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