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Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15, 2015

Dear family,

It has been an amazing week!  Three members of a family we were teaching were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday!  They asked Elder Legrand and I to baptize them.  One of them has a back injury and she was worried about bending backwards, so both of us were in the font to help her be baptized.  The bishop in the ward did the confirmation for all of them.  They were given incredible blessings.  It was really awesome.  I didn't realize that confirmations take so long especially when there are three of them in a row.  Sacrament meeting ending up going way over.  It was good though because now everyone in the ward knows them.  There were a lot of people that introduced themselves at church.  The ward has helped them out a lot, but they are going to be a blessing for the ward.  We are also going to the temple with them on Tuesday to do baptisms for the dead.  They are really excited to do that!  They were so excited to be baptized and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to teach them.  

After the baptism service on Saturday, a member in the ward came up to us and said they had our next baptism.  They have a foster child and the parents agreed that he could be baptized.  We are going to start teaching him this week.  We also visited 17 year old whose mother is a recent convert, but hasn't been able to come to church because of work.  We had a short lesson with him and during the lesson we asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes!  So we are going to start teaching him the lessons this week.  We also have some great potentials and other investigators that we are hoping to teach this week.  It is going to be a busy and exciting last week!  This week we also have a leadership meeting and we have a devotional on Sunday for investigators to come to.  Also all of the departing missionaries go to a temple session with Pres. and Sister Nattress.  It is going to be a really busy week, but it is going to be great!

I had a really neat experience this week, but it happened when I wasn't really expecting it.  I was able to interview a 9 year old to be baptized, which is always fun because they usually look at you like they don't know what you just said and what they should say.  This little kid did great with the interview and answered all the questions.  At the end I asked him if he was excited to be baptized and his face lit up and he said yes.  I then asked him why he was so excited.  He responded by saying, "because I get to live with God again."  I don't think he knew how profound it was, but I felt the spirit, and it reminded me how important the Lord's work is.  It's amazing to be a missionary and help others receive the ordinance of baptism.  It reminded me of this quote by Elder Oaks in PMG, “We do not preach and teach in order to ‘bring people into the Church’ or to increase the membership of the Church. We do not preach and teach just to persuade people to live better lives. … We invite all to come unto Christ by repentance and baptism and confirmation in order to open the doors of the celestial kingdom to the sons and daughters of God. No one else can do this”  As we share the gospel we are helping Heavenly Fathers children return to live with Him in the celestial kingdom.  It is incredible to be a missionary.

Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much, and I pray for you every day!


Elder Joshua Gandy

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 1, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great week here!  It is starting to get hot!  Usually it starts getting hot at the beginning of May, but it has been an unusually nice May, only being in the 90's most of the time.  It's in the 100's now, which will be fun!  All the weeks start to blend together so hopefully I remember everything that happened this week.  

We were able to teach S, E and K several times this week.  They are doing great and they are very excited to be baptized!  I don't know if I have seen anyone so excited to be baptized.  It has been fun teaching them, because they are excited to learn and feel the spirit.  The ward is also doing a great job welcoming them into the ward.  

We have also been teaching a women who is nervous to come to church.  We think it is because she has young kids and is worried they are going to be a big distraction and they won't be able to sit still very long.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon which is great!  She also came to our mission choir concert on Thursday.  We were not quite sure if she was going to come because she said she was super busy, but as we were walking into the church we ran into her as she was getting out of her car.  

The zone that I am in is doing really well.  Recently, in the zone, there have been many new investigators found and many people that have a date to be baptized.  There are a lot of great missionaries in this zone that work really hard, and everyone is seeing miracles.  It has been great to be here for my last transfer and work with these missionaries.  

This week before the choir concert, we had a choir practice a couple days before.  While I was there I talked to the missionary that is in my old area in the Val Vista stake.  He told me about how one of the people we taught there is planning on being sealed to his family soon.  He said it would either be in June or July so I'm really hoping it is sooner than later.  That was really exciting news!  

It has been a busy and crazy week, and I'm excited for this next week.  Every week I'm surprised at how much I learn, and how much I realize I still need to learn.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is something we will always be learning.  It's not just a one-time event, but truly is a pattern of living that brings us peace and joy, and enables us to return to live with Heavenly Father.  Also following Christ's example and becoming more Christ-like happens with one action and decision at a time.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary!  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S. Thanks for the pictures you sent!  Also I forgot how green the grass is.   

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Joshua will be returning from his mission on June 23.  He will be speaking in our Sacrament Meeting at 1:00 on June 28.

May 25, 2015

Dear family,

It has been an amazing week full of miracles.  We received a call last Monday afternoon from a lady we did not know.  She started the conversation by saying, "You don't know me, but I have been looking for you."  At first, I thought that was really strange and weird, but she told us she is not a member, but wanted us to come give her a blessing.  She continued to tell me more about herself.  and we learned that she met with missionaries about 2 or 3 years ago, and was close to being baptized, but her husband at the time didn't want her to.  She just recently moved into our ward and told us that recently every time she passes a church building and the temple she has these feelings that keep pointing her to the church.  We gave her a blessing that night, and met her daughter who is 17 and her grandson (that she has basically raised) who is 11.  We came back on Wednesday and taught them the restoration and had a great lesson and she accepted to be baptized on June 13th!  They definitely felt the spirit and have a desire to be baptized.  We met with them also on Saturday and they came to church on Sunday.  They loved church and the ward did a great job on welcoming them.  It couldn't have gone better!  I'm super excited to teach this family!

We also started teaching another family, who was a referral from other missionaries.  This person was invited to meet with missionaries with one of her coworkers.  Her coworker recently had her husband pass away, and she saw how strong her coworker was during that difficult time, and wanted to learn more.  She loves the thought of having an eternal family.  We had our first lesson this week, and she has started reading the Book of Mormon.  She said we could text her every night to remind her.  She didn't come to church this Sunday because she had family come into town, but she is planning on coming this next week.  She also has a 9 year old daughter who we are going to teach as well.  

We have been working with several other people like a 17 year old who is a great soccer player.  He has a lot of friends that are members and wants to learn more about what they believe.  We are also hoping to work with a couple of old investigators from the area book.  One of them said they might come to our mission choir concert which is this week.  We also found a couple of potential investigators who we are going to teach tonight.

We had a really busy Sunday yesterday.  We started about 6 in the morning and got out of our last meeting at 6:30 in the evening.  I went to two ward councils, two sacrament meetings, other classes, and a stake ward missionary training in the evening that they asked us to give a class at. It was quite the day, but I learned a lot at church.  During one of the ward councils the bishop ended by saying thank you to the ward council and giving this thought.  He talked about being a disciple of Christ and how we do what we do in our calling for Christ.  We don't do it for ourselves nor for the bishop, but we do it because we love Christ.  It made me reflect on when we are doing our calling and when we are serving others, how often do we remember that.  If that is our desire and we just remember that, I can't imagine getting discouraged.  I can't imagine wanting to quit.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I'm grateful for the gospel and how much it has blessed our family.

Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S.  So random cool fact, the person who played Joseph Smith in the restoration movie and who is Peter in the bible videos is in one of our wards and we had dinner at his house.  It was kind of cool, it was like Peter was at the dinner table.  

This is a street in one of the wards we cover.   It is just a little different compared to Gilbert.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 18, 2015

Dear family,

It has been quite the week with transfers!  So for my last transfer I went to the Queen Creek zone.  So my area is actually partially in Queen Creek and on the border of San Tan valley.  It is a little different compared to Gilbert.  I'm a lot closer to mountains and there are a lot more farms and open fields.  It's a little different.  Also my new companion is Elder Legrand.  He is from France.  After only having companions from the western United States, it is a little different.  He has been out for about a year and a half, so he speaks English very well, but still has a thick french accent.  For the first couple of days I was having a little bit of a hard time understanding him, but I'm getting use to it.  I'm really excited to work with him.  He has a great desire to work hard and is an awesome missionary.  

My area consists of three wards: the Sunset, Circle Cross, and Hasting Farms wards.  They are very different compared to my last wards.  Elder Legrand has only been in the area for a transfer, so we are both trying to figure out what is going on in the area.  As I looked through the area books, I realized there were a lot of people that neither of us knew.  Most of this week we were stopping by these investigators.  There were several that were not interested, but there were some that said they lost contact with the missionaries and invited us back.  Looking through the area book, I can tell there is a lot of work to do in this area.  There are a lot of former investigators and potentials to work with.  We also found a couple of great potentials and received a great referral this week.  We are hoping that they will all become new investigators this week.  I'm really excited to see what happens in this area. 

Transfers were on Wednesday this week, and there were some cool things that happened before I left the area.  There is a Vietnamese family in one of the wards and the grandmother that lives with them is not a member.  On Monday evening this family called us and said the grandma would like to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The grandma doesn't speak english, so the family translated the lesson for her.  She also didn't have much of a religious background so we were trying to teach the very basics simply.  I don't know what it was or if there was something special about the situation, but the spirit was really strong in the lesson.  It reminded of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 90:11 "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ."

It was sad to leave my last area because of the people we were teaching, but I'm excited to be in this area.  I know I was transferred here for a reason.  I doesn't really make sense for me to leave the area I know better than the back of my hand to spend only six weeks in an area that I don't know at all, but I know I'm here for a reason.  I don't know what that reason is yet, and I may not find out while I'm here, but I know Heavenly Father puts us where we need to be.  We have been able to see several miracles so far, and I know that as I try to follow the spirit and do the best that I can, we will continue to see those miracles.  

It seems like a lot has happened this past week and I wish I could tell you everything that has happened.  Thanks for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 11, 2015

Dear family,

It was great to see all of you yesterday!  So I thought I wasn't going to get transferred for my last transfer, but I guess I'm suppose to go somewhere else for my last transfer.  I've never served in an area outside of the Highland zone, so this will be interesting.  I'm excited to see what happens!  I'll let you know next week where I'm going and who my new companion will be.  I know I already told you some things that happened this week, but I'm going to write about them again and write about the things I forgot.  I actually forgot my planner to remind me what happened this transfer, so I'll probably forget something.

We had a lesson with one of our investigators yesterday before I talked with you.  She had questions about Joseph Smith so we watched the 20 minute restoration video.  She really enjoyed it and she prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and she got an answer to her prayers.  When she was describing the answer she got, it sounded like she was feeling the spirit.  She also made a comment in the lesson that she has never been to a church that makes this much sense.  She said it all makes sense to her.  They are going to take her to the visitor center this week to see the Joseph Smith the prophet of the restoration movie.   

This week we found a couple of potential investigators.  On Tuesday we were knocking doors in the evening and at one door a lady answered and said she wasn't feeling well, but asked us to come back.  We went back on Thursday morning and a man opens the door and invites us in.  We were a little confused since that usually doesn't happen.  As we talked to him we found out that he is a less active member, but is trying to come back.  I guess he has been coming to church with his parents that live far away.  We also met his wife who is not a member and the lady who answered the door the other day was his mother-in-law who is also not a member.  They were going some place so we asked if we could come back to share a message and they said yes.  Hopefully the missionaries get to start teaching him.  This week we also stopped by a member when their non member parents were over.  They were not planning on us, but we just happened to stop by at the right time.  We shared a short message and were able to bear testimony.  The family seemed really happy that we stopped by, and were able to share a message.  I can tell the family is really hoping that someday the parents will be interested in learning more about the gospel.  We also found out our investigator who moved to California ended up staying, and he wants to be baptized!  So hopefully they get to start teaching him again.

We had a zone meeting this week and we gave the challenge to give out a box of Book of Mormons this week.  We talked about the blessing we have in our lives because of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  There are so many things we blessed with, and as I pondered it I thought about how much my life has been changed.  I can't imagine my life without the restoration! We also talked about how the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion.  Just like Pres. Benson said  “Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The enemies of the Church understand this clearly. This is why they go to such great lengths to try to disprove the Book of Mormon, for if it can be discredited, the Prophet Joseph Smith goes with it. So does our claim to priesthood keys, and revelation, and the restored Church. But in like manner, if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it”

We also had the opportunity to go to a young mens activity where they talked about the Book of Mormon.  The new priest quorum adviser just recently got home from being a mission president in Peru, so he role played with the priests giving out a Book of Mormon.  It was really cool!  We were able to share our testimonies at the activity, and I was reminded of all the blessing I've received from the Book of Mormon.  I've received answers to my prayers, comfort and peace in stressful times, and so much more. 

