Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Last Letter

The time has finally come. My precious time in beautiful Alabama has finally come to a close. My mission means everything to me because this where I transitioned from belief to conversion. This is where I came to truly learn the Gospel. This is where I learned how to be a disciple, and the tools I need to keep growing. I learned who my Savior is. I learned that Heavenly Father loves me. I made eternal friends---my companions, converts, and members. I've had struggles and many tearful prayers on my bedside. I've also had so many amazing moments and seen miracles. Being an instrument in God's hand is such a humbling, and rewarding, experience. I will forever be blessed by my mission. It has taught me that I can do hard things. That the Atonement is real. And that this truly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so looking forward to continuing to grow in this amazing gospel and on my own path of discipleship.

Included below is a continuation of my testimony and things I've come to know in Alabama---100 things I've learned and realized on my mission! Hope you enjoy reading it. So thankful for everything Heavenly Father has shared with me.

1. Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer
2. Faith means taking a step into the unknown
3. To develop a testimony you must search, ponder, and pray
4. Obedience is the first law of Heaven
6. I'm blessed to have such a good family
7. There are lots of different kinds of people in this world!
8. Be bold!
9. Following the rules is always the best policy
10. The Spirit can confirm truth to you. You will feel it.
11. The church operates the same worldwide!
12. I never have to find another home church
13. Some days are hard. Push through!
14. The Gospel changes people's lives for the better
15. The Gospel gives structure to our lives
16. God makes a way for the Gospel to be delivered to those who are prepared
17. People are kept from the truth only because they don't know where to find it
18. The Spirit is the ultimate teacher
19. There are lots of squirrels in Alabama!
20. We can overcome weakness and learn to do better
21. The Book of Mormon is the word of God
22. You can learn something from every person you meet
23. Service softens stony souls, including your own
24. There's no such thing as a junior companion
25. Everyone is deserving of your love and charity
26. New areas and chapters in your life will bring challenges but you will get through!
27. Patience
28. Respect your leaders
29. I can do hard things!
30. I want to be an STP!
31. God will protect you
32. The South is absolutely beautiful!
33. Bearing your testimony will make it grow
34. The South knows how to storm!
35. Bashing won't get you anywhere. Bear your testimony and get out of there!
36. Some missionaries plant the seed and others will harvest it
37. God answers prayers, but in His own way and timing
38. No one should be paid for their service to the Lord (appreciating lay ministry)
39. There are good people and truth to be found in every church
40. Four walls (a church) does NOT define your faith
41. Things will always get better
42. The biggest quality of leadership is love
43. I can find answers in the scriptures
44. It's important to be punctual
45. Our example has a far more reaching effect than we think
46. Take notes. Listen. Think.
47. Big city traffic!
48. A smile or gesture can go a long way
49. Never shake a hand sitting down
50. Love your companion and see the good in them
51. Find joy in the small things
52. Show people that you are really listening
53. You must make goals and have a personal vision for yourself!
54. Keep commitments
55. Music in church should invite the spirit (reverent atmosphere)
56. The New Testament
57. The spirit will give you what you need to teach
58. Forgiveness
59. People will likely never change unless invited to do so
60. Parents must live the Gospel and set the example if they expect their children to do so
61. Happiness in family life is found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ
62. Forsake my nets
63. There's a difference between belief and conversion
64. A testimony is never stagnant--either moving up or down.
65. Get to know your neighbors! They are friends waiting to be met!
66. Through the Atonement we can be healed spiritually, physically, and in any other way
67. Diligence
68. Missionary work brings joy
69. I have made eternal friends through my missionary service
70. Communication is key
71. "I will suffer all things for the elect's sake"
72. We believe in miracles
73. This is not just another church
74. Commandments are like guard rails...they keep us safe.
75. Membership in the church teaches you so much more than spiritual things---leadership skills, service opportunities, responsibility, etc.
76. Find joy in the journey
77. Our trials refine us and are given to us for a purpose
78. You are never bound to a certain flaw in your nature or character. You can change through Jesus Christ.
79. God is so mindful of us and our needs
80. Kudzu. Enough said.
81. My testimony will be tried. And that helps it grow!
82. Seek for the spirit.
83. Trust in the truths you have been taught
84. There is something good in every day
85. Our vision as Christians is to live consistent, Christ-like lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ!
86. Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic!
87. Tenacity
88. 6:30am. Wake up on time. It makes all the difference.
89. Cleanliness is next to godliness
90. Make an effort to get to know people. This will make you happier.
91. Hold to the rod!
92. Modern day temple work is a gift and something given to us in our day and age
93. Missionary work makes a difference
94. Member-missionary work is the only way we'll succeed in this work
95. Families are forever
96. Joseph Smith was an imperfect man who was an instrument in the hands of God
97. The Restored Gospel brings a gift of correct understanding
98. Okra, hush-puppies, banana pudding, fried catfish, slaw, cornbread, fried green tomatoes, and BBQ.
99. This is the hardest thing I have ever loved to do.
100. My mission has prepared me for the rest of my life in building a testimony and foundation upon which I will continue building as I strive to become a disciple of Jesus Christ!

Love Always,

Sister Griffith

Nick Saban is as passionate about Coke as I am about the Book of Mormon.

Birthday breakfast at Waffle House!

Happy Birthday flowers from my family!

President & Sister Sainsbury and I after zone training!

My aunt and cousins came to see me!

Out tracting in Munford, AL

Saying goodbye to members in the Talladega branch

Saying goodbye to more good members in Talladega!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Visiting the Highest Point in Alabama and more.....

Hello everyone!

This week has been a busy week for us, full of ups and downs.

One exciting thing that happened this week was when we were at Oxford lake contacting people....we had five minutes before we had to head in for the night and we determined to talk to at least one more person. I saw a guy walking down the path with head phones on, and I stopped him and introduced ourselves. He said his name was Josh and he offered for us to sit on a bench to talk. Josh really opened up to us on his spirituality and we were able to exchange information so we could meet again. A few days later he texted us and asked to meet again and that he had questions about church. We had a really good second visit and he said that he was planning on coming to church...and he did! He stayed for all three hours and had a good experience. You never know what will come from a simple contact at the lake at 8:55pm!

Saturday we were able to visit the Morris family, who are members of the branch here in Talladega. They are such a fun family and we always enjoy seeing them. :)

For P-day today some members in the branch, the Loyd's, took us to a place called Cheaha State Park, in Delta, AL. Cheaha mountain is the highest elevation point in Alabama! It was SO beautiful! In the park we stopped at a gift ship, a small museum and look-out tower, a hiking trail, and a restaurant that was situated with a perfect view! What a great day!

Wishing everyone a blessed week with safety and prosperity.

All my love,
Sister Griffith

The Morris family and I! Love them!  
Welcome to Talladega!

Went to Cheaha State Park today...the highest point in Alabama at 2, 407 ft!

I decided to stretch that elevation as much as possible. :)

In the tower at Cheaha State Park...there was such a nice breeze!

The most beautiful views I've ever seen in Alabama!

The restaurant the members took us to....what a view!

I'm on top of the world in Alabama!

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Call From St. George About a Lady in Alabama!

Hey y'all,

Wow, two weeks to go. I can barely believe it! I'm trying really hard to stay focused but thoughts of home are creeping in more and more in my mind! It is such a bittersweet thing...so looking forward to seeing my family again and yet having to leave all of my family in Alabama breaks my heart! The thought that I won't always have a name tag on and that I won't always be a full time missionary is sad. Yet I know that life at home will take me into a new chapter in my life and that it will be good! :) My mission is a foundation for the rest of my life.

A cool experience we had a couple weeks ago was when we got a text from a "435" area code.....we were so confused. It was a lady who introduced herself as Mary, a member who is from Anniston, AL and that she got baptized there and then eventually moved to Utah (to St. George!) and is now serving a mission in the family history center there. Her daughter, Amanda, lives in Lincoln, AL and has been inactive but really wants to come back! Amanda's records are lost and so she wants us to try and relocate them and also go visit Amanda. We finally were able to visit Amanda yesterday and it was a good visit! She is such a sweet lady and is literally thirsting for the Gospel. Such a blessing to be a missionary and be able to help her with that. I told Mary that I'm going to visit her when I go home!! So neat to have an Alabama native, a convert, that lives in St. George!

