Monday, April 21, 2014

4/21/14 - Unconditional Love, Working through some Disappointments and Taking the Lead!

Hi Hi,

There's some pretty cool people out there in the world. I'm grateful to be able to get to meet just a few of them here in Firth. In my life's experiences, I've come to the conclusion that I should just love everyone I meet. Like Jesus loved us. There are lots of weird people out there, shady looking people, overly happy people, shy people, etc. etc. I've had the opportunity to meet all kinds of people under those categories and among others. All of them though, are children of God, our brothers or sisters, and are no better or worse than us. I've been fortunate enough to meet many of these people these past few weeks that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do if I weren't here in Firth. All of them have a story, have grown up differently than we, are born with different brains than we, and all of them have a good heart. Here's a scripture on the subject of love. :)  Doctrine & Covenants 121:36-46. 

“That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile
Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”

Well, I guess I should start off with the bad news for Elder Larsen and me. So we cover 6 wards here in our area, and our Spanish Sisters were low on work unfortunately. After correlating with the Sisters and our Stake President we decided to give them an English ward. So now we're down to 5 wards, the hard part is that the Kimball ward (the one we gave up) contained most of our investigators with a baptism date, and almost the entirety of our current teaching pool. 

BUT we still have 1 part-member family we are teaching and I love them SO much, man, I can't describe how awesome they are. Elder Larsen has been teaching them for the past 7 months since he has been in Firth, so they aren't progressing towards baptism very quickly but that's okay. We helped them move a hot tub on Saturday and holy smokes that thing was heavy. Took like 4 hours to move it from Idaho Falls to Goshen. 

I'm pretty excited about not having work to be honest. It's like having a fresh start or as missionaries call it "whitewashing" an area (starting from scratch). Elder Larsen and I are planning on getting in with all of the Stake auxiliary leaders and Ward leaders to help with our finding efforts. I'm trying to think of cool fireside ideas that youth and adults would be interested in coming to, that aren't threatening to non-members or less-actives and are super fun. So we're going to talk with the stake young men's and young women's presidents to see if they have any ideas for a missionary fireside. Also, I'm trying to get people to start brainstorming for ideas of fun ward activities to do now that summer is coming up and planting season is coming to an end. I feel like we are revolutionizing the area with missionary work, it’s exciting lol. We're getting all of the members super pumped and giddy about it. 

We had interviews on Thursday with the mission president and those went well. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen this transfer but, I'm ready for just about anything. I'll more than likely be staying with Elder Larsen here in Firth to finish up my 12 week training program, and we're thinking the area will be pinkwashed by some Sisters (we'll both get transferred out and two new sisters will be transferred in) after that. After the interviews ended, we immediately on exchanges with our zone leaders and that was super enlightening and fun. Elder Eldredge was my companion for a day and a half and I learned a lot of good study skills from him and just how to be a good missionary in general. We had all of these great plans after interviews and all of our lessons ended up falling through. The next day we planned for another great day because we had 3 lessons planned before dinner, which for a missionary is a feat due to the fact that most people are working at that time. Those all fell through as well, BUT regardless of the disappointments I still had a great time gettin' to know him and learning from him. And we were still consistently busy throughout the day, I don't know how, but he figured out stuff to do and to fill our time with missionary work. 

Well about half of you probably won’t read this because it’s a super long TLDR letter, but I hope you at least read this bottom part because I want you all to know that I love you. So there...

Elder Chillespie

(Note from Betsy –  =)  I had to look it up LOL: TLDR = "Too Long; Didn't Read")
Evan also said “I'm just super focused on the work” --- love my Elder G!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

4/20/14 - Easter Sunday Picture & Humanitarian Picture

A sweet lady from Evan's (Elder Gillespie's) Ward (church congregation), in Firth, ID - sent me this picture from their Easter Service today - with Elder Larsen:

Someone else also sent me a picture Thursday 4/17 of Elders Gillespie and Larsen after they tied a baby quilt for a church humanitarian service project!  Yes - Proud, Proud Mom !!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

4/14/14 - Evan's Loving Firth, Goshen & Basalt, Idaho!

They name big areas of land by what the ward is called, but this is all pretty much one Town, there's technically three cities I serve in though: Basalt, Firth, and Goshen. I'll have more pictures next week :/ I'm out of time. 

Ta-ta for now.

-Elder G.

(Here’s his first email before he sent the picture above)

Hello everyone!

I've been having some really great experiences out here in Firth. There are a couple of families we are working really hard worth. We invited one Sister to be baptized on the 26th and she is trying to quit smoking right now so we are praying really hard that she'll be able to make that date. It's a mission goal to have every companionship baptize in the month of April and this is the only date we have set right now. They have to attend church 3 times before they can be baptized as to prevent them from immediately going inactive. So Elder Larsen and I did a Stop Smoking program that we as missionaries have and they have been doing GREAT so far. The husband is a less active member and is doing it as well. I just met a family yesterday that are Seventh Day Adventists and they are Insanely knowledgeable in the Bible and they have a very open point of view on doctrine (meaning they are willing to be challenged and discuss viewpoints they take on the Gospel of Christ). 

I finally got to go to church yesterday for the first time in this area! The first week my companion had the flu and the second week was general conference, so it was being broadcasted. It was nice to get to meet all the members finally. The bishop randomly told me I was speaking as a youth speaker so I could introduce myself, so I scrambled and wrote some things down so I didn't have a stupor of thought. It ended up going well and it will probably help the members in getting comfortable with me (I.e. meaning they'll give us more referrals). 

The families we are teaching are just awesome, I can't say it enough. I'm enjoying helping others come closer to Christ, and helping them understand the peace, hope and happiness that the Gospel brings. I really do love the promise that the Book of Mormon has in Moroni 10:3-5 and in the Introduction to it. The promise is that if ye shall ask if the things which you read are true, with a sincere heart, real intent, having faith in Jesus Christ (also, faith you'll receive an answer), he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. I can testify to that as I've been studying the Book of Mormon. I received many confirmations and answers to prayers doing just that. The great thing is about the Book of Mormon is that once you gain that testimony for yourself, a whole new world opens up to you. You indirectly gain a testimony of Joseph Smith, our current prophets, the great apostasy, and other things I can't think of right now lol.

Anyhow, I need recipes; I'm getting tired of making myself eggs in a blanket or fried eggs and toast lol. I'm going to try to buy some healthy stuff for p-day today and I need ideas peeps. 

I'm burnt out on emails.. I'm going to start writing this email first so you guys get the good stuff. Apologies!!!! 


Elder Gillespie

Sunday, April 13, 2014

4/13/14 - Elder Gillespie Sighting by My First Missionary Companion!

So first of all - it's pretty cool that Evan's FIRST area is Firth, Idaho!
Why?  Because my FIRST Missionary Companion, Liz Gifford (Peters now) - is FROM Firth!  We served together in Blaine, MN when I first got out in the Mission field in April of 1990. I remember that when she told people where she was from she always said this:  "I'm from Firth, Idaho.  It's right next to second." - groaner ;)
Seriously a VERY small world! - I mean - my first, his first! So cool beans!

SOOOOOO then to top it off - I get this note from Liz today after church:
"I saw and spoke with your son today at church! We were in Idaho for my nieces wedding so we went to my parents' ward. He looks great. He spoke in church today and did a great job! You have a wonderful and faithful son. I was very impressed. I can tell he's a great missionary just like his Mom! I guess they stopped by my parents house yesterday but they weren't home (we were all in Rexburg for the wedding). Hopefully next time they'll catch them at home:) Love you! Hope you have a great day!"

Made my day!!!  Woo-hoo!  YES!  I'm a proud Missionary Mom!

4/7/14 - Quick Note from a Busy Elder

Hello Civilians,

How's Life?

This week has been exciting I've had a run in with Anti-Mormon's, buried an investigators dog, watched a cat get run over, went to the temple and witnessed a recently reactivated family get sealed together, helplessly watched a guy's horses break out of their coral and just run in all directions. It's also been a very spiritual week. General Conference this weekend was superb and I wrote down like 8 pages worth of notes.

I'm pretty exhausted from the long day we've had. We were planning a hike to the 40 horse cave in Wolverine, but apparently it was closed and the member that was taking all 22 of us had no idea. So some of us just decided to hike on a random mountain nearby and that was some good exercise.

Sorry the email is short and kind of lame, I don't have any of my notes or journal entries to remember what happened this week and I only had about 25 minutes to write this and a couple of other emails.  My area here in Firth is beautiful though and the people are AMAZING. I love them so much. I'm learning so much about the Gospel of Christ, it is very simple but not at the same time. My testimony is just as simple. The Book of Mormon is fact not fiction, Joseph Smith did help to restore Christ's true church in this dispensation, Prophet Thomas S. Monson does receive revelation from God to guide us in these latter days, and the Lord gives us trials and tribulations that we may become stronger through repentance and enduring to the end. 

Love you all so much,

Elder Gillespie 

P.s. No pictures this week. Don't have the card reader so that I can send them.

4/3/14 - Note from Evan's Mission Mom - Sister Brinkerhoff

I just received a text from Elder Gillespie.  He has been doing wonderfully on his mission!   I love his attitude.   He says they had two lessons fall through, so they are out contacting today.  The people in the Firth area have all been really friendly; he’s excited to start meeting with some new investigators they have lined up to teach. 

We really enjoyed having him in the mission home when he arrived and meeting with him at orientation last Friday.  Thanks for your outstanding son!

We appreciate your love and support,  

Sister Brinkerhoff