Thursday, June 25, 2015

HE'S HOME!!!!

THE AIRPORT!

Today was an absolutely incredible day for the Gale family!  It started with us praying and hoping all went well for his flight.  While we were at swimming lessons early in the morning, my phone rang with a number I didn't recognize.  It was Elder Gale!  He was on his layover in Atlanta, Georgia, and a sweet lady who was a member of the LDS Church saw him and offered her cell phone to him!  Such a small kindness on her part, but it was hugely powerful and exciting for us!  She and I even became Facebook friends from it, and have stayed in touch.  A new friend from kind, tender mercies!

Then as he was boarding his plane, he ran into Brother Rudy Garcia from our stake!  Rudy had a first class seat, and he was so kind and generous and switched seats with Carson so that he could get off the plane first!  Carson was in heaven.

On our end of things, we got everything ready at home, picked up Taylor Gibson and made it to the airport about 30 minutes before his flight was scheduled to land.  We picked up Grammie at the other terminal and then Paul dropped us off for Delta Airlines and went to park the car.  We got to his gate and decided that we would go to the other end of the gate area where we could look through the windows and see him come out of the jet bridge.  Then we would be able to follow him through the glass back to the security exit.  Josh didn't want to do this, so he stayed near the exit and the rest of us went to watch the door to his gate--the time was about 15 minutes prior to landing.  Perfect timing, or so we thought!!

As we were looking through the windows anxiously awaiting his arrival, I heard loud footsteps coming up from behind me.  I turned around to find none other than Elder Carson Gale standing right in front of me!!!!  I could hardly believe it!  I was so excited, but at the same time perplexed as to how he was already off the plane and frustrated that we didn't have his banner out and ready!!  After a few seconds of shock, I forgot all those other things and just hugged and hugged my boy!!!!  It was amazing.

Obviously his plane had landed about 20-30 minutes early, and since he was sitting in first class, he was the first person off the plane!  He came out of security to see no one there!!  After a few minutes of looking around, he noticed a long haired, tall dude who looked similar to his little brother Josh!  Sure enough, it was him, and luckily Carson didn't have to come off the plane to no one waiting for him!  Josh brought him down to where we were to surprise all of us--and what a surprise it was!

After about 10 minutes Paul showed up from parking the car, thinking he would be in time for the big arrival.  Imagine his surprise at seeing Elder Gale already among us!  Hugs, laughs, tears, pictures, stories, and smiles a plenty happened for a quite a while!  Then we drove him home to begin our day of a family dinner (First meal?  Fettuccine Alfredo, salad, and homemade breadsticks, of course!), him getting released, and enjoying every single minute of being with him again.  

What a magical day!!












My boy is home....
I can't stop hugging him!! 



5 of the 6 together again--missing Austin desperately!!


BFF's reunited once again!!!

Showing us his day planner.
These are some well-loved and worn shoes!!

The worn luggage...

A few more hours with the name tag!

Welcome Home!!


COMING HOME!
Mission Accomplished!! 

He loved the carpet after not feeling it for 2 years!

His first meal...fettuccine and breadsticks, of course!!

GOODBYE ELDER GALE, HELLO CARSON!

President Call released him--no more name tag!

THE OPEN HOUSE!


Telling the stories!




The Jensen's came from Wichita!



Big Josh and Little Josh Jones!

So many great friends came to support him!

Ship & Austin--1 more year until their reunion!!



THE TEMPLE!

Carson's first time to the temple in 2 years!  We did baptisms first, then a session.  It was wonderful!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MY LAST TESTIMONY...

Dear Family...

Last week I was unable to write an actual email and the same thing will happen this week. I want to leave my last email as my testimony of my mission. I can't express everything I learned, felt, and changed during my entire mission in these few sentences, but I can say this: Jesus Christ is our Eternal Lord and Jehovah. It is for Him that I am here. Because of Him, we have a restored church on the earth. Because of Him, we can live eternally with our families. Because of Him, we will resurrect and we can be exalted to be like Him. I feel so privileged that I could represent Him during these 2 years. It's such a powerful calling for such a weak soul like myself. But whom the Lord calls He qualifies. I felt the power of the grace of Christ pushing me on in the difficult times. It is sweet and powerful. I know that this Church is true and perfect! 

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

AREAS, COMPANIONS, & CALLINGS!


Aguas Lindas, Entrocamento, Brazil
MAY 12, 2015 -June 23, 2015
Elder Oliveira (from Cabo Verde, Africa)
TRAINER

Icoaraci, Tenone, Brazil
FEBRUARY 25, 2015 - MAY 12, 2015
Elder Marler (from Hawaii, USA)
ZONE LEADER

Macapa, Amapa, Brazil
DECEMBER 12, 2014 - FEBRUARY 25, 2015
Elder Prado (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)
ZONE LEADER

Macapa, Amapa Brazil
OCTOBER 22, 2014 - DECEMBER 12, 2014
Elder Ramos (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)
ZONE LEADER

Macapa, Amapa, Brazil
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 - OCTOBER 22, 2014
Elder Rolando (from Curitba, Paraná, Brazil)
ZONE LEADER

Macapa, Amapa, Brazil
AUGUST 5, 2014 - SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
Elder Malosso (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)
ZONE LEADER

Ananindeua, Entrocamento, Para, Brazil
JUNE 16, 2014 - AUGUST 5, 2014
Elder Rolando (from Curitba, Paraná, Brazil)
ZONE LEADER

Capanema, Castanhal, Para, Brazi
MAR 31, 2014 - JUNE 16, 2014
Elder de Rosa (from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil)
TRAINER & DISTRICT LEADER

Capanema, Castanhal, Para, Brazil
FEB 18, 2014-MAR 31, 2014
Elder Barros (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Castanheiro, Cabanagem, Para, Brazil
JAN 06, 2014-FEB 18, 2014
Elder Nores (from Lima, Peru)

Castanheiro, Cabanagem, Para, Brazil
NOV 27, 2013- JAN 06, 2014
Elder J. Santos (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Barcarena, Para, Brazil
OCT 15, 2013-NOV 27, 2013
Elder Ramos (from Sao Paulo, Brazil)

Chapin, South Carolina
SEPT 1, 2013 - OCT 14, 2013
Elder Nissen (from Arizona) and Elder Phillips (from Idaho)

Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC)
JULY 24, 2013 - SEPT 1, 2013
Elder McCrea (from Texas)

Monday, June 15, 2015

IT'S THE END!

Dear Family~

I don't even know how to feel right now. This last week was a bit hard and slow, but now I'm already seeing that this week will be super fast. I mostly just cant believe it's coming to an end. How were the last couple weeks and the first couple weeks for you when you came home?

Thank you so much for your letter and words of advise. I've read them about 4 times already. It was exactly what I needed to hear.  (read mom's letter below)


I think one of the things my mission helped me to learn was family confidence. Honestly I am quite nervous to go home and afterwards to start college. In 2 years, I've developed quite a bit of comfort being a missionary. It seems scary to use regular clothes, be alone, or worse yet, be alone with the female species! But I'm sure that all these things will come naturally and I'm confident that with all of my family I can take down any challenge that comes my way! 

Holy cow, I can't believe Jordan Frost comes home tomorrow!  It seems like she just got on her mission!?! I don't think she'd even sent in her papers when I started the mission! Things go by fast...That will be great to see her afterwards as RM's. 

That's awesome about Jenna's mission call! I didn't know she was preparing for a mission. Good for her. I'm sure she will love mission life and her mission areas. She leaves really quickly!

I spoke with Pres. Scisci, everything will work out with my temple recommend. He will give me a temple recommend that lasts for 3 months. Everything will be set for the big day!

As far as having other people at the airport when I return, what's your opinion on that?  My first thought is that if anyone wants to come welcome me home, they are welcome to. However, I think that moment will be better spent more inside the family.  I'll be so focused on you guys that I won't want to have to think about greeting every single person.  At church I can greet all the welcomers with a more groomed up smile. I think I'd rather have it be something a bit more intimate. But of course, if there are people that want to come or are asking if we are inviting, everybody's welcome to show up! 

Believe it or not, I still have those 2 original calling cards that you first bought me at the beginning of my mission. I'll definitely find a way to call you guys at the airport, even if it is approaching moms with kids and asking for their cell phones :D (that doesn't sound like I'm assaulting them at all...)

I'd like to start working the very first week I get home, the most hours he can get me. I'm here to work!

When I first read about the canoe trip I got a little bit skeptical, but if Taylor will be there, it will be lots of fun! And free is all the better! 

Josh will have a blast at the BYU rugby camp, and I have no doubt he will love the girls there!  I've heard a lot about these pretty LDS girls...Elder Marler mentioned them a time or two! :)

So when Brother Stadler told you my talk topic, did he put any rule about crying limits on the talk while I'm giving it?

THAT IS SO AWESOME ABOUT YOUR NEW JOB, MOM!!! Way to go Mom! I knew they would choose you :D But all those flight benefits, could it possibly be true?? That's one of the sad things for me right know, is thinking that I won't be able to return. We're going to have to do some serious traveling. And I can visit you guys for free!!!

I have many souvenirs that I am bringing home...but I have one main souvenir for me that you guys will never guess what it is. It will blow your socks off. It's awesomeness is greater than the odor of Josh's socks after rugby. You can guess, but I won't tell you if you are right or wrong :D

I love you all, and can hardly wait to see you at the airport next week!
Love, Elder Carson Gale

Mom's Last Letter to Elder Gale:

Here’s a bit of motherly advice for your very last week of your mission: I know that you have come to love Brazil on a very deep level.  These people have become family to you.  You have opened your hearts to them.  You have done just what the Savior did when he ministered to this earth.  

As you say your goodbyes, it may feel like two years went too quickly and that you still have much more to do.  Trust me, trust your mission president, and trust the Lord when we say to you, Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Your efforts have been more than enough, they have been exemplary, and you have been legendary.

You will definitely feel the mantle being lifted when you are released.  But you will know that it was never a burden, and that your calling as one of the Lord’s servants can be forever.

Adjusting to life away from the mission field may be difficult when you have spent the last 24 months preaching the Gospel.  You will find our little city of Liberty to be different.  World politics and news that have been withheld from you will now be forefront, and blaring in your daily life. 

You will hear of movies that have been made, some of which you will be eager to see, and others you will be glad you avoided.  Be selective at what you allow back into your mind and heart. 

Your family will also be different.  Your dad and I will look a little more tired, a little grayer, and maybe a little heavier. J  You will see your siblings from a different perspective in the way that they have grown, not only physically, but spiritually as well.  You may witness the spiritual growth of your siblings to a degree that you never thought possible. 

You may have a hard time adjusting to family life, or college, after being with just a companion for 2 years.  You will no longer be sheltered from the disagreements in the world and even those disagreements right in your own home.  We may not be spiritual enough for you. You will struggle with learning how to live around women again.  Things will not be as neat and as tidy, or scheduled perfectly anymore, but there are good things to come.  You are just getting started!

These past 2 years are not something you have just checked off your to-do list.  It is something that you have put your whole heart into.  Your mission is NEVER over.  There will be opportunities that come across to you as you strive to meet those goals you have dreamed for yourself.  Keep busy.  Set your standards very high because the adversary tries very hard to get RM’s to lower them. 

Give your best effort to the wonderful blessings that lie ahead for school, marriage, temple worship, and church callings.  Keep your spiritual life fed.  Remain true to what you have been taught.  Marry in the temple.  Honor your priesthood.  You will be returning with honor, son.  Make that a lifetime commitment. 

Don’t be afraid.  Your family is waiting and will help you.  Thee lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together. 

The time we meet at the airport will someday become one of the more precious moments in your life!  I love you and will see you in one week!

I love you always and forever, no matter what!

You HAVE BEEN LEGENDARY.

Mom

Monday, June 8, 2015

THE FINAL STRETCH...

Hey Family! 

I'm in the final stretch and 2 weeks has never seemed so long! But I'm sure it will go rapidly. I probably have 1 more P-Day that I will email you guys and then it's face to face!!! How will it be to see all of you in the KC airport and go running to meet you! I'll probably end up tripping and it will have a domino effect and everybody will fall down laughing. It's a plan.

This week was a good one. We ended up passing a bit of time in the hospital this week for Elder Oliveira. He had some weird stomach sensations that ended up being a type of gas reflex. I'm still not sure what it was, just that he's feeling better now.

We got to know several great families this last week. One family is C and M, and they were having a lot of family difficulties. After our visit,they said that they were all feeling happier and accepted the invite to go to church. Yesterday they were all there and they loved the meeting! We'll see how the next few visits go.

I had another personal miracle when Sister Scisci called me on Saturday. There is a family I taught in Salinas that I never ever thought would be baptized...and they will have their marriage and baptism today. They called President asking for me to go to Salinas and participate in their wedding and baptism! Unfortunately I will not be able to go...but I will be able to call them later today and congratulate them.

