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, 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