Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 7th, 2013

Well then... Where can I begin?

So.. As the the BYU thing, I honestly just haven't made time for it. We've been having the craziest weeks of my mission and P-Day has kind of been a time to do some catching up. Home life has been the last thing on my mind. Sorry. :/ President Hiers will give permission for us to do school applications on P-Day so that's not the problem. I'll.. I'll repent and get after it. Probably after I talk to you on Sunday. I can't believe that's in like 5 days. Didn't I just call at Christmas? I'd love to do the whole "google hangout" thing again and I'm pretty sure I still have the info. I don't have a definite time but I'll call sometime on Sunday to give you a time. For sure!

This week has just been awesome. The work here is picking up every single day. We have 3 baptisms coming up this Saturday. Mercedie & Danailie and then Joe! I sent you a picture of Joe's wedding - that's what I call acting in faith! He was living with his girlfriend but they just got married last Saturday so that he can be baptized this Saturday. We picked up 2 new investigators with baptismal dates in the last two days, and have 4 or 5 more 'golden' referrals to follow up on, not even counting the progressing investigators we already have. We had a meeting with the stake president on Sunday to talk about all the ward mission leaders and the work in the stake, and he is definitely the best stake president I've had the privilege to serve under. He is SO on top of everything that is going on within the stake and is always actively taking measures to ensure that the missionary work is always moving forward. For example, we had told him that one of the ward mission leaders wasn't really fulfilling his calling and he had been in for a while, and he told us he would talk to the bishop about getting a new WML instead. When we talked to him on Sunday he hadn't been released yet, and President Ferry said "Well then! I'll have to take it into my own hands. I'll give him a stake calling so that the bishop HAS to find a replacement. We need strong ward mission leaders around here." Whoa! There is more going on it seems like every single day. Elder LaFond and I are teaching really well together and are super excited for all the success that's coming from the diligence that the leaders, members, and the Lord have done for us. At this point we are just instruments in his hands, and I feel like we're doing amazing things. No thanks to us, of course! It's an indescribable feeling.

To top off all of that excitement and success, the zone has done a complete 180 in terms of success and work ethic. The first week we were here there were 5 member present lessons taught between the 7 companionships. And last week, there were 41. We broke the zone record! We're doing our best to lead by example and truly show everyone the importance of fulfilling their purpose, and it's working. 8 times the amount of lessons within 2 weeks! It's truly a miracle. I love being a zone leader and I love it so much here in Brigham City. I feel so blessed and literally owe all the happiness that I feel right now to my Heavenly Father. I've never felt like this before. For once, everything is just clicking, clicking, and clicking right into place. We're having 4 baptisms in the next two weeks, and looking to have several more in June. And we're just getting started! I just pray that I can continue to be humble and live worthily of the many blessings that we've been receiving. We're doing our best to acknowledge the Lord's hand in all of it - because we're certainly not alone. :)

Mom - Seminary graduation AND real graduation. Busy busy busy week! Thanks for getting those yearbooks - I always wondered whatever happened to the 2010 yearbook we were promised! I've been getting e-mails from just about everyone that you've given me addresses for. On and off, that is. I'm so so SO excited for Matt. He seems really pumped to go on a mission. If you can get him to sneak in a LITTLE time on the Mother's day call so I can see him before he takes off and I don't see him for 4 years.. That would be sweet. :) If not, it's about MOM anyways! I didn't even know that our stake had any YSA. Definitely not any cute ones anyways... Elder C is still kind of struggling. We had a zone shirt/pants burning last week and there was kind of a blow up, and we had to talk to him about it. I think he's getting humbled more and more. Maybe.

Dad - I'm not the stressing type either. Okay. I'm literally like out of time for e-mailing. People are pushing me. Tell Ryan I love him and look forward to talking to him on Sunday. And yes, HuHot the day I get back would be perfect.

I love you guys so much! If you've been praying for miracles here, it's definitely working, so don't give up now! I'm so glad that I'm here on a mission.. I wouldn't trade it for anything. :)