Our branch in Talladega recently had a building renovation and this past Sunday they had a dedication and potluck for it! The stake presidency came and it was nice event. We are blessed with an awesome branch, but I can't wait to see it grow into a ward one day!

Hoping and praying all is well for those at home! The church is true! So grateful for all that it's given in my life.

Love always,
Sister Griffith


Sister Brown and I on an exchange...we're both in shock that our missions are almost over!

Amanda and I. She is a returning member of the church, and her mom lives in St. George, UT!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day By Day Details of a Busy Week....

Wow what a busy week! Here's a break down of what we did each day:

Monday: P day (emailing), dinner with a member, store contacting.

Tuesday: Lessons in the morning, tracting, and going to Vanessa's endowment that evening in the Birmingham temple (the best session I have EVER attended! Everything went so well and it was such a joy to see her and other members from the Tuscaloosa ward!)

Wednesday: Zone Conference in Birmingham, dinner with a member, and store contacting.

Thursday: Weekly planning, vis
iting less actives in Munford, AL, tracting, and store contacting.

Friday: Lessons, lunch with a member, visiting people at a nursing home, and contacting people at the lake.

Saturday: Apartment inspections by Elder & Sister Mason, tracting and seeing a referral in Talladega, correlation meeting at our branch mission leader's home and dinner with them, lesson that night.

Sunday: Church, lesson at the lake, dinner with a member, and visiting a less active.

Today (Monday): Zone activity in Birmingham! We played fear factor games and had all sorts of challenges. :) It was fun! Later today we have dinner with a member and out to do more finding.

Sister Cullimore and I are enjoying the transfer and have met lots of potential investigators! We also have been working with several less actives. We hope to strengthen the branch and plant lots of seeds these next several weeks!

I am so grateful for the spirit and how it guides us! We must remember that we need to be humble and open for it to have an effect upon our lives.

May the spirit guide and comfort you this week,
Sister Griffith

Sister Cullimore and I!

Beautiful Oxford Lake

Zone activity today! All sorts of challenges. haha

Monday, August 8, 2016

New Investigators, Zone Training & Sad News

This past week has flown by! We've been working hard to find people to teach and to strengthen the branch here in Talladega. I'm excited to go out and find people by our own means (tracting!) but God also is guiding those who are prepared right to us.... yesterday at church, before Sacrament started, a member came up to us and said they have someone in their family who was coming to church with them for the second time and that he wants to get baptized. They explained that he needs to take the missionary discussions immediately! Wow! Such a blessing. It is such a privilege to be a missionary and to help people come to Jesus Christ and enjoy the blessing and knowledge that comes from the Restored Gospel.

Friday we had Zone Training in Birmingham and that went really well! They focused a lot on obedience, finding, diligence, and what our motivations are as missionaries. The following day we had exchanges with the STL's and it's so fun to have Sister Bradford (one of my past companions) and Sister Brown (my MTC companion) as our STL's!

For P day today, us and several other missionaries from our district traveled up the road to Gadsden, AL to Noccalula Falls. It is a beautiful park! Legend of the falls is that a young native american woman was arraigned to marry someone she didn't love, so she jumped off the cliff into the falls below. Somewhat gruesome of a story, but there you go! The park had a mini train to ride on, a petting zoo, a hiking trail, and nice walking trails. It was fun!

Today we also found out that a (recently) returned-missionary from our mission, Elder Brandt, passed away in a car accident with several other members of his family this past weekend. This was hard news for us as a mission and I'd like to ask everyone to pray for their extended family to be comforted in this difficult time. How beautiful God's plan is to know that we have hope through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to overcome both spiritual and physical death. Accepting God's will can be hard, but we know that God's thoughts are higher than our own, and that eventually all things will be made fair through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Trusting in God's plan, and grateful for His love,
Sister Griffith


Pretty sun rays we came across last week!

Zone activity in Noccalula Falls!

Pretty waterfalls!

Sister Cullimore and I at Noccalula Falls!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Goodbye Russellville, Hello Talladega

Happy August!

Well, I left half my heart in Russellville. But, I am beyond excited for the opportunity to work in Talladega, and especially in a branch! My new companion is Sister Cullimore! This is her fourth transfer. I am looking forward to the miracles we will witness these next six weeks!

Our new area is beautiful. They actually have hills here and if you squint hard enough they *almost* look like mountains!! There is lots of country side with beautiful green fields. Next to our house there is a lake with ducks and fish, and it has a walking path that wraps all the way around. Lots of people are always there!

Being whitewashed into the area (in other words both missionaries are new) is a challenge and we definitely have our work cut out for us, but I'm so glad to be in an area where I can put my experience and skills to use. The area book has become our best friend in helping us get oriented with the area and to see who the past sisters have been working with.

We had a miracle last night. As we were tracting, we met a lady named Jennifer, and her daughter, Madison. Jennifer grew up with missionaries being invited into their home. She said that at the moment they don't have a church, that they haven't found one that "fits", and that they planned on going "church hunting" starting next week. She said she's been praying for guidance. Then she said that she feels like we showed up for a reason! They accepted a Book of Mormon and we have an appointment to see them tomorrow. God prepares people!

Loving the Gospel,
Sister Griffith

Saying goodbye to JC....sure love that guy!

Saying goodbye to Sister Stark and Nancy....they are the best!

Saying goodbye to my "daughter", Sister Oscarson!

Tracting in the rain with my new companion, Sister Cullimore!

Hello Talladega! It's absolutely gorgeous here.
We live next to a beautiful lake! There's always people to talk to!

Outside our Talladega church building :)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Christmas in July, FINAL Transfer News & Eat More Chikin!

Hey y'all,

Sister Oscarson and I have been plowing through this week! Lots of tracting, lots of doorstep/porch lessons, lots of less active visits. What a blessing to work by her side!

Last night we went through a package Sister Oscarson got from her family. It was a Christmas-in-July package! Nothing like listening to Christmas Mo-Tab, putting up lights, and having an inside snow-ball fight all in the middle of July... haha

We got transfer news Saturday! Sister Oscarson will be staying in Russellville and getting a new companion, and I will be transferring to Talladega, AL with Sister Cullimore! Though I am sad to leave Russellville, I am very excited for what Talladega has in store. Even more exciting is that Sister Cullimore and I will be whitewashed in (both of us are completely new to the area)! Sister Bradford was called to be an STL in Leeds (so she'll be our STL)...and she served in Talladega for 6 months of her mission and I'm sure will give us some tips!

One thing I have been pondering lately is testimonies. We have times where our testimonies are tried, tested, and challenged. A lot like Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi 8, we go through mists of darkness. That is just a part of life. We also might have people who laugh and scoff at our testimonies, our beliefs. The world will always reject the truth. But as it says in verse 30, we must PRESS FORWARD! Trust in the spirit you have felt. Do everything you can to nourish the seed (Alma 32:41-43). You may fall down at the end because of sheer spiritual exhaustion, but we CAN make it. My challenge is for you to ponder your testimony, and look for ways to press forward!

I hope everyone has a beautiful week, and remember: Eat More Chikin.  :)

Sister Griffith

Sister Oscarson got a Christmas-in-July package from her family and we decided to take a Christmas mugshot! 

Fun with Christmas in July!  

Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas, in July?

Eat more chikin!

Tracting in Sheffield

I wear Sister Oscarson out sometimes;) Found her like this when we came in for lunch the other day.

The YSA (mostly missionaries, haha!), along with the YSA leaders.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Giant dogs, Sister Exchanges and a Birthday Party!

Hey everybody!

This week flew by! Sister Oscarson and I have done lots of tracting and have met lots of interesting people. Two people we met Saturday was a hardcore Baptist and then a Church of Christ pastor. Woohoo! Though we see things differently, we just had to find commonalities, testify, and love them despite differences. What a blessing it is, admidst them telling us that we are wrong, to still try and look at them through Christ's eyes. We are all brothers and sisters, we are all children of God. We are all deserving of love and respect. That is one thing I am very grateful to have learned (and am continuing to learn)...to love.

An exciting thing this week was when we were visiting with a member and her giant horse---I mean, doberman---Sirus, made friends with us, and specifically was very fond of Sister Oscarson. :)

We had exchanges with the STL's this week and that went well. It's always refreshing for a day to be on exchanges. I stayed in the Shoals with Sister Pierson, and Sister Oscarson and Sister Beus went to Tupelo.

Another exciting thing this week was that Lucille and JC have officially completed the new member lessons! I am so proud of them for their level of conversion and their commitment to the Gospel. Such a blessing to know them!

It was Sister Stark's birthday this past Monday! Despite it being her birthday, we asked her to go on a "team up with us to meet us and our investigator at Dairy Queen at 6pm". She thought the situation was a little fishy but didn't say anything. She walked into DQ and found us and her close friends, Nancy & Gary, waiting with party hats at a table. :) We got some dinner and ice cream and it was fun! She deserves all the love in the world!

Romans 12:24
Sister Griffith

Swingin' like good southerners' do.

We met a doberman for the first time this week! He found a comfy spot on Sister Oscarson's lap.

We celebrated Sister Stark's birthday at DQ. It was a surprise! She thinks we're pretty great. :)

Monday, July 11, 2016

"Y'all are gangster....gangster for Jesus".....Meeting Elvis, Southern Rain and more!

Hey y'all,

Wow, so many highlights this week, I don't know where to start! On Wednesday we went to Tupelo for interviews with President Sainsbury and that went well! He is a great guy and I'm glad that we have him as our mission president. :)

That night, we met with our investigators, Marchelle & Kim. As we were there they described what a light they felt when we taught them, and how much it's helping them, and how thankful they are. Marchelle started crying. It was definitely a sweet experience. Then Kim turned to us and said, "Y'all are gangster....gangster for Jesus!" We couldn't contain ourselves. That is probably the highest compliment I have ever received on my mission! Haha The following day we met with them in the afternoon and their A/C doesn't work...it was 95 degrees in that house. Needless to say, I had to wipe my sweat mustache a few times.

Another funny experience was when we met a guy named Christopher while out tracting on Saturday. He is a hispanic guy and had met sister missionaries before. He was TOTALLY flirting up a storm with us, and so after testifying of God's love I got us out of there! Before we left, I asked if he would be interested in the "boy missionaries" (Elders) meeting with him to teach him more, and he said, "Why can't yall come back?" Oh Christopher...

Saturday evening was an adventure as we were driving on the 43 back to Muscle Shoals from correlation. We could see dark skies and expected rain to come any moment, and soon enough we hit it. Absolute downpour. My windshield wipers were on as much as possible, I slowed down to about 40MPH, and I still could barely see the road. Luckily I had experience driving in southern-style downpours, but this time it was at night and therefore pitch-dark out in the country, and it was the worst rain I've ever driven in! You just have to slow down, stay calm in those situations, and have a little prayer in your heart!

Sunday afternoon we were out tracting and we could see another storm coming on. As we were talking with a lady on her porch, it started downpouring (and y'all ain't seen a downpour til you come to the South). We went from talking normally to yelling to be able to hear each other over the loud rain. Haha Imagine how I felt loudly testifying of the Book of Mormon with rain pouring all around us!

Oh, also, my highlight at church this week was that Lucille spoke in Sacrament! They had given her a specific topic but she decided that she needed to share her testimony instead and it was music to my ears to listen to her up there at the podium. What blessing to know sweet Lucille!

Hope everyone is doing well this summer. May you find joy in the Gospel!

Steadfast in Christ,
Sister Griffith

Oh, Elvis!  This was in Tupelo!

The King loves sister missionaries!  Sisters Oscarson, Whitlock, Griffith & Bradford!

Gorgeous southern scenery!

Breathtaking views!

What to do when you want to bring a twin mattress for a sleepover?  Put it in your trunk!

Sister Oscarson with some beautiful Southern trees!

Love these pretty flowering trees!

A member bought us coconuts! We cracked them ourselves and stuck a straw in :) It wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be...