Colton's ready for his mission

Colton's ready for his mission

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nov 19: Elder Richards

My district making cider.

Dear Family,

Prayer is usually the easiest answer to like everything. I guess maybe it's not always easy, but I feel if you ever have a problem, faith-filled prayer and action seem to solve so many things. I don't think I can really describe it all. Just pray more everyone. We all need it. And never say you already have enough. Except of food. Sometimes you've had enough food. I know from personal experience.

 I think right now, the thing with our area that is slowing the work, is that we just live kind of far away. And that most people aren't in their homes until after 5. So, it's not too bad, just that we aren't around enough. We are working on getting a house in our area though, so we won't have to drive 50 miles to our main town anymore. One other thing I noticed is that during the winter I guess many houses are empty. Lots of snow-birds, people that are only here for the summer, up here. But the members are all excited to have us. :) There are about 20-25 each week, and so I've gotten to know most of them all, but they're all really nice. Super supportive too. We just need to start working with them! All in all though, once we can really get the work going, it should be really good, especially since most people have never talked with missionaries. At least not in Twisp. :)

Up here the temperature will be between 26ish-43ish in the coming week. It snowed for the first time a couple days ago, but it didn't stick luckily. Of our members, three families have most of the children, and there are a couple others. They have a pot-luck every third sunday which is nice until you eat too much. -_- We bless the sacrament each sunday. All of the members are english, here, so except for a few investigators, all of the work here is english. At the beginning of my mission, I was afraid of going english, but now I'm just kind of... "Whatever. Wherever the Lord wants me to be" I actually hope to stay here for at least 3 transfers. I would love to get to know the people here really well. One of our towns looks like an old western town (on purpose). I'll have to send you pictures of that soon. :) The branch isn't new, but just hasn't ever been big enough to have missionaries of its own. For over 30 years it has gone up and down in the 20's, for the number of members, they tell me. And now they are stuffing as many missionaries as they can into our small-town mission, so here I am. :) It should be really good for the branch if we can get it going. 

We had another Seventy visit us rather unexpectedly. Elder Richards. We talked about how ordering people to do things is attempting to take away agency, and that the end of section 121 is how leaders should act. We also talked about how Obedience, is just acting on faith. Acting on the belief that you can receive more blessings. We talked about teaching more simply, which I realized I stopped doing as much over the past few months, so I feel dumb. We had already been trained on that in Spokane. Really good training. He kind of made a point that I would like you all to consider. The number of missionaries in the world has gone up about 38%. But the number of baptisms hasn't been going up. What's wrong? That's something we still need to figure out. I invite you all to pray about it. I know I'm going to.

Pray like your life depends on it! Con amor,

Elder Grant

Nov 4: Twisp

Gosh, I don't have enough time to write everyone. My companion is rushing me. Okay, so I thought for sure this transfer I would stay in Chelan. But I'm not. I'm going to be opening a branch called Twisp that hasn't seen missionaries in 20 years, and is a town of 500 people. Luckily we will cover a few more towns. :) It should be exciting. I'm also pretty sure it might be even colder than Oroville in the winter. Unlike my last winter in Mattawa where the snow melted within a few days each time. Elder Berg will be serving in Pasco, and Hermanas Worlton and Correa will be serving here. I know them both pretty well. I think our Bishop was surprised, because he wanted Sisters, AND Elders. But you can never quite predict transfers....

So, for a miracle this week, we taught a girl named Isamar who is the niece of a less-active hispanic lady in the ward. She's been around for a while, but she never seemed to be there when we actually taught them. So, when we went to see the Serrano family, we were talking about the English Classes, and Brother Serrano told us she wanted to take them! She's rather quiet, so she just kind of smiled and said yes when I asked her if its true. Then, Sister Serrano came in, and said something like, "OH! She wants to get baptized! You should teach her the lessons!" I think I was gaping after that for a bit. I asked her if THAT was true, and she gave the same smiley-yes response. Then they told us that they would go to the next english classes, and to church on Sunday. THEN, when we came back to teach the first lesson, Felipe, whom we had taught a while ago and never got in contact with again, was there with the Serrano Family, and told us he had read up to Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon!!!! Unfortunately, he's moving to Mexico for a few months, but we got the address and are planning on sending the referral down there. Evidently, the Serrano family is just a family of miracles, where everyone they know wants to be baptized.

Sorry this was a short letter, but I love you all! Remember your small-town missionary!

