Sunday, January 27, 2013

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

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