Monday, April 27, 2015

6 months!

It´s come! 6 months in the mission! Crazy, huh? It´s amazing how time flies! But we´re not going to focus on that.

This week, we sticky noted E***´s car. E*** is the brother of J******. He is one of the investigators of the Elders. We got together with the Elders and wrote on tons of sticky notes different scriptures and sayings, drew pictures. Anyway, J****** and her family thought it was hilarious, E***, not so much. He thought J****** did it. In the end he laughed about it though. We forgot to get a picture though! Which just means we´ll have to do it again!

I also ate kidney this week... I didnt know it was kidney until after the fact though, of course. It was breaded and fried and tasted fairly good, but pretty much anything is good breaded and fried. But it was really chewy though. So I can now officially add that to my list of weird food.

We had a guy follow us this week for about 10 minutes and finally he caught up to us and was trying to speak to us in English. He told us he saw us and liked what he saw and wanted a relationship with us. Me and Hermana Sykes layed down the law and may have chewed him out a bit. What would ever make a person think that that would actually work? We thought about pulling out our chastity pamphlet and at least getting a street lesson in there too.

I got a blessing from the Elders this week to help me stay focused and also because I wasnt really sleeping well. They gave me a blessing and after, they taught us a little lesson. It was a very district leader thing to do. Well, Elder Galeano (the district leader), shared a personal experience and a scripture. After, his companion, Elder Kempf shared Luke 22:42 and gave me the picture that was in his scriptures of "The Agony in the Garden," by Frans Schwartz. It was easily the nicest thing ever. There of course was a message with it, that was super uplifting, but Im not going to share that. I later had him sign his name on the back, so Id remember where and who it came from, and he wrote "For an amazing missionary and even better friend". What a sweet boy. He´s so encouraging always and such an awesome missionary!

Someone at church complemented me this week too. It was funny to me. They told me about how they have only ever seen the ocean once. They said they saw it and were  amazed at how blue it was. That the ocean was really blue, not greyish blue, but just blue. They then told me that my eyes were that color blue. The color of the ocean. They then told me they were sorry if it made me uncomfortable that they told me that, which made me laugh more.

So, yesterday, we were home sick because Saturday night when we got off the bus, Hermana Sykes just started projectile vomiting! So, we just hung out yesterday, caught up with some paperwork, watched some movies, and read the scriptures. I read from Mormon 1- Ether 6. Im so close to finishing the Book of Mormon for the first time in Spanish! So exciting! It actually makes me sad that I have to stop reading and do other things each day. The Book of Mormon is amazing!

S**** comes to all of the church meetings, all of the activities, tells us to call him literally any time to meet with him. He´s the best! Well, we taught him twice this week. First, we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and at the end, we committed him to be baptized the 15th of May, AND HE ACCEPTED!!!!! So excited! It´s not far away, but this boy is so prepared! We then taught him the Plan of Salvation. Literally the funniest lesson ever. He is not afraid to ask any question, and he asked us, "Well, if we have to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ to live in the Celestial Kingdom and there are 5 steps in the gospel of Jesus Christ, why arent there 5 kingdoms of glory". We laughed so hard. He is just so funny! We clarified it all and he understood in the end, but it was an entertaining lesson. He is reading the Book of Mormon on his own and he loves it and is really understanding it! Things that not even me and Hermana Sykes have put together before. He´s amazing and told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet! He makes me so happy! I feel like a million bucks when we teach him because he really just wants to know everything and then how he can apply it. What a great boy!

We met with the girl from the bus station, S***, twice actually. We have been teaching her English and after sharing the gospel with her. First we taught the Restoration with her and she really liked it. She was excited to read the Book of Mormon. She has gone to lots of different churches and read lots of different bibles, and just wants to know the truth. Her boyfriend is not religious but enjoys studying religion as well. The next time we met with her, we asked if she had had a chance to read the Book of Mormon. She said no, because her boyfriend was so intrigued by it, that he took it and hasnt even given her a chance to read it. He read about the 2000 strippling warriors and loved it! So, we gave her her own copy and she is excited to read now too. She had lots of questions about random church doctrine, so we answered a few but then realized, we´d be there for hours with her answering questions, so we told her the best way to find out answers is to read, pray and attend church. She is excited to do it. She has a bit of anxiety around people she doesnt know, but she wants to come to church and see what it´s like!

We taught J*** this week too. We taught her about Tithing and Fasting and she loved it! She told us a story about her mom. She said she never liked giving money to churches, but one time, someone gave her 130 euros that she had lent to them years before, and she thought that money was lost. So, when she was given this money, she thought she´d give it to the church they were attending. She said everyone was crazy for giving so much, but she said she had been given so much and that she didnt need this money, but others did. That week, she made 2000 euros more in work that before. She said that was a huge testimony builder to her about the blessings that come from tithing. She asked if she could start paying her tithing and fast offerings before baptism. She´s amazing. The sad thing is shes going to Barcelona for 2 weeks of vacation, so we wont be able to meet with her for quite a while, but she wants to go to church while she´s there, so we helped her find a chapel to attend.

We we sitting on a bench this week, making phone calls and a mom and daughter walked up to us. It´s amazing how many times this keeps happening. Well, they are both members and they have been looking for the church for almost a year since they moved from Peru. So we met with them and they are excited to come back to church. Also, the father is not a member and they want us to try teaching him!

Things are great here in Barrio 3. We´re chugging along, through the sickness and occassional trials, and clearly are being blessed for it!

I love you all and hope you are doing well. Have good weeks!

Hermana Griffin

Also, Im getting tan and it´s not even summer yet! And I have weird sandal, watch and medical id bracelet tan lines!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Happy Tax Day

Hola Familia!

Happy Transfer Day!!!! Im staying with Hermana Sykes. Im just happy to not have to move again, because moving stinks.

So, we went to the temple this week. I loved it. I love the temple!!!
And surprise, we get to go this week again!!!! On April 15th actually. Happy Tax Day! I´m so excited to go again and not have to wait another 5 weeks again. While we were in Pavones at the temple, we bought scriptures, and then met with her to give them to her. We signed them and wrote her little notes. I love that girl so much. I have seen a complete 360 turn around from her and she is such an amazing example of what the Lord is capable of doing. We gave her the scriptures and she freaked out. She cried and gave us huge hugs and she is so excited to use them which brings me such joy! Mostly because I know how powerful and special the scriptures are!

We met with J and for some reason we planned to teach her the word of wisdom since we had already taught her the first 3 missionary lessons. We didnt think that she really needed it but the thought kept coming back to us to teach it, so we did. It was such an awesome lesson, you wanna know why? Because she totally needed it. She told us she has no problems with the Word of Wisdom but her husband does and shes been really worried about him lately and this was exactly what she needed to hear and share with him. It was amazing. I know Ive said this several times the last few weeks, but it´s so true, the Lord really does know us and what we need and when we need it! We invited J last week to watch conference at home because she couldnt go all the way to Pavones with us to watch it. Well, she said she started to watch it and her husband told her he didnt want to hear it. So instead, she pulled up the readable version and said, well, Im going to read it and you can listen. So she started reading several talks to him. And they both loved them! She told us that before that, they were really having some problems with their relationship and then she read some talks which all talked about marriage and family. She said it was just what they needed and they both enjoyed it. The Lord knows us and what we need! After that, J agreed to come see a baptism at the church and even come to church Sunday. We´ve seen so much progress in her in the past few days. She is amazing. This is what she needed to hear and know to understand that the Lord is aware of her.

Speaking of conference. Alright, several weeks back, we met a woman on a bench crying. I dont know if I told you about her. Well, her name is I and we sat and talked to her. She told us that she had just left on vacation that her husband kept insisting that she not go on. When she returned back home, she found that her husband had died in his sleep. She felt responsible and to blame because she wasn’t there to do anything or help him. We explained a bit of the Atonement and The Plan of Salvation and it seemed to ease her mind a bit. She told us we were exactly the help she had needed. She gave us her number and told us to call her sometime and also gave us her address. Well she lives out of our area, so we passed her information,  and she shares a chapel with us! So we got the best elders we could think of to visit her, and now she´s meeting with the missionaries! She came to conference and loved it! She had met with the missionaries before when she was a teenager and never realized it, and when the elders explained The Book of Mormon, she pulled out her copy. She has been so prepared and is really progressing. I cannot wait for the day I can see her be baptized!

Do you remember the amazing member M who had done 7 dias de Salvación? Well, she called us this week and told us she had a reference for us. She had literally just met a woman on the street. This woman, A, had looked upset, so M asked her what was wrong. A told her she needed a job and was having no luck finding one, so M told her about a job she´d heard of. A told M she was different and very kind, and asked if she participated in a particular religion, so M started sharing a little about the church and invited her to come sometime. A said that would be great because she´s been looking for a church and wants to have a better relationship with her Heavenly Father, so she asked for the address and information for the church. M said she would do her one better and if she gave her her address and phone number, she could send "two angels" to her. So A did and said we could stop over that day! And just after she got the information, M called us. A is really nice and really has a ton of potential! She is interested in learning and trying to make changes. We have been so unbelievably blessed, especially from the hard work of members, like M.

We have a member who we all call Abuelita. Well, Abuelita has problems with her kidneys and she swells up with liquid in her abdomen. She´s constantly going to the hospital to have the liquid drained. Shes waiting for a new kidney, and has been for years, and it still doesnt seem likely that she´ll receive a transplant. Well, she is in the hospital right now, longer than normal, so we tried to pass by and visit her. I was appalled. I have literally never felt more blessed to live in the states. The hospital is literally dirty, everywhere! The quality of care is low. The nurses are impatient with literally everyone, even other nurses and doctors. And you can only have 2 people visit a patient during visiting hours and cannot switch the people. So one person was already visiting her, and we can’t split up, so we thought we´d wait for that person to leave, and turns out, that’s not allowed. I felt so bad, for everything... Pray for our Abuelita,please!

Sorry to end this email on a sad note... bad planning on my part, but that was my week!
I love you all. I feel so blessed to be seeing all these amazing miracles here. Remember the power of prayer! It really does work! The Lord knows each of us personally and will bless us if we pray with faith.
I love you! Have a good week!

Hermana Griffin

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Such a good week!

Happy Birthday MOM
me and Hermana Ross at devotional

J, Hermana Sykes in front of temple

Less active members ARE THE BEST!! The Lord is Answering our prayers!

Hola Family!

Such a good week! Slow, but so good!

Ok, where can I start? Let´s start with our less active members that we´re working with because they are the stinking best!
So we got a call this week from this really nice guy and his number was not saved in our phone. His name is M. He asked if we could meet later that day and luckily we had time. So we set something up and met. He's the best! He told us he is a less-active member because he is an interior decorater and works Sundays. He is a convert and is really strong in the gospel still. He goes out with the Elders occasionally and is constantly reading and praying. He had a calling in the Stake but had to be released because he was working all the time and that was a huge bummer for him. Well anyway, he´s pretty much the most amazing person ever and he teaches me so much more than we teach him. He has such an amazing testimony, he just lacks the opportunity to come to church. He told me the missionary who taught him was Hermana Griffin (a sister who went home 2 transfers before I got into the mission). He said when I answered the phone that day and said I was Hermana Griffin, it was a sign he needed to try and change things in his life. He´s currently trying to work out some immigration papers so he can get a better job so he can come back to church.  [PLEASE pray for him]
    Our less active, N, has been sick these past two weeks. He is the 19 year old from Argentina. So we got a call from the Elders saying he was really sick and asking if we could passby and just check on him, so we did. We had a good lesson with him and at the end, talked to him about priesthood blessings. He had never received a blessing before in his life. So we got to be there for his first. And it was honestly one of the most powerful spiritual moments thus far in my mission. He also told us he is trying to change his job so that he can also come to church, and that´s not even something we had told him he needed to do. He just decided that was the change he needed to make. 
    We´ve been working with J a lot. She is really progressing! In the 4 weeks Ive been here, she hasnt missed a single Sunday or church activity, which is apparently a first for her. We´ve been teaching her how to teach the missionary lessons so we can see what doctrine she doesn't understand and where we need to brush up, and also so she feels more comfortable to come with us to lessons. She has been doing so good! We role play and one of us pretends to be her companion and the other is her investigator. She is a wonderful teacher and really is doing an amazing job! Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, she got up and bore her testimony for the first time since joining the church. She said she is preparing to go on a mission. I just about started to cry. She has made such turn around! Also, her sister is the only other member in their family and she also is inactive. J is such an amazing example and to decide for herself that a mission is in her future is incredible. If I had to go home now from my mission, I would be content.
    We taught (another) J the Plan of Salvation this week! It was such an amazing lesson. The spirit was so strong the whole time. We talked a lot about repentance and faith too. It was just what she needed. She has so much desire to change her life and her heart and I know that the Lord is preparing her to do so.
    Ok, so the ward loves my companionship. We have been doing this activity that my trainer, Hermana Fuller, had given me with the ward. It´s called 7 Dias de Salvacion. It is a scripture and prayer activity that you do for a week and end with a fast to try and think of someone to share the gospel with. It´s been super successful. Well, we shared it with the young women´s president and her family and she then asked us to share it with the young women. So the young women decided to do it for one of their personal progress activities. Then, they were in charge of the ward Family Home Evening and they taught it there and then asked us to finish teaching the lesson. Then, in ward council yesterday, they brought it up and suggested it as a ward activity. I love it! Everyone has the desire to share the gospel and we are really seeing the fruits of their labors. People are reading and praying with faith to receive answers to their prayers and are really receiving answers. Which is something I´ve really noticed this week in particular, the Lord hears and answers our prayers!
    The Lord does answer prayers. We met a woman this week on the street and she told us she had been praying all morning for help from God and for an answer to some problems she´s currently having, and then we stopped her to talk to her. The Lord put us there just for M, because she needed us. We got her information and passed it to the missionaries in her area. Later this week, we went to see a member named M E, who everyone calls Abuelita [Grandmother]. She is sick and is always in the hospital. Well, we went by her apartment and she wasn't there and just as we went to leave, she turned the corner. She had been praying for someone to come visit her and help her back into her apartment, and we were there. Both of these times, we literally had no reason to be in the area we were which just shows that the Lord puts us where we need to be in our lives to help those around us.
    Yesterday we went to the devotional by Brad Wilcox. I got to see everyone too, all of my CCM friends and the Alcobendas missionaries too. I miss them so much! Anyway, this devotional was so good! It was like a spirit bomb. Seriously, no other words for it. He was so funny but it was so spiritual too. Just what I needed to hear. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have been given blessings others have not been and thus have the responsibility to share the gospel with those around us. We are not just passengers on the boat, we are part of the crew.

Sorry, this is getting rather lengthy. I love you all. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. The Lord knows each and every one of us perfectly and really does hear and answer our prayers.

I love you and hope you have a good week!

Hermana Griffin