Monday, January 28, 2013

Snow! January 28th

Well as I'm sure you have guessed from the subject, we got snow this week! A pretty good amount of it too! Only about an inch each time, but that's still good enough for me haha. Man it's a little tough riding our bikes in the snow though, that was a first for me. I also got to experience my first bike crash! I enjoyed it so much that I did it 2 more times within crashing the first time haha. Luckily I'm not hurt bad at all, just a little sore. Turns out riding on ice is really difficult haha. I will just be riding and then all of a sudden my bike slips out from underneath me and the bike and I slide for a little bit together haha. I have done that a total of 4 times now haha. I go over a year straight of riding on my bike with no crashes and now 4 within the same week! Hopefully I don't keep that up haha. This week has really been a good one though, we have been having a hard time having very many lessons because of the new rule of having all of them at members homes or churches, but the lessons that we have had have really been going great! We gave Ben a few of his friends a tour of the church this Saturday, which really went well, and had a lesson with him and a friend of his afterwards. He such a good guy, he just shares the gospel with everyone! Just like it's second nature to him or something haha. He has now added goingon a mission to his bucket list though and a year from this Saturday he hopes to start on his papers and get going with it! We also went to the temple visitor's center with him and his Mom yesterday and had a great time. We got to tech his mom so much about the church, hopefully she will be interested in continuing to learn more! Transfers are this thursday though and I am sure that I will be gone, I've been here 6 months straight now, I would stay here the rest of my mission if I could though! This area is awesome. Even if I do get transfered though I should be able to come back for Ben's baptism on saturday, so that'll be good. So overall it has really been a great week here in Centreville! Hopefully next week my email will still come from Centreville haha. I hope everyone has had a great week wherever you are! I love and miss all of you guys!

A Big Week! Here and back home! January 21st

What a week it has been! It sure was a tough week with the new changes but a good week nevertheless. Before I get too much into what happened here though it sounds like back home was a really big week for everyone as well! I think the biggest thing being that Melissa got her mission call! She is going to Ackland, New Zealand! How cool is that? Man that would be so sweet to serve in New Zealand, such a pretty country. I have no doubt she will love her time there.

So this past week here was full of even more changes in the mission, these were more re-adjustments than they were changes though. But we had a meeting with all the leadership in our mission this past Thursday where we had two representatives from the church's missionary department (professional missionaries haha) come talk to us about how to be the best missionaries we can be. It was such an awesome meeting! I learned a ton! The only downside is that the meeting was 7 hours long haha. So it was a very long day. I took about 4 pages worth of notes, one full page is filled with changes to eliminate the "false traditions" of the mission. Things that weren't necessarily being done wrong, but just weren't the official way to do them. things like nightly calls to missionaries within our districts to see how their day was and making sure we use Elder or Sister before saying peoples last names always, just little things. I don't think any of them will be very difficult changes to make. My biggest difficulty I will have now is cramming all 7 of those hours into an hour and a half district meeting tomorrow morning so that the rest of the district knows about the changes as well haha. I'm not sure how to do that, because I felt like there wasn't a spare minute in our 7 hour meeting where we weren't learning something new, so it's going to be really tough to condense. Yesterday we had an awesome Sunday though! The 18 year old guy named Ben that we have been teaching got his answer, through prayer, that the book of Mormon is true! So now he wants to be baptized on the 2nd of Febuary, we are so pumped! I really hope I'm still here for it, it's the Saturday after transfers though so I don't think that I will be :/ but I will be able to come back for it! Plus we had two young women we began teaching last week come to church for the first time this week! Elder Skinner and another missionary (we had to split to cover all of our appointments) got to go with them to the Temple Visitor's center last night and have a guided tour by one of the Sisters serving there, it went really well, Temple Visitor's Center Sisters are always awesome. Well I've got to get running unfortunatelly :/ my hour is pretty much up, we had a really long email from President Riggs today that took up most of the emailing time haha but it was a good email! Well I hope everyone is having a great week! I love and miss all of you!

January 14th email-Busy Week!

Well it sure has been a busy week here in Centreville! We had zone conference this past Tuesday and it was awesome. We talked alot about the importance of commitments and following up regularly with those we leave commitments with. We also had a LOT of new changes and rules by President Riggs that will really help the mission as a whole I think. Man are they going to take some getting used to though haha. Probably the hardest one will be making sure that every lesson we have beyond the first visit needs to be done either in a member of the Church's home or in an actual church building. That's going to be hard to get people to comit to I think haha, but we will puch forward and do the best we can with it! I'm sure great success will come from it in time. So in addition to zone conference this week we also had zone training, which was just a review of all of the things talked about in zone conference. We were at those two meetings for a total of 10 hours though haha it was crazy. We had some great members take us out to dinner this week at a place called "Bonefish Grill", I'd seen it around but had never gone (it's super expensive) it is a seafood place that specializes in grilled fish. They both highly reccomended that we get the North Atlantic Swordfish, how cool is that? Swordfish! It was really really good! We also got to have some king crab legs as well, it was like heaven haha. Such an awesome dinner! Now I can say that I've tried swordfish! We also had some really great success with some people we've been teaching, we were teaching this young man that we've been visiting for awhile and he is great. He wakes up and goes to seminary every morning, mutual every week, and church every Sunday; he's awesome! So we knew he was definately feeling the spirit while he was coming to all of these things, because what else would drive an 18 year old high school senior to wake up at 5 every day to go to a church? haha. We weren't sure if he recognized that it was the holy ghost though so we decided we would have a lesson with him about it and we started off by asking "So how do you feel when you come to church?" and he said "I feel good. And I was thinking about it this past week and I feel good when I go to mutual, when I go to church, when I'm at seminary, and when I'm around members of the church, and I realized.. that it's the holy ghost!" So we were like holy smokes, lesson over haha it was awesome. He's a great kid and all he is waiting for now is a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true and then he said he would like to be baptized! Well that's about all for this week! I hope everyone is having a great week wherever you all are, I love and miss you all lots!

Email from January 7, 2013

It really has been a great week here in Centreville 1st! It was full of lots of good lessons and a great fast Sunday. In fact we hit the record for the most lessons we've had in a week since I've been here, so it was a really good week for teaching. We had lots of lessons with the young man we've been teaching named Ben (my parents got to meet him on Skype) they all went very well, he is a really great guy. Elder Skinner did have a pretty gnarly bike accident on our way to one of our lessons with Ben though haha. The 3 of us (Elder Skinner, Ben, and myself) were riding our bikes to Subway for dinner and a lesson at about 6 o clock, which means that it was already completely dark out haha.  So while we were riding we were using some bike paths that go back through the woods and there were quite a bit of puddles from some rain we had the other night. Well Elder Skiner and I don't have fenders on our bikes so usually mud gets flicked up from the front tire onto our pants if we ride through them, so usually we try and just wheelie over them instead. This time though Elder Skinner pulled up to wheelie and his left handle bar came up but the right one stayed where it was at! The handle bars snapped completely in half haha. So Ben and I were a few yards behind him when we saw this happen and it just looked like his bike slipped out from underneath him all of a sudden and he fell over haha. We both stopped before hitting him though and went to see what happened. Elder Skinner is totally fine but his bike is definitely broke haha. We should have expected that though considering we found that bike on the side of the road underneath an overpass just lying on the ground haha. But the bike did last him a good month before it broke! So we got our moneys worth out of it. Elder Skinner is now borrowing another missionaries bike until he get's his alternate bike mailed here from home, which is hopefully soon because the loaner bike from the other Elder is almost an exact copy of the one that just broke haha so we don't really trust it. New Years eve with the zone really went well though. We played Risk for a bit and then watched Brave. We still had to be in at normal time so we didn't get to stay up until midnight. Man Brave was really good though. It was lots better than the Puss in Boots movie we watched for Halloween haha. Oh and I almost forgot one last cool thing that happened this week! We found a new guy to teach named Alfredo, who is a really awesome guy and a deer hunter, and he said that the next deer he shoots he is going to bring us a bunch of meat because he's the only one in his family who will eat it haha. So he gives away all his meat to friends and just keeps a little for himself. Deer tags here are rediculously cheap, I think it's like 16 bucks for a tag that allows for 6 deer and then if you hit your limit you can renew your tag as many times as you want for just 12 more dollars or something along those lines. We've had a few members tell us about it. The deer here are super overpopulated and kinda malnourished, so I think that's why it's so much cheaper. It's all bow hunting though, there's nowhere far enough out from civilization here to have rifles haha. So hopefully next week I will be able to talk about all the deer meat we have! And about elder Skinner's new bike haha. I hope you all have had a great week as well! I love and miss all of you guys!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

DC Temple at Christmas

Happy New Year!

Well Merry Christmas and Happy new year to everyone! It has been a great week here in Centreville as always! We had a great Christmas this past Tuesday, thank you so much to everyone who sent packages and letters or cards, you really made it feel like a Christmas less far from home for me! I can't thank you enough! We started off our Christmas day with opening presents and cleaning our apartment (which was much needed after all the present opening haha). Then we spent the rest of the day with a family in the ward at their home, it was great! Of course, as always, the highlight of my Christmas was getting to Skype home to my family! It was so good to get to see them! I was glad to see and hear that everything was going well with them and get to update them on how things are going out here, it won't be too much longer until I talk to them on Mother's day! So overall it was an excellent Christmas here in the mission field! It sure has cooled down here though, it has been very wet and windy lately haha. We've had 2 or 3 rain/snowy days this past week, we really really hope that means we will have a snow filled winter! Man has the slush made for some muddy riding though haha, lot's of clothes washing this past week as well haha. We got to be a part of Joon's confirmation yesterday at Church and also got to see him ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood too, it was very cool. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for Joon to have this opportunity so it was a very big day for our ward. Later that night we got to go up to the Temple Visitor's Center with a woman who we're teaching to watch Scrooge the musical put on by a lot of people in our ward. It was so fun to get to see, we have some really talented people in our ward. I've attached a few pictures I took while I was up there too, it was beautiful! Probably the most memorable thing from being up there though was talking to Brother Large (the man who was just Baptized who is from Sierra Leone) who very excitedly came and found us after the show and said that he had something that he needed to show us, so we went with him to the humanitarian effort display that the Visitor's Center has up and he showed us the section about Sierra Leone. We watched a video about how the church just provided 7 million people there with fresh water and he told us about how great it was to him that his Church that he had just become a part of cares so much for his people, he told us about how he would have to walk 2 or 3 miles to go and get water every few days and how common that was among the people there. It was crazy to hear it first hand from someone who had been there. It was amazing that he had never really brought it up at all until that point, all the difficult things about home and daily life back and Sierra Leone, he never complained or talked to us about any of it. He just would tell us how great of a place it is and how wonderful their native food and things are. It was a major perspective change for me to see that kind of optimism. Brother Large truly is a great man. Well that's about all from this past week. It was an awesome one! Today should be good too, we are getting together with all the missionaries in a bit to have some New Years Eve fun and I think watch Brave, I don't remember for sure haha, but President Riggs approved some movies for us to watch tonight as a zone, so it should be lots of fun! Well I hope everyone is having a great day and week wherever you are! I love and miss you guys lots and I'll talk to you next year! (Bad pun I know, but I can't help it, I'm a Gronning haha)

Merry Christmas

Well here I am another week in Centreville! Still with Elder Skinner! I'm so excited! And surprised haha, I thought for sure I was getting transferred. In fact it was even more surprising because only one person out of our entire district got transferred and that was Elder Anderson, one of our zone leaders. We're going to miss him but man am I excited that I get ti stay here! This will be my second are that I've stayed in for 6 months haha. Man it sure was a great week though! We had Joon's baptism this morning (he's the Korean guy that we've been teaching) and it was awesome! There was an awesome turn out and everything went great! We probably had close to 70 or 80 members come to support him, it was so sweet! Also this week we had a bunch of really good lessons with those we've been teaching and now have two more people we are teaching working towards dates for baptism! A kid named Ben, who is also from Las Vegas, he's an awesome guy, is planning on the 12th and Alejandra, a woman from Mexico City we've been teaching for a while now is planning on the 5th! Next Saturday! How cool is that? Both of them are really awesome people. Ben is 18 and lives on his own and has really made some good friends at church that go to school with him too. Me and him get along great because we get to talk about all the stuff we both remember about Vegas  he moved here from Vegas just a year and a half ago, so just before I moved here from Vegas too haha. He should be with us when we Skype home tomorrow at a member in our ward's house so my family will get to meet him! Awesome! Alejandra is the girlfriend of a member in another ward and we've been teaching her for awhile now, she has such a great testimony, she knows everything we've taught her is true, she's just had a hard time with a few things but this past week she got past all of those things! So she wants to be baptized soon so that she can have the Holy Ghost as her constant companion to keep helping her do what's right. Plus we also got to go with a family to the Temple Visitor's Center last night and see all of the Christmas lights and man was it awesome! That Father in the family isn't a member of the Church and he really enjoyed himself and learned alot, it was very cool. On top of all that I was also blessed to get a whole bunch of Christmas packages and Cards from people this week, which was awesome! They are sitting underneath our tree in our apartment now, can't wait to open them tomorrow! It's going to be a great Christmas! We even had some snow start to fall today but not stick, it was a bunch of snow though! So it might even be a white Christmas this year! Well I hope everyone has a great Christmas wherever you are! I have to get going so I've got some time to coordinate with my parents on what time to Skype tomorrow! Merry Christmas!