Hello from the Colorado, Colorado Springs Mission

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Having Some Great Experiences - Week #37

I've officially been out on my mission for 9 months.  That's so crazy to think!  We spent the first part of this week moving apartments which turned out to be a bigger ordeal than we thought.  The apartment we were moving into didn't have a couch, desks, and almost no basic furniture.  So we had to bring a lot of those things with us which was not easy with just the two of us.  We got the apartment all situated and it looks really good now.  We now live in a much better location and we also live in the apartment directly above the other elders in our district so it's nice having them around too.

This week Elder Parker and I worked really hard to get appointments with as many active members in our ward as we possibly could.  We are trying to find ways to motivate them to bring friends to lessons.  It seems like missionary work can be really intimidating and hard to follow through with, but working with members is the most efficient way for us to find people to teach.  We're hoping that soon it will pay off.  This week we had a dinner appointment with a single sister in our ward that has a non-member friend living with her who has never liked the missionaries so far in our ward.  She would usually avoid them when they were in their home.  Well, we were able to change that!  We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that she participated in the lesson, answered questions, and commented on how well she enjoyed that lesson.  The member that had us over to dinner made the comment, "I would trust you guys with any of my friends to share the gospel with them."  That's always something that we like to hear.  Hopefully more people will feel that way soon. 
City View

We had another Baptism in the YSA this week which went really well.  You could really feel the Spirit there as the girl who had just been baptized bore her testimony on the Savior.  She could barely speak and kept repeating, "I just feel so good! I don't know how else to describe it!"  Just being able to see that change in someone is motivation to keep moving forward, and to keep teaching.  I want everyone to be able to experience that joy.

This week we are making a focus on visiting the Cadets from the Air Force Academy.  They're really busy with finals coming up, but they're a big strength in our ward.  Many of them are preparing to go on missions or recently returned from one.  Hopefully some good prospects come from visiting with them.

Elder Parker BBQing in the Snow.
I hope you all have a great week! Take care!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A new companion and its finally getting warm!

Elder Gillingwater, Elder Haskell, and Sister Moss

Transfers were crazy!  I got to see so many missionaries that I love which was great, but so many that I've served with are headed home so it's sad to see them leave.  So here's some information on my new companion Elder Parker in case I haven't shared anything about him yet.  He's from Louisiana which is really unique (I've yet to have a companion from Utah).  He's been a member for almost 3 years and he's really funny.  He loves to work hard but loves to play hard too.  He's a great guy to work with and we get along really well.  

So my old area, the Academy Ward, has switched back to Elders serving there.  They're now a biking area again which has created a dilemma.  They now live outside of their area because I'm living in the most convenient apartment for them.  So my companion and I are going to be moving soon.  We will be moving to a recently vacant missionary apartment near the church building that we meet at.  It's a pretty gross apartment, the sisters that lived in it before left it a disaster, but we'll fix it up really nice.  Plus we get to live above the other YSA elders which is going to be a lot of fun!  That will happen later this week.  So I guess I will have to say goodbye to my apartment.  But this new adventure should be really exciting!

Elder Mogle and Elder Gillingwater
So the Young Single Adult wards in Colorado Springs have this rule that they don't want missionaries working with Less-Active members.  If someone is YSA age and does not attend church regularly, they send their records back to the family ward and advise us to only work with people on our ward roster.  With our current lack of investigators, we're left with pretty much only teaching active members in our ward.  Also, I keep getting sick and we do not get out as much as I would like.  At times, it feels like it can be unproductive, or that we could be doing something more productive, but it's really great to work with the members in the ward.  It helps develop trust with them and we're hoping we can get some member referrals out of it.  When we teach a lesson to an active member, we always leave them with the commitment to invite a less-active member, or a non-member to our next appointment.  So far, that hasn't happened yet, but there are a few prospects that will hopefully be keeping us busy soon.

Elder Gillingwater and Elder Guerrette
It's finally warmed up here, which I've really appreciated.  Hopefully it stays that way.  I'm glad I get to serve around such wonderful members who are so strong in the Gospel.  Their testimonies help strengthen mine every day.  I'm grateful for all of your support and prayers.  I know that if we continue to do the Lord's work, we will be blessed with the Spirit of Conversion.  “The good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15) We have the seed of the gospel word.  It is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful.  We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. - Elder Dallin H. Oaks

I know I can be converted to the Gospel everyday and I serve the Lord to the best of my abilities.  I love this work, and strive to do better everyday so I can fulfill His eternal purpose.  I love you all so much and will talk to you all soon!  Have a great week!

5 Things That Made Me Smile:

1. I started working out again! That's always a good thing!

2. Elder Reimer's trainee is really funny.  He's got a great testimony and drive to work hard.

3. Elder Parker has some great object lessons for when we teach.  So far they've worked really well!

4. One of the members took us out to eat for dinner since they had signed up on our calendar, and another member paid for all of our food.  So now they're taking us out again this week.

5. One of our recent converts gave us chocolate bunnies, for a reason I do not know. They're massive and now I have a giant Hershey bar, and a giant bunny.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Roller Coaster Week and it was Awesome - Week #36

My District at Lunch

This week was a roller coaster and it was awesome.  Some really amazing things happened.  My companion got to go to the Temple this week for being out on his mission for a whole year.  Since he was gone all day, I got to go on exchanges; which I am definitely not a fan of.  My companion for the day was supposed to be my previous companion, Elder Low, but due to some changes they made, I also had my trainer Elder Haskell as my companion.  I got to be in a tri-companionship with them which was awesome!  I couldn't have asked for a better situation.  Not only did we work hard, but we had a great time doing it.  Definitely my favorite exchange I've gone on so far.  It was great to spend the day with some old friends.  My companion Elder Guerrette had a great time at the temple and I was glad to have him back at the end of the day.

There was a miracle story in our District this week.  The sister missionaries had set up an appointment with a member in their ward and asked them to bring someone to the lesson.  He brought a friend and as they taught him, he was really touched by the Spirit.  He really enjoyed the message of the restoration and has accepted a baptismal date.  It's so exciting to see how missionary work really progresses when members and missionaries are working together.  We also had a great weekend preparing for conference.  We watched all the sessions on Saturday without a problem.  On Sunday, we were invited to watch conference at an investigators home which we were really excited about.  This way we could make sure to answer questions if they had any.  Well the first session kept freezing and we maybe caught 25% of it, but the second session was great.  It was a really great experience and I hope they really felt the Spirit when they heard the messages shared.

We also had a great dinner Sunday night.  We had lamb and it was really good.  We made "Resurrection Rolls" where you cover a marshmallow in melted butter and cinnamon sugar, then encase it in bread dough.  Just as Christ was sealed in a tomb, when you opened the roll when it was finished cooking, the marshmallow was gone.  It had been "resurrected".  It was a fun activity.

So here's the sad news.  My companion is getting transferred.  We got the call on Saturday night.  I'm really bummed since we got along so well.  I'm really going to miss him.  That also means that I'm staying in my area again; which is great because I love serving in the YSA ward.  It also means that I get to continue living in my apartment for another 6 weeks.  That will bring the grand total to 10.5 months in one apartment.  I'm pretty sure that's a record.  Elder Guerrette is going to be in New Mexico (as far away as possible).  My new companion is Elder Parker, and I've heard he's pretty cool.  I've met him a few times, but now I will get to know him better.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I had such a wonderful Easter.  I loved the package mom sent, but it doesn't replace family.  I'm glad I will be able to Skype next month for Mothers Day.

I love our Savior, His atonement, His resurrection, and our Prophet and leaders.  It's such a blessing to hear from them and to know of their love, especially when we may feel alone at times.  I love you all so much!  I'd send more pictures but my camera just died while uploading them.  So you'll have to settle for the one picture I was able to get.  I'll send more soon.  Have a great week!  Happy late birthday Jarett!  I will talk to all of you soon.

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Week #35 Spring Break In a YSA Ward Makes for a Tough Week

Zone Conference Photo

Boy did we have an interesting week this week.  The week started off with a Zone Conference which took a really long time (8 hours).  They're not normally that long but pretty close to that.  We had a lot of discussions about getting referrals from members which is something my companion and I are really trying to work on.  We're hoping that we can get more involvement with the members in our ward for finding people to teach.  This week was Spring Break for all of the Air Force Cadets and for the College students.  The two other sets of missionaries in the YSA were really struggling to find people to teach this week since everyone was gone.  But we pulled through this week!  We had lots of lessons this week with active members and we were inspiring them to do their own missionary work and I think it's going to go over really well.  We were busy all week and I'm really grateful for that.  A slow week on a mission is a nightmare.  On Friday we got a text from our Zone Leaders telling us that we were going to go on exchanges with them that evening.  I may have already mentioned this before in an earlier email but I'm not a fan of exchanges.  To me it just makes everything really awkward because I don't know the people in the other ward and I'm only going to be there for a day.  So I went into their area Friday night and we spent Saturday helping 3 family’s move into their ward one move right after another.  I thought my fingers were going to fall off!  But we wanted to make sure the new members knew who the missionaries were. That took up most of our morning but the real treat was being able to go to a baptism.  An investigator the Sister Missionaries in the YSA have been working with was baptized and those are always a special occasion.  We spent the rest of the evening teaching active members in their ward.  The family we had dinner with that night were excited to hear that I was from California.  They really miss it there.  I miss that California Sunshine too!

I was so glad to be reunited with my companion again Saturday night.  We found out that night that Elder Reimer (Missionary in my district that was in the MTC with me) is going to be training a new missionary next transfer.  We're really excited for him and that's going to be a lot of fun!  One of the Sister Missionaries in our District had to go home for medical reasons so they brought in Sister Barker.  She was actually in the MTC with me too (I just never saw her there). So we have 3 missionaries in our district who have been out for a little over 8 months.  That's pretty cool!

Well, transfers are this week so I'm nervous that something might happen and either my companion or I will get transferred.  Neither of us wants that to happen.  We're finally getting things going in our ward; we don't want it to end yet! But next week I'll be able to let you know what happens.

I love you all so much!  It's always great to hear from you.  Have a wonderful week and I will talk to you all soon!

5 Things that Made Me Smile:

Image result for lds denver temple
Denver Temple
1. This week, my companion get's to go to the Denver Temple since he's hitting his year mark on the mission.  I get to go on exchanges with my previous companion Elder Low.  Long time no see. 

2. A less active member invited us over for pizza the other night but had tricked us and got us New York steaks instead... I wasn't complaining on the change in plans!

3. It's great to see many members in our ward trying to find opportunities to have missionary experiences.  A lot of them seemed like they would be really dedicated to helping us out.

4. We had a fluke snow day this week where it snowed 2 inches, but it was gone by the next morning, glad to know Mother Nature is on my side!

5. I have a new nickname in the YSA, instead of people calling me G-dub, they call me Johnny Bravo now.  I prefer Elder Gillingwater though!

God is Great!

Elder Gillingwater