Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week #24 Transfer to Cheyenne Mountain

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission



So this adjustment to the new transfer has been crazier than when I left the MTC!  Monday night consisted of a lot of packing and cleaning to try and get everything ready for the transfer meeting Tuesday afternoon.  We had dinner with the Olsen's in our ward and it was a blast to be able to see them before I left.  When our district leader drove home Monday night with his companion they slid on some ice and went right over a curb and popped their right front tire.  They had to park their car and since they were only down the street from our place, they stayed the night.  It was kind of nice to have them there our last night!  Well, Tuesday came around and we got everything together and loaded up into the Zone Leaders truck to head to the transfer meeting. 
Just hanging around!
The meeting was quick and short, only 5 new missionaries this transfer.  I met my new companion and we get along pretty well.  I transferred my stuff into our new car and we headed out to get groceries, move things in, and get settled before dinner.  On the way to the Members home where were live while serving in this area, my companion informed me that we would be moving out of their place soon because they had a son and daughter-in-law who were moving back in and we would end up sharing a bathroom (which is against the rules).  We were going to find out Wednesday where we were going to be moving to so I didn't bother unpacking.  Well Wednesday came around and I found out where we were moving to... My old apartment!  It was only place available close by that was quick to move into.  So we packed all our stuff back up and moved back into the apartment I've been in for the last 6 months.  Who knows, maybe I will stay in that apartment for half my mission!  It's a nice place though, especially compared to other missionary apartments, so I'm fine with living there again.

Cheyenne Mountain North Portal
Entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Nuclear Bunker
So after unnecessarily packing and unpacking everything back to their original spaces, I finally got to settle down!  My companion snores like a bear!  So I'm going to need to invest in some earplugs.  The Cheyenne Mountain YSA ward is so cool!  I love the members and they are really great about missionary work.  Most of them are returned missionaries so they're always willing to help us teach!  And it may not be a good thing, but our dinners here usually consist of members taking us to fast food because it's cheap and easy.  So I have been eating Chick-fil-a, Chipotle, Pizza, Chipotle, and we're going out again tonight!  My love for fast food is going to be a problem here!  My first Sunday here we got someone to commit to a baptismal date!  It's on the 31st and I'm excited to start off my new area in the right direction!  This district is already changing since one of the Elders is going home for medical reasons so one of the missionaries who came into the MTC with me is going to be his replacement.  I'm kind of stoked to serve around him since I already know him! 

Well this week has been crazy!  We had to email Tuesday this week since Monday was a holiday and the libraries were closed.  I'm just glad to hear from all of you and hope you're all doing well!  Let me know if I can do anything for you!  I love you all so much!  Have an awesome week and I will talk to you soon!

Inside the bunker


5 things that made me smile:

1. Moving back into my old apartment!

2. My new companion has a ukulele too! So we are always playing in the evenings when we get home!

3. The YSA members are cool and always having activities, this week they had a cardboard box demolition derby where they made cars and rammed into each other until their cars fell apart.

4. Church is at 11:00 here which is the perfect time!  The only weird thing is we have Sacrament meeting 3rd hour which actually makes the whole day go a lot faster since I'm not falling asleep in Elders Quorum anymore!

5. I did the Incline this week and it was iced over and so cold that I slipped while jogging up it and had to cut my run short. It was painful but nothing major happened.  Everyone fell down that went with me.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My First transfer

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission



Hey everyone!  This week has been a real roller coaster!  It all started Monday when I went to the park with my district for P-Day.  It had snowed the day before so we got to have a pretty good snowball fight.  We hiked up some trails in Ute Valley Park in our area.  Elder Buxton has a sling shot that he wants to use to kill a squirrel or rabbit so he can eat it.  He took it with him but there were no woodland critters in sight.  I don't know if he would have wanted to carry that around for a while anyways.

This week we started teaching our new investigator about the Plan of Salvation.  He seemed to really grasp and understand it.  We invited him to be baptized but he wasn't sure if he wanted to get that far into it yet.  Our plan was to just keep meeting with him and help him realize and look forward to participating in those Sacred Saving Ordinances.  We found out that our investigator who went to prison is out on probation which is good!  He will be on probation for the next 2 years though which means we won't be able to baptize him until afterwards.  It's a bummer but he seems really happy now that his court issues are over and he can start working again.  We were teaching a family in our ward this week after our dinner appointment and had so much fun talking to their kids about the Restoration of the Church.  They really enjoyed it and were happy that we met with them.  Their kids were hilarious and crazy!

Elder Buxton Hunting Squirrels

As this week drew to a close, I was afraid about getting a transfer call on Saturday night.  Since it was the end of the transfer, and I had been in this ward for 6 months, I assumed I would be leaving.  I was really not looking forward to packing but my companion said he would help me out.  Well Saturday night came and we got the phone call...BOTH of us were being transferred!  We were shocked!  They decided to close our area which is really disappointing.  All of the people we were working with weren't going to have Elders visiting them anymore.  The sister missionaries that cover our ward and the neighboring ward now cover our ward full time.

District Photo
When we came to church on Sunday, the ward was devastated!  They all wanted to call and complain to our mission president, but there's not a lot we can do about it.  We have 1 new elder coming in this week and 14 going home.  With numbers like that, they have to close a few areas.  We're just wondering what's going to happen after the next 3 months when over 40 missionaries go home and 10-20 come in.  We got to say goodbye to most of the ward and I got some pictures with some families.  It's going to be hard leaving the only area I've served in for the last 6 months.

Now on to the important news... My new area is going to be the Cheyenne Mountain YSA Ward!  It covers 3 stakes (North, East, & Fountain) all of which are in Colorado Springs since there's lots of stakes here.  And I get a car!!!!  The YSA wards here are really fun and everyone always wants to serve in them so I'm excited for the opportunity.  My companion's name is Elder Low, and I don't know anything about him other than he was in the MTC with Elder Haskell (my trainer).  I've heard he's cool.  So I have a lot of packing to do!  My companion can't help either because now he's packing!  It's chaos in our apartment!  My current companion, Elder Mogle, is going Spanish speaking down in the San Luis Valley which is crazy but exciting.  I'm really nervous but I am thinking positive!  I will let you know how my first week goes in the new ward!  I love you all so much and hope you're having a wonderful week!  Let me know if I can do anything for you and I love hearing from you all!  Have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

5 Things that Made me Smile:

1. One of the daughters we met when we taught that family in our ward when asked "What's something that Jesus Christ has done for you?" responded with, "He drowned for us".

2. When we didn't have a dinner this week, Micah from the YSA Ward filled in and made us homemade Taquitos, salsa, and guacamole.  It was sooooo good!

3. We met a less active member at a Steak N' Shake for lunch and had a blast visiting with her and getting to know her.  She seems really cool!

4. (Picture Included) Brandon Carter's socks...
The Carter Family

5. Evan Carter spoke on Sunday about humility and couldn't get started on writing his talk so I gave him a lot of help and advice which he used and shared in his talk.  It went really well!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

My District
This last week was fantastic!  I had so much fun preparing for the Christmas!  We got to go caroling at a retirement home and they were so excited to see us there and enjoy the Christmas Spirit that comes with singing.  I also got to spend Christmas Eve with my district having a Christmas party.  We had a Secret Santa gift exchange.  I had drawn our district leader as the one I'd buy a gift for.  I thought long and hard to figure out what he might want and ended up giving him the best gift of all; a $5 Starbucks gift card.  They have awesome hot chocolate and we frequent there.  Sister Harrop in our district had me for a Secret Santa and I got a bag full of all the stuff she had that she didn't want anymore (since she goes home in 6 weeks).  There was a lot of hair products, cologne, drawing supplies, playing cards, and candy.  It was the perfect gift!  We stayed the night at the District Leader's apartment Christmas Eve and opened our gifts together Christmas morning.  It was so fun, and reminded me of Christmas morning at home.  We spent Christmas day at the Carter's (a family in our ward) where each of us received a 5 lbs. Hershey Bar!  I don't even want to open it because it's too daunting!  It's larger than a Laptop and is over 11,000 calories.  We spent the day playing pool, ping pong, and we all got to Skype our families.  It was so great to hear from you all and see your faces!  I was really excited to hear from you all and was glad so many of you were able to be there!  Overall the week was great, but we didn't have too many opportunities to visit with people in our area.  Most of the Ward was gone for the holidays and our investigators had scattered. I really hope this next week will be a lot more productive!

That is a lot of chocolate!
Well this week was definitely an improvement from last week as far as missionary work goes.  We got a new investigator!  He's a senior in high school and is dating one of the young women in our ward.  We taught him this week and brought one of the Priests in our ward with us!  That's a first since I've been here!  Our investigator has no background in religion and his first time to go to any Church.  He seems really cool though and has a lot of goals he wants to accomplish in life.  He's definitely headed in the right direction! One of our other investigators that we had a little while back that had stopped talking to us and wasn't interested anymore started coming to church again!  He's come 2 weeks in a row and we're really excited to hopefully pick up where we left off!  Sadly, one of our progressing investigators is now in Prison.  He finally had his appearance in court and it didn't go well.  We don't know how long his sentence is but we hope he still had a positive experience with the church, and might continue working with missionaries later.  We had a good New Years Eve with the Olson's (a family in our ward) who fed us tons of food and we played apples to apples with their kids.  I've made a New Years resolution to start exercising everyday (excluding Sundays) and so far I'm right on track!  This week I did something I thought I'd never do.  I let one of the sister missionaries in our district cut my hair.  
Rate my haircut!
She's never been to Beauty School and had only cut hair 3 times before then.  I'm sending pictures so you can let me know what you think!?  I think it looks fine!  Especially because it was free!  It got really cold this week, the high temperature for last Tuesday was 4 degrees, and with wind chill it got as low as -30 degrees!  Yikes!  I stayed inside when I could!  It's supposed to get a little warmer this week but it never quite feels "warm" here anymore.  This is the last week of the transfer.  I will have officially been in my area for 6 months!  My guess is that I'm going to be transferred to a new area, but you never know!  I will find out on Saturday if I'm leaving and on Monday I learn where and with whom I will be serving with!  I will keep you updated!  I'm not looking forward to packing all of my stuff!  Hopefully my next area has a car!
The other side!

I love you all so much and thank you for all the support and kind words you bring.  The Holiday season is a weird one to spend away from home, but I am having a wonderful time here serving the Lord!  Please keep me in your prayers and I'll do the same for you!  Have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

5 things that made me smile:

1. My haircut, watching the process was excruciating!  It looked terrible partway through the cut but it came out really good!

2. Elder Mogle got hit in the face with a Cue ball when we were playing pool and he was worried he broke one of his teeth, but he'sfine.
Having Fun.  To cold to go outside!

3. When we asked the Priests if one of them wanted to come with us, most of them made excuses to get out of teaching, but one was so excited to come with us and really participated in our lesson.  It was perfect and he's so excited to go on a mission and come out with us again!

4. Sister Harrop in our district can't swallow pills very easily.  It usually takes until the pill dissolves on her tongue for her to get it down.  She was trying to take a pill in the hallway of our apartment complex and almost choked and smashed her head on the corner of a fire extinguisher box and split her head open.  She was rolling on the ground laughing, same as we were (She's fine, I promise).

5. Elder Buxton bought a sling shot last week and wants to spend a P-day going hunting for squirrels and to cook one up.  I think we're doing that today so I will let you know if we get anything!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas In Colorado Springs

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission


Our Christmas Tree
I can’t believe how fast time is going by!  I guess just working hard through the Holidays really makes time fly!  We had quite a few things happen this week. We had our Christmas Zone Conference this week and that was a very...long...meeting.  Sitting in a chair from 9-4 is just something I'm not used to.  There were a lot of great messages that we discussed to help us work on inviting and scheduling appointments with people.  It was a great conference overall and I got to talk to the Mission President for a while which was really nice.  He's great and I'm glad I've developed a close relationship with him.  The Academy Ward has been doing really good and I'm glad I get to spend the Christmas season with them.  We had our Ward Christmas Party this week and it was a blast.  I got to go caroling with a bunch of families and wishing them all a Merry Christmas.  It's so wonderful to see their faces light up when they see us outside.  I also got to eat a TON of Pumpkin Pie at the Ward party so I was really ecstatic.  While we were at the Ward Christmas Party, we found a new investigator who came to Church yesterday and said he'd be interested in learning more.  Just as our pool of people we are teaching was dwindling down to nothing, the Lord provided a way for us to continue progressing His work.  I'm not crazy excited about the gifts, although I definitely appreciate them!  But I'm more excited to be grateful for my Savior and His sacrifice for me.  I couldn't enjoy these special feelings I have about this season without His love and His mercy in providing a way for us to return to Him. He truly is the first gift of Christmas, and is the greatest gift we could ever receive.   

Christmas in Manatou Springs
I know this letter isn't very long, but I just want to share my appreciation and gratitude for what you all have done for me.  I love being able to spend my time helping others and enjoying the Spirit in their homes.  The Mission really is a great way to spend the Holidays.  I am excited about Skyping with my family on Thursday and know it's going to be great.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
I am really excited for Christmas this week.

Love you all so much!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Elder Kyle Gillingwater Week #20 - A little Under The Weather

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Sleeping it off
This week went by so fast, but that might be because we didn't get to do a lot this week.  I got sick again.  I don't know what keeps causing it but I never to fully recover from anything.  Oh well.  The work still continues.  We had a crazy experience when we were in the library last week.  An older gentleman sitting by us was asking us questions about our church and he had a pretty good background of who we were.  He really wanted to know more so he went ahead and reserved a study room so we could visit with him and teach him more.  He said he had lot's of questions and before we went in, I had this feeling that he wasn't really that interested but just wanted to argue with us.  We went into the little room and he never argued once.  He only grilled us for 2 hours with question after question.  It didn't seem like he retained all that much, but he walked away satisfied with our responses and whenever we stop by the library he's always there and says hi.  I think it was a positive experience but I'm not really sure!

Playing at Garden of the Gods
We had that zone meeting this last week that they postponed for me, it went pretty well. They went over the procedure for making calls on Christmas.  I'm excited to be able to talk to you guys!  And I have a pretty flexible schedule on when I can call so whenever works well for you should work.  That's next week can you believe it?!  Tomorrow marks my 5 month mark on the mission and that doesn't seem possible!  It's been going by way too fast.
More from Garden of the Gods

I have an awesome district this transfer and we spend a lot of time together which has been great.  I have made so many friends and enjoy serving with them.  They've been taking care of me because of my health and I can't thank them enough.  Even though I'm not spending the holiday with my family, I'm glad I get to spend it with such great missionaries.

I love you all so much!  Please let me know if I can do anything for you.  I love hearing from you all each week. I hope you enjoy the holidays!  Have a great week and I will talk to you soon!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Elder Kyle Gillingwater Week #19

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Hey everyone!  This last week was a lot of saying goodbye, and saying hello to new missionaries.  The Thanksgiving transfer was complete and now we are moving on to Christmas.  We had to say goodbye to Sister Mangisi and Elder Walton this week.  Both were going home and we are really going to miss them!  I don't really like seeing so many missionaries come and go so often but it's something I'm going to have to adjust to.  So we have 2 missionaries that just joined our district.  Sister Harrop (who leaves in 2 transfers), and Elder Buxton (Who is straight out of the MTC).  I'm no longer the newest missionary in the district!  They are both fantastic missionaries!  Elder Buxton has so much fire and is excited to do any type of missionary work.  So we are a pretty good group!  We've done quite a bit of work this week with members in the ward.  We normally try to set up appointments with them to teach mock lessons and then ask them to invite non-members to the following appointment.  It can be pretty effective.  We got to do that most nights this week which helps keep us busy.  My companion Elder Mogle ordered a Ukulele this week and wants me to teach him how to play which sounds pretty fun.  This week we were supposed to have Zone Training on Friday but because I had a doctors appointment, they cancelled the entire meeting for the zone hahaha.  So 20 missionaries had to wait another week for a meeting because of me.  

I am really excited for Christmas in 2 weeks!  That's coming up so soon! I will get to call you guys and talk to you and I'm stoked about that!  We have Christmas at a members home in our ward and they're really cool and fun so I know we are going to have a good time!  We went to Manitou yesterday and the whole town is decorated for Christmas.  It was really cool to see and we had so much fun there.  Last night we had dinner at a home where they have pet snakes!  I got to hold a 6 ft boa constrictor which was way awesome!  
Kaley is not the only snake lover
Well I've got to go.  We've got a lot of things planned this week.  Grandma and Grandpa I wanted to thank you for the Thanksgiving card you sent!  I love hearing from you two!  And I got my Christmas package with the tree and ornaments.  Our apartment is going to look really festive. I can tell it's going to be great.  Let me know if I can do anything for you guys!

You're awesome and I love hearing from you every week.  Take care of yourselves and I will talk to you soon!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater