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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December 29, 2014

Dear family,

It has been an amazing week!  It was great to talk to you on Christmas.  I'm glad that everyone was able to be there.  It has been a great Christmas season and it's going to be a great start to a new year!  It seems like a lot has happened this week so hopefully I remember everything. 

We had a couple lessons with one of our investigators.  We are finishing teaching her lesson five, so we taught about the temple and family history and also about service.  We hope to get her to the temple really soon after her baptism.  She had her baptismal interview and she is already to be baptized this Saturday.  Her family is not too supportive so we are hoping they will come to the baptism.  We had a lesson with another investigator this week and she accepted the invitation to be baptized!  We tried to set an earlier date, but she wanted to do it in February.  She is on date for February 7th!  I'm really excited to continue to teach her.  We also had a lesson with a kid that has been coming to church with his friend.  We taught him the restoration lesson and he had a lot of questions.  He didn't accept the invitation to be baptized, but we have another lesson with him today. 

On Friday we found out that we were getting a couple mini missionaries on Saturday.  So what happens is several youth from a stake in our mission come with the missionaries for a couple of days.  They stay with us at our apartment, they follow all of the mission rules, and do everything that we do for a couple days.  So we have a couple youth from the Highland West stake staying with us until Tuesday evening.  We have two of them so we can split up.  It is almost like we are on splits most of the day.  The mini missionaries are seniors in high school and are planning on serving missions.  It is a great experience for them to see what it is like to be a missionary and it will hopefully get them excited to do missionary work before their missions.  They are some awesome youth and are doing great.  We try to involve them as much as we can.  So one of them actually extended the invitation to be baptized to the investigator who is planning to be baptised in February.  That would have been cool to do that before my mission.

Christmas eve and Christmas day went really well.  We went caroling on Christmas eve with our district.  It was a lot of fun!  We stopped by a recent convert in our area and she was having a hard day.  She was really grateful that we came.  It makes just one visit like that to make it all worth it.  We had a different kind of white Christmas.  We had a couple of baptisms in the zone on Christmas day.  Everyone was a little worried that no one would come because it was on Christmas, but we had to move into the chapel because there wasn't enough room in the relief society room.  The whole stake presidency was also there.  It was a really great baptism and the spirit was really strong there.  What a perfect way to celebrate Christmas by being baptized.

It is amazing to be a missionary!  It's not always easy, but it is most definitely worth it!  I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know it brings so much joy, peace, and hope into our lives.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  Thank you for all your prayers and all that you do for me.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S.  I met someone the other day that knew dad in high school.  It's a small world.
P.P.S.  Steve Young's brother lives in one of our wards and he was visiting this week, so I shook Steve Young's hand at church on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December 22, 2014

Dear family,

We have had a busy week!  On Thursday we had a mission temple trip.  All of the missionaries in the mission went to the temple in the morning and afterward we took a picture as a mission in front of the Gilbert temple.  Right after the temple trip we had interviews with President Nattress.  On Friday we had our Christmas mission conference.  They made us dinner and we had a couple activities.  After that we had a devotional that was really amazing.  I'll have to tell you more about what we did when I call on Christmas. 

We were also able to have quite a few lessons this week.  It is always really exciting when you have many opportunities to have lessons.  We had a couple lessons with M. this week.  She is just preparing for her baptism on January 3rd.  We are almost done teaching all of the lessons.  She also came to a baptism of someone else that was being baptized in the stake.  We also have another investigator and we had our second lesson with her.  She said she was thinking about being baptized in February.  February is a little far away, but at least she is thinking about it.  She came to church on Sunday with her twin boys who are 5.  She also came to a baptism of someone in the stake on Saturday.  So we actually went to two baptisms on Saturday.  We also had a couple unexpected lessons with friends of youth in the ward.  One youth invited a non member friend for dinner when we came for dinner.  Another youth invited their friend to a fireside our mission had on Sunday.  We also had a lesson with a less active member in the singles ward.  He hasn't been to church in probably ten years.  He has a lot of questions and he takes notes in our lessons.  It is really cool to teach him because you can tell that he really wants to learn and know for himself.  He is so sincere in wanting to learn. 

That fireside that I mentioned was something that our mission does every month.  They have a couple recent converts speak and a member of the mission presidency speaks.  They are always really great, even when everyone is nervous that the recent convert is going to say something strange.  One of the converts we taught earlier in my mission actually was one of the recent converts that spoke this time.  It was really cool to hear him speak again like he did in stake conference a little while ago. 

This is going to be one of my shorter emails.  We don't have as much time today to email.  I'll talk to you on Christmas though and tell you more.  I was typing fast so hopefully my grammar isn't too bad. It is amazing to be a missionary and I'm grateful every day for this opportunity.  There isn't anything I would rather be doing.  It's a wonderful time of the year to teach about Jesus Christ and the gift that He is from our Heavenly Father.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 15, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week!  It has also been a very busy week.  We always seems to be busy which is always a good thing.  We had Elder Packer come to the mission on Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday he had a meeting with all the leadership in the mission.  He asked all the leaders what was one thing that would be helpful to train on.  So we went around the room and everyone gave their answers.  He had someone make a list and he used that to make his training for the next day.  On Friday we had a meeting with him in the morning.  Oh my did we learn a lot!  Sister Packer talked about ways to make sure we have the spirit with us, like cleaning our apartments, getting rid of all contention especially in the companionship, being exactly obedient, and doing family history.  Elder Packer talked about creating a culture in the mission since the mission is still relatively new.  He talked about a lot of other things, but one thing that I learned is how important it is that we act on our faith.  It is when we are truly converted that we act on what we believe.  That is why it is so important that we invite our investigators to read and pray and to act on the things that they are learning.  They will not only receive a testimony, but will be truly converted and will not fall away.  I wish I could tell you everything that he said, but I don't have that much time.

We had several lessons this week.  We had another lesson with our investigator M.  She is still on date to be baptized in January.  We also went with a recent convert and her non member son and mother to the Mesa temple Christmas lights.  They do a really good job at those temple lights.  Not as great as the lights at temple square, but they are pretty great.  They really enjoyed the temple lights and want to come back to the visitor center there when it is not as busy.  I also ran into Sis. Willahan at the visitor center and I ran into another person that I went to high school with that is now serving in the Mesa mission.  I wasn't expecting to see anyone that I knew when I went.  We have been showing the He is the Gift video to as many people as we can.  We showed it to a part member family and also a couple families with youth that have not been baptized.  Not any new investigators yet, but hopefully soon.  We have also been working with a couple less active members.  One of them came to church yesterday.  We were not expecting her to come so we were really excited when she came.  Another less active member came to a Christmas concert one of the stakes put on.  It was similar to the one that our stake would do with each ward choir performing and singing songs in between.  This stake went all out.  They took the first couple benches out of the chapel and had a full orchestra.  It was impressive.

We did a couple of service projects this week also.  We helped a non member put up their Christmas lights.  As a group of missionaries we also helped the town of Gilbert set up a community activity.  There is a place called the Riparian Preserve with several lakes in it.  They set up lights around the lake and we helped put up luminaries all the way around the lake.  It was an interesting service project, but it was fun. 

One of our wards had their Christmas party.  They had it on a Saturday afternoon and they had someone come and put snow outside on a hill next to the church building.  The snow looked so out of place on the green grass, but all the kids had a blast in the snow.  I'm not quite sure how they got the snow there, but somehow they did.

It has been a great week and I'm excited for this next week.  We were going to have interviews this week, but they got rescheduled to this week because of Elder Packer's mission tour.  We are also having a mission temple trip on Thursday and a mission Christmas devotional on Friday.  I'm sure it is going to be another busy week!  I'm grateful for this chance to be a missionary!  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I'm grateful for this time a year.  It is a perfect time to share the gospel with others.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 8, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another busy but great week!  It is always a great week when you are a missionary!  It seems like a lot has happened this past week.  Hopefully I can remember everything.  I'm still trying to get use to my new area and everything that is going on.  Having four wards definitely keeps us busy!  It has been a little different serving in a singles ward.  This week we went to the FHE on Monday for a little bit.  There were a couple recent converts there.  We were hoping to teach them afterwards, but they left early.  Every Tuesday they have a group of ward missionaries and just some other members in the singles ward come to the church.  They meet for a minute and then they split up and go make visits to people in the ward.  Sometimes they are less active members or non members.  It was a lot of fun!  I went with a member that is getting ready to go on his mission.  We were not able to have any lessons that night, but we talked to a really nice man on the streets and we met a non member roommate of a less active member.  Hopefully we get to start teaching them.  I wish I was able to go with the missionaries before my mission.  That would have been awesome!   

We had a zone meeting on Tuesday.  We have been focusing a lot on the "He is the Gift" video that the church has come out with.  So in zone meeting we talked about how to use it when talking to people on the streets and introducing it to members and helping them share it with their friends.  We did a lot of role playing which is always fun!  I have been use to doing district meetings all by myself, so it was a little different to do a training with someone else.  It went really well though!  When we visit members that is mostly what we talk about with them.  We show them the video, if they haven't already seen it, and then we invite them to share it on their social media and then to pass out the pass-along cards that came in the Ensign.  Our Sunday was really busy because we showed it to the Relief society and young women in two of our wards and the young men in one of our wards.  We also plan to do that again in our other wards next Sunday.  Sunday really is one of our busiest days!

So some exciting news about some of our investigators.  One of our investigators is on date to be baptized on January 3rd.   The missionaries have been teaching her for almost a year.  She started progressing a couple months ago and this week she accepted a baptismal date.  We also got a new investigator this week.  She was being taught by the missionaries in her friend's ward and the missionaries gave her to us so she can be fellowshipped in the ward she actually lives in.  We had a lesson with her and she came to church on Sunday with her two boys.  There were a lot of members that came up and introduced themselves and she felt really welcomed.  We are super excited to teach her.  We have a couple other investigators and potentials that we are focusing on and are hoping to start teaching more regularly.  We also have a couple less active members that we are working with.  This area has a lot of great potential and I'm excited to see all the miracles that are going to happen.  

It has been a busy week and this week is going to be busy again!  We have interviews with President Nattress this week.  Elder Allen F. Packer of the seventy is coming to do a mission tour this week.  I'm super excited to go to that meeting this week.  We also have a couple lessons already set up and we are hoping to take someone to the Mesa temple Christmas lights this week.  It is going to be another great week!

I'm really grateful to be a missionary.  It is an amazing blessing to have this opportunity. I learn so much every day.  I'm grateful for my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that Jesus Christ lives.  That He is our Savior and Redeemer.  It's amazing to bear our testimonies and tell people that no matter what trial or difficulty that is going on in their life, they can find that hope and peace and love through Jesus Christ.  He truly is the greatest gift from our Heavenly Father, who loves every single one of us.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much and I pray for you every day.  Have a wonderful week and a great Christmas season.

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 1, 2014

Dear family,

Well it has been an exciting week with transfers!  On Tuesday I found out that I am going to be a zone leader.  At transfers on Wednesday I found out that I am one of the zone leaders in the Highland zone, which is the zone I was already in.  In the apartment complex we live in there are two companionships that live in the apartment on the first floor and two companionships that live in the apartment on the second floor.  So I was transferred from the first floor to the second floor.  My new address is the same except for the apartment number which is 2009.  As you can tell I was transferred really far.  The area I am in now is actually four wards.  We have two wards in the Highland East stake and one ward in the Highland West stake and we cover the singles ward.  If you remember the Highland East stake was the first stake I served in.  Now being in this area I have served in 6 of the 7 wards in that stake.  I'm actually really glad that I wasn't transferred too far because I already know a lot of the people.  I also know where everything is.  That will make it really nice.  Also my new companion is Elder Rich.  He is from southern California.  I believe around Huntington Beach.  He has been out for a while.  He only has two transfers left so he is getting close to the end of his mission.  I'm really excited to work with him!  It will be a lot of fun.  Also another new thing in this area is that we have a car.  I've never had a car on my mission so that will be a new experience.  I haven't driven yet and I'm a little nervous to because I haven't driven a car in a really long time.  I'm sure it will come back really easy.

The beginning of this week was interesting because we were trying to stop by all of the investigators and recent converts before I left.  It never really hit me that I was leaving, and it still hasn't since I didn't move very far.  We run into past investigators and recent converts occasionally at a fireside or something so I'm sure I will see all of them occasionally.  

On Thanksgiving we started our day by doing a service project at a turkey trot (5k) that one of our members was putting together.  It seems like we are helping at a lot of running events.  We had dinner with an awesome recent convert in my new area.  It is really cool to see recent converts get excited about the Gospel.  The recent convert's non member son and mother were there and we watched the Prophet of the Restoration during dinner.  Her mom said she is going to read the Book of Mormon.   This week we also started teaching a less active member in the singles ward the lessons.  He hasn't been to church in ten years and he wants to learn more.  We had a great lesson and he was asking some really great questions and taking notes.  We can tell he is excited to learn.  On Saturday we helped a less active recent convert put up Christmas lights. We also had dinner with a family that was baptized a little over a year ago and their non member parents were there.  The parents live in the ward and we hope to start teaching them.  It was interesting to go to the singles ward on Sunday.  I have never been to a singles ward before.  This area has some great things going on and some great potentials.  I'm really excited to work with all of them.

It has been a busy week and I'm excited for this next week.  I'm sending this email a little later in the day because we went mountain biking for a p day activity.  It was a lot of fun!  It was interesting to go into the mountains and see all the wild cacti.  There is a lot!

I'm so grateful to be on my mission!  The Christmas season is a great time to be a missionary.  We have been sharing the He is the Gift video with a lot of people this week.  Jesus Christ truly is the greatest gift that God has given us.  I'm so grateful for all the hope and peace that the Savior brings into our lives.  I know that because of him we are able to return to live with our Heavenly Father and be together as a family forever.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy


Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014



Dear family,

Guess what!?  I found out that I am going to be transferred!  I've been in this area since the beginning of February, so it is going to be a little hard to leave.  It has been an amazing area to serve in, and I have had many great experiences.  I have seen a lot of growth in the work and in myself.  I'm excited to find out where my next area is going to be!  I have only served in the northwest part of the mission.  This area and my last area were only a mile apart.  I will find out on Wednesday so next week I will let you know what happens.  

We had some great lessons this week.  We taught the investigator who has officially moved now.  We were hoping he would be willing to meet with missionaries after he moved.  During the lessons he was asking us about how he could meet with the missionaries in his new area.  I think sending a referral is just as exciting as receiving one.  Hopefully those missionaries will be able to meet with him soon.  We also had a lesson with a less active family this week.  It was a great lesson and we were able to help them apply scriptures to them.  Hopefully we can help them come to church soon.  They just moved in so nobody really knows them.  

We had some great lessons with members this week.  After dinner and occasionally when we don't have a busy night we teach members a short lesson and invite them to do missionary work.  It is amazing the spirit that comes into the room as you teach others about the restoration, member or non member.  We taught another lesson to some youth that we have been working with.  There is a 12, 10, and two 8 year olds.  It can be quite challenging to keep them interested and quiet.  We brought some pictures and used that plan of salvation puzzle you gave to me a while ago.  It went really well and we were able to teach the plan of salvation in 10 to 15 minutes.  The kids were asking all kinds of questions.  It was really fun to teach them and help them understand those basic principles that we learned in primary.  

We also had someone go over and help a couple who are recent converts get started on their family history.  We tried to help, but we were not too much help.  After that they sound really excited to do their family history.  We hope that they will have a couple names to take to the temple really soon.

We did another service project on Saturday.  We actually helped at the marathon that we helped get ready for last week.  We were along the route and cheering people on and making sure everyone was doing okay.  We also helped clean up afterwards.  The person who started the marathon was actually my ward mission leader in my last area.  He does it to raise money for shade covers over play grounds at schools to help prevent skin cancer. 

Thinking about Christmas, the church is doing something really excited for this Christmas season.  They are coming out with something called He is the Gift initiative.  They are coming out with a video that will be advertised on the main page on youtube and in time square in New York.  We are also getting pass along cards for it.  When you get the Ensign in December there will be something about it in there and it will also include some of those pass along cards.  We had a meeting this week how we are going to use it in our missionary work for the next month.  You will have to look at the video on Christmas.mormon.org and share it with others!

I'm excited to be a missionary at this time of the year.  It is a great time to teach people about the joy that comes as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thanks for all that you do for me.  I'm grateful for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!  

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 17, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another fantastic week!  The Phoenix temple dedication was this weekend.  The cultural celebration was on Saturday and on Sunday we were able to go to the dedication.  The dedication was great and there were some great talks given.  The cultural celebration and dedication was really cool.  

On Sunday evening we had the choir concert.  There was a great turn out.  The chapel was full and they had chairs set up in the gym.  All of the missionaries in the district had a couple of people come.  M and S came with their fellowship and we had a couple of potentials come.  There were several people from my last area that I also saw there.  There were a lot of people there that I haven't really taught, but people that I have met or know.  Some I have taught on exchanges with other missionaries or have heard all about from the other missionaries.  As I was sitting in the choir waiting for the fireside to start I was noticing all these different people and how their lives have been changed.  They are not all members yet, but they have felt or soon will feel the blessings and the peace and joy that comes through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  It turned out to be a great night and everyone was telling us how much they enjoyed it.  

We had a couple of lessons this week.  We taught a part member family this week that moved in a couple of months ago.  The dad is not a member, but the son is.  When we first met the dad a while ago I thought he was a member just by the way he was talking to us.  We hope to start teaching them some more.  We had a lesson with the investigator that is moving this week.  We had a great lesson about prayer and scripture study.  He was also telling us about how this is really something that he is wanting to do.  He actually was asking us how he can contact the missionaries when he moves.  

We also had a lesson with M and S.  They are still really wanting to find out more about our common ancestor.  They have a cousin who knows a lot about their family history and they want us to get together with the cousin to figure it out.  The cousin is not a member and lives in my last area.  I actually met this cousin before I met them.  Some interesting connections.  We also got a new investigator this week and he committed to read the Book of Mormon.  Hopefully we can start teaching him.

We did a couple service projects this week too.  We helped the mission office organize boxes full of invitations to the Mesa temple Christmas lights.  A large group of missionaries also helped get ready for a marathon next week.  We helped put together a bag for each runner so we helped put together around a thousand bags.

It is great to be a missionary!  It has been a huge blessing to help and see others come unto Christ and accept the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 10, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week here in this area.  There have been some exciting things happen this week.  Hopefully I can remember everything.

The first and most exciting thing is that we went to the temple with R. this week!  We went on Friday afternoon and one of his fellowships came with us.  We were not allowed to do baptisms with him, but we were able to go and watch.  We were able to explain to him what was going on and answer his questions.  He had an amazing experience!  On the ride back he was telling us how great it felt.  He told us that every time he came out of the water he was excited to see what the next name would be.  He was also asking questions about being sealed as a family.  He is really excited about that.  He just did temple names, but he wants to do his family history and start doing his family names.  Hopefully we can find someone in the ward that can come and help him get started and help him along the way. 

We also had a mission choir performance on Thursday.  The idea behind this one was to teach the Restoration through song.  So we sang songs about the different principles in that lesson.  There were different group numbers, solos, and they showed some short Mormon messages.  I ended up being in a quintet.  We didn't have that much practice time, but it went well.  We had an investigator come and a less active member come.  They really enjoyed it.  The less active member enjoyed it so much that she told us that we have to tell her about the next one.  We are going to do the same program again next Sunday and then we will do a Christmas one in December.

The investigator that came to the choir performance lives in the same apartment complex as us and she just recently moved her from Michigan (She doesn't like the cold).  She is an older single lady and some people call her grandma cookie.  I probably already mentioned her before in another letter.  She went to the Phoenix temple open house.  We were able to teach her the first lesson this week.  Unfortunately, I was on exchanges that day, but I heard it went great!  

I think I also mentioned in a previous letter that there are many foreigners that live in the same apartment complex as us.  They are here for flight school and come from all parts of the world.  I guess Arizona has cheap pilot training and perfect weather.  We talked to a man from China this week and he wanted to come to church.  We gave him a pamphlet (we happened to have one in Chinese) because there was a little bit of a communication barrier.  Well they came to church this Sunday!  Luckily there is a member that went to Taiwan on his mission and was able to communicate with them a little bit.  They want to come back next week so hopefully there is some way that they can be taught.  I believe there is an elder in the mission that lived in Taiwan and can teach them in Chinese.   

The members are starting to ask me if the mission president forgot I was here.  There have been some snow birds coming back from their summer homes and wondering if I have left and come back.  Most of them say I am just never going to leave and now I'm just a part of the ward.  I would be all right with that.

I love being a missionary and all the amazing miracles that we see in this amazing work!  I'm grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here.  I know that Christ lives and is our Savior.  It is an incredible blessing to know that. 

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

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

Dear family,

It has been an amazing week!  I can't believe it is November!  This is when the really nice weather starts to happen.  As soon as October was over the weather has been practically perfect.  Except for the fact that I am use to the warm weather and I get cold really easily now.  Last night as we were riding our bikes I was getting a little cold and Elder Bartlett could not understand why I was getting cold.  For the next several months the weather is going to be great!

We had zone conference this week which is always great.  There are so many things to learn from those meetings.  I wish you could have just been there to hear the training because me explaining it wouldn't be as great.  Pres. Nattress is a great teacher and tells us about things he has learned from the apostles.  During his training he would say things like "Elder Scott teaches this really well." and "I heard Elder Ballard say..."  

We also had stake conference this weekend.  The Saturday evening session was about the work of salvation and there were some great talks given.  They had a wide variety of talks about inviting neighbors, preparing to go on a mission, senior missions, and going to the temple.  Also they asked one of our recent converts to speak and tell his conversion story.  It was really neat to hear him tell his story.  At the beginning he talked about how he was never really a spiritual kind of person and he told how he began to recognized Heavenly Fathers hand in his life.  It was also really cool to hear him bear his testimony at the end.  I think a lot of the members enjoyed his talk.  We are hoping to take him to the temple soon to do baptisms for the dead.  

The Sunday morning session was also amazing.  The first half hour of the conference the stake president spoke and they did the stake business.  The next hour and a half was a broadcast from Salt Lake to 97 stakes in Arizona.  A seventy, a counselor in the general young women's presidency, Elder Christofferson and Pres. Uchtdorf spoke.  They gave some really amazing talks.  Elder Christofferson talked about being truly converted and Pres. Uchtdorf talked about the temple and having a temple recommend.  He compared the temple recommend interview to a pre flight check list.  The whole stake conference was great.  Our 94 year old investigator came Saturday night and Sunday morning.  It sounded like she enjoyed it!  

We went to the temple on Halloween like I mentioned last week.  We were there from 4 to 9.  We were able to do baptisms and confirmations, sealing children to their parents and a session.  We were also able to do the baptizing.  It was a awesome experience.  It was the best Halloween.  It didn't feel like we were there for 5 hours and I wanted to stay longer. 

We had some lessons this week even though it was really busy.  We taught a family with some young kids the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is always fun to teach kids, but it sure can be a little challenging.  We also had a great lesson again with one of our investigators who is moving in a week or two.  We had a great lesson with him and we showed a Mormon message that was perfect for him. He said he was waiting for an answer to his prayers so we were able to talk to him about how God answers our prayers.  I was also able to do a baptismal interview this week for a 9 year old.  That is always fun!  

We also had a couple experiences this week that showed me how important it is to follow the spirit and rely on the spirit to show us where to go.  This truly is God's work and he wants to help us with it.  We were walking in our apartment complex and we were on our way to an appointment and we passed by someone that was waiting for a ride.  We were late to our appointment, but I felt we really needed to go back.  I kept of thinking about how we were late, but after a few more steps we decided to go back.  We talked to the person and got their number.  They would go to the YSA ward so we wouldn't teach them, but I'm glad we went back.  Yesterday night we had a half hour left before we needed to go inside and we had four people that we could stop by that lived in the apartment complex.  We decided to pray and we both felt like we needed to stop by one of them.  We knocked on his door and he was just getting ready for bed, so we didn't talk to him very long.  As we were walking away we ran into another one of the people we prayed about.  We were able to follow up with him on his Book of Mormon reading.  He didn't have a lot of time to talk either so we went by another name we prayed about.  They weren't home so we went to the last name and we ran into him walking his dog and he told us to stop by soon.  By the time we talked to him it was time to go in.  So in a half hour we were able to talk to 3 of the 4 people we prayed about and two of them we ran into outside.  Now if we didn't go in that order we probably would have missed most of them.  

I'm so grateful to be a missionary!  It really is an amazing experience and I'm enjoying every minute of it.  It's not always easy of course, but it is amazing all the things that we learn.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

P.P.S Tell Hunter and Tayler thank you for the drawings!
 

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week here and there are some exciting things coming up.  This Saturday both of our wards had their fall festival and trunk or treat.  There was a great turn out and several non members were at both of them.  There were some investigators and friends of some of the members.  Since they were both on the same night at the same time we had to go to half of one and half of the other.  It was kind of difficult to talk to everyone since we didn't have as much time.  We were still able to talk to most of the non members that came.  On Sunday I sang in sacrament meeting in the Crystal Shores ward and Pres. Nattress came to the Emerald Bay ward and did the third hour lesson for all the adults and youth.  It was really cool!  He showed a video about someone and asked the ward member what they would teach the person and I was asked to write the responses on the chalk board.  I don't write very well on chalk boards so hopefully it didn't look too bad.  

This week we had some great lessons.  We have a couple of investigators that we are working with right now.  We taught one of them the plan of salvation and about baptism and he has a great desire to be baptized.  Unfortunately he is living in our area temporarily and we don't know how long he will stay.  We also taught another investigator who is currently living with his sister and brother-in-law who are members.  We had a great lesson about prayer and it was amazing the spirit in the lesson as his family bore their testimony to him.  Unfortunately he is moving in two weeks.  Don't worry not all of our investigators are moving.  Our 94 year old investigator, who has been taught for quite a while now is starting to come to all three hours of church.  She has come for all three hours two weeks in a row.  Her fellowship has started to read the Book of Mormon with her too.  I believe they have read the first 22 pages so far and she is really enjoying it.  I really want to be here when she is baptized.  That would be really cool!

I went on exchanges with one of the elders in the district this week.  We had a great day!  Things seemed to work out perfectly.  In the morning we had plans to invite a couple potentials to the fall festival but we ran out of invitations so we had to change our plans.  Instead we went to help our 94 year old investigator change a porch light and we ended up meeting her neighbor who was talking to a member that lives across the street and we had a great conversation with them.  Later the non-member neighbor went inside while we were still talking with the member.  Then he came back out and offered to take us to lunch.  I wasn't really expecting that and I don't think a non-member has ever taken us out to lunch before.  We had a great visit with him and talked about his family and the church at lunch.  The next day he went to the Phoenix temple open house with the members across the street.  Hopefully we get to start teaching him soon.  

Later that day we also taught one of the flight students from England that lives in our apartment complex.  It was really cool because the elder I was on exchanges with is from England.  He said it was nice to hear an English accent again.  That night we only had enough time to go see one more person and we were about to go to another potential, but we felt we needed to go visit this flight student instead.  We had a great lesson with him and he was really gratefully that we came and taught him about the church.  He wants to go to the temple open house, but I don't know if they will be able to make it with their school schedule.

We were able to teach some members the Restoration this week.  I really love teaching that lesson.  I remember when I was in my first area being trained and we taught a lot of the members the Restoration.  It is amazing how powerful the spirit is when you teach about Joseph Smith and quote the first vision.  It's amazing!

This week is going to be amazing!  We have zone conference on Wednesday which I always look forward to.  On Friday for Halloween, they don't really want us outside at all.  Last year we just went to a members house and watched a movie as a zone, but this year we get to go to the Gilbert temple and spend the night there!  We are only able to do a session when we go once a transfer, but this time we might be able to do baptisms depending on how many temple workers are there.  We also have stake conference this next weekend.  I'm excited!

Things are going well and I love being a missionary!  Thank you for all of your prayers!  I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

 
One of the members e-mailed  this photo of Joshua and his companion at the ward Halloween party.  With this comment:  Elder Gandy is at our ward Halloween party tonight. He is an awesome missionary and a great example of a disciple of Christ!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 20, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great and busy week!  We had some great lessons this week and found a couple people to teach!  Some of them came to church and we have a couple of them wanting to be baptized.  Doesn't get much better than that!  

We found a family in the apartments in the ward and we were able to meet with them twice this week and they came to church.  We're not quite sure if they are going to stay there too long, but hopefully they will stay.  We were also able to meet with a family that we have been trying to work with for a while now.  The parents are inactive but the kids want to come to church.  We stopped by this week to teach them a lesson and we talked to the dad for a little bit.  He was telling us all about his mission and the different experiences he had.  It was great that we were able to talk to him and help him remember those experiences and miracles he saw on his mission.  He told us about how important prayer was on his mission.  It was cool to hear him basically bear his testimony.  After talking to the dad, we taught them the restoration and had pictures and showed the restoration video for the kids.  It turned out great!  The kids really want to come to church and the dad knows they need to start coming back.  

We also taught a lady who was taught by the missionaries about a year ago.  For one reason or another she stopped taking the lessons, but her fellowship still stayed in contact with her.  After many conversations with her fellowship this past year, she decided to take the lessons again and she committed to be baptized!  She has come to church the past two weeks with her kids and she is really prepared and ready.  When we had the lesson she was telling us about how she has been searching her entire life and feels that she has found it.  We have another lesson with her this week. 

So something happened this week that I never imagined would ever happen.  We had a lesson with L. last Monday.  We teach the lessons again after they are baptized to help them continue to learn, so we taught the restoration and we had a member of the ward come with us.  It was a good lesson and we ended with a prayer.  After we all stood up from our seats, L. said he had a question except it wasn't for us.  Then he turned to the sister in the ward that he has been dating and got on one knee and proposed!  They are getting married.  I never thought someone would propose after one of our lessons.  It was an interesting experience.  

We also had transfer meeting this week.  I'm glad that even when we don't get transferred we get together as a mission and basically have a small mission conference.  We also had a new missionary meeting for Elder Bartlett.  At the end of your first and second transfer you go to this meeting where the assistants give trainings.  So all the trainers go along.  More opportunities to learn!

We have another great week ahead of us.  Hopefully many lessons and both of our wards are having their fall festivals this week so hopefully we will get many people there! 

It has been a great week and I've learned a lot.  It's great to be a missionary!  I'm truly grateful that I have this opportunity.  Thanks for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13, 2014

Dear family,

Well last week was the last week of the transfer and we got transfer calls last night!  I'm staying again!  This will be my seventh transfer here and it will be about ten months in this area.  Usually when you train you stay together for two transfers so I'm not too surprised that I'm staying.  It is a great area and I have a great district so I'm glad that I get to stay!  This means I will also be here for the fall festivals the wards are having and thanksgiving next month.

So this week we saw Meet the Mormons!  It was great!  I really enjoyed it and the different stories that were told in it.  We gathered together as a couple of zones and watched it in a stake center.  As missionaries we are not allowed to go to the theater to see it of course.  We are actually not even allowed to be around the theaters that have it playing.  So I'm glad that we were able to see it.  We started talking to someone on the street this week after the movie came out and the member that lived across the street came over and joined the conversation.  The member brought up that he saw the movie and the non member mentioned that he saw a trailer and that he wanted to go and see it.  I heard of a couple other members who invited their friends to go see it and their friends wanted to go. It is so cool that people are wanting to see it.  It is a great movie to invite people to go and see.  As missionaries we can only invite investigators and less actives.  While it is in theaters we can talk about it on the street only if they ask us about it.  So we are hoping the members invite their friends and talk to people about it!

We started teaching another person this week!  He is the brother to one of the members in the ward.  He has a couple siblings that are members and he is wanting to learn.  I'm excited to teach him, but he is moving in a month so hopefully he will want to continue to meet with missionaries when he moves.  In the apartments that we live in there are a lot of people from all over the world that come to a flight school here.  It's kind of cool to be able to share the gospel with people from all over the place.  This week I was able to give a couple pamphlets out in Chinese.  That was pretty cool!

The Phoenix temple open house just started this week so that is another exciting thing happening.  We can go if we go with an investigator, so I'm not quite sure if we will be able to go.  We will be able to see the dedication in November so that is exciting! 

We were able to teach the restoration several times this week to multiple people and it is our unique message to the world and it is amazing!  It's great to know that we have prophets on the earth today and that this is the church of Jesus Christ.  It is a great blessing to have the fullness of the Gospel.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary.  I continue to learn so much each day. 

Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014

Dear family,

I got the package and thanks so much!  I love all of it!  We all had a good laugh at the birthday card.  It sounds like you had a great trip to southern California!  Thanks for all the pictures. 

It has been a great week here in the mission field.  Conference weekend is the best!  I just loved every minute of it.  I can't wait to get the Ensign to read and study the talks.  We didn't have any investigators come to the church to watch conference with us, but there was a less active family that came for one session.  We talked to one of the newly baptised members  afterwards.  He watched every session of general conference and he loved it!  It's amazing to see people get excited about the gospel.  Even though we didn't have any investigators watch it, we are still going to invite them to watch the talks online.  Technology is great!  We don't really have a good excuse to not watch conference, because we can watch it whenever we want. 

We got a couple new investigators this week.  We were able to teach a young couple who actually went to the temple open house with us.  We haven't been able to teach them until now.  We taught them a part of the restoration and they invited us to come over for dinner and a lesson this week.  We also had a lesson with a man that we talked to on the street earlier in the week.  We were able to teach him the restoration and he said we could come back next week.  Finding new investigators is one of the hardest parts of missionary work, but nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach. 

We also had interviews with President Nattress this week, which is always great!  I also was able to go on exchanges with one of the elders in the district this week too.  We also found out today that we will be watching the Meet the Mormons movie on Wednesday.  I'm super excited to see it!  I'm guessing you have heard about that movie and how it is coming out in theaters.

I don't know if we are going to do anything special today for my birthday, but we are having a lesson with a couple  tonight.  We are going to teach them about temples and help them to start preparing to go to the temple.  I think that is a great birthday present for me.  I can't think of anything greater than to teach this family about how they can go to the temple and be sealed together as an eternal family.  That is the thing I'm looking forward to the most today!  It's amazing the blessing of the temple and the peace and joy it brings into our lives.  I'm so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings of the temple.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!  I love you all so much!  Hope everything is going well and that you all have a fantastic week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 29, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week! One of our investigators was baptized on Saturday.  We chose the perfect time to have the baptism on Saturday.  Just about 15 minutes before the baptism it started to pour outside.  It was raining really hard.  People were getting soaked from running from their car into the church.  It caused a little bit of a delay, but everything worked out.  His daughter who is older and has a son came to the baptism.  She really liked it and the ward members made her feel welcome.  I think she is going to start taking the lessons soon.  She doesn't live in our area, but I'm excited to find out what happens. 

There were some great things that happened this week.  The part member family that we have been working with for a while now came to our mission choir concert on Thursday.  One of our new member's has a daughter who was in the primary program on Sunday.  The Crystal Shores ward had another activity.  It was a fiesta game night.  There were a couple of non-members and a couple of less active members there.  The ward missionaries are having a great time putting these parties together and they are having some great success.  I also went on exchanges with one of the elders in the district.  There is always something going on! 

We had the expanded zone conference this week.  It was great!  The focus of the message at the zone conference was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They really talked about a lot of different things, but that was the main message.  They also talked a lot about how to invite people and all the things to invite people too.

Now that we also teach lesson 5 in Preach My Gospel before baptism we have a couple more lessons than usual.  One of the things we teach in lesson 5 is about the temple and how families can be eternal.  It was really neat to teach him about that because in the church he use to go to, they didn't believe that at all.  Some people believe they will be with their families in heaven, but they didn't.  I thought about that later and how awesome it is to teach people that their family can be together forever.  We read this part of The Family: A Proclamation to the Worldwith him “The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.”  I'm so grateful that we know that and the great happiness that it brings.  In missionary work we should always remember to strengthen families.  Pres. Nattress has said that we find to teach, teach to baptize, and baptize to seal.  That should be our vision for everyone that we teach.  I was also reading Elder Scott's talk this last general conference.  In it he said, "Remember that the conversion of individuals is only part of the work. Always seek to strengthen families. Teach with a vision of the importance of families being sealed in the temple....When you have the vision of the sealing ordinances of the temple, you will help build the kingdom of God on earth."

I'm super excited for general conference!  I have been really excited for several weeks and it is finally almost here!  Hopefully we will get some people to come watch it with us.

Thank you for all of your prayers!  I love you all so much!  Hope you all have another great week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy