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