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!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sister Riggs- Becoming like our Savior

Dear Family,
      Well did you all survive Thanksgiving? Have you all come out of your food comas yet? I hope your hearts and homes were filled with love. I prayed in the morning to be encompassed with love and to have opportunities to lift others so much that I wouldn't have time to ache for home...because I was feeling a little homesick...and the Lord answered my prayer. It was such a wonderful day and Sister Hudson and I were able to do a lot of good in the homes we were in. We shared our testimonies throughout the day and messages of gratitude for the gospel and the love of the Lord. I had an incredible personal study that morning that left me in tears as I learned a little deeper of the Savior's love and just how closely I am working with Him right now, and how much He really is depending on me to bring His brothers and sisters He suffered for individually back to His presence. He truly has commissioned us...and we promised. I cried with gratitude for the opportunity to be a missionary right now and was so thankful I made it here. My time is short today but maybe I will share further insight in a future letter.
     We had a couple of amazing talks in church on Sunday about overcoming adversity and I just want to share a couple of things I thought were profound..."A Kite can't soar without the opposition of the wind....When we be-moan our adversity, we are second-guessing our choice to come here to this earth and accept God's plan...Trials are God showing His faith in us....Abraham had to learn about Abraham (in trials we learn a whole lot about ourselves)...We are here to prove ourselves. Will we follow the Lord no matter what or just when everything is going right? Trials are our chance to become like God and Jesus Christ and without the trials we cannot do so. ...The color in our life comes from overcoming trials.....We are like the horseshoe...some of the metal can't take the heat and get thrown on the scrap pile. We should say, "Try me in any way you please Lord, but don't throw me on the scrap pile." Our trials are our chance to put on our own divinity."
    I hope there is something in there that can bring comfort to your hearts if you are feeling you are in deep waters. The Lord loves us...He is there for us. He will give help in times of need.
    I love my Savior and am so thankful for this season to share His spirit with others in even greater abundance. Let us not forget the greatest gift of all!
All my love,
Sister Riggs

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sister Riggs: I'm Thankful for Gratitude! = )‏

My Dear Family,
      Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful week full of love and joy in your heart for all the Lord has blessed you with. If you stop and take a look around you really can see the outpouring of love from our Heavenly Father. I have been singing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" in a lot of lessons and it warms my heart every time to be reminded of all He gives us each day..."Whenever I hear the song of a bird, or look at the blue blue sky. Whenever I feel the rain on my face, or the wind as it rushes by. Whenever I touch a velvet rose, or walk by a lilac tree, I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me!" Take a look around you this week and just stand in awe at how much He really does love you! I will miss you all so very much, but know I will be taken care of in the many homes we have been invited to and I will get to tell them how thankful I am and how amazing my family is!
    So....holy cow I don't even know how I lived through this last week! Sister Hudson and I experienced in one week what one might experience in their whole mission...let me just tell you SOME of what we did...we had to send our companion home to get better, we had a special sisters meeting with the mission president's wife, we had a dinner for the seniors at the church, 2 baptisms, we did splits twice, we had exchanges for 24 hours, we took ice cream and comfort to a lot of sisters that are sick in the mission right now, we served at the Centennial Celebration for the city of El Cajon...and there was so much that happened in the beginning of the week that it kind of set us back in our lessons and by Thursday afternoon we had only taught 10 lessons (the goal is 20/week)...well with us moving our feet..even when we were beat...between Thursday afternoon and Saturday night we taught 15 more lessons and added 7 new investigators plus one for the young single adult sisters! It was crazy....that isn't even all of it ha! I was sitting at the table in lunch in total awe....the Lord truly blessed us and we saw so many miracles. We ended up teaching 28 lessons last week and as we accounted for the whole 6 weeks we saw we taught 129 lessons! Crazy! We just go go go and do do do and when we feel like we're failing we stop and see and ask, "How on earth did we do that?" It's just so cool! I was mentioning to my companion that I truly feel and see a changing in me...I don't even totally feel like myself and had a couple moments last week where the Lord pointed out to me how He is molding and shaping me and is helping me to become who He wants me to become. It is such an amazing feeling and I wouldn't want to do anything else!
    Today we got transfer phone calls and I am staying here in El Cajon as a full-proselyting missionary yet again! I am happy about it but a little sad I will miss out on Temple shifts during the Christmas lights and on the wonderful things they do at the Battalion for Christmas. I sure will miss my family there too, but El Cajon and the Fuerte Ward is all I have known on my mission and they are quite the crazy fun loving family too = ) So sorry if any of you were hoping to see me at the Mormon Battalion in the next 6 weeks! I'll be back when I have done here what Heavenly Father needs me to!
    So one quick addition to my "Parable of the Chiropractor" ; ). I went back and told my chiropractor what I had come up with and we discussed even further insight...he said with an adjustment it requires innate....or a give or trust from the patient he is adjusting.....the doctor feels it out...and when he feels the patient let go, he makes the adjustment. So when we fight it we make it harder on ourselves...but when we trust and let go...Heavenly Father can then make the adjustment He knows we need. I am just so tickled by this parable I want to write a book!
    We had a beautiful baptism of two sisters we have been teaching, Jasmin and Alexis. It was one of the sweetest baptisms on my mission. The spirit was so strong because they are so pure and innocent and their child-like faith is truly powerful. The ward members really embraced these girls and were all involved. Their uncle and grandpa got to baptize them and I got to stand and bear testimony of what I had the honor of witnessing with these 2 girls and their faith. Jasmin, who is 12, said the closing prayer after our first lesson and said, with no prompting, how excited she was to be baptized and to be clean. She has yearned for this and was beaming with excitement. On Sunday after she received the gift of the Holy Ghost I asked her if she felt a difference and she smiled and said excitedly, "Yes!" Sweet Alexis, who is 9, I will never forget her telling us about how she prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and really saw God and Jesus Christ. She said it felt like there was someone there in front of her telling her in her mind the answer was yes! I love my calling as a missionary! This is what I get to be a part of!
....The Lord truly is hastening His work. I want to share some things with you our mission president informed us of that are just too awesome! I am honored to be a missionary at this time. He told us we are serving in the midst of a historical movement that the church hasn't seen in 50 years! Before conference and the announcement of the age change for missionaries, the church had 900 missionary applications open online. The week after general conference and the announcement there were 10,000!!! Half of those papers were for sister missionaries! We currently have about 54,000 full-time missionaries all over the world and in the next 6 months that number is going to almost double to about 90-95,000 missionaries!!!  They now have 3 of the 12 apostles assigning missions to the missionaries full-time. Our San Diego mission alone has a cap of 183 missionaries and they just raised it to 250. We will be getting 80 more missionaries here in the next 6 months. He asked all of us to prepare our areas and to prepare ourselves to be trainers and to have work to do! HOW AWESOME IS THAT???!!!! I know this is part of the reason I wasn't ready and wasn't suppose to serve a mission 5 years ago, or 2 years ago...I know I am really gonna be a grandma out here when the 19 year old sisters arrive, but I know I was meant to be here now and I am so honored and SO GLAD I made the decision to come and be apart of the Lord's army during this time of harvesting! Now, I want to give you a commission! We can't do this alone! We are all missionaries every day! Who do you know who is ready or who needs this! Stop being timid! Stop beating around the bush! You have what they need! They 99% most likely will not find it on their own! We are all to share the gospel and be a voice of remembrance. There are many missionaries preparing to go and teach...help them find people to teach and share their testimonies with! You can do it! Come join the ranks! There really is no greater joy! And what better way to show Heavenly Father how grateful we are for the restoration of the fullness of the gospel than by sharing it!!!??
I love you all so much! Time is really starting to fly...today marks 5 months and I am realizing more and more how precious this time here is!
Hope you all have a marvelous and Happy Thanksgiving! Focus on the family and friends surrounding you! Know that I am there in spirit! You are all written in my heart!
Love always,
Sister Riggs
P.S. Mom says some of you were wondering what to get me for Christmas...how kind you all are! I really just love getting letters and pictures...but if you do want to send something gift cards would be fabulous! We have all the same kind of stores here! I love to go to Chipotle and In-n-Out...On the Border has my new favorite salad...ummm...Target, Ross, Charming Charlie....really...gift cards for food would just be great! Also new church music or stationary = ) Love you all! All I want for my golden birthday this year...is a FULL MAIL BOX!!!! = )

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sister Riggs - The work goes on!‏

Hello Again Dear Family,

It has been another week here on this roller coaster of a lifetime....really...there are so many ups and downs and loopty loops in one day I sometimes wonder how I am still sane....but I truly stand all amazed at how the Lord sustains me through each day...and even among the heartache and the chaos, I can still feel peace and still trust and thank Heavenly Father for the growing experiences...

That was something I wanted to share with you all this week...it kind of hit me in a funny way but brought some insight into my life that I needed. In the past few weeks I have faced a lot of discouragement on all sides...just a few examples...one of our investigators...Jack, the pentecostal...decided to drop us...he is the one that had so many miracles happening and who set a date for Dec. 1st. He told his fellowshipper..not even us...that he was staying with his faith of choice. I tried to send him a little text and tried for a chance to talk with him and see how he came to this decision, but he never responded...it's been a couple of weeks and I haven't heard from him. This crushed me...I have been teaching this great man since I came on my mission and I poured a lot of my heart into him and he always told me how he thought of me as a little sister and loved me like one and that he just loved meeting and learning with us...and then nothing. It broke my heart and effected me for days but I knew without a doubt that the invitations and questions that I extended were 100% from the spirit...one of my most powerful promptings...why then? Why if it was going to lead to him changing his mind? I do not have all the answers but I do know his journey is not over. Heavenly Father is aware of him...and he knows more now than he did and I know he won't be able to just put it out of his mind...there was real growth there...and it was because of the spirit and the Book of Mormon. The seeds have been planted and someone someday will harvest them...I was sad it wasn't me...but I know I gave my best.

....To add to that, yesterday, I had to drive my trainee Sister Greathouse, to the airport. She decided...along with our inspired leaders and doctors, that it'd be best if she went home and worked out her health troubles that have been holding her back from being the kind of missionary she wants to be. Again, I was very heartbroken and had to immediately stop myself from thinking it was my fault or there was more I could have done....it was all internal...and I had to be strong, like her and realize that it was what was best. Being in a trio was hard and Sister Hudson and I knew it would be...but we loved so much through that hard work and Sister Greathouse became a part of us and watching her go was heartbreaking. The rest of the day Sister Hudson and I just kept moving our feet...but we had a hole in our heart and there just seemed to be something missing. She and I started the transfer together for a week...then added Sister Greathouse for 4 weeks, and now we will finish together for the last week of the transfer...then who knows what will happen! We have wondered what this was for, but I know I have grown much from these weeks and Sister Greathouse cried as she told us several times we were the best trainers she could have asked for and she knows we were an answer to her prayers and that Heavenly Father gave her us for a reason and she wouldn't have stayed as long as she did if it hadn't been for us. She is going home and working it all out and hoping to be back in 3 to 4 months. I thought back to when I had to watch Sister Kunz go home from the MTC and how hard that was and I thought, "Wow, I have had to watch 2 amazing Sisters go home for health reasons in the first 5 months of my mission." There are lessons I am learning from this....

I also am doing everything I can every day for my health...to keep my diabetes in control and thanks to a certain angel in my life ; ) I am getting stronger and stronger...but I have felt and seen that Satan is trying to stop me from becoming the Sister Riggs (and future Ralynne) I am striving with all my might to become...and he is throwing discouragement at me...because of new commitments I've made and added strength, I am coming off conqueror...but it doesn't mean it's easy!

SO...this brings me back to my insight I wanted to share....so I also am being treated by a chiropractor right now for some "serious issues" I have with...well mostly my neck....Pretty much looking at the x-rays...standing flat footed and straight, I am all curved to the side...good news is I have "beautiful discs, and a nice lumbar curve!" ; ) Put that on my resume...anyway...he has been working with my neck and really having to work on adjusting my atlas...the first time he did it I thought I might be dead...I asked, "Am I alive? Did you just break my neck?" And I have had to go often to be readjusted and slowly close in the gaps that are keeping me out of alignment. In the process, I have have been pretty sore and had headaches and had to ice my neck, etc...I was thinking, "Wow should I have started this because now I feel worse." I went in yesterday for another adjustment and when he moved it again it cracked and popped and resonated in my head so loud and he said, "WOW...there it went." I said with some discomfort, "Oww.....THANK you!" My companion busted up laughing and I just sat there in total relief....so don't worry mom...I'm totally fine = ) So...to apply that...I was messed up and didn't know because I couldn't see the x-ray....even when I could..I could see there was something wrong but I couldn't see the details and wouldn't know how to fix them. The doctor could and little by little he is re-aligning me and healing me....it has caused some pain and discomfort....but boy do I feel SO much better and SO different. I can walk comfortably and sleep peacefully and think more clearly....and I have been grateful for the pain that has lead me to relief and healing....are you making the connections yet? Sometimes we know there is something amiss in our lives, but we can't see every detail...we want to be fixed and we want to be fixed now! Our Master and Savior has our x-rays! He sees them clearly...He knows what experiences and trials we need to reach our fullest potential and become exactly in-line with His will for us...He works with us little by little with some pain here...and discomfort there that will bring us strength and relief as we keep returning to our master and letting Him heal us and work with us to become something marvelous...and we can say through those trials as we look back, "Ouch...yeah that one really hurt Heavenly Father...but Thank You....I can see the change...I can see why I needed that."

I know it might sound silly...but I learned a lot as the spirit taught me about what I had said. I want to learn to say, "Ouch...thank you" more often! I was struck by Joseph Smith's words in Doctrine and Covenants 127:2 Read it and see how well he says, "Ouch..thank you." He was a rock!

That was my profoundness I wanted to share with you ; ) I did have miracles this week and sang up a storm! I sang a in an octet and took the lead in it for the Mission President's fireside and everyone was blown away...I was so giddy! Singing with 7 other talented singers in such tight harmony! We sang a traditional spiritual called "Precious Lord" and the arranger was there. I coached everyone on it and taught them some Voices of Liberty techniques and it was so fun! I miss that stuff so much and President and Sister Clayton were beaming after! I was asked by a songwriter to come back after my mission and record...so that was cool! I also sang at our Ward's Veteran's Day Fireside. They remained standing after the National Anthem and I sang accapella, "God Bless America." I also sang "He Hears Me," and in a quartet of an arrangement of "How Can I Keep From Singing" and "Amazing Grace." I loved all the chances to sing! They all came at once!

I also was asked to sing with Tony at his baptism! Tony was baptized Saturday and we sang a song of his choice...a gospel song, "Sanctuary." I have never seen Tony so happy! His countenance just beems with the Light of Christ now that he is living the Word of Wisdom and has been baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a happy day!!! No greater joy...sinceriously!

Oh I had another miracle, taught a new investigator and he shared a bit of hurt from his past and didn't seem to think he could truly be forgiven...I felt prompted to invite him to be baptized and testify of the Atonement. I was so scared...THE FIRST LESSON???! But as I trusted and followed the spirit burned within my heart and I invited him and he set a date for January 19th! Too cool!!!

I love it!!
I love and miss you all and hope you are doing well!

Until Next Week!
Sister Riggs 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sister Riggs - Happy November!‏

Hello Dear Ones!
Happy Voting Day! My goodness I can feel the anxiousness involving tonight's announcement...I pray the voters will be intelligent and that the Lord's will will be done! Happy Birthday this week to my awesome Sister LaDawn, and to my amazing mother! Hope your birthdays are blessed and that it reminds you how lucky you are to have had these years here with all of their joys and sorrows that have made you the incredible people you are today!
Another week gone! They really are quite slow in the beginning but are speeding up now and going by faster and faster. I really can't believe it is already November! Holidays are coming around and it is getting harder not to miss you all so much. Send lots of pictures! I want to feel like I was there!
This past week will probably not be in my memory as one of my favorite...it was pretty hard and my heart was broken but the Lord was right there to lift me up and help me keep going...as He always is. But I had another really neat experience with being guided by the Spirit. Last Friday all of our appointments were falling through again and we were going from one place to the next with no success and I felt bad because we were on exchanges and I wanted the sister visiting our area to have neat experiences and I was just thinking of all of these names and who we could see and would even be home on a Friday at 1pm. A name of an less-active young woman came into my head and as soon as it did my list of names just stopped...hers was all I could think about and what's crazy is I have never even-met her before. I thought, "Why am I thinking of her name? ...She's probably not even home...she should be at school." But it just wouldn't leave and I have learned never to second guess and to just follow and heed those promptings immediately. So I flipped a U and we went. We knocked on the door and her mother came and said her daughter only had class 'til 1 and would be home in about 30 minutes. We asked if we could come back another time because we had a meeting at 2 to be at. She got her calender to schedule it...in talking with her at the door we learned that she was baptized into the church but had left it and not been in years but that she wanted to come back. I asked if we could come in and share a message with her. We sat with her and she began to tell us of some struggles she's had but that she had realized that all of the bad things happening in her life, or that had happened, started because she stopped going to church...the true Church of Jesus Christ. She told us of some fears she had for her daughter and how she wanted her to come back too. She then began to cry and said she had been praying for angels to come and help her....to come and be in her home....I told here, "Well guess what? Heavenly Father loves you and He has heard your prayers, because here we are." She told us being a single mom was so hard and that it always hurt her feelings when the Elders would come because they could never come inside when she was home. Like I always testify...Heavenly Father micro-manages! He knows every need! We shared our testimonies with her and of the Atonement and her Savior's love for her. Then her daughter walked in and we got to meet her and get to know her too. She was a little reluctant and threw some attitude at us like some 13-year-olds do...but by the end she was singing a hymn with us and committed to try coming back. I left that meeting in awe...mostly because I was feeling like I wasn't as in-tune with the spirit as I have been and that the thought to go see her came as natural as, "I'm hungry I need to eat." Then to just follow it immediately and see it was needed and see you were on the Lord's errand to answer prayer is just indescribable. The spirit doesn't have to shake us too hard when we are always listening and ready to receive it's promptings...so don't doubt it if it just feels like a random thought...hearken to it.
We also had a couple more meetings with the woman, Teresa, that I, a couple weeks ago, felt prompted to go see on our way to lunch...she is progressing and keeping all of her commitments and it is so wonderful! She read everything about the Restoration we asked her too and came to church and this last weekend we just taught her about where she was before she came to earth and God's purpose for her here and the worth she has and all her potential and we related to the sweet baby boy she is pregnant with right now. The spirit was very strong and at the end we asked how she felt and she just cried and said, "Very touched." She is so sweet and you can tell she doesn't like it when we have to leave.
I got to see Micheal Tilly be baptized this weekend! It was one of the best baptisms I have ever been to. I have been teaching this man since I came out on my mission and I am not sure how much of him I mentioned in my letters...but he is the one who is very knowledgeable in the scriptures and active church-goer his whole life...who had 5 or 6 fellowshippers at each lesson who all use to go to his old church with him (including his pastor and his wife) and who had all converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was always sooooo intimidated to teach in those moments and felt like I had nothing to offer....but again, the Lord showed me tender mercies and that with him and with the power and authority of this calling He has ordained me to, I can confound and teach the wise. I honestly never thought I did much...but he told me with conviction what a blessing I had been to him and that I had shown him many knew things. His girlfriend (a member who was at all the lessons) also told me what an especially great blessing I had been in teaching him...that I was often so inspired with my words and the scriptures that I shared and that she had thought and said of me that I was a spiritual giant....Who ME? No...I stood in awe as they told me these things..in shock..and then just full of gratitude that the Lord has blessed me and been with me and helped me to be able to teach this man so full of faith. I was honored when he asked me to sing a duet with him at his baptism. He has a very Irish kind of sound and voice and we sang, "Who At My Door is Standing?" and it was really fun to match my voice to his and sing like an Irish singer...lots of falls and fast vibrato, ha ha. It was such a happy day!
It was Stake Conference this weekend here in El Cajon and we also were calling a new Stake Presidency so we had a member of the 70 here, Elder Kollicker (sp?) And wow! What amazing meetings! I was so filled with the spirit and very edified. Some things that were said at stake conference...one man was asked to bear his testimony on the spot and something he said that struck me was, "If we just do all the things the Church teaches and has been telling us to do our whole lives, it will change our lives!" SO TRUE! So silly huh? How miserable we make ourselves when we know the exact right things we need to be doing to be happy? My companions and I have come up with this great statement, "We can do anything, if we just do it!" Think about THAT one for a minute ha ha..too too true! Also, the Elder shared an amazing experience that the spirit confirmed to me powerfully. He was in Africa waiting to cross a bridge in the car and there was a little girl who came up to the window and pushed her nose against it and looked in at him. She didn't speak English but he said "Repeat after me...and pointed: I - I, am-am, a-a, Child-Child, of-of, God-God...and she repeated it. The mission president started singing the primary song for her to hear. The car moved on and when it stopped again that little girl came running back to the car and repeated, "I am a Child of God." He testified that this little girl was just as present there with any of us when we were in Heaven and heard the Father's plan and raised our hands to accept it. Her arm was fully extended just like mine, and just like yours...and it is up to us to be that voice of remembrance. Wow...it truly is. Do we love our brothers and sisters here on earth enough to remind them of who they are and to help them get back home to our Father in Heaven? Isn't that what we all promised to do?! How are you fulfilling that promise?! What more can you do? It is truly up to us. You do not need a name tag!
I say it every week and I'll say it again! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! You all can have this kind of joy in your life too! It comes from sharing the gospel, serving, and loving others unconditionally simply because you know they came from the same place you did and are trying to get to the same place you are, whether they realize it or not!
I love you all so so much! Thank you to those who have sent me letters and little emails of encouragement! It means the world to me to be thought of so much and I hope you keep them all coming! Your love and support really does lift me up and keep me going!
Love Always,
Sister Riggs