Friday, January 25, 2013

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

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