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  or his physical address is:
Elder Devon Ridd
C/ Eusebio Navarro 1,4A
35003 Las Palmas
Gran Canaria

 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.

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 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
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!
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.

Elder Ridd