Monday, August 26, 2013

August 20th, 2013

Hey surprise it's me! And I'm definitely being transferred. After 5 straight transfers in the same zone, I'm being moved.. Back to the city! I'm going to South Ogden to serve as a Zone Leader with Elder Kuczak. Which I am absolutely thrilled about. I've been in areas that are 80% farms for like 18 months out of my mission. And I'm being transferred back into the heart of Ogden - actually, we're going to be covering the stake where the mission office is. So I'll probably be spending a lot more time there! My companion is going to be awesome too.. My first one from outside of the country! I'm pretty sure he's from Ontario. Elder Sillito has been a super awesome companion and we've seen a lot of success. I've also had an absolute blast in Brigham City; the leadership, members, and missionary work here are all just incredible. It's going to take a lot to exceed or even match my experience here. I'm leaving behind 4 people with baptismal dates (again!) who I'm going to continue to pray for, but from what I have heard the South Ogden stake is booming right now. Fingers crossed! :)
Thank you all for your birthday wishes! I must admit, it doesn't feel a whole lot different to be 21 as compared to being 20. It also didn't feel too much like a birthday because I was in church all day. The one piece of birthday-glimpse that I saw was actually really funny. We've been teaching a family with 4 kids for a bit now and 3 of them are getting baptized on the 7th of September. They're all insanely ADHD and have struggles focusing in lessons. On Sunday we went over to their house for dinner and a lesson, and after dinner I whipped out the Despicable Me pinata! But.. Me being crafty, I wanted to keep all the candy to myself.. So I dumped out all the candy secretly beforehand and filled the pinata with breath mints and uncooked pasta. Much to the children's dismay as they destroyed the pinata, the minion was no longer filled with skittles and suckers, but NOODLES dropped to the ground. I was laughing my head off as they all called me a liar and said it was "the worst pinata ever!" ... But hey. I got it on video, so it was all worth it. I'm gonna miss their family a ton - we went with them over to Clarkston, Utah (a small town that was back in my area in Richmond) to go see the Martin Harris pageant. I'm seriously going to try my hardest to go back to Brigham to see the baptism in 3 weeks. It's always really hard to leave an area especially when you find and teach so many people that you come to love so much. But change always leads to growth. :)

The facebook-ing is going really well. We're trying to get the members in the area involved more and more. If you've been reading my posts, I've been trying to share short, powerful testimonies with quotes and scriptures. We went to a sacrament meeting on Sunday and it was high council Sunday.. And when the high councilman got up he told everyone how much good Elder Sillito and I were doing teaching online. He then read 3 of our posts that we've put up. Member trust through the roof? You bet! :) Another funny thing that happened all day Sunday was that people were wishing me a happy birthday. And I couldn't figure out how they knew.. Until I realized that I was facebook friends with like, everyone in the ward. I thought it was pretty funny. It's been a bit of a slower week for teaching other than that - we've been trying to set up the area for transfers and have spent more time solidifying appointments and building relationships with members than trying to find new people. We've been getting a lot more referrals lately though so my replacement will have plenty of things to do. A member in our area took us to the top of Willard Peak on a Jeep ride last week - definitely going to have to take dad there in my Jeep some day! On the way up the super sketchy rocky trail we passed a guy driving a Mustang convertible.. And we asked him why he was driving such a nice car. His response? "Two word.. Rental car." Hahaha! This is why I would never want to own a rental car business. People take 'creative liberties' and act stupid because it's not their car. Actually, that's probably how the church feels about missionaries driving church vehicles, come to think of it.. Oops. :)

Mom - Thanks for updating the blog! I guess people actually still read it and follow it. And thanks for the birthday package. I've already eaten all of the fruit snacks, needless to say. We ate at HuHot last week with 4 missionaries and someone walked up to us and dropped a $50 bill on the table. So I got to use the money you sent me to buy some new shorts, which I desperately needed. I discovered that I have a full thing of concerta left.. So that might last me until the end. You'd better hope so.. Otherwise my investigators might struggle! I can't believe Ryan kicked you out for his patriarchal blessing.. What a scrub! I'm so glad that he's finally choosing to progress though. Lots of prayers! So my laptop finally died? I'm going to have to make sure I get all of the music and stuff off of it. Can't afford to lose all of that! It's so weird to think that I'm almost 2 years behind in music releases.. Especially since I dumped my iPod over a year ago. Blessings for sacrifice!

Dad - What a long e-mail this week! Tell Evan that I'm glad he remembered my birthday. :) Don't even get me thinking about President Faldmo being released! I'm about to freak out! It's also super strange to think that Zack Kelly is getting married soon.. And that Matt & Kim are going to the temple! I'll try to be there in Spirit. So you weren't too keen with your experience with the .50 cal? I'll have you know that they're not that scary. I know that because of my Call of Duty days. I actually pulled off a lot of kills shooting that gun from the hip while doing 720's off of the roof of a building. And you try and tell me it's not realistic... Hahaha :) Am I going to get the Jeep back? I guess if Ryan's going to be taking off then I'll take it back again. I hope I don't get any of the fun back problems you and Ryan got. I was at the trampoline park last week and did 3 backflips in a row before I botched my landing and hit the springs on my back.. And that was my first thought. I don't want arthritis! We led the zone in lessons online and in person this week again. Hopefully the South Ogden zone is a wee bit more motivated.. Maybe in a perfect world! :)

I love you all so much! This is the most excited I have ever been to be transferred to another area. This is basically my dream area with an awesome companion... The perfect way to finish my last 3 months as strong as I can. When I talked to Elder Kuczak at the leadership training yesterday he told me that the area is on the verge of exploding. More on that next Tuesday. Thanks for all of your prayers and love. You're the best. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August 13th, 2013

I can't believe it's been a week already.. So strange!
This past week has been pretty amazing. T. got baptized on Saturday and that was a huge miracle. She's been struggling for a long time and has finally taken the necessary steps to seek God in her challenges. I'm super excited for her and so is the ward. Her sister said one of the prayers at her baptism and she's not a member. It was pretty funny leading up to it because when we were trying to sort out the baptismal program her sister wanted to sing a song at the baptism. And the song she wanted to sing was by Pink. We told her it might not be the most appropriate song haha. So when they were looking through the hymnbook for songs for the program, they picked the 3 songs that they knew: Joy to the World, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and the Star Spangled Banner. Luckily, we talked them out of those 3 songs and picked a few more that were baptismal appropriate. I got to be the one who confirmed her on Sunday. And then we spoke in their ward, and .. Wait for it .. I performed a special musical number! I played my own arrangement of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" on the piano, and I'm super glad that I did. I've never used that talent before, but right after I spoke and then played the Spirit was SUPER strong. I'm pretty sure I've told you - I've been practicing playing songs by ear, and it's getting easier and easier. Actually when I got up and played I just made it up on the spot, which was risky, but it turned out awesomely.
So to get to your other questions, YES I'm on Facebook now! And it's been amazing, and super hard. I've never been one to think about family or friends so I haven't let that distract me. But when they invited us to start teaching them and diving right back into the middle of it all, I'm not going to lie.. It's been harder to focus for the last week than I've ever had before. But let me tell you.. It's working. I've taught 9 lessons on Facebook so far to friends and I've set the grounds to start teaching several more. I've been INCREDIBLY amazed at how willing people have been to hear me out, and I'm grateful for all of them who have listened and shared their experiences with me. I realized that I literally knew nothing about what any of my friends believed, and it's been cool to get on that level with them and talk about God and prayer and other Gospel topics. I got up in 3 sacrament meetings on Sunday and announced it to the wards that they need to become friends with the missionaries on Facebook.. And we're doing our best to encourage member missionary work within the area. But at this point, all of my successes have been in Storm Lake! Shocking, right? :)
Other than that, we haven't spent quite as much time with the investigators in our area this week. It's been one of the busiest weeks of my mission with planning and giving trainings, a busy week to be a zone leader! It's also funny how some people catch on to it a lot faster.. There are 8 companionships in our zone, and in the first week Elder Sillito and I taught 18 lessons on Facebook. And the other 7 companionships taught 4 lessons.. Combined. Haha so it's gonna take work! But this is truly opening the world to missionary work. I AM allowed to chat with you guys, but only about how to better do missionary work - either online or in person. I can encourage you to invite people to take the lessons.. Or I can talk to you about asking someone to ask me questions online. Did you know that 70% of the world is introverted? That is, they're not always super excited to talk to missionaries when they come knock at the door, but they're MUCH more comfortable asking questions over a computer screen! I've definitely seen that to be the case so far. I'm amazed at how open people have been with me and accepting of what I'm doing as a missionary. It's been a huge blessing because I don't feel like I really told anyone what I was going to be doing, and now I can 'prepare' them for my arrival by letting them know what's been going on! I've also invited like, 20 people to come hear me talk in church the Sunday I get home. Planting seeds! :)
Mom - Sorry to freak you out by being online all the time. It's been insanely weird for me too, and I've been thinking about home a lot more, but I think the transition is going to be a lot easier because now I'm telling people what I've been doing so they won't be super weirded out by me when I get back. I got the birthday package! Thank you! I'm going to HuHot today to celebrate. :) I still can't believe I'm almost 21. I messaged Ryan on Facebook the other day.. Didn't get too huge of a response from him. Maybe next time. How have you liked the posts I've put up so far? I'm trying to keep them brief, and full of testimony.. And not too preach-y either. But hey. If people get turned off by it, I'm going to be a regular person before too long, and they'll just have to get over it.

