Monday, 30 December 2013

Week 11: Week 5 in the Field: We’ve been given this time on earth not as a test, but as a TEST RUN

Hello all!! 

Christmas was great and i loved seeing you all!! You all look SO GOOD! I’m convinced I have THE prettiest sisters and family EVER! Seriously, you all look so good!!! I loved seeing you and wished I could have had longer. But before you know it, we’ll be skyping again in May and maybe that time I’ll know enough German to try and impress you ;)

Since I just saw you, I don’t have much to update you on. So I wanted to share with you something cool that Sister Smith has talked a lot about with me the last couple weeks.

“What is “perfection”?”

(A lot of these things aren’t my own, original thoughts, but they’re amazing and have made me think)

So we all have a plaque. On our plaques, we all have different things that we have accomplished and things we will accomplish. What we all need to realize is that what is on my plaque isn’t what’s on Sister Smiths plaque. We all have different things to gain. 
  • We’ve been given this time on earth not as a test, but as a TEST RUN. 
Think about it: god gives us all these rules and commandments to keep us “safe”. But safe from what? Ourselves.
  • He created this earth as a time for us to test drive our bodies so that we would know how to use them more perfectly when we are reunited with our body after resurrection and in the eternities. 
  • We have commandments and rules to show us how to let our spirits be more in control of our bodies. They aren’t rules to restrict us, but rules to show us how to be more perfect- but what is perfection? Perfection is doing all that our Father in Heaven has planned for us. 
  • We have our plaques, and we are to learn what is on our plaques… and when we do that, that is when we are perfect. 
  • We don’t have to do these things without mistakes; that’s just not possible. But we do need to find all the things he’s asked us to do. That’s why Christ was perfect.. he did all that the Father asked of him. 
I think that’s beautiful- that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. But just find out all that is on my plaque, accomplish those things, and gain more knowledge about my spirit and myself. It’s all a gift, really. We have fasting so we can be more aware of our body. We have the word of wisdom so we don’t cloud the connection between body and spirit. It’s just really cool!! I love it. It makes me love wanting to take care of my body and study health and nutrition even more than before because it’s all very spiritual. I love it. It’s so cool to see and make connections like this. That’s why I love my companion- she makes me THINK. And it’s wonderful. 

I’ve learned a lot of really cool things so far. I wish I could share all of those things with you. I can after my mission… everyone hold on- you’re in for a lot of stories!

Mom, you asked what some of my goals are. Sister smith had me write down what I wanted to become and all the things I wanted to get/ be after my mission and in life in general. I thought I would share those things with you so you can see how I want to grow and you can watch the progress with me:

  • Outgoing
  • Someon who asks God because… why not?
  • I want to be 100% full of faith
  • Perfect German
  • Perfect grammar
  • Perfect accent
  • Selfless
  • To always be getting better
  • Talkative… and I want it to be easy and natural
  • I want the members to love me
  • Good relationships
  • Good healthy Habits
  • To be that Sister Gilmour in “That Dream” (I’ll need to tell you about that later)
  • I want new talents
  • I want passions
So there it is, mom! This is who I want Chloe to be! I hope I can become her!

The family looks amazing! I wish I could have been there to party with everyone and to tell them all I love them, but I wasn't. so pass on the message and enjoy all the time you have with them. Family is the most amazing thing I have in my life and I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! I am so happy we have the knowledge of eternal families and that I get to share that knowledge here in Germany!!

All my love,

Sister Gilmour xx

Monday, 23 December 2013

Week 10: Week 4 In The Field: Merry Christmas Eve - Eve


So I get to see you all in two days! Let's talk about how excited I am! Too excited!

Since I get to see you so soon, there's not a ton I'm too worried about telling you about cause I can do that on Wednesday! 

We love the markets :)
We're ready for anyone:)
I had a really amazing, redefining moment last night! I think I figured out how I want to be.. and how I want to become that.

We were sitting in our combined Sacrament meeting with the Germans and Americans and I just came to the most beautiful realization.... 

Everyone says that missions are for the Lord, and they are, but its also a gift to you from the Lord! Here I am, in Germany, becoming someone totally new, seeing amazing miracles every single day. And the whole time I'm just trying to become more Christlike, and He's just blessing me like crazy! And He's given me this time to completely be someone new. I don't think I'll be anyone like Chloe when I get home in 18 months. I don't even know who Chloe is.. or who Sister Gilmour is, either, for that matter. It's truly a beautiful thing.
Life is SO GOOD

I've made goals for things that I want to be when I get home. I want to be outgoing. I want to have perfect German, perfect, grammar, perfect ansprach, and I want an accent really badly. I want to have new habits, and I want to be passionate about something. I want to be a different person. The reason I want this is because I don't think I even knew who I want before my mission. So it's kind of like I'm just finding myself the first time. I don't even recognize myself when I look in the mirror. It's cool, but also very alarming.

From This

To This
Sister Smith has really taught me to ASK. Because why not?! The Lord has promised that if we ask, we shall receive. So I've asked. I've seen MIRACLES with asking the Lord for things on my mission; there's not doubt in my mind that He'll make me into something that I want, but also 100000X-times better than what I ever imagined. It's so beautiful!! It really is... I'm just floored almost every day by the miracles we see.

'Seeing' Miracles
We had another guy just literally walk up to us yesterday, say he remembers talking to us on a bahn, and he wants to talk about that book we had... WHAT IS THIS?! Sometimes I just have the biggest urge to sit on the ground and just repeatedly say "WHAT" because I'm always amazed.

I Know..We're Having Too Much Fun :):)
So Cute...Love This Place!!

I'm so excited to see everyone on Wednesday! It's going to be so so happy!! I love you all and look forward to seeing your beautiful faces!! 

Bis Mittwoch (until Wednesday),

Sister Gilmour


Monday, 16 December 2013

Week 9: Week 3 In The Field: Miracles Happen..MESS UP STUTTGART..Big Things!!

With Friends

Loving My Mission
Life is Good
Our Apartment

This week has been a week of miracles.. for sure. I am still in complete awe at how in control of everything god is. We see it on an hourly basis and our “Wundern” (Miracle) calendar is filled up.
I’m going to tell you about our day yesterday, because that was one of the biggest miracles we've seen so far this week:
So we have this big… thing… we’re working on. There's an organization here called Gospel Forum and Sister Smith has a lot of connections to this; a lot of VERY specific things. We don’t want to tell too many people because it sounds crazy. It really is a very crazy thing, but we both know there's something there and we are determined to figure it out. So we called President Miles to get his advice of this, but he thought we were pretty crazy. So the next person to call is the stake president, President Snyder. He is… AMAZING! Everything he said was perfect. At first, you could tell he thought we were crazy, but it was really cool to watch as he started to think and how his ideas about our presented problem changed; you could literally watch him making the changes in his mind. He gave a lot of amazing advice and he shared a lot of personal ideas about how missionary work is done here in Germany. The thing that stuck out to me the most is when he spoke about other organizations. Have you ever thought about why so many churches have a lot of the same, good things we believe? President presented the idea that maybe we couldn't do it all by ourselves, so there are other religions that still allow people to feel of the spirit, so that one day, when the savior comes again, they will accept the Gospel much easier because they know a lot of the truth already. Not saying that’s an excuse to believe whatever just because you’re having a spiritual experience, just that its good they want to come closer to Christ and have a spiritual experience. It was really neat and is the focus of my personal study right now.
He also told us that we've given him a lot to think about and that we need to be the ones to “mess up Stuttgart”!! so that’s our theme: MESS UP STUTTGART! Because things really need to change, and I think we’re doing what the Lord wants.
We have a less active, her non-member husband, and her less active friend who wants to become reactivated at church yesterday!! Whoo hoo!!!! (Background story) we were at an appointment the other night and Elisa, the women, started speaking to me about this woman from Brazil. I thought I understanding what she was saying o me, but I totally wasn’t. Turns out…. She has a friend from brazil who lives here in Germany and found her on face book, asked if she was Mormon, then told her she wants her 15 year old son to have the lessons and be baptized and that she wants to be reactivated… and she wants to meet with us. Okay… what?! Amazing.
We had an eating appointment with the elders and die Familie Brauer yesterday so that we could discuss our Familie Missions Plan. And guess what? They voiced to us their concerns about how previous missionaries were here and would only speak in English and wouldn’t try to get to know the members and they flirted with the elders. So obviously.. Sister Smith and I were not happy with that (Sisters have a bad rep in this ward. We’re slowly gaining more respect). So basically they told us everything they want in missionaries is EXACTLY what we are trying to do with them. It was awesome!! Then they invited us to Silvester (New Years Eve). We’re going to be out until 3am and we’re eating fondue until we throw up. So we’ve gained their respect…. WHAT’S UP SISTEEEERS!!
FOURTH: (they keep coming.. don’t even worry- this was ONLY yesterday…)
MARISA! She’s our Italian investigator and she speaks so little English and German, but we luckily have a lot of people in our ward that are superheroes and are translating everything for her. She said that she didn't know she was already Mormon in her heart.. . It was the cutest. She came with us to the stake Christmas concert… that was crazy amazing! The kids here don’t mess around- they were playing 15 minute Mozart pieces and they were 14 years old. Yeah. Don’t even worry. She’s just amazing. You would have to know her to fully understand.
So we’re going home after our eating appointment and we’re talking to the elders. But that isn’t good missionary work, so we go talk to this sweet old lady. She was so cute and we just made her night. She got on the Bahn and left. Then there was only one other person on the Gleis… so we went to talk to her. Turns out… SHE GOES TO GOSPEL FORUM AND HER DAD IS THE HEAD PREACHER FOR STUTTGART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
·        If you aren't freaking out... Maybe I didn't explain it well enough *
HE. IS. THE HEAD. PREACHER. FOR. STUTTGART. And we just met his daughter. You really have no idea how much we were just freaking out!!!! She was so so lovely, we got her number, and I think she might be the answer to all of our prayers!!!!
So basically… this week has been exhausting. I’ve knocked my first doors (yes, I didn’t knock one door until my third week on my mission), I started 3 conversations on the Bahn in one day (that was one of my goals.. and it happened on moms birthday… HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!), and we threw our hands up and said “we don’t know what to do” and he had 2 people in one day literally just straight up ask to meet with us; we didn’t even do anything. We were just being obedient.
Miracles happen people.. They really, truly do!!
Also. Missions heal you. I have had a lot of really deep conversations about how different I’ve become. Its like suddenly, everything that mattered before my mission, doesn’t matter anymore, and that is so beautiful. I’ve come to a lot of realizations about myself and the kind of missionary/person I want to be. I’m in this limbo stage of myself where I’m not Chloe anymore, but I haven’t figured out who Sister Gilmour is, yet, either. It’s really cool that I can stand beside myself and see the changes I’m making. I love that I’m losing myself and becoming the truest form of myself; that I’m so in tune with my spirit, which is the purest form of myself.
Sorry for the length… a lot happens in a week and I want you all to know about It! Just be grateful I haven’t recorded everything that’s happened this week… you wouldn’t enjoy it.
It’s been a rough week, but we’ve seen so many miracles and I don’t even care. The good things out weigh the bad things tenfold.
We had a lovely Zone Conference and we talked a lot about family Christmas traditions. I knew I loved my family, but I have never loved people more in my entire life! You are my life and the knowledge I have that I get to spend eternity with you gives me more happiness than anything on the plant. That’s all I need J thank you so much for being the amazing sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, nanas, and everyone else that you are! I appreciate the family unit more now that I’m so far away more than ever...I’m so grateful for all the things I’m learning here!!!
I love you all! I can’t wait to Skype!! I don’t know the times yet, but I will soon. I’ll let you know next week!
Mom, I hope your birthday was amazing. That exhibit sounds so cool! Bummer that I missed it! I sent a postcard- be looking for it. Your hair looks awesome- I have a babin’ mom and a really talented 'HAIRDRESSER' sister!! Way to go, Brook!!
Tchuss! Have a good week.. I know I will
So much love,

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Week 8: Week 2 In The Field: Doing Things Right; Daily Miracles

Wow! It’s been a wonderful week! Lots has happened!
I went on my first austausch! That’s when the Sister Training Leaders switch with the sisters in the zone and you cover their area with your comp and you with them in their area. I was with die Sister Jenks in Lahr.. it was a beautiful and quaint town! I learned a lot and I was happy it happened while I was so new. My comp got a lot out of it as well, and we got confirmation that they way we do missionary work is right and very effective. We've thought and thought, and prayed a lot about the way we do things and if it's the most effective or not.  But no, we aren't. we’re doing exactly what they want us to do. Of course, my comp has thought more about this than I have, since I've only been out 2 weeks, but I can tell that this is all happening like this so that, when its my turn to have a different comp, I will be all trained in the way Sister Smith does things. Its cool to see things turning out here. 
I've thought a lot about the kind of missionary I want to be. And sadly, I don’t have the answer, but I’m working on it. I’m getting little pieces of what and how I want to be daily, but there is still so much to learn and to become that I constantly feel like there's something missing; like I’m missing a huge thing that I should be seeing! Its so annoying! I know we’re on top of something really big, we just don’ know what yet.
We’re seeing so many miracles with the ward! Oh my gosh.. Its really incredible. We had an incredible Christmas party! I feels like they cut down half of Schwarzwald trees to decorate. The Germans KNOW Christmas…. Its really insane! We spent 8 hours decorating. It wasn't a disappointment when it was finished, that’s for sure!
We got two new investigators this week. We are working really well with Shana.  We got to go to her daughter’s piano recital on the American base. Boy was that weird.  I really like my small Europe. But it was cool to see a little slice of America for an hour or two. She’s an amazing person and I’m so glad we've got to become so close with her. Wow… talk about a miracle.
So much has happened and I've come to understand a lot, but sadly there just isn't the time to tell you all that I've come to know. But just know that I KNOW I’m here for a reason. I've got something to learn and its going to be hard, but its going to be great. If we sit and listen, we will receive the answers we spend so much time looking for. I know that life is hard, I know… I’m a missionary, but I also know that if I’m doing all that I need to be doing and I wake up tomorrow having no idea what to do, but a heart full of faith, I’ll go where I need to go. I really have no idea what I’m doing here. I still can’t speak the language!  But I’m just doing it… hoping it's what I need to be doing, knowing I’ll be blessed for it down the road. It's so comforting to know that someone is in charge of this… its so nice to know I can pray for comfort or for help at any time and that I’ll receive help. Really… this is all so incredible. I wish I could explain all the miracles I see daily. Just know that I’m happy, I’m loving it, it’s hard, and its cold ;) but it’s all good J
I love you all and I’ll speak with you in a few weeks!!!
Sister Gilmour xx

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Week 7: Happy, Happy, Happy - Stuttgart, Germany with Sister Smith from Orem, UT

It is so great here in Stuttgart! Everything is so so good! The people, the wards, my COMPANION!! She is so wonderful! She is a total answer to my prayers and she is so much like me. 
We work so so well together and I learn so much from her daily.  She is 100% obedient to everything and let me tell you… it is so refreshing. I love it. We are definitely being so blessed for it, too. We have had so many miracles come to us in the past few days and I know its through the diligence and obedience that we show to our Heavenly Father. It really is so amazing to see how there is a bigger picture behind all that we do.. I am so grateful for all the rules we have.
Oh yeah.. my companions name is Sister (Eve) Smith J J she really is so good. She and I are going to be really good friends- I can already tell. She’s 20 and she’s from Orem..

 GO UTAHNS! (Everyone here is from Utah. I know so many people its ridiculous).
So here are the way things have been… minus a lot because we’re really busy and always have somewhere to be and something to do. So I’ll give you the rundown of the majors:
I arrived in Munich on Wednesday after waiting for hours and hours for our plane. Turns out we were never actually booked on a flight. So that was bad. They almost sent us back to the MTC, but I think they knew none of us would actually go back. We got a flight, and then had to wait 5 more hours because it was delayed 2 hours- MEINE GUTE! It was a crazy day. We arrived 8 hours late in Munich, and then they took our things, and sent us on a bahn! We got to contact and guess what? It was the most incredible feeling. Sister Smith and I worked together with this lady that we asked to help us with our German. We ended up practicing our message with her and we read Heleman 10:5 (I think). She didn't quite understand it when we read it to her, but she read it again and the look she had in her eye after reading it… it was incredible. SHE GOT IT. You could SEE something change within her. It was amazing. We had to then get off…. And we didn’t even leave her with a card! WHAT WERE WE THINKING! We even took the Book of Mormon from her…. What?! I pray that she has a chance to run into missionaries again.
 So my first moments were so great.
We then got to the mission office! I actually went in this time!! (Hehe.. I’ve been there before). Everyone was so nice and we got ushered in to get oriented with everything. I got my packages: THANK YOU MOM!! I loved the “Greenie” idea! It was so cute! I accidentally opened the other one too, but then I realized it was for Christmas and closed it. It's now sitting in my flat with an open top. But there it will stay until December 25 J and I got Ali’s letter, too!! THANK YOU!! I gave the chocolate to a starving elder on our way to Stuttgart… he was leaving die Schweiz, so I think it helped calm his nerves a little. Chocolate always helps J
A lot has happened. Really a lot. We went straight to thanksgiving dinner with an American family from the American ward. They had three nonmembers there, one of them is an investigator… and she is AMAZING!!! Her name is Shana and she is soooo ready to be baptized! She just can’t seem to give up the social part of alcohol. We’re working on her. Her daughter, Olga, told us yesterday she wants to be baptized and Shana started crying because she was so proud of her. She’s really working towards a date. We’re meeting with her and her nonmember friend on Thursday. This friend is visiting from the states and really loved what we were doing here and agreed to come to church and to meet with us again. MIRACLES HAPPEN, PEOPLE!!
I’m all settled in and everything is so great. We live in a really NICE apartment… like way nice. It’s so cute and so homey J I love how Sister Smith is so organized… it’s so great. She’s a HUGE runner- like runs 100 miles a week. She’s insane. We run every morning and I love it J she doesn’t even care that I’m a health freak. She’s a gift from the heavens if I ever saw one. I love her SO MUCH!!!!! She’s always so happy and she’s the absolute cutest thing ever!
 Okay, I really like her and I think I’ve established that J
I saw the pics of the Ironman!! WAY TO GO DADDY!!!! I thought of you and the family every second I could free up some space in my head. I was so sad that I couldn’t be there with you to cheer you on, but you were in my fast and in my prayers- you always are. I am SO PROUD of you!!! I’m so lucky to be able to say my dad’s an IRONMAN!! Seriously dad, I love you so so much!!! I look up to you and you are definitely one of my heroes J I’ve come to realize just how special and important it is to have an eternal family- I get to be with you wonderful people until the end of time. I am so happy about that and I give it thought all the time (what time.. .there is none ;) ). Really- I love you all so much : ) I have the best family ever : )
Yesterday was my first day of German church. Meine gute…. I was asked to give the opening prayer….. WHAT?! I said I wasn't quite ready to embarrass myself but that I would next week. I was asked to bare my testimony… and I did. This ward is so loud, but once I got up there… no one made a sound.
Okay cool… you can’t listen to people with perfect German, but you’ll listen to someone who can’t speak anything correctly? Makes perfect sense.
It was a really amazing day. We saw so many miracles. We had the chance to meet with two families in the ward. The first, the Kieffers, we broke the fast with them. Talk about member missionary work- I was incredible how on board they are.
(By the way, that’s how we do missionary work here… 100% through the members. It is so efficient!! I love it J )
We broke the fast with them and then headed to another appointment. Die Familie Happel are also very good MM’s… so cool!! They fed us, too, but they fed us German dinner… so I ate apples and carrots and this cool fruit I’ve never seen before yesterday. Its my new favorite.
Long story short: yesterday is exactly what good missionary work looks like. Its so rewarding!!
So we get fed a lot here. Like… we have an eating appointment every day. And that’s really good because they always have nonmembers with them and we always get to teach. But I am determined not to gain weight, so I’ve got pretty good at no having to eat a lot. On Christmas and Christmas Eve, we have 3 appointments per day… WHAT. I know.. Crazy, huh??
Hmmm… what else??
I guess there’s a good chance that I could be transferred after 6 weeks instead of 12 because there are a lot of people “dying” (leaving to go home from their missions) and they need people to fill their places. But who knows. I don’t want to leave my companion that fast! Fingers crossed I don't!!
Its pretty cold here. Not overly bad, but two-jackets-worthy. I’ll be buying another one, I think.
The German is coming along. Not fast enough, but coming a lot faster now that I’m in Germany and always surrounded by it. I can’t wait until I can say whatever I want!!
I think that’s it! I love you all so so so much and I pray for you every time I pray… which is a lot J
All my love,
Sister Gilmour xx
Note, I have a new address:
Deidesheimerstrasse 2
Stuttgart, Germany

Monday, 25 November 2013

Week 6: The End is Nigh, Abshied England, hallo Deutschland

So i have no time at all... but i leave wednesday!!! 'll be waking up at 330am and arrving at the airport at 530! so it'll be a crazy night/morning. BUT I CANNOT WAIT TO GET THERE!! It is SOOOOO exciting!! WHOO HOO! This time is sweet. especially after the weeek that we've had here:
It was the toughest week. The toughest in 6 weeks probably.  We had to say goodbye to some great missionaries, and we also had one of the Elders' Father die... so SAD; all sorts of emotions were running wild; lots of tears this week. We had to say goodbye to one of our teachers too who we all miss very much. It was a week of goodbyes. 
We've had our testimony meeting- it was last night. it was so good to hear of everyone's last testimonies. i played a musical number and had all the sisters sing- i don't think there was a dry eye in the room. it was gorgeous.
Not too much is happening now that we're leaving.  You won't get to hear from me until a week from today, but i will try really hard to contact you from the airport and leave you a message. i'm so sorry i don't have time to answer everyone back this week but i do have time for letters, so i'll be sending a bunch off in the next day or two and then i'll be sending them from  DIE SCHWIEZ! can you believe it? i don't know ANY German (even though the German elders keep telling me my German is really good [terrible bluffers])... so contacting is going to be the scariest thing IN THE WORLD! for sure.
i love you all! i'll send a letter from the field before next week. but until then, know i'm traveling and starting the Lords work. I can't wait!!
Dad: wow!!! i was just telling the district this morning how skinny you've become and how i was hoping you could get back into that kilt! you BETTER be wearing that to church when you return from Cozumel! and i need pictures of you crossing the finish line with it on and your Scotland flag! such a happy day! yay!!

GOOD LUCK IN YOUR RACE, DAD! YOU'RE THE BEST EVER AND I THANK MY HEAVENLY FATHER FOR YOUR EXAMPLE EVERY SINGLE DAY! i love you, my family! keep safe and have a killer time in mexico! wish the racers good luck and tell them i'd love to be there with them and watching them, but i can't.. so this is the best they get! *cyber cow-bell ring* GOOD LUCK TIMP TRI CLUB RACERS!! (Coach Keena Racers? whichever it is now....):)
Sister Gilmour xx

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Week 5: Its Been Great But IT'S TIME. I think I can, I think I can.

Close! Its Guten Tag! no "h"

It's good to hear that everyone is doing well and that you've done so many fun things! I'm sure the sink looks great! can't wait to see it. How was catching fire? that's definitely on the top of my list of things to watch when i get home. we'll spend a few weeks straight watching movies.. okay? I was thinking about Rain the other day... can you get me his address? I'd love to write to him! (by the way... everyone who is reading this.. if you could write me letters, that'd be awesome. It's so much easier to write because i have a lot more time. :)) okay. 

So one week from today and i'll be in Munich. Thank heavens! 6 weeks is not a healthy amount of time to be in the MTC. its so great here, but here seems to be a new drama about every 2 days. Its been a test of faith and patience the last couple weeks. We're all very very anxious to get to the field i think. Actually, i know that's what it is.  we know we're so close and things aren't real here, so you start to drift mentally a little bit. I know, how horrible!! but i am trying to be the best missionary i can while I've STILL got 7 days. as far as travel info.. I don't have much.i know i'll be leaving about 5am on Wednesday morning and arriving at the mission office at 7:30-ish. There we will spend the whole day and we'll get the chance to place a book of mormon..  We'll find out our comps and who our trainers will be for the next 12 weeks. i could NOT be more EXCITED to know who i'll be with!!! I cannot wait to have a normal missionary experience! No more elder comps :(:) they've been great and will all do awesome!... just one sister and she'll be ALL mine! i can't wait!!!! 7 more days.. i think i can, i think i can....

With the calling thing, calling home, i don't think i can call you personally because you'll be in Mexico, unless you want to pay a bunch of money for long distance, which i don't think you do.   What i'll do is call the house and leave a long message for you for when you get home. sound good? I'll call Nana and talk to her.. it's the same thing, right?? no, but its the best we can do. I'll get to skype you in a month, anyway. oh! and have a happy thanksgiving in Mexico! I'll be spending mine in Germany, but i think we're celebrating it, so its better than nothing :)

Everything's very much the same here, nothing too new. I've got my new comps and they're pretty sweet and i like them a lot :) ones Welsh and the other is from Canada. we get on really well. I'm going to start packing today because i don't think i'll have a sufficient amount of time next week. also, i'm going to vacuum pack my clothes because one sister did it last time and she has the same amount of space i do and she got about 3X the amount of clothes i have in one bag. so i'll buy those today while i'm at the store..

I got a package from japan. Yes.. it’s from Alex  I knew he was sending me something for my birthday, but I was expecting a letter! But then brother mount came up to me with a Japanese package! I was so happy! I've been waiting for this for about three weeks now! In it there were 2 notebooks (one for recording words I don’t know in German and the other is for all the spiritual experiences and tender mercies I have), dried octopus (it smelled and tasted like fish food. 

But I did try it! It was gross), candy (that was very nice and the elder thoroughly enjoyed), a 5 page letter (that I thoroughly enjoyed) and three pressed and dried yellow flowers… isn't he the greatest? That was certainly the highlight of my week J

Honestly, not much is happening. I'm just counting down the hours until I get to go.
i'm sending home all the letters I've received here in the MTC. in it will be a letter to dad and a letter to mom. mom, be looking for a post card for your birthday!

I want you know i bawled like a baby in the temple cause i just freaked out about dad doing his Ironman in a few days. so dad, you'd better be careful or i'm coming home ;)  I know you've trained hard, you're ready and will do great! "You are an Ironman"

I'll try and get on a bit later and maybe we can chat. if not, you'll hear from me Tuesday in the late afternoon my time. you might be able to catch me while you're in mexico. have a fabulous time and get really tan! 

Be careful and tell the other racers from TImp Tri that they're in my prayers and to be safe! i wish i could be there to cheer everyone on!

i can't wait to let you all know where i'll be headed first :)

so much love,

Sister Gilmourxx

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Week 4: Thinking Switzerland-1st Area; Great Visits; Continuing to Learn; Love You All

Hallo mein Familie und Freunden! Wie geht's?

 With my awesome fellow missionaries, The Sisters and The Elders. They are so much fun.  We are working hard and having  a great time.


So I've had to start making a list about all the things I want to write to you about because I think back on what I write every week and realize I've missed a lot! So here it goes... if you can make it through a 37 minute missionary farewell talk, I'm sure you can do this ;)
1. Mom, how's your ACL doing? Is it going to be alright for Cozumel? What's the date you leave again? Just so I can be sure I'm fasting that you all make it safely and Dad races in safety...
2. Mom, can you copy a song off for me? It's "I know that my redeemer lives" and it's in my white piano music binder downstairs. I would really love it... we're all quite musical here and it would be nice to have something i can  play that I'm familiar with. thanks :)
3. THANK YOU to Jeff, Andrea, Jacob, and Eve for the lovely visit and the gift! We all shared the mango and the elders sure loved it! The picture is so sweet and it's now replaced the one i had in my scriptures. It was so nice to see Jeff in the MTC.. I'm so spoiled here! Thank you for everything!  I saw Agnes Duncanson again, she gave me a big hug, I love her.
4. I found out that there's a 90-95% chance that my first area with be die Schweitz (Switzerland). Because Elder Prows, Elder Omer, and I are the only non-Americans (dual citizenship:) I'm American), that means that they're going to need people to fill in the spaces of those leaving, so looks like I'm one of the lucky ones.... except I don't know Swiss. Not even a little bit. So it should be interesting!! I'm excited! Even if I don't go there, I'm excited to finally be out in the real mission field!!
5. I have a cyst on my wrist :( I found it the other day. one of the sisters is a nurse and i asked her what to do- she said smack it and pop it. So i had to beg the elders to do if for me. they wouldn't do it. but  finally i got elder weston to grab a hymn book and whack it. it was probably the funniest moment I've had in the MTC... i had tears run down my face. he didn't even hit me hard! so then he grabbed "die Bibel" and whacked me again. didn't really help :( so i still have an ugly bump protruding from my wrist. lovely, right?
6. We finally taught some good lessons. I just have a quick story about one:

We had prepared a lesson on faith for our investigator who just committed to baptism after only seeing us twice. when we came back, he had told us that he had read some anti-Mormon lit on the internet and didn't believe the book of mormon was true anymore. *they're always tellin us that we should be devastated when our investigators don;t keep commitments, and i never understood that until now. i. was. devastated.* when i finally caught on to what he was saying, i was angry... i was actually angry about it. after my comp got done saying something, i said a prayer in my heart that when i opened my mouth, i would be guided by the spirit and that what ever i said would be powerful. i opened my mouth, with tears in my voice and streaming down my face: i KNOW the book of mormon is true. I KNOW that joseph smith is a TRUE prophet. I KNOW these things. this IS true. I was crying and all i had said were those simple phrases, and the spirit that was in that room was like nothing i had ever felt before. our poor investigator was just stunned... he couldn't even close his mouth. i told him to go read it again and focus on the feeling he got and then to pray about it. and not just say he will, and then not do it- but to ACTUALLY do it and to NEVER read on the internet again because there are so many people out there without the spirit that want to tear it down. but spiritual conformation is SO much more important that physical evidence. it was a neat experience.

 7. we got the chance to take a break during our classes and went to the chorely war memorial. it was where the pageant took place. it was lovely and SO nice to get out and have fresh air! 

8. if you could google the story about "the birdcage and the preacher", read it, and then send it to me, that would be awesome! it is really so fantastic! you'll bawl.
9. one of the teachers here is from Glasgow and she knows Lawrence and Mary! she said she went to seminary with Clark! What a small world! Also, i guess dad served with one of the elders' auntie, Elder Gore. He just told me this morning! Such a small world. and sister Allen is in dad's home ward in Scotland-Glasgow so awesome! they'll love her- shes fantastic!
10. also, could you send me the missionary poem by elder whittle? please and thank you :)
11. so... we watch a lot of really good devotionals here. one pf the best I've seen in one given by president Holland. its called "feed my sheep". it is OUTSTANDING! i challenge all of you to go watch it. its a total spiritual slap in the face, but so good and we all need to hear it. One thing he says is: We (missionaries) are the Hope of Israel. Our investigators deserve practiced heart surgeons as missionaries, not someone with a Swiss=army knife that knows how to cut stuff open- we need to be practiced at what we do. our investigators deserve that.
12. we're only speaking German for the remaining 2 weeks.... my German better be outstanding cause this is HARD work. i don't have enough words to say what i want to. its annoying, but its already becoming so much easier to automatically speak it.
13. its about 6am, we're headed to the temple at 7:15 and then we're spending all day doing church history tours, so it'll be cool. I'll be on a bit later to check back and hopefully get a good chat in ... we did a church history tour with Bro Peter Fagg; Simon Fagg's older brother - your missionary trainer Dad:). Small world, again!!  I love England, I could live here.  i want to spend about a year traveling around europe being poor. you can do it for so cheap and there's no better time to do it than when I'm young. europe and travel are definitely in my cards in the next couple years, you can count on that.

Here's a stone placed in some local gardens commemorating early saints of the church.

This is me outside the home where Pres Hinckley lived when he had that letter from his dad telling him to go about the lord's work:).
I love you all! thank you so much for your love an support! i can feel the prayers :) thank you to all of you who helped me be where I'm at today- i wouldn't be half the girl i am today without your examples. i love you!
Mom and Dad, I can't wait to receive the packages.. I love you!!! I pray for you all about.... 17 times a day. Thank you for being the best family and best parents out there. i don't care what anyone says, IIIIIII have the best family :)
Bis sp├Ąter!
Sister Gilmour xx

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Week 3: New companions, New challenges, New experiences....what's New?:):)

Well, i still love it here in the MTC, it's so spiritual and its worth every minute.  So much happens in the mtc on a weekly basis, so here are a few points I've had in the last week
1. I've got new sisters/ companions!! yay!! 6 new sisters came in. my companions are sisters Steffenson and Maurer.   Steffenson is from Norway and is 22. Maurer is from french-speaking Switzerland, shes also 22. i love them! they're both blonde and it's so fun being a blonde companionship! 

They are so gorgeous and we have so much fun!! the other sisters are great too.

I'm 2-3 years younger than everyone here.  i'm the sister trainer leader, its my job to sort it out any issues and to lead them towards their goals. i'm learning to love people for who they are. the other two sisters are lovely. one's from Canada, and the other is from here. they've been a power companionship until just barely. they're great, though. i adore them. the sister from Brazil, sister Alipio, is the sweetest person you will ever meet. she has the biggest heart.

2. We've had AMAZING devotionals lately!! We have them all day Sunday and every Wednesday. i love that every time i hear a new talk, i learn so much. its crazy to see how much i learn. Elder Bednar is my new favorite speaker. i encourage you to go watch all of his MTC devotionals. if you can find them, you won't be disappointed. he's funny, but he always has amazing messages to deliver to us. i love him. so many answers to prayers.
3. I've made some goals. Help me live up to them:

1. OPEN YOUR MOUTH- talk to everyone and don't be afraid of the language
2. PRACTICE ALWAYS- i want to teach better in German than i do in English at the end of my mission
3. LOVE EVERYONE- sometimes companions are hard.. love them anyway!
4. BECOME A VESSEL- this relates to Bednars talk about true doctrine. go find it. its really good!!

How's Aunt J doing? I hope shes getting better. i fasted for her this last Sunday. she's in my prayers everyday. let her know i love her and i think of her always. love you, aunt j hold in there!
4. my German... ugh, its so hard. once i can get the sentence structure down I'll be fine. but that seems like it'll never happen. but i'm trying my best to do what i can. its coming and I've made huge progress in the last 3 weeks. i need to be much better by the end of my next 3 weeks, though. can you believe it?! half way done with the MTC!

Swiss vs German, German-It's hard:)  I want to serve in Switzerland so bad but the difference in language seems quite dramatic.
5. our investigators are a wide range from good-:(. some are great and i can speak and i'm comfortable and confident. others are so hard to understand and teach. we have one, Moritz, who is literally so awful. the teacher that plays him is really knowledgeable about the gospel, so he twists everything you say. its so hard because we could answer.. if we knew German. its really hard. love him anyway, right?? *i'm tryin*
6. the elders are still so great, but some get really distracted and it can get really annoying:), especially when we need to plan for investigators that are more difficult than others. but.. they're boys:). they'll learn. right? hope so!!
i'm sending home random testimonies that i write throughout the week.  i'm feeling the spirit! a lot! you'll get them when i feel i've got too many to keep :)
i love hearing about the family! it makes me so happy to hear you guys are still being devoted to the promises you made to the lord when i left. you are being blessed, and so am i. we've got to help each other out! i love you all and i'm so grateful for the home i grew up in. that's something I've noticed here.. not everyone, most everyone, isn't as fortunate as i have been. thank you for doing all that you've done and continue to do. thank you for your sacrifices, mom and dad. i am now just starting to see how much you've done for me and the blessings i'm receiving from the knowledge you've passed to me. i'll try and write the girls back, but probably in letter. it's just easier with the time i don't really have. it might be easier once i'm in the field. pray for me and my German.. it needs help.
i love you all so so so much! i'm so glad i get to spend eternity with the best family on earth! dad, keep up the good work.i'm so proud of you and i can't wait to hear about that one time you did a full ironman and how you pushed through the challenges of it ;) i'll try not to worry about you too much in a few weeks when i know you're racing ;)
so much love,

Sister Gilmour xxxxxx

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Week 2, Preston, My Birthday, Repetition and Great Comps

Meine Gute! How exhausting do you think it is to learn and teach the Gospel 24/7? Well let me assure you it's got me exhausted before I even wake up in the morning. It's crazy how tired I am. But I'm learning and i'm loving it! the german is coming along. not fast enough, but i have grown leaps and bounds since getting here. I can understand 75% of what is being said in my lessons and classes. I can also speak a little bit. I dont speak as much as i should because i'm really self conscious about it. i think i should be able to have a pretty good broken-german conversation by the time i leave in 4 weeks.

so much has happened! which is weird since all i really do is sit at a desk.

like i said, i'm the only sister in my whole zone. its difficult sometimes, but it's good most of the time. they are all such sweethearts and are always encouraging me and telling me to keep my head up. I've only had one melt down since getting here, and that was last Thursday, i think. i butchered my lesson so badly. i couldn't speak, the spirit wasn't there, and i was hating the language. and my companions. i broke down and couldn't keep from crying. the elders all offered to give me a blessing. it was the sweetest moment. they're like my older brothers. we kneel in prayer every night and we often take trips to the temple at the end of planning to go sing at the temple in the dark, rainy nights. we've had a few really touching testimony meetings together. last week we had a member of the 70 come speak to us. hes from Glasgow! go Scotland! but after that, we all ended up in tears and we got really close. we also had another moment like that on Sunday night. i really am coming to love and appreciate them all so so much! it#s going to be hard leaving them in 4 weeks. i'm very blessed to be in their presence.

my teachers are fantastic. one of them is from my aunts ward in frankfurt. so i've got a good friend here. its really nice :) and i've met more friends of the family at the temple, Sis Flinn from Nottingham - who met my parents on their missions 20+ years ago, and who also knows my nana and grandad from Scotland.

celebrating my bday in the MTC sure was a memory i wont forget! the first thing my sweet companion said to me when we woke up was "sister gilmour! come into my arms!" she is the best and i love her! she left me this morning.... :( :( i'll miss those sisters so much. but anyway! the day was so nice and it was full of lessons. so i was as happy as i could be learning German all day. at dinner, i was eating my dinner when i noticed it got way quiet. and then some elder jumped across a table and i looked up to see what the noise was and i hear "POTATO" and then everyone started singing! it was truly the most confusing moment, but so good! and then Sister Edwards came out with a cake... that had ME on it! it was a lovely surprise! Thanks ali and pete and sara for your services, cake and card! apparently they got told off, but i guess they felt sorry enough for me. i was glad for it :) one of the sisters also hand painted me a card and had all 22 of the missionaries sign it and write me a quick wish. it was so sweet :) thanks for the birthday wishes!

 I loved my slippers mom! i wear them all the time! and the socks were good.. i'm going to need them. i can already tell i'm going to freeze in Germany. grrrrrreat.

german is good, but i'm not super at it. one of my companions is pretty much fluent, so i use him as a vrutch a lot of the time. i try not to. i really do know quite a lot about the language and im not rubblish at it, its just intimidating. 

 theres so much repetition here. and the days are so so sooooo long. 6:15-9:30 at night. but we usually don't sleep until about 11. heres the average day:
615- wake up and shower
7 breakfast
730- personal study
830- language study on computers
930- comp study
1020 prep for exercise
1040 exercise
1130 shower
12 lunch
1240 more study
110 comp study
210 gospel study
310 possible investigator/ additional study
510 dinner
6 comp study/ investigators/ lessons
9 daily planning
930 prep for bed
1030 lights out
yeah.. its basically like that every day. the only day thats not is sundays and sunday is meetings all day. which is really nice. we usually have two really good devotionals and a good testimony meeting with the zone or district.
i've decided to keep my hair completely heat free, so i need to find a way to send home my blow dryer and straightener. itll free up a lot of space in my bag. ang i'll have beautiful, flowing hair by the time im home.
i miss you all, but i'm way too busy to think of you all day!! no joke. theres no time to be homesick. sometimes i have to remind myself to think about you :):):).
i'm sending all my love to everyone!!
Sister Gilmou xx