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Monday, March 28, 2016

Maira Got MARRIED!!!! 03/28/2016

Hello family!!! The news you've all been waiting for:

I am being transferred to Camarillo!!!! That means OXNARNIA!!! It is in the Oxnard 5th ward! Right next to Oxnard 6th ward! I am so excited! And Selena, who was baptized while I was in Oxnard 6th lives in those boundaries!! 

We are running around like crazy people because we are white-washing out and Elders are coming in to replace us. That means we have to clean up all of the Hermana hair from the last 15 months... (seriously, that is how long Hermanas have lived in our apartment...we have so much junk everywhere!) But it's okay. There have been an exceptional amount of creepy men telling us how beautiful we are the Elders can deal with them. haha. 

I am going to go by a tote today and leave it at Tifanny's house! I am so grateful for her! It has been so fun living my her. That means we have to all travel back a few weeks after I get home and visit her. :) 

I am so grateful for the time I have been able to spend here in Santa Maria. We have seen so many miracles! The beginning of the transfer Hna Eames came in and told me that we were going to be preparing to have a baptism every week of the next transfer, and we worked so hard all transfer long to make that happen! We saw so many miracles from it. This coming Sunday, Elahny Garcia will be baptized. She is not technically counted as a convert baptism because she is still 8, but the branch president asked us to teach her and prepare her, because her family was less active and her dad is in jail. The week after, Maira Vargas will be baptized. She got married this last Saturday, and she is so excited to get baptized and prepare for a temple sealing. When we taught her about that she said, "Oh!! I like that better!" And she's already invited us to come to the temple when that happens. :) The week after the other Hermanas have a baptism with their investigator, Alejandro, and we are teaching his friend, Arturo. He is also very prepared, and we think he might be able to be baptized along side Alejandro! We are also working with a less-active family - la familia Lopez. Hno. Lopez has an interview this saturday with the branch president to see when he can get the priesthood to baptize his 9 year old son - Misael. We have another investigator, Samuel Cano who did have a baptismal date of the 9th, but we know he won't be ready by then. We are hoping he will be ready by the end of next transfer. There are so many other people in this area as well that are so incredible and so close to baptism. It was such a privilege serving here, and serving with a companion who had the faith the bring this goal into my life. I have never been so focused on preaching repentance and baptizing converts. This whole transfer has been a miracle! We are excited to leave our efforts in the Lord's hands as he works through the Elders coming in to lograr esta meta! 

Hermana Eames and I have become really good friends! We think very differently, but we learned how to work with each other in a loving way that assured the things we did were what the Lord wanted us to do. We saw so many miracles, and we had so much fun together! She has a lot of faith, and she loves these people so much. She is an incredible missionary! Fun fact: we were working on family history this week and Hna Eames looked over at my screen and was like, "Your grandma was a Hart? My grandma was a Hart!" So now we have to find out if we are related. :)

I have grown a deeper love for my Savior this week as I have studied about the last week of His life on this earth. I have learned a lot from the example of all of the people around him as well. From the story of Peter cutting of the man's ear, I learned that Jesus Christ can make the best out of everything we do - even our mistakes. As I learned from a letter from Hna Jeronimo - he takes our 5 loaves and 2 fish and multiplies them into what He needs them to be. 
Okay so a few people have requested more details about us driving to Santa Barbara last week for zone conference when it was actually in Santa Maria...

So we pulled in and once we realized no one was there and we had read the text wrong we called the mission president. I was suppose to be playing the piano and apparently he had just leaned over to Sister Felix and said, "Where are they - they live 5 minutes away!" I think he had just pulled out his phone to text us or something, and so he saw us calling he answered while seated on the stand in front of everyone. He whispered, "Where are you?" We told him we were really dumb and what happened and he just said, "Okay - see you soon." We sat by them at lunch but he didn't really say anything else about it. He did make a few jokes about it though later on to us though haha. But everyone knew because apparently one of the zone leaders had announced I would play the piano and then an Elder walked up. We had a couple stories we told people as our excuse. One was that we were saving someone from getting attacked by a bear, and the other was that there was a shooting around our apartment complex and so we couldn't leave. Our zone leader believed the second one... But don't worry, we told him the actual truth!

On Saturday we drove back to Santa Barbara for the baptism of one of Hna Eames' old investigators. Then we rushed back the Maira's wedding!! It was so awesome! And then we went to Women's Conference. What did you all think of it? I loved it so much! I loved the part where they told the story of the lady that did a huge service project and then the spirit told her, "You have done a great thing. Now go and serve your neighbor across the street." What I got out of Women's Conference was "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." The Lord really does magnify our efforts - just like Hna Jeronimo said!

I am super excited for General Conference this weekend!!! I encourage you all to prepare questions for it! You will get a lot more out of it. It is such a wonderful opportunity to hear the prophet's voice! I know the Lord speaks through his servants. 

Here's a picture from Maira's wedding and our new outfits! :) (Ignore the windblown hair of us all...)

Garcia family

Elahny Garcia!

This is Squirttle!

Maira and Raymond and her dad Fidel

Tiffany Rigby!

Monday, March 21, 2016

La lucha es real 03/21/2016

So Hermana Eames and I wrote this song this week that goes like this: "Strugglin' *yeah yeah!* Strugglin' *yeah yeah!*"

We sing it every time something happens where we are just struggling with life. Like when we drive an hour and fifteen minutes to zone conference in Santa Barbara, only to pull into an empty parking lot and realize the text said, "Santa Maria Stake Center" which happens to be 5 minutes from our house. But the drive was beautiful! Right along the pacific ocean. :)

This week has been full of so many miracles again!! We are so blessed to be in this area. Here are two awesome stories:

Remember the Lopez family who are less actives? they have 5 boys under the age of 11 and they haven't been to church in about a year and a half...THEY CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!!! And Hna Lopez had also come to the relief society activity in the middle of the week!!! They even came to all three hours so the boys got to go to primary. I have never experienced a less active family coming back before - it was so exciting!! They are usually more stubborn than investigators!

Also, our investigator, Maira. SHE IS INCREDIBLE. Her and Raymond are getting married this Saturday and we are so excited! (we may or may not have spent the morning buying outfits for her wedding.:)) But we had such a great lesson with her! We had previously taught her the Word of Wisdom and when we came to teach her this week, before we even asked her how it was going she said, "So I've been following the WOW! This monday was kinda hard because it was cold and I was really tired, so I had the temptation to drink coffee, but then I said a prayer and I wasn't tempted anymore!" (We didn't even tell her to do that!) And we asked her if she feels like this is true and she said, "I think so because I feel different every day now like Christ is with me." and then we taught her about eternal marriage in the temple and she said, "Ohhh I like that better!" And she just kept saying, "Woooow." the whole lesson! We love her. I will just book my plane ticket for a year from now when they go through the temple. :) 

Okay I have like no time, but really fast! The mission is going to start focusing on Family History work, and we are suppose to work on it an hour a week. So if you have anything - let me know!

Also, go check out the website, There is a map of what happened each day of the week prior to Easter and Hna Eames and I have been studying according to what happened each day out of Jesus the Christ and the bible and it is SO AWESOME! I encourage you all to do the same! 
I love you all!! The church is true! Sorry I am being kicked off the computer soon! HAPPY EASTER! (Thank you SO MUCH for the package mom!!!)

Also, every time the elders talk to us they ask if we need anything and we tell them burritos. They finally made them after all transfer!! hahaha #1 zone leaders.

Monday, March 14, 2016

So many Miracles! 03/14/2016

Hello Family! How are you all? It has been super rainy and cold here the last few days..but it's probably warmer than Idaho!

Last tuesday we travelled down to Ventura for Mission Leadership Council and then Hna Eames had to visit a Chiropractor in Ventura so that took all day. We had fun though! Every other MLC, Sister Felix makes the most delicious breakfast ever, and we get to eat at the mission home before the meeting. It was fun to see everyone at MLC! It was the last time I will see Hna Griffes because she is going home at the end of this transfer. I lived with her my first transfer too, so it's super weird! She will be coming to school in Idaho like a week after too, so you'll all have to meet her. I learned a lot at the meeting about the spirit, and also about the importance of prayers. Prayers are such a simple thing, but they are so powerful! We can always look for ways to improve our prayers. Something Hna Eames and I have been talking about recently is how incredible it is that every day, we get to kneel down before a king and explain what we did to battle for him that day. 

Wednesday I went on exchanges with Hna Miller! I have never served around her before, but she is really cute. We had a really huge miracle together! We felt like we should go visit this lady we had met a few weeks earlier that had a little "Herbal Life" store, and we walked in and there was another lady named Elvia that we have now run into three times in different places of the city! She asked us about what happens to people that die, and then told us that her sun was killed while trying to cross the border when he was 19. We got to share a little bit of God's plan with her, and it was so amazing! I think Heavenly Father wants us to teach her.. 

Hna Miller also goes home at the end of the transfer, and she said she had asked her dad for some last mission advice and he said, "Make everyone you talk to know they are loved." I love that! So many people feel lonley or unappreciated or inadequate, and these are all lies that satan tries to deceive us with! When we truly know that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us, we are able to feel it and then spread that to others. We should always strive to make those around us feel loved! I think one of the greatest things I have learned recently is the importance of offering those around us the benefit of the doubt. Usually people do not mean to offend us. Often hurt feelings come from miscommunications or a lack of perspective, and we can avoid a lot of it by trying to put ourselves in each other's shoes. And then realize that the only person who really does understand is the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Thursday we set another investigator with a baptismal date! His name is Samuel Cano. Please keep him in your prayers! He is so amazing. He has been learning from the missionaries for a long time, and he is reading in the Book of Mormon every day and trying to know if this is the truth. His baptismal date is April 9th!

And also keep Maira in your prayers! She is preparing to be baptized on April 1st. She is doing awesome. We got to teach  her about the Plan of Salvation this week, and she was so excited about that! We saw her twice after that and both times she referred to something she learned during the lesson. It is amazing to know about Heavenly Father's plan for us! We do have a purpose in this life. And we have so many things to help us along the way! Jesus Christ and his atonement being the biggest one. 

The area is doing well. We haven't had ward council this entire transfer - they keep cancelling it. But we still communicate pretty well with the branch president. We had a miracle yesterday! There is a less active familia  - la familia Lopez - and they haven't been to church in over a year! Last week our branch president asked if we could try to see if they would come meet with him on sunday morning. They said yes originally and then called and cancelled right before. So we reset it for the next week. They called again yesterday morning, but we just didn't answer that time because we didn't want them to be able to cancel! :) hehe. And then we walked into the church and they were sitting there on the couch with all 5 of their boys waiting to meet with the branch president. One of their boys even got sick with the flu that morning, and they still came! They weren't able to stay at church because of it, but we introduced them to the Primary President (who happens to be Tiffany Rigby!), and they said they would come the next week!

Sorry I can't think of any funny stories right now.. I know they happened! Most of them have to do with creepy latinos hittin on my companion. jajaja 

Love ya'll!! 

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 

Hermana Griffes

"Heart Attacking" our investigator, Marta's, door!

Our super healthy lunch with Hna's Soriano and Green

This is our friend Squirtle. He likes fingers!

Gotta Jam 03/07/2016

Hello family!! How is everyone?! This week was so amazing and filled with miracles again!

So I can't remember what all I told you about last week...hopefully I told you already about the member that texted us telling us that he had a less active friend who was getting married and his fiance wanted to learn more about the church? Well she accepted the baptismal date of April 1st! She is so amazing and so prepared to hear the gospel! Their names are Raymond and Maira. Pray for them! 

Also, President Felix has given us the goal of contacting 50 people new people a week in order to find the souls that are prepared for baptism. We have seen so many miracles! We found two families that are so cute. We had lessons with both of them yesterday, and the lessons were so incredible because they are so prepared! Unfortunately I don't remember their last names, so I'll have to tell you to pray for them next week! But there are so many people to talk to in Santa Maria. 

Here's a few of our experiences from trying to contact 50 people:

We ran into a lady yesterday, and when we started talking to her she said, "Oh! I think I watched a documentary on the Mormons the other day." We asked what it was about and realized it was Meet the Mormons! Woohoo! Go netflix. It is so awesome to meet people like that who have had an experience recently of being prepared to meet us!

On the contrary, a little later, we met this punk kid named Levi that was riding this super fancy pink bike. We asked him what he was up to, and he told us he was riding his sister's bike. He totally stole it... and then we tried to talk to him and he asked us to watch the bike for a second. After he came back and totally checked out my companion, I told him that we were missionaries that taught people about Jesus Christ. He quickly said, "Actually I gotta jam.." And then Hna Eames starts dancing and said, "Jam? Is that the lingo the kids are using these days??" hahaha so funny. 

Okay I am sorry this is so short, I have to get off now! I LOVE YOU ALL! The church is true!

<3 Hermana Ricks

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HAPPY LEAP DAY!!! 02/29/2016

HAPPY LEAP DAY!! I don't even really know how to celebrate it... but we are going to go to Pismo Beach today with the other Hermanas in our district, so I guess that counts!

I got to go on two exchanges this week with some amazing Hermanas. The first one was with Hermana Green. She is one of the hermanas in my district - and we got to go watch the testaments and eat pizza with some inactive teenage sisters. That was really fun! We also did service at a food bank. 

My second exchange was with Hermana Frias. She is from Michoagan, Mexico, and oh man we had so much fun. We were in Lompoc, so I got to go back there again! And we talked in spanish all day long and she taught me lots of things about there culture - games that they play as kids and things that they say. She also taught me that people that are from Mexico City (Distrito Federal) talk with a different accent. It basically sounds like a valley girl accent would here.. so she said if I say, "Soy del D.F." with that kind of an accent. I tried it and it worked..hahaha! So funny. 

We are working hard here in Santa Maria. We had a really cool miracle this week. One day this week we were really focusing on making the goals that we had set for that day. Every night during weekly planning we set goals of how many lessons we want to have with members present at the lesson, with just investigators, and with less actives or recent converts. It isn't something I have completely focused on - it's usually more of a, "oh hey look, we acutally met our goal today!" kind of a thing. So usually the numbers don't really mean anything. But we decided to focus on it and show Heavenly Father that we really wanted to make our goals, and as we did everything in our power and showed faith, we saw so many miracles! First, we went to go visit a member, and we ended up finding out that a lady lives with her who isn't a member of our church and she hasn't ever been taught by missionaries before! We asked the members if she would be willing and they said we could ask her. So we did, and she said she would love to learn! We taught her about the Restoration, and she wants us to teach her now. Then right at the end of the day, we ended up finding our third member to come with us who was a less active. We saw him standing outside of his car - he had just pulled up from work. He is a very shy man, and if he has too long to think about things, he will talk himself out of it. But if you ask him on the spot to do things, he always says yes. So we pulled up and asked him if he would want to come to lesson with us right then. He said yes and followed us there, and shared the most powerful testimony! 

Other miracle - we got a text from this member that said something about how he had a friend who was a less-active member of the church who is engaged to a girl that wants to learn about the gospel. He invited us over to dinner to meet them, and they came to church this sunday and we are now going to teach her! Waptism? I think yes. (that means wedding baptism for all of you who are wondering.)

OTHER miracle - we got another random call from a lady in Salt Lake who is a member of the church and she was calling to tell us that her two brothers here in Santa Maria want to be taught the gospel! They were suppose to come to church, but ended up not being able to. But holy miracles!!!

Also, random story. Hna Eames and I had all of our Hermanas send in a miracle report to us and we were trying to record a voicemail to send out to everyone. It was gonna be the fanciest voicemail ever. We practiced all these different accents for people that could announce each miracle. Rhonda from New Jersey would announce one, Humphrey from england was next, then it was Davy from Australia, then Announcer Bob, and the Grandpa Bucky! The voicemail didn't work, but we sure had fun prepping for it. In order to get my New Jersey accent down I had to practice saying, "Hotdogs water, and oranges." Then that changed to, "Hotdog, hotdog, hot diggity dog" in a Jersey accent. You should try it sometime, it's fun.

Well, I love you all! I know that Heavenly Father is a God of miracles, and he has a  perfect plan for each of us. Sometimes the answers to our prayers are not what we expect, but they are what we need. I know that he loves each of us, and that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for us so that we can live again. I know that through him we have more potential than any of us can see. As we realize the divinity in each one of us as children of God, we are then able to see it in other people. Don't ever question how much you are worth! 

Love, Hermana Trystan Ricks  

Hermana Green and I doing service with a HUGE box of pairs at the food bank!

This is my frustrated look as I'm perfecting my Jersey accent!

Hermana Frias! (don't worry - I have a nametag. It is just on my cardigan behind her shoulder..:))

And this is a blurry picture of me and Hna Eames in the coolest car wash eva. LOVE YALL!