Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Saturday, February 28, 2015

It Snowed So Much They Cancelled Church In Colorado Springs! Week #29

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Colorado Springs Major Snow Storm
This week was ridiculous to say the least!  So many things were happening right after one another.  This week marked the day I lost my driver’s license, the storm of the decade, transfer calls, and getting sick again for the umpteenth time!  Here's where it all began.

On Tuesday night, we drove onto Fort Carson to meet with a returning less active member to discuss his goals of where he would like to be in the next 6 months.  Some of those goals were reading scriptures, becoming temple worthy, and meeting with us weekly.  To help him with these goals we were going to go to institute with him the following night to talk to him some more and help him feel comfortable being there.  Wednesday night rolled around and as we got to the gates at Fort Carson we were stopped as usual to have an inspection of the car and validation of our Drivers Licenses, Registration, and Insurance.  Surprisingly the MP (Military Police) noticed that our insurance card was almost a year expired!  She was ready to write us a ticket right then and there!  We were calling so many phone numbers to try and verify that we had current insurance but because it was so late in the evening, we were unsuccessful and being able to do that.  We got a hold of the senior couple in the mission who oversee all the vehicles missionaries drive who explained we had insurance but wasn't able to prove it at the time.  

 She let us go finally an hour later and we had completely missed Institute, and the person we were meeting had already gone home.  We were really bummed but knew we'd get a chance to see him again. It wasn't until Friday that we realized that the MP never gave us our driver’s licenses back!  We drove over back to Fort Carson as soon as we could and to our dismay we discovered that after 24 hours of being held onto, our driver’s licenses were being sent to the addresses on them.  So mine was on its way to California, and my companion’s was headed to Washington.  We had no idea what we were going to do!  We ended up having the Mission Office call our parents to inform them of the ordeal and to forward the cards back to us as soon as they got them.  But for now we have to do as little driving as possible and drive cautiously so we don't get pulled over!

***Editors Note***: After a week and a half, still no driver’s license in the mail from Fort Carson.  They will be getting a call on Monday from dad.

Sister Koval, Me, Elder Haskell, and Sister Kane
This week I also had the chance to go to the zoo with some other missionaries including my trainer Elder Haskell.  It was really great to see him again.  He's been a great motivator to help keep me focused and on track with my purpose as a missionary.  I really want to be a humble servant of the Lord and follow in His footsteps.  Someday, I'm going to look back and realize that I lost myself in the Work of Salvation and truly became of one heart and of one mind with my Heavenly Father.  I know I'll get there!  The zoo was great!  Don't worry dad, I didn't kiss any giraffes this time.

This weekend, the weather forecast was that we were going to get up to 16 inches of snow!  I was not excited in the slightest.  After a week of 70+ degrees I was looking forward to Spring.  It started to snow lightly on Friday but hit hard on Saturday.  It snowed so much that we had to have our Mission Vehicles parked, and they're still parked today!  It snowed so much this weekend that for the first time in a decade they cancelled church for the majority of Colorado Springs.  The only ward that was meeting was the Academy Ward (my previous area, that I still live in), which was at 9:00 am and they were only doing a Sacrament service.  All other wards in all 4 stakes that make up the city were completely cancelled.  My companion and I went to the Academy ward for Sacrament meeting and I got to visit with a lot of familiar faces!  It was great to see them all again and a lot of the young men were really excited to see me back!  It feels good to know that you can leave an impact on so many people in such short amount of time.
Treacherous Driving!

This week marked the end of the transfer and we were pretty much expecting a call from our Zone Leaders telling us that my companion would get transferred to a new area. Well, we got a call pretty early into the evening from our Mission President, who only calls to inform Missionaries if they are moving into leadership positions.  The call was for my companion Elder Low who is going to be a Zone Leader.  He was so excited!  That pretty much guaranteed that I was going to be staying in the YSA ward for at least another 6 weeks.  I'm very happy about that because this ward is great.  I am really nervous because we have such a large area to cover (3 Stakes) and I've only been there for 6 weeks.

My new companion is Elder Guerrette and he's going to be our new District Leader!  I'll get my new companion tomorrow and will tell you more about him next week!  Hopefully he doesn't snore like my current companion!  If I stay in this area for the next 3 transfers, I will have lived in the same apartment for half of my mission!  I think that's a first in this mission!  

To finish the week off, I got the flu again.  It's just a minor head cold but it makes this winter weather that much more miserable.  It's supposed to snow the majority of this week, but I hope the snow and my cold clear up soon.  Regardless of either, I'll be putting in my best effort to work hard and teach by the Spirit!  We had a training meeting about being a "consecrated" missionary and serving with one goal/purpose in mind.  I know if I devote all my time and energy into working hard, then these minor hardships I face won't affect my effectiveness!  I'm really enjoying myself and know I'm right where I'm supposed to be!

Well I hope you all have a great week and that where ever you are, I hope the weather is better than here! You're all in my prayers!  Take care, and I'll talk to you soon!

5 Things that Made Me Smile:

1. Had a great time seeing my Trainer Elder Haskell again.

2. Someone in my last ward sent me a pancake in the mail.  They coated it in Elmer's Glue so it was solid as a rock and wrote a letter on it. It's pretty cool!

3. Getting to see some of my favorite members from the Academy Ward was great!

4. The Mission Offices phone call to my dad, "Hi this is the mission office and we have a small problem.”  I hope he wasn't freaking out when she started the phone call like that!

5. Elder Buxton had his birthday yesterday so we threw a party for him Sunday night and it was great being able to see my old district before they all got transferred all over the place!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I love the YSA Wards! Week #28

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

This week started off slow but got progressively better.  We got a referral from a member in the ward but have not been able to contact him at all this week, he's never been home and we don't know his schedule but I'm sure we will find him eventually!  One of the cadets got their mission call this week!  They're headed to Berlin, Germany which is so cool!  He's really excited because he really wanted to serve in Germany.  He will leave during the summer break.  Also, the young man we just baptized is being deployed to Kuwait.  He keeps telling us how grateful he is that we were able to share the gospel with him before he left.  It's helped him feel so much peace before going into this deployment.  We pray and hope that everything goes well for him!

Fort Carson Memorial
This week was a lot of fun!  I had my interview with my Mission President and it was a very enlightening experience.  He's really proud of the progress I've made as a missionary and is glad that I'm really enjoying my new area!  This week is the end of the transfer so there might be some changes to our district which is exciting.  The mission president hinted that my companion might be leaving.  I'm kind of nervous about taking the lead on the area so soon since I've only been here a few weeks.  We will find out what happens on Saturday, but I hope I don't have to leave!  I love the YSA wards!  We're teaching someone on Fort Carson tonight which is also exciting, hopefully that goes well too! 

***Note from the Editor***: They, he and his companion, were required to leave their driver’s licenses at the security gate upon entering Fort Carson.  They forgot to pick their licenses up on the way out.  Since they did not remember they had left them there, Fort Carson mailed their driver’s licenses back to their home addresses.  So dad got a call from the mission office advising to send it back as soon as possible.  That is all we need is to get stopped and cited for no drivers license in possession!
Image result for Fort Carson Photos
Valentines Day was very boring.  We didn't have a dinner that night, because the singles were trying to go on dates!  We didn't get to do a whole lot that evening with everyone preoccupied.  But this weekend we have a Specialized Training course for missionaries in our Zone.  I bet it's going to be really great!  It's always fun having a bunch of missionaries together!

Last week the weather here was amazing!  It hit the 70 degree mark more than once!  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  But this week, it's cold and been snowing a lot.  I really wish it would start to get warm soon, and stay that way!  We've been pretty busy!  We have a few people we're teaching and lots of people to share the Gospel with!  I know we'll find success if we continue to serve diligently!  During our District Meeting this week, I shared a scripture that has meant a lot to me over the past few weeks.  D&C 59:23, which I interpret as if we're doing all we can, we will be just fine.

Image result for fort carson
Tour of Honor
I love you all so much!  Know that I miss you and love hearing from you!  Time is just flying by, I've been out 7 months since yesterday!  That's crazy!  Take Care!  I will talk to you all soon!

Things that made me smile:

1. My companion Elder Low doesn't dance like a white guy, he's actually pretty good!

2. My companion is extremely twitter pated with a girl at BYU-Idaho, I never hear the end of it.

3. I can't tell you how many times people have stopped me in Walmart to ask me questions about groceries just because I have a name tag.

4. I met a sister missionary (Sister Bates) yesterday who was born in Paradise, California!  She says she's cousins with the Crabtree's.  Small world!

5. My trainer just got transferred back to the Colorado Springs on Sunday!  So I should be able to see him soon which is awesome!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Elder Kyle Gillingwater Week #27

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Graffiti Wall
The weeks in this transfer have been feeling a lot more like days!  It all goes by so fast I feel like I just emailed you all yesterday!  I keep trying to think of things that are exciting that you would all want to hear about.  We taught another new investigator this week!  She pretty much wants to get baptized but we have a lot of work to do before she get's there.  We also have another investigator who wants to start taking the lessons but is really shy and nervous about it so we are taking things slow.  Our recent convert of 1 week received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday and is really excited to have it.  He keeps talking about how he wants to get the Melchizedek Priesthood and go to the temple!  Sadly, the Denver Temple is closed until the end of the month for maintenance and he gets deployed to Kuwait the week before.  He's a really solid guy though so we know he will be fine!

Image result for airforce Academy
US Air Force Academy
A lot of the Freshmen Cadets are preparing to turn in their Mission Papers which is really exciting!  They have a small window of time between semesters to have their call date in order to go so there might be a wave of them leaving around the same time.  It will be cool to see where they all go!

This week we walked into our Sunday School class only to realize that the teacher was not going to show up to church that day, since he was out of town, and we had to do an impromptu lesson on the spot which was really nerve racking!  We did a great job though so that always makes things better.

Hopefully this week I will have some crazy story to tell you guys!  Missionary work is really fun and I never get tired of sharing the Gospel with others.  It's such a blessing to be here and I'm so grateful for the opportunity.  I love serving, and can't imagine being anywhere else right now.  I love you all so much and will talk to you soon!

Things that Made Me Smile:

1. Sister Faleao's comment, "I have a Polynesian stomach, I never get sick from food".

2. We had dinner with a really cool member in the YSA on Saturday and it was a blast!

3. Seeing our recent convert get the Priesthood on Sunday.

4. I just love serving in the YSA ward!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Awesome Week, Got to Visit Fort Carson!

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission



Self Explanitory
This week has been so great!  The members in the Cheyenne Mountain Young Single Adult ward are fantastic!  They like to work hard, and they like to have fun!  I'm really glad I get to serve here.  I got to go onto an Army base this week!  The base was Fort Carson on the south side of Colorado Springs.  They took our Drivers Licenses and car registration, and did a search through our car.  We passed the inspection point and headed into the base.  It's almost like a miniature city in there which I wasn't expecting at all!  It had nice homes, schools, a mall, and lots of really courteous people.  I guess I just pictured something more along the lines of old rusty Barracks, giant metal domes filled with tanks, people running in formations all over.  It was really cool!  I've got a few pictures of the base.  Hopefully I will get to go again soon, or visit one of the other bases in town or the Air Force Academy.  
The Dormitories
I'll be sure to take lots of pictures if I do.

A recent convert in our ward who was baptized last month is one of the most solid members in the ward.  He jumped right in to having a calling and took over and set up the YSA activity last week.  It was a chili cook off and was a huge success!  Few people show up to the activities but He had almost 50 people there who stayed the whole time.  We had a great time being with him and being able to eat lots of chili!

We had a baptism this week!  He is a really solid guy who really believes in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and has a really strong testimony.  He's only 19 but looks like he's 25.  He gets deployed to Kuwait this month and wanted to make sure he could get the Priesthood before he left.  He was baptized on Saturday and the service got a little hectic.  The member who was supposed to baptize him was running late and wasn't going to be able to make it in time so my companion jumped into a jumpsuit to baptize him.  When He baptized him, he accidentally hit his head on one of the steps but they laughed about it afterwards.  When he got confirmed in church the next day he brought friends with him and introduced them to us and then he bore his testimony since it was fast Sunday.  It was really cool!

My New Companion Elder Low
Overall this week was awesome!  We had lots to do and we ended the week on a high note.  I really hope this progress continues!  We found out on Sunday that a potential investigator in our ward wants to start taking the lessons so we might have another baptism coming up soon!  The Lord's work never ceases!  I hope you all are having a wonderful time back home.  In 14 days I will have been on my mission for 7 months.  I'm excited for what the future has in store for me!  Have an awesome week and I will talk to all of you soon!

5 Things That Made Me Smile:

1. When our convert his is head on the steps in the font because of my companion, Apparently, baptism doesn't just wipe your sins away, but also your memory.

2. I met someone who served in the California, Roseville Mission (back in 2007) this week.  He never served in Chico (served in Paradise), but said all the missionaries dreaded being sent to Oroville.  I thought that was funny.

3. Testimony meeting on Sunday was wonderful!  You could really feel the Spirit in that meeting!

4. We taught the sister missionaries how to use a lighter to make a fireball in your hand and they're obsessed with doing it now.

5. A quote from a dinner appointment this week, "I took one morphine pill and because I wasn't thinking clearly, in 20 minutes I took 3 more" which I guess you don't want to take more than one every 8 hours.  But she's ok now.

God is Great!

Elder Kyle Gillingwater

Monday, February 2, 2015

Elder Kyle Gillingwater Week #25

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission


So now that I've settled into my new area, still living in my old area, we've gotten into a pretty good routine here.  The Young Single Adult (YSA) wards are a lot different to serve in than the family wards.  
Cheyenne Mountain
I can give you a couple examples why.  One of the biggest ones being Church is SO QUIET during Sacrament Meeting.  I think I mentioned this last week but Church starts with Quorum meetings, moves to Sunday School, and finishes off with Sacrament Meeting.  It's a really foreign idea to me but I like it because I'm not falling asleep in class by the end!  We also have church at 11 o'clock which is perfect! No one leaves church for at least an hour afterwards because there are 3 YSA wards meeting at the same time in the same building and so there are lots of people to catch up with.  We have a lot of Cadets from the Air Force Academy in our ward since they're all single.  They're all really nice and love having us over for dinner (well actually out to dinner since we don't really get to go to the Academy all that much).  But they're a lot of dedicated hard working people that I really have come to appreciate and admire.  They have a lot of activities during the week for the ward so we spend a lot of time at the church.

Having Fun!
They had a religious freedom fireside in our stake last Friday and I heard it was really cool.  They invited religions from all over to come and support the right to have religious freedom in our country and I heard they had to use 3 different church buildings and broadcast it because there were so many people, over 500 Catholics, equally the same amount of LDS members, and much more from other faiths.  Missionaries weren't invited to attend so it didn't seem like we were trying to proselyte to everyone about our church when they came.  They do this event yearly and it's cool to hear how different faiths can ban together for the same causes!

Our New District
We had a change in our district this week and one of the elders in my MTC District is now in my District here!  It's pretty cool!  We had a good week preparing for the Baptism this weekend!  We should have everything finalized by Tuesday and Saturday is going to be an awesome day if everything goes well!

We had a great Stake Priesthood meeting last night and overall a really great week!  This email is a little short but I will have a lot more to talk about this week trust me!  I love you all so much!  I love hearing from you!  Let me know if I can do anything for you!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater