Welcome!

Welcome to the missionary blog of Sister Ralynne Riggs. Here you will be able to follow Ralynne's experiences as she serves a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the California San Diego Mission and Mormon Battalion Historic Site. We will do our best to keep you updated weekly and hope you will find joy in being a part of Sister Riggs' mission!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sister Riggs Week 11‏

Hello Family,

More celebrations this week...Happy Birthday TODAY to my awesome big sister Michelle! Hope you have a wonderful day of pampering! And Happy Anniversary to my wonderful and amazing parents on September 1st! 42 years and still counting. I love both of you so so much individually and I love you together even more! I am so lucky to have amazing parents like you who were always sure and steadfast in their testimonies of the gospel and of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being an example of sticking through the hard times...that together you can do hard things and you need not give up. There is much joy in the journey...especially as you raise a family up unto the Lord and in love and righteousness. You are both incredible and I am so honored to be your daughter. I know that I wouldn't be who I am today with any other parents but you! I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! Happiest of anniversaries to you!

So this has been another great week! I have officially survived my first transfer! Wahoo! I'm still breathing...and still laughing so those are both good signs. I will not be transferred out of my area and I am very happy about that. I love my trainer and I am falling in love with the people and area of El Cajon. I know I am meant to be here and among these specific people. I got to sing in church again on Sunday and I sang in a trio of "Lift Thine Eyes" from the old hymn book with the second counselor's wife and Emily Riggs! Yep...another Sister Riggs in my ward! Everyone thought she was my sister. She married Hugh Riggs...and she was a vocal performance major at BYU-I...crazy huh? She has a gorgeous voice and we are kindred spirits. We sang it accapella and it was great! Fun to sing a Mendeholssen piece that was very Madrigal. I miss that. Our ward has a missionary fireside all set to go and I am singing I think six or seven times...including two solos! Ha ha....I am loving all the opportunities I am being given to use my voice!

We have had to move a few Baptismal dates back due to people not keeping commitments...coming to church and just not progressing...it's frustrating but I know it all happens in the Lord's time and some people just need a bit more time. But you know, I am getting a good look at what it's going to be like to be a parent...you know what is right and good and what is going to help them get all that they want...but you can't force them and they have to choose for themselves...and THEY even know what's good for them but they just won't DO IT!!! It is probably one of the most frustrating things! Ha ha....but you just keep loving them and guiding them along...even though they lie to your face or tell you what you want to hear, or promise they will change, or have an amazing break through...but you STILL see them do nothing..oh dear...and how much more do you think Heavenly Father puts up with that from all of us? ...It's just kind of a funny thing isn't it? ...and at the same time irrannoying! ; ) I am even realizing though, that I am guilty of the same thing...I just have to take action...we all just have to move our feet! ...We humans are so silly sometimes.

Funny thing happened at the temple this week...I was there doing a shift and this big group of like 20-25 Russians came and were all taking pictures and stuff....we were teaching them about the Temple and showing them pictures and one of the Russian ladies looked at me and said, "And what's your name?" I said, "Sister Riggs." She responded, "Sister Riggs....you are a very sexy woman." I was pretty speechless cause it sure was out of no where! It was all my companion and I could do to not bust up laughing...but...that's always nice to hear I guess...even from a slightly scary Russian woman ; )

So I just want to share a wonderful thing that happened this week....we had training at the Mormon Battalion (we do once a week) and they just decided to focus on us. Sisters tend to all be perfectionist and that results in us being really hard on ourselves. It's so hard not to compare and feel like we are failing or not as good and so and so. It's hard to be with a lot of Sisters who have been here for a while and just seem to get everything and you just feel inadequate a lot...I know I have felt like I have had lots of weaknesses and things I want to improve and feel like aren't happening...but what I have had to realize is that change is a process...a mission is definitely a process....and I can't learn everything that I want to right now...and I am not going to be perfect right now. I will be learning up to the very last day of my mission. That's hard for me to accept but I am learning to...but anyway...this was happening with a lot of us...and we read a wonderful story that you should all read if you get a chance... it's called "You Are Special" by Max Lucado. Read it...it's amazing....the parts I loved the most were that Punchinello (the main character) had to go to Eli every day for the dots and stars not to stick...and his master (the puppet maker) doesn't make mistakes......That is the same with our Father in Heaven. We mess up every day...and we might get hurt every day or feel we are not good enough or don't have anything special to offer....but we must go to our Father in Heaven daily in prayer...apply the Atonement to our lives and especially to our hearts...and let Him let us feel of His great love and know that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks...especially what the world thinks. What matters most is what our Father in Heaven thinks...and we can take comfort and KNOW that NO MATTER WHAT....He loves us....and He doesn't make mistakes...and He didn't make a mistake when He made you. YOU are special and every soul is great and unique in the sight of God!  We all have sooooo much to offer....it is Satan that wants us to forget that and think otherwise. I just wanted to share that with you...we then were invited to write down at least three reasons why were were the perfect missionary to be here on this mission and in this place at this time...what we had to offer here...I want to invite you to think about this...think about your unique talents and abilities...it doesn't have to be a beautiful voice or athleticism or craftiness...it can be your ability to listen....your ability to comfort others....your smile......there are many unique gifts we've been given for the benefit of man to help lift others....what do you have to offer? Why are you the perfect, valiant, Child of God that needs to be here at this time and this season? Because you are here for a reason and you are a Child of God! Let's all remember that!

I love you so very much. Thank you for your love and support and your prayers!

I'm a MISSIONARY!!! Oh my goofy gummies!

LOVE,
Sister Riggs
xoxo!!!!xoxo!!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yay for Baptisms!‏

Hello Again My Dear Family,
 
Happy Anniversary to Brent and Kyleen this week! I love your sweet family and you are all blessings in my life and I admire you and your love toward one another and the joy you have in being a family and learning and growing together. Thank you for setting an example of the blessings of a temple marriage and living in a way that shows the gospel truly blesses families. Love you and congrats!
 
We had another wonderful baptism this weekend...two baptisms! The sweet twin sisters Cheyenne and Sierra got baptized and it was so sweet. There were a lot of family that came to support them that aren't members or have fallen away and the spirit was there so strongly that many hearts were touched. It is incredible to see two sweet children come with such faith and want to be baptized. The girls asked me to sing and so I thought it fitting to sing "I Am A Child of God." The Lord blessed me with a clear voice and the spirit of the message was definitely felt. After they were baptized they both wanted to get up and say how they felt and with a beaming smile Sierra stood and said, "When I was baptized I felt so happy!" And her sister Cheyenne stood and smiling said, "When I was baptized I felt clean." Simple statements but it was hard not to wipe away a few tears as they said it with such joy and the happiness of being clean and following the example of Jesus Christ was clear in their countenances. It was a wonderful day! I am very lucky! I have already seen four baptisms in my first five weeks! Other missionaries who have been here 14-16 months have maybe seen two or three...and if the other four we have with a date all get baptized in September I will have seen 8 in my first two months of my mission. I am so lucky and so blessed and it is an amazing thing to see and great experience in teaching all of the lessons so often. I pray and have faith that this has set the bar for my mission and it will be hard...but possible, to keep this going throughout the next 16 months! I'm gonna exercise my faith!! = )
 
In other good news...remember Michelle? The woman I chatted with online in the MTC the very first time I had a real chat? She wrote this week and told me that she is getting baptized on Sept. 2nd!!! Wahoo!!! Miracles! I am so excited for her and her sweet family that will be sealed in the temple in a year! Oh what blessings are in store for them!
 
I'd like to share something I realized in a lesson this week as I taught a mother and daughter about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement. As we taught, Kim (the mother) asked, "Do you ever feel like you just don't deserve this? Like you're not worth it?" I testified to her that indeed she was. I recalled the scripture I had read in the temple the day before, Isaiah 53:6 & 7. I'll just share 7 for now..."He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." The Savior was absolutely and completely perfect. He was betrayed, spat upon, reviled, bruised, beaten, broken....all innocently. He being perfect came innocently as a lamb. It says "as a sheep before her shearers is dumb..." Sheep come to the shearers innocently. Lambs come to the slaughter innocently....NOT knowing what is about to happen to them. Jesus Christ came just as innocently, but the difference is...he KNEW what was about to happen to him....he knew what he would suffer but did not turn away....he came and opened not his mouth. Would he have done that if you weren't worth it? All this he did BECAUSE you indeed are worth it. Even if it was only you who needed saving...only you he needed to die for...he still would have done it...because the worth of EVERY soul is great in the sight of God. You are His daughter, and He wants you back...he wants you to come home and so He provided a way for every single one of his children to come back. The spirit was so strong in the room and tears filled her eyes and she could not speak enough to say the closing prayer as she realized how much her Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ love her. She text us later and simply said, "Thank you sisters for being a blessing in my life." She finally came to church and was as happy as could be and called us her angels = ) I can't wait to see her and her daughter baptized on September 8th. Their dad was just baptized about a month ago....he is receiving the priesthood to baptize them, the whole family will now be baptized, and in a year I'll get to see them be sealed in the temple!!! It's gonna happen! So wonderful! But I had a new insight to the Atonement that day as I thought about the difference between the sheep coming not knowing, and Christ coming and knowing. I truly stand all amazed. I love my Savior and Redeemer. Without Him I would have no hope. For that I will forever be indebted and grateful to him and I pray that my life will always point to Him who showed the greatest love of all.
 
