Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Greetings from South Rexburg

Well hello...

Fancy meeting you here.

Anyway, what is up las personas de este lista de email? This week was pretty interesting. I'm in Idaho! Crazy. Don't really know how to feel.

Let's start with my last few days at the MTC. They were great. I really did love the MTC and my district and my teachers. It was an amazing experience and I learned a ton. We had a lot of final things before we left that helped us prepare for the mission field, and they were all great. On the Saturday before I left, Hermano Rasmussen had Elder Phillips help him in doing the object lesson of the Atonement with the candy, and Elder Phillips having to do push-ups and stuff. I would explain more, but I don't have a ton of time, and I think it's better if you either read the story online, or experience it yourself. Needless to say, it was a really special and I learned a lot about how I constantly want to partake of the Atonement and become better. It was awesome.

For our last Sunday at the MTC, my entire district and I sang an arrangment of "La luz de la verdad" (Hark All Ye Nations in English) and it was really fun, and I think it turned out pretty well. Hermano Rasmussen helped us arrange it and did a good job at that. We had a good Sunday, and I enjoyed being with my district for the last time.

The next day, Elder Davis and I sent off the rest of our district. And it was weird. And hard. I didn't like it. It was just us two the whole day and felt lonely. The cafeteria was like a cemetery without all of us there together. When our first teacher came, we just kind of hung out with him and talked to him about missions and life and all that and it was great. When Hermana Martinez came in, we watched some mormon.org videos in Spanish for comprehension, and then actually ended up going to TRC to see if there was someone that we could teach. We found a man named Marco, who has Polio, and talked to him for a while. He wanted to know how we can know when the Holy Ghost communicates with us, and I was able to bear testimony about how each person is different, and needs to find out for themselves what works for them. I testify that this is true. If you haven't before, do it tonight. If you sincerely search the scriptures, and pray with the intent of wanting to know how the Holy Ghost communicates with you, and have faith, then you will know. I want each of you to figure exactly how to do that by yourselves, but I know that you can.

Tuesday I left the MTC, and took two trains and a long walk to a 40-passenger plane for a 51-minute flight from terminal to terminal. In the airport I got to eat Cafe Rio and Jamba Juice (#blessed). When we got there we met our mission president, his wife, and the AP's The rest of the day was filled with different introductory seminars, a nice dinner, presentations, and then staying at a member's home. It was so great to be able to be in an actually house again. The next day we left Pocatello, and got on the "transfer train" to my area!

I am currently serving in the Rigby Spanish II area with Elder Palacios! He is from Texas, is around 5'8" and a good guy. The area we are in actually just got redivided a transfer before, so we are spending a lot of time finding and working with members and less-actives because our area is huge and we're still wrapping our heads around it. We cover the entire Rexburg South Stake in English and Spanish, the Ririe Stake in Spanish, and then also are the missionaries for the Spanish branch in Rigby. It's quite the project. Most of the people we talk to speak English, but I've still been able to use Spanish every once in a while with some of the parental Spanish generation.

Some cool/funny experiences:

On Wednesday we met with a family named the Carranza's. The parents are less-active, and some of the kids are baptized, but we are working with a kid named Leonardo who hasn't been baptized. He loves to read the scriptures and talk with us, so we have hope for him. He has a 19-year-old brother with slight autism, so while we are teaching outside, every time a car passes by, he says "God bless you, amen!" It's pretty sweet.

The next day we had like a conference with the Mission President and AP's for all trainers and trainees, and I played the opening hymn. I played it awfully and it was great.

On Friday we met with one of the Ward Mission Leaders and had lunch, and he said, "you know, as my wife and I research more and more about healthy foods, I find that the healthiest foods are the ones that taste the blah-iest. Like, I don't remember deciding that in the premortal life."

Later that day, we went to a trailer court and tracted a little, and then started talking to some kids. Eventually a kid named Bryan came home. He and his brother have both met with the missionaries before, but nothing has happened. We played soccer with him and bunch of other kids, and said that we would play if we could share a scripture afterwards. We played and my team won (naturally) (just kidding, pride is bad, can't have it to have the spirit (shoutout to son of jen)), but then all the kids left, except for Bryan. He stayed, and we know that he thinks we have things that are right in our church, and he wants to join. So we shared 3 Nephi 11:33, and invited him to be baptized! He said that he would if he got an answer from the Holy Ghost, and that he was going to talk to his cousin, because she is an active member, and so we are praying for him! It was a good experience.

Friday, we went to a technically less-active members home. He is in a power wheelchair, and so they have the Sacrament taken to them on Sundays, and she stays home with him. We showed up in service clothes, and were actually able to help them pull weeds for about an hour. While we were, Sister Niederer said "sometimes while doing this, I just wanna slap Eve. If she hadn't given Adam that stupid apple, none of us would be doing this." Hilarious.

Now I want to talk about my Sunday. Sunday was amazing. It was fantastic to be back in a normal family ward again. Taking the Sacrament is always special, but it meant a lot this week. We spent most of the day going to ward councils and ward mission leader correlation meetings and things, but I loved going to all three hours of church, and being with members that really appreciate what you're doing. It was a good pick-me-up. However, during gospel principles we started talking about the Holy Ghost and different things, and this week has just been kind of hard for me, so I began having doubts, and wondering. But I said a prayer and had faith. That night, we were looking for a Spanish family's home in a trailer court, and went to this woman's door and asked her if she knew where they were. It ended up that they had moved, but we decided to talk to her a bit. She was in her 50's, and began talking about her life. She was baptized when she was 16, but left the church, and that definitely made a big difference in her life. She was married 5 times, and had a bad relationship with her daughter, and things just weren't going well. She told us about how she reads the Bible all the time still, and that she has been praying every day to know how to take away her pain and be happy. It was funny, she was talking about how she was praying and praying and keeping faith that she'd get an answer, but that she wanted to answer right now. And we were the answer. I know that we were led to her last night. We were going to go a different way, but we saw her open door and went up. We talked to her and had a good conversation about her life, and how the Church will help, and I know that it will. The Spirit that I felt while testifying of the truths that she once learned casted away any doubts that I had that day. That experience was as much for her, as it was to help me. God will always answer our prayers, we need not doubt. He is there beside us every step of the way, helping us, sending subtle whisperings her and there, leading us to what we need. As I have relied on him, I have found that everything that I worry about disappears, and I invite you to do the same. Everyday try to partake of the Atonement more fully, and I know you will see a difference.

I love you all and am praying for you.

Elder Grondel

Brother Ostler! (Awesome teacher in our zone)

Elder Davis and I with our calls and reassignments

A log cabin in Idaho

Random house.  Basically what Idaho is like,  a ton of farmers with huge fields and horses and stuff.

Tried to recreate Doug's "field is white" picture, didn't work too well, but whatever.

A hugely tall truck at a house we stopped by

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