27 September, 2011

Members need to help the work

Well This week has been difficult, but good. On Tuesday, I gave the district meeting about the faith, and increasing our faith to be able to see the miracles that we all want in our missions. The meeting was one of the most spiritual that I have been in, and I felt like I was inspired a lot during the meeting. Most of the time I feel like I am the one learning instead of the one teaching. At the end of the meeting we each made a list in companionships of what we are going to do/change to be able to baptize every week in October. I felt the spirit so strongly throughout it all, and left the meeting with a renewed excitement for the work.

Unfortunately, as we all know, our faith can't truly grow without trials of our faith. Well I really feel like this whole week after our determined descision to baptize every week, the Lord really tried our faith. We spent most of the week knocking doors, and getting rejected in most of them. It was really hard to keep up that determination and excitement with getting rejected time after time. On Wednesday we had the same thing happen, we taught a couple of lessons, but most of them were just standing in the doorway and teaching them. On Thursday, we found one new investigator, that only had 5 minutes to share. The rest of the day.... walking. On Friday, we ended up teaching a really good lesson with an investigator to start the day off. We set a baptismal date, and had a spiritual lesson. After that however, we ended up clapping houses almost the whole rest of the day. We walked all over the place, knocking doors, talking to people.... doing everything we could to teach people. Despite our efforts the whole day was just rejection after rejection.

At night, we were heading back towards the house. We were tired, rejected, discouraged.... ready to just sleep the day off. We arrived about ten minutes before 9. We decided despite our exhaution to knock a couple more doors until 9:00. We knocked a couple more, and nobody answered. Then I asked my companion: Do you want to try this house, or that house? pointing to two different houses. He picked the one on the right. It was the last attempt before we were going to go to the house. We clapped the house, and a man came out. We presented ourselves, and to my amazement, he let us come in. We sat down with him and his wife, and asked them to turn off the TV, and invite the other family members in. They only had a daughter that was also there, and she came to listen as well. We taught them a short lesson, but the spirit was really strong the whole time. Anyway the whole experience really fortified my testimony of the way that God tests our faith and our patience.

On Saturday, we also had a hard time getting in to houses. On Sunday, all the people we had commited to come to church, didn't show up, meaning almost all of their bap. dates fell. After church and studies, we went out to work. We went to a couple of appointments that all fell through. Our back up plan was to go to the other side of our area, and I didn't really feel like walking over there, so I asked my companion if he wanted to go over there or not. He decided that yes, so we went over that way. While we were walking we found 2 people sitting outside, and we were able to teach them a good lesson about prophets, and committed them to come to the conference this weekend. We also found another investigator while over in those parts of the area. Another thing that helped me learn, is the importance of including my companion in our decisions, even though he is new.

Well with a lot of introspection and meditation, I realized the biggest problem we are having, is the lack of help from the members. The percentage of baptism of people we find is 1/2000, whereas teaching a members reference in their house is 1320/2000, that's a big difference. We are putting together a plan with the ward mission leader and branch president to be able to recieve 1 reference from every household of members per month. If we can fulfil the plans, we should be getting more like 6-7 baptisms every month. We are going to be working hard this week to be able to encourage, and motivate the members to share the gospel with their friends and family. All in all, I know the Lord is teaching me lots of lessons every day in the missionary work. He gives me the revelation I need little by little, and I guess that's the only way that i actually pay attention to it. I know that every day of my mission I am learning and growing so much. I love being a missionary. There is no greater calling than that of sharing the gospel. I would like to invite you guys to talk with the missionaries and invite one of our neighbors or someone over to listen to them. Love you guys tons.


~Elder Ryan Griffin

20 September, 2011

Faith, the first priniciple of the Gospel

Well this week has been a big learning week for me and my companion. We are working really hard, and puting forth our effort to have success.
In the week I got a little bit sick with some congestion, but nothing that was too bad. More than anything most of our potential baptisms have been falling, and we have been walking around a lot looking for more investigators to no avail. Fortunately, as you already know, the Lord always puts through trials to help us learn something and grow spiritually.

I feel like I really found my answers in the scriptures in this week. It's amazing how the Lord guides us so much in our lives to help us become better people. I had been praying a lot that the Lord could help me become stonger, and more firm in my faith, and I am certain that the events of this week have been a clear answer to my prayers. As I was studying the scriptures this week there were a bunch of things that really stuck out to me, and made me ponder. As we were having a hard time in the week I was really thinking about what it was that I needed to do better, and the things that I could change. I was reading in the end of Alma, about the Sons of Helaman. It really stuck out to me the great faith that they had. It is a huge miracle, that in such wars that they were in, that not one of them died. Such a miracle, that it would be impossible to think that something like that could happen. I came to the conclusion that it was due to their firm faith in Christ, and thus they received the miracles. Later on most of the armies with them were destroyed, and they had very little support. The Lamanites had a great army in a very fortified city. Although they were worried the Lamanites would be able to take them over, due to their significantly greater number of people, Helaman and his army put their trust in god, and were not only able to withstand the Lamanites, but actually cast them out of the city in the which they occupied. For me that would take miraculous powers to be able to accomplish a feat such as that. Later on in Helaman 3, there is a story of the conversion of thousands of people, then in 5, again another group of thousands that were baptized. There are many other similar stories that came to my mind from the Bible and the BOM, and it really made me stop and think.

I realized that early in the Restoration of the Church, it was also miraculous numbers of people being baptized. It really made me start to wonder: Why don't we see miraculous numbers of people being baptized in our companionship/District/mission? I then found a scripture in Ether 12:12, that really answered the question for me personally. It says that the Lord can do no miracles when the we don't have faith. I came to realize that there is absolutely no reason that we shouldn't see miraculous numbers of baptisms in our day and age. God is the same god of miracles yesterday today and forever, so wouldn't it make sense that he would be able to do those kind of miracles in our companionship?

I have spent most of the week meditating in this thought, and came to the conclusion, that for one to see those miracles, they would have to have such great a faith, as to bring to pass those miracles. I realized that the big factor that I have been missing most of my mission has really been the faith. I really feel like we can be baptizing every week, and we are now setting goals to really bring to pass these miracles, by first increasing our faith. I feel very blessed by the Lord in this week for all that he has tought me in my personal revelation in studying. I know that this is the true church, and I know that God can and WILL do miracles for all of us in our lives, if we exercise just a little bit of faith. I really know that God is preparing people to be baptized in our areas, and now it is our responsability to find them and baptize them weekly.

~Elder Ryan Griffin

13 September, 2011

New comp

Well on Monday, after writing to you guys I found out that we were going to have a change in our companionship. Elder Graham left to another area, and I got put as a trainer again. There were 15 new Elders that came this change. Most of them arrived good on Tuesday morning, a group of 4 arrived late at 1 in the morning of Wednesday, and another 2 arrived at about 2 in the afternoon on Wednesday. We went to the office, and all the trainers had a meeting together with President Callan and Sister Callan. Elder King was there, and is now training and District Leader, also both my MTC companions, Elder Beckett and Elder Nelson. Also Elder Davis who came with me, and is now in my district, and another Elder that came in my group. Then the new Elders came in, and we got paired up with our companions. My new companion, fresh off the plane, is Elder Rodgers. He is from Bountiful, Utah.

I also saw and talked a little bit to Elder Hugie. His trainer is going to be Elder Nelson (One of my MTC companions). Due to the travel problems, the new elders had to do an orientation, and everything, so a couple of us had to wait. Finally after that and signing and everything, we finally got back to our area at about 5, and got to start working at about 6 or so. I am still the District Leader as well, but in my district, one of the areas split into two areas, so now we have 4 companionships in total in our district. Elder Davis (Texas, same time as me) and Elder Henriquez (Mexico, new elder) are in Libertad 1.1, Elder Sevy (Idaho, 2 changes) and Elder Bowers (Wyoming, 5 changes) are in Libertad 1.2, and Elder Pastul (El Salvador, 5 changes) and Elder Tilleman (Arizona,1 change) are in Ettiene. Overall we have a pretty young district. The work has been picking up a lot more in this week, we now are actually having more success.

It's kind of dificult, because my companion almost doesn't speak anything of Spanish, but he is learning. It is really cool being able to see the progress and be able to have studies that help him become a better missionary. We are really working on the Language so that he can start teaching more. My throat starts hurting when I have to teach almost the whole lesson, and do everything, but it is helping me learn a lot. Now in the whole world they are doing the 2 change (12 weeks) training program, and it's more than likely I will be with Elder Rodgers for at least the two changes.

This week we taught a Baptist pastor that lives in our area. I tried really hard to not let in go into a Bible Bash, because I know no matter how fun it might be, it really just isn't effective. We taught him all of lesson one, and he was very sceptical. At the end of the lesson, I asked him if God told him it was the truth, would he listen. He responed "nope." And started coming up with excuses. I was surprised by his response, and so I said, "I don't think you understood my question very well, I asked, if God tells you this is the true church, and that you should get baptized in it, then would you listen." He still said that he wouldn't listen even if God told him to. Sometimes I wonder how people can say they believe in god, and want to follow him, but yet when it comes down to it, they really don't have that desire at all. It really just makes me sad to see the lack of faith and understanding that a lot of these people have.

We have a family in our ward, Evelyn, and Emanuel. They are both fantastic, but have been having some marriage problems lately. Evelyn is very strong in the church and is working towards a temple marriage with Emmanuel. Unfortunatley Emanuel is a little more rebelious, and so we are working a lot with them to try and help them be able to work towards a temple marriage. That's about all that's new in this week. Love you guys tons, and I hope you are all well.

Les Quiero Mucho

~Elder Ryan Griffin

06 September, 2011

Working hard

Hola querida familia,
Well this has been a pretty tough week, but we worked a lot harder and put forth a lot more of our efforts in the week. We have been having a hard time with investigators that are progressing, and everything, but we've been finding a lot of new people that we are contacting. I feel like I have a lot of burden right now with the assignations and that sometimes my companion doesn't help me all that much, but I feel like he is at least improving. Honestly it is really hard to keep being completely obedient and focused sometimes, because I sometimes get frustrated. Regardless of it all, I know that the Lord has put me with my companion for a reason, and that I have to help him so that he can become converted in his mission. I really feel like that Lord has put a lot of trust in me, and knowing that I can help another missionary become better.

Sometimes I feel like I am too weak to do all that the Lord requires of me, but through faith and prayer, I am always able to come through. This week I had an interview with one of the investigators from Ettiene (a companionship in my district). We did divisions, and I did the interview. During the interview, there were a couple of things that made me feel like he wasn't quite ready for baptism. I felt really strongly that I needed to postpone the baptism, because he wasn't ready yet. Although I personally didn't want to have to postpone the baptism, I followed the spirit, and told him we would have to postpone it for now. I don't think that one of the Elders was very happy about that, but I feel like people have to be prepared for baptism, and be willing to keep the commandments afterwards. I guess the most important is to always follow the spirit, because honestly I wouldn't know what to do in some of the situations I have been in without it.

The changes are this Wednesday, and I'm guessing we are both going to be staying. The only thing that will change, is that I won't have to study so much time this next change. I have really been learning a lot in this change. I guess they say we learn the most in our trials. Honestly I consider it a blessing to be able to have trials. I am lucky that God considered me ready to progress more in the gospel. Sometimes it is hard to not be having so much success, and I feel frustrated that I am not being blessed when I am doing everything that I can, but I know that God has his purposes, and they are not the same as mine. Sometimes I just have to be patient and learn what it is that God wants me to learn.

Yesterday we had a lesson with a young man in our ward. Somehow the topic ended up going to a mission. He is 22, and we ended up testifying of the importance of going on a mission. He asked us why we came on a mission, and if it really is that important. It really helped me express to him the way that I feel about my mission. Honestly it has been the best decision I have made in my life. I wouldn't trade the year and couple of months that I have had on the mission for anything. All that I have learned and progressed in my mission is worth more than any amount of money, or fame that anyone can ask for. I am so grateful for the infinite wisdom of the lord for calling me on a mission, and helping me come to convert myself. I love you guys tons, and hope everything is going well with you.

You are always in my prayers. Love ya tons,

~Elder Ryan Griffin