Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Elder Gaughan is Home!

Elder Gaughan Returned with Honor from his Mission on April 29th, 2015. 

Gaughan Family Waiting for Elder Gaughan to Arrive!
Kyler and Penelope waiting for Uncle John

Reunited at last

Elder Gaughan with Mom and Dad

Alex and Elder Gaughan

Mike and Elder Gaughan

Ky and Uncle John

Welcome Home Elder Gaughan! 

Monday, April 27, 2015

One Last Testimony

"Behold say unto you, how great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of [San Diego] that God would have granted unto us such great blessings?

And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell?" (Alma 26:1-2)

We'll need to get together to start recounting them in full, but I'll tell you a few from my perspective.

I have felt and seen the grace of God in your lives through your letters and stories, and have seen and heard more examples than I could begin to tell here in Texas.  We have been through trials and situations that have refined us, brought us closer to God, and deepened our commitment to love and serve Him. We have seen miracles as we have prayed and served. We have been preserved, protected, and prospered by the power of God. We have grown in our knowledge of the Gospel. My appreciation for you and the type of family we have has increased.

I have seen people transformed and blessed by Jesus Christ through their faith and repentance, and the ordinances of the Priesthood. My companions and I have been provided for and loved by more members, people we were teaching, and random strangers than I can possibly keep track of. I know that I have been and have seen others be guided and inspired of God. I have had run ins with old friends, made many new ones, and seen almost everything in the range of lifestyles available, which teaches invaluable lessons about life, attitudes, and family. We have been rejected, shouted at, and mocked, and have seen some of those same people turn around and receive the gospel. 

As I prayed and meditated on the blessings of these last two years the other night, I felt peace and gratitude. There have been so many people and experiences that have been such a blessing, it truly amazes me.

As my last electronic testimony to you as a full-time missionary, I would like to say a few things. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ, His Son, is the Savior of the world, and lives today. I know His Atonement can transform our lives as we trust in His promises and live the gospel. I know that the power of the Holy Ghost is real, and that it gives us knowledge, peace, guidance, and enhances our mortal capacities. I know that the power of God can be accessed through the Priesthood. I know that the living apostles and prophets that guide this church are men of God, as are both of the mission presidents I have had. I know that I and every other missionary for this church has been called by divine inspiration to teach the gospel to all the world. I know that reaching out to everyone around you and inviting them to do good things brings happiness and miracles.

Thank you. Thank you for your emails, packages, letters, examples, prayers, and for following Jesus Christ. 
Elder Gaughan

Monday, April 20, 2015

More to come next week

It's been a pretty good week. We saw some great things happen with an investigator we recently found and with two less-active brothers we've been working with! I'm sorry this is so short. Things are going well, and I will do my best to give this last week to the Savior and my brothers and sisters here in Texas. Unfortunately there's not much time, but I'm working on a longer email that I'll send next week. Strive to talk to everyone around you and extend an invitation this week! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

2 Part Letter

Life goes forward here in Plano. We saw some great things happen this week! There's a brother named Mark that we visited a few times, and we saw him for the first time at church yesterday! He struggles with depression and is the only one in his family that isn't active. Also we met a man named John that has a relationship with the gospel and the church like I've never seen. This man started associating with members of the church in high school, and since then he's had a fascination with the church and it's teachings. He has watched General Conference, read through the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. I'll tell you more, but a woman from a ward just told us her house is flooding and needs help. Love you! 
Ok! The flooding wasn't too bad. We just had to dodge dog droppings as we dumped the water! 
  Anyway, about John. So the man also has the Gospel Library app on his phone, knew about the missionary age change, etc. He makes jokes that only people in the church would understand. Literally, he's like a member without a testimony! His hangup is that he has doubts about different teachings and doctrines in the church, but he's an honest seeker of truth. I was very inspired when he said in our first visit Saturday that he just wants to do God's will. Amazingly, he had never been to church. So we invited him and he came! We'll see what happens in this coming week, but he's a great guy--very funny and animated. 
   I came to the realization this week that we really do need to take care of the poor and forgive the offender. As I read this scripture this week, I imagined how I would feel if God applied this to me when I asked for help, forgiveness, or grace: 
"The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—". What a miserable existence this would be. Does God think of us that way? No. Maybe He'll allow us to suffer for a time as we come to the realization we need to repent, but He's always willing to bless and forgive. 
"For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy." -Mosiah 4:17, 19-20
Love, Elder Gaughan

Monday, April 6, 2015

Raising the Bar

Unfortunately, this is one of those weeks where I've saved the family letter for the very end. So apologies if this is shorter than usual! 
    If you're wondering why I haven't sent any photos recently, it's because 1) I left my camera in another city last semester 2) I keep forgetting that Elder Hill has a camera because he never takes pictures either, and 3) some of the families in this ward have been awesome about sending yall pictures for us! But I'll try to take some this week. 
    How about conference?? I swear, the sessions seemed to get shorter and shorter every time I watch. I loved Elder Ballard's talk about young people needing to "raise the bar." Something I love about him is that he's always building and expanding upon thing's he spoke about in the past. I just love the consistency. We were only able to get one long time investigator to come to a session at the church w/ us and it was his first time, so we'll follow up with him today. 
    We helped a girl who recently graduated high school set a baptismal goal this week! Her name is Morgan. We've only had two lessons but she seems very willing and like she could fit in great with some of the YSA's and young women in our ward. Please pray for her to progress, create friendships in the ward, and that the rest of her family will begin to investigate! 
Elder Gaughan

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Birthday Celebrations!

Elder Hill and Elder Gaughan Combined Birthday Celebration!