Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"May every action, thought, and speech be an example of us being disciples of Christ."

So my thoughts are pretty much scattered so I hope you can keep up!

So I took a 50 minute plane ride from SLC to st george wednesday morning. Got there and had like 8 hours of training. Then got in a car and took a 7 hour *(with stops) car ride back up to my first area being Price! We got home at a little after 9, unpacked and knocked out! Crazy right??

So my first field companion. Elder Samuelsen. Just about the awesomest person evurr. 

Yeah, I went there. He is 19 and from the neighboring state of Indiana. He has barely finished his training and is now training me. What?! Yeah, I know. Time goes quick here. He sings really well so he will continue to train me to sing less badly haha I am also trading spanish lessons for guitar lessons. Awesome!!

So our first area. Price. I would say it's a pretty low-income area although I hear there is a lot of good money working in the mines. 90% of our investigators live in trailers or basements. They all have an accent too o.O not particularly southern, but you can totally tell. I'll include pictures! Holy smokes mountains!!! I LOVE IT!! So pretty. So we have a car here and the senior companion is in charge of driving. They green dotted me for driving and I asked if it was a mistake. My mission president laughed. Haha So we are in charge of 5 english wards and 1 spanish branch. JUST my companion and I. Crazy huh? SOOOOOO many people to work with! The memebership here is 50/50 members to non members. and of the 50% of the members, 50% are inactive. So there is a lot of work to do! My area covers from Price to Moab, but currently concentrating on the Price Bilingual area. My companion speaks some spanish but I take the lead in all the spanish lessons which is an awesome learning opportunity!

................The feel of the town kind of reminds me of when we lived in Chi-city!

So, lessons! The day after we got there we did some shopping and went straight into it. In the 3 days we had left we had about 18 lessons. Ahhhhhhhhh! It was awesome! Although I've already experienced some people not willing to hear us. I can tell my companion gets really discouraged and i'm over here like, "that was awesome!" haha One example, we went tracting looking for a referral, and this older teen answered the door and the mum was in the living room. I introduced us, the boy said "Maaa! It's the missionaries!" All you heard was "Yeah, no" from the mum. The boy laughed and slammed the door. Hahaha It was so great!!!! I was smiling the rest of the day. Experiences are so real! Well, maybe because they are haha. 

Side note: Computer skills are a blessing. My companion just leaned over and said he can't even see my fingers when i'm typing. Haha

So another experience. We are teaching these 2 teen hispanic girls, Kayla and Karla. I led the lesson and my companion bore a second witness. As I was explaining that as children of God, we are heirs to the kingdom of Heaven just as our brother JC is I literally saw Kayla's eyes go uber wide, and her mouth just shot open. 8-O <- Like that! It was absolute bliss. This message needs to reach everyone!!!

So one of the recent converts, Freddy....... He is an ex gangster from Cali who got baptized about a month ago. Ohmahgoodness! He has more scriptures memorized than I do!! He literally goes to an appointment as a fellowshipper with us like every other day. Walking testimony of how the gospel changes lives! 

So first Sunday right?? We attended 2 of the english wards and the spanish branch. I got asked to speak in the spanish branch -_- haha surprisingly much easier as a missionary haha

So I feel I'm forgetting stuff :/ I forgot my journal in my residence. Oh! We live in the basement of an exbishop and it is awesome! Fully stocked and has a piano, ping pong table, library! haha It's pretty sweet.

So random facts. I've lost 5 pounds since the first week of the MTC. I was dubbed the classiest missionary at the MTC before we left, and continue to get compliments on the field. Yay-ah! Oh! For Caleb Menendez! I met a sister Alderson who knows a menendez from california! any relation? Where is Billy? That ninja disappeared the day I left home haha. We are getting iPad's soon and are not expected to be on FB which is a mucho plus! haha There is so much member missionary work going on it is amazing!

Overall, mission is great. I'm doing well. Love my companion. Weather is nice. Zone and district are wicked chill. Life. Is. Great. 

Miss you all. Hope I covered everything. I'll start sending pictures.

Remember: We all hold power and authority being LDS members. Let's meet those standards. May every action, thought, and speech be an example of us being disciples of Christ.

Les amo mucho! Hasta la proxima semana!

Elder Castellanos :)

These are two pictures he sent as well.

{ Provo, Utah Temple }

{ Provo West MTC District F }

Thursday, January 23, 2014

...I will strive, and will be the best missionary I can be...

Hola familia!

I hope everyone had an amazing week! I forgot my journal at my residence so I will try to remember everything that happened!

So I mentioned yesterday that we had Elder Bednar at our devotional last week. wHAT!? Yeah, awesome right?? He gave such a great talk touching on women with the priesthood, testimony of the book of mormon, teaching with the spirit, and how to be better companions. It was just about the best thing ever. Sunday we got to see a devotional he gave a couple years ago called "The character of christ" OHMAHGOODNESS. It was so awesome! 

So we wrapped up with our investigators and my whole district did so well. My companion and I committed all 4 to baptism, went through all the lessons, helped 2 with relapses, and dunked em in the bath tub :P haha it was so great though. Actors or not, the experiences they share are real, and the spirit brought into the conversation is real. Can't wait to start being the instrument to change the hearts of those in my mission! 

Quick side note: My singing. It's gotten less terrible!! So I am pretty much singing hymns everywhere I go. I have an elder and a sister from my district giving me tips and advice and everyone says they can at least stand being around me now so that's improvement right?? haha :P But really, it keeps me in such a great mood! Although i'm sure my companion doesn't appreciate it in the morning when I shower. Haha Oh hhwell. :P

So we had this awesome teaching excercise where we could only use the book of mormon as a reference in our lessons. It was a little tough because I wanted to pull some stuff out of D&C and couldn't :/ but we planned and organized and got through our lessons and I was like woah! It's all we really need. Just came across as having so much power. It was so nice!

We added 16 new members in our zone, 8 sisters and 8 elders. They aren't as  fun as our original zone though :/ 7 of the girls are from Colombia and one is from the US somewhere.......  They're sketch. haha kidding, just awkward at times.  o.O

My companion and I were helping sister vasquez and sister Newton from my district pack and clean up our class room, and they both asked me if I could give them a blessing for their trip. I was so struck and honored. I asked if it was okay for my companion to do one and i'd do another and they agreed. So my companion and I went up, and he said the blessing for sister vasquez. Then I did sister Newton. I cannot explain to you the feeling I got when I gave that blessing. It's literally like I was standing there, talking but kind of outside of me listening. I can't even recall what I said in the blessing. The priesthood is the power of God. Literally. & like I mentioned in my farewell, the fact that you can respectfully provide a blessing because you know you are worthy to give it is just about the best feeling ever. It was such a tender moment and I know she felt it too. So awesome!

Thought of the week: I will strive, and will be the best missionary I can be. The experiences I will gather from my mission in being obedient and fully dedicated to the Lord will provide blessings on a personal, spiritual, and also family aspect. For some reason during one of my classes we talked about the people we want to be when we returned. (mostly cuz so many RM's fall away) and I strangely thought of what I wanted to be as a son, friend, but mostly focused on what type of husband and father I wanted to be. & that is one who is dignified, devoted, and loving in the gospel and family. My goal is to be worthy of being married and sealed honorably in the house of the Lord. (we're going deep) haha but yea, had to write that cool thought!

There are 4 people form my original zone left. It was so sad to see everyone go. Brother Stuart's and Ben's journal were a hit with everyone! They all wanted one! haha but I passed it around like it was a yearbook in highschool haha everyone laughed at me because I would write novels in theirs haha I lloved every one of them so much. It's different how being set apart and having the spirit so close to you heightens your emotions. Every time one of them came to me for troubles they were having I would hurt with them. Their sadness became mine and I did everything to help them. Ah! Crazy!!! I love it though. You really come to appreciate everything about everyone and it's so great.

Well I can't think back on anything else. OH!!!! did I mention I went to the temple again today??? I have come to gain such an appreciation for it!!! Did I mention last week that there is a new video?? Go watch it! although idk if it's out everywhere. It is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like the actors better on the last cool one but eh, you win some you lose some. Still just about the best ever though!! and words around the fountain is that there are still 2 more editions coming out!! crazy right?? ahhhhhh!

