Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well! Another great week in the mission.

We have been doing lots of work here to rebuild the area and trying to find new investigators.  We were teaching a 9 year old kid named Luis that was progressing towards baptism but he moved back to Mexico  so he's gone.  This week we started teaching two great families: one in Camino that went to a Christian church in Mexico but go to a 7th day adventist church because that's the first one they found here, and a family that is related to our one family of members.  We are excited to teach them more and get some other ideas in place!

We are trying to get an English class started here and a soccer night to be able to find more Hispanic people.
There's not too much else going on up here.  A lot of the Hispanic people up here already know the missionaries or are very "hard-hearted" and "stiff-necked" and don't want to hear us.  They run away from us and hide and are afraid to make commitments with God, that's what our member says at least.  Yesterday we had a conversation that is very typical.  The kids answered the door and talked to us for a while in English, then we hear voices from the back saying in Spanish, "tell them to go away and that we're not interested".  Eventually we get to talking to the parents and they tell us they don't like our religion or that "they're catholic and that's that".  When we ask them what they don't like they never have anything to say and just say "we all worship the same God and that's really all that matters.  My parents raised me Catholic so that's how I'm going to stay".  We then usually bring up points such as "well if it doesn't matter which church you go to as long as you worship God, why are you so against listening to our message?" or "so what you're saying is if you happened to be born Protestant you would die Protestant just because that's the religion your were born in".  Usually by then they have nothing more to say so they just turn us away and don't listen to us any more.  It's really sad to see how little people are committed to God and how far off they are but we keep searching for the people that God is preparing to accept the truth.

One cool experience we had this week happened with two different people.  One night we were talking to an older guy and we got to talking about ourselves and he was asking why we take time out of our lives to serve the Lord.  He thought it would be better that we study and go to school and then get into a really good career.  We kept telling him that we were called by a prophet of God to be there and knew that that's where we needed to be at the time and that there would be time as soon as we go home to finish studying and get started in our careers.  A few days later when we met the 7th day adventists, when we were leaving we asked if there was anything we could do to help them out.  She said no because anything else we could do for her wouldn't be nearly as important as what we were doing then.  She related it to the story of Martha and Mary, where one was doing honorable things in cleaning/chores but the other sitting at the feet of Jesus was doing something more important.  That really made me think and be grateful for the time I have to serve the Lord.  I know there's nothing better that I could be doing in my life right now and am very grateful for the experiences I've had and everything I've learned.

I hope the week goes well at home and I'll try to have more to say for the next week!

Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Gaskill

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Obedience Brings Blessings

Hello Everyone,

This week was great, as are they all. Especially because of conference! One of the lessons I've been learning lately that was emphasized in conference was that of obedience.  President Monson and Elder Perry both focused on it and I thought it was really interesting.  One of the prophets stated that "obedience is the first law of heaven" and so we definitely need to be prepared for that by being obedient in every way here: by obeying commandments, governmental laws, etc.  One scripture that has really stuck out to me is Mosiah 2:41 that says more or less "I would that ye would consider the blessed and happy state of those who keep the commandments of God".  I testify that that is true.  The support and blessings we get from keeping the commandments are all that we could ever need.  I have been thinking a lot about the Hispanic people with whom I work.  Most of them live in humble circumstances and I am convinced that it is because they are a people that because of tradition and a lack of knowledge to the things of God break a lot of commandments.  They LOVE their alcohol and coffee, most of them "get together" with a spouse and start a family and never get married, work almost every Sunday and hardly ever go to church, etc.  Breaking these commandments is part of the reason why they are in such humble circumstances.  Those that obey the commandments of God are so much better off having all of His blessings.  So the lesson of the week is BE OBEDIENT.

A new transfer is starting tomorrow and Elder Russell and I will be together for another transfer and we are very happy about that!

Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Gaskill

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Happy Easter

Hello Everybody,

This week was another great week and it amazes me how fast it is going by.

This week we had a cool miracle.  I pray all the time that the Lord will help me recognize the people that he is preparing and putting in my path so that I can recognize the opportunities when they arise.  Up here it's harder because there aren't very many Spanish people so anyone I see could be that person.  One day this week we were exploring a city called "Coloma" that is just north of Placerville and is where Gold was discovered when the Gold Rush started.  We were driving around and not finding anything that looked remotely Spanish.  All of a sudden we ended up outside the city and heading back towards Placerville driving in between a lot of really big houses when in the middle of it all there were two little houses with Spanish people standing outside! So we parked around the corner and then walked back to them to talk to them.  We started talking to a guy named Adrian and he was really nice and interested.  He's been in jail and has some smoking problems but he really wants to learn and come to church and everything.  We haven't been able to teach him yet but we are excited to do so soon.  The Lord really helped me out by putting a situation as distinct as black and white in front of me so that I couldn't miss the opportunity.

The Yablonovski family (the family John and his companion live with) had some of their kids home for the Easter weekend so that was a lot of fun.  On Saturday it was Brother Yablonovski's birthday so we had a big birthday dinner and then on Sunday we had a big Easter lunch.  I am teaching Elder Russell to stuff a lot of food away even when you're not hungry at all but you have to eat to be respectful.  We had a huge lunch and dessert at 3 and then had pozole and more cake at 4 and Elder Russell struggled through it but now he's more prepared when he's in a more Spanish area and has to eat a lot more Spanish food.

I also had an experience this week where I kind of chastised the mom of one of the families we're teaching.  She and all the kids like what we teach and want to come to church but the husband is really shy/ashamed and is reluctant to go and just says they'll go to the Catholic Church instead of none at all.  The mom is ok with that because she just wants to do everything as a family, no matter what it entails.  On Saturday night I kind of lost my patience a little bit and started lecturing her and it lasted about an hour.  When I started it was really dark in the house and it was just her and I talking with my companion on the couch.  By the end of all that there were 12 kids that had come in, 2 uncles, 1 aunt, and they were all just listening intently to what I had to say.  I didn't even notice it happening but when I stopped for a minute and looked around I realized everyone was focused in on what I was saying.  I was amazed because we have trouble keeping the kids' attention for a few minutes but they were all listening intently.  I don't know what motivated them all to come in but something had interested them.  Unfortunately this family isn't going to be able to progress until they make it a priority which is saddening to me but at least we've been making a difference in their home.

I hope everyone is well at home and had a great Easter!

Les Quiero,
Elder Gaskill