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

Happy 4th!!!! (Letter on 7/2/2013)

Dear Family,

WOW! OK...I know last week I said I didn't know where to start but THIS week beats it...I actually don't even want to SEND an e-mail because it overwhelms me, ha ha...but this is how much I love you all = ) I could spend and hour writing to you just about the miracles we had yesterday...this week has been full of the Spirit and I am so thankful for the sweet and sacred experiences the Lord is giving me while I am here serving Him....so let's begin....(big sigh).

My week started off with one of the most sacred experiences from my mission that I will treasure for eternity. As I mentioned last week, I have been learning some lessons that are personal and sacred...and deep rooted. Last Tuesday night I was feeling so stuck and unsure of how to change what I needed to and how to overcome my trial. I just kept thinking all night that I needed to talk to my mission president....my companion said she felt the same prompting. Luckily, our Zone Conference was the next day so after the conference I asked if he'd have a few minutes for me. He smiled and said he would of course. As I spoke with President Clayton, a few minutes turned into one of the most sacred hours of my life. I really didn't know what I needed or how to express all that was weighing on me, but because Heavenly Father knows my heart, and because President Clayton is called by God to be here and care for the missionaries, he was inspired with the things I didn't know I needed to hear. Afterward, I really felt like a cloud had dispersed and a weight was lifted. As I left and I pondered, my thought was, "Wow...that must be what it would be like to sit in an interview...or rather, just across from my Savior and tell Him the things of my heart." He helped me come to know Him better that day. No matter my insecurities or how silly I felt to have the struggles I have been having...no matter how insignificant they may feel to me and thinking I should be able to get over it or handle it myself...I received only love and understanding...no judgement or ridicule or even validating, "Yes Sister Riggs, you really have problems." Just a listening ear, true care and concern, inspired questions, love, counsel, and encouragement. I know I will treasure that hour not only for the rest of my mission, but for the rest of my life. The Savior really does love us, even with our weaknesses and our imperfections....He knows us without those things, because He knew us before we came here. He loving lifts us up...I just read this this morning and it says it perfectly. I have put my name in it and I invite you to put yours in it as you read:

"It can be discouraging at times to know what it means to be a daughter of God and yet come up short. The adversary likes to take advantage of these feelings. Satan would rather that you define yourself by your weaknesses and imperfections instead of your divine potential. Sister Riggs, don’t listen to him. We have all seen a toddler learn to walk. He takes a small step and totters. He falls. Do we scold such an attempt? Of course not. What father would punish a toddler for stumbling? We encourage, we applaud, and we praise because with every small step, the child is becoming more like his parents. Now, Sister Riggs, compared to the perfection of God, we mortals are scarcely more than awkward, faltering toddlers. But our loving Heavenly Father wants us to become more like Him, and, dear Sister Riggs, that should be our eternal goal too. God understands that we get there not in an instant but by taking one step at a time. I do not believe in a God who would set up rules and commandments only to wait for us to fail so He could punish us. I believe in a Heavenly Father who is loving and caring and who rejoices in our every effort to stand tall and walk toward Him. Even when we stumble, He urges us not to be discouraged—never to give up or flee our allotted field of service—but to take courage, find our faith, and keep trying."~ President Uchtdorf

Sunday was another day that was so full of the spirit and many miracles. We had added a new investigator, Victor, the day before. His friend, Arthuro, was recently baptized and they work together at Pik Up Stix and he referred him to us. Victor has such a good heart...he is just 21 but has already seen and realized that he doesn't want to keep making the mistakes he has been making. He wants to make good choices so when he's 30 he's not still in the same place and with nothing. He wants a family, a house, a good job...he wants the girlfriend he still has to stick around...he feels ready and desires to be closer to God. He is trying to take care of some DUI's he has done jail time for, and also he lives with his girlfriend, sooooo....we have some things to work on, he he, but his heart is good and he is looking in the right direction....but anyway, he had work so he couldn't come to our sacrament meeting at 11:30, so we went to an earlier family ward with him and his girlfriend...although it was quite noisy and distracting (I really appreciate the quite in Single's Wards!) they loved it and he asked if he could come every week! Then we headed to our ward where we were so blessed to have a performing group, INSPIRE from AZ, to sing, testify, and bring an amazing spirit to all of our hearts. Each testimony of the church and the Restoration made me so excited to be here sharing this incredible message with the world! As the 25 singers gathered and sang, "My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee"...they literally sang the first line and the spirit burned. It was so beautiful and made me reflect on my Young Ambassador days! Through the song Sister Miller and I just held each other's hand and cried...literally...tears streaming. It took me back to the experience I had in my interview with President Clayton...as some of the words they sang, were words he read to me. I am so thankful for the gift of music, and the healing it brings. It speaks to me like nothing else can.....I sure miss singing with my sisters. INSPIRE performed their musical fireside for the YSA's here in San Diego and it caused so many miracles! A referral was received from a girl that one of the singers invited. One of our investigators we just taught the Restoration to received answers, and had the spirit confirm through a feeling of happiness that the Restoration is all real! A guy we street contacted and invited came and he wants to learn more. The father of the family of one of our recent converts came and now wants to have missionaries over once a week and committed to our recent convert that he was going to start bringing his family to church every week!!!....It goes on and on. I am sure that's not all that happened within the hearts of the people that night...so many miracles came from that! We are so grateful! 

One of the men that came to the fireside was Mik. Meeting him was a miracle. We were in a rough neighborhood trying to see a less-active and we started talking to a guy standing in the car-port by where they lived. We talked to him and for a bit and towards the end of our conversation, Mik walked up....he began listening while the other guy went inside. We shared with him why we are here, how we have come to know these things were true, and why they lead us to want to serve a mission. We said a prayer with him and then before we left I asked if we could sing them a song. Sister Miller and I sang, "I Need Thee Every Hour." I felt chills (aka-the spirit!) come over me throughout the whole song. It was obvious these guys were into drugs and both had gun shot wounds and scars, tattoos....looking like they were doing anything to get through life...while we sang....you could tell they felt. You could almost see the spirit speaking to them and helping them recognize they have heard this before...because they were with God before. We invited them to the fireside and we were overjoyed when Mik called us on our way into it and said he was on his way over! Yay! He felt a great spirit and loved the people he met and we have another appt. with him Friday.

I have so much more to write but am running out of time so I have to share less details = ). We taught Katie the Restoration and it was amazing to teach by the spirit. I taught it in a way I never have before and at the end of the lesson as she prayed she said how she was so grateful to be learning these things..."things I have heard before, but am hearing and experiencing in a new light through the Sisters." = ) HAPPINESS!!! She came to the fireside and felt a confirmation, and then went home and wanted to find answers and put her thumb in the Book of Mormon and opened to Mormon Ch. 8 and began reading....MORMON 8 IS ONE OF THE ONLY CHAPTERS ABOUT THE RESTORATION AND COMING FORTH OF THE BOOK OF MORMON!!!! Oh my goofy gummies!!!!!!!! What a miracle! If that isn't an answer I don't know what is! We love Katie and she makes our hearts so happy!

We have a Baptism this Saturday for Christian and we are so excited!!!! We have been waiting for this day for a month and are so happy we are here! He literally teaches us every lesson. He is so ready! We have had the fun opportunity to teach him while he has been out of town via Skype!!! What??!! Never thought I would do that on my mission! Even though it was over a computer screen, the spirit was felt so strongly! How amazing that we really can have so many miracles in sharing the gospel through the technology we have today!

Yesterday was Miracle Monday! Sister Miller and I had a full day and we had plans to teach 9 lessons...and we indeed taught 9 lessons!!! Heavenly Father Blessed our plans, and there was a lesson to be taught at each place we planned to go, even though more than half of our plans weren't appointments, but stop by-s....We met an amazing member who is going to help us do a starting family history class with all of our new converts, caught a less-active just before she left to take her mom to work and were able to share a message about Heavenly Father's love, we stopped by Casmier's and he wasn't home so we asked his sister in law if we could help with anything...she said no but we saw a mound of dishes in the sink and pretty told her we were doing her dishes...as we finished, her husband and Casmier came hope...they had just gotten back from locating his stolen car (this is the dad  that came to the fireside) ...he was so gracious to us for just helping with the dishes he INSISTED on buying us lunch we INSISTED not to, especially over hearing the expense the stolen car would be...but he wouldn't let us say no...he then told us how touched he was by the fireside and that he wanted to bring his family to church, have us over for Bible study, and get help for him and his wife....WOW! We shared a Mormon Message with them and taught their little boy how to pray....what miracles happened in that apartment yesterday is so humbling...we then taught Victor again and my companion is amazing and extended a baptismal invitation and he accepted a date for August 31st after we had read Alma 36 with him and testified of the ability to change and repent!....then we met with a member who is planning to serve a mission but just needs to step it up to get there....he is 19, from New Zealand, and we were inspired to share the perfect Mormon Message with him that happened to be about  pro rugby player who chose to serve a mission...he said he was so grateful we had come and it really helped motivate him and confirm what he wanted to do and this is right...we then stopped by another less-active...cars home..after 2 door-bell rings and a good knock no answer...i said, "I'm going to be annoying and ring the door-bell one more time." A kind of angry roommate came to the door then went and got him....he was resistant and first but by the end of our message there was light in his eyes and he was laughing....Then we met with Katie and that is when she told us about her miracle of finding Mormon 8...then we met with Bin, our china man, and re-set his baptism date so he can get a clear answer...but there were us and 4 members there in his lesson for support....then we stopped by another less-actives and instead of meeting with her (because she was gone) we shared a message with her roommate who has met with missionaries before but it never appealed to her...she didn't want to watch a clip with us...said she'd seen them, but we showed her one about Heavenly Father's love and it lead to a sweet experience and testifying of who she was to her. She was very touched and we learned more about her in 20 minutes than probably many have.....WOAH!!!! See what I mean?! What a day!!!!

I love this!!!! And I LOVE YOU!!! Have a Happy 4th of July!!!! Let's all watch Fireworks together!!! = )

All my love,
Sister Riggs