Matt's scripture for the week

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

Alma 42:27

Friday, October 28, 2011

El Ejido 5

WHATS UP FAMILY!!!                                                                                     26 Oct 2011

 Okay, It looks like some pretty fun stuff has been going on at home! haha Thanks for the pumpkin carving contest pictures!  I can’t believe that it is already Halloween.  It doesn’t seem like it; one, because here they don’t celebrate Halloween or Thanksgiving, and two, we already bought some Christmas lights and have them hung up!!  Everyone here has a Christmas tree up already.  But yall already know that if I were at that pumpkin carving party, I would slay and would be walking away with the coveted Golden Pumpkin because that’s how it’s always been!   haha.

 So we live on the 4th planta (level or floor) of this building and are trying to move for sure.  We didn’t get the pink house.  Someone on the 2nd planta has been building something and for the longest time and we didn’t know what it was going to be.  But, the other day we found out that they built a church down there! Haha.  It’s a Pentecostal sect and all day Saturday and Sunday they are pounding on drums and throwing their hands in the air screaming gracias a Dios (Thanks be to God), .... So, we thought that we would move so that other’s won’t be confused seeing 2 LDS missionaries always walking toward this other church haha.

We stopped to talk to a kid in the street the other day. His name is Milton and he speaks English and is about 15 years old.  But it’s hilarious, because he is so serious about everything all the time. We were invited to his house. so we went and taught him. He was attentive the whole time!   When we asked him if he had any questions about the lesson, he asked,... “So what is the KKK and why do they do what they do?”

I laughed so hard but, I still had to answer him because he was really troubled about it.

After that, he said something really surprising!  He told us that he had prayed and asked God to send him a white man that could answer his question about the KKK.......... WOW!!!   We were the answer to his prayer even though it was a seemingly strange question.  It just goes to show that God really does answer sincere prayers, and we can be a part of that communication. We are still talking to Milton and its fun.

DELVI , the one that I extended a fecha (baptism date) with, fried on the word of wisdom and so we had to set his fecha back almost a month.  That’s because of the counsel of our Mission President.  It was a little disheartening to see him like that, I asked him during the last lesson if he wanted all of the Gospel and its blessings in his life, and he told me that he really did but that it’s just really hard to change his lifestyle.  It’s hard to see him struggle like this. But, with our help and the help of the Lord I think that he´ll be just fine.

OH, I forgot something!!! Yesterday was crazy! We were eating lunch and heard someone yelling down on the street.  Then I heard a pistol being cocked and so I ran to the window (dumb right) to see what was going on.  I heard one gunshot and then looked and saw two guys running down the street. Then one guy ran around the corner and another man shot at him again!! It was insane! I couldn’t believe that it happened on my street.  So, then we went and asked the dueno (owner) what was going on?  And he just told us that  everything is fine and explained that one guy had just stolen something!!  Incredible!  2 shots at a guy for stealing like a juice box! My goodness,crazy haha

 Well, I love all of you and hope you have a great HALLOWEEN!!!!

Here’s An email that we received from the Mom of Matt’s companion!  It sheds a little different light on Matt’s language struggle.  ?

Hi Jolynn,

This is Lisa Jensen I am the Mom of Elder Jensen who is in the Dominican Republic with your son.  I thought it would be fun to say Hi.  I wondered how you are doing with your son gone.  I know Jeremy (Elder Jensen) is working him really hard and I hope he can handle hard work.  It is a hard mission.  Jeremy has just been out over a year now.  I hope the downhill goes a little faster than that first year.  It sounds like Elder Griner is doing great and Jeremy is so impressed at what a hard worker he is and how well he is doing with the language. 

Here’s an excerpt from his last letter - My comp has gotten a lot of compliments on his Spanish. We speak it a lot which helps him. Even President Lee took note and said something to the effect of "wow, the new missionaries are already better at Spanish than the trainers!" So cool. The generations of missionaries are better and better.

 We had our other son Cameron just get home from a mission in North Carolina about 2 months ago.  It has been super hard for me having them both gone.  I did a lot of crying but it helps now having our other Elder Jensen home.  I always looked forward to Wed. and getting that e-mail from them both.  I told Cameron the other day he needed to go up in his room and send me an e-mail because I missed it so bad.  I really think I did go through withdrawals for a few weeks. haha

We live in Rexburg Idaho right next to the Temple and BYU-I where my husband works.  I have been a stay at home mom of 7 kids.  We have 4 married children and 9 Grandkids, 2 kids at home right now and Jeremy.  Cameron is a full time student at BYU-I and we have a girl Malia who is a senior in HS.

 Well if you ever have any questions about the boys just drop me an e-mail and we will stay in touch.


Lisa Jensen

Friday, October 21, 2011

El Ejido 4

BUENAS!                                                                                       19 Oct 2011
How is everyone!? How is home and Casey and snow and the mountains?! I’m really missing them right now.  But ya, Dad, missionaries do "walk with angels” I guess.  We taught Delvi, one of our investigators who has a baptismal date set for the 29th,  and his dog is a beast. It attacks everyone! We didn't know that, so we went walking right past it and I petted it and the dog just sat there and let me pet it.  It didn’t do anything really, but then when the member that was with us walked past it, it about killed him! Ha funny stuff.
 We've had some trouble inviting people to be baptized in our zone so they set a new goal and we are inviting like 2 or 3 people a day, which is good but to me it seems a little insignificant ... tu sabes (you know).   But, we do it and some are awesome and some are just..ehh.  Frank from New York is my favorite and speaks English. He told us that he wanted to be baptized by the right authority!  But he is going to back to New York on November 3rd, so we are going to try and hand him over to missionaries there.
My companion doesn’t play sports and it is funny as ever!  We went over to the church to wait for a member that was meeting us there to go help with an appointment.  The seminary class was at the church playing basketball.  They tossed my companion the ball -he is afraid to shoot because he knows he can’t, really! – so he points to the hoop , lines himself up and kicks the ball all the way over the fence onto the property of the Baptist church that is right next door. I laughed so hard. But, the members here are getting better.  We are working with the younger priesthood holders helping them learn.  They like going with us when we teach, which a surprise to me is because I didn’t really want to go with the missionaries when I was their age - sadly.  They always pray for us and bare their testimonies, it’s pretty great.
Spanish is frustrating, but what here isn’t sometimes ha. I know I’ve only been studying it for a little over 2 months now, I guess I just need to be patient but I want it NOW!   It sucks because I know what I want to say in English during the lesson so I try to say it in Spanish and it just sounds terrible and I get stuck and ah…. I can contact like no ones business but that’s because we do it so many times a day – I know it will come, I understand more and can speak more than when I came to the island haha but that aint sayin much – just sayin.
I sent my shirts to get sown and have been waiting and waiting and haven’t gotten them back! So I have been washing the two shirts that I kept, every other day in our little lavadora (washing machine) that just spins the clothes in soapy water then I have to rinse and hang up my clothes outside my window to dry! So, hopefully I will get the other ones back soon and the lady isn’t cheating me ha. 
Okay I have to tell yall about the food here, even though everything the exact same, it is the greatest food ever. My favorite thing is spaghetti and fritas which are fried platanos (plantain bananas –bland and starchy) dipped in ketchup! Que sabroso! ooo so good.
We just went to the Sam’s Club of Santiago and got our bulk items so we can save a little money, then we ate and now we are at the internet cafĂ© doing our e-mails.  So, not too much going on, but it’s good.  We get around in little cars they call rutas.  It’s kind of like an early 90’s Honda Civic that they stuff 8 people into.  That was really fun today with all of our groceries!
To be honest though, this week has been pretty standard.  I guess that I’m already settling into missionary life. Studying, I have found is the key to missionary work.  My comp and I study together and practice what we are going to teach and how we are going to say it and we actually put it into practice!  It’s kind of like making a game plan and then going out and playing.  I have also found that we gain a lot of confidence from this and learn to react to each other’s queues. For example, we invited Fernandez to be baptized four times in one lesson and it was great, we just didn't take no for an answer. ha
But I hope that all is well in Provo and in Utah, so many missionaries here are from Utah and Arizona so I can talk to most of them about my time in both places!
Tell Ryan Francom good luck!  He’ll do great – just have patience and be obedient (hey, that's what I’m learning!)
But, okay love yall !


Friday, October 14, 2011

El Ejido P3

El Ejido -  Baptism Day 

This may be the new house in El  Ejido
La Casa Rosada

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

El Ejido 3

Hey Family and Friends
QUE PASO!!!  hahah hello ! How are ya’ll doing!?                               12 Oct 2011
This week has been rough!  We walk so so so much every day! I don't know how my legs handle it!  Must be on angel’s wings huh. Haha  
The baptisms went really well. Ashanty, the little girl was so funny before her baptism, she kept saying que linda, que linda (how beautiful, how beautiful) I loved it.
Eudi is about 17 and he was baptized as well.  His parents had a big problem with him getting baptized.  They worship this little statue of baby Jesus; the little statue is dressed in a pink dress! Just like everyone else and their dog here. I think that he will be okay!
We had the chance to go over and teach him with two of the preist from the ward.  We taught him about the Sacrament and how to bless it.  He was ordained a priest immediately after he received the Holy Ghost. Things happen fast.
David was the other kid my comp baptized.  He was baptized on Saturday night.  Then confirmed a member of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The very next morning he received the priesthood and was ordained as a Deacon and then was called to be the Deacons Quorum President all in his first day as a member! ha   That just goes to show you how little our ward is.
We have an investigator that is awesome, but not progressing much at the same time. His name is Frank. He’s from New York and speaks perfect English.  We went and taught him a lesson and I was asked to give the first prayer. I could not pray in English to save my life! Hah  it was so so awkward, but teaching was just fine. 
I know this may be a little late in my life for this epiphany, but after teaching about the Restoration so many times I now KNOW that it was needed! haha Tender mercies.
Oh, we taught another lesson on this ghetto street at about 9:00 pm just right before we went home. It was sweet and hilarious.  We were invited into this place and of course the little boys don't have their clothes on, and the Dads shirt is off, but we teach anyway.  Then as usual, we – my comp or I -always start the charla (lesson) with a prayer, teach the charla and then get the investigator to finish off with a prayer-  no matter how long it takes for them to agree! haha,  So we taught him how to pray.  He was like, ok.... I’ll do it.  We sat there for about 2 minutes with our heads bowed waiting for him to say a prayer….and then he said this.... “padre celestial y jesucristo amen” ( Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, amen)  ......  I almost started laughing so hard!  But, I guess he kinda did what we asked him to, so we just went with it. That made our day.
Life here is fun because I totally get to – or have to - change to things that I would normally do.  We walk in the street a foot away from passing cars, cram into dumb little routas( little taxi kinda of like an early 90's honda Civic) to get places, buy the  cheapest food at the colmados (grocery store), etc… 
Mom and Dad the avocados here are amazing... Yes, I am eating them now!  They have changed my life. But , there is a ton that is different here, the differences are stark and it’s fun for me.
I hate seeing the way people live here though.  It’s sad because some of our best members live in a two room house with ants running around and flies everywhere.  It’s just bad and I feel like they deserve a lot more!
We had a reunion de misioneros nuevos (meeting for new missionaries) this week.  So I got to see all of the Elders that I was with in the CCM.  That was way fun!  I took a picture with my very first companion - he is still my favorite!
President Lee is awesome; He'll be a prophet one day I swear - because he tells all of the elders exactly what they need to hear to lift them or correct them and teaches how to teach and how to apply everything we learn into our teachings. 
Our bishop here makes scripture covers that almost every Elder in the East and West missions have, and they are awesome, I’m thinking about getting some because the rain has not treated my scriptures well.  His mom, who lives with him, sows a taper in our shirts.  Now, I don't look like a marshmallow while I’m walking down the street.  I am so grateful for that!
Our project with Romy's house is going pretty well.  We just got the stair rail put in and are going to start destruction sometime this next week! President Lee stresses the importance of service and so I am glad to be doing something for one of the members.  He said that we will be our happiest when we serve. :)  When you are in the service of your fellow man… 
Well, I will put some pictures of the baptism on here as well and me with my first comp,  and maybe the house we will be moving into.
Oh hey!  WE ARE MOVING out of our apartment into a small house!   I’m so glad! Our apartment right now is on the fourth floor and it has tons of problems.  Also, the neighbors are tapped into our power and are stealing power from us!  So, we went out and found a little house a couple streets over from where we are now.  It’s awesome! Dad, It reminded me of your apartment story! ha
I love you all!  OHHHH STACI FINALLY WROTE ME BACK!!!! Happy day! haha I took too long, but it was okay! I love you sis!
Okay answers to questions!
Hahah!  Ay mi madre, tengo calor aqui cada dia! todos los dias!  hah ( oh mother, it’s hot here every day, all of the time)  But, wow!  Yeah Dominican Spanish is crazy! And they speak it so fast here!
Okay.  Dad, you’re right about the adversary trying to discourage and place doubt in the investigators.  Delvi told us last time we taught him that he didn't want to get baptized because he still wanted to drink.  We brought one of his friends with us, who is a member.  I think that with him there and a prayer for the Spirit, his fears were calmed and everything’s just fine and he’s still looking forward to his baptism on the 29th.
The temple, I guess, used to be white but over time has changed colors and now it’s like reddish. haha
We only eat with members on Sunday.  The rest of the time we eat lunch at a little shop by our house.  It costs 100 pesos or 2 dollars. We hardly ever have dinner because we are out contacting people or teaching in the evening.
We are rebuilding the house and it will still be on top of the roof.
I love you Dad and hope that you’re doing great, I hope you know that you’ve really influenced most of the things that I am doing right now for the Lord, You have been and are a great example for me so thank you. :)
Tell everyone hi for me. I miss ‘em.
Love ya

Thursday, October 6, 2011

El Ejido P2

Elder Griner and Elder Jensen

El Elijdo P1

President and Sister Lee with
Elder Griner

El Ejido District
Service Project building a house

El Ejido 2

Hey all,                                                                                                                                      5 Oct 2011

What’s up people! How are you!  No, I didn't get transferred, Mom, I’m still here in El Ejido. It’s an awesome place and I love it!

I don't have pictures yet, which is sad because I wish I could show you this place. We live in a really rich area but the area we tract in is very poor.  Our apartment isn’t dirty anymore.  We have worked on it each pday. One thing it really needed was to get fumigated. We just had that done.  So there are no more cockroaches – hasta la vista my leetle friends! haha. 

The schedule here is a lot different then I thought it was going to be. We study in the morning for 3 hours and then go out and teach a couple of lessons and do some contacting.  Then come back for lunch at 12:00, eat and have an hour of language study! So, wow books are my favorite. haha.  I am able to read in Spanish finally, and don’t touch my English scriptures or Preach My Gospel much, but it is still a challenge. Anyway, my schedule as a real missionary is wake up at 6:30, exercise and eat breakfast, study from 7:30 - 8:30 personally, then at 8:30 start comp study till 10:30, leave, go proselyte till 12:00, eat, rest, then at 2:30 leave again until 9:30.

Okay so exciting news!! We have three baptisms scheduled on Saturday that my companion Elder Jensen, and his old comp had set!  Here’s the great thing -  this week I was able to extend my first baptismal challenge and got a commitment!! It was tight! Actually the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever experienced! After I issued the invitation he, Delvi, looked at me and said ... si, 29 de Octubre esta bien (yes 29 of October , is fine)..... haha Absolutely the  coolest thing ever.  Those of you who have been through that know the feelings.

I didn’t know that I would teach  the first lesson so many times in one day! My goodness.   There is a mission goal to meet 10 new people a day.  We usually get like 13.  Every person we meet, we teach the first lesson to.  We adjust the concepts according to their needs and by the promptings of the Spirit!  

Now that I’ve got the hang of things a little better, my comp and I have started to switch off starting and scheduling the days plan.

The life people live here is way different then I have ever known, ie, we are building a new home for one of the members.  Elder Jensen, my companion, has drawn out all of the plans for it. The house is for a son of one of the members.  Right now he lives on top of his parent’s house in a wood shack that he made himself.  This is our service project for him.

We went over yesterday morning with our district (all good guys) and took all of the things off of the fourth floor all the way down the stairs to ground level to get ready to start building the house. So, as long as my comp is still in the area , the next two transfers, we will be doing this for our service project. 

Conference was the bomb!! I about cried when President Monson announced that WE WERE GETTING A NEW TEMPLE in Provo!!!!! That’s the best thing I could ever imagine! Awesome!

We went over to the estaca (stake center) to watch it in English - and I loved it .
There are a lot of native speakers in my zone and it helps a lot.  I’m learnig phrasing and words that I probably wouldn’t learn from the gringos .haha. 

I am having a good time here! It’s way way way hot here with a lot of humidity.  Our apartment is on the fourth floor.  So after walking all day,  teaching lessons and climbing up sketcthy/scary stairs, we get to drag our butts (oops!) up our stairs.  But it’s like Elder Scott said, " if you knew what i know about this gospel, you would run to preach it" !

I love you all and wish I could write to each of you! You’re the best and keep winning games! OOOOO Mommma I got your package and it cost me a lot of money because of duties or whatever.  So, I guess it’s better to just send packages to the mission home address city and not through Miami! Sorry, I just found that out – an expensive lesson!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

El Ejido 1

Hola Hola                                                                Sep 29, 2011
First day in the field! It’s pretty great, haha and very eye opening.  I’m doing well. 

Two days ago (Tuesday the 27th)  we got on a bus in Santo Domingo for a 2 hour ride north to Santiago.  We arrived at the mission home where the President and his wife greeted us. That was pretty cool! (meeting the President not the ride. Haha)

I was the first to be assigned a companion and an area.  My companion is Elder Jensen from Rexburg Idaho. Haha.  I am serving in the city (Santiago) for my first transfer.  It’s an area called El Ejido!  

We have a huge area to cover.  The missionary work has been going good for them here. The ward is not very strong but it’s all a work in progress- right?.

Back to Tuesday, we spent most the day at the mission home but at 3:00 we went out on intercambios (trade-offs).  I got to go to my area! Only 3 minutes after we left the Mission home it started to rain -well not really rain, it was pouring buckets.  I thought that my companion would find us some cover to get under to stay a little dry..... but,  no.  We just kept walking, I felt like I almost needed to start treading water  - I couldn't see anything in front of or around me, I don’t think I could have been anymore wet if I had jumped in the lake!  There wasn't a dry spot anywhere on me.

We finally took a ruda (small taxi) that took us over to the Bishops house where we finally took cover. After 30 minutes we looked outside and saw the stairs had a waterfall going down them! haha It is pretty insane here when it rains. 

We went back to the mission home after contacting and reading the LDM (El Libro de Mormon – Book of Mormon) with an MA (?) and then we ate dinner and got together for prayer and went to bed.  We woke up this morning and after getting ready we got together for our assignments.

I was the first one get my assignment and to leave the Mission home. My new area is the closest to the Mission home.  I have been in my apartment unpacking and cleaning all day, because it was filthy!  My companion took me to the store.  A good way to start in a new area - our mission money card didn't work. haha (well maybe not so much)  So, I had to use my personal card.   They will reimburse it on my mission card.

Now here I am serving a mission!!! hahah.  I love it here and I know I won’t ever get used to the humidity but I’ll dry - or is that try.  I can’t wait to learn Spanish better so I can better understand and communicate.

A teacher in the MTC told us that we weren't on our missions to learn Spanish, but that we are here to testify of Jesus Christ - any way we can.  And I can do that!  but.... I still can’t wait to learn Spanish.

My companion has been out for about a year and doesn't speak Spanish with much of a Dominican lilt or inflection. He speaks Spanish really well.  I hope that I can speak more like the natives and no so much like a gringo.  I know it will take a lot of practice, but I’m willing to put in the effort.

The Church has implemented a new program for new missionaries.  The new Elders first area is to last for 2 transfers or 12 weeks with the same companion in the same area.  It is to help the new missionaries become more familiar with mission life and provide a better environment to learn in. I am glad that I was placed with a good companion in a good area. I know that I will be having fun out here – because I already am. 

It was sad to say goodbye to all of the guys from the CCM , I had a good time with them! It’s amazing how close you can get when you’re all in the same boat working and learning. 

We have a District meeting today and teaching appointments tonight with members.  So I will be able to meet them all and  get going on this adventure. haha.

I hope that all is well with the family.  It was too bad that I didn’t hear from you! I should have let you know when I was going to be transferred. 

EMAIL me people! haha

Well I love you all and I will put some pictures of my final days in the CCM on here oaky!

Love you so so much!

ELDER GRINER or Greeener