18 June, 2012

Time flies

Well, this week has been great. It's still been a little tough in the sense of finding and teaching due to the weather, and other circumstances, but overall things have gone really good this week. On Tuesday we had a really powerful district meeting about faith. We talked about how we can increase our faith to see modern day miracles. I then did divisions with one of the companionship's in the district. I went to Hernandarias 1.1, with Elder Garzon (Columbia). One of the first lessons was a guy that thought he was super philosophical and tried to be super intimidating. We taught him, and talked to him about how the prophets of God have far greater knowledge of philosophy than all the people in the world, and how the gospel was the ultimate philosophy of God. It ended up being a really long lesson due to his desires to talk and be the one to control the conversation, but overall it went pretty well. We had a couple of other good lessons during the day, and that was it.

I have been teaching my companion the biblical history of the Old Testament for the last couple Companionship studies, which has been pretty good for me to go over as well. He has a really good desire to learn and become better, so we've been working on a lot of things this week. We've been having a lot of Gospel conversations about various themes. Elder Stephenson said that he noticed the difference in how he feels between this change and the last change. He said he and his last companion talked a lot about worldly things, and he just wasn't satisfied or at peace. He said that this change he has really felt the difference it has made in his mission by keeping our minds centered on the things of the Lord, and the mission. We have had a lot of really good deep doctrine talks this change, so it has been really good. My companion and I have gotten along really well, and he has changed a lot since he first got here, and now understands the need to consecrate himself more fully to the Lord.

We found a lot of rejections this week. There's not a whole lot of people who actually have desires to follow Christ. We did find a younger couple that we taught, and it was a really good lesson. The spirit was there really strong, and it guided the lesson really well to make it all go through really smoothly. It is always awesome to be able to see the spirit working through us in the peoples' lives. We left them with a Book of Mormon, and at the end the guy told us, well now you've left me with a lot of curiosity to know if this is true..... It is awesome to see people who actually have desires to know the truth.

We are also teaching a woman that has read until 1 Nephi 3 in the Book of Mormon already, in like a week. She is really liking it, and committed to go to church.... unfortunately she has little children, and it has rained the past four weeks, making it so she can't go. We have literally had it rain the past 4 Sundays, without fail, and only on the Sundays. It is still raining right now, and has been for about 24 hours now. We have a tin roof, so it made it a little difficult to sleep last night every time the rain got hard.

Yesterday I had my final interview with President Callan. It was really good. It lasted about 50 minutes, and we talked about some really good stuff. He talked a lot about different goals that I have for after the mission to be able to maintain the testimony and everything that I have become. We talked about temple attendance, studying the scriptures, prayers, and various other things like that. He then expressed how grateful he was that I served an honorable full-time mission. He told me that I have blessed many lives, and helped many missionaries during my time. He also said that he got a letter a couple months back from a missionary thanking president for having put him in my district because the revelation I had received changed his life. It was really cool to hear that from President, and know that I really have given my all. I am so thankful for the mission, and the time I have enjoyed here. The wisdom of the Lord is so great in calling the weak things of the world, and changing those weak things during two years of their lives. I love you guys tons, and thank you for all your support and Love toward me. I am excited to see you once again, and enjoy the time with my beloved family. Love you all.

ELDER Ryan Griffin.....

11 June, 2012

Fort for warmth

Well this has been a pretty difficult week. Things just aren't quite going the way I would like them to seeing as I am going to be leaving this area in a little bit. I'm doing everything I can to find people, and teach them and get them to church and everything, but it's just not happening. I keep thinking the Lord is going to lighten up the burden at some point, but it looks like I still have a lot of things I need to work on to become better. The Lord is really testing me to see if I can endure until the end at this point, it would definitely be easier if I were baptizing and teaching a lot. It takes a lot more diligence and patience to keep working till the end when things just aren't going the way that I want them to. I have been surprised with the fact that I have been able to keep working as long as I have with little to no fruits (as far as baptisms go). The Lord has really been trying to teach me some of the most important lessons during my mission. I just hope that I have been able to learn all of the lessons that He wants me to.

This week has gotten super cold. Our house has absolutely no insulation whatsoever. In fact it has these bricks in the kitchen that have a design in them, and it has holes, letting all the cold air in during the night. Our room is too big, so it doesn't retain the heat at all, so a couple of nights we were freezing, with two blankets and all, we were still super cold. Even moving at all in the bed, would cause us to wake up, and get cold again. It was a couple of miserable nights, with little sleep. The humidity really makes it feel a lot colder than it really is. It gets down to like 40 degrees is all, but it feels a lot colder than that due to the humidity. In mid week, we decided we needed to do something to keep warmer at night. We can't use the stove things we have, because it could be dangerous, so just joking to my companion, I told him we could build a fort. Well, that little joke quickly turned into reality. We literally took our bed frames, and some blankets, and built a little fort in our room, it traps all the heat a lot better, so we've been sleeping nice and cozy the past couple of days. It's kind of weird sleeping in a fort, but hey, ya gotta do what's necessary to stay warm, right?

We both had to give talks this week in church, and the stake presidency was there. I gave a talk about purifying our internal vessel. It went really well. I feel a lot more comfortable giving talks now, at least in Spanish, and here in a small branch with 50 people. The mission has really helped me to be able to turn fears and weaknesses into, well not really strong points, but definitely less weak points. "I give unto men weaknesses so that they are humble. If they humble themselves before me, I will make that there weak points become strong points unto them." Alright, I know it better in Spanish, but it's something like that. Ether 12:6

In our district meeting we talked about having more people with bap. date, and in the meeting. This week compared to last week, we basically doubled both of those as a district. The district is doing really well, just things here in our area aren't picking up like they need to. I have given my best effort, and I will keep doing it until the end, but I seek only to do the will of the Lord. I know that some day, the seeds I have sown, will be ready for the harvest. I'm really glad that the district is doing well though. When I got here, there wasn't a lot of baptisms here, but now they are doing a lot better.

Well, that's about the story of this week. I love you guys tons, and hope all is well. Have a great week! Love ya

Elder Ryan Griffin

04 June, 2012

This is my work and my glory

Well, this week went well. I just got done with a leadership meeting in AsunciĆ³n. Also my companion got his ingrown toenail fixed finally. This week went well, with the usual difficulties, joys, and spirit of the missionary work.

During the week we focused a lot on finding new investigators. It's turned out to be quite the difficult task seeing as I have almost spoken to all of the people in my area. I really have talked to almost all of the houses, and so when we are looking, I literally have to search for a house that I haven't already knocked. It's been a real trial, because I want to be finding a lot of investigators, and having lots of success, but it's been tough with the fact that I already know almost all of them. We still ended up finding 10 people in the week. A lot of our time has been dedicated to searching. We set a baptismal date with Oscar (22) for the 16 of June. He said he is going to get baptized that day. Please pour out your hearts that he can be prepared and have enough of a testimony to be able to be baptized this next Saturday. We are also working with some other investigators who are starting to progress. Things are going well overall, it's just been rough with not knowing what else to do here in this area. This week, I was thinking a lot about the fact that I haven't had a whole lot of baptisms during my mission, and how I haven't become a zone leader or anything. One of the nights I felt a little bit weighed thinking about that, and I knelt down and started talking with my Heavenly Father. I asked why I had not had more success during my mission, and why things were so hard, even though I have been working as hard as I can to have success and baptize all the time. I received an impression in my mind, accompanied by a sweet feeling of peace. I heard in my mind, "This is my work, and My glory, and I will bring to pass the salvation of men in my own way and time. You have done all that I have asked of you, and my purposes will be fulfilled in it's own time." It really helped me to realize that although I may not have had a ton of baptisms in my mission, I really was able to become a different person. I have had a change of heart, which was something that I could never have achieved by myself. I am so thankful for my mission. It has changed my life, and I am forever indebted to the Lord for what I have learned and become. I wouldn't change my mission for anything. I love the missionary work.

It rained a bunch on Sunday, and so only Oscar went to church, but he is progressing well. It was a really good testimony meeting. Things are going pretty good here.

My companion is doing well. He is a really good elder, he lacks a little bit of consecrating himself more, but I'm working on that with him. He has really good desires to serve, and be a good missionary. He made a lot of changes in his life to come on the mission, so it is cool to see somebody that really had to turn their life around to come on the mission. We get along really well.

My old companion, Elder King, is assistant now. I saw him and chatted with him a little bit today in the leadership meeting. He'll be going up to Utah State as well, but he leaves 3 months after me. The leadership meeting was really good, and President gave the 5 of us that were the a chance to bear our testimonies. It was really cool to be able to be that missionary at almost the end, bearing testimony of the changes the mission has made in my life. I don't have much time, so I'll have to talk to ya more next week. Love you guys tons. Hope all is well back home. I hope you're all studying your scriptures tons, so we can have some good deep doctrine talks in a little while. ;) Love you guys.

Elder Ryan Griffin