Thursday, December 24, 2015

12/21/15 – Merry Christmas --- Miracles Abound!

My Kind Ladies & Gents',

Wow.. What a humbling month of experiences on my mission. I have some miracles I have decided to share with you.

1. The Lord truly is the one who carries out this work. We get to be here to witness His hand working in the lives of SO MANY! One particular family here in Idaho Falls has been seeing so many amazing things happen in their lives mixed in with some really hard things. At first our visits there consisted of Mom avoiding us whenever we set up an appointment or even just if we showed up. We usually ended up talking with the daughter when that would happen and we always shared short messages of hope and of being a good example etc. etc. At one point we shared an odd bit of our doctrine with them about our divine potential and that seemed to be the catalyst to perk their interest. It was funny, actually, I looked over to my companion and said, "We're doing it" in reference to, yes we are going to talk about this topic that usually is not discussed too much. So after that we had another lesson set up and at the end we gave them a Book of Mormon Stories book for the daughter. A few days go by and we catch the family as they are leaving to go for a walk to a park a few miles away. Good timing right? So we see them, I point at them, the Mom points back, we walk up to them and join them on their walk! We talk about priesthood authority, we talk about women and the priesthood, we talk about mission life, etc. etc. It was a good visit. We probably walked for a good 30 minutes with them until saying alright we should probably get back to the car. They suggest, "Can we walk you back?" after getting about half way to the park or so, and of course we say, "Sure!" So we have bonded a good bit at this point. A few days after that, we talk with Mom and she says, "What have you done to my Daughter?!" She then goes on to explain several events that have been taking place all the while Mom had been avoiding us up until the point where we were then at. Some of the things she said: She has been doing better in school, making better choices, Mom caught her reading the Book of Mormon Stories at 3am in the dark under her blankets. Mom was totally in awe of the changes taking place. The kicker was when the Daughter said, "you know... I don't feel like my baptism when I was young really counted, I WAS A BABY!" She then decided to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God. I was fortunate to be the one to perform the ordinance of baptism for her and Elder Hoffman confirmed her in church the next day. This is just the beginning... Mom struggles with addiction and has been struggling because of that for the past couple years of her life. During one lesson I jokingly called Mom a "Bawl Baby" and ever since then her Daughter has been telling everyone that her Mom is a "Bawl Baby" haha. Anyways, Mom has a broken heart and a contrite spirit as the scriptures say and has a great desire for her daughter to be happy. In the midst of all of these things happening, money has been an issue, scared of losing a home and electricity, food, etc. have ALL been a struggle, many miracles in that situation alone, but I won't go into details. Mom has now decided that she, herself, wants to be baptized. She has fallen in love with the story of Alma the Younger and has read half of the book of Alma just because she likes it. She wants to feel forgiveness from her sins and mistakes. A couple of weeks before her daughters baptism they moved into Grandma and Grandpa's home while they were on a 2 week vacation, which was a blessing for this Mom and Daughter. The Great Grandma has some health challenges and she lives there so they were taking care of her. Great Grandma has a GREAT faith in Christ and is a Methodist. She has been there for several of our lessons. The last lesson we had there we talked about the Great Apostasy more in depth than we normally would, and left a simple heartfelt invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know of its truthfulness. Great Grandma has taken the challenge and she herself is seeking to know if it’s the truth of God. SO much good has come to this family because of the small changes they have been making in their lives. They have been attending church, praying regularly, reading scriptures, even have gone to Family Home Evening and Mom will be doing Book of Mormon study groups with one of our Relief Society Presidents. I could go on with the other small miracles with just this family, but it all stemmed from the Daughters Spirit recognizing that this is a good thing and she went for it. They still have some trials to come in the near future, but great seeds have been planted and are starting to develop here. 

2. We recently had a recent convert in our area pass away due to cardiac arrest, which was caused by a concoction of prescribed drugs that should not have been mixed. Doctors made a mistake it sounds like. This was hard. We had just seen her the previous day, and she had just given a talk in church the day we saw her. She committed us to ask around to the members in the ward and see how she did on the talk and report back on the compliments and only the compliments haha. This woman has some hardship on her way to joining the church as well. She had just received a letter from her family that she was essentially being disowned because of it the same weekend she passed away. After her passing, the family witnessed the involvement of the church in her life and are starting to think differently toward things. A long story short, her Brother who is not a member has attended church a couple of times with her and has moved here from the east to help with this woman's daughter who is a drug addict and whose life is spinning out of control. This Daughter has now said she is going to start coming to church. The Brother probably will too and wonderful things are happening within this family. 

The Gospel is contagious. I have many more stories from just this month alone, which I could share, about the miracles of Christ. The Christmas season is a great time for missionary work. I'm grateful for the love and charity that is abounding because of it. 

Thank you for your prayers. My life is teeming with Angels because of you. 

Merry Christmas!

Love,
Elder Gillespie

P.S. #ASaviorIsBorn Christmas Video is awesome! Christmas.Mormon.org - Watch it... Share it...

12/14/15 – Keep the Commandments and Prosper

Hello Peeps,

The update, we had an awesome weekend! So many miracles this week as well! I've had so many tender experiences that would be inappropriate to share in this email to the general audience of friends and family, but I am grateful for the blessings that have been poured out upon me and those we know and love here in eastern Idaho. The Lord really does look after his flock and especially those that are seeking change and desire to that which is good in His sight. I love sitting down and reflecting upon events passed. I connect pieces here and there and I see God's hand in the midst of it all. I'm aware that he cares for my spiritual and temporal needs. Faith and prayer have become very much a part of who I am and what I do to become who my Father in Heaven desires of me. We had a baptism this weekend and in short this family has made drastic changes in just a couple of short months! They went from avoiding us at every opportunity to desiring to meet with us essentially daily! I love this family. I know Heavenly Father placed me here to meet this family. I know Heavenly Father placed me in Eastern Idaho for more reasons than what is comprehensible at the moment. I did not know I had the capacity to love as I now do. I enjoy the presence of the Spirit constantly as I strive to be entreated. If I were to leave dying words at this point in my life, they would be simple.
"Keep the commandments and prosper."

We all strive to have peace and happiness. We all seek that, whether we are conscious of it or unawares, that is our ultimate goal. We want that for ourselves and for our loved ones. In the chaotic insanity of the world today, the only things that will bring the fullness of peace and rest into our hearts is righteous living.

Love you all,

Elder Gillespie 

12/7/15 – Awesome Christmas Videos!

Hello Everyone,

I'm not exactly sure what to talk about this week. Life is chill. We're still here in an undisclosed location in Idaho Falls working hard and teaching lots! One thing I do want to make mention of is the couple of Christmas videos that came out on the 1st. SHARE THEM ON EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE YOU ARE A PART OF.
Amen.

Imagine a World without a Savior: https://www.mormon.org/christmas/purpose-of-a-savior

Love you all,
Elder Gillespie


11/30/15 – Great is My Joy in His Work

11/27/15 Former Missionary companions reunited at Bishop Whipple's home
(Elder) Jacob Olson & Elder Evan Gillespie

Hello,

In all of the higgledy piggledy of the world, the only constants that exist are the absolute truths of the gospel. Everything else is left to interpretation and subject to change based on the current popular credence of society. The foundation that we establish as we follow Christ's teachings is vital to our survival in this world filled with the philosophies of man. THE ONLY WAY TO ESTABLISH THAT FOUNDATION IS THROUGH PRAYER, ERNEST AND DILIGENT SCRIPTURE STUDY, SABBATH OBSERVANCE, AND RIGHTEOUS LIVING. This is the secret to true success in life. I pray often to be an effective vessel of the Lord and only hope that his great and eternal purposes will come to pass for those of his children whom are placed in my path. Great is my joy in this work. Great is the love I have developed for all people everywhere. 

Love,
Elder Gillespie


Brian Kisely (Warglaven) is the man dressed in white to my left
 and he was baptized and confirmed this last weekend. 
His family is well on their way to being eternally united in the Temple. 
ONE YEAR FROM THIS PAST WEEKEND!

11/23/15 – That Precious Truth

 Elders Hoffman & Gillespie in Idaho Falls, ID

Hello My Beloved Spirit Brothers & Sisters,

Reflecting and reminiscing the past 20 months or so has brought forth much gratitude. I've always known who I was. I never really knew who I could become though. Now I've seen who I've become thus far and am excited to see what things are in store for my future self and family. I have gained a testimony of the Restored Gospel... A testimony that will never falter.  I know there may be struggles, disappointments and setbacks, but that will never change the witness I've received of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I know that it is of colossal importance that we feast upon the words of Christ, especially through the Book of Mormon, as they are His words, through His prophets. The small and simple things bring about the greatest of miracles. I know that light can shine even in the deepest abyss of darkness. I may have mentioned this over a year ago in one of my emails, but in complete blackness our eyes become 1 million times more sensitive to light. God created our spirits. He created us in His image. Galatians 5:16-25 teaches us of the battle we must fight within ourselves. We consist of a body, which entails all things inclusive of characteristics of the natural man, and a Spirit which is inclusive of all divine attributes of our Father. There is this constant clash between the will of the flesh and the will of the Spirit. The ultimate goal is to overcome the natural man and walk in the Spirit. Verse 24 says, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." I want the world to know who they are, where they come from, what their purpose is, where they are going, and how to get there. We were filled with love incomprehensible when we were Spirits in our Father's presence awaiting to receive a body and face the trials of mortal experience and also to serve our fellow brothers and sisters. That precious truth has given me drive and motivation to help others know of their divine potential. God is good. Experiment upon his words (Alma 32:27) and watch His almighty hand work miracles in your life. Be patient, be diligent, and have faith.

Love,
Elder Gillespie

Galatians 5:16-25:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
    


Alma 32:27:  “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.”

11/16/15 – Blessings for a New Missionary

Elders Hoffman & Gillespie in Idaho Falls, Idaho
Hello Everyone,

This has been the most facetious first week of a missionary’s mission ever. Pretty much every single day this week we had at the minimum one crazy thing happen! Now poor Elder Hoffman, my new missionary, has a false expectation that this is how the rest of his mission ought to be.

There are certainly some great things happening in this area. I have become absolutely infatuated with the people here and the work that is going on. I'm sad that I only have 4 months of my mission left to live. I feel as though I'm on top of the world in proselyting skills, in charity, in humility, in gratitude, etc. It will have to come to an end, and I will never get to experience a mission this way again. I know that there are greater things to come, but I love the joy that comes from touching the hearts of people in distress by the feelings of the Spirit. I really hope I get to stay in this area for the rest of my mission. I DO NOT WANT TO LEAVE. Though, "not my will, but thine be done". 

Elder Hoffman is a good missionary and he certainly has desires to serve. He has kind of been caught up in the headlights a bit still, but he is loosening up. I'm excited to continue working with him! 

The next few months are go time! 

Love,
Elder Gillespie

Picture above was received with this heart-warming email: 
We had the privilege of having your son Elder Gillespie and his companion for dinner this evening.  We enjoyed getting to know them better and look forward to seeing them again.  They left a wonderful message that touched our hearts. We have always enjoyed getting photos from our son's mission experiences...and thought you would like a photo of your son today also.  

Sincerely,
The Petersen's

Monday, December 21, 2015

11/9/15 – Gospel is True & Training/Learning Again

Hello Everyone,

The Gospel is perfect, it is beautiful, and it is for everyone. The First Presidency of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are men called of God to guide the Church of Jesus Christ into the top tier of the Celestial Kingdom and to bring those who are not of this fold, into it. I've heard a little bit about the new church policy and I sustain our leaders in this decision. I do not understand the situation fully and why they would do a thing like this. I do know however that I do not need to know everything there is to know about it to know that it comes from God. 

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, his yoke truly has been easy, though at times it may seem to get heavy, he is there helping. I love sharing this message with the world. There are so many people here in Idaho Falls that I know I was meant to meet. All of the good I'm doing for others is mutually bound with my soul. This service has been a great blessing to me and has strengthened me. I know that the world we face is scary according to the weakness of our flesh, but as we strive to live in the Spirit, it becomes an exciting place filled with many blessings according to our righteous actions.

Transfer news came in this Saturday. I am no longer in any form of leadership other than training. Which at this point in my life is kind of a relief. So I'm training another brand new missionary starting Wednesday, I'm excited for that! I don't know why they keep sending them to me to corrupt these saplings. ;)

We had a baptism this past Saturday, which brings this family one step closer to going to the temple to be sealed for eternity! That's their goal!

