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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PULGARCITO VA ESTAR GORDO!!! 09/28/2015

So this week I got to go back to OXNARNIA for a day!!! But I didn't get to actually drive through my area, just to the mission office. :( But it was still super crazy to see everything again! I can't wait to go visit all of the people there..I miss them so much!

We had another lesson with the Diaz family (our miracle family that we met!) And their little Chihuahua that looks just like Okie was there. He went to go eat some chips that had been left on the couch and I yelled at him in spanish and told him he would be fat like my dog if he wasn't careful. I am taking a picture of Okie to show them all tonight. And I'll take a picture with Pulgarcito as well to show you all how skinny he is! :)

We met another AWESOME investigator named Samuel this week! He has been searching for a church, and he met the english speaking missionaries a few weeks ago. They gave him our number, and he called us up all on his own and set up an appointment! WOOHOO! (He also works at a bakery, so that's a plus cause we all know Hermana Ricks loves bread...) He is such a nice man. And he has so much faith! We are excited to start teaching him. 

The area is progressing so well. I really don't want to leave yet! I will find out on saturday if I get to stay another transfer or not. Pray that I do get to stay! We have a new ward mission leader, Brother Ryan, and he is so great! He was in the first group of Preach My Gospel missionaries, and he is really excited about the work. In ward council this week, for the first time in the last 3 transfers that I have been here, we had a good discussion on the needs of the Spanish group in this area! The young men's president (who speaks spanish and attends the group every once in a while) asked the question, "What is our goal of the Spanish group? If it is to get these people to the temple, then it isn't possible and their progression is hindered by just coming to the group." We then spent the rest of ward council talking about what we can do. We were able to explain our concerns of there being a lack of fellowship for investigators that we bring, because there aren't very many members that attend the group. We were then able to talk to the spanish members that night, and found out that they are able to change their work hours so that we can have spanish group during the morning - allowing spanish speaking members the opportunity to attend more than just a sacrament meeting. This will be so great for our other families that have children who will now be able to go to primary and young men and young womens! We are really excited to see the progress of the group and the shift in focus the ward has taken. It seems that everyone has in their goals that we want there to be a self sustaining spanish congregation here - hopefully a ward one day! :) 

I LOOOVED women's conference! It was so good! All of it! If you haven't watched it or don't know that that is...go on lds.org and watch the women's broadcast. It was incredible. I loved the story that President Uchtdorf shared as well. It answered so many of my questions! I encourage you all to take the time to watch General Conference this weekend. Prepare questions for it, and be ready to have your minds blown by the answers. I testify that we have living prophets today who lead and guide our church. They teach the puer docterine of Jesus Christ, and they are special witnesses of Him. If you need more faith in Jesus Christ, look to these men for assistance. 

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

<3 Hermana Ricks 



Here's a picture from the mission office in the 'NARD.
sunset :) be jelly!



Oh well buenos dais Deer. (They always run by during studies!)


Monday, September 21, 2015

Baptist Church and a Chicken in the road! 09/21/2015

This area has so much potential. We are finding so many people that speak spanish, which is so awesome! We hope to see our little spanish group grow a ton! This last week we saw such a huge miracle. On tuesday night, we were on our way to a potential investigator's house, and I took the wrong turn (which is not unusual). However, this time I had the thought that maybe it was for a reason! So I looked around and saw no one outside, so I decided to just turn around and get back on the right road. Then all of a sudden people were walking around all over! There were 100,000,000 people. okay not really, but probably like 7 groups of people, and even a chicken in the middle of the road! (We were driving one way, and there was another car driving the other way, and we crossed paths at the same time as these two teenagers on scooters, and in the middle of it all, there was a chicken... weird.) So anyways we decided to pull over and get out and walk. As soon as we found a place to park, everyone disappeared. We had seen one of the families go into their home, and we noticed that it was most likely a Spanish speaking family. So we decided that we didn't want to waste our efforts of getting out of the car, so we went to go knock on the door. We rounded the corner, and the dad was literally waiting at the door for us. So we said (this is all in spanish of course), "Hello we are missionaries!" And he said, "Come in!" "Sit down!" And three of his children were sitting on the couch. His wife then walked out and acted like we were long lost friends, and then they just all sat there staring at us. We asked if they had ever met missionaries before or if they knew who we were, and they had no clue! So we started teaching them about the Book of Mormon, and asked them if they wanted to learn more. They all looked at each other and said, "We would love to! You can come back Thursday at 7:00!" Well that was exactly when we were going to ask for, because we had exchanges scheduled on thursday, and so we wanted to have some good lessons to go to that day! So Hermana Donnelly went back with Hermana Jeronimo on exchanges, and she said it was a very good and receptive lesson as well. They taught them the song, "I Am a Child of God" and all of them sang - even the dad! We are going back tonight to have a family home evening with them! And guess what! They even have a little puupy that looks exactly like Okie! (From Okie's skinny days... His name is Pulgarcito. :)) It was definitely the most surprising door approach I have ever experienced on my mission, but it showed me how much the Lord really is involved in this work, and how perfectly he puts people in our path.

The next day, we had zone conference in Santa Maria! We talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon. I have recently been reading the Book of Mormon and marking every time it talks about Christ, every time one of the writers testify of something, and every time they prophecy of something. Holy cow the Book of Mormon is amazing! It is such a powerful witness that Jesus is the Christ, and I know that it is through the study of this sacred record that people can come unto Christ. Read it!

Thursday we had exchanges, and I went on my third exchange with Hermana Bennion! It was really cool, because she was one of my first exchanges (I went with her in Ventura when I was serving in Oxnard with Hna Brown) and it was just cool to see how much we have both grown since then! We had an incredible lesson with our investigator, Daniel (He is the 17 year old that sang with us in Sacrament meeting, and his mom is an active member!) The very first lesson when Hermana Young and I started teaching him, we couldn't even get him to commit to pray on his own. Then, on thursday, we were talking about Christ and how we can be healed through him. We wanted  to watch the mormon message, "Lift," so we asked him to go get his laptop. While he was gone, we asked his mom if she needed any help because she was cleaning the kitchen, and she just looked at us and said, "You're already doing it." (Point one where the spirit was super strong and I just wanted to start crying.) So we watched "Lift" (you should go watch it if you haven't) and talked about how at first it was out of the men's comfort zone to help the lady in the video, but they became comfortable because their focus changed from themselves to loving Kathy. Hna Bennion then said, "There is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone." Then I asked Daniel if there had been anything we had ever asked him to do that was ever outside of his comfort zone. He said, "Of course. This whole thing is completely out of my comfort zone! I never would have done any of this on my own." where the spirit was super strong and I just wanted to start crying.) We then asked why the Book of Mormon is important for people to read (we have been having him study chapters about the atonement) and he said, "Well, I have found that there are a lot of good things in here. It is a book worth reading." (Point three where the spirit was super strong and I just wanted to start crying). We then asked him what he now thought of prayer and he said, "I have found it to be a confidence booster for me." (Point four where the spirit was super strong and I just wanted to start crying.) Well everyone, I never did cry! But I did feel the spirit very strongly, and it was the best lesson I have ever had with Daniel! It is so incredible to see how much - first off, music can touch someone's heart because that is how we first got him learning! And second, how much the Book of Mormon impacts, softens, and changes someone's heart little by little. 

Lastly! Holy cow. So a few weeks ago, we met this man outside of his trailer that was super nice, and was studying to become a preacher! He was from Mexico City, and used to be a Seventh Day Adventist, and is now going to a spanish baptist church. Well, he invited us to a party they were going to have, and then told us we could come back and talk to him on Saturday. But we accidentally made another appointment at the same time, so we stopped by his house earlier to tell him we needed to change it. And his mother-in-law answered the door. She was super nice as well, and we sang "How Great Thou Art" to her. She LOVED it and insisted we come to the party her church was having that night! We realized it was the same one that her son-in-law had invited us to, so we figured we had better go. So we did! IT was such a good experience, because it gave us a lot of perspective! First off, we felt super awkward walking inside, and we realized that that is how investigators feel when they come to church or an activity for the first time. But we went in and sat down, and there was a concert going on (with some sweet spanish christian music I might add) and then the preacher got up and announced to everyone in spanish that he wanted to welcome the two american visitors! When we responded in spanish they all got super excited and said, "AND they speak spanish!!" They then made us stand up and come introduce ourselves, where were from, and what we do. So we went up and announced to the whole congregation that we are missionaries por La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias!  We then sat back down and listened to a guest preacher for the next hour and a half. He said a lot of really good things and I really liked it! But then he started talking about "This big crystal building in San Diego" and he couldn't remember if it was the Mormon's or the Jehovah's Witnesses, but he didn't like it. Hahahah Hermana Donnelly and I just looked at each other and busted up. I don't think they knew that "los mormones" y "La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias" was the same thing... but that's okay! We liked them anyways! And it made me realize that I say a lot of the same things that the preacher was saying when I teach. And even though they are good and true things, our unique message to the world, is that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored! It is on the earth today, and Jesus Christ himself leads the church! His teaching are found in the Book of Mormon, and we can find out for ourselves if the Book of  Mormon really is true. In the same exact way that we find out if the bible is true! First we have to read it, and then we have to think about it and see if it feels right to us, and then we have to ask our loving Father in Heaven what he thinks about it! Obviously He knows all things, and because he loves us, he will tell us if it is true. 

Well as you can see, it was quite an adventurous week!!!  It was also my hump day!! It is so crazy to think I have already been out here for half of my mission. Time is too short! But I am so grateful for all of the people I have met. (Oh P.S. I also found out that Isidro who was baptized while I was in Oxnard is going to be an assistant to the ward mission leader of the ward!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!) 

Thank you SO MUCH for the package you sent me!! It was adorable! Hermana Price also sent me a package full of everything I ever brought to snack on in the CCM. Isn't she the coolest/most amazing person ever?! I think yes. 

I love you all so much!

<3 Hermana Ricks


Hna Price's package!

THANK YOUUUUUUU

SUBWAY!!!! (Thank you for the gift card!!!!)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Road Trip! 09/14/2015

So we had to go to Santa Maria this week which is about an hour away from where we live, and on the way back in was super dark and I totally missed the exit without realizing it, and we ended up going a half hour further north! So we had to call the zone leaders because we didn't get home until 10:00...

That was about the most eventful thing from this last week! 

But I totally forgot to tell you in my email from last week about this super cool thing that happened!! So you know how I went on exchanges with Hna Jeronimo last week in Santa Maria? Well Santa Maria is really close to Arroyo Grande (where I served before I came here). I went to a coorilation meeting where the elders that were also serving in the branch with Hna Jeronimo talked about a lady that had come to the branch and given a talk, and she had been less active for years. I then realized that it was Hermana Lizalde who I worked with in AG! Her husband was the one that told me, "Don't be e-sassy!" When I told him that I would indeed continue to eat french fries, despite the fact that he thought they were really bad for me! haha. But anyways, Hna Lizalde had not been to church in 15 years the last time I taught her! And she couldn't come to the AG spanish group, because she worked. But since I left AG, apparently she got a different job, and she found out that there was a spanish branch in Santa Maria that met a time that worked better for her with her new job. And then she gave a talk in church!! WOOHOOO MISSIONARY WORK!!! I was SO happy! I can't believe I forgot to tell you about it last week! It makes me wonder what else has happened with everyone else I've taught before. I can't wait to visit all of them again!

As many of you have pointed out, this week is my half way mark (AKA HUMP DAY!) I can't even believe it! It doesn't seem like I have been out here that long at all, and then at the same time it feels like I've never even had a different type of a life - because this is normal! Time basically just doesn't exist. But it is really weird to think how far I have come, and how little time is left. I was trying to figure out how to celebrate it, and I decided that I will make a pie for myself. And since I actually come home on the 14th, yet I left on the 17th, I don't know which day is my actual hump day. So I figure, I can make a pie today, and eat it every day through the 17th. Problem solved. Now I need to go by pie stuff. 

I love you all! 

<3 Hermana Ricks

Monday, September 7, 2015

BEST EXCHANGES EVER!! 09/07/2015

So I went on exchanges this week with HERMANA JERONIMO!!! She is the one that I lived with for my first two transfers! It was basically like driving around all day with your bff mixed with teaching the gospel. I seriously love her so much. And I also got to go to a coorilation meeting with them, where I saw Elder Fernandez - another Elder I served with in Oxnard! It was just a big crazy reunion! :) We talked all day long about memories that we had from Oxnard and it was just so fun. We ate jack in the box, and we taught some awesome lessons, and we got to play a 12 stringed guitar, and basically I just love Hermana Jeronimo.

The area is doing well. We weren't able to teach a lot of actual lessons this week, because we are trying to contact a lot of potentials, and a lot of our investigators were too busy to meet this week. However, the ward is doing wonderful! We had the best ward council I have ever attended yesterday. They were very efficient in going through and following up with all of the assignments that had been made to each person. I can feel a different energy in the ward, and it seems as though everyone is getting more excited about fulfilling their callings! 

We have a giant army of ants that are beginning to enter into our bathroom through the hot water knob. Rude. We will exterminate them tonight

Aaaand...I'm not sure what else happened this week. It's all kind of a blur. But Hermana Donnelly is super great, and she is hilarious! I am excited to work with her and get to know her more. I am being blessed so much by el don de lenguas, and I am so grateful for that. I can truly see how the Lord is quilifying the called, because I could not do this on my own! 

I love you all! I hope all is well! 

<3 Hermana Ricks

gum alley in SLO! (it stinks SO BAD!)

slumber partyyyyyy

studying together!!

driving around like crazy people!! (I FINALLY GET TO DRIVE AFTER 9 MONTHS WOOOHOOOOO)


Thursday, September 3, 2015

A que hora pasas por el pan? 08/31/2015

Do you all want to know a Mexican pick-up line? A que hora pasas por el pan? There ya go. Use it. 

Well, training is a very humbling experience! I am finding out very quickly how much spanish I do not know, how much skill I do not have, and how much I really do need to rely on my savior. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and so grateful that I was blessed with such an awesome trainee to work with me through this! Her name is Hermana Donnelly, and I am so excited to work with her. She is hilarious, and she has such a desire to speak spanish and share her testimony. She is doing better and better every single day. The first couple days she felt very overwhelmed and was very frustrated with herself. However, I have seen a drastic change in her personality and I can tell she is settling in! We are getting along great. She is incredible with spanish. Her accent is so good, and she knows a ton of grammar and words that I just recently learned! I definitely feel inadequate to be her trainer, but I know the Lord will qualify me. I trust Hermana Donnelly, and know that she is here to teach me, and the people in Morro Bay a lot about the gospel and about just how to be awesome! 

The area is doing well! We did a lot of potential knocking this week, so we didn't have a ton of actual lessons (no one would answer their door, or let us get to the point of a lesson) but it was really good! I took Hermana Donnelly to meet the bishop and the ward mission leader the first day, and so she knows the ward well! :) 

I have grown a testimony this week of charity! Yesterday in church they talked a lot about President Nelson's talk about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We all discussed how we can't just go by a list of do's and don'ts, because there is always a loop hole. That is why we have to go by the spirit of the law, and allow our motive to be our love for Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It is the same in missionary work. Every single person has a different perspective and way of serving through exact obedience, and I believe that if our first motive is to love God, and our second is to love our fellow-man, then we will end up being exactly obedient in all that we do. 

Nothing exceptionally funny happened this week because it was just a crazy week. But it was a good time, don't worry! Hopefully I will have some funny things for you all to read next week. 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week! 

<3 Hermana Ricks 





Milagros! 08/24/2015

 Okay crazy crazy week!!!

So first off.. I am staying in Morro Bay!! I am so excited! I love this ward so much. However, I will no longer be companions with Hermana Young. :( On friday night, we received a call from the assistants and they said, "Hermana Ricks, President Felix has asked that you train this next transfer." UMMM WHAT?! I can't even speak Spanish still!! I have been feeling recently like I needed to be trained again, so I guess this is my chance! They say the teacher learns more than the students, right? Oh boy. I am super excited though. It is such a humbling experience and honor to know that the Lord has this kind of trust. It is interesting, because I actually received a Priesthood blessing last week where I was told, "Put all of your confidence in the Lord and not in yourself." That part really stood out to me, and I had no idea why I was told that. But now I know why! This is not my work, it is His. I have no idea why I have been asked to do this, but I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for me to learn! 

Also, other exciting news! We received permission to go on the beach again this week for a ward activity! - Volleyball on the beach! It was super fun! 

AND we had a spanish activity...and this member, Hector, has been trying to get me to eat a cricket for the last 12 weeks. I finally gave it... it was GROSS. It felt like I was chewing on a sunflower seed!

We have seen so many miracles this week! You know Alejandra and Luis, the kids we have been teaching? Well, last night their mom and older brother came to church too!! Alondra has promised us for the last 5 weeks that she would come, and she finally did! She loved church and said she would come next week as well. :) 

And THEN! There is a recent convert who won't even pray for us when we are in her house with her husband. She just has felt awkward praying out loud, which is totally fine! BUT! Last night, Elder Peterson asked her to say the closing prayer, and she just stood up and said it! We were all SHOCKED! Afterwards, we told her what a wonderful job she had done. She told us, "Well, I made a promise!" Hermana Young asked if she meant that she had made a promise with us, because we didn't know what she meant. She said, "No, I made a promise with God that if I got called on, I would say the prayer." I have never even seen Elder Peterson try to ask her to say the prayer before, because we all knew she wouldn't do it! But he was prompted to ask, and she said it! :D

I am so sorry to hear about Aunt Colleen, I hope everyone is doing well. I have such a testimony of the Plan of Salvation. It is the plan that Heavenly Father has come up with so that we can all be truly HAPPY! Unfortunately, death is part of the plan. But fortunately for the gospel, we have the knowledge that this life is in no way the end. I love my Heavenly Father so much, and I am so grateful to share this knowledge with others that are not as privileged to know. 

If you are privileged to have this knowledge, make sure you can also FEEL of it's truthfulness. It is easy to say that it is true, but it is another to actually feel and KNOW that it is true. 

Well, I hope you are all doing well! I love you so much!!!