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!