Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"In Him we find refuge. In Him we find love...In Him we find peace."


Welcome to another episode of my life as a missionary! :O crazy, no?

This week was super amazing and filled with miracles!

So we put Angelo on date for this upcoming Saturday. He is doing everything right! He is reading the book of mormon and the bible together and watching all the D&C videos and praying and coming to church ad he's just perfect! haha I a so sure he can make it! He already has a testimony of the truthfulness of the book of mormon and says he can't wait to go out and share with others what he has learned. Ah.!!

Another miracle, we were at the visitor's center with the familia mendoza on saturday and a big family walked in. A sister greeted them and then called e over because they were from Quiché, Guatemala! Mis paisanos! haha but I talked to them and found out they were i our area. The father said he was not a member of the church "yet". ;) so we showed them around and set up to come back sunday. So we went bac and showed them God's plan for family. Everyone was in tears. Heck, I was in tears. We bore testimony of eternal families and what it meant to each of us. It was amazing! we had to leave for sacrament so we left the sisters with them for an hour. But we came back and they were gone :( worst part is we didn't get any of their info :(( so we are really praying they will come back. 

We had a spanish conference yesterday afternoon as well and Elder Wade from the area 70 and our mission president was there and it was just so great. The spirit radiates from Elder Wade! We discussed making our sacrament meetings of a greater quality for investigators and how we can focus on retention. Some things to reflect if you can provide aid in a spanish branch near you. It should be one culture, one people, one family. Be sure the branches are a part of the stake. Make sure the stake auxiliaries are doing their part in attending regularly and providing support. Members should be working WITH the missionaries to fellowship. In teaching, their should be at least one family present - when attending church, EVERYONE should fellowship. They should feel loved the moment they walk through the doors. As soon as they are baptized and receive the gift of the holy ghost increase their learning. Give the RC lessons. Give them a purpose! A sense of belonging; of being needed. A calling should be delegated not long after baptism. Train our members in all these aspects. Turn to preach my gospel for aid. It wasn't given to us to just keep around o.O

Lastly, my temple trip this morning. Wow. I love this gospel. I rejoice in the promises that are made in the sacred temple of the Lord. I am grateful for my family and the fact that we can be together forever as we diligently strive to live true to all of God's commandments. I am grateful for our prophet who leads and guide us in these latter-days. I testify that he is a man called of God to minister unto the entire world the truth. I testify that the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's kingdom restored on the Earth today. I testify and bear witness that this restored gospel is true happiness - that through modern revelation we can have the guidance to have Christ-centered homes and return to live in the Heavens with our Heavenly Father and all of our family. I love my Savior! I know that He lives! I know that he knows us each personally, and has suffered every negative moment of our lives. In Him we find refuge. In Him we find love...In Him we find peace. May we always turn to Him and live faithful to the covenants we make or will make in the future. I love you all. You are always in my heart and prayers. Til' next time!

With all my love,

-Elder Castellanos

P.s. I took up soccer. Who knew it'd be fun xP

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Heavenly Father truly knows me...personally...and he knows us all. If we align our will to his will he will raise us up!"

Oi minha familia! Como vai??? Eu esto falando muito portuguese con meu compa. Okay maybe not that much, but I learn a couple phrases each day! haha Well as you learned last week I'm in st. george serving with E. Cavazotti. We oversee 13 companionships with recently added Mesquite! Yeah...nevada...crazy huh? Exchanges will be fun haha But i love the area because we get to work closely with president and the assistants. A lot of work to do though. By far the most tiring week of my mission thus far. o.O but way fun! Super excited for things to come. So we got a shiny new grey jeep. :D Andrea must be clenching her teeth. haha it has like 600 miles on it o.O but anywho...our area is huge! we cover our whole zone in spanish. So it's all of st george and neighboring cities plus mesquite. "Everything the light touches is our kingdom. Super fun though. E. cavazotti is a stud. Such a great example of what a leader should be. 

Updates: Zuly the chapina in Price got baptized saturday. super nice! Sad i missed it but she was able to make those covenants with Heavenly Father which is the best part. her sister is lined up for next weekend with her kids. E. rodriguez continues to rock it. No doubt he wouldn't. Our zone found 47 new investigators this week. 47 brothers and sisters ready to hear the gospel. What a blessing.

Im so grateful for my mission. So grateful for this gospel. Grateful for all the support I have. It's the best decision i've made in my life. Heavenly Father truly knows me...personally...and he knows us all. If we align our will to his will he will raise us up! I know it's true. I love my savior with all my heart. I love my family...all of you...all of those people in my mission. Keep on keeping on. Miss you dearly!

-Elder Castellanos

"...remember the great love Heavenly Father has for you. It's INFINITE!"

Hello, Hello!

So transfer calls came in Saturday night and straight from President Center. I quickly passed the phone to Elder Rodriguez for him to hear the news, but he passed it back to me because President wanted to speak to me. Here I am freaking out -_-" He said changes would be made and he'd be moving me from all the way north to all the way south. Drumroll.....summer in St. George! Ahhhh!! It's going to be hot o.O haha I'm stoked though! I will be serving as a Zone Leader in the St. George Central Zone working in the St. George Spanish Area with Elder Cavazotti. He is from Brazil and way awesome! We've been able to meet on several occasions for conferences and transfers. I'm just so grateful for the 6 months i've spent in Price. President wasn't kidding when he said it needed work. It was white-washed just a transfer before I got in so we were pretty slow but now we are seeing the fruits of our labors! Nick Thomas was baptized this past Saturday and it was amazing! All of his wife's family came down and most of his. He still has a sore spot with his mum for joining the church so she didn't attend but it was still an amazing service. Zuly and her son Josue are to be baptized this upcoming Saturday. Shannah Megan and Shawn are to be baptized on the 19th and Orfa, and her 2 daughters are to be baptized on the 26th. I told E. Rodriguez to send me the pictures so I can photoshop myself in haha The Lord's work is a marvelous work. The true gospel of Christ brings miracles into the lives of our brothers and sisters. Let us be true to our faith and serve our lifelong mission to share with others the wonderful blessing we have. It's no secret! I am really blessed for all the support you all give me. I love you all and I have you in mind each and every day. We're off to a lesson but always remember the great Love Heavenly Father has for each and everyone of you. It's infinite!  Try to imagine it...I dare you ;P Love and miss you much!

-Elder Castellanos

"hope we are all seeing miracles in our lives!"

Hi! Sorry super late but the fhc is closed so we had to go to a members home and they only have tablets so I can't write much :( I read all your emails and saw the pictures. Sounds like its been a blast! Scout looks awesome! But I would've preferred a husky. Shame about the water on dads car and Suzy's. How is dahli doing?? How are GMA and aunt enjoying themselves. Hopefully not too big of a headache or stress for mom. I love you all so much! What's new???? I haven't gotten sick. We have 6 baptisms maybe this Saturday. I haven't gotten the box. Maybe tomorrow. I got hurt a bit last week working out at the park. Got a nice bruise on my leg and I was limping for 2 days haha all healed now though. We had a visit with our mission president which was super nice! He wants to put e. Rodriguez and I in leadership next transfer which is scary. Everyone thinks I'll be a zl but I doubt it. I'm hoping for DL in this or another area. We will see! Our Guatemalan sisters should be baptized Saturday! So excited! Oh! Remember Jarret!? We found him! Haha he has been out for a month and has been going to church. Different stake now so we can't teach him but he is on the right path so its all that !matters! I'll try to get a computer later for pictures! Hope we are all seeing miracles in our lives! If not, take a deep breath and smile....it's a blessing in itself. Transfers are next week so I'll update what happens! I love you all!

"Instead of questioning why it happens, we should drop to our knees and ask what Heavenly Father is trying to teach us"

So not too much to tell, but it's more of quality over quantity. We went to moab for a baptismal interview this past week and coming back home I may or may not have been pulled over o.O So I may or may not have been going a little fast but the cop let us off with a warning...he said he was just concerned with the 5 deer hits he had to take care of that day. I kid you not; not even 2 minutes after we got back on the road...guess what jumps out in the middle of the road at us -_- a stinking deer... so E. pukahi riding shotgun yells out deer as I slam on the brakes and do a tokyo drift style skid around it. o.O It was cray! But it was just a testimony of the love Heavenly Father has for us that he would put that cop in our path to warn us. 

Miracle 2. There's this guy named Shawn that is in the sister's area. He looked kind of sketch so the bishop asked the sisters to have us teach him. We found out about him Sunday and we had a lesson planned for thursday. We prayed every night to see what we should do. Wednesday morning as I was doing my studies, this plan popped into my head. We would have our lesson at the stake center, then give him a church tour, then open up the baptismal font for him to see and put him on date. I counseled with E. rodriguez and he agreed that we should go ahead with it. So we go Thursday morning, get to know him, teach the restoration, give him the tour, and there we are in front of the font. As soon as he stood in front of it he began to cry. We knelt down and prayed and invited him to be baptized on the 5th of July. He said yes!! Wow...how awesome is the spirit at leading us to how to handle our beloved brothers and sisters when we diligently prepare and plead for help. 

We have a God of miracles!!! So I started the Book of Mormon over again this week. I have been getting hardcovers and focusing on one principle as I read. I just finished Faith so I am starting Repentance. But I read the very 1st verse in 1 nephi 1 and it talks about afflictions. I think we can all relate to nephi, being born of goodly parents, being taught in the ways of our fathers, and being highly favored of the Lord. But in the footnotes for afflictions, it describes it as blessings and gifts of god. What great knowledge that is! To know the bad times we go through are blessings! Of course, we don't think about it that way when they happen, but we should! Instead of questioning why it happens, we should drop to our knees and ask what Heavenly Father is trying to teach us. As we do, we find great comfort in bad times, and strength when we endure. That's a promise! I love you all!

-Elder Castellanos

"Beware of your pride boy....your eternal soul is at stake."

Super awesome week! Trip to Moab, zone conference in Richfield, and a baptism on saturday. Our whole zone is seeing miracles! It's just a true testimony of what we can do as we unite ourselves in the cause and work diligently. So we had exchanges with the Moab elders and we had a blast. It's 2 hours away so all 4 of us stayed in the area and proselyted. For pday we went on some hikes though and we plan to go back today. I'll attach pictures. Aubrie was confirmed last sunday and pyper was baptized this friday and confirmed sunday. It was such a blessing to see him and his wife at church. I can't wait for them to go to the temple in a year. We kept in contact with Nick and he too is excited for his baptism coming up on July 5th. He's already made arrangements for his family to be here and such. It will be great because if I get transferred it will be the last saturday in the area. So this week with exchanges and our conference I reflected a lot on the dependency we should have on Heavenly Father, and how we should stray from selfishness and pride. We can't do it alone. We never could...we never will be able to. Which really ties into the messages we heard about Father's yesterday. We really analyzed who a father should be and the role that they have played in our lives. I know I wouldn't be the person I am today, nor have the integrity I work towards if it wasn't for my pops. As I reflected on everything we have gone through with corrections and times where I wasn't acting as I should, it really made me sad. I was super blind as towards the love that he had for me. It's easy to get upset when you don't get your way. Start getting that tunnel vision where we can't see the big picture. I'm sorrowful for the times I was a disappointment, or was not able to take his advice with love. It made me think of the times we don't take Heavenly Father's advice with love. How we try to do our will and not His. Where we get mad at Him when things don't go the way we want them to. He knows all...He knows what's best. May we always seek to do HIS will. May we consult Him in EVERYTHING. Reminds me of Nephi when he was instructed to build a boat. If I remember one of the verses says that he was shown how to build it, not after the manner of men, but after the manner of God. And he pray oft...consulting with the Lord if He was on the right path. That's the example we must follow. The scriptures were given to us for that very reason. May we be able to use those wonderful tools to bless our lives and our families. I love you all!

P.s. Talk about answers to prayers!!! So last monday Amanda and I were discussing Caleb and how we really wanted to know how he was doing. So throughout the week I had been praying to know and feel that he was ok. Well Friday, I told e. rodriguez we needed to ride bikes to save miles. So we went off to our baptismal interview and who do yells out to us at the gas station we were passing????? Caleb's mom!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Okay...so I freaked out and probably went into shock. But we chatted and took a picture but it was so crazy!!! Heavenly Father answers sincere prayers! I know it!