Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in Texas

It's been a good week! To be honest, there's not too much to write about though. Elder Trujillo and I got Christmas presents from several generous members here, and we had the opportunity to find 12 more people willing to hear the Savior's message. We've seen some great miracles though, one of which I'll tell you about in detail.
     Elder Trujillo and I walked out of a lesson on Tuesday to find a large dent right in front the driver's side door of our car. We knocked on the neighbor's door across the street to see if they knew anything about it, and the mom of the house told us she had done it and was hoping we wouldn't find her. Of course, Elder Trujillo then accidentally broke one of their porch steps as we went back to the car, which was pretty awkward to explain. We spent the next hour or so doing the paper work with the woman, and when we got in the car to drive away, we noticed an older woman waving us down to come talk to her. We drove over and she told us that she was a member that hadn't been to church in years and that her spouse had recently died, and she was ready to reactivate. She's nextdoor neighbors with and an old friend of Brian and Jason, two brothers we're teaching that are getting baptized in two weeks.
   We visited with her later that week, and she told us she had seen us on her way to the store earlier that day, and was praying the whole trip that we would still be there when she got back. As it turned out, our accident was the answer to her prayer.
    The Lord brings about His work and will, and blesses His children in ways we sometimes don't see immediately. I learned this week not to judge situations by the immediate results, but to trust and hope that it will bring about our Heavenly Father's loving purposes.
  The Savior lives, and lasting happiness is only found by living His gospel. Please look for opportunities to share what you have with others! The Lord will help you, as He has helped me every day.

Elder Gaughan

Monday, December 23, 2013


Merry Christmas!

Just to start--follow the Spirit! Always! Elder Trujillo and I were just washing the car before we came to the library for emails, and I had a strong feeling I needed to talk to a guy nearby washing his car. I went over and we started to talk, and it turned out he has a copy of the Book of Mormon (which he's read in part), and he's visited the Hawaiian Cultural Center and the temple there. I couldn't believe it. We took down his information and are going to get it to the missionaries for his area today.
     I'm going to use an analogy to explain what Christmas is like as a missionary. On Sunday, our ward had their Christmas program. It was announced that a brother from the ward would sing Silent Night. He walked up to the stand alone carrying a hymnbook, invited everyone to pay attention to the words of the song, and started to sing. His voice wasn't anything special, but it was good. He sang all the verses as written, and sat down. Sounds kind of boring right? I just couldn't help but smile and enjoy it though! I felt like I could just focus on the words and enjoy the spirit of that song. I absolutely loved it.
     That's kind of what this Christmas season has been like. This is by far the simplest, most low-key Christmas of my life. I feel like all the distractions have been stripped away, and I have the opportunity to celebrate and rejoice in this holiday for what it really is, and think about how I can better thank my Heavenly Father each day for the unspeakable gift of sending His Son to the earth. And I came to the conclusion that I can do much, much more. Especially in terms of just sincerely loving and serving the people around me.
     Well, the big news this week is that we have an investigator that really looks like he's going to get baptized!! His name is Jason Quintero, and he's incredible. He's 18 years old, and has a date for January 11. He's coming to church every week, and gave up coffee and tea even though everyone else in his family drinks it almost daily.
   I've got to get going, but have a merry Christmas!

Elder Gaughan

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm so sorry I didn't write last week!!!

Elder Trujillo and I just scheduled our day pretty poorly, and a visit for a half-hour haircut at a member's house turned into dinner. But things have been great! I stayed put for transfers, which means I'll probably be here in Seagoville for at least another 3 months. but we'll see what happens! 
     Well the most exciting news here was the ice storm two weeks ago that more or less shut down Dallas for the week. everything froze over with about half an inch of ice--trees (as in every single leaf and branch), cars, the stairs outside our apartment... haha just about everything. The Friday before last there were power-outages all over the Dallas area (including us for a couple of hours in the morning) and we were told to stay in our apartment, and the next day we weren't allowed to use bikes or our car.
    The last two week really have been great. For some reason a ton of people here are willing to listen to us, and we always find ourselves with more investigators than we can handle! It's actually been one of our biggest problems, but I've learned a lot about how to set priorities and focus on the most important things and people.
      Last Saturday I had an incredible experience while on exchanges with Elder Broadbent. Someone requested a visit from (which is like manna from the heavens for a missionary), which we called up immediately. The man told us he was actually an less-active member that had been trying to get in contact with the church, and he asked if we could visit him that day. When we came, he told us his story--about the day he decided he didn't believe in God, how he ended up in jail, lost the trust of his wife and family, and how he finally came back to the Lord during his month in jail and afterwards. He was crying he was done with his story, and told how he wanted nothing more than to get his family back and come back to church for good. I felt completely at a loss for words, but somehow Elder Broadbent knew exactly what to say. With tears in his eyes, he bore testimony to the man of the Savior and Heavenly Father's love for him, thanked him for his courage and willingness to share his story with us, and invited him to keep praying for his family.
     I knew as I watched that happen that the Lord had sent Elder Broadbent to our area to testify to that man. I don't know if I've ever seen a missionary express such sincere, pure love as he did that night. If we're worthy and follow the Spirit, the Lord really will use us as His angels to answer the prayers of others and bring about His divine purposes. I know that's true.
     I need to get going, but thank you for all the prayers and support!! I love it here. I love being missionary!!
Elder Gaughan
More Pictures!
1. Elder Trujillo and I at a dinner for the volunteers for the food bank we do service at every week (mom, you would have loved this woman's house)

2. Elder Trujillo and I with Elder Douthit and Elder Evans (some of the funniest missionaries in our zone).

3. This is Brian Quintero, one of our investigators. He comes from a pretty rough home, but we've been teaching him, his brother, and his dad. We set a baptismal date with him last week for January 11!

Monday, December 2, 2013


1) Elder Trujillo (his companion) and I doing the weekly zone report

2) Elder Henze (see email)

3) Elders Behning and Pearson from our district with Elder Trujillo and I at the temple

4) Elder Trujillo y yo

Another great week!

It's been a great week! We had a great thanksgiving dinner with the Lopez family, a miracle find that is preparing for baptism this month. Their biggest obstacle is that their single mom, Alejandra, works on Sundays and hasn't been able to come to church. But we have lots of hope! Also, after a month of no baptisms, 7 people were baptized this last weekend in our zone! That was really exciting.  
     The biggest miracle Elder Trujillo and I saw this week though was with the Barrios family. The 4 kids and Hermana Barrios have been meeting with the missionaries for over a year, but the dad hasn't wanted anything to do with them--he's sat in for at least one lesson, but he's been the biggest obstacle to the family's progression. On Saturday night we visited with the kids and commited them to come to church, and the next day they showed up with the ENTIRE family, including the oldest daughter's boyfriend and the dad!! We couldn't believe it. They only stayed for sacrament meeting, but Hermano Barrios seemed relatively comfortable, and we think he'll be more open to listening to us now. I was fasting that we would have the opportunity to baptize a complete family this month, and while I don't know for sure if it will be the Barrios', I really hope it is.
      I also gained a stronger testimony that as we keep the Lord's commandments and do His will, he guides us to where we need to be. I was on exchanges with Elder Henze on Friday (maybe next week I'll tell you about how he jumped out at me that night with a gorilla mask when I was coming out of the bathroom and scared my socks off), and at one point we stopped at a 7-Eleven to use the bathroom. We figured we might as well get some hot chocolate and doughnuts while we were there, and as we were in line to leave, I had an impression I needed to talk to the guy behind me in line. I put it off until we got outside, and just as he was walking away I asked him if we could give him a card. We started to introduce ourselves and he said he already knew who we were--his recently-deceased aunt had taken him to the Mormon church several times in Mexico and he had met with the missionaries there. He asked us for the address of the church and said he would come. It's not the first time I've seen something like that happen, but I couldn't help but smile as we talked to him, because something just told me the Lord put us in his path for a reason and that He would continue to work with the man. There's nothing like feeling that Heavenly Father has used you to bless someone elses life or answer a prayer! I understand a little better what Ammon was talking about when he said,

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy" (Alma 29:9).   

Each and every one of us, missionary or no, can experience that kind of joy as we find the courage to follow the promptings of the Spirit, look for opportunities to serve, or just open our mouths and speak to those around us with kindness. The Savior lives, He loves us, knows us perfectly, and is ready to pour out blessings as we repent and submit our will to His.

Elder Gaughan