Monday, March 31, 2014

My eyes are wet, my heart is full (31/3 email)

Hi everyone!

I don't know where to begin for this week! It has been amazing!
Transfer calls were on the weekend, and I can't believe that Sister Tolman and I are staying together in Congleton for a third transfer! It is the BEST!

We did some work in Biddulph this week. We went to see a couple who had met missionaries about a year ago. We had set up an appointment, but when we arrived at their house there was a note on the door... it said that they had to rush out but they would be back in an hour. So we decided to go to a cafe for lunch and then come back... and guess who was in the cafe? Yep it was them! She came up to us and invited us to join them. She said that she didn't believe in coincidence and it was meant to happen! We had a great chat with them about what makes our religion different... specifically that we have a Prophet on the earth today. They were very intrigued and are considering coming to watch General Conference! They are amazing!!

We also found a new investigator in Biddulph. She is a young girl... probably just a bit younger than us, and we were surprised that she was interested! She was so sweet and happily accepted a Book of Mormon. We will see her next week J

Saturday night our investigator Wendie had us over for tea! This is the first time I've had tea at an investigator's, so I thought it was a big deal She is really sweet, but also frustrating beacuse she doesn't keep commitments. During the week I felt prompted to study the law of tithing for Wendie, and it was amazing cos when we started to teach her after dinner, she just started talking about how she had been thinking about tithing during the week! That was such a witness to me that God is leading this mission! He knows all of our investigators' needs and we just need to ask him what they are.

We had six investigators at church on Sunday! It was the best!

Ok, and now for the highlight of my week... in fact, the highlight of my mission so far! Last night we had a movie night at Brother Moss' home. We watched the Testaments again. But this time Claire came! At the end, when Christ comes to visit the Nephites, the Spirit was so strong! The movie ended and Sister Tolman and I bore our testimonies. I was crying my eyes out! I have never felt God's love so much in my life! Claire said she could feel it too and that she had goosebumps! She hugged me so tight and said thank you so much! She knows it is true! I am so incredibly happy!

Well, there is lots more I could write about, but I'll have to end it here. I love you all so much! In one way or another, each of you have made an impact in my life, and I am grateful for your support and friendship. I hope you all know how much I love this Gospel! It is everything! Without it I wouldn't be who I am today... I wouldn't be this happy! If you are looking for something more in this life... If you want the kind of happiness that's there when you wake up in the morning and when you get in to bed at night, this is it! It is the best!

xoxo Sister Riley

I just love her so much!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happiness (24/3 email)

"He answers privately, reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Saviour and friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, Love without end." 
HYMN 129

Sister Tolman and I sung this hymn this morning. I just love it. I know that Jesus Christ is real. He is my brother. I have come to feel his love and the healing power of his atonement so much on my mission. I don't think I can ever fully understand it, but I am so grateful for it! As imperfect humans, we cannot go through this life alone. No matter how strong we are, each of us need the atonement to "fill in our gaps". Christ can make more of our lives than we can imagine, if we just let him in.

I'm feeling very reflective right now. Transfers are next week, and I feel like my time in Congleton is coming to an end. It's bittersweet. I have loved it so much, I can't even explain it to you. I have especially loved serving with Sister Tolman. We have grown so close, and she will always have a special place in my heart.

Enough of the mushy stuff. J
I went on exchange to Crewe this week. I got to be with Sister Nelson from California. She's from my group, and she's great. We met some crazy people haha! We did service for a lady who is OBSESSED with cats... more than anyone I've met... even more than Emily Davidson ;) She has 8 cats! framed pictures of cats on her walls... her bookshelves are packed with books about cats... you get the picture... anyways, as much as I love cats, I am allergic! And being in that house was nuts! I was sneezing and struggling to breathe! But I soldiered on haha!

I want to share an experience I had at the train station. Sister Tolman and I were sitting waiting for a train. I had my bag on the seat next to me and a lady came up. So I did the polite thing... moved it and asked if she wanted to sit down. Just a simple gesture, and it had a huge impact! She was very grateful! She asked us if we were mormons... we smiled and said yes and she was like "I knew it! I could just tell! Mormons are so nice!"
So from that experience I learnt that our actions, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant can make a huge impact! In all that you do and say, be an example! Your example can make a difference. Your example could be what leads someone to the Gospel.

