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!!

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 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