Well another week has come and gone here in northern Virginia and man has it been a crazy one! It has been really exciting though. My new area is in the Centreville 1st ward, which is kinda right in the middle of all of the areas I've served in so far. It is a pretty densely populated area with a lot of houses. It's actually the in the top 3 cities in the U.S for having the most Koreans too haha so there are a ton of foreign people here! The craziest part about this area though is that my companion Elder Cluff and I are replacing sisters in the ward here so we are both new to the area! In the mission that's called a "white wash" where two missionaries leave and two new missionaries come in. Elder Cluff was one of the guys in my district in the MTC and was a roommate of mine back in McLean so we've served around each other quite a bit. He's a great guy though, he is also from Nevada too, but he's from a little farther up north, Panaca. Which I don't think I've ever been to but it's just a little tiny farm town according to Elder Cluff (the Vanilla Gorilla) haha. Also we are still on bikes here too, which means that at the end of this transfer I will have been on bike for the past 9 months straight! Our area is definitely the biggest bike area I've been in though. On Saturday alone we biked 22 miles almost 23 haha. It is a great area though, everybody here is really friendly it seems like. We went and knocked on some doors for about an hour our fist night here and 3 people in a row invited us back after talking to us awhile on the doorstep! That like never happens! Usually it's about 1 in every 100 that actually says they are interested haha so it was pretty sweet. Luckily one of the sisters that was serving in the area before we got here got transferred to just the next ward over and ended up being in my district. So we can always call her to get info about the ward or the people we are teaching. We have had great reception from the ward so far too. This past Sunday we had a lot of people come up and introduce themselves and welcome us to the ward, so hopefully we can make some good friends there. It's always hard on a ward having two missionaries leave and two come in because there isn't really much trust for the new Elders right off the bat, so we have to make sure we work extra hard to prove them we're trustworthy! We are pumped to be here though. It seems like it's going to be such a great area. Well hopefully next week I'll be able to give an update on the new people we are teaching! We sure are doing our best to find them haha. I hope everyone has had a great week wherever you are! I love and miss all of you guys!
Sorry for the late email! We went mini-golfing this past p-day with a recent convert to the ward here named Lacey and it ended up being farther than we thought haha so we got back right as P-day ended at 6 and didn't get to email :( but we got permission to do some quick emailing today so we can atleast get an email to President in with our numbers for the week. Man tomorrow is transfers though! It's even more crazy too because 3 out of the 4 of us are being transferred! Which includes, myself, Elder Kessler, and Elder Frazier.Elder Dickson is the only one who will be staying in the area! Craziness! I think they are closing down Elder Kessler and I's area, since we are in Ft. Belvoir C, it's pretty normal for it to close down and open up from time to time. The area is really transient so there are sometimes a lot of people to teach so we need a lot of Elders and sometimes there's not so much people to teach that just one companionship can cover it. So it's slowed down enough in both areas now that I bet they could combine it pretty easily. Elder Kessler and I are hoping we will go open up a new area somewhere else instead though! But odds are that won't happen haha. It's crazy that I only got to stay one transfer here. I feel like I just barely got finished unpacking and I have to start packing again! Crazy! We had a really sweet experience on this past P-day though. We were at Marshalls looking at ties before we went mini-golfing and this guy from Sudan came up and just started talking to us, asking who we were and things like that. Well we told him about how we are missionaries and we are from the Mormon church or the Latter-Day Saints. He then told us that he just feels and sees in everyone that he's ever met that is Mormon that they have something special that he wants. He said that whenever he sees members of our church they just seem to glow. He said "I don't know if you guys can see it but me and everybody else don't glow like you guys do. I'll see someone just walking in a store dressed normal and see them have that glow around them and ask them what church they go to and they always tell they are Mormons!" he had a very thick sudaneese accent too so it sounded even cooler when he said it in person. We told him about how the glow he sees in us is the special sort of happiness we all share as members of the church because of the peace and happiness we have from knowing why we are here, where we came from, and where we are going and that is the message we have been sent to share as missionaries he responded "That is a message that I want." It was such an amazing experience. We asked him if we could come over and teach him more but he was leaving the next day to go to sudan for 2 months then he is coming back. I got his address and phone number for while he is there in Sudan and left him with our number, he said he would love for the missionaries in Sudan to come over though so hopefully we have missionaries there! For the most part the people living there are Muslim though and very hardcore Muslim so usually they aren't to fond of branches of Christianity so I'm not sure if we will :( Well I should probably get going though. Man I'm going to miss this area! I hope everybody is having a great week back home though! I love and miss all of you guys!
Well it was a pretty rough week for lessons here unfortunately :/ For whatever reason like nobody was home at all! And the ones that were home were too sick to let us in so they just told us to come back this upcoming week instead. Lame! But it was still a good week spent working hard haha. We also had our first interviews with President Riggs this past week on tueesday too and man that was cool! He is such a great guy! We got to spend some good time just chatting one on one and getting to know eachother better. He of course asked me the classic question of "so what kind of career do you want to pursue after your mission?" Which for anyone who has ever asked me that question you know it never stays the same haha but I told him I was kinda thinking about 3 different options that I still wasn't too sure about: Being a Pilot, a Doctor of some sort, or working with Federal Law Enforcement FBI/CIA stuff. His immediate reaction was "What a waste!" haha. So of course I laughed and asked him what he meant by that and he said "Well I just can't see a guy like you wasting your God-given talent to talk to people on something like flying a plane or fixing someones health problems, I could maybe see you working for the Government but c'mon Elder Gronning you can do better than that!" haha. So from that we talked for about 15 minutes on how he thinks I should just go be a lawyer like he was haha. That should give you a pretty good idea of the kind of guy President Riggs is though, he loves to joke around and have a good time but he's all about hard work at the same time. The whole interview was a really spiritually uplifting experience. Also, speaking of interviews, yesterday I got to give my first baptismal interview to somebody! As district leader they have you go give the interviews for people who are being taught by the missionaries in your district. So this was the first one that I had gotten the chance to give and man it was great! It was for a guy named Roberto who is being baptized in the singles ward this upcoming saturday and boy does he have a strong testimony. Elder Holfeltz (he's the tall guy I was standing next to in that picture where we are in front of the tiger) and Heiner have been teaching him for only 3 weeks now. He's just here temporarily for work in the summer and actually leaves to go back home next weekend, but he loves the Gospel so much and already has such a great testimony of it that he wants to be baptized a member before he goes! How cool is that? Well that's about all I have time for this week unfortunatelly. We have to cut our email time to just a half hour today because we got invited to a dinner at 5:30 that we've got to get running to. I hope everyone has had a great week wherever you are though! I love and miss each of you guys!