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. 


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!

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.


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. 

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. 

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.

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..!