Monday, February 2, 2015

Greetings From Far, Far Away. :)

Well, I have had quite the week! Sister Montoya and I were pretty sad to be leaving each other and I was pretty devastated to leave Limerick. I really had began to love the city and all the people there. Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday were days that I ran around the city with Sister Montoya saying my goodbyes and expressing my love to them all. It is so amazing the successes that are happening there! My friends Cian and Mike are progressing so well and are walking towards the waters of baptism. I am so happy for them both!!
On Wednesday the elders came to our flat at 4am to pick us up and drive us to Dublin. I was very chatty the whole car trip! When we got to the bus station I glanced over my shoulder and saw someone taking a picture of me... It was a little creepy... but then I realized it was my friend McCLEARY!!!! :D I was so so happy that she came to the bus station so early in the morning to wish me farewell. I am going to miss her so much. She does a lot for me. When the bus finally came we travelled on it for a few hours then we got off at another bus station and travelled on another bus for a few hours. Then we got our suitcases and went to get in the queue (line) for the ferry. Suddenly I realized that I needed my passport to board the ferry and I had NO IDEA where my passport was!!!! :o Oh my goodness, I was in a panic. I soon realized that I think it was in the bottom of my suitcase. I was that crazy person on my knees in the corner of the room digging through my very stuffed full suitcase looking for my passport. Yes, it was pretty intense. Don't worry though, I did find it and I was able to board the ferry right before it departed. While we were on the ferry the waves were HUGE!!! I really thought that we might die. The perfume shop on the ferry had a lot of problems with all the perfume bottles falling off the shelves and breaking everywhere. Then beer bottles were falling everywhere and breaking. Oh wow! The smells were very strong. I am so grateful that Elder Butler let me have his motion sickness pills! I didn't get sick at all! Many missionaries were throwing up though... When we got to Scotland we boarded a bus that drove through Glasgow. It was so nice being somewhere that felt like home. The bus continued on to Edinburgh. When we got off the bus I was told that I would take another bus to Aberdeen where I would meet my companion and have a sleepover at the sisters flat. We had to walk quite a distance with all of our luggage to the other bus station. Suddenly an elder ran up behind me and said "Sister Griffin, wait! You aren't going to Aberdeen anymore. You are coming with us to the mission home." So he helped wheel two of my suitcases while I wheeled the other all the way back towards the way I had just come. Boy, I was TIRED! The mission van came and picked us up. They took me to the mission home. Once there I met my lovely companion, Sister Brozzu. I also had the opportunity to meet her old companion, Sister Sawyer. I felt bad because I was WRECKED from all the travel, so I wasn't my normal talkative self. I was very grateful to know there were sandwiches in the kitchen because boy I was hungry!!! It was a pleasant surprise that night, after I had taken a shower and gotten all prepared for bed, I was sitting on one of the beds when Sister Allen and Sister Jacques walked into the room! They are from my MTC group! They were in the mission home because they are both training again this transfer. It was so nice to see them and chat with them! :)
Thursday we woke up at 6:30am to do our morning workout. From 7-8 we got ready and went downstairs for some breakfast. The mission home is HUGE and BEAUTIFUL... I should have taken a picture. Sorry. We had cereal for breakfast, and bananas. At 10am Sister Brozzu and I got a lift from some elders to the train station and took a train to the ferry. Well... we were supposed to get on a train that would take us straight to the ferry, but we got on the WRONG TRAIN!! :o No worries though! The right train ended up coming. The ferry to Stornoway was VERY small. Some lovely people sat by us... unfortunately I don't remember the couples names... but there dog Will was nice and cuddley! :) We arrived at my new home at around 9:45. It felt good to be home. I slept really well that night.
Friday was a fun day. Because the island is so small, and most everyone here is VERY religious, it is hard to find people to teach. We have the opportunity to do a lot of service though. On Friday's we volunteer at two different Charity Shops. It is really fun! I am a bit nervous though... My whole mission I have only used pounds for 4 months. I don't get this money at all. Oh well. I am sure it will be fine. :) We were able to visit the senior missionary couple, the Maddocks after service. They are very kind people. They are from Mesa, Arizona!!! How funny is that? They live right by the Mesa temple. Sister Maddock says she knows my Nannie (Grandmother). It is crazy how small the world is.. especially when you are a Mormon!
Saturday was a fun day. I was able to meet our investigators Jen and Georgiana. Jen is Georgiana's mother. Georgiana is 17. They are both amazing women. So strong and brave and faithful. Georgiana has cystic fibrosis, but she doesn't let that get her down. She reads the scriptures and prays everyday. I think she is so inspiring. They was to be baptized. I am so grateful that the Lord has sent me here to meet such amazing people.
Church starts at 10am on Sunday. We do Relief Society first, then Gospel Doctrine, and finally Sacrament Meeting. It was the most interesting church service I have ever attended. We stayed in the same room for every meeting. Only about 10 people (including the 4 missionaries) came to the church. We only have one youth. He is 11 and passes the sacrament. Two less active members came which Sister Brozzu was very excited about. Something interesting that I have learned about the Branch in Stornoway is that they used to have 80 members coming out to the church. They went from 80 to 10 in a few years. BUT, the members who do come out to church on Sundayare some of the strongest, most dedicated people that I have ever met. The Spirit during Sacrament Meeting was so beautiful and sweet with those people there. I know the Lord has a plan for me. I also know the Lord has a plan for Stornoway. I am very excited to work with these wonderful children of God on this Isle.
I have been studying the Atonement. I like the scripture in Alma 7:11-12. Jesus Christ has done so much for us. He is not just our Savior and Redeemer. He is our Big Brother who loves us more than words descibe. He wants us to use the Atonement. He knows that we are not perfect people. He wants us to work hard and try and not give up. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and all he does. I absolutely love the talk "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox. I am sure that I have talked about it before, but that is just how good it is! It has helped me so much. Everytime I read it something new sticks out. I really like what he says about the Atonement. "The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly (see John 10:10). The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed (see Romans 8). Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God (see Alma 40:26), but brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to." I had a friend tell me that my whole mission has been preparing me for my last area, and how right that is. I have learned so much out here. I have also learned that change is hard, but so necessary. I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I am grateful that because of Him I can repent of my mistakes. I don't need to carry anything negative around with me. I can be forgiven and loved 1000 times over. As long as I say sorry and decide to change my actions He will hold His arms outstretched to me. I can promise you all the same thing. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have a beautiful plan, and part of that plan is us returning to them. I know I don't want to return to my Father in Heaven feeling uncomfortable. I know that we have repentance so we can use it now. Don't procrastinate the day of your repentance. I know that God lives, and He loves us. I love you all as well. Even though I am far away from everyone I know and love, I know that I am not alone. I can feel all of your love and prayers coming to me. I can also feel the love of my Father in Heaven.

I hope that you all have a wonderful week! Sorry for me going on and on and on with NO pictures... My camera literally JUST died when we got to the church building to email.
Please write me though! I haven't received post in about 4 weeks!!!
Stornoway Sisters Brozzu and Griffin:
6 Seaview Terrace
Isle of Lewis
Outer Hebrides
*Did I tell you that the beach is right outside the church and just next to our home!! It sure is funny to see snow on a beach! But it is oddly sunny right now :)
If you wanted to write me you could also include a small note to my sweet companion. Being out here with no other missionaries and a lack of members, it would be nice to hear words of kindness and encouragement from ANYONE! :)

Love you all! Have a wonderful week!
<3, Sister Kelsey Michelle Griffin 
Azariah and I before I left. 

Elder (Uncle ;)) Norup's wedding!!

Eoin and Halley Hogan had their baby! It was a beautiful baby boy, 6lb 10oz and they are calling him Simon

And Elder Hutchings and Walters stuffing their faces with Azariah's cinnamon rolls.

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