Friday, October 30, 2015

A Drizzly Week - 10.26.2015

Hello hello!
It's definitely been a bit of a rainy week this week, but it's fun to break out the scarves and boots. Also, my companion has been under the weather, but we still had some really good lessons!

There is a sister who has a friend named CH with 3 teenage daughters. CH was really touched by Zoe's story and reached out to this sister knowing that she was a member of the church. It turned into a beautiful referral, and we were able to teach CH  and 2 of her daughters (CO and CL) the Restoration using the pamphlet. When we showed the picture of Joseph Smith receiving the priesthood, she made the connection herself and said, "Oh! It's Jesus Christ's apostles giving Joseph the same authority! That just gave me the goosebumps!" I just about fell out of my chair because I was so excited that she made the connection herself. It was an incredible lesson and we set a baptismal date with CH and CO when we saw them again later in the week.

We were able to see the BA family in our ward. The Hermanas had been teaching the mom and daughters because they speak spanish, but we are starting the transition over. The girls, JA and RO will be getting baptized on November 1. They are awesome! The lesson was about testimony, and I am so grateful for testimonies! I know that they can be a strength to us during all times of our lives. Anyway, the family is wonderful and they were all at church. They are a great contribution to the ward.

We got a new ward mission leader in the Garland 1st ward, and we had an incredible meeting with our Bishop and one of his counselors, the ward mission leader, and two prospective missionaries. We showed them how to use the online progress record. In the middle of the meeting, we got a call from a ward mission leader in a different area giving us a referral for a lady who is very interested in the church! We stopped by and set up an appointment for this week. The referral miracles are flowing!

Also, a member just texted us this morning letting us know that they are ready for their foster daughter to start taking the lessons! WOO! If all of these wonderful investigators follow through, we will be able to double the size of the young women's group in the Lake Highlands ward.

I had time this week to go back and read through some of my old journal entries. It was incredible to read through my experiences and realize the progress that I've made. Sometimes it's hard to see the changes in ourselves because they are gradual, but going back and reading my journal really opened my eyes to the growth that I've had. I'm not perfect, and I certainly have a long way to go, but I am grateful for improvement and progression.

Some insights from church: Service. One way to offer service is to notice that someone is struggling, ask what is wrong, give them a huge, and offer a prayer for them. Submitting our will to God's is one of the last stages in our spiritual development. We submit our will to God's as we develop trust in Him, trusting that what he has in store for us is better than our own plan for ourselves.

I love y'all! Thanks for your love and support.

Sister Gretchen Gilbert

trunk or treat with AN

Monday, October 19, 2015


Holy cow,

This week has been such a crazy week. Despite the tragedy of our Bishop's daughter passing, I've felt the strength and love that comes from the gospel.

I have a new companion, Sister Howell. She's from Washington and is fresh from the MTC. I'm grateful to be with her! :)

Here are a few miracles from the week!

While tracting, we met a lady who had just come from a Bible study about the family. So we ended up reading the Proclamation with her. She wasn't super interested in meeting with us more, but we had a great conversation with her.

Thursday there was a canvassing event to spread the word about the Bishop's daughter. We were in a group with a lady named CA whose son went to school with the daughter. We had a really good conversation with her with her about the church.

The funeral for our Bishop's daughter was really nice. Zoe was such an amazing person; the funeral was uplifting. President and Sister Taylor were there. Zoe's dad spoke about living like Zoe, and just finding joy and hope in our lives. I am so grateful for the example that she set in just a few interactions that I had with her.

Another miracle: on Saturday, we were trying to find a less-active who wasn't home and we walked past a door with a big sun on it. As we walked past, Sister Howell said, "we need to go back." so we did, and it ended up being a referral to send to the spanish elders! So good.

Sister Howell and I had the opportunity to speak on Sunday, so that was pretty hard. But President came to that as well. It's been a blessing to be with them.

Last night was the mission president's fireside. An elder sang a song called Oh Lord My Redeemer. The lyrics really touched me. "Oh Lord, my Redeemer, Thou has done so much for me. Oh Lord, my Redeemer, all my life I'll give to thee." I am so grateful for Jesus Christ.

I can testify that we're all here just walking each other home. I'm so grateful for the gospel plan that we have.

Love you!
Sister Gilbert

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Another week! Wow. This was a pretty good one!

