Well, my prediction was true! I got transferred to the Santee YSA Branch and my new companion is Sister Patterson! It is a definite change. I have never served in a branch or BEEN in a branch before. There was a whole 35 people in sacrament meeting (which I was OK with because I had to speak ; ) ) plus 10 missionaries and leaders. Less than 50 people...that was pretty different for me. BUT, I feel nothing but excitement. I am so excited to be in a place where there is such a need. I KNOW I am here for a reason. The missionaries in this area have been really down as the work has been slow...very few lessons, very few investigators, if any. Even the Sisters before me warned me of how much the area was struggling and how hard it was and there was no one to teach. Sister Mulipola (the sister that just got transferred out) told me when she found out I was coming there she cried because she knew that Santee needed me. Now, I don't know about that, but I do know what to do next...that is to be positive and have faith and work, work, work. I LOVE the Santee YSA Branch! = ) I am so excited to be in a place that needs strengthening and building. I quickly felt a great sense of love and unity among this branch and those are the exact qualities we need to start to build...it'd be much more difficult if they weren't unified and weren't loving. I know the area does not have a teaching pool really...but I also know they are here and ready to be found. We just have to be great seekers and help get the members involved and fired up! We are starting there...with the members. The great thing is, the Branch list is only 6 pages long (which makes me feel like we can tackle it) and we are going to work through 1 or 2 pages a week and try to meet with everyone and or try to reach them through every piece of information we have...phone call, text, e-mail, and stopping by their home. We have already begun and so far good is coming from it. We are gaining member's trust and teaching to their needs. Just yesterday we experienced 2 miracle lessons with 2 sisters we met with from the relief society presidency. Sister Patterson and I had felt like we had mental blocks in our planning, but planned what we felt would uplift them. With the first lesson, we taught the Relief Society President about her true identity and being and knowing she is truly a daughter of God. She cried throughout and said she wasn't sure why, but that it's easy to forget sometimes....it was what she needed...with the first counselor, we felt to share from President Uchtdorf's "Forget Me Not" talk and focus on how the Lord sees every effort we make, and although we often feel like we can never do enough, our best is acceptable and we are important to Him...she also cried and through her tears said, "You sisters.....you are truly inspired. That was exactly what I needed today." We were so grateful and humbled that the Lord was willing to guide our planning so well so we could meet their needs. We were even asked to speak on Sunday...Sister Patterson spoke on Obedience and I spoke about Sacrifice, and a sister came up to us after (who had cried through the talks) and said she wanted to come out to teach with us, she wants to feed us, and she wants to help us in any way that we need. She said, "I haven't wanted to really do anything with the missionaries before...but with you two I do....you said exactly what I needed to hear today." The Lord is blessing us, and all I feel is excitement. I want to help turn the attitude of this area around and I know with faith and diligence it will become a home to a lot of God's children who are searching for the truth. Isn't there a saying, "If we build it, they will come!" ??? = ) I'm excited. I am right where the Lord needs me to be.
We do have one baptism this Saturday that will be the first the branch has had all year...and in over a year actually...so that is a blessing....that will hopefully spark a fire in the branch. Her name is Becca and she is AMAZING! I was blown away the first time I met with her because she has come to know and believe so much! She has an amazing understanding of the gospel and even went to a "Missionary Boot Camp" the stake did and she wants to go on a mission! Her boyfriend has been less active and has come back through all of this and will be able to baptize her on Saturday. He also passed the sacrament for the first time Sunday and they are going to both go and serve missions before they get married = ) What incredible and faithful people! Becca has gone from being an Atheist, to knowing and completely understanding she is a daughter of God and she knows He is real. I love the gospel!
I was sad to leave La Jolla, especially the people I was teaching....and I prayed on the day of transfers that I would quickly see and understand why I was suppose to be in Santee. What is amazing is that in our first lesson with a member, she asked me to kind of share my story as we were getting to know one another. After I told her about my life before my mission and how I came to be here, she thanked me and said that it helped her a lot and gave her a lot of things to think about....because she is 23, graduating, and wanting to get into her nursing career, and has wondered if it'd be too late to serve a mission, or throw things off too much. After I shared with her that I had the same fears and many others, and that I finally came to the conclusion that I could never regret going, but I would always regret not going, AND that the Lord would never punish me or take away blessings for serving a mission...only give more...she agreed and it seemed as though the things that worried her had left. In my second lesson (it was with Becca, who is 25) she also wanted to know why I decided to serve a mission. She said throughout, "I felt that way too!" and "Yeah, that makes a lot of sense!" and "That's so cool!" She thanked me for sharing because she thought with all the 19 year olds that being 26 and going on a mission wouldn't really work. She said she was really glad she met me...and at the end of the lesson I almost cried as her boyfriend Josh said, "Heavenly Father, thank you for bringing Sister Riggs into our lives." Wow...so undeserving...but so grateful to feel a great sense of purpose. I am right where the Lord needs me to be. In my talk on Sunday I went ahead and revealed my biggest kept secret here, which is that I am 27...I don't know why, I usually don't announce that publicly, but I felt to, and it has been kind of amazing to see how just knowing I am out here and am 27 and gave up so much to be here, has opened doors and made connections with ward members. Who knew my age could be a powerful tool!? Ha ha!
I love my new companion Sister Patterson. She is one of the most beautiful people I know and has such a tender and sweet spirit and testimony. Every time she speaks I just feel love and she has already been an answer to my prayers. I feel so much peace and calm every day with her as we go about the Lord's work and I am so grateful. It makes such a difference. She is so in-tune with the spirit and she has an incredible ability to care for the one. I can tell she truly loves Heavenly Father when I listen to her pray. She is 22 and actually grew up in Mesa, Arizona! Yeah! 2 Arizonans conquering the world! Her family lives in Logan, Utah now and she is the 2nd oldest of 6. She's been out for 9 months on her mission. She loves to draw and do paintings and water color art. Her dream is to illustrate children's books, with her mom writing stories that teach principles like faith and prayer...and publish books for Deseret Book = ) She has the CUTEST sense of style and you just can't not get along with her! I am excited to be her companion and know we will see many miracles together.
A wonderful miracle of the week was 2 baptisms of a son and daughter of God from China! We had the baptism for Yuyu...a woman from China almost ALL of the Sisters have met and taught on the temple grounds. Her baptism was beautiful and she was full of so much joy! She asked me to sing "I Am a Child of God" in Mandarin at her baptism and I was so honored to be able to do that for her. Right after her baptism I was able to go to Bin's! It was the greatest thing to see Bishop Bostwick baptize this young man I literally watched change as he trusted in us and the Lord and began reading The Book of Mormon and praying. He asked Sister Miller and I to sing "Amazing Grace" because it was the first Christian song he heard that moved him. There was such a humble spirit there. His testimony was pure and sweet and his journey to baptism will forever be a miracle of my mission. I know the Lord is going to do amazing things for China through him!
I just wanted to share one thing from my talk that I gave on Sunday about sacrifice. I believe it fully and am a living testimony of the fact that with an eternal perspective, you can see that giving up the things of the world is really no sacrifice at all. The blessings you receive are greater than anything you ever give up. I leave the same invitation with you that I left with the branch...and that is, sometimes we are prompted to give up things that we truly love or that are difficult to, and our faith in God and Jesus Christ are tested...we leap, believing and hoping with all our hearts they will come through....it is my testimony that they always do. I invite you to make the sacrifice you need to...follow what the spirit has been prompting you to do...take that step of faith. Those who feel in darkness, I plead with you to come unto Christ. The Atonement wasn't easy...yet through it all, He never gave up on you....and He still never does! Don't you dare give up on Him! The blessings you receive are greater than anything you will ever give up!
Love and miss you all!
I would love to hear from you!
Your Favorite Missionary,
|Our amazing member brought Sister Miller and I CAFE RIO!!!! (There is one about an hour and a half away...that's love!) I was in heaven!|
|Our Mormon Battalion Family (we are growing!!!)|
|Me with my new companion Sister Patterson|
|Bin's baptism with all the Sisters who taught him|