Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fwd: Homeward Bound- The Last Week


Before I truly begin, I would like to invite all of you to get on Google or YouTube or something and look up the song "Homeward Bound" by Vocal Point. I got sent an MP3 of it a while back and it is SO GOOD! 

I cannot believe that I am sitting here right now writing this email...How could 18 months go by so fast?! But at the same time, it feels like I somehow fit a whole lifetime into these 18 short months.

In all honesty, I never wanted to serve a mission growing up. It was one of those, "I'll go if I must, but otherwise, not for me." I was fully expecting to be the first in the Griffes clan to not serve and I was totally okay with it. Don't get me wrong, I always looked up to my siblings and all the missionaries (past and present), but I didn't think I could do it. I was scared! 18 months is a long time! And what if I went to a foreign country and had to learn a new language? Did I really want to put everything else on hold for the time I was gone? There were lots of questions and lots of fears before. It is funny because if I look back two years from today, I was not planning on serving. But, all along, the Lord had been preparing me to serve a mission for Him. He was placing the right people in my path and putting me in the right place at the right time. I prayed lots about whether serving a mission was right or not, but decided that it was. By the time I made that decision, I actually wanted to go. I got to the point where I knew that I would be devastated if I didn't go. So, I acted in faith and turned in my papers.

Moment of honesty: I didn't know much about Sweden when I got my call. I kid you not, I spent hohen I got my call to SWEDENurs researching it the day after I got my call. But the cool thing was that the moment I read that I was called to serve as a missionary and assigned to the Sweden Stockholm Mission, I knew it was right. All fears aside, I knew that I needed to be there. And oh, how I have learned that is true since that time. 

I have loved my mission. I do not think that words can completely explain just how much my mission has been a blessing in my life already and I know that it will continue to bless me daily. I learned things out here in the field that I couldn't have learned anywhere else. I don't think that I could ever really explain my mission to anyone else. The longer I am here, the more that I can see that my mission really is between me and the Lord. I could never help anyone else understand how it felt and everything that it means to me. I could never explain how I have grown and the love that I have for the people here. 

Out of all of the many things that I have learned, the most important are these:

Heavenly Father loves me. He loves you. Literally everything that we have here is a witness of that love. He knows you by name; He knows your thoughts and the desires of your heart. And He loves you, nonetheless. I know this! I have felt just a portion of His love for those around me in the time that I have been here. The more I know about the world, the more I know that He is there. He is our Father. I know that He listens to us when we pray to Him. I know that He is always there and that He answers our prayers. But I also know that He knows best, so the next time a prayer isn't answered in the way you think it should be, remember that He is in charge, you just have to give Him the reins.

Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is your Savior. He is our Savior. He is truly the Son of God. And thanks to that Divine Identity, He was able to perform the Atonement. The Atonement is about more than just bad to good, it is good to better. He suffered for our sins, transgressions, sorrows, pains, all of it. He is always there and He truly understands us and everything that we go through because He has been there before. We can rely on Jesus Christ through every step in life. He is our Hope! Without Him, there is no purpose in life, there is no way to move forward and become better. But Because of Him, we have endless potential and opportunities. He loves you and is always there. This is His Work, this is His Gospel, this is His Church. I am so grateful for the time that I have had serving side-by-side with Him in His Garden. 

Love you all dearly. See you on the other side :)
Syster Griffes

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pictures VF Week 12

1. Pictures from my Missionary "Funeral"
2-3. Hiked Mount Utby :)
4. LOVE THIS FAMILY!
5. If the Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders were a boy band, this would be our first album cover

Sunday, April 3, 2016

"PIGEONS! FINNS DÄR EN KROPP AV KÖTT OCH BEN!?" VF Week 11

Went on splits with Syster Jackson in Trollhättan this week. LOVE HER! She is just the funniest person on the planet! They have a nice balcony on their apartment and a pigeon laid eggs in a box on the balcony. They have been waiting for the eggs to hatch for a while now. We woke up on Wednesday morning and the pigeons made a noise, so she ran out and said this in the most American accent in the world. There is no good translation....Direct translation- "Does there exist a body of flesh and blood?" (like...is there a body?). Needless to say...way funnier if you were there...but none of you were :)

-The days are just kind of melting together now. Syster Bateman and I have been having a really hard time getting in contact with people to meet because everyone is just really busy. Lots of contacting and swing-bys this past week :)
-Syster Bateman is a gem and planned out my whole birthday. It was a huge party on p-day. We went out to my favorite Swedish-Italian restaurant and had dinner with an American family that I love :)
-Splits in Trollhättan was so good! Got to see lots of people that I know and love. Plus, a day with Syster Jackson is always so good! She is so insightful and helpful. We talked about lots of things like what she should do when she trains, how I feel about going home, everything in between. 
-District Meeting this week was on Spiritual Gifts and how we all have some that are just a part of our very being. But there are others that we can develop as we work and pray. 
-Our Nigerian investigator invited a friend to meet with us! Doing missionary work before he is even a member, he inspires me! 
-And of course...general conference was this weekend! I love General conference! We have the magnificent opportunity to listen to prophets and apostles every six months and hear direction from Heavenly Father for us today. I am getting so much out of it! I LOVE CONFERENCE! The Church in ancient times was, "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner" and that is how the Church is built today too. We receive revelation today just as in times of old. The Heavens are Open! Heavenly Father loves all of His children and wants to speak to us even today!

Love you all dearly!
Syster Griffes

The link for conference:

Pictures VF Week 11

1-2. Birthday celebrations
3. Sometimes we play on the play ground...and Syster Bateman tries to climb the rope :)
4. BIGGEST CANDY STORE OF MY LIFE! 4-Gott :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

"I want to be a giant teddy bear...Everyone will love me!" VF Week 10

Quote of the week is from Syster Jackson. Syster Bateman and I were out shopping with Syster Hall and Syster Jackson last Monday and we saw a giant teddy bear. She is so funny, I wish you all could meet her!

Pretty good week:
-Had dinner at the Bishop's house. He is French, but we all spoke English because 1. I do not speak French. And 2. There was an American family there too. It was really a lovely time and we shared the new Easter video because you know...Easter! It was good and we had a nice discussion on how Christ and the Atonement have changed our daily lives.
-Spent a lot of time doing swing-bys and contacting this week. Pounding the pavement every day :)
-Met with our Swedish investigator a few times this week. She is doing well. We talked about how we just need to move forward with faith, ignore temptation, and trust in the Lord. We shared a clip from the talk, "Cast not away therefore your confidence" by Elder Holland. That is one of my all-time favorite talks :) She is so ready to be baptized!
-Shared the Easter video with as many people as we possibly could this week! I love it!
-On Friday, we had my last ever zone conference. It was just a roller coaster of emotions! I bore my final testimony. Every missionary going home does that, it is just weird to think that I am done with it now. I talked about how much the mission has changed me, but the biggest change has been that my relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ has been strengthened so much. It was a very sad day too because I had to say goodbye to some missionaries that I have come to love so much! These people mean the world to me! I held it together until they were all gone, then I totally balled my eyes out for a good 20 minutes. It just hurts my heart to know that my time here is finishing! I just love this place and all these people! But Heavenly Father needs me back home. And I have family and friends there too!
-Service Saturday was a success this week. Zucchinis were like 5 kronor each, so we got a bunch and made zucchini bread then went by members and shared them. It was way fun and we talked to lots of people on the way.
-Easter Sunday was a stellar day. All 8 of the missionaries (2 sisters, 4 elders, and a senior couple) sang "I Stand All Amazed" in Sacrament Meeting. Strong Spirit :) We were invited to a member's house for Easter and had a lovely time with their family. Then we all participated in an Easter Concert that night. Lots of people came and the Spirit really testified to me of the reality of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. He lives! And He loves YOU!

Love you all,
Syster Griffes

Monday, March 21, 2016

"It looks like they are coming from a funeral...or they're Swedes" VF Week 9

Quote is from Elder Mecham. We say a group of teenagers wearing mostly black. Swedes wear SO MUCH BLACK! It has rubbed off on me a little... :)

The Week:
-We can definitely start with last Monday. For P-day, Syster Bateman and I took a bike ride ALL OVER GÖTEBORG! We literally biked like 14.5 KM (if my math is right, that might be about 9 miles). It was SO FUN! We made a list of 9 different churches in the city and went to all of them. The sun was shining, it was warm, just a perfect day! We had a blast and we were so tired and sore after :) But I would do it again in a heartbeat. Fun fact, you can actually rent bikes here in the city and drop them off at any of the bike stations all over the city. We didn't do it because we have bikes, BUT if you ever make it to Göteborg, I would definitely suggest that. Another suggestion: do not do it on a Monday because most of the Churches are closed then... :) But the outside of the Churches are beautiful ändå (anyway)
-Almost all of our plans fell through on Tuesday, so we spent lots of time contacting. It was actually really fun and successful (not always so... :) Many good conversations, showed the Påsk (Easter) film with many people. It was sunny and beautiful. We had dinner that night with a wonderful member family. The Spirit is so strong and present in their home! I love them :)
-Had lunch at a member's house on Wednesday with her and one of her friends. It was way fun and we got to teach the Restoration to her. So good! We also had a lesson with one of our Swedish investigators and invited her to be baptized. She feels like the time is right and is preparing to do so :)
-Thursday was all with members, active, less active, and new. It was a stellar day!
-Friday, we had district meeting. We have it at the YSA Center and another district in the area has it same place, same time, so we all go out to lunch together after. The Elders' new favorite thing to do is to ask me questions about things that make me trunky (which means that I am longing/desperate to go home). It cracks me up! I then went on splits to Jönköping with Syster Wilson. She is from Australian and just hilarious. A really great missionary with the potential to make a huge difference in this mission. Her mom is actually from Sweden, so this is another home to her. I wish I could stay longer to see all of the miracles she will be a part of :)
-Saturday was traveling back and weekly planning. Sunday we had a lovely block of Church, a member dinner, then contacting and dinner. I love missionary work!

