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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, July 10, 2013

Greetings from San Diego! (Letter on 7/9/2013)

Greetings from San Diego!

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July Celebration! How blessed we really are to live in this nation. It is so crazy but as a missionary, holidays take on an entirely new meaning....they mean so much MORE! I love it. I had the opportunity to teach the Restoration on the 4th of July and it made my testimony swell as I thought of how this land really was prepared to be the land of Restoration, and the place where God could fulfill his promises to His children from long ago. I read with our investigator 2 Nephi 1:7 "Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever." We are truly blessed and as we remain righteous, we always will be! I got to have a fun 4th of July Celebration. We were at the Mormon Battalion on shift and we had a Battalion Family BBQ and then gathered together and prayed and read Jacob 5 together. Then we went up to the roof of the Battalion to watch the fireworks around the valley. It was pretty great. Fireworks will forever make me miss Disney World! = ) 

This week I was amazed in seeing the hand of the Lord in His work. So many experiences with following promptings...and having the faith to pray to be guided and then seeing how they were answered. Faith definitely preceded some mighty miracles this week!

1) On Wednesday I went on exchanges with our newest sister, Sister Lehmitz, in the Helix YSA ward. I have never seen a more humble, meek, and faithful daughter of God before. She is so pure, so happy, so gracious, I really don't know how she exists! = ) She was determined to invite everyone we talked to, even on the street, to be baptized! I was so nervous about that ha ha...but I let her do her thing = ) We actually invited a man we met, Sergio, to be baptized! He said he already was and we invited him to learn more about our message. He thought we were something else = ) We also added a new investigator for them, and committed him to baptism for August 10th! Sister Lehmitz is an all star and was bursting with tears of joy as we walked back to the car = ). A neat experience we had that day, was when we were driving home...We were on the freeway and there were cars swerving quickly out of the lane closest to the barrier in the middle. I noticed there was a full on ladder in the middle of the lane...like a big one that you can slide up to be taller....I thought, "Holy Cow that is so dangerous and everyone is swerving out of the lane. That could cause a serious car accident! It needs to be moved." I was driving and looking in my rear view mirror...I was trying to get Sister Lehmitz back for an important training meeting....I knew it would make us late, but as each exit rolled by I kept thinking I needed to go back and move it...I couldn't stand the thought of someone getting in an accident. I told her I was sorry but I had to turn around and go back. She supported it and said she thought it was awesome that I was willing to throw everything else out of the way and just heed the prompting. Well, as we made it back I saw a car pulled over with hazard lights on and thought, "Oh good, someone else is moving it" But then I saw that they had actually hit it and it was jammed under their small Mazda car. We pulled over to help. It was a Spanish family of 4...we immediately got down on the pavement (in our skirts ; ) ) and tried to dislodge the ladder....nothing helped...it was bent and had really gotten stuck...after getting the tire jack device out to lift the car up...and pretty much yanking on the ladder till it fell free (breaking a few things) we got it out from under the car. We shook their hands and told them who we were...they didn't seem to speak much English, but I asked if we could say a prayer for them...the mom and dad got in the car...but the teenage boy stood out with us while I said...or shouted a prayer...yes, in the middle of the freeway on the side of the road = ) I gave thanks for their safety and that no harm came to them and prayed they'd continue to be safe and be able to fix the car with little cost. We invited their family to the Mormon Battalion and wrote our number on the card. I know nothing came of it in that moment, but I know the parents will never forget two young girls pulling over to help them...and they saw our name tags and the name of the church...and I also know that the teenage boy will never forget when two Hermanas prayed for him and his family in the middle of the freeway! I know God is aware of the Gonzalez family and He guided us to be there.

2) We had our scheduled interviews with our mission President on the 4th of July and it although it was only a few minutes, I again was taught by the spirit. In my last interview in April, I had asked him about extending my mission. He said he'd ponder about it and get back to me. After I left that day, I honestly felt quite weird...I felt wrong and nervous....and ever since then, when the subject of extending came up it didn't feel good. I reminded him of that question. He looked at me and said, well...how do you feel about it? I told him how I honestly felt and he said, "You know as I think about it I ask, 'why are we doing this again? Is it just because I can? Because if it was my choice I would want to keep you here, because you are an incredible missionary...but do we make that decision just because I can or because it is what the Lord wants and needs? I am just not feeling a 'yes, let's do it' from the Lord." As I talked it out with him, my heart burned and my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't even stop them. The Lord confirmed to us both through the spirit, that where he needed me to be in December is not in California. He said that he often can't see what's next...that the Lord gives a prompting and he follows it not knowing what's around the corner...but knowing the Lord knows the rest and can see it. He also mentioned possibly crossing paths "with someone who might be important in my life" ... I told him not to get my hopes up = ) But honestly I felt that the missionary work that may be more important for me to be doing would need to be at home with my own family. It was a neat experience...one like I have never had. Of course I want to serve the Lord as long as I possibly can...but the good news is, I can, and I will, because my mission doesn't end here = ) So, it looks like it will be a happy Thanksgiving! I will be coming home November 26th!

3) Friday was a full day of miracles again...we were about to leave from our Zone Meeting, and our service plans cancelled so we had 2 options: weekly plan, or go to the names we had written as back-ups. I stopped and looked at Sister Miller and asked her what she thought we should do...she thought...I asked, "Can we say a quick prayer about it?" She prayed and in the middle of her prayer she paused and I knew what she was feeling. She said, "Amen" and we looked at each other and both said, "We need to go to the back-ups." We both felt we needed to be in the area. We got a bite to eat then headed off. At first, we felt a little puzzled because not much was happening...we went to a less-active we discovered...and he actually has left the church and wouldn't let us read a scripture or even say a prayer with him....we talked to a guy on the street from Saudi Arabia and caught maybe half of the conversation...we stopped by another less-active and no answer....then a few doors down tried to visit a potential but remembered the apartment number wrong...I was thinking, "Well, why did He send us here? We both felt it..." But thought maybe it was all for Ken, even though he wouldn't listen...to see us and be reminded...for Heavenly Father to have a chance to reach out again. So we moved on to the next place, which was to try and contact a name we were given, Chris, for the last time. We had had his name for about 2 months, met all his roommates, but never him. We knocked and there was no answer so we left a note and said, "OK I guess we'll count it as contacted...it's been too long." As Sister Miller was writing the note I saw a woman walking her 2 dogs. The thought came to talk to her...I planned to, but then she had gone around the corner by the time we finished leaving the note. We walked by and I stopped and looked back and asked Sister Miller, "Should we creepily follow that lady with her dogs?" ...we laughed and then we did! We found her around the corner at a dog park and started talking with her...come to find she grew up in Salt Lake City and was a member but doesn't consider herself to be. We talked while she let her dogs exercise and then offered help any time and asked if we could come by once in a while just to lift her spirit....she is married but her husband is away over seas in the military. We walked back to her apt (which is next door to Chris's) and lo and behold...Chris and his roommate George were there reading the note we left. We taught them and added Chris and were able to commit him to come to church!! Talk about timing!!!! I literally hit my elbow against Sister Miller's as we talked to let her know my utter amazement at how Heavenly Father worked out those details!!! Then, remember Mik? The guy we street contacted and came to the fireside? We taught him and his friend Bryce the Restoration. Mik lives with Bryce right now until he can get on his feet again. We added both of them as new investigators and it was one of the coolest lessons ever! Bryce is unreal! It was seriously a lesson you wish someone could be video taping. His comments and answers were unbelievable. We had him read James 1:5 and then ask him if he was Joseph Smith, what he would do next. He said, "Probably go out for a walk in the forest and talk to God or something...just to clear my head and get it out..." I thought he was kidding at first but he actually lives right behind a canyon and often goes walking through it when he has things on his mind! OK what?!! So cool to follow that with the first vision. He also said that the power and energy he felt from us made him want to share it with others of his friends who need this in their life! We found out later he had spent the rest of the day on the phone talking to friends about his experience with us! Oh my goofy gummies, our investigator already wants to be a missionary! What is even cooler is, we haven't added any investigators in a couple of weeks and we set the goal of 3 because it is the standard of excellence for the mission...at the beginning of Friday we had added 0 and at the end we added 3 = ) Pray with faith, expect miracles, then move your feet!!!!

4) We got to see Arhur baptize his mom on Saturday! What a sweet experience that was! It was amazing to see him exercise his newly conferred priesthood and to hear him say, "Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ..." He's been commissioned!!! So sweet to see!

5) WE had a miracle baptism with Christian...and it was one I will never forget...kind of a funny reason why.We were there an hour early to fill up the font...after 30 minutes it wasn't even past the first step! We really don't know why it was filling slowly...but we didn't let that stop us! We calmly announced that the baptism would be postponed for 20 minutes and to enjoy the prelude music...Then us and 4 other missionaries and about 6 ward members grabbed pitchers and giant serving bowls and a couple of trash cans and we just started filling and running back and forth from the kitchen and utility closet! Even Christian, our baptizee helped! We all laughed as we did it...we worked hard and were all sweating by the time we started the baptism...we were filling that font one way or another! It was great to see so many help and to see how much we all loved Christian and wanted him to be able to make those covenants! The baptism went smoothly after that little bump, and the spirit was strong and Christian was beaming. It really was the greatest! The kitchen looked like a water park after all the chaos! Christian was glowing and he said it was the best weekend of his life! = ) 

We had the opportunity to team teach Relief Society and help the sisters see how they can share the gospel and invite and answer questions. It was fun and they all had a great time practicing role plays like we do = ) Hopefully we'll start hearing about some missionary experiences and get referrals from our great ward members!

One last tender moment happened yesterday as I met a family with 4 daughters...the youngest, Alyssa, has problems with her intestines absorbing food and nutrients so she has to be fed through tubes...constantly hooked up...she is only about 10 months old right now.  I felt the spirit so strongly just looking into her big blue eyes with her curly red hair. Sister Miller and I sang for them, "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me" and I held back tears as she stopped and just looked up at us the whole time we sang. Her mom shared of the angel she was in their lives and I testified (from personal experience with health challenges) that she was and that THEY were angels to her and would be forever as they supported and helped her grow in a happy and loving family. I am so thankful for all that I have. As hard as things get, it could always be worse...and someone truly does have it worse than we do. 
 
Heavenly Father continues to amaze me! I love Him and I love and miss you!!!

Love Always,
Sister Riggs
 

4th of July!
 
Christian's Baptism (he's the cute little Asian)

Maria's baptism with Arthur, and all the missionaries involved in the journey = )

Me and Sister Miller singing at Christian's Baptism = )