Saturday, April 24, 2010


April 21st 2010

Wow! I cannot believe another week has come and gone! It seems my time here is flying by within a blink of an eye. I am trying to enjoy every second here, and striving diligently to learn all that I possibly can while I am here. The language is coming, but I think that has been the most discouraging part for me. I have learned aton though! I received a Priesthood blessing the other night from our Zone Leader Elder Schvaneveldy (Swanny is his nickname who will be serving in the same mission as me) and it really comforted me. I know that I will be able to learn this language, because this is the Lord's work. As long as I place my trust in Him, then he will bless me to be able to say the right things to investigators when the time presents itself.

We taught our first lesson all in Spanish yesterday! It wasn't quite as hard as I thought it would be, and I surprised myself with how much I actually knew. The spirit was strong, and I learned that even when you are teaching in another language that is different than your own, there is still one language that we need to learn...and that is the language of the spirit. I know that the holy ghost is the true teacher and I am striving every day to have the Spirit as my constant companion. I need to have more faith, as I have learned throughout this last week. I never quite realised how much our faith and diligence depends on the progress of this work.

Faith has been the reoccuring for me throughout this week. I used to think I had a lot of faith, until I came here...and I started loosing faith in myself and my potential. I know that this was the advesary's way of trying to bring me down, but throughout this last week all the firesides, devotionals, classes, and other topics of discussion throughout our meetings had aton to do with having faith in ourselves and in this work. Not being weary, and to refuse to be average. As children of our loving Heavenly Father we are so much more than average. Each of us has the divine potential to do great things in this life and in the eternities. I know this to be true, and I am working on not being so hard on myself and having faith that I can do all things through Christ. That includes learning the language and overcoming my own personal weaknesses and doubts. I know I can do this, and every night I pray for more faith. It has been a process but I know that Heavenly Father does hear and answer are prayers.

It is amazing to see how much my testimony has grown since coming here. Already, even though I've only been on my mission for 5 weeks, it has CHANGED my life. Making the decision to serve and to go through with it, has been the best decision I have ever made. I know that I am in the right place at the right time in my life right now. All that I have learned will forever be apart of me. I now look at things with an eternal perspective as I talked about last week. I know that this life is the time for us to prepare to meet God at the judgement seat, and then to be judged according to our actions and the desires of our hearts. If we do not desire to change now, and be perfected day by day through Christ's atoning sacrafice, then that desire will not suddenly appear when we leave this life. Our same attitudes and personality will be with us when we pass beyond the veil, and we will have a perfect knowledge of everything we did in this life. This life is about becoming the divine individual we have the potential to become. Although we arent perfect, we can impliment the atonement daily. That is the miracle of the Atonement. I use it daily, even for the little things. I try to find ways in which I can strengthen my faith, my diligence and obedience. I know that by our obedience the Lord does bless us. He gave us commandments for a reason. All 10 of them, including keeping the sabbath day holy and honoring our father and our mother. I know that as we strive to keep all the commandments of God, that we will be BLESSED. We will be blessed with more faith and hope, confidence, spiritual strength, and many other things.

Understand that His timing is everything. We all have to go through a refiner's fire so that we can become the people he needs us to become. I know that every day I am here I am being molded into the person He NEEDS me to be.

I know this church is true without ANY doubt! I know that families can be together forever. Never doubt who you are, and who you have the divine potential to become!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana V

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What we are destined to become

April 14th 2010

Wow, I cannot believe I have been here one month today!! One down and 17 more to go, the time is flying by! I am trying to learn as much as I possibly can while I am here in the MTC cuz I only have 4 1/2 wks left. I leave May 17 to the mission field! Crazy!

ok ... I want you all to know how much I appreciate your letters and testimonies. It gives me so much strength.

Ok, so I really have like no I will try to share with all of you what I wish to share at this time. This keyboard is difficult to type on, cuz the keys keep sticking, and its irritating me:)...but none the less I will begin.

So last night, we had a devotional. Elder Glenn L Pace from the 70 spoke and it was amazing! He asked that the devotional not be recorded because of the sacred personal experiences that he shared with us. The spirit was so strong! You could literally hear a pin drop in the entire gymnasium. It was amazing. His objective was to help us feel of the reality of our Heavenly Father's love for us. And he definitely succeeded. He talked about how in our pre-earth life we knew and loved our Heavenly Father and we were in His presence. He painted the imagery of when we were in His presence, we all shouted for joy when He told us we could become like Him, as an exalted being and our joy could be full! We accepted our assignments of what day in age we would come down to the earth, whether or not we would have the gospel, and what our lives might be like. We knew full well that this life would present hard and difficult times, but that we would endure and we would be able to return home again.

Elder Pace talked about how we made promises/commitments to specific people that we would come find them and bring them the truth. That we wouldn't leave them to wander without knowing about their Father in Heaven and the reality of His love for us. He sent us His only begotten Son to atone for our sins, heartaches, sicknesses and pains. The atonement encompasses everything! This gave me new motivation to work that much harder every day that I am here. Along with what was said in my setting apart blessing, I KNOW that I have made PROMISES to specific people that I would find them and bring them the gospel. I KNOW that many of those people are in the Spokane WA area and they are just waiting for me. Even though they may not realize it yet, they have been and are searching to be reminded of what they already know,.

Because of the veil, we cannot remember our pre-earth existence...But I KNOW with every fiber of my being that we were up in Heaven before this life , and we shouted for Joy when we heard our Heavenly Father's plan for us, and we knew that this life would but only a small moment when looking into the eternities.

My testimony of the reality of the spirit world and the resurrection, and the Celestial Kingdom has been strengthened immensley. We recently studied D&C 76 which talks about the 3 kingdoms of Glory. I encourage you all to go read it, and not just read but study it. It is amazing what the Holy Ghost has made manifest to me. I know that we ALL can return to live with our Father in Heaven again, and that we can be together as a family FOREVER! We all have to do OUR part though. Salvation does not come cheap. Every day we need to use the Atonement and rely on the Merits of our savior to be perfected. We need to keep our covenants of baptism and nourish our testimonies. Every day that we arent moving forward, even if we are just standing still, we are technically moving backwards. Although we arent perfect, every day we need to strive to be better. And on the days when we fall short, we need to remember our Savior, repent and try again. I want nothing more than to be with all of you in the presence of God as an eternal family. Try to look at things with an ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE. This life truly is but a small moment. Dont let Satan in. Dont let him diminsh your divine worth. Hold to the iron rod and stay in the straight and narrow path. It is so vitally important that we help each other along this path of life. Find joy in the journey, but eternal joy. Not temporary joy. The world will tell you that the things of this world are what brings happiness, but I PROMISE you...there is nothing that could bring more happiness than coming before the judgment seat of God and knowing we passed the test of mortality and we are going to return to live with Him and with our families for the rest of time and all eternity.

I know these things to be true. It is something I could never deny! Every day that I am here, I am being molded into the person I am destined to become. We all have a divine potential. Hold on to your testimonies, nourish them, and know that with the Lord anything is possible!

Con mucho amor,

Sister V

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"The Lord calls us in our weakness, but he qualifies us for the work."

April 7th 2010


Well, another week has come and gone and I cannot believe I have almost been here in the MTC for a month! In so many ways it feels like I've been here forever, but at the same time I know the time is flying by and before you know it I will be getting my flight plans and then soon going out into the mission field.

All the days seem to mesh together, but every day I have a profound spiritual experience that strengthens my testimony. I have seriously grown so much since coming here, and every day is another witness to me that this church is the true church. I'm so grateful to be serving the Lord right now. I know without a shadow of a doubt, every experience I've had throughout my life has prepared me to be here right now.

So conference was AMAZING!!! Not that it isnt every time, but this conference just stood out to me so much. Maybe its because I'm on my mission and the spirit is so strong here and I get to receive personal revelation on a lot more frequent basis than what I used to be able to since I've been set apart as a missionary...but all those things aside, I know that the words the leaders of this church bore witness of are TRUE. Pretty much every talk was about the family! Now of course, I couldnt help but think of you guys during these talks, but not only was I mindful of you, I also was very mindful of my future family. Elder Hales said, "The greatest missionary service we could ever give is found in our own homes." That is so so true. I know that every day I am being faithful, obedient, and diligent..that the Lord is preparing me to bring God's royal army to the earth. He will be entrusting to me His children, to raise up in righteousness and to build up their faith. As women, our most sacred responsibility is to be mothers; to nurture and rear up our children in the gospel and with love. Throughout conference, my heart was touched and full of gratitude for all the teachings you mom and dad have taught me. I am so grateful for your loving influence.

Another cool experience I had during conference, actually during the YW General Meeting which we got to watch Saturday night during the Priesthood session, was that at some point in the future I will have a calling in the church to work with the Youth. Of course, in some ways this impression did not surprise me, but what did surprise me is 2 days later I had an even stronger impression. It was about 4:30 am when I woke up, not to stay up-just woke up naturally around that time- and my mind was completely clear. Then as clear as day the Spirit impressed upon my mind that I was going to be working with the youth, that this was going to be a sacred call for me. Now, when that time will come I am not sure, but I cannot deny the witness of the Spirit. Already, I know how much I loved coaching my girls and the influence in which I had the opportunity to be. Something I've learned is as much as I have looked up to others as my examples throughout my life, I too have been watched. You never know when someone is watching your every move and counting on you to influence them or inspire them to do better. I know this is true with all my heart. I keep thinking about how Dana was and has been such a powerful influence on me throughout yw and then continuing on to this present day where we have developed a strong bond of friendship. Please send her my love and gratitude. She is one amazing woman and example to me.

I also know, that my future eternal companion and future children are counting on me to make righteous choices and to prepare myself in the best way possible to bring my children here to this earth. I know that there are loved ones, who have passed on, including Grandpa Riggs and Grandpa Green who are by my side cheering me on and helping me along this path. Life isn't easy, missions aren't easy...but "Salvation doesnt come cheap" says Elder Holland in The Miracle of the Mission. I know that everything we aspire to be here in this life will only help our progression in the next. I am so excited to be embarking upon this journey. What greater opportunity and responsibility than what I have right now, is there to bring God's children back into His loving embrace and to be apart of the salvation of one's soul! It's truly remarkable when you think about it.

One of my favorite quotes from this week was by Joseph Smith, which I wrote down while watching the restoration. It reads:

"The Lord calls us in our weakness, but he qualifies us for the work."

I know this is so true about missionary work. As I have said I feel like I've been going through a refiners fire, but I know God is qualifying me for this work and molding me to be an effective tool in His hands.

I love you all so very much. Pray Always and Bear your testimony often.


Con Amor,

Sister V

Refiners Fire

March 31st 2010


I just got back from the temple with my companions and 4 other sisters who we've become pretty good friends with since being here. Can I just tell you how much I love the temple! The spirit is so strong there and today I could really feel your love for me and was comforted in knowing that our family can be together forever! What a blessing this is! And it is in part why I am going out to serve the Lord so that other families can be together forever too!

Wow! My testimony truly has grown immensly since I have been here! Every day, I learn something new about the gospel and my confidence begins to wax stronger in the Lord with each passing day. With my calling as Coordinating Sister, I am learning how to be an effective leader and to lead by example. I love my calling and today we are getting 3 new sisters in our branch so I get to go around with all the Zone Leaders to welcome and orient the new district coming in today! My district is bomb! I already told you guys how much I love my comps, but the Elders in my district are amazing too! 2 of them, Elder Schwaneveldt and Nelson are going to my same mission and just got called to be the new zone leaders for our branch! Its amazing and we are so blessed that they are here and they honor their priesthood.

Today while in the temple waiting for the session to start I cam upon this scripture. 1 Nephi 20:10 "For behold, I have refinded thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Wow! This scripture stood out to me so profoundly. I really do feel like I am going through a refiners fire right now and I have felt that throughout my life. Through all my trials, I have been prepared to be where I am at right now in my life and at this present day...I am still going through the refining process and being molded by the Lords hands to be the best missionary I can be. I have full faith in this and I'm so grateful for the experiences I have had throughout my life that have taught me the importance of relying on our Savior no matter what! Although at times our faith may be shaken, trust me mine has many times, we can still put our Trust in God and not fear. Pressing forward with a firm steadfastness in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope. I know these things to be true and I try to emulate this in my every day life.

Conference is this weekend and I am soooooo EXCITED! Although I wont be getting the pleasure of sitting comfortably at home in the living room on the couches with you guys this year, I am excited to hear the words inspired of God from Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Their words are like modern day scripture for us, to help lead and guide us throughout our lives, and especially through times of difficulty or when we are struggling to know which path to take at a fork in the road. I know I received personal revelation during conference 2 years ago, that I was needed closer to home and the bball was the end of road for me. I was needed elsewhere, and since then I have witnessed many of the reasons why I was meant to be home for the last year and a half. A big part of that was it lead me to discover that I needed to serve a mission. I know that I am in the right place at the right time in my life right now! This is witnessed to me every single day through the Holy Ghost and the love I feel from my Savior and Heavenly Father.

The language is coming...slowly but surely. The learning curve is huge here and already I;ve learned so much but I know that it isnt all going to come over night. I just found out the my comps are leaving a wk before me :( boo! Not too happy about that but I will prevail. My expected departure date is May 17, so just about a week before my bday.

With lots of love always!


Sister V

oh and remember fam and works wonders. Its free and prints out as same day delivery! I can only write on Wednesdays but its been so good to hear from you all throughout the week! Love you all so much!

The Church is True :)

One week today

March 24th 2010

Wow, I cannot believe I have only been here for a week. The days seems to last forever here at the MTC but at the same time they have flown by. We can only write on our P-Days, which is Wed for me. And I am striving to be obedient with exactness, so whatever I can get done today I will send you in the mail tomorrow.

Ok, first let me tell you my companions are AMAZING. First, there is Hermana Williams. She is from Delaware and a convert to the church. Her testimony is strong and we have a lot in common. Other than the fact that she was a cheerleader and doesn't like sports too much haha. She is great though! I love her.

My 2nd companion is Hermana Miller. She is from Hawaii. She has such a big heart and such a fun and spicey personality. She too has a very strong testimony of the gospel. They both will be serving in the Salt Lake City Mission and will be speaking Spanish. I'm excited for them.

I already mentioned in my letter home that within 24 hrs we developed such a strong bond with one another. I seriously feel like I've known them forever and we are getting closer and closer with each day that passes. There was a scare that Hma Williams might have been transfered to an intermediate Spanish class, because she understands alot more than Hma Miller and I do....but the Lord has put her here for a reason. She received confirmation that she wont be moving as a few days ago, and it was such a huge blessing for this companionship. We all have different spiritual gifts and strengths, and lean on one another for strength. I love them so much!

Hma Williams has a heart condition, and there is a possibility she will be getting heart surgery from a specialist here in Provo while we're here in the MTC. It's amazing how we came to find out about all that. It's alot of info so I will try to put it as simply as I can before my time is up. The 2nd counselor in our Branch Presidency's wife, Sister Jensen had a similar condition and similar symptoms as Hma Williams. Hma Williams has had the condition since she was like 16 and the doctors out in Delaware havent been able to offer a way to fix the problem. So with the hand of the Lord, we are seeing one of the many reasons why it is she was called to this District in the MTC and this Branch. I know the Lord is aware of us and our needs. I'll keep you posted with everything that happens with that as best I can. For now, please keep her in her prayers.

Ok, now as for me. I really do not even know where to begin. The spirit here is soooooooo strong here at the MTC. I can feel the Holy Ghost as my constant guide more so than I have felt in my entire life. We are constantly on the go, constantly studying, learning, and being stretched in ways I never fully comprehended. My testimony has grown and is growing every day. Yesterday we had a devotional, and my companions and I sang in the MTC Choir for it. There may be a possibility we might sing a musical number just us 3 and one other sister for one of the meetings. Never done that before, but I do love singing and Hma Williams has an amazing voice so it could be something fun to do. The language is coming, but it is very hard. My second night here was really hard for me. I was feeling very broken, overwhelmed, inadequate, and weak. I was intimidated about learning the language and afraid maybe I didn't have enough knowledge about the gopel. But I know, that the Lord was humbling me so that I can rememeber to always rely on Him. I know that is what I am going to have to do in order to be fluent in Spanish by the end of these next 18 months. I'm grateful for that humbling experience though, because it taught me a great lesson. Since then I have been great! I have been walking these halls with a new confidence invested in the Lord.

Yesterday, my district and I had a special experience with the Priesthood. Our teach felt indpored to ask the Elders in our district for a blessing of comfort. There are 4 Elders in my district. Elder Nelson, Schvaneveldt, McMullin, and Matthison. It was way good. The spirit was strong! Then our teacher asked if anyone else needed or would like a blessing. Elder Matthison asked for one and then I did. The reason I am sharing this w/ you is because my own personal testimony of the Priesthood was strengthened. Elder Swanny gave me the blessing, and I know that it did not come from him. One of my main concerns lately has been my family. I pray for you guys day and night, every single prayer and trust me missionaries pray ALOT! And the line that stood out to me the most was something like this. "Your Heavenly Father wants you to find comfort and knw that your family is Safe and they are already being blessed for you serving the Lord." It hit me hard, and I know that you guys are being protected and watched over. I have all the faith in the world in this.

I love you all! I know that I am where I am supposed to be right now and I have the faith that the Lord will provide the way for me to be an effective tool in His hands.

Con amor,

Hermana Vanessa Riggs