Monday, January 12, 2015

1.12.2015 - Another week in the Texas Dallas Heaven

Oh my, what a week it was here in the Texas Dallas Heaven.

We had our first new member lesson with JO! It was wonderful. We watched the Restoration with his family and had a great discussion. Both his parents bore their testimonies about Joseph Smith, and it was beautiful! Oh I just love JO.

After that we went and saw JA. We were talking about the priesthood and family history work. We logged him onto, only to find that he wasn't connected to anyone. Oh we worked furiously for an hour to try to help him get connected to his mom and grandparents at least, but to no avail. It made me realize how blessed I am to have my family tree nearly complete. Maybe my days as a youth family history consultant weren't as bad as I thought they were.... I think I've finally repented for not liking that calling. I wish I knew more now, so that I could be able to help JA and his family!

Tuesday we had district meeting and we decided we wanted to go out for lunch afterward. However, the tiny town of Quitman, Texas where we hold our meeting has a very limited supply of restaurants. But we ended up going to a little place called Seth's. It was so fun! Definitely just a bunch of southern food. I got crawfish tails, hushpuppies, and gumbo! Do I even know what any of that is? Not really ... but that's okay. It was delicious! A couple of the elders got frog legs, and one got alligator and let me try it! It just tasted like steak.

Oh boy, then after lunch we had a lesson with RI. He came to church on Sunday, JO's baptism on Saturday, has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon, basically doing everything that he was supposed to. But he told us that he didn't want to join the church, even of finding out if it was true. So that was really discouraging. He told us that he just loved the company and loved comparing the Book of Mormon to the Bible, "studying with us", and that he could honestly just study for 2 years. He didn't feel anything at church and yeah. Oh we were sad. I told Sister Parkinson, "My heart hurts. And not because I had fried food for lunch." But we will continue to pray for him. Also, we will see him every week at our service at the food pantry as well. But oh it was sad.

We had a wonderful, wonderful lesson with TO - per usual. We talked about making vision statements for ourselves and having righteous goals in mind. He told us that this year, he is GOING to get the Melchizedek priesthood and he WILL go to the temple to receive his endowments. Oh we are just so happy for him. Our weekly meeting with him is easily my favorite of the week.

A new investigator told us that the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation answer the questions that she has asked her whole life but has never been able to find answers to. She has a rough situation, but we hope to be able to work through it, and help her be able to participate in the fullness of the gospel.

Thursday night I was able to try gumbo again! This one was super delicious. I'll have to get the recipe...

Friday we went down to Big Sandy to see MA and to go tracting to try to get some more contacts for the week. We brought Brittany Miller with us and had a good time. Oh, this one house had a really creepy shrine on it... I can't even describe it.

Friday night we met with BR and RA. They are doing well. Life is still hard for them since the loss of their son, but they are doing okay. They told us that Faith and gospel have truly been what's sustained them through the past couple of months. It's so good to hear that they have turned to the Lord and the Atonement to make it through their trials and struggles. I love that family dearly.

Saturday was also awesome. Good lesson with JA about the prophets! When we were getting ready for our lesson before hand, I was singing "Follow the Prophet." I couldn't remember the Noah verse for a while, but then I finally got it. Well, on Sunday we were looking at a Primary song book. I realized that I had totally made the words up, but they were pretty good regardless.

"Noah was a prophet called to build a boat
People in his city said it wouldn't float
They were busy sinning, Noah preached in vain
They wished they had listened when they saw the rain." Oh well. haha.

Saturday night the youth in the Gilmer stake had a fireside/dance to kick off the new year. They invited President Taylor to speak at it. We found out that MI was going to be there, so we got to go! Oh it was joyous to see President! He called us up on the spot.... and we got to share our thoughts about Doctrine and Covenants 4:2 - Embark.

This is the email that keeps on giving..... sorry.

Sunday was good. Somehow, responsibilities got mixed up, and no one had brought bread for the Sacrament. But luckily, the YW Pres. had brought some hamburger buns for sloppy joes for the youth for after church. So we took the Sacrament more than halfway through the meeting, after a speaker, and using hamburger buns. It was unique, but definitely a testimony builder to me that the Sacrament is powerful and important.

Okay, now this is the most important part of the email:

We found out that at the end of the month, our mission will be blessed to have a visit from a general authority.

Elder Russel M. Nelson will be visiting the Texas Dallas Mission birthday.

Oh I am so excited I can hardly stand it. We are going to be purifying ourselves to prepare for a prophet of the Lord to come. I am going to focus on being more charitable and using this motto: "it's better to be kind than to be right."

