22 February, 2011

The GOAL, to share the gospel

Well, that's crazy that Devin got his call to Romania...... Definitely wasn't guessing that one. He'll have exactly one year less than me when he goes out then. Well, it's been quite a rough week this week. We haven't had a whole lot of success, and have been losing a lot of our investigators. I'm honestly just getting too stressed out with a lot of the stuff that's going on..... with my companion, the members, and now the investigators..... It's hard to keep the excitement to go out and work. I've been doing everything I can to try and find my footing again, but so far this week, we haven't had a whole lot of success. I think one of the biggest problems that I have, is that sometimes I focus too much on myself, my wants and needs in the mission, but I think the best way to be happy is start worrying about the people more. Sometimes it's really easy to get to focused on the numbers, and when they go down a little bit, I lose focus. This week we only taught 20 lessons, half of what we should be teaching. As of right now, we have absolutely nobody with a date, and nobody progressing. It's definitely a little harder to work when things aren't going so well, but I know that the Lord will bless us if we keep working with all of our effort. We also had a Zone conference this week...... it was definitely interesting. For lunch, they gave us a little piece of lasagna, a half a glass of orange juice with water, and like 3 spoonfulls of fruit salad. Yeah, they don't exactly spoil us in this mission. ;) I am kind of at a point that I am really confused. I have a companion that absolutely hates the numbers, and a president and other leaders that I feel focus a little too much on the numbers. I know the numbers are supposed to help us help the people, but in this mission, they are used to gain recognition, and move up the "ranks." For example, the mission has set "minimum goals" that we are supposed to have for certain things, even though in Preach my Gospel it says the President should not set cuotas. In the numbers that they send us every week, the President gives recognition to the two districts with the most baptisms, and puts the companionship that has the highest numbers in each of the key indicators, even though it says that the numbers shouldn't be used to recieve recognition. A friend of mine was in the district of one of the Asistants before, and one of their meetings, he said, "alright, we're going to have a competition to see who can set the most baptismal dates today." I feel like a lot of the leaders and other missionaries think that the mission is a competition instead of something to help the people. Our zone leaders the last change, baptized 4 children, even though their parents aren't members, and the children already aren't attending now. I really just get frustrated, because all the leaders push the numbers so hard, instead of focusing on the people, and making sure that they have a good testimony before they get baptized. I find it hard to support the president and the other leaders, because they are the ones that fuel the fire. I know that there are a lot of other missionaries who feel the same way. I don't know what I should do, because if we say anything to the president, he just gets mad at us..... I just feel kind of frustrated with the whole thing, maybe you guys have a suggestion of what I can do? Or if I should just keep working, and just ignore it? Anyway, I have been kind of distracted by that lately, and it has been frustrating me, but I am just going to focus on the work as best I can this week, and try my best to help the people. I can't let other people determine my potential as a missionary. Well, that's all the time I have, so I'll talk to you later. I hope you guys are all doing well, and I love you tons. Love you all, and I look forward to your response next week. -Elder Griffin

15 February, 2011

Fernando is growing in the gospel

Well, it has been quite the hard couple of days since the last time I wrote. We started losing some of our better investigators that had baptismal dates. One of the people, Alicio, seemed before like almost for sure he was going to get baptized. This week we have been going to his house, and it turns out he started talking with a friend of his that is Jehova's Witness. He has started going to their church, but at the same time, he is reading the Book of Mormon. He has already gotten to Jacob in two weeks. The last time we went to his house, and he kind of just has gone crazy. He told us that most people look for God, but that he is looking for the devil. Turns out he has been in cults and stuff before, and we are pretty sure he is just nuts or something. We told him that if he wants to look for Satan, that's all he is going to find. That if he wants to look for God, he needs to do the right things to find him. Another one that has 3 attendances to the church, is 15 years old. The problem with him, is that his mother doesn't want him to get baptized. We are still working with him, and haven't been able to talk to his mother yet, but we are hoping that all goes well with him. This week, we had our plans for the day, we would go out to work, and just about everything would fall. We had days that we would go out, and walk around for hours without finding anybody in their house. Honestly I think it is mainly due to a lack of faith on our part. I just feel like I lack so much faith and patience right now. There are a lot of things that I need to be doing better so that I can at least do all of my part to be able to recieve the blessings of the Lord. I have definitely been humbled this week, realizing that I need to have more trust in the Lord. Fernando is doing really well now. He has continued attending church, and is going to have an interview to get his temple recommend. We are also working with him so that he can recieve the priesthood. His sister has gone to church with him the past 3 Sundays, and we finally got a chance to teach her the Restoration on Sunday. We invited her to read, and pray, and she said she definitely will. We also invited her to be baptized the 26th of this month, and she gladly accepted. When we had the baptism, there was still water in the font, and in the water, there were two scorpions, and a couple of worms. We had to drian it and clean it out, because the other elders were too lazy to drain it after their baptism. One day this week, we were walking, and a truck was coming towards us. There were two chickens in the road, and one of them moved the wrong way, right under the tire of the truck. We saw it just get crunched by the truck, and after it was still twitching for a little while. I went to go take a picture of it, but a guy came and picked it up and just took it. I'm pretty sure he ate it.... Well, although it is pretty difficult right now, I still feel llike I'm enjoying the mission. I feel like I am learning so much every day, which really just makes me realize how much I don't know. Anyway, things are going a little better with my comp, and I hope the area starts picking up again. I love you all, and I'll talk to you next week. Happy Valentines Day! Hasta Luego -Elder Ryan Griffin

10 February, 2011

Growing in Faith

Well, it has been a long and interesting week. First off, earlier in the week, we had the pre-interview with Fernando for his baptism. In the interview, we found out that he is has issues.... but fortunately has never done anything bad with the desires, and he doesn't want to. Anyway we had the interview with the district leader, and had the baptism on Saturday. He has a strong testimony, and has a desire to stay faithful in the church. My comp baptized him, and confirmed him on Sunday. Before Saturday we had 6 people with a baptismal date. On Tuesday we recieved the changes in the District meeting..... and my comp and I both stayed here in the same area...... for the 3rd change now. I suppose I haven't learned enough patience yet, and still have to learn more or something. The biggest problem is, that I really can't get him to be obedient, because he just gets mad at me if I tell him he should be doing something, and so it is difficult to wake up on time every morning by myself, do the exercises in the dark, shower, eat in the dark, and then finally I just have to turn on the light to be able to study. I really have run out of ideas of what I can do at this point. All that I really can do is keep praying for the help of the lord. I guess I really should be grateful for this trial, because it has really brought me closer to the Lord, and I have felt his love for me stronger in these last two changes then ever before. I am just going to have to keep pushing forward as much as I can for the rest of these 6 weeks, and do what I can. I have been reading Jesus the Christ lately, which has been really cool to be able to learn more about the life and everything of Jesus Christ. I am also always trying to read Preach My Gospel so that I can know the things that I need to do better as a missionary. Well, sorry, I don't have a whole lot to say this week. I am just kind of frustrated with things right now, but I am sure things will get better. I just have really been lacking on faith these past couple of days. I love you guys, and hope all is well with you. I'll talk to you again on this Monday. Les extra├▒o mucho. Les quiero mucho, -Elder Ryan Griffin

01 February, 2011

A sink and micro in the bedroom

Well sorry about the Spanglish, I don't even notice it now, but I have definitely seen a decline in my grammer in English and everything. It's hard because I pretty much speak Spanish all the time now, and so it is difficult to speak in English already. About the apartment, well we have a kitchen.... kind of. It is all just one room, so in our bedroom, we have a sink and a stove and microwave.... it's not too bad, but it's a little weird for sure. We don't have airconditioning yet, and it is pretty hard to sleep, because it is still so hot in the nights (in the 80's-90's). I think God is really just trying to teach me patience with everything. I really am so ready to get a change of companions..... we have 1 week and a half left in this change fortunately, and I'm guessing I'll be leaving the area. It really is just so hard sometimes getting along with my companion, because he just wants to be disobedient, and tries to just make me mad every day. It's also a little frustrating, because in the companionship inventories, I tell him to stop doing something, and he just does it worse to make me angry. Every night he calls and talks to another Latino, and him and my comp talk about us behind our backs. I really have been trying to just be patient, but I've really just been getting so frustrated. It kind of feels like carrying around a 200 lb sack of bricks around all day long in the 100 degree weather. I don't really understand why there are so many latinos that just have no desire to work. It's like my companion came here to have a vacation, and realized it was too hard. But yeah, anyway I have definitely seen the blessings of the Lord in the work for trying to stay obedient, and do the right things. Well besides that, this week has been pretty good. We didn't find a whole lot of people in their homes this week, and we have lost a lot of investigators. On Tuesday a member invited a guy to mutual night, and he actually came. We taught him, and gave him a Book of Mormon to read. We tried to find his house on Saturday to teach him again, but to no avail. We were thinking we were probably never going to find him again. On Sunday however, he came to church by himself. I talked to him (because my comp was with our other investigators) and he had read 17 chapters in the Book of Mormon. I asked him if he had prayed, and he said yes, and that he felt really different. He also told me that he felt something different in our church, that he had never felt before. I explained to him that it is the spirit. He also asked me "If this is the true church, why is there not very many people?" Good question huh? Anyway, we had a class with him, and I taught him the Restoration with a member present. At the end I invited him to be baptized, and he said yes. At the end he said, "well I never thought I would one day be a Mormon, but I guess I won't be, I'll be in the Church of Jesus Christ." I think it is one of the first investigators I have had that has understood everything so well. He has a date for the 19th, probably after I leave, but it has been a testimony builder to see that there really are people who are being prepared by the Lord to be baptized. Also Fernando came to church again. He has a date for this Saturday, and has a strong testimony. When we started teaching him, the rest of his family didn't want to listen, due to some rumors that they have heard (I.E. that we are here to steal there water, that we are American spies, that we take pictures of baptisms and sell them in the US.....). Anyway, his sister came to church with him this Sunday, and his family is starting to talk to us a little bit more now, so we are hoping that we can start teaching the family as well. We have already taught him all the lessons, and now we just have to have the interview. Well other than that, not too much has happened lately. I Love you all, and hope all is going well with you. I will talk to you in another week and a half (because of changes on the 9th) Hasta luego, cuidense! -Elder Ryan Griffin