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, June 5, 2013

Happy June! (Letter on 6/4/2013)

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy June! I can hardly believe it! How are you all doing on your missionary experiences? I challenged my family to share the gospel or invite a friend to something (like meeting with the missionaries) and to write me and tell me about it by my year mark...June 20th! I hope you are experiencing the joy of sharing the gospel as much as I am and I can't wait to hear about it! 

Well, some good news for you...I still have my Claire De Lune moments in my daily life...ha ha. Funny story I am sure you will appreciate: We were headed into a meeting with our Bishop last week and out in the parking lot met a member and he stopped to talk to us for a minute and asked where we were from...my eyes had noticed what the t-shirt he was wearing said...because it was in big writing...and I told him I was from Chandler, AZ. He said he didn't know where that was and I said, "Right by Gilbert?" "Nope" "Mesa?" "Nope"..."Phoenix?" "oh yeah ok"...and I said, "Really? Come on you should know...you're wearing an 'AZ Tec Football' shirt!" As I read his t-shirt to him out loud I realized it was AZTEC FOOTBALL...which is the football team for one of the colleges here in San Diego...(at least I think it is...ha ha) He said, "Really?! You're living in San Diego!" We all laughed...me especially as I realized I am still good at being a pretty dumb blonde! ; ) It happens.

Remember my little China man, David? Well he is still as valiant as ever and he decided to make a video for his parents and wanted to record us bearing our testimonies of serving a mission and missionary work to show his parents in China in hopes that they would feel the spirit and understand his desire to serve a mission. He is so awesome! Sister Miller and I were asked to do it on the spot and were feeling very unprepared...but the institute director, Brother Mackay, told us we shouldn't be prepared and that we were missionaries and just needed to speak the thoughts in our hearts. Sister Miller testified and brought the spirit powerfully as always, and I had to follow and did the best I could...when he cut the camera off he asked us, "Did you ever imagine yourself being able to just stand in front of a camera on the spot and testify of the gospel and do it so easily?" We both said no to that and he pointed out how amazing it is that the gospel has become a part of us...it's what we are, it's what we live every day, and therefore, it is natural....and we are given the words that the Lord needs us to say. I am so thankful to experience such a privilege.

We had some miracle filled days this week...I'll share a couple...we were teaching to members from our ward...they are sisters and super gorgeous so not many people talk to them. We wanted to get to them and so we had a lesson. The night before when we were planning we were talking about something different and using a Mormon message. Sister Miller said, "I just feel like we should show them the Mormon Message about 'My New Life'...I don't know why..." So we did and through the video, the sisters cried. At the end we asked what had touched their hearts so much and one of the sisters said she was so thankful that we showed her that because the week had been really hard. She had just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and in the same day broke up with her boyfriend...watching that particular Mormon Message was a great reminder for her that God was there and He had a plan and everything would be ok...it was just up to her to decide how she would react to this trial. I was thankful for the promptings my companion received to show that message, and it lead to an opportunity to bear my personal testimony of the refiner's fire and of Heavenly Father's help through health challenges. I bore testimony to her of the things I have come to know through my juvenile diabetes and of the blessing I was given that told me that the combination of strengths and weaknesses I was given are the perfect combination in Heavenly Father's eyes...and when we allow our Savior to help us, He carries us in our weaknesses and makes them strong...and through that we become more like Him. How grateful I am for the knowledge and comfort of the gospel that helps bring eternal perspective when it seems all the waves are crashing in on you.

Our investigator, Christian, is one giant miracle! Every time we meet with him he blows our minds! He literally teaches us and it is incredible. We taught him the Law of Tithing and the Word of Wisdom this week and let me just say...when we asked him why he thought God would want us to pay tithing he said, "Well, from what you have taught so far...like with the 10 commandments, people sometimes get caught up in worldly things and worship money even and if we pay tithing it keeps us from getting caught up in that and helps us to remember to rely on the Lord and not worldly things." WHAT?!! He totally gets it! And then when we were teaching the Word of Wisdom, he told us it wasn't a big deal and that he only had to stop drinking tea because alcohol, coffee, drugs and tobacco weren't a problem for him...SO PREPARED! And when talking about, for example, people who have to get up in the morning and feel like they can't get through their day without a cup of coffee...he said, "I even think, if you can get up and not have to rely on that cup of coffee and make it through your day, it will give you confidence that you can overcome other things in life too...that you are powerful and capable." He is a Nephi! The neatest miracle with Christian this week though, was him showing his incredible faith. His original baptism date is June 29th but we feel he is ready now and wanted to move it up a week...but because of Stake Conference and a YSA Conference, his only option would be this Saturday...otherwise he'd have to wait another month...we asked him how he felt about that....we sat quietly as he pondered, pulled out his phone and looked through his calendar....he then said..."Yeah...I think it'd work." I said, "Wait what would? This Saturday or the 29th?" He said, "This Saturday!" I literally squealed with joy and was so awestruck by such great faith! He said, "Yeah you said you only have one more thing to teach me really...and I'm excited, I'm ready!" OH MY GOOFY GUMMIES! Christian is an example to all of us and it was so neat to be in the room with him as he listened to the spirit confirm these things to him. The only thing was...I got so excited and forgot one requirement which is that they have to go to Church at least 3 times...and Christian has only been 2! Then we were all bummed! But...holding out hope that in this situation we can make it work...even then...Christian knelt down and said a prayer with us that all would work out according to God's will for him! What a MIRACLE! 

I have to say one of my favorite things about being a missionary is having the chance to see someone's heart and life change in just a matter of days. I am pretty sure I have said that before...but it is so COOL!!! People really can change...and the greatest and most lasting changes come when one is willing to apply the Atonement to their lives. Our Savior really is the only way. It's like someone said in General Conference last year, "The world tries to take people out of the slums, but Jesus Christ takes the slums out of people."

I just want to leave you with a couple favorite quotes from a talk I read this morning about "Timing." It was given by Dallin H. Oaks and I really loved it. It is so true that we often plan out our lives and think we know what we want and when it is best to have what we want...but almost always..the Lord's time table isn't our time table and we experience some trials when we try to make our time table the right one...but when we have the faith to submit to His will...all will be well because we are on the path our loving Father has planned for us:
“Commit yourself to put the Lord first in your life, keep His commandments, and do what the Lord’s servants ask you to do. Then your feet are on the pathway to eternal life. Then it does not matter whether you are called to be a bishop or a Relief Society president, whether you are married or single, or whether you die tomorrow. You do not know what will happen. Do your best on what is fundamental and personal and then trust in the Lord and His timing.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares us for whatever life brings. This kind of faith prepares us to deal with life’s opportunities—to take advantage of those that are received and to persist through the disappointments of those that are lost. In the exercise of that faith, we should commit ourselves to the priorities and standards we will follow on matters we do not control and persist faithfully in those commitments, whatever happens to us because of the agency of others or the timing of the Lord. When we do this, we will have constancy in our lives that will give us direction and peace. Whatever the circumstances beyond our control, our commitments and standards can be constant."

I am so thankful for a constant Heavenly Father...who has a constant plan for me and all of His children!

Love you all! 
Sister Riggs

P.S. I just wanted to show the difference in Arthur...the first picture...to his baptism day...clean shaven, hair cut, church clothes...hugging his mom....and here is our other miracle...because of the spirit his mom felt at his baptism...she started meeting with the missionaries and came to church...she went back to the Catholic church (where she was raised) and walked out and said, "I don't feel there what I feel here." She is getting baptized on June 29th!!! And Arthur is baptizing her! She was bursting with excitement when she told us and asked us to be there! = ) Oh the happiness!