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 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 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!!

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