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Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another exciting week!  It seems like a lot of great things happened this week.  I'm not quite sure where to start.

We had a couple of lessons this week.  We met with one of our investigators on Sunday and we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They have to check his schedule, but he should have a date picked to be baptized by the end of this week.  He is doing well and he will probably be baptized at the beginning of June.  

We picked up a new investigator this week!  There are converts in one of our wards and the wife's mother lives in the ward.  Ever since I have been in this area, this convert's mother would come to church with them every once in a while.  For the past couple months she has been coming to church every week.  One time she brought her grandchildren when the parents couldn't come.  She has even read all of the Gospel Principles manual.  She watched general conference all by herself and loved it.  We have been trying to teach her for a while, and we were finally able to set up an actual lesson.  The lesson went well and she mostly wanted a couple of questions answered.  We answered her questions and taught about the restoration and she agreed to start meeting with us.  She says it will be hard for her to stop drinking coffee, but I'm sure she can do it. 

We also found a great potential investigator last night.  We just visited a member and we were on our way back to our apartment and we saw someone skateboarding at the park.  It must have seemed a little strange, but we pulled over and started talking to him.  Elder Anderson can skateboard so they talked about that.  We started talking about the church and he said he has been thinking about going back to church.  He said it was weird that we started talking to him because he was just thinking about that.  We taught him a little bit and he said that was something that he wanted to learn more about.  He was really excited about learning more.  So we have a lesson set up with him tonight.  Now the unfortunate thing is that he lives in California and is just visiting his dad for a week.  Hopefully we can teach him while he is here and the missionaries in California can finish teaching him.  It is one of those times where we were in the right place at the right time.  He just happened to be visiting in Arizona and just happened to be at the park and we just happened to pull over and start talking to him.

Something really exciting happened on Saturday!  Someone I taught my very first transfer in the Brighton ward was baptized.  Since the Brighton ward is in the zone and is right next to my area, I was able to go to the baptism.   She had been taught by a lot of missionaries.  She probably took lessons for three years or so.  Her baptism was great and the spirit was strong there. 

We had an expanded zone conference on Tuesday and Thursday this past week.  I was just in the musical number at the beginning, so we just had to be there at the start.  The last expanded zone conference is Tuesday this week and this is the expanded zone conference that our stakes are invited to, so this one we will stay the entire time.  This week we will have our actual zone conference on Thursday.  We also had mission leadership council this week, which is always a great meeting.  We talked about planning, Elder Holland's general conference talk, and all kinds of things.  We also had stake conference in one of our stakes this past weekend.  They had an incredible Saturday evening session.  They did a video slide show of all the missionaries from their stake.  They showed their picture and then showed a quote from one of their letters.  I knew several of the missionaries before they left on their missions and it's neat to see some of the things that they have learned on their missions.  I don't know if that made sense, but it was really cool.

Mom, sorry I didn't answer some of your questions from your letter.  For some reason the letter didn't come until Monday, so I didn't see it until after I emailed.  The weather here is still great!  The past weekend a rain storm came in and cooled things down for probably the last time.  April has been in the 80's and 90's, but this week it will probably be in the 90's all week.  It will only be like that for a little bit though.  I don't know when the mission is going to send you something, but I think I will be coming home on the June 23rd.  There is still a lot of missionary work to do, so I'm not going to think about that, but that should be the day. 

I wish I could include all the things that I'm learning and all the experiences that I'm having, but there are too many things to write and not enough time to write it all.  One of the things I learned this week was something Pres. Nattress taught at MLC.  He talked about how we always need to be testifying.  You can always testify when you don't know what to say and you should always testify when you teach.  When you share your testimony it can be the most powerful part of the lesson.  If you find a discouraged missionary, they probably are not testifying.  I know that Christ is our Savior and I know that this is Christ's church on the earth today.  It's incredible to have the fullness of the gospel in our lives and to know we have a prophet on the earth today.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 20, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great and busy week!  We had some great teaching opportunities this week and we reached some goals that we set, so it has been an exciting week.  Last Monday we got a call from someone in our singles ward and they said they had a friend that wants to take the lessons and to be baptized.  We had a lesson with them on Wednesday and we taught her the restoration.  The lesson went really well and we invited her to be baptized at the end.  She said yes and she had already been thinking about a date.  We were really excited and then she said that she is moving at the end of this month.  It was a little disappointing, but she will still be in the mission, and there will be some very happy missionaries in the area that she is moving to.  Even though she won't be in our area, it was still great to teach the first lesson. 

