28 June, 2011

One year left

Hola familia, Well in response to your email, Elder King is from the island part right next to the campus, and he went to Logan High. I just purchased more garments in the temple when we were there, so I'm good on those. Also, yes I got some more shoes, they´re not fantastic, but they will work for now. My shirts are all still good, besides the fact that they aren't exactly white now, but other than that they are good. Well this has been a nice cold week here in Paraguay. Yesterday was quite cold, I didn't think I would need the thermals that you sent me, but I actually have been having to use them. It may not appear so cold looking at the temperature, but it is so humid here in Paraguay that the temperature that you feel is a lot colder than what it says. They also have to insulation in the houses, so we have to bundle up good to not freeze at night. We had a kind of crazy week this week. After we went to the temple, we started the week off really well. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we aren't quite sure what happened. We are working as hard as we can, but the past two days we ended up walking a lot. We got rejected almost by every single appointment that we had set, and even the houses we were knocking on weren't accepting us. We still ended up with 33 lessons on the week, and still found 15 new investigators, the problem is that the most important indicators, Attendance to the church, and progressing were both zero. We had 6 with fecha on Saturday, but on Sunday morning it was freezing cold when we woke up. We got to the chapel first, and only the president and Hna Cañete(and her 2 daughters) and Hna Dora came. We only had 7 people in church, including Elder King and I. I know these people here are poor, and that it is a sacrifice for them to come to church when it is cold, but only 5 out of more than 40 members actually came..... We were a little bit frustrated. Also a bunch of investigators said they were going to come, but also didn't show up to church. We can't really blame them since the members didn't even come. We went to the house of one of the members on Sunday after church, and she just started complaining about the cold, and then started critizising rich people saying that they never have to make sacrifices or anything. She started saying that we have too much money and that we never have to sacrifice anything. Then she started talking bad about our mission president and his wife saying that they have never had to make a sacrifice in their life. Saying that they are wallowing in their riches while everyone here is suffering. Well needless to say, I didn't like someone talking about my mission president like that, so we shared some scriptures with them. First I shared with them Jacob 2:18 that says that we shouldn't seek the riches, but the kingdom of God, telling her that it doesn't matter how much money we have, the commandments still apply to us. Then we shared one from thesalonians that says that Jesus Christ will come like a robber in the night, and asked them if Christ had come today, would you have been ready to meet him. UNfortunately they just have hardened their hearts here, and they justify not going to church as that they are poor. They say that God will understand their circumstances..... We are just facing a lot of problems with the branch, the majority of them don't want to change, and it is a constant fight to try and help them. We are going to keep doing everything that we can to save the branch, but we can't make anybody change by force. Unfortunately they have their agency, adn they don't use it in the correct way. I'm worried that they are going to pull us out of here again if things don't start changing in the branch. Well I love you guys tons, and I'll talk to you next week. Thank you for all you do. Elder Ryan Griffin

21 June, 2011

Senior Companion

Hola familia, Well we had changes. Like I told you elder Watson went as a zone leader, and I got a new companion. I'm now senior companion, my companion has 3 months less in the mission than I do. I think I was the last one in my group to become senior comp. my comps name is elder King. He is from Logan Utah. So far he has been a really good companion. We are getting along really well. It's wierd being senior comp now, becuase I have to direct everything now. We had a good week though for the most part last week. We taught 47 lessons, and found 15 new investigators. Unfortunately we didn't have anybody come to church, and hardly even had the members come. We only had 15 members in total that actually came to church. Sorry I couldn't write yesterday, we ended up having P-day today, so that we could go to the temple. We ended up going to the temple finally today, which was awesome. It was really cool going through this time now that I understand the Gospel more. It all took on a whole new meaning for me. It was also really cool being able to watch it in Spanish, and actually be able to understand it all this time. It was also nice to be able to think about the mission and everything, since I am at the point of 1 year now. It really made me think a lot about the mission, and what I want to complete for the last year of my mission. We taught a lesson to a guy in English this week. He has a house in Chicago, but he also lives here in Acahay. We taught him in English, which was really weird. I couln't teach very well, becuase I don't think in English very well now. It weird how much English I have already lost. I had to translate a lot of things into Spanish from English...... I never thought I would get to that point. It was a really interesting lesson, because he actually wasn't as ignorant as most people here, so he actually has some really interesting questions for us. We had a good lesson, and we are going to try and teach him again. Our branch is having some problems. The members, a lot of them, aren't progressing. They are just sinning, and don't really care. There are a lot that get help from the church, and then they go and sell the stuff that they got from them. We are trying to help the people realize that they can't keep living like that, but we definitely haven't seen a whole lot of change so far. A lot of our investigators aren't really progressing, so we have had to look for a lot of new people in this week. We found a lot of really good people that are going to progress. I still have to get a lot better at teaching though, because now that I'm senior comp, I can't really rely on my companion so much. I just always have so many more thing that I have to imporve as a missionary. It's a good and bad thing I guess. My old comp, Elder Gutierrez is now my zone leader in zone 6. I told him we have to do divisions some time, so that we can teach together again, but I don't know if they can actually do it or not. Well that's about all I can remember from this week. I'll talk to you next monday. Love you all tons. Oh, and happy fathers day!!!! two days ago anyway. -Elder Ryan Griffin

14 June, 2011

I get to stay in Acahay

Hola Familia, Well this was a good week, with some ups and downs. We baptized two of the four people; the other family is on hold for now. I got my package, thank you tons. Roberto and Brigida- They got baptized on Saturday. It was nice and cold in the water, but not too bad. I baptized Roberto and my companion baptized Brigida. My comp had to baptize her twice because she didn’t go all the way under the first time he did it. They also got confirmed on Sunday, and are now on the journey. Nestor and Mercedes- During the interview, I was in another area, but apparently he decided that he doesn’t know if he wants to marry her yet, so now we need to keep working with them to see what we can do there. I went to Asunción with one of the Zone Leaders, and there I got to take my package back, everything was in good shape, they didn’t throw it in water or anything this time. Thank you for sending that…. I forgot how good beef jerky and those peanuts are because they have nothing like it here. Well the changes are coming up this Wednesday, and we´ll know by tonight what is going to happen for sure. I already know that I am going to stay in Acahay, and my comp is going. Last night at like 930 the president called and talked with my companion. He is going as a zone leader, but we don’t know where or anything. That means I know I am going to stay here in this area, so now it will just be a matter of who I’m going to be with. We had a good week overall. We taught a lot of lessons, but the only problem is that we didn’t end the week with a baptismal date. We had one investigator come to church, but we just have to be able to talk to a couple of the investigators a little bit more to see what’s going on with them. We have a lot of potential still in the area, now I just have to take control of the area since my comp is leaving. Also I got some more music with a pen drive that I bought, so don’t worry about sending more music, I think I have enough now. I would still like if you could send me more pictures of the family, but you could do that by a letter or something like that. Thanks for everything. I am always praying for you. Thank you for your love and support. Elder Ryan Griffin

07 June, 2011

The Lord's blessings

Hola Familia, Well this has been a good week. This coming week is the last week of the change. So that you know, now we have p-day the Monday before the changes instead of the Thursday, so I will be writing you in a week, not in 10 days. We had 4 people that came to church this week again. The 4 that came all have a baptismal date for this Saturday. There are still a couple things that they have to do first, but we should have a baptism of 2 families this Saturday. We are really excited and literally seeing miracles here. These are the people we are currently teaching: Nestor and Mercedes: They were the ones I told you about that he was having problems with drinking. One day we talked with him at a member’s house. He told us that he wasn’t going to be able to attend church for like 5 Sundays at least due to his work. We were kind of frustrated because he has a date, and it was going to fall. We were kind of overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do. We decided to teach him the W.O.W, and the Sabbath Day. We started with the latter, and he got kind of defensive at first. At that point I felt like the rest of the lesson was literally taught by the spirit through me. I asked him if he believed that God could do miracles. He said yes. I asked him if he believes that God can do miracles in our day and age. Again he said yes. I then testified to him that God can do miracles, and not only that, but that he can do them in the life of Nestor, that if he is willing to obey the commandments, God WILL bless him. I then read 1 Nephi 3:7, and pointed out that Nephi didn’t just say I will go and try… but that he said I Will go and DO. We testified that we have to have that trust in the Lord that he will help us keep his commandments. It was probably one of the most spiritual lessons I have had yet. Now he has completely stopped drinking, and he went to church on Sunday. We saw a change so big in him after that lesson. I really know that the Lord spoke to him through us. That he taught him exactly what he needed to know. I feel so blessed to have been the tool through which God blessed the life of someone. They are going to be married on Friday, and Baptized on Saturday. I now know that he has been converted, he shared his testimony with us, and he said he now knows this is the true church, and is willing to do whatever it is that the Lord tells him. Roberto and Brigida: Well Roberto is doing really well, and will be a great help to the branch here. Brigida however, was having some reason that she didn’t want to get baptized. She was being kind of weird, and we didn’t know what was going on. We decided to split them up, and talk to them separate. Apparently she has just felt left out because I talked to Roberto, and my companion to her, and she opened up and decided that she also will be baptized if it’s not too cold on Saturday. Santo and Graciela: They didn’t come to church this Sunday because Santo did something to his leg in his work. He hit it with something a couple days ago, and on Saturday he did it again. He was bed ridden, and so he couldn’t come to church, but told us he will do everything he can to come next week. We gave him a blessing of the sick, and told them we will be passing by to see how they are doing. They will be getting baptized soon as well, just a matter of time at this point. So as you can see the Lord has blessed us lots in the work here. We are finding new people to baptize, and we are finding lots of families. All the families I baptize before June 23, I can enter into the temple with them when they get sealed as a family. If I baptize any families in between June 23 and July 23, I can extend my mission a month to be able to go with them as well. We are seeing some improvement in the branch here, and as we are finding more men, we are seeing it as that we are baptizing the future bishop of the ward here. I love you all, and I am so thankful for you and all you do. I am so thankful after seeing how many fathers here are drunks, and cheat on their wives, that I have a father that has been a great example to me. I will forever be thankful for all that you have taught me, and the examples that you have been for me. Love you tons! Elder Griffin