Happy New Year! It's crazy this is my third year being a missionary! I
was on y mission in 2013, 2014, and now 2015!!! I've loved serving as
a representative of Jesus Christ. Best decision I've made, despite the
hard times and stresses there are the wonderful days and experiences
that happen daily! Everyone always asks for a spiritual or
serendipitous experience. I have a few of my favorite moments on my
mission or things that I've learned a lot from but there are amazing
things that happen every day. It is so nice to have this time set
apart to see the tender mercies of the Lord and truly appreciate them.
Let's see, now what did I do this week? It was only last year! Let's see...
Monday we had pday. We went to the Santa Anita Racetrack for
breakfast! That's where Seabiscuit got famous. Then Sister Baker was
asked to sing at a funeral so she did. It was at the stake center but
for a woman who wasn't LDS and neither was her family. It was
interesting. There was no plan of salvation talk. It was really sad
those family members only hope to be with their mother, daughter,
friend, grandma, aunt again. I am thankful to KNOW I can be with my
family forever! We then played games with the other missionaries.
Tuesday we had the sister training leaders come to do studies with us.
It was really cool. Later, we helped a family move. We helped them
pack and they gave us dinner. And later that night we had a good
lesson with E! She is so excited to learn more. She wants to come
back to church and she is so excited to make church more of her life
Wednesday- New Years Eve- not much happened. We had dinner at a
members and then on our way home the K's (aka Grandma and Grandpa)
took us down Colorado Boulevard where people were camping out for the
rose parade! Crazy! It was hard to tell who was homeless and who
wasn't cause everyone looked like bums. People had blow up mattresses
out and blankets and silly string and people throw tortillas at other
people and it's just craziness! I took pictures! The cops just stroll
down the street to make sure things stay safe. There are rules also of
no drugs or alcohol. Which is nice!
Thursday was NEW YEARS! We were 2 out of the 12 missionaries allowed
to go to the parade. It was so much fun! The floats were incredible
and the bands were so good. There were people from Ohio, Texas, Japan,
Denmark, and other places. There were people from Hawaii and JACK
BLACK was there! It was so funny the float came by with the theme,
'Inspiring Teachers' and I took a picture and then sister baker said,
'oh my gosh! Is that jack black? That's totally jack black!' It was
crazy! He was on the the float with his drama teacher who helped him
become who he is today. One of the elders did the cowboy gun salut
thing with his fingers and winked at him and he did it back!! Pretty
cool! It was a lot of fun and people were so happy and so that made it
easy to talk to people before and after. My favorite part was when the
Stealth Bomer came down to signal the beginning of the parade! I
totally thought Batman was coming! So cool! It was a good day. We went
for brunch afterwards cause we had to catch the bus at 6am! Then we
had an awesome district meeting and then knocked some doors for a
while trying to find members and former investigators. Then we had
dinner with the K's and that was nice! They're such great people!
Friday was weekly planning day. We did that then went and saw G.
(A Less Active) who is going through some hard family things right
now. She's older and her children have been taking advantage of her.
It's so sad how some people are so careless and rude to their family
members. Then we saw A. (Returning Member) and had a good lesson with
Saturday was rough. All our lessons fell through! We were supposed to
have two lessons at the church and neither of them happened and then
we went out to find more. We need to find lots of people! Not many
people are willing to make and keep commitments. It's frustrating but
we all have our agency! Which I'm glad we do have agency.
Sunday was a good day! Church went well, no one showed up sadly but
the lessons were good. The heaters weren't working though so it was
freezing! It's been so cold lately! I'm such a Californian! I'll die
next winter! Yikes! After church we had lunch with an older couple
from the Ward and then we had a couple lessons. We went to see D.
(a returning member) and had a great lesson about prayer. She is so
great! We've been teaching her about the commandments and she wants to
do everything! She has given up coffee and tea and drinking with
family. She's so incredible! She told us how her son tried offering
her a beer and she said no thank you I'm not thirsty. Not to draw
attention or offend and he got frustrated and asked why not and she
explained its what the church teaches and it is given from Heavenly
Father and how that what she is choosing to do but she is not telling
him to do it it's her choice. It was awesome! Then after that we went
to that sons house, G.'s, and he was off. We think he may have gotten
into some anti stuff of has been listening to friends about negative
things about the church. He was very frustrating, pulling out his
phone and being slightly argumentative in answering questions. But
A., his wife, is amazing! She is so open and so in tune with the
spirit and so family driven! We were able to share a short message
about service with them and their two boys. We've been praying to meet
with them as a family so we can go over basics and not go into a ton
of detail because G. likes to go deep into stuff but he can't do that
unless he has that foundational things understood first. So we are
excited to be meeting with the family! A. is very open to this so
this will be great! Hopefully G. can become more open again. Then we
did more finding. It was a good day.
Today we went to the Arcadia mall, it's been fun. We wanted to go to
bath and body works and get their sale things and they had awesome
sales! So fun! I got a lotion for 1.25 when originally it's 5 and a
spray for $6.50 when normally $14. Awesome! It's been fun! And then!
Sister Baker got her ears pierced! Since I missed Sara getting hers
pierced I used sister baker instead! ;) it was her choice of course
... with a little lotta persuasion on my part! :) it was fun! They
look so good!
I love you all and before I end I want to share something's I've
learned this past week in my studies. Two days after Christmas Elder
V's dad passed away. Elder V was in the Pasadena Ward and got
transferred last transfer. I was able to serve with him for two
transfers and he is such a humble guy! He joined the church a couple
years ago with his brother and his mom later joined along with his
other siblings. When he left on his mission his dad was not a member.
A few moths ago his dad was baptized and joined the church! They had
it all planned out for when Elder V got home they would go and be
sealed together. He was able to talk to his dad on Christmas and Skype
his family. His dad's passing was very sudden and very unexpected.
Elder V is staying out on his mission and yesterday for fast and
testimony meeting. Chad- our old Ward mission leader- bore his
testimony about the plan of salvation and mentioned Elder V and his
dad and I was in tears. Elder V is taking things very well and is
still happy and excited to be out here. I didn't understand why I
always cry so much with stories and testimonies like these because I
haven't lost anyone super close to me. And then it hit me this is what
I wrote in my study journal, "Even though we go through trials and
hard things in our life and we know it will only be a small moment, it
is okay to feel sad and anguish and heartache. Those feelings are
natural and they help us cope and also helps us to sympathize with
others. They help us keep our baptismal covenant of comforting those
that stand in need of comfort and mourn with those that mourn." It's
okay to cry and to feel sad and everything like that because how else
are we supposed to mourn and comfort? I know he will be with his
family again and when they are sealed it may be an ever more spiritual
experience! I'm glad I am a sensitive person so I can help others when
they need it.
I love you all! Thank you for your love and support! Happy New Year!
Love, Sister Riches