Uganda is a crazy place. The longer that I'm here the more I realize that we take things at home for granted. Consistent electricity, supermarkets big enough to fit thousands of people in at once, and a stable economy. And so many people here can have a steady job or two and still be living in poverty. Back in the States no one lives in true poverty. Unless your living off of less than 50$ a month your living better than most people here. It makes me proud to be an American.
This last week has been pretty nice. Transfers were on Wednesday, and I now have a new companion, Elder Anderson. He's a really cool guy from southern California. We get along pretty well and he's taught me a lot so far. He's very well rehearsed in his scriptures and he’s pretty good at teaching people using the scriptures. I've picked up a lot of his teaching methods and have been using them as well. Elder Anderson is a pretty big dude too, before coming on his mission he could bench almost 400 lbs. He's lost some muscle since then but he's still in very good shape and he's been helping me to get a nice work out in every morning. We've made it a goal to do 100 pushups every morning, 250 crunches, and 300 squats. the first few days of working out with him my whole body felt like a wet noodle.
My old companion, Elder Cardon, was transferred to Rwanda, and now is one of 6 missionaries to ever been sent to work in Rwanda (aside from the mission pres. and his assistants). It's pretty sweet to see how fast the church is growing out here. Even in South Sudan the church is growing super fast, and in this last week the missionary couple that works up there baptized 10 people.
I've been reading a book called Jesus the Christ the last couple weeks, and It's a pretty sweet book. You learn more about the life of Jesus in this book than from any other book I've read. Especially when you get to the part of Christ's Earthly ministry, the author James E. Talmage, uses scriptures to really break down every single statement that Christ says and expound it in a way that helps you to learn about Christ, beyond ordinary understanding. It's a sweet book.
This week I've really seen the protection that god offers those who are in his service. Early today Elder Anderson and I were riding our bikes to town when we were rounding a corner along a small path near our house. As we slowed down to turn the corner a boda-boda (motor bike) zooms in out of nowhere and runs strait into my bike, turning my front tire into a pile of twisted metal. I go flying, and land about 10 ft. away from my bike, but amazingly don't have a single scratch on me. Even my clothes were pretty much unscathed. I felt so protected today that I didn't get hurt at all. What’s even more is that the repairs on my bike weren't even that expensive, about 15,000 Ugandan shillings, which is much less than I had thought it would be. One thing I've learned today is that God watches out for his missionaries.
This last Sunday was really disappointing, only one of our investigators came to church this Sunday, even though we have like ten of them with baptismal dates. We've had to push back some baptismal dates and drop some investigators this week simply because they refuse to come to church. It hurts me to see that people recognize truth, and honestly want to be baptized but have no desire to come to church. I've realized that unless they truly understand the sacrament they have no real desire to come to church. It's easy for them to understand faith, repentance, baptism, but when it comes to the sacrament they have no understanding and simply don't care to understand. That's not for all of our investigators, but sometimes it just seems like we’re trying to save someone when they have no desire to save themselves.
For others that we've been trying to teach, they are just too stubborn to give up their other church. They are too attached to their beliefs that even if they realize that our church is unlike any other church on Earth, they are unwilling to change. We've even had one investigator who had prayed about our church and told us that he knows that ours is the one true church of Jesus Christ, but that he is unwilling to change churches because he’s been going there so long. It hurts to know what they are missing out on and not be able to do anything about it.
I've seen so many lives become changed because of this church, and that those who are truly seeking Jesus Christ will find solace in this message: He lives and his church lives, and that God still speaks to us today. I know that this church is the only way to truly become converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that any other path is a noble effort, but will put you short of the glory that God and Jesus Christ want for us. And I know that by praying with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Christ the truth of this message will be manifested unto you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To each of the people in Uganda that I bear this testimony to, some of them take it seriously and some do not. But those who listen to this message and take it seriously, improve their quality of life beyond that of people who are living in much less humbling circumstances than they. I didn't know how much this church can change a life until I came to Uganda, but I can honestly say now that there is no other church like this on earth.
-Love Elder Grilliot