Sorry I haven't been sending pictures, I lost my card reader and am too prideful to ask to borrow others. :)

Love,
Elder Gillespie

11/2/15 – Yellowstone was Fun – Time Flies!

Elder Gillespie in front of Old Faithful at Yellowstone

Another week of crying repentance to all! 

Yellowstone was fun. With it being a 2 hour drive to the entrance and 2 hours back that's already half of our preparation day gone, so we didn't get to do EVERYTHING we would have hoped to have done, but regardless we had fun! I love roadtrips!

I got distracted with genealogy and we gotta get going, so I apologize for the lackluster email again.

Love,

Elder Gillespie


More Pictures from Yellowstone from Awesome Photographer Elder Evan Gillespie !

10/26/15 – Not Enough Time!

Howdy Howdy,

This week we are going to Yellowstone National Park for preparation day!  Woo! I'll take lots of pictures.

So the report this week is that it turns out Elder Canales may actually get to stay in English work with me! We find out on Thursday with transfer calls already! I only have 3 transfers left, why is it going so quickly!? THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TIME!

We've got a little girl named Meadow who is getting baptized in a couple of weeks and she is the sweetest, most shy girl I've ever worked with. Their family is awesome. It's been way cool to see the progression just over the past month of at first, "we probably can't make it to church," next to "we might be able to make it, we'll see," and then to "we're going to make it work no matter what." I thrive off of these things.

We gotta get runnin', more later if we get home in time! 

Love,
Elder Gillespie

10/19/15 – Come Unto the Savior

Hello,

I've got a new companion, his name is Elder Canales. Chances are he'll only be with me for 3 weeks until he returns back to Spanish work. That'd be great if he got to stay though! I knew him in Chubbuck and he got transferred to be with me for a little while so we are both excited about that! 

This life is filled with rivers to cross and roads to walk. We've simply got to keep going until we reach Him. Sometimes we need someone to throw us a rope and sometimes we need a change of shoes and socks when they are either wet or worn, but that shouldn't stop us for very long. Sometimes we pick up leeches or goatheads along the way, but that shouldn't stop us for very long. Sometimes we get distracted by alluring billboards and signs, but that shouldn't stop us for very long. Sometimes we even encounter crocodiles or burglars and become setback on our journey due to loss of limb or financial insecurity, but that shouldn't stop us for long. No matter the turmoil we must go through, our Savior has had worse. Matthew 11:28-30.  I remember memorizing verse 28 when living with the Nilsons in Highland, Utah. I haven't forgotten. The imagery comes to mind of Him sending angels to pick us up when we fall and of Him Himself outreached to extend a helping hand.

Sometimes all you can do is breathe. 

Love,
Elder Gillespie


Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

10/12/15 – There is Always Hope for Change

Hello Hello,

I hunger all the way to the marrow of my bones to serve. I hope to be in a position by the age of retirement to do nothing but serve those that the Lord puts in my path. I have loved viewing the 12 steps to change ARP videos that the Church has put out to help those who suffer from addiction. They prove that change happens, even to those who are in the deepest and darkest despair. In the book of Mosiah chapter 27 verse 29, Alma the Younger describes that he was in the darkest abyss, yet his soul pained no more (“My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more.”) I've heard the phrases, "they are hopeless, it's a waste of time visiting them, they're too far gone, or don't even bother with them", from members and missionaries alike, and that bothers me. I have felt what they feel when they are discouraged because of the decisions people have made that led to that individual’s current state of mind and situation. It is hard not to want to give up and move on with some people. Using some judgment though in these situations deciding as to whether or not they are ready to hear our message or need us in their lives, is a necessary judgment to make. But it becomes all too easy to move on to someone else and leave them in the dust. It is difficult dealing with some people’s situations, but helping them feel of their Savior's love and His Atonement is stupefyingly marvelous. There is always hope for someone to change and to follow Christ's footsteps. Christ has walked quite a long way though, so at times it feels rather monotonous but the path to eternal salvation is not meant to be a half marathon.  

My companion is going home, so I will be getting a new companion or being in a trio for a little while, at least until transfers, we shall see. I still love Idaho Falls and am so grateful to be here. This area is like none other that I've ever seen. The members of this stake work so hard to see people enter the waters of baptism.

Love,

Elder Gillespie