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, October 29, 2013

Heavenly Father knows!‏

Happy Halloween My Spooktacular Goons!

I am in awe as I look at the calender and see November just around the corner....if that's not scary I don't know what is! Knowing I only have four weeks left has weighed on my shoulders as we have had some terrible struggles this week and as I teach and come to love people and realize I won't be here to see things through with them! Ugh! Heartbreaking! But the Lord blessed me with an amazing miracle this week at the Mormon Battalion that reminded me of His awareness of ALL of His children... So I walked up to the front of the Battalion just in time to be asked to take the next tour. Sister Patterson came with me and we began our journey with our group. There was a couple from Arizona and they mentioned something about a temple and I said, "Yes! The temple being built in Gilbert! Have you seen it?" They said they had and it was beautiful! I told them to watch for the dates so they could go and walk through. We then went on with the tour...these two were so into the tour...particularly the husband and he was just having a ball and making everyone laugh as I dressed him as as our soldier. Sister Patterson and I whispered to each other in agreement that they were so prepared! At the end of the tour I stayed at the camera to take the family photos. When I walked out to gold panning the member couple from Colorado that were on my tour were standing there with this man and were explaining about the Book of Mormon to him. The wife looked at me and said, "Could you please get this man a Book of Mormon?" I looked at her a little bewildered and said, "Sure!...I'll be right back!" I came back and handed it to him and continued to listen to these amazing member missionaries bear their testimony on the spot to this man about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The man, Armando, then said, "I have been looking for something. I just need something. I lost my daughter 2 years ago." The member looked at me and said, "Do you have a Plan of Salvation pamphlet?" I said, "We sure do!" She said, "This Sister will take good care of you!" I walked back with him and as we talked and he told me of his loss and his search I thought of how the temples mean families can be together FOREVER....then I thought: "Wait! The Gilbert temple open house is in January! I will be home! I can take him and his wife through the temple open house!" I turned to him and told him my desire to do so and he said he would LOVE that! THEN, as I was getting his phone number, I asked where in Arizona he lived....He said, "Chandler." I said, "Oh me too! What part?" ...."Oh on Gilbert and Riggs Rd." I stopped him in astonishment as he told me of the neighborhood he lived in by Alberston's and I said, "Armando, you did notice my name was Sister Riggs right?....you know one block up on Gilbert and Chandler Heights where the Bashas and CVS Pharmacy are? (He nodded) ...and that random farmhouse on the corner? (yep!) That's my family!!! You literally live less than a mile away from my house!" He stared at me speechless and we just said "Wow!" I told him that it always amazes me when things like this happen! He said he knew it was no coincidence and he would never forget this day! I told him then that I would personally keep in touch with him and his wife and then I said, "You know what! Will you call my dad and ask him if you can go to church with him this Sunday?" He said, "Wow! Really? I would love to go to your church!" I gave him my dad's number and told him he'd love to go with him! Ha ha sorry dad! I volunteered you because I know you are a perfect friend for him! = ) Armando was so grateful and knew without a doubt he was lead to the Battalion that night. All this time, Sister Patterson was talking to his wife and learned that their son was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and beat it....then, not many years later, their daughter was diagnosed and it took her life 2 years ago. The wife has become a bit hardened because of it and the husband has been softened. I left that experience on Cloud 9! Alma 26: 37 "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever!" So true! I am so excited to have missionary work to continue with this sweet man and his wife when I get home! Until then, Dad! You and the missionaries got this!

Well, I also mentioned some struggles this week. I can't say much, just that Satan must not be very happy with the strengthening, unity, love, and rescuing that has been happening in our branch over the past few months. His opposition was seen and felt this week and I experienced one of the most difficult days of my mission on Friday. Praying for the power of Paul in my speech and for the gift of discernment....having to stand up and be bold and even rebuke a little bit....then comfort, heal and try to save those who were hurt. All I have been thinking is that I have been living a Book of Mormon story this week. All the times when the scriptures say there was peace in the land and no contention and then someone comes to stir up the hearts of the people and there begins to be divisions among them. Or like in Alma 12:3 "Now Zeezrom, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit;

And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us and to cast us out

Now this was a plan of thine adversary, and he hath exercised his power in thee. Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee I say unto all.
And behold I say unto you all that this was a snare of the adversary, which he has laid to catch this people, that he might bring you into subjection unto him, that he might encircle you about with his chains, that he might chain you down to everlasting destruction, according to the power of his captivity."

It has broken my heart to have all of this happen in my last few weeks...but there must be opposition in all things....Friday night I came home and in my prayers I felt prompted to open my scriptures. I told Father in Heaven that I needed comfort, then I stuck my thumb in my scriptures and opened to these verses. 2 Nephi 4:  1 "And now, Jacob, I speak unto you: Thou art my firstborn in the days of my tribulation in the wilderness. And behold, in thy childhood thou hast suffered afflictions and much sorrow, because of the rudeness of thy brethren.
Nevertheless, Jacob, my firstborn in the wilderness, thou knowest the greatness of God; and he shall consecrate thine afflictions for thy gain.
Wherefore, thy soul shall be blessed, and thou shalt dwell safely with thy brother, Nephi; and thy days shall be spent in the service of thy God. Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men.
And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.
And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil.
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad..."

The bold parts where exactly what I needed to hear and I was comforted as the spirit spoke to me through the scriptures and Heavenly Father answered my prayers. This is a real battle out here! And Satan is hard at work!
D&C 10:24 "Yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work."

Through all of this though, Heavenly Father blessed us with a new investigator!There is a girl who has been coming to church with her cousins who isn't a member and I am PRAYING fervently to have another baptism before I leave and I have asked her about meeting with us before...but I have 4 weeks left and this is it! After Sacrament meeting I just started another conversation with her and basically said, "you have followed the example of your cousins in coming to church....do you like what you have learned and felt here? (yes) Do you believe it's true? (yes) Then will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized?" She said she has been thinking about it but wants to learn and understand more...I said, "Well will you let us do our job and teach you?!" We added her and are meeting with her tonight for the first time = ) I hope she accepts our invitation for baptism on Nov 23rd...the weekend before I go home. That'd be the best gift ever!

Love you all so much! Have a happy and safe Halloween! Send pictures!!!

Sister Riggs

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sheep Herding

I wanted to share this amazing talk that Scott Sadlier gave in our branch a few weeks ago. He had an amazing experience sheep herding for a summer and learned much about the Savior...it changed my life and I wanted it to change yours! 

The talk made me think of these great scriptures!

Alma 5:

37 O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!

 38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.

 59 For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him.

 60 And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.

 -Sister Riggs

Good Morning,

I was asked to talk to you today about sheep.

In April of this year I left for Idaho to attend BYU for the spring semester. However when I got up to Idaho my plans quickly changed and I found myself accepting a job on an old potato and sheep farm in a small town called Hamer. I had no idea what I was getting myself into…
During my time on the farm I was taught how to do many things that I never thought I would do, some fun and some were pretty much just gross. But as time went on I learned to love it all. One of my responsibilities was to take care of a small group of about 300 sheep. I was expected to feed them and water them and clean up after them and sometimes even help them give birth… For about a month I lived on the farm spending time with these sheep desperately trying to better understand what sheep were all about. One day while working I remembered that when I first arrived on the farm I was told that this farm was home to over 7000 sheep and I began to wonder where the rest of the sheep were and why I only ever saw these same three hundred. This is when I learned about sheep herding…

I was informed that for about 8 months out of each year all of the sheep were divided into herds of about 900 and were then shipped out to the wilderness to feed on the wild grass. Each herd was watched over by one man, “the herder” and however many dogs he may have. I had no idea that such a thing even existed and the more I learned about it the more I became interested in whether or not I would be able to do something like this during my time on the farm. I was told that if I truly wanted to understand the sheep this would be the route to take.  I discussed this interest with the farmer and he seemed very pleased with my desire and told me that they were in need of a herder and that I could leave in two weeks if I wanted to.

So two weeks later I found myself in the middle of nowhere with the same three hundred sheep from the farm, some of which were still laden with child, and I of course had no idea what I was doing. I had at my disposal a horse, a trailer constructed to house a very small Peruvian man and of course my new sheep herding pup named Ammon. I felt very much like a missionary again being dropped of in an unfamiliar area with no experience and a great responsibility to care for my Heavenly Father's sheep.

The next couple of months were hard to say the least but very rewarding. My herd eventually grew from 300 sheep to 700 and I was also given a couple more experienced dogs to help me along the way. I spent all of my time with the sheep and grew to love and appreciate them. As I would watch them my mind would often turn to thoughts of the Savior; especially in my moments of frustration and weakness. I would think of him and how much he loved me and how patient he is with me when I am slow to hear his voice or heed his commands.  The more I thought of the Savior the more I realized how much like sheep we truly are. I began to view the sheep's time in the wilderness as our time here on earth and saw many similarities in the trials and experiences that we face. For my talk I would like to focus on a couple of the trials that I saw the sheep endure that reminded me of my own life.

The first occurred on almost a daily basis. Each morning and every evening the sheep would wake up and move together as a herd swiftly across the areas surrounding my camp, feeding on the grass as they went. As they did so they were faced with many dangers that came in many forms; including predators, poisonous plants disguised with beautiful tasty looking flowers, and sudden extreme changes in the terrain. As I would watch the sheep each day I noticed that for the most part the sheep were very cautious and would often lift their heads to scan their surrounding, making sure that they were safe and not too far from the rest of the herd. This made me very happy to see and made my job a lot easier to do; however I also began to notice somewhat of a pattern as the days went on. Every once in a while one of the sheep or sometimes even a small group of the sheep would wonder off and get lost. As a result I decided to mark a few of these sheep hoping that I could keep a closer eye on them. I was able to watch them carefully and discovered that the sheep who got lost almost always were the same sheep that never looked up to see where they were or in which direction they were headed. They would become so consumed with eating the wild grass that they would disregard the warning calls coming not only from me but from their fellow herd members.  This would cause me to become very frustrated at times and as I would guide them back to the herd I would exclaim “why cant you just listen!” almost every time I would speak these words I would hear the voice of Heavenly Father saying to me “Now you know how I feel!” and then I would feel very small and apologize to the sheep…Since then I have often reflect on how well I am listening to the voices of warning around me. It is so easy for us to become distracted and even consumed by the world around us. We are so blessed to have Prophets and Apostles on the earth to warn us and guide us through the wilderness but how often do we follow their council? Are we doing the simple things that we are asked to do, like reading our scriptures and praying each night? Are we fulfilling our church callings and doing our home teaching each month? Or are we allowing ourselves to become distracted and slowly drift away? Almost every less active or inactive member that I ever visited on my mission became that way because they stopped doing the simple things. Sometimes these things can seem harmless to us, we may not even realize we are in danger, but when the moment comes and our testimonies are put on the line we must be sure that we are spiritually prepared to hear the warning voice of the spirit.

One of the first warnings that I received from the farmer before I was dropped off with the herd was to beware of the wolves. I was told to shoot on sight; that it wasn't uncommon for a herd to lose 40 or more sheep to the jaws of a hungry wolf. I remember thinking to myself “I'd like to see one try!”….Well try they did and unfortunately they succeeded on many occasions. After losing the first few sheep I began to wonder how this was possible. I hadn’t heard or even seen any sort of dramatic attack like I had expected. They didn’t rush in and make a big scene or anything like that. They were subtle and slow, quietly lurking right through the middle of the herd looking for the weakest, easiest kill they could find. One of the saddest things I ever saw was a mother calling for her lamb, not even realizing that her baby had been taken away. After this I was determined and I swore that I would never lose another lamb again. I came up with all kinds of ways to make sure that they couldn’t sneak in and for a time I thought I had them beat. Until one night as I lay in bed I heard the blood chilling cry of a wolf pack ready to hunt. I wasn’t prepared for this at all. There was nothing I could do. I woke up the next morning feeling a little discouraged. I called the farmer and explained to him my situation. I was surprised when he told me that they had expected this to happen and that they would be sending me a "secret weapon" in a few days. When the day came and the truck arrived I was pumped. I saw a large cage resting in the bed of his truck but couldn’t see what was inside until, he open the door and out jumped the biggest whitest dog I had ever seen! He told me that from now on this dog would live with the sheep and that he would protect them with his life. That night when the wolves came yelping through the woods their sudden silence told me that they were not expecting to hear echoing through the mountains in return the deep bark of good ole Betty White, who did not hesitate to make herself known. She was fearless. I never once saw her deviate from accomplishing her mission to protect the sheep. It was inspiring for me to watch her each day.

As I did the words of the savior would often come into my mind, “I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”. Watching this faithful dog over the next month or so helped me to appreciate how blessed we are to have a Good Shepherd watching over us. We cannot comprehend the love that the savior has for us but greater love hath no man that this that he layeth down his life for his friends. The wolves in our lives will never give up. But we can take comfort in knowing that we have a friend, a brother, a savior who has given his life in our stead so that we may live again.

At the end of my journey with the sheep I was told to herd them into a large coral and then to wait until the farmer came. With the help of a few hands we released the sheep one by one through the coral gate counting them as they went. As I watch the number of sheep in the coral shrink I couldn’t help but reflect on the last few months and all the experiences I had had. I had truly come to love these sheep. I was not looking forward to knowing how many I had lost and I was broken hearted to learn that 30 of my sheep were missing from the herd. It was difficult for me to accept, especially after all we had done to try to save them.

When our journey here on earth is through many of our brothers and sisters will have been lost or eaten because of the temptations of this world. Perhaps some of us here in this room are at risk of becoming lost ourselves. In Isaiah 53:6 it reads, “and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace is upon him and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way and the lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” We will all at some point or other make mistakes but no matter how lost we may be we can always be found, all we have to do is repent.

And as members of the fold of God it is not only our responsibility to repent but also to invite our brothers and sisters to repent as well by sharing with them the gospel truths that we have come to love. Luke has accepted this challenge. Soon he will be spending every day of his life in search of lost sheep that are in need of being rescued. Because of his decision to serve many of the lords sheep will soon be found.

As a part of my team in the wilderness I was blessed with three very loyal sheep herding dogs. Unlike Betty white they did not live with the sheep and they were not expected to give up their lives in order to protect them. Their job was to keep the herd in line and to make sure that none would fall behind. They would stay focused on constantly looking for any signs of the herd becoming scattered.  And when necessary they would provide little friendly reminders like gently nibbling on the legs of the distracted sheep until they would move and keep up. I was amazed to see how well these dogs preformed this task. I was grateful to have them on my team. In a very like manner the lord has called each of us to be missionaries on his team. We have the responsibility to look out for one another. In this very branch we have been able to witness the fruits of these labors. I feel strengthened every Sunday as I attend church with each of you. At times I am in need of little friendly reminders to help me along the way. There are also many of our brothers and sisters who are not here today who need our help. I am grateful for this branch because we have committed to each other to not let these people slip by unnoticed. We are a team and together we can rescue many of our brothers and sisters here in this area.

I am grateful for the gospel in my life….Testimony. Amen

And my new companion is.....

Hello Dear Family and Friends,

Well, have you all been dying in suspense?! Ha ha...my new companion is .........Hermana (Sister) Salinas! That's right! My little, adorable, and sassy Mexican from Oaxaca Mexico!!! She is a whole 5 feet tall and 26 years old! Yay! I am not alone! Ha ha....she has been out on her mission for 15 months and goes home a transfer after me. She is incredible and has been a light to me throughout my entire mission. Always smiling and always full of love! She about died when they made the announcement at transfer meeting. She has been Spanish speaking her whole mission and was just coming back from 3 months full-proselyting on bike! She had no idea what would happen. She said she has been praying from the beginning of her mission to be able to go English speaking! Now...in her last 2 transfers the Lord is answering her prayers! When President Clayton had me stand at the meeting as he said, "Sister Riggs, your new companion will be Sister Salinas." Boy do I wish you could have seen the look on her face...it was like winning a pageant ha ha. Shock and a look of, "Come again? Did I hear that right?" And then she ran to me and hugged me and said "Heavenly Father LOVES ME!" Ha ha! She kept saying "What the heck! Is this real?!" She told me of all the English sisters to be companions with she was glad it was me and that's what she would have picked. Tugged on my little heart strings. I told my mission President I didn't know how to TEACH English! Ha ha...my own language! She is so great and I have already learned so much from her about teaching simply. I tend to use a lot of words sometimes and since she doesn't know a lot of the English quite yet, she testifies so beautifully and with so much love. She is also bold and I love it! Sometimes I am the only one saying, "Hey you need to do something about this and change.." and it makes me feel like the bad guy...but she is that way too...but just because of her great love and adorableness...you just can't fight her on it. You have to accept it! = ) There are some language barriers and cultural differences I am learning and working through...but we will get the hang of it. I know I will learn lots from her...including how to make real guacamole! She is resilient. She worked so hard to get here that she honestly loves every second and doesn't let anything get her down. I am excited to work with her. We are the most random companionship but I know Heavenly Father knows what He's doing = ). She says I am the American version of her! ha ha....oh, funny story...we were doing our first language study and I was helping her with pronunciations and she was trying to say "literal." She said it like liter....leeter...so I was trying to help her say it the lazy American way...with the t not so enunciated and said it's like "lidderal" and I was saying it really slowly and she watched my mouth closely and looked at me so confused and said, "What the heck?" Oh I died laughing...and the slower I said it the more it sounded like "little roll" ha ha. Then in our prayer she asked for "the gift of thongs" and I whispered "tongues...tongues" and we laughed. This is going to be a funny transfer!
Farwell Sister Patterson!
Hello Sister Salinas!

So my time is almost up but I just wanted to share of the amazing day we had yesterday. We had a full day in our area and taught 7 lessons back to back from 11am-7pm! 4 of those were investigator lessons and they all had a different member there teaching with us! We added 3 new investigators and taught 2 recent converts and a member. Whew! What a day! I have been fasting and praying for those 5 baptisms I am hoping for before I leave and the Lord is bringing people to us! Last Wednesday we added Tyler and he accepted a date to be baptized on November 16th! He is so solid. The Arabic Elders met him on prep day in the grocery store and he was heckling them. They reacted with kindness and that made him feel bad so he talked to them. He got a Book of Mormon and started reading. He is already done with Alma! He comes from a very sad and terrible background. He lives alone right now and moved away from his family when he was 16. He came to CA because he said it was the one place he felt free...like you could do whatever and no one would judge. He is changing rapidly! He calls us with excitement about verses he finds...and he wants be baptized. He is overcoming so many things...since he has started reading, he has not had thoughts or temptations dealing with homosexuality, AND he has been able to quit smoking...something he has done since he was 13 and he smoked a pack a day usually. Yesterday in our lesson, he shattered his $150 smoking pipe that he used to smoke weed. He said it felt liberating! We can't believe this young man's heart. He has loved coming to the activities and meeting our amazing branch. He said for the first time in his life, he feels like he has genuine friends and people who care....not just people who want to use him. A member texted us this week and encouraged us to keep doing what we are doing because we are preaching some serious medicine...and that is so clear. Those Heavenly Father has been bringing to us are in need of much physical and emotional healing. What a trust He has given us!

Well, last night our branch had a talent show and....I mustered up the courage to sing "Girl in 14G"....I was sinceriously nervous because I have not used my operatic or belting techniques pretty much in 16 months...I even felt like I didn't know how to act on stage either...it was so weird....BUT after a quick run through and a few vocalizes in the car, I went for it....it was much more work than usual but OH MY GOOFY GUMMIES I MISS THAT!!!!! I was relishing in holding out the long notes and when I got off stage I told my companion, "Hang on! I just gotta freak out for a second! And I wiggled and danced and jumped for a second...then I had to breathe and keep from singing! I could have hit the roof!" Seriously....it is just in my blood and it was so fun to take 4 minutes and share that talent with the branch and sing with everything I had! A member recorded it so here it is! I hope you like it! Don't judge...again, it has been 16 months!

I also wanted to include this amazing talk that Scott Sadlier gave in our branch a few weeks ago. He had an amazing experience sheep herding for a summer and learned much about the Savior...it changed my life and I wanted it to change yours!

Love you!
Sister Riggs
Some fun pictures bowling! = )


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

News from the Mission Field!

Dear Family and Friends,

WOW! What a week!!! I look back in craziness as we went from place to place and wonder how it was all done! I have lots of news to share! This week's letter will be short. I hope all the videos and pictures make up for it!

First big news...we got transfer calls today and it breaks my heart to say that my dear companion, Sister Patterson is leaving me! = ( I was really hoping I would be able to finish my mission with her, and we really thought we would....but not our will right? So, i am getting a new companion and right now the possibilities are a little crazy. The prediction, and only option, is for one of the Spanish sisters to go English and be my companion! Whaaaaat??!!! I am dying to find out tomorrow! Sister O'Neill or Sister Salinas??? Which will it be?? Ahhh!!! So crazy...I really didn't want a new companion and I will miss Sister Patterson so much...I have never felt more enabled and more peace on my mission than I have with her. She loves so unconditionally. She has changed everyone's lives in Santee and I know she will continue to do that in her next area.

Second big news...remember David? The guy I told you all about a couple of weeks ago who had come home from the MTC and was working through things??? Well, it makes my heart swell with joy to be able to tell you this...Sunday he met with our branch president and then after church he came and told us he has started his mission papers!!!!! He is going back!!!!! Just like Alma did!!!! OH that I can't even express my feelings about that! So so so so SO happy for him and I know he will do AMAZING things because of what he has fought through to be able to go back out! Oh we love him! He is the one in the picture of us eating dinner outside (at which we testified of the blessings of serving a mission and the miracles we saw the Lord work in getting us out here and that He would work everything out for David too if he put his trust in him!) 

Other happenings of the week....well, I sang at 5 different things from Thursday-Sunday! Whew I was tired! I had the honor of singing, "Love One Another" at Barbara Dierdorff's funeral on Thursday. I was surprised they asked me since I had only met her once a few weeks ago when I sang to her at her bedside. What was so wonderful was how much I came to know her that night at her memorial. She LOVED horses and actually took many pictures of them that appeared in books and calenders! She also LOVED to bake cookies and take them to people and serve. As I listened to the stories about her, I thought, "Wow! We could have been best friends!" I can't wait to have a conversation with her in the next life about it all. They also used one of my recordings for her video slide show of her life. I was so honored. There was a beautiful spirit there and I am so happy to know that I will get to meet her someday. On Friday we had a BAPTISM! Alicia Zuniga was baptized and what a joyous day that was! She also asked me to sing "a cute little song" (in her words) and I as I thought of her I chose, "The Greatest Gift." The chorus describes her perfectly...again, being a young 18 year old being baptized without support from her family..."I stand all amazed, astounded by His grace. He rescues me each time I start to fall. He lays His hands on me. What once was dead now breathes. The life He gives is the greatest gift to me." It was such a sweet day. You can see the joy in the pictures! Saturday I had the honor to go back to the great area of La Jolla and see 2 people I began teaching be baptized! Katie and Anthony...2 very different people who came from VERY different circumstances, but who came searching for the gospel with a broken heart and have tasted of the Savior's love and found His healing balm. It was such a sweet day! They asked me to sing and I chose, "Make Me Whole." For some reason as I stood to sing my heart burned for them. It was amazing to see them with smiles on their faces more whole than when I met them, and about to be made perfect through their choice to be baptized...given a perfect and whole new life to begin! "Touch my eyes and bid them see, that my gaze might pierce the veil and behold the wondrous scene that in dreams I've long beheld. Oh touch my heart and bid it know that every sorrow here, is but a moment's tear, and thou wilt make me whole again." I cried through both of their testimonies. There was such a powerful spirit there. I loved what Anthony said about choosing to give himself a chance through the gospel and choosing to follow the Savior. I love them both and it was such an honor to teach such spiritual giants! Katie was baptized by the sweet man who met her outside the temple the night she came seeking peace and solace..who then called us! And it was so sweet to see Arthur there at the baptism of his best friend he brought to the gospel!!! It is so neat to teach someone, see them share the gospel with a friend, teach their friend, and then continue to watch the ripple effect as they taste of the Love of God and share it with those whom they love so much! Then Sunday, I sang a duet with dear Netta, a girl in our branch who has really been struggling because she is surrounded by darkness. She has a beautiful and sweet voice and has put it away for over 2 years. I have been working with her and encouraging her to use it and with much encouragement and comforting, she agreed to sing in sacrament with me. We sang her favorite hymn, "I Stand All Amazed." The spirit was so powerful in the chapel! Many wiped away tears as they listened to her. Her Father and best friend came to hear her sing and I am sure miracles happened in their hearts. Netta was all a glow after the meeting as the entire branch passed by her with hugs and compliments. I know she will continue to make a huge difference in the branch and in the world. Finally, Sunday night I sang in the Spanish fireside! Si! Mi Espanol es muey bueno! Ha ha! I really the love the Spanish people. I loved looking into their eyes as I sang words of being comforted through fervent prayer. I had people come up to me and say many things in Spanish and I knew they were thanking me and could tell what they were saying so I just played along and said, "Muchisimas Gracias!" Ha ha...then when I let them know "no habla Espanol" they ere shocked and asked how I could pronounce it so perfectly. They also said it was such a surprise to see a blonde hair, blue eyed girl get up and start singing in Spanish. It was so wonderful and I loved being among them. With all the emotions of the weekend I pretty much collapsed when I got home that night! Ha ha. But I love it! Nothing brings me greater joy than testifying of my Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father's love through song and healing and comforting hearts through the language of music...that is more powerful than any grand words! I am thankful Heavenly Father has given me so many opportunities to do so on my mission.

I love you all more than I can say and more than any song can say = )
I have officially begun my last transfer and I cannot believe that 6 weeks from today I will be stepping off the plane in Arizona. Sorry to say but I really don't wanna go....I dread the day. We said goodbye to Sister Crawford today and it was crazy to think I am next to go. The beginning of your mission feels like an eternity and the end feels like the blink of an eye. What an incredible and eternity changing blink!!! 

Have a wonderful week. Go share the gospel with someone! It's the greatest high ever!

Your Sister Missionary,
Sister Riggs

Helping Kelsey with Family History

Me with one of our mandarin sisters from Taiwan, Sister Huang and a new Senior Sister, Sister Miller

Dinner with David! Ha ha...outside the church. Oh how we love mission rules!

Pumpkin Carving FHE with the Branch!

I found my prince charming! Here is Prince Elliott! Our Branch President's Grandson! Soooo cute and classy!

Elliott is seriously so cute!

Me with little Margo!

Taking a picture of us taking "selfies"

Sister Patterson and I with Alicia!

Me and Alicia! Such a light!

Me with Katie!

Me with Anthony!

Sister Wells and I! I surprised her by finding a cello she could play during her mission and she was able to play with me in my song at the fireside! So beautiful!
This was Anthony's testimony just after he was baptized and it was so powerful! I wanted to share it so you could feel the joy of someone finding the gospel and having it change their lives!

I sang at the Spanish Mission President's Fireside this weekend! One of my favorite hymns, "Did you think to pray?" I love this arrangement and have always wanted to sing it! And you can see my face in this one = ) Hope you like it!

Singing at the funeral of Barbara Dierdorff....the woman who died of cancer that I sang to a couple of weeks ago. She wanted this sung at her funeral and I was so honored to sing it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

General Conference Weekend!

Dear Family and Friends,

What a wonderful week! Can't be a bad week when you have General Conference in your life! Oh how I loved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing, "We Thank Thee Oh God For A Prophet!" The spirit was sooooo strong! I turned to Sister Miller, whom I was sitting next to), and our eyes were both wide and we both just said, "WOW!" I DO thank my Father in Heaven for a living prophet and apostles on the earth today who can speak to us with so much boldness and yet so much love! Who can speak right to our very hearts. Nothing greater! So many wonderful addresses, but two of my favorites were Elder Bednar's and Elder Eyring's talks. I must really love my family...because the talks that made me think of them were the ones I could not keep the tears from flowing.

The week started off with the great experience of taking our recent converts to the Family History Center to help them begin their work and prepare names to take to the temple. There is so much excitement doing family history with them! Our most recent convert, Kelsey, had miracles happen. We didn't have her record number yet because she is so newly baptized, but we were able to call Salt Lake and retrieve it. The branch temple night was the next day and we thought it would be neat for her to have a family name, but didn't know if we could make it happen that fast. Well, thanks to the miracle workers at the center, she walked away that night with all the info in place to be able to be baptized on behalf of her mother, who died from illness just a couple of years ago. Oh how I wish I could have been there with her! We met with her last night to teach a lesson about Temples, and asked her about her experience. It was so beautiful and she had us both in tears. She told us of how excited she was as she walked in...that people were talking to her and explaining things to her but she wasn't really listening. She was just in such amazement and kept looking up and around in awe at the beauty of the temple. She was so cute! She said that even the bathrooms and changing places were amazing! She said as she received the pink slip that read, "Wendy Cobb", her mother's name....that she just had to stop and stare at it, and it became real to her that she was about to be baptized in behalf of her mother. She said as she stood in the font and saw her mother's name that she was just overcome with the spirit and she felt an indescribable feeling of joy and peace....that as she came up out of the water there were tears and chlorine in her eyes, ha ha. She told us she has worn her mother's ring since she passed and she often feels it warm or burn when she feels her mother near and she said it was on fire as she was baptized. She also said, with tears streaming down her face, that she KNEW her mother accepted it....what a sweet and indescribable moment. At the beginning of our lesson, she had told us how life was really getting her down right now and that she was really worried about everything...finding a job, getting into school, what to major in school, finding a good guy, her self worth...and to add to all of that, being the only member of the church in her family and trying to stand strong when they judge her for going to church and activities so much, for fasting, for praying...(why people would judge these good things I don't know)...as she told us of her feelings in the temple and her experience, I thought of the reunion she and her mother would have someday. I looked at her and said, "Kelsey...." and then I was hit with a wave of emotion and I started to cry. I testified to her of what a sweet reunion she would have with her mother someday...that there would be many tears of joy and gratitude....and that she would thank her for being the one to bring her the blessings of baptism and covenants that she needed...for being the one who was strong enough, even facing opposition from family, to follow her heart and follow the Savior so the gospel could begin to spread to the Cobb family. It was a beautiful moment, and we were all a mess of tears. Kelsey is amazing and has already done so much good in a matter of 3 weeks that I know she is really upsetting the adversary, so now he is trying to upset her. But she is strong and her faith is steady and how wonderful it is that she has her covenants now, to bless and protect her!

I had my mission president's interview this week (my last one before my final exit interview! yikes!). I love every minute of our one-on-one time. He is a busy man and juggles so much, but I love the moments he takes for me. Every time I meet with him I feel uplifted and enabled. I know my interviews with him are like those I would have with the Savior if he were here. Before we finished, I asked him for an assignment. I said, "President, will you give me an assignment I can report back to you about when I visit with you again in the near future?" I had no idea what he would say and I didn't expect what he DID say...I thought it would have to do with my studies or something personally to ensure I finish strong. He pondered for a long moment, his face was filled with concentration, and then he held out two fingers and said, "There are 2 people...2 people that need rescuing that could help in building the kingdom of God...not necessarily investigators..." I just looked at him and asked, "2 People to rescue?" He confirmed, "Yes." With great desire I said, "I will find them President." 
Now I feel a lot of pressure daily, as I do not want to fail him nor the Lord in finding these 2 people he has told me are out there and need rescuing before I leave my mission. Please pray that my eyes will be opened, and I will recognize them. 

The crazy thing is that on Saturday we had a little miracle that I think may be one of those people he spoke of. We had watched the first session of conference and we taught a lesson and had lunch with the institute and we had a bit more time before the 2nd session. I have a confession...I stopped buying Diet Soda a couple of weeks ago! = ) I know, I know...I have been doing just fine without it too and just have one when we go out to eat....but I was thinking about how I'd love to have a Diet Dr. Pepper....and I had pushed the thought away thinking, "Nah, I'll just keep drinking my water..." I mentioned the craving to my companion and Sister Patterson said, "Well...we have some time." (But we didn't have a lot...like 20 mins...so I said, "Well OK, we'll run across the street and grab a soda and then we can stop by Max's house (the guy we met a couple months ago who hasn't been to church in 10 yrs) and invite him to come to the institute and watch conference with us." So we went...well, as we were walking up to the VONS, we saw a young man standing outside by the pumpkin boxes. Sister Patterson said hello and then I asked if he was waiting for a ride...we struck up a conversation and found out his name was Michael, he is 19, and he said, "oh yeah I am a Mormon." Ha! Oh yeah what?! We asked where he lived and found out he should be attending our Branch but he admitted he hasn't been to church in a long time and has been away from it. We invited him to conference but he said he was headed to a friend's birthday party.We exchanged numbers and told him about the branch and that we'd love to have him out there with us. He thanked us and went on his way. We walked in to VONS and both looked at each other with our jaws dropped. I said, "Seriously?!" Heavenly Father even uses my cravings for soda to do His work! Ha ha...Sister Patterson confirmed, "He seriously takes every situation!" We couldn't believe it! I said, "Is he the first one we need to rescue?! He's 19! Let's get him on a mission!" He is one of our new focuses = ) That Diet Dr. Pepper was definitely worth it!

We had another great miracle that same day just after the first session of conference. We invited a potential investigator to come to the institute to watch it with us. Her name is Julia and she enrolled in The Book of Mormon class for the semester. Afterwards we talked with her  and she asked if I had seen miracles as a missionary....to name a few!!! I told her of the tiny miracles that were as great to me as parting the Red Sea. I told her about Mayra Valdez....the girl Sister Hudson and I happened to pass on the street one night in El Cajon due to prior circumstances lining up and of her conversion story. Her eyes glistened as I told her the story. We asked about her thoughts on conference. She said there was a line that stood out to her which was, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I asked her, "What are some of your doubts or fears right now?" She said, "Whether I am strong enough to be a mother..." She then informed us that she was 4 months along....this young 22 year old student with a 33 year old boyfriend....We testified to her of Heavenly Father's love for her and of the peace, joy and happiness the gospel brings...how it gives us the strength to do what we think we can't or don't know how to do. We asked her if we could teach her about theses things and she said she would love nothing more! Then, without us even saying anything she asked, "Can I be baptized if I am pregnant?" Wow! Music to our ears! We told her she could and just mentioned that baptism was a covenant, so we promise to be obedient to God's laws and commandments, one being the law of Chastity...but that if she was willing to commit to live the things we will teach her, she could be baptized...even pregnant! = ) She cried and said, "Thank God for you guys....thank you for helping me to not feel so alone." Our hearts melted for her. We love her so much already. She told me too, that my story about Mayra touched her heart because Mayra has always been one of her favorite names, and what she wanted to name her baby = ). Coincidence that I shared that particular story? I don't think so!

We have a baptism this Friday for Alicia and we are so happy and excited for her. She is another, stalwart 18 year old.. Like Kelsey, she is doing this all on her own. Her father, who has always supported her in everything, does not support her in this decision, which is most important to her. But she is moving forward with faith and hope. Before her interview, we asked her what she hoped to gain from making this promise with God. She said, "I hope to be able to bless my family." She is like Lehi! She has tasted of the fruit of the tree of life and only desires to immediately share it with her family. Although it is a struggle now, she hopes that one day....1 yr, 5 yrs, 20 yrs from now, her father will want this too. The sweetest thing was bearing our testimonies to her at the end of the lesson and looking across to the other couch and seeing Alexis (an amazing member missionary who brought Alicia to us and who has now decided to work on her mission papers), Kelsey (a recent convert who was baptized just 3 weeks ago and who has been coming to lessons and bearing amazing testimonies and who has become best friends with these to girls), and Alicia (an investigator getting baptized this week who was about to have her baptismal interview)....3 powerful 18 year olds from 3 very different backgrounds but one in the gospel of Jesus Christ....I cried over the beautiful scene....what a blessing that was to see and be a part of.

I met the most amazing and pure 15 year old at a member's home this Sunday. As we met Dustin and asked him how he liked conference he said, "You know I loved the prophet's talk, because I after his wife died I felt so bad and worried about him, that I prayed for him every day for 3 months that he would be comforted and be able to get over the loss of his wife and be OK to keep going. Well, today when he said, 'I know that our separation is only temporary because we have been sealed in the temple' it was like the biggest answer to my prayers! Although sad for the loss, he seemed happy and at peace." Wow! Then later we came back by the house because I left something in the fridge and he answered the door and said, "Oh hey...sorry, I was just crying a little bit." We asked why and he said, "I was just watching this really cool video on YouTube of the life of Joseph Smith." I looked at him and said, "OK, PLEASE promise us this one thing..." He agreed and I said, "Never change!" You don't meet many 15 year olds like that! What a stripling warrior! I want to raise sons like that someday!

I love you all so much and felt a little closer to you this weekend knowing we were all watching conference together = ) I hope the spirit was able to comfort you and answer your individual prayers! You are all in mine!

All my love and hope,
Sister Riggs
So, our apartment was suddenly infested with flies! It was CRAZY! A bunch of maggots must have hatched somewhere...with one glance I could count 20 just in our kitchen! We couldn't even plan at night they were swarming all over us! In frustration I got up and screamed and ran through the apartment whacking my ensign at them...I quickly asked the other sisters if they had a vacuum with a hose....I sucked a few up but they were hard to catch...the next day we got a hold of a fly swatter and fly spray and I think I scared my companion...I killed 20+...knocking them dead with single shots...it was quite comical....so here is Sister Riggs...Exterminator!

And us helping at a young women's night to help them in making the mission decision!
We visited the Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Park...here's some pics I caught!

Just at the view of the ocean are these memorials to our fallen soldiers...beautiful!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Miracle of Faith

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy October!!! I can hardly believe it...actually, I don't believe it! Time seems to go faster and faster and I don't like it one bit!!! My week was filled with sweet and tender mercies from the Lord, and I know, even in my weakness, He is aware of me and has compassion on me. A couple of weeks ago we had a neat experience with a member that I didn't get to share and I always want to remember it so, I wanted to share it with you this week. One of our members, who is the executive secretary for the branch, was feeding us dinner and while we were planning our message for him and Sister Patterson said that she wanted to share something about just going and doing what the Lord asks with courage because David does so much for the branch and especially in reaching out to less-active members. She mentioned a couple of chapters and then I said, "Well, there's the story in Alma 8 where even though Alma was rejected and it was hard to do what the Lord asked, he was comforted and went back and had success." So we looked it up and read it and decided to teach it with member missionary work in mind...that although it may be hard and people might say no, that if we keep following the prompting the Lord gives us, we will find those who are ready to hear the gospel...just like Alma went back and found Amulek! And they became one of the greatest missionary companion-ships of The Book of Mormon! Well, as we sat and talked over dinner, David shared with us his story. Wow! He is a modern day Alma the Younger. His story goes something like this: his dad, a member of the stake presidency, always encouraged him to do the right thing, but he rebelled. He didn't really like the Church and he did everything to break almost every single commandment. To everyone's surprise - including his nonmember friends, ex-girlfriends, ward, and family - he decided to go on a mission. Everyone told him that he would never last, that David could never change. He was called to serve in Chile, but before he left the MTC, he was sent home for things left undone, sins unacknowledged. His voice shook from across the table as he, very sincerely, told of the challenges and heartache he has since faced. With the most humble look on his face he exclaimed how merciful the Savior is, and how no matter what we have done (and he noted that his mistakes were under review of the apostles), where there is faith and hope, there is forgiveness. He added that Heavenly Father NEVER gives up on us, even when everyone else does. He continued, saying that even though everyone said that David would never change - he has. He is a "new creature in Christ" making amends with God and working to go back out on a mission. He talked of prayer, and of the relationship he had built with the Savior through his experiences over the past year...he has just recently been able to return to the temple, and has been wondering about going back on his mission...we immediately felt and knew that what we had to share from Alma was perfect, but that it needed to be shared in a different way....knowing this story, read these verses: Alma 8:13-20 
"Now when the people had said this, and withstood all his words, and reviled him, and spit upon him, and caused that he should be cast out of their city, he departed thence and took his journey towards the city which was called Aaron.
And it came to pass that while he was journeying thither, being weighed down with sorrow, wading through much tribulation and anguish of soul, because of the wickedness of the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, it came to pass while Alma was thus weighed down with sorrow, behold an angel of the Lord appeared unto him, saying:
Blessed art thou, Alma; therefore, lift up thy head and rejoice, for thou hast great cause to rejoice; for thou hast been faithful in keeping the commandments of God from the time which thou receivedst thy first message from him. Behold, I am he that delivered it unto you.
And behold, I am sent to command thee that thou return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city; yea, preach unto them. Yea, say unto them, except they repent the Lord God will destroy them.
For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.
Now it came to pass that after Alma had received his message from the angel of the Lord he returned speedily to the land of Ammonihah. And he entered the city by another way, yea, by the way which is on the south of the city of Ammonihah.
And as he entered the city he was an hungered, and he said to a man: Will ye give to an humble servant of God something to eat?
And the man said unto him: I am a Nephite, and I know that thou art a holy prophet of God, for thou art the man whom an angel said in a vision: Thou shalt receive. Therefore, go with me into my house and I will impart unto thee of my food; and I know that thou wilt be a blessing unto me and my house."

Can you see how this is David's story?! We testified to him of the experiences that he had and that they were for a purpose, and that he should inquire of the Lord if He would have him go back....we promised him that his testimony now, would have a great effect on those he met and testified to...that there would be Amulek's of his own to find and who would come to the knowledge of their Savior because of him. We all had tears in our eyes. He said, "You know, it's kind of crazy that you shared these verses with me, because both President Little (our branch president) and President Schimpf (our stake president) have shared these verses with me in interviews. We were astonished and grateful that the Lord had inspired our minds with the message he has been trying to share with David. We just told him that meant the Lord was inspiring his servants to know exactly what he needed, and He must be trying to tell him something = ). Throughout this whole meeting, my heart was swollen with the spirit and with love as I felt like I could be listening to my own brother. I cried as I thanked him for his example, for his faith, for his testimony....and that as I listened to him I saw my brother, who faced similar things...oh how the Lord loves each of His children. ALL, experiences we are given, even the one's that feel like failures, are for our good and can be for our gain if we let the Lord lead us and heal us. I am so grateful for that unforgettable dinner appointment. 

Our Branch has continued with our rescuing efforts throughout the month and I had a neat experience this last week as I went out with Sister Cooper, our 2nd Counselor's wife. We went to find a young man named Roger who has not been around the church for a while. It was dark and a pretty sketchy area in El Cajon...the house looked eerie but there were some lights on and we saw a young man at the kitchen window! We were excited to know we would be able to talk to someone! We knocked on the door and did not meet Roger, but his younger, 20 year old brother, Alan. He said Roger wouldn't be able to come to the door because he was "in a game on the computer". We talked with Alan though, told him about the branch, Sister Cooper invited him to come. We asked when the last time he went to church was and he said March. He said Roger doesn't go, hasn't gone, and won't be coming back anytime soon. He said he only felt comfortable going to church with his Dad and even his Dad hasn't been going because of some mistakes he has made. Alan told us of his struggles of overcoming anxiety and depression right now and getting off some other addictions. My heart ached for him as I looked at the his living conditions and his broken family...no mother, a struggling father, and a brother who is an addicted gamer. I asked if I could share something with him and read Matthew 18:11-14. I also felt prompted to tell him that although he was struggling to over come things that it was OK....that he was still good enough, and still worth it...that no matter what he did he could never separate himself from the love of God and the Savior...that His arms are stretched out still and all He wants to do is help us. Sister Cooper asked him to just give the branch a try. The thing that broke both of our hearts was when we asked if there was anything we could do to help him and all he said was, "I would really just like a hug..." = ( I was so glad Sister Cooper was there (cause she could hug him and I couldn't as a missionary). He asked if she would say a prayer and she held back tears as she did. He said he would give the branch a try! How important it is to reach out and rescue and strengthen the feeble knees!!!   

We had an incredible miracle find last Wednesday! We were suppose to have a meeting with a less-active and he didn't show up, but he did show up to the institute lunch and we said, "Hey!! You stood us up!" He apologized and said, "But I brought someone who wants to meet you and learn more!" We happily forgave him ; ) and met Leslie! She said she had walked by the institute and saw "Jesus Christ" and always wondered what it was and wanted to come. She had passed Jr. and asked where he was going and so she came with him. We told her about our unique message and taught a quick restoration lesson, recounting the first vision. She was amazed! She said she has felt God calling her to places throughout her life and she could feel and knew He had called her here. She was holding the copy of The Book of Mormon we gave her and she was flipping through it saying how excited she was to read it and that she knew it was from God! OK WHAT?!!! She is so amazing! We love her already and met with her again and taught her about prophets throughout time and the priesthood. She had lots of questions and really loves hearing about our own personal witnesses and what God told us. We know she has been lead here and that she has been so prepared! The only thing is she only has time to meet on Mon and Wed at 11am....no time anywhere else..including no time to come to church because of school, work, and her own ministry she does....so we are having the faith that as we keep teaching her, and as she comes to know the Book of Mormon is true, she will be willing to make a few changes. She thirsts for it though...at the end of our meeting yesterday she really hated the fact that she had to end and go to class = ).

Did you all see the amazing Relief Society Broadcast?! It touched my heart to hear from our beloved prophet, and there was a great spirit there. I was so emotional as I looked at the Sister Missionary choir, and remembered all of my feelings when I was watching an Elder Missionary choir 3 conferences ago, and waiting to open my mission call....and knowing I was about to be a part of the Lord's army....and to serve during such an amazing time with a great hastening of the work, and Sisters filling the field. As we stood to sing, "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go," my hand raised to my chest, where I clenched my name tag...words cannot describe the gratitude I felt in that moment, that I went where the Lord wanted me to go. Oh how glad I am that I did. His path is always the best one...not always the easiest, but always the best = ). Afterward, a recently re-activated sister from our branch (the one I got to use her beautiful voice and sing in sacrament), came up to us with tears in her eyes and she couldn't speak...we knew immediately what she was feeling....she had gotten a confirmation to go on a mission! Just before the broadcast, our recent convert, Kelsey, said she really needed to talk to us and was freaking out....again, we somehow sensed what she wanted to tell us...we had just had a lesson with her a couple days before about missionary work...we just smiled and told her we thought she knew what it was. She asked what we thought and we just pointed at our name tags and smiled....she said, "Oh my...how did you guys KNOW!?" There is no sweeter feeling than to realize that we are having an influence on these amazing young women, and to see them taste of the Savior's love so deeply, that they can't help but want to go and share it!!! Yay for missions!!!!

I just wanted to share one more tender mercy...we were on campus doing a booth just yesterday and I was having a terrible day...woke up with a headache and was feeling light headed, had Satan throwing some guilt in my face like he likes to do, was going crazy getting a million things ready and organized for our "Come Listen to A Prophet's Voice" booth, having a bunch of members waiting and asking about what to take to set up. etc...trying to give attention to 2 investigators, a potential, and a recent convert all at once....finally getting up to the booth, realizing a potential who wanted to help with the booth got over looked and left behind....tried to have the institute director catch her but she pulled out of the parking lot before he could....worrying I had offended her....pretty much I was overwhelmed, not feeling good, and feeling like the worst missionary ever. I decided to text a guy we met at the booth to invite him to our branch's family home evening activity at the battalion and searched and searched everything and could not find his number....I began to cry as I was feeling again like a complete failure....as I looked through my planner again, saw no number for Justin, and put it down defeated...I heard my companion say, "oh hey Justin!" I looked up to see this golden potential walking right by our booth!!!! Wow...thank you Heavenly Father for solving my problems! We talked with him and he is planning on coming to a conference session...and I shorty after was able to get a hold of the non-member who had driven away and all was well. I love that even in my weakness and imperfections, this really is the Lord's work, and He is in control!

Last thought for the day! I read an amazing talk by President Hinckley that changed my life! Here are a few of my favorite thoughts from the talk "The Miracle of Faith":

"As it was then, so it is today. This precious and marvelous gift of faith, this gift from God our Eternal Father, is still the strength of this work and the quiet vibrancy of its message. Faith underlies it all. Faith is the substance of it all. Whether it be going into the mission field, living the Word of Wisdom, paying one’s tithing, it is all the same. It is the faith within us that is evidenced in all we do.

I was asked at a news conference on one occasion how we get men to leave their vocations, to leave home, and serve the Church.

I responded that we simply ask them, and we know what their answer will be.

What a marvelous and wonderful thing it is, this powerful conviction that says the Church is true. It is God’s holy work. He overrules in the things of His kingdom and in the lives of His sons and daughters. This is the reason for the growth of the Church. The strength of this cause and kingdom is not found in its temporal assets, impressive as they may be. It is found in the hearts of its people. That is why it is successful. That is why it is strong and growing. That is why it is able to accomplish the wonderful things that it does. It all comes of the gift of faith, bestowed by the Almighty upon His children who doubt not and fear not, but go forward.

It is so with our missionaries wherever they might serve, whether it be right here in Salt Lake City or in Mongolia. They go and serve with faith in their hearts. It is a phenomenon of great power that quietly whispers, “This cause is true, and to you there is an obligation to serve it regardless of the cost.”

Again, people cannot understand it, these thousands of bright and able young men and women who forgo social life, leave school, and selflessly go wherever they are sent to teach the gospel. They go by the power of faith, and they teach by the power of faith, planting a seed of faith here and another there which grow and mature into converts of strength and capacity.

Faith is the basis of testimony. Faith underlies loyalty to the Church. Faith represents sacrifice, gladly given in moving forward the work of the Lord."

WOW! I am so thankful for faith! As I read I thought of all the ways I have been showing my faith! Then, I thought, "Wow! How did I have the faith to serve a mission!?" But it is just as he said...I believe in this cause! I believe it this work! I believe in my Savior and I love my father in Heaven!!!

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful week! 
I am off to the temple!!!! Yay! It's been so long!!!!! And I get to see what everyone's been so excited about ; )

Sister Riggs