Colton's ready for his mission

Colton's ready for his mission

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Week 3? I think. Hopefully.

Already losing track of time here! That's a good thing. I think. I'm just getting lost in the work. So, I've gotten the question whether all of my investigators are spanish speaking. No, but about 4/5 of them are. Of course, some speak spanish and english, such as with Dalia. Dalia only speaks spanish, but her children speak both, but they tend to prefer english, so some of our lessons are bilingual. Other times, someone can speak both, but the member we have speaks spanish, so me and Elder Kelly speak english, and our member speaks spanish, and our investigator does both. A little confusing at times. :)

Something about sundays is interesting. We greet people for the English ward, but don't attend it because PEC for the branch is during sacrament for the ward. Then, because the kids all speak english, and the branch's adults can all fit in one larger classroom, the ward and the branch share class time. Then we go to the Spanish sacrament meeting. Sometimes there are english speakers from the stake though at the branch, so we have these headsets that the spanish speakers put on, and then my companion Elder Kelly had the headset that all the other headsets hear, so that he can translate. Pretty cool stuff.

I got asked if I have dinner every night, and I can't remember if I answered this already, but basically what happens is we are always allowed to have dinner appointments on Saturday on Sunday. Monday through Friday however, you need to have a non-member present to be allowed dinner appointments. It's a motivator to help missionaries try and get members more involved with investigators. I think we're allowed to get lunch from a member any day, but most people work. So that's never happened. :) Maybe one day!

Today, me and Elder Kelly don't have miles, so we're not going to Othello. We will be watching doctrinal movies in the seminary building and writing letters! And getting the car an oil change! Fun stuff. :) On Christmas, I will get to skype of course. Ma, Pa, be ready around 4-7 most likely? Actually I really have no idea. We're are going over to the Christensens to skype, but they told us just come over whenever for it. And we're not sure what our schedule will be. So um.... Be ready all christmas day! :D On a side note, sister christensen is actually the sister of brother fritzler, who used to be in Peccole Ranch Ward. Small world! Well, not sure what else to say this week. Love you all, and thanks for the support!

Elder Grant

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Week 2 in the field

First of all, I would like to thank my brother Cameron for giving me things to talk about in this email. I was kind of clueless as to what to say, til he gave me tons of questions. :D

My trainer, Elder Kelly, kind of reminds me of Dad. He's kinda quiet, but he just has moments of quietness I realized. He's actually a lot more talkative in spanish. :) He's from North Salt Lake, and he's been out for about 9 months. He's teaching me the day to day stuff obviously (I've mostly got a hang of that now), he also has a guide to teach me stuff called the first 12 weeks, and he's making me lead sometimes, even though I hate it. :) It's scary taking the lead! He is my Dad, and my second companion is my Mom apparently. I am his first trainee, so I got the birthright. :) A really ugly pink, ugly tie. One day, I will hand that down to the first person I train.

The branch is really small. I guess it used to be quite a bit bigger, but its been having some problems. They have maybe 30 people each sacrament meeting? And I would say 15 of those only attend because they're trying to support the branch, but would go to the ward if the branch wasn't so small. We did have 5 investigators at church this sunday though. :) Dalia is a woman in her early 30's (at first I thought she was in her late 30's, but then I remembered most people don't look as young as my mom did when she was 38!). She has three kids, I think one is 14ish one is 12ish and the other is 7? She's not sure if she wants to commit to baptism though.  And then a man named Erasto came, and he has been attending church. But he needs to get a divorce, which we're working on, so he doesn't have a baptism date. 

Monday is my P-day, hopefully you can figure that out. :P  We go to Walmart in Othello (tell President Teshima I'm in the Othello stake!) and then play sports with the other members in the zone. All twelve of us haha. Small zone. :) There's four Elder comps, two sister comps. We played soccer last week, not sure what we're gonna do after emails today. :) So, we meet at the Stake center, and then leave at like 5 back for Mattawa. Except today I'm going to Royal City (which is really a bunch of farms, not a city) on exchanges after this with Elder Villa today. I will return to Mattawa tomorrow. I also spent a day with Elder Mitchell in Othello on Zone exchanges Friday, and received a super delicious breakfast. :) Not sure what I was gonna say next... Oh, but for the record, in the MTC, my zone once reached the size of 35 people. Just to compare.

Not sure what else to say this week. Give me more stuff to talk about. :)

With love,

-Elder Grant

Friday, December 7, 2012

First week, First transfer!

Hey, so time to start talking. I've got a bit to say. Let me start off though with saying, I love the mission. :) And if it seems like I'm complaining anything, I'm definitely not. You'll see why I say that in a sec though.
So, to start off. My first area. It's a little town called Mattawa, (aka Wahluke) Washington. There are farms everywhere, and there's an English ward, and a Spanish branch here. There's a lot more spanish speakers than english speakers in town though (excluding children. All the children learn english at school). The church building is in the middle of a bunch of fields. Not sure why. It's like a ten minute drive from town, with nothing in between. It's about a ten minute drive from town in one direction, and a ten minute drive the other direction to where me and Elder Kelley live. I think there's probably 3,000 people here. I think that might be less people than Peccole Ranch. :) Me and my trainer, Elder Kelley, live in the Bishop's Mom's basement, who's on a mission herself. We receive letters once a week from the Bishop, but I'm able to write in any personal time I have. Luckily, with so many spanish speakers most of our lessons are in spanish. They talk funny, and I don't understand a word they say. :) I'm starting to catch on though. I'm able to talk pretty well if I actually understand what's going on. We have lots of investigators on our list, something like 16? But it can be difficult because most of the latinos aren't good at making commitments. At all. Cough. But yeah. I'm learning so much, and I'm loving it here. As missionaries, you get the best and the worst, because you're involved in the most important work of all. Saving souls! I love it. :) So, that's all this week. I'll try and write more next week! Love you all! Keep writing me!
Elder Grant

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Washington Spokane Mission Welcomes Your New Missionary

27 November 2012

Dear Brother and Sister Grant,
I was pleased to welcome your son, Elder Grant, to the Washington Spokane Mission this week.  I’m happy to report that he arrived safely.  I had the privilege of meeting and associating with him the day of his arrival and note that it is evident that he comes with a great desire to serve Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Elder Grant understands the role of the Holy Ghost in accomplishing the work here in the Washington Spokane Mission and has committed to live worthy of that power.

After prayerful consideration, I have called Elder Kelly to serve as Elder Grant’s companion in the Mattawa, Washington area.  It is our objective to call only the best missionaries to serve as trainers and I believe that your son is in excellent training hands.  We expect that your missionary will serve in this area for the next 6 to 12 weeks as he begins his mission.

I have enclosed photographs of your missionary and assure you that Sister Mullen and I will love Elder Grant. Our great desire is that his time here will further establish him on the path of righteousness, as well as bless the many people he will serve.
Attached are the new updated recommended guidelines we have for parents.  These guidelines are based on many years of accumulated missionary experience, especially those guidelines concerning personal contact with your missionary. Elder Grant needs your good example.  I sincerely request that you consider them for the benefit of your son and his fellow missionaries.
The mission has a website where you can see what is happening in the mission.  Go to:
You can send mail to your son at:
Elder Colton Curtis Grant
10498 Rd 24 SW
Mattawa, WA
Thank you so much for sharing Elder Grant with us. 
Donald E. Mullen, President

Colton Arrives in Washington

Hi Everyone… my wife and I were fortunate to meet your missionaries last night, and host them for the night after their arrival in Spokane. I picked them up from the mission home about 9pm last night, and they were a pretty tired bunch after having been awake since 4am that morning. We gave them soft beds to sleep in and a hot breakfast this morning before taking them to the Spokane East stake center at 8:45 to meet their new companions and begin their service.
Attached are some pictures of them at breakfast (we had green egg breakfast burritos in commemoration of their first day as “greenies”!)
Your young men are delightful. We greatly enjoyed the little bit of time we spent with them, and we found them to be eager and prepared for the journey that lies ahead. Thank you for sending such terrific ambassadors to our little neck of the woods. We’re certain the Lord will bless them (an you) in their service.
Steve Uptain
Builder Services Representative

Last week in the MTC 11/22/12

Hey everyone! So I saw and heard Elder Holland literally less than half an hour ago, as of right now, and it was incredible. He emphasized to us, that he really was human. But that he had a knowledge of Jesus Christ, and it was incredibly powerful and deep. He testified to us the most important completely mortal man to live on this Earth was Joseph Smith. Because through him, the Lord began the LAST dispensation. Think about that. Every other prophet, including the Apostles of old, knew that their dispensation would not last, and yet they did the work anyway. And now, the church will NEVER fall again. We are at the beginning of the End.
I want to let everyone know, that yes, I am nervous for this last week. I'm looking forward to what's to come, and know that I will be alright. Nothing can go permenantly wrong, with faith in Christ. But it's still kind of scary! I found out that marijuana was voted as legal in Washington by popular vote, and same sex marriage was almost voted in by popular vote. Luckily I will be teaching the more down to earth side of Washington, but I think I will still have some challenges. But I know I will overcome them.
I want to end this short email with my testimony. It feels incredibly right. My hands are literally shaking with how excited they are! I know that my Redeemer lives. He lives, and because of him, I will live again, there is NO doubt in my mind. I know that the spirit has born his testimony to me on thousands of occasions of the truth of this matter. I know that all are able to receive Eternal Life, the life of endless happiness. I know that no matter what in this life, God sent us to succeed and NOT to fail. We are able to overcome all that the devil, the world, and even the Lord's refining fire has for us. I know that the gospel, and Jesus Christ, have given me a perfect brightness of hope in this life. I know that he loves me, and knows I can be great. I will be forever thankful for his strength and kindness. I absolutely know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He would not have died for a false book, and a false church. He sufferred agonies, and was martyred for the Book of Mormon. All he had to do was deny its truth, and he could have lived, likely for at least another twenty years. But rather he died for what he knew was true and right, and just. He could not deny that it was the word of God, just as I can't. I want to let all who read this know, that I will never give up the faith. The gospel is one of happiness, and my life is so incredible because of it. I will endure. And I know I will because of my faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of all. I say all of this, in His name, Jesus the Christ, amen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Travel Plans! 11-15-12

I got my travel plans for going to Spokane! I am to report at the travel office at five a.m. on Monday the twenty sixth. I hope I can fit all my stuff in my bags again. :) Man I'm SO excited. I'm not even sure what to write about! I loved the temple again today. I've got lots of new ties that I traded, that I want to take a picture of and send home. Um.... What else? I don't know. Oh, gosh darn it, I don't get to see my favorite teacher ever, Hermano Ballard, for a couple days. That's a bummer :\ But I'll see him before I leave the CCM/MTC. Darn that angel.
Oh, I hosted this week. Meaning, I helped new missionaries into the MTC and find everything, get their new class stuff, etc, and lead them to their class to finally get spoken to in a foreign language, (no english at all) for four days straight. Good times. :) One guy I hosted had six bags, three of which were massive, and one of which cut my thumb, and got blood on my white shirt. That crazy kid. My companion hosted someone that looked so sad, that he gave away the "Pinegar Treasure", a treasure of mostly candy and some cute little toys, and notes from a bunch of missionaries of support. There was probably about 150 dollars of candy given away, in six rather large boxes. And it was good candy too. That missionary is staying on his mission whether he likes it or not.
Me and Elder Pinegar also got to go out in the snow this week I think? Might have been last week. But basically, he was kind of sick, went to the doctor here, and got approval to leave the MTC for the health clinic down the street! I put on my super coat, he got out his umbrella, and we walked in the snow incredibly happily, singing a funny little tune over and over again for probably twenty minutes. SO much fun. There's something exciting about leaving the MTC.
Well, I hope this was a good letter! Keep writing me people! <3 Love you all, and thank you so much for the support!
Con amor,
Elder Grant

Friday, November 9, 2012

Woo Hoo 11/8/12

I'm not Zone Leader! :D I win! Me and my companion do not have leadership positions anymore, and we are very excited. Leadership isn't fun. We can finally own up to our true callings as the meddlers of the Zone. :) Or as we like to call it, the "fun". We started playing tag in our district for example, and once had a sword fight with large rolls of poster board in the middle of the classroom. Tag doesn't really distract us from our studies (we actually get to class faster!). The sword fight.... Well, we repented. Anyway, I've received some complaints, er I mean, comments, about the fact that I haven't given anyone a run down of my actual schedule yet. So I'll do that now!
Sundays, if you're not a leader, you have lots of study time, but if you ARE a leader, you have lots of lame/important meetings. We have Sacrament Meeting at 12:30 each week, and we are supposed to prepare a talk each week, and be ready to say it (in spanish of course) at any moment. You aren't notified that you're the one giving a talk until they announce it during the meeting. Fun stuff. We also get to walk by the temple on Sundays, and we have Firesides at 7. I actually also said goodbye to Ben at 9ish last sunday, he will send Lorene pictures of that. We didn't cry, or have much to say, because frankly, we knew eachother would do fantastic. Its interesting though. This will be the longest duration of time I won't see him, I think in my entire life. It'll go fast though.
Monday are typical. We have breakfast at 7ish, class at 7:50 to 10:50, and then personal study til noon. That's lunch time. Then, we have companion study at 12:45, class at 2, and dinner at 5. We have "workshops" on mondays at 5:45. They're something. Then gym at 7:15, and planning/story time at 9:00 at night. We like to tell eachother stories in our district. :)
Tuesdays, we get sack breakfast (so we don't need to be in church clothes) and have personal time til gimnasio at 8:50. It's for changing the sheets. Don't ask me why we get the time from 6:30-8:50 to change sheets. Then at 10:10 we have TALL which is the computer learning program here. My companion hates it. I'm only so-so. Apparently the FBI wants it, but I don't think its that great. Then the day is typical, until Devotional at 7. We always get 70's members or apostols at these devotionals. Good stuff. Then we review the devotional with a member of the branch presidency, and plan.
Wednesdays, are my favorite, don't know why. Breakfast, class, PS, lunch, CS, class, dinner, TALL, gym, and planning. We get to plan for P-day this night.
Thurday, is P-day of course. We do laundry, do endowments, initiatories, or  sealings for the dead at the temple, and we relax. Then after dinner, we plan, and then we go to Class/TRC. TRC is where we teach members, and that's always fun.
Friday is the same as wednesday. Nuff said.
Saturday has class at 6:30-9:30 at night, and I don't like to talk about it.
Yup, I got lazy toward the end. Of course, we wake up at 6:30 every morning, go back to residences at 9:30 each night, have "quiet time" at 10:15 at night, and turn off the lights at 10:30. We are in bed at lights out, but we don't always sleep right away.... Lots of fun stuff to talk about in a room of four funny guys at night. :)
Well, that's my week.  Love you all!
Elder Grant

My Teachers 11/1/12

Have I sent a letter about mis maestros ya? I don't think I have. I'll do that now.
Hermana Bair is our morning and late night teacher (we only have late night class thursday and saturday). She's 5'2" and really nice. She went to Chile for her mission, and speaks kind of like Cameron for his spanish. All funky. She puts up with us when we are most tired, pobrecita. She carried us through those first few days, when we were traumatized from culture shock. She's on the national dance team for BYU, which is really cool. She's a pretty lovable Hermana.
We didn't meet Hermano Ballard for quite a while. At first he was our first "investigator" and we didn't even know he was our teacher till week three I think? But to put it short, he glows. Everyone loves the guy. He pushes us really hard, while Hermana Bair is really easy on us, so they complement each other really well. Hermano Ballard currently has a double major at BYU (this is unheard of), works at the temple, has two jobs, including his one here at the MTC, work 50 hours here even though he only gets paid for 22, is learning portuguese through tutoring, and gets about six hours of sleep each night. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something, but you get the point. He's gone through a lot of hard things in his life, (he's told us some of them) but they've made him into an incredible man today. I honestly think he's the greatest teacher at the MTC. We would have also died if he taught us those first couple weeks. He makes us do our best, but he does it through love. It still would have been too much for us at first though, and so I'm glad they worked everything out the way they did.
Oh, by the way, I've traded quite a few ties, including one with Hermano Ballard. I'll have to show you the new ones in pictures. I think I will also send you pictures of mis maestros. Give me questions guys, I need to know what to talk about! :)
Quiero todos ustedes,
Elder Grant  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pictures from MTC

                                            Colton with his companion, Elder Pinegar
                                          Colton's roommates: Elder Berg & Elder Christensen

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Week 4? Or something like that- October 18, 2012

Okay, so, sorry to disappoint, but I'm REALLY bad at writing things just about my life here. I've learned most of the conjugations of spanish, I'm on week 4, I speak better spanish than most, and I finished with my second investigator. My first investigator was named Kevin, and he was my teacher Hermano Ballard being one of his investigators from his mission. Kevin tore us apart every lesson. He was either too smart, or decided the Pope had the priesthood. Dang Kevin. Afterward, we found out we just had to have him read 1st Nephi, and have him pray if it was true or not. Anyway, our second investigator was also H. Ballard, and he was playing an 8 year old, who we were teaching to prepare for baptism. He was super shy, and mostly said "bien" to all of our questions, and stared at bugs all the time. We improved with him, and got him to talk, but it was difficult. On the last lesson he threw us a bone, and told us that he did something bad in school, and felt guilty. So we talked to him about how baptism gave him the chance to not feel guilty anymore and be clean. It was better than Kevin, and he agreed to baptism, so I guess we were successful. With our other investigator right now, Hermana Bair, our 5ft tall lady teacher, was being Fabiola. She is much easier. She agrees with most things we say, and is very helpful. I feel like my teachers do a good job of having one of them go easy on us, to give us a break, and one of them pushing us hard. Um, so someone needs to tell me what Austin, Brycen, and Will are going to do about their missions. Not sure what else to say. Hope you guys miss me. :) Until next week.
P.S. Oh yeah, almost forgot. I'm not district leader anymore. We switch after three weeks, and now its my companion Elder Pineger. Hmmm, I wonder who will be Zone Leaders when its our district's turn to have them...? Hopefully Elder Christiansen and Elder Berg :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yo. Oh wait. I'm a missionary. Not supposed to say that. iHola!-October 11, 2012

Yeah, so, lack of emails makes it difficult to know what to talk about, but I'll try my best. I really do love dear elders though, they make it so I get so much more mail. We are playing a game called golf in my district, and for every letter you get, you go more over par. So the people with more carta do worse in the game. I'm in last place. It's odd. For some reason, I'm still bummed that I'm losing. Moving on. If you guys want to censor some of the stuff I write, when you forward this, that's okay, because I'm going to be straight forward (as usual) :) Conference was so incredibly amazing here. When the missionary thing was announced, it was like a football stadium, with all the uproar. It was such a big deal, and one of my maestros pointed out, that the people at the MTC right now are going to be major leaders during the next two years, because there are going to be a lot of new missionaries coming in, and we will be older than most of them. I only fell asleep twice during conference, and only during seventies talks. I was so proud of myself. I'm so tired here all the time. My worst days are when I am exhausted and my best days are when I'm able to focus and think of the spirit. The spirit is EVERYTHING here, and I'm reminded of that every five minutes. Mostly by the spirit itself. Speaking of which, I love my branch president. He reminds me a lot of President Teshima, the way that once he comes into the room, I feel a little bit stronger. So, just to be clear, this place is so crazy. It really is "life accelerated". I am on the verge of a mental breakdown some days, and feel like superman others. It's insane. I know I will make it, but its definitely the hardest thing I've done in my life. Oh, by the way. We heard from Elder Bednar in person on Tuesday. It was really cool. I was kind of mad at myself, because I was having a hard time staying awake, simply because I was so incredibly worn out. But I took a good amount of notes, and he gave us a template for pretty much anything church related. It's called D.I.P., and its like a chart sort of? Every talk, and every lesson, needs three things. Doctrine, or simple truths. Invitations follow certain commandments to others. And promised blessings for following up on those invitations or commitments. It's helping our teaching SO much. Conference was so busy, most everyone had their heads down the entire time writing in their notebooks. I wrote something like five pages, and I tend to only write what's especially important to me and my "investigators". I know one of the hermanas in my district wrote half a page at least for every speaker, more for apostols.

                    Love you all!!!
                    Elder Grant

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Colton's 1st letter: October 4, 2012

Hey. My P-days are thursday, but the first week didn't count. So this is my first oppurtunity to email. Okay, so I should probably get to the whole MTC experience, huh? So, I have three roommates, including my companion. Elder Pinegar (pronounced like vinegar but a p) is 22, 230 pounds, and 6'3". He's funny. :) He's a big goof, but really wants to serve well. His first few days he actually prayed that the MTC would be harder. His prayers got answered :) Elder Christiansen is a good looking guy, with a good sense of humor, but he's also a good guy. He likes to be pretty laid back. He's also the only one that tries hard to get to bed on time! Elder Berg is Christiansen's companion, and he's really funny, because he'll have the same face on for six straight hours, and then all of a sudden be full of expression. He has a bit of a hard time with the spanish, as he's the only one who can't remember any of his classes. But he made it through the first few days, and I think he will be fine now. Oh, so you're probably wondering how I handled the first few days. The hardest thing for most people is that they get homesick REALLY fast. I didn't have that. Sorry :) the first Wednesday through Saturday is the hardest, but the saying goes "if you make it to Sunday, you'll be fine". Sunday was so amazing. Everyone felt so happy that day. Oh, but the hardest thing is you are always just SO tired. Everyone in my room has bags under their eyes. It's difficult because you have almost no free time, especially those first days. They launch you into a spanish class within 4 hours. And the culture shock is incredible. But the spirit buoys you up SO much. It's absolutely incredible. It's insane. If you don't feel it super strong for longer than six hours, you become tired and irritable, but that's usually not a problem. I know this is where I belong. Some people say that the days pass like weeks, and the weeks pass like days. I think that's mostly right, except the weeks pass like months. It feels like I've been here an eternity. But I don't mind. I already speak better spanish than I have in my entire life. I tend to catch on to everything pretty fast (when I am humble anyway). We just finished with our first "investigator" yesterday. It was one of our teachers, who had us start teaching him as some Catholic latino named Kevin, last Friday. Its WAY humbling every lesson. Kevin is way too smart for his own good. And his friend Josh (he's made up) who is a member gives Kevin ideas that makes our job a lot harder. But we are figuring out how to bring people the gospel. Something me and Elder Pinegar learned quickly is that if you don't bear your testimony during the lesson, It's lacking something. A lot of something. Even if it seems repetetive. Oh, by the way, I'm my district's leader. At first I was overwhelmed (it was on saturday, the worst day of the first week in my opinion). But now I feel blessed. I know I will be a good leader. That's something I've learned quickly here. You need to believe in yourself. I've seen Ben quite a few times. We never have much time to talk, but that's alright. It's nice to see him. I loved the temple today. It had been too long. I'm probably forgetting to write about something, but oh well. Oh, the other people in my district are Elders Hill, Louth, and Hermanas Spittler, Lambert, Wright, and Rittenhouse. I treat them like you Mom. :) 

                     Love you all,
                      Elder Grant 
                      (I can't remember my old first name anymore) :P

Colton's Farewell Talk, September 16, 2011

Today I thought I'd talk about great missionaries. And as I thought about it, and I decided to talk about what I believe is President Teshima’s favorite missionary first. John Taylor said this of the man named Joseph Smith: D&C 135:3  Joseph Smith was the first convert of this restored church, and through him millions more have known the light of Christ. 
            I was reading through Alma a couple months ago, and I remember getting to one of my favorite parts as a child; and that of course is when Ammon starts chopping the arms off of a bunch of thugs. This time through however, I noticed he wasn’t just trying to show off his manliness like Chuck Norris or something. He did it just because he wanted to do his job well. He’d promised to serve the king, and he wasn’t about to let a few bandits stop him from getting the work done. And it was this kind of undeterred service that opened up the heart of King Lamoni, so that he would listen to the gospel. In Alma (18:10), the King went on to say this of Ammon, when he “heard….them.” Apparently Lamoni never had anyone actually follow all of his directions before. But this worked out pretty well for Ammon, while he most likely didn’t know that just by serving the king to the best of his abilities, he would inevitably convert thousands of the Lamanites, he did listen to the spirit. I suspect he just listened to what it told him to do, and trusted in his Lord to make everything turn out for the best. I plan on taking the lesson Ammon taught me in to the mission field. And I hope some of you will take it into your own lives. That sometimes to get others to soften their heart and listen, all you need is to listen to the spirit on how to best serve them.
            And yet, there are times when even great missionaries do their best, and the hard-heartedness of the people refuses to give. In Alma 20:30, it talks about Aaron and his brethren, and how, “as it happened… place.” So even if a member does everything they can, that is only one half of the lock and key. While a missionary can offer a person the key to their salvation, if the person being taught refuses to offer up the lock, which is their heart, they can never be opened up to the light of Christ. Aaron and his brothers, Himni and Omner, didn’t give up, and because of the field that Ammon helped prepare, they were able to convince the father of Lamoni to the truth. This in turn led to many of the Lamanites in the land of Ishmael being converted, and their renaming to become the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. When speaking of this people, Ammon said “has there ever been so great a love in all the land? …Nay there has not, even among the Nephites.” These converted Lamanites are one of my favorite peoples in the Book of Mormon, because it’s a reminder that even those who seem like horrible people on first impression, can become even greater than those generally considered “the best”. And these people can never find their true potential, if we as members and missionaries, don’t search them out and give them a chance.
            A friend of the sons of Mosiah, Alma the younger, also left his mark upon the world with the missionary work that he did. While he didn’t set off for far off lands, as his friends did, he made an important decision in following after his father and became High Priest among the Nephites. His title was never officially a missionary, yet as a leader of the church I’m sure he brought many people into the fold of God. We sometimes might live in places like Gideon, which said of the people that lived there: “I…. God.” Yet, at other times, we may able to relate more with Amulek, who lived in the city of Ammonihah. Ammonihah was a city where “Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people”, and Amulek was a citizen there, who helped Alma after he fasted for the city. The people of Ammonihah knew Amulek, and when he gave his testimony, that he knew Alma was called of God, he began to sway some of his neighbors. And while there were many that still scorned and ridicule him, Amulek was able to bring some of the people from his home to see what he himself saw; which is the hope of salvation through our Savior, Jesus Christ. So Amulek withstood the hate of many to save a few. Now I have long thought that I have never been afraid of preaching the gospel to someone. And I don’t believe I have ever turned the opportunity down, when it was explicitly given. But I think on occasion I could have been bolder. I could have gone out of my way to tell a friend or classmate about the truth in my life, that makes me happy more than anything else. I could have been a little more like Amulek and given my testimony that might believe, at the risk of mocked and insulted. Zeezrom, a man in Alma 10:31 says “was foremost to accuse Amulek and Alma”, was converted, by the two men of God’s teachings, with the help of the Holy Ghost to touch his heart. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I judge some people as already lost to the light of Christ; and that there’s no hope in bringing them back. Yet time and again, have not wicked men, sometimes people considered the worst of men, had their hearts turned back in the right direction, like Zeezrom? Saul of the New Testament, who essentially supported the genocide of Christians throughout the land, went on to become one of the greatest missionaries during the days after the resurrection. And so I hope all of us, myself especially, never forget that we should try to avoid thinking of some people as simply evil. And try to think that they just have a lack of God in their lives; a lack that can be restored, but might need the opportunity given to them.
            I finished the Book of Mormon a couple days ago, for the first time. I experienced the feelings of wonder as Christ came, and the feelings of sorrow for Mormon, as his entire people were destroyed. And most of all, I felt that sorrow for Moroni who was left to live alone, until his time on this Earth came to an end. Yet, I noticed that what Moroni spoke of often in his book, was hope. Hope for the people that read his words, and for his Lamanite brethren, that they might come unto Christ. Moroni never got to see all these people face to face, but he had hope that his words might mean something, and that the Lord would bring them to individuals who would listen. Most every missionary in the field now has the scripture in Moroni 10:4 memorized saying: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” I can only hope I will have as much hope as Moroni did, during my two years of service. It will be hard work, but…. It seems ignominious compared to what Moroni had to go through.
            Thinking about my mission, I’ve realized, even just preparing for it, that a mission is NOT easy. And I’m not sure anyone truly understands unless they are experiencing it, or recently finished one. In the book of Helaman, in the fifth chapter, two brothers, Nephi and Lehi, devote themselves to preaching. Now, I doubt they saw the troubles that were coming their way. When they went unto the land of Nephi, they were cast into prison, starved, and about to be slain. But in Proverbs 3:5, it says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” These two men of God didn’t try to beg to be released, or think of some clever way to escape. They trusted that their Savior would protect them. This faith led to fire encircling the two missionaries, preventing their captors from laying hands on them, and the earth shook, and they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness. This has been my greatest challenge thus far; is that I lean unto mine own understanding far too often. But I know in my soul, that if I can let that go, and trust in the Lord with all my heart, wonders such as what Nephi and Lehi saw will help me succeed on my mission.
            Brothers and Sisters, in words inspired by the Lord given to Joseph F Smith, “We have a mission in the world… to preach the truth, to bear testimony of the truth.” I bear my testimony that I know it is our duty, as it was with the missionaries of old, to bring the world its truth; so that those around us, might have the opportunity to live better and happier lives. That they might know that they can be saved from physical and spiritual death, and inherit our Father in Heaven’s blessings, which he yearns to give to all of his children. I bear my testimony that our modern day prophets are great missionaries, bringing the hearts of thousands into the Savior’s fold. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.