Monday, March 31, 2014

Earthquakes and the Power of Women

Hello family and friends!

This week started off alright. We tried finding new investigators on
Monday and Latham night taught on awesome lesson. Tuesday we went to
the temple and tried to teach some lessons and find new investigators.
Not much success. Wednesday was hard. Sister Mattingley had a bad
headache so she rested while I update more into our electronic area
book app. I was also able to catch up a little in my journal...I've
really been lagging. We tried finding more new investigators by going
to old potentials and former investigators. No success there either.
Lots of people moved and current owners not interested or no one home.
But we are trying. On Thursday we taught the word of wisdom to an
investigator and that went well. It's hard to tell with her what she
is actually understanding. She says she gets it but she doesn't act on
anything. We were then able to stop by another investigator who
understands really well and say happy birthday! We made her day! Not
many family members remembered. So she was so thankful we did. She was
going to come to church Sunday for the second time but got a bad sore
throat and upset stomach. We visited her after church on Sunday and
taught her about the atonement because that's what everything in
church was centered around. Well, the whole gospel is centered around
the atonement of Jesus Christ. But it was really good. Friday we
taught a lesson but everything else fell through. Saturday we taught
two lessons and picked up a new investigator. He is interested in
learning what "our side of the story is". It went well. We will be
passing him off to the YSA elders. Sunday night we had another lesson
where we watched Finding Faith in Christ with the Jewish investigator
and his family at a members home. It went well. He is still having so
many questions and has so many Jewish traditions.

Now I want to talk about 1)the earthquake and 2) the General Women's Meeting.

So on Friday night I felt my very first earthquake! It was around 9pm,
time for daily planning, we had just gotten home and I was sitting at
our table in our room and Sister M. was washing her hands in
the bathroom. Our room has two of the walls faceing outside. (If that
makes since) so I hear this banging it seems like- like a big garbage
truck. And I thought someone was outside the house banging on the
wall. Then our closet mirror doors start shaking and moving and the
water on the table in front of me started swaying! I realized it was
an earthquake. I had no clue what to do! It lasted a little bit no
more than a minute. Nothing fell over just things shook. I opened our
door and Sister Mattingley was right there and we were both reply
scared. So we just hugged each other and laughed. We were both shaking
and our hearts were beating really fast. It was quite fun. We saw from
members posts on Facebook hat it was a 5.3 or something and the
biggest quake they'd felt for a while. We then began speculating what
would have happened if we were in a car or walking around or riding
our bikes. I really want to go to an earthquake simulator sometime and
try that out. But the next day we were teaching a lesson outside and
we felt another one! It wasn't that bad just felt a little rumble like
someone running on the level above us shaking the ground a little. The
Friday night earthquake reminded me of Freaky Friday...good thing it
wasn't that bad!

We were able to go to the stake center for the General Women's
Meeting. There was an appetizer and dessert social beforehand and it
was really nice to sit and watch all the young girls and other
sisters. It made me think of Sara and how she was at their social and
broadcast in New York. The broadcast was amazing! The spirit as so
strong and I am so happy that I am a daughter of God and that I have a
divine nature! I love being a woman of the gospel. We were supposed to
have two investigators come but one missed her ride and the other was
still traveling back from LA. The whole time we were saying how much
they would have loved the broadcast and felt the strong spirit of
sisterhood! I am so excited for general conference! If the women's
broadcast was that good conference is going to be amazing! I loved how
much they emphasized making and keeping sacred convents. Baptism,
receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, going to the temple, receiving
the endowment, and then being sealed in the temple, and constantly
returning to the temple. I am so happy for these saving ordinances
that are made possible by the restoration of the gospel  and he
priesthood! I was tearing up all throughout the meeting. I kept
thinking of mom and Sara and the blessing it is that we are all in the
gospel and faithful to our covenants. The spirit was so strong!
Especially with the songs and videos. It was so sweet how the 8-11
year old girls got up and sang "teach me to walk in the light". I was
so happy to know that Sara was one of those girls standing up and
singing out loud! I loved how Sister Oscarson said that we are not
Christians if we judge others and if we compare ourselves to others. I
know that judging others is not Christlike but I have never thought
about comparing myself to others is not Christlike. It was also cool
how there was a story about a girl named Sara who did service for a
lady with MS. I liked that. President Eyrings talk was so good. It's
so hard to imagine the love our Heavenly Father has for each and every
one of us. That He loves us more that our parents here on earth! It is
so comforting to know the the good pride that my mom and dad have for
me, which is so big, is multiplied so many times and that is the pride
that Heavenly Father has in me for keeping my convents and serving
Him. I also had the thought in have broadcast about the scripture,
"And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have
brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your
joy if you should bring many souls unto me! Behold, you have my gospel
before you, and my rock, and my salvation." (D&C 18:16-17). By keeping
my convents and later becoming a mother. I can raise my children in
the gospel and help bring them unto God. I had always looked at this
scripture as bringing others into the gospel, bringing investigators
and less actives. But never my own children. It is such a gift that
women have to bring children into this world and teach and nurture
them with a loving father. I learned a lot from this broadcast.
There's still so much I can learn from it too by reading it and
watching segments again.

I love this gospel and the peace and hope it has brought to my life. I
love my savior Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice that we can all
return to live with a God again as we do what is asked of us and make
and keep the covenants in baptism and the temple.

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Missionary Work

Hello everyone!

This week has been pretty good. We had exchanges on Friday to Saturday
and that was fun. I went to Glendora which us right next to Azusa and
I saw a sister from the Azusa ward while I was in Glendora. The
mountains are so brown after the fire that happened right before I

We taught some good lessons this past week. I think the most exciting
one was yesterday where we taught a lady who is returning to church
and she has a goal to go to the temple and be sealed to her husband
who recently passed away. The spirit was so strong and he she shared
her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was really cool.

We tried to find more because a lot of our investigators are not
progressing. We are praying and searching for someone to be baptized
in April. Sadly we had to drop a few of our investigators. One moved
all of a sudden and the other was not interested anymore. We will
probably be dropping a few more this week because of their
understanding and commitment is not high.

But on Tuesday (last Tuesday) we had a lesson with an investigator at
a members home after dinner. It went really well. We were able to help
her later in the week too where ewe arrived right on time to help her
out. She came to church for the first time on Sunday day too and
enjoyed it. The conference this Saturday will be amazing. I'm excited
for that! And general conference!

So we woke up at 5:15am today to go to the Redlands temple. We heard
they lay the newest new film in the first session but it wasn't. So we
were a little bummed but it was still an amazing trip. I felt the
spirit very strong and it was so nice to remember the amazing
blessings we've been given. I loved it. It's a bit overcast today but
the pictures look nice. I'll send them in another email.

Well that's about my week. I love you all and I'm sorry it's a short
email this week. I am so grateful for the support and blessings you
all have given me. I know that this is the Savior's church once again
established on the earth today and I am so thankful that we have the
restord truth and knowledge. I am so thankful for the temple and I know
that the temple is the house of The Lord that it is a place of peace
and comfort and that is needed in the crazy world we live in. I know
that we are all placed on the earth for a reason and that we are here
to help others around us as well as let them help us. I know my
Redeemer lives and that he knows each and every one of us and knows
how to succor us individually.

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Monday, March 17, 2014

5 Months Serving in the Lords Army!

Hello Everyone!

I want to start off thanking everyone for the emails they have sent
me! Last week was rough for me but I am better now. This past week has
been amazing! It's crazy how much Satan can take one discouraging
thought and effect so much in your life. That is why we always need to
strive to be positive and push those negative things out and remember
who we are. We are all children of our Heavenly Father and He loves
and cares for us so much!

This week has been awesome!!! I can't believe all the blessings we
have been given. We taught 14 lessons, 7 being member present, found 3
new investigators-1 of which has accepted baptism and another is ready
but we have yet invited her, and so we taught 2-3 lessons a day expect
for Friday where people canceled or forgot so we got 0 that day but we
were able to schedule an appointment with a former investigator for
Wednesday! But we were diligent and worked hard to achieve our goals
and we had The Lords help in everything.

I want to share a few experiences we had this week rather than give
the day to day report.

