Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 29th, 2013

So. It turns out that Dad wasn't too far off...

After all this time I've spent in Richmond, I'm finally being
transferred. President Hiers called last night. I'm being transferred
to Garland to be the new District Leader there. I'm kind of tripped
out actually - I already kind of know Garland haha. It's literally the
area that bordered Tremonton, so it's familiar territory for sure!
Haha... I called Sister White to tell her and I think she about died.
I'm gonna be sad to leave Richmond, and I'm kind of intimidated by my
new assignment... But at the same time I had been feeling like a
change was coming and I'm excited for what may be in store. This
transfer has been a challenge - a lot of ups and downs and I learned a
lot about myself. I'm kind of worried about what's going to happen to
Richmond... Elder Clarke is getting another companion who has had some
struggles. So I'm really hoping the area and the work here doesn't
just tank.. I guess the Lord's hand is probably in it. I'm going to be
with a companion who I've never heard of as far as I remember. So who
knows what's gonna happen? :)

Anyway - I sent a picture off already. Mareta did, in fact, get
baptized! I am completely blown away by her faith. She felt the Spirit
and she didn't fight it. We taught her about the Holy Ghost and she
tied it in to the feelings and experiences she had been having. That's
the amazing thing about the Spirit - it is so much more powerful when
someone connects the dots on their own. We taught her several times
last week to prepare her and she got interviewed Friday night. The
baptism itself was one of the most spiritual ones I can remember. A
lot of the ward showed up and a bunch of random Samoan families from
around Logan area came and supported her. She was baptized by her
uncle and I got to be the one to confirm her. The coolest part about
the program was we invited Mareta to get up and bear her testimony and
share her experiences, thoughts she had been having, and kind of share
her journey in making the decision to be baptized. Usually people
chicken out when you ask them to bear testimony, but she actually did
it! She got up and said, "I know that this is the path that God wants
me to be on. I'm willing to follow all of his commandments and I'm
excited to keep learning and becoming better." Now THAT, is real
intent; and probably the biggest miracle of all. You can tell someone
is sincere when they express a desire and follow through on
commitments. She's going to be a really strong member of the church -
a lot of people will be influenced by her strong spirit.

Richmond is pretty much blowing up right now. In the past week we
committed 5 people to be baptized, and there's definitely more on the
way. I've loved this area and I've learned so much here. I'm leaving
behind 4 people with a baptismal date and nearly 20 investigators.
Such is my life. Hopefully Garland will be a good experience for me. I
guess we're called where we're needed, huh? :) Also - one more fun
story... I got to run a snow blower for the first time on Sunday! We
came home for lunch and then had to make a record for one of our
meetings.. And in 2 hours there was over 8 inches of snow in our
driveway and the car got stuck. So we missed the rest of our meetings
because we had to dig our way out. It was pretty funny. We've been
getting quite a bit of snow lately. Which is nice - for the few weeks
before it started snowing the temperature was pretty steadily between
-10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm spell up to 30 degrees has
been great. :)

Mom - I said who Lonnie was! He's a guy I taught several times in
Ogden. Matt had BETTER be on a mission by the time I get home! :)
Haha. So is Ryan really waiting till I get home? I don't think I was
there for Wally's baptism, but I remember the theatrics of him being
baptized in the lake. Pretty awesome! We had an investigator in Star
Valley who wanted to get baptized in the Snake River.. Wouldn't a nice
warm font be a lot better? I miss clam chowder haha. We had some super
good clam chowder about a month ago. I want Bill Frank's chowder! I
should probably write him back.. The White's came up to Richmond and
took us out to a diner there. It was awesome. :)

Dad - We got some freezing rain too the other day. No one around here
acted like they'd ever seen it before. Definitely some irregular
winter weather. Conference called a meeting, huh? Did you like, skype?
:) I don't know a whole lot about the new youth curriculum. It seems
pretty sweet - the Preach My Gospel approach is inspired. Are you
referencing Elder Bednar's talk again? That talk really hit me.
"Knowing the Gospel is true is a testimony.  Being consistently true
to the Gospel is conversion." Did you journal on your mission? I'm
still going strong. I really like being able to go back and read about
the stuff that has happened over the last 14 months. Maybe that will
help you remember some of your baptisms and experiences! :)

I love you all. Sorry if this is a shorter letter - I gotta get home
and pack.. Also! Andrew Olson sent me a (brief) letter this week! Oh
my gosh! I don't know what to do! Wish me luck in Garland!

- Elder Tyler Grant

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 21st, 2013

Okay. So I totally forgot to bring my camera cord today... And I've
forgotten to buy CDs to burn pictures onto for the last like.. 3
months. So I am in the wrong. I'll repent - and maybe I'll remember to
pick them up some today.

So yes! On Saturday we went to the stake center and found that the
font was (luckily) being filled. Except the person had just turned the
hot water on maximum and left it running and left it unattended. So
there was exactly zero hot water in the font by the time the baptism
started. It was actually really cold. The baptismal service was really
special. It was probably the biggest turnout of any baptism I've been
to so far - the entire young women's class, close to 20 girls, showed
up to support Reannah. Her cousin who got baptized just about a year
ago gave a talk and so did her young women's president. I was
privileged enough to be the one who got to baptize her in that
freezing cold water... But it was awesome. Her dad was there and told
her he was proud of her, and he's not even a member. All in all it was
a very special day - Elder Clarke agreed to confirm her after making
several excuses why he didn't want to. But he did just fine.

Oh! Lets jump back in the week a few days.. Last Wednesday we had a
zone conference with the Idaho, Cache North, Cache Central, and Cache
South zones. About 60 missionaries I would guess. Honestly, I've never
been huge on zone conferences.. It's pretty cool to be able to get
together with a bunch of missionaries and stuff, but a lot of times
people go in with the wrong attitude that it's just another meeting.
Which I have been guilty of doing before.. But this time I went in
with the mentality to come away with something - either a boost of the
Spirit or a teaching skill I need work on or a Christlike attribute I
can apply.. And it made all the difference. The trainings that were
presented were just awesome. One in particular was given by one of the
Assistants who talked about setting goals and what we need to do to
achieve them. He also connected it all to the principles of obedience
(what do I have to FOLLOW to reach my goal?), sacrifice (what do I
have to GIVE UP to reach my goal?), and consecration (what do I have
to GIVE to reach my goal?) and it really hit home with me. We also had
a meeting where we practiced introducing the Book of Mormon to people
a little bit more in detail and relating it to the Bible while we do
so. I was practicing with another missionary and he finished, and we
switched so that I could practice it.. And when I did the mission
doctor and both counselors in the mission presidency walked in and
said "Hey! Can we sit in and watch you?" Haha no pressure, right? But
it actually went like... Remarkably well. I felt really confident the
whole time and was amazed at how far I've come. And I know it's not
all me. I know that the Spirit can work through us when we let it. At
the end of the zone conference President Hiers asked me to bear my
testimony. I don't know why I was picked.. So he kinda put me on the
spot. But luckily I had a lot of thoughts on my mind that I shared and
I felt really good about it. All in all it was a much more positive
experience than I've had in the past.

On Friday we had an awesome lesson with the family in Smithfield. At
the end of the last lesson we taught them they asked a question about
the "third heaven" ... So we taught them about the Plan of Salvation.
And that's a pretty hard lesson to teach most of the time.. There's a
lot of difficult doctrine to teach and grasp, so we always have to put
a lot of thought and prayer into that one... We focused a lot about
the doctrines that have been lost or changed from the Bible because
they were reading from a New International Version of the Bible.. And
instead of battling with us or trying to argue they actually agreed
with like, everything that we said. At one point I shared an analogy
about the Atonement and Christ overcoming our sins, and the husband
literally paused and said "Wow... That's amazing." Silence. And the
Spirit exploded in the room. It was pretty awesome. We taught them
again yesterday about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they both said
they were feeling the Spirit pretty strongly. We were going to commit
them for baptism but the husband is leaving on Friday to go to Texas
for 4 months and the timing was just not right. When he said he was
leaving the wife told us that just because he's leaving doesn't mean
we should stop coming over and teaching her, and she volunteered to
relay the information to him every time we teach. How cool would THAT
be? :)

BUT that's not even the coolest miracle of the week. So we've been
teaching the 76 year old Samoan lady for a while now and she's
progressing, but it's pretty slow. We have to explain everything
really simply and slowly and usually several times before it sticks,
and even then sometimes she forgets... Hahaha. And the whole time we'd
teach her her granddaughter, Mareta, would sit in. We'd casually
direct conversation to her every once in a while but she never really
showed a lot of interest. She's 19 or 20 and was raised Catholic. So..
We get a random text message last Saturday saying that Mareta wanted
to be taught. I had been praying a long time that her heart would be
softened, so I had my hopes up. We went and taught her last night, and
before the lesson started I jokingly said to our Zone Leader who was
with us at the time that I was going to commit her to be baptized this
Saturday since she's been going to church since November. After we
said the prayer I asked her what had changed so that she wanted to
meet with us. She said "Honestly.. I've been pondering in my heart for
a long time what I should do. Every time I thought about the Catholic
Church I felt nothing, but every time I thought about joining the
Mormon church I just felt.. My heart rise. I know this is what I want
to do - I want to get baptized." She had been listening to every
lesson we taught her grandma and secretly praying and thinking about
it all. So I committed her for baptism.. For this Saturday! What I
said initially as a joke actually happened! Now THAT is a miracle!
When we shared the First Vision with her we asked her how she felt and
she told us she felt like she was about to cry. Her heart has been
softened so much its incredible. SO we're going to have one more
baptism this transfer after all! At least, we hope so. Pray for her
and for her family. All the stars have aligned for this one... Lets
pray they stay that way. :)

Mom - No I haven't gotten anything from Ellie in like.. 10 months!
That would explain it... I knew it couldn't be because she didn't love
me anymore! :) I haven't opened my Bits & Bites yet... How wrong would
it be to re-gift them back to Evan? He'd probably be elated. I totally
miss having Affie rolls and home made egg rolls too. This week for
pictures? If you say so.. I won't hold my breath! I haven't heard a
lot from President Hiers yet.. I guess he's too busy to write back.
I'll get over it. I'm pretty sure I'm out of Richmond this transfer.
I've talked to President, the APs, the ZLs, and our DL about my
feelings on the area and about my companion. So hopefully that's taken
into account.

Dad - Did you get to be the one to baptize any of your investigators?
I don't ever remember seeing pictures or anything. It's a way cool
experience. I know you got to baptize Nanny... So that could have been
awesome. I didn't mean to sound like I was creating any false
expectations on leadership. I was talking to our ZL yesterday and he
asked me why I'm not in leadership yet and I told him it's because I
don't seek for it. But he told me that teaching wise and communication
wise that I'm ready. And that I should have been made a leader before
now, I just keep it quiet. He told me to stop hiding my talents, so to
speak. I don't know.. I just don't like making a spectacle of myself.
I guess it's different to say that if we have those gifts from
Heavenly Father then we have to share them for the benefit of others.
God willing. :)

I love you all. I'll get pictures soon!

- Elder Tyler Grant


January 15th, 2013

Hey. Hi. Hello.

So, I think it's just because I've been here forever.. But it's
getting harder and harder to stay on top of being motivated to write a
really long letter about the adventures in Richmond every single week.
Nevertheless - I shall persevere.. Also ... I need to put together
that Christmas box still. I've got a lot of the things together, I
just need to pick up a few more 'stuffs' and then it will be on the

So! Reannah is getting baptized this Saturday. She was going to be
baptized by her Uncle, but upon finding out that missionaries can do
it too, she asked me to baptize her. Which is humbling... And
exciting! I've only ever baptized one person before, and that was back
in the Star Valley days. So it's been a while! Everything is set to
go. Mostly. I don't want to jinx it... Also Reannah's grandma added me
on Facebook. So if you're following that, mom... Then that's who Lori
Thayer is. Also - have you put up any pictures yet!? All signs point
to probably not yet. I remember you asking Ryan to help you with that
like, 3 months ago.. But my gut feeling says it hasn't happened yet.

Most of our teaching appointments cancelled this past week...
Everyone's getting the flu. Except for me! Hopefully I didn't jinx
that again. So it's been kind of a drag of a week. We've got multiple
lessons set up for tomorrow, and we also have a zone conference
tomorrow. We were supposed to have zone conference last Friday but
they cancelled it because of a snowstorm... Let's put it this way. Our
mission president took two and a half hours to drive from Brigham City
to South Ogden. And its MAYBE a 30 minute drive. Tops. So it was
snowing pretty badly. He actually sent out a mission-wide text telling
us that we weren't allowed to be on the road with our cars, and to
cancel all our lessons and park the cars for the night. Which would
have been okay if we didn't have two lessons that night and we live in
LEWISTON... Which all the houses are far enough apart that it wasn't
even effective to go out and walk. So we spent all night cleaning and
updating our records.. What a drag. Like I said.. It's been slow.

I'm still mostly studying from the Book of Mormon lately. It's just
such a powerful book. Anyone who doubts its divinity hasn't read it or
hasn't put it to the test. To go along with the Harry Potter challenge
from last week, it actually works! Maybe it's something to try on your
seminary students... Why is it so easy to put so much time into
reading a fiction book like Harry Potter where we can read it all in
one sitting, but we never commit to the Book of Mormon with that level
of zeal? Especially if we consider the questions that the Book of
Mormon answers. Can Harry Potter teach us how to have a relationship
with God? Or even testify that God exists and cares? What about how to
live with our families for eternity? How to seek joy in the midst of
trials... How to overcome guilt, shame, pain, and anguish... How to
avoid transgression and addiction... If it's true, it is the absolute
most important book anyone will ever read. And that's the amazing
part. It has a 100% guarantee that if you will read it, ponder it, and
go straight to the source - that is, ask God if it is true - and TRULY
desire to know, having real intent or the willingness to act upon the
answer we receive, God WILL answer our prayer. With a fireworks show?
No.. But with the 'still, small voice' ... With the witness of the
Holy Ghost. Which, if we are listening, is more powerful than any
logical or worldly approach to convince someone of truth. It is a
messenger directly from our Heavenly Father. It will testify of truth.
I know it will, because I've felt it. I've felt the Spirit testify
through me as I share that message with the people I've taught.
Everything.. EVERYTHING.. Teeters on agency. If an individual won't
exercise the faith necessary to take upon themselves the challenge
issued by Moroni. He urges us to read, ponder and pray. And reap the
blessings, peace, and comfort that come from knowing the truth of the
restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mom - I don't know what my greatest challenge has been. Everything is
a challenge, but that doesn't mean that I don't love it. Having a
companion that doesn't work with you is extremely difficult. But I try
not to let that get to me. Tell Mrs. Mergen that I approve the
missionaries message... :) Evan sounds like he's way ahead of me
taking me up on the Book of Mormon challenge! That's so sweet. I
haven't gotten a care package... Or mail, in a while. But I'm over it.
And I don't know how Aunt Tammy hasn't figured out my issue with
ketchup chips yet. It's only been a 20 year problem..

Dad - Joseph F. Smith was a boss. Actually I'm pretty sure that all
the prophets were. But it's always good to hear their beastly stories
from their youth. Can you imagine going on a mission at 15? No thank
you. :) Honestly, thinking about leadership... Sadly a lot of the
missionaries who get leadership early in our mission all comes down to
two things. First of all, the missionaries who spend the most time
getting to know the leaders, hanging out with them, etc. Secondly,
most of the missionaries who serve close to the mission office or
really get to know the mission president.. And I've been over an hour
away from the office for 8 of the 10 transfers I've been out. And I'm
not one who aspires to leadership. I know that as long as I'm
fulfilling my purpose and doing what I'm asked to do that I'll be
called where I'm needed. There are several missionaries who have been
out less time than I have that are already zone leaders... But, and
I'm sure you've seen this, most of them are the ones who put on a
really good show for the mission president but are fairly two faced.
And that's not what I'm about. I try to stay real... And if that means
getting sent to broken areas with tough companions for the rest of my
mission, then so be it. I'll do what I'm asked, I suppose. :) Actually
several of the leaders that I've talked to have asked me why I'm not
in leadership, saying that I should be. And honestly, it pretty much
because I fly under the radar. I don't make a spectacle of myself, and
I try to stay humble. Our zone leaders are awesome guys. Sometimes we
get pretty showboat-y leaders who make themselves all high and
mighty.. But ours are pretty legit.

I love you all. Have a good week!

- Elder Tyler Grant

January 8th, 2013

Hello! :)

So this past week has been pretty awesome. That is, the area is
finally at the point where a lot of the people who were on the
potentials list we're FINALLY WORKING with them. We've had at least
one lesson every single day for the last 9 days, all of them with non
members. I think my mental clock is still completely off from
e-mailing you guys on Thursday. So I'm going to try not to e-mail
about anything I covered last week...

On Sunday, we had a lesson in Smithfield, which is almost shocking in
itself. Smithfield is extremely member populated... A lot more so than
Richmond or Lewiston. So when we went on visits a few weeks ago with
the ward mission leader and stumbled upon the family I told you about
on Thursday. The ward mission leader invited them over for dinner and
a lesson and invited us along too. They recently moved from Oklahoma
to Lewiston about 6 months ago because her mother was living there,
and then moved to Smithfield shortly after. They've had several
experiences with prayer that have led them here - and they know that
God has led them to this point in their lives. The husband has been
reading the Bible straight through to learn more about Christ and his
Gospel. They've also been amazed at the warm welcome they've received,
and were extremely excited to see the prominence of strong family
values and programs that enrich the family, so their kids have been
going to Activity Days with the primary and are soon to be enrolled in
scouts. Having the lesson in a members home was just awesome. Both our
ward mission leader and his wife are both RMs and throughout the
lesson they tied in principles we taught to experiences they've had
and ways that they've been blessed. They were also both there to bear
testimony of the truthfulness of what we said. There were a lot of
questions asked and the non-member couple was very vocal and open in
their responses. We shared a message about the Book of Mormon and the
Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and invited them to pray
about it, and they accepted. It was honestly one of the best lessons I
can even recall... The importance of having a member in the lesson is
so overlooked. And I look back to before my mission and think about
all the opportunities I could have had to share the Gospel with all
those around me. There was a statistic given in one of our zone
conferences a while back that said that 1 out of every 1000 people who
the missionaries tract into will accept the message and be baptized.
However, the statistic jumps MASSIVELY when instead of missionaries
going and meeting them, people are invited by a friend or neighbor.
Can you guess? It jumps to 666 out of 1000. That is the reason why I'm
so grateful to be serving here in Utah. There are so many good people
willing to invite and share this simple message with their friends of
other faiths. Truly we are all brothers and sisters. And I love it
here. :)

Also - I took my meds early this morning.. So I'm a bit spaced out
right now. I'm having a hard time focusing on this letter. But I'll
keep truckin' through it for you...

Just yesterday Reannah got interviewed for baptism, and she passed!
Not that we were worried she wouldn't.. The only issue we faced was
getting permission from her dad, and he said that she could. We also
JUST found out that her dad isn't even a member at all! That would
explain why he's been so uninvolved, I guess. Reannah is so solid -
she's had a pretty crazy life so far and has had a lot of challenges.
But she's embracing everything that we teach her and everything that
her grandma has showed her in taking her to church. The young women
have received her warmly and she still wants to do baptisms for the
dead. We actually just learned not too long ago that Maya Lopez went
and did baptisms for the dead for the first time a few weeks ago.
There is so much work going on right now in this area - all the
members are on fire. I've never seen missionary work run so smoothly
before in my whole mission. Everybody here just gets it. I dread the
day that I have to be transferred somewhere else. Honestly the first
day I got here the work was at a standstill. And now we have a
teaching pool of 17 people with more on the way. Yeah... That usually
means I'm about to get kicked out.

Mom - I'm so glad to hear you've been able to maybe relieve some of
that stress from two teenagers and seminary! Haha.. That resort was
pretty awesome after all. Lots of pools. It definitely needed more
ping pong tables! And it's pretty weird that 3 of the missionary calls
have already been made. They're staggered in almost the worst possible
way haha. After the last call you won't see me for 6 whole months!
Evan's reading the Book of Mormon now, huh? Legit! You're kind of a
speed reader... We've been using that as a technique to get people to
read the Book of Mormon. Usually using Harry Potter as the example.
"If you read Harry Potter in 6 hours... Do you think you could read
the most important book you'll ever read in 2 weeks?" Bam. It's
actually gotten a lot of people reading! Don't even START talking
about movies! I'm not even close to done yet! :) I'm still Journaling
every day. Well.. I miss a day here and there, but I always catch up.
Every day of my mission has been written about. I think the thing that
I have drawn upon the most to add to my talents as a missionary is my
ability to just.. Talk to people. Communication is way easy for me -
what takes practice is taking what someone else says and linking it to
a principle in the Gospel. But from week 3 in the mission field with
Elder Scoggin we were teaching about 50/50 of the time. That doesn't
happen very often. After 3 months with Bengtson it was probably like
90/10 at most.

Dad - I'm glad you had an awesome trip. I remember when we went
snorkeling out on that dead looking reef (I believe that was in St.
Maarten's) where the coolest thing we saw was a garfish. I've never
had the courage to swim 25 feet down.. Too much water pressure, not
enough lung capacity! Shocked by a stingray, huh? Careful. That's what
killed the mighty Steve Irwin. Crikey! Hope Rick is feeling better.
Poor guy.. So Uncle Chris is doing fireworks full time!? That's
probably like.. his dream come true! I know he had some some
shows/things as side projects (I think) but they're going to make this
one official, huh? That's still pretty awesome. Maybe he'll hook you
up with some shows! Then again, set up and lighting them off is
probably far less impressive than being able to watch from a distance.
It'll be sad if they move from the house they're in! I like that house
a lot. I feel like it's been a while since I've been there.. Best of
luck with all the stake young mens president stuff and things.

I love you all! Keep up what you're all doing. Whatever that may be.
Bloom where you stand. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

january 3, 2013

Happy.. Thursday! It's pretty odd to be e-mailing you on such a day.
But with the New Year's holiday it was kind of unavoidable.. Anyway.
It was way awesome to talk to you all on Christmas. Evan is so tall -
and so deep-voiced! Crazy indeed. I think dad got the word right when
he said it felt surreal to see you all. Seriously - the longer I'm
out, the more home feels like the dream world and this feels like it's
just my life now.

So! To recap the week, Christmas day was just awesome. Elder Cox, one
of my former companions, came up from South Ogden to spend Christmas
Eve and Christmas day with us since he didn't know anybody in the area
he was just transferred in with a brand new missionary. Which was a
treat... We spent the day at a cool family's home who happened to have
7 laptops for skyping... But they didn't have enough bandwidth so
that's why I skyped from the comfort of our own little apartment. The
day after Christmas was filled with miracles. We went to dinner with
one of our ward mission leaders and afterwards we went out on visits
with him. Out of no where there is just a ton of non-members moving
into his ward.. And he offered to take us to a few of them. He took us
to a non-member family who recently moved in from Oklahoma who
initially was very against the church. But the lady's mom was just
baptized in January of this past year and has seen the changes that
she's made in her life, and as a result has softened up a lot. So when
we invited them to meet with us.. They said yes! I'm actually really
excited.. Teaching an entire family is a super cool experience, and
when they make the journey to Christ together it leads to a much
stronger conversion. I'm pumped!

So remember that Joe guy I told you about a while ago? He's been kind
of MIA for a while now.. Nowhere to stay and no real way to reach him.
Well on Monday I was on exchanges with our district leader and we get
a random phone call in the middle of studies... And it was Joe. He
asked if it was me, and then said "Hey Elder Grant.. Remember that
peace that you told me about? I really need that right now. Can you
meet me in 20 minutes?" We dropped everything and drove to the place
where he said to meet him, which was actually just at Subway, funnily
enough. We didn't have time to prepare a lesson since it was a 20
minute drive to get from our apartment to Logan, so we just said a
prayer in the car and talked about scriptures that we could share with
him. He told us that he's been running out of options and that he's
basically at the end of his rope. There was a lot of prayer that went
on during that lesson... But it was amazing - every time he brought
something up, we tied it to a scripture. We probably shared 7 or 8
different passages of scripture that fit his situation perfectly. He
even said on one scripture "Wow.. That's like, a mirror image of my
situation." The spirit testified to his heart the things we shared
were true. We both bore strong testimonies of the Book of Mormon and
committed him to a baptismal date, and he accepted. We left him a Book
of Mormon and promised him if he would read it then he'd be able to
know for himself if the things we were teaching were true. There was a
complete change in his countenance from the beginning of the lesson to
the end of it. By the end, there was a visible light in his eyes... He
had hope. 2 hours after the lesson he called us - and he had out of
nowhere found a place to live. I think the Lord MAY have had something
to do with it.. :) It was an extremely powerful experience for me and
for the District Leader. It was another witness to me of just how
powerful the scriptures are in tying in true principles to our
situations today. The Book of Mormon truly was saved for our day.
There are several times in the Book of Mormon where it says they
didn't even write 1/100th of the things that happened down. Everything
in there is for a reason.

