Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Torchy's Tacos and a Tornado

Hey y'all! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas! I know that I sure enjoyed talking to my family. It's such a blessing that we are able to do that.

This week was good! And crazy!

We had planned to go on exchanges early Tuesday afternoon. I was planning on staying here in Dallas, and Sister Howell was going to go up to Allen 4/6. Well, Sister Howell woke up with an intense charlie horse in her calf, so we decided it would be best if we swapped and I went to Allen instead because she would've had to have ridden a bike. It ended up working out really nicely! I met a lady named RO who happened to be the grandma of the first person I was able to baptize (TR CH). So that was crazy. Then after a few other nice happenstances, we biked to dinner with the Wilson family. We walk inside, and I recognized one of the little girls. We both stared at each other trying to figure it out. Then we figured it out. She is from the McKinney 7th ward (NA ME). She was down at her cousin's house in Allen. It was so great! Just little tender mercies through the day. I'm grateful that the exchange worked out the way that it did.

Christmas Eve was full of delivering Christmas ornaments to people and contacting more media referrals. Can I just say that I love these people here?! They are so incredible. We finished the night up with a Christmas Fiesta with a great hispanic family here! We had tamales, beans, rice, guacamole, and an official Christmas program full of singing, video, and speeches. It was awesome!

Christmas was also wonderful! We had a pancake breakfast as a zone, skyping with the family, lunch with AM AL and family, then dinner with Bishop Hastings and family. I am surrounded by the greatest of people! Seriously.

Saturday was the craziest. It actually started out very normal. Studies, lesson and talk preparation, 12 week training, lunch, then out and about to contact all of our media referrals. Our only concern was that we had nothing lined up for the evening. We were trying to brainstorm ideas all day, but nothing was coming to us. So finally 5 pm rolls around. We had planned to go to Torchy's Tacos (one of my absolute favorite restaurants here in Texas) for dinner using gift cards that a member had given us. We got our food and were almost done eating. Around 5:30 ish all the phones around us starting beeping and we heard the tornado sirens come on! YIKES. So we called Sister Larsen who lives just around the corner from Torchy's what the weather scoop was. She said the storm was headed very rapidly toward White Rock Lake (just a mile from where we were eating). We drove over speedy quick to the Larsen's to hunker down for a while. It ended up not touching down in our area, but it did cause a lot of damage over in Rowlett. Crazy days for Dallas. Regardless, our empty evening of no plans ended up working out. We were able to be with the lovely Larsen's. The reports that I've heard have said that there were 11 twisters that actually touched down. So crazy. So, I have officially survived a tornado. Check.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak in the Garland 1st ward about Being Worshipful. Here are a few of my thoughts from the talk.

As we worship through church and scripture readings, we can gain a deeper understanding of God's plan and love for us. Even this morning as I studied in the Book of Mormon, I found an answer to a question that has been on my mind for a few days. The Lord says in D&C 88:63 "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me." As we worship, we will develop a deeper relationship with our Heavenly Father.

How to Worship by Elder Bruce R McConkie from December ensign 1971

"[To worship] is to work on a welfare project, to administer to the sick, to go on a mission, to go home teaching, and to hold family home evening."

For me, serving a mission has been an expression of my worship to Heavenly Father. In preparation for my mission, I recognized that one of the reasons I wanted to serve was so that I could fully devote 18 months to the Lord in an expression of gratitude and love for all that He has blessed me with. I have strived through my mission to remember why I'm here and to allow that to serve as motivation. I haven't served the perfect mission, but I feel good about what I've been able to accomplish. I know that these 18 months ultimately cannot pay back the numerous blessings I have received from the gospel and the Atonement, but it has been a way for me to say thank you. I have been greatly blessed for serving, and I know that the testimony that I've gained is beyond compare.

As we joyfully and happily live the gospel and endure to the end, we show worship and gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the precious gifts that He has given us. He has given us the gospel, families, repentance, the Holy Ghost, and greatest of all, the Atonement.

I love my mission! I love getting to share the gospel and help people learn and grow. What a BLESSING!

Much love,
Sister Gretchen Gilbert

Last time riding a bike as a missionary on exchanges! Hollah!

Exchanges with Sister Cowper in Allen
Torchy's Tacos prior to the tornado

No comments: