Monday, March 29, 2010

Week 40

Dang that's a lot of weeks. Well, as I'm sure all of you may have guessed, it's been another great week here in Texas! This week went really well and we had a lot of exciting events happen. On Thursday, we had interviews with our mission president, and as always we received great training and had good interviews (President Smith was running a little late, so my interview was less than 5 minutes, compared to the normal 10-15) but it's always nice to be able to talk to President Smith one-on-one. man-to-man, whatever you want to call it =) Friday we had Zone Conference in Longview, which is about an hour east of Tyler, so we loaded up in a big ol' van that a member had and he was able to take us out to Longview and back. Zone conference is always fun, and it was no different this time. We had a great time and received a lot of good insight.

So this week we had a much better week than last. We were able to find a couple new people to teach and see s few we hadn't for a while. First off, we found a woman named Tisha who is in her 40's and has two kids, John (17) and Britney (15). She also has a boyfriend named Sergio. She grew up Pentecostal but hasn't been in a long time. She is really open to reading the Book of Mormon and is happy to have us over anytime! Only her and John were there when we saw them on Saturday, but we should see Britney and Sergio tomorrow! We didn't get to see Mike and Allison (again) but we are going to give them a call today and hopefully see them soon. We saw Dillon and them,. but sadly we will not be going over there anymore. They were extremely nice and we loved talking to them, but they still think we are going to hell. Ah, well, such is missionary life in the Bible belt. =) We saw Kara last night and we had a really good discussion with her. Basically, she knows the church is true, she knows she needs to be baptized, but she doesn't know when. She said she's waiting for the Spirit to tell her the right time, but she got an answer a year ago and needs to act. I felt impressed to share Ether 12:6 out of the Book of Mormon (I take no claim for this, the Spirit totally guided me) and talked to her about how she won't know what time is right until she chooses one and asks Heavenly Father if it is the right time. We then committed her to take a calender and start choosing a day to be baptized and ask Heavenly Father if that is the day to be baptized. She said she would and I know it will work for her. We will see her get baptized, of that I have no doubt. I am excited to follow up with her and see how it goes.

Elder Davis and I are still doing the 40 day fast, and it's a little harder than first anticipated. It's been good, though, and it's definitely helping.

I hope all is going well for y'all!! Have a wonderful week!


Elder Grondel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Week 39

Hey y'all! It's been another great week here in the beautiful East Texas region. The country here is some of the prettiest you can find (in my opinion). Of course I haven't been may places, so my opinion really isn't all that great.

I am, however, really starting to get used to life out here. There are a lot of service opportunities for us, and I have learned how to drive a tractor among other things. It's fun and I really think it would be fun to be on a farm for a while. There are so many good people out here, too. It's fun because sometimes people will talk to you about absolutely nothing. Weather, food, neighbors, religion, politics. It's great! A lot better than the city "I don't have time for you" approach and then the slamming the door shut. I much rather prefer this method.

Sadly, this week did not go as well as the last. We haven't been able to meet with Mike and Allison at all this week and are hoping to see them tonight, but we are not sure if they will be there (we tried calling them but they didn't answer) so we will see what happens (hopefully something good). We also were not able to find nearly as many people to teach, although we did get a lot of people that told us we could come back and talk to them. Those are always interesting and fun, so we will definitely see what happens. We are seeing Dillon, Shannon, and Scott tonight, so we'll see how that goes as well.

Elder Davis and I also realized there is something we are missing. We've got good resources, a good ward, and we know there are people to be taught here, but somehow we are still missing something. We've decided that it's something within ourselves and that we need to change. We are attempting something called the 40 Day Fast, in which we basically figure out everything that detracts from or pokes at the Spirit, write them all down on a list, and for 40 days, we will not do anything that appears on that list. It will be very difficult, but it will be worth it. If it is done right, our basic desires will have changed, we will have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, and we will be more powerful and effective servants of the Lord.

I am excited to see how it works and to let y'all know how it goes. I hope y'all have a great week!!


Elder Grondel

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 37 & 38

Hey y'all!

It's been another great week here in Texas! First off, I am now in a place called Bullard, Texas, which is just south of Tyler. I cover an area the size of a county and a half, but I'm having a great time already and am loving it. Sorry it took a couple weeks. Last week we got backed up doing stuff and by the time we got to the library it was already closed. So now I will fill you in on all that has happened in the last two weeks!

Thankfully, I was able to go back to Allen to see Cindy and AJ get baptized!! It was such an incredible experience, and holy cow it was a roller coaster of emotions the days before. Thursday before the baptism (the baptism was on Saturday) I thought I was going, and then something happened so we weren't planning on it. Then on Friday my ward mission leader called me and said he had a way for me to get to Dallas and we had set up a way to get back home, but then Friday night it wasn't supposed to work out. So I was pretty upset and nearly cried myself to sleep (I really wanted to go) and Saturday morning was a miracle. The guy who was going to come pick us up and take us to Dallas and couldn't had things cancel and he was suddenly able to do it. So we went to Allen!!! It was awesome. The best part is that AJ and Cindy didn't realize I was going to be able to make it. They thought things hadn't worked out, and so they played that up a bunch. While we were on the way t the church, they called and told me how much they appreciated me and how they wish I could be there. It was perfect because 5 minutes later I walked around the corner and they had the best reaction. It was so great to see their faces and how shocked and excited they were (Cindy grabbed some was perfect). Needless to say, I had a good time.

So my new companion is Elder Davis, who was in my district when I first got to Allen. It was pretty funny because 1. it takes about 2 hours to get out to Tyler from Richardson (which is where we have the transfer meeting) and so I didn't meet up with Elder Davis right away and 2. Consequently, when he first saw me, he instantly said "Are you my companion?!?" It was one of those you had to be there moments, but it was still pretty funny. We've been having a great time and some success as well. Bullard is an area that has been struggling for a while, but Elder Davis and I are going to turn that around. When I first got here we had one investigator who may have to be dropped now, but we worked hard and had faith and found 8 new people to teach last week!! It was so incredible, and we're hoping to have a similar miracle this week.

There are two families I want to talk about. Mike and Allison are first. They are a pretty young couple and have a little girl that's one or two years old. Mike was raised Baptist but neither of them have been to church in a while. They are way nice and were pretty open to the Book of Mormon and everything else. They were a bit wary of it at first, but they agreed to at least read it and pray about it, and mike really seemed to take interest at the end and said he wanted to come to church to see it for himself. Unfortunately something came up that made it so they couldn't come, but we should be meeting with them this week and we are really excited.

Next: Dillon and Shannon. So this couple was another one we tracted into and he let us in. We started talking about things and got to the Book of Mormon and they started to have a bunch of questions. We tried to answer as many as we could but eventually had to leave because we were there for so long. we went back over Monday night and Shannon's father, Scott, was there. Shannon and Scott are lifelong Baptists and Dillon was just recently "Saved" and baptized in January. I honestly thought it was going to turn into a big mess. Instead, they were simply inquisitive, asking questions that challenged out beliefs but they were not attacking in any way. We eventually got to the point where we decided the basics need to be established, but again we ran out of time, so we are going over next week to teach them again. I tell you this experience, though, because the Spirit was there the entire time, and I have never felt anything like it. It was so strong for the situation we were in. Usually in something like that the Spirit leaves and it's just uncomfortable. That, however, was something completely different. The Spirit was guiding us completely. It was incredible. I know that it wasn't coincidence that Dillon let us in. It will be very interesting to see what the Lord has in store for us.

These last two weeks have been incredible. They have been some of the hardest, but they also have been some of the best. I can't wait to fill y'all in on everything that happens this next week, but have a good one yourselves!


Elder Grondel

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 36

Hey y'all!! It's been another wonderful week here in the great state of Texas! And guess what? I'm getting transferred! The call came in Saturday morning and I'm getting moved tomorrow morning. I'm still going to be a district leader in my new area, so it should be a lot of fun wherever I am going. I'm gonna be sad to leave, as I've really grown to love it here, but it will be exciting.

So as you know AJ and Cindy are getting baptized this weekend!! I am so excited and thankfully I will be able to come back to Allen to see it happen. I love them so much and in a year I'll be able to go to the temple with them to see them get sealed. It's gonna be great! They are so ready for it and they went to the temple on Saturday to look around and feel the Spirit there and they loved it. It's going to be hard leaving them the most I think, but I know they have made the right decision and will be amazing. It was really cool on Thursday, though, because President Smith and his wife came teaching with us! They had met AJ and Cindy at a Stake conference and agreed to go with us when we invited them. He should be at the baptism on Saturday as well. It was really cool!!

Lawson is still doing great as well. He's working on quitting smoking and has done better than he has ever done before. It is really helping him a lot and it's awesome to see him progressing. I'm going to miss him too, but I know I'll see him again.

We met this really cool guy named Todd a couple of weeks ago. He is a really spiritual guy who has taken upon himself the Nazarite Vow (Numbers chapter 6) so he's got a beard down to about the middle of his chest. It's really cool! He's been to Israel several times and he's just really cool. He came to church yesterday and had a great time there as well. He enjoyed talking about the priesthood and lineage and all of that. I'm gonna miss him and I hope he follows the spirit and gets baptized.

Sadly, Brandi and her family all dropped off. They are really hard to get a hold of and see and we went over there the other night and they said they didn't want us to try stopping by anymore. It was sad, but we've got to move on and keep pressing forward.

We have good news with the Ramirez family: Susana had her baby!! It's a beautiful baby girl and we are so excited for them. They are a family that I'm going to miss, but it will all work out. We are probably going to have some Spanish Elders to help us with the teaching so they can go to the Spanish Branch in McKinney, so it should be good for them.

Well that's really all I have this week. Nothing else very exciting has happened. I hope all is going well for y'all!!


Elder Grondel

P.S. I found out that I'm not supposed to make my address publicly known, so if you would like to send a letter or anything, please send it to:
Elder Grondel
Texas Dallas Mission
13747 Montfort Dr. Suite 120
Dallas, TX 75240

They will forward it on to me. Thanks!