Monday, May 23, 2016

The Blessing- Week 43

What a remarkable week and month Elder Santana and I have been able to have in what I would consider, as the Prophet Joseph considered of his own city Nauvoo, "This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens;..". Their strength and excitement and commitment to love God and serve their fellow man is contagious and riveting.

“Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. Whom God calls, God qualifies.”

We have seen this come to pass as we have served in the Edmond 2nd Ward.

This week, a dear member was at a charitable event and met a woman and sparked conversation and came to find out that she, Marie, was looking for a church. That very night, Sister Kinnison had invited Marie to come to her home and invited us to come converse and teach her. Marie is battling brain cancer and MS and due to the severity and complexity of the treatments, she has to choose which of these illnesses she wants to treat and which she wants to remain. She is one of the loveliest ladies I have ever met and during that visit there was such a powerful spirit of love and truth.

We have been teaching Tessa since I got to this area and this last week I witnessed, as Elder Robins puts it "the greatest miracle of all.." a change of heart. This week, for the first time, she professed that she believes in God, our Father in Heaven, and knows that He loves her. We asked her what happened, how she knew that was true. And with teary and joyful eyes she said "I don't know. It just feels right."

We had a family game night at the church on Saturday night and there was a wonderful family who we are desiring to bring back into full activity who came, the Helgenberger's came and even invited 3 of their friends and we had a great time with them there.

I wish I had time to go over every single miracle that I noticed and give God thanks for just from this week alone but I simply can't type fast enough. God truly is merciful, He truly does love us, and He truly does desire our happiness and success. I testify that this is a day of miracles and that God delivers them countlessly and beyond what we deserve.

Keep the faith my dear Brothers and Sisters,

Elder Ricks
                                                               Pre hair cut this week:

                                                                 Post hair cut:

The Blessing- Week 42

The Spirit of God

1. The Spirit of God like a fire is burning!
 The latter-day glory begins to come forth;
 The visions and blessings of old are returning,
 And angels are coming to visit the earth.
We'll sing and we'll shout with the armies of heaven,
 Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb! 
Let glory to them in the highest be given,
 Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!

I love this hymn! In fact it is, and always has been, one of my favorites and most dear to my heart. I like to look at it as the first verse is God's role/promise and the chorus is our role/promise. 
God has promised that He will hasten His work and I am privileged and honored to be a witness to such a promise coming forth.

This week, we had so many appointments and things planned! It was incredible! Then, on Tuesday, we had to take our car into the shop after experiencing some problems with the brakes. That left us on bikes for the rest of the week and unfortunately and understandably Elder Santana has arthritis in his knees and so biking long distances or at really fast paces just doesn't work out very well.  Nevertheless, he persevered and endured and we saw miracle after miracle after miracle this week. We had a total of 7 scheduled appointments this week that we ended up having to cancel and reschedule and in their place, God allowed us to meet Harry, Marcus, Kayla, and Illandra and her dad Elisio who we were able to find and teach this week as we were out walking and biking from place to place. Each one has a unique and powerful story to how God prepared them to receive our message and how we were led to each other. 
On top of that, we miraculously were able to go to Stillwater for the Special Olympics with my dearest friends and they did incredible!!

The blessings were flowing  out the wazoo even more than usual this week. God is great!

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Blessing- Week 41

Mother's Day: The Best Day of The Year. I have the most beautiful and wonderful Mother and the greatest family under the heavens. I am so grateful for the time I had to talk with Mom and Dad and Tyson, Carson, Ashlynn and Analee. What great love and joy comes to me from my dear family! 

Our weeks seem to be filling themselves. It seems to me that each week our schedule is becoming filled more and more with appointments even to the point that we are beginning to have too much work to do ourselves. We had an interview with our President this week and he mentioned to me that in a transfer or two he is deeply considering splitting our area for other missionaries to come partake in the work. It is a terrible but probably the greatest problem to have as a missionary-stressing over not having enough time to see everyone you need to.

I have one of the best teachers of the gospel as a companion so that makes our appointments even that much greater. He teaches so simply and powerfully and has already been a significant example and a great friend to me. 

I've talked much about the Helgenberger's, and lately have mentioned some of their friends; Kavion, Reggie, and his sister Gelina. (Like Angelina, but without the An.)

The Stake had a stake basketball tournament and Roxbert and Micrain invited 5 of their friends to go, namely Kavion, Reggie, Davion, Caleb, and Traci. We got to find them all rides to go and they had a good time. Kavion has made it to church the last two week and is progressing to baptism! Reggie couldn't quite muster the strength to get up in time for church yesterday despite Gelina's efforts to wake him but he is doing really well and she came again to church! We have struggled to be able to meet their parents and were even fairly worried if their parents would be okay with their children meeting with us but we finally got to meet their father yesterday and had a really good visit with him! We were able to go with a member to their house and it turns out that Reggie and Gelina's dad had actually met missionaries in Florida and knew a bit about what we believed. We had a good conversation and he is more than happy for his children to continue meeting with us and learning and progressing to be baptized as members of our Church. We were really worried going into it of how the parents might react but it ended up going the second to best way possible. He doesn't have anything against our faith but he doesn't really want to join organized religion right now. Getting the whole family would be the only better thing that could have happened. 

God is great, we are blessed, and all is well in this place, I call Zion. 

Keep the faith,

Elder Ricks

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Blessing- Week 40

Another wonderful week under our belts! I am left in complete disarray each week when I get to think about and see all of the blessings and miracles that Heavenly Father has given me and allowed me to witness or be apart of. 

Yes, there was a storm that hit us in Oklahoma this week and there were tornadoes around the state and the area. There was one Tuesday night just out of our area about 5 miles away from where we were at but thanks to God and His goodness, nobody was hurt by any of the storms and all is well. We were very well taken care of and stayed with the Skinners until the storm passed. We didn't even have to get into the shelter this time ! #blessings

Yesterday was the highlight of the great week. Last week, Reggie came to church but didn't make it until after the Sacrament was administered and Kavion didn't come at all. So this week we really focused on getting them to Church and making sure it was in time for them to feel all of the blessings of Church attendance and the sacredness of partaking of the emblems of the Sacrament. 
In preparations for this we; prayed earnestly, talked with them and set a sure plan, planned for a ride from faithful members (what a blessing to have their support!) and gave reminder calls the night before and wake up calls the morning of. Not only did both of them make it this week but Reggie's sister also came, who we had never before had any contact with, and a family in the ward had a daughter who invited her friend to come and Tessa came also. Heavenly Father didn't just grant us our desires in having Reggie and Kavion come but blessed us with so much more than that! The work truly is so good and God is even far greater. 

Miracles, miracles, miracles. They are everywhere! I pray that we might all be blessed with the spiritual eyes to see them all around us. 

Keep the faith, 
Elder Ricks

Tuesday night-> biking to the Skinner's when the severe weather watch alarm went off. 
Tuesday night-> with the Skinner's weather watching.