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Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 5: Thanksgiving and a special visit from Elder Holland

Wow so this week was jam packed is the rundown:
Tuesday night we had this funny Swedish guy from the Quorum of the Seventy speak to us.   He was pretty cool and he talked about how the Lord has prepared people all across the world for us to meet and how every ones spirit has already said yes to the plan of salvation. He was pretty good.
Wednesday was fairly uneventful, just studied and had class and stuff. 
Thursday/Thanksgiving was pretty awesome, still not as good as being with you all but the next best thing. We got breakfast and then lined up for the devotional that started at ten(rumors were it was special one, so we lined up early to get great seats). Elder Shelley got there about the same time so we got to hang out and he quizzed me on Tagalog for a couple hours.  We rushed into the big gymnasium and got great seats. Then I saw what I was sure was Elder Holland and we were way excited. Like you well know he is my favorite! Sure enough it was and he brought his whole family with him. He said that we SHOULD not be homesick and that the Hollands are our family today. 
His wife and kids spoke for a little and then his grand kids sang. Then he spoke to us for almost an hour. He is so Amazing!! He reminded us about the great motivation we have to not only be on a mission but to be obedient and work as hard as we can. He talked about how if we serve honorable and hard that we are telling Jesus that we don't want him to have to carry the burden alone any more - that we want to help. 
He also talked about getting up on time (I usually get up early to study) but still every time I'm tempted to sleep a little longer his quote from Thursday pops in my head- "JUST GET OUT OF BED FOR PITYS SAKE!" Haha I love Elder Holland so much!!! 
After the devotional we went out and he was getting in his car and driving with his family out of the place and he said to all of us (about 300 missionaries) Thank you so much ! Have a great mission! Have a Great life! Its weird to think an apostle drives his own car and family around. He also had about 12 grand kids in the back of his little ford fusion or whatever he was driving. 
We also had two more devotionals that day and a big service project,  We made as a whole 33,000 backpacks to give to poor kids all over world. The Thanksgiving dinner was rather lame. About the same as any other meal here so I was missing the big dinner with the family. It was still good, just not Thanksgiving good. They gave us a sack meal for dinner too haha. 
Friday was also crazy- It was our first day in all Tagalog. The teachers only talk Tagalog and we are only allowed to talk in Tagalog. So it was super intense. The crazy awesome part of the day however was, we had been preparing a little bit to teach all in Tagalog but I didn't think we were even close to being ready... Then our teacher said oh, by the way we are teaching the Philippine zone half of lesson one all Tagalog. You have 20 mins. We were like oh man! So we did our best to prepare and then we got paired with Sister McDonald and her Comp (she is from St. George).  Me and my comp were both pretty worried that it would be terrible. 
Well we prayed and did our best and we truly experienced the Gift of Tongues. We remembered the stuff we had studied and got the message across and the Sisters told us after that they loved our lesson and that they really felt the spirit. Truly a miracle.
Then on Saturday we had to teach again and we did alright. Its crazy how much we have learned in a month and how much the spirit will help you!
Here's when things really get crazy... So its the half way point and they switch District leaders at that point. And anyway you know your big trouble when the 2nd counselor greets you by saying "Elder Griffin has the President talked to you yet?"  I was ooooooooooooooo. ... no... why? And boom interview and now I'm the District leader, darn it.. well I guess I shouldn't be sad because its a great opportunity to serve, but it's just another list of responsibilities I have to worry about. Oh well I'll be happy to do it. 
Sunday I got to hang out with Elder Shelley at the films and he is loving it here as well. We are all having a fantastic time and loving it here. I'm so thankful for you family and love you so much. I pray for you everyday and again I love you. 
I got your package today.   Thank you so much. My comp was pretty stoked about the tie. 
Oh, also on Saturday a funny little story. I totally forgot it was the BYU-Utah game and I wore a bright red tie!! Abel gave me a pretty hard time. I 'm just glad BYU was in it and it sounds like they got jobbed out of it anyway. I'm overjoyed that Boise lost -- that will quiet a lot of Elder Spuds :)
Again I'm loving life here at the MTC
Gotta go 
Pinnika MAHAL!!!
(the pinnacle love!!!
Elder Griffin

Monday, November 22, 2010

Provo Temple

The missionaries go on a Temple walk each Sunday. 

AJ wonders...isn't EVERY member a missionary?

Week 4: Learning Tagalog

Kumasta Pamillya!
Um,  sounds like a pretty busy week for you all. Real busy here too. This week has gone by even faster than last week. I can't believe I have been here a month.

I think Tagalog is coming pretty well.  I use every word I know all day long for the most part when talking. It is scary though, because next week we have to give the entire 1st lesson in Tagalog and all class work/discussions completely in Tagalog.  I don't feel ready for it yet. I guess I just need to keep working hard and trust in the Lord and it will work out.
I'm definitely getting sick of the food. But it is a good thing, I was eating too much! Now I just eat normal amounts, ha. This week I wrote my first talk in Tagalog,  It is about 2-3 minute long. I'm thinking about giving it to you on the tape. Basically starting the third week you have to write a talk and right after sacrament they randomly pick 2 people to give a talk... This week it wasn't me. I was kind of sad because I was proud of my talk, haha.
On Wednesday I had study time at 1:00-2:00 so I went out and studied by where the newbys come in and I was able to see Derrick. I talked to him for a few minutes and he was pretty stoked. I wasn't able to go see him until Friday or Saturday because I was so busy, but I did find some time and went and chatted with him. He look exhausted but looked like he was having a good time.
I got the stuff you sent, Thank You so Much!!!! It is SO nice not to have to wear stink shorts to gym everyday. We get gym 5 days a week for 50 mins each so I always play ball and play really hard. I think I have gotten a lot better since I've been in the MTC. I'm pretty much the tallest in my gym time (and pretty much in the MTC except maybe 1 kid) so I've been using the Griffin post game for sure. Thanks for showing how to use my size Dad :)
Last Tuesday we had a guy from the Quorom of the Seventy and he was pretty good (not as good as an Apostle, but what can I say). Rumor has it that President Holland is coming for Thanksgiving so I'm crossing my fingers... If it happens it will be sick!
Thursday we had a teaching appointment where we had to talk to a guy for 15 mins in Tagalog. It went really well (I also find out he's Hindi Gusto Lebron -- He doesnt like Lebron, haha) and then we taught the 2nd lesson in English and it was really awesome. The spirit was there and it flowed really well and I think we got the message across very simply. The Tagalog guy had 2 of his friends with him that only spoke English so it was really good. Maybe they aren't members and the lesson was for real?!?!
My Comp, Elder Deyoung, has been sick for like a week and a half but he is pretty much better now. He had a nasty cold and it didn't go away till we went to the clinic and got him some meds. Unfortunately he has been coughing ALL over me for a week so it might only be a matter of time...
My teachers are really awesome. I love them so much. One of them is named Bro. Molina and he is Filipino(kind of, he grew up in Vegas) but he speaks the best-fastest Tagalog of any teacher in the MTC so I think we will be a lot better off because of it. It is hard to figure out what he says but we can still catch most of it, while the other districts can't catch any of him. My other teacher is named Sister Sorensen. She got back from Naga, Philippines, like three months ago. She is soooo nice. She really brings the spirit into the room too, even in Tagalog.
This week I was reading in CH 5 of Preach My Gospel about how the B of M answers questions of the soul and that's an awesome exercise. I refer you to chapters that answer really sweet questions. You guys should check it out. At least read Helaman ch 5.
On Saturday we had study for like 4 hours straight so we took a break and went for walk. We went around the MTC's edges and looked upon Provo... and I beheld the great the spacious building (Lavell Edwards Stadium) all lit up. I could hear the arena music and the P.A. guy.  I was so jealous.  The game was so darn close to the MTC.  Ah well I heard the next day it was a blow out so not that much of big deal, right?
My roomie and I have been working out for a little bit at night and we were wondering if maybe you could send some P90X workout routines or something -- if its not to much trouble. I think the Plyos, chest and yoga.

Well again I dont have enough time to say everything but I gotta go cuz it's kicking us out.

I love you and I pray for you every day!

Love Elder Griffin

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 3: Another week in the MTC

Kumusta Pamillya!
Hey, how are things going?  I just read your email.  Thanks as always for your support and prayers.  I think about you and pray about you every night too.

Anyway this week has gone by so fast…it feels like it was just yesterday I was writing another email.  I think I’m really starting to get the hang of it.  The Tagalog is coming slowly but surely and everyday the spirit is so strong. 

On Tuesday we got another Apostle!  David A Bednar spoke to us about teaching doctrine rather than principles or applications…basically if we teach them the doctrine (the atonement, baptism, word of wisdom, etc.) and they put an honest effort to learn it they can figure out and learn for themselves the principles (ex. Repentance, steps to baptism) and the applications (steps of repentance, what they can or can’t eat or drink in the word of wisdom).   

It was awesome and the MTC has had 4 apostles in a row, which I hear is a record – most being 2 in a row.  I just feel lucky and humbled to be at the MTC.  There really is no better place for me to be than on a mission right now.

The rest of the week was pretty routine. We had a few more "investigators" and we even talked to them for the first 15 minutes or so all in Tagalog. I don't know much but I know how to talk to someone and ask about their family and stuff. It's amazing because 3 weeks ago I couldn't speak  a lick of Tagalog. 
Just really busy all week but Sundays are nice. We have a lot of meetings but we do get to go to the Temple and to choir and watch a movie. We watched The Testaments last night, I don't think I've seen it before and it was really amazing and touching too. I nearly cried. And i never cry... highly recommended if ya haven't seen it in a while. I've got to talk to Jordan Abel a little bit and I saw Butch Hatch a couple times. It's pretty cool seeing buddies in here.
The mail closes early on Saturday and we haven't got any mail on Saturdays or Monday till like 5 so either send me an email or get a dear elder in by Friday at noon. That's the only way I can see it before I write on Monday's again.
That's crazy Jonny is getting married that soon. I didn't know that... He is gonna live sooooo far away!
We have been getting a little bit of snow here but it hasn't stuck. I haven't even had to use the sweaters yet, I've been plenty warm in just the suit jacket. Mom and Dad you were right. Wal-mart watches suck. I had it just one day and it broke. If ya can when ya send a package can ya throw a cheap watch in it? and I heard the Filipinos love to see pics of your family so at some point can you send some wallet size pics of us?
That Pine view game sounded nuts 92 points is crazy and nice work dissin the Spectrum.  They are lousy and that's totally not cool of them to byline your updates to them and bug you at the same time.
My Comp is cool. His name is Elder DeYoung and my roomies are awesome. One of them is Canadian and he is hilarious. Second funniest Canadian ever  -- props to Eddie.

Elder Griffin

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A couple of pictures from the MTC

                                            Elder Taylor Squires and Elder AJ Griffin, cousins
                                                             hanging at the MTC

                                                Having a great time as a Missionary!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Week 2: MTC

Ya those pictures loaded up good.  I can just look at them that's it, though and I can't send pics through email in the MTC.  But today I am mailing home a CD of pictures from my camera... you can get pics and CD made in the bookstore.  I can't look at the blog or anything this computer goes to and email nothing else haha... 
Thanks for the letters all week I love em! I have been writing down all your questions all week so I'll try and anwer them real quick. 
Dad: Me and all my roomates love the score updates so keep em coming. The other day this inspection guy came in to look at our room and we like interogatted him for 15 minutes asking him all about sports haha! I heard TCU killed Utah and I promise I was pulling for Utah slightly haha. I have learned in the last few days something intresting: You know whats worse than a Ute fan?? Boise State fans! They are Terrible!! They are way worse than Ute fans haha. I was very pleased that the undermanned Filipionos beat the Bazookas -- That is awesome! Good work Dallas! Also ya know how ya said that last week felt like a month since I've been gone?  Well, I can't agree more. The first week in here was so long. This week flew by though.
So i was wondering who sent me the popcorn factory package? I think it was mom but not sure... it didnt say who it was from but whomever it was thank you! It was way good!
Last night I went to Taylor's dorm and chatted with him and said goodbye cuz he just left the MTC about 30 minutes ago! He looked way stoked and excited. He showed me his travel plans and he only has (2 planes) 1 transfer to get to Santigago and then I think he has a pretty good bus ride to get to Vina Del Mar.  He was all packed and his suitcases were like 49 pounds each haha. He is traveling with like 20 people that are going to his mission so I think he is gonna have a great time. He said he was nervous a few days ago but now he is just stoked! 
I'll try to recap the week as it was a pretty good one... 
Tuesday was awesome. We had good classes and we had a devotional and M. Russell Ballard.  He  came and spoke about being master communicators and how we can be the best missionarys if we are able to find each individuals needs and to get to know and connect with the person so that we can teach to their needs by the spirit. I heard this was the 3rd apostle in a row and that is apparently a record to have apostles come back-to-back-to-back weeks. He was awesome. 
Weds and Thurs were pretty busy and uneventful for the most part. I love my teachers they are really cool and they speak Tagalog to us most of the time and starting week 4 they will only speak tagalog. Tagalog is hard but it is coming along slowly.  We are supposed to memorize 20 words a day plus a phrase and whatever we cover in class which is 3-6 hours of class a day. 
On Thursday we had what is called TRC for the first time. We had to talk to a "investigator" for 15 minutes in Tagalog and get to know them. Our investigator was really quiet so failed pretty miserable. We talked to her for 6-8 minutes which was all the Tagalog we bascially knew and then....well we tried to remember stuff. It was pretty brutal. We then would come back after 5 minutes and teach the lesson in english which went pretty well. I really love teaching it its one my favorite things. We have the first lesson down pretty well and we have even changed it on the fly when our investigators were concerned with a paticuallar principle. 
On Sunday it was fast Sunday and I did a whole 24-25 hour fast it was hard and I was so hungry but it was good.  And then during fast testiomoney meeting I went up and bore my testimony completly in Tagalog (it only lasted about a minute) ha.
I'm almost out of time but I'll tell you about my comp real quick.  He is from New hampshire and he is pretty cool we dont get along all the time and he is kind of clean person so I drive him nuts sometimes but for the most part we get along well and we teach really well together I think.
Well I'm really out of time now I love you all and ill be sending some pics and letters out today so have a great week.
The Church is true.
Elder AJ Griffin

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Update on AJ's old room

Last Saturday I spent the day wetting down the border and removing the old wallpaper.  Took longer than expected but eventually with the help of a product I found at Nisson's Variety I was able to remove all of it.  Whew.  This week marks 14 years for me at Washington City Justice Court (where does the time go?!) and because of that I had some time that I needed to use or lose.  So I had off Thursday and Friday.    The whole family groans when I have a day off because it means there will be some insane project to be tackled and I'll want their help! 

This week was no different.  I was able to find primer and paint at Home Depot and had everything lined up to paint Aj's room Thursday. I even found a paint gun (how cool is that?!)  Wow that was fun.  I primed and painted the whole room before the kids got home from school.  And it came out pretty good!!! 

Andy and the boys have been anxiously awaiting the changing of the room from AJ's room to the MAN CAVE so as soon as I left for a minute they pulled out their FAT HEAD posters and covered the room in sports garb. 

We moved AJ's desk to the back porch (any body need a desk?) and gave away his bed.  We will eventually probably get a sofa and TV and move the game system back and hopefully clear out our living room.   No more VEGHEADS allowed in the living room!

The weather here has been wonderful and so Friday morning was spent trimming all the big bushes in the yard and then Andy and I had a "day date".  We were able to walk the mall like teenagers and enjoy lunch at Winger's before having to return to parenting and work later in the evening.

All in all a productive and fun couple of days off!

Next update will be from AJ!!  Just keeping updated on the room progress!

Oh yeah.  And it sure is quiet around here these days.  Lights are usually out and everybody in by 10 p.m. nowadays.  And there is milk in the house.  Weird!

Love you AJ!!!!  So glad you are in chocolate milk heaven (MTC)!!!  We are proud of you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 1: First Letter from the MTC

Kumusta Pamillyia!
Hey how are you all! Thank you so much for the's they are so awesome; we get them every night at 9... Monday will be my P-Day while I'm in the MTC so that's when you can expect me... 
We only get 30 Mins on the Computer so it would be easier if you sent me a big Dearelder. com on Saturdays, then I can spend more time writing to you!
I'm loving the MTC.  The spirit is so strong and there is so much to do! The first couple of days I really didn't like it... there was like12 hours of time in the class on super uncomfortable chairs.  Now the schedule is a little different and it it really fun! 
The first few days we were just pounded with tons of rules.   Most of them are pretty good rules but some off them are really silly. 
The food is absolutely awesome here.  There is great food for every meal and it's all you can eat it is hard to slow down.  The best part is there is chocolate milk every meal -- all you can drink :)   
I saw Taylor the first day and got to talk to him for just a sec and he helped me find my classroom, then on Sunday we had a temple walk and I got to talk to him for good little while.   It was cool to see him and actually see how he was doing. I saw Jordan Abel a couple times but we were both so busy all we could say was Hi and then keep going. 
It's pretty cool here.  We typically have breakfast at 7:00, then a class till lunch time, then either our personal studies, language study and companion study either in the afternoon or evening along with another long class.  Sometimes we have our study in the morning.  It's basically different everyday but we have them all at some point each day.  Sunday's are probably the best.  They have extra study time, priesthood, district meeting and then sacrament meeting and then a temple walk where you get to hang out and take pictures and kind of relax.  I was really tired after these crazy days and Sunday was a great chance to slow down a little bit.  In the evening we had a devotional that was really good and then they showed a film.  We watched The Legacy.
There were 29 people that came in on the 27th going to the Philippines and about 30 more in the zone that are also going to the Philippines but there are only 2 other elders and 1 sister going to Cauayaun. rumor has it that Cauayan has a TON of dialects and they typically only send natives there because it is so hard to learn all of them, :/ 
It's kind of crazy that I'm getting sent there.  Tagalog still seems so wierd to me, but I'm sure it will come. They have already taught us to pray and testify in Tagalog and lots of other stuff.  The days seem really long- there is just so much going on it is crazy.   
I love it though and love you guys and am so thankful for your prayers. 
I am working on a tape to send back.  I really only have time on P-day to talk on it but in a few weeks I'll send it home. I also bought a CD for like 2 bucks that I was able to put my pictures on so I'll send that to you this week hopefully. 
Thanks again for all the letters ,my room mates are jealeous cuz I've gotten a letter everyday. 
The Chases also sent me an awesome package and I'm sending them a letter today too. 
I miss you and Love you !
Also if this letter comes out kind of weird,  this email is doing funky things...
I love you all so much, keep the dearelder's coming --  i love them  -- they are an awesome end to these busy busy days.
The church is true!!!
Love Elder A.J. Griffin)