Monday, June 29, 2015

Southern BBQ, finally!

 Hey everybody!

I don't have much time to write this week, but let it suffice for me to say that I finally got to experience some good ole Southern BBQ at a little hole-in-the-wall place called "Archibald's." I ate ribs, slaw, beans, and bread. It was great!

 This week has been good. It has had its challenges, but the work continues on!

 I love y'all!

Sister Griffith

A pretty tree outside our apartment!

Temple Trip!  Sister Hall, me, Sister Martineau and Sister Maxwell

Driving through a tunnel of trees!

Our free lemonade stand!

On our way to do emails!

P-Day Hiking activity!

Where's the sister missionary?!

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Dad! There's white folks here!" and other musings from the South!

Dear family and friends,

Happy Father's Day yesterday! Cherish your relationships with your fathers, grandpas, and husbands, but also cherish your relationship with your Father in Heaven!

I've had the privilege for the past two weeks to play piano in Sacrament. The ward organist is gone so they asked me to play (I agreed, but on conditions...not the organ, only the piano!) Along with playing in Sacrament, I've also played in Primary because the Primary pianist moved away! Primary is fun. And we combined the two when the Primary sung in Sacrament for Father's Day :) It's been good to play the piano (including playing in Relief Society and at baptisms) because it keeps up my practice, and also gets me accustomed to playing in front of people! But soon I'll have to tell them that I can't keep filling in mainly because I need to be with my investigators in class, and I also need to be edified (even though missionaries lead pretty spiritual lives, we still need that weekly recharge from Church)!!

On Friday there was a Sister's Training Meeting! All the Sisters from our mission met at the Birmingham Stake Center. President and Sister Hanks spoke to us, as well as a few other awesome people! We had lunch, ice cream, a clothing exchange, decorated planners, and got the chance to visit with each other. Basically, it was the most estrogen-filled meeting this mission has ever seen. :) I got to see my MTC companions which was way fun, as well has have Sister Bailey and Hall in the same vicinity, which was weird but awesome!  

Later that day, we drove back to Tuscaloosa and Sister Hall and I had plans to go see a woman named Talina. We had also met her neighbor Amber once before, and we decided to see her after. So we walked across the street, and Amber's husband and kids were outside. The kids were running around and the husband was working on his car with his head in the hood. The kids noticed us and tried to get their dad's attention, but to no avail. Finally this cute little 5-6 year old shouted, "Dad! There's white folks here!" That got his attention.

I don't have much else to report except that the Church is true and will bless you. In the past, I haven't always been in-tune spiritually, but there can come a time where you develop a very familiar relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ, and how beautiful it can be!  That's something I'm working on. We need to remember that conversion is continual, not a singular event in one's life.

Just for fun, I'll add some Southern sayings I've come to know... :)

"Fixin' to": Getting ready for or going to
"It's been a good minute": It's been a while or long time
"Have a blessed day!"
"Let's get a buggy": Let's get a shopping cart.

Love always,
Sister Griffith

At the park with the regulars: Derrick, me, Jon, Pirlene, & Kendrell

 At the Sister's Training Meeting with my two companions!
(It was very weird to have both of them together)

"Mr. Chen's Authentic Chinese Food"!!
Brought me back to my China days! I got roasted duck and rice!

Sister Hall eating noodles!
Alabama is notorious for sudden freak-storms.
One moment it will be calm, the next moment you feel like it is now officially 
the end of the world. That happened this past Saturday. 
We took our car into the mechanic and decided to walk across the street to contact. 
We didn't make it but a few seconds walking down the road when we had to turn back or we'd be drenched (even with an umbrella.) We took shelter in the waiting area at the Mechanic's. And of course, it just a bit of time, the storm cleared up.

 Took today, but wishing all the dads' a Happy Belated Father's Day :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Neglected puppies, a lemonade stand, and a guy asking for my number. :)

Hey y'all!

This week has been full of more adventures! But before I get into that, I'd like to invite each of y'all to read a really awesome talk from "Remember Lot's Wife" It's a goodie!

We spent more time tracting in Holt this past week, which is where our crazy almost-dog attack happened a couple weeks ago. We almost had another similar incident this week! We went up these steps to a property, and once we got up the steps we approached a man, and his Rottweiler charged for us....who fortunately was chained up and therefore couldn't reach us! Dogs might be the end of me out here! The same day, we had pity on some other dogs though. We went to knock on a trailer door, and attached to the trailer was a little porch on which were two adorable puppies. They were too small to get off the porch, and it was very evident that they weren't cared for and were stuck up there (and couldn't go to the bathroom anywhere else...) They looked skinny, and didn't have any food or water out. We poured some of our water into a bowl that was there, and wrote down the address so we could later call Animal Control! Hopefully they'll be taken care of.

Right after meeting those puppies, we went and knocked on another door. We met a guy who is a student at UA. He asked us if we use cell phones and we explained that yes we do, we're not Amish! We had a little conversation, and at the end of it he asked if it would be appropriate for him to get our numbers.....I then realized why he asked if we used cell phones to begin with. Oh goodness. Sorry mister, I'm a Sister (and currently taken anyhoo:)!!

Lately Sister Hall and I have tried to be really creative in meeting new people. Tracting is great, but you have to add in some variety sometimes! We've had a lemonade stand, a Book of Mormon stand, and the chalk lessons I told y'all about. This week we're going to have another lemonade stand, as well as free fingernail painting :)

Today we got to go on a hike! Our friend Gaya took us to a place called Harris Lake and we enjoyed some sunshine. There were lots of critters to be seen......spiders (and webs you keep running into...), a wild turkey, fish, and a snake. There are also so many bugs here! The bugs are worse here than in China (which has a similar climate of hot humidity)! Bugs especially seem to like my blood and I get bit quite often, so bug spray is of common use. Nonetheless, we had a great time spending time out in nature and doing something different for P day.

I hope life is going well and I'll be praying for y'all :)

Have a blessed day (a common southern term),

Sister Griffith

Our lemonade stand :)

Bh ate what?

You know you're in the South when...

 Painting at a member's home

Where's Sister Griffith? - The lush forests of Alabama

My mom spoils me:)

Meet real-live Mormons! :)

 The Church is true, the Book is blue

We were driving down the road and discovered this treasure...a bishop of a local church
sells watermelons out of his truck, and blesses each one before selling it
(if y'all haven't seen the video "Pre-blessed food" on Youtube,
you should do that now.) I love the South.

Hiking today with a friend :)

Hiking today with a friend :)

Hiking today with our friend, Gaya.  :)

Green, green, green 

More Green, green, green 

Monday, June 8, 2015

An "almost" dog attack, pork skins and worn out shoes!

This past week has been adventurous and such a blast! I love my new companion Sister Hall so much! The work is going strong, and I feel like we make a really good team. We are really focused on our purpose and meeting our goals!

So, like I said, lots of adventures. Last Thursday we were almost attacked by a dog! We were out trying to visit a less active member and as we were approaching the house there was a dog in the driveway. He started barking at us like all dogs do, but immediately we noticed that he was a bit more aggressive than one would expect. The owner came out (turns out the guy we were looking for doesn't live there anymore) because he noticed all the commotion. As we were trying to talk to him, the dog started walking towards us...he came close to our car, and we tried to get in the car but the doors were locked and to open it you'd have to go to the drivers door. So we walked around our car to avoid him. This dogs hair on his neck was stuck out (which apparently means he's mad) and he was barking.The owner said, "Oh he's just barking because he doesn't know you. Stick your hand out to him so he can smell you." Of course, that's very logical! Luckily Sister Hall was prepared with pepper spray and she held that out to the dog. She told the owner that she'd spray the dog if it tried to do anything. The dog started walking around our car to come near us, still barking at us too, and Sister Hall sprayed the pepper spray just to the left of it to try and ward it off with the smell. The dog flinched though and caught it right in it's mouth!! He seemed fine for a minute, but then a second later he was thrashing around in the bushes! The owner (who was an old guy) didn't do much during all of this, just stood there. Quickly we told him to have a good day, got in the car, and went on our merry way. Our feathers were a bit ruffled, and I'm just glad Sister Hall kept us safe.

Later that day, we decided to be brave and tried a common commodity here found at gas stations...fried pork skin. So that's what we got, pickle flavored! I ate it but had a hard time getting it down. Sister Hall didn't think it was that bad. It definitely isn't a snack I'll be anxious to eat again! After that, we were driving down the road and saw a big snake! We couldn't tell if it was dead or not, but as I jumped out of the car to take a picture of it, it scurried off into the grass.

A few days ago we were doing some more tracting in the ghetto. A man in a truck pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex we were at, and he motioned for us to come over. We walked up to him and asked what we could do for him. He asked us, "Do y'all know where you're at?" We said, "Yes." He said, "This is a bad part of town," (mind you, our house is about a 2 minute walk down the road) "with the highest crime rate in Tuscaloosa." I told him thank you for his concern, but that we were aware of that, and that we don't hang around these places at night. And then we continued on our efforts in tracting. I wanted to tell him that these people in the ghetto need and deserve Jesus too! God is no respecter of persons!

Something else that happened lately is "side walk teaching" (a term I just came up with)! We went to a park near our house and drew the Plan of Salvation with chalk on the side walk. We are trying to teach even when we're not there ;) We'll be going to another park to do it as well. Hopefully it can help someone learn about the Gospel, but I like it for the mere purpose that I get to be a kid and draw with chalk. :)

Don't have much else to report, except that it's getting real hot here and I've got some good tan lines developing. There is a specific tan line us sister missionaries get. The upper part of our feet gets tan, but our toes aren't exposed so we get white toes :)

The Gospel is true. This week's challenge is to bear your testimony. Either by word or by example. Be a light!

Sister Griffith

 Shhh, don't tell anyone, I'm still bouldering!

A beautiful rainbow after a rain storm

The bathrooms at our local doors. Reminds me of China!

I inherited some shoes from an older lady, and I wore them out!!!
(just kidding, the shoes were really old and when
I walked with them in the rain they fell apart....literally.)


More yumminess 

AL avenue :)

 Out tracting in an area called Holt

Mr. Snake


Someone parked their electronic wheelchair?

The Plan of Salvation!

Monday, June 1, 2015

I have a new companion, and other neat stuff! :)

Hi everyone!

I've got a new companion! Her name is Sister Hall, and she's from the Mormon Factory (Utah) where most of us are from. :) Sister Hall is super awesome. This month she'll hit her 11 month mark, so she's been out in the field for quite a while! She says that she's enjoying Tuscaloosa, and that she's also been pleasantly surprised at all the appointments we've had (instead of tracting all day long.) Things are going good! Sister Bailey is in Tupelo, Mississippi now!

We had a miracle yesterday! It was around 8pm and we were walking home after meeting with an investigator. The sky was super dark with clouds and the wind start to pick up a little bit, so we knew a storm was rollin' in (#ROLLTIDEROLL) Sister Hall and I picked up our pace, and it started sprinkling but it wasn't too bad. We finally made it to our apartment complex, and literally as we got to our stairwell it started pouring! A few minutes later it was raining even harder. I believe God totally preserved the rain until we got home!

The past weekend was Stake conference! On Saturday night there was an adult session in Bessemer that we went to, and then it was broadcasted  on Sunday to our church building in Northport. Stake conference was so good! Our mission president and his wife spoke, as well as other leaders in our stake. I absolutely loved President Hanks talk on Saturday. He talked about how our church is not a "we're right, you're wrong" type of deal (I thank Baptists and other people of different denominations daily for their faith.) But we do believe it's a "more excellent way" (for example, having the priesthood within your church is a huge deal.) He talked about how Christ is a living God, not a "great He was" but a "Great I am." The Gospel is a living. It is not a piece of history that we merely read about. The Gospel is something that continues on throughout time, which is why I love the many aspects within our church. President Hanks also talked about how we should come to church to participate, not to just be entertained. So many good points! I could keep writing more about Stake conference, but I don't have that kind of time!

It's really hit me this past week how much the Gospel means to me and how well it feeds me spiritually. Feeding yourself spiritually is the most important thing you can do! Treasure these things that God has given us. And remember not to judge those who believe differently than you do. It's not a "we're right, you're wrong." Like I mentioned above, I commemorate people of different faiths. People initially think that we are going to bash their religion, and tell them that they are wrong. In reality, as missionaries, our main purpose is to bring others closer to Christ. And if these people are going to church, that is so great! If they are Baptist, Presbyterian, Jehovah's Witness, Pentecostal, Methodist, Catholic, or any other religion, I have no room to judge or criticize them. We're all on the same team! As missionaries we are hear to add to add to the truths people have, and deepen their testimony.

Seek to be like Christ! 

Love you all,
Sister Griffith 

Bowling last P day 

Kayla, Bailey, Rachel, and I at the park after bowling. 

Brother Foote took us to Yogurt Mountain! Yum!

Bro Foote and us :)

Sister Bailey and I on the day of transfers

My new companion, Sister Hall!

What they sell at Home Depot here