Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2nd, 2013

Just a reminder that you can email Devon at devon.ridd@myldsmail.net or you can send him things at 
Elder Devon Ridd
c/Eusebio Navarro 1,4A
35003 Las Palmas
Gran Canaria
Espana

Well Mom, I'm happy to hear about your new job. That job is the answer to a lot of prayers! Heavenly Father really knows each one of us and it is amazing to me that even though he has so many kids and so many things to do, he still pays attention to the little things in our lives because he wants each one of us to be happy! Congratulations Mom and let me know all about your first week!

Elder Nielson made it! He is awesome! I will send some pictures next week and tell you a little bit more about him. I gave him Elder Day's bed though and I continue to sleep on the ground :) Ha ha Mom, it is really not that big of a deal - I like to sleep on the floor. Goodness, I should never have said anything!

Everything here is going so great! Miracles all of the time! God is still a God of miracles just like it says in the Book of Mormon. I don't have much time but thank you for all of the emails and the support and the prayers! I love you all!

Elder Devon Ridd



Everything is going great! Miracles all the time. God is still a God of a miracles just like it says in the Book of Mormon :) I dont have much time but thank you for the email and the support and the prayers! 

November 25, 2013 - He Has A New Companion!

Hi Mom!

Thank you and thank everyone else for the emails. It is so great to hear the news from home!

Yes, I got a new companion! Elder Day is back in the peninsula and my new companion is Elder Nielson. I don't know him yet though... He is waiting for his residency card in the peninsula so he might have to wait another week or so before he gets here. So, right now I am in a trio with Elder McFarland and Elder Larsen from our apartment and it is good fun. Elder Nielson is only one transfer ahead of me so when he gets here we are going to be a pretty new set of Elders! I am really excited but I know there will probably be some difficult times. Thank you dad for sharing what you have learned from the scriptures. I will be sure to thank
Heavenly Father for my challenges.

So, today our P-day is only going to last until 4:00 because on Thursday we are going to spend a little extra time feasting on Thanksgiving dinner with the senior couple serving here. So, I am really excited for that but I will be thinking about all of you. I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving back home. :)

Everything going on about the new Gilbert Temple sounds exciting! That is going to be an amazing experience! Keep me up on what is going on with that! Send me a picture of the Madrid Temple that Ryan drew for Dad! I love that kid!

Let me share with you a little bit about what happened this week! We had Danny's baptism! He is a stud! I honestly don't know if I will ever have another miracle like him again on my mission. I could write novels about him. Here is the short story, we found him on a Saturday night and less than three weeks later he was baptized! One of the biggest tender mercies of the Lord ever and I am just so glad that he found the Church and we were doing what we were supposed to be doing too so that the Lord could put him in our path. He is going to be such a strong member of the church her in Las Palmas.

I am doing my best and being obedient! I love you all!

Love, Elder Ridd







November 18, 2013

I am so behind on posting these letters. I sometimes feel like I want to keep them to myself for a day or two and then a whole week goes by and it is time for a new one! This week (December 9) we didn't really get a letter because he is out doing a fun activity on his p-day so I am taking the opportunity to get caught up! As always, you can email Devon at devon.ridd@myldsmail.net and here is his physical mailing address:
Elder Devon Ridd
c/Eusebio Navarro 1,4A
35003 Las Palmas
Gran Canaria
Espana

Hi Mom!

Sorry for jumping over the missionaries. Don't worry though, I did it with ease ;) if you saw the pictures from last week then you know I had to chastise him for that jumping picture! He loves to jump over things but has been hurt in the past... 

We are having Zone Conference right now and it is awesome because the whole zone came here to Las Palmas and we are just chilling. I am using Sister Buhler's (couple serving on the island) laptop and she says hi mom! I took some really awesome pictures this morning that were way sweet so I will send those next p-day. 

We were supposed to have two baptisms this week but both of the people got sick. 

Well, I love you all. Transfers on on Monday and we find out this Saturday what is going on so that is super exciting. I can't for two years when I get home and I won't be able to speak English. That is going to be awesome. The church is true!

Love,
Elder Ridd



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More Pictures!!

Yesterday's email came much later in the day then we are used to. I was a little worried. When he finally emailed he said that they had gone on a big hike in the morning and were emailing in the afternoon and that he would send pictures. But all of the pictures were of his recent baptism. Then today I found these pictures in my junk mail folder. I don't know why they went there! But they look like they are from his hike! I see that some things never change - he is still JUMPING!! I wish he wouldn't send me those pictures...
 
 
 
 
 

Happy Veteran's Day (and more pictures!!)

Two weeks ago I asked Devon some questions about his living arrangements etc.. He answered back last week but I thought he was joking. He wasn't. I think maybe I won't ask any more questions about that kind of stuff!

Hola Mom and family!!

Yes, I really do sleep on the floor and there really are bugs everywhere. I wear my hoodie with the hood up and cover myself completely with my sheet at night to keep the bugs off of me... but, I love it :) It is all part of the experience! Don't worry about me - I really am doing fine!

So, Victor and Cynthia got married on Friday and then she got baptized yesterday! It was so awesome! There are some pictures from that at the bottom of this post. I asked him about why he was golfing in his shirt and tie and also about some of the other pictures that I have seen on facebook of him eating at people's houses! Yes, we golfed in our regular clothes just because we felt like it. The rule is that should wear your proselyting clothes as much as you can so we just said ehh, what the heck. I really have gained almost 20 pounds. I am eating lots and lots of yogurt and cereal that I buy from the store and lots and lots of frozen food that you just stick in the microwave... ha ha it is awesome. We pretty much only get fed by the members on Sundays and even then we sometimes don't always do that. I think the 20 pounds is


because of all of the yogurt I eat! And because of our eating schedule! Normally, missionaries get 1 hour for lunch and 1 hour for dinner. We get two hours for mediodia (lunch? siesta?) and no time for dinner. So, we eat a ton during mediodia and then usually a couple of yogurts right before bed. So, we proselyte for like 6 hours straight after mediodia without eating.