Oh what a good day. What a good life. And what a glorious gospel! How thankful I am that we can build on a firm foundation, Jesus Christ. My testimony echoes that of the the hymn,

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, I'll never, no never,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!

How grateful I am for the Savior, for His Atonement, and most importantly, His love.

I love you and pray that you will have a wonderful week!

Sister Gilbert

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello! Hello! 1.5.2015

Hello to my beautiful people!

It has been a wonderful week! The weather here has gotten quite cold (like this morning it was 34) so we are just trying to enjoy the Utah-like weather. It's nice though.

So the highlight of this week was definitely JO's baptism! Oh it has been so wonderful to get to work with him from the beginning and help him progress to baptism. That boy definitely has a testimony of Jesus Christ and a knowledge of the gospel! After he got baptized, he was just grinning from ear to ear. It was a beautiful service.

In preparation for JO's baptism, we wanted to hit "standards" (the averages or normals for the zone. I don't really know how they make them... but regardless). The standards are pretty high, but we wanted to do our best. We ended up not hitting all the standards, but we did work very hard regardless. We taught 20 lessons, and 6 of those were LTMPs. (Lessons taught with a member present.) It was wonderful. Definitely some miracle lessons that's for sure, but it's good.

Tuesday night the bishop's family was having a bonfire, so we got to go to that. One of our investigators was there and there were also a bunch of other great people. It was a fun opportunity to socialize with the ward.
Wednesday we started volunteering at the local food pantry here. It's ran by the baptist church, but there are a couple LDS people who volunteer as well. We are excited to start helping out there every week. Yay for service opportunities!

So there is a family in the ward that took us out for dinner on New Years Eve. They have a son who served a mission and two grandkids. We've had some really good conversations. Turns out that their daughter-in-law's grandmother is in my home ward! (Sister Taysom). (Mom and Dad- the only way I figured this out was by just figuring out where she lived then looking it up on lds tools....haha). Cool little connection right there.
Here's a funny text from our zone leaders this week: #gilmergirlsgoin'forgold. We enjoyed it.

Friday we were able to teach MI again. (The 14 year old who was a referral from the Wadsworths.) We taught her the plan of salvation and she said that it just made so much sense. When we were teaching about the spirit world, she said, "I always wondered about those poor souls who  never got to hear about Jesus while they were on earth. It makes so much sense that they get the opportunity to hear about him after they die!" oh I was jumping for joy. On the inside. :)

RI was able to come to JO's baptism and to church! Oh it was wonderful! We continue to pray for him and seek to help him understand better. He's having a hard time understanding the priesthood, but we're trying to help.

Speaking of church - church was awesome yesterday! So here's everything that happened before the sacrament was blessed and passed: 

JA (my recent convert) was sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood
JO was confirmed a member of the church and received the Holy Ghost
A baby was blessed
Another baby was blessed. This baby (Miya) has a set of grandparents who do not speak English. They were in attendance. So the brother giving the blessing would say a line, then a different brother would repeat what he said, but in Spanish. ! So awesome.

So basically there were a bunch of priesthood ordinances happening. It was so perfect that RI was at church.
But wait there's more. So then, it was time for the testimony portion of the meeting. The testimonies were very powerful and centered on the Savior and on the priesthood. Then a sister in the ward who is originally from Ecuador got up and said that the bishop had invited her to bear her testimony in Spanish. Then her mother (who is a recent convert) also bore her testimony is spanish. And another guy did it too in Spanish. I had no idea what they were saying, but the Spirit was so so strong! Oh my heart was full. It was such a testimony builder that the Spirit speaks to our hearts, not always to our minds. We were sitting by JO's family during Sacrament meeting. His little brother was sitting by me. During all the Spanish testimonies, he leaned over to his mom and said, "Mom, what am I feeling?" She told him that it was the Spirit. He said, "Well I feel really warm and hot inside. It feels really good." I thought it was a wonderful teaching moment for this little boy.

Oh it was just so wonderful.

I tried lots of new foods this week! Elk steaks (not bad actually), a bajillion different chili at our ward chili cook off, and on new year's we had black eye peas (for good luck), steamed cabbage (for money) and good old cornbread. it was a fun tradition.

As I continue to read the Book of Mormon each day, I find that I don't want to put it down once I've read the assigned chapters for the day. I want to continue reading and learning.

Oh how blessed we are to have the gospel!

I love you!
Sister Gilbert