Tuesday, September 30, 2014



This week has been a pretty good week!

Monday was good! I got a good nap and we went shopping in downtown
claremont. Then we went to dinner and after went to ANOTHER DINNER!!
Two dinners in a row! Our second dinner was with investigators, we
told them we already had a dinner but we could do dessert, I thought
that was clear...guess not, luckily my prayers were answered and I
didn't get too full and I was able to eat everything.

Tuesday was awesome! We taught some really good less active lessons!
They were each so willing to learn  and enjoyed it all. In one with
B., she is coming back to church because we helped with service
and she found a large print bom her mom left her and she took it as a
sign so we read parts of the bom with her and she loved it! She was so
excited and it was such a great lesson! Very fun. We then had a good
lesson with M. about prayer. All our lessons today were led by the

Wednesday we went out to find less actives. We found a guy who is so
ready to come back to church! And we had a few other lesson that we
were guided to! It was good. We then had a bomb lesson with one of our
investigators, S. We talked about baptism the whole time and she
said she knows she needs to be baptized and has no doubts about what
we are teaching her! It's amazing! She's so golden!

Thursday we had a great district meeting! I love our district! We then
went to find more less actives and had a dinner lesson then ward
missionary meeting. It was good! I love this ward!

Friday was good. We did some service for the Z.s- the people we
live with. And then did weekly planning and that went well! We had a
lesson with M. about individual worth it was cute! We gave her a
mirror that had D&C 18:10 on it and some jewelry. We then had a lesson
S. She forgot so we just talked for a little bit and we were
there for about 30 minutes so we could've easily had a lesson! But the
house was noisy and the kids kept interrupting so it was okay. She
also told us she's glad we got to chat but next time she was to just
study! And really study! So that's good expectations!

Saturday was good. It was a bit slow. We did service and helped the
H's clean their windows and move their living room around. I love
them! Then we had a lesson with K. about prophets. Then we went to
get sushi for lunch and then had a lesson with S. and she was
having a hard day. She is a counselor for suicide and one of her
"kids" committed suicide on the phone with her 10 minutes before we
got there. So sad!!! So we took her with us to the women's conference
and she loved it! She said she needed the distraction and she
committed to come to church! It was so good. We took her on a tour of
the church and the spirit was so strong! That night I got a call
saying i was being transferred to Pasadena!

Sunday was hard. I was able to make it through sacrament without
crying...too much. And then gospel principals with our
investigators,ward missionaries, returning members, it was bad. We
were all such a mess. I feel like I'm leaving home again. I have a
family in that ward and it's hard to leave. There were sisters who
cried that I was leaving that I never thought cared about me...sad to
say but true. It was very touching! I'm glad I was able to help so
long in that part of the Lords vineyard. The rest of the day we made
visits to members to say goodbye and thank you. I love them all! I'm
gonna miss Claremont but I am so excited to move on and move forward!

I love you all! Have a great week!!!

Love, Sister Riches

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sparkle Plenty!

Hi Everyone!

This has been a pretty good week! It's been so hot here! I'm so ready
for 'fall'...70-80's.

Monday we did some good finding. Didn't have much success but it'll come.

Tuesday we had a lot of lessons fall though because people don't like
to meet when it's hot. Silly. We had a good lesson with Shawn. We
taught her about the word of wisdom and she loves her coffee but
understood the importance of giving it up so she's weening herself
off! We had a good dinner where Nikki was able to come and so we had a
good dinner thought with them. Then we went down to our next
appointment and it was cancelled so we stopped by a less actives house
and that was an interesting experience. We were kinda weary at first.
She said she is no longer Mormon and she left the church. We asked her
why she did that and she invited us in and gave us a tour of the house
then we went to her converted garage and she said, so you had a
question for me. So we asked again. She used to be so active,
graduated seminary and almost graduated institute. She found some
information on Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that made her question
if they were prophets of God. We talked a lot about our different
views on things. Grace, plan of salvation, baptism. It was a good
discussion and she believes in God and Jesus Christ. She is now
evangelical Christian. She was shocked that we were not there to
convert her but that we were there to invite her to come closer to
Christ. She was kinda manipulative and tried to catch us in our words.
But it was a good test of our testimonies and why we are out here. We
are pretty sure her main intention was to shake our faith.

Wednesday we had Zone Conference!!! So good! They focused a lot about
why we are here and our purpose. It was great!  It was fun to be with
two other zones. It's crazy how much the mission has changed since
I've been out! All the 'Pre-Hastening' missionaries have gone home.
(Pre-age change). Wednesday night we had a good lesson with he
Bugarin's about the Book of Mormon! We brought their 5 year old
daughter a children's Book of Mormon and the mom loves it! She said
she might read that one instead and we said that's fine! It was really
good! We brought a sister from the Ward that is perfect fellowship!
She bore such powerful testimony and clicked with them. It was great!

Thursday we feel so good but we were able to take a quick nap and go
out and work! We had a few less active lessons and another lesson with
Shawn. We talked about plan of salvation. It went well. Later we
watched the restoration with Kim and saw Sister McGarey. Sweet lady!
Not a member but her and her husband are so nice to us and love the
missionaries! We invited her to the women's broadcast this Saturday!
So excited!!

Friday we weekly planned and had a lesson with Erwynnda about the Book
of Mormon at the relief society presidents house. It went okay, they
best part was when the relief society presidents son bore strong
testimony of the Book of Mormon. The main purpose Erwynnda is meeting
with us is to understand our perspective so she can best help her
clients. She's going to school for family therapy. Later we had a
lesson with Linda and just read from the Book of Mormon to help her
understand it. And I saw the biggest dog ever! It was a mastif and I
swear it is the size of a Shetland pony! It's just like the giant dog
from the sandlot! It was crazy! We also had a meeting with our Ward
mission leader about the less actives. Our mission president has made
it a point for us to visit the less actives and help them return to
activity and in the process teach their family and friends! We're
excited about this!

Saturday was good. We did some service for the Zollingers- the couple
we live with. Then we had a less active lesson then did some facebook
then did some finding then had a good lesson with Shawn about church.
After dinner we tried to have a few other lesson but they fell through
so we saw Missy and her boyfriend joined us. Missy taught us about
repentance. She always does such a good job! Then we had a continued
meeting with our Ward mission leader.

Sunday was a good day! Church was good, sadly we only had Erwynnda
show up, and then we had lunch at the Anderson's, our adopted parents,
then did studies and then had a good lesson with a less active lady up
the street from us. I met her my first day in the area and hadn't seen
her since! Crazy! I was Sister Thatchers mission age when I first met
her! Haha I've been here a while! Then we had dinner with the
Zylstra's! I love them so much! The spirit in their home is so strong!
Brother Zylstra's mother and father just moved in next door so Grandma
Zylstra was over for dinner too. She is so sweet!! She told us we
brought the sweet spirit with us and our eyes sparkled so much, she
told us to keep spreading that and to "Sparkle Plenty!" I loved that!
So sweet! Then we had a good FHE with the Padilla family then a good
first lesson with Dashay! She is so sweet and we are so excited to be
teaching her! And later her kids! It was a good day!

I love you all and thanks for all your support and love! It means so much to me!

Love, Sister Celeste Riches

Monday, September 15, 2014

11 Months Serving In The Lord's Army!

Hello everyone!

This week was a good one. It was so HOT and we had a few bike mishaps but it was good. 

Monday we had a good dinner with one of my favorite families in this ward, the Lambs. Then we went and had a good restoration lesson with the Bugarin family. I look forward to hearing the experiences they had as they prayed about Joseph Smith and the priesthood. Then we had a decent lesson with Sally. On our way over to the Bulgarians my bike wasn't working right. The battery lights kept dying and it didn't work. I tried to "jump start it" by using the throttle with my left hand, pedaling really fast, and trying to turn the key with my right hand and I ended up running into the curb! I jumped off my bike and it kept going a little more riding along the curb before it fell over. Two card turned around to see if I was okay. I was, nothing got hurt not even my bike. I put the chain back on and then found out there was a piece of metal under the battery so the connection was there. Then it worked perfect!

Tuesday we had a good day we were all over the place! We had some good lessons with both investigators and less active/new members. We had a good lesson with Shawn about the restoration. It helped clear up a lot of her concerns. That night we went to schedule appointments for Wednesday and I accidentally missed the driveway and rode up the curb. We went made an appointment for the next day and came back and my tire was completely flat!!! I fixed it on Wednesday and turns out when I went up the curb the rim put two holes in my tube. It was on the back tire and that is impossible to take off because of the motor but I was able to patch the two big holes without taking the tire off! I'm so proud of myself!! :) 

Wednesday we had a few lessons and tried to find new investigators mostly! So the bike mishap for today was Sister Thatchers first crash. SCARED ME TO DEATH! She was riding behind me and we took a right turn at a light and in the gutter was some water and her bike slipped out on it and she fell to the right and her body protected the bike. When I turned around her elbow was up in the air and I swore she broke her arm! She didn't but had a great big scratch on her leg and arm and her shirt got ripped and her chin took a slide on the asphalt. It looked awful! We were able to get her cleaned up and use it as an opportunity to get in the door at a potentials house. I had tried by their house so many times before and no one was home. Luckily they were home! They have family in the Samoan ward so their son answered and said, " Mom! The missionaries are here!" He was so excited to see us too! It was awesome! So we're planning on going back and giving them a thank you present. 

Thursday we had an awesome zone meeting! All of the meetings this past transfer have pumped me up to do work whereas before I felt like I wasn't doing enough. I love it!!  We saw Shawn and set her with a baptism date!!! November 9. She told us she knows Joseph Smith is a prophet and therefore she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that this is Christ's church! She told us she wasn't just saying that either! We are so excited! As we left she started talking to her birds and we could hear her. She went on for about a minute about how great we were and how we're teaching her so much! Our bike mishap for Thursday was Sister Thatchers motor died. We think it was due to the crash. Plus it wasn't working too well before that. We then had a relief society craft night, it was fun.

Friday we has exchanges. I went to Covina with Sister McBride. It was good. I learned so much from her! She's such a great missionary! We came out at the same time. It's crazy how far we've both come! 

Saturday morning we woke up at 5:45!!!! And went running...it was good. But it exhausted me so much! We tried to find in the morning then went to a baptism. We had a cool contact on the way to the baptism. We stopped and asked a girl waiting for the bus if she had anything to get to and she said nope, just home. So we invited her to the baptism and she said she had other plans after she got home but she's interested in a church tour! It was so cool! I love when the spirit works at you and impressed you to do something and gives you the words to do it. So great! Then after the baptism we exchanged back and taught a few lessons. 

Sunday was good. We tried to teach a new investigator, Sandra, but because it was too hot she didn't want to meet. We stopped by anyway and met a lady we've been trying to get a hold of since we met her on the bus! We set up an appointment and it's crazy how God works to put us in the places we need to be! Amazing!

Well, I want to wrap this email up with some things I have been studying recently which has really impressed me.

This is a quote that has been going through my mind a lot this past week." I had a missionary ask me once if I would give my life for the Church. I said, "Elder, I am giving my life for the Church." I know what he meant. What he meant was, "Would you die for it?" Well, that's the easy part. That's a snap! On some days it looks really appealing. That's the easy part, to die for it, Well, what God needs is people who will LIVE FOR IT, people who will go the distance, people who are in this race we're talking about that will go all the way to the tape. And some may die along the way and that's wonderful, but He needs people who will finish the work. He needs people who will wrap this up, and that's the pledge I make to you, and that's the pledge He asked. We're in this together." - Elder Holland This quote has helped me so much. It would be so easy to give up, to stop progressing and moving forward, to think you know enough and be comfortable with that, to feel like you've hit a wall and there is no use in trying to climb over. I have definitely felt that way being a missionary and I'm sure each of you have felt that way once before in your life or even at this moment. But I have also learned that there is always more to learn, more to do, more to experience, and more to enjoy! When we feel like we've hit a wall and there's no more progression, we are wrong. This is when the atonement of Jesus Christ comes it. He is there to help us overcome all weakness and help us get over that wall. We are nothing without Him. I am so thankful for this gospel and I know it is true! I know that Christ's church has been restored to the earth! Just think of that, all the truths and teachings just as Christ had it are all available on the earth again, all because God loves us!! I am so thankful for those truths and especially the Book of Mormon. I know it was written for our time and I am so thankful for the strength and power that comes to my life as I read it. I know that each of you who read this email can feel that same strength and power as you read it, ponder it, and then pray about it. I want to encourage everyone who is reading this email to do just that, read the Book of Mormon, ponder it, and then pray and ask the creator of the universe if it is true. I know you will receive an answer because He loves you! He knows this will help you. Even if you've done it many times in the past, do it again! Once you have done that, I would love to hear about your experiences and testimonies of doing this in an email or letter. It would be the perfect Christmas present! I love this gospel and I am so thankful for the covenants we can make with Heavenly Father that allow us to return to live with Him and with our families, I want all of you with me after this life which means we all have to work together to get there. I love each and every one of you, even those who I've only met a few times. We are family and we were made a family for a purpose, to help support one another back to live with our Father in Heaven! I look forward to your testimonies and experiences! I love you all!

Love, Sister Riches

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

China, Crystal, and Surprises!

Hello everyone!

So this week was pretty good. We taught 17 lessons. Dropped 6
investigators. Tried having Facebook lessons. And tried to be
enthusiastic about the work each day!

Monday we had a great lessons with our recent convert . We did a
primary lesson about missionary work and she loved it! Primary lessons
are so fun! We had her be a missionary with me and Sister Thatcher was
the investigator. It was a giant role play pretty much! So fun and Kim
answered Sister Thatchers questions so well!

Tuesday we had a lot of appointments fall through so we bus contacted
and tried to talk to lots of people. Then we did service for a
nonmember and then had dinner and had a good lesson with one of our
investigators . We read 3 Nephi 11 and talked about the
importance of baptism. She's had a hard time understanding recently so
we have to teach more simply.

Wednesday we had some good lessons. We had the relief society
president come with us for a lesson . Our investigator
loved the lesson and was so excited to have the relief society
president come. She said it was one of her favorite lessons cause we
talked about the 3 degrees of glory. It was so great to hear her
testimony of the plan of salvation! We then had a good baptism lesson
with another investigator . She agreed to pray about a specific
baptism date and we are so excited for her! Everything is falling into
place for her! She just needs those answers to her prayers. Which we
believe will come as she comes to church. Then after dinner we had a
great lesson with another investigator . She is the one who
recently believes in God. We taught about the restoration again
because of her different perspective and she is more open to it now.
It was good.

Thursday was awesome! We had such a good district meeting where we all
got pumped to do work and talk to everyone and do Facebook lessons and
enthusiastic! It was so good! I then had an identity crisis so we
went to get lunch at Panera and got ice cream at Mcdonalds. For some
reason Satan likes to make me think I'm worthless and stresses me out
and makes me forget who I am. Recently I have felt so lost as to who I
am. What my personality is and if I'm turning into a missionary robot.
It's been hard to talk to other people about non-missionary things
like bus contacts and stuff. So Sister Thatcher made me answer
questions and I couldn't answer anything with missionary related
things. Like what am I passionate about and I said service and helping
others and she made me re-answer. It was good! There is also an awesome
talk by Elder Callister from BYU speeches called our identity and
purpose. So good!! That helped a lot too. So after our heart to heart
lunch we did Facebook lessons, had a less active lesson, and went bus
contacting and were excited and invited others to be our Facebook
friends! Then we had another good lesson with our investigator 
all about Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. We were going to
simply teach the first half of the restoration again but she's going
out of town for a week so we decided it would be better if the lessons
were closer together.

Friday was good! We had a fun weekly planning session and for
companion inventory we had raspberries and flowers on our table like a
date! Haha we're silly! We used real crystal glasses for the
raspberries too. The members we live with let us use their china
cabinet for our dishes so on my mission I eat off of china and drink
out of Crystal glasses! No big deal or anything! It was fun! Then we
went out and worked! We did a little Facebook then went to a potential
for a lesson but he was on the way out of town so we rescheduled. Then
we had a lesson with our recent convert  and had a ward potluck
in the park then had our ward mission leader meeting. It was a good

Saturday was long! But went by super fast. We dropped the Jewish
family. Which was sad but the father said he received an answer to his
prayer about which direction to take and he received go back to the
beginning to he took his wife and son who had never been to a Jewish
temple before. So he exposed them to that so they can make a better
decision between Judaism or Mormonism. We showed the Mormon message
wrong roads and the son was like oh I get it! Judaism is that 400 feet
to a dead end so we know for sure Mormonism is the right road!! He
gets it but his dad still needs time. So we asked if he wanted a break
for a bit and he said yes but come by when God tells us to. I pray for
them daily they can come to know this is the truth I can see them
being sealed in the temple and the son going on a mission, that'd be
Saturday morning we did service to help with a street fair near our
home. We didn't plan to help but they needed it and they welcomed us
back later. It was fun! They gave us tons of coupons for Claremont. We
had some other good lessons as well!

Sunday was a day for finding! We need more than anything people to
teach! So after church and studies we went out to find! We found a new
investigator!  She was a referral from the elders. She was
taught by the elders about a year ago but didn't understand anything!
She eventually told them to stop coming by and ever since she has felt
bad about it. She met the elders in our district on the bus and she
got talking to them and they referred her to us. We never had her
teaching record. I feel like there are a lot of people we don't have
the record for. So important to update and keep records! But we talked
to 20 people yesterday and ended up having three lessons when we
scheduled none- we just scheduled finding. So that's always nice! Also
I got a surprise visit from Brian, Teresa, and Chloe! It was so nice
to see them! Chloe is so big now!!!!

This week is going to be awesome! I'm so excited to work hard this
week! I know more than anything that this is the true gospel and that
The Lord has restored his church. I love being a missionary and
helping people come unto Christ! (Moroni 10:32) I also finished the
Book of Mormon this week and I love it! I know it is true!

I love you all!

Sister Riches

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lost and Maybe Found

Hi again!

I forgot to write a few more fun stories from this past week!

On Friday night we went to contact in downtown Claremont and as we
were walking the streets we overheard a girl ask a couple sitting on a
bench if they saw her wallet there. They didn't. I wanted so badly to
find her wallet to give it to her. We were stopped talking to a less
active and then a group who we saw previously, obviously members
because they said hi sisters, they came up and gave us a wallet! It
was the girls! I was so excited so we went around trying to find this
girl who we saw no joke 5 minutes before!! We saw the couple and asked
if they saw where she went and they had no clue so we went searching.
As we were searching we ran into some former investigators. They
sweetest couple! They have us over for dinner occasionally and they
invite us over a lot but aren't interested in joining. But they had us
come sit with them as they are dinner but we told them we couldn't
cause we had to find the girl. There was a steel band playing and they
knew the group so they went up and had them announce the stolen
wallet and they gave it to a member of the city board who they were
also good friends with! So hopefully the girl gets her wallet!

Second lost and found story. Last night everything fell through and so
we were biking around a neighborhood and we were asked several times
by passing cars if we saw a little white dog walking around. Earlier
we saw a white dog a few miles away but it didn't match the
description very well. But we decided to pray and search for the dog!
We saw something cross the road and at the same time the owners drove
by and saw us searching with our bike lights. We searched but it
didn't show up. So we kept looking. We don't know if it's been found
yet or if the dog we saw earlier was it. But I guess it has been found
if there aren't any signs posted around.

So just a few more fun stories! Nothing to exciting came from the
outcome that we know but hopefully something does!

Love you all!
Sister Riches

Miracles and Enthusiasm

Hello Everyone!

This week was a pretty good week! We had some amazing lessons on
Monday night! I can honestly say it is up there on one of the best
days on my mission! So ewe went over and did facials with one of the
ward missionaries and had lunch with her and her family. They're the
best!  Then we came home and finished emailing and I took a 30 minute
nap and then it was off to dinner and then our lessons. We taught the
new family we picked up and we were so nervous to teach them the
restoration. We talked about it and studied for it but we felt SOOO
nervous! We went in chatted for a bit then had a prayer and did the
how to begin teaching points and we mentioned if they have any
questions to please ask us! So right off the bat the husband asked us
to explain further why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
So this discussion led perfectly into the plan of salvation! It was
incredible, they understood and their questions were just restating
what we told them. Just an example, "so after we live here we die then
we go to the spirit world where we learn more, then what!?" It was
perfect. After we taught them about the kingdoms of glory the husband,
who was on the edge of his seat, leaned back and relaxed and said,
"that's such good news!" It was amazing! He asked if his wife or
daughter had any questions and his wife said "nope, I believe it all"!

THEN! We went to our next lesson with our investigator who is
agnostic. She's on a search to find God. We had an awesome discussion
on who God is and what He does for us and some signs He is there. Like
the complexity of the human body. We showed her the new Mormon message
"the hope of Gods light" about an agnostic man who finds God. It was
perfect! And we testified it was true and related it back to Joseph
Smith because she said something she was feeling which sounded just
like what Joseph Smith said and she got teary eyed, this happens a lot
when we talk about finding an answer and God, and she said, "I think I
know God is there," she paused with tears still in her eyes and
continued, "I know God is there!" And she chuckled a bit and was so
overwhelmed. It's amazing how the spirit works over time to help us
understand simple truths. I know the only way she came to this
conclusion is because she has real intent and is truly searching for
an answer. And she has a sincere heart! It means a lot to her! It was
incredible! Now she's praying to ask God what religion to join.

The rest of the week was good, taught a total of 16 lessons, had a lot
fall through. Had 5 investigators at church as well as a less active
who we experienced the possum story with and this was her third time
to church in a few years! Did lots of service for a nonmember and
helped a sister paint her parents house and helped the relief society
clean the building. We tried finding new investigators and have an
appointment with another family Friday who we knocked into to ask
about their neighbor. Dropped a few investigators because they aren't
progressing and then we tried to set a few baptism dates. So this week
will be awesome!

A few more highlights is one of our investigators got a blessing and
it was so good for her. She's going through a lot of family problems
and she was able to vent and talk with a couple from our ward who
helped her so much! We also had an awesome district meeting it was all
normal until the last 30 minutes where we all just started talking and
getting tons of ideas and getting really excited about the work that
will happen in our areas! We plan to go to everyone's area and write
Mormon.org in chalk everywhere and to help find people in everyone's
area. It'll be awesome! We talked about being more enthusiastic in the
work and being excited. So we tried this with an investigator of ours
and it worked! It got her more excited and the light of Christ was so
much stronger in her!

Cool story of the week, well another one. Earlier in the week we were
riding our bikes said hi to a lady and I felt the impression to go
back and talk to her by the time we got back she was at her front door
walking in. I felt way awkward to go up to the door as if we stalked
her. So I prayed we would see her again. A few days later we saw her
again! But we were late to an appointment. However, I was in a mood
and not excited and I could feel myself getting down so I pulled over
and said a prayer. Then I felt like we needed to go back and see the
lady! So we did and we knocked and knocked and no one answered. So we
went to our lesson and it was the previous be excited and light of
Christ grew story that I just previously mentioned then we went back
after the lesson. She answered the door this time. We explained how we
were missionaries and we felt impressed to come and talk to her. She
found it odd because she is carry strong in her Christian church but
was very thankful and we talked a little more then asked if we could
give her our card and we asked what her favorite story of Christ was.
She said it was the woman with the issue of blood which is my
favorite! So I was so excited and shared a few new insights I learned
about the story with her, I'm glad she shared my enthusiasm because I
retold the whole story which she knew but it was nice. Hopefully
she'll take the lessons someday!

I'm so thankful for this gospel and the truths that we have! I'm so
thankful to be a missionary at this time to help others come unto
Christ. And I'm so thankful for the peace the gospel brings to my life
and others! I know this is the restored gospel and all we have to do
to receive the blessings God has in store for us is to act on Christ's

Love, Sister Riches