Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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!

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!

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.

Sister Griffin

Monday, September 22, 2014

temple & conference

We are getting fall colors here! ...are leaves even thinking about changing yet in Ohio? or Utah? or Pennsylvania? 

Well, we spent much time this week in meetings or in the office! We really only got our evenings to do missionary work. But that's okay because we went to the temple and had zone conference :)
The temple was really cool... we went over how the different laws apply to missionary work and what it means to be covenant-keeping. I remember realizing how critically important our covenants are, and that those promises to God should be what dictates our actions and decisions.
Zone conference was focused largely on chapters 8, 9, and 10 of Preach My Gospel. It was actually pretty hands-on with practicing and role-playing. It was good.
So let's see if I have any actual missionary work news for you..
Brother J was at church again this week! And the bishopric had gone to see him the last week as well. He really seems to be planning on becoming active again, which is amazing after 50 years! We were supposed to get the Gospel Library app on his tablet yesterday at church, but he forgot it at home. He's just one of many examples that you can always change! That's what the Atonement is for. It's never too late. And there's nothing too big. It's a change that actually happens and is way good and amazing. Unlike some of the political "change" that was promised... hmm. anyways.
Our ADHD investigator eventually made it to church! He was pretty late, but hey, he came! He even rode his bike to church. (That should make you happy, dad) We taught him after church as well.
Speaking of church, we had ward conference yesterday. And they did something that I had never seen before- they had sacrament meeting go for 1.5 hours and then the second half was divided into just Primary and everyone 12 and older. The 12+ meeting was all on the dangers of pornography and how we can protect our families. The stake president did an amazing job. Honestly, I had never before realized how much pornography is everywhere. It's disgusting and so spiritually and self-destructive. They talked about the many ways to protect your home from it. You have to be very proactive against it.
Other news. We had a birthday dinner with the Tennessee family. He made sweet&sour chicken, sushi, and some kind of soup that was really good! Amazing. And then we had cake & ice cream. We had a great lesson with them about the temple and eternal marriage. We showed them some pictures of inside the Billings temple. Sister Tennessee was so excited, she really wants to go to the temple so she can be with her family forever. Anyways, we are still working hard with them. They are the sweetest family. I already told them how I was going to bring my family by to meet them in about a year :)
We found some new people to potentially teach. We hope that works out! We have so many people that we are just having a difficult time getting in there and getting things started! But hey, the Lord has his own timing on some things.
Oh, about the office. They are going to keep it to 2 companionships in the office, so we won't be alone! The only problem is that the other companionship does not know how to do anything...yet! We will have to take time to train them. It makes me nervous because I am the only one who knows how to do everything..

Have a great week!

Sista Griffin

Monday, September 15, 2014

Facebook piloting

So you have already seen the news for Facebook!

There are some elders in our mission who were frustrated with all of the rules we have for Facebook. Some of the rules were restricting the ability for missionaries to be effective. They also felt that as a mission we could be more effective using Facebook in general. They were able to come up with 5 new methods and ideas to make Facebook more effective and they got President Mecham to approve it for a 6 week testing period. So there are 5 focus groups implementing each of these different ideas. It is not mission wide...yet. But I think very soon we will see that it is more effective.

The group that we are in is the daily posts. You all know someone who posts every day about something that is going on with them. Well, that is what we are doing as a companionship. That means we get more Facebook time and also permission to be tagged in photos. (Before we were only allowed one picture of us on Facebook, and that was our profile picture). So, you will be seeing much more activity on my mission Facebook.

It is funny that you mentioned the weather. I think it was Wednesday that we had SNOW FALL! All of it melted instantly, but there were pellets falling. It was so cold! But never in the 20s I don't think, unless that was during the night. I have never before experienced snow in the month of September. It is warmer now, but there is now that autumn bite in the air.

This week is going to be so busy! We have our zone temple trip on Wednesday and our zone conference on Thursday. The temple trip will be great, we are going to be instructed by President Mecham and the temple president inside the temple.

Not many new things happened this week, just continually working on the same people. We had exchanges this week, but they were cut short due to an exchange to help out some sisters in the other zone. Actually, it is with the Rimrock sisters, which means their work in the office is getting disrupted. Which means that we have to do more. And we already have to do more because the third companionship got released. Actually, that third companionship got doubled out because a sister had to go home & so there were some mid-transfer adjustments. So things are crazy.

That's really about it. 
Except, I do have a new favorite hymn!
"Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" #221
I have literally been singing it every. single. day. 
For this whole week. 
I never heard this hymn that much before.
It may finally be out of my head, but only time will tell with that one.

But I particularly love the last line - because that's truly what it is all about - when we understand and remember Christ's perfect love for us, we desire to help Him gather in the other lost sheep. We desire to be his under-shepherds and go out to the rescue! :)

Hope you have a great and tremendous week!

Sister Griffin

Monday, September 8, 2014

at least I got what I asked for!

                                                                       Sister Griffin & Sister DeBry

                                                                   Sushi Celebration at our 1-year Mark 
You know, Sister DeBry made a comment yesterday that really made me feel better. She mentioned how much our area is truly emotionally and mentally exhausting. All of our investigators need to be babysat constantly and getting the ward to help is like pulling teeth. (Not all of them, just most of them. There are a few gems.) I was just glad that I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Story time. 

So Brother J. He is in his 80s and probably has not been to church in 50 years, and he definitely has not ever been to church in Billings, although he has lived here for 25+ years. He married a non-member who was pretty anti, so he just stopped going, although he maintained his knowledge that he knew the church was true. 

Missionaries have been working with him for years, especially since his wife died 5 years ago. When asked if he will go to church, he will straight-up tell you "no" because he is scared of the change, does not feel worthy, and other such concerns that come from being away so long. 

I have been visiting him since the beginning of the summer, and he always has refused to come to church. He loves reading the Book of Mormon with us, though, and talking about the temple. He has always wanted to go to the temple, and he never has gone. 

We visit him every Thursday night. This last Thursday lesson went really well, we had a great member come with us and the spirit was really strong. He gave us the answer that he "maybe, yes" would come to church. He has been giving us the "maybe" answer for the last month or so, and so I wasn't that convinced he would come. 

We showed up Saturday night to follow up. We sang him the "Saturday" Primary song, which he had a good laugh at, and we told him that we expected him at church the next day at 9 AM. As we were driving away, I commented to Sister DeBry that "I don't care if we don't have a single investigator at church, so long as Brother J comes. I don't even care if H. (our solid investigator who is there every week) gets sick and can't make it". 

Well guess what? H's dad was sick, and so she didn't make it. And no other investigators made it. But guess who we saw coming through the door??

BROTHER J!!!!!!!

Holy cow, I was so excited!! I almost gave him a huge hug, but then I caught myself just in time and only shook his hand. I know coming back to church is so hard, especially when you are gone for so long. But he came! That's the first step in his being able to work towards the temple :) And there were members there who knew him and greeted him. :) :) :)

So there you go. I got exactly what I asked for. 
Still a bummer no investigators came, but as I predicted, I did not even care.

But that was the most exciting news.. The rest of the things this week were a little trying. For instance, our most progressing investigator dropped us (again... hah this is the third time. See why it's exhausting here?) because her husband is angry at how much time she is spending in lessons and at church. We're backing off, but not giving up. And she has some good neighbors from church that are going to reach out and fellowship while we cannot.

Our Tennessee family is still struggling, and we learned of some additional addictions that need to be resolved. We are grateful that they trusted us, but healing and recovery will take time. So there you go!

Right now I am working on improving my prayers. Because you shouldn't really pray for something that is out of God's will, such as things that would take away people's agency. So I am trying to "align my will" more with God's. It talks about that in the Bible Dictionary under Prayer. This week I prayed to be able to fulfill my purpose in helping these investigators & less-actives partake of their next ordinances in the gospel. I definitely saw that prayer answered with the new development in the Tennessee family & Brother J.. So investigate your prayers, see if there is a way to change the things you are praying for so they are more in line with God's will.

And of course I learned that God listens even when you aren't praying, even when you are just expressing thoughts & wishes to your companion. I feel so blessed that Brother J came to church. Change is always possible :) We'll catch all of those MIA investigators next week. 

Sister Griffin

Monday, September 1, 2014

meetings and finding...

I miss having just regular missionary responsibilities! You have a lot less stress. And more time to do missionary work..

This week was our mission leadership council & seminar. Typically it is just the zone leaders, sister training leaders, and assistants. But because it was in Billings they had us come scribe and talk about online stuff (Facebook is getting changed up a bit) On Tuesday, it started at 7:30AM and went super late, but we left at 7:45 because we had an appointment with a new investigator that we didn't want to miss. (More on that later). On Wednesday, it went from 7:30AM to about 4PM. And we were taking notes the whole time.

Honestly, it was really good - I learned a lot even though it technically wasn't for me. But I noticed how much gets lost - the ZL aren't very good at communicating the ideas shared at MLC. I can say that because we had a zone training the next day and the ZL & STL didn't cover half of the things mentioned the previous days.

But it was fun to see Sister Breaux and Sister O'Mealy and old zone leaders and such. Quite a few of us from the old Butte zone were there, so we got some pictures. I didn't get any on my camera, though, I'll have to harass Sister Breaux for them. 

Okay so here is the story on the new investigator. He has severe ADHD and also has bipolar maniac disorder. (Something like that - borderline schizophrenic). During our first lesson, he could not sit still or listen, he was just bouncing the whole time. Our second lesson, he was good for about 30 minutes and then he started going off again. He's actually pretty bright, but he's just crazy. We taught him using as much visual things as possible - cups to represent Christ's church that fell down during the apostasy, and two different Mormon Messages talking about Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson.

He technically is homeless... he is living with some old friends. His big problem is his mental disorder - he needs medication. And with his illness he cannot hold a job at all. One of our new ward missionaries was rather helpful - his wife just got a masters in counseling and has quite a bit of knowledge in diagnosing mental illness. It's great because they are less-active, so this is helping them become involved in the ward and the missionary effort.

This investigator came to church this Sunday, though, and he loved it! I was surprised that he was able to sit still and listen. Sacrament was probably the roughest because he couldn't comment. But he actually made some pretty good comments in the other classes. 

Other news is that the senior missionary couple leaves tomorrow & we don't have a replacement. Their going away party is actually today.

OH! We had two great examples of "talking with everyone". We were leaving the apartment of the mother & daughter that we're teaching and we walked past a neighbor that was outside smoking. We said "hi" as we walked by, but then we both had the distinct impression to turn around and keep talking with her. Ends up she used to be a convert - was married in the temple - but then had their names removed. She claimed she didn't remember why they left the church... but they are related to Levi Savage, so we offered to bring by 17 Miracles. We are excited to continue to talk with her! She was very curious to know how teaching her neighbors was going.

The other example. We were going to visit a less-active family that has a kid that wants to be baptized. The neighbor kid was outside working on his car. I told Sister DeBry that we should talk with him before we tried the family. Ends up he is dating a member that is off at college right now in Wyoming (he is a senior in HS). He is atheist, but we were able to answer questions and teach about the Book of Mormon and God. We left him with a pamphlet and a Book of Mormon and to ask his girlfriend what her religion means to her. 

So that's my week! Year mark on Thursday - the recently reactivated couple immediately signed up to feed us that day as soon as they heard it was my year mark. I love them, they are so great. 

Sister Griffin