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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!!!!)

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