Saturday, May 11, 2013

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

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