Sunday, August 29, 2010

Faith In Every Footstep

August 24th 2010

We have another investigator on date for baptism! Yay! His name is Rafael and he is the sweetest, most tender hearted, older man I have ever met. He is on date to be baptized on September 3, so yes, please add him to your prayers. We have had 2 really amazing lessons with him and the spirit is always so strong. Which means, my Spanish is half-way decent when the spirit is there. This last week we have been teaching almost all in Spanish! We found some new investigators to add to our teaching pool, but also dropped many of our investigators who are not progressing nor keeping commitments. It was hard to drop many of them, but we know that our work is not wasted. The seed has been planted, and at some point down the road they will be further prepared by the Lord to accept the gospel in their lives. We are still searching for a family to teach, found a potential the other day, but still looking. We are working hard, but some days are proving to be more difficult than others. But we are pressing forward, with faith in every footstep and striving to find those whom the Lord has prepared. My faith has definitely wavered at moments, but I know that through the Savior's Atonement, He can give me the strength I need to press forward. I know that Heavenly Father is so very uniquely aware of everyone of His children. It passes all my understanding, but as I begin to get to know and love the people more and more each day, I have begun to see a small glimpse into His infinite and perfect love for everyone of us.

Oh in other news, we finally met the Dad of the Mendoza family. His name is Francisco and he is actually very nice. He came in last night as we were about to say the closing prayer with Maritza and Jessica. We were kneeling on the floor, bad timing-lol- when he walked through the front door. We introduced ourselves and had a nice conversation with him. It was smoothed over nicely, I thought, and then he left us to finish what we were doing. We still are slightly worried about his open-ness. Alicia has kind've been avoiding us, she hasn't sat in on the last couple lessons we've had with the girls. We think, though, it has a great deal to do with her husband and her fears in reguards to HIs reaction. If you remember family, He is an avid catholic and strong in those traditions. Alicia and the girls do not agree with the teachings of the Catholic church, but He is the head of the house so they honor and respect Him. We feel like it was a good first greeting with him, though. And will continue to pray that His heart may be open, and if possible maybe we can start teaching him. We're not sure exactly what the turn out will be, but the way things are going...we feel the way for this family to come to the gospel will be by way of the example of their daughters. If we can help them to gain a testimony of the truth and to desire to be baptized....then with the consent of the parents it could be a wonderfully magnificent journey for this family to become an eternal family. We love them so much! And as long as they continue to progress and keep commitments, we will continue to go over and teach them. It's amazing because with some people it just takes time, and for others like Rafael or Koty, they are just ready right then! But, we are servants and representatives of the Lord. We know that the message in which we share is true. And it is our job to teach and testify, and then the Spirit's job to carry our message to the hearts of our investigators. True conversion to the Lord happens when they have their own personal experience with the Holy Ghost bearing witness of truth to their spirits. It is an amazing process to see, an such a tremendous blessing for me that the Lord has allowed me to even be a small part of. I love this work!

Other updates, we had interviews with President a few days ago. Yesterday we had mission conference with Elder Christensen of the 70. Have seen many tender mercies of the Lord this week and received answers to some prayers. My companion and I have officially been together long enough that we say the same things and think the same thoughts. We're truly learning to become one together in the Lord. It's kind've freaky sometimes, especially when we wake up almost every day having put on the same color of clothes without even realizing it! It gets to be ridiculously hillarious sometimes, but I guess that's what happens when you are with some one 24/7 for over 2 months. Craziness I tell ya, it's just plain crazy!

Ok, well I'm out of time. Gotta run! We're going to play some bball with the Elders today. And for the first time in a while, I'm actually kinda excited to go play. Can't get too competitive though, cuz that makes things difficult as a missionary. Haha. It shall be interesting :)

Best Expect More Miracles

August 16th 2010

How is it going for everyone?!!What a blessing it is for us to be able to recognize that God truly does hear and answer our prayers. What amazes me the most about all the good news you shared, was that all of us in the fam had been praying for the same thing and really didn't even realize it until afterwards. What did I tell ya....first come the trials, and then come the BLESSINGS!! I hope each of you can remember that as trials will surely come again, but just know that if we are faithful and obedient, the Lord will never leave us to stand alone. It is like what Helaman 5:12 says. I know that when we build our foundation on the Savior, we cannot fall when the Devil sends forth his mighty storm to beat us down. Your testimonies have strengthened my own testimony of the principle of obedience. In reading your letter Mom, it brought tears to my eyes and I could feel the spirit bear an even stronger witness to me that Heavenly Father does love each of us and He hears our prayers. I have poured my heart out in gratitude to Him, and continually am placing my TRUST in Him that He will watch over you and bless your lives. It gives me an even stronger motivation every day as I start my day out on my knees, pleading with the my Heavenly Father to give me the strength, faith and determintation to do His will and to find His children who are ready to receive the gospel!

The gospel is pretty much amazing isn't it?!! Yes, I know! Every day, my testimony continues to grow and I feel myself maturing spiritually in ways that I had never imagined. This week has been a fantastic week! We had to AMAZING baptisms on Saturday night~! Both Neftali and Koty were baptized and pretty much the entire ward came out to support them. We had so many people there that we had to do the service in the Chapel and then move into the baptismal font room just for the baptisms. The Spirit was so powerful and I feel so incredibly blessed that the Lord allowed me to play a small part in helping them come unto Him and take upon His name. Both Koty and Neftali are powerful examples to me; they have strong testimonies and desire to do what is right! It is such an amazing experience to be able to watch them enter the waters of baptism and then enter onto the straight and narrow path that will lead us all to the Celestial Kingdom! I hope to see everyone there someday! I know that if we remain true to our covenants and remember to always take upon ourselves the name of Christ, and live in a way that is closest to His exemplary life, then we can return to live in the presence of our God again someday. Remember family, that this life is truly but a small moment. When looking into the eternities, we are so blessed to be able to have our time here on earth, to learn and grow in ways we otherwise would not have been able to had we not gained the precious gift God has given us of having a body. Every day, I understand even clearer the healing and strengthening power of the Atonement. I also know that without pain, we cannot come to know joy. We must needs have opposition in all things. The greatest part about that though is the role that the Atonement plays in each and every one of our lives. We MUST rely upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save. We must do our part to become clean from the mistakes we've made and to be healed from the wounds we may have. I know that it is only through our Savior's infinite Atonement that we can be saved. He loves us and He knows each one of us by name. He understands EXACTLY what it is we are going through at the very moment we are going through it. He has blessed us to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, to comfort us, to lead us, and to help us grow. I know that our Heavenly Father reaches out to us every day in love, by the many blessings He pours out upon us. Often times, they show their love for us through the people around us. He blesses us to have families, wherein we can build relationships that will last through the eternities and come to learn of His infinite love for us. The gospel of Jesus Christ, truly blesses families~! And I know that it is within the home, that the greatest missionary work could ever be done!

What a blessing it is for me to be here on my mission! Never in my life will I be given the opportunity again to be fully consecrated to the Lord and to building up the kingdom of God. Essentially, we all play a crucial role in building the kingdom and in missionary work, even when we aren't wearing a name tag. But, this truly is such a special opportunity that I have now, to give my heart 100% to the Lord and to truly be a vessel and an instrument in which He can perform HIs miracles through in order to bring His other children back into His Kingdom. We are all on a journey in this life, and what a blessing it has been for me to be able to find JOY in this part of my personal journey. Always remember WHO you are as a literal child of God. Rememember your worth is infinitely great in the sight of God. And better yet, remember who each of you have the divine potential to become! Trust in the Lord, and He will open up the doors for you in which you were destined to enter. Count your many blessings and remember to always rely on Him to help you along this straight and narrow path. Hold to the rod with both hands, and never let go. I know this church is true with all my heart and it is something that I know I could never deny. If ever it were asked of me, I would stand even as Abinadai and go to my grave standing as this special witness of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that He is my personal Savior and Redeemer. And I know that this is truly His work and it is His kingdom we are building upon the earth today to help prepare us for the time He will come again to personally minister and be the King over all the earth! The good word is true, and I will stop at nothing until I have done all I can do to help push this work along. I am giving my heart 100% to the Lord, and trusting in Him to work miracles within and through me, to bless the lives of His other children.

All that being said, its safe to say that due to a number of different events that have happened over the last week our entire Wenatchee stake is in store for some amazing miracles these next 5 weeks! We are working at an even higher pace, and at an even higher standard. All of us missionaries who are here in the Wenatchee zone. We have some incredulous goals, but have been confirmed by the Lord that we can accomplish them if we place our full trust in Him. I know this to be true. So, don't be surprised if you hear some crazy stroies in the coming 5 weeks of this transfer! I know there is a lot that is about to happen. I can feel it in my soul, and I can feel it in every step that I take forward. This part of the vineyard has truly been prepared, and we are the missionaries blessed enough to be here to begin reaping the harvest! Oh, I love this work!

