Monday, March 31, 2014

Evan's First Area - Firth Idaho with Elder Larsen

My companion is really awesome and has a great testimony. 

Howdy everyone,

Tuesday afternoon all of us greenies (new missionaries) arrived at the Mission Home in Pocatello. They appropriately fed us a potato bar for our first meal in Idaho and it was super delicious. Tuesday night we had an orientation to the field and we were assigned our calls! I was assigned to serve in the Firth area. Population of roughly 500... yup. I was a little bit shocked. Apparently missionary work is thriving here though, the members are really great about fellow-shipping, especially the youth. So far I'm loving the town, it has one gas station and one stop n shop convenient store. No grocery story or anything like it for 10-15 miles. On Wednesday my companion Elder Larsen drove me around to meet a bunch of the members and we got some of my groceries. We also just moved into a members home that’s apparently really nice compared to a lot of apartments the missionaries get. My companion got really sick Thursday night and to this day is still sick. He has some sort of bacterial infection that mimics the stomach flu I guess, so we haven't been able to teach hardly at all.. We taught one lesson to a guy from Israel and he wants us to keep teaching him whenever he is in town here, but he lives in Orem so we can't really do much for him. So yeah like I mentioned my companion has been really sick pretty much since I've been here so I'm just trying to keep busy studying my scriptures, workin' out, and studying the lessons. To say the least its been hard to stay awake cause everywhere there is to sit in our apartment is super comfortable and my eyes just start droopin' after about 20 minutes of reading. I'm pretty lame about hand writing letters so sorry to those who are waiting for a reply. I'm sending them out today so you should get them by today or tomorrow. All of the people here in Firth are so cool and friendly, Mormon or not. We kept scheduling appointments thinking my comp was going to be better, and then ending up needing to reschedule AGAIN and everyone is just like "oh its cool, let us know if you guys need anything" even people that we haven't even met before. A lot of people here are self-sustaining, or they trade goods in order to get like milk, eggs, wheat, etc. etc. There are the typical hillbilly lookin'/soundin' people here and it’s so funny, but they are just as friendly and loving as can be. The ‘our home is your home’ type of people. I'm sure there are plenty of other things I'm forgetting to mention, but that's all I can think of right now. Mom, if you want you can send an email with like an outline of questions on it and I'll try to answer them the best I can. I love you all! I'm grateful to have met you. I would not be serving a Mission right now if it weren't for all of the wonderful influences I've had in my life. And here's a random scripture: If you ever feel like giving up read these verses, Doctrine & Covenants Chapter 88:123-124 (see below). I'm afraid you'll have to look it up cause I don't have my scriptures with me right now. Ummmmm welp, yeah I'm loving life out here even though I haven't done much, today we were supposed to go hiking up to a cave but it snowed for half of the day yesterday so they're probably going to cancel it. 

Doctrine & Covenants Chapter 104:82:

"And inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful and call upon my name, behold, I will give you the victory.”

Pretty much every night looks like this and it’s pretty much all farm out here

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Evan's with his Mission 'Mom' & 'Dad' in Idaho!

Evan's with his Mission 'Mom' & 'Dad' - President & Sister Brinkerhoff!

Here we are just before I left him at the MTC on 3/12/14.
I pulled over in front of the Provo, Utah Temple and said a prayer with him before leaving him for 2 years and I know he'll be uber-blessed and watched over while he serves the Lord and goes about his Father's business in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the wonderful people in the Pocatello, Idaho Mission.
Life is just SO Stinkin' Good and Evan's Making Good Happen!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Evan's on his way to Pocatello !

Evan's on his way to Pocatello !

His mailing address at the Mission Home for now will be:
Elder Evan James Gillespie
Idaho Pocatello Mission
135 South 7th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho 83201

Hello fellas,
Tomorrow I depart from the MTC, at 8:30, on "Le Bus", to the mission home! I'm so excited to meet the Mission President I keep hearing great things about him. I'm also super excited to meet my trainer! The MTC food hasn't gotten any better this past week, but MAN did it go by fast. After our first Sunday, the MTC experience just flew by. All of the devotionals are amazing. I didn't get the chance to see a general authority or anything, but nonetheless the talks were amusing. Last night was pretty funny... 
I don't really know what to expect the next couple of days, but I'm pretty sure I'm about to be thrown right into the field and I'm happy about it. I've been ready to get to work after the first couple of days here...  I think Monday's are going to be my P-day in the field. I'm just doing laundry right now, I don't think I'm supposed to be emailing exactly right now... IDK. lol I can't think of much else. My branch presidency is awesome, the new district is awesome, and Jesus Christ is even more awesome. 
Elder Gillespie

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Evan's First Letter!

Picture of Evan right before entering the MTC on 3/12/14 in Provo, Utah

Having a great time in the MTC have never felt the Spirit so much in my life so consistently. And MAN I love readin the Book of Mormon so much now. I'm learning a lot and the Lord is helping me get through this awkward first stage of my mission.

Well from the beginning of my MTC experience to now, I've grown a lot and have had to practice much patience with people. My zone is super fun, I'm the "Grandpa" of the zone and everyone kind of comes to me with their problems. I'm the oldest and MOST of these Elders and Sisters struggle with knowing when it’s time to quiet down and my companion especially enjoys being the center of attention. We all love each other so much though and have tons of fun together. Our district is full of spiritual, intelligent Elders and Sisters and they are a really good examples to me and they are answering tons of questions that I have. The one thing about the MTC I don't like is when we are asked to do roleplay with people that aren't very good actors. It's really easy for me to just talk to people if I feel like I'm getting to know a real person and it is an extraordinary experience. I feel like others need the practice much more than I do with using PMG, getting to know them and getting comfortable with them, so I'm trying to help out and encourage them to say things. I kind of feel that way about most of the MTC right now. I try to keep quiet and let others practice or come to their own inspired conclusions on whatever we may be discussing as opposed to just always jumping in during class or roleplay and saying my opinion or just taking control of the conversation. I really enjoy watching us all grow together. We have a couple of Sisters named Sister Nielsen and Sister Preciado and they are the powerhouse companionship of our zone. We get new missionaries tomorrow, and now we are considered the "old" missionaries, so we have orientation for them tomorrow night. I'm really excited about getting to know them and helping them get through those first couple of days. My companion and I are the Zone leaders and with the incoming district we'll have 7 Sisters and 8 Elders, so it should be fun. 
The food here isn't terrible but I most definitely would not like to stay here for the 9 weeks (learning a language added on to that) like Preston did. Kudos to him. Never in my entire life has the Spirit been such a constant companion for me. It is amazing to me the things I'm learning and the things I'm finding out about myself. Our District Leader is awesome too, sadly he's going to Richmond, Virginia and I won't be seeing him for a very long time. He's a spiritual giant and it amazes me the things he picks out of verses or the insight he has on certain things. I don't have a card reader or a chord for my camera so you peeps won't be getting pictures for a while. I may just end up sending home my memory card because I took two for this reason. I've been putting a lot of my faith in our Heavenly Father this last week and spent probably a good 6-8 hours just praying to have the spirit guide me. ANYWAYS overall, this has been a great experience for me, I really just want to be out in the field and teaching real people, NOT actors. But there’s a couple thousand missionaries here doing the same thing as me so it can't be that bad. 
I read Mike and Taylor's letter, I'm afraid I don't have much time right now to reply, I'll try to hand write some letters and send them out here this next week, but no promises, our schedules are insane, and then at the end of the night when we go to the residence hall we have about 45 minutes to prepare for bed read scriptures, pray, comp study, journal, etc. etc. And as a (pretty much solo) zone leader we have all of those responsibilities on top of that. I would so be using Mormon euphemistic slang throughout all of my letters in an attempt to express my excitement and gratitude for being out here, but I'm trying to transition my language over to that of a professional for when I'm out in the field. Plus some guy said something along the lines of "follow with [something] and you'll receive blessings, follow with exactness and you'll receive miracles" so I decided to receive miracles. I'll let you know when they start happenin.
I love you all and I hope you're doing well.

Elder Gillespie