Monday, December 21, 2015

The Blessing- Week 21

Wow, what a wonderful week!

I feel blessed beyond what I deserve most weeks but this last week was especially a tender one for me. 

Last Monday Elder Hilton and I had a good time and were just getting ready to go out proselyting for the night when we get a phone call. Elder Hilton answered and then handed me the phone. It was area code 208... So, of course I jump straight to the worst possible scenario like some doctor somehow found out I was going to die and had to go home or something so my Stake President was calling to give me the news. But I was wrong! It ended up being my Uncle Ryan and my Uncle Kirk and their friend Lamar. They were in Oklahoma for business and asked us if they could take us out! 
What A Great Night! We went to this awesome hibachi sushi and grill place and just had a great time. I love my family so much and it was such a special time for me to get to see them Definitely a huge tender mercy of the Lord that I will forever be grateful for.-It really helped to give me even greater motivation and refocus. We talked a bit about how things were going back home, about the work, about Christmas, we laughed, we hugged, and we felt the joy and love that comes in family relationships. It is because of those feelings and because of my family that I am out here. Because this Gospel blesses all individuals and all families wherever they may currently be however good or bad the circumstances. It allows us to be together forever and experience the greatest feelings of love and joy and peace. If I can help another individual or family to come closer together and to take steps to come closer to Christ so that they can have all of these things and enjoy these feelings more fully in this life, then my joy will be overfilled.

The rest of the week was really really busy and crazy! We visited a lot of people this week and we had our Christmas Conference as well. 

The big miracle to talk about this week is this: Bishop asked us to go see a lady who we had just received records for so we went and did just that. We knocked and a young man opened the door, the lady we had just received records for had already moved but Mathew invited us in. We shared the message of the Restoration with him and gave him a Book of Mormon.-He is from Bangladesh so English is still a bit hard for him so we told him we could get him a Bengali Book of Mormon and he was really excited about it! So we got the Book of Mormon and went back a few days later and this time his dad answered! Jason had been investigating the Church while they were living in Michigan so he also invited us right in and we got to talk to him as well! We gave him the Bengali Book of Mormon and he was overwhelmed with joy! I thought he was going to yell or cry with joy. He said that he was a good reader and he wants to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year! He also said that he wants desperately to come to church with us after the New Year because his job has him working Sunday's until the holidays are over. Incredible blessings and miracles. The Lord is far too good to us and we truly are seeing more success/miracles than we deserve. 

I love this work, I love the Lord, and I love my family. Merry Christmas to all and may we remember the real reason of the season. Look for opportunities to show your love, to serve others and be filled with the Love of Christ. I promise you will as you serve other children of our Father in Heaven at this beautiful time of the year. 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Blessing- Week 20

Hello everyone,
I apologize for my lack of diligence in getting out an email last week but I promise, we did work!!! 

It has been a really crazy and busy and wonderful season:) Christmas: Friday, December 25, 2015. The day we have set apart throughout the year specifically remember His birth and the significance of it. One little baby, born into this world, to change the world entirely and to redeem it in its fullness with His gospel and His sacrifice in His Atonement and Resurrection. As Christmas approaches I have thought about one of my new favorite Christmas scriptures, Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I like this scripture not only because of Handel's Messiah, but because of the many names of Christ. We can learn much of Christ as we ponder His many names or Titles. Along with the names that Isaiah uses here are a few others that I have found: Messenger of Salvation, My Chosen, Son of Man, The Righteous, The Lamb, Creator, King of Zion, the Rock of Heaven, Messiah, Son of Righteousness, Emmanuel, Just One, Holy One, Alpha and Omega, I Am, Only Begotten, Brother, Savior, Friend, Father, Lord of the Harvest, Redeemer, Mediator, King of Kings, The First Born, Son of Man, and Son of God. Each name or title conveys an aspect of the Savior and what he has accomplished for us. Enjoy the Christmas season as you grow closer to the Savior and share His message with others because it truly is a joyous and peaceful message of hope, happiness, blessings, and glory.

With that being said, the weather here is insane. We had a huge ice storm just a few weeks ago which has required much service during the days to members and nonmembers alike! We will also be helping to finish up a lot of this clean up this coming week as well. So, we went from an ice storm to having 70 degree weather with the sun shining in the middle of December.... That should be some type of crime right? Idaho is cold and has snow right now which is what I am used to but there are times it feels like summer here and it is December.... Talk about extremist. 

We have been working with a member who had fallen out of activity as a teenager and is now in his 50's or so. He lives in an apartment complex right next to ours so we would try to stop by whenever we had a spare minute and were near our apartment. We tried this guy 11 or 12 times and could never catch him. We met his roommates and talked to them on different occasions and, gave one a Book of Mormon but couldn't ever be there when Brother Batchelor was there. Finally, one Saturday morning we stopped by and caught him. We were able to just talk to him and learn more about him and his life and really just become friends. We learned that he is a scientist who has worked at several labs including Huntsman and OU (Where he is the head of a team now) researching leukemia to try and help people. He is very scientific minded and finds joy in being able to research to find answers and debate the data to find a resolve. He also, recently had surgery on his ankle where they put in a plate and he has to wear a boot and is unable to drive himself. Before the end of the visit we shared a message and set a return appointment for the following Saturday. We met the next Saturday and invited him to come to church and he agreed! We found a ride and rode with him to church then stayed with him throughout all of church. He had a great experience. We invited him to come to a baptism of an 8 year old boy on Saturday and he agreed again. Following the baptism, we asked him to read Alma 32 and pray about it. We saw him on Sunday morning before church and he told us that that chapter was exactly what he needed and he had a wonderful, spiritual experience as he read, pondered and prayed. We had meetings before church and couldn't ride with him this week but still had someone pick him up and he came and we stayed with him again and after church we went to visit him and he told us he would like to pay his tithing and desired to know what other next steps were to coming back into full activity. 
Brothers and Sisters, I wish I could give every detail about what has transpired with this incredible Son of God over the last few weeks but it suffices me to simply say that the Spirit has born testimony of truth to him as he desired to learn and seek answers and take steps of faith to find answers. He is truly being converted. Elder Hilton and I have had absolutely nothing to do with this conversion but in these few short weeks we have seen the faith of his testimony be established and grow immensely and in his countenance you can see the joy this has brought to him. I have never met a man as humble and sincere as this. What a blessing and a joy it has been for me to have witnessed this miracle as a mighty change in heart as occurred and we see the hand of God work in the lives of those we work with. There is no denying the truth of this gospel and of this Church because it is Christ's which makes it pure and good and true. 

How I wish I could express my joy and my love and my gratitude. All I can say is that God is good. He is loving. He is magnificent. He is glorious. All glory be to Him in this miracle, in this holiday season, and in all times of every year. 

I finished the Book of Mormon this last week and am so grateful for the faith, the strength, the hope, and the direction that we receive in it. It is truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ and bares truth of Him as well as the Restored Gospel and Church in its fullness through Joseph Smith. 
In regards to the Book of Mormon challenge which I am working on and challenged each of you to take part in, I am in Alma and am so grateful to be looking at this Holy Writ in search of the blessings and joy that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we live it. I look forward to having it completed again by Christmas.

There are so many miracles, each and every day! I love this gospel and have greater desires than ever to share it with all who will receive it because it will bless their life and increase their happiness in this life and more importantly, in the one to come. 

Jesus Christ is our Savior. He was born, lived perfectly, suffered, died, and rose again. I know this to be true.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

This picture was labeled:   "Most recent picture we could possibly send you!"
They must be in the library typing their letters!
Eating at Sonic!
?????? Have not heard the story on Superman!
 Thank you Elder Hilton for sending the pictures!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Blessing- Week 19

We actually didn’t get an email from Elder Ricks again this week!?!  (I think he is spending his time responding to everyone who writes him, which is good!  We did email back and forth a little and this is what he said:

Elder Hilton and I are staying here together for another transfer!  It is going to be a great Christmas and I am so happy relieved and thrilled about it all!  We are doing great Mom, its amazing:)
I am excited to Skype with you in just a few short weeks/days!
The work is just amazing, the people are even better, and I love it! We have dinner's set for pretty much the whole month and I already know where I am going on Christmas day. It is the Morley's home. They are a new family in the ward with 5 kids and they are awesome!!!
Our Mission Christmas Conference is on December 17th.  We are really hoping we get our ipads then!

They bought matching Christmas ties for their ward Christmas party!