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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 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!  


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!


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!


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!

Elder Joshua Gandy

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