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!

-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!

-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

-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