Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tracting for the first time...

Hey dere everyone! What up?

Hahaha. It's even weird to TYPE casually! How's everyone doing? I don't know why I asked that. It's not like they'll all answer me.. But whateva!

This past week has truly been a week of growth for me. For one - our mission has started a thing called "Quality Gospel Conversations" that we're supposed to do now. Apparently, missionaries have been having trouble finding new investigators and can't determine why. The reason is that they've developed an incredibly false mentality that EVERYONE is a member in Utah, and that talking to everyone you see is a waste of time. This is NOT TRUE! In an attempt to contact, talk to, and find more people to teach, we have been challenged to talk to basically everyone we see, and try and leave them with a commitment of some kind, even if they're a member. If they're non-members, we can leave them with a Book of Mormon, a card, or an invitation to learn more. But if they're members, often we challenge them to bear their testimony to someone they know, or even to invite one of their friends to hear the gospel. It's kind of weird that we're implementing this, because 98% of other missionaries ALREADY do nothing BUT talk to everyone they see on a daily basis. I think its funny actually. But at the same time, it's not like it's a hard thing to do, and I've gotten much better with connecting with people immediately. It's awesome!

Oh hey! I forgot to tell you something last week! I actually got to go TRACTING for the first time! It was so WEIRD! We were on exchanges and Elder Passey and I just randomly decided to start knocking doors in this apartment complex. 7 out of the 8 doors that opened were not members, and the 8th one has 2 children that haven't been baptized! It was so crazy! But we met this guy named Rafael who we've now met with a few times, and he's SO golden. It was just really a testimony to me that the Lord is preparing people for us to find, and we can't just say "we don't tract in Utah.." and expect to find them all.

So last Tuesday after I sent you guys an e-mail, I got to go on a mini-split out of our area to help teach this guy named Chris. And he is literally one of the coolest guys I've ever met. I'm completely convinced I'm never going to meet another guy like him, like ever. He's about 30 years old and works as a construction worker. Boring right? Oh yeah. He was a practicing Satanist for like 10 years when he lived in Colorado. His job moved him to Utah, and when he moved there it was the first time he'd ever heard about the church. He didn't mind being surrounded by it, but at one point he walked into a church building and he FELT something. He was so used to having voices in his head and feeling spirits and evil thoughts but as SOON as he walked into the building, he said he couldn't speak. He felt something leave him. Since then, he has been investigating the church and wants to be baptized! He's been taught for a very long time, but he's getting so close that it's just crazy. It was one of the coolest things I've ever done.

Okay! So Dad- I don't know how it was in Japan, but around here there are "eternigators.." - people who have no problem with missionaries meeting with them and say they want to change their lives, but refuse to keep commitments, dodge appointments, etc. Well there's this guy in our area named Paul who has been taking the lessons on and off for almost 5 years now. His wife is a member and his children have all been baptized too, but he's just never made the decision to take that step of faith and find out for himself if it's true. BUT! We've got him reading the scriptures (like he has NEVER committed to do before..) and committed to keep going to church (which he has NEVER done before..) and he's expressed desire to be baptized! His wife told us the other day, "You know, whenever Paul has had the missionaries over, I've been hopeful, but nothing has ever come of it. But I can promise you - he is closer right now than he has EVER been before. Whatever you're doing, keep it up!" I'm so excited for him. He's such a super sweet guy and I love seeing the changes he's making bring happiness to him and his family.

We're still having problems with lessons cancelling (at one point we had 9 lessons cancel in a row...) but we're getting our share in of lessons that go well and we've made a ton of new contacts that are just brimming with potential. I'm so excited for these next few weeks. I'd LOVE to stay in the area for at least one more transfer, especially because Elder Hall and I have been doing so much foundational work building up the area and contacting just about every single person we've been given. It'd just be nice to finally see the fruits of all our labors, because this next transfer some amazing things are going to happen. OH! So this past Sunday, one of our investigators that we'd dropped for not keeping appointments, went to church and stayed the whole 3 hours and loved it! That was his major hangup - he had been taught a lot and committed to do things but the one thing that he would NEVER follow through on was going to church. So we get to keep teaching him! Yay!

Lets see on questions.. Uhh, yes I got the package that you sent Mom! I'm fine on inhalers, and now I am restocked on pills. Big whoop. Dang it sounds like there is a lot of work going on in the Storm Lake Branch! That's so amazing to hear. I'm trying to remember how many baptisms we've had in the past 11 years living there and it seems like there was never a whole lot, but hey - if it's picking up, then kudos to the missionaries for working hard! Even if Elder Faas finally left. What a drag. You can go to Scott's wedding, Mom! I suppose it depends where I get transferred to or where I'm at in April, but right now I'm so far away from Bountiful that it probably wouldn't even be a temptation. You'd get over it at any rate.

I'm sending home a package with all manner of amazing things for you guys either today or tomorrow. I was really hoping to send it today, but I still have to compile it organize it and.. uhh.. Get help from the post office. Yeah it's not gonna get sent till tomorrow. But I promise it's coming! Thanks for the CDs and food and stuff and things. I'm excited for Ryan and all his speech stuff! All State is so much fun. I've gained.. umm.. 10 pounds. *Facepalm* But it feels like so much more! GAH!

Love you all!

- Elder Tyler Grant

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