Monday, September 26, 2016

Tacos! Week 7

Holy cow!

I leave Utah for 1 month and everything changes at home! New bishopric, tornadoes, people moving... That's crazy that all of these things are happening so quickly!  I hope with all of the changes you guys are doing good:) 

Where do I even start....this week we did so many things it's really just a blur😂 but we had so much good happen this week!! The weather here is cooling down a little bit, ha but not too much. Its normally around 95 degrees which to me feels cool. I guess I've acclimated to the weather because in the mornings 80 degrees feels chilly haha! It did get down to like 75 the other night and it was so nice!! 

So I went on exchanges with Elder Harris on Wednesday and that was interesting. It was my area so I was in charge that day which was difficult! We had 5 awesome lessons planned out and 4 of them cancelled:/  Its hard because in my area there are not really any good places to go finding so we had a hard time filling in our time for those missed lessons. When I got home I just fell onto my bed and went to sleep because I was so exhausted! Missionary work is tiring. And its the worst when appointments fall through and you don't have a ton of things planned because then the day just drags along and it is LONG!!!! But we had fun anyways! 

This week was an awesome week with all of our investigators! We finally got John to commit to baptism!!! He has already been baptized 2 other times in other churches and so he didn't understand why he needed to be baptized again. Brother Jarvis is our ward mission leader for Salt River ward and he is honestly the perfect mission leader! When I get back from my mission I want you guys to meet him! Anyways we took Brother Jarvis and had him explain why our baptism is the correct way. It took John a whole lesson to understand but then it just clicked with him so he will be baptized in October! A. is our other awesome investigator.  I taught her on my first day in Mesa and that was her first lesson. So I've been teaching her from the beginning which means a lot to me! She's progressed really slowly but I extended the invitation for baptism. I think she was surprised a little haha! She thought on it for quite a while, and she knows that this is the right path for her. She said that she needs to know for sure before she does get baptized! Of course we told her we would help her and that she will know so we set her date for November 5th! It's super exciting to see these people change in such a short period of time.

Backyard Taco is an essential in our lives here in Mesa haha! We go there quite a bit! These two recent converts Art and Andrea took us there and they over fed us so much! Art is Hispanic and he loves to cook Mexican food. He boasts about how good it is all of the time and it is! People here are the best, they always let us in their homes and give us water and food or whatever we need! One thing you don't need to worry about is food, because I've never eaten so much in my life! But of course my high metabolism kicks in, so yeah I still look the same ha, except I did get a haircut on Monday. Its alright! ;)

 Oh and I also got your package!! It made my whole week, I love getting stuff from you guys! And the music is sooooooo awesome! A family in the ward actually helped us transfer the music to our iPads so we have it here which is super nice. I'm still adjusting even 4 weeks into the mission! I don't know if this is a good thing or not but the mission is hard, just not as hard as I thought it would be, idk maybe it will get harder but right now its great! 

I can't believe that Dad shaved his go-tee! I totally forgot what he looks like without it! I still can't fully wrap my head around dad being in the bishopric again! That's so cool! And I absolutely love getting your short emails during the week!! They are honestly the best things!! Kaitlyn sent me a pic of her and Brett and that made me so happy!! Please keep sending them:)

I miss you guys a lot. I think about you all of the time! I am always keeping you in my prayers! I am doing well here, things are going really good! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission.  Tell jack I love him and miss his crazy energy more than anything haha! I love you Mom and love getting your sweet emails!!! Tell everyone back in PV that I say hi!!! LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!!!!:)

Love, Elder Findlay

look! 77 degrees! It was so nice

We spend a bunch of time preparing and studying at our desk


I'll just keep sending these awesome sky pictures.
 Arizona is cool

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cool Week

Hi everyone! I don't even know where to start. Time flies here and we do so many things. This week was definitely my best and most fun week out in the mission field! I just had a ton of fun with some of the people we teach and they are all so amazing! I can't tell you how many new people I meet everyday!! It's a total overload!! Unfortunately, I am terrible with names, haha so that's one thing that I'm working on. I really just got lost in the work for most of the week, and I noticed a huge difference.  I just was always wanting to help someone which is cool!

Yes I had exchanges with Elder K. haha! (he has the reputation of being strict). But no one can be strict with me though, it doesn't work that way.  Somehow I bring them out of their shell quite a bit haha! I had such a good time and we did a TON of finding. That was one of the first times for me because everyone that me and Elder G. teach are referrals so we don't do much finding at all. I learned soooooo much from Elder K. and we got along really well. Oh and he is from Logan so we have a lot in common. We had an awesome experience! We were getting ready to head back to the apartment when we decided to go walk through one last apartment complex. It was like 8:30 and we came across this younger guy that was smoking and drinking and jamming to some tunes! It was funny because he was covered in tattoos and tall and looked like Paul George ha!! When we started talking to him about what we share as missionaries he stood up and told us that he doesn't want anything to do with us and that it wasn't for him. So we started some small talk and all that and I shared my testimony of the power of the book of Mormon along with Elder K. By the end of our conversation, his name was Aaron, Aaron asked us for a book of Mormon and asked for our number so we can talk about it sometime! I literally saw him change in a matter of minutes right before my own eyes, it was soooooo cool!! Sadly I won't get to teach him because he isn't in my area ahhhhhh!!

2 baptisms in 3 weeks! I'm just baptizing everyone haha;) Jacklyn's baptism was really spiritual! She is such a special person and has the brightest spirit. It was awesome to finally see her baptized! I couldn't have asked for a better baptism for her! We now get to start new member lessons with her and they are so much fun because its like teaching a best friend and having a party while teaching and learning about the gospel! Plus afterwards she took us to this place called Backyard Taco. Best steak tacos I have ever had! I guess it is a super popular place in Mesa.  Oh yeah and we also had Zone Conference. It was 6 hrs long. There was so much information that I don't remember half of it, haha, but it was good.

I don't remember if I told you about one of my investigators but she is someone special. I wish you guys could meet her. She is 48 years old. Her whole life she has been an addict to any hard drug you can name. She has depression,  severe OCD, and has anxiety problems. The missionaries came and taught her a month and a half ago for the first time. After her first lesson she quit everything. Dropped drugs, her bad friends, and wanted to be baptized. It is so crazy and cool that she dropped everything!! She is sooooo strong and struggles everyday with these things but has so much faith! When I first taught her she was super protective and closed off but now she opens up to us about everything and she is great! It just made me realize how many hard things people out there are dealing with and how lucky I am that I have few things to deal with. I am so blessed to have a healthy body, good friends, an unbreakable eternal family, and so much more. I have been humbled so much out here and I want to share the message of the gospel to everyone. It changes lives for the better. 

So you asked about my average day as a missionary haha! No day ever goes as planned I will tell you that much. We wake up at 6:30 every day and workout at our gym for 30 min. Shower, do personal and companionship studies for 2 hrs. Have lunch. We normally have 3 or 4 lessons planned but its super rare that all of them happen. In between lessons we usually have like 30 min of free time so we go contact referrals to set up lessons. Oh yeah and we also have dinner at some members house which is one of my favorite parts of the day! We have to be back at the apartment no later than 9:30. We plan for the next day and go to bed at 10:30. I"m always wiped out by the time I get home!

And THANK YOU!! I love packages!! Yeah we go to the mission office about a couple of times a week. Lately a lot more because of all the baptismal records that we have to turn in.  And I get my ipad tomorrow!!!! I cannot explain how excited I am because our area book is all on the ipad and it is awesome for missionary work!! 

I love you Mom!! I love you Jack!! I love you Dad!! I love you Kaitlyn!! I miss you all mucho but am having more and more fun everyday! I hope everything at home continues to go well for you all. I have a picture of all of you guys in the front of my proselyting Book of Mormon so I am always thinking of you!!! LOVE YOU!!!

Love, Elder Findlay

So the following was written by Elder Findlay's clever companion about some of their experiences in the field, written in scriptural form.  It's long but worth the read. Pretty funny stuff!

The First Book of Elder Grabenstein 
His Training and Ministry 

An account of Elder Grabenstein and his son, being called, Elder Findlay. The Lord calls Elder G to be a trainer and missionary in the land of Mesa, Arizona, in the first area of Alta Mesa, Salt River, and Mountain Park. Because he teacheth concerning the gospel, the people seek to learn and understand. He taketh seven hundred and thirty days journey with his companions to teach the ways of the Church of Jesus Christ. He accounts of his sufferings and afflictions in the land of exceeding heat. 

Chapter 1 
Elder G begins the record of his dealings-he becomes a trainer and foretells the coming of the faith in the land of Mesa-he teaches the Gentiles (about 8/29/16 to 9/10/16) 

  I, Elder Grabenstein, having been born of awesomely parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my trainer; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the gospel and missionary lessons, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my mission. 
  2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the British and the language of the Americans. 
  3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own iPad; and I make it according to my knowledge, which is great. 
  4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of mine mission, in the land of Mesa, there came many missionaries into the land saying, repent, and come unto Christ, and be baptized. 
  5 Wherefore it came to pass that my trainer, Elder Knudsen did say, yea, even as I have trained you, ye shall train another in my ways. 
  6 And it came to pass that I prayed unto the lord, and did tremble and quake exceedingly, and told my trainer, nah probably not. 
  7 And it came to pass that he returned unto me with transfer news, and when I beheld it, I did cast myself upon my bed, being overcome with stress.
  8 And thus being overcome with stress, I was carried away in the news which he had brought me, which was this: ye shall be a trainer. 
  9 And it came to pass that on transfer day, I became to the chapel to receive my trainee unto me, and I saw one descending out of the midst of the MTC, and beheld that he was to become my trainee, even my mission son. 
  10 And I beheld his name tag, which did read: Elder Findlay.
  11 And we went down upon the face of the land of much heat, and I became his father, and he my son, that I might train him in all my dealings. 
  12 And it came to pass that as Elder Findlay went about our area's dealings, he was filled with the spirit of the Lord
  13 And he said: I'm going to call you Elder G, because I can't pronounce that right. 
  14 And it came to pass that he and I went on, pressing foreword with faith, that we might baptize the nations, and praise God. 
  15 And after this manner did we teach our investigators, there names being: Alicia Norzagary, Jaclyn Garvin, John Miller, Angie Wilkins, Saundra Pennington, Teri Gerard, and Lexi Ashdown. 
  16 And now I, Elder G, do not make a full account of the things which I have written upon my journal, for I hath written many things which did happen amongst our area; and I also hath written many things which we did concerning P-Day, of which I shall not make a full account. 
  17 But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my mission. For Behold, I make an abridgment of the record upon my journal, upon the tablet which Apple computers has made with their own machines; wherefore, after I have abridged this record of mine journal, I will then send it in emails to those who would read of it. 
  18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after so many marvelous things did happen in the land of Mesa, I did write them down each night according to how tired I was that night 
  19 And it came to pass that as myself and Elder Findlay did proclaim the words of the gospel unto Alicia, she prepared herself for baptism by water, to join the church of Jesus Christ. 
  20 And when Elder Findlay heard these things, he was filled with exceeding Joy, as was I, and we did help her plan her baptism 
  21 And when the date of her baptism did come, the date being September 10th, we did rejoice with much cookies and lemon bars at the event of the ordinance. 
  22 and Alicia did become baptized by her father, and was an member of the church, and there was much rejoicing for her sake, for we were filled with the spirit of joy. 

Chapter 2
Elder G takes his son into the land of much heat to meet the members and investigators of the land. They leave their apartment daily to teach the commandments. (About 9/11/16 to 9/19/16) 

For behold, it came to pass that Elder G spake unto Elder Findlay and said unto him: Blessed art thou Elder, for thou hast walked up upon a rich land of inheritance, for even as we have baptized one, we shall baptize another. 
   2 And it came to pass that Elder G commanded Elder Findlay that he should take himself up and prepare to teach an investigator set to be baptized.  
   3 And it came to Pass that he was obedient unto the commandments of his father, for he hath said, Ya Boiiii
   4 And it came to pass that they departed into the lake view apartments to meet with one Jaclyn Garvin, who should be baptized. 
   5 And he did meet Jaclyn, and she was prepared for baptism by water, and both Elders did rejoice in her readiness. 
   6 And it came to pass that when they did speak unto their bishop, he spake unto them saying, there shall be two more investigators which ye shall teach this day 
   7 And it came to pass that the Elders did meet with Saundra and Angie, and did teach them of all the ways of the true church of Jesus Christ. 
   8 And it came to pass that we did call this week bountiful, for we had found many new souls to teach, and we had much good tidings of great joy to be caught up in. 
   9 And when I did see the waters of the font flowing again, we did rejoice in our good fortune, for Jaclyn was nigh unto baptism. 
   10 And she was baptized, and there were many that rejoiced in her decision to be baptized, and much gladness did fill our days. 
   11 And it came to pass that after the baptism did take place, we did go down unto the visitors center of the temple, and did partake in watching the Joseph Smith movie. 
   12 And thus Jaclyn did grow strong in her faith, and would continue to do so throughout her days. 
   13 And it came to pass that also in the midst of the baptism, a man came a special needs brother, in need of our assistance unto the understanding of the gospel, and life. 
   14 And the name of the one was Ed
   15 And it came to pass that Ed spake unto us, saying: because of a friend on the internet, we hath prepared a plan by which I shall venture off to the land of China, wherein I shall be healed. 
   16 And inasmuch as we heard this plan, we rebelled in our minds, for the plan by which he spake, was exceedingly sketchy. 
   17 And Inasmuch as we heard his "plan", we did cause the bishop of his ward to come speedily, wherefore, he hath aided Ed said, thou shalt not travel to the land of China, for it be a scam, and thou shalt rather be made here a member of the assisted living community 
   18 And we did rejoice, for Ed probably would have been robbed blind by the internetan robbers.

The sky is beautiful here!

This is Jackie and us on her baptism day! Elder Knudson baptized her, he was Elder G's trainer. He goes home in 2 transfers. Funny guy haha!

Best Day!

End of our day pic!

And this is a picture of the moon. It was crazy big!

This coyote wanted to go to sacrament meeting with us 

An example of some of the houses around here

Elder G's birthday!

Monday, September 12, 2016

One Month!

I'm glad to hear that everything seems like its going good at home!! I'm bummed out that I missed Peach days because that is one of my favorite times of the year but it will be there when I get back! I honestly can't even believe that I have been out for a month now. Only 23 left haha!! They aren't kidding when they say the days are long but the weeks go by fast. We are constantly rushing to and from lessons and dinners and its all crazy but that makes time go by faster! Our area is so blessed! We really live the luxury missionary life. We have all of the necessities that any missionary has. Some of the houses here in our area are soooooooo big. You would not believe how big. We went to this one house that had a 30 car garage. Dad would have loved it haha! They had a bunch of razors and Ferrari's. Serious though so many people here seem to have a lot of money and their houses are like hotels.

We get fed really well here by members. Brother J. is one of our ward mission leaders for salt river and he is seriously the most fun and dedicated person! He is always on top of getting us dinners so yeah we have dinners every night except Mondays. I have had a lot of spaghetti and lasagna which doesn't suprise me, but it's great.  Bishop C.  always buys us this super good pizza so that's probably my favorite. To answer your question mom,  I do have to make lunch and breakfast on my own. For breakfast I usually have bagels and cream cheese with sausage and a banana. For lunch I just buy sandwich stuff like PB&J and turkey and such. I also have ramen and mac and cheese, I know surprising! 

 I think the hardest thing for me here is teaching. I've found out that even though I know a lot, it's still not enough now that I am teaching non members. YES, I wish I would have paid more attention in church and seminary and studied more;). When I don't know the answer to things, it can be frustrating but I try my hardest to answer the best I can and listen to the spirit. So that is definitely something I am working on. I know it will take time, but I have faith that I will get better!

I met an inactive member this week who is 45 and is handicapped. No one is taking care of him and he doesn't have support from his family. He doesn't have many friends, and can't cook for himself because he has seizures. He is moving out of his apartment soon because he says that one of his military buddies is flying him out to China for two years to be healed. When he told us this he had already packed and was just waiting. It didn't seem right so after hearing this we were worried about him. We have been trying to help him and hopefully will sort things out tonight. Missionary work is always interesting!

This week was super big. One of our investigators, Alecia got baptized!! I kind of just walked into it because she had already committed before I came to Mesa but I did get to teach her a lot. She is awesome and was super excited to get baptized. She was baptized by her dad, who is really sweet, and me and Elder G. got to be witnesses. It was a cool experience because she has come such a long way in her life and that really made my week! 

Another one of our investigators Jaclyn, who is so awesome, gets baptized this week! She has a super strong testimony and we get along really well. I am so happy for her :)

 We also had stake conference this week which was great!! Elder Larkin of the seventy came and spoke and he was really inspiring. I noticed that the talks all revolved around families and having family counsels. It helps to have family counsels to discuss the needs of the family. I want to challenge everyone to have regular family counsel meetings to see how everyone is doing:)

So this week I get to go on exchanges with Elder K.  I'm not sure what to think about that but I hope it turns out good. He has a reputation in our zone of being really strict and serious. So hopefully we can work hard and have some fun too!

 Today we woke up and played flag football with a bunch of other elders which was super fun. There are 4 other elders in our zone that we get to do things with a lot and they are really fun and hilarious. We have a great time together doing the work! 

I can say that I am still adjusting here but it's all good! One part of the day I am wishing that I am home, then the other part of the day I love this! Its just a roller coaster but I will get it! I try to love it as best as I can. I've learned that faith will take you through your first few transfers so that's what I'm going off of. I'm trying to put my life in the Lord's hands. And I am beginning to love the people here so much, they are great! 

 I miss Utah and everyone, and sometimes homesickness can get the best of ya but I'm not letting it:) I hope your week goes well and is full of happiness!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!

Love Elder Findlay

I forgot to send this pic from the MTC but it was my last Sunday walk around the temple

Arizona sunsets are amazing!

I was so happy when I saw this sign, O-town baby!

Alecia before she was baptized!!!

Elder Findlay and Elder Grabenstein at the
adult session of stake conference

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Week in Mesa! Week #4

Well I'm finally here!! I made it to Mesa! And everyone was right about it being super hot here! It is really hot, haha, but I can take the heat. I'm already starting to love it here, palm trees everywhere you look, and awesome people all around! The day we arrived in Mesa we got interviewed by President Townsend. He is nice and not too strict surprisingly. Waiting to be interviewed took like 4 hrs so we all literally took naps on the benches in the chapel. They told us to, and they even gave us our blankets and pillows!  It was probably one of the longest days of my life! After we were all interviewed we were assigned to our companions and took off from there. My companion is Elder Grabenstein, I know his name is super funny haha! I have yet to have a companion with a sort of normal last name. He is from New Jersey and he has been out for 2 transfers. We get along pretty well, and he's nice. We went straight to work after we were assigned to our comp. and taught a couple of investigators, and yeah I was a little scared. Anyways the days here go by super fast of course, and I've already been here for a week!

One thing that is awesome is that we have a car with AC and it is a life saver! We have a pretty nice apartment that we share with Elder Karren and Elder Harris, they are fun but Elder Karren is super strict! Our apartment complex is nice and at the clubhouse we have a weight room and a really nice pool. We don't get to use the pool but we do get to use the weight room every morning at 6:30 til like 7.

 We have a really chill area. The members absolutely love the missionaries and we have 3 wards. The Alta Mesa ward, Salt River ward, and the Mountain Park YSA ward. The YSA ward is awesome! We've meet with lots of members and they really do treat us the best! I have already eaten at one house 3 times and I've only been here for a week haha! Sister D. is the one that sent the picture:) And they bought us a bunch of food to take home ha! Speaking of food I went to the store on Wednesday and I didn't really know what to buy so I just bought sandwich stuff and fruit. Its okay though because today I made a grocery list so I'm prepared. Also we never make ourselves dinner because the members feed us every night. I also bought detergent and such because we do have a washing machine and dryer in our apartment. 

Elder T. and Elder O. are my favorite companionship! We are always together because we do a lot of service and we have tons of fun doing it. We do service for investigators like John who is 65 and is soooo funny! He calls himself a holy roller and he has his own radio station. He knows a bunch about the Bible and the BOM but something is holding him back from being baptized so we are working on him. I've already met the bishops from 2 of the wards we cover and they are both great! Bishop C. is so cool! He is really fun and outgoing and he has 6 boys under 14 years old. One of them reminds me so much of Jack! 

One thing I love about Mesa is that there are citrus trees everywhere! I have yet to try an orange from here but when the season comes around I will! Sunsets here are amazing!! So pretty!!! It gets really hot still like on Saturday it was 115. Its not that bad honestly because we are usually inside teaching someone. Sometimes we teach at the visiting center at the temple. The temple is so pretty! We went there on our first day just to walk around the grounds and it was cool!

I'm still trying to adjust to the missionary life and I'm getting there. Sometimes I feel super homesick and that is hard because, I haven't really felt like that before. Especially the first night because everything was so overwhelming. Since then I have met a lot of new people, but I still feel like I barely know anyone. When we plan for the day Elder G, I call him this because his last name is hard to say haha, set up appointments with members and I don't know any of them. He does it on his I pad so its hard for me because I don't get my I pad for 3 weeks. So I just kind of sit there and chill haha but I am learning. All of the missionaries here are really cool. They are fun and welcoming. I'm starting to get into the swing of things but I know it will take some time. At least I'm speaking English! Mission life is an adventure!  I miss you guys more than I ever have before! I love you all so much and don't worry about me, I am really being taken care of!!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!:)

Love, Elder Findlay

Last night at the MTC.  Mesa crew.

Mesa temple visitors center Christus

Mesa Temple

Our napping chapel.

Inside our apartment. We keep everything closed up to stay cool.  I'm not used to that!


My desk

Our pool we don't use ;)

Weight room

Me and Elder G. eating at Sister D.'s house. She texted this picture to my mom. (MADE MY DAY!!!)