Monday, March 16, 2015

"Behold, what desirest thou?"

This week has been amazing! We left Plano Sunday night and didn't get back until Wednesday night--three exchanges back to back. That's why I hardly wrote anything last week, I was only able to take 10 minutes in the evening before we all took off for East Texas. On Monday I went with Elder Fisi'iahi (one of my companions from Grand Prairie) and Douthit and it was great. I also went to Tyler, Texas with Elders Malpartida and Thompson. And get this! Elder Thompson's sister served in the Spanish branch in Poway for like 6 months! He said it was her favorite area. We taught an incredible woman named Sandra. She's definitely been prepared to receive the Gospel. She prayed about and set her own baptismal date, and our lesson was about baptism and the law of chastity since she's living with her boyfriend. After we explained it and told her it was a necessary step to repent and be baptized, she said, "Ok. I'll talk to my boyfriend. I want to follow God, and if he doesn't want his salvation, I'm going to pursue mine. I'll find another place to live." Holy cow!! Talk about "dropping your nets" and following the Savior like the apostles of old. The downside of that exchange was that I went to a delicious barbecue place called Stanley's and ate on a full stomach, which lead to an up-chucking session that night on my arrival to Longview. After that I really started to enjoy being back in Longview!
Last Sunday we were singing the song, "As Now We Take the Sacrament". That song previously had very little significance to me, but as we sang the line, "with hands now pledged to do thy work," the Spirit hit me so strong about the significance of the baptismal covenant. I'm coming to see much more clearly the whole purpose of the church and our covenants: it's to help people! Sounds insanely obvious, I know, but I'm just coming to realize that we organize ourselves into a church to do the work of Christ--to reach out specifically to individuals and family in harmony and love to help them with their temporal needs and encourage them on the path to eternal life. If we're not working to meet needs we're not doing the Lord's work. And we figure out people's needs by spending time with them and asking questions. There has been so much more purpose and satisfaction in what we've been doing since we've begun to strive to meet the needs of our ward and the individuals we teach. The Spirit is with us more, our lessons are more powerful, and I can feel love and concern for others rather than pressure to say the right things. I've come to realize that the question posed to Nephi by the Spirit of the Lord is extraordinarily powerful: "What desirest thou?" (1 Nephi 11:2).
So, my invitation this week is to get to know someone, figure out how you can help them, and do it!  
Elder Gaughan

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