AS got baptized! She is such an incredible person! Last Monday, we talked about the holidays verses holy days and keeping the Sabbath day holy. It's amazing to see her progression in the gospel! Her testimony is burning bright. Then on Wednesday we saw her again and talked all about the temple. She is so accepting and has felt the spirt testify that these truths are true. Her baptism was last night and it was beautiful! There was a great turn-out from the ward and the spirit was strong! Her non-member grandma, aunt and uncle, step-father, and sister were all there. It was a great baptism! I was super chill and not stressed, so that was definitely a huge blessing! I love her and I'm excited for her bright future.

Wednesday was a super day. We saw ME and talked about fasting. It was great because she was actually fasting that day for answers. (Side note: her parents both spoke in sacrament about service. They spoke about developing a servant's heart. It was a general authority status talk! She did awesome. And he said something that just really struck me: "The way we put off the natural man, our pride, selfishess, all of our vices, is to serve. To look beyond ourselves and just increase our ability to love.") Then we had lunch with sweet BE. After a quick trip to the mission office to get an updated phone, we zipped back to the church to meet CA that was on our list. Cool story, we were just calling through a big list of people, and she answered and agreed to meet with us at the church. After talking and visiting with her, she told us that she's been off and on with the church her whole life, but lately everything has been falling apart. Her father told her if you get back to church and prioritize God, everything will work out. The NEXT day is when we called her! Whoa! Definitely inspiration. Another tender mercy was that the relief society president walked into the relief society room in the middle of the lesson so she was able to meet CA. Heavenly Father's planning  for us is incredible. After another lesson later in the day, we were driving away from the church and Brother Peterson was behind us. He motioned for us to call him, so we did and we ended up having a 5 minute coordination in the McDonalds parking lot. Definitely a fun happenstance. Oh! and one of the highlights of the night was getting to watch our dear friend DE open her mission call! She is going to my mission - Utah Orem! I was super excited for her. Still am. :)

Thursday we had zone meeting in a mansion. But really. Our stake president has a really nice house, so we sat in nice recliners in his theater  room and had zone meeting which consisted of Conference jeopardy and a great training from President Larsen. He said, "Sometimes we think that being great is for other people. But it's for us. The power and divinity is already within us." Love.

I had a great exchange with Sister Clayton. She is new to the mission and has a great fire for the work! We had a very fun day running around Garland and Dallas. She is so sweet! Lots of laughs that's for sure. That evening we were able to see Krystal. It was a great lesson! We watched "If you love me, keep my commandments" by Sister Stephens. She loved it. When we talked about trusting prophets, we asked her if she had had the opportunity to pray about  Thomas S Monson. She told us that she believes there is a prophet on the earth today! Awesome! We saw BE again. (I don't know what to call her.) At the end of the lesson, her daughter called out to a lady who was walking by to tell her that we were all having a Jesus lesson. Well, the lady ended up walking over and prayed with us and we got her information! Love when members do the contacting!

Well, transfer calls came this morning and Sister Greenall is leaving! I can hardly believe it! She was only here for one transfer! Wow. We definitely had ups and downs this transfer, but I love her with my heart! I am thankful for the memories that we made.

I love this gospel! I know that as we embrace it's teachings with our WHOLE hearts, we will find great happiness and peace. I know that the Savior is there for us, waiting to heal us and bind up our broken hearts. I love Jesus Christ and I know that He lives!

Love you!
Sister Gretchen Julie Gilbert

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Fall is here, y'all! 10.5.2015

The happy day at last has come -- fall! Yay. We made it through summer.

This week was great. Wow. Seriously amazing. Here's the quick sum-up.

Our Garland ward council told us about a less-active/fairly recent convert family that they would love us to go visit, but they said us that it may be hard to meet with them. Tuesday afternoon we stopped by, and the mother was there. She didn't let us in, but told us to come back that night so we could visit the whole family. We had our ward mission leader with us that night, so we all headed over together. It ended up being a really nice visit and they invited us to come back anytime. I'm glad we weren't afraid or worried about stopping by.

We got a media referral for a lady named DO. We headed over to deliver her bible, and her nurse was there as well. We were able to teach the restoration to them. They are both big church and tithing lovers, so they had a very excited conversation about donating. Haha. It was fun. Lots of energy. We will be going back this week.

We had planned to see KR Wednesday night with a sister from the ward, so we headed over. We were going to focus on missionary work, but we started talking about the Book of Mormon and our need for daily spiritual food. We had a really great lesson about righteous spiritual habits. It was another testimony builder that when we are prepared, the Lord  will bless us and inspire us to be able to change lesson plans and share messages that His children need to hear.

We taught AS on Wednesday as well. We went over the baptismal interview questions and taught a few last things to help her get ready for her interview on Sunday. She was still a little shaky about Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson, but we both just bore our testimonies of them and invited her to pray about it. We talked about how the Holy Ghost communicates to us, and we were really able to help her recognize the times that she's felt the Spirit speak to her. So flash forward to Sunday morning, AS and her mom came to the church to watch conference with us. It was a great session, and they both loved it. Then AS went in for her interview with Elder Pigott. When the interview was finished, she came out crying. My heart dropped. I just looked at Elder Pigott with wide eyes, but he gave a thumbs-up! She hugged us and said that the interview was one of the most amazing and spiritual experiences that she's ever had - just like it should be. She said she had gained a testimony of modern day prophets, and she is so excited to be baptized. Love that girl!

With MEL, we had a great lesson about tithing and did a comparison between the rich young ruler and the widow with two mites. MEL is so awesome! She has a calling now and will be speaking in sacrament on Sunday.

We were able to see KA and his two step-sisters who are being taught by the Hermanas. It was Saturday afternoon between sessions of conference, so we had a really great discussion about modern day prophets. When we asked KA how it made him feel to know that there is a prophet on the earth today, he simply replied "good." I'm telling you though, that was a very sincere answer. We finished the lesson up with a song again, "I Pray In Faith." The Spirit was definitely there, testifying to all of us. Also, Saturday's quote of the day came from KA who had red stains all down the front of his yellow shirt. "You can't beat Hot Cheetos."

Sunday we received a referral for a girl named LA who wanted to know how she can know where God's truth and true church is. We were able to teach her briefly about the Spirit and about how our church is set up. We have an appointment with her this week, so I'm definitely excited to see how that goes.

This week, Sister Greenall and I set a goal of finding 7 new investigators. We prayed and worked hard..... and we met the goal! But seriously, all 8 of our new investigators this week came through media referrals and a former investigator. The Lord is so good to us.

I loved General Conference! (I mean, how can you not, though?) Some highlights for me:

  • Living a Christ-centered life fills us with happiness
  • As we're centered on Jesus Christ, He will mold us into exactly who He knows we can be.
  • What is my heart condition today?
  • What is keeping me from progressing? ... I actually had a cool experience with that. Saturday night I asked this question in my prayer. I waited for minute, grew a little antsy, so I asked again. Then the answer hit me in the face - patience! Haha. So, I'm definitely working on having patience this week.
  • Conducting personal councils
  • The Savior is there for us.
  • We can radiate the light of Christ and help others feel His love through us.
  • Focus not on what we can't do, but on what we can do.
  • Express your beliefs with confidence and clarity.
  • The invitation to ponderize weekly. My trainer taught me about this after President Durrant extended the invitation to her, but I never really caught on. So, I've now committed to ponderize weekly. This weeks scripture is 2 Nephi 2:25 - Men are that they might have joy.
  • The Atonement leaves no traces or tracks. What He heals, stays healed.

Wow, it was such a good boost. I look forward to the Ensign to be able to dive in.

Well, we're off to the Texas State Fair today! Should be good!
I love you!
Sister Gretchen Gilbert

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy reunions - 9.28.2015

Hey hey!

This was a happy, busy week!! Let' see, where to start.... So I got to go up to Plano on an exchange with Sister Weichers! That was just a happy fun day, full of reminiscing and nostalgia! Oh boy, love that girl. But we did some good missionary work! We shared a lesson with recent convert family and their less-active friends from another ward, who we were able to refer the elders to, we shared a message about the power of the Savior's atonement with a struggling family, and left some cookies for a sister who does a lot for the missionaries.

Sisters Conference was Thursday and Friday. Half the sisters came each day. It was just a lovely, faith-filled meeting. It was just a happy day! I got to see Sister Hook from McKinney, all of my past companions who are still on missions and celebrate 15 months with a bunch of the sisters that I came out with. Oh it was lovely. We also had a waffle brunch and got to eat Texas shaped waffles. Here are some highlights from the notes that I took:

--We're of the same flame as God, and our clay is the same DNA as Adam and Eve. We are loved and known to Him.
--God is an orthodontist. He's molding, pulling, shaping, strengthening, and straightening us.
-- Repentance is to change - to change our mind, our knowledge, the way we breathe, to change our hearts. "True repentance makes a brilliant day out of the darkest night" -President Uchtdorf
--If the accuser (Satan) says that we are not good enough, we can say, "Yes, I know that I'm not. But Jesus Christ is more than enough. I have Him to help me through it all."
--A purpose of our mission is to prepare us to go home and raise righteous families
--There is no limit for the good things we can do in our lives.
--"We are going to have 3 new apostles. They are going to help save our children's lives."