- Elder Tyler Grant

April 30th, 2013

Now that several people are e-mailing me... I write all of them first. And then I save the biggest letter for last... Maybe that's why I'm so unmotivated. Also... Evan's hair! What the heck! I'm actually fairly sure I'm not a huge fan of it - I'll side with Mom on this one. It just looks so different.
Well hey! Let me look through the planner and re-cap the week... Oh yeah. So a couple of our baptisms got pushed back, so that's frustrating. We were supposed to have like 10 people at church on Sunday and only 2 came. And we were fasting as a zone. That was really discouraging. 3 of the most solid people we have kind of flaked out. Actually one of them showed up to church late and said that they don't want to be taught by us anymore.. Which hurt a lot initially. But when we took a step back and saw the big picture, it was actually probably for the best. We were teaching a single mom and her 11 year old daughter, and the mom is on recovery from a life of very heavy drug use. We went in and taught them about Jesus Christ and baptism, and I guess they felt overwhelmed to an extent.. But. The flipside of the story is that the mom hasn't been active in the church for over 30 years and now she's coming to not just sacrament, but relief society and Sunday school too, and she loves it. Her daughter has a few social difficulties, mostly stemming from being raised in such a difficult and transient home, and when she had gone to church in the past she hated it and wouldn't leave her mom's side. But now she is absolutely loving primary and has made so many new friends who are all welcoming her with open arms. It's really cool to see when a ward accepts absolutely anyone and brings them in as one of their own. Instead of just coming into sacrament and sitting down, almost everyone in their ward walks around and socializes and welcomes the new people they may not recognize, and sits by them. Which is actually very rare. SO it's probably the best thing for the situation at this time. We also just recently cleared up some problems with 2 other girls that we're teaching who for some reason all the sudden stopped meeting with us.. We found out that someone in their ward offended them because they suggested putting up her granddaughter for adoption... But we sorted it out! It's been a crazy up and down week. But I guess that's pretty normal.

The zone is doing a lot better. The amount of lessons taught last week doubled and then some. We're just trying to lead everyone by example and are trying to give them tools that they can use to further progress the work in their areas. Being a zone leader is pretty stressful, actually.. I'm sure Dad can testify to that. It's really cool to be able to help out the zone, but it's tricky because we live in Brigham City and most everyone else lives in Tremonton. We've spent most of today moving Elders around into new apartments because some of them were too small and crowded... Disassembling beds, moving mattresses and dressers... It's been quite the P-day. I think we're making a difference though. It's just been awesome to be able to serve with Elder LaFond. To see where we're both at now in our missions is just incredible to me versus day 1 in the MTC. We teach really well together and are finding a lot of new people to invite closer to Christ. We kinda had a lot of lessons cancel last week, but we've set up an equal number in return. God knows what he's doing! We're going to start teaching my first real black investigator tonight! Hahaha... Sorry. I had to throw that in.
We had a zone conference last week and I think that gave us a needed boost. Especially because last Wednesday we had 6 lessons set up and we only taught 1 that we planned for.. Cancellations just happen sometimes. People have lives! In exchange though we had planned to go visit a former investigator, a girl named Nevaeh who is a HUGE Justin Bieber fan.. And when we had dinner that evening with a family with a 16 year old daughter who was a self proclaimed "BeLIEBER" ... We knew what to do. We brought her with us and she and Nevaeh hit it off right away, and we taught a lesson on the spot. I have no doubt that it was no coincidence - once again, God knew what he was doing! We've never been promised that we're not going to face trials, frustrations, and difficulties.. We just have to have the faith to see it through and pray for blessings on the other side.
Mom - Zion indeed! I really love it here, Brigham City is a lot better than I expected it to be; especially with all the work going on! Joe is getting married this Saturday to his girlfriend and baptized next Saturday. His enthusiasm for the Gospel is incredible to me still. Is Tayler graduating from seminary? Haha that's so sweet! And I can't believe you got a new car! The Trailblazer was a great addition to the family... It will be missed. Like I said earlier, I'm not a huge fan of the newly founded "bald Evan" look. It looks so strange! I miss my long hair a lot. I'll probably grow it out as much as I can. Maybe a beard too. How would that look? Hey guess what?? They're building a HuHot here in Logan! Just over the mountain! I don't know when it will be finished.. But we drove past it the other day and my jaw dropped to the floor. I didn't know they even had those out here. I bought a $5 wal-mart watch and it's working out great. But if you want to try and choose one for a surprise I wouldn't hate it. By the way; I haven't gotten any ketchup chips since Christmas! Whats the deal!? Hahaha...
Dad - The area is just amazing. The ZL responsibilities have to be squeeeeeezed in here and there. We had a rough time preparing our first training for the zone, but the last one we prepared came out much smoother and we fit a lot of really cool doctrine behind it. I've also found that now that I'm a ZL, I can really see just how much other missionaries (admittedly including myself at times) really do have struggles with companions, areas, and work ethic. The zone is getting better though and the number of lessons and investigators with baptismal dates is slowly rising. Was serving as a ZL difficult for you? WHY DID YOU SHAVE EVAN'S HEAD!? IT LOOKS SO DIFFERENT! Shave your own head!
To kinda close this off.. And I don't know how long this is, hopefully not too short.. I just want to say that I'm happier than I ever have been. My companion is great, our investigators are awesome, the leaders here are awesome, the new responsibilities are challenging and rewarding, and my prayers are constantly being answered. Not everything is going perfectly, and it never will. But I know that we're being blessed for being more obedient, diligent, and trustworthy than I've ever been before. I love this work and I'm so grateful for the chance that I have to be here. I can't imagine where I'd be if I wasn't here.

I love you all! :)
- Elder Tyler Grant

April 23rd, 2013 Transfers!!

Hey everyone! Guess what? I absolutely LOVE it here!
This past week.. Has been absolutely incredible. There literally hasn't been another week on my mission that I could compare to it. This is the first time I have been transferred into an area and it hasn't been completely stone-cold dead. In fact, in the past 5 days we have taught 18 or 19 lessons and have picked up 2 new investigators. We can't even take any credit for it. The leadership in this stake (Brigham West Stake) is unlike any I've ever seen. We haven't had any time to go and contact referrals in the last week because every single day has been stacked with teaching appointments and meetings. The ward mission leaders here are just amazing. There is one couple in the 3rd ward named the Rex's, and they have shown me what it truly means to fulfill a church calling with all their "heart, might, mind, and strength." They're retired and work as sealers in the temple, and when they're not in the temple then 4 or 5 days a week they're making visits and TRACTING! Yes, seriously! When we tell them we're teaching someone in their ward, within 2 hours they've contacted a fellowship to come with us. If no one can make it, they come along with us. And they're not the only ones. The stake president is super missionary minded and all of the bishops are the same. We've been busy as busy can be. We set a transfer goal to baptize 7 people, and it's actually looking like we're going to get it! We currently have 5 who are rock solid and are picking up a couple more in the next few days.
2 of the people we're teaching are in a family that the Rex's found while tracting... It's a grandmother who is recently becoming active in the church named Dixie and her two granddaughters, Mercedie and Denali. And they are the most adorable little girls I have ever met. They're going to be baptized on May 4th - and I just want to share a quick experience about the first time I met them.. We were walking up to the apartment complex to teach them and we saw two rough looking guys sitting outside in their cars. One of them had extremely long hair, a beard, and was heavily tattooed all over. We walked up and contacted him expecting him to not be a member of the church.. He introduced himself and said his name was Jason. He then said that that very day that we talked to him he had just done baptisms for the dead for the first time in his whole life. He was just getting active again and had just received the Aaronic priesthood 4 days before. It was a real eye-opener to me as he described the amazing experience that he had in the temple that we truly can't judge people for what they look like. Here was a man who looked like he may never receive the Gospel, and yet he was discovering and exploring the blessings for himself. Dixie walked out of the house and we found out that Jason was a family friend of hers, and we challenged him to to baptize Mercedie and Denali, and he said that he would! It was just an amazing experience. God looks not at people's outward appearance, but upon the heart. We're teaching them a couple more times this week to prepare them for their baptisms - I'm SO excited for them!

There's another guy we're teaching named Joe who lives out in Corinne, Utah. Which is basically like a small piece of Iowa... Anyways. The missionaries have been teaching Joe for a while, and let me tell you. Joe is 100% converted to the Gospel. He's now read the Book of Mormon 3 times, the Doctrine and Covenants once, and the Pearl of Great Price twice through. He's getting married to his girlfriend in a week and a half and getting baptized a week later. I don't think i've met anyone as committed or converted as Joe. He's like a sponge - he soaks everything in and just keeps learning. There's another guy we're teaching named Levi who is an incredible investigator too. He is the definition of real intent. He reads the Book of Mormon every day and prays, and just struggles going to church because of work. But he told us that if God tells him it's true then he will give up anything - his job, friends, work, everything - to be baptized. There are some amazing people here in Brigham City, and we're going to be picking up several new investigators in the upcoming week. We asked a bishop for a ride this morning, and he said he was unable to but instead he gave us a referral for a guy who visited the church, asked for a Book of Mormon, and wants to meet with the missionaries. The work here is moving at an incredible rate. We're so busy that we hardly have time to contact referrals because all we've been doing is teaching.. I love it so much. For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm truly fulfilling my purpose. And it wouldn't be possible without all the help that the stake and ward leaders are giving us. These people.. They just get it. They have the vision. And I'm so blessed to be serving with Elder LaFond. He's been my favorite companion that I've had so far and it's only been a week. Our teaching pattern hit it off right away, and for once I feel like I'm actually enjoying serving with a companion instead of trying to just tough it out or try to fix them. Being a Zone Leader is awesome - I feel so amazingly blessed to be at this point and to be trusted by the Lord with this calling to serve the missionaries around me. This.. This is what it's all about! :)
Mom - My stress level is absolutely minimum. There are still just as many things to do, but I feel like I'm finally capable and able to deal with them because I'm loving every step of the journey. Elder C is still struggling a lot with.. Well, let's just say that his new companion is having a really hard time with him too. He's just an incredibly hard person to be around. The new district leaders in the zone are amazed that I was able to deal with him. He just refuses to be humbled and to become teachable. So I'll keep praying for him.. I'm so excited for Kim and Matt! Matt wrote me an e-mail telling me how excited he is to be sending in his mission papers soon. I never thought I'd see the day, but I'm happy beyond belief for him. And I wouldn't be surprised if Elder C was somewhere on the autistic spectrum.. I've had a few companions with the same tendencies - his were just more abrasive and confrontational. And the world seems like it's collapsing every day! Hopefully Iowa doesn't get too crazy.. I think it'll be safe for a while. :)

Dad - Being a zone leader is great. I just feel like I can finally use some of the teaching skills that I've learned to be able to uplift and build up others. I'm not prideful, trust me. :) Actually I asked Elder Scoggin last transfer what I was like when I came in. I asked him because I was having troubles battling Elder C's pride and his refusal to be humbled. He then told me "You literally had zero pride at all. I trained 3 times, and you were the only teachable missionary I was privileged to serve with." That meant a LOT to hear from my trainer. So I'm honestly just taking this first transfer as a ZL as an opportunity to learn. And teach. And teach and teach. If you ever want to talk to your mission president again, he's in Tremonton, remember? The only problem we're facing is that the zone is kind of unmotivated right now.. The number of lessons and investigators we are teaching and baptizing in our area right now is more than the other 7 areas in the zone COMBINED. So that's an indicator of how amazing our stake is. And yes, Elder LaFond is definitely beast mode! We were bunk-buddies in the MTC and have been awesome mission friends ever since then! SO it's everything I ever imagined and more. We teach well, get along well, and are trying our best to lead well. Nevertheless, keep praying for me! I sure need it! A new memory stick and CD would be absolutely awesome. And maybe a watch.. I have been watch-less for like 7 months ever since the velcro wore out.. I'll keep praying for Ryan - I don't  know if I'll have time to write him a letter this week, but tell him I miss him and love him.
I love you all so much. This area is amazing. Being a Zone Leader is hard, but rewarding. My companion is the best. And the work here is just incredible. I'll be sending you pictures before too long of the baptisms we'll be having in the next couple weeks. Stay afloat - keep your heads up! And stay awesome!
- Elder Tyler Grant

April 9th, 2013

Hey! So.. I'm afraid this might not be the longest e-mail I ever write
to you. Probably because I'm distracted or something. But, I'll tough
it out like always. My brain doesn't feel like it's firing on all
cylinders today. In fact it feels like it's fizzling and dying.

So this week has been about the same. We're having SO many
cancellations lately and its extremely frustrating. We'll have close
to 15 or 20 lessons set up per week and we've only been teaching 3 or
4 of them because people are sick or another excuse. It sucks because
at that point there's nothing you can do. You can't force them to meet
with you.. And it's hard to tell if they genuinely are busy or if
they're just trying to dodge us. Either way, it sucks when you feel
like you have all the right motives and you sincerely want the best
for the people you teach, and I KNOW the Gospel is what is going to
lead them through the crazy things in their lives... But only they can
accept it. There are so many problems in this world and I can see a
lot of the direct effects of the degradation of the family. Divorces,
couples living together without being married, single parent homes,
mixed families with custody issues... It's all really hard to see, and
a lot of people can't see through all the junk in front of them to see
that Christ CAN help them. They don't have to walk through this life
alone - he lived his life to be an example and a pattern and he has
already overcome the challenges, trials, and sins we will face. All we
have to do is have the faith to turn to him and humble ourselves to
the enabling power of the Atonement through repentance. People can
change, transform, and become what God sees them being. They just have
to allow themselves to let go of the chains that hold them down and
let Christ make up the difference in what they lack. I just want to
see them happy so badly.. But they can't be changed against their
will, and we can't show them how to access these blessings if they
keep cancelling. This just feels like the most cancellations I can
remember, and it's been pretty consistent for the past two weeks. I'm
wondering if it's me that's the problem. I can't help but look
inwardly and see if it's my shortcomings and flaws and attitude that
may be getting in the way of the eternal progression of God's
children. Maybe it's both me and my companion. I hate feeling like I'm
not fulfilling my purpose.

I did learn a lot in General Conference. We didn't get to go down to
Salt Lake this time around, but we were able to watch all 5 sessions
and take vigorous notes... There were so many talks that seemed like
in one way or another it was God answering my questions through his
servants. I was able to gain a lot of revelation for myself to face
the challenges I've had and that the area is having. One of my
favorite talks was in the first session by Elder Craig A. Cardon who
talked about repentance and forgiveness. As you may have been able to
gather from my thoughts before, that's what I've been thinking about
the most lately. To have the knowledge that sins CAN be forgiven and
that the burdens of guilt that come from walking contrary to God's
will can be healed and lifted. We taught a guy last night who told us
the reason he wanted to meet with us was because he knows that he's
screwed up in the past and he wants God to help him get on the right
path to forgiveness. THAT is what the Gospel is all about. It's not
about how active you are in the Church, what calling you hold, or how
many times you've read the Book of Mormon.. The central focus of the
message of Jesus Christ is that when we draw near to God he will visit
us with his Spirit, and show us the way back to him. I know that the
Atonement is real. There isn't a doubt in my mind that when we ask for
forgiveness and offer up a broken heart before our Heavenly Father and
sincerely desire to change, that he will help us. He will always help
us. Christ has ALREADY paid the price. When we utilize his Atonement
and apply his teachings in our life we will reach our full potential
as children of God. He wants us ALL to return to him, and it is up to
us who have received his Gospel to share it with others. I don't know
if you all noticed it, but there was a huge overall theme from
conference about missionary work and teaching our friends. I'm so
indebted to God for all the experiences that he has blessed me with to
teach people and to show them the path they can walk, and then to
watch them do it. Missionary work is a calling for everybody, not just
those with the name badges. As Elder Andersen said, paraphrased, even
if you do not wear a full-time missionary tag, it is a good time to
paint one onto our hearts.

Other than that, there hasn't been a ton of amazing breakthroughs with
the people we're teaching. We're going to start teaching that lady who
we called as she visited the crash site of her dead nephew... We have
a lesson set up with her for tomorrow - fingers crossed. A lot of the
families we've worked with for a long time we haven't seen for like 2
weeks because of spring break. So we're going to try and pick up with
everybody again soon. I'm still working with Elder Curtis.. Things are
still improving. Just polishing - I honestly kind of hope that I get
transferred out and that he gets a companion who is the complete
opposite of me. I look back to when that happened to me and though I
didn't appreciate it at the time, I learned a lot about myself and
about how to run the area on my own. I really think it would help him
a ton to be able to do the same. Fingers crossed, pray for miracles!

Mom - The new and improved method of sending packages is that you HAVE
to send it priority mail, otherwise I have to pay for it. I had to pay
a hefty $21 for my Easter package.. Ouch! Oh! And one more fun
thing... The mission policy just changed officially and we are now
allowed to EMAIL friends! Hey surprise!! So if you could get me e-mail
addresses for a few people.. That would be the best and a half! I'll
attach another e-mail with a list of a few... Missionaries have been
e-mailing friends for a long time but I've chosen not to to try and be
obedient. And now it's encouraged to keep in contact with them through
e-mail. So I guess I'll give it a whirl. Glad you had a safe trip to
B.C... Did you snag some chips for me?? :) And I've actually e-mailed
Andrew Olson this week and talked about rooming with him for the
Winter Semester at BYU, and said he's all for it. So if you want to
start talking to Mrs. Linda, that would be great. I'm pumped for
Jacob, and Chelsea too! I was wondering when some of my friends were
going to start getting mission calls already... Sheesh!

Dad - Your letter, however brief, is nonetheless greatly appreciated!
Haha.. I get to pride myself in having loving parents who continue to
write me letters faithfully every single week! It really is awesome
that you both have kept it up so consistently for so long - keep it
up! :) I've had several tricky companions to this point, and I hope
that the end of tough companions is near... I just want a beast-mode
companion for a change! How is uncle Bliss doing, by the way? I
haven't heard anything from him or about him almost at all. He served
in California, right? I hope you are able to catch up on the
much-needed sleep you are so obviously lacking. Keep truckin' along,
uber puffer goober fish. You are the beeeeeest....

I love you all! Stay positive, and I'll let you know on transfers next week! :)


- Elder Tyler Grant

April 2nd, 2013

Hmm... Well then!

This week has gone by ridiculously fast. It kinda blows me away that
today is P-Day already. We went to the temple as a zone this morning
(picture included) and every companionship but one decided to come. It
was the first time I've actually gone and done a session in the
Brigham City temple - the only other time that I've been inside was at
the temple open house. It was pretty cool, much smaller than the Logan
temple. Actually it was pretty reminiscent of Winter Quarters. I
really like our zone. For once it actually seems like we're all
working side by side in our respective areas instead of just being
separate entities all the time. Everyone has everyone else's back - if
someone needs a split in their area and they can't find anybody then
the other Elders are always right there to jump in and volunteer. It's
just nice, is all.

PLUS our Zone Leaders are awesome! I got to spend a day with Elder
LaFond last week on exchanges in Brigham City and realized just how
much I miss having a normal companion haha. To be able to turn to
someone in a lesson and know that they're going to pick up right where
you left off and keep the lesson moving forward is a welcome change.
That just doesn't happen a ton when you're training. And Elder LaFond
and I were able to reminisce on the MTC days. We got a letter from one
of the other Elders in the MTC with us who went to the Ohio Cleveland
mission. It was neat to hear how well they're doing - most of them are
zone leaders and a couple of them went home early. How have I already
been out for such a long time? I also got a letter from Andrew Olson
today (well.. an e-mail) saying that they're having problems getting
new missionaries from the MTC. He says it's messing with their
transfers because they keep planning on having 20+ missionaries come
into the mission and they're only getting about half of them. A lot of
missionaries aren't making it through the MTC because they're not
ready. So I'm very interested to hear what they talk about at General
Conference about the response in age change. There's no doubt in my
mind that the Lord knew what he was doing when the change was made.
There's just obviously some rough patches that will go away with time.
Like you said though, dad... I'm having enough fun with a 21 year old.
I don't know if I'm ever going to train again.. But someone a little
more impressionable and teachable would be a great change of pace.
Things are still getting better with Elder C. Slowly but surely.
I have almost no problems with him - like I said, it's when other
missionaries get around that problems seem to arise. I'm just numb to
belligerence and pride at this point. Elder LaFond told me he's
pushing for me to serve with him as a Zone Leader next transfer; which
would be a startling thought. To add to that fire I taught one of the
best district meetings I've had thus far last Wednesday, and one of
the Assistants to the President was there. THAT was a high pressure
situation.. Probably a little bit like giving a talk in front of the
prophet. But it went really well.

Honestly, I don't know if I'm going to be staying in Garland next
transfer. I'll be okay with it if I do and will be just as okay with
it if I am assigned elsewhere. I just do what I'm told to do. :) The
work is really picking up. Yesterday we had 3 lessons in a row cancel
(some April Fool's joke, huh?) and we were kinda down.. But in the
time when we could have been moping and making excuses we contacted a
few of our potential investigators and tracted for a while, and ended
up teaching a walk in lesson with a part member family and set up 5
lessons for the next 3 days. "Ye shall receive no witness until AFTER
the trial of your faith." Miracles don't produce faith; miracles
CONFIRM faith and willingness to follow God's plan and promptings. All
of those lessons are with non-members, with a potential to pick up a
total of 8 baptismal dates. I don't know if we had any specific
miracles that we noticed as a result of that 3rd fast we had... But
one of the people me and Elder Bengtson started teaching in Richmond
got baptized! Let me paste in what it said in the newsletter about
it... We started teaching a man named Sherm Roper who had just been
diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer that had just metastasized to
his bones. His wife was an active member and he just had a few holdups
that were keeping him from being baptized... Here's what was written
about the experience:

"On the day of our Fast last week Sherm Roper of Richmond, UT decided
he had better get baptized right away. His cancer had just caused him
to become paralyzed and he didn't know how much longer he would live.
Elders Hayes and Franchina helped the bishop make all the
arrangements. It took 6 men in the baptismal font to help Sherm be
baptized last Saturday."

I really wish I had pictures to show you. Maybe I'll have to ask
around and try and get some rounded up. So miracles are still
happening and we're still working at rounding up all the former and
potential investigators in the area. Things are definitely picking up
and will continue to (I hope) even if I get transferred out. So, I
guess the same pattern as all of my last areas. Come in. Build up the
area. Find lots of people to teach. Get transferred out. I guess I
can't say I know how the story ends yet, but I wouldn't be the least
bit surprised if they kicked me out and made me do it all over again
in another area. Welcome to my life! :)

Oh yeah by the way - Wyatt Hickerson definitely got baptized on
Saturday. I really don't know what his parents' deal is! His dad gave
the talk and talked about baptism and the holy ghost and his mom gave
the closing prayer. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH PEOPLE LIKE THAT!! We're
trying to work with them still. Oh - and the people that were going to
get married and never did? Yeah we drove by their house on Sunday and
there was a police car there. The lady we're teaching wants to get
baptized really badly and her boyfriend and her are having a bit of a
feud. And she wants to break it off and kick him out of her house so
she can get baptized. But he co-signed on the lease so he won't leave.
So she decided it would be a great idea to take ALL of his things and
move them into the front lawn in an attempt to get him to leave.
Admirable, but the police were called... Gahh. Pray for them!

Mom - My easter package arrived, but I have to go pay for it... And
the post office is closed. Fun fact - the postal service just changed
the way that they mail things and now you HAVE to send it priority or
I'm going to have to pay for it every time. Which kinda sucks.
Actually it really sucks. So now you know! I guess I haven't quite run
out of steam on things to talk about yet. I must be a motor mouth. I
wonder when Tayler is going to get baptized? When he turns 18 maybe?
You can start looking at BYU stuff - just don't let me know. :) Haha.

Dad - Don't get sick! I hate being sick. As a missionary especially.
Because you pretty much just have to tough it out. So Storm Lake is
going back to having 2 sets, huh? I guess that makes sense. Our
mission is dividing areas like crazy because there's not going to be
enough room for all the incoming Elders and Sisters. Cherokee might
have a set? That.. Would be the day! :) Did you ever have any
companions that you really struggled with? What was your response in
dealing with them? I feel like I've had more than my fair share of dud
companions haha. Maybe it's preparing me for like, a horrible boss or
an unruly teenager in the future. Press the patience button! I only
remember you losing your temper when I intentionally provoked it. So
my bad on that one. And you haven't given up on that corvette yet? I'm
sure it's gone up a lot in price. That's what I've been told anyway.
I've seen a few driving around, but not a lot!

Anyways. I love you all. Sorry for the late-in-the-day letter again.
We had a day of zone sports, birthday parties, and temple trip today
so we're rounding off the day with e-mails. Keep praying for me, if
you have the time! :) I have a feeling that good things are up ahead.
Just gotta keep my head down and my faith up!


- Elder Tyler Grant

March 26th, 2013

Hey hi hello!

I just re-read my last e-mail and decided that it was like, the
longest, most in-depth e-mail I have ever written, and I cranked it
out in 30 minutes. The likelihood that I will be able to ever do that
again is very slim... But hey. I like writing. I've heard many
missionary mothers tell me that for the last year of the mission the
e-mails get shorter and shorter.. But I don't think I've slipped into
that pattern yet. Here's to the future! Also - I am very very tired
right now... Usually we e-mail in the morning or right before lunch,
but today for some reason we saved it for last. We got up and headed
to the golf course at 8 AM and it was 34 degrees and very windy. And I
had on shorts and a jacket... But I haven't golfed in so long and it
was awesome. Then we got haircuts.. And we just came from playing some
sports at the church gym. So, needless to say, I am completely
exhausted. But I will try and keep my train of thought alive and make
this just as good as any other week.. :)

Things with my companion are still getting better. I have no problem
being around him, so I'd like to think that he's mellowing out a
little bit.. As soon as we get around other missionaries it becomes
apparent that there is still a lot of polishing to do - I just feel
bad for him because he chose to make a scene on day 2 about the whole
"clean apartments" thing and it set him way back on the first
impression with everyone in our zone. I'm still working with him
though. We're getting along pretty well and he's starting to imitate
and pick up on more and more of the teaching patterns that I've
developed, which is actually pretty cool to see. We're looking for
more and more teaching opportunities.. And there are definitely some
coming into fruition.

This week has been very draining physically... Our zone decided to
have a fast for miracles - to try and achieve some of the goals that
we set in the beginning of the transfer. So on Wednesday after dinner
we all started fasting... I was on exchanges with one of the Spanish
missionaries at the time and we immediately called that lady who we
"Worst-Timing-Ever" called.. And she's not even offended. :) She's
still excited to meet with us, they just want to wait until after the
funeral, which is today.. So we'll start teaching her later this week.
But! On to the miracles...

We began our fast right after dinner and then headed over to teach one
of our investigators named Kaylea. She's a teenager who has been going
to church on her own for a really long time now. Her parents are both
members, but won't let her be baptized until she "stops being a
teenager" ... Whatever that means. So we go to her house and she's
there with a friend, and we're thinking "Great! A fellowship for the
lesson!" AND we found out her friend lived in her ward and went to
church with her. Perfect! We started the lesson and we were just
planning on reading through some more of the Book of Mormon with
Kaylea. We asked her where she was at, and she said she was in like 1
Nephi chapter 4. Her friend turned to her and said "Are you serious??
I haven't even TAKEN the missionary lessons and I'm in 4th Nephi."
Jaws dropped to the floor. We found out the girls name was Sarah and
she lived 4 houses down. She has been reading the Book of Mormon every
single night with her grandparents and her grandpa has already been
teaching her the lessons. Oh - AND she wants to get baptized. I love
it when Heavenly Father is blunt! The power of fasting is real. There
are no coincidences! Several other companionships in the zone had
similar miracles. It was just yet another testimony builder to me that
this work is real. I've had way too many experiences to feel any other
way. We've started teaching her now too... And as if that wasn't
enough, we had a zone study on Friday where the Zone Leaders announced
a mission fast on Sunday. Two 24 hour fasts within 4 days.. was
completely exhausting. And next Sunday is Fast Sunday because of
General Conference. Sheesh.. I'm pretty sure I'm going to wither and
die. Hahaha - of course not! It'll be a learning experience.. And a
trial of faith.. And a test of willpower. Alas - I shall power through

I don't think we've had any extraordinary breakthroughs with any of
our investigators this week... We're going to have a baptism this
Saturday for the twins' older brother. We're trying to help our
investigators to progress, and a lot of them seem to be treading
water. Not going backwards, but stalling I guess. We've been trying to
find new people to teach since this area has been worked a lot and
we're running pretty low on referrals. We're tracting more and more,
and it's definitely not proving to be super effective. But it's better
than doing nothing. It at least gives the Lord an opportunity to place
someone in our paths. We're trying to build up the member trust and
motivation to do missionary work in the area again as it's kinda
fizzled out. We gave talks in sacrament this past Sunday and honestly
it was the best talk I've ever given. I prepared remarks on the
Atonement and when I got up to the pulpit I didn't even look at them.
It's getting easier and easier to just speak by the spirit. I hope
that's not a skill that I lose when I'm not set apart anymore... I
honestly love talking in church. I don't know why. It doesn't make me
nervous at all. Kinda like when I had to speak at graduation.. I
wasn't the slightest bit nervous. Weird. Because public speaking
usually scares people to death. I'm still kinda stressed out with the
whole "difficult companion" thing.. But as I said, I'm pretty much
numb to it. It's everyone else I'm worried about. I think my patience
level has officially reached 'supernatural.' The Zone Leaders are
still having a hard time with Elder C. Today at sports he got out
first in the game that we were playing, which was purely
coincidental.. And he kinda stormed off. As he was sitting off to the
side someone kicked a stray ball and it flew towards him and almost
hit him. It was a total accident, but he blew up and threatened to
beat them up, and dropped an f-bomb.. In front of a brand new
missionary who got into the field literally yesterday since he's
waiting for a visa. And when the ZLs tried to talk to him about it, he
straight up ignored them and walked away. Pray for more patience...
Please! Just needs some more polishing...

I still love it here. And I'm still keeping a journal of every single
day. In case you're wondering, I'm at like, day #499. Holy... Why is
this happening so fast? I haven't taken a lot of pictures this
transfer. Probably because I'm spending most of my time trying to cool
down my companion and can't whip it out to make light of a situation.
The new camera takes much bigger pictures... My flash drive of
backed-up photos is almost completely full. So I might need another
one... So I can keep making sure we don't lose them and so my camera
stays empty enough to keep taking pictures. :)

Mom - Why would I be translated? I'm no more perfect than the next
guy. I have flaws and weaknesses too! Maybe I'm just really good at
not showing them. I'm trying to become more humble, and my lineup of
companions has done a great job of humbling me thus far... Maybe I'll
get an all star companion somewhere down the road. I'm about due, I
think. And the Webelo-knot kid got his requirement I think. We had to
teach him about Joseph Smith and the articles of faith, and get him to
say a prayer.. I was trying to be sneaky about it and slipped in a bit
about the Holy Ghost and testifying of truth. I don't know when the
next time we're going to go by and teach them again will be - but it
was a pretty cool experience either way. Tell Evan I'll totally smoke
him in golf when I come back. :) I just got my game on today! We
golfed 9 holes in the freezing cold and I shot a 51. Not too bad with
almost a year and a half break! Sister Gibbs DID get her treats.. I
remember her being very excited to receive them.

Dad - Holy long letter! I think I may have heard of the "5000 Day
Project" but I've never seen them. Save a copy! 2 and a half hour
drive and still within the stake? Wow.. 2 and a half hours is like,
the bounds of our mission.. And you'd pass through over 120 stakes.
How crazy is that? And do my e-mails really come through that sketchy?
Sorry. I have no control.. We have to use "MyLDSMail" which is
basically a bottom-line g-mail account. That's hilarious about Elder
Packer. I could totally see it - I feel like talking nonverbatim
brings the message to life a lot more and makes it seem less stiff.
And thanks for shooting down Sister Hiers' diagnosis. It's just like
watching "House" with you all over again.. Hahaha. And I'm still
disguising my irritation (I hope) very well! I'm trying to think about
the times that you ever got visibly irritated or lost your temper..
And I don't remember very many. Mostly mom. :)

Anyhow. I love you guys. Let me know if there is anything you want me to
write about. Otherwise I'll just keep plugging along writing about
whatever-pops-into-my-head and hope it's not TOO terribly boring! Keep
up the faith!

- Elder Tyler Grant