Monday, April 27, 2015

"Did I Serve a Mission?"

Tuesday, Sister Hampton and I were at EF desk (in the South Visitor Center) and this nice man, named Manuel, came in and we started talking.  Manuel was a member of the church and was visiting for the week.  We had a very nice conversation and then he continued on through the visitor center. I wanted to ask him if he had served a mission, but I had forgotten to.  A few hours later we were out walking on the square and ran into Manuel again!  I had remembered that I wanted to ask if he served a mission and the response he gave was one I will never forget.  He said, "Did I serve a mission?"  He shared that he was from Peru and when he and his wife went back to visit he asked for copies of the Book of Mormon and gave out twenty or so of them!  He said that everyday he shares the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone else.  He then said. "Did I serve a two year mission and wear the name tag?  No.  But I serve a mission everyday."

As members of this church sometimes we forget that we, too, are missionaries.  We should have the same purpose in our lives just like those who do wear a name tag.   The message that Manuel shared with us applies to every single member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We may not all wear a black name tag, but we all made a promise with Heavenly Father when we were baptized that we would take upon us the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.  This means we are to fulfill missionary work every single day.  It is okay to be nervous, or scared or unsure of what to do, but the Lord has provided numerous resources to help us!

*Prayer The best source of help is Heavenly Father.  Every morning and evening pray to Heavenly Father and ask for His strength in your missionary work.  Pray for opportunities to serve others or share a principle of the gospel.  You can never say too many prayers throughout the day!  As you make the effort to converse with the Lord, He will place individuals in your path to serve.
*Scriptures- As you read the scriptures daily, you will find many examples of missionaries who simply and powerfully shared the gospel of Jesus Christ.  

*Missionaries- Trust the local missionaries!  Ask them for ideas!  We are not always perfect, but we have been set apart as representatives of Jesus Christ and our purpose is to invite everyone to receive the restored gospel.  This includes giving the members of the church support for their own missionary efforts.  I promise you that as you rely on the local missionaries your ward will be strengthened and you will have more opportunities to bring others into the church.

*Preach My Gospel- Preach My Gospel is the next best thing to the scriptures!  This book was written by men called of God; in other words it was heaven published!  Preach my Gospel was written specifically for "full time" missionaries, but this is a great resource for members to use as well, to help them strengthen their own personal testimonies!

*Temple- The temple is the house of the Lord.  It is a place where we as members go to have personal worship and make covenants with God.  As we make it a habit to attend the temple, we will be inspired as to where the Lord needs us and how we can serve Him.

I am not inviting you as members of the church, to do these things because I am perfect at all of them.  Trust me, I am far from mastering any of these!  It is my hope that you will read this and will be inspired to continue the missionary work you are already doing.  There are so many beautiful children of God who do not have the knowledge of this gospel!  At the end of the day ask yourself, "Did I serve a mission?"  I know that as you continue to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and rely on Christ's atonement, your answer will always be "Yes!"

I have a firm belief in my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I cannot be happy without the restored gospel in my life!  The family is such a virtuous gift from our Heavenly Father and I am grateful to have my family.  I hope to one day seal my own family in the temple so they too can enjoy the blessings that come form the gospel.  Joseph Smith was a prophet and he did restore the gospel of Jesus Christ!  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sister Aquino
"If any of you lack wisdom..."

"Did I serve a mission?"-Manual

My roomies from last transfer
Sister Yang, my first district leader, came to visit!

Sister Leavitt!!!!

Welfare Square Youth Group Tour

Monday, April 20, 2015


Another transfer has come and gone!  Crazy!  Sister Hampton and I will be serving at Welfare Square this transfer!  I am excited to learn more about the welfare program!

Bye Guest Services!
 Last week I was assigned to drive some of the sisters to the airport to go home.  Because I am not the best at directions I am typically a little nervous with driving a lot of people, but when I woke up in the morning I was ready to go!  When I looked outside I saw snow, but I still felt calm and confident to drive.  Well, when we first got on the freeway I missed the exit so I got off the next one and continued to follow the signs toward the airport.  As we continued driving I could tell we were no where near the airport!  At this point I was very nervous, frustrated and upset.  I felt really stupid for getting us lost!  The snow and wind were blowing terribly strong and although I had the windshield wipers going I could hardly see anything. Eventually I decided to pull over and call one of the leaders in charge of the cars.  We said a prayer and then decided to turn around and get back on the freeway.  Thankfully we made it to the airport!  I knew how to get back home, but of course, I missed the exit again and of course we were stuck on a long strip that took us no where!  I prayed and I prayed and I prayed that we would get home safely.  Since I am writing this you can probably figure out the end result of the story.

