My Dear Family,
Wow! I can't believe it has been two weeks....time here just seems to fly and drag and just not matter here...ha ha, I am always wondering what day of the week it is because they all blend together! Days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. I overheard an Elder say, "This has been the longest, fastest day of my life." I thought, "Amen!"
I seriously can't believe how much I learn here in just a day....the knowledge I am gaining is so vast it sinceriously blows my mind every day! I LOVE IT!! I love knowing I am learning and growing in so many ways I never would have, had I never made the decision to come on a mission! I was sitting in our Sunday night fireside and looking around, looking down at my notebook which is already almost full and just feeling so grateful for the Lord allowing me to be in such a position. It's AWESOME!!!
This week I literally sat down and made an outline of what I would put in my letter before starting my thirty minutes to write! lol...I just learn and experience SO MUCH! It's like Lehi tasting of the fruit of the tree of life and immediately wanting to share it!...In other words...I've eaten cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and everybody just HAS to have some! You will never be the same again! ; ) I just want to share all that I am learning and experiencing because I am blown away at how it is changing my life and know it would help everyone to learn of these things. But I guess that is a special privilege I have in being a missionary for the Lord! Yay! = )
OK so last Tuesday I had an honorable experience that will probably never be repeated in my lifetime. I was in a special MTC Fireside with ten of the twelve apostles!!!! That's right...I said ten! Everyone was there except Pres. Packer and Elder Hale. I couldn't believe my eyes as they kept filing in to take place on the stand....so many brethren I love with all my heart and so many that I wanted to throw my arms around and cry in gratitude for words they had spoken that saved me in times of despair....I also just kept looking at them wondering, "Which one of you had a hand in making my mission call???" The spirit was so strong though...and I was in the 9th row only about 50 feet away from them all! WOW!!! These are Apostles of the Lord...who each have a special witness of Jesus Christ! ....meaning they know him personally and have seen him...and here they were, taking an hour out of their busy schedules to spend with the Lord's missionaries in training! This only happens maybe once out of every year, and I was there!!!! Boy the Lord sure loves His missionaries to bless us with such an incredible opportunity! I will never forget it! L. Tom Perry spoke to us that night about many statistics of Latter-Day-Saints and how they compared to that of the world....for example - LDS women live 5 years longer and LDS men live 10 years longer compared to the age of death of men and women in the world. We are 41% less likely to have clogged arteries because we fast once a month...and many more very interesting things about how we are happier and more content with life, healthier, how about 80 to 90% view having a successful marriage and being good parents as their main and most precious goals in life when the world is less than 40%. So interesting. As Elder Scott left he waved to us and Elder Holland blew us a kiss.....I was just in awe....the best part though...was standing with about 2,000 young missionaries preparing to serve the Lord, and with the grand organ playing, and singing "Called To Serve" in front of the Apostles who extended our calls and received revelation on our behalf and in front of men who were also called by God to serve 24/7 and help build his Kingdom. Our Branch President said that as we serve as a missionary, our call is hand in hand with that of an apostle. Never will we work more closely, or in a sense, along side them, as we do now! Oh my goofy gummies!!!! SO COOL!!!
So funny story, I read my first letter from my Branch President and he counseled me to put my trust in the Lord and said to see Proverbs 3:5 ...so I looked up the scripture and read "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me." I turned to my companion and said, "I don't get it." With a very confused face. She laughed and said, "Really? It's a pretty straight forward scripture...I then looked and saw I was in Psalms 3:5...lol.We all laughed so hard! I thought well, it's true though! I have never been so tired in all my life and the Lord is TOTALLY sustaining me through my days! Ha ha...so I wrote a thank you to my President and said, "I know I can trust the Lord, and I know that he sustains me...see Psalms 3:5." ; )
I absolutely LOVE my Branch President...he has so much love for the Lord, for the work, and for us! I wish I could have all that he has said to me on paper or recording because when he speaks and teaches he speaks with the Power of God! I want to share one thing he shared with the Sisters on Sunday...he reminded us of who we are...our incredible worth...that we truly were the crowning jewel of all of Heavenly Father's creations. He said he felt prompted to tell us that our Heavenly Father loves us deeply and is so pleased with out decision to serve. He said as Sisters we are incredible...that we are often in the prime years of our lives and have many things going for us in our schooling and relationships and careers, and for us to give all of that up and put it all on hold without any obligation or expectation for us to serve missions....is a remarkable thing. That Sister Missionaries are one of the greatest blessings for the work...That mission presidents call SLC and ask for them.....the most incredible thing that he said though was how what we have done says so much about our character and that we are among the noblest of women...even as the most holy daughter of God who answered a call that cam to her...even Mary when she said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word." When he said that tingles went all through my body...and I heard the voice of my sister singing that scripture as she did when she sang the part of Mary......WOW! Again, I never would have compared myself or thought that I could be that great!
Oh dear...my time is up already and I have not even written half of what I wanted to...so quickly....teaching with my investigators this week has been full of ups and downs and it is amazing how much the Lord humbles me every day and shows me my weakness, but it is also amazing how many times I have felt the Spirit testifying, how many times I felt prompted to say something and saw tears come to the eyes of those I was teaching....I may not know these people very well, and they may not be telling me everything that lies within their heart, but what is ALWAYS true is that our Heavenly Father knows and loves each and every one of his children and He knows EXACTLY what they need to lift their hearts and bless their lives if their heart is but open to it, and if I fulfill my call and follow the promptings I am given and trust in the Lord with all my heart and believe He will give me the words to say! He did that countless times this week! Sister Madsen and I committed our investigator Ryan to Baptism on our 3rd visit!!! We both went in after having a really hard day and feeling we were going to fail and had no clue what we would teach...we thought 2 or 3 things but didn't feel sure...somehow the Lord guided our conversation to the Atonement and Baptism by immersion....the opportunity Ryan had, because of the Atonement, to be lay his past and regrets and everything he wanted to erase, to death...and to rise up out of the water completely new...having a fresh new start....and a chance to become everything he ever wanted to be. As I testified of the Atonement and being able to erase the past....tears filled my eyes and my body began to shake as I testified of what the Atonement had done for me...and all I wanted in that moment was for Ryan to have that chance...my heart was full of love for him and all I could do was pray he would take the step of faith. He had tears in his eyes as he looked at me and said, "I want to be baptized. It's time for a change." AAHHHHHH!!!!!! I could not believe it! We walked back into class in tears and everyone asked, "How'd it go?" and we said, "He's getting baptized!!!!" They were all in SHOCK because no one had gotten anywhere with him! Our teacher kept us after and said, "That is what Ryan has been waiting to hear all his life...." Oh how great and how sweet is the work!!! So many more stories but I am already over time!
I quickly have to tell you I have become a celebrity in the MTC! I auditioned and was asked to sing at the Mission Conference on Sunday...it is basically like our own little General Conference....the biggest and most spiritual meeting of the whole month in which all the missionaries and the presidencies and leaders attend! I couldn't believe they had asked me to sing and I was so nervous! I knew they were going to put my face on the big screen and everything and it was nerve-racking to sing in front of all of my peers! But WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! I sang "Still Believe" by Hilary Weeks and I couldn't believe it because it was the only song my accompanist could play and I felt the spirit strongest as iIsang it so that's what I auditioned with. The first two talks before I sang were all about testimony and faith in Jesus Christ and having faith even as tiny as a mustard seed and what miracles that can create...the song was absolutely perfect to follow that....I couldn't believe it...even those who picked me to sing didn't know the topics...but the Lord did...the song went great and the Lord helped me get through it. I spent the rest of Sunday saying thank you to all the compliments and taking pictures with people...and it still hasn't stopped...I am recognized all over and people call my name and I am like, "How do they know me?!" So many thanked me and told me how strong they felt the spirit, that it was a long awaited answer to prayer, that they clearly heard the voice of the Lord speak to them, that as beautiful as my voice was, the testimony that I was bearing through the song was even more beautiful and powerful....I was truly honored, and humbled to know that the Lord had indeed blessed me with a gift, and with an amazing opportunity to be an instrument in his hands!!! I think I got a glimpse of what it must have been like for David Archuletta to be in the MTC!!! ; ) Haha...it is too funny...but I guess Sister Riggs has left her mark!!! ; ) They want me to sing again before I leave so hopefully that will happen = )
OK I am way over my time and hope I don't get in trouble but I LOVE You all so much! Thank you for the letters! It is seriously like Christmas when they come and so sad when everyone else gets some and your like, "What about me? " (pouty face) But I love hearing from you and it is such a booster you have no idea!!!
I know this is the Lord's work...when I am my weakest and think it impossible, he proceeds to perform miracles...in my testimony on Sunday I bore witness of D&C 1:19...it is the truth...I am small and weak....but with the Lord and the Spirit I can have the power to teach Kings and Rulers!!!
Oh I LOVE THIS!!!! Go and do my friends....go and DO!!!!
All my Love!