Tuesday, February 25, 2014

He Will Hasten His Work in His Time


This week has been really good. We were able to teach 13 lessons this
past week, reach the standard of excellence for the mission of 7
member present lessons, and the standard of excellence 4 progressing
investigators!!!! The Lord has really blessed us the past few weeks
here and helped us out so much in His work.

I guess I'll tell you about my week. On Tuesday we had our pday and we
went thrift shopping. It was fun. I found a smaller purse to carry my
iPad and a cute dress. We also taught two lessons that night and had a
member at both. Three of our new investigators are really excite to
learn more. It's awesome!

Wednesday we had a lot of people cancel appointments, were sick,
getting home from the hospital, and not home...but we were able to
have a less active lesson and an awesome lesson with a one of the new
investigators from last week.

On Thursday we had a random house check and then three good lessons.
It was cool to see how an investigator was able to apply the Book of
Mormon to her life so much and recognize more of why she's been lead
certain places and to us. The other lesson we had was also about the
Book of Mormon and in that lesson we were able to commit the
investigator to baptism on March 23rd. We are praying that this will
happen and that she will understand. She's really exact to come to
church especially cause of relief society.

On Friday we did service almost all day for a lady to help her move.
She is a ballet teacher so that was fun to talk ballet with her! She
gave me an old ticket to the nutcracker her studio did this past year.
I miss dancing a lot and can't wait to get back into it. We were then
supposed to have a tour with the investigator with a baptism date but
she was held up at school that she didn't make it home in time. We
went by again later that night and she pinky promised she'd be there
on Sunday...when we went to pick her up she wasn't home or really
heavy sleeper. We are not too sure what happened but we will find out
tonight. She's really awesome though. She understands she won't
receive an answer right away to her prayers.

On Saturday we did a couple lessons in the morning and the new had our
weekly planning cause we were doing service all day on Friday-our
normal weekly planning day. We did a tour with the investigator who is
really good at relating everything to her and her situations. It was a
nice tour. That night as we had some extra time before be we started
watching the long Joseph smith movie. We ended up finishing it during
out lunch time on Sunday. It's such a good movie! I am so thankful for
Joseph Smith and for his dedication to The Lord and to his calling as
a prophet. In sacrament on Sunday they sang "Praise to the Man" one of
my most favorite hymns! In the very first verse I felt the spirit and
started tearing up...this happened to me a lot during church for
whatever reason. It was a good Sunday. Unfortunately we did not have
any investigators there. Out of the few we thought would come...one
was sick, one was home sick with her dog, one slept in, another we
don't know yet, and another decided to run some errands. Getting
people to church is always the hardest thing to do! We're trying so
hard to help others understand the importance of church. It's hard to
hear from members that all we can do is invite and plant seeds when
our mission president and leaders are constantly telling us we are
here to baptize and harvest not so much plant seeds. It gets
discouraging sometimes.

Sunday night we were able to have three lessons and toe with members.
It was a good week for lessons and help from members! I also got my
bike tire fixed on Saturday! So now we can ride our bikes
again....probably won't happen riding south is fine but riding north
is a slow incline that turns out to be huge! Crazy Claremont! I love
it here though! It's so nice. Next Monday is transfers so we are
hoping neither of us are being transferred. I love Sister M!!
She's so funny! We have a good time together...especially if we are
both super tired! Which is all the time.

I wanted to end this email with an awesome quote from the Joseph Smith
Prophet of the Restoration movie but I can't find it... Maybe next
week. But I know that this is the true church and that this is the
restored church of Jesus Christ, just as he had established it in his
ministry on the earth. I feel so blessed to be part of His church and
have the blessings that come with that!

I hope you all are staying warm and safe! I keep you in my prayers and
thank you for all the prayers and words of encouragement and support!
I really appreciate all you do for me!

Sister Celeste Riches

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

4 Months Serving In God's Army!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been amazing! We got 5 new investigators and one more
last night-that counts for this week!

Monday I dyed Sister M's hair so that was fun! We had dinner
with a less active family and then got a new investigator! I did get
your package that day too! Thanks for the games and scarves and
cardigans! They're all super cute! I was actually looking at the
scarves at target and wanted to get one of them. Sister M got
one and so now we have 3 of the 4/5 colors!

Tuesday was great! We go and visit a lady from the ward who is in a
care center every Tuesday/Wednesday and sing to her and read from the
Book of Mormon. When we went to go sing the closing song I yawned
which made Sister M start laughing cause it was right at the
beginning of the second verse of Did You Think To Pray. So we had a
hard laugh attack and it was super embarrassing in front of the
sweetest old lady ever! We felt terrible. But after that we went to a
pass off lesson with the Spanish Sisters in Pomona and got another new
investigator! The rest of the day/night was trying to find people to

Wednesday we had exchanges. I stayed here and Sister Baum the Sister
Trainer came here with me. We had an awesome day! In the morning we
realized I had a flat tire-there's an awesome member that can fix it
for me. So we stayed at home ate lunch then got picked up and taken to
a lesson with a head quarters referral. The guy we taught has had a
crazy life. So we picked up another new investigator. (3 new so far-
our mission standard of excellence is 3/week) we ended up giving him
to the Zone leaders-right next door to us-to teach. Then we did
Facebook at the church and then rode the bus to make some contacts and
it was really cool. We got on niacin there was one guy on the bus so
we went over and started talking to him. Turns out he is into family
history and is interested in a tour of the church. He had to get off
real quick so he gave us his card with his cell number, house address,
and full name...totally made to give to missionaries!!! (Not really
but that's what we think!) we then had another member present lesson
with an investigator we're working with who has a really hard time
understanding the gospel. We talked about baptism and how to be
baptized you need the proper authority and to receive the Holy Ghost
you need to be baptized by immersion and by a priesthood holder. She
said she wanted the Holy Ghost but was already baptized so she didn't
want to be baptized again. She said she knows she wasn't baptized by
proper authority and she wants the Holy Ghost but she couldn't put the
two together. We even had the two pictures in the gospel of Jesus
Christ pamphlet next to each other. If you want this(Holy Ghost) then
you need to do this (baptism). Oh well we're going to go back to the
fundamentals and hope she understands. If not maybe nows not her time.
We then visited a less active and she ended up coming back to church
this past Sunday!!! Since like a year. Then we had a meeting with our
ward mission leader who is just amazing! Best ever! Always offering to
come out with us and help us out and has his own records of our
investigators and people we're teaching! I am so blessed to be serving
in this ward with such great leaders!

Thursday... WE GOT OUR IPADS! So we had an awesome training meeting.
The big thing I took out of this meeting was that The Lord is really
hastening his work! President Beccera explained it as a train speeding
up. The train has been gradually speeding up and right now the train
is speeding up faster and faster. Before people could jump off and go
out in the forest and play and still be able to catch up to the train
and get back on. Now with the hastening of the work, this can't
happen. Those that will get off will have a really hard time jumping
back on. They will be left off the train and miss out on all the
blessings of this amazing time. This time is comparable to the
restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and
the pioneers trek west. Pretty amazing that I can be a part of this
amazing time! That The Lord has saved me to be here at this time to
help in the hastening!!! I love it! There is so much authority and
power and responsibility in my calling that is unfolding to me and
there is so much more to learn about it. It's incredible! So moral of
the train story, don't get off the train and do all you can to help in
missionary work with others and in the temple because if you get off
you won't be able to get back on, no matter how fast you run. ALSO,
the rule is going to be changed that we can go to the temple
quarterly!!!!!! I am so excited! This is because of the new films.
This is also a sign of the hastening of the work. It is bringing in
the younger generations and increasing missionary work at the temple.
The salvation of souls!!! Mosiah 28:3 "Now I am desirous that
salvation should be declared to every creature, yea, for I could not
bear that any human soul should perish, yea, even the very thought
that any human soul should endure endless torment does cause me to
quake and tremble." (Our mission scripture in first person) It was an
amazing meeting and President bore his testimony and I got all teary
eyed and he called on me to say the closing prayer....I hate saying
prayers in big groups, especially when I was all teary.

On Friday was a lot of meeting/planning stuff. Nothing too exciting
happened. Just after our district meeting I felt like I am so
inadequate to be a missionary and I have so much more I need to learn
and do and I need to rely on the spirit so much more than what I am
doing. It is so important to do his will and not my will and as humans
it is so natural to do what we think is best and not what he thinks is
best. Our ways are NOT his ways.

Saturday was good. We had a member present lesson with the new
investigator we got on Monday. She likes to talk a lot and it ended up
being a pretty long lesson. And then we had two other lessons one with
the investigator that has a hard time understanding so we just did a
lesson about prayer. Then we had a lesson later that night with the
granddaughter of a potential investigator we had written down from
2008. He wanted to give his granddaughter a finding faith in Christ
DVD and his granddaughter is now 32 or so. We contacted him earlier
this past week and he said to come back later so we did and we had a
great lesson with her and her friend. We're going back tonight to
teach them about the Book of Mormon. So we got 2 more investigators!
Making last weeks total 5! (Including the one we gave away).

Sunday was good. It marked my 4 months since I entered the MTC. So
that was cool. Time goes by so fast! Sister S my trainer is
now the oldest English sister out. Crazy to think that soon I will be
as old as her (old in mission age).

Yesterday was an amazing day! We had zone conference-thus play being
today. It was so good! We did so much role play! Total of about 3
hours! We went over finding and did speed contacting like speed dating
but missionary style where one missionary acts like a random person on
the street and the other tries to contact them. It was pretty helpful.
Then we went over revelation through prayer-the restoration lesson
teaching it in 8 minutes but totaling around 20 with how to begin
teaching points, the lesson, then teaching how to pray, and how to
receive answers, and then invitation to baptism. In the first lesson.
The whole first lesson is all based about baptism so they understand
why we are there and if they want nothing to do with baptism or their
concerns with it but that's okay it helps us know what to teach them
or if to teach them. Then we went over revelation through the Book of
Mormon and the lesson for that which is also 20 minutes where we talk
about the Book of Mormon and go over 1 Nephi 1:1-12. It's pretty cool
how reading it about 4 times because of the roles playing how much
more I got out of it each time and how much more relatable it could
get and what more I learned. Like Lehis experience is related to what
we're asking the investigators to do and what happened to Joseph smith
as well as the story in enos. Same thing. It's awesome! Then we went
over revelation through church attendance and once again when
president bore his testimony I was all teary eyed. It's powerful! You
can tell how much the gospel means to him and how bad he wants to help
others. I am so blessed to have such an inspired president!

That night after the meeting we went out and worked! We were supposed
to have a lesson and get some new investigators but they couldn't meet
cause they were stuck at the store. But we went to visit a referral
and she wasn't home. Then a less active in the same complex we had
never met and we knocked no one came but there was noise and lights on
so we knocked again and we heard "WHO IS AT MY DOOR!? IF YOU AINT THE
POLICE YOU BETTER GET OFF MY PORCH!!" I was so scared I was about to
run down the stairs and Sister M just stood there so I
couldn't leave her. A young lady came to the window and looked through
the blinds and said just kidding! Who are you guys looking for? She
was super sweet!!! Just fun! We told her the members name and turned
out she moved out a few months ago. She asked who we were and we told
her and she said oh okay, could you girls come back and visit with me?
And we said yeah (obviously jumping inside because of how sincere she
was). She then came to the door and opened it up and let us in and we
talked for a bit did some how to begin teaching points let her know
what we do and how that all works. She wanted us to come back later in
the week because she had a friend over. But then as we got talking he
came out to see what was going on and she said go back to your room I
have company! So that was cool and we were about to leave so we asked
her if she knew anyone else who could benefit from our message and she
said well I don't even know what the message is so let's hear it. So
we go sat down and had one of the most spiritual lessons I have had
yet on my mission. We went through the pamphlet and her daughter who
is about 2 was making lots of noises but she was so focused on what we
had to say and so receptive. We taught simply with the pamphlet and
she would ask us questions and we helped her out. It was also one of
those lessons that I wasn't super nervous about them understanding
because I normally am because the message is so important and for
everyone! She understood priesthood and apostasy which a lot of people
don't get in the first lesson and it gets frustrating sometimes. But
when we turned to the page about Joseph smith she said she saw light.
And then she saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She read the
sentence that says "Joseph Smith saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus
Christ" she started tearing up. She said wow, wouldn't that be just
amazing! Her daughter was silent and everything just stopped. The
spirit was pretty strong. Sister M then told a little about
Joseph smith. And then the lady read the account found in Joseph smith
history and her daughter was crawling all over her and I was praying
so hard she'd be able to feel the spirit and her daughter stopped and
she felt the spirit and was so focused. An I bore my testimony of it I
started tearing up and she said she believed that experienced
happened. We then finished the lesson and asked her to pray for
confirmation. We just told her to open, ask her question, then close.
She opened and thanked a lot and then asked and closed. Such a sweet
prayer! Then we invite he to be baptized. Saying "As you continue to
learn and know these things are true, will you be baptized by someone
who holds the proper authority of god?" And she said what does that
mean? So we reviewed priesthood and talked about here baptism and she
was receptive when she asked if her baptism wasn't by proper
authority. She committed and we are exactly to set her with a date
this Wednesday. iPads are so nice. She doesn't have a phone so we
email her. Last night we sent a Mormon message called origin. It's

Today has been relaxing! It's nice not having to leave home to do
anything except grocery shop. Especially now that we can email on our
iPads. We're going to go to the thrift shop with a young women in the
neighbor ward and get smaller purses for our iPads. We went to this
crazy grocery store. Super King. It has a ton of weird things. Super
cheap fruits and veggies! And then in the meat department....we saw
chicken feet, frog legs, cow brain, pig ears, lamb and pig and cow
hearts, livers, and kidneys....ummm...and lots of other weird meats!
It's a good day!

Well I love you all and I'm so happy to be a missionary and I am
loving the work so much!

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Ps. Sorry it's so long...oh and if there are any crazy typos I'm
sorry...autocorrect can be weird sometimes.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

So this week has been pretty slow. We had one day where we had appointments scheduled from 11-5 straight through. So we should have had about 5 lessons. All cancelled except two. We were so excited but things fell through people didn't remember and others stood us up. This has been the majority of our week. Set up appointments just to have them get cancelled. It's been hard. But we've been working really REALLY hard to find good investigators who keep appointments and want us to come back and can meet for at least 20 minutes! This has been outwardly unsuccessful this past week. We're continually praying for patience and miracles. We also dropped an investigator cause we have never heard back from them. It's rough. But it's taught me a lot and made me realize something this past week.

God loves us and He wants to bless us and this is His work. He tests us because it is to help us grow and to become more like Him. He also hears all of our prayers and answers them. However, He answers them in His own time, His own way, and according to His own will. We just have to be patient. We have been working so hard to find new investigators and we will receive our answers to our prayers in His own time, will and way. It's never up to us and it's normally never how we think it will happen. 

Fun things that happened this week is I got a haircut today! And the lady was so sweet! She works with a member and we went to talk to her at her work last week after she paid for us to get facials to talk to an investigator and she was talking about how she does hair and I piped up saying I needed a haircut and she didn't charge me for it. She did a really good job too and is so sweet!! I am so thankful for amazing and nice people who are so sweet and kind and just make your day a million times better. Like all the members in this ward. They've all been so willing to help out and to take us around and come to lessons and help us with so much! It's such a blessing!

Well, we get iPads in 3 DAYS!!!!! Then no more coming to church to do facebook or email! Wahoo! So excited! We also get mormon messages, the area book, a map, everything paper will be on the ipad! SO cool!! 

I love you all and hope all is well and everyone is staying warm. I keep hearing this winter has been pretty nasty. And I'm over here freezing in the low 50's...yes I've acclimated to California Weather. Thanks for all your letters and email!! For those who I have yet written a letter back to I'm sorry and will try to write back! 

Sister Celeste Riches

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tender Mercies and Surprises

Dear Family and Friends!

This week has been a pretty good week!! We were able to teach more lessons and get to know the area more and the members! I have gotten to know the members in this ward more than I think any ward I've lived in..except maybe Wisconsin. But to get to know most of them in about 2 weeks is pretty nice! Definitely a tender mercy. We also have 4 new investigators!!

Let's see...On Monday Night, we were able to have dinner at an investigators house after another dinner cancelled and get to know them and build a good trust and friendship. 

On Tuesday we were able to have a couple lessons and make red velvet cupcakes during our lunch time..they were sooo good! We had an awesome super awkward lesson with a less-active who isn't even in our ward...there was some confusion as to why we were at a families house...And then we were able to have an awesome member drive us around to try to find some of the potential investigators because we don't have too many progressing or promising investigators. 

On Wednesday we were able to organize our Area Book some more and get that in better shape to help us work more effectively and efficiently. We were able to meet a potential and schedule to go back on Saturday but things fell through on Saturday sadly. Wednesday was pretty sad because the people we wanted to see weren't home and no one was available to take us to see anyone else and so we worked more on organizing the Area Book..yes this has been a good lotta hour chore. I will be so thankful for when we get our iPads NEXT WEEK!!!!!

Thursday we were not able to teach any lessons but it was an AWESOME DAY! Full of tender mercies!! We had District Meeting which went really well and I was able to receive some good personal revelation. Then we were given a ride to a lesson but she wasn't home and so we tried contacting a potential investigator from 2012 and she had moved but we were able to talk with the new owner and she is interested and wants us to come by and teach her family. She suggested us teach her FAMILY! We're so excited!! We were also able to contact 2 other potentials and schedule appointments with them as well!! It was a good day!

Friday we had a day full of WEEKLY PLANNING! Woooo... 

Saturday was a pretty good day as well! We contacted a couple referrals and got a new investigator out of it! She's awesome!! We were also able to have a member with us at all of our lessons that day...3, mostly with less actives which was good!\

Sunday was...interesting. I had a little surprise and shock at church...B, T and C were at my ward. It was fun to see them and C has grown SO MUCH! She's walking and talking now! I was so sad that I couldn't hold her or hug B but it's okay. I was a bit shook up after but luckily it was only for a few minutes. I'm glad I have family so close that I can call in case of a real emergency. It's comforting to know. We are now pretty much all organized with our map of our area, our ward directory, and our area book!! So we went out to contact more potentials and no one was home and one lady got mad at us for interrupting her Superbowl game...opps. I think it was okay though because Eternal Salvation is much more important and valuable than the Superbowl! We had a wonderful Breakfast for Dinner at a members home, it's tradition for them to feed the missionaries on fast Sunday and do breakfast! We were also able to get 3 more new investigators!!! A family we contacted into from the potentials. They had been taught before but a couple years ago. So the facts are not all there. They seem to show some promise as we work to help them understand and help them gain the knowledge and find the truth and understanding for themselves through prayer, study, experience, and keeping God's commandments.

I am so happy to be here in Claremont! The ward and members are amazing and are helping us so much! Nothing can really get done in missionary work without the help of members. The role of a member of the Church is so vital in missionary work to retain and fellowship those who are interested and learning! 

I am so happy to be a missionary and I am loving the work so much!! It is crazy how little time we get with the people we work with and how much we need to help them with in so little time and the Lord trusts us with it. I love this work and helping others come to the truth. It is SO vital that we have the truth. I know that this is the only true church on the earth and that it is established through a true prophet of God who has the power and authority to lead it. I know that without the gospel of Jesus Christ I would have nothing but because I have the gospel of Jesus Christ I have everything. I can have eternal life, I can have my family with me forever. I have the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me as well as every individual on the earth past, present, and future. He has such an infinite love and so many blessing He wants to give us that we just need to humble ourselves and ask Him for His help. Through Jesus Christ we can be saved and given comfort through every trial we go through. I know this and am so thankful for the restored gospel and that God still speaks to each of us individually today. 

Sister Celeste Riches