Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 75

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Texas! We had a pretty good week despite the craziness that holidays can cause. This week we saw Alfredo and Amalia about 5 times (it was pretty sweet) and they are totally set for their baptism. We only have a couple things left to teach them and then they will get interviewed a week from Saturday and they will be good to go. We had a recently returned missionary from Mexico come with us and he loved it and had a great time. He said they were way solid and we were stoked to hear that.

Luis is amazing. His sister was there at his baptism and on the way home from work one day last week they were talking about it and he asked, "So are you going to get baptized?" It was so cool to hear about that! Hopefully we will be able to get her taking the lessons soon; we haven't really started teaching her but hopefully we will soon. Luis was confirmed on Sunday and it was sweet. The Spirit was really strong and it was cool because he asked Bishop to do it. It was great.

Tony is doing alright. He is happy to listen to us and is really trying to understand what we believe, but I don't think he recognizes the Spirit right now. It will take some work and definitely some diligence on our part, but we will have to get the Spirit in there really strong so it can get through to him and he will recognize it when it hits him.

In the Spanish area, we are losing a couple of our investigators but we are trying to focus on finding and keeping that up. In the English wards, we are a little worse off. We are struggling to find new investigators but our wards are willing to help a bit. We will be holding a fireside for the youth in the 3rd ward in January on sharing the Gospel with their friends and then have an activity they can bring friends to, and hopefully that will spark some interest and get us new people to teach. Until then, we're knocking doors and visiting members and working hard. I love you all and hope all is going well with you!

Have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Week 74

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Frisco! We had some ups and downs this week as well as some really great spiritual experiences.

To start, Samantha went out of town to go visit her husband for the week so we did not get to see her. We had set a baptismal date for December 4th but that has to be moved but hopefully it will still be in December. I would hate to have to push it back any father than that.

We were able to see Alfredo this week as well. He is doing great and loves what we are teaching him. We taught him and his wife the plan of salvation on Saturday and they absolutely loved it and ate it up.

OK so my computer froze for a little while so I'll just skip to the big things. My Spanish has improved a little bit (not much) and I can now say a simple prayer in Spanish. It's pretty sweet.

Yesterday Luis was baptized, and I had the privilege to baptize him. It really is an amazing ordinance, one that I think is the most powerful of any of them performed in the church. Right before we went into the Font, we were alone for a minute and I asked him if we could say a quick prayer. He said it and it ended up being about 2 minutes long (it doesn't sound like that long, but it was long for a prayer). The best thing was to see how much he has changed since I have bee here. HE was so grateful to become a part of the Lord's restored church. He asked that he and his wife would be able to take the steps necessary to be sealed in the temple one day. It was really powerful and made the baptism that much sweeter. It is an experience I will never forget.

That's about it. We didn't get to teach as much as we would have liked, but we still had a good week. I can't believe it's thanksgiving already, but I hope y'all have a wonderful week and a happy TURKEY DAY! =)


Elder Grondel

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 73

Hey there y'all!!! It's been a very exciting and very stressful week as well. We had a lot of changes happen here and a TON of paperwork. But it was all good and dandy. I'll just go day by day for what happened this last week.On Monday, we moved in with the Barnhouses, a family in the ward. They are really awesome and a lot of fun. It's really sweet living conditions and I am happy to be there. Tuesday, Elder Mosca got transferred out to Sulfur Springs and I got a new companion! His name is Elder Jones, and guess what? He's a SPANISH missionary. That's right family and friends, I'm learning Spanish! President Smith felt that the Spanish work in the area was not enough to be on its own, so he put Elder Jones with me and now we cover both the Frisco 3rd and 7th wards and the Spanish work for the Stake. It's been a lot of fun. I realized that I don't speak a whole lot of Spanish, but I can understand quite a bit and can follow a conversation really well, unless it's one of those people that speak faster than the speed of sound; then it's a little difficult. That night we went and saw one of the Spanish investigators, Alfredo. He had been taught for a while and had finished the Book of Mormon and been to church several times. He wanted to set his own date for baptism, but we told him that he would be going back and forth and back and forth without a date because he had no direction; he wouldn't be working for something. So Elder Jones committed him to be baptized on December 18th, and he accepted! It was really powerful and Alfredo cried during the prayer at the end. It was sweet.

Wednesday we had a Zone Council and got the zone together to talk about things that we felt the zone needed to work on. It was really good and everyone enjoyed the training that Elder Jones and I prepared that morning, but of course, we didn’t tell them that ;) Later that day we went shopping and started to do some planning because we were so frazzled about taking on an area that I knew little about and that Elder Jones knew nothing about. That evening we did some finding in an apartment complex with a lot of Hispanics and found an Egyptian family. IT was pretty trippy. We have an appointment with them tonight.
Thursday we drove to McKinney for a Zone conference. I was able to see Elder Williams and Elder Hall and a bunch of other Elders that I know. We just got a new assistant, too. His name is Elder Urqhart (pronounced urk-heart) and he sat next to me on the flight out here to Texas last year. It was pretty sweet so see him there; he’s still a little nervous but he has enjoyed it so far. Later that day, we started to collect a little bit more paper work for the reports we turn in to the Stake President every month, and I realized I lost the jump drive that has our templates and most of our work! It was pretty annoying. We started from scratch and got some things done, and then we went and had another good night with Alfredo, Sarah, Melinda, and the EQ president in the 3rd ward.

Friday we had our full planning session and planned what we wanted to do for the zone and for our area (I forgot to mention, this is Elder Jones’ first time being a Zone Leader as well, so we are learning together. It’s quite fun because he brings a lot of good ideas to the table). Then we did a little bit more for the reports and taught Samantha and the Nava family. They are a part-member family, but Brother Nava loves the church and wants to get baptized. The problem is that he doesn’t get another Sunday off until after the Holidays, so it’s likely he won’t get baptized until about January or February. He did come to church Sunday and enjoyed it, so that was good.
Saturday we finished our reports and did some finding. We found a couple of potential investigators who we’re going to go see on Saturday, but no one too solid. That evening we saw Alfredo again and his wife Amalia was there. She has been to church about 7 or 8 times, a little less than Alfredo, but she is on fire as well. She works every night but Saturday and Sunday, so we can only see her then, but we talked to her about baptism as well and she accepted the invitation to be baptized with her husband. It was great! Then they asked me to give the closing prayer. O_O I don’t know Spanish that well yet! So Alfredo gave it, but I am working on it. Hopefully I will be able to say a prayer in Spanish next time.

Sunday was hectic. I’m no stranger to covering 3 wards (I did it for 9 months straight) but I am not used to meeting in 3 different buildings. So we split up. The Spanish branch meets in Carrollton and so Elder Jones went there with Hermano Carranza. I stayed with a priest in the 3rd ward and went to morning meetings in both wards and then went to 3rd ward. Elder Jones got back about 1 PM and then we headed over to the Legacy building for out Stake Missionary Coordination Meeting. President Smith and President Grant were there as well as the high councilor over missionary work and President Alleman (stake president). It was a really good meeting and I learned a lot about leadership and keys of the Priesthood. If I am ever called into a leadership position in the church, I will reflect on these meetings because I know they will help me a lot.

So some other random things: Mikey and Shelita moved to Michigan. Mikey got in a fight with Mike (Melinda’s boyfriend) so they up and left. I have lost some weight (or it’s been redistributed because the necks on all my shirts are now pretty loose) and I have never been more tired or more happy in my life! I love this work and I love each of you. I hope y’all have a great week!!

Elder Grondel

P.S. Yo hablo un poco espaƱol, pero estoy apreniendo! Mucho amor!

Week 72

Hey there y'all!! It's been a crazy Monday so this is gonna be short.

Elder Mosca is getting transferred and I'm moving in with a member.

Mikey is backsliding a bit but we are working on it.

Samantha is doing pretty good and is set for baptism Thanksgiving weekend.

Melinda and her boyfriend Mike are planning on getting married!

Luis is getting baptized next Tuesday!

The Spanish Elders are getting double transferred out (both of them are leaving) and I think they are closing Frisco Spanish.

AHHHH!!! This week has been crazy! Much love!

Elder Grondel

Week 71

Hey there y'all!!! It's been another wonderful week here in Frisco! We went out and worked hard and didn't see the most success, but we feel pretty good about it. Our lessons suffered a bit (we didn't teach as many) but that's our own fault with not planning them out and many of them cancelling on us. But such is life. We are looking forward to next week.

This week we were able to see Mikey and he is doing about the same. He is still looking for a place to go and so for right now he's simply going to try to be sleeping in a different room. It will help a lot and may show the Lord the effort he needs to for Him to bless Mikey with a place to go.

Luis and Tiffany are doing well. We haven't been able to see them much this last week but we have an appointment with them tomorrow night and we will hopefully be talking about baptism soon for Luis. We are excited for that.

Darian has slipped a little bit. We haven't been able to see her for a couple weeks, so we don't know entirely if that will go anywhere or if we are going to be done with her. We really don't want it to go that way, but we may have no choice. If people won't progress, they are not ready to be taught and we have to find those that are ready and willing to be taught.

Sarah (Lara's mom) was taught a couple weeks ago and agreed to go through the lessons herself. Lara has been a great example to them and we are excited to help Sarah understand. Sarah is very intelligent and highly political so it can be difficult sometimes, but if she keeps her heart soft and mind open, the Spirit will testify and she'll understand and desire to be baptized.

Tony is a pretty cool guy. He thinks we're "up to something" and that it's a little too simple (read the book and you get an answer) but he agreed to read the Book of Mormon and to get baptized if he knows it's true. He still has an interesting concept of God, and it will take time to teach him the lessons, but other than that, he is pretty willing.

We went and checked out the house we will live in soon (we are living with the Barnhouse family), and it is really sweet. We are definitely going to be hooked up and be in a very cushy place. It's not the same as the Nielsen's, but it is really quite nice. The Barnhouse's have a good size house and lots of room because only one son is living at home right now, so it will be pretty sweet.

This week I realized that I need to work on my planning. At this point, I'm pretty confident in teaching and contacting, but I always can do better with planning. It takes time, but it makes your time more effective.

Anyways, that's all for this week!! I hope y'all have a great week!!!


Elder Grondel

Week 70

Wow...that's a lot of weeks...I can't believe October is almost over. Where does time go?

Anyways, it's been another great week!! We have had a lot of good things happen this week. The sad part is, it went by so fast I can't remember half of it =P Thank goodness for planners (I would say journals, but considering the fact the last time I wrote in it was 3 weeks ago, I don't think it'll do much for me).

This weekend Luis and Tiffany got married! It was a small wedding, but it was really good (they both cried) and family was able to be there. Decorations were modest, but there is a member of the ward who makes professional cakes (any kind of cake...he's made the White House, the Dallas Cowboys name it, they do it) and so they made an AWESOME cake for them. It was really cool to see the ward support them as well. Luis is still doing well in the gospel--they have come to church 3 or 4 weeks in a row. We should see Luis be baptized shortly, probably in about a month or so.

Mikey is doing good; just needs a place to live. He keeps buying random things, though, and he needs to be focusing on saving his money so he can get an apartment or something. We're working on it and praying for him. Sadly, his sister-in-law Samantha is moving to Corpus Christi to live with her grandma and be near her husband (I can't remember if I told y'all, but he's in prison right now but can be visited) so we won't be able to see her get baptized because she is leaving this week. We have told her that she need to make sure to find the missionaries down there. Who knows? Maybe she'll run into Elder Low (if he's still there).

Darian is not doing so great. She didn't come to church yesterday and we haven't seen her in over a week. There may be some disconnect or miscommunication or something, but she may be backing out. That would be a bummer, but if that's the case, so be it. We are praying for her and her family.

We do have another ray of light! Sister Harris is a member of the ward dating a nonmember named Tony. He is really cool and really funny. We invited him to take the lessons and he said he would. He grew up Catholic but his view of God and religion is that as far as he knows, no one can comprehend God completely without being consumed and that it doesn't really matter what religion we are because it's all the same God. He did say, however, that he was searching for the truth. I couldn't help but think, "Really? Well, how convenient. We just happen to have it. Will you read this book, the Book of Mormon?" We are seeing him tonight. The process may be slow or it could take off, but either way, we are excited to see what happens.

We had fun this Saturday because it was the 3rd ward Halloween activity and we got to judge the chili! There were 8 that we actually got to judge, but about 2 minutes later, about 5 more showed up! We were bummed because they were already serving it and said there was no more judging, but the one we chose was incredible. It was a barbecue chili (go figure in Texas, right?). Someone had gotten brisket from a place called Rudy's (it's really good barbecue) and then put it in a pecan peach barbecue sauce. Yeah, it was tasty.

This week I had quite the adventure. I got food poisoning! BLEH. I don't know what I ate, but it put me down and out. I had the worst diarrhea for 4 days and I'm still feeling aftershocks. I tell you what, though, if you want to lose about 10 pounds in 3 days, that's one way to do it. It's not fun, but you'll do it. Thankfully I'm feeling much better now and am on my way back to 100%. It was nice to catch up on some sleep, though. Thursday is when I really started feeling it. We went out for a bit, but I felt sick so we were back in by noon and I slept until 4. Later that night, I stayed at a members house and hung out for the night and Elder Mosca went with a member of the ward to go teach. It was nice to relax for a minute, but I like missionary work a little better.

We are also moving! We currently live in an apartment, but the lease is about to be up so we are going to move in with a member of the ward. We'll do it about the second week of November, right after transfers (so I may never live there!) but hopefully I will be staying.

Well, that's it for me this week. I hope y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Grondel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Week 69

Hey there y'all! It's been another great week here in the fabulous state of Texas! We had a lot of success this week and are working hard to find new people to teach and help them get baptized!
This last week we saw Mikey and the gang and taught about 8 or 9 lessons just with his family (sister, sister-in-law, etc). It was pretty crazy. Last week I mentioned that he was still living together with his girlfriend and the baptism would have to be postponed. We have decided that we will need to postpone it indefinitely until he can find a place to live. Once he does that, we'll set the baptism and get him going. We are excited for him because he is still coming to church and loves learning but he simply needs to move out now.
Luis and Tiffany are getting married this weekend! We are so excited for them. We also talked about the baptism with them. Because they are living together, they are committing sin. There has to be time for repentance and because Tiffany is a member, she may take more time. So we have decided to delay the baptism until they are both more on the same page. It is interesting; Elder Mosca and I learned a lot about keys of the Priesthood this week. Ultimately, with Luis, it is really up to us when he gets baptized because President Smith holds the keys, but with Tiffany, that lies with the Bishop. So we are going to pray about it, but it is likely that Luis will not get baptized until he and Tiffany are on the same plane spiritually. It was incredible to tell them that last night because they were totally cool with it, which is a testimony to me that they are prepared spiritually.
Darian is doing well. She didn't come to church yesterday, but we had a really powerful lesson with her last night about the Restoration. At the end of the lesson, we talked about how answers come from the Holy Ghost and asked Nicole and Sydney how they felt when they received their answer from the Holy Ghost. They bore their testimonies and the Spirit was thick (I could have cut it with a knife). I was speechless and the Holy Ghost bore witness to our hearts. She knows what she needs to do to really know if this is what she wants, and so she will have read some of the Book of Mormon and prayed about it to know that it is true before we come back tomorrow. It should be a good lesson tomorrow.
Other than that, we don't really have anyone progressing. Like I said earlier, we are working on getting more investigators (we found a big ol' 0 this week) and then helping them to progress. So I'll keep you posted.
Other than that, there is not too much going on besides the fact that Elder Mosca and I get to be the Chili Judges for the 3rd ward Trunk or Treat! Needless to say, we are looking forward to it.
That's really it for this week. I hope y'all have a wonderful week!
Elder Grondel

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week 68

Hey there y'all!! It's been another wonderful week here in Frisco! It's still weird to think that I'm back here even though I've been here for about 2 months already. I have loved it and time has gone by faster than I ever would have imagined here. But anyways, this week went really well. We taught a bunch of lessons this week and had a good time.

Mikey is still doing well, but we are struggling for a place for him to live. Of course, we can't do it for him and he doesn't know anyone that can take him in, so we are working on finding people who may be renting out rooms or cheap apartments. He said he'll sleep in a tent, but we don't want him to do that. He's doing great though. He wants to go just about everywhere with us; we've taken him to appointments, dinners, etc. The problem is that we can't give him a ride in our car (it's one of the rules for liability or something in the insurance) so I've let him borrow my bike a couple times :) It's been a lot of fun.

Luis and Tiffany are doing good, but we may need to work something out with their baptism because they are living together and are not married. We can't really marry them and then Luis gets baptized 3 hours later. So we are working on that; otherwise they are doing well also.

Darien is awesome. She is loving seminary, loves Sydney and Nicole, and loves us! She has been given permission by her mom to attend seminary for the rest of the year and, if she wants, to get baptized as well. We are REALLY excited about that but Mom and Dad aren't together in her house, so we will need to talk to Dad as well. She watched conference a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it. We will be seeing her tomorrow and will hopefully teach the Restoration to help her understand a little better about where Joseph Smith fits into the picture. We talked about it briefly last Tuesday, but we didn't have a lot of time so we weren't really able to lay the foundation of God's love and prophets and the Apostasy.

This week we did not talk to a lot of people and so we didn't find a whole lot of new investigators and some of the ones we do have are not really progressing, so it's back to the blacktop. We're doing lots of finding this week and are really going to focus on part-member families as well. It's really awesome to be able to complete a family in the gospel and if they were less active before to bring them back to the light. I think of the parable Christ taught about the sheep and the shepherd:
4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine ain the wilderness, and go after that which is blost, until he find it UAdd a Note

5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

6. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

7. I say unto you, that likewise ajoy shall be in heaven over one bsinner that crepenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:4-7)
I feel very much the same way about many of those that I teach. I truly learn and grow to love these people. I love this work and hope to better myself each day.

I love y'all and miss y'all and hope everything is going well for you!!


Elder Grondel

Week 67

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Texas! As I said last week, it's finally cooling down and it is beautiful! This last week temperatures were mostly in the high 70's and now in the mornings is it usually below 60 when we wake up to run (it's really nice, but I've got to wear a sweater). I can't believe it's October already (I hit 16 months yesterday) but I am excited for the fall weather and colors and thankfully I'm in a car this time (hopefully I haven't spoken too soon--I may get transferred in 5 weeks).
Anyways this week was really good. We taught a lot of lessons and most importantly, it was General Conference! It was so good and I got so much out of it. Some of my favorite talks were Elder Costa's on Prophets, President Uchtdorf's on pride (priesthood session), and President Monson's on gratitude. They were all wonderful and I can't wait for them to be printed in next month's Ensign.
Mikey is doing well. He hasn't smoked in a couple of days and he is reading, but he is still living with his girlfriend. We need to get him moved out this week or we will have to push the date back, but hopefully that will not have to happen. It will be interesting to see how things progress, so until then we are going to have faith that all things will work out for our good as we help him and as he keeps his commitments.
Luis and Tiffany are doing well also. They are excited to get married and Luis is excited to get baptized. No major concerns there; just waiting for the 23rd now.
We have a couple recent converts that are way awesome and are doing their missionary work, too. Nicole and Sydney were baptized in July. They are 14 and 12 and their mom was less active, but we reactivated them and now they are loving church and everything that goes with it. Nicole is a freshman in high school and is on the tennis team and has a friend name Darian. Darian was curious about the church (particularly seminary and wanted to go to see what it was like). So we went over the night before because we had an appointment set up with the girls before hand and met Darian. She is really nice and wants to get back on the path with God. She doesn't have a really string religious background, and later that week Elder Mosca went over on splits with the Elders Quorum and had a really good lesson with her. She LOVED seminary and has gone every day since Wednesday. It is so amazing to see how the Lord provides for us! We will be going to have dinner with the family and Darian should be there so we will hopefully teach her there as well. Maybe we can get the parents involved as well; that would be awesome.
This weekend I really had some soul searching. Not that I've done anything terrible, but there are definitely things I can work on. I looked over my patriarchal blessing for the first time in a few months I'm sad to say, and there were things in there that I know I can use the general conference we just had to help me out in developing certain attributes. Patience and humility have always been a problem for me, so I am hoping to be able to make those strengths. As it says in Ether 12:27:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.
So hopefully I can work on that.
I love y'all and miss y'all and hope y'all have a great week!!!
Elder Grondel

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 66

Hello y'all!! It's been another wonderful week here in Frisco, Texas! SO transfer calls were Saturday (can you believe it's been 6 weeks already? I barely can!) and I am NOT getting transferred, and neither is Elder Mosca. We are staying together for at least another 6 weeks and possibly longer. You never know. I am excited to be with Elder Mosca for a little while longer--I can still learn a lot from him.
This week was a really good week. We taught a lot of lessons and found several new investigators. Mikey is doing really well; he's almost done smoking (he's down to one every couple days) and he was at church yesterday! He is really smart and knows pretty much everything from when he was taught before. Now we just need to help him to find a place to live and we will be good to go. He is looking forward to the 16th of October to be baptized.
Luis and Tiffany are still doing well; we are reviewing all the lessons for Luis and finalizing wedding and baptism plans. They were at church yesterday and enjoying it. We are planning on seeing them 3 times a week until the wedding, so we may have a lot of cool experiences to share.
This week we picked up a sweet new investigator named Jennifer. She was dating a member of one of the Frisco wards and was going to church with him a couple times. They broke up and she didn't go for a while, but she went the past couple weeks and the missionaries serving in the ward she was going to found out her address and found out she lives in the 3rd ward! SO we met with them and started teaching her. She really has loved church and basically her end goal is to know these things are true so she can be baptized. It's going to be way sweet. We are seeing her this week and so we will extend the invitation to be baptized and hopefully see her get baptized by the end of October or beginning of November.
We saw Sarah this week as well. She is doing good but has been really busy lately, so it has been hard for us to teach her. We were planning on just seeing Lara (her daughter) for new member lessons, but she was there and sat it about 15 minutes after we got there for the Plan of Salvation. We had set up an appointment for this Saturday at 8 PM but somehow forgot that was General Priesthood session of conference. So we will have to reschedule. But we did get to see her! It was really good.
I've also discovered over the past several weeks that being a zone leader requires a lot of paperwork...and I also found out how much I dislike paper work. So I just hope I never get a job where I have to deal with a lot of paperwork; however, that may be impossible. I think every job has paper work. So here's my new hope: I have enough money to one day hire people to do it for me. I dunno. It doesn't matter.
It's finally starting to cool down for REAL this time. Last time I said that, it was like that for a week and then it was in the 90's for the rest of September. So hopefully it really is cooling down. It's supposed to stay in the low 80's the entire week. We'll see what happens.
I love y'all and miss y'all. Have a great week!!
Elder Grondel

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week 65

Hey there y'all!! It's been another fabulous week here in Texas! It's still a little warm, but it should be cooling off this week and hopefully that will really kickoff fall.

I don't have a whole lot of time, but this week was pretty good. We went on exchanges with some of the missionaries in the Zone and had some really good learning experiences. We went on an exchange with some regular missionaries on Wednesday and then one of the District leaders on Thursday. Both days I went to the other area and they are both bike areas...and I haven't ridden a bike in over a month. Needless to say, I was a little saddle sore. It was really good, though, and as I said, we learned a lot.

On Friday, we had a specialized training with President and Sister Smith and the Assistants. It was really good and we talked a lot about finding as we are trying to baptize 950 this year and we are a little behind on that goal. So we are working really hard to reach it and finding is the key to it. Nothing happens in missionary work until we find people to teach. The next step is getting the ward leadership involved, so we talked a lot about that as well. It was insightful and there are new ideas that we want to try.

Teaching wise, Jason is doing great. He loves having us come over, and we know he will get baptized pretty soon. again, it's just a matter of the other Elders getting involved. Mikey and the gang didn't come to church again this week, and if they don't come next week, we will have to drop them. Luis and Tiffany did not come to church because they went to see Luis' sister for the day. We didn't get to meet with everyone (Allen punched a couple times--he's having health problems) and as a result, we realized how small our teaching pool is. So we are in finding mode, which means lots of doors, talking with members, and working the ward list. We should see things turn around soon; it's just that everything is on the Lord's time, and sometimes we have to wait.

Well, that's really it this week. I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!!!


Elder Grondel

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 64

Hey there y'all!! It's been another fabulous week here in Texas! This week was altogether a good week. We were able to see a bunch of our investigators and find some new ones!

To start off, Luis and Tiffany are still good for marriage, but they bumped it up a week because of birthdays and other conflicts. We are fine with that, and Luis has committed to be baptized on the same day. We will figure it out but it should be really good and very powerful.

Sarah hit a bit of a road bump. A coworker told her some anti-Mormon junk and she got upset for a while and was ready to keep Lara from going to church or anything, but have no fear, the Bishop is here! Bishop and one of his counselors went over and talked about it with Sarah and Gary (her husband) and everything was fine. We prayed so hard for them it was crazy. She ended up coming to church yesterday and wants to have us over again, so we are looking forward to the time we can start teaching her again. We'll just have to be careful about being pushy (after being a missionary for a while, it just starts to happen naturally).

We saw Jason and Donielle a couple times again this week and it was great for Jason. We talked about a lot of things and he really wants to change his life. He came to church last week and really enjoyed it, and we talked to him this week about baptism. He feels like October is too soon, especially if he has to quit smoking and drinking coffee (smoking he can understand, but he said he may have a problem with coffee). However, we dropped by last night (we didn't have an appointment) and just wanted to see him for about 15 minutes tops. Well, next thing you know, 15 turned into 50, and we were running a little late to get numbers in. It was excellent, however, because we talked about the purpose of life and what we need to do to return to live with our Heavenly Father. it was incredible and really drew out his desires. He wants to quit smoking and recognizes the fact that he needs to be baptized by the priesthood (he was baptized when he was 10). The bummer is that they live in the 2nd ward, not the 3rd, so we will have to get the other Elders involved and get him taught and baptized over there; we're pretty sure he'll get baptized, though.

Mikey's situation is tough. He came to church last week but not yesterday. He is trying to quit smoking, but he still has his girlfriend living there. They won't kick her out because she's basically paying rent, and so Mikey would have to go if he wants to get baptized 'cause we don't want to push them to get married if they are not ready for it. Samantha is slipping and she won't be getting baptized anytime soon. Hopefully she will eventually, but not by next month. We are working hard with Mikey to help him progress because he is the one showing the most interest, and the rest of the household may benefit from him.

We have a pretty cool miracle too. We had a little time between dinner and our first appointment, and so we went to tract some apartments we had been to before. We had knocked two floors of one side of a building before but not the third because we didn't have time. We were about to skip it and move on to another building when Elder Mosca asked, "Did we hit the Third floor?" and I knew that we needed to do it; not necessarily because I knew there was going to be someone there, but because I know the Lord looks on diligence and smiles and will bless us, whether immediately or later. In this case, it was immediate. We headed up to the third floor and the second door we knocked on a man named Allen came to the door and let us right in. We taught about the Book of Mormon and came over the next night and taught the Restoration. We committed him to baptism and he wants to be baptized. He is here all alone (his family is in Michigan) and he is in his 50's. He's African-American and is way humble. He was supposed to be at church yesterday, but the member who went to pick him up said he knocked on his door and Allen said he was not feeling good but promised to come next week. Either way, it was still a miracle to find someone because Elder Mosca asked a simple question and I listened to the promptings of the Spirit.

Tuesday we had Zone Leader Council, where all the Zone Leaders, the Assistants, and the Mission President got together and talked about the needs of the mission. We have set a goal to baptize 950 people before the end of the year and we are a little behind. It will be hard, but we talked about a lot of things that will help us get there and talk to as many people as possible.

That's really it for this week. I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!!


Elder Grondel

This is a picture of us and the Assistants, Elder Hubbard and Elder Brown.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Week 62.7

Hey there y'all!!! I know this is a weird day to be sending an email but the libraries are going to be closed on Monday because of Labor Day so we are doing it today (plus there was a sweet survey President Smith needed us to fill out). So that's why it's being sent today!

This week was really awesome. We had some amazing lessons and some very spiritual and powerful trainings. So first off a couple weeks ago we had Zone conference and it went really well and it motivated us to do more. Then this last week we had another three day session of leadership training, but this time instead of President Smith doing it himself like he did last time, the assistants and the zone leaders did about 85% of it! It was really good and very spiritual and I almost think it was better than President Smith giving it all! Not only did I gain new insights myself from the other missionaries, working with Elder Mosca to prepare a training ourselves was a really good way for us to learn it and to apply it to our own missionary work. We were assigned to train on how investigators can receive revelation through prayer, and now I understand the role that prayer takes in conversion so much better. It is so important and it is amazing what it can and will do for us as missionaries and members of the Lords' kingdom as well as those who are not of our faith (see Elder Oaks talk from April General Conference about prayers of faith). It was really cool and really enlightening. As a mission, we have set a goal to baptize 950 people this year. That's a lot, but we can do it. We are a little off track, but if we work hard we will be able to accomplish it. The training was a wake up call for all of us so we are really buckling down to make sure the rest of our zone feels the same things we felt there and that they can catch the vision of 950! We are looking forward to it.

As far as teaching goes, we had a really good week. We saw Luis and Tiffany this week, and they have decided to get married! They chose October 30th to be married and it should be good. It is a little far away, but they still need to work it out and plan it with family and everything else. It shouldn't be too big, but it still requires planning. So we'll get them married and then get Luis baptized, and they they will be sealed in a year! We are really excited for them.

Sarah didn't read the Book of Mormon like she said she would, and she didn't come to church this week. Apparently she had a big presentation to do, so she was stressing pretty bad about it, but we saw her Wednesday and she promised to read it and have questions for us by the time we come back tomorrow (Sunday). I am looking forward to seeing what questions she has for us. We are still hoping she will get baptized in a couple weeks, but we'll see.

We have a couple investigators that have committed to baptism! Their names are Mikey and Samantha. They are both 19. Mikey lives with his sister Melinda who is married to a guy named Mike. Samantha is married to Mikey's brother Doug who is out of state for a time. Mikey also has his girlfriend living with him, and Mike and Melinda have three kids. Get it? If not, just read it over and over again until you do. It will get there eventually. I promise. Anywho Mikey and Samantha are preparing to be baptized on October 17th. They both have Word of Wisdom challenges and other things, but if they truly desire it I know they will be ready to be baptized on the 17th.

We are teaching another part-member family: Jason and Donielle. Jason is not a member, but he's been pretty open so far and committed to come to church for all 3 hours on Sunday. We have an appointment with him this afternoon, so hopefully it will go well with them They are African-American and have a lot of faith, so there is a lot of potential there.

The family of five that we found didn't really turn out. They punched the appointment we had and they haven't been solid, so we may drop them soon. We are going to try to give them a call this week and see what happens.

We have been able to see a lot of people and hopefully we will be able to find more. We need them.

That's about all for this week. Hopefully I'll have more exciting things for next week!

Have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Monday, August 30, 2010

Week 62

Hey there y'all! It's been another wonderful week here in Texas! It's been a good one and a hard one. We don't have a lot of investigators right now and even fewer are progressing. It's pretty difficult but the Lord will provide and we are moving forward.

This week we saw Lara's parents, Sarah and Gary. Gary is pretty analytical and it will likely be a while before he gets baptized, but I'm sure he will get there eventually. Sarah is into it more than Gary is but she isn't as gung-ho as Lara is. We committed her to be baptized on September 18th, but she said that is too soon, that she needs to read and study more. Lara stepped in and was perfect and said, "Pretend that you want to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God by then and if you get that answer, then get baptized then." It was sweet and Sarah said she would at least do that. It might be a little slower with her right now, but she will definitely get baptized somewhere in the near future.

We are also teaching a man named Luis. He is Hispanic and living with a member named Tiffany. Luis is pretty solid and he comes to church, reads, prays, and keeps his commitments. The only problem is that he and Tiffany are living together but aren't married, and there is a concern that if they do get married, there will be a lot of expenses (Tiffany has a child that goes to a daycare and she is getting help right now because she's a single mom going to school). So it's either get married or stop living together or Luis can't get baptized. Sadly we've been talking to them about it for the past couple of weeks but they haven't done much, so we will have to turn them over to the ward if they don't progress soon.

We had a pretty sweet miracle last week; we found a family of five! Stacy (mom), Ladericka (18), Dericka (17), Derick (15), and Daisha (9). They are African-American and we had a really powerful lesson with them about prayer and Stacy said a prayer at the end of it! Sadly they didn't keep their return appointment, so we will try to meet with them again, but if they don't commit and won't do anything, then we will sadly have to move on

Other than that there isn't much going on. There's a promise by Elder Ballard that if we (as missionaries) each contact ten new people every day, then our baptisms will double and we will always be teaching. So basically we try to get 140 contacts each week. That's a lot of people, but Elder Mosca and I did it this week, and we are hoping to be able to do it every week while we are together so we can baptize!

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


Elder Grondel

P.S. This is one of the biggest churches I've seen here in Texas, and sadly it's not the best picture. It's kiddie corner to our meetinghouse in Plano. It's called Prestonwood Baptist Church, but we like to call it the Baptidome or Six Flags over Jesus. It comes complete with coffee shop, restaurants, shopping center, athletic complex, and of course, the worship center, capacity: 20,000. I have yet to see a modern church bigger than this.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week 61

Hey there y'all!!! It's been another fabulous week here in Texas! And I got shipped back to FRISCO! I was really excited to hear it and I'm so happy to be back here. I've already seen a couple people that I knew from Little Elm and The Colony last year and I'm excited to see some more.

This week was pretty exciting. My new companion's name is Elder Mosca and he is a great elder. He joined the church about 2 years ago and has been out for about a year. I've served around him before and I can tell already that this is going to be a great learning experience for me. We have already had our disagreements, but it's because of me and my big head. Oh well; I just needed a slice of humble pie and we should be getting a long fine for the rest of our time together.

Saturday we had a baptism!!!! It was really cool. Lara is 16 and her best friend growing up is a member of the church. She got baptized this Saturday and there was at least 30 people there. It was a really good turn out and we were excited to see people there.

The hardest thing about this area is that everybody works. Which means tracting is totally ineffective. Thankfully Elder Mosca has been here for a while so I have a bit of time to figure out how to best spend my time, but it's very different from East Texas. I've picked up a bit of an accent; most people out here don't talk like they do in East Texas. We have found that contacting in the evening works out pretty well. We found 4 new investigators that way and we'll hopefully be able to keep doing a bunch of it so we can teach more people. I have faith that the Lord will provide, however.

I am so happy to be serving and love and miss you all!!\

Have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Monday, August 16, 2010

Week 60

Hey there y'all!! It's been another marvelous week here in East Texas! And I have some big and exciting news: I'm getting transferred! I'm not sure where I'm going but I know I'm heading back into the city. I'm really upset to be leaving Bullard because I have grown to love the people so much here, but I am really excited for the new opportunities that are presented to me. I will also be made a Zone Leader, so I'm thinking I may be going to Oak Cliff (the Ghetto). It will be sweet to find out where I'm going.

There really was nothing major that happened this week. A lot of things fell through and so we didn't really teach anyone and I'm so distracted about all the stuff I have to pack that I really can't think right now. All I know is that I'm moving on and I am excited. Stake Conference for the Tyler Stake was this weekend and President and Sister Smith spoke, so that was pretty exciting. AND we got to eat lunch with them afterwards with the Nielsen's. I'm definitely going to miss the Nielsen's too and I am glad I was able to get to know them as well as many others.

Well, that's really it. I'll let you know where I end up next week!!


Elder Grondel

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week 59

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in fabulous East Texas! I have loved being here so much and realized something the other day: I have been here a long time...which means there's got to be another transfer coming up soon. This weekend I'll know if I am staying or leaving. Personally, I'd like to stay one more cycle with Elder Redmond just to make sure that I trained him right and fix any of my mistakes ;) We'll see what happens, though.

So two weeks, two baptisms!! Charles got baptized this Saturday and it was really awesome. His grandfather was going to baptize him initially but for some reason, he wasn't going to be able to make it, so Charles asked me to baptize him. It was really cool and really humbling, but I was honored and it was an incredible experience. The real bummer is that he couldn't get to church Sunday! His car broke down and by the time he called us church had already started. So he was not able to be confirmed this weekend, and the Bishop wants to confirm him in Sacrament meeting, so we'll have to wait two weeks because next week is Stake Conference. It stinks, but such is life. The Adversary is always on the move.

The downside of success here is that suddenly you don't have people to teach. Usually you're able to find some people that are pretty solid, but the last two weeks have been crazy with the baptisms (it's a problem that I like, however). We had to drop Tisha because she's really not going anywhere at all and Carlton is not ready at this point. We are going to try to see Carlton about once a week, however, because he has a lot of potential; he's just had a hard life. We found out recently too that he's had 4 major strokes, so his brain isn't what it used to be. So we are backing off on him and focusing on others.

We did find some new people, however. One of the Assistants, Elder Smith (there's about 3 Elders with the last name of Smith out here, and then of course we have President Smith. And don't forget Joseph Smith! There's a lot of Smith's out there) came out with us on Friday and we had a really good time and learned a lot and are going to try to rededicate our efforts. While we were with him, we met a guy named Espirio. He's pretty humble and is willing to learn, so we will see how it goes. On Saturday, we found a woman named Maribel and she is Pentecostal but believes the Bible is more important than any denomination; she simply attends a pentecostal church. She has a lot of questions but told us she is always willing to learn the word of God, so it could turn into something good. Then we found another family right after that, Antonio and Adela. They are a young couple with a 1-year-old daughter and they moved to Jacksonville recently and haven't been going to church since they have moved. We talked a lot about why there are so many churches and how we can know what is right and what is false and how we can know the way to God. We taught the Restoration briefly and they were really open to it and the idea of prophets on the earth again. We talked about the Plan of Salvation briefly and they were really excited to learn about that as well. It could be really good!!!

Everyone else is doing pretty good, although no one came to church this week!! We were pretty disappointed, so we are hoping that it was nothing major. We'll find out later this week.

I hope y'all have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Monday, August 2, 2010

Week 58

Hey there y'all! It's been another great week here in East Texas! We are now in AUGUST (crazy, huh?) and it is about to get HOT. I think all this next week it's supposed to be triple digits (I know in Vegas you've had that since May, but at least it's dry there) and so we are going to be sweaty. But such is the life of a Texas missionary in August. You sweat, knock, teach sweat, baptize and sweat some more. As you may have guessed, I get sweaty. But I love it here, so I deal with it. Besides, it builds character ;)

This last week did not go as well as we would have liked as far as new people to teach goes. We didn't put the time needed into finding and we are going to do a lot more this week in hopes to find new people to teach. While we didn't find a lot of people, we did have a baptism! Sevren was baptized by his father and it was a great service as well as confirmation. We are happy to see success here and the Ward council is as well. We have a date with Charles Shaw this weekend and he came to church Sunday so he is ready for that. I keep seeing this pattern in my mission over and over again: work hard and the Lord will provide. It's happened before and it is happening now.

We have had a couple miracles over this last week. The first is a woman named Terra. We had to get our oil changed in Tyler on Tuesday and the wait was about 3 hours. 0_0 We had to get it done, though, so we went with Elder Lewis and Elder Olvera on a mini-exchange while that happened, so by the time we got back to our area, it was about 4:45. We had about 30 minutes before dinner and so we went and tracted a street we had planned on earlier and it turned out to have only 6 or7 houses on it. We figured we'd give it a whirl anyways and knocked on her door. She is probably in her mid- to late-twenties and just went through a divorce. She has two little girls and we talked a lot about family and how it's hard to raise a family in today's world because of degrading moral values and in broken homes, much like hers is. We are focusing a lot on the Restoration and modern prophets and we will be giving her a copy of A Proclamation to the World: the Family to read this week. She is really open to all of it and we will be teaching her more on Tuesday.

The other is Stacy and David. We found Stacy and David last Saturday right before dinner and they let us in and we gave them a brief rundown of the Restoration and a copy of the Book of Mormon. We listened with the Spirit and were bold and asked questions that were definitely inspired. It was really good, even though it was short, and set up another appointment right before Sevren's baptism on Thursday. When we returned, we answered questions and talked mainly about the Book of Mormon. David is really open to the whole thing. We asked him what he thought of the First Vision and he said he believed crazier things in the Bible, so why not? (That was cool) Stacy on the other hand is a little bit more skeptical. We asked her the right questions, however, and waited and listened to where we were able to draw out a bit more of her concerns and resolve them. It was a really powerful lesson with a promise to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We will see them again tomorrow.

Other than that there hasn't been anything crazy or exciting, besides the fact that I saw a LIVE armadillo! In 14 months of being here, all the armadillos I've seen have been victims of roadkill, either in or on the side of the road, and we finally saw one alive! They are crazy little buggers; they move fast, too. It was pretty cool.

I hope y'all have great week!


Elder Grondel

Week 57

Hey y'all! It's been another great (and fast) week here in beautiful East Texas!! This last week was pretty good with some sweet experiences, which always makes the time go faster.

So first off I was in Longview for three days. For anyone that is wondering where Longview is, it's about an hour east of Tyler. I went there for a leadership training meeting that involved all district leaders, zone leaders, and trainers Out East. It was really cool. Basically what happened was (and I forgot to tell y'all 2 weeks ago) the Brethren came out with new curriculum that is to be taught in the MTC and in the mission field. Back in the day (but not too far back) missionaries would give memorized discussions--they would say the same thing for different people. A few years ago they came out with Preach My Gospel, which is the basic handbook for missionary service. It also contains all the doctrine for the lessons, and is meant to be more guided by the Spirit because the missionaries would present it in their own words. It is an amazing and truly inspired program; the problem is many missionaries (including myself at times) fall into a routine of giving a rote lesson; basically saying the same things every time. It is in our own words, but it's not exactly guided by the Spirit. So we are going back to the basics, and teaching a very simplified curriculum. So basically for three days 6 hours a day I was sitting in the chapel with 15 other missionaries being taught by the Spirit like I never have before. It was incredible and broadened my view and vision. It has only been a few days but I have felt the Spirit stronger in the lessons we have taught the past couple days. We ask more questions and listen more, finding out their concerns and their interests. It was amazing. I'd go into more detail but I'm running short on time.

Sevren is getting baptized this week!! He had his interview yesterday and I am so excited for him!!! His dad is going to baptize him and it will be really sweet to see it happen. The Lord has been good to us!

Charles is doing good and not so good. He has read a lot of the Book of Mormon and is praying and wants to be baptized; he simply won't come to church. His car doesn't have insurance so he has to get a ride, but his grandfather lives down the street and would be more than happy to give him a ride. I'm not sure what's holding him back, but we are meeting with him tomorrow night and we will find out a little more. It's no longer a matter of if he'll get baptized; it's just a matter of when.

We had a sweet lesson with Carlton. We went over last night and we were planning on teaching him the Plan of Salvation again to review with him what he has been taught. We got about halfway through it and just started following the Spirit big time. It went a different direction but it was really good and a lot more spiritual. I am excited for him. He is understanding more and the Spirit is working on him. There have been huge changes in him.

One more miracle! We were tracting on Saturday afternoon and it was HOT. We did some service that morning and we were supposed to have appointments at 3 and 4, but they both punched on us. So we were tracting from 2-5. For 2 hours and 50 minutes, we really didn't have any success other than a couple potentials. At 4:50, we were knocking on the last door before we went home to eat dinner and a woman named Stacy opened the door. Listening to the Spirit (thank you Heavenly Father) I asked her if she believed there could be a prophet on the earth today, to which she replied yes. We asked her if we could come in, and she went and woke up her husband and let us in! He husband's name is David; they are 30 and have a 6-year-old girl. They are really nice and in 10 minutes we gave a basic overview of the Restoration. We asked them what they thought about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, and David believed it was altogether possible, considering that there's crazier things in the Bible. Stacy was a little more skeptical, but said it might be true. We left a Book of Mormon with a promise to read it and we are planning to see them this Thursday right before Sevren's baptism. Another cool thing! David already has a Book of Mormon. He had a really good friend in high school that gave him a copy and he intended to read it, but never got there. Coincidence? I think not! Needless to say we are excited.

Well, that's all for this week. I love y'all and miss y'all. Have a great week!!

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week 56

Hey there y'all! It's been another wonderful week her in East Texas!! We had an OK week this week and will have some really good weeks coming up. I don't have a ton of time today so here we go!

Charles is doing well and should be getting baptized on August 8th! He hasn't smoked in over a week and says he's done and really wants to be baptized! We are really excited for him and so grateful to see the blessings of the Lord really open up in this area. We don't have much left to teach him, so the next few weeks will simply be getting him pumped and getting the ward ready for baptisms!

Sevren is also doing well. We haven't been able to meet with him this last week but we should see him this week and basically review everything. He is really smart and basically knows it all so it really will just be a review for him and then he will be baptized by his dad on July 29th!! We are really excited for that one.

Michael didn't come to church this week because his dad decided they were going to church as a family. I don't know what church he went to but we may be reactivating his family in their old church1 Personally, that would be pretty funny to me, especially because we have a hard enough time reactivating our own less-active members! He was bummed he couldn't come, though, so I know he enjoys it. We are taking a new approach when it comes to teaching as well: giant object lessons. Tonight we are going over the Plan of Salvation again and focusing on the Atonement and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'll have to send a picture next week. It is awesome!

Carlton is still doing well. I feel that I may have been pushing him a little too much; I have gotten to the point where I think everyone should be able to be baptized in 6 weeks or less. But I need to remember that we tracted into Carlton, that we've been blessed as it is to teach him, and that he's 66 years old. It may take a while. So I'm gonna be less of a bulldog and slow down a bit and work with him to resolve his concerns. He'll come around; it will just take a while.

The other miracle story for this week is a woman named Sue. Her husband, Jack, joined the church about 6 years ago and they have been married for three. They are in their 60's and I think this is their second marriage for both of them. We invited her to take the lessons and she agreed. It was funny because then she said, "But don't push me." So hopefully we won't push (we are missionaries, however; I know few people pushier than us). She really enjoyed having us over, though, and has been coming to church for several weeks an enjoying it. Hopefully we will see success there soon.

Elder Redmond is doing awesome. We are getting along great (he's almost as crazy as I am =P) and he is a really good teacher with a lot of skills. I am excited to see him progress.

This week there was an interesting experience at the Nielsen home. Some how a Texas Rat Snake crawled into their A/C unit and jammed the motor. It was still running and got really hot and effectively cooked the snake...yeah talk about one of the worst smells known to man. I'm attaching pictures, so enjoy (make sure it's been a few hours since your last meal; otherwise you may lose it).

I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!!


Elder Grondel

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 55

Hey y'all!! It's been another great week here in beautiful East Texas! And boy is it heating up!! We have had a really hot and really humid summer so far. There has been a TON of rain followed by temperatures in the mid-90's...needless to say I have been sweating a little bit and I'm remembering how miserable I was last summer. It's going by pretty fast though, so the next thing I know I'm going to be freezing again when we hit winter.

Well, first off my new companion's name is Elder Redmond from Magna, Utah. I obviously had no idea where that is and he said it's about 15 minutes southwest of Salt Lake City. He's really cool and into everything from shotguns to computers, from cars to video games. We realized about 10 minutes of being together that we had a lot in common and that we were going to have a lot of fun. He is a really awesome missionary and is really excited to work. I have to admit, I was a little scared I was going to get a greenie that wanted simply to go home and didn't want to do anything, but thankfully I didn't. He is really excited to learn, is scared of contacting, and is still trying to figure things out. Spitting image of me when I was a greenie ;) He is going to be a great missionary, and I can totally see him being a district leader or even training next transfer. He is going to do great.

Well this week was pretty good again. We were able to see just about everyone and I really want to focus on a couple:

Sevren is doing awesome and we have a firm date for him to be baptized! He will be getting baptized on July 29th, and we are really excited for him. His dad is going to baptize him and it will be sweet.

Charles is doing pretty good; he hasn't smoked since Wednesday and says he's done. He told us he's pretty stubborn and if he wants to do something he'll do it once he's committed to it. He wasn't at church this week, but he should be there next week and we should see him baptized soon.

We had a really good lesson with Carlton last week. We read part of Joseph Smith--History with him and he really felt the Spirit and is starting to get it. He is one that will take a while but I think that he could get baptized if we keep working with him. He was at church yesterday and really enjoyed it and will hopefully keep coming.

A few weeks ago Elder Hill tracted onto a woman named Christina in Jacksonville on an exchange and she told us we could come back, and we have been meeting with her for about three weeks now. She is really awesome and will hopefully start coming to church soon. She is Hispanic but speaks really good English; however, her husband does not speak a lot of English so it's pretty difficult, but we have a family from Mexico that lives in Jacksonville and attends the Bullard ward, and they are fellow shipping them and so hopefully we can get the Spanish Elders involved and see a baptism in a couple months!!

Other than that, the week was normal. We taught, tracted, laughed, nearly cried, sweat, ate, slept, and studied. It was a good week and we had a lot of success.

I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!!!

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Week 54

Hey y'all!! It's been another great week here in beautiful East Texas! Elder Hill and I worked hard and had some good things happen. I am going to miss him but I know he will do great things when he goes home.

So here is the biggest news and probably the most humbling event of my mission: I'M GOING TO HAVE A SON!!!! Which is mission lingo for I'm training a new missionary!!! I am really excited and really nervous at the same time. We have a lot of good things going on here so he will be coming into a good area and there are a lot of good people here as well. I'm nervous that I'll screw up, but I just have to remember the Lord and ask for His help and all will be well.

There really is nothing else too exciting to report. We only found one new person to teach this week (it was a bummer) but his name is Roderick and he has a lot of potential. We will see them again on Saturday and will hopefully start teaching his wife too! They are an African-American family with two really cute little kids. We will see what happens there.

I am really starting to see the blessings of the Lord as well. I had a really good discussion with a member of the church yesterday and we were talking about obedience and blessings, and how we can't demand the blessings we want. Personally, I had seen it for a long time as "Ok, I'm being obedient, now I want this blessing." We can't pick and choose; the Lord will bless us with what he will when we are ready. Now I understand more the scriptures that say "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." When that is said, the people have been obedient and have sacrificed much. And even afterwards, it is not always what people want, but it is what is good for them at the time. I know that while it has been hard in this area, the Lord is preparing people for my new companion and I to teach and baptize, and I know I will shortly see success. I know this work is true and that the Lord truly is over all. The Atonement of Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the history of the church testify of that, as do I.

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


Elder Grondel

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 53

Hey there y'all!! It's been another wonderful week here in East Texas! We had a really good week last week. We were able to teach a lot of lessons and have a lot of success as far as getting people to church as well that we weren't able to before. We didn't find a lot of new people to teach but those we did find have a lot of potential and will hopefully progress very quickly.

So today the letter will be pretty short--my brain's pretty fried and I can't make very organized thoughts right now--but I'll run through each of our investigators really briefly:

Carlton is doing well, but sadly will not be getting baptized this weekend. He doesn't feel he is ready and will be praying about it but told us we will have to see how things go. He is doing better on smoking. We talked to him Saturday about 4 and he said he had only smoked half a cigarette that morning and hadn't smoked since. We committed him to not smoke the rest of the day and he said he was going to try his best.

Charles came to church this Sunday! Sadly he only came for sacrament meeting (he came with his grandparents and his grandma wasn't feeling well) but we met with him later that evening and he said he enjoyed it! We will hopefully be setting another date for him to be baptized soon and he should be able to do it!

Sevren is doing good as well. He is a really smart kid and knows the gospel pretty well, so we are really just reviewing with him. We are looking forward to him being baptized in a few weeks and seeing his family active in church again.

Mike is a new one. A member of the ward invited their neighbor over for dinner a couple weeks ago and we invited him to take the lessons and he agreed. He has come to church a couple times and has enjoyed it. He is 17 and has already gotten himself plugged in with the priests quorum and has made friends there. He is going to be a little different to teach (he isn't very engaging in conversation) but if we can get through to him and if the Spirit really touches his heart, he will know the truth of the things we are teaching him. We are excited for him.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. Troy called us and told us he was moving...2 days later. Yeah we were pretty bummed but they'll be happy where they are going and some missionaries in Florida are going to have a wonderful birthday present. ;) We did find some pretty cool people to teach this week and should see some miracles this week.

Lastly, Elder Hill goes home this week. It's really weird knowing that you're going to have anew companion but not knowing if you're staying, if you're both leaving (I'd be so mad) or if you're getting a greenie. I wouldn't mind a new guy; I kinda want to train, to be honest. But still, it's weird. I am excited for whatever happens, though.

Well, that's my week. I hope y'all have a great one too!!


Elder Grondel

Monday, June 21, 2010

Week 52

There it is. There are 52 weeks in a year. I have been in Texas for exactly one year, and I have got to say it is still a weird feeling. But, as always, it has been another wonderful week here in East Texas! There have been some miracles and some set backs, but I don't have a ton of time so I'll try to keep it brief.

First off, Charles is disappointing us. We had a really good lesson with him Saturday and he said he was going to be at church Sunday, but he didn't show up! It was really frustrating, and now he will not be able to be baptized when we had hoped. We will really have to commit him when we see him again and make sure he understands what he needs to do.

Carlton is doing a lot better at smoking. He has only smoked a couple cigarettes and hasn't had any coffee. He didn't come to church because he said he had to do something, but hopefully he will come next week.

Sevren is doing great. He is my biggest ray of hope right now, and I am excited to see him get baptized next month. His Dad is doing great. He was struggling with smoking before but he had a friend give him a blessing and he hasn't had a craving since. I love the Priesthood!

We did have a miracle this week, too. A guy named Troy called us and said he wanted to learn more about our religion. We met him at the church and started talking to him and after showing him around a bit he said, "I have already prayed about it and I know it's true. My wife and I and my kids are all coming here, I just needed to know what to do to be baptized. This is going to be your easiest shin-dig ever." (silence for a few seconds) Our jaws hit the floor. We are so excited! It was a really good lesson with him too. It was just him at the church, but he has a wife and four kids, ages 10, 7, 5, & 3. We were hoping to see them at church yesterday, but they didn't show up for some reason and he hasn't been returning our calls. His Father-in-law did go to the hospital about a week ago because he had a heart attack, so we are thinking that may have had something to do with it. We are really hoping they will turn out though, because I have been praying so hard for a family and here it is! Keep them in your prayers, please!

Other than that the week was pretty normal, although we did a lot of service. I have picked up so many words and phrases used by East Texans. If y'all were to talk to me you'd laugh. It's pretty funny. And Elder Hill has a real good accent now. I love it though.

I hope y'all have a great week!!!


Elder Grondel

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 51

Hey y'all!! It's been another wonderful week here in Est Texas! And boy A LOT happened this week. Let's go day-by-day.


Monday was fun. We went over to Bro. Atwood's hat shop and made a hat for Elder Hill. Then we did the usual Preparation day activities and ate dinner and then helped to clean up the new building.


We went down to Jacksonville and did a lot of finding and what not. We found a guy named Larry who had been taught by the missionaries about a year ago and we will start teaching him again. We then went and had good appointments with Patsy and Carlton that evening.


In the morning I went to a leadership meeting (I'm still a district leader) in Longview, which is about 45 minutes east of Tyler. While we were there, rain really started coming down and there were thunderstorms and we lost power for about 45 minutes. It was nuts because there was a bunch of Boy Scouts there for a day camp and they were going crazy. It was pretty sweet. We went and saw Charles that afternoon and really had a good lesson. We were going to see Tisha but she and her whole family were sick and they didn't want to let us in. We will set up a time to see them this week. We then ate dinner and did some contacting. It was a full day.


This is where it gets exciting. Thursday morning we planned out the next week and then we went Wal-Mart, in the rain. It was fun. Then we had interviews and training with President Smith, which went really well. Mine was short, but that's good sometimes, 'cause it means I have nothing really to worry about because I'm doing good. that night we had a lesson with Sevren that went well, but we are going to have to push the baptism back because Sevren's Dad wants to baptize him but he won't be able to until the end of July. Oh well. Such is life.
We did have another appointment but the guy punched, which stank but whatever.


This was a day of craziness as well. We had Zone Conference that morning and it was really good and really powerful. President Smith gave a great training as did the Assistants and some of the other missionaries. It was a good conference. That afternoon we went contacting and dropped by some people and then we went to the Open house for the rest of the evening. The Open House went really well. There were several non-members there, and sadly there weren't too many that were interested, but there was one that made it all worth it. This woman named Angie came in because she saw the big signs out front for the Open House and wanted to check it out. One of the members of the ward, Sister Parks, introduced herself and asked her if there was anything that she needed, to which Angie said she wanted some literature. Sister Parks then found me and let me talk to her from there. 20 minutes later, she left with a Book of Mormon, a Restoration pamphlet, and a brief run down of the first lesson. She had so many questions that were perfect for the Gospel, because we are able to answer them! I know that for these type of events, there is at least one person that is prepared for it, and I think Angie may be the one. We will be calling her and setting up an appointment to teach her and her husband. There is so much potential there!


Basically the same thing from 10-4. We were at the open house. That evening we had one appointment at 8 that cancelled, but we still took a member with us. we dropped by some people and dropped by some potential investigators, Malibu and Josh. We were only there for a few minutes, but it was awesome. Josh is really well-versed in the Bible, but he really doesn't believe in it because of what religion has done to it and because of all the different churches. He believes in God but had almost given up on searching for the truth. We talked with him about families and how they can be eternal and he really liked that and so we said we would come back and teach him how he can know that families can be eternal. It was really good and really spiritual and we are going to see them on Saturday.


Sunday was really powerful. We had to get to the stake center early because we sang in the choir and it was amazing to see how many people were there. The final count was 978 (and people don't believe there's Mormons in East silly!) It was great. President Nielsen (the Stake president, and the member we live with) was authorized to dedicate the building and he wrote a beautiful dedicatory prayer. The Spirit was way strong and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room by the end of it all, and if there was, they had at least teared up at some point in the meeting. Carlton and Sevren were able to be there and they both enjoyed it. It was amazing.
The Atwoods then invited us over for lunch and we went over there and had a great time. We got a kid named Richy to come teaching with us and we went and taught Charles about the Word of Wisdom. He is pretty cool and said that quitting smoking would not be a problem for him. So he's gonna do it. He didn't come to church so we may have to move his baptismal date, but he is pretty solid otherwise. We had dinner with the Hollands and Brother Holland came out with us and we went and saw Carlton again and really hit it hard with the Word of Wisdom. It will be hard for him,. but we are going to get him to quit. We are seeing him tonight as well so it will be good.

Well that's the craziness of Week 51! It certainly was a good week and I am excited for this week. I love and miss y'all and I hope y'all have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 50

Hey y'all! It's been another wonderful week here in East Texas! I tell you what, though, it is getting HOT here. I know back home it's well into triple digits already, but at least it's dry. Not so here. It is humid and gross. And sadly it is only going to get hotter. Such is life, however. This last week I hit my year mark! It is really weird to think that my mission is half over, because if that is true, then this thing is going to be way too short! My companion, Elder Hill, who goes home July 7th, keeps telling me it only gets faster. However, I am going to do everything I can to work my hardest until I am done.

This week was a good one and I don't have a ton of time so I will just tell you the highlights. Sevren is still set to get baptized, and he is doing well. Charles is good also but he will need to get to church if he is going to get baptized. He has already read 155 pages of the Book of Mormon! It's incredible. Carlton is preparing for baptism again. We have set a goal for him to be baptized on the 3rd of July, so hopefully he will be able to do it. He had a really good time at church last week and he will hopefully come again. We had some good lessons with some other people and sadly had to drop some, but the work moves forward.

We get to move into the new building next week too!! We are really excited and the Open House is this weekend, which should bring a lot of new people (hopefully). It will make it a lot easier on a lot of the people here in the Bullard ward.

We also got a new ward mission leader. His name is Brooks Atwood (he actually makes cowboy hats, so if you look up Atwood hats, that's his company) and he is really awesome. He is a god ol' country boy and I love him. He is going to do a great job and it should help to get the leadership stirred up and working. We will hopefully start to see a ton of success.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope y'all are doing well!! Love and miss y'all.


Elder Grondel

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 49

Hey y'all! It's been another great week here in beautiful East Texas! We have had a lot of success and have seen some good things lately and will hopefully continue to see success as we continue to be diligent and humble.

This week we were able to see many of our investigators and had some really good lessons. On Tuesday we met with Andrew and had a really good lesson with him. He is a really solid guy and is always excited to talk to us. We will hopefully have a lesson with him this week. We had one set up for Sunday but he had to cancel it and we haven't set another one up with him yet, but we should see him soon. We met with Patrick and Karen as well and had a good lesson there. We answered a few of her questions and really committed her to pray about the things we are teaching her. We were supposed to see them twice last week but Patrick wasn't feeling good one of the days and so we will see him again later this week.

Wednesday we had two great appointments. The first was with Sevren, who is Cheryl's son. He is on top of things and wants to be baptized, and so we set a date with him and he will be planning to be baptized on the 25th of June! I am really excited, especially because I haven't seen a baptism since I have been here and we are excited to see one. The Lord has truly blessed us. We also met with Charles again and we reviewed the Book of Mormon with him and read out of 3 Nephi 11. We committed him to be baptized and he said yes! We are preparing him to be baptized on the 26th of June. We are not sure if that will work because of Sevren's baptism, but we will still have a baptism and it will be awesome.

Thursday we saw Carlton and had a great lesson with him. It has been amazing to see the change that has come over him as we have taught him. When we first started teaching him he said he couldn't change. Now he is trying to quit smoking and he even came to church on Sunday! He really enjoyed it and hopefully we will be able to see him again soon. I think he promised his preacher he would go to his church this Sunday, so we may not see him then but we will try. We also saw Tisha earlier that day and we had a really good lesson with her. The member we had with us reminded her a lot of her father and it really helped her to open up. She hasn't really been reading and praying like she needs to, so we hit hard on the importance of that and committed her to do so. She said yes and so we will see how it goes when we see her again on Wednesday.

Friday we went down to Jacksonville and found a bunch of new investigators. They may not all progress but we will be doing the best that we can to help them to do so. They ultimately have their agency, but we will help them the best we can. It was also my birthday and the family we ate dinner with found out so they made a big ol' cake and we had a great time. I'll send pictures.

Saturday was Elder Hill's Birthday (weird, huh?) and we helped an investigator move and had dinner/birthday celebration with a less-active family who I have come to love. They are hilarious and we had a great time. We went to a catfish fry that evening that we were invited to by a part-member family. It was good for us to contact them and the catfish was pretty good.

Sunday was good, although all our appointments fell through. We made some good contact with people, though, and made it work.

Lately I have been trying to focus on humility, and I have to say I am proud of how humble I've become ;) But seriously it is really hard to rely completely on the Lord. I have come to realize how much I just do stuff myself without really asking Him for anything. I don't know why entirely but many things I have just been able to do. I have come to realize here on the mission that I can't do it myself, and I am slowly relying on Him and my companion and those around me. It is helping, but I know it will be an ongoing process and it will take a long while.

I will hit a huge milestone this week: I will have been on my mission for a year this week. It is an amazing feeling, because I never really thought I would hit a year. I thought I was going to be a missionary forever (I know it's weird, but when you eat, sleep, and breathe missionary work 24/7 it gets to you) and I never imagined going "over the hill". It has been an eye opener to how little time I actually have left. It is a strange feeling, and I hope to be able to buckle down and endure to the end, pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ. The past 12 months have been the greatest of my life. I have become a different person and I have seen this gospel change the lives of many. I am excited to face new challenges presented to me and I will press forward with faith.

I love and miss you all and hope y'all have a great week!


Elder Grondel

Monday, May 24, 2010

Week 48

Hey y'all!! It's been another great week here in East Texas! This Saturday was transfer calls and Elder Hill and I will be staying together 6 more weeks until he goes home, which means I will likely be here in Bullard for a long time. It will be interesting to see what happens. This week went pretty good in some areas and not so good in others.

As far as the good goes, we made some contact with a couple families where they have children that are not baptized and we have asked them if they would like to take the lessons and they said yes! The first one is a guy named Charles. He is in his 20's and his dad is a member but stopped coming to church after he was about 18. Charles seemed interested and we had a really good lesson with him on Saturday and we will see him again this Wednesday. Another interesting story start with a woman named Cheryl. She joined the church with her first husband in 2001 and moved to Longview in '04. They went through some trials and ended up inactive and divorced. She has since remarried and is now going through another divorce but is doing everything she can to get back in church. The incredible thing is that she has a 10-year-old son who is not baptized that wants to be that is currently attending church with his dad (Cheryl's former husband) in Tyler. We are going to go over Wednesday as well to start teaching him and hopefully we will be seeing a baptism before the end of June! It is incredible to see Cheryl's faith. She wants to come back full force; she wants home teachers, visiting teachers, she was just made a visiting teacher on Sunday, she wants to go to the temple, she wants it all and we are so excited for her. It will be awesome to see how the Spirit works on that family.

We met with Carlton and he's doing about the same. He was supposed to come to Church this Sunday, but he had some really bad arthritis pain that kept him from coming. We are going to see him Thursday, however, and so we should have a good lesson there and I believe he is planning on coming to church this coming Sunday.

We had another miracle this week. About 6 weeks ago we made contact with a guy named Andrew, who is the son and grandson of some inactive members. We dropped by on Tuesday and caught him in between things and sat down and talked with him for a little bit. He is going through a hard time himself with his marriage, but we invited him to take the lessons and he has agreed. We will see him tomorrow morning and we are hoping to have a really good and spiritual lesson with him. He is pretty humble, especially with all that is going on in his life, and Elder Hill and I see a lot of potential for him.

Juan is struggling, sadly. He sent us a text message in which he said he preferred to be alone for now, but we need to call him and see how he is doing. It is so hard to see those that are truly searching drop off because they have so much potential to be better than they can imagine. Hopefully we will get a hold of him, but keep him in your prayers.

We saw Patrick and met his wife Karen on Saturday really briefly (the appointment with Charles had run long) and she has a lot of questions, but they are pretty humble and they could progress really quickly. We will be seeing them Tuesday.

Other than that there really hasn't been much progression with any other investigators. The only other really exciting news is that we are getting a brand new church opening up in Bullard and we are really excited! It will be awesome.

Have a good week!!


Elder Grondel

P.S. With the two pictures, one is a missionary's 3D representation of The Tree of Life vision (1 Nephi 8) and the other: I found a frog! So I took a picture =)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Week 47

Hey y'all! It has been an AWESOME week here in East Texas. We worked hard and had a lot of success this week. We taught most of our investigators and found EIGHT new people to teach this week!! The Lord has blessed us a ton and we were really happy to see it. Some of them may be a little flaky, but we are working hard to get them to progress as much as possible.

Sadly we were not able to meet with Juan at all this last week. He has been busy lately and we are not entirely sure what is going on with him. It's pretty scary actually because we don't know what is up with him entirely. Hopefully we will be able to meet with him tomorrow.

Tisha is about the same and we may have to drop her because she really isn't going anywhere. It's sad to see but it happens. She likes smoking too much and says she isn't ready to come to church and so she is not progressing. We are going to try again and see what happens.

We saw Barbara this week and had a powerful lesson with her, but at this point she really just wants to know for the sake of finding out what her daughters are into. Her daughter Audrey called us and told us she felt a bit pushed, but we will simply teach at this point and hopefully she will come along.

Carlton is trying to quit smoking and is praying to know if what we are teaching him is true. We got him some reading glasses (he couldn't see the print in the Book of Mormon) and so hopefully he will come to know sooner. He is planning on coming to church this upcoming Sunday (yay!) and hopefully after that he will really progress. We have seen a lot of changes in him already and will see him on Wednesday of this week and will start teaching him the plan of Happiness. We are really excited for him.

We had a miracle on Saturday night as well. We went and visited a less-active family named the Woody's and shared a scripture with them and asked them if they knew anyone that we could go by or pray for. They said they didn't have anyone for us and so we said a prayer and got ready to leave. As soon as "Amen" was said, Brother Woody popped his head up and said, "You know what there is someone that you need to go see" and proceeded to tell us how to get to a friend's house (well, RV). He couldn't remember his name at the time, and I was going to dismiss it and was thinking "We can see him next week. There are some others I want to go by." As we were walking out the door, Brother Woody said again, "He really needs you guys right now. He's waiting for you." As soon as he said that, I heard something in my head--whether it was the Spirit or my own thoughts, I am still not entirely sure--that said, "We need to go there NOW." I looked at Brother Woody and said, "We are going right now." To make an already long story short, we met Patrick, who has been struggling with health disorders and poverty for years and is way humble. HE is awesome and is really excited for us to come back. We had an amazing lesson and talked about, prayer, faith, the scriptures, and the Atonement. The spirit was really strong. It was a very sacred meeting, and I was happy and grateful I listened to the Spirit.

Well, that in a nutshell was my week. I hope y'all have a good'un!


Elder Grondel