Monday, June 22, 2015

6/22/15 - YUP! --- District Leader/Trainer Again



Alrighty,

Elder Duano goes to the mission home today at 4pm! Then he's gone forever! His last official proselyting hours were finished last night at 9:30. I don't ever want to send another companion home haha. It's horrible! I'm excited to go from a missionary going home to training a new missionary again though!! They rotated me back to being a District Leader / Trainer. So I find out who I'm training tomorrow night! I'm guessing it'll be a missionary named Elder Danielson, just based off of looks, but who knows, there are 11 Elders coming out and one of them is Spanish speaking. SO with the huge changes that they made in the mission with President and Sister Brinkerhoff going home and 26 other missionaries as well, they had to completely restructure everything. So my district will only be 3 companionships, but it will be all Elders so that means I'll have to be going on a lot of exchanges again. Just like back when I had 6 companionships, which I loved! I think it was inspired that I be dropped down back to training a new missionary because of certain circumstances of things happening in American Falls. I'm pretty anxious for Wednesday to roll around when I get my new companion. I anticipate a lot of growing to happen this next transfer! I'm guessing I'll be with him so that I can fully train him. So 2 transfers... But again, YA NEVER KNOW. This next transfer is going to be 7 weeks long because they shortened the last one to 5 weeks with President Brinkerhoff going home. So it will be a LONG transfer too! Then again, it might be short because I'm training again, so we'll see.

Love you all,
Elder Gillespie

6/15/15 – A Truly Perfect Plan

Family, Friends, and Acquaintances,

15 months into this mission thing! Crazy... 

I think for one of the first times ever, I've been able to literally feel a difference in my thought processes. I look at everything with new eyes. I can see the big picture at this point. I am much more deep internally, but simple externally! I have been shaving off the 'natural man' layer by layer and becoming less shallow and complicated. It's truly amazing what Heavenly Father can teach you if you allow Him into your life. I know that there is more to this life than meets the eye. This life is in many senses a 'test'. I feel like I can compare life to a survival course you may take in college. They may say, "Okay, you have just these 3 items (life situation, mental/physical disabilities, etc.) you can take with you into the wilderness. You must survive for a month using the skills I have taught you (pre-existence)." That's a bad example, but really it's somewhat true. He has given us what we have for a purpose. He knows our hearts, our weaknesses, our strengths, our environment, etc. etc. Only He can be the judge of our salvation. BUT, He expects us to act. With what He has given us or allowed us to experience we ought to act accordingly using the Light of Christ we ALL have! His plan for us is truly perfect. 

Love,

Elder Gillespie

6/8/15 - Ta-Ta for Now

Hello all,

Elder Duano has TWO weeks left! Next Preparation day is his last full one! This will be my first companion that I will have sent home. We're putting together a slideshow to show to the whole zone of the things that have happened the past 4 and a half months. It'll definitely be a fun thing to watch now, and for later in life when I look back on memories. It seems to be turning out pretty good at the moment. Lots of changes are going to be made in the next few months! I get the feeling I may get dropped down from being a Zone Leader within the next couple of months. We'll see. With the new mission president coming in on the 29th, 26 missionaries going home this transfer and probably another 30-40 more in the next two transfers there will be a LOT of different things happening. I'm pretty comfortable with the anticipated changes though, even though I don't know what they'll be yet. 

Love ya'll,
Elder Gillespie

6/1/15 – Tiredom



Hello,

I AM SO TIRED, ALL THE TIME! I just want you to know that. Anyways, this week...  Elder L. Tom Perry passed away and they are removing Elder Richard G. Scott from his apostleship due to health. Two new apostles soon, also Elder Packer and President Monson are both not doing so hot. 

Three hardest things to deal with as a missionary:
  1. 1.      I am unable to listen to my good ole' electronic or indie music. 
  2. 2.      I meet so many good candidates for eternal marriage and cannot ask them on dates. 
  3. 3.      I'm always tired. 


Three best things about being a missionary:
  1. 1.      Witnessing the power of the atonement in peoples' lives.
  2. 2.      Meeting so many good candidates for eternal marriage and taking note of the attributes they have that I want when I can date again!
  3. 3.      The Spirit.


At this point on my mission, when I meet certain people I feel an uncontrollable urge to go all hell-fire and brimstone on them. For example, "Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance", "There are no shades of gray in the Gospel, there is only right and wrong, do or do not, righteous or unrighteous actions", "You know the Gospel is true yet you defy your Heavenly Parents' commands, WHY?!" I think I may be getting a little bit too sassy with people. Especially with missionaries that are being dumb, for a lack of a better phrase.

1 Nephi 19:9 "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."

This is happening this very hour, this very moment even. "Be perfect even as he is perfect." That's all I have to say about that.

We spoke in church last Sunday (my topic was Sabbath Day Observance) and I kind of had one of those moments during my talk. I had noticed people fiddling around with their phones during the sacrament ordinances and near the beginning of my talk I mentioned something along the lines of... "Facebook addiction is real. I understand that. IF IT IS A TEMPTATION TO GET ON FACEBOOK OR ANY OTHER INNAPROPRIATE MEDIA DURING YOUR CHURCH MEETINGS LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME. If you are one that has a compulsive desire to update everyone on every aspect of your life, stop it! You do not need to update your status to "Just took the sacrament, man I feel good! #I'mCleanAgain" Okay, I didn't quite say it in that harsh of a manner but that's just an example of how I feel at times. I did use the example of updating your status right after taking sacrament though and how silly that might be. I DO know how to hold my tongue and follow the Spirit in the appropriateness of my actions in whatever setting I may be in. 

Anyways, on a lighter note, Elder Duano goes home in 3 weeks! He's getting excited! It'll be good to see him progress through life. I picture him being a very successful businessman in the future and having a large impact on society. There is a gray Japanese jacket thing that he wears and when he wears it, he looks like a Filipino general. I picture him leading an army of Filipino's into war. It's kind of scary even. 

There is a missionary named Elder Bertoch that I met my very first day out. He was the first one to come up and talk to me when I got to the transfer site waiting to go meet Elder Larsen. We have become buds ever since, he is only out 1 transfer longer than myself. About 4 transfers ago we both predicted that we would be Zone Leader companions together in exactly 5 transfers. Oddly enough he just became a District Leader in our zone this transfer. We are losing a net of 7 companionships this next transfer so that means they are going to start combining stakes. We share a stake with Elder Bertoch and his companion. I'm in high hopes if they combine our stake that he will get pulled up to be a zone leader here with me. It'd be interesting because I know everyone in one half of the stake and he knows the other half. We'll see what happens I suppose.

That's all I got, I'm juiced...
Ta-Ta for now,
Love ya!


-Elder Gillespie

5/25/15 - L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.


As I look at life through my camera, the lens is continually widening and allowing me to see the bigger picture. Each experience I have is a learning experience and attributes to how I act upon certain situations as they arise. I pray often to be able to see my life and the life of others whom I come into contact with as God see us. He sees the purpose and reason behind all that occurs. If we were to have the capability of seeing the bigger picture, always, we would more easily be able to be a perfect follower of the example of Christ. An eternal perspective is the perfect way to 'Endure to the end'. The problem that occurs here is that we ourselves are not perfect. We have been given 'demons' to overcome in this life, whether it be a stutter, an addiction, divorce, wayward children, mental/physical disabilities, anger management issues, impatience, pridefulness, forgiving others or forgiving ourselves, self-esteem issues, etc. We often forget that everyone has problems in their lives. More often than not we only barely scratch the surface of who people really are underneath. I have commissioned myself to be understanding of why people are the way they are and not so much focus on the WHAT people are or WHAT they do. God sees people in a way no other can. He understands that person who committed suicide and every factor into why that occurred. Only He can be the judge of these things. If we can but allow ourselves to be forgiving of others and quick to observe, we enable ourselves to come close to see others as God sees them. This teaches us charity and love. If we do not love, we are nothing. Moroni 7: 46-48
(“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”)
I am given much opportunity to widen my lens so that I can see the bigger picture. I have learned from Elder Duano that I ought to choose to look through the 'Lens of the Gospel'. I'll let you ponder on that. 


God is awesome. The gospel of Jesus Christ is awesome. This life is awesome. My companion is awesome. My zone is awesome. Revelation is awesome. My brothers and sisters are awesome. My family is awesome. Technology is awesome. The Book of Mormon is true and awesome. I'm going to start waking up every morning yelling positive affirmations. Right at 6:30am "This is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!", "I have the best investigators IN THE WORLD!!!!!", "I'm the COOLEST KID IN TOWN!!!!!" ETC. 

5/18/15 - The Best Life

Elder Gillespie & Elder Duano in the background on P-Day

Sample of Elder G's Mad Photography skills! - Bleeding Heart

Missionary life is the best life. So much growing and learning takes place as a missionary. Our foundations for the entirety of our lives' are being formed and shaped based on our diligence in these short two years or 18 months. The foundation can be one of gratitude for our Savior and obedience to the Lord or it can be one of casual adherence to the precepts taught in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we teach others, we ourselves learn by the Spirit. Joy is boundless as we strive to shine the light of the Gospel upon all those with whom we have been entrusted to serve. I learn so much from Elder Duano as I witness him utilize the talents and abilities God has given him. He has taught me what it means to be unified in teaching, how to more effectively interact with missionaries entrusted to our stewardship, and many other things. I'm grateful to have another 5 weeks to spend learning from him and the experiences we will have. With other transfer news, it's only a 5 week transfer, Elder Wright is coming to the zone to be with my Minnesota buddy, Elder Gross. I'm excited to be back around him! I just wish our zone was a bit bigger. 15 missionaries is not very much for an entire zone...

TODAY IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIIIIIIFE! 

Positive affirmations... They really work. They make you chuckle too because of how goofy they are. It's sometimes hard to learn how to enjoy yourself when for hours on end you are swimming in rejection. 

THERE IS SO MUCH SUBSTANCE TO THIS LIFE! There is SO much to experience. Mastering the principle of goal setting and prioritizing will be vital in living a fulfilling life. I want to see the world and experience all of the different cultures in the world. I want to learn new languages. I want to be a doctor, a photographer, a Father, a Husband, a missionary. I want to know and understand everyone and why they are the way they are. I want to see them as through God's eyes. I want to accomplish all that there is to accomplish. Yet, our Father has plans for me, it is my duty to align His will with mine. I just want to experience all of life all at once. I'm kind of tired of sitting, waiting, and allowing things to just happen. I want to be the driving force that makes them happen. 

Love you all,

Elder Gillespie 
Yes, Yes... that really 'is' a tarantula !

5/11/15 - Hardness of Heart

Elders Duano, Olson & Gillespie with the Thomas's at their Baptism

I would not be a good blog writer. I have the hardest time remember what things have taken place even if it was just the day before. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way we can receive peace, joy and happiness in our lives. It's also the only way, if you look into the eternities that is. If we obtain peace, joy or happiness through any other way, it will not last. Just as Satan uses 'miracles' to draw the hearts of men away from truth he also desires for us to feel of those false securities that can come in this life. It is vital to take a step back and look at yourself and ask, "Am I being deceived?" "Is this what God's will is for me?" If we get caught in the lies and devices of Satan we will become content. Everything just simply becomes, "Life is 'good enough'" or "I'm not perfect, God will understand that I can't follow ALL of the commandments" or "I'll be okay if I just live a good life" or "I can change later, I'm not ready now". This mindset is false and not of God. The Holy Spirit will never justify sin for you. If you think it is or has in the past then it is likely that you are listening to the wrong spirit. Too many people we work amongst here in Idaho are caught up in the worldly things. Their families are lower on their priorities than their things. The temporal pleasures of the world become seemingly more important than our eternal happiness and peace. It is widely forgotten that we came into this world naked, and we will leave this world naked. Our most important roles in this life will be as family units to support, love, and serve one another. Our ultimate goal is to receive exaltation and eternal life with our FAMILIES. Some people have been raised in such a way that even their own families are insignificant to them. Video games, drugs, sex, money, FRIENDS, all become more important than one's own family. I'm witness to many of God's children having, as the scriptures say, hardness of hearts and being unwilling to change. I believe I have even met some whom Satan has obtained full power over and their only way back is when they learn of our Father’s perfect Plan of Happiness for us in the next life. That is what is so great though, is that our Father in Heaven does have a perfect plan for us. If we don't accept the Gospel in this life we will have the opportunity in the next. Heavenly Father knew of the wickedness that we would face in this day and age. He has prepared several things to guide us and protect us... Prophets, the restored Priesthood, the Book of Mormon! So many wonderful things are abounding throughout the world that we have access to. The world has never before had so much access to the light of the Gospel. My understanding of the Gospel is very simple and minuscule even. But the joy I have received is great! The peace I have received is great! I know enough to be successful in carrying out our Father's will. 

This past weekend, the rest of the Thomas family was baptized! BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!! (Every day is actually). This work is indeed work, but I have desires to serve God, thus I am called and blessed with talents and abilities to bless others with. If you want to be happier quicker... Serve others! That's one of the quickest ways to forget the worries and troubles of your own life. Anywho, I think that email suffices for this week. More to come in the months following. 

Love,
Elder Gillespie


p.s. I'm not a huge fan of point and shoot cameras... 

5/4/15 – God's Hand is in All Things

Elder Evan Gillespie, ZL in Chubbuck, ID - on 5/10/15 Mother's Day Skype <3

Hello friends and family,

In about a week I will have been serving as a full-time missionary for 14 months. These 14 months have been truly instructive and inspiring. I've seen a lot of scary things, yes, even in Idaho, that have been very eye opening. I've seen and taken part in many tender experiences as well. My heart has been touched over and over as I've witnessed the blessings of the Gospel in people’s lives. I may have said this before, but I'm going to say it again. The more I come to know, the more there is that I realize I don't know! It's as if there is another realm of knowledge in existence that you can only be spoon-fed or your mind will overload and explode. I can't possibly describe what I'm trying to portray with this. All I can say is that, Heavenly Father's wisdom is amazingly incomprehensible. If you dare trying to tell Him what your plans are for your life, he will laugh and simply say no, this is what will be happening in your life. He truly prepares you for things you'll be facing in life. I am grateful for where I am at in life right now. I have learned to take things as they come facing them with faith and respecting the circumstances I'm faced with due to the fact that God's hand is in all things. I've seen the hand of God in literally everything I look back on in life that I can remember having any kind of effect on where I'm at as a being. I am a living witness that our Heavenly Father truly does reveal the mysteries of the kingdom unto those whom exercise faith, repent and bring forth good works. These experiences that I'm having are preparing me for continued activity in the church. Even more than that though, they are preparing me to 'receive all that the Father hath' which is ETERNAL joy with our Eternal Families.

I'm grateful to be here in Chubbuck, ID working together with Elder Duano, unified in the purpose of the Lord. I am grateful that I am an instrument in the hands of the Creator to bring forth and establish a foundation of His work here. I'm grateful to be a servant. As I have served I have felt more joy than ever before in life. I hope to live a life full of service as the Savior has. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. The miracles He performed were wrought about because of prayer, felt need and faith. Prayer and faith are way more important than I think most of us truly realize. I have a testimony of the miracles that can come from a simple prayer of faith. Lives can be changed, shaped and formed because of YOUR faith. We have the power, men and women alike, to affect others’ eternal salvation. I hope to rejoice with many, hopefully THOUSANDS, maybe dozens or hundreds of thousands, in the life to come as I followed our Fathers will for me in this life. We as members of the church ought to fulfill the commission to bring the gospel to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, through any which way we possibly can. Strive to fix yourself and the music you play will be heard among many. They will dance in joy due to the great messages heard. I love my Father and His Son, I love you and I want you to know that there is a purpose for what you are suffering through, there is a purpose for you in this life. Allow our Heavenly Father's will to become yours and you will be all the more happier.

(he also said: I've grown so much and continue to do so. Heavenly Father really does work line upon line and precept upon precept. I can't necessarily see the big picture right now. All of us have a place and purpose in our Fathers plan. It's kinda awesome... )

Love,

Elder Gillespie

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

4/27/15 – Sacred Sabbath Observance

Elders Gillespie & Sitini when visiting American Falls

Hello!

Busy week! We had Mission Leadership Council and got the inside look on what the Church will really be emphasizing in Ward Conference, Stake conference, General Conference, etc. etc. Something very basic has been addressed over and over throughout the years, without much measurable change or success. That is strengthening faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ through Sabbath observance at church AND at home. One thing that was touched on quite a bit is not so much the importance of the how's but the why's. Why do we observe the Sabbath day, personally? Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke last at General Conference on this subject for a reason. 

"How do we hallow the Sabbath day? In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear."

The same goes for just about every other commandment we strive to live. Commandments like tithing and church attendance can be perfected, but it's not a matter of simply going through the motions. Are we 'hearing the music of the Gospel' as was spoken about in General Conference. Are we doing it because it's a culture? Or are we striving to please God that in turn we may receive the blessings predicated upon that obedience. Where is our motivation truly stemming from? 

Not much time today, we gotta get running. All is well, exciting things to come! 

Love,

Elder Gillespie

4/20/15 – Fasting Brings Miracle after Miracle after Miracle…



Hello,

This has been a miraculous week amongst the members of the Chubbuck Zone AND the Idaho Pocatello Mission. I do not have words sufficient to describe all that has happened. This past week we had a fast on tax day as a mission. We have been telling our zone members for the past month or so, to TELL US YOUR MIRACLES. And all we hear are crickets (though they have been happening). Suddenly this mission fast on Wednesday happens... Miracle, after miracle, after miracle. This morning we met as a zone just so we can talk about all of the miracles that have happened and rejoice with one another. Here are a few examples of what we've seen:

-We blitzed a Spanish companionships' area in Aberdeen/American Falls this past Saturday. A blitz is where multiple other companionships visit another companionships area to work in it for a few hours or so. These 'blitz's' are done in hopes to setup appointments, find new investigators, sift the wheat from the tares, etc. etc... Five out of the seven companionships were at this blitz, and every companionship was able to setup at least one appointment with a new investigator in a total of around one and a half to two hours of proselyting. That doesn't happen.... Many church materials were passed out and many testimonies were bore in that area. 

-One of our baptismal dates dropped this past week due to personal concerns. She will likely still be baptized but not when we were hoping. One day after that, we got a voicemail from some Elders in the stake we share saying that they set a date... in our area... for May. To make that make more sense, the mission’s goal again is to have every single companionship baptize two individuals in the month of May. We already have one solid baptismal date, but with the other one moving back we got a little bit nervous. Then we get that voicemail... Our area is set for May. We are now able to spend more time in other companionships areas, helping to uplift encourage, and inspire. We love the missionaries we serve amongst. 

-An investigator named Raymond Simpson moved to American Falls recently. The Elders serving there were telling Elder Duano of this miracle that happened as I was interviewing one of their investigators for baptism. The Elders walked up to someone in church thinking that he may have been a non-member and started talking to him... This is what he said, "I've been looking for your Elders, I want to get baptized." Now, to add onto that, Raymond, was an investigator I taught about 8-9 months ago when I was in Pocatello the first time serving in the Pocatello 9th ward. Raymond and I had a lot of things to connect with, I was able to identify with him pretty well. Unfortunately, for us, he moved to another area due to lack of funds. Now nearly 8-9 months later, he will finally be getting baptized! I'll be able to go see it too!!! 

I've got about 4 or 5 more I could tell you about, but we don't have much time. We are taking our zone on a hike by President and Sister Brinkerhoff's house today and giving one of our missionaries a surprise birthday cake. President will actually be joining us on the hike, so that should be fun! I'm grateful to be serving with Elder Duano and learning from his example, as well as all of the other missionaries here in this zone. Anyways, we gotta run, love you all!

Love,
Elder Gillespie