Friday, December 25, 2015

Mission Christmas Parties!

We had a lot of fun during our zone Christmas parties this year! Christmas on the mission is a different experience than what we are all used to with our families. Luckily with extra planning and coordination from President and Sister Griffin, the office staff missionaries, and many others, the Christmas parties were a huge success and definitely unforgettable.

For each different zone we had them walk into the chapel silently while we had a slide show going on of pictures of our Savior and soft Christ-centered Christmas music playing so that each of the missionaries could take a minute to reflect on the birth of their Savior and the true meaning of Christmas.

After a moment of reflection, President and Sister Griffin then bore beautiful testimonies of the Savior and their relationship they have with Him to bring a special spirit into the room.

After that we had a beautiful musical medley with several different missionaries each singing a different Christmas hymn along with clips of the Nativity scene playing in the background all arranged by Elders Sorenson and Stewart-Chester.

 Then each of the missionaries received a wonderful surprise of testimonies from their loved ones back home each testifying of their love for the Savior. It brought in such a special spirit and lots of different emotions as each of the missionaries read these special witnesses and it really was such a treat to be apart of it all.

We had a delicious dinner of chicken, baked potato, green beans, salad, and pumpkin pie provided by the office staff!

   After the wonderful dinner we were able to enjoy a special talent show presented by each of the missionaries in that zone. There was singing, piano playing, other random talents that missionaries have, and even some fire dancing!

 It truly was an enjoyment to watch all the individual missionaries show off their talents and really shine. 

The highlight of the night was a special visit from the three kings (President Griffin, Elder Tolman, and Elder Mower) who passed out all the Christmas presents to the missionaries!

Then each of the missionaries enjoyed some delicious hot chocolate and cookies and then headed over to various locations throughout the mission to sing some carols and spread the Christmas joy!

It truly was exactly what we all needed to get into the spirit of Christmas spirit and fill each of our hearts with pure love and joy for the season! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

December 2015 New Missionaries with Trainers

December 2015 Arriving Missionaries: 

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Whipple, Kloosterboer, Royce, & Mower and Hermanas Cid and Walton

President Griffin with Elder Kloosterboer
President Griffin with Elder Mower

President Griffin with Elder Royce
President Griffin with Elder Whipple

President Griffin with Hermana Walton
President Griffin with Hermana Gowens

President & Sister Griffin with Hermanas Craner and Gowens and Elder Faimalo 

President Griffin with Elder Faimalo
President Griffin with Elder Mower

President Griffin with Hermana Cid
President Griffin with Hermana Craner

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Fong and Faimalo 

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Herner and Kloosterboer 

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Johnson and Royce 

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Kearl and Whipple 

President & Sister Griffin with Elders Roper and Mower 

President & Sister Griffin with Hermanas Diaz & Walton 

President & Sister Griffin with Hermanas Diaz-Bonilla and Craner 

President & Sister Griffin with Hermanas Jessop and Gowens 

President & Sister Griffin with Hermanas Weaver and Cid 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

We Are His Jewels Sisters Conference 2015 Notes

The word “jewels” is from the Hebrew word (cgullah) and is translated as (special, peculiar, valued property, or treasure) in other scriptures.

Scripture Chain:
Malachi 3:17
D&C 60:3
D&C 101:3
3 Ne 24:17
Deut. 7:6
Deut. 14:2
Deut. 26:18
Psalm 135:4
Exodus 19:5

Those who serve the Lord shall be his when he comes to make up his jewels; he will spare them in that day. -Elder Bruce R. McConkie

We look upon our present existence as a season of trial, a probation, in which we are gaining experience, and learning those lessons that will enable us to advance and increase, in knowledge and power in the presence of God, and that will entitle us to be numbered among His Jewels, when He shall come to gather them unto Himself. -Elder Asahel H Woodruff

Again I say, …let us be what we profess to be.  The Lord, in the passage I have read, spoke of the time in which he would come to make up his jewels. He loves jewels, but they must be genuine. No colored glass for rubies, no mere paste for diamonds, they must be the real thing; and whenhundredth of a carat diamond than a glass imitation the size of the Culinam, the biggest diamond ever found. The Lord help us to be what we seem to be, before him, before our brethren, and in our own consciences. -Elder James Talmadge

Peter used uplifting terms I a prophecy regarding our day. He identified members of the Church as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.” The adjectives chosen, royal, and holy we recognize as elevating. But what about peculiar? A modern dictionary defines peculiar as “unusual,” “eccentric,” or “strange.” What kind of compliment is that? But the term peculiar as used in the scriptures is quite different. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew term from which peculiar was translated is segullah, which means “valued property,” or “treasure.” In the New Testament, the Greek term from which peculiar was translated is peripoiesis, which means “possession,” or “an obtaining.” Thus, we see that the scriptural term peculiar signifies “valued treasure,” “Made” or “selected by God.” For us to be identified by servants of the Lord as his peculiar people is a compliment of the highest order. -Elder Russell M. Nelson

The most precious of all the jewels that God has bestowed upon any of us are our children. -President George Albert Smith

There once was an oyster
Whose story I'll tell,
Who found that some sand
Had worked under his shell.
Just one little grain
But it gave him a pain,
For oysters have feelings
That are very plain.
Now did he berate?
This working of fate,
That left him in such a Deplorable state.
Did he curse the government,
Call for an election,
And say that the sea
Should have some protection?
No! He said to himself
As he sat on the shelf,
"Since I cannot remove it,
I think I'll improve it.
Well, years passed by,
 As years always do,
Till he came to his destiny,
Oyster stew!
But the small grain of sand
That bothered him so
Was a beautiful pearl
All richly aglow.
Now this tale has a moral,
For isn't it grand,
What an oyster can do
With a small grain of sand?
And what couldn't we do
If we'd only begin
With all of the things
That get under our skin.

Dear Sisters and Hermanas                                                        2015
As you hold this little heart remember to have "A Heart like HIS"! (Virginia Hinckley Pierce)
Studying and living the Attributes of Christ found in Preach My Gospel Chapter 6 is imperative to becoming God’s Jewels. You are God’s jewels; let Him work with you and you work with Him to help you become the beautiful sparkling jewel that He has planned you to be. Let it shine brighter and brighter as you work as missionaries here in Illinois and for eternity.
Let the Gospel light shine through your eyes. Let your eyes and countenance shine bright as God’s beautiful jewels. Be teachable to the Spirit and all of your church leaders in righteousness and you will have all of the rewards and blessings that our Heavenly Fathers has to give!
You are our jewels that God has given us at this time to watch over, care for, love and to help. Our family members are our jewels and you are our family.
Put this little heart in your pocket, hold it tight, often, to remind you that we love you SO much!  Each time you touch the heart you get hugs from your Mission MOM and President. Also this is a reminder that there are so many loving you through this mission. God loves you, your family loves you, and you are never alone.

                    WE LOVE OUR MISSIONARY JEWELS!  

                              President and Sister Griffin

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sisters Conference!

Sister’s conference was a blast! We started off the conference by going to the mall and caroling. Despite getting rained on, it didn’t put a damper on our spirits one bit. Every sister couldn’t stop smiling as we all felt the spirit and not only lifted each other up, but those around us. When we were caroling in a store, there was a touching moment that just let you know the women we were singing to truly felt the spirit. One started tearing up and we got to see the Lord’s hand in this work as we handed her a book of Mormon.

We had an opportunity to sing for everyone in the Chinese restaurant where they fed us family style.  We filled their restaurant with a bright spirit and sang to their customers. We also left the manager with a Book of Mormon.

When we returned to the mission home that night, we had the privilege of hearing words of wisdom from President and Sister Griffin as we talked about how God truly can make us jewels and as we become those jewels, the gospel light will shine through us as we guide others to find the light of Christ in their lives. We also talked about being born to be Queens and how we are all beloved daughters of God with skills and talents to bring about great miracles! We have been called of God and with His power we will teach and share the gospel.

The mission home filled with excitement as the sisters cozied up all around with their pillows and blankets for the night.  We could hear some whispering into the night and enjoying each other’s friendship.

The next morning, we woke early to get our group aerobics in to help us prepare for the events following later on in the day, and to help us stay energized throughout our morning, President Griffin made us a big pot of southern grits, sausage and eggs! The sisters loved the experience of trying something new.  It was an easy, yummy way to fill 60 hungry sister missionaries!

After breakfast we were able to receive several inspiring messages from both Sister Waters and Sister Murphy and the Sister training leaders. Sister Waters and Sister Murphy taught about finding our talents and how we can expound upon them because they are our precious gifts from God. A profound quote that truly brought the spirit in as Sister Waters spoke was, “God has given us everything and we need to give everything back.” Using and sharing our talents and gifts helps not only us progress forward, but also helps to build up the kingdom of God.

Sister Carver and Sister Gallup taught us how to continue to build our confidence and how we can reach our potential.  They had us walk down then up a confidence scale from 1 to 10.  We talked about things that took our confidence down then things that take our confidence up. Then we watched Elder Holland’s video clip that urged all of the missionaries to use the Atonement in their lives and how the Atonement carries us and lets us stand tall.

Hermana Taylor and Hermana Daule talked about the importance of dressing modestly. By dressing modestly we are able to feel better about who we are and who we represent. We must start within our thoughts and our hearts on how we need to be acting and how we need to be dressing, and if we are pure within ourselves, we show it through our outwards appearance.

Sister Porter and Sister Woolley were outstanding teachers! They taught us about how we comparing ourselves to others will stop our progress and can keep us from being the best missionaries that we can. Sister Woolley said “There are people who need you in your areas, in this mission…… and Satan knows that! And he will slam you!” Another sister said “When we think of what we need to improve on we say that were good because were making little improvements. But when we invite our investigators to make commitments, we invite them to live it right then!
Sister Ashby said “How dare you limit what God can do for you?”

Hermana Lunt and Hermana Francom had three main points on where we can start to become better as missionaries. Our thoughts, asking for help from the Lord, and Trusting in the Lord are specific fundamentals as to what we can be focusing on to change ourselves to become successful and to achieve our purpose not only in our mission but for the rest of our lives. Keeping our mind and hearts centered on Christ will help bring the spirit as well as help us endure to the end. 

The temple trip was the highlight of the whole conference! It gave us a wonderful opportunity to feel of God’s love for us and to take a minute and to ponder about our purpose as missionaries and see our whole in God’s eternal plan of salvation! In the Celestial Room, we were all able to join together as sisters and it was unbelievable touching. There were hugs going around everywhere and several wet eyes. You could just feel the love that we have as sisters for each other!