Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Well Here We Are Again

Well hello everyone. How are things going? It´s weird to think that another week has already gone by. It still shocks me how quickly time goes by and how we really need to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us. This week went by super fast and I can´t believe it´s already overwith. This week we had zone conference. It was my last one so that was really strange to think about and how things are slowly starting to change. I don´t think I had really realized how close I am to ending until zone conference hit. I was talking to one of the assistants, Elder Connors, who goes home with me at the same time and it really hit me there that I was a lot closer than I had realized. Weird.
This week went pretty well. Nothing too out of control really happened which was kinda weird but hey stuff happens. All the members here tell me about how little time I have left which is kinda funny but at the same time I want to stay focused to the end. On tuesday I got to do divions with Elder Sterling who´s working in a little town called Rauch which is about an hour outside of Tandil. They came in for zone conference that was gonna be on wednesday so I got to go out with him when they came down tuesday afternoon. It was really fun cause Elder Sterling just got here this transfer so he´s full of energy and he was really excited to be here in the mission. That was a really cool experience. Later that night I also had the opportunity to do a few baptismal interviews for other Elders. That was also a great experience. Doing baptismal interviews is one of my favorite things to do in the mission. Seeing people change their lives, come unto Christ and make changes in their lives to more fully follow Him is one of the greatest miracles that exists. Ending the mission is a weird feeling. I think no one really feels prepared cause there are a lot of feelings that are very difficult to describe. A lot of things that happen or that you feel you can´t adecuately describe or really do them justice in trying to communicate them. Coming on the mission was easily the best decision I´ve ever made in my life and I´m eternally grateful for this opporutnity that has been given me to be here and to be constantely involved in His work. Great stuff. Thank you all for everything you do. Hey alex HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope it went well. Love you all and we´ll be seeing you!
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

One Week More

Hello everyone! How is everything going? I´m glad to see that everyone is good and it sounds like you all had a great time in Alaska! I can´t believe that school is starting again and everyone is already getting ready for that. Thanks for setting everything up for me for when I get back, that is going to be a huge help and I really appreciate it. All the members here are asking me how much time I have left and they´re all freaking out too so your not the only ones. I don´t like to think about it to much but it does cross my mind often and it´s still really weird to think about.
This week was an interesting one to say the least. At the beginning of the week we started off really well. We found some new people, Claudio, Gustavo and Macarena. Claudio is the dad and Gustavo and Macarena are his kids. We taught them and had a cool lesson cause Claudio had almost lost his faith and in God and everything. We had a good/quite powerfull lesson about the Atonement and it´s power in our lives. That was on monday. Then the rest of the week until sunday was a bit of a struggle. I was really confused/frustrated cause I couldn´t figure out what was going on that things randomly got so tough and it seemed like everything was failing on us. I was really confused cause we didn´t have anything change that should´ve made that happen. We kept working hard and trying to get better and last night it paid off. We went out with the second counselor of the branch, Saul Sea, who´s 18 and getting ready for his mission. We went by an ex investigators house and knocked the door. This girl named Deborah answers and before we say anything she says "do you want to come in?". WOW! That was awesome. We went in just barely started teaching her and her husband, Matias got home. He sat down and started listening to us. We had an amazing lesson with them and when we got to the part about the First Vision, Deborah started crying. She has her grandmother who just got diagnosed with cancer so she´s going through a really tough time and isn´t sure about what´s gonna happen after this life or anything. We all shared personal experiences about loved ones who had passed on and she asked us "how do you know all this? how do you know you´ll be with them again?" and we could testify about the gospel and the plan of salvation. I talked about Danny and Sam and I felt the Spirit really strong in that moment. I´m so grateful to have the gospel in my life. Mom and Dad, thank you for listening to the missionaries. I´ve thought about it many times throughout the mission and I don´t know what my life would be with the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. It is the most precious thing we have in the world. Truly amazing. Do you two remember the names of the missionaries that taught you? If you don´t, look it up if you can and tell me please. I love this gospel. That was my week. Tough, but we stuck to it and were blessed in the end. We set a baptismal date with Matias and Deborah for the 3rd of september, my last weekend. I really hope they make it to that day. Please pray for them that they do!!! I love you all, and thank you so very much for what you do!
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

Writing from Bahia Blanca

Well hello family of mine. How is everything. Hey Mike and John.....CONGRATS ON THE EAGLE COURT OF HONOR!!! That´s awesome. Sorry but I don´t think I´ll be able to make it. I might be a little late. Take pictures though! This week has been an interesting one to say the least. Did I tell you about the miracle we had? Well if I already did you can skip this part. So I was walking down the street with Elder Milne when we had just left a failed appointment. We´re walking down the street and we see a door. We both look at each other and say "let´s knock here". We knock and the lady that opens the door, Veronica, says "oh thank goodness, I´ve been waiting for you!". WOW!!! That was pretty amazing. We couldn´t go in and teach her at that moment cause she lives by herself with her kids and we can´t go into houses where there´s not a guy. So we set an appoinment and got a member to go with us. When we went to teach we had a really good, spirit filled lesson and she said before we started teaching that much that she knows the church is true and that she wants to get baptized! Pretty awesome right? She has to quit smoking and the branch president wants her to go to church once before she gets baptized. Unfortunately she didn´t show up to church this week. Elder Milne went with a our mission leader to go get her for church but she wasn´t there so we gotta see what happened. She´s awesome though and we´re really excited for her to get baptized. That was our awesome experience of the last week. We also had a pretty cool experience with an excommunicated member. He got excommunicated a long time ago. We had passed by a few times cause he asked us to and we got permisson to do it. We passed by but he was really on the defensive the whole time. This time we passed by cause we were close in the area and apparently he was praying that we pass by cause he wants to get baptized again! That was a really cool experience cause this guy is really changed and super humble right now. It was awesome to see the change in this guy. We also had a legit experience doing service for a guy when we left Veronica´s house after we taught her. We were walking with this member, Brother Sea and we saw a guy spreading a huge mound of dirt all over his yard to even it out. We asked if he wanted help and he said yes kind of joking around so we went up and starting helping the guy. Turns out he´s a friend of Brother Sea and they started talking as we were working. We then went back the next day andtaught him a little bit. His name is Juan and he´s a really cool guy. He´s known missionaries for a while but never really read or prayed. It was a cool experience though and a great testimony about service for me.Right now I´m in Bahía cause he had consejo with President and just barely got out. It was awesome and we talked a ton about working with members so PLEASE HELP THE MISSIONARIES OUT THERE!!!! Seriously you guys don´t realize how important you are in missionary work. Members are the most important people. That´s everything that really happened this week. Thanks for all your letters and support. I can´t believe Kyler is swimming already and everything is changing back home. I can´t believe so much stuff is changing and so many cool things are happing. I hope your all doing well! Thanks for everything you do!!!! Love you guys!
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Month Gone By

Well hello everyone. How´s things? Ok first of all that´s crazy to hear that Bryan is already back home. Tell him I said hi. Sounds like he had an awesome mission. I can´t wait to talk to him about it when I get back. That´s awesome that he´s gonna go to BYU too, I love that kid. It doesn´t surprise me at all that he had that much success. So it´s hard to believe that another month has gone by. It still hasn´t really hit me yet how close I am and to be completely honest I try not to think about it too much. I got a little booklet last week that talks about puting life goals after the mission and stuff like that. I have to give it to President in my last interview.....I think I´m gonna wait a little while to fill it out.
Anyway the missionary work out here is going pretty well. We had a few miracles this week which were pretty awesome. One happened last monday right after I finished writing you all. We went out with Elder Milne and went by some members so that he could start to get to know people. After that we were gonna pass by a different members house to see how some references were doing cause here in the mission we have a new way to work with members and references, and as we´re on our way there Elder Milne says "hey lets knock this door". We knocked and they let us in! We taught the Gutierrez family which is a family of 6! It was pretty amazing. So that was a good way to start the week off. Then another day we went by the Mansilla family but they weren´t there so we kept walking and decided to knock another door. We knock it and this lady answers and says "oh finally, how are you guys?". Turns out she had talked to other missionaries a while ago and they said they were gonna pass by but they never did. Her name is Veronica and she´s super cool. We weren´t able to go in at that moment cause there was no guy in the house and if there´s not a man in the house we´re not allowed to enter. But we´re gonna go back and teach her. That was also super cool. We also went with a member and taught this lady Andrea and her daughters Micaela and Paloma. A while ago we helped Andrea put a roof on her house cause the guy that was building just picked up and took off without ever finishing the house and Andrea didn´t have any money to pay somebody else to do it. We helped her with that and this week we were finally able to teach her and her daughters. Andrea had listened to missionaries before when she was young but her parents wouldn´t let her get baptized.....time to change that now! It was a really cool experience and they´re really excited which is great! We also talked to the Mansilla family a little bit and they´re gonna meet us on wednesday morning to take out a fecha to get married. We´re hoping we can get them married and baptized here pretty soon and really get things going here. Things with Elder Milne have been great so far. He kind of reminds me of Ryan Jensen a little bit, and he´s also a red head so that helps. We´re doing super good though and we´re excited to have a lot of success and I´m excited to end the mission the best way possible. Those were some of the tendure merices of the Lord in our lives this week. It was awesome. I at least throughly enjoyed it. Oh one more. On sunday we went out to look for people to go to church but didn´t find anyone. We were a little disappointed and were walking back towards the church. We get there, go in and head to the gospel principles class and we see this guy Cristian there. Cristian was an investigator that we had dropped cause he and his girlfriend Maria weren´t progressing at all. They had to get married but then there was always some problem as to why they couldn´t do it or they´d fight all the time and call it off. Looks like Cristian had a life changing experience in these last couple weeks and we´re gonna go back to help him change things around and so he hopefully can finally get baptized. Please pray for him and Maria cause we need all the help we can get. That was really cool though cause Cristian was not the same guy in church that I knew before. He had come to church a ton of times before but this time it was diferent and that was really cool. Well that´s all for this week. Thanks for all the great news. I can´t believe mom got released as Relief Society President. I didn´t think that was ever gonna happen. Well I love you all and thanks for all the love and support. I truely appreciate it!!!!
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

Changes, Changes, Changes

Well hello beloved family how is everything? Well as you can tell there have been some changes here. I´m still here in Tandil. Looks like I´m gonna end here and I´m really excited cause I really like it here. We have great members and we have a couple families that need to get baptized before I leave! I do have a new companion however. His name is Elder Milne. Have I ever told you guys about him? I knew him when he started the mission out in Santa Rosa when I trained the first time, then later he was in my district when I was in Jorge Newbery and now we´re comps! I´m really excited. He´s an awesome guy and we´re both pretty pumped to get working and see some miracles out here in Tandil. He´s a giant too. We´re literally the same size. It´s gonna be pretty legit I must say. We´re gonna be like the twin towers walking around. We´ll take some pictures and I´ll be sure to send them next week. Sorry I´ve been really bad about sending pictures lately. But we´re excited to get going and I can´t believe I´m ending the mission. This is probably the weirdest feeling on the planet. To be completely honest I don´t remember a lot of life before the mission. I´m excited to get back to school as well though and be out there with Mike and John.
Anyway back to Argentina and the mission. We have some pretty legit investigators that we are hoping get baptized this month. We have a family called the Mansilla family that are way cool. I don´t remember if I told you about them or not but I´m gonna tell you again. When we found them 2 weeks ago they didn´t have hardly anything to eat, the dad, Alberto, didn´t have a job and their house is pretty much falling apart. We started teaching them (they already know the church cause they´ve listened before) and they came to church last sunday and this last week Alberto got a job and we couldn´t go teach him cause he was working! It´s so awesome to see the blessing that the Lord gives us when we are obedient to his commandments and do what He says we should. It was kind of a bummer that we couldn´t really go to teach them but on the other hand it´s ok cause Alberto was working. We gotta go by this week and get them committed to getting married and then baptized! Hopefully they get baptized in the next few weeks. We also have this cool couple, Aureliano and Ana. I think I have told you about them before. They have a baby that´s the same age as Kyler. They´re super cool too but they also have to get married. Luckily the judge here that marries people is a member of the church so she´s totally willing to help us out and get them married quickly!!! Whoo!!! We also have this lady named Nanci who went to the church in a pueblo close by here for almost 10 years but never got baptized! It actually really shocked me and we´re gonna try to baptize her this weekend but she has to stop smoking so please pray for her cause we need a miracle to happen so that she gets baptized this weekend. We also have a couple other people but they´re still super new and I don´t remember everyone´s name at this point. I´m really excited though to get going. It´s weird that Elder Murillo isn´t here. I loved that kid. He´s amazing and we got along super well. I´m gonna miss him a lot but I´m also really excited to get going with Elder Milne right now! I love you guys, thanks for all your love and support!!! Share the gospel with everyone you know!!! Seriously! I love you all. Take care and we´ll be seeing you
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

A Few More Miracles

Well hello family how are things? I've decided I´m going to go back to school when I get home so get ready. I want to major in international relations with a minor in spanish. Yes I just decided what I´m going to do for the rest of my life. I´m excited. Random fact, one of the Elders I live with, Elder Wartena, is gonna major in the exact same thing. Ok Ok back to the missionary part. So this week we had some pretty random miracles which was awesome. First of all we had 6 people in church which was a miracle in itself cause the last 2 weeks we haven´t had anyone. That was super cool. Then in the week we had some pretty random/legit stuff happen. On tuesday we were walking down the street and this guy who was standing outside his house said "hi Elders how are you?". Not too many people say Elder to us so we stopped and started talking to him. His name is Alberto Mansilla and him and his family are having a really tough time. His house it basically falling apart. They know the church from a long time ago but never got baptized for some reason. Then we were walking down a different street later in the week and a lady said hey I want to talk to you. 2 Sister missionaries used to teach her but then they got transfered and no one ever went by again. She said that she suffered from depression but has now left that behind and wants us to go teach her. Pretty legit huh? I sure thought so. That was pretty awesome. We also taught a domincan family which was fun cause they sound really cool when they talk. It´s cool hearing another accent that´s not from argentina. It was pretty cool. Not a whole lot more happened besides that this week. Oh we had a really awesome lesson with the Collado family and our branch president but they didn´t make it to church. We gotta see what we can do to help them get to church cause they´re awesome people and have a ton of potential to progress and be better and better. Please pray for them and us that we can help them get to church. I can´t think of much else to say and I´ve run out of time. I love you all and thanks for all your help and support. It´s weird to think that I only have one transfer left after this week. I don´t really like thinking about it but it´s somthing I have to face. It´s probably the weirdest feeling I´ve felt in my life. We´ll see what happens when the moment comes. Thanks for all your love and support!!! I hope everyone is good and Kyler is growing strong!!!!
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan

Another Week Gone By...

Well hello everyone, how are things? It´s hard to believe that another week has gone by. It´s really kind of creepy how quickly time passes, and I´m told that times goes by even faster after the mission so that´s not too reassuring. Well this week was interesting. To be completely honest not a whole lot happened this week. We walked a ton and had a hard time finding people at home. This last few weeks have been a little tough cause we haven´t been able to get anyone in church. That´s always annoying cause if people don´t come to church, they can´t get baptized, and they can´t save themselves or apply the Atonement in their lives. But hey they also have their agency so there´s not always a ton we can do about that. We´ve been working really hard and are hoping to see the fruits of our labors pretty soon. This week we found a few people that we hadn´t found in a while named Aureliano and Ana. Remember them? Well they had moved and so we´d kinda lost contact with them, but the other day we were able to find them again and start teaching them. They had read a bit from what we left them which was pretty cool! I was really excited. So we started teaching them again and we´re hoping that they start to progress. They have a little baby named Mateo who has about the same amount of time as Kyler so that was a weird coincidence. So we taught them one day and everything was going well. Then we called them on sunday to see what happend and why they didn´t go to church and Aureliano said that they had seperated. Super random. We were way shocked and today we have to go by to see what happened. When we went by they seemed like they were fine and now apparently they´re not together anymore. It was something that really shocked me and definitely wasn´t expecting to hear. Something that´s really hit me more than ever being here in Tandil is the importance of living the commandments. I´ve always known it was really important and I feel like I´ve had a testimony of it for a while now, but it´s like here it´s a lot more obvious why it´s important. It´s like it´s hitting me in a more direct way than it did before and the consequences are a lot more obvious and visible. Conclusion: Keeping the commandments=happiness and a lot less problems in life. It´s pretty cool how the gospel is so simple. Well that´s all that really happened this week. Sorry it wasn´t too exciting. We´ll see if we can make something happen this week. Hopefully I´ll have some stories for next week. Thanks for all your emails, love and support. That´s also super cool that Lindsay got married!!! Tell her congrats for me! Love you all, thanks for everything!!!!! 
-Elder Nicholas Gaughan