Saturday, December 21, 2013

Moving forward with faith

As I was preparing to make the decision of whether or not to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one of the missionaries that was teaching me made an analogy that to this day I am not able to forget.  I was struggling with many questions and doubts and I wasn't sure if I would have all of the answers by the time my baptismal date arrived. He compared that to jumping from one cliff unto another in the dark. He said that God's promise is that there will be another cliff for us to land on. All God asks is that we take the jump.

I made that jump on November 8, 2009 when I descended into the waters of baptism and was raised up into a new life in Christ and his restored gospel. What a great blessing it was for me to see God's hand in my life as I joined the Church and things fell into place for me. The doubts and questions I had were answered one by one or became irrelevant the longer I was in the Church.  

I had to take another jump into the dark when I decided to serve a mission. I had somewhat of an idea what I was getting myself into. However, I still had to trust God completely as I did something that transformed me into the person God wanted me to become. I took that leap of faith and it has been to this day one of the most life changing experiences I have had in my life. I am grateful that I took that step forward and that I was able to see Heavenly Father's children come unto Him.

In this life Father in Heaven will continually ask us to take these leaps of faith. We are confronted with these tests of faith  in every aspect of our lives. Now that I am back home I have to continually rely on the Spirit to know what the next step that I have to take is that is also aligned with God's will for my life. God has promised not to leave us alone and to guide us. 

In 2 Nephi 32:5 we read, For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. 

Sometimes Heavenly Father will take us right up to the point where we need to make a decision. He imprints in our minds a question, or situation but He leaves the ultimate choice to us. We have many choices to make in our lives, for example, what will I study in school? What job should I take? Should I be in this relationship? God places us in those situations but leaves the ultimate decision to us for that is where the real spiritual growth lies. 

He does that so that we can learn and most importantly show our faith and trust in Him. I have learned so much as I have made choices that draw me closer to Him. The path to Him has never been easy. It has been difficult, it has been painful but ultimately it brings me total satisfaction and happiness knowing that I have made the choice that God wanted me to make.

The year 2014 promises to be another year full of tests of faith and choices to be made. I look forward to doing my best to follow my Father in Heaven and showing Him my faith and trust in Him. I've decided to move to Utah to see what he has in store for me there. It's a small leap of faith that I have to make but I know because of the experiences that I have had so far that things will work out for good.

God has pulled through for me ever since I decided to join the Church, serve a full time mission and the many others situations that he places me in daily. I close with this scripture from the New Testament found in Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The power of godliness is made manifest

I would say that one of the greatest blessings that I have as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ability to enter and worship the Lord in his holy temple. This weekend I had the opportunity to  attend the San Antonio temple with my stake president and his wife, two young men about to leave for their missions in Brazil and a few other members. We departed Raymondville early in the morning. This was my fourth time in the temple and the third time since I have been home from my mission.

This weekend was also very special for me because it marked my fourth year as a member of the Church. I can't believe that much time has elapsed. As I look back at the last four  years I realize how much I have changed and how much I have been blessed. I have experienced so many beautiful things since I joined the Church one of them being able to serve a full time mission for the Lord. 

On Saturday when I was inside the temple I realized though that as much as I have been blessed because of my membership in the Church I believe that its significance goes beyond that. I was in the temple to help those that have come before me to accept this very gospel that has blessed my life. My life really does not belong to me. If I am worthy and able to Heavenly Father will do with my life what is needed for the advancement of his Kingdom. I saw his influence on my life as a missionary and now he needs me to do this great temple work to continue his plan of happiness and salvation for his children.

I have realized that what I do not only affects me but all of my loved ones who have gone beyond the veil and are waiting for their temple work to be done on their behalf. While in the temple I placed close attention to everything as if it were my first time in that sacred place. That really made everything more meaningful as I placed myself in my ancestor's shoes. I imagined what it felt like to them to be in the temple and to learn more about God's plan for us. I felt a great, sweet and beautiful Spirit overcome me and I quickly felt myself surrounded by my ancestors. It was a great experience that I will never forget.

I was reminded of this great verse out of the Doctrine and Covenants as I left the temple that day. Out of the 84th section, verse 19 we read "therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest". Truly I felt the power of God, the love of my ancestors towards me and mine towards them increase as I participated in this great work of salvation. I hope to be always worthy of being a participant into bringing to pass Father in Heaven's work and glory.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the joys of a missionary are his converts

Recently I have enjoyed visiting the wards that I served in while I was a missionary. That is one of the perks for having served a mission in my own backyard . I am blessed to see and visit my converts on a constant basis. I was in the Pharr ward this last Sunday to see one of the sisters I baptized in Pharr give a talk. She did an amazing job! Her talk was all about missionary work and how we as members have to participate in it. She did great quoting scripture and even using Preach My Gospel for part of her talk. Her daughter as well recently came home from serving a mission as well and gave a great talk on missionary-member service.
I was able to see a family that I taught and baptized there as well. It is a family composed of a father and mother and their four sons. The father and 2 of the sons are worthy priesthood holders active in the Church. I felt beyond blessed to see them there and see as well what the Lord had done for them.
Later on that day I drove over to my  stake center for General Priesthood meeting. I got there a few minutes late (Mormon standard time). It was a great meeting that was held. It really put things into perspective to me. I really need to do my part in hastening the work here in South Texas. I am praying more fervently that I may recognize missionary opportunities that are placed before me.
At the end of the meeting as I was about to walk out I was approached by one of my converts from Brownsville. What a blessing it was to see him there. He is now a worthy Melchizedek priesthood holder in his ward. I was so happy to see him and catch up with him about the things he has been. The Lord has really blessed him for his efforts.
My patriarchal blessing tells me that because of my efforts more missionaries will go out to the world and preach the gospel. I can see how that can become true. As my converts and their families grow and stay strong in the gospel I know missionaries will come from them and they in turn will go out into the world and bless the lives of countless others.
I too think of my own life and how I was blessed by the missionary service of faithful elders from this great Church. It has been a long and tough journey for me but it has been almost four  years since I joined the Church and it has blessed me tremendously. I am grateful for missionary service and the blessing it was in my life! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

That they may witness unto thee

One of the things that I like the most about being a member of the YSA branch is that there are many opportunities to serve. Today I was approached by the elders quorum president to help him bless the sacrament. It had been a while since I had blessed the sacrament and I was a bit nervous. He asked me to break and bless the bread. As the sacrament hymn started I stood and started breaking the bread. A melancholic feeling came over me as I broke the bread into small pieces. The deep symbolism of what I was doing came into my mind. The perfect body of Christ was broken for me. Today as I broke the bread I realized that I was directly responsible for the breaking of his body. His suffering was directly caused because of me just as in the same way that I broke his body today. As I finished I could barely contain my tears but I kept calm as I read the sacrament prayer. It is a beautiful prayer when read out loud. The promises that both God and we make are beautiful. It was a great blessing for me to be able to administer in the sacrament today.

Thanks for reading!
- Aurelio

Saturday, September 7, 2013

For a wise purpose

I had just written one of my best blog posts ever when my internet explorer closed unexpectedly! I can't believe it. Well I will not rewrite everything again. I just want to share with you my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is the word of God along with the Bible and the other books of modern, revealed scripture that our Heavenly Father has given us in these latter days. I know that as we read it we draw closer to God and his Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. I know when I read it I feel God's love and mercy for me. I know that the stories containted therein are true. I know that the people whose struggles we read about in that sacred book had faith and trust in the Savior like no else has ever had before. I am forever grateful that God has chosen to give us this great book in these days. In it I find strength and hope in my darkest moments. I know that you too can learn these things for yourself as you read, pray and study this sacred book. For a free copy please visit

Thanks for reading! 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Temple visit

I love this picture of the temple I took this last Saturday. You really can't see much of the temple but I just love the picture so much! I really enjoyed the temple trip. It was an extremely hot day in San Antonio. It was a whopping 106 degrees outside. Thankfully the temple is surrounded by beautiful oak trees that give a beautiful shade. I had some time after I did some initiatory ordinances to go outside for a bit and walk around the temple. I had never had the opportunity before to do that so I was gratefully I had an hour before the endowment session began to walk around the temple grounds.

