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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DREAMS DO COME TRUE 04/25/2016

I have wanted to go back to Oxnard 6th ward my whole mission! It is like my home because it was my first area! I was secretly super jealous of Hna Young when she got called back to there for her last transfer, because that was also where she was trained! WELLLLLL... IT'S A DREAM COME TRUEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This last sunday they announced that the Oxnard 5th and 6th wards will be combined into one ward. Known as the "Camino Real" ward!!! I AM SO EXCITED!! And guess who the bishop will be....OBISPO ALBERTO NUNEZ!!! The one that called you both years for your birthday, mom! :) I am stoked. Now, we will see if I get to stay here for my last transfer in a couple weeks! :D

Awesome other side note: Hermana Young came to the meeting where they announced this and so I got to see her!!! And Pedro Morales (the man that was baptized by Hno Nunez in Ventura) also came! Too much excitement in one afternoon. I still am excited let's be honest.

This week was so incredible. And incredibly exhausting. We had 3 exchanges! I have never gone on that many before in one week...and I don't recommend it! We have another one tomorrow too, and then we will be done. BUT! All of the Hermanas I went with were so great. I wish I had time to write all of the stories down! I will tell you one that happened over the course of three days.

So on the first exchange I went on, as we were planning the night before we kept writing names down in our 4:30 slot of our planners. We probably went through 5 or 6 people and had to keep moving them to different spots because of different reasons. We concluded that there would be a miracle at that time because our plans kept not working! We then finally found a name we could write down. Well, the next day the elders gave us a slip of paper with names from our newly added Oxnard area (they decided that there are too many white people here in Camarillo so they gave us some of Oxnard) and the name we had finally written at 4:30 was on their paper too! That meant we had to erase the name again from 4:30 because we weren't going to be in Oxnard at that time. Well. Our 4:00 appointment then canceled, and so did the backup plan. So we tried to think of a bunch of other things we could do. It eventually hit 4:30, then 4:45, and we decided that we had to find this person before going back to eat dinner. So I took a bunch of random turns until I could find a spot to park so we could say a prayer. We said the prayer and were about to start driving when we saw two workers building a fence! We decided to get out and go talk to them. We first talked to Miguel, who was really nice but not really interested. Then his friend, Jesus, came out from the back and he was all, "Oh! Girl missionaries do exist! The Elders always said they did, but I had never seen them!" Turns out, he was a former investigator! Well, Hna Ames continued to talk to him and I continued the conversation with Miguel. We then gave them our number, and amongst all the confusion, we failed to get their number or address - we just knew which corner they lived on and that it was in the Elder's area. So we called the elders to ask them about Jesus, and they said, "We had an investigator named Jesus that was suppose to get baptized a month ago and he went MIA (missing in action) - maybe it's him!) So we told them we would go back to figure it out. (Luckily, Jesus and Miguel told us they had two other houses across the street where they were going to build fences.) SO. (Sorry this is long...hopefully it all makes sense!) Well, I soon realized that I didn't remember where we had met them, because I literally had just taken random turns until I found a place to pull over!

Okay. Fast forward two days later to the next exchange. We are driving to our appointment, and I still don't know if the GPS told me to, or if I was just making it up, but I turned onto this road and the GPS starts "re-routing." So I go to turn around, look to my right, AND THERE'S THE HOUSE WE MET JESUS AT!!!! This time I paid attention to where we were at.

The next day, I take Hermana Hemingway back to see the house and see if they are working outside. We turned down the street, but I couldn't find the house at first! I then realized I had driven right past the house because they had painted it! It used to have a bright ugly yellow, but they painted it white! If I had turned down that street any day later than I did, I would never have recognized the house where we met Jesus! So now we are on a mission to find him again. We will hopefully be able to on Wednesday... we will see! Pray that we can find him again!

Okay well, that story took up like all my time, but there were so many miracles that I saw this week. I got to go on exchanges with
Hna Ames (In Camarillo)
Hna Wright (In Camarillo) &
Hna Gonzlez (in Simi Valley)

Hna Gonzalez is in her first transfer and she's super cute. Reminds me of those days...the best of times and the worst of times! hahaha being a new missionary was a struggle. But it was also so miraculous!  

I am so grateful for my mission and for all that I have learned and am learning still. My testimony has grown of prayer a lot this week. It seems that I say that a lot, but it really does just keep growing! I have been trying to be extra conscious of really paying attention to what is being said and how I feel as we pray. It is so interesting, because even in the most simple prayers I am able to feel the spirit so strongly and clearly. Heavenly Father really is listening! I know we are His children, and he loves us so much.

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

<3 con todo carino, 

Hermana Trystan Ricks

(warning: lots of pictures and it only lets me send one at a time..sorry.)

HERMANA YOUNG!!!! 
 
 
Hna Ames (also trained by Hna Young!)

(warning #2: ignore the fact that I basically wore the same skirt all week. It's a struggle when you have one skirt that just so happens to match all of your shirts perfectly...)

Hna Wright

Hna Gonzalez!

Chilango

this is our "CHILANGO" friend, Victor Pacheco!

definition: someone who is from Mexico City, but wasn't born there. If I were to move to DL (distrito federal) I would be a chilanga and have to talk like a valley girl but in Spanish. :)

HERMANA YOUNG!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't You Worry Doc, I got this one. 04/18/2016

This week was so awesome! One of the best experiences we had was last Monday. We had a family home evening with our relief society president and a part member/recent convert family. We didn't think the husband was going to come because he has kind of been avoiding us (he is the one that isn't a member), but he did come! We taught a little message about the Holy Ghost, and then we went with the family to deliver cookies to an active member, a less-active, and a friend of the recent convert who wasn't a member. The person that wasn't a member invited us in and the RSP responded with, "We can't come in right now, but these two girls can come back and visit you!" And then the recent convert's daughter (6) said, "Yeah! They teach about Jesus!" So we are excited to hopefully be able to teach them. :) Also, yesterday in church, the active member that we had delivered cookies to got up in Relief Society and said, "I just want to tell everyone that I was having a rough day the other day and then Hna Leites and the missionaries came over and sang to me and it just made my whole day!" It was such an awesome thing. We are going to try and do it again tonight with another member!

Tuesday we had another MLC. We normally have one every second Tuesday. This time we basically just talked about what we are going to apply from what Elder Hamula taught us. I honestly can't remember much from it - all of these meetings lately are just running together in my head right now!

After that we went and helped the youth with a song they have to perform with the stake. Man...youth. Glad I never was one. (Matilda anyone?) But on the bright-side! We got to go to a place called "Frutti Hielo" and they sale a bunch of crazy Mexican snacks. I will send you a picture of what we got - TOSTILOCOS! They are chips with Valentina (salsa stuff), Jicama, Cucumber, Pinapple, Peanuts, a few other things, and these little candied chili things. One fellow missionary said it was like eating out of a trashcan, but I was a fan. We are definitely going there when we come to visit.

Wednesday we got to go crash DLC (District Leadership Council) because the Zone Leaders invited us! This was to plan for Zone Meeting. That was fun. I felt like I was crashing bro's night or something. They taught us a lot about how we can make exchanges better. Which is good because we have three this week. We also got to work on family history this day, and I added a story about Grandpa Ricks so you'll have to go read it!

We also had a cool experience Wednesday night. We were on our way to try and meet a former investigator, and on the way there we ran into this lady that was super excited to see us! We found out that she had run into other missionaries a lot. As we talked to  her, a car pulled up and yelled, "Oh! They have a Book of Mormon!" We found out that the neighbor was a member! She used to go to the Spanish ward, but they switched over to the English ward. We ended up going and talking to them afterwards, and it turns out that she had already given a BOM to the lady we ran into in the first place! This member (Hna Hernandez) is who we are going to have an FHE with tonight and go visit all her neighbors. What an awesome missionary!

Thursday we had zone meeting which is a bring-back of MLC which like I said before was a bring-back of Elder Hamula. Haha now you can see why they are all running together in my head!

Then on Friday and Saturday we got to help with this service that the California Dental Association was sponsoring. A bunch of dentists and orthodontists came together at the Ventura fair grounds and they set up hundreds of dental chairs where they offered free services. And they offered like EVERYTHING. They were making dentures, taking out wisdom teeth, normal teeth extractions - crazy! Between the two days they did it they had the goal of giving 2000 people that were low-income free dental care. And Hna Hemingway and I had the best job ever! We got to be the interpreters! Do you know how cool I felt being like, "Oh it's okay Doc, I can tell you what they said." However I must say, I never did figure out how to say root-canal or dentures in spanish. Some of it ended up being charades - welcome to my whole mission. hahaha But it was awesome! It is always such a humbling experience to help people like that, and to see so many other people come together to offer so much incredible service.

Anyways, I love you all! I know that this is the Lord's work. I am so grateful to be a part of it and to see his hand guiding everything. I have grown a testimony of prayer, and I know that Heavenly Father is always listening. If we offer specific prayers, he will offer specific answers! He really is our father, and we are literally his children. If you haven't talked to him in a while, repent and begin now.

Have a wonderful week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 
 
And these, my dear friends, are Tostilocos.


CDA service!

This is the little girl that said, "They teach about Jesus!"
 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Stupid stupid stupid! 04/11/2016

My testimony has grown so much from the experiences we have had this week. First off, a general autthorit - Elder Hamula - came to our mission! I feel so honored because we got to go to a Mission Leadership Coucil with him as well, and then we had the normal Zone Conference type meeting with him and all of the missionaries. And then I feel extra honored because he totally sat next to me at lunch! When he asked about where I was from, I said Idaho Falls and he said, "Oh! Have you been to Reed's Dairy?" Have I been to Reed's dairy..umm just every Monday night for family home evening! Oh how I miss Brown cow's with Mint Cookie. Anyways, back to all the awesome things he taught us. Something he said that really stood out to me was this: "If you could part the curtain and see just a glimpse of who you were before this life, you would crumble and fall to the ground. And once you got back up, you would have a whole new determination to serve the Lord and give him your all. Because this is what you love to do! This is what you live for! You wouldn't waste any time. You wouldn't be afraid of anyone. You would give it your all." He then talked about how every single time the gospel has been on the earth, the evil forces have over come it. But because we fought so valiantly before this life for the cause of Jesus Christ, we are selected to come here at this time - the one time in the history of the world - that Satan will not win. But goodness will win and Christ will reign for
We had an awesome experience this last week. So all of our lessons and backups fell through, and it was already 8 o'clock and we hadn't even taught a lesson yet that day. So we decided we wanted to finish forever! :)

We then had a question and answer session, and one Elder bravely asked a kind of random question that taught be a lot. He stood up and said, "Elder Hamula, I have never got a direct answer to this question so I hope it's not dumb but - I really like video games and I was wondering if it will hinder my salvation." Elder Hamula quickly said, "Yes. I hope that answers your question clearly enough." He then went on the explain that time is so precious. We are here to learn and build relationships and become like Christ. He said how we waste so much time being distracted with things that are selfish and not important. He said that we should enjoy ourselves, but we should focus on enjoying our time with our families and building relationships and learning. He then told us that him and his wife have a night every week that they play board games! aww. He also shared D&C 130:13 to answer this question. Look it up if you're interested.

So here's a cool story from this week! We were having a "bleh day" that ended up with a miracle! So prayed for direction on where we should go. We thought of three different people that all lived in the same area of each other. So we decided that meant that it wouldn't be those actual people we were suppose to visit, but someone that was put in our path. As we walked to knock on the doors of the people that had come to our minds, we were extra conscientious of anyone that was outside that might have been the soul we were suppose to talk to. We talked to everyone - even if they were a little further way that our comfort zone would allow - and we met a few people, but none that were really promising. Then, as we walked to the last house before going to our car, we saw two people walking. To be honest, I didn't really want to talk to them because again, they were a little out of the comfort zone of simply just talking to someone, and we had also just talked to a few people that were kind of rude. But right before we left their sight we asked them if we could give them a card. As we began talking to them, my heart tore as we listened to this 13 year old boy tell us how he wasn't accepted in school. I could feel the love Heavenly Father had for him, and I knew that he was the one Heavenly Father had needed us to talk to that night. Right before we got done talking to him, his mom ended up telling us that she grew up across the street from some Mormons. Her friend that was Mormon had since passed away, but she told us what a huge impact that family had had on her life. She had even gone to church with them for about four years, and she knew right where the church was here in Camarillo when her son said that he wanted to learn more. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon, and assure him of the love Heavenly Father had for him. Missionary work is a lot different when you are literally searching for a soul to save!

