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!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh His Eye is on the Sparrow!!!

Dear Family and Loved Ones,

Wow! What an incredible and miracle filled week! I have received answers to prayers and have truly felt the spirit in great abundance throughout the week and my heart is just filled with gratitude for the many tender mercies of the Lord. I am constantly reminded again and again that this truly is HIS work and He is so involved in our lives....if only the whole world would allow their eyes to see the many ways He tries to manifest to them that He is there. I will be honest. I have been feeling a little dulled lately as far as my ability to feel the spirit. I have felt I have been doing all the things I have done before to feel and be entitled to it's guidance...but I wasn't feeling and it was making me pretty sad. I also had been praying about a few things and not seeing or getting answers. I was feeling a little discouraged at the fact that while I have been praying and awaiting answers, other's prayers, including my companions, seem to be answered so immediately. I went on exchanges with my past companion, Sister Rasmussen, and let her know how I was feeling about it all. She suggested that at the end of each day I write down one way my prayers were answered, and then she said a beautiful prayer on my behalf, to be able to feel....well, the next day, Thursday, had to be one of the greatest days of my mission!

It began with a wonderful district meeting in which my district leader, Elder Blair, gave a beautiful and powerful lesson on the meaning of the Atonement. As we watched one of the new Bible videos from the Life of Christ, my prayer to feel was answered. All I felt was warmth and love...a love for my Savior and love from Him. It seemed to consume me from head to toe. Chills, a warm burning in my chest, and tears I could not stop. I stopped and soaked it in...and oh how sweet it was to know that the comforter was with me. That lit me up! Afterward we went to the Grossmont College Campus to set up a booth and invite students to institute and to take DVDs, pamphlets, and Books of Mormon if interested. As we were setting up our booth I saw a young man sitting and eating a salad....he was football player in stature ; ) ... and since I know a lot about eating salads (wink wink) I struck up a conversation about it. Justin was very nice and open and he said, "Oh yeah my Aunt and her whole family just became Mormons." We were so excited! We asked who his aunt was and came to find that it was the Holyfield family that had all just spoken in our Stake Conference session on Sunday about their conversion and how the gospel has blessed their lives. Coincidence? No way Jose! Heavenly Father! He took a couple things and we mentioned the branch and all the YSA activities and we told him we'd tell his aunt we met him. He said, "Oh, I'll tell her tonight at dinner. I am over at her house all the time!" So guess who's house we are going to be hanging around?! ; ) Sister Patterson and I looked at each other and said, "Well, our prayers for Heavenly Father to send someone prepared to hear the gospel to our booth have already been answered!" We also met a girl named Mandy who is Christian and was very interested in learning more. She talked with Sister Patterson while I was talking to a cute engaged couple who were both handicapped (melted my heart)...but I complimented her guitar earrings as she walked away and asked if she liked music. She said she loved to sing and was sad the college didn't have any programs she could get into with that. I told her I sang for Disney and she was blown away...it was a great cliff hanger and a way to say, "Yeah, I'll tell you more about it when we meet with you!" = ) Then later I went to the Mormon Battalion. I was sitting on the porch talking to a man who likes to sit on our rocking chairs and watch the sunset. I was waiting my turn for dinner too and I looked up the street and saw 3 African-Americans crossing the street...and we all know how much I love them....so I immediately felt I needed to go out to the statue to meet them and invite them in. I loved them in an instant! I invited Cherry, Harvey, and Ranae Randall in for the 2,000 mile journey. I was suppose to go eat dinner but I felt really strongly that I was suppose to, and I really wanted to take these great people on tour. I prayed Heavenly Father would sustain me and my blood sugar through the tour. We had a couple of minutes before we could begin so I was going to sing my "On the Road" song and asked if they liked music...Cherry said, "Oh yeah we do! He's a professional singer!" Found out he and Cherry are ministers from Dallas, Texas and he sings gospel music professionally. I told him about my background and they asked me to sing, so I told them that perhaps after the tour we could do a little exchange. Well, it was just me with the 3 of them on tour so needless to say it was one of the funnest tours I have ever taken. They were so into it. I stopped to say a silent prayer during the tour, and prayed in my heart: "Heavenly Father, I love these people so much and I am so thankful to be able to take them on tour. They have such strong faith, and believe everything I have been sharing with them so far. I don't know that there is anything I could say to them that would strike them...but I do feel that I should sing for them. Help me to know what song would touch their hearts, and I pray that as I sing thou wilt make me an instrument...that through my voice and my countenance, they might feel the spirit in a way they never have before and in a way they will recognize is right and true..." Well at the end of the tour I asked Harvey to sing. He said he was too tired...so I asked if I could sing and they happily agreed. The song that had come to mind was "How Great Thou Art" and they said it's always a good one. I sang the last two verses. As I thought my body was going to com-bust and I felt chills everywhere and strength in my voice....I knew my prayer was being answered. Tears glistened in their eyes and they were so engaged in that moment. It was incredible to experience. Afterward Harvey was stunned. They clapped and he asked if I had professional recordings out and that if I didn't, I needed to. He said, "You just sang for the 3 of us here with so much heart....that's all I felt from you was a love for God. So many people sing for entertainment today, and we need more voices like yours in the world...that help people feel." He then decided to sing for me = ) He sang a bit of "How Great is Our God." It was SO good! I loved it! I just had to capture this moment on camera so I asked if he knew "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and if I could record us improvising a duet! Well, the video clip I sent says it all. It was SO FUN! I haven't sung like that in 16 months and it felt so good!!!! I could have soared 50 feet in the air! Ha ha! That's what it felt like. I don't even know where that voice came from...we were both so full of joy after...just smiling and saying thank you and he told me we should just record a gospel CD together. After was even better....they wanted to pray for me so of course I let them. Cherry prayed and spoke of how they were just wandering through old town doin' this and that and they just thought they'd wander up the hill to see what this buildin' was all about and they had no idea that what they would find was me....she said I was an angel in their lives that night and had been blessed with a beautiful gift and talent. They prayed that the doors of opportunities would open for me and that the Lord would reveal His plans for me and how He would have me use my voice. It was one of the sweetest, most convicted prayers I have ever heard = ) The whole time Harvey was chanting some, "open the doors Lord, open 'em now!...yes Lord" etc....While I ran to give him a copy of my CD, I had them watch the Alex Boye Mormon Message because I knew he would connect to it. He loved it and wanted to buy his music. I gave him my CD and he told me it meant the world to him and that he would use it in his devotionals as he ministered and that they would watch for me after my mission  = ). It was seriously one of the top 5 greatest moments of my mission! After they left I finally got back to eat dinner at 8:15...after the adrenaline left me I crashed and zoned from the spiritual high. But I was so grateful the Lord sustained me and I was able to follow the prompting to take them. They said they believed 100% there was a reason they met me that night.. I agreed = ) Gotta love it!

We had another answered prayer with a recent convert who has been struggling. He has an absolutely terrible home life and struggles with depression. We haven't known how else we could help him, but we had a special prayer for him while planning and asked what more we could do. The thought "Primary Songs" came to mind....I didn't know why, but as I talked it out with my companion I remembered that he has mentioned a few times that he loves to sing...just in passing. So we decided to teach him of how Heavenly Father shows His love for us and we read scriptures in between. It was like a sing-along-lesson! We started with nature - "My Heavenly Father Loves Me", the scriptures - "Book of Mormon Stories", the prophets - "Follow the Prophet", and through Jesus Christ - "He Sent His Son"....his whole countenance changed and he was beaming. The spirit was felt so strongly too...we all had to stop after we sang the last verse of Book of Mormon Stories (which is about the Savior and I feel like I've never sung before) because we all had tears coming to our eyes. After the lost song he just said, "I have no words to express how I feel right now." So I told him to just feel and he began to cry. We committed him to sing a hymn or primary song every day, either to start, or as a tool when he felt down. We left that lesson with such a sweet spirit in our hearts and in agreement that we ourselves needed that lesson. Wow! Seriously! What would I do without music! It's even what helps me be able to be a missionary!!!

Another investigator we have been praying for for about a month was Alicia. We met her and had her pray out loud for the first time and she had cried because she knew it was true in that moment....that was our only lesson with her. We were struggling for her to keep and make her appointments and she wasn't coming to church but we would see her at many of the activities. We have been praying and praying almost every day to know what she needed and what we could do to help. Well, Heavenly Father took care of that for us. We got a call from her Thursday night telling us she wanted to be baptized and had gotten an answer! We were excited to meet with her the next day and hear how. She had gone to institute and they had an amazing lesson about the Atonement. Later that night she went home and prayed and wrote out stories and analogies she was thinking of and just knew it was right. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and set her date for October 12th! We talked throughout the lesson about each piece of the plan being a gift. A few weeks before when we first planned to teach her the lesson and we were thinking of a fun commitment. I looked at a gift bag I had and said, "What if we cut up the questions and scriptures about the plan of salvation into slips and put them all in the gift bag and have her pull one out each day and study that element of it?" Again that was a few weeks ago....but as we handed it to her and explained it she started to cry because she said that the other night when she was writing analogies, one that came to mind was with a window and God handing all these gifts to her through it.....(well it made sense to her! = )....she said, "I haven't told anybody about that!" I promised her that it was a testimony that Heavenly Father knew her and her heart and her thoughts!!! She was blown away....AND they brought another friend to that very lesson and she wants to start meeting with us too! She said we made it sound really interesting! = ) 

OK, I am out of time now, but the last great miracle was Kelsey's baptism! She was soooo happy! Just listen to the video clip of her amazing testimony of prayer. It says it all! She also did this completely on her own...no family there to support her or even be at her baptism...no friends from before...but an entire branch that loves her so much already....when you know that, it makes her testimony tug on your heart strings. In her confirmation blessing, she was promised she would be a light to her family through her example. Wow! What an amazing week! What amazing truth! What amazing work!!!

Love you with all of my heart!!!

Sister Riggs

Me with the Randall's!

Kelsey's Baptism

This is a clip of Kelsey's testimony at her baptism. She bore a beautiful testimony about Prayer and it touched so many lives that were there...people were in awe. She is just 18 years old and so incredible and I thought it would be neat for you to hear her story! = )

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Dear Family and Friends,

Well I think this has felt like one of the longest weeks in my mission. As I looked back over the week I realized why. As always, so much has happened! I got to experience several little miracles as we taught throughout the week and were at the right place at the right time. I am just going to share some of these with you:

Last Tuesday we had an appointment with a young man named William. Sister Patterson and I had called or texted everyone on our branch list to try and set an appointment with them so we could meet and strengthen the branch. Sister Patterson had talked to William on the phone and as we were planning for him she said she felt like he needed a message about change or just to come back. I said, "Well, there's Alma 5 that talks about the shepherd calling his sheep and a mighty change of heart." We studied it and she felt right about it and that there were some specific verses in that chapter he would need.We wanted him to feel by the end of the lesson, that there were scriptures just for him and that when you read The Book of Mormon expecting answers, you will find them. Well, I am not going to lie but as we sat down to meet with him I was silent as I thought, "Really?" and tried to figure this guy out. William is this quirky, sweet little guy with a speech impediment, a little short, unkempt hair, and a little round belly....just not at all what I expected....and I was a little skeptical. Sister Patterson did all the talking and getting to know you stuff while I just stared at him, probably with a puzzled look. He was pretty interesting to listen to....a video gamer and intelligent....and I was wondering if what we prepared was going to be what he needed. Well, we read Alma 5 with him....and here is a testimony of The Book of Mormon.... as we read he stopped us and told us of how powerful verse 15 was...it wasn't the verse we expected he'd need. Alma 5:15 "Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption braised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?" He then told us of how many physical ailments he faced with his body, how corrupted it was with different illnesses and how it was so hard for him...how he couldn't even look in the mirror and like himself. In that moment I felt this overflowing love for him and the spirit prompted me to tell him how much he means to Heavenly Father. I shared of the challenges I face with my health and how sometimes it's the thing I hate most about me too...but that I have come to know the Savior through it and that He could do the same. I testified of the great instrument he could be in the Lord's hands because of his humility and because of the way he could relate to so many more people because of his trials than anyone else could. We both strove to build him up and help him see who he is. It was a sweet experience made even sweeter when he said, "I know that this is inspired. It wasn't just coincidence that you picked my name out from the list and called me. It wasn't chance that you felt inspired to read these verse with me that have hit me more powerfully than anything else in a long time. You two are like my angels...like the angels that visited Nephi when he was getting beaten by Laman and Lemuel." Wow...break our hearts why don't you! I taught him about CPR for the soul...Church, Prayer, and Reading, and how that is what we need in our lives to keep our spirits from perishing. He loved that! I asked, "Are you happy with the way things are right now?" He said, "No." I replied, "Do you want things to change?" He answered, "Yes." I responded, "What do you need to do then?" And he said with conviction, "C P R!" We were so grateful as we left that the Lord had inspired us with what William needed and that we were able to bring him hope.

