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