Monday, June 30, 2014

another week, another dollar...

Sister Bateman has a few peculiar sayings, and that's one of them - another week, another dollar. I want to know where she's getting these dollars from haha Does that come from some old saying that she has twisted? Because "another day, another dollar" sounds more familiar. Ha anyways.

But that largely sums up this week. No one new, no amazing experiences, but a nice and steady progression with each of our families.

Honestly, the Tennessee family is doing great with overcoming their addictions. Yesterday when we visited them, we were told they had just smoked their last cigarette! We shared Jacob 3:1-2 and asked him if he had ever felt that he had "feasted upon [God's] love". He told us that in the past he has occasionally nibbled upon God's love and felt those reassurances. But now recently, he has felt so much love from God! Answered questions, better health (the several pots of coffee every day had been giving him stomach problems. Now with no coffee, he has no stomach pains), etc..

When have you felt that you have feasted upon [God's] love?

Sister Bateman and I have been really focusing on daily contact. Once someone has a baptismal date, we are encouraged to talk to them every day, whether through Facebook, text, calls, or drop-in's. Sometimes it's a little tricky, because you don't want to annoy them. But we've been getting better at it! Brownies help...

OH, dad, we have the bikes up and running. We biked to church yesterday. We are definitely out of shape.Even though the tires were ridiculously flat, they did pump up okay. I think they have the green goop in them? So we'll be riding. But the weather here is kind of crazy - there is a famous phrase in Montana: "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes". And it's kind of true. While the storms don't last very long, it rains here almost daily. You'll have a crazy storm then brilliant sunshine. The wind here is bad too. Basically I'm just giving excuses for not doing a ton of biking. In reality, it's just because we are out of shape, skirts on bikes is a pain, and there are many hills in our area. It's called Lake HILLS for a reason.

That's about it!!

Love, Sista G.

Monday, June 23, 2014

fammmilllllyyyyyy... #forever

Yooooooooooooooooooooooo :)

I am tired. Our car did not leave our driveway yesterday. :) We walked everywhere! It felt good, but now I am feeling somewhat lethargic. (And dad I know you are wondering - we didn't ride our bikes because we don't have them working yet. It's on our to-do list. But two of the tires are EXTREMELY flat, and so we're guessing they will need more maintenance than just adding air. And neither of us know how to do that. Plus it's easier to talk to people who are outside when you are walking and Sister Bateman hates bikes.)

This was a very busy, very full week. Just lots of teaching with some service. The week flew!
The most exciting news came from our family from Tennessee! He has been researching the Book of Mormon and pretty much anything else from the church that he can get his hands on for a few weeks now. And last Monday, we found out from his wife that he has found his answer! So here is the story (condensed, because they both are quite the talkers)

He goes to read his Book of Mormon. He finds the bookmark in a difference place. He asks his family if they moved his bookmark. Everyone said no. He reads where his bookmark is. The passage he read answered two of his questions that he has had since he was young. No other religion in the past 40 years had been able to answer his questions. 

I can't tell what his questions were because we didn't ask. BUT we answered another one of his questions in the subsequent lesson. He had been wondering how Christ knew how we felt and what we went through. He figured Christ's understanding came from the fact that he is all-knowing. Our lesson that day, however, was on the Atonement. And so we went over how Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane so he could feel and understand everything. We shared Alma 7:11-13. His comment was "the only place that I have been able to find answers is in the Book of Mormon."

The Tennessee family is on date to be baptized July 19th! Their biggest obstacle will be the Word of Wisdom. But we explained to them how the Atonement can apply to them in overcoming their addictions. Anyways, they are great. We love them.

Our other two families are progressing as well! We love them so, so much!

Speaking of family. I had NO IDEA that other Christian religions teach that after this life, the family pretty much disintegrates. You may see your family members, but you wouldn't think of them as family, you would just see them as your "brothers and sisters in Christ". GAHHHH!! I am SO GLAD that we know families are for ETERNITY!! That those bonds we have in this life CONTINUE to the next life! Families are such a blessing here, and are so sweet - why wouldn't we have those same blessings in heaven? I love you, family :) And hey, I'm excited to see my pets, too. Geesh. Pepper's waiting to see us. And Major. I'd say the cats, too, but there have been too many to remember their names...ha

Oh hey. EXCITING NEWS. Well, just for me. In Butte, there was a recent convert that we worked a TON with. She was great, very steadfast and immovable. She also cooked well. But that's besides the point. She was in town this weekend for her son's wedding. So she emailed me and scheduled lunch! So yesterday I got to see her again and have lunch with her at Applebee's!!!

Blessings for serving in Billings. Because people don't really travel to anywhere else in Montana.
Other news. In a few weeks, we will be moving. So it will be after transfers, most likely. The sister we are living with has housed missionaries for a very long time and so it's time for a change. Just a head's up. 
Hey. My singing has gotten SO MUCH better. That's what happens when you sing every day in the morning and multiple times throughout the day for lessons. I still need someone or something to listen to, but Greg won't be making fun of me anymore. 

....well, at least for my singing. I'm sure he will find out other things to make fun of me for. 

Tell Stacie that I say hello!!! :) And congrats to Blake & Adrianna!

Sista G

Monday, June 16, 2014

it's not about you!!!

Luke 9:24. Life isn't about you.
Sister Bateman, whenever someone (mainly a missionary) is complaining, even herself, she'll remind them that "it's not about you" in this awesome British accent. It's great. So whenever someone is complaining about not wanting to do something, even yourself, just remember "it's not about you". And say it in a British accent, that makes it even better.
We found another family to teach! ...Well, we didn't find them, they were referred to us by a recent convert downtown. Right know we are just teaching the mom and the daughter, the dad is apprehensive of the changes he would have to make and so doesn't want to meet with us. But the dad is supportive.
But the mom shared with us that her family needs more peace in their lives. She also wants greater purpose and a ward family. She has seen how it has blessed her dad and her friend that referred her. She has seen the blessings, and so she wants it for herself. 

We met with her and her daughter Saturday night and they were at church on Sunday. They believed all that we shared with them on the Restoration and they want more church materials - the Bible, manuals, pamphlets, the Doctrine & Covenants, etc.. They are on date to be baptized in early August. We are so excited to teach them!!
In other news, our zone provided some service at a race this weekend! It was the Father's day race, except it wasn't just for men like the Mother's day race was. We were the cross guards / course guides! It was kind of fun to stop traffic and ask them to drive around so as to not hit the runners. It did ran during the race... I felt bad for the runners... at least they missed the hail which came later in the day! We even got free t-shirts out of it.
Did I rant last week about how much I like Billings? Because I love Billings. It's an AWESOME place. Don't come here though if you can't do -20 degrees for several weeks in the winter.. But the people are great and it's overall a wholesome place. Hah but maybe that's just because I primarily hang around church members! But I don't think so. 
And the traffic is NO WHERE near as bad as Utah traffic. Gag. I despise Utah traffic.

Hmmmm other news other news..... the texting report is finally running well enough to be usable! There's a genius missionary who taught himself all of this programming and so he was asked by President to create a program to analyze missionaries' texting. But the program kept having ridiculous bugs. So I'd try to supply the best information I could to help him debug it and also told him what we needed, etc.. This texting report has been plaguing us since I got back here. And so it's a relief that it's primarily working.
Oh, I got a picture with Spencer Griffin yesterday. He's leaving soon for his mission to Arizona and so yesterday was essentially their farewell. He told me he met Grandpa & Grandma. I figure he's the closest relative that I'll run into while on my mission. 

That's all I can think of! We have all these promising people on date for baptism, now we just need to help them be able to make those changes in their lives so they can make their date!
Sister Griffin

Monday, June 9, 2014

"are these girls for real?"

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii :)

OUR NATIVE AMERICAN GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got some pictures beforehand with him that I shall send along later. He kept joking that the pictures we were taking were mugshots. Honestly, his demeanor in the pictures kind of does make it look like a mugshot haha Anyways, I shall send them along.

The baptism did not run smoothly behind the scene... the ward mission leader's wife forgot the programs and there was confusion for the musical number (we had some missionaries singing "Come Unto Christ". It's the Billings East standard at this point) and no one had been asked to conduct, etc.. But it did still amount to a nice service, I was just completely stressed until it was all over.

I want to share some of what our Native American shared with us, though. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but he lives in a Veteran's home right now. Also living there is a somewhat crazy (but very lovable) less-active/recent convert that we have been working with. We taught in the main living area and had noticed people listening in. And so we asked the LA/RC if he knew anyone also living there that would be interested. That's when he jumped up and immediately introduced us to the man that got baptized this weekend. Anyways, he (our Native American) shared with us that the first thing that went through his head when we were introduced was, "are these girls for real?". It blew his mind that there would be two twenty-year-old girls completely dedicating their time to their religion for 18 months AND were happy doing it! He couldn't understand how we were always smiling and always happy and simultaneously always talking about Jesus Christ.

He continued to share with us how much he has felt the gospel change him. Last week he got caught in a huge rainstorm out on the middle of the reservation. He had gone home to take care of a few things out there. Instead of getting them handled, he just got soaked to the skin. (He doesn't have a car). He said his past self would have been cussing up a storm and very angry. But instead, he just shrugged his shoulders and thought, "that's just how life goes sometimes". That's remarkable change!! The gospel really does help you be more happy, more patient, have a more fulfilling life! What good does getting angry ever do?

After his baptism, he told us that he felt lighter and happier.

But so much happened this week besides the baptism. 
Tuesday was our mission tour! So that means we had a general authority visiting our mission and giving us instruction. Our visitor was Elder Carlos Godoy. He spoke in general conference a few years back on testimony. Look him up :)

It was such an amazing experience! He likened our mission to Alma 26 and shared that if any mission was poised for baptizing thousands, it was our mission. We have outstanding statistics. But that's really besides the point. He talked about how we need to do more with asking for referrals, to have more faith, etc.. He also shared about how we are not so much called to our mission so much as we are called to our mission president. I think that's very true. I've grown so much here, and I attribute much of that to the leadership of President and Sister Mecham. 

That wasn't the only cool meeting for the week, however. This Saturday was a general training for the women in the neighboring stakes. We had the general relief society president, Linda K. Burton, the general primary 2nd counselor, and the general young women's president. We sat in on the meeting with Sister Burton. It was a great meeting, I just overall felt the importance of charity and ministering. And particularly having charity in ministering. Afterwards we got a picture and talked with Sister Burton. She also stressed with us how important it is to take our mission home with us - to not forget the lessons that we have learned here. Particularly with how to be a good member missionary!

Anyways, I'll get some pictures sent off. But there definitely was much that happened this week, I didn't even go over the Lovell sisters we had for a night.

Loves you all!
Happy (early) Father's Day, dad!!

Sister Griffin

Monday, June 2, 2014

Ohhh I'm half way there....

That is a reference to Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer".
Just in case some of you missed that.
Wednesday is my half-way mark. Or at least it is my 9 month mark.
Time flies when you're having fun!

Our Native American should be getting baptized this Saturday! His interview is tonight. We went over the 
baptismal interview questions yesterday, and he has such a great grasp of the gospel. He is also excited 
to have this fresh start and to have God more in his life. So hopefully I will have some pictures for you 
next week.

Did I tell you? Sister Bateman requested permanent reassignment to the Montana Billings Mission. 
Very exciting!! I cannot remember if I told you that or not. Sorry if I already told you.
Other news. Sacrament fast & testimony meeting was great yesterday.

Background first.
We have been teaching Tabatha for a long time, ever since Februrary. But recently her husband has 
been sitting in and wanting to learn if what we have to teach is true. Yesterday was her second time at 
church and his first time.

Back to testimony meeting. The husband asks me early in the meeting if only Mormons can go up and 
share their testimony. I said no, that he would be welcome. So he goes up to the pulpit and speaks for 
5 minutes, sharing that he has been disappointed in the many different Christian denominations that he 
has attended. He likened himself to Joseph Smith, saying that he too was sincerely searching for the 
truth, for the church set up by God. He shares that he hopes he can find the truth here in the LDS church 
and then closed by asking the congregation to pray for him as he seeks the truth.
Just so great! And we barely started teaching him.

Still on sacrament meeting. We had 7 investigators at church again. It has been amazing to see the 
miracles in this area! We are getting so many comments now from ward members about how we have 
so many new and exciting things going on with the work. And it is true! The work is going forward! And 
the members are getting more excited to help! Sister Bateman and I wonder on a regular basis what 
we have done that has merited such blessings.

Alma 26:3 "And this is the blessing which has been bestowed upon us, that we have been made 
instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work"

There are blessings here in the Lake Hills ward of Billings, Montana, but there have also been miracles 
in the Wadsworth ward! I hope everyone who has helped with this work feels the joy and blessings from 
laboring in the Lord's vineyard. Y'all should read Alma 26. Sorry for the y'all. Montanaian is rubbing off 
on me. Soon I'll be "warshing" my clothes in the local "crick". 

Next I shall tell you the drama with Mr. X. My goodness.
We've actually met with him 4 times and taught him each time.
And each time he's brought up anti stuff. Every single time.

The last time was so bad that we decided we were dropping him, we were just figuring out if we should 
say something or just stop meeting with him. But then came his letter (he sent it to the mission home)
It was FOUR PAGES long, front & back, in his tiny, messy, cursive handwriting. And it was four pages 
of him dropping us based on twists of geographical aspects of the Book of Mormon, polygamy, and racism.
Literally the NEXT day after receiving this letter, we receive a call from bishop saying he had just spoken 
to Mr. X and that Mr. X wanted to be baptized.


So we talk to Mr. X, we go over and have a "lesson" with our zone leaders & a member, and essentially 
he just can't work out how the members can be so kind, genuine, and Christ-like if the LDS church is so 
wrong. He still doesn't want to get baptized, because he doesn't believe any of it, but he is not closing 
the door yet.
es, we have brought up Matthew 7:20 where it states "by their fruits ye shall know them"
Anyways, he was at church again even though he said in his letter that he would not be coming back. 
His heart is still incredibly hardened and closed, but he is definitely having a hard time reconciling 
the goodness of members with his beliefs that the Book of Mormon is rubbish.

Sister Bateman and I decided that Heavenly Father has put Mr. X in our path just to keep things interesting 
for us. Heavenly Father thought we needed a little bit of drama.
Just kidding.

That's just the tip of the iceberg of this week, but I think Sister Bateman is bored and ready to go. 
Read Alma 26, will you?


Sista Elise Griffin