Monday, October 20, 2014

Busy in Texas

This week started off with a great P-day full of lots of basketball playing. Basketball is always a good way to relax a little bit and relive some stress:) We have a lot of awesome elders in our district, and always have good times together. 

This Tuesday night we went and saw Jerome with a member named brother Merrill. The visit went ok, until brother Merrill started teaching Jerome about the beliefs of Christ's church. He started off by mentioning our Heavenly Mother, which caught Jerome off guard. Then he explained the first three lessons from PMG in an hour! It was kind of like giving a new born a steak before he has the teeth to chew it:) The whole time brother Merrill was talking he didn't give us a chance to check for understanding. When brother Merrill was done, poor Jerome said his head was spinning and that he would have to sit down and think about all that was said. luckily at the end I was able to tell him that the most important thing he should do and focus on is to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know it's true. We left feeling kind frustrated and worried that Jerome would not want to see us again. We were able to see him yesterday and he let us in and let us sit down and talk to him. It was quite the relief:) I have a good feeling that Jerome sooner or later will realize that this is the true church and that baptism by proper authority is critical to  make it back to God. I love how he is always open to new ideas and beliefs. 

We still have not been able to get in touch with Rachel and Erica. We called Rachael quite a few time times this week, but she didn't ever have a time that was good to come by and see her. Hopefully this week she will be able to call us and tell us her schedule. Erica is still dealing with her daughter who is really struggling. She is very stressed and worried and prayers for her are much needed. Hopefully we will be able to get in contact with her as well. 

This week we had the amazing privilege of having a member of the 70 come and visit our mission! his name was Elder Cardon. We had a big conference Friday. It was really good. Talked a lot about the gathering of Israel in the last days and bore a wonderful testimony of God and our Savior. He also taught us that we need to be having the father of the home give a kneeling prayer during the first lesson of teaching a family. He did a role play during the conference and showed us how we to go about doing it. It was a very bold approach, but very powerful and effective. His wife also gave a talk on loving your companions. It was a great reminder and I could feel her love for all of us as she talked. Also prier to Elder Cardon's visit, he had asked each of us to read chapter 4 of PMG and prepare a 3 minute talk. Then during the conference he had people share there experiences of preparing the talk. It was cool to see so many sisters and elders have spiritual experiences while preparing their talks. Elder Cardon was inspired to have us prepare those talks. It was such a cool opportunity to have a general authority in our mission.

After the conference we exchanged with the Hurst elders. I had the opportunity to go with Elder Stewart. The first thing we did was go to dinner at a burger place, it was really yummy and filling. That night we went and visited this less-active family named the Tongas. They were really nice and just had a baby 3 days ago! He was so cute. We taught a brief lesson on the plan of salvation. Brother Tonga then gave a wonderful testimony about Jesus and his atonement. Following that we were trying to find this apartments, but ended up in these other apartments that we didn't know existed. While we were lost and trying to figure out where we were, we asked a guy who was walking his dog for directions. We started talking to this man and found out his dad was from Utah and knew about Mormons. We then gave him a card with the Savior appearing to the Americas and asked if we could come and see him again. He said we could. He was a really nice man, and I am grateful God put him in our path. The following morning we had the chance to go and visit a referral we had received for an older lady named Nancy. She was really nice and shared this cool story of when her husband had come and visited her from the spirit world when she was in a car wreck. We left her with a Book of Mormon. Following that we got the chance to go to the baptism of this really nice 9 year old boy named Logan. It was a wonderful service and Logan was super excited! One funny thing that happened was elder Nanny (the one who baptized Logan) forgot to bring a towel and had to use paper towels to dry off:) Also while we were walking to the church to exchange back, we meet this really interesting man named Rusty. He had ever chapter 3 verse 16 in the bible memorized! He also had the whole 119th chapter of Psalms memorized which contains 176 versus. It took like 15 minutes to tell us, it was pretty amazing. He believed that the bible was the only word of God and that the Book of Mormon was made up. Also said that some day we would burn in Hell with Joseph Smith and we would look up at him in Heaven and say "why didn't we listen to Rusty!" We tried to explain where the Book of Mormon came from, but he wouldn't listen. Hopefully some day he will come to the fullness of the truth!;) 

Two more awesome things that happened this week. The first one was that Sunni Webster got her temple recommend! We have been trying to get her one for a while now, and finally she went and got one. The second cool that happened was, we were at the church picking up some food and we ran into brother Binkley. Brother Binkley has had a pretty rough life. He used to be in a gang and is covered in all kind of tattoos. He has a pretty cool conversion story, but any way we ran into him and started telling us his testimony. It was so powerful! He told us that even if he fell off the straight and narrow path, that he would never in his life deny that the Book of Mormon was true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. It was so cool to see how the gospel has changed his life. It showed me the power of the Atonement!

Hope every one has a good week in school and work! Make sure that you are always looking for ways to share the gospel and to lift up those who need your help!


Elder Griffin

Monday, October 13, 2014

Zone Conf, I-pads and Not so Sweaty!

This week has been so much cooler! It has been so fun to bike around and not be incredibly sweaty:) This week has been full of wonderful spiritual instruction. We started out with a zone council on Tuesday. We were taught about becoming converted and we talked about how to balance the Why the How of missionary work. It was a really good reminder. We talked about how sometimes we as missionaries focus to much on the How of missionary work when we should first remember that we are here to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes having faith in him, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. When we keep our focus on the why, then we are more effective missionaries. Then on Thursday we I had the chance to go to my first zone conference with President Ames. It was awesome!! We started out by watching the movie "Meet the Mormons". It is an amazing movie, and I am so glad that you guys got to go and see it. I would invite all those who have not seen it to go and watch it and be spiritual fed!:) After the movie it motivated me to become in even better missionary and truly show others that being apart of Christ's church will bless their lives more then they could ever imagine. This movie is going to be a powerful tool in showing the world what it really means to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Following the movie we talked about Ipads:) Our mission president said that we would hopefully be getting them by the end of this year! He said that they will cost 400 dollars, and that every missionary is expected to get one. I think having an ipad will be very helpful. For one they will have the area book on them, which will keep everything much more organized, they will also have maps and you will be able to set reminders for yourself. In addition to that you can show investigators Mormon messages, conference talks, how to use family search, and where they can learn more about what we believe. It is an exciting time, the lord truly is progressing the work!
      This week I had the chance to go on exchange with elder Peterson and then on Friday our new zone leader elder Hansen. They were both wonderful exchanges and I loved learning how to become a more consecrated missionary. One exciting thing that happened while on exchange was that we finally got to teach a boy named Junior Binkley. We have been trying to get in-touch with him and his family for quite some time now, so it truly was a blessing when Brother Binkley called and said that he wanted to meet at the church and teach his son. We went over that night and taught him lesson 1. He is a really smart boy, and we left him with a Book of Mormon and set a baptismal date for November 9th! Brother Binkley also said he wanted to come on exchange with us, so we are pretty excited:) Also during both of these exchanges we worked on street contacting. It was great practice and I am getting a lot more comfortable talking to everyone I see:)
     This week we weren't able to see very many of our investigators due to schedule conflicts. Rachael had an appointment for last Tuesday, but was unable to make it. She did text us and told us she wants to reschedule so we still have high hope for her. Last time we meet with her she said she wanted to read the whole Book of Mormon by next visit! She has incredible faith. We have also been trying to get in contact with this lady named Erica. She has been taught lesson 1 and loved it. I called her this week to see how she was doing and she told me that her daughter was in the hospital. She sounded pretty stressed and worried. Hopefully everything will work out ok, but we need everyone's prayers. Jerome was also out of town this week, but we are still looking forward to continue teaching him:) We were able to go see Claudia this week. We tried to teach her that in order to have the spirit more abundantly in our lives we need to be keeping all of God's commandments. Claudia feels very lonely and isn't sure why she is still on the earth, and so I really believe that if she could have the comfort and guidance of the spirit she would be so much more happy! She did tell us that she has been smoking less cigarettes lately so there is defiantly progression.:) We also went and say the Vandergriffs this week. There are doing much better. Brother Vandergriff said that he is going to get his job back! Also they have come to church for 2 weeks in a row now which is fantastic! Their baby is due in about 2 month:) We will probably be going over sometime this week to help him fix his fence. We also went and visited Matt. He is the one that is less-active and is a single father. We meet with him and invited him to church, he also feed us this amazing chicken! Matt did end up coming to church this Sunday and stayed all three hours! We were very excited to see him there. We also were able to meet and talk with a guy named Adam. He is less-active and is living with his girl friend who is not a member. He is a really funny guy, and knows a lot about guns. (It reminded me about all the fun times we went shooting as a family) It was a miracle we were able to talk with him, because he just got a new job and is very busy. He talked about how he needs to go back to church which was great to hear. We also offered his girl friend Gabby, a blessing, because she has cancer and they don't have a cure for the kind she has. It is  a really sad situation, but they have a pretty positive attitude about the whole thing. We were also able to come in contact with another less-active man named Dan Calvin. He has been very busy with work and it was finally good to talk with him. He is in the process of going back to school to go into another job field, because he has been wielding for 25 years and its hurting his back. He said that on the 23rd of this month that he will be done with his drafting class and that on that day a company will be coming in to do interviews. We are praying that he will be able to get the job, then he might be able to come to church and the job will be so much better for his health! This upcoming week I really want to find some more investigators to teach! I know that there are tones of people just waiting to hear the gospel, and all we have to do is get to work and find them. I'm excited to see who we will find! 
     Well my time is up, but I love each one of you so much!!! Keep being the amazing people you are and remember that one of the easiest ways to do missionary work is to lead by example:) 


Elder Griffin

Dull as a butter knife

This week has been great. Filled with tons of bike riding and missionary work!:) Conference was absolutely amazing! Those men and women defiantly had revelation from God. What a blessing it is that we have a living prophet on this earth today!

First off I want to tell you a sad update on Tracy the lady we meet my first week. Last week we got a call from her early in the morning. She told us that she was leaving on vacation and would not be back until December:( We will for sure pick things back up when she gets back, we are just hopping that she doesn't forget the things we have taught her or fall into the temptations of the devil. We have been teaching this lady named Rachel that I believe I mentioned in last weeks email. She is awesome! She originally wanted us to come over to help her husband who is going through a hard time due to the death of his mother. She wanted us to help her help him come closer to Jesus Christ. But know she is becoming interested in learning for herself if our message is true. We went over this past week and taught her the Restoration. During the lesson she asked atone of questions which I loved, because they were sincere and her intent in asking them was to get answers not to bash. We brought with us a ward missionary named Brother Payne. He is this 70 year old man that knows so much about the gospel! He has been a huge help. He is also a convert from the baptist church, so he understands what Rachel is going through. After the lesson, Rachel was really honest with us and said that her only concern was that she didn't want to commit to our church unless this truly was the true church of Jesus Christ. She was kind of worried it was just another church to try. We reassured her that by reading the Book of Mormon and asking God through prayer if these things are true that God will answer her. We then left her with lots of church reading material, so she could really understand about our church. She is so open and honest with us and is really searching for the truth. I pray that as she ponders and searches the Book of Mormon that she will get a testimony of its truthfulness! She also has this cute little 4 year old daughter that I got to read stories with for a little bit. I can't wait to teach this Tuesday and see if she got an answer to here prayers:) This week we got to do some service at the Talbot's home. They had this tree in their backyard that they wanted us to chop down so it wouldn't have a chance to fall on their house. It wasn't that big of a tree, but boy was it a stubborn old thing!:) It took a lot of time, patience and sweet but we eventually got it cut down!! It probably didn't help that the ax was duller then a a kitchen butter knife:) We lift with quiet a few blisters, but also with a great feeling of satisfaction. We also got to visit with Jerome again this week. He is such a loving and caring man, but it's very hard to teach him because he rarely stops talking. You have to be ready when he takes a breath to hurry and get in what you need to say:) He is pretty set in his ways, but I think with a little softening of the heart from the Lord that he will eventually realize the truth of our message. We also had the chance to see Claudia again this week. We came into her care center right when she was about to smoke:( She has wanted the sacrament for the longest time but can't have it unless she quite smoking. After she was done smoking we sat down with her and she asked us how we can determine if a thought is coming from God or Satan. We told her that only good thoughts can come from God, and that our Heavenly Father will never tell us to do something that will harm our bodies. She told us that she said a prayer asking God if she could smoke that day and that she had received an answer that she could. Also at the same time she was about to smoke we showed up. We had a good discussion and I think it helped her realize that the answer she got that said she could smoke was from Satan. This week we are going to teach go over the blessing of keeping the Word of Wisdom, it should be a great lesson! This Friday we went to the Library and made lots of flyers, then we rode our bikes all over the place and gave them to our investigators and less-actives. It was a long bike ride, but it felt good to work hard. On the way home we stopped by brother Davis's house and got some water. While there he had a scale in his kitchen so I thought I would see what the mission had done to my weight. After stepping on the scale I was surprised to learn that I have gained a little over 10 pounds only only a few short months! I'll have to watch what I eat a little better:) 

Saturday we went and watched conference at the church with all of the other missionaries. It was great! My favorite talks were the one by the general primary president on the Sacrament. I loved how she talked about making the Sacrament a more sacred experience. I also loved President Monson's talk about the German battle ship and how we need to keep our rudders steered in the right direction. It was a powerful talk! Also this Sunday we went to see this couple from the Congo who speak French. Our previous visit we had left the husband with a French copy of the Book of Mormon, and he was pretty excited. When we came back yesterday we brought a ward member named Boviek who speaks 12 languages, including French!! He is a great guy and is also a convert. This time when we knock on the door the wife was the only one their. We went in and we talked about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. After that she told us her testimony of her church and about this Prophet guy named Brnamn who they believe is a prophet of God. I had never heard of him before and we left very confused and frustrated. She was a really nice lady though, and I think she will be very accepting of the message of the restoration.

Well my time is up, but thank you so much for all of your love and prayers!


 Elder Griffin

P.S. Mom, could you please tell Mark and Jessica thank you for the wonderful package they sent:) Also could you send me a CD with the song "more" on it by Kennith Cope? I love you so much and thank you for always being happy and cheerful:)