Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 5, 2016 Reflections (Elder Gandola's Last Email)

hey guys,

so i guess this is the last time that i will be writing, from the mission at least, which is kinda weird, but i guess the end kinda had to arrive at some point. 

well looking back the mission seems, well, both long and short. but i have learned so much, i guess that ill share a few of the main points

1. life focus

i have noticed that we make a lot of things a lot more important than they should be. i remember arriving in mexico and picking at all the little cultural differences, not quite as annoyances, but more of me looking for a new, strange experience. i came to realize that it really doesnt matter. for example, in my time in mexico, i have seen maybe 10 washing machines, 3 dryers, and 0 dishwashers. i have showered with heated water in a bucket for at least 9 months. yet i have never seen these things as inconveniences. actually i think that one of the biggest annoyances i will have when i get back is the unwarranted ammount of importance we give to "necessary" things. sure cars and phones and houses and work are nice, they are ok to have, but what really brings us true hapiness and true satisfaccion is our relationship with god and with our families.

2. service

human beings tend to think about themselves, what we want, what we need, how we feel. well if we think about what we need, we will always find more things to want and we will never be satisfied. if we stop thinking about ourselves and look at the needs of others, we will forget all about what we think we need.

3. trust in god

there are lots of things that qwe can do, and lots of things that we cant. God can do everything. if we look for what he wants us to do, he will use us to do what we cant. lots of times we wont be able to see exactly what he is doing, but we will keep moving forwards, and afterwards, we can see his hand in everything.

4. jesus christ is our savior

there are no words to express all that he has done for us. he has paid the debt that was never his, we caused him infinite amounts of pain and suffering that he did not deserve, and yet he loves us with all of his being and invites us to come home. truly there is no other path than through him, and there is nothing in our lives, no trial, no pain, so great that he cannot (and has not) overcome. our job? trust in him, do as he asks, and work to become as he is

well, i guess ill end with the person of the week. he has probably undergone the biggest conversion that i have seen on my mission. i have truly seen him come to know and love the savior, dedicate himself more fully to god, and learn how to follow him. he has had lots of trials, lots of ups and downs, and even though he is not perfect, he has worked hard to improve, and has become a better person. if you havent guessed, its me. i know that i have a lot to learn, and a lot of things to do in my life, but i know that these two years that i have been given to serve the lord have changed me more than anything else could have. i am pleased to say that i have been able to serve an honorable mission, and would never have changed this experience for anything.

well, i think thats it for now, see you all in a couple of days

Elder Gándola

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 2, 2016 Kid's Day and May 16, 2016

May 2, 2016 Kid’s Day
hey guys,

so this was a good week, we were able to finish it with three baptisms, so the bishop is pretty happy, and we are pretty happy too.

the first was C, who i have talked about a little bit before. i was super excited for his baptism because he’s not just a good investigator, but has become a really good friend. he has had to overcome a lot of trials to take the step of baptism, but he is going super strong and already has the priesthood, and already has plans of when he will go home teaching this week, and is going to pass the sacrament this next week, and he also wants to go on a mission! he’s basically super cool

for the second baptism, we have to give a lot of credit to a pair of sister missionaries, she’s a ten year old girl, daughter of a member, who technically lives in our area but always stays with her grandma during the week, so we could never teach her, except for after church, and the sisters taught about half the lessons. lots of the time it’s hard for missionaries to do work that will never be reflected in their own reports, but it’s good to work like that sometimes, so that we can remember that it’s not so much about numbers as it is about people

the third baptism is not actually ours, because he is 8 years old, but his dad is not active in the church, so we did a lot of running around talking with the bishop and his grandma and people to get it to actually happen. we did teach him one time just to make sure that he was ready, but it was great that he could finally get baptized and it will be a great blessing to his family.

so saturday we were in the church basically all day, from like 9 in the morning to 7 at night. one of the baptisms was at 12, so we had to go fill the font, and we stayed there for our study and to get ready and everything. then after the baptism the member family that was going to feed us brought us lunch in the church (wow, i couldn’t get that sentence to work in english) then we had to make the programs for the baptisms at 5, we are in mexico and so the baptism started an hour late, and we finished at about 7, right as the ward was starting an activity. 

so you know how in the u.s. every mothers or father’s day how the kids always ask "well when is kids day?" and the parents are always condescending kill joys and tell their kids to get a job before they get their own day? well mexico is less kill joy than you guys, here there actually is kids day, so saturday they had the kids day celebration. ... i still can’t believe you guys for completely ruining my childhood.

but anyways, that’s it for now, be good, love you guys,

elder gandola

oh yeah, parents, sunday we get to call home, so i will probably call sometime between 3 and 5 (my time) sunday

May 16, 2016
hey everybody, 
well this week was a good one. we had transfers last week, i stayed here in my area and elder S got sent to my last area in san luis. my new companion is elder R, from colorado. he`s my second american companion and the probably the first one that i will have for a whole transfer, because i was only with elder P for three weeks. we get along well, and the best part is that he has one transfer more than i do, so i don’t have to deal with dying jokes anymore. he’s kind of a big guy (not fat big, just big big) so it was funny when he got here, we started carrying his bags up the stairs (we live on the 4th story) and i ask him, "what do you have in these bags? they weigh a ton" turns out that he had about fourty pounds of weights in his bags, in addition to all the other stuff, so that he could work out.

so we worked normally after that, not anything super noteworthy, though we did have a meeting with the mission president (who has 5 weeks until he finishes his mission.) and afterwards he invited us to go eat tacos. he commented while we ate that he really liked the cabeza tacos, but wasn’t a huge fan of the beef ones. so we were finishing up and he only had one more, a beef taco, and he tells us, "wow, I’m full, i can’t eat any more, who wants to help me with this last taco? elder gandola, do you want it?" "yeah sure I’ll eat your taco" and then before i can even get it into my mouth he  pulls the waiter to the side and orders another one of cabeza... turns out he just used me as a trash can so that he could eat what he really wanted jaja. but that’s fine, because i love all tacos.

so i found a cool scripture in my study this week in mosiah 13:11. abinadi tells the wicked priests of noah, "And now I read unto you the remainder of the commandments of God, for I perceive that they are not written in your hearts." it’s interesting that it’s not enough to simply know the commandments, or even to go through the motions of them if we don’t have them written in our hearts. i think lots of times we think of the commandments as things that God asks us to do in order to receive a reward of happiness and that’s it, but we don’t really think about the fact that the commandments will never change, that truly living and coming to love the commandments is the secret to happiness. that’s why God is perfectly happy, because he obeys all commandments perfectly and thus there is nothing that gets in the way of him being happy. if we can stop trying to check the box of obedience and really learn to love obeying the commandments, we can become likewise happy.

but anyways, that’s it for this week. love you guys, be good

elder gandola

April 2016

April 4, 2016 

so this was a good week

we had transfers last week, but elder S and i stayed the same. later we found out that the reason is because the bishop called the mission president and asked him to leave us here for a bit longer. actually almost nobody had transfers, only the zone leaders, which is cool because the new zone leader is elder W, my mtc companion.

conference was great, i used to get bored of conference, but now i feel like I’m going to a rock concert or something. listening to the prophet is the best, I’m so glad to have the knowledge of living day prophets to guide us so we don’t have to live in the spiritual darkness and confusion that can be found so commonly in the world today.

i don’t have much time, but i would like to share a thought that i have been sharing with all the members. in mosiah 2, king benjamin teaches us how we should treat the opportunity to hear inspired council from our leaders, when he tells us that we should, "open your ears that ye may hear, and your hearts that ye may understand, and your minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to your view." there are many different applications of this, but one of them is the timing. preparation beforehand allows us to open our hearts to the spirit,  attendance and paying attention opens our ears to hear, the opening of the mind however, comes afterwards as we ponder and apply the council we have received. too often we come away spiritually recharged and then forget what we have learned until the next conference comes around. i would invite you to continue studying, pondering, and applying these inspired messaged for the next six months to truly reap the blessings that are available to us.

well, that’s it for now, be good, love you guys.

elder gandola

April 11, 2016

hmm, so this was one of those weeks that i don’t really remember too much, so I’m sure i have stuff to share. i guess I’ll just share a thought that i had while reading the scriptures.

the two thousand stripling warriors, not one of them was killed, however, all of them were wounded. this is much like life. we are in a war against sin, and while we will all receive wounds (some more grievous than others) we all have the choice to make it out alive. the miracle of their survival i will attribute to 3 things. 1. faith: we are told that their faith was strong and thus they feared not the battle. like them, if we remember who is our great leader in all things, and trust in his ability to make all right, we can do whatever he asks, which leads us to 2. obedience: they had a great leader and obeyed all his commands with exactness, we have prophets and apostles, and if we heed their council, we will be protected. 3. family: they had learned from their mothers. the home that is centered in christ is a powerful refuge. if we follow their example, we can also choose eternal life, and will be able to come to the aid of others, as the stripling warriors did.

anyways, sorry that this letter was short, but i honestly don’t remember much. but be good, love you guys,

elder gandola

April 25, 2016  2 for the Price of 1

hey guys, so i didn't actually forget to write last week, i just forgot to send it, so this week you get two letters. here they are

week 1:  (April 18,2016)

hey guys

so this week was good, maybe not a ton of super memorable stuff, but we worked well.

so this week i was a firefighter. we went to visit a member, and found him on front of his house. so we ask him, "hey, what are you doing?" "oh I’m just going to go burn a pile of trash in this dry field" so he did. but, surprise surprise, dry fields burn (it was small and surrounded by cement, don’t worry) and so he started commenting, "wow its burning more than i thought it would, oh hey, look, its headed straight for that car!" so we all ran off and grabbed buckets and threw them on the fire and the car was totally safe. so i guess elder z is back in town.

it’s interesting being a missionary, because you're just a 19, 20 year old kid, but the simple fact that you are a missionary makes people (members and nonmembers) trust a lot more in you. thinking logically it is a bit disconcerting at times to have people sharing very personal things with you only minutes after meeting you, or being asked to help with marital problems, or struggles with money, or a large number of other things that people really have no reason to consult a twenty year old kid about. the good thing is that the answer is always the same, it’s the gospel. really no matter what we are facing, the gospel is always the answer.

i realized this week that a lot of times satan doesn’t necessarily tempt us to do bad things, many times it is enough  to have us focus on things that are good, thus omitting things that are better. for example, money is not bad, providing for a family is good, but when we let that get in the way of keeping the commandments, or providing the spiritual things that our families need, something good can become a stumbling block for us. we should always seek to prioritize the things that are really important.

but anyways, that’s it for now, be good, love you guys.

elder z

week 2:  (April 25, 2016)

so this week was interesting, honestly it was kind of a chaotic week, but everything pulled together sunday, so it’s all good. we started out the week excited because we would have 2 baptisms saturday. so first we had to have their baptismal interviews friday. we were planning on having exchanges with the zone leaders that day, one would stay for the interviews, and the other would go to a town like forty minutes from fresnillo for some appointments. so then thursday in the night the mission offices call us and tell us that we have to travel to aguascalientes the next day for my companions visa. so we canceled the exchanges. then the zone leaders call because the assistants told them that there would be a training meeting for the district leaders. so my companion had to travel with somebody else and i stayed there with the zone leaders.

then friday one of the investigators called because he had to travel and wouldn’t be able to make it. so we had the other interview and he passed. we went to prepare the baptism and were waiting for him with the font filled when he called and told us that his parents opposed at the last minute.

so sunday he was there at church and told us that he would get baptised saturday, that it was, "his baptism, not theirs." so he is much more committed right now.

but anyways i don’t have time to finish, but i love you guys, be good

elder gandola

March 2016

March 14, 2016 
hey guys,

so this was an interesting week, mexico can be very... unpredictable sometimes. so the week started out pretty hot, but as the temperature here does, it changed from one day to the next, and we actually had a good amount of snow one day. two days later and its summer again. triste mexico...

these past few weeks we have been learning a lot about working with unity, ourselves and seeing it in the families that we are serving. we are told in the scriptures a lot that we should be of one heart and one mind. i have come to realize that the trick is not that the heart or mind is not our heart or mind, but the lords heart and mind, the trick to being united is to stop trying to develop our own way of doing things, and start looking for how the lord wants us to do things.

so sunday we were teaching an investigator, we haven't been able to teach him very much because he works a lot, but we managed to talk with him after church because he doesn't work sundays. we have seen a ton of progress with him in the classes and all that stuff, and we have seen that he is super ready to be baptized, so we were planning on working with him on how we can get him there as soon as we can without being able to see him during the week. so we start talking with him about that when out of the blue he lets us know, "oh, by the way, i was baptized when i was a kid, and i just found my membership record." ...well that was easy. it was super unexpected but it was super cool. the lord works in mysterious ways and it was cool to see that our role was not to get him to baptism, but to get him active, and it is a great feeling to know that we were able to be an instument to bring somebody closer to the lord.

well thats it for now, be good, love you guys

elder gandola

March 21, 2016
hey guys,

so this week was interesting, i guess ill start with today.

so there's this thing in the mission called a preparation day where you can sometimes go and do recreational activities, except for that you don't ever actually do that. in a year and i a half the only things i have really done on p-day is go to the centro, or play sports (but soccer has been banned, so we don't do that too often anymore) today we actually did something!

so fresnillo is the location of what is supposedly the largest producing silver mine on a world wide level. there are tours and stuff, but they are only open saturday and sunday. during vacations however, they are open every day. so we got together with an investigator, his girlfriend (who is a member) another young man and another companionship of missionaries and we got to go tour the mine, which was pretty cool. there was also a zoo with animals and stuff, which was also ok. the thing about zoos is that they always sound so much cooler than they are, because when you hear that they have tigers you just remember seeing them hunting a deer or something on tv, the actual result is you just get to see a tiger sleeping and ignoring all efforts to get its attention... at least the monkeys like showing off.

so this week we have been working a lot with the members to strengthen the ward. its interesting to see how a lot of the time we have a testimony of the things, but we dont really keep it a part of our daily lives. i think that it is very easy to forget, if we are not working to remember. for example, we have all heard of the title of liberty, when moroni rent his shirt, wrote on it, and all the men came out and made a covenant to protect their rights and their families. what we often overlook is what he does afterwards, when, "he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites." just like moroni, we should not look forwards to spiritual experiences just so we can go and put them on a shelf somewhere, he putit on every tower. that way it would be impossible to forget. we can also establish habits of righteousness in our lives so that, unless we try, it would be imposible to forget.

last of all, person of the week. C, he is a joven that actually contacted us in the street, he is dating a member (actually he is the one who we went to the mine with) and has gone to church a bunch of times with her. but we started visiting him and he started progressing by himself, this wek we were about to teach him about fasting, but he let us know that he had already had his first fast like 2 weeks ago. he has been learning about how the spirit speaks to us and has the talent that many life long members lack of applying the scriptures to himself. basically hes a stud, and he is of age to serve a mission to, so...

but anyways, that's it for now, hope you all are well. be good, love you guys.

Elder Gándola

March 28, 2016
so this week was interesting

so we started out the week planning on having 3 baptisms, 2 investigators that have been progressing really well and a 10 year old girl who is from a member family but was never baptized. but as luck would have it and appointments fell through, it went down to 2, then to 1, and finally to 0. so we didnt have a baptism this week, the zone leaders however, did have a baptism, which was great because the 2 investigators were both able to go, and afterwards they both felt really good about the step and a lot more ready. this week is conference, so next week we are planning on having them baptised.

so fun story from this week, we were walking along a busy road like tuesday, when suddenly we here this super loud scraping sound, so we turn around to see what it was and my first thought was, "hey, why doesn't that car have a wheel?" then i asked myself, "and who left a tire sitting in the middle of the road?"" and then i connected the two thoughts and yup, somebodies tire fell off as they were driving. we helped them put their tire back on and it sounded like they had annoyed some lady while parking, so she had come back and taken the bolts off from their tire... so that was interesting.

this was a good week to share the gospel for easter week, there is a video that the church made that you may have seen called hallelujah that was cool to share. we were assigned to speak sunday five minutes before we started the meetings, but luckily we had anticipated and prepared. i shared a thought about something that the savior had said on the cross that really struck me this week, when he pleaded, "father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." its interesting to think that he said this about his tormentors as they were in the act of killing him, and how he did it because of the very real love that he felt for those same people who despised him so much. its interesting to read about how he suffered so that we can experience mercy, and to realize that as he tells us in the scriptures, that , "the merciful shall obtain mercy." it is our duty to forgive those around us as a requisite to obtaining that divine mercy. if we do not feel that love for our enemies that the lord felt for his, moroni tells us that we can pray with all the energy of our hearts to obtain this love. thus the atonement not only offers us mercy, but can help us extend it to others.... there are an infinity of applications
of the atonement.

i have no time and have to go, but anyways, love you guys, portuense bien

elder gandola

Feb 8, 2016 to Feb 29, 2016

February 8, 2016

hey guys,

so this was another good week. we learned a lot of stuff that is exciting to us as missionaries but doesn’t really apply to you guys, so the letter might be short.

so first of all i got a new jacket this week, i went to a members house and i hadn’t brought mine, and so she didn’t let me go without one and it was too small for any of them, so she gave me a really nice coat. the funny thing is that my companion has been looking for one just like it and just bought one for like 700 pesos (like 50 bucks)
but she said she has more and wanted to give him one too.

so we came back this week to do a service for them and they took us into the back room to see the jackets and they had a ton of really nice clothes there. the thing is that this family has been struggling economically and so we have been working with them to help them keep the sabbath day holy. so we instantly told them that they should start a clothing shop and they would be set. it’s interesting to see that god often gives us all the blessings we need and many times we simply cannot see them.

also this week i made good use of my christmas packet. there was a family that was going to give a baby blessing sunday and they had a white shirt for him but couldn’t find a small tie. so i thought, "hey, i have one from that stocking that i just got" (i got a stocking from my mother that was shaped like a white shirt and tie) so i detached it and put it on a string and gave them a cool little tie. oh, quick note about future packages, don’t send me candy. i decided that i was eating way too much candy and so i have decided to give it up for this year, i would be more than happy to receive recipes however, preferably quick ones.

so this week i have been improving in my prayers, we can always improve. i saw a quote that says, "true worship is giving thanks" or something like that translated into english, so i decided to be more grateful in my prayers. i would invite all of you in this week to offer at least one prayer where you only give thanks, for as long as you can. it has helped me a lot.

well gotta go, but i love you guys, be good

elder gandola

February 15, 2016

hey guys,

ummm i actually have no idea what we did in this week. umm, so i guess I’ll just pretend like I’m short on time and can’t write to you guys.

i guess I’ll just share something that i have been learning this week. the center of everything that we believe and do is the savior, therefore we should center our lives on the savior, and especially on the atonement. this week i have spent a lot of time studying his life, and i realized that we will never understand all that he has done for us, and therefore should never stop studying it. as we grow in our understanding of and love for the savior, we will feel a natural desire to serve others, and to do his will. i would invite you all to take some time this week to study and ponder the saviors ministry and sacrifice, and to see how you can apply it to your life (a wonderful, easy way to do this is through the church´s bible videos which are really spectacular)

i guess i have gotten lazy with the person of the week, this week is Ana. we were walking along and all of the sudden a truck pulls up and a man rolls down the window and yells to us, "hey elders! hey I’m a member, but i live in zacatecas and am only here for the weekend, but you should go visit my sister in law." only he didn’t know the direction very well, he just knew that it was a blue house in a street, so we went and checked all the blue houses until one lady answered the door and asked us,"hey why did you guys stop coming to visit me?" the previous missionaries stopped visiting her, but she accepted us very well.

also this week I’ll send you 2 pictures because i forgot last week

 but anyways, that’s it for now. be good love, you guys
Elder Gàndola

February 22, 2016   Mexican Moonshiners

hello hello,

well lucky for you guys this week was a bit more interesting, starting monday.

so monday we had transfers (we stayed the same) and there is a new companionship that they are going to stick in valparaiso (our second area), so they told us, "hey, it would be great if you guys got here at 9 in the morning, that way you can take them over and show them around their area." so we did, but they told us, well actually, they won’t get here for 4 hours... so could you come back at like 1? so we did, but then they told us, "...well actually they won’t get here for 2 more hours, can you come back at like 3? so we did. this time they were actually there.

so we took them to valparaiso and showed them around. we planned on coming back in the night to see if we could work a little, and because their house isn’t really equipped for 4 missionaries, and because i was wearing my contacts and didn’t have what i needed to take them out. but wouldn’t you know it, there is a bus that goes back to fresnillo every hour of the day... except for 7, so we had to stay there. (don’t worry one of the other elders had contact solution, and there were enough blankets to make the ground somewhat comfy)
we did come back tuesday and where able to work normally, but it was pretty uneventful.

wednesday was super cool. so we went to a meeting in the church in the morning, and we were coming back when all of the sudden a car pulled over and rolled down the window (no I’m not just retelling last week’s story, it’s a different guy) and the guy told us, "hey, I’m a member from another ward, if you have time i can take you guys to visit a couple of references." we did have time, and he gave us like 10. it was super cool because that morning i had been praying specifically to notice the unplanned opportunities to help people, and this was definitely one of them.

thursday was an interesting day. so there’s this drink here that they sell in the streets called tepache that is basically made by fermenting pineapple skin. we don’t buy it because that is how alcohol is made, but if you make it yourself you can take it out before it makes alcohol and its fine. so we let some sit since last week. we remembered and went to check on it, but we both decided it smelled a little too risky, so we threw it away. and that is how we brewed alcohol here in the mission.

the rest of the week was pretty cool too, we actually had a couple of experiences like the one with the member, and actually in one of the meals this week we did a roleplay activity with the bishop and his wife to help them invite a friend to learn more, and they actually brought her to church on sunday. we could really see this week the lords hand guiding us to be able to do stuff that we couldn’t have done alone.

last of all, person of the week. gerardo flores. he is the dad/husband of some investigators that we have been teaching, and he hasn’t really approved, he has kinda been an obstacle and that is how we have seen him. but this week we realized that if we want to make any progress with the family, we need to make progress with him. so we prayed that we could find him alone, and one day we knocked on his door, and he answered us.  the only thing is that he answered the door and told us that he didn’t want us to pass by any more. i just remember thinking, "i am not leaving without teaching this guy," and I’m not really sure how we did it, but eventually he opened the door and said, "alright, come on in." so we taught him a lesson and he completely changed, when we left he gave us hugs and said sorry. it was kind of a humbling experience. i realized that God loves all of his children equally, and that really we should not judge others based on how we see them, rather we should seek to see them as god does, and then we gain the ability to help them.

anyways, that’s it for this week, be good, love you guys.

Elder Gandola

February 29, 2016  One man’s trash is another man’s Breakfast

hey guys,

so this week was pretty good, and most of the interesting things happened were related to the fact that we had absolutely zero money. (don’t worry, our money came today, so all good) and consequently we had no food this week

but anyways normally in the world having no money and food is a bad thing, but here in the mission those are some of my favorite weeks, because we get to see how the lord works everything out for you. one thing i have learned here is that the more we give god what we have and want, the more he can bless us with what he has and wants( not that i condone obedience for blessings, but it is a happy side effect of an obedience born from a love of god) and what he has and wants is always better.

but anyways we were walking somewhere on monday, when this lady pulls up in her car (we´re on a three week streak of that happening now) and tells us, "hey, I’m not a member, but my son is a missionary, and i want to feed you guys sometime." so she asked us for our number and told us she would call us to arrange it.

wednesday the person who had planned on feeding us couldn’t and had to cancel, so we were trying to figure something out when we get a phone call, and it was the same lady, and she wanted to give us lunch in like half an hour. i would call it a coincidence but i think we all know that it wasn´t

one of the things that actually isn’t so great about living in mexico is that they don’t really have a concept of garbage cans, or i suppose you could say that the world is their garbage can. but this week that kinda worked to our advantage. i was walking along and kicked a food package and saw that there was a sticker inside, so i picked it up and we realized that the food company has a promotion right now where there are stickers inside of the packages that are exchangeable for other products, so we started kicking the packets as we walked to see if there was any more, and in just one day we found like 6 bucks worth of cookies and stuff, which was enough for dinner saturday and breakfast sunday. we haven’t really found any more after that.

sunday we started walking to lunch and a member offered us a ride, we called while we were in the car, and we were actually wrong, it wasn’t with the member we had originally thought, it was with the daughter of the guy who was giving us a ride. she lived right in front of him, but she had forgotten and wasn’t even home, so he let us come and eat with them.

anyways, i guess the message of this letter is that we all need to learn to trust in god more, we have been sharing a scripture with a lot of members, in mathew 6

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

i have seen that this is true, if we really want security for us and our families, we should put God first, and he will take care of the rest

that’s it for today, be good, love you guys

elder gandola

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February 1, 2016 Rat Soup

well this week was pretty good, and pretty eventful

first of all we got another companionship in our district, which is good because the zone leaders have to leave a lot and so at least we will have somebody else there. but this week in addition to them we had a combined district meeting with another district, and president and his wife came and visited us too, so there was lots of people there... that probably doesn’t actually mean anything to you guys... but it was interesting nonetheless.

after that it was pretty normal, until friday. friday we had to travel to go give a baptismal interview in a little pueblo called c. the interview went all right, but afterwards the third best thing of my week happened... i found a store that sells A&W root beer! i was so happy i bought everybody a free round, and two for me. now i know where to buy it, i just have to take an hour long bus ride to find it.

that night was pretty interesting too, they came back with us and we had a sleep over, which is ironically named because sleep overs usually involve very little sleeping, ours involved none. we actually have to be prepared to travel again at 1:00 am at the church, so with four missionaries, and no gas, we stayed up all night getting ready (and also drinking root beer)

you are probably wondering why we had to travel at 1:00 in the morning (or maybe you aren’t wondering that because you read my letters) but anyways, it’s because for the second time in less than a year we had an apostle come to visit us. Elder Renlund, accompanied by bishop cause, presiding bishop of the church, held a devotional specifically for our mission, but he held it in the area of another mission (he didn’t even speak to them).

it was really cool, we learned a lot about real conversion, and a lot about how to help our investigators, but that would probably be boring to you, so I’ll just share something that i learned about praying with real intent. we basically shouldn’t pray that god does our work for us. we should pray so that we can receive guidance and strength to do our responsibility and our part in receiving the blessings we are asking for (see David A. Bednars 2008 General Conference talk ask in faith)

coming back from the conference was interesting because our bus broke down so we sat around for like 2 hours waiting, but we made it back in time for interesting thing number 3, baptism.

we had a lesson sunday with an investigator who has a long time investigating, but he finally committed to baptism, so we had a baptismal service saturday. we weren’t there most of saturday to organize everything and we couldn’t announce it sunday, but we worked hard during the week and managed to have a lot of people there.

ironically, sunday a lot of people weren’t there for the confirmation, mostly he wasn’t there. his mom was hospitalized in zacatecas early that morning, so he had to go, but next week well make sure that it happens.

other than that i had a food adventure on sunday, we went to visit a less active and she had made a soup with rat and snake... so we ate it! rat tastes like chicken and rattlesnake tastes kinda like fish... only more poisonous (but the poison is boiled out, it’s not fatal, obviously... nacho libre style high five to whoever gets that reference) oh and the rat is field rat, not house rat, don’t worry about it, i would never eat anything gross. oh and also i found a place that sells cow brain tacos, so i might eat them this week.

well that’s... a lot. love you guys, be good,


Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 25, 2016 Footless Footie Pajamas

January 25, 2016  Footless Footie Pajamas

hello everybody,

this week was awesome, one of the best that i have had in the mission. last week was ok, but we both felt like we could have done better and had more, so we recommitted ourselves and worked our tails off and practically doubled everything we had last week. i think i already mentioned that the culture here could use some changing, in that normally the missionaries don’t get as much done here as in other parts of the mission. but anyways most areas here are struggling to have 20 lessons in a week, we managed to get up to 37.

this week i learned a lot about the lords promises, mostly from teaching people about them. our ward is small. well, its big, but the attendance is small (to give you an idea we got a congratulations from the area presidency a couple of weeks ago for having an assistance of 76) and while the majority have testimonies, there is a lack of conversion. but anyways, we, with the bishop, have decided that now is the time to change that, so we have been working with all the members to strengthen their conversion. it’s interesting to see that lots of the time we think we have other stuff that keeps us from doing what we should, but i really liked what a sister said this week, she said, "i go to church for convenience. it convenient to have the blessings of the lord in my week, therefore it is convenient to go to church" basically, being obedient is the most convenient thig we can do.

other fun stuff that happened this week. there’s a sister in the ward who told us that she would make us pajamas if we bought the cloth. i actually have a burning hatred for entering fabric stores, but i braved it, and i am now the proud owner of new dinosaur footie pajamas (but without the feet)

that’s basically all im going to write you, so be good, love you guys,

elder gandola