Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The End is Just the Beginning

I don't even know where to start.  I am so grateful for the time I had to be on my mission.  I loved it.  It wasn't always easy, but it was always worth it.  I know I am changed.  I am changed for the better and the habits that I now have are going to help so much in life.

I am so grateful for those I met on the mission.  They were the ones that kept me going when I was frustrated.  They were the ones who I watched change their lives thus changing mine.  At the beginning of my mission I honestly thought I was going to be teaching people all the time.  Then at the end of my mission, I realized they were the ones who were always teaching me.  The teacher became the student.

I am so grateful for all of you! Thank you for reading my adventures, trials and all the other insignificant things that I wrote.  I hope that if you served a mission, this helped you remember your mission.  I hope that if you are thinking of serving a mission, this helped you see the life of a missionary.  I hope that if you have never met a missionary or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that you were able to feel the Spirit.  Here is a link to getting in contact with missionaries or just to be able to look more into the LDS faith.  https://discover.mormon.org/en-us/ 

On November 30, 2015 I flew home to Idaho.  I saw my family for the first time in 18 months, and let me tell you, I cried so much! Pretty sure I was the only one crying too!  It was so great to see them!  I was greeted with the best hug from my family, balloons, posters, and a special poster made by those who weren't able to physically be there at the airport.  I was able to see my sister in California the night before I flew out, at a Departing Testimony Meeting with all the other missionaries going home.  It was such a surprise to see her and again, I cried.  :) (It is a reoccurring thing).

Again, thank you so much! You are all so special to Heavenly Father.  He has a plan for all of us.  I know that! He wants us to be happy so he sent His Son to make it possible to get back.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  I know Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ.  I know he was crucial in restoring the church to the earth.  I am so grateful for him.  I know the Priesthood is here on the earth.  On the mission, I saw many times where the Priesthood brought hope, peace and healing.  I was so grateful for those who held their Priesthood responsibility worthily.  That was such a blessing to know that we called one of them and they would help us out.  I know we have trials in our lives to make us stronger.  The key is how we view the trial and who we turn to for help.  I know someone that is always the most reliable.  He is our Father in Heaven.  He is always just a prayer away.  He wants to help us.  If I didn't believe any of the things I mentioned above I would have not been telling people that for the last 18 months.

Just because my mission in California is over doesn't mean I am never going to talk about the Gospel to those around me.  I know it can change lives, so the missionary work is going to continue, just in a little different way.  
So this end is really just the beginning.

Love, Amber Rietz

The Welcome Home Group

 Ryan, Myself, and Alli at the 
Departing Testimony
 Departing Missionary Temple Trip
 Zone Leaders dropping off
snack for flying
 President and Sister Hobbs
These Sisters have meant more to me than they know.
Because I have known them, I am changed
for the better.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

...grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)

Where do I even begin!  This is going to be my last email as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As I said in last weeks email, I would never in a million years, trade anything for my mission.  Even if someone was offering for me to meet the Prophet.  I am so grateful for this time to teach the people of the California Rancho Cucamonga Mission.  I am so grateful to know that the Lord called me with all of my weaknesses to come and that he trusted me to do this.  I am so grateful for the people that I have met here.  They have changed my life.  I am not the same person that I was 18 months ago.  And in all honesty, I am so grateful that I am different.  The point of the Atonement is for us to change.  That is really something that I have come to notice on my mission.  So speaking of my changing, there is something that I haven't really told anyone before. And now it is about to be known to the world.  My whole life, I have had the HARDEST time comparing myself to others.  I have 4 fabulous sisters, and 1 amazing brother.  Growing up with all of them I always felt like I was not really all that important.  I thought my parents loved them more than me, were more proud of them than me and so on.  (Now I know how wrong I was.)  Anyways, so for years I have struggled with the thoughts of having to be as great as my siblings.  I thought that I would be the biggest failure in the world if I didn't live up to my siblings accomplishments.  So then I came on a mission, and had the best trainer in the world!  I wanted to be just like her.  I started comparing myself to her.  I know that she and I were supposed to be together in Hesperia.  I started to realized how little I knew about being on a mission, and what it took to be out here.  I started back to my old ways, and went back to comparing myself to others.  Luckily Sister M was always there to encourage me.  Sometimes I was super mad at her, but she knew that it was what I needed to change and become better. ( I am so grateful for that by the way.  Thank You!)  
Months later, my mom sent me a letter about comparing myself, and it really helped so much.  The letter also included a talk that was written by a young woman in my ward back home.  The letter got me thinking about how every single one of us is important to Heavenly Father.  I learned how to really come to the Savior and use the Atonement to change.  I was sick of trying to be the next best missionary.  I wanted to be the missionary that Heavenly Father wanted me to be.  I wanted to quit comparing myself to others.  There is a reason that we all have different personalities.  We all have to be different.  That is how Heavenly Father's Plan is for all of us.  I really learned to turn to the Lord, and trust Him with the things He had in store for me.  I knew that if I was always trying to be someone else that I would be hindering myself and the Lord's work.  I didn't come on a mission to make a new list of regrets, so I decided that day to ask the Lord for help.  I wanted to change.  I wanted to become the best that I could be.  That day has changed my life.  It has helped shape me into the best missionary that I could be.  I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  That is the only reason that I was able to change.  The Atonement of Jesus Christ can and will help you change.  I can promise you that.  You have to put in your part, but the Lord will make up the difference.  That is another thing I have learned.  Grace is so crucial for us to change as well.  In True to the Faith, The phrase “after all we can do” teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him. The Lord has commanded us to obey His gospel, which includes having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  This is what I have been teaching people for the last 18 months.  They can change.
So many people have changed since I have been out.  Like I said, I have changed! So much, and I am so grateful for that.  I met Constance.  She literally changed her life for the Gospel.  She is a such a great example to me, and her faith and testimony are sometimes the thing that has pulled me through to the end of that day.  I am so grateful for her.  She is one of my best friends in the whole wide world.  I am so grateful she is still working toward more covenants.  I will be there for them! 
Others that really had a major influence in my life was my loving STL's last transfer.  Sister C and Sister A are the best! They helped me when I thought there was no other way.  They had patience and were so loving when I needed to change.  They laughed at my jokes and really that was one of the first times I learned how to help myself on the mission.  
My trainer I mentioned above, Sister M.  She was so patient and I am sure that she is just sitting there laughing at this.  She really taught me what it meant to be a missionary.  She was exactly what I needed for those 3 transfers.  She is an amazing lady, and I am so lucky to call her Mission Mom.  She sure taught me a WHOLE lot.  This leads me to two other amazing sisters.  Sister T and Sister C2.  Holy Cow.  Who would have ever thought 3 sisters on bike could have as much fun as we did.  Who could have thought we could teach and grow all together.  These sisters were there when my testimony was not the best.  They were there to really pull me back out of the comparing myself rut.  They were my saving angels.
President and Sister H are next.  Never have I seen a couple with as much stress and responsibility as they have, deal with all of it with such ease.  They are the best people to lead and guide our mission at this time.  They are pushing us to become better and all the time they were my "parents" on the mission.  Sister H sat through doctor visits with me, and President H emailed me advice and encouragement every week.  I am so grateful for those emails.  They have really helped me a whole lot.  There are so many people that I am sure I have missed.  Know that everyone I have ever talked with, even those who I just talked with on the street or at their door, have taught me some principle that I know will help me.

This last week was a whirlwind.  Many people are leaving for vacation so I had to say goodbye to them.  That was hard.  But we went on exchanges, and Sister C and I were together for 24 hours.  It was some of the best 24 hours of my life.  I guess that it is just a taste of what Friday and Sunday will be like when we are companions again for the temple trip and the departing devotional.  We were able to see a lot of people, and ended on a miracle.  We decided to go eat a milkshake and talk about exchanges.  While we were there, we saw this lady that they had been working with.  It was such a miracle, because her phone had shut off and the sisters were having a hard time getting a hold of her.  They set up a time, and Sister C told me they have been seeing her almost everyday.  What a great miracle!  
We also had 3 little boys get baptized on Saturday! It was such a great day! We were all so spiritually exhausted.  I am so grateful for Jesse, Jordan and Brian.  They are all the best little boys!  We (8 missionaries) sang Lead Kindly Light, with one of them playing guitar.  The Spirit was there and from what we have heard, so many people loved the baptism.  I spoke at Brian's Baptism, and talked about how our covenants are related to a Kit-Kat.  
K-Keep your commandments
A-Always remember him 
T-take his name upon you.

This was such a great week.  I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I am not perfect, but I am perfect (at times) at trying.  I still have a problem at times of comparing myself, but then I remember how great our Savior is and that He can help me.  I can promise you all that the Lord will succor you in your time of need.  He can help you to change.  I know it doesn't take a mission to change everyone, but that is what it took for me to change.  I know this church is true.  I know Heavenly Father is there for all.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that we have to pray.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  It will allow us to grow closer to God than any other book in the whole world.  I can promise you If you ever become discouraged or feel too weak to continue living the gospel, remember the strength you can receive through the enabling power of grace. You can find comfort and assurance as you pray to the Lord: “My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them”.

Thank you for all that you have done for me.  I love you all so much! Thank you for the love you have given me on the mission.  It has helped me become such a better person!  I am so grateful for the time that I have had to serve the Lord.
Love you all so much! 
Sister Amber Rietz

(I don't know what my email is for back home, but I'll email you from it.)
Sister Amber Rietz
6541 Woodruff Place
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
Squash for friends

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The best time of my life

Serving as a missionary for the last 18 months of my life, has been the Best.  I know that I have had a lot of really random emails saying that we did nasty service, had a terrible week, everyone dropped us and that I was just struggling but I would never in a million years, trade that for my mission.  Even if someone was offering for me to meet the Prophet.  Being a missionary has really been hard, but as I said a couple weeks ago it has made me really rely on the Spirit.  It has changed me.  Ask any of the members or missionaries that I served around at the beginning of my mission.  I am really different, but I am okay with that.  No, I am not any less hilarious or crazy, but I am more who Heavenly Father wants me to be.  I am this much closer to my divine potential.  I love this Gospel so much, and although I won't always have a badge on my clothes, there will forever be the badge that has slowly stitched itself to my heart.  I know that Satan really tries hard to get us to go against what we believe, but we have to stick with our faith to overcome those weaknesses.  I will save the rest for next week.
This last week was really crazy. Good crazy, and Bad Crazy.
Monday November 9th
We had a normal P-day with not a whole lot of crazy things going on, and we were able to get everything done. Even got the car cleaned!  Then we ate dinner at our Ward Mission Leader's house.  A couple weeks ago, they asked me what is something that I missed from home.  I told them I missed the few times that our family would eat waffles and ice cream.  At the same time... So that night when we walked in the door what was waiting for us? Waffles and Ice Cream with all sorts of nice things to put on top of it.  So that night I ate many a waffles with no shame.  Then we had a really great lesson with our investigator, Millie.  She has so much faith! The last 5 months for her has been TERRIBLE! She is always telling us though, that it is part of God's plan for her.  She has no doubt in her mind that this is the path that Heavenly Father wants for her.  We talked the whole time about faith, and then she said the closing prayer.  In the prayer she never once asked Heavenly Father for anything.  She just told him all the things that she was grateful for.  It was a real testimony builder to me, that gratitude prayers are sometimes the best prayers.
Tuesday November 10th
We had Zone Meeting! I loved Zone Meeting.  Until they asked me to bear my testimony on the things that I learned as a missionary... they let me go before the Elder who is also going home. How kind of them right?  We also were able to see the new Christmas Video that the church will be promoting this season.  It is so good! All these little children telling the story of Christ.  I love that you can see the little light in their eyes, and that they are all so happy! Really brought the Spirit into that room.  The whole time this meeting was going on, our little car was at Pepboys getting a tune up, so after the meeting, the Sisters all went and got Sushi and ate it while waiting for our car.  Then that night we were able to have a lesson with both our investigators, Jordan and Jesse.  It was really good! We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and Jordan told us that he wanted to be baptized on the 21st! Which is the same day as his brother.  We were so happy, and planned the whole baptism right there.  I was so grateful for their mother who was right there helping us teach the lessons to them.  Such a tender moment for their family.  The best part is that we thought their dad would have a problem with them getting baptized, and he doesn't! He is actually excited that they are choosing this themselves, and that they are following through with it.
Wednesday November 11th
We had a lesson with Lila and Martin (he is a new investigator!)  We were talking about baptism, and Lila told us that she wanted to push her baptism back till the beginning of the year.  It was really sad, but at least she didn't drop us.  She is still planning on getting baptized, but needs to get through these next 2 months she said.  We also did service for our Recent Converts family.  They are having a memorial for her mom, and so we were helping clean up the yard for them.  The Young Men from the ward came, and the Grandma was so happy.  She almost started crying, and she was just so grateful.  We also had another lesson with Jordan and Jesse.
Thursday November 12th
We went to the scripture study class, and it was so great! It was only the 3rd time having it, and there were over 20 people there! It was so great! Most of them were less-actives or investigators! It was so great to be in such a little room with so many people.  When we told people we were going to be having this class, we were told we would need a small room since not a lot of people would show up.  Haha, well I am so grateful that we broke the expectations that we had set.
Friday November 13th
There is a cold that is going around, and Sister S got it.  That morning we had gone and helped clean up the yard more for the same family mentioned above, and it was so great to meet all the extended family.  People could not believe that we were doing the yard for free and that we wanted to help them.  They didn't know what missionaries were, and now they do! It was such a cool moment when Brenda was telling everyone what we did.  She told everyone that we were the Mormons that she always talked about.  It was another testimony builder to me of how important member missionary work is.  The Ranchos ward also had a relief society activity but Sister S wasn't feeling the best, so we came home and she went to bed.
Saturday November 14th
Sister S woke up feeling more sick, so we let her rest until we had to go.  We had promised the day before to come and help set up for the memorial, so that is what we did.  It was again so great to talk with their family and tell them what we do as missionaries, and why we came on missions.  Brenda's dad is a pastor, so I was worried that he would want to bible bash or something, but he didn't.  We all just talked, and he asked us questions, and we told him what we could.  When we were leaving, they were all so grateful, and you could tell that it had meant a lot to them.  We then went to Jordan and Jesse's house.  The Elders had taught them the Law of Chastity, and they would not stop telling us what they had learned from the Elders.  9 and 10 year old versions of the Law of Chastity were taught with Pokemon cards.  I am not really sure how the Elders related it, but the boys sure got it.  
Sunday November 15th
I spoke in the Granite Hills Ward about the things that I learned on my mission.  I got a lot of quotes from the talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson titled, When Thou Art Converted.  It was really good! It helped me to get a good base for my talk.  The members all said that I did a good job, but I think that there is a commandment that says to compliment missionaries.  We had dinner with our Bishop's family, and it was so good to talk with their son who returned from a mission not all that long ago.  He gave me some advice, and told me just accept that you are going to feel awkward for a few days.  I didn't even bring up that I was going home, but with another missionary going home in that ward it is inevitable that going home is going to be brought up.  We also practiced singing the song that we are singing at the baptism this coming weekend.  Three Baptisms in three hours.  You won't hear me complaining about that!  We are singing, Lead Kindly Light with a guitar.  It should be good!  Hopefully with us getting our flu shots today, none of us actually get the flu this week.  I really hope that we don't sound like rocks in a blender.  One of the Elders whenever someone hit a wrong note would make the worst noise and pretend to be turning on a blender.
I am so grateful for every single one of you! You have changed my life in some way.  I am sure of it!  have a great week! Stay warm! It is freezing here! The other day I had to turn the defroster on in the car.  Never thought I would have to do that on my mission...
Oh you all should watch the video called The Spirit of Thanksgiving! So great! I love the guy in the red shirt...http://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/series/mormon-messages/in-the-spirit-of-thanksgiving-1  He is my favorite.  "my bed.  Cause I don't have one." Maybe I'll start sleeping on the floor so that I can be more grateful for a bed.  It's the little things, that matter most in life.

Sister Rietz
Flu shot champions

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rat poop. Mice poop. Masks. Miracles

This week was one of the grossest weeks of my life.  I love service and all of that, but there has got to be a line at when it is not safe for us to be breathing in the air.  I only have a little time, but we were the service queens this week!
Almost everyday we were doing some sort of service.  
One of the days we cleaned this lady named Judy (she was born in a barn Sister Allen!) and it was disgusting! We walked in, and there was just dog hair everywhere! Our vacuum actually broke because of the hair. That wasn't even the worst part.  Judy was throwing a party, so she needed her house cleaned.  It didn't need to be cleaned.  It needed to be bombed.  There was just grossness all around! There was so much rat and mouse poop everywhere.  I got assigned to dusting duty.  It was more like sweeping poop duty! So gross. We had to go to the store to get more vacuum bags, and we saw dust masks on sale... So we may or may not have bought some.  When we came back, she wasn't even offended that we wanted to wear them.  We also cleaned out her kitchen cupboards. More poop! I was cleaning out a container, and it was SEALED, and there was still a nice present from the mice in there.  How people live in these conditions, I will never understand...  So that was the first day of gross service! Then we helped a woman paint and stain some wood.  That was the cleanest service that we did all week.  Then comes Saturday...  We were called and asked to come help a woman in the ward move.  We got there, and I have never been more surprised by what I saw: members covering their face with masks... The missionaries all had them, and they were legitimately worried about us catching some kind of disease.  You walked out of the car, and you could just smell rotten food and animal poop.  We got right to work, and I was so grateful for the masks that we had.  It didn't stop the smell completely, but it definitely helped.  I was so grateful for them.  When we were in the garage, one of the Elders told me to watch out for the mouse.  He was kidding, and then I pulled out a box and more cockroaches than I thought was possible to see at once came running out.  I was pretty grossed out, and then a mouse ran over my hand.  Just thinking about it, grosses me out.  Then like 10 minutes later, I was walking over this pile of junk and reached up pick up some things that needed to me in a box, when I felt this nice little prick in my foot...  It was a nice little construction staple.  It had gone through my shoe, and into my foot.  Good thing I got my tetanus shot already!  It was pretty gross! It didn't really bleed, so I just put my shoe back on.  Things you learn on the mission: don't call attention to yourself, cause members freak out about the missionaries getting hurt.  I learned that the hard way with getting stitches last year.

Even though all this gross stuff happened, so many cool miracles happened this week! I knew the Lord was watching over our areas, and seeing the hard work that we are putting into them.
Miracles- We had a lesson with Lila and Andrea, two of our investigators. They are neighbors so we usually teach them together. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Confirmation, and Enduring to the End. When we started talking about baptism Lila, who from the beginning told us she did NOT want to be pushed into baptism, started crying and told us she knew she had to be baptised. She felt the spirit so strongly and she realized that you don't have to know everything to be baptised. It finally made sense to her that baptism doesn't mean that you have to be perfect. It's just one of the first steps to follow Jesus Christ.
We are teaching two boys, Jordan and Jesse. One is 9 and the other is 10. The mom is active but when we first met them, they wanted nothing to do with the church. Jesse especially was angry and didn't like anything church-related at all. Last night we had a lesson where both of them wanted so much to learn about how they could be baptised. It is so amazing to see the change in them! We are planning their baptism for the 21st of November! Then Lila is on date to be baptised on the 28th of November! We are so grateful that miracles happen when we deal with disgusting service.
I have learned that Serving others really helps you get to know them better.  Even if it is gross.

Sister Amber Rietz
6541 Woodruff Place
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
It was cold, so we needed hats, gloves, and coats... It was 63 degrees outside... it was sad. Idaho weather is going to kill me

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The light of Christ in all of us

