Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas in Sweden....and more! Trollhättan Week 4.5

What a crazy week and a half! Being sick and Christmas and all the things!

We really started feeling the Christmas Spirit on Tuesday Dec. 16th when we went to a wonderful Jul concert. A member in the ward is a music teacher at a music school here in Trollhättan. Their concert was...AMAZING! So many talented young people! They even did a Lucia part, so we got to experience that too. They sang Swedish songs and English songs and it was just wonderful! That Wednesday and Thursday I was feeling really, really sick. Debatably the worst cold that I have had in my life, so we stayed in so that I could rest up and get better. I slept quite a bit and did language study things. We started to get real bored, so we made a checkers board (medicine vs. make-up)...too funny! That Friday we had a zone conference with the Göteborg Zone (mine) and the Malmö zone (south of us). It was wonderful and very spiritually uplifting. I learned a lot and it was exactly what I needed. Plus, I got to see some of the Elders from my MTC group and it was great to catch up with them and discover that we are all experiencing the same struggles as being new missionaries. 

Our ward party was last Saturday. Have I mentioned how perfect Christmas is in Sweden? We had a julbord (think like Thanksgiving Dinner, but with traditional Swedish Christmas foods) and just sat and talked with people and had people sing. It was perfect. Our ward is absolutely the best! Sunday, the 21st, was the shortest day of the year. The sun rose at 8:57 and set at 3:20. It only gets longer from here! We only had Sacrament meeting, but there were some beautiful, beautiful musical numbers. I just sat there and thought about how lucky I was to be in Sweden with all these people that are so wonderful and so happy, I almost cried! I was just so full of love for them! Then, they did even more and gave us Christmas presents! That sounds so lame that that matters to me, but just the thought that the ward members were thinking of the missionaries in all of the craziness of Christmas was really touching.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty slow. It was so cool to walk around Stan (the main part of the city) and see everyone out doing last minute Christmas things. The sun was out and so many people were smiling. It just made me so happy! We got to talk to many people and they were warmer than usual because they were definitely feeling the Spirit of Christmas which, in reality, is the Spirit of Christ, even if they didn't know it. 

Christmas in Sweden is kind of a big deal. The 24th is when they really celebrate Christmas. They have a julbord and invite lots of people over. They also have this hour of disney cartoons that plays every year. It is the same every year and has clips of the disney classics like Cinderalla, Donald Duck, Ferdinand, Mickey Mouse, Bambi, Snow White, etc. We spent the morning with 2 members, Gerd and Christer. They are absolutely the best! They made up baskets for people with chocolate and sweets and such then we got to help them pass them out to ward members and friends. It just made me so happy! I just felt like there wasn't enough room in my heart for all that love and joy. So perfect! Then we went to another member's, Christine's, for the rest of the day. We had our julbord then chilled for the day. On the 25th, we were also at Christine's. We opened our gifts and it was lovely. Syster Sorensen also did a lot and put together a Thanksgiving style dinner for us. It was quite nice, especially because I wasn't in America to celebrate. I also got to skype with my family! It was so good to seem them and get to talk with them, express gratitude to them, and share my testimony with them. So much happiness!

Today was yet another Christmas day for Sweden. We were again with Gerd and Christer. We helped them make some treats then stopped by more friends and members. They are just the best and they do so much for us! I hope to be able to help the missionaries in the future like they help us! 

I have been thinking a lot about the gift of Christ lately and about how everyone needs it. It is really the greatest gift that Heavenly Father has given us. As I read the Christmas story from the Bible this Christmas Eve (per family tradition), I was thinking about how I would like to give Him something this year. I have yet to decide what it is, but it will have to be something great because He deserves all, yet expects so little. I would encourage each of you to take some time and think about this year and what you can give to Him so that you can grow closer to Him and Heavenly Father.

Love you lots, 
God Jul!
Syster Griffes

Monday, December 15, 2014

"And they were cast out of their synagogues..." Trollhättan Week 3

What a week! It actually went by super fast which is great because time just seemed to be dragging on. I'm starting to understand more and more Swedish, but speaking is still kind of difficult. I just have to remember that I have only been speaking Swedish for 9 weeks, so perfection is not even an option yet. I just have to muster up some more courage and open my mouth with everyone we see and in every lesson that we teach. But, I love Swedish! It is a very pretty language, especially when the natives speak it. They just sing it! I hope that I can do that some day!

Tuesday was wonderful, absolutely a great day. We had lunch with some members. They really go all out here everytime we eat with them! This time it was pot roast, a mushroom sauce, vegetables, and potatoes. So good! Then this delicious, Swedish ice cream dessert thing. So good! We talked with them about my mission scripture which is: "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12). The couple had served a mission together in England, so we talked about that too. There was just so much love in every interaction they had and they are so cute together! After, we went to the house of two newer members, H&A. They are so great and always make us laugh. We talked with them about the power of the Atonement in overcoming weaknesses and how we can always rely on Christ. H then came with us to a lesson with a bible bashing guy. H was absolutely perfect! He bore strong testimony on his own conversion and really brought a Spirit that we needed. It was perfect!

We had Church watch on Wednesday. Basically we sit in the Church for 3 hours and do some family history or teach lessons or give church tours. We also watched the Christmas Devotional which was magnificent! Another cool thing we did is we had dinner with a member couple that works at a book bindery, so I got to make some cute little books that I binded :) On Thursday, we had a lesson with a university teacher here in Trollhättan. He just has this absolute thirst for knowledge that I really sympathize with. He just wants to know everything then figure out what he believes is true. So cool! Then we had a lesson with another member on the Temple. We expressed how much it has blessed our lives and testified of Eternal Families.

District meeting on Friday was pretty much perfect. We talked about giving our all to the work here on the mission and not holding back one ounce. It was very spiritual and really got me thinking about what more I need to do and be. Our Indian investigator made us some Indian food (spicy rice with peanuts) and we attempted to eat it in the real indian way, with our hands. It was pretty hilarious to watch and try. Maybe I'll send the video next week. We did weekly planning on Saturday and discussed all of our investigators and their needs. We were invited to go and talk to people at a refugee camp, but we couldn't find it. Kind of a bummer, that would have been an interesting experience. Then we attempted to go to St. Lucia (a Swedish holiday where they have choirs all dressed in white with crowns of candles on their heads). We walked all the way to the State Church then... we couldn't buy tickets because they were all sold out... Huge bummer! Hence, the title, "And they were cast out of their synagogues..." If I remember, I'll send the pictures we took next week.

Sunday was another productive day. We had 3 lessons and even had an investigator commit to baptism and set a date! We are so excited to work with her and bring her into the Church that means so very much to us. Missionary work is so real and exciting. There isn't a single person out there that would not be blessed by this gospel, everyone just has to give it a try for themselves. I know with every fiber of my being that this Church is true, why else would I be in Sweden right now? I'm just so glad to get to share this message and the Light of Christ with all the people around me.

Interesting things about Sweden:
-Almost everyone we meet with lives in an apartment here and has lived in one almost their whole lives
-They have spiral staircases...everywhere!
-The milk is not actually colored, Sister Sorensen was just pulling a prank on me by dying all of our milk
-Right now sunrise is about 8:30 and sunset is about 3:30, I will take a picture on the shortest day of the year for all to see
-Christmas here is wonderful and not as commercialized as in the USA, I like it way better here!
-The biggest language barrier is not actually my ability to speak Swedish, but more that we teach so many immigrants that do not have a mastery of English or Swedish


I hope that you have a lovely week and an even better Christmas! Remember the true meaning of Christmas: Christ. There would be no Christmas without Him. 
Med karlek,
Syster Sarah Griffes

Monday, December 8, 2014

Trollhättan Week 2

Sweden is so great! 
But before I get into it, watch this video about Christmas. It is so great!

First p-day in Sweden was nice :) We went to Göteborg and played games with other missionaries. It's nice to be with everyone sometimes, but kind of long to take an hour long train to then back from Göteborg. Did I mention that public transportation is great here? We take buses and trains literally everywhere. First time in my life doing that and I think it's kind of cool.

From Monday night to Tuesday night, Syster Sorensen and I went on Splits with the Sister Training Leaders. I stayed in Göteborg with Syster Spencer and did things with her. We taught a very nice Nigerian man about the Book of Mormon. He had a lot of really good questions for us, so that was pretty cool :) The next day, we stopped by a members house and helped out with some things that she needed done then went to some less-actives to visit. It was pretty cool being the city for a day; lots of people to talk! I learned a lot from Syster Spencer about loving every person that we talk with. I could really tell that she cared about each of them individually, which is way cool.

Wednesday was back in Trollhättan. I actually really love that little town. It's so cute! Our area is pretty big (it actually extends all the way to Norway, but we rarely go up there). We taught 3 lessons and talked to a lot of people in the streets. We mostly talk with people about Christmas and what they do, then invite them to watch that video (above) because it is so great!

Thursday we got to go to Vänesborg and have lunch with a nice member there. It was so Swedish and wonderful! We had Julmust which is like a pop that they have just at Christmastime. It's okay, but pretty weird. We taught our investigator from India and read in the Book of Mormon with him. It was very cool and very spiritual. The chapter we read (Alma 32) was all about having faith and letting it grow. So great!

Friday was District Meeting in Göteborg with 14 missionaries. Then we went out to lunch at a Thai place together. We then had two more lessons with investigators. 

Saturday was weird...we changed our p-day to Saturday, but we couldn't email because the internet at the Church wasn't working, so we went and talked to people in the main part of town for 2 hours. Then, we went with one of our investigators from Kosovo to a Christmas Festival in Göteborg (yup, third time in a week) at an amusement park called Liseberg. It was all decked out and pretty cool, especially when it started to get dark (about 3:30) because they had everything all lit up :) 

This Sunday was significantly better than last Sunday. I could actually understand things that people said and could talk with some people a bit. It was Fast Sunday (in our church, we fast once a month for 2 meals), which means that we had testimony meeting with the ward. It was pretty cool and I got up and bore my testimony in Swedish. It was definitely not perfect, but people said it was good. Always room for improvement :) The most important thing is that the Spirit was evident because that is the real teacher.

This week has had it's fair share of ups and downs, but it is really cool to be out here and just focus all my time and efforts on Jesus Christ and helping others come unto Him. He really is the greatest gift that we have and I am so grateful for everything that He does for me. I know that He lives and that He loves each of us.

Med karlek,
Syster Griffes

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pictures from Sweden Week 1

1. Weird milk
2. Me with my first Swedish pizza
3. My companion, Sister Sorensen, and I pointing to Trollhätten (our area) on the map

Fwd: Last MTC Pictures


1. Last day at the MTC. Syster Nielsen and I...love her so much!
2. All of us Swedes. Love them!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Botched it! Botched it!

Last full week of the MTC! Sweden, here we come!
Sorry about all the e-mails with pictures. I can only send 2 at a time (if anyone knows how to send more, let me know!)

Funnies from this week:
-Sisters Stetler, Nielsen, and I were practicing teaching the lessons in 2 minutes or less. Sister Stetler decided to teach the Plan of Salvation (which is difficult to teach in 20 minutes, let alone 2) and she was doing a great job. Suddenly she says, "...And He gave us bodies. Botched it! Botched it! I botched it!" So funny! We couldn't stop laughing for a good few minutes.
-I have realized that in all of my good friendships, everyone just makes fun of me. The same is true here; the Elders constantly poke fun at me. This week I was asking Elder Bradshaw if I could move the garbage can that was where I usually sit and he goes, "Fine. I just like sitting next to the garbage can. It reminds me of when I sit next to you!" hahaha, so funny! Now every time they need to through something away, they ask where Sister Griffes is before putting it in the garbage can.
-I have taken to playing 4-square during gym. I'm not great, but we play doubles usually. On Monday, Elder Erikson (from the other Swedish district) and I were in the King square for nearly 8 minutes. Win! Until today when we played... I was doing so bad that they made "Sister Griffes Rules" in which I could do whatever I wanted so that I didn't get out so often. Loved it!

This week at TRC, we Skyped with a lady that lives in Stockholm, Sweden. It was way cool and she said that we are doing really well with our Swedish. We are definitely trying, but there is lots of room for improvement. On Monday I did an English fast for half of the day in which I only spoke Swedish (except in class when we had an activity in English and in 4-square when I could not express my enthusiasm in Swedish). It was a learning experience and great practice. 

This week we taught and committed both of our "investigators" to baptism. It was really quite cool and very spiritual, even if it is just role playing. I cannot wait to teach really people really soon!

And last, but certainly not least....we got our flight plans! We leave the MTC at 3:30 AM on Monday morning, fly out of Salt Lake City at 7:30, go to Denver, go to New Jersey, then fly to Stockholm overnight, arriving at about 7:30 their time on Tuesday. 4 days! I will be in Sweden this time next week! My next e-mail will be from Sweden! Yay! I'm so excited, but quite nervous too! I definitely don't know enough Swedish, but I know that Heavenly Father will help me out with everything that I struggle with. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is so true and I get the immense privilege of sharing the best thing in my life with the wonderful people of Sweden!

Love you all!
Syster Griffes

And....more pictures (why can I only send 2 at a time?!?)

1. Most of the Sisters in our Zone eating breakfast. This was every morning :)
2. Our Quote Wall :)

More Pictures...

1. Sister Stetler, Me, and Sister Nielsen with our Swedish flag
2. Sister Nielsen and I with Swedish Book of Mormons (Mormons Bok)

Fwd: zone

My zone (minus 3 Swedes). We are all going to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Suriname, or Netherlands/Belgium. I love them all dearly!




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

*Insert Witty Title

Hallå! 

This week really wasn't all that exciting, but that's okay! We should get our travel plans on Thursday or Friday, so that will be so awesome! I'm so excited! Two weeks from now, I will be in SWEDEN! AHH!

Funny things (from this week and random ones I forgot to say before):
-One time in class, Elder Bradshaw was supposed to ask me a question in Swedish then I was supposed to answer (as part of an exercise). But, instead of asking me a question, he just looked me in the eyes and said, "Du är inte min vän" (You are not my friend). It was hilarious! I now refer to him as my anti-friend
-So then, we were doing another exercise and I asked Elder Bradshaw's companion, Elder Falkner, if he would pray (in Swedish) and he looked me in the eyes and says, "Nej, du är inte min vän" So, now we all just make jokes about how I have no friends. Hahaha
-Brother Whitworth- "Jag pratar som robot" (I talk like a robot) 
-Brother Whitworth to Elder Johnson- "Vad betyder pastly?" (What does "pastly" mean?). Sometimes we make up words in Swedish, other times we make up words in English.
-Elder Falkner- "Ah! The Bible says otherwise, silly billy!"
-Elder Falkner to me- "How is the temperature up there on your high horse?" So funny!
-Sister Stetler- "Why is my brain so dumb!?" (it had been a long day of Swedish)
-In the Swedish language, the letter G is really crazy and can make lots of different sounds, so one time Elder Johnson said, "That's the way the world works, if you are a G, you can do whatever you want!"
-Elder Bradshaw likes to sing and hum a lot, one time he started humming, "Lead, Kindly Light" and I joined in. Then he looks at me and says, "It was a solo, okay?!? It was a solo!" He is so funny!
-We learned about possessive nouns and someone asked a question about it and I said, "It's already possessed!"
-We call the Air Conditioner "the dragon" so everytime we want to close it, the sisters ask the elders if they will "Turn off the dragon"

This week in TRC, we taught 3 members of the Church about receiving revelation through Scripture Study and had each of them make a goal with us on how we can do better. It really made me think about how I can more effectively study the scriptures. I started re-reading the Book of Mormon in English and Swedish. I'll read a chapter in English and highlight all of the if-then statements (example: If you keep the commandments, then you will receive the Lord's blessings) then I read that same chapter in Swedish. It's pretty cool!

This week we also did some role playing in which we thought of a character and then another companionship of missionaries would teach us as that character. It was pretty cool to see how investigators feel when they are taught by the missionaries.

12 days until Sweden! I am so ready to go, but also quite worried about the language. However, I know that it will come in the Lord's timing.

Jag älskar er!

Syster Griffes



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oh! We're halfway there....

Hej hej all! Halfway through the MTC! Yay! This is my 3 week mark, my approximate departure date is November 24th. So psyched!

Funny things this week:
-My teacher, Brother Marchant, hit his funny bone really hard and then was in fetal position on the ground because he can sometimes be a bit dramatic. It wasn't funny for him, but it was for the rest of us!
-You know how in English they have the expression, "The lights are on but no one is home" In Swedish it is "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead"
-For head, shoulders, knees, and toes, they change the "Eyes and ears and mouth and nose" to "Eyes and ears and I can clap my face" (during which you clap your face). I still haven't been able to get through the whole song without dying of laughter

Now on to more serious matters. This week we had TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and we got to speak with and teach a short lesson to a lady that is really from Sweden! Her Swedish was BEAUTIFUL! However, we could only understand a little bit of what she was saying because of her accent and how fast she spoke. It's okay though, she absolutely sung the language!

The new missionaries that we got last week (11 elders and 11 sisters) are so great! I love them all so much! The sisters are way sweet and very driven. The elders are really funny, yet can be very spiritual. I appreciate everything that they bring to the table as individuals and as a group. There are 18 of them going to Belgium/Netherlands and 3 elders going to Iceland (by the way, Icelandic sounds really harsh and kind of scary hahaha)

This week, my district is working on having a daily English fast in which we only speak Swedish. On Monday we did it for 1 hour, Tuesday for 2, etc. Until Saturday when we will fast from when we wake up (6:30) to Lunch (12:50). That will be a challenge, but I'm excited! We do our best, but we don't know very much yet! In our lessons, my companions and I can now mostly understand and respond to almost everything that our investigators say. It is really cool, but it really requires us to work together and stretch ourselves. 

In a Devotional that we had this week, they had 4 missionaries speaking 4 different languages recite Joseph Smith's First Vision in their languages. It was so cool because even though we didn't know what exactly they were saying, we could feel the Spirit and their witness of the words they spoke. I just know that this gospel is true and I am so excited to share the light of Christ with everyone. It is the most important thing in my life, so why wouldn't I want everyone to experience it too?

Love ya,

Syster Griffes
A Servant of the Lord

 

Pictures Week 3 Part 1

1. My nametag. Good luck pronouncing the name of the Church...it's a struggle!
2. We got to go to BYU for a devotional. I love the Y!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week 2 MTC Pictures 2

1. Sister Nielsen and I on Sunday
2. Sometimes the Elders in our district take naps (then we find out that they are not allowed)

From Part 1
Cliche MTC map pictures :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

And this has been...the longest week of my life!

Hey all!

Holy cow, what a week! I was dropped off at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) on Wednesday October 15th by my sisters, Ellen and Megan. I went around with another sister missionary who has been here for a few weeks and got all of my supplies (key, nametag, key card, like 10 lbs of language study material, etc). Then, I went to class. My teacher, Brother Marchant, only speaks in Swedish... that was a little bit... overwhelming. I didn't speak any Swedish and I was so confused! I kept answering in French hahaha :) I saw a few people that I know from BYU that are also serving missions. It made me very happy! 

My sister missionary companion is Sister Nielsen, she is also going to Sweden. We spend (almost) every minute of every day together. She is so great! She has a very positive attitude and loves everyone so much! I am always impressed with how open and loving she is! In our room (it is essentially like a college dorm), it is me, Sister Nielsen, Sister Stetler (Sweden), and Sister Walsh (serving in the West Indies, Dutch Speaking). Sisters Nielsen, Stetler, and I spend most of our time together and teach together because we are in the same language, mission, and class. Sister Walsh is in her own class, but we have meals and such with her. Also in our District are four elders (boys that are serving missions), Elders Bradshaw, Falkner (who is from England), Johnson, and Duwors. They are really funny! There is another District going to Sweden with 5 Elders

We taught our first lesson to our investigator (he is actually an MTC employee role playing for us to practice teaching), Marc on Wednesday. In Swedish. Well, by that time, we basically knew how to say hello, how are you, and Jesus Christ. It was...interesting. Let's just say that we left the room and had a laughing attack. It was hilarious!

We taught Marc again on Saturday and Monday. Much better! The Swedish is coming along nicely, but there is just so much to learn and not nearly enough time! Ahh! 

Funny things that happened this week:
-We learned how to pray in Swedish and Elder Bradshaw accidentally prayed for the Holy Duck instead of the Holy Ghost (the words are almost the same: Ande and Anden)
-We call Elder Falkner the distraction tornado 

I absolutely love it here! The presence of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost is so evident! Every time that I feel stressed or overwhelmed, something great and spiritual happens that reminds me that my mission is not about me, it is about Them and the people in Sweden that need me. I am so excited to learn as much as I can about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Swedish. 

Find something in each day that you are grateful for, never forget just how much you are blessed, even when it doesn't seem that way!

Love you!
Sister Sarah Griffes

MTC: Week One in (a few) pictures

1. My companion, Sister Nielsen, and I on our Sunday Temple Walk
2. Our crazy district (hopefully I can get a better picture soon where we can actually see!)


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

The LDS Church in Sweden

More important than the random tourist-y facts that I know about Sweden is the Church's history in Sweden, so here is what I have learned:


  • The first missionary to Sweden was a Swedish seaman (John E. Forsgren)
  • The first convert baptized in Sweden was Peter Forsgren in 1850
  • Many people converted from Sweden and moved to the United States to be with other Church members in Utah
  • The first LDS Temple was completed in Stockolm in 1985
  • Currently, there are around 9,463 members of the Church in Sweden and 40 congregations
  • There are around 180 missionaries in the Sweden Stockholm Mission


This is a picture of the Stockholm, Sweden Temple. Beautiful...















Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sweden: A Brief Overview

If you are anything like I was, this is probably what you know about Sweden:
-It is in Europe
-It is part of Scandinavia
-Vikings... I feel like they might be from Scandinavia and, therefore, Sweden

Considering that I will be spending around 18 months of my life there, I have been doing some pretty major research on the area. Here are a few of the things that I have found:

Geography and Climate
The southern part of Sweden has temperate climate due to the Gulf Stream (think Michigan-ish weather: cold winters, warm summers, lots of humidity)
Northern Sweden (near or above the Arctic Circle) has the natural phenomenon called polar night in which there is little sun during the winter and lots of sun during the summer
There are around 95,700 lakes in Sweden

People and Government
Around 9.7 million people in Sweden
15% of Swedes are immigrants
85% of Swedes live in cities
Sweden has one of the highest GDPs in the world
Considered to have the best health care in the world
Sweden is a neutral country

Nature
Moose are native to Sweden (300,000 to 400,000)
Reindeer live in Sweden!
Only 1% of waste in Sweden ends up in a rubbish dump

Innovations
H&M, Volvo, and IKEA are all from Sweden
The 3-point seat belt was invented by a Swede

Food
Swedes consume a lot of sugar
Typical foods: Meatballs and potatoes
Pickled herring is considered a delicacy
Lingonberries are used in lots of dishes
Fika occurs everyday (it's like coffee break or tea time) and includes a dessert

For more information, visit Sweden's Official Site: https://sweden.se/



Friday, July 18, 2014

A Note on Mission Calls

Some of you may be wondering: Why in the world would Sarah choose to serve her mission in Sweden. To this I respond: I didn't choose, Heavenly Father chose for me.

What exactly do I mean by that? Well, I applied to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (in LDS lingo: I submitted my mission papers). After submitting everything, my papers were sent to Salt Lake City to Church Headquarters. Then, the Missionary Department processed my papers (and the papers of thousands of others). Next, my papers were submitted to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency and one of those 15 individuals decided where I should serve my mission through Divine Guidance. Essentially, the person is prompted by Heavenly Father through the Spirit as to where each missionary should serve.

So, I didn't choose to serve my mission in Sweden, Heavenly Father chose for me because He knows me better than I know me. He knows that there are people in Sweden that need me and people that I need. He has a plan for me, individually, in Sweden and I am excited to follow that plan.

For more clarification on mission calls and how they are assigned, please read or watch The Divine Call of a Missionary by Ronald A. Rasband.

LDS Lingo Defined:
The First Presidency: The highest governing body of the Church, including the President of the Church and two counselors that he selects.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: The second highest governing body of the Church. Much like the 12 Apostles appointed by Jesus Christ when He was on the earth.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Mission Call

Today is the day! My mission call came in the mail! Instead of just writing about it, I would like to take an excerpt from my personal journal as to my thoughts and reactions

Thursday, I called Jared (my older brother) and talked to him for about an hour. Then, I went on down to the mailbox and... MY MISSION CALL WAS IN IT!!! I freaked out! I ran upstairs (it took all of my willpower to not open it then and there) and called the family. I am so excited! I know that where ever Heavenly Father sends me is where I need to be; He has prepared people that need me and I need them too! I am going on a mission!
So, with my family on Skype, on the phone, and one member present in the room, I opened my mission call. Here is the video:


Here is exactly what (the beginning of) the letter said:
Dear Sister Griffes:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Swedish language. Your assignment may be modified according to the needs of the mission president 
And now, another excerpt from my journal:
I am so excited! I'm speaking Swedish and serving the Swedish people! It's going to be hard, but wonderful all at the same time! I am so excited to go and serve my Heavenly Father for 18 months!
Later, I read my call to a group of my friends (mission calls are big deals at BYU). My friend, Becca, who served her mission in Sweden, was there and she freaked out! It was wonderful! I know that she will be a big part of my life and will be able to ease a lot of my fears and insecurities about Sweden. What a blessing to have her just down the hall and up the stairs from my apartment!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

To Serve or Not to Serve, That is the Question

In the life of any LDS (Latter-Day Saint) young adult, deciding whether or not to serve a mission is a huge decision. Some people have wanted to go since they were little, others have known that they didn't want to go since they were little, then there's the group that I fit in. The group of, "I have no idea if I want to serve or not." Trust me when I say that there was a lot of pondering and praying that went on in my decision to go. It took months and months of back-and-forth before I finally put it all in God's hands and told Him that I would do what He wanted me to do. 

And, so, I'm serving a mission! Now that I made the decision, I am so excited to serve! I know that it is exactly what Heavenly Father wants me to do and I'm going to give it my everything. The mission application process was kind of long and tedious. There is lots of paperwork to fill out, a couple doctor/dentist appointments, and a few interviews. 

I met with my stake president (the area church leader) for my final interview. I was kind of nervous going in, praying to Heavenly Father that I would receive confirmation that serving a mission is the right thing to do. I received exactly the confirmation that I was looking for! My stake president said a lot of things I needed to hear to ease some of my worries. He encouraged me to do my very best then put it in God's hands. It was really a great interview and a very spiritual experience. My papers are all submitted and I should receive my mission call within a few weeks.