Friday, January 30, 2015

Some Ups, Some Downs

Virginia had its first snowstorm that "stuck" and Mariah says that it is BITTER COLD in DC! She did mention though that it has been a pretty mild winter so far compared to what she was expecting. She says that it snows often but it hasn't been sticking to the roads so it has been nice for driving. She is now the designated driver as her companion didn't want to be the one driving around in the snow and bad weather. (Her companion is from Vegas where they just don't have weather like that). I actually think Mariah welcomed this first snowstorm.  I personally haven't realized how much I have missed snow until we haven't had much of it this season. Below is a picture of Mariah in front of her apartment building while it was still snowing.

A couple of weeks ago Mariah was told who her new Mission President will be.  His name is David Huntsman. He has eight kids and is the brother of Jon Huntsman Jr. who was the Governor of Utah. She hasn't met him yet but has heard a lot about him. She asked us all to pray for him and his family as they get prepared to move to the Washington DC mission in July. She is sad to lose her current Mission President because she just loves him so much but she knows that the new one will be good too. She is looking forward to meeting him:)

Missions always have ups and downs like that and it was sooo sad to hear that Mariah had one of those downer times just recently.  But luckily for Mariah, that downer moment has turned into something positive. Here is what Mariah shared about the sad/happy experience...

"One of our investigators, (Name), who is 15 years old left back to Puerto Rico this morning for forever. We stopped by his house last night to say our goodbyes and give him a new Book of Mormon that we had written our testimonies in as well as some of the members of our ward that were close to him. We were super close, so it was really sad to see him go. He is an awesome kid, I hope the best for him and have faith that he will make good decisions in his life"  

This investigator is the one that they had a baptism date for a little over a month ago and he was getting a lot of flack from his family (especially his grandfather), about the church. His grandfather said that it was of the devil and they wouldn't support him in being baptized. So, after there was nowhere else to progress they had to let him go as an investigator.  She was so sad about it.  He still continued to go to Mutual and Church activities so they still had contact with him. Right before Christmas break she and her companion did a Family Home Evening lesson for a family in their ward and they invited this investigator and his father to the lesson. Mariah mentioned that his father refuted some of the stuff they were teaching but she said that the spirit was so strong and that it turned out really well. So, over Christmas break this investigator and his little brother went back to Puerto Rico to visit their mom (I guess they both have been living with their dad in DC). Mariah was hopeful that after this investigator returned from Puerto Rico he would be able to commit again to baptism as she was able to see his father soften a little during the FHE lesson.  But, when he returned from Puerto Rico he came back to say that he had to go back and live with his mom :( In her letter to us she shared a little more detail about how it all went down when they said their goodbyes. She said, "(Name) flew home to Puerto Rico this morning, and so we visited him last night and gave him a new book of Mormon that Hna McMillan and I, and a bunch of the members in our ward wrote our testimonies in in the extra white pages in the back. It was REALLY hard to say goodbye, for both us and (Name). I definitely cried a bit after we left, and he said he would probably cry later that night and on the airplane. We met his little brother a few times, they both came to church yesterday, and his brother is flying home with him too and he just cried when we were leaving. It was so sad."

She told us that they shared all of their social media account contact info and she gave us his info so that we could accept the friend and follow requests for her. They promised to stay in touch after Riah gets home from her mission. As for now, all they can do is send a referral to the missionaries who live in his area in Puerto Rico. I hope he can find a way that he can still be taught. BUT, upside to all of this, THEY ARE NOW TEACHING THE LESSONS TO HIS DAD and he has told them that he wants them to keep coming back! Riah has asked us to pray for him because he is having a hard time with his sons moving away. He misses them terribly.

After sharing this sad/happy news with us it was so awesome to read that Mariah's testimony has continued be strengthened even though there are ups and downs. And although things didn't turn out the way that she had hoped with the investigator that returned to Puerto Rico, she understands that it's all in the Lords hands. Here is the testimony she shared with us: “I know that the Lord watches out for his children!! Whether or not you are searching for the gospel, the Lord will find a way to help you come to the fullness of truth and joy this gospel can bring! I believe everyone has a different moment in their lives in which they are ready to receive the gospel, it is so amazing to see God's hand in everything. I can't even wrap my head around the greatness of His plan, but I know that He knows what is best for us, and that if we will just ask with sincerity for help on ANYTHING, He will be able to provide a better answer than anyone else could on this earth because He knows all things and He knows what is going to play out.” 

Mariah just had her first baptism on Jan 18, 2015. He is 9 years old. His parents are not members but Riah is hoping that they will listen in while they are doing the follow up lessons with him. This little boys uncle is in their ward so at least he has someone to attend church with. Below is a picture of her and her companion with her first convert. There is another baptism scheduled for the 31st of Jan. Details will be posted on the next blog.

Mariah absolutely loves her mission! She tells us all the time what an awesome experience it has been for her. So, to end this blog I thought I would share with you what Mariah has to say about her mission in her own words.  She says:

“I love the mission! I love mission conferences, district meetings, being able to study and teach, the members, meeting new people, and just everything, but most of all, establishing my relationship with Christ, and figuring out where I truly am in my conversion to the gospel. I know that at this point in life it is SUCH a selfish world, it is getting pretty crazy out there, and I have to admit before my mission it was starting to suck me in. Being out here on my mission has really taught me what it means to focus and give up your time to do something completely self-LESS. Rule of thumb for life is that as you are doing things for others, you end up helping yourself. It's just like that old Chinese proverb that goes something like.. Once you have stopped to help someone else's boat along the way, and you get them to the other side you look back and realize that you have made it too. It is such a neat thing to think about, AHH I love this gospel!”