Love, Elder Grant

Oct. 28: My Calling to Repentance

Hey everyone,

I'd like to apologize if I've bothered anyone by asking you all to do one thing or another. I admit, I get carried away sometimes. You have to realize, all I do all day, is.... the missionary purpose. It's too long to write. But the short way is to "Invite others to come unto Christ". This is my life! I invite people to do things! So sorry if I seem over-critical. But I'd like to clarify, that I still know all the things I've invited you to do will make you happy. They make you better people! I'll try not to be so pushy, but I'm not retracting my statements, I suppose you could say. :)

I thought I'd tell you, last week, I actually had a day where I pulled a muscle in my neck! It was during exercise in the morning (I didn't stretch) and at first I just couldn't move my head to the left. Then I moved it around a little, and all of a sudden my head was stuck in a very awkward position, and if I tried to move it I had massive jolts of pain go down my neck and spine. I ended up applying heat and cold for about 8 hours straight, and I could finally drive... Very carefully. I also accidentally took 2000mgs of Ibuprofin (can't remember how you spell that) in one day... I was misinformed on how much I should take, and took 800mgs, almost twice as much mgs, as the recommended amount during the course of 24 hours... Luckily we went to a member in the ward that is a chai... chi....cai.... cairopracter? for dinner the next day, and he helped a lot. And I'm all better now. :) There's just a certain exercise that he should told me I should never, ever do again. In fact noone should.

This week, Sister Fournier got baptized! The Fournier family was first taught by Elder Paxton, my zone leader (for 4 transfers now), was baptized when Elder Christensen, my room-mate in the MTC, was here, his two kids were baptized when Elder Berg, my other MTC roommate was here, and now the mom was baptized while I was here. :) Super exciting. They're a great family. We also taught a boy named Louis, he is 11 and hasn't been baptized yet, but we taught him the Plan of Salvation yesterday, and because generally he goes to church each week, he already knew all the answers! Easiest lesson ever. He should be baptized mid-July. :) I feel the work is slower here than it should be, so I'm planning on working harder to pick it up here! Especially, since on Saturday we saw...

Elder M. Russel Ballard! And also Elder Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Elder Risenmay our Area Seventy! They gave great talks, basically telling us, if we don't teach by the Spirit, its in vain, and that we need to work like the members aren't giving us any help, while they will be encouraging the members to work like the missionaries aren't finding any investigators on their own. We're hoping our days will fill up that way. :) I've now shaken my first Apostle's hand, and we had a really good time with him. He's so powerful, yet so human. He told us something along the lines of "We (meaning the Apostles) are all getting pretty up there in years.... But we're all still pretty cool". I love Elder Ballard. :) He's great. He hardly even rebuked us, just mostly encouraged us. I need to meet more of those guys!

I think that's it for this week, I'll write more about the area next week. Thanks for the love everyone! Hope you still love me!

Elder Grant

Oct. 21: Humility

Dear Friends and Family,

Firstly, I thought I'd remind you that Elder Ballard (who I'm seeing this Saturday :) invited every member to have someone taught by the missionaries by Christmas. EVERY MEMBER. Pray for it, and if you don't know how to invite, ask the missionaries. They know how to help.

So, for the area. We have a baptism this week! Sister Fournier is getting baptized, so she, her husband, and her two kids will all be baptized, and one day be able to go to the temple and be sealed together. Families are the best. :) While I really didn't put much work into it, I'm excited for it, either way. I never saw baptisms as that big of a deal before my mission. It was just such a regular thing, that I never thought much of it. But... I realize now, how incredibly important they are now. What Baptism, REALLY is. It's not just something all the kids do at 8 years old. It's a covenant with God, and it's the only way we can make it back to God again. The only way. 

I have seen often how humility changes us. And how some people don't change because they refuse to be humble. I had to define humility to a ten year old boy yesterday, and it eventually came out something like this. "Humility is being willing to not do what you want, but to do what God wants you to do." Of course that's a religious definition, but there are SO many little things that we refuse to humble ourselves about. We refuse to forgive someone, or we don't want to give up some of our personal time to help another, or we simply don't pay enough attention to the lesson in church, because we're checking sports scores. We all know what God wants. We just sometimes ignore it. Pretend like we're doing fine. When of course, there's something we can do better. 

Remember, that just because something might not necessarily be a sin, (God will judge that) The Lord might not want us doing something. I just talked without a couple of teenagers, about the rules of dating as well. They both want to push the limits. Obviously, for example, dating only one person in high school isn't breaking any commandments. But... In all honesty, you're generally wasting your time. There are many people you can date, and if you're planning on going on a mission, or getting married AFTER high school, then you shouldn't be looking for someone to marry during high school. And God doesn't want us to waste our time.

Enough of my rambling. I invite all of you to quit doing one thing, that God doesn't want you to do, for 40 days. Whether its drinking soda (water is better for you) checking up on the sports scores during church (there's something better you can learn) or something a tad bit more serious, like doing your home/visiting teaching this month. All of it. I promise you'll feel, and see the Spirit stronger in your life. We all need it.


Elder Grant