Monday, January 26, 2015

New Photos!

Heey Gaughans!
We've had some great things happen recently! Yesterday a less-active brother that we haven't taught in weeks just showed up to sacrament meeting yesterday with two of his daughters, which was a great surprise. Also the Honduran couple that showed up two weeks ago came back! We had ward conference yesterday and it was one of the better 3 hour blocks that I've been to in awhile. Basically all the stake presidency talked about was the basics of the gospel--the importance of praying, reading, and obeying on a regular basis, living our baptismal covenants, and building our lives on Jesus Christ, the ordinances of the Priesthood, the scriptures and living prophets.
    Next Sunday night/Monday morning is transfer calls, and seeing I've been here in Grand Prairie for six months I've got the feeling I'm leaving. But we'll see! I've really enjoyed my time here and I feel like I've grown more than any other time in my mission. There's a giant mural of Ensign pictures that cover about a wall and a half of our bedroom that past missionaries put up, and it's helped me to look over the different pictures (Jesus healing a leper, the Title of Liberty, the Pioneers, the Tree of Life, the Savior in Gethsemane, during his trial, and on the cross, Jonah, Moses, Joseph Smith, etc.) and meditate on what the gospel really means and how I can apply it to the things we face day to day. 
Love you!
Elder Gaughan
1. Hermana Blanca Chinchilla. Basically my hispanic grandma. She feeds us every week and we've been teaching her daughter and soon-to-be stepson for months.
2. Hermano Canales and I. He's our Ward Mission Leader and is extremely helpful towards the missionaries. Haha and yeah, that more or less the normal height contrast for me and hispanics.
3. Elder Loch. A really great missionary I went on exchanges with this week. He was in musicals before the mission and read a lot of the same books that I did (philosophy, political science, etc.), so we got along really well! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

MLK Delay

Hey everyone!
Due to it being MLK day yesterday, the library was closed. That's why I'm writing you today!
   So, I had to dig pretty deep this week and use my old acting skills. That's right! On Thursday we had a meeting with all the missionaries in the stake to have our personal interviews with President Taylor and to present the 2015 Texas Dallas Mission vision, part of which has to do with becoming one like the Stripling Warriors. As the other zone leader, Elder Del Aguila, and I were talking about the best way to present it, we decided on a Stripling warriors skit, featuring Elder Del Aguila as the break-dancing captain of the Lamanites and yours truly as Captain Helaman. (A video may or may not end up on our mission's facebook page.) It took a lot to get out of my comfort zone in that way again, but we had fun and it seemed to get the message across. 
    The people we're visiting are doing pretty well. Unfortunately at the moment we don't have anyone that's on the verge of being baptized in the next few weeks, but we're seeing progress! Yesterday, mostly due to my incredible companion, three less active young men and two nonmembers came to play sports with the missionaries! It was a living testimony of one of my favorite quotes about missionary work, which goes more or less like this: "The Lord is not asking us to add another activity to the many which we are doing; simply to change the way we do what we already do." If we are looking for opportunities to love, serve, include, and share the gospel as we go through our daily tasks, hobbies, and activities, God will give us those opportunities. 
    I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us as an individual. I know He will save us from our sins, frustrations, sicknesses, egoism, fears, and weaknesses (whether it be in this life or the next) as build our lives on faith in His sacrifice, character, and love, and strive to apply His teachings in our lives. 
Elder Gaughan

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another week of Miracles!

We saw some great miracles this week! We visited a semi-active family last Monday and met a woman named Lizeth that is staying with them. She's going through a hard time right now and told us that she needs something more in her life. She told us that she has been to just about every church you can think of and tried every means she can to fill the void in her life, but still hasn't found the answer. Then she told us that she has family that are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and talked about the difference she's seen in her cousins that have served missions and how there's a very special spirit in the LDS homes she's been in. We had a great visit and taught her how to pray, and hopefully we'll be going back tonight. It was one of the precious moments of my mission when I knew without a doubt that we had been guided by the Spirit to the exact place we needed to be.
    Then yesterday, a Honduran couple, Jairo and Helen, showed up to church yesterday out of the blue! I talked to Jairo and found out that he was baptized as a boy in Honduras with the support of his grandmother, but eventually went inactive after his grandmother's death and life-threatening area in which his church-building was located. Honduras and el Salvador have been scenes of some serious carnage, corruption, and violence in recent years, it's unbelievable some of the stories people tell us. But, he just arrived to the US 3 months ago and he and Helen decided they wanted to come to church. This is the fourth less-active and/or part-member family like this that we've come across since I got to Grand Prairie, which has been really rewarding to see. We also saw a member that the other Elders in our ward are working with come back to church after 19 years of inactivity. Isn't that incredible? 
Elder Gaughan

Monday, January 5, 2015

Let's Be Builders

Hey guys! Feliz ano nuevo!!
Hmm... I'll be honest, there's really not much to say this week! As always we've been greatly blessed and have seen some great things happen. New Years Eve I was on exchanges with Elder Huber from our district, and that night we went to a ward party to meet the members and be with our investigators there.
Things have been good with Elder Del Aguila and the zone too. I'll be honest, I've been around few missionaries that are so willing to follow the Spirit and strive to really help others overcome their obstacles in the Gospel. What came to my mind this morning as I was thinking about the this last transfer and a half was this: we're all "investigators." As missionaries it's often easy to put the people we visit in one box, and the missionaries in another, the members in another, etc., and often treat each one differently. But that's wrong! Just as we are put in positions to teach and strengthen others, someone else has been called to teach and strengthen us. We're all someone's investigator--whether that be our bishop, home/visiting teachers, quorum/auxiliary presidents, parents, etc. That gives me strength, and helps me want to be more sincere and do more for those I'm called to help. There's no need to patronize, talk down to, or put on a face for those under our stewardship, just as we wouldn't want others to do so for us. 
In short, just build everyone around you! And let others help you build yourself. Take counsel as freely and humbly as you would have others receive it from you, and consider how your Heavenly Father feels about you when you get frustrated, disappointed, or impatient with those you're trying to or have been called to help.
I love you! Thank you for being my family, as odd as that may sound. You bless me and many others every day. 
Elder Gaughan