Monday, September 29, 2014

The church is true (29/9 email)

Hi everyone!

It's been a crazy week! A new set of elders have come to the area so now we have 5 sets of missionaries! We had to swap flats with the elders which was a bit rubbish cos our old flat is better.

We had some pretty great things happen this week. Molly came to church and she is progressing very well! Her baptism is set for the 16th of october :) Jack said he will be coming to church this week so we hope and pray he will be able to! He is amazing! We found some new investigators, one of them called Ted is so good! He came to church and he hung out with a bunch of the YSAs during the week... it is the best when they make friends because you don't want them to be too attatched to the missionaries. When we get transferred you want them to be comfortable in the ward and to have lots of friends.

Yesterday when we were walking home from church we bumped into a man we'd met a couple of times before. We were walking with a member who is from Vietnam, and the man we bumped into is from Vietnam too! Crazy! They got on like a house on fire! We walked back to the chapel with him and gave him a chapel tour. It was soo good! Just the timing of it all... it was meant to happen!

I just love it here! It is such a blessing and a privilege. My heart is so full of love for the people that we are teaching, and my companion is a joy to be around. I'm so so grateful I made the decision to serve, the Lord is teaching me so much. I can't believe how quick the time is going. It is a weird feeling. I will be seeing you all in no time!

Have a great week!
xoxo Sister Riley

This is a photo of my district before the new elders came in

Monday, September 22, 2014

As I have loved you... (22/9 email)

This week has been probably the busiest week of my mission so far! It was 'freshers week', kinda like orientation week for university, so there were students everywhere! We had 10 sets of missionaries here everyday because we knew it would be so busy! So this week was full on street contacting and chapel tours and lessons! Oh and miracles! We had activities running every night last week, and lots of non- members came. The work is just exploding here and I am so excited to be a part of it.

We met with Molly again, and she is amazing! We set a baptismal date with her for the 16th of October. She is so pure in heart and wants to follow God. I am so excited for her.

On Friday we got to do some service for the food bank. We helped out a lady packing food parcels and giving them to homeless people. It was such a great feeling helping them, and we will be doing it every week :)

So many things happened this week and I don't have enough time to write them all, but I just wanted to tell you about an experience we had last night. We went out street contacting, and we decided to walk further down Oxford road to a part we haven't worked in before... we know now that It was the spirit guiding us there. We saw this lady in her pyjamas walking down the street. She looked unwell and upset. Normally I wouldn't approach someone like this, but Sister Chu and I both felt that we needed to help her. Turns out she is a member of our church and she had been admitted to the hospital for mental health problems, but had escaped! You would think that we would be a bit worried or feel unsafe, but we didn't. I felt so calm, and I knew that we needed to walk with her to the church and get her help. I can't explain to you how I felt as we talked with her and helped her to calm down. I was filled with love for this woman that I had never met, and I just wanted her to know how much God loves her and how everything would be ok. Everything got sorted out, and she is back in hospital, but this experience has made such a big impact on me. I know that God sent us there to help this woman. And as I was sitting with her and speaking with her I felt God giving me the right words to say. He loves us all so much.

I feel like mental illness is very misunderstood. It is not a punishment from God, it is a trial that he has given to some of us. I know that God doesn't give us trials that we can't get through... With His help we can overcome everything life throws at us. My heart just ached for this woman. I hope that I was able to help her and I know that God will continue to help her.

My mission has really opened my eyes. Through the experiences I've had I am more aware of the needs of others around me and how selfish I can be. I have felt the happiest as I am helping others, and I now know that I want to spend the rest of my life helping others.

I just want you all to know that I know each of us are children of God. Just take a moment to think about that. When we come to know who we really are, we can start to see things differently. We start to see our selves the way that God sees us. We are so much more than the way we see ourselves. If we are struggling with low self-esteem or self-doubt, we need to pray and ask God to help us to see ourselves the way he sees us. He created us. He made us all with different weaknesses and strengths. It is easy to see our weaknesses, but sometimes we need help to see our strengths. I know that God can help us see them because He has done that for me. Once we know what our strengths are we need to use them to help others. This is what life is all about.

I love this gospel. I love the plan that God has for us. Its a whole lot more simple than I thought.

I hope you all are well, hope to hear from you soon.

xoxo Sister Riley

Nancy Williams. She is my favourite
Spider welcomed me into the new flat
Me and Sister Chu! (I am bending down...she is tiny!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

MANCHESTER!! (16/9 email)


I don't know where to start! It's been a crazy week! crazy GOOD week!
I'm here in Manchester with the sweet little Sister Chu, and the work is EXPLODING here! 

As missionaries in the Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward we spend our days street contacting on Oxford Road, one of the busiest roads in Manchester... so we get to talk to a LOT of people! It was overwhelming at first, but I am used to it now... I LOVE IT! We have a brand new YSA building on Oxford Road, and it is the BEST!

Sister Chu is a Chinese speaking missionary, so we get to teach a lot of Chinese students. Luckily for me, they are pretty good at English so they can understand me. I LOVE teaching Chinese people! They are so humble and willing to learn. Most of them have no religious beliefs and so when we teach them about God and the restored gospel the spirit testifies to them and we see their testimonies start to grow straight away. It is AMAZING! 

I have so many stories I could share but I just wanted to tell you about Molly. Molly is from China and she is a student here. We gave her a tour of the YSA building and when we were in the chapel, we sat down and taught her about God and prayer. Molly told us that she doesn't know anything about God but that she wants to know more. We taught her how to pray and she said her first prayer there with us in the chapel. The spirit was so strong. We all had tears in our eyes. It was beautiful. We went downstairs and showed her the baptismal font and explained to her about baptism. Molly wanted to be baptised right then and there! We will be seeing her again today and hopefully setting a date for when she will be baptised. She is amazing!

I feel so lucky to be able to serve here. My district is a great bunch of missionaries, and we have a lot of fun. I am so grateful for the spirit I feel every day as I testify to the people I meet. Those moments, when you can see someone feeling the spirit and beginning to taste the joy of this gospel are the best moments of my life. This is true happiness.

I am so grateful for each of you. I have so many wonderful people in my life, I hope you are all doing well and hope to hear from you soon!

xoxo Sister Riley

Goodbye Rhyl (8/9 email)

Transfers are here! and It is time for me to leave sunny Rhyl and travel to the promised land....Manchester YSA!

Mixed emotions... I am sad to leave all the wonderful people I have met here, but also super excited to go to Manchester!

This week we taught Dhivia the Indian lady we met at our neighbour's home. She is lovely. We went to her home and taught her the first half of the restoration. We didn't have enough time to get through it all because she had a lot of questions and different ideas. It was a great lesson though, and she wants to meet with us again.

We also got to teach Sarah, who is a referral from members in our ward. Sarah and her family have been to church a few times, and they love it. She invited us round for cake and a chat, and it was so nice. We taught from the Book of Mormon, and taught her about prayer and reading the scriptures, and she asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon and said that she can't wait to read it and pray. She is amazing and I can just see her family thriving in this gospel!

Yesterday was a spiritual feast. I felt the spirit so strongly and I just felt so happy and calm but also sad to be leaving such a great ward. I have made many friends here, and I can't wait to see them again one day. 

We went with Barry, Linda and Cara to the missionary Fireside, and it was just the icing on the cake! The testimonies of recent converts are SO powerful! If Linda didn't feel the spirit then I don't know what else to do haha! We talked about it afterwards on the drive home and she said she wasn't sure. I just think she is a bit stubborn and doesn't want to admit it ;) She'll get there.

In my studies this week, a common theme that stood out to me was humility and repentance. As we humble ourselves before the Lord, admitting our weakness and acknowledging that God is the reason we even have any strengths, and offer our whole selves to him, he pours out his spirit, he lifts us up and gives us strength. He helps us do the work that we are here to do. Its a continual process, something we need to do everyday. We cannot do it without Him.

I am so grateful for the plan that God has for me. I know that as I put my trust in him and follow his guidance that I will be happy. Isn't that what we all want? It really is that simple. Just follow God. We have so many things to be grateful for, God has blessed us with so much. Thank him for the blessings he has given you.

Love, Sister Riley xoxo

District photo
Sister Callcott and me
With Brother Devany and his kids

Monday, September 1, 2014

Things will never be the same again (1/9 email)

This week has been amazing. I can't put into words how I feel.

Sister Madsen and I were finally able to reach the standard of excellence this week with the key indicators, and it feels so good.

Heavenly Father taught me some important lessons this week. He is so loving and patient with me. We went on exchanges this week, and it was such an answer to my prayers. It was on this exchange that God helped me, through another sister, to see my potential, to raise my expectations and expect miracles. It wasn't a matter of learning new things but rather being reminded of things I already knew. I am so grateful for the experiences I had this week, they have helped me so much.

We taught Linda again this week, and we felt that we should focus on the Book of Mormon. We had a great lesson with her and she committed to read from it everyday. I know that if she shows God that she is willing to do this and that she really wants an answer, that she will get one. It will happen.

We had tea at the Peter's home this week. Juliet Peter is a convert originally from South Africa. We just LOVE her family. She has 3 kids, Buci, Uvi and Ollu. They are the cutest! Buci and Uvi have been baptised, but Ollu isn't old enough yet. Their dad isn't a member. After tea we taught the kids a lesson about the Holy Ghost, and their dad didn't join in but was listening from the other room. We invited him to join us for the closing prayer, which he did. We spoke to Juliet after to see if her husband would like to be taught the lessons, and she said that he will join in next time. So we are excited about that! How wonderful it will be when he is baptised and they can be sealed together as a family!

President and Sister Ulrich spoke in the Rhyl ward on Sunday. It was great. President was so bold and powerful as he invited everyone to find someone for the missionaries (us) to teach. I know that the members really want to help us and I am so excited for all the referrals we will get!

This week has changed my mission. I am so excited for all the miracles that will happen as I put all my heart, mind and strength into this work. I know that God is preparing people everywhere to recieve this gospel, the truth! 

"The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest to Him." - Joseph B. Wirthlin. I know that those words are true. It is simple, if we follow this advice God will bless us.

love, Sister Riley xoxo 

Inside an old church