Monday, March 9, 2015

are you willing to change?

In short, the all-mission meeting was amazing. There are so many of us! Definitely a blessing to get to see EVERY missionary in my mission. (:

I was surprised, however, that the meeting really did not focus on technology that much. Definitely with maybe one exception, I did not really learn new ways to use technology for missionary work.

But I did learn this - that one of the main reasons technology is being embraced for missionary use is so that missionaries can learn how to use technology productively and for positive usage. 

Which, is so important.
Think of all the deadly things on the internet, things that can harm us, and how easy it is to access it. And also consider how easily we can waste time online. 

The goal is to teach this technological generation to use the internet and electronics productively and as tool.

As I said though - the technological roll-out was not focused on technology very much at all.

In truth, it was focused on keeping covenants and experiencing a change of heart.

Elder Zwick began the meeting with asking, "are you willing to change?"
None of us are perfect, so thus we have need to change. Therefore we need to regularly ask ourselves that question. Are we willing to change? What can we do differently to keep the covenants that we have made?

We took this theme, and applied it to many of our lessons this week. We taught many less-actives who were not sure if they wanted to commit to coming back to church. I reminded them, however, that they already committed. They already said yes. 

Alma 5 is a powerful chapter, directed towards members that were going wayward, calling them to remember what the gospel meant to them and to repent. The last two verses read:

61: And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you.

 62: I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life.

Once you have made those covenants, those sacred promises to God, you are held to that standard. Living the gospel is not a choice that we get to make anymore, because we already said yes - we already agreed and made our decision.

In the missionary world, so often you hear about living up to the missionary standards because you already agreed to serve the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength for 18 months (or 2 years). But now my mission is closing, I realize that I am held to much more than missionary promises, but eternal covenants that I have agreed to. And I fully intend to keep them. Therefore I am committed to always change, that I may always more fully keep those sacred promises. Because I agreed for eternity (:

And let's be honest, I hardly know what I am talking about here. 
I have learned so much on my mission, but the greatest thing that I've learned is that I know so little.

But I am leaving more converted and more committed than I came.
And I think I am safe to say that that means everything.

See you Saturday!

Sister Griffin

Sunday, March 8, 2015

diapers have sizes???

Funny story first. We go visit a lady who is working on coming back to church, and she's just the sweetest thing. We shared about how families can be together forever. Anyways, she told us how she only had one diaper left and the stores had all closed that night. Sister Rasmussen and I were discussing how bad we felt for her when we decided that we knew tons of people - surely someone had some diapers that we could pick up and take back to this lady!

That's when Sister Rasmussen said we had better call the lady. I didn't understand why - why not just surprise her? But then she said, "we need to know what size, though!"

And I just busted up laughing. I'm the youngest, I hate babysitting, and I don't have any nieces or nephews. It never, ever crossed my mind that diapers would have sizes. Anyways, we stopped by at some less-actives (probably the only house that had people home due to the high school basketball games) and they were more than happy to help. And the lady was SO grateful for the help. That was something so simple and so easy, but really made a difference.. and learned something new. Diapers have sizes.

Glad Grandpa is doing better! I hope he can make a full recovery. I'll keep him in my prayers! Sounds like an absolute miracle that he is still with us. I am glad he received a priesthood blessing. They have so much power.

WAY excited for our ALL MISSION meeting this Wednesday. I, too, am excited to see the difference between the roll-out and the pilot. 

Things have been going slow because the internet is highly distracting and also has the potential to be very spiritually destructive. Or at least that's how I see it. 

But enough of the digital news, I'll just have to let you know how everything went next week. 

Next: departing interview. So because many missionaries are going home at the same time, President Mecham is doing the majority of the departing interviews before next weekend. And so Wyoming was first, thus my interview was this last Friday. I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping Heavenly Father first while also juggling school and other such things (: Honestly, I have learned much about testimony, conversion, and consecration on my mission. Still have much more to learn of course, but I am grateful for what I have learned thus far and am eager to apply it in the "real world".

Anyways. That interview was in Powell. But then on Tuesday, we had a mission leadership training in Worland. So we have been on the road quite a bit. The meeting focused on working hard & working smart and on attributes that help in those areas.

We continued to work with Mr. G. We gave him a church tour last Friday, and brought our ward mission leader with us. His comment about Mr. G was pretty priceless: "He's a good man...but not that good. He has a lot of changes ahead of him". So true. His life is full of drinking and women, including cheating & breaking up marriages. But, he was praying this last week every morning. And, he prayed in our last lesson, and noted that he was trying to make changes and that he feels better when we come. 

The atonement is available for everyone.
It can help anyone conquer sin, even the "vilest of sinners" (Alma 36:6-23)

Last night, we were at a lady's home, who hasn't been to church in years. She had a nasty marriage that still haunts her today. She commented that with everything she has been through, she feels lost and at a total lack of spirituality. She kept expressing doubts that she can be healed and feel whole again.