Transfers are on the 25th or something like that. Everything is going great here! We should have a couple more baptisms coming before the transfer ends and the ward is really starting to kick in to gear and it is awesome! The church is true! I love you all! Thank you for everything that you do. Os amo!

Love,
Elder Ridd












Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 4, 2013 (With Pictures!!)


Wow Mommy! Thanks for the email! That was a good one! You said you want to know more about our living conditions. I sleep on the floor on some old blankets, our electricity hasn't worked for the last couple of days, I've gained like 20 pounds and we have every type of bug known to man in our apartment. (This is where he should have said "I'm just kidding") There are four of us in our apartment. It has been such wonderful weather here. I love it.

I got to wail on some golf balls last Monday! We have some sweet investigators right now. Cynthia is getting baptized this Sunday and Olga and Loida are both getting baptized next Sunday. We have a new investigator named Daniel that will probably get baptized after that! It's so awesome!

This week was really sweet. I had intercambios (exchanges or splits I am assuming!) so Elder Day (his companion) went to a different area and I got Elder Cross with me who is brand new to the mission and doesn't speak any Spanish. We had to teach two lessons and contact some people in some other parts of the Island. We also got a call from a menos activo (less active member?) and had to go to a hospital and give a blessing to a guy who was doing really bad after back surgery! So, I gave my first blessing in Spanish on Tuesday! I have done the anointing before but never the big one, so that was a great experience. So, yeah, my Spanish really got put to the test this week. It was cool.

Good job to the DRHS golf team! And I am so excited for Justin and his mission call! I love that kid! He is going to tear it up out there! Thank you to everyone who sent me emails this week. I am sad for Jacob about his Grandma. I will continue to pray for him and his family.

Everything is going great here. We are visiting a lot of old investigators and seeing if they are ready and prepared now to hear the gospel. We found one guy named Hector who lives in Arucas right next to the cathedral (look that up!) He lives in a 300 year old mansion all by himself and he is way ready to hear the gospel! It was so cool being able to visit him. The Lord's timing is different than our timing and sometimes we just have to wait for when it is the right time. The people here are so great. I'm really starting to love them. This work is the best!! Thank you for all of the support and everything that you and Dad have taught me. You guys are so great!

Tell Morgan and Nicole and everyone else that I love them! Until Next week!

Elder Ridd










.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Letter from 10/21

We got a pretty short email this week. I'm including a little of what he sent to Courtney too. He sent her some pictures but not us! So I am thinking that we, his parents, are third on his email priority list. Actually, we told him to get out and see more of the Canary Islands! He mentioned last week that after they email, do their laundry and grocery shopping that they aren't left to do much sight-seeing or recreation so we told him to just give us the basics and get out and enjoy his day off!




Bonjour!

Wow, that was a long email mom! I appreciate everyone's letters so much! I love knowing what is going on. Thank you for all of the support. The island is great! The weather is great and the work is going along nicely!

We didn't have our baptism this week. Loida is still having some problems with cigarettes so we moved it back a little bit, no pasa nada. (I have no idea what that means) She is still way strong and will get baptized soon! We found some great great great people this week so November is going to be a great month!

The work is going great here. We called about 100 million people these last couple days from ancient ancient records and we have some new investigators now! We taught a 75 year old lady twice this week and she came to church and wants to get baptized! She knows it is true and is an amazing example! Another reason why we should talk to everybody! I will keep you updated on her. Her name is Olga! We should have some baptisms next month and I am so excited!

I am excited for Courtney going to the temple! And tell Steph congratulations on the Salt Lake call! Way cool! She is going to tear it up! Tell everybody I say hi when you are all together this weekend for homecoming. I miss all of the Aunties and Uncles!

I love you all!

Love, Elder Ridd

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Letter received 10/14/13 (Columbus Day!)

Dear Family!

Thanks for the Columbus Day greetings! Yes, I did know that Christopher Columbus stopped in the Canary Islands but I didn't even realize today was Columbus Day! Everybody here loves Christopher Columbus but they say his name so different that half of the time I don't even realize that they are talking about him! We live right next to the church that he prayed in before he left on his journey to the Americas so that is pretty sweet!

I got the Halloween package that you sent! It was like Christmas! Thank you so much for everything that was in there! The pictures were so awesome! Thank you so much! I already have a Spanish hymn book that we bought before I left but thank you for the new one. It will be a great gift to an investigator that gets baptized so thank you. Everything in there was perfect thank you so much.

Courtney- thanks for sending the picture with the Erekson girls! You look great! Sis. Erekson writes me a letter each month which is so super nice of her.

I love being on the island - the weather is the same everyday. (He sent his wishes to his friends Justin Wright and Nathan Aller who got their Eagle Scout awards - he also said that he can't wait to get home and speak some Spanish on the golf course with Justin's Grandpa Barron. )

Wow, so it was kind of a crazy week. We can really see that Satan tries to work on our investigators who have baptismal dates. It seems like a lot of bad things were happening at the beginning of the week and we couldn't meet with them. But, I know that thanks to your prayers and our prayers, everything seemed to work out by the end of the week. Denis, our Croatian friend, is moving to Tenerife this week. So we prepared him nicely for the Elders over there to baptize him! We know all of the elders them and we are happy to have them do it.The work is great. Thank you so much for your prayers! Loida is still scheduled to be baptized this Sunday so we are excited for that.

You are all amazing. Thank you for your support and prayers. I don't know if Nana reads this, but tell her thank you for writing me a letter a couple of weeks ago! I haven't had time to write her back but I am going to do that today. Thank you to everyone who emailed me this week! I hope everyone is doing well. We had our transfers and Elder Day and I are still together and staying in Las Palmas. The church is true. I love you Mom!

Have a great week!

Elder Ridd

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Last Week's Letter!

This is a compilation of the emails that Alan and I received on 10/07/13. Later that day I had a little dental procedure that turned in to a big deal and I didn't get around to posting the letters until today. He is doing so well. We love when he mentions people outside of the family that he is getting letters from! Thank you so much for your support of our boy! devon.ridd@myldsmail.net


Family!

I was able to watch all of General Confernce - what an amazing conference it was - holy smokes. I watched it all live so we started at 5pm on Saturday and then the afternoon sessions ended at 11:00 at night here but we had permission from President Jackson to watch it - I didn't fall asleep one time! We watched the Priesthood session on Sunday morning at 10:00. I was thinking of you, Dad, during that session. We watched all of the sessions in English except for Priesthood. I had to watch that one in Spanish. I could understand it, but it was way too easy to zone out and then when I did I missed important things. I've never gotten so much out of conference - it just strengthened my testimony so much. I felt the spirit so strong when President Monson got up to speak at the end of Sunday morning session. I felt the spirit throughout the whole thing, but right then I just knew that he was a Prophet of God. I thought to myself, wow I should have always watched conference with this much focus, I could have gotten so much more out of them in the past!

So, one of our cousins is in the General Young Men's Presidency! That is so cool! Dad will probably be the next General Authority from our family! :)

So this is the last P-day of this transfer! Time flies by out here - holy smokes!

Thank you so much for sending the pictures and the video from to'ona'i. I loved them. Tell all of the to'ona'i family that I love and miss them and I miss all of the food!

Elder Day and I have been working hard! We have 4 baptismal dates coming up! I have to tell you about one little miracle! I was in a bathroom at a bus station and I was washing my hands and so was this 22 year old man and I just said Hola! And we started talking and now he is getting baptized in 20 days! It is so awesome! That is why it is so important to talk to everyone! His name is Victor. The other three baptismal dates are Loida on the 20th of October. If you could pray with us for her to stay off the cigarettes that would be great. She is amazing and comes to every church activity there is. Then Victor is being baptized on the 27th. Cynthia in on the 10th of November after her wedding on the 8th. And Denis, our Croatian friend is the 17th of November. If we could all pray for Denis to be able to quit smoking and to keep progressing in the Gospel that would be great.

You guys are amazing! Thank you for all of the emails! I'm sorry this is short but I love you all!

The church is true!

Elder Ridd



 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10 Weeks!

It has been almost 10 weeks since Devon left us. I told him in this letter that at the 10 week point of my mission I was just barely out of the MTC and here he is teaching and baptizing and tearing it up in the field! Just a reminder that you can email him at devon.ridd@myldsmail.net   This week's email is from letters that he sent to Alan and I. Seems like he was busy emailing everyone else and didn't have a lot of time for us this week! :)

Hola!

Yeah, it's been almost 10 weeks! Crazy huh? Another 10 weeks just about and I'll get to call you guys on the phone! I'm so happy to hear that everything is going great back home! Everything is going so great here! 

We received the above photo via email from a man who said that he was refueling (?) in the Canary Islands and ran across Devon and his companion. He said that he has a son serving a mission in Australia and he always loves to hear from people who have seen his son so he sent us this picture and a note that they are doing well. Here is what Devon said about it: I'm glad to hear that you guys got the picture from that guy! I have no idea who he was, but he was a member, he spoke English and he works for the FBI! I love when I hear English - whenever I hear anybody saying anything in English I immediately start talking to them!

I email in a local computer lab thing (we asked him where he goes to email us). It costs me about a Euro and a half to email every week. And yes, mom, I email all of my friends regularly. All of the QFL (nickname of his friend's group) is in touch and I email Jacob (Dayley his other good friend) every week. It sounds like he is doing great! (he is in the Provo MTC preparing to leave for Mexico)

I love you mom and family and a big hug and thanks to everyone who emailed me and has helped me get out here on my mission. I asked him about how he will watch General Conference next week and he said: So, I think I get to watch conference as a direct satellite transmission - it's just going to start at like 11:00 at night! The president has given us permission because I guess that is what all of the members here do! So we will go to the Capilla (chapel?) and watch it there.

 I love you all! I emailed Dad and Morgan and Nicole back so I don't have as much time, but I loved getting emails from them! The power of prayer is real! Praying and fasting is such a huge blessing in our lives. I was able to fast yesterday because we have conference this week and it was awesome. I feel like my English grammar is going down hill fast so please edit this. I love you mom and family and a big hug and thanks to everyone who emailed me and has helped me get out here on my mission.

Dad, I wanted to say what a blessing it was to be your home teaching companion for so long. The other day I realized how much that honestly prepared me for my mission! It was like an hour long glimpse in to the mission field! So, thank you for all of the good experience there. I wish you were my companion right now, we would do work!

Mom, one thing that I wasn't going to tell you at first but now I can -  When I first got here on the island I thought there must be a very severe crime problem because every night I could hear gun shots in the night. BUT, it turns out that they shoot off fireworks every night to celebrate a different Catholic saint or something. So, don't worry, I'm safe!

I love you all! The church is true!!

Elder Ridd



Thursday, September 26, 2013

What a Happy Week!

This week's letter is late getting out. I have got to teach this boy how to use punctuation and paragraphs so I don't have to spend so much time editing the emails!!  Just a reminder - you can email him atdevon.ridd@myldsmail.net  or his physical address is:
 
Elder Devon Ridd
C/ Eusebio Navarro 1,4A
35003 Las Palmas
Gran Canaria
España

 Holy smokes what a bunch of amazing emails I have received this week! I am so so so so stoked for Courtney and her mission call. I know that the Lord knows what he is doing! I can just imagine the great spirit that was in the house when she opened her call. She is going to do so great in France.
 I'm so glad you all got my pictures and letters! Thank you for answering my questions and running my facebook! I love that you are doing that! Thank you for keeping a blog too! The one guy, Victor, that you added to my facebook friends will be posting lots of pictures too! I'm glad Morgan is settling in to my room :) I just realized how many weird and embarrassing things you probably found in there while you were cleaning it out... ha ha yikes! It is so great that you and Dad are taking the Strengthening Marriage classes. You guys are amazing parents. Tell the Coles that I love them and miss them! I pray for you guys and I'm so glad that everything is going great at home. :)
 The Stake Conference that we just had was so great! Elder Teixeira and Elder Reina of the Seventy were both there and they are so awesome. I got to talk to them a lot and they are great and inspired men. They made a really big deal about missionary work throughout the whole conference, so it was really really awesome to be able to be there and be a part of it. The members here are so excited that the work is progressing. There are about to be a lot of changes and what an amazing time to be here and to be on a mission. I'm not sure yet how we will watch General Conference - I will let you know when I found out!
 Ok, from my apartment I just want to let you know that I feel like Jason Bourne. Everything here reminds me of those movies - the European sirens and the stinky utilities and the passport in my pocket. I'm like, holy smokes if Jason Bourne preached the Gospel that would be me. I did an intercambio this week so I spent 24 hours with another Elder in Vecindario and it was cool to change things up. 
 That same Victor that you friended on facebook and his girlfriend Cynthia are getting married next month and then she is getting baptized right after. And... get this... they are naming their son Devon... When he asked to be my friend on facebook he saw that that was my name and they love it and now they are going to name their son after me! 
 The work is great here I love it so much! There is so much I could tell you but I just can´t! Thank you to the Johnsies for sending me letters!!! I got two from them this week! I love them and they are so spiritual! I'm getting to write them back today. Also thank you to Sister Erekson for writing me too! It was so awesome! Thank you to everyone who emailed me! I love you all. The church is true! I hope this email is sufficient. I love you mom! I hope you have a great day and a great rest of the week!
Love, Elder Ridd

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Canary Islands!

Bonjour Familia!

Thanks for the emails everyone! Thank you Mom for the long email that describes every one's lives - honestly, I love it! Keep telling me everything - it is fun to hear. I was so glad to hear about to'ona'i! Tell my whole to'ona'i family that I love them all.

Holy Smokes! I can't believe Courtney is going to get her mission call so soon! I almost cried when I read your email, I don't know why really, I think that I am just overwhelmed and feel really blessed and humbled to know that I have so many prayers and thoughts with me to help me out. You are all awesome! Hopefully Courtney gets her mission call to the Tucson mission or something so you don't have too bad of withdrawals with your kids all growing up and leaving home! :)

So, yes! I'm in the Canary Islands but there won't be pictures until next week, sorry. I am only allowed to take pictures on P-Days so we are going out after we send our emails to travel around and take some pictures.

Ok, Mom, I thought of you when I was studying my scriptures the other day - I read 1Nephi 5:8 "...the Lord hath protected my sons... and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them." So don't worry - I'm being protected out here! I am as safe as ever! I actually meant to tell you about that scripture last week but I forgot. Here is another cool scripture - Romans 15:24 - look it up. (I looked it up - I had no idea that the New Testament had a scripture about Spain!)

So here is a little update of my week: I have come to the conclusion that Gran Canaria is kind of a mix between San Diego, Haiti and Madrid. I've never been to Haiti but the apartments here look Haitian. Everybody here smokes so everybody here has terrible breath and not very many people have teeth! It is one of the biggest problems that keeps people from getting baptized - they want to get baptized but they can't stop smoking. We have a little bit different schedule than other missionaries. We wake up at 7:30 and go to bed at 11:30 with mediodia (siesta) from 2 to 4 everyday. Normally missionaries get an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner but we get 2 hours at lunch and no time for dinner.

Ok here is a good experience; about a week ago my companion and I were trying to find a less active member's house somewhere where we were not familiar at all. It was getting pretty late and we couldn't find his apartment. It turned out the address didn't exist and now we were way far away from our home. So we were pretty frustrated and decided to head back. When we started to head back, a guy ran in to us and said he wanted to come back to church and he had just been waiting to run in to some missionaries! He is from Sevilla, Spain and hadn't been to church in years. His name is Antonio and he has been to church with us for two weeks now and we have taught him two lessons. He comes to English classes every week and family night and I love him so much. He feels like an uncle or a grandpa to me. I know that we were guided to find him. He is so awesome and I think he asked to be my friend on facebook mom so friend him and then he can put some pictures on!

My Spanish is going alright. I spent my time in Madrid trying to get comfortable with the theta and now they don't even use it here in the Canary Islands! -__- I'm starting to get a watch tan line that I am pretty proud of. I have a few questions I would like answered please! Is Morgan sleeping in my room? (yes) How is that going? Can you send me some pictures of the family and stuff please? There were a lot of other questions in there that I am not going to put here for everyone to read - he does recognize that I shouldn't! Mom, I trust that you edit these letters please before you send them out to the world right?

I love you lots and pray for all of you! Thank you for everything Mom and Dad - I think about how blessed I am to have such great parents all the time. The mission is great! The church is true! Til next week!

Love, Elder Ridd


A Slideshow!!

Devon sent home a CD of pictures! They are mostly from his two MTC experiences but there are some from around Madrid as well. It looks like they got some kind of VIP tour of the Real Madrid stadium but we don't know anything for sure because there was no explanation for most of the pictures!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From His Mission President

 
Dear Parents of Elder Ridd,
We received your son into our mission Tuesday morning. We brought him to the Mission Home and fed him lunch. We gave him an overview of the mission and some of the rules and expectations, and spent most of the day with him. He was excited, and seemed ready to get to work. 

Later that afternoon, we had a meeting at the Stake Center in Madrid on Temple Square, and met with his trainer to discuss the new 12 week training program. During this 12 week period, your son will have an extra hour of companion study each day, and will be given specific things that he must report to the Mission President. We know that this is an inspired program, and will help to make missionaries better teachers and better followers of Christ. Please encourage your son in this program. It will help him develop tools that will help him to have a successful mission, and a more successful and fulfilling life after his mission. 
  
Elder Ridd has been assigned to the Canary Islands, on the island of Gran Canaria in Las Palmas. He will serve with Elder Day, who is from California. Elder Day is a happy, obedient missionary, who will be a good first companion for your son. 

Our Preparation Day is on Monday. Elder Ridd is instructed to email his immediate family every week. We look forward to getting to know him and working along side him in this great work here in the Spain, Madrid Mission. We can tell he will be a great missionary. Thank you for sharing him with us! We already love him.


Sincerely,
President and Sister Jackson

We Finally Know Where He is - and There Are Pictures!!

We have been on pins and needles waiting to hear from Devon this week - wondering where he is! Now we know! And we finally got some pictures of our boy! Mondays are his new p-days and he really would like to hear from more of you. His physical address is in the body of this letter and his email is devon.ridd@myldsmail.net And just a reminder that whenever the words are italicized - they are mine - not his!! :)
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
Hola! I thought you would have found out where I was by now because when we got to the mission home they took a picture and got your email address so that someone in the office could tell you where I was going, but I guess not! After I got this email I looked in my junk mail folder and there was an email from the Mission President's wife all about Devon and where he was going - I will post that here as soon as I post this letter. I could just shoot myself because that email came FOUR DAYS before this one did!! And it has a picture too!! Anywho... you best believe I'm emailing you right now from the Canary Islands!!!!! I am serving on Gran Canaria in Las Palmas! Mom again, just put that in google and look at the images - it looks amazing! I want to go there! Yes, I'm telling the truth, and yes, I'm on an island surrounded by water. I've been here since Wednesday morning because we had to catch a flight on Wednesday not Tuesday the normal transfer day. So Tuesday I spent most of the day with the AP's in Madrid and just kind of hung out with them. But yes, I am here now safe and sound!!
 
My companion/trainer's name is Elder Day from Turlock, California. He has only been out for 6 months but he is a great missionary. He was in an immersion program for Spanish his whole life so he is fluent which is great, especially because I can hardly understand the people here. Their Spanish is so broken and fast and mumbled it's crazy. They are pretty much all little tiny people too. This island is so cool though. It's not really hot or cold, but its not really tropical like Hawaii either. It feels like you just plopped Madrid right in the middle of the ocean and turned down the Air Conditioning. It is really awesome to be able to see the ocean everyday. I am definitely blessed to be able to serve here. I could only bring one suitcase with me so I only brought my essentials and had to leave everything else at the mission home. I feel a little bit like Kolipoki here! This is a reference to one of our favorite movies called The Other Side of Heaven - if you haven't seen it - watch it this weekend!
 
It is great to hear all about the family and the awesome adventures you guys had this week! My new p-day is Monday and we are only allowed to write on Mondays. Here is my address:
 
Elder Devon Ridd
C/ Eusebio Navarro 1,4A
35003 Las Palmas
Gran Canaria
España
 
Thank you for all of your prayers, I really, really appreciate it. I love it here. In 2 weeks a stake is being formed right here on our island! It is going to be so awesome! Oh yeah, and I already had a baptism! Not really, but kind of really. It was my companion and I but I only taught the guy once and he was already planning on getting baptized. It was actually Elder Bueller, a senior Elder serving here, who did the baptizing. The guy that we baptized is named Fran and he has such a strong testimony. Hopefully I can have a baptism every week! That would be nice - it was such a great experience.
 
I love you all and thank you to everyone who emailed me. Sorry this email is kind of all over the place, but if you have any questions just ask Alora, because I usually email her more... hahaha just kidding mom, I love you. I kept this in here because he thinks he is so funny. He knows that I fret every week and want to make sure that he is sending us ALL of the information! I will send more pictures next week!
 
Love,
Elder Ridd
 
 
 
 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Last Week in the MTC or the One Where He Tricks a Bunch of Spaniards

This is going out pretty late. Thursday morning when it came I was in Utah with Courtney getting her moved in to her dorm room and getting settled at BYU! It is very weird for us to have both Devon and Courtney out of the house!

Hola Family!

Thank you for all of the emails! It is so awesome to hear about Jacob and Heidi and now Justin too! What a stud, I love him. Thanks for all of the pictures that you sent me too! I'm doing fine here, I've only worn my glasses twice and it has just been those two Sundays. I was just giving my eyes a break. I would love to get more actual mail and not just emails. I am going to send some pictures soon. It has been hard to get stamps and to print off pictures so I will be sending a cd home soon with a bunch of pictures on it.

So next time I email you I will be somewhere else! I am going out to the field in four days! I am interviewing with President Jackson on Saturday! President Sitterud already said the he and President Jackson have arranged to have me play golf with them so that's pretty sweet! Thank you so much to everyone who has emailed me! Courtney, thank you for always emailing me and updating me, I love it. Thank you Sister Wright for emailing me too! Y gracias a Luke, Mason and Aunt Lisa for emailing me! I'll get back to all of you as soon as I can. I don't have much time here at the MTC. Thank you Sarah Captain for sending me a letter! Thank you especially to the Johnsies! I loved hearing from you guys and especially about all of your experiences at the temple. I will write you back as soon as I get some more stamps!

This week was great! There are some new native speakers here at the MTC now who barely speak any English, so that has really helped my Spanish a lot. There is a piano in the cafeteria that has built in Bach and Mozart songs on it, and the first night that the natives were here I turned it on some crazy number and started going to town pretending like I was playing and by the end of the night they were all surrounding me and cheering for me! It was so funny!

This Saturday when we were teaching at the park I had a really cool experience. I could really feel Heavenly Father helping me and there were tons of people coming up to me who wanted to hear about the gospel! It was Awesome! I felt like he was preparing people to be there right when I was there. I have had just so many great experiences this week. I was at the hotel and about to leave and I just had this thought that I should bring my wallet and it just so happened that we needed our metro passes that day. I know it is a small little experience but it strengthened my testimony for sure.

Ok get this, there is a kid here named Elder Hill and he is the same age as me going to Madrid, and he has a twin sister too who is also going to BYU Provo this year for her freshman year and just got there!! Her name is Amanda Hill. I thought that was pretty cool, and he was my last companion at the park and he´s super cool.

I love the culture here. All of the teachers are super tired around 2 o'clock because they are used to having a siesta every day (taking a nap in the afternoon) One of my teachers named Brother Lopez always says, even the Holy Ghost falls asleep at 2:00 ha ha. I am really enjoying the weather. It is not even close to as hot as Mesa and I have actually been pretty cold in the mornings! It sprinkles every once in a while and is beautiful. I love it!

Alright thank you for all of the prayers and wishes back home! Post on my Facebook to have people email me please. How is Mu Shu  by the way? I am so sad to hear about Uncle Scott - please send everyone in Utah my best wishes.

Love,
Elder Ridd

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

4 Weeks!

This week we were able to watch a video of Devon singing with the other missionaries in the Madrid MTC on YouTube. He didn't tell us about it, we found it in a very round about way but you can watch it here. He is on the top row on the left side and he is wearing his glasses (1:56). The camera pans by him twice - the second time you can see him smiling and talking to his neighbor (2:13). It was so great to catch a glimpse of him looking good! Some of those missionaries must have worked really hard to be able to sing that song in English! In his letter he mentions something about a blog as well so I will do a little digging and see if I can find that! In this e-mail he says a lot of stuff about Spanish- maybe it will make sense to some of you! :)

Hola Everyone!

I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone who emailed me this week. I loved all of the letters! :) Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Ridd for your letter - there is a kid here from Mountain View but he didn't know the kid that you were talking about but I definitely appreciated your letter! Thank you Sister Erekson for your letter too! It was very nice to hear from your family. Glad to hear that everyone is doing great back home! With Courtney's wisdom teeth, Alora's white trash party and Dad's birthday it sounds like you all had a busy week.

Ok, lots of stuff happened here this week too! We had a President's devotional on Sunday in the stake center right next to the CCM (MTC in Spanish?) and the temple. After the devotional 4 or 5 of us Elders were talking to President and Sister Sitterud. We were talking and Sister Sitterud start walking away to go somewhere and she tripped and fell and shattered her shoulder. There were just a couple of us Elders there and we all ran over there freaking out and seeing if we could do anything to help. We ended up giving her a blessing and it was so awesome to be able to participate in that. She went to the ER and got fixed up and now she is doing fine. I feel so much closer the President and his wife now, that's for sure.


I am the District Leader here again. I love it. My district is awesome. I have memorized the first vision, the Purpose of Missionaries from Preach my Gospel, the 4th section of the Doctrine and Covenants and Moroni 10:3-5 so far all in Spanish. There are some Elders here who have like 50 scriptures memorized in Spanish, it's crazy. Speaking of Spanish - let me clear up some myths about the Spanish in Spain for you guys... The theta is only used on C's that sound like S's and Z's. So it's not Ethpaña it's España. You can totally tell the different dialects from the different parts of Spain. In the south part of Spain like in Malaga and the Canary Islands, they don't really say S's at all and they don't finish the end of their words - it's crazy. So they would pretty much say, La Igleis de JesuCrito do lo Santo de lo Ultiom Dia - but super fast. In the North, they pronounce everything really well but their jota's or their J sounds that would be like an H sound in Mexico are super Frenchy here. It's like they have a loogie in their throat when they say Jesucristo. But other than that, it's the same Spanish here as anywhere else! It's not hard to understand the vosotros or anything, so it's wonderful. And don't worry, I won't come home sounding like a gay guy like everyone said - the theta is more manly than you think!

I am in the hotel once again because we got some more native missionaries! So I had to pack up all of my stuff for like the 5th time already on my mission... but it's all good! I know they keep picking on me because I am willing to move around! I love it here! I am so grateful for every one's prayers and wishes on my behalf. I love you all! The Church is true!!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Birthday Letter for Dad

A special letter came yesterday addressed to Alan for his birthday and it came right on his birthday which was an extra special gift. It was dated 8/12/13 and arrived 8/19/13 so just a week later. I am not sending this out via e-mail or facebook - just putting it here on the blog so that we have a record of it and any of you that come here can read these sweet words. This letter made me happy and a little sad - it is more real than any previous letters and I see him struggling and learning and growing in these words.

Hola Padre! Estoy escribiendo a usted solamente porque su dia en cuol estaba nacer esta pronto! Y porque debo escribirle a usted tal vez a reces. Don't put that in google translate because I don't know if it will make sense. Just know that I'm writing you because its good to write you once in a while and I love you, and your birthday is coming up! Happy 42 or 43! I don't remember exactly which one it is, sorry. This whole mission thing kind of wipes your memory clean of non-missionary things ha!

I love it here. the Spain MTC is so spiritual and amazing and I'm so glad that I'm here. Today we had an early morning devotional and Brother Jose Texiera of the 70 came and talked to us! He is the area 70 for all of Europe. It was so cool to hear him speak. He talked all about his missionary experiences and what we can do to be the best missionaries. There are only like 80 missionaries here so it felt so personal as does every devotional that we have here.

We have a lot of converts come and talk to us from Spain so that we can learn a lot about the people here and how to teach them. It's so awesome being here in Spain. We have already learned so much about Madrid and it has been such an advantage to just be surrounded by the language.

I hope everything is going well with work and being a bishop! I pray for you guys every night and I can feel your prayers for me so thank you. I've been kind of sick the last couple of days, hence the snot dot on my paper haha but I'm fine.

There are a lot of awesome kids here but there are also some kids here who aren't really here for the right reasons and they talk about bad things, but I'm just trying to remember everything you told me about being exactly obedient. The teachers here are so awesome. They are all like 23 or 24, barely speak English, but they are such good friends and examples to us.

The temple is so amazing. It is so cool to just look out any window and see it right there. Honestly, its harder being a missionary than I thought it would be. I thought that once I became a missionary I would automatically be super spiritual and I would automatically be a scholar in the scriptures but its hard work! I love it though. Sometimes I miss you guys or I miss Alora but I wouldn't trade this for anything. I'm actually wearing your tie right now as I'm writing this!

Thanks for everything and making it possible for me to be out here serving a mission. Hopefully this gets to you by your birthday! Happy Birthday! Thanks for your emails to me too. Please keep sending them even if I don't reply. It means a lot when you do! Feliz Cumpleanos! Thats how say it in Spain!

Alright, I love you -
Elder Ridd

Thursday, August 15, 2013

MTC Week 3 The One Where He Gains Some Weight!

FYI - he is joking Alan is really only turning 42! :)

Bonjour! I have now been out on my mission for over 3 weeks! 

I´m sorry that you got sick mom. I hope you are doing ok and you will definitely be in my prayers. I´m glad everyone is having fun at school too! 

Its pretty crazy around here. I am learning so much and I had a lot of great experiences this week. I was super humbled as one of the lessons my companion and I were teaching this week kind of tanked. the investigator's brother walked in during the lesson and was having a life crisis and my Spanish isn't perfect so it was kind of rough. BUT I  learned about the spirit and how crucial it is in teaching and knowing what to do in  a situation. The next lesson with him went great and we followed the spirit. 

Its amazing here. Today we got to tour the entire Madrid temple and it was amazing. Believe it or not, I have actually gained about 7-8 pounds here so far... haha everyone here is such picky eaters and it bugs the heck out of me, so i just eat everyone else's food. Everybody here except for me has lost anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds.. I put peanut butter on everything and salsa mil islas (thousand island sauce) has enabled me to eat any sea creature that comes my way. 

Dad´s birthday is in a couple of days! Happy 51 to him! :) Thank you everyone who emailed me. It was so great to read them all. I love you all! Its so good to hear that Jacob is going to the temple. Good for him. the temple is a great place. I love that kid! How is Brad Beudens situation? Is he coming to this MTC? TIme is almost up! Hope everything is going well in the United States! Love you all! Talk to you later! I will try to get more letters out this week. 

Haz Lo Justo!
 
Love, Elder Ridd

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spain MTC Week 2 Mission Week 3 or The One He Thinks He is Growing Gills

He sounds great! I still wish there was more information but that is just the mom in me. His physical address is at the bottom of the email - his email address is still devon.ridd@myldsmail.net and you can still use the dearelder.com feature - they charge you $1.10 to send the letters through them but he gets it the same day.
Hola familia!
Week two in the Spain MTC! All of the kids from France and Russia and Africa and Italy and Ukraine and Portugal just left... I am going to miss them so much. We had quite a language barrier but they were such good friends to everyone and we loved trying to learn each others languages! They will be missed. 
So I'm out of the hotel! I am now sleeping at the MTC! We just got 5 new elders from the Provo MTC who got their visas! Sooooo I got a new companion and we are sleeping here now. BUT, its the same companion I had in Provo!! So we already know each other! Its going to be fun, and I´m glad he has the opportunity to come here. 
In 30 minutes we are leaving to go to the Real Madrid Stadium! Last week we went to the Plaza Mayor and downtown Madrid and it was so awesome. I will be sending a CD of pictures home soon. 
I´m starting to grow gills because of how much fish we eat here. I have had sword fish, shark, octopus, you name it. It´s like Pete´s fish and chips here at the Spain MTC because we have french fries everyday too! 
My Spanish is coming a long great! I can carry on a conversation just fine. Sometimes I have to beat around the bush to get my point across but the language is great. I have sent some letters so hopefully they got to you guys soon! I can´t believe school already started! Holy smokes well have fun all you students out there. Thanks for all of the emails and support from you guys. 
hi!!!!! from Elder Harrop. Elder Harrop is awesome and he wanted to say hi to everyone!
OK MY ADDRESS HERE IS:
Elder Devon Blaine Ridd
Spain Missionary Training Center
Spain Madrid Mission
4a. Planta
Calle del Templo No. 2
Madrid 28030
Spain
Everybody write me letters and Dear Elder me! Thanks for the emails everyone. I love reading them on my P day :) Even if I dont reply to you, I still read it and I loved it and appreciate it very much! I just don´t have very much time to write back! 

I love you all. Sleep well :) Haha

Love, Elder Ridd

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Spain Week 1

Well, his first p-day in Spain came and went. I still don't have a physical address for him but I am hoping we will get that next week. He will only be able to check his emails on Thursdays but any actual mail he gets he can open right away. His email address is devon.ridd@myldsmail.net

Hola familia y amigos!
 
I just got to do a session in the Madrid temple! It is so beautiful. The inside of it is the prettiest thing I have ever seen. It is so great having the temple on the same ground as the MTC. The spirit is so strong here because out of every window you can see the temple right there! 

I had a little bit of jet lag yesterday, and my head was kind of spinning but today I feel much better! The MTC president is great here and he loves to golf I guess! Haha the MTC here is not as strict as the one in Provo, you can actually leave and go places here! Today we are going to downtown Madrid! I am so excited and I will be sure to take lots of pictures. 

The food here at the MTC is wayyy different than the food in Provo. It is all authentic and it´s not unlimited... We actually have to wash our own dishes and stuff. There are only about 90 missionaries here so everybody knows everybody! The atmosphere is great. This building houses temple workers, institute and missionaries. So there is only room for about 75 missionaries here! So the MTC president has 15 missionaries that he trusts sleeping in a hotel about 10 minutes away. I am one of those missionaries! It´s weird sleeping in a hotel but I don´t mind it. 

It´s great to hear that everybody is doing so well back home! I have written letters to some of you guys but I think the mail takes about two weeks to get to you guys and its stinkin expensive. My companion just got a package from home that had candy and stuff in it and it was like 70 dollars to send it here! So mom I understand if you don´t send me anything. I love you all and thank you for the prayers on my behalf! I know I´m forgetting to say stuff but I will probably get better at this as time goes on. I love you all!

Love, Elder Ridd

He is washing dishes!! A mission really does bring miracles! :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Made it to Spain!

So we knew that Devon was travelling yesterday and that he would be able to call us while he was travelling so when a call came in from a pay phone in Queens, NY yesterday I was so excited. BUT we couldn't hear anything on the other end. So he tried Morgan's phone and then Alan's phone where he left voice mails that were completely silent. We think he was on a bad phone and he didn't realize it. He didn't try a different pay phone or ask to borrow someone's cell phone. I didn't ever think that in preparing a missionary to leave I hope I should have taught him how to make a collect call on a pay phone. I think he thought that we were just ignoring him. So, tomorrow when he is able to open our emails he will get our side of what happened. Anyway, we knew that with the 9 hour time difference that we should get an email sometime this morning and we did! Here it is:

Hello familia... Estoy in España! I got here at around 9 this morning and its almost 8 o´ clock at night here now. It is 9 hours ahead! I wish I could have talked to you guys yesterday but it´s all good, I still love you guys ;) You guys missed a lot of good stories I was going to tell you! First off, Elder Anderson was on my flight to New York so I talked to him for a while. No big deal. On my flight to España they didn´t have much room in the back so they bumped us to elite business class. No big deal. It was so nice I felt weird... Sirloin steaks and lobster with every comfort you can imagine and flight attendants answering to your every need. Full beds and comforters with plush pillows. It definitely made the flight much easier. It´s crazy being here in Spain! Everything is in Spanish haha and Euros and what not. My compañions here are awesome. I just wanted to tell you guys that I´m doing great and I made it safely. Tomorrow is my P day! The only time when I will have two P days in one week.. haha so I am only allowed to email you that I´m ok today. I didn´t read any of your emails that you sent me, but I saw that they were there so thank you! I will try to send you pictures tomorrow and I´ll email you more then. :)
 
Love, Elder Ridd
 
I looked up a google image on these seats and found this picture:
 
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

First P-Day (and a huge change of plans) 07/29/2013

We were really excited to get our emails today. He wrote to Alan and I separately and said that next week he will write one letter that we can send out to everyone. So, I am going to put some of the highlights from these two letters here. Stay tuned at the end of this post for some BIG NEWS.

Mostly personal stuff in his letter to me but there is this:

 That's so cool that you are in the young womens presidency! You are going to have so much fun :) And actually I did hear about the train! My branch president told me.. That's so sad. I have been in contact with my Branch President a lot lately being the DL. That is so flippin cool that Jessica got her call to the same mission as Dallas!!! I love it here at the mtc its so fun. I miss you guys but I can feel your prayers with me!

From his letter to Alan:

I am having a great time here. My zone and district are both so awesome and I feel like we are all best friends already. I am District Leader but I am doing my best to serve those in my district and not be their leader, just a friend and someone that will serve them and look out for their needs. I love your vision the Santa Rita ward, I know that it can happen. You're a great bishop.
 
So my typical day consists of waking up at 6:15 so that I have plenty of time to get ready. Then I study for an hour until breakfast at 8. I love the food here haha the cafeteria is so sweet. There is so much food and juice and I think I might actually gain some weight haha. We have class for about 5 hours everyday and our teacher only speaks spanish to us. I've already picked up so much spanish its crazy. We taught our first investigator the friday that we got here! and he only speaks Spanish! Ha so that was pretty crazy, but we taught him on Saturday and i felt like I could say everything that i wanted to so it was great. We just do lots of studying and lots of spanish speaking. Sunday I practiced with the choir and we had devotionals and I felt the spirit so strong.
 
My companions are awesome too. I know I already told you about them. Yeah I love it here! I think about you guys everyday and I really can feel your prayers with me. I pray for you guys too. Thanks for everything... This is going to be such a huge blessing in my life. Love you!
 
Love, Elder Ridd
About an hour after we got these e-mails we got another one:

Woah ok so I just emailed you guys but right after that I got called up to the travel office and I have to pack all of my stuff up right now! I'm going to Salt Lake right now to sign my visa and I'm leaving in the morning at 8 and flying to New York and then Spain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll be there tomorrow! Mom, I will try to call you at the airport. I love you all
Love, Elder Ridd

So, hopefully tomorrow we will get some more information from him. I'm curious if he will be travelling with anyone else! And hopefully we will get a new physical address to the Spain MTC to pass along. Dear Elder won't work anymore SO his email: devon.ridd@myldsmail.net will be the best way to communicate with him.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Real Live Letter Came Today (07/27/2013)

I am starting this blog for Devon's mission letters so I can post them to facebook as well as have a chronological record of his mission letters! When it is me (Devon's Mom) writing it will be in italics.
He arrived at the Provo MTC on Wednesday, July 24th and I guess he was allowed to write one letter that night. It came addressed to Mom. Yesterday, Friday 7/26 we got a short email from him asking for his immunization records with a little PS at the bottom that told us he was called as the District Leader.

Anyone can email him now while he is in the Provo MTC by using dearelder.com - they print out the letters and deliver them to the missionary. You select Provo MTC from the drop down menu then click on WRITE A MISSIONARY. On the next page you will put in your information: Devon's name and then his unit # is SEP01 and his mission code is SPA-MAD. You can also email him at devon.ridd@myldsmail.net. OR, if you would like to send him an actual letter or package - here is the physical address:

Elder Devon Blaine Ridd
SEP01 SPA-MAD
2011 N 900 E Unit 235
Provo UT 84602
The letter we got today:

07/24/2013
Dear Mommy,
My first day at the MTC was awesome. Everyone here is so friendly! I've already made a ton of good friends. I met some people from Mesa that are in my district! I also found out that one of the kids near my room is Dallin Goodman's (cousin) best friend! Ha ha sorry I didn't call you at the airport, I couldn't figure out how to work the pay phone!
There are 3 other kids in my district who are also going to Spain and in the same situation that I am which is kind of cool. I love it here so far! I have two companions instead of just one. They are both cool kids. One is from Brazil and is headed to St. George, Spanish speaking, the other is from Sandy and is pretty quiet but headed to Malaga Spain.
I have already started to remember Spanish again because the teachers only speak Spanish to you! I know I am going to learn so much here. I hope your first night without me wasn't too bad! I'll write you and email you every week.
I love you!
Love, Elder Ridd
Our friend and former missionary in our area Brad Corbett, is a teacher in the MTC and texted me this picture today! What a blessing to have an inside source!!