Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 3 in the MTC

Grant with Davis (I took this from Davis's blog : ) Good friend from our NJ days, these cute boys were play group buddies.  Except when Grant would bite Davis, then we had to go home early.
Grant's zone and district groups.

Ran into Jeff! Good friend and cross country buddy.

He said this is Elder Darius, he is happy to see him.  I'm not sure I know who he is so I'll have to ask.
Grant sporting his new hair cut.  He said she cut it all with a razor.  One way to get rid of the curl : )

And our letter from Grant:

So this week felt less stressful than the previous two. I spent a good portion of this week memorizing vocab and conjugations! We also learned past tense! and the biggest French rule ever! Basically the French change the pronunciation and conjugation of words just to make it sound pretty. For instance, whenever a vowel follows an S you turn the S into a Z sound and slur the two words together to make a big word! There is also no rule for Masculine and Feminine. If it sounds prettier to make the word masculine, it becomes masculine! 

I got my haircut today! Brill and I walked into the barber shop and checked our names off of the scheduled list. The barber came out and called my name. I walked into the hair cutting room and sat down in a classic big red hair salon chair. The barber came over and put on the usual neck towel and hair catching coat, she then proceeded to pull out a big nasty looking razor that still had hairs from the last kid. She didn't even ask how I wanted my hair she just went to town! I told her I usually like to have hair in the front to comb over and she looked at me through the mirror and said to me "you haven't ever been here before have you?" and then proceeded to cut my hair again! I was really confused! Elder Brill's barber asked him what he wanted and cut his hair how he specified! I guess I got the lucky barber! Anyways, my barber used a razor to cut my entire head! It reminded me when dad got his haircut in Belize! The barber just used razors to cut his hair and blend it all together! After shaving the rest of my head she flipped the razor over and just sort of scraped my bangs off. I think the best part of getting my hair cut was when she turned the vacuum on! She had a big old vacuum hose that she used to suck off all the excess hair on my head! It felt weird but I definitely feel like your average Elder now!

Yesterday Elder Smith and I decided to go only salad and soup for the rest of the week! I am very excited for this! Ps: I may have gained a few pounds! But its not my fault! they let you have UNLIMITED CHOCOLATE COOKIES! now who can resist that!?

So Sundays are fun days for missionaries! In fact, we have more to do on Sundays than any other day of the week! Last Sunday I got to prepare a discussion on faith and blessings! I pulled a scripture from Mark where this man falls to Jesus's feet and tells him that he wants his Servant healed. He looks up at Jesus and says Lord I have faith that you can heal him but can you "help my unbelief?" and the Savior says go, your servant is healed. I asked a question along the lines of "even when our faith is insufficient will the lord help our unbelief?" and that got people talking! Some Elders had some interesting concepts of faith. I didn't know but during my discussion the mission president for the french speakers was listening. He then asked me to talk in sacrament for the next block. I didn't mind speaking other then it had to be in FRENCH!!! I had to give a 5 minuet talk in French. OI Vay. Fortunately, we had been asked to prepare a 5 minuet talk the week before and I had about half of mine done!
During my talk, about half way through, I had a scripture I wanted to reference. Unfortunately, I could not find the scripture and in my best French said "moving on" and my district leader just looked at me and sort of chuckled. I carried on and rattled my talk of in about 2 minuets. I then bore my testimony for three minuets on how grateful I was for the Savior. After my talk I sat down next to my district leader and he commended me for conjugating the verb "to love". I was so excited! I conjugated a verb and didn't even have to think about it! Or I mispronounced the verb. I think it was probably a 60/40 split.

Those were the exciting parts of my week! 
a la porcahine (until we meet again) 
Love, Grant Keller

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fun filled Weekend








 We had a fun filled weekend.  Friday our cousins were down for BYU's Homecoming weekend events.  So we got to go to Frightmares (Lagoon) with them during the day and then we took off for Provo that night.  The boys went to the dunk contest at the Smithfield house and the girls went to the BYU Homecoming Spectacular.  It was really fun.  The theme was 50 years of the arts at BYU.  The HFAC was built 50 years ago and so James C Christensen, artist, spoke throughout all of the performances.  They had one of his characters come to life and they talked back and forth between performances.  I loved it and I think all of the kids enjoyed watching it too.  Even Tanya made it through.

Saturday continued our tradition of carving pumpkins with our friends.  With Grant in the MTC, Laura in college and out with friends, Tanya at work and then Morgan and Calvin went to frightmares our numbers were pretty small!  But we got everyone who was around in the picture ; ).  With or without a jack-o-lantern...


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Letter from Grant - no pictures this week



Wednesday Elder Brill was still getting over his sickness so we stayed in the housing halls. While he was sleeping I hammered out the second lesson and started the third lesson that we were going to teach to Solonge. (Solonge is an actor who role plays mission discussions with the French missionaries. She herself went on a mission to France and tries to play the role of one of the many French investigators that she taught.)  It was time consuming for the simple reason that I had to translate most of the questions and statements that I wanted to make. She received the second lesson very well! and the third lesson was AWESOME! Halfway through she asked a few questions and the words I needed just came to me. It was very broken french but it got the point across. After I answered her question Elder Brill, in broken french, bore his testimony and it went something like "even though I am very sick, I love the gospel. We both know these things to be true" and after another question we asked her to be baptized and she agreed! After she agreed we spent 10 minutes trying to set a date for her to be baptized haha oh man neither me or Brill knew the days of the week or months in French so we had to point to them on the calendar! We found out later that she denied being baptized by two other missionary companionships today and as backwards as this sounds, I am glad she did. Just because that means she won't say yes to everyone. It made me and Elder Brill happy! :) 

Elder Brill finally de-stressed Thursday and we really got to know each other. He has had a hard life moving and never being able to keep friends. It makes me glad that I can be his friend for four more weeks! 

We had our first zone conference this week! That was scary exciting! We all shared stories about the stupidest things we have ever done! I told about when Matt, Ben, Josh, Hunter, and I went bouldering up in the Uintas and how Matt almost fell of the cliff face. VERY scary! After we got to know our Zone better we had a discussion led by our district leader. It was nice. I am excited to have a real Zone conference when I get out to the field.

 Sundays in the MTC are incredibly busy! We all got to have a personal conversation with the mission president or his counselors and they all talked to us about mission life and things of that nature. The end of the day is the Best! We got to watch a video of Elder Bednar speaking to the missionaries! He talked on how to find Christlike attributes and challenged all of us to find a question, take a fresh book of mormon (one of the paper back kind) and read the whole book of Mormon and mark anything that pertains to our question and then when we finish write a half page to a page on what we learned. He said that if we did this for every serious gospel topic that by the end of our lives we would have a library of answered questions. 

Yesterday I felt like I had a breakthrough in the language. We got to have a follow up with Solonge and we brought a member along with us. We explained the Sacrament and why we keep the Sabbath day holy and then the member we brought along bore her testimony! It was great! It got even better when I bore a second testimony in French without needing to look for a word! After that experience I have felt more comfortable with the language. 

Also, some French missionaries from Paris came and are learning the Creol language. Whenever we have free time we go over and talk to them and practice our French! Its funny though because all they want to practice their English on us! 

I am loving the MTC. Spending all of this time just focused on the lord feels really good! I love you all. 
Elder Keller

Monday, October 13, 2014

Life after the MTC

 Morgan signed up for Taekwondo this past week and added voice lessons to her busy life.  We'll see if we can keep up with her.  Below is Morgan and her friend ready for the stake dance last Saturday. And of course it was pretty cool to see the blood moon last week.


 Today I headed down to Provo to see these awesome friends.  We met 20 years ago in NYC and have decided to start getting together a little more often.  It's been great to catch up and support one another with everything we have going on in our lives.  Today we hiked to the Y and then had falafels for lunch at a restaurant called Auburdens, they serve Mediterranean food.  So yummy & the falafel balls were baked instead of fried.  Even better.  This cute little bakery next door had free shipping to the MTC so we sent Grant some pumpkin bars : ).





Grant ran into Davis this past week.  Thanks Davis for sending us a picture.  I'm so glad you guys were able to see each other in the MTC.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Finally a letter from Grant - guess Tuesdays are his p day.





  I guess Elder Keller's p day is Tuesday.  We finally received a letter from him.  I wasn't sure if I should edit the info about his companion, so read it knowing that he does like him and Elder B is probably writing home saying I got stuck with some crazy kid who wants to run 5 miles every day and doesn't keep a tidy room : ).   Also, I think it will be good for Grant to learn to be a little more compassionate and organized.  They learn better from peers than parents, right?
   If you don't want these letters or need them sent to a different address please reply just to me, not the whole group.  Thanks so much.  It was so good to hear from him and feel free to drop him a note.

grant.keller@myldsmail.net  (his weekly email) or dearelder.com  he is in unit 105, France Lyon Mission, departure date of Nov 10th.

Love,
Carlin

  So hugging mom and dad for the last time got me crying a little, but I'm doing great.
 After I got all of my materials and sat down in class Wednesday our french teacher came in and just started speaking French. He was crazy. So far he has said three English words and I have had class with him for almost 8 hours a day.
 After that I got to meet my collegue missionair (companion)! His name is Elder B, he is a triplet! He has forgotten his key card 4 times and lost his room key twice (he doesn't know where it is right now). Overall I like him. He has a testimony and understands the scriptures.  He is deathly allergic to ALL nuts, he can not have any melons, there are three fruits he can eat, he is allergic to grass, trees, most plants, and any animal even if it doesn't shed. The only pet he has ever had was a bat and his sister killed it with a rock only a week after he got it. His dad is in the army/airforce and so he has lived in 14 different states and 2 countries. He runs our room like an army camp. He marks off when we do our chores and how well we do them, he also takes 10 minuets each day to transfer the mission schedule over to his note pad. He really is a loving person, but It does bother me a little that he hates running!  This weekend he got a virus in his lungs and so we missed a session of conference while we were at the hospital. 
    Conference was the most fantastic experience! We got to watch the conference sessions in the gym where the MTC had two MASSIVE projectors set up to display it on the wall. I have no idea who gave the best talk they were
 all fantastic!!
    The other companionship in our room are elders Sm and Sw. Sm is from Texas and is a very cool missionary! He has an awesome testimony that fills the room with the spirit even through his thick Texan accent! Sw is kinda shy. I didn't realize how much slang I have picked up from Josh, Hunter, Matt, Ben, Jeff, and Jacob. I said HAAAAMARABI! and I just got blank stares. Elder Sm however has listened to a lot of music that I have and we make weird music jokes. Often he just quotes rap songs from Drake or Weezy. I really do like my Missionary Colleagues. Besides their quirks they are good people and just want to serve! And they aren't as crazy as some of the other missionaries in our zone. :) For instance the Australians! whenever we are outside they yell  "AUZIE AUZIE AUZIE" and other Australians on campus will answer their call. The British guys sang how much wood could a wood chuck chuck in the shower today and quoted monty python and to hear it in a British accent is pretty hilarious!
    French is coming along nicely! I am learning slowly and day three we had to give a thirty minute lesson in French. My incredibly broken french some how got us by; I have however memorized the Joseph Smith first vision and the missionary motto along with some powerful sentences. Our investigator asked us a question about the priesthood and how the prophet receives revelation so we get to explain that to her tomorrow! Our district is nice. Two of the missionaries have taken 3-4 years of French and one sister lived in France for a year. The rest of us had never heard French spoken before :) I Love being in the MTC and just enjoy working. Life is simple and yet super High Stress. We really don't have a lot of free time to think and do other things! And when we are given study time we are expected to study French. Its funny though because our zone leader interrupts us and flirts with the sisters in our district and it is REALLY annoying! He even sang them a song acapella the other day. Great Stuff. I really do enjoy being here! I love the letters that I have received from home and the package! They brighten my day and take some of the stress off :) Until next Tuesday!

Love,  
    Elder Keller.

I don't know why half of the letter is centered in the middle, it won't let me change it.  So here it is.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MTC

 Had to throw this picture in from last week when Grant went fishing with Troy and his brothers.  Grant loved spending time with his Grandpa and uncles.  And as he shared in his sacrament talk he had the opportunity to share the first discussion with one of the guides that was helping them.  What a great experiences before heading out into the mission field.  Thanks Grandpa K for giving him the opportunity to teach.  Loved it.

 The morning before leaving the kids all said their good-byes and gave him hugs.  He then changed and went on a last run with his friend Jacob who was also going into the MTC in the afternoon.  He showered and changed back into the suit and we headed down to Provo.  We stopped for some euros and lunch.  Took a few pictures out side the MTC and then dropped him off on the curb.  I couldn't believe the amount of cars and people that wrapped around the building to drop missionaries off.  We have been so excited for Grant and his decision to serve a mission, but it was still very tender to watch him walk away.  It takes a little piece of your heart, even though we know what a great missionary he will be.

So we decided to drive up the canyon after we dropped him off and we headed up through Aspen Grove and it began to snow on us.  Crazy, snow on Oct 1.  It was beautiful falling among all of the yellow aspens.  So I had to take some pictures it was so lovely.  Grant would appreciate a couple of these shots even if I took them with my auto focus instead of manual : )  Good Luck Grant on your next two years.  Stay close to the Savior and you will do much good.  Love you dearly.










Sunday, September 28, 2014

Missionary Talk

 Grant gave a great missionary talk on the commandments today in church.  He heads to the MTC this wednesday for 6 weeks to learn French and to prepare to head out to the France Lyon Mission.  It was a good meeting and we enjoyed visiting with family afterwards.  Morgan and Ryan slaved over the stove and made tons of crepes.  The first batch didn't turn out so Betsy and Lesli jumped in and made lots of smooth, perfect batter.  We are so excited for Grant to share his testimony and the gospel with the people of France.  He is such a great person, so glad that we have been blessed to raise him and have him in our lives.  Love you so much.