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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 26, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great week here!  B was baptized this week!  That is probably the most exciting news from this past week.  We taught him several times this week and finished all of the lessons.  The baptism went really well and everything ran smoothly.  There was a great turn out from the ward and we had the baptismal service in the chapel.  His parents, his aunt and uncle, and a family friend came.  He was telling us earlier in the week that his parents were not happy with his decision, but would support him.  It was amazing what happened at the baptism.   His family sat right behind him in the second row.   The incredible part was that afterwards when he hugged his dad, his dad was crying.  Sometime during the baptism his father felt the spirit.  It's amazing how the spirit can soften hearts.  After the baptism, we could tell his family was very proud of him and happy with the decision he made.  They ended up staying for refreshments and talking to several of the members there.  It was an amazing baptism and he received the priesthood the next day in church.  I'm hoping that his family will have interest and start coming to church.

We had a couple lessons with A this week.  He also came to B's baptism and really enjoyed it.  He is still trying to figure out what day he is going to be baptized.  He wants a specific person to baptize him so they are trying to figure that out.  It will definitely be in February and hopefully before Elder Rich goes home.  He is super prepared and ready to be baptized.  He has been coming  to church for so long.  We taught the word of wisdom and he said he is already keeping it.  We also taught him about praying often and studying the scriptures daily, and he is already doing that.  We have a lesson with him tomorrow and we will find out the day for his baptism.  

We also taught the over age youth, and she is doing great.  We have been teaching her several of the commandments.  It's always fun to teach someone young and teach everything simple.  It's also fun to use pictures and things like that.  The grandfather is an active member of the church and is going to come into town to do the baptism.  They are also not sure what day will work for them.  They said it will probably be close to the end of February.  

We haven't been able to contact our other investigator.  Her friend that first introduced her to the missionaries has been able to talk to her about it.  She still wants to be baptized and knows it is special, but has started school and is working a lot.  We are still praying for her.

Yesterday we participated in a small fireside that one of our stakes put together.  They had the missionaries put together a musical number.  We helped rake leaves for a single sister in one of our wards.  We had a choir practice for the mission choir.  They stopped doing it around Christmas time for several reasons.  It was a great chance to take investigators to the Mesa temple Christmas lights instead.  They started it up again, and we will have a choir concert once a month at the church right next to the Gilbert temple.

It's great to be a missionary!  I learn so much every day.  It's amazing to see the gospel of Jesus Christ change our brothers and sisters lives.  It's amazing all the small tender mercies that we see every single day (1 Nephi 1:20).  Our Heavenly Father is aware of us and knows everything about us and He wants us to be happy.  It's amazing to see His hand in our lives.  Thanks for all of your prayers and all that you do for me.  I love you all so much!

Hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy




Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 18, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week!  It has been a busy week with many different activities this week like zone conference.  

Our investigators are doing very well.  B. is ready and excited to be baptized on Saturday.  We have a couple more lessons to teach him and he will be all ready.  He has made quite of few friends in the ward so we are expecting quite a few youth from the ward to be there at his baptism.  This ward hasn't had a baptism for quite a while so we are hoping that many of the adults come to.  This ward has a lot of youth so even if just the youth came there would be a lot of people there.  We are also hoping that his parents will come.  They are not very supportive, but said they might come.  

Our investigator in the singles ward is doing great.  He said he wants to be baptized, but just doesn't know when.  We invited him to be baptized on February 14th, but that weekend might not work for him.  It will probably be the week before or after.  He has been to church for several months and he says he already feels like a member.  

The over age youth that we have been teaching, came to church for the second time in a row.  They even came early! We had a lesson with them this week and they are doing great.  They are really trying to pray every night and read their scriptures.  There is a family just a couple doors down that started to fellowship them recently and they have helped a lot helping them come to church.  She is currently on date for January 31st, but that might change to a later week.  

One of our other investigators is still not wanting to meet with us right now, but many members in the ward are praying for her and reaching out to her.  She wants to be baptized, but wants to wait and doesn't want to meet with us right now.  We hope to have a lesson with her this week.  

We had a great zone conference this week!  Pres. Nattress focused on the words ask, seek, and knock as it says many times in the scriptures.  He talked about the importance of prayer and relying to the spirit to know where to go and who we need to go by.  We also talked about literally knocking on doors.  We don't tract a lot in this mission, but they committed us to knock on ten doors a day.  That is not very many doors, but it adds up.  We talked about a lot of other things along with that.  It was a great zone conference!

