Morgan had a Choir Concert and an Orchestra Concert at the beginning of the week. Very exciting because she made 2nd chair for the Violas and is a Sophomore. I guess some summer practicing paid off for her. Congrats babe! Love you tons.
Tanya became someone from Dr. Suess at the ward Halloween party, she was lovely! Morgan dress up like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's -- Holly Golightly? She was just lovely too! Ana and Ethan had a Halloween Party instead of trick or treating this year. Ethan was a Taco and Ana was herself. I guess she really is a teenager now.
French speaking missionaries heading to Montreal & one to DC.
Grant and Alec up and Grant and Jeff below.
Grant and Eric up and Grant and Davis below. The MTC seems more like a social hang out for Grant than a place of learning : ). Both Jeff and Davis are off to their missions now, hope they arrived safely!
The bench where Elder Keller and Elder B met Z. I think it's cute that he took a picture and sent it to us. Hope they were able to meet with him today and share the gospel. So awesome.
I am SOOO EXCITED! So we found our first investigator and gave him a book of Mormon! But I am getting a head of myself; a little background. The church pays BYU students that are not Mormon to hang out at the MTC on park benches and if missionaries want they can go sit down and talk to them! To make them easily identifiable they give them a gold missionary tag with their first name on it. They are real investigators and Elder Brill and I made contact with our first one Saturday!
His name is Z! He is from Florida and is going to BYU because it is much cheaper than the other collages. He is Atheist but his father was Catholic so he has a basic understanding of the Bible.
So Elder B and I were walking to class when I pointed him out, he was sitting on a park bench, and said "Hey do you want to go and talk to the gold tag?" Elder B looked at me like the crazy person that I am and sighed. I jogged over to him and said "Hi my name is Elder Grant and this is my colleague Elder B."
He looked up from his phone a bit startled and greeted us. We talked for a little bit and learned he was going to BYU. Then we asked what he was studying at school. He said "English" and without thinking I said "are you going to be a lawyer?"
He looked confused when he said "actually, yes! Most people don't think that how did you know?"
Instead of answering his question I asked him if he was considering NYU as his law school and then he looked really confused!
He started grinning and looked between Elder B and me and asked "Did you read my mind? How did you know that?"
I explained that my dad went to NYU! And, once again without thinking, said "Would you want my dads phone number? you could talk to him about lawyers stuffs and good law schools?" he shrugged and agreed. So I wrote down the home phone number and gave it to him! We set up another time to meet and talked a little more before we left!
Walking away I had the BEST feeling ever! I have never felt anything like it before! My body felt good all over! It was like an adrenaline rush but with a lot more positive emotion! The best solution I think I have is that I was overwhelmed with the spirit. It was warm and sunny outside and I had my suit jacket on but my whole body was shaking! I had an Incredible amount of energy, it was like nothing I had ever experienced! Then I realized, when I was talking to Z about law school and stuff, I didn't really think about what I was going to say! In fact, I cut him off once or twice! And a scripture came to mind, D&C 84:85
Z made my week! He doesn't know it but all that I think about is when we get to talk to him and what we are going to teach him! Tomorrow is our next lesson! I am very excited!
Other then that, French has been coming along! Monday our district went out and practiced teaching with our teachers. The objective was for you and your companion to meet someone on the street and give them a tour of an LDS church. They explained that missionaries do this in some zones in France as it is a really easy way to get people to learn about the church. So Elder B and I went out and "met" our teacher on the street and asked her if she wanted to take a tour of the "church." We ended up using the spanish speaking building! It was great! We wandered around and looked into all the spanish classes, some with students and teachers in them, and named them things like the chapel, or the relief society room, and explained, in French, to our teacher that they were different room of an LDS church. We got to the conference room and we called it the sacrament room. When we got in there I explained that this room is sacred because we take the sacrament. I explained how the sacrament worked and what it represents. I bore my testimony on what the sacrament meant to me and why I found it special. It was nice, the room was quiet and I almost thought I could feel the spirit. Then I looked over at Elder B and he was just staring. At the teacher. And then he giggled. He put his brochure in front of his face and gave a light laugh. Then he turned away from the teacher and smiled at me and mouthed "I don't know what to do" in English. I apologized to my teacher in French for my colleagues' behavior and told him to bare his testimony. He just looked at me like I was crazy. I said "you start with say vrey and then what you know to be true." He gave me the blankest look. Then smiled. And giggled. Then he looked at the teacher and giggled harder. I apologized to her and told her that our tour was over.
Weirdest Elder B experience yet. This is the second time that he hasn't said anything in an all French lesson. I worry for him and for his French.
I would count this week as a Good week! Two different experiences but everything else was great! :)
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.
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...
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.
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.