Saturday, March 28, 2015

3-23-15 Whoa! Last letter!

What a week.  The days are getting shorter and shorter and the time is flying by!
Been a busy week this week.  Felt like we were chickens running around with our heads cut off.
- We had a sister's conference this week.  The last one we had was my fist transfer out.  It was nice to see everyone again!  Sister Bush and I just talked the whole time!  Nothing has changed :)  I got to see my Granddaughter!!  I actually have posterity in the mission now!  So cool! (this means Sister Migao, my trainee, aka daughter, is now training someone)  They are teaching a friend of a member in our ward.  So funny to see the different sides.
- Temple was awesome as always!!  I just love being there!  I even stayed awake the whole time!  For a 6:30 session!  Pretty awesome.  It was cool to be there on my exact 18 month mark!  - Zone Meeting was great.  We learned a new way to teach that helps us to focus more on what they need to be learning and cut all of the excess out.  It was so cool!  Received a lot of good insights.  We tried the new approach on our zone blitz and we taught the whole first lesson and got the lady to agree to reading/praying about the Book of Mormon, and to have the missionaries back.  It was incredible!  One of the most successful tracting moments I have had.  It was neat to feel the spirit actually leading us to that street and house!
- Showed up for our investigator lesson and his girlfriend wasn't home so we couldn't come in.  He tried calling her to see when she would be back.  While we waited, we talked with his dad.  Turns out he is a less active member and stoped visiting with the missionaries because they didn't know that he moved.  Got his address and number for them to visit him!  We weren't able to meet with them that night, but he set up 3 appointments for this coming week with us!  So awesome!
- Sunday was crazy.  We walk out of ward council super late (now I see that we went over for a reason) and see one of our ward members standing at the chapel doors (meaning she is attending the 9am session instead of our 1 o'clock session.)  When she sees us, she starts crying.  This is a strong women, she takes care of 11 kids (3 different marriages).  This is unusual for her.  We start walking with her around the church and she spills everything.  She left her husband that week.  Took her 6 kids with her.  Staying with friends and has no idea how she is going to make everything work.  Only a handful of people knew.  We got the chance to visit her later that day.  Felt so bad I couldn't do anything more to help her. It was a rewarding moment though to see her open up to us.  When I first got into the ward, she seemed very aloof.  One day Sister Bush wanted to go to choir practice and we sat next to her.  Ever since then, we have been really good friends.  But I had no idea she trusted us that much.  Many of the lessons given that Sunday had underlying tones of not judging in them.  As I looked back on those months, it was crazy to see how much she was struggling.  And there I was  wondering why she seemed so withdrawn.  If only we really knew what trials everyone around us was facing, we would have much greater love and patience with them.  We would see them in a whole new light. Closer to how God sees them.
Fun facts about next the upcoming week as I won't be writing:
- The only day we have to feed ourselves lunch is today.  We will have members feeding us every day this week trying to get one last visit in haha.
- Going home is the best excuse to get people to do things i.e feeding you, setting up appointments, coming to church, etc.  You best believe I milk it for all it is worth.
- 3 appointments with our investigator!!  Sorry, I know I already said that, but I am still mind blown!
- My departing interview is on Friday with President :O
- This is how my final moments go:  Sunday afternoon, all of us who are going home (4 sisters, 1 elder) will meet up at the church with the STLs and ZLs.  We will load up all the luggage and venture off to Westminster, where the mission home is (aka. President and Mrs. President's house).  We will have a big dinner, a testimony meeting, party all night (not really...we're missionaries) and hang out talking.  In the morning, the APs (assistants to the president) will pick us all up and drive us to the airport very early!  (The Kers are flying out that day too and will be there!!!!!!!!!!!)  At 8:45 I will board the flight going to SLC and arrive at 10:20.  At 11:35 I will board the flight going to Las Vegas and arrive at 12:02 where I will get to hug my beautiful family for the first time in forever!!!

I cannot adequately express the feelings I have for these past 18 months.  I have loved being a missionary.  I can say that because I am almost done with all those hard times haha.  But even those hard moments, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.  Serving the Lord for this time has brought me the greatest happiness.  I know that he was and is with me every step of the way.  As we sacrifice those things we believe are important to us, he will show us an even better path.  He will change our hearts to make what's important to him important to us.  I have felt so much love for his children that I have no doubt he knows and loves each and every one of us individually, personally, and beyond our understanding.  I have caught glimpses of his plan for me and others. He has so much more in store for us.  This life is so important, but it is not the most important thing.
I know our Savior lives.  I know he made it possible for us to become more than we believe we can be.  He is always there for us and can help us to overcome anything, even ourselves.  Even our biggest demons.  He has taken what I once thought was a terrible mistake and turned it into one of my greatest blessings.  I am so grateful for these past 18 months and wish I could share the wonderful feelings I have with all of you.  But I know those feelings come from trying to serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  Not perfectly, but what we can do, and then seeking to have him help us make it better.  Thank you for all the support you have given me.  I love you all and will see you so soon! 
Love, Sister Grossman

Monday, March 16, 2015

3-16-15 Super Weird!

Oh man!  This is super weird to be writing my very last normal letter!!
What a roller coaster of a week this has been!  So many ups and so many downs, but it all turned out good in the end.
- We live in the basement.  Apparently that means mice problems.  We have mice.  We first thought there was only one.  His name was Roadkill.  So we put out traps....we caught more than one.  This week alone we have totaled 3.  I was alright putting the first trap down, but when I saw the mouse squirming and squealing trying to get out, I just couldn't pick up the trap.  I knew if I told our member, she would make me face my fears and get it.. So we called the district leader, told them where the traps were, gave them replacements, and waited outside.  They had to come back a few days later to get the other one.  Not ok....
- Had super fun helping members clean and organize places in their home as they are trying to move and are completely overwhelmed. Seriously, organizing = my favorite hobby lol.
- Thursday was interesting.  We had 4 appointments set. 3 cancelled and at the other one, our investigator dropped us.  He wasn't really progressing and we were considering dropping him, but still.  I just couldn't help but laugh.  It was so funny just how everything was working out.  It still was a bit of a bummer, but if that is all Satan has, then bring it on.  He ain't got nothing on us.
- We had a lot of good lessons this week with LAs.  There are many of them that are progressing.  I just found out this morning that one of them is in the process of going to the temple!  She is meeting with the stake president on Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!!  Wow, that made me so happy!!!!  Her daughter is the 12yr old that we are working with.  We sat with them at stake conference.  I just love them!
- Weird, this is my second stake conference in this ward.  That is a first for me.  You are usually never in an area long enough to see the next one. Unfortunately, my knees were bothering me from too much walking the day before so I had a really hard time concentrating.  I also got a lot of funny looks because I was sitting in one of the primary chairs. (they help to sit in when my knees are acting up because I can bend my leg more).
- Saturday we had a zone blitz in our area.  We picked a neighborhood, relatively smallish, but usually they split up the zone into 2 different areas so we figured we'd be ok.  And then, not everyone comes.  Well...the whole zone came to our area. 24 missionaries.  There is one member house in that neighborhood and we were standing outside talking to them when the whole fleet showed up.  Their jaw dropped and they said, "Sorry neighbors!  I promise we didn't do it!"  hahaha.  We tracted out the whole neighborhood and got 10+ potentials!  It was awesome!  Even though there were a few snags, I know we were supposed to be there for some of those people.
- I guess a few other random things: zone p-day in Strasburg, members being our get away drivers for ding dong ditching, driving/riding on automated wheelchairs around the church (Sister O's), lots of not very nice/uninterested/not progressing people who make me feel like I am hitting my head against a wall, and probably lots more I can't remember right now!  But all in all it has been a fun week.
Starting to panic.  It doesn't feel real, but at the same time it is far too real. Can't wrap my head around the fact that I have less than 14 days.....I feel slightly sick all the time hahaha.  But still loving being a missionary.   
I will talk to you all next week for the final time :O love and miss you!!
Sister Grossman

Monday, March 9, 2015

3-9-15 Another Week of Blessings

Well it has been another good week!!
- Went out to Strasburg for our sisters p-day last week.  We went to a donkey shelter and got to play with them all!  Our shoes were pretty poopy afterwards, but we had a fun time!  We just had fun taking some pictures on this giant train bridge too.
- Been working with a LA's 12yr old daughter.  Seeing great progress with her :) she's awesome and I just love her.  She's been coming to church and Young women's pretty regularly, but is having a hard time blending in with the girls.  Spent some good time with her this week.
- Had a lot of good lessons again this week.  We even invited Toshi to be baptized (after he goes back to Japan and can finish the lessons).  He said he would pray about it.
- Went blitzing again this week.  We ran into a deaf pastor (I got so flustered I couldn't remember much of anything!) and a Jehovah Witness.  We did get into the JW's house, but that was only because I asked to use their bathroom.  Haha fun times.
- Had a great Relief Society party this week; 4 Less Actives Showed up.  They seemed to have a fun time and hopefully will come to church more!
- Had to give a talk in church this week.  He asked me to speak on the Atonement and to give it from the heart.  That's all I got.  I was panicking about it all week.  I feel so much better now that it is over.  Oh yeah, and I was going last.  I ended in perfect time :) it was awesome.  I was crazy nervous, but at least my voice wasn't super shaky.  I got a lot of compliments on it afterwards, so I guess it went ok, but I don't even remember what I said haha.  I felt it was really all over the place, but they said it made sense!  The Kers even came in and listened.  I talked a lot about using the Atonement to strengthen us.  The more we break, the weaker we become. (I used the moose figurine on the stereo that we always break the one antler off as an example haha).  I also spoke on how we don't need to earn it or achieve it, but to just be thankful for it and use it.  My theme I guess you could say was "We are merely content with being fixed, but God would have us be unbreakable."  I also spoke of how our trials accomplish this.  Our trials are simply practice, not punishment.  I forgot my notebook so maybe I can share more of my thoughts next week. 
Well I know that it isn't much, but that's the week!  Again, I am so glad I got to stay here to see the work pick up in this ward.  It truly is a blessing from God to see the blessings he has.  I love you all and hope that you can feel of His love constantly because He is always there.  I will report next week!
Love, Sister Grossman

Monday, March 2, 2015

3-2-15 Snow, snow, everywhere, and me without my boots!

Sorry for no big letter last week!  Not too much to share from last week except for the crazy snow storm we had!  I can't remember if it was 1 or 2 inches every 30 minutes. Crazy!!  So all cars were parked and we were to be out and about on foot.  Of course that means I can't go, but some nice members gave us rides.  All the cars on the road were slipping and sliding and getting stuck everywhere! Also, Daniel wasn't able to get confirmed that Sunday either.  There was no way his mom could have made it out in that and he refused to do it without his parents (rightfully so, I think they offered to him though)
Ok this week!!
- Had a less active ignore us at the door after knocking/ringing 4 times!  We could see and hear her in there.  I just wanted to open the door and say, "Excuse me!!  We know you're home! Stop being a pansy and tell it to our face." (she was trying to be quiet and not cross in front of the window, but she wasn't doing a good job.) But that would have been mean, not quite appropriate with a tag on.  Sometimes I think, "If only I wasn't a missionary!!"'s probably a good thing I am haha.
- Had some great lessons with 2 investigators who previously had not been progressing.  Both of them had their whole families join us!  One of them even admitted his real concern!  Both of them had amazing members who came.  I know it was their presence, testimony, and friendship that made these lessons go so well!
- Had some great lessons with Less Actives!  Good spiritual moments and progression!
- Toshi: We asked how his prayers were going and he said he had been doing them, but he still didn't feel like he was getting an answer.  My heart sank because I promised he would have one soon, as God wants to have a relationship with him.  So we asked him how he felt when he prayed and he couldn't find the right word.  First he said solemn, and then said that wasn't right.  He hunted around in his translator for a minute and then said, "Oh!  Peace."  My mouth fell.  I said, "TOSHI!! (probably scared the poor guy with how excited I was) You are feeling the spirit!!  That is how he talks to us!!!  You are receiving answers!!"  His eyes got really big and his mouth got all scrunched up as if he were saying "o" and he just sat there.  It was an amazing experience to see him realize for the first time that God was really there, was really listening, and really loved him!  So happy to be apart of that.  I'm not sure if I already said this.  We got his Japanese address to send him missionaries when he gets back home.  He said that when he returns, he wants to find our church.  He loves how kind everyone is to him and how we are all family.  Just goes to show how members have an incredible influence.  He wants to go back not entirely for what we are teaching (because we haven't gotten that far haha), but because he feels loved and important. Wow!
- We blitzed Colfax this week. 20 missionaries walking up and down one of the sketchiest streets haha. We had fun!  Met so many diverse people.  We do something nicknamed "zebra tracting" where a Spanish missionary and an English missionary go together.  That way, no matter who you meet you can talk to them!  But really we would need the whole rainbow as we met people from Congo, Ethiopia, etc.  So cool to see how readily some of these people accepted the gospel.  We found a lady who previously met with missionaries, but moved and they never knew.  But she still was interested!
- Daniel finally made it to church!!  There were so many complications, but man is the Lord watching out for us!  The base was shut down and they couldn't get off.  Even if they somehow managed, the Brother who was supposed to confirm him was also stuck on base!  But it opened up and they made it in perfect time!!  A good chunk of our ward was late to church because of it.  I was crying through his whole confirmation.  I got up and bore my testimony (because I thought this might be the last chance I get to do it) which made me cry more because every time I looked up I didn't see a congregation of people I knew, they were family and I love them so much.  Then his mom went up and bore her testimony which made me just bawl.  I was so overcome with love that day.  Love for them and for Heavenly Father and for his love for me and a love to be a part of this work.  Can't really explain any better what I was feeling.
- We had 2 LA families and 3 individual LA's at church!!  One of them (well 2 counting Sister Okelberry) bore their testimony!

Well not too much else to share!!  It was a great week this week.  Thankful I got to stay here and continue seeing the miracles happen.  I can't believe how few of these I have left to write.  I will be so sad to leave, but so happy to be home.  Bittersweet.  I love you all!  Hope you have a wonderful week.  Continue praying for missionary experiences.  Talk to you in a week!
Love, Sister Grossman 

Daniel and his family