Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Our testimony can reach their hearts

To answer some questions, 

Dad, no I never received any training on how to be a district leader, I just asked my zone leaders and studied the mission handbook and Preach My Gospel to kind of get an idea and I just kind of copied the district leader that I had before. We have leadership meetings every 3 months, for the zone leaders it’s every month. But it was just kind of a surprise but I’m ok with it. I like being a district leader. 

Mom, I don’t know if I will do anything significant for my one year. Maybe I will burn something but I’m not sure yet. They have a new, new temple video? I haven’t even seen the one that came out like 6 months ago. The next time I go to the temple... I have no idea. When I’m in Cochabamba and when the rest of the missionaries go. That could be like 6 months. 

Well now I’ll start about my week. It was pretty awesome. We went to Tupiza Monday and Tuesday for a zone meeting. We spent monday there for p-day and because we had a long trip they said we could just rest and have the whole day as p-day so that’s what we did. Then the next day we had our zone meeting and we left at like 6 at night. The zone leaders didn’t have anything for us to do so we just kind of had another p-day. I wanted to go on splits or something but they just gave us the day off. 

In Uyuni it was a fun week with Elder C., it was my last week with him. So what happened is the zone leaders called me on Wednesday and told me that one of the elders in Uyuni would be my new companion and that they would be sending a gringo to be with the other elder. So my new companion is Elder R. He had only been a week and a half with his other companion then they gave him to me haha. He is from Chile and is almost finishing his mission. He has about 20 months in the mission, so I think I will be with him this transfer and the next and then he will show someone else the area before he goes home. Or I could just be here for 5 transfers again, that would be tough. He is from the south of Chile. I think he said Patagonia, I don’t know him that well, Elder C. only left like an hour ago to his mission in Venezuela. Where is Uncle Jorge from? Anyways I’m sure it will be really good, I’m looking forward to learning a lot and kind of getting trained again, it should be awesome. 

Well a cool experience from this week... There are always so many but I think I will share what happened yesterday. So we had a great sacrament meeting in Atocha and then we started the journey home. It’s about a 3 hour bus ride. I was quite tired so I went to the empty seats in the back with my companion. He took up two seat and I took up two seats, it was awesome. So I reclined the seat back and started reading the Liahona from January. About 15 minutes in we stopped at a small town to pick up some people. One man came on with his family and came to the back and asked if we could talk and asked to sit with me. I thought awesome, I have 2 hours to talk to him about the gospel. Little did I know he didn’t sit by me to learn, but rather to argue. He started off about the Book of Mormon and how our church is made my man and run by politicians and I just listened for about 20 minutes. I just really tried to understand his point of view and what he thought of us. Elder Holland said once that as we listen to what they are saying we will be able to find some truth in what they are saying and then testify of those things. So that’s what I tried to do. I just listened and testified to the things that were true and tried not to cause any type of conflict. By the end he had a ton of questions and he wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We had run out of pamphlets and copies of the Book of Mormon in Atocha so I gave him the Liahona that I was reading. It was really a cool experience. I think many times when people attack us we just want to defend and fight back and start bible bashing. But I’ve learned that if we just listen and are kind like Jesus would be, we have a much more effective experience. Contention is never the answer, when we are kind and humble is when our testimony can reach their hearts. 

I love being out here and learning new things everyday. I’m excited for the challenges that are to come and overcome. I know this church is true, I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and changes lives. I love this gospel. I love you guys, thank you for everything. 

Elder Grigor

Elder Grigor with the first member that was baptized in Bolivia. 
Elder Richard G. Scott confirmed him a member when he came to 
open up the mission when President Dyer (the mission president) 
was a missionary in Bolivia. President Dyer was one of the first
 missionaries in Bolivia and helped build the first chapel. 

Elder Grigor with his buddies in Tupiza

Goodbye party for Elder C. - it is a tradition to put their face in the cake. 

The aftermath from the food fight at the pensionista's home.  
Elder Grigor covered in egg and flour

Elder Grigor with his typical two thumbs up!
 They look like they had a great time.  

Elder Grigor's new companion is on the far left. His companion that 
 is leaving to go to his mission in Venezuela is beside Elder Grigor.

God knows the desires of our hearts

January 20th, 2014

Hello family
Well this week just flew by! It feels like I was just writing you guys, this week was a pretty good week with a few surprises. One surprise is that I’m a district leader again. They didn’t tell me last Sunday with the transfers, they told me like 2 days later, kind of just a “by the way you’re district leader.” It’s ok with me, I like being district leader, it’s kind of fun to have a little bit more responsibility. Also another surprise that they didn’t tell us on transfer night is that my companion is leaving to his mission in a couple of weeks. They called us on Thursday saying that his visa is ready so he went us to La Paz Thursday and Friday to do some paper work and get everything ready. He could be leaving as early as this Friday but they haven’t really told us anything exact. I have no idea who or when I will get a new companion but I kind of don’t want to. We are finally getting along and then he gets his visa, kind of frustrating, it’s got to be for something though.  
This week we also had a lot of food fights, I will send pictures next week because we are in Tupiza and I forgot to bring my little gadget to send pictures. But when it’s someone’s birthday or when a missionary is leaving an area its normal to throw eggs on their head and then throw flour all over them. So that’s what our pensionista did to elder G. before he left and then thought it would be really funny to get the rest of us. So in the end we all ended up covered in eggs and flour and the house was just kind of a mess but it was really fun and quite funny actually. 
A cool little story that happened to me this week. So I was kind of sad that I didn’t buy a Dakar shirt. I was always waiting until Dakar came to buy one because I knew there would be a lot more to choose from. But when Dakar came I was trying to stay busy and not waste my time buying things. I just told myself I will wait until Monday to go shopping and buy stuff. Well, Monday came and there was nothing left. Everything had been wiped out and I was kind of bummed about that. I really wanted a shirt to remind me of Dakar. I was kind of sad about that but I was getting over it. When we went to Atocha this weekend a member asked me what size I am. She works for the town and I guess they had a bunch of extra shirts left over. So she went and got one for me and my companion and it was like Christmas I was so happy. I know that God lives and knows the desires of our hearts, even the little ones like a Dakar shirt. 
Well this week we went out to San Cristobal to meet a few of the members that are living out there. It’s actually quite a big mine. There are about 1500 employes that work and live up by the mine and then another 1000 or so that live about 5 km away in the town. We had a great time out there meeting some of the members. They really come from all over Bolivia and they are 3 from Utah that are there working. What they are doing now is just having small sacrament meetings when they can. They work 24/7 from 7 in the morning until 7 at night and have a 2 hour break in the middle of the day. So that is when they hold their sacrament meetings on Sunday. As of now they are 6, and they think there are more who are members but just don’t know that they are having meetings. It was really great to see the faithfulness of the members out there and their desire to have sacrament meetings. 
Now we are in Tupiza, we came down for p-day and to have a zone meeting tomorrow. I’ll make sure to send lots of pictures next week. Thanks for the pictures and the letters. I hope everyone gets well soon. Love you lots!!

Elder Grigor

Cool church in San Cristobal 

Elder Grigor up on the church 

Members from Highland, Utah  that live near the mine

Another member from Logan, Utah that lives near the mine

Elder Grigor beside a sacred rock 
Elder Grigor cooking
Elder Grigor with members in Atocha and his companion

Elder Grigor with his Dakar shirt 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Grateful for forgiveness

Hello Padres, 

Well this week was absolutely crazy!! I’m going to start with Monday. So we went to the salt flats and it was absolutely amazing. I got some awesome pictures and we really had a great time. I would love to come here with you guys one day, with water it just looks amazing. From January to april there is water in the salt flats and it just looks incredible I was kind of blown away. We just had a great day there going to the salt hotel, and just hanging out, it was a beautiful day too. At least while we were there, but as we were coming back in the afternoon it started to get a little cloudy.  Then the biggest hail storm came through as we were coming back. Here in Uyuni there is no way for the water to escape so the street just got filled up and it was super fun all week to walk through the mud. Some streets we had to avoid because they were completely filled. And when we got back to the hotel we found out that the roof had partly caved in due to the weight of the hail that built up on the roof. The roof is made of kind of a plastic sheet so its not that strong. Then a ton of water came in so as we got home we helped clean up and take all the water out. That was about 2 hours of cleaning, it was lots of water but we got it all cleaned and fixed up. 

The rest of the week was pretty normal until about Saturday and Sunday. We had a good week teaching and finding. One day we helped unload 1500 boxes of Pringles and  noodles into the super market beside our hotel. That was fun! But really me and my companion weren't really getting along that well this week. Actually this whole transfer has been one of the hardest in that aspect, and I was kind of hoping that this transfer we would have a change. We got in a big argument this week and I was really quite angry, then I don’t even remember how the situation changed but we just got into a deep conversation and really just expressed our feelings. We just really worked out all the problems that we had been having and at that moment I was just really grateful for forgiveness. We both had some bad feelings towards one another but the power of forgiveness really brought us closer together and I’m really grateful to have him as my companion. I was kind of scared of transfers and I didn't want him to go or to have a change. I was quite glad when we found out we would be staying together. I feel like I have a transfer to make up for what I did wrong this last one. This situation reminded me a lot of the atonement and how if we go to the Lord to work out our problems he will provide us with peace and comfort whether it is something big or something small. He’s promised that if we go to him our burdens will be made light and I know that it’s true. 

When Saturday and Sunday came it was just tough to do anything. There were tons of tourists and they set up huge stages and were just playing music all night. My companion loved it and he was standing in the window listening until about 2am in the morning but I was just exhausted and just slept through it. Sunday in the afternoon is when Dakar came through but we tried to stay pretty far away to not get distracted. We really didn't get to see too much and as we walked by there were just way too many people to be able to see anything. I didn't really take any pictures or anything but it was cool with all the excitement that came with it. The guys racing in the Dakar got here and went right to the army training camp thingy to park their bikes and sleep. They got up at about 5:00 this morning to leave. We were thinking about waking up early to see them leave but I was tired and didn't wake up haha. So I really didn't see much of Dakar but it was just cool to be here and see all the stuff going on. 

Well that was my week, oh and Elder G. is leaving to Cochabamba and Elder R. is coming. So now I will be the only white guy here. Monday writing to you guys will be the only time that I speak english. And that’s just in my head, not even out loud. I’ll probably forget some words. It will be a long time until I speak English again. Well I’ll talk to you guys soon. 

I love you lots Mom and Dad.

Have a great week

Elder Grigor

The train cemetery in Uyuni, Bolivia

The Salt Flats in Uyuni, Bolivia 

Wearing his favourite shirt that he got for Christmas
 "Work hard, Nap hard, JACK!" 

Water on the salt flats. Breathtaking!


Some statue made out of Salt. 

Elder Grigor and his companion at the Salt Hotel 

Such a cool picture 

Elder Grigor's salty, burnt feet- he forgot to put sunscreen on his feet. 

The hail from the storm that went through Uyuni. 

Hail on the rooftops

Elder Grigor trying to walk around the puddles of water in the streets

Making S'mores

Tons of Pringles 

Elder Grigor with the usual 2 thumbs up! 

Waving the Bolivian flag. Love the colours in this picture

El Gringo: Looks like he will be the only one for awhile.
The sole Canadian in Bolivia

Monday, 6 January 2014

Lesson from the broken bow

Hello parents,

Well, where do I start. I had a pretty good week, a few ups and downs but overall it was pretty good. Where do I start... Well New Year’s this year was probably the first year that I slept through New Years. Here they have some weird traditions. They all go to sleep pretty early so they can wake up at 11 to eat dinner, then they go out into the streets and dance all night. They also believe if you wear a certain color of underwear you will get a certain thing in the next year ( for example red is love and yellow is luck etc.) So we were seeing lots of underwear in the street the few days before New Year’s. I luckily didn't hear any of the partying and I just slept the whole night, I guess my companion heard it and woke up and was watching all the dancing and partying going on. It was funny, everyone asked us " how did you spend New Year’s" and I always responded sleeping. Lots of people thought I was joking. It was a good New Year’s. 

It was nice to work a little bit longer here in Uyuni this week and kind of going back to a normal schedule. We had a great week, mostly working with less active members. One family I’m super excited about is Raul and Jasmine. He is a less active member and his family are all non members, we've been working with them since I got here and the mom and little girl want to get baptized. The only problem is that they aren’t married yet. We are working on that with them so they can get married and get baptized. One of my biggest wishes is to see them be baptized before I leave this area, I really hope that everything will work out. They are such a great family.

We had a great week here and an interesting weekend in Atocha. We went out on Saturday and had a pretty successful day and I thought lots were going to come to church. Well only 6 came in Atocha. That was kind of disappointing, but we had a great meeting and it was great being with the members from Atocha. After we went up to Siete Suyos but no one was there. We arrived at the house where we always have the meeting but no one was there. Apparently they called us not to come up because everyone was leaving on vacation but we never got the call. We had no meeting place and no members and didst really know what to do. Honestly I was quite discouraged and kind of frustrated. Then I thought of the story of Nephi breaking his bow. Laman and Lemuel murmured and were just angry and probably wondering, why me? why now? But Nephi took it as an opportunity to learn and was probably thinking: how can I learn from this experience? how can I help those around me? I tried to have the mindset of Nephi trying to think how can I learn and grow from this experience and who can I help. What is it that the Lord wants me to learn? When I started thinking like this and focusing on the needs of others those feeling of discouragement and frustration left. With that new mindset we were able to go and find a few investigators that are difficult to find with out limited time in Siete Suyos. We were able to have two great lessons and and I left quite satisfied. But the Lord wasn’t done, and I think he wanted to test what I had learned. We arrived at Atocha to find out that our bus had left an hour earlier without informing us and we had no way back to Uyuni. The lady told us that we could wait out on the outskirts to wait for a passing car or maybe a bus and try to find a way home. I thought to myself, " what do I need to learn and how can I use this to help someone else? " So we went to wait for a passing car and after about 15 minutes it started to rain. Just as I was getting discouraged again a bus came around the corner that was supposed to pass by at 2:00pm but for some reason came through later due to the weather. We were able to get on that bus and had a ride back to Uyuni. During the ride we also had the opportunity to talk to a man from Argentina heading up to Peru. We were able to talk a little about the gospel and give him a pamphlet of the restoration. I know the Lord provided the means for us to contact that man in that moment. I know he delayed the other bus so we would have a ride home and have the opportunity to share the gospel. I know the Lord works in mysterious ways and many times we may not understand but it is always for the best. I’m so grateful to be here on my mission growing closer to my Saviour everyday. 

I learned a lot this week and I look forward to learning even more this week. This week should be a good one. Today we are going to the salt flats for the first time so I will make sure to take tons of pictures for you guys. Also the Dakar Car Rally is coming through this Sunday and Monday so that should be pretty fun. Also transfers are this Sunday. I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here and with my companion but I’ll let you know. I love you guys and hope you have a great week. 

Elder Grigor 

The Dakar Rally is coming to Uyuni 

Elder Grigor is exited to be in Uyuni for this. 

Cool sunset in Uyuni 

White Elephant gift from the Christmas party 

"Putting my sticky notes to good use" 

"A dog with dreadlocks, I don't think this dog has ever had a bath" 

"I tried to take a picture of me and my companion, but only I was in the picture, haha!" 

"With my companion, we organized a little better, haha"