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

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