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Monday, March 21, 2011

Week 21: Teaching and a trip to the caves

Hey hey,

Jimmer after Gonzaga win. AJ's a big fan
Another great week here in the Philippines! How was your week?! Glad to here the Jimmer is awesome! Hope he keeps it up!

So we had a baptism this week, a cool CSP (service project) where we harvested corn and rode caribaos and an awesome trip to (supposedly somewhat famous) Calleo Caves. And of course sharing the gospel with people everyday! Also, transfer day is on Thursday and word on the street is that one of us is getting transferred, although that is just the gossip. Most likely Elder Weaver will get transferred to his final area of his mission or perhaps I will get transferred and he dies (finishes his mission) in Linao. Or maybe nothing happens ...We will know by noon tomorrow who stays and who goes.

Monday was good last week. We just did normal p-day stuff and then did 2 FHEs -- 1 at Jofferson's and 1 at Leizel's (both recent converts, and young too). And then Tuesday we went on splits.  I stayed in the area and Elder Tangi from Australia came here and we had a really awesome day of work.

Then Weaver and the spilts came and slept at our house and we did a service project at the bukid (fields) starting at 5:30 a.m. (ouch).  We harvested corn and I got to ride a carabao!
Pretty awesome.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were really tough for lessons. Things were just not working out. But we still worked hard with little success. Sometimes ya just have to sigh and let it go. We did all we could. People were just not willing to listen or just gone. On Friday, however, we found a really awesome person.  We were tracting just on the outskirts of Annafunan just at the start of the bukid and met a lady that was sorting out corn to dry. She was really cool and had never met or known anything about missionaries or Mormons (which is actually kind of rare, usually here people at least know what missionaries are).

She was really cool and was taking care of a blind lady.  We will teach them this week before transfers.

Sunday things finally came together and work was good. There is this 14-year old girl, Abigail, that a member has been bringing to church and she has been really hard to get an appointment with, even though she always comes to church.  But after church we grabbed our best fellowshipper and shared Christ's earthly ministry, the apostasy, and The Restoration. That is absolutely my favorite lesson. The Spirit was so strong and it was the first time she had heard about Joseph Smith.

Elders Griffin and Weaver at the Tuguegarao Ward baptism last week.
Before my mission I always took the simple truths like that for granted.  I just have always known it true.  For sure thinking about it logically, there is no way to know. But the Spirit and the witness I have received here in the mission and before doesn't leave me with a doubt that it happened.  It's amazing to share this with someone who has never heard about it and even more amazing when they pray about it and tell you about their knowledge of the truth.

She is really smart and we could see her learning and feeling the spirit as she heard for the first time and then promised she would pray about it later. It's one the greatest feelings in the world.  I think she will be baptized in the next cycle.

I also have a testimony of how the Lord works in small and simple ways like it says in Alma 36. When I was in the MTC sometimes I would just be frustrated and I was sure I would never speak this language. But sure enough, here I am speaking it, although it hasn't come quickly and it hasn't been easy.

And I still have a long way to go, but it is coming! And the people understand and can feel the spirit of the things we teach. I can understand most of what they say, too. I know that through the small and simple things, great things truly come to pass!

Also about a month ago we challenged Jofferson to read the BOM (which is almost 800 pages in tagalog) and if he did we would buy him a cake. Well his birthday is the day before transfers and he is only about halfway there.  But he has read like crazy and has really been impressive and motivating.

So we are gonna get him a big cake for his birthday. He is so awesome and really an inspiration to me. He is only 12-years old, but he has such an amazingly strong testimony and motivation to do good things.  I am amazed at how fast he has read.  He also promised us he would continue to read the Book of Mormon.

I started at the same time as him in tagalog and he is at Alma 16, while I am only at 2 Nep., Ch 3.  He, although young, has been truly prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel.  He will be a great missionary someday (convert missionaries are usually the best ones, right?).

AJ receiving a vision (?) in Calleo Caves. (click any picture for a larger view)
 Today we went to the Calleo caves. As a zone we got a jeepney and went to Penablanca and up in the mountains a little ways.  It is really beautiful and awesome sight all the way there. Then we went in the big caves and there is a cool spot where the sun comes in really cool and a chapel type thingy in one of the chambers. Those caves were really cool and big open. Then we went in these other caves, probably more like Timpanogas, except not tourist-ee and quite a bit smaller but a lot longer. It was pretty cool and was really dark. It was a fun activity and our last time to hang out with our friend Elder Ferrer, who is completing his mission now. He has been ZL for my whole time here in the Philippines and now he returns home to southern Luzon.  We will miss him.

Well I love my time here in the Philippines and know that this church is true and was restored through Joseph Smith.  I know that God loves us and wants each one of us to be happy, so he sent his Son to make that possible for us.  And if we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ we will be happy and watched over and blessed. It is guaranteed.

I love you and miss you, but I know this is where I need to be and that there are lives that are ready to be changed here in the Philippines. I pray for you every day and hope all is well. Have a great week and keep the faith!

Love Elder A.J. Griffin

Here are some more of AJ's P-day pictures:

The Tuguegarao Zone at the service project. 
Last P-day with Elder Weaver, most likely.

Hi everyone!

The "Chapel" inside Calleo Caves.
International man of mystery
Cue the Mormon Tabernacle Choir music
Gee, which one is AJ? Oh yeah, the one a foot taller than everyone else!

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