Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Singing in the Rain!

Hey! So if you were expecting a letter yesterday, then this is it!

As you well know (and I was informed very quickly) yesterday was Pioneer day, which I had NO idea was such a big deal anywhere. It also meant that the family history center and all the libraries were closed... So our mission president gave us special permission to write today. I'm pretty sure that we may have had one or two potlucks at church to celebrate the holiday over the years, but over here..The 24th of July is almost as big as the 4th of July! It's amazing how much people actually cherish their ancestry here - but I guess if there would be a place where the Mormon pioneers would be appreciated, it would be here. We got to march in the parade yesterday! President and Sister Hiers as well as well over 120 of the missionaries in our mission showed up to march, and it was hilarious. The order of the parade was.. Well.. I'll just tell you. The front was the police. Second were some people dressed as pioneers pulling handcarts. Then the marching band. Then the scantily clad dance squad marching and dancing the whole way. Then the high school cheerleaders... And then the missionaries!! Who's idea was it to put the missionaries right behind all of the immodestly dressed girls?? Hahaha.. It was pretty funny. Because when it came down to it, everybody clapped politely for the cheerleaders... And when the missionaries walked by, everybody stood up and applauded and cheered their hearts out. Hahaha.. We spent the whole parade singing "Called to Serve" and "High on the Mountain Top" over and over again, and at every intersection the Polynesian missionaries and many others stopped and did the Haka. If you don't know what that is, look it up on YouTube or something. Oh - did I mention it DOWN POURED the entire parade? All in all it was a very memorable experience... I love the rain. It doesn't rain enough around here, and an excuse to walk in a storm was pretty cool.

So we have a baptism this Saturday! Amy is getting baptized and I'm just so excited for her. She's been incredible to teach, and I feel so privileged to have been able to work with her. She's pretty much the definition of a golden investigator. She's been going to church and loving it, and she was so excited to show us the program she and her sister have been putting together for her baptism. Everything is just falling into place for her and her family, and I can't help but marvel at what Heavenly Father does for His children. When we commit to live His teachings and His commandments, he WILL bless us. He will never let us down. That's the amazing part. He will always hold up His end of the deal as long as we do our part. Satan may try and push us down, but the undeniable feeling and influence of the Holy Ghost will still guide us to do right. How couldn't it be true? Jesus Christ never forced anybody to do anything. Instead, he showed us the way and invited us to do likewise. He never said we had to take His word for it just because he was the Son of God. With everything, we are invited to make the changes in our life that align us with our Heavenly Father's will and just SEE for ourselves the amazing difference it makes. That's probably my favorite thing about being a missionary. We try so hard to help people to follow Christ, but until they DO it we can do no more. But when they do make those choices, it's the most rewarding thing you can imagine... I love it so much.

We've been teaching a lot of people in the past week. One of our investigators set a marriage date! Another one of our investigators just had her baby and we're now working with her towards a marriage and baptismal date. We've set a goal to set up 4 lessons every single day, and it's making a HUGE impact on our work. If it's winding down to the end of the day and we haven't set up 4 lessons yet, we've been pushing ourselves to find those last people that Heavenly Father would be placing in our path that day to receive the truth. On Monday alone we taught 5 lessons, set up 4 return appointments, and set up 6 lessons with new investigators. It's incredible once again to see just how much Heavenly Father's hand is in this work. And when we push ourselves and use our agency to do His will, He blesses us with success. With our huge pool of people there are so many that are ever closer to the commitment of baptism. There are only 3 more weeks in this transfer.. It's flying so fast. I hope that we can find everyone that we are meant to find and are courageous enough to seize every opportunity to teach and talk to people in whatever setting we may be in.

Mom - You haven't messed with my room EXCEPT let Evan sleep in it (with the CATS) and blast a giant hole in my wall! Other than that I'm sure it's the same. I have a new cousin! Hooray! I can't believe it's been that long since you told me Deidra was pregant. Have I really been gone for 8 months? Holy... I haven't been playing the piano much since we've been working so much and so consistently. I still take the time every once in a while to sit and play for a few minutes.. But I feel like it's something that I may invest more time and energy in once I'm home. NOOOO!!!! They pulled the missionaries from the branch? Why?? There has been so much success.. That won't solve anything! (Didn't I say this to you like.. twice?) We cover 1 stake of 8 wards. There is NO shortage of missionaries right now. They've been splitting a lot of the areas to put even more sets of missionaries in because we have so many. I borrowed the bike from a member family, and actually just yesterday they bought us brand new helmets. Yayyyyy.... Hahaha.

Dad - I do not miss humidity. Or dry crackly grass. It's been super warm here for a long time, but it's bearable! You had to descend to Google Translate to speak Japanese? Ooooohhh.. You're slipping! Haha. I've met like.. 4 people in the last week that served their missions in Japan AFTER the Osaka Mission was dissolved. So you probably wouldn't know them. Are you ever going to do ragbrai in your sit-and-chill-out bike? I'm over the fact that there will be no Dad letter. I hope you enjoy Martin's Cove and especially hope the same for Ryan. Isn't that in Wyoming? And I'm still writing faithfully in my journal every night.. It's kind of weird. These emails to me are kind of a second journal! Hahaha...

Anyhow. I'm about to write Papa a letter. I love you all! The letters from everyone are getting sparse! But I'm over it. Hahaha.


- Elder Tyler Grant :)

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