Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Have an African Accent!!! & More About Paul

     This week has been an adventure for me. I'm now training a new missionary who's come straight from the MTC. He couldn't go to the one in South Africa though because of some visa problems but he spent his MTC time in Provo Utah, like most people. My son is awesome. He likes to cook, and his food makes me happy. He's very outgoing to and he has jumped straight into the work like he's been a missionary for a lot longer than just a few days. It's kind of funny to see his reaction to all of the new African stuff. It makes me remember how I was 8 months ago when I was trained back in Lira. It also makes me realize all of the small things that has changed about me since I've gotten here (for example my accent).
     This week we have been having lots of success with our current investigators but not much with finding new investigators. We will have a few baptisms in the next few weeks but were having a difficult time finding more new investigators to take their place after they have been confirmed.
      One of the investigators that were really focusing a lot of attention on right now is a guy named Paul. I talked a little bit about him last week but I'll tell you a little bit more about him. He was referred to us by James who was married and baptized a week ago. They were next door neighbors and didn't really know each other all that well at first but one day after we had taught James and left to go to other appointments, Paul came up to James and asked him what it is that we were talking with him about. Then James told him a little bit about us and bore his testimony about the gospel and about the work we are doing. It touched Paul so much that the next time we came by to meet James and Phoebe, Paul came in and sat in the lesson with them and asked us to set up a return appointment with him. He is a very humble guy and I can tell that he recognizes the spirit when it's felt.

     Thank you to all who continually email me and give me so much support. It helps to give me a boost each week to know that there are a lot of people out there who remember and think about me!!

Question from Dad:

 Have you heard any more about missionaries going into Rwanda, South Sudan, or Ethiopia? 

Answer to Dad's email:

     Thanks for the packages, I really do love them but to be honest I think that having some personal money in my account is a little better. It would be nice to have some extra money to have from time to time so that I can buy really good food from super markets or crafts or stuff like that.
      Also I have heard that there are going to be more areas opened up in Ethiopia soon, but I'm not sure about Rwanda. Right now the main problem in Rwanda is that we don't have a Proselyting
  License in Rwanda yet, meaning that the missionaries in Rwanda are not allowed to proselyte  right now. The only way that people can legally teach someone is if they are brought someone as a referral, or if someone comes up to talk to them and asks them who they are. Technically all of the Elders in Rwanda are working there under vacation visas. As soon as the mission there can legally proselyte they will open up Rwanda to at least another 6 missionaries.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm Going to be Training

My Companion Elder Thomo, from South Africa, Durbin

This has been an awesome week. My companion and I have worked really hard this week and We have been having lots of success here in Seeta. I also got a call this morning from the mission president, and he told me that I'm going to be training (I'm going to have a son). I think that's super awesome. I don't know much about him except that he's from Washington state. I think that they said his name is Elder Sherwood, but I can't quite remember. Either way I'm pretty excited. Update you guys more on it later.
     We had James and his wife Pheobe (last week I spelled in febe on accident) get married this week. It was kind of cool to see. I had never witnessed a wedding before, but I really liked this one. It was a pretty spiritual experience as well. It was a great baptismal service as well. It was really just a spiritual experience and I really enjoyed it alot.
     James also brought us a new investigator this week as well. It's one of his next door neighbors, Paul. Paul is a good guy (super humble), and he's the tiniest semi-truck driver in the whole world. He's like barely 5 ft but he drives around these giant trucks all over Uganda. He came to church this week and stayed to watch James get baptized. Afterwards he came up to us and told us that he can't wait for his own baptism (YES!), it was a pretty sweet experience.
      Love all of you. I have awesome an awesome family/friends.

P.S.It was nice to hear from Grandma Grilliot in my emails this week. Thank you for the Loving support!

Mommy Questions:
What soap and shampoo do you use?  Do you still have the stuff you brought out there from the states?
When you took that picture back in Lira with the chameleon on your shoulder did you really like it or were you like “Hurry and take the picture so I can get this freaking lizard off me!!!”?
Do you have pictures of your apartment in Seeta?  Is your apartment better or the same as the one in Lira? Electricity blackouts?
I haven’t seen your new companion, do you have pictures? 
When are you going to send an SD card?  We can send you one if you don’t have a replacement?
Is the food the same as what you ate in Seeta?
Are you on bikes or walking?
Does your companion like or want to work out in the mornings with you?

- I have a difficult time remembering faces and names. Whenever I meet someone new and I'm pretty sure I'm going to see them again I write down their name, where they stay, and a small description of what they look like so I remember.
- I'm now using Ugandan Soap that I buy in Kampala (they have decent soap bars there), but I still have about half a bottle of shampoo from home that I cherish and love (and makes me a little homesick).
- I loved the chameleon. I played with him all day. he was supper cool. He was like my 2nd companion.
- I like the apartment that I'm staying in. Power almost never goes out there, and I've never seen water go out. It's easy to clean, and we live right next to the 1st counselor in the branch presidency which is way cool.
- I'll send you a good picture of my companion and I.
- The food is virtually the same as in Lira, just with much more variety.
- No bikes in Kampala (or near Kampala). It's just too dangerous. Right now I'm walking.
- My companion works out, but it's more like just a sit-up here and a sit-up there. I work out hard in the mornings. Jump rope and lift weights.

Dad's Questions:
When people ask you where you're from, what do you tell them? The US? Illinois? Chicago? Bloomington? On my mission, I always told people I was from Chicago – it was just a lot easier than trying to explain Illinois geography. Just wondered what you tell them. Also (sorry, two questions), what do you tell them when they ask you what America is like?

   Good question. Usually I tell them I'm just from America (alot of people don't know American geography very well and if you tell them your from Illinois they won't know what your talking about). Sometimes I tell them I'm from Chicago just because alot of people know that Obama is from there, and it helps them to relate a little.
    When they ask what America is like I tell them it's a hard life. I tell them this because in America if you don't have a job or money, you will starve to death. In Uganda if you don't have a job you can build your own hut and eat mangoes all day. I also tell them this just so that they will hopefully feel more contented with what they have.
     P.S. I took out money this week from home. There was a registration fee on the marriage that James and his wife Phoebe had and I didn't want to make them pay for that. I also bought them lunch after the wedding and rings as well. I'm sorry that I used your money without asking, but I figured it was going for a good cause. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baptisms of Issac, James and Phebe

      Dear family and friends, It's good to hear from you all. Life in Seeta is Good right now I feel as though God is really blessing my companion and I this transfer. Things are just going very smoothly. 
      There are some people that I really feel as though I have helped this transfer. There is this one guy named Issac for instance (who was baptized this week), he had actually been investigating the church since 2004. Even read the entire Book of Mormon... twice. But his problem was that while he was investigating the church (in 2004) he was only 17 years old, and his parents wouldn't let him be baptized into another church. So he continued to attend church service but he never got baptized. Eventually missionaries just forgot about him until it came to the point where the missionaries and most member just assumed that he was member of the branch. Even after he moved out of his parents’ house and got a place of his own years later he continued to come to church but he was never baptized as a member. It's kind of crazy to think about, but this guy had been attending Seeta branch longer than most of the members of the branch had been. Anyway my first Sunday attending the branch I walked in and decided to make myself familiar with the branch members, so I went in and greeted the members and introduced myself and learned their names in return. As I went from member to member shaking hands and trying to be social I found myself greeting Isaac. I felt like I needed to sit next to him during the service so I sat down next to him and we began to talk a little as we waited for it to begin. As I was talking to him I realized that he really knew church doctrine well and I felt as though he must have been a member for quite some time. When I asked him how long he had been a member of the church he told me that he had been a member since 2004. I felt satisfied with that answer but at the same time I felt as though I needed to ask a little deeper so I asked "do you remember the names of the missionaries who baptized you?" to which he told me that he had never been baptized and that his parents wouldn't let him be. I was super surprised at what he was telling me because he was about 25 years old and living on his own and yet he was telling me that the reason that he was not baptized was because of restriction from his parents. I learned as I continued to talk to him that he wanted to be baptized badly but he believed it to be a church policy that you can't baptize anyone (no matter the age) if the parents don't allow it. After the church service I talked to the branch president and asked if he had realized that Isaac wasn't baptized, and learned that the branch president knew that he wasn't baptized but the branch president thought that Issac didn't want to be baptized without approval from his parents, as we explained we both realized that, that was just mis-communication. So we scheduled an appointment to see Isaac and got him baptized a few weeks later. He's a really funny guy though, Even though it's kind of an outrageous story about how he got baptized, it's still really cool as well.
      There's another two investigators that were found last transfer by the missionaries before I came. They're getting baptized next week. One of them is a guy named James and also his girlfriend named Febe. They live together and even have one child, but have never been married. As part of Ugandan (and African) culture the husband is supposed to pay a super expensive dowry to the father of the Lady that he wants to marry. I don't know the exact price but usually it involves buying a whole bunch of livestock and stuff. It's extremely expensive and most Ugandans don't have the means to pay that much. Many families don't have legally married parents until the parents are in their mid 40's or so when they finally have saved up the money to pay for their spouse (I even met this one couple who were in their 60's and still had never been properly married). It is a wicked practice and causes the law of chastity to be broken all throughout Uganda. Anyway this young couple were in this same situation when the missionaries met them for the first time, no way to pay for each other. As we continued to visit them they continually asked for us if it would be possible for them to get baptized, but we could not baptize them unless they first were married. Luckily the church performs Legal Church marriages for free, and we could marry them easily, but the problem was that if they got married at the church then most likely the Father of Febe (the wife) would dis-own her completely for being married without paying dowry. Both James and Febe wanted baptism super bad but they were to fearful to consult the father about it. As my companion and I thought about what we needed to do to to help them we decided to fast (both me and my companion and James and Febe). We started our fast Saturday Afternoon and planned on breaking it Sunday Evening. As we came to church that Sunday, James came running up to us and told us of something that had happened that very morning. He told us that, that very Sunday morning Febe's father had come and surprise them by visiting them at home. As he was visiting them, it came up that James and Febe wanted to get married at church. As they discussed about it the father began to get more and more upset until he was in a rage. The father left them and told them that if they were married outside of tradition then they would not be a part of his family. When the father left though, James and his wife said that at that time they felt more comforted and more happy than they had in a long time. They knew with all certainty that a church marriage was what they wanted to do no matter the consequences. This Saturday is going to be their marriage at the Chapel in Kololo. Sunday is going to be their Baptism. I'm super excited for them.
     Love all of you guys. Do your best to be great member missionaries!
Mom's Questions:
1-     In this new area are you able to teach single sisters?  In Lira that was discouraged for the lack of priesthood
2-      Any news on the new building?  Any progress towards finishing before the end of August?
3-     You seem to like this new area or am I reading your e-mails wrong?  There seems to be much more convenience and more abundance of shopping?  How is the missionary work going? 

to answer your questions

1- Teaching sisters is still frowned upon unless they show lots of potential. Really the focus is on families and potential priesthood holders. There still are not allot of priesthood holders even in Seeta. The attendance per week is like 60-70 people but only about 8-12 of those are Melchizedek priesthood holders. 
2- The chapel is going to be finished in October this year. I don't really know if I will still be around for it.
3- I think that I really like this area. There are some bad things about Seeta and also some good things, but I think that the good outweigh the bad right now. I'm having lots of success in this area right now. I feel as though the lord is really blessing me at this time. I also really do like the shopping, but we don't get nearly enough money per month to get very much food. Things like bacon and sandwich meat are so expensive that I have been found crying in supermarkets as I stare at the forbidden fruit.

Dad's Questions:
1. Are you still a district leader?
2. Do you have more than one Zone for all of the missionaries in the Kampala area?
3. Elder Bitter, who I believe is in Jinja right now, talked in his letter last week about several members of his district getting sick because they got careless with their drinking water. You haven't mentioned anything about that, so I'm hoping that hasn't been a problem with you or any of the missionaries in your district?
4. Do many people smoke in Uganda? Is alcohol your biggest Word of Wisdom challenge?
5. So what kind of suit or clothes did you get? I noticed that you had withdrawn money from your account.
6. Are baptisms as frequent in your new area as they were in Lira?
7. Are you enjoying the weather in Seeta?

1- yes I am still the district Leader. 
2- There are three zones in Kampala. Right now I'm in the biggest zone
3- I haven't heard of any problems with people not drinking clean water, but I know that sometimes if the filters break and you don't realize in time then you can accidentally drink unfiltered water. But for those of us who are obedient we check the filters regularly and change the filters regularly.
4- Honestly because Uganda used to ruled by the British Empire the biggest Word of Wisdom problem most people have is drinking tea. Alcohol and smoking is here, but it is looked down upon by most of society so it's not a huge problem for most. 
5- I withdrew the money to get a better suit and also to buy some exercise equipment (jump rope and a few weights)
6- Seeta has a history for being kind of a dead area as far as baptisms go (in the last year there were only 8 baptisms) but I'm actually getting more baptisms in Seeta right now than I did in Lira. We had one baptism this last Sunday and 3 more planned next Sunday.

7- The weather here is very cool. Some days it can be kind of warm but there is always a nice breeze wherever you go.

Monday, July 8, 2013

What I forgot the 4th of JULY??!!

 Family and Friends,

   I've got a new mission Pres now! I was able to meet him in this last Zone conference. Ours was President Chatfeild's first zone conference. He seems like a pretty solid guy, really determined. He is pretty similar to President Jackson, but at the same time different. It doesn't really feel like much has changed with this new guy though, things feel basically the same. I'm really happy to have him as the mission President though.
     Not a lot of things to update people on though, It's been a really relaxing week, and we have found some really good people. There's one guy who we found this week who Sounds just like an American. He's Ugandan but he's spent some time in the States and he has a completely Americanized accent. It's pretty cool to hear, I feel like I'm back home when I talk to him. I would love to baptize this guy though he's unlike any Ugandan I've ever met.

     This week was the 4th of July but I didn't really do anything to celebrate. To  be honest I forgot that American Independence day was this week until  my family reminded me. That's a holiday I never thought I would forget. 

Love Elder Grilliot

Monday, July 1, 2013

Success in Seeta

     The longer my mission has carried on, the more I have realized the importance of obedience and hard work. My work ethic is totally different than when I first started my mission. Seeta is known for being a difficult area to work in but my companion and I have actually been having tons of success here. I have a larger teaching pool now than I think I have had my entire mission.
     There are a ton of Less-Actives in Seeta right now. I don't know where any of them stay (no one has addresses out here) but our branch has over a 150 people who are members and our average sacrament attendance is about 60 people.
      It's much cooler here in Seeta and there is always a strong breeze running through it as well. I miss the quietness of Lira but at the same time it's nice to be near the city. On P-day you can go into Kampala and go to a real supermarket (like Shop-rite, or Uchume, or some other African supermarket). It's also different to be in a much bigger zone as well. It's the biggest zone in the whole mission with about 14 missionaries in it. Zone activities are lots of fun though (like today we played capture the flag.

      I haven't met the new mission president yet but I'm hoping to meet him this upcoming week. All I know about him is that he's super tall.