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