Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 3rd, 2012

Hey again!

So this past week has been FULL of surprises..

I guess first and foremost I very much enjoyed general conference! We watched the first 2 sessions with Budd Rich and the Sunday sessions with some other members. It's kind of nice - I have always had problems focusing during conference towards the end sessions. I've never been a TV watcher, so sitting for 10 hours of watching a broadcast has always been rough for my short attention span.. But I stuck it out, and as a result I gained some awesome insights!  I really think that trying to get EVERY single thing out of every session of conference is kind of like trying to drink from a fire hose. There's so much to be absorbed in a short period of time, that it's mentally draining to some degree. I think one of my favorite talks was by Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, which surprised me. He talked about the difference between the Gospel and the Church, and how the two words are not interchangeable. "We can be active in the church, but less-active in the Gospel." It is easy to measure activity in the church - attending meetings and activities you can stick a number to. But it is much harder to measure the things of the Gospel - how much faith do I have? How repentant are we? Are we striving to keep the Spirit in our lives? I really enjoyed it.

Also I have 3 fun facts for the day stemming from general conference!
1) Dallin H. Oaks mentioned Sarah and Charles Rich. Those are Budd Rich's (the guy we live with) great grandparents.
2) David S. Baxter, who spoke in the Saturday afternoon session about single mothers, IS in fact Baxter's (the guy from college) dad.
3) In the MTC Choir, the final song, the camera ended on none other than Elder David Archuleta, front and center.

So remember that family I mentioned last week? We were unable to teach them again because the dad had to go to an IV treatment in Pocatello ... But let me give you a list of his symptoms. He has peripheral neuropathy and can't feel either of his legs. He has diabetes and has to take insulin regularly. Because of his diabetes he has lost most of his left foot. He recently had a minor heart attack and had to go to the hospital. And last Thursday, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He hasn't smoked a day in his life and no one in his family has had it in the past. I feel so bad for the guy - he's so humble and he's a great guy. But what can we tell him? What do you tell someone who has already experienced more in his 40 year lifetime than most of us will in our entire lives? I don't know anything about trials - I'm a 19 year old kid. And here I am trying to tell him how his life can be better by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It's kind of shaken me up a bit. It's been a real test of my faith and testimony talking to him, and I've had to be confident in what we're teaching. I KNOW that it can help him and also help his family. I know that the Lord promises us blessings when we follow his commandments. But I can't promise him that his diabetes, heart problems, and cancer will go away and that his foot will grow back. All we can do is continue to follow the promptings of the Spirit and guide them as Heavenly Father would have us guide them.

We had another interesting teaching experience last Wednesday. Elder Billmire and I had one of the BEST lessons I've ever taught on my mission, hands down. We were teaching Kami again and everything was just flowing PERFECTLY. Like it was literally the smoothest transitioning, clearest, best lesson I've ever taught. The Spirit prompted us to commit her to a date, so we did. And she said NO! I couldn't believe it. The environment was perfect - we taught about prayer, prophets, and the Word of Wisdom. Everything was going according to plan and she was beaming from ear to ear. The reason she said no? She wants to get baptized in JULY, in the SNAKE RIVER! I don't understand. She has to get special permission to do that, and our mission president is definitely going to say no. We were just completely stunned. She went to the Sunday morning session of conference though and secretly I hoped she paid REALLY close attention to Elder D. Todd Christofferson's talk... We haven't gotten to talk to her since then, so we'll have to follow up. It was definitely a learning experience for me though. I just wanted her to say yes so badly - not for me, but because I know that it can change her life in ways that she doesn't even comprehend yet. Once again though, we can teach importance, promise blessings, and pray for them, but ultimately it's their agency. They have to decide for themselves. I am a servant of the Lord who invites people to come to Christ, and if they say no, all I can do is pray.

I forgot one quote that I heard at conference that has been resonating with me. I've heard it before, but I couldn't find it anywhere in Preach My Gospel so I figured I'd look it up. “Our missionaries are going forth to different nations . . . the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” End quote. Joseph Smith. I'm sure you've heard it before. If not, then you're welcome.

Man I just can't FOCUS right now. I don't know, maybe I'm just not in the right mindset for e-mails. ADHD has it's downfalls, you know. Hahaha. On the bright side, I usually get a huge burst of energy right around 7 or 8 PM when my medication wears off, and I become extremely personable and my teaching gets a lot better. By the way - Star Valley looks EXTREMELY ugly right now hahaha. I made you guys a few videos that I'll be sending home sooner or later. I made one two weeks ago and then one today. The valley right now is just brown. Brown brown brown as FAR as the eye can see. Hopefully it starts getting green around here.

Dad - Tell Linda Olson kudos on inviting someone to conference! We had two of our investigators attend the Sunday morning session, and from what I've heard they both had positive experiences there. I mean seriously - any way you look at it, you're NOT gonna walk away with bad advice. Andrew Olson (from the one letter I've heard from him) is doing great. He asked me if I miss video games because he is a LOT hahaha. And honestly, truly, I don't! It's weird. There are so many more hours in the day when you're not glued to a computer or TV screen. Tell Ben to give it up! Haha.. You can write more than one letter a week! Oh my gosh.. There was an Elder in my MTC district who literally sent off a letter to his girlfriend every. Single. Day. She even wrote him 3 letters and sent them to the MTC before he even LEFT so he'd get letters the first three days he was there. I'll try to humble myself regarding the stake president. Our mission president has counseled us to do the best we can to work with the ward members and keep the work moving forward. He is called to do his duty, and I know its not my place to try and order him around. Thank you for those passages of scripture - I turn to Helaman 5:12 often and it's a powerful scripture to share with investigators who are looking for a source of light to turn to. I also thought that that particular scripture pairs quite nicely with the talk that Elder Henry B. Eyring gave during the first session of conference. That one and Richard G. Scott's talk on revelation were some of my favorites.

Mom - jeeeez that was a lot of questions. Okay. Starting from the top.. I'm excited for Cody! He'll get to be in London just in time for the Olympics, so there will be a HUGE influx of people to teach! :) Umm.. I'll send some pictures home within the next few weeks. There MAY be something on there that you can use to put on the plaque. We watched conference with Budd and his dog named Ed. The MTC choir was sub-par, but that was to be expected. One because there aren't a whole lot of sister missionaries to choose from and two because they have more important things to do in the MTC than sing. Haha. Tell the Hopkins that I said hi and congratulations to Scott. I DID get the addresses you sent me and have mailed off letters to all of them. This whole general delivery thing is quick! I e-mailed you on Tuesday and the addresses came on Friday. It's a whole lot nicer than the route mail usually has to take.. If you send it to the mission office then they have to forward it again through DENVER. So it takes a few extra days. Be careful when you read Proverbs.. There are a few questionable scriptures in there :). (Proverbs 5:19, for example). And yes, the bunny is gone. Thank you for the electric razor.

Anyhow. I love you all, and look forward to hearing from you next week!

- Elder Tyler Grant :)

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