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!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Magic Happening

Hello Dear Family and Friends,
 I hope you all had a wonderful 3 day weekend and that you are happy, healthy, and well. I just thought I'd pass on this great picture of me and some of the amazing sisters I serve with at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site = ) It has been another great week full of miracles in the mission field. I have a few experiences I would love to share....
The first is with our golden investigator from Hong Kong China, David. Remember last week how I said he was so great and excited and that he wanted to meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Well last Wednesday, our second lesson, we taught him about who he was before he came here, his purpose on earth, and the Atonement. I bore personal testimony of the first time the Atonement became very real for me and shared with him the feelings I had as a 17 year old and having my life change with the diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes. The spirit was so strong as I went back to that time and recalled the fear and the pain, but remembered the sweet comfort of the spirit as I plead for my Savior to be with me and comfort me. Sharing that testimony lead to us inviting David to be baptized. He said yes! I then sang "I Am A Child of God" for him in Chinese. What a sweet experience that was...he said with a smile, "Wow that is very impressive..." (my Chinese didn't offend him ; ) ). We knelt and had a closing prayer and he thanked Heavenly Father for the experience he shared with "Sister Robbs" ....ha ha (that's me)...too precious. THEN, we met with him again on Friday and he said, "I need to talk to you about my baptism." My companions and I looked at each other warily and he told us that he had been talking to his other friend from China who loves in Georgia and is also meeting with the missionaries and was working towards being baptized on February 2nd. He said he was asking him why he was getting baptized and what does it mean, etc. He also said the institute teacher asked him if he was getting baptized to please the missionaries or because he wanted to.....we were worried about where this was going and thought he was going to say he wanted to wait...but he went on to say that as he was talking to his friend and telling him why he wanted to be baptized that he just felt so powerfully in his heart that this is what Jesus Christ would have him do! Then, he just looked at me and said, "I know this is what I want to do. Will you ask me that question again?" I smiled and looked him in the eye and asked, "David? Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper Priesthood authority of God?" Before I was even able to finish he said, "Yes." What a sweet and tender spirit David is. He said yes the first time probably more in faith....and then he continued to ponder it and think it out and the spirit was able to confirm in his heart it was right and he wanted to commit to his baptism with that surety behind it. I LOVE this young man! So much faith. He comes to each lesson with written out questions and their corresponding verses from his reading in The Book of Mormon. Last night as we taught him the gospel he asked a few questions and said, "Yeah this just helps me understand for when I am a missionary someday." I stopped and looked back and forth excitedly to my companions and asked him, "You want to be a missionary?!!" He said, "Yes I think I would like to when I finish my bachelor's degree." We said, "Wait...how old are you?" He responded, "18." WOW!!!! That made me just want to cry! We really are so blessed to be able to teach this amazingly humble and faithful son of God. We seriously walk away from every lesson in awe. What a miracle he is.
The other incredible experience I had this week took place at the Battalion. I had finished giving a tour and all of the families were members of the church, but I noticed one man who kind of snuck in alone and wasn't sure what his story was. So after the tour I struck up a conversation with him and found out he was moving here from Colorado for his job. He mentioned the decision would have to be a group one....so I inquired about his family and he said he had one daughter and one son ages 21 and 23 and that it would have to be a group decision because his son was special needs. My mind caught hold on that comment and the spirit prompted to stay with that topic. I learned that his son was autistic. I testified to this great man, Mark, how I knew that his son was a very special spirit and that he (Mark) must be an incredible and loving father to sacrifice so much of his time and attention and own desires to be able to take care of his son. I told him how much that meant to Heavenly Father to do that for his special spirit. I told him I was positive he could feel and notice a difference in their home because of what his son brings to it. He said that he did indeed. As I walked with him through the courtyard he asked me what was on the other side of the building. I said, "Oh well let me show you. We have a beautiful art exhibit here right now with paintings from the life of Christ." I took him to the pictures and as he looked I asked if he recognized any of the stories depicted. He said no. I asked if he had a religious background and he said he went to Catholic school when he was younger. I said, "Ok so you have read The Bible?" He said, "No actually I haven't. They didn't encourage us to read The Bible. They actually discouraged us because they said we did not have the knowledge to be able to interpret scriptures, so we left that to the priests (or preachers) and those who had the calling to do so." I was so surprised! I said, "Really? That is so crazy to me. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't read the scriptures. You see, we know that we are all children of God and that we have the light of Christ within us. It's His Spirit that helps us to feel truth and discern between right and wrong. As we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and he then is able to be our constant companion. Through him we can receive personal revelation for our lives and he can also teach us and confirm to us eternal truths. I have received some of my greatest answers to prayer by reading the scriptures. They have comforted me and helped me to feel of my Heavenly Father's love. That is what He intended." I then asked, "So you don't know these stories?" He said, "No." I excitedly asked, "Well can I share one of the stories of my favorite painting?" He said yes and I took him over to stand in front of the painting by Liz Lemon Swindle of the woman who reaches for the Savior's hem to be healed. I shared with him the story and he was in awe. I then told him why it was so personal to me and told him of my incurable "issue of blood"  (my diabetes). I told him my testimony of the Savior and His Atonement and why I was so thankful for what He did for me.....because part of that Atonement was him overcoming physical death and be resurrected. Because of that resurrection, I know that the time that I have here and that I have to deal with my diabetes is not forever. I read with him Alma 40:23 "The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame." I testified to him that the promise was real for his son. As I finished, I didn't even have to ask him, he said, "So how do I learn more?" (He was holding a referral card in his hand) A little shocked and speechless I pointed at the card and said, "Well you can fill that card out for me!" He also asked if there was a place he could go to receive instruction. Oh my goofy gummies I was so excited. I got his information and said goodbye and immediately called to find out who the missionaries were who would be taking care of my new friend and his journey in the gospel. I found out it was 2 Elders from mys district! So, I get to keep in touch and hear about how it all goes. I asked Mark if I could send the missionaries to his family in Colorado so they could learn with him and he said that he first wanted to do this alone, and if it was right he would then share it with them. WOW!!!! The Visitor's Center's and holy ground! I am so thankful for that sweet experience.
One more I wanted to share was yesterday...I had a mother and daughter from China on my tour and afterward, I asked the daughter, Alice, she liked about the story. She said she was very moved by their faith and belief in God and that everything would be alright. (She's 14) I knew I found a great one...most people say the bulls or the talking pictures ; ) I talked with her and her mom and thought I should sing "I am A Child of God" in Chinese for them...I don't quite have it memorized and was sad to discover I had left it in my apartment, but I tried to sing as much of the 3rd verse and chorus I could remember...it was very broken, and missing a few lines but as I sang sweet Alice began to cry. Her mother joined in her tears and then I think she was embarrassed and tried to leave. I kept talking to them and testified of what she was feeling and what her spirit was recognizing. I gave them a Book of Mormon in Chinese and promised as they read they would feel that same spirit they had felt today. It is amazing to see how every experience in your life is for a purpose...a greater and wiser one than we often realize. Who knew 6 years ago when I traveled to China with the BYU Young Ambassadors that I would be teaching and meeting so many children from China that I would be able to connect with and sing a sweet testimony too? Who knew that 9 or 10 years ago when I was in an honors choir learning a Traditional Chinese Folk Song about a Jasmine Flower, that I would be able to use that as a missionary tool to soften hearts of those from China I met?? Heavenly Father did! There is more where that came from but I am out of time! = )
I love being a missionary. What a sacred work we are about. I love my Heavenly Father with all of my heart and I pray you all will follow the promptings He blesses you with to share the gospel with those around you! You don't need a name tag to do it!!! Go change the world!!!
Love you with All of my Heart!!!!
Sister Riggs