Colton's ready for his mission

Colton's ready for his mission

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28: Another crazy week.

So, I finally got to skype with my family! I feel kind of bad, because it wasn't very long, but we had an appointment. That ended up falling through. But we taught them yesterday, so all is well. :) Something that I invited them to do, and also am inviting everyone else that gets this, is to read the Book of Mormon! But you need a new, clean one. Probably the cheapest ones you can buy. And then, you mark in one color every time Christ is mentioned, another color every time He speaks, another color for His doctrine (fourth article of faith+EttE), another color for His promised blessings, and ANOTHER color for his characteristics. You can pick and choose if you want, you don't have to do all of them. Or you can do something different! (e.g. I'm marking the Plan of Salvation this next time around). But I think the most important one is marking when Christ is mentioned. When you read the entire Book of Mormon doing that, you realize how much it TRULY is about Him. You appreciate it more, and I promise that if you do it, you'll have a stronger relationship with our Savior!

Anyway, on to the area. It was kind of hard on Sunday because we basically knew ahead of time that no one would be able to come to church. We had announced the Super Saturday, but the only visitors were members. We're planning on doing another one of those things though where we invite everyone in the ward to invite one non-member on a day that everyone's in town. Just in the future, maybe a month from now. Anyway, we did find some new investigators this week, and while they didn't commit to come to church, we're still excited to teach them! Many people have potential, and there's for sure more people that need the Gospel, so we're going to keep working hard to find more people! 

We were getting many lessons in during the week, and were very excited with the success we were being given, but then on one day we had no lessons, which kind of shocked us. Then the next day, we had a few lessons, but it seemed like for the most part, they were going bad, and people were rejecting us. It was hard for Elder Orellana and I, but we pulled through it together, and I think that has helped us grow closer as a companionship. I was studying about the Fall, and why it was necessary, and it seems rather odd at first. Why would God give us two conflicting commandments, when it would inevitably lead to us having death and pain in the world? But hard times... They help us learn, grow, and strengthen relationships, with other people, and with our Savior and Father in Heaven. Except for the ones I brought on myself, I think I'm actually happy for the trials I've had in my life. Anything to get closer to Heavenly Father.

Oh yeah, I need pictures! I'll get those to you all in a few hours. I'm doing my emails in two parts, so hopefully I'll remember my camera in a few hours. :) Love you all! Thanks for the support! Til next week!

Con amor,

Elder Grant

Me and Jorge Bautista.

May 20: Second week in Oroville

Dear Family. And Friends. And everyone else.

It's been a pretty crazy week. I've officially decided that it's impossible to classify a week as "good" or "bad". Maybe you could say that about an hour. But there's too much that happens in a week, or a day to say it's one way or the other! At least for missionaries. One of our investigators, had a good friend pass away. We taught him about the resurrection, and helped him feel a bit better. However, we had committed him to come to church, and we had a lot of hope for him, but he didn't come! It is astounding to us how people can change their minds, or their feelings, or their hearts, so quickly. And yet, I realize I am pretty imperfect about that too. I can't say that I was a perfect missionary this week, but I believe that I tried to help as many people as I could. Anyway, we didn't have any people at church this week, but there are a few appointments that we have this week that we think will get people to keep the Sabbath day holy. :)

Elder Orellana is still doing great! When he learned about the mission boundary changes, he actually had an opposite reaction to mine though. I'm rather excited to, I guess you could say, start another adventure, in the far-off land of Kennewick. But Elder Orellana wishes to stay in the Spokane mission, and teach more in the English language. We are both praying right now, for us to know what is the Lord's will on where we should go, and if it might be his will, to go to the mission of our desires. I guess? I'm not really sure how to put that. But anyway, we're both doing good here, and are pretty optimistic about the week to come!

I have a renewed testimony in referrals! This week, I received my very first referral from church headquarters! We called the woman, named Candace, and she said she would like to meet us this Wednesday, and so we're super excited about that! We also visited a referral we received from one of our investigators, and we had a pretty good lesson about the restoration, and have a return appointment this tuesday! Hopefully, we're finding those that are prepared by God to become members of His church! So I'm encouraging members to continue to let the missionaries know about people that COULD be ready, and better yet, go out with them to the lesson. I've felt a pretty strong spirit when we have members in our lessons, that we just can't bring on our own as missionaries.

By the way, I feel pretty terrible. I haven't been writing many letters lately. It's been a pretty hectic week, but that's not really much of an excuse. And not only that, but I've lost the two letters that I needed to respond to, my adapter to send pictures, and my writing paper. I suspect that they're all in the same place, but I wanted to say sorry to those that have been waiting for a letter from me, and I'm going to see if I can find them, but I can't promise anything. :( I hope you can forgive me, if you have been waiting for a letter! I want to let you all know, I love you! Lots and lots! Keep the commandments! Be good and be happy!

Con amor,

Elder Grant
Using Elder Orellana's adapter for now. Here's a picture of Elder Orellana, Me and President Mullen, and of my mtc district about six months after we left the mtc.
The canadian border (I drove right up to it:) and a really pretty area called dry falls. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 13 Post Script: Did I forget to say this? I can't remember.

So, the Ephrata, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, and Othello stakes in the Spokane Washington Mission are officially going to the Kennewick Mission. Those four stakes have all of the spanish work in the Mission, except for two areas in Spokane. Unless something goes horribly wrong by July 1st, I am almost certainly going to the Kennewick Mission. Every missionary that is in those areas will be converted to the latter mission. I think I'm pretty positively going to stay in Oroville for a bit, so I shouldn't have anything to worry about. It's super exciting! I will be spending most of my mission in the Kennewick mission, but that's not so bad since I was pretty much in a sub-mission with those four stakes anyway. Pretty crazy! I'll give more information... If any questions are asked. Love you all!

Elder Grant

May 13, 2013. A New Area!

Dear todos vosotros,

I'm in Oroville now! It's pretty exciting to be in a new area, and very weird that I don't know where anything is. Or know every single person in town. I was told that Oroville would be a pretty small town, but it seems huge compared to Mattawa. :) I do miss Mattawa though. A lot. At times I catch myself wondering what everyone's doing there, but I don't let myself dwell on it, luckily. I think if I did, I would go a bit nuts! I actually was in Moses Lake one day, while Elder Orellana was at new district leader training, and so I've officially proselyted there, and after that we went to Ephrata and had a zone training and an exchange with the zone leaders before that. So I've also proselyted in Ephrata. It's kind of crazy, because transfers was tuesday, and so in reality, I've only been in my area for about 4-5 days, instead of being on the 7th day. Oroville is far from everything. But I like it. :) We haven't taught to many people yet, because of the crazy week, but we have quite a few appointments for the next few days, so I'm excited.

If I forgot to say this last time, the church here is about a mile from the Canadian border, and I'm planning on seeing if I can get to go out of the mission for 1 minute to be able to say I've been to Canada in the future. :) It was actually pretty hot here this past week, about 93, and even hotter than Vegas! Some members had gone to Vegas for a wedding, and come back here and were surprised by a heat wave that hasn't hit Oroville this early in the year for 70 years or something. Many of the people here live in mountainous areas, and we cover 7 small towns here. All I remember are Tenasket and Oroville. Most are super far out there, and we don't have the miles. Darn miles. But, because Elder Orellana is from Guatemala, he's not allowed to drive unfortunately. But that means fortunately for me, I get to drive a Jeep Compass with less than 2,000 miles on it! One kid asked us if we were pimp! xD I forgot my camera so pictures will have to wait a week, but suffice it to say this area is pretty mountainous, has lots of green, we're right next to lake (the house is 200 feet away from it!), and just beautiful. Sorry. Next week. :)

Elder Orellana is really funny, and he has one of the best laughs I've ever seen. He's still learning english, and I'm still learning spanish, so what we've decided is that out proselyting, we generally speak english (since the majority of our lessons are in english) and spanish everywhere else. It's super helpful being able to ask a word, and he pretty much always knows what is! He's pretty dedicated, and I've already seen that he cares about our investigators here. He really likes music in english and spanish, but I had a cd with songs in spanish and he said he really missed listening to music where they speak spanish. I guess he doesn't have any music, and most missionaries don't have spanish music. I'm happy to please. :) 

One miracle we had on Saturday, was that we were going out to see a less active at about 8 oclock, and when we go in, we find out the woman's daughter had just come back here from Tiajuana. She had never been baptized, was going through a really hard time, really wanted to go back to church, but couldn't seem to be able to make that first step. She also said she'd moved like 4 times in the past ten years, and each time she would have the missionaries show up in the area. We asked her if she would like to be baptized, and she said if she learns the book of Mormon is true, for sure, then she would! She is planning on moving to Spokane in a few weeks, but we're super happy that we found her, and we are planning on sending her address to the missionaries there once she finds a house. We really are lead to find those that are ready!

Kay, that's all I got this week! Love you all!

Elder Grant

May 6, 2013: Oroville

So, I'm getting transferred. I can hardly believe I'm going to be leaving Mattawa. I've been here for a quarter of my mission! This has been my home for what seems like forever! I feel a bit of heartache for all the people I'm going to leave, apprehensive at the people I'm going to meet, and dizzy because my feet don't seem to quite be on reality right now. So, I'm going to Oroville, which is the closest you can get to the Canadian border without going into Canada, I believe. It'll be the summer, so it shouldn't be too cold. :) I will be with Elder Orellana, who was Elder Wait's companion in Wenatchee before he came here. Elder Orellana is from Guatemala, and has been out a little under a year I believe. Elder Pinegar, my old MTC companion, is going to be replacing me here in Mattawa, and will be with Elder Wait until he goes home. We talked with him to schedule rides, and he's super excited to come to an area with so many spanish speakers! I'm leaving him a to-do list so that he'll behave and know who I think he should see. :) In other news, Elder Kelly, my Dad, is coming back to Othello, which he's been in for 6 months in the past, to be a Zone Leader here, and he will now be a Mezteco speaking missionary! Mezteco is a Native American language native to Oaxaca and Guerrero I believe, which are on the southern part of Mexico, and there are many people in Othello that only speak that language. It's not completely organized as a written language, and there's not a copy of the Book of Mormon in that language. He already learned a little bit when he was here last time, but to be able to teach in the language... It will be quite the experience for him. There will also be a companionship of Mezteco missionaries in another area in Othello. Elder Lowe, who is from Las Vegas and sang in Zion's Youth with me at one time, will be one of them. He already had learned a little bit too. Really crazy transfer. Let me talk about the area a bit.

I feel... content with my last sunday here. Reynaldo, and Jorge, the RM he's been living with, didn't go to church. But we went over later that night, and they were telling us that they feel awful. They know they've done something wrong, and want to do better. That's more than most people, I would say. We had a similar experience with the Esquivel family. They had gone to church about two months in a row during my time here, but had suddenly started ignoring us for about a month. We finally found them again yesterday, and they basically said they were sorry for pretending they weren't there earlier, and said they were going to try harder to come back to Christ. 

It's frustrating sometimes, how as missionaries, we see the grand scheme of things often. We see that the reason we're here, is so that we can live and become like God one day. Because our entire lives right now, is helping others to do that. But everyone else is full of the world, members and non-members alike. I remember when I would choose the world over more spiritual things when I was younger, and I shudder at the thought because I realize how dumb I was. How misguided. Now I know, that we have a greater purpose in this life. We are meant to achieve all of the potential that our Father in Heaven has given us. I will continue to do my best to understand other people, because I love them! I really do! And I'm going to help them realize what's really important. That church is more important than naps. That reading the scriptures is more important that watching soap operas. That people are more important that anything else in this world. Christ didn't suffer and die for money, or nice cars, or all of the luxuries of the world. He died for us. To follow His example and love people (including yourself) more than anything else in the world, is the best way we can show our love for Him.

I hope I am doing a good job! Thank you everyone that has helped me change for the better. I love you all!

Elder Grant

April 29, 2013: Last P-day for Sister Collins.

To answer the subject of the email, sister collins is a sister that has been in my zone since I was born in the mission, and she's been in my district for three transfers now, or about 4.5 months. And she's dying. It's super sad. I actually realized, that of the people in my original zone here in the field, only Sister Collins and an Elder Porter in Othello are left. Everyone's leaving! I probably will too this transfer, along with Elder Porter. It will be a different Othello zone I suppose. I guess to give a eulogy about her, she's 24 years old, and the only person I've ever met from Kansas. She's a super cool sister, and also kind of scared me sometimes. I wanted her yellow backpack, but she refused to give it to me. Um... She's blonde.... about 5'4" maybe... She has two daughters (people she trained)... And that's all I've got. Anyway, it was great knowing her. And that's pretty much it!

So, we didn't have a lot of lessons this week. Between Elder Wait getting sick again, many people ignoring us at the door, and moving twice on Saturday, we didn't do too hot. But like Joseph Smith said, this is still a great cause, and I'm going to continue on in it! Missionary work is hard. I would never EVER think about going home. There's no point. Why would you let God down? But I'll admit, I have thought about just laying down in the street and taking a very long nap. Instead I just took a nap during part of my lunch hour. :) To report, we called three people to come to church, and none of them came. :\ I think the hardest thing for people to overcome in their lives here is just plain laziness. They sleep in, and that's why most people don't come to church. Not only that though, but even when they sleep in, they still wake up an hour before church, and just don't want to do anything til one o'clock. Oh, that I were an angel, and could just convert all these people... or I could just baptize them all for the dead, but I'm not sure how much success I would have with that. Anyway, not much more to report on this week. Except the place we are currently living is where I lived for the first four months of my mission. I won't lie, I didn't expect to move back there, but oh well.

Hmm.... Spiritual experiences.... I think just humbling oneself can be a pretty powerful experience. Someone in one of our Sunday school classes said that "meekness is when you choose not to act, when you have the power or ability to do so". Sometimes I just want to protest, or argue, or fight back when I feel like I'm being wronged. But sometimes, the spirit whispers, that it's not worth it. It's not the right thing to do. I do believe that at times, you are supposed to stand up for yourself. But there are also moments, when you need to submit. Just because you might want to do something, doesn't mean it's the will of God. Another thing, I can't remember if I already have said this, is the combination lock of heaven. It was from a talk I read I think from a Seventy. There are three things that need to match up if you want the doors of heaven to open, and have blessings be poured out on you. One, you need to have Faith that you can receive it. Two, you need to have personal worthiness. And third, it needs to be the Lord's will. If all we needed were the first two, then we would be very spoiled indeed. :) But God knows best, and if we receive blessings, it's because He knows we should have them.

To explain why I haven't been sending pictures lately, it's because I usually carried around my camera in my suit coat pocket, but now we don't need suits and I don't have any (safe) pockets to put it in. So I haven't been taking pictures. Sorry bout that! Maybe once I go to a new area.

Con amor,

Elder Grant

April 22, 2013: What am I even supposed to put as the subject??

Dear many loved ones,

So, our house flooded this morning. Woops. It was only a little bit though. Apparently old washers will sometimes keep running more and more hot water on certain settings... It was kind of upsetting, because it disturbed out study time. We noticed it after only about five minutes of flooding though, so we were able to clean it all up before any damage was made. Still not exactly what you want to deal with, but it wasn't caused by our lack of knowledge (we think), and the house actually looks cleaner now that a bunch of soapy water covered a large portion of the floor (we don't have a big house, so it spread to about 1/3 of the house pretty quickly). Anyway, during my study time, I learned not to go cheap on my washers.

We didn't have any major investigators at church this week, Reynaldo went to tri-cities for "lonche". Lonche sometimes means groceries, and other times means lunch. I don't use it, because in reality almuerzo is lunch, and lonche is spanglish. I don't like spanglish. Anyway, off topic. We found a couple new people this week, and they hesitantly said they're not interested, and invited us back next week. There are many people like that here. People want to say they're not interested, but we as missionaries can see when the spirit is working on people. The hard part is getting people to open up to that spirit. We had to drop Crispin, a long time investigator, because he wasn't progressing. I'll talk more about him later. It's hard for us to stay mad at Reynaldo though, since he's still really awesome, and he's making lots of progress on his divorce papers, so while I most likely won't see him get baptized, it seems he'll be able to within a few months. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, because someone I started teaching is going to make the most important step in his life. :) Haha, missions make you soft, I've noticed. If it doesn't then you're not doing it right. Anyway, onto about Crispin.

So, it's kind of hard for me to measure the hardest things I've done in my life, but dropping Crispin was definitely up there. I was actually on an exchange with Elder Leavitt, the new missionary in Royal City, and we passed by to let Crispin know that we can't keep visiting him if he doesn't make any progress. This is the family that I had actually told Elder Wait in the past, "they're my favorite family to visit!" When I told him that we couldn't pass by if they didn't read, or go to church, or anything, Crispin responded by saying "It's okay, I understand". The only watery eyes in the house were mine. I realized that they were choosing not to change, and that they've been dropped before. They were used to it. I was just another missionary.
I've come to realize that Christ really does love us more than we love him. I've come to realize that, because I feel I've had just a taste of what that's like, as a missionary who loves his investigators more than they love him. I believe the Cruz family do love me. I also believe that they're not ready yet. They are, but they choose not to be. If that makes sense. We're going to keep making contact with Crispin and his family, but they will not be one of our investigators or a priority. It was hard to accept at first, but feeling the comfort of the Spirit... I don't know. I shouldn't feel this way, but I think everything's going to be okay. I've done my best. I can only hope for the best for them. 

In short, being a missionary is very hard, and it's also the most rewarding thing in my life. Even if I haven't baptize anyone yet.


Elder Grant