Monday, September 30, 2013

More From the Field

Not too much to say about the work this week anyway. We have a good couple we just recently found and a guy in his early 20's, Tommy, that accepted a baptismal date for November 8, but I'll talk about that more next week. 
   We live in a 1 room apartment right across from the local high school. It's a pretty good place (especially because we have the ENORMOUSLY good fortune to have our own washer and dryer AND a dishwasher). We also have a 6-month-old Chevy Cruz, so you could pretty much say we're the bourgeoisie as far as missionaries go.   
    Let's see... one of our investigator's cars burned up this last week. That was pretty crazy. The owner, Juan, is this hilarious old mexican guy we've been teaching for about a month. He's been studying the Book of Mormon like no one I've ever seen, but he accepts all churches that talk about Christ, and doesn't believe there's one true church. 
     I don't think I told you about how insanely young our district is. There are two other elders that have been out as long as I have (a little under 4 months) and the other three are still being trained! 
   Anyway, one last thought as a followup from last week. Unfortunately I don't have my scriptures on me, but as I've been studying the process of conversion, I've come to realize that God has very little interest in insuring that we DO everything perfectly. Yes, we need to keep the commandments, and yes, we will be judged for our works, but the scriptures very clearly teach that unless you repent and allow the power of the Atonement to change your heart, mind, and soul, all the church-going, charity work, and scripture-reading in the world won't do you any good. We will be judged for our hearts as much as anything. Our purpose as missionaries is not to get people to do things--our purpose is to help people come unto Christ and become a new person. The goal is not to get people to stop sinning--it's to help them lose all interest in it whatsoever (see the stories of King Lamoni and his father).
    The work is true! Thanks for all the support and prayers!
Elder Gaughan

Monday, September 23, 2013

Um… mission things

Subjects lines were never my specialty.
Thing went good this week. Sorry, not much time again. My new companion is.... Elder Sanchez! He's from Arcadia Califonia, and already knows Spanish! He's fantastic--I've never been in a lesson with a missionary that speaks so sincerely and makes the Gospel so real, personal, and applicable. We definitely have different tastes and personalities, but I'm excited for the transfer. Not much to report besides that! The Spanish is coming along really well, but I still have to pay close attention to understand everything.
     The Lord really loves us, and watches out even for the small things. I wish I had to time to tell you all the miracles. I've been thinking about the heart and desires a lot recently, and came to realize at a deeper level this week the whole purpose of the Gospel and the Atonement. I'll share more next Monday.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Training Again

  Numbers-wise, we had a fantastic week in most areas. We taught between 35-40, found over 24 new investigators, and set 2 baptismal dates... and then no one came to church. Haha such is the life of a missionary. It's just made me realize we need to shift the focus of our lessons and invite with more power. And get this: I'm training again! I'm definitely sad to lose Elder Ericson. I wish I had time to tell you all about him--he's been an example to me and inspired me since day one when he stopped a 14 year old kid on the street and invited him to be baptized. I'm excited to train again though--I definitely know what I want to change and do better this time. I'm meeting him tomorrow morning at transfers, so I'll be sure to a get a picture with him and tell you all about him next week.
  Also, the meeting with Elder Andersen was great. He spoke about how the Atonement applies to missionary work, and emphasized the need to know not only the doctrines of the scriptures, but to know the stories, speakers, and references too. He spent about 10 minutes just quizzing the missionaries on where different sermons and stories are. We also got to hear from Tad R Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy, and he gave a great talk on the apostasy and the Restoration.
   Oh man, there's one guy I have to tell you about. We met him about 3 weeks ago right as we were about to go home for the night. He was drunk at the time, and told us that you don't need religion, you just need to be a good person. But he said he'd be fine to hear a message sometime, so we set an appointment--which he missed. We ran into him again this week, sat down together, and he told us his story. He was raised Catholic and was super into it--then his friend invited him to another church. He realized that there are people who believed differently than his parents, and it made him start to wonder where the truth really was. He told us he had looked at just about every different type of Christian churchout there, but always felt like they only had part of the truth. He told that the Bible had been changed and corrupted by the multiple translations, that he couldn't believe Jesus and God were the same person, and that all the churches are just caught in a cycle of interpreting the scriptures different ways. Then he paused and said, "have you ever heard of apostasy?" Elder Ericson and I tried not to laugh out of shock, told him we needed to talk again, and went back the next day and taught him the Restoration. He seemed interested, we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, and we'll see where it goes. Just made me realize there are people out there that are waiting for this message!
Elder Gaughan

Monday, September 9, 2013


This has been a great week! Wednesday night something changed, and now we're teaching more than twice the lessons and are finding almost double the number of new investigators. Again, not much time this week, but there's not too much to talk about anyway. Elder Ericson is great--he's from Colorado, just graduated high school, and is extremely focused and obedient. I couldn't ask for a better Elder to train. Also, I found out that we get to see Neil L Anderson! We're going this Wednesday, I'll tell you how it goes.
Here's a picture from the baptism! Miguel, the one on the far right, is the son of Hilda Venegas (middle left), the less-active member Elder Walker and I knocked into last transfer. Ivan, the little guy with the big smile, is one I baptized. The family is wonderful--Hilda is always bright and cheerful, and understood everything when we taught her. Miguel and Ivan are pretty quiet, but their great too. Arturo, the husband in the middle, loved the service and started coming to church!
Elder Gaughan

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sorry this is a few days late

None of the libraries were open on Labor Day, so we had to wait until we had a free hour later in the
week. Things are good! Just yesterday we were on our way to visit a less-active member when we ran into a part-member family we've been trying to contact for 3 weeks. Their son was outside riding his bike, and the dad, Alfonso Diaz (not a member), walked right up to us and said hello when he saw us, invited us in for a drink, and we set a return appointment for next Tuesday. Sorry, don't have much time. Things are good. I had my first baptism!! I'll explain more next week and send a picture. I love you!
Elder Gaughan