30 August, 2011

Learning responsibilities

Well this week we had to conference with President Arnold. ON Wednesday we had the conference, and in the morning I went to the leadership meeting with him. It was really good, and helped me realize better what my responsibilities are in my position. I really realized the importance of every position that God puts us in, and fulfilling with those duties.

As a district leader now, I am responsible for helping the president in my part of the mission, that I can do all I can to take the stress off of his shoulders. In the actual conference I learned a lot. We learned a lot about the planning, the way we teach investigators, and tons of things that have been helping us in this week. One of the things that really stuck out to me was at the end when he bore his testimony. He happened to look right at me while he was bearing his testimony, and I could just feel the truth of what he was saying. It was awesome to be able to see in his eyes, that he really KNOWS that it is the truth. It made me contemplate if people can see in my eyes the same thing when I bear my testimony.

This week has been a little tough overall. My companion has been having a tough time getting up on time. I have been trying to help him, but his first companion just got him into that habit, and now it is like trying to wake a bear up in the morning. I really have learned a lot about my companion in this week however. He grew up in a family that was baptized into the gospel when he was 12 years old. As time went on, all of his family besides his sister fell away from the church. His family had a lot of problems with drinking and other things, and Elder Graham had a lot of hard times because of it. When he was 18 he moved out of the house to go to college in Pennsylvania, and played on the basketball team. He then had an impression that he should move to Utah when he turned 19, and went out there to UVU. While there, friends and family helped him come back to the church. Nearly a year later, he had the feeling that he needed to put in his papers and go on the mission. He did it, and with his mother worked towards going to the temple. He helped re-activate his mother, and with his family still in problems, left for the mission. It really has made me have a lot more respect for him, and a desire to help him serve a faithful mission.

We have a lot of really spiritual discussions about things, and he is progressing a lot. He still has a problem with getting up on time, but we are working on that right now. I am trying really hard to be patient and understand him, and honestly even though at times I get frustrated, the Lord has helped me be a lot more patient. A lot of our investigators have been falling, and we have had a tough time finding new investigators, but I know all that I can do is rely on the Lord, and keep working as hard as I can to move the work along in this area. There are still a lot of things that I am trying to improve in myself, and become a better missionary. I feel like I have become a very different person in my mission already, but the last ten months I have to Endure until the end. I have to serve the Lord until the last moment, and keep going. I love you guys tons, and hope you all have a great week.

~Elder Ryan Griffin

23 August, 2011

ups and downs

Well this week definitely had ups and downs. We had the baptism of Christhian. His mother isn't a member yet, and his dad doesn't live with them. He is 15 years old, and is a great young man. He told us he wanted to be baptized, and he has a lot of support from the young men en the branch, so we decided we would baptize him and keep working with his mother. He was baptized on Saturday by a the young mens president, Emmanuel. The baptism was really good, we had 4 investigators that came to it. I felt the spirit strongly when he bore his testimony after his baptism. I felt so much joy to see a son of God be able to enter into his church. It really is one of the greatest joys that one can feel, to see another one of God's children enter into a covenant with Him. Christhian has been asking us a lot about a mission, and other things of the church. He has a great desire to know more, and do the will of the Lord. I know he will be a great blessing to this ward, and we are going to keep teaching him and helping him to progress with the help of the branch. His mother is catholic, and needs a little more work, but we are going to keep working with her. She was at the baptism, and we could tell that she felt the spirit. She gave the last prayer, and it was really good. He also has a cousin that isn't a member that lives with them, we are going to be working with her as well to see what happens. He was confirmed a member of the church on Sunday, and he is really excited to keep learning. As far as the other investigators go, we have been struggling a lot. A lot of the people that we have been teaching just haven't been progressing very well. A big problem we are having as a companionship, is that my companion is having a really hard time waking up in the mornings. He usually sleeps until 11 or so, and so I just have to do all 3 hours personal study. I just feel like I am getting impatient with it all, and it is making it hard to be effective in our daily work. I am trying everything I can to help him, but he has got to find the will power to do it himself. It's been a week that I feel like I have come a lot closer to the Savior. I have felt really stressed out with everything with my companion and all, and then having more responsabilities as the District Leader, and as his trainer, I feel like I've been getting a little frustrated. It made me really start having more sincere prayers in this week, and pleading with the Lord to help me fulfil what it is he wants me to do in my mission. I really feel like I haven't accomplished what I would like to have accomplished up until now in my mission. Through study and prayer, I have been finding my own answers to the problems, and have really stregthened my testimony in this week. I know that no matter how hard the mission is that I just have to keep pushing through, and giving the Lord all that I have. That is all that he asks of me. This week we have a new slate, and we are going to have the conference with President Arnold on Wednesday. I have to go to a leadership meeting for an hour before the conference, but I know it will be a great learning experience. I am excited to learn from a general authority of God what it is that I can be doing better as a missionary. I know that the Spirit will help me to know what it is that I need to learn. I always feel like I learn so much from the zone conferences, and that I come away a better missionary. I love you guys a ton, and am always thankful for your support and love. Hope you have a great week. My prayers are always with you. Love ya, Elder Ryan Griffin

16 August, 2011

The importance of the Book of Mormon in the gospel

Hola Familia, This has been a challenging week with everything. I have had some pretty bad stomach problems and diarriah for most of the week. Starting last Monday I started having stomach pains, and I had to start eating a bland diet. After a couple of days it still wasn’t getting any better, and so finally I had to call President Callan and ask him what to do. On Saturday I finally went to the pharmacy and bought some pills to help out the problem that I was having. I started taking them, and now I feel a lot better, but it made for a long week with stomach pains the majority of it. On Tuesday in the district meeting, we talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon. It talks about Christ, it supports the Bible, it’s the keystone to our testimony and our doctrine, and it responds to questions of the Alma that people have. It actually helped me preparing and teaching about it to realize that I really do need to put more importance on it. We did some practices of using the Book of Mormon to testify of Jesus Christ. After the meeting (still with stomach pains) I did divisions with one of the companionships, and went to their area in Libertad. The first guy we taught was an agnostic (believes in God, but not in Christ) and he was talking about Hitler and a bunch of other weird things. I finally got on topic, and asked him about the Book of Mormon, and he said he had read it all the way through. I talked to him about it, and it just so happened, that I used our practice in the District meeting, and used the Book of Mormon to testify of Jesus Christ. He has been being taught by the missionaries for like 12 years, and they have a hard time getting him to do compromises. I testified to him of the book of Mormon, and used a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland, that no bad man could write a book such as this, and no good man would do it, unless it were true. After that he got quite and listened better. I shared with him my experiences of how I know that the church is true, and he said he had prayed three times with missionaries and didn’t receive a response. I asked him if I could invite him to do something, and he said yes. I invited him to read the Book of Mormon every day, and pray every day if it is true, and promised him if he did it he would receive a response before finishing the book. He accepted the invitation, and said he wants to try it out. After the lesson, the elder (in his 2nd change) was really surprised. Even though he didn’t really understand what we were saying, he saw that the guy just completely changed and listened. It was a really spiritual experience. Honestly, I didn’t know what was coming out at times; it was just what the spirit directed. It was really awesome to see that when the spirit directs a lesson, that it changes the people. At the end of divisions I did the evaluation, and went back to my area on Wednesday. The rest of the week was a challenge for me, because with my stomach, I wanted to just stay inside and sleep, but regardless, I kept going out and working. On Thursday, I got even worse, with headache, body ache, and the stomach ache. I barely made it through the day, but then the next day I felt a little bit better. In church we had 4 investigators again. One of them was Christian (15), who is going to be baptized this week. We already went over the interview questions with him, and he is really excited to be baptized. His mom and sister aren’t quite ready to, but we are going to keep working with them. For now, Christian has the support of the other young men, and the young men president in the branch. We set goals as a district to increase our new investigators, and the invitations to be baptized, and in the week we increased them both as a district by 12. Overall it has been a good week, I’m glad to be back to good health again, and now I can get back to working normal. I love you guys tons, and hope everything is going well. Talk to you next week. Elder Griffin

09 August, 2011

Leading the District

Hola Familia, This week has been pretty good, but at the same time difficult. My companion, Elder Graham, has a hard time getting up in the mornings. We haven't been doing companionship study very much in this week, because he usually wakes up too late to do it. It is kind of frustrating, because his first companion was really lazy, and didn't do what he was supposed as the first part of training. I am just trying to be patient with him, because I pretty much have had to teach him everything over. I am trying to help him wake up, study, and plan better, but it's kind of like teaching an old dog new tricks. I talk to him pretty much just in Spanish now, so his Spanish is getting a lot better in these two weeks. I just have to keep help him become obedient so that we can have the spirit with us. This week I taught the district meeting for the first time, and it went pretty well. I always think I learn things a lot better by teaching them, so if nothing else, it's helping me learn the doctrine, and the principles in Preach My Gospel better. I also did an interview for the first time, it was a 9 year old girl, who's mom was a less active, and they re-activated her. I also have had to take numbers, and do divisions already, so it's a lot of work, but I am learning a lot by doing it. In the district, we have on companionship: Elder Davis, and Elder Sevy. Elder Davis has the same time as I do, and Elder Sevy is in his second change. Also Edler Pastul and Elder Tilleman. Elder Tilleman has 2 weeks, and elder Pastul 6 months. Over all, it is probably the youngest district that I have seen. Elder Pastul and Tilleman had the baptism this week. We had a tough week in all, as far as lessons go. We ended up walking around a lot, but we were doing all we could to find and talk to people. We had to lessons that ended up in an argument. There was one guy that was telling us that our church is stuck back in time 2000 years ago. I asked him if his church (catholic) had a prophet, and he said no. I then told him that the only way to know god's will in our day, is through a prophet, meaning that if the church doesn't have a prophet, and only uses the Bible, then it is living 2000 years ago..... well lets just say he didn't like that comeback, but he was an investigator that wasn't progressing anyway, so we dropped him. We had another one with the 30 year old son of a member. He is in some evangelical church, and we started teaching him on Friday. Immediately, he started attacking the doctrine, saying that we are only saved by grace and faith, and that we can't be saved by our works. I told him in James it teaches us that faith without works is dead, meaning that to recieve grace, we have to have works to show our faith. He then went to a scripture in Mathew 11, changing the subject by saying that john was the last prohpet. I then showed him in Acts 20, that there was a prophet after Christ, named Agabus. Anyway, I tried to explain to him that the only way to know the truth is through the Book of Mormon, but he didn't want to accept that, and tried to keep arguing. We had 4 people that went to church on Sunday. Antonio, Cristian, Zuni, and Cindi. We had a good week overall, we just had to walk a lot most of the days. We have the baptismal date for Antonio this week, but he has a problem with smoking. He has stopped for now, but we have to make sure he has stopped so that we can baptize him. Zuni Cristian, and cindi are all for the 20th of this month. We are excited to keep working, and find more people in this week. I love you guys tons, and will talk to you again next week. Love ya, Elder Ryan Griffin

02 August, 2011

Las Residentas

Well as you already know, I am now in a new area. My new area is named Las Residentas. It’s in AsunciĆ³n, touching the area of the office. It is the only area in this Stake that is a branch, but it has about 60 active members. We have a ton of lunch appointments, and really good food here. There is even a pizza hut in our area. I think I will probably gain back all the weight I lost in Acahay. My new companion is an American. His name is Elder Graham, and is from Ohio. He only has one change in the mission, this is his second. There is a new training program in the missions that now is for 12 weeks, instead of the typical 6, so now I am training, but the last 6 weeks of training. With the new system, we have 2 hours of comp study, instead of the normal 1, and 1 hour of language study instead of 30 minutes. We also have a portable DVD player to watch the District meeting to train our companions. Also along with that, I now got assigned as a District Leader…. I was kind of hoping I would get away from that, but I’m sure the Lord called me as the DL for some good reason…. I just don’t know why. In my district, all three of our companionships are training, one of the trainers has 6 months, and the other has the same time as me, and came in my group. I don’t really know what I’m doing as the District Leader, but I know the Lord will help me with it, and whatever it is that he wants me to accomplish here. My companion is almost brand new, and his other trainer didn’t really train him. He didn’t know Spanish very well when I got here, but we´ve been speaking all day only in Spanish so he has been getting a lot better at speaking now. Unfortunately he doesn’t really know the investigators, or their needs or anything, so I pretty much have to get to know everything over again about them. The other Elder didn’t really put anything in the area book, so I don’t know like anything about the investigators more than what I ask them. Regardless of everything, I’m excited to be able to work here. There seems to be a lot of people that could possibly be baptized in a little while. We had 2 investigators that came to church on Sunday, and ended the week with 4 people that have a bap. date. The members here are all really cool, and help us a lot with the missionary work. It’s probably one of the best branches/wards that I have been in. I don’t have all that much to say about what has happened so far, but I’ll let you know more about the area and everything next week. I love you guys, and thank you for your constant support and Love for me. I hope everything goes well for you in this week. Elder Ryan Griffin