Sunday, August 18, 2013

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

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