Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Moose enchiladas and the french horn

Hey Everybody!
This week has been awesome and crazy!

We had exchanges twice this week with both zone leaders, so I had the opportunity to check out the Sunset Ward and Cheney Second Ward! 

During the exchanges we gained 7 new investigators! One of them is a family from the Congo! The Dad (Faustin) speaks very little English and the rest of the family doesn't speak any English! It's crazy! The dad speaks French and Swahili and another African language. We have been teaching them using LDS.org and a BoM side by side in French and English.

During exchanges in the Sunset area with Elder Sampson, we had a dinner appointment at the Nelson's home and they made us moose enchiladas! They were so delicious! It was just like Grandma makes, but with less Velveeta.

During the meal we got to talk a little bit about our lives in the past and our reasons for serving a mission and then we talked a little about music! And sister Nelson PLAYS FRENCH HORN!!!! Her Father was given one by a professional concert hornist several years ago and he gave it to her! I was able to play it for about 30 Minutes and it felt so good to be able to play a horn again. It was such a nice horn! It was a Schilke! I loved it so much! It literally got rid of all the stress build up for the last 6 weeks! Best Exchanges EVER!

The next day back home we taught the Mitma's and it went okay, The Ten Commandments are hard to teach to people with no biblical background, especially children. and so it was really difficult, but on the walk home, I found a $20 bill, right in the middle of the side walk! I'm gonna use it for bus passes so we can teach Coral and the Cornwell families. The bus system is crazy! We are slowly learning how to use it, but every time we use the bus it costs us a huge chunk of proselyting time! We work really hard to make it worth it.

Spokane Falls
We went downtown the other night to deliver a BoM to a referral and the bridge to get there on Monroe has such a crazy, gorgeous view of the river! Especially at night! The waterfall by the water treatment plant is crazy huge and gorgeous! I wish we could have taken pictures but we were rushing to get out of downtown before it was too late! One thing I noticed while I was in downtown was that there is a bail bonds office on almost every single corner! It's crazy! How many people go to jail to need that many?!

On the ride home, we were passed by a bunch of police cars going probably 70 MPH up Post Street past our apartments! It was insane! We almost got hit! It was nuts!

This Sunday we had 7 less active and recent converts come! It was awesome! We only had one nonmember though, But it was still great to see that some of our labors are bringing forth fruit!

Rumors have been swirling around the mission about Ipads coming soon! I really hope so! Now that I've lived the mission life for a transfer, I can see the potential benefits that having an Ipad would bring.

Some things I learned this week:
  1. Music is so wonderful at relieving stress. We are practicing singing a song called "Brightly Beams the Father's Mercy" -- its in the hymn book. Bro Geiger in the ward is talking about letting me play the Mellophone for it and I'm pretty excited about that. We're going to sing it at the ward talent show and potato feed in a couple weeks. I might be able to get it on video and send it to you.
  2. Honey Oh's are awesome! Worlds greatest cereal! It's Graham Cracker flavored! Only available at Safeway, which is not located in UTAH! They are my new favorite cereal!
  3. "Embedded in the stories of the scriptures are truths made specifically for our time and our benefit." And we need to search the scriptures and dissect the stories to be able to find these truths and apply them to our lives. When we do this, it will bless our lives immensely! My new favorite way to study is reading the scriptures and writing in the margins, the truths that stick out to me and how they can be applied to me. It really makes a huge difference!
  4. Praying specifically brings specific answers. When we pray for a miracle to cross our path. it does. When we pray to find something that is perfect for an investigator, we do. When we pray for a scripture to help deal with homesickness, God provides one. It works for anything. Pray sincerely and specifically and God will sincerely answer your prayers in a way that specifically works the very best for you. I know that to be true and my testimony has grown so much from seeing how powerful prayer really is. I would exhort all of you who read this to pray specifically and sincerely and see how God will answer your prayers. I testify of the truthfulness of this principle.

I am so grateful for the loving home I've come from and for parents who love each other and my siblings so much and are willing to teach us the things we need to know to be successful in life. Mom and Dad, You have given me the tools and helped me be a person who can go forward with hope in this world, despite all the iniquity. I am so grateful for your examples and I love you so much. Thank you for putting in my heart the desire to live a righteous life. I know that living the gospel is the surest way to live a happy and love filled life.

The Church is so true and the Gospel will bring so much joy into your lives if you let it.
I love you all!
Keep the Faith!
Elder Bryce Jacob Griffin

Monday, September 15, 2014

Li Hing powder and graveyards

Hey everyone!

Last p-day (Monday) we went bowling at the Cheyney Bowling Alley again and it was way fun! Free bowling for missionaries is always nice!

Spokane LDS Temple
We also started meeting with a former investigator who in the past has had some problems. His girlfriend wants to be married in the temple, but he doesn't or didn't want anything to do with the church. So now we're teaching him again and he actually seems to want to learn! We're still not sure though, because he's got all sorts of problems. so it's pretty interesting. We're really hesitant, because if you baptize someone who didn't have the real intent then their sins are heaped upon your shoulders.

Tuesday we had the opportunity to meet with Sister Blackwolfe, who is still a potential investigator, and she apparently thought she offended us on Sunday when she took the Sacrament, so we had to explain to her that anyone can partake of the communion, but when you are baptized it is the renewing of covenants which makes it have extra meaning. We also had dinner at the Cuevas and it was way fun, Awesome food! Spaghetti! Just like Daddy used to make! Also, Elder Lyden is making me teach more, which is good, but at times I'm really nervous about it.

Wednesday was district meeting and we went to Costa Vida afterward and I actually met the owner
of all the Costa Vidas and he lives in Cedar City! It was pretty random and funny! He offered to deliver something home, but I didn't have anything to send! it was great to meet someone from back home, though!

Thursday and Friday we helped the Lowrys move and just like that, they're gone. They have an amazing story!

Friday we had dinner at the Johnson's again and it was Broccoli soup, which was apparently pretty much like drinking Velveeta! It was amazing! Also, we got to teach the Coral family again and they actually decided to come to the service project on Saturday!

Saturday morning we did a ward service project, which was pretty much the coolest service project ever! We went to an "unendowed" section of Riverside Cemetery, which is where people that can't afford graves get buried. It was insane! We were basically chopping down a forest and uncovering headstones! Some of them were over 6 inches under the ground! It was so sad to see some of the headstones' poor conditions. It was amazing though to see the dedication of the ward in helping the forgotten graves be found and cleaned up! We probably uncovered over 100 headstones that had been buried from years of neglect! It was amazing! The spirit of Elijah was really present!

That evening we had dinner with the Coral family, It was amazing! My first bbq since I've been on the mission and it was soo, soo good! They introduced me to Ling Hi, which is a Hawaiian favorite! It's basically plum powder! It's so stinking good and I ate it on pretty much everything! They gave me a big handful to take home and eat! It was pretty hilarious!

Sunday was a weird one this week! It seemed like everyone we talked to had something crazy going on! During Priesthood quorum, a little girl in the ward was brought to her father because she was upset and the teacher couldn't calm her. I was able to use one of the CTR stickers that Carrie (Mom's work friend) had given me. It made the little girl so happy and then by the time class was over she was happy again. It was cute and I just loved that I was able to help the little family be happier.

Also, I found a ward member who can play "I'll Find you my Friend," and we might start practicing so we can sing it for church and maybe the ward talent show coming up in October! It's so much fun and I've just loved having that song around me. I have a copy of the lyrics on my desk that I try to read everyday so I can remember why I'm here and stay motivated to work diligently to find my friend.

That's pretty much a summary of this week.

I just have to bear my testimony that I know this church is so true. I have no doubts. The Gospel blesses so many people's lives and I'm so happy to see it. I've seen so many miracles while I've been out here and I love studying the scriptures so much! The gospel is so amazing and it's wonderful to be able to share it with all of those who haven't had a chance to hear it yet. And it's so amazing to see the changes it brings to peoples lives to help them to live happily and remove burdens from their lives. Repentance is so powerful and the Atonement is so real! I've seen it in my own life and in the lives of those around me.

Keep the faith!
Love you all!
Elder Bryce Griffin

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Miracle (Whip) and flat tires.

Hi everybody!

Elder Bryce in his apartment in Spokane.
It's been another super busy one! We started riding the bus to the far side of our area, which was super fun and we met lots of interesting people! We also had zone meeting, which was really great and we learned a lot and practiced role plays.

Strange and interesting stuff this week: Well, on the bus we got to meet some interesting people such as one guy named Justin who likes to party STA style (that's the city bus company), and he loved
Miracle Whip more than mayonnaise. So we taught him a little and he invited us over to learn more and "hang out and have a Miracle Whip and mayonnaise party, STA Style! OH YEAAHH!!!" Luckily though, he lived out of our area! lolz! And so we gave his info to a different set of missionaries! haha, I think they'll be okay, he was just a little odd. Should be an interesting investigator though.

Also, while teaching a lesson on the porch of a former investigator, in an apartment complex, a small child decided it would be fun to run outside "with nothin' on but a smile!" and so that stalled our lesson. Fun life in the ghetto!

We also were assigned to be security at the Spanish Festival put on by the church at a local high school. It was interesting, We got walkie-talkies and basically I realized how fun and immature we missionaries can be! It was hilarious. However, after we finished the spanish festival, we felt lacking the spirit because we were told to go and enjoy the show and it was just weird because we didn't really feel like we were supposed to be there. It was an interesting experience.

Anyways, on to the spiritual now: This week we did great at getting recent converts and less actives to church, however, I was kinda upset by the people who didn't come! I was so excited and we had made special arrangements to help and then they just didn't come! We were so disappointed, yet so happy. it was the weirdest conflict of emotions because we were happy about those that did, and were rejoicing in them, but still sad about the ones who didn't come. Way interesting.

This week has been super great and we've been feeling guided by the hand of the Lord. We have met people who really needed us at the exact moment we came and it's just powerful to see how the Lord guides us as missionaries.

View out the window of Griffin and Lyden's apartment.
Elder Lyden got a flat tire last week so we have been walking a lot. It's not necessarily fun, but because we have been walking we have gotten to run into more people who needed us and it's been amazing to see how even when something seemingly bad happens, there is always a reason for it.
One family in particular has learned that as they struggled for the last 7 years to figure out how to start their life and find happiness and economic security for their family. they have finally turned their lives over to God. Now they're moving home to their mother's house in Portland, who actually really needed them to move in. Basically everyone's prayers are answered there. It was pretty crazy. They talked about how they think God was preparing them to move back home because if they had gone back earlier they wouldn't have been ready for it. It is amazing to see their faith!

That's about all that's happened this week. I hope everything is great back home!
Love you all so much and I pray for you!
Elder Bryce Griffin

(Note, we finally got some pix from Bryce, yey!!!

First view of Spokane a month ago.

Spokane Temple.

Home sweet home.

Trainer, Elder Lyden.

Tree-filled Spokane

LDS Chapel.

More Spokane

Is that a yawn?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crazy Little Thing Called a Mission

Hi everybody! Sorry I'm a day late, I guess p-days don't happen on holidays like labor day.

So this week has been crazy and full of miracles and weird stuff as always down here in Spo-compton!

I'll start off with some of the crazy stuff. I got the lights and air pump stolen off my bike, while it was locked up outside the church. I was really frustrated and it ended up costing us some proselyting time because we need the lights to get home safely most every night due to it getting darker sooner. Fortunately my companion had an extra set for me to use till I can buy another. But still, very frustrating.

Also, I'm really loving Spokane lately. I recently found a part of the town that is a super nice neighborhood and right in the middle of it is a giant forest! It was insane! Like the parents could just get sick of their children and make them go camping!

Yesterday I went on exchanges with Elder Doxey. It was a super great experience! Both Elder Doxey and I became more willing to talk to people and we ended up talking to pretty much everyone we saw! It was so much fun! We talked to a Viet Nam vet who basically ranted on about how people need to be more like us missionaries and the end of the world is coming soon. that's been a strangely common theme among conversations lately -- the end of the world, the second coming, Armageddon, the Rapture. all of that fun stuff, that and jw's. Also with Elder Doxey, we were talking to random people, and this guy started talking about a church being vandalized and so we offered to help.. sorta.. and then we ended up at a Rehab church mopping the floors and stuff, it was super random and funny! They said it was a high person who broke into the church. This town is strange. Everyone seems to be smoking, 2nd marriage, adopted, recovering drug addict, pretty much everything strange with the world. While on exchanges, we went to Mcdonalds for dinner and this random drunk guy decided he wanted to talk about how god is an alien, like ET stuff. He was very contentious and strange, all sorts of weird stuff going on.

This Sunday we were so excited! We had several of our investigators come to church! One was a surprise! She came because she promised Elder Lyden almost 2 months ago that she would come and then she felt the spirit so strongly that she cried all through the Sacrament and during much of the first talk. It was amazing!

Also this Sunday, I made my first big greenie mistake! A guy came in asking when church started and then we told him 1 but he was there at 11, so we gave him a quick church tour and then I got all excited cause I was feeling the spirit and gave him a BoM and he got weirded out because we think he was trying to go to the Pentacostal church across the street. Oops! Hopefully he'll read the BoM!

One new investigator I'm particularly excited about is named Worth. She is a little older, and she used to be a ballet dancer, she has no living family, no children, was never married. She is really sweet and kind and she was so happy to see us missionaries again. I guess they stopped seeing her about a year ago. She has soft a sweet spirit and a high respect for Mormons and especially missionaries. We're planning to go visit her later this week. I'm really excited.

The Mitma's are doing great, they missed church this week, but Sis Mitma was feeling sick. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it only took one lesson! It was so great! We used the diagram that the primary usually uses and wrote down exactly what we wanted them to know on flash cards and then just taught simply. It was perfect! 

Oh! Random weird stuff again! So we were teaching a lesson to a member on her porch in the super ghetto part of town and then this lady comes walking down the street holding a huge rock and talking way loud to herself and cursing and stuff about how she was gonna go smash some b's head with a rock and all sorts of other fun language! It was hilarious once she was out of sight! (the cops never showed up so we assume nothing happened) but it was super weird and hilarious!

Allergies have been acting up lately, which is okay I guess, except that in addition to the pollen a lot of people have dogs or even worse cats and sometimes I can barely see or breath because of it.

That's about everything. I just want you (Mom and Dad) to know that I really appreciate the way you raised me, the examples you are through the way you live, and the love you show for me and my siblings. Coming out here has helped me to realize just how great I had it at home and how much other people lack some of the basics of the things that help families be happy. All of these people just lack that foundation of love that I was so blessed to have because of you. So, Yeah, thank you

Much love and prayers to everyone!
-Elder Bryce Griffin