Matt's scripture for the week

Therefore, … whosoever will come may come and partake of the waters of life freely;

Alma 42:27





Friday, September 23, 2011

dr_ccm_pavo real

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DR_CCM_9/22/2011

Dear Family and friends ,                                                               22/Sep/2011

Ok what up what up what up!!!
It’s cracking thunder outside right now and has been so so so humid all day today.  We walked out of the temple and it was sunny and as we got to the CCM it was raining (remember the two buildings are like 100 feet apart, if that), it happens so fast here!  I will definitely need to purchase an umbrella or just not dry off after my shower in the morning ‘cause with the humidity I’m wet all of the time.

Hey sorry,  I tried to send ya'll a video and pictures but I guess the file size was too large that it wouldn't go through.  I’ll put some of last week’s photos on an email today!! Okay!  Dad I hope your finger is okay! That sounds gnarly.

These last two weeks have been pretty eye opening and very exciting! We had the opportunity to go into the field last Friday and again yesterday (Wednesday).   It was amazing to see how I will be living and what exactly I will be doing for  the next 2 years or just under.  Elder Hiatt and I were paired with Elder Rich who is from Park City.  He wraps up his mission the same day that we leave the CCM.  So we got to see the other side (the experience vs newbies) haha. 

We went to the East Mission here in Santo Domingo.  He took us to his area where we saw some ”amazing” houses. They were maybe the size of my bedroom back at home.  We first went to a new member’s home.  She had just been baptized and seemed like she loved it.  She had a little issue with dressing modestly, which everyone does here because the temperature is so HOT. Anyway, I was able to share a message about faith, explain it a little and tell how it ties into to the doctrine of Christ and she seemed to understand me and the concept...... so .... two points for me ha. Elder Hiatt bore his testimony in that lesson and then Elder Rich took over ha.
 
Then we went to a really poor part of the area.  We were walking down a road and then took a side road that lead to a tiny gate that didn't look like a door but it opened up into a whole new world of terribly built cement homes and tiny alleys.
We walked for a little bit and looked down, started going down stairs; which I almost fell down. The stairs lead right into a home. The furnishings consisted of a bed, a TV, and a couch (tiny place).  We taught a man that was holding his naked little baby in his arms.  so .... it was pretty awkward and didn’t feel right. We all felt like we needed to get out of there, so we did. 

We walked back up that same street on Wednesday and saw these two teenagers flying down the road on one bike.  2 people on the seat going over bumps.  They came to the bump right in front of where we were walking and the kid on the back flew off and totally face planted and scrapped up his body, his knees, his hands... everything.  So we went over and picked him up and he was laughing (I would’ve cried) but I squirted him off with water from my camelback and he was on his way back up the hill to do it again.  Some people don't do things slow, relaxed or smart here.

We proceed to contact the area we were in - houses and apartment building.  We walked up to the top floor of an apartment building that looked like the projects.  The plan was to start at the top and work our way down to see who would receive and listen to us. Surprisingly, most people wanted to listen and talk a bit, and they welcomed us into their homes.  We were able to teach a little and leave messages.  I guess the big problem here and everywhere is people are willing to listen but not willing to act, which is sucky (can I say that?) 
The other night Elder Hamilton, Hiatt, Harris and I (my roommates) asked ourselves if we knew nothing about the gospel, would we act if some 19 year old kid came and talked to us.  And would know the promptings of the Holy Ghost when we felt them?  So, I guess it is a very different thing for most people, but that’s what we are here for – to help them feel the Promptings, understand, change and commit!  

I learned the importance of charity and helping.  When we were walking up one of the stair cases to an apartment building, we came across a little boy trying to take one of those huge blue water barrels (like we have at the house)  up to the fifth flight of stairs.  So, we saw him and Elder Rich picked up the barrel and took it up the stairs.  We helped the kid bring more water up the stairs and Elder Rich just picked up the kid and carried him up the stairs. There are a lot of opportunities to serve here and as missionaries we need to take advantage of it. Just see the need and help.  Don’t wait to be asked or told - just do it.  haha

I now know that I don't know very much Spanish.  My CCM Spanish is pretty good, but I have a long way to go. … line upon line, precept on precept , etc… but it’ll happen, and I’m pumped for the day when it does.
 
 So, I leave for the field soon and like I said I’m excited!  Thank you for emailing and sending me letters while I have been in the MTC and CCM !!!
David thanks for your DearElder.com letter and thank you also DAD.  I went and read about Paul, and referenced it to the ‘Articles of Faith’ which was pretty fun. 

I hope that Staci is excited, even though probably bummed about David (I still want to hear from her!!).   Lindsay, thank you for the DearElder.com letter. Please thank Sa as well!!!

BRISTEN thanks for showing your love and sending me things..... not. :) jk i love ya! .

Jeffrey Michael sent me a DearElder.com letter!  Will you please send me his email so I can get back to him?

 love ya’ll,  hope all the best, and wish me luck!.

I will try and write before I leave the CCM for Santiago.

Elder Griner

Saturday, September 17, 2011

dr_ccm_9/17/2011

Dear Family and friends,                                                            17/Sep/2011
Hey ya’ll sorry about yesterday, there was a huge storm that went through and knocked out the power and internet for a bunch of the city!  I will hopefully be emailing later today but who knows. We have experience in the field at 1:30 until 5:00.  So I will finally be in the field!!  I’m pumped anyway here is a picture of Blake from his farewell !!! Dad - LOVE THE BEARD!!!!!
Momma, people have been getting packages pretty easy through the Miami address. So, if ya’ll want to send me some goodies I’d willing except them. Haha.  No, but really YES.  I love you.
HEY !!!! Sorry that we didn't get to email yesterday like i said there was a storm that was huge and wiped out most of the electricity and internet around here!  The lightning was amazing! It woke me up a couple of time in the middle of the night.  The thunder was crazy loud and close!! Thunder in Utah is nothing compared to what happened here the other night! It shook the whole building.  So the next morning we all get up and are ready to email but the servers are down. They must have taken a pretty good power spike or something.  We were all disappointed ‘cause we love to hear from home and friends.  But was okay.  Everything happens for a reason. Right?
So, it sounds like the family and friends are doing okay except for GOO.  What in the world happened to his foot?  That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.  It’s way too bad that he needs to come home for surgery. Staci, I’m sorry to hear that it sounds like another big change in plans. Things will work out and it’ll be just fine!! Not easy to hear but just have a little faith – okay, a lot of faith!  I’ll keep you guys in my prayers.
Lindsay and Sa sent me Dear Elder.com’s as well as Grandpa and Luena!  I responded to G’pas letter, so, hopefully he will get that soon. But, it sounds like Lindsay is just going through life! haha I can’t wait to experience that when i get back!  Are David and Bristen really looking for a house? Tthat is so cool. Then David could do the yard! Jk  But that really is awesome that they will be able to do that even though things didn't go as planned.
Momma you golf too much and win too much, haha., Wasatch sounds awesome and mountains and trees .... AHH that'd be nice.  The mountain course, really? Ojala., DAD, really though, you look so normal – kinda like you -with the beard I love it!
Ya know it says in the mission rules not go swimming. But, every time I walk outside here I must be breaking the rules because I’m just soaking wet!  And if you can only imagine me after playing basketball or running for the hour we get for gym.  I almost feel like I have the sweating disease!  I’m so frustrated that the Latin Elders didn't bring baseball gloves to the MTC!  I wanted to play catch with someone so bad! I should’ve thought to bring two! But it’s okay!
We had the opportunity, last Pday to go to the colonial city where Columbus landed.  It is amazing!  We walked into the first cathedral built here and supposedly they were about to start mass.  So here we were, a whole bunch of white Mormons – missionaries no less - walking into the most respected Catholic building on the island.  We were allowed to take pictures and wander before they started.  So we did.  But it was so awkward in there.  I couldn't believe it!  We also went to a museum and got to walk around am.  I found a peacock that liked me while we were in the courtyard so I’ll send ya a picture of that!
We sing, sometimes, in the MTC just for the fun of it.  We sang “Come thou font…” when elder Gale and Sancho left.  So I will try and upload that video as well. 
I leave in less than two weeks now.  I am so excited as well as nervous. But I am more than ready to get going on my mission!  We have about a four hour experience in the field today and so we will be able to see what the field is like. My group is going with Elders from the Santo Domingo East mission.  Who knows?  I might be pared up with Elder Denton. 
It’s so good to hear that all of my buddies are going on missions.  It’s awesome!
Hey, I love all of you and am so proud of all those who are going on missions and thank you family for all you are doing!

LOVE ELDER GRINER


Friday, September 9, 2011

DR_CCM_9/8/2011

Dear Family,                                                                                                     9/8/2011

Here’s a little news for you. I got my tooth fixed but it broke off again that same day and now I am waiting for another appointment and will probably have to pay around $50.00 this time! Fun right!  I love you!!!!

We went to do baptisms this morning and ended up doing a session after that.  So, we were in the temple from 8:30 to 12:30.  It really is an amazing temple for how small it is!

Dad my second meeting with the students didn't go well because they weren’t there!! I almost cried haha,
But yah the English speakers didn’t show up so we went on contacting other people - asi es la vida!  

We did get the chance to talk to two ladies who are Pentecostal and supposedly believed in what we had to say.  We talked to them for about an hour, which was surprising.  We explained multiple things about our beliefs and religion, and they liked it, but just told us that they believed that as well. We explained the Book of Mormon and left pamphlets with them to read,

It sounds like ya’ll are being the best you can be in the ward which is amazing! It reminds me of when I was the 1st assistant in the Priest Q. and Mom was in the Young Women’s presidency and Dad was in the Bishopric.  It was fun being in meetings together - the Griner’s representing! Haha

It’s awesome to know that people in the states like me! Because here, since I can't communicate very well, I get a lot of snide looks - it’s awesome - I just love it!  It’s like walking on to the opposing team’s field. Haha.  We walk down the street and people just turn their backs to us until we pass them, then they will say hi. But only after you pass by them - so we never get the chance to talk to them unless we stop them in the tracks!  Human nature, huh.  After they stop and we talk, they find out that we aren’t so bad, even kind of nice.

 I guess Elder Holland spoke at the Provo MTC this last Sunday!  Wow, talk about a jealous missionary in the DR.  We got to watch a rerun! Haha from a DVDs of a devotional from 4 years ago.  Actually.  I can't complain because we heard one of the greatest talks from Elder Bednar about how we feel the Holy Ghost testifying to us.  One of his thoughts about how to feel the Spirit’s influence that I really liked was that we shouldn't worry about it and just be good people and we'll end up in the right place doing the right thing at the right time!  That was really comforting and explains a lot about why I’m here and where I’m at in life.

 I am so sad that I will be missing Blake’s farewell and I’m sad that I missed his 20th BIRTHDAY!, so tell him happy birthday for me, please. I know that he will be an amazing missionary because he has the desire to serve.

Please sell the cars! So that we can give our neighbors some room to park their cars on the street!

Okay, I had no idea that Labor Day had even come and gone! We didn’t do anything out of the normal.  Just study, learn, eat, talk, play a little, study some more, hang out for a minute, study some more and oh yah eat again goes in there somewhere! Haha

It’s crazy how time flies here.  What do you know, I only have 3 more weeks here at the CCM, then I’m “going to be a real boy” in the real world of SANTIAGO with real people and real teaching opportunities and situations!! In a way it’s scary, but inside I’m so calm about it, and in reality I’m so pumped you don't even know!

The native missionaries from the Dominican Republic and other Spanish speaking islanders came in today and they are sweet.  Rookies! haha but Rookies with skills!  We lost our two English speaking missionaries to Fiji and Jamaica.  It’ll be fun to get to know the new missionaries.  It’s really fun to meet all of these Elders and Sisters from all parts of the Caribbean.  That’s an unbelievable blessing in itself that I would never get to have if I hadn’t come.
We now are doing everything in Spanish, reading, writing talking, memorizing, dreaming… and I am excited- well, I don't have the choice to speak English anymore!

In my district there is an Elder that has been at the Naval Academy for two years, So, when I heard that GOO passed hi swim test, I had to ask him questions about the swimming test and boot camp.  Supposedly, it’s pretty hard and way tiring. So props to Recruit David Guanuna for manning it up! 

D&C 11 21 has been a scripture that has been on my mind a lot because the last couple of days.  My tongue has felt all tied up when I am trying to speak Spanish. So it helps me to focus on my studies and stick things out.  We were teaching a lesson yesterday in the morning and it was my turn to share and answer questions and my mind went blank and I couldn't read or talk! It was so weird! So, right after I hit the books and haven't looked back!

 We got all of the football scores from one of the area presidents on Sunday and we all were amazed to hear that BYU and USU did so well.
 
There are three Elders here that are really good friends with Brad Payne and Ryan Francom.  So I get to talk with them about one of my best friends and my cousin, which is awesome.

Having memories from home honestly makes it easier to be here because when I go outside and can't breathe because of the heavy humid air, I think of skiing and how fresh it is up there.  So thank you for the advice Dad. You’re one smart man!

 I heard that Calder Bonnett is going on a mission.  He will be coming home from school and wants to get out as quick as he can. How exciting is that!
 
The other night we had had a charla fongaera (fireside) that was just amazing. Our teacher Hermana Matoz gave the lesson.  She’s a saint!  She doesn't speak English very well, so she teaches in Spanish and we have to communicate by the Spirit - the amazing thing is, we all understand her, even with our limited knowledge of Spanish.  She taught about the Restoration and then asked us all to bear our testimonies about the Restoration.  I shared the story of the third time Elder Johnson and I taught in Spanish while we were in the Provo MTC.  We taught the first vision and I believe that is when I received my testimony of the Restoration.  We were able to teach it perfectly.  After the lesson I gave Elder Johnson a hug.  I might have told ya’ll that before.  I shared that and then the rest of the Elders in my district shared their experiences and testimonies. It was just an amazing experience in class that night.

Well I better go – more letters to write.
 I love ya’ll and hope the best for everyone!


ELDER GRINER

Friday, September 2, 2011

DR_CCM_campus

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Temple
Just across the parking lot from the MTC

DR_CCM_comp

my comp Elder Hamilton from Sandy, Utah                                                      



DR_CCM_9_1_2011

Hey all!                                                                              1 Sept 2011
Funny thing happened yesterday I uh, woke up , got in the shower got dressed, brushed my teeth, washed my mouth out and I looked up from the sink and 1/4 of my front left tooth was gone!!!! Funny right!....... NOT.  I guess my filling had been knocked out or fell out during the night and I must have swallowed it!  They are getting me an appointment to get it filled either today or tomorrow so if I don't email then that is where I am!!   My tooth is fine, not sensitive,  and will be getting fixed, so don't worry and I won't either.  I don't know where the dentist is at but, I’ll just get in the car and I hope I get there with everyone’s crazy driving . Both the President and his wife will take me or maybe our front desk manager - that doesn’t speak a lick of English. Either way I’ll be okay!
 I will be sending some pictures of the CCM, my comp and me, Elder Gale from Jamica and Elder Sancho from Guyana.  My companions name is Elder Hamilton from Sandy,Utah.  He and I are getting along great.

We went to the university last week on Friday and got to talk to people for two hours, and after 30 minutes of struggling through conversations, we just decided to start handing out pamphlets and explaining them . We walked around the whole campus until I saw a baseball field and of course I went right towards it.  We stopped and asked a couple of guys, who was playing and if it was the schools team.  They didn't know so they told us to just go watch. Well we couldn't do that so we started walking away from the field, and as we did 5 people that were behind us as we were talking to the other guys whistled at us telling us to come back! My comp and I were pumped! We walked over to them and heard.... CAN YOU HELP US WITH OUR HOMEWORK... hahah in English!!  We accepted, and they proceeded to read off their paragraphs having us correct them.  It turns out that they were studying English in the building right next to us.  After we helped them, - we couldn't leave without sharing a message - we gave them the good ole do you believe in God question and they all answered, but then all had questions of the Book of Mormon ,.,, I looked at my companion with an excited looked and then we went on teaching about Joseph Smith and the apostasy.  The bible came up and they wanted to know why there were so many different translations of the bible, we didn't have an great answer for them other than people thru the ages have tried to make the Bible fit their liking in words or sentence structure they understood, so we just bore our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and left them with a copy. They accepted it willingly. It was amazing to be able to teach some one that is not fake ( like our pretend investigators that we practice our lesson with) and who had honest questions for us.  I loved it and can't wait to go back.  We scheduled a time to meet with them this Friday! It’s awesome.
The people down here are very excepting, and patient with our Spanish or lack thereof! Haha  It makes me more excited to get into the field! 
We have a ping pong table in a rec room here.   I am not the ping pong champion here, sadly.  We have two college tennis players in our group, so they take me to school every time I play them.
Anyway I will be writing again. I love you!!!

ELDER GRINER