Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pouring out all my heart, might, mind, and strength into this work!

Hello Everyone
The last week was another great one!
Thanksgiving was a great day! We went to Lodi and had Thanksgiving dinner with the Rodriguez family. It wasn't a traditional Thanksgiving dinner but I enjoyed it.  We had a good spicy chicken in a red sauce instead of turkey, and had lots of pasta/potato salads on the side with pumpkin pie at the end.  We ate a normal amount instead of stuffing our faces and still felt good afterwards.  Later on I missed the yams from the traditional dinner we have at home but the most important part was there: being thankful and being around the people you care about.  It was fun to be in the same home for both Thanksgivings on my mission.  Their extended family was there as well and it was good to see all of them again. None of them are members so I enjoy exercising my influence on them so hopefully later down the road it will add up and make a difference. 
 We came home at about 7:00 and it was really weird not having anything to do. As a missionary it kills me not being able to use my time effectively and efficiently.  My companion went to bed really early and I spent a lot of time reading the Book of Mormon, going through our area book, and cleaning.  I still had time and had nothing to do so I ended up tying every tie I have with a new knot I learned from our investigator Josh (called the Trinity knot). I was really bored! Eventually I sat down and began to look over pictures of my mission, pictures from before, pictures with my family, etc and had a really good reflective moment to think about all that I have in my life and especially the many blessings I've seen on my mission.  I was able to notice a lot of changes that I've seen and then make plans to continue to improve and set goals for where I want to be in the future.  It was a good, relaxing evening.
We were able to work hard the rest of the week. On Saturday it was the last day of the month and we had a lot of miles saved up so we decided to drive up to Galt and work there.  We went through our list of people to visit and no one was home.  We decided to stop by the Cardona's house to see if Brenda had any friends for us to go visit.  When we arrived she was anxiously awaiting to mailman because her mission call is in the mail and she was waiting for it to arrive any second.  While we were there on the doorstep with her the mailman came but sadly she didn't have her mission call.  She decided to come out with us and introduce us to one of her friends named Mariana.  She was nervous because she thought she was really Catholic but we talked to her on her front porch for a while and she was really interested in our message.  She told us she had kind of distanced herself from the Catholic church recently because she didn't feel comfortable there and has started going to a few other churches with her friends and said she would like to go with Brenda! Right now Brenda goes to the Lodi Spanish branch so we'll have her come to the YSA a few times to help us out.  It was a great contact. Unfortunately about 20 family members were on their way over when we showed up so we had to set up another appointment for tomorrow that we are excited about.  Brenda also took us to meet another member who used to go to the branch but moved to Yuba city a little before I got there.  Between the two of them they thought of about 8 more people in Galt that we should teach and we are excited to meet them this week!
The rest of the week went really well. Josh has learned almost everything from the missionary lessons and is excited to be baptized at 1:00pm on December 14th. He even fasted with us yesterday and made it the full 2 meals.  He is such an awesome guy and I feel very privileged to be one of the missionaries teaching him.
Last night we didn't have a dinner so we went to the Hixon's house.  The Hixon family feeds all 8 missionaries in the Delta Spanish ward every Sunday so Elder Fulks and I were excited to go back and see the family as well as the current Spanish missionaries.  Everyone in the family remembered both of us, even the kids so that made us both happy.  They Hixons have a picture up of every missionary that has ever eaten dinner at their house (starting from about 4 years ago) so they have pictures covering the space right below the ceiling that goes all around their kitchen and living room.  It was weird to see how many missionaries have come since I left Stockton in June 2012.  It was also weird to see the pictures of missionaries that I knew very well that finished their missions a long time ago.  It also felt like coming home and it was good to be back.
Things are going well in our area and Elder Fulks and I feel very blessed. I feel especially blessed because I have more time left than he does (he has 2 weeks left).  We both freaked out a little bit yesterday when it became December 1st because with every new month comes the beginning of the end.  I think I might have a heart attack on New Years but I hope not. Right now I'm just focused on one day at a time making each day the best it can be and pouring out all my heart, might, mind, and strength into this work!
Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Gaskill

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