Saturday, March 31, 2012

Apartment Inspections

President Albright, Elders Anderson and Gronning-Ashburn Zone, Sterling Park area

Nice and Clean!
Well another week has come and gone in what feels like seconds here in Sterling haha. We passed our apartment inspections this past week with flying colors for the most part. Somehow my bathroom managed to get labeled as spotless by both President and Sister Albright haha. We spent a ton of time cleaning that place though! I scrubbed 2 magic erasers in half trying to get all the black marks off our walls and still couldn't get them all haha. Unfortunately we didn't really have any awesome miracle stories happen this past week, but it was still good. I got to experience going to a new area for an exchange for the first time on Friday and Elder Anderson got to stay here and lead Sterling (I told him he would do great but he was still scared stiff haha). I went to the Goose Creek area though with Elder Wloka (pronounced Vloaka) from Germany, which was really cool. He's a great missionary and it turns out he reported for his mission the exact same day as me haha. He just got stuck waiting for his travel visa for a while so he served his first 6 weeks in the Austria mission before going to the MTC. We had a good time haha. Man it felt great to be back in a car area for a bit though! Having a car makes carrying around supplies so much easier haha. It sure has been a busy P-day for us though. We had a couple of appointments come up in the middle of the day that we had to run to. Which was a bummer because I was really hoping to get some good letter writing in today. That's also why this
email is so late haha we had tried to come and email about four oclock so we could leave for our appointment at 5 but the library was packed! So we just went off to work then and moved an hour of P-day time to 8 tonight for emailing haha. But all is well here in Sterling, unfortunately all of our investigators are super flaky so we didn't have a ton of progress. But the work still works forward and we will keep doing everything we can so the Lord can do the rest! I hope all is well with everyone back home!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Elder Gronning's new favorites

Alma 26:12
12 Yea, I know that I am anothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will bnot boast of myself, but I will cboast of my God, for in his dstrength I can do all ethings; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

1 Peter 4:14
14 If ye be areproached for the name of Christ, bhappy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mission Pictures

 Zone Conference February 3, 2012
Ashburn Zone: Pres and Sister Albright, Elders Perry, Liew, Wolka, Sisters Holt and Hayes, Elders Church and Gregerson, Back Row: Elders Peterson, Kotyk, Gronning, West, Williams, Hubbard, Johnson, Holfeltz, Jeungling, and Sjon Johnson

Elder Gronning meeting his new "greenie" Elder Anderson 3/1/12
Zone Training for the Ashburn Zone March 16, 2012

"pretty sweet miracle"

Man what a week it has been! The weather has really picked up quite a bit here and we've had a pretty hot week. Well hot for white shirts and slacks at least haha. It's been high 70's here with some really dense humidity. So perfect weather for some shorts a t-shirt and some flip flops but man not missionary attire haha. We had a pretty good week though with a good amount of lessons taught. We found a new investigator this knocking on doors at like 1 o clock in the afternoon this past Wednesday too. Which was pretty sweet because most missionaries think that knocking on doors during the day is a complete waste of time but I say if we can't find any appointments to be at then we might as well be hitting the doors haha. Elder Anderson still hates the door knocking but he's really grown to love almost every other aspect of missionary work (waking up at 6:30 also isn't included haha). We did have a pretty sweet miracle this past week though. We are teaching this Muslim girl from Egypt who has taken a sudden interest in Christianity. She has really been wanting to learn more about the Bible and about Christ but she was always a little hesitant when we would talk about the book of Mormon just because she has had a lot of friends really talk our religion down. But this past week when we were reading through the new testament explaining things to her she asked us to go to a bunch of different chapters based completely on what topic they were which really tested my knowledge of the scriptures, but she would ask things like "Okay take me to a good chapter in the new testament about why people talk bad behind my back sometimes" or "Where is a chapter in the new testament about how God will always help us" and fortunately we were able to share chapters with her about each of them. But as we were getting ready to leave she asked "Okay now I want you guys to read with me one more chapter that can really apply to me and help me out personally." So I thought about it for a second and the thought came to mind of Alma 32, out of the Book of Mormon, (Faith being compared to a seed) which really I didn't see how that would apply to her at all but the thought was there and it could have been a prompting from the spirit so I decided to follow it. As soon as we finished reading the chapter she was just totally shocked and asked "What? How did you guys know?" So of course we were like, what are you talking about? She then explained to us that earlier last week she had been praying in the Mosque and out of nowhere a little boy ran up and gave her, out of all the people in the crowd praying, a little seed and then ran away. She felt at the time that it could have been some sort of sign from God but she had no idea what it meant. So of course after that she expressed how much she really believed that the Book of Mormon must really be the word of God as well as that we were really put in her path by God so she could learn about Him. Man it was an awesome experience! The Lord really does use us as tools out here to spread his Gospel. There's no way we would have been able to give her that experience without his direct
guiding hand in that lesson.

On another note though, as the subject to this email hints a bit, we have apartment inspections this week! So that means cleaning like crazy! We were given a list of stuff that had to be done before the inspection by president and man I never realized how filthy parts of the apartment could get if missionaries didn't clean them over the years! I found like 5 containers of various foods from months and months ago given to the missionaries by members that they didn't finish and man it was gnarly. There wasn't a thing in there that didn't have mold all over it haha it took all I had not to throw up while cleaning out a bowl of chicken casserole that had more fungus in it than anything else haha. So we spent the entire day today just cleaning the kitchen out haha woo p-day. So overall it was quite a sweet week here in Sterling. The work moves on like always haha. Ihope all is well with everyone back home!

March 12th email

Well it's been a pretty good week out here in Sterling. We didn't have a huge amount of success by any means but we worked our hardest and we've made some good progress haha. This past Wednesday I was down and out again with some sort of bad food I must have eaten. I'm completely better now though, just must have had something not agree with me I suppose haha. It was a very very rough day for me haha. So that was kind of a bummer. Man we knocked on a ton of doors though haha. Elder Anderson hates it when we knock doors but I make him do it anyways, he's really getting a lot better at not being shy with people. So really the highlight of our week was a really great lesson we had with these kids we are teaching, Joel and Kirsten. We were trying to think what would be the most beneficial thing for us to teach them and the
thing that came to mind for whatever reason was The Plan of Salvation. So we decided we would teach that using my little wooden Plan of Salvation puzzle thing to help illustrate it a bit. When we got to the lesson though we found out that unfortunately they had just lost their grandpa's on both sides of the family and so they were really quite depressed about that and had had a pretty rough day because of it and were really wondering about what happened after death and if they would ever be able to see them again. Fortunately enough though, we had the answers to both of those questions and had actually planned to teach it. So we taught them about the Plan of Salvation and what happens after we die and that they can be with their family forever. We told them all about how still even after this life they can see them again and they will still be their grandparents and they will still be their grankids. It was such a great comfort to them and they were really greatful to us for telling them about it. You could really tell that it spoke quite a bit of peace to them about things. So that as a really cool experience. A little bit less positive news though, well bitter sweet news really, is that we got invited to our ward's weekly ward council meeting haha. Which normally would be nothing but exciting news but unfortunately I had to break the news to them that we weren't getting the support we need from the ward to be able to retain the people that we teach. I shared the example of two people who joined the church on Christmas eve and just never were befriended by anybody in the church and have already gone less active now because of it. It's a very sad story really because we still meet with the two people fairly often and man they are great people but they just don't want to go to church because they don't feel like they have anybody but the missionaries to talk to while they are there... Gah so frustrating! But hopefully with us going to that meeting from now on we can get things back to how they are supposed to be haha. But besides that really nothing super exciting has happened this past week. We are starting to get some really nice weather though! Like low 70's and sunshine. So I've gotten to break out the short-sleeved shirts and man it feels good haha. Well I hope all is well with everyone back home! Hopefully we'll have some better success stories to share next week haha.

March 5th email

Man what an interesting past week it's been. It feels like it was just a couple days ago that I was meeting my trainer for the first time and now my new companion is experiencing the same thing haha. His name is Elder Anderson and he's from Brigham City, UT. So far he seems like a really great guy, but man he is very shy haha. I can tell he's going to be a great missionary once he gets in the groove of things though.
This Thursday we got back from transfers early enough for us to drop off his bags change out of suits and immediately head out to knock on some doors before our 6:30 appointment. I told him I'd take the first three doors that answered so that he could get a feel for it but then we'd start alternating after that so he could get in the hang of it but I'd step in if he needed it haha. And well the first couple of times he froze up a bit, which is totally understandable, but after that he did totally fine. He still hates knocking on doors though haha he trys to get me to do them every time but he will get used to it as we go. Him and I really get along well though, we both joke around with each other all the time while we are out and about haha so it should really be a great transfer. Man our 6:30 appointment Thursday night was crazy though. It was with a husband and wife who the wife is an inactive member and the husband is not a member at all and only speaks Cambodian haha. The wife can speak English pretty well though but they are both from Cambodia originally. So they made us some Cambodian stuff for dinner and man it was pretty rough haha. She made this Cambodian soup with pork knuckles in it I think, so there was quite a bit of bones in it but you were just supposed to eat the bones along with it because they had been boiled long enough that they were kind of a soggy/crunchy texture. The best way I can really describe it would be kind of like a small jawbreaker coated in gummy bear like material type texture, it was super weird haha. So that was a pretty gnarly first dinner for the new guy but he survived haha. Friday night though we found three new people to teach though! 2 from knocking and 1 from a referral from the temple visitors center. So that was really cool, I believe that got him a little more excited to go tracting haha. So far training's been really good though. This week we are studying the first lesson, the Restoration, during companionship study and according to the 12 week training program this week he is to take the lead in teaching it to somebody, which he is super nervous about haha. But I'm sure he'll do great haha, he just is still very timid and shy about talking to people for now haha. It's been alot of fun though, it feels like I was experiencing all of this for myself just a few days ago haha. I'll have to let you guys know how things go the rest of this upcoming week!