Dad - How come the stake never did fun activities when I was in Young Men's? All they ever invited me to was service. No wonder I didn't want to go! That sounds like it was a blast. Hope you took some great pictures. I almost went golfing today, but the guy had a scheduling conflict and couldn't take us. No doubt you will stomp me when I return. It seems like you guys have spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia lately! I miss that place.. And I miss all the people from there too. Wish Papa a Happy Birthday when it comes. I'm also super glad Ashley Faldmo decided to go on a mission - that's so awesome! I really hope President Faldmo doesn't get released in the next 3 months. I'd much rather have an interview with him than some stranger!
If you guys have questions about Facebook missionary-ing, then don't hesitate to ask me! Just know that it's going really REALLY well, and I'm enjoying it. You'd never believe who's been receptive to the Gospel. It's been a huge testimony builder to me that we can share the Gospel in a non-intrusive way and just because we think someone isn't prepared, doesn't mean that God hasn't softened their hearts and allowed the Spirit to touch them. The devil has been using the internet for a long time, it's time that we step in and take over! :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

August 6th, 2013

Well.. I guess Mom doesn't have to struggle anymore to run my account.. Because..

Our mission is now a Facebook proselyting mission!

We just had a training yesterday from the mission department and they announced the change. We are now authorized to use Facebook for ONLY proselyting uses. Not for chatting or catching up with people, but to answer questions, teach lessons, and reach out to the world. It was insanely cool when they presented it. They used the scripture Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Think about it. We may not physically have missionaries in every country, but we're now permitted to teach ANYONE over Facebook. Any friends, family, or basically anyone who is less-active or not a member of the church, we're allowed to teach them either over chat or over Skype. We can also communicate with any members of the church and teach them how to use the internet as a testimony-sharing tool that it truly can become. They gave us the statistic that if you put up ONE Mormon message/scripture/something.. And that is seen and liked by your friends list, it will reach out to approximately 153,000 people. That is a LOT of seeds. And as the scripture says, the Gospel can now be preached to - wait for it - ALL the world! It's going to take a bit of adjusting (I already had to go through and "hide" a bunch of things on my Facebook) and preparation, but once this whole thing gets rolling it's going to be unstoppable. We're going to start adding almost everyone in our area - especially working through the youth to reach out and teach more people. We're supposed to add all of our bishops, ward mission leaders, stake presidency, and anyone who we can share messages with to help encourage them to share the Gospel. It's a pretty radical change, but it's definitely the epitome of the Lord hastening his work. With a little bit of preparation and work, I can start teaching some of my friends (if they WANT to!) and even some family! :)

So along with that huge announcement, we just had another baptism last weekend for a kid named Kaleb. He's literally a spiritual giant, especially for his age. He's so in tune with the spirit, and is pushing his entire family back into activity. We've been working with their family for a while now, and this was a huge step for all of them. He was baptized by his grandpa and confirmed by his uncle. I was so excited for them. We have another baptism coming up this Saturday for a girl who has been taught by the missionaries for over a year now. She's been through a ton, and has always just had ONE thing in the way of her getting baptized. She's had several experiences that have humbled her lately, and have led her to act. She's quit smoking and has finished off her legal issues, and is now getting baptized! I'm SUPER pumped for that one. Definitely going to have to keep her in my prayers to make sure everything goes smoothly with her. She needs the Gospel so badly and she knows it. Especially because lately she's been reading the Book of Mormon and is seeking that forgiveness from her Heavenly Father. Everything is falling into place with so many of our investigators, and I know the Lord is blessing us for all the work we have done for these people. We're looking to be the only companionship in the zone who reaches their baptismal goal-set-in-faith from the beginning, and we might exceed it too. We picked up another baptismal date last Tuesday which is looking promising to go through next Saturday. I love Brigham City! We also broke our record for lessons in a week, and with Facebook we're going to be able to teach even more. I'm determined to finish strong!

Mom - 1200 people in sacrament is insane. As soon as I saw that I knew it had to be pageant season. I imagine that the passing of the sacrament took a little while! Have you heard anything on BYU? I guess it'll take time. I'm glad Evan is in band again and Ryan is progressing! Are you excited to do the Book of Mormon for seminary this year or what? The people we invited to church that came were in 4 different wards, so we did a lot of hopping that Sunday. As for advice, the repentance process has to begin with understanding. It also has to originate within. If someone is going to change and become better, they have to understand why it's important and have the desire to do so. That's probably why I was so stubborn for some time in my life, not recognizing the will of God for me and what I needed to do to repair the damage I didn't know had been done. I'll try and write nanny a letter this week. I have been meaning to send a package home. So when I do I'll send some spare meds and things.. Pretty sure I'm good on concerta. Well.. Maybe I'm not. Maybe more would be good.

Dad - The weather here has been awesome too! Actually one thing that I'm definitely not going to miss about Utah is having dinner with people. Because the one thing that I'm 100% sure that they'll bring up every single dinner is the weather. I've never had so many conversations about humidity in my life. And I've never desired to either! I've heard of Ephraim's rescue and was aware that it's playing here in theaters. That's just another "welcome to Utah" thing. Just like the "LDS Books" section at Wal-Mart. We haven't been able to go though.. Mostly because it's in theaters and it's ill-advised to do so. Pretty sure we're gonna drop the "saved by grace" guy.. Because he just keeps arguing and he's totally closed off to everything. Especially the Spirit. Glad that that stupid system of wires is finally gone from the basement. That was so overwhelmingly confusing that it was never worth trying to watch TV. And the southern baptist lady has been to church for the last 3 weeks and has started doing her family history! AND she's going to start going to ward activities and things! She's definitely opening up a lot. :)

I love you guys! If you see me on Facebook then share and re-link the posts to other pages. Spread the word! Thanks for all you've done for me, and continue to do for me.


- Elder Tyler Grant

July 30th, 2013

I've already been at the computer for like, an hour and a half sending pictures and writing essays.. But here I am resolve firm as ever, and admittedly fading.. But I shall write you a letter nonetheless!
This past week has just been amazing. I sent a picture of the two baptisms we had last Saturday. This is the family that we found (miracle!) about a month ago and we've been teaching them consistently since then. The parents are working towards being baptized but it's going to be more long-term, and they were in full support of the two boys being baptized. Elder Sillito and I were privileged to be able to baptize them. There was a super good turnout from the ward at the baptism and we even had one of our supposed 'less promising' investigators come and see it. As a result of the baptism, she had such a good experience that she came to church for the first time in like 6 months, and accepted a baptismal date for August 10th! We have another baptism coming up this Saturday for a kid we've been teaching since I got to the area. Have I ever told you guys that I love this stake? The biggest miracle of them all is that, and I'm sure Dad can attest to this, we've been having a really hard time getting people to come to church. Usually we'll invite 8 or 9 people to church and 2 or 3 will show up. But this past Sunday, 8 of the 9 non-members that we invited to church totally came! Literally everything is falling into place perfectly, and I know that God is behind it.  I am seriously SO grateful that I was called to this mission. I'm sure many people laughed, as I did, when I got called here.. But the work in the Utah Ogden mission is incredible. Elder Russell M. Nelson said that Utah is the center of the church, and as such should lead the church in baptisms, activation, and retention. We're giving it our best shot!
There's a  non-member lady that we picked up last week who was a media referral.. And honestly when we got the referral we were less than excited. It was a lady asking for her bishop's information so she could get help through some hard financial times, and we assumed she was a less-active member of the church. When we went and visited her she turned out to not be a member after all. Not only that, but she has been reading Gerald Lund books about pioneer history and wants to do her family history. We invited her to church and she came, we presumed just to meet with the bishop.. We taught her the Restoration the next day and she felt the Spirit, but when we invited her to be baptized she was frightened. Afraid we had lost her, we showed up at church the next week, not expecting her to have come, and there she was! Not only that, but guess what the two talks in church were on? The first one was on pioneer history.. And the second one was on genealogy work. Don't you love it when God answers prayers? We taught her again yesterday and she has been reading the Book of Mormon. We taught about the Atonement and again invited her to be baptized.. And, she turned us down, but she's understanding more and more. The part that's bugging me is that she IS feeling the Spirit, and she KNOWS it's true, and she's fighting it! Haha.. She's a southern Baptist lady, so I guess you can't blame her for being a wee bit stubborn. :) When we taught her we felt prompted to tell her that her family who had already passed away was waiting for her to do their temple work, and that hit her pretty hard. We're meeting with her at the Family History Center here in Brigham on Thursday, and she's progressing super well. I can definitely say that she is one of the tender mercies of the Lord that he's blessed us with for working diligently. This has already been one of my most memorable transfers of my mission, and it's only halfway through. I dread the day that they transfer me out of Brigham West. We're praying in faith that we will reach our baptismal goal, and with a little extra effort, it looks like it's totally gonna happen. :)
Mom - I definitely got my box of chips on Saturday! And I've already eaten two of the bags. Hold me back!! I believe that all of the BYU information is in and processing, but you might want to double check. Am I going to be rooming with Andrew or what? :P I'm glad Ryan went to church again and is looking into a Patriarchal blessing. That will definitely help. Is Nanny really going through a divorce? Yikes. Maybe I'll have to try and shoot her a letter. I've got a full two transfers and 3 weeks before my release date. Still plenty of time to do lots of good things! You're allowed to come out to Utah for weddings and stuff. It's not like I'm everywhere in Utah at once!

Dad - I did get your real letter and it was much appreciated. The more I think about it the more I realize you're probably in much better shape than me. All those hiking trips would probably get the best of me. I'm sure you will have plenty of pictures to share with me. I just burned a bunch of pictures onto CDs and will be sending them home within the next couple of days. I used the doctrine in the talk you sent me about grace in a lesson on Sunday, and the guy was pretty much bashing with us about grace.. I hate people like that. He's literally not open to the Spirit and not open to learning. But at the very least, my understanding of grace makes a lot more sense.
I can't tell how long this e-mail is, as I'm on a different computer than I am accustomed to and I'm unsure of the length. If it's not up to par, I'll try harder next week. My brain is just fried from all of the essay writing and responding I've had to do. I'll send pictures of this Saturday's baptism next week, and hopefully one or two more in the weeks to come. I love you guys. Thanks for all your love. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

July 23rd, 2013

Thanks for all your continued letters regardless of how boring you all may think they are. They're still a strength and support to me when I forget what the real world is like... As scary as that is sometimes!
We picked up 5 new investigators last week and committed them all to baptism. I don't know if I can truly say it enough - there are definitely miracles happening here. And while not all of them committed to a specific date, we've been able to introduce them to the Spirit and our purpose as missionaries. That's one thing that I think I've gained the greatest testimony of... When we teach and testify to people, we have to be fearless. Elder Sillito and I have continually been building a testimony of teaching simply and directly by the Spirit. When we first set up a lesson with somebody, the very first thing that we tell them is that we're representatives of Jesus Christ and we're here to help them come closer to him, and we tell them in the first two minutes that at the end of the lesson we will invite them to be baptized. At that point they know why we're there and there are no secrets and no hidden agenda; because then we tell them that it is not us who will reveal to them the truth of our message, but the feelings of the Holy Ghost testifying that God is telling them it's true. We invite them conditionally at the beginning: "When you feel these feelings tonight, would you take that as your answer that God is telling you that this path is right, and baptism is the next step you need to take?" And then we teach them. MANY times missionaries are afraid to teach about baptism right away because it's "too big of a commitment" or "they're not ready." Well of course they're not ready right then! We don't invite them to sign their life away to baptism when we first meet them. We teach the doctrine of baptism and the covenant/commitment that it is, also testifying of the multitude of blessings that are attached, and we invite them to seek out their Heavenly Father in diligent prayer, scripture study, and church attendance in faith that he WILL prepare them to be baptized... IF it is right. How will they know? The undeniable feelings of the Spirit in their hearts. It's amazing to me how much simpler the doctrines of the Gospel and of missionary work become after teaching so many people and being so blessed to have my understanding accelerated by the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I know there's no way that we could be changing people's lives on our own. I always tell people that I'm not a perfect teacher and that I wasn't raised in a monastery.. But that I do know one thing; and that is that God will guide them to what is right. I've been continually amazed at the preparedness of the people that we teach and the willingness that they have to accept baptism from the very beginning. Far too many times missionaries treat baptism like it's something that's scary and impossible to reach. However when we don't invite people we are failing them as representatives of Christ and not living up to the call that we already accepted. To some degree or another we also need to live up to this commission as members of the church. We are not called to proselyte or teach people lesson by lesson, but when we were baptized we accepted the responsibility to "stand as a witness of God" in whatever place we may be in. We may not baptize every single person that we teach or come in contact with, but we sure are going to give it our best shot. As Christ taught - "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). So it is not just joining another church. It is entering a necessary gateway into God's kingdom; the ONLY gateway that will get them there. So as
We're going to have 2 baptisms this Saturday. Remember that non-member family that we found out in Corinne? The parents are going to take a while to get baptized because they still need to get married and work through a couple other things.. But they're completely supportive of their two sons getting baptized, and they're ready, so we're going to do it! I'm still SO amazed at how prepared their family is. Their mom is reading the Book of Mormon faithfully and has been praying several times a day. Both of their sons have been giving the prayers at the lessons and are actively involved in their ward in Young Men's and scouts. The boys asked us to baptize them, so I'll be sure to send pictures next week. Actually, it's about time I burn a few more CD's and send them home.. My camera is just about full. I've been doing pretty well at taking pictures, not gonna lie! But anyways - I'm so excited for this step they're taking. The Gospel is exactly what this family needs right now, and they've seen it beginning to help them. It's gotten to the point where it's not "Hey I'm having a baptism!" so much as I feel like "Two more people are taking the first step to eternal life!" Sounds lame, but it's totally true. The Gospel has the power to heal people and mend families and as a missionary we are so blessed to be a part of that. We set a baptismal goal in faith at the beginning of the transfer, and we're working super hard to help all of those people who we planned to teach and baptize within the coming weeks to get there.
We taught the other family that we found who have been coming faithfully to church. We taught them the first time last Wednesday and found out for sure that none of their kids were baptized. The parents' concern was that they didn't want to get the children baptized until they were ready instead of forcing them into it; and that they don't understand why baptism is important. So we told them that our purpose as missionaries is, once again, to invite people to prepare to be baptized, and though they may not start out with faith, Alma 32:27 says "even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." Desire to believe is enough to develop faith, which leads to a testimony. On Sunday we taught the family about the Restoration, teaching the same thing I shared at the beginning of this letter about the Spirit testifying of truth.. And after the lesson they all felt the Spirit and we invited them to be baptized. And they all said yes! Except their family is coming up from Arizona in September for the baptism, so if I get transferred then I'll miss it by two weeks. But regardless, 3 more of Heavenly Father's children will be entering that gate which leaders to the path to eternity. How amazing is that? :)

Mom - Bring on the chips! I'm currently chatting with Evan right now and he seems to be in good spirits. Ryan not so much, huh? Maybe he hates me. I hope not! We had a huge zone family home evening at the Gibbs' last night so yes, I HAVE seen my Garland mom! I love them so much. Haven't seen the White's since mother's day. Their son got home a few months ago and I haven't seen them since then. We've been insanely busy in Brigham! Is that really all that bad of an excuse? :) Elder LaFond's companion is almost back to full activity. Jacob's not enjoying the MTC huh? I think a lot of Elders (myself included) started to get a bit stir-crazy in there, so that might have led to some supposed irreverence. He'll do well with a positive attitude though. I'm afraid lots of my t-shirts might not fit anymore when I come home. Small shirts just turn out to be skin-tight with this new Utah tummy that I have... And I'm afraid there are no fears of planning a wedding anytime soon. Unless you've got someone in mind? :) Bahaha..

Dad - Haven't gotten the apology letter yet, but I'm sure it's on the way. You served in the Osaka mission, right? I met a guy who served in a Japan mission the other day but couldn't remember which one. So that's probably a stretch. We ate dinner with a family the other day and the mom was from Spencer Iowa and knew Mike Olson! I don't remember her maiden name. She said she went a few times back when he was in the Spencer Branch. Small world? Yet another backpacking trip without me.. Ugh. Still waiting on the green light to go to Zion's! As far as helping the missionaries out, I'm still not entirely sure where the best place to start is. It's pretty easy to see my side of it right now, but in Utah everyone has exposure to the church so it needs to be worked a little bit differently. I would say to take up the challenge in Alma 6:6 - "fast and pray on behalf of the souls who know not God," and pray for the courage to seize opportunities to share the Gospel when they come. I think I'm going to work harder on just inviting people to come out to church. Or branch activities. Since, in reality, that's what all of those things are for! As a ZL we have to prepare trainings on teaching skills, finding, doctrine, basically anything we feel the zone is struggling with at the time. We've been doing a lot with teaching skills because sadly, the level of teaching seems to have slipped across the mission and as a result baptisms have dropped. And the only thing you can do to help me with my work is just keep doing what you're doing. Keep being Dad. Keep magnifying your callings. Be nice to Ryan every once in a while. And if you have time, keep praying. It all adds up. :)
I love you guys! This week has been amazing and it's going to keep getting better. The Brigham West stake is blowing up right now... It's nice to be able to see some of the fruits of your labors every once in a while. Especially because looking at the areas I've been in, I've left behind almost 20 people who got baptized after I was transferred out. But that's not what's important. What's important is giving our all to Jesus Christ and doing everything we can to hasten this work. Because it's true, isn't it? That should be motivation enough. :)

- Elder Tyler Grant

July 21st, 2013

Hey everyone! Hope Canada is wonderful - I'm not sure how long everyone was staying there, but I presume if you're all still there then all is well!

This past week has been another awesome building week. We're re-committing a lot of people who we had picked up to baptismal dates, and they're looking a lot more solid now. Not all 8 of them, but we've got 2 if not 3 right now who are progressing perfectly along towards their baptismal date. There are a ton of things going on right now, and we're going through again and tracting out all of the apartment complexes in the area to try and find those who might have slipped through the cracks. We're going to commit one more person to baptism tonight and two more tomorrow. Keep on praying for miracles! Because they're definitely happening right now!
There's a family that we just met who is amazing. They're one who has just resurfaced from all of the new Ward Mission Leaders and stake leaders being shifted around so much lately. They just moved into the ward a month ago from somewhere in the Ogden area, and they're here to make a fresh start. Both of the parents are members and have firm testimonies of the Gospel, but where they've lived for the past 6 years has just had them completely down. The ward was cold and uninviting to them, the bishop basically ran them out of church one day, and no one came and visited them. They have been waiting for the opportunity to move to a new area and start anew, and they just moved to Brigham and have been to church every week since they moved in. Since they have been less-active for 6 years, they have 3 children who are baptismal age that have never been baptized, and we're going to start teaching them on Wednesday. It's just amazing when we take a step back and look at just how the Lord prepares people to receive the Gospel. This was a family who was longing to come back, but didn't feel that they could because of the attitudes and actions of others. And now because of the examples, love, and fellowship of the ward around them they're coming back full-force into activity and they're loving it. Isn't it crazy how much of an impact we have on other people's salvation? That reminds me of something Elder D. Todd Christofferson told us when we were in the MTC. "This is the Lord's work.. It is astonishing how privileged we are that he even LETS us be a part of it." As missionaries and members of Christ's church, we have a remarkable impact - for good or bad - on the strengthening and supporting of God's children all around us. Shouldn't that be viewed as a privilege? That God entrusts us with just a little piece of "His work and His glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" should be viewed as an amazing blessing and opportunity to serve and to love.
As for my new companion, Elder Sillito is just awesome. He works super hard, he's super hilarious, and he loves everyone that we meet. Have I mentioned how great it is to have zone leader caliber companions for once? :) We've been working really hard to build up the zone unity as well as keep the focus on our teaching pool, and we're definitely being blessed for it. Oh - I guess I haven't told you yet.. Elder LaFond's new companion is from Australia and he's SUPER foreign.. Straight off the boat! Hahaha.. Well.. Funny story. He came to District Leader Training meeting Friday morning complaining of sharp stomach pain, and they went to the hospital and he definitely had appendicitis. Welcome to America! 2nd full day in the mission field and he had to go into surgery and have his appendix out. So we spent all day Friday in the hospital and running back and forth grabbing his stuff. He's recovering now, and he's doing well. We decided that it was a curse from God that Elders weren't supposed to go into Malad and that the sisters were supposed to stay there.. Or maybe not. :P The zone is doing okay - we had a really good zone study on Thursday and set a bunch of transfer and zone goals.. I love being a zone leader. It's definitely a lot of work, but you get a lot out of it and there's a lot of satisfaction to be had by helping and serving and teaching other missionaries. I really hope I get to stay a zone leader until the end. A lot of missionaries want to finish off by training a new missionary, but I think I'll pass on that one.. I don't think I could handle a C. Part Two.
The first week of the transfer is always the slowest because of how many meetings and trainings we have to plan for and attend. We've got zone conference on Thursday and I think after that we'll be free to work our area and devote more time and attention to our investigators... They're gonna need it! We've set our baptismal goal for the transfer, and we're hoping to even exceed it with all the amazing things that are happening. Have I told you that the Brigham West Stake is amazing? I sure hope I have. It's definitely been the highlight of my mission so far, and I hope and pray it only goes ever upward from here. Elder Sillito and I are teaching well together and are developing a lot of good relationships with the leaders and investigators, and I'm glad I have a companion once more that I can rely on to have my back if I ever get stumped!
Mom - Jacob Olson totally left, huh? I can't believe there are so many missionaries leaving from our stake! And people that I know! I just found out that Caroline Luebbert has been in St. George for 3 months, and that Ashley Faldmo is leaving soon, and Eva Claren now has her call, and now Chelsea Fraser? AND Matt Kelly? Ryan's next! Hahaha. I got your letter with the article of Steph Emery's wedding. The world really does keep moving along. How did Evan do on the trip? Did he mostly just keep to himself in the basement and play Pokemon? :) Don't you miss the smell of the Halifax Harbor?
Dad - No letter from you this week, but I assume it's because of vacation/hospital rounds/all the ailments of life.. Or something like that. I'm over it. Hope you had a good vacation. :)
Love you guys! I'd write more but.. I can't. I'll have lots more to say next week when we're planning for all of our potential baptisms. It's going to be a sick transfer!
- Elder Tyler Grant

July 21st, 2013

Who's ready for it... I'm staying!

 My next companion is going to be Elder Sillito from Florida - and I have never served around him before. I've only heard great things about him though and I'm pretty excited. Elder LaFond will be leaving me! Sort of! He's doing the same thing that I did. He's going to be transferred within the zone so I'll still have him around haha. He's going to whitewash-DL-train in Malad Idaho, which has been a sister missionary area for like, 3+ years. He's pretty pumped to be the only Elder in the whole mission who has served in Malad, and it seems like it's a really good area. As far as transfers go, our zone kind of got re-hammered. A couple missionaries went home, one of them thankfully so.. ON the bright side we're keeping Elder LaFond and we're getting a German missionary who is possibly the most obedient missionary I've ever seen. And a mix of others.. Bring it on! God help us. :)

For the record, because mom asked, My companions and areas/stakes have been:

Transfer 1: Elder Scoggin (Tremonton South & Tremonton West)
Transfer 2: Elder Hall (Tremonton South & Tremonton West)
Transfer 3: Elder Billmire (Afton Wyoming)
Transfer 4: Elder Billmire (Afton Wyoming)
Transfer 5: Elder Daly (Ogden Mount Lewis)
Transfer 6: Elder Stewart (Ogden Mount Lewis)
Transfer 7: Elder Cox (Richmond & Benson & Smithfield North)
Transfer 8: Elder Bengtson (Richmond & Benson & Smithfield North)
Transfer 9: Elder Bengtson (Richmond & Smithfield North & Smithfield YSA)
Transfer 10: Elder Clarke (Richmond & Smithfield North & Smithfield YSA)
Transfer 11: Elder Sherman (Garland)
Transfer 12: Elder Curtis (Garland)
Transfer 13: Elder LaFond (Brigham West)
Transfer 14: Elder LaFond & Elder J. (Brigham West)
Transfer 15: Elder Sillito (Brigham West)

Can you believe all of that time has passed already? It's seriously starting to freak me out. Not to the point where it's affecting my work or my attitude, it's just blurring together the more and more I think about it. 4 months from tomorrow and I will be finished, and it really pains me to even think about it. I've got 3 transfers left and I'm going to flip on the afterburners and kick it into gear. I'm really glad that I've been able to serve with Elder LaFond in Brigham for the past 3 months - it has been quite possibly the best time of my mission so far, and it's only looking to get better. I'm studying, praying, and working harder than I have, and I hope I can keep it up exponentially. I've had my challenges with companions, leaders, areas, and sometimes even with my own spiritual welfare. But right now I feel stable, supported, and firm in my determination and faith. We've got a fairly large teaching pool built up right now and we're expecting miracles this next transfer. I continue to rely on the Lord's promises that he has given me with being literally set apart from the world with the mantle and calling from a prophet upon my shoulders. This stake is amazing and I'm not going to be the missionary who lets all the work fizzle out here. I think the greatest and most striking contrast that I have seen in myself is my motives and my understanding of my calling. I've studied a lot lately on a few things that Elder Bednar teaches about understanding the "why" behind things. Many times as missionaries and in the church, all of the vision and the focus is on the "how" - or the application. But if people truly understood the "why" - or the doctrine - behind the Gospel and the weight and magnitude of the eternal truths that we hold, there would be no need to constantly tell people to go do their home teaching or pay their tithing or anything like that. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, "There are no such things as less-active members of the church. Just people who don't understand." If people TRULY understood the doctrine - not the application/going through the motions - of going to church, then they would never miss a Sunday. If missionaries truly understood the mantle, calling, and covenants under which we are placed, there would be no disobedience, lack of motivation, or lack of perseverance in teaching and contacting people. There would be no fear. The truth and the doctrine behind it all is that this is not just another church formed in these times. This is not Joseph Smith's church. This is truly God's true church on the earth as restored through prophets in these days. Jesus Christ is at the head of this work, and through his Atonement and example lie all the stepping stones and ordinances necessary for salvation and eternal joy in the life to come. I feel like I'm finally starting to understand and internalize the "why," and it's making all of the difference.

As far as teaching goes, we've made an increased effort to reach out to a lot of the less-active and returning members who are on their journey home; focusing not just on baptisms but on helping others access the Atonement more fully through ordinances. Whether that be the sacrament, the priesthood, or the blessings of the temple. We've found a lot of families lately who have extremely large potential to return to full activity in the church, and some of them have youth who have not been baptized yet. For example in one of our wards we had a ward mission leader who was not doing.. Well.. Basically anything at all. We talked to the stake president and he was released, and a new one has been called in his place. We've worked with him and made visits he's asked us to, and as a result we've found 6 families in his ward with non-members in the home that we didn't know existed. Members play such a pivotal role in missionary work, and that's why I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing leadership here in the Brigham West Stake. People here just honestly get it. I'm curious to see how the principles from the broadcast have affected the missionary work back in Iowa. My perspective has been changed completely, and while I'm aware that I won't be able to come home in full blown "convert-the-world" mode and be successful, I know I'm definitely going to increase my efforts to assist the missionary work wherever I stand.

Mom - Happy Canada Day and Independence Day! My 4th of July was pretty awesome. It has been very difficult to catch people home for the holiday, but now that it's over with we have people coming back to us again. We spent the evening at a member family's home and watched the big fireworks show from their driveway. Nothing like the Storm Lake show over the lake, though! Anyone in Cole Harbour miss me? Hahaha I didn't think so. I don't know if I need anything from Canada. I can seriously never think of anything else. I can't believe it was like, over 100 degrees in Nova Scotia! The second coming must be close. Tell Papa that I love him and someday I will have to come and dominate him in pool! Probably not chess.. But definitely at pool! I think I"m still thinking Pharmacy at this point, but mostly only because I don't know anything else that strikes my fancy even more. :)

Dad - I definitely read through that talk, and it made a lot of sense. The comparison to taking piano lessons was brilliant. I think I'll definitely still be cautious in teaching people about explaining grace, however. We contacted a lady last week who asked us an odd question that made me think. She said "If you're standing at the gates of heaven and God asks you why he should let you in, what will you say?" I thought about it for a little bit, then bore my testimony to her about how I hope and pray that though I'm not perfect, I did all that my Heavenly Father asked me to do and that I made a difference in at least one other person's life in helping them return to him. She interrupted me and said "Nope! Wrong answer!" The correct answer? "Jesus." Accept Jesus. He gets all the credit. I almost laughed because she made it seem like heaven's gates just had a secret password. She was a super grace-y lady. But it's comforting to know that we don't see completely differently. That grace is definitely in play, but a lot of people just have a skewed view as to the magnitude of Christ's grace and the purpose of it. Anyways.. Thanks for sharing the talk, I will keep it on hand for future reference.

I wrote an extra-long letter for you guys this week because I felt that the past few were a little bit lackluster. I love you all and I love this work so much. I feel that it is truly changing me and inviting me closer and closer to my Savior. And my prayer is that we may be able to assist others to do the same. :)


- Elder Tyler Grant

July 2nd, 2013

Hey again!
Sorry if last weeks letter was brief-er than normal. I looked through it and I was surprised at how much I threw together in the 25 minutes we were at the computers. Go, mighty brain, go! It was awesome to visit Star Valley.. And it was kind of a long and exhausting P-Day all in all. Especially because we only took one car up and the other two wanted to go visit people in the other Star Valley area than I served in.. So I was left to hitchhike and walk around Afton all day with Elder Harper, the missionary who replaced me in Star Valley a year ago when I left. I wasn't able to visit absolutely everyone we intended to see, but we did get to see the Metcalfs - the non-member family of 5 who Elder Billmire and I began teaching who got baptized a few months after I left. We also got to visit and see the other two kids (the Verley's) who we baptized back in May. It was so surreal to be back! But it's officially out of the mission now. As of yesterday the mission no longer covers Star Valley, Soda Springs, or Montpelier.  Happy Canada Day!
This has just been one of the busiest transfers EVER with all the meetings that we've had. Two mission conferences, two mission leadership councils, several zone studies and district meetings, AP exchanges AND President exchanges, as well as planning and organizing all of the trainings we've given this transfer. We had another missionary musical fireside on Sunday and it was a really good one. Not sure if they recorded this one. They had a lot more focus on inviting the Spirit through the music and only had 6 testimonies instead of the usual 15. So it was a lot more channeled and focused on simple, powerful declarations of truth. Unfortunately none of the investigators that we invited came! A couple of our Ward Mission Leaders came and loved it, but we didn't get any of the non members and less actives that we're working with out this time around.. Blast. We've had a slower week for lessons and things, most of the regular appointments we have with our "usual suspects" kinda fell through for one reason or another. I'm pretty sure I know who I'm going to be getting as a companion next transfer.. Weird, right? But if it is who I think it is, it's going to be a good one. Even though I'll be pretty sad when Elder LaFond leaves. He's been pretty awesome to have as a companion, I daresay my favorite so far. I still love this area, and while we haven't seen any immediate revelations from the broadcast last week, people all around us are still asking us how they can help out with the missionary work in the area. Next transfer we'll be able to place a greater focus on the area and the people we've picked up to teach, so if all goes according to plan, and of course God-willing, we'll be able to have a few more baptisms next transfer. Pray for miracles!
Mom - Can you believe there wasn't anywhere around here to buy a Canadian flag? We went to go buy one and they were just setting up the 4th of July display. Wrong country! I also can't believe I'm nearing the 20 month mark. I got my ecclesiastical endorsement done from President Hiers, so it's time to submit the BYU application! I've reviewed everything, so if there's nothing else you need from me you can go ahead and send it in. I wish I could've visited the cat killer while I was in Star Valley. He got off work like 20 minutes after we left.. And so did the other kid that we baptized. Oh! Speaking of him, he's working in Alpine Wyoming this summer, doing one more semester of college, and then putting in his mission papers! That's gonna be so sweet. . I didn't march in the 4th of July parade last year, but the 24th of July. Which is Pioneer day, and that's bigger than the 4th around here. I don't know what our plans are still - we might have to be in some sort of meeting.

Dad - That.. Sounds like quite an ordeal of a trek! We went on a mini trek in Nauvoo which was about as treacherous and muddy as I could have imagined, but the distance was only like 3 miles. If that. The whole bit about babies dying and people leaving others alone to walk sounds rather intense. Did Ryan go on the trek or not? I printed off that talk just now and I'll be reading it probably in personal study tomorrow. Ever since that "saved by grace" concert Elder Cox and I got conned into last year I'll admit I've been slightly curious as to what we truly believe. It's a difficult concept to grasp, nonetheless! If you want to hear Elder Callister's atonement remarks, I'm 99% sure he was just quoting his book (The Infinite Atonement) the entire time. And as I'll just massacre it when I tell you, maybe hearing it straight from him would help more. :) Tell Ryan to stop being a noob!
I love you guys! I'll let you know on transfers next week.
- Elder Tyler Grant

June 25th, 2013

Hey guess what? Last Friday we got a random phone call bright and early from the APs, telling us that a missionary down in Clearfield was going home early and Elder J. would take his place. We found out at 7 that morning and he was gone by 2pm. So we're not in a trio anymore! And let me tell you... It is SO much nicer. We had gotten used to all the quirks and sucky parts about it, but now that it's over with, I'm really glad to be in just a twosome again. Elder J. just got put with a super strong and hyper-obedient missionary from Germany, and we're excited for him. It was pretty hard to deal with, especially because he didn't really contribute a whole lot to lessons, contacts, or anything else.. But hey! We all learned a lot, and at the very least the area is prospering.
Speaking of which! We went from 2 baptismal dates to 8 over the course of 3 days last week. We started teaching Joe's son last Monday and he accepted the invitation to be baptized. And then! The greatest miracle of all.. Is on Wednesday, we went on exchanges with the APs and we taught the new family that we found. They're literally some of the most prepared people I've ever met. They just moved to Corinne about a month and a half ago from Pennsylvania and they love it here. We taught them the first lesson and shared the first vision with them. Typically when you share the first vision it's difficult to help people recognize the feelings of the Spirit.. But all four members of the family described how they felt, and recognized that God was telling them the message was true. So we invited them to be baptized, and they all said yes! It was truly a miracle. We've taught them a couple of times since then and they are just amazing. The parents weren't able to make it to church on Sunday but the two boys did, and they absolutely loved it. In fact, they're already both enrolled in scouts and young mens and they're reading the Book of Mormon together as a family. They're just an amazing family. They've gone through a lot of trials and have come from struggling circumstances, but they're just embracing everything we share with them and the ward is receiving them with open arms. Miracles!
Oh.. By the way.. I guess I didn't mention. I'm in Afton Wyoming right now! It's the last P-Day before the mission splits on July 1st and we took a trip up to Star Valley to visit some people. I'm pretty freaking excited - rolling into the valley just felt like coming home again. So if this letter is a wee bit short it's because we wanted to go visit people right away! :)
We had a mission conference last week with Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy and it was pretty awesome. He shared some insights on the Atonement that blew my mind and everyone else's who was there. I also got to say goodbye to Elder Bengtson and Elder C..  On the other hand, I got a surprise phone call from Elder Bengtson last Friday. They moved the Pocatello mission boundaries around and moved some of the missionaries in those areas around.. And as a result, they're emergency transferring Elder Bengtson back into the mission! He was way excited, and I was glad. He was giving it his all in Idaho and I think they decided that other people needed to leave the mission more than he did. So he's coming back!
Also.. That worldwide leadership training was just awesome. That's what I'd call a 'gentle spanking' from the first presidency and the twelve. It's funny because they really didn't say anything new, but they just affirmed and drilled all the things that we are SUPPOSED to do as members of the church back into our heads. It was a really powerful training too - if it has any bearing on the work that's already going on, then we're going to have our hands completely full. Which would be awesome, of course. I wonder what's going to change in the missionary work in Iowa?

Mom - Ryan went to church! Ta-daa!! I also can't believe that Evan is a priest now.. It kinda freaks me out. Time just keeps on moving along... Sad to miss another Canada trip. Send extra chips to compensate! Hahaha. Try not to get too overwhelmed with all the craziness of life. I've only felt the tip of the iceberg, I think. We've been trying to do so many things at once that I get lost sometimes. But it's all mostly working out.
Dad - New projector? New ties? New found priesthood responsibilities? I'm really excited to hear that Evan's behavior is on a bit of an upturn. He's a good kid beneath it all, you know! Sometimes you get a glimpse of that. We tried to go golfing last week but the course was too full. I haven't had the chance to read that talk yet. Our p-days have been just loaded lately. I'll shoot for next week though. And the traveling AP is a calling that is still in trial, this is only the 3rd transfer they've done it. They have two missionaries called to be the "traveling trainers" and their calling is to go around to individual companionship's and spend the day in their area with them; to help commit  investigators for baptism, to help work difficult areas, and to give feedback, correction, and criticism where needed. It sounds like the most stressful calling in the world. I'm also pretty confident that I won't have to deal with such a calling, as I'm probably going to finish out as a Zone Leader. At least I hope so. I don't know if I could handle being a trainer again. I'd rather finish out being able to help and teach other missionaries than try another Elder C. situation.. I'll pass!
Well hey. If I left anything out that you wanted to hear about, then ask me to fill you in next week. I love you guys. But right now Star Valley is calling me! :)
- Elder Tyler Grant

June, 18th, 2013

I guess we're already 3 weeks in... Sick!

This past week has been a lot better. We picked up 2 people who now have a baptismal date, and have been trying to re-commit the people who have been slipping through the cracks. We've been doing a TON of splits.. And they've been working amazingly. Especially when we've been going out on visits with the ward mission leaders. The other night Elder LaFond went out with a ward mission leader in a ward that we haven't worked a ton because we've been focusing on all the other wards and didn't think this one had a ton of potential. They went to visit a new move-in family from Pennsylvania who are actually all non-members (mom, dad, 2 kids) and they had told their neighbor they wanted the missionaries! And we have a lesson with them set up for tomorrow! We've just been getting a LOT of referrals lately, and have been setting up a lot of first lessons with new investigators.. As well as teaching the progressing people that we have. It's been a huge upturn from the week before, and I think it's inspiring all the ward mission leaders to see that there actually IS work within their wards.. People who they just haven't tried in a while. And actually, I didn't even get to go out on splits with the mission president because Elder LaFond and I both felt that it would be a better humbling experience for Elder J. So that night President showed up, grabbed Elder J's shoulder, and said "Hey what do you say me and you hit up all those referrals you've gotten lately?" And I'm pretty sure it scared him to death. That's the one thing we're trying to help him with is his pride. He feels like he's an amazing missionary and he kinda bosses us around and tries to make demands, but in teaching and contacting situations he shuts up. I think he got pretty scared though... Hopefully it helped him to see he's still in a position where he can learn and grow.

In other great news, a less-active family who we've been teaching for a while finally came to church! They've told us they were going to come for the last month, and they haven't kept their promise.. Last week instead of focusing on teaching their 8-year-old daughter who they're convinced they're just going to baptize and be done with it, we taught the parents the importance of being strong in the Gospel as a family. And we challenged them to take the commitment of going to church and having their daughter baptized more seriously. We challenged them to go to the temple, and they definitely hesitated.. Which sucks. But they came! All of them but their two oldest daughters came, and they have 7 kids.. But it was super cool to see them there. They actually sat right in front of another family who showed up for church that day who has been promising us they'd go to church for the last 2 months. It was a great Sunday! Mostly.. Some of the other people that we were realllly hoping would go bailed on us.. But we can count our blessings while we have them.

The splits and exchanges with missionaries aren't going to stop anytime soon. Tomorrow we're sending Elder J. to Tremonton for the day to go on splits with another trio there, and one of the assistants to the president is coming to spend the day in our area tomorrow in his place. Last Saturday we went on splits with the whole zone to try and boost the efforts in all the areas. Not to mention we still have ward mission leader and priest splits at night.. AND the traveling APs are coming to our zone for the week and will be spending a day with us.. And we haven't even squeezed in the two exchanges we have to do with the district leaders yet. This is turning out to be a super busy transfer. On Thursday we are having a mission conference with Elder Tad R. Callister of the presidency of the 70 and a day of service because the mission is going to be split in a week and a half. I'm surprised we've been able to keep everything organized within our own area with all the stuff we've been trying to pull off at once. I don't think I've ever had to focus this much or try and juggle so many things at a time. I guess it just goes to show that when you give everything to the Lord, he makes up the difference and blesses us with success. I sure hope so.. Because the next 3 weeks are looking to be just as crazy as the last 3. 
Mom - Thanks for keeping the blog edited. I just don't want people within the mission to be checking it out and getting offended by stuff I say.. This is supposed to be a journal, after all. I'm going to mention the ecclesiastical interview today in my e-mail to him since I spaced it last week. . I haven't seen The Other Side of Heaven, actually. Does Ryan REALLY want to design prosthetic limbs? Or is he just being weird? Hahaha. I had forgotten Evan was taking a break from band.. I can't believe he's so committed to this lawn mowing thing. I've actually been surprised at how well I've been able to play the piano lately. I've gotten to the point where most songs don't psych me out for too long if someone asks me to try and play something by ear. Hymns are a piece of cake, but I try not to play at baptisms because then I get stuck behind the piano the whole time. We've gotten several 19 year old sisters (high maintenance) and 18 year old elders, but I haven't served with any of them yet. Some Concerta soon would probably be nice.

Dad - Happy Father's Day! I've never been good at being mushy or anything, so I'm not even going to try. But I do hope you had a great father's day, and I'm glad you've continued to faithfully write me every single week. It's been awesome. :) Sorry I don't get to report on going on splits with the mission president.. I'll probably get at least another shot to do it before I go home. On the bright side, while Elder J. was flopping contacts with the mission president, Elder LaFond and I taught 3 lessons and picked up a baptismal date. So it worked out. I think with all the busy stuff that's been going on I'm learning to prioritize and feel at least a little bit like what you must feel like juggling family, work, and two callings. Keep it up! And I didn't mean that we're doing allllll dead-end work.. We're just teaching a few people who are progressing extremely slowly and its frustrating sometimes. I know we're furthering the work in one way or another.

I love you guys! Thanks again for all the help and support. Peace out!


- Elder Tyler Grant

June 11th, 2013

Hello, everyone.

This week has been trying once again.. Not as a companionship, but with the zone and with the area. The teaching pool is pretty low because of dropped investigators, baptisms, and people moving. And it's not just even in one ward, it's across the stake. There have been SO many changes with the leadership... We've cycled 3 ward mission leaders, 3 bishops, and a high councilman over the last 2 weeks. So everyone is just getting back on their feet and fired up to go again. We've got splits set up for the next 4 nights straight... Planning on working this stake into the ground. Two of the nights are going to be with ward mission leaders, one night with a priest, and tomorrow night President Hiers volunteered to come up to go on splits with us. AKA tomorrow night I'm going to take the mission president around with me for 3 hours setting up lessons, contacting referrals, and tracting while Elder LaFond and Elder J. go teach our 3 lessons we have set up already. It's going to be a super draining week, but we're literally giving it all we've got right now. We had a slow week last week as far as teaching investigators, and had taken to teaching a bunch of less actives and excommunicated members as fill-in-the-gaps work.. Which was super frustrating because instead of finding new people to teach we were doing basically less-active home teaching and made very little progress. When we ran out of investigators they just dumped a bunch of busy work on us, and we're always glad to help, but most of it was kind of dead-end work. We don't have a single person with a baptismal date right now, but so far we've got lessons set up with 5 or 6 potentials who haven't been baptized and the next 4 nights are strictly for finding.. Hyperinflate the teaching pool! It's worth a shot anyway. 
A couple of the nonmembers that we're working with are just absolutely crazy. There's a less-active guy who lives 3 doors down from us in our apartment complex who struggles with depression a lot.. And he has a roommate  who's 70 years old. His whole family has joined the church and is insanely active and happy, and he's struggled with alcoholism and .. well .. he's like one of the most closed off people I've ever met. Plus every time we talk to him he's completely drunk.. Hahaha. The other night we tried to teach him a bit of the Restoration, and when we talked about God being our Heavenly Father, he said "You guys have no idea who God is... But I do." Puzzled, we tried to pry him for an answer. "I'll tell you, but you'll freaking flip out of your chairs." Wait for it... Wait... "God is nothing but a bunch of aliens. They came down to the Neanderthals and abducted them, deposited alien DNA in us, and that's why we're made in God's image. Then they built the pyramids in Egypt and Peru. Also - the Bible is a load of BS. Read the epic of Gilgamesh and you'll see.. Noah made that whole story up about the ark." I was trying so hard not to laugh.. He then told us the reason he won't join the church is because of the Sand Creek Massacre, where he says Brigham Young single-handedly killed 200 innocent pioneer women and children and raped them. Yeah.. The guy is pretty crazy. But hey! The Spirit can touch even the hardest heart, right? Right? I never realized until my mission just how many crazy people there are in the world. Most of them are crazy because of drugs.. Were you aware that so many people are on drugs? I don't get it. Drugs are such a waste and it is, has been, and always will be a dead end street. We're on the lookout for a ton of new investigators though, and I know that we'll be able to find them with the Lord's help as well as the amazing leadership in this stake. We're just hitting up our new ward tonight on visits with the Ward Mission Leader to get a better idea of what kind of potential investigators may be hidden there.. Pray for miracles! We sure need them!

The trio is going well though. We've gotten past the awkwardness factor and we're all getting along really well. We're still confused as to why Elder J. was called to be here because he's really not that bad of a missionary. He's been out now for 8 months, and honestly he just hasn't been given a shot. He was trained by a super disobedient problem missionary and has had tough companions since then. But all things considered, he's held out pretty well. The zone is struggling pretty badly though. I think I told you before - we kinda got handed a toss-up of disobedient, socially awkward, and unmotivated missionaries at transfers, and are dealing with several issues within the zone. Remember how you told me that the Lord stretches us? I sure do believe you. There are 4 Spanish missionaries in the zone and they're supposed to be splitting up and using that to their advantage to get twice as much work done.. But instead they wrecked their car and have just been wasting time either at their apartment or just walking around as a foursome.. Another set of Elders has just been complaining and sleeping in... Another set just lost their car at the same time as most of their investigators just magically disappeared... One of the sister missionaries we have in the zone now is absolutely mental. As in, she came into the mission with extra information for the mission president warning him of how psycho she is. So, like I said.. We're working through a few problems right now. As well as trying to jump start our area. And work in a trio. Lots of prayers on this one! Sometimes I sure am glad I have ADHD so I can have so many trains of thought and objectives in mind.

Mom - For the record, I totally wrote that BYU essay last week. So all I need now is an interview from President Hiers.. Which I should probably get the ball rolling on that. Oopsies. Girls camp is the best for missionary opportunities.. Like, 95% of nonmember girls who go to camp have a strong experience with the spirit and end up meeting with the missionaries. Sick, huh? We're probably going to HuHot again today. Also - any idea on how much money I have left on my personal card? Because I used it at the end of last month for the first time in a while because I ran out of mission funds, and I literally have no clue how much I have on there. I'm super bummed that I won't get to see Matt. But it's for the best possible reason, and we'll just have to wait another 2 years to play Digimon. No biggie! I had thought that Ryan had gotten better with going to church and stuff. Oh - is there any way you can like.. Make my blog more private? I know it's great for all the members of the branch and friends to read it and stuff.. But if any missionary in our mission looks up "utah ogden mission" on google then my blog comes up. And I don't really want anybody reading it since it's kind of like a journal in that way.

Dad - Evan blessing the sacrament! That.. Will be quite a sight. We actually had to bless the sacrament in one of the wards we went to on Sunday because they only have 1 priest in the ward. It's a SUPER young ward.. They have 1 priest, 60 in the nursery, 4 primaries... It's freaking insane. I was joking about the whole AP thing. President Moriyama didn't fancy you THAT much, huh? :) The APs that we have had are usually awesome.. With the occasional guy that you just hate to love. I'll be sure to look over that talk as well.

