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, September 25, 2012

Sister Riggs is Gettin' Bold!‏

Hello Family,
Another week gone and more wonderful miracles and teaching and learning. This transfer is coming to a close in the next two weeks and my stomach is in knots every time I think about it because my companion will be going home and I have no idea who will be my next companion, or if they'll have me train or what...there are gonna be a lot of changes and so many possibilities of what could happen. We have all started placing our best bets! But really....I just can't think about it cause it makes me so nervous! Excited and scared to see what happens after I send my trainer back to Canada!
This week I seemed to keep having opportunities to be bold. I am just getting more matter-of-fact with people and it's kind of cool...and a little nerve racking because I just don't want to offend anybody! But I am truly realizing the power and authority of my calling as a missionary for the Lord! So one of our investigators has been through lots of missionaries and his wife is a member of the church and he has been learning. I have been teaching him since I got here and he just hasn't been progressing in his commitment to be baptized. He set a date a while ago for November 3rd but just doesn't come to church because he is heavily involved in his gospel choir at his church, which is at the same time as ours. We've had weekly lessons with him and he came to a musical fireside we had and we got him to church once....but nothing seemed to be affecting him. I'm not gonna lie, he's pretty confident and a little prideful and it seemed he was more into being the center of attention and feeling really needed as the go-to at his church, rather than following the path that he had told us he felt was right and needed to follow. The last time I saw him after a musical fireside I sang at, and hearing his comments about the whole thing (including that I had a very good voice but it sounded better on CD...HA! And that the MOTAB was more him and his style because it was mature) I just thought, "Wow....he needs to be humbled." So I started praying for him and for the Lord to humble him so that he would know this was the path he needed to take. To be humbled enough to give up performing in his choir to come to church. Well, Sister Tanner and I shared with him the story from the Book of Mormon about King Lamoni's father in Alma 22. After he has been taught the gospel he asks Ammon what he needs to do to know God and to have eternal life. He says if he could know Him he would give up his entire Kingdom! He prays and tells God if He will make himself known that he will repent and give up ALL of his sins....so incredible. So we shared that story and asked what he was willing to give. His reply was anything....so I had these thoughts going through my mind and I thought, "Oh I don't know if I should say what I think I should say right now...it might offend him..." and I was sitting there stirring over it while my companion was testifying and I thought, "OK if she breaks again to let me talk I'll say it." But she didn't, she closed and we were about to pray so I thought, "OK I guess I shouldn't say it." But then the wife looked at me and said, "You started to talk but then you stopped and I feel like you want to say something...I'm not sure why you didn't but if you would, I'd like to know what you wanted to say." I said, "Did I start talking? (because I hadn't) Well I was thinking something but wasn't sure if I should say it. But this was my thought in listening to you....bottom line is, you have told us you feel in your gut that this is right and you should keep to this path and you have made a commitment to be baptized on November 3rd. If you want to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, then you have to GO to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" He took that surprisingly well. I said, "I hope that you don't mind that I shared that." He said, "I hoped you would." I then got even a little more bold...he told us at the beginning of the lesson that he had three distinct dreams that he wrote down...he shared one with us and told us the words the Lord said to him in a dream (and we learned when we first met him that he feels the Lord communicates to him in dreams and through music). He said something like, "You have given much to your country and your family and others, and now it is time to humble yourself and follow me." Say what?! So I told him, "you want to know something cool Tony? I have been praying for the Lord to humble you in a way that you would understand and know that this is the path you should take, and now we've come here and you've told us that the Lord told you in a dream to be humble and follow Him! He spoke to you in a way you are familiar with and would understand and prayers have been answered! It makes me soooo happy! Because I can see that the Lord loves you and is working with you on this! Isn't that amazing?!" He was smiling and laughing to himself. His countenance was brighter. He told us that he had one more commitment with his choir  (and that was last Sunday) and he said after that I know where I am gonna be. I asked, "Where?" He said, "Where you guys are!" = ) It was so cool and I felt the Lord's love for him and my love for him grew...and I was struggling with that...we thought he just wasn't ready and we might have to let him go...but the Lord showed us he truly is ready! We saw him at our ward Luau this weekend and he was so happy. I pray He continues to be and doesn't let the things that don't matter get in the way of the things that do!
That's all the time I have to share today but I thought it was pretty cool...my companion keeps telling everyone about it and I'm like, "oh stop it...it wasn't me...that was definitely the spirit at work!"
I got to go to the San Diego Zoo last week and it was tons of fun....fun to go to public places and see people who love you right away because they know you are a missionary and come and say hi like they've known you...and then to see the opposite...the people that see the name tag and totally avoid us..ha ha...gotta love being a missionary!
I want to invite you to read Alma 22 and ask yourself the question: "What would I give to know God?" We can always come closer to Him. Life is so much happier when we are too!
Lots of love! Miss you all!
Sister Riggs

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Following the Spirit!- Week 14

Hello Dear Family,
Another wonderful and crazy week gone by here in San Diego! I have experienced the spirit so much in my life! (Great daily blessing when you're set apart as a missionary for the Lord!) Here are a few experiences:
We had Salt Lake City come and do a 3 hour training with all of us who serve at the Mormon Battalion. Fun fact....the head of all of the Visitor's Centers for the church was my Bishop at BYU 4 years ago! So I got to surprise him and it was so great to see him again and be trained by him and I learned SOOOO much! Everything has changed for me for the better in how I see the Battalion and the great resource it is to help people "begin to be astonished", like the scriptures teach us. But I was asked the night before at about 9pm to sing a special musical number at the 8am meeting. I was stressing out a bit trying to figure out what song to sing and what message the Lord wanted given in this meeting. I went through my whole book (it's a lot...like 6 lbs of music)....I was struggling because we don't really have anyone who can play the piano well when they have to sight read it on the spot. I had a track for one song I had recently sung but it was about the Atonement and kind of heavy and I knew we would be talking about training things and missionary work and I wanted something that would relate. I came across "Miracles" and felt like it was perfect.....but it's hard to play.....I said my prayers before I went to sleep (as I always do mom = ) ) and I prayed to know what song He would have me sing and that there would be a way for it to be done. I woke up to the voice inside of my head singing the chorus of "Miracles." I knew it was what I was suppose to sing. While I was running that morning I said, "Heavenly Father help there be someone who can play this...or some way to be able to sing this song this morning because I know it is what needs to be heard." While I was doing my hair and make-up I thought, "Oh yeah...Sally DeFord wrote that and she has all her music online for free and there are some demo tracks...maybe there's a background track!!! ...And I have a blank CD another missionary gave to me the other week. I'll take the music and have the missionary who is gonna try to play it start figuring it out while I check online for the track." Well prayer answered! There was a track I could download, it was free, and it burned to the CD just fine and I sang through the song in the computer room once and all of it happened and came together between, 7:50 and 8:00 am when the meeting started! And what is even more incredible is that our mission President and his wife, Sister Clayton, spoke and shared some thoughts, along with the Battalion Director and his wife. All four of them spoke about something that was specifically in the words of the song and could be related to it. It was all I could do not to cry as the spirit confirmed this was the song I was suppose to sing. Then, just before I sang, President Clayton testified of how Heavenly Father micromanages this work. Ha! I thought, "Amen!! That's all He's been doing this morning!" The message to us who were being trained and striving to become better and do our best to serve the Lord was profound. We see so many people who come to the Battalion and we have such sweet experiences with them and sometimes it is so hard to let them walk away and not know what will happen to them...we only have them in our reach for a few minutes! There are people we see who we know are ready for this and we see those who are hurting and just long to help them....but we are seed planters....miracle starters....so we have to do all we can within the 30-60 minutes...or sometimes just 5 minutes that they talk to us....the words of the chorus say, "There are hands I cannot hold, hearts I cannot comfort, tears that only miracles can stay. So let me love and serve and teach those who come within my reach. For miracles begin that way." It was so wonderful!!!!! I was so thankful to be a literal instrument in His hands in delivering a message that was needed.
...Also got some great news yesterday...an Elder came into the Battalion and asked if I remembered a certain woman I had met at the Battalion and given a Book of Mormon to. I vaguely did...it was about a month ago....but he told me that they were now teaching her and she is very solid and loving the gospel and coming to church and will for sure be baptized someday soon!!! How cool!!!! That made me so happy...because we don't always get to see the result of what we do here...but we really are miracle starters!!! The Lord micromanages and He takes care of His children!!! ALL of them! So happy!
Another experience I had happened yesterday. I felt a warning from the spirit and was so glad I followed it. We swapped companions for the day (called exchanges) and so I was Sr. Comp and in charge of the area. We were going to teach a referral and hopefully add her as a new investigator and we were teaching in an apartment building, where we are currently teaching someone else, and we usually don't park in the complex because there is no guest parking. But our investigator told us that there were two spots that were OK to park in during the day, so I parked in one of them. The building we were teaching in was not in view of the car so I felt a little nervous leaving it there, but thought we probably wouldn't be too long and it'd be OK. So we had started getting to know this amazing girl and were about to teach her. We had been talking for maybe 5 or 10 minutes and I got this nervous feeling in my chest and saw in my mind me and Sister Davies walking out after the lesson to an empty parking spot and calling to say our car had been towed and having to pay hundreds of dollars. So I almost didn't say anything because I didn't want to be rude....but I asked her if she had a spot we could park in and she said yes. So I asked if we could just run and move it 'cause I was worried about our car being towed....she seemed a little like "wow all you are thinking about is the car..." but I ran to go move it and I ran around the corner and the lady who's spot it was had parked behind our car to block it in and she was getting out to call the tow truck!!! I was running and said, "Sorry are we in your way?!" She said quite irritated, "Yeah you're in my spot." I apologized and she let me move the car. OH MY GOOFY GUMMIES!!!! THANK YOU Heavenly Father!" Just a few minutes more or had I ignored that prompting our car would have been towed and would have ruined the whole day and we would have had to pay a lot of money to get it back. We were teaching Cashae for an hour....our car would have been long gone! I felt so much gratitude in my heart and thought, "Cool!!! I really do have the spirit with me!!!" ha ha...and it provided a great way to teach about the spirit! We added Cashae as a new investigator and our lesson with her was a sweet experience. She is the epitome of why I wanted to come on a mission....She is a young, single mom with a 4 and 1-year-old boy. Her dad, whom she was very close to, passed away 3 years ago. Her husband left her when she was 7 months pregnant. She does have one brother around but he is trying to get on his feet as well. She doesn't have a stable job and feels completely alone right now, and like she wants to give up but she knows she can't because she has to be strong for her boys.....WOW! How amazing it is that I get to teach her of the Savior's love, and help her have hope again in her life, and help her discover she is not and never will be alone!!! = ) Happy Heart! And her boys love us already and the 4-year-old blocked the door and told us we couldn't leave yesterday!!! Ha ha...melted my heart!!! I love this work!
I love and miss you all! Would love to hear from you more often!!!
Have a wonderful week and go start some miracles!!!
Sister Riggs

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 13 of my Adventures Serving the Lord!‏

Hello Dear Ones!

Happy Birthday from Aunt Ralynne to my sweetie pie Lily yesterday! Can't believe she is 5! This is getting crazy! I love love you so much and am so lucky to be the aunt of someone so darn adorable!

This week has been an interesting one. It kind of ended weird because my poor little companion got sick with Strep Throat!!! She was in denial about being sick for a couple of days and then I said, "You better stop being in denial and call the nurse before it gets worse and then you're REALLY sorry!" We then thought she had influenza, but noticed nothing was getting better even with rest and medicine. I looked in her throat with a flashlight and said, "Honey! You got strep throat!" So....miracle that I have not gotten sick? Yes indeed! The Lord knows I have some things to sing at and He is keeping me healthy! But I played "mom" all weekend...makin' pancakes and soup and applesauce and Theraflu and making her rest and drink tons of water....those were the only things she could get down without it hurting her throat too much. She is still not so good today...but on the mend.

Last week on preparation day we went to Sunset Cliffs! It's a place right next to the ocean we are allowed to go to because it is rock and not sand and boy did I have a blast! We took TONS of pictures and caught little crabs....my companion got one and passed it over for me to hold (little ones so they don't hurt if they pinch you) and it was so creepy!....But kinda cool.....sad thing was the next day I ate a stuffed crab at a Chinese buffet and was feelin' real bad! = / But to feel the sea breeze and be in such a beautiful place was just what I needed. I felt so peaceful and free! AND...Sister Riggs' favorite thing....I saw dolphins in the wild!!!! Just too awesome.

Later that night all of our appointments cancelled and fell through and I said a prayer with Sister Tanner and asked Heavenly Father to help us see a miracle before the night was over. We went to contact a referral we had gotten but it was in a gated apartment complex and we didn't know what apartment number she was so we couldn't buzz her, and her name wasn't listed anywhere. We stood there staring at the names for a minute...looking very confused. Then went back to the car to double check the name and address and came back and stared at the list again...a kind man came to the gate and opened it and asked, "Would you like to come in?" We laughed at how ridiculous we probably looked to this man and thanked him. We told him who we were looking for and he said we could ask the manager...but it was after hours and we didn't want to disturb anyone and it was just minutes away from the time we are required to head back home. We decided we'd come back. This man walked with us to our car cause he was meeting some people down the street and he asked, "So are you from some organization or something?" Poor guy! We were so focused on finding this referral we forgot to be missionary minded to ALL we met!! I introduced us and told him of the message we shared and asked if he'd be interested in us coming by to teach him and his family. He is from Baghdad and is an American citizen now and has his mom, wife and two young toddlers and he said he would love that. We got his info and he said he'd look forward to meeting with us. All this happened between 8:25 and 8:30....right when we have to go back home! MIRACLE! We were meant to meet Sammy that night...and Heavenly Father answered my prayer and we DID see a miracle before the end of the night....JUST before...in the last minutes we could! I love Heavenly Father!

We taught another lesson to Kim and Tashyanna this week (they should be getting baptized next week). I love these two women to death. Kim has some of the greatest faith I have ever seen! We taught them the Word of Wisdom over dinner and Kim was drinking tea with her dinner. We were helping Tashyanna remember the five specific things we don't partake of, and she couldn't remember them all. To help her, Kim lifted up her glass of tea....then she got up and went over to the sink and said, "I guess I better pour this down the drain," and she proceeded to do so...I laughed and told her how awesome she was and how much I loved her and her faith. She said, "If that's what I gotta do then I'll do it!" It was so awesome to see! I LOVE helping people change their lives for the better!

So remember after my first week in the field how I wrote about my first lesson? In the ghetto? With a lady who was drinking and rolling dubies with her 4-month-old in front of her and her blaming God for all the unhappiness in her life? Well...we hadn't seen her since...and we stopped by to share a message with her and teach her about faith. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences on my mission so far....so sad to see how hardened some people's hearts are....the spirit could not be there...she wouldn't let us get a word in....probably for fear that she might feel something. She was so agitated and unfeeling as she spoke that her baby began to whimper throughout the whole thing...and her little girl...probably around 5 or 6...was just laying in her room on her bed just staring out at us with the most heartbreaking look on her face. I wished so much that I could hold her and tell her she had a Savior who loved her so much. My heart broke as I thought of the neglect they get and what awful things they must witness in that apartment with a mother who is addicted to drugs and hates God and wishes she could have a second to herself. We tried to invite her to pray and she went off about how she didn't have time to and how there was no point because there are things that God just won't interfere with and basically that he wasn't gonna help her with a thing. She went on and on....my companion looked at me and whispered, "Let's just say a prayer and go." We tried to get a testimony out and she looked more and more agitated...I read Matt 11:28 ?? I think that's right..."Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest..." She laughed haughtily and said, "Well that's an interesting scripture." We prayed and left...I wanted to run from that place....My chest swelled up inside of me as we walked back to the car and I just started crying....It broke my heart to hear someone speak of my Heavenly Father and Savior in such a way...and my heart broke for those sweet innocent children...a situation I was helpless in....I walked away from that experience with a heart full of gratitude to my Father in Heaven. I KNOW He knows me and every need that I have...every situation I am in whether temporal or spiritual....and He DOES interfere and can. His hand is in everything. We have to have FAITH in Him. It says in the scriptures that if miracles have ceased it is because of your own disbelief! We must have faith in Christ and believe in him and his promises. And having faith leads to mental or physical action....I said a prayer of gratitude for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me and that even in hard times, I know he would never ever leave me and He never ever stops caring about me no matter what happens. This is true for each and every one of you. You are precious in His sight no matter how far away you may have strayed. He is there. I KNOW this. I am forever indebted to a loving Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, who make it possible to have hope in this world that we live in!

I had an opportunity to sing at the Mission President's Fireside on Sunday of this very thing! I sang "He'll Carry You" ...a beautiful song about the Atonement and the spirit in the room was very strong and there were many tears. I love that the Lord gives me so many opportunities to bear my testimony in every word I sing. He does know my heart, and my pain...and when there are things in my life only my heart knows and no eyes can see...He does take my heavy load, lifts it, and carries me through. I know this to be true with ALL of my heart....and He will do the same for you....TRUST in Him...John 14:18.

I love you alll sooo  sooo much! Don't give up on the Lord...He never gives up on you!

Sister Riggs

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Missionary Dreams‏

Happy Labor Day Everyone! 
Hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing weekend with your family and loved ones! I don't have a lot of time this week, but will share a couple of quick things:
First of all...this may make you laugh...I haven't shared a room with someone in like 15 years or something...so it has been a while since I've had someone tell me I talk in my sleep! Apparently, I don't just talk in my sleep, but I teach the gospel in my sleep! My companion, Sister Tanner, asked me the other morning in a knowing way, "So...how'd you sleep?" I said, "Good....I think I had my first missionary dream." She said, "You sure did!" I was confused and she said I had awakened her in the night as I boldly, and I guess loudly quoted scripture and was committing someone to pray! Ha ha...I said, no way is that true! She said, "Yes! It was about 12:04 am and you said, "BEHOLD!!!", and quoted scripture and then committed someone to pray!" She said she was worried about me at first but then realized I was having a missionary dream and said, "OK Sister Riggs, I'll pray!" And went back to sleep! ....Then again the other morning she said, "How'd you sleep?" I said. "What did I wake you up again?" She said, "Yep 12:09 am...telling me how much you love your family and literally teaching how the Gospel blesses families right out of Preach My Gospel!" I totally don't believe her but I guess I can't exactly deny it either....So if you come into my room around midnight, you are likely to be taught the Gospel by me! Ha ha...a missionary's work is never done! No rest for the weary...I even teach and worry over my investigators while I sleep! ha ha...Just thought you all might enjoy that.
One quick miracle I was a part of this week. I was doing my temple shift and there was this cute Asian girl trying to take a picture of herself and I offered to take one for her. I then taught her about the temples and showed her the pictures of the inside. You should have seen her when I showed her what the Celestial Room looked like. She started giggling and saying "Oh oh oh my gosh it's so beautiful! oh!!!" and she was just so full of joy and she grabbed my arm and said, "How! Tell me how I can go there!!" I smiled and said, "I would LOVE to!" She is from Guanjo, China, where I performed as a Young Ambassador! She is here going to school and she said she comes to the temple on the weekends to feel peace!! Are you kidding!? So prepared!!! I talked with her about temples, and families being together forever...found out she came from a broken family that has really affected her. I was so happy to tell her of the hopeful and bright future she could have ahead of her! I asked if I could sing a song I had sung for years since I was a little girl...I sang, "I love to See the Temple" and she started crying! I helped her recognize she was feeling the spirit! We took a picture together and I got her information and the missionaries will be teaching her now...and I KNOW she will walk into that celestial room someday! = ) I loved her from the moment I met her and feel as though we have been friends for a long time! The Lord really is preparing His children! Those who come to the temple to feel peace just by looking at it and being on the grounds...you KNOW they recognize there is more! So cool!!!
Sorry this week is short! I love you all and am doing great and continue to see mighty miracles in this work! It is REAL!!! It is TRUE!!!
Love you for Eternity!!!
Sister Riggs