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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 30, 2015



Dear family,

It has been another great week here!  This week is transfers and I'm staying!  I'm been in the same general area for a long time and I'm to the point where I definitely do not want to leave.  I'm hoping I can just stay in this area for the rest of my mission.  Not a lot of changes are happening in our zone and I'm excited for another great transfer! 

The Easter pageant at the Mesa temple started this week and we having been trying to get as many people to it as possible.  On Thursday night, the Highland West stake did something called "get on the bus."  The stake got a couple of buses and had the members invite their friends to get on the bus to take them to the Easter pageant.  It makes it really nice because they avoid the parking and they reserve seats for you.  People come a couple hours early to find a good seat, so it made it really nice.  They stake ended up taking four buses.  It was pretty cool. 

We did a couple service projects this week.  I don't know if I have told you before or if you have already heard about the justserve program?  I think I told you, but if not you can look it up at justserve.org.  It gives us a great opportunity to serve in the community and serve along with non members.  On Wednesday we helped pick fruit off citrus trees for a food bank for children.  On Saturday we helped at a easter egg hunt for children with downs syndrome.  On Sunday we helped do a non denominational devotional at a nursing home.  It felt like we did a lot of service this week, but it was a lot of fun.

Right now we have one investigator that is consistently meeting with us.  Right now he is traveling for work and is out of town during the week and home for the weekend.  It makes it a little hard to teach him, but we were able to meet with him yesterday and we are meeting with him next Sunday.  We also found a couple a great potentials this week.  We were out on our bikes one day and we started talking to three high school age kids.  We talked to them for a while, but they didn't seem really interested.   Before we left we asked if we could watch a video with them.  We had one of the kids pull out his iphone and find the new video that the church came out with for this Easter season.  We watched it and afterwards we briefly taught and bore testimony of Jesus Christ, and we asked them how they felt after watching it.  One of the kids said he felt refreshed.  We talked to them a little more and set up a time to come back this week.  It's amazing how when we bear testimony of Christ in simple ways it invites the spirit. 

That video is an easy way to share your testimony with others and help them feel the spirit.  It's really cool all that the church is doing to hasten the work of salvation.  I'm guessing you have already seen the video since it is probably all over social media by now, but if not, it's called Because He Lives.  It is an awesome video to share with everyone!

Last night we had an interesting experience.  Usually on Sunday nights we have a couple of appointments or a fireside, but last night none of our appointments worked out.  We found a couple of other people to stop by.   Earlier in the day we had a lot of things to do and after dinner I didn't really want to ride around and try to find someone to talk to.  We prayed before we left that evening and went out.  We were riding our bikes and we passed by a house and I had the thought to knock on the door.  We passed by it and went to the person we were going to, but on the way back we passed by it again and I felt we needed to knock the door.  I've learned you might as well knock on the door rather than wonder later what might have happened.  A man opened the door and we ended up talking to him for about 45 minutes.  While we talked to him he asked some great questions and we talked about prophets and the Book of Mormon.  He took the Book of Mormon, but didn't want to set up a time to meet with us.  We said a prayer before we left.  We ended up having a great lesson on his door step.   After we got home that night I was tired and ready to go to bed.  While I was thinking about our day I realized how much the Lord blessed us that day.  It might not be easy to see the blessings throughout the stress of the day, but it's good to look back on the day and recognize those blessings.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary!  Thank you Mom for sharing that missionary experience.  It's always exciting to hear all the missionary experiences going on.  I hope that I continue to always have that desire to share the gospel with everyone.  The gospel of Jesus Christ brings us so much hope, peace, and joy.  Hope you all have a wonderful Easter and enjoy general conference!  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 23, 2015

Dear family,

It has been busy week!  It seems like a lot of different things have happened this week.  Including interviews, choir performance, family home afternoon which we do with our zone once a transfer, a couple of baptisms, and a mini missionary.  It has been exciting!

The over-age youth that we've been teaching was baptized this week!  One of their fellowships invited them over for FHE and dinner last Monday night.  The non member husband was also there and we were able to share a message.  We were also able to have a lesson with them on Tuesday night to review what baptism is and to talk more about what was going to happen at the baptism.  The baptism went really well.  Her dad came a little late, but he got there just in time for the baptism.  At the end of the baptism her mom bore her testimony.  It was a wonderful testimony.  She talked about how she knew she needed to come back to church, and how it was through her daughter that she would start coming back.  It was a great experience for their family.  We also ended the baptism by singing I Love to See the Temple.  It was perfect!

A high school student we've been teaching was also baptized this weekend.  It was actually a really busy Saturday morning because we had to run from one baptism to another.  At the first baptism we were in charge of teaching while she was changing so we couldn't leave until after that.  It ended up working well and we got to both of the baptisms on time.  There were a lot of people at the high school student's baptism.  She has been coming to church for 3 or 4 years and she is a senior in high school so she had a lot of friends there. 

On Tuesday we got a random call from another missionary.  This missionary was calling to ask if I could take his spot in the choir performance on Thursday.  So I ended up singing a solo at the performance on Thursday.  I was a little nervous because I hadn't sung the song for a long time and I went through it twice on Thursday morning.  It ended up going well and of course the spirit is the most important part.

Something really cool happened this week!  One of our recent converts, was called to be a ward missionary just a couple weeks ago.  This week he taught the gospel principles class!  It wasn't a small class either.  There were probably around twenty people in the class.  He seemed nervous before the class, but he gave an awesome lesson.  It just happened to be lesson one which is about Heavenly Father and he asked great questions and led some great discussions.  It was really cool to see.  We joked around later that he can teach us the new member lessons.  It actually sounds like a great idea.  I also saw another recent convert again just today.  Several of the elders in the zone went to the church this morning to play basketball and there were several members there playing, and he (the recent convert) was playing with them.  It's great to see he is doing great and being very well fellowshipped.

We ended up getting a mini missionary for this past weekend.  He was with us from Friday evening to Sunday evening.  He was a great guy and is excited to do missionary work.  We took him street contacting at a park the first night and he did amazing.  It sounds like they have a great mission prep in his stake!  We were able to teach several people on the street while he was with us and found some new potential investigators.  We also met some interesting people so now he also has some great stories to tell people. 

It is going to be another busy week!  One of the stakes is doing something they call Get on the Bus.  The stake rented a couple of buses and these buses are going to take people to the Easter pageant on Thursday night.  It's great because you don't have to worry about parking or trying to get a good seat.  The only trick is if you are a member you have to bring a non member or less active friend to get on the bus.

It's great to be a missionary!  I'm so grateful to have this opportunity.  It's amazing all the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It truly changes lives.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy




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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 16, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another exciting and great week!  It has been spring break here for all the schools.  We were expecting a lot of people to be gone on vacation and not a lot would happen, but we saw some great things happen.  All the missionaries in the zone also had a great week! 

We were able to have a lesson with our over-age youth investigator this week.  Her mother had to work all weeks so they were not out of town luckily.  They didn't come to church the past two weeks and we were a little worried.  The lesson we had this week, we finished the last two principles in lesson five, which ended up being perfect.  We talked about the importance of learning at church and also enduring to the end.  The lesson went great!  I'm always excited to go over there because the lesson always goes great.  At the beginning of the lesson the mother offered to say the prayer, which usually does not happen.  It was neat to hear her pray and express thanks for all of their blessings they have because of the gospel.  They came to church and met with the bishop and they are all ready to have their daughter be baptized this Saturday.  I'm really excited to see her be baptized!  Their fellowship invited them and us over for a family home evening tonight. 

On Wednesday we went to the temple early in the morning.  I'm so grateful that we get to go to the temple so often.  We are quite lucky!  It's amazing to go and feel the spirit there.  It truly is a place where you can feel close to Heavenly Father and feel peace and joy.  Later that day something similar happened like what happened last week.  We took time to read the Book of Mormon that day like we usually do.  Afterwards I just felt like I learned so much, and as we left to go out to work I was ready to find those prepared people!  We decided to knock some doors and no one answered.  We stopped by a potential and that went okay.  Just before dinner we decided to go to a member who brought a non member friend to church.  We were just going to see if they invited the friend to learn more.  As we got to their house they were just pulling into their garage.  They just got back from taking their non member friend to the Mesa temple visitor center.  They invited us in and we were able to teach their friend.  Their friend doesn't live in our ward so we will have to pass them off to other missionaries, but we were able to have an unexpected lesson and found someone to teach.  Every time I feel like I had a great study of the Book of Mormon that day, we always see a miracle later that day.  Remember to read the Book of Mormon everyday! 

We have two baptisms this weekend!  It will be really exciting.  We set a goal for baptism in March as a zone and we are getting really close to reaching it.  Even if we don't reach it we will be closer to our goal than we usually are.  We also challenged our zone earlier this week to see who can talk to the most people.  We unfortunately didn't win the challenge, but together as a zone we talked to a lot more people than we usually do.  I love where it talks about talking to everyone in Preach My Gospel.  Everyone is a child of our Heavenly Father and he loves them just as he loves us. 

We have several people we are trying to work with and we have a great week ahead of us.  It's going to be another great week full of miracles.  We were able to teach a couple people around my age this week.  We taught them about the Book of Mormon and we were able to give it to them.  I just love being a missionary and being able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here and to be a missionary.  I know Jesus Christ is our Savior.  Thank you for all of your prayers and all that you do for me.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 9, 201

Dear family,

It has been another amazing week!  We saw quite a few miracles happen this week!  Hopefully I can remember everything.

This week we got a text from the bishop in the Higley Groves ward saying to give him a call.  When we called he told us that a young woman that has been attending the ward for about four years just received permission from her mother to be baptized.  She first started coming with her friend to youth activities and then started coming to church and she has been coming ever since.   She just hasn't been baptized because her mother wouldn't let her so she was just planning on doing it when she turned 18.  She is graduating this year and she wanted to be baptized before all her friends left for college so her mother agreed to let her be baptized a couple months early.  It's not everyday that the bishop call and gives you someone to teach.  We are hoping to encourage all the youth to invite their non member friends to the baptism. 

The mission has been doing another Book of Mormon read through, so most days we take 30 minutes to an hour to read from the Book of Mormon.  On Tuesday our morning went okay and after lunch we took the time to read the Book of Mormon.  Afterwards I remember feeling ready and excited to share the gospel with everyone feeling confident that we were going to find someone to teach.  We were driving to a referral that afternoon and as we turned into the neighborhood I saw a street and I felt that we needed to go there.  After we contacted the referral we started tracting on that street.  After we knocked on several doors we saw three teenagers on a doorstep.  We started talking to them and one of them ended up being a member.  We talked to them for a while and we ended up teaching them about the Book of Mormon.  At the end one of the non members took the Book of Mormon and we had a prayer with them.  Later that night we felt that we needed to stop by a family with over age youth.  We have tried this family several times before, but they were either not home or said come back.  That night when we stopped by the whole family was home.  We were able to have a lesson and all of the family members participated in the lesson.  The ward has been trying to work with this family for a while and we were able to teach them.  Reading the Book of Mormon that afternoon invited the spirit and we were able to find people to teach.  We had two unexpected lessons that day.  I have been thinking about the importance of the spirit in everything that we do especially as a missionary. 

Last p-day we had a super awesome zone activity!  We planned to play kick ball against another zone, but it ended up raining almost all day.  A lot of the missionaries wanted to play anyway.  I was hesitant at first because the baseball field was all muddy, but we did it anyway.  It turned out to be a lot of fun!  We did get muddy from running and some of us slipping in the mud.  It was great!

It great to be a missionary and I'm grateful for every day that I have to be here.  I'm excited to share the blessing of the restored gospel with everyone!  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,
Elder Joshua Gandy





Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015



Dear family,

It has been another great week here!  I can't believe February is already over.  It went by really fast.  The last week of the month is always great because we have MLC (missionary leadership conference) and the last Thursday of every month is the choir fireside/performance.  We had a great MLC this week.  We had a former general authority come speak to us.  He was a general authority and was young men general president at one point in time.  I guess he is a good friend of President Nattress.  I can't remember how to spell his name or I would tell you his name. He was coming into town and Pres. Nattress asked him to come.  He taught us a lot of great stuff and told us stories about his mission.  One of the things he taught us was the consistent commitment creates conversion.  As a missionary we always need to be committed to do the Lord's work.  It's also true as we go through life. 

We had wonderful lesson with the over-age youth investigator and her mom this week.  We talked about eternal families.  We talked about all the blessing we have because of families.  We also talked about things we need to do to bless our families.  We talked about praying and reading scriptures together as families.  As we talked about families we could just see her face light up.  As we talked about how our families can be together forever, she was so excited.  It was a great lesson and the spirit was there as we talked about the importance of families.  They also came to the mission choir performance this week.  They really enjoyed it.  Afterwards we went to the reception area and showed her the baptismal font in that building.  They are really excited about their daughter's baptism. 

We had a lesson with another investigator.  He has been taught before, but something has always stopped him from progressing or meeting with the missionaries.  His wife is a member of the church and they have a couple of kids.  We went over to teach one of their kids that is approaching baptism age about baptism.  His dad was there and we were able to talk to him about baptism.  He knows he needs to be baptized and he is wants to set a date for his baptism the next time we meet with him.  We are going to have our next lesson on Wednesday. 

On Wednesday the missionaries in the Highland East stake put together a youth activity to invite all their friend to.  The activity was a dodge ball tournament.  It was a lot of fun, but it was a little crazy.  We were trying to get everyone's attention and organize the games.  It didn't work out to well, but the activity was successful and there was a great turn out from all of the wards.  There were also many non members there.  It's great to see the youth inviting their friends. 

At MLC Pres. Nattress asked the question "how has the restoration blessed your life?"  After he asked the question we probably talked about all the different blessing in our lives that we have because of the restoration for a while.  There are so many things we are blessing with because of the restoration.  We have the Book of Mormon, a prophet on the earth today, the priesthood authority, a greater knowledge of God's plan for us, and that our families can be together forever.  I'm so grateful for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  It's great to be a missionary.  Thanks for all your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Love,

Elder Joshua Gandy