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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Week 83: Hot and Rainy in Roxas

Dear Family,

Howdy Y'all! So its been a hot, rainy and great week of sharing the gospel here in Roxas.

So this we week had another cool experience. We were working Saturday after lunch and we had 30 mins before a meeting at the church, so after our plan fell through we just started walking in the general direction of the church and then after a bit we decided to turn down a certain street, then as we walked by a few houses we just felt a strong prompting to go to a house that was a bit hidden by trees and stuff. We went in the yard and tao po'ed. A man answered and after talking to others in the house he let us in and we were able to share with them. It was husband and wife and then some of their siblings. They received our message very well and asked us some of those questions like why are there lots of churches and stuff. They already have friends and people they know that are active members. They are really great and we got a return appointment to them on Wednesday!

By the way Sister Fema Tan(recent convert) is doing really great and was just called to be a seminary teacher for the group of youth in her barangy. She still wants to go on a mission really bad (she is 32 and single). President told her no however.  She always asks us to tell President Carlos to let her go on a mission. We told her if Pres. Carlos said No that probably means she needs to get ready for Temple Marriage. Her brother Brian has been in the MTC for about a week and sounds like he is doing good. I guess Elder Nelson of the 12 came to Manila and talked to the mission presidents and their wives as well as the missionaries in the MTC.

I guess President Carlos's Mother died and he is going to the funeral this week. Keep him in your prayers.

We had another really cool contact this week near the Tan's house. Our planned appointments fell through and we went to follow up an oym. We went to this house that we had oym'ed an old lady and when we got there a young wife answered and said she has seen us going to houses around there and has been waiting for us to go to her house. She also said the old lady we had oym'ed went home to Pangasianan and took the pamphlet with here. Any way we talked to her for a few minutes and gave a Book of Mormon, and set a return appointment for when her husband would be home. On Friday we went back and unfortunately her husband was drunk, but she was really excited and read parts of the pamphlet and Book of Mormon. Her husband promised us that next time we come back he won't be drinking so we will be going back this week.

Yesterday was kind of interesting -- we were going to teach in a certain area and on this neighborhood road was a drunk dude sleeping in the middle of the road (it was only like 4 o clock too). At first we thought it was a bag of rice or something, but as we got close we saw it was a dude. My comp and the Young Men working with us were ahead a little bit and just walked by and were like he is drunk.. and kept walking and I am like guys we can't just leave here in the middle of road. So we talked to some of the neighbors and found someone that knew him. We decided to pick him up and throw him in a tryce so they could take him home. As we were picking him up he woke up and kind of started freaking out and was like WHY?? WHY?? I DONT WANT TO (All in in Ilokano by the way). And the Filipino dude that was carrying him was like well, he doesnt want to and then just dropped him. I was carrying him by the arms so at least he didn't bang his head. Anyway then he pulled himself up by a barb wire fence (looked really painful but he was so wasted he didnt feel anything)  and started walking off (very wobbly). Then all the other people left and the drunk guy started leaving so we left too. We went back down that road like an hour later and he wasn't there anymore so maybe he made it home.

Then later that night we were at the house of some less active members and it was raining cats and dogs for about an hour. It really wasn't that long but like half the neighborhood we were in got flooded. When we left the water was up to almost to the knees(on Filipinos) and about halfway up my calf. Needless to say we got soaked. I was really surprised, the rain wasnt that long and the flood was already huge. I think the whole town of Roxas would be under water if it rained real good like that for a few days.

Well I know the church is true and I know the mission is awesome. I can't believe how fast time is and how many miracles I've seen and how many great things that have happened while on my mission. This morning I read about Jesus Christ's voice speaking to the people in ancient America that survived all the earthquakes and stuff.(3 nephi 9). He commanded us that the sacrifice we give him is not one of blood or animals, but of a broken heart and contrite spirit. I know that as we do this in our lives we will feel the power of the atonement and that is the key to real happiness. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet, seer and revelator in our time. I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw and that what said happened really did happen. I feel so grateful to share this message with the great people here in Philippines.

Love You!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 82: Miracles in Roxas

Dear Griffins,

So wow, I can't believe it is Monday again. Well, this week was interesting. Transfers came and Elder Velez and I are staying together another cycle. A bunch of zones got split in half this week, including our zone, so now our zone has half as many missionaries and was also cut in half geographically. Overall it makes our job a ton easier and cuts down on travel a ton as well. It is kind of weird as our zone is only 12 missionaries and only 1 district.

Well, we had another good week of work here in Roxas. The area goals for 2012 in the Philippines are really inspired of God. My first few months here in Roxas we were having a really hard time teaching the LA families. They just never seemed to be available and just didn't seem to be working. But these last few months we have seen miracles. At first, some of the families were kind of cold and not real excited about our visits to them but I am just amazed, and the Church is true! We have seen families that were too busy for gospel change their lives and great things are happening. Yesterday a mother that hadn't been to church in years came to church and this week which was a huge step.

Also, as we were teaching a dad who has 1 RM son and 2 sons on a mission that had become LA and we had a really amazing visit. He cried and told us about how grateful he is to the church for the way his family is turning out and about a letter he got from the mission president about the great things one of his sons has been doing on his mission. That really helped him out. He told us how he hasn't been doing his part and that he wants to and needs to change. He also came to church this week and is doing good.

So in one of our farther areas is some recent converts that we visit maybe once a week or so. All the houses in this area are little in the middle of rice fields. So when we go out there we have been teaching their neighbors and whoever will listen. We were teaching this dad, but he wasnt really progressing. A big problem is that he can't read. Well a few weeks ago his wife came back from Manila and she has been golden. She came to church the second time yesterday and is friends with those recent converts. This week she told us how in the past she had gone to other churches and never felt anything, but as she has been going to church here, she really felt something different. She said she loved sunday school as well. She asked us this week when she can be baptized. So cool!!!!!!!!

By the way, I was reading in Hel. 5 about how Nephi and Lehi were told by their father why they are named after Nephi and Lehi.That they will always be able to remember those great people and their examples so that they would live up to those names. So I stopped and thought about the reasons why I am named Andrew. It was really cool to think about. I am named after my father, named after an apostle (I read all the scrips about Andrew the apostle as well) and I just remember that story, the one about what have you done with my name. So It was cool. Give it a try...

The mission has been so amazing, I have been taught so many lessons ad humbled so many times and seen so many miracles. It's been the greatest, hardest, most blessed time of my whole life.

I am so blessed to have been called here in the Philippines. The people here are so amazing and so kind, so humble. The Philippines Cauayan Mission is definitely the best mission in the world.

Love Y'all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 81: One last Skype call!

We had a Facetime (Skype) conversation with AJ for Mother's Day. For our blog this week we decided to write down our reactions after talking to him. Here's what everyone had to say:

AJ still seems like the same older brother that left, but he seemed a lot more mature. He is speaking English with a funny accent. He is really loving his mission and It didn't sound like he was ready to come home, he has an awesome missionary attitude. When I go out for my mission I want to have the same hardworking attitude he has.

It was nice to be able to see him, it doesn't seem like it has been over a year. He didn't seem very different but he seemed much more wise. It was tons of fun to be able to talk to him and it didn't feel like he was on the other side of the world. I was sad when we had to say goodbye, but I am glad he is doing the Lord's work and spreading joy. I look forward to going on a mission and being just like him.

I liked to talk to him and feel as if we were at Cayan with him. He definitely looked like he like he likes it there. I miss him and I'm glad I got to see him.

I think when I talk to him I miss him and want to cry and want to see him or do something with him.

Aj seemed very happy and comfortable there. I was very happy to see how loved he is by the Senior mission couple (the Shaners). It makes me not worry as much to know that he has people that love and care about him. I really enjoyed hearing about his testimony growing and the strength he has from serving a mission. I think he has grown up and matured into a wonderful young man and I'm so thankful he is setting a good example for his younger siblings.

It was interesting to hear about his apartment and travels in the Philippines. It makes me thankful for my flushing toilet, warm shower with good shower head, oven, washer, dryer, van with a/c...etc! He seems to be extremely humbled and grateful for all that he has (and will have upon returning to the great USA).

He was much more comfortable this time, especially after the first few minutes. We actually interrupted his breakfast when we called (it was about 8:15 a.m. there). I had connected a little early. I was testing Facetime (kind of like Skype for Macs) and did not expect an answer. But they answered and we got to see AJ chew some sausage and pancakes that the Shaners had prepared.

I know I viewed him through the eyes of a man who has changed his diaper and taught him how to walk and talk and baptized him and taught him how to keep score at a baseball game, but he still seemed like my little boy in a lot of ways. Some of the things he said were to try and impress us or please us, some of it was to brag a little, but all of it was said with love and familiarity, even though we have been apart all these months.

He told us of a time when he had to jump off a moving truck because the reckless driver was drunk and crazed. He described some of the wild things he has had to eat. Sis. Shaner came on for a minute and told us she loved that Elder Griffin was NOT a picky eater. She said, “He eats anything as long as it's not moving.” That made us wonder if there was another Elder Griffin, because the guy we sent out there would barely eat french fries after he found out they were “made out of potatoes.”

But all things considered, AJ looked happy and healthy and every bit a missionary and a zone leader. In about five and half months we will see him ourselves.

By the way, transfers is this week and he has been in Roxas a long time, so he may be headed out soon. We will let everyone know when we know.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 80: Ducky and an Angry Cow

Two soon-to-be missionaries with Elder Griffin and newly baptized Sis. Fema.
Email conversation between AJ and his dad through
AJ: Hey, waszup?
DAD: Glad you made it -- I'm fading fast. It's after midnight.
AJ: Cool, OK, so next week I am going on splits with Elder Nay and we will be Skyping at the Shaners' house. They want you to use Facetime, I think, though. Anyway, they said on Skype and Facetime their user name is Randy Shaner. Also, this is Sister Shaner's email So you can get it set up or something. We are planning on being at the Shaners' place about 8:30 or 9 in the morning our time.
DAD: OK, just sent you some pix. We will email Shaners tomorrow, but it sounds like it should be no problem. Here are a couple of pix from the Girl Scout event Saturday and the Pioneer Trek.

AJ: Wow, Katie might be already be taller than most of the Filipina sister missionaries.
DAD: Yep, she's getting a little teenager sass about her, too.
AJ: Elder Daquioug came to Roxas this week. He is marrying a girl from our branch. He also worked with us on Thursday. I love that guy. He is a class act.
DAD: Ducky's back!! Cool!
AJ: Here are some pix.
DAD: Mmmm, sloppy tacos all over the place. So I am gonna go to bed. I'm hammered. It is 1:20 and I never had a nap today after early meetings. We'll plan on seeing you at 6:30 or 7 p.m. here next Sunday night (We are at 14 hours apart, right, so it is 3:20 p.m. right now over there?).
AJ: Yep, that's right, it is 3:20-ish here. Love you!!!! Sleep tight, don't let the dengue fever mosquitoes bite.
DAD: K, think up some good questions for us next week and we will do the same ;-{) Looooooooooove u!


Dear Family,
Well, I can't believe its Monday again. So we had a great week here and especially we had a couple of really amazing days of really great things happening to us. Time does something weird in the mission. Anyways, I also can't believe we get to talk again next week. It honestly doesn't feel like that long since we Skyped last time. I am so excited, too. It will be my last call in the mission.
Ducky's back!!

So we had some cool stuff happen to us this week. We have really felt like we have been guided by spirit, especially in knowing where to go, who to talk to, what to say, etc.

On Tuesday after district meeting and lunch we got out to work and our first 2 hours of plans all fell through. So we thought of some other things we could do and follow up. And after going to those places nobody was home either. We were really stumped as to where to go next. As we were walking to the area we planned to work in the afternoon on the way was a compound that I remembered had members there but that were not there when we tried to find them a few months ago. I shrugged off the idea and we kept walking. As we were going down an alley there was a man about 40ish sitting on a bench. We felt like talking to him. As it turns out, he was the brother of the member we had been looking for and he was a member, too. He was really nice and we were able to teach him. He said that he became inactive when he had to go work in Tabuk and was too far from the church to attend, but that he wants to come back. We were able to teach him again that week and he is solid.

Later that evening the same thing happened again. All our appointments fell through and we didn't know what to do. So we just started to talking to whoever we could find. After talking to quite a few people we were about to go to our 7 o'clock appointment at the Tan family. We were really close to their house, just one house was in between the Tans house and were we were. And in between that was a cow that was acting kind of angry. So we were like “Hmm, maybe we should go around.” Finally we just decided we'd run past and hopefully he wouldn't get too mad. So we did and as we did so the next door neighbor of the Tan family called us and asked if we were giving away stuff to read. She is a young mother with 1 child. So we talked to her and gave a pamphlet and set a return appointment. We also didn't get bucked by an angry cow. When we came a few days later we brought Brian and Fema Tan. Sister Leann (the young mother) was super cool and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave her a BoM and then on Sunday she came to church with Fema! She is super awesome and she seems golden!

So this week also, Brother (formerly Elder) Daquioug came to Roxas. He is marrying a girl from our branch. :) Brother Daqs also worked with us most of the day on Thursday and he is so awesome. He is one of my favorite companions and I still use stuff and do stuff that I learned from him over a year ago. He helped me so much on my mission. He helped me to learn the importance of obedience and I love him so much. He said he has been working on the grounds of the Manila temple and he plans on marrying that girl in December.
The weather has been really weird lately. Three or four days in a row were really, really hot until about 6 o clock at night and then it rained cats and dogs for about an hours (a few times enough to kill the power) and then stops before bedtime – then it gets fairly hot all over again.

This Sunday was really cool as 3 or 4 less active families that we have been teaching for months ca
me to church and seemed to enjoy things and see old friends and stuff.

This last Wednesday we also had Zone Leader Conference and it was really good. President said one of the things he would always teach employees when he was a businessman was this motto about problems: "See it, Own it, Solve it." Also, one thing I've learned in the last few months is that the investigators and people you teach aren't the only ones that need help, but that we can really help out other missionaries and stuff. I just remember going on splits with Elder Pincock back in the day when I was struggling. I just remember E. Pincock was just super nice and helped me out when I was having a hard time and now we can look for others in our lives that need lifting and just be a friend to them. Sometimes I see other missionaries and think “Yeah, I remember when I had that kind of a trial or when I was struggling,” and then I know how they feel and how I can help, even if it's just being a friend or serving them or whatever.

l know the mission is the best thing around. I am so grateful to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for what he did for us. I love the hymn, 193, "I Stand All Amazed," and I really feel that way for him. I know the Lord works in small and simple things and through the weak and unlearned as well.

I still can't comprehend how fast time has gone by or how much has changed in my life and how I've completely lost track of sports and video games and all that stuff. The mission is so amazing and I've seen so many miracles.

I Love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See ya next week! :)