Thursday, November 29, 2012

Week 15: Pampa, TX

¡Hola mis amigos!

So A LOT has changed in the Texas Lubbock Mission. Because of the new missionary age requirements, they are shipping new elders and sisters everywhere they can fit them. Our mission consisted of five zones and it has now been extended to NINE zones. Since there's new zones, leadership is required in them. I'm still in Pampa but I am now part of the Panhandle Zone and have been called to serve as a Trainer AND District Leader!! Which is super crazy because I just got done getting trained and now I will be training a brand new elder. I'll be picking him up tomorrow. 

My companion Elder Arredondo was called to be a Zone Leader in Abilene Zone. We also had a baptism on Saturday!! Isaac's baptismal service was AMAZING. He bore his testimony and just about made me cry... I have no doubt he'll serve a mission in a year...
I've been out on the mission for three and a half months already. The time is flying by and I love it. How was Thanksgiving for you all? Hope you all got STUFFED like I did. Haha We were at a couple of different houses on Thursday because everyone was basically fighting to have us over for dinner... Today Arredondo and I played frisbee golf (my new favorite sport) and of course I beat him so he now has to do the dishes. Sucker! It's his birthday today so we have a lot of celebrating to do..:) I'll be sending pictures hopefully later, stay tuned!!

With love from Texas,
Elder Rios

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Week 14: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Que rollo con el pollo! (What's up!)

      What a swell week here in the Texas Lubbock Mission! It was seven days of hard, hard work! A lot of knocking doors... We have to find new people to teach. A couple of funny experiences while knocking doors: [Knock, knock, knock] An old guy answers and sarcastically says, "Who do you represent?" Trying not to laugh I answered, "JESUS CHRIST." He said "No thank you." Haha Another door... [Knock, knock, knock] A reallyyy old man on a scooter answers. "Yes?" After introducing ourselves and what we do as missionaries he told us he went to the Pentecostal church. He told us "I like to loudly praise and leap and jump, rejoicing with my fellow brothers." I looked at his scooter and looked at my companion and smiled at him. Haha Now I know this sounds mean but he was being rude to us okay... 

(Our new, awesome autistic friend)

(He loves ice cream and chili)

So anyway, we are working on keeping our recently baptized family active in the church and also working to prepare three more people for the waters of baptism. We had a lesson with Isaac on Saturday and we weren't sure if he was still committed to his baptismal date of Nov 24th so we decided we were going to be bold with him and read in 2 Nephi chapter 9 where it basically says if you don't get baptized you'll be damned... Then I asked him, "Isaac, what's it gonna be man." He responded, "Alright, let's do it." So my companion will be baptizing him this upcoming Saturday! Exciting stuff. This next week are transfers so Saturday we'll find out if we're leaving or staying. I hope I stay here because I've just gotten close with the people of Pampa. I'm pretty sure my comp is bouncing out of this area since he's been here for 6 months. I gave a talk at church yesterday and not to sound boastful, but I'm pretty sure I ROCKED it... One of the counselors to our mission president was in attendance so I had to impress. :) I talked about the blessing of missionary work. I hope I was able to motivate the ward to share the gospel with their families and friends! Thank you for the letters this week, you know who you are! Make this week GREAT!! Paz y bendiciones.

Elder Rios

Week 13: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)


Well another week down. I had a pretty bad day on Thursday, but now I'm laughing about it. Haha So we were on our bikes and we got yelled at and cussed at a couple of times and I was like whatever. Towards the end of the day this car drove by us and this guy looked me in the face and used almost all of the profane words in one sentence.. It took everything I had to contain myself, because you all know how I am.. He drove off before I could even say anything though. Later that night I was at a member's home and one of the kids chucked a basketball at my face when I wasn't looking so I ended up getting a black eye.. Then we had to ride our bikes all the way across town back to our crib. Just thought I'd share that because it's funny to me now haha 

On to the good stuff! We have been teaching some people who have committed to baptism! Isaac has really been progressing and keeping his commitments of reading and praying. Zack is a young man who is way pumped to learn more about the gospel and he's ready for baptism; we just need to talk to his mom about it, then we'll start teaching her too. Haha that's how it works. Claudia is girl who has gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon and she's committed to be baptized. We started talking to her parents a couple of days ago and they really liked us so hope that goes well. Our recent converts, Lupita and her daughters, are doing great! We even had Lupita in a lesson with Isaac yesterday. I hope their testimonies continue to grow, they have a lot of potential! Our work with less active members is never ending... I found out that there are 339 members of the church in this ward and about 85 go to church each week. Now when I got here there was about 50 people at church so we've been making some progress. The chapel was actually full yesterday! It was awesome. Transfers are coming up soon and I'm nervous to see if I'll stay here or go to another area. Elder Arredondo will most likely leave because he's been here in Pampa for like 6 months. We just got hooked up with new beds today from a member, score!! And today is district P-Day so we're gonna be partying today WOO! K bye guys make this week GREAT!!
Elder Rios

Week 12: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Good morning! This is Elder Rios coming to you LIVE from the city of Pampa!! 
It has been a djSWELL time out here on the mission so far. Time is flying by, I only have three weeks left of training. Then my comp Elder Arredondo will most likely get transferred to a different area and I'll be left in charge. Haha So let me tell you about my week...
Monday and Tuesday were just full of work and visiting less active members trying to invite them back to church. Wednesday we worked until like 6pm then we went and hung out with other missionaries since we weren't allowed to go to ANY Halloween activities. Keep in mind that the closest set of missionaries to us is half an hour away. This mission is so spread out! Thursday I had to re-baptize one of the girls, Natali, because here first and middle names were mixed up in the records. Haha Friday and Saturday we spent the majority of the days knocking doors... I hate Saturdays now. Each week, Saturday is the LONGEST day! Sunday was sweet!! We had a lot of less active members attend church, especially Spanish-speaking members. The chapel was almost full! After church we visited some referrals and set appointments with them. For lunch we went over to our recent converts' house and grilled up some burgers to break our fast. After that, we walked over to Isaac's house and had a lesson with him. He's committed to be baptized on November 24th! Then we went over to a less active family's house and I cooked dinner for all of us. Chicken Parmesan!! Thanks for teaching me how to cook Dad :) They were impressed! 

Earl & Loretta Bridewell

I'm so glad to be out here serving the Lord and doing nothing but helping people to be happier in their lives. I am learning so many things, both gospel related and not, that I can use to better my own life. I know that my family is being blessed for my service. I want to thank you all for your weekly letters and emails, I feel the love! Thank you for the thoughts and prayers, as well. Let's make this week GREAT!!!
Elder Rios

Week 11: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Hello everyone!

     On Saturday I had the privilege of baptizing Lupita and her daughters Katya and Natali. What an amazing experience! Elder Arredondo then confirmed them members of the church yesterday and gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost. I'm so proud of them for working hard to follow our savior Jesus Christ. They're an awesome family! We were over at their house last night and Natali kept asking me for chapters to read in the Book of Mormon, isn't that legit? I'm excited to see how they will influence the ward here and help it grow. 

We're teaching a few more people who have the potential to become members of the church as well. Like I've been saying these last couple of weeks, we're really working hard on less-active members trying to visit them and invite them back to church. Well our hard work is paying off! We had some less-actives come to the baptism (as well as two investigators), and some came to church yesterday, too! The chapel looked almost full of people... incredible! We're going to keep working on our Hispanic hermanos and hermanas to come back to church but they're all telling us that they don't feel like they fit in. We, as a ward, are trying to find a solution to this problem because we can't just open up a Spanish branch. Not that easy.. haha I'm thinkning about asking my mission president if I can throw a party at our apartment with carne asada and stuff... Just kidding. Oh! I need to tell you all of a miracle that happened this week! (Other than the baptism). So Elder Arredondo and I get up at 6:00am every single morning and drive down to the church to play basketball and exercise. Well I wanted something other than basketball to workout to. This last week I found P90X CDs in our apartment. <-- MIRACLE! haha Guess who's starting P90X today? :) Reminds me of when I would go over to Elder George's house every day after school and hit a quick workout of P90X. So basically I refuse to gain weight on the mission, and I found the perfect tool to help me with that. Score! Alright well we have a lesson in a little (in the middle of our P-Day, dang it) so I gotta go study! Hope all is well and make this week GREAT!! Love you all!

Elder Rios

Week 10: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

Howdy :)
     I can't tell you all how much fun I'm having on my mission. It's ridiculous how happy working makes me haha Even tracting knocking doors! Elder Arredondo and I are looking forward to this Saturday's baptism! I will be performing all three "dunks", I'm way excited!! This family will be such a great contribution to the ward. I see a lot of potential in them. This last week we have been intensely focusing on less-active members of the ward, or in other words, hunting them down! haha I've told you that the ward here is rather small.. but it's only because about 35% of the members actually go to church every Sunday! Once I saw the list of people we needed to get back to church, I said "GAME ON." We were able to contact about half of the list and meet with them to address their problems. But all of them expressed the want to get active again. Laziness and embarrassment seem to be the biggest issues. But it's our goal for this transfer to drastically increase church attendance. It's a lot of work so far, let me tell you. But this area can be so great if all of the members were actively participating in the church! I know I can make it happen.

     Today is P-Day (our "day off"). Oh the joy that sentence gives...:) The missionaries from another area are coming here to Pampa to play some ball and also to interview the family that is getting baptized on Saturday. We're going to have a little Family Home Evening tonight with games and food! Thank you all for your letters and packages!!! I was planning on keeping all of my letters but jeez I have a lot haha I have some sweet pictures from the last couple of weeks so I'll be sending those next week! Stay tuned :) Make this week GREAT! Adios!
Much love from Texas,
Elder Rios

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 9: Pampa, TX (Transfer 2)

So I'm going to start counting transfers (every 6 weeks) from now on because I don't remember the week number haha Let me tell you all about my fantastic week out here on a mission:
Monday we went to a member's ranch and rounded up some cows to be branded. I also had the delightful opportunity to check cows for pregnancy... Now cows don't just use those little tests you buy at the store. I got to manually insert my arm into the rear end of the cows and feel around for a baby cow. I won't send you the pictures to save you from being grossed out hahaha! It was a fun day at the ranch though. The rest of the week was work, work, work! We have been teaching quite a few people and getting a family ready for their baptism on the 27th of this month! I'm going to be baptizing Lupita and her daughter Katya, while my companion will baptize her other daughter Natali. I'm way excited!!
Yesterday, we went to another one of our areas, Miami (not Florida) (I wish), and visited some less active members there as well as knocked some doors. While we were walking in the street we saw the sheriff following us and pulled up next to us... He was like questioning us and said someone called in two suspicious looking guys in suits knocking doors. We got the cops called on us!! hahaha After scaring us a little, the sheriff revealed to us that he was a member of the church and was not going to take us to jail like he said he would. It was pretty funny!!
From the past week I've learned many things. Including patience and dilligence. I know that there are people prepared by God to listen to us. It's our job as missionaries to go out and find those people. I love the experiences that I have each day because I am able to learn from them, and apply what I've learned the next day. La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimo Dias is the restored church originally established by Jesus Christ himself about 2,000 years ago. I know it is. Peace & blessings y'all.
Elder Rios

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 8: Pampa, TX

Hello hello :)
General Conference was so great!! The best part about watching it was watching with an investigator family!! Having them see and listen to the prophet and apostles was exactly what they needed. They spoke about things that they needed to hear. As I was watching and taking notes, I thought to myself about the difference watching Conference at home, and as a set-apart missionary. I listened to every word and didn't fall asleep. Priesthood Session is always the best! (sorry ladies) :) When our leaders talk about the literal power that we have to change the lives of others, it gets me so PUMPED! Alright so now I'll tell you about my week:
This week went by super fast, just like all the other weeks. We did some work! Didn't have much time to knock doors because we had many appointments scheduled, which is really good! So we taught lots of lessons this week and had a couple of dinner appointments. The only negative part was BIKING ALL WEEK. We dropped our car off in the shop on Monday and it was supposed to be ready the next day... Wrong. They kept saying "Oh it won't be ready until tomorrow" allll week. Although I enjoy biking, it gets pretty tiring. 

We ended up getting our car back on Friday afternoon, she looks great! The car had lots of dents and scratches from past missionaries so we had to get it fixed. Anyway, last week we asked the family that is getting baptized on the 27th who they wanted to baptize them. Elder Arredondo and I were both chosen by the girls haha and I think we're calling a missionary that went home already to see if he wants to baptize the mom, as she requested. It's so exciting!!
My trainer and I have so much fun (probably too much) that we never have time to think about how tired we are or how sore we are, I love it! Another thing, IT"S SO COLD HERE... Wake up in the morning and check the temperature outside and our little thermometer says 22 degrees... Dad, I think it's time to send me a jacket now...:O haha I've been using one of my comp's jackets for now. Many of you know that I love the cold and I love the wind, but this is intense!! haha Yesterday, it got to a high of 36 degrees I think? Everyone at church teases me because I'm from "Perfect Sunny Southern California" hahaha Everything is going great. We're getting the ward to be more active, members are coming with us to lessons, we had a ward bbq with REAL Texas barbeque, and it's starting to snow. :) Hope you all are doing good and don't miss me too much!! ;) 'Til next week! Make this one GREAT!
Much love,
Elder Rios
P.s. Thank you for all of your letters and emails!! Keep them coming


Getting ready for the next two years of his life.
Just before he left...
Catching the shuttle to the MTC with Elder Masuli
His district! It was red tie day...

Looking good as always!

 District 24A and teachers in the MTC

His teacher at the MTC, Brother Richmond

On their way to the Salt Lake City airport. Texas, here they come!

The Lubbock Temple

On their way to their first areas!

His trainer, Elder Arredondo

This is what Elder Rios likes to call "CaliSwag"

Week 7: Pampa, TX

Howdy everyone! 
Everything is going great here in the TLM (Texas Lubbock Mission). I am having so much fun in my area. Elder Arredondo and I are doing WORK. Our teaching pool is remaining big and we are getting people ready to be baptized this month! We're only struggling with one little thing.. the Pampa ward. Members here aren't very exciting or enthusiatic at all. It's hard to get them to go out to lessons with us. We have investigators coming to church to check it out then they tell us it's boring and weird because there's no one fellowshipping them! So frustrating! Even the bishop is a little strange and antisocial... I had the opportunity to bear my testimony in church yesterday and I was determined to brighten up the ward. I made everyone laugh a lot and challenged them to be more active as members. I felt that everyone was really listening to me rather than messing around on their iPhone or iPad. It was pretty sweet! I also got to teach a class in Primary haha The kids are so cute, they all love the missionaries. One boy (Joshua, 5 years old) said "I want to be as tall as Elder Rios when I grow up!" haha After church we worked, knocking doors and visited some people who didn't make it to church. We ended the night eating at a member's house and they had the Eagles/Giants game on in the other room...... It was so hard not to watch!! A lot of members have been having us over for dinner since I got here ;) One thing I haven't mentioned to you all is the CRAZY thunderstorms here..!! They're cool to watch though. Almost every night it rains and see lightning flashes then during the day it's sunny and hot. Super weird! Last night there was a huge storm and it was hard to sleep because of the loud thunder.. I like that this area is different. I like serving here where there is no distractions, where I can focus on the work. Our beautiful 2011 Ford Fusion is in the shop until Wednesday so we're biking around -__- My bike is LEGIT; it's all black complete with headlights, tail lights, annnd a kickstand. Thanks Dad!! :D A lot easier today biking in a tshirt, shorts and Nikes! Thank you for all of the support sent through prayers!! I love my mission!! New month, new week.. Make it GREAT!!
Much love from Texas,
Elder Rios

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 6: Pampa, TX

Knocking doors is one of the hardest things to do during the week. We encounter some of the rudest people I've ever seen. Some people just look through the window to see who it is then they roll their eyes and walk away. But you know what? It's all worth it. In the past week Elder Arredondo and I have set five baptismal dates for next month. Two of these people we found by knocking doors. We taught Omar and his wife Anna the first lesson on their porch and Omar really liked the idea of the Priesthood. He wants to get baptized by the proper authority! Isaac, who I mentioned last week, wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before his baptism next month and he came to church yesterday with Angelica! Lupita and her family also came to church! It's amazing how we find ourselves truly caring about these people after such a short time of knowing them. This is why I am out here, to help people get on the right path to heaven. "And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!"(D&C 18:16) Such a motivating scripture that reminds me daily of my purpose as a missionary. I am so happy to be out here serving a mission! I'm so glad the members here like me a lot and that I have been able to gain their trust. Elder Arredondo told me that he never used to get any dinner appointments before I got here, now we have dinner with members almost every day of the week. I feel like I'm making a huge difference here already and I won't settle for less than success. I can't wait for General Conference in a couple of weeks! I really need the counsel of our leaders. Hard to believe that it was a whole year ago I was driving up to Utah with my boy Elder George to be in the presence of our prophet and apostles! By the way, Elder George and I have been in good contact and we learn from each other every week! I know Elder Larson is doing great as well! Seems like just yesterday we were sitting in my living room playing Xbox...hahah Anyway, thank you again for all of your letters and packages!!! Got a pretty sweet care package last week! I know you all want pictures but I just always run out of time whenever I try and load them up. I'll get to it! Oh I wanted to share a quick experience I had last week... This less active member called us up on Friday and asked if we could give her mom a blessing. Her mom was hooked up to life support at the hospital and wasn't looking too good. We headed down there and my comp was reviewing how to give a blessing in the car. As we walked into the room they were in we saw Sister Mariscal there waiting for us. She immediately asked if I would give her a blessing first.. She doesn't speak English so I knew I'd have to do it in Spanish. I was so nervous! But I calmed myself down and gave her a blessing the best I could. I spoke almost perfect Spanish! I felt guided by the Spirit in what to say. Elder Arredondo then gave a blessing to her mom. You could literally feel another presence in the room, which seriously freaked me out! But it was a good presence, that by the power of the Holy Priesthood which we hold, we were able to bring into the room.

The weeks are going by way too quick. There's so much work to be done here. Yesterday we went to another area of ours which is the city of White Deer. We went knocking after meeting with a new convert and preparing him for the Priesthood. While knocking we met a dude named Jaimee. He's a marine that just got back from Afghanistan last week, really cool guy! We kind of follow a pattern of questions when we talk to people at the door and it was as if Jaimee new exactly what we were gonna say before we said it. We explained to him about the Restoration of the church through Joseph Smith and he was totally into it! He showed great faith in believing that Christ has more for us. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read and we're going back tomorrow to give him a Bible and teach him the first lesson. So legit!
I'm having the time of my life right now. I've only been out a month and I'm already helping all these people get ready for the waters baptism. I know there's so much more to come on my mission and I can't wait! I hope you are all doing good and doing good things. I'm off to kick these other missionaries' butts in basketball and volleyball since it's district p-day :{D Enjoy the week, make it GREAT.
Much love from Texas,
Elder Rios

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 5: Pampa, TX

I know I've said it a lot, but time is literally flying by! I used to think that two years was going to be sooo long, but I've already been out more than a month! I'll be home in no time! So now that I've gotten a chance to really get to know this area, let me tell you about it... 
Pampa is a small city in the middle of nowhere. Almost all of the houses are really old and faded with trash everywhere. Completely neglected. It's a lot of rather poor looking streets. To be honest, this place reminds me of some parts of Tijuana...or Perris. Haha The people are either smoking or drinking when we knock at their doors. But there are one or two neighborhoods that are actually really nice houses. One is right next to the church and the other is a private community. And there are a lot of really nice people too! Those Western accents...if i hear someone say "I'm fixin' to..." one more time! -__- There is a Walmart here and a couple of fast food places. The high school football team sucks. There's a little lake that we can fish at. Other than that, there's no shopping centers or malls or restaurants. I know I'm still in Texas but this is pretty foreign to me! Haha just kidding. I kind of like it, there's less distractions. It's getting so cold here!! I'm talking 35 degrees with 40mph winds yo! Everyone makes fun of me because I'm the California boy used to beach weather. The snow is coming soon as well. I don't have any jackets and I'm not about to buy one at Walmart..... I'll write you privately Dad ;) haha Alright, on to the highlights of the week...
First of all, I mentioned last week that I really wanted to find more people to teach. We now have six new investigators including three families! Hard work truly pays off. Whenever I'm feeling tired or lazy I just think of those people who have been prepared for the Gospel waiting for me to find them. We found one investigator while actually teaching another investigator, how legit is that? This guy Isaac just came by as we were teaching a girl named Angelica on her front porch. He came by to hang out with her but we ended up teaching him and giving him a precious Book of Mormon to study, since he loves to study. Haha He reminded me a lot of you Fernando! Looks and everything! This other family that we're teaching, the mom's name is Lupita and she's already talking about "when I get baptized.." and "after I get baptized.." Her husband has been a member since moving here from Argentina but is inactive. She has an eight year old daughter who also wants to get baptized and younger kids who love listening to us. These are just some of the people we're teaching I just don't have time to write about all of them. We're truly blessed as missionaries in finding people that are willing to listen to us. My Spanish has gotten SO much better!! Dad, you wouldn't know it was me talking haha I'm teaching my companion English while he teaches me more Spanish. Half of our investigators only speak Spanish so it feels so good being able to easily teach them in Español. These Mexican families love me because I'm a "good looking Californian" hahaha it's awesome. The moms are like "so you're going to come back and marry my daughter right Elder Rios?" It's so awkward and funny at the same time!! I'm not even telling you guys this to sound cool or anything, it actually happens! Haha People here are amazed by my shuffling, too! Apparently they've never seen it before? As well as the Dougie and Cat Daddy. I'm bringing swag to Pampa, Texas ;) Holla 'atcha boy!
Everything is going great. I miss my home and family, but this mission thing is pretty fun!! I hope everyone is doing well and staying happy! Thanks for all the emails and letters, they make my day! I'm for sure going to try and send a couple of pictures today from a member's computer because this library doesn't allow you to hook anything up via USB. 
If you guys get the chance, check out this sweet song about some sacrifices one makes in serving a made me shed some man tears. "Hardest Thing I've Ever Loved To Do" by Nashville Tribute Band 

Make this week GREAT..y'all. :) Much love from Téjas,
Elder Rios

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4: Pampa, TX

I'm loving the life of a missionary. I've been here in Pampa, Texas for only five whole days and I feel like I already know almost every street. Luckily I am in a car! But we have "bike day" on Thursdays. But this Thursday we had to head to the city (Amarillo) to get our car fixed because my companion backed into a dumpster a couple of weeks ago and the church re-sells all of the cars used for missions so we needed to get it fixed. We spent all day in Amarillo with our Zone Leaders while our car was getting fixed. Those guys are awesome and I learned a lot from them just in one day. One of them said they loved my energy and that I will definitely be in leadership positions all of my mission haha I'm so pumped! I have a great trainer and together we are getting a lot of work done. When I got here last Tuesday we didn't have many investigators; I think maybe three people. So I told Elder Arredondo that we needed to find more people to teach. Guess what we did all day Saturday..? Straight up door-to-door knocking. Did you all know that there are Southern Baptists, Northern Baptists, Central Baptists, Eastern Baptists and Western Baptists? I'm exaggerating but jeez everyone is a type of baptist here!! I would say it's 60% baptist, 20% catholic, 10% methodist, 5% other, and 5% mormon. We did find some people who are willing to have us come back this week to have a lesson! This guy Michael was chillin on his porch and as we were talking to him he was like, "Finally the Mormons come talk to me! But can y'all come back when I'm not drinking and smoking?" It was the funniest thing! We're going to visit him while he's bbqing on Saturday. Free food! And college football! Man, yesterday we were teaching this lady Josie and she had the Broncos/Steelers game on.. I wanted to watch so bad!! I miss watching football... Speaking of Josie, we were able to teach her the first lesson and give her a Book of Mormon to read. As I was bearing my testimony to her, and telling her how much we care about her and pray for her, she totally burst into tears! I didn't know what to say but to explain that what she was feeling was the Spirit. I hope that she read and prayed about it last night. She needs help with her family and the Gospel is exactly what she needs. One thing I have learned so far is to never ignore a prompting. We pray in the car every time before going door-to-door and I get these feelings about houses that may not be in our direction and we visit those houses because that's how we found Josie. I feel like sometimes it's not even me walking out there with my backpack full of pamphlets and books. I am directed in everything I do by the Holy Ghost. Freakin awesome. 

Yesterday I was able to go to church here for the first time.. It was so weird. I'm used to the Menifee ward and the Paloma Valley ward where everyone is loud and there's at least a chapel full of people and some in the overflow. Want to know what Pampa ward is like? Picture 1/3 of Sun City ward (no offense) haha and the building is half the size of the La Piedra building. There's maybe five families with kids. The rest are elderly cowboys who love talking. But I love it! I gave a lesson in primary to all the little kids about keeping the commandments. My goal is to see this ward grow while I'm here. I know it's possible. 
I'm having so much fun guys, and I've only been out about a month! Still have two long years ahead of me. Feel free to email me because the mail service here in Pampa is very poor, we are allowed to email family and also friends. I'll close this letter with a quote from one of my best friends, "I'm perfectly fine, don't pray for me. Pray for those I come in contact with..." -Elder Dallin W. George 
I love you all and have a great week full of passion and enthusiasm!! 

Elder Rios 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Week 3: Pampa, TX

Greetings from Texas!! 
Man, I am experiencing culture shock right now coming from the city to pure farmland and abandoned buildings. So my first area is Pampa, TX up in the panhandle. My trainer/companion is Elder Arredando from Tijuana, MX. He is still learning English, it's awesome. Monday morning I woke up at 4am at the MTC, they took us on a charter bus to the Salt Lake City airport where we flew to Denver, CO then hopped on a plane to Lubbock, TX. We were met there by President Augustin and his wife along with the AP's (assistants of the president) Elder Burns and Elder Cochran. We went to the stake center in Lubbock which happens to be in the backyard of the temple, so cool!! They took us through a lot of orientation and paperwork and we had a mini tour of the city. Texas Tech University is right across town, I saw the football team practicing.. it made me miss football! So then we went to the mission home and ate pulled pork sandwiches then all of the missionaries stayed at the AP's apartment for the night. We got up yesterday and did more orientation and also had our interviews with President Augustin. Then came the exciting part, we were assigned our areas! I saw my picture on "The Board" and what city I was going to serve in first. Our group of about 16 missionaries hopped on another charter bus to Amarillo, TX where we were picked up by our trainers and taken to our various areas. I saw nothing but farm land and dirt on the way to Pampa.. we got to our apartment late so there was no time to teach. So today we got up and studied for about 4 hours total (1 hour personal study, 2 hours companionship study then an extra hour of language study for my trainer.) ... We hit up Walmart and I bought necessary things I needed for my apartment. While there, we ran into members of the ward and they were so excited to meet me! We have a lesson at 7pm tonight already!

I will be here in Pampa for the next 3 months in training so if you would like to send me letters or packages the address is:
Elder Ricardo Rios
1601 West Somerville
Apt 714 Pampa, TX 79065
I forgot my USB cord so I'll be sending pictures on my P-Day, Monday. Can't wait to hear from you all!! Hope all is well. Much love!
Elder Rios

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


The pictures Elder Rios has sent home so far. Thanks Brenda!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Elder Mounce

Elder Rios and his MTC BFF Elder Mounce in front of the Provo Temple 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MTC Week 2

Greetings from the MTC!
     I leave for Texas on Monday! (Sep 3) Crazy, time has flown by... I love it here though and I'm learning so much! Thank you for all of the letters and packages over the past week, it makes my day when I get to my room and I have letters waiting for me. Keep using! It's like an email to me that gets printed out and sent to my mail that same day! Although I can't reply until my P-Day, I love hearing from all of you.
So I think I told you last week that my companion has been struggling and basically hated the MTC. I finally sat him down and talked to him for like an hour straight and set him right! I was seriously about to go request a companion exchange but you all know me, I never give up on a friend! He's awesome now and has learned a lot. He asks me all the time how I'm so social or how I make friends so easily. So I've taken him under my wing and I'm teaching him the ways ;) haha So how are all of you?? I miss my family and friends so much!! But I haven't been homesick at all surprisingly... I don't have time to with these crazy schedules. But I'm having a blast here! My district is full of the best 11 missionaries in the world, we're gonna change lives!! It's going to be sad to leave them. But some of us are flying to Texas together.

I wish I could show you how much fun I'm having!! You all know how I love to take pictures :D haha I haven't figured out how to send pictures on this dang computers... oh and Dad, I broke my camera.........I'm very sorry :'( It works, it just doesnt focus anymore.....I dropped it..... Does anyone have a camera I could borrow for two years? :) just kidding.
I hope you're all doing great and making the best out of each day. Something that my Dad has taught me that decides how my days are is: PASSION & ENTHUSIAM. Apply that to your lives and I promise you'll be happier. I want to share a quote that I heard at a devotional here at the MTC, "When you feel as if life is drowning you, remember that your lifeguard walks on water." That's Jesus Christ for those of you that are a little slow..Jose.. haha
I love you all and have a djSWELL week!!
Elder Rios

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MTC Week 1

What's up friends and family!! I've already been gone almost a week, yet it feels like I just got here yesterday. I am watching the 30 minute countdown on my screen because that's how long I get to use the computer then it logs me off for the week, cool huh? -__- Anyway, I have SO much to tell you guys!!! I love it here at the MTC. After the first night, the branch president made me District Leader. Holler at that!! So I'm in charge of 11 of the coolest Elders I've ever met! My first companion ever, Elder Peralta, is from Peru but has lived in Utah for like 10 years. He is the only unsocial Elder in our district so it's been pretty tough trying to get him to open up to everyone. He absolutely hates the MTC and doesn't see the point of it. I know that he was put as my companion because I am meant to help him. I've taken it upon myself to make sure this missionary goes to Pittsburgh as the best missionary ever!! He's been progressing over the last couple of days after meetings with our branch president and zone leaders and teachers... I came in here pumped, thinking I was ready.. I was so wrong!! Everything we do here at the MTC is full of the Spirit and helps me grow as a missionary. You guys would think I'm already a totally different person haha But that's what it's all about! I can't wait to see where I'm at when my three weeks here is up. I know I'll be ready.

The days go by so fast it's ridiculous. Our WHOLE day is planned out to the minute, we have to be somewhere at a certain time. I've gotten used to it and have fallen into the routine. It's so great to wake up at 6am and workout with my boys here then start our days with studying. I love gym time!! (obviously). So the first couple of days I just played basketball because volleyball looked tough. But I've been playing volleyball for the last couple of days and I have been killing it!! Spiked it in a dude's face and broke his glasses yesterday...he happened to be my Zone Leader. Oops :P
Man I miss everyone at home!! But, I only think about home when I'm in bed at night because I have no time to think during the day. I hope you're all doing well!! I will be writing on Tuesdays (my P-Day) so expect my emails then!! Oh! and you should all write me letters on so I get it printed out and handed to me here!! Love you all
Passion & Enthusiasm!
Elder Rios