Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9th, 2012

Oh! So Heidi put some pictures up..? Haha. Mom! You should put up SOME pictures onto facebook! I mean I've sent you hundreds - you don't have to hog them all to yourself! Have Ryan help you... You don't have to put all of them up! Just select/awesome pictures that let everyone know that I'm still alive and loving every second. :)

So before we get to Saturday, we had a miracle day on Thursday! We had 6 lessons set up that day and were honestly just praying for all the help and guidance we could get. At 9 AM we taught a lady (yes, we start early..) named Christina who had met with the past missionaries. She had been going to church for a while and then, just like what happened to Mom, her life suddenly became EXTREMELY loaded and unable to fit us in. So she kind of slipped through the cracks... But we taught her that morning and had a short lesson with her about prayer and baptism. We didn't even have to ask her - she straight up told us "I know that I want to get baptized." We committed her to pray about a date and she accepted! It was pretty cool because normally, since I'm training, we don't get to leave the apartment till 11:00 AM because of the extra study time for new missionaries. But we made an exception and picked up a baptismal commitment even before our zone meeting we had that day!
Later on, after all the meetings were through, we had a lesson with a 25 year old guy named Tim. Tim's uncle called us about a week ago and said he might want to talk to the missionaries. We visited and set up a lesson the very next day. As we taught him, he shared a lot of experiences that he had had over the course of his life to lead him to the beliefs in God and religion that he now has. He was in a horrible car wreck 6 months ago and shouldn't have survived - but as he was at the hospital 4 Elders from the church came and administered a blessing to him. And he's now completely healed. He also told us that in January he walked upstairs to find his father had committed suicide, and he was the one to discover him. Everything that he's been feeling has led him to seek the peace and redeeming power of the Atonement. We taught him the first lesson and the Spirit was so strong. His younger brother was there too, and his brother was baptized about a year ago. He bore an extremely powerful testimony of how baptism and living the Gospel have helped him turn his life completely around and start over in God's eyes. The coolest part of the lesson was when I was committing Tim to baptism - because while I was giving him the commitment he didn't even let me finish. In fact, before I finished the "Preach My Gospel"-style commit (Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?) he said "yes" four times. He's now preparing for baptism in November.

That same day, right after Tim's appointment, we had a dinner with a family in Smithfield who was housing a German exchange student named Chiara. And while she's not allowed to be baptized while she's here, she had been going to church and had some questions that she wanted answered. So we began teaching her the Restoration as simply as we could - her English was pretty good, but the language barrier was still there! As we got to the point where Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, she began to open up and tell us about her upbringing as a Catholic and how she believed in the Trinity and how it made so much more sense that they were all one being. Except for when she prays. And reads the scriptures. And other things... So I still don't get how the Trinity makes sense. But! We began to share scriptures with her and she was starting to understand, when the host family's dad just interrupted and started teaching some extremely complicated doctrine. In fact, he taught like three quarters of the Plan of Salvation without explaining ANYTHING at all, trying to show that Jehovah was Jesus Christ and all these different things... Members in lessons can be wonderful. But they can also drag the lesson in ways that you don't want them to go haha. Luckily, since he was elaborating so little and covering so much, she didn't understand anything and turned her attention back to us. It was all in all a pretty sweet experience - and we saw her in Salt Lake on Saturday because the ward took her young women's group down to General Conference.

Which brings us to the good part! We woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, met up with Heidi and her older brother, and drove down to Salt Lake. It was AMAZING! Temple square is so much cooler than I expected it to be, and the Salt Lake Temple is so big! We were watching conference in the Joseph Smith Memorial building for the Saturday Morning session, and when they made the announcement changing missionary age my jaw about dropped to the floor. My first thought was for Ryan. He could literally start his papers right now, set his availability date for after graduation, and leave immediately! That's so crazy! I couldn't believe it... So many people raced through my head both from home and people I've met on my mission. Especially the change from 21 to 19 for sister missionaries! That's a HUGE change! I guess it just means that I can't just assume that sister missionaries are old and gross anymore.. :) Kidding! But the entire first session of general conference was just amazing. We had tickets to go see the Saturday afternoon session, and the size of the conference center just amazed me. The coolest part is the fact that I've watched conference for my entire life and I was just finally there. It was an amazing experience. The protesters there are so overhyped! There was like, 6 protesters there and they were just standing there holding signs. Some of them were yelling at people but only when they took the time to pay attention to them. And who would? It was definitely not enough to detract from the overall Spirit of being in the presence of the prophet and all the amazing speakers there. Sadly, we had to miss the priesthood session so I haven't gotten to see it yet... Blast! But I'll see it soon.

Mom - It was pretty tough to actually be in the conference center for the sole reason that you just want to watch the big TV there instead of just look at the speaker. And Heidi's ward is supporting her in every way. Actually the stake president just got her enrolled in a weekly institute class. Des Moines has an airport? And dad backed into the 'blazer? It's not time to get a new car is it? I don't know what I want for Christmas. I'm interested in things. But nothing specific. I haven't bought any new ties since February and I'm okay with that. Best of luck with Ryan. Tell him to write me back. And I'll keep praying. And tell Matt to write me a letter!

Dad - That letter you sent me was formatted so strange.. You're getting a calling in Stake Conference? Are you going to be in the Stake Presidency? :) I think it would be so sweet to be able to travel as a high councilman. Who knows what lies ahead? Would you have left on your mission at 18? I probably wouldn't have been ready to. I'm glad I was able to leave at 19 - but I can see that year between high school and leaving being advantageous to close the gap. Less time for temptation. Is Jacob Olson going to be leaving soon then? You should get in contact with your mission buddies! They've gotta be out there somewhere! I honestly know already that I've made some lifetime friends. Send me videos of when you decide to ultimately detonate those poor pumpkins. And hopefully Ryan will make it to the doctor.

I love you all! Sorry I forgot my camera cord! I'll send some home soon. Put pictures up on facebook for the world to marvel! :)


- Elder Tyler Grant

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