Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I am a happy soul! 7.13.2015

Hello hello!

It was another wonderful week in McKinney. (It always seems to be that way, doesn't it?) I was able to go on exchanges in Dallas with the lovely Sister Head. Sister Head and I started our mission together, so it was really fun to be with her and catch-up on old times! The day that we were together marked our one year anniversary of flying to Texas. So great! We had so many miracles on exchanges. I love just being able to see the gospel in action all over this beautiful mission where I get to serve! 

Wonderful news! BE passed his baptismal interview, so we will be having a baptism on Saturday! I am so excited for him and especially for FL, his wife. What a beautiful experience for the two of them. Just the next step in their journey together.

 Thursday we visited a less active, Sister RO. She works for a very old (we're talking 97 years old) lady, AL, who is a member and one of her care providers. AL is in a nursing home right now, and the home happens to be in our area. Sister Whittier and I were able to go over and visit her and sing I Stand All Amazed and read a scripture. She is such a sweet old lady. 

Friday we met with JO and had a great lesson. We talked briefly about baptism and confirmation, reading Alma 7:14-15 with him. However, we started into a wonderful conversation about forgiveness after that. The line "The Savior wants to forgive" kept playing through my head. I am so grateful that we have a loving Redeemer and  Friend who wants to forgive us and is waiting with open arms to embrace us and forgive us. Once again, Jesus Christ has set the perfect example for us through forgiveness. Also, in Sunday school yesterday, we talked briefly about the 7 final statements that Christ made. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" has always poignantly stuck out to me. At His most excruciating moment, the Savior forgave. Oh, my heart is full just thinking about it. 

Saturday we stopped in on a former, CA, because she had been on my mind a lot. We had a beautiful visit, talked about the Atonement and honestly just brought a little peace into her home. CA's daughter was alone that weekend, and she was a little down and lonely. She said she was praying for something to change, so she was so glad that we stopped by. I feel truly humbled every time I have the privilege to be the answer to someone's prayer. It always reminds me of the talk by President Uchtdorf, "You Are My Hands." Here is just a brief excerpt from the talk:

"A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus Christ was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.

Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. Some suggested that they hire a sculptor to make new hands, but others wanted to leave it as it was—a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war. Ultimately, the statue remained without hands. However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: 'You are my hands.' "

The rest of the week was filled with finding formers and less-actives, "heart-attacking" doors, and doing service. It was a simple week, but I truly loved it.

In 7th ward yesterday, our sacrament meeting was a musical program. You know the kind where several people talk about their favorite hymn and then you sing it. My heart was just full during the whole meeting. During the sacrament, I teared up as I thought about our loving Savior and his Atonement and as I pondered on my eternal family. Then as we sang hymns such as "Love At Home," "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," "All Creatures of Our God and King," "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," I just thought again and again about the Savior and about this beautiful restored gospel that we've been given. Also, Sister Whittier and I were able to participate in the program, doing a musical number, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." I love the line where it says, "He to rescue me from danger interposed his precious blood." How grateful I am for the Atonement. 

Oh, I just am a happy soul. I love this gospel. Don't worry, everyday isn't peachy and perfect. I have my hard days and moments, but I am happy. I was washing my hands the other day and just looked up at myself in the mirror and grinned. How blessed I am to be a missionary! I love this gospel. I love each of you. I hope you have a beautiful week!

Sister Gretchen Gilbert

Enjoy the pictures of me, our disgusting spider friend named Archibald (Archie for short) that the elders killed for us...., and a cute heart that I made as part of one of our heart-attacks.

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