Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get ready DC! Hermana Riddle is on her way!

This week is full of news!  We got to talk to Mariah so much so there is a lot to talk about!

After Mariah's last P-Day her week started off with running in to Kayla's "really good friend" Kelson. He went in to the MTC on Nov 12th and they saw each other the first day!  Before Mariah left to the MTC, she and Kelson knew that they would be in the MTC for 1 week together so they planned an "awkward" meeting/handshake.  At first, the story was supposed to be that he was her boyfriend but then Mariah emailed him to let him know that that story wouldn't fly because she had gotten so close to the girls in her district and they knew everything about each other.  So, they settled on the fact that he would be her crazy ex-boyfriend and the only people it would work for would be the elders in his district that he would just be getting to know. 

So..this was how the meeting up was supposed to be..

And this is how it really was....

And then it turned out like this...

I think that they were both caught off guard seeing each other the first day he was there. When we talked to Riah on the phone she said that she was going in to have dinner and he was just finishing up so it was unexpected that she would see him.  She said that she saw him a couple of times in passing after that because he was in her same building for classes, just on a different floor. But, then didn't see him again until the evening before she left.  Small world!  She was also able to see some other friends there and was able to get pictures with them before she left.  She said that she will send those pics next P-Day.

On Wednesday the 12th, (that same day last week) I got a sweet surprise and received a text from one of Mariah's teachers at the MTC. He said they took a departing picture and said that all of the girls in her district were amazing and so ready to go to the field.  He sent the picture below. All I can say is that it really made my day :)

Mariah mentioned in her email to us last week that on her next P-day she would be allowed to email back and forth to us so that we could make arrangements for the time when she would be able to call us from the airport.  So, you better believe that we were watching for that first email to come through so we could chat with her.  So..we got to chat a little in live time with her through email.  Jared and I sent a picture to her saying.."this is what we look like right now while we are talking to you!"  She sent us a picture as well and said "this is what I look like right now!" I love that she is wearing her missionary tag with her Dance Co jacket..haha..cute!! The picture is below.  It was fun to see her in the email room with her (2) companions. (They put them in a threesome) because all of the other sisters in her district had already gone out to the field. These hermanas are the ones that are going to DC with her.  So fun!!

Right in the middle of our email conversation Mariah said that they were having a fire drill and that she would be right back..haha:)  When she got back inside they were told that it really was a fire and she said that the mail room smelled like smoke.  She said that they have a bunch of construction going on because they are starting the MTC expansion and so she thinks that something happened there. She said they had to go outside with what they had on their backs and it was freezing. So..while they were outside waiting she decided to take an "in the moment selfie" which she said was the closest thing to a snapchat that we would be getting for the next 18 months.  We keep telling her that it's 16 1/2 now:) Here is her "in the moment selfie".....

When Mariah called us from the airport at 4:15 AM on Wed, November 19th she said that she had been up all night. They had to report to the lobby at 2:30 AM.  She was in good spirits nevertheless and was just so excited to be leaving out to the field.  She said that the other hermanas in her district left on Monday and Tues morning and that she had gotten up with them to help them out to the buses and say goodbye.  So, she didn't get that much sleep on those nights either.  Needless to say, she was exhausted when she got to DC and she welcomed the fact that it was 2 hours later there because she got to go to bed 2 hours earlier than she would have here.

We talked to her while she was waiting for her plane at the Salt Lake Airport and then again when she had a layover in Minnesota, She got to speak to us in Spanish and she says that she feels comfortable communicating but of course still feels like there is more to learn.  I have to say that she did a really good job speaking.  Her mission mom let her call us one more time after she had eaten dinner at the mission home to let us know that she got there safe.  She couldn't talk to us for very long because all of the sisters were waiting to use the phone.  She said that they were taking all the sisters to a hotel to spend the night and that they would meet their companions the next day. (TODAY)

Here are some things that Mariah shared with us during our phone calls.

She said that West Campus was soooo much better than main campus and that they are designing the expanded part of the MTC to be similar to what West Campus was like.  She said that the head of the cafeteria in West Campus just loved the sisters in Mariah's district and gave them all West Campus Snap-backs. (Hats)  When West Campus closed the head of that cafeteria moved over to the Main Campus and the day before Riah left she took them in to a room to show them the actual model of what the new MTC will look like when it is done. She said it is going to be sooo nice with courtyards and everything.  The plan is to change the capacity from 2000 missionaries to 5000 missionaries!  She said that they were the first missionaries to be able to see the actual model.  Wow!  She felt special.

She mentioned that she receives around 30 emails a week from friends and family!  Thank you all so much for being such a great support to her!!  So..she wants everyone to know that if she hasn't gotten back to you that she will soon and if she hasn't emailed you back it's because she runs out of time on her email.  She would love for you to give your home addresses to her if you can because she says that she can write letters in her downtime at night. Even though she is headed out to the field you can still send her letters on It's the cost of a stamp but it is still just sitting down and typing a letter out and then dearelder mails the letter for you.  It's sweet because you don't have to worry about getting a stamp, envelope and then making sure it gets out to the mail.  So..that is an option for anyone of you and then her email won't get so tied up:)

She memorized the first vision in Spanish and repeated it to us on the phone. Awesome! Only I understood it but it was a sweet moment to hear her speaking the words that she will be sharing with the people that she teaches.

Mariah said that she loved all of the girls in her district so much and that they got so close. She is glad that every one of them live here in Utah, within 30 mins of one another so they all plan to get together after their missions. Some of them are planning on attending college together when they get back.

If any of you know Mariah really well you know that she loves to talk with the "Miranda" voice.  We knew without a doubt that she wasn't going to be able to get through her mission without everyone around her knowing about her Miranda talk. She said that all of the girls in her district would talk to each other like Miranda and they had such a great time. I would love to hear how she uses her Miranda voice in Spanish. Hopefully she can be serious with her investigators. Haha:)

Her luggage made it through without an overcharge for weight!  Her checked bags weighed 45 and 47 lbs, they couldn't be over 50 lbs.Yay! We were so worried about that because of all the things she needed to take. Girls just have to take more stuff than the guys do..its kind of not fair:) She did say though that she stuffed a bunch of heavy stuff in her carry on bags and that one of her carry ons weighed 43 lbs!! All her books and language materials combined with her diabetes supplies and such made for a heavy bag!  Good thing she is buff! Haha.

Well, sorry for the long blog today.  I wanted to mention all of this stuff for history so thanks for bearing with me. I can't wait to hear how her first day in the field went.  I have been thinking and wondering what it is like for her today out in DC.  I hope DC is ready for this fantastic missionary because I know that Hermana Riddle is ready for DC!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One more week and then off to DC!! Week 6

This next week is Mariah's last week in the MTC!  I can't believe it!  I really do think that the time has flown by.  I have missed her a lot this week though. I can tell by her letters that she is in total mission mode.  Her focus is clear and she says she is just so excited to get out to Washington DC. We are so happy that we get to talk to her next Wednesday when she goes to the airport.  She sent me her flight plans and her flight leaves really early so she said that she will be leaving the MTC at 2:30 AM!  Crazy!  I don't think we will be talking to her at that time..but we will take any time we can get. She says that we will get to arrange for a time to call next week.:)

Mariah will be getting an Ipad when she gets out to DC and she will have an hour a day on Facebook for missionary stuff.  As far as I am aware, we can comment on her stuff but she is not allowed to communicate back and forth unless there is someone that we know of that could use an inspiring message.  I guess she'll give us more details about that later.

In every letter that she sends to us she talks about her temple trips.  She has been able to go every week while she has been in the MTC.  What a blessing for her! Below is a picture of her and a bunch of new people on her zone that came in this past week.

Here is something that is kind of funny.... Before Mariah left she said kiddingly, "I'll probably find the person I am going to marry while I am on my mission." Well in her recent letter to us she said this..  

"On Wednesday last week we got to skype members and talk to them in Spanish from our mission.. one of them was a girl who lives in WJ that just got home from our mission on medical release, she has been out 9 months and home for like 3 weeks so far!! It was way cool to talk to her and ask her questions!! (With a little spiritual thought at the end haha) But yeah I am super pumped and a lot more confident now that I was able to talk to someone who just served there!!

Also, one of our teachers, Hermano Wright, served in our mission like 2 years ago and he is married now, but he had our mission president and he said that he is super chill... I also met a girl from Arlington that knows our mission pres and the missionaries from out there from one of the stakes we will be serving in and she knows hermano wright and his wife! She said that our mission pres encourages the missionaries out there to get married to each other after their missions haha.. She said that there have been NINE couples so far coming out of that mission and getting married that served in her area she lived in. NINE with that president!! Wow.. crazy!.."   

Haha!  I had to laugh at that part of her letter because of what she had said before she left.  I know she won't be looking though because there will be other people that she will want to be looking for instead.  She'll be looking for those that she can share the gospel with. Funny though!!:)

I have loved getting Mariah's letters.  They are always so inspiring,  I'm not sure what Jared and I did right to be blessed with such a fantastic daughter.  I know I keep saying this, but she will be a fantastic missionary!  She already is a fantastic missionary!  I can't wait to see what the next 16 1/2 months has in store for her.

From her most recent email she ended with this...

"I just want to share something real quick that had an everlasting impact on me this week...
Elder Holland.. bless that man.. You all need to go back and just listen to everything he has ever had to say in his time as an apostle. He is amazing. I was reading one of his talks that he gave at BYU in 1999, called "Cast not away therefore your confidence." I recommend it. Go read it. My favorite part is:

"...we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight--a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless."

-No matter what, God will always win. In a room full of darkness, the light will always overcome it, and as we move ourselves closer to that light, closer to God, we will be able to see more clearly, and the things that are important in life will be illuminated.

This gospel is the greatest gift anyone could receive/partake of in this world. And if I can help just but one soul catch even a glimpse of the joy and happiness it brings while I am out on this mission, it will be worth it. I wouldn't be out here if it weren't for my testimony of His church. I wouldn't just "give up" 18 months of my time for nothing. I am not giving up these 18 months, The Church of Jesus Christ really is something, something that can't be explained in words until you have stepped in and felt its effect in your life.

I love you all so much!! Remember to SMILE and have fun!! Life is too short to dwell on the things that just aren't worth it! Make the best of today!!"

Mariah can't tell you enough how grateful she is for all of the love and support she has received.  It means so much to her.  Thanks everyone!:)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Going to work as a disciple of Chirst-Week 5

Wow!  Can I just say that I just love Mariah.  Her letters are always so positive and uplifting.  One thing I always do is cry when I read them though.  It is so comforting to know that Mariah has received such a strong confirmation about why she is doing what she is doing.  She gets it!  She knows why she is on a mission! She is committed and ready to share light with others.  Her email this week was very inspiring.  Here is a little piece of what she shared with us...

First of all, I was glad to hear that she is still playing the piano.  From her email she shares..."This Thursday I am thinking about trying out for a musical number to do during a devotional one day with all the missionaries, but I dunno, we'll see. Um. Somehow I got put in charge of the music for our Branch when I got here for Sunday meetings, so now I'm kindof like the "branch pianist" I guess you could say but technically as a missionary you can't have another calling so it's just like "your calling as a missionary with some extra responsibilities" as our Branch President likes to call it. I don't mind, tho."  I remember several months ago telling Mariah that I had a strong feeling that she should keep practicing the piano and making sure that she could still play the hymns. I told her that I had a feeling that she would be able to have that opportunity on her mission. Funny thing was that the same day that I talked to Mariah about this she had that same feeling and while I was gone for a few hours she was at home playing the piano. I had no idea until I mentioned it to her and she told me that she had just finished playing. Next thing you know she got called to be the Primary pianist in our ward and we were like "Oh..that's why!"  Haha. Well, now to see that she is able to share her musical talent on her mission it just goes to show that how important it is to listen to promptings. I am positive that she will have many more opportunities to share her musical talent!

Mariah mentioned in her email that they had to say goodbye to one of the districts in her zone yesterday.  She said it was tough and didn't realize how close they had all gotten in such a short time. Below is a picture of some of her zone.  Are you surprised its a selfie..sort of? Typical Mariah being silly for the camera!

Maybe I should share this other one.  It shows their faces a little better..well kinda:) Here's another!

In Mariah's email she also shared..."This week for some reason the scripture from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi Chapter 5:13 has been coming up to me personally through one on one teacher conversations or through the spirit. It just keeps coming to my head, and I feel that it really is my purpose for being out here. I feel so much peace from it and a confirmation that what I am doing is the right thing. It says:

'"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."'

I know that Jesus Christ himself wants me here, and that I am not just a missionary. I have been set apart to BE A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST, to represent Him and all that His church stands for. Something that I need to take advantage of. Because these 18 months are NOTHING compared to the eternity that I know exists. These 18 months I have to give all I've got to this mission, because after this, that calling of being set apart as one of Christ's disciples will be released from me, and I won't be able to teach with the same power and authority I have now to share what I know to be true." 

She goes on to say.."This next 18 months, I do not want to just preach the gospel. I know that I have spoken with the people I will be teaching in the life before we came to earth, and that I PROMISED those people that I would bring the Gospel of Christ to them. I do not want to just preach the gospel. I want to go out and save my friends, as Christ has saved me."

What an awesome message! We are all disciples of Christ..she is just lucky that she gets to devote 18 months solely to sharing the gospel with others. I can't think of a better place I would have her be right now then out on a mission.  Of course home would be nice..but her heart is somewhere else, and that is where it should be:) 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Moving on out! Week 4

Week 4- All of the missionaries that were living in the West Campus MTC had to MOVE OUT! She moved out on Oct 29th so we got to hear from her that day as well. I am not exactly sure why they moved out but I believe it was just temporary housing until they got some of the rooms in the main MTC remodeled to be able to accommodate more missionaries.  She and the groups there with her were the last of the missionaries to live in the West MTC; so someone at the MTC took a picture that they are going to keep and hang up in the MTC FOREVER! (As Mariah says..haha) Here is a pic of Mariah and the girls in her district ready to move. Boy do they have a lot of luggage!!

Mariah had an extremely loaded week. She was able to hear from the General Primary President-Rosemary M Wixom.  This is what she had to say about her talk.. "It was AMAZING the things she said, so inspiring!! Also, it's really cool that her and her husband used to be the mission pres and wife over the DC South mission! We wanted to talk to them, but didn't end up getting to, which is fine :) She talked about "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" song in the Primary Children's songbook, go look it up everyone it is SO powerful! We all sang it, and although I have been singing it all my life, the lyrics never really hit me so hard until now. #histruthiwillproclaim

It seems as if she did have a little time to snap a few fun pics. Here are some cute pics that Mariah took with some of the sisters in her district.


Some feelings that Mariah shared from her email this week:

"Jesus Christ is the example of a perfect life. I know that. With that being said, a perfect life doesn't involve ALL easy things. He went through harder things than ANY of us had to bear, and ON TOP OF IT went through everything that everyone in the history of the world has to bear. (When thinking of this, I feel snobby for EVER complaining of ANYTHING in my life.) Just know that if you are ever struggling with anything, to turn to Christ. Pray for His help and He will guide you. He knows. I know it. 

This life isn't about living for yourself--if everyone in this world revolved around their "own self," there wouldn't even really be people on this earth, we wouldn't be able to even function! SELFLESS sacrifice is what brings TRUE happiness. Just remember that. This is another reason why I decided to serve a mission. I want the happiness that comes from this gospel. I want OTHERS to feel that happiness that comes from this gospel and the selfless sacrifice of our Savior for the world."

Aside from all the silliness....Week 3

So..Mariah's week three email entailed a bunch of silliness!  Its nice to know that Mariah is keeping her sense of humor.  We all knew that Mariah would bring a lot of joy and laughter to her companions and to those she comes in contact with. She really is a funny girl.  From her email she says "Umm.. This week I fell out of my desk because it was unstable and flipped forward.. and yesterday I was doing a headstand in the apartment which I probably shouldn't have been doing anyways but I was with two of the other sisters from my district who I'm super close with and apparently I didn't see the corner of the wall on the way back down and smacked my knee SO HARD. Haha I was dying laughing and so were they but now I have a bruise. It's fine though, one of the sisters was like, "Oh my gosh!! That could've seriously been something on a vine!!" But she got to see it live so.. real good."  

Mariah has always been very entertaining..we miss her happy, silly, personality so it is fun to at least get to experience some of it in her letters. Anything to get a laugh.

Also, in Mariah's email she sent the picture below and said this about it  "mom, you'll think this is funny.. so I sing in the choir but this week I sang in sacrament.. yeah dont even ASK how I got in that predicament, never in my LIFE did I think that would happen, but these are the girls I sang with and the blonde one (Hma Mugleston) played the piano.."

I seriously laughed out loud when I read that she had been talked into singing in the choir,  She actually has a really good voice but never would I have thought that she would have been talked into singing in sacrament with just a few girls either.  I guess the mission has stretched her in ways we never thought possible:)  Also, notice in the pic that Mariah just has to be the silly one....

In her email she also wrote about being able to attend a devotional given by Carlos Godoy from the 70.  She attached the picture below and said this about it, "AWESOME guy.. ha funny story we weren't really supposed to get a pic with him but we'll save that for another day.." 

I'm not sure what happened with that but we received a letter that week that went into much detail about the devotional that she attended.  I'm attaching the letter below so that you can see what an amazing experience she is having in the MTC,  

When we received this letter it just brought tears to my eyes.  It's so awesome to see that Mariah just gets it! She knows why she is out on a mission.  I just can't even express how happy it makes us when we see her walking in righteousness and sharing her light with others. I am so glad that she is growing and gaining a stronger witness each and everyday of the reasons she chose to go on a mission.  As she says that she will always cherish the letters we send to her- I will truly cherish this letter that she sent to us.  If all we got was the email that she sent we would have thought that her week was all a bunch of silliness,  But, aside from all the silliness, you can see that she is an AMAZING girl!!

MTC fun and learning! Week 2

Week #2 was absolutely fantastic for Mariah!  I love, love, love receiving her emails and letters.  I just can't wait until the next one comes.  In week 2 Mariah wrote that one thing she has learned so far in the MTC is to "get over yourself!"  She goes on to say..."It's not about everything you can do, it's about others and what God can do to help those around us come to an understanding of the things they are being taught. This life is the time to prepare to meet God, and we only get one chance! I'm so glad I took that one chance and decided to dedicate part of my life to solely preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and helping others to understand the importance and joy it can bring into our lives." 

Mariah shared something funny that happened to them during the first week in the MTC. She said this about the picture below.." If you zoom it in or hold your screen at a certain light you can see what the board says behind us. So our district wasn't informed that we couldn't do sack breakfasts on Sundays, and you can't enter the cafeteria at the MTC without a dress on, so when we showed up and there weren't any they told us we could just go into the cafeteria and grab something to go really quick just for that day.. um ya. Bad idea. Later that day they informed everyone by writing it on the board before you walk in that "everyone needs to be in Sunday dress to enter the cafeteria," and that there are "NO sack meals on Sundays.." whoops. Ha. We all got a good laugh out of that."

Mariah wrote a letter home the 2nd week and told that she was going to be able to watch "Meet the Mormons"!  She was so excited that she was going to be able to see it as it came out just 2 days after she entered the MTC and she was really bummed about it!  She told us to look up the talks by Elder Bednar on Jesus/Christlike love, forgetting ourselves, and Elder Holland's talk on Missionaries and how its the greatest opportunity in life!! Another thing she shared was that they sang a song "The Sisters in Zion" in Relief Society. She said that she felt the spirit so strong as they sang it.  I am going to attach a link to the story behind the song and the lyrics. The words were rewritten by Janice Kapp Perry specifically for sister missionaries and the tune is still to "As Sister's in Zion" which Janice Kapp Perry arranged the music for back in 1985 I think.  Check out this link..I am certain that you will feel the spirit as you read the story behind it and then read the words to the song:)  There are places online that you can listen to a preview of the song if you just search the title of the song.

The picture below is of her and her companion at the temple meeting up with fellow Bingham Miner Braden.  Hence..Mariah and Braden doing the Bingham pick and shovel sign in the picture. Mariah's companion has no clue what that means:)

All in all, it sounds like Mariah is having the time of her life.  We feel so blessed that she has the wonderful opportunity of serving a mission!!

First Day, First Companion, First District

On the first day that Mariah was in the MTC October 8, 2014, they asked her to write a letter home. Below is the letter she sent to us!  All day long we were wondering what she was doing after we dropped her off so I was so glad that she explained in good detail what she was doing. It was so nice to be invited into her day and feel of her spirit. 

Her first email to us contained this picture of her and her 1st new companion. What cute girls!

Below is a picture of her district! They all live within 30 mins of each other and have gotten so close already.  They have plans to reunite after their missions:) 3 of them are going to Washington DC with Mariah though.

I am so grateful that we get to hear from Mariah often!  Modern technology is amazing!  Mariah is having such a wonderful experience in the MTC so far! So good to hear!!