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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Where's Waldo

Can you find Elder Gridley?  Scroll down for a hint.
This was taken by his cousin Brad at a recent BYU Devotional.  I didn't know they got to go to those!  I sure never did.

Found out his P-day is on Wednesday so we should be able to get some info out by Thursday.  All we know is his comp is from Texas and that he's doing fine.  We sure miss that guy!

He's the sloucher in the very middle of the picture.  Not the guy at the end of the row sleeping.