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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Which Juan? EVERY JUAN! 02/22/2016

HOLA FAMILIA!! Como estan?!

We had such a great week full of so many miracles!
One miracle this week was that we went with the YSA elders to introduce them to another person we had met, and we forgot which door he lived in. So we started knocking the ones we thought it was, and in one of the apartments, a lady anwered that we had given a card to a couple days before. She invited us right in and told us we could teach her! THEN as soon as we left we saw Christina walking up the stairs with a bunch of groceries. (She is our investigator who was the other family who had let us right in when we knocked on the wrong door.) We asked how she was doing and she told us she was going through a really hard time. So we were able to help her take her groceries in and then help her make dinner. At the end, we asked if we could just say a prayer with them, and Hna Eames said it. After the prayer Christina said, "Ahh I just felt the biggest feeling of peace come over me when you prayed!" It most definitely was not a coincidence that the timing was so perfect for us to run into her right as she was walking passed the house we were in. God loves each of us! 

Another miracle was the next morning when we went to go see Christina again! The first was small, but so amazing to me. So that morning, I was studying and flipping through Preach My Gospel (The manual we use as missionaries) and I saw a section I have always just kind of skipped over named, "Teaching People without a Christian Background." At first I thought - no. I am not reading that because everyone here is Catholic and so it doesn't apply to spanish work! But I decided to read it anyways. Well, a few hours later, one of our appointments fell through, so we were walking on the street and passed this teenager that we started talking to. His name was Albert and he is SO SMART. Loves science and math and is interested in learning anything and everything. His grandparents were from mexico, but he grew up here, and doesn't have a Christian background! He doesn't know if there is a God, or the importance of Jesus Christ. But he told us that he loves to learn and see what other people think, and that he would let us come and teach him! How amazing is that?! Unfortunately he doesn't speak spanish, so we have to let the English elders teach him, but what a miracle. It taught me that Heavenly Father really is in charge of this work! He places people in our path every day that we need to meet. 

Then we went to go teach Christina, and we taught her and her kids about the atonement. We had never been able to actually teach her kids before, but this time they were all there. At the end, we all sang, "I Stand All Amazed" together, and Hna Eames asked the 13 year old daughter how she felt while we were singing. She started crying and said that she felt like Christ was there with us. Then everyone started crying... And then the 7 year old son said the cutest prayer in the world. "Heavenly Father, thank you for always being with me and my friends and for playing with us." SO CUTE. 

As far as other events of the week... we taught every-Juan in Santa Maria on wednesday, and each one went more and more down hill. There were three of them. The final Juan was this man that thought Hna Eames was super cute. hahah she always attracts the creepies. But don't worry, we got out of there! 

Well, I am about out of time, but I love you all! I am so grateful to be a missionary and to be gaining the perspective I am. I have so much faith in Heavenly Father's timing and will. I know that he has a perfect plan for each of us, and that even though sometimes it seems like nothing is working out - His plan is what will always bring us the most happiness. It is just our job to be patient and faithful in the little things, and everything will work out for us! 

Have a great week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 

Fanciest cinnamon roll shop in Pismo Beach!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad! 02/15/2016

Hello Family!! I am so sorry I didn't send an email last week. I don't even remember what all I was going to write you but here are a few of the things I would have said:

WE GOT TO GO TO SALVADOR'S BAPTISM!!!! We both taught Salvador in Ventura! Maria had already been baptized while Hna Hurley was there and then I got to teach Salvador for a few weeks. We were able to go to witness their WEDDING and Salvador's baptism! It was such an incredible experience. 

Last transfer was so amazing! I really feel like I grew the most that I ever have on my mission. Hermana Hurley taught me so much! I was really sad to leave her, but I know her little trainee is so lucky to have her.

Fast forward to this week:

Hermana Eames is so awesome! She came into the area with all of these crazy awesome goals that she has for us to accomplish. It is so fun to work with her because we were together at the beginning of our missions and now we get to see the growth that both of us have had! And man it is amazing how much spanish you can learn in a year. haha both of us can actually talk to people now. woohoo!

Side note: Hermana Eames is telling me right now to tell you thank you for the cookies and ice cream card and everything in the package, and that she still has the sticker from dad's hotdog stand that you sent us a year ago, and she still wants to go eat at it when she gets home. :) I second that! Thank you so much for the package!!! And I am excited to eat some hotdogs with you all. hahah

So last night we decided to text everyone in our phone Happy Valentine's Day, and we got like 5 lessons set up with random people out of it! And like a billion more pending that haven't answered yet... One of the people called us right after and told us thank you. After talking to him for a few minutes we realized that he is someone that Hermana Eames and I get a card to a few days ago and Hna Hurley and I had also met him like 5 weeks ago (Hna Hurley - it was the man that was standing outside of the Orozco's apartment holding the Virgin Maria picture). Anyways, apparently he is a former investigator that really wants to come to our addiction recovery class! Heavenly Father must really be telling us to teach this man. 

Also, do you remember that miracle a few weeks ago about the family that just let us into their house and let us teach them? Well we stopped by his house like 20 minutes before the addiction recovery started and asked him if he would come. And then he ended up coming!! He was so nervous and did not want to ... but he ended up l.o.v.i.n.g. i.t. And his wife was super excited too! Pray for them!

We were able to listen to this amazing area broadcast yesterday and I learned that the church is more than just a social club! It is a safe refuge for people to go to that will protect them from the attacks of the world. We can't afford to just live comfortably in the gospel picking and choosing the things we will apply and the things that we won't. The prophets give us guidance for a reason! If anything in the church is hard to accept, all of it can be answered through having a testimony that Joseph Smith really saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. And that testimony can be obtained from reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. If all of that is true, then we really do have living prophets today! And they will guide us through these hard times. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I have felt Heavenly Father's love for me so much throughout my mission and I am so honored to be his representative. I know he loves us!

I am out of time, but I hope you all have a wonderful week and a happy valentine's day! I love you!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks

my companion barricaded me inside my bathroom in retaliation of me putting a nasty banana in her bed...

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Those elders are gonna be jealous of your oral hygiene" - Doctor Dunn 02/01/2016

Okay I am going to start off with a warning that I just had lazer gum removal this email might struggle. No worries mom! I've just had problems my whole mission with the one side of my mouth where the wisdom tooth was really impacted, and I finally got it taken care of! I now have to go back to the wisdom teeth diet for a few days..gross. I hate not being able to eat normal people food! But I am so grateful I was able to do it here. Doctor Dunn in Santa Barbara did it - so kind of them! They have a son on a misson as well and were so nice to us. He was also really impressed with my oral hygiene and told me that the elders would all be jealous. hahaha I was flattered. 

So we saw a huge miracle this last week! We had recived a referral from a member at the beginning of the transfer, and every time we went we could never find her! But she lives in an apartment complex that is FULL of people and so every time we went we met lots of new people. One lady we met set up a return appointment with us, but we couldn't remember exactly what door she lived it. When the one we thought was her's didn't answer, we decided to try the other. Well, it wasn't her's., but the family that answered literally opened the door, told us to come sit down, asked if we wanted a water or a soda, and then poured their hearts out to us about their desire to repent and have unity and love and God in their family. The parents were both in tears and just hugging eachother as the dad told us how he wanted to change and knew that God had placed us in his path. He had prayed the night before for help. They didn't end up being there for the return appointment that we set because they were sick or something, but then they called us later apologizing and begging us to come back. I have never met such a prepared family in my mission. Pray for the Orozco family! (Not to be confused with our other incredible investigator Rosario Orozco - pray for him too though!)

Hermana Hurley is doing wonderful. I love her so much. I was reflecting last night on all of the incredible things that I have learned from being her companion. I really feel like she has helped prepare me to make the most out of the rest of my mission. I have learned so much from her example! Plus she cracks me up like crazy. hahah such a weirdo. 

I have learned during my studies this week that patience is required with our faith in order to lead to hope. Often times we might have faith, but then if things don't turn out the way we thought, we lose hope, and also lose faith, because we aren't patient! But Heavenly Father has a plan for us! If he has given us a prompting - we need to follow it and then be patient to understand why! But he loves us so much. Patience is such a needed attribute in order to have hope. 

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks