My heart is so full today! I don't even really have words to describe how I'm feeling right now, but let me tell you, I am so grateful for this time that I've had to serve a mission.
On Saturday Sister Howell and I were able to go help with the tornado clean up over in Rowlett. It was seriously such a privilege to be able to help. We were on the "walking" team, so we went door to door to ask people if they needed help (sound familiar???) and then dispatch debris removal teams to go clear out all the lumber and broken things. It was neat. We were with our bishop's wife, a 50 year old man named FR from Rowlett, and MA and LE from Oak Cliff. Initially I kind of felt like we weren't doing much just walking door to door listening to some people's stories, trying to find those who needed help. But then we ended up having a really good conversation with MA and LE. They told us that they were taking a break from church for a little while because they thought it was boring. We told them that they shouldn't take a break from God because you don't want Him to take a break from you. But after a while, we starting sharing more about what we do on our missions. We asked if they had ever seen the Elders before, riding around on bikes in their white shirts and ties. They replied, "Yeah, we've seen them, but we always lock the door and turn off the TV when we see them coming." Anyway, by the end of the day that we spent with them, MA and LE told us that if they ever saw missionaries again, they would talk to them, and let them into their house. I considered that the ultimate success.
Through this final week of my mission, I have truly felt of the Savior's love for me. In my mind, that is the most significant part of all of this. I know that the Savior loves me. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and is proud of me as well. I'm not perfect, but I'm trying to be perfect at trying. It's all about progress. As I've said goodbye to various ward members, less-actives, investigators, and other missionary friends, I've felt my heart just swelling with love for them. I love this time that I've had to serve a mission, and I love that I have the rest of forever to be a devoted disciple of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that this gospel changes lives. It's changed mine. It's refined me and helped me gain confidence in myself, but also confidence in the Savior. I love it. I know it's true.
It has been a privilege beyond compare to have served here in the Texas Dallas Mission with such wonderful companions, friends, districts, zones, leaders, and President & Sister Taylor. I am so blessed. The Lord knew where I needed to be, and it was here!
I love you all! See you on the flip side!
Sister Gretchen Julie Gilbert
The Daily Buf. Sister Howell and I have had a joke about this sign the whole time we've been here
Glasses buddies! Us with Angel, seriously the sweetest little boy ever. His name truly fits him.