Friday, December 26, 2014

12/22/14 – The Atmosphere of Christmas

Carter & Betsy pointing to Elder Gillespie's Missionary Plaque
in the Mill Run Ward in Idaho Falls
(Evan's Brother & Mom)  :)

I'm going to cheat and basically send you all the same letter I sent to (my Mission) President Brinkerhoff. 

'Tis the season. This time of year is the best. It's a time of year in the which people, for no apparent reason, decide to be extra friendly to one another. There is a spirit in the air brought about by the atmosphere of Christmas. This is something I wish could carry on throughout the year. It just doesn' happen though. In a few weeks or so, people will fall back into the mindset of my way or the highway. Roadrage will return. People will go back to looking down and ignoring us as opposed to waving and smiling back at us. It's all about me, my and mine. I am very fortunate to have grown up the way I have, to have experienced what I have, I feel as though I've been blessed with the gift of wisdom because of those things. In turn I take that and attempt to manipulate that gift into having the gift of charity for others. The most forgotten principle in the gospel is love. President Thomas S. Monson calls it the essence of the Gospel. It truly is. To say the least some Elders in our district have been bickering back and forth at each other. I had a sit down discussion with the both of them and I have high hopes that from here on out there will be more forgiveness and charity in the interactions between the members of our district. We have some good missionaries here in Shelley and Firth. I'm grateful to be a part of this great work. I'm grateful for the refiners furnace. I love it. I look forward to being within it. I've been made more pure through Christ and hindsight is a wonderful thing sometimes. 

I'm exhausted folks. I love you all very much. Take care! 

Love,

Elder Gillespie

12/15/14 – Busy Week – Love it!



Elder Gillespie (top left & then bottom center)
& other Missionaries at Zone Conference

Hello,
I don't even know what to say about this week. It's been pretty busy! We had District Meeting on Wednesday, Zone Conference on Thursday, Ward Christmas parties on the weekend, and we had a crazy lesson yesterday! So, we have 6 companionships in our District, and man I love it! I'm calling 5 companionships nightly to follow-up with whatever may be happening in each area. I'm able to hear of the miracles happening, the hard things going on, and provide input on investigators/less-actives in hopes to help the missionaries come to their own conclusion on how to proceed forth. It's amazing the things that happen in missionary work. I'm sad to think that this has to end at some point. I don't understand how missionaries do it when they go home from their mission; I would go stir crazy I feel like, not being able to have a few doors slammed in my face every day. I feel as though if I'm not being constantly rejected than I'm not doing something right! Zone Conference was center around this new initiative called He Is The Gift. I feel like I'm always slow to tell you folks back home about the cool things the church is doing, like with Meet the Mormons, my apologies! The lesson yesterday in short was a prime example of the youth being amazing missionaries! We received a referral for a 14 year old girl whom has suddenly become interested in learning more about the gospel because of her friends example. Her friend said that she knows that she is a daughter of God and the 14 year old wanted to know how she knew that. Not long after, we received a call and setup a lesson at the church. When we invited her to be baptized it was almost as if she was waiting THE ENTIRE LESSON for us to ask that question and she was eager to answer it. It was kind of awesome :). So we are hoping to get her baptized on New Year’s Eve. I am sustaining a massive headache right now, so I'm thinking I'm going to call it quits on this email.

Love you all, you are in my prayers always!
Alma 13:24, “For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.”

Elder Gillespie

Random house in Shelley had this in their front yard. 

12/8/14 - Hallelujah, Amen!


 Idaho Falls South Zone Christmas Card!
Elder Gillespie is back center with arms folded :)

I just had the best day of my life yesterday. I don't know that I can effectively put my thoughts into words right now, but I desire to share the joy I feel with you all so I will do my best. During fast and testimony meeting yesterday we went to 4 different wards to bare our testimonies in. In one of the wards I had a moment of serenity and clarity of thought whilst basking in the warmth the Spirit gives. I was looking into the hindsight of the things that have happened these past three months in Shelley. It was given to me to recognize all the good that I had taken part in. I've seen people truly change their lives because they recognize the love God has for them. I've been given the gift of charity, especially more so now as a missionary, to be able to bless many different lives because of my own personal experiences. I'M SO GRATEFUL! I have witnessed Satan's influences upon those whom have the potential to perform wonders. He's very clever and good at what he does. Deceit is his utmost powerful tool. He doesn't need to try to bring down the people whom are already addicts, or self-destructive, or murders, or rapists, they're already where he'd like them to be. But for those who are trying to change their lives or for those who have the most potential to be influential in others becoming closer to God, he tries his hardest. Look at Joseph Smith and his experiences with Satan. He was RESTORING Christ's gospel to the Earth and there was no way he was going to let that happen without a fight. I was spiritually enlightened yesterday evening because of some things that happened in a lesson. My mind was awakened to the fact that we can't comprehend how many more good things are to come in the future. Nor can we truly be prepared for the bad that is to come as we move forward in righteousness. We need to muster up every particle of faith we have and gather our strength when Satan comes to tear us down. He will do all that he can to cause and tempt you to question your own testimony. He will cause you to turn against others if that's what needs to happen for him to win. As we remember the counsel given to us, "He may have power to bruise your heel, but you have power to crush his head" we will find the power to do what Moses did and say "Get thee hence, Satan!". I know that Heavenly Father loves me, I have proof. 

I love you all,

Elder Gillespie

 Idaho Falls South Zone - Silly Christmas Card!
Elder Gillespie is back center being sheepish! :)

12/1/14 - The Craziest/Hardest week of My Mission By Far!



Angela the gal whom was one day a non-member and the next day randomly baptized :) 
She's super awesome, very cool woman.
For whatever reason when I do group selfies I always cut Elder Wright out a little bit of it.

Hello all,

Been the craziest/hardest week of my mission by far! I cannot put the experiences I've had into words. Scary/good/bad/amazing/horrible. Those words may be the most sufficient way I can describe the week at this time. Day after day something super weird/coincidental/or dark happened. This Monday we got in touch with a woman named Angela whom we met about 2 months ago and we had a super deep conversation on her door step. She was not a member of the church and was getting her questions answered by an "adult" so we didn't need to come by. Two weeks later we stopped by and caught her home and she wanted to meet! Later that week the husband put a stop to that happening and then we found out that they were moving to Texas. This last Monday we talked with her again and she was like "Oh my goodness, I forgot to invite you to my baptism!" We found out that their process of moving was slowed down and her "adult friend" offered to have her take the discussions at their house in Blackfoot. She said that if it weren't for that first night Elder Wright and I had stopped by and talked with her for about an hour on her door step just about life. She would not have sat down and talked with the missionaries ever. She became interested after that night. NOW SHE"S BAPTIZED!!! WOOOOOOOO!!!! Was a super happy day in the life of Elder G.

This last Saturday we had two baptisms in our area! Their names are Brixen and Braylin, 9 and 10 years old! Their family is very unique for multiple reasons I can't divulge in this email. I love that family with all of my heart. They have been through things people wouldn't even think possible. This past week before the baptisms they had some extremely startling and scary experiences. Even through that they were able to put smiles on their faces and be happy and live on. The devil was crying at the time of their baptism, HE LOST. I am so grateful to be in the service of my fellow brothers and sisters. I get to take part in witnessing the conversion process of others. I get to tell them that this life isn't the end, I get to tell them that wickedness never was happiness, I get to tell them that their families can be together forever. I also get to tell them that I love them regardless of who they are or what they've done, they can feel exceedingly great joy as they change and begin living the Gospel. Alma 36:16-21:
“And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul. And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.”

Satan is very real. He desires the destruction of God's kingdom here on earth. If allowed, he will call his legions to send forth terror and destruction among the children of men. He is very good at what he does. The way to combat him is simply to not entice and invite him. Alma 37:6-7 (Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.”) We need to do the small and simple things! We stir up the deep questions involving the mysteries of God when we aren't even doing our home teaching, scripture study, prayers, etc. etc. What's the deal with that? Aren't we promised to know the mysteries of God if we keep his commandments and do His will? We mustn't forget the blessings brought about by the small and simple things, i.e. eternal salvation.

Elder Wright and I are staying together for ANOTHER transfer! Heavenly Father must be telling us something. We're either not doing something right and need to learn something, or we're doin' an awesome job! They are combining the districts here in Shelley and I'm remaining the District Leader over 6 companionships. Should be fun... considering I follow-up with them nightly and 3 companionships are sisters (very talkative). Going to spend like an hour every night just on calls haha. The mission had 101 baptisms this month which is super crazy! That's a mission record! Our zone got 18 baptisms (there's 12 zones). Our zone is the highest teaching/baptizing the past few months. Not to boast, just to express my gratitude for the blessings being poured upon us all as our Heavenly Father is hastening his work. SO many great things are to come. Accompanying that, of course, are many horrible and dreadful things. We must remember to keep ourselves in line and holding to the rod, for, when that storm comes, it will hit hard.

Love,
Elder Gillespie

A picture of all of the missionaries who taught this family 
and the Savage/Lacey family (Brixen and Braylin) 

I was fortunate enough to confirm Braylin and Brixen on 11/30 in Sacrament meeting



Monday, November 24, 2014

11/24/14 - Turkey's


Elder Evan Gillespie's Missionary Plaque *


Hello Friends and Family once again!
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of our Father. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is something special. Seeing Angels or even God and Jesus Christ and denying such is not the same as denying the Holy Ghost. The feelings the Holy Ghost brings to us aren't comparable to any other. ONLY by the power of the Holy Ghost can we know the truth of all things, Moroni 10:5. I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that contains the fullness of the gospel. There are a lot of things I do not know. I'm very simple in my testimony right now. I'm still learning the basics. But what I do know has been a blessing to my life. I'm so blessed to have been touched by the Gospel in this life. Life is not easier because of what I know. I've been scarred whilst walking this journey of mortality. Scars can heal. Jesus Christ is the enabler, the savior, the redeemer, the lamb without blemish... He's also my Brother. I love him. I can't say for sure I know him yet, but I'm getting to know him slowly, day by day. Because of Him I'm capable to do all things. Do not be afraid. In the standard works there are 365 accounts in which we are givin' the advice to fear not. Carry on with hope in Christ and love for all. I'm out of time for today. We only had an hour for emails. Our preparation day will be on Thursday this week. We found out transfer doctrine this Wednesday. I'm not sure if we'll email again on Thursday. Have a wonderful time with your families everyone. 

Love you!

*Evan left for his Mission from Glendale Arizona in March, 2014. In August, his Mom (me - Betsy) re-married and relocated to Idaho Falls, which is IN his Mission... yes - weird - but it's awesome to be so close to each other!  Love this Elder and his ever-growing testimony and service! -- Betsy Peila <3

11/17/14 – Pain is Temporary

Hello SNOW!   Elders Gillespie & Wright in Shelley, Idaho


Elder Gillespie's Snow Angel in Shelley, Idaho

Hello All,
The past three weeks have been tragedy after tragedy. It's been hard to see people at their rock bottoms. They feel helpless. We are working with people whom have lost loved ones to suicide, drugs, drinking and driving, etc. I don't think I've ever wished more that someone would accept the Gospel. Why do we fall? Why does God suffer us to experience such things? Why must we go through pain at times. Pain is temporary, it may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year, but eventually it will subside! If we quit, however, if we give up, if we throw in the towel, it will last forever. At some point in our lives, eventually the very fabric of our reality will tear open. Our world may seemingly fall apart.  Jesus Christ has done so much for us. He hurts when we hurt. He hurts even more when we don't utilize the tools he has given us to heal our open wounds. I just want to say to some of these people, GET UP AND DON'T EVER GIVE UP!  1 Nephi 20:10 :
"For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."

God knows us better than we know us. He has given each and every one of us agency. He allows evil and suffering to occur for a reason. We do not need to fully comprehend why. We must understand that He loves us. He is there to comfort us in time of need. Living in darkness is a lonely road. Don't allow Satan to influence and encourage stinkin' thinkin'. Sometimes we need to take a trial like an extra cut on a diamond. Every time we go through a trial we gain knowledge, wisdom, and light. As we remain righteous and obedient. Pain is temporary. Happiness CAN be felt for eternity if we've live the way our Father in Heaven has asked us. Love one another. Ask and ye shall receive. Hold to the iron rod. Repent and change your ways. Look at trials as a direct compliment from our Heavenly Father. 

We've been very blessed this week. We just received word that a couple of investigators we have been teaching have parental permission to be baptized after a couple of years of investigating. We're on the verge of having 7 people with a baptismal date. Two weeks ago we had no one with a baptismal date. Things are hoppin'. Life's good. I'm happy. I have a conviction of the truthfulness of the teachings within the restored Church of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the knowledge we have been given. I'm grateful for what those before me have gone through so that I may receive the many blessings I get from reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I'm grateful for the Latter-day prophets we have to be the mouth-piece of our Father in Heaven. 

I love you all,

Elder Gillespie

(Note from Betsy:  The Snow Angel and these two pictures below were sent to me by members of the church in Shelley in Evan's area - here's my Facebook post from 11/16:  My heart is so happy today!!! I just got this picture from someone of a snow Angel that Evan made yesterday saying that their house had their very own 'Snow Elder' watching over them  It's so fun that we made snow angels yesterday too! -- guess us Arizonans LOVE the snow and making snow angels the SAME day - SO FUN!)  



Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10/14 - Manic Monday

Another day for Rest and Relaxation... HA not... 

Had an interesting past week. We found a new family yesterday the husband is Hindu and the wife is Buddhist. The wife is from somewhere called Laus (Southeast Asia)? Somethin' like that. The husband is from India, we had a very satisfying conversation about the world. It was interesting to talk to the man about life. He said one thing he has found in every religion he studied is that one of the commonalities amongst them all is that they teach some sort of brotherhood, or love of all man and things. One thing that he brought to my attention and realization is that yes here in America we are very blessed with the things we have. But are we happy with it? Yes India may be VERY poor and the parts of Southeast Asia the wife is from may be VERY poor. But what's our definition of poor. We came into this life with nothing, and no matter what temporal thing we gain in this life, we will depart from this life as we came into it, with nothing. People who have nothing, have EVERYTHING compared to some of us with more 'things'. Knowledge and wisdom in the things of the world is what will truly make a man rich. We as Latter-day Saints, KNOW that as we carry on into the next life we get to keep that knowledge and wisdom that we have gained on earth and bring it into the next stage of the Plan. Doctrine & Covenants 93:36 (“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”) Educacion es mas importante! 

This Friday we will find out if a couple of our investigators will be able to get baptized! Parent permission is a problem for about 7 investigators we're teaching. They'd all be baptized in a heartbeat if they had permission. We have a 70 coming to the mission tomorrow to do a 'Mission Tour'. Should be very spiritually uplifting and edifying. We're excited to see what he feels inspired to share with us. 

I'm out of juice fellas. 

Love ya,

Elder Gillespie


Food for thought, Moses 8:18 (“And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him”).

(from Mom, Betsy: Here's a couple fun pictures from our Sister Missionaries who serve with and know Elder Gillespie - one wrapped up in the quilt he made me when I went through my cancer journey and the other with 'his' dog Xena - our Miniature Pinscher! --- They have been a blast to give rides to and teach with!  It's awesome to hear how beloved Evan is throughout his Mission!)

Sisters Rawlins & Kolbo - serving in the 
Mill Run Ward in the Eagle Rock Stake, Idaho Pocatello Mission

11/3/14 - Eternal Potential

Hello Friends and Family,

The proceedings of this week: LOTS more tracting :), I've been learning a lot being able to follow-up with the sisters in the district every night, We've planted A LOT of seeds Dinner with a recent convert of mine named Dakota Colson, I was 3 days in the mission field when he was baptized, it was cool to catch up with him as he moved almost right after the baptism so we couldn't teach him the follow-up lessons. He moved back to Shelley so now we might finally get him those lessons taught. It's been 7 MONTHS since he's been baptized and missionaries in Idaho Falls never picked him up and started teaching him. It's so easy for people to fall through the cracks, unfortunately. 

For Halloween, from 6-9:45pm, we watched Tarzan and Frozen. I've now officially watched Frozen twice... On my Mission. I didn't think I'd like Tarzan, but after not having seen it since I was 8-10ish years old, I kind of enjoyed it! I was dying with a headache though so that was rather unfortunate. Been having quite a few headaches lately, now I kind of know how Elder Downey felt. 

I'm in a debacle, I really would like to stay in an area for longer than 3 months in hopes to get to know and love the people a bit better, but I kind of like having a change of scenery. So right now I actually think I would prefer to leave Shelley at the end of the transfer (December 3). I think it'd be good for Elder Wright to take lead in an area as well. It'd be a good growing experience for him. It'd force him to take lead in teaching situations and other situations as well. I'm almost positive one of us is leaving though. I think 3 months may be the longest I'll ever have a companion. I guess we'll see I can’t pretend to prophesy of things to come.  

I have this gift from God. I wish I could share it with everyone. The gift I have is the love for everyone whom I come in contact with. This gift was not given all at once. It was developed over time. Through many different experiences in my lifetime, I've developed this attribute. Now when I say this, I do not mean I have a perfect Christ-like love for everyone, I'm still imperfect, but for the most part in reflection on things in past and in present, I understand people in a different way than most. I can look at a person with genuine love knowing that he is my brother or she is my sister, no matter what they look like what they are involved in or how they act. I'm so grateful for this aspect of my life. I hope to bless the lives of many with this God given gift. I don't consider myself a very powerful teacher of the Gospel. I don't know that I really am efficient as a missionary as far as applying the, I guess you can call them, 'tactics and skills' that a missionary should have. I do my best to recognize how I can improve myself in hopes to be able to do ALL THAT I CAN to spend these two years wisely and bring as many souls unto Christ as God has placed in my path. I dread a day to come in the future in the which I may come across those whom I simply walked by that God was preparing to hear the Gospel and I did not have the faith to invite them to do so. No one is as complete as Christ was, but the Gospel has blessed my life so immensely, it'd be wrong not to share this joy with others. As I share the gospel with those in my areas I feel God's love for them and for myself. I desire nothing but the destruction of Satan's armies and the exaltation of my loved ones. Look at the people around you and see their eternal potential...

2 Nephi 26: 27-30 (“Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance. Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden. He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.”)

Love,
Elder Gillespie

10/27/14 – You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello!

The life of a missionary in a short sentence, "Not interested, not interested, not interested." WE'RE NOT SELLING ANYTHING! JUST ADVERTISING HOW TO OBTAIN ETERNAL LIFE! It's always a blast here in Idaho. Elder Wright and I have subjected ourselves to doing quite a bit of tracting this last week. We saw some fruits from it, but not much. A lot of our current investigators are really busy right now and it's been super difficult to get in touch with them. We still don't have a car so it's a bit hard to get to a couple of the Wards we cover. You learn to kind of just make a game out of it. After having being out long enough you kind of get desensitized to rejection and rudeness and you ain't scared of nothin'! Sometimes you'll get people that say, "Wow, I've never seen that approach before... not interested," there's a good amount of satisfaction that comes from that haha. Super lame email this week, I'm out of juice, I woke up with absolutely no energy this morning. So I'm going to go relax, get some pizza, write some letters, and go work some more. 

In short, I love you all...

Elder Gillespie

Friday, October 24, 2014

10/20/14 – Father in Heaven Loves Us!


 Elders Gillespie and Wright in Shelley, Idaho

I have no desire to return home from my Mission. Fortunately.... I GET TO GO HOME TO IDAHO FALLS AND CONTINUE ON WITH MISSIONARY WORK AFTERWARDS.

As the weeks go by I'm constantly reminded how short my Mission is. I feel as though there are things I'm not doing as good as I could be doing at this point in my Mission and I need to step up my game. I certainly hope to touch the lives of many. That'd make me feel good later down the road to run into someone and hear, "It was because of you... and now I'm happier." In all reality, the Lord is doing just about everything through me. I'm not discrediting the efforts I put into all that goes on in my area and in my life as a Missionary. But, He has given me so much that I can't even comprehend all of it at this point. I don't know why our Heavenly Father has done certain things for me. At the same time, I know that He loves me immensely, I am His son. He wants me to return to live with Him in Heaven again. He rarely will flood us with light in this life. I've learned that only through tribulations will our Father in Heaven give us light. As we get through trials with patience and faith, He will give us just a tad bit of light. Some trials are bigger and as such we may receive more light. Patience is essentially the key in this life to 'receiving all that the Father hath'. This life is SOOOOO LONNGGGGGG. Then again, it goes by so quickly. I wonder more and more what Heaven will be like with all of my ancestors and (hopefully, dogs too) descendants. What is everlasting joy like? I can't imagine as I go back to some of the happiest moments in life having THAT feeling for eternity. Nonetheless, that joy is probably not a tenth of the amount of joy we will continuously have after this life when we have done all that we can to keep the covenants we have made and follow Christ's teachings. It kind of makes me wonder too, with what little I know about what our Father has in store for us, Satan is seemingly trying harder and harder to rip me away from my faith. I wonder what our Prophets and Apostles must be tempted with as Leaders of our Church! And then even more so, our Brother, Jesus Christ, He lived a perfect life, Satan tempted him, how great that temptation must have been. But then again, if we sincerely and diligently seek out more and more light; if we build our foundation on Christ (Helaman 5:12*), how hard will it be for Satan to tear us down? Probably pretty hard. I don't know a lot of things. I know that this life was meant to be one big test. It was meant for us to make mistakes, to learn, to grow, to experience what it's like having a family, to receive a body, and I'm sure I'm probably missing some other things. I hope all is well with each and every one of you. I pray for you often. 

Love,
Elder Gillespie

Pray like everything depends on God. Work like everything depends on you. 

Helaman 5:12 “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.”



Monday, October 13, 2014

10/13/14 – Irrevocably Decreed

 Elder Gillespie's Shelley Selfie!

GOOD NEWS! 

Elder Wright will officially be the longest companion I've had! We'll be staying together for another 7 weeks. Last transfer was a 5 week transfer and this week will be 7 weeks, usually they are 6, but they had a special meeting happen so it just worked out that way. I'll get to finish Elder Wright's training and then I will likely remain in the area as Elder Wright moves on. At least I kind of hope that's what happens so I can experience an area for longer than 3 months. 3 months definitely is not long enough in an area in my opinion. We have got sooooo much going for us in this area and I pray that if I don't get to witness the fruits of my labors that those who I've been working with will continue to progress and ultimately come to have a sure knowledge of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I've seen some dark things this past week with some of the investigators we've been working with. All of these experiences I witness and hear about are only testimony builders. They confirm to me the NEED for the peace the gospel brings to us even a midst the hardest of trials in life. It's a scary world out there. But in all honesty, we must live IN this world, as it is our Father's will, but we need not worry for everything OF the world. When we do what God has asked, we'll be taken care of, whether it be in this life or the next. We see those who have seemingly "perfect" lives yet they are sinners in one way or another and automatically question why we cannot have those same "things" they have. We just need to remember we are laying up our treasures in heaven, our rewards or blessings may very well not come in this life, sometimes we forget of a certain principle of the gospel, ENDURE TO THE END. Anyways, that's a commandment, thou shalt not covet. 

Off of my tangent, this week has been going swimmingly. God's been preparing me for events to come. I'm a tad worried I'm going to be built up rather strong and be given something that will attempt to destroy me. I see hard things on its way. Kinda excited for 'em though to be honest. Alma 27:27 (And they were among the people of Nephi, and also numbered among the people who were of the church of God. And they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.)

Love you all,
Elder Gillespie

I can't believe I've resorted to selfies as a missionary.


PS from Betsy: What my humble son didn't include in this email is that he was also assigned to be a District Leader to serve the other missionaries in his area as he continues to train Elder Wright!  Whoot-Whoot!  Proud Mom right here!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

10/6/14 - It Doesn't Matter Who We Are


Elder Gillespie in Shelley, Idaho!

We are ALL children of God, "we are all created equally", He loves us no matter our circumstances or flaws. As what was emphasized at General Conference this last weekend in the Saturday afternoon session we need to love all for it is not our place to hold grudges and be slow to forgive. I loved that session in particular it emphasized something I have felt for a very, very long time. Great weekend to say the least. This week has been great, we set up 6 appointments in ONE day for this upcoming week and we are excited to see what comes of it. We are definitely seeing the fruits of our labors and our faith. I'm expecting to be with Elder Wright for another transfer, in hopes to finish his training, we find out this Thursday what will be happening though. 

Heavenly Father answers our prayers, you just have to listen, watch, and continue in faith. I've been blessed in these short 7 months. It's amazing what you will see as you ask for help from our Father. He is there to help guide us in all things and as we heed to His Holy Spirit we will ultimately receive everlasting joy and eternal life. We won't be perfect, but Lord knows when we have done all that we can and He will take care of the rest after that. 2 Nephi 25:23 (For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.) But we must be careful that we not allow ourselves to think that the mercy of our Father in Heaven will rob justice, just as D. Todd Christofferson said this last weekend. This has definitely been an interesting transfer of training/ whitewashing. Each week I recognize growth in myself in one aspect or another and it is amazing. I love my mission. Sometimes I wish I was somewhere else because it’s just weird being inside such a highly populated LDS area. We cover whole stakes or half stakes out here, so we work with like 4 to 12 bishops at a time and with that many people, you just can't please everybody. The members here in this mission are good people though. I've had a lot of great examples of what family should be and I in turn have many ideas of what I want to do with my future family. Life seems to be moving so quickly at this period of time in my life. Even when I take time to kind of just soak things in, the next thing is already happening and I need to move on to taking care of that.

Love you all,
Elder Gillespie

The best paths in life are rarely easy. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, September 29, 2014

9/29/14 – And the Training Goes On…

Hello Family and Friends,

This week has been full of many exciting and interesting events. Some great some not so great. There are too many to have time to add into this email, unfortunately. So sorry about that. One interesting experience this week. We tried some 600k scovill hot sauce and that was AWESOME. Tasted rather good actually for about 10 seconds... then I could no longer taste anything, it just burned haha. My companion accidentally had a huge drop on his piece of pizza and he hurled like 5 times. It was rather humorous and I am so glad I got it on video (not the vomiting part). We also did a lot of service this week, which felt great. I love doing service. We didn't do much teaching this week, well, pretty much none, only two lessons total. That was ROUGH. I've never taught that few lessons in a week on my entire mission. I'm feelin' for Elder Wright, I remember the beginning of my mission, I didn't hardly teach anything and that was hard for me because I wasn't as prepared as I should have been when I left. Even though I didn't go till I was 20... So the lessons weren't coming so naturally. I've been blessed on my mission though as I have studied hard and now I'm a master :). I have been wanting to whitewash/train for a while so this is a huge blessing to me to go through this trial. The members are growing on us a lot and they're lovin' us. People are always like... Elder Wright, you have that deer in the headlights look. How long have you been out? It's a crack up sometimes. He is a stellar missionary though, I said this last week, but he just isn't afraid to learn and do things outside of his comfort zone. He is reminding me of a lot of things we need to be doing better. Once we get some work generated in this area it will be nice to teach with him. I'm praying really hard we stay together this next transfer. It's only a 5 week transfer this time. Next transfer will be 7 weeks. So transfers are already around the bend, we find out a week from Thursday if any changes will be made with us. Then transfers are on the 15th! It's kind of weird I'm 6 and things are just starting to clique, everything comes so much easier to me. Everything from being put on the spot to teach a class or give a talk all the way to teaching lessons using as many aspects of an efficient missionary as I can according to the persons needs that I discern. It's been awesome to watch this growth in myself. It definitely is a blessing to be on a mission. And I guess this is pretty much home now, that is until I get school/career figured out when I get home. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up at BYU-I for pre-med and then try to get into U of U for med school. That's ultimately the plan right now, but I have no idea what Heavenly Father has in store for me. I'm out of juice guys, sorry but ta-ta for now. Love you all!

Love,

Elder Gillespie

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/22/14 – Hitch (Mom Got Hitched!)

G' Day,

Well we are finally getting a better handle on things in this area. We are finally meeting and getting to know a lot of people. We got bikes! Which helps a ton for getting around in the city part of our area, but doesn't help much with all the other farm land we cover. Our orientation is still pretty lacking, but hey that's why we carry around maps. Elder Wright is a boss. He just wants to do all he can to be successful, and he essentially copies everything I do in hopes to learn and become better (scary). I'm trying to remember if I was like that, I'm kinda thinkin' I wasn't cuz I'm a rebel in that way. Too cool for school attitude. I turned out alright regardless. I see Elder Wright having MUCH success in the mission field. He is really getting out of his comfort zone and learning to just interact and idk, be more missionary like. 

My Mother's wedding.... Well, that was fun! It kinda pumped me up and rekindled my new missionary fire that I had not long ago. I'm ready to get back to work and be the best priesthood holder I can and be worthy of a righteous spouse. Yes, the wedding made me a tad bit girl trunky. But s'all good. It was good to see everyone that was there. The weirdest thing is probably just that my mother lives in my zone. WITHIN 20 MINUTES OF ME. I'm basically serving in my home mission now.... LAME. Haha, nah God works in mysterious ways, will be interesting to see what He has in store for me and my family and future family. Patience right?

Love y'all,
Elder Gillespie


No pictures this week, I didn't really think much about taking any.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

9/20/14 - Elder Gillespie's Visit to the Idaho Falls Temple for His Mom's Sealing

Elder Gillespie was granted permission to attend the Sealing (Wedding) of his Mom, Betsy at the Idaho Falls Temple on 9/20/14. Here are a few pictures from that day.

Elder Gillespie and his Mom, the bride!

Elder Gillespie in front of the Idaho Falls Temple Visitor's Center.

Evan's Companion, Elder Wright in front of the Idaho Falls Temple.

Elder Gillespie's Mom, Betsy with his Min-Pin, Xena.


It was a Happy & Full Day!!!
We are ALL Uber-Blessed!

Monday, September 15, 2014

9/15/14 – SPUD DAY !!

Elders Gillespie and Wright in Shelley, Idaho

Preevyet!!!

Been a crazy week with my new trainee Elder Wright! A little bit about him. He's from Reston, Virginia, he's awesome, he's brilliant, and he's ready to work! He's got 2 sisters and an older brother who is serving in Palmyra, New York.   Like we have been doing practice roleplays to help him learn the lessons, and he is leaps and bounds farther ahead than I was when first came out. I can no longer sustain thought long enough to create a good email. I just talked with sister Spooner a sister from Peoria, AZ and we know like all of the same people. We're pretty much set on talking about all these people. She and I came out to the mission together. Ummmm... we're in a car area with no car so that's been difficult. We rely heavily on members for rides because we cover a lot of farmland. It's definitely not easy whitewash training, but this is going to be a huge learning experience for me. Honestly, the hardest thing really is just the fact that we don't have our own transportation. My Mom's wedding is this Saturday!!!!! AND I GET TO GO TO THAT! Will be awesome to see all of my family. I feel like I'm cheating the system and I get to see everyone. I can't describe how excited I am. It'll be great. Anywho, love you all, sorry AGAIN for the email lacking much information on what's happening in the life of Elder G. This weekend is Spud day and I'm not going to be able to participate :( But I'll be visiting with family so that'll be much better.

Love,

Elder Gillespie

Excerpts from his Letter to Mom (Betsy):

SO COOL that so many people are going to be able to make it up to the sealing. It will be SUPER exciting to see all of the family and friends that will be there. I'm doing some missionary work of my own on the side via emails to old friends and things like that. Thanks for sharing this email with me both the letter to the family AND the sealing! Are you SUPER STOKED?!?!? You gon' be married for time and all eternity...

Yeah so training has been fun, I really have been learning a TON! Now that I have this solid foundation of missionary work built from the past 6 months, I'm just now building it up and making that foundation look all fancy shmancy. I really am learning a lot just these past 5 days or so going through the training program has probably been more helpful for me than for my Son. My Son is totally ready to work, and he already has the lessons pretty well memorized as far as the order of the principles in the lesson. I'm like seriously happy to be training though.  I'm like really really excited to be at your sealing this Saturday, it's a huge day for our family. To be honest, I'm moreso excited to just see everyone again. It's only been 6 months I know, but holy smokes I'm excited! 

Love ya,
Elder Gillespie

Saturday, September 13, 2014

9/8/14 - Truth Shall Make You Free

Elders Gillespie & Downey at the Idaho Falls Temple
Good Day,

John 8:31 – 32 (“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”)
- If we follow in Christ's footsteps we will be made free. It really amazes me. The natural man is so quick to yield to sin. There are so many people that are out there that have no idea. They truly believe that living the gospel is so hard because it is so restricting and has many limitations as to do and don'ts. They cray. Sin binds us to the "gulf of endless misery and woe". It does not provide us with any kind of everlasting joy and happiness. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is what does that as we follow God's commandments. We are in fact living on His earth. Everything we use is his. Even our bodies were GIVEN to us. Thus why we must treat them with respect. But what is so amazing to me is that we as humans (natural men) are so easily deceived by Satan and we temporarily forget that all in all living the commandments and following Christ's teachings will bring us ultimate joy. When we have done all that we can to follow Him that is when, by our Savior’s grace, we are saved and are able to dwell in God's presence again.

Well I found out I'm getting transferred AGAIN! 5 companions in 5 transfers now haha. Elder Downey and I already kind of knew that we weren't going to stay together though anyways. We got along way too well. I'm going up to Shelley Idaho, basically back to where I started my mission! I'm super excited we get to reopen an area up there. AND I GET TO TRAIN A NEW ELDER! WOOOO! I'm super stoked. I'm going to learn so much this transfer. It's rather bittersweet though, I'm sad to be leaving ANOTHER area after 3 months and after having gotten to love the people there so much. I've been making lots of life long friends in this last area and it'll be fun to go back and visit them in a couple of years. Every companionship in my new district up in Shelley is training. It's pretty rare to have that happen. Plus there are 5 companionship's in my district. I really hope I get to do all 12 weeks of my 'Son's' training. Anywho, I'm outty, gotta go get stuff prepared for transfers on Wednesday. 

Love y'all,
Elder Gillespie

Missionary caravan up to Idaho Falls for a Train the Trainers meeting. 
Was a fun 40 minute car ride. 


9/1/14 - GONNA BE A GOOD WINTER

Hello all!

It has been an interesting week. Elder Downey and I are still gettin' along as good as ever. I love that man, he's a great missionary and a great person. I'm excited to see what things he has in store for him in his future. We've been hearing all kinds of mixed things for this up and coming winter weather. I've been told it's going to be what's called and 'El Nino' which supposedly means a very weak winter. But then others have been saying that means a very strong winter. So yeah. I'm hoping for some intense winter storms. I've nearly been out for 6 months now! 2 more weeks. It's seemed like pretty much no time at all.

People are interesting to say the least. We teach and visit with so many wonderful people. I love my job. I love talking to people and helping them and being a vessel for the Spirit of God. It works through me in essentially all I do as I remain worthy. I've had many humbling experiences and I've been very grateful for them. These short two years that I have to serve could go right on by in the blink of an eye. I'm realizing very quickly that I can just float on by without really accomplishing anything or changing anything in my own life. I'm worried that if I don't make some changes that I will have kind of have plateaued and stopped progressing. The hard thing though is that like I don't know how to continue getting better. I'm stepping out of my comfort zones and growing in that way. So that's good I suppose. All I know is that after all I can do, His grace is sufficient for me. I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. I've needed to be forgiven for many things in my life. I've wronged a lot of people. To know that I can change and be strengthened through Christ is a miracle. I wish that everyone would hear the message we as missionaries go about and share. But they think we are selling something and they just don't comprehend what our purpose is and how much the gospel can bless their lives and their families’ lives. I'm running out of time. I'll get better at emails at some point haha... 

Love you all,

Elder Gillespie 

8/25/14 – Week 25 Or Somethin err Other


G'Day,

Well My mother has officially moved into my mission boundaries! Weird..... In other news.. It has been a fantastical week! We have some investigators who are like REALLY struggling, they know the church is true, they want to be baptized, they know what the Spirit feels like, yet they continue to allow Satan to tempt them to do evil. AND they won't quit smoking. It's hard to hear about things they are still involved in when every time we are there are just 100% like YEAH LET’S GET BAPTIZED. They have a baptismal date set for November 8th. I may or may not still be in this area we'll see. Transfers are coming up here on the 10th and we are pretty sure that we won't be together any longer than this one transfer... The typical trend seems to be that companions that are best friends only stay together for a transfer. Plus I have had 4 companions in 4 transfers. I'm really hoping that if Elder Downey and I don't stay together that I'll get to train a new Elder and that we will 'whitewash'. I think that'd be so fun. Plus it'd be nice to get a refresher of the 12 week program for myself. We had an Elder from the 1st Quorum of the Seventy visit this last Saturday! That was really fun, he was a funny guy. He even made a joke about the temple videos (which essentially just gave all the missionaries permission to do so as well.... haha). He (God) answered a lot of my prayers though, was LEGIT! It was kinda weird though, he didn't visit the whole mission. Only the 4 zones that are in Pocatello. We have like 13 or 14 zones in the mission too!

Pics: Found a random typewriter in our apartment and ended up writing a couple of letters with it haha. Was a struggle. Plus it didn't write some letters like y,j,g,p, and some others i think. 

Love you all!
Elder Gillespie


3 Nephi 18: 6-11 “And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you. And it came to pass that when he said these words, he commanded his disciples that they should take of the wine of the cup and drink of it, and that they should also give unto the multitude that they might drink of it. And it came to pass that they did so, and did drink of it and were filled; and they gave unto the multitude, and they did drink, and they were filled. And when the disciples had done this, Jesus said unto them: Blessed are ye for this thing which ye have done, for this is fulfilling my commandments, and this doth witness unto the Father that ye are willing to do that which I have commanded you. And this shall ye always do to those who repent and are baptized in my name; and ye shall do it in remembrance of my blood, which I have shed for you, that ye may witness unto the Father that ye do always remember me. And if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.”

8/18/14 – Letter to Buncha Family to Recap Mission

Hello Family,

I'm sorry I haven't been doing the best at keeping in touch with you all, but I've got some time now finally to sit down and write something up for ya. These past 5 months I've been out in the mission field I've grown SO much. There is no greater thing I could be doing with my life. I've been fortunate enough to build many strong relationships with people out here and watch them completely change their lives around through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It definitely has been a challenge being out here. I don't get to see family or friends from back home. I don't get to watch my T.V. I'm putting my life on hold for these two years. But I'm serving people. In doing that I'm serving God as well. It may or may not be hard to understand, but this is shaping me into a better man, who is better equipped to be a father in the future. And just be a more responsible adult in general. We have what is called Transfers, and that just means every 6 weeks we have the potential to be moved to a different area, get a new companion, or just stay where you are with the same companion. A companion is basically my teaching partner. We are together 24/7 we literally can't leave sight and sound of each other, cept for things like going to the bathroom, and if we get special permission we go on 'exchanges' where we have a different companion for a day or so. Exchanges are usually with missionaries who are leaders in the mission and they help us grow and become better missionaries. Stepping out of my comfort zones out here has really forced me to grow and I'm loving it! I am making friends out here whom I will be friends with FOREVER. I'm a missionary from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When you see two guys in white shirts and ties and name tags on. That's me. I'm doing what they're doing. It's not easy, boy let me tell you haha. if you see them walking around or they come a knockin' on your door, let them in and hear what they have to say. The message we have to share is so precious. It has brought exceeding joy in my life and I am only just starting to understand just a little bit of what our Heavenly Father has in store for all of us. If you don't want to listen at least let them in and give them a drink of water or chat with 'em for a little bit. Crystals wedding is next month isn't it?!?! That's CRAZY. I wish I could be there. I miss you all and our silly family games. As much as I may have drudged playing some cards at times, they are precious memories that I will cherish forever. I wish the best for all of you and I want to hear how things are going for you! Please forward this on to all of our family on your side mom. Like ALLLLLL of them. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

Love,
Elder Gillespie

P.S. The members of the Church here take pretty good care of us haha. That food was all free, some of it was homegrown corn, pork, goat's milk, bread, farm fresh eggs, etc. etc.

(2nd email to larger group)
Hi Family and Friends,

This week has been slow yet we have accomplished so much! Poor Elder Downey hasn't been feelin' super hot so we weren't able to go out and do much proselyting. We have been making a lot of progress with members in the wards we cover though! They have had some serious issues with missionaries in the past and they're starting to gain a lot of trust with us. They see that we are here to work hard and so that's pumping them up. plus Elder Downey is just the most fun, animated person in the world. He's been really good for this area. He and I are thinking in this upcoming transfer that I will more than likely stay here and he'll be transferred out. But, that's not for a few more weeks so it doesn't quite matter just yet. I really want to train a new missionary though, we'll see what happens. 

There's just no experience like the missionary experience. The people that we meet, the things that we see (and maybe wish we hadn't), the miracles we witness. It's just awesome. I'm having so much fun leaving every comfort zone I've ever had and growing as a person. I don't think I've ever laughed this much in my entire life. Elder Downey and I fortunately have fairly similar personalities so that just makes everything so much easier. 

We had three investigators at church yesterday that we have been trying to get there for TWO months. So that was a huge feat! They were all saying 'Yeah, I'll see you guys next week' to random people at Church and they could TOTALLY feel the Spirit there. They all 3 want to get baptized, but one of them is on probation till sometime in November or December so that makes that hard. I may not be here for that :( We have an investigator that is moving and he's is utterly in love with us. okay not that bad, but for someone who was a gangbanger. He's got a serious connection with us. But like I said he is moving out of our area, and he like realllllly wants us to keep teaching him. We think we might be able to work that out, but it'll be interesting to see what happens. He has had a really rough past, and has been working HARD to change his life around. He's been reading out of the Book of Mormon quite regularly and he's about halfway through now. I love people so much though. I've yet to meet a single person whom is a bad person. I've met people who have murdered and few other bad things, yet they still are good people, whom have just made bad mistakes. They are all children of God, and he loves them no matter what. I've been trying to follow Christ's example and exercise patience and humility with those whom might seem 'odd' or 'not right in the head' or just plain people whom I don't necessarily agree with everything they do. The work is hard, but the field is white all ready to harvest. I don't know what the lord has in store for us this upcoming week, but I'm happy to be an instrument in his hands.

Love,
Elder Gillespie

Here are some random pictures of boredom. I know.. They're lame.