Friday, June 27, 2014

Questions and Answers

Here are a few questions Sister Rietz sent the answers to in a letter home this week.

1 - Is my bike comfortable?  No and yes!  My bum is still getting used to the seat, but we make a good team.  We bike 2.1 miles to get to our area, and have to go up a hill that would be comparable to the stop sign at the bottom of our yard to the stop sign on the next street up from our house (10th to 11th for you L-towners)  Then it is kinda like Bryden Canyon minus the cars.  But it is a killer to go up and a thrill to go down.  So, length of our street, incline like Bryden Canyon and the hill by our house combined.

2 - How do we track our miles?  Sister M (see below) was in a car before I came, so she knew from keeping track of the miles in the car.  I'm learning how far places are from us, but it is taking some time.

3 - Are Sister M and I the only ones in the apartment? Yes, we live in a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment.  It has laundry on the balcony, and a walk-in closet.

4 - How many wards am I over?  One!  It is the best ward.  We also have Elder W and Elder F (who are the Zone Leaders) in our ward.

5 - How many other missionaries besides Sister M and I and the Spanish Missionaries are in Hesperia?  There are 3 districts in our zone.  Two districts have six missionaries and one has 8 missionaries.  There are 2 zones in Hesperia.  I believe the other zone also has 20 missionaries.  I know there are a ton here.  I see them on P-day.

6 - What other cities are in our zone or district?  None, just Hesperia (see above)

7 - How is California? Hot!!!  California is HOT, and it's only going to be getting hotter.  The people in Hesperia are pretty nice.  I have yet to have mashed potatoes thrown in my hair, so I would say it's going pretty swell.  (For the mashed potaoes explanation click here.)

8 - How is my companion? She is awesome!!  Her name is Sister Lauren M.  She grew up all over because her dad was in the Air Force.  She last lived in Texas.  She is 1 day younger than me. She loves Taylor Swift and contantly talks about what she would do if Taylor was walking the streets of Hesperia.  Her bike's name is Teancum Swift, but we call it T-Swift.  She played Tennis in High School.  She loves candy.  She is an inch taller than me.  We have lots in common.  She loves Ranch (Salad dressing).  We both sweat a lot, and both (mostly me) look nasty after we get done biking.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Glass and rubber are not friends...

Dear Family and Friends! (and others that wanna know about my life...)
WOW! Where to begin this week! 
I made a whole list of things that would be put in this email, and I can't remember what all the phrases mean... I will try my best though.

Alright, lets start with the Bike...
We have yet to figure out what the name shall be for my bike.  We are brainstorming, so if any of you wanna let me know what we should name it, that would be grand.  We are thinking it should be a boys name.  We also biked a TON this week! We biked close to 60 miles.  It might be a little over that, and a little under that.  My bike and I are starting to hate each other, so I think that the Lord wanted me to appreciate it a little more.  I was going down a huge hill, and along the way, I might/did run over a piece of glass.  I swear I DID NOT SEE IT!!! I normally am super careful, and within 30 seconds, all the air was out of my tire.  The thing with this hill is that it is super close to our apartment, like less then a mile... and you have to go down the hill, and then up another one, to get to our area.  The air went out and we were at the bottom of the hill... but we had a super important appointment, and we didn't want to be late.  So we started walking.  She lived 2 miles from where we were.  It was early in the morning, and we didn't know what members would be awake, and our ward mission leader was gone camping.  We called a recently returned RM, and he said he would patch it.  (We did not know that he would need to get a new tube...) We walked to our lesson, and then we walked to the member's house, but he wasn't done because the glass destroyed the tube according to him. We left and walked to a less-active, and went and talked with her.  We studied the plan of Salvation, and she want to make it to the Celestial Kingdom, and we told her she would need to go to the Temple, and that is something that she has been striving for, for many weeks.  She says her doctors told her to smoke, but we told her there are other ways to get her blood pressure up besides smoking.  I told her I would give your blood pressure to her Mom.  We went back to the member's house, and it was all fixed.  There is a hole in the outside tire, but the tube is new, and he bought me an extra tube too, and he wouldn't accept any money from me.  He said to just go find a new investigator.  The members here are awesome, but they do not like coming to lessons.  So we had a goal of biking 50 miles this past week, and we broke that goal by getting around 60.  We also biked in 65 MPH gusts.  No joke, we didn't think we were moving when we were headed into it, but then there were times when we were going with the wind, and we would just put our feet up, and we would coast.  Blessing from something that is so terrible.
We ate with a family the other day, and their son is returning from his mission in July, and he has gained 40 lbs! Sister M, and I make signs and put them up to motivate us to not get fat.  We have one that says, STOP! BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE PLANNING! DON'T EAT! (we would just snack when we got home, but now we don't let each other eat.)  We also have started doing this workout thing, that a personal trainer in the ward set up.  It's gonna make us wanna die, but we know that it will also be a blessing.  If the sun could make someone lose weight, then I will come back like the size of a twig...  Don't worry, I won't let that happen.  
Sister M and I have been searching for someone that we both might know.  We have had zero luck, but this past week, she had a sticky note with an address for PULLMAN, WA!!! I recognized the name....  Like Dr. C the dentist, that I think pulled Ashley's teeth, and gave her that weird pterodactyl thing.  He used to live by Sister M in Texas on the Air Force base!!!   We were excited!  I don't really know him, but I know of him.  So whatever we are counting it till we actually both know someone.
There is this older man in our ward, and he has some, let's just say, interesting ideas of what his calling entails.  He also makes it known to everyone not to bug him on certain days, because those are the days he gets his legs drained... Super Gross, but whatever.  It's the truth.  Anyways, he gave us a list of all the people that have moved into Hesperia in the last 3 months.  He wants the missionaries to get 3X5 Notecards, and write down a list of how much money their houses cost per sq. feet, their name, address, and also their parcel number.  Now, I ask WHAT THE HECK IS A PARCEL NUMBER!?!?! People in ward council quickly shut that down, and we are so glad that we are not the ones to tell him that would be weird, and creepy! Who really wants to know that someone can get all of that information...   He made it very clear that it was public record.  One lady in ward council said that she would be offended if someone came up to her, and gave her this information.  Brother B, (look him up if you want...) proceeded to get mad at everyone, and started saying in a loud old person voice, DO YOU KNOW YOUR PARCEL NUMBER? DO YOU? DO YOU? All around the room, Sister M and I almost lost it.  It was very funny, and so whenever Sister M and I wanna laugh, we ask, "Do you know YOUR parcel number?!"  Laughter always follows this statement.  

We are still making progress with our investigators, and its been good to see some of them really progress. David, is still making progress.  A member told us that we should stop teaching him, but we know that there is a reason that we are teaching him, and he is doing all that he is supposed to do except stop smoking.  He is not really getting the concept of why he needs to stop smoking... Its been hard to help him realize that he can't get baptized until he stops smoking.  We also are helping two families prepare for the temple! I hope it happens when I am still in this area, because the missionaries serving in the ward get to go, but if we get transferred, then we cannot go.  Lori is dating the man that has to get his legs drained on certain days, and she is making progress, but is not ready to be baptized yet.  Jean is gonna get baptized, she is just waiting for her husband to return to from out of state at the end of July! She has 3 daughters, and they are all so CUTE! They asked me if I could teach them how to ride a horse, because I am from Idaho, and "that's where cowboys live."

So everyone knows that I am from Idaho, and they all think that they know where Lewiston is... Let me tell you, no one knows where it is!!! They really think that it is in southern Idaho, by like Idaho Falls, and that I live on a FARM! Yes, at times with 90+ pheasants and a field behind our house it might seem like we live on a farm, but you all know that we do not.  They ask how many times I have milked a cow, and that waking up early at 6:30 must not have been bad because I am used to milking cows at 5:30... I think I milked a cow once at the fourth grade rendezvous, and I think that it was actually just a rubber glove with a tiny hole in the finger tip, with milk dripping out of it.  I just laugh and say no, we have a garden, and that's all that we can grow.  They also think that it never gets hot in Idaho. I told them that there are many days in the summer where it is over 100 degrees in the summer.  They also told me they hope I am in the desert when it snows, and then they wouldn't have to worry about some driving that has never driven in snow before.  Little do they know, that I hardly know how to drive in the snow, and Dad would pick us up from school when it would be really bad.  I know how to drive in the snow, but they think that I would be able to avoid going into a snow bank.  They obviously have never seen me drive (right Trevor) ;)

I love you all so much, and am so grateful that I am able to be with all of you for eternity!  The Gospel is true.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet.  He really knows the things that the Church needs to continue following the things that Christ would have us do.  I am so grateful for all the family, friends, and missionaries that have helped me to become the missionary that I am today.  If I could ask a favor from all of you wonderful people, if you would take a minute and jot down your testimonies about the Gospel.  I would like to have these, and then be able to share them with those that don't believe just Sister Moon's and my testimonies.  Email them to me, if you want to!!! Thanks! Good Luck to all my friends going into the MTC this week!!! Rock it in Uruguay, Mexico, Nicaragua, Japan, Utah, Italy and Peru!!!  You all will be so wonderful!

Shopping Cart, they are everywhere and we decided to have fun exercising and so we went on an adventure in the sandy, dirt field behind our apartment.
Corona Glass: I am not an ALCOHOLIC! A Recent Convert gave us cold water, and this was the cup that he handed me...
The Ugly Tree! This is a Joshua Tree.  You now will never feel like you are missing something important when people say Joshua Trees...(sorry, I couldn't get the picture rotated the right way! - Amber's mom)

Until Next Week!!!!
Love, Sister Rietz

Monday, June 16, 2014

This week was Crazy!!

We biked 49 miles in 40 mph winds, learned where Spain was, and got food poisoning in a small dose.
And I almost died.  No Joke.
Lets start with the bikes.  Sorry there are not any pictures of my on the bike, or any of the bike.  I will work on that this week.  WE bike everywhere, except to the store, the sisters pick us up for that.  We were biking to our area, and we see this car coming straight toward us.  We thought it was other missionaries, because Sister M and I are the only ones on bikes, everyone else has cars.  Anyways, so we see this car, and it swerves out of the way to miss us, we were in the process of moving.  We watched the person who was driving, and they were PASSED OUT!!! Like "I just had a heartattack, and can't see what's in front of me."  We watched the car, and it swerved on both sides of the road. Onto the sand and back on the road, let's cross the center line, and swerve out of the way, and then back to the correct side of the road.  We were in shock.  Did this really just happen?.... A big scary guy in a truck came up to us, and says some not nice words, and then asks if we got hit.  WE told him it was close, but luckily no.  He said okay, im going to go after him, and Bye Bye man in the big truck!  We continued biking, and there was this lady freaking out, cause the man hit a sign, and plowed it over! Bye Bye sign.  WE took this as the missionary opportunity that we have been waiting for.  We gave her our card, and made sure that she would call us.  She said she would.  WE waited till the police came, so we got to see the policeman, and talk with him.  We also gave him our card, and made sure that he would call us if we had to come do a suspect sketch or something. (I watched WAYYY too much Castle before I left!) We talked with the nice bald man for a little bit longer, and then on our way we went.  Well, a member drove by when were were talking with the officer, and they just waved, and thought we were teaching him! I wish we were!!!

Meet Beth.  Beth is a 10 year old girl that wanted to learn how to ride a bike.  She has some mental disabilites.  She was so scared to ride her bike, but we were able to help her, and it was such a great thing to see! Her Grandma started crying, and thanked us over and over, because this lady is like 80 years old, and she can't do anything.  Makes me realize how healthy our members of our family are.  We are going to start visiting her evey week, and that will be a blessing and a challenge at the same time.  I love her. 

We are still teaching David, and everytime we visit and teach him, he says something that is quote worthy.  This week: "Do you know where Spain is? Not Mexico but Spain. I'm Spanish, Not Mexican." "I like to be friends with all races.  My light skin brothers, like you, (pointing to the one member that will visit him with us,) have all the money.  They are who you have to be friends with."  I don't think Brother G will be coming to anymore lessons willingly.

Food Poisoning:
We ate at a members house last night. We had Taco Salad.  Lets just say that something was not good to eat.  We got home, and the Lord heard our prayers, and helped that food move really fast! We are feeling better, but heck, if we wanna lose weight we now we can always just get food poisoning, and all will be better.

I also learned what Hula Hoeing is.  Its like the hoe thing that we use, but people call it hula hoeing, so that is what we have been doing for our service hours.

Dad: you would be proud.  We dug a tree out of the ground. Roots and all!  It was hard work, but we got it out.  She poured motor oil on it, to "kill" it, but it just made the dirt really gross around the tree.  Pictures to come! Good thing you had us work hard at home, cause we sure are working hard here.
 I love all of you! The Church is more than True.  It is amazing!!! I love it here, but also hate it at the same time! It is such a blessing to be on a mission! Love YOU!!!!!!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sister Rietz's new address

This is from Amber's mama.  I just wanted to let you all know that you can send letters to her at:

Sister Amber Rietz
16700 Muscatel #29
Hesperia, CA  92345

This will be her address until around the last week of August.
I will put a gadget on the side of this blog, but just wanted to give you a head's up about her address.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Do you know where Hesperia, California is?


I am in a place called Hesperia, California.  It is the straight up desert.  Like I'm not kidding, there is sand and Joshua Trees everywhere.  I keep looking for rattlesnakes, and people to rob stagecoaches.  Those Joshua Trees are not something that I would travel to see.  They are straight up ugly.  They only grow in two places in the whole world.  Hesperia California, and Jerusalem.  They are these ugly trees that have this fir stuff growing on them.  It is illegal to tear them down, kill them, or take them out of your yard.  So many people have these trees in their yards.  One thing I miss is grass.  It costs 400 dollars to water a patch of grass that is as long as my body laying down.  Crazy how lucky we are to have tons of grass at home, and now there is none around me.  My companion is Sister M.  Lets just say that she and I get along really well! Haha, we are kinda all the same which is crazy awesome.  She was born the day after me, she is the same height as me, and she loves to joke around, and she PLAYS TENNIS!!! That was a dream come true! I was so excited!!! Gah! It was wonderful! She is from Texas, and went to a semester at BYU.  I think she and I will be friends for many many years.  We will be with each other for 12 weeks. The first week was so long, but so short at the same time. 
Monday: P-day in the MTC.
Laundry, clean room, pack.
Sister C and I went a little crazy.  We had companion exchanges, cause Sister P, and Sister W were both getting their hair cut, so Sister C and I went crazy when we were companions.  We rode a "roller coaster" which was actually just laundry bins that were empty.  We would ride in them, and then when someone would be opening the door, we would jump faster then one of the Australian kangaroos.  We said goodbye to everyone that we had known at school, that was at the MTC, and then we went to bed.

Tuesday: Fly to Cali
We got up super early, (3:30 am)  met our district at 4:30 am, and on the bus at 5.  Traveled to SLC Airport.  Called HOME! <3  Flew to Ontario, Ca.  Met President H and Sister H.  He looks like Pres. Uchtdorf... Got my awesome new bike.  Slept.

Wednesday: Meet new Companion.
Met my new companion.  Then there was a ton of meetings.  We were on the road to Hesperia by 2.  Got to Hesperia by almost 3.  Went to apartment, unpacked, planned the next day. Role played the life out of me.  Went to dinner at a members home.  Biked: 2 miles.

You guys need to understand how lucky I am that I have Sister M as my companion.  She is great.  There are times when I don't think I can keep doing this crazy thing, and then Sister M will say something, and it will remind me that I am supposed to be out here.  A mission is hard.  No matter how many role plays we do in the MTC, it is 1000 times more scarier, and more intense then the MTC.  I love it here though! I wouldn't have it any other way! I know that the ward family I have here is wonderful.  Pretty sure I met everyone that is in the ward.  Our dinner calendar rarely has a blank spot on it.  The members feed us a ton, and now I understand how missionaries gain weight on their mission.  The Lord knew that I would need more then the 30 minutes of exercise a morning to work off all the food we eat from members.  We bike on average 12 miles a day.  It takes 2.2 miles to get to our area, and then most people we visit are within a 5 mile circle of each other.  We drink so much water.  Instead of being super sticky with sweat all the time, I want to just dump my water bottle on me, and then deal with my clothes looking weird, but that water in that water bottle is too precious.  I wish that I could strike a rock with another rock, and get water. Haha, that would be so COOL! Can you imagine what a faith/testimony builder that would be!?  It is amazing to me that there are people who used to be members and got married in the temple, and bam. No longer care about the church anymore.  That is definitely frustrating!  We are teaching a family now, and they were married in the temple, and then all of the sudden they are less active.   We are teaching a family, that is Less Active, and they were married in the Temple, and are now thinking about coming to church.  We have at least 4.5 months before they leave to get them reactivated.  They are so cool.  They are like 25ish, and they remind me of my own fam-bam.  They have one daughter, and she came up to me, and said, "our you my new missionary?" She is 4 or 5 I think.  It melted my heart, and created this love for their family, that I wanted to do whatever it takes to get them to come to church.  They live way out there, but it is worth the bike ride, to go bring them the lessons.  We currently have 20 investigators.  They are not all progressing.  There are only 3 I think, that are really making progress.  There is one, who is David.  He is awesome.  I thought he was maybe in his 20's.... but noooooo, he's older.  I laughed so hard when I saw that, and then had to cover it with a cough cough cough.  We are going to start teaching his sister the lessons, and she is in her 40's.  Another investigator is named Lori.   She thinks that Obama is putting chips in people. and she asked us to ask Thomas S. Monson if Obama's Police people were to try to give her a tracking chip, if she should accept.  Sister M told her that we would ask, and get back to her.  We have yet to ask him.  I would be interested in what people would have to say.
There is also this guy who thinks and is convinced that he was a general authority... 

One of the days that we were biking, we were out there, and we went to visit an investigator, and he wasn't home.  We see this Hispanic family outside their house, we bike over, and start talking to them. They tell us they were members!!! WHATTTTTTTTTT! But wait, it gets better.  Out walks this 13ish year old boy, he is introduced as Angel Moroni... I know my jaw dropped.  They all laughed, so I thought they were kidding, but nope, they were for reals serious!  We are going to give them to the Spanish Elders, cause it was super hard to communicate with them.  Sorry this email is a jumble of thoughts.  I had it all written in a list what I was going to say, and then knowing me, I left the list at the apartment...
Weird moment... Spilled water all over myself at dinner last night.  It was at a members house, but oh well.  That just makes me a memorable missionary right?? (Mom, don't worry, they are like Aunt Dawn and Uncle Mike.  Well actually like Dawn, but whatever.)  They just laughed really hard, and said no worries, it happens all the time.  I said really, and they said no... They are really nice though so that makes it better!!!

I love you all so much.
The church is true people.  You can never deny the Spirit that you feel, and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  I know that it will be hard, but that is one of the wonderful aspects of the Atonement.  It helps all of us in different ways.  The only way anyone could ever deny the church is if they went over, around, under the Book of Mormon, and the truthfulness that it holds. 
I am going to start reading the Doctrine and Covenants.  Everyday I will be reading one chapter or section from it.  You all are welcome to join me if you want, but I will be including the things that I have been learning from that wonderful thing! Love Love Love you all!

Love, Sister Rietz
 The Picture of me pointing to 105 is the classroom I spent 10+ hours in with my district.
With Sister C at the Provo Temple

Fun with Sister C
Maybe no one will see us!!

Riding the MTC roller coaster

My MTC home away from home

Sister M and me

Monday, June 2, 2014

Awkward Struggle Bus

Awkward Struggle Bus.
The MTC is getting old.  I seriously feel so bad for those that are stuck here for longer than me.  There is only so much you can handle in a classroom for 10+ hours.  This week was exciting! We got one of our investigators to commit to baptism! She is getting baptized in 3 weeks! Well at least that is the plan.  Our last p-day has been so BUSY! We went to the temple today, and I LOVE the Temple.  So much peace was there today! Oh, and LAUNDRY! I wanted to make sure all of my laundry was done before I left for California. Speaking of California, I leave tomorrow from the MTC at 4:30 am, so family expect me to call you at like 6:15ish your time.  I bought a calling card, cause it is easier.  
The thing I am most excited about leaving, is helping people receive ETERNAL LIFE! That is the greatest thing that I will be able to do.  I also am so excited to be able to wear the name of Jesus Christ on my name tag.  I am most worried about saying the wrong thing.  Oh, and that my bum is gonna be SOOOOOOOOO sore from riding my bike.  I can't wait to be mobbing the streets of Rancho on my awesome bike.  Everyone will want to bike in a skirt after seeing me.  I love all of my clothes.  Mine are all unique, because I didn't really buy any of them from all these stores where everyone and their mom shopped for their mission clothes.  I love the yellow and the blue skirt.  They literally go with all my clothes.
The cheap shoes from Taiwan are actually really super-duper comfy.  They are also super easy to match with.  I do wish that I had a red skirt, but that could be a Christmas present or a nice surprise.  I can't wait to get to Rancho and meet the person that I am going to be with 24/7 for at least 6 weeks.  I think that I get my bike that first day.

Awkward Story of the Week:
I was being obedient, and it was time to turn off the lights.  Well my bed is closest to the light switch, so I always turn it off.  I turned off the light, and it was pitch black.  This caused me to trip on my suitcase, and I ALMOST peed myself, I was laughing so hard.  Everyone else was laughing super hard too.  Another story: I was making myself clean in the shower, and knew that Sister C was in the shower next to me.  We had been talking, and then we stopped.  Well I decided to pick up the conversation again, and there was no response.  Well that didn't regester in my head.  I KEPT TALKING!! so that was weird cause there were like 10 other girls in the bathroom.  Well I said outloud: This is so awkward, I talk to myself." I then heard sister C laughing and knew that she was there the whole time.  Another story: I spilled something on EVERY ONE OF MY SKIRTS! I have no idea how.  I am just a klutz.  The blus skirt now has a stain, as does my tan one. Buahaha, oh well it happens to the best of us. Another story: Sister C is as awkward as me.  Like no joke.  We both laugh so hard that we can't breathe, walk, eat or do anything that a normal person can do. We now have two buses that we are both the drivers and the passengers of.  The Struggle Bus lives on, and the Awkward bus has pulled up to the bus stop.  We offer VIP passes to all those having awkward struggle bus moments.

I love you all. Remember that the Church is true.  The Book of Mormon is true.  Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet.  I love the Gospel.  Love you all! I will be in California when I write next!
Love Sister Rietz!
Sister Rietz with her first investigator, Kelly.

Sister Rietz with her MTC District

Sister P, Sister Rietz, Elder Dance and his companion.  Sister Rietz and Elder Dance share a nephew named Carter.  Elder Dance left last week for Florida.