It was so peaceful to walk around the temple. There was a couple that had just gotten married so I witnessed them taking pictures with their wedding party outside the temple doors. They looked so radiant and happy! Yes,I have come to realize that is my next step. I just need to find out who I am going to marry. :P My good friends Kye and Kate are getting married later this week in Salt Lake City. I am so happy for them and of course a little sad that I won't be there for their very special day.

The session I went through was amazing. I felt the Spirit so strongly like never before. This was my third time at the temple going through a session. I felt like I was in a really familiar place though. I loved every moment of it. Of course I love the celestial room in the temple. That is where I feel the Spirit of God the strongest.

The night before I couldn't fall asleep so on the way back I was having a hard time staying awake so I am sure I fell asleep for a bit. I was so tired. I didn't get home until later at night around 8pm. I went straight to bed.

Well I have officially changed my membership records to the Young Single Adult branch in my stake. Sunday was my second time there. It will take some time getting used to it. It felt good to be there. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was at Church for myself and also enjoyed it. The branch president was happy to hear that I was transferring my records to his branch.

Overall an amazing weekend!

Friday, August 16, 2013

From the ER

I am currently sitting in the waiting room of the local hospital. I am not feeling too well at the moment. I will not go into detail about what happened here just because there are some things I would rather not put online. You are all free to ask though but I will be fine.

This week at work has been rather stressful. I am trying to do my best because I really want to get promoted to another department and the only way I am going to do that is if I work hard and get noticed. It is well worth it though.

Some of the other things that I have been working on as of late is maintaining my level of spirituality. Coming out of the mission I felt like a spiritual giant. Granted I knew changes were ahead when I would go home but I wasn't prepared for what awaited me at home. I was quickly bombarded with many things that wanted my attention and sadly I gave way to them. But as of late my desire to go back to daily scripture reading and praying has increased. I am grateful for the missionaries in my area for they have truly revived me spiritually. I feel the presence of the Holy Ghost so strongly in my life once again. They are hosting weekly Book of Mormon studies at our chapel and I have been there every Thursday for the last few weeks. It is such a blessing to fellowship with other Saints from Raymondville.

Well I am now lying on a hospital bed. ;) Anyway I have also decided that it is high time to get married. (What an abrupt change of subject!) Of course I need to find someone to marry first. That's why I have decided to proactively date. In other words take things into my own hands and ask girls from Church on dates. I am excited for that. I am sure it will take away from the monotony of home, work and Church. Anyway I am going on my first date soon. I will keep you posted on what happens! Of course for my non-Mormon readers, dating is much more than a way to have fun (which it is) but it's also something very serious. Mormons look for eternal companions and those who are willing to live the faith the rest of their lives. That is my desire!

Well I need to put the phone down. Thanks for reading.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Mormon CPR--Church, pray and read!

Thanks for visiting my blog!  I checked the traffic for my blog and it is pretty constant which is a good thing because it keeps me motivated to keep writing.

The beginning of my week was a bit stressful but Heavenly Father pulled through for me and I saw his hand in all of the things I went through this week.

A few days ago the elders came to my house to check up on how I was doing with what as missionaries we called CPR which stands for Church, pray and read. I was pretty suprised they asked me how I was doing with those basics of the gospel. After all, I am an active member of the Church with a calling and I wondered as to why they asked me. As I sat there thinking I realized that I may have outwardly been performing the aforementioned CPR but it was not having an inner effect on me. I realized I had to do it more earnestly. The visit by the elders was much needed and genuine. I love them for their service and Spirit led inspiration to visit me. What I learned that day would later serve me later in the week.

A few days later the elders called me to visit an investigator. We showed up and the investigator wasn't home. I told the elders that if they didn't need my help I was  going to go visit a less active member on my own. I left and went to visit the member.

The member and I are pretty good friends, in fact he was one of my original fellowshippers when I was investigating the Church. We had a very honest and open conversation about why he had become less active. Thanks to having served a mission ( in the best place in the world-Texas McAllen Mission) I realized that his doubts are really smokescreens  to cover what he hasn't been doing. He hasn't read his scriptures in months and not even pronounced a single prayer in in that time. No wonder his desire to be active in the Church is gone! As I left I realized that the  desire to be active can leave any member of the Church as they neglect  the commandments mainly covered by CPR.

