Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Friday, December 19, 2014

5 Lessons in 2 Days before being Deployed

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Hey everyone! It's so good to be able to write to you again! I swear the weather here is bipolar! It got up to 70 degrees this week and then it snowed this morning. It's ridiculous!

Hiking at Garden of the Gods
So this week we had a really cool teaching experience. On Wednesday morning we were getting ready for the day with only a few things planned and wondering how we were going to fill up the rest of our time. We got a phone call from a member in the ward. She told us that she had a friend and her boyfriend visiting in town for the holiday and they were interested in hearing the lessons from us! She wanted to know if we could come over in an hour. We excitedly agreed! Her friend is a member of the church, but her boyfriend is not. They both were being deployed the following week and the country they were going to does not have missionaries, and only has a small branch of a few members. They had been reading the Book of Mormon together and he wanted to know more! We taught him about the Restoration, and he just started bawling. He knew the Book of Mormon was true and how much it had been affecting his life since he had started reading it. After we finished the lesson we invited him to be baptized which he enthusiastically agreed to. After that, he asked, "I have another hour or so, can we start another lesson?" Because he was leaving, he wanted to have all the lessons completed before he left, so we then proceeded to teach all 5 lessons to him over the course of 2 days! Talk about a marathon! One appointment took 5.5 hours! But we got it done and he's so excited! It was a great way to spend our Thanksgiving week!

Elder Mogle fits in a dryer
I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a fantastic dinner and everyone in the ward felt the need to give us pies! We have so many untouched pies in our fridge its crazy! At least most of them are pumpkin! (my favorite!) They asked me to speak on Sunday for a few minutes to help fill up time and I got to share my testimony of how the Spirit has really been a strength to me so far on my mission. It's powerful to see it work in the lives of others. I am so grateful for it!

So this week is the start of the Christmas transfer and with that comes a few changes. I'm staying in the Academy Ward again! So by the end of this transfer I will have been there for 6 months (my entire mission) hahaha. I'm guessing I'll probably leave after that, hopefully to an area that has a car. Sister Mangisi is headed home now that she's finished her 18 months, and Elder Walton is going home for shoulder surgery. I'm going to miss both of them! Elder Twitchell is getting his brand new, just out of the MTC, companion tomorrow! I hope he's really cool! I love and miss all of you so much! I'm grateful for another the fantastic week and hope I have many more to come. I'll check in with you next week!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater 

I Got My Whole District Sick

Winter in Colorado Springs

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission 

As if things couldn't get any stranger! This week was really rough! I got sick on Tuesday and am still trying to recover. It's a head cold that just won't leave! On top of that everyone in our district got sick with the same thing! What are the odds? So in our ward, we have a sister that we've been helping prepare for her husbands return from deployment this week for Thanksgiving. She wanted to surprise him by finishing painting their garages before he gets home. The walls were basically drywall and tape so there was a lot of mudding, sanding, and painting to do. This weekend we spent 18 hours doing just that. After all that work we still have much to go! We've completed 1 garage and are halfway done with the other two and he comes home Wednesday! We're hoping to finish it in time for them so we'll probably put in another long day on Tuesday to hopefully get it done. Luckily, she's an amazing cook and makes fantastic lunches for us while we are there. It definitely makes the experience worth it!  

So I have a crazy story for you! On Friday night we had Elder Twitchell and Walton staying at our apartment for the night because Elder Twitchell was going to the temple on Saturday. We were going to be in a tri-panionship while he was gone. So we're sitting in our living room with the blinds closed but the sliding door open since it was pretty warm inside and we heard some angry voices outside. An Elder jokingly said "Someones going to get shot", immediately after which, we heard a really loud "BANG!" which sounded just like a gunshot. We all froze, and Twitchell looked out through the blinds and yelled, "Oh my gosh! A car just exploded!" We looked outside and saw a car in our parking lot (50 feet away) with flames bursting out of it, at least 5 feet high. We were in shock and didn't know what to do! It was parked right under a huge tree and I was worried the tree was going to catch on fire. I went straight for the phone and dialed 911. The Operator seemed confused when I told her about the incident, but the fire truck showed up within 2 minutes. Most of the fire was gone before they got there and there were lots of people watching. Luckily, no one was in the car. I have no idea what really happened but the cops were there until 1 in the morning. While I was on the phone with 911, our mission president called the other Elders phone, and asked how we were doing? Twitchell responded with, "Elder Gillingwaters calling 911, a car just burst into flames outside". Our Mission President then said, "Sounds like you guys are having a really exciting night!" He was calling because Elder Twitchell is going to be training a new missionary next transfer, it just happened to be at the perfect moment. I thought it was really funny how he responded.  
I am at 4 1/2 months already. It's going by really fast, and I hope the next 18 1/2 are just as awesome!  I love you all so much! Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon!  

