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!

Friday, March 28, 2014

You Know You're an Army Mom When...

My thoughts for the day ~Kim (Mom)


Your cell phone is never more than an arm's length away...and even closer in the middle of the night.

Not having any contact whatsoever with your soldier for a few days is enough to drive you crazy (and you can SWEAR you're REALLY going crazy!)

A green dot next to their name makes you do the happy dance!

Hearing "Hey Mom" on the other end of the phone brings you to tears EVERY time.

You spend each day trying to be tough.

Just when you think you're tough as nails, you melt into a puddle.

You didn't ask for this job, but you accepted it just the same.  And you're PROUD to do so.

Sometimes you find yourself crying in the oddest places:  WallMart, sitting at church, or just walking into the other room.

Your last good night's sleep was before they left for bootcamp.

You tear up when you see anyone in uniform.

You have finally resigned to the fact that Army Mail is delivered seasonally rather than daily.

Your soldier's version of pneumonia is, "I'm fine, it's just a cold."

You've learned the Army cure all is Ibuprofen.

Your solider starts saying Afghanistan reminds him of home and your feelings are hurt.  (Hell looks like home?  Really??)  Then you realize it's because he's learned to find the beauty in everything...and you cry all over again.

You realize the only thing that's quick in the Army is a Sergeant's temper!

You've seen first hand that the only thing quicker than a Sergeant's temper is Mom's temper when someone messes with the mail delivery!!!

You have a pair of his combat boots sitting in the living room and refuse to move them.

Deployment became a new swear word.

You can't understand why your soldier WANTS to deploy!  (You can, but you really can't!)

You try to smile when people make STUPID comments about your son deploying.  (ie, is that scary, aren't you worried, what war, just have faith, didn't you try to stop him, has he gotten shot at?)  Tsk tsk...come on people.  Be caring, yet sensitive.  We want and need your support, but please think before you speak.  Yes, it's scary, it sucks, it's his job, I'm proud, yes he's in God's hands but leaving it in God's hands is easier said than done, how can you possibly think I WANT to know if he's been shot at, and yes there IS a gosh dang war going on!)

You know Uncle Sam is NOTHING without his Captain America nephews and nieces!!!

You turn around every time you hear the words army, military, deployment, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia (the list goes on....you're pretty much ALWAYS turning around!)

One day you look around and realize you've been decorating in the colors red, white, and blue and never even noticed.

You know all of your soldier's friend's last names, but you have no idea what their first names are.

Your FaceBook friends have grown by the dozens and they're all military family.

The first people to check on you,  like your posts, or comment on your photos are your military family because they know exactly what you're going through....and though others love you just as much if not more so, they can't possibly know what it's like.

You can't understand why other moms cry about their child moving 20 minutes away or leaving for a college that's just a couple hours away and are pouting because they only get a DAILY phone call and they come home on weekends.  Seriously???  I have some big girl panties you can borrow.

You text your son to tell him it's raining cats and dogs (he LOVES the rain).  He answers back, "It's raining rockets here"...and he literally means it.  Then he quickly texts, "Don't worry, they're horrible shots!"

Your day begins and ends with a prayer for your boy.

Your son is your hero...and you KNOW the Army didn't make him that way, he's always been one of your greatest heroes!!!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Faith + Prayers = Blessings

Our miracle rocks!
A little piece of home and a reminder of "H"

So this week has been pretty great. We got to meet with "H"!!! He's so cool. So he took a vacation to a bunch of State Parks through out colorado and Utah. He said he was in Utah and he was thinking about us since it's our homeland. Then he started praying for us and about us. (keep in mind this is someone who has never had a Christian background/ really ever prayed before meeting with us) While he was praying he asked for help to pick out a rock for us. Since it's our homeland. And he likes to carry things from Vietnam with him. So he finishes his prayer and he looks down and there's a rock there he picks it up and it splits into 3 pieces!! Now we all have a piece of this miracle rock!! It's so cool!
We invited him to be baptized during this lesson and he said he's all for it. But he still hasn't told his wife that he's even meeting with us. So we're praying really hard that he tells his wife soon and that she'd be ok with him getting baptized. 
Another cool part of this lesson (this lesson was basically a highlight of my mission) at the end we asked him if he's prayed about the BoM to know that it's true and he just look at us weird and said "I thought when you felt the Holy Ghost when you read that it meant it was true, I have no doubt that the BoM is true. haha we were kinda speechless at that point. But it was so cool. We haven't met with him for a month and he's still progressing!!
It seems like a theme this week has been daily scripture reading and prayer. It's amazing what a little reading and prayer can do for your life. Heavenly Father truly blesses all those that do these things. It seems like everyone's lives just seem to go smoother when they read their scriptures. It's just kinda interesting how this kept popping up this week.
I also learned a lesson on acting in faith about your prayers. So we pretty much pray every time we get out of the car. We were walking to a less actives house to try and contact more people. I prayed that as we were walking we'd be able to contact someone and that they would be interested in what we have to say. Then we started walking up this street, and every time we walk it, it's usually empty. All the sudden we see this girl walking towards us. I remembered my prayer and to act in faith. So I made it easier to talk to her, first of all by slowly taking up the whole side walk so she couldn't really avoid us haha and lifting up my sunglasses super early. Then we start talking to her after awhile we find out that her husband is a member and that they just moved in a few weeks ago! We found a part member family before they showed up on the records! It was awesome! Then she gave us her address so that we could go talk to her again. 
This week was a pretty good week. 

Sis. Ririe

I LOVE Being a Missionary!

A cool thing that kept popping up this week was how much scripture study blesses your life.  We weren't really looking to teach a lot this week, but it just happened and we had so many people mention how much just a little study in the morning helps them focus on Christ for the rest of the day and how that helps them make good righteous decisions.  I was reading in Alma last night and he was talking about how he really doesn't know why they are keeping all these records, but Heavenly Father has a wise purpose for them. Well, that wise purpose is to help us TODAY.  The Book of Mormon was written for us, to help us live in this crazy world.  And to help us come closer to Christ.  It's just another testament of Him and what He did for all of us.  I love the Book of Mormon!  When you really get studying it you can get so much out of it! And it's amazing just how much the Lord will bless you as you spend a little time learning of Him. I am so thankful for the scriptures and that I get to be on a mission sharing what has made me so happy and what has made me closer to my Savior.  I love watching how people change as they read the Book of Mormon and feel the Spirit testify to them that it's true.  And I get a front row seat!  I love being a missionary!  The church is true!

Love, Sis. Ririe~

Yo Amor Honduras!

Hola mi familia!

Yo amor Honduras!!!  I LOVE Honduras!  I'm in an area called San Antonio that is about 30 minutes south out of the city (San Pedro Sula).  I love it here already.  The people are so nice.  It's a new area so we're spending a lot of time getting to know the members.  My companion is Elder Ramirez from El Salvador.  He speaks very little English and I'm still working on my Spanish, so we don't talk a whole lot.  But he does tell me every day that my Spanish is getting better.  It's coming along....I'm not worried about it :)  He has only been a member nearly three years and has been on his mission for nine months.  He's awesome!  Oh, and we have a baptism scheduled for April 12th already.  (We stole it from the other elders that transferred, but it totally counts!)  haha

San Antonio is a super small town that only has one paved road and that's the main street that goes through town.  We're emailing from a little barbershop that has some computers in it that sort of doubles as an internet cafe kind of thing.  Our apartment is very tiny.  We just have a bedroom, a bathroom, and a tiny kitchen.  With very BLUE walls!  All of the floors in the homes are cement.  We have a lady (I can't remember what you call her in Spanish) that cooks lunch for us every day and does our laundry.  We pay her what equals about $2 (I think that was it) a month.  She's very nice.  And, yes mom, I tell her thank you every day.  The food here is awesome!  Most everything is fried, but that's okay cuz that's how I can tell it's actually cooked.

It's super hot here already, and they say the rainy season just ended and the hot season is just beginning . I have two fans in our room . Fans are your friend!!  It's awesome when we can actually walk into somewhere that has A/C!

Mom, thanks for getting my debit card.  I can't believe it's here already!  Now, if you could please send a card reader (I cant send pictures home without it, but I really think you'll want some pictures!!) and some family pictures.  I never got the ones you sent to the CCM.  Oh, and some probiotics (I hear they're kinda neccessito and vitamins!)  I'm good on contact solution.  One of they guys that was going home gave me a bunch before he left.

I'm not sure what else to say besides I love it here!  Hi to everyone!  Den, if you could update me on some sports that would be bueno!  :)  Mom, never forget the hugs...haha  (I knew you'd like that).  Nerm.....you know!!!  ;)

Yo amor usted,
Elder Ririe

Now THIS is a service project!

Friday, March 21, 2014

M&Ms (Missionary Miracles)!

Okay, so many of you know the mishap we had with Hunter's bank account this week, which resulted in frantically (okay...make that controlled panic) trying to get a new debit card to him in Honduras. After two hours at the bank, an hour at FedEx, and $88 dollars later his temporary card (yes, I'll have to do this all over again) was on the way.  (Still working with the bank on the funds, but that's not really part of this awesome story!)  We sent the card on it's way, crossed our fingers, and hoped and prayed he would get it sometime within the next month or so. This was on Tuesday.

TODAY (Friday) early this morning I get a call from the mission president's wife, Sis. Dester, and she can barely contain herself.  She had to call and tell me that they received Elder Ririe's debit card YESTERDAY! She said it was a miracle in and of itself that they received it at all, but to receive it in two or three days?  Miracle!  The story gets even better!  She said it arrived with a batch of "church" mail.  That's really odd because it was mailed on different days from different FedEx locations and she said they NEVER receive other letters or packages with a batch of "church" mail!  Sis. Dester also told us that this very same thing happened to one of the other missionaries (with the same bank even) and they have been waiting weeks for their debit card to arrive and it STILL hasn't shown up.  She couldn't wait for Hunter's email day and just had to call and tell us.

Once again my testimony that Heavenly Father loves us, that  He knows each of us, and knows our needs and is always there for us is strengthened.  How thankful I am for this M&M (missionary miracle) this week!  Every time you eat an M&M from now on, I hope it reminds you of this little story and just how much our Heavenly Father knows and loves each and every one of us.

Miracles happen!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Miracles of Exchanges

(We're behind on our updates and posting Sis. Ririe's letters due to "Nerm" being sick and in the hospital.  Hopefully, life is returning back to normal.  Enjoy hearing from our favorite Sister missionary!!!)

We were able to teach a lot of lessons this week. It just kinda happened!  We do have a lot of solid appointments each week.  It's been cool to watch this area slowly get built up.

A less active member came to church and it was a complete surprise!  We didn't think she'd come for a very very long time.  She always said she would come or try to come, but never would.  So it's awesome that she's starting to come! 

We actually had an awesome lesson with her.  It was on exchanges (remember how I was telling you I wasn't crazy about exchanges, but for some reason some of the biggest miracles happen during exchanges?  Well...stay tuned!)  We saw her that day and she mentioned the she's trying to come back, but things keep happening and getting in the way.  So the sister I was with asked her if she thought about getting a priesthood blessing to help her.  And she said she didn't know if she was worthy enough for one (face palm).  The real miracle of this is that is was Thursday...and every Thursday night we have assigned priesthood from the ward come out with us.  So we stopped by later that night with the priesthood brethren and gave her a blessing.  Now for the really cool part!  One of the brethren is just starting to come back to church again.  (He's actually way cool and his daughter plays for a college in Colorado and he played a bunch of sports in high school and college.  Talking to him reminds me of talking to Den.)  He anointed the blessing and it was so cool!!!  It was the first time he had ever participated in giving a priesthood blessing.  It was awesome to be there for his first time and to be able to share in that experience.  The spirit was so strong.  It was just a cool experience all around!

Exchanges went really well.  We were able to teach a lot of lessons and this less active member opened up to us a lot.  Usually she doesn't talk at all and it's super hard to have a conversation, but she talked so much!!!  It was cool.  And probably a really good thing because Sis. Andrasko is definitely the better talker out of the two of us!  (Have I said how thankful I am for her???!!!!)  Like I said, there are a lot of miracles that come from exchanges, and that was one of them.

To be honest, this week has just kind of mumbled together into one blog.  But it's definitely improved!  Things are looking up!  

Oh...we figured out the creepiest game ever!!!  Peek-a-boo!  I don't understand why babies like it so much.  It's just creepy!  haha...It always gives us a good laugh though.  haha  Had to share our random thought for the week!

It's time for me to go!  Love ya, Mom!  I hope your week is good.  Den, I love you too! (I haven't heard from you in a while...haha)
Love ya!
Sis. Ririe

I Love My District!

Hey Familia,

Sorry I'm a little late emailing today.  It was district temple day.  The temple was amazing!  It's going to be closed for the next year and a half or so.  It's about 30 minutes from the MTC.  The session was in English (yay!) but it was still totally cool!

The food here is getting better.  There was a virus going around and I managed to not get it..which was awesome.  My companion, however,..ya...no bueno.  Poor kid.

Oh...I guess a uni-brow here attracts the ladies.  Yes, Mom, I'm keeping them trimmed.  Trust me on this one!!!

I can't wait for my package that is waiting for me at the mission home (ahem).  Haha..you remember the nerf guns, si??  Yes, I did get all 8 of the DearElder.com letters.  Some people were not pleased that all the mail was for me.  Speaking of mail, I was going to send Nerm a really cool scripture case but I don't trust the mail system.  And then they only fit the Spanish scriptures so it probably wouldn't do him much good.  I'll send pictures of the temple trip and stuff just as soon as I get a card reader!!!  (another big ahem..it's in the package, si?????)  Sis. Haney took a picture and sent it to everyone, so I'll be sure and include that one.

My first Fast Sunday here was super spiritual.  During our testimony meeting there was music blasting on the other side of the wall.  I'm not sure where it was coming from.  It was so distracting from the spirit of the meeting.  I prayed super hard that the music would turn off or that we wouldn't pay attention to it.  My prayer was answered!  After I said amen, none of us heard the music again until the closing hymn!  On Sunday nights they show a church film and this Sunday the film was the Joseph Smith movie that they play at Temple Square.  I got more out of that movie this week than I ever did before!  I kept on thinking that Joseph Smith went through all of those things (tar and feathering and all manners of persecution) because Satan did not want the church to be established here on earth.  Well...I guess maybe he learned his lesson..haha

Oh, after the movie I ran into Riker Healy!  Remember him from rugby?  I haven't seen him in like 4 years!  Such a cool guy!  I also met an Elder from Tennessee and it turns out that he and Lance were in the same YSA ward!  It was funny cuz he was like, "Ririe sounds familiar."  When I discovered where he was from and we figured out he might know Lance, I said that he was short, muscular, and he laughs a lot.  He said, "Yep, that sounds like him."  haha  No matter where I go I'm somebody's little brother!  I don't mind....honest.

I gotta run!  I'll email next week!

Yo amor usted!
Elder Ririe

Just a Day in the Life~

Life in Afghanistan seems to be pushing forward.  It seems like when it's busy it's super busy, and when it's slow everything seems to be at a stand still.  It's either go go go or hurry up and wait.  I think that's Army life for you in general.  Lance seems to be doing good though.....and still always a smile.  He never ceases to amaze me!  That kid can find a way to smile at just about anything (when he wants to..haha..wink wink Lance).  Something as simple as a sunset or seeing the unit dog walk through base, or even just a silly text from home.  Several different people have commented on how he always seems happy no matter his surroundings.  Not sure where he gets that from, but I'm so glad he's blessed with it!

We've been lucky to talk to him on the phone twice in the last 2 1/2 weeks or so!  I can't tell you how good it is to actually hear his voice!  Mom can tell a LOT by just hearing the sound of their voices.  And I can tell you he sounds awesome!  Tired...but awesome nonetheless!

He's on the left (like you couldn't tell!)

His latest request from home was the Tagalong (chocolate and peanut butter) Girl Scout cookies.  He said they're like gold there and you can barter and trade them for just about anything.  Rest assured they're on their way (along with all his other favorites, but he said for some reason the Tagalongs are valued most).  Go figure!

Nerm Sweet Nerm

It's been quite the eventful couple weeks at home.  Needless to say we're a bit behind in our updates.  So sorry!!  What can we say...duty calls and life happens!!

To start with, "Nerm" was really sick with a severe strain of E-coli.  He ended up in the hospital for a spell with what we thought was appendicitis.  Turns out three out of four doctors were fooled (too bad it wasn't even April) and it was infact that nasty E-coli bug. We're not sure where he contracted it, but it had to be either a school lunch (surprised??) or strawberries from WalMart (yeah, the latter didn't surprise us either!) Two weeks later and eight days of missed school and he's doing much better!  Back to school today and spunky as ever!  We're thinking he was just missing out on all the attention the others were getting and was reminding us he was still here.  haha