So you got me all signed up for BYU--Wow that's great! I can't believe I'm already registered for school...that's crazy. Thank you so much for going through all the process of signing me up at 1 am! Probably you're fast asleep right now from having stayed up so long. The classes seem awesome, exactly what I would want to study. It will be nice to use the first year to decide exactly what I will study. 

Yay! Mom's going to Cub Scout Day Camp! How exciting ...Tell Tanner hi and that in 2 weeks we'll do a chest bump or a cool handshake or something! :D

And Austin was robbed...what a crazy thing. At least he wasn't there and wasn't harmed in any way. Did he lose all of his photos? Does he send them to you guys? I'm happy that my current apartment is a locked one, so there is very little chance of me getting robbed in the next 2 weeks!

When I get back, I'll have to tell you some of the stories that happened to me on the mission that I might have left out of the weekly letters.

You mentioned double dates with Josh when I get back this summer.  Dates? What...does he expect me to be comfortable even 50 feet near the closest female species? Josh is going to have to rethink those plans...it'll take at least 5 years for me to examine the women around me and prayerfully decide with which I will marry without actually having to touch her. Then we will live the rest of our lives in blissful celibacy! :)

Just kidding...but for reals, thinking about opening the locked heart seems like a pretty demanding task right now. I may be just a bit awkward around women trying to touch me. 

I love you guys a ton!
Elder Gale

Can you find the most handsome elder below?


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

FINAL MISSION CONFERENCE & TESTIMONY

This week was very special. One of those weeks that even after my mission is over I'll still remember (Short term memory, right :D). 

At the start of the week, we were having some difficulty with staying focused. It seemed like the appointments were all falling through and we weren't getting much done. We decided to do something special that I haven't done before, a "Trunky-Fast" (yes, we put that name on it). We would go without speaking of home, family, or anything trunky until the end of the week. I even hid my photos and my calendar to not remind me. It helped a ton! And it brought a really special spirit on the work we were doing. Our lessons were more effective and seemed more powerful.

I had one experience during a lesson that we went in to teach about the Book of Mormon, but I felt influenced that we should ask about their family relations. It was incredible and the woman got quite a bit surprised, asking how did you know??? Turns out they had had a pretty bad fight the other night and we were able to have a mini therapy session that left everybody feeling happy. (Just following in Dad's footsteps there...:D) 

We had another experience when we were teaching a very special young woman named S who teaches a class of dance and theatre (very very rare here in Belém). We taught the restoration and at the end we asked how she felt. She started to cry, explaining that we had answered her prayers and given the response she needed. She is an active member in another church, but I hope she will be willing to do what she needs to. 

We had an interesting experience of teaching the Book of Mormon to an entire congregation of one of the local evangelical churches here. The pastor started talking to us and then we asked if we could share a message with his flock. He said yes, but I don't think he was quite expecting the Book of Mormon :D It was funny, at the end the members all started saying "Glory! Hallelujah!" and shouting stuff like that. "Amen Brother"! We got the pastor's address and house number, so we'll try to follow up with him another day. 

Finally, we had our first baptism here in Aguas Lindas. A young man named M who is the brother of another member of the church. At the devotional on Sunday, M actually filled out his future mission papers (even though he's only 16 years old :D). 

This devotional was really spectacular. The mission put on this devotional to encourage young men to go on a mission and invited Elder Fernandes of the Seventy to be there. But it seemed like everybody ended up going. I've never seen more Latter Day Saints crowded into one chapel here in Brazil. There were a ton of people that had to stay standing up just to be able to fit in the room. 

I got to sit right at the front as the Choir director :D Our choir sang the EFY Medley and a combination of "We are all Enlisted" and "Juventude da Promessa" (I don't remember the title in English). I played a violin solo as well and we received several compliments. The speakers were all wonderful and very powerful, so it brought the spirit into the room very strongly. 

But I think the best part was yesterday, when we had our last mission conference before President and Sister Scisci leave. (The first day of July). There was a very special spirit there. It was also my last mission conference. I gave my last testimony. Afterwards, Presidente asked me to play a surprise special musical number, so I chose "I Know That My Redeemer Lives".  Several people commented to me afterwards that they had appreciated and respected me during my mission and wished me well in my future endeavors.

It was really a wonderful week and a powerful conference to end my mission on!

Also, interesting side note, the mission had it's best month that it has had in the history of President's mission. We baptized 225 people in the month of May. The work is accelerating!

Love, 

Elder Gale