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Thursday, December 30, 2010

AJ arrived safely at Mission Home

We still haven't heard from AJ but the Sister he was traveling with called her mom.  This is what she said: 

Chanelle said that after they arrived in Manila one by one all of the Missionaries were met by Church representatives; either by Mission Presidents or other, she said it was a strange feeling to say good bye to her companion of 2 months.

Chanelle and Elder Griffin had to go to the MTC in Manila to meet up with the native Missionaries that would be traveling north too. Chanelle said that the MTC was small but was across the street from the beautiful Manila Temple, so they had the opportunity to walk on the grounds. At 7:30 pm their time, they boarded the bus and literally rode all night.

Chanelle called from President Carlos's office at 3:16 pm Dec. 29, my time. That made it 7:16 am Dec. 30th, their time. She said that they had just arrived not too long before that. But had already taken pictures and had her interview. Chanelle still had an hour to travel to her Santiago Ward, and she knew who her companion was going to be.

Thank you to Sister Martinez for letting us know they arrived safely! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Seeing Aj one last time before he goes...

     This weekend we drove up to Salt Lake City to see AJ one last time.  The weather was not great -- but it could have been much worse.  It rained and was cold but we were lucky to not have any snow.  We planned to stop in Provo and catch a glimpse of AJ at the temple on Sunday.  He said they generally go out from 3-3:45.  We arrived early, shortly after 2 p.m. and waited and watched lots of missionaries coming and going.  Then the 3:00 hour came and still no AJ.  We waited until a little after 4 p.m. and then gave up.  We figured he didn't want to come out in the bad weather or had a meeting to attend or something. 

    Turns out he chose to stay in.  He heard that someone was sent home for meeting family in the parking lot and he didn't want to risk it.  Always following the rules!

     Monday we headed to the airport with hopes for another shot at a short visit with AJ.  We arrived shortly after 11:30 a.m. and found the terminal where he needed to check in.  Then we waited and waited.  The missionaries arrived about 1:30 p.m.  Finally!!!! 

     We were so excited to see the big blue bus pull up with all the missionaries.  I am pretty sure AJ was the tallest kid on the bus -- he was easy to pick out of the crowd.    Dallas ran over and hugged him first.  The rest of us waiting patiently while he gathered his luggage and made his way over to where we were.

    All the missionaries had to get in line and check their luggage all the way through to the final destination.  Lucky for us this was a VERY SLOW process and so we got to visit for quite awhile.  We met Elder DeYoung, AJ's companion and Sister Martinez and Sister Watkins.  We also met Sister Lyman.  They were all very nice and it was fun getting to know them a little. 

     It was almost 3 p.m. by the time they finally all got their luggage checked and at that point they all had to hurry and make their flight. It was a very special happy time and it was so good to be part of his experience.  There were no tears, just happy excitement all around.

    AJ's trip started in Salt Lake shortly after 3 p.m. with about a 2 hour flight to Los Angelos, California.  There they had a 6 hour lay-over.  (He got to call and talk to us again!!!!)  Then he went from Los Angelos to Hong Kong, a 16 hour flight.  Then another 2 hour layover.  On another flight to Manila, Phillippines and then a bus ride of perhaps 10 hours was what he was told.  He is crossing the international date line and I think it was going to be 2 days later when he finally arrives due to time changes. 

    I can only imagine how tired they will all be!!!  We are anxiously awaiting to hear that he has safely arrived but I guess we'll have to wait awhile...we think he may be in Manila at this point.

    We are very thankful we got to spend some time with AJ -- it was a special experience for our family.

    Wish you well AJ!


Pictures from the airport in SLC he ever going to come?

Patiently waiting....

Look, a big blue bus...with suits in it!!!!

Look at all the missionaries!!!

I think he sees us!

Dallas got to him first!

Oh AJ!!!! We missed you!!!!

Sister Martinez.

Sister Martinez and Sister Watkins

Sister Lyman

Almost ready to go!

Week 9: Depart to the Philippines

Well it’s D-DAY!!!

I'm basically all packed, just finishing up some laundry and I am all packed. My suitcases are packed about 48 pounds each so I really don’t need anything and can’t really take anything anyways.... Super stoked.

I couldn’t fall asleep forever last night...

Oh and yesterday I gave the Sacrament prayers in Tagalog! Crazy.

So last week I was checking out the tape recorder (sorry I haven’t talked very much in it, I’ll try to be better in the Philippines) and I flipped over the side and I found a game dad was calling on it and I was like sweet! Well I didn’t take long for me to figure out it was the PV-Logan State championship... It was kind of depressing. The part I listened to they were already down 20...

Well this week once again flew by! It was sad to say goodbye to our teachers. They are awesome and I will miss them. Christmas was good but my butt hurts. We were in meetings for a total of 7 1/2 hours, plus 2 1/2 on Christmas Eve. About a third of it though, Russell M. Nelson spoke to us. He was really good and then he stayed and gave the priesthood lesson to all the elders on Sunday!

Today I am sending a box home full of all the letters I got since being here (mom should have fun reading them all) and the sweaters and a few extra stuff and some pictures I got made for you all! By the time it gets there I should be 6000 miles away.

 I love you so much, thanks for all you do and your prayers and example!

Love, Elder AJ Griffin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Week 8: MTC -- final week!!!!! Merry Christmas!!!!

Flight Plans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m leaving Monday the 27th at 1130 a.m. and my flight leaves SLC at 3:06 p.m. and I get to LA at 4:01 then we have a 6 hour layover :( but that is when I’ll be calling you for sure... Then we have about a 16 hour flight to.....HONG KONG!!! Then a 2 hour flight  to Manila... and somewhere around a ten hour bus ride to Cauayan( with the mission president though)

Me and my comp and the sisters in our district plus some other people in the other zone are flying with us too.. Then the entire rest of the zone we will meet back up in Hong Kong and get on the same flight to Manila... (about 50 missionaries!!!) It’s gonna be crazy but awesome .

 I'm glad to here and that you are all doing good!

This week was pretty crazy we taught about 20 lessons in tagalong throughout the week and it is coming along. I don’t know how well I know tagalong but I feel like I could at least contribute to a lesson at this point. Also pretty crazy this week we had TRC teaching on Thursday (basically the test of the week sort of) and right before we started our teacher mixed all companionships up and we taught with someone we knew, but had never taught with. I was  a little worried but our lesson went really, really good. The spirit was there and we were able to explain and teach clearly to the investigator. Pretty sweet and crazy because we never had taught together. It is kind of hard to catch a rhythm with somebody.

Thank you so much for the packages I am really excited to have a football and I loved the goodies and all. Next Monday I should be able to send you an email in the morning before I take off as well as use the laundry machine one last time. Rumor has it no washers or dryers and no more paying someone to do it for you. So most likely I will be hand washing my clothes for 22 months. :(

It is crazy some things I have heard about the Philippines but I know its going to be hard but I am so excited to go and start teaching and finding the people that are ready to hear the gospel. I love the MTC but I am so ready to get out of here. This week it has seemed really crowded and there a big lines for everything and way too many people in gym.

Just one more week though... I love you all and I love this work that i privileged to be a part of it.  I am so thankful for your support and prayers every day. I know this church is true and that God loves each one of us.

I hope you have a great week!

Mahal Kita!!!!
Elder Griffin

Monday, December 13, 2010

Week 7: Flight plans coming!!!!

Alright,  so we have reality of time here at the MTC.  I cannot believe it is another P-day.  And two weeks from today we are Gone!!!!! I'm so excited! We get our flight plans as early as Tuesday this week!  It will be interesting so to see what way around the world they send us... Some of the older districts have gone to Detroit, New York and all the way around that way and some go to LA, Taiwan or Hong Kong and then Manila! 
It has been a pretty good week, I finally got the first vision down in Tagalog and I gave the whole thing in TRC-- which was by the far the best lesson we had taught so far (Thursday) all Tagalog.  Now we are teaching the plan of salvation in Tagalog. It is crazy how fast we learn this stuff, but I definitely have a testimony of how the Lord helps us learn. 
So last night I went and said goodbye to Elder Derrick. It was sad but not a sad as i thought it might be. I think we both know we are making huge steps in our life and that it will go by super fast! And next time we see each other we will be men (right?). 
I got packages from grandma and you... I am so excited to start the 12 days of Christmas and I am so happy to have a football! We aren't supposed to play football here but I'm glad I have it for the Philippines :)
Funny story.. Sunday in priesthood meeting my comp Elder Deyoung and I had to give the white handbook topic which was baptism so we read and told them about it and then asked if they had any questions... The branch presidency always has obscure questions to usually stump the elders. He didn't have any this time for us but.... he wanted us to give a demonstration of what you do to baptism..fine right...well they decide that Elder Deyoung should be the baptizer. I dont know if you can tell from pictures but I have nearly a foot and 60 pounds on him.. Needless to say we went down, but I didn't come back up..The presidency has a real sense of humor, eh?
So the food is getting pretty dull here, it's probably a good thing actually.. the first month or so I gained 6 pounds and since then I have lost it all. I still love the Chocolate milk though. I will sure miss milk in the Philippines. I heard there is very little and it is very expensive. We got a bunch of new missionaries this week (I guess our replacments maybe) and there were 2 more elders going to Cauayaun so I might be comps with them in a while. It's crazy to see how far we have come in just 7 weeks.  I remember when we didn't even know how to say what our name was. It's slow progression everyday but the Lord uses small and simple means to bring great things to pass.
I asked the Branch Presidency what their stance is on dad coming to the airport. They said it's discouraged but if you want to you can. It's totally up to you. If you do come tell me and I'll probably give you a box of stuff I dont want to bring. If not I might mail it or just give it away. 
I'm getting used to being district leader and it isnt too bad.  I just have to conduct a lot of meetings and go to extra meetings and write extra papers. The worst part of it is having to get the mail everyday. Everyone bugs you all day to get the mail. But it is nice to be the first one to get it anyhow. 
Happy Birthday to Holly and Katie, Im sending them a letter today for their birthdays. Their party sounded awesome (especially for dad)!
Also this week our Branch President challenged us to say a 1 hour long prayer, and we did. It was really awesome and went surprisingly fast. God answers prayers, I know he love each on of us. 
I love you all and once again I'm running out of time and I have to go. I hope all is well and by next week I should have flight plans to tell you about! Keep the faith -- I love you all!!!!!
Mahal Kita!
Elder Griffin

Monday, December 6, 2010

Week 6: Devotional with Sister Sheri Dew

Maligayang Pasko Pamillya! (Merry Christmas - that was for Katie!)
I can't believe it is P-Day! time is going so fast here. The days are long but the weeks fly by sometimes.
Today the district older than us leaves and then we are the oldest district and I have only three weeks left in the MTC! yeah!!! 
Thanks you so much for your prayers and support, this week was fairly uneventful and quick. 
Thanks to Katie and the Elders Quorum for the letters this week.  They are awesome and I'm working on some letters today as well. 
This week was just really busy learning and practicing teaching Tagalog.   I think we taught the first lesson in Tagalog about 8 times this week and I think we pretty much got it down(very simply) and then we just pray.  They don't ask any questions haha! Tons to learn still and it is crazy.  We only have 3 weeks left. 
So Tuesday's devotional was Sheri Dew, the Relief Society President and she talked about how we need to love our companions, our mission president and the people if we are going to be a successful missionary. 
Just had class study and teaching appointments for Wednesday and then on Thursday we had TRC which is basically the test every week to see if we met the goals.  We talked then ran a "cafe" about food and then shared a short message and got a return appoitment.  Then we come back 10 mins later and teach a full lesson. I usually like them but this week they didn't have enough volunteers so we had to teach with another companionship, so 4 missionarys one investigator.... Very strange.. wasn't prepared to teach like that either as me and my comp are pretty good just teaching with each other. 
Really a pretty average week.  Sunday was long because it was fast Sunday and I had to go to extra meetings as well because of being a district leader. The district leader bascially has to get the mail all the time and conduct all the meeting of the district and remind people about rules (worst part). Its alright...but at least i didnt get called zone leader as we just got new ZLs... they have a million meetings and extra stuff to do. 
Thats awesome that dad and grampa and the boys got to go the game. I heard they won pretty easy and it was at the ESA. Apparently Jimmer didnt have to great of game? Only 16 points haha? I usually don't hear about scores till the mail or Weds but this morning our cleaning inspector buddy was in and he hooked us up with the weekend news. I heard about the bowls and stuff too. I told ya all Auburn was legit haha. Ah Idk they might get killed by Oregon? 
On Sunday we also had 2 hour mission conference but it was sweet because I ran into Elder Abel and we were able to catch up a bit. We were both like yeah MTC is sweet..but I'm ready to get out of here and I  sure miss football haha. 
Basketball is pretty decent here but they don't let you have tooo much fun. They only let you play 3 on 3 half court and for about 50 mins 5 times a week. But the last few weeks they keep shutting down the gym randomly so lose a gym period or two the last few weeks.
There was an announcement that the MTC will not take any packages past the 22nd I think so send any Christmas stuff early. Also my comp loves the tie- he has worn it like 3 times this week hahaha. We have been doing the reading and advent calendar every night and it is awesome.  Looks like a lot of work went into putting all those scriptures together, I  really appreciate it! And i think about you all when we do it  as well. 
I was wondering if you could send my football deflated witth a little pump for christmas? I definetly want to teach the filipios football ahah. 
How is everybody? What are you all doing for Christmas? How is school and work and the Radio show? How are the fantasy teams.  I have already stopped worrying about the Cowboys,  I guess it was a good time for me to take off as it sounds like they went straight down hill from there. 
Supposedly we get our flight plans in the next week or two so Ill let ya know what the plan will be and when I get to call you from the airport.  I am working on some letters and I think I'll try to send you some more pictures before I'm outta here... All is well the work goes on.. I love it here and I love you all! I miss you but I know this is the best place for me to be right now. I hope all is well  and I pray for you all every day.
Have a great week
Mahal Kita
Elder Griffin
Love you!!!!