So on Saturday we had to do a lot of rearranging in plans.  In the
morning from 10-12 we had two young women from a neighboring stake
come with us for part of their youth conference. E had  lesson set for
11 but they rescheduled. 10-12 in the morning on a Saturday is a
really bad time to find anyone to teach so we talked to them about
missionary work and helped answer questions they had about the work
and then went out to find new investigators. They went back to their
youth conference and we were dropped off at home so we could have
lunch. We had lunch and all throughout lunch we were calling to find
someone to go with us to a lesson with a referral we received from the
elders. It was a man so we needed another sister there. After two
hours of searching for a sister we found one and went to the lesson.
Before I tell about the lesson let me explain how we contacted him.
The referral the elders gave us was incomplete there was no phone
number or house number. We just had his name and his street. Luckily
the street had about ten houses on it- it was a lollipop street. We
started near the end near the circle and started knocking trying to
find him. Nobody knew who he was. We were able to get a potential at
one of the houses who was going to talk to her husband about us coming
over and sang I am a child of god to a few kids outside playing. We
skipped a house and kept going. We talked to one lady who told us the
house we skipped used to be owned by people who had the same last name
but they moved.  We decided to go back and try it anyway. We knocked
and a man came to the door we told him who we were looking for and he
said it as him. We wee both so shocked we found him finally that we
didn't know what to say yet. Who were able to have a little small talk
about the elders he met and set up a time to come back. One of the
nice blessings and miracles and tender mercies we saw this week. So
when we went back, we went though the lesson and he wasn't saying much
or asking many questions. When we would ask him questions he didn't
expound. A man of few words. When we were almost through with the
points of lesson one, we asked what he thought of Joseph Smith. He
simply state that is was a really nice experience he had. We then
asked if he believed something like that could happen. He simply said
yes, I know it did. We asked how he knew and he simply said because he
could feel it. We asked him to explain how he felt and he said there
wasn't words for it. We knew he was feeling the spirit and we told
him. We then invited him to pray about it and he said he didn't want
to because every time he prays he cries, he is in his mid 50's by the
way. We told him why we wanted him to pray with us there so we could
help him know the spirit and the answer he would get and to help him
if he needed. He agreed to pray and he prayed in Spanish. He began
tearing up and the spirit was there. It was cool to see how he
received an answer to his prayer that what we taught was true. He then
told us he wanted us to come back and teach his wife and 3 daughters
who are all married and have kids. He has a total of 7 grandkids.
However, he is probably going to be passed off to the Spanish
missionaries but we are going back to check about his daughters.

Later that day we had a church tour with the Jewish man and his wife
and son. It went really well and they felt the peace inside the
building. They committed to come to church and they did!!!!!!! In the
lesson we had with them later Sunday night the father, who had
previously not accepted Jesus Christ as the messiah and last week said
he is slowly accepting that, said very matter of fact that he knows
Jesus Christ is the messiah and has accepted that. It is amazing to
see the spirit work in others! At church the wife began tearing up in
the sacrament hymn and she said she felt such peace the whole time at
church. The son loved priesthood and Sunday school! He has a lot of
friends in our ward too, so that's cool!

Before our lesson with them we went to another investigators house to
teach her niece. The niece had shown interest before when we ever over
teaching her aunt but we stupidly never asked when we could come teach
her too. So we went over and the aunt wasn't home, which was best we
want to teach them separate because the aunt has issues with the
niece. So we sat down with the niece and she expressed to us how
thankful she was we were over because she had been praying for someone
to talk to and make changes in her life and she wants to in a church.
We talked to her earlier in the week at the lesson with her aunt about
her piercings because she asked if they were okay. She has about 5
facial piercings. (It reminded me of A. when we committed her to
baptism.) We asked her what he thoughts were and she said I should
take them out. And we explained how her body was a gift from God. We
taught her about Jesus Christ and prayer. The spirit a really strong
and we are so excited to be teaching her. We knew that we had to find
one new investigator Sunday and we both felt like we needed to go see
her. She may be passed off to the YSA elders but that's okay.

It's so crazy to think I've been out here for 5 months!!! Time flies
by so fast! I am so thankful for all the experiences that I have had
though. And all that I have learned. I've been pondering a lot about
where I was when I first came out and where I am now. I have seen and
noticed some change and it is nice to see that because I have been
down on myself about that. A letters from President to the while
mission helped. It talked about the power to become. And asked us to
look at ourselves when we first came out to now and compare. Sure the
results might not be huge but there are some results if progress. I am
so thankful for this gospel and for all of you who have been praying
for me and helping me and encouraging me every week! I love you all
and pray for you as well.

Have a wonderful week!! Go share the gospel with those around you!
Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach.

Sister Celeste Riches

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hi From Sunny California!

Hello family and friends!

So this week has had its ups and downs. It was a decent week. We
taught 9 lessons.

I still haven't been feeling well. I am slowly getting better. I still
have the sniffles and an occasional headache.

On Monday we worked on updating our area book in our iPads cause I was
feeling weak.

On Tuesday we had a few lessons. We had a really good lesson about the
plan of salvation with one of the ladies we are teaching. She quoted
Jeremiah 1:5 to us when we talked about how we lived with God before
this life. She was able to understand what was going on and we didn't
bring up baptism too much and right off the bat she started talking
about how she needed to make some changes in her life before she could
be baptized. It was pretty cool. I always love to watch how the spirit
teaches people and when they recognize and connect things together!

On Wednesday, we did some service for a family in our ward. We weeded
their side yard and it looked pretty good when we stopped. We were
only able to get about half way but it was nice cause of the rain the
roots came out easily! I loved weeding because we all got to talk and
get to know each other better and weeding is actually pretty
therapeutic! It as a bright sunny day nice and warm out with the sun
it was good to be outside! It made us remember fun things about our
families and childhood. Dad thanks for getting me to help you with our
gardening and yard work at home. Not only is it a good skill but it's
a great time to bond together! That night we went to teach a lady and
when we got there we found out she as having a terrible day so we just
talked with her and tried to uplift her and help her out. She ended up
showing us some of her artwork. It's amazing! She learned how to ink
from a friend. She inks comic book scenes and stuff like that. 

Thursday was a hard day. Lots of ups and downs. We had zone meeting
and I was so out of it. I was not feeling well and I was feeling
really down on myself. One of my zone leaders talked to me and I told
him what was going on. For the past while I've felt really down on
myself and like I'm not doing enough as a missionary and there's so
much more that I should be doing as a missionary and so much more that
I am not doing. This is a hard area and it's hard to find people to
teach. There is hardly anyone on the street to talk to and if we go
knocking we are to knock with a name of someone in that area and it is
not very effective...pre-hastening stuff. So I've been not as
motivated to leave the house in the morning because we don't know who
to teach where to find people to teach or who we can find. It's hard.
So my zone leaders were able to give me a blessing and help me out a
lot. I also later broke down to Sister M about how I was
feeling. I feel like there is so much more that I should be learning
and I feel like I haven't been progressing. But I'm feeling a little
better now. After the meeting and blessing we came home and I took a
nap to try and get my energy back so I could work the rest of the
week. Later we had a lesson and I am so thankful for the spirit. We
were both really nervous but the spirit was able to help us out. I am
so thankful this is The Lords work and not ours and that we are never

I love Sister M! She is so great! I am so thankful we are
companions more than one transfer. This is the first time either of us
get a companion for more than one transfer. So it's been nice. We have
members ask us all the time is all the sisters get along...they don't.
But it's nice to know that the members can see that we are close. We
can learn a lot from eachother and its so nice! People we meet on the
street and stuff think we are twins and when we say we aren't they
think we are sisters....we are but not that type of sister! It's fun!

On Friday we did service and helped clean the house of the lady in our
ward who just passed away from cancer. Her husband passed a few years
earlier from cancer and her kids are now living with a few families in
the ward. We then planned and had our meeting with the ward mission
leader. None of our lessons went through sadly.

On Saturday we helped clean up after the memorial service and we got
food and flowers from it so that's fun! Our room smells so good now!
:) we then tried to find new investigators and we stopped at a part
members house for water and ended up doing more service and having
dinner and then a quick lesson. We sang I am a child of God with the
ukulele Sister M bought on Monday. She's learning and it's
fun. I'm learning too. So I may buy one....

On Sunday church went well. We had an investigator there so that made
things more worth while. The ward is so good at fellow shipping. In
relief society there wasn't any room to sit by her! Then we went out
in the average of 80° weather to find new investigators.  We were able
to make a few appointments later in the week to go back at a better
time. That night we taught a family about Jesus Christ. The father has
been raised mainly Jewish so accepting that Jesus Christ is the
messiah is hard for him. The spirit was there and he is coming closer
to recognizing Jesus Christ as the messiah. We told them that through
church, prayer, and reading the scriptures-spiritual CPR- they can
better know Jesus Christ is the messiah.

Overall the week went well. I hope you all are doing fantastic!

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tut Tut It Looks Likes Rain

Dear Family and Friends,

This has been a pretty good week. Today is transfer day and for once
neither of us are moving! And good thing too cause I've been sick. I
am congested, have a runny nose, and all weak. If we had to moved
today I would die. Okay not really but I am soooo thankful neither of
us got transferred because I got to sleep!!!! I slept for about 2 1/2
hours! And I feel like I didn't sleep at all but I was out! Anyway....

This past week Monday...nothing too exciting happened. We both weren't
feeling the best so we slept then stayed in and worked on the area
book app putting in potential investigators.

Tuesday was a great day. We taught a 3 lessons and visited with a
sweet lady from the ward. We were walking away from an appointment
that wasn't at home and the bus pulled up to the stop and we walked
past but we saw someone waving at us and they screamed hi! So we
walled back and saw that it was one of our investigators and her
daughter. So we got on the bus and rode with her. We helped her get
her shopping bags back to her apartment then read from the Book of
Mormon with her. It's awesome to see that she is understanding what's
going on and paying attention.

On Wednesday we went to Arcadia to have interviews with president for
those that missed them last transfer so Sister M was able to
have hers. We were there waiting for quiet a while. But we taught two
lessons. We went on a tour with one of our investigators and then had
an awesome lesson about the plan of salvation with another
investigator. Turns out one of our investigators was a cage fighter
and she won lots if golds. She fought with UFC. And she wants to be
baptized so that's pretty awesome! She came to church and is reading
and praying and is really open.

On Thursday  we had an interesting district meeting and then taught a
good lesson about the Book of Mormon. Then we had another lesson with
a less active lady. She's super sweet. We then went to help out one of
the young women leaders get some decorations set up for the ward youth
camp fundraiser. The theme was Roundup so ewe were making a jail and
it turned out super cute!!! I am having pictures sent to me soon by I'll probably send them next week. But it was a lot of fun
to help her out!

On Friday it continued to rain for the next three days!
California really needed it, however, I guess there's been a lot of
mud slides. Not here in Claremont though. More in Glendora and Azusa
because of the fire a few months ago. Weird...that seems links just
yesterday. It's already march!!! Time files so fast! Luckily with the
rain we had weekly planning and a tour but it got cancelled...sadly.
So we planned more and then had dinner and a lesson and set a baptism
date for March 30. The other baptism date probably won't happen. And
we're hoping this one on the 30th will.

On Saturday we did more service to help set up for the fundraiser.
Then I finished my Facebook clean up after having to go through every
like and comment and post I've ever done...I now really don't like
Facebook and can't believe I wasted so much time on there! Never
Umm....oh yeah...we didn't teach any lessons on Saturday because no
one was home! It was raining and you'd figure people would be
home..nope. But we were waking outside (slightly sick but I bet it
didn't help to walk in the rain)  and we put our purses under our
jackets and I look like a pregnant lady. It was pretty funny. So I
decided to put my purse behind me like a turtle shell. I hope you like
the picture! But that night we went to the fundraiser for dinner and
some people brought friends. It was fun to have a good time with the
ward and talk to the members. This is an awesome ward. I hope to stay
here for a while!!

Sunday was pretty good. We had an awesome sacrament meeting. However,
I decided I needed to be a cry baby in it. One, the spirit was really
strong, two, I was tired and sick, three, one of the beloved sisters
in the ward passed away from cancer on Saturday morning so people were
talking about her and four, the closing song was till we meet again
which always makes me cry but I kept putting myself in the shoes of
all those who were close to the sister that passed away and how sad
that song is and how hard that would be. I guess I was just mourning
with those that mourn. But we had an investigator at church!! Yeah!
She sat with her fellowshipping family so she didn't see me being a
bawl baby! We had three lessons that day too. Two member present and a
less active. All together this week we taught 11 lessons! When we got
home and after we planned I crashed! I don't like being sick. There is
no time to be sick on a mission.

Today was good so far. Getting better and drinking lots of juice and
taking medicine and sleeping. We went grocery shopping and sister
bought a ukulele! It's fun!

Well I love you all and I just wanted to end with my testimony about
the atonement. I know that because of the atonement it is possible for
us to be forgiven of our sins and mistakes. It is possible for us to
live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again. However, it is
not easy. It isn't supposed to be easy. It was not a cheap experience
that Jesus Christ paid by sacrificing His life and suffering for every
pain and sorrow we feel in life, every single individual. The world is
not an overall happy place, there is so much sorrow and death and pain
and hatred. Jesus Christ paid the price that we can all have eternal
and endless happiness! Jesus Christ himself cannot explain how He felt
in the garden of Gethsemane. We have to act and do our part in order
to receive these blessings. It won't be easy but it is worth it. It is
worth it to suffer briefly in order to receive the blessings of
eternal life and happiness. And it is such a blessing to know that
because of Jesus Christ we can all be made clean of all our sins and
guilt. It is such a blessing that we have Him there also to help us
stay strong and bless us as we continue in His example. I am so
thankful for the blessings that our older brother Jesus Christ has
made possible because of the atonement. I am so thankful for this
church and the knowledge that I have to know that we can live together
with our families together as we are sealed in the temple. I want to
share this with everyone. I could not bear that my family members may
not be with me after this life because of the choices they've made. I
love my family so much that I want what is best for them, just as our
Heavenly Father wants what is best for us. This can only be through
Jesus Christ and the atonement and the blessings of the temple.

I hope everyone is doing well and thank you for all the love and
support and emails and letters!

Love, Sister Celeste Riches