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