March 29, 2015

Week 41: A MamaRiches Chocolate Chip Cookie Miracle

Breaking news:  Mamariches chocolate chip cookies have been made here in Monterrey!  This week it hit me that I have not had a homemade chocolate chip cookie for far too long, so being the daughter of Melissa Riches I felt the need to incorporate baking into my teaching.  Wanna know the trick to teaching teenagers the Restoration of the Gospel?  You explain it using cookie ingredients:  Butter= Heavenly Father's love for us, sugar= prophets, vanilla= priesthood, flour= Jesus Christ, the cookie= the true church with all the elements; etc.  It was pretty cute.  While we were baking, the 3 17 year old boys claimed excitedly that now they can "bake for the ladies"- hahaha my work has been done.  They loved the cookies!  The sugar, butter, and chocolate chips are different here, so it was not quite up to the mamariches status, but the people don't bake cookies here so they absolutely loved them.  hahaha we were having a bit of oven difficulties, so a few cookies were made on the stove, few in the microwave...lots of experimenting going on.  The cookie dough is the best part anyways :)

NOW ON TO THE MIRACLE.  So remember how I mentioned there is a 17 year old boy who has been listening to the missionaries for 4 years?  Isaac, best friend of the bishop's son has been listening to the missionaries and going to church for 4 years, and when hermana flores and I arrived here in the area we made ourselves the goal to see this boy get baptized.  Many prayers and many fasts have been offered on our part, and after we made the cookies we decided to have a direct chat with him, purely following the spirit and asking him inspired questions to see where he was at with his decision to be baptized.  Much to our surprise, he expressed to us how his relationship with God has been strengthened over the years and how he truly knows this gospel is true.  he said he was ready and wanted to be baptized.  We let him decide his baptismal date, and after a few minutes of pondering, he said with a smile..."before the month ends".  He said he finally recieved permission from his parents, (they are very catholic and his older brother is Jehova's Witnes) and he will be baptized IN 3 DAYS!!!  We were at the bishop's house when he made this decision, and the whole family was so happy and a little surprised that this day would finally come!  Marco, his best friend (bishop's son) is going to baptize him.  This sunday is going to be so great with so much support from the ward, as everyone has been waiting for Isaac to become an official member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Hermana Flores and I literally ran back to the house jumping for joy after this lesson we had hahaha because seriously it was PURELY the spirit that took control over the lesson, and I know with 110% certeza that prayers are answered, that God has his timing for everyone, and that MAMARICHES CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES PRODUCE MIRACLES :)
We have been so busy...this past sunday the elders in the other ward had a baptism.  Hidai is such a sweet girl, and the service was wonderful as the elders sang "Come thou Fount" in spanish on the guitar...she is 18 years old and wants to serve a mission so we gave her a few of our skirts, and it has been great sharing with her the joy of being a missionary :)  

We went to the temple this morning bright and early at 6 am, and it's always such a great time bonding with other missionaries.  you feel so much peace on the temple grounds...I'm so grateful for the chance we have to go here in the mission every 6 weeks.

We all had interviews with Pres Bird this week which went well, and this sunday I am speaking in church on LA OBEDIENCIA...time is cruisin' and spring has officially arrived.  I'm doing well and am very happy!
my name around here hahah....La Guera= blondie

Off to grilling carne asade with the other missionaries in my zone!  HASTA LUEGO!

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


March 16, 2015

WEEK 40: The Easter Bunny's early arrival to Mexico

Feliz Cumpleaños a ti
Feliz Cumpleaños a ti
Feliz Cumpleaños a MOM and CHLOE BRAY
Feliz Cumpleaños a ti!!

I hope these 2 wonderful women in my life had / have the best birthdays this week!! Thank you Chloe for sending me pasta from Rome :) and mom for the many boxes of easter candy-- my companion was rather confused to see a box full of plastic eggs and chocolate bunnies as they don't do that here haha, but now she understands the pure joy that cadbury eggs bring...also my life is now complete knowing that Easter Bunny Sour Patch Kids exist.  LOVE YOU MOM!
Busy busy week!  So on friday we had a zone activity where we went to a market and contacted people, handing out a bunch of pamphlets and recieving stared glances from every pedestrian haha.  It was lots of fun getting a bunch of directions from people to go and visit and to bond with the other missionaries in my zone (all of the missionaries in our stake).  The elders shined shoes, we gave out free hot coco, and spent a few hours having fascinating conversations with people about their beliefs in God.  People are so interesting.

"...when ye are in the service of your fellow men ye are only in the service of your God" Mosiah 2:17

I just want to take a brief moment and express how much I love Hermana Flores!!  seriously-- so hilarious, crazy fun, and sweet to everyone.  I am so blessed to be serving with her and to watch her take her first baby steps as a missionary :)  I love training and together we are killin'it over here in Miguel Aleman!

A few weekly highlights:

We taught our investigador Eduard (9 years old) about Joseph Smith and El Libro de Mormón, and we did a fun little activity with little paper treasure chests that said ¨La Restauración" and little paper coins that read El Sacerdocio--Priesthood, Los Templos---Temples, El Bautismo y el Don del Espiritu Santo---Baptism and Gift of Holy Ghost, El Libro de Mormon, etc..  We explained how thanks to the restoration of the fullness of the gospel, we have all of these "treasures" in our lives.  It was really sweet because at the end, Eduard offered a prayer and asked "Heavenly Father, help me to know if José Smith was a prophet and that El Libro de Mormon is true".....Everyone of us needs to follow Eduard's example and ask Heavenly Father all of our personal questions, and He will answer.

Another High point was battling a raging rainstorm with a sweet woman in our ward (65 years old) who accompanied us for one of our lessons. The 3 of us went in her car, and as we got out on the street, our feet sank in ankle deep water.  Luckily I had my rainboots but the poor woman--with her dressy black work shoes and all--literally looked like she was skating through the water holding a dish towel above her head, booking it in slow motion towards the front door of our investigador hahaha.  I felt so bad.  Hopefully she will come teach with us again.

So we have a missionary handbook that reads:  "the weekends are ideal opportunities to find families to teach"...well, this statement is false here in Monterrey.  Saturdays and Sundays from 4pm until who knows when....every street has got all the men in their TIGRES soccer jerseys, one hand grillin' the carne asada and the other holdin' a beer, the women whippin' up homemade salsas, and the kids dancing to music.  Hermana Flores and I are a bit offended that we never get invited.  It's pretty funny.  You turn one street corner and you got someone playing Journey, another's got ACDC, later on you heard the traditional mexican bands and pop groups, and to finish the night off we walk back to our hourse boppin' our heads to Rihanna or Maroon 5.  Yes as a missionary it is very difficult living in the world and not of the world.

next week we go to the temple!  Until Thursday!

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches 


March 11, 2015

Week 39: THE BIG 9

OHHH WE"RE HALFWAY THERE.  Ladies and Gents, Hermana Riches has officially reached the top of the hill and will begin her 9 month journey back to her lovely fam and San Fran.  It's hard to grasp that my mission is halfway over...I have learned an overwhelmingly amount of things and still have oh so much to comprehend.  It makes me want to work even that much harder because I know this time will fly and I don't want to have any regrets or time wasted.  I'm grateful for all that I have experienced these 9 months because I have adapted qualities that have made me a better person and I know SIN DUDA....without a doubt....that this church, this gospel is true, and that God and Jesus Christ live.  Nevertheless, do not worry folks- my personality has not changed, and I am grateful for that because I am still the same old Lindsay Riches :)

                              Us with a family in our ward and the Elders

One powerful lesson I have learned this week:  The Book of Mormon has an unexplainable power to mend our heartaches and answer questions of the soul. This week we talked to a man (50 years old) seated out front of his vegetable stand, and he began to tell us about his drug and alcohol addictions he had about 10 years ago.  He mentioned that during this period of his life, he felt the desperate need to pray to God for Strength and Forgiveness, and when he prayed he felt an overwhleming sense of love come over him.  At this moment, I felt inspired to share with him the story of the prophet Enos, in the Book of Mormon, about this prophet's experience recieving forgiveness for his sins:

And I will tell you of the wrestly which I had  before God, before I recieved the remission of my sins...and my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my maker, and I cried unto Him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul...and there came a voice unto me, saying:  Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed...and I said:  Lord, how is it done?  and he said unto me:  Because of thy faith in Chirst" Enos 1:1-8

After reading these exerpts, Ricardo with big eyes said excitedly:  "¡¡¡Lo mismo me pasó a mí!!!" "That Same thing happened to me!!" He wanted to know more about El Libro de Mormón, and we told hinm that He could find many more relateable stories and a source of guidance in this book.  He accepted a baptismal date, and we will see how he progresses.

Yo sé que El Libro de Mormón fue escrito para nuestros tiempos, al darnos la esperanza en nuestro Salvador Jesucristo y para encontrar la paz durante nuestras aflicciones y debilidades.  sé que Jesucristo es misericordioso,  y que realmente tiene el poder de quitar las cargas y los errores en nuestras vidas, si pedimos con fe y verdadera intención.

I know that the Book of Mormon was written for our times, to give us hope in our Savior Jesus Christ and to find peace during our afflictions and weaknesses.  I know that Jesus Christ is merciful, and that he truly has the power to take away the burdens and mistakes in our lives, if we ask with faith and real intentions.
          Dana...a sweet girl in my ward

This week was seriously so great as we have found new families who want to listen to us.  The clouds have parted and I can see light here in Miguel Aleman haha!  We have a great number with baptismal dates, and I know that Hermana Flores and I will see miracles here in Miguel Aleman.  We are currently teaching 2 less active families, and their sons (9 years and 11 years old) want to get baptized, so we are reactivating these families as well as preparing these boys for baptism.  It's interesting teaching them because we have been having to teach the gospel in very clear, easy, simple terms, and we have had to think of creative games and activities to do with them so they can understand haha!  
one of the boys...Sedrick
Last night I was writing in my journal and I thought of this phrase that perfectly explains how a missionary feels:

The progress and happiness of those around you is directly relateable to your own personal progress and own personal happiness as a missionary.
                                 us with our investigadora, Rosy

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


March 06, 2015

Week 38: A Little Taste of the Outside World

*shout out to all you who have sent me Christmas Cards....2 months later and I have officially received them haha LOVE YOU ALL!!!!*

Well, the title of my post says it all:  This week I got to watch a MOVIE!  Us missionaries got to watch "Conozca a Los Mormones"....."Meet the Mormons".  I believe this movie came out in theaters at home back in October, but here in Mexico it came o ut in theaters this past friday.  We got to watch it in spanish in the mission offices this week, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it!  I loved it because it wasn't "preachy".... it simply shows the world that us "mormons" are perfectly normal with joys, passions, jobs, and trials like everyone else.  I highly recommend that you should all go watch it!  It's amazing what the church is doing nowadays to make its voice heard.

Well I would like to share a testimony to you all:  I know and testify that the weather here in Monterrey is INSANE!  On Sunday I was sweating in a short sleeve blouse, on monday I was bundled up with a scarf and pea coat, on wednesday I got a sunburn, and on thursday I battled a rainstorm.  I've had this nose- throat cold for a month now because the weather is so bipolar!
Week 2 of Hermana Flores' training has been completed here in Miguel Aleman, and between people rejecting us, me sleeptalking in spanish to my companion every night, and homemade tamale deliveries, we seem to be enjoying ourselves.  It's great having a "newbie" as a compañera because she can fill me in on all the "latest news"....such as T Swift's new album that I kind of desperately want to listen to haha!  It's funny/ interesting having a "newbie" as a compañera because it reminds me so much of how I felt as a new missionary.....terrified of contacting people in the street, the weird feeling of being glued to someone's side 24-7, giant toe blisters, being sad when people reject you, thinking every person you teach will get baptized, giving me the blank-terrified look when people ask us intimidating questions....oh how I don't miss my first few weeks haha!
my love for homemade tamales is indescribable
 Hermana Francisca....who dropped off tamales for us 
Here in the area we have a dilemma- we have a married couple who have listened to the missionaries for 20+ years and a boy the age of 17 who has listened to the missionaries for 6+ years, and they do not want to commit to baptism.  It's interesting how the Lord has his timing for everyone, but I just hope that we can be the missionaries that can finally help these 3 people fully commit to baptism.  

We feel more confortable here in the area- with the members and knowing our way around- but the only hard part is that we are basically working from scratch...there hasn't been a whole lot of progress in the area when we first got here, so we have been having to find all new investigadores and really strengthening the bonds between us and the members- shout out to all you church members- you guys are the key to helping us find people to teach!  I encourage you all this week to go out and teach with the missionaries in your wards and give them references of family members/ friends/ neighbors who you think would enjoy a message from the missionaries.  It helps us more than you know :)

Let me repeat:  MISSIONS ARE HARD!  Physically, mentally, emotionally....but the best experience of anyone's life.  Yesterday we visited a woman who is battling such difficult trials in her life, and when we left, Hermana Flores just burst into tears because she felt so sad for this woman.  Every day we feel immense sadness for people, and the only way we can help them is invite them to have faith in their savior Jesus Christ.  It's really tough, but we just have to remember that every trial we have is for a purpose that only God knows and understands.

I still really miss my old ward Sada Vidrio :( and the old missionaries who were in my zone....but it's good to have a change.  One thing I love about this ward are the adorable primary kids that give me lots of hugs and kisses- it is the sweetest thing and make me feel loved when I am having a stressful day.  The ward members are lovely....the ward is made up of elderly folks,  young folks, those who live in wealthy private gated areas and those who sell homemade tortillas and bread- and are all family to one another.

This afternoon we are making crepes with the missionaries in our zone and then off to teach at 6pm.....Hasta próxima semana!  cuídense mucho y nunca olviden que Dios les ama.

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches