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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