On Thursday while sitting there eating bland rice with eggs, I really started thinking about Thanksgiving. I realized that I was in another country, away from the family, and eating quite frankly the worst thanksgiving dinner I had eaten. Regardless of all of that, I realized that this thanksgiving I have more to be thankful for than any other thanksgiving I have passed. The holidays really aren't all about all the food, or about presents, or about the turkeys, the christmas trees, the ornaments and all that..... It's about really reflecting on our lives, and the life of Christ. My whole life, I have always been more focused on the food, the presents, and all that with the holidays, and I guess it really took me being in the most humble circumstances to really come to realize the blessings that I have in my life. It helped me really see just how blessed I really am to have the gospel in my life.
This week was a pretty tough one due to the sicknesses of my companion and I, and also the fact that it was one of the hottest weeks we've had in the year so far. Tyler and Kiplin sent me a letter with a talk attached named "but if not." I realized that one of the problems I have had in my mission is the pure unconditional trust in the lord. With supposedly increasing my faith a little, and working harder, I thought I had faith that no matter what, we would see miracles. When that didn't happen, quite frankly it discouraged my faith, and shook my hope of seeing miracles. My problem I have had, is that I didn't have the unconditional trust. I told the Lord I would work as hard as I could, and trust that he would give us miracles. All along what I should have said, is that I would work as hard as I could, and trust that he would give us miracles, BUT IF NOT, then I will keep working as hard as I can, and trust in him. The mission really has helped me in so many ways to be able to really understand the faith and trust. Before the mission, I always viewed it as simply believing somehthing that you can't see. Little did I know that is just the "milk" of the doctrine. Faith and trust is really to just throw my own will out the window, and conform my wants, my wishes, and desires to be those of the Lord. The trials that I pass every hour, every day and week and month of the mission serves for my growth and understanding. I am so thankful for my trials. I know that without the trials I have had in my mission, I would not be who I am now. I also know the Lord still has so much more to teach me as a missionary, and I am excited to learn it all.
This week we didn't have any investigators come to church, we only had about 25 members there. We are starting to see a lot of potential baptisms that are coming from our work with the members now...... maybe we will start seeing the miracles now, but if not..... well you already know. We have been working really hard to gain the confidence of the members, due to the fact that there have been a long line of disobedient missionaries that have been here, and so we have been having to build everything up from zero.
We have changes this Wednesday, and I'm not sure if we will be changed or not, but I do have the surety that if I leave here, than I have at least done everything I can to leave this little branch of the world better off than when I found it. We have had a really hard time changing the traditions of the members here due to the past missionaries, and have even had some members that get offended by us. We are really making an effort to be 100 percent obedient, and we have gotten to a point now where they are starting to understand a little better.
Well that's about all that is new this week..... we are feeling better with the stomachs now, although they still aren't up to 100 percent yet. I love you guys, and hope all is well back home. Thank you all for everything and my prayers are always with you. Love ya all tons!!!!
Elder Ryan Griffin