Matt's scripture for the week

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

Alma 42:27

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

EE 14.3

El Ejido
Christmas 2011
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EE P14.2

El Ejido
New Comp ElderAlexis from Haiti
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EE P14.1

El Ejido
Christmas day Baptisms 2011
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EE 14

how are yall !
 I hope that all of the Christmas things and activities went well! it was awesome to talk to yall on the phone and hear your voices and be able to know what’s going on! This week has been really long for me.  But wow we have worked harder than we ever have. Each missionary has his style ya know. My new comp is a machine at this thing called missionary work.
We were out on the 26th and had a couple lesson planned but some of them fell through and usually Jensen and I would call someone else that we could go to but nope not with Elder Alexis.  We knocked on the neighbors door and taught them! It was awesome! We went for 4 hours almost contacting and found 3 menos actives (less active) and three awesome people.
He is teaching me to not have any fear honestly and it sweet – living on faith.  He is funny, every time we get to sit down in a lesson he looks around at the people in the room, asks them their names and according to their age he says.... you’ll be a priest.. you, a deacon .. and, when are you going on a mission!! hahah It is the coolest thing because after those questions we explain what those things are and it wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable anymore with them because they knew more about us and what we expected out of them .
We had a Christmas activity in the church and it was the funniest thing in the world. Everyone came thinking there was going to be food and drinks. But, after the spiritual message that the Bishop shared, they just cranked up the music in the church and expected people to dance. Usually... most all of the time, Dominicans are just fine with dancing but, not this day ! haha It reminded me of 7th grade where all the boys were still hiding from the girls!. Everyone was just sitting in a circle starring at each other! haha I’m kind of glad that we didn’t invite our investigators!
We ate Christmas Eve dinner at the house of the Castillo family and they were awesome but a little bit to anxious to faten me up!  There was enough food to feed the whole city of Santiago! So I had one plate and while I was eating it they kept telling me and my comp to eat fast and eat more. I got done with one plate and they had another one ready for me! I have a tiny stomach and don’t like much food but it did not matter to them.  Wow, it was a funny experience.
We met a kid in the street when I first got to this area and he has always been there to just give us a high five and ride away on his bike.  I never knew his name and never really paid that much attention to him other than just trying to be friendly.  But yesterday I stopped him and asked him his name, where he lives and if his parents were home.  He told me yeah yeah they're home go over there and see them. So we went over there and told the Dad that his son sent us to his house, he laughed; like it’s happened before. But, we came to find out that he and his family had been baptized and had been inactive for about 2 years. They live in a house that we always passed by and never thought to stop.  But on this day we went because a 9 year old kid wants his Dad and family to go to church again!  
Its way cool what gets put into our way when we apply faith and listen to the Spirit.  I think that sometimes timing is everything.
Thank you for making my Christmas the best by talking to me!  It made things way fun!  I love you guys and hope you have a happy new year and make good goals and do good things and light fire works and.... don’t die. !@!1 bye
Oh, can I just tell you that Christmas baptisms are awesome!

"Faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth. . . .Faith, then, is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things; by it they exist, by it they are upheld, by it they are changed, or by it they remain, agreeable to the will of God. Without it there is no power, and without power there could be no creation nor existence!"  -  Joseph Smith

Thursday, December 22, 2011

EE P13

Elder Jensen, my trainer, and me just before transfers Dec 2011
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El Ejido 13

Merry Christmas and Hello people of the states.. 

This week was fun and sad. Haha. We’ve been working really hard (like always) the last few days before the transfer to try put in our area in really great shape. We gave our best efforts with the new investigadores (investigators) and tried to get as much done on Romy’s house as we could.  We didn’t know whether Elder Jensen or I was going to get transferred or if we were going to stay together, or what? 

Well Tuesday morning we found out that Elder Jensen was being transferred to another part of Santiago, it’s really close, only like five minutes away. We packed up his things from the apartment.  Then last night we went to visit our people’s houses to give them Christmas presents and tell them goodbye.  Honestly, it was the saddest thing to see.  He had to say goodbye to people that he will probably never see again.  They are people that have affected his life like crazy in these last 4 months.

We got up this morning and cleaned up the apartment and just sat and waited for the truck to come pick him up and whisk him off to meet his new companion and new area and the same truck would drop off my new companion. I’ll miss Elder Jensen; he was a good example and trainer. He taught me a lot and did a lot for me and I’m really grateful for him. I hope I’ll be able to keep in touch. 

My new companion is Elder Alexis!! Haha.  This guy is funny as ever. He’s this big Haitian Elder that speaks Creole, Spanish and French! So I’ll just have to kick my learning and language study into a higher gear!  His English, well - He can sing every song that we listen to in English. haha. It is a lot different to have a companion that you can’t communicate with as well as you would like to, but hey that’s part of this adventure and what I’ve wanted so ... feet first, no? I know that he will help me a lot with things, and maybe I can be of help to him also.  I was also worried about being able to teach my new comp the area, but I know how to get around have a pretty confident outlook on things. So, I have a great new companion in our great area.

So get this.  We have two baptism planned for this coming Sunday!!!!  Christmas day!!!  It’s the best Christmas present ever right! haha

They are two kids from a menos (less) active family.  Their grandma takes them to church all the time. One Sunday one of the them came up to me and told me he wanted to be baptized along with his brother!  So, we have been teaching them and helping his dad get back into things.  I love that transformation that comes with repentance and desire to do better!  We are doing the baptism at 8:00 a.m. before Sacrament meeting starts – hopefully everyone will be on time! (not – but we can hope). Then he will be confirmed after! So so cool! I remember my baptismal day and I can only imagine how they are going to feel!  It’s awesome! 

We, Elder Jensen and I, taught a lesson the other day to an owner of a colmado (a corner market).  He was so cool.  His name is Carlos.  Supposedly, he has seen and heard of the missionaries and always wanted to talk to them but never had the chance.  We gave him the first pamphlet and he read the whole thing.  He wanted to know more about Joseph Smith and had us tell about him in our own words. Then, he wanted to know more about the LDM (Book of Mormon).  So we gave him a copy of it as well and we hope that he will dive in and read it.

It’s just cool to us because usually people don’t read and don’t have questions, so we usually just teach what we know and what we understand according to our background and experience.  But when they read and think about what they read, they usually have questions and it helps them understand from their perspective rather than from ours. It’s makes a lot better teaching environment and is so so so much better for all involved.

We have been teaching a girl named Yajari along with her brother for a while.  But, this girl really gets it!  She not only reads, but asks questions and internalizes what’s being discussed and most importantly she prays about it!  She can read something and 5 days later she’ll tell us (maybe better said – teach us) all of what she read. We were in a lesson with her and I asked her about her lectura (reading)?  She went off for a good 10 minutes explaining the plan of salvation to us!

When she finished, I jokingly bowed my head and said, vamos a orar entonces (well, let’s pray then – cause we always end our discussions with prayer) haha - she laughed and then we went on with the next lesson.  She honestly knew and understood the whole thing. This goes to show that we can receive our answers through reading, thinking and praying.  When we have faith and the information that we need, and put ourselves in a way that the Spirit can testify to us, all we need is a feeling from the Spirit of its truthfulness to back it up. 

OH, BUT, HEY THANK YOU FOR THE PAPER CHRISTMAS TREE!!!  It’s on my wall and I outlined it with little Christmas lights! I really appreciate all of the notes of love and encouragements that were written on the tree, haha it’s great!  I hung up all of the pictures you sent above my study area and the pictures of the fam are simply wonderful. yall are the best! 

I’m going to miss being there, a lot.  I have this empty feeling right now because it’s just not the same being away from all of you!  But I love the people that I am around. It’s different but a good different, ya know.

If you can get a calling card, that would be great. haha  I'll call you 1st first from the church and give you my number then you can call me back!  I'll call at about 5:00 pm your time.  I'm excited to talk to you all!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

EE 12.4

"White Christmas"
Willi's Baptism December 10,2011
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EE 12.3

Some of the ward at Willi's baptism
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EE 12.2

My apartment building.
It's on the 4th floor
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EE 12.1

Broom stick and bottle caps
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El Ejido 12

Hola familia Griner!!!                                                                     12/14/2011
Hola hola hola hola! Amigo y vecinos (friends and neighbors)
It’s been an awesome week full of fun stuff and good experiences! 
I had the first baptism of my life!  It was the coolest thing ever! hahh I got to baptize Willi last Saturday.  We had almost all of the youth from the young men and young women’s groups there to support him and most of the primary as well as his Mom!!!  It was a huge show of love and support! 
We went to fill up the baptismal font like 4 hours before the baptism.  We put blue dye in the water to make it look cooler (???)  But, when we came back the water was like green and had a centipede swimming it! haha (oh how I love it here).   It was, well, funny.  So anyway we got it as clean as we could and had the baptism!
We are teaching Willi’s Mom now which is a freaking miracle because before his baptism she didn’t ever want to hear from us.  The Lord puts others (Willi) in the perfect spot to help others! Anyway it was fun!
I was asked to give a talk in church the next day on Sunday by the Bishop while we were at his house.  I asked him ... well what do you want me to talk about?  He said hmmm, whatever you feel the ward needs to hear! haha funny. So I picked the purpose of Christ’s life, I talked about his birth and Christmas time, His ministry and His atonement.  I spoke in Spanish of course, and I think that it went well. 
I don’t know if I told yall this story but it’s hilarious. We were walking to one of our lesson in El Ejido and on the way we saw a car that had died.  They were trying to push it, so we stopped to help them. We started pushing it around a corner - we had to push really hard because it was a little bit of an incline -, so we push hard and are waiting for the guy that is steering the thing to turn, at the last second he finally turns – his friends are yelling at him – then we start down a little decline and he picks up a little speed but isn’t braking.  After a minute he still doesn’t brake and so we just let go and there his car goes right into the 3 foot high curb.  It messed up his bumper and front headlight. Anyway, we ran around to the driver’s side and came to find out that the guy that was steering was wasted/ drunk and didn’t have a clue of what was going on!!  Right after that we went to teach the lesson and guess what the subject was?  haha We taught the word of wisdom!! And we used that example as to why we don’t drink! Haha – just the example we needed at just the right time!  I’m glad that nothing serious happened to the guy who was drunk.
Today was the greatest pday ever.  We went to the stake center and had an activity day with the whole zone and played basketball and stick ball. Stick ball is the best!  We have a broom stick and bottle caps (like milk bottle sized caps) and play baseball with ‘em (no wonder the Dominicans are so good at baseball)!
We also had a Christmas party with President Lee.  Santa Claus came and we played games and had a lot of fun!
Christmas day we can call for an hour from the church or we can use skype at an internet center. I’ll be getting a new comp just before Christmas, on the 21st, and he is the one that will decide. So, I will let you know when I do!! hahah I really can’t wait ! It’ll be fun!    About the phone call home - whomever wants to be there can be, just as long as they want to and will talk to me! hahah
But hey, I love all of you!  Next Wednesday I will have a new comp, Hopefully a Dominican so I can learn the language a little quicker.  Elder Jensen is probably going to be transferred.  I’ll miss him.  He’s been a great trainer.  Sad day right!
Okay love you !!

Friday, December 9, 2011

El Ejido 11

I would like to spend some time talking about Dominican time, if church starts at 9 in reality are starts at 9:35 and if we have a meeting at 7 it starts at 830.  OH, and if some tells you they are 5 minutes away its more like an hour, if it rains you shouldn’t even expect anyone to come! haha  Nothing starts on time here and a lot of time is wasted on waiting! haha frustrating but ya gotta live with it.

It was kind of funny this Sunday, elder Jensen and I got to the church at 8:40 and had to set up all the chairs, prepare the sacrament, put out all the books and greet the people.  We had investigadores (investigators) there at 9:00, but the members didn’t come until  9:20 and we had to start without the Bishop because he didn’t come in until 9:30! Honestly!  My comp and I just laugh now, because every meeting that we have we ask them to be on time, we always have things prepared, but we're on Dominican time :) haha .
But this week was fun! We taught a lot and I finally feel like I can teach a little bit in Spanish.  We taught a lesson last night that was pretty cool even though we got rejected.  We were teaching Reafeal Enrique with one of our best new members Eudy and we sat down on the curb with plans to invite him to be baptized.  We started talking and found out that he has read so so much and he told us that he thought all of this is true so my comp invited him to be baptized if he found out for sure that it was true.  He waited for a little and then went on to tell us that he likes to drink but knows that it’s bad for his body, but he doesn’t want to stop drinking and that if he gets baptized he knows he'll have to stop. haha.  We tried to assure him that he has someone looking out for him and shared a scripture with him but he was so so stiff on him liking to drink.  I really hope that we get the chance to teach him more.

 We had a district meeting this Monday and I had to teach how we could reach our goals as a district.  So I prepared something pretty good and was ready to go.  We showed up to the meeting and had our interviews with our DL and when I got out of mine I saw the mission president sitting there........ haha
I thought... oh great!  So I got to share my first presentation in my mission with him there and it went pretty well ! I shared how the first principle of the doctrine of Christ "faith" applies more to missionary work than any other time in our lives and how trust in the Lord and action can help us reach our rewards or metas (D&C 59 23).

 We have a baptism on Saturday!! Finally! haha, Willi is getting baptized this Saturday and we think that Eudy will baptize him which is awesome!
We have been teaching willi a ton and his friends but we still can’t get to his mom but we hope that she will attend the baptism and be a part of it all and have that open a door for the two white kids to come in.

But happy December I hope it snows and that someone in the fam goes skiing!!!!! haha love you all

Friday, December 2, 2011

El Ejido 10

Dear Family and friends,                                                                         11/30/2011

This week has been pretty fun! we have had a lot of ups and downs some disappointments and things like that but it’s okay. 

 Our transfer is on the 21st of December so during Christmas I will finally be with a Dominican in the same area hopefully but we never know, President Lee could do whatever he’s prompted to. 

I’m sad to say that Mario didn’t get baptized.  We went over to his house 4 days before his baptism. Just to confirm that’s everything was okay.  So, after we had already planned everything, supposedly his Tia (Aunt) called and said that he couldn’t get baptized!  He lives with his grandma and uncle and doesn’t know where his parents are. So I guess the Tia has some authority over him. The Bishop is going to talk to her and try to field some of her concerns.  Wily is awesome and will be getting baptized on the tenth, which is exciting! 

We are also teaching another less active family that has two kids that aren’t baptized.  One of them is 14yers old named Jeffery and we taught him the 2nd lesson about the plan of salvation. The whole time he was asking questions and wanted to know more and more and at the end he stopped us and started telling us how bad he wanted to live in the celestial kingdom and how he is going to read his scriptures and do que dios quiere (what God wants him to) so he can live there and he said that he is going to follow the example of Christ and also tell his family about it..... Then we paused..... and he said .... I’ve never been so serious about anything in my life!  hahahahaha. The Spirit there was awesome. 

We also planned a movie night at the church outside on the cancho (lawn?) with a projector. We went and bought drinks and cookies and popcorn. A ton of people were there, many that we never thought would ever show up!  So, that went well other than me having to serve the food the whole time. Ha

Verjilio our mission leader got married in the chapel and then the next day in the temple.  We got to go to the wedding and it was tight. The Dominican dancing is the bomb.  I was so depressed because we couldn’t dance haha!  

 And on the house that we are building, we got the roof on the front part of the house which was fun to do. It’s hard work but fun. He lives on the fourth floor and so to get the roof parts up there Ii had to strap myself to the fence and have Elder Jensen hand me the slabs.  I had to throw them over the fence,... I wish i had a picture of it , it was crazy,.

So, we have to mop all the time here to keep the floor clean. One day I was cooking fritos with oil and was pouring the oil into a cup to save it and se cayo la vaso ( the glass fell over) and the oil went everywhere. So I cleaned it up with the mop and cleaned the mop . The next day I decided to mop again and when I got done we leftto do missionary work.  When we came back I sat down in my chair and it almost went out from under me because the floor was still so slippery from the oil that was left in the mop. So now we can just about ski on our floor ! haha its funny . But this next week will be awesome.

 I love ya’ll !!!

Elder Matt Griner