Been thinking lots lately and having many conversations with different people about different things (many of them are about going home, but I promise that I am still focused here!). One thing that I have thought lots about is who I want to be when I go back. I have learned so many things and changed in many ways, I just want to keep getting better! It made me think of the quote by Dr. Seuss, "Be who you are and say what you feel, for those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." I am me and that is who Heavenly Father needs me to be. Don't spend time trying to be someone that you are not. Always progress and become the very best person that YOU can be. Heavenly Father has great plans for you, individually :) I know that because I have seen it every day of my time on my mission and very day in my entire life. I am so blessed!

Love you lots!
Syster Sarah Griffes

Monday, March 14, 2016

"If we don't go to stan...we won't be in stan.." VF Week 8

Quote this week comes from me (Stan=Downtown...sort of...). We were discussing what we would do the next day and I was trying to say that if we don't go to stan, it would be hard to talk to people on the street, but instead I said that genius of a sentence....

Highlights:
-Had MLC (Mission Leadership Council) in Stockholm. It was really good, talked about Hope and the new Easter Initiative (video attached at bottom). The sad thing is that I had to say goodbye to some of the Elders from my MTC group (they go home in 6 months). Breaks my heart because I love all these missionaries, but I will see them at BYU anyway :) I love the missionaries here so much! Lifelong friends have been made
-Presented part of Zone Training later on in the week, we talked about hope and how it is not just for the future, but can be applied today. And that our source of hope is Jesus Christ (Moroni 7:41).
-Taught a Nigerian Investigator about hope and the Atonement. It was precious and the Spirit was so strong!
-Had a good-bye part/Taco Fest with the YSA for a senior couple, The Hawleys that are leaving soon. So fun! The new couple, the Watson's are great too!
-We were able to be an answer to prayer for Syster Watson on Wednesday. She had dinner to make for the YSA and was behind on things. She said she had prayed all morning for help to come and we just happened to be at the Center when she needed us. We had a lesson planned, but our guy canceled last second, so we had time to be there and help out. I loved it!
-We decided that every Saturday this transfer, we want to do Service Saturday. We hadn't really planned anything out, then Saturday morning we get a text from a member asking if we can help clean the church. Of course! :) 
-Taught another Nigerian investigator the Restoration. The Spirit was way strong and he says that he can feel that this is good :) He accepted a challenge to be baptized if he gets the answer that this is true.
-Our Swedish investigator wants us to pick a date for her to be baptized so that we have something to work towards :) The Spirit is working on her, I can feel it!

Easter Video!

I. Love. This. Video! It is just perfect! In Christ, we can all find new life. I have find new life and greater happiness than ever before. I know that it is only through Him that we can receive never-ending happiness. He is the Way, Truth, and Life. I know it with my whole heart and I love my Savior. 

Love you all! See you soon!
Syster Griffes

Monday, March 7, 2016

"Four Yes-es! We're going to Hollywood!" VF Week 7

You know those days when you get on your email and your desire to send a weekly email is slim to none...today is one of those days. So, sorry for this sad excuse of a weekly email :)

Quote comes from Elder Halterman, our Zone leader (we served together in Jakobsberg too). We had a phone call with the district leaders and tried to decide on something we wanted to for the zone and everyone agreed on the plan. He is the funniest kid on this planet! But definitely not as funny when you weren't there...Sorry that you poor people are not here :) I love it here! It hits me daily now that time is so short and I know that leaving this place will just break my heart!

