Sunday, August 18, 2013

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

No comments:

Post a Comment