Monday, September 29, 2014


Last week we had a big meeting with our Mission President, and we gave us a message that has really stuck with me. He told us how he read a study of members of the church that showed the most important factor in staying an active, faithful member was "personal religious observance". In other words, personal prayer, scripture study, etc. As he continued to ponder about that, he noticed the opportunity to make an acronym: PRO, which he changed to Pray, Read, Obey. We've been sharing that with people and it's been impressed on my mind more than ever that the "Primary answers" really are the best way to increase our faith, improve our character, draw nearer to the Savior, find answers to our questions and concerns, and make it back to the presence of our Heavenly Father. 

Elder Gaughan

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another good week!

Fefe hake? (that's Tongan. I'm totally trilingual now.) (Not.) This week I want to start off with my companion. Being with Elder Fisi'iahi has been a really great experience. The more we talk the more I realize that our backgrounds are very different. Attitudes towards the gospel growing up, family culture, social circles, etc., but for that reason we've learned a lot from each other. The changes he's made since he came out on the mission are astounding and have seriously bolstered my faith that people find the power to change as they accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. Without going into details, he made some decisions this week that truly amazed me. 
    Life is pretty good! We had a rough week in terms of finding and teaching, but we're expecting that to improve soon. And we haven't had any problems with our bikes for almost a whole week! There's really a lot to be grateful for here. We live 8 minutes away from the church (on bike), directly behind our apartments is beautiful park, across the street is the most hispanic neighborhood in our area, AND we get to represent Jesus Christ every day. 
      We had a pretty cool experience with a woman we talked to outside a "washateria" (that's spanglish for laundry mat) the other day. She was looking for her car key, so we asked if we could help her and she accepted. After about 5 minutes of searching without success, she said she would try looking inside the laundry mat, but thanked us for helping and asked us to share our message with her. We offered to pray with her first that she would find her key, which we did. We then talked for a few more minutes about our message and wrote down her information to visit her. As we started to bike away she called out, "Look, my key!" We turned around to see her picking it up in the parking lot right in her path to the door of the laundry mat. She then said something like, "Isn't God great? Have a blessed day!" My companion and I were pretty shocked at how fast the prayer was answered. I'm telling you, God is especially willing to work miracles and make great things happen when we're trying to serve others and bring them to Christ (see Alma 17:26-39). 
       I love you! Each of you! And I'm trying to make my mission something I'll be proud to tell you about when we see each other again. Thank you so much for being there for me with your example, emails, love, and everything else. 
Elder Gaughan

Monday, September 15, 2014

Things are good!

This has been by far my most interesting transfer in terms of transportation. We've basically been playing "musical bycicles" (like musical chairs) here for the last few weeks. Thrown in there are several flat tires, broken parts, trips to Walmart and bike shops, and going on foot for several days.  For three days this last week I was on a bike that was stuck in the lowest gear (the one made for biking up Mount Everest) and a seat stuck almost as far down as it can go. Haha just picture that scene from Sherlock Holmes 2 when everyone is traveling on horses and Sherlock is on a donkey, and that'll give you a pretty good idea of what it looked like. 
   Things are good though! Really. A woman we're teaching, Ana, has been receiving the missionaries for almost a year, and has never shown very much initiative in putting what she's been taught into practice. This last week we talked to her about our temples and how families can be sealed together for all eternity, and she became much more interested. We asked her what she would be willing to do to help her family get to the temple, and she said," Whatever it takes." Two days later we came back, and she had prayed and read the scriptures on her own time (for her, that was a big step). Yesterday she came to church and for the first time stayed for all three hours. 
   Elder Fisi'iahi and I have started singing in our dinners and lessons, and it's been sweet! It's made a difference in our lessons and usually invites the Spirit stronger than what we teach does. We recently had a missionary meeting where we discussed the importance of making use of the talents the Lord has given us during our missions in order to help others come closer to Christ, and it's totally true. Like 1 Corinthians 12 teaches, God has given to each of us a function to fulfill and special abilities that we should use to build up His kingdom. And why do we sometimes have to serve alongside people who irritate us or towards whom we don't naturally gravitate? Because they have something to offer or teach us and those we serve (see verse 18). 
    One other thought. Something we've been sharing at dinners recently is Mosiah 27:14. It struck me as I was reading this scripture recently that Alma the Younger did not by any means merit a heavenly visitation. He was among the "most vilest of sinners" as described later on. It was the prayers of a loving father and community that trusted in the power of God. Our prayers for others can truly send forth angels to watch over those whom we love. Our prayers can change the eternal destination of another.
Love you!

Elder Gaughan
1. Elder Fisi'iahi and I at Family Home Evening with the Rodriguez and Salas families. 9 kids. 3 adults (and two missionaries). It was a little. crazy.
2. At another Family Home Evening with some of my favorite people in Grand Prairie: Brother Cortez, Brother Rodriguez, and the Vargas family 
3. Our district. From left to right, Sister Kirkham, Sister Gonzalez, Elder Fisi'iahi, me, Elder Lynn amd Elder McBride     

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

So... It's Labor Day. Unfortunately for us that means that libraries are closed. They gave us one hour on a member's iPad, so it's going to be very short today. Lo siento! Just know l love each of you and I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord. We're teaching a great woman named Nora that has received a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, and is just having trouble giving up some of the traditions she has grown up with. As we talked about her in companionship study today we decided to share Matthew 4:18-20. When the Master calls, the only thing to do, however hard it may be and however much faith it may require, is to drop the nets we have held (perhaps for our entire life) and follow Him. 
Love you! 

Elder Gaughan