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Monday, July 27, 2015

Beware: Totally Lame Email Landing. 07/27/2015

Hello family!!! I have about 5 minutes left to email, this week was crazy! Sorry about that! 
So the area is doing well. This week, we are going to do some more finding activities, and more things to work with the ward members. We have really been seeing the ward putting more trust in us! The week after us missionaries sang with Daniel, they asked the Elders to speak in sacrament meeting, and this last week they asked us. They also asked me to play the organ for sacrament meeting it was super fun to do that again. It's been while!! The ward council members are acting more and more excited to see us, and talk to us more. We are really trying to help the ward become more missionary minded.  

Our investigators are now kicked out of their house, and homeless. We fasted for them yesterday. We aren't really sure how much to get involved. We have helped them translate applications that are English. It is so hard to see all four of those little kids without a home! But we are teaching them the gospel, and encouraging them to pray and remember Heavenly Father throughout all of this. 

I have gained such a strong testimony, especially in this area! I keep learning so many things about simple topics like prayer that I never understood before. This week, we were asked to speak on the sacrament and I loved speaking on it so much! Dad, I talked a lot about things that you taught me about the sacrament... I don't even know if you know that you did! But I'll have to write you about it cause I now only have 2 minutes left. 

I know that this church is true!!! I love my mission so much! I am amazed at how simple the gospel is, yet so deep. There is ALWAYS more to learn! I am so grateful to be a missionary and meet all of the people that I do!!! 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

Mom, I'll write you a letter with a story in it sense this email is super short and kind of lame.

Have a great week!

<3 Hermana Ricks

Essufocate! 07/20/2015

Oh boy. We just have way too much fun over here in Morro Bay! This week was so fun! First off, Hermana Young and I sock wrestled. (Put socks on and wrestled trying to get each other's socks off.) Unfortunately, she won. Barely. It was a close battle! But we are going to rematch.

Monday, we were at a recent converts house whose husband is learning english. He always asks us questions about english, and this time he asked us about a word he saw on a plastic bag. "Suffocate." Like thirty minutes later, we heard him whispering "Essufocate. Essufocate. Essufocate." We told him it was kind of creepy when he said it like that..hahaha! They are awesome! 

Also, last night we called in to report our numbers for the week to the elders and we made this sweet rap. We are just basically the coolest. Hermanas. eva. 

We had a ton of super great lessons this week! We taught Daniel, the one that sang with us in church, the Plan of Salvation. It is a good thing I have a testimony of it, because he is way too smart for me to teach otherwise. Things that have taken me forever to understand about the plan, he just understands the first time he hears it! He is incredible. 

Also, you know the kids that we are teaching? They called us four times this Sunday and left messages telling us that we needed to make sure and get them a ride for church because they really wanted to come! (Last week, their ride went to pick them up, and the other lady that lives in the house that doesn't like us told the ride that they weren't home. We found out later that they had waited 3 hours ... But we got them there this week!) Also, their family is being kicked out of the house on the 28th, and they can't find another place to rent. Pray for them! We got to the park to teach them the other day (they are always there so we just drop by and see them) and Luis was talking to this homeless lady. When we walked up she said, "Oh he has been telling me all about you! And that you teach him about Jesus, and he's been singing me songs about Jesus (I am a child of god of course :))." What a good little missionary! (We also taught them the song, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission." Anyways, then the lady said, "He came up to ask me why I was sleeping, and I asked him if he knew what homeless meant, and he said, 'Yeah, my family might be homeless soon.'" Ahhhh please pray for them! 

Anyways, this area is the best! I LOVE it! :) We have interviews with President tomorrow. He said he is excited to come see our apartment and our view. :) And I love being a missionary. I get SO EXCITED to study every day, because I am learning so much each time! The gospel is amazing. We are so blessed to have it. I know it is true. 

Have a great week! 

<3 Hermana Ricks

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Transfer News! 07/13/2015

First thing's first! I AM STAYING IN MORRO BAY WITH HERMANA YOUNG!!!!!! First time I have been with a companion for more than 6 weeks! I am super excited. It's a good thing we really like each other! I did however have to put my foot down on one thing...

Hermana Young LOVES hugs and she hugs me just about every time she walks passed me...well, Hermana Ricks isn't a very touchy person and Hermana Young knows this due to the fact that the hugs are usually not reciprocated. The fact that Hermana Ricks is not a touchy person was talked about at the beginning of the transfer, but Hermana Young informed Hermana Ricks that she didn't need to hug back, she could just hug Hermana Ricks and wouldn't fell bad if it wasn't responded to. Well, once upon a time it was too much to handle so Hermana Ricks had to put a regulation on the hugging business...only one hug a day for Hermana Young. Hermana Ricks explained to Hermana Young that "you can't just hand out hugs like pretzels!" To which Hermana Young responded, "I don't even like Pretzels!" And Hermana Ricks responded, "Well I don't like hugs!" A few days later when they got the transfer news that we were both staying, Hermana Young did a dance and sang "6 more weeks of my huuuuuugs!!" Oh boy...     

But I am so happy to be staying in Morro Bay with Hna Young! The Elders are both staying too! We all have so many plans for the ward, and we are so excited to be able to implement them together. 

We had a great experience with our investigator Daniel singing with us and the Elders! Elder Pace is very straightforward, and ended up being able to get him to pray at the end of one of our practice which was something he wouldn't do for us before. The ward was very welcoming and gracious to him after we sang, and the spirit was so strong during the song (it almost even made me tear up, but not quite). 

We went to teach the ninos this week! (Alejandra and Luis.) When we got to the park, only Luis was there and he said, "I am just so happy whenever I see you because I know that you are going to teach me about God." and then he wrote his own version of "I Am a Child f God." He sang, 

"I am a child of God and God loves us so much.
 I want to kiss and hug him with all of my heart! 
Lead me guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way.
 Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday!"

SO CUTE!!!! We love them. They are going to decorate our next planners!!! 

That's all for this week! I love you all! 

<3 Hermana Ricks 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Music is the Best! 07/06/2015

Good morning friends and family! And happy 4th!  I hope you had a fun and safe holiday! 

So. Last P-Day we had a tire changing competition with the zone for our zone activity. Guess who won! Hna Young and I. I mean, only two other Elders participated (Because really, who wants to learn how to change tires on pday...bad idea ZLs) But it's okay! Because we were good sports about it, and we won gummy bears. And we found that one of our bolts was completely now we have to take the car in to get a new bolt. 

We were going to go to a parade in Cayucos, but our district leader told us right before we went to bed on the 3rd that he had a bad feeling about us going. I don't know what would have happened, but Heavenly Father is looking out for us! So we didn't go to that. :) We did get to spend the day at a birthday party for our investigator, Alejandra (One of the two that sang "I Am a Child of God" last week). We made her a birthday cake and got to hang out with them in the park all afternoon! It was super fun. 

So you know how we have our pet spider Silvestre? Well, on the night of the 4th, the people that own the house were there to watch the fireworks, so we tried to show them how cool it is when we catch moths and throw them into his web. But First, Hna Young was struggle bus-ing and could not catch a moth. And then we she finally did it went through the web, and then she caught another one and it stuck, and Silvestre just sat there! Like he was all stage shy our something. Then after the visitors went inside, he finally went and attacked the moth. Hna Young told him, "Man Silvestre, you made me look like a fool!" 

Then Alejandra and Luis then came to church again on Sunday, and they shared their testimonies this week! Their parents want to come as well. They were going to come this week, but the mom got called in to work. The kids love church so much! They are always so excited to come and learn. Their cousin Omar isn't too fond of us because they always leave him to come listen to our lessons (Omar is invited too of course, but he doesn't like it as much). So when we came earlier this week Omar said, "No let's go skate!" And Luis said, "No! We like church more than PLAYING!" hahahaha so funny. But! When we got to Alejandra's birthday party, Luis started singing "I Am a Child of God," and then Omar and their little brother Angel (Who is like 2 and can barely talk) all started singing it as well. The whole family knows the song because they sing in non-stop! WOOHOO! 10 points for Hna Young y Hna Ricks. 

We are able to use music a lot to teach them. We have been able to teach them, "I Am A Child of God" along with the Plan of Salvation, "Scripture Power" with the commandments, and "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission." We teach them how to play the Ukulele as well, and Alejandra wants us to teach her how to play the piano.

 We also have another investigator named Daniel that is really interested in music. He is not a member because his mom was inactive for like 20 years all while he was growing up. So he doesn't know anything about the church, but his mom is an active member now. He is in choir in high school, and so we asked him if he would sing with us in church! We are singing with him and Elder Peterson (District Leader) and Elder Pace this next sunday. We are so excited! We are going to sing the EFY medley. We practiced together last week and we felt the spirit so strongly. It is so amazing to see how we can use our talents to bring people to Christ! 

I love you all! I hope you have a great week!!! 

