Monday, July 28, 2014

dashin'...


Funny story from yesterday.
Dad will definitely appreciate our zeal.

On Friday, we FINALLY get our new car! We had been driving a temporary car that was driving us crazy. Chevy Malibu's that elders have driven for years aren't very appealing. 

On Saturday, we FINALLY get my bike fixed. (Tire wouldn't hold air and the brakes were being weird. The shifters still aren't working right, but c'est la vie. The hills aren't so bad here, I can climb them with the front gear stuck in 2nd)

So Sunday, what do we decide to do?
Ride our bikes all day!

So we ride them to church (1.7 mi, not bad)
And ride them back. 

Then we ride to a member's home across main (maybe about 4+ mi?) so he can do a quick tune up on Sister Bateman's bike. 


In his enthusiasm to pump up her rear tire, he pops the tube.

So then we were on foot for the rest of the night. Luckily our dinner and following appointment weren't far, so we walked to those.

Then we walked to a member's, taught a lesson, and then they gave us a ride home.
Because while I don't mind walking, 4 miles would take quite some time, and it was already 8:30PM.

But the Jeep never left our driveway that day!

Which was good, because we put way too many miles on the Jeep the day before.


Because that Saturday, we volunteered for the Dirty Dash. And because we volunteered, we also got to run in it after all the participants went through.


The Dirty Dash is a mud/obstacle race. It was supposed to be a 5K, but I highly, highly doubt it was that long. The finish "line" is a giant mud pit.

Our job as volunteers was mainly to watch for safety at the different obstacles.
Anyways, as I said, we got to run in it for free.
We got pretty muddy.

 
I didn't get any pictures on my camera, but Sister Bateman got some on her's. 

There were a ton of people there, we definitely got seen by many and had many opportunities to talk to people.

Other news!

Zone conference. 


I neglected to mention that Sister Mecham asked me to be the pianist for zone conference this last week. My hymn-playing has definitely improved, but Sister Mecham is super musical. And so she didn't want the music just to be from the hymnbook. She found arrangements for choir + congregation, etc.. So I had been practicing the piano every single spare moment I had. (There is a piano at the new place we live at...can't remember if I mentioned that or not). Anyways, it didn't go perfect, but it went well enough. Glad I can stop practicing like a mad missionary.

But zone conference was really focused on families. It was almost like they wanted us to, in our minds, find out how our mission fit in with our eternal purpose and plan. The conference also focused on the fact that all 5 missionary lessons are to be taught before baptism. I'm not sure if you had heard that news or not. The Brethren came out with that statement about a month-ish ago. It used to be that we just taught lessons 1-4 before baptism, then lesson 5 afterwards. 

We are going to try to focus with our investigators the difference between testimony and conversion. Because you can know something is true, but fail to be converted to that knowledge. And so we feel that's where the Tennessee family is at. They really need to be converted, willing to do what it takes to be a true disciple of Christ, before they get baptized. But those principles apply to all of us. Each of us can always deepen our own conversion to the Savior.

Well I hope each of you had a great Pioneer Day! Because we all know how well celebrated that is out east.

Love,
Sista Griffinnnnn

Monday, July 21, 2014

life's a roller coaster!

Our Tennessee family didn't get baptized :(

Long story short:
The night before their interview, all of these doubts flooded in. They weren't sure that Joseph Smith was a prophet, or about some doctrinal aspects....

But they summarize it as this: 
They have joined so many churches just to later  leave & decide that they weren't quite right. They want their next church that they join to be their last church that they join. So they just want to make absolutely sure.

But, Bro. Tennessee just started a night job and today started his day classes. So meeting with him  will be especially difficult. We've already caught Sis. Tennessee several times.


Actually the last time we saw Sis. Tennessee, she really opened up to us. We already had a close relationship with all of them, but they would always hold back some of the most deep and personal concerns and worries. She shared her life story with us, and we finally were able to understand where she was coming from and how to help.


Both Bro & Sis Tennessee want to keep learning, keep coming to church, and keep being taught. They love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They just want to be sure.

Sister Bateman & I understand they want to be sure... our maybe not-so-righteous frustration is that we feel they have already received SO many witnesses of the truth, and that we just want them to have all of those blessings of baptism NOW.

So maybe there was a reason why I was prompted to study patience a couple few weeks ago.... :)

Did I tell you about "couple few" before? It's super common here in Montana. Instead of saying " a couple days ago" or a "few days ago", they decided to introduce the redundancy "a couple few".


There are quite a few Montana colloquialisms and pronunciations that I find hilarious, so I just use them for entertainment. That's one of them. The other is "bAg" instead of "bag". 

BUT!!
here's actually what took up a HUGE chunk of our week:

We moved!
New address: 1223 Benjamin Blvd.

BUT DON'T MAIL ANYTHING THERE YET.
Because we don't have a key to our mailbox or know if we get to use our mailbox.
Just send stuff to the mission home. 1848 Rimrock.
And don't send anything to the old Riveroaks place.


So the new place is actually not in our ward boundaries... here's the story.

There's a couple in the ward who run their own small business. They had been renting office space. They ultimately decide that's a waste of money. They decide to turn that money into an investment. So they bought a new, small home and turned that into their office. 
When they heard the sisters needed a new place to live, they emptied out one of the rooms & moved that stuff into the garage so we could move in.

We are still in the process of moving in. Our car looks like we are kind of homeless because we keep picking up more things from the old place to move to the new place.

So anyways, we are in a BRAND NEW home. Sister Bateman was the first person to ever shower in that home's shower. The couple only got the home a few months ago.. like March/April or something like that.

So it's great! We love it.
And they have a piano in there!
We're still waiting on a dresser, though, for our clothes... apart from that, the ward has been amazing in getting house things for us. (especially kitchen stuff) Which is awesome. Because 1. we didn't have to wait for the mission home to supply anything 2. it got our members more missionary-minded.

Anyways. We are grateful. And there's only someone there during the day, 9-5.  

So between moving & the work at the mission office, we have been rather pulled away from our missionary work. Hopefully things can settle this week. We really just want to meet with Bro. Tennessee.

That's the majority of my news!



Love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, July 14, 2014

hi :) :) :)

This week was much better.
No car accidents.
Only a few cancellations.
Found new people.

And....
We had 10 nonmembers at church!!!
That's a record for us.
Actually 4 of them were more there due to member efforts instead of ours, so that makes it even better!

The Tennessee family is doing well. We brought by the Stop Smoking Program and supplies last week so they could be completely smoke free this week before their baptism. They had already cut back significantly. We actually drove to their house yesterday to make sure they were awake and getting ready for church. Don't worry, we told them we were coming, and they were totally fine with us dragging them out of bed :) So ALL of them were at church yesterday. And Bro. Tennessee met with the bishop.

Their baptismal date is next Sunday. Their interview is Wednesday. We are not anticipating any problems and we are also going to be dropping in every. single. day. And they requested a blessing that we'll be organizing for them tonight.

My favorite is when Bro. or Sis. Tennessee offer the prayer at lessons. Always extremely heartfelt, thanking God for the path that they are on, and that they know it is the right path, for added strength, etc..

So that's the Tennessee news.

Other news.
I'll talk about the 4 that were at church that we hadn't worked with much. They're actually a family..sorta.. woman + her kids + boyfriend. But the woman's grandparents were very active and raised her in the church. Her parents, however, got excommunicated. One of the kids has been attending scouts and is at scout camp this week. Anyways, she just moved in and it's been her neighbor that's a member that has been the lead in all of these efforts. They stayed for second hour and the boyfriend asked some pretty good questions during Gospel Principles. We're going to stop by tonight to answer questions and ask them to take the mission lessons. We first met them two weeks ago and briefly talked to them and invited them to church.

EXCITING CONTACT.
On Saturday, Sister Bateman felt like she wanted to go somewhere specific, to see someone that we could really bless. So I suggested we say a prayer. After the prayer, we felt prompted to go try a referral again. We had tried this referral before, but the timing was always bad or there was no answer.
This time, the referral came to the door and talked with us for 40 minutes! She said that she had been observing Mormons for years and noted how peaceful they were. She loves BYUTV and made the comment that she wished her entire neighborhood was Mormon. She said she's really thinking it's time for her to find that peace for herself and so she wants to learn and come to church. We talked to her about church, the Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:4-5, and several other topics.

She is extremely busy with work, so we don't know when we will actually be able to start teaching her. But we were just floored with how prepared this woman is and also that we were able to finally catch her when she had a few minutes to spare.

Overall, this week was really great, such a blessing after last week. 
And actually, the Tennessee family walked in as we were singing the opening hymn, "Be Still, My Soul", which is the hymn I was studying all this week in conjunction with patience. And I was just hit with gratitude & the spirit by how much this was a "joyful end" to our week because we had "(Left) to (our) God to order and provide" through the hard parts of the previous week. 

ANYWAYS. I'm chalking "Be Still, My Soul" as one of my new favorite hymns. 'Tis a good one, and I definitely saw this week how the Lord does provide.

That's the major news!

Love,
Sister Griffin

Monday, July 7, 2014

with patience bear...


So this week was hard!


Actually, last Monday was pretty good....and then on Tuesday, our car got totaled!!
Don't fear, no injuries, just a little sore Tuesday & Wednesday.

It was quite the accident. We were completely NOT at fault, by the way.

We were on Main St. in the Heights, headed south to mission office for the usual work. It was raining decently hard, but nothing major. It was 1 PM in the afternoon and we were completely stopped at a red light in backed up traffic. (The light was Main & Lake Elmo, in case you wanted to look it up). We were stopped for quite a bit of time - probably a minute. 
                                                                                                
                                                                                                   YIKES!!!


But a big truck behind us somehow did not realize the traffic was stopped - and so they rear-ended us going at least 40 mph. That caused us to hit the Chevy Beretta in front of us which then hit the truck in front of them. Four car crash, and we were the first ones hit.

Our trunk moved into the back seat, and the license plate was up where the back window should have been. If someone had been in our back seat, we are pretty sure they would not have fared well at all. 

But we were fine, just rather shakey. Our zone leaders came and helped us figure out the mission towing, etc.. Then they gave us a ride to the mission home. We tried to do office work, but we weren't very able to focus. Our sister training leaders then picked us up and took us home. Thank goodness our bikes were working because we then biked to our dinner and then to the RS activity for our ward.

So that was just the beginning of our hard week!

From there on, every appointment we made this week canceled. Every appointment. It's hard enough when all of the appointments for one day cancel, let alone a week. Oh, and no one came to church.

Other good news? Our recent baptism is moving back to the reservation where he will have no car and will be 45 miles from the nearest church. He had been staying at a veteran's home in town to try to get his education going and put his life in order so he could take custody of his kids. (He's divorced and his ex is a meth addict and the law enforcers on the reservation are corrupt) But the living situation was becoming too difficult at the Veteran's home and so he decided to move back to Lodgegrass before he snapped. It almost feels like he is giving up on improving his life, both with the gospel and with education. But he promised us that he will come back to Billings in the fall for school. So hopefully that will happen and every things will be okay. I actually cried when we got home after saying goodbye to him, which was both a surprise to myself and Sister Bateman since I never really cry. It was a combination of being grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him and bring him the gospel and sad that he was leaving and taking a setback in his life.


                                                     Sis. Griffin & Sis. Bateman at the Billings, Montana Temple

But honestly, that summarizes the hard things this week. 


The Fourth of July was okay! We had a barbeque with our recently reactivated family and then we had permission to see the fireworks in Billings. Okay so here's the thing - the ONLY fireworks in Billings are put on by a church - Harvest church - Peter would refer to it as the great & spacious building. They were actually pretty good, especially for being church organized. BUT SERIOUSLY BILLINGS??? Billings is the biggest city in the whole state, and they don't do fireworks. I suppose it is because Laurel, which is nearby Billings, does a crazy amazing fireworks show and so half of Billings goes to Laurel. But missionaries in the Heights can't go to Laurel. So we went to Harvest's. Which, as I said, were pretty good.

In other news, this is transfer week and both Sister Bateman and I are staying! In addition, President Mecham asked us to head the office sisters. That doesn't mean too much - mainly we just make sure all of the office sisters are getting their tasks done and we run the Saturday morning meeting that we have with the assistants (and sometimes President if he is around). 

About housing, they are going to try to set up a 6 month rotation in our ward. So we will only stay in any given member's home for 6 months and then we will go live in another member's, etc.. It's actually a pretty good idea if people will sign up to do it! There are enough elderly people in our ward that it should work... otherwise we are getting an apartment. Because the housing senior missionary, President Mecham, and the high counselor over missionary work in the stake are all supportive of getting us moved by the end of the month.

So with all of the trials of this week, I've decided to study patience. I have decided that patience is a really cool thing, that it eliminates much of the angst in life. Because if you truly have patience, it's not just that you can wait, but it's that you can wait and endure without feeling upset, angry, frustrated, etc.. It means trusting the Lord's timing but also giving people the benefit of the doubt. Patience and faith are related. Anyways, it's be good to study. "Be still, and know that I am God" Psalms 46:10.


 That's about this week. I've been trying to email you pictures from my iPad of the crash, but it's not working for some reason. But I do have one on my camera that I'll send.

Love,
Elise

PS Everyone in our ward kept telling us not to tell you about the crash because you'd worry too much. Were they right? Because you shouldn't worry, we're good :)