Monday, September 5, 2011

The Beginning

Hoping to conduct and learn from my first journalistic interview, I was warmly received by the former amateur sports journalist, Michael Angulo. As I was shown into his room, I felt that it was fitting that first thing that I saw on his bed was his baptismal clothing. Conducting this interview and writing this very first article of the Ocean Branch Weekly Newsletter, I am perplexed by the depth of the faith of our humble missionary, Michael Angulo.
Most of us has seen his growth in the gospel seemingly from the very beginning of learning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Michael's own words "We have had it has been a tremendous ride." Just hours before he was set apart as a representative of Christ, he had mixed feeling of anxious excitement. He was sad that he only knew us for a little more than a year, but he knows the sadness will go away because of your love.

"All this just feels surreal. Like back when I got my call it was sixty days, it was July second sixty days to the day until I go to the MTC, and it just feels like it was yesterday. It was sixty days, back then I felt you know I felt good. I was just relieved I got my call. I just finally came. and now its just like the past three or four weeks my mind has totally been in a different place. It has been missionary mode missionary mode. I haven’t gone out and done anything fun with the members of the branch. I have been so focus on my mission that its just something that I take very serious and I don’t think its anything... to joke around about and not work hard at just studying and working hard change peoples lives and they are going to need your knowledge need you as a person so I take it pretty serious."
As I asked concerning his preparation and faith, I was impressed by his testimony of the power of the word of God. I have a few quotes from the interview to share from different angles, showing his testimony therein. One understanding that he has is that a representative of Christ needs the word of God ingrained into his soul. Concerning the importance of reading the word, he said it is

"Because you get closer to Heavenly Father. and with our struggles in life or question in life that you have can be answered in the scriptures. and especially when you are missionary you can be answering the questions for investigators who asked you that question that you did not know. and you just pray about it and then you find your answers in the scriptures cause I know when I have found answers. It is mostly in the scriptures where I find them. and It is not out there in living."
"I feel it is important, and it changes you as a person like being away from it for all these years and seeing where I am at now. It has totally changed my look at life. It totally changed how I am, and I am so grateful for this church to be on this earth and I am so grateful for Joseph Smith restored the Gospel for us. and I know that he was the first prophet, and I know that Thomas Monson is our current prophet. He received revelation from Heavenly Father."
I asked "How have you felt your testimony and how it has grown in the past while?"

"When I first came to the church honestly speaking, I had no idea what a testimony was, so on fast and testimony Sundays I would kind of be confused for the first couple months; then, I asked I think it was Miller. It was Miller or Sione what exactly is a testimony? and They just said oh its how you know the church is true. and ever since that. Getting experience, going out with the missionaries and studying, studying Preach my Gospel and the Patriarchal blessing, continuing to pray, keeping the commandments. not sinning. I don’t know if I said but reading my patriarchal blessing and Being out with the missionary and seeing them in the field, seeing them work it makes it more realistic to how to be a good missionary and use the knowledge that I gained, when I was out there with the missionaries. it really has increased my testimony that much stronger. I mean I know the church is true. I lived with it, and I lived without it, so I know what influence it has had. It has I mean Just picture yourself. Where would you be if you were not in the church for about eleven or twelve years? What would your life be like? and then when you have that picture in your head, that is how my life was like. It was like that. You start sinning. start disobeying the commandments and then you do things that you know you regret and then you come to the church and then like I said pray, reading scriptures, taking the sacrament, elder’s quorum, sunday school It just makes everything better. Heavenly father is with you. and baptism is a big part."

I see two concepts in his words. After he was taught that a testimony is how you know that the church is true, he understood a strong testimony is built by knowledge, studying the scriptures, and exercising faith in the word therein. These are the best ways to come close to God and grow a strong testimony continually. The second thing that he taught is to learn to appreciate having the gospel and not let yourself fall away. Understand how it is like to life without the Gospel without having to experience the pain for yourself.

The next article that I write will help us understand who it is like to life without the Gospel. When Michael asked me those questions of self reflection, I could not think that deeply. I know that many of us in the Ocean Branch were raised in the church and we have not endured life too much without the Gospel.
Finally I have his words dedicated to us and I will conclude with words that I feel was dedicated to his family.

"I love you so much. Thanks for all your love and support. Its been a fun ride, and I am just taking a hiatus right now, a two year hiatus, and once I come back I will come back a new man. Hopefully I won’t look any different, but hopefully I will look more manly. I will come back for toned. and I will be able to grow a full beard because shaving so much. All the missionaries that are serving in the ocean branch. I hope you keep it growing. cause we need all the young adults to come and just keep the branch growing. We have had it has been a tremendous ride. There have been times where I secretly struggled, but you guys have secretly helped me without me saying it. I have never been around a cooler group of young single adults in my life than you guys. I am very thankful for President Burgon for all their love. I don’t know how many children that you have but I feel like one of them because I feel like Brad has been there every step of the way for me to get my mission papers done and all the love and support there and I feel like the Ocean Branch baby. and now I am going out serving. I feel like your guys little brother. and I am going to serve the Ocean Branch probably on my mission. I will tell tremendous stories about you guys."
"I am pretty nervous, but not during mission, but missing my family. I just want them not to feel sad that I am gone and just to be happy and just to live life, how they normally would everyday, and not change their schedule or anything. I just want the spirit to be here even though the priesthood is not in the house, but I just want my family to be strong while I am gone because we got a pretty tight bond in the family and it would take something very dramatic to brake us apart, so the nervous would probably be from leave my family for the first time. That is want I am kind of nervous about."

1 comment:

  1. This is so great Alex! It is such a joy to be able to read through the testimony that Michael had and see how excited he was in growing in the church and preparing for a mission.

    I have to say what an amazing thing it was for me to watch Michael change over the last year into the fine missionary that he is today. It has been an experience to strengthen my own testimony. I can't wait to hear all about his experiences as his mission continues.