Friday, May 23, 2014

Cultural Experience in the Bronx

May 20, 2014

Hello all!

Welp. Don't think I will be saying much this time- we are down at the temple about to go into a session. But this week was good! I will hit some of the highlights...

Friday morning we went to go do service at the Antwines, members that were moving out (he is a pro wrestler- no worries, I got an autographed poster). Doreatha was going to drive the truck- there was a miscommunication though and it took forever for them to get there.  In the meantime, we were super close to little Italy and we went there- that pumped me up. I talked a little to some people and it was good. I feel like Italians don't always get pumped when you speak their language like Spanish people do. Sometimes they do. But it definitely pumped me up. Go Italy!

Saturday night we had a culture extravaganza in New Rochelle as a stake activity. Doreatha went and had a great time. And so did we!  They did some good dancing and had some good food afterwards, and it was dandy. You should ask Doreatha about it!

Yesterday I went on a split with Elder Meek. We came out together, but haven't served together until now. It was good! We had a good time, learned and grew together spoke Spanish, and yeah it was uplifting all around. I think one of the coolest things was hands out a copy of The Book of Mormon in French. We we're doing church tours and a person came by that spoke French. I could kind of understand, and so I got enough to give her Le Livre de Mormon that I had on hand ( I am trying to carry one at all times nowadays). It was cool! Hopefully I will have more experiences like that.

One thing I have been trying to put into practice is the principle of a council. Working together and acknowledging that disagreement, when handled properly, brings about the best result. I used to approach disagreement in a different way- I avoided it because I always felt mad when I would argue, but experiences out here have led me to step back and listen to the other side and work together when those disagreements come. You have to be humble, you have to be patient, and you have to genuinely want to understand where the other person is coming from. That can be tough, but it brings about the best results- maintaining a relationship, good and balanced decisions, etc. Elder Kia and I don't always agree, but we are grateful for that because we have been able to have that much more of well rounded decisions, and on top of that we love each other! It is great!

Things are great! Thanks for the support and I hope you have a great week!

-Elder Griffiths

It Was Mom

May 14, 2014


Another good week come and gone! Things are starting to heat up- there was no mercy period- it was cold, then cool and wet and now it is getting super hot. But life moves on! We are just bracing ourselves because the Bronx just smells bad all around during he summer- haha

Anywhoo, this week was sweet! Lots of good stuff! First off, Xzavier was baptized! There was a lot of good ward support, and Elder Davidson came up from his area in Hunt's Point (south Bronx) and it all made for a great baptism. Right before the baptism, we had a cool Zone APF where we split up into three groups and hit some of the more crowded intersections in the Bronx- Fordham and Webester, Fordham and Grand Concourse and down on 161 by Yankee Stadium. We asked people why they were grateful for their mothers and then had them wrote it down. We posted it on Facebook on a page called "it was mom" for all to see. It was a good event- we didn't find a ton of people, but we planted a lot of seeds and boosted our zone unity for sure. Saturday was a busy, packed day, but it was good!

Cool thought about goal setting that I have experienced recently.
Often times we get disappointed when we don't reach a goal. I have come to see, however, that sometimes setting a goal is a necessary means to bring about a different but still good result. For example, yesterday on a split with an awesome missionary, a Elder Schneider, we were about to get on a longer bus ride to go see Doreatha. We had one more Gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet that we hadn't handed out while street contacting, and before getting on the bus, we set a goal to teach that lesson and give that pamphlet out. We planned to sit strategically so that we could talk to someone and we planned to open our mouths. We went forward with those plans and talked to a family for most of the ride over there. It wasn't about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and we didn't give them a pamphlet, but we did have a good uplifting gospel conversation that was hopefully what they needed. We didn't reach our goal, but we gave God something to work with and for that, he used us as instruments in a His hands. As we set goals, we might not always achieve them, but we should be nothing but grateful for what He has allowed us to do. As a missionary, if we only teach 6 lessons while shooting for 26, we still have to be grateful for 6 opportunities to change a life. So set goals! Make plans that demonstrate your faith that you can achieve them, and do all you can to get there, and then be grateful for whatever happens.

Nothing else comes to mind right now to talk about. We are about to have a zone activity- volleyball here at the church. Things are great- thanks for all the support! Hope you have a great week!

-Elder Griffiths

Ups and Downs. And Ups. And Ups.

May 7, 2014

Hello all!

This week had its ups and downs for sure. Luckily, in the context of the gospel the ups are always a lot bigger than the downs. I think a lot of the downs just came from a combination of making transitions/taking over the area/preparing for zone meeting/trying to squeeze in monthly planning/depending on public transportation/a ton of cold rain and other little stressors here and there. I had some humbling moments, but now that that is out of the way, let me tell you of the much good that came!

First off, being with Elder Kia is great! He is full of faith and knows his purpose out here. At the same time, we are having a good time doing the work- we have been setting fun goals in addition to other goals. For example, work in telling a joke during a contact, slip a nice note into another missionaries pocket, choose a baseball team and contact everybody wearing that team's hat, etc. Doing such keeps things from being mundane and has pumped me up when I am feeling down. He is great and we will have a great cycle or two together!

We set four new baptismal dates for people to be baptized by the end of the month. One is Xzavier- this story is awesome! I am just going to copy and paste from the zone Facebook page...

Elder Kia and I went to our investigator Xzavier's house last night. Xzavier has been putting off baptism for awhile now, so we decided to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to him and his family. His family is kind of crazy, but one by one they went off to do their own things leaving us with Xzavier and his mom and so we talked out baptism with him. Elder Kia popped out the calendar and pointed to May 10 to get my approval. He didn't know that Elder Davidson and I had planned out everything, after last Zone Meeting, to get him to be baptized on May 10. We already had it all planned out, and I was barely holding on to that idea of Xzavier getting baptized on the 10th, but we went for it. We exercised our faith and watched the Spirit work in him to get from saying "maybe" to "possibly" to "I might" to "I am going to do it!" He is getting baptized in  a week. I know that because we exercised our faith as we monthly planned, and kept going with that plan, God blessed us. I know that we will be able to expect that in the future and we hope all of you can build your faith off of the experience with which God has blessed us.

Just for some more context, Xzavier is a fifteen year old and is the last nonmember in his family. His family is great and I actually was in a lesson with them a year or so ago before any of them were baptized- I was on a split and we went there. So that was a miracle for sure! And then Garron is a twelve year old son of a recent convert- his mom was baptized in September last year. He agreed to be baptized on the 24th of this month, and is still feeling good about that. We also committed another son of a recent convert to be baptized and the 24th. We had a powerful lesson with the spirit present. Better than us giving a logical argument on why he should be baptized, we testified and let he spirit give him the hope that he needed and resolve the concerns that we can't see, and so he is on board. We also had a lesson with a guy named Jovan- he has come to church twice now independent of our efforts. We talked with him and it was probably the weirdest lesson I had- he claims to be the Messiah preparing for his second coming. Typical story from the Bronx... But we know and have faith that God can help him to understand things and can change things and set them straight in his mind as he is taught true doctrine, so we set a goal with him of the 24th of this month, and a return appointment for Friday. I have been tempted to deem him as crazy and move on, and have repented of already having done such, but I know that he is a son of God who needs some direction in his life. He also is a lot more humble than the other self proclaimed Messiahs that I have met or heard of out here. So yep :T Those are the people we are working with. Things are exciting! We are shooting for five baptisms this month, so pray for Xzavier, Garron, Bentley, especially Jovan, and then  a miracle!

Things are good! Chugging away at goals. I haven't had as much time in the past week to work on the French, but I still had a couple of opportunities to speak it- a couple contacts on the bus, members on Sunday at church and then a senior couple that inspected our apartment both speak French (I could understand them pretty well, but when I was beginning to learn Spanish I understood white people a lot better than natives). This week I should have a little more time (usually I take a little time at nights, during breakfast/lunch and a little bit of language study when I actually have language study- not the priority since I'm out of the Spanish program I guess). And then less active work is going well- Doreatha came to church this week for the first time since I have been here. She is a tough cookie sometimes, but I am excited for you guys to meet her, in about a week and a half now, huh? She is excited to go to the Lawrenceville Ward, so that will be good for her. Things are great- I love the mission!

Thanks for the support and prayers! You guys are great and I hope you have a good week!

-Elder Griffiths