Monday, December 30, 2013

Dec 30, 2013...Happy 46!

This has been a SLOW week!!
Last week on P-day, we were helping other missionaries with everything, so it was very hurried and stressful. That night, we had a few lessons, and a family home evening. Those felt way more relaxing than the rest of the day, which is usually backwards for me. We talked about the Priesthood. We have been working with a member for a few months to help him acheive his first goal of receiving the priesthood, and he finally did it. It was a happy moment for his family!
On Christmas Eve, we visited some people that don't have anyone to spend it with, and shared some spiritual thoughts and scriptures with them. After, we spent some time helping members prepare their tamales. We watched a video with a member family about the creation of the Salt Lake Temple. It was really good!!! We had tamales for dinner, and went caroling to investigators and less actives with our zone. There was one family we visited that were immensely impacted by our songs and blessing given to a family member on his death bed. It was very spiritual for everyone that was there!
On Christmas, we skyped our families!!! That was by far the best part of my week! I was allowed to go to the mission office because I have an international companion, so we spent some time with the mission president as well! I kept thinking it was going to be a little hard and sad for me, but surprisingly it was happy and joyful!! We went back, opened presents, and had ribs for dinner with the Branch President and his family, who remind me a lot of my own extended family. We went to the temple lights that night with a member family and their kids who are visiting and not members. They enjoyed it a lot, as did I.
We had a district meeting on Thursday, so that pushed back our studies. The meeting was great! We talked about and resolved some issues we were having in the branch, and learned some new insights from each other. We had more tamales for dinner, and went to the temple lights again with another investigator and his brother! That was a great night as well.
We didn't accomplish ANYTHING on Friday. Studied for several hours, and went to a New Year's party. We didn't even weekly plan! The second week in a row. My comp doesn't want to because we don't have investigators. We DO have investigators though. And even if we didn't, planning on how to get more is the best thing to do to get more. That got me kind of heated, but because I'm a trainee, I can't do anything about it apparently. Another day of the Lord's time wasted...:(
Saturday was full of service. MORE tamales!!! I ate probably 50 last week. It's better than menudo though.... We visited referrals that we had but NOBODY answered!
Yesterday, we sang again in church and studied for a while after. Then we visited a less active kid and talked to him about the gospel, and THEN we went to dinner and ate MORE tamales, AND mole. It was good, but a lot of food! We went with a member and had a lesson with 2 new investigators.
Not a very successful week, but a great week to feel the spirit of Christmas!

He looks so good!






Christmas 2013....LOVE my boy! (Elder Gutierrez-Gomez)

This week was pretty slow again :/
Last P-day, we got the great opportunity to get up at 530 and wax the car. We always go with the ZL's in their car, so we often give rides. Last week, we gave lots! By the time we got home, we only had about an hour to ourselves. Normally, we have 3 or 4. Packed day!! We had a sad lesson with a man we have been teaching, informing him that he can't be baptized unless he gets a job that doesn't make him work on Sundays. As important as church is, I don't agree with this decision. I feel like he is ready to be baptized, whether or not he will be able to come to church often. Several members have asked me about it as well, all of us thinking he should be able to be baptized. Hopefully that gets resolved in the next couple weeks.
We had a zone conference this week as well. THAT was a spiritual meeting! We heard from several missionaries, as well as our AP's and the President and his wife. Very good information that will help us improve as missionaries. I was able to play piano for that meeting, as well as most others that I am in. There not much that is more spiritual than being in a room full of missionaries singing songs about Christ. I love Christmas songs! Later in the night, we visited with a family we used to teach. They are getting married this week so that they can be baptized before the year ends. They said they will invite us to both their wedding and baptism, and maybe even ask us to perform the baptisms as well.
On Wednesday, we were able to get a LOT of great studies in. I am doing my best to organize and perfect my Libro de Mormon according to the bulk of the scriptures we use daily on the mission. My goal is to make them organized enought to use them for the rest of my life. After dinner that night, we met the sister missionaries at a house of one of our most progressing investigators. We unfortunately found that she and her family live across the street from our area. The meeting to transfer missionaries was a sad one. All three of the girls started to cry and the younger kids all ran up and hugged us. The sisters were VERY impressed with how well we have taught them and even more so with how well we filled out the progress records. While we walked home, a lady yelled at us from across the street for 10 minutes about the church. It was some pretty colorful language she had about mormons. Right after that, we saw a homeless man dancing in circles in the road. Gotta love Phoenix ;)
Elder Gutierrez's tires were both flat for a while, so we went this morning to get new ones. It took us almost 2 hours to get there and back, and another 2 hours to fix it. A LOT of wasted time. At least we have bikes now. We barely had time to plan for the week, which is KEY in staying organized. As we were riding towards a few homes, it started POURING rain!!! It was crazy! We were soaked in a matter of minutes, and the majority of the roads were flooded. Sidewalks as well. We got splashed by waves when cars passed. It was insane!! We visited a less active, but he was STONED out of his mind, so we just kind of walked away and left him. We visited another less active, and found out that he has been studying the Jehovah's witness bible for the last little bit. No wonder why he has so many weird questions.
Friday was a SOLID day!! We did exchanges, so I was with our DL for the day. We went to the hospital to get my heart tests done. Luckily I am ok, but the best part, was the President's wife met us there and let me call my Mom!! It was so good to talk to her, but really unexpected. That was the first out of two times I am going to talk to her this week! :)
We had another exchange on Saturday. I was with Elder Haney in his apartment, which I love, because they have a really nice gym!! I was finally able to get some decent exercise in! It was a day of studying for us, but that night, we went to the Asian buffet that we go to once a month. It was GOOOD.
Church, as always, was great! As a missionary, you are able to feel the Spirit so much stronger! We had a Christmas program, which was great. It really keeps the reason behind CHRISTmas in our minds. We did visits with a member, and he challenged everyone to give a gift to the Savior. That is my challenge to you. Whether it be service, bringing more people to the gospel, or just being nice to everyone, give Him a gift he will enjoy.
Sorry this is so long, but I thought I should make up for the pathetic one last week.
Love you all and Merry Christmas!
Elder Pilkington

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Love the PJ's!
E'Pilkington & E'Gutierrez with investigators

Looks like a bike shop

Bike Crash!

Elder GG and Elder Pilk

The bike injury is healing

What a handsome boy!  It looks like the other Elder thinks so too!


December 16, 2013

This week was another week of small miracles and small disappointments.
On Monday, we had a fun encounter with a dude who is about our age and used to be a member of the church, but was ex-communicated because the blunt of weed that was in his pocket, 'lit up' while he was blessing the sacrament. He explained his previous desire to serve a mission, but how he is too addicted to drugs to get back into the church now. We gave him our info so we can work with him.
I'm getting kicked off the computer, but we lost 3 investigators because I had a dream that they weren't in our area, so I checked the next morning, and they are across the street from our area. :( It was the worst week of numbers for us, but we had the opportunity again, to visit the temple lights 3 more times this week. Those were very spiritual times :)
I received several large packages and lots of letters this week. Thank you to everyone who sends me things. It helps me get a boost to keep going.
Love Elder Pilkington
PS Elder Holland is coming to speak to us in January. More on that later!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dec 9, 2013