Tuesday afternoon, we got a call from a lady named AM. I've seen her at church almost every week, so I just assumed she was a member. But she called and said she had some questions for us. She ended up confiding that she's trying to get back into church after being away for many years. She made us dinner, and we had a lovely discussion about the Restoration of the gospel. She has a really good heart, and she wants  to know what is true. Sister Greenall and I just testified that we know that she can receive an answer as she sincerely searches. It amazes me how much people can go through in their lives. How grateful I am for the eternal perspective of the gospel.

AS told us that she wants to get baptized on October 11! Yay! I love when investigators move up their own dates! So we taught her twice this week. She is such a sweet girl. When we asked AS what knowing about God's plan means for her, she told us she knows she needs to be living the gospel, and more importantly she WANTS to live the gospel. Love that girl.

So a week ago, we got an official looking manilla envelope from the mission office with special instructions to deliver it to one KE. KE had attended the state fair in New Jersey and had met the family history missionaries up there. He filled out information for a family history tree/crest and then the missionaries made it for him. We got to deliver it to KE this week and testify that the gospel blesses families and teach the Restoration. He seemed to like the message and was willing to learn more. I'll keep you updated on him!

Women's conference was amazing Saturday night! I just had the strongest "coming home" feeling, telling me that that was exactly where I needed to be. I am so grateful for our beloved general authorities and leaders! I'm so excited for conference!

I love each of you! This should be a great week!

Sister Gretchen Gilbert

We loving call this a Gilbert sandwich...Sister Gilbert, Sister Greenall, Sister Gilbert with a President Taylor photobomb! Awesome!

9.21.2015 pumpkins, meetings, and such

Hey hey! Another good week to report on today!

So we received a  referral from the elders down in Mesquite. Her name is GH and she has a young son and a newborn baby. We recently had a ward missionary called, Sister Gruwell, who also has a new baby. We just taught the Restoration to her, but it was a good lesson. GH is open to learning more, so we'll run with that.

Wednesday and Thursday we had a specialized leadership training meeting. It was a nice meeting. At the end Wednesday, we decided to set a goal/challenge for ourselves so we could go out and apply the things we had learned. Our zone decided on teaching 5 lessons per companionship from the hours of 4-9. We only had 1 lesson scheduled, dinner. But it was a really good evening. We went out and pounded the pavement, and by a miracle, we taught the 5 lessons and extended 5 invitations. And they didn't even feel rushed or anything of the sort. It was good.

The meeting continued on Thursday. I'll just share some quotes and insights and highlights from that.
-- When we know who the Savior is, we can be confident with who we are.
-- Remember Him
-- By acting on our faith, we can be transformed from the Peter who sinks because he took his eyes off the Savior into the Peter who became the rock of the church.
-- Fear is something that's unworthy of a child of God.
-- The enemy of great is good.
-- Don't be afraid of who we can become. Have faith in the Savior.
-- How much do you believe what you believe?
-- Diligence: being willing to sacrifice comfort in order to bring about the Lord's purposes
-- With the Savior's power and authority in our hearts, we also will be able to overcome the world.
-- Our missionary purpose is our purpose for the rest of our lives.
-- We have spiritual DNA that says we are going to become like God.
--A brief analogy: when we know the end of a movie, it let's us watch the movie without stress. Just like that, we already know the outcome of the world, of our Heavenly Father's plan. We know the final score. We can be still and know that I am God.
-- Obedience is an offering of gratitude and love to the Lord.

I was able to go on exchanges with Sister Skousen. She came out just a few transfers after me, but we have never just sat down and chatted, so it was really nice to get to know her. We taught, found, contacted, all the good things, and just had an enjoyable day together.

Sunday evening there was another mission presidents fireside. We brought AM  (convert as of July) and her two daughters who have been investigating whom we set baptismal dates with last week. AS ended up wanting to move her date sooner! And SA was on the fence, but after the fireside, she decided that she really does want to be baptized!! Awesome. It  was just really nice spending the evening with them. I am so grateful for these chances that we have help our investigators really feel the Spirit of missionary work and of our purpose.

The Arboretum al la pumpkin

The misters turned on, so Sister Greenall and I sat and basked in the sunny mist.

Texas pumpkins

exchanges, exchanges