The very next day we had a lesson with a lady named Bonnie. Her
husband is a less-active member, friendly, but uninterested. But she
and her son have been coming to church and ward activities on their
own for a while now. The ward has just taken them in with open arms...
The perfect situation for fellow-shipping, honestly. She had had a bad
experience with her previous ward where she lived before, and all of
that was mended when she began to be welcomed tremendously by the
people in the Cove ward. Cove, Utah. Population less than 300. How
sweet is that? :) Anyway, a member of the bishopric invited her to
meet with us and she said yes. We taught her and her son the first
lesson and they accepted the conditional commitment to be baptized -
that is, if God answered their prayers then they would accept that as
his will for them. It's so cool to see just how prepared people can
be. She said that she's had a lot of experiences over the last 2 years
that have just been steering her in this direction, and that's why she
ultimately made the choice to start going to church, and she loved it.
Actually, she actually has a calling now! And she's not a member! She
volunteered to be one of the cub scout leaders... Straight up went and
asked the Primary President if she could be involved. When was the
last time YOU asked for a calling?

So many people in this area are progressing. We had a lesson just last
night with two teenagers who we've probably taught 7 or 8 times, and
they had never gone to church. They accepted everything that we taught
but had never taken that big leap of faith to actually go. And this
past Sunday, they both went! And as much as they fought it every time
we brought it up, they both told us that they can't wait to go back.
The sad part is that since they had never wanted to go to church
before they signed up for ski lessons for the next 3 Sundays and they
won't be able to make it. But one of them told me - completely out of
nowhere - that he's thinking about getting baptized, and if he does,
then he wants me to be the one to do it. They're also both reading the
Book of Mormon - one of them has read 120 pages in the last week.
We're finally starting to see some successes after all the work that
I've done over the last 5 months. I'm probably not going to be around
when they all get baptized, but I know that I've done my part. It's
starting to feel like I'm definitely going to be transferred after
this. I literally know like, just about EVERY former investigator in
this area, who their fellowship is, and what's holding them back. I've
met a ton of them. I love this area so much - but I'm just worried
that any preconceived notion that I have about these people may be
what's holding them back from another chance. Well.. Let me re-word
that.. I'm worried that what I knew about them in August or September
might hold me back from giving them another chance now that it's
January. Does that make sense? I truly do love it here, but change is
always good.

As for my companion... He's interesting. I went from a companion who
was extremely difficult to get to talk to a companion who never STOPS
talking. He has a very strong
personality - but luckily, he says that I'm his favorite companion so
far and the easiest to get along with. We have a lot in common, he
just weirds people out sometimes. But hey... I can get along with just
about anybody. I'm not letting it stop the work from moving forward.
We just had interviews with the mission president yesterday and
President kind of hinted that we're together for that very reason.. To
give him a positive social experience with someone he'll like, since
his last few companions have given him a really hard time. He's a good
kid, though. I like him, it's just testing my patience is all. But I'm
over it. :)

Mom - I'm really glad you didn't break down and cry during the video
call. Not that I expected you to.. You haven't cried ONCE since I
left! So you're a big pinball player, huh? I didn't know that. I
thought that all you played was Q*Bert. And I totally forgot that you
guys were going to Mexico. Are you at the same resort that you've gone
to the last few times? Riviera Maya, I think? That one was pretty
awesome. I still feel bad that last time we went that Ryan was out of
it most of the week. That always seems to happen to him.. I don't know
if I have any huge resolutions for the year. Maybe I'll start doing
pushups and situps so I can lose this blasted Utah-gut of mine. What
is the strangest experience I've had? Umm.. It's probably a toss-up
between that crazy superman guy in Ogden, going to Jehovah's Witness
church, and going to that Anti-mormon concert. I don't know. Every day
is an adventure. :)

Dad - Glad you had a good Christmas. I guess I still need to send a
few things home in a box.. I'll get that together. I haven't sent a
big batch of pictures home since like, August... So I'm due. Sea
turtle, huh? You should have captured it and put it in Mom's purse.
That would have gotten you some bonus points. Have you acquired a
sweet tan yet? Haha I miss the tan days of baking myself every single
day in Ogden. Oddly enough, I never did get sunburned.. Any gospel
topics? I guess I've been studying more lately in Joseph Smith history
about just how he felt at the time before he went and prayed. There
was a lot going through his mind. I think one of the biggest
motivating factors was that his family was divided on the subject of
religion, something that I guess I hadn't really thought about before.
Some were Methodist, some were Presbyterian, and everyone thought that
they were right. I'm going to keep studying up on that.. It's truly
remarkable once you start to get into church history just how much
application there is for our day as well. Which is probably why I
still enjoy even looking back at old Ensigns and reading old talks
that are still applicable to us now. The church is true! And I'm SO
excited about Matt turning in his papers! That punk has never written
me back... But I've been praying for him. I guess BYU-I has been good
for him. That's just awesome.

Anyways. I guess this letter is a longer one... Probably because I had
a lot to cover. Thanks for your prayers. I feel so blessed to be
here... I love it and I can't believe how fast the time is going. I'll
send you a Christmas box before too long. I already consumed all 3
bags of the ketchup chips Aunt Tammy sent me.. They lasted an entire
week! :)

I love you all!

- Elder Tyler Grant

December 18th, 2012

Oh transfer week is always so stressful.. The anticipation is just
awful. And I'm sure it's been killing you too! So guess what...

I'm staying!!

I'm actually really surprised. I had been getting the feeling that I
was going to be transferred for a while now, and now I'm going to be
in this area till January 31st! And, oddly enough, Elder Bengtson is
leaving me! I'm going to be getting another missionary who, as always,
I know very little to nothing about. He's not brand new - he's been
out for (I believe) 5 transfers, so someone with a wee bit more
experience. It's going to be sad though - as quirky as he was, Elder
Bengtson is a really good kid. It's been tricky at times, but you
would not believe the changes that he's made. He's a completely
different person now. Not necessary 100% on the teaching side of
things, but he actually TALKS now! Everyone in the zone has noticed
it. I'm beginning to wonder if that's really the reason that he was
put with me in the first place. I've always kind of had a knack for
getting to know and talking to people; and we were both discussing it,
and both got the feeling that the reason I was picked to train him is
because I got him to come out of his shell. He's still pretty quiet,
but he'll actually TALK now! I'm pretty pumped for him - he was
worried that he'd have to stay in this area and lead the next
missionary that comes in, and he wasn't confident about the area at
all. Probably because it's huge.. I'm way excited though. We've
counted through our lists, and we've literally got 32 people starred
that COULD get baptized in the next couple months. God willing. :)
Pray for the best!

So can you believe the Christmas call is in a week!? I can't at all! I
really don't know details on the time... Sister Bright told us that
she's just going to let us borrow her laptop and use that to chat with
you guys. :) So it will be from the comfort of our own apartment. How
cool is that? I haven't opened ANY of my Christmas presents yet! Do
you have a preference on what time? We might have someone call you
guys and ask for details... If that's okay of course! Hopefully I
didn't lose the info for that google hangout..  It'll be so strange to
see you again! It's literally been an entire 13 months. Crazy!

In terms of the area, everything is going well. All of the ward
mission leaders were praying that I didn't get transferred haha. They
must have extraordinary faith. We just taught Reannah again yesterday
and she's now working towards the first week of January for her
baptism. I was with one of the Smithfield South missionaries when we
went to teach her and he was amazed at how prepared she was. So we're
all vouching for her! We're also going to (hopefully) start teaching a
part member family in Cove within the next week. And the Samoan
family. And a couple other teenagers in Lewiston that love us to death
- and they could be baptized in a heartbeat if they would go to
church.. Close. We're going to hit it hard next transfer and put the
pedal to the metal; as long as we don't run out of miles.. :)

Other than that, I don't have a TON to report from the area. Not much
has changed as things are still slowing down for Christmastime. Once
it all blows over things will be great. I've been thinking a lot about
the Christmas season lately, and it really is a time to change. I've
never been one to be incredibly excited about all the physical
manifestations of Christmas. You know.. The decorations, the Santas,
the lights, and most of all I HATE Christmas music.. But I am very
grateful for the message that underscores it all, namely Christ's life
and Atonement. Without the Atonement we would be stuck, effectively
'damned' .. Not in the condemned sense, but literally in the sense
that we could not progress. If we sinned one time we would not be able
to match up with the standards of perfection that go along with the
Celestial Kingdom. Because of Christ's sacrifice there is in reality a
way out. A way to overcome sin and to master ourselves. To fight back
against Satan. I've got this super boss spiritual thought going in my
head right now, but I'm tired and it's not connecting right... Flehhh.
I guess all that I'm trying to say is that it's starting to really
click for me as to the magnitude of Christ's suffering and also the
reality of the freedom from sin that results from it. So Merry
Christmas, everyone!

Mom - It was snowing HARD yesterday. Like, super hard. It dumped
nearly a foot in like, a hour. It was crazy - it was almost pretty
scary to drive on. At least it wasn't my Jeep, otherwise I'd be afraid
I'd tip.. Ryan's been teaching somebody and they're getting baptized?
That'll be a good experience for him. Tell Evan the 12 step program
doesn't exactly tailor to Pokemon.. How come Ryan OR Evan didn't write
me? Probably because they're waiting for Tuesday, huh?

Dad - Sorry to spoil the surprise.. I swear it was inadvertent. Be
nice to Nanny! So did you put in any requests for music at the dance?
Slash did any inappropriate stuff come up? I hope not! One of my
roommates at college told me about a church dance he went to where
they played a song, not knowing that it had a SUPER bad swear word in
it. So there goes the spirit.. :) I guess I can understand your whole
Zelda thing. You'll have time to catch up when you're old and gray
like Papa. Good to hear about Andrew and Ben - I've still heard

Sorry I didn't write too much. I guess you'll just have to wait and
hear from me more on Tuesday. :)

Love you!

- Elder Tyler Grant

Friday, January 25, 2013

December 11th, 2012

I hope.. That you got my re-sent letter to Ryan. I totally sent him
one last week from the address that HE e-mailed me from! I re-forwarded
it to you guys so that there can be no mistaking it this time
around... I must be tired today - don't think my brain is kicking on
all cylinders... :)

So hey! We've got a lot of great things going for us once again. I'm
really hoping that the Spirit of Christmas doesn't take its toll like
it nearly did last year, when 90% of the people in our teaching pool
pulled the "we'd love to meet with you after the holidays!" card...
It's not looking like it's going to be that drastic. I'm wondering if
I'm even going to be here for Christmas. It's killing me not to know!
Especially because of all the people we're teaching. We've taught two
lessons now to our Samoan friends.. And it's been the coolest
experience. We're mainly teaching the grandma right now, a 76 year old
lady named Apo. And, like I mentioned last week, she doesn't speak a
SINGLE word of English. So we went in with our translator friend fresh
off his mission in Samoa... I've never taught with a translator
before. It's extremely different. Especially when one English sentence
translates to a paragraph in Samoan. Plus - the biggest difference -
was that teaching someone from another culture, there are certain
principles that make sense to us but they just don't click or
translate to another language very well. The single biggest change is
that when we normally teach people, we focus a LOT on the Holy Ghost
and the feelings that come from it being more than just a warm fuzzy
feeling, but preparing them to receive an actual confirming witness
from God. Turns out that the Holy Ghost is far too abstract to
comprehend for the Samoan culture and upbringing. After talking in
circles for a while and trying to teach the same principles over and
over, we talked to the RM and he said that we're going to have to take
a different approach, focusing on teaching very little detail and just
straight testifying. So we did that. Last night we taught her again,
except that the translator wasn't able to come.. So we asked her
daughter to translate for us and it went really well. She told us
"Give me some time to ponder. If this is what God is telling me, then
this is what's right." So that was a pretty good sign. Her 18 year old
granddaughter has also been sitting in on the lessons, and she's
warming up to us more and more. They've also been going to church for
a solid month and a half.. So the Spirit should work it's magic

Oh my gosh.. My brain is like... Not even coherent right now. So this
letter may be extremely sloppy. Plus I'm sitting here in the
tabernacle sitting next to Elder Scoggin, who is going home in less
than a month, so we're reminiscing the golden days back in Tremonton.
I'm finding it hard to focus on the events of the last week. :)

We've also taught Reannah a few more times.. We were hoping that she
could get baptized this Saturday but it's not looking like that is
going to be the case. At any rate she will be baptized before the end
of the year for sure. She prayed at the end of the last lesson, and
basically bore her testimony to us in the middle of her prayer. She
told us the only thing she wants for Christmas is to be baptized, and
she's not asking for anything else. Her cousins are still doing really
well, and by that I mean Nia & Maya. Their entire family went to
church again, mom included. I think there are good things happening in
that home... The spirit is hard at work. And with a little luck and a
lot of prayers, we'll be able to start teaching Julio and Tlaloc,
their dad and brother. Their family is just so unbelievably close.
There are so many people that are unbelievably close! All the ward
mission leaders in both stakes are in overdrive right now - they're
finally starting to understand their roles and the wards are beginning
to catch the vision. One brand new ward mission leader in particular
told us that they've formulated a brand new ward mission plan and have
assigned auxiliary presidents to make visits to 18 non member and less
active homes to report back in the next week. Another ward in Richmond
has a family that we had been working with, but they were turned off
because one of the people who showed up to home teach them, the
less-active mother said she had seen him drunk at a bar the week
before. So that blew that opportunity for us.. But we've now got the
ward and auxiliary presidencies working on the 3 youth who haven't
been baptized, and one of them in particular has been going to young
women's activities faithfully for months and, recently, has been
attending and loving church. The forces are being mobilized, so to
speak. It'll suck if I have to leave.. But come what may, I know I'll
be where I'm supposed to be. It's taken a lot to build up this area,
but I can honestly say that if I do leave next Wednesday that I left
it better than I found it. And that's what the Lord asks.

And our Christmas mission conference was pretty great. It was a very
long day of sitting.. Some trainings were given by some missionaries
who will be going home soon. And they had a super long talent show
which, while it was amusing, was definitely too long. 4 hours.
Gahhh.... It was good to see everybody again though. I opened up my
Christmas box JUST to get the Charlie Brown tree out, I haven't opened
any presents.. I promise. :) The Christmas spirit is a real thing.
We've had lots of opportunities to associate with potential
investigators at Christmas parties in the last week.. On Saturday we
attended 4 ward parties. THAT was a long day. But I would say the
coolest experience was actually in the Cove ward - where the Bishop
set us up to go on a sleigh ride with 3 non members who have been
going to church faithfully for a while. We got to know them
informally, and then we got to speak in their ward the next day and
they attended. Stuff is happening! I can't say it enough - everyone is
so close!

Mom - Tell Ryan to check his e-mail, or just show him the one I
re-forwarded. I don't want to be in trouble with him. Our trip down to
Ogden last Thursday was retardedly foggy too! It was some of the worst
fog I've driven in ... Scary to say the least. It also finally snowed
here and it stuck!! 3 days ago we got a bit of snow and it's been
coming in bursts ever since. Nothing like -25 though. That we will
NEVER see. Does Brother Swartz still play League of Legends? :)
Hahahaha.. I remember playing with him a few times and just laughing
because I was playing a computer game with the Young Men's President..
I bet I could still kick his butt, and I'm a year rusty! How come you
didn't go and sing in the Hallelujah Chorus? The soundtracks I've been
listening to most, by the way, are Avatar, Pirates, Lord of the Rings,
and Gladiator. All of which are extremely well done. I miss
clam/seafood chowder super badly! Every time someone asks what we want
to eat, I always say clam chowder.. And they always make something
else. I'll get it eventually... No hymnbooks yet I keep forgetting

Dad - The classic Sunday nap! Nothing beats it! Sundays are our
longest days.. We have no time for naps however. We go to too many
sacraments and correlation meetings about missionary work. Blahh..
Glad to hear that your first stake dance wasn't a flop! Not that I
expected it to be.. You're quite the dancer, as I recall. I love Elder
Holland's talks. I accidentally deleted the audio files you sent me
before, but I listened to them all several times through and I think I
got enough out of them.. :) If you wanted to send me a few Holland
audio files I wouldn't hate it. I can't believe you got a pinball
machine! That is SO sick! Do you have to put coins in it too? That'll
be something that you can beat me at.. Since you'll never top my score
on Pacifism!! The remarks on the brother of Jared were pretty sweet..
I'll do some studying into that this week if I remember! By the way -
you owe it to yourself to play through Wind Waker. Goofy as it looks,
it's extremely satisfying and the cel-shaded art style grows on you.

I love you all! Thanks for all that you do - can't wait to see you at Christmas!

- Elder Tyler Grant

December 4th, 2012

Oh hi. :)

I was actually INCREDIBLY excited to open the emails today and see that I had a dual-written letter from Ryan and Evan.. Great format! Extremely hard to follow along with, but I expected nothing less. Sometimes I wonder if I actually miss family.. :) Hahaha. It's the strangest thing. I have no problems at all being away from home. I guess that you could say that "I get over it" easily. But it's always nice to hear from you all, and I appreciate it immensely. I also hope that those pictures came through.

Well last Saturday we were extremely blessed and had the baptisms of Nia & Maya . They're so awesome... They were baptized by a family friend in the ward that has been home teaching there and fellow shipping them for years and years and years. A LOT of their family attended the baptism, including several non-members. Her entire immediate family was there, mom and dad included. They also all attended their confirmation on Sunday morning - which is the first time their whole family has been at church since they moved to Richmond 15 years ago! Their mom was extremely supportive, and she hasn't been to church in 5 years at ALL. There's more work to do with their family, and we're not going to stop now. Oddly enough, it was their cousin who was the girl who signed up for baptisms for the dead a while ago..

Also - cool story about that girl! Her name is Reannah and she's living with her now-active grandmother and some other assorted family.. She's been coming to church for a long time now and has been telling her young women's leaders that she wants to be baptized. And - get ready for another "only in Utah" moment... - last Sunday, she got up and BORE HER TESTIMONY! So she's not baptized herself, wants to be baptized for her ancestors, and bore her testimony of how she knows the church is true. We taught her a lesson yesterday and, not surprisingly, she already knew a LOT of the doctrine and answered most of the questions in a curiously profound manner. Her dad is less-active and living in the home too, but he wants nothing to do with the lessons.. But he was at Nia  & Maya's baptism on Saturday and was able to partake of the sweet spirit that was there. So he'll come around... And she should be getting baptized before the end of the year, MAYBE (miracle provided and God-willing..) even next Saturday! This mission is just crazy.. I hope that all the other missionaries in the field or entering the field are able to be blessed with cool experiences like this. How could the church not be true? It's incredible once you're an instrument in the Lord's hands full-time just how much you can see Heavenly Father's blessings enriching and uplifting people. I don't think I appreciated it fully until I got here - in fact I know I didn't. So many people are touched by his tender mercies and so many miracles go unnoticed. Sometimes we're just lucky enough to be the catalyst to bring to pass His miracles in His timing. :)

In other news, we've been picking up more appointments lately with new investigators that we've had in our sights now for a while. Tomorrow night we'll be teaching an 18 year old girl from Samoa and her 70-plus year old grandmother, who doesn't speak a WORD of English. Luckily, they moved here at the end of October and a missionary in their ward finished his mission 5 days later... And he served in Samoa. So he'll be translating for us. There are NO coincidences... I'm convinced. We're teaching another family in Smithfield tonight who is on their way back to church. We met with both stake presidents on Sunday and were able to discuss goals and plans of action for their respective stakes. The Richmond Stake has a LOT going right now.. Like a lot!! The Smithfield North Stake is much trickier. It is extremely highly member populated, and the people who live there who are either less-active or non-members are well-established in the area.. That is to say they've lived there for several years and have been approached numerous times and met with the missionaries before. With that stake it's more fasting and praying that the Lord will provide opportunities to open doors to touch these peoples lives again, and it's up to them to seize it or not. There are a lot of less-actives they're trying to get us in with, and there are several possibilities for reactivations in the future. The Richmond Stake is just brimming with potentials - there are an incredible amount of people who are not members of the church who are SO close! Within the next few months here there will be baptisms, and several of them. I don't know if I'm going to be around to see them. But I've done all that I could do. We still have to accept the Lord's timing. It is impossible to measure the success of a missionary by mere baptisms alone. We may never know how many seeds we planted or how much good we've done. But the perspective I've chosen to take is patterned after a talk that President Eyring said a couple conferences ago.. "I may not be a perfect servant every hour, but I can give more effort than I thought that I could." If we put forth the effort and exert our faith, miracles will happen. I know that to be true because I've seen it. The relationships that we build with members and non-members will resonate and carry through for many sets of missionaries to come. I pray that I may be one of the missionaries that people LIKE to follow into the area instead of the opposite... Mending areas isn't the funnest thing to do, but there are many ways to progress the Lord's work. Only a few people get to harvest. :)

Mom - Yeah, the music is gone. But I'm over it. It's actually kinda nicer to just be driving along in the car and the iPod shifts from an a-cappella Eric Whitacre piece to a song from Pirates of the Carribbean.. :) Hahaha. All of those movies have a remarkable soundtrack. I think I totally remember Affie having a ridiculously good memory. I also remember sitting and watching Jeopardy with her when Ken Jennings was wreaking havoc. I regret that I didn't learn scripture mastery, but it's all coming to me over time. I don't know which scriptures are the masteries exactly but my scriptures are more and more marked up. You might even be impressed! We just saw Heidi yesterday actually. We drop in and visit her every once in a while. I don't know her address - try facebook! Haha. The Star Valley cat killer got baptized back in July. He was waiting to turn 18 because his parents wouldn't give him permission to get married to his live-in girlfriend OR give him permission to be baptized. So after his birthday he did both! I haven't opened the Christmas box yet. I got a letter from Bill Frank last week! And I got my long hair pictures about a month ago.. No one believes its me.

Dad - We watched the Christmas devotional too! It was rather humorous to say the least. Would you believe that it was DOWNPOURING outside during the whole thing? It has rained 5 or 6 times in the past couple weeks... We could have had a lot of snow dumped on us by now, but the temperature has been hovering between 45 and 55 degrees. So no snow lately! And for the record, here comes the ward mission leaders.. (S3 - Spackman, S4 - Jones, S8 - Bates, S9 - Fortney, S12 - Enriquez, S19 - Connor, S22 - Wilson, R1 - there currently isn't one!, R2 - Bowles, R3 - Thatcher, R4 - Petroff, L1 - Dent, L2 - Anderson, L3 - Nebeker, L4 - Seamons, CI - Dayton, CC - Ward, CO - Thornley, B1 - Ballard, B2 - Findlay, AM - Baldwin (bishop's son..), TR - Barker, N1 - Griffin, N2 - Regen, C1 - Page, C2 - Austin, CR - Littlefield) .. Want their addresses too? :) If I ever come in contact with one of these phantom mission calls, I'll scan it or something. Random question - did you ever play through Zelda: Skyward Sword? I remember you agonizing over how long Twilight Princess was a few years back. Some BYU men's chorus might be nice - and the a cappella group you're thinking of is Vocal Point. You owe it to yourself to go set up the huge fireworks show! This is a once in an ever opportunity! Then again, the view is better from afar. Did you take videos of the pumpkin detonations this year?  By the way.. I can still totally remember you teaching me the 26 digits of pi. 3.1415926535897932384626. I must be your son after all!

I love you all. Thanks for your continued support and prayers. "Stuff" is a-happening up here. And we hope that the Lord keeps up all his hard work. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant