Thursday, December 31, 2009

Week 27

Hey Y'all!! I have had another great week here in Texas! I was able to talk to my family on Christmas and had a great time with some of the members here. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season as well. Something really cool happened here too: we had a WHITE CHRISTMAS! It was snowing like mad on Christmas Eve (well, snowing like mad for Texas, which is a light mist compared to most places that get snow) and it got cold enough overnight to stick and stay!! It was so cool. Apparently (I'm not sure if this is true) it's Dallas' first white Christmas since 1926. If that's the case, lucky me! I sure did not expect that.
This week definitely went better than last and was actually pretty good despite the fact that it was Christmas! Usually holidays will throw lots of people off and will screw up our plans, and although there were a few things that fell through, the week went pretty much as planned! We taught some lessons and picked up some more people to teach.
On Monday, we had a really good lesson with Imeh again and we were able to teach her at her friend Karen's house. We reviewed the Restoration with her (which is what we shared last time) and watched the Restoration DVD, which is Joseph Smith's story. It was a really good lesson and after we watched the movie, we asked Imeh how she felt and she said she felt really warm and happy inside. I was so excited I almost jumped out of my chair! (Which would have been really hard considering it was probably built for a 6 year old. I was kinda stuck =P ) Both Elder Hardy and I testified that was the Spirit speaking to her heart and that she would likely get the same feeling when she reads and prays about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She is excited to learn more and we are excited to teach her.
Later that same evening, we went over to Travis' house (I think I last talked about him in "Week 22"). It had been a really long time since we had seen him and he had done some "research"...that's always fun to hear...and found a bunch of things online that did not put us in a good light ('cause they were false) but anyways, we took Brother Farmer (our Ward Mission Leader in the 6th ward) over to the appointment and it was really good for him. We were able to answer a lot of his questions without turning it into an argument or even a heated discussion and he said that he would take the time to pray about Joseph Smith. We are hoping he did so (we have another appointment with him tonight) and we will see what happens.
We also picked up a kid named Lawson that Elder Van Cleve and me tracted into about 2 months ago. We (Elder Hardy and I) were in the area a couple weeks ago and I felt impressed to go by him. We did and he said we could come back and we set up an appointment! He had to cancel it (family reasons) but we were finally able to meet with him. We had an awesome lesson with him and we taught about the Restoration and he was pretty open and interested. We have an appointment set with him for tomorrow and hopefully that will go well. He's 21 and has gone to a couple different churches in his life but hasn't really found one he likes. Hopefully he'll like ours!
The rest of the week was great. We saw a lot of the members and wished them a Merry Christmas and then had a great time on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We slept over at another companionship's home (they live with members) and had a way fun time...there was ten Elders there that night and we had a way fun morning opening presents, eating breakfast, and playing games. It was pretty sweet.
The most exciting thing that happened this week (besides talking to my family) happened Saturday. We were knocking doors in an apartment complex and an Indian man (Like from India, not American Indian) answered the door. His name is Akshay and he is Hindu. We asked him if he would be interested in learning a bit about Christianity and he said yes because he really knows very little about it and invited us in. One of his roommates, Ashutosh (Ashu for short), also sat in on the lesson with us. It was WAY cool. We started by asking them their basic beliefs and then shared ours and how they related. It was really interesting and the Spirit definitely guided us 'cause we really had no idea what we were doing at first. We basically taught them the way Ammon teaches Lamoni in Alma 18. We started with the beginning and talked about the Creation and Adam and Eve and how because man is fallen, there must be a Savior and Redeemer, and Christ is that Savior. After that it was pretty easy because we were able to teach them the basic message of the Restoration. It was such a cool experience for me though because I've only taught people that at least believe in Jesus Christ. This was a completely new thing. We were able to use the Book of Mormon in a different way as well, testifying that the Book of Mormon is evidence that not only Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Truth was restored, but that Jesus Christ really is the Savior of the world. It will be exciting to see how that one goes. We are going to see them again on Saturday. I'm so stoked!
Well that's all for this week! I hope y'all have a happy New Year! Set some goals!
Love,Elder Grondel

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Week 26

Hey everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS! I Hope everyone is having a grand ol' time as they head into Christmas week! I am so excited because I get to call my family! One of the hardest parts about being on a mission is not being able to talk to my parents or anyone in my family whenever I please to. It's really good because it keeps us focused on the work, but it still makes it hard. Oh well. I love it. =)

So this week was without a doubt the hardest and worst week of my mission. EVERYTHING that we had set up with investigators, potential investigators, less-active members, and even with some members fell through. We'd show up at their house and they weren't there or they got called into work or everything had piled up but either way just about everyone had an excuse. And most of the people we talk to simply don't have the time to listen to us and will blow us off and tell us to come back after the New Year. While that means we will be busy this next month, it makes the work extremely hard this week. Still, we have somethings set up so we are definitely praying as hard as we can that everything will go through or that there will be a reasonable excuse (besides not being there). However, I learned that such is life in the field sometimes and we have to move on and keep expecting miracles to come, even if they aren't there that instant.

I know this is a short letter, but in closing let's not forget the reason we truly celebrate Christmas. It is to celebrate the birth of the Savior and the important role he plays in our lives, as it is only through Him that we truly can be saved. Although I am many miles away, I love all of you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas.

Love,

Elder Grondel

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Week 25

Hey y'all! It's been another wonderful week here in Texas (truthfully I can't believe it's been another week already...where does the time go?!?) I got a new companion this week!! His name is Elder Hardy and he is from Salt Lake City. He is way cool and a way awesome missionary. He's only been out about 5 months, but he's got a lot of fire and way good skills. I'm a little scared because they made me senior companion (I’m still trying to figure out why they did that) but I just hope I can set a good example for him and that we can set a good example for the zone. Elder Van Cleve is now in Sherman with Elder Hall and I heard he is doing pretty well.

This week was the best week I've had here so far. With hard work, energy, and faith, Elder Hardy and I accomplished a lot. We report on certain "key indicators" every week (lessons taught with a member present, new investigators, etc.) and the past few weeks they haven't been that great. This week we were able to double all of those numbers! We were able to get into doors and see people we haven't seen in a while. It was great.

The most exciting new I think has to go back to the Woods family, who we picked up a while ago. Tyrone & Sharon with their kids Dre and T.J. have been pretty busy lately. We Hadn't seen them past that original appointment 5 weeks ago because Tyrone's mom got sick and so did Sharon’s brother, so they've been back and forth between Louisiana and Allen for the past couple weeks. We were able to see them last night, though, and they were excited to see us. We set up an appointment with them for next Sunday, and so hopefully it will go well with them and we can start teaching them again. They are an awesome African American family and we are really excited for them.

We weren't able to see Trevor this last week; he was being pretty flaky. We haven't got a set appointment with him yet but hopefully we'll be able to contact him this week.

One of the new investigators we picked up is named John. We tracted into him and he was nice and let us in. We taught him about the Restoration and Joseph Smith and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. After that we saw him again and he doesn't see a need for the Book of Mormon because we have the Bible. He doesn't believe it's true, but we told him the only way he is going to be able to figure it out for himself is if he really and truly reads and prays about it. He said he would and we have an appointment with him tomorrow and so we'll see how that one goes.

We also picked up a guy named Tony. He was tracted into a couple of weeks ago and we were actually able to se him this week. We did kinda the same thing we did with John and committed him to read the Book of Mormon. He is more interested at an intellectual standpoint; he's simply curious at this point but hopefully we will be able to change that. He's African American as well and is way cool.

We picked up a girl named Imeh (pronounced EE-may) on Saturday. She is Sarah's daughter (Sarah is the referral we contacted last week) and she has a really good friend who is a member of the church. We are hoping to start teaching her and her friend's house. She was really open and understood it all really well, which is awesome considering she's only 13.

We have a few potentials as well that will probably work in out favor. This week should be a good one as well.

Well that's all I have time for! Have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Grondel

Week 24

Hey y'all! Another week has come and gone. We finished up the last week of the transfer and Elder Van Cleve is getting transferred. We will be going to the transfer meeting tomorrow, where I will pick up my new companion. It's pretty exciting but I'm sad to see Elder Van Cleve go...We were having a really good time together, and he was just starting to really unlock his potential. Each week, we have a weekly planning meeting, and this week he was on fire, coming up with new ideas on how to find people to teach and ways that we can use our time much more effectively. I think it will definitely be good for the area.

This week was pretty good. We worked hard and we were able to see Trevor this week. He really wants to know if what we are teaching him is true & Elder Van Cleve and I think he is really close to baptism. We tried setting a date with him but he said he’s not ready for it. We’re excited for him, though. This Saturday we went to see a referral that a family in the 4th ward had given us. It was a family that had been taking the lessons about 4 years ago in Richardson (just northeast of Dallas) and then moved out here; as a result, they lost contact with the missionaries. We met Sarah, who is the wife, on Saturday, and hopefully we’ll be able to meet the rest of them when we go over again this Saturday. They are from Africa and have pretty thick accents, but she’s way cool.

That’s really all that happened this week teaching wise. We saw Travis again and hopefully will start to teach his girls when we meet with him next Monday. We did have some cool things happen this week, though. First off, it got REALLY cold! Humidity changes EVERYTHING in weather! It’ll be 35 degrees and I feel like I’m in 20 degree weather! It’s crazy. Also, as a result of the cold, it SNOWED on Wednesday! I couldn’t believe it! It was actually really cool and a lot of fun. Apparently Elder Van Cleve hasn’t seen snow in a few years, so he really enjoyed it. I’ll include a picture and hopefully it’ll get posted. This last weekend, the Allen Stake also had something really cool going on. It was called the Crèche exhibit (Crèche is French for Nativity) and people donated hundreds of nativities and a bunch of people worked together to turn the gym into a giant nativity museum, if you will. It was so cool!! There were 638 nativities on display from every country and made of just about everything (from corn husks to pots to chocolate). It was so cool!! It’s so hard to describe, and I don’t have any pictures that do it justice. I loved it and the spirit there was so cool. There was a TON of people there, members and nonmembers alike. It was way cool to see everyone that was there.

I know this entry is kinda lame, but I really can’t think of anything else. Besides this random fact! The Allen High School band has over 600 people in it!! It’s amazing! It’s the largest band in the United States. I haven’t had a chance to hear or see them perform, but I’ve heard that one can hear them miles away when they practice in the mornings. It’s way cool.

Well, that’s all from me this week! Hope y’all have a wonderful week.

Love,
Elder Grondel

Monday, November 30, 2009

Week 23

Hey y'all! This week has been awesome! Thanksgiving was a lot of fun. I think I gained about 5 pounds...thankfully I'm on a bike so I'll probably ride it off. It was sweet though. That morning Elder Van Cleve and I played in a Turkey Bowl with a bunch of members from the 4th ward and had a way good time. I jammed my finger REALLY bad...it swelled up a bit and still hurts when I move it too quickly or put too much pressure on it, but thankfully it was on my left hand and it's healing very nicely. We were tempted to turn it into a tackle game but I'm glad we didn't...some of the high priests were pretty big and quick.

This last week has been good but really hard. Once again we've had a problem of having appointments with investigators, but they've either not been there or had to cancel because of work, life, lame excuses, etc. It's been very frustrating. I know it'll pick up eventually but I have a problem with patience. It's definitely something I've learned a lot about in the past 6 months.

Which reminds me: I hit my 6 month mark this week! I can't believe it! It seems so weird to me, I can hardly believe it's been 6 months already. I remember getting in the field and looking at the guys who had been out 6 months and thought "By then, I'll probably have figured a lot of things out." While I have learned a lot, I still have no idea what I'm doing. I think it'll be ok, I just gotta keep moving forward. By the way, there are traditions for "Milestones of the Mission." At 6 months you burn a tie, a year, you burn a shirt, at 18 months, you burn a pair of pants, and at 24 months, you burn a full suit. It should be fun. I'll send pictures next week! =)

Ok so back on track. We did get a chance to see Trevor this week, and we're really excited for him. He's really close and hopefully we'll set a baptismal date with him this week. He might have a problem with the Word of Wisdom (he loves coffee and tea) but other than that we think he's ready. I'll let you know how it goes. We should be seeing Trevor tomorrow, so wish us luck!

Friday was probably the best part of my week. We had interviews with our mission president, President Smith, and it was really good for me. I really was just having a hard time and it was so amazing to be able to talk to someone who is so inspired and knows my situation so well. I forget sometimes that often my trials haven't been felt by me alone and that there are others who can relate. I love President Smith so much. I wish y'all could meet him. He is incredible. I've decided he's going to be a general authority when he gets released. =)

Sunday was hectic as always. I'm trying to readjust to having 3 wards again, and it's harder this time because meetings are earlier. However, it's really good and we have way sweet ward mission leaders so it'll be good to see how things work out. That night we went and saw some of the members of the wards and had really powerful lessons with them to hopefully inspire them to do their missionary work. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, especially because we need member support so badly right now.

Anyways, that's my week in a nutshell!! I hope y'all are doing well!

Love,

Elder Grondel

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Week 22

Hey y'all! It has been another exciting week as I head into week 5 of this transfer. I can't believe it's time for Thanksgiving already! Wasn't it just Halloween?

This week has been really good and really exciting. We have some news: we are now covering the Allen 4th ward along with the Allen 1st and 6th wards! So now we're covering 3 wards. It's definitely gonna be new and exciting and Elder Van Cleve and I are way stoked to get to work. The members and the Bishop are awesome and way supportive and so it should be really good. We’re gonna get really busy really soon and I'm so excited!

This week would have been really good teaching wise, but almost everyone we had appointments with decided to cancel on us. We did have a really good lesson with Trevor, though. We were finishing up the Plan of Salvation and he was having a problem with the three Kingdoms of Glory because he's always been taught Heaven and Hell. He said he would pray about it, though, and so hopefully things will work out for him. He came to church, too! It was really good to see him there and we are really hoping he enjoyed it. Sadly we haven't had a chance to talk to him since church yesterday, but hopefully we'll get a hold of him today. He's really close and we hope he will make the right decision.

We were going to meet with Travis this week, but he had a couple servers go down at his work and he couldn't meet with us and so hopefully we'll see him soon.

So we had a pretty awesome miracle this week. We were tracting on Tuesday and we knocked on the door of a man named Rod. We introduced ourselves and he said he had been looking for a church the past month or so. He said, "I went to that neighbors church and he’s a Methodist, and then I went to that neighbors church, and they’re Mormons, and I liked their Church better.” It was way cool! We found out later by talking to the member next door that they have known them for almost 2 years and invited them to see the Primary Program and he loved it. He has a wife named Suzanne and they have two kids: a 5-year-old and a newborn. He just got laid off and said he was very open right now. We could not believe our ears and quickly set up an appointment to see them the next Tuesday (tomorrow). We are really excited to go over and start teaching him and are so happy someone opened their mouths to their neighbors and shared the Gospel with them.

This week I also had a really good and personal experience. We were dealing with someone who was really annoying us and we really did not have good thoughts that night. I felt horrible; but not because I was mad. I felt guilty for thinking some of the things that I did about this woman. I knew I needed help and I prayed and poured my soul out to my Heavenly Father. As soon as I started praying I instantly felt so much better, and by the end of my prayer, I felt the Spirit around me. I share this experience because I was ready to be upset at this woman for a long time, and I knew that was wrong. I knew that these feelings were not conducive of a successful missionary and that I would need the spirit if I wanted to receive the blessings God has set in store for me. I share this because after I prayed I remembered a very important scripture: “I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” I wasn’t going to forgive this woman, and the Lord knew that. I literally felt the Spirit leave. I knew I was wrong and needed to forgive and forget and not get upset because things didn’t turn out the way I would have liked. I know that as we pray for strength, guidance, forgiveness, and whatever else it may be, if it is for a righteous purpose and if it is God’s will, we shall receive whatsoever we shall ask of him. I leave with you one of my favorite scriptures: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matt 7:7-11).

I love you all. God Bless and Have a Happy Thanksgiving! See Psalm 100: the Thanksgiving Day Psalm.

Love,

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week 21

Hey Y'all!! This week has been good. We got a lot of things done and were able to see a few people. While a lot of our work did not bring a lot of success, I know that the Lord was pleased and that if we keep him on our minds, we will be blessed with things to do and people to teach.

This week we saw Trevor a couple of times, once on Tuesday and once on Saturday. We had a member named Mike Fackrell come with us on Tuesday and he was able to connect with Trevor really well. When we saw Trevor again on Saturday we started teaching him the Plan of Salvation more in depth and we just realized how bright of a kid he really is. He was basically able to figure out that all things were created spiritually before they were created physically from the Bible. Most people don't realize that without modern revelation. He was definitely more open to it this time and we hope he'll keep reading and praying because if he gains a testimony of the Book of Mormon, then everything else will follow for him.

On Wednesday we went and saw a former investigator named Travis. Right now he's not very religious and is pretty much agnostic because he said religion can't be "proved" to him and he hasn't found anything to convince him otherwise. So we'll see how that goes. He did say he wanted something for his daughters, though, so we'll see how that goes and hopefully we'll start teaching them.

Other than that there really hasn't been much going on. We've been meeting several of the members lately so I can get to know everyone better & right now we're just working & praying that we will be blessed with people to teach.

Hope all is well with all of you!!

Love,

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 20 Pictures!


Week 20

Hey Y'all! So I just finished my second week here in Allen and it's been great! It has been a little hard getting adjusted to the differences, but it's been fun and I've loved it so far. I think this will be a good transfer.

This week we had pretty good success. We were able to see Trevor this week and start teaching him about the plan of salvation. He was a little thrown off about it, but he promised that he would pray about it to really try to understand what we had taught him. Sadly he wasn't at church on Sunday, but his work schedule has been pretty busy lately so we'll just have to see.

We also went with one of our assistants to the President, Elder Kelly. He's a really great missionary and a really hard worker. While we were out working, we decided to drop-by a less active member & found him and his wife there. We were let in and we taught his wife & she liked what we were saying a lot. Sadly, her husband has lost his testimony, but there is great hope for her. It'll be hard, but really good.

The best news is WE FOUND A FAMILY!! We were looking through some of the Former Investigators records and found the Woods there. They seemed promising so we set up an appointment & taught them! We were only able to teach the mom & dad yesterday, but we're hoping to get their sons involved as well. It will be very exciting to see what happens!

Saturday was way awesome. I was able to go back to The Colony to see Mendi Delavan be baptized!! I was so excited and happy to see it. It was incredible and I am so happy for her and her decision. I pray that all will go well for her.

Well that's pretty much it from me! I hope all is going well for the rest of you!

Love,

Elder Grondel

Week 19

So now begins a new transfer in a new area! I'll admit, this week has been one of the slowest of my mission, but it's been really good at the same time. I think a big part of it is just getting adjusted to a new area and a different setting. I was transferred to Allen, Texas, Serving in the Allen 1st and 6th wards in the Allen Stake. My companion's name is Elder Van Cleve and he is awesome. We are having such a good time already and we get along great. We've set a goal to find, teach, and baptize a family this transfer and I think we can do it!! It's gonna require a lot of hard work and obedience, but I know the Lord will provide if we are faithful to him.

So the biggest change is that I'm now on a bike. I was in a car up in Little Elm, so it's way different and WAY exhausting. I have never been more tired in my life. I love it so much though and almost prefer it to a car (sometimes...not when it's raining). It's perfect this time of year, too, so it's really nice to ride.

I really don't have much to say here, sadly enough. The work here is very little (apparently the missionaries here baptized everyone and now we've got to find more people to teach) but we do have a couple of people that could be good. First is a kid named Trevor, who is 24 and very open about the church. He basically said he would continue meeting with us until he found something he didn't like. We found a kid named D.J. the other day and he has a lot of potential too. Like I said earlier, we want to find a family but haven't yet, but there is a family we have been trying to meet with that has a lot of potential. This transfer will be hard, but it will be good.

So Elder Brooksby is in my Zone! He was in the MTC with me and it's gonna be way fun to see him every week or so here in Allen. I'm excited to serve around him and have a good time with him. It's been so nice to have companions that I came out with around me. There are a lot of good missionaries in the zone as well so this transfer will be a lot of fun.

Well, that's all I've got right now! I promise I'll write more next week.

Love,

Elder Grondel

P.S. My new address is:

Elder Grondel
205 Benton Dr #11108
Allen, TX 75013

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week 18


This week went well. We were able to get many things accomplished and saw a few of our investigators. But the biggest news came on Saturday night: I'M GETTING TRANSFERRED!

I was so upset to hear it when Elder Nate (one of the assistants to the President) gave me a call, but after prayer and listening to the feelings of the spirit, I know it's the right thing to do. It's going to be really hard to leave the people here in Little Elm and The Colony, but I know it’s the right thing at the time. I've started packing, but I forgot how much stuff I brought with me...it's been 4 months since the MTC (can you believe it?).

I also forgot my planner, and since I'm constantly tired I can't really remember what happened this last week except for some of the big stuff, so I'll try to relate those experiences to you. The week started out normally with P-day and basketball (I've gotten a lot better...it's pretty surprising) and the next day we went on splits with The Colony 1st ward High Priests. We were able to have some good visits. Elder Hatfield taught Jack Rea, and that one will be a tough one to crack because we're not entirely sure if he has a desire to learn or if his wife and daughter are pushing him. Wednesday we went on splits with the Little Elm ward Elders Quorum Presidency and Elder Hatfield went and saw Daniel Mattoon again. We're still waiting for permission from his mom, but his aunt and uncle have moved in which will be good for the family. Both nights I went and saw some less active members with the members I went with and had a good time. Thursday was planning and tracting and active member visits. Sadly, we didn't have anyone to go teach that night. We did come up with a new idea, however. Here in this area, it's really hard to remember everyone because we're over three wards (most missionaries are over 1 or 2), so Elder Hatfield and I came up with an idea that will allow us to remember everyone. We are going to try to see every member of each ward, share a quick spiritual thought, and then take their picture and put it in a big book so we can know who everyone is. It's genius, no? =)

Friday was a fun night. We went and saw Kenneth again and had a really good lesson with him. He is what we missionaries call golden. He really wants to be baptized but he's a little worried that if he tells his parents that he wants to be baptized or is even meeting with us, they won't let him anymore. He's 17, though, so right now we are planning on waiting for him to turn 18 in March, but at the same time we are preying for him and his parents that he will be able to tell them and they will be ok with it. After his lesson, we went to The Colony 1st ward Halloween party! I was able to find a jacket in the back of the closet in our apartment that's made by Wrangler (so it looks like a "Texan" suit jacket) and wore my cowboy hat and belt buckle...it was awesome. I should have gotten a picture. The members loved it and we had a great time.

Saturday was way sweet as well. We went to Grand Prairie, Elder Hatfield's old area, to baptize a person we knew there. It was a really spiritual baptism and we were so happy to have been able to come back for that. On the way home, I got my transfer call. I have no idea where I'm going or who my companion is going to be, but I find out tomorrow. It should be exciting.

Yesterday was the Primary program in the Little Elm ward and it was so good! I teared up a few times and I felt the spirit so strong. I love hearing the testimonies of children because they are so pure and simple. After Church we went and dropped by people I wanted to see before I left, and I realized how hard it's going to be leaving this area. I've gotten so attached to people here, especially my converts! We went and saw the Warners because that's where we taught Korea and we really had a good time there. They are one of the families I'm going to miss most. We went and saw Delia and her whole family, and are planning on stopping by there again this evening for a few minutes. We went and saw the Lewis' and that was pretty hard. They are one of the best families I have met and I have love being a part of their conversion. They are now shooting for a goal to be sealed in the temple next September, and hopefully I'll be able to go to the temple to be with them for that. I love seeing the way the gospel blesses families and hope to bring many more to the knowledge of the happiness I and many others have. I testify to each of you that this is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ here on the earth, that the Priesthood authority of God has been restored to us through Joseph Smith, and that the Book of Mormon is not only the word of God, but truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that he atoned for us so that we may one day live with him again.

I love all of you. May God be with you is my prayer.

Elder Grondel

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pictures from Week 17!

Pictures from Saturday's Baptism



Pictures from Saturday's Baptism

Week 17

Howdy y'all! As I head into the last week of this transfer, I can't help but think it just started!!! The time is going so much faster than I ever would have expected, and the next thing I know, I'm gonna be heading home! I have enjoyed every minute of it though and hope it won't go by too fast.

Elder Hatfield and I are still doing really good. We've been getting along better and have really seen an increase in everything compared to the beginning of this transfer over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully we'll be able to stay together another transfer. He's really grown on me.

This week was J.J. and Hayden's baptism!! It was so amazing too. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room by the end of it. It was really spiritual and everyone there knew that the boys made the right decision. We were so happy for them and the family, and it's once again incredible to see how the Gospel changes lives. The family went from rarely going to church to attending on a regular basis. It was so cool.

This week was a really great week. We saw many of our investigators and a lot of them are progressing. We saw David and Sue this week, and while the lessons went good, it might take Sue some time. She wants to read the whole Book of Mormon before she learns more, but she was fairly open about what we taught her and if she prays with faith and sincerity, she'll get her answer. David said he wanted to keep moving forward, though, so we'll see him tomorrow.

Mendi is still doing good. She is set to be baptized on November 7th and we will start planning her program soon. We are really excited for her.

Friday was a really good day. We went on exchanges with Elder Holt and Elder Pett again, and Elder Pett came to my area. We were planning on lots of tracting in the afternoon, but a woman named Sister Rea called us and said that she and her husband, Jack (who is not a member), wanted to meet with us. They had already talked to us previously, but we hadn't set up a time. We agreed to meet with them that day at the church, and their son and his fiancée were also there. Jack is older (in his 80's) and has had a couple strokes recently. He's thought a lot about it and has decided that he wants to get baptized. Jeff (his son) was born and raised in the church but fell away and has found his way back. He is trying to prepare himself so he can baptize his father. His fiancée Kristina has also expressed a desire to learn more and be baptized, so we will be teaching them all together. We had a really good discussion with them on Saturday and we will see them again tomorrow night.

Later that same day we met with Kenneth and taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation. He enjoyed it and has always wondered why we're here and those kinds of things. We're happy to be able to tell him and teach him. He still hasn't told his parents that he wants to be baptized and I don't think he's even told them we're meeting with him because he's scared they won't let him meet with us or baptize him, but hopefully he will be able to tell them and they will understand and let him choose. We are praying for him.

The next day (Saturday) we had the baptism (which I mentioned earlier went really well) and later that evening we met with a man named James Hays. He was born in the church but didn't really like it and left when he was 18. Recently, he has come into monetary issues and has turned to the church hoping for support. This has caused him to come back to church with his two kids, a girl and a boy, who are 10 and 5. We met with them and Athena (the ten-year-old girl) told us she really liked church. We asked them if they would like us to come over and teach them, and they said they would. It's been crazy how the Lord has been blessing us with new investigators and people to teach.

To finish off the week, a girl named Brianna in the Little Elm Ward came up to us at the end of Sacrament meeting and introduced us to her friend, who had been coming to church for a couple of weeks and was interested in taking the lessons. We are hopefully going to see her on Sunday at Brianna's house and begin teaching her. We have not been able to thank the Lord enough for the blessings he has been giving us. There are so many things going on here that are waiting to happen. I'm excited to see how it all turns out.

Well that's all from me! I hope everything else is going good for y'all!!

Love,
Elder Grondel

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 16

Well everyone, yet another week has gone by. It's the beginning of yet another week, one that should be pretty good too. Last week was good, and as I go through this week, I hope to see success in all that we do.

We saw David again this week, and his wife, Sue, was sitting in the same room. About halfway through our lesson, she became interested in what we were talking about and wants to know more! We said we could teach her from the beginning. She said that was fine, and hopefully we'll see her tomorrow! It's really exciting and the Lord has blessed us so much. I love it!

We went and finished sharing the message of the Restoration with Tessa and her daughter Emily. They really liked it and said they would come to church! Unfortunately we didn't see them there yesterday, but we'll see them again on Wednesday. I think they could be pretty golden. They were both way into it in the lesson and seemed to love it when we started teaching them about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. I'm really excited for them. Tessa also said her son would be with them on Wednesday, so we might begin teaching him, too!! It's been amazing.

Daniel is doing well also. We were able to see him Wednesday and taught him what we call the "Eggbert Lesson"...I'll take a video and try to send it sometime. He said he wants to be baptized, but sadly we are still trying to figure out if his mom will let him. Hopefully it will all work out, but we're not sure at this point.

We saw Kenneth again on Thursday and had a really good lesson with him. He believes it's all true and wants to become a member! The bummer is that he hasn't told his parents and he's 17, so if they don't want him to get baptized, we have to wait until he's 18. Hopefully his parents will be able to see this is something he wants and something that will make him happy. It's so amazing to see the desire people have and what they will go through to do what they feel is right. We're excited for him and really hope he can make things work.

J.J. and Hayden are still on track to be baptized! His baptism will be this Saturday and we are way excited for him. The whole family has really started coming back to church on a regular basis and it's been so cool to see them be able to come back to activity. Hopefully things will continue to improve for them and they will be able to attend church more often.

Mendi is also doing well, and is preparing herself to be baptized on November 7th! I know I said we had a date set earlier, but this is the legit one and we are so excited!! She's come such a long way since we first started teaching her and she really understands everything we teach. It's so cool to see how easily she accepts it now and how much sense it makes to her. I have loved being a part of it and hope things continue to work out well. Sadly, that day is after transfers, so if I do get transferred, hopefully I'll be able to come back to see it. There really shouldn't be an issue, but you never know what can happen out here.

Korea is doing well. We saw him yesterday and he's still loving church and is going to school right now at University of North Texas (I think...it's UNT, so that makes sense to me =P). The Lewis' are also doing well and they are having a good time. Delia and her family are great, except for the fact they were fairly sick this weekend. We talked to them today, though, and they are doing a bit better.

Well, that's really all I have this week. I hope all is great back home!

Love,
Elder Grondel

Week 15

Hey there everyone! It feels like (once again) it was just a couple days ago that I was writing to you all. I know I said that last week, but it really is flying by! I just hit my 4 month mark on Saturday! I just got out here! I'm loving every minute of it and am hoping to continue working hard to accomplish the goals I have set for this week.

This week went a lot better than the previous weeks have gone. We were able to teach a lot and we got a few new people to teach! Tuesday we went to see a lady named Tessa Nielsen. She had requested a church DVD earlier and we hadn't been able to see her for some time. We finally got an appointment and went and taught her and her daughter. They really liked what we shared and we should see them again tomorrow night! It's really exciting.

We were able to see Amber and Kimberly again on Wednesday. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, and they thought it was great. They are really receptive, but it's hard to see them because they are fairly busy. Amber is going out of town this Wednesday, too, which will make it hard to see them until probably sometime next week. Still, it was really exciting to see them and teach them.

Thursday was pretty awesome. A girl named Leiandie in the Little Elm ward said she had a friend who is interested in the Book of Mormon, and so we went over and taught him. He understood what we talked about, and we committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormom and to watch General Conference. Apparently he did because we got a text from him Sunday evening saying he prayed about it and thought it was true! He asked on how he could become a member and is really excited! We'll see him again this Thursday and so we'll find out more and get that set up. We have been so blessed and don't deserve it, but the Lord's people hear his voice and he was ready for it! Later Thursday evening, we went and saw Mendi at Bishop Colegrove (The Colony 2nd ward) and we set up a date for her to be baptized! She was set to be baptized November 1st, but sadly that day won't work and she has to reschedule it. But hopefully we'll see her baptized before the end of November. It has been incredible to see her change and we are so excited for her.

Friday was pretty good too. We went on exchanges with Elders Holt and Pett serving in the Frisco 4th and 5th wards. I went to their area with Elder Pett. We had a really good time. Minus a Bible bash in the afternoon (which I promise I didn't start), we had a good day. We were able to do some service for the members they live with and taught a really powerful lesson on prayer later to a part-member family (the dad is a member, but the mom and kids are not). It was really fun.

The next day was awesome. General Conference. For those of you who don't know, twice a year the leaders of the Church address the world in 5 different sessions every 6 months: the first weekend in April and the first weekend in October. There are 4 general sessions: two on Saturday and two on Sunday, as well as a Priesthood session Saturday evening for all males 12 and older. There is also a meeting for the Young Women in March the week before Conference and the same thing for the Relief Society in September. This Conference was really good and extremely powerful. There were many talks given that hit me hard and that had real power behind them. If anyone wants to listen to or read the talks given, go to www.lds.org and click on General Conference.

I am also happy to say that the people who have been recently baptized are still doing well. We've been teaching Kimberly and Amber at Delia's house, We just saw the Lewis family last Tuesday, and just finished the New member lessons with Korea. It has been amazing to me to see the Lord's hand in all that we do. It has been a real testimony builder for me too, as I know that if we trust in Him and push forward through even the hardest of times, the Lord will bless us for our faith and perseverance.

As always, I love you all and hope all is going well. Don't be afraid to write! Hopefully I'll have new pictures up soon as well. =D

Elder Grondel

Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 14

Hey Y'all!! It's been another week in Texas!! The weather has started to cool off here and it is beautiful! It's so nice to not be standing in 100 degree weather with tons of humidity anymore.

This week really didn't go much better than last week. It was about the same, minus the fact Elder Hatfield wasn't sick this week. We had lots of appointments set up again, but many of them canceled. Same as last time, I'll just go over the highlights.

Monday and Tuesday weren't very good. Lots of drop-bys and tracting to little success. Wednesday went a lot better. We were able to pick up two new investigators!! We got a media referral (basically someone saw a commercial and wanted something) and the person (Nicole) requested a missionary visit. We went over that night and taught her and her mother, Cathy, a little bit of the restoration, and they wanted to know more! It was really great and a blessing to get some new investigators. We had an appointment set up with them tonite, but something came up and they won't be able to meet with us. We're hoping though. We also saw Daniel, who is doing well but we are still waiting for Mom's permission to baptize him. We went and saw a member of the ward named Nico who is pregnant with twins and as a result of such has been on bed rest for the past 25 or so weeks. It was really nice to see her because she had moved from the bed to the couch and was a lot more active. She was really happy to see us and we were more than happy to see her. Her husband isn't a member, and he may show interest soon. It will be interesting to see how that will progress.

Thursday we went on exchanges with the Zone leaders, Elder Lusk and Elder Patterson, who are serving in the Frisco 1st and 3rd ward. Elder Patterson came here and Elder Hatfield went there. Elder Patterson has only been out about 9 months but is a way awesome missionary and is already a great leader. The zone itself is pretty young (besides Elder Heywood, who's been out about 20 months, and the next oldest has only been out 14) but it's a good zone as well and hopefully good things will happen. That day, Elder Patterson and I did a lot of tracting and drop-bys to--you guessed it--no success.

The next day I felt like my prayers had been answered. We finally got into a door!! I felt impressed that we needed to go to a particular street to begin tracting and the first door we got to, a man named David let us in!! We taught him the Restoration and he's committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it!! I was so happy we were finally able to get in and teach someone after it seemed like such a long time since it had happened. I was so happy I was able to listen to the Spirit and allow him to guide us where we needed to go.

Saturday, we were supposed to have an appointment with Christian and he wasn't there again!! I really want to teach him, but it's way frustrating when he isn't there. Hopefully he'll be able to find time to see us and we can start seeing him regularly again. Later that day, we went and saw Korea and taught him another new member lesson. He is doing well and we think (and hope) he will remain strong in the church for the rest of his life.

We saw Mendi the next day, and we would have had a baptismal date with her, but it's been a hectic week for her and so she didn't get the chance to sit down and think about it. She is still doing great, though, so I'm not all that worried.

J.J. Kruzel has a baptismal date!! I called his mom the other night, and they figured out when they were going to do it! He should be baptized on October 17, and then confirmed the next day in church. We're really excited for him and his little brother, Hayden, who's also going to be baptized (Hayden is 8)! So it should be a great weekend when that happens.

Anyways, I think that's it from me! I hope all is going well for all of you!

Elder Grondel

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week 13

Hey there y'all!! I can't believe another week has gone by already! It feels like yesterday that I was in here writing about the week before. This week was one of the worst weeks of my mission, though, and hopefully the rest will not be as bad as this one was. We were able to teach a couple people but a lot of people punched their appointments. Not to mention Elder Hatfield got sick and we stayed inside all day Saturday. Still, it had it's moments. Monday we were able to see Amber, Delia's friend, but Kimberly was sick so we weren't able to see her that night. We set up an appointment later that week but then Amber got sick and they had to cancel their appointment. We're hoping to see them soon, though, so we'll see what happens.

We saw Mendi again and she's ready for baptism! We told her she just needed to pick a day and we would do it, so hopefully before the end of October she'll be baptized!! We're really excited for her and as always are happy to see the change that has come over her. It's been such a blessing to have been able to teach her and I really hope she will continue to progress throughout her life.

As far as the work is concerned, there really isn't much more to report on, sadly. Like I said earlier, there was a bunch of appointment we'd had set up, but pretty much all of them canceled and we did a lot of tracting to no success. It's been really hard but I know the Lord will provide.

This week has also been a bit hectic in that we have two more missionaries living in our tiny one bedroom apartment...talk about cramped. The stake here thought we were getting Spanish-speaking Sisters here and was all ready to bring them in and house them. But come Tuesday (transfer day), it turns out we were getting Elders; and since the members here weren't ready for them, they've been put with us for the time being. It's been kinda nice to get to know them, but there definitely isn't enough room in that apartment. Elder Heywood is one of the missionaries and he's pretty tall (6'2"), and Elder Rosser is his greenie...and he's 6' 10". It's disgusting. I can't believe how tall he is. Still, he's nice and is a hard worker and is definitely gonna have fun with all the Hispanic people, considering he'll be a good foot and a hallf taller than all of them. It's funny, too, because he's not very good at basketball (well, beyond the point where he can't drop it in the hoop ;) )

Yesterday was the highlight of my week though. I thought it was sweet that Elder Ballard and Elder Costa came last week. But the next day at district meeting, come to find out we had ANOTHER big meeting. And this time they got ALL the missionaries from BOTH missions there...not just the ones who were close. We got there and guess who it was? President Uchtdorf! I could not believe it. It was really cool because he wanted to shake our hands, too, and so we all got up and lined up and took turns shaking President and Sister Uchtdorf's hand. It was really cool. He and his wife both gave powerful talks on remaining diligent and obedient, declaring and practicing repentance, and treasuring up Chapter 3 of "Preach My Gospel", basically what we teach people out here. It was really, really good.

Well, that's all I have for this week! Hopefully I'll have more exciting news to report next week!! I love you all!!

Elder Grondel

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 11

Hey y'all!! As I finished up August and went into the first week of September, I realized I've been out here for 3 months already!! I can't believe how fast it's gone by...it doesn't seem that long ago that I entered the MTC and got to Texas. Hopefully the rest of my mission will not pass me by too quickly. I do not think it will, however.

This last week was much better than the week previous. Monday night we were finally able to see the Lewis' and I'm glad to report they are still doing amazing! We had to move the baptism to September 6th instead of the 5th because of scheduling issues but everything worked out fine.

Tuesday was pretty good as well. We had a really good district meeting that morning and then we were pretty busy that afternoon. We finished Geocoding the wards and were able to do some tracting before dinner. We didn't find anyone, but we've been praying that we will, so hopefully we can talk to people and find those that are truly ready to hear the gospel. That night we had another great appointment with Mendi and we talked a bit about baptism. She's still fairly unsure about it, but hopefully we'll be able to set a date with her tonight.

Wednesday we didn't have anything planned until that evening so we did a lot of tracting during the day. We found a couple people that could become investigators, so we will try to see them this week and see if they're interested. That evening, we went on exchanges with the Little Elm Elders Quorum again. I went with Brother Leyer to see the Lewis' and President Grumbles and Elder Hatfield went to see Delia & her family. Sadly, Jose (her husband) wasn't there and they were pretty busy, so they didn't end up teaching anything. We taught the Lewis' the rest of the commandments, though, and Kelly was still really excited for the baptism.

Thursday was our lovely planning meeting...which I still don't like. But the rest of the day was alright. We had dinner with the Greens (TC2). Sister Green is the Relief Society president in that ward and is pretty excited to get the Ward Mission Plan going. That night we didn't really have anything to do so we did some drop-bys and saw a few less active families. It was a pretty good night.

Friday I went on exchanges with Elder Holt. His companion (greenie) went with Elder Hatfield to our area and I went with Elder Holt to his area. It was a way good day and we had a lot of fun. We had things to keep us busy and we were able to teach some investigators and see some less active families.

Saturday was a lot of fun. We had Kelly's baptisimal interview that morning (which went well, of course =]) and then we spent some time just going over things making sure he was prepared for his baptism the next day. That afternoon we did some service for a potential investigator and tried to see a few less active families, but no one was home. That night we went and had dinner with the Lewis' (they're pretty much awesome) at a place called Roma's. It was reaaaallly good. There were TVs in the restaurant and I know we're not supposed to watch TV on the mission...but BYU was on playing Oklahoma. Then Kelly invited us to come back over to his house to watch the game...and I definitely wasn't one to say no. It was a great game too. If y'all didn't watch it...then you missed a good game. Go Cougars!

Sunday was a great day. We had a good time at church, lots of people bore their testimonies, and it was really spiritual. That evening was even better. First off, Jordan Smith, my "Father", came back to perform the baptism, and it was great to see him again and to meet his parents, who are wonderful people. I still miss him, but I'm glad I was able to see him again and know I'll see him again. The baptism itself was great and was a beautiful service. I'm so happy for Kelly and his family and can't wait until they have the opportunity to be sealed in the temple. It's so amazing to see the gospel bless their lives each day. I know they will continue to partake of its blessings every day and it is such a testimony builder to me to see their lives blessed by the power of the Atonement.

Well, that's all from me!! I hope y'all have another great week and hope to hear from you!!

Love,
Elder Grondel

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week 10

Hey there everybody! It's been another wonderful (and fast) week here in the lovely state of Texas! Everything is still going pretty good here and guess what? We had a baptism Friday!! Woo hoo!! Korea (Ryan) got baptized on Friday night and was confirmed yesterday in church. It was so awesome to see the blessing of the restored Gospel in his life. Hopefully he'll continue to progress and maybe serve a mission. Time will tell though. His parents were there for both the baptism and confirmation, so it was great to see the support and love they have for Ryan. Hopefully Ryan will be able to work with them and they will start taking the lessons as well. We will see.

This week (although great) was also one of the toughest of my life at some points. Monday was good (we saw Korea and of course, it was P-Day) but Tuesday...yeah that was not fun. We had basically nothing planned until that evening because I guess everyone was busy that day (of course it was the second day of school, but still). We had an appointment with a lady named Marie in the morning and she's now a new investigator, but we didn't have anything planned until 6 PM after that. So we went tracting. And did lots of tracting. And of course we went to a more backwater area of Little Elm where everyone's dog was off a leash. So we skipped about 20 houses out of fear of getting mauled by a dog and (wouldn't you know it?) a little 2 year old decides to open the screen door of his house when he hears the dogs barking and 5 DOBERMANS RAN OUT. Needless to say, I freaked out a bit and turned my back to them...not a good idea. The one in front bolted and chomped down right on the back of my thigh. Then the owner comes out and tells me to stop running. At this point, I thought "Your dog just BIT me and you want me to let it get CLOSER to me?" I was upset. Thankfully, the dog didn't get its teeth through my pants because then I would have had to go to the hospital and check for rabies and what not and yadah yadah...not a good day. To make it even better, Christian punched (cancelled) the appointment we had with him because he had too much homework. How much homework do you have on the second day of school? Pretty much worst day ever. And I hate dobermans now. I think the Lord was definitely humbling me in some way. Elder Hall (one of the missionaries serving in the same district who came out with me) said it was about time I had a hard day, because quite frankly, I've been blessed beyond reason, and he is having a difficult time in his area. Still, the end of the day was alright. We had an appointment with Mendi and we finished up the Plan of Salvation. It made sense to her and hopefully we can set a baptisimal date with her soon. I just need to recognize the Lord's hand in everything and I think things will pick up.

Wednesday went much better. We had Zone Conference and received training on how to really activate the Ward Mission Plan, based on a program set up by Elder Perry, one of the 12 apostles. It definitely helped a lot and hopefully we can see an increase in our numbers as the ward gets more involved in doing missionary work. That evening (zone conference is basically all day) we went on exchanges with the Elders Quorum Presidency as we do basically every Wednesday to go visit people. We were going to have an appointment with the Lewis' that evening, but they were taking care of some things and so sadly they had to cancel. We did go see a few other people though and had a good night visiting the less-active members who needed someone to talk to.

Thursday we had planning and we did get a lot done. We Geocoded all the addresses in all the wards (basically we took the address, looked it up in the map, and put the coordinate next to it, i.e. 554G) and then compiled them on spread sheets to make it a lot easier to find people in the ward when we don't know where they are. That took awhile (pretty much all day), so we had dinner with the Wilsons, a member from The Colony 1st ward (if I haven't mentioned before, we get fed almost every night by members. That's another reason Tuesday stunk. We didn't have a dinner scheduled) and then went and saw the Mendez family. Brother Mendez was baptized about three years ago and then sadly fell into inactivity. He never received the priesthood either, and so we've been working with them to get them reactivated and going to church on a regular basis. The lesson went well on Thursday so hopefully he'll be coming more.

Friday was, of course, Korea's baptism, but we started volunteering at a food bank Friday mornings, giving them extra hands and muscle. It was only our second time going there but it was fun and I loved it. It's amazing how much this means to people, especially because sometimes people don't want to admit they need help. It leaves me with such a good feeling, and I'm looking forward to working there more. Before the baptism that night, we went to the Lewis' for dinner, but sadly, Kelly got held up at work and we weren't able to see him. He was really upset as well, and I know he wants to be baptized, and so we're not going to worry too much about it.

Saturday we had another blitz, but this time in the Frisco 2nd & 6th ward area, covered by Elder Stettler and Elder Hall. It went well and we got them quite a few new investigators. After that, we went to a baptism for some one Elder Hatfield taught in his old area. We were pretty late (the baptism was scheduled for 3 PM and we didn't get there until about 4 PM) because the member picking us up got lost because she had bad directions, but we got there and it went well. We had dinner with the Stegemans (Little Elm ward [LE]) and went and saw Mendi again. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she really liked it. She's getting closer and closer to baptism and hopefully we can see her baptized before the end of September.

Sunday (Game Day as Elder Hatfield calls it) was alright. We didn't have that many investigators at church (only Korea, Mendi, and Kelly showed up)mbut Korea did get confirmed. As I said earlier, it is great to see the effects of the restored Gospel in a person's life. That evening we had dinner with the Burkes (The Colony 1st ward [TC1]) and they are doing awesome in their own missionary work. They all invite their friends to activities and always try to be examples of what a member should be like. It has made a difference in the lives of those around them and hopefully we'll be able to teach people soon.

Today we played basketball and dodgeball (as we do most P-Days) but in 2 weeks we have laser tag!! Woohoo!! We're all excited and it should be lots of fun. Tonight we have another lesson with Delia and the Lewis', so it should be a great day all together.

Well that's all for this week. Thanks for all your love and support and may God bless!!

Elder Grondel

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Week 9

Hey y'all! So this week went really well. Not only did it fly by, but we set two baptisimal dates!! Kelly will be getting baptized on September 5th and Ryan (Korea) will be getting baptized on Friday! We're really excited for both of them and are so happy they've made this decision. We finally were able to meet with Ryan last Wednesday and he said he wanted to be baptized and so now we're just teaching him everything he needs to know to be baptized so he can be ready. We have an appointment with him tonight and that should go well.

When we were at the Lewis' last week, Branden didn't sit in so we went ahead and finished up the Plan of Salvation with Kelly and when we were talking about it, he started talking about getting sealed WHEN he was a member. Not if, WHEN. I nearly jumped out of my pants from excitement. After we were done teaching him we talked about baptism and he said he wanted to be baptized. We committed him and he's looking forward to it! Elder Smith...well I guess "Jordan" now...will be coming back that weekend too, so we're excited to see him at the baptism.

Tuesday we saw Daniel and while his Dad wasn't home, we still had a good lesson with him and hopefully we'll be able to get a hold of his dad and set up a baptismal date with him. We've been trying but he doesn't answer his phone, so we're having difficulties.

We've sadly all but dropped Juan. We set up an appointment top see him before Daniel, but he wasn't there and we're pretty sick of wasting time trying to see him. We left him a message on his phone to call us back so hopefully we'll still be able to teach him, but it's not looking too good to be honest.

After Daniel, we went and saw Christian again and had a really powerful lesson about the restoration with him. We committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We went back two days later and he said he felt really good about the Book of Mormon and believed it to be true and believes Joseph Smith is a Prophet. We taught him a part of the Plan of Salvation and he really liked that too. He said he wanted to come to church and we arranged a ride for him and everything, but he didn't show up. We're gonna have to level with him this week and hope he will actually start coming to church.

Wednesday we had Zone Interviews with the Mission President. I love President Smith. He's a way smart man and is definitely inspired. It's always awesome to see him and I'm glad he'll be the mission president the whole time I'm here. We also received a good training from our Zone Leaders, Elder Facer and Elder Lusk, on ways to get in doors when we're tracting, and we came up with "Crack the Code", basically finding out what they need to hear that will let us in. Later that evening we went to The Colony to teach Mendi Delavan. As I said last time, Mendi moved here a couple months ago and has been going to church the entire time she's been here. We taught her the full restoration lesson and she really enjoyed it. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and said the whole thing was "plausible". We saw her again on Saturday and taught her part of the Plan of Salvation and she liked it too. I think she believes in the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Hopefully we'll be able to set a goal for her to be baptized in the coming week or so.

Thursday we met with the Lewis' again and Branden sat in this time, but sadly I think his older brother Michael is influencing him a bit. He didn't seem that into it and when we went and saw them again last night, he didn't want to sit in. Hopefully we'll be able to work with him over the next couple months, but nothing really promising as of yet.

Friday we went on exchanges with Elders Stettler and Hall, who cover Frisco 2nd and 6th wards. Elder Hall came over to my area with me, and Elder Hatfield went with Elder Stettler. We had a really good time, even though we were tracting most of the day. We were able to get in a door and teach a lesson to a thirteen-year-old named Marcus, who wanted to know who had the authority to baptize. We told him we believed our church did, and gave him a Book of Mormon so he could find out for himself. We'll see him again Saturday, so hopefully he'll have read and prayed and we can teach him more. That night we went and saw Delia again. She is doing a lot better and Michael and Jose came home Saturday! It was great to see the whole family together and happy again. Hopefully Delia will be able to work with Jose as well, and we will be able to teach him and get him baptized as well, and then in a year, the whole family can go to the temple and be sealed for time and all eternity! I'm really excited for them and hope it will work out!

Saturday was full. We went and taught Korea, Mendi, and the Lewis' all in the same day, as well as contacted a couple of referrals who had requested church media. We tracted and kept busy. It was way good.

Yesterday we saw J.J., Kelly, Korea, and Mendi at church! It's so awesome to see the people you teach experience what you hold dear. I'm continually happy that I have the chance to be here and teach those around me about what I know and love. After church, we had dinner with the Sorensens. Their son, Logan, is doing better, and should be able to continue his mission in India. Sister Sorensen is teaching seminary this year and is excited but way nervous, as she never has and doesn't know how 6 AM seminary is gonna treat her. After dinner we went and saw the Kruzels and are basically waiting on them for J.J. and Hayden to be baptized. They just need to find a day their grandmother can be in town and then they'll get baptized. We saw Delia and the whole family again after that, and they are doing well. Jose was a bit busy so we just barely talked to him at the end, but we know Delia is going to work on him and it'll be good.

Well, that's all for this week!! I love you all and hope all is going well for you guys!!

Love,
Elder Grondel

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Week 8

So I know last week I said Week 7 passed by really slow, and now I can't believe I wrote that a week ago. This week has gone by so fast. I keep getting the days mixed up...hopefully I can get back on track.

This entry may be fairly short because quite honestly there hasn't been a lot going on. We're still trying to find new investigators without much success, so we need to come up with fresh ideas on how to find people. Hopefully this next week will go a lot better than the last two have gone.

We haven't had a chance to see Daniel in a while. We had an appointment scheduled with him on Tuesday but his Dad punched it because they had to do something (I can't remember what it was). We should see him tomorrow, though, so hopefully we can set up a baptisimal date with him then.

Wednesday we got a new investigator! He's a 15-year-old named Christian and there's a funny story behind him. We had actually knocked on his door about a week before that and he asked us if we knew Cheyenne. Cheyenne is a recent convert (baptized in May) and is about 14. Apparently they have been talking a lot on MySpace (or Facebook or something) about the church and he was really excited to see us there. We couldn't come in at the moment because he was leaving, but we set up an appointment for the next day. He no-showed that, but called us later that evening and set up an appointment with us for that Wednesday. So we showed up and taught him about prophets, the Savior's earthly ministry and Atonement, and the Apostasy. He seemed to take it well and said he wanted to go to church on Sunday. He didn't show up for whatever reason, but we will see him tomorrow and teach him more.

We went and saw James and Jessica again (after they had punched like 3 appointments) and this time it went really well. We watched the Restoration DVD and she really liked it. Last time we got her a children's Book of Mormon and she's read that a lot too. She believes in the Book of Mormon now and believes Joseph Smith was a prophet! There's still a lot to teach and we'll have to go slow, but she has progressed a lot since the last time we saw her. Sadly she didn't show up to church even though we had commited her, so the next time we see them we'll bring it up and hopefully get her to church.

We saw J.J. again after a long time. He's pretty much ready for baptism--his parents are just waiting for a day where his grandmother can be in town for it. He and his 8-year-old brother Hayden will get baptized on the same day.

Friday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, Elders Facer and Lusk. An exchange is where we switch companions for the day. I went to the Frisco area and Elder Facer went to Little Elm and The Colony with Elder Hatfield. Elder Lusk and myself had an enjoyable time, but sadly enough a lot of the appointments he had set up fell through. Elder Hatfield didn't have a lot of success either, but we did get another investigator. Her name is Mendi and she moved here about 7 weeks ago. She is going through a really tough financial perod right now but has been going to church for the entire time she's been here. Apparently her grandmother took her when she was young but she ws never baptized. On Friday, Elder Hatfield had dinner with the Alleman family and they invited her over. They taught her about the Book of Mormon and she said she was ready to know more, so we will go teach her this week and hopefully see her baptized in the coming weeks.

We saw Liz again this week, and apparently she and Trever have broken up; however, as we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we had a really spiritual lesson and at the end she said she wanted to be baptized! The only thing holding her back at this point was her parents. They are not big fans of the Church at all and would probably be really upset if she got baptized (at that point she hasn't even told them about the lessons she'd been having with us) so she'll probably get baptized sometime next month or October. I'm really excited for her though. She has become so much happier and more at peace since we started teaching her. At first, I suspect she took the lessons to keep Trevor and his family happy, but it's great to see how that has shifted to her truly wanting to know and to become a part of this wonderful Church. I have been so blessed to see that change in her life.
Sadly, the missionaries in the singles ward have requested that they start teaching her for some odd reason (it's too much to explain...and it's just annoying) so we won't finish teaching her but we will definitely be at her baptism.

We haven't seen Kelly & Melissa in a while because Kelly was sick on Wednesday when we had scheduled an appointment and they went to pick up Branden from the airport. We do have an appointment with them tonite, though, so that should go well and hopefully Branden will sit in, 'cause if he does we could see him baptized at the same time as his father. =D

We had a blitz in one of the areas on Saturday and it went well. We got the missionaries serving there 6 new investigators! It was a lot of fun and a couple of those investigators have a lot of potential to be baptized.

Well I guess that's it. I miss you all and hope to hear from you!

Love, peace, and Taco Grease (courtesy of Josh ;])

Elder Grondel

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 7

Week 7 has been one of the longest weeks here. I dunno why it seems so long but man it has gone by slow. However, it was still a fairly good week. Last Monday, we were able to teach Korea (who's real name is Ryan) and he really enjoyed the lesson. We just had another one with him on Friday and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It was really spiritual and me will likely get baptized before the end of the transfer (a transfer is 6 weeks and this one ends on the 14th of September).

Tuesday was exciting because guess what? I got a new companion!! While it was sad to see Elder Smith go and I will miss him dearly, a change is always new and exciting. His name is Elder Hatfield (he's still looking for an Elder McCoy) and he's from Payson, Utah (about 20 miles south of Provo). He's been out almost a year (he hits a year this week) and he's a great missionary. He's the new district leader and is already doing an incredible job. he has lots of great ideas, and has planned a few blitzes for the areas that need new investigators and people to teach. A blitz is where you get all the missionaries in a district (or zone depenging on the area) and for a few hours contact people in mass force, trying to find people that are willing to listen and be taught. Since a lot of the areas are seriously lacking in teaching pools right now, it will definintely help the areas and in turn the mission.

After I got my new companion, Elder Hatfield and I went over to see a boy named Daniel. Daniel just turned nine in June and was not baptized, so then it became our responsibility to teach him the lessons. We've been teaching him for a few weeks now and while we were there last time, Daniel said he wanted to be baptized! Daniel's father said they needed to figure out what day would be best for them, but it was way exciting to hear that. We'll see him again tomorrow and so hopefully we'll be able to set a baptisimal date with him.

We have another investigator we've been teaching, a girl named Liz. Liz is the boyfriend of the young men's president's son, Trevor. Trevor is a returned missionary from...I can't remember. But anyways, Liz was interested in taking the lessons, so of course, we were happy to oblige. We've been teaching her since the end of July, although she seems to br progressing fairly well (she's reading the Book of Mormon and going to church) we kinda feel that she's not sincerely praying about it and that she may be taking the lessons simply to keep Trevor and his parents happy. Hopefully this is a wrong assumption on our part, but if she doesn't show a real desire soon, we may have to level with her, meaning we would have to figure out if she's really doing it for herself, or is she is doing it for him.

On a sadder note, Shawn dropped us, and truthfully, we were thinking about dropping him too. He was reading the Book of Mormon against the Bible (meaning he was criticizing it) and he was fairly firm in his beliefs. We had taught him up to the Plan of Salvation and had a real hinderance on the Garden of Eden (he thought it was possible for Adam and Eve to have children in the Garden) and the Pre-Earth Life (he just didn't believe that one). We encouraged him to go on mormon.org to try to answer his questions because we had been there too long already, and the next day he called us because he found out about the doctrine that we can become like Heavenly Father (which of course he thought was crazy) and so he said he didn't want us to come over anymore. I was upset, but maybe sometime in the future he will look into the church again with a more open heart and mind.

Now for the really exciting news: Kelly (Melissa's husband) has started taking the lessons for real this time!! We went over on Wednesday mainly to visit with Melissa and Logan and start the new member lessons with them (basically all the lessons over again with one more) and then Kelly walked in. We talked a little bit and found out that on Sunday, Kelly picked up the Book of Mormon and said they should start reading it together....WAIT A MINUTE. KELLY SAID THIS?!? Needless to say I could barely contain my joy and excitement. We taught him the Restoration and it was a very Spiritual and Powerful lesson. We commited him to come to church and guess what? HE CAME!! We were so excited and happy to see him there. We had another lesson with him after church SUnday evening, and it was just as powerful as before. He'd been really busy this last week, so he didn't get a chance to read, but he said he wanted to and knew it was important too. We taught him the first half of the Plan of Salvation (From the PRe-Earth Life to the Atonement of Jesus Christ) and he really understood it and asked the perfect questions that helped him to learn. We're really excited for him and could see him baptized before the end of the transfer as well. To add to that, Melissa's 15-year old son Brandon comes home on Sunday and he was pretty interested before he went to Virginia in July, and so he could be baptized with his Dad. I am way excited for the whole family and this entire transfer.

We haven't been able to find any new investigators (sadly enough...hence the need for a blitz) but hope to find some this week.

Well, that's it for me!! Love you all!!

Elder Grondel.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Week 5 and 6

Hey y'all!! So I know it's been a while since you've heard from me but last week the server timed out on me and when I re-entered my password to get back on the site and send the email, I accidentally hit an extra key and entered the wrong password...which resulted in my email getting deleted...AHHHHH!!! I didn't have time to write another one and so now I'm writing about "both" weeks ;)

Melissa and Logan continued to be amazing and excited for their baptism. They have such a strong testimony in the Gospel now it blows me away and they want to be baptized way badly. I'm really excited for them and the way the Atonement has affected their lives. The baptism itself was incredible. That morning Logan woke up excited and ready to go but then started feeling sick a little bit later. He had Elder Smith and myself come over and give him a blessing, and we blessed him that he would feel better by the time he got to the baptism. When he got there, he was still feeling pretty sick and did not look good at all (he was pretty pale and ashen) but as soon as he got his baptisimal clothes on, he was at 100%! It was almost instant but he went from ready to hurl to completely fine. It was so amazing to see the faith on an 8-year-old boy and that he trusted the Priesthood enough that he knew it could heal him. It was such a testimony builder for myself as well to realize this young boy had this much trust in the Lord. The power of the Priesthood is real, and it made itself manifest that day not only in the blessing, but in the baptism as well. Elder Smith baptized Melissa, and Elder Tanner, Elder Smith's previous companion, was able to come up and baptize Logan. It was beautiful, and one of the most amazing parts of it was when Melissa's husband Kelly showed up. She did not expect him to be there (and neither did I) and it was so amazing to see his love and support for her. Michael, her son, also showed up and it was great to have the whole family there to support Melissa and Logan. Then next day they were confirmed and Melissa's mother came to church for the first time in 39 years. It was so cool to see how the actions of one person can affect an entire family. Since it was fast Sunday, testimony meeting followed the confirmations and the sacrament, and it was very spiritual. Melissa's grandmother got up to bear her testimony and Elder Smith and I did so as well. It was such a wonderful Sunday and the best weekend I've had here.

Shawn is progressing in an ok way. He loves having us over but mainly is just curious about our beliefs and is having us over to learn more; however, the Lord works in mysterious ways so he could have a change of heart. He has been reading the Book of Mormon, though, and said he wanted to start from the beginning, so hopefully he'll see something that answers a question he has had before that the Bible didn't anwer or that didn't explain it as well. We will see.

James and Jessica are two new people in out ward. James has been a member for a while but Jessica is not a member. She said she was interested in the lessons so we went over and started teaching her. We taught her the first lesson and then when we went back a couple of days later, she had all but forgotten everything we had taught her previously. We came to find out she has a mental disability, which makes it hard for her to fully comprehend and retain things that are taught to her. We are definitely going to have to take it slow with her and it could be really difficult, but if we have faith I know the Lord will provide a way. We haven't been able to see her in a while, though, because they both have been pretty sick. We're supposed to see them tomorrow, though, so hopefully that will be a good lesson.

We picked up a new investigator who is nicknamed Korea because he looks Korean. Yeah I don't know why really either. Anyways, he's been going to church for a couple weeks with one of his friends and we had dinner with that family. We invited Korea over for a bit and taught him the first lesson. He really enjoyed it and we will be teaching him again tonight!

Sadly we really haven't had a chance to see many of our other investigators because they have been busy or out of town, so we have been initiating the "Family Mission Plan" in many of the wards. Basically, everyone writes down the names of all their non-member friends, prays about that list, and chooses 3-5 names or families to be in their "Sacred Circle of Friends". Then they pray specifically for those people and try to figure out the next step for them, whether it is inviting them over for dinner, having them for Family Home Evening, inviting them to church, etc. with a goal of eventually getting them to meet with the missionaries (us!) It should help with the work and getting us new people to teach.

Now for the sad/exciting news. As you know, Elder Smith is leaving this week to go home. He has been an amazing missionary and a great trainer. I don't know what I'm gonna do without him (besides missionary work of course!) but i think I'll be able to get by. He has become one of my best friends though, and I'm gonna miss him dearly. I am excited to get a new companion, though, and experience what it's like to have a new Elder. It should be a lot of fun.

Well, it's the end of the first transfer, and I'm so excited I still have 16 more to go!! I don't want to be anywhere else right now and I'm gonna love every minute of it.

God Bless y'all!!

Elder Grondel

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009

What a week. To start, Monday Elder Smith and myself set a baptisimal date with Melissa and Logan Lewis for August 1st! We're really excited too!! They have had such good experiences with the Gospel and have really changed. Melissa is happier more often and Logan is just awesome. He really knows what he is doing and that this is what he wants. We're way stoked to see them baptized. Their progression has been awesome, and Kelly (Melissa's husband) has agreed to take the lessons now, and we had a great lesson with them Saturday night. He's really interested now!

We tried to see Juan, but he hurt his shoulder lifting something at work, and when we went to see him, he had dozed off because of the medicine the doctor gave him. The rest of our investigators are kinda staying where they are, and Elder Smith and I are trying to find new investigators; sadly we haven't had much success. We did tract into a guy named Shawn though, and we have another appointment with him tomorrow, so we'll see how he does and what he though of out first lesson.

I've lost another 5 pounds (woo hoo!). I just hope I'll have the motivation to keep going after Elder Smith leaves. He's been the one getting me to do it. I really enjoy it now, though, so I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.

$mitty's (Elder Smith's) birthday was on Thursday and it rocked. We went over to the Sorensen's house for dinner and they went all out. The dinner rocked and at the end Sister Sorensen made a red velvet cake from the recipe $mitty's mom uses and had sent to her...and oh mu gosh it was delicious. It was seriously the best red velvet cake I have ever had. we felt so full that night and worked out way hard the next morning to make sure we burned it off. However it was totally worth it. The best part for Elder Smith was the last part. His mom sent a video of the family singing "Happy Birthday" to him and he absolutely loved it. It was so cool and now I'm really excited to meet his family...which won't be for 2 years...dangit. It was great though, and now $mitty is the bigh 2-1 and will be heading home soon...='(

Today was way sweet. Robert Peterson, one of Elder Smith's recent converts (he was baptized in May), knows a guy who does outdoor laser tag, and he set up a day for us to go out and play. We had about 25 people there (20 were missionaries--half from our zone and half from another) and we played in an 8-and-a-half acre forest with a bunch of trails and bunkers made out of sticks/logs. It was seriously one of the coolest things I've ever done. We played 5 games, and the guns were M16 airsoft guns that had been modified with an infrared laser. It was unbelievably awesome. Sadly, our team lost most of the games, but it was still really cool. We'll be doing it next month too, so you can imagine my excitement. =D

Well I love y'all and hope you have a good week!!

Elder Grondel

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 13, 2009

Hey y'all!! It's been another great week in the wonderful state of Texas! It's hard to believe I've been away from home for almost 6 weeks...it's gone by really fast! I'm loving every second of it though and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Elder Smith continues to be amazing. I think I forgot to mention in previous letters that he is a bit of a health nut and I can't blame him. We get fed pretty much every night by members and when dinner is 1200 calories by itself...you get the picture. Thankfully we work out every morning, so it doesn't do much to us. I thought I was gonna gain weight (the average missionary in our mission gains 30 pounds), but instead I've already lost ten pounds. It's crazy! I really enjoy it though and I'm happy I'm with someone who's dedicated. Elder Smith is one of the best people I have ever met and I'm really sad he's leaving. He got his travel plans last week and he flies home August 5th. The worst part about it is that I keep thinking about home myself...which is not so good; however, I feel I've been focused and we have definitely been blessed for our efforts. We've been teaching quite a few lessons lately and found 4 new investigators this week. Sadly we've all but dropped Gabriella, Veronica, Alex, Carla, and Joanna because we haven't had a lesson with them for almost 2 weeks. We're pretty sure they've been "anti"-ed. It's been really annoying.

Melissa and Logan Lewis are doing really well, though. They both want to be baptized but are concerned about it being too soon and without the rest of the family being baptized, they don't know how it will affect them. Logan is a stud though and said to his mom the other day, "It's my body and I can do what I want. And I want to be baptized." It was way cool. The kid is only 8, but he's already a spiritual giant. We're really excited for them and hope to see them baptized soon.

We had another lesson with Juan on Friday, and he already seems a lot happier. He said he noticed that we are always happy no matter what, wheter we're sitting out in the heat (which we've had to do) or helping him change a tire, he said we just shrug it off and stay happy. This was thankfully a great teaching experience on the Holy Ghost and how it comforts those who have it with them. He's become a lot happier himself; he's still got a long way to go but with the Lord's help, we can get him there.

We met with J.J. and Hayden Kruzel again last night, and they are both doing awesome. They're pretty much ready for baptism; they just need to make it a weekend that their grandparents can be in town. J.J.'s team made it to the World Series (crazy huh!) and he had something crazy like 66 stike outs in 60 innings. The kid is a beast.

I love you all and want to hear from you!! Please write me!

God Bless,

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 6, 2009

Hey y'all!! This week went really well. Elder Smith and I have been blessed with people willing to learn about the Gospel. I have really enjoyed working with him so far and I'm really sad he's gonna be going home in August. He knows so much about the gospel and is an excellent teacher. I love having him as a companion and friend.

This weekend was awesome. Not only was it "Uhmerica Day", We also had a family get baptized: Delia and her two sons, Michael and Adrian. They were confirmed yesterday in church and they are so happy now to be a part of the church. Sadly, Michael is moving out to California to live with his Dad next week, so we won't get to see much more of him before he leaves.

Melissa and Logan Lewis are way stoked about the church. Logan is only 8 but he wants to be baptized so badly. Melissa is definitely feeling it too, but wants her son Branden and Her husband Kelly to join her as well, so we'll be teaching all of them (hopefully) over the next few weeks.

We haven't been able to find many new investigators lately, sadly enough. It's just hard because most people leave Little Elm to go work somewhere else, considering Little Elm is pretty small (less than 30,000 people). I love it though and I'm really happy so far.

On the more embarrassing side, Friday night, I decided it would be a great idea to spill water on myself...while at a member's home, with ice cold water. Needless to say, I was fairly embarrassed. Of course, then I get a brain freeze a few minutes later and it hurts so bad I don't even notice everyone else is laughing at me. Then the next day after the baptism, as I was sitting down to eat at the Golden Corral, my pocket got caught on the chair somehow and I ripped my pants...yeah that was annoying. As you can see, it's been hard, but it's been good ;)

I love you all and miss you too!!

Elder Jeffrey Douglas Grondel