Although in the moment I was really upset with my self and the whole situation, I learned a lot!  This experience really tested my faith.  I have always known the gospel of Jesus Christ to be true, but it is situations like this one that help me to appreciate and build upon my faith more.  I am sure the pioneers of the church were scared, nervous, frustrated, upset, lost and confused at times as they walked across the plains and not knowing where they would end up or how they would survive.  However, I do know that because of their tremendous faith in Heavenly Father that they reached Zion and were able to enjoy the blessings from the trial of their faith.  Today, I too, have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of the pioneers sacrifice and faith.  I am privileged to walk on sacred grounds everyday! 

In Ether 12:26 of the Book of Mormon it states,
And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

I bear a strong testimony that when we have faith in Heavenly Father during our trials, He will bless us as well as our families.  If you do not have this faith or you are unsure of how to gain some, read the Book of Mormon and pray to Heavenly Father to strengthen you.  I know that because we said a prayer, Heavenly Father was able to comfort me and to guide me back home safely.  Just like the pioneers, we too can act upon our faith because of our love for Heavenly Father.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sister Aquino
SNOW in April!!!!!!

Sister Hampton passed off!  Our trip to the Lion House-Yum!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Love Brings Us Light: The Light of Christ

Temple Square is filled with many remarkable things: the spirit, miracles, peace, happiness, love, fun, hope, people, etc.!  When General Conference comes around all of these double!  I cannot describe how much I loved conference weekend!  To make the Spirit even stronger Conference fell on Easter!  Just like during the Christmas season, there were hundreds and hundreds of people scattered all over the grounds.  We met several wonderful members who strengthened my testimony!
General Conference Easter Sunday

One experience I would like to share is about Nathan and Abby.  Sister Hampton and I were walking by God's Plan and we noticed a family of four over by the Old Testament paintings.Because they had two adorable kids we had to talk with them!  They were members of the church visiting from California for General Conference. We asked Nathan if he was excited to see President Monson speak and his response was, "The President of the United States is Barrack Obama".  :-) Apparently he has been studying the presidents of the United States in school. Little kids are so cute!  We asked if they had ever watched God's Plan before: they hadn't, so we took them through!  When we got to the the room with the scene of the two kids playing baseball, Nathan turned to Abby and said, That's you and me!"  In the next room, Nathan turned to his dad and said "Give me a kiss!"  After the video had finished in the last room, we asked Nathan and Abby why they loved their parents.  At first Nathan said he didn't know.  His dad then asked him, "Remember we talked about this?  What does mom do for you?"  The Spirit hit me so strong right then and there.  
Some of you may be reading this and questioning why I am sharing this experience?  It is hard to describe all of the emotion that was felt in that room. But, as we talked with this family, the Spirit confirmed to me that families are eternal.  As families we should strive to be happy everyday and to cherish each member.  Ultimately, my family is the reason I am on my mission and why I had the opportunity to experience General Conference this weekend.  If it weren't for my parents stalwart example, I would would not have a belief in Jesus Christ or have the faith to love others and share the gospel.  I was also reminded of  how much I love my mom!  Although the official Mother's Day is not here yet, everyday is Mother's Day to me. The love and support she has always given me is seen in the people I meet.  It is in the beautiful flowers planted all around Temple Square.  I feel it during my studies in the scriptures I read.  I feel it as I bear testimony of my Savior.  Had my mother not loved me, I would not be where I am today, enjoying the blessings I have been given.

My challenge to each of you this week is to write a letter to at least one of your family members telling them your appreciation and love for them.  As we serve others and express our love towards them, we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and that is something that will always make us happy.

I know that Jesus is the living Christ.  My heart is filled with peace and happiness because my Savior was resurrected from the grave.  I love my family!  It is my hope we will all be together for eternity.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Brother Reis from District 1

Kaitlyn! Sister Palmer's sister

Bro McGinn! Our MTC teacher

Hi Olivia!

Our investigator came to Conference with his bishop

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Family: A Proclamation to the World

General Conference is this weekend and I really cannot wait!  The gospel of Jesus Christ is such a beautiful blessing to have in my life!  Being able to hear the words of a prophet of God is witness to me that God does know me personally.

Saturday I attended the General Women's Conference!  The powerful message that stood out to me was the importance of the family of God.  I learned that 1) We need to love our own family and strive to strengthen our relationships with them,  and 2) We should strengthen others as well because they too are our brothers and sisters.  I invite you all to watch the women's conference as well as read "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I know that this proclamation was inspired by God.  In today's world there is a lot of chaos and confusion as to what the definition of and the importance of a family.  I know that as we center our homes around the teachings of Jesus Christ, we will be eternally happy and feel at peace.  This does not necessarily mean that our lives will change to perfection or we will never have challenges within our family. But, I promise that as we live by this proclamation and follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will be able to recognize God's gentle hand throughout our lives, guiding us to exaltation.

I love my family!  What an immense blessing they have been in my life!  We are far from perfect, but I know that because we strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are able to find true happiness together.  I know this life is not the end.  I will see my family and friends who have passed on again because of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.