Wednesday, June 29, 2016

27 June 2016 - Week 35

Hi Everyone! Not a lot to report from Elder Gilbert this week. He is doing OK - still adjusting to his new relationship status of "Single". He has been spending his time working hard, working out, and looking forward to fishing on Mondays - he and Elder Hix started their PDay at 4:30am! Pictures below - it looks like a good time was had by all (well, except the fish...). Thanks to you all for your love and support - have a great week!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

20 June 2016 - Week 34

Hello to everyone from Elder Gilbert! John has asked me to let you know he has successfully moved to Hamilton, Alabama and he really likes his new area. He says it's a small branch, about 30 people, so lots of room for growth :) His new companion's name is Elder Hix and he says they have a lot in common and are getting along very well. He is excited also for the opportunities for fishing and apparently the new area comes with  a free gym membership! The entire mission is about to undergo a big change - they will be welcoming a new Mission President! President and Sister Sainsbury arrive sometime soon and officially take over for President and Sister Hanks 28 July. Elder Gilbert says they will miss President Hanks terribly and will do their best to welcome the new leader. Another big change for Johnny - he and Margie are no longer a couple. It has been a rough couple of weeks with many changes. His new address is: 1893 State Hwy 17   Hamilton, AL  35570. Notes and letters are always appreciated! Our love and thanks to y'all - have a great week!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

13 June 2016 - Week 33

Just a few quick words with Elder Gilbert this week - he is being transferred!! He will be headed to Hamilton, Alabama. It is located in the Northwest part of the state, near the Mississippi border. It looks like he will actually be closer to Tupelo than Birmingham. We will post his new address next week. He says thanks to you all and sends his love, as does his mom :D Have a great week everyone!!

Many thanks for those feeding our Elder!! 
Texas Roadhouse - Elder Gilbert's favorite!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

6 June 2016 - Week 32

Awesome crazy week! 

Monday was Memorial Day. We helped out at this ceremony, at the Alabama National Cemetery. We escorted VIPs to their seats, like mayors, senators, Colonels, 1st Sergeants and all kinds of people. It was pretty cool. 

Tuesday was our p-day, we went fishin.

Thursday we got a new car! They retire the mission cars at 50,000 and we killed this one so we got a new one! We got a 2016 Nissan Altima - so nice! Then we went on an exchange, I went to Colmbiana for the night. And while I was away someone hit our car in the Walmart parking lot! Literally the first day we got it! Only 23 miles and now a dent! :/ 

Then Friday Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles came to our stake to speak to the youth and YSAs. He said that missionaries could only go if they brought an investigator. But we don't have any investigators youth age or ysa! So we spent all day trying to get someone to go with us just so we could go.  Then about 15 min before it was almost time to leave (Bessemer is about 30 min away) a member of our ward who is about to serve a mission in Brazil (not Carter's, its a northern mission) convinced one of his friends to go! So we were able to go!! Elder Bednar is so cool!!! He basically walked in and said, this is your one chance in your life you can ask an Apostle of the Lord any question you want. He did a Q & A for the 2 hours he was there. He came with a member of the 70, Elder Sabin, and their answers were just amazing! I have never (and probably will never) meet someone so smart and knows so much doctrine! Just words cant explain it and give it justice. At the end he bore probably the most powerful testimony I have ever heard. During it he said "The Tomb is Open".

Saturday was the adult session of stake conference,.....and we had the same problem. We didn't have any investigators that fit the criteria for the "Adult" session. We spent all day calling and trying to find someone who would want to go. Again at about 30-45 min before we would have to leave, a random name popped into my head, Daina Adams. She's not even an investigator. She's just a sweet old lady I tracked into with Mkhwanazi about 2 months ago. I think I have spoken to her about 2 times. But thinking of something Bednar had said the night before,"Revelation comes from thoughts in the mind and feelings in the heart" I knew we had to go see her. We did and she said yes! Then the next problem was rides, but the members here are absolutely awesome! Just a couple of calls and we had a ride and a ride for her. The conference was possibly even better than Friday. Bednar is just a power-house, He started off with " If all of you could ask me a question, the majority of the questions would be How is President Monson doing" and my answer is, he is doing well, he is just 88 years old!" "He doesn't walk too fast anymore and he has good and bad days. but he usually has about 2-3 hours a day where he is feeling good and can get things done." Bednar went on to explain something really cool - he said every Thursday the top 15 have a meeting.(prophet,1st and 2nd counselors and the 12) In the meeting they discuss everything, world stuff, just everything. They sit with the 12 in a half circle, ordered by seniority, facing the 3. Elder Bednar said he has been the youngest in all 12 years hes been an Apostle. And when discussing a subject, the prophet turns to the youngest and asks his opinion on the matter first. They start with the youngest because if they went the other way, the youngest`s opinion would change after hearing the other 11 (the pros!). Elder Bednar's first ever meeting in that room in the Salt Lake temple with the 15, Pres Kimble turns to him for his input before everyone else. Terrified, he answered the only way he could with the experience he had as being a stake president in Arkansas for 20 years. He said " President Kimble, I'm going to answer the only way I know how - That's just a dog that ain't gonna hunt". Pres. Kimble laughed harder than he has seen anyone laugh in his life. So now it's an inside joke among the 15 when they turn to hear Elder Bednar's input first they ask "Elder Bednar, is this dog gonna hunt?" lol He is just so cool! Elder Bednar continues to explain that it is the 15 that are "Prophets, seers and revelators". The 15 make the decisions and the prophet gives them the green or red light - in those 2-3 good hours.

Then maybe a 3rd into Bednar's talk he says "Are you with me? You still awake? Look, this in a once in a lifetime chance to hear me. There is a very good chance that I will never come back to Bessemer, Alabama and meet with you people ever again. It is possible that no 12 will come here. So I need you with me right now. BUCKLE UP, here we go" and Elder Bednar just goes into super intense deep doctrine about the atonement and how we can use it in our lives.

He closes Saturday with another amazing testimony blessing everyone and said "I know that Christ died...but I am a witness that he lives."

After conference we went to the Alabaster City Festival. I ate a pound of crawfish that Troy from "Swamp People" caught and cooked!! Then we saw David Nail perform.

Sunday morning is the general session of stake conference, held in the Pelham civic center - ice arena. And he just brought the hammer even harder than the past 2 days, super blunt, bold and in your face - it was so cool!!! I could say so much more but I'm getting tired of typing so I will say one more thing, Elder Bednar presides over Africa and he explained something, We are told that when we fast we are to fast for 2-3 meals. Here in the states it's usually breakfast and lunch and maybe dinner. Well in Africa they eat one meal a day, so they fast for 2 or 3 days..... yepp just made everyone in conference feel like a complete pile. You could hear a pin drop. He closed with another hammer testimony and blessed everyone.He in invoked a blessing that as we sung the closing hymn "How Firm a Foundation" (all 7 verses) the 3rd verse would pierce our hearts... Just awesome!!!

Just an unreal week. Love you all!!! - Elder Gilbert

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

31 May 2016 - Week 31

     Ok, crazy week! We had zone conference on Wednesday and it was Pres Hanks last one ever! He leaves in about a month. It's going to suck to see him go. I'm not looking forward to it. He gave some really awesome training's this conference.

     On Saturday we went to Selma Alabama!! The coolest gettoist town ever! Tons of history there! Elder Hutchins just served there right before here and someone he taught was getting baptized on Saturday, so we were able to go down for it. I love Selma! It's so intense! That is the hood!! It's so crazy! Every stereotype of the hood and the south and black people is Selma! It's really cool. I got to walk the bridge that they marched over, saw the church MLKJ gave a speech at, just a super cool town! Ate the biggest, greasyist burger of my life, lol. But I got to see some huge plantation houses! Just lots of super cool stuff! We played ball in the hood! The court is called "The Cage" its all fenced in with barbed wire in the top and the hoop nets are chains lol They pull out huge speakers just for ball! Just bumpin and everyone smokin everywhere it was supper crazy and fun! It's like gangs against gangs in ball lol But they love missionary's there like "Ay! Jesus boys with us" and they know not to past the joints n stuff to us lol It's super cool.

     This has been a crazy week! We have these new investigators, a husband and wife, she has lots of medical probs and has a service dog, so we have been doing several tours so the dog (still a puppy and still in training) can get used to the building before there are people everywhere.

     We went fishin this morning, I got 2 little brim.

     Elder Bednar (one of the 12 Apostles in coming next week!) and he is speaking at the Pelham Center... where the ice rink is - they are going to convert it (just like the do in the Staples center in LA for the Lakers) ..... so I get to hear Bednar in an ice rink. Can you believe it????

     Its gettin stupid hot..... like this is getting ridiculous i hate humidity!!! 

     Love yall talk to ya in a week -Elder Gilbert