Dear Family and Friends,
This has probably been one of my favorite weeks in the mission. Like Christmas, I just had the opportunity to testify of Jesus Christ and the glorious message that He Lives and what it means for all of us! Having the opportunity to bear testimony specifically of the Atonement and divinity of Jesus Christ daily this week has filled my heart with so much gratitude and joy. An invitation we extended throughout the week was to ponder "Because He lives..." and fill in the blank. To think about personally what that knowledge meant for us personally. I'd like to share what came to mind for me....Because He lives, I have hope and can know with certainty that someday, I will have a cure for my Juvenile Diabetes. Because Jesus Christ was resurrected and overcame physical death, I will one day be able to have a body free of imperfections...
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.
This fills me with hope to know it is just for this time here...that it won't be forever...and that hope and knowledge makes it easier to bear. I also know that in the meantime, through this trial, I am learning to be like and coming closer to the Savior...and that is why I am here, and so I am thankful! Because He lives, I will live in a perfected body someday! He is my cure!
Easter was such a wonderful day...and quite the crazy day! All that happened between 9am and 4:30pm was just crazy! I was serving at the Mormon Battalion from 9-12 and took a couple of tours of groups of 20-30 people....and my first group was 22 people, all one family, and I asked what the occasion was and Grandpa spoke up and let me know their story. He said he lost his wife 18 months ago and told his children and grandchildren he wanted to take them all on a trip to San Diego together with some of the insurance money. My heart swelled and I testified of what a special day it was, to all be together as a family and know that because our Savior lives, they can know that they will see their sweet grandmother again someday and their family will be together forever. Tears swelled and a special spirit was with us throughout that tour. Then right after we rushed to church to try to get there early to practice...I was singing a duet "Because He Lives" with a girl in the ward. The Bishop caught me on the way in and asked, "Sister Riggs did you get my e-mail this morning?" I laughed and said no and he pulled me in his office real quick and said, "I know you are already singing in Sacrament meeting...but would you be willing to sing a song about the Atonement in our combined meeting in the 3rd hour? I am teaching and I think that would be wonderful." I said, "Of course I would love to...you are lucky I just so happen to bring one of my music books with me just in case I sang in a lesson later tonight!" (I had put one of my Hilary Weeks books in my bag because we were having dinner with the Bishop's family and I knew they had a piano and I thought it'd be a great thank you and a great element to add to our Easter message with them! Thank you Heavenly Father!!!!) So then we ran in to practice for the song I was singing in Sacrament meeting had a chance for one run through. The song went great and the spirit was there. The ward choir also sang "Via De La Rosa" ...which ALWAYS makes me cry and the testimonies that were born were sweet and powerful. THEN, we got asked to teach gospel principles last minute because the teacher was out-of-town...YIKES! We just talked about the Atonement and all that was made possible because of it....some shared their personal testimony of it and again, there was a special spirit there.
Our lesson from the Bishop 3rd hour was again all about the Atonement and the Resurrection. He spoke powerfully by the spirit and my heart was burning with gratitude. He shared the testimony of Bruce R. McConkie which is so powerful and so true...And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person. I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears. But I shall not know any better than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.
I echo his words. How amazing that we can come to know ours Savior so personally and so closely, that we do not have to see and feel Him to know how real He is and that He lives. We don't see his face, hear His voice, feel His hands...but we see His miracles, hear His spirit speak to our hearts, and feel His peace....and through kneeling and praying for His help and for Him to carry us and walk with us, we come to know Him...that He is our ever loyal friend...and He is oh so real....experiencing His love in our lives is the proof....so sure and true that when that day comes when we kneel before Him in gratitude, He will be so familiar and just as real as He has been throughout our whole lives. OH IT IS WONDERFUL TO ME!!!
THEN! Right after we met for just 10 minutes with our new investigator Casmier. He came to church for the first time (good Sunday to come!) and he LOVED it. He said it was all so incredible and he felt such good feelings there and that it was by far the best experience he had ever had with church before and that if God allows it, he wants to keep coming back.....as he said that, the thought, "invite him to be baptized came to mind." I thought, "Really? On his first Sunday here and only the second time teaching him?...wait...YEAH! How perfect...he just sat through 3 hours of hearing about the Atonement and literally said it was the best and he wanted to keep coming back and I can testify of how accessing the Atonement fully only comes through making covenants with Heavenly Father and following the example of Jesus Christ and being baptized....ok, I'll do it!" It so wasn't the plan at all...but I testified that he felt what he did because this was the true Church restored in its fullness and the Lord's kingdom on the earth today. I testified that what he was feeling throughout those 3 hours was the spirit witnessing to his heart that this was all true...that it wasn't just chance or luck. I told him I wanted to invite him to keep coming back and keep meeting with us and learning and growing...and then I said, "As you continue to come back and to learn and come to know that these things are true...will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the proper priesthood authority of God?" My companion was in shock..ha ha...and he smiled and said, "Yeah! I would!" MIRACLE!!!! We showed him a little timeline of his journey to baptism and asked if he wanted April 20th or 27th and he said, "I wanna go for the first one!" Wow! So cool! What a blessing!
THEN we had a great dinner with a recent convert and her mom who is not a member...and there were tears as we each said what the Atonement brings to us..including her mom who spoke if the hope it brings in knowing whatever burdens she carries that He can help....what a special spirit....THEN we had dinner at the Bishop's and they asked me to sing and I was thankful for the 3rd opportunity I had in one day to use my voice to sing for my Savior and bring Him honor and glory as I testified of the Atonement and of His love through song. THEN, we had an appointment with a great recent convert named Hugh...whom we hadn't seen in weeks because he crossed over into the mid singles ward and we weren't sure if we were suppose to keep teaching him...turns out we still get to...but MAN! What a mistake we made in losing contact with him...he was in the shambles! But what a change from the beginning of our appointment to the end...and we are going to see him weekly now...but oh how we each need the Atonement in our lives and oh how important it is to never let our guard down....Satan seizes those moments! It's so simple! READ and PRAY!!! I read this this morning:
Alma 13:20, 28-29
Now I need not rehearse the matter; what I have said may suffice. Behold, the scriptures are before you; if ye will wrest them it shall be to your own destruction.
But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.
It was such an amazing day! And I had ANOTHER miracle filled day yesterday as I went on exchanges with Sister Miller....I am out of time to write about it though...but hopefully I'll get the chance to include some of the miracles next week. We had 3 incredible experiences teaching with the Holy Ghost as our 3rd companion who truly spoke through us...I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!
Love you all with all of my heart! ENJOY CONFERENCE!!! DON"T MISS IT!!! Nothing else is more important OK? I mean really!!!! Can't wait to hear! It's better than Christmas!!! Just know as you are watching, I will be watching...so it'll be like we're together = ) Ha ha...
OH!!! I read this scripture the other day and it made me miss you all so much and tugged on my heart strings because it was almost like my own words...and explained exactly the desires of my heart:
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Enjoy the pics!
|Me and Sister Rasmussen get dressed and then don't realize we are totally matching until halfway through the day! Ha ha!|
|Some yard work service!|
|A cute Chinese family I met and sang in Chinese with! They want me to come visit! = )|
|Ha ha...a joke...but we play video games that lead to the temple!!! = ) Ha ha..our Mormon Messages DVD|