On friday we had a "sisters sports day" where all the sisters in the mission (about 70) got together to play sports. I was so excited to see Sister Martin again! (my trainer) It was a great day, there was a lot more talking than sport going on though haha!

Claire and her children came to church again this week. Church is so different as a missionary. I don't think of myself at all (except during the sacrament). I just really want our investigators to have a good experience and feel the Spirit. I think that Claire felt the spirit...we will meet again this week and help prepare her to be baptised. J

There is so much I could write about... I just love being a missionary! 

Quote of the week:
Julie: "You make me smile more!"

Make someone smile today! Life is good J
xoxo Sister Riley.

Sister Martin and I reunited
Sister Preston and me
Fish, chips and mushy peas (looks gross but tastes soo good!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crazy Congleton (17/3 email)

Hi everyone!

Despite being sick with a cold for most of the week, it's been a good one!

Last Monday, Sister Tolman got permission for us to travel to her first area, Littleborrough to visit some of her close friends there. I wasn't terribly excited to go, but it ended up being really nice. We met up with a man named Brian who Sister Tolman has a special friendship with (it's not dodgy... he is an old man haha). I thought it was weird when Sister Tolman was telling me her best friend was an old man, but then I met him and now I understand. He is the most kind and loving person in the world! He is dying, but he is so full of faith and optimism. I learnt so much from the brief visit we had with him. Before we left he said a prayer with us, and I cannot describe how strong the Spirit was. We were all bawling our eyes out. It was so powerful, and I will never forget that moment. 

We also met up with her friend Tammy, and she took us out for Nandos. I was a very happy chappy :P

I went on exchange this week with Sister Finke. She is from Germany. Very smart and quiet. It was difficult cos I was sick, but we still saw some miracles together J

Funny story for the week... we had just come back from a tea appointment, and we went to visit Pauline Brown... I think I mentioned her before... she was the old lady who loves to smoke and drink... anyways, we went in, and she told us she'd cooked us a meal (oh oh!) we were already pretty full, but we didn't want to upset her, so we ate it... then she insists we eat more... so we do... then she brings out this massive trifle and insists we eat it all... I believe in the power of prayer because without it I would definitely have thrown up! haha!

We went round to see Emily this week! It had been a while since we'd seen her cos of exams and things. She was really friendly and chatty, and it wasn't long into our chat that her friends came over. They were all so nice and started asking us all about our religion! It was crazy! One girl in particular really wanted to learn more, so we will see her again! J miracle!

Our investigator Claire came to church this week with her two children! It was so good! So many miracles are happening here in Congleton! I just LOVE it here!

When it comes to the gospel, I feel like I really don't know that much. But One thing that I know 100% is that God blesses us when we are obedient. When things aren't going so well, ask yourself... am I being exactly obedient? And there are always ways we can be more obedient. I know that as we make those improvements, the blessings always come. Sometimes, our eyes are just opened to blessings that we already have, but have taken for granted. I am so grateful for all my many blessings... sometimes I am even grateful for the trials... only sometimes ;)

I love you all so much!
The Church is true!

xoxox Sister Riley

We are silly

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring is here! (10/3 email)


This week has been a week of miracles! I finally was able to reach the standard of excellence and Sister Tolman always tells me that miracles happen when you do this... she was very right!

We had 5 investigators at church on Sunday and we were sooo happy! There was Paul who comes every week, Julie and Darren a couple that we met this week, and Olivia and Liberty... daughters of a less active man in the ward. It was amazing!

Julie and Darren are a miracle! We found them at a bus stop and said a prayer with them... Julie was moved to tears, and they said they would love to meet with us. The next day we taught them the restoration and they ate it up! Just loved it! Julie said that ever since we said the prayer good things have been happening! They came to our ward activity on Saturday night and then church on Sunday and we are just so excited for them!

We also found another new investigator. Her name is Claire. She has 2 kids and is pregnant. She said that Christ literally saved her life, and she really loved meeting us. We will see her again this week J

I ate so many pancakes this week! It was pancake day on Tuesday so we had some at district meeting... then some more at our tea appointment, then on Saturday night we had a ward activity which was eating pancakes too! British pancakes are pretty much the same as aussie pancakes, but they all just love lemon and sugar... I prefer maple syrup... Sister Tolman says they aren't real pancakes haha!

We'll sorry its a short one this week, I'm out of time! But I can't even describe how amazing this week was! I am so blessed! I have loved every minute serving here in Congleton with Sister Tolman. The ward is amazing, and there are so many people here who are ready for the Gospel! Get ready to hear about more miracles!!

Here's your reading assignment for the week: Mosiah 4:11-12 It really stood out to me in my study and I just love it! 

Have a brilliant week! The sun is shining and it's gonna be a good day!
xoxo Sister Riley

There are daffodils springing up everywhere! Apparently they are the Queen's favourite flower J

Monday, March 3, 2014

Best week ever! (3/3 email)

Hi everyone!

As the title suggests, it's been a really good week! The highlight definitely being the opportunity to attend the temple. I have missed it so much! Obviously I do not go into details because of how sacred and special the temple is, but I will tell you that the feelings I felt there were indescribable. The best way to describe it for me is I felt like my heart was so full it would explode! Haha! Sounds a bit extreme, but it is literally the best feeling in the world, and I encourage all of you who are able, to get to the temple! Don't take it for granted!!

Thursday was the day we got to go to Preston, and it was an amazing day. We not only went to the temple, but we gathered together with half of the mission (approx. 100 missionaries) and had training and were spiritually fed. I just LOVE gathering together with the other missionaries! There is such a strength and power when we come together as servants of the Lord.

I was lucky enough to be a part of a musical item which was put together by the talented Elder Chong. We sung 'Come Thou Fount' and it was a very beautiful arrangement. Elder Chong wanted some solo parts, and he assigned me to sing the very last line of the song! No pressure! But as you know, I just love singing, especially church songs because of the spirit I feel when I sing. Sometimes its so overwhelming that it brings me to tears, but luckily I kept myself composed haha! It was the best day ever and it will continue to strengthen me as I remember and apply the things I learnt.

We went out finding in the park this week, and Sister Tolman and I were walking along and talking about the time we met this Mexican lady in that exact spot we were at, and how she was super friendly and we wished we could see her again... and then we bumped into her! Coincidence? I think not! ;) Her name is Carolina, and we had a nice chat with her. She said she would love to have us round for a meal (real mexican!!) so we are super excited... she just has to check with her husband and will get back to us J

We went round to the home of a former investigator, and she let us in. She is an older lady, and loves to have the missionaries around, but said 'you'll never convert me!' She's right of course, it's the spirit that does the converting ;) Anyways, she invited us in, her friend was over and they were both having a bit of a smoke and drink... which wasn't the nicest environment to be in, but we had a really good chat about God and they want us to come back. We stunk so bad after that appointment! Haha!

Saturday was our 4hr finding. We went out to Biddulph to find more people to teach! We got to meet some great people, taught some lessons, and will go back to see them when we're in the area. No official new investigators, but a few potentials J Sister Tolman and I know that miracles always happen on 4hr finding day, and it was hard to see a huge miracle that happened... but the miracle came later on. We finally got to teach Zane again, and we had a great lesson with him. He has been MIA for a while and we thought that he had changed his mind about everything... but he told us that he has been praying and studying and he know understands what it really means to be baptised... that it's not just a one time event, but a covenant to follow God forever. This was the best thing he could have said, and we challenged him to pray about a date for baptism! 

It's easy to get discouraged as a missionary. Sometimes you work hard all day, all week and don't get to see the fruits of your labours, but when you finally do see them, how sweet it is! This week I was so grateful for the support and praise we recieved which helped lift us up. President gave us a call to tell us how much he appreciates us and that he can see how united we are as a companionship! It made our day! Also at church, a member came up to us and told us that they thought we were the best missionaries they've met! What a compliment!

We attended the missionary fireside on Sunday night, and it was amazing! The testimonies of the new converts were inspiring (and hilarious!) The funniest quote of the evening was this "I felt this feeling in the pit of my stomach... at first I thought it was gas, but I then realised it was the spirit!" Hahaha!

But to end on a more spiritual note, here is a scripture I came across that I just love. The words are so beautiful:
"...Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my Love." (D&C 6:20)

This week I have felt encircled in the arms of the Lord's love. I want all of you to feel the same way. The promise is there in that scripture... keep the commandments and you will feel it too!

Love always, Sister Riley xoxo

At the temple
Closer (it was very windy ok)
Lily Poulton with the picture she drew for us