Tuesday, December 22, 2015

FELIZ NAVIDAD!!-Dec 21, 2015

"Hello everyone!!

I'm sure you have already been hearing this from everyone else but MAN I cannot believe it is already Christmas again!! I LOVE being a missionary during this time of year, and am SO sad that it is my last!! Christmas on the mission truly is the best :) 

Ok, so A LOT has happened this week. Like, SO MUCH. We have been so busy we haven't even had time to think! But, I am SO grateful for the Lord's work and the opportunity I have to be a part of it!! 

On Monday we went to the DC temple visitors center and had a blast. Really, if you haven't been to temple square in Salt Lake to see the lights yet GO. Tuesday we had the opportunity to go share the #ASaviorIsBorn campaign at the metro station, and it was SO fun. I loved being able to share my testimony with so many through action! I also just love the true spirit of Christmas and just seeing the joy in people's faces as we even just say hi or Merry Christmas to them, or even just a smile! Little things go a LONG way!!

Thursday an amazing thing happened, so us and another set of elders stopped by at the church to meet up with a member really quick who ended up having to leave super fast, but he gave each of us missionaries a HUGE bag individually of gifts, which was SO thoughtful! With just fun Christmas things and A LOT of food! #hispanicculture. Well, when we were about to leave this random lady walked in who isn't a member of the LDS church and asked if she could get some help. She was running SUPER low on gas and didn't have any money but needed to get home, and said that out of all the places to pull into she just happened to look at the church when we were walking in and was like "oh thank goodness they're open!!" haha. So she came in and long story short she told us her life story and basically expressed to us that even though she has so little she is SO grateful to God for what she DOES have. Well the Elders just volunteered to have her follow them over to the gas station to pay for her gas and were able to have more conversation with her. We all gave her our gifts we had been given for her kids to have this Christmas, and it really was just such a neat experience. Something you can't put into words. Again, sharing testimony through action is the BEST way to
feel our Savior's love as we help other feel the same!!

Friday we had our Mission Christmas Conference which was spectacular!! I wish I could describe everything but the last couple hours we always have a talent show where missionaries sign up and they make a program for missionaries to be able to share the things they love!! Haha the whole Spanish program all asked to borrow traditional clothing from the members of our wards to be able to perform a number FELIZ NAVIDAD. Haha, they asked me to choreograph for it and I did, but.... missionaries+dancing+notime=funny. So I will have to show you all that video when I get home hahahaha :) :)

On Sunday we were able to see our beautiful investigator Sindi be get baptized. It was SUCH an amazing moment, words cannot describe the Spirit that was felt there. She is an AWESOME person, I wish you all could meet her. We were standing in the side waiting for her to get out of the font, and when they opened the curtains to the font you could just SEE the light and warmth radiating onto her and that our Heavenly Father was SO pleased with her with this covenant and promise she was to make with Him. We are so excited for her to be able to be confirmed as a member next Sunday and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!

This past week has been filled with a few practices as well for the performance we will be doing on Christmas Eve at the DC Temple Visitor's Center. I've been helping out with extra sound effects on the keyboard and will be playing that and one of the full songs on it that night. It should be super fun! I wish you guys could come haha. BUT. I hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas Eve and a CHEERY Christmas with your families this week!! 

I love you all and just remember that our Savior does too! That because he was born he was able to complete all that he was sent here by his Father to do. To heal us all. May we all remember the Spirit of CHRISTmas this week as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Redeemer!! :)

Les amo mucho!!!

Hermana Riddle :)

PS Sorry for the blurriness on the pics!!"

This last picture shows the comparison from last years Mission Christmas Conference to this years. (The smaller pic is last year) These girls came out of the MTC into the mission together. Hermanas Mugleston, Riddle, and Pettit. Beautiful girls!! 

Here are just a couple of other things that Mariah shared in answer to some of my questions...

"We have been to the visitors center a lot lately, either working there or bringing investigators there. It is nice cuz we are the area that lives the closest to it. (She is like 25 mins away) It is SUCH an awesome tool and brings SUCH a spirit during this season of the festival of lights!! It makes me miss SL temple lights and makes me wonder HOW hectic it must be for the missionaries working there right now.. CRAZY!! But I will have to take you guys out here during the Christmas season cuz it is BEAUTIFUL.

UH.. It would take a while to explain to you the responsibilities as STL through email, so I'll just save that for later, haha. We don't travel around too much really, just more meetings and places to be. We switch off driving cuz as STLs that's just how it is. Every other day! Dang I wish we had snow!!! It doesn't even really feel like Christmas here!! It's like 62 degrees outside today!!"

We are so excited to be able to talk to Riah on Christmas!! Can't wait! I feel like a little kid waiting for Santa! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

BELLA VISTA- Dec 14, 2015

"Hello all!!

I am SO sorry but it's like I never have time to write anymore!!  This week we had transfers, and after being in the same area (Sudley) for almost 8 months of my mission I have left!!! It was bittersweet. I am now in an area called Bella Vista, and I LOVE it so far. President Hunstman has asked me to serve as Sister Training Leader with my wonderful companion Hermana Mugleston (we were in the MTC together) here! We have been having so much fun while working hard and seeing miracles here!!

Last week we went to "El Mirador," if you look in the back of the pic you'll see the flag of El Salvador, which is FAMOUS for pupusas... if you haven't had pupusas I am sorry.. you are missing out!! The the night before I left Sudley we were able to go see the choir performance of Karina (our Recent Convert)'s son in school. I haven't been in an elementary school forever!! It was so cute!!

We had our ward Christmas party this week as well which was super great, we had a lot of investigators and members show up! We were also able to go work in the DC Temple Visitor's Center again, and took pics with the lights!! Not really anything compared to Salt Lake but still SO beautiful!! I love the temple!! :)

Man I wish I could tell you all a lot more, but there's just not enough time!! I have two scriptures of the week: Isaiah 9:6- the reason for the season! And 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 #charityneverfaileth

Show your Charity and Love and do something nice for someone this week!! 'Tis the season!! :)

Love you all! Until next week,

Hermana Riddle :)"

El Mirador-Salvadorian papusas
Riah's last day with her District in Sudley
Choir performance at an Elementary School

I knew that Riah had been transferred so this week I asked Riah a bunch of questions about her new area and what happened with transfers. Here are some of her responses to my questions....

"My new area is awesome!! Hermana Mugleston and I are serving together as Sister Training Leaders now!! We have been having a BLAST. We are SO excited to be able to be companions and work together, we have a baptism on next Sunday, the 20th. Her name is ______ and she is SO awesome! Please pray for her! We have a lot of people progressing and SO CLOSE.....

I got to say the opening prayer in sacrament meeting my first Sunday here in Bella Vista, haha :) I have had a LOT of people tell me that I sound Hispanic when I talk haha.. I still don't feel like it but whatever :)

Hermana Peabody and Pettit stayed together in Springlake, Hermana Craner went back to Little River to go kill Hermana Moberly, Hermana McMillan went to Sudley with my old comp Hna Christensen, and Hermana Atkinson and Mensinger stayed together on the other side of Sudley, as well as Hermana Tate and Bliss stayed together in Old Town :) Fun fun!!

I'm glad you were able to talk to Javier and his family..:) Did you not get to take pics with them?
(We were able to meet the Flores family..a family from Mariah's area in Sudley who moved here to West Valley. Javier was the ward mission leader and his wife was the Young Womens President in Riah's ward. It was so good to meet them and talk about Riah, the ward, DC, and how the mission is going. No, we didn't take pics which is not like me at all but I was a little out of it just being a day after my shoulder surgery. We have plans to meet up with them again for a dinner in January so I will redeem myself then)

If you haven't heard about my return date I guess it maybe isn't changing then?!!

We have 6 missionaries in our district. Elder Gosain is our DL, and his comp is Elder Randall. Then we have Elders Purser and Coburn (Coburn was in Sudley with me the past 2 transfers). But yeah, small district!! It's weird!

Um, so my new apartment and area? I would say it's kinda like downtown Salt Lake. A lot more busy place than Springlake and Sudley.. There are a LOT of filthy rich people that live here in McLean though.. This area covers Falls Church, McLean, parts of Vienna, and Arlington! It's not as big as Sudley cuz Sudley is huge but still a good place!! :)

We actually went back to the visitors center on Friday night to help out again and we are going this Saturday as well! We also go with people in our ward during the week sometimes with investigators or less actives to see the lights!! We have been practicing for the concert that our mission will be performing at the visitors center on Christmas Eve, and man I have just gotten thrown on the piano and keyboard for things haha!! But it'll be good!!

Here is a picture of Riah and her new companion Hermana Mugleston. I am sure this is a familiar face to you as Riah and her have served a huge chunk of their missions together in the same areas:)

CRAZY week!!-Dec 7, 2015

"Hey all!

This week… man, where do I start…? It's just not possible to describe it all so I'll give you a brief rundown! So this week Karina got baptized and she was confirmed this weekend!! :) Yay! She is SO awesome. She has been investigating the church for SO LONG now and this was her time to accept it! It was a beautiful baptism, we were able to arrange for one of her friends from Richmond (like 2 hours outside our mission) to come and baptize her by surprise! She is so happy and is doing so great. It is so amazing to be a missionary and see how much this gospel TRULY flips people's lives around and not only gives them temporary happiness and blessings, but ETERNAL happiness and blessings!! 

This Saturday we had the opportunity to go work in the DC Temple Visitor's Center in Maryland to help out the other sister missionaries there due to the influx of crowds that come in at this time of year. It was super fun and different, but such a great experience! If you haven't been to a temple visitor's center yet this year GO. There is one in Salt Lake for all you that are out there, which I am sure most of you know ;) 

Well, I am out of time, but thank you all for all the support and love, I am SO grateful for you all!! Until next week!!

Hermana Riddle :)

PS Sorry, iPad cameras aren't the best sometimes.. haha"

Here is a picture of Karina at her baptism! Karina's two oldest kids will also be baptized soon. They are finishing up the lessons with them:)

As Mariah mentioned in her email, she was asked to help at the DC Temple Visitors Center.  She was able to serve there on Saturday, the same day as her baptism. While she was there she ran into Emma, one of her previous dance teachers who now lives in Virginia with her cute little family. See pic below. Emma texted us this pic and gave us some info about Riah. Small World!

Here are a few more pics that we received from Riah's visit to the DC Temple! What a beautiful temple! The last picture is with Dennis and Kathleen Riddle (uncle and aunt) who are serving a mission in DC.  How awesome it was for Riah to see some familiar faces on the one day she was able to spend serving in the visitors center:) 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Feliz día de acción de gracias!! :) Nov 30, 2015

"Hello all!!

Aw man, ok so this week has been super crazy busy but amazing at the same time!! The new video put out by the church just came out yesterday for this Christmas Season, and it's called A Savior is Born. If you haven't watched it, watch it, as well as the "Why We Need a Savior" video. I love being a missionary at this time of year!! Testifying of my Savior and being able to feel of his love for me and for others is something indescribable. 

So awesome news!! Last week we received an email that the sisters in our mission have been selected to help with the Washington DC North Mission at the Temple Visitor's center during the Festival of Lights due to the influx of crowds that come in during this time of year to provide extra support. (It's kinda like temple square in Salt Lake for those of you who have been.) This Saturday my companion and I get to travel to the Visitor's Center in Maryland along with some other sisters in our mission, and split with missionaries from the DC North mission to help out with the work over there!! We are so excited for this opportunity!! #blessed

This past being the week of Thanksgiving was amazing. Just being able to reflect on everything I have been given and how blessed I truly am. How blessed I truly am to be here as a missionary at this point in time and how God couldn't have picked a more perfect time and place for me to be on earth than He did. The things I have learned in my life that have molded me into the person I am couldn't have happened without the circumstances I have been given in every situation in my life. His plan is truly MARVELOUS. 

We have some awesome plans and things happening this week, unfortunately there is just not enough time to tell it all!! BUT. I love and miss you and am so grateful for the friends and family I have been given in my life!  THANK YOU ALL. You have each made an impact on my life forever.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Riddle :)

Pic: My and my comp with our investigator Carina's kids and some other kids from the ward after sacrament... #babysittingduringchoirpractice #butnot..."

Here are a few other pics that we received this week! 

Pic 1-Riah and her cute companion
Pic 2-Cookies from Grandma Odell
Pic 3-Divisions with Hermana Mugleston

Riah and her district all went to eat at a members house for Thanksgiving.  They sent a video and it was interesting to hear them all speaking to each other in English.  Check out the video below.  Notice that Mariah just can't help but dance.  It's in her bones!  So cute!  Love seeing videos like these with the missionaries in their mission environment:)

I mentioned in one of the past blogs that Mariah was completing a bunch of stuff for an opportunity that she has to teach English in Mexico. It started with my other daughter McKayla continually looking at service/humanitarian type experiences as she just loves doing stuff like that. McKayla is going into Early Childhood Education up at USU and her adviser forwards opportunities that will help them grow in their education. 

Well, an opportunity came up for McKayla to teach English in Tehuacan, Puebla- which is where I spent 11 months as a foreign exchange student when I was a Junior in High School. Of course this was something that we did not want her to pass up.  So Kayla went through the application process and interview and was accepted.

We told Mariah about it and she was so excited for Kayla to have that opportunity but was a little jealous (haha) that Kayla was going to live in a foreign country for several months, especially a Spanish speaking one!  So..the next week we asked Mariah if she wanted to go with her.  Of course she did! But, we asked her to pray about it to see if it was something that she was really supposed to be doing as she was planning on going back to school summer semester.  

A few months ago, (before this opportunity ever came up) Mariah told me that she wanted to change her major to Linguistics.  She said that there have been some things on her mission- feelings, impressions, and experiences (along with her patriarchal blessing) that have led her to change what she wants to do. So, when this teaching experience came available she too felt like it was something that she should do for her education.  She said that she prayed about it and doesn't feel like it was just happenstance that this opportunity came available while she was on her mission.  She feels like it is the next step in doing what the Lord wants her to be doing in life.

Mariah sent this clip of an email she received last week..

Dear Sister Riddle - 

Thank you very much for sending me your application for the May - August semester.  I have received a lovely letter from President Huntsman and we are thrilled about your participation in the upcoming May - August 2016 semester...

Have a wonderful Christmas season and enjoy spreading the gospel light with the people in the D.C. Mission!!!!!! Thank you so much for your service !!!!!!! 

Saludos y gracias -  

So..Riah has been accepted too and will be going to Mexico with McKayla. She will be leaving 2 and 1/2 weeks after she gets home from her mission..but, with the new MTC changes she may be staying an extra week on her mission and that would put her leaving 10 days after she gets home! That makes me a little sad but I am so excited for them to share this once in a lifetime experience together. They will grow to love the people in Mexico just like I do.

McKayla will be doing a volunteer/study program where she will teach English for half of the day and then she will have Spanish learning classes for half of the day. 5 days/week.  Riah will be earning a TESOL certification where she will be able to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages. That certification will allow her to teach English at language schools in any country throughout the world. Many people who get degrees in Linguistics also get TESOL certified.  Riah will teach English for half of her day and then will do web-learning, seminars and book work for the other part of her day. 

It's interesting at how this all fell into place. The fact that I was an exchange student there so many years ago makes it easy for me to allow them both this opportunity. We all can't help but think that this was all in the plan from the beginning. For some reason Tehuacan is supposed to be a part of our lives:) 

We just recently found out that the owner of the English school is the Stake President there in Tehuacan! His wife is the one who does all the recruiting and interviewing for the school. So glad to know that they will be in a good environment. 


"Hello everyone, ahhh the Pdays just start to go faster and faster!! This week was super great, we had a lot of things happen and have been able to see so many miracles!! I wish I had the time to tell but I don't.. sooo... I will just share a quote that I heard yesterday that I feel could apply to every aspect of life and we could really all use..

"If  you don't know what to do, and you feel like God isn't listening, just remember that the teacher never give the answers during the test."

I don't know who that is by but I just have to say that I know at times we don't realize why certain things are happening in or lives and/or how to deal with what comes in our lives, but just remember that the master teacher is the Spirit, and the spirit is what communicates to us what God would have us know in the time He would have us know it.. if we will just live worthy of that spirit we will be able to look forward with faith and overcome everything!! Just remember there is a purpose to every trial and test we go through in life, and that most of the time, if not ALL of the time, we are NEVER going to understand why or receive the answers during the time of trial, but that everything will work out in the end and when we begin to understand is what makes it easier to overcome.

I hope that makes sense, sorry I'm not giving much information about this week but it really was awesome, I feel SO grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and to serve my Heavenly Father as a representative of His Son, Jesus Christ!! I wouldn't trade this experience and what I have learned for ANYTHING.

Thank you all for being such awesome friends and family, I truly do have amazing people in my life, I am so grateful for each and every one of you!! 

I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving week!

What are you thankful for? ;)

Hermana Riddle :)

Pics next week!!" 

This pic is with her companion Hermana Christensen (the second) eating some Salvadorian papusas.  The awesome thing about Riah serving in the states with Spanish speaking people is that she gets to try homemade food from all kinds of countries.  Peru, Argentina, El Salvador, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, and many others.  I haven't asked her what type of food she likes the best but it'll be fun to hear about it when she gets home from her mission:)

I have a couple of other pics from Mariah that I won't post this week.  They are of her tonsils. Ugggh. She hasn't been feeling well but is just trying to plow through it all. She said that she has been so tired that she has been sleeping through her lunch hours and dinner hours when they don't have appointments for dinner.  Please pray for her to be able to get better and have the energy that she needs to do the work. She'll be going to the Dr to figure things out.

This past week she had to drop some investigators that she just loves so much but aren't progressing. Always such a hard thing to do.  She said though that she has been able to see so many miracles happen that she just doesn't have time to explain. She told us she would tell us all about it after her mission so I am writing that here so she will remember to tell us:)  She has some baptisms coming up but is being extra cautious about mentioning anything because she knows how Satan works.  She asked us to pray for her investigators and to also pray that she and her companion will be led to people who are prepared.

Also, this past week I was able to have lunch with some of the mom's of Hermanas who are serving in the DC South Spanish mission with Riah.  We had a great time.  See pics.  These are the moms of Hermanas Pettit and Mugleston (who went out with Riah) and also Hermana Peabody's mom. Hermana Peabody was a companion of Riah's.  They are fantastic women. I am so grateful that Riah has the opportunity to serve with such great sisters.  After meeting up with the moms we all mentioned that it's no wonder they all get along so well. Instant and forever friends! :)

Mariah will be singing in a missionary choir on Christmas Eve at the DC Temple Visitors Center.  She will also be playing a piano piece for the choir. What a great experience that will be for her.  And..we get to talk to her the day after that! YAY!!

I Love DC (Short and sweet)-Nov 16, 2015

Hey everyone!!

We went to downtown DC today which as you know means I don't have like any time to email. 

But I am alive and safe and I still love you all!! 

More next week!! :)

Hermana Riddle <3

Such a short letter but lucky for us she sent a lot more info on her email to us.  She has been using her P-day's recently to work out some things for college and also to take care of things for an opportunity that she has to teach English in Mexico when she returns from her mission. I'll talk more about it in an upcoming blog:)