Saturday, December 26, 2015

Adventures, Service, Caroling, Christmas- Luleå Week 1 and 2

2 Weeks of Missionary life in one email...oh dear.

Bara så ni vet (just so you know)...missionary work is really difficult around Christmas time in Sweden. Everyone is out of town. No one has time to meet. But we kämpa (rough translation: fight)

-We had a lovely Christmas Conference last week down in Stockholm. Took the plane there and back :) You want to know something crazy? They literally didn't even check my ID at all in the 3 times that I have flown since being in Luleå. Cannot handle that. You can literally go through security in like 30 seconds flat. No shoes off, no scanner. Just a good, old magnetic detector. The airport in Luleå is really small, but super nice. Someone on the plane that I talked to literally commutes to Stockholm for work. HE FLIES to his job every day. That blows my mind. Men iallafall (but any ways)...Conference was really good. It was all of the Stockholm and Norrland Zones :) Saw lots of missionaries I love. Talked about giving gifts to Christ :)
-We have a new investigator from last week. He is pretty positive and really interested in what we believe. He is actually a Free Mason and invited us to help out with a service project on Monday. So, we helped 9 Free Mason men bag up 100 packages of food for needy people in the area. It was really cool. I love service!
-A member took us out to lunch twice in two days. It was really nice :) Have I mentioned before how much I love the members here? They literally have my heart!
-Last Friday, we went to visit a member family that lives in the middle of NOWHERE. I'm sure the drive was pretty, but it was 5 o'clock, so it was completely dark by the time we drove out with the Elders and a member. Well, we're driving and it is pretty icy, but no problems. The problem hit when we turned into their driveway and they hadn't plowed the snow yet. We got about halfway up the 1/4 mile drive and got stuck in the snow :) Luckily the member that was with us knew what to do and got us out okay. We trudged through the snow up to their place to find out that they completely forgot that they invited us over...oops! They have no running water and use a wood-burning stove to cook food, so we helped out to get everything ready and enjoyed a nice meal together. Turned out to be a really nice night :) They loved the surprise :)
-We got to help an old member lady wrap Christmas presents. It was so sweet to help her do something that she could not do on her own. Plus she would remember one more person that she wanted to give a gift to and we would start looking around for something to give. I loved every second of it! I love people! They just amaze me every day :)
-Spent quite a bit of time baking earlier this week. Then we went caroling with the Elders and the YSA on Tuesday to all of the members in Boden and Syster Jackson and I visited all the ones in Luleå. It was really sweet to see their surprise and just bring a little bit of the Christmas Spirit. Loved it! My family has gone caroling every year and it was nice to keep up the tradition :) 
-Speaking of my family, I got to skype with them yesterday. I LOVE THEM! It was so good to see them face-to-face, even if I am thousands of miles away. They are just the best and I am so excited to be back with them again soon. I have learned so much on my mission about the importance of families and have come to love and appreciate mine even more. Sure, none of us are perfect, but we need each other. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me the family that I have. I need them!
-Spent Christmas Eve with two ward families. Started off the day by watching Up (Christmas is the only time of year that we can watch normal movies), which is one of my all time favorite movies. We headed to the members' house and did the most Swedish Christmas thing that you can do...watched Kalle Anka (Donald Duck). Basically it takes little clips from different classic disney movies and puts them together. Then the last two clips are from new movies. Every Swede I know starts out their Christmas on Christmas Eve at 3 pm by watching Kalle Anka :) Ate a whole ton of food from the Julbord, read Luke 2, exchanged gifts (literally just warms my heart that the members give gifts to missionaries that they have know for only 2-12 weeks. They don't even know how much it really means to me that they thought of us in all of their other preparations!), just hung out together after that.
-Christmas day was with another member. So much food! We watched Inside Out...IT WAS SO GOOD! Skyped, hung around. We were spoiled so much this Christmas! I will never understand what it is about missionaries that makes people do such nice things for us, but I plan to be the best ward members for the missionaries when I am married and stuff. Like best friends with all of the missionaries :)

I have been thinking lots lately about things like New Year's Resolutions and goals and improving and such. I feel like, as people, we sometimes have really good intentions to do good things, but really struggle with the follow-through. So my challenge for this week: make a goal/resolution and make a plan to follow through with it. Then check yourself on a regular basis to be sure that you are keeping up with it. It could be anything: doing service weekly, stop complaining, read scriptures daily, express love better, etc. Just do it! Now, don't bite off too much you can chew, but do all you can :)

I love this quote by Elder M. Russell Ballard,  "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."

I know that we have endless potential and that Heavenly Father wants us to reach that potential. Tell Him what you want to be, ask Him what He wants you to be, then give yourself to Him. He will help you be more than you can be yourself :)

All My Love, 
Syster Griffes 

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