Washington DC Temple Display! YAY!

I was so excited to learn that a new model of the Washington DC Temple was put on display in the temple visitors center in DC.  Mariah just happened to go there with an investigator 3 days after it was revealed.  She didn't know beforehand that they had built the display but said that it reminded her of home when she walked in and saw it.  She mentioned that it reminds her of the one that they have on display of the Salt Lake Temple on Temple Square.  Check out the pictures of the display below. BEAUTIFUL!!

I have attached the article that shares some info about the display.  It mentioned that there are many people who see the temple from the highway and stop to see the building.  A lot of people are disappointed when they find that they are not able to go inside.  So, hopefully this model will be able to satisfy their curiosity somewhat. Hopefully they will be able to at least understand that its not secret, just sacred. Click the link below to view the article.

Article about the new Washington DC temple display

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy New Year-Week of Dec 29th-Jan 4th

Wow!  I feel bad that I didn't post anything from last week.  Life just gets sooo busy.  There is a lot lot of stuff to share.  Mariah sent her SD card home last week with a bunch of pics, so for this post I'm just going to share some pics and her group letter along with a few things from her letters to us last week.

Here is her group email that she sent..

Hey everyone!! Crazy crazy week this week!

Ok, for New Years we ended up having to just be together as a zone because our mission president didn't want us out doing other things cuz it's to dangerous. So, we got together as a zone, played tornado, and watched How to Train Your Dragon 2!! (Yes, Ammon, I knew you would like to hear that :)) But yes! Aw man it was so good. So yes, New Years was super fun and then the next day we had return and report which was AMAZING. It was for all the new missionaries who came in 6 weeks ago. It was a super inspiring and uplifting meeting, where part of it our trainers went in one room and we stayed in the other and we all just got to complain about our companions for like 20 mins and then say some good things about them. Honestly, I really didn't have anything bad to say. My trainer Hna McMillan is AWESOME. She is literally an angel sent from above. Some of the things I was hearing I was just sitting there like, "wow, I am so grateful, that would be so rough." But, we all learn in different ways I guess. I know the Lord must know I have too tender of a heart for some of that stuff. The missionaries in our mission are amazing, though, and so is our President. He really makes it so much fun! Ha after the meeting we all went into the gym and pres wanted to play a quick game of tornado so all us missionaries got in on it too, it was fun.

OH and I also got facebook this past week! I got a new one because I could take a long time to explain to you why but it is just better to do that for missionary purposes. So, my name is Hermana-Mariah Riddle on it, and yes you are all allowed to friend me haha :)

Ok, so a few take-home things I wanted to share with you all from the return and report meeting we had.

7 P's-"Proper Prior Planning Positively Prevents Poor Performance." Just ponder that one. :)

And another thing to meditate on, a quote from President Benson that I just LOVE. "When we put God first, ALL other things fall into their proper place OR drop out of our lives." Most of the time it is hard to try and determine what we need to add to our lives and what we need to get rid of in order to have the most fulfilling experience we can have on this earth. But it is that simple! Put God first, and everything will just fall into place. I love that.

The past few weeks I have also been playing the piano for primary which is SUPER fun. I love it. Seriously, like every week I am so stoked to go in there it reminds me of the calling I had back home a bit before I left as the primary pianist. The kids are SO CUTE. But it's rough because as missionaries you're not really allowed to like pick them up and all those sorts of things just to avoid legal problems coming up on the church's name. Which is fine, I understand. But definitely coming back to visit this area after my mission :)

Well, I love you all and hope your days are going great!! I'd love to hear from some of you I haven't heard from in a while just to check up on how you are doing!!

Always remember to SMILE!! :)

Hermana Riddle

Ok, so I didn't really take that many pictures this week, BUT. This one is from a little café we went to that a member gave us a giftcard to called Potbelly. I dunno if they have them out in the Western United States but it's actually pretty good!! :)

Transfers were on the 8th of January and Mariah and her companion didn't have to go to the transfer meeting because they are staying together for at least another 6 weeks while Mariah finishes her training.  Yay..I am so glad that she gets to stay in the same area for now because they have about 5 investigators that are progressing toward baptism.  She said that they have a lot of other investigators that they are teaching as well. What a blessing it is for her to be teaching as much as she is. Also, as you can tell from the above letter that she and her companion get along so well. I am so happy that they get to stay together. Who wouldn't get along with Mariah though?? 

Mariah said that this with this last transfer they were probably going to be shutting down some areas because they don't have as many people coming out to the mission and some are going home. So, she mentioned that some of the missionaries might get transferred over to the English part of the mission for a while. Some of the missionaries have gone back and forth from English to Spanish. She is not moving to English at this time though. Next transfers are on the 19th of February.

I asked Mariah how far people have to travel to church in DC and she said that there are quite a few church buildings around.  Of course it is nothing like Utah, but she said that in her area she thinks that the furthest that the English speaking people would have to travel would be about 15 minutes to get to their chapel. But, because the Spanish ward covers the whole stake she says that some people have to travel about 45 minutes to church. Wow!! We are so blessed here in Utah.  We really have no clue! Mariah said that her church starts at 2:00 PM and so by the time they really get out of the building its around 5:30 and dark.  CRAZY!!

Well, I have so much more to share but I will share it on another post from this new week.  For now, here are some of the pics that were on her SD card that she sent home:)







Not sure why the spacing is so funky in the last pics from DC but oh get the gist.  The picture where she is kneeling on the ground with all of the stuff in front of her shows all of the stuff that she received for Christmas from everyone!  I just have to say...THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all of your support! Thanks to those who sent money, cards and packages to her for Christmas.  She feels extremely blessed to have such amazing family and friends and so do we:)