Also, heres a quote I liked from MLC that was shared from President Uchdorf:

"We don't discover humility by thinking less OF ourselves, rather thinking less ABOUT ourselves."

Hermana Hemingway is such an incredible example of that to me. She is not knit-picky, she sees the good in things, she doesn't get down on herself, and she just works hard - happily serving others! I want to be like that.

Also, random fact. I am an idiot... (don't worry I'm not actually thinking less of myself)
So you know that one time we were an hour late to zone conference because we read the text wrong and thought it was in Santa Barbara? Well...

We read our text wrong about interviews and thought they were on the 12th. But they were actually last Tuesday. So we were just happily on our way to do service at a member's house (I am teaching one of the young women piano lessons!:)) and we got a call from Sister Felix,
 "Where are you?"
 "uhhh...Camarillo?"
 "Are you not coming to interviews?"
*Me quoting Hna Donnelly* "Stupid, stupid, stupid."
So now we have interviews today with President.
:)

Luckily they take my stupidity well! At MLC and the Mission Tour with Elder Hamula Sister Felix said to me, "Hermana! I am so glad you could make it!" hahahaha

Love you all! Have a great week!
P.S. a member gave us CHOKIS this week... I haven't have these since the MTC!!


Exchanges!

Monday, April 4, 2016

OXNARNIA 04/04/2016

Hello family!! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! Everyone tell her happy birthday for me, okay?

Also, I heard the Elahny Garcia got baptized yesterday. I am so excited for her! I think I sent pictures of her last week...

So...here's the scoop from the NARD!

The work here is Camarillo is kind of slow - especially compared to Santa Maria. It's because the elders cover the Oxnard half, and we cover Camarillo (which is where all the whities live...). But the members really are amazing and they are so missionary minded! Every house we go to, the members are SO excited to see us. Especially because they didn't have Hermanas for a transfer. They love us!

 It is so good to be back in Oxnard too. I got to see a ton of people from the Oxnard 6th ward at general conference, and everyone remembered me! Even people I didn't remember...that really surprised me! I didn't think anyone would because I couldn't even talk to these people back then haha! But it made me really excited for all of you to come meet them too.

The most exciting of all though was seeing Selena and Regina again!!! They both now live in Oxnard 5th ward boundaries. I called Selena the very first day and we went the second day to go visit them! They live in the Elder's area, so we went to introduce them to eachother. It was so exciting!! They both remembered so much. I was so impressed! Selena said, "Being baptized was the best thing I've ever done in my life." And then she talked about how the Holy Ghost helps her with school and work and everything. Ah I am so proud of her! Hopefully they will both start coming back to church.
Hermana Hemingway is so amazing! I am so impressed by her humility and ability to follow the spirit. She really loves the Lord and leads by example. I am excited to work with her. She served for about 8 months in Honduras, but had problems with her knee and was reassigned to the states. She is from somewhere named Keller near Dallas, TX.  
I learned so much from General Conference! I realized that I want to be better at praying. That seems to be the key to everything! Heavenly Father has so many plans and blessings just waiting for us, and we just need to act and draw nearer to him. I loved Elder Holland's talk as well. It made me realize that so many times after spiritual experiences, I often get really down on myself and how imperfect I am. But rather, I can grow my testimony in the love that God has for me, and become humbled through amazement at how incredible Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really are.

I am excited for this week as well. We have so much in store! We have Elder Hamula coming for a mission tour. STL's and zone leaders get to go to an MLC (mission leadership council) with him as well on Wednesday (shout out to mom's birthday! Don't forget to tell her for me).

We also met this youth in our ward named Vanessa, and she taught herself how to play the piano. She is so good! She didn't even read music before. So tomorrow and Thursday we are going to go teach her piano lessons for service. :) I am super excited!

I love you all! If you didn't watch conference - go watch it.

Have a great week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks