Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1 year mark (27/8 email)

Hi everyone!

just a quick one today, it was bank holiday yesterday so that's why this is later than usual. The Morris' took us to Snowdonia, it was so beautiful! I'll send pics!
Here's the highlights of the week:
We visited our Indian neighbours, and they invited us in and we met loads of their friends (referrals!!). One couple live just across the road from us and want us to come visit them, so that's exciting!
We visited Cheryl, and she committed to live the word of wisdom and repent. I know that as she does these things she will be more receptive to the spirit and she can receive answers to her prayers and a confirmation of the truth.
We had a specialised training with the assistants and President and Sister Ulrich. It was amazing! The spirit was super strong and I was uplifted and motivated. I just love meetings, they help build and strengthen my faith. We had interviews with president, and he said some wonderful things... things I needed to hear. Time is going so quick and I just need to give it all I've got! Miracles are going to happen!
It was my one year mark on Friday. Sweet Sister Madsen made me a cake and I've been feeling pretty reflective this week. At our district meeting today, Elder Oakey asked me to talk about what I've learnt over this past year, and as I took time to look back over my mission so far, I was able to see how much I've grown. I'm definitely not saying these things in a prideful way... I have so much more to learn and things to change. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learnt. Heavenly Father is so aware of me and I just love Him with all my heart. I've had some wonderful spiritual experiences this week. I really feel that one of the reasons we go through hard times is simply so that we turn to the Lord. And I have been turning to him a lot lately! What a difference it makes! As I poured out my heart to him I just felt that he was right there listening... hurting with me when I was hurting, and there  to wipe my tears. And the peace and comfort I felt was like nothing else. There is a God. I know it because He has spoken to me. I just want everyone to find this out for themselves. You are not alone.
I know that blessings come after the trial of our faith (Ether 12:6). Each of us go through hard things but I just encourage you all to turn to the Lord and carry on! He will help you.

Love always, Sister Riley xoxo

Bro. and Sis. Morris
Sis. Madsen and me at the town with the longest name
A little Welsh village
Sister Madsen and me at Snowdonia

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's the little things that matter most (18/8 email)

My arms and back are aching! This week we trimmed hedges for a lady in the ward, and it sounds like nothing but it was hard yakka!

We've been visiting with the members and committing them to prayerfully set a date by when they will have someone for us to teach. The spirit has been very strong as we've testified and promised blessings to them if they will just do it! I'm excited! It's a great ward. The next few weeks we will be following up with them... following up is so important! nothing happens unless we follow up!

We had a miracle this week. A few weeks ago I think I wrote about a lady we met at the bus station who was having a bad day and we were just meant to meet her... she gave us her number and seemed keen but she never answered her phone... we were super sad cos she was so great, but then this week we bumped into her again! The timing of it was just too good! It was meant to happen, and even she thought it was more than a coincidence. We had a lesson with her right there at the bus station and prayed with her and I just hope and pray we can meet with her soon!

We finally got to see Cheryl again this week. She had been in hospital for a bit with her mental health problems, but she's out now and still wants to be baptised. We will need to take things slow with her. It's great that she has a strong desire to follow Christ, but she needs to understand the doctrine. We had a lovely lesson with her and during the week I had found an article in an old Ensign written by someone with bipolar disorder which I shared with her. It was all about how the atonement helps us through trials. I love what the author said about mental illness not being a punishment from God, but a trial that some of us go through... Christ can and will help us through all trials if we turn to him.

We taught Linda twice this week! the first one wasn't the best as she'd just finished a long day of work and was super tired, but last night we had a great lesson with her. She was very open and honest as we asked lots of questions to see if we could understand where she's at and why she's not keeping commitments. I feel a lot better about her after that lesson, I understand where she's coming from and I know that as she acts on her faith that she will gain a testimony and God will help her to progress. Linda will be baptised, I know it. I want it to be while I'm here in Rhyl, but it's not about me... she will be baptised when she is ready.

On Friday we got a call from Elder and Sister Owens saying that they were coming to Rhyl to drop off a package for me... I was excited but it was only garments from mum haha...  buuuut! Elder Owens got out his guitar and gave it to me! They will be going home soon and wanted me to have it! Oh it was the sweetest thing ever! Sister Owens got emotional as she told me how much they love me! They are just the cutest! So now I have a guitar! Wooooooo! It's the best! I am slowly getting my calluses back so it won't hurt to play anymore haha!

Here's a good scripture I read this morning! D&C 64:33
"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great."

I really like that. It's reasurring. Sometimes we get sick of doing the same things day in, day out, but we must remember that every good thing we do, even if it's little, is the start of something big and wonderful. I know that is true, sometimes we have no idea what a big difference our small actions can make. God sees every action we make and we will be blessed for doing the right thing.

Hope you all have a great week!
xoxo Sister Riley

Monday, August 11, 2014

I love this Gospel (11/8 email)

Hi everyone!

Have you read this month's Ensign yet? if not I invite you to start! I just love the Ensign! I guess cos it's one of the only things we're allowed to read, but I'm grateful for the restrictions because it has helped me to have a greater love for the scriptures and the words of the prophets. I just wanted to share with you something I read this morning from the article 'Becoming children of light'.

Thomas S. Monson has taught that in order to be strong “in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual,” we must develop strong testimonies. He has promised that “absolutely nothing in this world… will provide more comfort and happiness than a testimony of the truth.” And he has pleaded with us to consider the “countless individuals who have little or no testimony right now, those who could and would receive such a testimony if we would be willing to make the effort to share ours and to help them change.”
I just want to add my testimony to those words! It is so important for us to develop and strengthen our testimonies! These are the last days and things will continue to get worse in the world. Trials and difficulties will continue to come at us, but if we have strong testimonies we will be OK (Helaman 5:12). Once we have gained a testimony for ourselves we need to constantly nourish it so that it doesn't become weak. It's what we hear over and over in church but there's a reason why it always gets repeated. As missionaries we visit with a lot of people who for whatever reason have stopped coming to church. I would say about 8/10 of these people still have testimonies; they still believe. We get a lot of 'excuses'. I don't mean to offend anyone here but there are a lot of excuses for not coming to church and of course there are always exceptions... but in my opinion in most cases the reason why they stop coming is because they stop doing those things that nourish their testimony; Prayer and scripture study... probably the most common things talked about at church besides Jesus. And the reason why we always talk about it is because THEY ARE SO IMPORTANT! If we study our scriptures and pray sincerely every day we are showing God our commitment to him. We are acting on our faith and we are promised so much in return if we will just do our part. God loves us so much and wants to give us all that He has, but there are conditions. He can't just give everything to everyone it wouldn't be fair. If we can show God that we are willing to do these 2 seemingly simple (yet for some reason it's difficult!) things every day, that puts is in the best position to receive guidance and blessings from God. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. I know it's true because I've seen it in my own life. God won't all of a sudden make everything easy for us, but he will help us.
We did a lot of tracting this week. Tracting isn't my favourite thing but sometimes you don't have many other options. And we did meet some nice people that said we can come back. Sister Madsen and I provided some training at Zone Meeting. They asked us to do it on family history. We were a bit overwhelmed because we didn't really have much knowledge or experience on the subject, but it was a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow. This happens a lot in the church. We are given assignments and callings and we feel that we are not the best ones for the job... and we're probably not! But it's a blessing from God, an opportunity to stretch ourselves and we end up being the one who gains the most from it!

We visited with Sister Calcott this week, a member in the ward, and she was feeling overwhelmed about a teaching assignment she had been given. Funnily enough it was also on family history! Coincidence? I think Heavenly Father had a hand in it and we will be meeting with her again and helping her with the assignment.

This week was full of member visits and service and I just LOVE helping others. I had a moment this week when I felt discouraged because we are not getting the best "numbers" at the moment. But then I looked back at the week and thought about all the people we have helped and my heart was filled with love. Serving other people really does fill you with love. I thought about the Saviour and what he did when he was on the earth... he was always helping others. So that made me feel better. There is always more we can do, but the best place to start is to serve and show love to those around us.
I hope you all are doing well and hope to hear from you soon.
xoxo Sister Riley

Monday, August 4, 2014

I know that my Redeemer lives! (4/8 email)

This week Sister Madsen and I focused on visiting active and less active members of the church. It has been a great week and this are looking up as we have been working hard. The Rhyl ward is amazing and I have so much love for its members. I strongly believe that as we continue to visit the members and strengthen them, that their desire to share the gospel will increase and together we can bring many people into the joy of the gospel.

We had a miracle this week. We met a lady who was so prepared to hear our message. She is going through a hard time and has a lot of questions. We testified to her that God is real and loves her, that He has a plan for her which leads to happiness. She comes from a Muslim background but told us that she does not believe it. We will see her again this week.

On one of our member visits I was surprised to receive a slab of Bundaburg ginger beer! The Morris' are the best! and Bundaburg makes the best ginger beer! Haha. On Sunday a non member family came to church that are friends with a family in our ward and it was the best! We will be going round to visit them this week and I am more than excited :)

We had the opportunity to do a lot of service this week which was really nice. I haven't been able to do much service on my mission, and I was really able to see how service is such a great missionary tool! As you serve others, you and they are filled with love. Service can soften hearts and prepare people to receive the gospel.

We visited a less active family, and their kids are amazing! (one is 22 and the other 19) We had such a great chat with them about their beliefs and both of them expressed that they still have testimonies. So we will continue to visit them and help them come back :)

I just love testimony meeting and this Sunday's meeting was wonderful. I don't think there has ever been a testimony meeting where I don't feel the spirit. It really is just like a fire burning in my heart, confirming to me the truth of the words spoken. As we sung the closing hymn 136 "I know that my redeemer lives" I was reminded why this is my favourite hymn! Every time I sing it my heart is on fire! The words to this hymn have become my own and I know with all my heart that my Redeemer lives!

I hope that you all have a wonderful week. Always remember that as we turn to God He can help us make the most of our lives, to reach our potential and have lasting joy.

Love you!
xoxo Sister Riley

Mud masks
Ginger beer
District photo