Monday, September 8, 2014

9.8.2014 - Hello again from Allen, TX

Sorry for the following NOVEL.

Life has been really busy and I am EXHAUSTED every night when it is time for bed. Thus, my journal writing has been less than diligent and I'm having a hard time remembering what went down this week. But I will do my best.

We were able to visit with Tr* again. She's just so sweet. We talked briefly about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She just wants to get baptized so bad, but she's worried about her marriage. We brought Sister Christiansen in the ward with us. That was really nice. Since Sister C is married, she was able to counsel with Tr* a little bit better than Sister Aumua and I were able to regarding baptism. Tr* watched a conference talk by Elder Oaks, The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood. She said it helped her understand better how a marriage should work. We are definitely praying for a miracle with her that her husband's heart may be softened.

We saw S* again (who was at Church along with his parents!). We began reading the Book of Mormon with him. It was awesome! It was so into it and loved reading. He seriously had amazing reading comprehension. We challenged him to read every day and to seek guidance. This kid is bright. He will be a great example to his parents.

At our zone meeting (yes we had another one. not sure why. but nonetheless) we set a goal of 4 baptisms for the Allen 1st ward by the end of the year! I'm feeling really good about this, and we are praying that these good people will follow through and be able to come to know for themselves that the gospel can bring much peace and joy into their lives.

Tracting experiences this week:
  • a man told us about margarita's for about 15 minutes until we were finally able to get going. he sure loved his margaritas.
  • LOTS of anti. That's been really hard on me. Like this man started yelling at us telling us we have no idea what we are out talking about. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know everything about the gospel and the early history of the church. But when he is yelling at me telling me my testimony is false - - whew I got really upset. But it's okay. I'm still learning and growing and just doing my best. That's all that God expects of me.
  • We met a girl named Lyric. Cool name!
Cool story: We have a neighbor we met on our first day here and we tried to talk to her and give her a card, but she didn't want anything to do with it. So a couple weeks ago, we walked past her and her car as she was unloading groceries to bring into her apartment. So we offered to help her and she accepted our help! Then just on Wednesday, we were walking out to go catch our ride to our dinner appointment. She was out there with her dog, and called out to us as we were walking past. She asked us if we could do her a favor. We gladly said yes. She asked us if we could pray for her mother who had been in the hospital. So we were able to pray with her there and have been praying for her this week. It meant so much to me that she was able to trust us enough to ask us to pray for her mother. It was just such a sweet experience.

We were finally able to teach CE* this week. The lesson was interesting. A house FULL of little boys running around screaming and the grandma trying to calm them down. Whew. That was an exhausting lesson. But we invited him to come to mutual to play broom hockey and he accepted! So that was awesome. It was nice to spend time with the youth in the ward!

Miracles and blessings: Wednesday night we biked into our apartment complex, I hopped off my bike, flipped it up onto it's back tire and started to bring it up the stairs. I didn't make it farther than one step before the tire deflated COMPLETELY! Seriously if it had happened like 30 seconds earlier, I probably could have been very hurt. So I was able to bring it upstairs. The only problem, we had a full night schedule and a full schedule the next day as well. So we asked the elders to come over to try to help me fix it on Thursday. They came, and it turns out the tube had a big old hole right next to the valve and there was no way to fix it. So then on Friday we asked a ward member, Sister Bailey to come help me. She bought me a new tube and we put it on and everything and then the same thing happened! The tube had a big old hole right next to the valve. So Take 3. Sis. Bailey bought me another tube (it was so very kind of her) but didn't have time to help me with it. So just call me Sister Bike-Fixer-Upper! I replaced the tube in my tire. Oh yeah. But the whole experience was just a big miracle and blessing. I know that God was definitely looking out for me.

We got to go to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra On The Go here in Allen with our investigator B*. We hadn't seen her in about a month and she invited us to attend with her. That was fun. Our Bishop was also able to meet her so that was awesome. 

I had pizza AND sushi at a dinner appointment. That was seriously like a dream come true. The two best foods.

We volunteered at a thrift shop called Treasure Chest. Think of the DI, times the grossness of it by like 1000 and then you will have TC. It was gross. But kind of fun. Haha. We just hung up clothes and arranged racks and put stuff out on displays. Whew. I am definitely blessed.

Mom: the oils are great. Lavendar oil is LITERALLY the ONLY thing that makes my chigger bites feel better. Seriously. Chigarid doesn't work. Benedryl cream doesn't work. Fngernail polish doesn't work. Only Lavendar. Seriously chiggars are the worst thing of my life. My legs always feel like FIRE. I'm serious. Very painful. Count your blessings that y'all are in the Utah where there are no chiggers. Because nothing is worse than a chigger bite.

Church was wonderful yesterday. HS*, our investigator, came! Woot woot. We were texting her trying to reschedule an appointment and she just said, "how about I come to church on sunday?" We were SO pumped! So she came! Testimony meeting was wonderful. Dad, I too was worried about what people would say up on the stand! Like, just bear testimony! No weird stories or thankfulmonies, just testimony! Then in RS, the Lesson was on an article from July 2014 Ensign. It was wonderful. The teacher asked Sister Aumua and I to sing "I Feel My Savior's Love." Everyone was crying. I just had to look at the ceiling because we all know that I can NOT sing and cry at the same time. I encourage y'all to read that talk because it's amazing. The tag line from the article is, "Understanding the Savior’s freely given atoning love can free us from self-imposed, incorrect, and unrealistic expectations of what perfection is." It was great. HS* needed to hear EXACTLY that. So did I. We don't need to measure up to the world. Just rely on the Atonement.

Sunday school was awesome too. Think of this: Before going on a long journey or departing from loved ones, what do you do? You gather together with them, usually eating a meal, talk of things important to you, and express love for each other. Then you often give them a token, a gift, something to help them remember you. This was the case when I left for my mission.

This too was the case before the Savior was crucified. He gathered his apostles together, partook of the Last Supper, discussed His gospel. Then He instituted the sacrament as a way to help his apostles, his disciples, us to remember Him and the teachings he had been trying to help us all understand. The Sacrament is so sacred and special because it reminds us of our relationship with our Savior and helps us renew ALL the sacred covenants we have made. Jesus Christ knew that His apostles, disciples would miss Him and his presence. But similarly He would miss being in their companionship. The sacrament and the covenants we have are a way to gap the distance between us and Savior.

In John 15, Christ says,
13 Greater love‍ hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life‍ for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command‍ you.
15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I haveheard‍ of my Father I have made known‍ unto you.

As we partake of the sacrament, keep the commandments and strive to do all that He has asked us, we too can truly become the friends of Jesus Christ. That is very special.

I love y'all. Thanks for all you do!
Much Love,
Sister Gretchen Gilbert

No comments: