Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And I said, Have a very Merry Christmas and to all a Buona Vita

Dear Family and Friends,

Courage is being scared to death, and then saddling up anyways.

Really Nice restaurant we ate at the first day.
View from our apartment.  It gets
really foggy here sometimes.
Thank y'all for the gifts and for the love this Christmas season, it's meant so much to me. I will officially say that my diet has lived a good life and has died an even better life. While in Italy I'll probably be eating quite a bit of sweets. It was funny when I Skyped home, I gave off a discouraged vibe, which was more of a (I love my family and miss home and seeing them is getting me a little sad inside). Kind of funny, but know that most days Im doing really good and life is getting a lot better. It was really nice talking and seeing y'all. 

Today I cleaned the mold out of my bathroom and by my bed, that was a new fun experience.

Jacob Gridley would be a novelty over here, no one has blonde hair unless they've dyed it that way. 

In Alessandria you only see buildings
around you, and roads are often
like this.
Some saying I say over here that are Italian are.. Senza Paura.. Which means without fear.. it's really funny haha.. Ganzo.. neat.. Veloce.. Fast.. When I'm leaving some where and some people I might say.. Buona vita.. (in some form) meaning I hope you have a good life.. I try to make up a little bit for my lack of language with emphasizing and using the words I do know and use passion in what I say.

People don't really talk to us on the streets due to a number of factors.. Its cold out.. A lot of people already talk to them on the streets and they all just want their money.. which kind of makes sense why they automatically don't want to talk to us.. (Though I don't want and wouldn't accept any money anyways haha).. they're frustrated with religion which I get from talking to some of the other missionaries about.. it just makes doing things quite a bit more difficult over here.

In Centro trying to talk to some people
We visited a man in a psychiatric hospital two days ago. The story behind that is.. his sister almost tried to kill him with a knife.. and he's really stressed so he checked himself in to the hospital.. he's not actually crazy just having some troubles. Hes really interested in the gospel though and Anziano Taylor and Wilson have set up a Baptism date with him.

We then had family night right out side the door of a members apartment, since there was no old enough male present. It was really funny and good. The language is slowly coming. I found the humor in it haha
Picture from the MTC with our
teacher Fratello Hinz.
On Sundays we do family night with the Ganz, which means the young single adults. Kind of a cool name, but during this afterwords we eat dinner and play Foosball, and I have a little bit of skills from back in the day haha, anyways they take it pretty serious and I do as well haha, but I beat a native twenty six year old guy here 10-9 anyways that's kind of fun. Hes the ward mission leader Martin. Really cool guy, we played chess and monopoly on Christmas, as we stayed over there house for lunch and Skype. He beat me once at chess then I beat him.. Anziano Wilson Rovini all of us.. He has some major luck dagnab it. How do you beat someone that lands on all the of the properties and two of the people you cant talk to that well and are super shrewd traders..  
Anziano Lewis

We have four Anziano in Alessandria all in the same building in two separate apartments. Which is really nice and cool, Anziano Lewis and I slept over at the other Anziani apartment Christmas Eve and Christmas which was super fun. We watched the testament (which is the only LDS film I really don't like.. Legacy I really like etc) but we turned off the sound and made up the voices for them making the movie so much better than it is.. it was a good time. 

Chinese Salon place haha.
The scripture that I tried to give and I'll give again Alma 36:27. Another scripture that's really good. Is Exodus 14:14 which basically says I will fight for you so be patient. Its short and really nice. I've found in the old testament often if you are obedient and do what the Lord asks he helps you in this life. I know that this is true and I've seen it in my own life, I challenge y'all to try finding this out for your self or to keep trying it. I know that it makes a difference. 

On that note I saw the picture you put with my plaque. I got a picture of it where my lips were weird and I looked like the Joker. Can we maybe please change the picture.. haha kind of funny, but I'd rather not be too much like the Joker in this life and that picture might jinx me. 

Anziano Lewis got his hair cut today at a Chinese Salon place. It was soooo funny the music and what not going on there.
Milan Centro Cathedral.  Yes
Uncle Russell I got to go :)

We aren't having too much success at the moment, but I'm optimistic and I believe things will get better soon.
I like the people that we meet on the street that aren't too busy or closed minded to talk to us, even if we have different opinions and we just leave in peace or something. Those type of people are generally nicer etc, and I think it's good to be like that generally. Maybe it's just comes back to the basic treating people decently I'm not sure, but this principle is good.

A big Christmas tree by said Cathedral.
We had dinner sort of last night with a Filipino family. (There are a lot of Filipino members here as basic knowledge for you.) He served a mission quite a few years ago, he married his wife who he met at seminary and university. He has a son named Moroni, who's going to school here. This guy watched his son while his wife worked because no one else can watch him during the day. He's looking for work either while his son is at school or at night. This guy loved missionary work and has been living it even now. He's an extremely patient and loving man, who for me was an extremely good example for me. He helped me gain more perspective. There are a lot of good examples out here in Italy and a lot of bad, I've been noticing them and hopefully I'll change myself to a better person and maybe they'll just plain rub off on me.

Alessandria. Kind of how it is.
The bricks move under us as we bike
which is fun.
I've been kind of having a hard time sort of pouting and feeling bad about the situation, but I feel so much better now and ready to lock and load. I can't communicate super well or anything yet, but I have a desire to help this people as I can and I'm going to fake it till I make it which is generally a good thing to do in life. If you don't like to read the Book of Mormon, or go to church.. fake it till you make it. If you don't like to run but want to run fake it till you make it. The desire and being good at things generally come after time of trying and doing that something.

Alps. I have seen the Alps! (Sorry if
you can't see in this picture, but they
are there if you look hard!  haha)
I challenge y'all to fake it till ya make it (about something good), it'll hopefully work and do wonders for you. 

I hope y'all have had a very marvelous Christmas and New Year. I'm praying for y'all and I know everything will eventually work out.

(If you can guess or know what these quotes etc are coming from you'll win major brownie points from me. (Generally they are movies.))

I'm your huckleberry.

With Love,  Anziano Gridley

Friday, December 26, 2014

A special Christmas Skype call

We had the projecter all set up at the house awaiting Anziano Gridley's call.  A little after  9am we finally got the Skype notification and we had a 40 minute conversation with him.  It was wonderful to see him and talk with him.

He was at a members house and we could see a Christmas tree in the background with the Elder's playing Monopoly with the family.  It looked like a wonderful celebration they were having. After we all visited with him, we had Cathi offer a very touching family prayer and said our goodbye's until Mother's day when he'll be able to skype us again.  What a wonderful treat it was to hear from him!

Here's part of the conversation:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)

Buon Natale Friends and Family,

I've asked a few people how I can get a quad of all four scripture books in Italian, and they keep telling me, You'll paper cut your eye out kid. (They dont have an Italian quad here, they kind of have a weird bible thats almost the same)

Language: I'm now at level 2(ish). Everyone laughs when I speak from how I say things and how it makes sense, and I can communicate sort of.

A man we are teaching is interesting. He got baptized a while ago. He has a wife and two daughters. He's a bit two faced in the fact that he is really nice to us and the members, but not very nice to his wife and daughters. I hope that we especially during this time of Christmas, can be the most nice to those who matter most.

Another man that is Italian, married a woman from Ecuador that moved here. For a few years, they decided to move to Ecuador and she moved a few months ago and he is saving up to move when he can. She got baptized in Ecuador, and he's now looking up the church here and trying to learn more. We've only met with him once, but it's a pretty cool story and we are hoping for the best. He says that he doesn't want a house divided against itself, hence hes investigating the church.

Some more fun things I think I forgot to mention. Cars here if you dont have legit parking somewhere, you flip on your hazard lights, letting everyone else know you'll be back in about 5 minutes and go do what you want to do.  Its kind of legit. Also stop signs are more like guidelines here haha.

We do caroling quite a bit which during we hand out pass along cards. One was on the ground as we were walking by. This woman picked it up (it had a picture of Jesus on it) she says to herself, who would ever throw this away? Kind of some wisdom type of thing there.

We went into Milan yesterday for new missionary training, basically they want us to do better among other things. We did 7 lessons last week and they asked those there that they wanted 21. Which for us (I don't know if I'm of little faith or what, but) its not really possible at all. We'll see what happens I guess=). Goals aren't too useful if they are impossible though haha.

I think I was shell shocked the first week out here. I feel a bit better and everythings working out ok. Its kind of funny. We have encountered a few people who only like the bible, from what I've researched recently anyone who thinks that is a bit foolish, which is a bit hard to say tactfully or if they don't want to talk to you, but who is anyone to restrict Heavenly Father on what he wants to teach us etc? There are lots of other things as well, but if this is holding anyone back back at home, I suggest you don't let it. Someone said that I really liked at the training from a non member.

I don't generally have any answers from my prayers, like concrete answers. I generally just feel peace. Which I can heavily relate to and which I've grown to love even more this week.

 Thank you all for helping me in my life. Remember what is important and have mercy like the Mr. Miyaugi in Karate Kid. Be grateful for what you have=). I hope my absence helps bear testimony of some semi hidden important things of life.

With Love,

Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Italy =)

Dear Family and Friends,

A long time ago in a country far far away. Their lived two young Jedi, The apprentice and the master. They both were trying to teach the ways of the force to the popollo of Italy. Most of the people did not have time or were interested in the Jedi, but this is their story.

I'm in Italy now in a city called Alessandria. There is no snow here, but its much colder here than Utah. The city is like from a movie. You cant see any of the countries because you are surrounded by buildings. There are these narrow brick roads that we bike on and walk on most of the day. We don't have too many investigators and those we do have are A) Too busy or B) not truly interested. Making it nigh impossible to meet with them at all so we have been looking for new people this last week. Not many people respond to us, and if they do believe in Jesus Christ they aren't open to our message. A lot of people don't believe in Jesus Christ though. 

We went caroling the other day, the four Anziano. Three would sing and one would hand out little hand out things. We then started handing out pamphlets and a few book of Mormon that were gift wrapped. (yes we are very clever haha). But the funny thing is, very few people would take, the presents. If I was back home and someone handed me a present on the street, Id be all over that stuff. Also we ll ask people if they like Christmas, and they basically do a Bah-humbug type of response. Kind of funny, while really sad. Its good to take things with a smile as you can as a missionary though. 

I hardly understand people here, even my trainer. Its like level 10 to level 1 of the MTC. I'm trying and I'm being patient, but I don't have an ear for the language yet. Hence hes done more of the talking. Example I ask people often on the streets. Do you believe in Jesus Christ... and they don't understand what I say even if I say it twice... even though I've gotten lots of practice. Kind of funny. But I hope the language comes eventually.

On a bright side... The food is amazing. Out right amazing. The pizza, bread, etc is so good. They know how to eat here. I would know =). Ive been very hungry often but thats ok. They eat a small breakfast big lunch and a small dinner. So I'm trying to adjust. 

They are very good at driving here... But they are also very crazy drivers. Its a little scary haha. and they are mean yet nice. If you are walking or biking.. you make the cars stay out of your way type of thing. The culture is different that way. Also there is graffiti all over the place. 

My trainers name is Anziano Lewis. He is super nice, patient, cool etc. If you have seen or want to see Fried Green Tomatoes, he looks Like Buddy, and kind of acts like him too. Hes amazing at the language. Hes been out here a year and a half. Hes from Logan Utah. He says cool beans a fair amount. He knows his stuff. 

There are 6 missionaries in Alessandria. Two sisters and four elders. The sisters are nice. The elders live in the same building one floor down so we see them a lot. They are the zone leaders and hence have a car, they drive us around every once in a while so that's very nice. Anziano Taylor sings, and has a very funny sense of humor, hes also very spiritual. Anziano Wilson is super funny, he ll often do funny things that get me cracking up and he similes a lot which I like. 

The Jedi would often pass people on the street. They would do a slight wave as a friendly gesture, but in all honesty they would do it hoping that they would Jedi mind trick them into listening to them. (Kind of funny=))

Its been semi successful though, because we have met two men on the street the last two days and we are meeting with each of them at different times tonight. I'm excited and hoping for the best.

Its easy to see the bad parts of being here etc. a little harder to see the good side of things at times. Which I'm going to work on. 

The other Elders had a baptism on Saturday which was super cool. This younger guy who has super cool hair in Italy. Speaking of, in Italy its really in to have buzzed sides and a long top. Dad has been having us boys use that for years, so maybe it was all meant to be haha. 

In the MTC some things I liked before I left was, We watched the Christmas devotional, there was a story of a two year old boy who had cancer he was going to die soon before his three favorite holidays. Halloween his Birthday in November, and Christmas. So his ward and stake celebrated all these within a week.. he died three days later. I cried quite a bit at this story, haha. It just gives me hope in the human race and goodness of people. I watched the Joseph Smith Restoration and some things I learned, every blessing we receive comes through obedience. Emma asked Joseph Smith Do you ever think he asks too much.. I don't let myself (was his response). All our losses will be made up if we are faithful. Sometimes the greatest acts of kindness are the small things. 

A scripture I loved this week was. Alma 36:37 which basically teaches not to fear, which I really like. 

Sorry I didn't call home more than twice. I couldn't check the email the day before, and I only had a minute to call the two numbers I remembered. We were so busy. No extra time. 

The members in Alessandria are so nice and good. They've fed us a few times already and we love and appreciate them and them us. We mostly make our own food here. So Ill probably come home a master Italian chef as well. 

Funny story to kind of explain things here. A man parked his car in the middle of a small road so no one could pass, with 3 or 4 cars behind him. They all honked at him. He opened his door and grunted very loudly... twenty five seconds later he drove off. 

I've gained even more perspective here which is surprising... I appreciate things more now. 

We also have bikes. Which I really like which is surprising. We get to bike fast and what not. Its basically like having your own poddracer, mi piace. (I like it) 

Italian For The Week... Ganzo, is a cool way to say neat.

I've taken a few trains while I've been here which has been fun. They aren't super nice trains, but they aren't terrible. 

People smoke sooooo much here. I HATE it. I don't like breathing in the second hand smoke, and its utterly unattractive. The young people still think its cool so they get hooked on it. 

Over all I like it here and I'm thankful. Thank you for those who have written me (recently and not). I really do appreciate it and it lifts the spirits of a Jedi. Thank you for your prayers. Maybe remember that I need help with the language over here in your future ones. Enjoy what you have while you have it. Be thankful. We are only on earth for a short amount of time. 

With Love
Anziano Gridley

Friday, December 12, 2014

Austin's first assignment - Alessandria

Elder Lewis, Elder Gridley, President and Sister Dibb
Last night we got an email from Austin's Mission president, President Dibb. Austin has been assigned to serve in Alessandria, and his trainer is Elder Lewis.

The email also included this FAQ document which was pretty informative.  Also the Missionary Handbook.

We're looking forward to hearing from him on his next P day which is on Wednesdays.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

He's there!

We got an email from the mission secretary:

I wanted to make sure you learned of the smooth arrival of Elder Gridley in Milan this afternoon!
I was able to meet him personally, and I can tell he’s going to do great.

Tomorrow he and the other missionaries will be matched up with their trainers, and he will head off to his city of Alessandria (about 2 hours south west of Milan) with his trainer Elder Lewis. 
Preparation day in the Italy Milan mission is on Wednesday, so please expect an exciting email from him next Wednesday morning. You’ll also receive an email from us within the next few days with the picture of Elder Gridley and his trainer with President Dibb, and some answers to frequently asked questions.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

He's on his way!

Some mom texted us this photo of Elder Gridley and his flight companions at the SLC Airport.  He's on his way to Dallas where he will connect to a flight taking him to London I think.  We're hoping he calls us at the layover in Dallas so we can get more information from him and catch up a little.

Waiting patiently for his flight to Milan
Cyber stalking Elder Gridley

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

In the land of Earth, in the Fires of Satan's domain, the Dark Lord Satan began tempting and destroying the lives of everyone, and into this earth he poured his cruelty, his malice and his will to dominate all life. One by one, the free lands of Earth fell to the power of Satan, but there were some who resisted. A last alliance of Latter Day Saints (and other good people) and Missionaries marched against the armies of Satan, and on the very slopes of Earth, they fought for the freedom of Earth. (*Spoiler alert* (Satan loses))

ThanksGivin Day -
We had a great lunch and then made sack dinners for dinner. We helped make a little under 400 thousand meals for people in need in Utah. I specifically helped make 3000. 
Elder Bednar talked to us, some things I liked about his talk (notes). Feel the energizing effects of this work. Prayers that are more specific are generally better prayers. Having faith in science is flawed and is just as vague if not worse as faith in other things, granted science helps answer many questions, but not many of the questions that really matter. For me I'll have faith in the Lord and not in the scientist. Many older couples can and serve missions. They can be bad examples as well. The power of being absent from your home is a more powerful testimony than being there (for a season). Faith comes by trails and afflictions hence be careful what you pray for. Agency isn't about being disobedient. A mission is boot camp for life. You are clean if the Holy Ghost is present within you (I'm going to say generally). One side of a wing is the husband, the other is the wife. You need both wings for the plane to fly. (Missionaries are helicopters hence independent ( and I may remain a helicopter for life haha (He didn't talk about helicopters, that's something I came up with).  Being a missionary shouldn't be a chore. When you aren't sure about what to say or do in a lesson etc. Bear your testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration. He promised that if you prayed morning and night and read the Book of Mormon every day, you will never fall away. 
They already have the Christmas lights out. I'd rather be home etc to enjoy the time of ThanksGivin, but I have been and am doing good. 
Despite all of my efforts to avoid a movie I did not want to see, (mostly cause I'm stubborn). --They played for us on ThanksGivin Meet the Mormons. I really liked it and I do recommend it.
Stories -

  • The producer of Noosies and The Other Side of Heaven gave a talk along with the actual missionary from the Other Side of Heaven at a BYU Devotional. The producer talked about how, he had an ordinary mission and was an ordinary missionary. He went hiking in the mountains for an over night camping trip several years later with his 10ish year old son and took 2 of his son's friends, he also took their dog. He pitched the tent and he was in the tent with the dog. The tent and he get hit with lightning, the dog dies. The boys are freaking out and praying (they're fine). He feels he's dying and he thinks he should probably pray. Before he does he hears "You were my missionary, ask what you will now." In a few hours he was well and they all hiked down. I got a bit teary eyed. 
  • An Elder offered another Elder, some white shirts because the other missionary was lacking. I was really impressed and going to try to be more like that.
  • One of the Sisters was talking to my collega and he said he kicked his dog if it was needed, and she said "Do you kick your collega to? Is that why he is so quiet and submissive?" I wasn't really listening and it didn't bother me too much, but she felt really bad, so she wanted to do something to make up for it, I told her that it was fine, she got me quitips regardless. I had bunches of em already so I gave them to one of our Language teachers. Was kind of funny. I am pretty quiet and what not here. I have a feeling I'm generally misunderstood. I don't mind and don't care, but for documentation purposes and so ya know, here ya go. Kind of funny though.

Language Teaching - 

  • In Italy you don't say "good luck" that's sarcastic and rude. Instead you say, "In Bocca al Lupa", which means In the mouth of the wolf, you then respond, "Crepi", which means "May you never die". So if you are in a wolfs mouth, may you never die, is what's said, kind of odd and funny.

I like doing laundry on P-days which seems odd but I do. I imagine doing laundry for lots of people makes it not fun though, so thank you mom :). 

I'm doing really good at being patient with others etc, but I think something I'm going to work on in my mission is turning outward when things are going bad etc, instead of being hard hearted and selfish. It's tough if you're doing it right.

I'm leaving Tuesday morning for Italy. I don't know when my next P-day will be, so try to be patient for an email. 
I'm excited and not really worried. The language is coming along great.
I hope ya'll are doing alright, I'm praying for you. 

There may come a day when our shields may be shattered and the wolves devour us, but it is not this day, this day we fight!

With Lots of Love,
Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Of Bread, Poultry and Venomous Snakes

Fun Things
  • Fasting:  In Alma 17 2-3 it says: 
Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
 That was made mention a few times this week and I had been reading my scriptures and praying plenty sure, and I fasted on fast Sunday, but "they had given themselves in much fasting", hence I'm going starting to fast a lot. I'm not better than the sons of Mosiah and if I want to be a good missionary I should ignore one of the three main things they did. Hence in order to also be obedient of not fasting for more than 24 hours at a time. I'm going to fast every other meal. Also if I I'm dying for want of water I'll drink some so it doesn't hinder my work. (I don't say this to boast but to keep you informed, anyways something new this week).
  • I play volley ball in gym, and yesterday I became super man. I spiked it like ten times during gym time, with the perfect angle going hard down into the middle of the court type thing. It was fantastic, I think fasting helped with that for some odd reason.
  • I did a devotional last week, (every day my district complains about the food, a lot really) so I told the story of the Jews. How they were fed, how they complained cause they had nothing to eat, so mana was sent to feed them (which is like bread) (it rained from the sky each night or something like that), they then complained about the mana cause they got TIRED of it. So they got sent birds to eat as well. The people eventually got tired of those so they complained again. Then snakes were sent that bit the people. I reminded my district this story, and invited them to not act similarly about the food here. 
  • I was in a room with a few Elders and we were talking a little bit, it was spiritual, Anziano H (who's a buff Australian) told about how he, owned a clothes line thing, and was making 600$ a week from that, (even now on his mission), worked in the mines in Australia straight out of high school and made 25$ an hour, and has $100,000 in bank account back home. He started providing for himself when he was 14. How he hunted kangaroos and boars with the bow, and went to the gym every day. Point is he is a very awesome dude, who's made good use of time. Point is, he and these other YM, had made an "Ebenezer" by going on a mission, putting every thing else on hold, even if you things were going super well for you. I just is super cool to be with these sometimes silly (good and bad) while stalwart missionaries. This is where I am supposed to be, and starting this week I have really indeed wanted to serve and enjoying it a lot more. This just gave me better perspective and was really cool for me. 
  • I only semi disliked one Elder here, I wasn't mean or said anything just in my head I semi disliked him. I've gotten to know him better and he's actually super cool and nice, and I now like him now, which shows two things, bite your tongue if you would be mean, and don't make absolutes (cause only siths deal in absolutes (this is a guideline so don't go over board with it)). I also liked a story he told about how someone told him he regretted how he spent his time thinking of a girl he didn't even end up marrying, he considered it a complete waste of time, and that's a regret he had about his mission, I don't want to do that. I can say I've been working very hard. I'm just not letting myself not interfere with the work so don't over judge what I just said. Also a speaker had people stand up to get to know us better, he asked who here is engaged. A few people stood up. Who's already been Dear Johned? A few people stood up. If you've been dear johned within the first 2 months of your mission, than honestly it's a good thing and you should reevaluate. Either:
A: She wasn't worth it anyways, or
B:  You didn't leave as good of an impression as you thought, and hence failed a little bit. Also she was meant to end up with the other guy. Found it kind of funny.
  • It's going better, I go over it when I'm waiting for things etc, besides the normal study time. I'm starting to go into teaching without notes, which means I'm good enough to improv a conversation on the spot and listen to what they say, it helps with following the spirit. I'm improving rapidly. 
  • Language for you at home for the week. "Non Sono Siguro". Which means I'm not sure. I use this several times a day haha.
Spiritual things
  • One talk basically said, help your investigators be self reliant, and children. I'm gonna try to remember that one.
  • Elder Dallin H Oaks came and talked to us yesterday. Main thing I got out of it was we should be selfless in life... which begs the question what is selfish etc is it selfish to go to college... etc.. What should guide you in your life... what motives etc.. Curious.
  • We watched a David A Bednar talk thing. He basically said as missionary you should try to be a good boy (which I've been trying to be), and if you are doing this and doing what you can don't worry about following the spirit. For example when he was on his mission, President Packer, was just a new apostle. He couldn't catch a plane to Berlin, so he and his wife were going to take a train to Berlin. He felt like he should give them 20 marks (which back then was a lot of money) in case they needed food on the trip. This was the time of East Germany etc, and they ended up going through east Germany. Two soldiers came up to them and asked for their passports. His was fine, but his wifes was extended. Which was not accepted in East Germany. The Guard who he said was one of the most evil men he'd ever met, was escalating the situation. He didn't know what to do. He reached into his pocket and felt the 20 mark bill. He took it out, put it in his passport and handed both their passports to the guard. The guard left with the passports, returned, gave them their passports, the money gone and let it go. For those of you who are wondering this isn't bribery it's actually "righteous exchange":). When he got into West Germany he was told that this was very serious that they were pulling people off trains in East Germany, he said he wouldn't of allowed them to take his wife away which would have been very bad. Kind of a miracle. From 20 marks which was meant for "food". You might say it's a coincidence, I don't think so. Point is if you are a good boy and doing what you should, you'll be guided to do what you should do. 
  • If you cut a butterfly out of it's cocoon early it will die due to it not being strong enough. It needs to get out of the cocoon on it's own so it's strong enough to survive in the world. Similarly to us in life, Heavenly Father could take away our trials etc. But that begs the question. How would we grow?
I'm reveling here and completely enjoying it. I'm so thankful for all of you and I hope you don't bring snakes upon you this Thanksgiving. Have a good week. Sorry this emails a bit longer, just had so much to say for some reason. "Thank you for the turkeys and their sacrifice for the greater good of mankind."

Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Austin's third week in the MTC

Elder Conway (from Texas) and Gridley. MTC Companions.  Austin looks like he's trying to keep him warm :)
Some fun things that happened, Just so I'll remember this and because it's funny, Anziano Conway (my collega) tells this story every once in a while of a camping experience he had. He is really good at telling stories and he can be really funny. 

He lives in Texas and hence he got used to not taking a sleeping bag on campouts. He would generally just bring a pad and sleep on that. This one campout he didn't bring his sleeping bag and it was getting cold: 40ish degrees, and that's cold in Texas, and he wasn't going to get any sleep in these awful conditions. So he tried to hug one of his friends in his tent to borrow some of his warmth, but he just pushed him off and went back to sleep. He then tried this with Fred, but Fred was a tall skinny type of a feller so he was already cold and this was ineffective. He decided to go try to find a way to keep warm. 

All the other tents were closed shut except this one old army tent at the top of this hill. There was hardly any room in this tent, with two YM already in it, there was however a little bit of room in between them in the middle of this small tent. So, moving like a cat he got in between them. He was still cold though, so he tried to get some warmth from one of the YM again, he wasn't havin nothin of that. So, he tried again with this other husky Daniel feller. Who was in this already small mummy bag, that was snug on just him. He started by hugging him, and this was perfectly alright besides the fact he was crushing his chest. He then put his hands very carefully into his sleeping bag. Daniel said something along the lines of, "What are you doing?" "I'm real cold and the coldest part of me is my hands, may I please put my hands in your sleeping bag?" "I guess so." 
Ever serious Elder Gridley in the MTC.  He must have just eaten
some vegetables.
Anziano Conway proceeded to put his feet in the sleeping bag as well. Then his arms. His legs. Until he was completely in the sleeping bag back to back very snug with Daniel. On the bright side, he was finally able to get some sleep. 

He really is a really nice and funny guy.

I also faced my nemesis this week. Vegetables... I'm still sticking true to my healthy life living, and hence I'm trying to eat my vegetables. I especially despise peas and I got them sometime later last week. I decided I'd be like Batman and face my fear, embrace it, and now you can call me Peaman if you so desire.

Anziano Conway is now Zone Leader, and I'm District leader. I honestly don't care super much about it. I take it seriously, but I'm still a super hero missionary regardless.

I went to the Salt Lake City consulate, to finish my Visa things. I went with Anziano Harbin and with about ten other people from our zone. We rode in a van to frontrunner then rode to Salt Lake, then taking the tram. It took about 10 minutes in the consulate, and then we went to Jimmy Johns, for some food other than the MTC. I didn't partake of anything (mainly because Subway is a lot better than Jimmy Johns). We then came back. The thing that I took out of it though was, we took some sack lunches, and we gave a few of them to some people in need. I watched this one man eat "all" of an apple, and I felt really bad. I felt real compassion and charity for these people, and I just was reminded I'd like to be in a position to help others later in life etc. I don't like to waste food at the MTC buffet style of eating, It's stupid when people are in need like even in Salt Lake City. It just gave me some better perspective and I'm more grateful for what I have, a positive experience. Anyways my visa stuff is taken care of.
One of the Italian instructors.  Intense!

The Language is coming along the same, just learning a little bit more every day, I can generally communicate what I want to say now. I probably sound stupid, but I'm able to be understood. So that's really good.

Spiritual Experiences- I was able to focus and work hard better this week. Some days seem to go by really fast, others less so, but it's all good. I'm trying to give 110% as Anziano Conway's Grandpa suggested. Works most of the time. Honestly nothing else that's super duper exciting, just a lot of smaller experiences that are really nice and are adding to my testimony. It's very spiritual here and I have a lot of time to study scriptures etc, which is really nice. 

I miss y'all I wrote a song the first week it's from the song, "Go Back to Texas" (I believe). (My collega is from Texas hence I thought of it). I changed it a little to "Return To Utah". I goes semi along the lines of, " Go back to Utah, It's not the same since I went away, since I became a missionary, and head on back to the beehive state. So when I'm done serving the Lord, and when y'all are through doing whatever, I know exactly where to head on back to. Back to Utah."

It's a good miss, I appreciate and am thankful for all of you, and then not worrying about it and working hard. I feel your prayers and I'm doing good, don't worry too much about me.

A Scripture real fast. I used D&C 100 and inserted my own name:

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friend [Austin], your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
 Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.
 Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.
 Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
 Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
 For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
 But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
 And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.

With Love,
Anziano Gridley

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Elder Gridley's second week in the MTC

*Anziano Gridley's Captains Log
Stardate 12.11.14
Message For Family (Cadets) and friends (Captains),

To teach new people, to boldly teach where no one has been taught before. These are the adventures of the voyage... Of The MTC.

Federally Funded Fun - My Companion and our roommates wore mustaches this morning to laundry and worked on our accents, it was pretty funny. I quit sugary goodies this week. No more candy etc. I may make some exceptions in Italy, but I hope to stick to it. I'm going to work on moderation as well. I drink apple juice with every meal. I may become a volley ball champion in my life, we'll see. My camera ran out of batteries after I've used it like three times. I'll have to take out the batteries after I'm done with the camera after each use or something, not sure what happened. Someone changed the typing on the keyboard to polish. Which basically the only difference was the Y button was now a Z button and vice versa and it was taking me a long time to write this, luckily I've fixed it now haha. 

Thank you Aunt (Captain) Kristen for the bread!

Foreign Freedom Frolicking - I lost my small note book last week and so I bought a new one and I'm starting to use it again. We're teaching in Italian about twice a day, to our teachers. I can speak generally like a five year old on the spot to them if I need to make a conversation. Generally I prepare what I want to say before hand. But the spirit is strong even in these lessons. They want us to memorize a bunch of things in Italian, which I'm semi not doing as well on, I figure learning words and vocab and reading scriptures is more important but I am trying some what. My accent is pretty bad. Especially when I'm reading Italian. I sound terrible and I go really slow. 

Free Frenzy - Hebrews 11 Is a good read on faith, and the first I think 16 verses of Hebrews 12 also holds good wisdom is you'd like to look it up. I finished The New Testament Last week and I'm reading D&C along with the Book of Mormon. I'm focusing more on spiritually learning than language learning, trusting in the Gift of Tongues. It seems to be working. 

Also in D&C early members of the truth often asked them selves what is the greatest work God would like me to do. The answer was missionary work, which is really neat for me. I'm really excited to serve right now.
Spiritual Experiences - I was having a hard time understanding the Scripture that said, "If you lose your life you shall gain it." While also another scripture basically says, "I will protect and help you in life." Seems contradictory almost, and who in their right mind wants to lose their life, that's just dumb. Doesn't sound that appealing to me. Also this missionary who had returned home and was a janitor told us how he was having a hard time, after we had done service in the morning and were waiting in a big group. I was basically just afraid and worried a bit. It wasn't super serious. Anyways I prayed about the scriptures, and I didn't get an answer about the scriptures, but I feel at peace about it. So yes my prayer was answered. 

Another spiritual experience was a devotional. These General Authorities that give talks are often blunt etc, and it's really interesting to see. The main things he taught was... I am a full time missionary (as in I shouldn't stop being a missionary on P Day etc)... Speak to people in Italy slowly and with eye contact.. To save marriage - Be kind to one another... There are no transfers in marriage... Prepare now for marriage... Now is a good time to take care of myself so I can take care of my family later... I should always keep my goals in mind and work towards them. It was an exceptional talk.

I loved the letters and packages and I greatly appreciate it. Days go fast out here, but at the same time incredibly slow, sort of depends on the day. 

I don't think you could write me enough etc if you tried so don't worry about it. I'm generally happy out here and I'm doing good. Probably my biggest problem is living in the moment (which even Jesus taught). Hence missionary mode is a bit hindered. Not a big deal. I'm working on it. I feel like this is not my mission, and that I just need to let myself get carried and just not be kicking and screaming as it happens. (I do feel like I'm getting carried). I'm kind of the quiet one out of our room. I've been called an introvert twice out here. Which is fine as long as I'm not selfish which I'm working on. I feel like I'm becoming an adult and a Man out here, and I'll be both when I come home. My problems are very minor so don't think I'm freaking out out here. I'm basically a super hero from the scriptures right now and I'm participating in a work bigger than myself. 

With Love,

Anziano Gridley
*End Captains Log

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week 1 from Elder Gridley

It's been a week that I have been serving (in the MTC). Probably the story for me this week is that I've been working on getting into "mission mode" and this week I've worked hard, been mostly focused etc, surprisingly well actually, but I'm now in "mission mode" and I'm ready for the next two years. Thank you for the emails and the package. Please don't think it's distracting or anything, cause it's not. As a missionary it's worth more than "silver". So thank you and don't be discouraged. 

Language- I can have a very basic conversation with someone, say a prayer, and bear my testimony all from memory (which is the gift of tongues). A lot of time is devoted to learning the language (and personal study). Anyways I'm surprising myself and I don't anticipate it being a huge problem, though it's making me work extra hard.

Mio Collega (My Companion) - is a Texan... and yes he fits all the stereo types (He has an accent and thinks that Texas should secede from the union, among other things). He is really funny and charismatic (he was prom king). He's a runner who's 150 pounds. If you can imagine (I'll send you a pic soon). He's had five years of Spanish so he's got it a bit easier there, and he's helped me a lot. Two funny things about him... He says "Good Night o' Livin", Which sounds like... "Good nine eleven." It's funny. He often will say as well... No.. it's ok... I'm not upset.. We're still friends. He's mastered this. He's also good at story telling. He's great. He's easy to get along with and when I first saw him I felt like I'd met him before ;) haha. I get along with everyone, kind of easy for me.

Other roommates- Elder H is fun he's the zone leader and we have fun with him about it. Like if you were to say to him can you help me move this pen, as a random example someone else would say, "He tells you to move the pen, he's the zone leader". It's funny trust me. He often as well will go into a whiny voice for a sentence, he's mastered this.
Anziano Stroh is another roommate. He is from Chicago and has an accent as well. He's kind of lazy etc, but he's a good elder. He's also the district leader. He's kind of husky, he wrestled. 

Two Spiritual Experiences- 

  1. I bore my testimony Sunday. I tried to think of what my real cord of my testimony was. The spirit got really strong so I fought to bear my testimony (if you don't stand quickly and go up another missionary will). I was shaking from the spirit and just shared the core of my testimony is that I've seen miracles in my own life that have meant the world to me, and this gospel makes me happy and I know what the opposite is.
  2. David A Bednar we watched a video of a devotional he did. It was really good, main thing from it was how Christ was always turning outward and we should too.
MTC Fun Facts-  We use a card to enter buildings, get food etc. Missionaries are very spiritual etc (I fell inadequate but not too inadequate), but in a lot of areas I think I can hold my own, which proves the point, "Don't marry someone just cause they are a return missionary". Others don't like the food but I do. It's buffet style. THERE ARE A LOT OF SISTER MISSIONARIES. Which is surprising to me. 

Me Things- Apparently I'm more independent than even I thought. I like the personal time etc, and I like it when it is quiet here. I'm blessed to be able to wake up on time each day with no trouble. We're teaching an "investigator" in Italian basically every day, so that's fun, though I have a hard time expressing myself (it's week 2 now so I'm not worried about it). It took me a while to adjust, but yeah I'm ready to go. Apparently I'm not that big of a slob compared to other missionaries. The Italian is messing with my English for instance, I wrote from a devotional yesterday. Be happy it's good to be.(Dang Nab it). They give us 50 minutes to exercise in the mornings, which I put to good use. My goal is to have at least a six pack by the time I come home. 

Please write me long letters if you wish, I'm busy, but I do have time to read them.

I love ya'll and miss ya
Anziano Gridley