Monday, July 29, 2013

Birthday dinner surprise!

From letter to mom:
Texas Roadhouse was so good! We had quite an awesome experience there too haha. So we go in and we hand pick 2 of their biggest steaks fresh cut, 2 20 oz bone-in rib eyes, so they got those cooking haha then we ordered a appetizer sampler, 2 cokes, and some cherry grenadine (to mix in the cokes, it's delicious) then we both got our steaks "smothered" which means covered in saute'd mushrooms and onions and then I got fries and fresh veggies on the side and Elder Collie got a cup of chili and a salad on the side. So much food! We took a bunch home with us haha. The waitress brought us the check, $70, perfect! So I gave her the gift certificate and she was like "did you not look at the check?" and I'm thinking oh jeez we went over or something haha, but I look down at the very bottom and it says "Balance Due: $00.00" a less active member saw us walk in and told her to add our bill to his! We went up and said thanks and everything but he really didn't want to talk to us haha I guess he wanted it to stay secret. But man how cool is that?! I told Elder Collie I feel bad for the guy now though because he's probably thinking we were buying missionary budget 5-10 dollar meals and he's about to get a $70 check haha, hopefully that didn't take him back too much haha, I would have not spent nearly as much if I knew he was paying haha. This area rocks!

Pictures from Quantico and Colonial Heights!

Elder Gronning and Elder Collie with new member Brittany Rowan!

Elder Gronning with the best family ever! The Giacomini Family

Elder Gronning and Elder Skinner with brand new member-Thomas!

Another good week in good old green VA!

Things are great here in beautiful VA! But when aren't they? haha. We had quite a full week of all sorts of sweet missionary work. We had lots of great lessons with a number of the people we are teaching and found 5 more to start teaching as well. Part of the new people we've started teaching was a family of four who is as solid as solid gets! They are a woman named Sherry and her 3 kids. She is going through a very very rough time right now. Her husband abandoned the 4 of them this past April and took everything with him, including their money. I guess he has had a rough life as well and just really snapped one day. So she was left alone with her 3 kids ages 9 and twins age 7 and halfway through full time schooling to become a nurse. So things were bad. Then one day she had a young man knock on her door selling trash services (out here everyone has to pay individual companies for trash pick up instead of the state) he asked her about her previous trash service and why it was cancelled and she said that her husband had cancelled it and he's since left. Well I guess the guy could sense that she was in quite a bit of distress about the whole thing, even though she says that she is very good at hiding her emotions, he said "I don't usually do this because I'm at work, but can I pray with you and share something that might help?" She isn't a very religious person but she said that would be fine, so he started teaching her bits and pieces about the Gospel. Well she immediately felt the spirit, which was something she's never felt before so she was kinda freaking out haha. She was expecting it to go away but as long as this young man (who it ends up was a member of the church from Utah out here doing summer sales) was teaching her she just felt it super strong. Before he left he gave her our number, but she got too busy and never called. A week layer though she was at her mom's house and the same young man knocked on the door and she felt the spirit again! So this time she knew she needed to get a hold of us haha. Well our entire first lesson with her she was just in tears of joy the entire time, she loved it! We came back later in the week to help her change all the locks on her house with a member from the ward and while the member and I changed  the locks Elder Collie taught her pretty much everything about the gospel haha, all the commandments and everything, she committed right there to stop drinking alcohol, tea, and coffee and to give up smoking and has been doing fantastic on it ever since haha. She came to church, cried all throughout sacrament meeting, and has decided that her and her kids want to get baptized on August 24th. So solid!!! We are coming back this week with the relief society president, who is now really good friends with them, and are going to teach her and the kids all together. The Lord is awesome! He really is preparing everyday to receive the gospel, all we have to do is open our mouths and share it! So that was a sweet experience for sure.
We also had a baptism this Saturday that was super spiritual as well. A young woman named Brittany Rowan who got baptized. If I can find someone else's camera cord to use I will send a picture from it haha. So needless to say I love this area! My companion is awesome, roommates are awesome, the ward is sweet, and the work is excellent! What a great place to finish my mission :) Well sorry this one ended up a bit long, just a cool experience I needed to share! I hope you all have a had a great week as well! The Gospel is true! I love and miss you all lots and I will talk to you next week!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Elder Gronning!

Fishing on Pday 7/22/13

Hello from the Country!!

Well here I am in my new area! Chesterfield VA. Probably the last area I'll serve in haha. It is the polar opposite of every area I've served in so far though and it is awesome! i went from being on the northern border of our mission to the southern haha. It is very rural, so nice to be out of the city! It's huge compared to Quantico and man is it beautiful. I'll be taking lots of pictures this week. My ward here is called the Swift Creek Ward and I'm in the Swift Creek A area. There's two sets of missoinaries serving in our ward, an A and a B. B is on bike and we have a car. Another cool thing about the area is we have a house! It's not a members home or anything, just a house for the 4 of us, so sweet! I guess that's pretty common here in the Richmond mission, they say it saves us a ton of money as a mission. I'll also be taking lots of pictures of that haha. My new companion is Elder Collie from Eldorodo Hills CA. We get along great. He is been out 6 months and is the boldest missionary I've ever met haha. He invites literally everybody to be baptized as soon as he meets them and has no problem testifying when people don't agree with us, he is a great missionary. He played football for BYU for awhile before his mission and football runs in the family from what he tells me haha, so much that his brother plays for the Colts in the NFL. He's a really cool guy though and him and I are having a great time.
Our area is on fire with people to teach as well! we have quite a bit of people we are teaching at the moment 10 of which are currently have agreed to be baptized on various weekends in the next month or two. 4 of which we have committed to a date with since I got here Thursday haha. Definitely not from anything I did though, don't take that as me being arrogant or anything haha, it just shows how quick the work is progressing! The people are so much more humble here! It rocks! This will be an awesome place to serve for my last 3 months. Our roommates are awesome as well, we have Elder Francis (from salt Lake) and Elder Adams (from Lehi, he is brand new to the mission field).
My birthday went great too! Thank you to everyone who sent me cards, emails, and packages this past week! You made it a great birthday for me away from home. We didn't do a ton of celebrating because no one really had a heads up haha but Elder Collie somehow secretly got Elder Francis and Elder Adams to go buy me a card and Oreos and had the 3 of them sign it and surprised me by singing happy birthday all of a sudden while we were planning that night haha. It was an awesome surprise. So needless to say it has been an awesome week! Lots of change, but change is good.You can't grow without change haha.
We've had a great start to our P-day so far too, we woke up at 5:15 this morning and went fishing with one of our investigators on the river, it was sweet! We didn't catch a ton though haha I caught our only fish and it was like a 3 oz sun fish haha. Well I hope you all have had a great week as well! I will be sending a second email with a few pictures from my new area but I will have more next week! I love and miss you all!
Also my new address is:

Elder Cody Gronning
3803 Brevard Ct.
Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Monday, July 15, 2013

Funny story from Elder Skinner's 7/15 email

Elder Skinner is Elder Gronning's companion and shared a funny story in his email to his family this week. I thought it would be good to share on Elder Gronning's blog.
"Elder Gronning and I arrived at the church at 5:00 to fill the font. We cleaned it out first and started the water. We realized that we left our cameras out in the car so we went out to get them and when we were at the car I asked if we had the keys to the church.... nope. We frantically walked around checking each door and each window and no luck. All fonts have a drain... Well ours is broken and the water is on full blast. So we called around and found someone with keys to come and unlock the church so we could keep the font room from overflowing... Took 30 minutes before they arrived and when they did we ran through the church and burst into the font room and the water was above the glass!!!!! Ok not really. It was up to the carpet! So we ran in and shut off the water and closed the drain and all was well. The baptism went great and Thomas bore his testimony afterwords and it was so powerful."

Last Week in Quantico! 7/15 email

It has been an awesome week here! It always is as a missionary haha. But we had some sweet miracles come our way. The only bummer of the week (besides my golf score today) was that I got the call and I will be transferred on this upcoming Thursday, so bummed! I was hoping I'd be able to finish up my mission here haha. But it sounds like the Lord has other plans. I'll go wherever it is I'm needed though and I'm sure wherever it is I will still love it! This week though we found a total of 6 new people to teach! It was awesome! We found 2 from a referral from a member, 1 that was a former investigator, 1 that was a self-referral from, and 2 more that were friends of a less-active member. So sweet! The last two we found are from Sierra Leonne also so that is an additional plus haha. That means Elder Skinner and I get to bust out our Creole that the guy we taught named Brother Large back in Centreville taught us haha. They were loving it! They just laughed and laughed haha. Native African people have the happiest laughs ever too, it's like a half holler/laugh, super loud haha. You can tell that they have a very happy culture because they love to laugh and it makes you have to laugh with them haha.
The big highlight of the week was definitely the baptism that went through this Saturday for Thomas! It went awesome! Everything went totally according to plan and he got up and bore his testimony afterwards, it was very powerful. I took some pictures to put in the email today from it but we are emailing from the Library today and they don't have a place for the SD card to go so I can't send them this week. Next week I will though! It was really nice not having so many meetings this past week, it gave us lots of time to do regular missionary work, which rocked. This week will be a hectic one with transfers though. Almost every companionship in the zone is being transferred, and the majority of the companionships in our zone are bike Elders, so we have to find a way to fit all their stuff, a long with all of the missionaries with cars stuff, and all of the missionaries into the 8 vehicles our zone is assigned haha. We will probably be using the van as the zone u-haul, the wonderful blessings of stow-away seats and a luggage rack on the top haha. A few bungies and a tarp and we're set. I'll be taking pictures of that for sure! So all in all it has been a great week, we have had lots of great success and I am going to be sad to go, but it will be nice finally knowing where my last area will be. Missions go by too fast! It's hard to believe that I will be turning 21 already on Friday! Crazy!! Well I hope you all have had great weeks as well! I'll let you know where my new area is next week! I love and miss you all lots!

An Even Busier Week! 7/9 email

Well it looks like hings will finally slow down a bit this week but man was this past week a busy one haha. We made 2 trips down and back to Richmond this past week! Lot's of driving haha. By the 4th we looked at our miles used month-to-date and we were already at 560, in 4 total days for the month haha. Atleast we have our nice mini-van to drive around in haha. We drove down first on Tuesday for a full mission conference where we got to meet everyone in the new mission. That went really well, there a lots of nice people in our new mission, but still lots of separation haha. We went into the Gym afterwards for some snacks and a mission picture and both missions sort of grouped around the people they knew, so we got some people together from our zone and just started making our way into their circles haha very awkward but it went well. Wednesday we went back down to Richmond, a little farther this time, to a mission leader council where the mission president, each of the zone leaders, and the coordinating sisters get together to discuss rules and policies and stuff. Usually a not very exciting meeting haha. This one was full of changes though! It was so foreign haha. With it being the first one since the split and the first one that President Wilson has been to it was filled with all sorts of new policies and ways of doing things, a little overwhelming for sure haha. All the new things they do in the Richmond mission are definitely going to take some getting used to. My opinion though is that really we are the ones coming into their home so we don't have a ton of say with the way things go haha. We just have to be willing to conform to the way they do things and do our best at whatever we are asked to do differently and do it all with a smile on our face. Exciting stuff though! Our 4th was great, we went to a big ward get together at our Bishop's house. He lives in a really nice community in our area where they do a big fireworks show each year. What's even cooler is the place they shoot the fireworks off from is right behind his house so we had the best view for sure! The fireworks were going on right over our heads haha it was sweet! The most exciting thing we've had going this week though is we have a young man preparing for his baptism this upcoming Saturday at 7, his name is Thomas Linstrom, he's a great guy. He is 17 and the only non-member in his family so we are very excited for him. He wants to serve a mission as soon as he can! So next Monday I'll let you all know how that goes! Sorry for the late email today though! Yesterday we took 2 other companionships Golfing in the zone and it was everybody's first time Golfing except for mine haha. They all wanted to learn how to play so I told them I would teach them. We left first thing right after studies and went to hit a bucket of balls with everyone. We just played 9 holes in two groups of three, we started at 12 and expected to be done by 3 at the latest (it should usually take about an hour and a half to 2 hours for 9 holes, so we guessed an extra hours since it was everyone's first time).. we got done at like 5. It was such a long round of golf! So because of that we had 0 time left of P-day and had to move our emailing to today haha. It was crazy! I think it was really good for those guys to be able to unwind for a bit with all the recent changes haha. Well I've got to get going! We've got a pretty busy day lined up today as well, busy all the time! I love and miss all of you though! I hope you all have had great weeks as well! Talk to you next week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Transfer dates changed

Elder Gronning's next transfer dates are actually July 18th and August 29th. If nothing changes he will be coming home Tuesday October 8th!!!

First Week of Richmond Mission!

It has been one crazy week! We are exhausted haha. This week sounds like it will be just as exhausting as well haha. We had our mission conference this past week which was very bitter-sweet, it was hard to say goodbye to everyone but exciting to head somewhere new! I tried my best to make it more sweet than bitter anyways haha I figured if we're going to Richmond we might as well just be stoked about it! Being bummed out or sad won't change the fact that we are still going haha, so we've just been taking the new change head-on and so far it's been great! We will be making our first drive down to Richmond tomorrow for a full mission conference where we get to meet President Wilson, 90 miles each way, woo hoo! Haha it's going to be a looong drive. We'll see some cool new scenery though, we hear they have mountains there, such a score!!!! You don't realize how great mountains are until you don't have them. It feels like we're just in a big hole of trees here all the time because you can't see anything but trees on the horizon in any direction haha. So that'll be a lot of fun. Then the next day (Wednesday) we will be making another drive down to Richmond for our mission leadership council, which will be a big one. That will be the meeting where we debate with all the Richmond guys which missions way we should do everything haha. I imagine there will be some frstration from a lot of people about changes. New mission President and 2 different missions combined means lots of policy changes and missionaries hate change haha. Besides a few of us. I love change! So that'll be a solid 360 miles on our car in two days haha. They gave us a new 2013 dodge Grand Caravan to haul all our missionaries up and down to Richmond though and it is sweet! We call it the "Man Van" or the "Woodbridge Wagon" we love it. Our first P-day of Richmond has been aweosome as well. We wanted to get everybody's morale up with all the changes lately so we got permission to go and do a zone lazer tag activity at the local Lazer-Quest here. We rented out the place for 2 games and lunch with just our missionaries and it was sweet! Everybody had such a good time. It was a ton of fun. We got to pick our team names and everything so we had the Nephites vs. Lamanites vs. Jaredites and then had it assign teams randomly. I was a Nephite, and we got 2nd. It went Jaredites, Nephites, then Lamanites. Totally opposite of how it really turned out haha. We are such missionaries, it's cheezy but awesome. We also set a baptismal date with a young woman we've been teaching thisw past week for August 3rd! We are so stoked! So for right now we've got a baptism set for July 13th and August 3rd, we can't wait! Well we've got some lessons to run to tonight as well so I've got to keep my emailing a little short today. It was an awesome week though! I wish I could write more about it! I hope your weeks were the same! I love and miss you all and I'll talk to you next week!