Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24th, 2012

I spent a long time rearranging my photo album putting the new pictures next to the old ones... Wow, everyone is changing and growing up. It seems like i wanted to grow up and get away, but now i want to stop and go back! I think about jake and cakers going on missions after i get back and what that will be like. Or what happens when i go to college for realz... so close but still really far. I really love you guys and i hope you know that i miss you. Each and every one of you guys individually. The pictures were and are awesome thank you so much. I know how hard it is to take time out for someone that isn't even there with a million other things going on!
This week was good. We taught a record number of lessons and are preparing a couple people for baptism. I still get frustrated at times with myself, but i am seeing the Lord's hand in my life more and more. This week we had an intense comp. inventory and i am once again convinced that i will not be getting married ever haha. I guess the problem is i critique myself so much that at times i don't even like me... so how will i like anyone else??? The Lord has been helping me overcome this, but charity is not easy. I feel like the Lord has me on a mission to learn humility, charity, and gratitude.
I learn so much about each of these points every day. We are trying to reactivate a family right now, mom less active + dad alcoholic + 17 yr daughter who has a son + 20 yr son who recently left a clinic for alcoholics. It is amazing how i see MY family in other people and this makes the work a lot easier. I hope that we can do our part because the Lord will do His. We did a division this week and i met ANOTHER missionary from seattle haha. This transfer has gone by soooo fast i hardly believe that it has almost been a year. Now i feel like im racing against the clock! Pressure is on!
I love you guys!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sept. 17, 2012

Momma e Daddy,

I tried to attach the recording last week and i though it went through so i deleted it to make room on the recorder! ugh! technology drives me nuts some times. But i sent the email to dad again and i just hope that at least the email goes through. So we started a 40 day fast of poor behaviors... and today is day 8. It is not easy and we find ourselves self criticizing a lot, but we are learning patience and humility. We chose english as one of our poor behaviors. the missionary manual says we should use the language of our mission the entire time. So nothing but portguese 24/7. it is already helping and on our lists (individual lists) of poor behaviors it is probably the easiest haha. I am really grateful for inspiration. And i am so grateful for revelation. personal revelation! We visited a family this week and the daughter said: "i don't totally believe in God because i don't know where he came from... but i pray to a higher power or grand achitect" Her mom on the other hand is catholic and believes in God... So i asked: "How do you know that God exists? and that he loves you?" she didn't have a very solid answer (like most people we ask she said - "because sometimes we ask for stuff and it appears so i think he exists"). She didn't like her answer so she asked me how i know. I smiled haha. Looked at the ground for a second and said: "I know He exists because i have an open conversation with Him. I talk to Him and He talks back!" We can't ask and wait for Him to prove Himself! haha. We have to actively seek Him. This week i have been keeping track of some cool experiences. After a tough day i got into my bed to review my purification list (behaviors to stop or change) with the Lord, but i was sad and frustrated.We had sat down with a family to explain the book of mormon and they were not understanding. We were sitting with dad, his brother and the neighbor. They said: "every one has their way of believing and obeying the commandments" to which i said: "That is right, and so does Christ. So what you think and what i think doesn't matter. Only HIS WAY is the right way." ... So the man's wife came out of the kitchen yelling! "Stop wasting our time! we are already saved! you need to find someone that needs this message. We already know the words and will of God." ... to which i replied. "Do you remember the faricese and saducese? The used the bible too and they questioned Christ using it. Our SAVIOR! The one who wrote the bible! So he asked them a question- do you read to scriptures? (here i asked them- you all read the bible?) and christ replied- then you do not understand them." I then explained the book of mormon and the importance of a modern day prophet. long story short we will never go back to that house haha.
I said- "Heavenly Father i am in some serious need right now. You know it and i am asking for a word of comfort. Show me in your words what the Lord expects of me." I had my quad (portuguese... english is not allowed) and i opened right then and there. 2 Nephi 6:17-18:

17 But thus saith the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; afor the bMighty God shall cdeliver his covenant people. For thus saith the Lord: I will contend with them that contendeth with thee—

18 And I will feed them that oppress thee, with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Savior and thy aRedeemer, the bMighty One of Jacob.

My God is bigger than anything else in this world. no matter the obstacles, He is bigger. His church will grow, His truth will change lives, and His justice will fall upon those who deny Him.

Sept. 9, 2012

We had an amazing week as companions and as a zone... in reality, as a mission. We had zone counsel with president and it was amazing. We learned a ton and i am still amazed with how much i am learning everyday here on the mission. I cleaned the bathroom today and as i was cleaning i thought of a cool quote i heard about christ's atonement: "You don't understand the strength of the wind by laying down, but by standing on two feet and walking against it." Christ understands best our trials because he NEVER bowed to them, so yes... better than anyone he knows. As i cleaned the bathroom i thought: "You don't understand how dirty the bathroom is by looking at it (or smelling it...) but when you grab a sponge, a rag, and a mop and clean it on your hands and knees." I thought a little about how King Benjamin worked 'with his people' instead of making them work for him. I need to work more with the Elders to help them out. We had our first zone conference and i was nervous right up until we started... the second we started- butterflies left. Um... what!? We left a really solid training with the Elders and one came up to me after and said: "Usually we have zone conference just to have it, but today was diferent. Thanks Elder Grondel, thanks Elder Banner. we really needed that." How neat? I am so greatful for this opportunity i have to serve and learn to fight pride. This week was hard. I gave into my pride. I dominated the lessons, didn't trust my companion and it really affected the both of us. We started a 40 day fast of poor behaviors and i put 'confiding in myself instead of the Lord and his servants' as one attitude that must be overcome. yesterday, during a lesson i was praying soooo hard that the Lord would help me. I had the bible in my hands and the Lord said: "i need to talk to you" i had been kind of leafing through for the next verse and when i heard Him i stopped and read the first verse: Psalms 121:1-2. I will leave that for you to read! But the Lord showed me that my companion is my relief and my aid. I cannot do this alone. and if i try to, i will not suceed.
I have learned some neat lessons these past few weeks but one is that the Lord really talks with us if we let Him. So this week, when you guys are doing personal study in the book of mormon (because you all study everyday :) I want you to start with prayer and bring a question to the Lord in that prayer. Ask him something about your life. A frienship, school, a problem. And how you can improve or resolve that. In the session, wherever you are, He WILL! you don't have to study by topic to receive answers. I promise if you do this, you will find a newer and stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Amo muito vocĂȘs!
-Elder Grondel jr.