I hope you all know that I love you. The work is picking up, and we're doing as much as we can to get it there. I'm not QUITE at wit's end yet, but I may get there over time. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things THROUGH Christ which strengtheneth me." I'm so grateful to be doing God's work, and I know that if we do it His way then we are entitled to His help. So I'll make it, even if it kills me. :)


- Elder Tyler Grant

June 4th, 2013

Hello, friends and family.

Well I must admit.. More than anything, it's been a trying week. Not that our new companion is that bad. .. And he seems to be pretty obedient, maybe a little bit prideful, but nothing awful. Being in a trio has just been extremely difficult. All of the members in the area keep asking why there are three of us, and we can't exactly tell them "Oh! We're the zone leaders and our companion is a troubled missionary who needs a boost!" It's weird teaching with 3 people, especially because Elder LaFond and I had a solid teaching pattern going. It weird going to dinners with 3 people. More than anything it's really weird to try and contact people at the door with three. It feels like we're ambushing their house. All of our investigators are really confused, we're confused, Elder J is confused.. It's also extremely hard to include him in everything that we do, because we have to prepare trainings, zone studies, exchanges with district leaders, give feedback/council to struggling missionaries in the zone.. And he's not really a part of that. So we're trying not to have him feel not included, but it's difficult. What we're trying to do to compensate is set up splits with our ward mission leaders and priests whenever we have dinners so that two of us can go teach while the other goes out on visits and finds, thus getting twice as much work done at once. We're still trying to start it all up, but we successfully did it last night and we got a ton of work done in only a few hours. I went out on visits with the ward mission leader and they went and taught 3 lessons.. It's working in theory. Just finalizing the execution. One thing that we're going to implement to build up the member trust as well as get referrals is we're going to send Elder J with the priest and mission age youth on splits to visit active families and share family home evenings with them. With that, he's going to be able to have a lot of non-threatening teaching experiences and also create a strong belief for the young men of missionary work.. He'll share an object lesson, tie it to a Gospel principle, and then leave a Book of Mormon behind with a prayerful challenge to find someone to teach. All of that WHILE Elder LaFond and I will be teaching and finding.. It's getting chaotic, and it's a lot of work to get it all set up, but we're really hoping to see success from it. We're also trying to go to every single ward council meeting within the next 3 weeks. We went to three ward councils on Sunday and got everyone fired up, and with every seed we plant it seems like more people are catching the vision. I don't know if I've ever tried to do so much ground work all at once. But we are trying to use the trio to our advantage, and are sincerely trying to show the Lord that we're willing to work even though it's different and a little bit weird. There has to be a reason that he was brought here! He's a really good kid. I like him and I'm pretty sure he's excited to be here. We're just gonna put him to work along with the rest of us, and see if we can't get some insane work going on in the Brigham West stake again!
Phew. So with all of that, we did have another baptism on Saturday. Her name is Jasmine and she's in a less-active home. She's been coming to church for a long time now, and the only reason her baptism hasn't happened until now was because her grandpa was waiting to fly out from California to baptize her. He's super active and is a bishop in a Spanish ward out there. It was pretty unique - she got baptized with the 'stake baptisms' ... Which I decided is one of my least favorite things about Utah. They just take all the 8-year-olds in the stake who need to get baptized and have like a huge baptismal service. It kinda takes away the special day for the baptism, though. There were like 9 kids who got baptized one after the other with Jasmine, but she had a lot of family there to support her. She's a super special girl and we're working with her dad to try and keep the Spirit in their home. Her fellow shipping family is the 2nd councilor in the stake presidency.. So she's in good hands!

We're working with another girl named Chelsie who's 15 and incredibly prepared to be baptized. When she was initially 'interested' in being taught, she basically told the missionaries that she was meeting with them to be polite. But as she's applied the things we've taught her, such as praying and reading the scriptures, she's felt the very real presence of the spirit changing her life. The one thing we haven't been able to do with her is get her to church.. And it's been frustrating. This past week she promised us she would be there, and she seemed more sure than she ever had been. Sunday rolled around.. And we didn't see her there. So we were obviously somewhat crushed. We taught her yesterday night and she told us why, and I had to laugh... School had just gotten out this past week and she spent a few days with her friends over the weekend. And had lost track of what day it was. We knew something was up when the first thing she told us was "So.. I thought that today was Sunday." She had walked a half mile from her house to go to church, and was kind of confused with no one was there. She got all dressed up and walked, and it was Monday! So we couldn't even be mad at her. It was pretty funny. We're fingers-crossed-ing to the max that she'll be there this week. :)
Mom - School is so out! And Matt so has his mission call! I'm so excited for him.. Brazil! And he's literally only going to miss seeing me by a week or less. Ridiculous! How come he gets to learn a language!? Haha I'm over it. I bet his mom (Mrs. Kim!) was super proud. Yes you can give my coat to Jacob - I don't really see myself wearing it because it's so huge. :) We weren't given a ton of guidelines on how to take our newest "assignment..." So that's been the biggest challenge. But, as I've explained, we're just going to put him to work and create a positive experience for him. I'm not sure what sends a missionary home other than serious transgressions on or before the mission..? More missionaries have gone home with President Hiers already than the 3 years of President Olson total. He tries to tolerate idiots, but sometimes it's just for the best. I haven't really made an effort to complete that last essay.. I'll probably do it today, if you don't mind. And that's super sad about nanny and grampy... I'll try and keep them in my prayers.
Dad - Yeah, leadership sure is about changes. You were Assistant to the President, right? :) We're trying to help him as much as we can. It's just odd because he's not that bad of a missionary.. Like I said, we're more just confused and its just awkward more than anything. HuHot was amazing, and Elder LaFond loved it too. Definitely going to have to go there more often, and for sure in Sioux City.
Hey I love you guys. I'm gonna write to the President and then try and crank out that essay.. And maybe send you a picture or two. Tell Matt congratulations for me, and maybe a shout-out to the branch if you have the chance. :)
- Elder Tyler Grant

One more thing!!!!

- me

May 28th, 2013

Yeah I probably jinxed it.
We got the transfer calls last night, and much to our surprise Elder LaFond and I will be remaining together, which we're super excited for. But.. It couldn't be that easy, could it? President Hiers has put us on a special assignment to have a "zone leader buddy." That is, we're going to have a problem missionary serving with the two of us. He's not going to be a ZL, but we're going to be in a trio for the next 6 weeks. Which, I must admit, I'm not excited about. Three is SO much more than two.. It's going to make our appointments more crowded and teaching a lot more difficult. Not to mention that our new companion has been a problem missionary and hasn't been obedient or easy to get along with. We're one of two sets of ZLs who are getting this weird assignment, and the reason we're the ones getting him is because President Hiers knows we can handle it. We told our stake president last night that we're going to be getting a 3rd missionary and he brought up that it was really a compliment to us as leaders that he trusts us with it. Which.. Is a weird form of flattery. But we're going to try and use it to our advantage - setting up splits with the ward mission leaders to get some extra work done. It'll also be a test of patience, as well as an opportunity to shape another missionary's experience for the better. We're going to need some extra prayers this transfer for sure. The rest of the zone got turned upside down as well, and... honestly, it's not looking very good. A lot of the strong missionaries in the zone were called to serve in leadership positions and the ones here to replace them are all disobedient or problem missionaries. It's going to be a trying transfer, and it's going to take some miracles to see the success that we've seen this past 6 weeks. I'm really excited to stay with Elder LaFond though. But they HAD to throw in a twist, didn't they?
This past week the amount of lessons we taught dropped quite a bit. Mostly because we baptized our main investigators at the same time that one guy got evicted and arrested, one lady moved to Salt Lake, another guy dropped us, and another lady's apartment complex was condemned to be destroyed and she's also being evicted. So our teaching pool has dipped considerably. Heap on the trials, Heavenly Father! We've spent a lot more time finding in the past week and are starting to collect some more solid potentials. We got yelled at while trying to visit a potential investigator the other day, which hasn't happened in a while. We contacted this teenage girl the other day and she told us she wanted to start going to church and get baptized. We showed up at her house and knocked on the screen door, which was open, and someone in the house yelled "Go away!" We stood there confused for a second, and then she yelled again "Seriously! Get off of my porch! Go away!" So there goes that potential.. I just don't understand people sometimes. We're not just lifeless robots - we're people too and we deserve the respect as such. Something about wearing a missionary name tag must automatically mean that we're an enemy and need to be attacked. It's just really sad because that's another instance where the parents, who are MEMBERS of the church, are literally getting in the way of someones salvation, and even worse, their own child's salvation. But we're going to be working hard with our ward mission leaders to find more people to teach. We're having a baptism this Saturday for a little girl we've taught for a while. The entire stake just got shaken up too. They gave us another ward to cover in the stake, released 3 bishops and two ward mission leaders, and called all new ones last Sunday. So literally everything just got turned upside down. Sure is gonna be a trial of faith!
Random side note. We went to a fireside this Sunday and John Bytheway was there. It was a priesthood fireside and they invited all the missionaries to get up at the end and sing "Called to Serve." It was a really good fireside. Brother Bytheway is a really good speaker - I don't know how they randomly recruited him to come.. But it was a sweet experience. Oh. And another random side note. Remember my extremely difficult MTC companion? I just got an e-mail from him today. He's been out for 18 months and still isn't a senior companion, and he's probably getting switched into another mission. So obviously I'm not the only one who had a hard time with him. I'm just glad I had the chance to serve with him in the MTC so that when my real trainer came around I appreciated him that much more. Comparatively I'm also able to see the growth in me from where I was at the beginning to where I am now. As in I don't hate him anymore. Well... I still wasn't a fan of him while I was around him all the time. But I do feel bad that he's struggling so much and I want him to succeed. The last two Elders from our MTC district just got called to leadership positions in the neighboring zone, so I'm excited for what's to come.
Mom - Tanner Mickelsen is old enough to be a missionary? When on earth did that happen?? Wow that's awesome. I forwarded you a copy of the essay Nate wrote me - it's pretty interesting but more than anything it reminded me about what being educated in school felt like.. Hahaha. Not that I feel dumb now, but I can definitely feel my once common knowledge from school slipping away from me. Ryan's bringing friends to Canada? That'll be an interesting twist. That's also crazy about all the rain. It's been raining on and off here, which is unusual for Utah. Not enough rain here. I thought you said that Malena was going on a mission? That's so strange that Camille has graduated too.. The world keeps moving, doesn't it?

