Thursday, February 26, 2015

2.23.2015 Embracing the Bike


This week has been good! 

I have fully embraced the bike life again! A couple months ago, I bought a little decoration that says Life Is A Beautiful Ride with a bike on it. I actually hated that picture for like a week....but I'm back to loving it again. I am blessed. And I'm getting in shape. And plus one of the Elders in our zone showed us a secret back way to the church that helps us avoid the HILL OF DEATH. (literally could not even walk up the hill with the bike it was so steep/long). So grateful for secret ways. 

We had a really good lesson with a less-active, LI. We showed her the "Good Things to Come" mormon message. She loved it. She's actually traveling in Utah right now, so we haven't seen her for a while, but she is doing well. LI is basically our best friend. She's awesome. Also, our investigator CI came to the Relief Society activity! We were making humanitarian kits and she told us she loved getting to know the ladies in Relief Society and helping people. We are grateful that the sisters in the ward are willing to fellowhship and help her. 

We are finally starting to figure out the ward directories and the ward members! Hallelujah! 

Both Sister Weichers and I found names to take to the temple, so sometime soon we will be able to do a session for our ancestors! So excited! 

Our apartment is finally starting to get clean and organized! Sister Weichers and I finally feel like we can LIVE in our house. 

Coolest story of the week: Friday morning we sent out a scripture to CI and a couple other people for them to read. CI called us and told us that she read it and LOVED it. She also told us that she has faithfully been reading the Book of Mormon every day and marking chapters that she likes and she doesn't turn on the tv after she reads, she just goes to bed. Then at our appointment on Saturday, she read a bunch of scriptures that she loved to us and taught us about them. Loved it. She is wonderful. We are excited for her.

We also got to go to Prosper (Sister Weicher's old area) twice this week for two baptisms of people they taught! Oh how I love the spirit at baptisms!

Then we had Stake Conference this weekend. I love being uplifted and filled. The spiritual well sure does get empty. 

Sunday was super rainy, but fortunately enough we had scheduled 6 lessons with members to try to get to know the ward better. So we just got rides between houses and were able to avoid being caught out in the rain.

The ice storms are crazy here! We took advantage of the "do not drive/bike in this weather" mandate from the mission president and took a nap yesterday. I am always exhausted, but always blessed and always happy. :)

I can't even tell you how blessed, loved, and watched-over I am.

I can feel your prayers and your love and your support every single day. 

I know that Christ is our Savior. Oh I love him dearly! How grateful I am for my relationship with him. 

Doctrine and Covenants 76:22-24

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

 23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

 24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

I love Jesus Christ! And I love you!

Sister Gilbert

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

That moment when ... 2.16.2015

Okay, this week has been pretty good! We've definitely had a lot of "that moment when" moments though. :) haha.

Just to mix things up, that'll be the format of my email.

That moment when: You almost get run off the road by a car. Scary! But we were okay, luckily!

That moment when: You have a really, really good district meeting (probably the best one ever) about following the Spirit and salting things up. We talked about the small impressions that we receive and how as we follow those small promptings (like "go grab your planner, you'll need it" etc) we'll be able to recognize the bigger ones. With salting things up, we talked about asking good questions and helping to add some flavor to our conversations with people. Loved it.

That moment when: An 8 year old tells you that you pronounce "Satan" wrong. I pronounced it like a Utahn (like Sa'an) and she said in a very sassy voice, "It's pronounced Satan." Haha. I died.

Okay, I'm tired of that moment when....

Anyway, Tuesday night we had a relief society activity in 7th ward. We were talking about Family History. I've totally got the family history bug! So cool. They have that new descendancy view thing on Totally cool! Love it.

Wednesday, we rode our bikes for literally 45 minutes to get to an appointment. We made it though. Whew. It was with JE and CI. Unfortunately, when we got there, they had thought our appointment was for the next night and they were about to leave. Fortunately, CI invited us in anyway and we were able to have a good discussion with them. We talked about faith. CI asked, "what is faith anyway?" and so we were able to talk about it. She is still very intent on taking the lessons and is looking forward to us coming this week. Sister Weichers and I were talking on Sunday, so we committed them to come to church! Unfortunately, CI's back was hurting her, so she didn't come. Oh, Satan works so hard on people. It makes me so mad sometimes.

Thursday we had a cool experience. We needed a ride to some lessons, and we couldn't get a hold of anyone. I was getting really frustrated because we were trying SO HARD to get a ride and still couldn't find anyone. Finally we ended up contacting LI. She's super cool. So as we were driving, I asked her how work has been. She responded and said that she's been having a lot of stress. We were able to talk to her and show our love and support for her. We told her that she could call us whenever she needed someone to talk to, and she said, "well that's not missionary work." We definitely disagreed with that though! Our purpose is to invite people to come unto Christ through FAITH.... So later that night we had a free hour, so we took one of the young women from the ward, cut out paper hearts, wrote our favorite comforting scriptures on them, and heart attacked her door! It was good.

Friday: TRADE DAYS. Holy cow, most exhausting/wonderful thing ever. Trade Days is like a big old flea market/swap meet thingy. So awesome. The Stake had a Family Search/History booth thing that we were able to run. We were there for 4 hours on Friday and made 345 contacts! Woot! it was awesome. Then on Saturday we went back for only 2 hours this time and made 500+ contacts. It was good. Interesting thing though, people are NOT really interested in family history. Most say, "I already know too much about my family." It made me really sad. I guess that we as members just have different perspective on families and death, and I am so grateful for that.

We started meeting with a new family. They have a 9 year old who wants to get baptized. So that will be fun to help them!

Sunday night was also good. We had a little lesson/get-together with DI and CH and some members of the ward. It was really good for CH to get to know some of the guys in the ward. We watched "The Hope of God's Light" Mormon message, and it was just a good time.

I love McKinney. I still don't feel like I have a clue what's going on, but it's all good. We will get it figured out soon.  I feel like I may just been a foundation layer for future sisters here, but I am okay with that. I've definitely been more of a seed planter on my mission than a harvester. It's all important though.

I love the gospel. I love the Jesus Christ. I love the Atonement. I've prayed more fervently and sincerely this week than ever before to have the spiritual and physical capacities for the work that I get to do.

I love y'all!

Sister Gilbert

I'm glad baby Hannah got to come home! yay!

Most recent laughing: we literally laugh like all day long....but the biggest thing would probably be us sitting on the counters of the kitchen at the church eating lunch between wards and having members come in and just give us weird looks. Hahah. Like, sorry, we gotta eat sometime. 

My favorite person this week: a little 5 year old named Doug. Literally the cutest boy ever and most loving. We ate dinner with his family, and oh he was just so sweet. Never have I met a kid whose name and personality fit together so well. Cutest little guy.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Hello, McKinney!

Hello!! Oh my, there aren't really words to describe the INSANE-ness of this week.

Sooo, I got transferred! I'm now serving in a town called McKinney, TX. It is currently rated by Money Magazine (maybe?) as the number one place in the United States to live! So, I'm living the dream basically!

So, my companion is Sister Weichers (pronounced Wickers like a snickers bar). She is from Apple Valley, California (near Victorville on I-15) and has been out for 6 months. So she came out the transfer after me. We get along VERY well and are having a blast!

We got doubled into an elders' area. (Yes, this is the second time that this has happened to me.) So basically, our apartment was a piece of garbage. But that is okay.

We have some wonderful zone leaders who lovingly came and scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen for us for a couple of hours while we were out working. BLESSING. Not currently a fan of messiness. Or ever. But it is okay!

So, for Tuesday-Saturday we were blessed to have a car from the elders in the 3rd ward. We were able to figure out the area and meet our Bishops and ward mission leaders and just get around nicely. But lo-and-behold, the lovely assistants called on Saturday and informed us that we had to give the car back. CRY. Needless to say, I am living the bike life again! Ahh. Sister Weichers and I biked to the library today (only about a mile away) but I totally have noodle legs! Yikes, it's been a while. But I am so happy to be here.

We are covering two wards, McKinney 2 and 7. It is going to be an interesting and wonderful time here! Sister Weichers and I are big into EXACT obedience. We definitely recognize that we are in NEED of big time blessings and miracles right now. Haha. But it is all good. 

We have already seen so many miracles and hearts softening in the short (and eternally long at the same time) 6 days that we have been here.

There is a couple, I'll just call them J and C. J is ready to get back to church and get rebaptized, but has some severe handicaps that make it extremely difficult to get around. So we went over there on Friday night and introduced ourselves because we are new and want to get to know people. J and C participated fully and happily. We read Alma 7:1-12 and had an amazing discussion about the Atonement. C has a very
limited knowledge about the gospel, but she was participating! Right before we were getting ready to leave, C ASKED us if we could give her the lessons because she had never heard them! I just about FLOATED out of my seat I was so happy! Oh what a miracle! I am excited to see how this progresses!

This week has been full of embarrassment in trying to figure out the wards and people and all of that jazz. But it has been full of blessings also.

So yes, I will need prayers for the bike life. But Sister Weichers and I strongly feel that there is someone we will meet on our bikes that is ready for the gospel that otherwise we wouldn't be able to find. 

The two ward life makes for very long Sundays, but it is good.

The church is true! How grateful I am for the this gospel and for the knowledge that I have. I am beyond grateful for the Atonement that carries me and strengthens me beyond what I am capable of by myself.

OH! I almost forgot. Saturday afternoon, we took our bikes out to take a practice ride for Sister Weichers. LITERALLY 2 seconds into the ride, and I crashed! Holy cow, I made it 3 months in Allen without crashing, then put me on a bike for 2 seconds in McKinney and I went down. No worries though. I am okay! Just a little road rash on the knee!

Haha. All I can do is laugh at this point.
It's been a good week. I'm excited and grateful for the coming week.

My new address is 
123 Wilson Creek Blvd #121
McKinney, TX 75069

Sister Gilbert

Monday, February 2, 2015

Feed your faith and your fear will starve - 2.2.2015

Wow! It's been an awesome week!

So full of miracles and wonderful experiences! I'll just kinda go day by day again.

Monday: I found a new dress and shoes for $25 total (the shoes were $3) to wear to our big meeting on Friday. SCORE. More importantly, we had a lesson with a less-active family -CH and DE. They are currently taking care of 2 foster children (bad situation) who have never learned or heard anything about Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, or religion in general. CH and DE are less-active, but have been trying valiantly to teach the kids (ages 7 and 5) about the gospel. They have been reading the illustrated Book of Mormon stories every night, and making an effort to come to church. Some of their family members suggested we visit with them, so we have been. Anyway, we taught the Plan of Salvation using some fun little cut-outs. After we discussed in, we challenged the kids to teach it back to us by putting the cards in order. Much to our amazement, they were able to do it! Oh I was so happy! And so were CH and DE! It was awesome.

Tuesday: We went to a gas station here in town and contacted for about 2 hours. Between us and the Elders, we were able to get around 70 contacts!! That was definitely a MIRACLE. Here in Gilmer, 10 contacts a day is usually a miracle, so getting 37 for Sister Parkinson and I was beyond awesome.

Wednesday: Good lessons all around. And a wonderful time at the food pantry again. For dinner we ate with some members - the husband has been a life-long member, and the wife is a convert of about 5 years. They have 3 kids, who are all sealed to them now. It was so wonderful to hear her conversion story and SEE how the gospel has blessed their little family so much, for time and truly for eternity. We also visited with the JO family. They are still having a hard time recovering from their accident back in August, but they do recognize that they are healing, and that they are in a good place because they have turned to the Lord. We had an awesome discussion about the Holy Ghost and how he is our comforter and teacher. My favorite quote from the night, said by Sister JO: "Feed your faith and your fear will starve." Oh how I loved that. The JO family is so full of faith and love and hope. They are amazing.

Thursday: nothing to extraordinary in the morning, but around 3:30, Sister Parkinson and I hopped in the car and drove to Dallas! We went to a delicious Italian restaurant called Campisi's for dinner, and stayed with the Dallas Sister Training Leaders, Sister Griffin (who I served around in Allen) and Sister Aumua (my trainer)! Oh it was fun!

Friday: My birthday, first of all. Needless to say, it was literally the best birthday ever. I was beyond blessed to have an incredible birthday! We got to the church around 7:30 and finished reading the Book of Mormon! What an incredible 36 ish days it was to read it all together as a mission! Then all the missionaries lined up, and they led us into the gym to take mission pictures with Elder Nelson and Elder Robbins. Oh, it was so cool. I was standing right behind Elder Nelson. I could've patted his head if I had wanted to. Haha. Then we each had the opportunity to shake their hands. When I looked into Elder Nelson's eyes, I was so overwhelmed by emotion and love. I could just tell that he is a prophet of the Lord. Then it was time for the meeting. Sister Taylor and President each spoke briefly. At the start of President's talk, he started reciting The Living Christ and invited us all to join in with him. So, we were able to recite The Living Christ, Testimony of the Apostles, to a living apostle, one of the writers, Elder Russel M. Nelson. Oh, it was incredible.

Elder Robbins spoke about Moroni 10:32 and how we don't have to be perfect to come to Christ. It's through Christ that we are perfected. He spoke about Grace, and how it helps us every step along our journey. We don't have to wait until the end (or perfection) to be able to be strengthened and enabled by grace. He said that the ordinance of endurance is the Sacrament. Loved it. He quoted Winston Churchill who said, " Our success in life is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm." The Lord lets us try again over and over and over.

The Elder Nelson got up. Oh, I had chills and was fangirling on the inside a little bit. But it was great. Tying into Elder Robbins' talk, he said that the word enthusiasm has a really cool meaning. En-means within. Theo or thu- means God. So enthusiasm literally means the Spirit or Power of God within us. He spoke about the Abrahamic covenant and I was able to understand it a lot better. We are truly here to assist in the gathering of Israel to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I honestly couldn't take notes fast enough. Then he talked about Doctrine and Covenants section 31- the section that my stake President back home talked about to me before I was set apart. I loved it. D&C 31:6 "Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them only for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them" He told us that we are doing more for our current and future families by serving then by being at home. I loved it! Then he said, "I observe this about you - (quoting D&C 138:53-56)

53 The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great latter-day work,

 54 Including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world.

 55 I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.

 56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men."

He then gave us an apostolic blessing and promise. Then we sang Hark All Ye Nations and that was that. We stood, he left, and I felt my heart tug a little bit as he left. The Spirit definitely confirmed the divinity of his calling to me. After he had left, the missionaries all just stood in silence, in awe of the great blessing we had.

Oh it was wonderful.

Then Sister Parkinson and I went to lunch at Olive Garden, and finished up our Dallas adventure by doing a session at the Dallas Temple. It was a perfect day.

It was a good week! I found out this morning that I'm leaving Gilmer! I'm so sad to go, but I'm excited to see what adventures are in store for me.

I just want to close with my testimony of the Savior. I know that He lives! I know that He loves me! I love Jesus Christ dearly, with my whole heart. I can feel my desires and intentions changing because of my love for Him. How grateful I am for the Atonement - the purifying power and the enable power!

I love y'all!

Sister Gilbert

1.26.2015 - Happy 7 Months!

Wow, can anyone else believe that I've been out for 7 months? I sure can/can't. Haha. Sometimes the time flies, sometimes it drags. But it surely has been marvelous thus far.

This week has been mucho better than last week! Our area is still slow at this point, but we are striving to do our best and to help the work pick up. While we were on exchanges last week, I got a little bit of insight as to success. Sister Christmas and I were discussing success and all that. She pointed me to Jacob 5 - the beloved allegory of the olive tree. I'll paste some of the verses in here, then briefly discuss them.

70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.

 71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.

 72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

 74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit;

 76 For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season, which speedily cometh; and for the last time have I nourished my vineyard, and pruned it, and dug about it, and dunged it; wherefore I will lay up unto mine own self of the fruit, for a long time, according to that which I have spoken.

Okay, you are probably thinking: why are you sharing Jacob 5? Well, this is why.

I am one of the few servants of the vineyard at this time. Yes, there are a lot of missionaries, but compared to the population of the world, there aren't that many of us.

I have been commanded to labor with my might. Somedays this is easier than others. But it's when I do that I find the most happiness. It goes on to say that if I labor with the Lord of the vineyard, the Savior, that's when my joy will come. I must be diligent and keep the commands, but the joy will come.

Lastly, the Lord of the Vineyard continually says, I will lay up the fruit unto myself. The fruit, or success, isn't mine to freely have. It is Jesus Christ's. My laboring in the vineyard isn't for my own benefit. It's the Lord. In hymn 243 Let Us All Press On, this point is illustrated again.

1. Let us all press on in the work of the Lord,
That when life is o'er we may gain a reward;
In the fight for right let us wield a sword,
The mighty sword of truth.

2.We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few
When compared with the opposite host in view;
But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you
In the glorious cause of truth.

This isn't the work of Sister Gilbert. It's the work of the Lord.

Anyway, this week has been nice.

Another really good visit with MI and her daughter KA. We had Stake Conference this weekend, and after the adult session of Saturday night, President Sant (our stake president) came up to us and told us that he had been on a rescue visit to the this family earlier that day. They told him that we had been meeting with them and they were very grateful for us spending time teaching them the gospel and helping them rebuild their testimonies. President Sant also expressed his gratitude for us in being in their home and going to their rescue. It was one of those moments when your hard work pays off.

Thursday we had interviews and training. It was a wonderful, wonderful meeting! Oh how I love being with President Taylor. At one point in one of the trainings that the assistants were giving, there was an activity that Sister Parkinson had to give me a piggy back ride across the gym. Yes, we were wearing skirts. It was hilarious. But we talked about how we can truly help lift those around us.

Friday was the day of MIGHTY MIRACLES. First and foremost, Sister Parkinson, BR, and myself finally found Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups at the Dollar General in Big Sandy. I highly encourage you to find some and partake of the goodness.... haha.

Second, our appointment canceled, so we decided to decorate her door with streamers and balloons and a card to show her that we love her. She ended up texting us later that night telling us that it really made her day, and helped her realize that people love her and are watching out for her.

Third mighty miracle: So, as a mission, we are trying to extend 40,000 invitations for people to learn about the Book of Mormon for the month of January. Talk about a lot. So, we were behind pace, so each companionship was invited to invite 23 people everyday. Sister Parkinson and I nearly perished when we heard this. A good contacting day for us is 5 people. There was literally no way. But lo and behold, our marvelous sister training leader called us and told us that her and our companion were going to help us and pick up the contacts that we were unable to get. She challenged us to get 13 contacts a day (still a big push) and that they would cover the other 10. I definitely learned a lesson of humility and even of the Atonement with that experience. Oh how grateful I was. Well, Sister Parkinson and I prayed fervently and sincerely and very hard that we'd be able to do so. In Big Sandy, we got 5 contacts and were feeling pretty good. So after our adventure with BR, we went to town to try to go contact more people. We had 1.5 hours before our next appointment, so we selected a street and started knocking. We needed to get 8 more contacts. We had been contacting in this part of our area before at the same time of day and got about 5 contacts, so we were hoping for a miracle. Well, let me just tell you. The windows of heaven opened! We were blessed to have 20 more contacts in that 1.5 hours giving us a total of 25 contacts for the day!!!!! Oh my, I was so humbled. What a miracle and what a faith builder.

