Monday, January 9, 2012

Miracles in the mission field!

Oh my oh my oh my. This week has just been INCREDIBLE. Where do I even begin..

As you recall, I was supposed to have my first baptism last Saturday! BUT! Kolton was NOT my first baptism! So the story begins:

There is a 35 year old guy in our area named Jeremy who the missionaries have been teaching for a very long time. He's had a super tough life - separated from his wife, and more recently since he has had nowhere to live, he has been sleeping in a tent in an RV park and since it has been cold, in a van. He's been taught just about everything, but was still a bit shaky on a lot of things. We had been teaching him, but our appointments with him kept falling through. On Wednesday afternoon, we went by his van to visit him, and for once he was actually there! We talked to him a bit, and said we were going to have to move his baptismal date back again, and out of nowhere, he says, "Umm.. Can I get baptized Friday morning?" Literally 36 hours away. So we had to drop all of our plans to go find people in the next day and a half and scrambled to find people to speak, baptize, play the piano, confirm, etc. And, SOMEHOW, with a day's notice, EVERYBODY was able to come! The baptism went off without a hitch. It was by far the craziest single event of my mission so far. It has truly been a witness to me that we need to have faith that the Lord can do anything!

After Friday's pandemonium, we were privileged to have Kolton's baptism on Saturday morning too! It was super sweet. He's the hyperactive  9 year old that I told you about last week. The coolest part is that both of his parents are less-active, and his dad's side of the family is completely inactive. But come Saturday morning, basically his ENTIRE family, both members and non, were able to come and see him get baptized. It was just awesome. They all came to his confirmation on Sunday too and his grandpa was able to confirm him. Kolton's principal came to his baptism too and shared a super sweet experience that he had with him. He told us that one day, Kolton came into the office and gave him a pass-along card with a picture of Christ on it. He asked the principal if he knew who it was in the picture, and he said that yes he did. With tears in his eyes, Kolton then said, "That's Jesus Christ. He's dead. He died so that I can be happy." How awesome.

So following along with the theme of miracles, there's a father and son that we are teaching that are just golden as can be. So we went to their church meeting to see them there (they didn't get to make it, sadly) and some guy walked up to us and said "I want you to baptize my son." Miracle #3. They've had custody of this boy since June and they have JUST legally adopted him this last Tuesday. He's been going to church with them and he wants his new dad to baptize him. The only requirements for baptism are that they know the doctrines of the lessons and that they've been to church 3 times, and since he's been going to Primary for 6 months, he already knows everything! He's 9 years old, so he qualifies as a convert baptism and we get to teach him! AND! We may even have the baptism THIS SATURDAY! GAH!! It's just unbelievable what's going on here right now.

And this Saturday we already have a baptism! We've been teaching an 11-year-old named Kylie for a while and she's had her date moved around but she's been interviewed and ready to go! Miracles miracles miracles.

How about another one?? So last night, we got a phone call from a lady and she's like "Can we set up an appointment? We have a friend staying with us and she's interested in the church and wants to take the discussions." Member referrals are rare. And even MORE so because Elder Scoggin and I have to field all the referral calls and pass them on to other districts. We've literally passed on like 7 or 8 referrals to the surrounding areas in the past 4 weeks. But this one stuck! We're gonna teach her on Thursday!

Okay I think that covers it for the miracles segment of this weeks letter :). The funny thing is the reason WHY it's all happening! In district meeting on Wednesday, we were talking about ways to receive revelation and also the importance of sacrifice and fasting. Since fasting is discouraged on a mission for more than it is necessary, we decided that we would give up listening to music in the car. I know. The Owl City CD that we had listened to 40+ times to that point? We decided to give it up. And literally 20 minutes later Jeremy wanted to be baptized. There's gotta be something to it! All of this crazy stuff started happening as soon as we turned it off. So who knows!

I got the package from Papa! He will be pleased to know that I have already eaten BOTH bags of ketchup chips.. It was worth it. I can't save them. I just can't.

As far as my Book of Mormon reading is going, I'm just starting the book of Ether, which I already KNOW is super sick! The Book of Mormon is just so cool! Why didn't you tell me before that it was exciting to read??

I'm going to try and attach pictures of Jeremy and Kolton. Keep in mind that members took the pictures and not me, and the one of Kolton is an ESPECIALLY awful picture. Crop it if you must. You'll see what I mean! I'll also send a picture of the ties that I bought. Yeah, it's an impressive collection. I also discovered that each tie came with a pocket square.. Which I had no idea what to do with. I couldn't bring myself to blow my nose in them.. They're all too pretty!!

Uhh.. What questions was I supposed to answer.. Uhh.. Do I feel like I was sent here for a reason? Definitely! Do I know what that reason is? Not exactly! But at any rate, I am LOVING each and every day here. I dread the day that I actually have to leave Tremonton. There are miracles happening left and right and there are still SO many people on the verge of being baptized that there is no way I want to leave yet! The crazy thing is - all the stuff I've been telling you is in ONE STAKE that we cover! 90% of the work we're doing right now is in the South stake, and there are just as many people to be taught in the West stake, if not more! We're meeting with the last of the West stake ward mission leaders tonight to try and correlate some new efforts in his ward and from there, we just follow up and see what happens! Seriously though. This area is about to EXPLODE! The crazy part is, when we got here there wasn't a whole lot going on. It had been a pretty dry and non-fruitful area for a few months. But I'm steadily gaining a testimony that if you dig in and lose yourself in the work and TRULY try and find people to teach, then the opportunities will be provided. I love being a missionary and I can't believe that I'm having this much fun and success at the very beginning! It can only go up from here, right? :)

Anyways, if there were any important questions that I skimmed over or didn't answer, feel free to ask again. If not, then I was right to skip them! Hahaha..

I love you all!! Happy New Year!!


Elder Tyler Grant

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