Well I'm out of time, but it was great to talk to you yesterday!  Hope you have a great week.  Thank you for all of your prayers and I love you all so much!


Elder Joshua Gandy

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another busy week!  It seems like we had a lot of meetings this past week.  The meetings seem to take a lot of time, but we still saw some great things happen this week. 

We were able to have a lesson with our new investigator from last week, on Sunday.  I believe I already told you about her in my last letter.  In our first lesson we mostly answered her questions and briefly taught the restoration.  This time we finished teaching and retaught parts of the restoration.  The lessons went great!  As we were talking about prophets, she told us that that was something she learned while coming to church with her daughter.  She talked about how it makes sense that God would have a prophet now.  We taught her more about the Book of Mormon and invited her to read and pray to know if it is true.  She told us that she knew she needed to pray about it, and she knew she would receive an answer.  We invited her to be baptized at the end, but she said she wanted to learn more about Joseph Smith first.  We are probably going to take her to the Mesa Temple visitor center to see the Joseph Smith the Prophet of the Restoration movie.  She asked us a couple of questions about baptism and told us that she has already been thinking about it.  I'm super excited to continue to teach her! 

We also had a couple lessons with the kid we met last Sunday at the park.  We had a couple lessons with him and even gave him a church tour, but he ended up going back to California.  He was super excited to meet with us and said he wanted to be baptized.  Hopefully the missionaries in California talk to him soon.  When we taught him the Restoration and we got to the part about the Book of Mormon, he stopped us and asked "Why did you guys stop to talk to me Sunday night?"  We weren't quite sure how to respond exactly because we talk to everyone.  I can't remember how we answered, but he then told us how he found a book like that at his house the other day.  I have no idea how he already got a Book of Mormon, but maybe some body gave it to him or a family member forever ago.  It is kind of cool that he found it just a couple days before we talked to him. 

We had a cool miracle happen this week.  There is an inactive family in one of our wards with a son who is not baptized.  We were walking through the neighborhood and saw the father throwing a football to his son.  We ended up talking to him for 15 minutes and passing the football around.  That was the first miracle because we heard that he didn't want any contact with the church.  As we were talking to him, a ward missionary in the ward was biking around the neighborhood and stopped to talk to us.  This ward missionary was just assigned to be in charge of scheduling our dinners and told us that while we were talking to the father.  At the end of the conversation with this inactive member, we asked if we could come back to get to know their family and share a message with his family.  He said they were really busy, but said they would sign up to have us over for dinner.  The miracle is I don't think it could have happened any other way.  If we knocked on his door he probably wouldn't have talked to us for very long.  If that ward missionary didn't stop by, he probably wouldn't have had the idea to have us over for dinner.  It's always amazing when we are put in the right place at the right time.  This truly is the Lord's work and we cannot do it without him.

We had the last expanded zone conference this week.  Pres. Nattress invited all the members who came to use Elder Anderson's apostolic promise to pray to know with whom to speak.  We are going to be following up with all the members who came and see if they have someone they want to share the gospel with.  We also had our normal zone conference this week.  It was another awesome zone conference!  I wish I could explain all the things we were trained on, but there isn't enough time to write it all.  At the zone conference we also got Tiwi in all of the mission cars.  I don't know if you already know what it is, but it's a box that keeps track of how good of a driver you are.  It tells you if you are driving too fast, don't have your seat belt on, or are driving aggressively.  I don't really know how to explain it, but you could probably look it up.  We also had our mission choir concert this week.  It has been a busy week.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary!  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  As we follow Jesus Christ's example, it brings so much joy, happiness, and love into our lives.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy