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Monday, January 25, 2016

Que Suenas Con Las Papayacitas! 01/25/2016

I got to go on exchanges to Lompoc last week!! I wish there were still Hna'a in Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande so I could go back to those areas as well! Unfortunately, they have changed the boundaries in Lompoc since I was there, so I didn't get to see any old investigators. But I did get to see Hermana Rosalez, the Nigrete (branch president and wife), the Grants (Relief Society President) and the Trujillos!! We had to stop by the church for something so I saw a bunch of people. :) It is so weird going back to old areas because it doesn't even feel like you ever left... But it was really fun! I got to work with Hermana Arkell, she is still in training but is such a sweet missionary! Haha it was raining ALL DAY. Hermana Arkell had rain boots, so she kept walkin through all of the puddles.

Despite my efforts to walk around the puddles,  I got soaked and was wet the entire day. I had already been a little sick, and so by the end of the day I had a sore throat and was just not feelin my best. I ended up sleeping for a while the next day and when I woke up I thought to myself, "Man. All I want right now is Chicken Noodle Soup!" Serioulsy, I can't even explain how strongly I just wanted a bowl of soup. Well, we ended up having to run something to the church, and then hermana Hurley tells me that Tiffany Rigby had called while I was sleeping and said that she had made some soup and rolls for us to come pick up. She didn't even know I was sick! She just must know how to follow the spirit. It was SUCH an incredible tender mercy to me. If I was any more emotional I might have cried... But I was extremely grateful. All night I just kept going on and on about how loving Heavenly Father is - enough to provide a grumpy sick missionary with some soup from her long distance cousin. Milagros. :)

On a more funny note, we went to go visit a referral that our relief society president had given us. It was dark outside, and we were trying to find this lady's apartment. There was a man (only legally dressed in Hna Hurley's words) standing on the balcony of the apartment above. So like any missionary would, we said hello. Actually we said "hola" because we are spanish missionaries. And he didn't say anything. So we kept looking for the apartment and the same man walked to the other end of the balcony over top of us again. So we said, "Hola, Buenos noches!" And he still didn't answer and then he yells, 
"Como se llama?!"(What is your name?) Hermana Hurley answered and he said, "NO - ELLA!" (No - her! *pointing to me*) I answered and he said, "Estas casada?" (Are you married?) I tried to explain that we were missionaries and he just kept asking me over and over for my name and if I was married. Then this other guy who was sailing pans door to door yelled to him, "Estan trabajando!" (They are working!) And he saved the day. The creepy half naked man left and we got to talk to Omar and give him a card! When we left he said, "Be careful - there are lots of creepy drunk guys around at this time!" hahah what a nice guy. Way to be a gentleman, Omar! As we walked away hermana hurley said,"Well, at least he has to decency to ask if you're married!" haha true. 

On Wednesday we had the worldwide missionary training! Oh man it was so good. It has been a while since they have done one of those, and holy cow. We have seen such a huge difference in missionary work just by applying some of the simple things they taught us like, "always keep the name of the Savior on your lips." Sometimes we get so caught up in talking about the importance of the family or that we have prophets to lead and guide us today that we forget to share our testimony that Christ is our Savior! I think we also forget it alot when we are talking to these awesome faithful hispanic catholic families who do all of the testifying for us! We just agree with what they say, but forget to add our own personal witness specifically of Jesus Christ, our Savior. But we have been doing much better now! :)

Then! The other night I get in bed and Hermana Hurley says to me, "Buenos noches, Hermana. Te quiero. Que suenes con las papayacitas!" (Goodnight hermana, I love you. That you sleep with little papayas... Okay I don't even know how to explain the translation of that one. Ask dad. it's just a thing you can say, excpet typically you say, "que suenes con los angelitos" like little angels...) anyways. I hate papaya. So I told her that was rude and she's like, "no Hermana, there is a papaya in your bed. And I was like, "No there's not." And she was like, "Just look!" And I wouldn't. She tried for 10 minutes to get me to look for this papaya and I kept telling her to leave me alone. She was like bouncy up and down on all fours on her bed, and then she runs out of the room, comes back and says, "did you look?" And I said no. And so she comes and jumps over my bed and pulls out this HUGE papaya that she had placed under my pillow! hahaha what a weirdo! It was so hilarious. I'm sure glad I didn't sleep on that thing! It would have stunk up my whole bed! 

Anyways, it has been a good week! The work here in Santa Maria is CRAZY! We have seen a lot of miracles and we are working so hard. I can't believe how fast everything is going. Every transfer gets faster and faster! But I am so grateful to have the wonderful privilege of being a servant of Jesus Christ. It is a big responsibility to represent him and his gospel, but I am learning so much! I love the Savior, I know that he is the way and the only way to gain happiness! I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks

LOOK WHO CAME TO THE CHURCH DURING EMAILS!!! Hermana Brown!! Well.. Aryanna Brown these days... :)

ELOTE!!!!! And Mango con limon y chile!

hna Rosales

We had to have a sleepover in Lompoc because there was too  much fog for the other Hnas to drive back that night to Santa Maria! Smores over the stove.

OXNARNIA!!!!!!! 01/18/2016

Oh man. What a great week! Last tuesday we had Mission Leadership Counsel where they dropped the biggest news ever! No more transfer meeting. Apparently it's not something that the church authorizes, but many missions do it. So they came out and informed all of the mission presidents that it shouldn't be happening, and now it's not going to anymore! 

On saturday I got to go on exchanges to.... OXNARNIA!!!!!!! Oh man was it so great! I got to go with Hermana Pirir AND in my old area! Unfortunatly, Isidro who was baptized when I was there had just moved like 2 weeks ago, but I did get to see some other people. Meaghan Salas came out with us. She is a youth that would always go with us to teach people and I just adore her. 

We went to teach an investigator, Mireya, who the missionaries dropped a while ago (which means they stopped teaching her because she wasn't progressing). She was SO excited to see me! She said, "No one comes to visit me anymore!" She then said that she was just thinking about me last week and that her cousin's son joined our church and just left on a mission to Africa and that her cousin is starting to come to our church! How amazing!! The timing of Heavenly Father never ceases to amaze me. The hermanas are going to go back and teach her now! Maybe she will be ready this time. :) Either way, she made me promise that I would bring my family to meet her. She really wants to meet Keenan - she has a handicapped son and she gives pinatas to children with special needs. I actually saw that while I was there - a man that had ordered one for his handicapped daughter tried to pay her and you should have seen the battle of two stubborn hispanics! But of course, Mireya won and the man walked away crying from her generosity. Ah! I just love her. Anyway, long story short, she wants to meet Keenan. :) 

We also had a lesson that the Deleon's came with us to! Hno. Deleon is the ward mission leader in Oxnard. They are the ones that took Hna Brown and I to the temple. He didn't realize when I was there, and he got so excited when he saw me that he jumped backwards and did this cute little dance so that he wouldn't hug me. hahaha I love them too! I want to go back and serve in Oxnard so badly! 

But we are also doing well here in Santa Maria. I don't think I have ever been confronted with such a great problem of missionary work before, but we are finding it hard to have time to teach everyone that we need to! There are SO MANY investigators here that are making progress and could be baptized. One of them is named Rosario, and he is one of the most solid investigators I have ever taught. He studies the homework we give him so thoroughly, and he always comes with questions. He lets us know if he needs to change the appointment, he lets us know if he thinks something we told him was fishy...he is completely honest and genuinely and humbling searching for the truth.

We have another investigator, Marta, who is progressing really well as well! When the Hermanas starting teaching her, she would not read, had a really hard time understanding anything that they would read with her, and couldn't remember a lot. About two weeks ago when we taught her, she was only in 1 Nephi 4. We went back last week, and she was in 1 Nephi 18!!! She LOVES the Book of Mormon! She told us all of the stories that she had read about and explained how it applied to her own life. It is amazing how much the spirit can help people understand. And then yesterday she finally came to church! She loved everything except for the fact that the member who was sitting by her trying to fellowship her was eating a snack during sacrament meeting...she even turned to the member and told her that it was not an appropriate time for that. hahahaha awkward. 

but anyways, it's been a good week! I know this is Heavenly Father's work and I am so grateful to be a part of it! I looove my mission! 

And I loooove all of you too! Have a great week! 

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Someone is crushin on my companion... 01/11/2016

Santa Maria is so awesome! I love the fact that there are just people every where we go to talk to. We have a lot of people to work with! We are trying to figure out how to balance our finding, set appointments, less-actives, and members. 

I have gained a testimony this week of the Book of Mormon. I have felt the spirit so strongly as I read it. In english I am marking every time the name of the Savior is mentioned, and in spanish I am working on a goal we have as a mission to mark the gospel of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, and enduring to the end.) The goal is for everyone to read the BOM marking these topics before the next zone conference in March. 

So we had a really cool experience with service this week. We were at Catholic Charities, and the people there LOVE the missionaries! When we were about to leave, one of the workers started giving us lots of fatherly advice about staying safe and everything, and he started telling us stories about times that he has received guidance and answers from Heavenly Father. At the end he said, "Man, when this world gets even more wicked, I am going to have to turn to people like you. I can't even say that about most of the people in my own church! Now I've talked a lot. Next time maybe I'll let you talk a little more." It was such a miracle! The spirit was so strong as he spoke to us and testified to us of the reality and love and plan that Heavenly Father has for us, and it was so amazing to see that he could see a special light in us. 

We also had exchanges this last week with the Hermanas in Santa Barbara. I went with Hermana Wright! She is from Texas and she is in her third transfer. Her spanish was AMAZING and she is such a hard working missionary! We had lots of fun. When Hermana Hurley and I came back from exchanges though, the door was slightly open and we could see a hint of a totally freaked us out. We called our District Leader and said, "Okay. We are going to just talk to you on the phone for a few minutes. If it goes dead or you hear anything - call the cops." We then walked in and soon realized that the light was just coming from the Christmas tree that no one has taken down yet. We then went through the whole apartment, checking every crevice and closets, and once we found that no one was there we realized we were just crazy. hahah I don't think I've ever been so paranoid before.. but Santa Maria! You never can be too careful...

Also! hahah at church yesterday we were walking out to our car after it got over, and we saw this man sitting in his car. We started talking to him and he said, "I have a question. My mother passed away a few months ago. Where is she?" We ended up talking to him for quite a while, giving him a Book of Mormon, and setting a return appointment! It was such a miracle! .... But now... he won't quite calling us. He definitely has a crush on Hermana Hurley... hahahaha we are gonna have to let the Elders take care of this one! 

ALSO at church! I ran into Tiffany Rigby! I knew she was a Hart the second I saw her. :) She was so cute! She had made us cinnamon rolls and invited us to come to dinner. So fun! If President Felix approves then we will go eat with them.
weekly planning under the table because you just gotta switch it up like that sometimes.

ALSO! Feliz Dia de los tres Reyes! look up what this is... 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hermana Sassy is my name! 01/04/2016

Well, transfer meeting last week was the saddest one of my mission! Both of my trainers left me, and Hna Jeronimo! I love them all so much. I might be biased, but I think it was also the best transfer meeting (the missionaries going home share their testimonies and their's are so powerful!)

As hard as it was to leave Ventura, I love Santa Maria already! As soon as I got here I knew that it was right. I mean, I still wish I had gotten more time in Ventura, but I definitely wouldn't trade it for coming here. That seems to happen every time I get transferred. The Lord always has a plan for us!

One awesome thing about this area, is that I have actually met a lot of people before, because I have been on three exchanges to this area, and we had a lot of association with this branch when I served in Arroyo Grande. So I already know some of the members and investigators. One less active family that we started teaching when I was in AG is now coming to the branch here! Yesterday, the dad got up and bore his testimony. If you remember, he is the really sassy man that we taught the word sassy to 8 months ago that always told me that I shouldn't eat french fries. Well, when I saw him he remembered me and said, "Hermana Sassy! I went to Idaho and looked for your dad's hotdog cart, but I didn't find it!" We then set up an appointment with him and I told him when we came I wanted to eat some french fries for dinner. He just looked at me and said, "still? ay ay ay." hahahaha :) 

Hermana Hurley is my companion, and she is so awesome. She is from Minnesota (shout out to Graham!) and she comes from a family of...PROFESSIONAL CLOWNS! Guess what that means dad! I will become a much better animal balloon artist this transfer. :)  But seriously, she is so hilarious. She is always cracking me up! oh haha and her family sent her this work out CD that they made...funniest thing ever. 

Anyway, this week I actually got a pretty crazy cold...I think everyone in California did. It ended up giving me an ear infection and now I am dizzy all the time! But that's okay. It's getting better slowly... 

We had a cool experience this week with our investigators - la familia Jimenez. They have been investigating for a long time and we talked to them about how the spirit works, and then asked them to close the lesson and say a prayer to ask if our message was true. We told them that we would sit there for a few minutes afterwards to think about it. After a few minutes, we all sat back up on the couch, and the dad, who offered the prayer, said, "I felt nervous!" We asked when and he said right after he finished the prayer! He continued to explain that it was like an energy in his heart that he could feel all of a sudden! We asked the mom how she felt and she said, "I felt so happy I just wanted to smile and laugh so hard!" And the son said, "I felt like my dad and like hot - like I was going to start sweating!" What a miracle. Every single one of them felt a manifestation of the reality and truthfulness of this message in their own unique way! 

That is something that I have gained a testimony of this week - the reality of the Love that God has for us. It is amazing how much he leads us in our own personal way. Hna Hurley and I were talking about it and it's like when there are two best friends that have an inside joke that helps create a stronger bond in the relationship. Heavenly Father is always dropping us little subtle hints that later answer bigger questions that allow us to know he loves us and is there for us. And my favorite part is when you can look back and see the hand of the Lord in your life! 

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and a wonderful year! Love you all!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks

and this is my new companion. :)