Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mount Lewis, Ogden

What's up?

So this past week has been such a HUGE change for me in every sense of the word. I'm actually NOT in Central Ogden! When the Zone Leaders called us to tell us where we were going, the only information they gave everyone was what ZONE they were going to. There was a miscommunication between them and the APs. So I'm in the Ogden Central zone, but I'm actually in North Ogden. It's a place/stake called Mount Lewis, and it's a walking area. It's also one of the highest baptizing areas in the mission. When I got here, they had just baptized 7 people last transfer and 5 before that one, and we're starting completely over with building a pool of people to teach. Which is nice - we have almost 40 people on our potentials list that have either agreed to be taught or go to church regularly. The only thing that holds this area back IS that it's a walking area; its nearly 2 miles long and about a mile wide. So it's tricky to get as much done as we'd like to get done in a day. In fact, it's impossible to visit people we plan for at every time slot of every day because the travel time between visits is 10-15 minutes. So we compensate by talking to every person we see. EVERYone on the way is a child of God placed in our path, and we turn each random contact as a finding/teaching opportunity. I've also tracted 3 times in the past week, which is kind of a huge change of pace.. There are a ton of apartments, trailer parks, and duplex's that are filled with "Ogdenites", and 90% of them aren't members of the church. There's also a large turnover rate in the rough parts of the neighborhood, so there are constantly new people to talk to and teach.
Honestly, I really like it here. I'm going to start carrying my iPod with me for the step counting feature to see how many we take in a given day. Fun fact: we walked four and a half miles to get to this family history center. So you'd BETTER appreciate this letter! I'd be hard pressed to say that I've walked that far during the first 6 months of my mission! A lot of times people will see us on the side of the road and pick us up, but today was NOT one of those days. So my calves have gotten used to it very quickly in the past week. It's also a lot warmer here than it is in Star Valley.. So I have to drink  lot of water and sweat it out. My companion is named Elder Daly and he's from Maryland.  We're getting along awesome and I really like him. He has 3 months left on his mission, and he's the hardest working companion that I've had so far. He doesn't want to get trunky and give up, so we're getting out and working as many hours of the day as we can. Hopefully we'll start teaching all the people we've contacted (school just got out on Thursday and Memorial weekend was rough..) and start preparing them for baptism. The people are much humbler here; a lot struggle with family issues and drugs, and ALL of them would benefit immensely from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When I went to the trainers/trainee assignment meeting, it became very clear that the mission is undergoing a LOT of changes and will be in desperate need of new leadership. Over half the zone leaders will be going home within the next 3 months, and there are almost 50 missionaries coming in too. I saw that there were a few missionaries (including LaFond) who came out with me who are training this transfer, and some even newer than that! There is at least one I know who's training who has been out for 4 and a half months, and two more who have only been out 3 months. I know a lot of missionaries are jealous and mad about the changes, but I see it as a call to serve and prepare. They're LOOKING for missoinaries to train; missionaries to lead. If people who are from my MTC district are getting ready to train, they'll likely be looking out for me to do the same in the near future. This transfer there's no way I could say that I'd be ready to take on a brand new missionary, but my goal is to develop and enhance my skills and habits to the point that when that call comes, that I will be as ready as I possibly can be. Who knows what'll happen? :)

I guess I want to share with you guys something that's stuck with me this week. It's something that I've heard a few times since the MTC, but it's hanging right above my desk at our apartment, so it's been there every time I study. It's something that has been quoted from Henry B. Eyring, and it's called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed." Stirring poetry.. Check it out :

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast!
I have stepped over the line.
The decision has been made; I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won't look back, let up, slow down, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
I'm finished and done with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tainted visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, plaudits or popularity.
I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor with power. My face is set, my gait is fast, and my goal is Heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear! I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, or let up, until I have stayed up stored up, and paid up of the cause of Christ.
I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till I know, and work till He stops me.
And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
My banner will be clear

I know that this is where Im supposed to be. I know that I'm not alone. The same Spirit that has guided me in Tremonton and Star Valley is still guiding me in Mount Lewis. I can feel it when I seek it. I can feel it when I pray and read the Book of Mormon. Heavenly Father wants to guide us. We just have to let him.

Mom - Best of luck in the nursery.. I pray that you will have the patience of Job! Haha. I forgot that you were a Young Women's leader too. It's been a while. That will be a LOT less stressful in terms of preparing lessons! All you have to prepare is animal crackers and Nyquil... *shifty eyes*. Jacob's parents actually aren't members. Neither of his parents showed up for his baptism, but he was 100% set that it was something he was going to do so he went through with it. I think I'm ready for ketchup chips again! At a guess, we probably walk between 5 and 8 miles a day, and a LOT of it is hills! In shirts and ties! So I don't think I'll get fat too easily.. Send them soon! :) I need to send home a bunch of stuff.. I didn't wear that huge coat or boots one time. Sending stuff is so expensive! Maybe if you reimburse me.. Hahaha. I think i'm fine for meds? If you send an extra batch to be safe that'd probably be good. I just don't wanna run out. Mount Lewis is probably.. 40 minutes from Tremonton? Maybe 30 minutes? Oh - we cover 8 wards right now, and only spoke in one of them on Sunday. One of the wards has almost 700 people on the rolls, but only 49 people showed up on Sunday. It's kind of sad to see..

Dad - I was actually kind of not surprised to be transferred. I don't know if I was ready to leave yet, but I respect that Billmire will be a good trainer and I love it here too. I will definitely have to show you around Star Valley sometime. But definitely in the summer! Because snow in June is no vacation.. :P There was an airshow last weekend and I didn't see the Millenium Falcon flying around there either. I was disappointed. Who knew he could actually fly? Does he have a ridiculously tall and hairy man as his copilot? Hospital rounds are gross. End of story. 51 in golf!? That's atrocious! Kind of. There's still a whole summer ahead of you to get back into the game. Where are the Radford's moving to?

I love all of you guys. I pray that I can continue to learn and grow during my time here, and Lord willing, see some success :).
- Elder Tyler Grant

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