5 things that made me smile:  
1. I made Brazilian Lemonade for district meeting and it was super good! But we all drank too much and felt sick afterwards!  
2. Our phone call with the Mission President on Friday.  
3. I got to drive a car for the first time in 4 1/2 months, I was so excited to not have to walk for a few hours! (Sadly, I had to give the car back in the end)  
4. I got acupuncture this week! I sprained my right wrist last week (not the same wrist I sprained 2 months ago) and a member in our ward was trying to see if he could help relieve some of the pain. It still hurts...  
5. Our dinner cancelled Sunday so a really cool member from the YSA ward made us White Chili. It's so good! I'm getting his recipe! It was a really fun evening!  

  God is Great!  

Elder Gillingwater  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It hit -8 degrees

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

So much has changed this week! Everything has been so crazy.  This week was even colder than last week.  When we were having dinner with a family on Tuesday night it hit -8 degrees!  That's the coldest weather I can remember being in.  It's pretty miserable to walk in during the day.  It's snowed a lot so biking isn't as efficient and safe as it used to be.  We've resorted to just walking, unless we can get rides from members.  One morning I couldn't feel my face it was so numb!  But nevertheless, the work must go on!  This week in our district we had 2 emergency transfers.  On Thursday Sister Faleao was transferred to the YSA Rescue Team which was sad because she's a lot of fun to have around!  So we were down to a six man district for district meeting on Friday.  Right after we finished the closing prayer for district meeting we got a phone call from our Mission President, Elder Haskell was being emergency transferred to Alamosa Stake.  I would be receiving a new companion and the transfer was happening in 24 hours.  I was devastated!  I loved my companion and didn't want him to leave!  But there's nothing we can say or do to change it, the Lord has decided what needs to happen.  We spent most of Friday packing up his stuff and everyone was really sad, especially Elder Haskell.  Emergency transfers don't really allow you to say goodbye to everyone before you go.  Since he's been in the ward for 7 months he had a lot of people he wanted to say goodbye to.  I met my new companion Saturday at noon.  His name is Elder Mogle and he's from Georgia.  He's a little nerdy but I think it will work out just fine.  

We had our Mission Tour this week!  We had Elder Baxter of the first quorum of the seventy come and speak to us.  He's pretty funny and is from the United Kingdom.  We each got to shake his hand and introduce ourselves to him and when I got up to him, he asked me if he could have my incredible hair (he's bald).  It was pretty funny!

With Thanksgiving next week I am excited for dinner.  The family we are having dinner with is a professional chef!  It's guaranteed to be fantastic!  People in the ward ask us who we have Thanksgiving dinner with and they get super jealous!  It's pretty funny.  So that's something to look forward too!

I love you all so much!  I can't believe that I'm already starting week 16!  I hope you're all doing great!  I love hearing from you all!  Have a great week!

5 things that made me smile:

1. Elder Baxter's comment about my hair.

2. At dinner we asked a 6 year old boy what he liked to do for fun and he said, "Singing Opera!" and Proceeded to sing in a really high pitched voice for the next minute.  We busted up laughing!

3. In the church parking lot we went foot sledding!  We hold onto the bike rack on the back of the car and they drive around in the snow and we slide on our feet.  It was fun!

4. At the pulpit a member in our ward proceeded to tell everyone how his son (a priest in the ward) when he was little used to eat the lint between his toes.  He somehow related it to repentance!  Very interesting!

5. We had a really funny role play in district meeting this week.  I got to play the investigator and was a psycho hoarder preparing for the rapture named Paul.  I did a fantastic job and everyone lost it while I was acting.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week #15 It's really cold here!

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

It is really cold here!

It's been almost 4 months already, that's so crazy!  Each week is just blowing by!  So this last week we had the opportunity to find 2 more investigators to teach!  We taught the first discussion and it went really well! You could really feel the spirit there.  Later this week we also received a call from one of our returning less active members who said her daughter is interested in hearing the lessons and talks about wanting to get baptized!  We were so excited!  The work never ceases!

This week we also had several opportunities to provide service.  We are finishing installing drywall for a part-member family in their garages and it's a HUGE project.  It took us a couple hours to partially do of one of the garages.  So this project may take a while but it's fun, and I'm learning good life skills!

Feeding a Giraffe
Later this week we got to volunteer at the Cheyenne Meadows Zoo!  It was super fun!  I got to help clean elephant cages, clean pony bins, and much more.  Afterwards we got to feed the elephants and giraffes. Feeding the giraffes was pretty fun as you can see from my pictures!   I hope it isn't too bad!  I'll be sure to wear layers, and my testimony keeps me warm at night *So flippin' warm!
Kyle, with your hand not the mouth!
This upcoming week is supposed to be really cold!

I hope you all have a great week.  We have to get running, but I love and miss you all!  

Have a great week!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week #14 Repentance: a fresh look at God, but a new look of ourselves!

Heading to Garden of the Gods

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

It's so great to hear from you all again!  I love being able to read and check my emails!  This last week has been great!  We got to have interviews with our Mission President so he can catch up with us and see how we are doing, and help us if we need anything.  I had a good talk with him and he shared a good message from the word Repentance in the Bible Dictionary.  He talked about how repentance means a fresh look at God, but a new look of ourselves.  We change how we think and treat ourselves and that's how we become stronger.  If we aren't changing our perspective, we're not changing a whole lot.  I really liked that.  My perspective has changed quite a bit since I've been on my mission.

This week was Halloween, so we had the chance to go to the ward Trunk or Treat.  It was a lot of fun!  We had quite a few less active, and non members attend which was great!  Right before the Halloween party we had the chance to teach someone who had a lot of questions about our church.  He was a friend of a Laurel in our ward and he pretty much just wanted to bible bash with us, but we didn't give him the opportunity.  We feel like it went well and we felt the spirit there, even if he isn't really interested.  It was a great chance for her to share the gospel and be a member missionary and we were just excited for the opportunity.

We had an appointment with a potential investigator set for Friday and we were excited about teaching someone new!  We had to reschedule an earlier appointment because she was busy but we were finally going to start teaching.  Well she had to cancel this appointment too.  We were disappointed but knew we were going to have the chance to teach her soon.  We rescheduled for Monday Morning (today) to teach the first discussion and have to sisters from the ward there to help us.  We're not supposed to teach during P-Day but we made an exception.  We had such an awesome lesson!  She really enjoyed it and we really felt the spirit there.  What was even better is that her husband came in towards the last part of our lesson and even started asking us questions!  We had been told he wouldn't be too interested but there seems to be a lot of potential!  We should be scheduling a return appointment soon!

I finally got to use some of that Olive Garden giftcard!  We went there after Zone Training with 10 other missionaries.  It was so good!!!  We don't have one in our entire stake, but we got permission to go to the neighboring stake.

We're planning on going to Garden of the Gods today so I should be taking lots of pictures!  I really hope it doesn't start getting too cold!  It's supposed to snow this week.  I love you all so much! and I hope you're having as wonderful of a time as I am.

5 things that made me smile:

1.  We had dinner with a family in our ward and one of the sons in that family has high functioning autism.  One of his favorite things to do is to tell stories about his dad doing stuff he's not supposed to.  He calls it "throwing his dad under the bus".  Some of the things he said were so funny!

2. At the ward Halloween party the Young Men were in charge of the haunted house and they did a decent job.  They scared one of the sister missionaries so bad that she punched one of the priests in the groin.  He had to take a breather for quite a while afterwards!

3. While we were staining a front porch for a less active member, Elder Walton was trying to think of really useless super powers, and the best one he came up with was "the ability to make dead things sneeze."

4. On Halloween we went to a members home to play games and eat candy with the sister missionaries and we had a blast!  Playing board games and card games were things I've really missed doing with my family.

5. On Halloween for our district meeting we played live action Slender!  We related it to the gospel and got to spook a few missionaries out in the process!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Week #13 Another Great Week

Manitou Springs

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission!

It's been such a good week! We had a great time in Manitou Springs, Colorado. It's the first town in Colorado to have recreational marijuana legal hahaha. It feels a lot like downtown Chico, but with
more hippies. Our district drove there and took lots of pictures of the town, the fountains of naturally carbonated spring water, and at graffiti falls. It was a blast! We will definitely be making a trip over there again! So this week we tried to get service projects set up again. Last week that didn't work out so well because no one called us to let us know if they needed anything. This week however was different! We were flooded with calls on providing service and booked our day completely full and we had to schedule some projects for later in the week in order to accommodate everyone. It was awesome! We got to stain a fence, lay brick pavers, rake pine needles, do yard work, and we have more planned this week. It's great to have a full schedule! We were able to meet with a less active member that we have been trying to contact for quite some time now. She's never answered her door before, but she was very friendly and invited us back
for lunch that next day! As a missionary, it's so exciting to get to meet new people, especially ones who are receptive to learning! Hopefully we will be able to teach her even more and fellowship her back into activity. This last Sunday was the primary program and it was awesome! There's always that one kid who sings at the top of his lungs! They did a great job and both of the families we taught that led to baptisms, their kids participated. We also had a lot of part-member families attend to see their kids and got to visit with a lot of them which was great! Despite having sister missionaries in our ward, we still get a pretty full meal calendar. Last week we had some rib-eyes which I greatly appreciated! The work is going great here and we are getting huge support from the members of the ward. Those things combined really makes our role as missionaries a whole lot more fun and rewarding. I know that the Lord gives us opportunities to learn and grow so we can help others do the same. I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the holidays! I know I will be! I love and miss you all so much!

5 things that made me smile:

1. That naturally carbonated water in Manitou is really gross! It has
a lot of iron in it. We all tried it though so we could say we did it.
The faces we made when we tasted it were priceless!

2. I got my Halloween package from you guys this week and all of the
random fun things inside! Elder Haskell and I had just been talking
about how we wanted one of those mini basketball hoop games and you
had one all ready for us!

3. For district meeting on Friday we made banana pancakes and ate red
velvet cupcakes.

4. We had dinner at a members house on Saturday (Which the wife and
her family are from Paradise, CA!) and their 4 year old said, "Our ward
has the best missionaries in the whole world!" I love the kids in our

5. Once a month we get to go into primary and teach a principle about
families. It's always fun to ask them questions and get their
responses. When I asked them for ideas on what we can do to grow
closer together as a family, one of them responded with "By picking up
litter together!"

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater