Holyyyy cow. I don't even know how to begin. How did that happen? I feel like I just closed my eyes and am about to wake up from the craziest dream of my life! Every returned missionary says that it goes fast, but you don't really believe them until you are about to be one of them. I am feeling all sorts of emotions. My mission has been such an incredible experience, and the lands of Ventura will forever hold a portion of my heart.
The Lord is so loving and merciful. He has blessed me this last week with so many "11th hour miracles!" One of the biggest being that we found 8 new investigators. Well, the Lord placed 8 really prepared people in our path and allowed us to find them. :) This means that we met them on the street, they set up an appointment, we went and taught them, and they agreed for us to come back again. I have never had that many in a whole transfer, let alone one week! We prayed all transfer that the prepared people would be placed in our path and that angels would go before us to prepare them, as the scriptures promise. I am so grateful to have seen such a miracle to end my mission with! And to think, I was originally suppose to come home a week early. Man am I glad they pushed it back a week!!
Yesterday was also one of the most beautiful moments of my mission. Efren and Hernan were able to pass the sacrament. Another Hermano in the ward pushed Efren in his wheelchair as he did so. It was the best last Sunday of my mission present I could have ever asked for! We also went with Ursula to Young Womens (because it is in english, so we get to translate for her) and they were talking about the importance of sustaining people in the church or in our families. They asked each girl to write someone that they sustain on the chalk board. Ursula wrote, "mi papa." Then they asked in what ways the girls sustained them, and Ursula said, "Well, sometimes when my dad gets frustrated because of his illness, we give him the Book of Mormon or one of the missionary pamphlets to read, and then he is comforted." This family is such an example to me. They are already so strong in the gospel and teach all of us how to live it!
As I reflect on all of the experiences that I have had these last 18 months, I am amazed. My testimony is so much different than when I came here. I have so much more understanding, and have also realized how much I really don't know. I will forever thank Heavenly Father for the relationship I was able to build with him as He has taught me so many beautiful things here. It makes me emotional thinking about how I could not have done this without Jesus Christ. I have been changed so much, and I plan to continue to allow him to change me. I am so grateful for the gospel, and for the love of God that sustains me. It is very bitter-sweet. But so honored for the privileged I had to be here. I was no where near a perfect missionary, but my mission was absolutely perfect for me. Christ made up the rest.
I love my Savior. I love following his teachings, and telling other people about the happiness and relief that can be found by following them. I am so grateful for the truth that families can be together forever through the restored power of Christ here on the earth. I will continue to serve him and fight for his cause.
I am excited to see all of you!! You'll have to help me stay busy! No asking me to watch any crazy movies or listen to gross songs. But I will say yes to going to Reed's Dairy, a snow cone shack (because they don't have those here for some reason), or having Pinterest parties. :) I'll try my hardest not to be an awkward returned missionary, but no promises.
Love you all! See ya soon! :)
<3 HERMANA RICKS
|We went to a restaurant with a member called, "Kyle's Kitchen." This is Kyle! He is a 12 year old boy with special needs. He is so cute. :) And the food is good too!|
|Thank you for the package mom!! The district loved all of the candy. :)|