I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I want all of you to know how much the Savior means to me.  He has been there when I have thought that there was no other way.  He has been there when I have just wanted to quit biking and go eat a popsicle (this one has happened a lot more than I thought it would).  He has been there when I have been reading the scriptures and been so confused at what is being taught.  He has been there when hard things were happening to my family, and I had no way of knowing what was happening with them.  He has been there when a person we were teaching, called to tell us she was just going to give up. That it was just too hard.  He was there for her, my companion, and myself.
He has been there for every single one of us, all at different times with different struggles.  I am so grateful that he never gives up on any of us.  He is never going to say, "Sorry, I had my hand reaching out to you for the last 22 years, and I am just going to pull it back now."  He has promised us that he will always be there for us.  He knows what we are going through and knows what additional tests, trials and road blocks that we need before us so that we can be able to grow.  I am honestly so amazed at the Love the Savior has for each one of us.  We are working with so many people, who are just stuck on thinking they are a lost cause.  They think no one cares about them, or really understands where they are at in their life.  I think they are forgetting the things the Savior did for us.  He stood there and was mocked for each one of us.  He walked with the cross on his back.  He suffered for every little mistake that we have ever, and will ever make.  He sacrificed himself so that every last person on earth could return to live with Heavenly Father.  I know that as we pray and tell the Lord the things that are really a struggle for us at that time, He will answer us.  I am so grateful for that communication that we still have here.  Okay, sorry that was just something that has been on my mind a whole lot recently.  I will now step off that soap box and proceed to tell you all about the exciting adventure of Sister Rietz in the middle of nowhere Apple Valley, California!
Nothing too exciting happened over here, expect Sister S was walking past a cactus and it shot a thorn at her leg.  Someone called it a spitting cactus, but we are not really sure if that is what happened to her leg.  It has been causing her "immense" pain, and so we are two normal missionaries and one wounded warrior.
Tuesday October 27:
We had another District Meeting... On the Mountain! Surprise, Surprise!  It is so peaceful and perfect up there.  It only took us 5 mins to get to the perfect spot to throw a pumpkin off a cliff.  No worries, no hiking was needed this time around.  I was asked to give a training based off a training that Sister T and I gave a couple transfers ago in Upland.  Apparently word spread around the mission that we had smashed plates.  In honor of Halloween and the fact that it was cheaper to buy one pumpkin than 7 plates, we smashed one pumpkin off of that mountain.  We all wrote the fears that we all face as missionaries.  We used scriptures, quotes, Preach My Gospel, and the nice little cliff to smash all of those fears.  It was a pretty successful meeting I would say.  We also had the Granite Hills Halloween Party that night.  But not before we had an amazing dinner with our Less-Active, and we were able to figure out a little bit more as to why she doesn't come to church.  We were amazed that she opened up, and her tear ducts were a flowin' as well.  The little triumphant trio was all a little teary eyed as well.  Judge us.  We don't care.  Then on to the Halloween Party.  Most of the people we are working with came and it was so exciting!  Yes, we dressed up. We live right next to the D family, who have become like grandparents to us. They are the funniest, most bickering out of love couple that I have ever met.  Brother D as a white mustache that he likes to wax up into a curl so for Halloween, we were Brother D! He let us use his cowboy hats and wool shirts and we wore stick-on mustachs! Everybody thought it was pretty funny.  We just needed the glass mason jars with overflowing ice and we would have been identical to him!
Wednesday October 28: 
We helped a woman in the ward, okay she is actually only 11 months older than me, paint chairs for her house.  She has 3 kids all under the age of 3.  It was a zoo, and I have never been so distracted while doing a service project for someone.    We also were able to see Brenda.  As I said last week, her mom passed away and Brenda is back in town.  We were over there talking about the Plan of Salvation, and then we were off to another appointment.  On the way into that appointment, I noticed there was a HUGE spot on the back of Sister S's skirt.  We didn't see Brenda's puppy the whole time we were there and we were sitting on the floor...  the puppy was not yet potty trained and Sister S had been sitting in it. It wasn't super noticeable and we like I said, we had those appointments that we really needed to get to so we just didn't worry her about it until we got home that night. She forgave us eventually.  I think.
Thursday October 29:
We had a lesson with 2 of our Investigators: Lila and Andrea.  They are so great! They are like sponges, and soak up everything that we say to them.  They have come to church now, and they LOVED it.  Andrea was pretty sick, and so the Elders came and gave her a blessing.  It told her that she could know the church was true if she asked God.  It was so great!  We also had another lesson with Larry.  He is progressing well.  We are just waiting for him to get off probation, and then he can FINALLY get baptized.  His next court date is January.  I feel like it is going to be a never ending court date.  We also are starting a scripture study class here.  Just like the one that we had in Upland.  It was pretty good for it being the first week.  We are more prepared now.  We have flyers, and we are ready to pass them out to everyone.

Friday October 30: 
We had another lesson with Lila and Andrea.  We taught the Plan of Salvation to them.  Andrea had a baby that passed away, and she is so happy to know that she can see him again.  I love the knowledge that the Plan of Salvation brings to us.  She kept asking, "Am I really going to see them!?"  It was such a tender moment, and I know she will see him again.  I also ruined another skirt, but Sister D saved it.  I was helping crack open Pomegranates when one exploded on me.  I was so sad to see all that red juice seep into my skirt.  We took it to the her, and lo and behold, Sister D is a magician! She was able to get it out.  So my skirt is saved.
Saturday October 31:
We helped Andrea reorganize her garage.  We found a lost member.  Sister S won musical chairs.  It was not just any normal musical chairs, but Ranchos Ward Musical Chairs.  Which means that everyone is SUPER competitive and wants to win.  It was hilarious to watch, and we also were assigned to help a less active woman pass out candy.  She has not been to the the church since 2010, and then she showed up at the Halloween Party.  So good to be able to build relationships with her, and we have a lesson set with her this week.  We dressed up as Brother D again, but everyone thought that we were just cowboys. 
Sunday November 1:
I bore my testimony about how great it is to serve a mission, and to serve others.  I accidentally said: "you can learn a lot about someone just from helping them clean out their garage.  We helped Andrea, and now her garage is a lot cleaner." Good thing Andrea loves the Gospel, or else we might have been no longer teaching her.  Everyone laughed, and thought it was funny.  I really didn't mean to say that, it just kind of happened.  Sister S, Sister T2 and I were talking about this and I brought up how cool it is that everybody's light is a little different. The three of us have very very different personalities, but we all have the light of Christ. Sometimes it just shines through us in different ways. We all have different strengths but when we work together we are able to do so much more than any of us could do on our own. I know that each of us is so important to God and that every person can have the light of Christ in them. Thank you all for your examples and all of the ways you have strengthened me. Being in a trio is not always roses, butterflies, and goldfish... it has those moments where you just want to eat all the chocolate in the world, and not even feel guilty. But, I am so grateful for these two crazy, funny, humble, diligent sisters as my companions for this last little bit of my mission.
I hope everyone has a great day.  If any of you are wondering, I am not trunky.  I think that some of the members are more trunky than I am.  They are always asking me what I am going to do with my life, and I tell them; "ehhh, be a missionary..."  I think that is the best go to answer, cause Every Member a Missionary.
It is still really warm here in California.  We woke up this morning to our house being 71 degrees.  There was a nice HOT wind and so I am thinking it will be the most perfect weather for the rest of the week.  Sorry for those of you who are freezing up in Utah and Idaho! Hahaha.
I love you all. Have a great week!
Sister Amber Rietz
6541 Woodruff Place
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca
Happy Halloween from Apple Valley

Where has the week gone? (Post for October 26)

I really can't believe that this week is done.  I really don't know where the time has gone.  This email is going to be really short.  I am so grateful for the miracles that we saw this week.  I know the Lord really had a hand in the things that were done.  I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I know that the Gospel is the only thing that can help us when we are having a hard day.  I am so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  This last week SO many great things happened! I really can't even think right now.  Sorry.  I am only going to touch base on the things that I really think are most important.
On Tuesday we had District Meeting in the Mountain. AGAIN! I love going up there.  The wilderness is so calm.  The peace and clarity that we can receive there is amazing.  I really know that Joseph Smith needed to go to the grove to be able to receive the answer that he got.  I know the Spirit can work through others to help us come closer to Christ.  I love the Gospel.
Yesterday I was sitting in the chapel.  I was praying this last week to better understand the Sacrament, and what it means to us.  As the sacrament was being passed around, I grabbed a piece, and then realized how BIG it was. Then I passed the tray to the lady next to me.  She grabbed a piece, and it was so LITTLE.  She looked at me, smiled and then put the bread in her mouth and closed her eyes.  It hit me right then and there.  It doesn't matter how big or little the bread is.  It still is symbolic of Jesus Christ, and what he did for me.  It was an answer to my prayer for sure.  I was sitting there, and just amazed at what Sister B had just taught me.  The Lord really does answer prayers in the way that we need them them.  I was just so shocked that the answer to my prayer would come when it did.  I am so grateful though for Sister B, and her little smiles that teach me so much!  
Sad News: Brenda's Mom passed away yesterday.  It is really sad, but I really believe that with the faith that Brenda has in the Plan of Salvation, that she will be okay.  I was really sad to see Brenda move away, because I knew that it meant that we could no longer get her testimony texts that she would send to us.  I also have been praying for more opportunities to raise my level of obedience.  I knew that not texting Brenda would be so hard, especially after her mom passing away.  But, the Lord blesses those who are obedient.  President H allowed us to text her and tell her how much we love her.  She told us that she was coming back this week, so I get to see Brenda before I go home.

I am so sorry this is so short.  We are driving around other sisters today, so they can save miles, and they have dinner soon.  I love all of you so much! Thank you for your examples.  
Love, Sister Rietz

Sister Amber Rietz
6541 Woodruff Place
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

Looking for a souvenier to bring home.

Silly Sister Rietz

Our favorite place to have District Meeting


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Week worth writing about...I guess

Monday October 12
Our zone had a BBQ for Zone Activity.  We did it at a member's house and it was a lot of fun.  There was a Volleyball Court, a trampoline, teatherball, and then a sword and a cake.  This family has the tradition of having someone cut their birthday cake with a sword.  Since my birthday was the day before, the Elders got me a cake, and sang the most off-tune happy birthday song.  It was great.  It was really fun to get the cake all smashed up with the sword, and whatnot.  Cake ended up in my face, and mainly in my eye.  It was not my most favorite thing.  But, that is okay cause it made Sister T2 and I bond a little more.  Bonding is always a good thing.  We were supposed to have FHE with a family, but they had to reschedule for a couple days later.
Tuesday October 13
High on the Mountain Top is all that could be heard in our little area of Apple Valley.  Our district leader found a spot that overlooks Apple Valley and so we had District Meeting up there.  It was really cool, and we are forever going to be going back to that training, and really focusing on our purpose as missionaries.  We had dinner with a Part Member family, and we were able to help the Mom distract her son while she did a little photo shoot of him.  It was great.  Little Ranger has never been more mad to be sitting in a pumpkin watching two sister missionaries try and get him  to laugh.  The struggle was real, and Sue is just going to have to deal with having pictures of screaming Ranger.
Wednesday October 14
We were contacting a potential investigator, and then we were standing outside and who drives up? Our recent convert that has fallen off the face of the earth...  We were all a little surprised, but it was so good to see her.  We found out that she just has been really busy, and that she is not intentionally avoiding us.  That was comforting to find out, but then she didn't come to church.  That was a little frustrating.  We also had  family home evening with a less-active family as well! It was really good to have the WHOLE family sit in on it.  They are wanting to invite investigators to their family home evening, so that was really cool!  I loved sitting there playing games, and then eating cookies with them.  It was really fun.  This coming week we are carving pumpkins, and talking about how Satan tries to cut us little by little before we notice what is happening.  It should be good.  I was watching a Mormon Message called Dangerous Tides, and I realized that it really goes with how Satan works hard to make somethings appear not a big deal, and that it won't harm us to just do it once.  
Thursday October 15
We were called before we could even do studies, and asked to help a part member family move.  When we got there, the house wasn't packed and they were planning on leaving the next morning. *insert chaotic parents and grumpy teenagers*  No one really wanted to be there, but it was good that we went or else all those little trinkets that we so precariously wrapped would not be safe in the moving truck.  It was good to help them move as well, because it seems that all the missionaries that have served in this ward have tried to teach him, and he just isn't ready.  It was good to be able to serve him, and help him realize that we are there for more than teaching the gospel.  The Ranchos ward also had their relief society party.  The topic was based off the Pear Tree Analogy.  The Sisters that did the video, and spoke did such a good job! They talked a lot about how as women, we really get down on ourselves but we shouldn't.  We just need to realize that everything happens at a specific time, and for a specific reason.  They talked about how in our lives, sometimes we are like the tree in the winter: dead, and not really appearing to grow.  But other times in our lives, we are like a tree in the summer: full of growth and reaching our potential.  It really made me reevaluate my attitude about somethings that are going on with being a missionary.  
Friday October 16
We were able to meet with a Less-Active that has really been struggling.  We went over, and there was a special spirit in her home.  The rain was POURING outside, and inside her home it was so cozy.  I was so grateful for the Spirit being there. The Spirit was not always there when we would go, but I know this time her being sober had a HUGE part of the Spirit being there.  We helped her clean her house, and decorate it for Halloween.  I asked if she had something I could dust with, and she handed me this pair of underwear.  I was so grossed out, but she told me that it was clean.  I can tell you all, it did not look or feel clean.  We came home, and I wanted to bleach my hands.  We also had dinner with a convert family.  They were telling us their conversion story, and I was so amazed.  It took 17 years of missionaries, but the last ones that taught them just served them becuase they didn't know what else to do.  We are slowly building more and more member trust in these wards.  I love it.  Referrals are going to come flooding in! 
Saturday October 17
The worst day of the whole transfer.  You sit around (okay, not really sit around, we still worked), waiting to hear if you are getting transferred.  Our district had two service projects, and they both were for Less-Actives! It was great! They both came to church the next day too! WHOOO! Anyways, we used sledge hammers to beat apart a swamp cooler, and the Elders used axes to take down a tree.  Then they fed us lunch.  At the next service project, the lady's fence fell down, and so we helped put it back up.  We dug holes, re-nailed all the boards, and made that fence safe again.  I am so grateful the Elders knew what they were doing, and that they were able direct us where to nail, and where to dig.  Later that night, the Granite Hills Ward had an activity.  We had a chili cook-off, and I learned how to rope a cow! It was awesome.  So many people came out that we invited.  I was so grateful to have an activity where we could invite people to come to.  We also had homemade dutch-oven cobbler.  It was SO good.  I limited myself to only tasting the desserts.  Then I didn't overeat.  
Oh, and transfer calls came when we were building the fence.  I am staying and finishing my mission in Apple Valley in Ranchos and Granite Hills Wards.  I am in a trio... AGAIN!!! And Sister S who I was companions with in Upland is coming with Sister T2 and me.  It is going to be a party!!! 
Sunday October 18
We went to church, and our Less-Active was there.  I was so surprised!!! She has been telling us for weeks that she is coming, and never comes.  I think the fact we did service for her, and the fact I used that nasty underwear, really was what brought her to church!  Just kidding, but it was so good to see her there.

I hope you all have a great week! Here is a link to the video I was talking about earlier.

Love you all!
Love, Sister Rietz
High on a mountain top with Sister T2

High on a mountain top with my district 


Reppin' the Sister Missionaries

In an abandoned car, with my district.  Because it was there.
The new tripanionship