26 July, 2011

Adios Acahay

Hola familia, Well it has been an interesting week this week. We got a call this morning about the changes. The zone leaders told us that our area is going to close now. We are both getting pulled out of here, and we are going to new areas..... This week we had a tough one. We have been having investigators falling like flies, and just everything was falling for us. We ended up walking a lot, and we couldn't find our investigators in their houses. I think it was part of everything that was happening, god knew the area was going to close, and I don't think he wanted us with a lot of investigators that were going to be baptized. Honestly we have been going through a lot of trials in these past two weeks, but I am thankful that God has given us hard times because I know that we will grow from them. Although right now I can't see the purpose of everything, I know that god knows exactly what I need to pass through to become a better person. I feel so grateful for all that God has taught me, and how much he has changed me in the year I have had in the mission. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I sacrifice, God always blesses me more than I can give recompense. I'm sad that our area is going to close, I feel bad for the converts that I have had that aren't going to be able to have the support of the missionaries. However, I know that God is pulling us out for a reason, and that everything will be alright. The only help those people really need is that of our Heavenly Father. Although now I won't be able to write them, they will be in my prayers. I am so thankful to be a part of this Gospel, and that God has given me the oportunity of being a missionary. I know that wherever I go, and whatever happens, it will all work out in the end. I know that I have done all that I could in this area, I know we worked as hard as we can, and I know God will bless us for that. We don't know where we are going or anything, but we will be figuring that out tomorrow in our district meeting. I'll be letting you know the details of my new area and new companion next week. I love you guys, and thank you so much for your examples to me. Thank you so much for raising me up in the true Gospel, and for teaching me the correct things to do. I am forever thankful for the countless things I have learned from my wonderful parents. I coulnd't imagine having two better parents in the world. Thank you for your support in all I do. Sincerely, Elder Ryan Griffin

19 July, 2011

Falling into temptation

Well another week has come and flown by again. We have been working all the fat off that I have gained in the mission so far. ;) The week has been interesting, difficult, and full of blessings of the Lord. On Monday we both got our hair cut. It was pretty much just a hack job…. People here don’t know how to cut hair very well. The lady did terrible with both of our hair. It was incredibly uneven when we got home. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and fix it up. I used the mirror, and pretty much cut all my own hair. It actually turned out to fix it pretty well. I evened it out, and now it doesn’t look so bad. I figured out that my companion knows Chad Hugie. He went to the same school as him, and they had some classes together…. It’s a small world after all. The Copa America (American Cup) of soccer has been going on this week. Paraguay tied with Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Then Paraguay had to play Brazil again to move on, and won in a shoot out. They now have to play Venezuela again, and then they play the winner of Uruguay and Peru for the finals. In church this week we had 12 people in total. We had two investigators that came. They are a family, and they are…. Well let’s just say they are missing a couple of screws. We gave them a hymn book to start out the class, and I had to teach the first class. Every time that I would say a page number for the scriptures, the man, José would look for it in the hymn book. Also he stood up in front after one of the classes and started saying something in Guarani. Then with the sacrament, my companion was passing it, and the woman, Estela took like 5 pieces of the bread. Well anyway, we’ll see what happens there with them. This week our appointments were dropping like flies, and we ended up having to knock doors a lot. Seeing as our area is so small, and I’ve almost already talked to everyone, it was a hard week. We ended up finding a lot of investigators though, 26 in total. 7 of which were families. We are working as hard as we can, but unfortunately we aren’t seeing a whole lot of progress in our investigators. I know that we just have to keep working, and trust that God knows what he’s doing with everything. Sometimes it’s hard to have that trust, seeing as we want to have immediate success. However, I know that we also have to have a test of our faith every once in a while so that we can progress and learn. José and Liliana had a marriage problem. They went to a party, and Liliana drank a little bit. We aren’t exactly sure what all happened, but they ended up separating. José left and went to his mother’s house. We found out what happened, and went to talk to him. They haven’t gone to church the last 4 Sundays now, and so they have let Satan take control of their lives. We explained to José that they need that help so that they don’t face problems like that, and that God was giving them a trial to help them remember him. We told him he needed to pray and ask God what to do to solve the problem, and then do it. That same day, he went back and now they are back together. Now we just need them to actually go to church. Anyway, we have changes next week, so we’ll see what all happens with the area, and what the will of the lord is for the people here. All I can do is pray and hope that it doesn’t close, and if it does, accept that it is the will of the Lord. I love you guys tons, and hope all is going well for you. I’ll talk to you next week. Love ya, Elder Ryan Griffin

12 July, 2011

Closing Acahay?

Well this week has been a battle in a lot of senses. We have had a lot of trials here, but we are pushing through, and doing everything that we can. On Sunday it rained a little bit during church. We got there at 8, and nobody was there. We waited till 9:30 before the hermana Machuca got there with her grandson. After that we waited until 10:30 and nobody else came. We did the sacrament meeting with just 4 of us. I got be be the presiding authority.... fun fun. Anyway we did the sacrament, and my comp and I gave talks, and then we left at like 10:15. We are worried about the branch because the majority of the problem, is that nobody wants to come now that the storehouse is closed. It is really sad to see that there were so many that were just coming for the storehouse, instead of coming for the correct reasons. We had passed by two of the members houses, and they weren't there, so we know that they weren't just worried about going out in the rain. After church we went to a bunch of their houses and dropped the cane a little bit. We basically talked to all of them about why they were baptized, and the covenant that tehy made with god. We told them they can keep going to church for the food, but that is all they will gain, and will lose the eternal life if that’s the case. All of them that we visited said they will be coming next week, but they told us that last week as well. We had interviews on Wednesday, and I talked to the President about a lot of the problems we are having in our area. From what it sounds like, with the things that are going on he may be closing the area pretty soon. Unfortunately it makes it very inefficient to try and do missionary work when the members don’t even come to church. We will have to see what happens, but we don’t think it will go very well since we only had 4 people in church this Sunday. The interview was really good though, and I learned a lot like always from talking to the President. He told us to just keep working hard here, and do what we can. A lot of our investigators have fallen, or just not been progressing. We had one of our better investigators blow up on us on Saturday. He accused us of being spies, and told us that the US is paying us to be here. He may have been a little drunk, but pretty much let us know that he doesn’t want to be baptized. A bunch of our other investigators have just been impossible to find, or whatever else. We do have one family that is progressing a lot. It is a family of 7, 4 of which are older than 8. The parents read the part in 3 Nephi that we left for them, and had some really good questions about the baptism. They seem to have a sicere desire to be baptized, and we are working hard with them. Jose and Liliana know them, and were supposed to go by to pick them up for church.... but they didn’t even come. Kind of frustrating that we aren’t having any kind of help from the members. Anyway we are still working as hard as we can, it kind of hard to keep positive with everythign that is going on, but we are doing all that we can. I love you guys tons, and hope everyone is alright. I’ll talk to you next week. Elder Ryan Griffin

05 July, 2011

Help with overcoming problems

Hola mi querido familia, Well this Has been good. Elder King and I are working together really well. We are working hard, and doing all that we can herein the branch. It is nice having a companion who is younger because it helps me have to be more obedient, and search for things that we can do better. We are getting along really well. He went to Utah State also, and also doesn’t like BYU. ;) No but we are getting along really well, we haven’t had any arguments or anything, and we are teaching really well together. We had just over 40 lessons in the week, and we found 21 new investigators. We are working hard to help the people progress, but unnfortunately the most important indicators (with bap. Date, in the reunion, and progressing) were all zero this week. Nobody came to church again of our investigators, and we aren’t really sure why. Usually it is a case of not explaining well enough for the investigators the importance of going to church, so we are trying to study on that, and see how we can explain it better for them so that they come to church. We found a family of 7 this week, 4 of the which could be baptized. We taught them the entire first lesson, and it was a fantastic lesson. They both had really good questions, and we left them with a Book of Mormon to read and pray about our message. We are going to visit them again on Tuesday and see how it went. A lot of the investigators that we have been teaching more time seem to be progressing, but for some reason aren’t coming to church, part of which might have to do with the cold that it is doing in the mornings. We only had 10 members in total that came to the church counting us, so it was another small group. Roberto, our recent convert came, and bore his testimony. It was awesome being able to hear one of my converts bear their testimony and hear how much he has progressed. The bishops storehouse here in Paraguay closed down recently and is going to be closed for 3 months. Unfortunately we believe that is the main source of the problems we are having with the members right now, because a lot of them were just coming for that. There was a rumor that the branch president was recieving money that he was supposed to give to the members, but that he was keeping it for himself..... we had to kill that fire in the week. Also another rumor was going around that we(the missionaries) had walked in on a member while she was dressing and that we saw her naked.... Which never happened. We are getting kind of frustrated with the members because instead of progressing, now they are getting even worse (spreading false rumors about the missionaries and the President). We are working on helping them, but the problem is that they lie to us when we talk to them, making it so that we can’t help them with their problems. There is one member that we visit that lives next to a downs syndrome guy named Juan Carlos. Every time that we go to visit the family, Juan Carlos comes over to listen. He can’t speak, and I don’t know if he understands, but I know that he can feel the spirit. It is really cool to see a special person like that who can feel the spirit, and follow it. We had a lesson with some drunk guys this week. They were in the process of drinking as we explained to them the Word of Wisdom. One of them started asking questions and recording us on his phone. Another was so drunk that he fell out of his chair. One of them however actually wanted to say the prayer at the end, and started crying as he asked his heavenly father to help him overcome his problem with drinking. He then wanted to give us a hug before we left. I don’t know if we will ever see him again, because he lives in a different part, but I hope that he really can change his life off of what we taught him. It’s been pretty cold in most of these days, and we have been making some hot chocolate every day when we get home to warm ourselves up a little bit. It’s really sad seeing the poverty of the people here now when it is cold, because the only source of heat they have is making a fire. Well I love you guys tons. Happy fourth of July. Have a great day, and shoot some fireworks off for me. Thanks for everything you do! Chau Elder Ryan Griffin