Monday, March 31, 2014

Bit by a bird!

Things are going quite well here in Seagoville. We keep finding less-active/part-member families that aren't on the ward list, which, for a missionary, is like finding a $100 bill. Last week we found Alma, who got baptized 4-5 years ago with her daughter, moved here, and stopped coming. With that family it's nothing short of a miracle that we now have the opportunity to help them come back. We talked to them for about 2 minutes almost 4 months ago as they were getting in their car, but didn't think too much of it when the phone number they gave us didn't work. But we decided to stop by this last week, happened to catch her at home, and learned her story. 
    So, about the bird. We visited an investigator this week that has a thing for exotic birds, and has three at her house. We normally meet with her outside right next to the cages, and this particular occasion she left us to get something on the side of the house. I got a little bored as we waited, so I went over to the birds and tried to pet one of them. I stuck my finger into the cage and started caressing his head, and then the bird started nibbling on my finger. my next thought was, "aw, that's cute... wow, he's actually got pretty firm grip. I hope he doesn't bi- GAHH!!" Needless to say I learned my lesson. 
    Things are good though, and Elder Nebeker and I are getting along great. Something I've been thinking about recently are thoughts--where we are mentally on a moment to moment basis. As a missionary that's a large part of what makes the difference between being fully consecrated to the Lord and simply going through the motions. Always remembering Christ is, after all, a part of our baptismal covenant, so it deserves a little consideration. A scripture that I love about this is Mosiah 5:12-13:

I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name [of Christ] written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.
    For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?
How often do we reflect upon the Savior throughout the week? How much time do we spend thinking about others needs as opposed to our own? Are we constantly looking for opportunities to bless, lift, and do good? 
   This is the work of Jesus Christ. Anyone who has doubts about that can read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true, and by the power of the Holy Ghost they will know the truth.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recognizing the Spirit

This week, my thoughts have turned a lot to recognizing the Spirit and His way it can change us. We have an investigator that is preparing for baptism on April 12, named Socorro. She was decidedly against setting baptismal date until January, when one day in church she had this feeling come over her that she should be baptized. We set a date for February 22, but from lack of consistent visits with her and other obstacles, she could not get baptized on that date. Her biggest obstacle now is the doubt of whether this really the true church. The funny thing is, when we ask her if she believes the Book of Mormon is true, she says yes. On top of that, she has told us that her character has changed since we started meeting with her--she's more social, empathetic, patient, and charitable. She's been brought to tears during church and lessons more than once from the spirit she's felt. For whatever reason though, she still has trouble fully committing. 
     A stake president once told us that one of the defining characteristics of an the apostles and prophets is their sensitivity and obedience to spiritual promptings. From my experience that is one of the absolutely essential attributes in order to be a powerful servant in the hands of the Lord.
Elder Gaughan

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sharing the apartment and working by the Spirit

It's been kind of a crazy week. We found out last Saturday night that Elder Nebeker and I would be staying to together, but we would have another companionship move in with us and work in our area. I had to give my private bathroom and shower (our apartment is 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom), but it was worth it--it's been a lot of fun and we're getting a lot done in the area. 
    I just realized--I never sent you a picture with Elder Nebeker. Almost on a daily basis people ask us if we're brothers.
    Had two great experiences with the Spirit this week. The other night around 8:00 pm we had visited all our appointments and had planned to knock doors in a certain neighborhood we had been working for the last hour. En route, it hit me that we needed to knock in a different area nearby, so we turned in the opposite direction and went to the street that had come to mind. Amazingly, at the very first house we knocked a young hispanic guy opened the door and let us in. The lesson wasn't anything special, but we set a return appointment and taught him how to pray. More than anything it strengthened my testimony of the importance of following the Spirit the moment an impression comes. 
    The other experience was more like the Hand of God than really following the Spirit, but it was still pretty amazing. Several months ago Elder Trujillo and I visited a less-active/part member family and never went back. For some reason I got it stuck in my mind that this was the Camacho family, and for months in coordination meetings, whenever they mentioned the Camacho family that's who I thought about and commented on. last week Elder Nebeker and I decided we wanted to go back and visit them again, so we set up an appointment with the real Sister Camacho for 8 o'clock Sunday night. When we got to the "Camacho's" house they let us right in. Not until I was saying the opening prayer did I realize we were in the wrong house: "and please bless the Camacho family" "--Hernandez" " family that might feel the Spirit tonight." 
   It turned out that's exactly where we needed be though. We visited with Sister Camacho and her son and they were both very open. The sister told us that Brandon needed a blessing, which we gladly gave at the end. Both she and Brandon enthusiastically received our message about the importance of studying the scriptures and committed to start reading the Book of Mormon every day for the first time in years. She also referred us to talk to her next door neighbor, gave us a list of 6 or 7 friends from work to contact, and said she would think about her friends and have more referrals when we came back. 
     Things are going well and I'm learning every day. More than anything I'm trying to learn how to care about and for each person the way Jesus Christ would. Almost every person we visit with has suffered in significant ways or is dealing with something very difficult, whether it be financial, emotional, spiritual, physical, etc. The truth is, it can be incredibly hard to give your might, mind, heart, and strength to helping each of these people, with distinct and serious needs, to come unto Christ. I've learned to appreciate better the patience and truly limitless love and care that Christ and our Heavenly Father have for everyone of us, and it motivates me to give more as I try to minister to these people and help them receive the Restored Gospel.
Please pray for opportunities to share the gospel! I love you!

Elder Gaughan

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Investigator

 The most exciting thing this last week was teaching Bernardino. He's a young guy, in his early 20's, and when we found him he practically didn't believe in God. In our lesson last week we explained the Book of Mormon, and unlike most investigators he captured not only the meaning but the importance of it. After we read the introduction with him, he asked in a tone like he was surprised it was so simple, "so all I have to do is read this book, and you're saying if I shut myself up in my room and ask God if it's true He's going to respond?" We promised him that was true, and he told us was going to get ready for bed and starting reading as soon as we left. He also described how since we had started meeting with him just one earlier, he felt like was becoming a different person. He told he used not talk to anyone, and was now making friends, he was happier, and felt the peace we had promised he would receive if he prayed and kept the commitments we extend.
   This gospel is amazing, and when people apply the principles it changes them. Hope you all have a great week! I love you! And pray for opportunities to share the gospel! People won't get offended. The excuses and fear that impede us do not come from God. I'd highly recommend reading "Trust in The Lord" by Elder Ballard about that when you can.
Elder Gaughan