Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!!

GO AGGIES!!! I hope the Aggies go to a bowl game when I get back - because then I will MAKE SURE I am at the game. It seems wrong to not go to at least one bowl game when you have the chance..

So question about "Amish Mormons" -- do they still keep the Amish culture? Like dressing, farming, etc? Because otherwise to me they'd be Mormons who live in Amish Country who recently converted, ya know? Just curious. I do remember you saying that they were somewhat persecuted for joining the church..

Here's how I spent the rest of my Christmas after skyping y'all:
- Our lunch with our investigator cancelled because she had strep throat. Pretty good reason to cancel. So we made our own lunch.
(Sorry if it's annoying that I start off so many sentences with 'so' - I've realized that I do that frequently. I'm assuming that would probably only annoy Dad and Katie though.)

- Christmas "dinner" at 2 with the black family we are teaching. Made me laugh though- it was essentially a Thanksgiving dinner. All very delicious though. But the mom served up our plates, and struggle a bit with money, and so I knew I was expected to eat all of it... I almost died, but I got it all down.

Side note - the dad and two kids came to our ward's potluck yesterday! So they were in the church on Sunday!...just at the wrong time for sacrament meeting haha but hey, baby steps. But the other ward was having a baptism for an 8 year old, so we kind of dragged them to watch that... :)

Back to Christmas.

- Our next dinner was at 6 with 4 different families from the ward. They put the 12 kids in attendance down in the basement, the rest of us stayed upstairs. And guess what we had for dinner?? CRAB!! Oh my goodness, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I was convinced that EVERYONE in Montana hated seafood, missionaries included... I don't even like crab that much compared to other fruit di mare, but it was so nice to have seafood :) Which, I just realized, is ironic since I used to dislike seafood.

So that's about it for Christmas.
Christmas eve we had a district meeting, which felt kind of odd. But we learned there that Christ's life and the points of the Restoration. Being a missionary, I thought it was awesome, but no one else we shared it with got quite as excited as we did... one elder in my district even exclaimed, "I knew Christ taught in parables, but I never thought his LIFE was a parable!"



                                                           Sis. Griffin, Sis. Pickering, Sis. Aller & the APs

If you want me to share how Christ's life and the Restoration tie together, let me know and I can type it out. Or you can figure it out yourself! Dun dun dunnnnnnn

Guess what! Baptism this Saturday! I'm excited. But I know Alexus (girl getting baptized) is more excited. I think I shared that she is more excited to be baptized than she was about Christmas.

We are hoping that as the holidays wind down, we will be able to find more people at home and willing to make time for us to teach them. We have several referrals exhibiting potential, but most of them we have to wait until they'll be around to contact... In the mean time we are trying to reach less actives and help them feel the Spirit.

I feel like this is super short, but I suppose I talked to you this week and so you'll forgive me haha

Make some good new year resolutions!...that you can actually keep! haha We're going to be making some as a companionship soon! But I'm a big fan of making resolutions for every day. Because every day is a fresh start to change something for the better, where you can leave the faults of yesterday behind.

Drink some sparkling grape juice for me!
And say hi to Ginger, Strider, Junior, and Fitzwilliam!

Love,
E

(Mom, dad, are you both going to be super lame and go to bed at 9 or 10? I bet you are. *head shakes* WE even have permission to be out till 10:30!)


Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas :)

FIRST, a very large THANK YOU to everyone who has been thinking of me this Christmas season :) It's so nice to hear from friends & family :)


                                                                              Sister Pickering & Sister Griffin

So this week was rather full.

We taught 23 lessons this week! Most of them were with less-actives.
Our sweet 10 yo was interviewed on Friday, so she is set to be baptized on January 4th!

On Thursday we drove up to Helena for our Christmas zone conference. I was the driver... Let's just say there was a lot of snow on the freeway. But we made it there and back safely :) You get special blessings of safety as a missionary.

The conference was awesome. President Mecham has a knack of addressing everyone's needs and questions. I, for instance, wanted to know what had allowed him to be so successful in business- going from a farm in Idaho to heading a major business. And he discussed the values and principles he follows for success. He didn't talk about his business, though, but about a junior league softball team with little natural talent that he coached into being undefeated. He focused on the essentials- making sure all fundamentals were down- and for batting practice, the kids had to hit pea gravel with the broken-off handle of a shovel. So that's why he focuses so much on being obedient and all of the small things. 

Also, I don't know what the baptizing rate was before President Mecham came... But since being here, the Montana Billings Mission is now the highest baptizing mission in the North America Central region. (I can't remember if I shared that with you or not). 
There were many musical numbers at the conference as well- and I got to play the flute in two different pieces! Both cases were obbligatos that I sight-read during the lunch break and then performed. The flute came from a sister in Kalispell who didn't realize that we weren't supposed to bring instruments haha Sister Mecham was the one who arranged for me to borrow the flute :)


                                                                                   Butte Zone Conference

The oddest part, though, was the assistants dressing up as Santa, an elf, and a Christmas present... haha it was nice to see them though since I had gotten used to seeing them almost every day in Billings.

So that's enough on the conference.

We had investigators at church!...but none of them were the ones that we have on date. Oh, the irony. We have had many referrals come in, but most of them we will have to wait until after the holiday season to contact. Or they were in the elder's area. *head shakes* 

Oh! I almost forgot!
So our finding game plan has been to use our iPads to find all the members on the roles in one area, and then knock on all of those doors. This has been really fun because either we get a chance to teach less-actives and help them, or we find out that the person has moved and we try to see if the new person is interested. *(This is how we found the Catholic family that works at NASA, dad)*

At one of them though, a 26 year old answered and invited us in. (We were expecting a mid-aged lady) He then told us that he wanted us to meet his little 11 yo sister. The person on our roles was their mother, whom we didn't meet. All they knew of the Mormon church was that we visited every year and always brought food. We asked if they wanted to learn more. The older brother said he definitely did, and the little sister said she would be willing to learn more as well. We are returning in a week after the sister comes back from visiting in Missoula. 

We see much potential there...we are praying this will be the case :)

By the way, there are TONS of Irish Catholics in Butte. And they are all super nice!
And we've met most of them via this iPad finding method...That or knocking on any door with a Nativity scene outside, haha or sometimes we've knocked on doors of member's neighbors. 
But that's pretty besides the point.

I think I'm out of time, or I'd share more about some of the people.
But Merry CHRISTmas!!
Love,
E

Monday, December 16, 2013

Butte-iful Butte!!


Before arriving in Butte, I had heard very few positive things about the place.
I had heard it was ugly, that the strip mine was so unsightly, the town was rough, and falling in, sketchy, etc..

Well, I must say that I completely disagree!
Butte somewhat reminds me of Logan. Maybe it's just because there's only one main street and everything is off of that street. And while I know Logan is probably twice the size, they have the same small-town comfortable feeling. Not too big, not too small.


There are also mountains! The biggest mountains are also to the east (hmm sounds like Logan). The view out of my bedroom is beautiful!! but anyways, I will just take you through my week..

Monday and Tuesday were spent primarily saying goodbye to those that I had been teaching in Butte. Bishop took us out to dinner Tuesday night, we visited my favorite Mexicans on Tuesday, and also got to teach our investigator who will be baptized on Dec 28. It was sad having to say goodbye to all of them and also all of the missionaries in Billings. And all of the senior couple missionaries.

Wednesday we had to be at the mission home at 6 AM. We drove to Helena in a minivan, and then I got to drive to Butte from Helena! The drive was gorgeous- the canyon was so beautiful. I almost wish that I had only been a passenger though so I could check out the mountains more (ya know, for potential rock climbing) But I must say, driving through that twisty canyon was fun :)

I already have Butte's main roads down. I can already figure my way around Butte better than my companion- mountains and hills help.

A good part of Butte is up on these foothills- it's kind of fun! And the houses in that area were built during the mining days, so they are all tall and skinny... awesome architecture! I love it! On the hills is called "Uptown". 
Apparently Butte has an incredible number of bars, but I haven't noticed.. Butte also apparently has an incredible number of Irish, so we've been adequately warned to not be in Uptown on St. Patrick's day.

So I do live with members, but our living area is very separated from the members, and so we don't see them much. I love our "apartment" - it's nice and roomy - with one exception- it doesn't have a real oven/stove. We just have a toaster oven and these hot plate things. But we'll make do. Sister Pickering has already baked us some cookies in the toaster oven.

So about Sister Pickering! She reported to the MTC at the same time that I did- so we're both just 3 months out. I did know her before a bit. She's from Provo, Utah. She's also 22, but she'll be 23 soon. She's not shy, and so she talks quite a bit, which is nice. She also has only 2 older brothers. Anyways, I see us getting along really well :)

Now about the members and investigators!....I haven't met too many yet haha that's what happens when you've only been in your area for less than a week. 

We do have an adorable 10 year old girl on date. She'll be baptized on January 4th. According to her nonmember stepdad, she's more excited to be baptized than for Christmas! Her mom has been inactive, but she has started coming now that her daughter is so excited to be baptized. The mom says she got out of the habit since her divorce. We had dinner with the girl's grandma last night though, and her grandma is very active and will make sure that her granddaughter always can come to church.

There are 4 other investigators on date, but none of them will come to church!! Any advice on how to help motivate people would be appreciated... I obviously wasn't here when they got put on date, and so I don't quite understand where each of them is at. So I suppose I can try to figure out what made them want to be baptized and help them understand why church attendance is so important... because you won't be ready for the covenant of baptism until you can keep the commitment to come to church... There's a quote coming to my mind- it's in PMG- something about true doctrine understood is the best way to change behavior.

According to Sister Pickering, everyone in Butte is lazy. But shh, don't tell them she said that haha

On Sunday, I gave my third talk since being on my mission. It was on Christmas & missionary work... I'm afraid most of the members didn't like my talk because I was essentially calling them to action... I also had to speak for about 20 minutes because the youth speaker only went for 3 minutes and Sister Pickering only went for about 7.

I believe that sums everything up...
:)

Love,
Sister Griffin

PS. Butte is awesome.

Monday, December 9, 2013

On the road again...

Don't mind me, I'm just taking a tour of Montana....missionary style!

Third transfer. 
Third area. 
Third companion. 

And I am going to Butte! Butte 2nd ward to be specific.
My new companion will be Sister Pickering. She wasn't in my MTC district, but she did come out with me. So I definitely know who she is. Apparently I will be senior companion, so I will get to drive! Which means I won't get to navigate. But it also means I won't be in charge of the phone! Hallelujah. I can't tell you how many times I have forgotten the phone... 

Please, someone tell me that Butte is warmer than Billings! The weather was SO unbelievably cold! I never thought that 0 degrees could feel so blissfully warm. Seriously, subzero temperatures for the HIGH??? Gah. But I actually stayed warm perfectly well, my coat and layers definitely did their job. That and I was either in a building or in the car. And everyone in Billings seems to believe in keeping their houses ridiculously warm.

Oh, and don't get me started on the roads here in Billings! No one in Montana believes in clearing the snow off of the roads. They do plow - a little bit. Just to get off the top 8 inches. The other 2 inches they leave on the road. For weeks! Hah and when they do plow, they use a tractor!! Cracked me up. Oh, Montana. 

In other news, because this week marked the end of the transfer, we had the opportunity to go to the temple on Friday! Nothing beats being in the temple and feeling of that spirit and peace.

Even though I'm getting transferred, I suppose I can fill you in on some of the things going on in the Rimrock ward.

About 70 people show up each week for sacrament.
The ward is HIGHLY transient.
It's not awkward like the singles ward in Akron. (Though I've decided since serving here that I really should be going to the singles ward back home. So don't count on me to help out in the Wadsworth ward.)
There are around 900 less actives in the ward, because the ward covers both the Billings and Billings East stakes. 
Most of our work has been with strengthening the ward. 

By the time we work in the office, do studying, do training, and eat, there aren't too many hours left in the day for proselyting. Also, in an interest to strengthen the ward, we have been attending the lesson part of FHE, Institute once a week, and ward splits on Wednesday nights. Most of the time we just work from referrals, visiting those whose names we are given. Since there are 900 less actives, we never run out of people to visit.

About our investigator. He's going to both MSU-Billings and Rocky Mountain College. Insane! I believe he wants to study something medical. I know he has part in the army. He has grown up religious, but found a special spirit in both his Mormon friend's home and at the activities and meetings. He is getting flak back home about looking into Mormonism, but he said that just strengthened his resolve to learn more about Mormonism. He's on date to get baptized at the end of the month. 

So on Wednesday, I'm off to Butte!
I am very sad to be leaving the office - but I also knew I was leaving. Last week, I mentioned transfers in almost every letter/email I sent because it was weighing heavily on my mind and I felt like I was getting transferred. And then on Saturday, the spirit was prompting me so strongly that I KNEW without a doubt that I was leaving. Tender mercies:)

********

I just got out of an interview with President Mecham.
I now know why he's sending me to Butte.

He said he needs my leadership and determination there. And the fact that I was adjusted to being a missionary before I even came out. Which is true- I've never felt homesick or really struggled. He wants me to have more experience teaching and baptizing and leading. He kept saying "I need more leadership out of you". Most of the leadership will be helping my new companion, apparently she's struggling. There's a lot that he expects out of me. And he's confident that I can manage it.

So now we both know why!
President said he didn't want me to feel like I was a failure of any sort because I just kept getting transferred everywhere. And he said that he only made up his mind within the last 4 days. Which fits within the timing of me knowing I was leaving on Saturday...

Love,
Sister Griffin


Monday, December 2, 2013

Weren't you going to go and brush your teeth?

Explaining the subject line:

Sometimes I break out randomly into song. 
Which isn't pretty because I lack a sense of pitch.
And I also like to sing about peanuts on railroad tracks and cows getting murdered for hamburgers.
I was singing for a good 5 minutes when Sister Spencer politely asks me, "weren't you going to go brush your teeth?"
I was confused... it was nighttime but I hadn't said a word about brushing my teeth.
Then it clicked.
And I burst out laughing.
Because I'm pretty sure that's what Greg or Peter might say to get me to shut up and stop singing about ridiculous things. 

End of funny story.
Or at least I thought it was funny.


                                                                 
                                                                         Sis. Griffin & Sis. Spencer


Thanksgiving.
We actually had 3 appointments. One lunch, one dinner, and one dessert. It worked out quite, quite well.
The lunch was with an active member's family. They have cats. My allergic reaction was so bad I was still clearing out my lungs the next day. Maybe I should remember to take my allergy medicine...
Dinner was with our favorite Mexican investigators (the only traditional food was mashed potatoes and pie... love it! haha they made good spinach artichoke dip)
And dessert was at our Bishop's

The food was so good!!.....but Mom, I miss your potato rolls. Nothing tops those rolls. Mail some, maybe? haha

So guess what???
We have an investigator committed to baptism!
But he's not on date yet.. but we're planning on fixing that tonight.
He's really good friends with our ward mission leader.
He just really love the spirit felt at church and activities, so.... yeah! :)

Other random news.
Transfers are next week. One of the assistants is going home! So sad! He's the one closest in the picture of our Bacon-no-Bake party. He's holding the bacon. We're going to miss him so much!! But speaking of transfers, I'm paranoid that I'll get transferred again. Which would make me so sad because I love being here! The office is so fabulous! And we have someone wanting to get baptized! But I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord...

We had an EIGHT HOUR zone training on Wednesday. EIGHT hours!! That is long. But I learned a lot about myself and my purpose here and how I love teaching. So it was good. But EIGHT hours. I don't ever want to hear anyone complain again about 3 hours on Sunday. 

Have I mentioned yet the "O Remember, Remember" mormon message? I can't remember.... But watch it, and do it! Ponder each night how the Lord has blessed you. Because there is something for you every night. I promise. 

I feel like this is really short...but I just don't have much else to say. Hopefully I won't freeze to death. Skirts are really cold to be wearing 24/7 in case you were wondering. Or I guess it's more like 16/7 since I don't wear a skirt to bed.

Um love you all!! Good luck to those in school, finish out strong!!

LOVE YOU BYE!
Sister EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEElise GriffinDOR

(Sister Spencer LOVES Harry Potter....and Les Mis. And the Beatles. She's got good taste.)


                                                                                                    The Rims

P.S.

The rims were so much fun!
And--- and and and--- I FOUND BOLTS!!!!!!
You can bet that I will be climbing here when I return from my mission!!!
Woot!
And another sister in my zone rock climbs. And she's awesome at it. We already have plans to climb together when we get home... :) And she does yoga. Anyways.  


Love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, November 25, 2013

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22...


BEST.
BIRTHDAY.
EVER.
Thank you to everyone who sent me cards and packages :)

Everyone should spend their birthdays in the mission field.
Because as a missionary, your whole focus is on other people.
And so when it's your birthday, you appreciate more what others do for you because you don't really expect it. 

So here's here's a brief run down of my birthday:

Woke up to Sister Spencer wishing me a happy birthday FIRST thing. This is a big deal. Sister Spencer does NOT talk in the mornings. At all. I'm lucky to hear from her before companion study at 9. 

At 6:45 received a voicemail from my zone leaders, singing happy birthday to me. They don't sing very well, but it was appreciated. 

Then as soon as we make it to the office, I am greeted by all of the senior missionaries and other sisters with a chocolate birthday cake! Sister Mecham even had candles for me to blow out and ice cream to go with it :)


                                                                   Sister Spencer & Sister Griffin with Birthday Cake

Dinner was at our bishop's, who is awesome. 

Then I received another happy birthday phone call of singing elders.

Then we grabbed a recently activated member and a recent convert who's filling out papers for his mission and went and visited a less-active. It was a realllly good lesson, and the experience was great for everyone. :) :)

Then Sister Spencer and I had justtt enough time to get ice cream cupcakes at Dairy Queen (it's tradition to have a DQ birthday cake!!) and jam out to MoTab's "Come Thou Fount" on the drive home. 



                                                              DQ Icecream Cake is a Family Tradition!!

Beautiful, beautiful day. 
Have I mentioned yet that it was the best birthday ever?

But! What was also great was that I started my celebration a day early. The assistants had to go on exchanges on my birthday, so we had a mini party in the office with them the day before. There's a story to this. 

Our first day in the office, the assistants told us that they liked to have treats in the office and they expected us to provide. They were of course kidding, but I love baking so I told them that if they provided me with some of the ingredients, I would make no-bakes. 

A few days later, a sister was getting emergency-transferred out (commonplace in our mission) and that she was going to leave us with her bacon. 

Somewhere Sister Spencer and I got the brilliant idea of having a bacon-no-bake "party". So on Thursday the assistants cooked the bacon and we brought no-bakes :)

("party" at the office = food for all to eat while working)



                                                                        Bacon-no-bake Party

Change of subject flag!

I met the president of the Billings East stake the other day. Get ready for his name: Spencer Griffin. Needless to say, Sister Spencer and I found that HILARIOUS :)

Also, his family is from Cache Valley. Clarkston, or something like that? Anyone want to check up on how many generations back before we are related??

That's about it, I'll send pictures later!!!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!! :)

Love, Sister Griffin





Monday, November 18, 2013

All you need is love...

Guess what! Remember I talked about the Hispanic college students we ran into? Well one of them went to church with her roommate! It was such a pleasant surprise to see her there! We visited her later last night and she said that she had a positive experience and enjoyed Sister Spencer's talk on the first article of faith. We really want to help her investigate the church, but it may be bad timing since finals are coming up.

So we were also at that apartment last Monday for dinner... I've got to say I felt so absolutely white. Our ward mission leader served his mission in Mexico, so he's got it all down. And then Sister Spencer is from Yuma, AZ where almost everyone is Hispanic. And I don't know any Spanish. 

But when we were there for dinner, they made EVERYTHING from scratch. The salsa, the sauces, the rice, the beans, enchiladas... mmmmhm SO GOOD! We are going to have another dinner with the same group plus a few others tonight. SCORE :)

I had a request to tell more about my companion, Sister Spencer. Well, I already said she's from Yuma. (Yuma's 20 min from Mexico BTW). She was a dental assistant before coming on her mission. She's 23 and lived in Provo for 3 years. She went to college in eastern Arizona. 

SHE LOVES THE BEATLES!! So naturally we get along. And she loves Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. 

She's been absolutely great for me. She is really good about asking for advice and help when I normally would just tough it out. She does, however, have the sense of humor that just goes completely over my head. So she'll be laughing her head off about something and I'll be sitting there confused. It's great, I love it! haha

I also had a request to hear more about the office. 
Our office is shared with a senior couple, the Shepherds. 
Next door is the assistants' office, which BTW there are 3 of them. They're all very aware that I worked at NASA and it gets brought up frequently.
The assistants are so great, I love working with them. 

President, the assistants, and Sister Mecham will frequently give us projects. 
The latest ones were sending out a Exchange Report for ZL/STL/DL to fill out after they go on an exchange.

The most recent is working with phone reports. It's all in Excel. Basically we're trying to organize a phone report that is very easily readable. It's quite fun. I'm surprised how much I know about Excel compared to everyone else.

We're also keeping track of monitoring Facebook accounts- but I haven't done much with it. There are a couple other reports that we are helping out with... but I don't really want to get into them. 

The most fun part is that there are some service missionaries (both in our YSA ward) that are developing a data base to keep track of weekly reports on numbers for every area. It's so cool!! I think they were surprised by the questions I kept asking because finally they asked me if I had any programming experience. If I had the time, I would ask if I could work on that database. But admittedly, it's in C#, not C or C++, so I wouldn't quite understand all of it.

Hmm the only other news is that I got sick this week. Pretty sure it was food poisoning. Don't buy asparagus at Wal-Mart. I was up for a good part of Thursday night while my body was ridding itself of toxins. The worst part was just not eating. I love food and I love eating, so avoiding food was really inconvenient. 

There was a 5 hour training meeting though Friday morning, and I was just absolutely starving. Sister Mecham overheard me and ran across the street to grab me some saltine crackers and Tums. She is absolutely the best, I was so grateful. I just ate those cracker for the day and then at night Sister Spencer got me some frozen yogurt. It's actually quite nice for an upset stomach! (It was Cherry Berry, dad, in case you were wondering). Soo good. 

Moral of this story: the Montana Billings Mission is awesome. Everyone's so loving and looks out for each other. I'm blessed to be serving in this mission, and especially in the office and the YSA ward. Billings is great! And I love love love the office- I am going to be so sad when I have to leave.

Anyways, we're going to be social for once and join the zone at the stake center for volleyball or something like that. We've gotten calls from the assistants every week asking where we're at...

LOVE YA BYE!!!
Sister Griffin

(at the end of every missionary phone call, we say "love you bye". It's something the previous mission president started because our mission is supposed to be a loving mission. Which it is. )


Monday, November 11, 2013

Preaching from the rooftops...


                                                                            One last pic from Havre...


Well this week has been full of fun office projects and service projects :)

Let me tell you about last Friday.

We're still trying to get to know the area and the ward members. So we decided to visit a recent convert. She's not there when we show up though, but her roommate starts talking to us. The roommate wanted to know if we would talk to her about religion.

So we go in and start talking with the roommate. She keeps asking questions, we keep answering them, and whip out the Book of Mormon to share Alma 7:11-13 (which I now have memorized BTW, woot)

Just as we start reading, two random friends show up. (Yes this is student housing, so no suprise friends are walking in) The roommate tells them to sit down and join us talking about religion and then tells us to proceed in sharing the scripture. 

Ultimately we end up teaching most of the Restoration. The recent convert that is actually a member showed up towards the end.

They kept asking us tons of questions. We're going back on Tuesday for dinner and hopefully a lesson. (We're hoping there's time, but we do have another appointment exactly an hour later) Anyways, they're all Hispanic and they will be making us enchiladas... I'm pretty excited.

Since we weren't planning on teaching a lesson, we were running late for our service project of helping to clean the temple! The Billings temple is closed for two weeks for cleaning, and missionaries are allowed to volunteer.

I helped clean the fake plants (you don't realize how many fake plants there are in the temple until you have to clean them) annndddd the chandelier in the bride's room. I got to stand up on a ladder and carefully reassemble the crystal after it had be cleaned :) It's a very pretty bridal room, in case you were wondering.

Now temple workers love missionaries. 
So they invited us to check out the oxen in the baptismal font. 
That was pretty cool.

But not as cool as the next thing they invited us to do.
Which was to go onto the ROOF of the temple.
Wait, I mean roofs since there are two different levels. 

I've never been so close to Angel Moroni in my life.
It was pretty awesome.
And it was cool to overlook Billings from holy ground.
Pictures shall be enclosed.


                                                            Sister Griffin & Sister Spencer on the Temple roof top


The next day we did even more service by helping a couple paint the interior of their house so they could sell it. And they provided pizza. Yum:)

It's so very different being in Billings because there are actually other missionaries around to talk to, instead of being in Havre.

Anyways, everyone go should read the lyrics to "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" and appreciate the progression in the three verses. (I'll make it easy on you, it's #270). The first verse speaks of going, the second of speaking, and the third of being. This is my favorite hymn, because it really discusses the steps of becoming humble and learning how to "[trust] [your] all to [His] loving care". Trusting in the Lord is difficult, but as we decide to go where we're needed, and say what we're prompted to say, someday we will be able to trust our all in Heavenly Father.

Love,
Sister Griffin


Monday, November 4, 2013

more surprises!! YSA & office

So. I was told I was going to be an iPad specialist. But I don't know how much I'll actually be doing with the iPads. As of right now I don't have any iPad specific jobs.

Right now all of the issues with iPad are with the area book app. So that's the church's problem, not anything I could fix. Right now our ward directory is not showing up on our iPad. Which is frustrating. So there are definitely things to be ironed out before all/more missions get iPads.  But there might be a possibility of later traveling to different zones to help instruct missionaries on the iPads.

But Sister Spencer (my new companion) and I are office sisters. We're in charge of President Mecham's calendar, contacts, checking online proselyting, and any reports President requests. Part of it uses Excel, and I'm hoping to make some of the Excel spreadsheets more efficient. We are the FIRST sisters to ever serve in the office :)

So none of it is hard, but it's fun and it's great to be in the office. All of the senior missionaries are so nice, the assistants are great, and we get to see President & Sister Mecham regularly. (We fixed Presient's iPhone the other day...haha) Sister Spencer and I spend 2-3 hours each day in the office (except Sunday) and then the rest of the day is spent proselyting. Which means our mailbox is at the mission home since we're constantly in the office....


                                                               
                                                                Sister Mecham, Sister Griffin & Pres. Mecham

So, SEND ALL MAIL to 1848 Rimrock Rd. Billings, MT 59102. Please :) Sister Spencer and I will not be checking our actual mailbox at our home.

Speaking of, we live in the basement of an house in an apartment. ELDERS DON'T KNOW THE DEFINITION OF CLEAN!! Elders used to serve in the Rimrock Ward/Office, and so Sister Spencer and I were doubled in. The apartment is pretty old. But the worse part is that Elders do not know how to clean. At all. The truck and apartment were disgusting. The funny part? The previous elders told us that we would be grateful for how much they cleaned for us..... makes me shudder to know what it was like before...

(There are so many reasons why I'm not surprised that President wanted sisters to replace elders in the office)

But now for my area!
Sister Spencer and I serve in the Rimrock ward, which is a young single adult ward! The geographical area for our ward covers both the Billings and Billings East stakes, although our ward is technically in the Billings stake. Which means we never have enough miles to go everywhere.

There are two colleges really close to the mission home and where we live: Rocky Mountain College and MSU-Billings. It seems though that only about half of the ward are students- the rest are just working. 

This week was stake conference (two weeks in a row of stake conference!! haha) so we haven't had the chance to meet all of our ward yet. It will be interesting to see how the missionary work is different since we're not over a geographical area so much as a demographic. (Hopefully I used those words appropriately!) But pretty much everyone we teach will have to be referrals or those we meet on campus or at activities...

So! The work goes forward, the work is great, and I'm at computers and on a campus again, so I feel right at home:)

Much love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'm getting transferred!... it's kind of technical...

Yes, after only one transfer in Havre, with still another transfer of training left, I am getting transferred.
I am going to.......... Billings!!! Exciting, yeah? 
Well, that's not the exciting part, actually. The exciting part is.... (drum roll please)...
I am going to be working in the office as an iPad specialist!!!!!
Cool, huh?
And ironic.
I've never owned an iPad until now.
But I love Apple.
And technically the iPad isn't mine, but.....yeah.

Here's the story:
We have 3 assistants now, and the new one called me a week ago and talked to me about my computer skills. So of course I mentioned that I could program in C, C++, MatLab, Maple and also run the engineering software FLUENT at NASA, and anything in Office was simple... I have no idea if he knew what I was talking about at all...he claimed he was following what I was saying though..

I thought he was calling so I could help out at the meeting on Tuesday when we received our iPads... I was a little off.

Anyways, I am super excited because the iPads are AMAZING and my technical skills are better than my people skills, so this matches my strengths a little bit.

I'm not sure of what my duties are going to be in the office with the iPads, but I'll let you know once I get to Billings. Transfers are on Wednesday.

So now about the iPads.
Did I mention yet that they are AMAZING?
Because they are AMAZING.
Our Area Book and Planner are combined. In an app. Teaching appointments in the calendar section update the teaching record in the area book section. 
It's technically an online area book that gets saved onto your iPad every time you sync. So Sister Jones syncs, I sync, and then I've got everything she's added. 
So this area book app does our weekly and daily goals, shows us how we are doing at meeting those goals, automatically classifies our investigators as progressing/new/potential based on their teaching record, etc, etc.. It also has a  task list so you can make reminders within the Area Book app to call certain people.. 

Oh and this app has our entire ward directory :) And so when you click on a member and don't know where they live, you can tap on their address and it brings up a map showing a pin where you are and a pin where the person in question is :) I love maps.
One annoyance is yes, we can only sync or use the map stuff when we have WiFi. But all church buildings have wifi and there's internet at our house.
So basically, the area book app is awesome.
The next awesome thing is the Gospel Library app. Most of you probably already know how awesome that app is. Let's just say it is quite a blessing to not have to carry around a full set of scriptures (though I still carry copies of the Book of Mormon) and also to be able to share Mormon Messages (just download them in the morning). And also the fact that we can get Preach My Gospel, the white handbook, all of the hymns (we have LDS Music app as well, it helps us with our singing in the morning since we all know I can't carry a tune very well....)


                                                                                  Sign for the Rocky Boy Pow Wow


Anyways. Both with teaching and organization, the iPads are quite a blessing. And the maps. I love maps. Maps are great. 
So Stake Conference was this weekend in Great Falls-- it was fabulous!! We have an amazing stake president, President Mecham spoke, as well as the temple president and matron from Cardston, and the area 70 authority.

The focus in the adult session, as with stake conferences everywhere (so I hear) was on hastening the work. Elder Payne shared 15 ideas of how to help hasten the work, and encouraged everyone to pick one that they would diligently strive to accomplish. And so that's my challenge to you. Here's the 15 ideas:
(1) Fast and pray for the missionaries. Not to find people but to have strength, to teach with power and the spirit. We do need help, I promise.
(2) Fast to find someone that you can have the missionaries teach. So in other words, fast for a referral.
(3) Ask missionaries to use your home for teaching lessons to their investigators. This would be AWESOME!
(4) Go out once a month with the missionaries. Even if no on is home and no lessons end up being taught the whole day/evening, you and the missionaries you're with will be strengthened and edified. 
(5) Create a mormon.org profile. Invite friends to view your profile. Give our mormon.org cards. Say you enjoyed church on your facebook profile.
(6) Invite friends and neighbors to church activities. Invite those having difficult life experiences. Be a caregiver. 
(7) Role play in Relief Society or priesthood inviting others to come to church.
(8) Introduce yourself to those you don't recognize or know. Invite them to sit with you. Be a friend to the friendless. THIS IS HUGE!!! 
(9) Invite an investigator or less active to dinner at your home.
(10) Volunteer to teach new member lessons to recent converts.
(11) Put a Christmas message and your beliefs about church in your Christmas cards
(12) Have an open house
(13) Offer to help others with family history
(14) Tell others of your values and how they keep you happy
(15) Encourage your youth to invite friends and families
Please pick at least one idea, and be diligent in applying it to your life!!
Anyways. Conference was great.


                                                             Part of a decaying ceremonial lodge on Rocky Boy




                                                                        The meat shop in underground Havre

In other news, there is finally snow in Havre! But not even enough to completely cover the ground. They don't really plow here, and my lovely Californian companion is driving in snow for the first time. I told her that if you don't slow down in advance, all stops are Californian stops whether you want them to be or not. (: I'm having fun teasing her. But she's doing great so far.

About Underground Havre- Havre burned down in the early 1900s/late 1800s, so the businesses moved underground. Sounds cool, but really just think of it as a basement that extends under about a couple blocks. The underground used to be far more extensive, but they've filled up most of it for stability reasons. But in the underground there used to be a barber, a bar, an opium den, a bakery, a hiding place for Chinese immigrants, a bank, a mortuary, and ladies of the night. Most of it did not occur in the exact rooms that we were in, but since the original places were filled in, they had displays of everything.
Billings, here we come!!
Love,
Sister Griffin