Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I am the Elder from Captain Kirk country!

Hey everyone!

So this past transfer has FLOWN by. I swear it's only been like, a week since I've been in Star Valley. But it's already been 6! Wow. Well neither of us are getting transferred, so I get to keep a companion for once! Haha.. I can already tell it's gonna be fun. When you're constantly switching companions, it's kind of like taking a step backwards. For the first few days/weeks you have to re-get to know each other, and MORE importantly, you have to establish a teaching pattern. Yes, all missionaries teach the same lessons, the same principles, and invite people to make the same commitments - but not in the same way. People transition differently, highlight different points, use different analogies, different scriptures, and all in all transfers can be a MESS! Especially because the first few lessons with your new companion are basically like going in blind. You have no idea what they're going to do, what they're going to say, or if they have a tendency to crash and burn with a slip of the tongue. It's a real thrill, haha. But we're both staying, and we're way excited for this next transfer. Also - remember my MTC buddy? Not my companion, but the guy in my district who I got along with super well? Well he's basically the guy that got me THROUGH the MTC, and I just found out today that he's being transferred up here to the other end of Star Valley! Transfer day usually sucks, but I'm actually really happy this time around haha.

So! This week! Has been.. Up and down. And up and down. And up. And down. I can't stress it enough - EVERYTHING in missionary work teeters on agency. Invitations to do things, promises of blessings, and testifying of truth are only the steps that LEAD UP to the investigator making the step of faith to follow through on a commitment. And if they don't, then there's nothing we can do but encourage and continue to invite. Sometimes this pattern works really well! We started teaching a guy last week who is AMAZING. He actually just graduated from high school this year; so he's grown up around LDS kids most of his life. But he's like, SO sweet. He told us straight up when we started teaching him that he wants to be baptized, and he wants to get married in the temple. I mean what more can you ask for? In case you haven't guessed, this is when agency is AWESOME in missionary work. But wait - there's a catch, and on the flipside, agency SUCKS sometimes. This kid is 17, and his parents are refusing to give him permission to get baptized. He turns 18 in 2 months, so hopefully he'll still have the desire by then. On a much lighter note, I'm pretty sure Dad would like this guy. He told us that he and his friends used to go up into Thayne (15 minutes north in Star Valley) at about 7 o'clock P.M. They'd all put some money in a can, and meet up at a gas station. Right when the clock hit 7:15, they'd all TAKE off in different directions. The objective: kill and collect as MANY CATS as you can before midnight, and throw them in the back of your truck. Whoever has the most cats at midnight wins the money. Hahaha how funny is that? We asked how many they'd typically get, and he said the highest that HE ever got in those 5 hours was THIRTY TWO cats, and they didn't even win! He even said that they'd shoot and collect cats from off people's porches! Apparently there's so many around here that no one even cares or reports any cats missing. Tell Toby and Tiger to be on the lookout.. Hahaha.

It also sometimes sucks when members get in the way! Remember the 13 year old kid who committed himself for baptism that I told you about? He was supposed to get baptized last week, but one of our Ward Mission Leaders straight up told him not to get baptized! He scared the kid away, and I don't even know if we're going to be able to get in and teach there anymore. The real reason we initially went there was because the mom was a non-member, but we started teaching this kid instead because he immediately got excited about baptism. We didn't even really know he wasn't a member. But a while ago we had a lesson at this ward mission leaders house - he told the kid he wasn't ready for baptism and told him "Don't get baptized because all the other kids are doing it." Okay seriously - what is this, underage drinking? NO one has been pressuring him, half of his friends are members and he goes to church every week! If anything, that's not a bad influence you need to be freaking out about! You'd think that'd be the kind of "peer pressure" you'd want, anyway. Not only that, but during the whole lesson we were asking the kid's mom questions (she's been VERY open with us) and every time she'd go to answer, the ward mission leader and his wife would like totally barge in and interrupt her! It's turned them off a LOT.. I never thought that with missionary work the problems could arise with the members instead of investigators. We're just keeping them in our prayers.

Hahaha. So we met another funny guy this week. We eat dinner with members usually 6 nights a week, so we get to see the WIDE spectrum of people that inhabit the valley. Well the other day we went to dinner out in Smoot, and we were blown away with the people there. When they called to see if we were coming, they said "Uhh.. Is there any way you can come over and not wear your suits and ties? We have 10 cats and 5 dogs and they'll jump all over you..." Now if THAT isn't a golden ticket invitation to dinner, I don't know what is! When we got there I told them I was from Iowa and the first thing that the guy said was "Ohhh no. We've got an Elder from Captain Kirk country!" Face palm. I've never met a "Trekkie" before hahaha. At one point they also sprayed whipped cream all over the table. And the wife told us about a very vivid dream she had about the communists taking over the East coast, and that's why they moved to Star Valley. The people here are so funny, I love them.

We've also gone the past week without a bumper on our car. The past missionaries took the car off-roading in the snow and the bumper dipped and cracked when it caught a snowbank. So there's been this huge crack in our bumper for a while.. and they just decided to fix it. But we told the people at the repair shop we kinda need our car still. It's one of the biggest areas in the mission, and we'd be rather crippled without one. So they took the bumper off and sent us on our merry way. It looks funny - it's a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu, and without the bumper the trunk kinda hangs out and it looks kinda like the DeLorean from Back to the Future. Hahaha.. Only the missionaries' car, right? We talked to the guy at the repair shop and he said he's fixed missionary cars more times than we would believe. The car that was here a few years ago had to have SEVERAL front and back bumpers repaired, and at one point the missionaries tried to tow it out of a snowbank and ended up tearing the entire trunk out of the car. Brilliant, right? :)

Mom - Way to go on the Taco John's key! I had forgot that was even missing. You should have used that to your advantage and gotten some free potato ole's.. They're using the Nacho Libre voice without me!? GAH!! How dare they. They'll never be able to compete with me and Jack Black though.
 I actually HAVE gotten to use my Spanish one time! I forgot to tell you this, I guess. One time last transfer I got to go to an entire evening with one of the Spanish Elders because his companion left to go fill out his visa papers to leave to Argentina. So I got to go to 3 lessons ENTIRELY in Spanish! I didn't end up saying a whole lot.. But it was interesting. I can still comprehend upwards of 80% of the things that are being said. But I just can't talk back. The words are there and I can hear them, but I can't string them together and speak them. In terms of how I feel as a missionary, there's a talk I think you should check out. It talks about different types of missionaries and how we can shift our focus to become the missionaries that Heavenly Father wants us to become versus the missionaries we will become on our own will. Here's the link: (http://www.scribd.com/doc/34660140/The-Fourth-Missionary)

Dad - Did Ryan and Evan find all the Easter eggs? I still remember last year when Ryan found an egg close to 8 months after the fact. You're just way too good at it! Just wait until you get old and can't remember anything - then you can hide your own! :) I thought that was funny about the MTC choir too.. In my last area at a stake conference they had a young women's choir that sang a few songs and they were just BLAND. No tone, no dynamics, and everybody sang the melody. I thought it was incredibly boring, but my companion loved it and said it was one of the best choirs he'd heard! I definitely have been spoiled by my musical perspective and upbringing haha. Tell Scott congratulations for me! And it's good to hear you're still hearing compliments about me. :)

I love you all! Hopefully I can get this sent off because the internet in the Family History Center literally just died.. Crash monkeys! (<---a new "swear word" this lady taught us.. hahahaha. )

- Elder Tyler Grant :)

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