I love you all, the work is moving forward! What can you do this week to help build up the kingdom?! Go and do! Don't sit and stew! ; )
 
Your Pioneer Princess and Missionary,
Sister Riggs

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week 5 in the Field‏

Hello My Dear Family!

August is a month of birthdays so first I have to wish my dear daddy Happy Birthday this Saturday! Everyone treat him real nice and be good to him! I love you so much dad! Hope you get to golf! Also a happy birthday to my awesome brother-in-law, Ryan Rudd! You are amazing and my sister is super lucky and I hope I get just as lucky as I earn all my "hot husband" points out here on my mission! ; ) Ha ha...and "honorable priesthood holder who loves God and adores me points!" ; ) That's who you are to my sister and I thank you for taking such good care of her! Eat a bite of Cold Stone for me on your big day!

OK so...I have a really funny story for you all this week! I went on my first exchange (where I trade companions and areas for a day with another set of sisters) and I was sent to a Spanish area with a Spanish speaking companion. I was thinking, "Welp, this will be interesting! How on earth am I gonna help anyone when I don't speak Spanish!" The day actually turned out to be really fun for me but here's the best part: We were teaching this sweet sweet woman named Yuri. My companion told her I was a singer and they wanted to hear me sing and they of course didn't know any American singers so I asked if they knew Selena. So I sang a Selena song and they were blown away...really...they were so cute and she was so sweet and wants a CD ha ha...Now, I don't speak Spanish but I grew up around it and took French and Italian so I can follow a conversation pretty well...actually way better than I ever knew I could! So Yuri was so confused when I would respond to her questions or comments and laugh and nod along. She looked at me like, "I thought you didn't speak Spanish???" We read from the Spanish Book of Mormon and I read verses in Spanish, I felt like I was saying it all wrong but was doing my best. I asked a question about the story and Yuri just looked at me and said, "How can you read and pronounce Spanish perfectly but you can't speak it?!! Your Spanish is really good! I understand your sentences as you read them!" Ha ha...she was just so shocked and so impressed with how well I was doing and at how hard I was trying to communicate with her as much as I could. I told her why I knew a little bit and how, because of majoring in vocal performance, I had many classes on diction and foreign language courses so I could sing in different languages if I had to. So I can usually read and pronounce well even if I have no idea what I am saying. But for all the rest of the lesson my companion translated for me my testimony I bore and questions I asked and things so we got along pretty well...but at the end of the lesson I was bearing my testimony in English while she translated....she speaks Spanish but has struggles with it still and at the end I was saying something like, "I know Jesus Christ truly is my Savior and that He can heal every hurt. I know that His gospel is true. If it weren't I would be here, embarrassing myself trying to speak Spanish!" (You know...just letting her know how much I wanted her to know for herself this was all true....) So my companion was talking and she came to a point and said, "I don't know what the word embarrassing is in Spanish....so questioningly she said, "ebmbarrasado?? embarrassido??" And Yuri's face lit up with some shock kind of like, "Oh! Really? You?!" And she started speaking really fast and I heard somewhere in there "bebe" and I looked at her like, "What? Did she just say baby?" And then she made the motion with her hands of a pregnant belly....she pointed at me. I was like, "NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Ha ha....come to find out embarrassido means pregnant...Seriously???!!!!! What are the odds?! Ha ha...oh we laughed so hard and I think I laughed for an hour after...."If the gospel of Jesus Christ weren't true I wouldn't be here....pregnant..." Ha hahahahahah oohhhhh heeee hehehe...man....just to funny...she must have been very confused!  We cleared that up though! Don't worry ; ) But my first thought was, "Can't wait to tell my family that one!" I always wanted one of those funny language barrier stories from my mission! Didn't think I'd get one speaking English! ; ) It was too funny though...but it was amazing though. I was in another lesson that day and the lady was dropping the missionaries and I just listened intently and knew pretty much what she was saying....and although I didn't know 100%...I knew what I needed to say to her and bear my testimony of...and I felt the spirit sooo strongly....tears welled in my eyes and I didn't even know why really...but I knew the spirit was there testifying, and after we left my companion said I asked the perfect questions and said exactly what she needed to hear....I was just stunned really...they didn't accept the gospel but we knew we had done all we could...we both bore testimony and the spirit touched their hearts....that is all we can do!

I had the opportunity to go inside the San Diego Temple today and do a session for the very first time. It was so beautiful and I couldn't believe my eyes. I sat and cried as I felt of such peace and literally felt like I ascended the stairway to heaven...as I walked down the grand staircase the thought crossed my mind, "You truly are my Princess Ralynne...and I am teaching you how to become a Queen." I will never forget my first experience there....and long for and look forward to the day I will stand hand in hand with my sweetheart there and be sealed together for time and all eternity....I stepped into a sealing room and looked in the mirror and tried to picture it...I have faith that wonderful blessing will come....in the Lord's most perfect timing it will. What a happy day that will be!

I have another baptism on Saturday (my dad's birthday, how perfect!) Sierra and Cheyenne...the two 9 year old twins! We helped them clean their house yesterday and one said, "I am so glad you Sisters are here. You're just the best!" = ) They are the sweetest and I am so happy to be part of such a special day with them!

Love you all and pray for your most desired blessings to come!
Have a wonderful week!

Love Always,
Sister Riggs

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miracles!‏


Hello Dear Family! It's Your Pioneer Princess!

First of all, I wanted to wish Savannah a Happy 2nd Birthday! Send me pictures of her party! I am sure it was a blast and she was oh so cute! Also, a happy birthday to my awesome brother-in-laws, Brent and Jeff! You are the best and I love you for taking care of my sweet sisters and being amazing priesthood holders and husbands and fathers! Also a very happy birthday to my bestie, Alyssa! I got a surprise visit from her and her husband at the Mormon Battalion this week...and as she would tell you...my face and reaction was priceless! But yay for Birthdays!

This week has been yet another incredible week...would you expect otherwise when doing the work of Angels?! I truly am amazed on a daily basis. I love being part of the Lord's army! And let me tell you, the battle is truly raging!

Let me share one incredible experience I had this week. On Wednesday, my companion and I had set out into the field and we had three set appointments and six back-up plans. On our way to the first appointment, I called our second to confirm. She cancelled and wanted to reschedule. We arrived then at our first appointment and they were all home and the daughter was excited to see us and so was the dad...but the mom came out acting all tired and said she felt sick and asked if we could reschedule (2nd time in a row) so we smiled and we did...as we walked to our back-up plans I said, "So, I guess it's gonna be one of those days huh?" Then ALL of our back-ups fell through...people had moved, weren't home, turned us away...said they had no time (even though they were sitting around doing nothing...besides napping or watching TV) ...so we walked back to our car (which was parked right outside the window of the apartment of our first appointment) and we could hear the lady who had said she was sick and tired and wanted to reschedule...talking quite energetically on the phone! Oh...I was feelin' so defeated...but thought, "Welp, this is missionary work. It happens." So we had a ton of time still so we started thinking of others we could try to contact...I thought of a potential investigator we hadn't been able to reach, and so we got in the car and my companion said, "Mike just popped in my head. Let's go see Mike because he is on the way to the other house and we haven't been able to get a hold of him." We stopped by and knocked on the door. He answered! He was there! Yahoo we get to teach! So we had a lesson with him in his backyard and taught him the Gospel. Mike is trying to come back...he went a little wayward for a while when he became a Marine. He has been trying to come back to church and things but has faced A LOT of opposition through his friends and his mother. We had a great lesson with him though and I shared with him that no matter what you do or how far off the path you go, AS SOON as you turn your eyes back toward Heavenly Father, and move your feet, He immediately blesses you and that there is no greater love. God could never stop loving him. I shared with him my power scripture that always helps me through hard times, D&C 58: 2-4. He kept pausing as he read and clearing his throat...I wasn't sure what was going on but I knew he was feeling the spirit. Afterward he thanked us for coming by and said he'd be at church and made another appointment with us. As I left I thought, "Well...I felt like I had no idea where to go with that lesson and I didn't feel any super strong feelings but I hope it helped." 15 minutes later we got a text from Mike. He said, "Sisters, thank you so much again for coming by. I was in route to get something to drink...no, not water. (He's had an alcohol problem) and I prayed for intervention and just as I was about to walk out the back door. You knocked on it." I stopped dead in my tracks and couldn't speak. I just looked at my companion and we stood in awe and in gratitude....he told us more, "Last night my mom tried to kill herself again and when it happened the Elders showed up and said they felt like they needed to come over and they were able to help. I thought to myself why do I never get help when I need it? And today you came. It was all I could do not to break down during the lesson because I knew that my prayer was heard and had been answered."  MIRACLE!!!!!!! What's even more amazing is that my companion and I were discouraged and praying our hearts out to be in the right place at the right time. And I had literally prayed to see a miracle. Prayers were answered on all sides! Yes we had a hard afternoon, but those appointments fell through for a reason. Heavenly Father was freeing up our time so that we would be in a position to answer a desperate plea for help!!! Oh I just LOVE how much our Father in Heaven loves us and knows each and every one of us! It is so incredible...and I was so humbled and grateful that day to see again that Heavenly Father is in control and He works mighty
miracles! AMAZING!

I had another, well two more miracles this week! I witnessed my first two baptisms in the mission! Sherry and her daughter, Amber, were baptized on Saturday!!! It was so amazing and it went off without a hitch and the spirit was undeniably there. We had wonderful talks given and I was honored they asked me to sing at their baptism. I sang "Live Like You Believe", which was the song I thought of as I thought of the two and their journey that they had made to this point. My accompanist forgot her music so I was glad I thought to bring my copy...but that left me without the words and I wasn't sure I knew them...AND my throat had so much junk in it I kept clearing it and clearing it...I prayed for a clear voice and to remember my words and invite the spirit...that prayer was answered. The warmth of the spirit poured into the room and it was one of the most sweetest experiences to look into Sherry and Amber's eyes, two sisters I had taught and helped, and see tears come to their eyes while they smiled back at me. There really is no greater feeling of joy and happiness than knowing you had a hand in bringing another unto Christ...in helping them to find the path and take the first step down it by being baptized....a step that has such far reaching effects into the eternities. Someday their family will be sealed in the Temple for time and all eternity. Amber, who is now 12, will someday go to the temple with her sweetheart....they will teach and raise a family and maybe her son will go on a mission and change the lives of many! Oh how great and glorious is this life and the plan of happiness our Father in Heaven has shown us! MIRACLE!!! I wanted to attach a picture of me with them at the baptism but I got stuck on an old one this week. I will try next week. Oh! And our mission president and his wife came! That made us soooo nervous, but they said it was a really nice baptism and very well done. President Clayton shook my hand after and told me they were very lucky to have me in the mission. His counselor, President Jespersen, told me I had 8 days to prepare a song in Spanish to sing at the Spanish Mission President's Fireside! Ha! I accepted gladly but they are fully planned this week...so I will be singing in next month's...in English. = ) Every month they have a Mission President's Fireside that is all music. (Perfect for me right?!) They alternate Spanish and English and it's a chance for the missionaries to share their talents and testify through music. We invite all of our investigators! I am so excited to be a part of that!

I was able to use my voice also this week in inviting someone to be baptized. He has been on the fence for a long time and knows it's all true but has been waiting for God to tell him what to do next. They said they wanted to hear me sing. So we taught him the Plan of Salvation, which he had a lot of questions about because his wife passed away, and then I sang "When He Calls My Name" by Hilary Weeks and bore my testimony, then had him read Alma 5:59,60 &62...this I felt would really speak to him because he actually used to be a shepherd. He read it and lifted up his arm to show us his goosebumps...I extended my first invitation to baptism (my companion had said it the other times = ) ) and he said YES!!!! MIRACLE!!!! He will be getting baptized by his brother...the only member of the church in his family of nine! It was incredible...Here I am sitting in a room full of wise and learned people...he has five friends all over 50 years old who come to the lessons with him who all use to be members of the same church for years...even his old pastor and his wife...and they have all become Mormon....but not him yet...and he is sitting in front of us asking me and Sister Tanner...25 and 26 year old young women, to teach him! It made me think of D&C 1:4 ...how true it is. And right after that I went and taught two twin 9-year-old girls very simply...and who are living in poverty and were happy that day because they got groceries and some money to be able to turn their phone back on! Wow.....I truly am a missionary and this is amazing!

Another realization I had this week was that my patriarchal blessing is coming true! In my blessing I was told I would bring comfort and be a source of strength to many of my brothers and sisters throughout the world. When I got called to California I wondered how that would happen. But in just this week I have taught couples and families at the Battalion from the Netherlands, Holland, Denmark, China, Austrailia, Slovenia, Germany, and Iran! Oh my goofy gummies!!!! MIRACLES!!!!
I love you all so much and pray for you and that you will see miracles in your own lives as you turn your eyes to the Lord and do all you can to help build His kingdom on earth!!!

This is AWESOME!!! Keep in touch! I LOVE to hear from you!

All my love and hope for your happiness!

Your Servant in the Lord,
Sister Riggs