Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Monday, April 29, 2013

Dennis, General Conference, and Technical Difficulties

The thing that I love about the Uganda Kampala mission (and all of the other African missions) is that even after baptism you are still supposed to visit your recent converts and continue to teach them after baptism. In fact they are still considered a recent convert for an entire year after their baptism and for that entire year missionaries are still supposed to continue teaching them. I really enjoy this because you get the opportunity to be able to see the changes in their lives even after baptism. My parents wanted to hear some stories about spiritual things, and some of the most spiritual moments have been with some of my recent converts. 

There's another Recent Convert named Dennis, who I baptized. He used to live in Kampala in a place called Garden City, which is like Kampala's Vegas strip. Casinos, strip clubs, and bars, everywhere. During his time there he was a complete drunkard, he lived on the streets and got wasted every night. During this time he had a dream that a giant beer bottle tied a leash around him and pulled him everywhere like a dog, and this dream frightened him enough to quit drinking (for the most part) but because of this he got his life stabilized enough that he was able to get a job, at a bar. After working at this bar for quite some time he started noticing things about drunk people. He realized that people who are drunk are ruining their lives and he says that he could just feel a dark atmosphere around all alcohol in general. It was at this point that he began to feel something inside of himself screaming at him to stay away from alcohol  Over time this caused him to quit drinking all together, and at one point he said that going to work at the bar even became a burden and that it caused him to feel awful inside "like his soul was pleading with him." He wanted to quit his job but knew that if he did he would have no source of income, but over time he felt pressured to quit his job. So he prayed to God and said "if I quit this job allow me to be able to find another one." And so he did and within months he was able to get a top end job in South Sudan as a contractor (which is an amazing job for someone to be able to land in Africa). His contract lasted for 2 years where he was able to work hard and earn lots of money, but over time his contract began to expire and he was forced to move back to Uganda. Having no place to stay he decided to move in with his brother who lived in Lira, got married found a place of his own and has had 3 little children of his own. But still never forgetting the importance of staying away from alcohol. Then not long ago, my companion and I ran into Dennis and began teaching him. At first he seemed reluctant to listen to what we had to teach him, in fact sometimes we almost considered dropping him as an investigator altogether, because he would intentionally try to run away from us at times. But for one reason or another we continued to visit him until we finally decided to teach him the word of wisdom (about the importance of staying away from alcohol, tobacco, harmful drugs, etc.). We taught a powerful lesson about the word of wisdom to him, and my companion and I both could feel the spirit very strongly. He then told us all about his background and his past struggles with the word of wisdom, he told us that this was the first time that he's heard of a church having the same values and ideas about the spiritual and the physical as he did. It was at this point that I completely saw Dennis begin to be converted. Since then he has almost never missed church and he has been super active. I can really see that God prepared him for us.

This week we finally got to see General Conference. Saturday we started conference at 2 pm and watched the Saturday morning session (loved it) then we had a small break between sessions before we started the Saturday afternoon session. 10 min into the second session though power went out at the church and the conference went with it. For the next 30 min we sang hymns waiting for the power to come back on, unfortunately though it never did and I missed the 2nd session. Then the next day (Sunday) we had power once again so we were able to start the Sunday morning session (Loved it) but unfortunately the disk for the Sunday evening session was scratched into oblivion and we couldn't watch it. So ultimately I was only able to watch the 2 morning sessions. I'll have to wait until I can read the Liahona magazine to be able to hear the rest of the conference talks.

Love you guys have a great week.

Monday, April 22, 2013


    There are a lot of things that you can do as an American in Uganda that you can't do anywhere else. One thing I love about this place is that you can walk down a road and find the biggest, toughest, meanest, looking dude around and give him a big wave and a goofy grin and he will smile back and wave like a little kid. Speaking of kids my companion and I discovered a new sport in Uganda, Children scaring. Kids here almost never see whites, so the moment that they see you they are in complete awe, and some in shock. So what my companion and I do is we try to devise new and creative ways to spook the children. It started off that when the kids kept yelling "muno!" at us (which in Langi means white) then we come sprinting at them screaming and they freak out and run away. But then we started creating even funnier ways of doing it, I would sit there and the kids passing by would stare at me from afar, pointing and telling each other "look a white guy", then while they are all looking at me I would call then hither. They would slowly start coming closer and closer  to me and then I would hold out my hands like I have something to give them, whitch would start bringing them even closer. Then as soon as they are within 5 ft of me my companion jumps of of his hiding place behind them and runs at them cackling and yelling "A MWODI!" (which basically means "I'M GOING TO EAT YOU!"). haha the kids freak out and run for their lives, I know that it's awful but it is just so funny. Don't worry about this scaring the kids for life though because the funny thing is that the kids you scare the most are the same ones who become comfortable around you the fastest.
   We went on Zone exchanges this week, so I got to work with another missionary besides my regular companion. This week I was with Elder McNeil, one of my zone leaders. He's a really cool guy, with a great sense of humor, he kind of reminds me of my brother Rick a little bit. Anyways we had lots of fun, plus since he's the zone leader we got to cruise around in a truck the whole day. We even took a ride to the farthest part of my area (just to see what was there) and we found a great big swamp. While we were at the swamp we saw these guys out on the swamp with a great bit net in a boat. We assumed they were searching for fish but then right as we got ready to drive back, we heard then yelling to each other and the boat starting rocking back and forth. Then before you know it all four guys are pulling this net up into their boat and pull up an alligator. They tie up its mouth and then fight with it for the next 10 min to chain up its legs and body. It was pretty crazy to see. I asked someone why they would want to catch an alligator and he told me that restaurants buy alligators for a high price, so I guess alligator meat is like a delicacy or something in Uganda haha. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Snake in the Grass

   As of Today I have been out on my mission for exactly 5 months. Kind of hard to believe but I don't know it if should feel like it's been longer or shorter than that. In one month I'm going to celebrate by burning a tie (then at my year mark burning a shirt, and at the 18 months I'll burn a pair of pants, and then at the end I'll burn my suit *yay*).
   I've been working hard with some of my recent converts and we've been reading the Book of Mormon with them, with one of them we read one chapter twice a week with him and he's getting close to finishing it (Book of Ether). If he can finish it within the next 4 months (which i'm sure he can) he will be the first member of our branch to have finished the Book of Mormon before hitting a year of membership. It can be really difficult to get people out here to read the Book of Mormon (because of their education) so I can't wait to see him do it.
   This week I had a pretty crazy strange lesson. We were teaching this one guy outside (I don't remember his name anymore) and one of his chickens starts freaking out and running around like crazy. Then it stops and stands about 20 ft from us in a circle 4 or 5 other chickens and they are clucking and squawking like crazy. The guy who were teaching suddenly stands up and then running at the chicken picks up 2 rocks and throws one at the chickens. A moment latter A snake comes flying out from the grass that the chickens were circling around, and lunges at our investigator. I then realize that he didn't throw the rock at the chickens but at the snake sitting in the middle of the chickens. Just as the snake is getting ready to attack our investigator, he throws the 2nd rock that he has at the snake, and it explodes on the snakes head killing the snake (which we later found out was a green mamba). He then casually walks back to he seat as if nothing had happened. Haha, what a crazy dude.
   -Elder Grilliot

5 Questions from Dad:

Outside of other missionaries, have you run into any other Americans in Lira?
1- Yes you see them sometimes, but not too often. Honestly though you see Europeans a few times a week though, they usually come from some non-government-organizations that try to save starving children and stuff. The Jehovah witness send out missionaries from Europe to Uganda so we see them on occasions as well. But honestly if it's not a missionary it's kind of strange to see another white person.
What are people’s general impression of America there?  Do they think we are awesome, or evil?
2- Everything people know about America are just from American movies, so some of their conceptions are correct, while some are dead wrong.
They mostly just see America as a place full of rich people, and a luxurious life. Overall when people see you they usually have one of three opinions towards you: 1- he's rich and I want his money. 2- He's white and I hate him because white people ruined this country. 3- WOW!
Do people there get your goofy sense of humor?  Or do you tone it down around the locals?
3- People here like to laugh, but they have a very limited sense of humor. Sarcasm for example is really a foreign language to these people. Imagine what humor was like in the states about 150 years ago.
That's what peoples humor is like here. I still goof around sometimes but people don't always get it.
From the map, it sure looks like there are a lot of colleges in Lira.  Are these like high schools, or are they actual colleges?  Do a lot of people go to them?
4- The education system is different here, when it's called college, it means high school. When it says university it means college.
Do people often ask you for money?
5-Yes, all the freaking time. Kids are the worst. It is sooo annoying.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Truck, Mangos, and Mustaches

Dear Family and Friends,

This was a fun week. Me and my companion are getting along really well and were getting a lot of work done. We also had president Jackson come to Lira this week and that was pretty cool as well. I like President Jackson, he is a very honorable man and it's going to be strange to not have him around in about 3 months.

    I got to drive for the first time in Africa this week. Elder Cobabe and I were with our zone leaders today (P-day), and They were getting ready to back up the truck, so I asked if I could do it (kind of jokingly) and he said "OK". So I got to back up the truck. I only drove for like 30 seconds and it was about 30 ft, but it still was pretty cool feeling to drive again. It was also kind of a cool experience to drive with the stick shift on the left side.

   It's almost mango season (only a few more weeks untill the mango's will be compleatly ripe). I can't wait. The best mango's in the world are growing here in Uganda. Everywhere you walk is a mango tree here, you can't walk 20 ft without seeing a great big mango tree, so when the mango's are big and ripe I can just grab a handful of mango's to go, anytime of the day. If there's anything that I'm going to miss here in Uganda, it's the fruit.

   The biggest disappointment of this week was finding out that I won't be able to watch general conference for another month. Our branch has to wait one month before they get the General Confrence DVDs (Which is what we watch them on). There is no such thing as satellite broadcast here, especially since were not even in an actual chapel right now, just in a regular meeting house. Right now (at the internet Cafe) I'm downloading the priesthood session and putting it on a flash drive for us to listen to at the apartment, but that's the best I'll get for now.

   Nothing huge in Uganda this week, but thank you all for the love and support that you all give me.

Love Elder Grilliot

This is to all of my home dogs out there who ever asked themselves what I would look like with a fancy mustache.

Note to Dad:

I loved the mac' and cheese by the way. It was my companions birthday that night so I made us both mac and cheese. It almost made us trunky thinking about American food. You did an amazing job at hiding the card too. I almost couldn't belive that the card could be in there. Did you hot glue the box back together or something? It was pretty crafty of you.

   I'll send a pic for sarah of the present she sent me. Tell her I love it, and so does my companion.

   The next transerfers arn't for a while (i think 4 weeks), but I love it here in Lira, It's a really nice place to serve in (most missionaries call it the promised land). To be honest though I can't see myself serving in Lira another transfer, That would make 7 months in the same area which is rarely heard of. But yes I do remain as the district leader. Honestly I was very nervous about becoming a district leader after being only like 2 months in the field, but now i feel like I'm really getting the hang of it all. My zone leaders have been a huge help in showing me the way too. Being a district leader isn't all that bad though, it just takes some getting used to, thinking about 4 missionaries instead of you and your companion.

Note to Mom:



 I jus wanna let chu no dat since ma booty landid in dis country, ma english is gettin so much gooder dan before.

   I know that my emails have started to get shorter and shorter, but recently I've just felt like I have less and less to talk about, sorry. I'll try to get better though.

Monday, April 1, 2013

No Power+Cold Showers=3 Dead Lizards

This has been kind of a funny week. For the first three days we had no power at all. It stunk because we had cold showers and we were living in the dark. It wasn't all bad though because we have a solar panel on our house, but it only has enough juice to power like three lights and one fan (deffinatly not a watter heater though). Anyway Elder Cobabe and I (my companion) were trying to figure out the problem so we were fiddleing aroung with our meter box outside our house. When we opened up the meter box we found three dead lizzards tangled up in all the wires, they were burned to a crisp. Bet you can't guess what we had for dinner that night. (haha jk). But all in all we fixed up the wires and got power going again. Ironicly as soon as we got power back on, watter got shut off.

    We met a pretty legit guy this week, his name is Ronnie, and he runs his own radio talk show in Lira. He's way cool, even came to church this week and loved it. The coolest thing too is that he's actually an old college friend with our branch president (Automatic fellowshipper). He's one of the most humble people I've met, can't wait to see what happens with him this transfer. Plus if he does join the church, it could be a really positive boost for the church, seeing as how he has a well known talk show on the radio.

    Got my camera this week, It's a pretty nice one. I'll be trying to send you guys pictures from now on.

Elder Grilliot