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?