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Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014

Dear family,

It sounds like a really fun trip in California!  It's cool that you have pictures to remember that wave.  Hope you have a fun time in Disneyland!  

The common ancestor that I have with one of our investigators is on Grandma Partna's line.  It is actually a little ways back, but their last name is Herr.  John Neff (senior, I believe) married a Herr.   The ancestor we definitely have in common is Bishop Hans Herr.  They actually showed me a picture in their home of his house in Pennsylvania. We went over for a lesson and we ended up talking about family history and why we do it. I'm not quite sure when or if they will join the church (missionaries have been working with them for a long time), but they have been coming to church the past couple of weeks in row.  Hopefully they keep coming.  They also have great fellowships and they absolutely love all of the members.  

We also had a potential investigator come to church on Sunday.  She lives in the same apartments as us and some of the other missionaries helped her move some furniture.  We ended up going by and invited her to church.  Most potentials usually don't just show up at church, but she just walked in and the relief society president invited her to sit with them.  It was really lucky that she met the relief society president because it was a missionary farewell and there were a lot of visitors.  She really liked church and she wants to come back!  She also wants to learn about the temple. 

We also had another neat experience this week.  Last Monday evening we had an appointment with a member family and before that we stopped by all the people we had planned to visit.  We had about ten minutes before our appointment and I couldn't think of anyone close by that we could stop by.  We decided to ride around the neighborhood to see if there was anyone to talk to.  As we rode our bikes down the street we saw a man standing outside on the curb.  We talked to him and found out his A/C is broken.  We also taught him a little bit about the restoration and the Book of Mormon.  When we were about to leave he said "I know there was a reason I walked outside."  We haven't been able to teach him yet, but it's really cool to see how we can be led to them and they can be led to us.

L. is being baptized this week on Saturday.  I feel like teaching him has gone really fast.  I guess it was only three weeks ago that we started teaching him.  Usually it doesn't happen that fast.  He is a quieter guy, but he is really nice.  We also went to young mens this week and talked to the priests about missions.  There were a couple of recently returned missionaries and us and we had a question and answer session.  It was a lot of fun.  We also got a new bishop in the Crystal Shores ward.  After being here for so long I really almost feel like a part of the ward.  It will be fun to get to know and work with the new bishop! 

We did some service this week for an older lady.  We met this lady at the ice cream social that the ward had a several weeks ago.  She went over to the neighbor that invited her to the ice cream social and asked them if we could come help her plant her garden.  So we helped plant a garden this week and helped her with a couple other things.  Hopefully none of the plants die, because I was not quite sure what I was doing.  They should be good though.  She is not interested in the church, but it was a great chance to do service.

We have another expanded zone conference this week!  I believe I told you about the last couple that we have had.  It's the zone conference for members and missionaries.  I really hope a lot of members come because they really are great!  They are fun and interactive and you learn so much.  The area seventy for this area is also coming and speaking at the zone conference.  I was also asked to be in a musical number for it so that should be fun.

It's great to be a missionary!  I would not want to be doing anything else right now.  I'm grateful every day for this opportunity to be here.  It is amazing the joy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to our lives.  I know that this is Christ's church.  Thank you for all the prayers and all that you do for me.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

A member in Joshua's area took this candid photo of him and his companion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 15, 2014

Dear family,

Well it has been another fantastic week as a missionary.  We are still working with L.  and he wants to be baptized on the 27th.  We actually met with him a couple times this week.  He is doing great and loves to learn.  We taught him some of the commandments this week and he is already living them.  It's not very often when your investigator doesn't drink coffee or tea or something like that.  

There is member in our ward who was baptized about 2 or 3 years ago and she usually has a "missionary dinner" at her house every month.  She invites the family that fellowshipped her and there are usually a couple of non members that she invites.  We went over for dinner this week and she invited our 94 year old investigator and her daughter.  It was a great dinner and we were able to teach the restoration at the end.  Earlier in the week we went to a family history training for Elder Bartlett (They train all the missionaries in family history so that if we need to we can help someone get started) and I had a few minutes to look at familysearch while they did the training.  While I was looking I found out that we are possibly related to two of our investigators.  They mentioned their ancestors once before in one of our visits and it just matched up perfectly.  Of course it is probably 7 or 8 generations back, but I decided to mention that to them at the dinner.  They actually got quite excited and said they would have to find out if it's the same people.  It was the same name, place, and story so there is a good chance it's the same person. 

J. who was baptized at the beginning of August, received the priesthood on Sunday.  His fellowship did the ordination and we could tell it was really special for both of them.  We visited with J. earlier this week and taught him about the priesthood and he could tell how special it really is.  He is also really excited to go home teaching.  He is super friendly man and loves to serve others.  We also stopped to see him another time this week and he just happened to have a childhood friend over.  We were able to teach his friend about the restoration and answer a few of his questions.  His friend wasn't interested right now, but it was a great opportunity for this new convert to do missionary work and talk about the church with his friend.

There were some other exciting things that happened this week, like random non members coming to church.  It is always exciting when that happens.  We also found out that one of our wards is getting a new bishop next week.  Bishop Anderson has been an amazing bishop and is a great example of a loving priesthood leader.  The Val Vista stake and these wards have amazing leaders and I'm grateful that I am able to work with all of them.  I'm excited to find out who the new bishop will be.

I didn't realize how much it actually rained last Monday when I was emailing, but there are still parks full of water.  I took a few pictures of one park in our area that probably had 7 or 8 feet of water in some areas.  It was pretty cool.

I'm excited for this next week!  I'm sure we will see many miracles!  It's great to be a missionary!  I've learned so much and my testimony grows every day.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

This is what all the rain did to one of the large parks in our area.

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8, 2014

Dear family,

It has been an eventful and exciting week!  First, we had transfers!  My new companion is Elder Bartlett.  He is from Saratoga Springs, Utah.  That will be my fourth companion from Utah.  There are a lot of missionaries from Utah.  He just graduated this year and something interesting about him is that he likes to ballroom dance.  I guess he did competitions and stuff like that.  He is really excited to be here and get to work!  He is not shy and is very out going. 

We started teaching a new investigator this week.  We first met him at the ice cream social that the ward did.   He requested to take the missionary lessons so we set up our first appointment early this week.  We ended up meeting with him three times this week!  After each lesson he tells us thank you for coming and says that he is excited to learn more.  He is wanting to move into the ward really soon.  Unfortunately if it's going to be a while till he moves, we are going to give him to the missionaries in his area so they can baptize him there.  We are hoping to find out this week if he is going to be moving or not.  The ward mission is really excited since the week before the ward mission leader was telling everyone that he felt there was someone ready right now.  They are also excited to see something happen from the social they put together.  Not surprising at all, they are planning another activity at the end of the month.

We met with J. a couple times this week.  We had a great lesson with him before Elder Jewkes was transferred.  We read Alma 36 where Alma the younger tells his conversion and how he repented.  He really enjoyed reading it with us.  It's great to still see him grow in the Gospel.  He is looking for a job right now, but it's amazing how much faith he has that Heavenly Father loves him and he knows everything will be okay.

We also had dinner at a non members this week.  A couple weeks ago part of our district helped someone move from one apartment in our apartment complex to another apartment.  They wanted to make us dinner to thank us for helping.  We had a great dinner and we were able to share a message with them.  We weren't able to set up another lesson, but we invited them to our mission choir concert on Thursday.  We hope to see them there!

Overall it's been a great week with teaching and finding some new potentials.  I'm trying to get into training mode.  I realized it has been a while since I trained last or even served around a new missionary.  I'm really excited though, and I remember how much I learned the last time I trained.  I'm probably going to learn just as much this time too.  I'm grateful for all that I've learned on my mission, especially what I've learned about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know it's true.  I believe I told you about the mission website arizonagilbertmission.com.  They had all the missionaries write their testimonies and they are putting it on the website.  I don't know how many are on the website yet, but it would be great to check out! 

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

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S. So it rained a lot here last night.  It has been a while since it has rained that much.  It's kind of cool because a lot of parking lots and parks are flooded now.  On the way to email we saw some kids swimming in a lake that use to be a park.  As soon as the sun comes out it should dry pretty fast. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 1, 2014

Dear family,

I haven't heard about transfers yet so I'm hoping I hear about it before I'm done emailing.  It has been another great week with a lot of exciting things going on.  We met with a couple of part member families this week.  One of them accepted the commitment to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  They said we could follow up with them this week.  The other family just moved in and they have been meeting with missionaries on and off for the past sixteen years.  That is a long time, but hopeful we can help them accept the gospel.  They were telling us all about all the different missionaries they have had.  It was interesting.  We got a referral from that ice cream party I told you about last week.  A member in the ward is dating a non member and inviting him to the party.  He came to church last week and this week.  We found out that he wants to learn more so we are going to meet with him on Tuesday!  

This week we were able to talk to more people on the street than usual.  I don't know if just more people were outside or what, but it was really great!  We saw some great miracles this week!  We found a couple of potentials and were able to teach one person about the restoration on the street.  It is always great when you have a lot of people to talk to and invite them to come unto Christ.  

I ended up singing in sacrament meeting yesterday in one of our wards.  When I sang at Jamie's baptism a couple of people in the ward decided to tell the music chair or whoever assigns musical numbers, so I was asked a couple weeks ago.  I ended up singing Lord, I Would Follow Thee.  They found me an arrangement that was really nice.  We also had our first mission choir concert.  It went pretty well for the first one and it ran quite smoothly.  We had a full chapel of people there so it was a good turn out.  Hopefully we have more people there next week!  This week I was also asked to do a solo or put together a group number for transfer meeting.  I decided to do a group number instead of doing a solo.  I had hard time deciding what song the group should sing, but I think I learned a little bit about revelation this week from that experience.  We really have to be willing to do whatever Heavenly Father needs us to do.

We taught R about the priesthood and we had a great lesson.  He wants to bless the sacrament in one of the coming weeks.  His experience with the priesthood was a big part of his conversion starting with the priesthood blessing he and his family got around the time that their baby was born prematurely.  He had already learned a lot about the priesthood, but it was neat to talk about the duties we have as priesthood holders.

This week I also went on exchanges with one of the elders in my district and with the zone leaders.  It has been a busy and exciting week!  It is amazing all the blessings we receive from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is truly for everyone!  What a great blessing to have it in our lives.  I know it's true.

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

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S.  I found out about transfers!  I am staying and Elder Jewkes is leaving.  I also found out that I am training a new missionary!  I'm so excited!  I have been in this area a long time and I get to stay for at least another transfer!  I was not really expecting to stay but it's going to be great!

I'll let you know about my new companion next week!