Monday, November 30, 2015

Well Fed, Volunteering, Defending My Companion & A Family Visit


Wow, it's almost December. Where has the time gone? This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving! We were blessed to have 3 full Thanksgiving meals in the span of 2 days. Yikes. We'll have to increase our morning exercises. Our main Thanksgiving dinner was at the Nolan's (President & Sister Nolan are in the ABM mission presidency.) They had all their family over and it was a great meal. Got me a little homesick seeing the little girls in the family playing around with her dad, as that's a regular occurrence at home for myself.

During Thanksgiving day, we helped out at Southside Baptist Church, who had partnered with an organization called "Manna House", to give out Thanksgiving meals. We got there a little late and missed giving out meals but helped as much as we could with clean up. Then we headed over to the Huntsville Hospital and visited people in the Cardiology section to visit with them and wish them Happy Thanksgiving. :) One of the ladies we talked to was super nice and was telling us about her life. We asked her how her faith has helped her. She told us that it has helped through losing her husband and brother, and through her health struggles. She was crying as she told us this and it was very humbling for myself. I think I have problems and struggles in my little missionary bubble, until I talk to people like that and it gives me a new perspective. We all have trials and things we are going through, but hopefully we were able to uplift those people in the Cardiology section that Thanksgiving day.

This past Friday we had a little ordeal as we were out contacting at a Christmas festival Downtown. We were walking down the side walk and a guy walks past us and does a double-take. He stops and seems like he wants to talk with us, and we think, "Hmm, maybe he's ELECT!" So we walk up and start talking to him. One of the first things that comes out of his mouth, as he turns to Sister Castagno, is, "I've been praying for a red-head."  Ohhh boy. Sister Castagno was a little stunned, so I had to quickly step in and rescue my companion by explaining our situation as missionaries, and how a 30-something-year-old man CANNOT date a 20-year-old Sister Missionary!!

On Saturday my aunt, uncle, and cousins came to visit from TN! They took us out to lunch and it was so great to see them! :) Having my extended family visit is awesome, but if I saw my immediate family that'd be really hard for me (not that it's even allowed anyway!) Although we are really looking forward to skyping in less than a month!

I don't have much else to report except that Sister Castagno and I have been working hard to find new people to teach! We only have one progressing investigator at the moment. Sometimes it can be discouraging to not see much fruit come from your labors, but we know it will come. Prayers appreciated!

Love y'all!
Sister Griffith

Sister Castagno and I on Thanksgiving

Sister Nolan and us

The Simper's came to visit!

All decorated for Christmas! 

Bonus pics from our Thanksgiving Activity last week, we had so much fun!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Amazing Zone Conference, Helping Our Fellow Men & Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey everybody!

This past week Sister Castagno and I discovered downtown Huntsville! It's one of the only parts of the city with tall buildings! It has historic charm, and there's lots of places to go and contact people! So we love it. :) This past Wednesday we celebrated our 9 month mark. It was a rainy day but that didn't stop us from enjoying the day. We went to a taco truck here called El Cavador and they have delicious food! The kitchen and dining area is in a renovated bus so it's a very fun atmosphere. I can the enchiladas plate and it was amazing!

Later on this week we had zone Conference and Elder Dube of the Seventy came to train us! Our mission split in two so we were in the northern part. Elder & Sister Dube were amazing and gave us good trainings. Then after zone conference we immediately left to Birmingham to spend the night with some sisters there and then attend MLC the next day. It's been a busy week for us but we have worked hard to keep our numbers up and meet our goals!

Sister Castagno and I decided that we wanted to have a sister Thanksgiving activity, so we planned a small potluck at a park this afternoon. We have 8 sisters in our zone, including ourselves. Everyone got Indian headbands and names, we had a spiritual thought, and we played a couple games. :) After the activity was over, we were heading back to our car to leave and we saw a guy and his wife with their car hood open. We found out that they needed help getting their car jumped. We didn't have any cables, but we called a member who was able to come help them get their car started. What a blessing it was for us to be able to have this opportunity to serve and to be able to get to know them...because little did we know, this guy was actually baptized and raised in the church, and since has strayed. He was open to have the missionaries contact him and let him know the information for church. Blessings!

I hope that everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, and remember that it is because God is aware of us and loves us that we have such wonderful blessings! Down below I will include a poem and scripture President Hanks shared with us in his weekly email to us.

Warmest wishes,
Sister Griffith

Grace for Thanksgiving Day:
Dear God wherever we may be on this Thanksgiving Day.
Gathered with loved ones in our homes or many miles away,
We bow our heads, remembering those who shared Thanksgiving past
Those who have walked with us awhile whose love will always last.

We thank Thee for the joy of friends, the food before us set
And for a tiny Pilgrim band whose trials we can't forget.
Help us to sift the good and bad, the hatred and the strife
Grant us the wisdom and the strength to lead a useful life. Amen.
(Alice Kennelly Roberts)

Serve the Lord with gladness, all ye his people—Be thankful unto him and bless his name.
A Psalm of praise.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name.
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Sis Castagno and I tracting in downtown Huntsville (our new favorite area! Both of us like the city feel of it)

Cute side street we discovered while tracting :)

Cheers to our 9 month mark! We celebrated by eating inside a renovated bus made into a taco-truck!

My delicious meal!

We made a new friend this past week.

Mini MTC reunion

Making some food for a P day Thanksgiving potluck today!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Half Way Through, and a New Companion!

Happy Fall, y'all!

November is just flying by and we have started a new transfer! The Monday previous to transfers a few of us from our zone got together for an activity to play volleyball and sign journals. It was really fun :) Sister Taylor and I were busy the last few days of the transfer, especially with her getting ready to be transferred...HOME! I can't believe how composed she was her last few days, because I know that I would be all sorts of a messy and super "trunky"! Hopefully I'll learn from her example. Transfer meeting was great and as always my love for our mission president grew. President Hanks is an amazing man and we are SO blessed to have him leading this mission!

My new companion is Sister Castagno, and fun fact: we were in the same MTC district and came out together! So we were super excited to be with each other this transfer, considering that we will both be celebrating our 9 month mark!!! Sister Castagno is a super hard worker and we've had lots of amazing experiences already.

One of the cool experiences we had was last Thursday night...we went to contact a media referral. We found the address and it turned out to be some sort of mechanic shop and they were closed, so we picked the nearest street (which just so happens to be called Grace St.) to go tracting. We met a woman there named Kirsten who was very excited to meet Mormon missionaries! We had a lesson on her porch and scheduled a time to come back. We thought maybe because the referral address seemed to be bad that God just sent us that to be able to find Kirsten on Grace St. But the next day we decided to try the mechanic again during the day...we went up to the service desk and introduced ourselves to the lady. Her husband and her own the business. We looked over at their business cards and it was the name of the media referral we received. At first this lady was real closed off to us, but as a few minutes passed she warmed up to us, shared some personal spiritual experiences she's had, and we were able to share a scripture with her and pray. Just as we were about to go, her husband walked in and we explained why we were there. He then told us that he didn't put that online request in to see the missionaries and so he was confused how we got his information. We pulled our phone out and handed it to them so they could see the media text. The wife looked at him very squarely and in such a manner that said, "This is not just a coincidence. God had something to do with this." Now we have a return appt to see them this Wednesday. :)

A a crazy thing that happened this past week was that while on a blitz, another Sister and I were out tracting and got verbally threatened to leave the neighborhood by a lady (who lives there) who pulled up next to us in her car. We tried talking to her, but she wouldn't let up and would only yell "Get out!" and threatened to call the police and confiscate our bikes, as she escorted out of the neighborhood in her car as we walked down the sidewalk. It's unfortunate that people have such hate and anger in their heart. These kind of experiences shake you up a little bit, but I'm grateful for the perspective the scriptures gave me in that moment...I remembered how the Apostles also received persecution, but they never let that deter them!

Sister Castagno and I are praying to find a family to teach this transfer. Your prayers would be appreciated to help us find them!

Love you all,

Sister Griffith

Volleyball and journal signing the Monday before transfers

Missionary volleyball!

The Weatherly district last transfer

Driving down Memorial Parkway (and what a typical ABM missionary car looks like...a Chevy or Ford with a bike rack on the back!)

My current assigned area: Byrd Springs, Huntsville, AL
Look who got paired up this transfer in Wetumpka! Sister Pyrah and Sister Hall, two of my past companions!

My new companion, Sister Castagno, and I!

What transfer meeting looks like...lots of missionaries, lots of bags, and lots of craziness.

I'm going to miss Sister Taylor!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Trip to Birmingham, Zone Training, Exchanges and Blitzes!

Hey everybody!!

Last Monday we traveled to Birmingham, stayed overnight with some sisters there, then Tuesday morning attended the Missionary Leadership Conference. We had a full day of training and then drove back (carpooling with some other sisters) to Huntsville that night. On the way back, we stopped to get a bite to eat and grab some ice-cream at good ole Dairy Queen. It wasn't in any of our areas, but we made the effort to talk to the cashier and to some people sitting next to us, asking them if they'd like to meet with the missionaries. Missionary work can be done whether you're in your assigned area or not...whether you're a set-apart missionary or not! This week, go out and invite someone to learn about the restored gospel!

The following Thursday we had Zone training and it went really well. Our zone has some really good missionaries! It's been great for us to be able to get to know the sisters and go on exchanges and blitzes with them (an exchange is overnight, swapping companions, and working in each area. A blitz can last several hours, swapping companions, working in the same area) Our last blitz was a couple days ago and we met some really cool people in those sisters' area!

This past week, different conversations and my own reflection has made me realize something: if you don't have the right mindset, if you don't have a vision, if you don't have goals, then you likely won't reach any great heights. It's all about your mindset and owning your agency. It's about being responsible and not putting blame on your circumstances for not reaching your potential. If you want high quality of life, you have to be the one to make it happen. It all stems from your inmost desires and vision for yourself. One small example is that if you want a clean lifestyle (a clean house) you have to make it happen!! That's a pretty obvious principle, but while I've seen lots of families and households who do take control of their life and are reaching for higher things--I've also seen those who aren't. Heavenly Father wants us to progress! I want to have a higher plane of thinking; the type of mindset that will take me places. But it's very important to remember that it's not about the quantity of your paycheck (money doesn't have anything to do reaching higher places), it's about the quality of your mindset.

Well, those are my thoughts for the week! Love you all!
Sister Griffith

The Huntsville Zone after Zone Training

Any store in the South = Jesus!

On a blitz with some other sisters, we were out tracting and met the friendliest cat! She followed us around and came to us when we called for her.  :)

A snapshot of my desk!

The life of a sister missionary

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween and Raking Leaves!

Our Halloween was good! We proselyted but then were able to spend some time at a Halloween missionary activity that night (because tracting on Halloween night isn't very fruitful;)! We also were able to go to the ward Trunk or Treat a couple days before and that was fun. It was a great turn out!

Besides that, this week we've been doing exchanges like usual with the other Sisters and this week I was with Sister Ontiveros in their area. We rode bikes to get around (because they are in a car share with other sisters) and had some great experiences, including finding service to do on the spot (helping a man rake his yard)!

We've actually had lots of opportunities lately to give service by raking leaves. Sister Taylor and I did it a few days ago for some people that we tracted into. We ended up teaching a mini lesson while doing so. I love the time that we have to serve and teach as missionaries! And I'm especially grateful for the autumn weather that allows us to serve! My challenge for everyone this week is to find someone to serve, whether it's raking their yard or giving them a hug or cheerful note!

I can't believe it's November! Time is flying by, and this month I will reach my half way mark! Then it's all downhill from there!

Thank you for the continued support!! 

Love y'all!!

Sister Griffith

Us with the Sparkman district :)

Sister Taylor and I at the ward Trunk or Treat that evening

Sister Ontiveros on exchanges and getting around on bikes!

Tracting on a rainy day

Out tracting!

A neighborhood in Huntsville