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!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Never Alone in His Work! (Letter on 5/14/13)

My Dearly Beloved (ha ha),

       Well I hope everyone had a marvelous Mother's Day! It was wonderful to have a chance to call home. I had a good laugh listening to my family try to figure out how to use the speaker phone and how to place it in the best place so they could all hear me ha ha....my companion's family was sitting around their table with speakers and everything set up for her call...the phone I was on got placed in a bowl...ha ha. I love my family = ) As I listened to all the background noise and everything it was almost as if I was sitting right there at the table. I could picture it all perfectly. I had the opportunity to sing AND speak in sacrament meeting for the 3rd Mother's Day in a row! It's becoming a tradition...don't know how much I like it! It was weird to be a missionary speaking in sacrament in a single's ward on Mother's Day about motherhood. Ha ha...we really struggled writing our talks and nothing was coming to us and we kept saying, "Why is this so hard? Can we just talk about The Restoration?" We were both so nervous to speak and were REALLY relying on the spirit. The thoughts I shared miraculously came together the morning of...and I read in the Relief Society Theme that it says, "We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who..." I shared of two incredible women from the Bible who were not yet married, but because of the righteous choices they made and the virtuous lives they lived...they became mother's who affected generations...even us today. A woman of virtue and charity was Rebekah...we read of her story in Genesis 24. She was a fair virgin who worked hard and went about doing good. Abraham's servant had been sent to find a wife for Isaac. He prayed that he would be lead to her and told God that if there was a woman who, when he asked if he could have water drink offered it, but then also offered to fetch some for his camels, that he would know this was the woman for Isaac. As Rebekah went to draw water from the well, he asked and she got water not only for him but for his camels. Long story short, she marries Isaac and they love each other and she was blessed to be "the mother of thousands of millions." Also...the Savior of the world comes through the lineage of Rebekah. Did she know that then? No...Did the choices she made then matter? Yes. A woman of faith and vision was Mary who was blessed among woman and highly favored of the Lord. She also was virtuous. She had the greatest of faith when her response to the angel was in Luke 1, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word...And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name." We don't hear much about how Mary nurtured and mothered Jesus, but we know that she often "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart..." and that Jesus "...grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him..." and "...increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Surely, none of this could be done without his righteous and faithful mother. Her choices she made in her youth prepared her to be the mother of the Son of God. The righteous decisions she made have affected us all today. We can stand in holy places for our future families as we commit now to be steadfast and immovable in our faith and in our choices and in determining now to be sealed in the Temple to our future spouse and raise a family up in righteousness. I expounded on these thoughts but that was the core of what I spoke about. It is TRUE! We have the power to affect thousands! "Generations are depending on the choices you make, your purity, and your worthy lives. Be not moved. You have a great destiny before you. This is your moment! I truly believe that one virtuous man or woman, led by the Spirit, can change the world!"

        We continue to see miracles here in La Jolla and are amazed at the people we are meeting. We added 5 new investigators last week and extended another invitation to baptism that was accepted! One of the crazy experiences we had this week was going to contact a referral from our Zone Leaders. Their names were George and Chris. Chris wasn't home, but George was, and so was another roommate named Ali (like the Prince = ). I am 100% sure that our Zone Leaders met Chris and George so that we could find Ali. We talked for a few minutes and I asked if we could sing a song for them. Sister Miller and I sang "Did You Think to Pray" and the spirit was brought so strongly...you could tell even standing next to a loud freeway. I asked George how he felt as he listened to that song and he said, "I feel like you two are really talented and you should be artists focusing on your career rather than wasting your time doing whatever it is you are trying to do now." ...uuuhhh...ok....Then I turned to Ali...he waved his friend away and said, "I know that's what he said and how he feels, but honestly, I pray to God a lot and I have made Him promises that I haven't kept. But I know he has blessed me still and still given me things I don't deserve and I want Him in my life more and I feel like this is my first calling to come back." ...ok whaaaa??!!! MIRACLE!!! We couldn't believe the night and day difference, but there is clear evidence the different experience people have with the spirit when their heart is hard or when it's open. We went right after that to meet for the first time with another referral. She is a wonderful and intelligent woman with a good head on her shoulders and she knows what she wants. She was asking all the questions and leading the conversation...what was amazing was as I listened to her talk I found she was really seeking peace. My favorite scriptures in John 14 came to mind...verse 18 and 27. I told her how I knew this gospel was true because of verse 18. She didn't like how short it was and literally asked, "Is there a longer one you can share with me?" ha ha..I told her I wasn't done yet. I started to share an experience thinking I was going to lead it to one thing...but as I shared I highlighted something totally different...she has hosted and worked in a lot of night clubs and has been around the party scene a lot in her life...she had lived in Vegas but ended up moving back here because of the negative affect that night life was having on her. I forgot this and didn't know it to full extent...but the Spirit knew... I simply was sharing how I was completely on my own when I moved to Florida to work for Disney...that it was the first time in my life I was truly alone...no family or friends or anyone who even knew me close by to hold me accountable...and it was then that I had to decide if this was what I believed and if this was how I was going to choose to live my life. I mentioned how I was surrounded by others who did not live the way I did and I was often invited to participate in the kind of lifestyle they had...but that I chose to stand my ground and I saw how living the standards of the gospel was my safety and was what allowed me to have such peace and joy in this world. I then shared verse 27 and she said, "Wow...I really like that one...and I can completely relate." I went back in my brain and thought..."Wait..that's not even where I was going to go with that!" But the spirit guided my words and she said before she left, "This was perfect and it was exactly what I needed today." MIRACLE! We met with our friend Christian again and were blown away as he came back to us and said he had read to 1 Nephi 4 and from what he understands so far was that if you desire to know things are right and true that the Lord will help and bless you as you pray to him for help. He also compared the difference between Nephi's desire and Laman and Lemuel's...we were like, "OK....let's just let you teach us!" He is so prepared and we invited him to be baptized on June 29th and he accepted! MIRACLE!! I sure love all of these! To top off the week, yesterday was a whole chain of events that showed us Heavenly Father was micro-managing. First we taught a recent convert, Taylor, whom we love and is so incredible and helps us all the time, and she couldn't wait to tell us how our talks touched her heart and how a story I shared in Sunday School class helped confirm to her that she is going to serve a mission! This sweet little 18 year old recent convert told us what a difference we had made in her life and how she just wants to be able to do that for someone else and she can't get a mission off of her mind! Then she came and taught Arthur with us (who is getting baptized this Saturday! yay!) and every time she shared something the spirit was brought so powerfully! Then we went and taught our investigator Jackie and invited our other recent convert, Keri, to come and teach with us. Keri cancelled her dinner reservations with her boyfriend on his BIRTHDAY because she told him she needed to be there to help the missionaries and Jackie! We had no idea and felt awful! But it meant the world to Jackie and they connected incredibly in the lesson and after Jackie said the closing prayer (which included how much she admired Keri) they both sprang up and hugged each other saying, "you're so amazing!" ha ha...it was the sweetest...then our appointments cancelled so we drove to a less-active recent convert and stood outside the door a while knocking then writing a note to leave...which lead us to park outside of Emily's (the random girl I found that plays the cello...yeah I decided to use dropping by to pick up my music as an excuse to try and teach her ha ha)....my companion prayed to Heavenly Father with the great faith that she knew we were there for a reason, that He wouldn't have us waste time, and that there was someone to find and to give us the courage to talk to everyone. Right as we got out of the door there was a man, Mehran, she said hello to and he was impressed I could parallel park in the spot I did and said he would have bet $50 I couldn't have..ha ha...we talked with him and did a minute to win it Restoration message and told him about the Book of Mormon...we then went around the corner to Emily's...we knocked 3 times and could hear them inside and they were not coming to the door....I was bummed...but we stood there and began to write a note..then she came to the door...as I started talking to her, one of our investigators who has been struggling and a little resistant to meet with us, came around the corner! WHAAA??!!! While I made a fool of myself and talked with Emily and her roommate about music and the fireside and even stalled for time by having them listen to the recording of the song I wanted her to play on my i-pod...Sister Miller had a lesson with our investigator...I had no idea what happened...but after we left, Sister Miller said it was the coolest miracle of the day and that she was able to crack under the surface and learn important things that will help us help her better. The musically talented Asians think I am crazy but at least my craziness allowed a miracle to happen in the hallway! We recounted the chain of events and how the time all worked out way too perfectly...and smiled knowing the Lord is directing and loves His children so much and we are never alone in this work.

This is all real. I know it, I love it! I hope you do to! We are so lucky!

I love you all with all my heart!

Sister Riggs
We were so excited to be able to talk to Sister Riggs on Mother's Day! Here is a little recording of the song she and her companion sang for Mother's/Father's Day!