<3 Hermana Ricks

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy FOURH OF JULY! 06/29/2015

Hello Family!!!! Happy Fourth of JULY!!!! I will miss being with you at the parade! We are allowed to be with members during the festivities, so we are going to stay with the Launchbaugh family. Their backyard is the ocean, and 30,000 people line it on the 4th! We are excited. :) Thank you so much for the Fourth of July package as well!!! Hna Young and I loved our t-shirts, and we decorated the apartment! We are going to wear the shirts on the 4th. :) 

Okay I spent the whole time writing President this week, so I'll just copy what I told him...

Morro Bay is doing great as well. We have two kids we are teaching, Alejandra and Luis, and they came to church yesterday! They had so much fun! They sang, "I Am a Child of God" for everyone in sacrament meeting. We taught them that song a few weeks ago, and they sing it constantly! Everyone was really good to them at church, so they had a really good experience. We are trying to get their parents to be more interested. We keep telling them that the message is for families, but they haven't wanted to come to church themselves yet. Hopefully soon! 

Also, I went on exchanges with Hermana Killpack this last week! She is from Firth and she's SO CUTE! We saw so many miracles! We had a list of new move-ins that the ward council had given us. There were about 15 people on the list, and so we decided to look at the list and pick some people to visit. One of the names stood out to Hermana Killpack, but the city he lived in was really far away from everywhere else we were working that day. We decided to go anyways, not even knowing if he would be there. When we pulled up to the house, we saw a car backing out of the drive-way and so we hurried and ran up to the car. The lady said, "Can I help you?" We asked if a William Sheppard lived there and she said, "Oh no, I don't know him." We asked if they had just moved in and she said, "No, we've lived here for 3 years." So we went back to our car, and she left to go wherever she was going. We looked at the paper again to double check the address, and sure enough! It was right. Hermana Killpack again was very prompted that we needed to go knock on the door. So we did, and a man answered the door. We asked if a William Sheppard lived there and he said, "yeah..." and so we asked if it was him and he said, "...yeah... you must be mormon's cause you have the tags. ." We asked him if he was a member of the church and tried to shake his hand and he stood there stiff and just said, "That's what they tell me. But I try very hard to make sure they don't know where I am." We found out that he had lived there for three years, but the ward had just barely received his records because it was on the new move-in list! We started talking to him about random things, and found out he had served in the Navy. When we asked what he did in the Navy he harshly responded, "Killed people." The spirit again guided Hermana Killpack, and she began to cry and explained how her grandpa had served in the Navy, and she thanked him for the service he had given to the country. This softned his heart (not enough to WANT to talk to us, but enough to actually converse with us.) We later found that he has two granddaughters on missions for the church in south america. He doesn't know where, and he doesn't talk to them, but he found out from their dad that they are on missions. We also talked about his job (he makes vitamins, and he warned us that taking Biotin will make our hair fall out rather than help it to grow..good thing! Hna Killpack and I have both been taking it!) When he mentioned that someone sent us there to find him, Hna Killpack was able to explain how we were actually guided there. That his name was the only one she could see out of 15 other names on the paper, and that we knew we needed to see him that day. Towards the end we asked if there was anything we could do for him. He responded, "I would say leave, but I felt bad the last time I said that." Right after his wife pulled back into the drive way and he said, "However, that's my wife and she hates Mormons, so you better leave right now because she has really mean dogs." He then lifted up his hand to shake ours. We were able to tell him that we didn't know why he was so bitter against the church, but we promised him that the church would still bless his life if he would choose to come back. His wife then chirped in, "If you ever step foot on this property again, we will call the cops!" (Ooooo scary.)

 Later when I explained everything that happened to the ward council, they looked on his record and saw that he had been ordained a 70 at one point in his life. It reminded me of zone conference and how important it is to save these inactive members who have made covenants with the Lord, and who did know at one point in their lives of the truthfulness of this message. It also reminded me of Hna Newland, and how much she wants her family to re-activate in the church. I know those granddaughters of William Sheppard have probably been praying really hard that the missionaries might be able to go and find him! And I'm sure that's why we were guided there that day. And that he needed to meet Hna. Killpack! 

I don't know what will end up happening with him. And as it turns out, he actually lives in the Elder's area (which I did not know because I am still getting to know the area!) But I know that we were walking side by side with Jesus Christ that day, and I know that Heavenly Father cares about each one of his children enough to set up something like that for any one of them. That was one of the biggest miracles I have seen on my mission so far. I wish I had more time to write out all of the little miracles that led up to that one, and explain exactly how much we could see the hand of God guiding us that day! But I was able to witness God taking the time away from the 99 to look for the 1 lost sheep. 

I love you all! Have a great week and a happy fourth!! Be safe and don't drink, it's not smart. :) 

<3 Hermana Ricks!