We were finally able to contact a referral we had received a few weeks ago, and we met Krysta. She is a 24 year old single mom with a 3 year old boy. The feeling in her apartment is depressing...there is a lot of help needed in her life. We met with her to teach her the plan of salvation and came to find out she had Type 1 Diabetes and it's out of control....I have never talked to or taught more people with health problems (specifically my diabetes) than I have on my mission...hmmm related??? I am pretty sure I am where the Lord needs me ; ). I got to testify again of the the way diabetes has strengthened my testimony and my relationship with Christ. I was also able to testify of the resurrection and the promise and hope of a life free of diabetes. AND, because I have had lots of practice on my mission of eating only things that don't affect my blood sugar, I was able to respond to her text message she sent, just this morning, asking for advice about what to eat when your blood sugar is high. She needs hope and help and the gospel is the perfect place to start.

Sister Little, our branch president's wife, mentioned to us that a friend of hers had terminal cancer and that they had her funeral and everything planned and were just waiting for her to go. Her name is Barbara and she is about 70 years old. Sister Little felt prompted to have us come by with them after church on Sunday and thought it would mean a lot to her to hear a beautiful song. I had the opportunity to sing one of my favorite hymns "Oh, What Songs of the Heart" because it talks about the great rejoicing we will experience when we are reunited with our Heavenly parents and loved ones. I read to her my favorite scripture from Enos 1:27 "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen." It was a sweet experience. I had to detach myself for a moment so I wouldn't become too overwhelmed with emotions as I remembered singing to my sweet Nana just before she passed. I love the comfort that the gospel brings and I know the plan of salvation is real, and there will be a sweet reunion someday.

We met with a young man, just 19, named Kalen. The Elders introduced us and were passing him to the YSA Branch because they felt it would be a better place for him. He works at an Albertson's that a member owns, and he introduced him to the missionaries! You can tell he is caught up in drugs and things that are no good. He has a lot of family struggles and his mom is suffering a lot of health problems and is in and out of the hospital. He has a desire to change. As we ended the lesson we asked him to pray and ask about preparing for baptism. He said he wasn't willing to do it in front of us. We taught him of the importance of prayer and of asking for himself....that we could pray and ask for him all he wanted, but that he needed to say the words so the Lord could answer HIS prayer and he could get a witness for himself. He still felt uncomfortable, so I offered to say a pray first and then he could try. He said that he would be willing to add to the prayer. So, I did something I haven't and I began the prayer and said a few things then paused and he came right in saying some of the most humble and heartfelt pleas. He said that he was ready to find truth and pleaded for help and asked if this is what he should do. He stopped and I picked up and closed the prayer. It is always humbling and amazing to hear someone offer up a heartfelt prayer, out loud, for one of the first times in their life. What was neat, was right after, we were sitting in our car in the parking lot of the stake center finishing our weekly planning. A 13 and 14 year old boy and girl walked up and wanted in the building to use the bathroom...so of course we let them in, and of course we taught them! We came to find that Isaiah had a Mormon friend that he had been wanting to go to church with and Amori didn't know any Mormons, but was having a lot of struggles in life. I found myself saying something like, "I know often, with all of the things in the world that are surrounding you and confusing you that it can often feel like you are drowning..." I don't think I have ever said that before, but then she said, "That's exactly how I feel!" I looked in the cultural hall and saw they were setting up for a Young Women's Camp recognition night and I asked one of the leaders to tell Amori about young women's! It was so cool! Then the leader invited them to the stake dance this weekend! We took them into the chapel and they admitted the obvious change in feeling as they walked in...we taught them about the spirit and knelt and said a prayer with them. They walked away with copies of The Book of Mormon! Man, I love this!

Kelsey is getting baptized this Saturday!!! Yay!!! It was so neat! Before her baptismal interview we met and taught about following the prophet. We studied scriptures of different prophets teaching and inviting people to repent and be baptized....we decided on 4....well, Sister Patterson first read 2 Nephi 31:5-7 and I then read Alma 7:14-15. Kelsey stopped us and said, "Can I say something really cool? The first time I felt the spirit with the Elders and decided I wanted to be baptized was when they read that verse from 2 Nephi to me...and just this morning I was studying and I read those same verses from Alma 7 and it reaffirmed that this is the right thing for me to do....that is so crazy that you just read those!" We testified that it was just showing that Heavenly Father was right there with her in this decision and that He loved her soooooo much! We can't wait for Saturday!
We had stake conference this weekend and I was asked by my Zone Leaders to lead the missionaries in singing "Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd" for the special musical number at leadership training, and to make it cool.... = ) Elders... Just before our song, President Morgan spoke about how all of our purposes...members and missionaries...is to INVITE and to HELP. Then we sang and the number went well. What was even cooler was finishing the song, then immediately exiting in silence as we "went off to the rescue" and back to work!
We came back later for the adult session because our recent convert was speaking and we had an investigator attend...but we felt wrong for being there...then when we saw our mission president, we asked if it was OK to be there if we had an investigator. He looked at us and said, "It's prime proselyting time...that's 2 hours of time....where will you be most effective?" So we said, "We'll go to work then!" And left to try and contact a young woman on our less active list with no phone number...we found she didn't live there anymore and ended up teaching a whole family who did! A sweet single mom with 3 adorable children. I am out of time to tell you the details...but we taught about families and the restoration for an hour. We sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" for them and her daughter said, "THAT WAS AWESOME!"  Ha ha....the mom is a strong baptist but listened to what we had to say and we left them with a proclamation and testimony of Joseph Smith. We are planning on taking her flowers and an invite to the Relief Society Broadcast = ). I am thankful for a wise and obedient mission president who knows best!

I love you all so much and hope one of these little miracles helped build your testimony today!

Love Always,
Sister Riggs

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Moment Just For Me

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, stop and watch this video! I promise it will be worth it! This is the song Sister Riggs promised us last week, but didn't get to send until this week. She is obviously the one singing, and I clipped a little video together to go along with it. Grab the tissues and enjoy this beautiful testimony of the Savior.


Video credits: Reflections of Christ and The Testaments
Music Credits: Another Testament: Music of the Living Savior

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Music is a gift from Him | 9.10.13

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again! I can't believe it is Tuesday again already. It has been such a blur of a week. I had a pretty incredible and busy weekend as I once again had the opportunity to use the voice that Heavenly Father has given me to help others to know of Him and His spirit. I was asked to sing the National Anthem in Old Town San Diego for a big car show event they were doing....apparently I was on the radio! Neat! They closed down all the streets and they were crowded with old fashion cars and vendors. Because the Mormon Battalion is a part of the Old Town experience, and our director serves on the Chamber of Commerce, I was actually requested by the chamber to sing. Well, as it often goes, I got pretty sick last week with a cold and was praying real hard and taking lots of vitamin C to survive and try to kick it before that day. I was actually still pretty sick...my vocal range being quite limited. I received a Priesthood blessing just before the performance from Elder Affleck. He told me that Heavenly Father was pleased that I was and have been so willing to share and use my talents so often to bless the lives of others. He blessed me to have a strong and clear voice and blessed me also to have an affect on the veterans and marines who were walking the streets with their families. I had to lower the key a few steps to be able to sing with strength but it went pretty well. The coolest thing for me was what happened as I sang. There was hustle and bustle and loudness and I began...."Oh say can you see" ...a little less noise... "by the dawn's early light" ....silence. As I sang I looked down the street and saw everyone at a stand still....facing the stage I was singing on...some with their hand over their hearts. I have never felt the spirit so strong while singing the National Anthem...and I also felt strength. The act that followed me was a rock band...so it's pretty funny to see me standing up there with guitarists and a drummer...long hair...pretty ragged...standing behind me....but as I exited the stage, the singer of the band walked up (completely immodest...short short skirt, blouse very low cut, extreme make-up and hair) and they began their song...immediate noise, drums, screaming in the mic....wow! immediate absence of the spirit! It was black and white! So crazy to see and feel that so clearly. I was praying others walking the streets noticed the difference, and that it'd make them curious. 

Another neat experience I had was singing at the Mission President's Fireside again. There is a song that changed my life. It's from "Reflections of Christ: Another Testament" and is called "Moment Just For Me." It's from the perspective of a woman who was there in the Americas when the Savior came and she says, "I thought I knew true gratitude and deep humility until the one who saved the world saved a moment just for me." I have LONGED to be able to have the music to that song so I could sing it. I am always teaching and testifying that Heavenly Father cares about the things that are important to us...it's true = ). I got to take the writer of the music on tour at the Battalion and so the song was able to be sung at the fireside. I sang it to the track, which is never done at the firesides, but with the help of President Morgan (a member of the mission presidency who just happens to have performed professionally since he was 8) it was all approved and they were willing to make it work. He and I were on the same page when we both thought how great it would be to have a picture or slide show playing behind this powerful song. Well, it all worked out. I was so nervous because it took lots of work and coordination at the last second to have the track play through the chapel speakers, the DVD paused on a picture portraying the moment I was singing about, the lights down but up on me, and the microphone...all running through the same sound system! (These are times I really miss working for Disney among the professionals ; ) ) ....I was praying through the whole fireside that all of the elements would work together, that my sickness wouldn't affect my voice, that I would remember the words, that I would be a conduit for the spirit...that people would have their hearts touched in a way that would be almost as if they did feel the Savior's hands that night...and that my performance would be given with all of my heartfelt thanks and gratitude, for the moments the Savior had taken and given for me. I have never felt my heart beat so much before singing at a fireside....a dear sister I serve with, Sister Davies, said that even her heart was pounding and racing before I stood up to sing...not even knowing what I was singing...but knowing and feeling that, in her words, "The powers of hell were about to be shaken." Well, there were only a couple of sound glitches....with the mic and music coming through the same system....but all went well. As I stepped away from the pulpit I almost didn't want to move. I didn't want to disrupt the very tangible spirit that was present. I was oh so grateful. President Clayton stood to give his inspired remarks and said, "Wow....how do I follow that..." But I say as Alma said in Mosiah 23:11 "Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself." I know the Lord enabled and made such a sweet experience possible. As I sat on the stand and looked at the missionaries surrounding me....and out into the congregation...my heart was full...and ached a little at the thought of my time here running away from me. I said a silent prayer in that moment that the Lord would help me always remember that picture in my mind....what precious time this is and how glad I am to have this once in a lifetime opportunity. 

As I arrived in Santee and started meeting less-active members and members i really felt like one of the reasons I was there was to encourage others to use their talents and help give them the confidence they needed to share them! i met two sweet sisters who said they loved to sing but wouldn't sing in church...I encouraged a less-active who has just recently come back fully to everything to sing in sacrament meeting. Heavenly Father inspired my mind with a song I thought and felt would be perfect not only for her voice but also for her testimony. It was a song about prayer called "When I Can't Speak." Well she sang it in church on Sunday and touched so many hearts! She told us of how she could have written the words to the song herself because it was literally her life. Her testimony came through and members were talking about it all through church and you could see a different glow about her. So neat! I really just love everything we get to do when doing the work of the Lord, and the changes that we get to see in people!

Last little miracle happened at the Battalion last night. I got to take a cute couple on tour. They are from China originally but have lived here since they were little and are now going to UCSD for school. During the tour I said a prayer in my heart and decided to pray a little more specifically. I asked Heavenly Father for a chance to bear testimony that they were children of God. My prayer was answered. Came to find out after that they live right next to the temple ad have always wondered about it. I showed them a couple Mormon Message clips in the theater about temples and they were both very interested! As I testified that because they were children of God they could kneel and pray and ask anything at anytime and they would be heard, my heart smiled! I was testifying of something that was literally happening to me in the very moment I was saying it! So neat! They are going to meet with the missionaries and I am so excited! too bad I am not serving in La Jolla anymore or I would get to teach them!!! 

Love and miss you all! You are always in my heart and in my prayers! Thank you for yours = )

Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Riggs
Me and Sister Patterson at the MOBAT

Me and Vanessa (recent convert) first time at the San Diego Temple!

Me on the line-up backstage to sing!

Fun car show picture! Little Devil's Car!

The stage I sang on ...ha ha..and the rockers...yep pretty big contrast

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

12 Weeks?!!! 11th Transfer!! Is this real life?

Dear Family and Friends,

It is so hard to believe that another transfer has gone by and I am now down to my last two! We said goodbye to two of my most favorite Sisters this morning, Sister Mendez and Sister Hall, and as they drove off it was crazy to think that was going to be me in just 12 weeks! The comforting thing is remembering how long my first 12 weeks were and how much happened in such a short amount of time. There is still so much to do and so many miracles waiting to happen! Sister Patterson and I are staying together!!! We didn't get transferred and we are both so happy about it. We've got a lot of things going and are excited for what's to come. The last 6 weeks we have been focusing on the members and strengthening the less-actives, and this transfer I feel like it is time to find and we will focus a lot of attention on the booth we will be able to have at the Grossmont College Campus weekly! Oh boy, I can't wait for those conversations = ) I love Sister Patterson so much and she and I make a great team. She said in our companion prayer after we found out we weren't getting transferred, "I am so grateful thou hast heard MY prayers and that we will get to continue being companions!!" I just started laughing and we both laughed....and that's us! I have never experienced so much peace and joy in the work daily. It's such a tender mercy at this point in my mission. So we will continue on and keep working hard and keep seeing miracles in Santee!!

Speaking of miracles!!! We had Vanessa's Baptism on Saturday!!! We weren't entirely sure it was going to happen, but we exercised our faith, prayed for her A LOT, and just trusted in the Lord and miracles happened! Monday she was having a bad day and lots of doubts and wasn't responding to us. Tuesday we invited her to come take a tour with us at the Mormon Battalion and she was so happy! We asked her after how she was feeling about everything and she confidently said that she was feeling great. She is so incredible. She told us how Monday had been a hard day and she didn't make the wisest decisions, but that she prayed about it all, went to sleep, and when she woke up the next day everything felt right. Wednesday we taught her about tithing and fast offerings and she said that she was actually most excited about keeping this particular commandment! Really?! Could she be more prepared?! Thursday she had her interview and was found ready to be baptized! I just love Vanessa. We told her just before her interview how she was literally our miracle and a promised blessing from an apostle of the Lord. We told her how on July 31st, Elder Ballard had come to speak to the missionaries and that he gave us an apostolic blessing and promise, that there was someone new we could find, teach, and baptize before the month of August was over. It was 6 days later that we met and began teaching her, and at that first meeting, she accepted the invitation to be baptized...and here we were, at her interview = ). She began to cry tears of joy and said she was happy we told her that because it just confirmed to her even more that this was all right and all meant to be. We had to exercise a lot of faith, and we had to meet with her 3 times a week! ha ha...but faith precedes the miracle!!!! She was just glowing on Saturday and some of her non-member family came to support her. Sister Patterson gave a beautiful talk about baptism and the miracle that Vanessa was...her amazing childlike faith and how much she has actually taught US. She asked me to sing a special musical number, and as I thought of her I just went back to the first night we met with her and asked her what she wanted. She had said she just wanted to be closer to God and strengthen her relationship with Him. I also thought of how much she had been progressing on her own, the changes she made by herself just by simply listening to the promptings of the spirit and keeping the commitments we extended to her. I felt to sing a song by Rob Gardner, "More Like Thee," because I could imagine her saying the words. These are the words:

"Faith to move what can't be moved. That which proves what can't be proved.
Hope to make the world seem bright, shining through the dark of night.
Grant me these that I may be more dear Savior, more like Thee.
Light that burns away my doubt, casting all the shadows out.
Love so pure it falls like rain. Bringing life where once was pain.
Grant me these that I may be, more dear Savior, more like Thee."

The spirit was sweet and tears filled her eyes. My heart felt like it was going to burst as I watched her step into the water. She was just beaming and glowing and I am so happy for her and this perfect, fresh, new start she has. What a gift to be able to be forgiven...to be baptized and be able to access all the help the Savior has offered through His Atonement, and then to be given the gift of the Holy Ghost. In her blessing, it said that as she shared the things she has come to know that many would follow! She is a light in our branch and a miracle of my mission I will never forget!

We had a great launch night with our "Rescue" project. Many came to our Branch President's house to make phone calls to their list of 5 names and invite them out to activities and to the branch. It was so fun to see everyone working together and all around the house on their phones. I would get so excited when I would overhear someone who got someone to answer on the other end and start telling them who they were and that they wanted to invite them to church, etc. I had some kind of sad conversations as I called some numbers and mostly just got a hold of the mom's of these less-active boys. They would tell me some sad situations and thank me so much for calling and it just broke my heart. But I loved hearing the faith of these mothers saying that they knew the time would come when they would come back, but that they just didn't know when and until then, they'd keep praying. We had a few more faces at FHE and also in the branch on Sunday = ) We hope that will continue to happen!

We had a cool experience yesterday as we tried to contact a referral....we walked up to the door and there was another woman sitting outside of it and she asked if we were there to see Krysta too. We confirmed that we were and then told her who we were and what we do. She then told us she was there as a support also...a kind of life coach from a company that helps get people through individual struggles. Misty was there to help Krysta go healthy food shopping. Krysta wasn't answering the door or the phone, but we got to talk to Misty a little bit. We asked why she chose to do that for a living and she said she has just always loved helping others. We found out she wasn't very religious but believed in God. What was interesting was that I had felt to study hope for Krysta that morning, but it ended up being what Misty needed to hear....to get around her trying to think we were preaching to her, I just said, "Well you know, we were going to share this great scripture with Krysta today, can we share it with you since you said you needed this too?" I then read Mosiah 12:4 "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." She loved it and we testified of how our Savior is what brings us all hope and how when we are close to Him and have faith in Him, it really is an anchor to us in this world, and then no matter what storms may come, we are steadfast and unshaken. We sang a verse of "Abide With Me Tis Eventide" and said a prayer with her. Just before we left I said, "You know, something else you said made me think of another scripture you would love." I read Mosiah 2:17 "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." She said, "Wow! I love that...that is really a touching verse." I told her that is was her! We thanked her for what she did to help others and that she felt so happy doing it because she is serving God as she helps His children. We left her with our information and we sure hope she calls us. But although we didn't get to meet Krysta, I know Heavenly Father needed us to see Misty. How He works will always amaze me!

I just wanted to finish this week's letter by sharing something I learned in my personal study. I have been studying the Atonement, specifically the element of forgiveness and the Savior's incredible ability and desire to forgive. One morning I read Matthew 9:2 "And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." I noticed the conditions of the story...1) They brought the man of palsy (they came unto Christ) 2) He saw their faith 3) He said to be of good cheer and forgave his sins and healed him. My thought was that all we have to do is come...when we just come, He sees that sign of our faith and is so willing to forgive and comfort, lift, forgive, and heal us! The next day I was reading and read His words He spoke upon the cross Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." I thought of the previous story, and how when we come unto Him and exercise our faith, He always forgives...but here, even in this moment, when people were not coming to Him, in fact they were doing the opposite, betraying Him and literally standing by, watching Him die....He still plead to the Father on their behalf....He still wanted them to be forgiven...and He still wanted to forgive. He is always pleading our cause no matter what. How can someone have such infinite love? I sat in amazement as I pondered that. The Savior really does love us so much. I know that for me there have been times I denied His forgiveness or thought it didn't apply to me. That is never true. And on the other side of things, can anyone ever do anything to us that is so terrible that we cannot forgive them? The answer is a resounding no! What a great lesson....I hope we do not push our Savior away when He stands ready and waiting to forgive us....and I hope that we do not withhold forgiveness of others when the Savior was able to plead on behalf of those who were taking His life. He is so patient with us when we make mistakes...always willing to forgive....and we should be just as patient with others. I know I am guilty of not being completely forgiving, and I am thankful the spirit taught me this great lesson this week. I love my Savior with all of my heart and am so thankful He gives 2nd and 3rd chances...and 50th and 100th chances = ). I am grateful He lets me, and helps me strive to become more like Him. Just know must of all...He loves you and you can be forgiven...that's all He wants to do for you!

I love you all so much! Have a marvelous week!

Sister Riggs

Biking at Coranado Island!

Me and some of my Favorite Sister Missionaries!!!

Branch Members making phone calls and inviting!

Calling my list of 5!

It's been SO HOT and SO HUMID this week! 4 fans in our apartments made it bearable! ha ha

Vanessa's Baptism!!! Love her!