Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Disastrous Days bring Many Moments of Miracles

So by the title of my email, you are all probably thinking that we had a terrible week.  There were a lot of down hill moments, but then there were so many peaks that I didn't think that we could ever reach.  This week was one were I really learned to rely on the Lord through Prayer, and I know that He was able to give us answers and the Spirit of Comfort to help Sister T2 and I.  Don't worry, I would totally have last week start over and relive that week.  The disasters and all, because I learned too many valuable lessons this week.  
1.Funniest Thing Done: Oh man! The ultimate funniest thing that ever had to happen this last week was probably when we were sleeping outside and there was a cat lurking around.  I think that the Spirit brought to my remembrance that there was a plastic bat in our house that we could sleep outside with.  So we are now always sleeping outside with the bat right in between us. (Thank you sister T for the bat)  Well I was joking with Sister T2 that I was going in the middle of the night to accidentally mistake her as the cat, and start beating her.  So then Sister T2 used her super fast reflexes and grabbed the bat and held onto that so fast! We haven't had to use the bat at all.  Only to hit away the cobwebs that literally appear overnight!  Another really funny thing that happened was we were playing tag with Jason the 5 year old of Oneida, and one of the people that was playing with us grabbed him by the pants.  Next thing you know he's holding Jason, and then he's not holding Jason.  He's holding his pants.  Jason had too big of pants on, and he slipped right out of them.  Jason wasn't embarrassed at all! He was actually really funny about it.  He ran away, and then 2 minutes later he comes running, "BOOYAH! Got my pants back on!"  We all were laughing a lot, and even as we speak I am laughing about it.  Good Thing Sister T2 and I are the only ones in the Family History Center right now.
2.Biggest Blessing or Miracle: I think that the biggest blessing and miracle would have to be the one and only Elder S or as Sidda C and Sister T know him as the Schweeds... Anyways... We had some car trouble this last week, but luckily we were in Rancho for the 4 week new missionary meeting and we were able to call him and he was able to come help us right away. So now we are driving the 4th car in our area! WOOH! I just hope that our Subbie gets fixed and back up to us quickly! That car is the only one so far that Sister T2 and I have felt the safest in on those crazy dirt roads.  Elder S is such a patient man.  He reminds me a lot of Brother Byington from home.  He is just so caring, and still has that joking side to him that you don't know if he is being serious or not.  I love it.  I felt so bad that we had to call him, because he was dealing with a little TIWI situation that happened in our car, he was working on getting my license renewed, and he now is dealing with our little Subbie.  I just hope that he doesn't regret ever asking how else he could help us.
3.Exciting Events:  Oneida and Greg were baptized on Saturday! It was a little stressful seeing as they were 45 minutes late, but better late than never right!? Haha, when they walked in, all the worries of them not showing up melted away.  I was so grateful for the lessons that I had been able to teach them, and for all the things they taught me.  If there is one thing that I have learned from that family that will forever stick with me it has got to be,  that through it all your family will always be there, and so will the Lord.  Too many miracles occurred with them for any of us to ever deny that.  It was so great to see Oneida and her family so excited for the baptism.  I love them all so much, and am so grateful that I was able to teach them.  They are like little drops of golden sunlight that really can brighten anyone's day.  As I mentioned in a previous email, we taught them the Wise Man and the Foolish Man song.  They really wanted to have that sung at their baptism, and it was so precious when the 3 little boys were up there leading the hand motions.  Brad turned when they were heading up to the front and asked me to come, but I told him "No way you know the hand signals! You can do it!"  I love them! They are so innocent and so precious!  
4.Favorite Game: Well  most of the streets are registered into the system as 25, and they should actually be 55 MPH! So we called TIWI, and we are now just racking up the violations because TIWI gave us permission to go the speed limit even though the little box is watching us.  So I feel bad for President H and Elder S because Granite Hills Elders and we are just racking up those speeding violations.  It is not FUN! That voice is one that we have gotten really good at imitating, so that is now our game when we are home.  Who can talk like TIWI!
5.Favorite Food: We had the best tomato and zucchini dish.  It was so good.  I am not  the biggest fan of cooked tomatoes, but it was really good to have it all together.  Then we had pork chops, and potatoes with it! IT WAS SO GOOD! We also had a version of Crock-Pot chicken that was pretty good.  Different, but really good! I was a lot spicier, and they put potatoes instead of rice.
6.Most Challenging Thing: This last week I got what most missionaries call the trunky call.  That is the worst feeling in the world... Sister P has such a happy voice and told me, "Sister Rietz, I need you to be calm and listen to me.  You have some important life changing events occurring soon and we need to talk about them." She then asked me where I was flying home to, and all the details that I could remember.  Afterwards, she said: "thank you. Now forget about this phone call, and get back to work."  That is the hardest thing, because everyday someone in one of the wards or the other missionaries comment on me coming home, and ask how I am feeling.  PEOPLE! I HAVE AGES LEFT!!!
7.Simple Pleasures: We got a call from Elder S earlier this week.  I thought it was about my license, but it was about TIWI.  For some reason it didn't show that I had logged in, and so for 26 miles our car was registered as stolen. That was a fun one to respond to.  I was like I swear that I logged in, so now we are always worried that it is going to say our car is stolen... But so far we are good.  No more calls about TIWI! 
8.Goals: Find 4 new Investigators! We are really drowning with no one in our teaching pool anymore. So we are on a mad hunt.  A member told me yesterday that we are the Hunters, and that we go to church to get our ammo and run back out to go and hunt people.  It was a nice effort at an analogy, but I just nodded my head and told him, "Ohhh! That is cool to think of it that way." He's such a kind older man.  Hopefully he doesn't tell that to more people, because I don't think people will want to hear that missionaries had ammo, and go hunting...
9.Biggest Smile: We were talking with a Less-Active last night, and were teaching her the Restoration.  Normally we start with God is our Loving Heavenly Father. But for some reason right when we started the lesson, I asked her how the Gospel has Blessed her Life.  That opened up a conversation that I never thought that we would have.  She started sharing all of these super cool spiritual experiences and times where she knows the Gospel has blessed her life.  It was really cool to talk with her, and hear just how much she loves the church.  Then she flipped it to us, and asked us.  I loved talking about all the ways that the Gospel has blessed my life.  Obviously my family was one of the things that I brought up.  We talked about how the Gospel asks us to do a lot of different things, but that if we are obedient then the blessings are overflowing.  I couldn't help but think about how there have been times where I just wanted to give up, and then I think of how my family is able to be together forever because of the Gospel and that there are people out there that really don't know or believe that there is a way to be together forever.  She told us all the blessings that she has seen from missionaries serving, and I was just in shock because there were times this week where I was wondering why I was still on a mission.  This seemed like an answer to my prayer that I had about how we can really bless our families, and other families too.  I know that sounds dumb for a missionary to be saying that, but it is the truth.  I think sometimes it just takes a friendly conversation with the Spirit there for us to know why we are on our missions.
10.Biggest Accomplishment: Getting down the hill without TIWI getting mad at us! I was so proud of us! 
11.Favorite Scripture Story or Ensign Talk Studied: Right now our mission is preparing for Elder Falabella to come and do his mission tour.  That is in September and so he has asked us to study Alma 17-23 and focus on how the people's hearts were changed.  Holy Cow. There is a lot of ways that their heart's were changed, but I would have to say the greatest thing that I am positive changed their hearts is the love that they felt from the messages that they were hearing.  That is how I think some people are when we talk with them.  I have heard a couple times, "I don't agree with what your church believes, but you sure are nice." Haha, that is always a stab in the heart, and also a compliment cause they think that we are nice.  It is amazing that some aspect of the gospel really hits people differently.  Sometimes I think that there is nothing that can help some of the people that we contact on the street, but as our zone leaders stated to me, the Lord is always preparing people, and sometimes the things that we say are just planting the seeds.
12.Favorite Quote"Even Blind People Clean."-President H This was in reference to the training that was given in Zone Conference last week.  An Elder asked the Senior Sisters how they can clean, because there are really not that many lights in their apartment, and this was President H's reaction.  Everyone in the gym started laughing, and I think it taught us all a valuable lesson that there is NO excuse for why our apartments are dirty.

I am a Child of God.
And He has Sent me here.
I stand all amazed at the love Jesus Offers me.
Confused at his grace that so fully he proffers me.
Be still my soul; The Lord is on thy side.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives.
Come Follow Me, the Savior said.
Because I have been given much,
I too must give.

I love being a missionary.  It has literally changed my life.  I hope that all are able to feel the love and the peace that the Spirit can bring.  I know all of these songs above are such simple truths that we can learn from music.  They are little testimonies of truths.  I am so grateful for the hymns, and the primary songs that I have known for a big chunk of my life.  I am so grateful for trials, because that has allowed me to see the miracles that always are there as well.  I love the people in the Rancho Cucamonga Mission, and I hope all of them have the opportunity to meet with missionaries and feel the comfort of the gospel.  Have a great week! Pray that we find people to teach!!!
Love, Sister Rietz

We are keeping traditions alive and sleeping outside

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

TIWI. Enough said

Okay. This week was pretty great! We had Zone Conference which is always way great, and there were a lot of really good training that actually apply to the kind of missionary that I want to become.... and then TIWI got introduced. TIWI Look it up.  One of the best, but the WORST things that have ever been introduced in the mission.  This little box not only tracks what we do---> stopping, starting, accelerating, turning, speed, and lots of other things, but it also has a GPS system in it... BUT the GPS isn't something that we can access... It is there so it can know where we are, and what time we get into the car, and everything.  Also, it "yells" at you in a monotone voice if you, turn too sharp, speed, accelerate too fast, don't have your seatbelt, and also if you forget to log in... then it says, "No Driver. No Driver. No Driver." haha, yeah it may have said that to me a couple times.  I think that sometimes it is pointless, and not many of the missionaries like it, but I think that it will be great! *no sarcasm included* But I did get this card with my name on it, so that is cool, and when I scan the card in, it says Driver Logged In. SO that has been the most interesting stuff that has happened. 
Other interesting things have been that we are running out of people to teach! Our last investigator is getting baptized this Saturday! I am so excited for Oneida!  She was just telling us how amazing it was all the things that we knew, and how she never knew them even though her parents are members!!!  Her son Greg is also getting Baptized, and we had the lovely pleasure of teaching him and his 2 younger brothers the Law of Chastity!  It was a struggle, and those boys are patient, and totally like sponges soaking up everything that we taught! One of my favorite things about that lesson was when they asked me to teach them the Wise Man, and the Foolish Man song.  They were cracking me up! So the M Family now has a video of me attempting to teach the song to the boys.  I need to get a copy of it, but they really got into the rain and the floods part.  They are all so great, and I am so happy for them!  Speaking of great, we have some AMAZING Sister Training Leaders.  I love them to death! I was talking with them, and you know that no matter what you say to someone, they are going to listen and actually care! Well that is exactly how I felt when I was talking with them.  They are amazing, and I am so grateful for Sister C and Sister A.  They just listened to me, and it was the BEST thing that could have happened today.  They are really on the Lord's Errand. 
Brenda is doing so GOOD! hahah, she is going to be either an excellent full time missionary, or an excellent member missionary. Or maybe both! She was talking with us yesterday during our lesson, and she was telling us about this bracelet that she got.  She said that at first she didn't know how to put it together, and that she just was staring at the bracelet, and then BAM it hit her! She said that as she looked at the bracelet, she realized that different parts of it reminded her of the plan of salvation that Sister G and Sister E2 had taught her. She explained it to us, and it really did make so much sense! It was not a stretch at ALL! She gave us the bracelet, and it is now on my desk back home.  I love it!
I love being a missionary, sorry this email is so jumbled and crazy, but that is my life right now.  This week we have to go down the hill for the trainer and trainee meeting, and I can only imagine how many times TIWI is going to get mad at us.   Let's hope only once! 

I love this mormon message.  It really always hits me.  Not sure why, but probably because we all need those reminders every once in awhile.

