So before I forget I’ve been thinking about Ray Goff over the past little while and I was wondering if you could get me his email or something like that, I wanted to write him and see how he’s doing.
And well this week honestly was kind of tough, we were not very successful this week and that is kind of hard for me. We tried our best but the whole week no one was home and we had tons of appointments get cancelled and it seemed like no one wanted to talk to us so it was kind of lame, it might have been one of my worst weeks here. But the important thing is that we are working hard and trying our best so I guess thats all that matters. I guess we always need a unsuccessful week once in a while. All we can do is go up from here and try to be even better this week.
President Hansen is now here. I’ll probably get to meet him for the first time tomorrow or on Wednesday when I go to the office or at our leadership meeting that we are going to have on Wednesday with him. I’m really excited to get to know him and learn from him. It was pretty sad when President Dyer left. Our last conference with him was on Wednesday and we kind of just said goodbye and at the very end we all went up to give them a hug and say our last words more or less. What the President told me to start is "well, I wish we lived in the same country" after that it was just kind of a continuation of my last interview talking about school and life after the mission. I will really miss him, he has had a huge influence on me. Sister Dyer as well, she is such a great person and always willing to help and made some really good cookies. I will miss that for sure. Hopefully I will be able to make it down to a couple of reunions that they have in Utah with all of the missionaries. I’ll have to go to at least one I think. Hopefully I’ll be able to learn just as much from the new president.
An amazing experience we had this week was going to the temple with our converts for their very first time. We were able to see them be baptized and confirmed for many people who have been waiting for this opportunity. I know they helped change the lives of many people and I am so grateful for that and for their desire to serve others. One of the members who was there with us told us that now the chance of them going inactive is significantly smaller now that they have been in the house of the lord and have partaken of those ordinances. I know that is true and it is great to see them keep progressing on their way to becoming fully converted. When they were baptized a couple weeks ago they were about 50 lessons behind in seminary but they have been determined to catch up to the rest of the class and have done enough make up lessons to almost be at the same place as the rest. I think over these next couple weeks of vacation they will be able to catch up with the rest. I have also noticed the help from the leaders and members to make sure that they are retaining all those who have been baptized. It really all depends on the members and they are doing a great job. I am so grateful to see their changes that they have made to come closer to christ and to stay on the straight and narrow path. There is nothing I love to see more!
Although it wasn't the best week we still had many great experiences and I continue to grow everyday as a person and as a missionary, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be here.
Thank you for your letters and the pictures. I loved every single one, I love you guys lots and we will be talking to you soon!!
Elder Grigor * Elder Grigor's camera is still not working properly so the pictures are kind of blurry and overexposed
So I will start off with the bad news, last week I was taking pictures and my camera fell when I was passing it to another elder and may have gotten wrecked. Afterwards it was taking all the pictures really weird and they were all really bright, I don't know why it would be that way but the next day it was totally fine. Sometimes it still takes really white pictures but for the most part it is ok, I was really worried because you guys love pictures but I think it should all be good,
So we had kind of a funny experience this week. At least for me it was funny. It was something that I didn’t think they still did but it reminded me of nacho libre. The part where he goes to the cliff to eat the eagle egg and get power. It wasn’t exactly the same but it was similar. We have an investigator who had just disappeared randomly and she didn’t tell us where she was going. We just found her this week after dying to find her for two weeks. She told us that she went to La Paz because she wasn’t feeling well. She said she was going crazy and didn’t know what to do so she went up into the mountains with some men. I guess they soaked her with water. The way she told us was that they beat her with water and then she felt much better. We are going to try and help her with some of her weird beliefs.
This week was really good though, me and my comp are working well together and having lots of lessons and finding new people. We baptized all the people that were progressing so now we need to find more. It’s pretty hard because the only people that want to listen to us are teenagers and many times they don’t get permission from their parents. We are going to try really hard to find some families to teach.
A great experience we had this week was when one of our appointments fell through. We decided to go look for some contacts that we made and while passing a house my companion felt that we should talk to a family but didn’t tell me so we just kept walking. After about 15 minutes he told me and we went back to look for them, we said hi to the girl and she went and told her mom and the mom yelled "Jose!!!" and then a guy about 20 years old came out and we talked to him. The rest didn’t want to talk to us but this guy Jose had talked to the missionaries about 2 years ago. He went to church and everything but never got baptized. He got a job that made him work on Sunday and never talked to the missionaries again. We talked to him a little and he said he would love to go to church and be baptized but now he can’t because of his job. But he was really happy that we found him. He also told us that his friend who lived next door was a member but inactive also because of his job. So we went and looked for him and just met his little brother who knew all about the church and had a triple combination that he reads but said the missionaries never talked to him. So we were able to find many new people to teach and members to reactivate all for a little prompting. I know the lord helped us find that house and some of his sheep that had been lost. I love the opportunity to act on the promptings of the spirit and know after that it was the will of the lord. I hope that he will continue to trust in me in this great work. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!
We had so many great experiences this week and I am loving mission life and I’m happy that I will be in my area for a good while.
Love you guys, thanks for the letters always. You are the best family I have ever had.
Elder Grigor with his zone before the changes were made
The puppy that Elder Grigor named "Grigor"
The puppies that were named "Grigor" and "Manayay"
Elder Grigor the "dog king"
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them,
doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness,
and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing."
Elder Grigor posing with the little lamb.
"The craziness of soccer down here"
" I dropped my camera and now all my pictures are bright like this"
So first off I am not getting transferred. I was like 90% sure that I was going because that’s what everyone was telling me. But the president called last night and there were only 2 companionships that have changes so the zone is going to be almost exactly the same. We had to go to the district leader’s house to do all the numbers and receive the changes because someone accidentally walked into the baptismal font with the phone in his pocket….. So right now we don’t have a phone but we put it in rice and it should be drying out I hope. We are going to take it out tonight to see if it works, Ii not we will have to buy a new phone I think. I am going to be here in Villa Graciela for a long while still. I’m going to be with Elder M. until he finishes his mission and then I will have another companion to show him the area. This change was only 4 weeks so the next will be 8 and the next 6 so I’ve got about 14 more weeks here. I’ll have 18 months when I leave his area I think. But I’m quite happy about that. I really like my area and the members and my comp so we should have a good time here.
My week was really great. it was pretty busy but totally worth it. This Saturday we had 9 baptisms in our ward. The 4 from the other elders and 5 from me and my comp. The bishop told us that we had the most baptisms on one day than ever before. It was quite a great day. We had planned the baptism to start at 5 and almost everyone was there. We were just waiting for the family that we were going to baptize to show up but there was no sign of them. We were calling and they wouldn’t answer and we were actually pretty worried and didn’t know what to do so we just waited. Honestly I was getting pretty impatient because they were not showing up. So at 6 I went with the bishop to look for them. They live way up on the hill so it took like 10 minutes just in the car to get there and we found them. What had happened is the 2 kids ages 8 and 5 had wandered off to go play at the park on the top of the hill and the parents had no idea where they went. I guess they had been looking for about 3 hours and had no Idea where they were but they finally found them and were able to make it down. We started a little late but they were all able to get baptized and it was a great night. The next day they all made it to the chapel to get confirmed, it was the first time I did it and I was pretty nervous but it all went well and there were no problems. It was really a great weekend.
We witnessed many miracles during this weekend. One was with Zulema. So my first day here in Villa Graciela we contacted Zulema buying Pilfrut at a store. We gave her a pamphlet and made an appointment for later, she is probably the best investigator I have had in understanding and keeping her commitments. She was progressing so fast but her parents wouldn’t give her permission. We tried everything but nothing seemed to work so we just decided to let the lord do his work in his own time and we just waited. She kept coming to church and learning and she loved it. So this Friday we were studying and the phone rings.It was Zulema and she told us that she wanted to be baptized this Saturday with the rest of the people getting baptized. We knew she wanted to but she didn’t have permission. This time she said she had permission so we went and did the interview, got permission from her parents and she was able to be baptized with the rest. That really was an answer to our prayers and I know the lord hears and answers and was able to soften the heart of her parents. It really was a miracle. I know the lord provided the way for this ordinance to be achieved. This and many more experiences let me know that God really lives and answers prayers.
Another miracle was with Andrea, she is the oldest in her family. She had a huge activity in her high school for graduation and was unsure if she would make it to the baptism.We tried all we could do to get her to come. She said that she would but that it would be impossible to come to church the next day and that she would have to be confirmed later so that was the plan. Then Sunday came and she didn’t show up but the other 8 were there and we were just walking up to confirm them all when out of nowhere she showed up to church and was able to be confirmed. She also stayed for the whole meeting and the rest of the classes. She told us that she had to go or they would take marks off and that it was mandatory. I really don’t know what changed but I know that the lords hand was very hard at work to make it that she could make it to church. I’m not sure how it happened but it happened and I am very thankful to the lord for that miracle that we were able to see.
I love the mission, I love my area, I love my comp, I love you guys.
Well this was a good week, it went by really fast I feel like I was just writing you guys but I’m glad that I get to do it again. So last p-day we went up to the Christ statue and it was pretty fun, we took lots of funny photos with the zone, it was my 3rd time up there and probably my last but I enjoyed it.
We had a cool experience Monday night. We were walking home to eat about 8:50pm and we were like 10 minutes away so I wasn’t even thinking about talking to anyone. My companion saw a lady who looked like she was struggling trying to fill in a little ditch by her house with a pickaxe. So he went over and asked if he could help and he started working and filling in her ditch. So then I just took the opportunity to talk to her about the gospel and invite her to church. She said she was looking for a church to join and was really interested and wanted us to come back to talk to her and her family. Taking just 10 extra minutes to help someone and share a small message made a big difference.If we would have just kept walking who knows what would have happened. That reminded me a lot about Jesus Christ and the 4th watch and that is when he comes to help us in that exact moment.
Another great experience was after our zone leader conference. We had about half an hour until dinner so we decided to go out and try to find someone. We went looking but no one was home and we didn’t really know where to go so we went to a member’s house to ask for a reference. It turns out that right as we showed up they were coming back from the hospital with their niece and her child from the hospital. Their niece’s son had heart surgery so they came to Cochabamba for the surgery from Oruro to get it done. We made it at the perfect time because she isn’t a member and we were able to help her with some of the worries that she was having and taught her the restored gospel. That was exactly what she needed at that moment. She said when she goes back to Oruro she is going to go to church and wants to get baptized. She knew she always needed to do it but was kind of scared and the missionaries never talked to her so she didn’t know what to do. I know the Lord put us in her path for a reason and I’m just glad we were able to follow the spirit to know where to go. Before leaving the house I just thought of 1 Nephi 4:6 and knew the Lord would guide us and that’s exactly what happened.
The rest of my week was also really awesome. I had my final interview with the president and it was really great. He gave me lots of good advice on life after the mission. He also said that having families come to pick up is often discouraged but that many have done it and it’s been a blessing. But I think I would like to just finish with my group and come back later just normally with all you guys and then you don’t have to come 2 times down here. I think it would be easier that way. He told me that the secret to a successful life is studying hard and paying your tithing and everything will be given. Also without even mentioning anything he told me I should probably try to study in Canada and not worry about going to BYU. I think that is what I am going to do and try to stay close to home more or less. I’ve been thinking a lot about U of L and U of A. Well I haven’t been thinking too much but those are my options for right now I think. It was a great interview I will definitely miss him.
Well that was pretty much my week. I got the package this week too. Thank you so much. I love the Frisbee, candy and the stain remover and everything, it made my day and my week, thank you so much. I love you guys lots, hope you have a great week, talk to you soon!!
Looking out over the City of Cochabamba
Elder Grigor - always posing for the camera
Visiting the Christ Statue "Cristo de la Concordia"
So I didn’t really take any pictures this week.I don’t know why but there just wasn't anything to take a picture of so I just kind of forgot about it. But I will definitely try to do that this week. I am going to focus way more on pictures.
So I think Elder M. is my favourite companion, we are getting along so great, he is just such a funny guy and we are always laughing in the street and like I told you guys sometimes we just take off running and have races and try to scare groups of dogs and sometimes people. People not so much, but it’s fun to see their reaction as we go running by. I think we almost gave a little dog a heart attack once. I have never seen a little dog run so fast in my life. It was a good time. We just always do things like that, but it’s only when we are really late or when we have a for sure appointment and know they won’t care if we show up sweaty like at a members house or dinner. Yesterday we were going to have pizza at 6 but we were in a lesson for a long time so we ran for like 10 minutes to get to dinner on time and have pizza, it was really fun. And we just always make jokes and are always laughing or we try to knock on doors differently.
So we had a few really great experiences this week, and they really strengthened my testimony on prayer and working hard and trying to be obedient with exactness. We haven't really been having much success lately in the area and I wasn’t really sure why. My feelings were that maybe through prayer and trying to follow every rule with exactness that it would help. There are 2 experiences this week where I have noticed the blessing that have come from that. One is we were walking out of a lesson and saying goodbye and I noticed a young man who I thought I recognized who had moved away about 2 months ago. I didn't really think much about it because I thought they were gone but we went the next day and it turns out that it was actually him. We were teaching the rest of his family and they had baptismal dates but moved away and we kind of lost contact with them. They didn’t tell us why but now they are back in the area and we have the opportunity to keep teaching and I am sure they will be just as receptive as the last time. The other time was when we were teaching 4 children. They were a referral from a member that we started teaching a couple weeks ago. We were never able to find their mom because she a single mom and is always working and works until really late so its been really hard to get in contact with her. We wanted to have permission to keep teaching her children. They said it was ok but we wanted to be sure. So this week we tried really hard and this Sunday we were able to talk to her. She was kind of hesitant at first but she signed the baptismal permission slips for her 4 kids. Andrea(18), Isabel(14), Cristian(12), and Veronica(8). That was a big blessing and an answer to our prayers and the best part is the member that gave us the referral lives right in front of them and goes every Sunday to pick them up and take them home. They’ve come to church and have even attended two baptisms. Our prayers have definitely been answered.
These are some of the great times I had this week and there are many more. I love the mission and I love you guys.
We got a sweet email today from a young man named Johnny. He was
baptized 9 months ago and has brought 9 of his friends into the gospel.
He was telling us that he loves Elder Grigor and that he is his best friend.
We were able to email back and forth using google translate to speak to
him in Spanish. It was such a great experience to hear how he feels about
Elder Grigor and about the missionary work that is happening in Cochabamba.