Monday, August 26, 2013

Another week...

Well, it's been a good week. Elder Ericson and I set our first baptismal date! His name is Bene, he's around 30 years old, and he's from Guatemala. He was recently separated from his wife and children, and his wife has already married someone else (I know that doesn't quite make sense, but that's what he said. Maybe he and she were never married...). We've only had one lesson with him, so I don't know too much else. I swear, half of the guys living in his apartment are prepared. They're also all from Guatemala. One of them, Luis, lived in Utah before Texas. He's been to church several times, read the Book of Mormon, and knows it's the word of God. Otto is very spiritual and regularly reads the Bible. He responded very positively to the Joseph Smith story and said he would read the Book of Mormon. We're really excited to see what happens with them! 
    Also, we're going to have Elder Neil L Anderson visit us next month! There's an area restriction on who get's to go, so I'll find out today if I can go. 
   About the "Are you willing to listen to a brief presentation" phrase, it honest to goodness works. We were eating with members two nights ago and when we invited them to use the phrase sometime this week, the sister said she used it with a friend on Facebook, she said yes, had a lesson, and said she would be baptized if she received an answer. So give it a chance whenever you see an opportunity! 
Last thing. I had a really good experience this week that strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith. We were talking to someone who had listened to the missionaries before, and, to say the least, he didn't agree with our message. He asked us where the Bible mentions Joseph Smith (in a rather aggressive tone), and when we responded to that, he said that Joseph Smith did nothing. When I heard that, something welled up inside me that told me it was time to testify. I told him he was wrong--that Joseph Smith reestablished the church of Jesus Christ, that he built temples, received revelation, and was a true prophet of God.
     I love this gospel and have always been grateful for Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and everything else he brought forth, but I have never felt the veracity of his calling so strongly as I did that night. God loves us, and he speaks today. He has called men in our days to continue the work of Jesus Christ in the earth. I testify that that is true.
Thanks for all the love and prayers, I can feel it every day!
Elder Gaughan

Monday, August 19, 2013


Things are going pretty well. It's definitely harder being in charge of an area than being the trainee that follows around an experienced missionary, but I'm learning a lot. We found some good investigators this week that we're excited to follow up on, but at the moment we don't have anyone ready for baptism. We're particularly excited about the Sabedro familia. They took lessons from the missionaries about 2 years ago, and when the missionaries changed they stopped coming by. They were really pretty happy to see us, and the mom still remembers about Joseph Smith (and we're hoping some other stuff).
  I had no idea what it meant to have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people think it's just another religion and they tell that it all leads to "one God." Well, yes, we are all trying to worship God, but what a blessing to know that He speaks in our day, and that He has blessed us with temples, a prophet, 12 apostles, the Book of Mormon, and so much more! That's incredible to me. I'm inspired by those who are devoted their religion, but it always makes me sad when they turn down the opportunity to learn that we have access to more of God's word.
  President Durrant gave a great invitation at Stake Conference yesterday. It's a phrase you can use anywhere--the grocery store, a restaurant, waiting in line--"Would you be willing to listen to a brief presentation about..." and you fill in the blank: "our religious beliefs," "our church," etc. They important thing is the words "willing" and "brief". Apparently, that seems to get the most positive responses. When they say yes, you write down their name, address, and phone number, and give it to the missionaries. If they say no, just keep having a conversation.
  So here's the challenge: use that phrase 5 times this week, and email me next Monday with the results. I promise that if you're willing to do it, someone will say yes. Have faith! The Lord will help you find the words--trust me.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, August 12, 2013

First Pictures!

Let me tell you, it's been a crazy week. It almost felt like my first week out in the field all over again, but without the comfort of an experienced companion. I've sure learned a lot though, it has been honest to goodness amazing to see how the Lord has supported and provided for us a companionship and me personally. Yesterday, for example, nothing seemed to be working. The members we had lined up to come out with us didn't answer the phone, we couldn't get a hold of our dinner appointment, and our GPS (which I desperately cling to to know how to get to our appointments) stopped working. Right as we were about to leave our apartment, a young man from the ward showed up to come out with us, 5 minutes later, the GPS was working, and last but not least, as we were tracting we knocked into a member family that was literally having a conversation about what to do with their leftovers from dinner. And that's just one example. I'm amazed at the Lord, literally in just days, increased my ability to understand Spanish, to plan, and to speak and teach and feel comfortable and natural while I do it.
     Elder Ericson is my new companion, and he's great. The very first day he was taking the initiative in contacting and teaching, and he wants to be the best missionary he can. We speak a lot more Spanish on our own than Elder Walker and I did which I love, and he's just generally doing a great job. We connected immediately when we found out that we had the same teacher in the MTC and that his district replaced mine when we left. 
    We definitely have a lot to learn, but things are really good. We're teaching the Barraza family right now, and we have a lot of hope for them. The mom and kids are already members and just started coming back to church, and the mom's boyfriend who lives with them, Wally, just started taking the lessons. He loves the church, said he's excited to read the Book of Mormon, and even asked us what he had to do to get baptized. Unfortunately they didn't come to church this week, so we're going to go by hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday and see what happened. 
Elder Gaughan 

1. Elder Ericson (my trainee!!)
2. Here's Elder Walker with his "descendants"-- Elder Ericson (my trainee), me, Elder Walker, Elder Evans (his new trainee), and another elder he trained with HIS trainee.

3. Familia Garcia--recent converts Elder Walker and I worked with a lot. Really, really good couple. Unfortunately their kids aren't members, but I think Elder Walker is still working on a few of them. 

4. Elder Walker, Hilda Venegas, her mom, and me. She's the woman we found that was baptized as a kid and has been inactive ever since. Elder Walker and Evans should are track to baptize her son and grandson next month!

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Work is REALLY Expanding

Well, it's been a very interesting week. I'm serving in the Oak Cliff 1st Ward, which has about 100-150 active members. We have 3 compananionships in the ward now! I got transfered to Oak Cliff South and um... I'm training. I have no idea how that happened or why, but I know it's the Lord's will! I'm nervous since we're more or less reopening our area as well, but I know we can do it with a positive attitude, hard work, and reliance on and faith in the Lord. We have 22 new missionaries coming in tomorrow, and that's when I'll find out who I'll train. Haha it'll be a nice review of everything I just learned this transfer.
    Investigators are doing pretty well. It's unfortunate though, because we got 14 people to church last month (4 of which showed up by themselves, miraculously), but only 1 came twice. We're still feeling good about Hilda Venegas and her family though, and there are some other good ones as well.
    Two crazy stories for the week: on Monday, about 95% of my white shirts somehow got covered in green spots in the dryer. I have no idea what happened, but there you go. Elder Walker and I just laughed about it, especially since it was the first week I hadn't done something dumb doing laundry. So for the next 3 days we tried three or four different cleaning methods, but unfortunately, none of them worked. So I might be requesting a new batch of shirts next week if we don't get that figured out. Also, we knocked into Joseph Smith yesterday. haha he said he gets a hard time about his name all the time.
Elder Gaughan