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

January, 18, 2016


this week was good, but i don’t really remember what we did... so i guess I’ll just share some basic stuff.

​1. we had an interesting trip to valparaiso this week. usually we go and come back in 1 day, but it takes a lot of time in the bus, so we decided to go and stay for 2 days and just sleep in the house that the elders still rent there. that would have been a good idea, had it not been for the fact that we forgot our area book in fresnillo two and a half hours away. we don’t actually know the area there very well, so we couldn’t plan for the next day, and we had to come home the next morning. in the night we found out that the light had not been paid, so we got to make do with candles, but at least there was still hot water.

2. we managed to get a lot of service in this week, service is great. the biggest project we had was we got to paint a lady’s house, it was a good thing that they accepted our offer, because they had no idea what they were doing, but it turned our pretty well, well... at least it turned out a lot better than it was before (before and after pictures below.) but the best part is the effect it had on their family. it was cool to see the difference in their attitudes when we started and finished. their family has a number of problems, which i won’t go into, but for a number of reasons there is a lack of unity in the family. but even though they started out not working  together very well, by the end they were all laughing and playing around and looked more like a family. service is awesome, go do more of it.

and to finish, person of the week, them.   their son came to church too.

that’s all for now, be good, love you guys

elder gandola

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Januray 11, 2016 Wheel Chair Tune Up

hello all,

so this week was crazy. not sure if it went by fast or slow, but thus is the mission life.

it started off well enough, i got to the house and saw the most beautiful thing, about 6 pounds of american candy. the elder before me just finished his mission, but his parents had sent him pounds of the good stuff. and then to top it off i got another 4 pounds in my christmas package that arrived, this is like Halloween level amounts. so it’s possible that satan is making an assault on my teeth, but I’m happy.

the area has not been very well taken care of, and has had kind of a bad reputation for not progressing. but working here i can see that all of that is just culture, they hear it enough that they believe it. but i decided early on that i don’t want to follow that culture.s o we worked ourselves hard in this week and have seen awesome results. the only bad part about this area is the weather. it’s very... microwave burrito, frozen solid on the outside and boiling lava hot on the outside. there is a lot of sun, so it’s hot, but there is always a freezing breeze, so it always cold... both at the same time. but thus is the mexico life.

but anyways, we started working with the members, serving them in any way possible. we found a lot of opportunities and it really helped us gain their trust, especially the bishop. he is young and has about a month as bishop, but he is great. so we started working with him and helping him with his plans for the ward, and we could see a lot of progress in just one week.

the interesting thing about our area is that it is actually 2 areas. one got closed down and we took it over. the fun part is that the second area is about two and a half hours out of the city, a little pueblo called valparaiso. so we get to travel by bus every week, squeeze in what we can, and come back to take care of fresnillo.

this week we went and met up with an investigator in valparaiso who is in a wheelchair. it was bent out of shape, so he couldn’t go to church, but we saw that he had two more, also messed up, but with good parts. so we got to work and i think we must have replaced every part of that wheelchair, but he ended up with a pretty sweet ride. funny enough, i already knew how to do it, turns out longboards and wheelchairs are built basically the same. the whole time i was thinking, "all right, here are the ball bearings, we need to find a spacer, and.. oh wait! i almost forgot the speed rings!" ...yeah,good times.

then later this week we got some exciting news. for the second time in less than 10 months, an apostle is coming to visit us. the 30th of january, elder renlund is coming to visit. president viareal says that this kind of thing is virtually impossible. especially since we will all be traveling out of the mission to see him. he will be in the mission queretaro, but he is only going to speak to us. not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s exciting.

last but not least, person of the week. the familia B. they are a family that had received a few visits before i got here, but we have taught them twice. we had some super cool lessons with them, and they helped us complete a goal that my companion had. the 6th here is the day of the wise men. and everybody celebrated by eating this large bread called rosca de reyes. my companion had never tried it (i did last year) and really wanted to, but it’s expensive. so we finished the lesson, ad left. we got half way down the street when we heard somebody shouting at us, we turn around and the investigator was running after us to invite us to share their rosca... it’s a wisemen day miracle! but anyways, four of them came to church this week, and they all felt really great.

anyways, that’s all folks. be good, love you guys.

elder gandola

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 4, 2016 Just Do It

well this week was one of the better weeks i have had in these past few months.

we started out in a meeting with the assistants, who came to talk to all of san luis. the whole state of san luis has been kinda low in baptisms, and has been kinda desanimado (you’ll have to put that one into google translate, not sure what it is in english.) so they came to reanimate them.

they talked about a lot of stuff, but what really affected me were a couple of questions they asked. the first was, "who wants to be an assistant?" (for those who don’t know, an assistant is the highest leadership position in the mission.) a couple missionaries raised their hands, and then he asked them, "what are you doing to make it happen?" i thought that question was interesting because the people who raised their hands were mostly the same people who had raised their hands to a different question, "who has been sleeping in later than they should?" i realized that what we do shows our real desires, in the moment, sleeping in is a bigger desire that being a leader.  we need to make our desires happen.

so i decided a few things. 1 i don’t necessarily care if i am called as assistant or not, but i want to be the kind of missionary that could be called as an assistant. (for those of you wondering, i had not raised my hand to the question, because i didn’t want it then.  my companion actually asked me afterwards why i hadn’t raised my hand, which i thought was kind of funny.) and 2. we haven’t had people at church for a couple months, we have a bunch of investigators, but none have come to church, so my desire this week was to have people at church. so the whole week i worked hard to make it happen, i studied all thirty of them and studied why they haven’t come and how to help them, and when i had other desires, i decided what i wanted more and went right along. we had four people there this week. and a fifth arrived out of the blue who had investigated online and showed up by himself.

today we had transfers, and after 6 months, i left españita. i was sent as district leader to fresnillo zacatecas, with elder S. as my companion. he only has three weeks here, so he doesn’t know the area super well, but he is a good elder.  there is a lot of work to be done, so it’s time to put in practice a lot of what i have learned this week, but I’m excited.

but anyways, quick challenge for you all. 1 what do you really want? 2. what are you doing to make it happen? now go make it happen.

elder gandola

ps. I’m going to try to include a picture in all of my emails now, this resolve will probably last like 3 weeks

December 28, 2015 Goals for New Year

well this is gunna be short because i just talked to most of you.

just a quick thought.

new years is this week, and with new years  comes new year’s goals (i forgot what they are called in english) we usually put goals and drop them within a month, that is for lack of commitment and planning. i would invite you all to include these in your goals.

also, i would like you to put missionary goals for this year. the church membership is currently 15,372,337. imagine how wonderful it would be if each member had the goal of just 1 baptism this year, the results would be incredible. now I’m not telling you what your goals should be, nor if it should be with nonmembers or less actives, or anything else, nor how many the goal should be, that is between you and the lord, but i do invite you to prayerfully put missionary goals for this year. i don’t think that this short email will reach and affect all those members, but for those of you who do see it, i hope it affects your actions in this next year.

that is all

elder gandola

Dec 14, 2015

Dec 7, 2015
what the heck, why does lucas look tall?

Dec 14, 2015   

hey guys,

well i guess I’m a bum for not writing you guys last week. i actually just managed to forget somehow. i read all the emails and just thought, "hmm, guess i finished with my emailing business for this week." ...oh well.

only really remember one thing from last week. i canceled the zone leaders lunch appointment. our lunch thursday couldn’t make it, so the relief society was going to work something out, and wednesday they did, they called and told us who we would eat with somebody. but thursday morning somebody else called us to verify that we would eat with her. i wasn’t exactly sure who it was, so i told her we would check. we did and it wasn’t with her so we told her not to worry about it. then we got a call from the zone leaders, "hello? who is this? elder gandola? oh... why did you cancel our lunch?" still not sure, but I think the sister has us as "the elders" in her phone when we aren’t in her ward, but... oh well.

this week the most interesting thing that happened was saturday and sunday. the tiajuana temple was just finished, so we got to watch the cultural event and dedication. elder uchtdorf and oaks came down to visit us. things i learned/remembered from the dedication. temples are awesome.

no but seriously all of you people out there who don’t have area restrictions, when was the last time you went to the temple? why has it been that long? i would invite you all to take time as soon as possible to go visit the temple. if you can only do baptisms, go do baptisms. if you aren’t a member or cant enter right now, just go and visit the beautiful temple grounds (even more so decorated for christmas.) to ponder and think and just sit. whatever you do, i invite you to make a temple visit part of your holiday activities. i promise you won’t regret it.

last of all, person of the week. L. she is actually somebody that i have never taught, she was an investigator that the other elders in our ward had, who was baptized this past week. she progressed rapidly from the start and actually got baptized before the normal  5 sundays required, by her own request. my only involvement with her was that i contacted her. i just found her, but it’s great to see the little things that we can do that make big differences in the lives of others, even without our further involvement.

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

elder gandola

ps about the skype call. I’ll call you on the 25th. not sure when, but mom, send me your information again just in case.

November 30, 2015 Thanksgiving Sandwich Part II

so this week was busy, i guess. first of all, it was good because it is now after thanksgiving, so i have been listening to the christmas music every morning that i got in my package. i like christmas music.

speaking of thanksgiving, it’s not really a thing here. not really sure why, i mean why wouldn’t the mexicans want to celebrate  the day that we started populating the united states... i guess maybe once we figure out what day lehi landed we can start having a mexican thanksgiving.  but this year was a little bit better than last, though i still celebrated with a sandwich. this time our last visit sent us off with tortas (not for thanksgiving, just because everybody loves us) and as we were eating them i realized, "hey, i think this is turkey" so there you go, thanksgiving turkey.

this week i also made another claim to my claim as dog whisperer (or dog terrorist, they´re more or less interchangeable) we went to visit a contact that we did and when we got there and knocked on the door, the door opened... but just enough to let out two angry hell hounds, foam spewing from the mouth. ok so maybe they weren’t hell hounds, they may have been chihuahuas... but they were still barking, and angry. luckily i am always prepared for situations like this, so i pulled out my powerade bottle and sprayed them both with water. they actually calmed down and started licking up the water from the ground, then let us pet them. so we knocked again and the woman came out and let us in.

the other exciting thing that just happened is that the church released another christmas initiative. you should all go and visit to see the video a savior has born. it’s a really good, easy, unthreatening way to share the gospel in the christmas season. everybody knows that christ is the reason for christmas, but the invitation that we are sharing is, "discover why." i would highly encourage you to share it on social media and with friends in person (and mom you should post it on my facebook.)

last of all, person of the week. m. a contact we did about three months ago but haven’t been able to find. but as we were passing by her house we felt like we should visit her. she was there and very interested. the has some health problems and isn’t able to see well enough to read, so i thought of something that i hadn’t ever thought of before (because that is actually a very common problem here) and so we went and bought her a magnifying glass to be able to read.

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

elder gandola

ps ponderize scripture this week was mathew 5:7-10
November  23,2015    Hot Glue

well this week was.. interesting i think, i don’t really remember it.

but one thing i do remember is that we got to travel this week. our visa was expired and so we had to travel down to Aguascalientes to give fingerprints and all that good stuff to not be illegal anymore.

it was kinda cool to see the elders that i arrived with again, it was the first time I’ve seen elder win like 6 months too, so that was cool. we all got to talking about the mtc experience, which is weird to think was more than a year ago, but also good to remember fun memories. but i was kinda thinking, the mtc is a good way to start the mission, partly to learn what we need to, but it also gives the new elders a place to kinda unload all the stupid things that they may otherwise be immature enough to pull in the field were they sent straight there. (i think it would be better if the young men were just mature enough to not do dumb things, but i think it’s probably one of the many reasons that the lord was wise enough to give us the mtc.)

you can kinda tell when you have some time in the mission because all of the sudden all of you clothes decide to malfunction at the same time. this week the big problem was one of my shoe soles has a big hole in the heel and is basically hollow. I’m pretty proud of my fix. i bought a hot glue gun and just completely filled the sole with hot glue. i guess we’ll see if it holds but if not i have a lot more hot glue sticks.
side note: i like hot glue guns better in spanish, the literal translation into english would be something along the lines of, "silicon weapon."

anyways to finish up i guess I’ll go back to the long forgotten person of the week. this week, v. she is a reference of her cousin. she is a catholic and has been very active her whole life but has stopped going for a while because of complications with divorce and moving states and all that jazz. but she is very receptive and actually reads and goes to church and all that good stuff. (we leave her assignments and come back and she tells us "sorry i didn’t read too much, it’s just that i finished the assignment, and then i liked it a lot and so i read it a couple more times, and then i went back and read the other stuff you guys had left me, and so i didn’t really have time to read very much new material" ... yeah that’s fine) the only thing that is impeding her progression right now is receiving an answer, but she has felt and recognized the spirit very distinctly in a few occasions, so if she keeps on working, we aren’t too worried about it.

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

elder Gàndola

ps. ponderize scripture this last week was D&C 20:37. doesn’t overly apply to non-missionaries, but it helps us focus on how to truly prepare people for the covenant of baptism

November 9, 2015 I’m going to purposely refrain from including a witty title with this one

so this week was interesting, I’ll start with the second half of the week.

we had a zone conference, pretty basic zone conference, but i got my gummies!!! oh and my contacts too, but mostly the gummies. the package got here all right, so thanks for that. and our new phone got here, so we have a phone again

but other than that the week was pretty normal, until Thursday when the other elders in our district passed by to let us know that the stake president had just died. he was killed in a car accident on the freeway. it was really sudden because he was in our ward on sunday.  i didn’t really know him to well, but we rented our house from him, so we spoke every once in a while for that..

its always kind of an eye opening experience when something like this happens, it seems like he was spiritually prepared when the time came, and it kinda reminds you that you never know exactly when "the end" is, so endure to the end could be interpreted, "endure always."

there was a lot of people there at the funeral services, their stake center was filled to overflowing. it makes me think, that’s what i want my funeral to be like.

sunday they let us know like 2 minutes before that we had the talks. so i kind of managed to peg some of these thoughts together, (probably a lot better than i did here) with some scriptures and stuff too.

so basically that’s it for now, just, endure always i guess

be good, love you guys

elder gandola

November 2, 2015 Orange Flowers

well this week was interesting, which one of the very (i won’t say apostate but i guess unspiritual would do it) holidays will i start with. well let’s just go in chronological order.

Wednesday, Saint Judas day. so for those of you not familiar with catholic beliefs (maybe it’s just Mexican catholic I’m not really sure) they have a lot of saints that help get their prayers to god(something along those lines but I’m not really sure so don’t take my word as 100% accurate), but one of the main ones is saint judas, so there is a church of saint judas super close to our house and so they celebrated it on wednesday. it was interesting to see because a bunch of people brought in carnival rides (only big enough for small children) and games and stuff. it’s funny though because I’m positive that not all of the vendors were from the church, i know because a member of our church took advantage of the celebration to sell food (but it was good food she gave us some for free) not gunna lie i always like catholic celebrations because they always have really cool tribalish dances. we walked past them a couple times in the day (during heavy sun and heavy rain) and there were the same people doing the same dance all day long, i was impressed.

saturday, Halloween. mh it was kinda lame to be honest. in the u.s. a witch hat or chucky mask or painted face with completely normal clothes doesn’t pass off as a costume (people do it but there are good costumes too) and there are only a couple houses that give candy. oh well.

sunday, day of the dead part 1. fun fact there are two day of the deads, one to honor the deceased children and another for the adults. they all go to cemetery and make offerings of food and flowers to their ancestors. it was funny because all of them bring orange flowers. now i understand why orange flowers were considered a death threat in Shakespeare’s day. because apparently that’s still what you bring to the dead.

other things that happened this week. 1. we passed by the house of the other elders to get their results for the week because we don’t have a phone. they had a bunch of bamboo poles so i asked them why. they weren’t bamboo. turns out that sugar cane is in season, so they gave us some. i like eating sugar cane....

also, we were planning one night and there was a bunch of teenagers sitting in front of our house laughing and being vulgar and all that, so we were wondering how we could get them to go away. guess how? yup you guessed it we went out there and kicked in their little faces... no we didn’t (though we totally could have) we did something even better. we blasted the mormon tabernacle choir. they didn’t even make it through two songs which is really a lame because the sopranos really kill it at the end of come come ye saints. oh well at least i enjoyed it.

well i don’t really have a lot of time, so I’m gunna call it there for this week

love you guys be good,

elder gandola

October 26, 2015 Hurricanes and Ghost Towns

hello once again,

so this week was pretty crazy, so you all saw how there was a big hurricane? well it came straight through san luis and everything was going to be completely flooded, so they evacuated us to monterrey. we are supposed to head back down I’m lying the hurricane was super lame. it actually rained a good couple times over here in the beginning of the week, and then we got a call from the zone leaders telling us that if it rained a lot to get home, because a hurricane was coming. (i had never actually heard the word in spanish before, so at first i thought that they called us to tell us that a ukranian was coming... he wasn’t) so we were anticipating a lot of rain and wind and stuff, but san luis decided to react to the hurricane with... sun. we walked around sweating in our short sleeve shirts... poop.

but one of those days in the beginning of the week when it was raining, we got caught in the middle of it and ended up running to get to the buildings to hide. only we didn’t notice that when we ran our phone fell out of my pocket and into the water, we realized like an hour later and went back to look for it. we actually found the back cover, but the phone was gone (probably picked up and sold to buy some more beer) so we had all sorts of interesting situations while we are waiting for our new phone.

the weirdest experience without it was sunday.  we have church at 8 in the morning, but without the phone we only had my watch for an alarm, and neither of us heard it. so long story short we wake up late and don’t get to church until like 8:45. only one thing, we were the only ones there. we got there an hour late and nobody had come to church. no members, no investigators, nobody but the bishop and his family. we thought that it was probably because of the hurricane, but it was pretty sunny, so we were pretty confused. then we talked to the bishop and apparently we are just idiots and didn’t realize that there was a time change. oh well, at least we were early.

we found a lot of new investigators this week, which is good , with people who are actually progressing, which is also good. so it’s nice to see that the lord will do his work in his time, and that if we keep doing our part that we can help him do his work.

this next week should be interesting because its Halloween, which they kinda celebrate, and its the day of the dead, which they really celebrate and we live behind a cemetery, and its saint judas day, which is a catholic saint that they worship and they have a whole carnival set up right outside our house. but for this week, that’s all, love you guys, be good

elder gandola

October 19, 2015 Blood Sucker (well, chewer and swallower…)

welll this was a good week, we started it out with divisions with the zone leaders, i stayed here in our area with one of them and my companion went to work with the other. we found a bunch of new investigators, which i will talk about in a minute, but we had an interesting food adventure, the sister who gave us lunch fed us moronga, which is pure blood that has been concentrated and then cooked. actually not bad, it’s basically the same as eating meat. kinda like tofu, but not vegetarian friendly. there’s a woman who works in a tiangis (like a street market) who gives us free food every monday, and she had moronga there, so i ate a blood quesadilla today again. so that’s twice in one week that i break the law of moses.

so we didn’t get to go to conference sunday, and so i have been listening to the talks at night to catch up. i finally got to the ponderize one, and decided to join in on the party. thursday we had interviews with president and he shared a scripture with us that i decided to use for the rest of the week, D&C 24:12, "y en todo tiempo y en todo lugar, de dia y de noche, abrirás tu boca y declararás mi evangelio, como con voz de trompeta, y te daré fuerza como no se conoce entre los hombres" ok so i memorized it in spanish, so use google translate, no, even better, look up the scripture, no, even better, learn spanish.  (D&C 24:12 And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.)   but it really helped me in this week. as i said we had a lot of new investigators in this week, and this is one of the reasons why.  at first i just applied it to street contacting, but then i realized all the situations we are in that we can invite people to here our message, and just  by inviting everybody to listen, we had a lot of people who accepted.  so I’ll probably start sharing my scripture with you every week, sometimes with commentary, sometimes without.

last and least, person of the week. (ok probably not least, that would probably be the blood thing cause it doesn’t really have a spiritual application) this week is g. f.. she actually contacted us. we were eating tortas (that we get cheaper because we know everybody) and the woman at the next table asked us if we could bring her a video of jesus christ. so we did. turns out that she has family that are members, and she is interested to learn, she even came to church this week, though she arrived an hour late because she thought it was later and she got lost, thought that a metal shop was our church, it wasn’t. but she came and that’s what’s important.

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

elder gandola