Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 29, 2009

Hey y'all! It's been an amazing first week! As you may know, I got to the field last Monday and have been busy ever since. Tuesday morning was the transfer meeting and I met my new companion and trainer, Elder Smith. He has only 5 weeks left out here, and I'm his third "son" (greenie). He is so amazing and knows more about teaching and explaining well than I could have ever imagined.

Right after the transfer meeting (on Tuesday), we went to an appointment we had at 12:30. I didn't even get a chance to go to the apartment before we got into it! It was really good, though. We taught two sisters, Gabriella and Veronica, and their daughters. Gabriella has one girl named Carla and Veronica has two girls named Joanna and Alex. They are really eating it up and understanding it very well. Later that night, we met with a 17-year-old named Peyton who wants to be baptized but can't because his mother won't let him. He knows it's true though and we're excited for him. After that we ran over to a house where a mother, Delia, and her two boys, Michael (15) and Adrian (8), live. Elder Smith and Elder Tanner, his former companion, had already committed them to baptism and they are getting baptized on July 4th, a.k.a "Uhmerica Day".

Wednesday, after our studies we had a District meeting, where I found out Elder Hall and I are in the same district!! I miss everyone so much already and it's really nice to be able to have a familiar person in the group. After that meeting, we got some lunch and then met with a young man named Juan we bumped into on Tuesday. He works at a local Wal-Mart, and is going through some tough times (his girlfriend just dumped him, his car broke down, some legal problems). He told us he "needed God in his life again", and we were only happy to help him. When we met with him, we talked a lot about the church Christ had set up when he was on the earth, and how it fell. He seemed really interested, and we set up an appointment to see him again on Friday. After Stopping at Juan's, we went and knocked on doors, and holy guacamole is it hot here. The heat itself is fine, but you add humidity to it and it's just horrible. Once you start sweating, you don't stop. We were tracting and ran into a kid named Ivan, and he let us in and let us teach the first lesson. He is so-so about it, but he agreed for another appointment. Hopefully something will come of it. Later we taught the Lewis family, who consists of the mother Melissa and her husband Kelly and her three boys, Michael, Branden, and Logan. Melissa, Kelly, and Logan are really progressing, but Branden and Michael are not. Michael also causes problems and it is unlikely he will keep any of the commitments we give him. We met with Delia, Michael, and Adrian again tonight, and they are on fire, especially Delia. This Gospel has changed her life so much. She has become quite the missionary too, and has asked us to send missionaries to her sister, brother, and mother.

Thursday we had our weekly planning meeting. Half the time was spent on the phone making calls for appointments and what not. We did a lot of tracting after that, too, with very little success. It was depressing. That night totally made up for it though. We went over to Gabriella's house to teach her and the others the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing. Elder Smith and I were both feeling the Spirit, we were teaching well, and the Lord did the rest for us. Elder Smith extended the invitation to be baptized, and they said yes! We've only been teaching them a week, but they get it. The five of them are set to be baptized July 25th; Elder Smith and I are so ecstatic. The Lord has blessed us so much it's crazy.

Friday we did a lot more tracting. We didn't have an appointment until 3:30, and sadly, as before, we didn't have much success. We met with Juan at 3:30, and he is really doing well. The discussion we had was a little too casual for us (we were helping him change a tire as we taught), but he got the message. We finished up the Restoration and left him with a Book of Mormon, which he said he would read and pray about. I'm excited for him. We had dinner with a member (I forgot to mention: we are fed essentially every night by a member...I'm gonna get so fat.) and went to the home of a less active family with an unbaptized ten-year-old son (if a child is over the age of 8, the missionaries need to teach them before they can be baptized). His name is J.J. and he is a sweet kid. He's really into baseball, and can already throw a 60 MPH fastball! And he's like 90 pounds! He's awesome and we hope to see him baptized soon. We went over to Delia's house again and taught them some of the commandments that need to be kept in preparation for their baptism. They are so amazing and I'm so happy for them.

Saturday was so legit. We were able to see one of Elder Smith's converts, Mickey Wilson, from an earlier area get sealed to her husband and daughter for time and all eternity in the Dallas Temple! It was such a great experience. The daughter joined the church about 15 years ago (I think) and Mickey's husband joined a few years later. Years after her husband joined (and just over a year ago), Mickey joined the church as well. That afternoon, we had a bunch of appointments cancel, so we did a lot of tracting. We were let into the home of a Nigerian woman named Franca and her sister's friend, Eseoso. They were both very open to the message we had to share, and agreed to set up another lesson. Hopefully they will continue to have an open heart and mind.

Sunday was long. It was so much Church. Thankfully we had ten investigators there to keep us occupied. We were really happy, considering it's normally no more than 5 or 6 at church. After Church we went to dinner, where I ate way too much. We went to Peyton's house after dinner and taught him the Plan of Salvation. It went really well, but dinner didn't sit too well... Thankfully we only had a short appointment after that. When we got home I essentially went straight to bed.

This morning stunk though. Neither of our alarms went off and we didn't get up until 7:45. We were pretty upset, but we played basketball later with the rest of the district and it was a lot better after that...until I got a major headache. I was feeling the after affects of last night and barely ate anything for lunch. I took some ibuprofen, and thankfully that pretty much got rid of it. Tonight we're meeting with the Lewis' and Delia and her kids. It should be a good night.

I miss and love you all.

Elder Jeffrey Douglas Grondel

P.S. Write me!! I love getting letters from people! =) Here's my new address:

Elder Jeffrey Douglas Grondel
203 Main St. #B202
Little Elm, TX 75086

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 18, 2009

Family and friends,

So much has happened since last week. Friday I got my travel plans!! I plan to fly out to Dallas Monday morning. The saddest part is we're losing half our district when we fly there, because Elders Shreeve, Johnson, and Bench and Sister Fielding are going to the Fort Worth Mission. It will still be amazing, though, and hopefully we'll be able to keep in touch.

Our teachers continue to be great, but sadly we had to say goodbye to Brother McNeil because he is going to start school at Arizona State and is getting married. His Fiancee is awesome though, and I think he will be great...I'm just not sure he realizes the impact he had on me and many others here at the MTC. Our new teacher is Brother Vallett, and I think he will be very good for our class.

The Teaching Resource Center (TRC) is a great thing, but it continues to be nerve racking as we prepare to teach people. Thankfully Elder Williams and I have really gained a better sense of unity, but we still have room to improve. Later, we went to the Teacher Evaluation center (TEC) and were taught more things there. I cannot believe how much the teachers know here.

Elder Williams continues to amaze me. His ability to learn the gospel is unmatched, and his testimony and spirit grow each day. He is going to be one of the best missionaries in the field. I continue to learn and solidify my teaching, but I have also learned I cannot be effective unless I rely on the Spirit. I am trying, but I was never very good at it to begin with, so hopefully I will become better as I pray and continue to put forth the effort.

The last thing I want to talk about is the importance of temple work. For the worthy members, I would ask that you make an extra effort to get to the temple as often as possible. It will bless your life and the lives of hundreds of thousands who are waiting for their temple work to be done. For members that are having problems, I implore you to use the cleansing power of repentance and become worthy to enter the temple and receive the blessings thereof. For those who are not of this faith, I would love to have you look at the church and what we believe. I can promise you that if you truly look into the church with an open heart and mind, you will find the truth and feel the love of our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.

I love and pray for each and every one of you. May the Lord bless you.

Elder Grondel

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

Hey!  So as it turns out I do have an email that I can use.  So hi!  So far it has been awesome here and I am loving almost every minute of it.  I hate the minutes early in the morning (right after 6:30) but other than that it's great.  My companion's name is Elder Milton Williams.  He's from Orderville, Utah and is one of the greatest people I have ever met.  He's a bit of a hick, but I couldn't have asked for a better companion.  He has an extremely strong testimony and sets such a good example for me.  He says he's never read the Book of Mormon all the way through but his faith is unshakeable.  He knows what truth is.  

My roommates are Elders Skyler Brooksby and Jake Hall.  Both of them are hilarious and know their stuff; they're also both from Utah so I'm really the odd one out in our room.  In our district, we have four other Elders, Elders Bench, Wood, Johnson, and Shreeve.  Elder Shreeve is the district leader and is honestly one of the best peolpe I have met.  He knows the gospel cold and he's such a valiant person.  It's almost overkill, but I love him.  We also have two sister missionaries, Sisters Lund and Fielding.  They're the greatest companionship because they are either polar opposites or exactly the same...mainly polar though.  It's so much fun to be around them.  
The District is great, but it's sad because Elders Johnson, Shreeve, and Bench and Sister Lund are going to Fort Worth, and the rest of us are going to Dallas.  We've only been here a week, and we're already a family.  It's going to be sad to not be able to see them after the MTC.  

We have two amazing teachers: Brother McNeil and Brother Phipps.  They are walking scripture and Preach My Gospel dictionaries.  They know what people need to hear and the most effective ways to teach.  I couldn't ask for better teachers.  

We're going to the temple today and I'm so excited!!  It's been two weeks since I last went, and I've decided that is way too long...sadly I think I'm going to have to get used to it.  It's doubtful I'll be able to go to the Dallas temple a lot considering the massiveness of my mission area.  

This place is incredible.  2,000 men and women are preparing to serve the Lord in ways most people don't understand.  The Spirit is amazing here and I cannot begin to describe some of the things I have felt here already.  Elder David Bednar came to a devotional on Tuesday night and gave an amazing talk...I just wish it could have been recorded. It was wonderful.  

Well, that's all from me! I miss you and love you all!!!

God Bless,
Elder Jeffrey Douglas Grondel