Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pictures at Mesa Temple (Elder Gutierrez-Gomez)

This has been quite the week. Our whole apartment was sick basically all week. Except me :) But now I'm getting it.. :/
I got my companion Elder Gutierrez to come out with me in the mornings, but he only goes on bike. We race around our apartment complex, (him on bike, and me running). I beat him every time. I think he has a hernia.... hmmmm...
We went out to eat last week and had Culver's. That was good!!! Got a little trunky, but worth it for sure.
We have 5 or so new investigators! One couple who is older, maybe in their 70's. We got a referral for their son, but he moved to Mexico. They expressed their interest to learn with us, so we have been working with them. They are very nice and have a great desire to learn, but they haven't kept any committments.
Another family is great!! They took lessons from missionaries in the last place they lived, but haven't made the decision towards baptism for one reason or another. They are a very young family. In fact, Elder Gutierrez is older than them both. They have 3 kids and 1 on the way. Their oldest daughter has cancer, and they struggle with that quite a bit. They LOVE the way the gospel focuses on families. Their biggest problems are leaving bad habits behind. Coffee, which is one that has been affecting tons of members out here, alcohol, and smoking. I know they will be baptized at some point.
Our other new investigator is a 13 year old from Idaho. He is living with his grandma who is in our branch and helps the missionaries a lot. He had to come down here for his own safety, because his step dad was beating him. He has wanted to be baptized for a while now, and actually had a date with other missionaries in Idaho. Our first lesson, we set a date for this Saturday, the 25th!
Aaron is still progressing, but still pretty slow. They are expecting in the next week. I think he is scared of what his family will think of him. He's close though.
We did a lot of service this week! And helped with a few blessings. One lady we visited in the hospital had been basically in a coma. Not really, but hadn't woken up to anything for a long period of time. Her sister was there who isn't a member. She was pretty hesitant on letting us do it, but gave permission in the end. We gave the blessing, and within a minute, she woke up with a smile on her face and thanked us for helping her feel the Lord's love. Very cool!
Last thing I want to mention. I had been pretty scared to talk to people on the streets for the first few months in Arizona. People aren't very friendly here, if ya didn't know that. Most are homeless, drunk, or gay. (No offense if you fall into one of these categories). During a Zone Training Meeting we had, we were brought across the scripture Doctrine and Covenants, section 60, verses 2 and 3. That changed my entire way of thinking and actually scared me a little. Point is, I now have no fear in the people we talk to, but only in not opening my mouth.
I have one request for you if you aren't already doing it. Please pray for all those who are investigating the church. Every prayer helps.
PS. we found out that our former investigator Blanca and one of her daughters will be baptized this Saturday. We both will be doing baptisms between the three we have this weekend. Wish us luck! ;)
Elder Pilkington

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014 Quit touching me!

Lots of great stuff happened this week! And with all greatness, comes trial as well.
Last P-day I got in a little argument, that led me to hit another Elder. I have never been all that fond of men touching other men, and it happens A LOT here. Who would've thought on a mission? Anyway, one thing led to another and I ended up hitting him a couple times. The GOOD thing is that it stopped. Problem solved.
We have had several, meetings, conferences, and lessons that have helped me realize my full potential as a missionary, and how I can reach it. I have several plans to start becoming the best I can be. I know the person the Lord wants me to be, and I want to do all I can to become that person.
The best part of my week was being able to read my patriarchal blessing during personal study one day. I have strong testimony now, that as we are going through life, whether we are enduring challenges or things are all going well, if we prayerfully and reverently read and reflect upon our blessings, they will come to great significance throughout our lives.
We got up early one morning to attend a meeting with Elder Holland. We woke up at 330 and picked everyone up in time so that we could be there by 630. We were told however, that he wouldn't be able to make it. Instead, we heard from Elder Wright, who is still a General Authority. His message to us was powerful and direct. It was spiritual and to the point. He quoted Elder Holland and President Hinckley when he said, "It can't be possible to serve a full mission, do the things we have asked of you to do, change peoples lives towards Christ, and THEN go home to become inactive". Although I have no intention of leaving the church when I get home, this powerful talk, (instruction rather), helped me realize the importance of becoming truly converted to this gospel.
Aside from these few events that took place, the work is going. Not quite the degree that I would like, but it's not up to me. I just follow the promptings and do as I'm told.
Love Elder Pilkington

January 8, 2014

Hola todos!!!
This has been a great past few weeks! So many great things have happened since I last wrote, but unfortunately, I don't have a ton of time today to describe everything in detail.
Here are the basics:
New Years Eve: We were instructed to be in no later than 7 due to possible drunk drivers and other issues that could arise. We were able to attend a wedding of some investigators we started teaching, but had to pass on due to some 'bad blood' in the branch. They got married, so that she could get baptized with her daughter. The baptism happened on Saturday, and we didn't have the opportunity to attend. Although technically they weren't our investigators, we counted those baptisms as partially ours. We went back to the apartment and watched 17 miracles and slept. Also, I tried Menudo for the first time, and I wasn't as bad as people say, but at the same time, I wouldn't ever want to eat it again. My uncle was right when he said 'it tastes like stinky feet'. (Sorry to those of you who like it. Sounds kind of mean, but hey, the truth hurts).
On New Years Day, we did a Tri- zone activity. We basically spent 7 hours watching movies OR playing board games OR playing sports. I stayed with the sports the whole time, and we played dodgeball, basketball, football, soccer, rugby, frisbee, etc. It was a good day!!
We have a few new investigators. One is an 80 yr old woman who can't walk, see, or hear very well. Maybe we can find the lessons is braill? (Not sure if that's how you spell it) She is VERY close to God, and wants to improve her life. Other investigators are a younger woman who is learning english. She is very VERY catholic, so wish us luck. If any of you have any Bible references that are SOLID, let me know. I know a few, but probably not enough.
We gave several blessings this week as well. Those are my favorite part of being a missionary! The best part about it, is they don't stop when my mission does! :) Several times this week, I have been so spiritually lifted that I don't feel like I am walking. Those feelings are absolutely amazing!
Testimony meeting here was amazing as well! There were more people sitting on the stage waiting to share their testimonies and thoughts than there were in the congregation. That is how it should be EVERYWHERE!!
Well, that's it for now. I am just about out of time.
Have a great week!
Elder Pilkington