Saturday we were also able to contact 15 people. Oh, the windows were opened. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are trying diligently. We haven't gotten new investigators from these activities yet, but we are feeling rejuvinated and ready to go .

Stake conference was wonderful as well. President and Sister Taylor came out for it, and oh it was delightful to see them.

Oh how blessed I am.

I want to testify of the Book of Mormon. There is power in its pages. It contains the fulness of the gospel. I know that we all can receive peace, comfort, knowledge, and answers as we diligently study it's pages.

How thankful I am for the gospel. It's truly shaped me into the woman that I am today.
I love you!

Sister Gilbert


Hey there! This last week has been interesting to say the least.

The Millers are graciously letting me use their iPad due to MLK Day.

We were able to start meeting with a new less-active family this week. It's a mom, her mom and her two kids ages 7 and 1. They haven't been to church in several years. The primary presidency went on a rescue visit to them a couple weeks ago and had a really good conversation. The 7 year old turns 8 in September and they wanted to know what needed to be done to get her baptized. The bishop asked us to work with the 7 year old and her mom to teach them the lessons and help get her ready to get baptized. It technically won't count as a convert baptism, but we're excited to work with them as a less active family to help them get back to church.

Tuesday night to Wednesday night we went on exchanges. I got to go spend the day in Tyler! Wow! It was so crazy. Definitely a busier area and world than Gilmer is. Needless to say I had a wonderful time with Sister Christmas and we taught a a whole bunch of lessons. It was fun to change up the routine, but I was happy to go back to Gilmer with Sister Parkinson. It's a treat to serve with her! We have a wonderful time together.

Thursday was planning day. Oh we are at such a hard place right now. We are down to one investigator and like one potential investigator. We are trying so hard to find more people to teach, but don't really know how to go about it. We're trying though. At one point during our planning we were joking around and said, " if the heavens opened and people were flocking to the font, who all could we baptize?" We ended up making a list of about 29 people who are from part member families or referrals from the ward. We prayed about the list and started calling people hoping that something miraculous would happen. We got one potential appointment out of it, so we will see.

Friday we found a potential down in Big Sandy. Her name is JE. She is a very kind lady. Hopefully something will play out with that. Friday night we were also able to get back in with a less active family that we haven't been able to see since October. It's crazy to see how hard Satan works on people when they decide to come back. The worst/adventurous part of Friday happened around 9:15 while we were doing our nightly planning. Sister P and I both saw a black little something dash across the kitchen floor. Needless to say, I was standing on my chair quicker than you can say, "mouse!" We called the bishop and his daughters to come rescue us.... Haha. They weren't able to find the mouse, but they set some traps. Gross.

Saturday, we had a very full afternoon and evening. Some of our appointments were really sad though. One was a sister telling us about why she is less active. Oh it broke my heart. Another one was telling us why she doesn't believe in prophets. Oh my heart was weeping and so was I. Side note: this morning I was studying "The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship" by Elder Holland from April 2014. He talks about there are good times and painful times of being a disciple. I have clearly seen that this week.

Sunday was good! Sister P walked into the kitchen and screamed. We caught the mouse! Hooray! Church was good. We taught Sunday school and talked about Jesus Christ. The Spirit was strong, and I am so grateful that we had several of our less actives there.

Here's some insight from the studies this week:

Alma 26:27 it talks about how The Lord will comfort us and that success is given through him. We can find patience and peace through the Atonement.

Alma 58:3 this verse says, "Yea, and it became expedient that we should employ our men to the maintaining those parts of the land which we had regained of our possessions;" I thought that this really applied to my work as a missionary. Sometimes, we're "conquering new cities" or finding new converts, but sometimes we are more focused on retaining those that we have aka strengthening the less actives and active members.

Well, I love you! Have a good week.
Sister Gilbert