Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week 31

Hey y'all! It's been an AMAZING week here in Texas! We have been so blessed with people to teach it's unbelievable. The Lord is recognizing our efforts and has opened the windows of heaven unto us. I’m going day by day to list the blessings that we have received:


We had P-day (which was excellent as always) and that evening we went over to the Thomsons in the 4th ward for dinner, and their daughter and son-in-law, Kayli and Carlos were there. Carlos isn’t a member, but wants to become one. We talked about it with him and they are moving to Fort Worth in a week, so we started teaching them last Monday and will get everything taught to him this week so he can be baptized on Saturday! It’s going to be way sweet! We are really excited and it will be good for the ward because they haven’t seen a baptism in a long time. Later that evening we went and had a lesson with the Loveless’ (the wife is less active) and had a really strong spiritual lesson there.


Tuesday rocked and that was one of the best days of the week. We went to transfers in the morning (I had to be there for some district leader training that morning) and there are a lot of changes in the mission that will hopefully help it take off. It’s funny; our former district leader, Elder Nate, was told that he was getting transferred and becoming a Zone Leader, and he went to the meeting and came right back to Allen to replace Elder Krammer. It was way awesome and I totally called it. Anyways after that we went over to a potential investigator’s home for an appointment. She has been flaky in the past so it wasn’t all that surprising when she wasn’t home; what was surprising was when she called 30 minutes later, apologized for being late, and told us to come back on over. It was awesome!! Her name is Salma and she has no real understanding of religion (she wasn’t raised in any particular religion) but she does believe in God and a little bit in Jesus Christ. She has to be taught very basically but that will be great. She’s unmolded clay right now, so it will be really fun and spiritual. We later had another appointment with Beth and the Spirit was really strong there as well. We taught her the first part of the Plan of Salvation and she understood and was asking questions! It was really cool and we are so excited for her. We just hope she can come to church soon. That evening we went over to Lawson’s and had a really good lesson, teaching some of the commandments (tithing, fasting, ten commandments) and talked to him a little bit about the Law of Chastity and he said he knows it’s wrong, but Jen was in a tough situation and he’s not sure if he’s ready for marriage yet. We told him that there are plenty of young couples that do it and make it and that he definitely needs to pray about it. Hopefully it will turn out well for him. After Lawson we went over and taught Sydney and Cody another lesson, finishing up the Restoration. They both really enjoyed it and understood it, but they need to come to church. The problem is that they are really busy a lot on weekends, but hopefully we will be able to find a way for the entire family to make it a priority.


Wednesday was another good day. We had district meeting in the morning, which went well considering it was my first time giving training to other Elders. That afternoon we went and visited Brother Johnson, a less active in the First ward. We are teaching him the lessons, hoping it will help him come back to church; the problem is he has a disabled son and so he usually has to stay home to take care of him. It was a really good lesson, though, and it will be good for him. That evening, we went on splits because we were double-booked for appointments and had a god night. Elder Hardy went and saw a woman named Suzie, who became a new investigator. I went and saw Lawson again (it was the only time he was going to be able to meet with us again that week) and taught him the Word of Wisdom, which he probably won’t have any problems with. He’s been trying to quit smoking and has gone down from a pack a day to a pack a week and he drinks tea like crazy, but he should be able to stop that as well. Sweet tea and iced tea is the big thing down South. After Lawson we went by a potential investigator named Jesse and got in and taught a lesson! It was pretty cool. He’s a Baptist but seemed way open and willing to learn.


Thursday was pretty boring until the evening. We had our planning session (which was boring) and we had a meeting as well at a senior center that was honestly a waste of time. We didn’t get out to do anything until the evening and that’s when things got good. We had an appointment with Sandra, but she wasn’t home, so we tried going by a few people to no success. We then went over to Chad’s (another potential investigator) and we taught the restoration. He had some questions we didn’t have time to answer because we had another appointment. We are hopefully going to see him again this week. After Chad we went and saw Kayli and Carlos again and had a sweet lesson there and eliminated most of the concerns about him being baptized. There shouldn’t be any and he will likely be good to go.


We did some service for a less active lady in the ward in the morning, and on the way back, I TOTALLY ate it HARD on my bike. I don’t even know how I fell, but next thing I know, I’ve got some gnarly road rash on my knee and on my elbow. I’m including pictures, so check it out. It still kills and I can’t put any pressure on it and probably won’t for a while. It was sweet. That afternoon we went over to the Youngs to day hi and see how they were doing. The evening went up and down. It was gonna be great—then everything punched. Then when we got with our ride, Ed, he took us back to his place to teach his roommate Jeremy and Jeremy’s girlfriend Olivia a lesson. It was really good and the spirit was strong there. We were really excited to teach them and hopefully it will turn into something really good.


In the morning, I went to buy an ace bandage for my knee (it kept oozing everywhere) and after that we went to teach Carlos and Kayli again. Kayli was still asleep, but Carlos was up and it was a really good lesson. We started the Plan of Salvation and he really understood it and enjoyed it. That afternoon we went over to some of the members of the ward and met with the Bishop in the 1st ward to go over the ward list. It was really good. That evening we had dinner with the ward mission leader in the 1st ward and then went over to teach a lesson at Becky’s home. Becky is an active member who has been struggling with her testimony and we are teaching her the lessons to hopefully strengthen her. It was a really powerful lesson and it has been good for her. After that we met with Mike, and we started teaching him the lessons as well, hoping to help him come back to church. He is less-active but is a great guy with a good heart.


As always, Sunday was extremely long, but really good. Lawson and Carlos came to church, and we got another potential investigator. Trevor is a 17-year-old who is a recent convert due to being a part of a part-member family and he is dating a non-member named Natasha, who is interested in learning about the church. We are planning on starting to teach her on Thursday, which will be really exciting. We had a good evening and a good time.

Well, that’s my week!! I know it was long, but that’s because it was excellent. I love you all and hope all is well!!

Elder Grondel

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Hello everyone, this is Jessica, Doug's sister. I just wanted to make a quick reminder to everyone to send your letters via snail mail instead of through emails so that Elder Grondel can spend more time writing his weekly emails to all of us. I know that he appreciates letters from all of us and that he enjoys being able to have mail, have time to read them and have them to write back to us.

Thanks so much!


Week 30

Hey y'all!! How's it going? It's been a good week this week. It was the last week of the transfer and as always, transfer calls happened! Both Elder Hardy and I are staying in the Allen 1st, 4th, and 6th wards, but I’ve been made the district leader! I was way surprised as we thought Elder Nate (who was our district leader) was going to die out here in Allen (note: When I say "Die", it's mission lingo for "finishing his mission". I'll add a glossary of Missionary Terms at the end). The Lord works in mysterious ways, however, and it will be exciting to see what happens.
This week we were able to meet with Lawson again and we had to tell him about the Law of Chastity because Jen is living with him. He took it fairly well I think (I'm not sure I wasn't there because we were on exchanges with Elder Nate and his companion Elder Seegmiller) but he said it was going to be hard for him. We were a little bummed, but he said he still wanted to meet with us and try to figure it out. However, he is not ready for baptism and will not be getting baptized this weekend. Hopefully he will sometime in the coming month, but we will see what happens. I think he's really liking church, though, because we play football with the 6th ward Elders Quorum (the ward Lawson's in) every other Saturday and he came a couple days ago and had a great time. We are excited for him.
We started teaching a girl named Sydney, who is 11 and part of a part-member family. He brother Cody (15) has been baptized already and her mom Jenny is a member, but her dad Phillip is not. She also has a little brother Cory who's 7. She is a really sweet girl who picked up on everything we taught pretty easily. We'll be seeing her again on Tuesday and will hopefully be able to teach Phillip as well. Sydney had already expressed the desire to be baptized as well, so hopefully we'll be able to set that up this week!
Wednesday we were able to go to the temple and we went with a kid named Jared Hawkins, who goes into the MTC Wednesday to prepare for the Arizona Mesa mission! He's a really cool kid and we were able to get him out teaching with us a couple times before he left. The temple was really nice (I haven't been since June...I needed it) and it really helped me get charged for the week. We taught some lessons to people that have been struggling a bit with their testimonies as well and had a really good time with them.
Friday should have been really good (we had five appointments with potential investigators set up) but only 2 of them went through; however, the ones that did go through were really good. We met first with a lady named Beth and had a really good lesson with her. The Spirit was really strong and she understood everything we were teaching. We talked about baptism and she said when she comes to know of herself these things are true, she'll be baptized! It was so cool! We then had an appointment with a girl named Sandra (another 11-year-old) and taught her the first lesson up to the Apostasy and she was on top of it! It was really cool and things are really starting to look up here.
Saturday was a combination of good and bad. In the morning we played football and had a great time there and later that afternoon we had a blitz (see glossary of missionary terms) and that went really well, but the evening wasn't so great. The past couple of weeks we have found out how ineffective trying to find people in the 4th ward is when we're trying to tract during the day. So we figured we'd come back and try tracting in the evening! Great idea, right? WRONG. We didn't get in AYWHERE and most people were definitely NOT happy to see us, especially because they were either eating dinner, had just gotten home, or we were simply interrupting their evening. Ugh. Long story short, we learned our lesson: NEVER go tracting at night.
Sunday was good up until about 7 PM. While there weren't any non-members at church, it was a good block of meetings. That evening, we also went to a baptism! We have been working with a part-member family for a while and they have an 8-year-old daughter who wanted to be baptized, so while it wasn't a convert baptism, it was still great nonetheless. After that, though, all of our plans had fallen through, and both Elder Hardy and I did not feel good at all. It was a pretty miserable night.
Well, that's all for this week. Enjoy this glossary!
Glossary of Missionary Terms:
Apostate: implies a missionary who is not completely obedient to the rules; the level of rule breaking depends on the context, i.e. He's a way apostate (breaks lots of rules) compared to He's only a little apostate (keeps most of the rules). Virtually every missionary is apostate to some degree.
Greenie: A new missionary. A missionary usually keeps greenie status based on how long he's been out or how experienced he is, whichever is greater.
"Killing" a missionary: Sending a missionary home/being a missionary's last companion.
"Flip/freak/fetch": General exclamation common among missionaries. Interchangeable
Airbox: an empty mailbox
I can't seem to think of any more off the top of my head, but if I remember any more, I'll add them to the list.
Elder Grondel

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Week 29

Hey everyone! It’s been—you guessed it—another great week here in Texas! I know that’s how I start every entry, but I tried coming up with different ways to do it and none of them really fit as well. So it’s now my trademark while I’m here. I hope everyone had a good week last week. We certainly did—even though it was freezing! This week was the coldest it’s been in the Dallas area for 15 years! It dropped down to about 13 degrees on Friday (during the night) and it was below freezing the rest of the day…needles to say, Elder Hardy and I were wearing sweat pants under our slacks. It was not fun.
This week went well, despite a lot of cancellations. We saw Lawson again this week and had to move his baptismal date up a week because the last weekend in January is Stake conference for the Allen stake. He was fine with it, though, and is still set to be baptized. The other exciting news about that is his girlfriend Jen sat in on the lesson the last time we were over there! She seems pretty interested and may start learning with Lawson! We’re really excited. It’s so cool to see how excited Lawson is, too. We’re hoping everything will go well for Lawson and that he will become a strong member of the Church.
We weren’t able to see the Ramirez family this week and Susanna and the kids were supposed to come, but when we went to pick them up, Susanna was sick and wasn’t able to make it. We gave her a blessing and hope all will be well with her but it was pretty upsetting. We were actually supposed to have 7 non-members at church yesterday but none of them were bale to make it. Lawson and Jen accidentally slept in, Susanna was sick, and Tish and her daughter (a couple of potential investigators) didn’t show up. Hopefully everything will work out, though. We’re hoping to see the Ramirez family this week as well as Tish and her daughter.
We were able to see Tyrone Woods last night but not anyone else because they all had tons of things to do; however, we read the 11th chapter of 3 Nephi out of the Book of Mormon with him and he really liked it. He remembered a lot of what we taught him and Sharon and is more than willing to have us come over again. He knows the importance of repentance and baptism and is excited to learn about the Restored Gospel.
Well, that’s all I really have this week! I know it’s not a lot but a bunch of things punched (cancelled) and we’re looking forward to this week. Have a good week!
Elder Grondel

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Week 28

Hey y'all! It's been another great week in Texas! (I've gotta figure out something different to say...I think I start my entries like this every week) Anyways, this week was definitely a really good week, better than it has been in a long time.
First off, we met with Lawson a couple times this week and we had some really good lessons with him and he is planning on being baptized on January 30th! We are so excited for him and can't believe he is progressing so quickly either. It has been incredible. He told us that he had been praying to know what to do about religion and the next day we knocked on his door! He was also at church yesterday and really enjoyed it. He's been looking for a family church too and really loved it.
The other exciting news is we were finally able to see Trevor again! He had been out of town for a while but we stopped by after an appointment with Lawson and he was home. He asked somewhere in the first couple of minutes if we would be able to pick him up for church and we were only too happy to help him out and get him there. He had a good time as well and we are planning on seeing him tomorrow. We are hoping he will be able to progress and be baptized as well.
The sad news for this week is that Imeh's uncle doesn't want us meeting with her anymore. He didn't give a particular reason, and we didn't push because we really don't want to leave a bad taste in his mouth. It's really sad but we are going to try to work with a friend to at least get her chapters to read from the Book of Mormon (if that hasn't been taken away from her) because I think (and so does Elder Hardy) that she knows it's true. We will have to see what happens.
This week we also picked up a family!! There's six people: Sergio and Susana (mom and dad), and kids Jose, Daisy, Michelle, and Maria (who usually goes by Susana as well). We are really excited to start teaching them and hope that they will progress and accept the gospel in their lives. They are a fairly young family (Jose is the oldest and he's only 10) and I know that the gospel can help them grow as a family. We're excited for that.
Other than that, not much else has happened this week. Travis and Akshay and Ashutosh had to cancel, but hopefully we will be able to see them this week.
Hope y'all have had a great new year and have a wonderful week!
Elder Grondel