Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Blessing- Week 69

It has been a spectacular and wild week!
I really enjoyed the last couple days with Elder Thompson; he is a great missionary and truly one of my best friends and I am so excited for him to be down in Lawton! I've absolutely loved having Elder Dean here in the mix. His love, and passion, and powerful spirit, and humility, and humor are definitely to be enjoyed and admired and I already know I am going to learn so much from him as I have already done this last week.
Elder Stevens got emergency transferred Sunday night to another area:( There is a missionary going home for medical purposes and President called us to pull Elder Stevens because we were the only trio in the mission. I was so sad and will miss him a lot but I loved being his friend and companion and learned a lot from him and I am excited for him!
We've been staying busy and the area is really beginning to really picking up again which is so exciting for me to see and be a part of. We have a great vision for this transfer and have been in the closest communication with the ward leaders that missionaries have ever been with them and because of that we are about to see so many more miraculous events and conversions about to take place. We love these members and will give and do anything to help them to succeed and bring their friends the joy and blessings of temporality and eternity, both. Missionary work is the greatest work to be engaged in!
I really enjoyed our Zone Conference and meetings yesterday and found it to be of incredibly great value. I feel as though I received a lot of personal revelation throughout the meetings and I learned so much and really appreciated and loved the opportunity to be interviewed personally by Elder Sitati, of the First Quorum of the Seventy, after it all. What a spiritually uplifting and confirming day to be with a general authority, having such great spiritual depth and capacity and love. He and his wife both have such a special spirit about them and I was honored and privileged to be able to talk with Sister Sitati after the meetings and be personally interviewed by Elder Sitati.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Life is so good!!:)
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please be safe. You are in my heart and prayers.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Blessing- Week 68

Hello Everyone!

Transfers are this Wednesday and I will be staying here with Elder Stevens and Elder Thompson is getting transfered to...Lawton!!! So Elder Stevens and I are getting Elder Dean as our new companion and friend.:) I am so excited!! We had a great week and everything is on the rise so it is only getting better and better by the day!

We have been working on giong through our ward roster and becoming more familiar with all of the members, active and less-active, and trying to identify anyone that may not still live in the ward and as we were doing that one day, we came to one home and knocked on the door, a man answered and we asked if he was the member we were looking for. He told us he wasn't and that the Brother we were looking for had moved, so we thanked him and started talking to him and before long his girlfriend came out and we were talking to them for nearly 45 minutes. By the end of the conversation they were sharing with us experiences that they have had where they have been able to feel or even see and hear family members and loved ones who have passed on which gave us an incredible opportunity to teach them a little bit about what we believe and how we know that their loved ones are close by in the spirit world and how family can be together forever. It was an incredible conversation that turned into a powerful, spiritual, teaching and learning opportunity. 
We set up a return appointment and went back last night with one of the greatest members and had another great lesson. They, and we, are looking forward to our appointment on Wednesday and then game night at the church on Friday, which our member invited them to.:) They are progressing and have so much potential. I already feel so much love for them and their whole focus is on family.-Perfect!

Just one of many miracles from this last week, as always! I love this work and I love you. Have a wonderful week:)

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Blessing- Week 67

We had a great week riding the streets of the village! It's the best being able to jump on bikes and feel the fire of wanting to share the gospel with everyone you see. It is an amazing the people God is blessing us to meet and talk with and an even greater feeling to see Him blessing them as we talk with them. It just reminds me every time that He is there watching over me and is with me. 

This week we the whole zone is set the keys down for the entire week and only biking and it has been so cool some of the miracles that we and other missionaries have heard and seen from it. We're working harder than ever and I know this area is going to be blessed for it. Poor Elder Thompson was sick this weekend so Elder Stevens and I hit the ward roster and former investigators hard trying to set up appointments and plan for different things just trying to be effective and that led us to having an appointment with Brother Coffman last night. He lives right next to Kevin Durant's old house! He's an amazing man and has a 14 year old son, Henry,  who is not baptized. We connected with him really well and he is excited for us to come back. He has a testimony of the Christ and the Church but just feels bad because he goes to church and sees these completed families and wishes he had the same. Henry was really talkative with us too.

Earthquake Notification: Earthquake fun in OKC! We were sitting down in Brother Coffman's home and I feel everything start shaking so I start looking around somewhat frantically at everyone but no one else seems to notice anything so I play it off like I'm trying to be cool or something. Then, I look at the glass cup next to me with water and they were shaking and everything but the apartment/home we were in was right next to the highway so I was thinking "Woah, that must've been a huge semi that just drove passed!!" or something like that. Right after our appointment we got a text from a recent convert, David, who told us there was an earthquake and I said to Elders Thompson and Stevens, "I knew it! I knew there was an earthquake!!!" And they just started dying of laughter after I told them the story.. Looking back at it now, it really wasn't that funny. So I'm not sure if I just was more into it last night or told the story better than or what but we were rolling on the floor over the whole ordeal about 16 hours ago.... 

There is also another member, Sister Raindancer, in our ward who just barely got her grandkids out of a really hard family/living situation that we have met several of times and one of them is turning nine next week. He wants to get baptized and were going to start teaching him the lessons this week.

We also had interviews with President this week and it is always such a fun experience to be with him and his wife and to feel the spirit and energy they have. I love this place and these people!!

Keep the faith,

Elder Ricks

In correlation to what we have been going through in our area, and throughout my entire mission I found this and I absolutely loved it and find it so true:
"Don’t worry about being successful. We are going to be successful—there is no doubt about it. The Lord has sent us to earth at the time of harvest. He does not expect us to fail. He has called no one to this work to fail. He expects us to succeed. ...We cannot fail in this work. He will magnify us even beyond our natural talents." - Pres. Benson

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Blessing- Week 66

Happy Halloween!!!

It was such a great week to be a missionary! Yet again, we saw so many miracles unfold before us showing us God's power.:) Unfortunately, we had some canceled appointments, more rejection, and had to drop several of our investigators for lack of progression or interest. However, it was still amazing to see the hand of God through it all! We still have three really progressing investigators of great promise and motivation to learn more and to follow the example of Jesus Christ and we have several other marvelous individuals and families we have been excited about and hope to really help progress, we have an appointment with a potential investigator for later in the week that we are excited about and several other potentials and referrals that we are excited to follow up with and begin teaching! I'm are so grateful for so many opportunities to talk to so many people and have the privilege of sharing my testimony of Jesus Christ. I know He lives and stands at the head of this Church. He guides it and directs His work which I am engaged in. I love Him and hope each day to become more like Him in all I do and say. He has healed me, strengthened me, found me, enabled me, forgiven me, loved me, prospered me, and blessed and endowed me . He did all of those things the first time and He continues to do it day by day, even this very day. He will do the same for you. 

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Ward Trunk or Treat:

The Blessing- Week 65

Look at God's hand in this with me:
We have that incredible experience in finding Kristy last week, right? And then it gets better. We had a lesson with her and her 11 year old son Rueben on Friday and it ended up being one of the greatest and most powerful lessons I've had in the last year, and let me tell you, I've been able to witness and feel some incredibly spiritual and magnificent lessons that I am sure have been noted in the heavens, and our lesson with Kristy and Rueben is up near the top. 
Then, see, it gets better. Then they came on Sunday with an incredible family in the ward. Sacrament meeting was amazing. Kristy came with us to our Sunday school class, gospel principles, while Rueben was befriended by a boy his age who showed him the way to primary:) Kristy was making some incredible comments in class and if I didn't know any better I would have guessed she had been a life long, devoted member.
She asked us after class if she could go outside for a minute so we knew what that meant and went with her. As we were talking with her she told us that she hates smoking and that she wants to find a new/better way to cope with stress but up to this point in her life it is all she has known. We talked about the Word of Wisdom just a little bit and Elder Stevens bore his testimony and said "... the greatest reason why we don't do these things is so that we can have the Spirit more abundantly. When we put these things in our body it interferes with the Spirit trying to be with us and speak to us and comfort us..." She looked at him and you could just see in her eyes that she understand exactly what he meant and it hit her. Without delay she started walking toward the street and we all just kind of looked at each other in puzzlement. We watched as she put out her half smoked cigarette on the busy main street then kind of run back up to us. She said "I can't really explain it but I just couldn't put something like that out on holy grounds..." We witnessed a miracle in those brief moments, a change of heart and so much love and respect for God, our Eternal Father. I will never forget.
As we walked back in, taking her to relief society, we walked passed the baptismal font and she said "I was baptized when I was younger." (We were all thinking, man, if I had a nickel...) then she added "But, I really want to be baptized again, into this Church. It just feels right. I can feel something here. I can feel the Spirit of the Lord." nearly dumbfounded we stuttered a resounding "Yes, of course!"
She absolutely loved Relief Society and all of Church and was welcomed in by so many loving arms. After church we found her and Rueben both still in the relief society room talking with a couple women and Kristy told Rueben, "I want to be baptized again. I want to be baptized here. Do you want to be baptized, are you down?" He looked at her smiling and said "Yeah I do!"
Keep the faith Brothers and Sisters,

Elder Ricks