Monday, December 15, 2014

Dec 15, 2014

Transfers came around again and I'm staying in the same area, again! This will be my 8th transfer in the Mesa Grande Ward in Mesa, which is equivalent to a full year (just about). Our Bishop is highly considering giving me a calling and the other members want to buy me a house. ;)
The companionships were switched up a little bit. I am still on the reservation part of the ward, but am now with Elder Hugh Strike from Cincinnati, OH. He is great! He went to Harvard for a year before he came out, so is a pretty intelligent guy. Hopefully I don't rub off on him too much, or else he won't be accepted back into Harvard. He is 19 too, but just like 98% of the other missionaries, he is older. Our apartment is a little backwards. I have the most time on the mission out of the four of us, but I am also the youngest. The other companionship in the ward is Elder Trout and Elder Call. Elder Trout was in the Air Force for several years before coming out. He was actually converted during that time. He only has 2 years of being a member.
The ward is doing great! The Bishop had asked us to all speak on Sunday and it turned out great! Elder Strike gave a great talk on the story of Christmas as told in the Bible, and then the 3 of us followed with powerful talks about missionary work and the effect it can have on ourselves and all those around us. Elder Call focused mostly on families and charity. In the middle of the talks, we sang Venid Adoremos. (I can't remember what it is in English. Come Adore Him?) I played the piano and the other elders sang. Elder Strike is a super good singer along with Elder Call! We are performing another musical number this Friday at our ward Christmas party. After the song, I centered my talk in a quote from PMG which basically gives the equation for success. The three things we must understand are 1. How an investigator must feel to be converted, 2. How a missionary must feel to teach with the converting power and 3. How a member must feel in order to successfully help in the conversion process of the investigator. Elder Trout then followed by relaying the overall message of the importance of every member in this work.
There is a scripture that comes to mind when we talk about a successful team of missionaries. It is in DC 84 something. Like 122-125 or around there. It just stresses the importance of EVERY PERSON on the team basically. Please try to find it and take the message to heart!
Over the last several weeks, we had 2 baptisms! Y, who we have been working with for several months, finally made the decision to get baptized! I bet you'll never guess how we were able to help her. In our mission for the past several months, we've been pushing the Temple a lot. It has definitely become a necessity for me to mention in almost every lesson I'm a part of. As we sat with Y a few weeks ago, we lovingly but very seriously explained to her that she is the link. Even if her family 'disowns her' (which they didn't), she is the way they may be sealed together after this life. The Spirit was strong during that lesson it testified to her our words were true. She agreed that same day to be baptized and hasn't looked back since. My testimony of 'Beginning with the End in Mind' has grown so much!

We also taught and baptized a younger kid named J, who Elder Pope and I worked with a lot when we were together. He had moved away before he was able to ever accept a baptismal date, but has since moved back into the ward. It's awesome to actually see a seed that we planted begin to grow and make the decision to change his life through the saving ordinance of baptism!
We have been greatly urged by members to go caroling to all those with whom we are working. Our old ward mission leader pulled us aside after our musical number on Sunday and promised us that if we did THAT with everyone we know, we will baptize THIS month and start off the year with success as well. We set aside about an hour every day to do this. We have the faith that as we bring the spirit to our investigators in this way, even if we take a teaching hour out of the day, we will see fruits from it. Please help us by praying this will work. Also, we are working together as a ward to pray for families. Please pray with us for these two miracles to happen!

I know that we are in the one and only TRUE church of our Savior Jesus Christ. He loves us more than we understand and recognize. Take time to look back on difficult times of life and witness the role He played. He always has been here and will always be here. Let's do all we can to allow His presence to be with us as we strive to bring others to His fold!
Enjoy this comforting time of year!
Elder Pilkington

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dec 1, 2014

(Again, Thomas' letter was mostly answering some questions.  We are excited to hear what happens with transfers this week!  Also, they were going to have a baptism on Friday and one on Saturday.  Excited to hear how those came about!)
Elder Sorensen, my companion who went home, sent me a few messages today and called us last week. He has some stomach virus that could have been a lot worse had he stayed here. I'm happy he took care of it!! He may come back out in about 4 months if it medicine can take care of it.
I'm so excited for Dustin! (friend who was just called to the Alpine Germany Mission) Will he be there when Chloe is still there? (another friend currently serving there)
Elder Gutierrez left on Saturday to go home to Mexico. President and Sister Sweeney let us go to lunch together on Friday. In fact, they went with us! We went to LoLo's chicken and waffles. It was SOOOO good!! He left behind some Mexican souvenirs to send home!
Thanksgiving was all traditional except one member had beans too. I was surprised. We had 4 dinners and a breakfast and I kept it all down. The 4th dinner I had to cut back the portion a lot though. The Breakfast was after a 'Turkey Run' that the Stake did. We helped set up at 6:30 and then ran a mile after. Then we had a Turkey Bowl with the Natives which was sweet! Our first dinner was with the Stake President and his family, (The Palmers). Then with a recent convert, then a member family, then the ward mission leader. I was stuffed! We don't have a scale at the new apartment, but I probably gained a few.

It sound like you had a lovely Thanksgiving! Not too busy at all. The best part is that that was your last one alone! (Well, without at least one of your kids there). I only have 5 transfers left, which will fly by. I've already been in Mesa for 7 transfers! If I stay one more transfer, I'll hit a year in this ward almost. That rarely happens!

Uhh... mmm.. ya know, the mission really makes me have a bad memory. I wouldn't know what to tell you.... But really though, I don't remember ever getting around the fire at all. (The fireplace in the basement was broken and the repairman said that it looked like someone had smashed into it and the spring-loaded connection came loose.  I had asked Thomas if he "knew anything about some horseplay/wrestling near it".  Maybe his friends who are reading this blog can help Thomas jog his "missionary memory"?  LOL!)

Dad's news is crazy! It's super awesome, but how?!?!? Please take video, pictures, everything! (Thomas' reaction to his Dad singing with Weezer this week!)