Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 82

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Texas! It was a lot of fun this last week. We had another one of those wonderful 6-hour meetings, but this time it was just one day instead of 2 or 3 (thank goodness). It was really good and helped us to refocus on the important things in Preach My Gospel and in using it and the fundamentals of teaching. We also had a couple exchanges and had some good appointments.

This week we saw Samantha a bunch, and she is slowly making progress. Last night we watched "On the Lord's Errand", which is a really good biography of President Monson's life, and the Spirit was really strong. Samantha said she almost cried a couple times and didn't know how to explain exactly how she felt. We testified of the Spirit and committed her to pray about him and find out if he was the Lord's prophet today.

Sarah is having a rough time. She has been super busy lately and we didn't see her last week. We won't be able to see her until next week, either, so it has been a little difficult for us not being able to meet with her.

Tony has dropped us. He said he just wanted to know a little bit more about the church but said he wasn't going to do what we asked him to. It was a bummer but we must move on.

Lordes is struggling as well. She just wants to be Catholic and pray to her saints. We had a good lesson with her on Thursday, but as of right now, she does not want to be baptized.

We have another investigator named Santiago that we have been teaching and the same day that Lordes decided that she did not want to be baptized he said the same thing. When we asked him why, he said, "I think the branch president is a hypocrite. I don't want to be baptized in a church of hypocrites." We asked him if he wanted to be with his wife forever, and he said, "I don't know." It was pretty disappointing. We have an appointment with them on Wednesday, so we'll see what happens.

Needless to say, this week and the last couple weeks have been a little disappointing for us. I kinda feel like Emily; we have dropped all but a few investigators and we have not been able to find many lately. We are doing a lot of knocking and are really trying to work hard with the members, but it has been a struggle for sure. However, I know that things will work out, because they always do. The Lord has said, "Be still, and know that I am God." I know that is true and that he will provide for us.

This upcoming week will be crazy. We have district meeting tomorrow, planning Wednesday, Interviews with the mission president on Thursday, an area mission kickoff meeting Thursday night with Elder Fluckinger, a specialized training meeting on Friday, and exchanges with the Little Elm elders on Saturday, with 10 glorious hours of church on Sunday. O_O This week is going to go by faster than you can say, "Texas Dallas Mission". But, I'm excited for it. Especially Thursday night; it should be awesome.

It was really cold last week. We had snow Sunday and it was cold enough to stick around until Thursday. I did get a scarf from a friend for Christmas, so that really came in handy. Elder Jones and I had a wonderful time tracting, and we've just been having a good time in general, with occasional moments of hilarity. I'm gonna miss him when I get transferred.

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


Elder Grondel

Week 81

Hey there y'all!! It's been a wonderful and cold week here in Frisco! We had SNOW yesterday (a good 4 inches, too) and this week it is supposed to be really, really cold. I also don't have a lot of time, but this week we were able to teach a bunch of lessons and found a couple new investigators. We had to drop Tony because he is not progressing, but Lordes is doing really well and would have come to church yesterday but her dad, Alfredo, did not want to drive in the snow. SO while it was fun, it was not good for church. Pity. Anyways, that's really about it! We had a meeting with the Stake president and the high councilors over missionary work and President Smith and it went really well. Training this week. WOO HOO!!!!
Elder Grondel

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Week 80

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Frisco! This week was actually a lot better than last in some aspects. We have been trying something in our mission (I think I may have mentioned it before) and that is making 140 new contacts each week (10 per missionary each day) and this week we did it and definitely saw blessings because of it. We found a couple new families to teach, and while it's been a bit shaky trying to meet with them, we know that because we worked hard the Lord guided us to these people. We were really happy to see that happen.
This week we saw pretty much all of our investigators, and they are more or less the same. Samantha is still struggling to come to church (we are going to try to get her a ride on Sundays from now on), Sarah is reading the Book of Mormon and staying for all three hours of church, Tony is learning, and we haven't seen Alex for over a week.
We have a couple new ones, too. We started teaching Alfredo and Amalia's daughter, Lordes, and she is really smart and on top of it. She has already read all of 1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, which is quite the accomplishment (especially in Spanish, because overall the Book of Mormon is over 100 pages longer in Spanish than in English). She wants to come to church, too, but she has a baby and Alfredo's truck doesn't have enough room for all of them. We are trying to work on getting a ride for her, too.
Alfredo also referred us to one of his friends, Antonia (Alfredo is a great missionary). She has a rough time because her kidneys are spent and she has to go on dialysis 3 times a week, but she has really good faith in the Lord because of it. She is doing really well but is having the same issue of not being able to come to church. She can't drive herself and I'm not sure if her kids always want to, but hopefully that will change soon.
Elder Jones and I continue to have a good time. This Sunday was fun, too, because now the wards meet at 9, 11, and 1 and we can go to all three of them. It really is nice, and so because of that, I also went top the Spanish branch for the first time! It was good but different. I really didn't understand anything. It was interesting. But fun. Everyone was really nice, and a bunch of people there speak English, so they helped me out a little bit.
The new year has brought about interesting feelings for me. It has all gone by so fast and although I miss everyone greatly, I don't want it to end. I can't really imagine doing anything else. I love this work, and I know that it is of God.
I love y'all and hope y'all have a great week!
Elder Grondel

Week 79

Hey there y'all!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas experience! I know I did. Reflecting on the birth and life of the Savior is amazing and I feel like I don't do it enough, even as a missionary, and I wish the world would do it more. Even then, the world takes Christmas and turns it into something much more commercial and the central point is often missed as to why we have Christmas. But I do know that Christ came and lived and died for us and now lives so that if we will turn to Him in faith we will live with Him again someday.
As far as teaching goes, it was not the best. We had a lot of our appointments cancel because family came into town and so we were not able to meet with a few families, but we are still hoping for the best. On the brighter side, Alfredo and Amalia were confirmed yesterday and that was a good experience. They are doing really well and they are getting their family involved. We are teaching them and having a great time doing it.
I know it's short, but that's really about it. Thank you to everyone that sent me packages! They were very much appreciated.
I love y'all and miss y'all!
Elder Grondel

Week 78

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Frisco! And guess what? I get to stay here for another 6 weeks! Transfer calls were on Saturday and neither of us got transferred! I am really excited because I have loved being with Elder Jones and I love this area. Plus, I get to stay for Christmas, which is like the best thing EVER! I am so excited for Christmas! I love the lights, music, food, everything (And being able to talk to Mom is a plus, of course).
This week went really well. Samantha came back into town and wants us over quite a bit. She loves having us over and is excited to learn more. The hardest part is she doesn't have a car and she lives with members, but they don't always come to church (they've had a rough time the past year or so) and so it's kinda difficult to get her to church, but we're working on it and it will hopefully work out.
Alex is doing alright; we taught the plan of salvation to him and he has a slightly different view of things, but he knows that the key is to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon. So he will be working on that and we will be working on getting the Spirit in there and having it touch his heart.
Sarah is about the same; she read about 5 chapters in 1 Nephi last week and she is still going. She's been busy with relatives at home so we won't be able to see her this week, but we will be able to see her soon.
Tony is doing better. We watched the Restoration DVD with him and he enjoyed it and he and Sister Harris had been reading the Book of Mormon together when we walked in, so no complaints there. He still doesn't like to pray, but we will hopefully be able to hit him with the Spirit too.
The best part was Sunday night. Alfredo and Amalia got baptized! It was really awesome (even though it was all in Spanish and I didn't understand a good portion of it) and I learned once again that the Spirit is the same. It was a lot of fun. Elder Jones got to baptize them both and they were all glowing. It was a combined baptism, too, so there were 3 other people getting baptized. It was just a Baptism fiesta! The best thing about that was there was that Antonia (a friend of Alfredo that we've been teaching for a few weeks) and her two daughters and Alfredo and Amalia's son were all there too! They really enjoyed themselves and the branch did great at fellowshipping them and helping them feel welcome. It was awesome.
Sadly, Govani has pretty much dropped off the face of the map. We haven't been able to get a hold of him and so we don't know what is going on with him. Hopefully we will be able to see him again soon.
This week weather has been crazy, too. It's the week of Christmas and it's 60 degrees outside! It was SNOWING last year! It's weird. I don't get weather in Texas. Oh well. That's what makes it fun.
Much love to everyone. I hope y'all have a wonderful Christmas and remember why we celebrate it. Remember that it is because of the Atonement of Christ that we celebrate His birth. It is because he is the Son of God, and that he came in the flesh to redeem his people.
Elder Grondel

Week 77

Hey there y'all!! This has been another one of those crazy days where there hasn't been a lot of time today to Email. All the Elders in the Zone got together for a breakfast and for some fun and games. It was a lot of fun and we had a good time with it, but now we're pretty pressed for time so we will have to go soon.
There hasn't been any major changes. Alfredo and Amalia had their baptismal interviews and are set to go. Sarah said she would get through the whole book of 1 Nephi by Tuesday and so we are looking forward to seeing how that went. Everyone else is pretty much the same; we'll keep y'all posted.
Much love!
Elder Grondel

Week 76

Hey there y'all!! It's been another great week here in Fantastic Frisco! We had a great week full of training and cold temperatures, but we had good lessons and found new people to teach as well.

As I said last week, Luis is doing great, and yesterday (I think) he got interviewed for the Aaronic Priesthood. Bishop Friend is amazing and on top of it. He is very focused on missionary work and always wants us to have new people to teach. Hopefully we will be able to start teaching Luis' sister soon as well; that would be really cool.

We found a new guy named Alex and his buddy Lou. He is from Maryland but moved to Pennsylvania because he heard about a church out there and felt really good when he did. So he moved out there and then the head Pastor was given the opportunity to be put on TV if he moved down to Texas. So he did and much of the church followed him, including Alex and Lou. They are pretty young (early 20's) but are pretty spiritual and fairly interested. We have another appointment tonight at 8, so hopefully that will go well.

Alfredo and Amalia are doing well; we had to move the baptism back one day because of conflicts with scheduling the building, but it will work out and we will still have a baptism. We are excited.

Tony hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon and until he does, he can't go anywhere. So we are working on getting him to read it with his girlfriend.

Sarah, on the other hand, is doing great. She said the last couple times she has come to church she has come for herself, not for her daughter. She is really starting to feel the Spirit more and we will hopefully have another baptism soon. She said she would be baptized when she knew these things were true, so hopefully we will see one next month.

Elder Jones and I are getting along really well. We both have the same sense of humor and he's pretty laid back so he can deal with my craziness at times =) It has been really fun. Spanish is not coming just because we never have time to study it because we are always in meetings and trainings. Last week we had an AMAZING leadership training on Tuesday and Wednesday that ran from 10-4 both days (talk about a long haul) and we had District meeting on Thursday, and this week we have a Zone Leader Council (where all the zone leaders and assistants to the president and the mission president get together and talk about the mission) on Tuesday, Zone Council (like a District meeting for the whole Zone) on Wednesday, and a Specialized training for all the missionaries in Dallas on Friday. DAHHH! It can be stressful at times, but it is really good and it helps a lot.

This morning we had a really cool experience. We met with a guy named Govani (pronounced ho-VA-nee) who was a referral from the Spanish sisters in Carrollton. He lives in Little Elm and he has had a rough time the past couple of years. He had an accident about 2 years ago which greatly scarred him. He has skin grafts all over the place and it doesn't look the best. But the Spirit radiating from this man was incredible. This morning it was about 29 degrees when we went outside and they aren't doing the best financially, so his house was about 55 degrees on the inside; however, the entire time I felt warm. He told us when he had his accident he prayed in the ambulance that if God spared his life, he would find His truth. So he's been looking for that, and that is what we have to offer him. It is all that we really can give him, but it is likely the best thing he will ever receive in this life. We taught the Restoration (well, Elder Jones taught it and I tried to follow along in Spanish) and he loved it. After we talked about the restoration of the Priesthood, he said, “this sounds really good and I believe it's true, but how can I know its true?" We talked about the Book of Mormon and he loved it and agreed to read it. He has a wife and 2 kids who weren't there, but we are going to see them sometime this week. He has had a hard time, including being rejected at jobs because of how he looks and the fact he might lose his green card soon if he doesn't get a job or something. It's been rough, but we are going to be praying hard for him. He is so humble and Elder Jones and I believe he has been prepared for this and we are excited to see him again.

This week I realized how much God loves us as well. I had a chance to sit down with President Smith and just talk about different things I had been struggling with and how to fix it and make it better. It was incredible and I love the Spirit. This week as I was taking the sacrament, I felt more peace than I have in a VERY long time, and I felt true love from the Savior. I finally realized that I am doing the right thing and that I was clean before him in that moment. Of course, I still make mistakes (all of us do), but I realized that if I just do my best every day to repent and try hard not to do wrong and if I partake of the sacrament worthily every week, then all will be well and I will be forgiven of all that I have done wrong. It was a very wonderful and personal experience, but one I feel like sharing because I know there was a time where deep down, I didn't believe any of this was possible. But as it says in the scriptures, "With God, nothing is impossible."

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


Elder Grondel