Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Miracles, Cheesy Clichés, and Peacing Out‏

Sometimes miracles are barely noticeable, and really can only be appreciated in the aftermath. These kind of miracles happen to me everyday.

But sometimes, miracles are ... really noticeable. Like the miracle that happened in this mission during the month of November. Let me fill you in ...

So, background knowledge: The 5 states that make up our mission are all on the "Top Ten Least Religious States" list. Also, New England has the lowest number of Mormons per capita in the country. But the members who are here are so strong and faithful, and when President and Sister Packard got to the mission, about 20 - 30 people were baptized every month.

Now, we are not a numbers oriented mission. Never once the entire 18 months that I have been here has anyone ever told me my numbers were too low, or for that matter, ever praised me for high numbers. We just care about working hard and giving our all and relying on the Lord. But since the Packards have come, baptisms have pretty much doubled, with between 40 - 50 baptisms a month, our all time high being 59.

But, the Lord's work is hastening, and President felt like we weren't reaching our full potential. So this month, after a series of events including an apostolic blessing from Elder Holland, a visit from Elder Lawrence, and some serious spirit and drive going on in the missionaries, we set the goal for 70 baptisms in our mission in the month of November. I don't know how to describe what's been happening here the past month ... it's like every one is on fire. Everyday we would hear stories about miracles happening somewhere, in addition to seeing it ourselves.  People all over the mission who had been meeting with the missionaries but were too scared to commit suddenly had a change of heart. People were literally committing to be baptized and then 2 hours later the baptism would happen. Every single prayer that each missionary has offered this month included a plea for the Lord to bless and watch over these people preparing for baptism. Each of us sacrificed something specific for this month in an effort to show the Lord we were serious about this.

And guess what? Yesterday we found out the total number of people who were baptized this month. 

100. 100 people. 

So. Here I am. Homeward bound in 3 days.
What to say? It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful 18 months. Although "ending" doesn't really seem fitting - more like a beautiful way to start everything else. As my mission has been winding up, it's been a real hoot to hear the other missionaries tell me what I've been known for over the course of my mission: the Sister who doesn't kill bugs, the one that knits, the one with the bun, the one that hates showering, the one that sleeps with her name-tag on ... looks like none of those will be changing! (Except for the sleeping in my name-tag part ... maybe.)
And how would I define myself? The Sister who learned how to pray, the one who fell in love with the Book of Mormon, the one who learned that putting the Lord's work first really does bring life-changing joy.

Wow, that was cheesy. What has my mission done to me?! Cheesy clichés all over the place ... But alas, the cheesy clichés are true. I have loved every moment of this experience. Even when in the moment I didn't love it, I loved it. Does that make sense? No. It's a mission paradox. A true mission paradox.
Okay, this is just going to get more rambley and nonsensical and nostalgic. Peace out New England. You'll always have my heart.
And thank YOU. All of you who have supported this in any way. Sorry I've been terrible at letter writing and thank you note-ing (looks like some things haven't changed), but I really do appreciate it. Like ... a lot. A lot, a lot.

See you soon!
Sister Gledhill

Thursday, November 27, 2014

It's been ... great.‏

So, life.
It's happening. And you know what? It's weird.
Yesterday I had my final interview with President Packard. Strange.
Usually our final interviews happen the day before we go home, but a record THIRTY FIVE missionaries go home with me (can you say "mass exodus"?), so President won't have time to interview us all in one day. Here's a snippet of the conversation we had yesterday:

President: How are you feeling Sister Gledhill?
S.Gledhill: Weird. Like I haven't really comprehended what's about to happen.
President: So, how do you feel about your mission?
S.Gledhill: ... *silence, thoughtful pondering
      ... *more silence, overwhelmed pondering
      ... It's been ... great.
Because really, what else can you say? How do you sum up the past 18 months in some kind of communicable sentence? Or for that matter, paragraph? Or novel? I don't think in 10 years from now I will be able to fully recognize the impact my mission has had on me, let alone when I'm right in the thick of it! (By the way, President didn't scold me for my sassy-ness. He completely understands and more eloquently quoted the words of Ammon from the Book of Mormon, "I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." Amen to that President, amen to that.)
And so, here I am. My general emotional status could be defined as "constantly on the brink of weeping." Not weeping with sadness, but with ... I don't know, joy and gratitude and longing and love and praise and desire and drive and happiness. It's strange to feel it all at once, but I think I understand the missionaries in the Book of Mormon when they say their hearts were full and they all just fall to the ground because they are so overwhelmed with emotion. I've been doing my fair share of overcome-with-emotion-ground-laying, and let me tell ya, it's a good way to process all of this "feelings" business. (Some of you may be scoffing, because I know I have a reputation to uphold of being stone-hearted. But, what can I say? Missions change people.)
Which leads me to my plan for the next week: basically just soak up everything. It's kind of poetic that Thanksgiving is in the last week of my mission. Did you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday? Why is Heavenly Father SO PERFECT?!! This next week should be especially incredible, even by missionary standards. The month of November has been a record breaker in the MBM when it comes to miracles. I'll fill you in next week when the whole month is over, but let's just say it will be a good note to end on.
One Grateful Missionary.
(... Sister Gledhill)

A Game of Battleship‏


NO time to email today - we've been too busy prowling the streets of Boston. In the rain. ALL DAY. We went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, so so awesome! We had so much fun we forgot to eat. ... I'm being serious.

So in lieu of my usual nonsensical ramblings, let me share with you a short but profound incite that was shared this Sunday during our Relief Society meeting. The lesson was on prayer, and we will call it "The Parable of the Hasbro Game."

In Doctrine and Covenants Ch. 10, we read that we must "pray always to conquer Satan." Conquer Satan in what, you may ask? A game of Battleship. Life is like we are playing a game of Battleship against Satan, except Satan can see both his board AND ours. He knows who we were before we came to this Earth. He knows our potential. He knows our righteous desires. But we can't remember all of those things right now in our puny mortal forms. BUT HEAVENLY FATHER CAN! And so that's why we need to pray - God can see both sides of the board and can help us through this game of Battleship we call life if we ask Him to.

Haha ... This seemed a lot more profound on Sunday morning. Sleep deprivation can do that to a girl. Oh well.

Sister Gledhill

Monday, November 10, 2014

All Manner of Hooplah

Mi Familia!
Time continues to move forward, despite my persistent pleas to the laws of the universe. Pff. What ever.
But every moment of everyday is filled with so so SO many incredible miracles! Josh Katsy was baptized last weekend in Uganda, Radu in Moldova excepted a baptismal date for December 6th, Shazar went to church in Scotland for the first time yesterday, and we get to witness the work of the Lord moving forward in awe-inspiring ways all over the world right here from the Fishbowl!
(Me and Sister Zickella Skyping with Radu)

 (Radu with the Elders in Moldova at the Balti chapel)

But as we know, every time God hastens His work, challenges and opposition also pop up. I've been experiencing some rather interesting and downright comical trials the past couple weeks. Let me give you a glimpse:
  • I haven't had a canker soar in years, but this week I've had two. The majority of the bottom left side of my mouth is alternately numb and stingy.
  • I have managed to somehow break TWO of the computers in the Fishbowl. Elder Worthington, our resident computer hacker, suspects I got hacked, put my USB in the computer, the virus got onto my USB, we plugged my USB into his computer, and battaboom! You got two broken computers. 
  • I woke up a few mornings ago with a Quasimodo eye. Thank you, weird, swollen, face-shape-altering acne.
  • One night while we were getting off the T, my pocket sized hymn book fell out of my bag and into the pit of the train track. It's like a four or five foot drop and we were just going to jump down and get it, but we figured we had better ask someone with train-authority. Good thing because I guess it's a pretty big deal to go down there! Two MBTA workers had to call and halt the next train to go grab it and it was quite the ordeal. It took like 14 minutes! But don't worry, they felt very compelled to get it for me because of it's religious nature :)
  • The very next night after the hymn book fiasco, while getting off at the very same stop, MY NAME TAG fell off of my coat into the pit. Ai, ai, ai. Unfortunately this time we couldn't find it to request the nice MBTA workers help. 
But you know, despite my walking disaster status, morale is pretty high! I feel like I'm in a "miracles-are-happening-and-you-can't-bring-me-down" kind of bubble. I'm like Simba from Lion King, "Challenges? I laugh in the face of challenges!" I'm in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, surrounded by people everyday who are either ridiculously intelligent, successful, or ... just cool. It's like living in a street style blog. (Did I mention the Longfellow Park chapel is right in the middle of Harvard campus?)
Plus the missionaries I'm serving with are fantastic. We have a blast, and their rather supportive of my un-techieness. Elder Worthington didn't even scold me for ruining his expensive hacker computer he had shipped out from home. All he asked was that I make him pudding! You have a deal, my friend. (Don't worry he's fixing it ... I think.) We've been having family dinners together every night, and oh boy. Here is what I've found out: feeding a family of six missionaries is EXPENSIVE. Probably doesn't help that 4 of the 6 are Elders, and as such have "bottomless pit" syndrome that apparently sets in when they are set apart. (hahaha, because that hasn't happened to me at all. #sarcasm.) But you know, it's great for Fishbowl unity.

We've also been doing a group scripture study each morning, because if their is one thing we all know, it's that the internet can suck the spirit right out of you if you don't fill yourself up with goodness everyday! When it was my turn to be in charge, we studied Mosiah 22 & 24 from the Book of Mormon. These two chapters tell very similar stories about two groups: the people of Alma and the people of King Limhi. Both groups are in bondage to the Lamanites and both groups are delivered by God. But it was so cool to compare the two stories side by side and look at the differences! While the people of King Limhi merely endured their trial and prayed to be delivered from their bondage, the people of Alma poured out their hearts to the Lord and were made stronger so that they could not even feel their burdens any more. When they were delivered to freedom, they had changed and become stronger because of their trial - not just merely endured. WHAT THE, WHY IS THE BOOK OF MORMON SO AMAZING?! I would highly recommend anyone who is going through some hard thing to study these two chapters.
Okay, enough rambling from me. I love you all and hope your week is fabulous.

Sister Gledhill

Being Reverse-Trunky

This was one of those weeks that so much happened I don't even know how to begin to explain.

Like, really. What to even say?

Elder Larry R. Lawrence from the Seventy came to tour the mission. Let me just summarize the thoughts and feeling I had at our Zone Conference by saying our mission is in a really, really good place right now. The Lord is definitely hastening His work here in New England, and we are ready to make things happen! Everyone is on fire and ready to give everything we have to the work. It's been a little bitter sweet because we have worked so hard the past 18 months to get to this point and now that everything is coming together, I'm almost done! But my heart is so full of joy for all of the people who are finding the Gospel and I really wouldn't want it any other way. (Well ... actually I want to stay longer, but alas, the Church is all like "Continue on with your life!", "You have work to do at home!", "MARRIAGE." #Gross.)

And President and Sister Packard made me even more reverse-trunky when they made a surprise visit to the Fishbowl yesterday and were all, "You six missionaries are shaping the way the Gospel is going to be shared in the next 20 years - you are changing the world!" And I'm all, "WHY AM I ONLY GOING TO BE HERE FOR SIX WEEKS?!!"

Okay. Mission-ending-rant over. 

On the bright side, it snowed yesterday and it was really pretty. Also, it's becoming really, really cold outside and I won't have to be here for the frigid winter! #lookingforthepositives

And Bill Greenfelder WENT TO THE TEMPLE FOR HIS ENDOWMENTS. Sister Bailey and I rode the bus to the beautiful Boston Temple on Saturday to go with him, and it was heavenly. Bill always thanks us for how much we've done for him, and all the missionaries always think, "We did nothing." Bill's is just one of those stories I'm so happy I was blessed to witness on my mission. He is stellar.

I will close with a little quote from Radu, our investigator from Russia. We were teaching him the Plan of Salvation and asked him what he knew about the story of Adam and Eve, which resulted in this little gem of a rendition (imagine in endearing Russian accent.):
"God created Adam. Adam was on the earth for a period of time, perhaps a long time? Then Adam told God it was too boring and maybe he needed a wife or something. Then He created Eva out of ... how do you say ... sand." Oi. We love him.

Well, gotta go spread the gospel to the whole world. (literally. We're about to have a Skype appointment with a Pakistani in Scotland. Go technology.)

Sister Gledhill

p.s. Every single one of my companions except for my trainer Sister Bringhurst (she finished at the beginning of Summer) was at zone conference this week!
Sister Roy, Bailey, Batschi, Badham, Jessop, and Zickella. Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Greetings from the Fishbowl

Oh wow. Where to begin?

I'm here. In Cambridge. Bean-town. We live in the city. We ride public transportation. The subway smells ... smelly. 

And we preach the Gospel online. Like, all. the. time. And let me tell ya, it actually works!

So the six of us digis (digital missionaries) spend pretty much all day at Digital Mission headquarters, the "Fishbowl" in the Longfellow Park Chapel. It's called the Fishbowl because it's a room with a window wall so everyone can look in at the cute little missionaries and tap the glass and stuff. #don'tscarethefishes. Our proselyting process basically goes like this: 

Step 1: Find someone online willing to chat about the gospel.
Step 2: Teach them over Skype (we try and 3-way video call a member as often as we can.)
Step 3: Continue teaching them over Skype until they are ready to meet with the local missionaries.
Step 4: Contact local missionaries, investigator takes lessons there, investigator gets baptized.
Step 5: Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

At first I was like, "This is going to take FOREVER." And then I had 2 Skype appointments in the first 45 minutes I tried it. And then I was like, "Whoa. This is sweet." It's been really really neat to realize that the same love I've had for my investigators my whole mission still applies to our online investigators! For example, we've been teaching this boy named Radu in Russia. He's a university student and we've had 3 lessons with him so far. After we taught the Restoration he told us, "I knew that Christ set up a church when He was here on the earth, but I didn't know the Heavens were opened again!" Like, who has that much faith?! And who says that?! Only people prepared by the Lord to receive the Gospel, that's who.

It's been kind of a crazy adjustment. It's a lot less scheduled than regular missionary work because we don't have to go from appointment to appointment. Because of this it's easy for me and Sister Zickella to just be chattin' away with people and all the sudden we realize it's been 5 hours and we haven't drank any water and all we've eaten is candy corn. We emerge at the end of the day and we're like, "Wait ... it's dark outside? Where did the day go?!" It's a work in progress. Hopefully this week we'll be able to pace ourselves a little better. But besides feeling like a fish out of water at the end of everyday, I am loving it! I feel super blessed to have this unique opportunity and I'm already sad that I will only be here six weeks. It's so much fun! 

Sister Zickella is awesome. I think out of all my companions, she's the most like me and we've been having a blast. The Elders in the Fishbowl have been taking great care of us (especially when I break my computer. They are very patient with my computer-illiterateness.) We live with 2 Chinese angels. Seriously Sister Hung and Sister Ng are probably the two most adorable and hilarious Sisters I've ever met. Everyone in the wards we serve in is a successful genius #whatevs.

Love you all and hope all is well!
Sister Gledhill

(The Fishbowl.This one really captures the "caged animal" effect.)

 (Me and Sister Zickella, Fishbowlin'.)

The Final Transfer TRANSFER

Skipping the pleasantries and getting down to the nitty gritty:


Can I get a "Woop woop!"? I am so stoked!!! Concrete Jungle here I come! (Wait ... does "concrete jungle" apply to only New York City? Or any city? OH WELL WHO CARES I'M GOING TO BOSTON!)

Well, clarification, I am actually going to CAMBRIDGE - home of the ridiculously smart and classy. For those of you Westerners out there, Cambridge and Boston are like twinsy cities separated by the Charles River. (Except take that with a grain of salt because I myself am a Westerner and haven't actually lived there. YET.) But here's the kicker: I'm going to a working in the DIGITAL MISSION. 

What is this "Digital Mission", you might ask? Let me brake it down. So the church has official websites like Mormon.org and LDS.org where anyone who is looking to know what Mormons believe can go on and find answers. However, there are literally millions of people out there in the world who are looking for answers to religious questions and don't know that WE HAVE THE ANSWERS. Mormon.org isn't really designed to reach out to these people, and in fact the Church right now doesn't really have any way of interacting with these millions of people having religious discussions online everyday. Cue: the Digital Mission. Due to the fact that the Massachusetts Boston Mission has incredibly talented and wicked brilliant members and missionaries, they've programmed these amazing web-crawlers that find relevant religious conversations that allow us to answer the questions they didn't know to ask us. There are 4 missionaries in our mission who pretty much full time find online investigators all over the world, teach them via Skype, and once the investigators are ready to be baptized the digital missionaries contact the missionaries serving locally and they get baptized there! 

And guess what? This transfer the Digital Mission is getting Sisters! (That's me!) I don't really know very many details about what I will be doing on a day to day basis, and how much of my time will be spent online vs. normal proselyting (we're also assigned to two wards - Longfellow Park 1&2).  But here's what I do know:
  • My companion is going to be Sister Zickella, who was Sister Jessop's MTC companion. She is 19 and from Florida and I've heard lovely things about her.
  • We will be living in 4 sister apartment with the 2 Chinese Sisters in our Mission. 
  • SISTER BAILEY MY BEST FRIEND COMPANION FROM SCITUATE IS IN MY DISTRICT!!! (We are so excited to end our missions near each other.)
  • This is the 3rd out of my 4 areas that we will be shotgunning. (Aka both companions are brand new to the area.)
  • Elder Tait, who saved me and Sister Badham when we opened Foxboro for Sisters, is working in the Digital Mission right now. Hopefully he can work his magic with me and Sister Zickella!
  • The people working in the Digital Mission are smart. Like smart-smart. Like computer hacker smart. I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT COMPUTERS. I'm not sure why they are sending me there ... I think maybe so I can hang up cute little quotes on the wall or something.
But, I am seriously so so excited! Hopefully this week we'll find out more details about what we're actually supposed to do. If not ... we'll have no idea what to do, obviously.

Also, I'M TURNING 21 THIS WEEKEND! What the heck? How did that happen? I'm not sure. But it's real. Unfortunately it's 2 days after transfers and no one in my new area will know me. BUT I'LL BE IN THE CITTYYYYYY! So, it's like the best birthday present ever.

I love everyone. I love being a missionary. The gospel rocks. And I'M GOING TO THE CITY!
Sister Gledhill

Morsels of Excitement

Why hello out there! Sorry I've been kind of terrible at emailing of late ... It's like my brain goes out to lunch when ever I sit down at the computer. Oh well, I will repent and give you a few morsels of excitement from the past few weeks.

