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, March 6, 2013

It's March?! This is Madness!

Happy March Family and Friends,

Wow....I can't believe it is March already....It is already my half way point this month! I can't believe it. As of now, I come home November 26th....unless I extend and return January 7th....I guess we'll see what the Lord wants! = ) But wow...already less than 9 months away...I remember the beginning of my mission I thought I'd be a missionary for the rest of my life! Time really picked up after 4 months!

NEWS! So, we just got the OK to e-mail family AND friends...so I will be able to write back a few more of you = ) That makes me happy! We also got our e-mail time extended! Wahoo! I type much faster than I write...but I still love getting the old fashioned letter in the mail...and sending them = )

We have had such an eventful week I don't even know where to start! We had dinner with our friends from Ghana on Saturday. They wanted to treat us to a Ghanean Feast! It was so delicious and just too funny...they are the kindest people ever. We had a whole table filled with grapes, watermelon, papaya, plantains, salad with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggs, rice, and delicious Chicken that they put in a yummy kind of sauce...I don't even know what it was but it was spicy and delicious. They even had sparkling cider! They don't drink either = ) We sat together and ate delicious food and showed them some of the Bible Videos the church has made. Since they LOVE the Bible and will only accept that as the word of God...we thought they'd love that...and they did and we had some great discussions. Then, we gave them our gift....yep, we went ahead with my funny idea to make book covers to put over The Book of Mormon....because they said if we told them it was just a commentary on the Bible, they would read it...but if it is said to be scripture or the word of God they won't because it's not in the Bible....so we wrote on the covers: "A Bible Commentary: Guaranteed to Change Your Life!" We gave them 2 copies with the covers on....that softened some hearts for sure...our friend Andrew and Isaac just laughed and smiled and couldn't even speak for a minute...they loved it! We don't know if they read it yet...but hopefully they see by that how much we care that they do read it...and how we are not taking no for an answer!

On Sunday we had the unexpected opportunity to hear from Elder Robert Gay from the Quorum of the Seventy. It was such a wonderful experience! He talked to us about some stories and things he experienced as a mission president in Spain and in Africa....he also talked with us about the power that we have as missionaries....he asked us what we thought that was and a few answers were given, but he then told us, "You have the power to astonish the world as the Lord's missionaries!" It was inspiring...he said there was no silver bullet to this work...but that this work is revelatory and it is directed by the Lord and He has a vision for every area. He will show us that vision and help us find what works best. He served as Mission President in Ghana...that's right! Sister Rasmussen and I ran up to him after and I asked for a few minutes and said, "Do you have a secret weapon or any ideas on how to help the people from Ghana accept The Book of Mormon?" I told him about our friends and he said, "Wow? I never had that problem." We were shocked, but he actually asked for their e-mail address and wants to write them a letter!!! So hopefully...that will help!!!

Yesterday, we had the CRAZIEST experience...it won't even suffice writing about it but I will do my best! We had an "outside of the box finding idea." We decided Sister Rasmussen would bring her guitar, I would bring my voice, and we would make sign that said, "Has a song ever changed your life? Come tell us about it!" We would sing songs that changed/saved ours and people could tell us theirs, and if we knew it we would sing it. We figured it'd apply to a lot of people and that we could definitely tie it into gospel conversations! Welp....the guitar was out because a string was broken...but we went anyway...we drove around for a while trying to decide a good place. We ended up at Mission Bay park...right by the roller coaster...there's a park and the beach and a running path with lots of people...we went and sat on a bench and put our signs up....not working so well without a guitar and music to draw attention...so we stood in the middle of the path with our signs...we just got weird looks...it was cold so we were in our black trench coats, with our name tags and signs ha ha...we decided this was not going to work and we'd try again when we had a guitar...we turned around and saw a young woman sitting at a picnic table right behind us and she was reading the Bible...we said, "Well we could go talk to her!" So we did....she was a faithful 26 year old who proceeded to tell us she wasn't from CA and that she is traveling with her family...they sold everything they had and uprooted from WA and live in two 15-passenger vans with 2 trailers and they just pray to know where God needs them and they go....THEN she said that they all travel and sing together and they all play the strings accept for her brother who plays the trumpet!....WHAAAAT???!!! OH MY GOOFY GUMMIES! Heavenly Father is really funny sometimes.....I looked at her and said, "That's funny...because look at the sign we were holding up to try to get someone's attention?" We talked and I found out her family actually sang at the St. George Temple Visitor's Center when they passed through. I asked her what she thought of Mormons....she said that she respected them but didn't like that they had "another book" that was inspired by someone else.....we taught her about what the Book of Mormon was...more clearly. I told her of a song that changed my life and sang it for her....then Sister Rasmussen and I sang "A Child's Prayer." She then invited us over to meet her family at their vans....they were the nicest and happiest people....they got together and kept saying how blessed they were to sing for us...no lie...they sounded like a professional madrigal choir...and they were INTO what they were singing...They started singing in all these harmonies and sang quite difficult music so perfectly! I was floored! I just smiled hugely...didn't know whether to bust up laughing or not...I held it in and just was wowed...I couldn't believe this experience was actually happening. We sang a hymn for them in exchange and then we all sang "How Great Thou Art." Don't worry...I got video! ha ha! They wanted to play something on all their instruments but we were already 30 minutes late to an appointment because of this encounter! They were also having a BBQ and wanted us to join. It was so crazy. I tried to talk to the father about the church (who looked like Isaiah by the way...or Lehi! Long white beard and all) and he said he had read the Book of Mormon and disagreed with it. He was an interesting man. He told me about his family's journeying and how they were walking by faith rather than site...well I'd say so! I invited his family to the Mormon Battalion and he, in the nicest way, basically refused! We gave him our card and he said again in the nicest way that he would never use it. We said goodbye and got hugs from them all and they were like, "God is good! He is so big! What a great God we have! This was completely a God thing! We are so blessed!" .... AND...another guy showed up for the BBQ and asked if we were from Utah...which my companion is and they were from the same city. I asked him what his story was and he said he was addicted to drugs and alcohol for 13 years and moved out here, is sober for 4 years and has found God...we were like, "Well that's great!" Then he asked, "Does one of you suffer from headaches?" Sister Rasmussen said she does slightly...he said, "God is telling me one of you has a lot of headaches. Can I pray for you?" "Uhh...yes..." He took her hand and "healed her" ... "No more headaches...may they dissolve and leave your body.." He then said, "Jesus Loves to heal..." Sister Rasmussen's face was priceless....ha ...and she still had a headache = ) Oh man...then on our way to another appointment...in the elevator a lady looked at us and smiled as she walked out she said, "You both have the Holy Spirit...I can see it in your faces..." and she left.....we looked at each other and thought as the door was closing, "Yes we do!!! Can we tell you how?!!!" Ha ha...we then said, "Man...what is up with today?!" I have no idea the purposes for meeting the Buckingham family of singers....but I do know that seeds were planted...and that it was NOT an accident!!! Too many things that fell into place! Again...goofy gummies....Pacific Beach is crazy!

We have 3 solid investigators that are doing well. Racquel is progressing and loves the gospel and knows it is true. We had a special fast with her on Sunday for her family's hearts to be softened and she is actually bringing a friend to our next lesson who is interested! So that's great! She's already doing missionary work. Our other two are sisters, Jackie and Rachel, and they are just sponges! Soaking everything up. We meet with them twice a week and they are having tender experiences with the spirit. We hope to have a date for baptism set with them by the end of this week. They promised they will come to church for the first time this week. One of the less-actives we have been working with, who wants to just throw in the towel but we keep trying to help him see how that isn't the better idea, came to church on Sunday and actually got up and bore his testimony. You should have seen the smile on my face! There really is no greater happiness that comes than when you know you are helping the Lord keep His sheep within His fold. I just love to know that I am helping...that's what I want to be...is helpful!

A lot more coming up this week! Another mission president's fireside to sing at! I am attaching a video of our practice! Hope you like it!

Love and miss you all! 
~Sister Riggs