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!
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.)