Well if I think of anything else I will update. I head off to st george tomorrow in case you send me mail! I love and miss you all! May we always strive to be christ-like !

Til' next week!
Elder Castellanos

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"....we are the guests in the home of the Spirit"

Hola mi familia!!

Como estais? Espero que vuestro trabajo en la casa no se haiga complicado mucho desde que me vine.

No clue how to do accents on here. Oh hhwell.

6 days in! There is so much to say! I'll start with my experience!

First day was a roller coaster. Get in, get your materials, meet your companion, go to class. I was lucky, I actually met my companion on the bus ride over to campus. So the MTC got split into 2 campuses. The Main, and the West. The Main houses all the missionaries, except for spanish, Haha The West campus is strictly missionaries going spanish speaking :O We make a joke in our zone that we are the segregated section of hispanics. :P No, but the campus is way nice, we have better apartments than the main does. But yes, work work work, eat, and work. That's all it is. You literally have no time to get side tracked because everything is planned out for you. Then you get home, adn you think you have time to think for yourself, and you're out like a lightbulb. Overall, I think I can sum up my experience in one thought that I had on Saturday. In the real world, the spirit of the Lord is a guest in our homes...at the MTC (and i'm sure it applies to the whole mission), we are the guests in the home of the Spirit. It literally roams this place and sets you right if you don't treat it with respect. Woah, right?? Yeah.

So get the embarrassments out of the way, i've cried twice since i've been here during a lesson; once role-playing with a sister in my district (i played an investigator and we were invited to portray a family member who was less active or not a member....), and the second time during a lesson with our progressing investigator. Se llama Jose, y tambien es de Guatemala. He just has such a big heart, and love for his family. He has feelings of guilt for his wrong-doings in the past and just has this strong desire to change. It was absolutely beautiful. For the record, Jose cried first :O

My companion!
Se llama Elder Anduro. He is 18 fresh out of high school. He comes from the far land of Ogden, Utah. Haha He is Mexican at birth but lived here for 15 years. He speaks fluent spanish but has trouble reading and has a weird messican accent. Y'all know :P haha no but he's great. Through companionship inventory, I have just come to the conclusion that I should accept he is 18, and that there is room for maturity. Crazy for ME to say that right? haha no, but he just needs to stand his ground with what he believes instead of trying to go with the flow with the apostate missionaries we see here. I am convinced that's why we were paired together cuz i'm able to help him stay in line. OH and that patience prep at work? Yeah...many blessings I have received. 

So my people! 
Our zone is made up of 3 districts, and we are getting 3 more tomorrow (we are officially the old district) Literally, the BEST zone evurr. Everyone is just so loving and willing to accept one another, we have become a family and are able to love eachother. Thursday I got called in to an interview with my branch presidency, where they extended the call to be the district leader. A little frightened but I accepted and I LOVE it. I am able to mediate between my district members and just make sure everything is flowing smoothly and solve issues. I love them all!

So we went to the temple today!!!!
It. was. the. best. thing. evurr. Kay, i';m going to say that a lot, but literally. awesome. I loved my zone before, but after all sharing the morning at the temple, seeing us all in white. It was absolutely beautiful. I'll try to attach pictures!

I feel i'm forgetting a lot, so i'll try writing stuff down, but there has literally been a lot. 

To sum it up,

This is where I need to be. This is where I want to be. The level of happiness just elevated the second I stepped into the mindset of a missionary. This is our Heavenly Father's plan for us, for me. I love and miss you all. 

Elder Castellanos

P.s. DearElder works really well in Utah ;)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Journey Begins

Well, It's official.
Elder Castellanos has entered the MTC.
These last few days have been a little emotional but Luis is eager to serve the Lord.
He was set apart as a Missionary on Monday the 6th, 
and reported to the MTC on Wednesday the 8th at 12:30 pm MST.

It only gets better from here.
We'd like to thank all those who were present for the support they have provided.

Here are a few images from his Setting Apart and Airport Farewell.
There are more images, but I haven't gotten my hands on them just yet.
Bear with me though. 

A man who is full of the love of god is not content with blessing his family only, but thinks about all of the people in the world, anxious to bless the whole human race. 
Joseph Smith