Sunday, April 2, 2017

Yes, I am older February 27, 2017

Dear Family,
      Congratulations to our parents for finally having no more teenagers in the family.  You are very welcome. 
     My birthday was really nice. It was great weather because God loves me and we had a lesson with an investigator. We invited him to Church and he actually came ! We were running all over the place to get him to Church and do all the things we needed to on Sunday. But busy is good and happiness for a missionary. For dinner I got a bunch of little gifts and I got some cup cakes, a lot of cup cakes. Afterwards we went to another member's house who got me a cake. I was very happy. And of course I got the package so that was a plus as well. 
     Like I said, our Sunday was busy. Sundays are a lot more fun if investigators actually come to Church.  Mario came and he had a great time. I'm pretty sure he cried twice and the members are super friendly here so he had a good time talking with them. He told them that he was going to be there next week! So that was really awesome. Then we had a lesson right after Church so we skipped lunch. But after that we went to a members house for a quick bite.  This family just had their daughter come home from a mission in Utah. She gave her homecoming talk yesterday and so one of her former companions that she liked came to Cali to see her. So she was there. When i saw her former companion, she looked very familiar to me. So I ended up telling her I was from Cinci and then she was all like " Oh, I like you already ! because I served the first 3 months of my mission in Cincinnati!" and then I named off a few Elders that she might know-- and she did know them ! that's when I realized that I have totally met this sister before because she served in our Stake ( West Chester) when I was on my mini mission. I practiced a door contact on her. But she didn't remember me, which is fair because I barely remember her. So that is the girl that was in one of the pictures that you got. Then she pulled up the Elder I was with on my mini mission (Elder Seegmiller) and i sent that homie a message. so that was super cool. Small world. 
     The Elder I am sitting next to now is pretty new here in the mission. He is a Cambodian Elder. Turns out he is from Ohio as well, but Columbus so not as cool. haha 
Well we taught, found another one. and other stuff happened. the usual.
   I love you guys.
Love Elder Richards
I really want to see the new Beauty and the Beast. so bad

Cali February 20, 2017

Dear Family,
     It was a good week you could say. I got my new companion, Elder Hamblin, whom you have seen now if you got that picture. I know, we are cute. We also found a few new investigators. That is always a good thing. 
     My new companion really likes to work. This dude goes hard in the morning. I'm always just like push ups, sits ups, maybe switch it up and do sit ups, then push ups but he has a regiment almost. He brought some weights so he's doing curls, deadlifts, and a ton of weight training haha. Go big or go home.
     We went by a potential and he was pretty cool. But the interesting part of the story is that he got us some water that was in a juice box. It was weird tasting but I was fully prepared to drink the whole thing because hey, you cant be rude. Then he tried it and he was like "oh man this is weird tasting, you can pour it out if you want." Bless that cuz it felt weird when I was drinking it, haha. The moral of this story is that missionaries will eat and drink anything. I know this is a lame story but to be honest I feel like not much happened this week that is of grand exploitation that i need to talk about. So you get a very lame story about drinking weird water. 
      One of the new investigators we have makes steel drums for a living. He also makes things called hand pans, which is like a steel drum but that you can play.... with your hands.... bet you didn't see that one coming.  
     You know you have been out on a mission long enough when you start dreaming about watching the restoration video and teaching investigators. It's kind of funny but also very frustrating because sometimes they say really ridiculous things in your dreams and you don't know how to answer such extreme questions. Good times. 
     We also had a really big storm and it flooded the streets. We were in someone's house while it was raining so when we got out, we realized that the whole street had flooded up past the curbs a little. But the whole street was under water. And, of course, I am the driver so I'm the one that has to jump into the water to get to my side. We had dinner that night and the whole time my feet are just completely soaked haha. We also saw these canals that were filled to the top with water. They have like 10 foot walls in those bad boys so that's a lot of water. Good times singing in the rain.
love you guys 
Love Elder Richards

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Cali February 13, 2017

Dear Family,
     Transfers are this week. Elder Sesay is leaving me and going to Whittier. Sad, I'm losing ebony.  My new companion is Elder Hamblin ! Now you don't know Elder Hamblin but I know him, haha. He was in my MTC district back in the good ol days. We also shared the La Palma Ward back in Cypress. So it's fun!
     We had a fun time on Monday. We went to an appointment with a member, Bro Davies is his name. He is awesome. We went to the door and he wasn't home. This was at 7 pm, so we walked to our cars and we talked for a while. Just to let you know, Bro Davies can talk, but he talks about really interesting stuff so you get sucked into it! He was telling us about how many jobs he has had and all that stuff and then he was telling us about how he saved his daughter from a burning house. Literally the whole room was on fire, he runs in and saves his daughter, everyone's safe. Isn't that just an awesome story ! and so after a while I was like man, I feel like we should leave and go somewhere but we didn't and then.... the man we had an appointment with shows up as soon as we were thinking of leaving, hahah. So our talk we had was inspired because we had a good lesson sharing testimonies and it all worked out very well, so that was cool.
      Then the rest of the week was pretty normal. One of our members is pretty hardcore with his sharing the Gospel. This was his story. He was in Sam's Club with his non-member friend that isn't too interested but will listen. He starts telling him about the law of Moses because he has to tell people about what he learned in his pathway program. He said he noticed that people at the surrounding tables were listening in, so he started to speak louder until he noticed that about 15 people were listening to him talk about the law of Moses. Then he stood up on the table at Sam's Club and bears his testimony about the law of Moses and Jesus Christ. He heard some Amens and got some hugs afterwards. Then he told us about how it's not hard to share the Gospel, we just have to open our mouths. Yup. This dude is hardcore. Soap boxing at Sam's Club. I thought it was a crazy story so I had to tell you. 
love you guys
Elder Richards

Good times February 6, 2017

Dear Family,
     So it seemed to be a good week. It also seemed to blow by. On Monday I played golf for the first time in my life. It was fun. I only lost one ball because it hit a tree then flew into someone's back yard. But that was pretty good I would say. I had some pretty good shots. I did step in some puddles. I got a chip out of a puddle onto the green, like a boss. 
     On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Mathews, one of the homies. I was with him in Huntington Beach. We just had a good time. I felt like we got tons done that day. We were packed. We did service for a guy whose whole backyard was covered in weeds. For real, the whole thing was just weeds. Weeds that went up to your knees and higher. That was fun and good because this guy has back problems so he cant really do it. He told us that he will always remember the service we did for him and how grateful  he was. Doing some simple service can go a long way for people.
     We also taught our french investigator, had a good lesson and then right after that went to another appointment with some other guy and picked him up as a new investigator. So that was freaking awesome. This guy seems to have a very sincere desire to know the truth, his words. He really does want to know if the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. That's really awesome. 
     We covered both of the areas pretty much that day because we had the car and our companions were on bikes, probably wasn't as fun of a day for them, haha. But you got to do, what you got to do. Then we made a trip to a hospital and they have really fast elevators. So we had to mess with the elevators. Not for too long though, there are souls to save. 
     We saw our french investigator a few times this week actually. He's a pretty smart guy because when we read with him he reads his Book of Mormon in French and we read it in English and he follows super well. He constantly is going back and forth from French to English. He read the Book of Mormon and had questions, so that's nice. That is what we want people to do. It's hard enough to just get people to read the thing. It will change your life! Don't you understand! That is kind of what you want to tell people. 
We also helped set up a tea party for another church.  Now I kind of know what it was like to be in the Relief Society Party committee, minus the tea part :) 
love you all
Elder Richards

Change is so nice January 30, 2017

Dear Family,
     First off. OH YEAHYUH LETTTTSSSS GOOOOOOOO!!!!! that is awesome that Jeff is out already. Blessed 
      Anyway i think you already know because of the others emails but the Church's missionary board had a worldwide broadcast that told us some changes in our work. They changed 2 things. One, our schedule and B our key indicators. 
The schedule change: we used to plan at night but now we plan in the morning and our lunch is shorter and we plan our companion study when it best fits our time. It is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo nice. I like it a lot. It used to be kind of burdensome to come in and plan at night because if it went over time, we would have no time to write in journals and do other stuff but now we just come in at 9 and write in journal and go to bed. So nice. That was one of the purposes of it. So nice. Less stressful. 
The key indicators: we used to have 9, now we only have 4. They are,
investigators baptized and confirmed 
investigators with a baptismal date 
investigators who attended sacrament meeting 
new investigators 
I think its nice because it helps us really focus on the things that are really important. 
And again we see that these changes fall into the Lords way of doing things, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little. (2 nephi 28:30 )  :) 
     To be honest, I feel as if not a ton happened this week, either that or my memory is going bad. But we had a lesson with one of our investigators, she talks a lot but we brought a member with us that also talks a lot. Now you might think that this would be a bad idea because then they would both just talk a ton and we wouldn't teach much. You would be correct but with our member she talks a lot but she would stop our investigator from going on these long tangents so it was kinda nice, hahah. Sounds awful but our investigators need some one like that so that they can answer her questions with her interrupting and asking another question. So it worked out. It was good. But, like I said, didn't really get to teach what we wanted but I still think it was good. The member got really excited for missionary work again so if anything it helped her. I'm good with that.
     I love you guys.
Love, Elder Richards

Pigeons January 23, 2017

Dear family,

    Well this week was fun. So to start out, we saved a pigeon. It was honestly kind of annoying but in the end I believe God wanted us to save it, so it started like this. We went by a referral and she opened the door. Then her dog came out and ran over to the car. There was this pigeon who couldn't fly and the dog was chasing it around. So we noticed the bird was a little hurt. I chased it down and caught it with a basket and a towel. Then the people were like "well, we have to go to work and so can you guys deal with this" " ahhhhh alright then" we said. So we had this bird strapped into the back seat and we took it into the animal hospital but apparently they don't take birds. We were running around trying to find a member to pass it off to but who is going to take a bird for us. We ran into a recent convert of another ward and we went by to do some service for her. Afterward we asked her if she would be able to take the bird. I know that sounds like we are trying to make a deal. We will give you service if you take the bird, ha, but she was willing to take the bird. While I was in her house, I looked over and saw a picture. It was a picture of one of our new investigators, Francios! He's French. Apparently that is her son-in-law and we were able to talk about him and some of his needs so it is really good. Apparently God needed us there so he gave us the stupid pigeon, haha, but hey, the pigeon is now in a good home in a wildlife care facility.
     Also, today we did hot yoga. It was a room of people who are a lot better at yoga than the four of us. We went with some other Elders. It's 105 degrees and 40 % humidity. It was hot. and sweaty. It was great. I learned that breathing is important because if you don't pay attention to your breathing, you can pass out, hah,a which almost happened to me ,haha. But it's all good, I survived, didn't go down though. But yup, sweat a ton and feelin pretty good. Yoga is a little more intense then I thought it might be. 
     We picked up a family it was awesome... until they dropped us. It was sad but it is the up and downs of a missionaries' life. Stake Conference was really good. Lots of speaker on intense subjects-- like having depression and having gay children and being divorced in the Church and being single and going inactive, it was really good. Oh and how to improve relationships between husbands and wives. But metal chairs hurt your back and butt after a while.
Love, Elder Richards

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Elder Holland Jauary 16, 2017

Dear Family,

     Well, let me just tell you a few things that Elder Holland said and did. He got loud a few times, of course, but with the Spirit so it was awesome! We all go up and shake his hand and we told him our name and where we were from. When Elder Holland gets up he tells us " I don't know if you know, but we interviewed every single one of you. When you came up and shook my hand, I asked you who you were and where you were from but to be honest, I don't really care about either one of those things. I just needed enough time to look into your eyes... and see your soul. And as a compliment, President Patterson, your mission is good in the soul department."  So yeah, Elder Holland saw into my soul. It was pretty sweet. He told us all about how there is a gap between us and our investigators and we need to get down to their level and then lift them up. We read John 3:4 and Holland said " That is the stupidest response in all of recorded scripture! " he said something like that and it was soo funny and low key savage. But he went further into it and showed how there was a gap between what Jesus was explaining and what Nicodemus was understanding. It was sweet. He is just a funny, super loving guy. 
     We had some interesting lessons this week. One was with a guy and he brought his friend. His friend is named Chuck. Chuck thinks he is a prophet. He was telling us about the Bible, because he has studied it on his own for the last 26 years and he tells us that everything is going to happen in Palm Springs and something went down with this Church called the World Wide Church of Christ and it was foretold in Psalms. Everything kinda is dependent on him because he told us that he found out that the Second Coming will happen when his ex-wife remarries him. Yup, it's a good one. He is for real trying to start his own church. 
     Then we had another lesson with a lady from Germany and she is super nice but she just likes to take everything that she likes from every religion and make her own  thing. The lesson was just kind of all over the place but she is funny so it was enjoyable, ha. 
Still working hard doing the Lord's work
love you guys
love Elder Richards