Time. FLIES. I cannot even wrap my head around it.
"This week has been a week of much growth. With transfers coming up this week I have been able to take a step back and look at all of the things I have learned in these past 10 months.. I have been able to point out my strengths and the things I have improved on/changed for the better in my life, as well as been able to point out my mistakes and what I have learned from them, and what I can to better in order to keep being a more effective missionary and instrument in the hands of the Lord.
I have learned the importance of making goals. I have learned the importance of prayer. I have learned the importance of fasting. Loving everyone. The scriptures. Family. Sharing beliefs. Standing UP for what you believe, even when it is hard. And SO much more!!
I would just like to talk a bit about the importance of talking to everyone, not much time left, but I would just like to tell a quick story. SO- talking with everyone. There is this thing we kind of have going on around our district/mission called #talktoeveryone. It really works!! Talking to everyone means sharing our beliefs with EVERYONE. Doesn't matter who they are! And it is really not that hard!! So what if they reject you? It's our responsibility as children of God with the knowledge we have to share the gospel with those around us. I don't want to be held accountable in the end for not talking to someone that NEEDED the gospel and NEEDED to hear it from me, but didn't because of my pride and fear of man. #FEARNOMAN.
So, to the story. Remember a few weeks back when I sent an email about Cesar? That conversation was so powerful that we had with him.. WELL. He lives in Arlington and we were never able to get his info to the missionaries over there cuz we didn't have his number and didn't know what missionaries quite covered his area. SO we get a random call yesterday, and he starts talking and saying "do you remember me? I am the one you were talking with in the parking lot a while back about the family?" I didn't quite remember at first, because we as missionaries really do talk to a lot of people, so I just kindof told him yes in hopes that it would come to my mind as we continued on the phone. Well, he told us that he had a friend next to him at the moment, whose name was Cesar, like him, and it clicked! He said that his friend had JUST moved from El Salvador and that he went to church for 3 weeks over there and was trying to find one here!! He left his Book of Mormon back in his country as well so we told him we could get him one, and he was just THRILLED. He told us he wants to meet with us and go to church and everything, what a miracle!! #talkingtoeveryoneworks #smallworld. Unfortunately he doesn't live in our area, so we had to pass him to other missionaries but how amazing. I know that as we put forth our effort the Lord will LITERALLY use us as instruments in His hands to bring about this wonderful message of the gospel, until every creature has had the opportunity to accept or reject it!
This work is truly amazing. I love what I am doing despite the rocky roads that have to be travelled through in order to learn and grow. But the point is that we learn and grow! Without obstacles that wouldn't be possible!!
I love each and every one of you. Please know that. As a representative of Jesus Christ, I see you as he sees you, and I know that each and every one of you have great potential in His eyes. Search for it. Find it. :)
Welp, til the next one!!
Hermana Mariah Riddle <3
Here is a picture of us last week at the Museum of Natural History in DC!! Fun fun :)"
This is Heidi speaking now:) In regards to what has been happening in the world lately I have gained a greater testimony of following the Prophet. And it was so sad to hear about those 100 or so people who marched to the church office building on the 24th of July to "resign" their memberships in the Church. It all stemmed from the LGBT and priesthood rights for women movements. The people say that they don't have trust in the leaders anymore. Well..I do and I know that just because the laws and desires of man change it doesn't mean that God's laws will change. I've thought a lot about what keeps a person strong in the faith and came to the conclusion that if we just do the simple things that we learn about in church each week we will be able stay strong in this wicked world.
So..in an email that I sent to Riah I mentioned to her that a few of the most important habits I want to instill into the hearts of my children are the things that we hear about in church all the time... PRAY, READ SCRIPTURES and ATTEND THE TEMPLE REGULARLY. My hope is that they will all develop a pattern of those things in their lives as I know that those are the habits that will keep their testimonies strong. Mariah's response to my email this week was the following...
"I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES, no need to worry about me. I can honestly promise you guys that I will NEVER fall away. I have learned the importance and the magnitude of impact that scripture, prayer and church and temples have on one's testimony, and I would NEVER give that up!!"
And in regards to this changing world she said, "I know that this is the time when we are starting to have to apply the things that we learn and speak of to everyone else. To just put faith in the Lord and ACT and He will lead our direction. The Lord isn't going to do anything with us if we don't just get up and move and do SOMETHING. Give Him something to work with you know??"
And then these sweet, loving, and inspiring words from her just melted my heart...
"I pray for you all every night.. You want to know something funny?? SO. We were supposed to teach the lesson (Hna Moleli and I) for YW last week, but then a teacher showed up so we were like ok that's fine plus Hna Moleli and I had to go home halfway through sacrament meeting cuz she was still puking from the chicken hearts. Well.. that was the end of July. SO we just told the YW leader that we could do it the next week, which was yesterday!!
This months topic happens to be "Families" for YW. So we talked about why family is important, and it was a REALLY good, fun, spirit-filled lesson! ((I showed them the "you make me smile" video we made as a family HA)) Families bring SO MUCH JOY!! I love what you were saying about how it's gotten to the point where you've realized that it doesn't matter what we have materialistically.. and that is SO TRUE. WE JUST talked about that yesterday to all the girls, and my personal study in the morning I REALLY came to realize and think of all the fun family memories I have had, and it has just been when we have been together, obviously the things we were doing were fun, but if you didn't have anyone with you it wouldn't be fun at ALL. PEOPLE make things fun, and that is all that matters.
I told the girls that family is the ONLY thing you can actually bring/have with you physically after this life. That is IT. The rest just DOESN'T matter!! We need to be focusing more on the family, for after all, the first paragraph of the Proclamation to the World talks about how the family is central in the Creator's divine plan for us to be able to achieve our eternal destiny. It doesn't say that "technology", "cars", "a pool" or "a lot of yard" will help us achieve our divine destiny! In fact, it has NOTHING to do with that. So why do we focus on those things? It is time to slowly start pulling ourselves out of the world and taking a perspective by looking at the things that are really important in life.
I LOVE the fact that I am serving a mission, it has really put my priorities straight, and has made me realize that things will be OK if we don't have this or that!! REALLY. TRULY all I care about are people. That is all I am saying. JUST PEOPLE. EVERYTHING ELSE does not matter to me!! ((Now, I am not saying I could live without my iPad because MAN I LOVE taking pictures and being able to airdrop/iCloud them, but guess what?? That all stems back from where the true happiness has been brought to me from, through the iPad--ready for it? PEOPLE. If I didn't have people then the pictures and videos wouldn't even be fun.))
I don't think it was a coincidence that my comp got sick, we couldn't teach the lesson, and that we had to teach this week instead where it became a different month and the subject changed. Because family is really a dear subject for me and it was really awesome to be able to think of how blessed I am to have the family I have and how bad I want that for my future life and the lives of others. It has helped give me the desire and drive to do what it takes to get there as well!! That is all I am saying!! Even if I have to make a few decisions that me, the natural man in me, does NOT want to make but I do it because I have discipline. I do it because I know how to obey God and that He wants me to do it. Simple as that!!
I know the Lord is blessing you...--Man, one of the reasons I was supposed to serve a mission (out of the MANY) was for my family to be blessed for my service. Not only my temporal family, but my ancestors and future family as well! It makes me wish that I ALWAYS had a missionary in the family! I am DEFINITELY going to encourage missions with all my kids, and my hope is that every single one of them will serve missions. Things have gotten a LOT more crazy these days with the world, and it is time to step up OUR crazy game as members and followers of Jesus Christ to spread the word and strengthen ourselves, and a mission has been a PERFECT way for me to do that. I have learned SO many things on a mission that I know NO ONE could learn ANYWHERE else save they serve a mission and experience it firsthand, it just is not possible."
I cannot even express how wonderful it is to have a missionary out. Such a blessing! I too feel like Mariah in that I wish that we ALWAYS had a missionary out in the family. It's crazy though, with all of the blessings that we receive..Satan works just as hard to destroy as God does to bless. With that being said, I hope that everyone of us will always stay STRONG IN THE FAITH!
Here are some more pictures from when Mariah went visit to the Museum of Natural History on her last P-day. Ipads don't take the best pictures but hey..THEY ARE PICTURES!!!