Monday, January 25, 2016

The Blessing- Week 26

What a wonderful week!  Once again, I am absolutely stunned at how quickly the week has gone by. 
It has been busy and wonderful in many ways! 

I moved from my beloved first area, Edmond 3rd. From where I stood in the Edmond 3rd Ward, I picked up a stone, threw it in the southwest direction and where that stone landed is where I now reside as a missionary in the Edmond 2nd Ward!

What a blessing it is to be so close to my first area!  Even though it is so close, it is a new area so I still have no clue where anything is... But it is great!  The people here are absolutely wonderful. The are so kinds, humble, and desire to have God in their lives.  This area also covers quite a bit of space but the houses are much closer together!  So we mostly bike and I really enjoy it!  I really feel like a missionary of old when I can get on the bike and ride in the rain and wind and cold and everything and Heavenly Father truly does bless you when you get on your bike instead of driving your car in a "car" area. (Every area in this mission is a biking area and the cars are just to stay nice when we go to church:)).  We have been able to talk to so many people that we pass by on the streets and in the neighborhoods and it has been a remarkable experience in the short few days that I have been here! Blessings abound! 

My second day we met with a part member family and set baptismal dates with the four children for February 20th!  Exciting right?!  Well the next day we heard word of a dual mission conference that will take place in Tulsa on February 20th and with that we will need to push back the baptisms for the following week.  Good problems to have I think!  Haha anyways, this area truly is amazing and I am so excited for it! 

Everyone knows my best friend back home (apart from my family of course, though I would consider him to be apart of my family), Walker.  Walker is doing great back home but what is really crazy is I received his long lost twin as a companion!  I cannot tell you how blessed I am to be with a companion that reminds me so much of my best friend.  The work was great and fun before but it just got even better which astounds me!  God is good.  I have been blessed greatly and love my new companion, Elder Morton! 

The baptisms of Blara and Darmelyn are actually this up coming Saturday!  Everyone has been emailing me about their excitement in the ordinances that are to be performed and I am so thankful for the support but I apologize that I misinformed everyone!  I look forward to this special event on Saturday though and cannot wait to tell you all about it in the email next week:) 

It sufficeth me to say that I am greatly blessed beyond what I deserve and the source of all these blessings and this happiness is Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ.  The gospel is pure and perfect and the church is true.  I am filled with a grateful heart, God is loving and God is good!

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Blessing- Week 25

What a wonderful week! 
I was blessed to experience a week of biking as our car was in the shop this week. It helped me to realize the blessing we have being in a car in this area. In all, we spent over 8 hours of biking time over the course of the week going from appointment to appointment. Unfortunately in this area there aren't many people outside so we don't have many opportunities to find people and talk to them as we bike so I was able to realize how much more efficient it is to have a car in this area. 

We still had a busy and blessed week! Darmelyn and Blara are set to be baptized together next Saturday and we are so happy and excited for their decision to do so. It has been such a wonderful experience to be with this beautiful and young family. The light and happiness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is illuminated as we live it and we can see this light radiate from this family we have come to love so much.

Also, get this: Mitch McGary who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder? Yeah, his roommate and best friend, Jake, came to the baptism of Cal Morley several weeks ago and we have since been able to go back and teach him so I can officially say I have been in an NBA player's home, seen his (messy) room and taught principles of the gospel in this bachelor pad referenced as a home!

I received a call Sunday about transfers. I will be moving several streets over to Edmond 2nd! I am truly so grateful for the blessing of serving in the Edmond 3rd ward. These are some of the most wonderful people upon the face of the earth. My heart aches to leave such a beautiful people that I have come to love so greatly in an area that I have seen the Lord build up and transform during my time here. I know that He will continue to bless this area and build it up to be ever greater but I truly feel privileged to have spent the last six months of my life in this place. I also look forward though to my new area and am thrilled to be able to make new leaps of growth in the coming days, weeks and months. Being so close to Edmond 2nd I actually already know my next companion fairly well! His name is Elder Morton and I am ecstatic to be with him and to serve the people of this new area! 

I have had the opportunity to bear my simple yet sure testimony to many people in the last several days and I am grateful for the things I do know to be true for the Holy Ghost has testified to me that these things are true and it gives me so much joy and hope and peace. I am so grateful for the gospel in my life and for the love Heavenly Father has and gives to each of us as His children. Jesus Christ lives, and He loves us. I am grateful for the divinity of his life and teachings and especially grateful that through Him I can be with my family forever in the glory of God. I know this message of the restored gospel is true and desire to share it with all who will receive it. Glory be to God! 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Blessing- Week 24

This week was slow but Heavenly Father still blessed us greatly. He truly is so good and loving and blesses us beyond our worthiness and what we really deserve. This last week Elder Hilton was sick for two days and we had to stay in.  Despite his desires to go out and work, that becomes extremely difficult when you are throwing up constantly and in need of 30 hours of straight sleep. I am sorry to say that I was blessed though at the expense of Elder Hilton's health.. I was able to study, and study, and study some more over those 2 days! I read 4 devotional length talks, listened to approximately 20 conference talks, read the Gospel According to Mathew and Mark, read several chapters from the Book of Mormon, did some cleaning, planned for the week, and had lots of time with my thoughts! It was really good for me to be able to do all of these things and to take a step back to remember to simplify everything and look from an eternal perspective! 

We felt like it really put a block in the work and slowed down the progress we have been seeing occur so rapidly thanks to the Lord. Our numbers were way down but this weekend we were still able to receive 2 new investigators with one having a date, teach 3 lessons with a member present and 3 other lessons and still received and contacted multiple referrals and had 4 investigators able to attend sacrament meeting and 5 less-actives. Long story short, this is God's work and it is His glory and though we were ineffective tools in helping with the work in their lives for 2 full days He still provided great success in the harvest this week. 

Last week I told you we were teaching an 11 year old girl from a less active family and set a baptismal date with her.  Well, this last week we discovered that they have another daughter who is 9 years old and we were able to have a lesson with them last night and set a baptismal date with her for January 30th! Miracles, miracles!

I apologize for the delay in getting the emails out the last several weeks but I love and appreciate you all and the love, patience, and support you give. May God bless you this week and provide you with opportunities to learn principles of the Gospel yourselves and to have missionary opportunities to share them, is my prayer. 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Blessing- Week 22 & 23

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends and family!

I hope and pray you all had a wonderful day, week, and season. It is always one of my favorite times of the years because people take an extra step to help others out and make them happier or lighten their burdens at this time so it is easy to feel that pure love of Christ at this time of the year. But as a missionary it was an especially powerful spirit to feel this holiday season. I wish we could all stay motivated to do good all year so that spirit never leaves. May we all take some time to evaluate where we are at and consider setting a goal for this upcoming year to help another person.

Christmas Day:
-Woke up, Exercised, Opened Letters/Cards and Presents 
-Went to the Morley's (Amazing/Favorite(s) Members)
Facetime with my best friends Mom, Dad, Tyson, Carson, Ashlynn and Analee and Maria.
It was so great to visit with my family and such a dear friend. 
-Service at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City
-Bombing Memorial
-Dinner with the Rudd's (Amazing/Favorite(s) Members)
We watched the Cokeville Miracle with them

New Years Eve:
-Dinner with the Parry's (Amazing/Favorite(s) Members)
-Lesson with incredibly sweet investigator who was one of the first leukemia survivors in 1965.
-Saw the Eckman's for a few minutes (Amazing/Favorite(s) Members)
-Party with the Parry's (Amazing/Favorite(s) Members) playing celetial pursuit and then watching the Ball Drop at 11:00.

-We had three seperate earthquakes this last week where the epicenter was less that a couple miles away from our apartment. They all hit around the same time in the morning on different days at about 5:40a.m. Each one was over a 4.1! Unlike what we did in California two years ago while at nationals for cheer when we were in an earthquake there, Elder Hilton and I woke up, looked at each other, kinda smiled and laughed that we could feel earthquakes like that in Oklahoma and hit our heads on the pillow and crashed until it was really time to wake up at 6:25. 

Miracle/Tender Mercy:
-We are teaching the 11 year old daughter of some members who fell into less-activity after their conversion 8 years ago. They speak Chuukese so their English is very broken but Darmelyn speaks great English! Anyways, she is the sweetest thing. We ask her to pray at the end of each lesson and each time it is the most special, tender feeling. She expresses her gratitude to Heavenly Father for her family over and over again and is just so sweet and innocent. She is planning on being baptized on January 23rd and it is going to be the most special day in the world. It makes me never want to stop doing what I am doing.

Until next week, Keep the Faith.
Elder Ricks

Facetiming my family on Christmas:

 Bombing Memorial:

Service at the Cox Center:

Ice Storm #2: