Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! October 31, 2011

Boy this was quite the week, a lot of good stuff happened. First off though, I want to express my love to Astra Waller and her family. Astra was an amazing person and a hero of mine. This last week she past away after a 20 year battle with Cystic Fibrosis. Astra never let that get her down. I still remember the days of playing on the same soccer team with her for a couple years, hanging out in middle school and high school. She was a phenomenal dancer and never let her 42% lung capacity ever hold her back. Astra is gone but her Spirit will live on for a very long time, she was an inspirational person and will never be forgotten. As sad as it is to see her go, what a joy it is to know
that she is at rest and will be resurrected with a perfect body. What a comforting feeling it is to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation in which we will be able to see our family and friends after we pass on. Brothers and Sisters, we will all see Astra again when we all pass on. She is watching over each and everyone of us, just begging for us to be completely obedient so that we can live with her again. I testify that these things are true.

                                            Elder Garritson, Pakela, Elder Stelter

Saturday was an amazing day for us. Pakela, the 17 year old young man that we have been teaching was baptized!! His baptism was awesome, he had a lot of his friends there. His best friend that was baptized a couple months ago was able to baptize Pakela! He bore a powerful testimony after he got baptized and said he knew everything was gone and felt clean. On Sunday, he asked me to confirm him a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and give him the gift of the Holy Ghost. That was the first time I was able to do that, and it was an amazing blessing. Each and every baptism is a confirmation of the testimony I have. These wonderful converts give up so much more than I ever have, and it is so cool to see them make changes. I really look up to converts, because this is a complete life change for them. Every time I see them happier than they were before, they all have a special glow about them. Even tho at times it's hard, it's always worth it. I am grateful I was able to be a part of his wonderful conversion!

We also taught another girl that is from American Samoa. She lives with members in our ward so she came to church with them a couple times. She agreed to meet with missionaries and she was so grateful for us. It was cool to think that I am doing my job. She thanked us so many times for teaching her things that she did not know. She said that she knows this is true and she is going to be baptized this Saturday! It was quick, but that is how fast the Spirit can work if we are diligently seeking. It doesn't even have to be for those that are non-members, it can be for each and everyone of us. If we will stay close to the Lord through prayer, scripture study, and church attendance, and really are seeking for truth, we will be changed by the Spirit. It is the promise that our Heavenly Father gives us, he has to fulfill it. The mission is awesome!

I just want to say, I am getting worked by insanity! Man if any of you have ever done it, that is no walk in the park! Every morning when the alarm goes off at 6 AM, I don't want to get up. BUT... after the workout you feel so good. It's just the doing it part that sucks. I think my legs may fall off! Goodnight!

Crazy stuff upcoming this week, 12 new missionaries coming in, 11 going home. Hope all is going, Love you all!
Elder G OUT!

This is Astra's obituary.  We were able to go to her funeral for Jordan--she was an extraordinary young woman who will be missed by many.  She touched so many lives.

Astra Lauren Waller

(July 27, 1991 - October 22, 2011)

Our beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, and heroine, Astra Lauren Waller, age 20, passed away October 22nd, 2011 in South Jordan after a valiant twenty year battle with Cystic Fibrosis. Astra lived her life with great tenacity and courage. She was a great example to all those she touched.

Astra was born on July 27th, 1991, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Art and Jamie Waller. She adored acts of giving and receiving and loved dancing. She graduated from Bingham High School and was a student at the University of Utah in her third year. Astra was selected as one of 12 people across the nation to be placed on the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Calendar; she won the “Leaders of Tomorrow Award” for demonstrated leadership, citizenship, moral character, and outstanding academic achievement; She was a Three year member of the Bingham High School Minerettes drill team – during her tenure they had won both state and national championships and was a member of the Region 3 Dance Drill Team and her senior leadership position was Vice-President (all accomplished during this time with 42% lung capacity) Astra was featured in a South Valley Journal article, “Bingham High dancer forges ahead despite adversity.” She was a “Heroes of Hope” Living with CF nominee sponsored by Genentech, Inc. Finally she was selected as a recipient of the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s Cystic Fibrosis Scholarship Program.

Astra is survived by her mom, Jamie; her dad Art; brothers and sisters; Sara, Erin, and Alex; brother-in-laws; Tommy and Troy; nieces and nephews; Samantha, Parker, Hannah and Boston; aunts and uncles; Brad, Robin, Bill, Laurie, Leigh Ann, and Sharon; cousins; Markay, Oliver, Willie, and Brianne; grandmothers Marion and Barbara. Preceded in death by her grandfather Art and uncle David.
We wish to thank the many wonderful family members and friends who have given their love, time, and support to Astra over the years. We are grateful for your service to our daughter and our family.

October 25, 2011

Whats up, this week has been pretty crazy and really good. Not too
much happened as far as our area because we were off island for most
the week. We were over on Maui this week and wow was it good to be
there. I love that place. I was on exchanges over in Kihei for one of
the days and it was fun to see the places we were when we were over
there last May. I saw the hotel we stayed in, the outback we ate at,
some of the courses Ryan and I played at, amazing! That's a really
special place, I would die to serve over there even though it probably
wont happen. The elders over there are amazing. Young guns, but taught
me so much. Our mission is really young now, a lot of the older ones
have gone home and so it's kinda weird being the oldest. I never
noticed how much missionaries look up to you, but honestly it is like
the other way around for me. I see all these missionaries come out
reading the Book of Mormon 5 or 6 times, gone through Preach My Gospel
already and they are just solid. Some amazing people are in this
world, and our mission gets a lot of the greats. I see so many future
leaders of the church.

For us, we have a baptism this weekend on Saturday. I cannot wait,
this is for a 17 year old kid who is solid as heck. He will serve a
mission guaranteed, he will be a great man in the kingdom of God. His
name is Pakela and got introduced to the church going to a baptism of
one of his friends. So as we can conclude, take your friends to
baptisms, its solid.

 But I am just rambling on. All is well. We started transfer plan yesterday which I cannot believe, it is going by so quick. It's a good process, a long one but a very revelatory and learning time. I love it. I love you guys, the work is moving forward, and your prayers are much appreciated! Thanks for everything.

 Love ya!
Elder G.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Opportunities to do good!

Jordan emailed me today and asked that this video from Mormon Messages be put on his blog. He is sensitive to children who have had medical struggles, as he has had from the day he was born. I thank my dear friends, family, and ward who helped us during those difficult times! We, too, would have never made it without their help!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ALOOOOHA!!!! October 17, 2011

This week was the best week ever. The Jays got sealed on Friday and Elder Stelter and I were able to go and be a part of it! What a wonderful experience that was. I am so grateful that I was able to be a part of that because I know that doesn't happen very often. They are the most solid people in the world. They were so excited to go through and receive their eternal blessings, and they did so well. Amazing how that works, after the sealing they both gave me a big old hug and said "look what you started!" It was awesome to hear that, tears filled my eyes and I knew that nothing else in the world matters but the Gospel. We can do whatever in the world we want, but the most important thing in life is our family and the gospel. They have just started their forever family with forever happiness because of missionary work. The scriptures talk about how God will use the weak things of the world to bring forth his righteous purposes and that definitely rings true with missionary work! I mean, think about it, I was a 20 year old kid teaching a 75 year old man who knows the Bible like the back of his hand, but his heart was so open to the truth, and with the Spirit they entered into the first covenant of baptism and the final covenant of marriage in the Temple on Friday. I couldn't think of anything better that I could be doing or be a part of. I sat in the sealing room with a smile ear to ear because I knew that they are doing what the Lord wants them to. I now know what I want in my life, and that is the Gospel and the Temple. It's so true, I cannot deny it. I know that as clearly as the night is different from day. Friday October 14th will be a day I remember for a very long time and will be a day I will never forget. I love the Jay's so much, they changed my entire life and I thank them so much for being my second parents out here!

We had a couple lessons with the boy that is getting baptized on the 29th, he is solid as ever. Other than the Jays, I have never met anyone in my life so prepared to receive the Gospel. He just wanted to change his life, he came to a baptism and is now one of the smartest kids I know. He is going to make a super solid missionary. He has the strongest testimony, reads and prays everyday and loves the Gospel. I am shocked every time we teach him because it is like he is teaching me. It's been awesome seeing him come along so far.

We started doing insanity in the mornings and it is kicking my butt! Holy cats I don't know how many of you have done that but it is dang hard. My legs have been hurting for the past week straight, I have never jumped so much in my life! I cannot believe that I still can do it every morning. It's fun tho.

The mission is tight, we are looking good for 115 baptisms this month! We have over 50 with a date scheduled for the last weekend of October, it is going to be nuts. Satan is working super hard to stop things from progressing but with faith, prays and diligence everything is going to work out. I have never seen so much excitement in the mission for this goal that we have set. Hitting 115 this month is going to get us started off on a good path for the upcoming months of November and December and the year of January. Pray for the missionary work to progress, we had a meeting with Elder Whiting this week, the area Seventy for Hawaii. He talked about the harder Satan works, the harder we have to work. We have to be more diligent, more obedient, we can't just fill our calling we need to magnify our calling because Satan is at it full force ahead! We can't sit and putt around at the bottom of a hill and expect to get to the top. If we sit and mess around at the bottom, yes we will fulfill our calling, but we won't magnify it. To get to places we have never been, we must do things we have never done!

The work is moving forward brothers and sisters, the Gospel is true, God lives, Jesus is the Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth today. I love you all! Have a great week!

Love you all,

Elder G.

Monday, October 17, 2011

HELLOOOOOO​OHA!!! October 10, 2011

This week has been one of the most exciting weeks of my entire mission! On Thursday we were driving down the road and nothing was happening, no one was home, it was blazing hot, no one was on the streets to talk to, it was just one of those rough days. Well I am sitting in the car as E. Stelter is driving and I get a call from a random number. I answer and all I hear is "hey, we are getting sealed next Friday at 4!" Man it was Sister Jay, they are going through the temple to be sealed for all time and eternity!!! I cannot wait, I am so excited. They invited me to come so Friday is going to be one amazing day. We get to go be a part of their endowment session and then right after for the sealing. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a witness of this. I would have never imagined in a million years that someone I would teach would get sealed so quickly and I would be able to be a part of it while I am still on my mission. What an experience the mission is. It has strengthened my testimony more than I can even put into words. I love it!

We taught the young man that is getting baptized coming up on the 29th this Wednesday and it was a solid meeting! He is probably smarter than I am hahaha! He really knows so much and is way excited for baptism. I can't wait to see him progress, I was just thinking as we taught him that he will be a solid missionary, and I believe that is something he will be doing after he is baptized. Its nice to know that you are making a difference. But all is well out here, the mission is doing really well as far as our goal of 115 baptisms here in October. We have 116 scheduled for this month and have had 17 already, so it'll be big. These next 3 weekends are going to be huge so everyone is really excited. I love the work, I love the mission, I love you all! Have a great week!

Sorry it's so short, I don't have much to write but I am super excited for this week! It's going to be awesome going to the the temple with the Jay's!

Monday, October 3, 2011

ALOHA October 3, 2011

Boy what a good week last week. We got a lot of things accomplished and the best part was watching conference! Man conference is the best thing in the World, I cannot believe I never paid attention when I was younger. It seems like when people go on missions or grow up they seem to realize the importance of conference. Men of God are speaking to us, it's unreal. I would take watching conference over any TV show or movie any day, it was super enjoyable. I learned so much. A lot on missionary work which always hits home, a lot on trials and a lot on repentance. We were talking the other day about our favorites and it is just too hard to pin it down to one or two. I could watch and listen to any of them over and over. I thoroughly enjoyed Elder Christoffersen's about repentance and the power of the atonement. The 5 things he listed really was cool to hear. Elder Holland in Priesthood Session was phenomenal, but that's what you expect from him. You young men I sure hope you were listening to his and President Packer's talk. They gave some solid advice! I don't know how you couldn't listen to them. Mom & Dad, you better have been listening too, you're getting to that ripe old age of serving a mission as well hahaha! It's really cool how the church is helping to support the senior couples so they can serve a mission. Think about it, if this church was false, why would the church go through so much strife and cost and everything to send people out on missions? If this church was false, why would 14 million people listen for 10 hours to old men in white shirts and ties? There is no way this is not true. No one can honestly listen to these general authorities, apostles and the prophet and tell me this is all a hoax. To listen to men of that stature, so well accomplished in life talk about how Christ and His Atonement and how blessed their lives are, bearing sincere and solid testimony of Him, come on now, IT"S TRUE! I love it. My testimony was strengthened by each and every talk given. What a great weekend!

This week we had a great lesson with the 19 year old kid that we have been teaching. He is solid, he is a fire knife dancer and performs for tourists almost every night. Really good at it, I am super jealous of him. He was so stoked for conference so we will see on Wednesday what he thought. He is getting baptized on the 29th of this month so that will be a good day. He reads the Book of Mormon everyday and that is why his testimony is already so strong. Listen to Elder Callister's talk about the Book of Mormon,  he talked about why the Book of Mormon is true. Every single investigator that gets baptized is a living witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it really will bless your life more than you can imagine. The lady we were teaching has taken a break which was real disheartening but she will come around I know it.

On Thursday we were teaching this teenage girl that we tracted into. She is super cool, grew up believing in God and such but just has never really been active in any church that she has attended. She said she is looking for something new so Elder Street and Elder Mafi taught her a lesson once and then on Thursday was the first lesson we had with her. In light of conference, we obviously taught about prophets and the importance of conference. It was super cool and spiritual, we first taught about prophets in the past and their pattern and then we told about Joseph Smith and then said the Prophet today is Thomas S. Monson. She jumped a little and said "wait, there is a prophet on the earth today!?" Amazing the knowledge that we have of that and no one else does. She was excited to watch conference so hopefully everything went well with that.

Other than that things are well, we had ZLC today which was good, President gave us a powerful testimony. We have a lot of good stuff coming up, the mission is striving to hit 115 baptisms for this month of October and the mission is really loading up for the next 4 weeks, we will see what happens. Good stuff is in store. I love you! Thanks for everything you do, it means so much to me! God speed!

PS. Mom you were right, you should have MADE me play the piano when I was younger, I now regret it haha!