Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Just Two Sisters From Idaho

Transfers were yesterday, and I have a new companion.  Her name is Sister T and she is from Weston, Idaho.  She has been out for only 2 transfers, so I am doing what they call, "follow-up" training.  It just means that I am her first companion since she was with her trainer.  It is really nerve-racking being the senior companion, and making sure that we are covering everything that we need to.  I am really excited for this next transfer, and the opportunity that I have to grow.
I was really sad to see Sister C2 go home, because she taught me a lot about myself, and about how to become a better missionary.  That is something that I will be constantly learning though.  After reading all those emails from family about how much growth they have seen in me, I guess that I really have grown.  Haha, I was thinking about how in 2015, I will spend most of that year on my mission.  And with every new year, new goals are made.  So the new goals that I am setting for myself is to not do anything that would make me have regrets while on my mission.  I also am setting goals to be more obedient, teach people not lessons, and also to get better at teaching and testifying.  I am really excited to see, and measure the growth that will hopefully occur within me.  I know that this will help me become a better missionary.

1.Funniest things done: I was playing with my chap stick, and I threw it up in the air.  Well it was one of the EOS ones, and those are not the smallest chap sticks in the world.  Well, I threw it up, and there was a lamp behind me, and the chap stick came down, and landed on the light bulb. It shattered.  I died laughing, cause what are the odds that it would have hit the light bulb just perfectly to shatter it.  No worries, the light bulb was eventually going to burn out.  I just sped the process up.  Sister C2 and I were laughing really hard, cause it was almost slow motion when it happened too.
2.Biggest Blessing: Not dying while I was driving. There was a lot of traffic the times that I was driving, and I was so worried that I was going to wreck the mission's car. But no worries.  It all ended up being okay, and there is not even a scratch on the car.  I didn't realize how much I missed driving until I was driving again, but I still would love to stay on my bike for the remainder of my mission.  That way I don't have to worry about wrecking the car, I only have to worry about wrecking myself on my bike.
3.Latest project: Helping Sister T see the potential that she has.  She was telling me that she doesn't feel like an awesome missionary, but that she is going through the motions, so that is what our goals are this week, to help her see how awesome of a missionary she is.
4.Most exciting events: Sister C2 went home... I was so sad, but I know that there is a time for everyone to go home, and I just happened to be her last companion.  She taught me so much, and I am so grateful that I was able to be with her.  ALSO, I got to skype home.  I realized once I got off, how awesome you all are, and I wish that I could have gotten back on and told you all that you are awesome, and I love you tons.  I know that we can all be together forever, and I am so grateful for that! I miss you all, but May and the Mother's Day call is not that far away.  And I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing, and as much fun as it would have been to be with you, I know that California is where I am to be right now.
5. Favorite Game: We played this game about acting out Christmas Songs, Movies, and Books while Sister C2 was skyping.  It was so fun, and I realized that I am REALLY bad at acting things out.
6.Favorite Foods: We had a really yummy fancy dinner, and I totally spilled all this meat juice on the WHITE tablecloth.  Oh well.  It makes for a good story right?? I hope. Hahah.
7.Most challenging thing: Getting a new companion, and trying to figure out how to interact.  It is awkward, but I honestly love it.
8. Simple Pleasures: I saw Sister C!!! She was at the transfer meeting.  And she is serving in RANCHO! So she is now down the hill with me! I was so excited to see her!
9.Goals: Lose Weight.  Obedience with Exactness.  Find new Investigators.
10.Biggest smile: When the computer connected, and I was able to see my family.  They all are awesome.  And I am so blessed to be part of the Rietz Clan!
11.Biggest accomplishment: Not crying when I had to say good-bye to Sister C2. Okay, that is a lie.  We both cried at the mission office like babies. hahha
12: Favorite Quote: Saying Goodbye to Elder O, and Sister O, and they both said Bye-Bye Fathead, and I was SO happy to hear that.  Then when we got to the car, sister B was like they weren't very nice, and I just started laughing, cause I forgot that she was not there for any of our jokes.  It was awkward, but I loved it.

I gotta go! But LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Bye bye Sister C2

Friday, December 26, 2014

It was a Holly, Jolly Weekend!

This week was probably one of the best weeks of my entire mission.  Honestly, so many tender mercies occurred, it is almost Christmas, we saw Santa, we are getting so many holiday treats, AND the B FAMILY got Baptized!!!
I was so excited all week for Saturday.  I was singing and dancing for joy, and Sister C2 and I were just so happy that they were getting baptized.  It was really hard to pass them off to the Ontario Elders, but I know that if we hadn't then their son would not have connected with the Missionaries like he did with Elder B, and Elder C.  The meeting was so spiritual, and you could tell that there really was a true conversion that had occurred.  I wish you all could have been there, and seen their faces when they came up out of the water.  The mom: Denise was so happy, she was crying all day, and when she gave us hugs, you could tell there was so much love for her from Heavenly Father.  You could feel his love, not only for her, but also for her children: Violet, Cheyenne, Andrew, and Dan.  Cheyenne is still deciding about if she wants to be baptized, and Dan is only 7, but Dan told us that he really wants to be baptized when he turns 8.  It was so great, and I know that their family will be blessed.  So a tender mercy that occurred, with this family, is Denise told missionaries that she would never convert to being Mormon.  She said that it would tear a wedge between her mom and her, but she said that her daughters could get baptized.  The first lesson that we had with her, she just started crying, and committed to baptism for the 20th.  It was so awesome.  Well we found out that Denise's Mother was always telling her that she was being "dumb" and that she would throw them out of the house if they were all baptized.  This really scared the family, and they were all really worried, but knew that they needed to get baptized.  We all prayed, that her mom's heart would be softened and that she would allow her daughter and grandchildren to get baptized.  Well, she told them they could get baptized, and she even came to the baptism!!! It was so cool to see the change of her heart.  She told us that she felt really good, and that she felt the Holy Spirit there in her heart.  She was so happy for all of them.  It was great.  They are already sharing the Gospel with all of their friends.  They always put #(their ward) on all their pictures that they put on Facebook, and Instagram.  It was the best way for Sister C2 to end her mission.  I am so happy for them!

We also have been seeing so many miracles occur around us.  We are working with a family that is all less-active.  It has been so hard to work with them, and they live in an area where we no longer go at night, so we have to make sure our timing is perfect in order for it to be safe to be there.  But there is always a blessing when there is sacrifice.  The blessing with this family, is that they started coming back to church, and the wife is now a Ward missionary, and her husband was just called into the Sunday School Presidency.  Their son is loving primary, and he was the special spotlight yesterday in Primary.  It was so neat to see that happen.  We were in primary, because all the primary kids have been collecting gifts for the missionaries.  We got lots of mac and cheese, granola bars, oatmeal, EOS chapstick, cookies, more cookies, candy.  Typical things that missionaries need.  I loved it.  They were more excited for us to open them, and show everyone what we got.  It was so cute.  They told us they were our family away from our family.  Perfect way to start the Christmas Week. 

1.Funniest things done: We went Caroling as a zone on Thoroughbred Road this last week.  This street is so decked out in lights, that they shut the street down from cars, and you have to walk on certain sides of the street not to mess up the flow of human traffic.  It was so fun, and we sang for almost 2 hours.  Well, we were singing mostly Christmas hymns, but this guy came up to us, and asked us to sing Journey for him. None of us knew what to do, so we eventually sang the song for him.  It was really funny, and then he wanted a picture of us with him, and then after that, a lot of people wanted pictures with us.  We were pretty popular.  People were talking about us, and the members who's driveway we stood in, said that there were people that asked where the carolers had gone.  It was an awesome way to get publicity for the church, because there were over 500 people there.   
2.Biggest Blessing: Watching Denise, Violet, and Andrew be baptized, and continue on the road to returning to live with Heavenly Father again.
3.Latest project: Getting Sister C2 ready to go home.  It has been really stressful for her, and I am so glad that I have more than a week after I get home to adjust back into life.  I will be in Ontario for Friday, and Sunday-Monday.  I will be driving a car, and will be the senior companion.  We are going to be hitting rush hour going to the mission home after the missionaries whom are leaving are done at the Temple.  I am freaking out about having to drive on the freeway.  That is going to be so much different then driving up Thain or Bryden Canyon during Lewiston "rush-hour".  Wish me luck!
4.Most exciting events: We had the opportunity to sort toys, and food for homeless families at a Catholic Church, and .  It was so fun, and really humbling at the same time.  I am realizing more and more on my mission how lucky we were to have Dad supporting us, and Mom able to be at home.  I am really starting to recognize the luxury that was for all of us.  We also were able to go on a Nativity Walk.  The City of Ontario puts up these HUGE life-size depictions of Christ's life, and birth.  It was so cool!
5. Favorite Game: Guessing what is in the 12 days of Christmas gifts.  I love them so much, and I love the scriptures too.  Especially the one about itching ears.  That was perfect! 
6.Favorite Foods: We had a 4 course Homemade Italian Dinner.  It was SO good.  We had real gelato, and it was all SO good.
7.Most challenging thing: Finding out that I will be driving when I go with Sister B on Friday, and on Sunday.  I am a little freaked out about that one. 
8. Simple Pleasures: Hearing a 4 year old girl sing, "where are you Christmas?" at the Ward Christmas Party.
9.Goals: Get two new investigators this week.
10.Biggest smile: Watching an 88 year old man, ride a scooter, and sing all I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth.  It was HILARIOUS!
11.Biggest accomplishment: I am not really sure.
12: Favorite Quote: "We put off the Salvation of Souls, to Celebrate our Savior's Birth." -Elder R.
I love you all! I hope you have a great CHRIST-mas.  Family- See you Thursday at 10;15!!
Sister C2 and me - decked out in Christmas sweaters

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

'Tis the Season to get the Flu...and bed bugs!!

This past week was one that I will not care to experience again.  I got the flu, and have not really been able to eat anything, and have it stay down for the last 3 days.  I have been drinking water, and sprite, and nibbling on saltine crackers like a champ.  There were many times where I thought I was going to be fine, and then all of the sudden I thought the room was going to fall apart, it was spinning so quickly, and then I would be sitting on the ground.  That was really hard, especially knowing that Sister C2 only has two weeks left in the mission!!! The time is flying by, and I am in shock that this transfer is going so quickly.  I am loving the Christmas Spirit, and also love the 12 days of Christmas that Mom sent us.  It has been fun reading the scriptures, and seeing if we can guess what it is.  I love the socks, and the paper.  Hopefully one of the packages is stamps... to go along with the stationary.  Anyways we also got bed bugs.  Well, we know where they came from, and we think that we caught it early enough.  There was a less-active that we visit, and she had them, and told us they had been gone 2 weeks, well C2 found some in her shoes, so a lot of our stuff went into plastic black bags, out into the sun, and all our bedding went into SUPER hot water, and got all cleaned.  The mission office was like, NO not bed bugs, and we were like, Yup, bed bugs.  It has been an adventure, and I feel so bad that I was not able to really help C2 like she needed.  I pretty much stayed as close to the bathroom as possible.  But I am feeling so much better, and the bed bug problem is almost all resolved.
1.Funniest things done: Watching the Zone Leaders faces when they saw me, and gave me a blessing.  They were like, umm, don't throw up on us please.  And then hearing our Ward Mission Leaders freak out, when we asked him to bring us black bags.  He was really funny about all of it.  But because of him, we are getting the problem taken care of quickly.
2.Biggest Blessing: The Zone Leaders being able to come give me a blessing almost right away.  The blessing promised me that I would be healed, and that the Lord was just preparing me for the people that I was going to be meeting in this area.  It was comforting to know that there is a reason that we get sick.
3.Latest project: Bed Bug removal, and Flushing out the Flu.  I have the greatest appreciation for being healthy.  I was talking to Sister C2 about how I never am really grateful that I am healthy, until I am sick, and then I realize that it is because of Adam and Eve that we have opposition in all things, but I love that they took of the fruit, cause it was in Heavenly Fathers plan, and I know that it all is gonna be fine, cause we know who wins in the end.

4.Most exciting events: When we were on exchanges, Sister J and I were able to meet this man named, Weston.  It was so cool talking with him, and hearing his life story.  He talked about how he lost a child, and the Spirit was so strong, and we knew that we needed to bear testimony about the Plan of Salvation.  We haven't started teaching them, but we are planning on seeing them this week! I am stoked! and we also have a TRIPLE baptism on Saturday! I am so excited for the B Family, and I know that this is just the first step towards them changing their lives.  They are on track to still be baptized, and hearing their excitement about it, is making me all the more excited for them!
5. Favorite Game: Who can place a card, or He is the gift.  Games missionaries come up with... So sad.
6.Favorite Foods: Well, we had Maui Burgers with fries made from Potatoes from Idaho, so that was like eating at home.  Except we always ate Washington Potatoes... But still hamburgers and fries are the common dinner item at the Rietz household on Saturdays, so it made me happy.
7.Most challenging thing: Not feeling bad about having to take sick days.  That is seriously one of the worst things.
8. Simple Pleasures: Seeing everyone put up Christmas lights, and Trees.  Even in California they put up lights.  It cracks me up when there are signs that say, Let it Snow.  Come on people, it is not going to snow in Upland.
9.Goals: Get 3 new investigators this week.  We have 4 potential investigators, so we are really excited.  I am telling you, there are good things in store for this ward.
10.Biggest smile: When a Sister in the 1st ward gave us Christmas presents, and it was matching skirts with the 1st ward Sisters.  She was so excited for us to have them.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Having Sister C2 leave the area for 24 hours, and I was in charge of making sure that I knew the area, and the people that we were going to see.  It felt so good when I realized that I knew all the places that we were going, and that we didn't get lost once.
12. Worst Food: We ate dinner at a house that was infested with cockroaches.  They were everywhere, and even crawling on the food.  I was so grossed out, and when the members weren't looking, I would fling it off, and then "continue to enjoy the food." I left that house so grossed out, and wishing that I didn't have to experience it.13: Favorite Quote: "there were bugs where there should never be bugs." in reference to our dinner with the Cockroaches.  I hope that if I consumed one, that I won't die. Haha, that would make for a cool funeral I guess.
I don't have any pictures this week, but there will for sure be some next week.  I hope everyone's week goes well.  I love all of you! Merry Christmas! I love this season!!

Xoxoxo, Sister Rietz

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sister Rietz's New Address

Sister Rietz, as you know, was transferred a few weeks ago.  I have been waiting for her new address, and just found out that all letters and packages should be sent to the mission home and will then be forwarded on to her in Upland.  If you send packages USPS, it is much easier for them to be forwarded than another provider.
Thanks, Amber's Mama

Sister Amber Rietz
California Rancho Cucamonga Mission
6541 Woodruff Pl.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA  91701

The Wise Missionaries Went Walking in the Rain

This past week was full of Rain, Crèche Festivals, Walking, Holes in Shoes, and Baking our shoes in the oven.   It rained so much, and there was not a lot of time where we had the opportunity to be dry.  We would go to someone's house, and they would see us SOAKED, and make up a reason that they were not able to see us.  One lady told us that she was going to shower... It was like 2 in the afternoon. But we told her we would be back, and then she offered to drive us to our next appointment, but she was our appointment so she took us to the Home of the D family, and we sat in front of a fire, and attempted to dry off.  It was funny, because once we were mostly dry, we just had to go back out into the rain.  I ruined one pair of shoes a little bit, but I am still wearing them, because you can't tell they are actually ruined.  I am not gonna get any more shoes till I get home.  That would be great to say I lasted all 18 months with the awesome shoes that I have.

1.Funniest things done: Well this past week was the Crèche festival that the Upland Stake puts on every year.  There were over 1,000 Nativites there.  It was so pretty. But I forgot to take pictures, so I will get them from someone else. That will be coming forth soon. Anyways, that is not the funny part.  Sister M was able to come, and when we saw each other we embraced, and just laughed because we were sure it was pretty hilarious to watch.  I was able to catch up with her, and tell her the things that I knew about the Hesperia ward, and how crazy Upland can be.  Then yesterday at church, this Hispanic woman from the Spanish ward came up, and told me that she was so excited to see me and the other sister embrace.  She said that she could see true love, and friendship between us.  So I guess someone did see...
2.Biggest Blessing: RAIN!  It rained so much that there were a lot of parts of Upland that flooded.  I made a video of me playing in it, but the computer said it is too big to send... Bummer, but the pictures will give you an idea what it is like.
3.Latest project: Finding people to teach.  That is something that is really lacking in this ward.  So that has been frustrating trying, and having little success, but there are seeds being planted.
4.Most exciting events: I got a package from the Family.  I was so excited, and the Zone Leader's wanted to open all the presents, but they said that they would rewrap them for me.  I told them "no way José".  IT was the best seeing all those ornaments full of drawings from cousins, nephews, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles.  So awesome.  Thank you so much!! I love it, and I love 12 days of Christmas, so it was an awesome day.
5. Favorite Game: Dodging the cars that would attempt to splash us with the HUGE puddles that were everywhere.  Upland has got to figure out a new way to do drainage.  It can not be good for the roads, and sidewalk when it floods.
6.Favorite Foods: We had this really really good Italian food.  It was an Alfredo made from scratch, and then it had salty olives in it, but with it all together, it was really good. Pros of going to a chef's house for dinner.
7.Most challenging thing: Helping Sister C2 not feel stressed out.  SHe is really freaking out about going home, and she is getting all of this information about when she will go to the temple, and when she will fly out.  That means on the 26th of December, I will be with some other Sister for a day, while our companions go to the Temple.  I am excited.  But it also is sad.
8. Simple Pleasures: Rain. I loved getting soaking wet.  It was the closest thing I could do going swimming, and it was awesome.  I laughed a lot, and wished that I had my rain boots with me.  Also, when people ask you what you want for Christmas, and you tell them nothing, and they look at you like you are crazy.
9.Goals: Find a new investigator this week.  Pray that we will be able to find one.  Thanks! We have a couple people that said they might be interested, but they could have just said that to be nice.
10.Biggest smile: Seeing pictures from when my family was together.  It was a party, and I wasn't even sad that I missed it all. Sorry, but it is the truth. Next year I will be there.  Kind of.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Helping set up the Bethlehem Room for the Crèche festival that was really stressful, but when it was done, we all felt so accomplished.
12. Worst Food:  Some old food is sitting in our fridge.  I wanna throw it out, but that means that I would have to touch it. Buaahha, so we shall see how long it is gonna sit there.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 6 miles.  Since it was raining, we walked a lot.  We walked for 4 hours one day.  My shoes had to go in the oven, so that they could dry all the way.  We just sat and watched them, and made sure that they didn't melt.  It was quite the adventure, but they dried fine, and I am wearing them still.
14: Favorite Quote: Talking about the Rain: Zone Leaders: Sisters you can not swim. Us: well, what about if we fall in a puddle and start to drown? Then what do we do? Zone Leaders: Obedience is greater than sacrifice. Us: so you want us to drown instead of swim to safety? Zone Leaders: Obedience over sacrifice Sisters.

Well, this next week is going to be slow compared to the other weeks that are coming up.  I loved watching the devotional message, and listening to the attributes of Mary, Joseph, and Christ.  How wonderful that we have this time to celebrate Christ's birth! I love it, and I love the Gospel.  You all are wonderful, and keep being awesome!!!

Love, Sister Rietz

A few rain pictures

The Creche Festival

The Christmas Tree from my family

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sweating it up in Ping Pong

Well this last week was fun, and filling.  I ate so much food on Thanksgiving. And I think that I sweated it all out too.  It was 86 degrees and so nice!  I was really grateful that we only had one meal with members.  It was really good, and Sister D even made a triple berry pie that was SO good.  I was really excited to eat it, because it reminded me of home.  We saw a Less-Active that morning, and helped set the table for her.  Then we went home, and instead of eating, took a nap during our lunch hour.  It was so great.  Then we went out and tried to contact people, but no one wanted to talk with us.  It was frustrating, but the members that we ate with let us come over 20 mins earlier, cause they saw us walking down their street, and no one talking with us.  We ate dinner, and then we had a Ping-Pong tournament.  It was so fun.  Dad, I found your next biggest competition.  Brother D and his son D.  They got real into it, but it was so fun! Sister C2 and I won the tournament bracket that we made up.  It was a lot of fun.  Then we came inside, and played card games.  After which we watched the new little movie thing the church came out with called, He is the Gift.  And then watched a talk by President Benson about the end of the world.  It was a really good thanksgiving.  I realized that morning during personal study all the things that I am blessed with in my life, because of the Gospel.
1.Funniest things done: "Talking smack during Ping-Pong." It is really hard to talk smack, when you are representing Jesus Christ, and the Church.  But, it is doable, and Sister C2 and I won, so obviously it worked!
2.Biggest Blessing: I was asked to speak on Sunday about prayer and following the Spirit.  With it being a holiday weekend, a lot of the Libraries were closed, making it hard to get it all done, but I know that the Lord really directed me as to what the Ward needed to hear, because when we had 60 minutes to type them up, it all just came, and the talk turned out pretty alright.
3.Latest project: He is the Gift.  We have those awesome pass-along cards to give to everyone that we meet.  We also have a family that is getting baptized on the 20th!!! WOOT-WOOT! We passed them off to the Ontario Elders, because that is where they live, but there is a mom, 2 daughters, and one son that are getting baptized... 

4.Most exciting events: But wait, it gets better more exciting news!  We received an investigator from some other Ontario Elders.  Her baptismal date is also the 20th!!! We are so excited, and know that the Lord is really hastening his work here in Upland, and in Ontario.
5. Favorite Game: Ping Pong! I love it so much!
6.Favorite Foods: Triple Berry Pie! It was so good! No words can describe it!
7.Most challenging thing: Watching someone cough*cough* "A" cough*cough that we met on the street take our card about he is the gift, and then two minutes later do a drug deal... It was crazy.  We turned around, and saw the money exchange.  I might have wanted to freak out, but I refrained.  So now I know a drug dealer. Booyah!
8. Simple Pleasures: Rain!It rained all day on Sunday, parts of Upland were flooded, so we walked cause it was safer then biking.  My coat covered me, but not at the bottom of my skirt.  It was awesome.  I loved the rain!
10.Biggest smile: Having members grab citrus off their trees and just give it to us.  It smells so good on lots of streets here! They also have a street called Amber Court.  I am determined to get a picture by it.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Not getting nervous before speaking in Sacrament meeting.  I was so worried the day before, and then when I was on the stand, I just knew that all was going to be okay, and that the Spirit would help teach those in the congregation.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 42.7 MIles Biked. Walked: 12 miles this Week!
14: Favorite Quote: I got to talk with the Hesperia Elders, and this is how the conversation went... Elders: Why are you calling us!? Me: I got permission calm down! Elders: What do you need? Me: Are Ella and Madilyn still getting baptized on the 20th? Elders: No, we had to push it back. Me: What why!? Elders: Because the Ward fell apart when you left! The ward is in SHAMBLES! Me: WHAT!? Elders: Just kidding, the ward already forgot about who you were. Me: I hate you so much! Elders: Hate is not nice.  Me: Well neither is lying!
Okay, so that was a lot more funnier when I was having the conversation.  Sorry that it really is not funny at all....

But I gotta go, so have a great week! We are having a festival with over 1,000 Nativites there! It will be awesome! It is a HUGE deal in Upland.  There are choirs from all different churches, and there is a missionary choir as well.  I will take lots of pictures! LOVE YOU!

Love, Sister Rietz
The sunsets are so pretty here! and there are palm trees too!

Rain anyone?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, we are already best friends

So Sister C2 and I are really good friends.  We have had a lot of hard times these last couple weeks, so it was nice to get a fresh start and see what wonderful plans there are for this transfer.  One thing that is super cool that our Stake does, is they have a Cresh Festival.  They have over 1,000 Nativities, and they are all SO pretty! We are helping set up a big one this next week.  They have this festival for 3 days, and pretty much everyone in the Valley comes.  There is a missionary choir, and all of us in Upland are singing in it.  It will be grand, and exciting.  They also have different music groups from the area that are coming as well.  The missionaries are assigned certain times to come, and when they are to show people around the church.  Pictures will come later once it happens.
The area is really flat here.  It was funny because some people tell us how hard it is bike in our area, because of the "hills". We are searching for those hills... Super easy to bike 10+miles a day.  Especially with all the "hills" everywhere.  Our area is half ghetto, and half nice.  We try to stay in the nicer area at night.  Just for safety measures.  There have been some times where I am scared, but the Lord protects his missionaries.  I have learned that almost everyday on my bike.  So speaking of bikes... I got a bad flat tire.  Luckily we didn't notice it till later, but it was there and I had an extra tube from a member in my last ward. (So weird saying that...) Anyways so that happened... Then my bag broke.  The metal piece that holds it broke, but missionaries are resourceful, and a caribbeaner is fixing it just grandly.  Then my bike light decided to die.  It will have spasms... like its own electrical seizure, and then die, and then if we hit a bump, it will come back on. And so on and so forth.  We are hunting for a new one... Target will be our next stop.  Walmart had none...  
I also saw a HUGE rain storm.  It was so loud, that it woke us both us, and I ran and got my camera to record the noise.  I got a black video with a streak of lightening... I will try to upload it, but it will probably fail. Yeah, it says it is TOO big.  Anyways, it rained a TON, and there was a flood in our area, but not bad at all.  We walked the next day, and it was so nice.  My shoes have holes in them.  They were a good investment.  I would love more shoes from Taiwan. *hint-hint*
Well, I am a really bad time manager, and got distracted emailing other people because TWO people I know got their calls, and I couldn't be more excited for them! San Diego, and Canada are SUPER LUCKY!!!

1.Funniest things done: Sister C2 crashed on her bike, and just sat there.  She was fine.  She was not hurt! But it was so funny, she just sat in the dirt.
2.Biggest Blessing: Having friends that are on missions, and we can compare how crazy our areas are.
3.Latest project: Still Learning Upland! And giving a talk on Sunday... I don't even know the ward yet...

4.Most exciting events: We have a family that is getting baptized on December 13th!
6.Favorite Foods: Greek yogurt with costco berry combination.
7.Most challenging thing: Not kowing the area yet.
8. Simple Pleasures: Hearing rain.  And seeing a Squirrel.  I haven't seen one in 6 months.
10.Biggest smile: Seeing Sister M again!
11.Biggest accomplishment: Getting home safe, after being in a not so safe area. In the dark. With no street lights.  Never doing that again!
12. Worst Food: None yet.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 48 miles.
14: Favorite Quote: "We would be the coolest james bonnds! then I fell on the ground.
Love, Sister Rietz

Monday, November 17, 2014

Goodbye Hesperia! Hello Upland!!

I got a bulls eye my last night in Hesperia!

One of my favorite families

Just a little shopping cart fun

Our backs

Silly missionaries!!
Sister K

Well, there is a new chapter in the book of Sister Rietz and her mission life. It is called Upland.  I am really excited, but REALLY sad at the same time.  There were transfer calls Saturday, and then Saturday night, we found out that there were even more missionaries leaving then we thought.  It was really sad, because our ward lost 3 missionaries.  Both Sis. E and I left, and also Elder O left.  It was a shock that Elder O left, because he was told on Saturdayafternoon that he was staying, and then Sunday he got a call saying he was leaving.  Our poor ward is going to be going crazy.  Well along with transfers means a new beginning.  I loved my ward in Hesperia, and there are SO many families that I cried saying good-bye to.  It was a struggle, because this is the only ward that I had ever known, and being a third of the way done, that was a LONG time to stay in one area. I have been transferred to Upland, which is in the Valley.  I am sad to leave the Desert, but from what I hear Upland is a "rich" area... so I was told I was going to get fat, because everyone will feed me steak and potatoes "rich man" style... Not really sure what that means though.
My new companion is Sister C2 (not my MTC roommate).  She (from what I hear) is a hard working, diligent, obedient missionary.  That is exactly what I have been praying for, and when I heard that, I just wanted to cry and sing praises to Heavenly Father for being so awesome, and listening to my prayers.  I also have been praying to stay on a bike... WHICH I AM!!! My goal is to get 150 miles this transfer.  We shall see if that happens or not.  My old ward-mate Elder R is friends with Sis. C2, and he said she is awesome, and just what I need after a really tough transfer.  When we met each other, and we hugged I could feel the love that she has for me instantly. It was awesome!  When I was saying good-bye, everyone was telling me how wonderful it was to get to know me, and they were going to complain to President that I was leaving.  

Sis. E is going to Apple Valley... Her new companion is Sister C (My MTC roommate)! I was just in shock, and couldn't believe that they were going to be together.  It was crazy! I really hope all goes well for them.  It could be a tough transfer, because they are whitewashing into the ward.  Their district leader is Elder O though, so they will be fine.  I really know no one down here, except Sis M, whom I saw for like an hour today.  She is training again, and I know that she will do awesome. She is staying in Ontario, so we aren't super far away, but we won't see each other until the Christmas Devotional that is in December.  
This past week was super crazy! We met Elder Golden of the Seventy.  It was a good meeting, but he kept talking forever, and we went 2 hours over, and had to cancel a lot of our appointments.  It was frustrating, but some of the stuff he said made me want to be a better missionary.  I really hope that I can step it up, and reach that potential that I am sure is there somewhere.
So we found out why they whitewashed the Sisters in our ward, and put Elders into it... It was too Dangerous for Sisters to be on Bikes in the evening.  Once the sun went down, crazy things would happen up on the Mesa.  It was annoying thinking that no one was gonna like the Elders, but I am sure that all will work out, and I pray those Elders can help our Investigators get Baptized. 
Sis. C (MTC) and I were talking last night, and we decided that we thought saying goodbye to our families was going to be the worst goodbyes, and that none could compare. Well now I am realizing that there really is a different love that I have for those in Hesperia, that can compare to that love for those around us.  It was a love that made me really really strive to help draw them closer to Christ.  We decided that amount of love for those people, is what makes it so hard to say good-bye.

1.Funniest things done: Freaking out when I was still going to be on a bike! The Elders thought that was the weirdest thing that I would pray for.  I told them it was because I love biking.  Everyone in the ward felt bad that I was not going to be in a car.  No one understood why I wanted to stay on bike.  Everyone would say, "ohh, I am so sorry you don't have a car."
2.Biggest Blessing: Knowing that there is a God there, who knows EXACTLY what we are going through, and that He loves each one of us SO much!
3.Latest project: Learning my new ward! Saying goodbye to Hesperia!
4.Most exciting events: Transfers.  I also was able to see Sis. M at the transfer meeting, which made me really happy!
6.Favorite Foods: We ate the most delicious peppered pork chops, with a Greek salad.  It was super GOOD!
7.Most challenging thing: Knowing that there will be 4 Elders in my old ward, and 75% of the people we visited were single sisters.  I am interested in seeing how the Ward will help the Elders, so that they can still see them.
8. Simple Pleasures: Hearing everyone tell me they really Love me, and that they are going to miss me.  It is always nice when someone talks all positive about you!
10.Biggest smile: When Sis. K told me how important I was to the Lord's work. When she said that, I just started crying right there in the hallway at church.  She is one of my favorite people from the Ward.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Writing out 3 pages of whitewash notes, and helping them realize how far their area was, I gave them street by street instructions.  It was time consuming, but totally worth it!
12. Worst Food: Eating the Bread that was in our freezer.  It was completely freezer burned, but when it is transfers, it calls for not buying food, and being smart and eating everything you got.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 22 miles.
14: Favorite Quote: "You and Sister C are not allowed to tell President about my relationship with Peru... the llama from the Zoo.  We have a very special relationship." -Elder N.
Well, there is much to do. And I have so much Unpacking to do... It is not going to be fun unpacking, but neither is ironing clothes, so I will choose the lesser of the two evils.  I gotta buy food, and get familiar with my new area.  My companion goes home in 6 weeks, so I have to learn the area really well so when she leaves, I will be able to not get lost.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I will bike 1000 miles, and I will bike 1000 more

I hit 1,000 miles on the good ole' bike Moroni-Gideon this week.  When I hit that 1,000 mile I felt so accomplished.  I knew that there was a lot of blood, sweat and stitches in those 1,000 miles.  I seriously feel SO accomplished.  Haha, yeah it is only a number but do you realize that means I have almost biked double what an Elder here biked his entire mission? and I have been out for a little over 5 months! Woot-Woot!  It was super dark when I hit it, but I still had to take a picture so I apologize that it is so far away. 
We played family games this week, with people after dinners, we cleaned a zoo, we had miracles occur after appointments would cancel, we got to see Sister H in the Hospital.  She made me brush her hair before we took a picture, and when I told her that her hair looked good, she said, "you better not be lying to me." Her hair has definitely had better hair days. Haha.

1.Funniest things done: We got stuck in a lesson, so we texted the Elders asking them to call us with an "emergency" to help get us out of the lesson, cause it was 10 mins till 9, when we needed to be going home... Well, they called, but the man just kept talking to Sister E, and didn't even realize that there was an "emergency" on the phone.  Needless to say, I had a one sided conversation with the Elders, because they had NO idea what was going on... It was pretty funny, and we still got stuck there for another 10 mins... The phone call with the Elders afterwards explaining why we needed an "emergency" was pretty memorable.
2.Biggest Blessing: The weather has been awesome! It has been in the 70's and there has not been any wind.  Heavenly Father really answers prayers, but late.  Haha, but none the less he answers our prayers.
3.Latest project: Getting mentally prepared for transfers.  Haha, it sounds dumb but I love this area too much, and it is all I know for my mission, and I will more than likely cry when I leave.
4.Most exciting events: We cleaned the ZOO! Yes, there is a zoo here in Hesperia.  It is full of lions, tigers, bears, kangaroos, cats, dogs, llamas, deer, camels, ostriches, more dogs, a pig, porcupine, baboons, monkeys, birds, and lemurs! It was the most weird, but cool zoo in the whole world! We got a free tour, and Sister C and I got to take lots of hilarious pictures together. 
6.Favorite Foods: We had pork chops with apple chalet? It was really good, whatever it was.  There also is a mexican place, that when we come and visit we will go eat there.
7.Most challenging thing: Helping investigators realize that it IS important to come to church, and that it is important to meet with us.
8. Simple Pleasures: Getting to hang out with llamas while we cleaned their cage.  We also met the REAL Aslan from Chronicles of Narnia.  My life is complete.  I mean, I knew him before from when I was Lucy in the Movies in my younger years. haha. (Note from Amber's mama - when Amber was younger, she and the character who played Lucy resembled each other - A LOT!)
9.Goals: Bike to 1,500 miles now.
10.Biggest smile: When we are in Church, and everyone wants to know how the work is going. And you tell them, it's going but we need member help... Calling them to Repentance without them noticing! Buahaha!
11.Biggest accomplishment: Being happy even when the times are tough, and it doesn't seem like there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Spoiler Alert: There is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: We biked 37 miles this week.  That 36th mile was the happiest mile of my mission life.  Honestly, I felt so accomplished.
14: Favorite Quote: Me: "Well..." (trying to wrap up the lesson) Less-Active: "That is some deep thinking for a shallow mind." Me: "....." (I was so confused... I didn't get it...) Sis. E and the Less-Active: "HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA" Me:"....... WAIT! I do not have a shallow mind!" Less-Active: Hahahahaha.  

I gotta go, but I love you all! The church is true! Read the Scriptures, the answers are there!

A few pictures from the Hesperia Zoo.

I got to see Sis. H in the recovery room.  She is doing pretty well.

We played headbands with this family.  So fun!!

Proof that I have biked 1000 miles

Monday, November 3, 2014

I'll make a MAN out of you!

There was a storm that was coming... it didn't rain on us, but pretty much all around got the rain.  Those clouds came in so fast, and so did the wind.

Waiting in the car, cause it was really cold, and we were early to stake conference.

I can actually put a cute outfit together... Point one for me.  It was super cold, yet this outfit was warm!

This week was one that I feel like Heavenly Father was really, really testing me, and my dedication to him.  I would plan out everyday to the MINUTE and then right when we would be leaving to go to our area, our first couple appointments would cancel.  I would get so mad, and wanna just give up, and not do anything but I knew that we really needed to go to the Mesa, (which is our area) and see people.  
The beginning of the week was awesome! We carved pumpkins with a family in the ward for FHE, and then we made it a competition with the Elders.  They got really into it, but I don't know if either one of them had ever done it before, because they had NO idea what they were doing half the time.  It was cool to just take a small "break" from missionary work, and carve pumpkins for Family Home Evening. I think Sister Rutledge sent one of the pictures to Mom.  It really made my day, cause it reminded me of what we would do at home.
Then we had every appointment cancel the next day, except one, and that was because the lady was in the hospital, and she had nowhere to go.  Then after that, we tried to see a ton of people, and of course Heavenly Father was testing us, because even those we knew were ALWAYS home, were not home... It was annoying, and we just biked trying to see people till dinner.  
1.Funniest things done: Opening a letter from my family, and seeing my siblings hairs in it... I love you guys so much! That really made a HARD day a GOOD day.  Also, having ward-mate inventory with the Elders.  Pretty much we just talk all positive about everyone.  It helps us get a good laugh.
2.Biggest Blessing: Our recent convert was in a small accident at the airport, and he walked away with 8 stitches, and a broken arm.  He was super lucky that it was not more than that.  They are still waiting for swelling to go down so they can see if it needs surgery.
3.Latest project: Working with the Ward Mission Leader, and not getting frustrated with him as it has been hard to communicate the vision and goals that we have for our ward.
4.Most exciting events: We made real legit homemade Chinese food.  It was so GOOD!  We also survived our first day of really cold weather.  It was in the 40's and the wind was super windy.  I got to wear my new coat, and it was awesome.  We had interviews with our mission president, and I loved seeing him and his wife.  They also came to Stake Conference this past Saturday night.  Oh yeah, almost forgot.  I sang in Stake Conference with some other missionaries.  Never again my friends.  Never again.
5.Favorite game: What will be warm, and still look okay on a bike.
6.Favorite Foods: That yummy Chinese food that I talked about earlier, and also we had Thai Food.  It was an Asian-y kind of week apparently. 
7.Most challenging thing: Biking in the Wind, and Cold, and Night.  Having 8 appointments cancel all on the same day.  Even our dinner appointment cancelled.  It was a tough day.
8. Simple Pleasures: Waking up Sunday morning, and seeing it was dark outside, so we obviously complained about daylight savings.  Our phone didn't switch over, the time automatically, so Sister E got up and started showering, and while she was in the shower, it clicked in my head I still could sleep another hour, so that was a huge smile knowing I got it figured out in time to actually get some sleep. 
9.Goals: Survive this week.  We have a lot of people that we are going to try and see, because everyone and their baby mama cancelled on us this week.
10.Biggest smile: Getting an email from Sister M, and just laughing my head off because of the funny funny things that she said to me.  "I'm so happy for Ella...gosh dang it...why did it take her so long to meet missionaries!! GAHHHHHHHHH" Yeah, I can totally see her saying that.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Listening to people with a grain of salt knowing that they really have zero clue what they are talking about.... "you Mormons believe in killing people..." "the Word of Wisdom, doesn't seem fun..."
13. Amount of Miles Biked: We got a lot of member rides, but it was a good solid 19 miles biked.  So much for reaching 1000 miles last week. Thank heavens for repentance.  We will get 1000 miles this week.
14: Favorite Quote: "I DON'T WANNA GO HOME!"- Little girl YELLING at the Library.  
Other favorite quote: President H: "These are vegetables. (holds up green peppers from his sandwich) They are good for you.  They help with asthma. Right Sister E?" President had just told her that she needed to get an inhaler, because she has been having a really hard time breathing... Another trip to the doctors it looks like..... Woot-Woot....

Love, Sister Rietz

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trials and Tribulations Always Lead to Miracles

MTC Companion Reunion

I'm walking on the edge of darkness

There is beauty all around - even in the desert!

Leaving the mission for a little field trip.  (Don't worry, we got permission)

No car for the Trunk or Treat?  No problem.  We just made our own.

We got bored while we waited for the baptismal font to fill up...

...for this baptism.  These are all the missionaries who taught this new sister.  (Sister E is brand new to the area and two elders are missing, though.)

Me with the Bacon girls
Sister C with her companion, me and Sister E
Hello Family! Friends! And all you other random citizens! 
Sister H and I found these "antelope antlers" out in the desert
Trials and Tribulations Always Lead to Miracles
Although I have had a hard time with this concept I know that it is true.  I know the Lord gives us really really really hard things where we want to give up, and go home, but then there will be a tender mercy, and I want to hit myself for thinking God left me.  He will never leave us.  We might leave him, and forget how much he loves us, but he will NEVER forget us.  I love the Gospel.  I love that I have this opportunity to share it with others.  I love that I have the needed support from my family, and the family that I have gotten here in this ward in Hesperia.  Thanks for all the letters of encouragement, and love that I got this week.  I really needed them.

Alright, now to the cool part of the week.  I was not on a bike for a WHOLE DAY! and I hated it.  The day was great, but I hated being in a cat.  haha, awkward, meant car.  But it was nice not having to use a ton of energy to get from one place to another, but there were so many people that we could have talked with, but didn't because it would be kinda awkward to pull a car over just to talk with someone... So, we just drove on by.  I really was grateful that I was able to get a break from being on bikes, but I really missed Gideon Moroni.  It was nice to be reunited with him.  I also learned a lot from Sister H.  She is such a great Sister Missionary.  I really could tell that she was in the work 100%.  It was nice to be with her for a day, and to get to know her better.

1.Funniest things done: While I was on exchanges, Sister H and I came across this pack of dogs... They surrounded the car, and we literally could not go anywhere.  Never fear, because we were in a truck. But they wouldn't move, and Sister H didn't want to run them over.  We would start to move forward, and then they would surround us again, causing us to be stuck.  It was pretty funny, because we were both kinda laughing, but kinda scared we were going to kill a dog.  We thought they were gone, so she started to go, and then we hear them barking, and we were like a yard or two away from hitting them.  We finally got them to leave us alone, and that is how I was surrounded by a pack of dogs that were on crack.
2.Biggest Blessing: SETTING TWO BAPTISMAL DATES WITH OUR INVESTIGATORS! December 20th, better come quick.  It was actually a really cool experience.  We were praying about what date to set, and when Sister E and I were both talking, we both got the answer that December 20th, was the day the Lord knows they will be ready.  I am so excited, and we know it is going to be hard, but that it will all be worth it in the end.
3.Latest project:  Trying to focus on having the Members help us with Missionary Work. Sister M and I didn't really rely on them that much, but we have been asked by President H to really work with them, so that is what Sister E and I are really focusing on.
4.Most exciting events: Setting that Baptismal Dates. Samantha, the Elder's Investigator, but she fed us ALL the time, so I have a huge amount of love for her. I got to see Sister P (MTC comp), Sister M (trainer), and Sister S (moon's trainer) at Samantha's Baptism.  It was awesome! We left the Mission.  Yup, I am a rebel.  We actually had to receive all this permission from people, and I think from Salt Lake as well, but we had to go to the Kaiser Hospital for Sister E. (She is okay)  We had our Ward Halloween Party/Trunk or Treat.  The Elders and us, were the "official" Chili Cook-Off Judges.  It was grand.  
5.Favorite game: With Sister H: Who can make the weirdest faces while eating Jelly Beans.  She is an overall champion at it.
6.Favorite Foods: Homemade Tacos.  Homemade Tortillas.  Yeah, it is SOOO good.  I know why the Lord didn't send me to a Hispanic Cultured Mission: I WOULD ONLY EAT! No missionary work would happen, unless REAL Mexican food was there.
7.Most challenging thing:  Trying to figure out why the Lord allows bad things to happen to good people.  I have yet to figure this one out, but I know the Lord has a plan.  There were a lot of people that had bad things happen to them this week, and they are all good people.  
8. Simple Pleasures:When people recognize us as Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and not just "Mormon Missionaries".
9.Goals: Be more Positive when things seem to be spiraling out of control.  That should help to have a better week.
10.Biggest smile: When I saw two pieces of bacon walking around the Ward Halloween Party, and thought of Kristin and Addie, and their odd obsession with Bacon.  I got a picture with them in your honor.  They got them from Amazon.  You should look into getting them.
11.Biggest accomplishment:  Getting Two Member Present Lessons, the day of the lessons.  The members that we had planned on bringing bailed, but our ward is awesome.  They really stepped up, and helped us out.  
12. Worst food: Her mom deleted this in case someone's feelings might get hurt.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 59 Miles.  We really biked a lot.  I am so close to reaching 1000 miles on that bike. Speaking of biking, do I have a funny story for you all.  See story later.
14: Favorite Quote: "You really need to get a car rack for the back of your bikes."- Sister C.  We were talking about how we could use a car to get to our area, and then we would be 100% fine with just biking all day.  Sister C found the most "perfect" solution, and then after she told us, we all busted up laughing.  It was great.

Okay, so that was the week in review.  A lot more happened, but never fear, because I have some time left before I gotta get off. 
CRAZY AWESOME BIKE STORY: Okay, so the other night we are biking home.  There is a LOT of sand randomly in the road.  If you are not paying attention, your back wheel or your front wheel will go crazy, and you will end up almost crashing... Well... Bike crash number two happened this week.  It was pretty hilarious.  This is what happened.... 
We were biking along in the dark.  We have lights, cause it is the law, and we are law abiding citizens here in Hesperia.  So the light informs me of a patch of  sand in the road... I had the phone in one hand and was going to call the Elders, for something about the ward, so we are going along and I hit this patch of sand, right when I hear a DEEP voice, "Hello" it was the Elders.  And it scared me to death! I didn't realize that it had started to call them.  I had only one hand on the handlebars, and when the sand and my tires hit each other, and I got all startled from the voice on the phone it went a little crazy... I tried to brake but didn't want to use the front ones, cause I didn't want to fly over the handlebars, so being the "smart" me that I am, I crossed over, and tried to use the back brakes... yeah, not smart... I went to the left, hit a root of a tree, and proceeded to slide in the sand.  ALL WHILE LAUGHING SOOO HARD! I didn't get hurt, except for a small scratch on my leg.  I quickly hung up, and laid there dying of laughter.  It was great.  Gideon Moroni has some sand in the gear changer on the handle bars, but nothing a little compressed air won't change.  Yeah, so add that to my list of bike wrecks, and mission awkwardness.  We called the Elders later, and they thought we were trying to be funny, and then realized that I had wrecked, and then they didn't believe I was fine, but I totally was 100% fine.

I feel like a lot of really crazy things happened this week, and I know that I probably missed a ton of them, but I will write them to you if I remember.  Yeah, all depends if I remember.
The Church is true.  The Prophet is still called of God.  The Book of Mormon is for us today.  Yeah, all of that is still true my friends.
I love you all so much! I am doing the best I can, but it gets hard, so pray for us here in Arrowhead.  We need all the prayers we can get.