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


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