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.


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!!

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.

Elder Grondel