Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas from DC!

What a Merry Christmas it was to hear from our beautiful missionary! She is doing fantastic! We didn't get much info in her last email to us other than all of the instructions and such as to when she would be calling us!  On her last P-Day she was busy making, buying and wrapping presents for her family and those in her ward who have done so much for her. And..just so everyone knows, it sounds like she got all of the packages and cards that you all sent to her. (At least all of the ones that I knew about from you contacting me for her address). She showed us a picture of everything she received from all of you and I could not believe how spoiled she was! Thank you so much for thinking about her!  She was just totally overjoyed with the thoughtfulness and generosity from so many of you! We cannot thank you enough for being such an awesome support to her!

Below, I attached a few fun pictures that we got from her this week. Its so awesome to be able to "see" what she has been doing!  Mariah is definitely sharing her zest for life with those who come in contact with her!! 


Mariah said that she feels so blessed to have a car.  One of the pics above shows the car that they drive around every day. They named it Franklin..haha. She has such a large area to cover and says that they would not be able to reach the people that they need to without the access of a car.  She is especially grateful to have the car in these winter months because it is sooo cold!! 

I loved the simple, meaningful things that Mariah shared in her last group email so I'm going to post it below so that you can read it in her own words.

 "Hola todo!!

How are you all?? I feel like some of you have fallen off the face of the earth, I wanna hear from you!!

This week has been pretty great!! We went on exchanges this week with the Sister Training Leaders, and I had to lead the area for my first exchange. It was kinda scary to think of at first, but I got over it real quick. So Hermana Quinones came and stayed in my area with me (Springlake Stake)  and Hermana McMillan (my companion) went over to Bellavista Stake. It was fun, I learned a lot!!

My Spanish is progressing, slowly but surely. Day to day it feels as though it is not getting any better, but when I look back on my notes and things from week to week, it is improving miraculously! Weird how that works, I'm not even going to try to wrap my head around it.

So we have a baptism scheduled for this Saturday, one of our investigators, who is 15 years old. He is an awesome kid. We recently discovered he is barely outside of our area though, because we were teaching him in a member's home that lives in our stake. But one day we had to go to his apartment because the member was out of town, and we realized he doesn't live in our stake!! SO figuring that out has been quite a hassle, but hopefully we can get everything worked out!

During this season of "El es la Dadiva," or "He is the Gift," I have really been able to see the true meaning of Christmas and how much my savior means to me. Without him, we would be stuck and not be able to progress eternally. Through his example, we can be baptized and through his atonement all of our sins can be forgiven. All the sorrow, pain and guilt we feel can be washed away, through the amazing gift of our Savior. Let us all remember him in this time, and remember how blessed we are to have a knowledge on this earth of the true gospel. The knowledge that through Christ, we can gain eternal life, and that through His mercy we can return to live with God and our families again forever.

I love being a missionary, and every day it seems as though 18 months is a shorter and shorter amount of time to really dedicate my service to the Lord. There are some hard days/hours, but the only way we can be built up is to humble ourselves before the Lord, and realize that when it really comes down to the Grand Perspective of things, we CANNOT possibly do what we need to do on our own. We need that divine guidance through the spirit. We need to make the best choices we can possibly make, for this life is short. We need to have Charity. We need to serve. WE NEED JESUS CHRIST.

It is my prayer that you all go about and remember the true meaning of Christmas, thank you for all the love and support. You are all truly amazing, I love each and every single one of you! :)

Con amor,

Hermana Riddle :)"

Mariah sent a package to our family for Christmas! How thoughtful! It is a blessing that she is in the United States and that we can count on the mail system to send and receive things! We LOVED the stuff that she sent to us! Our kids trade off giving to each other each year at Christmas and Mariah had McKayla as her person to give to this year. The gift was just absolutely perfect for McKayla! It was so awesome though for all of us to get a special gift from her that reminds us of where she is:) The pic below shows the stuff that she sent to each one of us! 

In the package she included a letter to our family and she wrote a special message to each one of us.  Oh how we will all cherish the messages that we received. Mariah is such a beautiful daughter of God. We just love her so much! Also, included in the package was a card from her companion. I am going to attach what her companion wrote because it really paints a picture of the relationship that Mariah has with her companion. See below.

Here is a video that we recorded from our face time conversation with Mariah on Christmas.  She wanted to say "Hi" to everyone and thank all of you who have been so supportive of her. I can't get over what a cutie she is!  

OK now..funny story. Mariah said that in her apartment complex they have 2 sets of sister missionaries. So, just one other set of sisters besides Mariah and her companion. Because the sisters have been receiving a lot of letters and packages the mailman has gotten to know them pretty well.  Mariah said that he is Vietnamese and is the sweetest guy. If one set of missionaries isn't home he will drop off the packages with the other set and leave a note on their door to go get them. And then of course if no one is home he will leave the packages at the office. One day Mariah and her companion received a package that was actually a present from the mailman! He gave them a bottle of wine and some glasses haha! He gave the other sisters the same thing! Mariah said that she was so appreciative of his thoughtfulness and said it meant a lot to her that out of all the people he delivers to that he would think about them at Christmastime. Although he gave them something they wouldn't be able to use, (he of course didn't know that they didn't drink wine) Mariah said that she will cherish the nice gesture and keep the glass forever!  I am not sure what they did with the wine but Mariah mentioned that they were able to meet up with the other sisters for a bit on Christmas Eve and they all used the glasses the mailman gave them with some sparkling grape juice:) The pic below shows the gift. (If you didn't know the story behind this, the picture would tell a totally different story..haha).

This post would be so long if I told you everything that we learned by talking to Mariah on Christmas- so, i will just say that she is absolutely loving her mission! She loves her companion and loves the people she is serving. She receives confirmation over and over again that she is where she is supposed to be, doing what she is supposed to be doing. We see the blessings each and every day that come from her dedicated service to Lord.

This is one HAPPY FAMILY!!

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