I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~3John 1:4

With three of our children now serving in three different countries around the world, we thought this would be the best and easiest way for our friends and family to follow them on their journeys and watch as they learn, grow, and share their experiences. Lance is a combat medic in the US Army and is deployed to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Air Assault, Nicki is serving an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in New Mexico, and Hunter is serving a two year mission in Honduras. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Growing Pains!

This week was pretty good. A lot of growing pains. Figuratively speaking of course (I'm pretty positive I won't get any taller). We were glad we made it to the end of the week. Yesterday we were looking back on the week and it seemed so far and like so much happened. We both got bad news letters and that really set us back. But! The good news about that is that we did service and it was awesome. It's amazing how much a little service can do. We now volunteer at an assisted living home. Basically we just hangout with a lot of old ladies. We got to color last week, and just talk with them. There's this one lady who is actually a member but she's hilarious! She'll play peek-a-boo with us for a long time and stick her tongue out. haha she stole Sis. A's scarf. It makes me excited for when I get to be really old and crazy, and do whatever I want just cause I'm old haha, it'll be awesome.
One of my favorite people in the ward is moving to Utah in July. It's still a long time so I'm not that bummed but I'm slightly bummed. We have FHE with her every Monday. She basically teaches us, she has a lot of awesome insights. She's kinda scared to move to Utah because of all the Utah Mormons. haha There is a difference between Utah Mormons but maybe not the difference that she is thinking of. New Mexican Mormons are pretty great! I guess there shouldn't really be a label. Mormons are great!
We decided that we are going to start riding bikes more! It'll help us talk to a lot more people and it'll also help me belly get smaller. It'll be pretty fun! And the weather is so nice outside most of the time we always want to be outside anyways. I'm kind of excited to ride bikes again. haha hopefully I won't sweat as much in the spring as I did in the summer. haha no one would let me in if I looked like that. Or maybe everyone would.... hmmmm
We started teaching this older lady, Hilda. She moved here in like the 50's from Germany. Her husband died a few years ago. She's pretty awesome! She has a German accent and she's super nice, and she doesn't dress at all like she's almost 80. The hardest thing with her is that she doesn't want to change religions at her age. That's pretty much her only excuse, but she promised she would read the BoM and we're 90% sure she's actually dating a member. It's just meant to be!
I don't know if I told you last week but the vieatnamese investigator we're teaching went back to Vietnam for a few weeks but we got permission to continue teaching him through e-mail or skype. This seems like a simple thing. But it's a pretty big deal. We didn't think we'd get permission to even e-mail him. And then president through out skyping and we took it! It's actually a lot harder to teach over e-mail than I thought it would be. But it's still fun! He reads the BoM faster than I do! He's probably my favorite investigator ever.
oh do you know what way is best to get to lance? does he have an e-mail? And what is the new blog you made called?
This week we have exchanges :/ There are always awesome miracles that happen with exchanges so I'm excited to see some of those happen. haha I have faith that they will.
Oh! Last Sunday we decided to do a 40 day fast of things that don't really seem that bad but could be. We started with an actual fast for help to come up with a list of things that we probably shouldn't do anymore. Then we made a list and it was stuff like. no quoting non-church movies and no singing non-church songs. And a few other things. We really didn't realize how much we quote things until we stopped. Now we catch ourselves all the time. But it'll be a good experience. We read a letter of someone who did this and they said that they had the spirit with them all the time and it was soooo strong. But that was almost at the end of the 40 days. I know that this will help us in the work as it will bring the spirit even more into our lives. I keep saying we and our cause a lot of our goals are the same and we're helping each other out. I have a strong testimony of how being unified strengthens your testimony and progresses the work.  And I love Sis. A!  She makes it so easy to want to serve her as well as serve WITH her.
Tell Lance I'm sure he's seen some awesome sunsets and I want to see pictures.  Let's see who has the prettiest sunsets....New Mexico or Afghanistan.  Game on!  :)

I love you all!  
Sis. Ririe

Struggles Make You Stronger

Hey mi madre y mi familia!

It's crazy to think I'm half way down with the CCM!  Some days it does feel a little like I'm in jail just because they have razor wire all around here and it's gaited off.  Don't worry, Mom...it's just to keep us safe! My thoughts are a little scattered, so it'll probably sound like I'm just rambling off on stuff.  First, I just want to say I've learned so much here!!!  I have been reading the Doctrine and Covenants and it's been mind blowing!!!  It's like the scriptures are like, hello Hunter..ready to have your mind blow by spiritualness???!!  :)

The other day we had to do a role play and I had to pretend I was teaching an investigator who has having problems with the law of chastity.  I shared with them Mosiah 20:11 (the scripture that Mandi stamped on my coin that I wear around my neck) and I told them what Bishop Benjamin and shared with me about the scripture.  The spirit was so strong that the sister I was "teaching" was in tears.  She later came up to me and thanked me for my testimony and said she thought that scripture was really cool and that she didn't know if I gone through some of the same problems that she had, but that scripture helped her out a ton.  So bonus points for Bishop Benjamin (and maybe a couple my way for actually remembering it)! haha  It was also kind of nice to know that maybe people struggle with the same things that I do and I'm not alone. It reminded me of a quote from a movie, and Lance and Tanner this is for you, "Tonight I will fight the 7 strongest men in town...maybe the world.  And our Heavenly Father will be in the ring with me.  And we will win...!"  They'll like that.  And tell them it kid of relates to the scripture.  :)  LOL...I told you my thoughts were kind of scattered and random today.

Best news of the day!  Other than your email, of course...  There is a rumor going around that you can order Crispy Cream donuts on line and they will deliver them to the CCM!!!  If that's not true I guess I'll have to go to my outside source for donuts!

Tell Den and Lance that Montai Te's sister was here at the CCM and left last night.  I got to see all the Polys do a haka and sing goodbye.  It was pretty cool.  Mom, Montai Te is the football player from Notre Dame that was in the news a while back..  Ask Den for the complete story.

I've discovered it takes three weeks to receive a letter from home, so I think I should see yours and Mary's letters soon.  I hope.

The language is alright.  It's kind of progressing, but it will come in time.  Speaking of time, my time is out and probably well over, so tell everyone that I love them.  And also tell Tanner that 9 months will go by quickly.

You guys are awesome and I'll mail you next week!!!

Mucha amor,
Elder H. Ririe

Friday, February 21, 2014

Come what may, and LOVE it!

I saw this picture today and it reminded me so much of Lance.  One of his favorite quotes, and something he tells me OFTEN is, "Come what may, and LOVE it!"  This picture is so him!  I've never seen a kid that smiles as much as he does.  It doesn't matter what sort of day he's having.  And even though he'll sometimes try to fight it, he still usually finds a way to smile. LOL... even he he has to fake it, he'll find a way.  He reminds me that there is ALWAYS something to smile (and laugh) about.  I can picture him in the "sandbox" smiling at some of the most beautiful sights and trying to make others smile during the most horrible of days.
I love you, Bud!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

Are you really there?

I have to share a sweet story for the week.  So last Saturday night (which with the 11 1/2 time difference in Afghanistan is really Sunday morning), "Nerm" (yes, that's a nickname...and yes, he really DOES like it!)..anyhow....  Nerm was saying family prayer.  As he was asking special blessings for each of his brothers and sister, when it came to Lance he asked that Lance would be able to find a way to go to church and that he would have a desire to go and be a good example to "his guys".  The next morning (which again, was Sunday night in the "sandbox"), before I even got out of bed, I get a text from Lance that simply said, "Awesome!!! Made it to church today."  :)  I let him know what Tanner had said in his prayer the very night before.  He said, "He's awesome!  I really miss that kid!"

I hollered for Tanner to come into our room so I could show him the text.  I have never seen his face light up so much!  He said, "I KNEW my prayer would be answered!"

So....for any of you that may be wondering, "Heavenly Father, are you really there?",  just ask Tanner.  He will undoubtedly tell you YES!  He is there, and He hears and answers every child's prayer!  How grateful I am for the love these boys have for each other and for the love our Heavenly Father has for each of them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Because if you can't laugh at yourself.....well.....

Oh how I miss how she makes me laugh!

Hey Mom and Den!
So the transfer news is that we are both staying. Which I'm really excited about. We get along really well and we're starting to teach really well together. So that was really exciting when we got that news. haha so here's a funny story. Transfer calls can come anytime between 9:30 and 10:30 so we're sitting on the couch at 9:30-10 and the whole time I have to go to the bathroom and Sis. A won't let me go cause she says they're going to call if I do. So she finally gives up cause she really really needs to...well.... We both run off to the bathroom (we have different bathrooms) as soon as we both sit down the phone rings! So I'm kinda thinking that Sis. A is messing with me and I'm super nervous anyway so I'm kinda yelling and then I found out that it was the DL on the phone. So I start freaking out more cause I don't want to here the news through the bathroom door. She finally comes out and we get the news that we are staying together. It was pretty awesome, we were really excited. Pretty much our whole zone is staying together. 1 Elder left and they're opening a new area out on the res.
This week was a pretty good week. We're working with a lot of less actives and most of them want to start coming back. In fact! one did! She hasn't been to church in at least 20 years and she came this Sunday! We were super excited! She's the one who may or may not have a split personality. So she's hard to work with cause you never know if she's telling the truth or not. We were going to stop focusing on her but it ended up paying off in the end!

This week we have an appointment with a referral that we've been trying to contact for the longest time. We're super excited about that. And it's a whole family! I've always wanted to teach a whole family. So hopefully they are all still interested. Well I'm really hoping. That was actually my birthday wish. shhhh don't tell.

Nothing way too exciting happened this week. We've just been chuggin along keeping up with our appointments. Today we saw a former investigator, "H" and she still reads the BoM .  Well she's like 80 and kinda on the lonely side. She basically told us her life story today and it's pretty crazy. We're going to go back and see her sometime soon. haha She's the nicest lady ever! on our way out she gave us a huge bag of trail mix and a big bag of lindorff chocolates and 2 huge bottles of aveeno lotion. haha she's awesome.

Okay, so one more funny story.  It's just been that kind of week.  So there is one gated community in our area. And it can be pretty tricky to get into. We were lucky enough to follow someone in on foot. We felt pretty cool. Then we go and try to contact someone, and he wasn't there, so we have to get out of the community. Which is the tricky part.  We see this car coming in and we start walking briskly but still trying to keep our cool. We didn't want to make it too obvious that we snuck in. So after she passes us and turns the corner a bit we start running. The gate is closing, it seems faster and faster by the second. I'm not thinking I'm going to make it in. My companion gets through with ease, we're both thinking that we're going to be stuck on opposite sides of the fence. But then I gather all the strength I can muster and lunge through and make it. In the process my sunglasses fell off  so I had just enough opening to reach in and grab them, put them on and walk it off. It's safe to say that we are cooler than Indiana Jones.

I love you all!  Have a great week!
Sis. Ririe~

Week Dos!

Dennis and I were just talking on Sunday how it's barely been two weeks since Elder Ririe left, but it feels like a month.  Here's a little of what he had to share today.  He's not a man of many words, so when we say a little..that's just about what we got.  But it was more than enough!  We knew he was destined for greatness!  (And I will never get tired of his exclamation points!!)

Hey Mom!! This week has been great!  Sooo much to talk about in soo
little time hahaha.But first off. I got called to be a zone leader!!Its crazy and its crazy just how much stuff I'm doing.  Between clase y
zone leader stuff I'm super busy. But I am learning the language better now.  When Nicki talks about missionary brain, she's right.  Because right now I can't think of a single question you asked me in your letters or anything to even tell you except for I love it here, the church is true, and Tuesday is Costco pizza day!

Mom, thanks for finding a way to get me some contact solution.  I'm not sure how you did it but one of the hermanas talked to me and said she can refill mine anytime.  See, having faith in Jesuscristo y a dios all things are possible!  Since I've been Zone Leader I've had many people in my district telling me thank you for your hard work and your spirit. I don't feel like I'm doing that much and my spirit is just the same as everyone else's.  We had an awesome district meeting last week about why we are serving missions.  It was really awesome!  The spirits is super strong here!  I love it!

Tell Nerm I shared his philosophical quote and everyone loved it.  Tell him to keep coming up with more!  I need thoughts I can share with other districts!  

I can't believe how much I'm learning and how many different things I'm learning.  Like, did you know the Chinese Philosopher Confucius lived during the same time period as Lehi and Nephi?  I thought you might find that interesting. SPIRITUAL MIND BLOWN!!

Letters in my mailbox would be great.  The record here for one day is 7 and I want to show them I can blow that out of the water!  You can even send them all in one big envelope.
Believe it or not I was just thinking about one of your hugs, so it's funny you mentioned that in email today.  And I've been writing in my journal every day.  I haven't missed a day yet. Weird, because I'm just not much of a writer and have never really kept a journal.  But I kinda like it.  

Tell everyone that I love them and I have one week less to go so I'll be home in no time.  Mom, thanks for being a good example to me.  And Dennis thanks for being a good example and a great Dad!

Muchos Amor!
Elder Ririe

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Power of Prayer

I'm so glad you heard from Hunter so quickly!  He is going to absolutely love it there and is going to do extraordinary things.  I told him last week....people will say serving a mission is the best two years of your life.  It's not the best two years of your life...it's the hardest two years of your life, but one of the best experiences you will EVER have!  I have already learned more from these 8 months of my mission than I have at any other time during my life.

So this past week has been pretty good. We actually taught a lot and we had a ton of appointments and the members were really good about coming out with us and some of them even made the appointments with people. Which is kinda how it should work. or at least this mission's vision. 
We worked with a lot of less actives this week. Most of our appointments with investigators canceled. And one investigator dropped us. We were sure he was going to get baptized soon. He was just starting to quit smoking. We were kinda really bummed and frustrated that he dropped us. It really wasn't even a solid reason. Just that he went to a christian concert and thought he felt the spirit stronger than even before and that his answer was to just stick to the scriptures and stop meeting with us. I really think that he'll call us in a few weeks though. He was progressing and then just decided to stop, we weren't expecting that at all. So that was kind of a big set back.
This week I've really been able to witness the power of prayer. A family has been fasting every day this week for the missionary work in the area. Specifically for the members finding people, but for the missionary work in general. And it has worked!!! this week we really didn't do anything special or make a huge special effort. And a lot of set backs happened this week. But I firmly believe that cause the ward was fasting for us that we were able to have so much success this week. It's going to be a great month! I love this ward a lot and all their efforts. We just got a new policy in this mission. So we're expected to talk to 20 people everyday we call them oyms (open your mouth). you have to teach testify and invite. This is pretty hard already and then they announced this week that tracting doesn't count. Which is basically how we got our oyms so we have to be super creative in our contacting methods. I told sister Andrasko that we should hire godzilla to come here and do his thing. Burning down houses and crushing buildings. Then we open up the church as a place for people to stay and have to relief society provide meals. I thought it was a pretty good idea. We're still waiting to hear back. haha I think I'm a wee bit too creative with my ideas. But it's better than flying a kite at a park.
We were able to teach our Asian investigator again yesterday! He's so cool. He's one of the most prepared people I probably will ever teach. He read 14 chapters this week in the BoM! It's hard to get less active members to read 3 verses! He's awesome! He's going to be out of town this week but he asked if we could teach him over e-mail. Cause he'll be in Vietnam. Oh and his wife has a job interview in Virginia which he's super excited about and we are too cause we know he wants to live with his wife. We're just kinda bummed that might mean that he's going to move. We have mixed feelings about this situation. We come back from his lessons and we're so happy cause it went so well! It's basically a discussion not a lesson. It's so cool to see someone progress like he is! He is now able to feel and recognize the spirit in his life and how reading the BoM has improved his life. I love it! haha it's for people like him that remind me why I'm a missionary.
I love you all!  Pray always...Love, Sis. Ririe

Hola! From the Mexio MTC!

Elder Ririe's first letters from the Mexico Missionary Training Center!!!

Hey! I made it here safely! This is an awesome place! I found out that Elder Oaks will be coming here to dedicate this MTC!!! Our first plane ride got delayed for about an hour but we all made it to the next flight just fine! Oh and I like to use exclamation marks.... But my companion is Elder Haney and I cant remember where he's from. But I met a few elders from all throughout the country! Oh and I'll get you my favorite Missionary scripture soon... hahaha but anyway back to the elders...I found out that most of them are from Utah and are going to Honduras San Pedro Sula West!!! Tell Tanner that there are a few presents on my tv stand and tell him to take good care of them!!! This is just so awesome! I'm trying to make a long letter so I'll look like a good missionary son.. haha 

I love you all!  This is going to be incredible!

Love, Elder H. Ririe

Hey!!! so my p days are Tuesdays but I have not been getting the Dear Elder mails.  I got to see Elder oaks!!! Look for me in the church magazine cuz they interviewed a group of hermanas and elders and I got to be a part of that so I'll be either in the Engisn or the Liahona!

The CCM is awesome I love it here!! My distirct is cool also Elder Hayne is from Seattle Washington and we pretty much have the same exact taste in music. haha  Elder Havili (our DL) it turns out that he played running back for UCLA! Make sure you ask Dennis if he has heard of Havili . Elder Alberts is from Missouri and I dont know much about him, but those are my Elders from my district!!

Oh, can you please send some contact solution?!  I'm not able to purchase any at the MTC and I only brought the small travel size bottle.  

I'm sending those Dear Elders and ill try to share some with me district but tell every one that I love and miss them and ill be back in no time hahaha.

Love, Elder H. Ririe

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Home Sweet Home?

Just an update on Lance.  After five countries in three days he finally made it to his new home....Bagram Air Base.  Home sweet home?  He got there safe and sound.  He says the food is some of the best he's had in the Army to date and, yes Mom, he's getting three squares a day.  One of his favorite things about Bagram so far is his view of the Afghanistan mountains.  Would you believe he says it reminds him of home?  That kid and his mountains!  He's just now starting to get over his jet lag (it's taken about a week) and is keeping busy so far by volunteering at the base hospital and keeping the other bases in medical supplies.  They're still waiting for the rest of their unit to arrive so they can get their regular routines down.  He is able to send us messages via Facebook and has been able to Skype for just a couple quick minutes.  Internet is expensive ($90 a month) and is sketchy as far as service goes.  That's okay though, even just a "Hey Mom" goes a long ways!  He's already requested his first care package which consisted of deodorant (extra strength), toothpaste, and shampoo.  Afterall, no one likes a stinky soldier..haha   He is in good spirits and says to tell everyone hello.  His camera was smashed somewhere along the way, so stay tuned for more pictures.

We asked Lance how people could best support him.  His answer?  "Letters and packages are always great (for his buddies that don't hear much from home as well) and if y'all (yes, he picked up the word y'all) could fly a flag in front of your homes, well, that would be awesome!".

Love from Afghanistan - Spc. Lance Ririe

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

This Is A Test!

As I was setting up the blog and wanting to make sure it was up and running, I typed in the words "This is a test" and clicked submit.  My purpose was, of course, to make sure I had done everything correctly and to see if we were good to go.  As the screen of the finished blog came into view, the very first thing I saw were the words THIS IS A TEST! It struck me just how fitting those words were.

This is a test!  A test of our closeness as a family and our love for each other.  A test of our courage and most of all a test of our faith.  For me (Mom) it's going to be one of the truest tests of my faith I have ever had as I try to set my fears and doubts aside and trust that the Savior will walk with them daily, carry them when they need to be carried, and bring them all home safely. (And the same for us at home!) While it's a little sad to have them all so far away and for what seems like forever, and while we shed a few tears now and then (not nearly as many as I did last week!) how can we possibly be sad for having children that have chosen to go and do such amazing things?!  I am so very proud of them...and just as proud for Tanner who has one of the hardest jobs of all...staying behind at home (we'll call it Rear-D for those of you that know Army lingo) and holding down the home front while everyone is away.  

Just know, Mom will always be Mom, and she will have her up days and her down days...but hopefully mostly up!  We'll try to post letters and info on each one separately and share some of our thoughts along the way.  This is an amazing journey for all of us and at this moment I wouldn't trade it for anything! 

And to my children:
Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong!