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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!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Will she stay or will she go?! (Letter on 7/23/13)

Hello Again Dear Family,

Well, it's hard to believe but we have ended another transfer...I have been in La Jolla for...well, a long time...30 weeks actually = ) and I love it soooo much! We did get a call this morning. We thought Sister Miller would be going full-proselyting and that I would stay and train one of the new mandarin-speaking sisters coming in a week....but we guessed wrong, as we usually do...I am being transferred. I feel OK about it...I am sad of course because I LOVE these people so much...as I tend to always give my whole heart to these people. I will miss teaching...more like learning from these incredible people that the Lord has been preparing throughout their lives. It has been a sacred experience to teach Katie, Jacques, Victor, and Bin...and I am excited to come back on their baptism days...but I will miss feeling of their spirits. I know though, that all of these wonderful things will continue in my next area and with my new companion. It will be a new place (probably where I will end my mission) and it will be different people, but with faith and trust in the Lord, miracles will never cease. I will miss the cool breeze from the coast, passing the temple every day, and teaching with the ocean in the background. I love the ward and all of its amazing members. The Bishop is one of my favorite people...and it will always be a place I feel at home. From what I hear, the only option for me really is that I will be going to serve in the Santee YSA Branch...and my companion will be Sister Patterson...who is literally a walking Snow White, with the most tenderest of spirits! We will just have to wait and find out tomorrow in our meeting. I'll let you know what happens next week! Who knows...Heavenly Father loves throwing curve balls! = ) I have so loved being with Sister Miller. I have never been able to teach like I have with her. Teaching together was our strongest point. We both have a love for the gospel, and we aren't afraid to be bold and speak the thoughts that are put into our hearts. I have learned sacred lessons that I wouldn't have without her, and she has been my rock and my support through it all. I know that La Jolla is in good hands. She feels scared and overwhelmed to take over, but I know that is her being humble...like she always is. =) I love her and I know the miracles we experienced were a direct result of her faith and diligence and her desire to be exactly obedient. She will be a forever friend and sister for the rest of my life, and I am so thankful to have been chosen to serve alongside one of our Heavenly Father's most valiant daughters. 

So remember last week how I mentioned so many acts of FAITH?! Well, Moroni knew what he was saying when he said, "But because of the faith of (Sister Riggs and Sister Miller) he has shown himself unto (Bin) and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby (Bin) might be (a partaker) of the heavenly gift, that (Bin) might hope for those things which (he has) not seen." (Ether 12:8) The last piece of the puzzle Bin felt he was missing, was having a witness, or sure knowledge, that Thomas S. Monson was truly called of God to be His living prophet on the earth today. He felt he was a good, wise, old man who spoke great things because of his experiences, and that he was more of a manager of the church. He asked if it was OK to be baptized not knowing that for sure. We promised that as he continued to learn and grow, further witnesses would come, but Bin still wanted to be able to answer without hesitation. He said over the next couple of days he would research more and pray about it and as soon as he had an answer he would let us know. We fasted again for him, and our whole district kept him in their prayers. That was Wednesday, and we met with him again Saturday. We were praying for a miracle, and hoping his concern had been resolved. As we began our lesson, Bin said, "I have a long talk I would like to say if you are willing to listen...and I wasn't sure until just 30 minutes ago of what I was going to do..." We were on the edge of our seats as he began to share his feelings. He said over the past couple of days that no miracles had happened and that he wondered why it was that for many of the Baptismal interview questions he could answer quickly, surely, and without hesitation...and why for some, he still felt a slight hesitation. As he thought about this, he said a thought came of, "Wow, Bin! You must be pretty ambitious to think that you should have a perfect knowledge and sure answer of all of these things before being baptized, when Sister Riggs, Sister Miller, Cy, Mark, everyone...has worked and learned their whole life to come to know what they know now. They were 8 years old when they were baptized, and have learned little by little. You already know so much within just a short amount of time." He then told us that he believed as he kept going that more answers would come and his testimony would grow and then he told us that he wanted to be baptized and he KNEW it was right!!!! Sister Miller was squeezing my leg under the table and I had my hands over my mouth to hide my huge smile that I had as he told the story and I sensed what was coming...we were in amazement. We said, "So what now? You leave to go back to China on July 30th!" He smiled and said, "So, my last chance to be baptized would be next Saturday..." Us: "3 Days before you go back to China?" Bin: "Yes so...I thank you in advance for your arrangements!" Ha haaaaa!!! = ) = ) = )!!!!!! I literally cried tears of joy!!!! To have exercised faith on behalf of someone else, and see the Lord answer prayers...to see how much Bin has changed from lesson one over the past 4 months to now...BIN, our investigator who we could almost never get a word in because he asked so many questions, and responded to our testimonies with more questions and was always asking for Scientific proof or physical evidence...WOW!! Miracles!!! ...and to hear him say with so much conviction he knows this is what he wants....was truly incredible! No words can describe! So, we are having a miracle baptism on Saturday! Even more amazing is, we looked up his home in China, and found there is a branch nearby that he will be able to continue to attend! The Lord has it all worked out! It's amazing = ) "And neither at any time hath any wrought miracles until after their faith; wherefore they first believed in the Son of God."(Ether 12:18) Tee heee!!!!

I had a sweet experience yesterday at the Battalion, as the Lord, once again, worked out the details for me to meet a sweet little 10 year old girl named Karoline. I had finished my tour and was out gold panning with this mother and daughter, and as we talked I learned that her best friend is Mormon and talks to her about church stuff all the time. I asked if she had every gone to church with her and she said no...that she lived a little far and doing sleep overs was hard cause she sleeps in on the weekends, etc (like a little 10 yr old going on 30 ha ha)...and her mom said her daughter had Type 1 Diabetes. I stopped and looked at her and said, "Hey! Me too!" That created an instant bond and I immediately asked her about it all. She was diagnosed when she was just 6 1/2 years old. She said she didn't really remember life before having diabetes so it wasn't a super big deal. I told her that was lucky and how I was diagnosed when I was 17, and the hardest thing was how much it DID change everything for me. Her mom told me how kids at school don't understand and how they make fun of her sometimes and call her "Diabetes Girl" and that the teachers sometimes don't let her check her blood sugar in class cause they don't want it to upset the other children and things. As her mom talked I just looked at this beautiful little girl and my heart was filled with admiration and compassion for her. I said, "Karoline, come over here and talk with me for a minute." We sat on a bench in the courtyard and I told her I wanted to share a few things that I had learned because of my diabetes. We agreed that we had it pretty good because we have had to learn about health and how to be healthy now and for life. We talked about how we have seen others in more difficult circumstances and felt that it could always be worse and we were lucky to enjoy the health that we do have. I shared with her about how have this trial helps us to have more love and compassion for others who have hard things to deal with, especially health challenges. She had a cross on her neck so I knew she was religious. Her mom said that she reads the Bible all the time and goes to Bible study. I said, "Then you know about the Savior?" She nodded and I told her why I was able to have hope for a cure someday. I said something like this: "Karoline, because of what Jesus Christ did, you can know that you are never alone. When He came to the earth He didn't just suffer for our sins...he suffered for our sicknesses and our pains. So I know, no matter how hard this gets or how frustrated I get with it sometimes, I am never alone. Neither are you...you always have a friend who can comfort you because He understands. The other thing He did was overcome physical death, and because of that, we will all be given a perfect body someday...free of imperfections! Free of diabetes! So I know that even though they may never find a cure while I am alive, someday, my Savior will be my cure...and it's just for this time that I have this special trial...to prove to Heavenly Father that I love Him no matter what." I told her that I wanted her to know that no matter how anyone ever made her feel, that she was special, that Heavenly Father knew how strong she was, and so she gave her this challenge to help her be even stronger. She told me how she wanted to learn piano and the violin and GERMAN! I promised her that she could do anything she wanted, that just because she had type one didn't mean her dreams couldn't come true. I told her all my fears I had when I was diagnosed and that I conquered them all so far! I also shared with her the words I was promised in my blessing as I was set-apart to be a missionary...that Heavenly Father was aware of my health conditions and I didn't have them by accident. I testified to her as long as she understood and looked at this as a gift and an opportunity, that she would be someone many would look up to throughout her life. I LOVE this sweet little girl. They asked for a picture with me so we took one, and I told her I wanted to give her something. I grabbed a Book of Mormon and asked if her friend had ever given her one. She said no and I said, "Well, I beat her to it!" I knelt by her side and showed her how I knew what I just shared with her was true. I read her Alma 7:11-12 and had her read Alma 40:23 to me. She thought that was pretty cool. I wrote my testimony in it quickly, highlighted and book marked the 2 verses, and told her I knew she would love the book and she would find strength as she read it. As I opened my e-mail today, my heart was touched to find an e-mail from her that said this: 

Thank you so much Sister Riggs, you made me feel not so alone in my diabetes.  I have been reading the book you gave me.  Thank you and bless you and your family.

Love,
Karoline 

ALL of our experiences really are for our good, and they give us the wards the Savior would say in the moments his brothers and sisters need Him. I am right where the Lord needs me to be. = )

Love you all so much,
Sister Riggs

Me and Karoline = )