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...

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