Monday, December 29, 2014

be the sunshine!!!

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Christmas was just so wonderful :) I'm now super excited for New Year's, that Amish calendar was sweet haha. I am working on making some resolutions that hopefully I'll keep for a little longer than just a few months.

But when it comes to positive change, "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me"

So it's all possible, you just have to put your mind to it. 

Actually, our zone is working on this 30 day challenge thing. There are 3 phases, and each phase has to be completed for 30 consecutive days before moving on. 
Phase 1: not saying anything negative about anyone else. 
Phase 2: don't say or do anything that would offend the Spirit
Phase 3: no thoughts that would offend the Spirit
I figure on your mission is the best chance to even complete Phase 1, so that's part of one of my resolutions. Trying this just makes yourself more aware of how often you do talk bad about others, and so it gives you an opportunity to improve.


Small world story.
Christmas dinner was with this crazy awesome redhead family, a little out from Lovell. While talking to the husband, I found out that his brother worked in the math tutor lab at USU with me. He was kind of a second boss, but not totally. Everyone joked that he is a professional student. Kind of true. Anyways, super crazy! Had no idea he was a member, and I actually always wondered. He's really kind though and looks just like his brother.


Found out Sister Gray is racist. 
Just kidding, she's not.
But we went to go try a family (the Negro's) and it was dark in the house, so her comment was,
"Man, it looks pretty dark at the Negro's, we'll try someone else"
Made me laugh. 
Don't worry, they are a completely white family. According to Sister Gray, at least. I haven't met them yet.


This morning was weird. We got a call that the assistants were travelling and wanted to interviews with the sisters because they were in town. But, interviews were in Powell. So we went on an adventure today. What's the population of Powell? It definitely has a lot more going on, but at the same time, not that much. This small town area up here is still so weird to me. Anyways, I was hoping after leaving the office/Billings that I wouldn't ever have to see leadership that much. But it wasn't bad, it was more about goals and how things were going.


Well, you heard most of the news on CHRISTMAS :) We've just seen a handful of less-actives and potentials since then. Actually for weekly planning, we tore apart the area book and wrote down on our whiteboard the names of all the potentials, with a plan to contact all of them within this transfer. The area book here needs a little cleaning up. But hopefully that will help us find some new faces!

I discovered a new favorite hymn. #230, Scatter Sunshine. Being the sunshine in people's lives is so much more fulfilling than being the rain cloud. People's lives are filled with enough rain already as it it, and it is a blessing to be able to help lift and inspire and gladden. Plus, the chorus on this song is just a riot. Oh, the things you find entertaining when you are a missionary.


Well, that's about it this week! 

Happy New Year!

Love,
Sista G


PS. 2015 is when I come home!!!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

trying to (Love)ll... :)


So just a few things about Lovell:

1. Dad, you are close with your guess. The percentage that I've heard is that Lovell is 80% members, but I'm guessing it is only about 70% active, so maybe you are about right after all.

2. Super cool old houses. And with our house, the cool is very literal. We are in the attic, so it gets very cold. And the widow we live with doesn't turn the heat up very high. But the mission got us a space heater, so our room isn't bad. The bathroom & hallway are just a wee bit nippy. BUT the room has wood floor & walls and slanted ceilings, which I just think is the coolest. Technically though we don't live in our area. But with how TINY Lovell is, it don't matter. 

3. This has nothing to do with Lovell exactly. But people's grammar out here is really bad, and I have been imitating it, kind of to make fun of it. The consequence is that my grammar is getting bad haha Sister DeBry has been having the same problem, soo yeah.

4. So I am covering 2 different wards for the first time in my mission. The first ward is kind of old and all in town. The second ward is younger, but up on a hill outside of town. (I think second ward is off to the north, but my bearings are so incredibly OFF here. No easily visible mountains or rims). But all members are so NICE and FRIENDLY and MISSIONARY-MINDED. Much more than I have seen previously. Loved Lake Hills, but we had to really push them. These members do it on their own. What's funny though is that Montana matches my personality more - antisocial. That's why I went to Montana, everyone there is antisocial, but can be very social if it is on their own terms. Wyoming people are just super friendly, and it's weird. Good, but weird.

5. My companion is Sister Gray. She was actually the first missionary that I met in the MTC also going to Montana. But she is going home on her early date because her dad is graduating back home. And so this is her last transfer. She's very sweet, she reminds me of some of my favorite members back in Lake Hills. 

6. The teaching pool is HUGE with NO ONE progressing. With one exception, but he is moving. Lame, right? Gosh, I miss the huge amount of people we were teaching in Billings. So basically it's more like tons of potentials that don't want to do anything/make progress. There actually are quite a few youth that we will be working with, most not members, and a few that are less-active. Apparently we go to mutual, but they aren't having it for the rest of this week. Anyways, I'm not worried about it. No one was going anywhere when I showed up to Lake Hills. It's the Lord's work, he knows who is ready, and as we seek his help, we'll know where to go and who to focus on. It's that simple. Huge testimony of prayer.

7. Mom asked about shopping in Lovell. There is one clothes shop, one grocery store, and one convenient-like store. Oh, and a chocolate shop. There might be two banks, though. Anyways, super tiny. Not much here, and what is here is expensive. But apparently we might make it out to Cody next preparation day. There is at least a Wal-Mart there.

8. All of the members here refer to Lovell as the "celestial kingdom" of the Montana Billings Mission. My defiance wants to tell them that's a matter of opinion, because I was told that at least 3 times on Sunday. It seriously is like a mini Utah here.


Honestly, I think that wraps up pretty much everything in this place. As much as I feel claustrophobic in such a tiny place, I know this is where I am supposed to be. I knew I was leaving, and I had a feeling I was going to Wyoming. And ward council with the 1st ward felt very familiar, almost dejavu. So hopefully we can get things happening in 3 months :)

I did get to say goodbye to almost everyone in Billings, so I was grateful for that. There are so many wonderful people there. I am certainly going to miss them. Actually, the family that got baptized surprised me with cupcakes & balloons & cookies as a mini leaving party. They are the best :)


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

I'll SEE YOU on THURSDAY!

Love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, December 15, 2014

everything for a reason

Transfer news first! On Wednesday, I am off to Lovell 1st & 2nd wards. Mixed feelings on this one. I need change, but there is work here. Lovell is infamous for not having work because everyone there is already a member. So I will miss everyone here, especially Sister DeBry. But hey, I haven't seen the Wyoming part of the mission yet.

So I want to tell you about a story with one of our investigators! 
I think I talked about the high school kid that is dating an active member girl that is in college right now. We had our first lesson with him last week, and our second lesson (Plan of Salvation) with him this week.
I think I told you how hardened he was at first. He very clearly told us that he was only learning for his girlfriend and her family. He didn't do his reading assignment for this week, so we read Alma 32 with him. That got him thinking, especially about whether or not his "ground was barren" or if he was "casting out the seed by his unbelief". Then we started with the Plan of Salvation, testifying of eternal families and purpose from the very beginning. 

Our member present was awesome, with bearing testimony and inviting him and his girlfriend over for dinner in the future.

Anyways. It was the weirdest thing, because he would kind of listen to Sister DeBry and the member, but he would REALLY pay attention whenever I spoke. Every time. I don't know why. Maybe it was because during the previous lesson, I told him that I was in his girlfriend's exact situation about four years ago.

But honestly, having that experience with Ryan, in addition to the spirit, did really help me with what to say and what to testify about. I wanted to say to this investigator everything that I wish Ryan could have known and understood. Because the Plan of Salvation really lays out the purpose behind everything in the gospel, and the purpose in our individual lives. The Plan of Salvation is why marriage in the temple is so important. Understanding our purpose here on earth comes from knowing about the premortal life, and our excitement in accepting Christ and God's plan. The Plan of Salvation really answers many of the peculiarities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. And I wanted this investigator to understand that. For his sake and his girlfriend's sake. 
The Spirit was so strong at every point, especially as we took turns testifying.

At the end, we asked him what his feelings were about the lessons. He said he always maintained that he was only learning for his girlfriend, but that he was discovering that there was something to what we were saying. He said he felt his motivation changing.

We asked if he had felt good or different during the lesson. 
He said "yes", and looked as though he was wondering, "how did you know? and what is that feeling?" We testified that was the Spirit, telling him that what he was hearing was true and good, and what God wanted for him. And he accepted that answer.

Major softening of his heart, especially because when we found him, he claimed to almost atheist, only believing there might be something higher, but not that it could do him any good.
So everything is for a reason. I really feel that I had that experience with Ryan partly because I could be able to help this investigator. 

So that's my story. Things happen for many reasons, and sometimes down the road we get to see why. Even in the Book of Mormon, you read so often of its purpose, that in time it would be a great converting power. God knows all, and has all in His great plan. Sometimes we just have to remember, 

"Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. 
Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me" (D&C 50:40-41)


We may not understand God's plan. But we can know and understand the role of Christ and his Atonement, which fixes and heals all.

Anyways.

This week has been great, additionally. We have taught many lessons, seen new faces, set baptismal dates for three of the children of the Native recent convert family that moved in, etc.. The family that was baptized back by Halloween is doing great, the husband blessed the sacrament this Sunday for the first time. He also has been going to the YM activities, since he is in the presidency. 

I am running out of time, I hope things get better. I am keeping the Parke family & the whole ward in my prayers.

Much love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, December 8, 2014

count your blessings :)


So I am actually in a pretty crabby mood this morning. It all has to do with the lady that we used to live with. Long & unimportant story, so I shall not include it. But! I'm trying to look on the bright side instead. For instance, see the picture attached. That was our sunset this morning :) Pretty beautiful. That's Big Sky Country for you. 

Christmas zone conference was this last Tuesday.

The slideshow turned out AWESOME. We did a great job, just saying.
The music was all awesome, I got to play the flute like I did last year. And then I accompanied another sister that performed a flute solo. And played the piano for our choir practice.

The conference was focused on "He is the Gift". Dad reported in what he did to #ShareTheGift, but I am still waiting to hear from the rest of you.

My interpretation,
"discover" - depicted by reading the scriptures :: having spiritual experiences and gaining further knowledge of Christ.

"embrace" - depicted by praying :: applying the truths that you learned from discovering.

"sharing" - #ShareTheGift :: inviting others to discover or embrace Christ

So each of you need to decide how you are going to discover more, embrace further, and then reach out.

Maybe I told you about the family that moved up here from the south side? They came to the ward Christmas dinner and also to church on Sunday. They are the cutest family, especially the kids. I think I mentioned that the parents were baptized in August, but the kids have not been because they were all living elsewhere. So we are going to start teaching them this week, we hope.

Other news. We are continuing to meet with the sweet old man & his wife that moved in from a different ward. He is working on choosing a "stop date" for quitting smoking. He doesn't want to be pushed, though. But his daughter is quitting with him, and they have some bets going on, which is great. 

Also, Sister DeBry tried to die on me this week. I went out with another set of sisters (b/c their companion was sick, too) and in the meantime she had an asthma attack in conjunction with her cold and couldn't breathe. She had to turn the shower on with super hot water to create some steam. I forced albuterol on her and also had our WMLs come give her a blessing. Anyways, she is doing better now, though, but we've had to stay in a good part of this week.I haven't gotten sick really, for which I am grateful.

Anyways, I believe those are the main happenings! I am running out of time. I hope everyone get doing better!
Love, 
Sista G

Monday, December 1, 2014

#ShareTheGift


We got a Thanksgiving dinner! *Swoof. But only one. Last year we had three, soo..... hey, at least we got one. And we had dessert with the family that was baptized. We actually had quite a few families though that wanted us to drop by, even though they didn't feed us. So we were busy all day.

Okay, this family that was baptized is just so great. (I can't remember if I told you this) She wants this Christmas for her family to be very Christ oriented, and so she searched around the community to see what they could do. Apparently the men and women shelters in Billings do not have any Christmas trees. So she has been working to find artificial tree donations and then asked the ward to contribute ornaments. The Primary & Activity Day girls made ornaments, and several other families donated. I think they are decorating the trees tomorrow. Super awesome, huh?

I feel like we spent more time in the office this weekend than out teaching. Of course everyone sends in their Christmas pictures super last minute. And then the computer kept claiming it was lacking memory, etc, etc.. Anyways, after much drama there are finally 2 DVDs burned of the Christmas slideshow. And we did a dang good job. I'm going to see if I can steal a copy and bring it home. You'd probably get bored during all of the little kid pictures, but you'd like what we did for the beginning and the end.

Oh, and then Sister DeBry got pretty sick. And so we were kept in.

We did have another great lesson with that lady that we found by accident. And she was on her way to church, but she couldn't find the right building and so she ended up not showing up. We had accidentally left our phone at the office and so we weren't able to get her text that she couldn't find the right place. Gahh. But hey, we have another lesson planned on Friday and we'll make sure there isn't any doubt where to go!

A new family moved in that only got baptized back in August. They are struggling with quite a bit right now, so I imagine we will be working quite a bit with them. 

I find it so crazy how much our teaching pool has changed from when I first got here, and then also how much it has changed since Sister DeBry got here. People are being prepared.

Okay, soapbox time.


You've gone there already, right? And watched He Is The Gift, right?

If not, repent.

And then all of you have a brain and have Facebook. So please, please, please try to post something about how you are going to #ShareTheGift. Refer to the Ensign, particularly the insert. The church is trying to start a fad that focuses Christmas on Christ. They call it an "initiative", but whatevs. Just do it, and report on what you did to me :) I want to hear about it! And then keep it up... Hopefully this isn't foreign to you and you've already heard about it. But this is a simple way to help hasten the work. And it's fun. I'm sure there are some great ideas on Pintrest already. 

Hey, have any of you tried cinnamon in homemade turkey noodle soup? Or ketchup? Or cinnamon and ketchup? I did yesterday. Second weirdest family tradition ever. (First was applesauce on a grilled velveeta cheese sandwich, don't think I told you about that one). Not a fan of the ketchup, but I liked the cinnamon. 

Alright, that's my news. Christmas zone conference is tomorrow. I am playing the flute and the piano. I was finally able to find a decent flute in our ward. But I miss my Sonare. I knew I'd use both skills on my mission, but I didn't think I would be using them THIS much. Especially since I NEVER volunteer. Never. I just get asked to help out a lot.

ANYWAYS.
Love you all!!! Happy December!


 Sista G

Monday, November 24, 2014

best mistake ever!!


So first, thank you for all the birthday cards & wishes & packages & etc!! 
Much appreciated :)


I like having a birthday around Thanksgiving, it makes me doubly grateful for everything from my birthday. 

AND I like having birthdays on the mission, because then I get to focus on everyone but me and I get the joy of helping others discover Christ :)

The coolest thing this week happened on my birthday!
(Best birthday present ever. Thanks Heavenly Father!)

It all goes back to that lady we met because I thought the car heater was going to explode. Saturday was the return appointment we set up with her.

She had wonderful questions, about why God lets bad things happen if all He wants is for us to follow Him, if her children were going to hell if they died because she had not had them baptized yet, if she wasn't among the chosen people of God because she wasn't born Jewish, why there are so many churches when there was only one church when Christ was on the earth, and then she expressed her desire to find a church that will finally feel right to her.

golden.


We answered all of those questions as we taught the Restoration. The spirit helped Sister DeBry and I guide our words so we could know how to help her understand. At the First Vision, she felt as though Joseph Smith's experience was true because she, too, was searching for the one true church, the "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" in Ephesians 4:5. When we extended a baptismal invitation and a date for the baptism, she readily accepted both. She could not make it to church week because of a prior family engagement, but she expressed her desire to come next week with her kids.

and NONE of this would have happened if our heater hadn't gotten all weird and if we hadn't been convinced to knock on the wrong door. It's the Lord's work, and He guides and directs the effort. That's all I've got to say on that one.



You wanted birthday details. So that lesson ^ was our first thing for the day, then we went to the office to work on the Christmas slideshow, then back to the heights for a musical practice, then for lunch Sister DeBry and I got ice cream cupcakes from Dairy Queen (tradition!) and then we tried people and went to dinner at the family who went to the temple, and next we had a weird Thanksgiving dinner for the single adults of which they wanted missionaries to perform at (really weird. But I played piano for 3 of the musical numbers.) and then we went to talk to one of our ward missionaries (who is actually less-active) about some of our teenage investigators that had ODD and ADD and ya know, normal teenage defiance. So we asked for advice and threw in lots of testifying and other good things.

Anyways.
It actually was a tougher week, no one was home OR they just weren't answering their door OR they cancelled. Primarily the middle one. In fact, we actually caught someone in the act. We went to visit a less-active family, the one where the daughter wants to learn so she can get baptized. They did not answer when we knocked, even though we knew they had to be home because all of their cars were there. But they have a St. Bernard puppy that had decorated the tiny yard with numerous droppings. We found a shovel and decided to clean it up since all of our appointments fell through anyways. About 3/4 of the way through, the mom came out and said we didn't have to do that, etc., but we just insisted on finishing. Anyways, the mom texted us out of the blue yesterday, confirming that we could come over this upcoming Tuesday. And in the text, she admitted she was hiding.. Blessings from doing stinky service, I guess! haha


We had a family sign up for Thanksgiving dinner, but now we cannot get in contact with them... ehh sketch. But we have had other families ask what we are doing for Thanksgiving, so hopefully we will have a place or two to go to.

I'll see what pictures I have to send along. 


Enjoy Thanksgiving!! make sure to reflect on what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving season!


Love,
Sista Griffin

Monday, November 17, 2014

Montana heat wave!!

The high today is supposed to be above freezing. MAJOR HEAT WAVE! Dad, stop complaining about 20 degree weather. :P

Funny miracle:

We were driving in the super cold negative temperature weather, trying a few people, when the fan for the heater started making some super sketchy noises. Remember when the lawn mower practically exploded on me because I accidentally put kerosene in the gas tank? Well ever since, I am always convinced that, when I hear funny noises, the car/machine is going to explode on me. 

Needless to say, I was freaking out. So I insist on driving to the Tennessee family's place because they are close by and I know they have a knack for mechanics. They did not answer.

So then we only have an awkward 30 minutes before dinner, and dinner is close to just around the corner, and I didn't want to drive far because this car is literally going to explode, I just know it. I just kept driving down the Tennessee family's street when I suddenly remember we could try a less-active family just down the road. 

I pull over at what I am convinced is their house. But just to be sure, I check the directory, the address on the house, I check the directory again, the house again, and conclude we are at the right place.

We knock at the door. 
"Are you Sister So-and-so?"

"No."

"Oh. Are you babysitting?"

"
No, I live here."
"Oh. Well that's awkward, somehow we must have ended up at the wrong house"

"Well do you want to come in? It's freezing. Come warm up"

(Don't have to tell us twice, we are missionaries)

Long story made a tad shorter, this lady had met with missionaries before. She thought they were really comical and awkward and so she kind of flirted with them to freak them out. Needless to say, they WERE freaked out and never came back. But she is currently going through a divorce, which was conflicting with the religion she was raised in- Catholicism. She said she would be willing to learn more, and even gave us her number, name, and address so we could return to share about our church. Woot woot!

...leaving her house we double checked the address again on the house....it was totally the wrong address. So I am an airhead. I get it from mom. BUT HEY. Worked in our favor! Thanks, mom!

Another crazy thing? As we drove away, the heater completely stopped making weird noises, and it has not made any noises since.

Other news is that we finally got in to teach a handful of new investigators. One is a 50-60 year old lady that is just sweeter than sweet. We asked to give her a hug at the end, and she exclaimed "Oh, I've just been waiting for this!" Apparently she really loves hugs. But she loves BYUTV and she is drawn to the peace that she sees in LDS families. Anyways, she said she wanted to pray about what we had taught. Her husband, however, thinks his wife is going slightly crazy and thinking "what has gotten into her?" because she has never sought learning about different religions before. But hey, we've dealt with reluctant husbands before, just takes lots of patience and prayer and developing understanding. And sometimes more prayer. And more patience. 

We also had a lesson with two teenage girls. One of them referred herself to missionaries at Wal-Mart, who in turn passed the referral to us. The other girl was her roommate (they live at a Tumbleweed home, kind of for homeless teens) and she was way more interested than the girl that was referred, but both wanted to set a baptismal date. But they are teenagers, and so keeping them focused and on track might be difficult. I dread having teenagers down the road. Sorry mom & dad if I was ever a brat :)

Update on the family that got baptized - he was interviewed for the priesthood and has a calling in the young men's on the way! We also started them on their family history, and we found two names for him and one name for her to take to the temple to do baptisms. Hollah! So hopefully that should be soon. They made a comment that everything with church just feels so right and how it should have always been in their family. We just love them, I can't wait for you to meet them!

So that's our report. We are teaching so much more now that we don't spend so much time in the office. Which is ironic in a way, because we still go down to the office to work on Sister Mecham's Christmas project. Which, BTW, it's going to be awesome, we brainstormed some pretty great ideas. #goinghashtagcrazy,peepsgonnagetmad
Yeah, don't worry, I know that's not a real hashtag.


Anyways, stay warm! and have a great week!
The family that went to the temple back in August - they are feeding us on Saturday and she knows it is my birthday, so I am very excited and I should be well taken care of :)

Love,
Sista G

Monday, November 10, 2014

and so it begins...


FIRST SNOWFALL.

and also first below 20 degree weather.
Fabulous. 

I was kind of hoping that the first snowfall would be a little bit warmer. we keep hearing different rumors on how cold it is supposed to get - one person insisted the lows would be in the negatives sometime this week...

Yay for freezing!

Transfer news - Sister DeBry and I are staying together in Lake Hills. But we are getting phased out of the office. I am really torn because I love the office, but I also want more time in our area. 

Here's the funny part of why we are staying though - Sister Mecham wanted us to work on the Christmas slideshow and she doesn't want anyone else to know about it. So she requested to President Mecham for us to stay. Apparently after Heavenly Father, Sister Mecham has the next greatest pull. BTW, I loved the picture you sent, it made me laugh. I definitely remember the Christmas that it was taken.

Anyways, we won't be completely out of the office because we will be working on that slideshow. 

But what President is doing makes a lot of sense - he switched an elder's area to a sister's area and is having those sisters working in the office. And those sisters live 5 minutes from the office. We live 25 minutes from the office. And Sister DeBry and I have been able to get the office super organized, done lots of cross-training, so they should be fine. My goal was to work myself out of the office, and it's been accomplished! I guess I would have preferred getting moved too, though.

Story time!
There is a young mother that is coming back to church after a nasty abusive relationship. I think I told you about her. One morning she wakes up with an awful headache and she has a super hard time getting her kids awake. They were super lethargic. She just thought all of them were getting sick. After getting them out of the house and drive around, all of them start to improve. 

That afternoon, she has someone come check the house. Her furnace had been leaking 25% carbon monoxide. Apparently a 9% leak is a big deal. But then that left her without a furnace. The bid she received to replace it was $2100, and she does not have any money right now. We made sure the relief society president a few other ward leaders knew. This Sunday we asked her how the house was doing without any heat. She then told us how someone from the ward came by and installed a new furnace and everything for free. Not sure where the members got the furnace from, but we were so touched how much our ward stepped up to help. That meant so much to that sister.

Next story!
Remember the 85-year-old that just started going back to church? He is a snowbird, and he is leaving for Arizona this Wednesday. We went by yesterday after church to say goodbye. I think I mentioned his wife passed away 6 years ago. He wanted to give me a new shirt and jacket that was hers. I was super touched. I'll send off a picture.

We also have new people to teach!
A 17-year-old tracked down some elders at Wal-Mart, asking for missionaries to be sent to her. She's in our area! So they passed the info to us. She took lessons down on the south side. We visited her mom who is in the nursing home in our area, and she wants lessons as well. 

Other new people!
There's a couple that moved from the Hilltop ward to our ward. They're in the 60s about. He's Catholic and she is recently reactivated. We had a joint lesson last night to transition them in to our ward. He knows Joseph Smith is a prophet and he wants to go to the temple and be baptized. He just is having a hard time letting go of some former ideas and notions. But they are super sweet, I look forward to teaching them. Hopefully they will like us. They loved the Hilltop sisters.

I don't know that I can think of any other news!

Love you all!
I hope the cold storm isn't as cold for you as it is here!

Love,
Sista EG

Monday, November 3, 2014

oh how sweet :)



THEY GOT BAPTIZED!!!! wahooooooooooooooo :)
So many people from the ward came to support them that we had to add tons of chairs. Sister Mecham was there as well. We conned her in to playing the prelude and interlude music so I wouldn't have to worry about it.

And then President & Sister Mecham were there for the confirmation. They congratulated them, in addition to a large portion of the ward.
The mom said the sweetest things. She thanked us for pushing them and commented how great she felt. She said she had not realized how much she needed baptism. 

All three of them were just glowing :)

                                                            


This week has been very full, the baptism preparations taking up most of the time.

First, Temple Tuesday!
We went through the temple with Sister Singson & Sister Templin. Beforehand though, Sister Singson had us write these letters of things we needed to let go. Then we tied them to white helium balloons and let them go before we entered the temple. Such a "sister" thing to do, but it was nice. I was so grateful that Sister DeBry had a great experience with it. She was able to feel such great comfort from that activity. We took pictures, I'll try to remember to send them along. I engineered the better way to attach the letters, maybe I'll remember to comment on it next time.
 


But that was not the end of our Temple Tuesday! Because then we had the mom & daughter that got baptized to come take pictures at the temple. I'll try to include one of those, too. The mom LOVES Pintrest and had been looking up ideas of pictures to take of her daughter at the temple before their baptism. We were able to talk about the importance of temples and the special spirit there, and how in the temple we can be sealed to our family forever. We went just inside the entryway where there are two fountains that have great symbolism to the Fall, eternal life, and Christ's atonement. Super cool experience.
Anyways, it was a great day at the temple.

Wednesday!
The family getting baptized was moving the day before their baptism, and so we helped them with the majority of their moving. We had a blast, we spend so much time in emotional and spiritual labor that it is super refreshing to perform some physical labor.

Thursday was, of course, the baptism. 
Friday was Halloween, so we had to be in by 6PM. We got permission to watch Ephraim's Rescue with some of the other sisters in the heights. Honestly, I am not a fan. But I was not a fan of 17 Miracles either. But on your mission you are just grateful for any movies that you are allowed to watch! I think I scared some of the other sisters thought when I expressed my opinion....they seemed to think I was turning apostate. In reality, though, I just enjoy quality, and readily recognize when quality is missing. 

On Saturday we actually had dinner with the family that got baptized! They wanted to thank everyone that helped them move. So they took us and some others who helped from the ward to Pizza Hut. Super awesome of them!

I'm getting bored of spelling out my week, so I'm just going to rant about this family. 
We frequently ask them if they have any questions, either from their Book of Mormon reading or just other questions. 

They ALWAYS have a question. Which means they are thinking about it, they are desiring to learn, they want to completely understand. And the next great part? They remember. I LOVE Gospel Principles class with them because they always have the most amazing answers and comments, stemming from conversations we had in lessons. What we share is sinking in. And people recognize and comment on that, on how they already have such a great depth of knowledge about the gospel. But the catch is neither of them have a religious background. So the spirit has been teaching them hardcore. They truly are just remembering the things they have been taught from before this life..

So I pulled out the calendar. True, we have been teaching the mom for quite some time, June or May. But her husband? He was ready for his baptismal interview in 2 weeks of teaching and baptized in 3 weeks. So prepared! But I would have never guessed, especially since he was the reason that his wife dropped us back in August. Such a miracle. And I am so grateful to be a part of their journey. Their eyes are truly set on the temple, and I cannot wait to come back to be with them in a year. I won't miss it for anything. (Just hopefully it is on a Saturday!)

Missionary work is truly the sweetest work. It's hard! It definitely can be frustrating. But it is filled with those incredibly special moments that mean everything. I cannot wait for you to meet this family!

Have a fantastic week! I shall send some pictures along :)

Love,
Sista G

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's coming!!

Our family are ready for their baptism! Interviews are all done, and many of the arrangements are finished. Only a few details and some of the follow-through are left, but apart from that it is all set! They are so excited, and we are too!

We had two people this week contact us wanting to go back to church. Both of them were raised in the church but have gotten lost along the way. Also, both were in relationships with people who did not share their same religious beliefs. That seems to cause problems almost without fail. So we are helping them make changes to their life. Change is hard. It is easier to not stray.

Reminds me of a quote from Elder Bednar from our stake conference - 
Keeping the commandments and honoring covenants is NOT hard. It is hard the other way around.

And that's a fact!

The ward trunk-or-treat was great. Ya know, we should have a ward photographer that then posts the pictures on ward Facebook page. People love pictures. When you Facebook stalk someone, let's be honest, you check out their pictures, not their likes or posts of just words. You look at the pictures. 

Sorry this is probably going to be short, I have a bad headache.

Speaking of piano, I played for a musical fireside yesterday (which was headed by a Nazi, btw, oh my goodness that woman needed to chill), I am playing in zone training as the pianist and for a missionary singing a solo, and I am playing at the baptism on Thursday. 

I want to play at the baptism Thursday. The rest of it? Not so much. Takes too much time to practice during free time, time that I could spend sleeping. I've been so wiped out lately.

We are going to the temple this upcoming Tuesday, that should be good. We are going with Sister Templin and her companion. Both Sister Templin and Sister DeBry lost their fathers at the end of October in past years, so both of them are having a difficult time. So we received special permission to go. 

Hopefully I will have some pictures for you next week! Sorry I have not sent any in awhile, but I suppose you have seen some of the pictures from Facebook. 

Love,
E

Monday, October 20, 2014

news from Montana...

Sister DeBry apparently was really nervous to come back, she was afraid that myself and others would miss having Sister Templin. But she was quickly reassured by myself and several members and investigators of how happy they were to have her return.

Thursday night was fun, Sister Mecham accompanied us to our lesson with the family that is preparing for baptism. They are continuing to study and ask great questions. They pick up on small things we say and apply them to their lives. For instance, last Sunday in Gospel Principles class, I commented about how we as a mission pause after every prayer because it allows us to listen for answers from Heavenly Father. I thought I was just making a comment, but this family began to apply it to their own prayers and were telling us of the successes they were having with it! They are just so great.

Pretty much our only lessons left are the 10 Commandments, tithing, and the priesthood. That's it. And last lesson, they wanted to plan our their baptismal program. They have the songs and hymns they want and everything. It's fantastic! They keep telling us how their family is happier and more united since everyone started coming to church, reading scriptures, and praying. That's what the gospel does, it blesses families. 

Our stake conference this week was awesome. Sunday was a broadcast from Salt Lake, and the Saturday night was proceeded by a dinner. They had the missionaries sing "High on the Mountain Top" for the Saturday night and had us sit on the stand. I was the pianist for the hymn. I keep getting nailed for the piano. I guess that's a good thing. I'm accompanying another sister in a week for a musical fireside.

But the conference focused on hastening the work in all aspects. They talked about consecration and sacrifice, and how rising to a new level in those laws will help us hasten the work within ourselves. And it's only by improving ourselves that we will be able to hasten the work with others, both here and on the other side of the veil. They even mentioned how missionary work is so much more than just feeding the missionaries. SO TRUE. But our members aren't even feeding us.... just kidding! They are now. 

Other story. I think I've mentioned the very ADHD investigator we have... half Native, half Hispanic. Anyways, he moved downtown and we finally decided to transfer him over to the other stake... We met with him outside of the Applebee's by the rims. Towards the end of the lesson, he just got very quiet and still. That NEVER happens, he is ADHD for crying out loud. So we knew something was wrong. After the closing prayer, he walked a few steps away looking the other direction and wasn't saying anything. We walked over to see what was wrong, and he was crying! He felt like we were abandoning him! I made a grown man cry! We felt so bad, but explained we just wanted him to try out this new ward so he could have good friends and missionaries that lived closer. Anyways, we will just have to see what happens. We would love for him to keep coming to Lake Hills, but he is in a whole different stake, so it might be better for him down there. 

Can I just say, the office cross-training we are doing is going fantastically. By the end of this week, everyone will know almost every task in the office. I think I told you that I was trying to make myself completely not valuable in the office by the end of the transfer... The only problem though is that while the other sisters know how to complete the tasks, they don't necessarily have all of the trouble-shooting skills yet. But I suppose that just comes with time as you get used to how the office runs.

Well, I hope you have a great week! We are still having pretty warm weather, but everyone here says it almost always snows on Halloween... We shall see!

Love,
Sista G

Monday, October 13, 2014

miracles & madness

Miracle first!

Actually, cool news first. Meet the Mormons sold out for two showings last Friday night. Hollah!

Okay, back to the miracle.
Remember the woman & daughter that we were teaching? And then she dropped us because her husband was did not want to learn about religion and was upset with how much time she was spending at church and lessons? 

I think I told you that we talked with her last Sunday, and she tentatively set up Wednesday. Anyways, so while we were walking up to their house Wednesday, her husband pulled up at the same time. So we talked with him as we headed up to their apartment. After visiting for a little bit, we asked him if he would like to join in the the lesson. He initially declined, but then he sat down to listen in!!

At the end of the lesson we were talking about going to the temple and sealings. The wife asked when she could go to the temple. We explained that it was a year after their baptism. So then she asked when she could set up an interview for her baptism! While we discussed dates, she then asked her husband, "do you want in on this?". And guess what.

HE SAID YES!

So we set up a baptismal date for all of them. 
But then we explain that we will need to teach him, and they asked us to come back after our dinner. His lesson was amazing, he accepted everything and explained that he has never really had God in his life, but that he feels like it is about time and that he wanted to learn with his family and be a part of the gospel. 

AMAZING.
The whole family. They are just amazing. And you can see how much more light they have in their life through accepting Christ and making him integral to their family. 


Okay. Cool lesson.
So we have the one family that we have been teaching awhile...he's a recovering alcoholic.. I think I have told you about them. But anyways, he has always had this weird concern. When we taught him about how there was no pain after this life, he got weirded out and said he didn't like that idea because he has always learned his lessons through pain. We've addressed this concern before, but it still has not really gotten through to him. But then I was prompted to ask him a question. 

I asked him, essentially: have you ever changed without being forced to?

And he was flabbergasted at that question. Because he has the habit of only changing when he is faced with a crisis. 

But let's be honest, so many of us only change when we are compelled to. 

So we left them with Alma 32:13-16. Read it, it's great! It talks about the difference between choosing to be humble and being compelled to be humble.

We left them with a commitment to find one thing that they could choose to change right now to bring them closer to God, without them being forced to change. 

And honestly, change is hard for them and not really in their vocabulary. Why change when things are going great? But this life is about constantly improving ourselves so that we can become more like Christ. Who doesn't need to become more Christlike? 

And so I extend that invitation to everyone, to find one thing to freely change now. And I guarantee you can find something. 


Now the madness. 
Sister Templin and Sister DeBry are switching places. Sister DeBry has been on the west end of Billings, and apparently that wasn't panning out how it was supposed to. She was called to be a sister training leader. And so she's coming back to Lake Hills and the office and Sister Templin is going to that area. That's all the information that I have right now. Sister Templin is so upset. We have gotten along really well and she loves the ward and the people. So yeah, this week is going to be crazy. 


Anyways, we have a lot to do today, so I have to go. 

Love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, October 6, 2014

wasn't conference just great??

hello hello hello!

My guess is that Emily is going to be called somewhere in Brazil. And then stateside my guess is California. Keep me posted! Texas could happen, too.

CONFERENCE!
Okay, so my summation is support & sustain your leaders, prepare yourself & your family physically and spiritually, and reach out to others & act Christian.
Oh, and agency was throughout that, too. I loved the talk on justice vs. mercy, relating back to how we must use our agency to choose to repent so we can be saved. And President Monson's talk tied in to that as well, that we must walk as the Savior walked. We need to act and not be acted upon. Be an agent! Do what you are supposed to. I loved Holland's comment to do all that you can, and you would be surprised how that can add up. Honestly, I feel like many people stop or don't even start on the journey they should because they see the big picture and just feel like they can't make a difference. Oh my goodness people, just step up and do what you can! We are so good at making excuses nowadays. To quote President Uchtdorf (admittedly out of context), STOP IT! But that's just my few rants that I can remember from conference.

On to my new companion!
So I found out that while Sister Templin came here from Tennessee, she is not from Tennessee. She is more from Colorado and California. She is very outgoing and talkative and enthusiastic. Which is great, we really compliment each other. And hah she's really good friends with bishop's sister (because she is married to Sister Templin's brother) and bishop's sister chewed him out in making sure we get fed. Thus I'm thinking our lack of dinners will get fixed really quickly :) haha

Other news, we had an amazing lesson with that new investigator and her 9-year-old son. She told us how she just kept thinking about her message and how much she knew it was true. She loved church and was trying to figure out how to see conference (hopefully she was able). We shared the Plan of Salvation. Her comment was "wow. That makes more sense to me than anything else I have ever heard". We were sure to let her know it made sense because it was true, and that the spirit was confirming that to her. What a glorious knowledge we have of what happens after this life!

Remember the one investigator that dropped us because her husband was upset at how much time she was spending at church & lessons? We visited her last night. She shared with us her biggest concerns and some other questions. She has been reading from the Gospel Principles book! Anyways, she commented that she needed to get on track and wanted to just finish this journey out. We have a tentative teaching appointment with her this Wednesday! I really hope she can stick it out! She really wants it. 

So this is more for dad than anyone else:
Facebook news! Well, I stink at daily posts. I have no idea what to do/say, and I find using Facebook more as a chore than a tool. Maybe it would be better if we could just do it instantly, but having to track down wi-fi and only getting to use it between 10AM-4PM is annoying. We typically don't get out to proselyte until 4PM because of the office. 

ANYWAYS, despite Facebook not working too well for me, some of the missionaries are super good at it and super creative. They have already seen much success after just a short time. The elders heading this pilot program wanted to create some graphs to show President Mecham the results we have already seen. Problem? They have NO idea how to use Excel. None whatsoever. And the other office sisters don't really know how to use graphs. So I ended up teaching them. At one point I even diagnosed what they were doing wrong and told them how to fix it over the phone. Anyways, one elder asked me in the middle of me explaining the graphs how I knew so much. All I replied was that I worked at NASA and continued with the explanation. Their reactions were hilarious. "Woah woah woah, wait a minute, back up, you worked at NASA??"

Anyways, in their meeting with President Mecham when they presented the data and new strategies for Facebook, they gave the credit for the graphs to me. I thought that was great. And President Mecham approved many, many of the new Facebook policies. So while I don't Facebook well as a missionary, I helped get it to be more useful across the mission because of my Excel skills. And I learned pretty much all of those from NASA. 

Welp, love you all mucho!
Feed the missionaries.

- Sister Griffin

PS. Because of all of the stress on FHE, I was thinking you could include a short spiritual thought in the Sunday evening Google Hangouts. Assuming you are still Google Hangout-ing. Everyone is relatively close together now except for me..!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet the Mormons!!


MEET THE MORMONS!
If you have not already requested it, you still have time to repent.


And if you have not yet heard of Meet the Mormons, 


It is a full length documentary film, originally intended for Legacy Theater at Temple Square for visitors. The test showings of the film had incredible results with nonmember groups. After viewing the movie, some of the people expressed that they would be much more likely to give the missionaries a chance to share. And 74% said they would recommend the film to their friends. 


It is going to be a great missionary tool, we are trying so very hard to bring it to Montana.


We were able to view it during district meeting this last week. Mom, the "Missionary Mom" is going to make you cry, just warning you. I loved hearing about Gail Halvorsen starting the candy drops over Berlin.


Visit the previews at least and request it. I hope it can come to Ohio, because if I home, I would be inviting everyone and their dog to go see it. Maybe get others to request it as well!


TRANSFERS!
Sister DeBry is leaving me, the bum. She's even ditching out on the office, too! But my new companion will be Sister Templin. I have heard great things about her. Crazy thing? Her brother's in-laws are the family we are staying with. Does it get more small-world than that? I think she is from Tennessee and I know she is coming from Bozeman, her first area. She's only been on her mission for a handful of months.


I am sad Sister DeBry is leaving. She has been great for this area. And we've gotten along super well. Apparently I am the only companion that has not driven her crazy in some way. She was saying "I keep waiting to find something that annoys me, but there just isn't anything!" So pretty much I'm awesome. Just kidding, but kinda for reals. Oh, I don't think I've mentioned this, I might room with Sister DeBry and her sister at Utah State fall 2015. They want to get a house with their friends and they will need more roommates. Hollah!


MISSIONARY WORK!
Hah. Bet you were worried I didn't do anything this week. Well, it's actually been hard because Sister DeBry has been super sick. So we've been doing lots of sleeping. 


But we do have two new people we are teaching! A mother and 9 year old son. Actually, the son has been the catalyst of it all. This mother is the coworker of one of our less-actives. Her son wanted to know more about praying, and asked his mom. His mom then asked the less-active in our ward. 


This 9yr old is crazy amazing. We asked him why he started praying and he said that it was because he felt he had done some bad things and wanted to be able to pray so he could be forgiven! 


Anyways, they were in sacrament meeting for our fast & testimony meeting. It scared them a little bit, but they want to try again. 

I actually thought it was a pretty good testimony meeting, what scared me was I saw President & Sister Mecham sitting in the congregation when I went up to share my testimony. Little freaky and intimidating. Moving on. 

So some other news. Remember our severe ADHD investigator? We lost him. Like literally lost him. He had to move out of where he was and simultaneously lost his phone. We finally heard from him yesterday on a borrowed phone. Apparently he carries our number around with him. So we still have not seen him for a week and we have no idea where he is going to be living. We are now working with his mentor to try and help him stay focused enough to get his life settled and in order. 


Things have been getting cooler around here, I am prepping myself for more weeks of twenty below... I know they are a'comin!


Have a good week! Mom & Dad, stop hurting yourselves, jeesh.


Love,
Sister Griffin