Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New companion, finished training, and now a trainer!

For this post I am first just going to share her group letter from this past week because it was hard to just choose a few things from it to share. So..here it is.

Feb 23, 2015

"This week was transfer week, and I got a new companion! Her name is Hermana Mensinger and I am finish-training her, she is awesome!  HAHA so ok, Saturday was HILARIOUS. It was snowing ALL day, and we weren't allowed to drive so we were just trudging through snow up to our knees like ALL DAY. Everything was shut down, and there was NO one on the roads, it was like a giant ghost town. But, we walked all over the place anyways and were able to talk to a few people here and there. Man so funny, and THEN church got cancelled the next day because of it, so that was weird. We had to text our investigators and a whole bunch of members and let them know, and it was kind of sad because we ended up having a lesson with one of our investigators, Luis, that night, and he was like, "it's only one day a week, ONE day a week that we give up to our Lord and to cancel church is ridiculous! Sometimes you have to work to get to church, it's not always that easy, we should be showing our dedication. If the Lord set apart that day to be the Sabbath day and for us to hold meetings then it should be that way!" Ha. We were totally in agreeance because in Utah seriously nothing shuts down for snow. They seriously close down school and everyone's jobs at the drop of a hat here. It is so funny!

But anyways, this week has been super good, still getting settled in with a new companion and new teaching styles, but it will be an awesome transfer! I know it!

John 7:17 ((What is God's will for YOU?)) James 1:5

I have already seen such a great change in my mission, and it has been so great to be able to serve my Heavenly Father as His Son's representative, even Jesus Christ, whom is the Savior of the world. I can feel more of a closeness to him each day as I strive to do his will, and not my own. A quote I like that I heard a few days ago is "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him YOUR plans." 

I will never be able to go back and try to make a big decision without consulting my Heavenly Father first. God knows all, and He can help us through anything through the Spirit in enabling to decipher between what is right and what is wrong (Moroni 10:5).

I love this gospel and I love being a missionary! I love all of you, but most importantly, GOD loves you, and He sent you to this earth for a reason and with an eternal purpose, so go and find it! :)

Con mucho amor, Hermana Riddle :)"

In the emails that Mariah shared with us this week she said in all honesty that things have been a little stressful with being the trainer and having the routine of things change because of the bad weather they have been having. Her companion was previously in a trio being trained by the sister training leaders who were the only native hermanas in the mission and have been out much longer. In fact, they are getting ready to go home soon. So, Mariah feels like she has big shoes to fill while she is finishing up her companions training. And, knowing Mariah, being the perfectionist that she is- she is probably stressed out about making things just right. Of course having a new companion is a bit of an adjustment in itself, but from the sounds of it they are plugging along just fine. 

She mentioned in her letter that the English speaking sisters that live across the street from her have been staying with her for the past few days because their heat isn't working and they have some other issues in their apartment that needed to be fixed. They had to get approval from the President for them to stay there. So, I guess she still hasn't stopped asking for sleepovers even though she is on her mission..haha:)

She gave a talk a couple of weeks ago in church and I asked her how it went and what she spoke about. I would have given anything to be there and hear her speak. In her email back to me this is what she said she about her talk..."So my talk.. It was in Spanish, I talked about El libro de mormón y la importancia delo en mi vida y nuestra vida. Hablé sobre las dos naciones y como los dos testimonios trabajan juntos. Dí mi testimonio del libro de mormón también y cómo lo ha crecido durante tanto mi vida como en mi misión. Yo hablé un poco de la razón por la que estoy en una misión en la primera parte. Yo pude sentir el espíritu tan fuerte que fue difícil para mi de hablar, pero está bien, los miembros me dijeron que mi español está mejorando muy rápido. Espero que sí!" 

So..if you don't speak Spanish I guess you won't know what she gave her talk about.  Haha..no, I'm kidding. In a nutshell she said that she talked about the Book of Mormon and its importance in her life and our lives. She talked about the two nations and (I am assuming she meant) how the Bible and Book of Mormon work together. She gave her testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it has grown throughout her life and on her mission. In the first part of her talk she talked about the reason that she is on a mission. She said that she could feel the spirit so strong that it was hard for her to speak. And then of course if you know Mariah..she uses the phrase "But, it's all good". Apparently she uses that phrase in Spanish too:) She said that the members told her that her Spanish is improving quickly and that she hoped that was true.  I am sure she is doing just fine! I could understand what she was talking about so.."its all good".  It'll be interesting though to see how her Spanish improves throughout her mission.

One of the coolest things that I think happened this week was that she got permission to sign on to our Icloud. Since she has an Ipad, and often takes pictures with it we thought that it would be easier for her to just share them on the cloud. So, its been fun to see pics from DC pop up on Jared's Iphone or our Ipad. Technology is absolutely amazing!  I am so grateful for it because it still allows me to feel close to her even though she is far away.

Mariah has been using Facebook just a little on her mission so far but will be using it more in the future, Something that I found interesting is that they cannot be Facebook friends with other missionaries on the mission except for their current companion, sister training leaders, District Leader, Zone Leader, and AP's. Not sure why that is but her and her previous companion had to un-friend each other when they got transferred. 

I am assuming that this pic below was one of the last pics she took with her district before she got transferred. This is one that showed up on our Ipad this past week.  Glad to know that she can still be silly because anyone who knows Mariah absolutely loves her and her silliness.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Transfers this week, finished training!

Wow! I am getting soooo behind with this blog so I just decided that today I will mostly post just the group letters that she has sent the past couple of weeks and then give maybe a little more info that we have gotten from her letters to us.  We also have received some cute pics and some of them she hasn't sent in her group emails so I'll post those as well.  Here are a couple of them:)

One thing that I absolutely love is that with every email that Mariah sends to us she says how much she LOVES her mission!  I am so happy that she is enjoying it and is making her time count.  She loves the people that she serves!I guess that happens to all of us when we serve others. She went to Washington DC on her P-day that was on Feb 2, 2015 and didn't get a chance to write a group email that day but she wrote to us to let us know that she had spent some time at the Holocaust Museum which was so sad. She also wanted to let us know that she had a baptism on Jan 31, 2015. Mariah and her companion were teaching this young man and had set a baptismal date for him.  They had been teaching him at a members home in their ward and he had also been attending their ward. Well, the week that he was supposed to be baptized they needed to take some stuff to his house and they got his address and realized that he lived just barely out of their Stake boundaries. So, unfortunately it delayed his baptism for a couple of weeks and they had to turn him over to the sister missionaries in the Stake that he lived in. So, that is the reason that there are so many sister missionaries in the picture haha. See picture below.

Here is her email from Feb 9, 2015

 "Hola everyone!

This week went by super fast! So crazy, time is the weirdest concept, I don't understand! Again, sorry for not really an email last week, we were busy in DC, but, I actually don't have my camera with me right now so I will be sending pictures next week! Ok, one thing I have been meaning to tell you all, that I haven't experienced until my mission.. If you haven't tried Cookie Butter from Trader Joes, do it. After you do there's no going back...

So just a few main things that happened this week.. So we went to see one of our investigators, Maria, this past week cuz we haven't seen her for a while she has been out of town. We just randomly went on a whim because we just felt really prompted that we needed to stop by. I had this feeling we needed to share a video with her, but I didn't know what. All of the sudden I felt like we should share the "Patterns of Light: Spirit of Revelation" video from David A Bednar (if you haven't seen it, go look it up, it's pretty neat :)) and so we walk in, start talking with her a bit and right after we showed that to her she just kindof poured out what has been going on in her life, and how she has been praying for some way to be able to receive revelation and how to recognize it when it comes. She told us that it is super interesting that every time we come over we happen to share something with her or touch a subject that she had been thinking long and hard about just recently, but that we had no idea. It was an awesome time to see that the authority of our calling as missionaries is real, and that the power and influence of our Heavenly Father can lead us to help others, because He is the one who is completely aware of what is going on. So cool!

So yesterday on the way to church I almost hit a deer, we had a little Studio C moment, for those of you who have seen that episode.. ;) It was scary, there are so many of them right by where we live! After church we went to the temple visitors center with Albert's dad, and we saw meet the Mormons and were also able to look at the new temple display and explain to him kindof what temples are for and what takes place in certain areas of the temple. He really liked it. It was a super awesome time, and he is super curious about everything we have to say. Every time we go to the visitors center there is always such a special spirit there. I feel so blessed to be able to serve my mission here and be able to have access to all of the many resources in hastening the Lord's work.

Ok one last story.. so we were trying to figure out if we were going to go to the Library we live by in Reston since we are planning on going to the GIANT TARGET that it two floors they have here in Fairfax, but last minute we just decided we would just come to the library here in Chantilly, which is close to Fairfax.. we don't know why we just felt like it. Right when we walk in, a girl that goes to the Spanish ward in a different area that was walking came up to us and had just an astonished look on her face. She doesn't have a way to get on the computers here at the library, but she needed to print something out for school and was stressing out about it. So she said she prayed and all of the sudden we walk in and were able to help her out with our cards to get on the computer. She just kept saying, "You were an answer to my prayers!"

I love little experiences we get like that every day, it really enables me to see God's hand in everything! I LOVE being a missionary and being able to work so closely with my Savior and represent him at this time in my life.

I hope you all try and see the Lord's hand in your life in some way or another every day this week. If you need help with something, PRAY, and He will send help, He is watching out for you.

I love you all so much, make it an awesome week!"

A lot of her pictures from DC were taken from far away so we couldn't see her very well but here is one of the pics that she sent to us of the Holocaust Museum.

This week Mariah told us some more detail about some of her investigators and I won't go into detail about them all because of time but she has quite a few investigators who are progressing nicely at this time. 

Here is her most recent group letter from Feb 16, 2015

"Hi all! So this week was so crazy! On Saturday we got a HUGE blizzard and I was driving and couldn't even see! Everyone was going like 2 miles an hour, literally though you couldn't see like ANYTHING around you cuz it was also at night. It was so dangerous we had to wait it out for about an hour until it cleared up. Thank goodness for technology because you can still do missionary work during those kinds of times! Yesterday I also spoke in church, and come to my surprise I met my "great-grandma," Hermana McDonald! (She was the trainer of my trainer's trainer, that's why she is my g-gma.. She went home this past September or so). She came to surprise visit and it was super awesome to see the love the members had for her and how much they missed her! I seriously love this Ward so much! Transfers are this Thursday and I am pretty sure I am staying, but we won't find out until tonight or tomorrow so we will see! Ha, but to make this letter short and to the point I'll just tell you a quick story of something that happened this Sunday..

So, about a month ago we went and knocked on a door to a random referral from a LONG time ago, whom we didn't know who she was. When we knocked a lady named Adriana opened the door, she is from El Salvador, and the lady we had been looking for had just moved out like two weeks before and she had no idea who she was. We were kind of bummed because that means we lost contact with someone but of course we talked to her a bit and she said that some of her husbands family is mormon, but that she is catholic and can read better in English (we had tried to give her a Spanish Book of Mormon, which she speaks Spanish perfectly but whatever) so we asked her if we could just stop by some other time to bring her a copy of an English one. Well, rewind to last Tuesday, we had zone training and our mission president (pres riggs) showed up and said he needed to talk to the Spring Lake District after the meeting (which is our district, the Spanish district in the zone). He talked about how we have 117 prospective elders (men who have been baptized but haven't yet received the priesthood but of are the age to do so) in our Ward. He said he has received revelation, along with some other leaders of the mission, that we need to go rescue these elders and their families. He has challenged us to try and teach as many as we can to receive the priesthood and baptize their families so that they can receive those saving ordinances and be sealed in the temple. He wants us to try and meet as many as we can and work so hard with this so that in June, at stake conference we can have a miracle amount of elders who have received the priesthood. So as a district we have been praying and trying to find these prospective elders. Ok fast forward to yesterday. So we finally were able to stop by Adriana's house again, and her husband answers the door and just invites us right on in, he introduces himself as Cuauhtemoc, which is Mexican name from where he is from. We talked to him for a bit cuz Adriana was busy in the other room with something for a second, and come to find out he was baptized and hasn't been to church since 2001! His name is in our Ward directory but there is no address or way of finding him.. We come to find he is one of the prospective elders, who hasn't received the priesthood yet! Adriana came out and we were able to get to know the both of them a little more, and Cuauhtemoc expressed that he would like his kids to learn about the gospel, and that he would like us to teach them since he hasn't been to church in awhile. So we are planning on teaching their family and visiting with them now!

Sorry that story was all over the place, I hope it made sense. The Lord just works in mysterious ways! I know we showed up that night a month ago, not finding who we were looking for for a reason now. I know we met Adriana there for a reason that night only TWO WEEKS after they had moved in for a reason. I know that our church leaders are inspired by God, and that if we will just LISTEN to them and follow their counsel, that we will see miracles and people's lives will change and be blessed forever. I know the Lord has a hand in all things, and that as we prepare ourselves, God will provide prepared people in our paths, so that we can all touch each other's lives and learn and grow together.

Ok so sorry I thought this letter was going to be short but it's not.. I love you all so much and hope you had a fantastic Valentines Day! May we all remember our Savior in every moment of our lives, and strive to become more like him and have pure love for those around us. (John 15:12-13)❤️"

So..Mariah has transfers this week on Thursday the 19th.  She said that she is hoping that she will at least get to stay in her same area for another transfer. Who knows though.  Here is what she shared from her email to us about transfers this week. 

"I have no idea what is going to happen on transfers.. One thing I do know is that last week when president kept us after zone training and we were leaving he was like, "how are ya Hermana Riddle? :)" (you just have to know, he is one of the neatest, most genuine guys you will EVER meet, SUCH an amazing man and president!) and I was like, "good! Really good!" And he was all, "good, you ready to train?" And I was like.. "Um... What are you trying to say?" And he looks at Hermana McMillan and is like, "how is she? Is she ready to train?" (Oh, and he had already pretty much made decisions about transfers already, but we won't find out till tonight.. We will get a call) and Hna McMillan was like, "yeah, she is ready! But we're really sad, we just want to stay together!" And he was all, "well what if you co-trained?" And we were like, "AHHHH that would be so much fun!" And he was like, "hmm.. Yeah! I think I'm really going to take that into consideration!" ..... So we'll see, it'll be whatever the Lord wants though :) we've been praying so hard to stay together though, and we've been telling everyone that we are going to be staying together so we'll see, haha :)"

I'm so glad that she gets along so well with her companion. They have had a fantastic experience together and have grown to love each other so much.  What a blessing that has been.

Here are some other pictures that Riah has sent us! ENJOY! Until next week....I hope:)