Monday, March 30, 2015

Planes, trains and.....bikes???

Dear family and friends, 

This past week has been good. I'm enjoying missionary work more and more as time goes on. Something exciting that happened last week was that we had the chance to go to the Birmingham, AL temple (which is about an hour from Tuscaloosa)! The temple is SO small, but SO beautiful! We went to the 9am session. I very much appreciated being able to go. I wish we could go to the temple more often, but luckily we have one in our mission, and we get to go every 3 months. :) It was also the most gorgeous day outside, and we got to visit with different missionaries serving in various places around our mission.
The weather here has been super bi-polar. One day it is beautiful, and the next it's super we never know how to dress. We just pick an outfit and hope for the best! This morning at 5:30am I was woken up by was raining pretty hard and lightning flashes were coming through our bedroom window. It's also tornado season, and in my sleepy state I got worried about the crazy weather outside, but I decided that "all is well" and tried to get back to sleep.
This past Saturday the Blue Angels came to Tuscaloosa!! I was so happy, just because I know that they come to Saint George too! We had a teaching appointment set up at 3pm but the guy canceled, and so I had an idea to go over by the airport where the show was and do some contacting. :) I have never seen the Blue Angels before, and I got to see them flying over quite a bit, and they were so cool!!! They are so talented, and Sister Bailey and I joked around about if one of them sneezed....could be bad. Anyway, we met up for a few minutes with Rachel, and we also talked to a Baptist and got his information so we could meet with him sometime.
That night, we went to our church for the General Women's Broadcast. We watched it with our ward. It was really good! The broadcast was centered on families, and how important they are, and what they must be built upon. It sparked my determination to become a good mother, and I look forward to the day when I can teach my kids about Christ. The speakers explained that our homes should be a place where the Spirit can be felt in rich abundance. They said that there's no greater honor or role than that of a mother or father. I really like when they said, "whenever a woman strengthens the faith of a child, she strengthens a family." Remember that your role has a parent will have a huge impact on your children and thus, with a rippling effect, impact future generations. I've seen this principle in action with a family in our ward. The parents taught and raised their children well, and their grandchildren are now being brought up in Christ-centered homes (and are absolutely ADORABLE.)
You can also look at this with a missionary viewpoint. Everyday Sister Bailey and I are out contacting and teaching people about Christ. We study, pray, and spend our time focused on buildings other peoples faith. As a parent, you can do the same thing. You can be an influence for good and build your children's faith on a daily basis. We each have a seed of perfection within us, including your kids, and it's your job as parents to help them nourish it until they can on their own. But remember, you don't have to be a parent to help nourish another person's faith:)
Staying focused on Christ,
Sister Griffith

 Riding next to the tracks!  (I had to take a picture of the trains for Dad! :) )

 Sister Bailey and I at the Temple!

 The YSA Sisters and us at the Temple!

  A sign out in the country near Carrolton, AL

 Our wonderful super awesome investigator, Rachel, with Sister Bailey and me!


Sister Bailey and I on a VERY cold day!

Sister Candace P. who is in the ward we serve in.  She takes such good care of us!
We were there to celebrate her birthday!

Monday, March 23, 2015


This past week has been a good one! Lots of different experiences! Here are some of my favorites:

We were at the mall with our investigator Rachel (who is also our dear friend!) She told us about how there was a guy she knew from school (or somewhere) that had seen her there. This guy was about 18, and dressed a little like a gangster. He told her, "Hey, come here", and she went up to him and they started talking. He was being all kinds of disrespectful (checking her out), and didn't have the least bit of good intentions on his mind (to not get into the details.) Apparently he was still at the mall when Sister Bailey and I got there, and to say the least, my feathers were ruffled. I wanted to talk with this guy. Rachel ended up spotting him, and pointed him out to us. And I marched myself right up to him, with Sister Bailey right behind me. We introduced ourselves politely, and I asked him if he believed in Jesus Christ. He mumbled something, so I moved on to ask him if he believed in respect. I then told him that we knew what he did, and that he better respect women, and I told him why. I was nice, but quite firm. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest, but afterwards I felt good that I stood up for Rachel, and hopefully poured some sense into that boy. Respect for women is important!

And then there's Freddy. Sister Bailey and I were out tracting yesterday, and we came upon Freddy, a 24 year old guy who was sitting outside his house. We introduced ourselves, and started talking. He told us about how he's been out in the streets, and has been around drugs, and how he's on probation now, but that he's recognized God's hand in his life. He has a desire to lead a better life. He was very respectful of us, and our message, and told us that he thinks God sent us to him that day. And he also said that, as missionaries, even if we affect one persons life it will be worth it. How very touching that was! I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with him. We gave him a pamphlet, invited him to church, and he said he'd been there next Sunday.

A few nights ago we were in Barnes & Noble. We started talking to a 50-year-old guy, and our conversation started because he saw we were missionaries and told us to make sure to be safe on the streets. We found out that's he a member of "The Church of Christ", and I asked him to share some of his beliefs and where their church came from. Long story short, before I even knew what was happening, I was in the middle of a mild Bible bashing! We were all minding our manners, but the guy admitted towards the end that he was "trying to convince" us of "the truth." It was definitely interesting to talk with him, but I consciously decided not to get into a situation like that again, if I can help it. It's fine expressing each others beliefs, but it needs to be a conversation that doesn't leave you frustrated, which is what happened, on both ends I think!

A great thing that has happened this past week is that I read "Our Search for Happiness", by M. Russell Ballard. It is a book in the missionary study set. I recommend that everyone read it. It goes over the doctrine of our Church in a simple way, but with depth. I specifically liked where it talked about eternal marriage, overcoming adversity, and many other awesome things! As far as overcoming adversity goes, have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? What we need to realize is that everyone has agency, and that God honors and highly respects our agency. The ability to choose lets us make both good decisions and bad decisions. And we know that when a person makes bad decisions, it can affect others personally and physically. God still upholds that person's agency, even if it does have negative effects. Our job it to get through those negative waves that come crashing our way. That is part of life. We have trials and hardships not to make us weaker, but to make us stronger. That's why we're here on Earth. Our purpose is to learn and grow, and a majority of that experience comes through hardship. Be strong in your trials, they are "all but a moment." Remember to have the right perspective, and that things will work out and God will answer your prayers in His own due time!

Teaching is going well, and we still spend a ton of time trying to contact people. I also got to ride my bike for the first time recently, and what a thrill! I love to ride bikes, whether on the streets of Tuscaloosa or in the jungle of Yangshuo, China. You get to experience a place on a whole new level while riding a bike! Now, learning how to do it in a skirt, that takes skill. Talking about China, there's a plethora of Chinese people here. I think the majority of them go to the university. So you can imagine how excited I am to talk with them!

Keep your hearts centered on Christ,
Sister Griffith 

St. Patrick's Day goodies from home!  Thanks Mom!

 The neighborhood we tracted the other day!

Sister Bailey and I out tracting! 

The forests here are beautiful and thick!

 The other sisters we live with in our apartment fixed dinner for us!

Gangsta car?????  These make us laugh every time we see them!

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Oh, it's just firecrackers...."

It's been a good week. It's full of ups and downs. Missionary work is hard, and it definitely tests your faith, and your energy. But my companion Sister Bailey, is awesome. We laugh all the time about everything, which is great, because you can't be serious all the time!

We've spent almost everyday this week either eating lunch or dinner with members. It's really nice to be in the atmosphere of a home. Most of the families are young, with little kids, and are absolutely adorable (life goals!) The members here are very active in missionary work, and help us out a ton. And us missionaries greatly appreciate it! So my challenge for all of you is to, sometime this week or next week, help out your local missionaries. Go on a Team-Up with them, or have them over for dinner. :)
So we live very close to train tracks. Which means that I hear a train whistle everyday, several times a day! Luckily they usually don't come thru at night, but if they do I don't hear them. Sister Bailey told me that one day she and her previous companion were riding bikes and they couldn't cross the street/tracks because the train was coming. She said when i came by it was super loud, and I thought that'd be super cool to see (and I'm sure Dad would appreciate it too!)
A few days ago, the Elders gave us a referral. We went to the house and met a lady and her 20 year old son. It was nice visiting with them, but in the middle of our conversation, all of the sudden gun shots go off. It freaked me out because when we first arrived and walked across the street, I could see thugs hanging around outside, and who knows what could happen. But the shots kept going off, and it turns out they were firecrackers!! Nonetheless, my heart was pounding so hard! I tried to appear calm and collected (because as it happened the mom lifted the blinds and calmly said, "oh, just firecrackers", and went back to talking) but it took a little while for my heart rate to return to normal!
Last night, we went to visit a Nursing home. I had the idea last week to go, and we finally got around to do it (one of our investigators works there, and gave us the address.) I wanted to do something that would mix up our regular routine of contacting and tracting. We aren't going in there to convert people, but we are going there like Christ would and visiting those people who are sick and lonely. We talked with a few people, but we got to know two cute old ladies pretty well. Their names are Clara and Ms. Fowler. They were just adorable. Clara talked about how she moved to AL in 1966, and she was here during riots and all that crazy stuff. It was fun to talk with them, and we'll go back soon. :)
During one of our lessons with an investigator, she asked where God came from, and so forth. That's something that has been on my mind in the past, and the answer that I came up with at that time was that it was something I would find out later. But as she asked that, something came to my mind. I realized that we've been given is what we need now...for our eternal progression. The answers and guidance that we need in this life is in the scriptures. It's something that it relevant to us and our progress here. And questions like that, about where God came from, we will be answered in due time.
Today my Jodi and the boys took Sister Bailey and I out to lunch!! It was the best! I was so excited to see them, and it totally made my day. So thanks Simpers!!
Love you all,
Sister Griffith

Pics from this week:

 Out tracting!  

Ms. Fowler, me, and Clara

The Simpers and I! (this is my Aunt Jodi, and cousins Alex, Aidan and Connor!)

Monday, March 9, 2015

First week in Tuscaloosa!

Woohoo, I'm finally out in the real world! My area is Tuscaloosa, AL. My companion, Sister Bailey, and I are over the home ward here. We were able to go to church yesterday, and it was Ward Conference. The ward is definitely the smallest ward I've ever been to, I'm not in Kansas any more, that's for sure! The investigators we invited to church didn't show up, but that's okay. The meetings were really good. The Stake presidency is awesome. Our Stake president is actually the first black Stake President. He is awesome! He is full of the light of Christ, and teaches amazingly! Something that he taught yesterday in Sunday school was about how you can be active in the Church, but not active in the Gospel. Don't go through the motions of church, make sure you are active in the Doctrine of Christ! The Doctrine of Christ is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end. Make sure to have a good outlook should be Enjoying to the end. :) Enjoy the Gospel.

My companion is super nice. She has been out for 6 months. She is patient and answers all of my questions. She also takes the lead where I lack confidence. I've found that once we have an investigator and are teaching, I love it. I'm good with lessons, and pretty good with trying to teach by the Spirit. But I do lack confidence in finding, or street/store contacting. It's a little weird going up to random strangers and telling them who we are and asking for their phone number so we could teach them. Sometimes I worry that we're annoying them. But this is what missionary work is all about! Got to remember that their salvation is on the line!! 

Something that's hard in the South is that everyone already has found Jesus. Everyone is part of a church, everyone is religious. There's a select few that aren't, and there's a select few who are willing to let us teach them. Some people let us get their phone number simply because they see that we are here to talk about Jesus, and they love Jesus. Their testimony of God is so strong! For example, we met an older lady at Chick-fil-A for lunch. It was her first time talking with the missionaries. During the hour that we were with her, I think we learned more from her that she did from us! She was telling us about trials that she's gone through, and her love and testimony of God. It was amazing. Then there's yesterday, where we were street contacting and stopped man on the street. He told us that he is Baptist and that he sings in the choir. We jokingly asked him to sing, and to my delight he sung a couple lines from "Amazing Grace." It was a special moment. These people are very strong religiously, but what they don't know is that they are missing the Restored Gospel of Christ. Their churches have truths, and they are good people, but they lack proper priesthood authority, and the Book of Mormon, and the other truths that it gives us. So that's one of the challenges we face out here. Getting them to recognize that. 

Nonetheless, we continue on. We have a few investigators already. Rachel, a 17 year old girl. Dottie, an older lady in her 50's. And Jasmine, a Chinese woman in her 30's who's here for her Doctorate. We met with Jasmine on Campus at Starbucks last week. I really enjoyed our lesson with her, which was totally governed by her questions and the Spirit. We mostly covered basics about God, and His nature, and where we'll all end up. It was really refreshing to teach someone that didn't come from a Christian background! 

The Southern drawl out here is great. Some people have it really strong, others don't. I have to be careful not to say "you guys", because the proper way to say it is "ya'll", or for a group of people, "all ya'll." For the most part, it's easy to understand people.  We went tracting around the ghetto a few days ago. One of the first doors we knocked on, we got invited in by a woman in her 20's. We actually got to sit down and teach her a little bit, and she seemed interested. :) It's really good to have your scriptures bookmarked, and materials on hand, so you can teach on the fly. A few doors later, we were at the doorstep and it started smelling like a farm to me, which told me the apartment was full of weed (grosssss!) It was really sad to see that, because kids were running around and it makes me sad that they grow up in that environment. Another door we knocked on, a man answered and he was playing classy, jazzy music from back in the day. It was really fun. Culture! 

It's really green here, the forest is thick and the river we pass over is huge! The weather has also been bipolar. One day it's really nice, and the next day it's like 30 degrees cooler! It was FREEZING my second day here. And we were out tracting! The people here call it a "sleet day" and literally everyone stays home from work and school. I didn't think the weather was bad enough for them to stay home, but I guess it's a good enough excuse? 

Adjusting to missionary life is going fine, it's hard sometimes, but I've got to remember to keep on keepin' on. I love you all! 

Sister Griffith

And now for some pics.....

 Enjoying some Starbucks Hot Chocolate!

Sister Bailey and Me!  Bama Girls! #rolltide  

My bed!

OK, this one has a unique story.  Standing next to me is Sister Sheffield, who I met in the MTC.  When I was in China recently, I knew her sister who was also a head teacher!  
I thought this was a pretty cool connection!  What a small world!

And, it was pretty funny to get into my apartment, open up the kitchen cupboards and see the EXACT same dishes that we have at home! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A letter from the mission office!

This is a letter we received today from the mission office, letting us know Maegan had arrived there safely!  

Sister Griffith has safely arrived in the 
Alabama Birmingham Mission!

We are impressed with your daughter and want to thank you for all that you have done in preparing this wonderful young woman for her mission.  She met her new companions and traveled to her first area.

Attached is a photo of Sister Griffith with President with her companion, Sister Bailey.  She will bless this mission greatly with her enthusiasm and dedication. We love her and pledge our best efforts in directing her service here.
Sister Griffith has accepted a call that will change her life and the lives of those with whom she is serving.  These first few months will be full of new and challenging experiences, and your support in the form of encouraging and uplifting letters will help her greatly.
Our greatest hope is that each missionary has a positive and growing experience, which will help give her a foundation for a lifetime of service to others. We appreciate the time you have spent raising your daughter to be such a responsible young woman.  We thank you for your willingness to share Sister Griffith with us.

President and Sister Hanks

Sister Bailey, Sister Griffith & President Hanks!

Roll Tide, Roll! Initial Transfer Day happened!

March 4, 2015

I made it safely! We were picked up by the mission president and taken to the mission home for a meal and some training. We spent a night in a hotel (best night of sleep I've gotten thus far, plus I got to go to bed at 8pm!!) This morning some Elders picked us up and we went to the Stake center. We met some of the Senior Missionaries and had some training, then we joined all the missionaries in our mission for the Transfer meeting! We filled an entire Sacrament room! Everyone got a new companion, and there were fourteen missionaries going home. My companion is Sister Bailey, and she's very nice :) 

Birmingham has so many trees, and lots of beautiful southern homes!! It is humid here, and it's been rainy the past couple days. 

It's going to take some time adjusting to actually being out in the field, as it's lots different than being at the MTC! I've been assigned to Tuscaloosa, and that's where the University of Alabama is, so it's a college town! 

My address is: 
(ask my mom directly if you want that info!)  :)

I love and miss you all :) 
Sister Griffith

Here are some pics from my initial transfer day:

 Gettin' some viddles on transfer day!
New companions!  Sister Griffith and Sister Bailey!
Sister April Cook took us out for ice cream!  The Southern hospitality is starting already!