Dad - I miss huge rainstorms like that. I'm guessing Evan's Pokemon craze has numbed his fear of weather then, huh? The sister drama is subsiding a little bit.. They turned over one of the people they took from us and the other one up and moved away. The biggest headache this transfer is going to be dealing with our difficult zone. And zone leader buddy. For the most part when zone leaders get released they usually get made a district leader/trainer, or one of the two. They usually take the strong missionaries and have them train the new guys coming in to keep the mission sufficiently strong. We have two districts in the zone, both of them have 8 missionaries in them.
OH! Are you ready for possibly the saddest news of all? So I know I told you that our mission is being split and we're losing all of Idaho. Wait, I did tell you that, right? Well if not then surprise! Everyone serving in Idaho and Wyoming will be a part of the Pocatello mission. And that comes with great news and awful news. The great news is that they're shipping a certain Elder up to Idaho to 'dump him' into the other mission! Haha that sounds awful.. But seriously - it will be a good change for him to be able to start fresh as he has already destroyed his first impression and relationship with members and missionaries in this mission. Are you ready for the sad news? Elder BENGTSON is also going to the other mission! He's going to be a senior companion now and I'm really sad to see him go. It just sucks! BOTH of the missionaries that I trained will be leaving the mission, so it'll be like I never trained at all. And that totally sucks. Well.. It sucks that Bengtson's leaving. And at this point I'm looking to probably finish my mission as a zone leader without training again. But hey. I'm over it.

I love you guys! Thanks for the package - I already downed a bag of ketchup chips. They were just great. When you go to Canada don't hesitate to send more.. :) I'm excited to stay in Brigham despite all the upcoming challenges. Wish me luck!
- Elder Tyler Grant

May21st, 2013

It feels strange to be writing again after not writing you guys last week. Now I realize just how much time I could be saving by not writing an entire epistle home every single week.. Hahaha. Nevertheless, I shall continue. But I'm NOT happy about it!
So I just sent you off a picture. This past Saturday Tanner got baptized, and it was a really awesome day for him and his whole family. His mom is a recent convert of about 4 years and hasn't been active for a long time, and his dad isn't a member. For the past month that we've been teaching their family we've seen the real desire - especially from his mom - to return to activity in the church as she's re-learned the lessons. It was as if she was rediscovering why she joined the church in the first place, and it awakened a new found desire to rekindle her testimony and start up again. Their family is a really good example of a lot of the work we do here in Utah. Our goal is never to just baptize a kid. We try and invite the Spirit into a part-member families' home to help the whole family partake of the Gospel, and helping a youth come to baptism is a catalyst to do that. Tanner's baptism was awesome - it was really funny to see how uncomfortable his dad was with the Spirit that was there.. He kept shifting in his seat and you could tell that he was just trying to ignore it. We taught the Restoration lesson while they were changing back into dry clothes and at the end we invited all who were in attendance to act on the feelings of the Spirit they had felt, the witness that God had given them saying the things we had spoken were true. Right after we made the invitation, Tanner's now-active older sister turned to their dad and looked at him expectantly.. And he deliberately shook his head. People are stubborn! But at the very least, seeds have been planted, and their family is on the right track.
I guess I never wrote about the baptisms we had last week since it was Mother's day weekend, huh? Mercedie and Danailie got baptized on the 11th by a family friend, the one that mom so affectionately dubbed "tattooed Jesus." He was super nervous to do the baptism, but his bishop came to support him and talked him through it. Mercedie and Danailie's uncle was there too and he's not a member of the church, and a very similar thing happened as with Tanner's dad. You could TOTALLY tell he was feeling the Spirit, and was choosing to ignore it. I can't believe people are so stubborn! If people would just act on the things that they feel.. I mean we set it up for them perfectly! We told everyone at the beginning of the baptismal service to pay attention to their feelings, then described the feelings of the Spirit, then testified that IF they felt something like that, it was God telling them it was true. And then people don't believe it! Agency agency agency.. Right after their baptism was Joe's baptism. It was like, one of the most spiritual experiences I can recall. A lot of his family showed up as well as a lot of the ward. He got baptized by his brother in law.. And when he was baptized he was slightly turned to the back of the font. We tried to warn them to keep turning, but it was too late. He said the prayer and when he went to baptize him he smashed Joe's head on the back wall of the font. FREAK!! He still went all the way under, but I just felt awful for Joe and for Josh. Especially because it was a day they had both been waiting for for so long, and something as stupid as that had to happen! After they got changed Joe came back in and we invited him to bear his testimony.. He didn't seem to even notice that his skull had just been bashed in haha. But he bore one of the most powerful testimonies I've ever heard. He said he had been studying Preach My Gospel and came across a scripture that he shared with everyone. D&C 20:37 - "And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism - all those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church." And that.. About sums it all up.
We've just been so blessed lately with the success that we've had. We're definitely on the finding side of things again, but it's on the upturn. We've been dealing with a HUGE headache involving the sister missionaries. Ughhhh. The Spanish sisters have been teaching  people in English and trying to get us to set up fellowships/friends and to get the bishop to meet them. I'm sorry sisters... But that's our job and we can do that on our own. It's just really irritating because they are specifically assigned to teach the people who attend the Spanish branch, and that is where their sacred trust from the Lord is placed. They are entitled to revelation for their investigators. What they have been doing is finding English people and teaching them 3 or 4 times, turning the referral over to us, and right before we go over to teach the person they go over and visit them and say "So do you want the Elders to come or do you just want the Sisters to just keep teaching you?" That's not how it works! There is no 'option' as to who you are taught by, and there are no gender requests. ESPECIALLY because they're supposed to be teaching Spanish people. I'm really sick of it - we're not the only ones having the problem.. The same Spanish sisters went and talked to an entire nonmember family that the Zone Leaders in south Brigham were teaching and convinced them to be taught by sister missionaries instead. They're literally just stealing investigators from people and if anyone tries to talk to them about it, they play the victim and say that we're attacking them because we don't like sister missionaries. And yes - right now I really don't like sister missionaries! They've taken 12-15 investigators away from other missionaries , and they're literally not teaching a single Spanish person. We've talked to the mission president and the assistants about it and the Sisters are getting a specialty training on Thursday to solve the whole issue. I'm glad it's finally blowing over because this isn't the way that missionary work should be. Teaching someone outside of your area is violating the trust that we've been given, the stewardship that the Lord has given us. And to justify it and fight it for selfish reasons is NOT how a representative of Jesus Christ should act. It's not about the glory of who gets to baptize them.. It's about what is going to keep this individual or family strong in the Gospel. And if Spanish missionaries are teaching investigators in wards where they literally have no connections to bishops, ward times, or even friends, then that person is going to slip through the cracks. Luckily the sisters that are doing it are not in our zone, so we haven't had to take all the heat for it.. But it's going to go down in a couple days and I think we're going to get a bunch of investigators back that they've taken. Whoop-dee-doo! :)
Mom - Tell Ryan congratulations for me! I'm really glad his GPA didn't tank as badly as mine did.. That's so not even fair! He wasn't even going to school! Haha.. I'm so freaking excited for Jacob - Nampa is one of the brand new missions that just got created like, a month or so ago. So that's probably why his call took so long to process. Hopefully Matt won't have to wait for 2 months since that seems to be the trend. I'm not sure if I'll have time to write that BYU essay today. I'll try and squeeze some time in. Oh and if you have some extra time.. Check out that e-mail that Evan sent me. I'm afraid I won't be able to fit a $30 pokemon present into my $120 a month missionary budget.. But if you wanted to buy him something and say it was from me, I'm sure it would mean just as much to him. :) I didn't actually get sick from the pink chicken - a miracle from God no doubt! And I read the paper that Nate sent me.. I'm going to have to take some time and write a detailed response. I don't know how it's going to go haha!

Dad - Two weekly missives! I've been spoiled! Haha.. I don't miss it being muggy very much. It had been pushing 90 here but it's been raining a little bit for the past few days so it's been like 60 degrees. Happy birthday, by the way! I totally didn't forget.. I wrote it in my journal! More salt than pepper, huh? I didn't think you looked THAT much different over the webcam.. But maybe it's deceptive. I seriously can't believe Ryan is graduated! So that guy that is moving to Storm Lake.. Doctor Moon, I think. Is he going to be your office neighbor? Who is it that he's replacing? I've looked through my patriarchal blessing on and off, but it's probably about time that I do it again. One line that continues to stick out to me: "Your happiness will last an eternity when you choose to live righteously." That 'when' becomes a much bigger word in that sentence!
Well I still love you guys. Transfers are next Wednesday and we're 95% sure Elder LaFond will be released as a Zone Leader since he's been in for nearly 9 months.. Pray for me! :)

Elder Tyler Grant