Monday, November 25, 2013

An Exciting Week!

Well it's been an exciting week! On Tuesday our zone had breakfast at the mission home and went to a session at the Dallas temple. It was definitely nice being able to go back! just another 6 months until I can go again. On Saturday and Sunday our stake, East Dallas, had L. Tom Perry preside over Stake Conference to call a new stake president. The Saturday night session was great--all about hastening the work of salvation (aka missionary work). You may not have heard about it, but there was a church-wide broadcast by that name back in May that talked about how members and missionaries can better work together. The speakers on saturday talked about the same thing and had some great insights. One of the best things I heard was that when the Lord asks us to share the gospel, He isn't asking us to squeeze one more thing into our busy schedules--rather to change the way we do the things we already do. I was also struck by Elder Perry's closing remark. After an hour long talk, he closed with the promise that those who participate in the work of salvation will feel unworthy of the blessings they'll receive, especially in pure joy and happiness.
     My testimony has grown a lot recently about the power of prayer. It seems like day after day I'm seeing real, definitive answers in a way I haven't before. yesterday morning is a great example: we were desparately looking for a ride for one of investigators. It was a complicated situation with stake conference, and everyone was busy or not answering.  Just before we left the house, I said a silent prayer that we would find someone available. We said a prayer as a companionship as we always do before leaving, and literally seconds after we said "amen," Brother Smith, a member we had called earlier that didn't pick up, called us back and happily agreed to give us and our investigator a ride. 
    The biggest change is that it got freeeezing this week. On Friday, the temperature dropped from around 65 in the afternoon to 35 that night, and it's stayed there ever since. haha we've had some investigators go cold with the weather too--a family of 3 we've been teaching suddenly stopped answering the phone or the door, along with two dads from part-member families. That's ok though! We started teaching a 17 year old named Jason that's been awesome. He's made some mistakes from the past and wants to get rid of the guilt, and it seems like he's been humbled and prepared by the Lord.
     The gospel is true, and I've never experienced a greater joy than watching people accept the gospel, follow the Savior, and begin to live the commandments. I know this is the path of happiness, that we can apply the miracle of the Atonement each day, and that the Lord will support and guide us as we strive to share that beautiful, perfect message with our friends, family, and others around us.
Elder Gaughan
Transfers are in two weeks--December 10 is the date. Right now I'm in Seagoville, in the East Dallas Stake.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ups and Downs

There have been a lot of ups and downs this week, but I really mean it when I say I've learned and grown a lot. The highlight was when we watched "Together Forever" with the Barrios family. Let me tell you, that movie is one of the cheesiest things they give us missionaries to use, but for whatever reason the Spirit was really strong when we watched it that night. The mom was crying at the end and said she knew the gospel was true, and Elder Trujillo and I walked out deeply touched. 
    This transfer, the mission-wide study focus is on Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, which discusses the atributes of Christ and how we can apply them. Even though it's not one of the ones listed in PMG, I've been thinking a lot about gratitude recently. Twice a week we volunteer at a food pantry, and about two weeks ago they had to close early one day. The woman who went out to make the announce came back and told us that one guy just exploded when he heard. He started shouting at the woman, and told her that the pantry isn't open enough, accused them of misusing the "government funds" they get (even though they work purely on private donations), and that their bread was so hard he could use it as a leathal weapon. ridiculous, right? here's a guy getting FREE FOOD and he's shouting at the people giving it to them about their services. But then I was reading in Mosiah 2 the other day, and I realized a lot of people tend to do that with God. Even though He provides us with absolutely everything, and everything He sends our way is intended for our ultimate growth and benefit, we often complain about what we lack or lost. That's something I love about King Benjamin's discourse--it gives us a good dose of humility and gratitude. I've determined that I want to focuse more on our blessings every day.
     Not too much has been going on though, but things are good. We get fed like CRAZY here (I think our investigators just really like Elder Trujillo), which has been great. And somehow, almost every investigator we find knows other people we're teaching. But anyway, we're seeing lots of miracles and we've got some great investigators. I know this is Lord's work, and that He will heal us if exercise faith in Him.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, November 11, 2013

What happened last week? Read and See!

So you were probably thinking last monday, "wow, Elder Gaughan couldn't even spare 5 minutes to say how busy he is and that things are good." BUT, here's what really happened: I wrote a nice longish email last week and was feeling really good about it, and then, with 1 second left on my computer time at the library, I couldn't get the mouse on the "send" button and my session ended. So, with a few edits to update for this last week, here's my letter.

Well, it's been in interesting week! My new area is Dallas 5th South, which is in a little town in Dallas County called Seagoville. The apartment is awesome--we have tons of room AND a washer and dryer. haha you can't really choose the settings on the washer and you have to use a wrench to turn it on, but there are worse things in the world. My companion is Elder Trujillo--He's from Spanish Fork, is about to hit his year mark, and he's awesome. He's really focused on the work, knows how to get results, and is fun to be around. He comes from a hispanic family, so he helps me a lot with Spanish.
   Our ward is Dallas 5th. It's bilingual, which I didn't even know existed--apparently that's how most of the wards in the satke are here. It was pretty weird talking to white members again and hearing the meeting conducted in English (I think I like it better in Spanish now). There's a sister from the ward that usually translates in sacrament meeting, but we get to do it when she doesn't come. Elder Trujillo did it yesterday, but I'm hoping I get a chance sometime this transfer just for the experience. I found out yesterday that an ENORMOUS portion of the ward is inactive, so I want to try to make helping those members a bigger priority than we did in Oak Cliff.  
   We started off on a great foot too--I got transfered in right as Elder Trujillo and his old companion found a miracle investigator. Her name is Alejandra, and when they contacted her she told them she has a brother that's a missionary in Peru. Elder Trujillo and I visited her on Wednesday, and she showed us a letter from her brother that said over and over again, "look for the missionaries." She's really open to listen, as are all four of her children that live with her. They came to the ward trunk or treat 2 weeks and the kids came to church yesterday! She works on Sundays so we'll have to find a way around that, but she and two of the kids have a baptismal date for December 21.
   Then this last week we had another miracle. We decided to knock right up until 9:00 pm when we have to go home. We started at 8:30 in a trailer park, and everyone until the last two doors either didn't answer or wasn't interested. We finally had a good conversation with someone around 8:55, and we got their information to visit at another time. We had it was 8:59 when we finsihed the conversation, so we decided to knock the neighbor's door and call it a night. We knocked, a guy named Hector answered. He was really nice, and said it was a little late but he would happy to have us come by the next day. We came by for our appointment the next day, and he and his wife told us they are looking for God's true church. We taught the Restoration which they seemed to understand and enjoy, and then Hector said, "so when are you going to invite us to church?" They even fed us after the lesson! They couldn't make it yesterday because Hector got called into work, but we're going by tomorrow.
   Being a zone leader really isn't as taxing as I was anticipating. Haha I remembered Nick's stories about staying up in train stations all night to pick up missionaries for transfers and wasn't looking forward to that kind of stuff, but the biggest sacrifice is just a few more meetings and getting home late Sunday nights when we have to do reports. 2 weeks ago was my first day of doing absolutely no missionary work except for a few contacts--we had a leadership meeting all day and a zone party/meeting that night. It was really interesting though, during the time with zone I quickly grew to love them and got really excited to work with them. I've felt the Lord truly increase my capacity to love and lead.
  We're getting another apostle next week! L. Tom Perry is coming to reorganize our stake. I'll tell you all about it next monday.   
  I know this work is true, and the rate at which it progresses is determined mostly according to our faith, diligence, and love. The Lord works miracles according to our faith--when we determine that we want to accomplish righteous objectives, invoke the powers of heaven, and exercise our faith, the Lord provides the means and miracles to accomplish them. Heavenly Father wants to see us take initiative, and oftentimes requires it before He blesses us ("ASK and ye shall receive, KNOCK and shall be opened unto you"--see also D&C 58:27). The Lord is preparing people in very real ways. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that have had dreams or revelations that prepared them to receive the restored gospel. The heavens are open.
    Jesus is the Christ, and it is only through accepting His gospel and atonement that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. 
I hope y'all have a great week! Love ya!