Sunday, August 18, 2013

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

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