Friday, August 24, 2012

Richmond, Utah

My oh MY it has been a crazy week...

For starters, on transfer day last Wednesday I got exactly an hour and a half of sleep. I went to bed on time and woke up in the middle of the night with a huge stomach ache, and proceeded to spend the next 7 and a half hours in and out of the bathroom with some of the worst throwing up and diarrhea I can remember. So I got up, completely drained, and went to the mission office to take the van up to Richmond. Not exactly the best start to a transfer, but it gets even better!

Our area is about 400 square miles (*gasp!*) and we cover 3 stakes. The Benson, Richmond, and Smithfield North stakes combined form our area.. And it's just enormous. It looks even more like Iowa than Tremonton did. We live with a single sister and we live in her basement - which is actually the biggest apartment I've had so far! It's really really nice... The only minor flaw is that there are quite a few flies since everything is farmland and we have a wheat field in our backyard. Oh yeah! I forgot to mention... We have probably the 4th largest area in the mission right now! Here's the catch: WE HAVE NO CAR!!! Yes. Seriously. I was pretty shocked to find out - 3 days before I got in the area the missionary I replaced was driving and hit a 25 pound rock at 50 miles per hour. He took out both of the passenger side tires and ripped off the oil pan. And then he got transferred to an area with a car! And he's driving again! And WE are the ones who have to suffer. I'm not going to lie... It's been extremely frustrating. Everything is so far apart that all we do is bike. We bike bike bike all day and get very little done. Just the other night we biked over 10 miles one way to an appointment, and 10 miles to get back home. It's exhausting, frustrating, and I feel like no matter what we're doing, the work is just crawling because we can't get anywhere. We biked 50 miles in the first 2 and a half days with our bikes. Hopefully they will be getting us a car this week - it's literally almost impossible to get anything done. We're still working but we're definitely running uphill at the moment. The Smithfield North Stake is about an hour and a half bike ride from our house. So we just spend so much time biking between cornfields and so little time proselyting... We're praying that they get our car to us soon!

As for my companion, luckily he's awesome. Elder Cox is from Arizona and he's been out for a whole 6 weeks now. And I must admit - I can tell that he was much more prepared to leave on a mission than I was. He's completely confident in teaching and talking to people and he's not overbearing about it... Being senior companion isn't as horrible as I thought it would be ha ha. Plus I have Elder Carron and Elder LaFond in my zone (my MTC pals!) so everything is just going to be awesome. I love Elder Cox and, Lord willing (and hopefully CAR PROVIDED!), we are going to have an awesome transfer.
It's been a fun week despite all of our challenges. And we actually had a baptism on Saturday! It was for a 10 year old girl named Mysteria. Yes, really. Her family has been meeting with the missionaries for almost 2 years to get her baptized, and every time they get close to her baptismal date the mom freaks out and cancels it. Over and over again. So it was almost what you'd call an eternigator - but she's 10! Hahaha.. But the baptism went very well. I still can't believe her name is Mysteria. If it's any consolation she goes by Mitzy.

Other than that, the only lesson we've been able to teach was actually last night. We're teaching a couple in their late 40's. They're both non-members and are working for a member in the Richmond Area helping him repair trailers. And they are just the most amazing people... They already gave Elder Cox a bike and they offered to give bikes to the missionaries in another neighboring area. They come from such humble circumstances. They're both recovered drug addicts of about 5 years and they're so humble it's crazy. David has already taken to reading the Book of Mormon and is now reading the Pearl of Great Price too. We met with them last night and invited them to go to the Brigham City Temple Open House... We're going with them Wednesday morning. I'm praying for them so hard. I just want them to accept the Gospel so badly... That feeling has come more and more for me. We're struggling to find other investigators since a TON of people are members... But with 3 stakes, things are bound to happen.

To answer Dad's question, President Hiers is such a stud. And I don't feel weird using that word to describe my mission president, because more than anything he just radiates this aura that he's there to do everything he can to help you. He hasn't made a ton of changes in mission policy - if anything he's even less strict than President Olson. He took away all of the minor mission rules (such as we couldn't drive on P-Day before) and said that we are strictly going by the white handbook. He's regularly going out of his way to attend as MANY convert baptisms as he can, which is huge. He and Sister Hiers are going out of their way to travel to missionaries areas to support the person being baptized. They both just bring such a strong spirit of friendship and warmness... I love them so much.
Mom - NACHOOOOOOO!!! I can't believe I'm already 20. It's crazy to me... 19 seems SO much younger than 20. But I had a pretty good birthday. The White's are absolutely wonderful! They brought my companion and I dinner and a cake! I love them so much... Do you guys facebook chat it up all the time or what? I opened my birthday box kind of early... Basically because I got the box on July 16th and my birthday wasn't until the next transfer. Thanks for all the random strange things. Are the shoes that were in there the ones that were on back-order way back before I left? I still have like 25 ties. I haven't bought a new one in 6 months.. I'm scared. I'm serving nearby Leven's again. I'm hoping I won't cave... School is started! CRAZY! The summer is just gone! I hope Evan has a good school year and Ryan too! I think the only thing I'm running low on on meds is Albuterol. I have lots of everything else.

Dad - You should email me a few pictures of the new truck! It sounds pretty sick.. Is the black one out of commission then? I guess I told you a bit about my new companion.. And about the mission president... I wish I could have been around for the arrival of so many cousins! I miss those days. Killer Bunnies is still just a horrible game hahaha. It's so ridiculously frustrating! And did you get the TV explosion on video? Bill Frank and Lorin Walker.. I bet Bill would make you some seafood chowder for the service. And I actually don't think I've ever met Lorin Walker.. I've just heard you tell me many a tale of your high adventure days.

Anyhow. Pray that we get a car so we can get some work done! I love you all! And tell Nanny I got the birthday package from her yesterday! :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

Transferred North!

So my streak of staying in areas for only 3 months and then getting kicked out is continuing... I'm being booted out! Back to the north!
 I'm being transferred to the Richmond area; which I know very little about. I just know that it's a small town up very close to the Idaho border (it was in my zone when I was in Star Valley) and from what I've been told, the missionary work has been booming there. My new companion is named Elder Cox and he just finished his first transfer. Which brings in another scary thought - I'm not a junior companion anymore! That part makes me a bit nervous.. But Heavenly father doesn't call people who are prepared - he prepares those who he calls. And I know that all my experiences in Mount Lewis have certainly prepared me to this point. Throughout my 12 weeks I've been here I've been able to see the area blossom from having exactly 1 investigator to having 2 baptisms and a new teaching pool of nearly 20 people with countless others we're in contact with. I really do hate to leave the area right as it's doing well.. That seems to happen to me a lot. But I'm looking forward to serving in Richmond and pray that I can be both effective and confident as a new senior companion.

This past week has been... Up and down.

Luckily, on Thursday we had interviews with our mission president, and I was able to share some of my concerns with him. He told me to do the best that I could do; but to also turn to Heavenly Father for guidance and help. I told him that I would - and things have been slowly turning upwards. I've tried to listen more  and it's almost helped.

Jelena's baptism was on Saturday. Her whole family was in attendance and so was an entire non-member family that they invited to the occasion. She was basically running around the whole time with a stuffed animal that she called her "baptism bunny" ... But the Spirit was there nonetheless. For the closing song we sang "Do as I'm Doing" ... Which was ironically appropriate, don't you think? :)

Mom - YES I got my birthday box like a month ago. I swear I told you last week but I guess I forgot. Thank you for that :) I can't believe I turn 20 on Saturday! I'm a little freaked out! I sent a box full of things home today - it should be there by like Monday. Tell the cousins I say hi!! I'm glad to hear Ryan went to church. Has it been a while since he has? I was also a little stunned to hear you finally accepted the fact that pushing me to do spiritual things may have turned me off a little bit. :) But it's okay. It all worked out in the end, so I guess I'm over it. I hope you don't become overwhelmed by all the 'splosions and all the mess. Keep up the faith!! Sadly, I didn't get Nanny's letter... I'm sorry! :(

Dad - Trunky. Is a horrendous word. Does it stem back to living out of your suitcase/trunk and wanting to go home? 7 babies in 24 hours... That's a little wild. Were any of them named Yak or Dung? What color is your new truck? Yellow? I love President Campbell. He's a way good leader - I'm sure the stake will benefit from his leadership. Who are the other two people you would have speak at your funeral? I'm going to have to guess Truman G. Madsen is one of them. I can't believe you used that word to describe Amaleckiah. All the missionaries around me now think that you're some roughneck biker who swears all the time. Not really. But I thought it was funny. :)

Anyhow. I'm looking forward to my new area. Keep me in your prayers, and may the Spirit be with you all! I love you guys!!

- Elder Tyler Grant

August 8th, 2012

So I brought my camera. And my camera cord. But I left my camera cord out in the car... And I'm trying to decide how much I love you guys. Because this seat is very comfortable.. We'll see how I feel after I'm done typing. :)

So! This week! Has been... A bit slower. But that's unavoidable. A lot of our investigators have been busy last week and have had to cancel or reschedule. Which is always kind of a drag... But all we can do is persevere! It's been so unbearably hot here; pushing over 100 degrees almost every single day. I love my new Wal-Mart bike! It's very pretty... I opted not to spend $500 on a bike, which I hope you appreciate. It needs some tuning - no doubt... My brakes are SO squeaky and SO loud. But at least they work! I really don't enjoy wearing a helmet - especially because I never wore one at home... Then again I never biked at home. We bike upwards of 10 miles every day and my new road bike makes that much more bearable. My latest problem is helmet hair - but I can get a haircut and fix THAT problem.

I felt pretty terrible! My companion hasn't gotten one piece of mail all transfer... Which is probably pretty normal for a missionary who has been out almost 20 months. But as SOON as he started to bring up the fact that he never gets mail.. I got letters from people on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday. Oops. Don't get me wrong - I really appreciate it! I'm just hoping his family sends him a birthday package really soon.. (his birthday is on Friday)..

We still have a baptism this upcoming Saturday! I'm so excited for Jelena and her family. Saturday is going to be a very special day. I'm really wondering what is going to happen at transfers... So far the pattern has been 3 months in every area that I've been in. And I don't know if I'm going to be ready to leave. There are so many people here that I love and care about so much. So many of our investigators will be ready for baptism 2 transfers from now.. I'm almost wishing that I stay here till then. At the end of the day, I know that I will go where I'm needed and where I'm supposed to be... It'll just be hard to let go. I won't know until next week though. I'm sorry - I'm running a complete blank right now. I'm just hungry. :)

Mom - I'm sorry to hear about Dylan. I'll keep him in my prayers and hope he'll be all right. I actually do remember fast Sundays in the old building being a quite horrible experience... And I didn't even like asian food! It's so weird to think the Radfords are gone. I think I know who President Campbell is... Big glasses? I think it's so funny that you're skyping for seminary... That'll be some interesting classes for sure. How well do you think Evan will do for All-State practices? It is kind of a huge time-sucker... He sings well though. Perfect pitch always helps :). Say hi to the Hopkins for me! Andrew Olson hasn't written me a letter in like... 6 months. So I don't know if I'll get my hopes up hahaha. Glad to hear you got some rain finally.

Dad - Man.. Ryan NEVER has any luck with camping, does he? That's horrible... So do you think he enjoyed it at all? I was really hoping the best for him. Those are some sweet facts for Mount Rushmore - I vaguely remember that trip we took to South Dakota.. I mostly remember the smell of horses. And I DO remember Evan's Plunge! Kind of. I remember the pool with the rocks on the bottom... That was so long ago. Tell Ryan to write me a letter back! I've written him two and he hasn't said anything! GAH! And he needs to draw me Pokemon so we can get on with this challenge once and for all! (Also - tell EVAN for me... - his next challenge is to draw SANDSLASH and SHROOMISH!!)

I continue to keep you all in my prayers. Sorry for the lack of updates - I'll surprise you with more juicy details next week when we hear about transfers. :)

Love you all!

- Elder Tyler Grant

Dad - You're looking into a diesel?? WHY!? I like that black truck. But I guess I never drive it. So it doesn't bug or affect me any.