Happy June! I can't believe it...Summer is really here and it's crazy! Well, today was another day for transfers! Guess what? I am STAYING! = ) And so is Sister Miller. She was 100% sure she was going to be sent full-proselyting and my whole Zone thought I would be leaving since I have been here for 4 transfers (aka-since January)....I told them all I felt like we were staying and that I bet I had 1 more here at least and I was gonna to laugh when nothing changed...after today I have some more points towards, "Sister Riggs is always right" ... = ) Ha ha. I am so happy to be able to stay in La Jolla. I know I have been here a while but I love it and I love the people and right now I am in the middle of so many investigator's journeys to baptism and I am so glad I won't miss it! I am also happy to continue being Sister Miller's companion and learn from her and be in the presence of her great spirit! It will be a wonderful Summer!
This week honestly is a blur and I am not even sure what happened so I am going to do my best to share some of what happened. We had a really incredible experience with Raquel, our sweet investigator I have been teaching since I came here. She knows it's all true and wants to be baptized but is holding back because of her fear of her Jewish Father's disappointment, and losing that side of the family. We applied what we do as missionaries...and that is, we practiced = ) We had her play her dad first, and a member played her. They practiced the conversation of how it would go if she told her father she wanted to be baptized. Then we swapped and she played herself and we had another member play her father. Sister Miller and I sat back and watched and listened and it was one of the neatest experiences for me. I felt the spirit so strong in the room. Both of our members were inspired and said and shared some things that Raquel really needed. Our members told her they both felt if she went about it the way she did in our practice, that her father couldn't help but see how much she loved him and how happy this made her. Raquel herself was inspired as she tried to express her desire to be baptized...she said some things that stood out to all of us and she said that she would remember to say them! We love her so much and know that as she takes this step of courage and faith that the Lord has so many blessings in store for her.
We added a new investigator that pretty much just proves Heavenly Father loves us...we got a call last Tuesday night from a couple that worked at the temple. They said as they were leaving they met a young woman walking around who had asked if she could meet the missionaries, wanted to take the discussions, and attend the La Jolla Singles Ward....we just looked at each other and said, "OK Heavenly Father! Thanks for just handing her to us!" We don't know what we did to deserve such a blessing, but she truly is one of the sweetest most tenderhearted people I have ever met. Her name is Katie, and she came to the Temple that day because her best friend's dad (who is Mormon) was killed in a hunting accident. Their family was in New Zealand and so Katie wanted to feel close to them and do something for them. She thought the best thing was to contact us and pray. This man was like a Father to Katie and she was like an adopted daughter in their family. She is incredible. She came to church on Sunday and said it was amazing how it was everything that she needed and even said, "That's what always happens." She went to church and some activities with her friend quite a few times growing up. She told us that many of the most important people in her life, and who have touched her heart the most, were Mormon, and she's finally ready to listen to what we have to say! MIRACLE!
We taught our friend Jason (who set a baptism date for August 3rd) at the temple about the Plan of Salvation. Jason is such a gem. He is so hard on himself and truly wonders if he could ever be forgiven. He feels that compared to other members of the church, he has done way more serious things that can't be forgiven...isn't Satan just so mean? He is always working to make us feel miserable and unworthy. One of my favorite things about being a missionary...and normal human...is when I have to opportunity to bear testimony of the real power of the atonement and of how our Savior longs to forgive...how I have felt Him reclaim me...how no one and nothing is beyond the reach of His atonement. I felt prompted to show him this video and I want to attach the link for you to watch....
"There is no habit, no addiction, no transgression..." Jason had tears in his eyes as he said, "Wow, that explained it perfectly." I love helping my brothers and sisters realize who they are and who's help they have available to them.
One more miracle I want to share happened at the Mormon Battalion. After a tour, I started talking with a couple, Stephania from Italy and Thomas from Germany. I started telling them how much I loved their cultures and their languages...it lead to me talking about my opera singing and my time I spent in Austria. I sang a line or two of a little German aria and then of an Italian aria. We laughed and talked and it was almost as if we became instant life-long friends! I went to the courtyard with them to pan for gold and through our conversation, we ended up standing at the water well for what I think turned into 45 minutes. Stephania was raised in a very Catholic family (as most Italians) and Thomas was Atheist. That 45 minutes in the courtyard became a sacred, spiritual experience. Their questions and beliefs about religion lead to me sharing the message of the Restoration with them . I even recounted the first vision. I testified to them that even though Thomas did not believe in God, and Stephania believed people created religion to get money and to have a way to get through life...that I knew....I knew and could tell them with all certainty that they were a loved son and daughter of God. That God knew their hearts, that He knew exactly what they felt as they stood there with me...the journey for truth that they have been on. I promised them that they could no...that the world has no way to give knowledge of divine truth, but that Heavenly Father has promised and provided a way for each of His children to know for themselves...and all they have to do is have the faith to get on their knees and ask. I exhorted them with all my heart to try that, and to not give up until they got an answer. I gave them each a copy of The Book of Mormon in their own language...what the neatest thing about it all was, that we didn't want to say goodbye. I literally felt an ache in my heart. They inched away slowly and kept looking back and I told them it would break my heart if they didn't stay in touch through e-mail....they said I wouldn't have to worry about that = ) I KNOW they felt the spirit in the time I was with them...I felt it testify through me....and I know Heavenly Father has them on a path to the truth!
I read this powerful testimony by Elaine S. Dalton this week...and I add my conviction to her words = ). "Today as a daughter of God, I stand as a witness that He lives. Jesus is the Christ. He is our Redeemer. It is through His infinite atoning sacrifice that I will one day return to live with Him—proven, pure, and sealed in an eternal family. I shall ever praise Him for the privilege of being a woman, a wife, and a mother. I testify that we are led by a prophet of God, President Thomas S. Monson, and I am grateful for righteous men, whose priesthood power blesses my life. And I shall ever be grateful for the strength I receive through the enabling power of the Savior’s infinite Atonement as I continue to strive to “act well [my] part.”
I love you, I love being a missionary, and I love my Father in Heaven!
Your Servant in the Lord,
|Stephania and Thomas at the Battalion...by the well = )|
|Making Sushi with our cute member Brittany (Friends...total look alike of Randa!!!)|
|Zone Sports! Playin' Softball! Coach Riggs was having to with-hold her competitive genes!)|