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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't pray for trials

1.Funniest things done:  Sister M (not my old companion) prayed that we would have trials in our lives.  After she said that, I was thinking I do not need any more trials.  But Heavenly Father thought otherwise.  This past week one of my favorite Less-Actives was in the ICU, and she was going downhill FAST!!! Her family all flew in, and I was freaking out.  We went and visited her, and she was not all there.  It was sad, and she didn't even know that we were there to see her.  I wanted to cry, but couldn't cause everyone thinks Sister Missionaries cry over every little thing.  So I didn't cry.  I cried later, but only Sister E saw.  Then the next day, we get a text from another less-active.  " I can't meet today, I am going to Urgent Care. Talk to you later." She didn't respond to us for a LONG time.  She has a fungal infection in her face, and has to get it removed.  That night, I got really sick, had a fever, chills, stuffy nose, and a killer headache... It was rough.  Then the rest of the week was just not very good.  SO the MORAL OF THE STORY: Don't pray for challenges.... 
2.Biggest Blessing: Knowing that I have a family back home, who loves me, and is supporting me through everything.  I don't know how many miles there are between us, but heck emails and letters make it seem like you all are right next door.  This has been a hard transfer, but guess what! It is already week 3, and we are chugging right along.
3.Latest project: Finding New People to Teach.  I hate tracting, but I know it works, so there will be many a hours spent tracting this week.

4.Most exciting events: Samantha is GETTING BAPTIZED TONIGHT!!! She isn't our investigator.  She was taught by the elders, but the last couple lessons the Elders had us come teach.  I am so excited for her, because she has had a hard year.  She had some challenges, and no one believed that she could overcome them, but she did.  She is so excited.  There will be pictures next week.
5.Favorite game: Jump-rope.  I am starting to get really good.  It is finally starting to get easier, and I am planning on learning how to double-dutch.  I will let you know how that goes.  The girls that we jump rope with, are like 9 and 6.  They are really good.  So there will always be a jump-rope competition on Thursdays on C St. at 4:30.  You can bet on it, that we will be there.
6.Favorite Foods: Macaroni and Cheese.  It was SOO Good.  And then we had these really yummy sandwiches.  They were reallllly GOOD!
7.Most challenging thing:  Really, this is gonna be stupid, but being okay with being sick.  I hate being sick as a missionary.  People freak out, and then I am telling them I am fine, but then everyone and their baby mama hear about it, and get all worried.  It really isn't that big of a deal people! I get colds ALL the time!
8. Simple Pleasures:  Getting late birthday cards, and then reading all the silly things that are inside them.  It caused many laughs, and it was much needed.
9.Goals: See all the people that we haven't been able to get in with, and to help our ward with missionary work.
10.Biggest smile:  Seeing Chuck and Irene come to church.  They both have dementia, and it was a miracle that they could come to church.  Irene had on one slipper, one normal shoe, crazy make-up.  Chuck came with his shirt not all the way buttoned, his pants unzipped, and his cane for the day was a broom.  It was awesome.  They came and partook of the sacrament, and they loved church.  They could only last until after sacrament meeting, but no worries.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Not getting Ebola.  I have had a cold/cough all week, and at church someone wanted to start the rumor that I had Ebola... Yeah, that was an interesting one to have to explain.
12. Worst Food:We had some pretty interesting Mexican soup.  Let's just say.  They pretty much put everything in their fridge along with Sausage Meatballs.  She said it didn't turn out right... Everyone liked it... But me. Awkward.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 33 miles
14: Favorite Quote: Sister Rietz: " Bye Bye Fatheads." Elder O: "Goodnight Sweet Spirited Woman."  There is a joke in our Zone about saying Bye Bye Fatheads whenever we hang up the phone.  And the Zone Leaders want to change it, but the Bye Bye Fatheads Will NEVER DIE! Sister C and I will not allow that to happen.

We went jogging and met up with these sisters who live close to us.  People were judging us as they drove by.  ;)

We made all of these!

We found this sweet ride while out biking the other night... It didn't start, and it was in the middle of the desert... It was gone the next morning...

All the things people gave me to help me feel better.  I am missing another gatorade, and a thing of ice cream... They love to make us "feel at home."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peace and blessings

Birthday dinner take 2
I have really been wondering why my leg had to be cut. I know that there had to be a reason, so one night I prayed and asked why it happened. Then on Sunday, I received my answer. There was a man that we met in Walmart, while we were waiting for my antibiotic for the infection in my leg. He was talking with us, while he and his wife were waiting for their medicine as well. They asked us if we were Mormon missionaries, and we told them that we were. They informed us, that she was less-active, and that he was not a member, but had thought about joining. We got their information, and gave it to the Santa-Fe Ward. Now, fast-forward to Saturday's baptism in the Santa-Fe ward. The man that got baptized was the same man that Sister M and I had met while waiting for my medicine. I know that this was an answer to my prayer, and that there really was a reason that my leg was cut. Although, it took a long time for me to realize why it had to happen, it all makes sense now.  There were so many times that I was mad about my leg, but now that I know Bro. F was that man, it really makes it all more worth it.  That was the Peace and Blessing that I got this week. 
1.Funniest things done: We were at a relief society thing, and I almost fell asleep, and then it was really awkward, because a bunch of people saw me, and they were all saying it was because we are on bikes.  It was just because it was like 8:30, and I am used to going to bed like an hour after that, and my stomach was full of amazingly delicious food.  I was super tired, and I just wanted to sleep.
2.Biggest Blessing:  We finally were able to get a hold of a potential investigator that we had been trying to visit for many nights.  She is really a solid investigator, and I know that she will get baptized, cause she was going to, but got scared cause a Jehovah Witness told her that she was going to burn in Hell, if she joined the Mormon Church.  Ella backed out, and it took from 2003 to now, so 11 YEARS to finally decide to meet with missionaries again.  It was really a cool thing to witness.  The spirit was so strong in that lesson.
3.Latest project: Getting to know my new companion.  It is weird to think you know everything about someone, and then they surprise you, and you just are like WOOOAAH! That threw me for a loop! ahah, yeah, that has happened a lot this week.
4.Most exciting events: I turned 20 years old this week.  I got 2 packages and I love everything that is in it.  I really loved the coat, and I have found random reasons to wear it around the apartment.
5.Favorite game: UMMM.... Yeah, I am not sure.  Probably just the mental game of "I think I can", everyday when we are biking up to our area.  
6.Favorite Foods: The Ice Cream that people keep bringing us for my birthday.  It is magically wonderful, and I really am so grateful for all those that have been bringing it to me.
7.Most challenging thing: Hearing the news that one of my favorite less actives was in the Hospital, and that the chance of her being okay, is slim.  I am praying really hard that all goes well with her.  There is also another less-active that we visit, and her husband was hit by a car while crossing the street.  The chance of him surviving is looking not well either.
8. Simple Pleasures: On a happier note, I am feeling better.  I was slightly sick on my birthday.  I was running a fever, and continually was getting the chills, and they were terrible.  But, the Elders gave me a blessing, and in the blessing the Lord told me it was ok to rest, and that I need to rest.  I had been feeling like a terrible missionary because I was down for the count, and then when I heard that, I knew that the Lord really knew that I needed to hear that, in order to feel like I was being an okay missionary, even though we hadn't stayed in the area long that day.  Blessings WORK PEOPLE! AND they bring Peace as well! PEACE AND BLESSINGS!
9.Goals: Get a new investigator, and then get them on the path to return to live with Heavenly Father again.
10.Biggest smile: Honestly, there were so many things this week that brought a smile to my face.  So many wonderful, precious moments that made me so glad to be a missionary, and living in the moment. People say their missions go super fast, and that we need to cherish EVERY moment.  And I know that there are so many things that I need to recognize as blessings, and not just coincidences.  
11.Biggest accomplishment: Surviving the first week, and realizing that I know more about the area than I thought I knew.
12. Worst Food: We had some crazy food this week.  We had sour cream enchiladas.  No enchilada should just have sour cream, onion, and cheese in it.  I thought I was gonna get super sick.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 41 miles biked.  We are starting this transfer off in a good start.  I know that it will be a struggle, but the Lord promises us strength, and that he will give us the strength that we need to bike in our area.  
14: Favorite Quote: Sister J: "What kind of missionary jumps in the water?" (Referring to Peter answering the Savior when he invited him to come follow him) Me: "A disobedient missionary." *laughter errupts*

Well, we are pressed for time, because we only get an hour to email.  I love you all so much! Keep being awesome.  There is great things in store for all of you!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The call to repentance

Family. Friends. Random Citizens. I am still in Hesperia, and running super low on time, cause we had to go down the hill (this means go to Rancho Cucamonga area.  So out of the Desert)  this morning, and come back up and traffic was really bad.  Don't think we went faster than 30 mph..., and we still have a HUGE list of things that we must get done.  My new Companion is Sister E.  She is from Northern California, and she has been out for 14 months.  She seems like she will be a great companion, and I really hope that she is.  I am worried that this will be a hard 6 weeks, but it shall be wonderful.  The Lord wants us together, so that is what happened.
Mom: before you ask, I had the Mission Nurse look at my leg.  She said that I need to watch it, and keep a hot compress on it whenever my leg is not in motion, so like in the morning, and at night.  She said to just keep her updated on the status of it.  But she tells everyone to put a hot compress on their injuries, (including the sister that tore her ACL recently...) but I'll be obedient for a little bit, and do as she says.  Then I will let you know how it all goes.

1.Funniest things done: Celebrating Sister M, Elder O, and my birthdays yesterday, and the lady in our ward giving us our party put 61 candles in the cake, cause that is the combined age of all 3 of us.
2.Biggest Blessing: CONFERENCE!!! We all got called to repentance, and I have a HUGE list of things to get better at.  How awesome was the talk by Jorg Klebingat??? SO GOOD! All those things are things that I need to take responsibility for. Also, Elder Nelson, AND Elder Kacher both came to my mission and spoke to us, and it was SO cool to see them on the TV!  I shook both of their hands!  Also, Having Sister M as a companion.  Yes, there have been hard times, but there were also a lot of really sweet times too! I really know that she and I were meant to be together for my first 4 months, and I miss her already. 
3.Latest project: Getting my new companion ready for our area.  She has a beach cruiser for a bike, so this will be interesting...  We are working on getting a real bike for her.  Dallin and Dad, thanks for not letting me get one of them.  That would have been no bueno.
4.Most exciting events: Transfers, and the fact that I am staying in Hesperia!! WOOT-WOOT!!!!
5.Favorite game: Bingo.  Every time that we see a yellow car, we say Bingo.  The members of the ward think that we are WACK-O!  Those who own yellow cars, I will thank you on behalf of the other 88,000 missionaries.  We thank you for making our lives a little bit more fun!
6.Favorite Foods: The 3 Birthday Cakes that people have made for us these past 2 days.  They were wonderful, and I am positive I am going to be in a sugar comma for days.
7.Most challenging thing: Realizing that I will be the person that know the area, and that I really am in charge of planning the schedule for the day.  Talk about inside freak out!
8. Simple Pleasures: Riding our bikes with no handlebars, and then learning how to turn them, without using our handlebars.  Trev-  I will own you in Biking now.
9.Goals: Bike 40 miles this week, (I will let you know how the beach cruiser handles the "Outer Darkness" hills.)
10.Biggest smile: Seeing Meet the Mormons.  I cried.  I laughed.  I am now motivated to run everywhere in the World.  When you see the movie, you will realize how lucky and blessed you are to be a member of the church.  There are so many cool people in the church, and you all will love the film as much as I did I am sure. Mom and Dad- I have decided to drop out of school after the mission and just travel the world.  Just kidding, but really... Kristin- let's take up traveling the world.  We can document the different wards around the world, and show the church is the same all around the world.  You can see that I have thought a lot about this.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Sister M and I have biked 806.3 miles in 4 months.  Our goal was 800, and we reached our goal.  Woot-Woot. This companion and I wanna hit 600 miles.  My tires are getting really worn, but they are great.  I might need to get new brake pads, but I will cross that bridge when I wreck.  Haha, okay maybe I will get them fixed before then.
12. Worst Food: I actually don't know if we had any BAD food this week.  It all seemed really safe to me.  We shall see about this coming week though.
13. Amount of Miles Biked: 38.  We didn't bike a TON, but it was enough to help us reach our goal!
14: Favorite Quote: "Don't let the wordly riptides carry us away from the current that we are in right now."- Elder Kacher Another not church one... Same 79 yr.old Argentina Lady, " And then I passed away..... hahahah, I mean pass out!!!" she was talking about something that happened with her heart, and she told us that she died. And then realized that she had messed up. It was wonderful.  We all laughed really hard!

Well, I am out of time.  I will hopefully have more time next week.  Thanks for all the Birthday Wishes.  I was freaking out I am no longer a teenager.  I now have to act like an adult!!! GAH!

XOXOLove, Sister Rietz

Me playing pin the Name tag on the Elder.  They didn't have a Sister one. I won a HUGE candy bar!
our cake with 61 candles in it.  Fire Hazard Galore!

The lovely L, S, and J Families that put together the Birthday Party.  I am awkwardly on the side.  Two Points for AWKWARD!