Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Missions are hard. Knocking on doors is hard. But the callouses on my knuckles are harder.

Whelp. I stayed in Apple Valley.  I am still with Sister T2, and we are still covering both wards.  It is so weird to think that this is the first time that I have had a companion for more than 6 weeks, since Sister T. She thinks that she is going to be my last companion.  That would be nice.  Then I wouldn't have to let any more people meet the crazy Sister Rietz.  
Well Sister E2 is home.  She is sitting in the San Francisco Airport waiting to fly to Hong Kong, and then who knows where else.  If you hear of a lost Sister Missionary in Hong Kong, know that it is probably her, and she is fine.  On Tuesday after District Meeting we all met up at Panda Express and had one last meal together.  She loves Panda, and really wanted it before she left.  So we all got it, and it was great to just talk with her, and think about all the crazy things that happened over the last couple weeks that we were companions.  Being a missionary is so great.  I am sure that I have said that more this whole last week than ever before in my whole life.  Some how I happen to get myself into sticky situations are times when things are not the best for us... not sure, but there is a way that we always get out of it.  Being a missionary was hard this last week, but the blessings and the knowledge of the Gospel have never helped more.
Monday: Bed Bugs.  We were asked by a member to come over and help pack up some things in her house because she was getting her apartment sprayed...  So being the service missionaries that we love we told her we could come over after our dinner.  We got there and they put us right to work.  We were packing bags and boxes, and cleaning out closets.  There were cockroaches everywhere so we both thought that it was getting sprayed for them... NOPE. Someone (ME) had the bright idea to ask what they were getting sprayed for besides cockroaches.  The mom looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Cockroaches. Oh Heavens No.  Those little $^(*&%^$  will die with this spray though.  We are getting sprayed for bed bugs."  I wanted to just cry and freak out right then and there.... I was so scared that we were going to get bit, and that we would bring them home with us.  We got home that night and showered and bagged our clothing and put it outside for the whole week.  We opened it this morning, and there was only one bed bug that was dead in it.  So I think that we are safe.  So that was the beginning of our week. Great way to start off the week right?
Tuesday: We get to District Meeting and the first thing the Elders in our District say is "Hey Look at this cool lizard that we caught!" They had a lizard in a cup and they were all so mesmerized by it.  I knew Elders would always be like little boys, but this was just a whole new thing. Hahaha, so G joined us for all of District Meeting.  At the end of District Meeting we took the classic end of the transfer pictures, and then we headed to Panda Express to go meet up with the other Sisters.  It was great to be with them, as I mentioned before.  Then we got the news that our house was going to be getting checked that day for cleanliness... Umm thank heavens we cleaned it on Monday.  Then we went and tried to find people.  We really just planted lots and lots of seeds. and then more and more seeds.  We were supposed to have a lesson with our Recent Convert but, neither he nor the members that we were going to have it with could have it.  So that left us with our back up of finding.  We saw that some less active members lived on the same street as our dinner, so we decided to go and contact them.  Well we didn't meet them in person, but their front doors were nice.  And now they have a nice little card to go with them.  Because He Lives cards were on a lot of doors this week from us.  We had an amazing dinner at our Ward Mission Leaders house, and then he came with us to a lesson with our investigator and his returning Less active wife.  The lesson was so great! I loved how our WML would just really carry the conversation. He would talk about a gospel principle and then let Larry talk, and then he would bear testimony of what Larry said.  IT WAS AMAZING!!! He gave both of them blessings, and in Larry's blessing it talked about how he would be able to be baptized, and take his wife to the temple.  I was crying. Larry was crying. Rene was crying.  The Spirit was so strong in that room, and I never wanted to leave.  Larry is waiting for some things with probation and another court case to clear up, so that he can get baptized.  I know that he is going to get baptized.  I had been praying this last week that we would know how to help him, and the blessing wasn't only an answer to his concerns but also an answer to my prayer. I love how Heavenly Father works.  He is amazing and I know that He is completely aware of those that are around me and the things that they are dealing with.
Wednesday:  Another day completely dedicated to FINDING! We had a list of about 15 people that were former investigators to go try.  No one wanted to talk with the Sister Missionaries.  Not really sure why, we are hilarious, normal for the most part, and we have a message for everyone to hear! So people, come to your door and listen to us for 1 minute! Tracting from 12-4:15 is not my most favorite thing to do, but we did meet some nice people.  One lady opened the door, took one look at us, and told us: Good Luck...  Thanks Lady, you have a good day too! One man was standing at the door with it open when we walked up.  He told us he saw us coming and didn't want to wake the baby.  We talked about the family proclamation, and now they have one in their home.  We are planning on going back, and seeing if they have any questions.  We had a good dinner, and they gave us all the left overs.  That saved us from having to get a lot of food prepared the next day.  We were able to just make the chicken sandwiches and get going.  It was great.
Thursday: More Referrals and Formers.  But before all of that happened, we had a lesson with the newest member of our teaching pool! Her name is Millie, and she is one of the most HUMBLE people that I have ever met! She has been prepared by the Lord, and we are really just so amazed at her desire to learn! She told us she would come to church on Sunday before we could even invite her.  She really just committed herself to come to church.  We walked out of that lesson, and I told Sister T2 that we were going to need to start praying for a date for her.  She is just so solid.  After that, we had another lesson with Larry and Rene.  It was great! They kept talking about the blessing, and how it really has helped them even though hit was just 2 days before.  I was amazed at their humility, and their desire to continue just trusting in the Lord.  I really love when that happens.  It just goes back to what I was saying about they really are so great, and Heavenly Father knows what they need in their lives.  After that lesson, we just went and tried tons of people! We went tracting, gave out tons of cards, and talked with literally only 5 people.  Then we went and had a Young Woman come with us.  She is so great.  She wants to serve a mission so we are taking her out with us.  We went and tried this potential, and let's just say she was NOT happy that we were there.  She yelled at us, and then told us to get off her property.... and then she just quit talking to us.  COMPLETE SILENCE! I felt so bad that we had brought Stacy with us. She is going to think people hate the missionaries.  Then we went and had dinner with a Part Member Family.  The Mom is not a member, but she told us that she wants her family raised in the Gospel.  She pretty much said that she will be baptized when her husband is 100% active on his own.  So we are praying that Trent is gonna get his head on straight, and start coming to church cause that is what is right and not because that is what Hailey wants.  Then we had coordination in the Ranchos ward.  It was really effective, and many great amazing things are going to start happening in that ward.
Friday: We weekly planned, and updated the Area Book for almost the whole day! With all the studies, lunch, and weekly planning and then the Area Book the whole day was almost sucked up! It was crazy, we ate dinner at our place and then we were off to a Recent Convert's house that isn't really a Recent Convert, but she is Less-Active half the time.  We had an awesome lesson with her, and talked about why it is important to get Patriarchal Blessings, and how they really can help us.  The Spirit was strong as well.
Saturday: back to Jo's house to do service.  We helped her shave her dog, and that was the weirdest service project that I have ever done.... We also are dying her dog pink for service on Tuesday.  I will let you all know how that goes. haha, the things that you do on a mission.  So this day was also one of the most stressful.  I thought that I was going to go crazy, because Transfer Doctrine came.  These days it is so hard to concentrate, because you know that if someone is getting transferred, that all of your backups become packing and saying goodbye to members.  Doctrine finally came, and we found out that we are both staying! We did a dance in the car, and then it was off to work.  We got lost on more dirt roads.  It would really be helpful if our maps that we had showed all the areas that we cover.  I think that would help a WHOLE lot, and probably save us a lot of miles.  We had a really good dinner at a member's house, and I thought that we were going to die.  You know how at Thanksgiving there are 100's of options.  Well that is how this family is.  They love to have options and let you choose what you want to be the main part of your dinner.  I loved it! We had a lot of beans though.  Everything was bean based... You can imagine how that all went later on...  I'll let your imagination do the work.
Sunday: We were at the Church from 6:50-2:12. That is what happens when you cover two wards, and they are almost back to back, and you have lots of meetings in the morning.  WHOO!  That night we had dinner for breakfast again.  They had lots of options as well.  It was great! They asked why I didn't like Bacon, I should have told them that we believe in eating meat sparingly.  That would have been nice.  They thought it was a weird Idaho thing.  WE EAT BACON IN IDAHO, I JUST DON'T LIKE IT!  We then tried more people, but for some reason even more people didn't want to talk with us.  People are crazy!!!  I also got a phone call from a random 909 number.  It was Candy, and she got my number from some sisters.  It was great talking with her.  She is the best!

Well as you can see, we had a week filled with ATTEMPTING to find.  I know that there are prepared people in Apple Valley.  They must just be hiding under a rock. Or maybe I am.  I know that this church is true.  I love being a missionary, even if it does mean just knocking doors over and over.  One of the Elders once said that tracting was worth it, even if it just made them think about God for 10 seconds.  I thought a lot about that this last week.  Cause when people see that card on their door, and if they watch the video they will be thinking about not only God, but also Jesus Christ.  I know who the Savior is to me.  I know that He is the way back to our Heavenly Father.  I know it is hard sometimes, but in the end it is all worth it.  I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.  I know that as we think of the Savior, and strive to BECOME like him, then we will.  I can promise every single one of you that.  You can BECOME like the Savior.  He wants you to come to Him.  He loves you, go to this website, and you will love this talk. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/followers-of-christ?lang=eng 
I hope that you all have a great week! We are going to the temple on the 17th, so I am not sure what day we are taking as our P-day next week.  I love you all.  Oh, and Elder Falabella is coming to our mission this week.  We have a conference with him this week.  That should be really good.  I will let you all know how it goes! Have a really great week, and pray that we find a lot of people to teach!
Sister Allen and I with our ice cream that we stalked the ice cream man for on exchanges.
Sister Ednalino and I the last time.
The Sunsets are Super Great Here.

Sister Amber Rietz
6541 Woodruff Place
Rancho Cucamonga, Ca

The sunsets are super great here!

Sis. A and I with our ice cream treats we stalked the ice cream man for on exchanges

Our Granite Hills ward-mates

Our Ranchos ward-mates

One last dinner at Panda Express with Sister E.

My long lost soul-sister

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