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