Wednesday, July 4, 2012

June 26th, 2012

Hey everybody!

This past week has been a week of goodbyes.. It's terrible! On Thursday we had Mission Conference... And it was just... Weird! All 220+ missionaries were gathered together to basically say goodbye to President Olson.. But we're also losing about 40 missionaries to the Salt Lake Mission.. And about 15 missionaries are going home.. There's just too much leaving! Our new mission president will take over on Thursday, and we're also losing 4 of the 6 office senior couples missionaries. President and Sister Olson got up and bore their testimonies, and shared a few closing remarks. Then we all pretended to be Disney characters and tried to teach each other... I discovered it's extremely hard to teach the Genie from Aladdin anything about the Plan of Salvation because he doesn't have a body.. Blast. To lighten the mood, guess who came!? The one.. The only.. JON SCHMIDT!! It was a surprise to everyone. He came and played all of his biggest songs and hymn arrangements, including "All of Me." So I got that on video. Next time I send home a CD with pictures you'll have to show Ryan. Tell him he has to learn Jon Schmidt's "Renaissance Hymn" as his next project. It's a medley of the two hymns "Guide us O Thou Great Jehovah" and "Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise." It's also amazing. So after all the spiritual stuff we went outside and played a bunch of games.. Including dodgeball, water balloon volleyball, and a tug of war. Then the sprinklers turned on. And people started grabbing trash cans and filling them with water. And it erupted into a 200 person water fight. All in all, it was a very fun day.

On Sunday we had the last musical fireside, and this one was themed around the life of Jesus Christ. Instead of being held in a random church building like the one in Bountiful, it was held in the Logan Tabernacle (I bet Kim Kelly knows where that is!). There was a special spirit there as people performed their pieces, both full choir and a cappella groups. They also had 2 people get up and bear their testimonies. One of them was a lawyer who had been baptized just a week before. The other was a man who had been inactive his entire life, and through the missionaries was able to return and baptize his son. I was just grateful for the opportunity I had to sing in a choir again! I didn't think I'd miss that as much as I do.. But the longer I'm in the field the more I miss it. I didn't get to do any of the a cappella stuff.. Maybe next time. I think that was my favorite part of doing All State Chorus.. Sure, being in the choir itself was great. But I just loved singing and practicing in a quartet. That's my dream career - tenor in a barbershop quartet.. Hahaha. Maybe I'll get one of those pinstripe suits with a bowler hat and a cane too. :)

In terms of missionary work, we taught quite a few lessons this past week. We're going to be teaching a girl named Miki today and I'm really excited for her. She's 20 years old and lives in an apartment with her 1 year old son. And she has so much church exposure! She has an uncle that served a mission in the Phillipines. She's been to youth conference twice, and she went to girls camp with her friends 5 times. It's crazy! So we're having our first lesson with her tonight.. We had a lot of other lessons this week trying to get people to commit to live the commandments, and there's kind of a common theme.. We have FIVE investigators that want to be baptized! But all of them need to get MARRIED first! And they're not getting married until August, October, November, December, and February. 3 of them are only living together because of financial circumstances and they have no where else to live. One of them has 11 kids and one due in the next week. It's amazing the kind of people we get to interact with as missionaries. They're all so different! Their circumstances are all vastly different. But they're all children of God and they're all seeking for the same things. They're seeking for the fruits of the Spirit as it says in Galatians 5:22. Love, joy, peace... All of them come through living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And as a missionary, we strive earnestly to develop charity and come to love all those we teach. I love our investigators. It's come to the point where some nights I'll wake up in the middle of the night and I'll be thinking about them instead of myself. What do THEY need to know. What questions do THEY have. And ultimately, the joy that THEY will feel as they accept the ordinances of baptism and keeping all of Heavenly Father's commandments.

I have my camera with me today! I'll attach a few pictures and send them your way. I'm glad you all made it to Canada in one piece. Did you say hi to people for me yet? If not, I'll be sorely disappointed. I really want to see the movie "Brave." :( Oh well! It'll still be a movie in November 2013! It also sounds like you've already visited and seen a TON of Nova Scotia buddies already. Eat some strawberries and maybe some of Bill Frank's chowder for me! And send ketchup chips my way.. *shifty eyes*
Mom - The Bountiful Temple is very beautiful. The sad part is as of Sunday it will be out of the mission! NOO! BUT! In awesome news, the open house for the Brigham City Temple starts on my birthday! So we'll have another beautiful temple within the mission bounds. We'll also have the Ogden Temple if they ever finish that. We'll also have Star Valley in.. 3 or 4 years. Hahaha. Someday. Bountiful is about an hour south of here if you were wondering. You just called yourself a former investigator! That's weird. I've never thought about that before. I wonder what the missionaries were thinking as they taught you.. How long did they teach you before you were baptized? I hope you enjoy the cottage. Do you think that stream will ever clean up?

Dad - To be honest I don't really look at the number of weeks you put at the top. In fact, I'm still at the point where I know that I have so many more weeks left than I've been out that it doesn't even concern me! But who knows how long that will last.. Did you get to order any Sackville Pizza? Er.. Pizza Girls? Or have you decided that the pizza place in Cole Harbour (Tony's [?]) is better? Chocolate fondue.. Do you realize how hard it is to convince people that I don't like eating dessert? I basically have to tell them the entire story of me being allergic to eggs and peanut butter and thus I never developed much of an attachment to cookies and cake and things for them to believe me.. How come you're taking RYAN to the Bay of Fundy and you never took me! You didn't take me to Peggy's Cove either! I feel unloved! Haha.. We'll just have to hit up the slot canyons. Then I may forgive you.

I love you all. I'll send a few pictures your way.. Guess what we're doing today!? We're going to a missionary barbecue in South Ogden and then after that we're going down to Kaysville to an indoor trampoline park that's free for missionaries! I'm pumped. Pray for me!

- Elder Tyler Grant :)

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