Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The week of ups and downs!

Hello family and friends! 

So this has been a super slow week and super up and down week. Tuesday was super hot and slow! Our less active canceled on us and gave us a ton of excuses and everyone else cancelled so we saw a member and sang to her in the retirement home and she's the best. I love her! We then sat on a curb and tried to figure things out. Where we were going to go who we would see...But we taught one of our investigators Tuesday night about women and the priesthood and it was everything she needed to hear to understand the different roles. She's very big into women's rights and such. We set her with a baptism date too!! November 29! She has to take care of a divorce, that why the date is later.

Wednesday we went to the hospital and did service and saw a less active and dropped an investigator. We have now dropped 5 in the past two weeks. We have one progressing and one family of three kinda progressing and everyone else isn't too elect or doesn't have real desire. They have such potential they just won't DO anything! But Wednesday night we taught a part of the young women's activity all about missionaries. We taught how cool PMG (Preach My Gospel) is! They had some good questions too. We heard cool stories from other sisters in our ward who served missions. 

On Thursday we went to seminary to talk about how we decided to serve a mission and we weekly planned. We have decided to use family history as a good street contact topic. We also have other creative finding ideas. We then got more appointments cancelled and had dinner with a less active at Marie Calendars. It was yummy but he could talk forever!! He's funny though! Then we went and tried to find. It was a long night. But we had to go to the grocery store and the gelato was on sale so we bought some. I got sea salt caramel aka liquid caramel! Soooo good!

Friday was great! We had zone conference! We learned a lot about companion unity and working with members and to accept the new mission president and respect and love him and be loyal to him. It's so sad president is leaving! We are going to have a mission conference next month. That'll be good. We learned a cool way to work with members! We went to see our recent convert,  because she has been in the hospital for a few days last week having tests done for her Multiple Sclerosis. She's doing alright. 

On Saturday we taught a less active. She's really wanting to change her life around and quit smoking and go to the temple and she's understanding the Book of Mormon too! She comes to church pretty frequent. Then we went to the temple visitors center with the investigator we just set the baptism date with! It was so nice! On the way there we rode with a member and his son who is going on a mission soon. The five of us talked about some cool  things and M. was telling us about the importance of praying always and fasting. She's bomb! We listened to good church music like I LOVE THE LORD by BYU men's chorus. (Mine and Brother A.'s favorite song! The A's are like our mom and dad and the H's are our grandparents! I love this ward!) It was awesome she really loved it! She felt the spirit and is so excited to learn more.

Sunday was crazy up and downs. To start off we had ward council which went pretty well. Then we got a call from our investigator we went to the temple with, saying good news and bad news. Good news her husband came to visit so she can get the divorce started. Bad news she wouldn't be able to come to church because of it. Then our recent convert wasn't feeling well so she stayed home. But good news the Jewish dad and his Catholic wife and their son came! Then after church we studied then went to a pass off lesson for a friend of one of the members  who does not believe in God and is kinda contradicting. It's interesting. But it was cool cause we got a new investigator and she has potential she just has to stop being stubborn and let God work on her! Then we went to a baptism for a man that I contacted in Azusa. We were going to the library and we locked up our bikes and the spirit told me to go talk to him. I was in an irritable mood that morning. In our companionship we weren't too unified. It was a hard day. So we go in and I disregard the prompting. We go back out to get our bikes and he was still there and so the spirit prompted me again so my companion kept walking almost getting on her bike and I with my helmet on, started to walk towards him and we started to talk to him and had a lesson right there. He got baptized on Sunday! He had asked too if I would come! It is so cool that he remembered me. The baptism was really special too. He is in a wheelchair and there were four elders who helped baptize him! The Jewish and and his family came to the baptism too. Then after the baptism we went to see our investigator we took to the temple and she wasn't there but our recent convert was and we talked to her for a bit. Then our investigator  came home so we read a scripture with her and talked to her about the divorce and church. Then we went to a lesson where the investigator set us up and had a friend there to contradict everything we said. It was terrible we kept trying to finish the conversation smoothly to leave and finally we did. The spirit was not there at all! So we went home and ate our gelato. It was so up and down and it's been crazy!
This week more than any other I have learned that when times get hard remember to turn first to The Lord not to gelato or to vent to your companion but first to The Lord. It's easier that way. I love this gospel and I know it is true! I'm so thankful for the atonement and that Jesus Christ made the sacrifice for us that we can return back into His arms and feel His love. He is always there for us but we move. We decide how close to God we want to be.
Thanks for all your prayers and support! I really appreciate it!

Love, Sister Riches

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy Mother's Day and 7 Months Serving in the Lord's Army!

Hello Family and friends!

This week has been an interesting week. It feels like we've been in a
time warp time has passed so quickly this week and it feels like we
didn't teach many lessons. We've dropped 3 of our investigators and
will be dropping another tonight. But we have zone conference this
Friday and that will teach us how to work with members to get
referrals to find the elect who are ready for the gospel. It was nice
to talk to mom, dad, and Sara yesterday! It was really fun but crazy
it still doesn't feel like I talked to them! The time went so fast!
It's been 7 months that I have been here and it's crazy how fast time
is going! Some exciting things that happened this week was we had
exchanges and that was alright. Then we had interviews with President
Becerra on Friday. It was really nice. Interviews are normally 10
minutes and I was talking with President for 25 minutes. I went in and
he asked me if I had any questions for him. I said 1) how do I stay
more motivated in the work and 2)how do we find the elect? So he
taught me for the whole time and it was really nice. I'm excited for
zone conference because he taught me a lot about what we are learning
on Friday. I also more of why I am out here on a mission and the
purpose I am out here. I love the mission, even though it is hard
work. Today we went to Chinatown in Los Angeles and that was fun I got
a few California shirts, finally! I am so thankful for all the help
and support and prayers you give me!

I love you all!
Sister Celeste Riches

Monday, May 5, 2014

The District!

Hello Family!

So this has been a crazy week! I don't know where to begin and what
all to share...

On Monday we had a good time at our zone activity and had a good
lesson with one of our investigators.

On Tuesday we had exchanges from noon Tuesday to noon Wednesday.
Before we exchanged we did a presentation at one of the retirement
homes on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It went
well. We showed a video about an introduction to the church. Then we
went back to our pad and went on exchanges. I went to Arcadia with
Sister S! Turns out they told us wrong that they are in
Arcadia not Azusa. Sad but it was fun to be with my mom again! (my
trainer) We helped out in the office and that was really fun! We
helped with the new missionary lunch. While eating with some of the
elders I also got hit on by an elder and that was interesting. He
found out I went to BYUI and he was shocked I didn't get married. It
was awkward. Then we went out and proselyted. We tried by a former
investigators house but they hid from us. So we went to dinner and
then went on splits with his daughters. It was really weird to be on
exchanges in a different area and then go on splits. We went by a few
members and that was good. We also stopped by a potential and that was
an interesting experience. We met this girl and she was really excited
and ready to learn it was awesome! Her mom however did not like us
there and she told us to get off her property and was really upset.
She said we can not contact her at home or at college. Which is really
sad because she is so ready for the gospel. But it was a good night.
One of the members we visited had two Tesla cars. They're nice! We
went back to their apartment, it is pretty nasty and Jimmy the squirrel
lives in the ceiling, not really.

On Wednesday we had an awesome lesson on the plan of salvation. It was
amazing to see the peace knowing this life is not the only life. We
then did some office work then we exchanged back. We had lunch at one
of the members house and then went and taught a less active lesson
then got a new investigator! He is awesome! He had been taught by
elders a few years ago and had a baptism date. Something happened
where he couldn't be baptized then but we committed him to baptism and
he said yes! He is so excited too. Sadly we have to pass him off to
the YSA elders. He would do better in a YSA ward. Then we had a lesson
with the investigator who got baptized (Kim) and then the other
amazing sister we are working with (Missy). She is doing awesome
missionary work and sharing with everyone she is friends with!

On Thursday we had an awesome district meeting. The week before we
were challenged to have a baptism invite in every lesson. And Sister
M and I did that! It was amazing to see the blessings that
came out of focusing more on our purpose as missionaries: to invite
others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel
through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, BAPTISM,
receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. We
taught more lessons this week then we ever have. Granted we saw our
investigator who got baptized every day. After district meeting
we went out to find some more. We set up a return appointment with one
man we came across. Later that night we taught two more lessons.

On Friday we planned and then got things all ready for the baptism on
Sunday. We brought her clothes to try on to make sure something
worked. We were able to serve a couple in the ward that helps us out a
ton! It was really nice!

On Saturday we did Helping Hands and helped paint a fence around a
pool it was a lot of fun! Then we went out and taught lessons. We had
a really good lesson with one of our investigators.

Sunday! Baptism! Our investigator was baptized. It was amazing
how many ward members came to support her. It was a good baptism. Her
friends from Corona came to see. They'll be coming next Sunday to her
confirmation too. Our other investigator came and loved it.
She is excited when she will be baptized.

After all it was a good week. I learned a lot of cool insights. Now
today we are at a members house with the elders where we had breakfast
and then played games and frisbee and I went on the tramp! It was so
fun! That's why it's taken so long to write. But I love this work and
I love the unity in our district and with Sister M! It is so
fun how close we've gotten and how much we help each other out. (Hence
the title of the email...) 

Love, Sister Celeste Riches