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!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I Love the Spirit! (Letter on 4/16/13)

Dear Family and Friends,

    This week has been another great week serving the Lord! I LOVE the miracles I get to be a part of!  I LOVE seeing the way the Lord blesses us in big ways and small ways. I LOVE seeing others come unto Christ and feel of His love. I LOVE the powerful spirit we feel as full-time missionaries called by God and how much I get to learn through the Spirit as He helps qualify me for the work I must do. I LOVE helping others and seeing them receive answers to prayers that this is all true! I LOVE defending and testifying of Jesus Christ and His gospel every day! I could go on and on! There really is nothing greater than serving the Lord and when I pause to think about it, my heart swells with gratitude that I have the opportunity to be here. Thank you for your love, your prayers, your service, and your sacrifices to help me be here...not only for me personally, but for my family as well.

    I had a couple amazing experiences this week I would love to share. We had what we call "Mission Tour" this last week, which is when a member of the Seventy comes to instruct and train us. We were honored to be in the presence of Elder Whiting...he gave the "Temple Standard" talk in October Conference last year about the little things that were amiss before the dedication that they completely redid? Remember? Well...it was one of the BEST days of my mission ever! I just want to live in those moments forever and never leave! That truly must be what it is like to be taught by the Savior. I learned so much from him, his wife, and President and Sister Clayton. I am so lucky to have such amazing leaders with so much love and such strong testimonies. Elder Whiting addressed some questions we had and taught powerfully. When clearing up how we teach our investigators about the importance of the proper Priesthood Authority, he called an Elder up and asked, "Have you ever been to Hawaii? Would you like to go?" Now, Elder Whiting actually lived there so it was a valid question..he may have connections! The Elder of course said, "Well I can't say no to that!!" Elder Whiting continued to write on a piece of paper as he said, "OK...one round trip ticket to Hawaii....leaving on (such and such date). How do you spell your name Elder?...OK...here is my signature at the bottom...Have a great trip! Let me know how you liked it!" The Elder looked at him like, "You must be kidding." He tried to hand him the slip of paper and he wouldn't take it. Elder Whiting asked, "What's wrong?" He said, "That won't work." Elder Whiting: "But I signed it at the bottom...I'm sure you could get a ticket." ...you see the point...you must have the proper authority...you must have a ticket from the actual airline to be able to fly anywhere....they have the authority for that. Same goes for the Priesthood and receiving ordinances like Baptism...we have the proper authority given from God! It has been restored and it has been restored in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints through a living prophet of God! I thought that was pretty neat. 

      Also, at one point he talked to us a lot about miracles and how we know faith proceeds the miracle, but what proceeds faith? ...Obedience...what proceeds obedience? He mentioned Nephi and how we know him for his courage, his faith, and his obedience. Then he asked, "What was the difference between Nephi and brothers Laman and Lemuel?" I was the only one who raised my hand and I was just expecting to give a one word answer...he called on me and I said, "Desire." He said, "Desire. Well, stand up. Explain yourself." (SHOCK and FEAR!!! ha ha) I stood and you know I am not even sure what I said...but it went something like this: "Nephi desired to know the mysteries of God. He desired to know if the things his father Lehi saw were true and that great desire lead him to his knees. And because of his faith God was able to show him all the things he wanted to know and he performed mighty miracles. Laman and Lemuel desired nothing...they only desired to stay where they were comfortable in Jerusalem with all of their riches and precious things. They didn't care to know if anything their father, the prophet, said was true. They just whined and complained and wanted everything to be easy and handed to them..." it was something to that affect...I seriously can't remember because I am pretty sure the words weren't mine... and his response to me was very unexpected...he paused and said, "Sister Riggs, I felt the power of the Holy Ghost testify through your words as you taught me that just now....thank you for that...you can take a seat." ...and then he moved on....Oh my goofy gummies I almost passed out...I sat down and Sister Rasmussen whispered, "NICE!" I noticed how much my heart was racing and I tried to pick up my pen to write a note and couldn't even grip it! My hand was shaking so much!!! It was so cool!!! Some of the missionaries were passing me later saying, "Sister Riggs! You made a general authority feel the spirit!" ha ha...I don't think I will ever raise my hand in a big meeting like that again! Ha ha...I'm just glad the Holy Ghost inspired my answer!!! Pretty neat experience! He taught many more wonderful things and bore a powerful testimony that brought tears to my eyes as he testified of Heavenly Father's love for us, to allow His Only Begotten Son to be sent to the earth and treated as He was...so WE could return to live with Him again someday. He bore witness that if we developed the faith to bring us power to match our authority we have been given as missionaries, that we would be able to be in the presence of Deity daily. He asked if when we get ready in the morning and do all we do throughout the day is routine or sacred? Truly everything we do as servants of the Lord is sacred. He asked us what we really desire. Everything else stripped away...what do we REALLY desire? He talked about how the Lord loves us all but that He has favorites...even Nephi was "highly favored by the Lord." When we are righteous, we are highly favored. That includes the description in Doctrine and Covenants 4:5-6 "And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence." I decided I desire to be Heavenly Father's Favorite!! I mean come on! Who doesn't want to be the favorite child?! ; ) It reminded me of the words to a song I recorded that says, "After all you've done, the least that I can do, is live my life in every part only to please my Father's heart." So that's what I'm gonna work on!...becoming His favorite...although I think I already must be pretty up there because I got sent to the best mission in the world! = ) "And many more things did he say unto us...but behold...I cannot write them all." = )

    I will share a neat experience we had with our investigator Jackie. We met with her for the first time in a couple of weeks since spring break and her business with starting school and a job and everything. She was saying she had been reading and is in 2 Nephi now and that she was confused because she feels like the more she is learning the more she is doubting. She said she felt like she hadn't received her answer yet and was just confused....as we talked and answered some questions, Alma 32:28 came to mind. So we turned there and I had her read the verse....as we were reading through the thought, "You should have her read it again and insert 'faith' where the word 'seed' is"...as I was thinking that in my mind and playing it out it made sense and I thought, "Yeah, that'd be cool!" So I gave her instructions to do so...it was kind of funny because it didn't really flow like it had when I imagined it in my head and didn't seem to be going very well. "Now, we will compare the word unto a 'faith'. Now, if ye give place, that a 'faith' may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true faith, or a good faith"....ha she even stopped and said,"Ok that's kind of weird, I am just going to say faith and take the 'A's' out ha..." And I was thinking, "Oh man why did I do that I totally just ruined the verse and now she is confused." She finished the verse and immediately looked up from her Book of Mormon and said, "Oh my gosh my chest is totally burning right now!" She put her hand to her chest and was a little freaked out and kept looking back and forth between us and her sister and she couldn't believe it...we didn't say anything...just let her feel it...and she began to cry. "... if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts;..." Literally, right before our eyes, that scripture was fulfilled!! She stopped and with tears in her eyes said, "I think this is my answer! I know this is true! I want to be baptized!" MIRACLE!!! Ha ha...I couldn't believe what just happened, but the spirit knew exactly what she needed. I know the thought to insert "faith" was not my own and it was such a sweet experience to be with her as she discovered the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon! Does it get any better?! No way! = )

    I just wanted to share one thought from my personal study this week. I fell in love with Romans 8:31-32, 38-39
Verse 31: If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
I just felt in my heart as I read this...why would I ever doubt or distrust God would give me many great blessings and the righteous blessings I desire when He loved me enough to give even His Only Begotten Son? He really does love me and would never hold anything back from me....it is only me that would hold myself back from receiving His blessings through the choices I make. Then in his closing verses:
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter what we do...God and Jesus Christ will ALWAYS love us. While wrong choices and rebellion may sever us from Him...nothing can put a stop to them loving us. How comforting a thought...and how wonderful to remember when Satan tries to make us feel the exact opposite. I love the scriptures! = )

I hope you all have a very blessed and happy week! I love and miss you all with all of my heart!

Sister Riggs