Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October 28, 2013 (Elder Gutierrez-Gomez)

Oct 28 at 1:28 PM
Hey everybody!!
I only have 10 minutes to bust this out!!
A lot of great things have happened. First, we have 4 new investigators!! 2 of them have families and the other two are older woman. Our other investigator that I told you was going to be baptized on the 2nd can't be baptized until the 9th. He is excited though. I am excited for him! He hasn't decided who he wants to baptize him, but I imagine that it's E' Gutierrez because he has been the one to teach him everything. His brother who was recently baptized is inactive now. We are trying to get him back, but he has a lot of problems in his life that he needs help with.
The lady from the park has been sick ALL week and we haven't had a chance to talk with her. We will probably go to her house every day this week and try to teach her
I am understanding the language more and more every day, but it's still pretty hard to understand and my accent isn't great. I LOVE this area so much! I am considering moving down here for a bit after my mission. I'm sure that will change by the time I leave. We get fed well here. Just so you know.
The zone leaders are E's Wilson from Utah, and Hernandez from Puerto Rico. I really like them! Everybody in my zone actually. I am in a Spanish only branch, but a lot of the people speak English too. It's really helpful. The branch presidency is great. One of the counselors doesn't talk much and the President doesn't speak a lot of English. The other counselor is a younger guy who speaks mostly English. It's a fairly small branch. Maybe 200 or so members, but probably only 60 or 70 are active. A lot of what we do is re activation.
I'm not sure what we do on Halloween.  I've heard we have to be in by dark. I'll have to check on that
I apologize for the the un-organization of this letter. Hopefully I will have more time next week for the letter

Sunday, October 27, 2013

MTC District
                                                       Justin and Thomas of THE KREW
4:30 AM-off to the airport via Front Runner

Early Riser! Going to catch the train

Te Amamos, E' Pilkington! AF train platform!

A greenie package for the greenie

Welcome to Scottsdale!

Pres. and Sis Sweeney

Welcome to Arizona!
Elders Pilkington and Gutierrez-Gomez (GG)

Those piano lessons have paid off!

Elders GG and Pilk

Monday, October 21, 2013

First Week in AZ...Monterrey East Zone

Wow time is going by fast! Already one week in the field and almost 2 months total! It's great.
My Spanish is coming along. Not anywhere near where it needs to be, but coming along. I could probably survive with what I know.
We get fed every night here by the members! The food is great. All the same. Can you guess? Rice Beans and some sort of meat. Usually with Horchata or Tampico. I think that's what it's called? S/O to my uncle to introducing me to the most common Spanish drinks! :)
We have had great days this week, but also pretty depressing days.

One of the days, we contacted close to 30 people and set appointments with 10 or so of them. We handed out 4 Book of Mormon's, (Book's of Mormon), and obtained 3 referrals for English missionaries. We got 2 new investigators that day.
Another day, we forgot to pray before we left. No big deal right?
Absolutely Wrong. ALL of our appointments cancelled, nobody wanted to talk to us, and we couldn't find the addresses of some of our contacted future investigators. It was not a good day for us. ALWAYS pray!!
One of our new investigators we met with is an extremely nice woman. She has 2 young kids, a 7 year old and a 9 year old. We met with her for the first time a few days ago, and she is really struggling in life. She doesn't have a job, her kids can't go to school because she can't afford it. They eat very little. She can't pay for electricity, so they sit outside at night until they are ready for bed. Her husband got taken by the Migra. (Immigration control) She was crying during this whole thing. I was just about to cry too. She agreed to come to church, which was amazing!
Our other investigator that I mentioned last time is good too. The only thing is that in order to be baptized on the 2nd like he was planning, he needed to come to church. He DIDN'T COME!!!?!?!? Neither did the new investigators! :( Only our less active family that we have been teaching. That was great to see them. We have scheduled Noche de Hogar with them every Saturday. Hopefully they can make progress as a family.

The member's here are amazing! They help us so much! It's always great to be riding down the streets and have them honking at us to support us.
Thank you for the support everybody shows to me. It really helps to keep me going!!!
Miracles are real. Prayer affects our lives greatly. We need to pray daily.
I am so happy to be here! Keep on keeping on.
Hasta el proximo Lunes!
Elder Pilkington

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Hola Todos!!
I'm in ARIZONA!!!
First off, my mission address will be the same the entire time. It's the mission office address:
Arizona Scottsdale Mission
6265 N 82nd Street
Scottsdale, AZ  85250
Make sure whatever packages or letters you may send include, 'ELDER THOMAS PILKINGTON'. All three. Also, packages that aren't sent by the US postal service won't be forwarded to me, so depending what area I'm in, I may not get them for a couple months. In other words, don't send UPS.  ONLY send US Postal Service, like FLAT RATE. 
My P day here is usually on Mondays, except for transfer weeks, in which case it is on Wednesdays.
I am in the Monterrey East Zone, which is like in downtown Phoenix just about. I live in an apartment with my companion and the zone leaders.
My companion is Elder Gutierrez-Gomez from Mexico City, Mexico and is a convert of 4 years! He is an extremely nice guy! He is 25 years old, and knows 3 months worth of Enlglish. Which is surprisingly a ton!! We help each other with the languages. He was able to baptize his mother 2 weeks before he left for his mission!
(I will send pictures sometime next week)
Our first day, we toured the Mesa Temple and had a little snack.Then we returned to the chapel across the street from the mission home and had lunch and several meetings.
Later in the evening, we went out in groups with some youth from a nearby ward. I talked to many people, got about 4 referrals, and prayed a few times with them.
I also placed a BOM to a woman who was at the park with her grandchildren. I was asking her questions about her family and she says that they are very meaningful to her. I shared a story about my grandpa and the peace that I have now, knowing that I will be able to see him again and live with my family para siempre. (Everything said this night was in Spanish in case you're confused). She expressed her desire to be with her family and grandchildren as long as she could. I offered her a BOM and promised her blessings from reading it and she said she would. The Elder I was with got her information and set up a date to teach her. It was absolutely amazing. I prayed with her and almost started crying. In a manly, spiritual way.....
That night, I stayed in the mission home, which is extremely nice!! I was awakened by Mo Tab playing throughout the house. It was great! We did excercises with the President on his lawn and then had a nice breakfast made by Sister Sweeney. I LOVE them both by the way. Very nice people.
We met with an investigator last night after having dinner at a members house. The woman we ate with was extremely nice!! She lived in a retirement home by herself. She was over 80 years old. She made some spaghetti and salad for us. Flan for dessert. It was great! I didn't understand some of what she said because of how fast she talked, but she testified to me the power of God with the gift of tongues. It was really an amazing opportunity.
The investigator is named Julio. He is 19 and his brother Oscar was baptized a few months ago. Oscar is still progressing, but helping Julio with straightening up his life. Julio has a baptismal date set with us in a month and a half. He is an amazing guy and really just wants the best for his family. I actually had a lot in common with him. Ensenamos La Lei de Castidad con el. He liked the idea behind it, but was kind of confused, because my companion kept saying CAN instead of CAN'T. Ex: We can have multiple wives after marriage and we can have sex before marriage. I had to clarify everything haha. We were able to share personal experiences of our lives. It was really cool.
We walked around a little after and did some tracting. It was a cool experience too. Most of the younger kids and teenagers here prefer English over Spanish, so that makes it nice for me.
I am happy to be here and really excited for the future of these people, especially Julio!!
I only have 1 hour a week now, so everything will be a little shorter, and I won't be able to get as many letters out. Just be patient with me. I won't forget you I promise.
Dios les bendigan!!
Les amo
Elder Pilkington

Conference Weekend at the MTC (Elder Hall)

Hola todos!
Esta semana fue mejor que ultima semana! 
Conference was a really humbling experience for everyone in the MTC! I´m happy I was able to experience that here. Our general authorities are amazing. They really are completely full of the spirit and this great work. I was happy to hear so many people talk about missionary work. The excitement hear was crazy. And when we sing songs like ´Called to Serve´. 
On Sunday night, we had a ´special devotional´. It was really cool. Everybody thought at first that it was going to be an apostle, but to our surprise and excitement, it was Vocal Point. The devotional they did was amazing. Several of the members were able to talk about their experiences as missionaries and the things they struggled with and had to go through. They then sang songs and on some of them, they allowed us to join in towards the end. The spirit they brought and invited was incredible. My favorite they did, as always, was ´Be Still My Soul´. It was right after a member talked about not having to do anything alone. It reminded me of my farewell talk and my purpose here. I was close to tears. 
That was the closest I have been to crying here until just a few minutes ago. I was typing a letter to my Grandma, and I got an overwhelming feeling. It was amazing. I was inspired by the spirit to say certain things to her. I knew they were from my grandpa. It was incredible. As I typed, I actually started to cry. It definitely was one of the most spiritual experiences in my life. 
On Tuesday night, we attended a devotional given by John Madsen I think. He is a former member of the Seventy. At first I thought it was boring and that I would fall asleep for sure. He began to talk about the Atonement and it turned into an amazing learning experience for me. I´m glad I didn´t sleep through it. Really anytime someone, who holds or who has held that kind of power, speaks the spirit is extremely strong and testifies directly to you. Especially if you´re trying to sleep. 
Wednesday night, we were ´required´ by our teacher to do a demo for new missionaries. We had to be the missionaries. I was stoked at first! Then I found out it was in English......shoot. I don´t know how to teach in English.... I´m in trouble! It didn´t go so great. It was a good experience to learn from, but sad that I had to embarrass myself in front of 50 new missionaries. We went in and began to talk to a sister who had been visited once before by missionaries who had been transferred. We asked her what she had been taught and understood. It was going well at first, but then I started speaking Spanish and asking her random questions that didn´t apply well to anything we had already talked about. Oh well, I learned from it. 
All day Thursday, we attended an in field orientation. We learned a lot about the importance of planning in the field and also the importance of involving the members and working with leaders in the church. It was really helpful, but also really long! We were there for almost 9 hours. I saw the Baileys though! I had a really nice, really short conversation with them! It was great to see more familiar faces walking around!!!
Last night I read an amazing letter from my sister. I cried. Ask her for details. No she´s not getting married.... I hope. 
Well I only have 2 full days left here. I´m extremely excited to go, but also somewhat nervous. I don´t think they do Dear Elder outside of the MTC, so don´t send me anything from there anymore. I would start sending things to AZ starting tonight. Otherwise they won´t get to me by Monday. 
My buddy Zac who is also serving right now recommended a mormon message a few weeks ago. I have watched it several times since, and it is amazing. It is called Earthly Father, Heavenly Father or something to that extent. Please watch it!!! It is so good! 
I don´t know when my P day will be in the field, but I´ll email as soon as I can! 

Elder Pilkington

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conference Pictures

                                                          Elder Pilk and the new group
                                      Elder Pilk and one of his best friends, Justin Rootsaert
                                                                  The Arizona mish!
                                                       Elders Pilkington and Rootsaert
                                                                      Wow! Glasses!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 5-Last week at MTC! (Elder Hall)

Hola cada uno!!
Como estan?!
I am doing great, but still having some struggles with my comp.....
Before I go into the negative, I just want to let everyone know my feelings. This gospel, El Evangelio de Jesucristo, is amazing. The things it teaches and principles it covers are all in place to help us feel loved in this world. The Lord has blessed us ALL with families so that we can help each other learn and progress in a positive manner. I am extremely grateful for my whole family and the different lessons each of them teach me. My parents have taught me an unbelievable amount of both worldly and spiritual traits. My grandparents too. My grandpa, Pop, is with my everyday, helping me with any problems I struggle with. I know my uncle is too. He had a little bit of a difficult run in his life.  Had his leaders, both in the church and not, as well as the kids he associated with, been more open and loving to him, I know his life would have gone differently. In fact he would have still been here I think. It is so extremely important for us to ALWAYS treat others with kindness and love, regardless of your feelings towards them. 
(I was tempted to say IRRegardless, just to annoy my Mom and Aunt Missi ;) )
In saying this, yes I have had a lot of stress and a lot of problems with my comp still this week that I won't mention because I know how upset many of you would be by it, but I have had my uncle in my mind this week as well. I know without a doubt that if this Elder went home, whether by his choice or others, he would leave the church. It's more important to me for him to stay active and build his testimony of the church while he serves, than for me to feel stress free. The Lord often works in mysterious ways. This is a perfect example. At first, I wondered why my President would put me in the same situation that Elder Castleton almost went home for. Then I realized President Stewart works under The Lord. This wasn't his idea, it was His idea. He knows my abilities much better than I do. If He trusted me enough to put me in this situation, He must have a plan for me, that I can't quite see yet. Like I mentioned in my farewell talk, we don't always know why we get put in certain situations, but The Lord ALWAYS does. He knows what He is doing, and we need to forget about ourselves and our personal desires and put all our faith and trust in Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 portrays this perfectly. As I have focused more on The Lords plan for us, I have been able to see that there IS a light at the end of my tunnel, and that we can become great, but we must first let ourselves go into The Lord's hands.
I leave in a week from Monday and I can't wait!! It will be an adventure! I'm not feeling too ready as far as language goes, but again, I'm just going to work my hardest and let The Lord help me with the rest. 
As far as letters and packages go, I would say Friday next week would be THE LATEST you can send anything and still have it get to me. After Friday early afternoon, start sending things to the Arizona address. Thank you again to everyone who sends me things! It makes my attitude change everyday!
I was playing basketball yesterday and had close to 40 points for the hour I played. I was unstoppable! I hit 8 3's in a row and everyone was shocked. Just thought I'd let you know.
The President told me last Sunday that had the companionship arrangements been different, I would have been zone leader. I guess he likes me a lot. 
Thanks for reading my letters! I'll send one last letter from the MTC next week before I head off to AZ.
Elder Pilkington
PS. I doubt any of you are more excited for conference than I am, and I don't even have a couch to sit on!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

                                            Go Utes! (Utah v BYU Rivalry Game 9/21/13)
                    Elders Castleton, Hall, Misalucha, Pilkington, Webster, Rey @ Provo Temple
                           Handsome Elder Pilkington got his first MTC haircut--shortest ever!
                                                                    Deep in thought...