Matt's scripture for the week

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

Alma 42:27

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

AH 4

Family,                                                                                                         26 September 2012 

Thank you everyone for writing me! ha it feels really good to see all the emails when I log on.  

This week in the mission,  I honestly have really grown in my testimony. As usual in my new assignment, we had an exchange with other missionaries.  I went with Elder Richins from Idaho.  He’s almost finishing his mission.  It was the most spiritual day that I think that I have had in my mission. We were able to teach perfectly, We taught James, the Haitian, that will be baptized this Saturday about the plan of salvation and finished with a kneeling prayer and in his prayer - that he said in his broken Spanish-, he said God.. Please help me know if this church is true and if I should be baptized. It was the simplest prayer, but I know that he felt the Spirit because we sure did. We also taught a guy named Rafael that lives with his son.  At first he wasn’t really into the lesson and didn’t want to listen very much, but as we got talking about the gospel and how it could bless his life and what he needs to do to change he started to pay attention. We started teaching about the doctrine of Christ and he honestly could not take his eyes off of Elder Richins when he was talking because he was so interested. At the end of the lesson I got to invite him to be baptized.  Without hesitation he said.... of course!  It was the simplest thing and it just helps me know that the Lord really does prepare people to hear from us and this really is His work and no one can stop it.  Even though it was our first time talking with Rafael the gospel seemed so familiar to him that he accepted it freely.

My mission has taken a complete change from what it was. I now understand why I am here and what I am doing. I understand now that everything that I do and that happens is for an eternal propose and will have eternal consequences or blessings.

I am in a country that gets more corrupt every day; meeting people that have never heard the word respect, seeing people without morals trying to live together - but it doesn’t work.

I hit a point this last week where I kind of couldn’t take it anymore. I mean I come from a place that is perfect –well…- , but I realized that the gospel is the only thing that will EVER be able to fix everything that is going on in the world........we have a lot of work to do ......... ha .

If everyone understood how small we really are and how important this time here on earth is and how little of time we have. Ha.  In one of our lesson we had the ward mission leader with us and he gave an example that the time in the life is comparable to an ant in a football stadium.  It’s honestly nothing compared to eternity.  But the thing is that our progression in eternity depends a lot on what we have done here on the earth. Ha. 

I wish I could just help more people understand the gospel and life for that reason. 

I am so grateful to be a missionary of the Lord; to absolutely separate myself from the world for two years and help others understand what I have come to understand. I am also so grateful to have a family that loves me and that has the same beliefs as I do. Being able to say how much my family and I have been blessed by the gospel is one of my favorite things to do while we are teaching.  It always makes others wonder if they could have that to. And they can!!!  That is the great part about the gospel is that anyone can have it if they want it (Alma 42:27). 

Wow, I love all of you and I love the plan that God has given us.  It is perfect and I hope yall know it .

See ya when I do! ha


mision santiago RD

Just Chillin

What? A change of heart?


Friday, September 21, 2012

AH 3

Howdy ha                                                                     September 19, 2012


This week flew by! I feel like I blinked and Wednesday was here again. I swear that time should not go as fast as it is going ! wow. 
Welp, Dad thanks for sending me the letters and the pictures ! You and David look exactly the same and I’m pretty sure that some of the ties that I bought in Dajabon are in the pictures you sent me! ha .

I have really been glad to be able to help other people in my time here, so far. I have found out that there are a lot of people who have a lot bigger problems then I do. This week I realized that I could never be a psychologist.  We did an exchange with a missionary that wants to go home for some stupid reason and it just made me really wonder what was going on between those ears of his.  Hopefully, as we talked he was able to feel and see what a force for good he is and what a blessing this is to him for now and forever and for his family who is supporting him, not to mention the people here in the D.R.

I have learned that the Lord has a purpose with each and every one of us.  He has always put me where I needed to be to learn a specific lesson. I have really gained a testimony that there are no coincidences in life and that everything happens for a reason.  Hopefully, we are ready for what comes and have the faith and inner strength to see our way through.

We had the chance to put a couple of baptismal dates this week, which is tight for me. One guy is named Alexis.  He’s a lawyer and has his family of six! The other one is a Haitian named James, a medical student here in Santiago that is an amazing person. Now I’m determined to learn Creole. So I am very excited to have a little success in this area and I hope that everything comes through.

We never have light in our house.  The electricity only comes on for like 2 hours a day. So today, at like ten I had to wash all of my clothes in the little time that I had. Then we went to the office where I met up with Elder Jensen (my dad, my 1st companion and trainer).  He is going home on the tenth and that is that last time that I will get to see him here in the mission!  It’s crazy to see everyone come and go and know that I am going to be next.... I don’t like the idea.

I don’t know if yall remember Yohanni , the lady that we were teaching in Dajabon.  Well I found out that her mom died on Sunday.  That killed me because I know how important she was to Yohanni.  She died of a lack of air, she couldn’t breath anymore. So I really hope that will help Yohanni better understand the plan of salvation and help her accept the gospel.  The missionaries in Dajabon can help her in her hard times.

We also had la limpia de la costa (clean the coast or shore) this past Saturday! It was so much fun. We gathered all the member from the stake and a couple groups of scouts and girl scouts and went to the river that there is here in Santiago and we cleaned the coast!  There was so so much garbage that we took out of there. It’s not even funny how much of a problem the garbage is here. I don’t know if you will be able to see what we took out but it is so so much!  President and Sister Douglas came out and supported and we had a lot of fun !

Hope all is well. God is love.  The gospel is true and families are forever!!! Wow, if everyone could just know it!


Elder griner

Mision santiago RD

                                               MY TRAINER ELDER JENSEN - GOING HOME

                                                    Elder Feliz and me on Limpia la costa" day

            My zone with President and Sister Douglas


Sunday, September 16, 2012

AH 2

OLA.. ha                                                                   12 Sep 2012 

First off, thanks so much for your support in all that I’m doing. I know that I couldn’t do it without you guys. Mom and Dad I know that you are sacrificing a ton to pay for all of this and for that i am so grateful.  

Another week has passed here in Santiago. This week was good, we had our first meeting with all of the zone leaders and the President to talk about what the mission needs.  We also we had our first zone meeting for this transfer. The people of Santiago have been recently blessed in their church efforts.  The church just barely put in a new institute building and it is gorgeous. The new office of the mission is on the second floor and on the first floor there are classes, ping pong table, a kitchen, and more offices.  It is beautiful and our house is right next to it! 
NOTE: the new mission address where you send me packages is: (Christmas is just around the corner) haha      (Dad’s note: this new address is on Matt’s blog)

Elder Griner
Avenida Estrella Sadhalla
#10  2do Piso
Frente a Universidad UTESA
Santiago, Republica Dominicana

We have been talking a lot about less active members in our meeting.  In past years missionaries have been baptizing a lot and perhaps the structure was not there to support, so not many have stayed active.  Presidente Douglas really wants us to go out and find the less actives and bring them back. So, in all of our meetings we have talked about that.

I conducted our zone meeting and had a lot of fun doing it. I got to talk about "work" ha and how we need to forget about ourselves and get to work. I shared many thoughts about our planning time and how planning relates to football; a real game with a game plan compared with back yard football where everyone runs where there want. It was fun and I think everyone understood. I shared 3 Nephi 5:13 to finish which is the scripture of our mission and it went really well.

We did an exchange with 2 other elders this Monday and I was with elder Zaldivar from Honduras. We had a good time. One of our lessons was amazing, we were able to share with one of the investigators (that has a baptismal date) about “the restoration” and the Book of Mormon.  This lady understood more clearly than anyone else has in my mission. ha I was so happy I wanted to cry . After that, we had the chance to have a family home evening with a Haitian that just got baptized not too long ago. We got to his house and sat down with him and his sister, we sang and had a pray, then one by one about 6 of his cousins came into the room and we had the best FHE ever! Haha.   I really need to learn more Creole, I only know a little bit

Honestly, I would invite all of you to get involved with the missionaries or finding less active members.  I know that Utah has a lot of members, but there are still a lot of people that are out there that need your help!

Family I love you so much . I think about you all of the time. I miss you a ton and hope you know that no matter what happens, it all happens for a reason. The Lord is watching over our family and he knows our needs. My wish is that we can all one day be together with him.

bye bye ! ha

Elder Griner

Mision Santiago RD

Today we played basketball with two zones.  It’s kind of like church ball where one or two kids can play and the others are just .ehh.... ha . But over all we had a way good time.


The lesson with the Haitians
An activity that we had in the street, we watched a movie from a projector – old school!

Friday, September 7, 2012

AH 1

HELLO 5 Sept 2012

Welp my new area is ... really big with a lot of rich people and building with four levels in them ha. It’s like having skyscrapers capered to the rural Dajabon. It’s really rough to get into houses because every house has three huge fences before you can get to the door and you have to buzz most of the time to talk to anyone. So it’s a lot different than Dajabon where everyone is more accessible, haha
All of the Elders in my zone are really cool. There are four or five Americans that are pretty much new in the mission, a couple from Peru, lots of Dominicans, four Mexicans, two from Honduras and... yeah haha, a whole bunch of missionaries. We had our meeting with the district leaders on Saturday and we focused on getting the members included and involved in the work so that investigator will have friends. I talked a lot about diligence, and the fact that we need to work even when no one tells us to. One thing that has really changed my outlook of the mission is being able to see what the other Elders are really doing. We take numbers every Sunday and this Sunday I did it, and to see the numbers that the guys are having is kind of sad. Haha. My whole mission I have tried to meet and teach as many people as I could, but I can tell that there are a lot who that don’t do that . But we'll see what we can do to help!

My comp is really cool but works in a really different way than I do, but with time we'll get it together. When I got to the area there wasn’t really anyone to teach because the missionary that was here before me was leaving and didn’t want to do much, I guess. So we have been trying to find people and trying to get to know a lot. We meet tons of Haitians that are here to study and the barely speak Spanish, so I am putting myself to learn Creole so I can talk to them, ha! I did learn a little from Elder Alexis who is Haitian, when I was with him back in El Ejido.

We had a cool experience the other day when we were contacting. A guy came up to us that speaks English. He was a little drunk but had a lot of questions. He told us that he had visited a lot of churches but didn’t believe in religion. He said “I’m confused and need to know more." He wanted to know why Christ died for us, so I explained to him why. He also wanted to know what faith was, so my comp explained it, and after about three more questions he just stood there with a sad look on his face , and we asked if we could pass by his house another day and talk more about our message and he said of course. It’s not that great of a story but I feel good to know that we are helping people that are "confused”and don’t know where to turn. Through the gospel, we can answer so many questions. The answers that we take for granted and for common knowledge is new truth and light to so many!

So remember when I came to the Dominican Republic 3 years ago to play baseball, right..... ? Well, this week we did an exchange with one of the district leaders in his area. When we turned the corner on a certain street, just a little bit down the road from his house, I had déjà vu. I was in the exact place, at the exact time, doing the same thing that I was doing with the missionaries when I went on exchange with them three years ago. We went to the same house and I remembered the guy we talked to. We went to the same little store.... it was so weird! But way cool to have had that chance to play ball here and to go out with the missionaries to boot! haha. Oh, the good old days! This maybe late, but thanks for making it possible to have that experience

Our new mission president, like you said dad is a ton different than President Lee. President Douglas is really laid back and still feeling things out, I guess you could say. But he dove right in and is already helping the branches and wards a lot. To be a mission president you get to deal with the church organization within the mission area along with the missionaries. He is really humble, talks in a soft voice, and is really lovable with all the people that he meets. His wife is the funniest lady ever. But, her Spanish kills me sometimes. Haha! She’s learning and trying really hard, so kudos to her! I know that he will be able to make a big difference here with the church organization, because he knows how the church can grow and how it is supposed to function.

Thank you for all of your support, love, and your help to get me to serve a mission. I’m really glad I’m here.

Love you,


mision santiago RD

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dad's note:

Hey all!
 Just because I can (since I get to post things on this blog), I thought that I would take a little license and include an excerpt from Matt’s mission president concerning his appointment as a zone leader.

Dear Brother and Sister Griner
Your son, Elder Matthew Griner, is maturing in the gospel and is becoming one of our finest missionaries.  He has demonstrated leadership ability and dedication to the work of the Lord.  He is reliable and has shown good judgment in his decisions……
….. We love your son and confess that we feel some pride in his accomplishments.  May the Lord bless you for all you have done, and are now doing, to help him be an effective servant.

John L. Douglas
Mission President


Hey Family! 

Thank you for the pictures of Olivia!!  She is gorgeous.  Don’t worry the hurricane didn’t do a single thing to Dajabon. They closed the schools and no one went to work on Friday, but the only thing that happened was that the sun came out again! haha . On Monday there was a little storm that knocked down a couple branches but that was pretty much it. So don’t worry, I’m fine! 

Welp, they decided that my time was up in Dajabon.  I got a call from the President Douglas, the mission president, on Tuesday.  He said that the Lord had called me to be a zone leader in Santiago Sur (south).  That is the first zone I was in.  My new comps name is Elder Feliz.  He’s Dominican!  There are 26 Missionaries in the zone.

Anyway, we took a little bit of time Tuesday to visit the people in my area and took pictures with them. Then this morning I got on the bus and they shipped me to Santiago again. My area is called Arroyo Hondo and it’s such a big change. The people here are loaded with money and there are so many cars and noise that it scares me. Ha, I got really used to just seeing motorcycles and talking to people with no money. I’m really glad to have a change, even though it was really hard to say goodbye to my kid Esparza and all of the people I had become close to.  I had the best time in Dajabon and I met a ton of people, I learned how to be a missionary and to lead a district as well. So I’m very grateful that the Lord put me there!

Funny story, last night I got all packed up, set the alarm for 5:30 am because the bus leaves at 6:30, turned off the lights and went to bed. When I woke I opened my eyes and saw that it was bright, but in our house at 5:30 am there isn’t any light. So I jumped out of my bed and looked at the phone to see what time is was. It was 6:10 and  the alarm hadn’t gone off!  So, I woke my comp up , changed my clothes, finished packing and ran out the door with all of my stuff to get to the bus stop , which is 20 minutes away from our house . We got to the bus stop in 15 minutes just in time for the bus. But I don’t ever want to go through that again. Imagine 2 missionaries running in the middle of the street with suitcases at 6:00 a.m. ha. 

 One thing that I have learned throughout my mission is to pray.  It got real to me when Dad explained that almost the whole Mormon world is praying for the missionaries , at night, in the morning , in the temple ... all the time. Our mission president always asks us to ask our parents to pray for us every night before they go to bed.  He promised us that if we did it, they would become closer to Christ and want to live his principles; because they are praying for someone who is striving to grow and help change the lives of others. So, through these many experiences I have come to learn a ton about prayer.

I now pray for everyone and everything that comes into my mind when I kneel down at night. I pray with more faith because i know that God can answer prayers, and I pray with more love as well knowing that a prayer will only be for the benefit of others.

I got the chance to talk to Elder Esparza for a while before I left , and I tried to help him understand the concept of love in the mission. He is a doctrinal person that doesn’t express a lot of his feelings and I found it my job to help him to do that. I explained to him that when the people feel your love they will also be able to feel the love of the Savior. whether you are talking or not talking;  if you have the love of the Savior in your heart others will be able to notice it. But if you just hit people with scriptures all day they are going to get bored and offended.  I’ve realized that love is the only way to work in the mission and in life. Because if I don’t love my comp in the mission, how am I going to love my family, kids and wife.... it doesn’t work that way.

So there are my two things that I have learned this week, love and prayer and I would invite all of you to pray and love: more!! ha. 

Well, I love all of you and hope that everything is good!  Keep me informed on everything! 

mision santiago 

Elder Grover and me (from the Dajabon district)
ELDER FELIZ and me (my new comp)
Yohanni and her family
Yesaina and Valdimir
The Dajabon district ha
Juan Luis and Sandra