Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Air Force Academy Chapel Looks Like Something from Star Wars - Week #34

Me in front of the Chapel

Hey Everybody.  Things are going great here in Colorado Springs.  The snow has almost all melted off the ground so I'm really excited about that.  One thing that I'm not so excited about is the fact that this week is Spring Break for all of the Air Force Cadets.  That means that there is a lot less people in town this week.  With our Ward consisting mainly of college students, it's a pretty detrimental blow to the work for the week.  Anticipating a rough week, we scheduled as many lessons we could with members in the ward (Active and Less Active) and we have a full week of lessons planned.  We're hopefully going to quadruple the amount of lessons we normally teach this week.  I'd say that's the best way to spend a Spring Break!

Statue of General Henry Arnold
I've been reading the Doctrine and Covenants this week and a recurring theme is present in a lot of the early sections of the book.  The field is white and ready to harvest, and He's asking us to thrust in our sickle.  Over and over this is repeated.  I know how important the work of bringing others to Christ is and I'm grateful for the opportunity to focus wholly on this cause.

This week we had dinner with a high councilman and his family.  It's weird having dinner with little kids again!  They had a friend over and you'll never guess where she's from?  Chico, CA.  She graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and her dad was the Bishop in 3rd ward for a long time (Bishop Montgomery).  She also said she was roommates with Sister Bowles in college.  Small world!  I thought that was pretty cool.

I got to teach several cadets at the Air Force Academy this week which was great and I got lots of pictures there.  The Chapel they have at the Academy was built in the 60's but I swear it's straight out of a Star Wars movie.  It's great to work with so many wonderful people.
Elder Reimer

I've got to go.  We've got a lot of things to get done today before our Zone Conference tomorrow.  Clean our car, get haircuts, etc.  Hopefully we will have some free time in between to do something cool.  Have a great week everyone.  I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you again. 

5 Things That Made Me Smile:

1. Often, my companion and I will start saying something, singing something at the exact same time.  It's funny how in sync we are!

2. This week was Elder Reimer's birthday.  I got to spend the day with him since we were on exchanges together.  It's fun being with one of my MTC buddies.

3. The singles ward had a Dr. Seuss themed activity this week, Green Eggs and Ham.  Green food is not that appetizing.

4. I got food poisoning this week from some Chinese Food and missed District meeting because of it.  Elder Guerrette put the Sister Missionaries in charge of conducting, and I guess it was the shortest District meeting they'd ever had.

5. We got to do service this week for a woman who has a mild form of autism and she was so sweet! It felt so good to help her!
Recreation Facility

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Work Doubled this Week - Week #33

Castle Rock
Well today marks 8 months on my mission! It seems like a really long time but when I think about it, it's just flown by!  Every time I hit a month mark it feels like I'm doing a countdown.  Not a countdown for when I come back home (I'm sure that's what you all are doing), but a countdown for when I get to go to the Temple again!  I get to go back in 4 months and I'm so excited.  That seems like a long time but 8 months has felt like nothing so I'm sure it will come sooner than I think.  In two months I get to Skype you all again for Mother's Day. Isn't that exciting?  We've got some good things to look forward to in the near future!

So this week has been great.  The amount of work we have been doing is doubling the work we were doing the week before.  We have more people we're visiting with, more service, and more dinner appointments.  I got some amazing news this week too.  I got to meet with the Investigator I was working with when I was serving in the Academy Ward who was going through legal issues.  He ended up being charged which halted his progress towards baptism and I wanted to see how he was doing.  When we met with him he told us how he was pretty bitter at first, but as he started reading scriptures and praying more he realized how grateful he was for this growing opportunity.  It occurred to him that he had an opportunity to learn so much more now and really focus on growing his testimony.  He accepted the fact that it was going to be another 2 years before he could be baptized but was still eager to take that step.  My companion and I were so happy to see that he had not given up.  We left that appointment feeling like he was headed in the right direction. Well, the next day we got a call from him.  The judge released him from his probation and he can get baptized!  He just needs an interview with our Mission President, which should go well because he already emails our mission president frequently.  I think they're on a first name basis.  I'm so excited for him.  He's really wanted this and has had a rough time trying to overcome those trials he's faced but a broken heart and a contrite spirit can really make a difference!

My companion and I are so similar it's crazy.  We're always on the same page and get along so well.  Even the young single adults in the ward have taken notice.  Usually when a companionship goes this well, our mission president shakes them up, so we really hope that doesn't happen.  I'd like to keep a companion for longer than 6 weeks if possible.  My companion is nervous that he'll be made a Zone Leader at the end of this transfer.  So keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't happen.

Castle Rock Up Close
So today I'm in Castle Rock again.  The other Elders in our District had to come up here for a doctor’s appointment and since its P-Day we figured we'd ride up with them and spend the day up here.  Plus, we get to save on our miles for the month.  We're limited to how far we can drive in a month and whenever we can save on miles we do it.  So we'll probably play sports up here.  I love playing volleyball.  I found out I'm not terrible at it and play pretty decently so it's pretty fun!

We got a list from our Ward Council of people they want us to start visiting and we've been going down that list this week contacting them and trying to schedule times to meet with them.  We were only able to get in contact with one of them which was sad.  We met with him after church and got to know him a little better.  Hopefully we'll get to talk to the rest of those people!

Thank you all so much for being so supportive.  I love hearing from you all.  I love serving the Lord and know I'm right where I need to be.  Please send the Stephen's family my best wishes.  You're in my thoughts and prayers.  I love and miss you all so much.  Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon!

5 Things that made me Smile:

1. Hearing the great news about our investigator from my last area.

2. My companion had to take a sick day this week (vomiting) and so I got most of the apartment really clean during that time.  It's nice to live in a clean home!

3. I got a letter from Ashley Fogleman this week.  It's good to hear from a friend back home!

4. We had two dinner appointments this last week.  Both of them were with the same family in our bishopric.  They're amazing cooks so I'm glad they're willing to feed us!

5. The YSA is just so much fun.  The people are great and I love serving here.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Daylight Savings Time, Oops Late For Church - Week #32

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Gotta love Daylight Savings Time!

Hey everyone!  So I got some not so good news this week, my Drivers License is pretty much permanently lost on a Military Base.  Unless one of their workers finds it and turns it in there's nothing I can do.  So, hopefully I won't need to drive anytime soon!  I did get some good news this week.  An Apostle is going to be visiting our Mission.  They haven't announced who it will be but they'll be coming in May.  I'm so excited; I was really hoping an opportunity like that would happen while I was here.  My companion, Elder Guerrette, is convinced he's coming to tell us about when we will get our iPad's.  For his sake, I hope he's right.

So our ward has a lack of investigators, which means that most of our time is being spent finding people to teach.  We really rely on referrals from members in our ward because tracting for a Young Single Adult ward isn't all that practical.  "Hello!  We're the Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are there any members of your family between the ages of 18-30 who are interested in hearing our message?"  Don't worry; we probably wouldn't say something like that.  We're here to teach everyone, we just like to joke about it.

Do We Really Get More Daylight?
So Daylight's Savings got the best of us yesterday.  We got up, got ready for church, and were studying expecting to leave around 9:15 for Ward Council, only to discover it was actually 10:15 and we were an hour late.  Our Bishopric thought it was funny and figured that's what had happened to us.  I wish we had known about it beforehand.

I forgot to share this story last week but I thought it was pretty sweet.  During our fast and testimony meeting last Sunday the Bishopric had asked my companion, Elder Guerrette, to share his testimony and introduce himself to the ward.  When he got up to speak, he started off by saying "I'm going to bear two testimonies today".  He shared his first testimony as a missionary.  After he finished, he pulled his name tag off and started his second testimony with, "Hi, my name is Josh, and I come from a broken family, but my Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ will always be there for me."  It was really sweet and everyone came up to us to introduce themselves and compliment him on his words.  Sometimes, especially in the ward we're serving in, people can forget that Missionaries are real people with real trials and real testimonies.  If we work together, we can invite others to receive that Eternal joy of an Eternal family.

As I said before, we don't have many people we're working with so this week has been pretty slow.  But we've got a couple plans for this week to help keep us busy and working hard.  Whoever they are, if they're ready to learn and they live in the Colorado Springs area (between the ages of 18-30 of course) we will find them!

I'm glad to hear you're all doing well!  It's always great to hear from you so keep writing!  I have to keep things short today since we're headed out soon so I will have to send pictures later this week (they take a really long time).  I love you all so much and thank you for your prayers!  They're definitely helping, and I can notice a difference!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Got to Visit the Air Force Academy - Week #31

Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Air Force Academy

Don't Worry! I didn't skip week #30!  It turns out in one of my past emails, I used week #15 twice.  So I'm a little further along than we thought!  This week has been pretty great!  Tuesday came around and I got my new companion!  His name is Elder Guerrette.  We got along quicker than usual and have a lot in common!  I'll give you some background information on him.  He's 21 years old (I'm still older than all of my companions so far), he's from Maine which is really unique, he loves art, he wants to be an actor, and went to BYU.  He also has a really cool accent.  It's a blend between Boston and Canadian.  Maybe I'll start picking it up! hahaha.  I got to drive for the first time on my Mission since my companion didn't know the area and thought it would save us some trouble.  I then realized halfway through the day that I didn't have my drivers license still!  So he ended up having to drive anyways.

This week I got the flu and two ear infections.  Just when I thought I was doing fine with my health!  It made this week a pretty slow week.  But that doesn't mean that we didn't have any teaching opportunities!  We had a dinner this week at a member's home and at the end of our meal we shared a message about the 3rd Lesson we teach Investigators (The Gospel of Jesus Christ).  He was so impressed by how we taught the lesson he went and grabbed his non-member room mate and sat him down so he could hear the message we had just shared!  The room mate was really impressed and really liked our thoughts and input.  It was a great lesson and we could all really feel the spirit there!

Air Force Academy Eagle

This week the YSA put on a talent show and it was pretty funny.  Most talent shows have a lot of goofy "Is that really a talent?" acts, but this show took the cake in that category!  Overall it was a great night and we had lots of fun.  I finally met our Ward Mission Leader for the first time on Sunday!  He has been in Arizona for the Military for the last 2 months so I'm sure he was surprised to come back and have two completely different missionaries he has never met before.  He's a great guy and really wants to help us out!  I'm glad he's back!  I went onto the Air Force Academy for the first time!  It is really beautiful and I will be back there soon.

I love you all so much!  You're all a blessing in my life and help me remember my purpose as a Missionary, "To invite others to come unto Christ".  It's a glorious purpose and changes lives daily.  I love this Gospel and love the impact it's had on my life and the lives of others.  Be safe! Take care!  I'll hear from you all soon!

5 Things that Made Me Smile:

1. My new companion is really funny!

2. Teaching Lesson 3 twice in one sitting!

3. One of the acts for the talent show was a tumbling act, and more than once they slammed their heads on the stage, but they kept trying.

4. We blew our tire on the freeway Saturday night driving home, neither of us had changed a tire before but we definitely learned how that night!

5. We went to McDonald's twice in one day... not going to make that mistake again.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater