Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Companion Elder Cobabe

Dear Family

        Transfers were again this week, and guess what! I'm still staying in Lira, and now I'm on my fourth companion (fifth including the MTC). Elder Wangui, got sent to Jinja, and now I have a new companion named Elder Cobabe from Salt lake city, Utah. He's a pretty cool guy, he actually reminds me alot of Todd in his speech and sense of humor. I think we'll get along really well.
   This looks like it's going to be a really good transfer, we have about 5 or 6 people lined up to be baptized this transfer (so long as everything goes well), and I really like the people that I'm staying with. The two other missionaries in our house are Elder Benjamin (from Malawi) and Elder Chouya (from Zimbabwe). They are both really chill guys.
    -Elder Grilliot

P.S. I got lots of emails this week so I'm keeping this one short so i can try to respond to these other ones, but i'll send you some pics when i get to the church computer later this evening.


Conquering the Tree with an ax


Monday, March 18, 2013

Answer Time!!!!!

One of the coolest, and most annoying things about Uganda is how much people judge you for the color of your skin out here. Some people out here I've realized are actually very racist against whites, and others view us whites as more privileged beings. It doesn't matter where your from, people out here automatically judge you just by what color your skin is. Sometimes it is annoying but other times you can make it work to your advantage.     Missionary work is really doing well out here, I'm glad to be serving in Lira and I hope that I stay here next transfer. This week was zone conference so President Jackson and the Assistants came down to Lira and we got a chance to talk with them. They were telling us about how places like Rwanda and South Sudan are doing with missionary work. Rwanda is just exploding right now, in about 8 months Rwanda went from 1 branch to 3. The most amazing thing about this is that Rwanda doesn't even have a proselyting license yet, which basically means that the only way that missionaries can teach is if someone walks into the church grounds and asks to be taught. But not withstanding this, Rwanda missionaries are baptizing like crazy. As soon as missionaries can start proselyting there, the work is just going to ignite.
    -Elder Grilliot

       ANSWER TIME!!!!!
1.          What is the largest bug you’ve encountered so far?  I know how much you love bugs, especially moths. (Hehehe)
 The biggest bug I've seen so far is the size of Sarah. He's getting prepared to be baptized this week. 
2.      What time do you get up each morning?
Each morning I get up at 6:30 am

3.        You said you had pizza there.. did it taste like American pizza?
The pizza is really good. I don't know how to compare it to American Pizza because it’s been so long since I've had any, but the pizza here is pretty good compared to anything else.

4.      Are you getting a new area transfer this week?
Transfers are next week. Not sure yet if I'm leaving or not though.

5.      What is the most surprising thing that has happened to you this week?  Was there a small miracle you can share that happened this last week?
 One small miracle that happened this week was on Sunday. There was a member of our church who was getting ready to serve a mission and then all of the sudden he completely disappeared. No one really knew what happened to him or where he stayed. Then one day as my companion and i were moving around one day we accidentally tracked into his mothers house. We found him and he was in a pretty bad condition, he had mallaria and typhoid. We were able to give him a blessing, and it was one of the most guided blessings I have ever given, I told him specifically that if he will diligently read his book of Mormon then he will be healed of mallaria and typhoid in 3 days, and that he will never have the diseases ever again in his life according to his diligence in keeping the commandments. It felt pretty cool, I hope I see him at church next week.

6.      How is it going working with your companion?  I feel bad he lost his mom.  Tell him I am praying for him too.

My companion is struggling big time. Honestly some days I have to teach all the lessons on my own just because of how dead he is. I feel really bad for the guy, but working with him can sometimes be emotionally and spiritually draining. Transfers are happening this week, so maybe we will be separated on Wednesday
7.   What is the one thing you've learned about yourself while out in Lira serving as a missionary?

 I've learned that I started my mission with lots of weight to loose. I've also learned how much I love and value the scriptures.

8.     Has the weather changed there like it is changing here, maybe less hot?  We moved our clocks ahead so it is lighter out later now.  The snow is nearly all melted and the weather is feeling a little bit more like spring, but still very rainy here.
 Last week it rained like crazy, but now it's back to being a desert in Lira. The rainy season can't be too far off though, I know that it's in full swing in some parts of Uganda.

9.    I’m hearing from my LDS MOM email group a lot of missionaries are getting sent to Ethiopia.  Are you hearing of new areas being opened?
The mission in Ethiopia got pretty much completely white washed. They're preparing Ethiopia to be its own mission in the next year or so, so they took out alot of people from Ethiopia and just put in tons of new missionaries. They are just kind of a rebirth for the mission in that country.

10.    Do you have primary or YM/YW in your branch/ward?
Yes to all three

11.   If you could sharpen/ improve one quality in yourself what would it be?
I wish that I could improve my teaching skills, I'm not bad at teaching, but I just wish that I was better at it. There in a huge difference between Ugandans and Americans, and you have to really analyze people as you teach, because most people are great liars out here.

12.    What is something in particular you would like to specifically pray for in our Family Prayers for you?
Pray that I can work out every morning, that is one of the toughest things for me to do most days.
    Dear Dad,
 Thanks for the complements on my writing. I think all of the writing I do in my journal has been paying off, ha ha.  Your questions are a lot more difficult to answer than moms are but I'll try my best to answer them.

1.        Can you describe to me where your apartment is located in Lira?  I can bring up a map of Lira on Google Maps with names of all the main roads, so if you can give me a detailed location description, I bet I can pinpoint it.  I can probably even pick out the building on satellite view, since it’s high resolution, you can see every structure, and lots of things are labeled (like the Downtown Medical Centre, and all the schools.  No “street view” though.)  Also, where do the branches meet, and where do the other Elders live?  Also, while you’re at it, where is your internet cafĂ© located, and anywhere else you frequently visit? 
My apartment in Lira is right next to a small school named Almond Collage. I'm not sure what any of the streets are named so i had to cheat and go on Google maps. So on Google maps there’s a street named Kole Road. if you turn off of Kole road like you’re going to Almond Collage the first house on the left is where we stay. It almost looks like there is a truck in our compound when you look at Satellite view.
     Our Branch is found like this. If you go down Kole Road towards Teso Bar Rd then you will find a school named Karadali Nursery School. Cross Nubi Road and on the Left side of Kole road there is a large building with a blue roof. That's where our branch meets.
      I email from a place called Sankofa Cafe in Lira. It’s a pretty big landmark, I think that you should be able to find it fairly easily by just typing it into Google maps.

2.      Have you heard anything about the number of missionaries in your mission increasing in the near future?  They told us at Stake Conference last week that with the missionary force worldwide increasing from about 60,000 to over 100,000, the number of missionaries per mission will be increasing to 250 (I think the standard number before was 180, but this might just be for the states), and that there will probably be 2 sets of missionaries in every unit.  Not sure how that would translate to Uganda, but do you know if more missionaries are arriving than are going home?
We’re supposed to be getting an increase of 60 missionaries in the next 6 months. Which means that were going to be getting a ton soon, because were losing like 80 missionaries in the next 4 months (which is like 70% of our mission).

3.      What is the approximate ratios of Elders to Sisters in your mission?  Are there many Sisters from the states?
In our whole mission there are like 12 sisters. The only sisters serve in Either Kampala or Jinja, and they are not allowed to be out past 6pm due to potential danger.

Love Elder Grilliot

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Rainstorms and Drunks

Rainstorm in Uganda; rainstorm, Scenery, Uganda
       It's raining it's poring! We finally got rain this week, and the weather is feeling lots cooler than before. Rainstorms in Uganda are crazy, one moment everything will be calm, and then the next moment you will be able to hear the rain right as it begins it's assault on us. Because most of the time we teach we do so outside you will be able to hear something in the distance like a slow buzz and then out of nowhere, Boom! It's raining hardcore everywhere. There have been a few times where I would be teaching and then we start hearing rain in the distance, and in unison all of us pause knowing exactly what what would happen next. Without a single word spoken we gather up everything as quickly as we can and sprint to the nearest shelter while the rain pounds on the roof above us. The climate change between the dry season and the rainy season is like night and day. Honestly the first day that it really started raining (since January) I got soaked, and when I got home I was shivering and felt sooo sick. I was scared that I had malaria or something, I was shivering uncontrollably and had every blanket I could find on me but at the same time I was sweating a ton and had the worst headache of my life. One of the older more experienced missionaries I lived with though told me to try to take a warm shower and I would feel tons better. The moment I turned on that hot water if felt like the sweet nectar of life had been poured upon my soul. It was like I was taking a shower in phoenix tears. It cured me right away. The other missionaries told me later that when I got rained on I experienced such a dramatic climate change that my body didn't know if it wanted to warm me up or cool me down so it just kind of freaked out
       This week our district did a lot of service projects. On Tuesday we helped our Elders Quorum president move, on Thursday we helped a lady cut down a few trees (with nothing except some hand axes), and on Saturday we helped someone move a pile of bricks. The service on Thursday was so cool, I had never chopped down a tree before and it took like 4 hours for two of us to cut down one tree. I still have some major blisters on my hands for swinging that ax over and over again. It makes me have lots of respect for lumberjacks. While we were cutting down the tree we had a funny run in with a super drunk guy. He was was freaking out that a bunch of whites were cutting down trees. He was running around, calling us fools and telling us he wanted to fight us for some reason. He was absolutely hilarious too. If I couldn't smell the alcohol on his breath and known that he was just speaking nonsense I would have guessed that he had an amazing sense of humor. He made me laugh a lot. And then another drunk wondered onto the scene and the two drunks started to call each other names, which was awesome because most of what they said made no sense but you could tell that they were really upsetting each other. In the end one of them just got disgusted with the other and walked away. Then the remaining drunk seeing whites cut down trees told us "this is no job for a bunch of Europeans" and he took the ax from my hand and started cutting the tree for me. He actually did a really good job cutting that tree too, did about half of the tree for me. But then after, he was trying to convince me that because he helped me I had to pay him 2 billion shillings. Haha what a crazy day.  
    The longer I've been on my mission the more and more I've grown to love the scriptures. I bought the institute Manuel for the Book of Mormon, and am restarting my reading from front to back using the institute Manuel side by side. It's kind of cool. I would recommend it.
      Thanks for all of the emails and support that I've recieved this week. Love all of you
                                                                                                                                       -Love Elder G.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Getting Use to the Culture of Uganda

Dear Family and Friends,

        It's kind of funny how numb I've become to everything in Uganda. No longer am I amazed when I see cows running through the streets, or when I see naked children waddling over to me to greet me in a foreign language. All of those new experiences are now just part of daily life. I have to say though, the one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the drunk people in Uganda. You can find people who haven't have a job in over 10 years but somehow they have the funds to get drunk everyday- all day. It just blows my mind how these homeless, jobless, people can manage to find their way to large quantities of alcohol time after time, despite their ever decreasing odds. There are some people I've met where if they put as much energy into getting jobs and working, as they they do finding and consuming alcohol, the next Bill Gates would be a Ugandan.
        Uganda really is a great place to serve though, I often feel blessed to serve here. Some of the nicest people in the world live here. Due to their humbling circumstances they have really learned to be kind to others. On rare occasions though, rather than finding people who have become humbled because of their circumstances, they become bitter and cruel. Some of the best people I've ever met, I've met in Uganda, but also some of the worst as well. It's kind of interesting to see the huge rift between them.
       The church is Lira is really starting to progress. We had our first young woman in excellence award given out this week to a 17 year old girl named Zienah. It was kind of cool to see that, and I'm really happy for her. She was baptized only about 2 years ago but she's already of the strongest woman in this branch. We also finally found an organist for our branch... or I guess I should say a keyboardist. In our branch we have one of those electronic keyboards but no one knows how to play it in our branch, (I'm now kicking myself for not learning how to play) but now one of the new missionaries who got transferred to Lira knows how to play for us. It's a very welcome advancement in this branch and a definite step up from singing hymns from memory.
      My Mom sent me a few questions to answer so I'll include those at the bottom. If any of you have other questions you want to ask me just email me at scott.grilliot@myldsmail.net and I'll try to include them in my future posts.
           -Elder Grilliot
                              1.         What is the weirdest food you have there so far?
                              I haven't really eaten anything too strange yet. I've had pig intestine, which was kind of unusual the first time, but not too bad tasting. I've heard stories from some older missionaries though, about some really nasty dinner appointments they have had. Like ones where they would be served potatoes and they would find mice hidden in the serving bowl, or just really nasty stuff like that. 

2.      How often do you see a monkey or baboon?  Are they hanging out on the road

Honestly you don't see that many monkeys this far north in Uganda. If you go farther South or you drive out into the wilderness you'll see them all over the place, but it's rare to find them running around in the road in Lira.

3.       Are you able to wake up ok?  And are you sleeping okay?

Sleeping is the easy, I haven't met a single missionary yet who has had a problem sleeping. Your so tired at night that sleeping is definitely not an issue. The difficult part is waking up. I have had the most difficult time in the morning waking up and staying awake. Even all the way going up to personal study time, some days it can be such a struggle to stay awake while I'm studying.

4.      How much $ do you get allowance for the month?  Have you ever had extra left over and if so does it get dumped into the next month?

In US dollars I get about 120$ per month (or 420,000 shillings). I usually don't have any left over at the end of the month, but if I ever do I usually just spend it on something really nice at the end of the month, (like last month, all of us living in the same house put all of our extra money together and threw ourselvs a pizza party).

5.      Do you have a place locally to buy a camera?  We are dying to see more pics.

Yes there are plenty of places to buy cameras in downtown Lira. You won't have to worry about that. Most missionaries end up having to buy a camera in Uganda at some point, because theirs gets stolen, or broken, or something like that.

6.      Have you been able to keep your bikes safe from getting stolen?

Yep we just have to lock them up together every time we stop somewhere.

7.      Do you have a place to buy new shirts for yourself or a new suit coat in Lira?

I'm sure that there are places in Lira where you can, I just haven't gotten around to doing so yet. Right now I'm fine with wearing shirts and pants that are a little big on me.

8.      What are you doing for P-day exercise or fun?  Did you play dodge ball with the kids?

On P-day we usually go out and play soccer, but recently our soccer ball got poped when it got kicked into a thorny bush. So now most P-days we kind of just chill.
A few weeks ago though we played dodge ball with the young men on P-day, it was way fun.

9.      In church on Sunday what has been the hardest thing to teach the people about the running of the church?

Home teaching is probably the most difficult thing for people to do in Uganda. There are only a couple of people in our branch who consistently do their home teaching each month. I think that it may take quite a few years before home/visiting teaching becomes implemented properly in the church.

                              10.   Who has been your favorite investigator so far and why?
                              One of the Coolest investigators I've met so far is this guy called Iassac. He's a very smart guy and very self sufficient. Using nothing except for plastic bags and sticks he built his own greenhouse. He then goes around and gathers seeds from the ground like from mango trees, pow-pow trees, pineapple, jack fruit, and bananas. He gathers up soil from the ground and puts in into plastic bags and grows the seed from there. He then sells the tree right as its beginning to get larger, and makes a really good profit from it. It really is an ingenious way of making money, all he has to buy is the plastic bags. I really like the guy too. He's really easy to teach and accepts just about everything we tell him. His main problem though is just that he's never come to church. We invite him every week and he tells us that he's coming but its been almost 4 weeks and he has never come, so sadly we may have to drop him soon. :(

Love Elder Grilliot