This week was a lot of studying and a lot of service. We usually were inside about 5 or 6 hours a day studying or updating the area book, or things like that. We also spent about 3 hours a day serving members, investigators and random people. That was a lot of fun and a good way to spread the love of God.
On Tuesday, we spent close to 3 hours with the area book after all of our studies. We hadn't updated it since I got here, so it took a little while. We helped a family move some stuff around after dinner and that took a little while as well. We were able to meet with an investigator who is 25 years old. She is really nice and loves the things we teach. She has met with us over 6 times, but can't come to church and doesn't have a car. Oh, also she has 7 kids...... all under 12 years old..... so that's a little tough to work out.
Wednesday, I completed my 3 month mark! It is nuts how fast it has gone. I am now more than 1/8 done with my mission. It's going too fast!! I better learn Spanish faster! We ate with a member who usually gives us raw meat. Luckily, the chicken wasn't raw... but there was some hair and a rubber band in my comp's food. Good thing we have enough food at our apartment. ;)
Thursday was my comp's 26th birthday. We got donuts from a member from the English ward that morning. We bought a cake for him and ate it at our dinner. We were able to go to the temple with a less active family too. Solid b-day for him.
Again, Friday, we were in the apartment ALL DAY with planning and studies. I did however receive a box with a Christmas tree in it :) I set that up on my desk with the missionary ornament. We had some great pasole with a member family and our investigator. We were again able to go to the lights!
Saturday was packed of service! We were busy until 4 in the afternoon, then shortly after had to go to the Christmas party. It was a great turnout with the English and Spanish wards combined. The missionaries all had a part in the program. We sang The First Noel. One verse in Spanish and one in English.
Sunday was also very busy, but with meetings. We had one at 7 am with the Stake President and all the missionaries combined. After that, we had church. Then a ward correlation meeting. Then dinner. Then the Christmas Broadcast!! That was an amazing experience. I always love watching and listening to our Prophet and apostles. Especially the music. I love Christmas music :)
That was it. Not too much, nor too little. I have really enjoyed watching all of the people we are working with grow. Members, LA, investigators. All of them! The feeling I get, when I know they have felt or currently feel the Spirit because of something that I have said or done, is an amazing feeling :) I can't believe I am already 3 months done. It helps me realize when I am slacking.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2, 2013

Again, I am left with little time to write today :/
This has been a pretty laid back week. We just taught a ton of lessons, and had the opportunity to go to the Mesa Temple Lights the first night they opened. It was an awesome experience we had with one of our new investigators. His wife is a member and helps us a lot with him. He just recently got out of prison, but is the nicest man I have met.... I think. I don't really understand anything he says, so I'm not to sure.
With the whole 'Spanish' thing that have to do... It's actually coming along a little better this week. I am understandable now, and can understand more of what THEY say too. I still am trying to work on my own word range, but I feel like once I do that, I will be ok.
We had Thanksgiving at the home of an american family, (for the most part). It was pretty traditional to what I am used to. We went over early that morning to help make food, and then left to play football for a bit. We didn't eat until around 6 or 7 which is different than what I and my family are used to doing on Thanksgiving. I was pretty hungry by that point and ate a solid portion of the food we prepared. We have since, had 3 more 'Thanksgiving dinners'. I am being fed well, to say the least.
This week, we had several bittersweet experiences. One with a young, non-member boy who is in the hospital with a severe brain injury due to a car accident. His grandmother pulled other elders aside when they were there, and the referral ended up being given to us. The family comes from Yuma and the boy was life flighted here. We gave him a blessing on his arm, which was a very neat, spiritual experience.
Another was with a less active man. He lives 40 blocks from the chapel, without a car. He doesn't have a steady job, and he can't pay for electricity or food. He is a very strong spirited man, and I can feel the spirit everytime we are sitting in darkness with him. I have learned to love sharing the scriptures. They really do apply to everything that goes on in life.
I am so happy to be on a mission. It has impacted my life so far, and I know it will impact my future. I encourage everyone to pray and thank the Lord for the things that they have. I was able to share a great scripture with several families on Thanksgiving.
Alma 34:38
It talks about the importance of always thanking the Lord for the things we have, and it is absolutely true. If it weren't for Him, we would have nothing.
Have a great week, and enjoy the snow ;)
(To those of you in snowy places)
Elder Pilkington