Monday, December 23, 2013


Merry Christmas Family and Friends!! 

This has been an amazing week! President asked us last week to find 2 new investigators. Later that day our Zone Leaders asked us to find 3. And we succeeded. We found 3 new investigators last week. The first one was found on Tuesday. After we took the survey we were about to leave the library. The Spirit prompted me to go over and talk to this man in a wheelchair. Sister P. and I began talking with him and he accepted our invitation to hear our message. We tried doing the pamphlet teaching of the restoration-a short 20 minute lesson using pictures- but he had so many questions we helped him understand and got a return appointment. He has been very confused with religion and is looking for the truth. We met with him again on Thursday and made many calls trying to find a member to come with us. The one we hoped would come was not available, as were the other 5 we tried. We finally were able to get a hold of one and she came with us. Otherwise we would have had to cancel the lesson. It was wet and rainy but the lesson went well and we taught to the restoration. After this lesson, we felt we needed to pass him off to the elders. So we had a pass off lesson with them. 

The second investigator we found was a girl that we had taught before but gave her to the Hermanas to teach her with her mom who only speaks spanish. However, the mom was not interested and we had never 'picked her back up' as an investigator. We were able to meet with her and teach her about the Book of Mormon and she is very interested in learning more. 

The third investigator we found was a referral a member gave to the Spanish elders and we hadn't tried seeing her until Saturday. When we did she opened the door let us in we taught using the pamphlet had great unity as companions and she told us how she felt. She normally never lets people into her house and told us the Spirit told her to let us in. She expressed she has been wondering and praying if she should go back to church and learn more. She has been a few times to our church services about a year or two ago but is interested in learning more. 

These were all miracles that we have seen this week, along with one more...well there was many but these were my top picks!

We have a baptism this next Sunday!!!! A. IS GETTING BAPTIZED!! Her story is incredible. How she was found, how ready she is, and how 'golden' of an investigator she is. She has not only taught me a lot about missionary work but has strengthened my desire to serve a mission and has really strengthened my testimony that the field really is all "white and ready to harvest". Her parents have agreed that she can be baptized and they came with us to a Spanish baptism yesterday so her parents could understand. They felt the Spirit and we had been fasting and praying steadfastly like the Army of Helaman that everything would work out in order for her to be baptized this Sunday. At the baptism they played "Come Thou Fount" while a slideshow of temples played on the TV. This was inspired because that is what got A. interested in learning about the gospel in the first place- temple sealings and blessings. She loved it!! We will hopefully be taking her and her family to the LA Temple this week to see the lights...we're praying it all works out as we have tried MANY times before in this month.

Tuesday was an amazing day! Lots of tender mercies and seeing the progress of certain investigators!! 

On Saturday we had a zone breakfast one of the members in the stake gave us. It was SOO Good! We had eggs, bacon, sausage, hasbrowns, pinneapple, oranges, strawberries, canteloup, and milk, and orange juice! So good! They also gave us little stocking gift bags! They were so sweet to do that for us! We sand Called to Serve for them and it was awesome.

And one of our investigators family said that we are the only missinoaries that their daughter has sat through a lesson before! This is awesome to know that there is a reason my companion, Sister P., and I are together! 

OH! And Sunday's sacrament program was AMAZING!!! There's so much to tell! So we sang in the choir and I was a little bawl baby up there... There was one song that a group of sisters sang together. This reminded me of something S. and I would do. It was beautiful and made me cry...Then there was a story that President Monson or Utchdorf told that was very touching about a man giving up his seat to a soldier on an airplane. The last plane to go home so he could see his family. But the most amazing thing was the song the Young Women sang. They sang a beautiful arrangment of Silent Night. One of the Young Women knows Sign Language and we have a deaf man in our ward. I was  watching him all throughout the program and he looked bored and I was praying that he'd be able to feel the spirit and feel apart of the program. Sky began to sign the song and he lit up! He began signing along with her and mouthing the words to the song. As he did this tears streamed down his face. It was so sweet to see this happen from on the stand. It was so great to see the Spirit of Christmas touch his heart as S. signed for him. It was an amazing experience.

Something else from sunday that I feel prompted to share and strongly believe is that we can't change our circumstances but we can change our outlook on the circumstance. Also that we need to "Have Faith not fear" - Elder Ballard and that we need to "Doubt our Doubts before we Doubt our Faith" - Elder Uchtdorf.

I love being a missionary!! And I am so glad the Lord has chosen me to work as a tool in His hands that I can experience the changes in peoples lives and help them come closer to Christ by making covenants with God! 

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas! I love you all and pray for you always! 

Sister Celeste Riches

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2 Months of Serving in the Lord's Army of 82,000!!!

Hello Family!

This week has been...interesting. I almost got proposed to on the bus and I was very grateful there were elders on the bus so they had my back. It has been fun to get to know Sister P. and help others. 

We had a lot of meetings this week and they all were very instructive! We are beginning a new way of teaching and have been being trained on that for a while. And will continue. It is used by the AP's and has shown amazing results. I'm excited to learn more and develop the techniques. It is done by using questions and the pictures in the pamphlets. 

We had the mission Christmas Party this week and that was lots of fun! We learned a lot, ate a lot. and laughed a lot. There was a talent show and that was great. After the party those who were serving together with Elder Page who passed away a few months ago gathered in the Chapel to listen to Sister S. and Elder H. play a duet of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". They served with him and I sat in on this amazing experience. The Spirit there was so strong and I am so thankful to be serving here in Azusa to learn from them and their experiences. The Spirit hit me like a wave and all of us were in tears. There were other missionaries who were also listening but they weren't tearing up like those who served in Azusa. That was very interesting for me to see the difference. I am so thankful for all that I have learned about the Plan of Salvation through hearing others experiences. As I have stated in the past I feel like I know Elder Page and served with him because of all the stories and things I have heard. I am so thankful for that and for the Spirit that is indescribable that is here. 

Not a lot else happened this week that I can think to share. 

I love you all and I am so thankful for all the love and support. 

I know that the doctrine and gospel that I am preaching is true. I know that the Lord has a plan for everything and everyone. I love this gospel and the happiness that it can bring families as it has brought my own. Share with everyone you know about the gospel! 

Love, Sister Riches

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hello Friends and Family!

This has been an awesome week! Things started off a little rough but was resolved by a really good needed heart to heart companionship inventory Monday night. Sister S. and I were able to discuss the things that we were concerned about openly and then get back to work and had an awesome week. Now she is being transferred and I have my new companion, Sister P. She's so sweet! I'm so excited! I apologize in advance that this is short...

We started teaching A. who is 17  last week and have continued teaching her. On Tuesday we taught her the restoration again so we could see what she understood from what the Spanish Elders had taught her. We invited her to baptized and she excitedly nodded her head yes. We told her we would be holding a baptismal service on December 29th and if she would prepare herself to be baptized on that day. She said yes!! We are so excited to be teaching her! She is amazing! Right after we committed her, we began talking about what would happen. She stopped us and asked, "Does this mean I'll have to take me piercings out?" Now, she has dimple piercings and three sets in her ears. We said, "What do you think?" And she answered by groaning and throwing her head back and said, "He doesn't want me putting holes in my body!!" and threw her head on her arms on the table. She has been progressing really well and we are so excited. Everytime we meet with her her testimony continues to grow. She came to church and we also took her to the Christmas Devotional last night. She really feels comfortable at church and loves it. That shows how important it is to those who are coming to church to feel invited and welcome. Members play such a vital role in every investigator, recent convert, and less actives life!! 

We hope to have a baptism this next Sunday for G. who is 14. She is so sweet! She's been taught everything more than once and now we need to discuss some things with her mom so she can be baptized. We're excited!! 

I am so excited to work with Sister P. and learn from her and with her. I love this area and I am so excited for the opportunity I have to be on a mission! I know that the Lord places us in the places he does with the people He does for a reason. I have learned that so much through my life before the mission and even more on the mission.

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Hello Family and Friends!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! There was a Thanksgiving scripture that I really like. It is Alma 37: 36-37. I am so thankful for this gospel and for all the many blessings we have because Christ's true church has been restored on the earth and we can receive personal revelation as well as revelation through the prophets of God. I am so thankful for my family and all the love they have for me! 

We found an awesome new investigator this past week and I am so excited to teach her more! She will be an awesome missionary someday! The Spanish Elders (AMAZING!!-They've given us like 5 referrals this past week) gave us her as a referral to go visit her because she was interested. They found her by going to a potential investigators house who no longer lived there. But she is BOMB! She has been raised Catholic but doesn't agree with baptizing children as infants and in praying to saints and Mary and believes that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are three separate individuals, just as we in the Church of Jesus Christ believe. It's so awesome! She's so excited about the gospel and sharing it with her mom who isn't quite ready to understand yet. But very soon, very soon! As well as her dad!! They'll all be sealed together for eternity in the temple! That was one of the things we talked a lot about. Was sealings and temples. She is so excited! We'll hopefully be able to go with her to the temple this Friday with the ward to the visitors center! There are a ton of awesome Christmas things going on there. It's so cool! 

Thanksgiving... Well we had a ward Turkey Bowl that members had said they had invited non-members and they would be there. However, when we got there it was mostly the men of the ward a few kids and no non-members. But we did some contacting around and that was good. I have district meetings on Thursdays so we had that then had dinner at the F's. A really awesome Polynesian family in the ward. We had such good food and lots of it! However, I missed our family traditions, especially candied yams! I love how we boil the yams, peal them, cut them into circles and fry them in brown sugar and butter and pour the extras on top!! So much better any other way to eat yams...unless its raw with homemade buttermilk ranch! But they had these really good orange rolls made from fresh oranges in their yard! Everyone here has citrus fruit trees in their yards it's so cool. And have you ever had a prisimon? They're not bad. We also went to dinner at Sister B.s. She works in the mission office. However, we got there late when everyone was finishing and leaving so we helped wash dishes and clean up. We also had pie at the Cs (a super nice couple in the ward! that do awesome fellowshipping!)

Fun California facts: 1) The ice cream trucks run all year round!!!! And they play Christmas music!  2) EVERYONE has a mustang!! okay not everyone but I swear I see like 20-50 mustangs per day (not exaggerating! I've tried to count but always loose count) 3) There are green parrots here that look really pretty but when they squawk they sound as if they are dying!!

I went on exchanges for the first time this week with Sister M. I came out here with her from the MTC. It was so much fun! It was a lot different working in Glendora than it is in Azusa. Especially since she and her companion Sister P whitewashed the area. It was good to learn more about missionary work and different techniques that she has as a missionary than I do and Sister S does. We were able to provide some service for a lady and help her out a lot and meet with a few of the Less-Actives in that area. We then went to find all the past potentials to see if we could find new investigators. One guy invited us in -there were other females in the house, his wife and daughters- and he talked with us and feed us turkey noodle soup but he's not that interested. But it was good! 

I love you all and I love the mission! Serving a mission is hard work. It is not easy. Everyone says it was hard and I just thought oh psh they just aren't having enough faith. Yeah no, have faith and be diligent and it's still hard. BUT it is amazing to watch how you are helping someone come closer to Christ and watching things click in their heads as you teach them! It is the BEST thing to watch someone become so excited about what they are learning. I love that!! 

Sister Celeste Riches