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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