The Zone Leaders put us in charge of planning Zone Pday this transfer, so there was one point at the end of September when every night I would come home and grate chalk sticks into dust ... like 120 chalk sticks (my fingers were not. happy. with me.) But it was all worth it because then we had an epic HINGHAM NORTH ZONE PAINT FIGHT! It was total chaos with all the Portuguese elders running around and ignoring any rules that we had made, but it was so fun! I don't want to exaggerate or anything, but it was probably the best Zone Pday that has ever happened ever.
 (It got kind of intense during the jumping pictures ... )
I'm not sure how many of you are aware of my hopes and dreams of being an old lady, but ... being an old lady is one of my most anticipated achievements in life. The knitting, the baking, the always-wearing-the-hair-in-a-bun. Bliss. I am also really stoked to have gray hair and this week Sister Jessop FOUND 4 GRAY HAIRS ON MY HEAD!!!!!!! I almost fainted in joy.

We also had Zone Conference this week! Zone Conference happens every other transfer and it's when we get together with a bunch of other missionaries from the surrounding Zones and the Mission Presidency dumps buckets of spiritual improvement on us all day. This being my second to last transfer, this was my final Zone Conference! :.( We always stand and sing "The Spirit of God" at the end of the meeting, and I can barely sing two words with out weeping on a normal day, let alone my last Zone Conference. And then they asked me to say the closing prayer. #TrainWreck On the plus side, we also got to watch "Meet the Mormons" while we were there. Wooooooooo movies! (I've always loved the story of the Candybomber: cute German children + old man + world peace = right up my alley.)

Love you all!
Sister Gledhill

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Here are some pictures to illustrate my thoughts about being a missionary:

I know, I know. Missions aren't always about riding unicorns, dancing through the streets, and baptisms. 

But it sure is fun when they are.

Love you all!
Sister Gledhill

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deep Waters‏

As I near the end of my mission and people ask me how I feel about my experience so far, usually all I can say is, "It's just such a happy way to live!" It is such a blessing to have every day filled with the spirit, to have such clear direction and purpose. And even in the hard moments, full of stress and worry - is there any better thing to worry over than someone's eternal happiness? (Answer: no.)

But really, that happiness, spirit, and purpose doesn't just come from being a missionary. It comes from knowing and believing the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yesterday we attended a fireside given by President Packard titled "What the World Knows because of Joseph Smith", and it kind of blew my mind to realize how different my life would be if I had never heard of the Restoration. One point that was discussed was the purpose of this life. It's been one of the most heart-breaking and frustrating experiences of my mission to meet people who feel like their life has no meaning. Every day they wake up and just kind of muddle along - they don't understand why they are here and what they possibly are supposed to be learning from all this. They have no sense of triumph or satisfaction from their past experiences and have no vision for the future. It's actually overwhelming how many people I have met in this mind set!

I feel so blessed to know that I am here on this earth for a reason, and that reason is to transform. Heavenly Father knows perfectly well what my potential is and all that I can become and He knows I am no where near that yet. He sent me here to experience joy, failure, heartbreak, and growth so that I can someday become what He sees me to be. And the attributes He wants me to develop come in a variety of ways - usually having to wait, struggle, work, and seek. It is not always easy and I am not always thrilled with the twists life throws at me. But I actually prefer it that way, compared to the alternative of never having an experience to push me! There is a quote in Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration that I love, "Perhaps I am meant to swim in deep waters. But better deep than shallow." What a blessing it is to know that everything we go through in this life is for our benefit!

On my mission I have fallen in love with the hymn "How Firm a Foundation", and especially the verses at the end of the song that nobody ever sings. After the first 2 verses, the entire hymn is sung from the perspective of God to those who put their trust in Him - and the blessings He promises are beautiful. My personal favorite is verse 4:

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

What an opportunity we have to share this perspective and purpose with those of God's children who haven't yet heard the good news!

Special prayers and love this week to my family and Grandpa.
Sister Gledhill

Friday, September 19, 2014

That Time We Got Robbed and I Wore Pants to Church‏

This week was seriously so great. I practically heard angels singing every time we met someone new or left an appointment. We were so busy this week doing a million lovely things and found lots of people with tons of potential! Things were going so well in fact, that Satan thought he better try and stop us, and SOMEONE BROKE INTO OUR CAR AND STOLE MY GPS! Now, I don't know how many of you have tried driving around New England with out a GPS, but ... it's pretty much impossible. The streets make zero sense, so stealing a missionaries GPS is a pretty good way to render them completely useless. And also, last P-day I spent a good 20 minutes carefully selecting a pair of sunglasses to buy with an Old Navy coupon and after owning them for approximately 36 hours, THE THIEF TOOK THOSE TOO! Now the GPS I can understand, that is a New England necessity. But my new glasses?! That was just a slap in the face. But don't worry, there is hope for this wayward burglar! He also took the cords to the GPS that were in the GPS box, and in the GPS box was a pass along card with a picture of Christ on it. Seeing the Savior of the World in the middle of his crime didn't stop him, but hopefully it sparked a little tinge of guilt that will someday motivate this rouge child of God to repent and give up his life of crime.

And really all is well, because the Elders had an extra GPS in their apartment they let me have that got left by a missionary done with his mission, and it's waaaaay fancier than the stolen one. #thanksthief. And we were telling the heart-wrenching story of the sunglasses to B.Dipompo (an elderly gentleman in our ward) and he felt so injusticed that he bought me flowers and left them on top of our car after church!

I also nearly sent the ward into cardiac arrest when I showed up to church yesterday in pants. BUT I'M SO SICK OF WEARING SKIRTS!
Haha, totally kidding. But I really did wear pants to church because one of our investigators Ruth, who came to church for the very first time yesterday, was so nervous to come because she had nothing to wear. We spent a long time convincing her that nobody cares what she wears or what she looks like, but that everyone would love her regardless! She was slightly comforted but still said, "I just feel so bad that I'm going to be the only one in pants!" So I did what any good Christian women would do and practiced what I preached and told her I would wear pants with her. I couldn't tell if it felt super weird just because I'm not used to wearing pants in general, or if was just really weird. Probably both. I would never do it for any other reason, but ANYTHING FOR THE KINGDOM!!! And Ruth had a fabulous time and church and did not feel one iota of pants-wearing-shame.

 (This one really captures the surprise element.)

Love you all and hope you have a great week!
The Trousered Sister Gledhill

A "Mysterious" End to the Transfer‏

So let me give you a rundown of our week ...

Monday: P-day. Temple trip and prowling the streets of Boston.
Tuesday: Exchanges with Brockton Sisters, round 1.
Wednesday: MLC from 10 - 7. Plus travel time.
Thursday: District Meeting followed by a 6 hour planning meeting with the Zone Leaders.
Friday: Pretty much the best Zone Meeting ever. And T-TEXTS came.
Saturday: Exchanges with Brockton Sisters, round 2.
Sunday: Church.

So ... kind of a crazy week! But it was so, so good! Exchanges were awesome because I got to spend both days with two sisters who were new to our zone this transfer. One of them was actually companions with Carley Wood in the MTC! So fun. And Zone Meeting was awesome, if I do say so myself. The first Wednesday of every month we have a big meeting where all the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders get together and receive all kinds of training and talk about what's going on in the mission. And then it's our job to find a way to condense a 7+ hour meeting into a 2 hour meeting for our zones - which requires a lot of planning if you actually want to pull it off well! We usually try to make it kind of fun and exciting, and this time we had a "Clue" theme. We told everyone to come in character and assigned them silly names like "Her Highness Hansen" and "Chancellor Chen".  What was my name? "Grandma Gledhill" of course. But don't fret, it wasn't all fun and games - we talked about having the "faith to find" and skills like listening to our investigators. At the end of the meeting I shared a story that I heard in Sacrament Meeting at the beginning of my mission.

“In early 1940, the British and their allies sent a force of some 350,000 men into the low countries of Europe to stem the tide of German advance into France, Belgium and Holland. Caught in a brilliant pincer movement by the invading German forces the beleaguered British Expeditionary Force was pushed back to the beaches of the small Belgian town of Dunkirk. To everyone’s surprise the Germans halted their advance to regroup.
As England and the world waited for what appeared to be the sure and certain annihilation of 350,000 men a three-word message was transmitted from the besieged army at Dunkirk. It read simply, “But if not.” The British people understood the biblical import of the cryptic message. It was a reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel, where Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego chose death rather than worship an image of the pagan king, “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”” (Daniel 3:17-18, NKJV).
The British Expeditionary Army, surrounded, cutoff and on the brink of destruction was declaring to Britain and to the world that even in apparent defeat they were, in fact, victorious. The message, more eloquent than a sermon delivered in St.Paul’s Cathedral, galvanized the British people. In a matter of hours thousands of boats of every description headed across the dangerous waters of the English Channel and, at the risk of their own lives from enemy fire, began the evacuation of the heroic but beleaguered army in what historians now refer to as “the miracle of Dunkirk.”

I LOVE THIS STORY! "But if not." Isn't that so powerful? We talked about how we need to be missionaries God can trust no matter what. He can send us people prepared to accept the gospel and be baptized and we will always be there to receive them regardless of our circumstances.

Oh. And we found out what is happening next transfer! I will be staying here in Foxboro to finish training Sister Jessop - this will be my 5th transfer here and the longest I've ever been in one area! I will only have one more after this one, so we will have to see if I end up staying here my whole mission or if I get switched right before I leave. Honestly, time has flown by so quickly here that it doesn't even seem like I've been here that long! We will be getting another new Elder in the ward though (Elder Brown is going to wait for his Visa to Brazil in a Portuguese area and Elder Homer is going to train again!). There are 2 other Elders leaving in my district too :(. I don't know how it is in other missions, but in the MBM everyone gets so close and it's always sad when people get transferred! But overall, I'm stoked for this next transfer! Woop!

Sister Gledhill

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Religion is the Pope?‏

Oh man, what a week!

Did you know that I have actually been a missionary for quite some time now? As it turns out, last Friday I only had 99 days left. (??!) It's kind of like an MBM tradition to go eat at this restaurant called Ninety Nine on this said day of your mission, so me and Elder Homer took our little greenies with us and reminisced about all of our glory days. I'm pretty sure Sister Jessop is getting sick of me saying "It just goes by SO FAST!" She keeps telling members, "Oh yea, she only has 97 days left." Or, "She'll be home in 95." And then I yell at her, "WE'RE NOT COUNTING!!!!!!"

We've been volunteering at this Old Folks home the past few weeks, and this week we showed up just in time for TRIVIA HOUR. These 90+ year olds sure know their stuff - they knew the answers to crazy questions like "What magical instrument did Mozart write about?" and "What animal automatically ages every January 1st?" and other ones I had never even heard of so I can't even relay them to you. (Apparently some of these folks have lived there so long that they just have the answers memorized to the entire Trivia game!) And then there was this one sweet lady, bless her heart. This is how her Trivia went:
Q: Who lives at the Vatican?
A: The Pope.
Q: What religion is the Pope?
A: ... I don't know.

I was dying. It was so adorable.

Also, I kissed a frog this week. It did not turn into a prince. #bummer 

Anyways, not much time to email because we spent the day at the temple and in Boston! (Not going to complain about that!)

Hoorah for Israel!
Sister Gledhill

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Ratatouille Miracle

Ai, ai, ai! What a week. It started off with two solid days of meetings - Tuesday was interviews with President Packard (who continues to be A-MAZING) and Wednesday was Return and Report for all of the new missionaries and their trainers. I actually love meetings. Anytime I get to be in a room with a group of missionaries is okay with me because the spirit is always ridiculously strong. But two whole days in a row is A LOT of meetings ... good thing we got to go to the Temple on Wednesday!!! 

But all that diligent note taking and training absorbing was totally worth it because then a MIRACLE happened: a member in our ward made me Ratatouille! For approximately the past 2 months I have been very un-abashedly dropping hints to every member who asks us what we want for dinner that I have been dying to try ratatouille, but up until this week I had no success. I've probably told every family in the ward by now, so I had pretty much given up hope. BUT THEN SISTER MEGQUIER PULLED THROUGH FOR ME!

Here it is in all it's squash-y glory. It was so delicious! I almost cried when she pulled it out of the oven. #soblessed

But also, there are other miracles happening here too (not to undermine the ratatouille). We've been teaching our investigator Jed for a while now. The Elders found him passed out drunk by the sidewalk when they were riding their bikes home one night a few months ago. They started teaching him and I must admit me and Sister Badham were super skeptical at first. I mean, you must admit that it wasn't the most charming of first encounters. But then Jed started coming to church and volunteering to help out with anything he could. A few weeks ago he quit smoking and drinking cold turkey and hasn't touched it for almost 3 weeks! This week he told us that he's tried to quit before and never could, but this time he knows it's not himself. The Lord is definitely on his side and he is preparing for baptism next month! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about change and no one is too far gone for those blessings. 

You know, just another week in the life of a missionary. Drunken hobo turned model Christian. Miracles and blessings everywhere you look.
Sister Gledhill

Monday, August 18, 2014


Salutations! An assortment of random stories and thoughts:

We were going to be late to a dinner appointment last week, so we called ahead to let the member family know. When we finally arrived, we found a white board with the scripture Matthew 25:10-13 referenced on it.
"And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."
Haha, consider us rebuked.But don't worry! They were kidding. Mostly. And they still let us come in and eat pizza!

This week we worked on finding some solid community service, and we actually found some really neat opportunities! We are going to be volunteering at a nursing home a couple hours a week and the activities director asked us to be in charge of BINGO every 4th weekend of the month! Woop woop! (To those of you concerned like my ward mission leader was, no this is not a gambling activity. Most of the residents are senile and won't even know they are playing Bingo, much less be in it for the money.) We also harvested beans at the Foxboro Community Farmstand on Saturday! It was nice to be in the dirt for a change. The other volunteers are really nice and I think we might get the occasional free squash! (I've fallen in love with squash and zucchini on my mission. It's a mild obsession.)

A couple weeks ago, I was kneeling down at my bed to say my morning prayer, when I realized something was a little odd. Next to my bed I have a bunch of pictures on the wall and attached to one of these pictures was my name tag! This was really odd because, 1- it was 6:30 in the morning and most things don't make a lot of sense to me that early, and 2- I sleep with my name tag on, so some time during the middle of the night I must of gotten out of bed and attached it to the picture in my sleep. Weird.

I've also been reading through the Book of Mormon pretty quickly the past couple weeks. I want to read it 3 times before my mission ends, but it's hard to read so fast! There is so much to think about and learn! This morning I was reading the first few chapters of Mosiah, and boy. You can't help but get sucked into the story! Also, I think I may have developed a tiny crush on Zeniff. He's a catch! Hardworking, righteous, good leader, helps bury the Lamanite's dead ... read chapters 9&10.#swooning.

Anyways... hope all is well out in the West! I love you guys!
Sister Gledhill

Wrought Upon‏

Ahoy Maties!
It was a week of many meetings, many planning sessions, and lots of
cancellations - and yet we still managed to find time for a few
miracles. It seems like each of my areas has had teaching cycles,
where we are teaching all of our investigators Lesson 5 at once, or
everyone the Plan of Salvation, etc. This week was the Restoration,
which is always incredible to watch people understand and accept. It's
one of my favorite parts of missionary work to help people come to the
realization that Heavenly Father loves everyone of us, no matter where
or when we were born. If He talked to the people in Jerusalem, why
wouldn't He talk to the people in the Americas? And if He talked to
them, why wouldn't He still want to talk to us?! When our
investigators figure this out, I mentally jump up and down in my head
with glee.
As I've read the scriptures on my mission, I've always been intrigued
with the phrase "and he was wrought upon by the Spirit". I've always
wondered what it means to "wrought upon" something. It sounds a little
... violent. In a good way. But I think this week I maybe could use
that phrase myself. We had MLC on Wednesday (imagine an 8 hour long
meeting with our mission President - one of the most inspired men on
the planet - and a room full of some of the most talented and
spiritually-giant missionaries I've ever met. And then there's me. ...
I take lots of notes). MLC is usually a pretty intensely spiritual
experience, but it was especially intense for me this week. I don't
know if it's because the clock is racing towards the finish line of my
mission, or if it's just time for me to grow or what. But by the end
of that meeting I felt spiritually thrashed - wrought upon by the
spirit. And one thing I've learned on my mission is that when the
Spirit speaks, we act. So moral of the story: I've got a lot of acting
to do.
Sister Gledhill

Greenie Town

Hola mi Familia!
This week was mostly spent welcoming SISTER JESSOP to the MBM and to Foxboro! Sister Jessop is from Salem, Oregon and is like a little energizer bunny. She's been in approximately 45 musicals or plays and went to school at BYU Hawaii before coming out. I already lover her so much and she is an amazing missionary. All the members are having a blast because we got two greenies this week (Elder Homer is training Elder Brown from Philadelphia), we've had a bunch of members make us "green dinners" where all the food is green.
Ai ai ai, I wish I had more time to write you guys! Let is suffice to say that miracles continue to happen here in Foxboro. Rob was confirmed yesterday and our recent convert Chantha blessed the sacrament for the first time and it was so adorable. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I love you all!!!
Sister Gledhill

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Old Dog, New Tricks‏

What a week, what a week!

Last P-day we went into Boston to explore the FREEDOM TRAIL and have all kinds of touristy historical fun. I LOVE THE CITY! It really is so beautiful and oddly clean. It was like being in the middle of "National Treasure". Except with more old people wearing fanny packs and taking pictures.

And yesterday our investigator Rob got baptized! Teaching him has been such a neat experience - some of the most powerful lessons of my mission happened with him. Watching someone's conversion process makes you feel so tiny and insignificant but also feel so blessed to have been able to be present to watch someone's life change. I guess you could say being a missionary is pretty neat.

This week is also transfer week ... DUHN DUHN DUHN! After 3 transfers together, Sister Badham and I knew our time together was drawing to a close. Although we were pushing for the unheard of 4 transfer companionship, on Friday we found out that Sister Badham is being transferred to Worcester! 

So who's coming here, you might ask? Well folks, good question. I won't be able to tell you till next week because she hasn't arrived in the mission field yet ... that's right, FOXBORO IS GETTING A GREENIE! This is probably the weirdest I feel about training so far. Since coming to Foxboro, I've become ... old. Missionary old. Let me explain: when you first come on your mission, everything is new and exciting and different. You love to check the mail because you actually get mail. You spend hours writing to family and friends on P-day. You take 20 minutes to get dressed because you have so many new, fun mission outfits. When your old, checking the mailbox is just a funny ritual, you know every article of clothing in your closet like the back of your hand, and I honestly haven't written a letter in months. Moral of the story: this transfer will be an adventure. I'm stoked!

Wish me luck and pray that I don't send my baby into missionary shock with all my missionary awkwardness!

Sister Gledhill