Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Elk Burgers

Hello again everybody!

Actually, I have no idea how many people read these e-mails I send home. Seriously, who has the time to read all the junk I send? Hahaha..

Well this past week has been fruitful once more! We committed one more person to baptism last week, and have come ever closer with a few more of our investigators. I totally forgot my planner this week... What a drag. So my adventures that I can remember may be a wee bit shorter. I think my favorite thing about Star Valley is that people actually follow through on their commitments! Whether we leave them an invitation to pray, read the scriptures, or go to church, the majority of our investigators will actually DO it! We're still having more lessons than ever before in Tremonton, and people ACTUALLY going to church means that they aren't slowed down in their journey towards baptism! Plus - the amazing thing about having General Conference in a few weeks is that we can INSTANTLY make that invitation to everyone we see! It's been weird talking to people who aren't members of the church who say that they don't want anything to do with our message, but they will sit and watch every session of conference just to hear what President Monson has to say. I mean how cool is that?

With one of our investigators this week, we had an AWESOME lesson about Satan. I know, that's not exactly worded right. But she's a lady who has been going to church with her husband for the past few months, and is getting closer to Christ every time she goes. I've never seen so much opposition in one person's behalf by the adversary before. It seems like every time she tries to do the right thing, something wrong happens. I won't go into specifics I guess. But one of the coolest moments of this past week was on Sunday, where I was able to take part in blessing their baby, Sarateli. Her husband was the one who blessed the baby, which was an amazing thing for him, since he's been less-active for basically his entire life, and in the past few months he's made some incredible changes and was able to be worthy to perform the blessing. But he told us that that entire day leading up to the blessing, he could FEEL the influence of Satan trying to beat him down and tempt him. He said that continued up until he walked into the church that day, and everything just left. As SOON as he walked in the door, all doubts and negative thoughts left him. The Spirit was so strong at that meeting - it was an experience I won't forget. Kami and her husband are also going down to Salt Lake to watch conference, so that should be an amazing testimony builder for her. I'm so stoked.

I'm finally going to be getting interviewed by President Olson tomorrow! It's been weird - usually he does interviews every other transfer, but I've been out for like.. 4 months.. And haven't been interviewed yet. Something about mission conference screwing up transfers or something. I don't really know. But it might be my only interview from President Olson! I may get one more, come to think of it. But after that, it'll be our NEW mission president! AAAHHHH!!! His name is President Hiers and he's from Massachusetts, and he's an ex-MARINE! OH NO!! Yeah I'm probably not going to be happy about that. But maybe it'll be good for me to have some authority clamping down to drive me to do better. President Olson is awesome and he's pretty laid back - plus I'm 4 hours from Ogden, so I'm so far out of his clutches that the temptation to not obey all the rules is definitely a real thing. But I'm still trying to do my best every day to follow the rules. I know my weaknesses and I know my Heavenly Father gives them to me to make me stronger, and He has provided me with opportunities to overcome them while I'm here. I'm just hoping that my weaknesses won't prevent me from finding everyone that I'm supposed to find while I'm here. I can say it's my mission, but really its His. As it says in 3 Nephi 5:13 "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I have been called OF HIM to declare HIS WORD among HIS PEOPLE, that THEY might have everlasting life." That's a pretty unselfish scripture, and I love it.

By the way - people have asked me what scripture I put on my "plaque" ... And I don't have a plaque! In fact, I don't think I'd ever even HEARD of them until I came here. I don't know if you have, but if you haven't - basically its something that gets hung up in the church buildings with a picture of the missionary, their favorite scripture, and a picture of their mission area. I swear I've never heard of them before, but people tell me that when I don't have one, I'm a disgrace! Hahaha.. It's not quite that bad, but they're hung up in every single church building I've ever been in. I just thought that'd be sweet to see 3 missionary plaques hung up in our small little branch building :). Just a thought. Oh and here's the website where they get them from.. (http://www.ldsspecialtygifts.com/mission.html) just in case you wanted to look. No biggie.

Spiritual thought? Kay! This week I was studying Joseph Smith History a little more in-depth and came across a verse that I really liked.. It's the second half of verse 20, where Joseph Smith recognizes the opposition of Satan in the work he's been engaged in. It says: "... It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?" We were teaching this guy who had a similar question to Joseph's inquiry: WHY does our religion get so much persecution? Why does everyone single us out and Mormons get "hated on" so much (as he put it)? There is only one conclusion I have come up with: It is true. NO other religion has been attacked, questioned, and tried like ours. Just as Satan tried to turn everything he had on Joseph Smith and his followers from an early period in his life, he was trying to smother the flames of Restoration before they started to spread. But he couldn't. The church grew then, and the church continues to grow. So if this church is true, why are we so scared to talk about it? Where do these thoughts of doubt, fear, and inadequacy come from? I can promise you they don't come from God. Think about Joseph Smith's experience once more. That fateful morning as he went out alone to pray, as he was about to receive quite possibly the most important and world changing revelation of all time, what did Satan do? Let's go to Joseph Smith's own words: "... I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak." There you have it. Satan tried to bind his tongue. He figured that if he could just stop Joseph from uttering that prayer, he could prevent the Restoration of Christ's true church from ever happening. But he couldn't! God and Jesus Christ DID appear to him that day, and called him to be a prophet. So - those feelings of fear and apprehension that we have about sharing the message of the Gospel with our friends and neighbors. They are very real, and they are from Satan - he tries to bind our tongue so that we cannot speak. He gives us fear so that we feel we cannot share this glorious message with our friends. But there is one more scripture I'll share with you. It is one of my absolute FAVORITES. Moroni 8:16 tells us how we can overcome these feelings: "... Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear." Love. Love conquers fear. If we love our friends and neighbors as our brothers and sisters, we will not be afraid to bear our testimonies to them. Sorry for the lengthy thought.. It's just been on my mind this week. :)

Dad - That's so crazy to hear about the weather there! This morning it was -6 degrees... Rather chilly. And that's so awesome about having a baptism! Congratulate Vern for me, will ya? Hold up. Deidra's new baby..? Did she have her baby!? AH! If so, that's way exciting. And has it really been 8 years since Aunt Kim visited Iowa? Dang! That's like.. Almost 9 years! Hahaha.. So airsoft guns have a history? Wow. But that's not the FIRST time something was big in Japan before it hit the U.S... Just some of the products in Japan are STRICTLY .. uhh .. Japanese. Case in point - the lobster-claw-vending machine? :) Feel free to send pictures/videos of the completed airsoft gun if it ever gets going.. That'll be legit. And cockroaches are icky. Wait. Are you an American citizen yet!? CAN YOU VOTE!? I'm sure as soon as the polls are up, you'll go vote for good old Obama.. Not really. Everyone here is very keen about telling me JUST how they feel about Obama, and they aren't shy about their colorful language either. :) Just try asking them how they feel about the EPA and all their silly regulations. It's pretty funny.

Mom - I know you're handicapped when it comes to typing. I do notice that your emails are considerably less detailed and way shorter than dad's. Yes I got those chips last transfer - did I not thank you for those? I guess you told me to stop talking about ketchup chips, so I kinda did.. :P What do we eat in Star Valley? Umm. People feed us burgers a lot. I've had Elk and Deer for the first time since I've been here, but I've taken to not asking what the burgers are made of. Other than that, they're normal people so they eat normal food. Is that what you were asking? Missionaries have lived with Brother Rich for about 2 years now. Crazy, right? But his wife is deceased and I think he enjoys the company. I DID receive my health card. I don't remember what I'm supposed to use it for. It's in my wallet though. $100 for a package to Australia!? Goodness gracious! Count your blessings, mom.. Haha. Poor Ben. Oh. And if you want to send me a package, it might even be easier if you bypass the mission office. My new address is:

Elder R. Tyler Grant
General Delivery
Afton, WY 83110

So it's not really an address. But it'll get here quicker! :D

Anyways. I can't think of anything else remarkable that's happened. Keep me in your prayers, and I'll keep loving every day that I'm here. :)

Love you all!

- Elder Tyler Grant

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