Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Azusa: The Place of the Skunk

Nov. 4, 2013

I have had an amazing week and a half!! I love being a missionary so much! I have learned so much too! It'll be so amazing to have a ton more knowledge when my mission is done if I'm learning this much in a week and a half! I am doing great! If you couldn't tell from all the exclamation points. I am serving in the Azusa 1st Ward in Azusa, CA. It means place of the skunk, so far no skunks! The members are so nice and so helpful and willing to help with the missionary work! They're all so great!! My companion is Sister S. She is from Logan, UT and been out for 10/11 months. She doesn't count anymore, it makes her too sad. This area is full of people needing to hear the gospel and so many people are so willing to listen to us. You just have to open your mouth and the Lord will help you out! Sister S. is great! She has taught me so much already! I am staying in a backhouse of a members with two Hermanas. It is so fun to get to have four sisters in a house. The Hermanas are great as well! The three sisters have taught me a ton! This is the area that the Elder who was killed in a bike accident was serving. The three sisters knew him very well. Its been so great to hear stories about him and hear how strong their testimonies are after they have been through everything with him. I know that I was put here because I needed to be near these missionaries that knew him so well and to learn from them. I have learned that all those great missionaries that have died on their missions are just helping in the Spirit World teaching those there that need it. I also know that that is where Grandma Hollingshead is and that's what she is doing now just as I am serving here. The Lord is not only hastening His work on the earth but He is hastening His work on the other side of the veil too.

Adjusting has been kinda hard but good. I get waves of homesickness that blast me at times and talking about family has been a really sensitive subject for me because I love you all so much and I want the best for you. That is one of the reasons why I am out here serving. To bring all of you blessings that you would otherwise not receive if I had stayed home. This is where I need to be!  Sis. S. and I today during companion study were talking about how much we've learned and she kept saying to me how much she has learned from me. She said out of all her companions I am the most obedient and the most prepared. It was pretty cool to know that and how she is not worried that I'm going to say something wrong in a lesson. She trusts me because she says that the spirit is with me so strong and that I rely so much on it-not as a crutch but because I know to always rely on the Lord. It's so great to serve with someone who comes from a similar upbringing as me and that she has a strong doctrinal knowledge! 

I guess backing up in time, The rest of the time at the MTC went well. We helped out the new missionaries in our zone and it was really fun! The three new sisters are so cute and so fun! I love them! On our last Sunday my district sang during our sacrament meeting which is our zone. They also have everyone write talks each sunday and no one knows who will speak until they announce it in the meeting. I was called on to talk on Repentance. It was really cool to see how I had prepared and then the Spirit takes over and speaks for you. I love when that happens! My companions left the next morning and I was companions with the other sisters and then in class the elders were my companions. It was pretty weird. When we had to walk to zone teaching the four of us got in the elevator and when we got out there were some sisters studying in the hall and they all looked at me and asked where my companion was and then they said oh sorry are you a teacher? and i told them no my companions left for Florida today and so the elders are my companions. Don't worry I'm not breaking the rules thats what they told me to do. Their looks were HILARIOUS! 

On wednesday we flew to Ontario. It was so great to call home!! I'm sorry I was being a mess! But i just love you all! I sat next to a lady who was a member and housed the missionaries for a while. When we got to CA we met the mission president who is so nice and loving! We had lunch had a breif orientation got our companions then went to work! We had dinner and walked and contacted a lot of people on the way! Then we had a meeting with the ward mission leader. SO much has happened I don't know what to tell you all about!! 

We found a couple new investigators this week and oh yeah, had a baptism! First week and we had a baptism. It was amazing! The spirit was so strong!! B. is 15 and was super excited and showed so much faith to be baptized. She was supposed to be baptized last sunday but her mom wouldn't sign the papers so she fasted and prayed and got a ride to the stake center even though it was cancelled. Some great returned missionaries who are a young couple in the ward went to help her out and her mom signed the papers and she was so excited! Because of her faith she was able to have her baptism! 

I placed my first BOM on Halloween to a guy while we were walking and we had a short lesson with him on the streets. Its was pretty cool. I hope we run into him again, he doesn't have a phone. We've found a lot of people who go to Calvary Chapel who have very similar beliefs as us but teach some anti stuff I believe. We have a return appointment with one guy who we met from there and one who we are going to sit down and talk to soon. I think he's a teacher there. Pretty interesting. 

Riding a bike with a skirt is very interesting. Not as hard as I thought it would be but interesting. Also the classic getting chased by a dog while riding a bike as a missionary...yup that's pretty funny! That happened last night. These little white dogs started chasing us. 

For Halloween we worked for a few hours then went to the churches Trunk-or-treat. I wore Sis. S.s tag and she wore mine. It was pretty funny! Especially when meeting people.

I love you all so much and I am so thankful for all the support you all give me and all the prayers! I keep you all in my prayers and I love you all! Don't be afraid to open your mouth and tell people around you what you believe. 

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

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