Also, really really love this talk from the last General Conference that the Church had: 

Love you all, have a great week!
Love, Sister Rietz

My Preach My Gospel book is getting a little hammered!  :)

Sister C and I telling Sister A how to take our picture at Zone Conference

Monday, August 10, 2015

Baptism and More Baptism

This last week was CRAZY! and we only have a little time to email! I am so happy how this last week was.  We were so busy, and we saw so many little miracles and signs that Heavenly Father loves us.  We were able to contact all the referrals that we had, and then able to really buckle down and see those that we had planned to see this week.  We were able to have a less active come to church.  She always has some reason why she can't come but we told her the Lord doesn't like excuses.  I have learned that the Lord really will make sure that his will is done the way that he wants it done. That being said, this weekend was one of the best weekends of my mission!
We had two baptisms this weekend! The first one was in Apple Valley at 1! It went really well! It was for Brenda who we met one month ago yesterday.  So she got baptized, and it was glorious, and wonderful and we were all so happy! I thought that she was not going to show up, because at 1:00 she was not there. The members were asking where she was, and we told them her grandma was bringing her. But then when we checked the phone she had texted us that her grandma wasn't taking her anymore, so we quickly called a member and they were able to pick her up and bring her to her baptism.  When we walked in, there was just a Spirit of Peace, and Happiness. I knew that all was going to be well, and that Satan had lost another battle.  The baptism was great, and like I said there was just a Spirit of Peace in the room. Then we had 2 hours after that baptism till we needed to head down the hill to UPLAND! Sister T and I were able to go to the baptism of Cris.  She is someone that we taught in Upland and I was able to teach her for 6 months.  She has been taking the lessons for about 18 months, and the only thing stopping her from getting baptized earlier was that her parents said no. So we were able to go down the hill to go see her! She had the best birthday ever! She was 18 for only a couple hours and then she was baptized! WOOT! We also were able to see a lot of people in the Upland 2nd Ward, and people from the Upland 3rd Ward were even there as well.  A lot of people know Cris and are amazed at her dedication to the Gospel. She is always staying strong even in times of utter disaster around her.  I would take Cris back with me to Idaho in a heartbeat!

Well our time is almost up, but neither one of us are done, so we're probably going to email at a different building.  We had to switch cars this morning because our little Corolla was being temperamental so we now have a Subaru Legacy... it is the same color as your Traverse Mom.
anyways, that set us back pretty far.  We had specific instructions on how it needed to be cleaned, and let me tell you that car is C-L-E-A-N!
Love you all! Hope to send another email going into more details!
Love, Sister Rietz

One of Saturday's baptisms

With Sister T2

Our new ride

P-day fun

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Ceasing to see miracles

1.Funniest Thing Done: Well you think crazy things happen in the desert? Well crazy things can happen in the valley too... When Sister T and I were out and about in Upland, we tracted into a woman that kinda freaked us out.  When we were walking up to the house, Sister T made a comment about how this looked like a desert house, and that we really needed to tract it.  So we did... And it was AWESOME! We were able to talk with her and we gave her the Upland 2nd Sisters number, and gave her a Book of Mormon.  I think that was the first time that the smell of cat pee didn't burn my nose.  That is how you know there is a lot of homes that smell like that up in the desert.  I am becoming immune to it... But the funniest part of all of this, was when she opened the bathroom window instead of the front door.  She told us that she was just about to get into the shower, and told us to hang on.  So we hung on.  She came to the front door, and the rest was history but incase you are wondering, she was just about to get into the shower.  She told us that multiple times, and it was quite humorous.
2.Biggest Blessing or Miracle:  Well since I was in Upland for last monday and last tuesday we were able to go and see the people that we used to teach.  We were able to see the B family, which was the family from the Ivory Coast, and they came to church, and then kind of dropped off the face of the earth after we passed them off to the Elders.  We were able to go and teach them about the Gospel, and about how the Bible says that we need to make sure that we are not pleasing man, but that we are pleasing God, (Galatians 1:10) and then Sister T was able to pull in the Book of Mormon and talk about how King Benjamin told us that when we are in the Service of our Fellow Beings  we are in the Service of God.  It was really good to be able to make that bridge again with the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  They told us that we could come back, but that they didn't want other missionaries back.  It was kinda sad.  
3.Exciting Events: We have a baptism for Brenda this week in the Ranchos ward, and then we have one scheduled for the 22nd of August in the Granite Hills ward!  Brenda is soaking up everything like a sponge.  She is really committed to changing her life, and she even clarified what kind of tea that she can drink, so that she will be 100% obedient.  She bore her testimony on Sunday, and it allowed the ward to really know who she is, but I think that it also really showed her how much of the Gospel that she believes.  I mean she believes it all, but there is just something about bearing your testimony and realizing that you are the one saying it, and those are things that you really believe in.  We are working with the YSA Sisters to get her involved with them.  She is hesitant, but I think that once she realizes that they are just like a family ward, then it will be an easier transition for her. Oneida is getting baptized on the 22, and we are really excited for her!  But not only is she getting baptized, but also her nephew Peter, and her son Greg!  The ward is really happy for her, and for all the changes that they can see that she is making in her life.  She is really relying on her faith, since she has had a really hard life before she started meeting with the missionaries.  She is reading the Book of Mormon every night with her boys, and they actually remember the things that they are reading.  The other day we were at their house, and Jason the 5 year old told me all about where they were in 3 Nephi, and how they read even though their mom wasn't home.  They are the best boys in the world.  When we first met them, they had really long hair, and now they all have missionary style haircuts, and tell us they are going to serve missions.  Blaine the 7 year old turns 8 in November, and he is counting down for when he will be old enough to get baptized.  It is amazing to see what the Gospel can do for someone and their family.
4.Favorite Game: Who is my companion going to be!? When we were sitting in the gym waiting for the news of who was going to be our new companions, all I could think was how much I was going to love her.  I joked with the AP's that I ruined the other 2 people that I trained, because one got sent to Brazil and had a bomb thrown at her, and the other got sick. Haha, but my new companion is Sister T2.  She is from Riverton, Utah. and is the 1st missionary in her family to come out.  She is really great, and I have loved getting to know her.  She is wanting to be 100% obedient, and it is really good because there is always room for improvement.  I love her lots! We have already sent goals of how we are going to have the best transfer ever! I just hope that I break the curse of only having companions for 6 weeks! 
5.Favorite Food: Smores.  We had them 3 times this week.  It must be a popular thing for people to want to make for us.
6.Most Challenging Thing: Studies.  For some reason this week, I have had the hardest time focusing in studies.  I am doing better, but it takes a lot of little prayers through out studies to really be able to focus.
7.Simple Pleasures: Teaching Brenda this last week.  She is so humble, and really wants to become better.  I love her so much, and her desire to change.  Another simple pleasure is going to the D family, and just talking about her life.  She is so interesting, and had taught us so much!
8.Goals: Get Brenda Baptized, and into the YSA!!!
9.Biggest Smile: When President H made little jokes through out the trainer meeting.  It was really funny because he would randomly throw them in, and see if people were paying attention.
10.Biggest Accomplishment: Taught a really good lesson about setting goals to our Ward Mission Leaders Family.
11.Favorite Scripture Story or Ensign Talk Studied: One of my friends was talking about this talk by Elder Christofferson, called Recognizing God's Hands in Our Daily Blessings there was a quote that he said that goes along with this pretty well.  "Though I suffered then, I am grateful now that there was not a quick solution to my problem. The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help almost daily over an extended period of years taught me how to truly pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a practical way to have faith in God."  I really think that I need to turn to the Lord more, and really put my line in the water, and that will open the gate wider to become the missionary that I want to be at the end of my mission.  The whole talk is right here: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/01/recognizing-gods-hand-in-our-daily-blessings?lang=eng#listen=audio 

12.Favorite Quote: "I was just getting into the Shower."

I love all of you so much! Thanks for the emails, letters, and pictures.  I love being a missionary, and seeing the light of Christ touch each one of them.  Even if people don't listen to us forever, at least they will be thinking of Christ and God for a Second.
Love, Sister Rietz

Waiting for our new companions

Sister T2 and me