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. 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.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.
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. 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!
Elder Joshua Gandy