Monday, January 26, 2015

Bring His Sheep to the Fold‏

Today we were super busy doing fun things for Pday. We went bowling in the morning, then went shopping, then played soccer and finally ended at the church building to play basketball and volleyball. It was great. :)
This week was truly amazing. We went on exchanges Monday night and all day Tuesday, had a revelatory Zone Conference on Wednesday, then had Erica's baptism on Saturday and her confirmation on Sunday! Oh boy, it was beautiful. I learned so much at each of these momentous occasions! I went to Salmon Creek with Sister Boatright for exchanges, and I learned so much about how to be efficient with my time, even if it's just 5-7 minutes that we have to spare. None of this dilly dallying! Zone Conference was amazing. Sister De Leon and I sang a song that we sort of made up last weekend: a mash up of "I Am a Child of God" and "Nearer My God to Thee." It turned out to be pretty good, I think. :) The Zone Conference was focused on Identity, Unity, and the Urgency of the work we are doing. It definitely pumped us up a lot! 
The best part of the week was Erica's baptism. She is such a choice daughter of God, and her baptism was truly incredible. I gave a nervous talk on Baptism and Sister Borchardt gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. The actual baptism went smoothly, and the way her face lit up when she came out of the water was priceless. :) Little sweet Riya was leading the music in her chair, so Sister De Leon had her go up to the front and lead the music with her. It was precious. When we talked to Erica at dinner afterwards, she said she felt like a weight had been lifted that she didn't even know was there. Like her blouse was a little too big in the shoulders now or something. :) I really liked that description. Her confirmation the next day was just as wonderful. Bishop confirmed her a member of the church and gave her the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and it was like we could feel it descend from Heaven into her body. It was very cool. 
All in all, this week was filled with miracles and happiness. I'm so grateful for the saving power of the Atonement, and for the love our Savior has for each of us. Attend a baptism sometime soon if you can! It really is the best feeling in the world. I love you!

Love Always, 

Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. Some pictures from the week! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Seeing the Light

Pretty sure this picture describes the title of this post quite accurately. It's interesting how bright any small amount of light can be if we have been stagnant in darkness. I'm not saying that I have been in the dark, but this week I had a very spiritual experience that flashed a little millisecond of a much brighter light directly into my eyes. It was quick, but it was very distinguishable, and it was enough. But before I tell you what it was, I have a couple of other things I want to share. :)

First of all, and probably most important, Erica is getting baptized this upcoming Saturday! Yay!!! She had her interview this weekend, and she is so excited. So are we, of course! I don't think I have ever met anyone who is more dedicated and genuine about their progression in the gospel so quickly than Erica. Lots of people progress, and eventually they are excited about it and looking forward to it, but Erica just had exact obedience and dedication right from the get-go! It's brilliant, and she sets such an example for me. I need to move forward with just as much excitement for the gospel as she has! Oh, how I love her. 

Something cool that happened this week started as we were visiting some of the auxiliaries of the Ward. We met with the primary president and taught her family briefly, and as we left we asked for referrals. She didn't know anyone, but she said her kids had a friend named Ezra who's family might be okay chatting. She told us she wasn't sure exactly which house was theirs though because the kids only ever see each other on the school bus. So we prayed with them and went on our way. We drove up the street a ways, and eventually pulled over so we could get out and walk back to help a middle aged couple pick up tree branches they had just sawed off of a tree in their front yard. They were SUPER hippie, and definitely not interested, but we taught them a little about the Restoration of the Gospel anyway. As we were walking back to our car, another car pulled in to the driveway we were parked by. I had the very loud and distinct prompting to TURN AROUND AND GO TALK TO THEM, so I did. As I turned around, Sister De Leon had turned and starting walking toward them already too (I'm grateful we are both in tune to the spirit and listening). The man's name was Marc, and he was SUPER nice. Turns out he used to be a pastor or something of the RLDS church, and he loves the Book of Mormon. :) We talked to him for a bit, then some neighbors came over and talked to us too (one was a musical theatre obsessed hippie, and the other used to be a manager for a bunch of famous 80's bands that I can't remember he names of), and eventually Marc's son got off the bus and was introduced to us as Ezra. Isn't that awesome?? The referral we had just received moments before was who we had bumped into. Also, Marc's wife happens to be an exercise nut who is islander (as is Sister De Leon). It's just too perfect. God doesn't do random. 

Okay, so back to seeing the light. We had a Zone Meeting this week that was just... Indescribable. I am learning that every time we have a meeting with other missionaries, I walk away feeling incredibly uplifted spiritually, and I get so much out of it every time, so really this is nothing new. However, the glimpse of happiness that I got this time was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. Towards the end of the meeting, I started to wander off in my own thoughts of the Savior, of missionary work, of a self-evaluation of how I am doing personally in the Lord's vineyard, etc. etc. when the most amazing thing happened. I was so touched by the spirit, that I saw for just a millisecond how hard I fought and how dedicated I was to the work of Salvation in the pre-mortal life. It was as if God was saying, "Okay Sister Guilott, you fought HARD and with no reservations in your pre-earth life for Christ's Gospel and for truth and righteousness, and if you want it bad enough, you can go forward with that same valiance while here on earth as a missionary. This is your potential, no go and achieve it." It was clear as day. I remembered for just a split second how much I wanted the truth to be brought to everyone, and I felt that same excitement and motivation to help it go forth that I felt in the pre-existence. God has showed me my potential, and now I am going to do everything I can to reach it. I am so pumped! And I am so grateful for everything God has given me in preparing me to do His work. Do everything you can to help Christ's Gospel to go forth! Everything you can! It will bring you more happiness than you can even comprehend. I love you! I'll talk to you next week!

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. More pictures. :)
"This is how they do the ring of fire here in Vancouver, Daddy.  I like your contraption better."
"Beautiful Vancouver Sunsets"
"No spanking zone!  Hehe..."
"The band manager guy gave us some healthy food, but we were afraid of it . . . haha!"
"Cutest little dog EVER!  His name was Gary!"
"Love them.  So much."
"Enjoying that tracking life!"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Full Steam Ahead!

Holy Cow. My mission is AMAZING!!! I just love seeing how inspired President Taylor is. Every single time we have transfers, I'm all upset at first, but within the first week of transfers I'm always like, "This ROCKS!!!" So yeah. I'm loving life right now because although I miss Sister Borchardt and the friendship we have, I am so excited about all the new aspects my new companion, Sister De Leon, has brought to the area. We are SO similar, so we work off of each other incredibly well. All of our lessons feel like conversations. We are not telling people, we are testifying. And we aren't teaching, we are facilitating learning. We ask questions that the people we teach are comfortable answering or struggling with until we help them find the answer, and since we are both confident teachers, we can divide and conquer. We are working right now on having daily splits with members of the Ward so we can double the amount of people we are able to see in a week. It's gonna be AWESOME! I am just so excited about this transfer.  

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to email today because we are going to have an indoor soccer tournament and then a football game at the indoor place against another zone, so we gotta get this done quick! But we did have quite a few miracles this week. I wish I had time for details, but one of my favorite miracles that happened was when a man named Brandon told us out of nowhere that he wants to be baptized! His girlfriend is a member of the Ward, but she doesn't really believe anything. At least, she puts off that she doesn't believe anything, but they come to church each Sunday for the third hour, so who really knows. She is full of all sorts of swear words and vulgarity every time we go over there, but she has two children! One of which is Brandon's. Anyway, we went over there and she was laughing saying Brandon wanted to become a Mormon, and we kind of giggled, knowing she was joking, but then Brandon spoke up and said quietly, "It's not a joke. I want to be a Mormon." Isn't that incredible?? We can't put him on date yet because they aren't married and they don't know if or when they are going to, but we are teaching him now! It's pretty much the sweetest thing ever. We had a very numerous amount of miracles this week, like teaching people in parking lots, helping prevent an investigator from committing suicide by reading the Book of Mormon with her, and helping an inactive member with her groceries and transportation, but I just don't have time to explain them all! Know that they were all wonderful and amazing, and things are just GREAT as of late (Haha I'm a poet and didn't even know it)! And they're just gonna keep getting better! 

I'm really sorry, but due to the incredulous amount of work we did, I only took one picture this week... Don't hate! I'll do better next week I promise! But this is my dear companion with me and our sweetest Riya. 
I simply cannot express to you how excited I am about the work that is happening in this area. Great things are happening, and more and more are on the brink of breaking through and being awesome! I am so grateful Heavenly Father told me to go on a mission and that He sent me here to Vancouver. I have never been happier, and I know that is because I am doing the work of salvation. The most important work in the history of ever. And I am so excited about it!!! I love you so much, and I hope you are able to feel of the excitement God has for His work, and for the urgency in which He needs it to get done. Have a wonderful week, and I will talk to you again in no time! 

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott 

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015: Striving to be Better

Lots of feelings this week. So many happy things happened, like opportunities to become anew with the motivation of a New Year, interviews with President Taylor, my favorite milkshake coming back to Burgerville (Chocolate Hazelnut. It's seriously to die for, but unfortunately doesn't help my New Years Resolutions), miraculous lessons with investigators and wonderful inspiration coming during testimony meeting at church. At the same time, some not so happy things have come too... We had a horrendous meal that was quite possibly the worst meal of my mission, and.... We got transfer letters. :( Nooooooooo!!!!! President had told us on my birthday that we were going to be staying together for Sister Borchardt's last transfer, and we were super excited! He then told us this week at interviews that he knows he needs to learn to hold his tongue because every time he tells us that transfers are going to go a certain way, God tells him later that it is not so. Haha. So he told us that Sister Borchardt is going to the Fisher's Landing Ward (with Sister Lammi) in the Vancouver East Stake, and I am receiving Sister De Leon (who is Sister Lammi's current companion). This transfer is going to be the biggest transfer in mission history because only 12 companionships out of 200 missionaries are staying together. The rest of us are being separated. I'm grateful I'm getting Sister De Leon because I already know I'll like her, but I am sad to be losing my dearest Sister Borchardt. I'm never happy about transfers though. I have loved every companion I've ever served with, so I am always kinda sad when transfer letters come. But I trust President because I know he only ever does things if God tells him to. So ultimately, it's God who decided things about this transfer. And I DEFINITELY trust Him. 
"I promise this milk shake is the best thing in the world.  So good!"
"I'm gonna miss this girl."
We had an AMAZING lesson this week with Analee. Surprised? Me neither. We had told her last time that we were going to read the Book of Mormon with her this time so she could ask questions and progress in her reading, so that's what we did. We went in there and started reading Alma 32, which is about faith. As we began reading, Cynthia came in with her Book of Mormon and said she would like to read with us too. Half an hour later, Kathy saw us and came in too! I opened a Book of Mormon to the page we were at, and she joined us too! It was wonderful! And it was EXACTLY the chapter that they needed that day. Each of us ended up crying and relating to the chapter in a different and personal way. It was a miracle lesson for sure. Kathy kept her Book of Mormon, and they are all excited to read more and learn more. I couldn't believe it. But at the same time, I could because miracles always happen when we teach there. :) 

That lesson was stellar, and then that night, we ate a rancid dinner... When we got  there, I saw vegetables on the stove and got all excited, but that wasn't what was served first... The mom brought over this HUGE pot and said, "I hope you like mushrooms!"  I love mushrooms, so I was actually rather excited. ...Until she served me  She used a ladle and scooped out three big scoops of this brown watery broth with white and brown things swimming around in it, then proceeded to pick 4 giant mushrooms out of the bottom of the pot and put them into my bowl.  The color and smell was wrong... And they were each the size of my fist.  I was terrified.  I couldn't cut them apart with my spoon no matter how much I sawed at it, so I finally just lifted a whole one to my mouth, said a prayer, and went for it.   It was the most disgusting thing I have every eaten.  It was rubbery, definitely not chewable, and each time I chewed, some juicy and swimming things would squirt out of it and into my mouth.  It was awful.  I looked at Sister Borchardt, and she was having just as difficult of a time getting them down as I was.  It was terribly awkward too, because no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't keep the hint of disgust off our faces.  We survived though!  They fed us some super yummy stir fry afterwards, and that made it all better. :) Hurray for that!

Enough stories. I want to share with you what I have learned this week. With the New Year, I am determined to achieve my Resolutions! So I made some pretty simple ones that I know I can accomplish. :) Everything about New Years implies that we are each going to do our best to become a "new person," and we are all given the chance to have a "new start" or a "clean slate." I am particularly excited about that, because that means I can do my absolute best to focus everything I have on the work. All of my resolutions are directed at missionary work and how I can personally improve and become a better missionary, and I know I can do it because it is the Lord's work, and they are righteous desires, so I know He will help me. Along with the New Year, our Bishop talked about his theme for the year yesterday in sacrament meeting when he bore his testimony. He said his theme for 2015 is the word "striving." We can't guarantee how this are going to go and how we are going to change, but we can always be striving to do better. We can strive to be kinder, strive to be more positive, strive to study the scriptures and pray more, etc. etc. God asks our best, and if we are striving to come closer to Him in all that we do, we are doing it right and He is proud of us. The only kind of failure is giving up. Not achieving our goals at exactly the level we set them is no big deal, as long as they remain our goals and we are continually striving to do better. As long as we are striving to come closer to our Savior, who is calling to us with open arms. 
Something else cool that goes along with all this is baptism. Yesterday, January 4th, was my 12 year baptism anniversary. 12 years ago, I was baptized and confirm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My sins were washed away and I was given a clean slate and a new start, along with one of the greatest gifts of all: the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I was given the third member of the Godhead to be with me always so that I could have help keeping my new slate clean. The spirit comforts me and keeps my focus on what is right. I am so grateful for the miracle of baptism and confirmation, and for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am grateful I was given the chance to become better and start anew, and for the ability to strive for Christlike perfection. I know that is in achievable here on earth, but that is why the word "striving" is so great! My Heavenly Father is merciful, my Savior is the way, and the Holy Ghost is how I am able to communicate with them. For this New Year, I am going to strive to be closer to my Savior, and strive to share His Gospel with everyone who will listen. I love my mission, I love the Lord, and I love 2015!!! Happy New Year!

Love Always,

Sister Nicole Guilott

P.S. More fun pictures from the week. :) It was a good one. 
"Our surrogate parents and wonderful people we live with, the Roniger's."