Monday, February 23, 2015

Where has the time gone? 9 months

Well family.  It is here.  The "half-way point".  The "glass half full/half empty".  The "all is downhill" from here.  The "hump".  I am now considered an OLD missionary! If anyone is wondering, I have loved my mission this far, and I love that it is not over.  I am so grateful that I can be out here, and everyday I learn more and more why I was called to this mission at this time.  So many things happened this week, and I am not sure I have enough time or the memory to recall all that happened.

We had times this week where we knew Heavenly Father was there, really looking out for us.  There is some sort of cold/flu going around the mission, and I got it. Again.  I swear I have the most useless immune system in the world.  I feel like every other week I am sick.  But luckily, I have a quick recovery time.  We would only be able to work about half a day before we would have to come home because I couldn't really talk, and I was getting lightheaded.  So those tender moments where we were able to work, we knew were answers to our Prayers. 

1.Funniest things done: I went on Exchanges, and I was with a Tongan Sister, and she took us to a Tongan Family in their ward, and forgot to mention to me all the rules about eating food that is offered to us.  So we are in this house, and they offer me an ice cream bar. It was hot outside, so I took it.  Well then the Mom found some cake.  Not just one cake, but TWO! and gave them to us.  I declined them, and all the kids got quiet, and Sister V told me to just take it.  The Mom said something in Tongan, and Sister V told her that we would have some cake.  The Dad asked if we were hungry, and we said no.  But apparently No is like a bad word or something, because he told the boys to get us food. I still have SO much leftovers, and I am scared that they are going to go bad.  Moral of the Story: Don't tell Tongan families that you don't want food, cause they won't listen to you, and you end up offending them.  By the end though I would consider them friends, and they told me when I come back after the mission to come to their house, and they will feed me till I have to be rolled out of the house.
2.Biggest Blessing: We had a big scare with Candy.  We had a long talk with her, and she was SO close to not being able to be baptized but we talked her out of it.  And now she is 100% on tract to being baptized.  She got a dress from the "I" family, and we are going to the T family tonight so that she can hem it.  I also got a blessing on Tuesday, and the Elder said that I would be healed through out the night, and then the next morning, I felt so much better, and we were able to go out and work for a little bit.  Everyday this would happen over and over, until I was 100%  on Sunday.  The power of the Priesthood is real, and it is so awesome.  I love it.
3.Latest project:  Finding activity.  We are trying to find more people to teach, and on March 9th we are doing a mission wide fast. We are hoping to get all the members of Ward Council and Members in the Ward to join.  President said, "Together we will call upon the powers of heaven to strengthen and unite us as missionaries and members. He will increase our faith in His purpose to "Hasten His Work" and help our Heavenly Father "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  I am so excited, and I know that Fasting works. See number 4.
4.Most exciting events: Candy fasted by herself! She had a really rough week, and she fasted for strength.  She texted and told us that fasting worked, and that she felt tons better and received the strength that she needed to get through all the things people were saying to her about how she was going to fail as a Mormon.  But joke is on them, cause she is the best, and she will be the BEST member ever.
5. Favorite Game: Playing hide and go seek with Hannah and Nicole.  It always is fun, and so much laughter occurs.
6.Favorite Foods: Tacos and Homemade Guacamole. and REAL Chinese food for Chinese New Year. Dong-she-fats-tsoy. or something like that, means Happy New Year.
7.Most challenging thing: Knowing that no matter how hard you try those you are working with are still being attacked by Satan.  Prayers are the only thing that we can do sometimes, but prayer works.
8. Simple Pleasures: RAIN! It rained a lot, and flooded a little, so we walked! And then we got soaked! see pictures below.
9.Goals: Have the next 9 months of my mission the best they can be.  My goal is to allow Heavenly Father shape me into the person that He wants me to be. That would be the best!
10.Biggest smile: I got a blessing because the cold/flu that I had, knocked me off my feet and we didn't have the time for me to be sick.  I was sleeping and Sister T came in and woke me up to tell me that they were there to give me a blessing.  Well normally when someone gets a blessing there will be 2 elders, and then 2 other sisters.  But not this time, I walked out of the bathroom, and there were 4 elders- the zone leaders and the AP's.  Talk about awkward. Cause I couldn't really talk, and I had such a bad headache that it hurt to open my eyes, so I just sat there with my eyes closed.  The looks on their faces when I walked out was priceless.  I was not in missionary clothes, and I looked like a hobo.  No seriously everyone, it was bad! Good thing that I don't really care what I look like to other people, at least on the mission. haha, 
11.Biggest accomplishment: REACHING 9 MONTHS! Woot-Woot!

12: Favorite Quote: "no. you must eat my food.  That is what the rule is, and you are going to do it." -Tongan Mother

I keep thinking about something I have said a lot but really, how lucky we are to be missionaries.  How lucky I am to be serving in California. How lucky we all are to be able to share the Gospel with all those around us.
I know this church is true.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is leading and guiding us, and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and knows exactly what we are feeling at all times.  I know that the adversary is out there, but that we can beat him.  It is not the end when he starts influencing us.  It only means that Heavenly Father knows that we can handle it.  I love Heavenly Father  and Jesus Christ.  I love the Upland ward I am serving in.  I love all of you, and pray that you are all doing well!  Hey Kristin and Trevor! GOOD LUCK AT TENNIS! YOU WILL DO AWESOME!  I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Talk to you all next week! XOXOXO
Love, Sister Amber Rietz
Me with Sis. V

No words can describe...

Not here either!

A really wet day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crashing is for Champions

I miss being in a tripanionship! I miss having someone to gang up on us, and for people to be total band-wagon-ers. (is that a word?) It is weird to not have three people on bikes at one stop light.  but all will be well.  Sister T and I will manage without Sidda C3 with us.  It was weird to look and see her bed still in our room, and find random things that we assume were hers, cause they aren't ours.  But so many miracles have happened this last week.  also, yes.  Sister T and I did crash, but if we must rate these crashes, this one was probably a solid 6...
I shall tell you all the story upon this here email.

We were biking home really fast, cause we had to be at a service project for our investigator, and we had gotten stuck in a lesson longer than we wanted.  So we quickly crossed the road, and were going to get up onto the sidewalk, when we saw a couple walking, and then decided to stay on the road away from them.  Well we passed them, and then I tried to get up onto the sidewalk, but unfortunately my tires lined up perfectly with the side of the ramp, and the road, and down I went.  Well it doesn't end there.  Sister T was right behind me, and tried to avoid me, but nope.  She ran into my bike, which caused for it to hit me.  So I didn't only hit the sidewalk and slide, but I also got hit by my companion and bike.  But no worries.  It still doesn't end there.  A couple in a car saw it all happen, and they came and checked on us, but we were laughing so hard, so we told them we were fine, and then we tried to tell them about the church, and then when we told them we were missionaries for the church, they quickly drove away.  It was for sure something to laugh at.  But I realized that after some trial or anything that pushes us to our limits, there is always a blessing.  and there were two of them this week! The first one was Allie and Amber got baptized! I was so excited! I got to go speak at their baptism, and When I walked in to the room, (cause we were a little later getting to Hesperia then we planned on being), I felt like I was going back to one of the best places in the world.  So many people were there, and I got to them! The R Family, Amy B, Bishop, Sister S, the H Family the B Clan, some elders I had previously served around.  It was like a family reunion! And I loved it!!!! I knew all of those people, and I love all of them so much!  It was such a good refresher to go up there.  I will forever love Hesperia, and I will forever love Upland as well.  So after the baptism, we were driving home, and a miracle occurred with Candy.  She started telling us who she wants to have baptize her, confirm her, give talks, and that she wants a dress not a jump suit.  She said that she is ready for the 21st, and it was so awesome, because all before that she would say that the 21st was tentative.  She never really was 100% set on the 21 she said.  But now she is, and Sunday in Ward Council they were talking about how they can help her.  The excitement that people feel when they meet her, and talk about her baptism is just so amazing.  We also had a lesson with her, and the member that we brought was awesome.  Sister J was able to relate so well, and the thing we talked about was having more faith in the Savior for when times get hard.  Well we committed her to tell her mom about us.  She was so scared, but she did it after the baptism on Saturday.  But then on Sunday her mom started mocking her, and now Candy is discouraged.  But she told us that she was fasting for strength, and that it will work.  I love all the determination, and faith that she has.  It is an excellent reminder for myself.  So today Sister T and myself are fasting for her to have the strength that she needs.  We know that all will be well with her.

1.Funniest things done: Crash on our bikes, ate breakfast in 20 mins, and this random kid ran out of his house to tell us hello, and that he was a member.  It was a kid that had just gotten off his mission a little bit ago from France.  It was awkward, cause his family just moved into the ward, and we didn't know who he was.  Awkward mission moments are the best mission moments.
2.Biggest Blessing: Candy fasting, and getting things set up for her baptism.
3.Latest project: Working with the ward council and planning a baptism.
4.Most exciting events: Wrecked on our bikes, and nothing really bad happened.  Just some bruises, and a scrape on my leg.  and my sprocket and I are getting really close cause it cut my leg.  But no stitches were needed.
5. Favorite Game: "Hey remember that one time when we crashed?" Laughter ALWAYS follows!
6.Favorite Foods: Lasagna, and Lemon Poppyseed muffins.
7.Most challenging thing: Knowing Satan is trying hard on those who are trying to turn their lives around.
8. Simple Pleasures: Driving back up the hill to Hesperia, and seeing a Joshua Tree.  Who woulda thought I would miss one of those?
9.Goals: Help Candy have faith in Heavenly Father.
10.Biggest smile: Watching Brother B baptize Allie, and then watching Elder R baptize Amber.  It was a precious moment, and the Spirit was so strong!
11.Biggest accomplishment: Not even getting a snag or scratch on my skirt when we crashed.
12: Favorite Quote: Me to Sister T: "We are never getting married." *high-five*

Well I love all of you, and also if anyone is wondering, tracting with the Law of Chastity pamphlet on Valentine's day is SUPER successful! Members in our zone did it, and although we didn't have luck others now have potentials to go see.  It was great! I know the Church is true.  I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that faith works.  How great it is to be on a mission! I love it!!!!
Love, Sister Rietz
The Pictures are from the baptism.  We are one special group that is for sure!!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The End of a Trio Legacy

Well Sister C3 is now home.  Probably holding a baby or watching Frozen.
I really miss her so much already, and it is going to be weird going back to a companionship, but let me just say that in those 4 weeks of being in a tripanionship, I learned so much about how to cope with change, roll with the punches, and just have fun.  I loved her so much, and what a great thing it will be when we are reunited.  
This last week so much happened.  There was stake conference, and we sang on Saturday night.  Our investigator Candy came, and she LOVED it! She also told us that she really misses taking the sacrament this week.  She said that there seemed to be a part of her that was missing, and it was cause she didn't take the SACRAMENT! What an awesome thing for her to realize.  President H came and spoke, and after he came and talked with Candy.  When he walked away we told her that he could be at her baptism, and she was so excited.  Good things are in store for her, and we are loving watching her change.  We went to dinner with Candy earlier this week, and she took us to this restaurant that cooks the food in front of you.  It was so good, and I really want to take all of you there when we come and visit my mission.  I love being on a mission, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here serving the Lord for 18 months.  Looking back I see that I have grown, but that there is still so much more room for me to grow, and I am so grateful for this learning opportunity.

Now a look at the past....
1.Funniest things done: Remembering all the crazy moments that we had with Sister C3.  Nicole shoving plastic chicken into my mouth.  A recently returned missionary tried to hit on Sister C3 after he learned she was going home this week, and she was so awkward, and didn't know what to do.  We all just busted up laughing, and told her that we found her husband.  
2.Biggest Blessing: Realizing that the Lord has called me to this mission to serve here at this time, and that there is so much work that needs to happen still.  I love being a missionary, and I hope everyone has the chance to serve a mission.
3.Latest project: Meeting everyone in the ward, and giving them a "Service Sister" aka a folded index card that looks like a sister missionary outfit.
4.Most exciting events: WE STAYED TOGETHER IN UPLAND!!!!
5. Favorite Game: Learning Spanish from Hermana Z as she was our companion while out companions were going home, and were at the Temple.
6.Favorite Foods: Dinner with Candy at Kishi.  The best grilled shrimp found anywhere!
7.Most challenging thing: Saying Good-bye to Sister C2
8. Simple Pleasures: Laughing like maniacs, and not really caring who sees.  Also, seeing Nicole and Hannah P.  They are my favorite little girls.
9.Goals: Lose Weight (totally doing that).  Obedience with Exactness.  Find new Investigators.
10.Biggest smile: Nicole trying to feed my rubber chicken.  She kept shoving it towards my mouth when we were reading the scriptures with her Dad.
11.Biggest accomplishment: Sending another Companion HOME to Idahome!
12: Favorite Quote: Candy talking about President H: " He sounds like Batman!"

This email doesn't do this last week justice, but I know that there are so many blessings in store for this next transfer.  How lucky we are to be missionaries.  How lucky I am to be serving in California.  and How lucky we all are to be able to share the Gospel with all those around us.
I know this church is true.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is leading and guiding us, and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and knows exactly what we are feeling at all times.
I love you all! I hope you have an awesome week! Love you all!
Have a great Valentines day!
Love, Sister Rietz

With Homer the Pig

Our trio and our ward mates

Good bye Sis. C2

Keeping the sass in the CA Rancho Cucamonga Mission

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Week Seventeen: Rainy day, Temple Blessings and Sparkly Shoes

So this email session was the worst.  I ran outta time, but the temple was so great, and I loved it so much! I love the feeling that I get there, and how I was able to get lots of answers.  We watched a less active's two twin daughters get blessed.  I started crying, cause it was so tender, and the blessing was not only for her, but for their family.  It was awesome.  I wish that I had more time to write, but know that I love you all so much, and am so grateful that I am out on a mission.  Sister C3 goes home Monday, and watching her freak out about that stress just reminds me that I am so grateful to be out here, with lots of time left.  Candy is planning on getting baptized on the 21st of March, which is my 10 month mark.  I told her that she and I would celebrate together, and then she said, okay Master Rietz.  She thinks that since I am always leading the lessons, that I am the ring-leader. and that I keep these other two hooligans in line.  We had lots of rain this last week, and were able to play in it.  I split my pants from the fabric being cheap.  Guess that is what happens when you buy 2 dollar pajamas.  I love being a missionary, and seeing the miracles that occur everyday.  I am sure that there are countless miracles around you, and that they help build your faith in Heavenly Father.  I know that he loves all of his children, and that he has a special plan for each one of us.  I am able to see that all the time as we visit with others.  I love this CHURCH! Have a great week! I will definitely plan it all out better next week.  Also, transfers are next week, so we will see if I will still be in Upland next week! I hope I am! LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Sister Rietz

At the Redlands Temple

This is a giant pencil that actually works.  It made my day.  I love entering peoples' homes.  #treasures galore

Just getting done sanding a dresser, and we are covered in dust, even though you can't see it.