Mom, it sounds like you had an awesome time in Salt Lake! I hope you had an awesome birthday! Dad, thanks so much for the pictures! Pictures are awesome! They make me so happy! Where is the one of you guys camping? I loved seeing Sami up on the four wheeler, I miss that little bugger! Sage too! The dogs here are gross and diseased, and we aren't allowed to touch them, so it was fun to see my buddies! Oh yeah, the one of Keagan was pretty cute too. ha ha She is adorable! (That was a joke to see if Ashley got upset!) Boy, I love that little girl! That's kinda the joke on the mission that missionaries are in love with their nieces! I sure love that little girl, and especially her smile!! You better be training her who Uncle Riley is! The little kids here are hilarious. I have so much fun playing with them in the streets, they are what keep missionaries going. That´s so crazy that you have so much corn! I would love to be there helping you guys with that! It's crazy how my take on things like that have changed. Speaking of which, Dad have you started searching for your bull? The hunt has started, hasn´t it? I sure hope you get a huge one. You deserve it.
So this week is going to be an interesting one. First, I had to speak in church on Sunday, and second, our P-Day got cancelled. We only get to E-Mail today because we went to the Temple last week and it took out of the time we could be working, so President asked us to make a sacrifice and work on our P-Day. I´m not gonna lie, I kinda had a Laman and Lemuel attitude about the whole situation at first. To me it kind of seemed like a punishment, but I have faith that it is really a blessing. If there is one thing that I really have learned while I have been here, it's that the hardest times in our lives are when we learn the most. Everyone has challenges. It's how we react to these challenges that define us. It's our reactions to these challenges that show the kind of people we really are.
I remember when I got my patriarchal blessing, and I was told there would be times of challenges. My initial thought process was ¨well that's not what I wanted to hear¨. Then I listened further, and was promised that there would come a time when I would kneel before the Savior and thank him MOST for my hard times. I am just starting to understand this. I have just started over the Book of Mormon, and am reading about the family of Lehi. The difference between Nephi and Laman and Lemuel is how they handle challenges. (It might have helped that Nephi was large in stature, ha ha). I am convinced that the very same principle is what ¨separates the men from the boys". I am going to try and apply this to my P-Day cancellation. I could either take the Laman and Lemuel approach and murmur and have a terrible day, or I could take the Nephi approach and have the best day ever! I am trying to take the Nephi approach.
A statement I heard in a devotional from Elder Holland has stuck with me ever since the MTC. He said (referring to missionaries, and I'm going to say to all members of the church) ¨How can we complain if the work is hard? The Atonement was harder than anything. If we expect to call ourselves disciples of Christ, how dare we complain at hard times. We will all have one 'garden experience'." This quote hit me really hard. It is so true. Although we never want hard things in our lives, if they come, I hope we will all think, "What can we learn?" Sorry, that was a lot longer than I planned on it being, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately. One last quote from Preach My Gospel, "Fear and faith cannot exist together". Think about that one, ha ha.
Anyway....back to what I was going to talk about! Our investigators right now are on a roller coaster. We are still waiting for First Presidency Approval to baptize Agapito. Every day when we pass by, he asks if he can be baptized yet. He is absolutely awesome. Mikael and his nephew Eric are kind of a roller coaster right now. They didn't come to church yesterday, which was somewhat devastating to me. I love those guys and don't want to lose them, but this morning Mikael stopped by and talked to us, and I think things are going to be fine. We have a bunch of other investigators right now, but I don't have time to talk about all of them. It's crazy how you get attached to investigators. Geez
So I found out Friday night that I had to give a talk on Sunday. That's really not enough time for a 3-month second-language missionary to write a talk! But I did it. The meeting was on missionary work though, so it was an easy topic. It went good though, and people understood me! The Spanish is improving! The part that was awesome was when the Ward Mission leader talked. He started off by saying ¨These are some really good missionaries, they are American, but good!¨ That kinda bugged us, but he went on to talk about how big of an impact our service (working in the mud) had effected him, and helped peoples opinions of the church change. The members are really stoked about missionary work and are giving us references like crazy. All the things the church donated, and the things it did to help out the people have really changed their attitudes. We walk down the street and people ask us if we can come share with them. It's pretty awesome, once again, blessing from a challenge!
Anyway this week, we have a party with our district to celebrate my 3-month mark, and on Saturday we are going to the beach to participate in the national clean-up day thing! I´m super stoked. I love service projects. Yes, I just said that. Anyway, I love you all! I pray for you every single day, multiple times a day, and hope everything is going good! I hope you have a great week!
Until Next Week,
(it's really weird that Riley already just sounds weird)
Word on the street is if you put your feet in cold water, it cools you down!
This is me trying it--it kinda works.
Us on the bus from the Temple. The driver missed the turn, so we ended up being in the East Mission for a little bit, which breaks like every rule in the book, but it wasn't our fault!
I´m somewhere back there! Look close!
Crazy clouds and the ocean!
Elder Reeder, Elder Day and Elder Stott