We met with another investigator this week and taught him the plan of salvation.  He is doing great and is reading all of the assignments that we give him.  He also came to church on Sunday.  We were also able to teach a couple people on the street this week.  We met this one person on the street about a week ago, and he said that now wasn't a good time, but told us to come back.  We went back last night and he invited us in.  We talked to them for a while and we showed them the video Because He Lives.  We then invited them to learn more about the restoration.  We were really hoping they were going to say yes, because most people don't just invite us into their home after talking to them for a couple minutes.  They didn't accept the invitation to learn more, but they said they might come to one of our mission choir concerts.  We are still hoping something might happen there.  We talked to another man on the street for about a half hour answering his questions about what he has heard we believe.  He wasn't interested after we answered his questions, but I am amazed at some of the things people think we believe and all the misconceptions that are out there.

We were able to teach two recent converts this week.  Another gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  We didn't hear about it until after, and we ended up going to our other ward that starts at the same time.  I wish I could of gone, but we heard she did great!  We also had a lesson with a recent convert who is going to start coming to the singles ward.  She is a awesome recent convert and she is excited to do missionary work.

We have a couple of great potentials that we are trying to start teaching.  One member invited their neighbor to church.  They told their neighbor a couple of returned missionaries were going to speak in church (there were two missionaries in the ward that just got back and gave their talks) and their neighbor said yes.  We are also probably going to start teaching another lady who has been coming to church for the past several weeks with her daughter who is a convert. 

We went to the temple this week, and it's always great to go to the temple.  We get up early to go, but it is always worth it.  Most missionaries usually stop at Kneaders (which is really close to the temple) afterwards to get something to eat.  While we were there the cashier looks at my name tag and asks me if I had an older brother who served in Peru.  I guess this cashier served in Peru with Bryce.  He said they were in the same zone or something like that.  Small world.

We have another busy week ahead of us.  Our mission is doing expanded zone conferences (zone conference for members) again this month and I was asked to be in a musical number for all of them.  They are going to do three for the different parts of the mission and two of them are next week.  It should be fun!

I'm learning so much every day.  I have been thinking about this scripture and it has come to my mind lately.  It's Alma 5:26 " And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?"  I have thought back to those times where I feel the joy of the gospel.  Sometimes it can be easy to forget in the midst of the challenges and trials of life.  No wonder it is so important that we need to always pray and read our scriptures every day.  We always need to continue to come unto Christ and to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The gospel is truly a pattern for living.  As we continue to live the gospel we will be able to say "Yes, I can feel so now." 

I love you all so much and thank you for all of your prayers. 

Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 13, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another busy and great week here is Gilbert!  It seems like we did quite a bit of service this week and found some new potential investigators! 

We were able to meet with our investigator who works out of town on construction jobs.  He's only home a couple days at a time.  Luckily this week it was raining where he was working so he was home for a couple more days.  We were able to meet with him this week and committed him to read the Book of Mormon every day.  We gave him several chapters to read.  Later in the week he texted us saying he finished the chapters and he wanted more recommended chapters to read.  His wife is a less active member who was baptized six years ago, so we have also been trying to help her come back to church.  We have also been teaching her.  We were not able to set a specific day for his baptism, but we are hoping he will be baptized in May. 

We found some great potential investigators this week that said we could come back.  Right now we are trying to talk to as many people as possible, and find people to teach.  We have found some of the potentials knocking on doors, talking to people on the street, and working with the members.  One night this week, we were walking down the street in one of our wards and started talking to someone that I recognized, but didn't remember she was.  After talking to her for a minute, I realized  I had talked to her at a park a couple miles away.  She wasn't very interested in talking to us, but we invited her to watch the new Easter video.  Afterwards she made the comment,  "I'll watch it, maybe there is a reason I keep running into you."  Our area is pretty small.  Sometimes I'm surprised we don't run into the same people more often.  Hopefully they would think the same thing this lady did. 

We contacted an old potential this week.  We probably talked to them a month ago, and talked to them at the door for a while.  We asked if we could come back, but they said they would give us a call.  Usually nobody calls us back, so we kind of took that as a no.  We decided to knock on their door again and we couldn't remember how interested they were, but thought we would try.  When they answered the door they mother of the family said they tried calling and left a voicemail.  We were confused because we never got the voicemail, but Elder Anderson and I were surprised because someone actually tried calling us back!  They got our number again and said they were going out of town this weekend, but that we could come back this week.  We saw that as a miracle that we decided to stop by since we couldn't remember if they were even interested.  That is one good reason to keep an area book!

We helped pick grapefruit again this week for the food bank, helped at a nursing home and we helped out at the special Olympics like we did last year. 

We found out yesterday morning that a young man we taught and who was baptized was speaking at a stake youth fireside last night.  We had appointments already scheduled so we couldn't go, but we heard that he did great.  When we asked if he wanted to share his testimony at his baptism he did not want to do it.  He isn't a big fan of speaking, but we heard that he did a great job.  He talked about how he was grateful for the persistence of his friends.  One of his friends would invite him to church every week.  Before he started coming to church he would have never imagined himself joining the church.  He talked about how he was grateful that his friend kept inviting him.

We have a great week ahead of us, and I'm excited for all the opportunities we will have this week.  I'm grateful every day for the chance to be a missionary.  Sharing the gospel and serving others brings so much joy and more blessings than I could ever imagine.  I'm grateful for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much! 

Elder Joshua Gandy

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 6, 2015

Dear family,

It has been another great week, especially with general conference!  It was a perfect way to celebrate Easter, by hearing the prophets and apostles bearing their special witness of our Savior.  There is always so much to learn from conference, so I'm excited to study all the talks!

It was the start of another transfer and a new month!  The first part of the week we were in a trio because one of the elders in the zone finished his mission.  So we had his companion with us until transfer meeting.  It was a great chance for us to go on splits!  On Tuesday afternoon I went with a priest in one of our wards and Elder Anderson went with the other missionary.  The priest in the ward actually got his mission call.  That would have been awesome to go on splits before my mission.  If anyone is wanting to prepare for a mission, can't think of a better way to prepare than to go do missionary work with the missionaries.  We went on splits later in the week and we both went with two returned missionaries in the singles ward.  They both got home not too long ago so they were both super excited to come with us for a couple hours.  It's great for us because we get to stop by twice as many people and we get to learn from them.  That is one great benefit from serving where there are lots of members! 

We currently have only one investigator, but we have lots of potentials.  Our investigator is back in town.  He has been out of town for work for almost a month strait.  He came home this weekend and we have a lesson with him tonight.  He will also be home for half of these next week so we are hoping that we can teach him a couple times before he leaves again.  He is a great guy and wants to be baptized and have an eternal family.  We are excited to teach him.  

We taught a kid in high school this week on the street and he wants to meet with us, but his mom is not too fond of the church.  We probably won't be able to teach him because of that, but we are hoping the priests in the ward will help fellowship him.  We also have a potential that is the mom of a convert in our ward.  She has come to church many times and loves to come.  She has even come by herself and brought her grandkids when the parents couldn't come.  We invited her to watch general conference and she was already planning on it.  I have no idea why she hasn't been taught yet, but we are hoping to figure that out this week.  We also had a couple potentials go to the Easter pageant this week.  We are hoping to start teaching all of these potentials this week. 

We helped pick citrus again this week for a food bank that provides food for children that don't have food on the weekends.  I believe we are going to do that service project every week for a while.  There is a new institute/church building on the ASU polytech campus which is in the Gilbert mission, and they had an open house this week.  The church is only used for YSA wards so they asked all the missionaries in the YSA stake to help at the open house.  We went to that and helped with that.

We have a zone meeting tomorrow and we are going to be talking about the role of the Holy Ghost and how important it is in missionary work.  I noticed in general conference how many times they talked about that.  In Preach My Gospel they have a quote from Pres. Benson, “The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of your talent and ability” I'm not perfect at recognizing and responding to the Spirit, but I feel I have learned how to better follow the spirit.  There have been a couple of talks about recognizing the spirit that have really helped me, but I don't remember what they are called.  Maybe I'll have to tell you the names of them next week.

It's great to be a missionary!  I'm grateful for every day that I have to be doing missionary work.  Thank you for all of your prayers.  I love you all so much!

Elder Joshua Gandy