Monday, April 25, 2016

The Blessing- Week 39

I lost one incredible companion and best friend, Elder Morton, to receive another stellar companion and best friend! I can't express to you the great blessing it is to be with such wonderful companions who desire so greatly to love and serve God and all fellow brothers and sisters. 

Let me share with you one night that outlines how our entire week went.

Friday night we had appointments lined up at 5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 and we were taking Connor, one of the priests in our ward with us. As we were on his doorstep to pick him up, our first appointment called and asked to reschedule! Uh oh!

We worked it out to be able to go to our second appointment early so we went and had an incredible lesson with the Helgenberger's about keeping the Sabbath Day a delight.

We had a little gap then from 6:00 to 7:00 though so we just decided to try a young man, Kavion, who lived down the street from the Helgenberger's. We ended up having a great lesson with him and another young man, Reggie, just came up to the porch and joined us for the lesson! We invited both to be baptized and both accepted and are now working towards being baptized on May 28. Kavion slept in on Sunday and didn't make it to church, little stinker, we'll get him next week.;) haha but Reggie made it yesterday so we are excited about both of them.

We still had some time before our next scheduled appointment so we decided to go try a potential we had met that day. Reida is who we had talked to and she invited us to come to her home that night sometime after her husband would get off work at 6:00. He answered the door and was very kind but let us know he was a devout Catholic and was good. We continued to talk with him though and by the end of the conversation we set a return appointment and left him with a Book of Mormon which he said was "very interesting" and he"liked it" even though we actually didn't say a word about the book, we just gave it to him. 

We had our lesson at 7:00 with Tessa and Heidi and went over the great Plan of Salvation/Happiness with them and it was truly a spirit filled, happy lesson. 

That is just one night but we saw at least two huge miracles every day this week just like the miracles we saw Friday night. God truly has prepared people to receive this happy and true message and I am so grateful that I get to be an instrument in His hands in bringing the message and the Spirit unto them so that they can receive it and let it penetrate their hearts. 

May we all be able to see the hand of God in our every day lives and try a little harder to do a little better in "Choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong."-President Thomas S. Monson

Keep the faith,

Elder Ricks
  Last lesson with the Helgenberger's before Elder Morton left!
We were soaking wet in this picture.. It was pouring rain in a huge thunderstorm all night.-The bright flashes of lightning and booming thunder storms are really intense and fun out here


Monday, April 18, 2016

The Blessing- Week 38

What a week! We sure were busy this week and had an incredible time in what we found out is our last full week together. Transfers are on Wednesday and I will be welcoming with open arms my new companion, Elder Santana. I sure do love and appreciate Elder Morton and all that he has done for me. It makes all the world's difference to be able to serve with your best friends. I am grateful to have had such great friendships in all of my companionships and look forward to yet another!

Roxbert has been a little shy to pass the Sacrament since he received the Priesthood but yesterday we finally got both of the boys (Roxbert and Micrain) to get up there and pass and what a joyous occasion that was for me. Those boys and that family make me so happy!

We had set up two church tours for Saturday night at 6:00 and 7:00. Albert was the first and we had set it up to have dinner with him at the church before the tour and the lesson. At about 6:30, as we were pacing the street outside looking for Albert, we received a text that said "jail". Uhhh? He never responded after that. At about 6:45, Logan texted us and said she had been throwing up since she got off work. So, both appointments fell through unfortunately and we resolved to go to the jail and look for Albert on the way in hopes that maybe he had just been walking passed the jail on the way to the church. We get there and ask the cop if he was inside and it turns out he was! They got him for possession of Marijuana... I hate that filthy stuff. Anyways, he is a great guy and we hope he is doing good. They were saying he had to stay over night but he would see a judge the next morning and be released but we haven't heard from him since. Crazy stories! 

Life is great, we are blessed, and God is good.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Blessing- Week 37

It was another great week, filled with more great stories and miracles but today I just want to talk about this incredible group and the experience Elder Morton and I were blessed with to have with them this week.

This is (From left to right) Carl, Ray, Bill, Kim, Scott, Renee, Gary, Ronald, Chris, Elder Morton, Robby, Elder Ricks (That's me..).

The last two and a half months we have been able to go over to this incredible place called the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled (OKFD). Each Wednesday we would come and teach each of these beautiful, wonderful, talented children of God how to run and throw for the Special Olympics. They asked us to come and so we got approval and met them at the big event this week to get each of them ready and excited, cheer like mad, and celebrate their great effort and success! Every single one of them did incredible! Overall, our dear friends took first or second place in everything they did! How crazy is that?! We didn't even have to train them, they came as natural winners! 
When we walked into the stadium there was such a special, irreplaceable spirit of love and joy that could be felt that I will never forget. What a special day for me. I am so grateful to have been apart of it!

May we all be able to have and then to share the love and joy that each of my friends here radiate. It is my prayer that God will bless each of us with this pure love this week. 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Blessing- Week 36

I love this place. I should actually be careful with what I say. Edmond is a great place but to be completely honest, I can't say I love the place because it isn't anything close to home with the mountains but the people, wow, I definitely love them. 

Elder Morton and I had a great week!
Tessa, the foreign exchange student from Germany, told us that she had a dream several months ago and in this dream, she was back in Germany with her mom and expressed to her that she wanted to be baptized into the Mormon Church. We are working to help her build her faith that there is a God who is our Father in Heaven and she is indeed one of His daughters which will help her progress to be able to be baptized. 

Michelle, my dear friend from Edmond 3rd, was able to go to the temple this week and receive her endowment and I was so fortunate and blessed to not only be invited but to be allowed to go and be apart of this monumental step in her eternal progression. I am so grateful for the temple and the sacred ordinances, spirit, and truths that take place and are learned and felt there.

General Conference this weekend was absolutely wonderful! I know that there is truly a prophet on the earth today and that he is Thomas S. Monson. Christ himself stands at the head of this Church and leads us through those He has chosen. I loved all of conference and every message was so powerful and evident in my life and I look so forward to being able to review them again and again. 
There were so many favorites I couldn't choose but one point that particularly stood out was the exaggeration on the fact that we are sons and daughters, children, of God our Father in Heaven. As I pondered this thing that so many of our leaders hit on, I realized the truth of it. I thought "Wow. When something happens in my life, in my service as a missionary, in my day to day experiences, do I ever say, 'Hmm. Well, I am a son of God. I know what I want and I know where I am going.'"
The simplicity is, for me, often deceiving but this truth brought a new and added increase of joy and fulfillment to my soul. 
I considered this scripture that President Uchtdorf touched on "Seek and ye shall find" (3 Nephi 14:7, Mathew 7:7) I also found in my own studies this powerful truth "God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Am I always seeking joy and cheerfulness? If I am, I will certainly find it. I have been given much. I have been given the blessing of membership in this Church which brings knowledge of the Plan of Happiness and Salvation, the gift of the Holy Ghost, blessings of the temple, blessings of tithing and health and all of the commandments. I had to read a hymn and ask myself "Because I have been given much, I too must give. Am I doing that?"
It is my resolution to give with a new found spirit of joy and cheerfulness because there is really only one thing to find sorrow in-the idea of losing one or more of our brothers and sisters. Everything else should and does cause peace and joy. 
I am grateful for the Savior who, with our Father in Heaven, are the ultimate givers and have given or desire to give everything they have on our behalf.

God bless you and may we always keep the faith,
Elder Ricks