Sent Sister Stoughton off to Stockholm on Tuesday, had the Trollhättan Sisters over for the night to be with me while we waited for my new companion, Syster Bateman. She came in all safe and sound from Täby (we were actually in the same district when I was in Jakobsberg). She came to Sweden just six weeks after me. I have actually seen her a lot around the mission, so we know each other a little bit. She is way excited and loves this work! So grateful to have her for my last transfer! The Lord has really blessed me :)

Highlights:
-Taught one of our Muslim investigators. He is from Gambia, which is a very split Muslim/Christian place. The good news is, there is a LOT of religious tolerance there, so he is very open to learn. Every time we are together he tells us that he is still meeting with us because he knows this is good and that if it didn't feel good, he would never come again. He started reading the Book of Mormon and is coming to understand things better....then he moved...So he now lives outside of our boundaries and we had to give him to the Utby Elders....lame! But they will take good care of him. Plus, it doesn't matter who is there for the beginning, middle, or end, it is the Lord's work and He has it all taken care of :)
-Our investigator from Nigeria is doing really well. Talked about Tithing and he loves the principle of helping the Lord's work move forward
-Our Swedish investigator is doing really well! She is so ready to be baptized, just needs her answer!
-Met two potential investigators and both are really open and positive. The cool thing is that they both were contacted a few months ago and their numbers have just been sitting in our phone for a while. Most missionaries really hate to call through all those older potential investigators, but I have found it to be very successful. Some people just needed a little time and they are ready now :)

I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance. (1 Nephi 1:20)
We read this scripture with our Nigerian investigator and he asked, "How do we become the Lord's Chosen people?" We talked a lot about it and came to the conclusion that we are the Lord's chose people as we do the things that He asks us to do. Keep the Commandments, live the Gospel, study the scriptures, go to church, pray, serve, give of ourselves, all of those things. That is exactly what the Lord wants us to do and He has PROMISED deliverance to us as we do it. If you are going through something hard right now, evaluate your life and be sure that you are living in a way that you can receive all the blessings of the Lord, then wait patiently. He will be there to help you and eventually, in His timing, you will be delivered. He loves you! I know it!


Love you all dearly! Praying for you lots!
Syster Griffes

P.S. Wasn't as I thought it would be :)

Pictures VF Week 7

1. The six Västra Frölunda missionaries on the last day of transfers
2. The West Coast of Sweden :)
3. Haga (the Old City in Göteborg)
4. Me and my new companion, Syster Bateman...low picture quality...p-days :)

Monday, February 29, 2016

"My pits are going to smell like Paris!" -VF Week 6

Quote of the week comes from Syster Stoughton as she opened the new deodorant she got...Life is an adventure with her :)

We got transfer calls! Syster Stoughton will be doubling into Stockholm with a greenie (new missionary) and I will be staying here and getting Syster Courtney Bateman. She is in the group after me and is just the sweetest! So excited! Plus everything worked out wonderfully and I get to see almost all of the missionaries that I LOVE before I go home in just 6 short weeks. Wow, has time flown!

Highlights:
-We got to help out and teach the Activity Day Girls (ages 8-11) on Thursday. They are just the sweetest! We talked about what we do as missionaries and how they can be missionaries. Then we role-played and acted like they were learning about the Church. They were all hilarious and sweet, but a little loud. We bore testimony to them that we know that God loves them and the coolest thing happened. The room became silent and everyone stopped moving around. The Spirit was really strong and I know that they felt it :) Then we played Mafia after because they really wanted to. It was hilarious and wonderful. 
-Our renovated Chapel opened on Sunday! Everyone was really excited to have the place back, felt like coming home for them. We are really excited for many reasons, one of which is that the Chapel is a 5 minute walk from our house, instead of an hour on the tram/bus to the other Chapel we had been using (Utby Ward).
-Had dinner at a member's house with the 6 of us missionaries. They try to have us over like every week/every other week because they want their kids to be around that missionaries as much as possible. I just love them! They told funny mission stories and we talked about how our work is going and invited them to pray for their own missionary experiences.
-There is this older member lady that we visit quite often. She is from Serbia and is just the SWEETEST person you will ever meet. She has the Spirit with her, it is just tangible when she walks into the room. I want to be like her one day :)
-Got to go to Trollhättan and be in a one-day Tri-Pan (tri of missionaries) with Syster Harkness and Syster Hall while Syster Stoughton went to a meeting in Stockholm. It was SO FUN! I love those two sisters so much! We just laughed our heads off and had the greatest time together :)

Mosiah 2:41
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

When we do as God asks, we are entitled to never-ending happiness. Things may not be perfect in this life, but we can look forward with faith, knowing that we have done our part and that greater, eternal happiness awaits. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father that gives me guidance and commandments, not to hold me back, but to keep me safe and protected. He knows best :)

Love you all,
Syster Sarah Griffes

Pictures VF Week 6

1. The Activity Day Girls (ages 8-11)
2. Elder Richardson in his natural habitat
3. Our District :)
4. Tri-Pan in Trollhättan for a day!
5. Majorna is a Nazi-Fri Zone!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Västra Frölunda Week 5

Lots of highs and lows this week! Here's what happened:
-Last Monday, we went Island Hopping with 4 elders in the area. Our bus cards can get us pretty much anywhere here in Göteborg, including onto the surrounding islands, so we decided to explore some :) We went to one of the bigger ones called Brännö (burnt island). It was absolutely picturesque and the weather was perfect! Oh, so pretty! We then went to an American family's house and had...Pulled Pork sandwiches :) I love America!
-On Tuesday, I got to go on splits to...TROLLHÄTTAN!! I have missed my first area a lot and it was nice to walk the streets again and see some people that I love. I went with Syster Hall and learned lots from her :)
-Nothing too exciting on Wednesday. Thursday we got to go to a member's house with Elder Richardson and Lloyd for pizza. We did this cool teaching thing with them where 2 of us acted as missionaries, 2 as investigators, and 1 as a member, but we switched around roles a couple times. Cool to see the Elders teach :) The member is a really good example and talked to us about how things that he learned on his mission are still blessing him today.
-Friday had some good lessons. One of my favorites was with our Chinese investigators. We read from Alma 36 about repentance and talked about daily prayer and scripture study. She felt the Spirit and said that it was a new feeling and that it felt really good :)
-Saturday was by far our most interesting day. Had a really good first lesson with a couple from Ukraine. They are super positive and love that our Church focuses so much on families. Excited to work with them :) Then...we had a lesson with an older investigator that has been ignoring us for like 5 weeks. He randomly texted and said that he wanted to meet us with a friend. Turns out that his friend really just wanted to bible bash. So we all go to this cafe and the friend starts to ask us all of these random questions about Church doctrine and our personal beliefs and views. We answer all politely and with love, but you can tell that he is not listening to anything we are saying and is just trying to get us to say something wrong. We continue like that for a little, bearing testimony the whole time. The funny thing is that we believe much of what he said. He really wanted us to say something against the fact that Jesus Christ is our Savior (because he didn't think that we believed that), but we know that He is our Savior and that, only through Him, can we return to God. Then we said we had to leave because we were running late. He closes up, then looks at us and says, "You need to leave the Mormon Church" and essentially tells us that we will be cast out of God's presence if we continue with it. That was a hard hit. We both just kind of look at each other then bear powerful testimony that we not only believe this is true, we know it is. He goes on to say that it would be hard for us to leave because of the social aspect and our families and everything, but that we should. The whole time I am just sitting there totally shocked that he would even suggest it, but also thinking about how leaving would mean that I left everything that I know and everything that I am. This Church is True. Jesus Christ is our Savior and at the Head of this Church. I know it and I cannot deny it. Grateful to be hear to defend my faith and invite others to discover the precious truths that I have found. I am so blessed!
-Sacrament Meeting on Sunday was all about how Faith leads us to Action. I love that principle! If we truly have faith, we will not just sit back and wait for the Lord to make everything work out, we will do all that we can. There is a Chinese Proverb that says, "He who waits for roast duck to fly in mouth will have to wait for a long time."  If we truly have faith, we will Go and Do! We have to DO things in order to receive all of the blessings that the Lord has in store. He will always bless us, but we have to show that we are ready and prepared for all of the blessings. 

Love you all dearly,
Syster Griffes
A Servant of the Lord

Monday, February 15, 2016

New Favorite Pick-Up Line: You have splendid physical development- VF Week 4

Subject line comes from a devotional we went to for the YSA here in Göteborg. Syster Stoughton sang at it and we just felt super awkward with all the YSA at Valentine's Weekend. So funny! The Beckstrands talked about dating because all of Scandinavia is not good at it. Super hilarious!

Kort sagt: (Literally: Short said)
-Got blåsted 3 times in one day on Tuesday, so we contacted and such to fill in all the time we suddenly had. Good times! Had some really good conversations with people on the street :)
-Went on splits with Syster Hong!  I love that girl! I had forgotten how powerful of a teacher she is! She just loves people so much and shows that love in such a perfect way!
-Had specialized zone training on Thursday. President and Syster Beckstrand, plus the Assistants, came down. We talked about Conversion and how to leave our areas stronger than we found them. Had a little Family Home Evening with them and got to ask them about their lives. It was precious to see them talk about their marriage and relationship. Some tears were shed :)
-Friday was a really good and we had a full day. Taught the Plan of Salvation three times. It was cool to see that each was different because of the individual needs of the people we met with.
-Nothing really exciting after that point :) But every day is just great, I love being a missionary!


Alma 31:5
And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.

The Gospel is the most powerful thing this world has! So glad that I have it in my life!!

Love you all,
Syster Griffes
Happy, Healthy, Tired, but doing Great!

VF Week 4

1. Splits with Syster Hong!!! :D
2. Jakobsberg Crew Again :)
3. Syster Beckstrand "Mission Impossible"
4. Made Valentine's Cookies! Family Traditions for the WIN!

Monday, February 8, 2016

"You're good enough to not fail" Västra Frölunda Week 3

Quote of the week compliments of Elder Mecham. The 4 Elders here in the ward are just hilarious!

Highlights:
-Went on splits with the Sisters in Jönköping. I stayed there for a day with Syster Taylor. It was cool to see missionary work from another perspective. We had dinner with the Elders (including Elder DeMordaunt, whom I served with for 4.5 months in Jakobsberg!) and the Young Men. The made us tacos and we did "Master Chef" :)
-We were interviewed by a member for her class of 10 year olds in China :) 
-Went to Institute with an investigator. It was taught by a returned missionary on the Book of Mormon as the Keystone of Our Religion. It was a really great lesson!
-Taught some really good lessons with our investigators. One on prophets and why it is important that we have a prophet today. Taught the Plan of Salvation to a new investigator and he really felt the Spirit. 
-Made cookies for a YSA missionary night then went on splits to visit less active YSAs and invite them to Institute. It was way fun :)
-Helped an investigator translate a paper from Swedish to English about World War II. Good language study for the three of us!
-Elder Lloyd turned 19 on Saturday, so we made him lunch. It was the 6 of us here, plus the senior couple in our ward. We did Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad, and Carrot Cake. It was really fun!!
-Had dinner with a lovely family here in the ward. Talked about the Vision of the Tree of Life and how when we taste the fruits of the Gospel, we want to share the joy that we have experienced. Really great lesson!

Favorite Scripture for this Week? Isaiah 40:31
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

When we rely on the Lord, we can receive all that we stand in need of. He knows what we need better than we do, we just have to look to see His hands in the little details of our lives. 

Love you lots,
Syster Griffes

Pictures VF Week 3

1. The Elders took a picture of us contacting :) I'm the taller one
2. Splits with Syster Taylor
3. Storm Trooper Birthday cake for a member boy
4. Two of the elders here, it was Elder Lloyd's birthday (on the left)

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Silly Elders! Tricks are for kids!" VF Week 2

The quote of the week is from Syster Stoughton, to which I quickly responded... "but they are kids" :) Love the Elders! All my brothers that like make fun of me and stuff

Highlights:
-Tuesday we had MLC (Missionary Leadership council) in Stockholm. All the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were there with President and Syster Beckstrand and the Assistants. We had a nice training on how we can help the mission out with new things. It was really cool to see the Spirit work through us. We talked lots about Repentance and Teaching Skills :)
-Had a member dinner almost every day this week. The whole ward is really awesome and really willing to help with all of our missionary work :) they are just wonderful and I am so impressed with and grateful for them!
-Met a YSA that reminds me lots of my sister, Ellen :) Love both of them!
-Taught Repentance to a lot of people this week. Really hit on the stories of Alma and Saul/Paul. They really felt the power of the Atonement!
-Taught a part of Zone Training with Syster Stoughton about teaching. It was really fun to prepare for and do. 
-A Gymnasiet class (like High School) came to church yesterday. About 10 people in all. They attended Sacrament Meeting, then we met with them and had a nice question-and-answer period. In the schools here, everyone is required to take a Religion Class (which is way different than the USA, but really cool). They asked about things like food storage, Priesthood, the beginning of the Church, and anything they thought was interesting from the internet. We were able to clear some things up and clarify what we really believe. The best part? They asked us, the Missionaries, what we thought was the most important part of our beliefs. It was kind of just a discussion, but as soon as they asked that, the Spirit flooded in and we bore testimony of our loving Heavenly Father and how grateful we are that we can be with our families forever. It was really cool :)

Thought of the week: Ether 6:5-9
Little bit of background: The Jaredites lived in ancient times, around the time of the Tower of Babel (when the languages were confused). They were led by the Lord to cross the ocean and this is what happened as they traveled:

5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

 6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.

 7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

 8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

 9 And they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.

I love this story because they were able to endure and persevere. The wind was the thing that made it hard to travel (because it caused waves and tossed them around), but it was also the very thing that carried them to the Promised Land. They needed those hardships to get to their destination. And that is true with our lives. We need our trials and tribulations because they help us grow! We need to learn, grow, and experience so that we can prepare to return to Heavenly Father again :)

Love you all,
Syster Sarah Griffes

Pictures VF Week 2

1. Me and Syster Hong!
2. My groupies from the MTC
3. Jakobsberg Flashback in Göteborg

Monday, January 25, 2016

Plane delayed, locked out, cereal at 10:30- Västra Frölunda Week 1

Started the week out in the North, ended it down 40 minutes away from where I started my mission...life is weird :)

Monday was a weird p-day. We ended up having a member dinner. As part of our travel there, we walked for about 20 minutes in pitch black (mind you, it was about 4:30 pm...) -24C. good times...many memories :) Syster Jackson is not a fan of the dark, so we was being really loud and waving the flashlight around. We were probably hilarious to watch, but there was no one there to watch us!

Tuesday was last minute packing and goodbyes. We got to see a newborn baby that one of the members had! She was precious! Got me really excited for when my sister and sister-in-law have babies in the next month! YES! I was supposed to fly out that night, but Göteborg had a major snow storm and the flight was delayed for like 3 hours. The Office rebooked me for the next day, so we headed home from the airport and got back around 10:30 pm. Dropped off the new sister's luggage in our apartment, parked the car, then realized that we left the keys in the apartment...oops. Luckily, our apartment door was unlocked and we found someone with the key to the stairwell. We then sat and ate cereal since none of us had eaten anything since like 4. Good times!

Wednesday, I flew down to Stockholm then took a train to Göteborg...was alone for about 7.5 hours (except for the 45 minutes I found the 4 Elders in Stockholm and we chatted while I had lunch). Almost felt like a normal person... :) Met with my new companion, Syster Stoughton. She is just 6 weeks younger than me in the mission and really great! She has an AMAZING singing voice and just loves the work! We had a member dinner and then watched a Worldwide Missionary Broadcast which was spectacular!

Thursday we had district meeting and lunch. Back to my very first district, just with all new faces. So many greenie flashbacks! Met some investigators, learned about the area :) Friday was more members, TUS, and weekly planning. Member dinner on Saturday plus a lesson with a few less actives. 

Sunday was good. Our ward here starts at 2 pm, so we had a meeting in the morning then church. A missionary, Elder Felix Sahlin, came home from his mission here in Sweden and gave his homecoming talk. He was actually a missionary here in Sweden and was an Assistant to the Mission President for 9 months. He really had an impact on the mission. Something that I loved that he talked about in his talk was about how the Lord is aware of us and really prepares a way for us to get everything that we need. He knows us and I know that!

Love you all!
Syster Sarah Griffes



Monday, January 18, 2016

Shocker! -Luleå Week 6

Well, got transfer calls on Saturday and I am moving! WHAT?!? This completely ruins the consistency of my mission! 4 Months in each place, then just 6 weeks in Luleå...that was a real surprise! I am moving down to Göteborg (Västra Frölunda Ward) to be a Sister Training Leader. Definitely a shocker, but I am excited for the new beginning. 

Real quick:
-Went on a road trip out to visit the far away less actives. Way fun! SAW A REINDEER! Bad news is, I didn't get a picture because we were on the highway. Sorry!
-Went to Skellefteå for district meeting. That is a super cute little town! Even had the Zone Leaders there (both were in my MTC group...love 'em!)
-Met with one of our progressing investigators. His real intent is growing so much! It has been really to see his desire to know grow until now when he really wants it. I love the Gospel!
-Said goodbye to the members. It was weird because I didn't get the chance to know any of them really well...Learned lots from them in the time I had!

Need something to read? Try this talk!

We have faith, exercise it, then leave the rest to the Lord. He knows best!

Love ya!
Syster Griffes

Monday, January 11, 2016

I survived the week of Jan 4, 2016 - Luleå Week 5

If you haven't yet, go take a look at the pictures I just sent out. Yup..it really was that cold. From Wednesday to Friday, we were resting around 0 to -20 F (or -15 to -30 C)...it was a long week...

Funny lines from this week:
-"Stores make me want to throw up right now" -Syster Jackson after we went sweater shopping last week
-"I have a mom question" -Elder Kendall when he wasn't feeling well
-"I am the gate keeper of my destiny. I am the master of my fate" -Elder Kendall after giving me advice on my future

On Tuesday, we went to Boden to go by our new member's place. We answered some of her questions from her recent reading of the Book of Mormon and just spent some time with her. Love her to death! We also visited a few older ladies in the ward. We just swung by and they loved it :) I loved it too, I learn so much from people here :)

Wednesday through Friday was really rough because it was just so cold! We planned as many lessons and inside things that we possible could because it was kind of dangerous to be outside. Like our noes froze as soon as we stepped outside, the car almost didn't start, and the cold feet never really went away :) We had some good time to plan and organize things. We made a killer member missionary plan that we will be implementing in our ward soon. Yay! President and Syster Beckstrand along with the Assistants came up to do interviews with us. That was really a pleasure...to see humanity again and all... I just love the 5 of them! 

Our two progressing investigators are doing really great. One was even in church yesterday and he is working on reading and praying every day. We challenged the other to baptism, but he wants to keep thinking. The work moves forward :)

We got to go down to Piteå yesterday to have dinner with a member family. While it was cooking we helped their little daughters make a movie :) It was cute. They invited us and the Elders here, plus the Elders down in Skellefteå (because they have literally 5 active members). Also visited a really great less active in Piteå. I love her! I just love the country people here in Luleå; reminds me of home! 

I have been thinking a lot about regrets lately because I am the master of dwelling on regrets and need to get over it. In all reality, if we just do everything we can, what we expected doesn't matter, just what the Lord expected. I am really working on turning around and dwelling on the good instead of the "I could have..." or " I should have..." You cannot change the past, but you can change the future :) I loved this talk by President Uchtdorf. Enjoy! 


Love you all!
Syster Sarah Griffes
A Happy, Healthy (Cold) Servant of the Lord :)

Pictures Luleå Week 5

1. We actually saw Christmas lights on someone's house in Sweden...weird!
2. This was the temperature in Celsius on Wednesday :)
3. And this is Fahrenheit :) Good times...good times.... 

Monday, January 4, 2016

"You are both my wife"- Luleå Week 3-4

Had p-day last Friday with our district. We were trying to decide where to go/what to get for lunch and the Elders were really struggling to decide what they wanted to do. Syster Jackson and I tried to reason with Elder Kendall about it and we just started laughing about how it sounded like a conversation a married couple would have, so he decided that we were both his wife in the conversation. 

-Got to try some Finnish Christmas Cuisine like a week and a half ago. It was good. On the mission, I give everything at least one try. Some food you never would have thought was good ends up being delicious! The day after, we had another member dinner and they made us American Christmas-y foods. It was way sweet :) I love this branch! They are all so open and loving with us!
-The work was pretty hard this week because everyone is still out of town, but we managed to fill our time with swing-bys and contacting :) this coming week should be better because everyone is back. The new challenge: The weather is going to be around 0F/18C a few days...yeah...week of the icicle :)
-Had a Pizza Party with the YSA in the ward. Way fun, one of our investigators came and had a great time. 
-Taught one of our investigators the Plan of Salvation and he said that it all made sense :) He came to church yesterday with a friday. Both enjoyed the service (it was Testimony meeting and a lot of people bore very strong witness of the Book of Mormon and the Church, which was perfect). I am eternally grateful to members that are good missionaries. They all talked to them and one of the members even took over Sunday School to teach them about the Church and answer some questions that they had from what they had researched on the internet. His Swedish was way better than mine, so that was great :) I translated for someone from Egypt and from Albania. I am always amazed that they can make it through Church in a language (English) that is neither of their first languages. Super grateful that I get to go back to English church in a few months. It will be weird to understand absolutely everything again :) 
-For New Year, we were allowed to be out with members until 12:30. It was way fun! We were with the Boden and Skellefteå Elders at a member family's house. Get this, we had steak. I love steak. Pretty sure that is the first time that I have had it since my mission and it was cooked perfectly (the father had been to cooking school before). All the food was delicious. The dad talked with us about his mission and how he met his wife. Then headed out and watched fireworks in Luleå. They actually shot them off on the ice in the bay, so that was pretty cool. Cannot believe the 2015 is over! My entire year on the mission came to an end. Crazy! 2016 will be great. Full of new adventures and probably lots of unexpected things :)

I love this scripture (it is actually the Youth Theme for 2016)
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. (2 Nephi 31:20)

Love you all. Press Forward. Keep on Keeping On.
Syster Griffes

P.S. Found out that I now have less than 100 days of the mission. How is that even possible?!?

Pictures Luleå Week 4

1. Luleå
2. Tried to crack the ice...just wouldn't work!
3. Only in Sweden would the garbage shoot be painted like this
4. Flashback..Jakobsberg Chapel in the snow (the Ward Mission Leader in Luleå was down there for church yesterday and kindly took a picture and told everyone that I love and miss them :)