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 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.