Monday, November 18, 2013

Onto my 15th month as a missionary!

Howdy! 

       Midland, Texas is so prepared for the Restored Gospel. We have been very successful on our bikes finding new people to teach. During our weekly planning session on Friday, we accounted for six new investigators! About half of them came to church yesterday. Elder Hoskin and I are the dynamic duo!! We're pretty much the same person.. Everyone loves that we're talkative and social, so we connect well. On Wednesday we had the opportunity to teach the young men how to knock doors. It went really well! We got to show them how easy it is to relate to the people and discern their interests or needs. They also got to ask us questions about mission life. I told them how easy it is to focus on the work when all else is taken care of. No rent, no phone bills, no school, no paying for gas, no car payments, etc. They seemed pretty excited to serve after that! Haha We had a multi-zone conference on Thursday where President Augustin and the assistants instructed on organizing lesson plans and the roles of members in a lesson. It's always a sight to see a large group of missionaries. There are now rumors of a mission split soon! All is going well, I see my testimony grow each day and my legs continue to get ripped from all the biking ;) Haha Make this week great!! 

Love,
Elder Ricky Rios

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pictures





It gets dark at 5pm...

November 11, 2013

Howdy!!
 
We are pressing forward on our bikes. Elder Hoskin and I have seen the fruits of our labors from being where the Lord wants us to be. It may be super cold outside, or very hot, but when we're out there just riding around talking to people, we are showing everyone that we are messengers of God. Most conversations start with them asking us if we're crazy for riding bikes in the cold, dark nights. I think it shows dedication! I absolutely love Midland, it's a great place to be spreading the good news of Christ. The families in our ward are motivated in their missionary work and love sharing their experiences with sharing the gospel. It's crazy to think about my mission winding down. I'm running out of time! Each morning during companion study, we set a goal to make the day memorable. We try to do something each day to make it more than just knocking doors, or teaching a lesson. We look for uplifting, spiritual experiences. We look for miracles. I love this because it gives each day meaning, even if it's a slow day. I challenge all of you to do the same! That's my report for the week. :)
 
Love,
Elder Rios
 

Texas Lubbock Mission!!

November 4, 2013

Howdy!!

Fantastic week here in Midland, Texas. On Halloween day we were blessed with the opportunity to attend the Lubbock Temple with our zone. It was a much needed spiritual refuel! It was the highlight of the week. Elder Hoskin and I are staying busy with the people we are teaching. Jorge requested a missionary visit from the internet and was interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon. We delivered him a copy and taught the message of the Restoration and he was very receptive! Robert is a guy we met on the street whom we had a discussion about reasons behind so many different churches and religions. He was surprised to hear that we claim to be the only true church and has accepted our challenge of learning more. J.R. recently lost his wife and has been seeking answers regarding her salvation. He signed up on the internet for a missionary visit and was glad to meet with us. These are the most legit people we are currently teaching. We had a guy named Edwin show up to church after being invited by a friend. He stayed all three hours and enjoyed the Spirit he felt there. We have an appointment to meet with him this week! 
Yesterday was fast & testimony meeting and I've been shooting to bear my testimony each month of my mission. Haven't missed one yet! Brother Flournoy, an elderly man mentioned in his testimony that if anybody had questions or doubts about the church, to go talk to him. He said this in a humorous way. Haha So when I went up I backed him up and said the same thing which got the whole congregation to chuckle. :) I know this is where we're all supposed to be. We're all on the right path and it is our job to help others find this path. The church is true. Jesus Christ is our savior. Have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Ricky Rios

Week 14 in Midland, Texas

October 28, 2013

Hello!
 
After a couple of transfers of getting to know the area, ward, and people, and having some successful baptisms, the work here continues! Elder Hoskin and I racked up some referrals last week, with a couple being from the church website. The Lord is blessing us with new investigators. This success comes from a little sacrifice. Our car was moved to a different zone where it is temporarily needed, so we are back to the traditional missionary bikes! Yay.. Our area covers up to 35 miles out of town and it's been difficult getting out to see some people we were teaching. On the positive perspective, this has allowed us to use our members for rides and get them out teaching with us. It's been a great biking experience so far. This upcoming Thursday (Halloween), we will be making our zone temple trip to Lubbock!! We are so excited to be in the House of the Lord again. Things are going great as the year winds down. Hope y'all have a great week! Send me some Halloween candy... Thanks!! :)
 
Love,
Elder Rios


Staying in Midland!!

October 21, 2013

Howdy!
The weather here is finally cooling down as we roll into Fall. This October season is exciting because our mission president announced that we will all get to go through the Lubbock temple this month! Transfer calls were a success. I'm staying in Midland with Elder Hoskin for another six weeks! I love this guy! We get up every morning and workout at the stadium, doing various football and field drills. We actually found some people to teach by doing this! We are working hard, hitting the pavement every day to find new people to listen to our message. I know the Lord will put receptive people in our path. Currently, we're helping Marie (Larry's wife) prepare for baptism this Saturday. It feels great to know that our ward recognizes our labors and are willing to support us in any way. We received a plenitude of referrals last week after "training" our members in missionary skills. Elder Hoskin and I had the chance to attend mission prep class with some youth in the stake and it was a great opportunity to emphasize the importance of PREP. They asked us questions about mission life and what things were the hardest to get used to. It was hard seeing some kids acting bored in there. I wanted to knock some sense into them! But I know they will get hit by the Spirit soon. That's my report for this week y'all. Much love from Texas!! 

Love,
Elder Rios

Transfer 9: Midland, Texas

October 14, 2013


Howdy!!
Congratulations to Fernando and his brand new wife!!! Wish I could've been there guys! Good week here in the TLM. I have a new companion, at least until next week-- Elder Hoskin. He's from West Jordan, UT. Crazy cuz we both played QB in high school and we both love football. We play catch everyday. We have been getting along just great. We have been doing lots of finding and street contacting. In fact, we spent literally six hours on our bikes on Thursday just riding around the city talking to people. We have another baptism planned for Oct 26th! Our mission president announced that we will all have an opportunity to attend the temple at least once during our missions. Super exciting! Tomorrow I hit 14 months into my mission. It's the home stretch and I feel like great things are coming. Our area is seeing a lot of success through our members' increased desire to share the gospel. Conference really pumped everyone up! We visit families and as soon as we walk in it's "well Elders we are working with this family and this family and inviting this family over for dinner and a church movie.."etc. Awesome! Hope all is well in Menifee, CA! Peace & blessings,
Love,
Elder Rios

Transfer 9: Midland, Texas

October 7, 2013

Howdy!

Another baptism this weekend! Brittiney and her family were so excited for her baptism. Her mom gave the closing prayer at the service and it just about made everyone cry. She gave thanks for not giving up on her family and bringing them back into the strait and narrow. What a great feeling to know that I was able to be a tool in the Lord's hands to help a family feel the Spirit of God. Sure you will agree, "This is the greatest time to be a missionary for the Lord, period!!!!!" First, Elder William R. Walker counsels us in a mission tour.  Then, two days of counsel from prophets, seers and revelators.  May we be doers of the word? From the opening prayer in the first session of General Conference to the closing prayer, to a Prophet's counsel, "Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord's vineyard to bring souls unto Him.  He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways..." to a host of other talks, missionary work was subject of the day. Indeed, the time is now for members and missionaries to clearly grasp their missionary purpose in working with their fellow brothers and sisters. If there ever were a time for unity, it is now, on the Lord's errand. The end of the transfer is coming up next week so we are pushing to get at least one more baptism!! This area is on fire! 

Love,
Elder Rios

Hello from Midland, Texas!

September 30, 2013

Wow!
This was a phenomenal week!! Wednesday, during our mission conference with Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy, we all got a chance to go up and shake his hand at the beginning of the meeting. As soon as I introduced myself he said, "Elder Rios I have something for you." He sent for his briefcase and proceeded to hand me a handful of letters from home! He said. "How many times has a General Authority delivered mail to you?" All of the missionaries chuckled at that. It was way cool!! Thank you for that special memory! 

In other news, Larry and his daughter Stacie were baptized and confirmed the newest members of the church this last weekend! Picture attached! We are having another baptism for Brittiney this Saturday between sessions of Conference! The following week Marie will enter the waters of baptism to join her family in the Gospel! The Lord is blessing us with work. Elder Lenhart and I are excited to be in this area at this time. Yesterday just after church, we heard of a young man and his dad standing outside wanting some information about the church. They were looking for a church to attend, being new to the area. Chris is fourteen and immediately received fellowship from our young teachers. I was proud of them. They invited him out to the mutual activity this Wednesday and we are going to meet with them this week to give them some information about the true church. :) 
My companion and I spent the morning at the driving range hitting some golf balls as a little reward for our labors. The feeling of success is created by attitude! Have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Rios
2 attachments

Transfer 9: Midland, Texas

September 23 , 2013

Hello!
This is an exciting month!! We are having a baptismal service for Larry and his daughter, Stacy, on Saturday the 28th! Before that, the same Elder Walker who assisted in splitting the Menifee Stake will be visiting us here for a Zone Conference on Wednesday! And, of course, General Conference is around the corner! Just a quick experience this week---We are currently teaching Brittiney, who was never baptized in her youth because her parents became less active in the church. She's 18 years old and adopted from Russia. Last week, she decided to move out of her parent's home after some family arguments. We were super bummed because we wanted them to all come back to church.. The day after we heard she moved out, we got a call from the parents telling us she was back and that she wanted to meet with us. A sense of humility and love was recognized within their family when we visited them. The mom expressed her desire of the gospel to be in her home and how she wanted Brittiney to have the opportunity to be baptized. Sure enough, we are helping her prepare for baptism General Conference weekend! Our members are really catching the wave of missionary work, as well. We are hearing of more and more experiences they are having with sharing the gospel and inviting friends to church. I challenge y'all to do the same! I look forward to your emails and letters each week, keep 'em coming! Make it a great week!

Love,
Elder Rios

Transfer 9: Midland, Texas

September 16, 2013

Howdy!
We had a great week!! Miracles happening in our area! We had TWELVE investigators at church and a baptism on Saturday! Rickey Haynes became the newest member of the Midland 3rd Ward after accepting the restored gospel. We started teaching him but we had to let the sister missionaries take over because he lived in their area. Great stuff! So, almost all day Saturday we visited everyone who we planned to attend church. It took a lot of work to commit them to come on Sunday. We called, texted, visited, etc. Sunday morning we sent out reminder texts to everyone and prayed they would all come. It was an amazing feeling watching these families walking into the chapel dressed in their Sunday best... Rennee, Isuri, Larry, Marie, Stacy, Rick, Cole, Julio, Monica, Brittney, Jacob, and Diego were all excited to be there and felt the Spirit. Now, not all of them stayed the whole three hours but this was a huge step for them. :)
Elder Lenhart and I are best friends. We are almost the same person. Except he doesn't like sports... Ha! We have been visiting lots of members here to get them pumped about missionary work. The Jarman family is setting the tone for the ward as they just sent off a son on a mission. Almost every day they call us and want us to go and talk to one of their friends, or they invite a family over for dinner and request that we attend as well, etc. They caught the vision of how easy missionary work really is. We are hoping the rest of the ward see their example and choose to follow.
All is well here in Midland. Football season is sweet because I get to catch a minute or two of games when we're out handing out cards in the parking lot of the stadium. :) Make this week great!!
Love,
Elder Rios

Staying in Midland, Texas

September 9, 2013


Hello!
We had transfer calls Saturday night and I will be staying in Midland with Elder Lenhart. Elder Losee will be leaving to Snyder. I'm glad to be in this area for another six weeks. We are preparing Larry, Marie, and Stacy for baptism very soon!! As well as Julio and Monica! We also had a great teaching experience when following up with a referral we received from mormon.org... Cole had been interested in learning more about LDS people so he requested a missionary visit. When we got there his father answered the door and let us right in. Cole was in the shower but Rick (father) started asking us questions right off the bat. He told us that he was mad at God and mad at his church and he was just looking for peace and happiness. After talking with Rick and Cole for a little bit, we learned that they both have been reading the Book of Mormon online and they thought to themselves that this record could actually be true. We shared the message of the Restoration and answered some of their questions. The Spirit was there and Rick recognized it right away! These amazing lessons make all the knocking and finding worth it. Lots of great things happening around here. We are so excited. Our members are following through with the dice game we play with them and are working on friends and neighbors to share the gospel with. That's about all I have to report on this week. Hope y'all have a great week!
Love,
Elder Rios

Week 5 In Midland, Texas

September 3, 2013

Good afternoon!!

So, yesterday being Labor Day the library was closed and we were told to email today. It's been a rather frustrating week as far as our investigators progressing. We are teaching Julio and Monica and they are so solid! But, they didn't come to church. Somehow the excuse of partying the night before always comes up. Haha Even with their absence from church, they are still continuing to learn about the gospel. Julio really appreciates that we "break it down" for him in a way that he can understand. We had dinner at their home on Sunday evening to break our fast and Mexican food was the way to do it! Only Larry and Stacy came to church, we were missing Marie... So they won't be able to get baptized this Saturday :( But we're still working hard to make sure they gain a testimony of the Restored Gospel.
We had a mission-wide P-day last Wednesday where zones got together and just played games. One of the most fun days of my mission! We played soccer, baseball, and of course, football! I got to show off the quarterback arm to my fellow elders. :) Haha Anyway, it was a great day and I got to spend some time with President Augustin and had some good talks with him.
In my district meeting today I wanted to do something different. I wanted my missionaries to teach instead of me so they could really get into it. I assigned each elder and sister a Christlike attribute from Preach My Gospel (pg.126) and gave them each five minutes to just give a thought. The Spirit was so strong!! Each missionary took about 15 minutes to talk about their assigned topic and bore powerful testimony. Faith, hope, charity/love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience. These are the ways we can follow our Savior's example to become better people. Try it!
The heat is starting to be more forgiving and the work is hastening. Now is the time to participate in the Lord's work! Great time to be a missionary!! 
Love,
Elder Rios

Transfer 8, Week 4: Midland, Texas

August 26,2013

Hey everyone!

Great things are taking place here in Midland, Texas. We are helping Larry, Marie, and their daughter Stacy prepare for their baptism on September 7th! Our ward had a carnival activity on Saturday and it was a perfect way for our members to fellowship those who are investigating the church. We found a new family to teach this week and we are so excited to be teaching Julio and Monica. Turns out Julio's mom is a less active member and she is feeling the Spirit again as she sits in on our lessons. We are working hard each day to contact everyone we see outside. This is something we pray for, is to have the courage to talk with every single person within our sight. I have seen much improvement within my companionship this last week in making these daily contacts. We are getting return appointments and feeling the strength of the Lord in added measure. We are also experimenting a new way of finding---we developed a long list of various ways our members can share the gospel. Each idea is numbered and ranges from church invites to gifting a Book of Mormon. Now we've seen that when people are given the choice on how they will share the gospel, it takes them longer and they usually don't follow through. So we've decided to let the Lord choose for them... I bought a pack of dice and we have each member roll the dice to decide which specific idea they will use to invite their friends to learn about the church. It has been working great! Everyone seems more comfortable in participating in missionary work and like the new "game" we've come up with. We call it "Who Wants To Be A Missionary?" haha So anyway, that's what most of our time consisted of this week. Our members are preparing their referrals for us and the work is hastening! I am loving the Texas Lubbock Mission. We will reach our limit of 265 elders and sisters at the end of this transfer. Mission split? I think so. This is truly an exciting time to be a missionary. Journal-entry days! Have a great week y'all. Look forward to the letters each week--much appreciated!

Love,
Elder Rios


One year down, one year to go

August 19,2013

Good morning everyone!!
 
It's been a fantastic week of progress here in Midland. To start off, all three of us were sick for three days straight last week which really put a delay in our work. Besides that, we were able to help our investigators further their testimonies and knowledge of the gospel by assisting (pushing) them to keep their commitments. Larry, Marie and their daughter Stacy now have a goal to be baptized on Sep 7th. Ramon also has that same baptismal goal but he's progressing slower because he's legitimately busy all the time. We're also teaching a part-member family, the Navarrettes. The father, Renee and the youngest daughter weren't baptized at the same time as the rest of the family so we are working with them to feel the truth of our glad message. They all came to church yesterday and participated in the gospel principles class that Elder Lenhart and I taught. It was great!! We finally found some potential in a guy we knocked into, Knowee. He's way legit and is excited to learn more! A co-worker of his tried to talk him out of meeting with us but he stood strong in his faith. We are looking forward to teaching him this week. Last week I hit my one year mark in the mission.... It was crazy to realize that 12 months have already passed since the day I flew out of Long Beach, Ca. It's been 365 days since I first walked into the MTC as a brand new missionary. Wow!! I feel as if I've grown immensely in this short time and I'm excited to be as effective as possible the second half of my mission. Midland is treating me good so far. The ward is amazing in their desire to share the gospel and working with us to teach their friends. We have a strong Priesthood body here and they are willing to assist in any way. I've decided I like serving in the smaller branches, though. These huge wards are too many people to get to know! But I think they love me already :) We also had an intersting announcement last week from our mission president---next week we will be having a "mission-wide p-day"!! The whole mission is getting together to "get goofy" and have fun in celebration of setting a baptism record for last month. Texas Lubbock Mission represent! Make this week great!! 

 
Much love,
Elder Rios

Greetings from Midland!

August 12,2013

This was by far the hardest and longest week of my mission. Day after day we experienced rejection after rejection. We as a companionship were beginning to get discouraged, wondering why we weren't finding anyone who was willing to just listen to us. We had appointments canceled on us, potential investigators drop us, and nobody we are currently teaching came to church yesterday. I am always caught off guard when the Lord teaches us humility. Finally, on Sunday morning during Stake Conference, our mission president spoke to the filled congregation and he had all the full-time missionaries in the stake stand up. At that moment I felt myself being spiritually recharged. I was reminded that I was part of the great missionary force around the world. I felt way pumped up to get back out and work. As our faith is tested through daily challenges, we have the chance to strengthen our trust in the Lord. In the book of Alma we read about Captain Moroni (my favorite) fortifying each city that the Nephites have control of while the opposing Lamanites continue their hollow mission to take over all the land. I noticed that each time it mentions the time between battles, Moroni never stops building up the strength of the cities in surrounding walls and weapons of war. We must follow this same strategy---when we feel as though there is no trial or tribulation upon us, that is the time to fortify our faith. This will enable us to stand strong against the adversary. Sounds simple enough, right? Because it is! All we have to do is consistently feast upon the word of God and constantly call upon Him through prayer. Develop the habits. :) I do have some pictures to share, but, my camera is in the car... and I am in the library... I would have to get up and walk all the way out to the parking lot. So next week, promise! Haha Anyway, to get to the subject of my email---yesterday after conference we were able to find some great people to teach who showed sincere interest in the Restored Gospel! We were sick of knocking doors but we picked out a street and did it anyway. In turn, the Lord blessed us with receptive people. We have set appointments for this week and looking to further our success in bringing souls to Christ. Don't forget to share the gospel with your friends and family---As my mission president said yesterday in his talk, the time is now. Have a great week! 

Love,
 Elder Rios
 3601 Andrews Hwy #405 Midland, Texas 79703

Finding, finding, finding.

August 5,2013

I love my new area!! Midland is a great city, so far. My new companions are Elder Losee and Elder Lenhart. Losee has been out one transfer longer than I and is from Santa Quin, UT and Lenhart just got done being trained and is from Upland, UT. UTAH missionaries (big surprise). But we are getting along so great! So our area was split this transfer and a sister missionary trio was added to our ward. We have SIX missionaries in the Midland 3rd Ward!! But, of course, all of our investigators we had going fell into the sisters' area and we had to hand them over.. Ha! It's kinda nice having sister missionaries around :) So, as the subject of my email states, we have been finding, finding, finding. We are already working with a couple named Larry and Marie with their daughter, as well. They all have a goal to be baptized on the 17th of this month. Another couple we found, Julio and Monica, are also working towards baptism this month. We are putting most of our efforts into creating a bigger teaching pool to have people to work with. Our mission leader is fantastic and is really magnifying his call in connecting us to the members. I am just so excited to make a difference in this area. In other news, I had my first bicycle accident last week! I was following too close behind one of my companions and I didn't see a huge rock up ahead... My front tire caught the rock and I basically flew over the handlebars of my bike. I was left with a huge gash on my knee and sprained wrists. Remember that happening a lot when I was younger, Dad? Haha I got up laughing, as usual. Not much to tell y'all about my first week here other than the typical doors slammed in our faces. They get pretty intense here! One guy actually opened the door two more times only to slam it back in our faces for a total of three times. One guy opened the door with a shotgun. Crazy! I hope all is well with all of you. Make this week GREAT.

Love,
Elder Rios


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 45: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 8)

July 1, 2013

Greetings from Texas! It's been pretty dang hot here the last week. But the work continues!! Our teaching pool has increased dramatically after putting in hours and hours of knocking doors/street contacting. We are teaching Blade, Shelby, Diane, Earleen, Tarin, James, and Daniel. All seperate investigators. Blade is getting baptized on July 20th, Tarin on the 27th, and we're looking to plan more baptisms in the next lessons with these great people. Being here in this area for almost seven months now, I've really developed strong relationships with the members here. There is a trust between them and the missionaries now that they are more willing to refer us to their friends. We are getting members out to lessons with us and showing them how to engage in missionary work. The broadcast from last week is really taking effect in the stake and you can see a new desire for member-missionaries doing their part. A cool experience from last week----We were on our bikes just on our way to an appointment when we saw this lady sitting on her front porch. As any normal missionary would, we went up to talk to her. After a minute or two of chatting, we asked if she had ever talked to missionaries before. She said a couple of years ago, she was out front doing some yardwork when some elders stopped by and offered her a hand. They ended up taking care of her whole front yard in mowing the lawn and raking leaves, etc.. The missionaries said they would be back to finish the job the next day, if it didn't rain. It rained the next day and she never saw them again. She never got to really thank them. Ever since then she has been praying to see missionaries again, and when we showed up her face lit up so bright and she was just as excited as can be. She called us angels. We ended up giving her a blessing to help her with a sickness she is fighting. It was a very spiritual experience for me and a real testimony builder on how God is preparing his children to receive the gospel. Her place is kind of hard to find, so I'm assuming those missionaries probably forgot how to get to her home or something. We are now teaching Earleen and helping her to come closer to Christ. So legit!----I'm starting to really like the open country-side land of West Texas. It's great scenery and very peaceful. Oil and wind energy are booming businesses around here. The heat is pretty intense (106 average, 56% humidity), but I know that if we're out there sweating and hustlin' & rustlin', the people of Sweetwater will think to themselves, "Why are these guys out in shirts and ties in this heat walking around? What do they have to offer?"... It's important for everyone to see you reaching out and giving service to the community. I just feel like the luckiest guy to be one of the 70,000 missionaries around the world. As my mission president says, these are journal-entry days. Historic times. Love you all, make it a great week! Elder Rios 1729 Hailey St #E53          <<<----- WRITE ME ! ! !Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 44: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 8)


June 24, 2013

Hellllooo!! What an amazing week here in the TLM!! Elder Thorpe and I had at least three hours of contacting and knocking each day. The backs of our planners are FULL with names and addresses of potential investigators! We have had some of the best and most spiritual lessons so far this year! Our goal as a companionship this transfer is three baptisms. That's really pushing ourselves seeing that this area has only gotten three baptisms all year. But the Lord is really blessing us right now! We are striving to remain dilligent and exactly obedient each day! In turn, we are being put in the path of those seeking truth. I am so excited for the new training and counsel we've received from the leaders of the church! Members, members, members.  Even with 70,000 missionaries and growing, the members are needing to step up with missionary work.  We were reminded that missionaries are 'teachers' and members are 'finders and fellowshippers.' Ward Councils, members and missionaries need to all work together with the mission leader in assisting investigators, less-active and returning members. I know this broadcast has instilled a new desire for Latter-Day Saints to join the full-time missionaries in preaching the gospel to the world! The work is hastening, and as Elder Nelson said in April Conference, catch the wave!! It brings tears to my eyes receiving emails from my dad on how excited he is to be a ward missionary. There is no greater joy than participating in building up God's kingdom. I love y'all and thank you for the prayers. Make this week great!! Elder Rios

Texas Lubbock Mission1729 Hailey St #E53Sweetwater, Texas

Week 43: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 7)


June 17, 2013

Howdy!
We got transfer calls Saturday to let us know if we're being moved or staying. Elder Cosman is going up to Canyon and I am staying here in Sweetwater for another 6 weeks..... I've been here since January! This means I'll only have been in 2 areas for the first year of my mission. Crazy! My new companion is Elder Thorpe, who was already in my district. He's a really good missionary and a good friend of mine so this transfer should be sweet! He's from the motherland in Spanish Fork and he's only got 4 months left on his mission. We had two baptisms fall through last week because they just didn't feel ready. It's okay though we've been teaching them more so that they will be truly converted before baptism. I think Elder Thorpe and I will have a lot of success this summer. I'll send some pictures here in a little bit. Hope y'all are having fun in the sun! I'm not! It's hot! Haha 

Much love from Texas,


Elder Rios

1729 Hailey St #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 42: Sweetwater, TX


June 10, 2013



Buenos dias!
What a fantastic week here in the Texas Lubbock Mission! We found solid people to teach! Raleigh, who we met while I was ordering some fast food, straight up wants to read the Book of Mormon and see what all the fuss is about. He's super interested! Daniel and Tarren came to church yesterday and loved it! We might be able to get them baptized this Sunday! We found them through a less active family, who also came to church yesterday! They alone bump up our attendance by 8. This is possibly my last week here in Sweetwater so I'm trying to get as much done as I can. I can't imagine what my last week as a missionary is going to be like if I'm rushing this much right now. Haha! This is gonna be a short one because we're going in to the city to play some ball with the other Elders. Congrats to all the high school graduates! Welcome to the real world. :) Proud of you Brenda! Much love y'all, make this week great!


Elder Rios

1729 Hailey St #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 41: Sweetwater, TX

June 3, 2013

What's going on family! 

West Texas has been in the hundreds all last week so you can imagine what biking was like.. Friday morning we got a call saying we would be receiving a car later on that day. HALLELUJAH! It's been fun being on bikes but I gotta say I'm relieved to be able to rely on a vehicle for transportation again. Haha We've been able to squeeze more appointments into our days and visit members who live out of town. I feel like Sundays are the climax of the week. There's always such a strong Spirit in church that is almost overwhelming! We had the opportunity to fast yesterday and to exercise our faith. I know that God hears us and it's our duty to show Him that we believe, that's what will get us the blessings. The Lord is putting us in the path of those who are in need of the gospel. It's such an honor to be out here in Texas teaching people about Jesus Christ. We as missionaries are trying to make an impact in the community to show that we have the knowledge they need to come closer to Christ and His teachings. The work starts with members. We are trying to instill a new level of enthusiasm for missionary work here in Sweetwater, Texas. It's going to start with visiting those who are less active in the church and bring them back to feeling the Spirit of God in their daily lives. I'm amazed at how much progress we've made with bringing those members back into the fold. It's working and I know the Lord is helping us out big time. We visited a family that hasn't been to church since I've been here and the father asked me to give him a blessing to be able to lead his family back to the gospel. I have to say it was the most powerful blessing I've had the opportunity to administer. He said that was his first blessing ever after 27 years since being baptized. What an experience. Members are the key to missionary work. It's through them that the gospel can be spread the quickest, and most efficiently. We have great plans to help our branch regain confidence to be able to share the knowledge of truth with their friends and families. My Spanish is such a blessing in helping me communicate with a lot of people here. I'm so thankful for this gift to be able to use it to preach the gospel. I met Marcelo on Saturday who happens to be from Villa Hidalgo, Mexico where I have lots of family. He recognized some names I threw at him, it was awesome! He needed help translating so he could rent a home here. I helped him out and in turn he came to church yesterday and accepted to be baptized at the end of this month! It was only through the Spirit that he felt this was THE Church of Jesus Christ. True conversion. I feel like I've reached a phenomenal spiritual high in my mission and I'm not even half way done. Dallin and Sheldon are going downhill now. Haha I love those guys! We constantly send each other little messages, still the same three amigos!! I hope y'all know everything I've mentioned about member-missionary work applies to y'all too!! :) Get 'er done! Faith without works is dead! Make this week GREAT! 

Much love from Texas,


Elder Ricardo Rios

1729 Hailey St #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 40: Sweetwater, TX

May 27, 2013

Hola! 

I am so excited to tell y'all about my week! So we have been putting together programs for our branch to help our members share the gospel with their friends. Instead of going with the basic family mission plan, we are mixing things up. Along with holding a biweekly Book of Mormon institute class, Elder Cosman and I will be teaching the members about tools that we use every day. Tools such as pamphlets, cards, and gospel conversation skills. This is all to get their confidence up in presenting this grand message of Jesus Christ that we have to share. Knocking doors is at a minimum and we are strengthening the Latter-day Saints of this area. We had the stake leaders come to our branch yesterday for church and their instruction was phenomenal! It got us pumped up and ready to get the work moving again. I was a little down this week because we weren't having any success with new investigators but after yesterday I feel much more motivated and confident! I've been assigned to the Sweetwater branch for about five months now and it's great to be one of the missionaries to bring this "dead" area back to life! 

This is something from our weekly mission email: 
 The TLM is exploding with morning finding and baptismal dates.  Get ready, we had 2,365 morning finds in one week.  Elders Rios and Cosman had 118 morning finds just seven shy of outpacing one entire zone.  Congrats!  Also, we report nearly 90 baptismal dates which is the second highest in the year.  We have also tied this year's record of new investigators at 171.  Member referrals are also up. Numbers do tell a story.  But the real importance is the people behind each number. Each is a spirit son or daughter of Heavenly Father.  We note Sisters Johnson/Greenwood report a soul accepting the restoration, while Elders Arrendondo/Chapman (2), Kunkel/Staples, Bonomo/Cunningham; Hancock/Wallace, DeYoung/King (4), Kunkel/Staples (2); Hebdon/Squires, Kurtz, Horsman/Evensen, Ware/Bradley; Dunkle/White, Chuck/Hughes, Losee/Wright, Droubay/Dohner and Grimmett/Crompton were also busy with bringing souls to Christ. 


I bolded the part I wanted y'all to notice... Cool huh?! We've been contacting lots of people here but none really turn out to be interested. It feels good to see that our hard work is being noticed, though. I fully trust that the Lord is putting something special together for the future of this branch. Lots of new missionaries are helping this work. When I came out there were about 102 missionaries in our mission. We are at approximately 250 now so I'm sure the mission will be split soon. It truly is an exciting time to be a missionary of the Lord. Texas Lubbock Mission represent! 

Much love from The Lone Star State,

Elder Ricardo Rios

Week 39: Sweetwater, TX

May 20, 2013

Good morning!

It's been a hot week. I mean that literally, and also because we're helping investigators prepare for baptism soon. It's truly becoming a challenge to push ourselves and forget about the weather. The goal is set to talk to ten people each day and when we don't reach that goal it's disappointing. Even if we never see these people again, they know who we are and where our church building is and what time the service starts.  It all starts with an invitation. Along with the usual finding this week, we continued our labors in visiting those who are less active. It's so hard to motivate these families because they love the missionaries, but they don't want to deal with the three hours of church... A new Elder's Quorum President will be called this Sunday and the home teaching should definitely pick up to help with less active work. 

The Book of Mormon is incredible! Up until the mission I never knew of the power that is stored within this set of scripture. I'm a mark-aholic. I want to just mark every word! It's hard not to, actually, but my hand will start to cramp when I mark too much. Haha. I found a neat thing in a verse found in 2 Nephi 12:2. Look at the 'U' in the word mountain and follow straight below that letter in the next line. It's a hidden four-letter word (place) that pertains to the doctrine of the verse. Sort of like a prophecy. I'm sure many of you already knew about this but I thought it was way cool. Haha. 
It's hard to believe I've been a missionary for nine months now.. I feel like I've grown so much already. I'm so excited for what's yet to come. Love y'all, make it a great week! Send some letters guys, it's been a while! 

Elder Rios

1729 Hailey Street #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 38: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 7)

May 13, 2013

Howdy howdy!

Great week here in the Texas Lubbock Mission! Elder Cosman and I have been successful in finding people to teach! Along with teaching Matt and his wife, we're now teaching Blade, who's preparing for baptism on the 25th of this month, and also a guy named Steve. Hopefully we'll be adding some new members to our branch here soon! We've had some crazy storms here and of course we are out on our bikes hen they roll through. Haha. We had a tornado warning one day that scared me to death! We got hit with hail (isn't as fun to play in as rain), and lots of thunder & lightning. Our stake here fasted for rain for all of the farms and we got plenty of it! All is well here in Texas and the missionary work continues. I got a chance to Skype my family yesterday and get some strength and comfort from them, good to go now! I hope all is well with y'all and keep the faith! Make this week great, with passion and enthusiasm!! 

Mucho love-o,

Elder Rios

1729 Hailey St. #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 37: Sweetwater, TX

May 6, 2013

Transfer news!!

Buenos dias familia!!

Surprisingly, Elder Cosman and I are both staying here in Sweetwater for another six weeks! I was ready for a new area, but I don't mind some more time here. It works out great because we just found a family to teach!! We felt inspired to walk around instead of bike a couple of days this last week. As we were walking in for dinner on Thursday, we heard someone yelling for us asking what we were selling. This guy was on his front porch with a case of beer just having a horrible day, as he described it. He was drinking his problems away which we all know does no good. We introduced ourselves and started chatting with him. He said he wanted to give me a book to read and I told him I'd trade him books, his book for my Book of Mormon. I promised him I'd read the first three chapters of his Christian book if he read the first three chapters of the Book of Mormon, fair deal right? Haha. We returned the next day to teach the first lesson and it went great! He and his wife committed to work towards baptism! Now, I saw this guy on his porch drinking and I've had my fair share of experiences with drunk people so I wasn't planning on stopping to talk to him. I guess the Lord didn't agree with that! In our mission we are supposed to contact at least ten people a day. This includes handing out pass-along cards, church invitations, gospel conversations, etc. So the average per week for our zone is about 50/companionship. Well, Elder Cosman and I lead the zone last week with 82 contacts! Most of the week was just cold, hard finding/tracting. We've continued to work with less-active members, too. I stopped at a gas station for a drink and the cashier asked me why we haven't visited her in such a long time. I didn't know who she was but turns out she hadn't been to church in over a year---she came yesterday. We have to strengthen this branch somehow and I believe it's going to come from bringing less-active members back. Also, I hear that soon the mission force of the world will be one third sister missionaries. That's so great because the sister missionaries seem to always be successful. Can't wait until we get more in our mission! I'm so grateful to be out here in Texas serving God. This part of my life is a huge blessing to me and anyone who is a part of this journey. I'm truly having a blast and creating special memories. I'm sad that it's going by so fast but it's because I've learned to lose myself in the work. Someone wrote that quote in my journal and I came across it last week, good timing. Haha. Sad day today... I found out I will miss my brother getting married!!! What the heck!!! Brenda, you better wait until I get home. Congratulations to my big brother and his fiancée! So exciting!Much love y'all. Make this week great. Peace out. 

--Elder Ricardo Rios

Address for next six weeks:1729 Hailey St #E53Sweetwater, Tx 79556

Week 36: Sweetwater, TX

April 29, 2013

Howdy howdy! 

It has been a fantastic week in the mission field. A couple of weeks ago Elder Cosman and I took on the task of visiting those who are less active in coming to church. We got a branch roster and started going through the names. I was surprised that some people said they didn't want anything to do with the church anymore... Really sad! Despite some rejection from already members, we indeed had some success in bringing some families back. I feel like all they needed was a visit from someone. Home teaching is no bueno around here and the members have been asked to step it up but it's just not happening. Before yesterday, average attendance at church was around 35-40. After having some less active members come, we got up to 53 yesterday. Our little chapel was almost completely full! I started my mission off having lots of baptisms and this area has been in a bad drought for a couple of months... I talked with my mission president because I was beginning to get discouraged but he told me this has been a very difficult area for years. Everyone around here sticks to what they believe and are not open to any new gospel knowledge. Very unfortunate. We've been blessed with two baptisms since I've been here but I feel it's not enough! Transfers are next week and I think I'm ready for a new area to start out fresh. I think now with more members coming to church, the missionary work in the branch will have a new push and install a desire in them to share the gospel. I'm glad I was able to reactivate those less actives.
Saturday was a very long day, so let me tell you about it...haha we did a service project as a branch for a member who's house was falling apart. Insulation was installed then it was our job to put the siding on. We had a great turnout there with a couple of nail guns so the job would've taken maybe 4-5 hours. But of course we had the opportunity of manually nailing all of the planks on the house with hammers because all of the nail guns decided to stop working. Funny huh? But it did feel good to do some hard labor work. After crushing my thumb a couple of times though I decided to hold the nail in place with a little pair of pliers and that worked out a lot better for me towards the end! Haha So we finished after about 9 hours of cutting and hammering. We picked up a new investigator from that service project so we will start teaching Shelby this week!
Love you guys and thanks for all the support!! I feel your prayers each and every day.. If y'all are gonna send me a letter this week, send it through the mission office because I don't know if I'll still be here next week, thanks!

-Elder Rios

Texas Lubbock Mission
6310 114th Street
Lubbock, Texas 79424

Week 35: Sweetwater, TX

April 22, 2013

Hey guys,

I only have time to say hi and I miss y'all! Hope all is well, make this week great!

<3 Elder Rios

1729 Hailey St. #E53
Sweetwater, Tx 79556


Week 34: Sweetwater, TX

Hey guys!

My mission experience is going phenomenal! I hit 8 months today.. We've been out and about every day this week on our bikes trying to find people to teach. I am loving this!!! Not much to report on this week other than we are working hard. Had a good lesson with an investigator, Ruben. He came to church yesterday and I'm looking forward to helping him turn his life around. I miss y'all and thanks for the letters!! I save each one of them. Make this week great!! Remember, passion and enthusiasm!! Works for me! 


Much love,

Elder RIOS

Week 33: Sweetwater, TX

Dear friends and family, 

Wow!! Could Conference have been any better?! This was truly a missionary-laced conference! Instruction after instruction on "Rescuing God's children," and, "Blessing the children of Almighty God," were taught. We heard missionary counsel such as: "All people, all the world, sound go forth, miracles and faith overcome doubt," regarding missionary work.  Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called it a, "WAVE of enthusiasm for missionary work."  The Texas Lubbock Mission is truly riding this wave with souls coming unto Christ, and I get to be a major historic part of it as we continue to keep the momentum going through faith, hard work and dedication. President Monson reminded us of the importance in keeping the first law of heaven---OBEDIENCE. He taught us the blessings of obedience. We also learned of the integrity of FAITH. As Elder Holland taught, "Be true to the faith you have, and all should walk by faith." After a long ten hours total of conference, my mind is racing with excitement. General Conference puts us all back in focus on what actually matters. Each time a speaker mentioned the "full-time missionaries around the world" I got the chills, because I am a part of that. There's a certain pride we have, sort of like military pride. We are Spiritual soldiers. We had our recently baptized friend Daniel there for a couple of the sessions and his eyes were glued to the screen. He felt so bad for the things he wasn't doing right and this was a wake-up call to him. Good stuff! As far as the missionary work here in Sweetwater, Texas-- we didn't knock a single door last week. This is a very good thing because our schedule was full every day! People are finding us. Funny how our appointments end up from one side of town to the other. The joy of biking.. Haha Let's pray the Spirit testifies to them of truth. It's getting hot, I'm getting tan lines, and I'm loving every day of my mission. You have the power to make this week great, do it!! Attatched some random pictures...Haha Love, peace, and blessings y'all. 


--Elder Rios. 


1729 Hailey St #E53
Sweetwater, Tx 79556


Week 32: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 6)

Howdy!

Lots of good things happening 'round here. So we were switched to a biking area last week and I love it! We get to talk to so many people this way. Only downside is that I'm exhausted! And we barely escaped a hail storm. Haha My legs have been sore since Tuesdayof last week! A cool experience that happened, we were on the main road biking in for dinner when I got a call from a random number. This guy says he saw us on our bikes and that he used to take lessons from missionaries here in Sweetwater a long time ago. Basically he wants to learn more and offered to take us out to eat this week. The blessings if being out working diligently.. The people find us! I love it.
Did y'all have an absolutely fantastic Easter Sunday? I did! Church was straight awesome. We heard some great testimonies of the gospel. We talked a lot about the Atonement and the Resurrection in the classes. Some pretty deep doctrine came up, stuff that I've never heard before, so I learned new things. After church we did our regular service at an assisted living home and we gave a blessing to someone while there. Then we headed to the hospital to visit a member that had been taken to the ER the night before to give her a blessing. We gave two more blessings while at the hospital. Lots of Priesthood action I love it!! && I got an Easter package during the week and an Easter basket yesterday! So much candy!
Just wanted to share some of my thoughts on Easter.... Jesus Christ overcame physical death so that we can, too. He rose from the dead on the third day, as prophesied, and was resurrected to an immortal state of perfection. He is the Christ, the very Son of the living God. He lives! Believe it! Love you all, keep it real, make this week great!! Shout out to my boy Elder Brennen Edwards joining the ranks this week. Last couple of days as a civilian, good luck bud!!

<3 Elder Ricardo Rios

Monday, March 25, 2013

Week 31: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 6)


Transfer news!


Saturday night we got the calls and we are both staying in Sweetwater another 6 weeks. I'm pretty excited! But our car is going to a different area so now we are in bikes!! Which is no problem for me =) I had a feeling I'd stay here and I'm glad I am. We had a good week of missionary work. On Tuesday we were at a lesson outside of someone's apartment when suddenly 6 cop cars come storming into the complex and stop a guy that was casually walking away. So we're sitting there talking about the restoration of the church as police officers are  busting someone for drugs and fighting. Totally drove the Spirit away! Haha Anyway, just a funny experience. Our new recent convert Daniel is doing phenomenal! He came to church here yesterday then we went back to his place and barbecued some chicken and read from the Book of Mormon. There's just a special Spirit about this guy, he's going to do great things in the church. I call him Monkey or Monk because that was his nickname overseas. What a boss!
My goal for these next 6 weeks is to activate the less-active families!! Our attendance would literally double if like four more families came to church. It makes it harder for the people we teach to come to church and there's no one to fellowship them. I'm just going to hit 'em with Elder Holland's talk where he says, "If you're not active, GET ACTIVE." Think that'll work? Haha
We're having some good weather out here in the country of Texas. Sorry I haven't sent pictures lately, but being on bike now I'll have some more shots to take. I attatched some pictures I got from Daniel's phone. First picture is Elder Cosman, Daniel, and me. Second is me shooting an M4 Carbine. Keep it real, make this week great!! 


Love y'all,
Elder Ricardo Rios



1729 Hailey St #E53
Sweetwater, Tx 79556


Shooting a M4 Carbine.

Elder Cosman, Daniel, and me.



Week 30: Sweetwater, TX (Transfer 5)


Let the heat begin. 

It's been pretty warm all week and we've truly been working a sweat. The thing about Texas is that when it's cold, it gets really cold. When it's hot, ....welcome to hell. Haha jk Biking around is killer! This week was difficult also because the members decided to smother us with food so I've been eating like a pig. Or should I say I've been literally eating a pig... So much brisket and ribs. Haha Anyway, not that I'm counting down or anything but Friday I hit 7 months out. I guess the rule is once you're past 6 months you're not considered green (a greenie) anymore. Which is funny because I've been a District Leader since I was 3 months out. The mission is growing! We will be going from 152 missionaries to 204 and they're opening 29 new areas. That's cray!! Transfers are this next week so really anything can happen. I have a feeling they're gonna have me train two new elders at the same time, since President asked me how I would feel doing that last week at interviews. Saturday we did some service and washed a member's airplane. Pretty sweet! Takes a little longer than your average car. I talked to the guy that owns the airport about the church and hopefully we'll be able to come out and share more with him. I related the gospel to an airplane somehow. Haha Don't ask me how. Yesterday I got to conduct Sacrament meeting because our branch president was gone. I told y'all I do something every week at church. Haha I love it! The time is flying by, take advantage of each day. Live with PASSION and ENTHUSIASM. I promise you'll see the blessings right away. Make this week great! I'm just going to shoot this email out right now then I'll get back on to reply to individual emails after basketball. Peace, love, and blessings...

Elder Ríos


1729 Hailey St #E53

Sweetwater, Tx 79556


Monday, March 11, 2013

Week 29: Sweetwater, TX


Hey everyone,

What a swell week here in the Texas Lubbock Mission. I'll share a couple of highlights with y'all. Last Tuesday we met John. He's living with a less-active member Tabatha. We initially went over to have a study with Tabatha but John decided to sit in as well and I was so glad he did! He says he's been waiting for something that makes sense when it comes to the gospel. He had watched a video on Joseph Smith prior to us meeting and he already knew "it was REAL" (his words). So we invited him to be baptized and he said absolutely!! 23rd of March is his goal! Speaking of baptisms, Daniel was baptized on Saturday!! He is such a stud. I can't wait to see how he will grow in the gospel. Friday we had interviews with President Augustin, where we just have a one-on-one sit down with him so he can see how we're doing. I walked into his office and he said "Elder Rios tell me why I'm hearing so many good things about you. What is making these other missionaries like you so much?" I was like "Probably because I'm normal and not from Utah..." Hahaha he laughed. It is the greatest feeling knowing that you are an example to those around you. Occasionally you see or hear about some missionaries goofing off and giving in to worldly ways. There's no way I would do that because when I get home I want everything to literally feel as if it has been two years. That's easy to do in towns like Sweetwater and Pampa. Haha Yesterday I had the opportunity to teach the Gospel Doctrine class (I either teach a class or give a talk every week) and it went so well! I mean, being a missionary it was simple to teach, but the participation I got and the discussions we had were phenomenal! We talked about the Restoration which is something I teach every day. I am so grateful to the growth I am getting from being on this mission. This is where I am supposed to be and The Lord knew that. Keep pressing forward my friends!! Make this week GREAT! 


Love ya,Elder Ríos 

1729 Hailey St #E53
Sweetwater, Tx 79556


And for your viewing pleasure...


"Missionaries have certain powers that I can't explain...." -Elder Rios
(He's obviously the same old goofy, funny Ricardo)