Tuesday, June 24, 2014

God Be With You

Hello Family and Friends!

This week was kinda slow. We need to find new investigators and have
more motivation and diligence. Missionary work is not easy. But it is
rewarding watching but one person make the changes to their lives that
are needed for salvation. The atonement is the center of this whole
gospel and because of that we need to help everyone realize their
potential and their purpose and how they can have the most happiness
in this life,which would be following the teaching of Jesus Christ and
His example. I want to share this with everyone but it's hard when
others don't listen. But we never know if they'll listen or not until
we invite and we ask. The same goes for member missionary work. Invite
friends to activities and things because you never know if they'll
accept or reject. Despite how hard this work is, I love it! I am
learning so much and my testimony is growing on the simple basics of
the gospel. The most important things! If you don't have the basics
you can't do much. (Just like in ballet if you don't know the basic
positions and techniques you can't do the big fancy stuff, the same
goes for other sports and stuff of course.)

But I'll tell you some highlights of this last week.

So last Monday we got shaved ice and it was so yummy! Then we played
volleyball and games at the church with the other missionaries. We had
a cool lesson with our recent convert  about the weapons of
rebellion and the anti-Nephi-Lehies in Alma. It was fun!

Tuesday had a cool lesson with a less active where we read from the
Book of Mormon. We were panning on reading one chapter with her then
she was so into the story (about Nephi and the brothers getting the
plates) that we kept going! She loves the Book of Mormon and my
testimony is growing so much for my love of the Book of Mormon! It's
amazing! It truly is the keystone of our religion! Also how simply it
teaches the doctrines! I love it! If we know the Book of Mormon is
true then we know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, Jesus Christ is the
savior of the world and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints is Christ's church restored to the earth! How much power there
is in just one book! I love it! We were also able to help our
investigator  get her divorce started. Once that's done, she
can be baptized!!!! She is looking forward to that day so much!

Wednesday we did service at the Pomona hospital. It was a fun time! We
got to help women who were going home with their newborns! We pushed
them in the wheelchair out to their cars. The babies are so cute! It's
so hard that we can't hold babies! But we also helped escort people to
the different paces in the hospital. So instead of being stuck in a
room doing paperwork stuff having no interaction with people, we got
to interact with people! Then we did some paperwork stuff and finished
super fast! The ladies in the office we impressed! Also we got asked
so many times if we wanted a cup of coffee or tea....we were doing the
paper work in the break room. It was pretty funny. That night we
stopped by our investigator's house so that we could see how
things were going with her divorce papers. She was really stressed
about it and we shared a good message and talked about the importance
of prayer and scripture study when we go through hard things.

Thursday we had district meeting. It was a good meeting. Nothing too
exciting but after we did some service for a couple from the ward 
 who help us out so much! We helped restore an antique table.
The wood is so pretty! We were able to teach one of our newer
investigators . She was so excited to tell us she was planning
on getting baptized on July 20th at her church...we didn't know how to
respond then so we taught about the Book of Mormon then invited her to
be baptized and she said she was, at her church. We then talked about
priesthood and authority and the importance of that. She said she'll
pray about that and read. We felt so bad that we didn't commit her to
be baptized with a date before that visit! Pretty much all we talked
about at district meeting. Later we taught our recent convert 
with our ward mission leader.

Friday was awesome! We had a mission conference so President and
Sister Becerra could say their goodbyes and give us their last words
of wisdom and advice. It was kinda of a trunky conference- trunky is
missionary lingo for ready to go home, homesick, packing your bags
sort of thing when people are almost about to go home and that's all
they can think about. They talked a lot about marriage and how
important it is to go home and get married! Don't wait to have a
stable job, home, car, whatever because The Lord will bless us. Also
chapter 9 in preach my gospel should be what we study a lot. It's the
how do we find people to teach chapter and instead change it to how do
I find someone to marry...pretty funny!

Sister Becerra gave us some points of her "last words of wisdoms for
our overall happiness":
-- Remember the little things like health and healthy habits,
exercise, be happy, use positive affirmations.
-- Keep in contact with President and Sister Becerra but because
Presdident is now a 70 his time is grey limited and precious and don't
expect they can come to our weddings and other important events let a
lot make drop by visits when we are home. But to email and Facebook
them like they are surrogate parents, letting them know the important
events and decisions.
-- Understand we don't get answers right away.
-- Learn to struggle and that I can do hard things.
-- Just because you are struggling with something doesn't mean
something's wrong.
-- Be strong- I am stronger than I think
-- Learn the difference between good and evil and choosing between
good and evil.
-- Go home and get married- take a step into the dark. Think with your
head and listen to your heart, don't drag your feet it'll come in it's
-- Importance of raising a family. Raise- bring higher.
-- Hard work creates the best moments of excitement and joy.
-- Fear causes failure. Learn to trust.

President Becerra's last words of wisdom to us where amazing. He
talked about the importance of families and staying active in church.
Also about his role as a 70. He talked to us about so much. Mainly
about families and marriage. He told us he would talk to us as he
would the missionaries he would have the departing interviews with.
Which made it more trunky but it was so sweet. He has so much love for
all of us! He is such a powerful teacher and always speaks with power
and authority. The spirit was so strong as he continued. It was unlike
anything I had experienced before. Afterwards we sang our mission song
Arcadia United and then we lined up to shake his hand. Then we went to
the gym for an elder to play a song about missionary work set to Piano
Man and then some of the elders did the Hakka! and then we sang God Be
With You Till We Meet Again. I'm really going to miss President and
Sister Becerra. But I am excited to learn more from President and
Sister Villanueva.

We found a tiny lizard on Sunday about an inch and a half long. And
taught some lessons. Nothing else too exciting.

I am so thankful to be a missionary at this time! I love this work and
I pray for each of you that you are well and safe! Thank you for all
your love and support!

Love, Sister Riches

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

8 Months Serving in The Lord's Army!

Hello family and friends!

This week has been a pretty good week. We taught 14 lessons again,
still trying to reach our goal of 15. Nothing too exciting happened,
just a pretty normal week. We had exchanges on Saturday and I went to
covina with one of the other sisters. It was pretty fun and I learned
a lot about myself while on exchanges.

So on Monday we went on a bike ride in the mountains again with the
elders in our district. It was fun. One set went today and told us
they saw the ocean, that's why we wanted to go to begin with but it
was always too smoggy to see the ocean. Oh well. What taught a few
lessons that night too. We are helping out recent convert prepare to
go do baptisms for the dead next month at the LA Temple with our ward. 
It is pretty exciting! She is excited to start her family history work
and find names to take to the temple.

On Tuesday we were going to have our first skype lesson but something
wasn't working. Our investigator told us she'd rather wait till she
was back in town. Skype stressed her out too much.  But we had a good
lesson with another one of our investigators  and it was perfect for 
what she needed at that time.

On Wednesday we went to the church and did Zumba with some of the
sisters and a few nonmembers. Talking to the nonmembers afterwards,
the one we thought was ready to accept the gospel said if she wants to
convert she knows where to go and who to talk to. The other one may be
interested. She doesn't know much about our religion. We then had a
lesson with a lady we received as a referral a few months ago but just
never heard back. Turns out she isn't in our area. The Spanish sisters
thought we had a certain street here but we have the east side but not
the west side and they have given us a lot of referrals for the west
side of the street, sadly. But tonight we are having a pass off lesson
with the elders in that area. She's so sweet and loves Christ! We then
went to do service at the Pomona Hospital and we did little jobs here
and there for different people. No one really needed help that day!
But after that we had another lesson with the man who asked about Gods
body. At the end we told him we were going to give his information to
the Spanish elders where he lives and he wasn't too fond of the idea
but hopefully he'll accept them. He is just doing work in Claremont
but lives in chino which is outside of the English mission. The
Spanish from our mission still got here though. Crazy boundaries.

Thursday we had district meeting. We were both super tired and a bit
grumpy so I didn't get the most out of it, which is my own fault but I
got my new shoes and some letters! We taught a couple from the ward
that we are helping prepare for the temple. Then later taught our
recent convert and that went well.

Friday we had weekly planning, long day! This whole week was really
long! Sadly the family we taught last Sunday said they aren't
interested because the wife isn't fond of Mormons. We're going to go
get our haircut by her sometime just to help move her along. Soften
her up! That family is so ready for the gospel and the blessings!

Saturday was exchanges! We biked all over the place! We found a new
investigator. It was crazy we were taking with her on her doorstep
about how faithful she is at going to her church and how she studies
the bible everyday and recognizes the difference in her day when she
doesn't read and how she understands she needs to go to church too,
just reading isn't enough! We asked if we could share a 2 minute video
with her expecting to just show her on her doorstep but she opened the
door and let us in and we showed her Because of Him. It was really
nice. She accepted us to come back and teach her more. Of course I
won't be there but I might be transferred there one day, who knows. It
was a pretty good exchange. I learned a lot in my Book of Mormon ready
that day.

Sunday was nice. The talks were nice and we had an investigator family 
and one of our investigators there. It was great to have them all there. 
Our one investigator spoke up a lot during Sunday school like always 
and then she did in relief society too! That was awesome! Later we went 
and had dinner at her house. She was so sweet and put together. Big meal 
for us! We had BBQ carne asada and ribs and baked potato and Spanish 
rice and a tortilla and chicken wings and fried tilapia and a big piece 
of neapolitan cake-- which we took home. She's so sweet and always 
wanting to do service! Then we taught our investigator family. We talked 
about church and why we go to church and why they go to church, trying 
to see their motivation to go or if it's just to please us. Turns out 
they go to feel the spirit although the dad has a really hard time 
recognizing the spirit. We then went by a former to see how she is doing. 
She's doing fine, lost a lot more hair due to her chemo.

Thanks for all the prayers and support from everyone! I love being a
missionary, some times it's tough but I know that means Heavenly
Father is just making us stronger. That's what trials and mountains
to overcome are. They are to build us and shape us into the person he
wants us to be! It's like the refiners fire. To shape iron into what
the iron man wants he puts it in the fire to heat it up and then he
hits it to shape it and purify it into a beautiful and useful thing. I
know this gospel is true and I am so thankful for it!

Love, Sister Riches

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Peace the Gospel Brings!

Hello family and friends!

This has been a pretty productive week! We taught 8 member present
lessons and 6 recent convert/ less active lessons. Sadly we didn't
teach any other lessons- lessons without members present. But that's
14 lessons, and sadly one away from the challenge our District Leader
gave us. But this week we will for sure get it!

Monday we had a good p-day and then taught a recent convert. We
should have planned to go with  an investigator family who went to a 
members home for family home evening. We didn't realize
that till the next day... Our bad.

Tuesday we weren't feeling too great. On our way to dinner we got
stopped by a guy. He pulled up next to us and got out and walked over
to us as we were walking on the sidewalk. He asked if we were Mormons.
We said yes. He told us he had a couple of questions for us. We said
alright so he proceeded to ask why we believe that God has a body. We
told him we believe that we are made in His image and that we lived
with a God before this life and there have been people who have seen
God and testified of His body. We also talked about the scripture in
Jeremiah how God knew us before we were formed in the belly. It was an
interesting contact. But we had dinner and a lesson with some less
actives. Then we had a lesson with one of our investigators at a members house . We watched the conference talk by President Monson from the 
October 2013 "I Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee". It went really well. 
She loved it! We got home and had gotten a text from the man we met on 
the street saying he went to the website Mormon.org we gave him to help answer his questions, because it seemed like he wanted to bash on the 
street so we gave him the card and our number and he texted us! Crazy...
that rarely happens. He said there was only one scripture it mentioned in genesis to back up our belief of God having a body. But then the zone 
leaders got our phone to replace it with a new phone we would get the next day.

On Wednesday we were going to go to Zumba again but Sister M.still wasn't feeling too great. We also didn't have a phone because the zone leaders took our phone the night before because we were going to get a new phone on Wednesday. So I studied for about three hours and tried to find better scriptures to share with the man who stopped us the day before. I found a ton of good scriptures and everything correlated so well with the restoration! At least that's what I thought. But we used the members phone to make calls to get members out with us for the day. We taught a former investigator  who
we began teaching when we got here almost 5 months ago but she was
always so busy and never home and she was always in and out of the
hospital getting things ready to have surgery on her eye...she's
blind...so we dropped her. But we called to see how her surgery went
and she said she could now see out of one eye and was so happy! She
scheduled a time we could come by and said she is always praying for
us. Very sweet! She is also getting her teeth fixed and her wrist
broke before her eye surgery and that's almost healed. It is cool to
see the similarities between her being able to see and her beginning
again to learn about the gospel! We saw a recent convert and
enter over the restoration with her again because it had been a while.
Then we were supposed to take our investigator to do family
history again but she was sick. We got our new phone and were so
thankful! I can't imagine how missionaries did it before without cell

Thursday was zone meeting. There are certain meetings where I get
super pumped about the work and others where I feel like a failure
missionary...this was one of those I feel like a failure meetings. I
saw a lot of my weaknesses and what I need to work on with myself and
my thingies skills. I'm thankful my weaknesses have been shown but it
hurts my pride of course. We never like to hear we are wrong. But it
was a pretty good day. We went to see a new investigator but
she wasn't home. Turns out she was at the doctors. But we were able to
go by and see an investigator we haven't seen in over a month! She's
going through a rough time but we were able to go help her out. It was
good to see her again and she got a new number so that's why we hadn't
been able to get a hold of her. We had dinner with the bishops family
at the baseball park cause their son was in a championship game so we
got subway and went to eat there. It was fun. Then we taught a less
active couple to help them get back into the swing of things. They
hadn't been to church in over a month because of work. We are going to
help them go to the temple to get sealed. Then we helped our
investigator again with family history. It was a pretty good day.

Friday we taught a less active and then had sushi for lunch and did
our weekly planning. We taught the man who stopped us on the street at
the park with a couple from the ward who joined us. It was a little
contentious and he had the agenda already planned. It was letter
difficult. He was trying to teach us when he had asked us to teach him
why we believed god has a body. We were pretty bold and said if we
understand you correctly, you wanted to meet today so we could tell
you why we believe god has a body but you haven't let us share with
you yet why we believe that. He called us later that night to
apologize for taking over and talking to much causing us to be late to
our next appointment. We had a ward potluck and that was fun. Sadly
not many nonmembers, about 2. We were supposed to go on exchanges but
the other sisters forgot. We got home to meet them and called and
texted but didn't hear from them. We got really worried. We still
didn't hear from them after 9:30 and told the zone leaders. We didn't
hear from them till a little after 10. They had forgotten and their
phone was on silent. We had been praying individually that we wouldn't
have to go on exchanges and we got scared that we caused them to get
in an accident or kidnapped because of our selfish prayers. But they
were okay and we both had a good Saturday and it was important we were
not on exchanges.

So Saturday we helped a members nonmember daughter clean up her sons
birthday party. She has two boys both with special needs and we have
been doing service for her every once in a while so we've gotten
pretty close. We then had a lesson with a recent convert  and her
visiting teacher  and then went to see a new investigator from a few weeks
ago who had invited a friend over to contradict everything we said. We went back to see if he really did have intent in learning the truth. We were going to teach about the Book of Mormon but it turned into him asking us questions about our beliefs. The member we brought with  was perfect for this! As we were planning for him the day before Sister M. had the thought to bring a really strong convert with us and the sister we brought was available! All the questions he was asking were questions she had asked the missionaries. It was pretty cool. It started kind of contentious and him wanting to prove us wrong and then it turned into a good lesson and the spirit was there as the sister bore her testimony and helped answer his questions. We then had dinner at our ward mission leaders house and then had a quick meeting. We also had a lesson with our investigator. She wasn't home at the time so we went over to a members  and did some service for them there and then our investigator came over. Before she came over we had a really nice talk with the sister about some cool spiritual experiences she or family members had had. We then taught a really awesome lesson on the plan of salvation. Her father had died a few years ago and it was cool to help her know where he is and that he too
is learning the gospel of Jesus Christ. We talked to her about how the family history work will help her ancestors will be able to accept the gospel and she can live with them forever. It is so cool to see the hope this gospel brings! It just brings everything together from the temple visit and our lessons and family history! It's so cool!

Sunday was decent. We didn't have anyone at church sadly and all our
appointments cancelled on us, luckily we were able to reschedule one
with a potential family for later in the day. We had dinner and made homemade pizzas at a members! It was really fun! The dough rose really well because the sister put the dough in her car to rise with the windows up...really good idea! Then we went by one of our investigators homes  to see how she was doing. She had to go to the hospital that morning to get stitches on her leg. The
medicine they gave her made her really sleepy so she was in bed all day! But we went to teach the potential family and it went really well! The mom isn't too interested but she is ready, she just doesn't know. She's stubborn but if it's gods will she'll come around. The father is searching and the two sons are super polite. I think they have a lot of potential! Sadly they didn't accept a return appointment they said they would call. Therefore making them not new investigators in area book! But it was a good week!

I love this work and I am so happy for the hope and peace the gospel
brings! Thank you all for your love and support and prayers! I love
you all!

Love, Sister Riches

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    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Miracles and Work

    Hello family and friends!

    So this has been a pretty good week.

    Monday was fun. Sister M. and I went to the mall and had a
    blast there. Then we went to the ward mission leaders house for a BBQ.
    We then helped a member and her friend, our investigator, do a
    surprise act of service for the members neighbors. We planted plants
    for them that won't die...although Sister M. and I are plant
    killers. We can't keep aloe Vera alive. We've been given four
    different plants...

    Tuesday was kinda uneventful. But turned out alright. We saw an
    investigator  who was sick, and a less active and our recent
    convert . It was cool at dinner with a couple from the ward we
    showed them the Because of Him video and they said it a perfect so
    they could use it at the addiction recovery class they taught that
    night. We gave our investigator the pictures of when event to
    the temple. She loved it!

    Wednesday was a good day. We went to the Zumba class one of the
    sisters teaches at our church building and there's a lot of nonmembers
    that go. We did that and it was way fun! We talked to a few of the
    ladies there and one told us she pretty much knows everything about
    Mormons but just hasn't converted. Then we did service at the Pomona
    hospital. Then we helped our investigator  with her family
    history. It was awesome! She really has the spirit of Elijah!

    On Thursday we had an awesome district meeting and worked on
    developing more faith. After we went and tried to be faithful. We are
    really bad at talking to everyone we see and getting at least 10
    contacts a day because there is hardly anyone on the street. You have
    to search for them! But we talked to everyone we saw and we got an
    appointment to visit with a man his wife and their three kids for
    Sunday! Sadly that got cancelled but rescheduled for next Sunday. We
    also got another man's contact information to go see him. Then we got a
    referral from the elders. We later got another referral from other
    missionaries. And the next few days we got some more! We ended the
    week off with 6 to contact and we were only able to contact one. The
    others haven't called back so we have to keep trying before we count
    them as contacted. We also had a good lesson with one of our newer
    investigators . She seems pretty sincere in learning.

    Friday I wasn't feeling too great. But we taught a less active and did
    our weekly planning. We then went out to find new investigators and
    check up on other investigators we hadn't seen in forever! No luck
    with that but we stopped by a beehive activity and played some card
    games with them. It was fun and good to get to know the beehives
    better and be a good example for them.

    Saturday I was pretty sick but we went out and worked. I ended up
    getting a 99.5° temp but that was skewed because I was overheated and
    just got out of a hot car. But still I was not feeling week. Much like
    what Sister M. had last week. We had a meeting with our
    assistant ward mission leader and then taught a few good lessons. We
    taught three of our investigators. We were able to drop by the Jewish
    man and his family  and help them understand how to receive answers to 
    prayers. Then we had a good lesson with a member's friend who is agnostic. 
    Every time we testify to her that God knows her and loves her she tears up 
    and so do I...no surprise there. But we try to help her recognize she is feeling
    the spirit. It's pretty cool. Then we taught our other investigator about the
    spirit of Elijah because she didn't know what that was. It was a nice
    lesson. She has come so far since we first met her! It's amazing the
    change in people as they learn about Jesus Christ and God. I love it!

    On Sunday we had awesome plans set up for the day and all of them
    cancelled! But we were able to teach the Jewish man and his son - his
    wife was sick- about the plan of salvation. This went a lot better
    than we anticipated! It was a pretty good week. We look forward to the
    blessings that will come this week!

    I love you all and I love this work. I am so happy that I am here in
    Claremont! I love the people and the experience and all I'm learning.
    We were challenged a few months ago to read through the Book of Mormon
    once before the new mission president comes. I have about 100 pages to
    go! I love the Book of Mormon! I wish I could sit and read it all day!
    It is so motivating and inspiring! I love the spirit from the Book of
    Mormon and how much it applies to us today even though it was written
    so long ago! I love it! It is the keystone of our religion and it is
    another testament of Jesus Christ. I love reading it and coming closer
    with my savior. I love reading the testimonies of those prophets and
    learning more about the atonement and how it works in our lives. I
    want everyone to feel the love and spirit I have felt as I read.
    Please read the Book of Mormon. We have all been invited to read it
    and ask God if it is true, I know it is And I know a God will hear and
    answer your prayer as you ask!

    Love, Sister Riches