Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Going to Train a New Missionary!

Hello Everyone,
This week was great and has already come to a close.
The news of the day is transfers.  Elder Fullwood is going to Stockton and I'm going to be training a brand new missionary! I have no idea who he is yet and won't know until tomorrow morning when I go to pick him up.  I'm really excited, but I feel sorry for this missionary that he will have to put up with me and will come into a really tough area.  However, I just plan on pretending like this is a really good area so he will love it.  We'll find out more about who he is next week.
This past week we got some... SNOW! The first time I've been in snow for a while so that was nice.  At the same time it was scary. Elder Fullwood normally drives and he had never seen snow before, let alone driven in it. That was his 3rd time driving in snow and there were only a few scary experiences and I was sweating bullets the whole time but we made it eventually.  As it stopped snowing, our zone leaders texted us and said "I hope Elder Gaskill is driving!".  When I told them I wasn't, they immediately called and told us to pull over and switch drivers. Luckily, Elder Fullwood submitted to their counsel and we made it through the rest of the day safely.  We couldn't get too much work done with all the snow but I was just happy to be in snow!
On Wednesday we ran into a family that I knew from Elk Grove.  They own a bakery in Rancho Cordova but are apparently famous all over the place.  Every Wednesday they come up to the hills to sell bread and they happened to show up while we were talking to one of our investigators.  They remembered me from about 5 months ago and gave us lots of free bread so that was great.
Friday was also a very fun day but not too productive.  We had to take our truck down close to where the mission office is to get the oil changed and the tires changed/rotated and that took a while.  We ran into a couple other missionaries from other parts of the mission and it was great to see them.  There are a few missionaries who are here waiting on their Visa's to come in so they can go to Mendoza, Argentina (where Troy is).  I told them all to say hi to him for me if they ever run into him.  When we finally finished, it was lunchtime so we decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to get lunch since it's my favorite restaurant and there are not very many in the mission.  We walked in and sat down and I looked over at the T.V. and there happened to be a college gymnastics meet on.  After careful examination, I noticed that it was between Kentucky and Missouri.  That was really cool because I got to see Holly Cunningham on T.V. a couple times while she and her team were competing.  There was also a soccer game on another T.V.  It turned out to be a really great lunch hour.  Later that day I went back to Lodi to see the baptism of Juan Carlos.  The baptism went really well.  Unfortunately there weren't a lot of members from the branch there but it was great to be back and a part of the baptism.  I was very happy to talk to Juan Carlos again and see him get baptized.  He is a very solid guy and will go far in the future.
Our investigators have been slowly progressing as well.  We are still working with Heriberta.  Her brother and sister in law are progressing very nicely.  They have felt the spirit a lot during lessons and while reading the Book of Mormon. They are very excited to come to church next week.  We also found a lady named Navidad in Folsom this week.  She has been taught in the past because her best friend is a member down there.  On Friday morning her friend called us and said that Navidad's husband was just deported and she's really sad and it would be a good time to visit her.  We stopped by and talked to her for a while about the gospel and she really calmed down.  She says she wants to keep learning and coming to church so we'll see where that takes us.
In the ward right after ours, there were two elders that gave their farewells and are going to the Colorado Springs, CO Mission! A lot of members knew that's where I'm from so after church they told me to go say hi to them.  One of them is going Spanish speaking and he was really cool.  He probably won't be anywhere near where we live but I told him to watch out for any Gaskills.  I didn't get to meet the other one but hopefully I will get to see him next Sunday before he leaves.  But if you ever have any missionaries in the area from Placerville/El Dorado, you'll know it's this elder that's just about to start his mission.
That's about all for this week! Hope everyone is doing well.  The work is going forward! A lot of the missionaries next to me are talking about all the missions that are being created right now.  Do your best to share the gospel! The world needs it.
Les Quiero Mucho!
Elder Gaskill

Monday, February 18, 2013

Missionaries Increasing

Hello Everyone!
This week has been awesome, we accomplished a lot.
On Thursday I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish and I have to say I think it's more true in Spanish than in English.  I loved the experience and I love the Book of Mormon, and can't wait to do it again!
On Friday we had zone conference and it was very spiritual and uplifting. We were notified that right now our mission is about at 200 elders and sisters and it will be going up permanently to 250 elders and sisters.  The additional 50 missionaries will be 20 English elders, 20 English sisters, and 10 Spanish sisters.  There is no increase in Spanish elders but that will make the few of us there are that much more special.  It was really interesting because the number of sisters in the mission has already increased a lot and we could see at zone conference.  There were 4 zones together and about 1/3 of the missionaries there were sisters.  Zone Conference was great and we learned a lot.
Yesterday we had an awesome lesson with our investigator Heriberta.  She has been taught for over a year and yesterday we decided to take her to see a baptism at the Mormon center in a YSA ward even though it was in English.  The baptism was great a very spiritual.  She didn't understand most of it but she did feel the spirit.  Afterwards we went out and started talking in front of the temple.  We talked about how she felt and helped her recognize the spirit and challenged her to be baptized.  She said she still didn't know and her doubt is that her kids don't like church very much yet and she has to force them to come and she feels like if she got baptized she would keep having to force them and wouldn't like that.  At the same time she recognized that she needs to set the example and take that first step.  We decided to say a prayer right there and Heriberta said an awesome, very heartfelt prayer.  I suggested that we start walking around the temple in silence and listen for the spirit and see if it says anything to us before we got back around to the front.  When we were about 3/4 of the way done a YSA girl came up to us and even though she didn't speak Spanish started walking with us and trying to say a few words to Heriberta.  She kept looking back and forth between Heriberta, my companion, and I until right when we had almost returned to the same spot that we were before.  All of a sudden the girl grabbed Heriberta's hand and said "come with me".  She led her to the doors of the temple were the stood for a few seconds and then started to walk back to us in front.  When the passed by the big fountain she stuck her hand in the water and said "I love touching the water, put your hand in and feel how nice it is".  Then they came back and the girl gave Heriberta a hug and said she loved her and then took off for the YSA fireside that was about to start.  I thought it was an amazing answer to Heriberta's prayer, and that it was definitely interesting that she led her to the water and told her to touch it.  Heriberta's response to all that was that she thinks Heavenly Father wants her to make the decision and that she needs to just decide.  She said she was going to dream on it and tonight we are going back to see what she decides.  I can't wait to see!
We also had a crazy experience this week.  I was on exchanges with one of our zone leaders and we were going to find an new address because one of our investigators was moving.  It was the middle of the day and when we finally found it no one was home.  We decided we had driven all that way for a reason so we decided to knock around to find out who was there that we needed to find. We decided to knock on the neighbor's door.  When we knocked on the door I saw car rims and tires, bikes, and Spanish beer cans so I began to get excited.  The door opened and it was a Spanish lady.  She immediately invited us in but there was no guy in the house so we couldn't.  We talked for a little bit and I felt prompted to ask her if she knew any members of the church.  She told us "yeah, my sister in law is a member".  It turns out her sister in law is Heriberta! It was a crazy coincidence.  She had already seen how much Heriberta and her kids had changed since they started coming to church and already had a testimony of the power of the gospel.  Since then we have started teaching her and her husband and kids.  They read a little bit of the Book of Mormon and weren't able to pray but felt the peace of it as they read.  I can't wait to keep teaching them and help them progress.
I got a call yesterday and found out that Juan Carlos is getting baptized this Friday back in Lodi.  I was just there for a baptism last week and I am very happy to get to go back again.  I am seeing a lot of blessings in this work in seeing lots of people I care about come into the waters of baptism.  I just am getting happier happier seeing all these changes people are making in their lives.
That's all for this week.
Les Quiero,
Elder Gaskill

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mendoza Family Baptism

Hello Family!

This week was great!

The highlight of this week was being able to go and see the Mendoza family get baptized back in Lodi! I was really happy to see the branch there again and a lot of good friends.  There were also about 10 missionaries there that had taught the family so I got to see good friends like Elders Martinez, Stone, Hernandez, and thought I was going to see Elder Guzman but he didn't make it for some reason.  The baptism went really great and the Spirit was very strong there.  I was very happy to see Jovita and Juan, the Ortegas, the Cazares, and lots of great people.  I also got an email from Arturo today that made me happy.  He said that he and his family have been going to church down in Ensenada, Mexico! He says the Elders have challenged them to be baptized and they feel like the need a little bit more time to learn before.  He says he keeps telling his parents that they really want me to be able to see the baptism as well as his aunt and her family so there's a possibility that they might even come back to Lodi to get baptized! That would make me so happy. As long as they get baptized that is the important thing but I would be very happy if I could see it firsthand.  I am very happy nonetheless.

The work has been going kind of slow here since there aren't very many Spanish people and we don't really have a Spanish branch or ward to work with but we are doing our best.  It seems that every interested person we find falls through the cracks either because pastors tell them things about the church that aren't true or the husbands/wives of the people we're teaching don't let us do so.  We are trying our best to stay positive and keep working hard so we'll see where it gets us.

We have zone conference this week and that should be really exciting!
This week I met someone from Colorado Springs! She just moved in with her boyfriend out here in Diamond Springs.  She lived in Colorado Springs for 15 years near Bijou downtown working in a factory there.  It was really cool to meet a Spanish person from Colorado Springs because it is the only one out here that I have ever met.

That's all for this week! Hope everyone is doing well!

Les Quiero
Elder Gaskill

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Short Message This Week

Hello Everyone!

I don't have a lot of time this week but I'll write a little bit.

The coolest thing that happened this week was yesterday.  There is a member named Brother Gaum up here who has some really interesting stories from his life.  When he was a missionary he was at correlation one day and while they were saying a prayer angels came and laid there hands on his head and set him apart to go open the missionary work to the Jewish people.  When he opened his eyes everyone else in the room was in shock and told him what had just happened.  The next day his mission president called him and told him that the first presidency of the church had called and that they had received his name by direct revelation to go with the general authorities to open up the work to the Jews.  He was reassigned for the rest of his mission and with a lot of leadership in the church coming up with brochures and training manuals to train missionaries on working with people from the Jewish faith and culture.  The rest of his life has been just about as interesting.  Well anyway some interesting things have been happening to me lately and word got around to him and so he called me up and said he wanted to meet with me.  He gave me a lot of really good advice.  He thinks I will have something big happen in my life soon as it relates to missionary work so we'll see what happens the rest of my mission. It would kind of make sense but I think I'm just a normal missionary.

We have a lot of really good investigators and we are excited to see the work progress here in the El Dorado Hills.  Great things are about to happen I know.

Les Quiero Mucho!
Elder Gaskill