Monday, February 29, 2016

The Blessing- Week 31

What an incredible week!! We saw miracle after miracle with the Helgenberger's this week leading up to the baptism on Saturday. It was such an incredible feeling of overcoming joy and peace seeing each of those beautiful young children get baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. I love my job! We are in the business of relationships and bringing souls unto Christ.-Can you imagine anything better than building relationships with people you love and seeing their lives be filled with newfound blessings and joy when they come closer to Christ?

I can't believe the transfer is already over this week, and I get to stay in Edmond 2nd with Elder Morton!  The time is going way too fast and always reminds me of why it is so important to give everything you have every second you get because it basically comes down to giving 730 days of your life to remember for the rest of your life. 

We are meeting new people to teach everyday! Right after the baptism on Saturday, we went to visit a member in the ward who is less-active and has a family who are not members. They weren't home so we walked down the street to talk to someone we saw but they ended up getting in the car and leaving before we could get to them so we turned around and started back for the car. On our way back we heard someone say "You aren't going to be able to talk to anyone if you just walk up and down the street!" So we turned around, somewhat embarrassed, to see who had said that because we didn't see anyone else outside. He was standing on the other side of his truck and we began to talk to this man and came to find out that his best friend growing up was LDS and served a mission so he was just trying to give us a hard time. We continued talking to him and later learned that he and his wife are looking for a church. We are excited to see how our meeting with them goes this upcoming week.

Little miracles like this happen multiple times every day! God is good and has prepared the hearts of many to receive the gospel. Sometimes we are able to find them, sometimes they find us, other times the are brought to us by their member friends, regardless of the way we come in contact, we cherish every conversation and relationship and strive to bring each person closer to Christ. I am so grateful for my call to serve and wouldn't trade it for anything. May God bless you all this week with opportunities to invite someone to come unto Christ. 

Keep the faith,

Elder Ricks

Elder Ricks is going to come home a pro golfer.  He has spent so many pdays at the golf course!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Blessing- Week 30

Hello my dear friends and family,

I hope you have each had a wonderful and blessed week and pray for weeks ahead. This last week was absolutely off the hook for Elder Morton and I. I don't think I have felt this busy and loaded the entire time I've been out! 

I am so excited to see the Helgenburger children all get baptized this week. I have seen so many miracles occur in these incredible friend's lives as they become converted to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The members of our ward have been particularly essential through this process in supporting this family and helping them. I love the sacred ordinance of baptism and am so excited to see them take this step and partake in the great blessings of membership and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We almost died of heat stroke giving an out door lesson this week in the heat... It was over 80 degrees, which should be some type of crime happening in February, and Elder Morton and I were dripping and truly gasping for air after the lesson. We got in the car and probably looked like dogs with our heads out of the window driving down the street...

There were so many highlights this week but the greatest of all was being able to go down to Tulsa for a dual-mission conference to see the area Seventies (I forgot his name), Lynn G. Robins of the Presidency of the Seventy and D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve. Of course it was incredible to see all of the other hundreds of missionaries there and it was a very sacred and marvelous feeling that entered the chapel when these men walked in. We were privileged to shake each of their hands prior to them speaking and that was an experience I will forever cherish and remember. It was such a testimony to me of the sacredness of the call I have as a missionary and of this Church, the leaders in it being called of God, and my faith in Christ was strengthened and increased. These truly are inspired men who are well with God and that was obvious by their presence and their words.

The week flew by, with many wonderful blessings and miracles and great joy. I love this great work and am honored to bare the sacred name of our Savior over my heart each day. Jesus is the Christ. He lives, and He loves each of us and it is through Him and His Atonement that we can do all things and become like Him. I know these things are true and invite you to come to increase your knowledge and understandings of the truth of these things for yourself.  

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

It was a crazy week...
Monday=P-Day, dinner, lesson, family home evening with a less-active family and two foreign exchange students we are teaching.

Tuesday=Lessons/appointments all day and night, we couldn't even go to the Book of Mormon class because someone asked us to come over during that time, and then had dinner at 8:30..

Wednesday=Lessons/appointments, played a pick up game of basketball with some guys we ran into and left a Book of Mormon and set a time to talk with them, then we had a lesson with the Helgenburger's and they went to youth activities, we had dinner then a couple more appointments.

Thursday=Service, Weekly Planning, Lessons, had another lesson with the Helgenburger's, dinner, had two lessons and tried to see a couple people our ward auxiliary leaders asked us to visit. 

Friday=District meeting, lunch with Michelle and Sandy (members from Edmond 3rd) one lesson, tried to see a couple people, had a great dinner, went on exchanges so that Elder Morton could go to the temple to see one of his recent converts from another area receive his temple endowment, and I went to the church with the other Elders for a family game night. 

Saturday=Woke up at 3:30 to go see Elder Christofferson and Elder Robins in Tulsa, got home and had two lessons, then had dinner at Michelle and Sandy's house with the Edmond 3rd Elders, Lance Batchelor (an incredible man that I was blessed to meet and see become truly converted and come back into activity), Allison (Investigator I was teaching who is going to be baptized in a few weeks) , Justin (Michelle's son), and the UCO Sisters. It was so fun!! Then we tried to see more people that ward auxiliary leaders asked us to see and had a lesson with a couple of them. 

Sunday=Meetings at 7:00, Church at 8:30 (6 investigators were able to come and we were blessed to see 3 less active members make the first steps in coming back into activity) then we had some member appointments to home teach certain families we were asked to visit and had dinner and tried some more people the rest of the night. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Blessing- Week 29

I'm amazed at how quickly each week passes by. The transfer is already half over but I feel like I have been in this new area for only a couple of days!

The work here is booming. There is so much to do and so much going on and I am so grateful that God has put me here with one of my best friends to reap the harvest. The blessings and miracles are plenty and great. 

Last week, we were able to teach a wonderful, older woman and the Spirit was so obviously present at the end of the lesson. We could feel it and she made it apparent to us that she could feel it as well. She got really excited and emotional and said her heart was beating so fast. And then without warning she grabbed my hand and said, "See, feel it!!!" I don't think I have had a more awkward experience on my entire mission.. But, she could feel the Spirit and it testified of the truth of the things we taught her about the scriptures and that is what is truly marvelous.

We had a great week, stayed really busy, and were so blessed when we were finally able to see the Helegenburger family at church this last Sunday. Roxburt is 15, Omara is 13, McCrain is 12, and Chaz is 10. Sister Helegenburger is from a Micronesian island and was baptized there when she turned 8. She has been less-active now for a long time and married a man who is not a member of our Church. We have been working intensly with his incredible family since I got here. They are excited to enter the covenant and waters of baptism on February 27th. Sister Helegenburger doesn't have a license so we have been working each week on providing a ride for them to get to church and to the youth activities. Everything was always falling through. We thought it was a miracle when an incredible family of the ward called to invite the Helegenburger's to have dinner at their house on Saturday and Sister Helegenburger accepted. We were so grateful! And then Sister Helegenburger had to back out Saturday afternoon. We went to see them that night and had a great lesson with them and what turned out to be even more miraculous was when we saw them walk into the chapel Sunday morning. They sat next to the Skinner's at church (who invited them to dinner and even picked them up that morning for Church) and following Sacrament meeting were surrounded by new friends. The Helegenburger's had a great time at church and are extremely excited to come to youth activities on Wednesday and to church again next week.The ward members here are incredible and have played a great role in helping the Helegenburger's to come unto Christ. This entire process has been a miracle and a great blessing for me to see and be apart of. God is wonderful and works in miraculous ways!

This upcoming week is going to be extremely busy and I so look forward to it! We will be blessed to attend a conference in Tulsa on Saturday (out of mission boundaries!) and to hear from Elder D. Todd Christopherson and Lynn G. Robins. I am so excited!!

I hope everyone stays safe and has a wonderful week this week. Thank you for all of the love and support you all so freely give me! 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Decorating Valentines Day Cookies

Valentines Dinner

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Blessing- Week 28

Another week, come and gone. I've considered praying to have it all slow down but reconsidered when thinking of possible ways Heavenly Father could answer that prayer...

We had another incredible week! There weren't many new kinds of experiences this week. We were able to see many small miracles each and everyday. I can't express enough how wonderful it has been to have a companion that is so similar to my best friend! I feel like I have known him for years and we are having much success and a great time together. 

All of our appointments last night suddenly fell through or cancelled.. I guess there was a big football game on? Surprisingly, people weren't as thrilled as usual to see us last night! Hopefully it is just a fluke and all will go back to normal tonight. Congrats to the Superbowl champions, Go Broncos, though they kind of put a dent in the effectiveness of our work last night! It's fun to know my team won📣.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. There is no way to use the correct words to describe the joy I feel as I see the light illuminate from people's eyes and their countenance change as they hear the message of the restored gospel and have desires to come unto Christ. There is no feeling I have experienced that is quite like it.

The work is pressing forward! The Lord is providing and there is much work to do.

May we all see the hand of God in our lives each day this week and give thanks for our blessings.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Open Your Mouth...Talk to everyone... We didn't set a return appointment but he listened to everything we had to say. Definitely a solid potential investigator

                           2nd time eating Wendys in the last 6 months... Tastes like heaven!

                                                             Companion: Elder Morton

 There is only one explanation for such beauty. God. All things denote there is a God. I am grateful for the beauty of the world that He has created for us to live in and enjoy.

Only in Oklahoma do you get excited and terrified to see gas prices so low... The lower the gas prices get the more jobs people here lose. Opposition in all things. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Blessing- Week 27

It always amazes me just how quickly the weeks go by. So much happened this week! We stayed very busy and had a truly wonderful week. 

I feel so blessed to be in this area. Everyone is so humble and open to hearing the message of the gospel! Nearly every single person we talk to is open to talking with us about Christ and about what we believe and know to be true. It has been a true blessing seeing the light in people's eyes as we discuss these things that mean so much to us. 

We had Zone P-day, an STM, our Zone Temple Trip. As always, it is a wonderful experience to receive training from the leaders of our zone and how we become more consecrated missionaries and instruments of God in each of our areas. It was incredible to be within the walls of the Lord's house and to feel of the Spirit there. I am so grateful for the revelation and insights I receive each time I am blessed to enter that Holy Abode.

We played basketball with some guys we met at a park and some other young men we met on the street and we were able to leave Book of Mormon's and set up appointments with them. We were walking through an apartment complex and saw a woman that we approached and talked to. We began just asking how she was doing and eventually asked her if we could share with her a glorious message centered on Christ that will bless her life and strengthen her faith. She agreed but was drinking and asked us to share the message with her another time. We gave her a Book of Mormon and a Bible. She didn't tell us which apartment number she lived in so we went knocking several days later to find her. We knocked on a door and some men inside responded and said they didn't know Dawn so we thanked them and turned the corner when Dawn came around the corner. She was so happy that we hadn't forgotten her and came back to see her. It was such a sweet time to spend with her and just before we left she looked at me and said that I was glowing and that she could see Jesus and His love in my eyes. Experiences like this abound daily and I wish you could just see one week of the wonderful life I am so blessed to live as a missionary. It is truly humbling and gratifying to be with such sweet and humble people and makes me so grateful for the gospel in my life. I am so thankful for this work and the opportunity that I have to be molded and shaped into the tool that Heavenly Father needs me to be to harvest this area of the vineyard and bring souls unto Christ. What a glorious calling I have as a missionary and how much greater is the blessing of it! 

I was able to see this light of Christ in the two beautiful young girls of the David family as they were baptized, confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and as they received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I was reminded of the sacredness of these ordinances and blessings. As Darmelyn and Blara received the gift of the Holy Ghost, it was so obvious and apparent to me that Heavenly Father only desires to bless us and show us of His deep and eternal love.

May God bless you this week with greater love, understanding and light. 

Keep the faith my dear friends and family,
Elder Ricks
 Elder Morton and I at our Zone Temple Trip
This is what happened to my foot after playing street ball!

Baptism of Darmelyn and Blara