Monday, April 11, 2016

Restoration week!

This week was a roller coaster, full of ups and downs. To start it off
we had an epic pday which consisted first of us running a 5K (bleh)
then we had a zone activity at the church and we all played sports
including oompah, basketball, volleyball etc. But we were all to tired
from the 5K to keep it up all day. We woke up sore as can be and
unmotivated as ever, but we decided that we needed to go knock at a
nearby apartment complex. Of course knocking is one of the things that
doesn't reap success in the Virginia mission, but we decided that we
needed to do it. So we started knocking and we didn't get anyone who
was interested. After being turned away by 20 people we thought our
day was near over and we were going to try some potentials. But I
decided to jump over to another near by complex and knock some more.
The first door we knocked on was answered by Martina, a sweet heart
who was open and wanted to listen. We taught her the restoration and
gave her a Book of Mormon. We told her the significance of the Book of
Mormon and told her that if she started reading it she would be able
to get a different shift at work so she could spend more time with her
kids. She texted us on Thursday after reading the first chapter in
Nephi and said she got the shift she wanted! We were so happy for her
and told her that the blessings would keep flowing if she kept
reading. Another person we found was Melissa (near the same building
as Martina). She was one of the coolest ladies I've ever met. She is a
marine police officer and she works nights. We taught her the same
lesson as Melissa and promised bless is. She said she wanted to come
to church and learn more about it. She was religious when she was
younger but never stuck to it. She was looking for something else that
would stick with her and make her fell at peace.

The day after we had a zone conference. That is basically where three
zones get together for 5 hours and receive trainings from the
president and his AP's. It went slow and at first, then felt like the
day started to pick up. We won the cleanest car contest and got $10 at
Walmart! That was basically the entire day on Wednesday.

On Friday we had an interesting day, we started it off by doing some
service with Brother Traveller and after that he took us to Denny's.
We had a huge breakfast and soon after that, one of Elder Giddings
recent converts called and said he was going to take us out to lunch.
So we went to Peter Changs and had some of the best Chinese food I've
ever eaten. The members were such cool people! They live isolated in
Culpeper and love all of the missionaries. We enjoyed a lunch and went
out to contact after that. We worked the rest of the day and got to
teach this kid named Keenan. Keenan is a 10 year old who is one of the
smarted kids I've ever taught. We met him through his dad. He said he
was interested a while ago, so we came back and he introduced us to
his son. Keenan is enrolled in a Christian private school and has had
religion in his life ever since he could remember. Last time we saw
him (about a month ago) we gave him a Book of Mormon and he read half
of it! He knows that the Book of Mormon is another testament. We
invited him to be baptized and he accepted! He came to church with his
dad and we had a great day teaching him more about our church and its
workings. It was an awesome experience to see him progress. And his
dad is slowly coming around to it also. I love this kid and hope that
he will continue reading and keep gaining that witness.

Sunday afternoon was hard. We got a call from a sister in the ward who
wanted us to come over and visit her. She had been struggling with her
health for a couple weeks and hasn't been able to see us. She has a
disease that is slowly killing her. Unfortunately she admits that she
doesn't have much time left. And we stayed and talked to her about
spiritual strength. We told her that Heavenly Father is making her
strong and preparing her for something special in the kingdom of
heaven. We shared our message for about an hour and lifted her
spirits. It was amazing how you could see her demeanor change. Before
we left, she told us that she wanted to start going to church and
paying tithing. We asked her why in such a bad state of health she
would want to do that. She said that she had never been to the temple
and she wanted to get her 7 year old son sealed to her. I've never
seen so much sincerity in a statement in my entire life. It almost
made me cry. At the end we knelt and said a prayer to help her get
strength to come to church and make it happen. As heartbreaking as
that was it still is admirable to me her dedication. She has a
testimony so strong that she would crawl to the temple if she had to.
The gospel heals and brings new life, I've seen it first hand...

Those are my experiences this last week. After some slow weeks it
finally started to pick up again. I love this work and love that I
came out here. The mission is starting to change my perspective about
life and why it is important to live like Christ. The world is
changing. It's scary but I'm seeing it and don't like it. More and
more people are becoming lost and I want to try my hardest to bring
them back. This gospel is the light that this world needs and the
world needs it badly. Keep reading the word and living it day by day.
It's truly a gift for me to read out of it every day and continually
working as hard as I can to help share this light.

John 8:12 "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of
the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall
have the light of life."

I love all of you and your support. I hope all is well at home and
everyone is healthy!

Your favorite Elder~

- Elder Caleb Gibbons

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