Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Monday, June 24, 2013

Good-bye to Pres. Jackson

     Dear Family and Friends,

 This is going to be my mission presidents last week of service (President Eric Jackson), he leaves this Friday. It's really sad to see him going, he has helped to make this mission one of the best missions in the world. I have learned more and matured faster during these 7 months in his leadership than I think I ever have before in my life. I know that he was a man chosen by God, and although I will miss him I also look forward to seeing what the new mission pres will bring to the table.
      This was a pretty good week. We had stake conference this week, and we were able to bring a few of our investigators there as well. The stake center is really nice, It's like being in an actual chapel back home (which is something I really miss). There was a huge turn out at the Conference and over a thousand people from all over Kampala came (Only the wards in Kampala are part of the Stake so I didn't get to see anyone from Lira, unfortunately). It was a good Conference and the central theme of it all was actually about missionary work, and about how members need to do a better job supporting the missionaries.
       At the Stake Conference I also received a nice surprise when someone that I knew from my ward back home appeared: Charles Smith. I guess he was doing some work in Uganda to help build stoves for the people here (or something like that I didn't really ask to much), and he showed up to the Stake Conference as well. It blew my mind to see him all the way in Uganda, and seeing him It felt like I had been in Uganda a lot longer than 7 months. After the Stake Conference, we needed some help teaching one of our investigators who came to Stake Conference, so I even got help from Charles in teaching as well. It was kind of cool.
    I didn't really know much about the new advancement in the missionary work and stuff, but it's going to be really cool to see how everything works out in the next few years. Knocking doors is pretty effective in Uganda (I've found and baptized a few that way), but at the same time you honestly baptize referrals and people who have found you the most. The internet is a great way to find people. There was this one Lady who was baptized in Seeta just before I got here named Elizabeth, and she actually found out about the church online, went on Mormon.org and got referred to the missionaries through the internet. The internet could be the breeding ground for much good (especially in the developed world). I love that the church is really utilizing there potential.

     The branch in Seeta is very different from the one in Lira, It's more organized but less friendly to the missionaries. We have a branch mission leader but he's Less-Active so we go to visit him sometimes to reactivate him. The Branch President is a way cool guy though, he is super organized and he helps the branch to function really well. Home teaching is a big problem in Seeta, I've been trying to work with the Elders Quorum President to help Home teaching happen, but it's really difficult to get things started out here.
     Thank you for the Loving support mom, your awesome.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Area! SEETA

       It's finally happened. After 7 months of the same area I have finally moved. This Wednesday I packed up and left Lira and I was moved to Seeta (kind of a subberb of Kampala). It's so crazy to be out of the village area now though, everything is so different in Seeta.
There's no mud huts, no one speaks Langi (they now all speak Luganda) and there is much less poverty as well. There are a lot more people in Seeta who have white collar jobs, like business or office work. But in Lira it was a lot more blue collar jobs (farmers, construction workers, etc). It's like I've been sent to serve in a completely new mission to be honest.
      This week has kind of been an adjustment for me, a new area, a new apartment, a new companion, and a new teaching pool. My new companion's name is Elder Thomo, from South Africa, Durbin. He's in his second transfer right now so he's fairly new to mission, but he's still carrying some MTC fire in him. The other two new elders in my district (and apartment) are Elder Morris (from Kenya) and Elder Latola (from South Africa), so for the first time on my mission I'm the only American In my apartment.
      The branch in Seeta works much differently than the branch in Lira. The branch in Lira had been open for less than a year so part of your duty as a missionary there was to make sure that the branch didn't go into apostasy (as in make sure that they're not teaching false doctrine, and that the auxiliary leaders are running their classes correctly). However in Seeta the branch has been open for about 7 or 8 years so the branch runs more or less as a branch should run. Seeta is also getting ready to open it's own chapel (right now were just meeting in a rented out house), it should be dedicated sometime in September or October, so if I'm around during that time that will be a big deal for the branch here.
       Thanks for all of your love and support. I feel your prayers and they uplift me, thank you, each of you.

Love Elder Grilliot

Monday, June 10, 2013

Helping Jimmy Pick Peppers

            This week I've learned about the importance of Being Christlike. We met a guy named Jimmy this week who owns a bunch of chili pepper plants, and as we were out going to an appointment we saw him picking his peppers. Elder Cobabe and I decided to stop and talk to him, but he seemed pretty uninterested in listening to us so we got up and went to our scheduled appointment. After that appointment though we passed by the the same guy as before and I had a strong prompting to stop and help him in his garden. So we went up to him and we asked if he would like any help picking chili peppers, and we spent the next hour in the sun helping him pick peppers. After that hour I told him that we had to get going but we thanked him for the opportunity to do service. As I picked myself up and started walking away we heard him call to us "Wait, hold on a second. I feel like you guys have something important to tell me". To which we replied "Yes we do". From there we taught him and his wife the pure doctrine of Christ and they accepted to be baptized. I'm so glad that our simple service was able to soften his heart the way that it did. I'm also so glad that I was able to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost in the moments that I needed to.

           Next week is transfer news, and there's a very good chance of me leaving Lira. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Q & A

Dad’s Questions:
1. Do you have a branch mission leader that you work with?  If so, does he understand his calling well, and is he helpful? 
2. How many Priesthood blessings have you given?
3. How often at church are you and your companion called on to bless or help pass the sacrament?  Or are there enough young men to do that?
4. Have you seen any tennis courts in Uganda?  Does anyone even play tennis there?  (If no, that might be the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.)
5. Are there any national holidays or big celebration days in Uganda where everyone parties?  What are those like?

Elder Grilliot’s Answers:
1- Yes we do have a branch mission leader but he's still new in the church. He was baptized about 9 months ago and were still training him in how to magnify his calling. He does a
decent job, but he still has a lot to improve on.
2- I'm not sure how many blessings I've given on my mission, but it's been quite a few. You can't go three weeks without giving a blessing out here.
3- I have never had to bless/pass the sacrament on my mission yet. Lira has a very well organized Young men quorum. Also with  all of the recent converts who have the Aaronic priesthood there are always people around who are willing to bless/pass the sacrament if asked.
4- I have never seen a tennis court in Lira, but I saw one next to the mission office in Kampala, and I've heard that there's one in Entebe (where Elder Bitter is serving). But those are the only places I've heard of.
5- There aren't many national holidays in Uganda but when there are the entire mission has the missionaries go home early (around 4-6 pm). The reason why is because when it's a national holiday everyone gets super drunk and the streets can become dangerous. On New Years people in Kampala went home at 2pm and people in the Village (Lira, Gulu, Mbale, Busia, Masaka, Jinja, ect) went home at 5pm. It's more likely for people to begin rioting on holidays.

Mom’s Questions:
1-        What is one thing this week that helped you see the hand of the Lord in the work you are doing?
2-     Think of one thing that made you laugh this week and tell me about it (even if it’s just a little thing)
3-      One thing that you really like about your companion and that you have learned from him.
4-     “Best” trial you’ve had so far and what you’ve learned from that trial.
        I shall answer your questions.
1- I have seen the hand of the Lord in this work mostly by seeing how some people react to the spirit. When you teach with the spirit and you can tell that people feel it is always interesting to see how such people react to it. I've seen instances where people are willing to open up and tell you things about themselves that they never would have normally. I've seen times when people want to reject your message, but you can see that something is fighting inside of themselves to constrain them. I've seen the spirit make people want to do something even when they don't fully understand why. Honestly the spirit has a power to touch someone’s heart over, and over.
2- There's one missionary that I live with named Elder Benjamin who makes me laugh a lot. The country that he's from (Malawi) is a lot like South Africa or Zimbabwe, meaning that it's becoming somewhat developed (2nd world country). He likes to joke though that he's country is still back in the stone ages. He does it in a way that It's just awesome. He makes jokes like that the richest man in Malawi owns a bicycle, and socks, and that the entire country gathers together during one day in the year to watch the man with socks ride the bike because they have never seen anything like it before. Or that His trainer on mission had to teach him how to wear pants and shirts because when he was in Malawi all he used to wear was a loin cloth. He's just a funny guy.
3- The best thing that I've learned from my companion is diligence. Even when he doesn't want to work (which is most of the time) I've learned how to continue working despite him. Honestly he's been a very tough companion, because he came on a mission for the wrong reasons, and I think he's still trying to figure out why he's here.

4- The best trial that I've had so far is probably my current companion. He is pretty disobedient, and I feel that by being with him I've been forced to learn why I am here and how to be more obedient, and more diligent. I've been with my current companion for 2 transfers now and It's becoming more and more difficult to be with him these days.