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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 23, 2015

Dear family,

It has been an exciting week here in Gilbert!  Transfers were this week and my new companion is Elder Anderson from Ogden, Utah.  He has been out a little over a year.  I have had a lot of companions from Utah.  He went to Utah State before his mission and he is a big snowboarder.  I'm really excited to work with him.  We are going to see a lot of great things happen!

I've had a lot of great experiences this week.  It started with the baptism on Monday.  It was a little crazy because we were trying to get everything ready for Elder Rich to leave and get ready for the baptism.  Elder Rich literally had to leave right after he performed the baptism.  There was a priest in one of our wards that took him to the mission home while I stayed for the rest of the baptism.  The last time I saw him was when he was in the baptismal font.  It was a little crazy.  The baptism went really well though.  We taught the restoration while we were waiting for him to change.  We showed part of the restoration video.  The adversary knows that the first vision is the most powerful part of that lesson.  As soon as it was playing the part of the first vision on the video a thing popped up on the screen and someone's phone went off.  It's amazing all the distractions that can happen.  After the video I decided to re-teach the first vision without distractions and it definitely is powerful when you quote the first vision.  

It was interesting not having a companion for a day.  I ended up going with another missionary in the zone and we had a great day.  Monday evening we got a call from a missionary that returned from his missionary that morning.  He called us and told us to let him know if he could do anything for us.  I knew we had a couple lessons set up for the next day, so we invited him to come to those lessons with us.  We had some great lessons that night with him and the missionary I was with.  We were able to teach the over-age youth about missionary work and invited her to invite friends to her baptism.  We were also able to teach a less active family and invite them to come to church.  The spirit was definitely there in both of those lessons.  This returned missionary also took us to meet one of his friends.  It was cool to see this returned missionary still so excited to go do missionary work.  

On Wednesday we had transfer meeting and were trained by Pres. Nattress.  It is always a great training.  He is still focusing on these three works: Ask, Seek and Knock.  There are many different scriptures that talk about asking, seeking and knocking.  It is mentioned in the scripture about 120 times.

We were able to participate in a combined young mens and young womens activity for one of wards.  They invited all the missionaries in the stake (which is three companionships) to come teach the youth how to teach the restoration.  They learned how to teach this week and in a couple weeks they will go teach other families in the ward.  The youth seem so much more prepared than I was to go on a mission.  We were able to do role plays with them and show them how we teach.  It was a great experience.  

We also had a lesson with another investigator.  I have actually never taught him before.  The first time we taught him I was on exchanges, so I wasn't there.  He has expressed interest in being baptized and he has actually read the Book of Mormon a couple times.  As we taught about the Book of Mormon he said he knew he needed to start reading it again.  We invited him to start this week.  We have another lesson with him this week.  We had a lesson set up with a part member family that just moved in and is about to have a baby, but it ended up canceling.  He hope to meet with them soon.  There are some members that are also going to reach out to them and start fellowshipping them.  

We had a great lesson on Sunday.  Sunday started out being kind of a long day.  We got up early to go to a meeting at 7 and we had a busy morning trying to figure out another youth activity that some of the other missionaries put together.  It ended up being a little stressful.  We also had a lesson that evening with a member's friend that didn't go as well as we hoped.  Then we had one more appointment that evening with a less active member.  We have had many lessons with him and he just struggles to find his testimony.  It had been a long day and I didn't give much thought to what to teach him, but I felt we needed to teach him about the Holy Ghost.  We shared several scriptures about the role of the Holy Ghost and how we can recognize the Holy Ghost.  I don't remember what we asked him, but we were able to help him recognize an experience where he felt the spirit.   It was just earlier that day at church while he was listening to one of the talks in sacrament meeting.  Someone had talked about how spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers.  He told us how he felt when he heard that in church.  The spirit was very strong at the lesson.  I feel he now knows the role that the Holy Ghost plays in his conversion.  As it says in Moroni 10:5, it is by the Holy Ghost that we can know the truth of all things.  It was one of those experiences where I felt guided by the spirit to know what to say and what to teach.  I don't know for sure, but I think it was exactly what he needed to hear.  It was a long day with several different challenges, but I'm glad I continued to keep going and not give up.  I remember Pres. Porter (well I guess he is not president any more) always would teach us in seminary when things are hard there are blessing right around the corner waiting for us.

Feeling and recognizing the Holy Ghost is an essential part in gaining a testimony.  In Preach My Gospel there is this quote "Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke of the power of the Spirit: “True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals … feel the Spirit working with them, or when they see the evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word. This is how we come to feel the gospel is true” (“Now Is the Time,”  Ensign, Nov. 2000, 75)."  It's amazing how we can all know the truth of the gospel for ourselves.  I know this is the Christ's church on the earth.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.  I'm so grateful to be a missionary.  

Well this seems to be a little bit of a longer email.  I can't promise it will happen again.  I guess it makes up for the shorter email last week.  Thank you again for all of your prayers!  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 16, 2015



Dear family,

It has been another great week!  I'm sorry if this letter ends up being a little shorter.  Elder Rich is reporting to the mission office today, so there was a lot of packing and getting things done today.  I am staying in the area and I will find out on Wednesday who my new companion will be.  That also means that from this evening until Wednesday morning I will not really have a companion.  Tonight I will be with another missionary whose companion also reported to the mission office today and tomorrow I will most likely be in a trio with another companionship in the zone.  It will be fun!  

We have a baptism tonight!  Before baptisms I am always a little nervous just hoping everything is taken care of.  It is always nice when baptisms run smoothly.  We had a lesson with the over age youth this week.  They are doing well and are starting to plan her baptism.  We have another lesson with them this week.  We also had a great lesson with a recent convert that is being transitioned into the YSA ward.  He was baptized just a couple weeks ago in a family ward and will have the new member lessons in our singles ward.  He is an awesome convert and I'm excited to be able to teach him.  He is still excited to learn more about the gospel. We had a great lesson with him this week and we taught the restoration.  He will be receiving the priesthood and going to the temple soon.  

We set up a lesson with that part member family that I told you about.  When we went back to set up a lesson they were already thinking about a time that would work for them.  We are going to meet with them this week.  I'll let you know how it goes.  

I'm excited for this next week with transfers and the appointments that we already have set up.  We are also going to teach the youth in one of our wards this Wednesday for their combined youth activity.  We are going to teach them how to teach the restoration and then in a couple weeks they will go teach it to members in the ward.  It is always fun to work with the youth.  This week a youth invited two of his non member friends to dinner the same time they invited us over for dinner.  At the end we were able to share a message and invite his friends to read the Book of Mormon.  

Sorry I have to go set up for the baptism right now.  I'm so grateful for this chance to be a missionary.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ!  The blessings of the gospel are truly amazing.  I know this is Christ's church.  Thank you for all of your prayers. I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy  

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great week here in Arizona!  It seems like a lot has happened this week!  Hopefully I can remember everything. 

First, we were able to go to the temple with B. to do baptisms for the dead.  There was a group of about ten youth that went with him for his first time.  We were not able to stay the entire time, so we were not able to talk to him afterwards.  It sounds like he had a great experience.  Before we went to the temple we tried to find him a family name to take.  We had some difficulty with getting information about his relatives, so we were not able to find one, but the next time he goes he should be able to take some of his own family names.  

One of our investigators is going to be baptized next Monday.  It will be kind of strange to have a baptism on Monday, but I guess it will work.  That will be Elder Rich's last day, so it will probably be a busy day.  This week we were able to teach him about the priesthood and missionary work.  I'm glad that we teach that before his baptism, so that soon after he can receive the priesthood and go to the temple.  We're excited for him!  

We had a lesson with the over age youth this week and they decided on March 21st for her to be baptized.  Usually we try to do it sooner, but it is what works best for their family.  They are wanting family to come in town for the baptism.  Her grandfather  is coming to baptize her.  We were able to start teaching a less active part member family this week.  The father who is not a member has had a desire to be baptized, but hasn't been able to meet with us because of his work schedule. We are excited to start teaching them more.

We had a miracle this week that helps me know that we are being led to those that are prepared to receive the gospel.  We were visiting a member to follow up on one of their friends that we taught.  As we left we asked if there was anyone that they knew that we could do service for or that we could teach.  They jokingly pointed to one of their neighbors that they did not know.  I don't think they really thought we would go over there, but we did.  As we approached the door a older couple came out of the door and told us that they were busy right now.  The door was open and we could see that someone was still by the door.  The older couple left and we decided to talk to whoever was by the door.  There was a young couple that came to the door.  As we talked to them we found out that the husband is a less active member and the wife is not a member.  They recently moved in and nobody in the ward knew them yet.  They are also going to have a baby soon. The wife said they wanted to have their baby blessed, and asked if we could come and tell her more about how that works.  We hope to start teaching them soon!  The adversary might try to tell us not to reach out like the older couple did, but as we continue in faith we can see miracles.  I'm sure there are a lot of lessons to learn from this experience. 

We had several other great things happen this week.  We had our monthly meeting with the Val Vista stake presidency.  I always enjoy interacting and working with these great church leaders.  They are great examples to me.  I was also able to go on exchanges with a couple of elders in our zone.  I went on exchanges with Elder Bartlett and we went to my old area.  It was kind of strange.  We had a missionary coordination meeting that night and it was great to hear about some of the investigators and how they are doing.  During that exchange I was able to see a couple that we taught who have received a calling in the ward.  They teach the 9 and 10 year olds in primary.  I was really exciting to hear about that.  I also heard that another person I taught is going on a scout trip this summer with his step son.  We also had a lesson with M. and she has had some great experiences with feeling the spirit.  A lot of great things have happened this week.

I'm grateful to be a missionary.  In Pres. Nattress' weekly letter that he sends he mentioned the promise in the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 18: 14-15.  Being a missionary does bring us great joy.  It's amazing to see the gospel of Jesus Christ bless the lives of those around us.  I know this is Christ's church on the earth today and that we have the fullness of the gospel.  Thank you for all that you do for me.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much! 

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 2, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great week here in the mission field!  It has been busy with several different things.  We had a MLC (mission leadership council) this week on Thursday.  It was an awesome meeting.  I always enjoy having the opportunity to be trained by Pres. Nattress.  Pres. Nattress taught something that was original taught by Elder Oaks.  It was the idea about the difference between a river that is a mile long and a river that is eighty feet wide.  The mile wide river looks like it is barely moving while the eighty foot wide river is raging and moving very fast.  Both rivers have the same volume of water, but are very different.  The eighty foot wide river is focused and gets things moving while the mile wide river is spread out and moves slowly.  We talked about the comparison and compared that to two different kinds of missionaries.  I hope that makes sense.

Our investigator, A. is doing great!  He decided he wanted to be baptized on Monday February 16th.  Monday is an unusual day to be baptized.  He wanted his mother to be there and she is coming in town on the 15th.  He also wanted to do it before Elder Rich goes home which will be on the 17th.  Elder Rich tried to tell him that it was okay if he wasn't there, but A. didn't take that for an answer.  It might be a little different, but we will figure something out.  We are almost done teaching him all the lessons and he is ready to be baptized!  He already knows a lot about the church since he has been coming to church for so long.  

We were not able to teach the over age youth, this week. They had family coming into town for the super bowl, and they didn't make it to church.  We haven't been able to schedule a specific date for the baptism, but we have a lesson with them this week.   

We got a random call this week from an older man in Tempe.  He called asking us if we had a baptism on February 7th for a person we had been teaching.  It turns out this man's wife was in the hospital for a couple days and our investigator was her nurse.  I guess she told them about her baptism and they said they wanted to come.  This was before she decided to take a break from meeting with us.

We also have some great potentials in our area!  We have a lesson set up with a former investigator.  He met with the missionaries before and then he got a new job with crazy work hours.  He stopped meeting with the missionaries because he almost never had time to meet or come to church.  He just got a new job with great hours and he wants to meet again.  Before when he was meeting with the missionaries he wanted to be baptized so we are excited to teach him.  

We also have a recent convert in one of our wards that invited their friend to church.  We were able to go over to their house after church and have a lesson with their friend.  We had a great lesson, unfortunately their friend doesn't live in our area.  It's great to see members inviting their friends to church! 

Yesterday, we had dinner with a family in one of our wards.  Close to the end of dinner, a couple of sisters in the ward knocked on the door to see if this sister wanted to join them on their walk.  They saw us around the dinner table and came at talked to us for a second.  One of the sisters looked at my name tag and said "I had a teacher in elementary school with the last name Gandy."  I asked her where and she responded by saying "In Salt Lake,"  assuming that I wouldn't know who it was.  I asked her if she went to Jackling elementary and she said yes.  It turns out that she was in Dad's class when she was in 6th grade around thirty years ago.  She also said a couple of her siblings had dad as a teacher.  She said dad was always smiling and she said she thought was weird in elementary school.  It's interesting whenever I meet someone that knew Dad (which has only happened twice, by the way) they always say I smile like him.  It was another strange connection with another person.

Our mission also had another choir concert this week.  It went very well and one of the missionaries in the mission is a great bag pipe player and he played a couple of songs.  We are going to have a choir performance once a month on the fourth Thursday of the month.  Pres. Nattress talked to me after and said that he is requesting that I sing at the next one.  I'm going to need to start practicing! 

We have plans to go to the temple this week with one of our recent converts to do baptisms for the dead.  We are going on Thursday in the late afternoon.  We got him started on family history this week and we hope to find him a family name before he goes.

It's amazing all the things that we learn throughout our lives.  It's awesome to be a part of helping other come to know that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored.  It's an amazing blessing to have a prophet to help guide us and teach us.  The Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ and helps us come closer to Him.  One thing I have learned is that everyone can change and come unto Christ.  He does not turn anyone away.  I'm grateful to be able to be a missionary.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much! 

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy