Monday, July 28, 2014
Everything is going great here. Elder Kunz and I are getting a long great. haha he is a really funny guy, and we have a lot of fun together. I think I told you last time that he was a vegetarian. I was pretty nervous because of that people would feed us no meat, and so I would just become a vegetarian too. Thankfully, that's not the case. Instead, people make him a vegetarian meal... and still make a giant carnivorous meal, but now they expect me to eat all of it by myself. I'm now eating meals intended for 2 large missionaries.
Hahaha ya'll probably think I am just going pounds left and right. I wish. I've only gained like 10 pounds since I started my mission, and it's pure muscle... so don't worry.
This week was intensely busy. District Meeting, exchange with one of the AP's, 4 baptismal interviews, stewardship's, and one giant Pioneer Day party.
The baptismal interviews were so incredible! They were each so different, but at the same time pretty similar. They all had totally different stories and backgrounds. Each of them had a different trials, and questions. Even though they were so different, they all had one thing in common: they all now believed in Jesus Christ. They believed in His Church, and believed that it was restored through Joseph Smith, the prophet.
There were two brothers who I interviewed, both teenagers. They were born and grew up in China. They found out about the church, and studied all about it while they were there. They knew it was true, but were too scared to be baptized in China. Miraculously, they moved to Austin. The boys looked up the nearest church building and three weeks later were meeting with me.
It was so powerful to hear these Chinese teenagers testify in their broken English about Jesus Christ, and how they know it is all true. When I asked the oldest brother about Joseph Smith he said something similar to, "It is because God loves us. We really are His children, and he is showing us by calling a prophet in our lifetime"
It will never cease to amaze me how people can be so different, live absolutely unique lives, seemingly have nothing in common. But there is always one thing that links us together; Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is true. Jesus is the Christ, and Joseph is His prophet. These are true whether you are in Utah, or China. Whether you speak English or Mandarin. As long as you have some faith, you can know it. And as long as you have some intelligence, you can always know it.
We had a person we were teaching a few months ago. We stopped teaching them and told them to call us if they wanted us to come back.. well, they hadn't called. Every once in a while I would see their name, or be by their house, but I never went by because I knew they weren't really interested right then.
Well, yesterday I felt like we should just go by anyways. So, we did.
We showed up and she was just looking like a mess, and she started to tell us how her husband left her and the family a few days ago. She has really been dealing with a lot, and is very overwhelmed. She told us how she had been praying a lot, and then started to cry and said, " I knew you guys would come..... I knew you guys would come"
We were able to talk with her and help her, but most importantly we were just able to show up and help her realize that God cares about her, and is listening to her prayers.
I love feeling that God used me, to answer someones prayer. It's one of the greatest things you could ever feel.
Well... I could go on and on, but I should probably stop this E-mail so I can go catch a fish and go golfing. I love you all and pray for you. There's a few people I am pretty sure don't even read my E-mails that I pray for frequently.
Thank you for everyone who has been sending me letters! Lisa Castleberry has been awesome with writing me and sending me stuff! So, shout-out to Lisa Lou.
All my family and friends, thank you for the examples you have been and are to me. I love YA'LL
ALSO: This Sunday is transfer calls again. So, there will be news this next P-day for ya'll!
(pictures: a sweet little girl who wants to be a missionary, so I let her wear my badge
& me standing in front of a sweet Dinosaur thing I found...)
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 10:20 AM
Monday, July 21, 2014
It sounds like ya'll are really enjoying your summer! !'m glad to hear that ya'll had a fun, busy week.
Sounds like it has been pretty hot in Utah! Perfect weather to go swimming, play tennis, or write me a letter. BY THE WAY: Thank you so much for all the letters I have been getting lately! I really love to read them all! Letters are a very cherished prize in the mission.
The heat never ceases here though, even at nighttime it is still really humid. We'll go sit out on porch at night and just be sweating and feel like we are in a sauna.. haha. oh well.
THIS WEEK.... WHERE TO BEGIN....
Well, Elder Whitney and I are no longer companions haha, last Monday he got what is called an "Emergency Transfer". It's when someone has to be transferred to a new area and it can't wait fro the regular Transfer Meeting. My new companion is Elder Kunz. The reason they transferred is because Elder Kunz was in an area where they only ride their bicycles, and he has some really bad knee problems and can't ride a bike anymore. So, they switched. It was pretty sad, and unexpected, to say 'adios' to Elder Whitney. Elder Kunz is really cool though, and we already get along great!
We were very busy this week, showing Elder Kunz the area and having many lessons. We have a few people who are preparing to be baptized, one lady named Shelby Barr, and someone else named David Sanchez. They'll both be ggetting baptized in the next few weeks! That's very exciting!
The rest of the district here is also having a lot of baptisms this week. There are 4 on this Saturday! So, I will be going to Austin on Thursday and basically spending the whole day having baptismal interviews with these people.
That is going to be a really cool experience. I get to meet with people who are making changes in their lives, who want to follow Jesus Christ, and are ready to be baptized into God's Kingdom. I get to hear their testimonies and tell them that, "yes, you are ready to be baptized."
That is just one of the many amazing experiences I am so lucky to have in my mission!
Chicken-fried steak (the size of the entire plate)
Fresh crock-pot chicken (from their backyard)
More deer steak wrapped in bacon
Hamburger Helper :)
This next week is going to be really busy. We have a District Meeting on Wednesday and two of the AP's will be there, then we are going on an exchange with one of them for the rest of that day. Thursday i'll be in Austin all day doing Baptismal Interviews. I'm excited! It's going to be a fun week.
Today is my 11 month mark! That's crazy! What even more insane is to think that I only have 13 months left!
The mission is flying by, I really am trying to just hold on haha. I love it. This is the greatest thing I have ever done.
I love ya'll!
Be good, and have a fun week
Love, Elder GIles
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 10:37 AM
Monday, July 14, 2014
Yeah, it's been around 100 degrees here every day too, but it's "really humid". I put it in parenthesis, because I really don't feel the humidity any more, I guess i'm just used to it haha and I love the heat! It's not going to be good when I go back to Utah.
OHH, you're repainting the kitchen? what colors are you painting it? I have painted actually quite a bit out here. It's like one of the most repeated service things we do. Every house out here in these boonies are just double-wide trailer homes, and everyone refuses to do ANY OTHER kind of work on there house, besides just repaint over all the stains and mud on the walls haha.
Well, folks, we had another very stellar week.
I went on an exchange with one of the Zone Leaders named Elder Van Aken, from Oregon. hahaha he is very similar to me. When we were in the truck just driving to another appointment, we would freestyle the whole time (and we do a lot of driving). haha he had a 'rap group' in High School and would make rap songs, too. It was extremely fun, just rapping about missionary work, institute dances, baptisms, the millennium.. anything that came to mind hahaha.
Today, actually, i'll be going on an exchange until Wednesday evening in the richest area in the mission. It's called 'Barton Creek', it's the nicest part of Austin. So, that'll be fun. Totally different from what I am used to. My first area was the slums, and now i'm just out in the country.
Dinner Updates: (this will now be a weekly thing, updating ya'll on the grub i'm snacking on)
-Deer steaks with mashed potatoes and gravy (shot the deer and did everything themselves)
-Deer Meat patties with cheese and chili's wrapped in bacon
A lot of really incredible experiences happened this week.
Within hours, we unexpectedly showed up at two separate Less-Active families home. I'll just share about one of them.
So, the Bishop told us about a family who's papers he just received into the ward, so we went to see if they really did live there. Well, they didn't. It was some lady who didn't know who she was and wasn't interested in The Gospel. So, I asked the lady who else we could go visit on the street. She told us of an old widow named 'Mary' who lived just down the road. So, we went over to the old widow's house. Knocked on the door, and a shirtless 16-year old boy answers the door. I quickly realized that this wasn't a widow's house named 'Mary'. Well, we started talking to him and found out that him and his mother are members of the Church, but have moved a lot and didn't know where the Church was. He mentioned how just recently he was talking to his mom about going back to Church, and then we knocked on the door. They now are coming to Church, and have family members who are not yet baptized who we will start teaching.
It's awesome to feel that God just worked through you to accomplish something.
Thank you all for your prayers and for your examples
I love you
Love, Elder Giles
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 10:46 AM
Monday, July 7, 2014
Kinfolk,Happy Birthday 'Murica!!
Happy 4th of July!!! I have never been so scared in my entire life, as I was on the Fourth of July here in Marble Falls. Everyone is already ridiculously patriotic during the year. Once July 4th came around..... wow.
Every single person was wearing something with the American flag on it. Every single car had a flag waving in the wind. People were setting off fireworks all day long and throughout the whole night.
Texas is the best.
I got the package ya'll sent me! Thank you very much! I am actually wearing the Ontario, Oregon shirt right now haha. Getting stuff in the mail is the best feeling ever, so thank you so much! (subtle hint)
This week was very exciting! I had my first District Meeting. I was pretty nervous. I was praying so hard the days before that I could prepare what would be the best for the District. I put a lot of time into planning and preparing. It went great though! It was really fun. I really enjoy being the District Leader here, there are some really great missionaries in the District.
I finished my new Lion Ring, i'll attach a picture. I'm genuinely happy about it.
Marble Falls got some exciting news as we received a new Bishop yesterday. His name is Bishop Sells, and he is going to be such a great Bishop. He's one of those people that just makes everyone feel comfortable and loved. I'm very excited to see the effect that has on the ward here.
The work here is doing great! Elder Whitney and I are getting really busy. We are teaching some families, and they're coming to Church and preparing to get baptized! It's really exciting.
The joy of missionary work isn't the joy you feel when you're are teaching people or baptizing people. Even when I have had no one to teach, and I have to go door-to-door in the Texas heat. I do it, with a smile on my face. Because the joy is just knowing that I am doing what The Lord wants me to be doing.
I'm doing what The Lord wants me to be doing, I haven't always been able to say that. Everyone has times where they feel like they can't say that. The Lord doesn't demand or expect perfection, only improvement. We can all handle that. We can ALL be better today than we were yesterday, even if by a little.
Then we can feel the approval of our Father. Then we can feel that we are doing what The Lord wants us to be doing.
Ahh, The Book Of Mormon. I have read it many times. I have picked it apart, upside down, backwards, word-for-word. Therefore, I can say with a surety that I know it is true, because it has affected me more than anything else in my life. It has increased my relationship with God, my self-confidence, will-power, intelligence, and my joy. How can this not be from God?
The Gospel has been restored though a prophet.
Joseph Smith was that prophet of God.
People may shake their fists and stomp their feet all they want, they are simply fulfillment of living prophecy, "The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee; while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority and blessings constantly from under thy hand." D&C 122:1-2
Let's not be 'fools'. Accept the gospel and never, ever, turn away.
I love you all
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 11:17 AM