Tuesday, October 3, 2017

All of September and 2 October 2017 - weeks 97 - 101

These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy! And there seems to be no end in sight! This Friday Gladys Knight yes (and the pips) is coming to Bessemer. But not with the pips, with a Grammy award wining choir. Gladys Knight is Mormon! Yepp. She is coming to my church building to put on a huge devotional testimony meeting funded by the missionary department of the church. So it's all missionary oriented. The missionaries and members are bringing as many nonmembers as possible! We are told that hundreds of baptisms come from this. She is doing 2 shows in Tennessee the 5th. 2 shows here in Bessemer on the 6th, and 2 more in Mississippi. All right in the middle of her tour and still has her show in Vegas! Crazy! But this is a great missionary opportunity and we have been preparing for it for weeks. They are putting a whole stage in the chapel! Then on Saturday all the missionaries will be distributing gift bags that contain a CD, a book of Mormon, and a restoration DVD, to all the people that request one from the 2 shows. It's the missionaries' job to deliver all of them with the member that invited them within 24 hours after the show! It's going to be crazy! Oh! And we have a baptism that Saturday. To add to the crazyness. Oh and we had one last week as well. He is supper cool! He's a country singer! 
I only have 4 weeks left and I am beyond ready to come home! I can't wait to see everyone and get my real life started!! Thank you for all the support throughout  my mission! Can't wait to see everyone!! 

                                            -Elder John M. Gilbert

Monday, August 28, 2017

28 August 2017 - Week 96

Hello Dear Friends!
I have continued to be in regular weekly (on Mondays) communication with Elder Gilbert, but he has been finding it more and more difficult to write for this blog. My guess is that he is getting so close to completing his Mission that writing for the blog only reminds him of how much he is looking forward to coming home and "starting his life". He is doing his best to stay focused for his last few weeks and doing everything he can to finish strong in Alabama!! I have added a few photos for you below, a coupe of "John Sightings". I am sure any letters of encouragement to him to help him keep working hard for this last little bit would be greatly appreciated! 9 weeks to go!!
Love and thanks to you all!!  - Debby Gilbert

Elder John Gilbert
600 Flint Hill Lane Apt 202
Bessemer, AL  35022

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

12, 19, & 26 June 2017 - Weeks 85, 86, & 87

Crazy few weeks. Sorry I haven't been posting, life has been crazy. So we kinda had a baptism (technically the Sisters did) but we helped a lot. His name is Tom and he has been meeting with missionaries for almost 2 years! He is awesome! He was baptized in a creek. There was so much symbolism in it. So back in like the 1800's the first 2 missionaries that came to Alabama came here to Bessemer. They met  a little girl and gave her a Book of Mormon and then they had to leave. Over the years she read it and it was true, prayed that missionaries would come back, and they eventually did and baptized her in the creek next to her house. Now in 2017 about 3/4 of this massive ward is related to that one girl. Tom was just baptized in that same creek and this month is the 80th anniversary of the first group here in Alabama (in that house) next to Brackner creek. Cool stuff! 
Tom and John just went to the temple for the first time last week with family names to be baptized for. 
So that was super cool.

We went to T-town for a zone activity, we got hooked up with a tour of the stadium! 
We got to go down into the locker room, press rooms, everything! It was awesome!! 

We crashed a wedding at the Vulcan.....

​I caught 4 catfish...

... and we ate them!

So idk if any of y'all have ever heard of "Moody Mansion" but it's one of the most haunted houses in the US!....and its in our area. I knocked on it, to see if they wanted the gospel...
1 Peter 3:19 " By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison"

This is the crew eating/making s'mores at the Chases house after Toms baptism.

We got our hands on some buttermilk syrup (best thing in the world) and Johnnie made us some pancakes to go with it!! (It's a big deal, he's come a long way!)
 Then yesterday was my comps 21st Birthday!! So celebrated that!

Love y'all! Have a great week! - Elder John M. Gilbert


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

29 May & 5 June 2017 - Weeks 83 & 84

Hi y'all!!

So Monday, was not p-day, we woke up to find standing water in the kitchen, the dishwasher was leaking. We didn't have much time because we had a meeting and an hour drive ahead of us, so we just called it in to the apt. office and left for Jasper, AL. I made it so we had district meeting up in Jasper and planned an exchange for afterword. I was able to go and see Sister Manning! She's awesome! Then we went to the Bakers. And the Epersons were there and we had a super fun crazy night. 

Tuesday, we pretty much stayed all day at Sister Manning's. Olsen and I were able to fix one of the dirt bikes for Luke.Then we headed back to Bessemer for dinner with the Ackers. The kitchen is still full of water..... i don't think they did a single thing, probably didn't even come look at it. We threw some towels down and left for dinner. Brother Acker has a man cave set up for football games. EVERY SINGLE THING in that room is Alabama Crimson tide. Its the most amazing thing ever! 

Wednesday, we went and helped Butch with his field/garden. We pulled weeds from the corn rows. It takes about an hour a row...... but then he took us out to lunch (which he always does - we love him!) and we always go to "San Antonio Grill" Mexican food place that's pretty good. The food is nothing like home but it's close! At least the music makes it feel like home. We had coordination meeting with the ward mission leader, and reps from every church group. Its crazy what can be accomplished with support for missionary work! We have scheduled and temple trip for just the recent converts later this month. 

Thursday, We were called in to hold down the fort in the mission office....From 8 to 3... while all the senior couples went to Tupelo for zone conference. ....The phone only rang 3 times... and we sat there and waited for it to ring again. It did not. Then Darby and the Colquetts came and took us to lunch! We went to our traditional place (Texas Roadhouse) which really feels like home. They are amazing people and it was awesome to be able to sit and chat with them!! After a day full of missionary work we come home around 10:45pm and find the water is still on the kitchen floor. My comp Elder Briscoe decides to give repairing the plumbing a try. I wish him well and decide to go to bed.  

Friday (today) I wake up to find the kitchen in pieces. My comp asks me for help putting everything back together. Thanks to my Teris skills, my "wheres my water" game on my phone back home and blessings from on high, somehow we connected all 12 or so pieces of pipe back under the sink! Yay us!! We head to our first app and he's not there.... we knock his neighbors house, who turns out to be a preacher, so we bash for awhile... just a great morning. We are deciding how to fill in a few hours time gap, and I got a random though of going to get the cars oil changed. So we head to Pepboys and the staff there are super cool. They have seen the missionaries in this area come in all the time for maintenance but have never really talked to them before and they had lots of questions for us! The one mechanic who I talked to the most (probably like a good 30-45 min convo) just about whatever, cars (Subarus) and stuff and I asked him if we could come teach him and his family... and he said yes!!! He has 3 daughters and has recently moved to Bessemer from Huntsville because his mom has cancer  so he could be closer to her. He hasn't been to church in years but is willing to hear our message and hear about the church! Just crazy how the Lord prepares people! 

Miss y'all. Pretty ready to be home..... and go to the beach.... love you guys!  -Elder John M.Gilbert

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

22 May 2017 - Week 82

Crazy few weeks! I got transferred to Bessemer! It's part of Birmingham. I've been in this stake 3 times now. But it's been a crazy week! I've made home made sushi with a member from Japan! I've fed some cows on a members farm - got the hookup for free farm eggs! Found a member who is a pro bodybuilder! He's absolutely massive! (I'll try to take a pic with him sometime.) He knows the girl in Sylacuaga who wanted to train me! He has already started to teach me some stuff and offered to hook me up with some supplements through his sponsor. He won the Vulcan! Which is like the biggest competition in Alabama! ummm... this week was crazy! Lots of teaching, meals almost everyday, team-ups everyday, and this weekend was Stake Conference! There was a member of the 70 there, Elder McCarthy. He was super cool! It was so weird that I knew almost everyone there! I got to see lots of families and members from Alabaster and Ensley and Bessemer! I have shaken so many hands this week! Which is probably why I'm sick.... i have a pretty bad head cold. Meds every 4 hours:/ I haven't really slept well in like 3 weeks and were just always on the move. I haven't even un-packed yet! Oh... Friday we helped a member with his farm/garden. We were there like all morning and I mowed like 6-7 acres of grass with this awesome zero-turn mower :) lol then dug a trench for the corn rows so water can get to them. Then the District decided that that day was best for everyone for District Meeting. So we went straight from working on the farm in my jeans and boots to District Meeting and I did the ultimate definition of "winging it". I had nothing prepared, but i did my cool djing analogy ... hopefully they got something out of it. It's just been super crazy!! And being sick sucks. Thanks for everyone and all of your support! Love Yall! -Elder John M. Gilbert

Saturday, May 20, 2017

15 May 2017 - Week 81 Mother's Day!!

No post from Elder Gilbert since we got to talk to him on Mother's Day - it was so wonderful to see him and talk to him!! He is doing well and excited to start his last 24 weeks. His big news is that he is transferring to a new area! His new address is:
     Elder John Gilbert
     600 Flint Hill Lane Apt #202
     Bessemer, AL  35022
Love to everyone and yay Elder Gilbert!!

8 May 2017 - Week 80 Talladega SuperSpeedway!

Soo Tuesday/Wednesday, we did an exchange up in Birmingham. I got to spend the 24 hours with one of my fave missionaries, Elder Galvez who's from Guatemala! Then we got back home about 8:00 wed night, then even though i was dead tired, i had to grind it out and prepare for district meeting and figure what I was going to talk about and train on. Then Thursday morning, we had district meeting up in Talladega. The branch mission leader in Talladega is awesome!! He wanted us to come over and have district meeting over at his house and he and his awesome wife cooked a bomb breakfast for us! (German pancakes, buttermilk syrup, a whole spread!) Then we had district meeting, I somehow compared djing to missionary work and some how did it for a long time lol but hopefully District meeting went well. One of the missionaries said it was the coolest training he had ever heard! lol  so then we ended up staying up in Talladega for the day because Brother Cote (branch mission leader) wanted us over for dinner as well so we stayed and worked up in Talladega for the day and had an awesome diner! Then one of the missionaries was talking to Sister Cote and said i was a hockey player and the conversation soon got on the topic of chiropractors lol i had said how much is sucks not having my chiro for almost 2 years and how crunchy my neck was. Sister Cote laughs and said "here". She brings out a professional massage chair (like the Chinese guys at the mall) She's a freaking massage therapist!! She works on me for like 20 min and destroys me! She finds knot after knot lol then shes like "wow your neck is really bad" so she brings out a professional massage table!! and works on my neck for another 10-15 min! uhhhh!  is was awesome!!! I love her! So then Friday we had interviews with the mission president, which went super good. Then supper at the one member that feeds us, then were off back up to Talladega. So last weekend was one of the biggest races in Nascar! Talladega SuperSpeedway! We spend all day Saturday talking to tons of people is was absolutely crazy!!! I have never seen so many rednecks in one place in my life!! and I will never come close again in my life!! It was so awesome!!! I got to hear the cars! It was just so cool!! Got to cross of a bucket list item! I wasn't as productive as a missionary as i would have liked, but i was able to give away one book of Mormon!! She wasn't exactly sober.... but i think there's a chance she will read it! It would be awesome if she did! Ahhh it was just an awesome experience overall!! Love everyone and thanks!! - Elder John Gilbert

Thursday, May 4, 2017

17 April, 24 April, & 1 May 2017 - Weeks 77, 78, & 79

Crazy few weeks! 
So there is this member in Talledega that makes knives! So we got to go up there and make some knives of our own! Super cool!! And he had the coolest dog ever!! He is like my fav dog ever!! (We won't tell Buddy :P) His name is RED and he's the coolest wiener dog ever!!! haha but anyway, Christy was baptized this past week!!! We are super proud of her! And my comp and i tried baby-food. lol And that's about all that is worth mentioning. lol 
Thanks for all the support! Love y'all!   - Elder John Gilbert

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

10 April 2017 - Week 76

Good week. So awesome thing happened on Wed. Kristy (the investigator that dropped us a few weeks ago) called us out of the blue and wanted to meet with us. She had recently gone to Salt Lake with her husband (a member) and they did lots of tours and even heard MT choir sing! It was a super spiritual experience for her. We were able to have a lesson with her and we invited her to be baptized. So she now has a bap date for in about 2 weeks! Other than that not much has happened this week. Oh I bashed with a preacher for a solid 2 hours. It's funny because they don't think I can hang and when I do it freaks them out. It's fun because I have more ammunition then they do. (and I'm pretty good at arguing lol) but I'm just excited to get the summer over with. Thanks for all the letters and support! -Elder John M.Gilbert

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

27 March & 3 April 2017 - Weeks 74 & 75

Transfer week. I am staying in Sylacauga for another transfer. My companion Elder Standifird on the other hand is leaving and going to Mississippi. I will be getting Elder Sharp. I have no idea who he is or anything. But will find out tomorrow. I'm sad to see Elder Standifird go. Today we were supposed to go hike the highest mountain in Alabama. But when we got up it was pouring rain so we just went to Blue Bell instead. (Which we were going to do anyway!) Thank you for all the support. Can't wait to see everyone. My grandma would be happy to announce that were down to 30 weeks :P Love y'all -Elder John M. Gilbert

Note from Mom - Didn't have the heart to tell him it's actually 31 more weeks. I think it has something to do with his two weeks in the MTC instead of three, so he will be out 105 weeks instead of 104... Or maybe it's when the transfers happen so he comes home a week later...? Anyway, we think he'll be home the first week in November .
Hang in there Elder Gilbert - we love you!!! ❤

Monday, March 27, 2017

20 March 2017 - Week 73

Crazy week. So Thursday we had interviews with the mission president. He said there are only like 2 missionaries coming to the mission this transfer so not a lot of changes are happening for the next few months. Our Zone went to the zoo last week! It was pretty cool. I've wanted to go to the zoo my entire mission!! It's a smaller zoo but still cool! We had to drop 2 investigators last week because they weren't keeping commitments, and didn't really seem to care. It's so frustrating.... We drove up to Birmingham with my boy Mezz which was fun. Got to see the city again, it's been awhile. Today we woke up early, and went out to work on the deck some more. We added the railing to one side of it. Then we had to leave so there's still more to do. We had to leave because we had to head home to get our apt. Inspected. Fun, I know.. Then we went to blue bell afterward. Comin' up on 17 months! Thanks for all the support form everyone! Love y'all!!!
  -Elder John M. Gilbert

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

27 Feb, 6 Mar, 13 Mar 2017 - Weeks 70, 71, & 72

Good week, not a lot to talk about this week. The branch got a new implant (Brother Perry) to be the clerk. We lost another investigator this week....but hopefully he will come around. We had zone training this past week and zone conference this week. So lots of meetings. We went fishing! We found a lake like 5 min away from our house! My companion caught his first bass! I'm so proud of him! Thanks for all the support, sorry i don't have any exciting stories! We're just grindin'!
- Elder John M Gilbert 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

21 February 2017 - Week 69

Cool week! So the transfer ends on Wed. Elder Standifird and I are staying together for another one! We are both super excited! The highlight of last week was we built a deck. There is a sister in our branch that had a deck once upon a time, but not anymore. She wasn't even able to get up to her front door. So Elder Standifird and I learned how to build a deck this week. And to be completely honest, we are super proud of it!! It turned out to be 12' x 16' and works great! We were able to keep teaching our investigator. She's had a few hiccups recently but she is still awesome and still progressing! Thanks for the letters and support! It's crazy how fast time is starting to wind down. Almost to 8 months! Thank you to everyone. Your missionary- Elder John M. Gilbert

Monday, February 20, 2017

13 February 2017 - Week 68

Not a bad week. So nothing super exciting to write home about. We had another really good lesson with our investigator. She is definitely progressing. They took us out to eat at a really nice Italian restaurant! So that was cool. It was kinda funny and super ironic to teach the word of wisdom while stuffing our faces at an Italian restaurant... but it was still a really good lesson! I'm super excited for her. We had another death in the twig so we held another funeral. Because of that, family was in town, so there was an unusual amount of people at church. We ran out of the sacrament by one cup!! So annoying!! So we had to bless it again just for one cup! But its fine. V-Day is on Tuesday..... definitely not a fun one on the mission.... but it's whatever. Thanks for all the support from everyone! Love yall. -Elder John M. Gilbert

Saturday, February 11, 2017

6 February 2017 - Week 67

Awesome week. We were able to have  another lesson with Kristy. We taught them the 3rd lesson. She had just had tooth problems and we were able to give her a blessing. She asked me to say it and I don't remember what I said (I never do) but when I finished there were tears everywhere so I guess it was good. She said that her nausea went away immediately after the blessing. We had zone conference this past week which was pretty cool to be able to see everyone. But yeah, I got to break in the new camera this week which I'm super exited about it! I'll attach some pics to this and thanks for all the support from everyone! Talk you y'all next week. -Elder John M. Gilbert

Saturday, February 4, 2017

30 January 2017 - Week 66

Awesome week! There is one young women in our branch. So we usually go and help out every Wednesday for young women. We show up this past wed and nobody is there.... We decided to hang out for a few min to see if anyone shows up. So we kinda wait around and check up on some referrals we had, double checking their addresses. And someone randomly knocks on the door to the church. The man tells us that he is less active and he just recently got married about 2 months ago and his wife is not a member but in interested in taking the lessons. Turns out she's just waiting in the car, so we invite them in and give them a tour of the church. We continue with an almost 2 hour long restoration lesson. It was super awesome, super spiritual,  there were tears everywhere. We were able to meet up with them on Saturday as well and teach the Plan of Salvation. It was another really good lesson! I am super exited for this couple! Elder Standifird is the man! He is a great missionary and we are really figuring out how to teach really well together. I'm super exited for this upcoming week! Thank you for all that you do. -Elder John M. Gilbert

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

23 January 2017 - Week 65

Good week! 

So I had a weird but super spiritual experience this past week. So the branch here is super small and we are basically the only priesthood. So a member of the branch past away last week (I didn't get to meet him). The funeral was Saturday and it was the branch president and us that dressed him. One of the most spiritual experiences of my mission. I could literally feel him and feel his gratitude and for my service when I didn't even know him.

Then earlier today we went to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory! Which was super cool! There are only 2. One here in Sylacauga and one in Texas. It was awesome! They have a whole parlor upstairs and a huge scoop of ice cream is only 1 dollar and there's no tax lol so we might be stopping by there more often :P 
But yeah, those were the highlights of my week. Hope all is well :)
Your missionary, -Elder John M. Gilbert

17 January 2017 - Week 64

Apologies y'all! Elder Gilbert sent this last week and I forgot to post it...

Crazy week! So i am now in Sylacauga, AL its just south of Talladega where that huge race is! This town is very different from all my other areas. Its super old, it feels like it's been here forever! umm there is a Blue Bell Ice Cream factory here! So that's coo!! umm My companion is Elder Riley Standifird! He is the man. We are having fun out here in the middle of nowhere!!