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.

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