Rest and appreciation day

Hello Everybody!

On Wednesday, we started the day by giving back to Russ. We all got in groups of two and did projects around the blue house, to make the blue house feel more welcoming for when people would come to visit. Renee and I (Rachel) cleaned the kitchen and organized the game closet. Through completing these projects we were able to show Russ how much we appreciate him for giving us a place to stay and aid his ministry. After we finished around 12:00 p.m, Russ took us to lunch, and then we followed his car up to a reservoir. At the reservoir our team found a nice, shady spot close to the water to swim, relax and hang out with each other.

We spent a couple of hours at the reservoir then we drove back to the blue house to meet up with some people we met from earlier this week. Once we all got together we drove to a hiking trail, that was gorgeous yet challenging, but everyone made it! I loved the hike because it was such a challenging adventure. The destination of our hike was a view of a waterfall and of the city, it was gorgeous and a well deserved reward. A couple of us went a little farther to get a better view and we where the only people at the spot, we were yelling, cheering and taking lots of photos.When we got back to the cars we all went to a coffee shop, where most of us had drinks and conversations.

When we got back to the blue house, our new friends started to leave and the team went to bed, getting some well needed rest from our rest day.

love,

Rachel !

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Bring Them In

Hello Everyone!

Well we are on our fifth day up here in Utah! Yesterday we focused on reaching out to the community through providing a free carwash in front of the Blue  House. We washed approximately 10 cars and were able to engage in some awesome conversations. Renee and I (Sarah) spoke with a lady named Gina. We explained to her that we were in Utah to better understand the Mormonism and the similarities and differences between it and Christianity. She told us that she was a Mormon and she would be happy to answers any questions about Mormonism that we had. I brought up the topic of grace and compared Ephesians 2:8-9 with the verse in 2nd Nephi in the Book of Mormon which states “We are saved by grace after all we can do.”  The next question which I asked Gina and which I have asked almost every Mormon whom I have spoken to up here was, “How do you know when you have done enough?” Mormons believe that after a person dies they will be judged by God and be placed into one of three possible degrees of heaven. The highest level is the celestial level, and then the terrestrial level, and the lowest level is the telestial level. Gina told me that she didn’t know if she had done enough yet to make it to the celestial level, but she certainly hoped so. It was after that, that her car was done, but before she left I gave her my number on a fact sheet which detailed the contrasts between the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Over these last few days as I have engaged in many conversations with Mormons at temple square, at the ward, and at the Blue House, I’ve realized that these people’s hearts and minds seemed veiled to the truth of the Gospel. They are such kind, loving people, but they are so lost. They choose to trust in their “feelings” rather than the truth that it through faith in Jesus Christ alone as the forgiver of our sins that saves us. Our works will not improve our standing before God. Please be praying for the Mormons of Utah, that God would soften their hearts and open their minds to the fact that grace is God giving us a free gift we don’t deserve and we cannot do anything to earn it or improve upon it!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!!!

Love,

Sarah

 

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Faith instead of worries

Hello everyone!

I am really glad and excited to share what I’ve learn the past few days since we arrived to Utah. Yesterday was a great experience. We all went to Salt Lake City to visit Sandra Tanner and learn some of her experiences, and also temple square. Aaron accompanied me through the tour, and noticed there were too many hidden symbols around temple square. From beehives, handshakes, pentagrams, and more, we kept asking for their meaning, but sadly, they said it was only the design without meaning.  Before leaving temple square, Aaron was signing to me and two ladies approached us talking in sign language! We were about to leave but I got to get their contact info, and they are coming to the blue house! We are excited to start talking with them and share the real gospel.

After we left Salt Lake City, we went to a swimming place where other Mormon gather for a event. I didn’t have my swimming clothes, so I was fine standing out of the pool. I didn’t know what to expect while most of the group were swimming. There was a volleyball game with other Mormon people, so I went up with them to watch and hoping to get into the game, but something happened.  While I was standing up and watching, two other ladies started “signing in secret” about someone. Of course, I noticed it, and they also noticed I was looking at them. I introduced myself  and explained that I was deaf and knew sign language. They were shocked for seeing the first deaf person around them, so that’s how the conversation started. I got their contact info, and planning to see them again today!

