Monday, May 14, 2012

May 8th, 2012

Hello everyone! :)

Fun fact for the week: The Utah Ogden Mission has been the highest baptizing mission in the United States for the past four months, which is HUGE!

Other fun fact: They just finished a brand new church building in Star Valley (the first building they've gotten in over 30 years) and it's pretty neat. Reminds me a lot of the Storm Lake building.

Another mini-story I'm sure dad will love: We went to one of our investigator's houses this week to just pay them a visit, and they have this cat... Which has the longest, thickest, matted-est, knotted-est hair I've ever seen. They've been trying to shave the cat for a long time, but have never been able to because it starts scratching, biting, AND (the best part) whenever this cat gets mad at people it shows it's discontent by pooping outside the litter box. Creative, right? It's way too smart for its own good.. They told us that one day someone was making repeated hissing noises at the cat, and it responded by going and pooping on that persons bed. Hahahaha. So they have located some "kitty tranquilizers/Valium" and are going to knock out the cat and shave it bald. Wow.. That story is completely unrelated to missionary work. I'm over it.

Okay! So on to the good stuff! We have three baptisms this Saturday! Finally! We've been working with SO many people at once and it's gotten to the point where just about all of them are ready for baptism, and we've struggled to get them to stick to a date. But we have programs made, the building is scheduled, and they've all been interviewed, so (hopefully) they will all go through. It'll be nice - the last baptism I was involved with was back on February 18th - so it's been a long time coming. I'm just truly excited to finally see some of the fruits of our labors. Numbers aren't what's important, so I'm not thrilled about that.. I'm thrilled because we've gotten to see these investigators progress, make changes, learn, and finally come into the fold of Christ. I'll send pictures next week. :)

One cool experience we had last week was on a simple door contact. We'd gone by this home a few times before, and whenever the lady answered the door, she said "We're busy. Come back later." The lady is a member but she has a 17 year old daughter who has taken lessons in the past, gone to church, and still goes to mutual activities. Over and over she'd peek her head out, tell us not now, and close the door. But we went by once last week and asked if her daughter was home. She then said "I wouldn't waste your time with her.. She's going through the 17 year old phase and I'm sure she isn't interested." But we didn't drop it. We talked to her about her family and how she's benefited from the gospel in the past. She told us that her husband had died a few months before and she was still bitter and hurt. So instead of going at it with the intent of "We want to come teach you guys" we really just connected with her as a person and showed her we weren't just robotic soulless automatons. One by one, we could see her barriers dropping and her guard got lower and lower. At the end, we left her with our phone number and she said "I'll ask her if she wants to meet with you guys. In fact, I think I need to start going back to church myself. I know I'm happier when I do.. I've just been trying to convince myself otherwise. I know it's true." It was awesome just to see the huge impact that it had with just a simple change of approach; we witnessed an entire transformation in that short conversation, and I know the Spirit touched her heart.

So last Tuesday for P-Day we decided to go up to the Intermittent spring again. But we decided that hiking wasn't an option. Luckily, some members loaned us their all-terrain vehicles (a RZR and a Ranger) and we just drove up. It was so much fun - even though the spring was completely covered in snow and we couldn't see it coming out of the mountain.. I took a LOT of pictures of the hike up after the drive. Afterwards, we had a few hours to kill.. And decided to take advantage of the vehicles we had, and took them on some back trails in the mountains. It was SO cool! Like, we were on top of mountain peaks looking over the whole valley. It was just awesome. I'm not describing it very well dang it.. I hope the pictures do it justice.

Yesterday, Elder Billmire had another training meeting down in Ogden that I couldn't go to.. So we woke up super early again and headed south.. Since I'm not leadership in any way, he left me in Montpelier with one of the missionaries there, and it was just an eye-opening day. I told you about this missionary a few weeks ago from zone conference. He's had kind of a bad reputation for things he did earlier in his mission, and as a result served with his past mistakes and choices looming over him. No one took the time to get to know him. They just judged him for what they had heard. He's been out 22 months now... And it was really sad. The day I spent with him, we mostly just talked. He's completely worn out, burnt out, and just through. He's had a lot of success, but he's been the focus of so much negative attention that he doesn't even want to work anymore. He's an awesome guy - he's really smart, his teaching skills are almost unparalleled, and he's hilarious. But he's just done. He's lost all motivation; all drive to go out and work. Spending the day with him really opened my eyes to let me see that I can't judge people like that. Gossip and rumors only drive people into the ground, and none of them that I'd heard were reflected in him as even a LITTLE bit true. If God forgave him, why couldn't everyone else?

Mom - I hope you're feeling better! New Testament study will be awesome. The Book of Mormon is awesome - but it doesn't have nearly the history of Christ's life that the New Testament has. Most people we run into have at least SOME familiarity with the New Testament, but when they say they believe in the Bible it's pretty blind faith. Did you just compare me to Zach from the Single's Ward? That's legit! I'd never get a tattoo though.. machine gun needle = no thank you. I will be anxiously awaiting the iPod to return. Oh shoot! I forgot to add - at one of the baptisms this Saturday, a girl asked me to baptize her, and I have no white pants! So if you could like, express mail those to me or something.. That'd be neat-o. Just throw it all together in one fun-filled bundle. Did you get the picture descriptions too? I sent those a day later because I forgot to put them in the envelope. Not sure when I'm gonna call on Sunday to be perfectly honest.. I hope you're not expecting a 6 hour ordeal. :) Happy anniversary, by the way! Glad to hear you enjoyed watching Heath Ledger at his finest and got over that silly paranoia that your opinion of him might change. It'll be weird to talk to you guys on Sunday!

Dad - Check this out... <> Perhaps a vacation we'll have to take when I get back? Some guy took a trip there and showed us pictures.. It's definitely something we have to do someday. It's good to hear Papa is in good spirits with fishing season again. Was the Avengers that great? I haven't heard anything from people.. All I heard about was the Hunger Games haha. Tell Evan way to go on bearing his testimony! That's so sweet! Was he wearing that bright orange tie with your green suit? That'd be a sight to see.. I'm so glad I don't have to tract/street contact for our primary method of finding. There are so many people here willing to help with missionary work that it's (most of the time) a pretty streamlined process. I haven't gotten to listen to the talks/stuff yet. We get a limited time on the computer and I'm thinking I'm just gonna rip them off the drive and burn them onto a CD-R for future listening. That way I can keep them on hand as well. Another question - did you have the same problem that we're having that people who have been taught all the lessons, go to church every week, and have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but won't commit to a baptismal date? There's a few people here that have gone to church for 30 years, love it, feel the Spirit, give talks, but will not take the step of faith and get baptized.

I love you guys. If I think of anything else I need, I'll tell you on Sunday. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

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