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Monday, May 30, 2016

I've lost my way...what a pity! 05/30/2016

Hello everyone!! happy memorial day! I have so many things to share with you from this week. Hopefully I will have time to type all of them. 

So on Tuesday, Hermana Green and I went to try and contact a few people in a neighborhood before we went to go do service. A lot of little things happened to put us right in the path of a lady named Ramona! She was walking her dog. We started talking to her, and soon found out that she had talked to missionaries before and had a Book of Mormon at home. She expressed that she was Catholic but had recently stopped going to church because she just didn't agree with some things, and she felt really frustrated about religion. We explained what the Book of Mormon was that she had, and how the true church of Jesus Christ had been restored in it's fullness! We testified to her that she could pray to Heavenly Father about these things, and promised her that he would answer her prayers. She said, "Oh! You're making me all emotional! I was just going on a walk and thinking about all of these things, and then I met you two!" Hermana Green then told her how whenever she feels emotional, or a rush of hope come through her, or a feeling of peace, or something that makes her want to cry, she knows that it is the spirit testifying that something is true. Romona is from San Fransisco, but she gave us her address and number and said the missionaries could come visit her. :) It was such a miracle! Then right as she walked away, Hermana Green told me that she was praying in her head and said, "Okay Heavenly Father, I really want to talk to Ivan (guy we met a few weeks ago that we were trying to contact, but he was awkwardly sitting in his car) so if he walks out of his car in 5 seconds we will go and talk to him." So she counted to 5 in her head, and then of course - out walks Ivan! 

Wednesday was also pretty crazy, but for a much different reason. The other Hermana's car had broken down Tuesday night, so Wednesday morning we were driving them to and from the mechanic and the towing company and everything like that. Then we went to the library so that I could do My Plan, and as we went to leave I had the weirdest feeling that someone had stolen something from me! I checked in my bag and I had my wallet and everything there, so I thought. Hmm. Weird. I must be making something up. Well. We got out to the car, and Hna Green was backing me up (cause we have weird missionary rules where we can't back up without a backer upper) and I went to grab my lemonade  and saw that it wasn't in the cup holder. So I looked up, and it was all dumped into the glove box! I thought,"Pues. Hermana Green definitely did not do that." Then I realized that everything was shuffled through and thrown around, and some hooligan had tried to rob stuff from our car! I hope they took of Book of Mormon. But the incredible part is that they didn't even see the credit card we have in the glove box for gas, or Hermana Griffes GPS that she is letting me borrow that was sitting on the dash... There must have been some ninja angels in there! 

Fast forward to Friday. We were out walking in the morning, and right before we got back to our apartment we heard this man yelling, "HELP! HELP!! I'VE LOST MY WAY!" We thought, oh no...a drunk person." But we looked up and saw this cute little Chinese man way down the road in a panic! So we went over to him, and he told us in very broken English that he was visiting from china and he had gone for a morning walk and gotten lost! He said, "I was hoping you could give me a lift! I thought I would know the way but then I lost my way - what a pity!" hahahah it was so cute. He knew his address, which happened to be right down the road from the church. So we told him we could walk back with him. He was SO grateful for us and kept telling us how kind we were. He asked us if we could bring him a picture because he wanted to remember us for forever. So of course we took him a Chinese Book of Mormon that has been kicking around in our trunk ever since Hna Green was here last time. Coincidence? No. He was really excited about that too and said he would start reading it that night. :) He also gave us his address in China so that we can write him when he goes back! :) Most productive exercises of my mission. For sure. 

Saturday Efren, Hernan, and Ursula all had their baptismal interviews! (Surprise - his name is Efren - not Efrain. We've all been calling him the wrong name for the next month...awkward.) They totally passed. They are so genius. We were teaching them Friday night, and they all remember all of the 10 commandments, the name of the prophet, and basically everything. And they've only been learning for a month. 

Yesterday we had branch conference. After church, the Obispo family had invited Efren and his kids, and us over for lunch. We were planning on teaching them about what they will be doing after they are baptized, and I had felt like we should invite the stake president to the lesson with us to help explain the priesthood to Efren and Hernan. But then I quickly decided that I didn't want to invite someone else to a member's house, because they were feeding us, and thought that the Hermano Obispo can just explain it! So, we went to lunch, ate a TON, and  then right as we were about to finish up eating, guess. what. The stake president knocks on the door! Hna Obispo answered and was so excited and surprised to see him! They invited him right in, gave him, and asked if he wanted a taco. He said, "Sure! Just one." So they gave him three! Then I asked him, "How did you know to come?" He said, "I just came!" We invited him to help us teach our lesson about the priesthood. He only had five minutes, so he explained his part, and after he left Efren said," Wow. He explains things really well!" I am still so amazed by it. Heavenly Father really does love us individually, and he sends people to bless us individually! I am so glad that President Houston was so intune with the spirit to make up for a lack of following that prompting! I found out later that Hna Green had felt like we should invite him to and did the same thing I did. 

Heavenly Father loves us all and has a plan! 

I love you all too. Have a great week!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 

Man from China

Efren Ursula and Hernan

Monday, May 23, 2016

La Cucaracha ya no puede caminar ay ay ay! 05/23/16

Hello Family!

I don't even know what happened this week. It just keeps going faster and faster. Like really I am sorry if this letter is super lame I can't even think of anything right now.

Oh I thought of something. We met a crazy guy! After we told him a little bit about the restoration of the church, he told us that he believed us. And in Aliens...and that he has super powers. He said that he gets a little freaked out because so many planes and helicopters fly over him and he thinks the government is watching him. We told him that it might be because there is an airport in Goleta... who knows. There's lots of crazies here in Santa Barbara. 

Efrain and his kids, Ursula and Hernan have baptismal dates! They are going to be baptized on June 11th. They are so awesome. Last night we had a dinner/lesson with them at a member's house, and they understand everything so well. The kids especially - I am so impressed! As the dad tried to tell us the story of Nephi and Laban, the kids kept correcting it haha. And we asked if they felt like they had felt the spirit, and Efrain said, "Well yeah! When I picked up the Book of Mormon I didn't feel like I could put it down!" :) 

We have another investigator that I met this week named Elida. She had an eye surgery, and so we helped her figure everything out. The office she went to didn't have translators so we had to help her read the paperwork. She ended up getting a priesthood blessing as well and she felt the spirit so strong! She said it felt like God was just right there and she could feel him. We went to help her make food the next day, and we read to her out of the Book of Mormon. Even though she was in pain and all numbed up, she understood everything! She has been through a lot of hard things in her life, but she is one of the most charitable people I have ever met. I can't wait for you all to meet these people!

I am sorry this is a lame email...this week just went by so fast. But I am so grateful to be here! Hna Green and I have been trying to contact as many people as we can, and we have met a lot of interesting people! We really like street contacting together. It is fun working with her. She goes home a transfer after I do. So on August 2nd. But I know that this is a true message that we share! I am so honored to be here, and I am excited to see all of you soon. :) 

Love you!

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 

Oh... We also ran into a huge cockroach. And got to stand on a staircase by the ocean to take a picture. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Miracles!! Miracles all week. 05/16/16

It all started out on Monday - the last night I was in Camarillo! Hna Hemingway and I were going to visit someone, and we decided to try and go talk to some random person we saw. Well, that random person went back inside, but we ended up seeing someone else that was unloading bags of cement from their truck! His name was Hector. So we went to go ask if we could help, and he told us we could come help paint his house the next day. When we said, "Okay!" He was really surprised. We set up a time to come and then he said, "Do you want to come in for dinner?!" We excitedly accepted because we hadn't eaten anything, and we would get to meet the family! (P.S. I love latinos. Seriously, who else would randomly invite some strangers in for dinner?) So we got to teach him, and we soon realized that he was a super hilarious person. The whole family was all staring at us and he said, "These are the Hermanas and they want to eat! Seriously - make room for them!" He asked what church we were from and we said, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." He said, "Oh good! We are from the First Days." haha except it was in spanish so it was funnier. Anyways, we ate tostadas with them, and got to know their family. They are catholic. Like everyone. But Hector is open to learning! As we left we talked about how perfect the Palma family would be for them who lived on the next street over. Then we got into our car, and there was a message from our dinner coordinator telling us that we had dinner with la familia Palma the next day! No way! So we called to ask if we could invite Hector to dinner too, and she said, "Of course! We can come help paint as well if you want!" MIRACLE. I don't know what happened after that though cause I left... I'll have to ask Hna Hemingway!

Now for Santa Barbara! We have a really amazing investigator named Efrain. He has two kids and they all love the church! They have been coming for a few weeks and are just the most humble people in the world. We taught them the Restoration last night, and they understood it really well. They are member referrals. He has a wheelchair, I'm not sure why, and his kids are 13 and 14. The last Hnas here said they read the BOM during lunch at school. :) You can definitely tell when an investigator truly desires to follow Jesus Christ! They are true seekers. We are hoping to set them all with a baptismal date next week. 

We are also teaching another person named Edgar who is a member referral. (He is the boyfriend of the branch president's daughter.) He is another person that really understands the docterine we teach him! We would have set a baptismal date with him last week, but didn't get to teach him a second time because he is grounded. This week. Other than that, we are just trying to get some more solid investigators! Hna Green and I are expecting miracles to happen this transfer. 

We had another miracle on Wednesday with service! We went to go visit a potential investigator, and we were just about to get into our car and drive to see someone else when we noticed a lady come out of her upstairs apartment and limp down the stairs with a crutch to go talk to the mail man. After the mailman left, we got out and went to ask her if we could come in and wash her dishes or do anything because we figured it was hard the way her ankle was. She started crying, and said that we could come do her dishes. She immediately took it back and said, "No it'll be fine - I just bought a stool so that I could do the dishes, so I can do it." But we were persistent and kept telling her we wanted to come help! She finally let us come in, and she was just crying the whole time. She eventually told us that she had just barely received a really rude text from a friend, and she was going through a really hard time. She was SO grateful that we would come and do that for her. We were able to testify to her of the love that Heavenly Father has for her and knowing that she needed that at that specific time. 

So on another note - my zone leader got me sick. He shook my hand at transfers without knowing he was sick..I found out a few days later when we both were sick! Rude. However, I ended up receiving a preisthood blessing because of it, and it was such a miraculous experience. On Thursday we had stayed in, and on friday I still felt really weak and unable to stand for long periods of time. After district meeting, the elders gave me a blessing. I had been praying that I would have the faith to be healed so that I could go out and work that day! Literally, as soon as they placed their hands on my head, I felt different. It didn't go away completely, but I felt strengthened. I was able to stand and walk around for the rest of the day just fine! I am still sick and congested, but it was such a miracle of the priesthood. I am so grateful for that. It is such an incredible blessing to know that the power of God really is restored to the earth today, and we have the ability to access it. God loves us so much. 

I love you all so much! I hope you have a wonderul week! Expect miracles, and they will come! :)

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks 

Here is the only picture we took this week: we did service at a charity place and they have this on the wall. It basically explains the life of a missionary at all times. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

ey we just met you and this is crazy but, do you wanna play volleyball? 05/09/2016

Hello everyone! I don't have too much time left, sorry if this email is short. But luckily I got to talk to you all yesterday as well! :)

For all those I didn't talk to, here is transfer news!

I will no longer be and STL, but will be transferred to Santa Barbara to work with Hna Green for my last transfer! I am super excited. Hna Johnson will be coming here to take my place. State street here I come! ;)

It was so wonderful serving here in Camarillo with Hna Hemingway. It was a slower area, but it made us work harder and appreciate all of the miracles that we saw! The Lord really does have a plan. The new ward is on fire about missionary work.

We had a funny experience on Saturday.. So we are allowed to have a sports activity during the week once a week with investigators and or members, and so ours is Saturday afternoon. We had a lesson right before, and on our way to the lesson we met this 17 year old named Gilberto that doesn't speak English. We started talking to him and asked if he wanted to come play volleyball with us after we finished talking to his neighbor. When we came back outside he was all weird and kept saying weird things to try and through us off like, "I talk to the devil." We just ignored it and said, "So are you gonna come play volleyball?" Well, he ended up coming, and he followed us in his car. It was suppose to take 10 minutes to drive there, but there was a ton of traffic, and so it took about 30 minutes. I think he was annoyed about that...and then when we walked in, and other 8 missionaries introduced themselves. A all of them said, "I'm Elder ..." I just laughed because he was probably wondering why they're all named elder. Despite the fact that we were all super nice, I think he thought we were weird, and he just left... hahaha

Then we had to practice a the song, "We are all enlisted" so we could sing it for sacrament meeting, and I taught the elders how to harmonize! They were like little boys getting trucks on christmas. They were so excited. It was funny because we could hear them singing it down the hall, in the bathroom, in the gym..they loved it! And it's even funnier because the base line of that song has like three notes. But they were just so excited that they knew how to sing harmony. I even had a dream of that base and tener lines being sung that night. hahaha

The song went pretty well yesterday. All of church was really good! Ialso got to share my testimony with the ward, and that was really cool! I told them how I had started my mission in that chapel about a year and a half ago, and now I am going to SB to finish it off! I shared that I have had seen so many miracles, and experienced the atonement so much since then. I love all of them! I can't wait for you to meet them. :)

Obispo Nunez has been spending so much time getting everything in order with the new ward, and he still takes the time to tell us he wants to go with us to lessons. The last bishop - obispo Quesada is the ward mission leader. So basically, many miracles are yet to come! Maybe they'll have to split the ward again back to how it was. haha. But really it is so huge now!  

I learned so much from Hermana Hemingway! She is probably the most patient and humble companion I have ever had. She really leads by example. I will miss her! And I'll miss eating cereal on our beds together and telling each other stories. Cause that was like a weekly endeavor. It's weird - every transfer there is a food that I eat every day. This transfer it was cereal. Pictures to follow.

I love you all! I hope you have a great week! :)

<3 Hermana Trystan Ricks

PS sorry mom - I know you requested that I keep sending lots of pictures, but we didn't take like any this week... But here is our weekly cereal extravaganza on our beds!

Umm...You called us! 05/02/2016

Beware: this email is all over the place.

What in the world happened to this transfer?! It is already Monday of week 6. Which means it's the last week of the transfer. It is also does this happen?! Time goes so fast.

I started something called, "My Plan." this last week. It is a program for returning missionaries. The first thing it tells you is, "Congratulations! You're almost a returned missionary!" Gee thanks. haha I am excited to see all of you though! It is just really weird. And this is the best thing ever. Plus I get to eat Mexican food every day and I just don't want to change that.

This week we saw such a huge miracle! We have an investigator who is married to a returning less-active. She took the missionary lessons like 3 years ago, but didn't want to get baptized. When we came into the area she had just started coming to church, and we began teaching her the lessons. We tried to set her with a baptismal date in May last week, but she wouldn't accept it because she wanted more time. The next time we went over we found out that she loooves coffee, so we asked if that was why she didn't think she could get baptized in May. She said that was one of the reasons. We still didn't know what else was keeping her from wanting to be baptized. But as we studied for our next lesson, we felt impressed to speak about the power of the atonement and how Christ can enable us to do things that we aren't able to do out of our own strength. We planned to share personal experiences. I ended up telling her this story of a time I was having a hard time forgiving someone, so I said a prayer telling Heavenly Father that I needed his help, and the next day I woke up and just felt completely at peace. I couldn't explain how, or where all of the feelings went - they just left. Jenny then began smiling and said, "You know - that's why I can't get baptized. Do you remember when I told you that I wanted to feel at peace before I got baptized? Well, I told my husband yesterday that I couldn't forgive this person, and that's why I couldn't get baptized." We then asked her if she had prayed about when she wants to be baptized and she said, "I want to be baptized when you said. On May 28th. Oh! And I didn't drink Coffee today - even when I passed it in Target. I just didn't look." :) It is so amazing to me how Heavenly Father prepares his children. This is an investigator who really understands that importance of the baptismal covenants she is going to make! She understands how sacred it is, and I am so amazed that she wants to make sure she is clean, ready, and prepared because she takes that step.

I was also so amazed at the testimony of the recent convert who they had come up in stake conference yesterday. She shared her experience of joining the church and said that she was reading the Book of Momron and praying every day. One day, she realized that she needed to overcome the anger she had towards her dad through the power of the atonement. She hadn't talked to him for months and decided to call him up the next day and talk. I feel like that testimony was meant just for our investigator! Good thing she's super awesome and came to stake conference to hear it!

Elder Richards ( I can't remember his first name) of the seventy also came to stake conference. It was so powerful. I felt like the overall theme was how Heavenly Father is an individual God. Which means he loves all of us and knows us each individually! Just about every speaker in the adult session and the Sunday session shared stories about God specifically showing his love to one of his children. I wish I had time to write all of them down. One of them though was of a girl who had recently gone through a divorce at BYU-Idaho and was really struggling to know if God really knew who she was. That day, she went in to Women's Health, and during that class, President Clark walked in, walked back out, and came back in with Elder Bednar. He stayed for an hour doing a "question and answer" thing with them. At the end, the girl was still wondering if God really knew who she was. Right before Elder Bednar left, he told them all, "Sisters - I want you to know that at 9:04 this morning, (I think that's the time they said...) I received the distinct impression that there was one of Heavenly Father's daughters here on the campus that needed to know they were loved. I told President Clark that we would start at the top of campus. We have been walking to every classroom, and president clark walks in to see what class it is, and then back out. We have repeated this until he told me we were at Women's Health! When he said this, the spirit rushed over me and I knew we had found the right place. If you don't think God is an individual God, you tell me why he would send an apostle all over BYU-I campus and to a small Women's Health class just to tell you he loves you."

 This is also one of the first truths that is taught to us through the Restoration. When Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in the sacred grove - they called him by his name. They answered HIS specific question. In the YSA broadcast yesterday it was said that Joseph learned more about the true character of our loving Heavenly Father more in those few moments that any religious person had since Christ was on the earth. This is the first truth that we speak of. For this reason, this transfer for our Hermanas, so have had the goal of making sticky note walls that have an evidence for every day of God's love for  us! We decided to make ours in the shape of the plan of salvation. I will send a picture at the end.

This week during studies we talked a lot about the tongue of angles referred to in 2 Nephi 32:2-3. It hit me that we are such a small percentage of people in the world that have the gift of the holy ghost, and we therefore have the obligation to speak the words the holy ghost would speak! If people want to find voices of sarcasm or ridicule or belittlement - they can find it easy enough in the world. When we use that kind of language, we may be confirming a lie that Satan has been trying to tell to one of our brothers and sisters. So we, especially as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who have made sacred covenants to take his name upon us, should be a voice that speaks the truth. What God would have us know about our divine nature.

One more story that is just super hilarious. So we called a potential investigator this last week that the Los Robles Hermanas had met, and he didn't answer. He called us back about 20 minutes later, and asked who we were! When we told him we were the missionaries he said, "Oh I'm busy! Can I call you back later?" hahahha I don't think he realized that he had called us that time... we laughed so hard. :)

I love you all! And so does Heavenly Father! Have a wonderful week and ILL TALK TO YA SUNDAY!

Con todo carino,

Hermana Trystan Ricks <3

You are here!

Me starting my plan...
Fun fact! Every Hermana that comes and sleeps in my bed likes to put potatoes in it. Today, by companion arranged my stuffed animals for me...