Monday, March 25, 2013

February 26th, 2013

Yeah I can't hide anything from you guys anymore... I guess you've
already been informed about EVERYTHING that's happened! :) Haha.. But
I'll report anyway.

So last Tuesday evening my stomach started cramping a little bit, but
I didn't think anything of it.. I popped a couple of Tums and then
went to bed. Didn't sleep too well.. Got up the next morning and went
to the gym. I still had the same pain, but it was minor at best so I
still paid very little attention to it. Then went to district meeting
and I gave the training I had prepared. It all went really well and
it's getting easier every time. After lunch the pain had worsened, and
it didn't even seem like it was coming from my stomach, it seemed like
my intestines were twisting inside me. I opted to try and rest up a
little bit in the afternoon but the pain got worse so I wasn't even
able to sleep. The strangest part was that I had the pain but I didn't
feel sick at all - it wasn't the same feeling as having the flu. In
fact I had thought about throwing up to make my stomach feel better
but I couldn't. We went to our dinner appointment but I was the
farthest thing from hungry, and the sharp pain continued. I called up
the mission doctor and described my symptoms. He then gave me
basically an ultimatum. "Take some Pepto Bismol. If the pain subsides
then it was a stomach irritation and you'll be fine. If not, go to the
hospital because it's probably your appendix." Hey thanks for the
cheery news! We went to the Gibbs' because we didn't have Pepto
Bismol.. They're so awesome. I love them so much - it amazes me how
much love they show to me and my companion even though we're basically
total strangers. Elder Sherman took their son to our next appointment
so that I could lay down and try and recover. However over the next 30
minutes the pain only got worse and worse, and I started
hyperventilating.. And THEN I threw up. But that didn't make me feel
better at all. Actually when I threw up my hands went completely numb
and I couldn't move them. So we made the executive decision to go to
the hospital.. And since it was 8:30 at night all that was open was
the ER. They started to run tests and I had to go throw up again.. The
pain got worse and worse and I started to get really tired. They drew
my blood and when they were about to put an IV in I started dry
heaving - and the IV slipped out and blood kind of went everywhere..
Which didn't help. This was the scariest part - immediately after that
my arms went completely numb and my arms locked up. I couldn't move my
hands, wrists, or elbows. My hands were completely locked up in a fist
and I couldn't open them. That was some of the worst pain I could
remember.. It went on for like 10 minutes and I was completely
helpless. My face went numb and I couldn't speak. My stomach went
numb.. After a while my arms started to gain feeling again and the
pain went away. They gave me an IV and took me to get an ultrasound to
check my appendix, gall bladder, and liver. I was feeling considerably
better by this point - I started trying to make light of the situation
to keep myself from panicking, and the pain was still fading. They did
x-rays.. Blood tests.. And I laid there for a while in the hospital
bed. They prescribed me some pills, and sent me off with no diagnosis!
That's the weirdest part. They didn't give me a conclusive answer as
to what happened. They said "possible gastritis." How strange is that?
The cool part of the story is that when I was having my huge muscle
spasm, Elder Sherman texted like 3 people telling them to offer a
prayer for me because I was in the ER and no one knew what was wrong.
And somehow that text made it's way around the entire mission.
Actually I know how... Remember Elder Bengtson, the missionary I
trained? He got the message from Sherman and then forwarded it to
literally every other set of missionaries in the mission. It was a
miracle in that regard. Even though people didn't know necessarily who
I was, they prayed for me. I got text messages for the next few days
from missionaries that I barely knew asking me how I was feeling. It
was a really cool feeling. I'm doing much better now. No complications
since I left. Our zone leaders and a few missionaries in the zone came
and stayed with me the whole time I was in the ER, and Sister Gibbs
stayed the whole time. She's an amazing lady. You should definitely
get into her friend circle. :)

After that day I wasn't able to slow down... Or take a break at all
for that matter. On Thursday we had District Leader Training, followed
by exchanges with our Zone Leaders, two baptismal interviews, and
three lessons. It was an arduous day. But it just goes to show that
the work of God stops for no one! Hahaha.. On Friday we had our last
rehearsal for the musical fireside, and it came together pretty well.
Sunday night was the actual day of the fireside.. And it was SUCH a
cool experience. The music was amazing and they invited all of the
missionaries from foreign countries to share their conversion story
and then their testimony in their native language. Testimonies were
borne in Arabic, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Madagasi, Samoan, Tongan,
and Tagalog. I have the recordings of the songs we performed all on my
camera. "Nearer My God to Thee" was incredible - obviously the
recording doesn't do it justice. After the fireside we got a text
message from one of our investigators sons. They came to the fireside
- they've been coming to church for a while now and their teenage son
has been considering getting baptized but has never demonstrated the
faith and acted on it. He texted us saying "I felt really good at the
fireside. How do I get baptized?" THAT'S what the firesides are for!
He'll hopefully be getting baptized within the next week.

Other than that... Things are going well. We're trying to work with a
lot of families still who are incredibly busy... Unavoidable. We had a
leadership conference yesterday down in Ogden for the DLs and ZLs. It
was a really good conference - they basically told us that we don't
need to always be looking for new trainings or quick-fix solutions
that will solve the mission problems or make it easier to get
baptisms. That isn't what the mission president, assistants, zone
leaders, and everyone else are for. We aren't trying to create
band-aid solutions that will boost numbers. We are trying to pattern
ourselves after Jesus Christ. Preach My Gospel and the scriptures are
our tools. All of our investigators needs are met by coming unto Jesus
Christ and repenting, accessing the Atonement for themselves. People
have been asking for ways to help overcome their investigators
concerns or ways to get investigators to say yes.. That isn't our
purpose. Our purpose is to help them understand how they are going to
realize the blessings that Heavenly Father already has in store for
them. Did you know that being a missionary is awesome? Haha..

Oh yeah! And we had a baptism on Saturday. The 8 year old twins we
were teaching got baptized and the program was very.. Interesting!
Their older brother, who isn't a member, gave the opening prayer.. One
thing he said was "Please bless that during the baptism Jenna and
Gunnar won't freak out." Hahaha. The two talks were given by their
nonmember parents. And while they didn't close by saying "in the name
of Jesus Christ, amen," they told them both how proud of them they
were by acting on what they felt was right. The dad was choking up
quite a bit.. He's TOTALLY gonna come around! The twins bore their
simple testimonies afterwards, and I think Gunnar said something along
the lines of "The water is really warm if anyone else wants to get
baptized." Actually, when they were getting interviewed on Friday we
got a chance to talk to their 13 year old brother. They also have an
11 year old sister who just got baptized back in October. The older
brother has never really said anything to us, and whenever we've tried
to talk to him we've gotten nowhere. This time, he seemed touched..
And he said "You know, when my older sister got baptized God told me
in my heart that I needed to be baptized too. So I think I want to go
for it." He's been going to church with the whole family already too!
Miracles are everywhere right now.

Mom - I hope you thoroughly enjoy my unabridged account of my hospital
experience haha.. Even though you've already been filled in. Your
baptismal interview tale was hilarious! I don't exactly know how I
would react to that.. It's pretty crazy to think that now you've been
a member for nearly 25 years AND Nanny has joined the church too! I
wish I could have been there for Evan's talk. That sounds absolutely
hysterical - hopefully the missionaries had some forgiving
investigators at church! :) But hey... It's Evan. We can't apologize
for him haha. Glad my box made it home safe and sound. That cost like
30 bucks! Ridiculous! We've had spotty snow for a while now.. It's
getting to the point where I'm hoping it's gonna stop soon. But it's
fun to throw snowballs either way. I also hope that Evan enjoys golf -
provided that he can commit to going to the practices of course! He'll
like it, I know I did.

Dad - I won't get a swelled head... Only swelled by all this Utah food
I'm eating. I just weighed myself and I'm sitting at about 137 pounds
right now. Yay.. Maybe I haven't swelled as much as I thought. I've
also done as much as I can with our investigators to ensure that
they're committed to living the Gospel and will be supported when they
do. The trouble with baptizing youth is that if they don't have a
support system then they're destined to go immediately inactive. So we
work very closely with the bishops to ensure that there is a plan to
keep our converts active. Glad that we've had stud missionaries in
Storm Lake for a while now - the area needs it! I'm also pumped to
hear about the pinball machine. Does it get a lot of use? Mom probably
secretly plays it all day while everyone's gone...

I love you guys. I'm off to the rest of P-day ... Have a wonderful day!

- Elder Tyler Grant


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