Wednesday, July 30, 2014


It was another full week here in Texas. Monday we went to the zoo with Sister Taylor, the mission presidents wife. It was the most enjoyable thing. We rode this semi sketchy train called the dart. It's kind of like the trax, but more sketchy. Hahaha. It was funny. A random lady came up and bit the peach of one of the sisters. Bahahaha. There were four of us sitting laughing starting then dying of laughter. That's when the peach was partaken of. 

Then whilst at the zoo,we saw some giraffes and people were feeding them. So we ran over and were petting them. Then a kind worker gave us all pieces of romaine lettuce and we were able to feed them!!!!!!! It was sooo cool. Hahahaa. Seriously. THEN sister Taylor said, "what if you feed it using your mouth?" Then she did it!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh. She put it in her mouth and fed the giraffe. It licked her face. It was seriously the greatest thing.

As a district, we have been holding a little competition this week. In pmg it says to ask for referrals from everyone. So we did that. You get a point every time you ask someone for a referral and two points everytime they give you one! The losing companionship has to buy the winners a drink from sonic. It is seriously hilarious to ask for referrals as people are slamming their doors on you. 

Our lesson with B* this week was interesting. We were teaching the plan of salvation and there were some doctrines she just couldn't accept because they weren't in the bible. So that was a struggle. It really hit home that the Book of Mormon really is the keystone of our religion. 

We were able to attend institute on Tuesday with our investigator J* this week. The teacher also said, "you can only truly be happy when you are doing something for others." I thought that was amazing. It's only when we turn away from ourselves, from the natural man and turn towards others and turn to Jesus Christ. 

We are putting together a musical missionary stake fireside!! I am so excited. It will be held on August 17. There will be singing scriptures and testimonies about how we can become one in Christ. I am so excited. I get to accompany a couple of the songs. Yay for devotionals. 

On Saturday our investigator J*'s cousin got baptized. The service was held in Portuguese so that was a wonderful opportunity for J to feel the spirit. We spoke to him after the service, and he said he has never felt the spirit that strongly before and that it brought him to tears. Please pray for J as he prepares for his baptism on August 9. He needs love and support. He's an amazing young man though, and I'm excited to see what the future has in store. 

Haha. On Saturday we were meeting with an older couple in our ward. We talked to them and ate dinner with them. Then the sweet sister said, "wait, I have a present for you." She came back with these neon green red flashing light safety straps for us to wear on our bikes. They are seriously hilarious but it was the nicest thing of her to give them to us.

There is a less active sister in our ward who is losing her job this week or sometime soon and is being faced with a lot of uncertainty and stress and she tries to find a new job while juggling dishonest owners at her current job while still being able to provide for her two children. She called us on Saturday and we went over to comfort and talk with her. My heart just broke right in half seeing her weep and worry for her children. I gave her a hug and just sat and cried with her. It's so sad to see people struggle so much. we are praying that she will be able to find a job that will allow her to attend church on Sundays and also be able to provide for her kids. 

Frozen grapes. Enough said. They are the only thing saving my life this week. TEXAS IS HOT. BLEH. Hahaha. It's all good. 

At a dinner appointment last night with the Lemmon family, they made us this delicious treat called pop-eye ice cream. It was like spinach and chia seeds and agave and all this stuff. It was yummy yummy. Also, Sister Lemmon is super into doterra. I was talking to her a little bit about it. She ran out of the room and came back with two bottles of wild orange fragrance. It was so nice. We are spoiled. 

Tracking yesterday, we had this funny experience.
Knock knock
"Hi, we're..."

It made me laugh. We didn't even say anything. Hahahahahahaha.

Here's a cool analogy that the young women's president in our ward gave. 
Think about the queen of England at a state dinner. It is the most comfortable, easy social event there is. 
Then think about her children. They also are very comfortable at state dinners.
Then Kate. Middleton. The state dinners are a little more stressful for her. She plans her outfits carefully and has to think through the dinners about staying calm and cool. 
Then imagine me going to this state dinner. I would be honored to be there, but I would be very stressed about my clothes, my manners, which fork to use, etc etc.
The difference between all these individuals is the amount of practice they have had.

Similarly, ordinances and covenants are basically practices for us to be comfortable at the state dinner, or in other words, to be comfortable at God's throne, in His kingdom. 

I really liked that. 

Sorry it's short today. The computers at our apartment are down, so a kind member let us come use their computers. But I'm on an iPad so this is interesting. 

I love you so much.

Sister Gretchen Gilbert


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The coolest (literally) week ever! - 7.21.2014

Hi all! or Hey y'all! Whatever you please.

The weather this week has been AMAZING!!!! 72 degrees is what it is all about! Ha. It is so wonderful to be here when it is nice and overcast and cool. I am a happy camper. :) It POURED on our planning day (Thursday) which is the day that we generally stay inside all day. It was nice. The weather made people very friendly and willing to talk.

On Monday we had two miracles.
1st: I said, "I really want some salsa, but we already went to the store today, and also we have to go to an appointment." I was a little sad, but I was looking through the cupboard and what did I find?? SALSA. Holler. It sounds so simple, but honestly it was like the best thing.

2nd: We were running to the gate to meet a member for a ride and we ran into this lady. We asked her if we could give her a pass-along card, but she said she was already a member! We talked to her for a minute and found out she is one of the less-actives that our Ward Council had asked us to go visit. So we scheduled an appointment to go see her later that evening. A sister in the ward was able to come with us, and we got to know her and share Joshua 1:9 with her. She works on Sundays thus her inactivity, but her job is ending soon. We are praying that she will be able to find a job that will allow her to attend church!

On Tuesday we were out tracting (my favorite) and knocked a door. He started feeding us all this anti-Mormon information. I was a little shocked that he would just stand there and yell at us and try to explain to us what we believed. I was able to remain calm and cool and a bear testimony of the truths that I know. I honestly felt like having that experience strengthened my testimony because the Spirit really testified to me of the precious truths that I already know. Another interesting thing was he asked if I read the bible. I said yes and he asked me to prove it. So he started quoting John 1:1 and wanted me to finish it. I was perfectly able to. In the beginning was . . . The Word! I haven't read that scripture very many times, but the Spirit truly will bring all things to our remembrance if we allow it to.

To answer your question, B* is not a member. She is a Baptist, but she is now one of our investigators! We taught her the Restoration and we are going back tomorrow to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. It should be a good lesson because her husband passed away a year ago and she asked us what we believe happens after this life.

Also, I just bike all the days. Seriously though. There was this HUGE hill that honestly seemed impossible to climb. But I just stood up and pedaled like crazy and sang Let Us All Press On and made it up that darn hill. Ha. I was tuckered. Let alone ridiculous looking, but I made it. As did Sister Aumua.

On Wednesday we were tracting, again. We walked up to this car to talk to a lady, but right as we got near her, she drove away. It was so funny. We were just awkwardly standing there in the middle of the road. That night we had dinner with members, the Whites. It was delicious! Zucchini and bacon quiche and tomato and mozzarella salad!! I was the happiest little missionary ever. It was so wonderful and felt like home.

We got home that night, and our sweet member friend Casey had heart attacked our door with the kids she tends, the Arnette's. It was so nice!! It honestly made my day!

We met with J*, our investigator twice this week. We were preparing a lesson about baptism and confirmation but were having the HARDEST time trying to figure out what to teach. We ended up praying and totally changing the lesson around. We showed him the Restoration video in Portuguese (because he's from Brazil. I don't remember what I told you about him). The Spirit was SO strong. We asked him how he felt about the video and he boldly stated, "I'm a lot like Joseph Smith. I am searching for truth." That was such a powerful moment!

Friday I was able to attend the temple with some members in the ward. Sister Collins and Sister Bakker. The pictures were from Sister Collins. Then they took us to Mimi's café. I haven't been there in like 10 years, but do you remember how we waited for like an hour for our food to come out? Yeah, the same thing happened. The waitress forgot about us. Lame-o.

At dinner on Friday at a members home, we had chicken and waffles! I feel like I have fully experienced Texas now. (Sort of. Haha.) The chicken was covered with a ton of cayenne pepper, but it was still yummy. Very interesting. Y'all will have to try it out sometime.

During companion study the other day, we were role-playing extending baptismal invitations. I was being the investigator. I was so tired and Sister Aumua and I were both in a really weird mood, so I said that my name was Katniss. Sister A extended the invitation and I replied, but I was totally rocking a Southern Drawl! I guess you probably had to have been there, but we were rolling. It was so funny.

Bad news: I rolled my ankle yesterday. On a little sidewalk. It just like rolled off and is swollen. I'm going to be okay though. I've been icing it and we took yesterday super easy. The little booger though. Can't I just have a good ankle for once in my life?

Good news: We are going to the ZOO today!!! We are going to ride the train down there and have a blast!! :) I am so excited. And Sister Taylor (President Taylor's wife) is going to meet us there! What a grand day out!

Yesterday while tracting we were talking to this lady. She didn't want to talk about the gospel but she roped us in and we were literally stuck on her couch for like 40 minutes. And she hardly talked about anything. She was just speaking about nothing. Oh, and she said "ya know" probably 200 times the whole time we were there. I should've counted, but holy tolito I couldn't focus on anything she was saying. You live and learn I guess, but goodness gracious.

At church, we were able to go to Young Women's for 3rd hour. I haven't recited the theme in a LONG time. It really stood out to me this time.

We believe as we come to accept and act upon these values, we will be prepared to strengthen home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, receive the ordinances of the temple, and enjoy the blessings of exaltation.

That is a powerful promise!!!! Everyone should take this into account! It's all laid out, ready for us to act in faith.

Mom, could you send me those 5k workouts? I try to run for my exercise, but I like to mix it up. That would be wonderful.

I am so glad you are doing well. It sounds like y'all had a ton of fun with the Nevada Gilberts.

Helaman 3:35. This is a good scripture. Maybe try to study it as a family. Also, look at all the footnotes.

I love you so much!
Sister G

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aloha from Texas - 7.14.2014

Wow i love you all so much. I don't even know where to begin. I read the sweet words and emails that you all sent me and I'm just sitting her crying because I am so happy to hear from all of you. My heart is bursting a little bit to be honest.

It has been literally the longest week of my entire life. I wish I had 17 hours to write a book about everything that has happened, but unfortunately, I do not. And I'm weeping a little bit because of that. Honestly. 

After the longest day ever in the airport we finally made it to Dallas, Texas at 7:45 pm (central time? i have no idea. whatever time zone they are on here). Our 3 o clock emergency flight was delayed until 4. But the most amazing part was that Elder Truman in our travel group was able to place a Book of Mormon! It was truly a miracle and it made waiting around in the airport all day manageable. Also, airplanes are like so uncomfortable. Seriously. No leg room and no sleeping unless you like laying on strangers which is basically a big no no as a missionary. Haha. I hope that is as funny to you as it is to me. So Andrew, you aren't missing out on much. 

But we made it. We met the Assistants, Elders Williams and Larsen, and Pres. and Sis. Taylor. Wonderful people. We went to their home and had a delicious dinner from Boston Market and talked about being one with each other. That is basically our big goal out here. Be One with the Lord, Ourselves, the Work, Companion, and something else. Just we are all unified and we are all in this together. It's really cool. There is a video called "We Are One." You should try to find it. It's wonderful. 

So I spent the night at these two random Sisters' apartment then back to the church for more training. We went to the temple and discussed how our goal is to get people to the temple and that is made possible through baptism.

Then, I got my companion! Sister Aumua (Ow-Moo-Ah) from . . . .  . HAWAII!! Yes yes it is wonderful. She is from Oahu, lived in Kalihi and attended BYU Hawaii this past year. She is amazing. Very laid back. But yeah. I told her that Dad served his mission in Hawaii. Sister Aumua wants to know if you perhaps know her auntie. She is Bae Aumua married to Roy Aumua. But Sister Aumua is originally from Samoa and she has lived in Hawaii since she was 8. She has been out for 6 months and previously served in Carrollton. This is her first time training so we are both in this together. A double transfer into a ward and training.

So I will be serving in the Allen 1st ward. Allen is a wealthy city just north (maybe??) of Dallas. And here's the clencher. I'm on a bike. Yes, you heard that correctly. Bike. Skirt. July. 100 degrees. Dream life?? Haha. The Allen Zone is the only zone in the mission that sisters ride bicycles so that is basically hilarious. But good news. The ward is wonderful and I don't have to buy a bike! I just bought a helmet and a cushion for my seat because I am soooooo sadle sore from that darn bike. Haha. I just waddle around all the days because I am in so much pain. Also, the ward hasn't had sisters in over 10 years. So basically they are all pumped to have us here. Hopefully we can keep that enthusiasm going strong.

But good news, Sister Parkinson is in my district!! Hollah!! We are so happy. That means we basically get to see each other 3-4 times a week and it just makes me so happy. Sister Parkinson's trainer, Sister Gavin, trained Sister Aumua. So that's pretty fun to see.

NEWS FLASH: the MTC was paradise and now I'm basically at boot camp. Ha. But really. This real life missionary work stuff is HARD business. Day one, tracting for like 4 hours. Tracting is weird. I just have to keep laughing or else I will usually start crying. So yeah. I'm okay, it's just like impossibly hard and discouraging. But I think it has potential. Also, talking to EVERYONE is awkward. But such is the life of a missionary. 

Since we both transferred, there was like NO food in our apartment. Elders had lived there before, but there was nothing. So on Wednesday we had interviews with the president. We brought cereal and milk to eat because there was LITERALLY nothing else to eat. But now we have been able to go to the grocery store and buy food. Yay. A really nice lady from the ward, Sister Morell, took us to Walmart today. She surprised us and bought a bunch of produce (mangoes, peaches, blueberries, grapes, bananas (ew)) for us so that was really great. Speaking of bananas, Sister Aumua can't believe that I don't like bananas. HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. They are gross. 

Funny story, I had to teach Sister Aumua how to ride a bike. Imagine learning how to ride a bike for the first time, but do it while wearing a skirt. Hahaha. Good times in the mission. 

Some of the days are so hard. When people are just slamming their doors on us, I get so sad. But when we are finally able to talk to someone and share a brief message with them, it makes life a little better. We only have 2 investigators that the elders transferred over to us, so we are trying to build up our teaching pool and helping our currents progress. It's hard and I am so clueless. Honestly, I don't even know what life is. But it's okay.

On Thursday and Saturday mornings we get to go do service. We basically help this lady with the gardens at a Presbyterian church. It's really nice to do service in a different sort of way.  We just prune, or dig trenches, or water plants or weed. It's a wonderful highlight during my week.

Another funny story: out tracting, and I introduce my self to a man. "Hi, I'm Sister Gilbert." He goes: "Gilbert? That's an unusually first name for a girl." I was DYING. All my years of accidentally writing Gilbert Gilbert on my tithing slips are catching up to me. 

We met this nice lady named B*. She's probably 70 years old. She just moved to Allen a year ago and 6 days after they moved in, her husband passed away. She's pretty lonely so we got to chat with her for a while. She told us for her master's thesis, she studied the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the history of our hymns. It was really cool. She knew WAY more about our hymns than I do. 

At church yesterday, the Bishop of our ward, Bishop Christiansen, wanted us to speak so the ward could get to know us. He told me to just give my farewell talk since it had only been 3 weeks since I gave it. It was funny. For some reason, it's easier to give a talk to a congregation of strangers than to a chapel packed full of your favorite people. But it's all good. It was a mission farewell also, so it was fun to have missionaries speaking with a soon to be missionary. 

There is so much to share, yet sadly so little time. I love you all so much and I am incredibly grateful for EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU. Life is so good.

The ward here is great. We have a dinner appointment every night and that is a blessing. It is so fun to get to know all of them.

Bishop Christiansen challenged our ward yesterday to look for a miracle and a laugh from everyday to put in your journal. I challenge y'all to do it too! It makes such a big difference.

My address is 1420 W McDermott #1033 Allen, TX 75013.

I love you so much.

Sister Gretchen Julie Gilbert

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 2, 2014

I know I wrote you an email earlier today, but I wanted to answer some more of your questions and tell you more about what’s happening. An hour goes so fast. I loved the “Dear Elder” letters where you all wrote to me. I miss you all.

Tyler: Go Aggies! My companion Sister Parkinson, is also an Aggie! She was at Utah State. She is also going to Texas. Good work on your swim check! That is so awesome. Dad wrote me a letter telling me a little bit more about it. I know it sounds crazy, but your story of exercising faith and just trying has helped me a lot. You are a great example to me. I love you.

Andrew: Tyson, my brother. At the MTC, I’ve been doing lots of learning about Jesus Christ and how to teach people about the Book of Mormon and how to pray. When I first got the MTC, I put my bags in my room and went straight to class. No messing around. Good work on the bike and I will look for souveniors for you. There is so much food here. My favorite has been a sweet pork salad, the cream of wheat, and bagel turkey sandwich. There is lots of junk food, so you have to be smart. There are 4 sisters in my room. Sister Parkinson, Sister Olsen, and Sister Stewart. We have a lot of good times. They are in my zone. It’s nice to be able to laugh and relax at the end of the day. I’ve seen Erik Lund. It’s weird/fun to see him and call him Elder Lund. At the MTC, my favorite thing to do is to … I don’t know. I love it here. There is an amazing spirit and community of missionaries. I do really enjoy walking up to the temple with my district. That’s pretty fun. I will root for USA. Is the world Cup even still happening? I’m totally in a bubble here.

Dad: thank you for your kind words and letters. So uplifting. You are really good at making object lessons. You should write a book! I was able to play piano on Thursday at a branch meeting, Sunday for prelude, Sacrament (3 hymns) and accompanying the special musical number. This coming Sunday I am playing the special musical number, “Come Follow Me.” We get to start off every class period with a hymn. I love the power of music.

Alli: You are the cutest! Thank you so much for your letters. They cheered me up so blessed to have you as a seester. I’m so excited for Heather! She will be amazing. Good luck with guard. Remember that a cheery smile will help you and everyone else as well. I’m really proud of you hanging out with the peeps. It’s good to get to know people. Seriously, I’ve loved getting to know my district. It’s amazing how familiar with people you can get in just 7 days. Blows my mind that these Elders and Sisters were strangers until just last week. I love them and I’m so blessed to know them. We really have become family. Not as good as y’all, but still. Oh, my companion informed me I say, “for sure” all the time. Have you noticed that? So there’s that.

Mom: I really don’t have that many good shoes at home … maybe I’ll let you know later on. Stories from ancestors would be amazing. Oh, maybe a church special arrangement piano book? I’m not sure. Maybe ask Sister Dean for ideas. I don’t want anything too hard, ya know! Oh, duh … Dad could help with that too. The cookies were delicious and my district loved them. Also, Happy Birthday! Love you lots! Elder Penrod says thanks for the cookies, Laurel and happy birthday and that he loves you. So yeah. I would love a copy of the Ensign.

I don’t even know what to say. There’s too much to tell. Much love!


Sister Gilbert

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 2, 2014 MTC Email

Hello! It is p-day at last! i don't know how fast I can type, so I'm just going to do my best and please don't judge the grammar or lack there-of. There is a picture of our zone (super blurry), and my companion Sister Parkinson. She is also going to Dallas. 

All the sisters in our zone our going to Dallas and all the elders are going to Tampa Florida. There is a picture of my outfit fail from last night. They told us we had to wear cardigans or jackets to Tuesday night devotionals so I just threw on a cardigan over my outfit. As you can tell, I look like Ann from Studio-C. I was crying I was laughing too hard. Needless to say, it was a much needed moment to break free from the stresses of the day. 

The pictures in front of the temple are my zone. Elder Simons is from Chesterfield Idaho, he's the tall one with blondish hair. Elder Penrod from Genola, Ut the other tall one with black hair. Elder Haslem, curly hair from Roosevelt, UT, and Elder White the one with a buzz-cut from St. George, UT. 

One our first day, one of the Sister Training Leaders from our district told us, "Y'all are goin to be like family!" (she's from georgia). We looked at her and looked at each other and just shook our heads and laughed. Like, no way sister. These are strangers. But I can honestly say we have become best friends. It is so fun to be with each other. We really know how to focus and have the spirit, but when it's break time, we let loose and can relax really well. The sisters in our room are Sisters Olsen and Stewart from Sandy and California. They are also in our zone. They are hilarious! We have had some very hilarious times in our room! Ha.

Thank you so much for the letters and the package! It was amazing to get mail from you all! And Alli, that packet of letters was just the sweetest thing of my entire life and made my day. You are so cute and I love you. I love all of you! (I am typing like a mad man currently). 

Life here at the MTC is crazy business. We go, go, go all day. First day we get here, drop all the things off in our room, get bags and materials and cards and keys and all that jazz then right off to classroom. I walk into class and meet Brother Griffiths (our teacher) and Elder Haslem. We jumped right in and started teaching each other our favorite scriptures. I am learning so much about myself and about the gospel. it is marvelous and wonderful. We memorize the first vision right off the bat and started giving it to each other. My memory is awesome here! I know that it was awesome before, but holy cow I can remember lots of things. I know that that is a blessing. Then we went to a teaching class called People and Your Purpose. It's like a room full of 100 missionaries and 1 investigator person and we worked together to try to figure out the needs of the investigator and get to know them. That was pretty cool. At the end of the day, we met with the zone leaders and tried to take a tour around campus. I was so tired I kinda slept through the walking tour. Not sure how that is possible, but I did it, indeed. I didn't sleep well that night at all. Too many thoughts. (PS I'm sorry if i've already told you some of these things. I absolutely can not remember what I have or havent' told you. So there's that.) Oh, our other teacher is Sister Smith. She is also great.

Thursday, we had a lesson as the zone and talked about the Doctrine/Gospel of Christ. I've always known what the doctrine of Christ is, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. But we were taught that the doctrine of Christ is really  the Atonement! How cool is that. The other things (faith, etc.) are the principles of the doctrines of Christ. Those are the things that allow us to access the Atonement. I loved that. So every where in the scriptures where it says they taught the doctrine of Christ, they were really teaching about the Atonement. I love that. I challenge you to look for that as you continue to study the scriptures. 

We also met our "investigator" named Justin. It's just our teacher acting as an investigator that he had on his mission. It has been truly amazing to teach him. Justin's friend is a member of the church and so he decided to meet with the missionaries to learn more. We are teaching him about God, the Atonement, and just the plan of happiness. It's amazing! Some lessons go better than others, but it is neat when we really have the Spirit with us and are able to testify of truth and help Justin come closer to Jesus Christ. 

We also had a meeting with our branch presidency. We learned how the main purpose of our stay at the MTC is to become fully converted to Jesus Christ. We have to become converted to Christ before we can ever help others realize the joy that comes from being a disciple of Jesus Christ. I had an interview with a member of the branch presidency, Brother May. He asked me how I was doing on a scale of 1-10. I told him 6 and explained that I knew I had been called and set apart as a missionary but I still struggling to see how I could ever know enough to be able to effectively teach people. He helped me realize that my head knew it, but my heart hadn't quite figured it out. He said I needed to act in faith and over time that conversion and knowledge could come to my heart. He asked me if I brought my pedigree chart and why I did. I told him that I love my ancestors and I often feel like they are supporting me. D&C 84:88 says, "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." He said that those angels are my ancestors on one hand and on the other are the ancestors of the people I am going to teach. It was so powerful and helped me remember that I am not in this alone. They called Sister Parkinson and I to be the new Sister Training Leaders. That was a little overwhelming. But it is all good. We just go to a couple meetings and help introduce the new missionaries to the MTC. We feel very humbled to be called as such and are just trying to do our best. I got to play the piano for that meeting and it was glorious.

Funny story, Elder Penrod and I have the same birthday! January 30, kids! We were so pleased when we figure it out. 

The first couple of days, the sisters in my bedroom and I were very motivated and woke up at 5:45 to go to the morning work-out classes. That didn't last for too long though. We are incredibly tired all the time. They were fun though. Kick-boxing and dance aerobics. Fun stuff. 

Now for gym, we just like to go play sand volleyball as a district/zone. It is a blast! We get to take off our shoes and play around in the sun and the sand for an hour. 

We do tons of role play. Like Sis. Parkinson will act as our investigator, and I will practice teaching a concept or a principle or bearing testimony. It really helps in our lessons. 

Try to find the youth mormon message about a girl reading Joseph Smith's first vision. It's amazing, and I have no idea where to find it. 

Saturday evening, we were having personal and companionship and district study time. It was a huge block of time and we were all exhausted. All of a sudden, Elder Simons starts singing a cub scout song about Christopher Columbus. "In 1492 sailing from New Delhi, Columbus walked the streets of Spain selling hot tamales. They said the world was round-o, and that it could be found-o by that (something IDEK) that son-of-a-gun Christopher Columbo." It was probably the funniest moment of my life. Not really. But close. Also. Baptize for What is a thing. So now we just talk about columbus all the time now. It kills me. 

Saturday I was having a hard time. I was trying to enjoy myself, but I just had the constant nagging that I still had so much to do and that I needed to be better. The Elders then made a joke that I was the slave driver. That kinda hurt a little bit but I let it roll off. But then i started thinking about it more and it really got me down. So many people have told me that I work too hard and that I don't know how to have any fun. I really wanted to relax, but I didn't know. I expressed my feelings to Sis Parkinson. I told her how I have this constant nagging to be perfect and to try harder. She then looked me in the eye and testified that she knew we were companions for a reason. She said she used to struggle with the same thing, but through a roommate was finally able to relax. She challenged me to use the Atonement to find happiness and joy as I ask for help. It's impossible to be perfect in this life and as we accept that fact, we can finally be happy.

Speaking of Sister Parkinson. She is great. She is seriously so funny and so supportive and so loving. We finish each others . . . sentences. Not sandwiches. We love lots of the same movies and stories and have similar senses of humor. We can look at each other, have a conversation with our eyes and just start giggling. So great.

SUNDAY WAS AMAZING. I got to play the piano like all of the sacrament meeting. it was totally the sister Gilbert show and I wasn't even mad. I was REJOICING to play that piano. We watched that famous Character of Christ film of Elder Bednar's that you can't watch anywhere but the MTC. AMAZING. Instead of turning into yourself when things seem to be going wrong, turn out and serve others. 


Elder White was role playing the other night. The investigator was Sunny from New Orleans. He started talking with southern drawl (totally subconsciously). The rest of us were dying, but we didn't want to interrupt the role-play. So we told him the next mornign and it was just the funniest thing ever. Elder Simon's has this silent laugh where tears start rolling down his cheeks when he laughs. It is so funny. And Elder Penrod laughs so hard in this really deep chuckle that makes him unable to talk. It's the greatest thing of my life. Elder Haslem is so smart and just knows how everything works. Like he was telling us how to do our laundry to avoid setting stains in. SO FUNNY. I love my district so much. We really are like family and it's so fun. 

I've seen Elder Erik Lund, and a whole bunch of my friends from Utah State. Elder Scott Wilcox, Sister Hayley Spackman, Sister Ana Cook, Sister Lynette Jex from high school, and many others. It's truly a joy to be here with these people whom I love. 

It's crazy. All the new missionaries are starting to get here! I can't believe it's been a week already. This has been the longest and most wonderful week of my life. Wow, I can't even tell you how happy I truly am. It is amazing. 


Sister Gretchen Gilbert