This week, we had interviews with the President. In my interview, I talked to president about how I have started getting a little bit frustrated with the fact that I'm working as hard as I can, trying to be productive, and follow the spirit, but still I am not seeing nearly as many baptisms as I would like. It has honestly been something that has been frustrating me a bunch, so I asked president about it. He told me that he went in his mission 8 months without a baptism, and that people always think that he baptized a bunch, but really he didn't. He told me that I have to trust in the lord, and be patient to see him fulfil his promises. He really helped me feel a lot better, and in the morning I had studied a bunch about patience, so i left the interview with the mindset to be patient regardless of what comes.
On Friday, we found a bunch of really good investigators. 4 of the ones we found were definitely people that had been prepared by the Lord. They had special circumstances, that made it perfect to teach them, and we had really powerful lessons with all of them. We also entered into a lesson with a Catholic couple. Right off the bat, they started talking about how the catholic church is the church that God put on the earth, and that Peter was the first "pope" and all that good old stuff. I didn't want to argue with them, so we started with a prayer, and just tried to start up lesson 1. We started talking about prophets, and they told us that God only called prophets until Christs time. I then showed them the scripture in Amos 3:7. They tried to justify and twist the scripture as best as they could, and so I opened up to Ephesians 2:20. They said, well yeah, but we have apostles, so it's the same. I explained to them, that would be like constructing a foundation just with just water, or just cement. You need both to have a sturdy foundation. They just kept on arguing and arguing the point, and so we tried to just push on in the lesson. We bore testimony, used examples.... basically we tried everything we could think of. We ended up talking about how there were in fact prophets after Christ, and well from there, they just twisted, and distorted the scriptures we would share. It got to the point, that I just told them, alright, we're not here to argue with you guys, and you've made it clear you don't want to listen, so we are going to leave. They just kept on trying to argue, and tell us that we needed to read the scriptures better. We told them, alright, we would like to offer a prayer to leave, and they just kept on arguing, so we stood up shook there hands and left.
On Saturday we had 8 people that were committed to go to church, and 3 less-active families as well. On Sunday morning, we went and picked up two of the investigators, and went to church with them. They were there for the first meeting, but the members didn't really do so well with fellow shipping the guy. The relief society did really well though with the girl. Regardless, the guy after the first meeting, felt out of place, and wanted to leave, so they both left after the first meeting. When they left, one of the less-active families showed up, a family of 4 that hasn't been to church for 8 months now. We had some really spiritual lessons with them in the week, and they finally came. However, we didn't have any investigators in the sacrament meeting, so that was pretty disappointing. Then after church from about 1:00-4:00 we just walked from appointment to appointment, and nobody was letting us in. It was super hot in the week, and we had just finished our fast, so we were super exhausted, and worn physically, and mentally. We ended up getting a couple of lessons in the day, but it was a pretty frustrating week.
Today, I was reading in Alma 8. The Lord certainly planned everything perfectly like always. Just when I was getting frustrated again with the area, the Lord extended his hand, and lifted me up. I'm not sure the verses, but there is a part where it says Alma started preaching in Ammoniha, and it says that Satan had taken over the hearts of the people there (well that sure sounds familiar). Later in the next verse, it says that Alma made a great effort in the spirit pleading with the Lord so that he could help them, and baptize them (I feel like my prayers have been fervent on behalf of the people here, and it is quite the effort.) Then in the next verse it says that the people still rejected Alma, and threw him out. The three or so verses later, it says that Alma was sorely afflicted and disappointed at the iniquity of the people in not accepting the gospel. (well that's been what I've been going through for a while now.) Then the next verse is what really caught my attention. An angel appears unto him, and says : Lift up thy head, and rejoice. Because surely you have much to rejoice about. The talk of Elder Carl B. Cook, "look up," came to mind. It really helped me to see, that I really need to lift up my head and rejoice. I need to be happy, because I have so much to be happy about. It helped me to see that even one of my greatest heroes in the BOM, one of the greatest prophets and teachers, also got frustrated, and disappointed. It felt like a message from an angel directly to me. It is amazing how God really does speak to us through the BOM. It really helps make my testimony of the BOM stronger. The wisdom of the Lord is infinite. Later in the next chapters the following occurs: Alma goes back, takes a member that lives in the city (amulek) and goes and preaches, and still has a lot of trials and tribulations, but regardless, they baptized and converted many people. What I got out my studies today: I need to be happy, and lift up my head. Then I need to use the members here, and we will see the conversion.
Well, I love you guys tons, and hope all is well back home. I pray that you are all healthy and well. Love ya,
Elder Ryan Griffin