Matt's scripture for the week

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

Alma 42:27

Thursday, January 26, 2012

EE P17.2

Our district BBQ at the El Ejido Ward Building
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EE P18.2

Doing the dishes
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EE P18.1

One of the good guys holding his Book of Mormon
El Ejido
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EE 18

Well hello there!                                                                                          01/25/2012 
It’s seems like it’s been a very, very, very, short week. It went by way to fast and I feel like every day is going by faster and faster.  
To answer your questions dad: Delvi won’t accept us anymore and his friends are too much of an influence on him, which kills me.  We keep passing by his house and he’s never there.  I tried calling but he doesn’t/won’t answer. The house that we are building is coming along.... not fast though, because since Elder Jensen left we don’t go over as much as we were. We went on Monday and had to pick at concrete so we could put up a wall. We picked for about 3 hours with a 4 lb sledge hammer.  haha my hands kill, it’s like the 1st week of batting practice without using gloves – I must be losing some of my calluses.... but yeah it’s coming along okay. 
I feel like we are actually doing something to help our ward now.  We are working with the members, doing visits with them and taking as many as will on our missionary teaching appointments and trying to include them in everything. We worked with our mission leader and put together a chart of the members and assigned 1 family to 2 other families.  They call to check and see if they are having their Family Home Evening (FHE) and if they are ready to go to church when the time comes.  If anyone has problems, it’s easier this way to get the members working for each other and not just the leaders calling everyone. This also helps us have an updated list of every person that we can take teaching with us.  It is effective and awesome. haha . 
We had an FHE on Monday that was sweet.  We called a family to accompany us and we had the tema (lesson subject), but we had been so busy we hadn’t planned anything. So, when we were walking towards the house I asked my comp what we were going to teach, he looked at me and said hmmmmm whatever the spirit tells us. So we prayed.... and they spirit hadn’t talked to me yet so I looked over to him and he was flipping to the back of the scriptures where he found the word adversity (which was perfect for the family) and from that word he had a scripture in 2 Nephi that he shared and I shared one from Helaman and they went together perfectly.  The family had questions and comments and then we ate after this great discussion.  Over all it was perfect.... but not planned.  Sometimes we are blessed in the best ways – tender mercies!
Yesterday we had an awesome opportunity which doesn’t come along very often.  We have a family that we are teaching, Igor, Mildred and their two kids. She is at home by herself most of the time and he is a vet.  She has tons of work to do around the house, so yesterday we got there... Oh after bible bashing with the testigos de jehova (we won – if there is such a thing in a Bible bash).... she looked completely worn out; the house was way dirty and the dishes weren’t done.  So we put our backpacks down.  My comp looked after the baby and I went after the dishes.  We started cleaning; and cleaned the kitchen and the dishes and let her rest a little. We got to talk to her a little while we were working.  Now she knows us a little better and who we are and we know her a little better and who she is.  Now our relationship is so much better because we had the chance to help her a little bit – a little trust built by small acts of service.  I don’t want to jinx her or us so I will leave the story at that for now. hahah Usually when I email about someone we are teaching and seems really ready, we don’t end up getting a hold of them the next week. haha. 
I don’t think that I’m going anywhere this transfer.  I didn’t get called to train L  and I’m sad about that.  I really wanted to.  I think that my comp and I will be together here in El Ejido for another transfer, but we are not sure. I’ll find out on the 31st. 
 We got to play Dr. Phil this past week with a couple that lives close to the Bishop in a place called Congo.  They are married and have twins.  Something happened and he left the house for about 4 days and left her with the kids.  So we went over and gathered them all up for a little talk.  We had Romy with us - he can talk anyone into anything - so we brought the husband in sat down and talked about marriage/ family and how important it is.  During our little chat they fixed some things up in their relationship and it was sweet to see them back together. 
But, yah.  That is the weekly report for here in Santiago RD.  Please keep me updated on things back at home!!!
I love you all and will e-mail ya next week
DAD!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you spend it well in the hospital !!!!!!!!!!!! haha no really, I hope your surgery goes well.


EE P17.1

The Bishop in the El Ejido ward made this for me!
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

EE 17

Hey family!

Thanks for the letter dad it is way good to hear all of the new things going around.

Wow, Calder had his farewell! Time flies by. I remember when he told me that he was leaving in January and that seemed like it was forever away.  But, now he is leaving!!!! Wow, I’m so excited for him and welcome him to this adventure called a mission. He’ll do great. I hope that everything was fun there at the farewell and it sucks that I missed it. And wow I could really use some of that pork here! haha.

BUT.... the class went bad! haha Because that day we had a meeting with the mission president and one of the area 70s was here to give a short outlook on the BOM.  It was cool and it’s always good to hear and learn.  We had asked a member to help us teach because we wanted to give him a chance to grow and because this meeting with the President was scheduled after we had scheduled our Book of Mormon class.  We thought that the class could get started and then we could get there after our meeting.  Well the best laid plans ….. We showed up to the class about an hour late and the teacher that we had asked to help us didn’t show up until after we did. Uugh!  So, the people that were there were kind of mad and frustrated (and rightly so), so they left. But it was good to see one sister still in her seat and after everyone else had left she looked at us and said.... I would like to learn! haha So we taught her and will hopefully get things under control this week to make the class better.

We had a cool experience this week that made things a lot better for us. We had just finished our last set appointment and were trying to find new people.  So, we went to the top of an apartment building and started contacting.  The first people didn’t want anything to do with us and so we knocked on the next door.   An 18 year old kid invited us in and as we sat down his sister came in the room.  She was so excited to see us and told us that she wanted us to pray for her family and husband and her work so that she can find a job. We told her that we could do that!  So we started with a prayer and later on in our conversation we found out that their Dad had just died, that’s the worst thing for them, but the best opportunity for missionaries to teach and explain the plan of salvation to them and to reassure them that they would see him again.  Right after we told them that, they told us that we could come back whenever we wanted and that she wanted us to pass by at least 2 times a week to talk to and teach her. ! ! It was so awesome to find someone that is actually ready to hear what we have to say.

I went on my first intercambio (trade-off) this week with the zone leaders and it was way fun.  It gave me a lot more energy to work and I learned a ton.  I went to their area and the “white” ZL came to our area.  So, I was with Elder Valdez, he’s the fastest speaking Dominican in the mission. Wow, he is a boss and can teach and can have fun. We went to his area and time flew by.  We were teaching a lesson almost every 20 minutes and every one of their investigators had a Book of Mormon and when they opened the door for us they had it in their hands ready to read.  Among other things I learned that I have a lot to work on during my mission, a lot to study and, a lot to apply in my teachings.

My comp and I are having a ton of fun in our area.  Working with the members is great and not so great.  haha I shouldn’t say that but I’m used to living in a ward that functioned!  It’s a good thing that I grew up where the church is established, perhaps because of the examples I saw, I can help these new members understand and carry out callings so things will work smoothly.   It’s amazing what we take for granted.  One thing that I can see with them though, is that they really have to fight for their beliefs.  That is something that we in Utah never really have to do.

Our district had a BBQ this morning in the pouring rain.  We played basketball and had a fun time getting a little exercise shooting hoops and getting to know each other.  After our game we went over to the Bishop’s house and my trainer was there!  Elder Jensen was trying to get his scripture cases. It was fun to see and talk to him. So we took a picture together! I’ll try and send it on to you.

I love you all and hope the best!!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

EE 16

Saludos.....! ha                                                      Jan 11,2012

What’s up familia! I miss ya a lot and hope everything is going good!!!! We had a fun week with a lot of different experiences. We got a whole new district this last transfer and most of them are brand new missionaries. We’re always together and having fun!  It’s good to hear that ya’ll got grandpa and grandma out safely and that they are fine. I can only imagine trying to move everything out of that house!!! I remember doing the storage and it was a hassle!

But wow, this has been a fun week.  We are teaching so so many lessons and are trying to find people that actually want to listen and act.  The surprising thing is that we have found more inactive members that were baptized and have gone inactive for one reason or another, than we have found new people.

We were walking down the street just one down from ours and stopped at a house that had music blasting out of it.  We came to find out that the family that lives there have been inactive for about 8 years. haha We taught them twice and the third time we went back there the son who is 23 told us a story that cracked me up. First off, he is a little out of it, and talks way too much.  But, he was telling us about a dream that he had and in the dream, God appeared to him and told him that he had one more chance.  As he was telling us he was closing his eyes and feeling the wall and waving his hands!! hah but, ya that he had one more chance and it would be his last to do the best he could. I couldn’t help but laugh inside while he was talking, he was sooooo dramatic.

We had a earthquake run through the island this last week.  It was really small but scared the crap out of me. It was about 5:30 in the morning and I was still sound asleep (I sleep with ear plugs so I couldn’t hear anything), but all of a sudden, I just feel my bed start to move back and forth and I didn’t have any clue what was going on! I woke up and my comp hopped right out of his bed and made sure that I didn’t get up out of mine (he knows what’s up with earth quakes because he was there in Haiti when the big one hit there).  So, he was freaking out. Things rumbled and shook for about 30 seconds and our building was moving like it was sand! Crazy stuff!  Hopefully, the world really doesn’t end this year...... haha.

We went this last week without electricity. We were studying and planning in candle light.  We even had to hand wash our clothes!  It was a great time and I can’t wait to do it again..... It’s never dull around here.  We called our building owner for the 4th time and he finally got it fixed for us.

There is an investigator that we have who is the cousin of one of our stronger members.  We were at her house teaching her and while we were teaching one of her friends walked in the door and started saying hi to everyone in the room and giving people kisses on the cheek like everyone does here.  When it came to my turn, I didn’t occur to me that she was going to do the same to me, but then she went in for it. I moved my seat back and turned my head - at the same time my camp yelled NOOO haha!  She stopped just that close and then we had to explain that missionaries are off limits and can’t do that!  She felt so bad. I was as embarrassed as ever but it turned out to just be funny and a good story! Haha

We started and are teaching a book of Mormon class in the ward because we feel that no one knows anything about it.  So, tomorrow we’ll have our first class!  We passed around a list at church and had people that wanted take the class sign it.  There were a lot of people that signed up. Hopefully, we can get a message across about the importance of the book of Mormon in our religion. My mission in El Ejido has changed a lot with my new companion.  We are now focusing mainly on the Ward because it needs tons of help. The gospel is still young here and there’s not a lot of experience to help sustain the members, let alone to help build up the new converts.

 I love all of you!! BYE BYE


Saturday, January 7, 2012

EE P15.3

El Ejido - part of our area
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EE P15.2

El Ejido Old airport runway
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EE P15.1

El Ejido New Years Eve
with Elder Alexis
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EE 15

Hola familia Grinnnner.                                                    1/04/2012


Our new year was probably the coolest one ever. haah. We got done with work at about 8:00 p.m. and went over to Hermano Amins house to eat and visit and watch them party.... It wasn’t so lively but what can ya do. Haha
After dinner and a visit we decided to celebrate a little bit.  So we went and bought some stuff from the colmado (corner market) and took it up to the roof of our apartment building.  We then climbed on top of the neighbor’s house so we had a better view of the Monument in the middle of the city where they light off fireworks.  We took our treats and camera and waited for the show at midnight. Haha.  We had the best time.  The next day I was dead tired at church from not getting as much sleep as I am used to!  But, wow thank goodness it’s a new year and we get to start off with new goals!

This week has been really cool! I’ve gotten to know my comp a ton better and I love him. We are able to communicate much better.  The language barrier is bridged by the things we have and do in common – the Gospel and teaching, and talking while on the roof.

We are having really, really good lessons, but people just don’t want to do much. I have learned a ton of how to teach with my new comp and I’m so so grateful for that.  We had one lesson with a guy named Enrique that Elder Jensen and I had been teaching for a while.  We found him on the street just sitting under a tree and that is where we have been teaching him the whole time. He loved reading of the LDM (book of Mormon) and always wanted us to give him something new to read, so we always did hoping that he would understand. But he never wanted us to teach him.  We finally got to teach and we decided to teach a franca lesson, which is a lesson to give them a chance to tell us if they want us to teach anymore or not. So, we taught him and he felt terrible about not wanting to be more proactive in learning the Gospel and that we would have to move on to others. But, we dropped him. It was one of the worst things that I’ve ever had to do. But, he wasn’t progressing and not doing anything but reading. So, hopefully that will help him in the future when other missionaries contact him.
Ssoooo on Sunday we had..........32 people in the church!  wohooo awesome right.  Not.  No one was there and my comp was so so confused.  But with all of the vacations and celebrations nobody had time for church I guess, ah. We can definitely see our ward is still in its infancy as far as understanding, commitment, and leadership. The priesthood holders try but don’t know much because most of them are 1st generation members of only a short time, and a lack of training, etc . So we have kind of devoted our time to that during the week, teaching the elders of the church and the members, so that they can feel more comfortable being more involved which makes it good for us and finding contacts 

We were at a member’s house the other night, the family Vargas.  Their son always leaves with us and has a good time. That family is always at church.  But, his mom has been sick and has something wrong with her.  Right before we were about to leave there house Hermano Vargas stopped us and told us that his wife wanted a blessing of health from us.  So we went to go give her a blessing thinking that I would anoint and he would seal the anointing and give the blessing.  He said that he didn’t know much about that and thought it would be better because he hasn’t done it much. So my comp and I were pleased to do it and it was way cool.  But I felt bad for him not wanting to give her a blessing!  We tried to teach him that there’s no time like the present to learn but he wasn’t having that.

haha. Oh we were in a contacted lesson and we had taught most of the first lesson and asked the guys we were teaching if he would pray for us, he said no, no I don’t know much about praying!  But the thing is that during our whole time in the lesson he was telling us about him being a preacher and attending his church and taking other people to his church but still didn’t want to pray. So my comp prayed but as he was praying the man was just chanting "JESU JESU BENDICEME JESU OOOO SENOR BENDICEME!!!  (Jesus, Jesus bless me, Oh, Lord bless me) over and over. I couldn’t help but smiling to myself during the prayer!!!  ha oh my goodness it’s something I won’t forget.

We haven’t had electricity in the house for about 3 days now and its pretty cool to study, plan and shower by candle light! hahahah

Here are some pictures of the week!  One is on the roof of our house, the other is at the airport that is closed down and the last is one of our areas! 

But wow okay,  Happy New Year everyone!  I love you a lot and I am going to start writing everyone a lot more!! ELDER GRINER