Tuesday, November 6, 2012

October 23rd, 2012

Oh hello!

This week has been pretty... Well let's just say we weren't able to get as much done as we hoped we could have. Last Monday we went on exchanges with the Spanish missionaries, Tuesday was P-Day, Wednesday we had district meeting and interviews with the mission president, Thursday I got sick, and Friday I went down to Ogden for a rehearsal for another musical fireside. So a lot of things got in the way of the visits we had intended to make and follow up on this week..

In the one glimmering ray of sunshine this past week, we showed up to teach Tim and were about to teach about the Law of Chastity and tell him he needs to either move out (he's living with his girlfriend) or get married before his baptism on November 3rd. Right before we said the prayer, he whips out a picture and says "Oh by the way! The Bishop married us yesterday. We were going to invite you but couldn't find your phone number." Hey surprise marriage! THAT'S never happened before! So at least we no longer have to worry about that commandment. During every lesson he literally just soaks everything in like a sponge. He asked at the end of his lesson what day his baptism is supposed to be, and is excited to be working towards it still. I honestly don't think I'd have such crazy experiences with such amazingly prepared people anywhere else in the world.. I love Utah! There is missionary work to do EVERYwhere, including Richmond! Actually, of the 3 stakes that we cover, the Richmond Stake (covering a total of MAYBE 4,000 people..) is the one with the most missionary work. The area that we cover is absolutely enormous. In fact we cover Smithfield, Richmond, Lewiston, Cove, Trenton, Newton, Clarkston, Benson, and Amalga. So that's kind of a vast expanse of fields and towns of 100 people or less. I don't know why they keep sending me to all these areas that are straight farmland.. I think they're stereotyping me because I'm from Iowa.

As I briefly mentioned, we had interviews with our mission president last Wednesday. I love having interviews - sometimes you feel somewhat insignificant and forgotten when you're banished to the northern huge areas of the mission and being able to talk to President Hiers is always uplifting. I asked him if I could stay in Richmond for at least another transfer so I can finish training Elder Bengtson and because I'm tired of leaving areas after 3 months. He said that he was planning on letting me stay - so I really hope I get to.. I don't know if I've told you this. But out of the 3 areas that I've left, I've come into the areas with a total of 3 people with a baptismal date. However, I've left behind a total of 18 people with a baptismal date. Remember that family of 5 that we were working with in Star Valley? They were baptized about a month ago. I've felt like all I've done my entire mission is just plant seeds. And I know that it's not important to 'count' the baptisms. But it just seems like every time I get people close to baptism they yank me away and make me start over again. I just feel like a lot of times I give my all to try and help these people to come to the Gospel and I never get to see it through. We have a lot of people who are teetering and many people who are just as close. If I can stay in Richmond at least one more transfer (AKA till.. December 19th?) then it would give us a chance to really zero in on these people's concerns and overcome them with the Spirit. I really like it here, actually. I wasn't a fan of it at first probably because we were on bikes and there were no investigators at all because I followed the same missionary into the area as I did to Mount Lewis; he's a missionary known for getting transferred into an area right as it's blowing up, baptizes everyone, and finds no new people to teach. So staying here would be really awesome... Elder Bengtson is SO quiet... But I really like him - he's extremely obedient and keeps me focused on what we're supposed to be doing. It's just been a rather quiet transfer... Especially after Elder Cox and I had so much fun together.  But everything is working out okay.

In my studies this week I've been reading some really old general conference talks.. I'm pretty sure someone stole a bunch of old Ensigns from a stake center in the area and only took the General Conference editions. It's really interesting to read the counsel of the prophets even 30 years ago. There was a talk called "Adam, the Archangel" that I'm pretty sure would never be read in conference today. But all of the principles and teachings are the same. President Monson was STILL a member of the Twelve back in 1980.. How weird is that? I don't think I'd have the patience to hold such a calling for such a ridiculous amount of time. I barely lasted as Sunday School President for all of 4 months. That's still the only real calling I think I've had.. Hahaha. But it's been pretty cool to go back and read the talks and reference them to the scriptures. It turns out the general authorities actually know what they're talking about.
Mom - I can't believe Evan is 6'2" !! That's so freaking crazy! How's Seussical coming along? Is he doing well? The orange watch strap will be awesome! Especially because this Timex that I have is pretty well spent.. A small sweater will still be fine. I bought that winter jacket in a small and it actually fits perfectly. I think I might have sent that little Christmas tree home, didn't I? If not I probably left it in Tremonton. As fun as they are to get, sometimes when you have to pack everything stuff gets left behind simply because it doesn't fit. Oddly enough, I still have Banana Balance. So I guess I get to pick and choose. What other addresses do I need... Umm... What about Maranda Stephens? I haven't talked to her in forever! I'll let you know if I think of anyone else. Question - have you ever asked Ryan about getting a patriarchal blessing? I think that would be maybe just the boost he'd need to get up and get moving in the right direction again. Oh wow! You use so much technology! Bahaha take a picture of the setup and send it to me sometime. You can always just e-mail it to me. Speaking of which - I never got those pictures of me with long hair I asked for like, months ago! Months and months ago! Christmas is JUST after next transfer, If I have that right. Mission protocol for the year-mark is burning a shirt. So we'll see how that goes down. :)

Dad - MARIO SOTELO! That is so awesome!! I can't believe he's already been a member for 2 years now. I remember every time the missionaries baptized someone thinking that I hoped that they'd remain active, and many times they wouldn't... But I guess every once in a while you find someone who truly takes the Gospel by the reins and just goes and goes and goes. Have you kept in contact with any of the people you baptized in Japan? I think my call letter said at the beginning of my mission that there were approximately 165 stakes in our mission boundaries, but I know it's slightly less since the mission split. Still somewhat nuts. We went to the same ward last Sunday and met some of Malena and Camille's cousins. Small world again. You'd better send pictures of the new pumpkin creations! Question for you.. I know most of the time in Japan you spent street contacting and talking to people.. Did you get many referrals and things? It seems to me like we get a decent amount of referrals... But it also seems mostly like the people we're referred to aren't always the ones that are getting baptized. The Lord seems to work in the way that as long as we are being diligent and obedient and magnifying our call to the best of our ability, it doesn't matter how many referrals we get or how many dead-end investigators we are teaching... If we are doing His will, people will be placed in our paths. Tim was introduced to us after we visited and were shot down by several less-active families, and were teaching other non-members who didn't seem to be going anywhere. But since we remained true and faithful, Heavenly Father provided someone who was prepared. Just wondering if you felt the same way.

I love you guys. I'm going to send some pictures (I think..) and it may even be time to burn some CDs again since I've been doing pretty well with the whole taking pictures thing. I'm glad you know how to Skype now - that will make it easier come Christmas time. Are you excited to see how much weight I've gained? :) Pray for me!

- Elder Tyler Grant

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