Friday, September 30, 2016

The Blessing- Week 61

Hey everyone! I hope you are all happy and well:) 

We had a really great week filled with a lot of miracles. Here's a couple for you with the Stanforths and Jenna:
The Stanforth family moved here a few months ago from Washington and are a part-member family. The father is not a member, the son, Nick, did not have the Priesthood, and one of the daughters was dating a young man named Franklin who was not a member that moved here with them. Franklin had met with the missionaries in Washington twice before coming here and we were privileged to teach him and help him to be baptized about a month and a half ago. The weekend prior to this last one, Franklin received the Aaronic Priesthood which is a monumental thing for this family to have a worthy priesthood hodler in the home to be a blessing to them. The son of the Stanforforths, Nick, who is 12, decided he wanted to receive the Priesthood several weeks ago and received that yesterday as well. This was a miraculous answer to a loving mother's humble and fervent and patient prayer. Franklin, Raylin, and Sister Stanforth did family history and went with the ward to the temple to do baptisms for the dead and took their own names and some of Elder Palmer and my family names that we have found. They said it was such a powerful and beautiful excperience and we got to feel that and share that with them. Wow, so blessed! 
Sister Stanforth, however, is not only now grateful for all of these blessings and miracles but is an incredible member missionary and has friendshipped this great mother we have been teaching who's name is Jenna. Jenna, when we started teaching her a month ago, she wasn't necessarily living the word of wisdom, law of chastity, and some of the other commandments but in the last month she has abandoned drinking, is cutting back significantly on smoking, has attended church, has become engaged with her boyfriend and is reading and praying every single day! It has been a huge transformation and so many miracles! She also committed to be baptized and progress towards a date. She loved church and Relief Society was her favorite part being with all the other ladies who as she said, "They are my kind of people! They were thinking like, about the same things as me and what I believe. I just got all tickled over it and was ranting and raving about it with anyone who would listen! Matt (the boyfriend) was so intrigued by how much I loved it that he is talking to his manager to try and get Sundays off work so he can come check it out.". Anyways, Sister Stanforth became one of Jenna's new best friends and is already helping Jenna so much. It has been a beautiful conversion to witness. We are so blessed here in Lawton!

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

The Blessing- Week 60

It was a miraculous week!!! WOW! God is incredible. I know that He lives and that He loves us so dearly and desperately and desires nothing more than our happiness and progression to eternal life. I have seen and felt the reality of each of these truths.
I'm out of time but I love you all and hope and pray for your happiness and success.
Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Sister Dopp, Sister Grossgebauer, Private Crosby, Elder Ricks, Private Dickerson
I love this simple and pure ordinance. What a privilege and a blessing to be apart of such a glorious work!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Blessing- Week 59

Hey everyone!!!

Elder Palmer, like always, is stunning. I'm so blessed to be his companion! He is always striving to do and be more and accomplish greater things and I so appreciate that. He has been a great example to me and I learn so much from him. I feel and believe that he truly is training me!

We saw a lot of miracles this week but I would say that one of the greatest was definitely on Tuesday afternoon. Last Saturday night it was about 8:40 p.m. and we were not about to call it in early so we were just walking around our apartment complex and something urged us to check out the laundry room. We've never been in there so it was a great excuse to be able to talk to a couple coming out but we still had time after that brief conversation so we went in and lo and behold there was a guy we had actually OYMed several months ago but he had been to a military training for a couple months. He beckoned to us and we got to go talk with him and invited him to come to church and he agreed. On Tuesday we had a lesson with him and taught him more fully the Restoration. He agreed with the things being said and quickly accepted an invitation to be baptized on October 9th. During that very lesson, we received a text from a new investigator we had just met the week prior and given a Book of Mormon and she said in her text, "I feel like I need to read the whole Book of Mormon, & pray for guidance; then have you come. The more I have prayed, the more I feel I need to have more knowledge. I read the whole pamphlet, and I'm a quarter of the way threw the Book of Mormon. I will definitely ask you to come visit me once I have completed it. Thank you so much for all of your time and guidance. I look forward to our visit." That hour could not have gotten much better between those to miracles at the exact same time. We went with a member to see Jemal on Saturday and it was remarkable. He is so prepared and anxious for the gospel and its blessings.

Great things are happening in Lawton!! As President Mansell said in response to our weekly emails last week "Heaven in Lawton baby!!"

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Sister Grossgebauer, Private Buffum, Private Provenzano, Elder Ricks. This was after Provenzano was baptized and confirmed! He is incredible. I was so very blessed to be able to teach him the last month at Fort Sill and help prepare him for his baptism! What a great new friend:)

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Blessing- Week 58

Everything is easy breazy miraculous down here! We see soo many miracles everyday. We talked to and taught a lot of people this week and saw a ton of miracles throughout the week.

Our area focus/vision for this transfer (and hopefully to continue building forever) is to have phase III member missionary work-where members become the source from which new investigators are found. 

Yesterday was labor day and Elder Palmer and I invited over 70 people to attend church with us this week. The majority of them even agreed to come! I was at Fort Sill so Elder Palmer got to Church and called and texted everyone (solid investigators/members and more flaky investigators/members alike). The past couple months we have had great success in getting quite a few investigators and less active members to come to church with us. Of all of the people we are working with there was 1 less-active member that came. We were kinda bummed about that! We were still grateful that he came but we were just trying to figure out what we could have done better because we know this area is capable of so much more than that.

Then, as we were transitioning from Sacrament Meeting to Sunday School, one of our members, Brother Gilliam, introduced us to his girlfriend that he had already given a Book of Mormon and who he had brought with him to church! Woah! How wonderful, right?! Her name is Larissa. They proceeded to ask us if we could teach them during the third hour. So we did, and it was incredible! The Spirit was so powerful and she has now committed to be baptized. It was such a miracle and a tender mercy and such an answer to our hopes, aspirations, dreams, prayers, and what we have been working for. Following that, the Sisters had a baptism that we attended with our newly found investigator and while there, we discovered that there was a young woman in our ward who had also brought her friend to church and we now have separate return appointments with both individuals for this Tuesday.

God is so good. This work is so true. And we are so happy.

Keep the faith!

Elder Ricks

This is Harry, we were walking through the apartment complex and saw that he was struggling to get his bike into his car so we offered to help! He is from Greece and was really funny! As we talked with him we taught him about the law of chastity with women and it was really cool to see his understanding open up. Very interesting man! He was going to the Burning Man festival and doesn't get back till tomorrow but when he gets back he wants to take us out for lunch and we are going to teach him and help him to be baptized and eventually go to the temple.

  Post baptism:Elder Ricks, Elder Palmer, Sister Dymock, Sister Bash, Sister Dopp, Hermana Hunt

The Blessing- Week 57

No weekly update today