Saturday, May 30, 2015
Thank you all very much for the letters I have been receiving! I love them all, and even though I may not be able to write and send you a letter back, I really cherish and love all the letters I have been receiving. Thank you very much. A lot has happened this week, but because it is Memorial Day and all the missionaries have to E-mail at the Family History Center, I don't have much time. I also won't be able to send other E-mails besides this one today.
We had an amazing opportunity to visit with two members of the Seventy this week: Elder Evans and Elder Allen. The meeting we had with them was wonderful! They came to talk about us each of us becoming more devoted disciples of the Lord. This week, missionaries in the great Texas San Antonio Mission will be receiving Ipads. The use of this technology is going to help us reach and teach people we never would have been able to previously. It's a very exciting time! Thankfully, because I only have 3 months left I do not have to purchase an Ipad, I will just be given one to loan. It's sure going to change many things about the work, having this additional tool.
The Seventy hardly talked about the Ipads at all though, it was more about learning how to righteously use technology. Technology is to be used for good. The Lord is "inspiring the minds of great people to create inventions that further the work of the Lord in ways this world has never known" (Russell M. Nelson)
Evon Kardos was baptized this week! It was a truly remarkable experience. I was able to be the one to baptize her. The Spirit at her baptismal service was so apparent.
I love baptisms! I love watching those I have come to love make that covenant with the Lord. It is always faith-strengthening for me. After we changed and got back into the Relief Society room, Evon was able to share her testimony. She spoke of her whole life being preparation for this moment. She now sees clearly the people and experiences that God put in her path, and the care He has had watching over. She began to cry as she expressed her gratitude and thankfulness to nw be a member of the Lord's Church. She also mentioned that she was so proud and excited to raise her two little boys in the Church.
Those boys will grow up in the truth. A family has joined God's Church this week. I am overcome with thankfulness and awe that I was blessed to be a part of this crucial and life-changing time in their lives.
TRANSFER CALLS: Elder Nebeker will be returning to Arizona this week. He has served a faithful mission, and has become a true servant of the Lord. He will continue to build the Kingdom throughout his life.
I will be staying in the Castle Hills ward, and will be receiving a new companion
I love the Lord, and all that has been given me from Him. I pray that everything I do will be with an eye single to His glory.
Love, Elder Giles
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 5:30 PM
Monday, May 18, 2015
Beloved family and friends,
Once the reception started, and they started playing slow-dance love songs......... we left.
I'm glad to hear that it has been so wet in Utah. It has been the same way here. Everyone in Texas has been concerned, haha they claim they have never seen so much rain this late in the year. On the way to Church yesterday, it was coming down really bad. I was fine driving in it, probably because I am used to even driving in snow, but all the Texans had their hazards on and were going like 10 MPH haha. The thing about Texas is, that the sun comes out really fast and them it becomes UNBELIEVABLY humid!
Well, this past week was incredible! Many, many wonderful experiences and stories. Time only permits me to share a few, here we go!!
A WHITE WEDDING:
Danny Cavazos and Tulsy Celestino were married on Friday, the 15th!!
The wedding and reception took place at the Stake Center, and the Stake President was the one who officiated and married them. They both had many friends and family that showed up from all across Texas and Utah. For all of Danny's friends and family, it was their first time entering a Latter-day Saint chapel. It was great for them to see the wonderful paintings of Christ, feel the great spirit that always resides in His church, and meet many wonderful members of the church.
It was so cool to be a part of it! To watch as two people who love each other make that promise and commitment was a phenomenal experience. They both were so happy! Danny is so focused on the gospel, that he wanted to just get married ASAP, so he can go to the Temple sooner to be sealed. Even though none of his family and friends are members, he openly expressed his excitement and desire to enter the Temple.
Once the reception started, and they started playing slow-dance love songs......... we left.
17 hours after Danny was in a suit marrying Tulsy, he was in all white about to be baptized.
So many people showed up to support him that we almost had to move it into the chapel. His family, all non-members, also came to watch and support Danny. His new father in-law baptized him, which was a sweet experience. The Spirit was very strong throughout the entire service, and all who was there felt it. Danny is a pioneer. He is paving the way for others in his family to follow. He is a wonderful man.
He was confirmed the next day during Sacrament Meeting. The blessing was specific and spiritual. He already is a strong, faithful member of God's church, and it will be so exciting to watch all the many individuals and families he will be able to bless.
It has been a great journey to be on as Danny and learned about the Church. At first, he was a little skeptical about the whole thing, he had heard many lies and half-truths and wasn't sure what to believe. All that was resolved as he began to read the Book of Mormon. Very quickly he recognized the Spirit, and realized the blessings that were entering his life. He continued to grow in faith and understanding, and a week ago in Elders Quorum, he bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon to all in the room.
I have witnessed the power of Christ. His Atonement truly is "infinite and eternal" (Alma 34:14).
I have seen and felt it in my own life, and the lives of many others.
Thomas S. Monson is the God's prophet today. Heavenly Father leads, guides and directs His Church, through him. I will always sustain the President of the Church and heed His counsel. I hope that we all can see clearly, to choose correctly.
I love y'all
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 10:18 AM
I was able to spend the day in a Spanish area on Friday, and I was with a terrific missionary named Elder Hardman. Elder Hardman and I both started our missions in the same ward, Heritage, so it was great to talk about our similar experiences there and the great people we both know. He is a missionary that has a lot of heart, and great love for the work of the Lord. We were able to learn a lot from each other, and had some great experiences as we walked the stormy wet streets of downtown San Antonio. It was raining pretty bad that day, and we spent a large part of the day outside: we got soaked.
It was fun though, and we met some really great people! We taught some people in English, and some people in Spanish.
When we taught in Spanish, I couldn't contribute as much as I would have liked. However, I learned quite a bit.
There was a moment, while we were teaching a full Spanish family who didn't know any English, that we all understood each other perfectly. As we taught about The Book of Mormon, and how God answers prayers with His spirit, we all felt the Holy Ghost. We all felt peace. At that moment, we all understood, and it was wonderful. I think of the words of Nephi, "for [God] speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3)
All can feel The Spirit, and all can understand the gospel.
I'll send home a picture of Elder Hardman and I
JOURNEY TO THE TEMPLE:
Danny and Tulsy are getting married this Friday, and then on Saturday Danny is getting baptized! It's a full weekend, and it is going to be so incredible. In preparation for the steps of marriage and baptism that they are taking, we wanted to remind them of the "big picture" and to always be focused on that!
So, on Tuesday evening we had planned to go to the San Antonio Temple with them, to walk around the grounds, feel the Spirit, and visualize themselves getting sealed in a year.
We met at the Stake Center, which is only a few miles away from the Temple. They wanted to also look around there, because that is where they are getting married on Friday. The first hurdle, was that traffic was terrible for us and we were like a half-hour late to the Stake Center.
Once we finally arrived at the Stake Center, we hurried and showed them around, and then went back to the cars to go to the Temple. We got in our car, and waited for them to pull out so they would follow us. We waited,.... and waited....and waited.
The second hurdle was that Danny's car died. He had no idea why! He was shocked that his car died, "This has never done this, it's still a new car!" he said. It was now getting pretty late, all these set-back were really making it hard to make it to the Temple. We went inside looking for someone who had jumper cables. Luckily, we ran into the Stake President who had jumper cables and was eager and happy to help!
We were able to get the car started. As we were putting the jumper cables back in their bag, the zipper broke off. UGH! So, we had to hurry and fix that!
Finally, we had everything working right. We got in our cars and drove to the Temple.
It was raining very lightly, just felt like mist hitting your face. The Temple was all lit up and glowing, because it was now dark. The parking lot was full, but we were the only ones on the grounds. It was wonderful to walk around the Temple, explaining to Danny the wonderful blessings and promises found in this most sacred place. Our walked concluded right outside of the Celestial room, as we talked about the eternal marriage which awaits them in a year. A true and great peace was with all of us, and we were all feeling the peace of God. We took a picture outside of the Celestial room, with the intent of taking another picture in one year at the same place, after they have been sealed for all eternity.
I will also send that picture in the E-mail
I love ya'll!
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 10:15 AM
Monday, May 4, 2015
It's great to hear from you every week! It sure sounds like things have been busy for y'all lately, which is a very good thing. As far as Skyping on Mother's Day, I'm not sure where I will be yet. It'll probably be after Church though, like around 4 or 5. I'll text you the day before and let you know what time I'll be calling :)
I can't believe this is my 4th, and last, call home....my mission just keep going by faster and faster!
A DELIGHTFUL SABBATH:
Many wonderful events took place this last Sunday at Church!
1) Angelita got confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a wonderful blessing, and she was in tears afterwards with a huge smile on her face! She already has many friends in the ward and everyone loves her! She is such a genuinely good and kind person. She is studying her scriptures everyday and growing in knowledge of the gospel every day, it's so awesome to see!
It was amazing to watch her sitting there up there, as she was receiving her very first Priesthood blessing, becoming a member of the Church, and receiving the Holy Ghost. I reflected on all that took place to get her to that spot, and it was an overwhelming experience.
2) Gilbert Navarro got confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Elder Nebeker and I were privileged to be a part of the blessing while he got confirmed. It was a powerful experience. To be gathered with the Priesthood of God, surrounding the new member and bestowing upon him the Holy Ghost. The power was undeniable, and the Spirit was strong.
Gilbert Navarro is a faithful saint. He has a strong testimony of the restored gospel and of modern-day prophets. He will be a tremendous example to others. It was wonderful to be a part of his story.
3) David Boyd, our recent convert from two weeks ago, was sustained to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. To watch as he stood, with a smile as big as any I'd ever seen, and be recommended as one worthy to now hold the Priesthood of God was a very terrific feeling. He was given the Priesthood after Sacrament Meeting.
He is going to be such an incredible Priesthood man. He told me previously, that one of the reasons he had decided to be baptized, was so that he could be the man his wife deserves. Now, with worthily holding the Priesthood, he brings so much more power and protection into his home.
Two new members, and one new Priesthood holder.
The Sabbath is a delight (Isaiah 58:13).
We have a wonderful investigator named Cody Simpson. It has been a truly incredible experience being able to teach him and see him progress. I'd like to a share just one example today: prayer.
Cody did not pray before we can into his life. He actually wasn't sure if he even believed in God. We had to teach him slowly, and simply because he was starting further behinh than many other investigators.
The first time we got him to pray, a few weeks ago, he said,
"God, God bless America, Amen"
That was his first attempt at a prayer, and it was a great starting point!
However as kept teaching him, and showing him the truth of the gospel. His faith really began to grow, and his prayers began to improve.
"Dear God, I thank the Elders for coming over, keep them safe. God bless America, Amen."
He was still just thanking us though, and not truly speaking with God. Well, recently he as been praying on his own. He prays before he goes to sleep at night. Also, he has been living the commandments of God, and recognizing the Spirit and the blessings that come. He gave up smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, which were both hard for him. As he has done so, his faith has really jumped up the next next level.
A few days ago, we had another lesson for him, as he said the closing prayer he said similar to,
"Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for my path to baptism, please help me along and prevent things getting in the way.
Please help to get my girlfriend on board, so she can come to Church with me.
(And then a powerfully humble, and sincere)
...and thank you, for everything.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."
Prayer is communication with our Father, and it is so rewarding to help His children realize how wonderful it is and begin to communicate with "my father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." (John 20:17)
I love the Lord, and I love His children in Texas.
Love, Elder Giles
Posted by Amanda Shaw at 12:28 PM