But the atonement is available for everyone.
And it can heal even the deepest hurts.
The atonement can redeem, enable, and support.

We use the PMG pamphlets a TON, and one of my favorite passages in the Plan of Salvation pamphlet is "As you rely on the Atonement, you will feel the love of God, and He will help you endure your trials. You will experience joy, peace, and consolation. All that seems unfair in life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the mercy and love of our Heavenly Father."

I know Jesus Christ lives, and because He Lives, all of us can be healed.
And that's the whole meaning of Easter, which is coming up quick.

Only a few days, and I'll being seeing all of you so soon!

Sister Griffin

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

the digital age...

I think I told you last week about an amazing grilled cheese sandwich that I was going to be eating with some nonmembers.

Yeah, it was delicious. 
I'll make one for whoever wants one when I get back.

We took some pictures - we'll send them along. But amazingly, I was able to help this lady with her family history, and she's okay with us coming back in March when she gets more information from her relatives to keep helping her out.

Guess what? It happened.
We FINALLY got to teach the other Japanese foreign exchange student.

She had almost no religion back in Japan. The concept of God was something completely new to her before coming to America. She probably would still not believe in God if it weren't for the fact that she received a blessing a few months back - she had twisted her ankle pretty bad while running. But during the blessing, she felt peaceful, and her ankle healed in a matter of days instead of the several weeks typical for healing. So she knows God exists.

We started off with the Restoration, but very quickly realized that she did not understand the role of Christ. Needing to be "clean from sin" was very foreign to her. But we left her with a chapter to read that went over the Atonement.

It made me realize, however, how often we take that knowledge of a loving Savior for granted. But if it weren't for him, it would not matter what we did in this life, everything would be for naught.

Other news. We went tracting and were able to find a new person to teach! This lady has actually come to church in the past with her LDS friend, and she enjoyed it. She was grateful for our coming by and accepted a visit from us the next day.

When we returned, we discovered that she not only had already read from the Book of Mormon, but she remembered what she had read and was able to discuss it. Crazy!

She wants to be baptized, but understands there is much studying and other things that need to be taken care of first. Anyways, she is going to shoot for April 22 as a baptismal date.

The biggest news is that we are having an ALL MISSION meeting in Bozeman on March 4th. The reason? Our mission is getting trained by Elder Zwick of the 70 on how to do missionary work in the digital age. So this will be going over iPads and the internet. iPads are finally out of the testing phase and are getting integrated! The interesting part - I'm good because I am going home soon - but all missionaries going home after August 23 are receiving new iPads and also are paying for them, but also keeping them at the end of their mission.

Hope you have a good week, and I hope Grandpa gets better soon!

Sista G

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy President's Day!

Remember how I would always order a grilled cheese when I was little, no matter which restaurant we went to? I am realizing that I never actually grew out of that, it's just my taste is getting more refined.

I bring this up because tonight we have dinner with a potential investigator family. They are going to be making us specialty grilled cheese with brie, apple slices, and fig jelly (if I'm remembering right)

Anyways, last Monday we showed up because they were a couple in our area book that we didn't know. We ended up talking about family history, and they invited us over for dinner tonight and a tutorial on family history. Yeah, neither of us are very good with family history, so we may end up just getting them in touch with the family history center here in Lovell. I'll have to let you know how it goes. But needless to say, I have been looking forward to this sandwich for a week now. Nothing is better than brie and apples together.

.....I figure since Dad wants me to train for TOSRV, it won't hurt to eat what I want now....

But we hope that family history will soften their hearts and prepare them to learn more about the gospel. They are pretty active in their church - it's a nondenominational one here in town. 

Other news. We should be teaching the other Japanese exchange student this week. But I also know that I have been saying that for a couple weeks now. So we will see! I am a little more hopeful this time haha

Moving on.
Did I tell you about the man we tracted into a couple weeks ago? The one who has spent his life drinking and chasing woman and tearing up a few marriages along the way? I'll refer to him as G.

Well, we taught G about the Restoration this week. He still feels like he is too old to get baptized, and by that he means that he is too old to change from his less-than-upstanding ways. But, the key is that he does want to change. He just doesn't have the faith to do it yet. He didn't come to church, but he did keep up his promise to skim through the Book of Mormon and the Restoration pamphlet. 

Anyways, "anyone can change. anyone can choose to leave the past behind them and move on"
(Pretty sure that's an exact quote from "New Years: look not behind thee" mormon message. Watch it, and then let me know if I nailed it.)

I'm thinking of maybe showing him "Reclaimed", another awesome Mormon message. Because he can change, and I know reading the Book of Mormon and praying will be key to helping him grow in faith. I've seen it before with that good ol' man from Butte.

Honestly, it comes down to agency. We do not have to let anything define us - "the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself" ( 2 Nephi 2:16) and because Christ has redeemed us from the fall, we are given the chance "to act for themselves and not to be acted upon"

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil" (2 Nephi 2:27)

Anyways, because of agency, we can choose... and even if we have chosen wrong in the past, because of Christ, we have the opportunity to change and begin to choose the right. That's what the Atonement is for.

But yeah, that is what has been on my mind.

Hope you have an awesome week & that it warms up!
I'm all bummed because this week is going to be in the 30's instead of being in the 50's... (: As long as it stays above freezing, I suppose I shouldn't complain!

Sista G

Monday, February 9, 2015

going 2 by 2 again!... finally ha

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh buddy!
Her name is Sister Rasmussen, she is from American Fork, UT. She did a year of school at UVU for nursing before coming on her mission. She is very sweet and has such a strong desire to work hard. It is a nice contrast from my last companion, of which just wanted to hang out with members. Hence the lack of meaningful work last transfer.

She seems to be adjusting okay... we definitely both shared moments of stress. I had forgotten how much is new to a missionary just from the MTC. Both of us want her to be able to just know everything instantly, but there isn't time to teach everything all at once. It has to be steps at a time. And she does understand that she won't get everything instantly, but that it will come over time.

Anyways, she is super cute and awesome, and things are going really well :) I want her to learn how to do everything exactly according to direction from our mission president, because most companions I have had choose to omit certain things that they don't agree with. So my goal is to help her develop good habits now that she can stick to, no matter her future companion. Anyways.

There has been a few exciting things this week!

First, we got a grumpy old less-active to church! He used to be very active, but then he was offended by some decisions from a stake president. He is not bitter towards the church, but he does hold resentment towards those leaders. As such, he used the argument that he should not come to church because he would be taking of the sacrament unworthily, due to these bitter feelings. 

"Partaking of the sacrament worthily" has always been a little enigmatic to me, and so I am planning on studying it further. Commentary would be welcome, but I am pretty sure that my initial feelings are correct, which are that he is full of it. 

Anyways, I told him that he should pray about it, and asked him to pray about it right then & there for the closing prayer. He gave an awesome prayer, but he omitted asking about his attendance at sacrament meeting. Pretty sure he knows he is making up excuses! But, he did show up to sacrament only after the sacrament was passed. Challenge accepted.

Long story short, I am looking forward to working more with him. The spirit there was strong, and I believe he stayed for all of the meetings. 

Other story. 
I went tracting with two sisters that were stuck with me because of transfers. One was headed to Powell, the other to Riverton. First door we knock, he lets us in and accepts a Book of Mormon, Restoration pamphlet, and a return appointment to teach the Restoration. He spent most of the visit telling us about his riotous living, past and present. But repentance is available for all! So hopefully that lesson goes well this week.

Another tracting story.
Well, specific tracting. There's this house that we kept driving by. And parked in front of it was this green bug with a new Ohio license plate. (Ya know, the ones with the red triangle thing) Anyways. It's been driving me crazy for weeks, wanting to know why there was an Ohio license plate in tiny Lovell, Wyoming. (The car next to it was a Michigan license plate, another enigma)

So last night I decided I couldn't take the mystery anymore, and so we knocked. Turns out it was two 19 year old girls, both living here because they are working on some sort of horse ranch outside of Greybull. They are going to the nondenominational church here in town, but accepted us to come by and share a message about Christ. The one from Ohio is in some small town, the name of which escapes me. But she said it was close to Salem. She used Canton to describe it, which tickled me. I definitely know where Canton is! Anyways, I really hope there is an opportunity there to help them learn about the gospel! 

Those are the highlights, we are just plugging along. We are going to focus on finding, since only a few of the people we visit seem willing to progress. 

The other day, I woke up with an idea from my dream that I decided to "save for my last transfer". After some waking up time, I realized that this WAS my last transfer. So crazy, time flies. I am grateful to be training this last transfer, it's making me work as hard as I can.

Sista G

Monday, February 2, 2015

what a relief!!!

Best news first.
This Wednesday.
Brand new missionary.
I won't know who it is until she hops off the transfer van Wednesday night and asks for Sister Griffin. First time training!

Praise the Lord I won't be doing permanent splits for a transfer. I've been doing that this weekend, and it is stressful. It made me be grateful for ANY companion, even trunky ones that don't want to work hard. 

Sister Gray left for Billings on Friday, and ever since I have been with Jordan Harper. She's been my "part time mini missionary" companion (She stayed the night with me Friday & Saturday). The stake president even set her apart this Sunday... I don't think he knows yet that I'm getting a full time companion. So yeah, I'm not sure what was happening communication-wise, but whatever, it's all good. 

I was getting myself and the ward all ready though with sign-ups to go on splits with me. So we'll still drag those members to come because it will be good for them, even though I should have a new companion. And Sister Harper will join us in a trio as often as she is available, even though it's not going to be that often.

We FINALLY got permission for the other Japanese foreign exchange student - so that will start this week! Hopefully Thursday or Friday. I am way excited! There are so many potentials here, we just need to invite by the spirit and hopefully they will commit to learning about the gospel!

Sorry this is short..
This weekend has been hectic and things will continue to be crazy until Wednesday... But it will work out. In the meantime, I am living out of a suitcase with the Lovell 4&5 sisters until the new missionary comes. I have splits and other such things arranged, however..

I also heard that one of my investigators back in Lake Hills got baptized! So that's exciting. It was the old man that needed to quit smoking.. I probably mentioned him.

Pray for the hearts here to be opened and prepared so I can get some good damage done for my last transfer :)

Sister Griffin

Monday, January 26, 2015

where everything ACTUALLY comes from...

This is Sister Gray's last week! She goes up to Billings on Friday and flies out on Saturday. I believe that I will just go with the other Lovell sisters once she leaves and stay with them until transfers next Wednesday. 

I am trying to decide what President is going to do for my last transfer. I figured he would just put me with the other Lovell sisters, but he also made some weird changes with those sisters, so we shall see.

Actually, because we are teaching his foreign exchange student, we are at the stake president's home quite often. And, he is working on adjusting housing for the other Lovell sisters as well. But it's hard to adjust housing when you aren't sure what's going to happen for transfers... Anyways, ultimately I am trying to get early transfer news from our stake president since he is trying to get news so he can figure out housing haha

So Sister Gray & I aren't the only ones sick in Lovell - all of our appointments Friday and Saturday cancelled, including one of our dinners. But we were okay with that because even Lovell is hip enough to have a food truck. 

Try to find Deaver, WY. Um yeah, population of about 5 people. But they have this Chinese food truck called Jen's Little China, and it comes into Lovell on Saturdays. Since we didn't have a dinner, we decided to hit it up. I'll send the picture along. It was pretty good, and also had no MSG - even better. Still the noodles were a little saltier than I would like, but the beef & broccoli was way good. Diana & Greg would probably like it, but then again, I don't think they will ever find themselves in Deaver, WY, let alone Lovell.

                                                          Checking out the Chinese food truck in Lovell....

Anyways, Lovell DOES have good food. I have one more restaurant here to try, though.

In other news, both Sister Gray and I spoke in Lovell 1st ward yesterday. The 1st counselor figured that since both of us were going home so soon, that we should speak in sacrament. He wanted us to focus on some of our missionary stories. So I shared about the power of God, and how I had seen that power in the conversion of the old man in Butte and the family in Billings. Maybe I'll just give the same talk when I get home since someone isn't giving me a topic ;)

One thing I learned this week is to chillax. Being uptight & a perfectionist runs in the family, and I would say that of us 3 kids, I definitely have it the worst. There's a difference between working hard and being irrational about it. 

It reminds me of when I joked with Prof. Anderson and told him that his tests always gave me splitting headaches, and he retorted that if I didn't insist on getting over 100 on all of his tests that I wouldn't be getting the headaches.

What made me think about this was witnessing several conversations in which some people were way too distraught over certain things. 

Anyways, there is a healthy balance between hard work and reality, and to use mom's favorite phrase, some things aren't worth "getting your undies all in a bunch". 

So for my senior year at USU, I still have goals for getting my 4.0, but I'm not going to shoot for the nonexistent 4.1. 

And also for my mission, you can't try any harder than your best. And let's be real, it's NEVER about what you do. It's about what you let the LORD do through you. Anything good that ever comes is through Him. 

After giving my talk on Sunday, many people commented that "you did such a good job on your talk". Honestly, that made me feel a little uncomfortable. Because if they got anything out of what I said, it was NOT me, it was the Spirit prompting my words and touching their hearts.

Not to jump around, but I also have always attributed my academic success as coming from Heavenly Father as well. I work and study hard, but I always rely on Him to help me learn, understand, and remember the material. And I always pray for that help. 

This reminds me of King Benjamin, because he always attributed everything back to Heavenly Father. 

"And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you" (Mosiah 2:25)

And honestly, all of Mosiah 2 is fantastic, King Benjamin is a great example of humility. Read it. Love it. Apply it.

Welp, that's about it. I'm going to be in limbo next time I write, which is so my favorite thing. NOT. I still laugh that, when I complained about being in limbo my freshman year @ USU, all of us made the comment that I shouldn't serve a mission because that is perpetually limbo.. But I wouldn't trade it for anything :)

Sista G