Other news, we have a baptism on THursday. Parker Bromiley. He is from a less-active family that recently has been coming back into the church. He is 9 and we have been teaching him for a few weeks now. We're excited for him and for how this will help the family continue to grow in their faith.Also, we are deperately looking for a family to teach and to bring into the gospel. Please pray specifically for that these coming weeks. We know there is a family out here, we just have to FIND them.The good word is true. Read from the Book of Mormon daily. It will change your life!

Transfer #3

August 9th 2010

Well can you believe it?! I am now at the start of my 3rd transfer in the mission field!! This means that I am coming up on my 5 months on Aug. 17! Crazy right?! Well the verdict for these transfers is.....................................drum-roll please.............................. Sister Perez and I are staying together another transfer!! :) So my address will be the same as it has been, 1511 Anton Pl, Wenatchee, WA 98801, and I will for sure be here for the next 6 weeks. Sis. Perez and I are very pleased to still be serving together and to be serving the people of the Mission Ridge ward and Wenatchee Valley. I love it here! I know whenever I am going to have to leave, its going to be a sad goodbye. But, I will always go wherever the Lord wants me to go and will always keep my trust in Him. I've learned out here on the mission that that is the only way. Sometimes we may question why it is we have to go through certain things, but I know that there is ALWAYS a reason. We just have to trust in the Lord, and not be afraid.

In exciting news, we have 2 baptisms scheduled this weekend! Both Neftali and Koty should be getting baptized, if all goes according to plan and if they are ready. Koty, we have no doubts about but Neftali on the other hand.....hasn't made to church in a long time and he didn't come this Sunday again. He's been many times before, but stopped going after the death of his son back in June....and hasn't been since. When we started teaching him again, he really wasn't sure if he'd be ready for baptism for a while. So we continued teaching, and in the course of a few more discussions, he told us he wanted to get baptized! So we had set a goal date for him on Aug. 21, in hopes he would get to church before then....and then when he wanted to move it up we were even more excited, but he still did not come to church. So.....we are going to be having a pretty straightforwarward discussion with him about the importance of attending sacrament meeting and enduring to the end today or tomorrow sometime. Please keep us and him in your prayers. He has a strong testimony and we feel he is ready for baptism as far as what we've been teaching him, it just would be really sad if we had to post pone it because he doesnt understand fully what he is promising the Lord when he enters the waters of baptism. Our job as missionaries is not to baptize people into the church, and then to just let them go inactive and forget the importance of enduring to the end. Baptism itself is not what saves people. We need baptism, yes, but we also need to remember our covenants that we make at baptism for the rest of our lives! That is why we partake of the sacrament weekly, so that we can always remember our Savior, to keep HIs commandments, and to take his name upon us. We must always be continually repenting and relying upon His Atonement, in order to return to live in the presence of our God someday. Living the gospel throughout our lives is a big responsibility, but I know that when we live it and strive to be obedient to ALL of God's commandments we are blessed. The gospel has blessed my life in more ways than I can even begin to describe. I honestly do not know what I would do without it!

Speaking of keeping the sabbath day holy, I am so incredibly happy to hear that you made that decision on Sunday not to go fishing and to strive to be more commited. I am so greateful that you have accepted the encouraging words I've said, and I know the Lord will bless you, beyond what you can even imagine at this time. Also, I will definitely be joining in on the family fast this Sunday, so count me in :) I know that by our faith, prayers and obedience, we can and WILL see miracles. Remember to have faith in that.

Let's see...what else. Oh, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for that awesome package you sent me! I will admit, I was kind've surprised to receive such a generous package but I am so incredibly grateful for it. It came at the perfect time too because I hadn't received a letter all week and was needing some words of encouragement, and then it came on Saturday just in time. It was a good pick me up, so thank you. I enjoy every one of your letters and emails. I'm sorry if I don't write as much to you each individually, but I promise I will try to be better. I really try to make it a priority to respond to each of your letters as soon as I can.

In other news, I forgot to mention....Sister Naylor is going to be training AGAIN! 3 transfers in a row, wow! So I have another Sister who I will meet probably in a couple weeks at a Spanish Fireside that is in Moses Lake. Sis. Naylor will forever be my motivation and role model, and so I hope to be able to be half the trainer she was to me to my companion. Technically, I am still training for this transfer, but this transfer should be a lot less stressful because Sis. Perez and I are getting the flow of things down.

The work is moving forward and we are striving to do the Lord's will. Today is a new day and this week is a new beginning. We hope to find those who have been prepared by the Lord to receive and accept His restored church. I have a sure testimony that this truly is the Lord's work. I know that I am here for a reason and will press forward in faith, trusting that at some point down the road I will be able to recognize what that reason is. 6 more weeks in this beautiful valley! O ha la mi espanol estare mejor! :) Se que este iglesia es verdadera con todo mi corazon! Les amo!Con Mucho Amor,Hermana Riggs

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Look to the Temple

August 4th 2010

So we left this morning at about 4:45 am to drive 3 hours to Spokane and made it on time for the 830 session. It was amazing! Can I just tell you how much I love going to the temple. Today was my first time going since I was in the MTC. I have really missed it. How blessed we are to have temples so close to us in Utah. I look forward to the days I can go to the temple whenever and however often I want. I'm grateful that we were able to attend the temple today though, and it was worth the sacrafice of giving up pretty much our entire P-day for the trip. An even bigger bonus is Sister Naylor and her comp Sis. Olsen showed up at the temple this morning too!! I had no idea they were going today and so it was a super awesome surprise! I've been spoiled being able to see Sis. Naylor 4 different times throughout this transfer. When the 4 of us (me, Sis. Perez, Sis. Naylor, and Sis. Olsen) all get together it is super good times! We all click really well and we're literally one big happy "family". Sis. Naylor is my mom, and therefore Sis. Olsen is my sister...and well Sis. Perez is my child....all in mission we've got one good family pedigree going!

Big news out of the way first, before I run out of time. We have a dinner appointment with a part member family that we had to push back to 6:20...and we're going to be pushing it to make it on time.

So TRANSFER CALLS are this Sunday night! Yes, can you believe it?! It is transfers again already! Both Sis. Perez and I feel like we will be staying, but you never know. There are 3 new Spanish sisters coming in this next transfer. So who knows who will be training?? Honestly, I'm hoping not to train another missionary again so soon...just because it is a HUGE responsibility and stress on me and I'm just now getting used to things with Sister Perez. But I also know that part of the reason the Lord called me to train this transfer was to give me an opportunity to grow. Which I ways I'd never imagined. And the common theme in missionary work that I've learned so far is that the moment you start to get comfortable, then the Lord gives you another opportunity to we will see what mountains I have to climb in the coming 13 months. I know that everything happens for a reason and I am just trusting in the Lord that what happens is supposed to happen.

In other news, we met with Neftali yesterday and he wants to move up his baptism date. SO we are having 2 baptisms on August 14! Both Koty and Neftali :) Thank you for keeping them in your prayers and I would ask that you continue to do so.

Another family you may want to pray for as well is the Mendosa family. I've mentioned stuff about Alicia in emails and letters, and maybe about her 2 daughters that we are teaching, Jessica and Merissa. Alicia is having some pretty big doubts right now, and she is just afraid. She doesn't want to read from the BOM to find answers, and its just so hard because we can't do it for her. Gosh darn the principle of agency. But her 14 year old daughter, Merissa is doing so well! Her testimony has grown a ton since we started teaching her too and she really wants to know the truth. She has been reading and has been praying too! She said the closing prayer at our lessong 2 days ago. Honestly, I have a very strong feeling that she will get baptized...but, it is mostly about timing at this point. Jessica is pregnant and is due in just a couple weeks. Their father is coming into town (cuz he works in Louisianna most the year) and he is an avid catholic. Doesn't want his fam to be anything but Catholic. THis is part of Alicia's doubts and fears. There are alot more details to the situation, but Sis. Perez and I have truly come to love this family and we really need all the help we can get at this point. It is so hard to teach and love people, and testify so powerfully that the Spirit bears witness through you...and then to see them not want to ACT for themselves. We can't do it for them, and it is hard when they are unwilling to do their part in order to be truly converted unto the Lord. Alicia has a lot of faith, but she also has a lot of fear. How that works?? I'm not so please. Pray. Thank you.

Let's see. Oh and sad story, Ireneo is actually moving to California this week! So just a seed was planted...we are going to try and put him into contact with the missionaries down there.

The ward is doing good and we are working hard. Lately, we have been a little discouraged because most of the investigators we have arent progressing. We have experienced more of the downside of tracting this week as well...we got our first 2 door slams in our faces! I just had to laugh at that. Although we have a decent sized investigator pool, we need more people to teach so we can find the people who are ready to receive and ACCEPT the gospel.

I know that some of you may be going through some trials at this time. I encourage you to please stay strong and remember that it is only after the trial of our faith, that we are blessed. I know these things to be true, because it is what I am going through right now and what I have experienced so much of my mission thus far!

Also, try to go to the temple sometime in the next week. I know the temple is a place that we can receive added strength and power.Hope you have a good rest of the week. Love you!