I am not stating that I am a better person nor member of the Church merely because I keep the commandments but I know where I stand and hold to be
true because I choose to do so. As well, by doing so my faith and resolve are strengthened.

What a blessing to have Spirit led revelation and full time missionaries who follow its guidance. May we all strive never to lose our first love that is  Christ and His Church!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 5, 2013

YSA branch visit

I have been pretty busy this week but I know I have to put down in writing my first time experience at the YSA branch here in my stake last week. Well to start off I wasn't quite sure at what time sacrament meeting started. For some reason I thought it was 3pm but it turned out to be 1pm. I arrived at the stake center at 1230pm and was probably there for 5 minutes when I realized I had to leave if I wanted to get to the YSA sacrament meeting on time. I made it on time which was my first mistake because no one was there yet! So I sat in my car for a few minutes waiting to see if anyone I knew showed up. After a while people started showing up and I tried to mix in with the small crowd. Of course everyone notices a newcomer and before I knew it I was surrounded by the branch presidency and I am sure by some of the branch leaders. They all gave me a warm welcome and jokingly asked if I had given up on my home ward. I shrugged my shoulders and simply stated I was visiting.
It was definitely different. It was a good type of different though. Sacrament meeting, especially the administration of the sacrament, was especially reverent. I felt the Spirit so strongly the entire time. Of course one of the things that made it a little uncomfortable is that the branch is a very tight knit group and it can be pretty hard to fit in right away because well let's face it no one really knows what to do when a new guy shows up. But I knew a couple of people there so it wasn't too bad
I had a good experience overall. I would consider transferring my membership records if I didn't currently have a calling that I enjoy as ward mission leader in my home ward. As well distance is also an issue. I would need to drive an additional 20 minutes just to get to Church every Sunday. At this time I really can't afford to do that. I will though still be attending the social activities. I enjoyed every bit of it. I am glad the Church offers YSA wards/branches so our faith can be strengthened with fellow believers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm a Mormon

I have been meaning to write a second post for a while now. I have been creating and editing it in my mind. I love to write!

Well yesterday I was at my stake youth conference and I was asked to talk at the fireside. It went well. I realized I enjoy public speaking. I guess I have known that for a while now and the reason I say that is because I have never really cringed at the idea of giving a talk or anything of that sort. Anyway the youth really liked what I shared. They were laughing and participating throughout my talk. It was great!

Anyway I just finished coming back from a lunch with my other co-workers. There is a pretty friendly environment at work. Of course I still feel out of place when certain topics or jokes are made that are not appropriate or that go against my ideals. As we were eating several of my co-workers started ordering alcoholic drinks. Not everyone did though but of course everyone quickly noticed. One of my co-workers asked why I wasn't drinking and I simply said, "I'm a Mormon". It felt great saying that! I love sharing the gospel and I am grateful that I served a mission because now I am not afraid of stating who I am. Towards the end of the lunch the same co-worker turned around and asked me a few basic questions about the Church. I was so happy!

I am glad that I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I also know that people will always look at members of the Church as different. I am grateful though that I believe what I do and that I can also stand up for what I know to be true.

I plan on writing more. It is a great experience to write and share what is going through my mind. I plan to keep this blog fully updated I will touch upon a lot of different subjects that I find to be important.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Definition of labels

First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and if you have gotten this far in this sentence for reading it as well.
Writing has always served dual purposes in my life. It provides me an avenue to release some stress from my mind. As well I enjoy writing. It allows me to go places I can only imagine and create worlds and situations I can only dream of.
What is the purpose of this blog? Let me give you a short introduction of myself. I will srart off by defining some labels that apply to my life. Perhaps then you will understand the purpose of this blog.
My name is Aurelio Rodriguez. I am 26 years old at the time of my writing this. I finished serving a full time mission for my Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 3 months ago. Yes , I am a Mormon. This is the first label that defines my life.  I joined the Church almost 4 years ago. 
All posts represent my own views and not those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.