Monday, March 27, 2017

The Blessing- Week 87

It was a phenomenal week, full of so many miracles! Here are just two:
On Sunday, we found two students out hammocking and slack lining so we went and talked to them. Through the conversation we learned that Alice's father had passed away years ago but how she has always been at peace because she knows she will be able to see him again. We were blessed with an opportunity to teach and spoke of the plan of salvation mainly focusing on God's love, Christ, families, angels, the spirit world and the resurrection. The Spirit was so powerful and undeniable and we gave her a Plan of Salvation pamphlet. She turned to her friend, Liam, and said "I am going to whack Gordon with this, this is more than anything he's ever given me!" Turns out, Gordon is her friend and he is a member of the Church. She said that she was excited to learn more and that she had once told Gordon she would go to church with him Anytime if he would ask and take her because she didn't want to go by herself and she also mentioned how she had always been interested and had considered converting Several times... We were ecstatic about it all and were able to meet with these two remarkable girls on Wednesday and taught the Plan of Salvation more fully and then they attended institute with us asking remarkable questions throughout the entire night. I really believe Alice will be baptized and confirmed this next transfer and she will be the door for many, many more people to receive the restored gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. 

On Monday we hopped on a bus that goes from the heart of campus to where a lot of the students park and we split up and just sat there and talked with everyone we possibly could-it was so fun!!! Through it, we met a young man named Diego and we were able to meet with him this last week as well. It was incredible to feel the spirit so strongly with him as we had a beautiful conversation centered on Christ and on principles of faith, repentance, prayer, families, the Book of Mormon, prophets, and concluding with the Atonement. Because of the Spirit that was there, he shared with us things that he hadn't shared with anyone and it was such a beautiful experience to really minister to his needs and to feel so much love for him. We met again on Friday and had a similarly powerful experience. I just love the gospel! It truly does change lives and I have been able to see that starting with myself and continually seeing it for so many others around. 

Keep the Faith
Elder Ricks

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Blessing- Week 86

Well, OU was out this week for spring break which meant everyone was out of town so we were able to go around to missionaries in surrounding areas and serve with them in their area and it was such a neat experience for me! Absolutely a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to go around like that this last week.





Friday-Pauls Valley

600 miles, many laughs, stories, varying conversations, beautiful sunsets, and loads of memories later, we are back in Norman on OU.:)

I'll have to go into more depth on all of that next week because I have to go, but I love you and pray for each of you and hope for God's blessings and love to be poured out upon you.

Keep the faith,
Elder Ricks

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Blessing- Week 85

Hello everyone,

It was a wonderful week! Richard was baptized and he has been such a humble and penitent seeker of truth and light and it"s been a beautiful experience to be apart of and witness. He was baptized on Saturday and had a great turnout and so much support and it was particularly fun because it just happened to work out that there was a YSA dinner and dance which took place immediately following the baptism and he had a great time there as well being around so many supportive members who have become such good friends to him over the last several months.  On Sunday he was confirmed as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and received the Holy Ghost and was then, later in Priesthood, conferred the Aaronic Priesthood and ordained to the office of a Priest. After that he was interviewed again by Bishop Black and received a temple recommend and was extended a calling to be a ward missionary. We have talked with our ward mission leader and him and the ward missionaries and will all be making a trip to the temple to do baptisms for the dead on March 25 together and he will have his own family names to take. 
We met with him again this last Tuesday to talk about the restoration of Christ's church.-We had originally planned to pose several questions in regards to the restoration, watch the Restoration DVD and then have him answer those questions and we would conclude by inquiring of his conversion up to this point and inviting him to continue reading the Book of Mormon and to pray for opportunities to share something he learns from his studies with his family, friends, or someone of happen stance. Well, we came to discover that he had already seen that video 4 or 5 times previously so we certainly weren't going to watch that one again! We were just going to abandon the idea of watching anything at all but after we talked about the questions and he shared, with power, sincerity and love his conversion story thus far, we felt prompted to watch "Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story" and as we watched it we felt so strongly to invite him to pray to Heavenly Father and inquire if he should serve a full time mission. He was giddy in accepting the invitation. Neither of us had thought once about the possibility that he could serve a mission or about inviting him to find out if that is something he should do but we were so grateful for the promptings of the Lord through His marvelous Spirit and for the power and joy that we were all able to feel as this discussion was so led by the Holy Ghost. He told us then of his call to be a ward missionary and how he thinks that could be one of the ways that Heavenly Father will respond to his humble prayer. 
The Church is true, it is Christ the Lord's and he guides it through a prophet and on the earth today, who is Thomas Monson and also the apostles. The Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God, as is the Bible which I have a deep and abiding testimony of also. God hears and answers prayers and of that I am the beneficiary and a witness.

Keep the Faith,
Elder Ricks

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Blessing- Week 84


Richard will be baptized tonight and is thrilled for that experience! He will receive the Holy Ghost and be confirmed tomorrow and having already met with Bishop, will also receive the Aaronic Priesthood tomorrow so he can go to the temple in the next week if at all possible.
One of our dear friends whom we have been working with decided, without us ever even talking about the word of wisdom, that this week he is going to stop using all tobacco substances. To do this he has been preparing to fast not eating anything and only drinking water this whole week in an attempt to cleanse his body and also, and more importantly, fast and pray and increase in faith and spiritual strength to faithfully endure and overcome. As we were talking with him last night we spoke of priesthood power and giving blessings by that power, through the authority and in the name of God. He said he would like a blessing and continued by recalling an experience some time ago where he and some buddies had used a weegie board and had evil and negative and frightening experiences then and since because of that practice. He said this evil spirit has plagued him since and he has wanted, for a while now, no part of it. He told us that he was beginning to be really upset and angry and was heating up inside and felt as though he would pass out or wanted to get up and run away. Through all of this, we straightway stood and placed our hands on his head and gave him a blessing. If only everyone could have felt the love that filled the room, the matchless spirit of mercy and grace that was extended, the relief that was wrought and the peace that entered his heart and complexion and entire demeanor, all would know that, in very fact, God is real, the Priesthood is His power, has been restored by Heavenly Messengers sent by Christ and it is on the earth today being exercised by His servants in His Church for the blessing and salvation of His children throughout all the world.
I feel so blessed because I have been able to teach a lot throughout my mission and here on OU but this week we taught even more than usual on campus so I was especially grateful for those opportunities and had so much fun each time we were placed in a situation to be able to teach and testify of the reality of Christ and His Atonement and how He and His restored Church and Gospel have not only changed my life but shaped it and guided it and bless me daily with hope, joy, love, gratitude, happiness, trust, and in all a greater relationship with my Father in Heaven. At one point, we stopped to talk with this girl who we learned was named Grace and had a wonderful conversation with her which was followed by a man, named Michael, who approached us saying "You are Mormon right? Confession, there is a group of us in the engineering department who secretly love Studio C." We had a brief conversation with him and he left but it was so neat because he went well out of his way to come talk to us about that haha and then, Immediately after that we were approached by Helen who informed us that her friend is living in Rexburg, attending BYUI and just submitted her mission papers and began asking us questions so we went to the institute building and answered her questions and taught of the Restoration of the Gospel and it was such a powerful experience. There were three separate instances this week when someone that we had found and set a return appointment with asked if they could bring a friend so that was amazing and so fun as well. 
The list of miracles and opportunities goes on and on, etc. We saw and experienced so many blessings and tender mercies throughout the week and it makes me sad I can't share it all with you but know that God hears my prayers and He hears your prayers and He answers them. I know, with confidence and certainty that many of the experiences I am blessed to have and to witness are in response to your many heart felt prayers on my behalf and the missionaries all around the world and I thank you for them and promise they are felt and answered. 

I love the Lord, I love you, and I love this work.

Keep the faith,

Elder Ricks