Monday, 30 March 2015

Week 77 in the Field: Week 22 in Zurich: An honorable release from the ward, many hugs and thanks:)

I guess it's time to start my email, right? 

I don't know what to write about any more. I don't remember the weeks. But I didn't forget my planner this week, so I can go back and look ;)

The week started with a glorious day. We watched all the Elders play football. We sat on the grass with the Luzern sisters and just talked. It was nice :)

Tuesday we had a way cool experience with Will. We were supposed to have a lesson before Insti, and he came early, so we were getting called like crazy. We finally got there and started to chat. We had planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but as we started talking, he was telling us all the benefits of green tea. I turned to Sister Smith and just said, too bad we don't drink that! Will was shocked! So we taught the WoW. He was a little skeptical and was like... you should ask God if green tea is really bad for you. We then responded that he should ask God for understanding for why He said no to certain things. It was an interesting lesson. Then we went into the class. Our GML took him while we were still talking to people. We showed up in the class and realized that we had no idea what it was about. So I asked the guy sitting behind us and he said DandC 89 and 93. I had to ask Sister Smith if I had heard that right... we did!!! Man! It was so, so perfect!! Guido Uchtdorf gave the lesson and he is always so smooth. The class explained everything we tried to tell him, and in a much better way. God works in cool ways :) 

Wednesday we had exchange. I worked with Sister Pentz here in Schwamendingen. She's a killer missionary. Literally. She always has such good answers to everything!! I learned a LOT from her. The exchange was really good for us both. I finally felt like I got to help someone again. Sometimes I feel like I go days without helping someone, and that is really what I thrive to do on my mission; help others. It was a refreshing, and meat- filled exchange (we ate a lot of meat at an investigators house). We also had a good lesson with a LA and did a lot of bus contacting. It was raining, so we didn't want to be on the streets. I gave a BoM to this girl and had really good conversations. We talked to this really arrogant man and it was a rough conversation. He kept saying that we are all entitled to believe whatever quatsch we want. Good thing Sister Pentz always has things under control :) 

Thursday. Eating appointment. Then we saw Maroussia. I love her and her family SO MUCH. She is the highlight of my week :) We then went and had FHE with Petra and Philip. They did the ST and it was amazing!! Love them. We played a game of Wizard and Sister Smith manage to spill her drink all over the floor, I spilled candle wax on the table, and then I dropped a card in the candle and burned it, all while playing this game. 
We still got a return appointment ;))

Friday. We went to Normas and cooked for her as a late birthday present :) Denise was also there. I love these women so much :) We always have a good time. Norma INSISTED that I needed to look nice for when I got off the plane, so she bought me new shoes :) She said my old ones show that I worked out, but that the new ones show that I was loved by those I served with :) It was such a lovely little surprise :) 

Saturday we practiced the song we sang in Sacrament meeting yesterday for the first time. We were supposed to sing as missionaries, but the Elders have talents in other things ;) So Irene just had the two of us sing :) We sang There is a Balm in Gilead. It is so gorgeous! Bishop was like... when are you coming back? You should sing with your sisters! Come visit us! We want to meet them! The ward loves me and they all want to meet you :) 

Sunday. My last Sacrament meeting in German. Last time hearing the prayers in German. Last German talks. :((((( Michi had his farewell talk and it was amazing. I got to stand up and Bishop gave me a honorable release from the ward and thanked me for my work. I got lots of hugs and "thank you"'s.  It was good :) We sang and didn't mess up and it sounded great! We got to talk with Will a bit afterwards and he said that he had really good, new news for us! He's been praying about the BoM and he said he received the answer that is it GOOD. We were happy :) He will be here with us this weekend for General Conference :) We then went to the Russo's and ate. They always cook really well :) It's Asparagus season now, and that's really big here, so we had a good amount of that + so much more :) We then did some contacting and FROZE. It is raining a lot and it's really windy. We decided to do some Sprach Studium before the Women's conference. I don't remember what was said in the conference, but I remember it was all about families :) 

I am soooo looking forward to this weekend! General Conference + Easter! It doesn't get better than that! Better than Christmas!

I'll leave you with this video to watch: Because He Lives

That's all I can muster this week. You'll hear from me next week for the last time. 

But for now, 

Sister Gilmour


Monday, 23 March 2015

Week 76 in the Field: Week 21 in Zurich: What is True Happiness? The Potty Dance - happiness and dance is not related:)

I left my planner sitting in my desk in the apartment. Anyone who served a mission knows how CRITICAL a planner is! It's my whole life! My head is a mess, so I have to write everything down so I don't forget everything. And... I left it home today. I'm so sorry if this email isn't as nice as usual. But I was able to write everything out on a sticky note I had, so at least I have some handle on what I want to share with you today :) 

I don't really know what happened this week. Everything fell out- again, but we somehow had things to do, found new people, and had good lessons. On Monday we went by on a friend of ours who has been sick just to make sure that she is still living and stuff. We knew that her neighbor spoke English, so, being suckers for the chance to speak English, decided to ring her door. She was very friendly and she let us in right away :) She is from India and is Jaen? It's a bit like Hinduism. She believes in Karma. We were able to speak a lot about the Holy Ghost and His roles and how we feel the Spirit. Because she doesn't believe in Christ, she didn't feel comfortable speaking a prayer, but she told us about how she wakes us every morning, closes her eyes, and gives herself a pep talk. That's her version of praying. I love people form India because they are all so spiritual. I am always able to have good talks about the Spirit and the role of Jesus Christ. 

We also had a GREAT lesson with our friend from Eritrea! She speaks good English, but scriptural English is really hard. But with the help of the Spirit, she is understanding. It is amazing meeting with this woman! She does such good studies between visits and she reads the pamphlets and she gets on-line on and it is just amazing. We had a really uplifting and amazing lesson with her. We heard all about her life in Eritrea and how she had to flee her country so that she could practice and believe in God. I am so grateful to live in a place that I am free to believe what I want and to worship how I feel is right for me. It is amazing. I love sitting with people in their homes, teaching about Christ, praying together, and building relationships. 

After a day of doing... lots of things that I don't remember because I don't have my planner with me, we headed to Emi's. We meet with Emi every other week. She is a member. This woman and the strength she shows even when her life is literally holding itself together with broken threads, is something to take to heart. She studies so well, and she cares for her amazing and ADORABLE son so well. She has the missionaries over, and she strives to not be a "Sunday Mormon". She is one of the most Christ-like woman I have met on my mission. As we were sitting together at the table after having eaten, we were talking about her studies and what she had been learning. She asked us how we studied the scriptures. She had been taught to read all of the little footnotes, but that she had recently stopped doing that cause is was taking her sooo long to read! Haha, we told her she doesn't have to read everything! I only read them if I want a better understanding of what's being said. I love her :)
She then shared her newest way if studying. Every night, before she prays and goes to bed, she writes down one thing that she learned that day that stuck out to her. She writes it on a note card, and then keeps them.
I LOVE THIS. I had been praying hard to know how to keep up my scripture study after the mission to make sure that I stay strong and continue to have these good habits, and as she was telling us about that, I was like, "Oh! I think that is my answer!". I have just started. I will keep every note card in a little box or something and keep them together according to the year. I love studies :) And I love answers to prayers :) 
Oh yeah, and I think we broke the Word of Wisdom this day. The members just DO NOT care about alcohol filled chocolate and cheese and jam. It's just... a thing here. We were offered a piece of chocolate, and I should have known better cause it was gold and shiny, and that usually means there's champagne in it. But I ate it, and it wasn't until I had swallowed it that I realized. We left the appointment and the first this Sister Smith said to me was, "I just ate Irish Rum! We're going to the Temple on Saturday and I just ate RUM!". Haha! We repented that night and just had a good laugh about. Wasn't the first time that's happened to me on my mission. Europe! Whoo hoo! ;)

My last temple day :) I was really hoping to see more people that I knew, but I didn't get to :( Oh well, I saw some and that was good enough :) I saw Shaylee Dunyon! I was walking out of the Mormon Shop to go wait for Anita to come meet us, and I hear, "Chloe?!". I was surprised :) She came to me and introduced herself as Brocks little sister and of course I knew who she was! It was so fun to see her!! She is so brave for coming to Switzerland without knowing ANYTHING and nannying. Man. It was nice to see a bit of home; a bit of my old life :) 
Then Anita came!!!!! I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I have met SUCH  amazing women on my mission!! It was so good just talking to her and being friends. I forget how much love I have for those I served with until I see them again, or I'm back in my old area. 
And then :) and then I saw SONJA!! She jumped on me from the side and I totally didn't see her until she had wrapped her arms around me :) :) I looooooove her!!!! We just hugged the whole 10 minutes that we got to see each other before I had to get on the train. She is doing soooo well and I am soo proud of her and her life and where she's going and the amazing callings she has and the amazing member that she is and for her testimony and her love and just that she is Sonja :) I am so, so excited for you to meet her!! It's amazing the love we have for those we bring the truth to. We both grew so much through meeting each other and i am so grateful for her :) 

The Temple. I love the Temple. I decided to do this session in English cause I really wanted to get the most out of it that I could, but it ended up being more foreign than familiar cause I've just done it in German for so long now. I really felt my exhaustion during that session. I'm excited to go again in Utah when I can be awake and not falling asleep. I had some amazing pondering and praying time in the Celestial Room, though. I really felt that my prayers were in line with God's will and my German was good ;) I was able to talk with Sister Smith about what we were thinking and what we had learned. I love the Temple and the Spirit that we feel when we are doing the work for the dead. We did Elder Huby's family names, which was even more fun :)  The Temple is a very special place and my hope is that we can all make it to that place to be sealed as eternal families and live with God again in the Celestial Kingdom :) We are all His heirs, we just have to decide to accept our own destiny. 

And then my personal favorite part of the day was as we were sitting in the Church waiting for Anita. We were talking with a woman about her life and her grand kids and stuff. She then asked how long we had been out. When I told her about my lack of time, she told me to really enjoy it. Before she left with her husband, she grabbed my hands and said the funniest thing and gave the best advice I've not heard in months! She said, "Stay clean and pure and don't do bad things with boys! Remember, 'No touch, no sex, we aren't married yet!"
From Sister Smiths letter home:):  The Potty Dance: We decided that we need to modify the bouncing, wiggling and hopping that we seem to always do on doorsteps with head-bobs and a rhythm so that people will think we're just dancing to music they can't hear instead of doing a potty-dance. Oh, and when we walk into our apartment Sister Gilmour is forced into walking like an old-woman, and I have perfected my Jack Sparrow walk. :) All in the name of not wetting ourselves. #SisterMissionaries
Sister Smith and I diiiiiiied laughing as soon as she was out of the building! I know it's true and I really need to listen to it, but I have NOT heard that before!! I was sooo funny!! My first Chastity lesson... check!

Family? Friends? Do you know how happy the Gospel of Jesus Christ makes us? Do you know how lucky we are to have the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ? To have the Book of Mormon? To know the reason for this earthly life and that there is so much more than just work, school, friends, and the normal stresses of everyday life? That we can be married as families for time and ALL eternity?? Do you realize this amazing gift that we have to know all these things? 
Do you know how much I love the Gospel? And that I know all of it is true? And that I have loved my mission? And that I love your support and hearing the good things happening in your lives? Do you know that I am happy? Although missions are hard, I know that I'll be able to go home and say that was the BEST thing I have ever done :) I did what the Lord wanted, and I made a lot of mistakes, but that's okay, because I used the Atonement, I tried my best to be better, and I converted myself. 

I challenge you all to read Alma 5:14-15. Go answer the questions that Alma asks, and make a plan to be better :) 

I love you :) 

Sister Gilmour

Monday, 16 March 2015

Week 75 in the Field: Week 20 in Zurich:This week was Really weird. Really strange.

Meine gute. Wo geht die Zeit? Ich meine, wirklich? Es ist Montag? Wieder? Nutze die Ziet so gut wie möglich. Es gibt nur wenig davon. 
My goodness. Where does the time go? I mean, really? Its Monday? Use the time as good as you can. There is only a little of it. 

Wo soll ich überhaupt anfangen? So viel ist passiert deise Woche. Obwohl wir fast keine Lektionen hatten. Schade. 
Where shall I begin? So much happened this week even though we had almost no discussions! Shame

This week was weird. Really strange. We have seen a huge drop in the work. Every single one of our appointments has fallen out. 16/22 days. It's hard not to be discouraged. And hard to keep finding things to do. I have never felt the amount of hours in a day like I have the last 4 weeks. Rough. But I'm learning a lot  :) 

On Tuesday we had Zone Training. It was quiet, but it went considerably well. Sister Smith talked about how through Christ, we can be cleansed from sin. We all sin. That is part of our life. It was actually expected of us. That's why God supplied us with the Saviour. We need to return to Him, but no unclean thing can live in the presence of God. Because He is merciful, He gave us the means to repent so we can enter His presence: the Atonement through the Saviour. The ultimate form of repentance is through baptism; it is a "new birth". 
We then posed the question, "What are some sins that we can think of that could be hard to overcome?". 
We had a big glass bowl, with a glass cup in the middle, filled half way with water. We then had a Tupperware full of chocolate powder. Every time they said a sin, we sprinkled a bit of chocolate in the cup.

The bowl- the world
The glass with water- us before we sin
Powder- sin
Pitcher of water- the Savior and His Atonement

We said so many things that we could do to keep us from returning to God, the water was black. Not an ounce of purity in that poor cup. 
Then the pitcher comes into play. 
As we use the Atonement and repent from sin, the Saviors grace replaces all sin. We poured the water into the chocolate-filled glass until all the powder had spilled out into the bowl and the water was clean again.
The Lord is ready and willing to replace our sins with His light, if we decide to apply His love and Atonement. 
When we repent, we are separated from the world, which is what this bowl and glass was now representing. 
We then showed a film, From "Gang Member" to Good Man ; It was so powerful! Watch it. I then I got to share my testimony of how the Atonement has personally carried me through my mission; that it keeps me going when I literally don't think I can. It was dead quiet. It's sometimes really hard for me to open up the purest part of who I am in front of so many people. I'm worried that they'll laugh at me or that they aren't feeling the same. But, I couldn't not say it. It's amazing being able to be in such situations so often on our missions and to share such beautiful moments. 

I then had my last meeting with the Stake President. Such a great man. I've been blessed to work with him as STL. 

Wednesday. Vorbei's. Fallen out appointments. Then a miracle! I am always being so humbled. I was being hard headed and not being worthy to have the Spirit with me. But we were still blessed. We were looking for an old friend, but were so lost for like.. hours. We then found the street, and we were looking for the number. We found it. We walked to the door right as a woman was taking her kids inside. We asked if she new the person we were looking for... it was her! We introduced ourselves, and I told her that we had had the feeling that we should come visit her. She said she didn't have much time, but she let us in :) We found out that she is the ex-girlfriend of a man in our ward. The story is more complicated, but let's keep it at that. She met with the missionaries a year and a half ago. She knew the church was true and the Book of Mormon, but because of problems with the ward, she wouldn't get baptized. When the elders at the time got transferred, they lost all contact. Until us! She is amazing. She wants to be baptized! We just have to figure out what to do about the ward.  The appointment we made up for two days later fell out, but it was just a big misunderstanding. That was nice to find out cause we were really sad after showing up to her house to find out that she wasn't there. It was really rough. I am so excited to work with her for these last couple weeks :) Tender mercies. 

THEN WE SAW MAROUSSIA!! She has had her baby!! Donovan! And is soooo precious! She is healthy and strong and walking, even though she had a C-Section. She is amazing. I love that woman and her family so, so much. I think we will be good friends my whole life :) Then more fallen out appointments! Whoo hoo!

Friday. MORE FALLEN OUT APPOINTMENTS. Literally. This isn't even funny. We are trying sooo hard not to be discouraged. We know there are people out there that are looking for more. But... we can't find them. This is the hardest round of "Where's Waldo" I've played thus far on my mission. 

Saturday. Wonderful appointment with Emi. We are there every other week. She is in such a hard situation and I pray so much that everything works out for her. I love her soooo much. We had a spontan Lektion with a LA... it was nice :) Another lesson fell out after that. Go figure. Then we had a baptism :) It was so, so nice. The Spirit was so strong and the Täufling was so prepared. I got to give him a Temple Tour while I was still in Zollikofen. He said he would never be baptized.... then 8 months  later... He got really wet ;) 

Then yesterday. Too good. Two friends at church. An RM who COULD NOT speak German. And when he did, it was super American. Tooooo good. We all had a good laugh that Sacrament meeting. Charlotte also had a talk because it was her 6 year anniversary of being baptized. She did wonderfully. We went to the Russos for lunch... and we always eat toooo much there. This time was no different. I thought I was going to throw up. And then we waited for Elder Barber to Skype and we had a really nice chat with Elder Rozan. Then we went to ANOTHER eating appointment. Literally still dying. I don't ever want to eat again. Never. Bishop and his family were also invited and they were appalled that I've never had a Kabap... so we are all going together. I wanted to cry just thinking about having to eat more. But I promised. Apparently this is a really big deal. I will be eating a Kabap at least once before I leave the mission. 

That's the week. Ups and downs. As always. 

We will be going to the Temple for the last time this weekend. Looking forward to it. 

I love you all! Have a lovely weekend! and Happy St. Patty's Day tomorrow!

Sister Gilmour

Monday, 9 March 2015

Week 74 in the Field: Week 19 in Zurich: It's Great To Be Alive!!! Life is Good!!!

Instead of trying to find some clever way to start out this email, I'll just tell you how my week went.

It was really rough :) But I'm still smiling! So that's good! 

Actually, only the first half wasn't so nice. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR APPOINTMENTS FELL OUT. Not one happened. We spent all day, every day, on the streets, knocking on doors, and we didn't end up finding anyone new. It's a refining moment, let me tell you; to have some of your best weeks of your mission and then to have everything completely fall apart. It's not so nice. 

We were just about done with everything. We were feeling really down. I kept asking myself what I was doing wrong? I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't a punishment. It's just how things go.

We went to Munich on Thursday- Friday for MLC. It was really nice. My last one. Really emotional. But that's just been me for the last couple of weeks. :)

I made a few new friends! That was actually quite sad cause I knew I wasn't going to see them again! I love the relationships I've built here. It's been such a loving time of my life. I've really learned what it means to love and to  feel love. 

As I was sitting in the Sunday session of Stake Conference, we sang the song "Sehet Ihr Völker". I think this was one of my favorite times of the conference. I was so overcome with the Spirit I could hardly sing. Heavenly Father really, really loves me. I was thinking about my time here; how I've been a good missionary, but I've also been completely imperfect. He loved me enough to call me to the work so I could have to experience of learning to become more like Him. I realized that my mission isn't anything more than a big gift from Heavenly Father. If He sent me here for anyone, it was for me. Yes, I helped people here, and I taught the Gospel, but, just like Elder Holland is always reminding us, we are to come home with at least one convert: OURSELVES. And.. I've done that. I am converted. I'm still gonna make mistakes in my life, and I'm going to stumble. But I've been converted. Even when I may only be holding on by a thread, I will still be converted. That is success. I don't care how many times someone tries to tell me that numbers play a part in success, cause I will never believe that. Numbers show how many people are progressing toward... CONVERSION. It is all about our conversion to the work. I'm not a huge number fan, can you tell? ;) (BG: Oh, Yea-wonder how she would've done with me as her zone leader:) It's a balance!)

The Saturday Adult session was also really great. Actually, it was just a little strange. I have never seen anything like it before. But... okay :) (BG:???) The lesson we had with Will after was the BEST. We had a joint teach, which is even a miracle that I am so happy about, cause I usually freeze up a little bit in lessons when there is a member there. But it was so good. We gave him a Triple Combo cause he really wanted to read Moses. We were a bit nervous about that, so we made it very clear how important the Book of Mormon is and what it means to accept Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God. He told us all about what the Book is about and about Josephs experience with the Angel in his room and... he ACTUALLY READ WHAT WE COMMITTED HIM TO. That was the best tender mercy the Lord could have ever given us. We had a really great, spiritual lesson and he pretty much bore testimony about how similar his story is to Joseph Smiths and that he has already been praying to know if this is the true church and if Joseph is a prophet and if he should be baptized. Talk about amazing! 

It's an amazing time to be a missionary. Yeah, this work is hard. There is a lot of pressure put on us and His servants, and even more being an STL and having to lead the Zone. But I wouldn't want it any other way. I can become so much more between now and when I leave. Elder Huby gave me a blessing on Tuesday, and he said something along the lines of how my last weeks are going to be hard. But that I have special gifts and talents that I still have to uncover while I'm here; that I still have so much to learn. It was a very comforting blessing. I am grateful for his friendship. 

I don't think this week is going to be particularly a walk in the park, either. But I am ready to do what the Lord wants me to do. And I'm going to do it positively and happily :) The best I can. 

We have Zone Training tomorrow. We are talking about how we can be cleansed from sin through Jesus Christ. It should be good. It will be my last one, so I have to give my "final (we call it death:)) testimony". I think it's a bit unfair. I still have a month:). I haven't learned everything yet! But I'm excited to share what I've learned with those that are there. I will express the love I have for my mission. 

Have a wonderful week!

Sister Gilmour

Elder Pingle and I. We came in together. 
Marei and I. She is in Zollikofen :) 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Week 73 in the Field: Week 18 in Zurich: The Lord has a Plan

I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the news that I recieved this week. :) Thank you, Thank you.

I'm just being tested to see how much I rely on the Lord. Lot's of decisions to be made. 

This week we did A LOT of contacting. Everything we planned fell out! Now that the transfer has started, we are done with the 12 week training program, which means and hour less of studies. I didn't realize it, but we really used that hour. Now that we don't have it, we're like, "What do we do with this extra hour?" Haha, good missionaries, huh? The hardest part to that is just that we don't live in our area, so we are always having to travel to even do good contacting for our area. So that's always really annoying. We literally spent all day Wednesday outside. Same with Thursday. And Tuesday was also filled with a lot of walking. Good practice.

Transfer Day was on Thursday and we have a lot of changes. Elder Huby is working in my district again. It's nice to have a good friend back. 

We only had a few lessons this week. That was a bit of a bummer. We had one of best weeks 2 weeks ago. Sometimes the pressures of being STL are a bit much. We are told to be the example area for our sisters
and our district are all really hard workers. That is really good! Sometimes we look a bit like the district from The District videos; we come together for a meeting, then have nothing to do with each other during the week. We're working on friendship while still being hard workers. It's been a challenge, I have to say. I have learned a lot of things I didn't think I would have to learn. 

The Elders had a baptism on Saturday. We had a friend there and a less active. I gave a talk about baptism. It was a sweet, and very small baptism. You could tell Freddy, the one getting baptized, was so nervous, but he was so happy! It was really nice. We were fasting, so I think that's why there were so many good little miracles :) 

Sunday was Fast and Testimony meeting. Will, the guy we set a soft baptismal date with, was there again. He will be there every Sunday from now on out. He's great :) He really enjoyed the meetings and always has amazing things to say. He really knows a lot and he has a wonderful relationship with God. We are looking forward to the future. 

I guess I just need to tell you all that God has a plan for us. I tell that to multiple people a day, and these things click first when we have to experience them first-hand. I am really relying on the Lord and on His plan and exercising a lot of faith and hope. Our lives are all a bit open and there's so much ahead of us. But instead of losing your head, just rely on His plan. Everything has a purpose, and everything we do is helping us reach our potential. 

When I said I wanted to tell that to you, I was really just giving myself a pep-talk. I'm really nervous. Good thing I'm still on a mission! 

This week we have MLC again. Last one. How strange. We will then be having Zone Training the week after, and I have to give my "dying testimony". It's a bit unfair that it's so early, cause I don't feel like I've learned everything I'm supposed to! Time goes really fast. Use it well! 

Have a really good week, everyone :) I hope everything works out the way that you hope and pray for. I love you with my whole heart :)
It's a beautiful day in Zurich:


Sister Gilmour