Monday, November 25, 2013

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

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!!!

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...

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.

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