Saturday, May 11, 2013

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

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