This week we were asked to help with a combined young mens and young women's activity on Wednesday.  For the activity they were writing their testimonies in the cover of a Book of Mormon and writing letters to missionaries in their ward.  They asked us to come and teach them how to give a Book of Mormon to someone and to talk about the importance of writing to missionaries.  It was a lot of fun to interact with the youth in the ward.  One of the best ways to prepare to leave on a mission is to become a missionary before you leave.  

It has been a great week and I'm sure this week will be another amazing week.  It is just great to be a missionary.  I'm so grateful for this chance to serve our Heavenly Father.  I know this is Christ's church and that we have a prophet on the earth today.  I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  Our mission started another Book of Mormon read.  We are going to read it in three months.  It is amazing the spirit that comes into our lives as we read from the Book of Mormon.   Thank you for all of your prayers and all that you do for me!  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy 

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2014

Dear family,

It has been another great week here in Gilbert!  We had transfers this week and we have quite a few new missionaries in the zone.  It will be fun getting to know them and serving with them. 

There were some exciting things that happened in our area this week.  One of our investigators is still on date to be baptized on the 24th.  We were able to have a couple lessons with him this week.  He and his fellowship have been telling everyone about his baptism.  They also announced it in the ward on Sunday.  He is really excited to be baptized.  He has an interesting situation and so he will be baptized in our ward instead of the ward his parents live in.  It will be the first baptism in this ward in a long time.

Another investigator is still on date to be baptized on February 7th.  She still has some concerns about not knowing enough before her baptism, but most investigators have that concern.  She is still doing well.  We were also able to invite an over age youth to be baptized this week. She is almost nine and her mom is less active and her dad is not a member.  The missionaries have been teaching her for a while, but she hasn't been baptized because they haven't come to church.  We invited her to be baptized on January 31st and invited them to church.  They came to church for the first time yesterday!  She will be turning nine a couple days before her baptism so she will technically be a convert.  

We were also able to meet with a new investigator in our singles ward.  He has been coming to church with his girlfriend for about ten months now.  We accidentally pocket dialed him earlier this week and he called us back.  When we answered the phone we were a little surprised not knowing that we called him, but we ended up setting up a lesson with him.  We had a lesson with him and invited him to be baptized in February and he said he would pray about it.  He said he was actually thinking about be baptized and was glad when he saw that we called him.  We have another lesson with him on Wednesday.  If everything works well with all of these investigators we will have quite a few baptisms this transfer!

We had a zone meeting this week and we also had our transfer meeting.  In both of those meetings we read over our call letters and talked about the prophetic promises in them.  It's amazing the blessings that come as we serve our Heavenly Father and become instruments in His hands.  If you get the chance, I would recommend reading a call letter.  It truly is an incredible opportunity to be a missionary and to be a representative of Jesus Christ.  Pres. Nattress also received a letter from the presidency of the Seventy asking us to work with the ward council to teach over age youth (or children 9 and older who have not be baptized.)  We also talked about that in both meetings this week.  Elder Rich and I get to talk to the stake presidents in our zone and this week we were able to meet with Pres. Lines in the Val Vista stake.  We were telling him about the things Pres. Nattress trained us on and he jokingly said he was going to have everyone wait for their kids to turn 9 to baptize them to have more convert baptisms.  He added that he doesn't think that would go over too well.  It's a great blessing to work with all of the leadership in these stakes and wards.  We learn a lot from them.

This week we met our newest convert and a member in the ward helped her start her family history.  She was able to prepare to take her father's and mother's name to the temple.  We won't be going to the temple with her this week, but most likely the following week.  Elder Rich had a recent convert go through the temple to receive their endowments and since Elder Rich was able to go with him and I obviously had to tag along.  It truly doesn't stop at baptism.  Baptism is the first covenant we make, but it is not the last.  After they're baptized the next step is getting them to the temple. 

There were some other things that happened this week.  We helped a less active/recent convert take down their Christmas tree and Christmas lights.  We had a lesson with another less active member about prayer.  We took one of our investigators to a devotional on Sunday.  There was also a representative from Salt Lake that came to talk to the Highland West stake about what they have been doing in family history.  I guess they have been doing really well as a stake doing their family history.  He came and spoke in our ward on Sunday.  There are many blessing that come as we do family history.

Thank you for all that you do for me and all your prayers.  I'm grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary.  It has blessed me is so many ways.  I know this is Christ's church on the earth.  I know He is our Savior.  I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S. It's good to hear about the audition for BYU.  It will be exciting to see what happens.   (Note from Gayleen:  Joshua received word from BYU this week that he made it through the first stage of the selection process for the vocal performance program for fall semester.  He prepared an audition video before his mission and it will be used again during the second stage of the auditions.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January 5, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another incredible and crazy week!  Just to let you know, we moved to a new apartment in the same apartment complex this week.  The lease in our apartment was ending, but the church had another apartment that was vacant so they decided to have us move to that one and close the other apartment.  We knew we were going to move at some point, but last Monday the housing coordinators called us and said we had to be out by Saturday.  We had mini missionaries for the beginning of the week so we decided to not start until they went home.  So we did a lot of cleaning and moving this week along with all the missionary work.  I have lived in three different apartments in the same complex.  Also we have transfers this next week and I'm staying with Elder Rich.  It is going to be his last transfer.

We had an incredible experience with the mini missionaries this week.  They stayed with us until Tuesday evening and it ended with a testimony meeting.  It was amazing to see them grow and have their testimonies strengthened in just the few days we were with them.  We seemed to see a lot of miracles with them.  One day we went to a park in our area and street contacted with them.   I went with one of the mini missionaries and Elder Rich went with the other.  Usually we don't find too much success in finding people at this park, but there are always people to talk to there.  We thought it would be a great experience for them.  It started really rough and people didn't even stop for us.  As we were walking back to where we were going to meet the other missionaries I saw someone over by the lake fishing, and I felt we needed to talk to him.  Talking to fisherman is always the best because they can't walk away from you.  We were able to briefly teach him about the restoration and give him a Book of Mormon.  He seemed genuinely interested and wanted to learn more.  He doesn't live in our area (not even our mission) and he didn't want missionaries to come by right now, but I feel we were able to teach him and help him feel the spirit.   We also stopped by one of the mini missionaries non-member friends.  They were not interested, but they were very nice.  We had a short lesson with them and they told us about how much they liked the church and told us that we could stop by the mother's sister.  So we didn't start teaching them, but we got a referral. While they were with us we were also able to put two people on date to be baptized.  It was just awesome to have them with us. 

One of our investigators was baptized on Saturday!  The baptism went very well.  The most exciting part was her non member husband came to the baptism and her confirmation at church the next day.  We were not sure how supportive he was of her decision and we didn't know if he would come.  He was surprised to see how many people were there to support his wife.  I think he felt the spirit and his heart was softened.  We hope that he will want to sit in on the new member lessons.  We had a lesson with another investigator this week and she is set on being baptized on February 7th.  I think she is excited for it.  We also had two lessons with another investigator this week.  We invited him to be baptized and he had some concerns about what his family will think.  Later on in the week his fellowship texted us and told us that he decided to be baptized and that he was going to talk to his family.  We had a lesson with him yesterday and his parents are not excited about it, but are supportive.  He also seems really excited with his decision.  He doesn't live in our ward so we will try to transition him to his home ward. 

New Years Eve was a normal day for the most part.  We had a short zone activity after dinner and everyone had to be in at 8:00.  Other than that it was a normal day.  We had a meeting with President Nattress a couple days before and he read to us Luke 2:52.  It is the only scripture in the scriptures (that he can think of) that talks about Jesus' growth.  He told us that his family would make goals every year for all four of those things mentioned in that scripture:  wisdom, stature, favour with man, and favour with God.  So that is something to think about when setting goals for this new year. 

It is amazing to be a missionary.  I'm very grateful for this opportunity to be here and to do this.  Every time we have a lesson it is reminds me of how exciting it is do be apart of missionary work.  This truly is the Lord's work and he will help us every step of the way.  I'm grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know it's true.  It has blessed me in more ways than I know.  Thank you for all of your prayers and all that you do for me.  I love you all so much! 

Have another wonderful week!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy

P.S. Daniel, what are some things that are working well in the singles ward?  Is the missionary work going well in your ward?