firm testimony of the divine identity and love for those whom you serve.
   The Savior lives, and he is helping us every day in ways we don't even understand.

Elder Gaughan