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, May 30, 2014

The Zone!

Hi Mom!

We FINALLY got to have an awesome P-day!  This is the zone at "the falls".  I'd like to say we hiked all the way up there, but since it's hotter than hot we rode in the truck.  But go right ahead and think we hiked it, cuz that makes it sound way cool!

Things are moving along slowly but surely.  The language is coming kinda slow.  There was one day last week that we went on splits and all of a sudden it was like I couldn't remember a thing. I couldn't speak it or understand it.  It was weird.  My DL gave me a blessing and I was much better after that.  I know I just need to work on patience, but it seems like I've been here a long time and should be to that point already.

We had a zone conference and President Dester pulled me out of a class just to see how I was doing. When we were done talking he asked if we could have a prayer.  He started the prayer and then stopped and asked if he could give me a blessing instead.  Sure!  It was an amazing blessing.  I love that man!!!

The work is still slow and it's still super hot. People aren't out much in the heat and there's a few hours in the day when we just can't do much. We do get these awesome amazing thunderstorms roll in though.  Oh man, you'd love em!  And talk about loud!!!

Elder R and I are getting  long much better.  He's actually pretty funny.  I think it was just that language barrier that was getting in the way there for a while.

I was great to get to talk to you all and "see" you on Mother's Day.  Nerm is growing!  And now mom is officially the smallest in the family...haha

I'll try to add more details next week.  Really, there hasn't been a whole lot going on lately.  Just know that we're working hard (we're good kids and good missionaries), we're safe, and it's HOT!  Oh, and I haven't seen my package yet but I'm sure it'll be here next week.  Hi to everyone for me!! And tell them to WRITE!!!!

I love you!  The church is true!!!  I know my Savior lives!!!!

Love, Elder Ririe

Obedience, Blessings, and My One Year Mark!

Sister Ririe hit her one year mark this week!!!  Yay!!!  Only 6 more months to go!!!

So this week has been pretty good. We've been really focusing on contacting people. Talking to everyone we can. We've been able to see a lot of success from it! We made a goal to talk to 5 people one day, and we had 4 so far, and it was after the hour we had planned to do contacting. But we all decided to try hard and reach our goal.

There's a certain skill to contacting people outside. You have to look ahead so you don't awkwardly cross the street to contact them, then they just get defensive. Long story short we ended up crossing the street 3 times just to talk to one person. We finally got to her and did some small talk and then introduced ourselves and it turns out that she was baptized like 35 years ago but fell away when she was a teenager. We were able to invite her to church and now we found a member! It was pretty cool. I knew that we would be blessed to reach our goal. haha more importantly I knew we had to find that one person.
This week there have been a lot of blessings from being obedient. Well I truly think they're from obedience. There have been small miracles all over the place! Oh and this week we have a baptism! I've been able to teach her a few times. It's a part member family, and the husband is going to baptize her. I'm so excited for her! She wants it so bad! I'm glad that I got to teach her a little bit. I know I was here to help her with one little concern. It was cool to be able to really relate to her with things I've been through, and be able to help her that way.
Another miracle of this week is that an investigator called us and canceled an appointment... which isn't the miracle. The miracle is that she told us she's prayed about the Book of Mormon 3 times and she knows that it's true!! It's so exciting! It's always a great experience when you get to see people realized the blessing that come from the Book of Mormon.
It was pretty cool to be where I'm at for memorial day. They didn't do anything big, or at least anything that I heard of. But we were able to contact a lot of soldiers and I was able to thank them for their service.
This weekend we had a really interesting lesson. It was with a couple and they go to a non-denomination Christian church. We only got through 2 points of the first lesson (not even to the good part) when they took over the lesson, and started telling us different verses in the bible that "prove" it wrong. It was an exhausting lesson because they wouldn't listen to anything we said. Which is kinda funny because they really were the nicest couple! It just turned into an argument, except we didn't argue. At the end they read some verse and told us to discern what it means for ourselves, and to really look at what we believe again.
Well I know what I believe, I know that this is the true church, I wasn't brain-washed into thinking that. I had to find out for myself. But I've been able to see countless blessings that come from this church and from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of Jesus Christ and through Joseph Smith, He restored His church and restored the priesthood. I know these things because I've prayed about them and received an answer for myself. I know that Heavenly Father will answer anyone's prayers, just like He answered mine.
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When You're a Soldier's Mom

On the day her son enlisted she became a soldier too.
It's a different kind of battle, one that she's not sure she can do.
The fears, the tears, the waiting, pride and joy when he comes home.
It's not an easy life, but it's what you do when you're a soldier's mom.

He still seems like her baby, and that will never change, 
Although  he's twenty-five now shooting rifles on the range.
Maybe he's a pilot, or a gunner, or a doc,
He's doing what she raised him to, with all the courage that he's got.

The day he was sworn in.

On the day her son enlisted she became a soldier too.
It's a different kind of battle, one that she's not sure she can do.
The fears, the tears, the waiting, pride and joy when he comes home.
It's not an easy life, but it's what you do when you're a soldier's mom.

She doesn't read the papers.  She doesn't watch the news.
She just wants to hear his voice, and listen for the clues,
That he is doing well, and has the time to sleep and eat,
How much longer he will be away, and how long till they can meet.

Skyping home!

On the day her son enlisted she became a soldier too.
It's a different kind of battle, one that she's not sure she can do.
The fears, the tears, the waiting, pride and joy when he comes home.
It's not an easy life, but it's what you do when you're a soldier's mom.

She doesn't pray just daily, but every minute of every day,
Asking God to keep him safe and if He'd somehow make a way,
For him to come home back to her, and she finally understands, 
How hard it was for God to send His Son, to a world that hated Him.

On the day her son enlisted she became a soldier too.
It's a different kind of battle, one that she's not sure she can do.
The fears, the tears, the waiting, pride and joy when he comes home.
It's not an easy life, but it's what you do when you're a soldier's mom.

Other folks will never understand the things that she goes through,
Waiting for a phone call or a letter and a chance to say "I LOVE YOU".

Only a mom who's paced the floor,
And has a Blue Star Banner on her door,
Will ever understand the price you pay 
When you're a solider's mom.

~Becky Shipp

Waiting to say goodbye at the airport!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Greetings from...EL PASO!!!

So I'm now in El Paso. I'm actually really loving it! The people here are a lot nicer. And I have some good companions. Oh yeah, I'm in a trio now. So there are 3 of us. Sis. Walker, and Sis. Smith (not the one that came out with me.) We have a lot of fun together. Sis. Smith is like our little sister haha. Sis. Walker actually came out with me, she was my stl 2 transfers ago. It's been really fun. We really work well together. This whole trio thing is definitely something to get used to. Teaching is a little different with 3 people. But so far so good. We're working out the kinks.
As for me and Megan's pictures. Life is too serious to be serious :) I'm pretty sure there are serious ones from my farewell, which I don't think you have... haha I'll have to send her some.
So back to El Paso. The ward I'm in actually borders Ft. Bliss. Or my area does. I'm not sure if the base has it's own ward or how that works. But everyone around here is either military or border control. (I saw Mexico!!! With my eyes!) I actually really love it here. The heat isn't even that bad. Well I just tell myself it's not that bad because I know it'll get worse. Besides I'm getting some really nice sun! I've gotten like 5 shades darker!
This weekend we got to do a fun service project. Make a wall out of cement and rocks. We all think they're really ugly, but they take so much effort to make! So now I have respect for them. Anywho, I got to mix cement for a few hours, it was fun!! I love service projects like that. I don't have a camera with me but I'll send pictures last week.
I definitely have to brush up on my Spanish here. A lot of people will pretend they don't know how to speak English. It's kinda funny, well we laugh about it. Then we try to make a contact with extremely limited Spanish.
One of the biggest miracles this week was that we went by to try a potential investigator and she let us right in. It was our first lesson all together, and it went pretty well. She was very receptive and became a new investigator. Our first lesson our first new investigator all in one. Then a member at church came up to us and told us that he works with her husband (who we didn't meet with) and he's been reading the Book of Mormon! So we're really excited to go back and see her again!
Another miracle. We were out contacting (we've done a lot of contacting this week) And we decided to knock doors with a certain attribute. (like a design in the rocks, a wreath, a certain car in the driveway) Since we aren't really encouraged to go tracting. So we knocked on this one door with an attribute and this girl answered, she had a lot of tattoos, we went through our approach and she seemed not interested at all. We gave her a card, then made a little small talk, the small talk turned into good talk. She opened up to us and told us about a traumatic experience in the Army. By the end we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and when we handed it to her she said "are you sure?" Like she didn't want to take our book cause it was so special. It was one of the coolest contacting experiences I've done. I learned not to pre judge anyone but just pretend that everyone, no matter what, is going to be interested.
We've definitely had a lot of fun in the sun this week. I'm glad to be here in El Paso. I'm excited for all of the adventures in store! I love you all!!
Sister Ririe
P.S.  No Nerm, no big Texas hat yet, but I'll get one JUST for you!  And we have a baptism scheduled for the 31st!!!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day! One of my favorite days of the year!

I couldn't miss them more!

Yes, definitely one of my favorite days of the year!  I couldn't possibly miss these nuggets more than I already do...and if it IS possible...then I definitely don't want to find out!  We were able to Skype with all three of them!  A treat, a blessing, and always entertaining!!!  :)

Lance Skyped earlier in the morning.  He was tired (after all, it was pretty late there) but he looked awesome!  (He'll no doubt insert something here like.....but of course!)  We were interrupted a couple times by a bad internet connection and some annoying whoever they were that were rudely shooting something or other towards the base and making the guys take cover.  We really couldn't tell anything out of the ordinary was going on, besides that fact that he'd have to  leave for a few and then call us back.  He was in "business" mode but Mom likes to think that's just because he was tired and not because anything exciting was going on!  He's doing really well and said to tell everyone hello.  He did text early/late the next morning and said he was off on a "mission" and would message us when he got back.  Not my first choice in a mother's day present..haha...but definitely looking forward to that message!  (Did that sound calm enough and like I'm holding together???)  ;)

Nicki Skyped around 3:00, which was perfect because Hunter had called the night before and said he would be Skyping in at the same time!!!  Family conference call!  It didn't work out quite that way, but that would've been legendary!  Nicki is cute as ever...still smiling and happy.  She received news that she was going to be transferred this week.  She was a little sad but at the same time she was expecting it.  I think Mom took the news harder than she did.  She loves the people in Taylor's Ranch and they definitely will always have a piece of her heart.  She did, for the very first time since she's been gone, mention coming home and even knows what time her flight is on Dec. 10th!  Could this be a sign that she really DOES miss us?!!  haha  We talked about pretty much everything under the sun from her area, the people, the food, music, hair...you name it and we pretty much touched on it.  I can't believe how she's grown in so many ways!  Still trying to decide if getting to talk to her and see her made me feel better or worse!  ;)  Definitely made me miss her more.  I LOVE having a daughter!

Hunter is doing awesome!  He looks a little on the thin side, but he promises he's eating.  He said most of the foods there that are safe to eat are fried and his stomach isn't so much used to that.  He said Honduras is beautiful, but he never imagined he could be so hot!  There are hours in the day where they're limited to what they can do because of the heat.  He said the San Antonio area he's in is pretty dangerous and he's not allowed to go anywhere without a Latino with him.  There's lots of drug gangs there.  If that wasn't enough to make Mom a little nervous he said, "I need to find some bleach before Sis. Dester comes over so I can clean the big blood stain out of the shower!" I said, "What?!!!  What blood stain and how did it get there?"  He said, "I don't know and I'm afraid to ask, but it was here when we moved in and I don't want Sis. Dester to have to see it."  Ewww!  He said a lot of the people in the area do NOT like Americans and aren't afraid to show it.  His two requests?  An American flag (#1) and notes and letters from family, friends and ward members back home.  He said that would make all the difference in the world.  Other than a couple letters that have made it there from Mom, he hasn't received any letters in the mail.  He said words of encouragement are GREATLY appreciated!

Of course, I didn't want to say goodbye to any of them...and it's going to be a LONG seven months (yes...SEVEN months!) until I can talk to them again.  And Mom may or may not have cried for a bit when we had to disconnect....but it didn't last long when I remembered why they all are where they are and all the things that brought them to this point in their lives, and how much they're learning and growing. Though I couldn't possibly miss them more, I am incredibly proud to be their mom and am so blessed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our first "official" family letter! And pictures!!!!

Thrilled beyond words!  And Mom definitely did the happy dance (video to follow if she hasn't deleted it by now!)  He's so sweet and doing great!  He had a little something just for -  how did he put it, "encouraging words to those of the current household".  haha - that kid!  His advice to Tanner is my favorite part.  That and his testimony.  I'll never get tired of hearing it!  Here's just some snippits from his letter:

First off, I just want to tell you that you are awesome!  And when you got to Moroni's Quest (youth conference) don't be a Laman or a Lemuel.  Be a Nephi!  In other words, don't murmur and stuff like that.  I only say this because Moroni's Quest is when I gained a stronger testimony of the Book of Mormon.  And that's when I knew that it's a true book.  So when you go, "liken the scriptures" (1Nephi 19:23) to yourself.  And lastly, remember that you are never alone.  Heavenly Father is there with you, even when you think you're alone.  And He knows what you are going through.

Thank you for never giving up on us.  I am glad that I am here and I know there are days that are going to be hard.  I have never felt the spirit so strong and I know that my testimony has grown.

I don't know what to say because I get to email with you every week.  Just know that I am just fine.  I know there are going to be hard days, but remember to be thankful for those hard times (more proof that I was paying attention in conference..haha).  Mom, I know that this is the true church.  I know that God has called me to help share His gospel.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God and if we have a question I know we can turn to the scriptures, and with a sincere heart we can find our answers.

Love, Elder Hunter Ririe

Happy Reunion!

Surprise!  And the biggest running hug EVER!!!

This week was awesome! Yesterday we got to go to the temple! Oh man I love that place. It still amazes me every time just how peaceful it is. Even as you drive within the gates there's a peace, that peace just grows more and more the longer you are there. Temple day came at the perfect time, just when I needed it the most. Missionary temple day is always fun because after a session you get to go in the sealing room and President Miller gives a little devotional. I felt like he was talking just to me during the whole thing. And I got to see Sis. Andrasko again!!! Oh man I've missed her so much!! It was so great to see her again. And it was a complete surprise!
Yesterday we felt like we should see a former investigator. We were walking up to her apartment and she was there on the porch smoking, we mentioned we were missionaries and she said she was actually just in the middle of a prayer. She was sitting there praying and we just walked up and talked to her. It was awesome! I love it when things like that happened. Her prayer was answered really quickly! haha.

This week I've been able to witness just how much the gospel does bless lives. I saw this by seeing someone who chose not to meet with us anymore. We used to teach this guy pretty regularly then he decided he didn't want to go to church anymore because he took pleasure for happiness. Anyways, we finally got a hold of him, we decided we would keep in touch after he dropped us. He was a totally different man from when I met him in January when he was trying to learn the gospel. His countenance totally changed for the worst. I almost couldn't believe that it was the same person. He was swearing a ton, and talking about messing with his neighbor just for fun.
It was sad to see this downfall in his character but it strengthened my testimony even more that there are so many blessings that come from living this gospel and from continuing to learn, by reading scriptures and going to church. That is exactly where true happiness is found. Not through worldly pleasures, that give you a quick fix, but from learning of Christ and becoming closer to Him.
Well I hope you all are having a great week. Love you!

Temple Day....my favorite place to be!