Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 2, 2016

Família e amigos!!! Eu fui transferido à Serra em Zona Vitória! Ive been transfered to Serra and I absolutely love it here. Its not too far from my last area, only about an hour. I got a new companion, Elder T. Santos. Hes been on the mission for 1 year and 2 months and has already trained someone so he has a lot of experience. He will end my training for the next six weeks here in Serra. My companion is exactly what I needed. He is from the north eastern part of Brazil and super legit. My first companion wasnt the best and didnt really teach me anything but this past week has been the best week of my mission cause he really know how to work hard and teach people not lessons. We also know how to have fun. He is hilarious and is just all around awesome. God truly answers prayers.
This past week has been great. The ward here is awesome and the area is great to work with. Our are now is about 20 times bigger than my last area. In Itapoã, my last area, I could walk that whole area in about 40 minutes but here in Serra from north to South its about 40 minutes by bus. We has so many barros,pronounced (byho) (barros are basically big neighborhoods) in our area and some that the missionaries barely even go into. In my last area we barely took a bus anywhere but here ive taken a bus somewhere at least once a day. The buses here are crazy. Just think of the bus on Harry Potter and how crazy they were driving its just like that here. If youre standing up, which is most of the time, you have to hold on with all your life in order not to fall over. But there are always these times when Im not expecting either a fast stop or a crazy turn and I stumble a little bit but its all fun and I havent died yet so all is good.
We have some really good investigators in our area. We are teaching a family in a barro about 20 minutes by bus which were a reference form the ward mission leader. They are super receptive and have a lot of questions. The mom says that she has always felt that there is definately something more than just the bible and when we taught about the Book of Mormon she was super excited and felt that what we were teaching was true and accepted our invitation to be baptized. The only problem is that she isnt legally married yet... This problem of not being legally married is huge in my mission so far and more so in this area. People just live together and have lives together but dont get married. We´ve encountered so many people that want to be baptized but just arent married so the baptisms have to be postponed a while. But we are continuing to work with this family and teaching them all the lessons and helping them gain a testimony about marriage and how it is a commandment of God.
This past week I have grown so much in my teaching skils. Elder T. Santos is a huge help and actually teaches me things everyday. This past week I was able to lead some lessons and invite lots of people to be baptized. Working with Elder T. Santos is amazing and Im so excited for this transfer to baptize lots of people. We have so many potentials that can be baptized here in the next couple of weeks. The most likely baptism we have is this 10 year old boy. He has been coming to church for the past 4 months and hasnt been bapized yet. Idk what the missionaries have been doing here during this time but im glad that im here now to be able to help him get baptized. The only speed bump we have with him is that there is a rule in our mission that for kids under the age of 15 they not only have to have permission from their parents to be baptized but their parents also need to come to church to get to know the church before we can baptize him.
The work here is great, Im so happy and loving this area with my new companion and I am super excited to keep learning and to baptized so many people in this area.
I love you all so much! I know that God love each and every one of you and all we need to do is ask for help and He is there waiting for us ready to help us with anything and everything we need. I know this chuch is true and I know that this work is ordained of God. Im am so blessed to be a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ Here in the Mission Brasil, Vitória. This church is true and it is vitally important that everyone knows this and we can only know through sincere prayer and God will answer us. I love you all.
Elder Griffin
April 25, 2016

Oi!! Meus amigos e minha família. Eu amo vocês muito! Eu tive aprendido muitas coisas durante minha missão até hoje e estou muito animado a batizar e ajudar tudo mundo em minha área. This week was pretty amazing! Not many crazy things have happened. My birthday last monday was definately one of the best birthdays that Ive had in my life and definately the best birthday that Ive had on my mission. We went to Convento da Penha again but this time we met the sisters in our district at the top. They made it so much better and we had so much fun. We got some ice cream after and i was able to get my favorite, cookies and cream. It was definately a day to remember. 

This week was pretty good for work in our area. We are teaching many people that have great potencial to be baptized. We are teaching this guy (Valdei) thats 22 and he is super interested about are message and he said that he knows that it is true and wants to be baptized. But his problem  is that hes not married to his partner yet. He has been with this girl for 6 years and he really wants to get married but the problem is that she doesnt. They have a two year old daughter Isabella, that is super cute and loves to make messes. Our lessons with him are always good and the spirit is usually pretty strong. Something not too good though is when we were teaching about the Book of Mormon this week the spirit was strong and we said the last prayer and right after the prayer Elder Souza asked him to play some soccer on the play station with him. He accepted but thats against mission rules and definately took the spirit away. They played for about an hour and I talked to Elder Souza after we left and it helped things a little. I wanted to play so bad but I didnt. Our relationship with Valdei is really good but we just need to convince his potential wife that they need to get married so he can be baptized.

​          Also we are teaching this 15 year old, João Vitor and he is super interested. He was first contaced by Elder Souza and Elder Gabriel a couple weeks ago when we were doing splits and he accepted a date for baptism then. But we havent been able to find him until this past week. We taught him the restoration and he accepted a date to be baptized this Sunday the 1st. It will be my first baptism so everyone pray for him so that it wont fall through. He is legit and he came with us to church yesterday and liked it a lot. I was able to talk to him a lot about church and about other things too. We live about a 15 minute walk from the chapel and I talked to him about Brazil and the beach and just about a lot of stuff and he really chill. I sure hope that he will continue to be interested and keep his baptismal date strong. 

         I was able to help with two blessing this past week. I did the annointing for both of them. One was for a baby in the ward of the sisters on saturday and the other was yesterday for an older sister in my ward. The sister´s name is Telma and shes been a member almost her whole life and served a mission in Brazil. She has such a strong testimony and is a great example to me. We go to her house a few times a week just to talk and she can definately talk up a storm. haha She has a son on a mission in Atlanta Georgia and another about to leave this summer to Argentina. She has a great love for missionary work and a great love for all the missionaries that come into her ward. Im so blessed to be able to hold the priesthood, the true power of God to act in his name to bless the lives of those on this earth. Im humbled to know that I can act in the name of Christ to bring happiness to all those I come in contact with. Im blessed to be a missionary and I love my calling to preach the true Gospel to everyone I can. I know that Christ lives and he died for everyone of us. He know exactly how we feel and we are blessed to have the opportunity to repent and become clean through the Atonement. I know that this church is the only true church on this earth and it is the same exact church with the same exact authority that Christ had when he established his church on the earth. I know that it was restored throught the Prophet Joseph Smith and through him we have the Book of Mormon. I know it to be the word of God. It is truly another testament of Jesu Christ in the Americas and we can and should read from it everyday to help us in every aspect of our lives. I love you all so much And I know that through Christ we can do all things. 

Elder Griffin
April 18, 2016

​Family and Friends!!!​ I love you! Happy Birthday to me! Im so blessed to have my birthday on a P-Day.
This past week has been full of adventure. So many crazy things have happened and I have learned so much. I went to Vitória 2 times this week. I went to take out a CPF for some identification stuff on wednesday and it was amazing cause I got to go with all the Sisters that I came with from my district in the CTM, Sister Jube, Sister Woodard, and Sister Albrecht. For lunch we went to Mcdonalds! I have never appriciated Mcdonalds more than at that moment. Its pretty much the same as in America. It was so good but... it didnt agree with me the next day but all is well. haha The other time We went to Vitória this week was on Friday commemoratin 50 years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the state of Espírito Santo. It was in the City Hall building in Vitória and both the Zone of Vila Velha and the Zone of Vitória were there so it was about 60 missionaries. I met so many awesome people and a few more americans. It was awesome talking to relate about experiences on the mission.
This past tuesday we had a weird experience. We were walking down the street in our area and there was a man walking behind us with a bible and I thought nothing of it cause there are so many churches in our area. Theres probably like 20 different churches in our area its insane. But the man came up behind us and touched the bible on our shoulders and said something in portuguese that means "may God bless these young men that they can know the truth." and After he walked away with his hands in the air talking really loud and "praising" God. It was deffinately interesting.
I ate some chicken liver this past week. I didnt know it was liver until after i ate a few peices and finally looked up the word in the dictionary. I remember eating liver once as a child and I hated it and after I found out what is was it brought back that memory and it started to taste a little worse. But I grabbed a lot so I had to finish it. I wasnt the best thing that Ive eaten here so far.
Also this past Tuesday I gave my first blessing in Portugese. It was for a little girl who is about 14 years old. I was a little nervous and I wasnt sure what to say but with my broken Portuguese I gave her a blessing of comfort. I definately know that the power of the priesthood is real. Us men in the church have a great privelage to be able to act in the name of Christ using the Priesthood power of God to bless the lives of others. Even though I didnt say much i know for sure that through me and the pristhood that I hold the little girl could be comforted.
My testimony is strengthening every day. I am becoming more patient with myself and with others. Im so grateful for my challenges as a missionary and it makes me even more grateful for the victories. Every week we find people who have a great potential to be baptized and we mark dates with many but most of them are super firm in their religions. But were getting better at helping them realize that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored again on the earth and also all the saving ordinances. I love progressing as a teacher and I can see a huge growth in my abilities as a missionary.
My Portuguese is improving so much too believe it or not. I love having conversations with others all the time. I can understand pretty much everything which is awesome. Im noticing more patterns in people and my confidence in speaking with others is growing. I also notice that my English skills are getting a little worse too. In my journal I have to rewrite so many things and when I read it back over it barely makes any sense. Im super excited to continue to forget English.
I love you all so much and Im greateful for each and everyone of you. Keep praying for me and all the missionaries and all of our investigators. And remember, Christ is waiting, ready to help us with whatever thing we need. Until next week.

Elder Griffin
April 11, 2016

Family and friends!!! I love you all so much and miss you a lot. I love being a missionary and this past week has been pretty awesome and a lot of things has happened. My testimony has strengthened so much and my confidence with the language and teaching is growing every day. 
This past tuesday we went to a members house for lunch like we do everyday. We went to a members house about an hour away by walking. But it was legit because we were walking along the beach for about 40 minutes of that time. Im so blessed to have the beach so close to me. Its beautiful and I cant wait for two more years when I can go swimming in it. But the members that we ate at on Tuesday are so awesome. This was the second time we ate at their house. They all speak pretty good English so thatts good for me. The son speaks the best English. When he speaks he barely has any accent. His name is Artur and hes about to go on a mission to Utah!! Hes going to the Orem Utah mission and that covers Pleasant Grove. Hes so cool and really friendly. I dont know his last name so youll have to just look for a Brazilian missionary. Ill find out his last name this week then Ill let you know. I told him that I give him permission to eat at our house whenever he wants so be prepared for that, haha. He leaves to the Provo MTC in June and will be there for only two weeks cause hes already fluent. 
This week was really good for my Portuguese. I am able to contribute a lot now in lessons and can definately feel the spirit more when i teach. Having more knowledge of the language makes it so much mor easy to pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit. This week we marked 6 dates for baptism but only 2 or 3 of them are really strong. One of them is named Adré. He´s 17 and is really legit. He can play the saxaphone and clarinet and a little piano. He came with us to church yesterday and he liked it a lot. His date for baptism is this Sunday the 17 so it would be a great birthday present to have a baptism the day before my birthday. Elder Souza´s birthday is on the 17th so it will be a double birthday miracle when André is baptized. The other date marked that is pretty storng is Ritiani (hi-chi-awni) yeah Portuguese can be weird sometimes... But she is absolutely amazing. She´s 26 and is super interested. She had a bunch of questions for us and was really excited to go to church with us. She had to work yesterday so shell come this next Sunday. Prayer is definately real and its really helping our investigators progress.
This friday I had my first interview with President Young other than the one when i arrived. It was awesome. He talked a lot about Repentance and how its super inportant to teach repentance so investigators can stay strong in the church after baptism. President Young is amazing and so helpful with anything I need. 
On Saturday we had a zone conference and our zone is about 30 missionaries all in Vila Velha. It was awesome. We talked about many ways to increase baptisms in our respective areas and learned many things. I love my zone. It was cool cause we had a little missionary family reunion. The missionary that trains you is called your father. So it was me, my father, my grandpa, and my great grandpa all in our zone. 4 generations of missionaries. I have a picture so hopefully itll work again this week. 
Its kinda funny sometimes in my Journal I mispell words like crazy cause my mind is in portuguese form and many times my sentences barely make any sense. Im super excited to continue to forget English.
Everyday Im feeling moree and more confortable as a missionary and with everything that comes with that. I love learning new things and having little victories every day. There are always little moments in the day where I miss my famly and miss things that im used to but I find that whenever I work hard I can forget those feelings and focus more on the positive. I have grown to love the gospel more and more in these past few weeks in the field and have learned a lot about how to talk with the people of Brazil. I am so grateful to be a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ in Brazil. I love you all so much and I know this Church is absolutely true and Im so blessed to be able to bring the joy the come from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Brazil. Avante para a Vitória!!!
April 5, 2016

Family!!! Second week in the field was amazing and really hard but really amazing! Many things have happened and Ive grown so much in the past little while. Not being fluent in Portuguese yet is probably my biggest weakness but Ive learned to accept my weaknesses and just focus on the victories every day. I have grown so much in my ability to speak. I sometimes cant speak right in English when I speak to the american sister in my district. I always speak in the patterns of portuguese, in englsih. And I appologize now just in case some of my English doesnt make sense in my emails... I can add so much to lessons now. We teach about 30 lessons per week. I love being able to help people grow and increase their faith in Christ. ​We teach the restoration the most to people on the street. There are so many people on the streets all the time its kinda crazy. I love sharing the first vision in Portuguese. I usually share that part of the Restoration with people and then expound on it after. I love teaching so much.
I am emailing on Tuesday because yesterday was a holliday in Vila Velha and most of the shops were closed so we couldnt use computors. But yesterday was amazing cause it was P-Day and we were able to hike up to this Catholic building on which you can see all of Vila Velha and all of Vitória. It was the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen. I took a lot of photos so hopefully I can figure out how to send them. The ocean is gorgeous. My house is about a 15 minute walk from the ocean. We dont get to see it everyday becasue my area of proselyting is more inland in the poorer area where there are more houses. The houses here are so humbling. Not many people have a lot of things that I take for granted. Im proud to be an american! haha 
This past week I saw something pretty weird. There was this car down the road a ways and it has like a huge pipe thing on the back and it was blowing smoke all over the place. I had no idea what it was so I asked my companion and he said it was poison... I believed him for about 2 days when I asked him againg and he said it was probably just stuff to kill mosquitos. It was definately a weird thing to see.
This weekend was conference and it was amazing! I couldnt understand it 100 percent but I understood enough to feel the undeniable spirit that the apostles have. I loved Elder Hollands talk at the end. He is such a powerful speaker, I love him so much. I felt his love for Jesus Christ and when we listen to him we just know that he knows without a doubt that this church is true. After conference was over a guy in our ward came over to me and said that they were showing it in English down stairs... I was kinda bummed but I couldnt do anything about it. Ill be able to read it all when the Leahona arrives.
My testimony grows every single day. I love the time I have to study the scriptures in the morning. I know they´re true. I have a testimony of prayer. Everytime I pray I feel the powerful love that Christ has for me. I notice in lessons that things come to remembrance of what I studied earlier and I know thats because of prayer. I have felt the gift of loungues substantially this past week. Even though I´m not fluent yet, I know without a doubt that I am being blessed to learn this language to bless the live of those in Brazil. I know that through Christ anything is possible and as Elder Holland said on Sunday, He is always there by our side ready to lift us up and bare our burdens with us.
I know this church is true. I love you all so much! Please keep praying for me and all the missionaries. Until next week.

Elder Griffin
March 28, 2016

Avenida João Baptista Parra, 633Salas 1501/1502, Edf. Ensenada Office
Praia do Suá, 29052-123 Vitoria - ES
- ES

Avenida João Baptista Parra, 633
Salas 1501/1502
Edf. Enseada Office, Praia do Suá
29052-123 Vitória - ES
March 28, 2016

Hello family!!! I love you all so much! It seems like a year since ive emailed you all. A lot has happened and a lot has changed in my life and its just sooooo crazy i dont even know where to start. Ill start with the flight. It  was so legit because we were able to walk out on the runway to walk on the plane. I took somepictures so hopefully ill be able to fugure out how to send them. The plane was semi small. The flight was an hour and a hald long and I just talked to Sister Jube and Sister Woodard the whole time about our district. I love them and miss them so much! We then went to the mission presidents home which is right on the beach! Oh how much I love the beach! haha His home is on the top floor and has a huge window looking at the ocean. I couldnt stop staring at it. But it kinda sucks that Ill havve to wait 2 years to go swimming in the ocean. We went through some orientation stuff and tehen met our companions. Elder Souza from Recife. Hes pretty legit. Hes a convert from 14​ and has a strong testimony. Hes been on his mission for 4 and a half months and Im the first Elder that he has trained. He told me that he didnt want to train anyone, especially an american so that made me fell good. haha But he is a good example to me most of the time. I´m serving in Tapoã in Vila Velha. Our house is super tiny and kinda falling apart but i cant complain. Were living with another companianship, Elder Gabriel and Elder Farreira, both Brazilian. None of them speak that good of english so its kinda frustrating when i want to say something but cant cause no one will understand me.

When i left the ctm i was really confident with my Portuguese but when I got to the field it´s a whole nother story. Everyone says that i speak amazingly for only being out a few days and i agree with them but I want to be fluent already. I beat myself up cause I cant understand everything but i just need to realize that its only my first week and i cant expect that much yet.
I can definately see improvement everyday. the first day I couldnt understand basically anything from myy companion. He has a pretty strong accent which is kinda like a lysp but today I can understand almost everything. Also yesterday at church a whole lot of people complimented me oon my language skills and when I ltold themi was only out for a few days they were pretty impressed.
I love my area. Its a very humble area with houses that are stacked on each other and verry close together. the roads are only wide enough for one car. This place is definately a whole new world. Seeing everything here makes me realize just how blessed I am to live in the United States and have all the things I have.

The weather here is amazing! The same everyday, Super hot and humid. I didnt put  on sunscreen the first day and was burnt as red as a tomatoe... It was pretty embarrassing. I sweat like crazy everyday and its awesome. I go through clothes really fast.

there is so much on my mind I cant even think of what to say. But I love you all so much and I miss you all. This week sure has been a test but Ive grown so much from it.
Since me and my companion are both new in our area, we spent most of las week getting to know the members and finding new investigators. We found some really promissing people to teach. Wanderson (18) and Emilly (15) are siblings and they both excepted to be baptized but were hesitant on a date. They went out of town this weekend so hopefully well be able to talk to them tomorrow. Im getting better everyday at teaching. WE teach the restoration the most cause everyone is newthat we teach and the spirit is strong everytime. I always share the first vision cause I have it memorized and I can definately feel the spirit testifiying that it is true. I just hope that the investigators can feel that too. I know this church is true without a doubt and this week has definately strengthened my testimony substantually. I love you all sooo much! Até Próxima semana.

Com Amor,
Elder Griffin