Monday, September 30, 2013

"be anxiously engaged"... (and GO AGGIES!!!)

Havre is essentially pronounced as if it were spelled "Haver". Since the origin is French, it probably should be pronounced with more flair, but, uh, this is Montana. So it's "Haver".

Our ward seems smaller than the Wadsworth ward, but actually not by too much since the Wadsworth ward got Cloverleaf hacked off. They seem to be excited to have Sisters, but I haven't gotten any impressions of how much the members trust the missionaries or how they viewed the Elders. Did I tell you about the predictions for Havre? I can't remember...

Our ward mission leader (WML) is phenomenal! (So is our stake president, but that's a separate story). Our WML was completely inactive as of about a year ago. He wanted nothing to do with the church, and there was nothing that you could do to tell him otherwise. And then his dad died. And his world got flipped upside down. Now he is a passionate member and gives his whole heart to missionary work. Even if the ward had not-as-motivated-missionaries, he would work with them to help progress the area.

                                                                                  Cozy Basement Suite :)

We have dinners from members almost every day, and they are all extremely nice. I would say, however, that this ward is largely newly-wed or nearly-dead. Sometimes I am timid about eating meals from people who can barely see.... just kidding! Kind of... Well, so far the food's been great!

In general though, we are having difficulty in finding people to listen and people willing to change. But I'm not worried, Sister Jones and I are doing our best, and we will find the people or know how to help the people we are working with.

"Funny" story- we were visiting a less-active sister and her non-member husband this week. They didn't have a couch or really anywhere to sit, so we stood talking to them in their living room. We weren't planning on being there long, but they were very friendly so we ended up talking to them for 45+ minutes. As we're starting to leave, Sister Jones crouched down, saying she wasn't feeling well. Then she asked to sit in the one available chair. As soon as she sat down, she was out! She only passed out for maybe 10s, but it was enough to freak everyone out! I supposed it isn't a "funny" story, but I guess since I've had a few passing-out sessions, I somehow found humor. Somehow we've driven past it at least 10 times since then. Anyways, that family won't ever forget our visit!

                                                                     Cozy Basement Suite part II.

Sister Jones and I had to attend a new missionary meeting Thursday at 9AM in Helena. That's a 4 hour drive one way. Guess when we found out about it? Wednesday morning. Yay for short notice!

So we had to wake up at 4:00AM. But it was a really good meeting and we learning a lot from it. We're going down to Helena again this Wednesday for zone conference. Our zone is performing a musical number, and I found a flute to borrow, so yay for flute!

Everyone here so far has been super nice, and maybe at some point later I'll tell you about the people Sister Jones and I have been visiting. But for now, I just want to share about faith.

Faith has been on my mind a lot lately, probably because we don't have many people to teach. But I was just realizing that faith is required for everything! If you want a stronger testimony, an answer to a question, meaningful prayer, people to teach, help with school, help with work, being a good parent, etc... it all requires faith!

But- often we define faith by Alma 32:21, having confidence in things "which are not seen, which are true". While accurate, that doesn't fully cover what faith means. Do you have faith in developing your testimony of prayer if your prayers are rote and lack meaning? Not really. And so this brings us to chapter 2 in James where we are told that we show our faith by our works.

I love the phrase in Doctrine and Covenants 58, that we should be "anxiously engaged in a good cause". If we want something to happen, then we need to be striving for it to happen- or else we really don't have faith in it happening.
This brings us to Ether 12:27, that we receive "no witness until after the trial of our faith". And thus it is, that whatsoever we desire, we need to be anxiously engaged in our works, and then we find the increase of our faith and achievement.
The scriptures promise us so many blessings, according to our faith and obedience. We would be wrong to think that these blessings should come if we are not doing all in our power. So focus, work hard, and be anxiously engaged! and thennnnn you can see the blessings :)

Have a great week!!

Don't forget about General Conference! :)

Sister Griffin


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Havre you ever heard of Havre, Montana???

So much and yet so little has happened since last week!

Tuesday I woke up at 3:30 to take the FrontRunner to the SLC airport to fly to Billings! The airport at Billings is so tiny- smaller than the Akron one, for comparison. But it had all of these nice Native American decorations, so that was fun.

Tuesday was spent mainly eating and a little bit of orientation. President Mecham is very nice- he reminds me quite a bit of K from Men In Black. He looks like K and he's very serious....
Until you get him away from the office or podium. Then he's got this quirky sense of humor. Anyways, he's great and his wife is very sweet. She reminds me of a combination of Sister Dilts and Sister Greenhalgh.

Wednesday was more orientation and we got our areas. In case you didn't realize from the subject line, I'm serving in Havre, Montana. Where is Havre? Great question. It's closer to Canada than it is to any city or town of considerable size. Or so I've been told. It's on what is called the "hi-line" of Montana. 

So about my area: Havre has never had sisters. Or at least not for over 20-30 years. The elders who were in the area have been moved to Chinook. Most of what the elders would term as progressing investigators live on the Rocky Boy Reservation. This complicates things because then we have to coordinate with the Jacobsens to go there.

The Jacobsens are the senior missionary couple serving here in Havre. We live in their basement. I forgot to take a picture of our living area in the basement. It's an unfinished basement and we have heating ducts/etc between our beds and the desks. Only our bathroom has a door- every other entryway is a curtain. I meant to take pictures, but I forgot.

But I've gotten ahead of myself. I found out on Wednesday that I was headed to Havre. I didn't arrive until Friday late afternoon. Thursday was spent travelling from Billings to Bozeman to Helena and then to Great Falls. We had a "transfer meeting" in Great Falls with the stake president, some high counselors, and the zone. Apparently Havre is prophesied to become its own stake someday.

So Friday was when Sister Jones and I hopped in our brand new silver 2014 Chevy Cruze to Havre. Sister Jones is on her third transfer- she served two transfers in Kalispell. She is from northern California and is 19. She's super chill, so we get along really well- sometimes I get overwhelmed by strong personalities. 

I actually will be getting on facebook soon, as well as Sister Jones. We are hoping it will help with contacting people. Maybe those on the reservation have facebook? All it took was an interview with our zone leaders. Apparently the Havre ward already has a facebook page and there is a facebook seminar this Wednesday here.

Here's more about Montana- from what I've seen so far, through my Mid-Western perspective, Montana is brown. You can easily tell where the rivers and waters are because then there are suddenly all of these trees. 

Havre itself has some big hills, but nothing that could be deemed as "mountain". The lack of mountains and trees is what allows for Montana's "Big Sky".

I would say Havre feels the size of downtown Logan- just the older, downtown part. Anyone wanting to send me a history of Havre would get brownie points- apparently there's a historic underground part?

We haven't been here long, and so it's understandable that Sister Jones and I haven't been able to do much. We've mainly just researched the names left behind by the elders. We've attempted to contact a few, with very little success. There is one family that we'll be returning to teach. 

We had the most luck at the Care Center, primarily because they can't move very far or very fast... okay, sorry, that wasn't very politically correct. It was actually very sad- these people aren't very old (60s)- but they are so disabled and have so many health problems. It's hard because there isn't much we can do but talk with them and share uplifting messages.

Once we can actually find people- at the reservation and elsewhere- things can hopefully get rolling! Until then, Sister Jones and I will keep knocking on every door in the area book! (that is, if the elders remembered to write down the address!)

Let me know if I've forgotten any details that you'd like to know about Havre or Montana or my mission, etc!

Someone needs to cheer extra hard for me at the BYU-USU game!
(when was it again?)

Hope all is well back home!
Proverbs 3:5-6

Sister Griffin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Off to Montana!!!

So there will actually be more than 28 of us going to Billings on Tuesday because there are a few who have been temporarily reassigned while waiting for visas. One of them, Sister Williams, was reassigned to Billings (ultimately headed for Brazil) and her older sister got back from a mission to Billings less than a year ago. I thought that was cool. Anyways.

My district here is so awesome- I'm so glad that we are all going to the same mission so I can see them in the field or at reunions. Everyone brings something unique. Just for a taste, one elder, Elder Swisher, loves watching chick flicks and is extremely sarcastic. Another elder, Elder Howard, likes My Little Pony. Sister O'Mealy has deer antlers holding a coyote hide hanging in her room.

                                                                                 Sisters in our district

Funny story- you know the melting wax for sealing envelopes? Well, Sister Aller had some she wanted to use, but she didn't have any matches. We tried a hairdryer- that didn't melt it enough. So we went to the common area, grabbed paper towels, and stuck them in the toaster until they caught on fire and then used that to melt the wax. Yay for creative problem solving! Thankfully Sister O'Mealy wouldn't let Sister Aller use hairspray to aid in the lighting attempt.

                                                                                  Sister Griffin & Sister O'Mealy

Another funny story- Sister Aller and Sister Smith were discussing how the elders in our district keep pointing out cute sisters. Sister's Aller's comment was, "I think that's okay. I mean, it's just like: 'the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine'". Let the really bad Mormon humor commence! 

Okay another funny story- our speaker last night was Rob Tanner- the director of 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue. As part of his talk, he showed us clips from the movie. (Mind you, all of the MTC is watching this, even the ones over at the West Campus). Part of the movie has a courting scene where the young man and woman kiss. Needless to say, this created quite and uproar. It was pretty funny, and I think everyone was surprised that scene was included. I don't think President Nally appreciated our response though. 

Speaking of President Nally, I met him on Sunday because our branch president was released. They (President and Sister Ohman) are going to serve a couple mission.

Sister O'Mealy and I have improved with our teaching. Our experiences at the TRC this week went pretty well. The hardest one was maybe the Baptist and Catholic couple. But they were so nice, I feel like everyone went too easy on us.

We definitely have learned that the spirit is the teacher, and not us. At first we'd plan out our lessons with all these details, and they never went well. Because we were teaching lessons, not people. Eventually we just learned to come up with the main point we wanted to talk about (eg. the Atonement) and maybe one or two scriptures. And then just ask tons of questions. While following the spirit.

Another thing I learned about was how everyone has their different path. We watched a devotional thing on President Monson, and from that and reading his biography, it is just so clear that President Monson was preordained to be a prophet, and that everything in his life was preparing him for this mighty calling. 

Each of us have our own paths or callings in life. I know that serving a mission in Montana is part of Heavenly Father's plan for me. There are people that I need to meet in Montana and things that I need to learn. I'm grateful for this knowledge that I am where I need to be!

Today's my last day in the MTC!! Tomorrow morning I leave at 4:30am on the front runner for the airport! I couldn't be more excited!!

Sister G

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

So far I've enjoyed the MTC!
But I don't like the food. The mild foodie in me is convinced that I'm eating cardboard glued together with fat. I eat lots of fruit.
But I do love the focus on teaching people and directing lessons to match people's needs. We've done tons of role playing, and we have two "investigators" that we are working with. Role playing is so helpful in learning what works and what doesn't. I feel like my knowledge is adequate but I'm not quite as good at connecting with people. I love my district's teachers, Brother Flores and Harward. They are excellent at inviting the spirit and asking the right questions to help us learn. It's interesting how learning is the same, no matter what the subject is- because when I try to help people with math, I try to ask questions that get them to think and lead them to teaching themselves. And that's what they do, except with teaching the gospel to investigators. 

My companion is Sister O'Mealy. She's great- she's from Reno, Nevada. She's also 21. She's slightly crazy- you know how we think clear blue skies are absolutely beautiful? She thinks overcast skies are beautiful. CRAZY!! But I love her. And really the only thing that's crazy about her is her obsession with clouds. We both love huge storms, though. She's awesome. The other two sisters in my district are from Arizona and California. They're super sweet, we all get along really well.
My district has 8 people- 4 elders and 4 sisters. Here's the best part: we are all going to Montana! Next week there will be 28 of us leaving on Tuesday for Montana! CRAZY! I think I've met most of them. You can tell Sister Jensen that I met Sister Moline- the daughter of the first missionary that she ever talked to. I haven't seen Jana here though :/
I would say that overall the MTC here is roughly 60% elders and 40% sisters. By the end of the year, there should be 85,000 full time missionaries. The work is hastening!
As for ages- 3 of the elders just graduated high school (I think) and the other two sisters are 19. But they are all surprisingly mature. Oh- and the MTC sisters choir will be singing in this next conference. The choir director claimed this was confidential, but I doubt it.
We (my district) might be moving this week to the MTC West Campus- AKA the BYU housing that the MTC is taking over. It includes Wyview and River-something. Riverside, maybe?

The turnover here is so ridiculous. Last week, we were the newbies. Today ALL of the rest of our zone/branch is gone- we're the only ones. Tomorrow, more newbies arrive and suddenly we're the "experienced" ones. And then we leave early the next week. I love the learning here at the MTC, but I would not want to stay here much longer than the ~13 days I have. Thank goodness I'm not going to somewhere with a ridiculous language- I wouldn't be able to handle the food for that long. Or the fact that we have to get up SO early. We have to be AT breakfast by 6:30, not just awake by 6:30. But they still have us so busy and not going to bed till 10:30. So I'm tired. I see a nap later during personal time. Right now I'm doing laundry, and we went to the temple earlier.
eh that's about it. just lots of learning and good times! I'll try to get you pictures soon.
I'm not sure when I'll be able to email next since I'll be traveling on my MTC p-day and will have missed my Montana p-day.
Maybe I can call?
Not sure if it's allowed. But my flight's 9:30ish mountain time, and we're leaving the MTC at 5:30.

Sis G

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reporting at the MTC on Wednesday.... we wanted to get a picture, but alas, the MTC sign is no longer there. Apparently it was causing a traffic jam due to all the missionaries wanting a picture.  We improvised and took a picture of where the sign used to be!

Monday, September 2, 2013

...and I'm off!

On Wednesday, September 4th at 12:45 PM, I will be entering the Missionary Training Center to begin my 18 month mission to the Montana Billings Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! ..that was a mouthful. But this has been a long anticipated event, and I am so excited that the time has finally arrived!

In case you aren't familiar with Mormon mission(arie)s, I will completely be leaving behind all school, work, dating, family, and friends. My time will be spent serving, studying the gospel, and meeting and teaching people about Jesus Christ and His church. My communication home will be limited, which is why my mom will be the one updating this blog with my emails. You can learn more about missionaries here.

Some people think what I'll be doing is cool….and others think that it sounds crazy. Occasionally I think it sounds crazy. No math, no rock climbing, no USU…! But I have so many reasons why I want to serve and why it's all worth it to me. 

Here are a few:
  1.  Sharing. This gospel has brought so much happiness to my life- and I want to spread that with others.
  2.  Charity. I am looking forward to this opportunity of selflessness- of putting God and everyone else before myself
  3. Truth. I know my message of the restored church of Jesus Christ is true. All of it. You can read more of my testimony on my profile
  4. Called to Serve. I prayed long and hard about whether or not this was right for me- to put my life on hold for 18 months- and the answer that I felt was a resounding yes!
  5. Learning. Simply put- there's A LOT that I don't know.

I could go on, but really it comes down to #3 and #4- I know what I'm saying is true and I know that serving a mission is the right thing for me to do. 

And so here goes the biggest adventure of my life! I'll see you all in 18 months:) I hope you enjoy my emails/posts, and feel free to write me at the addresses to the right!

love, E