Monday, September 30, 2013

Still Busy!

Hello Everyone!

Hope this last week went well. We had a great week here!
I guess I forgot to talk about my companion so I'll tell about him.  His name is Elder Ross and he is from Grand Junction, Colorado (and his family has since moved to Montrose, Colorado).  He is 24 years old and has been out about 13 months in the mission.  He actually just got an email right now and his parents are moving to Texas very soon. Anyway he's a good missionary.

This past week was awesome!  Wednesday morning I dropped Elder Baryshnikov off at the mission office and picked up my new companion.  It was really interesting seeing good missionaries that I am close to in their final moments as a missionary. I've had good friends leave throughout my whole mission but I was at the office for a few hours and it was interesting to see how everyone was.  A lot of them seemed excited but at the same time really nervous and sad to be ending a great time in their life.  I was grateful that I was dropping one of them off instead of being the one dropped off.  It was also really cool to see the two ends of the spectrum. At the same time one group of missionaries prepares to leave, another one is just arriving in the mission. We stayed and watched the trainers get their new trainees and that is always an emotional experience. 6 new Spanish speaking missionaries came to the mission and I am so excited for each one of them! I hope I can share my testimony of the Spanish work with as many as them as possible. 2 of them are in our zone and I look forward to being with them a lot.

Since Elder Ross and Elder Thompson are the new elders in our apartment, we had to put them through the initiation process. There is a snowboard mounted on our wall with all the Elder's names that have ever lived there. We get dressed up in hoodies/blankets, use a fog machine to fog up the room, turn all the lights out and our flashlights on, turn on the Halo song (a creepy Monk sounding song) and then have them come in and give them a speech and then have them sign the board.  It's a fun tradition.

We have some cool investigators we are working with:
Mark is progressing greatly towards his baptism on October 12th. He has learned about almost everything (from the missionary lessons), has come to church 3 times, and is really excited to get baptized. He always has really good questions and is willing to make the necessary sacrifices. The biggest things for him have been quitting coffee and coming to church since he works in the evenings. He got a cool blessing that he got a job interview for the same type of job at a different place that will let him off 2 hours earlier so he can get more sleep before church! He's really excited about that. I love Mark a lot and am excited to continue working with him.

We are still working with Alexandria but her dad doesn't want her to get baptized (according to the mom) so we are trying to work with both of her parents on that. She will keep coming every week with a friend (to a different ward) but can't be taught the lessons or get baptized right now.
Our biggest disappointment is with a lady named Theresa.  She has an uncle that is a member and referred herself to the missionaries.  She loved hearing about the restoration and was very excited to be baptized.  However, her husband told her she has to choose between him and the church.  That's one of the most shallow things anyone could do and it really hinders her progress. She told us that she has to think really hard about it before she makes her decision and has no idea how long it will take.  I've been doing a lot of praying and fasting and will continue to have people try to encourage her but we definitely don't want her family to split up.

We are working with a few other people and I'll share more about them as they start to progress. We are teaching a guy from Ghana named Emmanuel that really has the desire to learn and study. There is a guy named James who went to a Bible school and used to be a minister at a Baptist church but is really open to learning more. A couple other people too!

Yesterday we got to participate in a missionary training academy that the Stake puts on.  It was really cool to help youth preparing to serve missions develop missionary skills.  It was funny to try to think about where I was 2 years ago and I'm glad I couldn't remember very well because I probably wouldn't have been a very good teacher to people that depend on me to learn about the restored gospel.  As my companion and I talked about it after, and discussed the little to no preparation we did before being missionaries, we realized how much the setting apart changes a person and how much the Lord really blesses us and molds us amidst our imperfections. I'm grateful for everything the Lord has done to change me, especially at the latter end of my mission to help me become the person I want to continue towards becoming throughout my life.

Well the work is going great. We've been very busy and I don't have time to do anything but think about my investigators all day and then all night I have to figure out the things I forgot about or did wrong so I can do them better the next day. The weather is starting to get a little bit cooler, it's getting a little bit closer to the end of my mission, but I am excited for each new day that I wake up a missionary.

Les Quiero,
Elder Gaskill

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