Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meet John the Baptist!

Hey everybody!

So Elder Billmire and I hadn't checked the mail since like, last Thursday since we've been busy. So on the way to do e-mails we stopped and checked - holy cow! Letters from Kim Kelly, Ryan and Evan, Josh, AND Nathasia! AND a package from Mom! I just felt awful because Elder Billmire didn't get ANYthing.. But I'm over it. Thanks for all your love, support, and letters. They mean a lot to me :).

So this past week has been CRAZY! For one, we've run into a few interesting people this week that have really stuck out to me. I guess first and foremost would be this guy named John. But he doesn't go by that. He immediately told us that his street name is "John the Baptist." And BOY is he ever! He's a single guy in his 50s who we ran into at the store last Wednesday and we were blown away by how.. well.. "interesting" he was. Hahaha. We introduced ourselves and he told us: "I know who you are! And how BLESSED am I to be in the presence of such WONDERFUL servants of Jesus!" He then started going off quoting some scriptures from the New Testament. We commented how he really knew his stuff, and he replied: "No, not really. I just know my Jesus!" He then told us how he used to be a law enforcement officer and every time he arrested someone he'd hand them a Bible while he gave them their Miranda Rights. As we were leaving, he asked me what my first name was. Confused, I told him, and he said: "Bless you, Tyler. Bless you and bless your family and bless and praise the Lord Jesus!!" He was like, yelling in the store! Hahaha it was so funny.

Last Wednesday I DID get to be interviewed by President Olson, and it was just awesome. I discovered that interviews are kind of just a get-to-know President time and we kinda just talked one on one about how the work has been going, how my studies have been, and a whole bunch of other random things. He's truly an awesome President and I'll be sad when he goes. But he told me and Elder Billmire that he's PRETTY sure we'll be in Star Valley together again next transfer because the work is going so well, and he'll leave me there for another transfer after THAT so Billmire can go elsewhere. So basically he told me that I'll be in Wyoming till July! I'm SO excited! That also means that I'm pretty much safe from the mission switch and I get to stay around and help out all the people we're meeting with for a while. Its looking like 4 and a half months here, if not 6! But yeah that day we had to drive down to Smithfield to get interviewed, which is almost a 3 hour drive from where we are.. THAT sure was a long day.
Another sweet experience we had was on Sunday, where we started teaching a non-member family of five. They've lived here for about 7 months now and have a TON of health problems. The husband has super bad diabetes and as a result has peripheral neuropathy (?) in both of his legs, which has resulted in him losing most of his right foot due to infection. They've had a family fellow shipping them for a while now, and have finally decided to start asking questions and meet with us. We taught them in the member family's home 2 days ago, and it was just amazing to see their countenances change as we explained about the Holy Ghost and Joseph Smith's experiences. They aren't ready to commit for baptism yet, but they have been SO prepared by the Lord in the past few months. It's gonna be awesome.

So yesterday, Billmire had to go to some training meeting down in Ogden (4+ hours away) so he left me in Logan with some other missionaries. And it just so happened that these were the missionaries that serve on campus at Utah State University! So I got to spend a whole day on campus talking to and teaching people my age! It was way awesome and far far FAR different than anything I've ever done. In Tremonton and Star Valley, we work mostly through the members to find people to teach. But at USU, it's highly weighted on straight up contacting - walking up to strangers and asking them questions, and seeing if anyone they know would like to meet with us. It was way cool! It was also really strange to be around so many guys and girls my age - I think I've kind of missed that for a while. But all in all, it was a great learning experience for me and if I ever get transferred to a "contacting" area, I'll feel much more confident!

Hmm.. Well the MyLDSMail interface has shifted or something and it won't let me open up another tab with your questions in it.. Let me try and troubleshoot...

Okay got it! Well in terms of the plaque, I think I'd have to say 3 Nephi 5:13 " Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life." It's a scripture that I have come to love as I continually strive to fulfill my purpose of inviting others to come unto Christ. In terms of a picture, I do not have one. Maybe you can use one of the pictures that Camille Carr took? They look nice - even if it's not in a shirt and tie, it's still a well done picture and its about the only portrait-style pictures I've had in the past few years.

Questions time! Dad - That's funny about reading the Hunger Games. I was about the same way when I read it, but I read it on the way to getting some fingerprinting done in Omaha. Have you seen the movie? I think it's weird - that's like the FIRST movie that I've actually wanted to see BEFORE my mission and now I can't! I thought it was funny. Haha tell Mrs. Schmitt I said hi! Maybe there IS a more diverse audience than I thought reading my letters home. I might have to start editing myself.. Haha. I've been totally fine on money. I've heard of missionaries in other missions struggling to have enough to the end of the month, but I have NEVER had a problem, especially because where we live right now I don't even have to buy groceries.. I look forward to receiving the videos and stuff from you, and I think I MAY know what Skousen talk you mean. Then again, he DOES talk a lot on the Atonement. The one I've read is called "Building Blocks of the Universe," which is an AWESOME talk. You don't have to feel guilty about not writing a lot! I mean, I AM the one on a mission! I should be the one that has a lot to say anyway. One question I guess - was there any particular portion of the Book of Mormon that you found strength in while on your mission? Whenever I feel discouraged or let down on myself, I have found myself continually turning to 2 Nephi 4 for strength. Nephi's testimony practically glows from the pages!

Mom - It IS kind of weird not being called Tyler anymore. I'm sure I'm not to the point yet, but I wonder if the day will come when I won't even recognize it if someone calls me by my first name..? That'd be SO strange! It still sounds like the missionaries are tearing it up in Storm Lake! I'm going to be amazed when I come back and the cultural hall will be full of chairs and people filling up every pew.. What a sight that would be! I AM extremely excited about conference! The way I see it, I never come away from conference with bad advice! I wish I could have gone down to Salt Lake to go to the conference center, but hey. I've got till November 2013 to seize that opportunity! I pray that seminary is still going well for you! And yes I got the package today from you and have been eating the Starburst Jellybeans the entire time I've been typing this letter... Makes me wish we had a Wal-Mart around here so I could go buy some before Easter is over. I hope your knee heals and stuff and things. I'll write a short e-mail for Evan after I send this one, so keep an eye open for that one.

Anyways - I appreciate all your letters, and hope to hear from others soon! (If you feel like it.. :) ) The work in Star Valley is rolling right along, and we're still pushing each and every day to make it better.

I love you all!!

- Elder Tyler Grant :)

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