It has been a great experience for me. Every time from training meetings, from studying, praying and getting ready to this trip, I noticed something else. Everyone was worried and curious about if an interpreter was coming up with us to the trip, forgetting that what really hope and faith means without looking at the worries first. I was fully in faith, that even if I didn’t get an interpreter, God was going to open a way to have conversations with someone.  So far, I’ve met 7 people who know sign language, and it’s just the beginning. I am so thankful for what god is doing through our lives in this trip.

With deepest love,

Josue Lopez

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Days 2: the Mormon Wards

Hello everyone!

Yesterday, our team arrived in Ephraim, Utah, on 6:00 Saturday evening ( 5:00 Cali time) .  We unloaded our bags and then were off to the Mormon miracle pageant in Manti.  The pageant is a large theatrical event to which many LDS people attended.  There was a large temple on the hill and crowds of many kinds flocked beneath it.   Because the grass lawns had signs saying that proselytizing or evangelizing wasn’t allowed, when we arrived, we found many of the Mormon people there sitting on the lawns, and also many Christians spread throughout the street and evangelizing in various ways.  Some sang, some taught, some called out to those that passed.    And so, we split up our number and moved along the crowded streets starting conversations with anyone we could.

We stayed only one night in Ephraim, and then departed this morning to Ogden, Utah, to a place we call the blue house.  That is where we have been all morning, going to the Mormon wards.  For those who may not be familiar, the wards are mini congregations of Mormons that meet in small classes throughout Sunday and then, at other times, meet all together (think Sunday school classes).  Our team went to the young singles ward and sat in on many of the classes.  We had the opportunity there to accomplish 2 key objectives.

Firstly, to study about their beliefs and to learn.  All the members of our team had unique experiences, at the various classes and learned loads of info!  Some things we heard were things we had studied and expected to encounter, but many other topics were discussed as well that were new to us.

However our chief aim was to begin to build relationships with some of the Mormon folk in the ward, and then invite them back to the blue house to hang out, eat pizza,  and Lord willing, have good conversations about the gospel.

That is where we are now, waiting for those we invited to show up.

Keep this night in your prayers! Pray that The Lord, who alone is able to soften hearts to the truth, would do so.  And further pray that all those who have been so softened to hear, are further granted belief.

grace and peace,

-Jared Smith

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It’s here

After so much preparation and learning, it’s finally here. We leave for Utah in one hour,  yesterday we got the vehicles, two SUVs and a truck. Not the ones we were hoping for, but we are going to make it work. We will meet at Rays house at 3:45am, pray and then hit the road. We will stop for lunch on the way up and hopefully reach Manti, UT by 4:00pm where we will be jumping straight into ministering to Mormons as they leave the Miracle Pageant for a couple hours. We will be sleeping in a church tonight and then heading to Ogden Sunday morning. Please pray for safety as we drive, for good conversations, and FUN…lots and lots of Fun! So excited for the next 24hours and the week to come.

God bless,

Aaron Aguirre

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Hello!! I’m Becky, and this is the first missions trip (long-term or short-term) I have ever been on. I love meeting people, and the best part of my life for the past four years has been volunteering with middle school students at the Wednesday night youth group called Pipeline at North Coast Church in Carlsbad. I just graduated from CSUSM with a degree in Literature & Writing. I’m very excited to meet and befriend and talk with everyone we meet in Utah! 

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June 22, 2014 · 3:28 pm

THIS IS UTAH!!

Hey all, My name is Aaron Aguirre and I, alongside Ray, am leading this team to Utah. I recently graduated from Cal State San Marcos and am enrolling in Bethel Seminary in the fall for my Masters degree. I am excited for this trip and nervous. I have been on several missions trips but have never lead one. I have also never been to Utah, or done outreach to Mormons. I can’t wait to see how God moves, not only in Utah but also in our team.

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