October 28, 2014

So my P-Day is now on Mondays, and that's why I didn't get to send a letter out last week. And Dear Elder is mostly an MTC thing, you can still use it to write me, but I think it costs money now, so I would just stick with my email at richard.rigby@myldsmail.net
Another crazy week! So in the MTC, my whole district left before me, and it was just Elder Park and I from our group. It was weird having everyone be gone, but I just focused on working hard with everything with my last days before I hit the field. Elder Park left on Sunday since he got cleared, so I was with the Elder Chingas, the new Macedonian. Tuesday came and I had to say goodbye to everyone, which was sad, but I was really excited to get out into the field. 10 weeks in the MTC, was a good time, but it was time to go. The Assistants in the Provo mission picked me up where I was met and interviewed by the President McCune. He is a very stern and determined guy, that definitely seems like he knows what he's doing.
After, we took a picture, and I got picked up by my new companions, Elder Tucker and Elder Herrington. I have two since I came out in the middle of a transfer, so they just stuck me with them. They are both awesome though. They're really fun to be around, and also work work, which is all I can ask for. I'd say we get along really well, although it's only been a week. I'm loving being with them though. They took me to our apartment in Payson, and then we headed out to our dinner appointment. We get fed dinner every night of the week here, which is awesome. Immediately after we went to our appointments, who all cancelled on us, so then we visited others until our coordination meeting.
Coordination is everything. We have two stakes that we cover, and the members do all the finding for us. One of our main objectives is to get to know the members to then we can get referrals from them. So far it's been working great; we've got 4 with a baptismal date right now.
The next day was exchanges, so Elder Herrington and I went with Elder Pereria after our district training meeting. It was weird since I hadn't even been out there for 24 hours. We taught some lessons in the afternoon, and I got to teach my first real lesson ever! It was with a less active man named Clent. As you can guess, a lot of the work in this mission is with less active members. We slept at Elder Pereria's apartment, and then did some more service in the morning. The exchange ended. Again, it was a crazy few days, haha.
That night, we taught a boy. It was the first lesson with him, and we found him by a member telling us that he wants to be baptized. I'm pretty sure that stuff only happens in Utah. I got to ask him if he wanted to be baptized, to which he eagerly said yes. It's amazing. Another example is we got a call from our district leader about a boy he taught who couldn't get baptized before because of their parents, but now he can. I still can't believe stuff like that just pops up.
In an effort to know the members better, we went to two wards on Sunday, and we spoke in both of them. The bishops didn't know we were coming, and they both already had a lot of speakers, so it ended up in one ward I was the 7th speaker. It's become a lot easier to give talks with all the studying and the greater purpose I have now. Then we taught in Priest's quorum, and then more missionary lessons. It was a busy day.
Something really weird for me is they let us use Facebook to talk to people and post uplifting messages. I didn't want to use it for a while, but I decided to give it a shot and it's been pretty sweet. I remember thinking I wish I could have talked to people back home while I was in the MTC, and now I can!

I gotta say, I've been loving being out here. It took a little bit of adjusting because it's on the opposite mission spectrum as Macedonia, but I'm getting it. It's amazing to me to see how much we've been able help people already since I've gotten here. My testimony is strengthened every day after seeing the light of Christ reaching people. I know how much it has blessed my life, and all I wish to do now is bring that to other people.
-Elder Rigby
Here is my new district and, below, my new companions, Elders Tucker and Herrington:

October 26, 2014 - Provo Mission

Saturday I received a letter saying,

    We are delighted to report that your son arrived safely to the Utah Provo Mission. I had a personal interview with Elder Rigby. We were most impressed with the high level of enthusiasm for the work and the desire to teach the gospel. His efforts will be appreciated in this mission as he waits for his Visa to Macedonia. The location of his first assignment is the Payson area. Our missionaries are currently teaching over 2400 lesson a week and we average 30-35 baptisms per week.

     Mission Preparation Day is Monday, which is the day missionaries email. Mail sent through the U.S. Post Office MUST be sent first class or priority mail so we can forward it to your missionary. The mission address is:
Elder Richard Rigby
Utah Provo Mission
85 North 600 East
Provo, UT  84606-3378

Note: The Dear Elder web site can also be used to send letters -- select the "Utah Provo" Mission at this web address: http://www.dearelder.com/. You need to set up an account and you will be charged $0.49 for each letter that will be printed and mailed to the mission home.


Leaving the MTC

My new mission president President John McCune

October 16, 2014

I'm out of the MTC in 5 days!!! So my address here is good only for a few more days.

This has been a crazy week! I don't even know where to start. Right after I sent my letter last week, half of our zone of 25 missionaries got reassigned to go to Independence, Missouri, Vancouver, and to all these other places! – they will serve there until their visas come to go to their countries. Everyone was freaking out. The next day, it turned out to be a mistake by the travel office. They actually were heading to their missions. Now, everyone in the zone has left except for my district and a sister going to Slovakia. Elder Raisor and Elder Taylor were reassigned temporarily stateside to DC, and Elder Hardy and Sister Thatcher to Fort Collins, Colorado. It was a big surprise overall, but I know they are going to do great.

On Friday we had Infield Orientation, which went over some essentials before we head out into the mission field. It has a pretty bad name here considering it's just meetings and lessons all day, but they did a good job of making it interesting. All of the teachers were funny and told stories about when they were in the field. It was a really good way to remember some of the obvious stuff we forgot in these last 2 months. At the end, they had a play about the average day of a missionary. Elder Raisor volunteered to be in it, and he played a pretty funny part of playing the ward coordinator, and knowing one of the investigators because the investigator was his yoga instructor.

Brother Hammond, one of my teachers, was teaching us how we can be simpler with our message. He gave an example being a kid who only liked cheese pizza, and we had to convince him that there are better pizzas in the world (as long as they don't have mushrooms). Then after that, he pretended to be a kid who was afraid of swimming, and that was my time to shine since I was a swimming instructor this past summer. It was good to remember that experience and connect what I learned about teaching swimming lessons with missionary work! Although when I was talking to him, he asked me
"Ще бъдеш ли с мене в водата?" (Will you be with me in the water?)
"Да, ного близо на тебе." (Yes, very close to you.)
"Ще умра ли?" (Will I die?)
I didn't really hear him so I just smiled and said, 
"Да да да." (Yeah yeah yeah.)
That gave everyone a pretty good laugh, and me also when I realized what he said.

Sunday was a sad day because it was our zone's last day together. These were the people who came to the MTC when I did. We all said our farewells, and then that night had a huge, emotional testimony meeting. It was awesome to see the faith of everyone here. They were all so excited to share the gospel, and they are going to do great at it.

Monday morning the Polish, Czech, and Slovak missionaries left, which was about 20 people. It felt really empty the next day, although we still had our district. We spent that night together, giving each other blessings of comfort and sharing our love for each other. We got really close to each other during our time as a district. We woke up at 2:30 Tuesday morning to send Elder Hardy and Sister Thatcher off to Fort Collins. We got to the travel office, and Sister Thatcher was nowhere to be seen. 5 minutes after they were supposed to report, her companion found us and told us she accidently slept in. When she arrived our adrenaline was flowing, running with her luggage flying behind us – she barely made her plane. Then the next morning Elders Raisor and Taylor left for D.C.

Luckily and unluckily, one of the Polish elders named Elder Park got an eye infection to the point where he had delay leaving, so he is my companion now. We get along really, really good together. We have our own district together, named District X. He has a great sense of humor and keeps me laughing all day, every day. It's nice to have someone here still from my group. His eye is doing a lot better, so he hopefully should be out of here on the 20th.

I called the travel office yesterday and they said I would probably be stateside until the 27th, which bummed me out. Today I looked in my mailbox and I got reassigned to the work in the Provo, Utah mission starting next Tuesday the 21st. I'm really excited that I can finally get out into the field though. I'm still hoping for the visa to get here soon! I think since I'm serving in Provo that means my visa is close, hopefully before the end of the month, but we'll see. For now I help with the new Macedonian missionaries and I still have a lot to study.

I'm so thankful for this opportunity I have to help other people. This is the gospel of the Lord, and I can't wait until I can see it help other people like it's helped me!
Elder Rigby


My zone, gone.

My old district, all gone.

My new companion,
Elder Park
District X !!

Jumping for joy over my new mission assignment!

Here in Provo, Utah

(check out the shadow!)

October 9, 2014

I called the travel office in Salt Lake yesterday and got some good and bad news. The bad news is I am not leaving this week. The good news is that there is a decent chance that I'll leave the week after that! I was feeling pretty down after I found out that I'm not leaving yet for sure. I am really excited for Macedonia and just want to be there already. But for now, I still have a lot to do here, and maybe I'll set a record for longest stay in the MTC in the process. It's going to be weird because all the people that I've become great friends with are all taking off, while I will remain here. I'm just hoping it'll only be one extra week! The curse of the MTC on the belly is real though. I've already gained 15 pounds!

GENERAL CONFERENCE. I have to admit, I never had a deep love for it before my mission started, but it was seriously like Christmas. Just sit back, and watch a screen for 10 hours in a weekend. But seriously, I loved every minute of it. I've been pondering about things I can do to be a better person and missionary, and that was answered many times. I loved what Elder Oaks said about avoiding contention with everyone. That alone is something that's simple and is going to help me immensely. I just need to figure out how to remind myself of everything that was said. It was way cool to see everyone I knew in the Men's Choir for priesthood session too! They were all so excited when they came back, and I can't count how many times Elder Raisor has watched all the songs.

I've gotta say, BYU football is loud!! When they played Utah State this week, a lot of the zone went out and listened. It's funny how interested we get in the strangest things out here. In the bathroom near our class, the batteries in the automatic paper towel dispenser were dying for a while. One day they finally replaced it, and Elder Raisor and I got ridiculously excited about it. Like, I haven't been that excited in a looooong time. It's just funny the dumb stuff we suddenly have a deep interest in.

We have two people come speak to us every week in the MTC, and they are usually General Authorities. This week, a stake president from Philadelphia spoke to us, which was kind of strange. But first and foremost he told us to put notepads away, and to just listen. Then his talk was more of a comedy routine than anything. He was hilarious! It was really good for that day, considering we just listened for 10 hours of conference before. His name was Vai Sikahema. Apparently he was a NFL player. He gave a really good talk, and it still had a really good message about being personable with everyone.

That's it for this week! The fact that I'm getting left behind is weighing me down a little bit, but I know my time will come. Listen to those conference talks, especially the last one by Bednar. For all, it's such a great example of what should be done when talking about the gospel. This is the best thing in our lives, and we want to share it with everyone. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to be here serving a mission, and I'm so grateful for all I've learned.

Успеx с живот! Старейшина Ригби
Google Translation (Bulgarian): Good luck with life! Elder Rigby

Hoping to go here soon!

To be followed in a couple months by these two new Macedonian missionaries

Sister Hassell and
Elder Chingas

As you can see, we get along great!

The famed artist, Elder Williams, going to Slovakia, drew this portrait of me by only looking at me (not at the board). Not bad! The talent here astounds me.

October 2, 2014

This has been another interesting week in the MTC! We are getting close to the point of leaving in the MTC, and everyone can feel it. There's a lot of excitement, but with that excitement is almost as much nervousness. Everyone in our zone of Eastern Europe gets our flight plans either tomorrow or Saturday, which everyone is looking forward to immensely.

I found out today from Elder Prince, who's in Macedonia right now, that I'm probably going to go stateside first [to a Mission in the U.S.]. He talked to the lawyer in charge of getting visas for the Macedonian missionaries, and she said it still might take a while. I'm pretty bummed about it, especially if everyone leaves the MTC without me. The new Macedonian missionaries are going to get to Macedonia before I do! But I know that I still have a lot to learn, and hopefully I'll be able to learn and help the work wherever I end up going for a couple months in the states. My main fear is that the language will completely leave me since it's such a long time.

Something I forgot to mention last week was a little story about choir with general conference. Elder Raisor and I would do choir every week, and the director told us one week some of us will get to sing in the priesthood session of general conference. The next choir practice, they gave us surveys about our singing ability, which they would use to decide who is singing at conference. I don't have any singing experience, so I gave my survey to Elder Raisor and had him fill it out to get an honest opinion. He was not kind with it. We turned the surveys in, and in the mail a few days later we got the results. All the Elders in our zone made it except for 4 of us, me and 3 of the Polish elders. It is pretty awkward, especially since elder Raisor isn't the best of singers and our whole zone is pretty aware. But it's a funny awkwardness.

As for other things happening this week, I finished my 3 weeks as district leader and have been released. It's nice to have the study time back and not have to go to a lot of meetings anymore. When we went on our weekly temple walk on Sunday, one of our branch counselors passed out. Everyone was freaking out, and his wife was terrified. We called an ambulance and gave him a blessing that he would recover swiftly. 5 minutes later, after 15 minutes of going in and out of consciousness, he was much better and able to walk on his own. It was amazing to see the power that we have with giving blessings as worthy priesthood holders. They think it was just because he was really dehydrated and weak from the fasting, combined with some new medications and recovering from an illness. 

We got to skype more Bulgarian people this week! This time was amazing, and it was just me and sister Thatcher since everyone else in our district was at choir practice for general conference. We got to teach two people, and they were both really nice. They kept complimenting us on our Bulgarian, which I'm pretty sure just testifies how bad we still are at speaking.

Things are still great here in the MTC. 

Elder Rigby
MTC life continues the same for now, but not for much longer. Like for Nephi, 4 Nephi 1:6

And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and forty and first, and the forty and second, yea, even until forty and nine years had passed away, and also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second; yea, and even until fifty and nine years had passed away. Except for me it is days.