Friday, January 9, 2015

I've Got A Coff

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, we have had an interesting development occur within the last week! I have been transferred, and since being on my mission I have discovered that this is one of the most conflicting times of a mission. To start off with you have to say good bye to all these fantastic people that you have met, knowing that there is a very good chance you may never see them again. Then you have to pack... I don't like packing. And so basically you are stressed, depressed, but then you realize you are going to a new area, and so your nervous, but super excited.
And then your brain just implodes!
I've officially left the Penrith ward and I miss it already.
So here I am in my new area, it's only about a 6-7 Hour drive away from where I was before
6-7 hours.
I'm in the Whoop Whoop.
BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT! This area is absolutely gorgeous! I'm in the Coffs Harbour Branch with my new companion Elder Williams. We live about a 5 minute walk from that beach. So all day we get a fantastic breeze that comes right though our flat! I haven't had too much of a chance to meet many of the people yet, but they seem fantastic as well! My companion unfortunately is on his death bed at the moment with only one transfer left to go, but he's great as well. 
So as for this transfer "She'll be alright mate!"
The Zone I'm in is the biggest in the mission by far, but it only has 6 companionships in it. So it's a really tight knit Zone. Usually we only see each other once a month, but this month because of all the Christmas activities we will see each other almost every week, but I can't say I'm looking forward to driving down to Sydney every month for our Mission Leadership Conference meetings.
Love you all!
Elder Gibb

Joy In Penrith

Dear family and friends,
This week we helped a member move into our ward, and her name was Joy. What a great name, just hearing it will brighten up anyone's day! Plus she was just about the greatest kindest lady I've ever met. Aside from my mother of course!
Work out here in Penrith has been fantastic, we had a really cool miracle this week. There was a referral from some other missionaries that we had to go contact on a Friday night. We took one of our members and we were going in only knowing the man;s name, and that he belongs to the Orthodox faith. Lo and behold, it wasn't just him, but it was him and his wife, both were super keen. They said they aren't really ready to convert to anything, but they would love to have all the missionary lessons! It was super good, plus they gave us Krispy Kreme donuts. So that was good too.
We have transfers coming up this week, and it's looking like anything could happen. Considering we only had a couple missionaries change in the zone last transfer, it'll probably be a pretty big one for Penrith!
We've had someone at church each week this month, whether it was a less-active or investigator and so it's been good to see the ward getting more excited about missionary work! I still think it is incredible to see how much just seeing someone as they could become will help them change and become better than they were before!
Love you all Heaps!
Elder Gibb

The Furnace

Dear family and friends,
Recently our area has been referred to as the oven by some of our members. They've been trying to get us "excited" for the summer heat. However, the information they have provided was incorrect, because last Friday it got up to 41 degrees (105 F).
I felt my face melting off
It was pretty awesome! I lathered up in my scum-screen, and got to work. Most people were just being lazy in the shade so it actually made for a great day to go out finding. They couldn't run unless they wanted to get into the sun!
The work has been going really good here. It's progressing slower than we would like sometimes, but it is progressing! We're starting to see a lot more miracles and blessings which are always enough to keep us pressing forward!
Love you all!
Elder Gibb

The Fall(s)

Dear Family and Friends -
Oh what a fantastic week this has been!  It started off good and ended even better. Now we are here ready for another great week to get started!
Last p-day we finally got to go up to the Blue Mountains and went on a bush-walk. It was amazing! The waterfalls were cool, the formation of the mountains was sweet, and the air was fresh and smelled slightly like fire (one of my favorite smells), from our most recent bush-fire. It was wonderful!
My favorite part of the week was our District Training Meeting last Wednesday. President Howes came down to do a special training with our district and it was SMASH. It was so fun to see him demonstrate and role-play with his wife. They are both so fun to be around and always put smiles on our faces! We have a lot to learn from their example, they're pretty cool.
We've been really focusing on the Book of Mormon .ately and it really made me realize how much I really do love that book. I'm so grateful that I have time set aside each day to read it, and I feel like my understanding is still very minimal, but that's good, because I just learn more each time I read it!
We are seeing a lot of miracle from the area wide fast this month. We've had two less-active members come to church now for the first time in, well, a long time! The ward is getting excited, I'm getting more excited, and I love it!
Love you all heaps! Have a great week!
Elder Gibb

Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear

Dear family and friends -
I've always had faith that "perfect love, casteth out fear", but this week that faith became a sure knowledge. One of the less-active women we had been working with has been so scared to come to church because she has been anti-ed. She didn't want to come to church because she was scared about what would be going through her mind. She misses it so much, she knew it was the best time in her life, but the doubts she had held her hostage. It was so painful to see this women suffer. Only through the consistent effort of the ward over months and years has she come to know we truly love her.  Her family has abandoned her, but the ward hasn't and finally this process paid off last week! She came to church, and asked to take the missionary lessons. She was scared for each class, but the relief society just put their arms around her and brought her back into the fold! Miracles!
We saw so many other miracles this week. We have been working with so many less active members it's been crazy. We realized this week what the common denominator is with all of them, they haven't had a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thought this was really interesting because at some point they all had a testimony of the Book of Mormon, the prophet, this principle or that commandment, but they never utilized it to grow closer to their Savior. It really made me rethink the way I teach and learn. Everything we do in Church needs to draw us to Christ. Having all those testimonies is great, but we need the foundation it talks about in Helaman 5:12.
Australia is also starting to warm up HEAPS!  We had a crazy storm on Friday. Literally the sky was blue, we got on the bus and10 minutes later when we got off, the sky was black. 30 seconds later the rain was coming down so hard, and the wind was blowing so strong we were standing under the bus shelter and it was doing absolutely nothing.
So if you had been up in Cranebrook at that time, you would have seen two Latter day saint missionaries, taking cover.
In a vodka shop,
Anyway, everything is wonderful here!
Love you all HEAPS!
Elder Gibb

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New 'Tude

Dear Family and Friends -
One of my favorite quotes goes along the lines of "treat a man as he could be, and he will become" Something I have seen come true this week, many a times.
As a missionary we find people all the time that have left the church, or stopped investigating for one reason or another. And when we find them and we start to talk to the people who knew them, a common denominator is that they say, "oh I miss them, BUT..." or "they are great, BUT..." And I found that when the members, or missionaries have this attitude that people are just lost, or weird, or mean - the people will become as such. Where as if we treat him/her like a child of God, which they are, they will improve and become amazing!
"Attitude determines altitude"
We had an incredible week this week! We had meetings nearly everyday, so my brain is slammed with so much revelation it could explode! We also had HEAPS of service opportunities, so it was pretty exhausting but way fun! Our zone seems like it is going to be really good this transfer, everyone is already getting along well, and it's gonna be fun!
The members were awesome this week and this ward is ready for some miracles! We have a big area fast coming up for the hastening of the work so I'm excited to see what's in store!
Love you all Heaps!
Elder Gibb

It's Gonna Be Big

Dear family and friends -
What an awesome week! We had a huge achievement this week, we did something we've never done before in the mission! We had a conference call!!! Ok so this really isn't that big of a deal, but it's the first time since Elder Nelson came that President Howes has spoken to all of us at the same time. It was pretty cool, lots of exciting stuff is happening, it's gonna be a spectacular transfer!
So not much changed this transfer! I still get to stay with Elder Cecilio. However I'm a bit bummed because Elder Watts got transferred, however I really love my other Zone leaders so it should still be good!
Elder Cecilio and I have made a goal to make this transfer memorable, so we hope to do a lot more things that are "picture worthy". So hold me to it, I should be starting to send you all more pictures! Hopefully it will start off with the Temple tomorrow and then a service project up in the mountains on Friday!
We had Stake Conference this week, and it was pretty smash, it was all about missionary work, so I think the stake is going to start growing soon!
I love you all!
Have a great week!
Elder Gibb

One More Week

Dear Family and Friends -
What an incredible past couple of weeks this has been! Elder Cecilio and I decided that we needed to find new investigators to teach since there hadn't been a new investigator for at least 4 months. It was time to change that, so a few weeks ago we studied chapter nine of Preach my Gospel. We took the scriptures one by one and up on our white board we listed every requirement or promise that we need to fulfill here on our mission that connects to finding.  Then on the other side of the board we put the promised blessings, and we put Heavenly Father and ourselves to the test. Each day we reviewed what we needed to do and at night talked about what we did or didn't do and looked for the blessing. Not to our surprise we now have another 10 investigators in our pool! We saw how each of our acts were guided and each blessing was fulfilled individually! It was pretty powerful
At one home where we were contacting a potential investigator we invited him to church early in the lesson. He turned us down, but unwilling to give up we continued to share the message of the restoration. As we continued we asked some question about prophets, and what that would mean to him and he responded "yea, what time is your church at..." He then explained why he hadn't been going to his church and that he wants to get back into church.

Needless to say the lesson we shared went in one ear and out the other, but I realized our lessons aren't for the doctrine. It's important, but it invites the spirit, and the spirit will do the work for us if we are willing to allow it in the lesson. It was proof to me that what I say has little to do with our success, its more about what and who they are listening to.
Today is going to be super exciting we are going up to the Blue Mountains! BUSH WALKING (a.k.a. Hiking)!!! I've wanted to do this since I've been in this zone, so I'm pretty excited!
Also transfers are this week!
I love you all!
-Elder Gibb
P.S. Conference was smash! I would talk about it, but you should just watch it for yourself. My favorites were probably.... yea all of them! (but Elder Bednar's was about missionary work, so he wins!)


Dear family and friends -
Well I've been in and out of the hospital this week, because a couple of our ward members/ investigators have been admitted recently, and it was a really cool experience. Our investigators are there because their newborn has been struggling and they aren't really sure what is going on. We offered to give the baby a blessing, they gladly accepted, we explained what it all entailed and that it was all based on faith in Jesus Christ.
I have never felt the spirit more fully, or seen two people with as much faith as this young couple.  It was astounding. 
It made me think. So often as members of the church, or non-members, we are scared to ask for miracles. We don't want to do it because what if it goes wrong and our faith is shattered. What I realized though, is that when Christ was on the Earth that was all he did, He performed miracles.  Things people thought they knew would be impossible! Now of course we can't change God's will, nor should we expect to. But why not show a bit more faith, and pray for miracles? Heavenly Father and Christ want to bless us in all those ways, and if it doesn't work out, if it doesn't go the way you planned it, don't assume it's because you didn't have enough faith. Feel content that you trusted in the Lord's judgment, and have peace that what happens is what is or was supposed to happen.
Then of course the Sunday school lesson we were supposed to teach was on faith, so it's been on my mind.
We had a miracle filled week, and we are finally starting to find people to teach! 
Love you all HEAPS!
Elder Gibb