Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas you filthy animal December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas,
     We had our Christmas conference this week and it was very good. I thought it was just going to be the conference devotional but I was wrong. We had trainings but then after all of that, we played some games as zones. We played this game called Name that Tune. Apparently i'ts an older game but instead of describing it, I'll let you guys just look it up, haha. Moving on. It was a lot of fun.
     For some reason I thought because I was a missionary, I wouldn't really get much for Christmas, but I was wrong. We have had quite a few members come up to us and give us things. Nothing super, crazy, awesome but just nice little things. So it's nice to know that our Ward loves us.
     I love Larry's sweater, it reminds me of a member we have in our ward named Bro Moe. This dude has the most swag when it comes to these things. He has the sweater, Santa Clause suspenders and other things and they all look good... because he is wearing them haha, love that man. Sadly I don't have a picture of him to send right now but I will send you one next time. 
     Well, we finally have someone coming to Church and progressing. We have good hopes for him. His name is Bro Chapman. 
     I guess I will talk to you guys on Christmas and to be honest this week went by so fast I can't really remember what happened, haha, oh well.
 Merry Christmas 
Lots of Love 
Elder Richards

PS thank you for all the presents :)

lava lava December 14, 2015

Dear Family
     To start off, transfers happened and I'm staying in Cerritos with Elder Nuttall and not much changed.
Since it was the end of a transfer, there was, of course, a departure fireside for the leaving missionaries. For those, you are not allowed to go unless you have an investigator there.  There is one member of our ward who took in a homeless guy that we have been teaching lately. To be honest, the member has been teaching him more then we have ha. But anyway, he came to Church and that's when we asked him if he would like to go to the fireside with the member. He agreed. When we got there, we waited for a little bit outside waiting for those 2 to come. But what we didn't know is that the investigator, Eric, actually drove himself and was waiting for us. The member couldn't make it. After a little  waiting and then a few minutes a realization, we got in and he sat down with us. As we waited, he told us about how he has always had a struggle with religion. Even though he had everything you could possibly want before he was homeless, house, family, car, job, he still felt like there was something missing. He has watched the restoration video like 7 times, or maybe more, and he tells us that he really likes it because every time he watches he learns something new he said. When we first met him he didn't really think that he could learn from us but after the Spirit had softened him up a little , now he seems alot more open to us. I guess the reason I tell you about him is because he has been on my mind lately. Elder Nuttall and I have some good hopes for him. 
     Another experience with the Spirit softening people up was this guy Andrew. We knocked on his door and he didn't seem to interested but when we got in I asked if we could say a prayer. He shut me down. But after we shared a scripture and talked and testified about the atonement, he really seemed to focus a little more. At the end, I asked him if we could say a prayer again, and he was cool with it. The Spirit can really work with people to soften their hearts, and make them more receptive to our teaching. It's really cool. 
      This week we had the Ward Christmas party. The sisters wanted to sing so of course we got dragged into it. I could feel my face turning red as we sang, you know what I'm talking about. But apparently the mic that we used didn't really seem to work so people couldn't really hear us anyway, tender mercies haha. It was still cool and I didn't really mind it anyway. One of the sister missionaries dad made lava lava ties for us so it was totally worth it. We also got a picture with Santa, and his beard was real. yeah 
    (Editor's note: The following is in answer to a question we had sent about his Christmas tree)  I made the star out of note cards, then I ran a Christmas light up to the top and put the make shift star on top, like a boss.
     That was a little of my week.
Stay awesome and the Church is true.

Elder Richards

Monday, December 7, 2015

Testimony bears and monkey traps December 7, 2015

Dear family,
     This week was Stake Conference and we got a new Stake Presidency.  Since that happened, we actually had two General Authorities come. I don't remember their names but they were both pretty cool. One from Idaho or some where like that, talked about a testimony bear. It's like a teddy bear. He talked about how any 2 year old will tell you, when times get rough or scary, that's when you hold onto your teddy bear the tightest. The same is with your testimony. When times get rough or scary, that's when you hold onto your testimony the tightest, just ask any 2 year old.  I really liked it and the other guy from Zimbabwe who talked about monkey traps. Monkey traps are like raccoon traps, you reach into a hole and grab the nuts, or whatever food, but then you cant get your hand out unless you drop the nuts. He just said what are the nuts that we hold on to, that ultimately will trap us until we are caught by the devil, or something like that. It was really good.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.
   At the beginning of the month, I told my companion that we are going to get a Christmas tree. For some reason he didn't think we would. So I looked at him in the eyes and said,  "I find your lack of faith disturbing".  He shuddered as my gaze pierced his very soul. Maybe not that intense but, none the less, I was determined to get a Christmas tree. One day  we were asked to help take Christmas decorations out of someone's attic. After it was all taken down, lo and behold, there was a little 5 foot tall Christmas tree that they weren't going to use. So there we go, we have gotten our Christmas tree with decorations and lights as well. So I'm just here to tell all of you that yes, God does answer prayers.
      Yes it was a good week and we found some new investigators that are showing some potential, so that's awesome. Things here are going good. To be honest, I forget that it is winter all the time because it is December but it is 80 degrees outside. ha
      I love you all and may the may the Spirit be with you... always 
I made the star, just to let you know😎😏💪

Elder Richards

Monday, November 30, 2015

Hey November 30, 2015

Dear Family,
     Well, the big thing this week of course was Thanksgiving, so I'll talk about that.  For Thanksgiving we had a dinner set up with a family at 2. But, like the day before, our Mission President told us that there is a meeting that we had to go to, on Thanksgiving at the same time. So we had to cancel our dinner with the family. We ended up going to the Mission President's home for Thanksgiving. Basically, if you didn't have a Thanksgiving dinner, you went to the mission home for it. We got there and there are a few other missionaries and a whole ton of food. The missionaries from my last ward were actually there too so we talked as if it was like a reunion while some of the other missionaries sat there, haha, but it's all good. We all still had a good time. My last companion and President Tew got into a joke battle, basically, at one point. To me President Tew won, haha. I had heard all of Elder Anderson's jokes so they weren't even funny to me, haha, but President did have some good ones. So that was pretty funny. At the end of the dinner, President Tew looks at the remaining food and just said " Well, we made more food than you could eat, I guess that means we win " with a smug look and a chuckle at the end. So we as missionaries got back up and tried to eat more. But alas, we were beaten and full, haha ,so yes he won.
     Other than that, the week was pretty normal except when we went to this one less actives house. They had some candy on the table so me and my companion asked if we could have a piece. She was like sure, you know you can just have it all. Then she pulled out like 5 huge bags of candy. Now we have a giant bowl of candy sitting in our apartment and it will probably still have candy in it till like, the end of January or beyond, who knows. 
     We are still working hard on the work. We had dinner with a guy in our ward who went to north Carolina on his mission and actually had Elder Holland come to his mission and throw down some hard core Spirit on them. Ha, it was cool. 
     Things are good here, and I'm really grateful for the Thanksgiving packages. Thanks.
May the Bpirit be with you... always.

 Love, Elder Richards

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

ollo November 24, 2015

Elder Richards and Elder Nuttall at the Los Angeles Temple

Dear Family

    Super pumped to hear about Wimmer, Super pumped. Just thought I'd get that out.
    Sorry the letter is a day late, but I totally forgot to tell you guys that today was Temple p-day so we had email on Tuesday not Monday. The Temple is still really awesome and really big, love that place. 
    Well, I'll start with a more spiritual subject I guess. One regular missionary day my companion and I are driving around trying to figure out where to go and who who to talk to. No one in our plans really worked so as we were going to some ones place, my compadre suggested that we try this one guy that is literally never home and we dropped him a while ago. So not going to ignore prompting,  we went there.  Guess who was home. He was. We had a good talk/lesson and hopefully things turn out well for him. I just tell that because it is always good to know that we are always guided to those who need us. It's cool. 
   This week I went on an exchange with a Spanish speaking Elder. It was fun. It seemed like we were talking to more Spanish people then anyone, haha. I guess parts of my area are more Hispanic than I think ha. But it was a good day.  We both found new investigators and really did awesome because no one could use the "I don't speak English" thing on us haha. We also just got work done, it was good. Sometimes when they would be talking in Spanish, I would have no clue what they were saying but I know it was good because you cold still feel the Spirit. That was neat. 
     Also this week we had a general authority come and talk to us. Elder Zeballos I think is his name but not quite sure about the spelling, oh well. [Editor's note--he did spell it correctly]  He talked about something that I can't really remember right now but I'll go home and check my notes haha. But I know that it was good haha. One point he did talk about was the Spirit and how much we truly rely on it and how we as missionaries are examples. Lots of good stuff. 
     I actually just thought of this but i haven't had thanks giving for 2 years ha. Last year is when I had my wisdom teeth taken out haha. Well, I am truly thankful for my family I have and all the support and examples you guys are to me. I am grateful to be out here serving. I am grateful for Ramen noodles and P+J sandwiches. It's Thanksgiving, thought I'd share. 
    Well, I love you guys and pray for you all.
dat missionary guy 
Elder Richards

Monday, November 23, 2015

T'was a good week November 16, 2015

Elder Richards and Joel
Dear Family,
      This week was good. I was super pumped because it was finally Joel's baptism! It was good, Joel was happy even if it doesn't look like it in the picture I'm going to send. I know deep down he's smiling :) haha but yeah, it was nice and some of his family showed up so that was nice. 
     This week we also had companionship study with the Mission President and his wife. President and Sister Tew are wonderful and wise people. It was funny though because  president Tew s phone kept going off and he had to answer it so he went into my room as Sister Tew talked with us. He was in there for like 40 mins and it was time for them to leave so she opens the door.  Since President Tew was on hold with Salt Lake, he decided to take the opportunity and lay down on the floor haha. When he left, my companion was like "Elder, we need to find out where he was laying on the floor so we can lay there and receive awesome revelation and get a new section of the Doctrine and Covenants" or some thing like that ha. I don't think we have found the exact spot yet but i'ts all good anyway ha.
      We found this one guy like last week and when we went by his house this week we taught a lesson. When we finished, his mother got home and started asking us questions about some stuff like what happens after this life but then she got too emotional so she just said come back later. We are pretty sure that she is prepared by the Lord and that great things can happen with this family, so hopefully we are right ha.
     But yeah, those are just a few things about the stuff going on here. It's always great to hear the things that are going on at home. 
Love you guys and best wishes on the ginger bread house making stuff ha 

Love Elder Richards

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 9, 2015

I don't want you to forget what I look like

The Struggle November 9, 2015

Elder Richards, President Tew and Elder Nuttall

Dear family and other peeps,

    So of course as you know I am in Cerritos. To be honest, I don't really know where that is compared to everything, I just know that it's like the middle of the Mission ha. It's a pretty big area but half of our area is split between a trio of Sisters (Sister Missionary companionships) so it's smaller but still really big. It's all good though because now we have a car, and I got my driving privileges so swag, money, cash. This place is full of dead ends and the streets can be confusing so that's kinda been the struggle for the week ha.  The area, just like the mission, is super diverse. It does have a lot of Indian and Asian people. We live in a part of our area that is called "Little India". No joke, it smells like curry outside, all day, every day ha. My new companion, Elder Nuttall is a good guy. He's even smaller than me.  His other companion was Tongan so I won't make him look as small haha. But he's a cool cat and so far it's been going well. Oh and the idea of Cincinnati Style chili blows his mind too. 
    This week has been interesting because we have had 9 hour trainings, 3 days in a row. It was actually super helpful and cool. And now it is time to go out and baptize the world, haha, That's kinda how it feels every time we come out of a training. The first one was all about finding and the others were kinda in that area as well so it was awesome. I won't lie though, I think those trainings pwned me because I am tired, ha, just pwned everyday when we get home. But I take that as a good thing ha. 
     After the training, we went out and we actually found 2 new investigators that night and it was pretty awesome. Too bad we already dropped one because he flat out refused to stop smoking and drinking coffee. Like, his life was smoking and he was completely fine with it, but maybe some other day he will be ready.  The other guy we found seems pretty interested. We have a lesson with him tonight so we will see how it goes. It's just awesome to be out doing the good work. It's not always easy but it is always worth it. Keep it groovy, smooth cats. 


Elder Richards

The family tree as it is now.
The Elder to the right of me is my trainer's new trainee

Monday, November 2, 2015

and here we go November 2, 2015

Hello Family,
     Well, on Tuesday I found out that my compadre is training again, so you know what that means... it means I'm getting transferred. Now the reason this was kind of interesting is because I knew that I was getting transferred but I wouldn't be able able to actually know where until that Saturday. So the whole week I had to wonder where was I going.  Saturday finally came and it was a good Halloween. We had a zone meeting so the zone leaders decided to do something different this time for transfers. They made every one do wall sits and the last one "sitting " got to know where they were going first. Since I had been simmering for a week and not knowing where I was going, I had to know first. But I tied with 2 other guys because it went on too long, haha, and now I'm being sent to ...( silence for effect ) Cerritos. Yup and to be honest I don't know much about the place besides that everyone has told me it's a bunch of Indian people and Chinese people, so that should be interesting. My new companion is named Elder Nuttall and I am finishing his training--which doesn't really mean much but it should be interesting, and fun, and nice, and Spiritual, you know missionaries. It will be nice because it is also a car area so my bike gets a break.
      This week was pretty good. We still have been meeting with Joel and it is just awesome to see how much he has changed because he accepted the Gospel. He will just tell us some stories about some of the stuff he has gone through and the difference that this Gospel is now making. It makes you feel good about being a missionary when you can see the change in someone. Being a missionary is not always easy but it is always worth it. 
      No, I did not get a tour of the Queen Mary, it was more like a drive by but it was still cool.
      It's great to hear things are going well, mostly at least haha but I love you guys and I miss you.
May the Spirit be with you, always.

Elder Richards

PS I do like the costumes and pumpkins haha awesome

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

hmmm..., October 26, 2014

Dear Family,
                 Well, this week has been pretty normal I guess you could say. We still have been meeting with Joel but for reasons, we had to postpone his baptism. But no worries, he is still strong in his desire to be baptized and he's just awesome. His kids are pretty funny. His son really likes dinosaurs right now. When we show up, he will come to the door, grab me by the strap of my bag and pull me down so I can watch a video about dinosaurs or look at his dinosaur toys, haha. He's 5. Then his little girl, she's 3. Every time she sees us coming, she will run around the house saying the Mormons are coming, the Mormons are coming! and then she will start to clean before we got to the door. Haha, she's funny.
                 My companion still hasn't been feeling too well so we went to get an ultra sound on his abdomen. Don't worry, we gave him plenty of crap about being pregnant,  haha. 
                 I won't lie, I was so happy to get the Skyline. Elder Showers just could not understand it. He sat there and looked at the picture of a 3 way for like 5 min just trying to understand why they would put chili on spaghetti haha. I don't know why that's a hard concept to grasp but apparently it is for him. When I got it, I had to eat some. So I opened the can and made some. Oh, it was so nice to smell some real chili, or close to real chili, canned haha. The whole time I was preparing it, I was singing the Skyline song haha. My companion had no words, he just sat there and watched as I prepared the deliciousness. It was really petty good. It doesn't really matter to me if it already has spaghetti or not but I was happy to get both. There are always more things I can make, like coneys and Skyline dip, so not even mad.
                 Yeah not much really happened but things are good here. It actually rained pretty hard the other day, it was strange haha.   I hope everything is good at home. Love you guys.

Love, Elder Richards

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The week, October 19, 2015

Hey Family,
                So,  I don't know if I have told you already but if I did, I'm going to tell you again. So this one guy has been meeting with the missionaries and investigating the Church for like a year now. About a week ago, we showed up to his house and he tells his story. Apparently of late, he has been going through some tough times and he thought of the missionaries for some reason. So he went hunting for us ha. He went to the Church and tried to find us but we were not there. For the entire day he couldn't get his mind off Church and God and as he was chilling at his apartment thinking about God and what he should do, guess who knocked on the door. These guys, haha. We talked for a little and now his baptism is set for Oct 31, haha. Yup, on Halloween. It should be pretty easy to remember what day he got baptized on haha. But it's just awesome to see how God really does prepare people for us to run into and meet. We are super excited for Joel and he is too ha. 
               Lately my compadre hasn't been feeling too well so we have had to stay in a little bit. Funny thing happened. We got a call from a member saying that she was going to drop off some Gatorade for us since we were on our bikes. I thought it was be like a couple things of Gatorade but instead she actually bought a Gatorade pack of 30 bottles haha. Sister Garcia is awesome haha. Then later she came back with medicine and some other stuff for Elder Anderson because he mentioned he wasn't feeling good haha. As I like to say, she went total "Mom" on us, haha. The members here are awesome. 
                The week's been good and things out in Long Beach are still awesome. I actually got to go see the Queen Mary but didn't bring my camera so sorry, I don't have pictures. In my defense, I didn't know we were going ha. But I won't lie, those are some big boats ha.
            I love you guys and may the force be with you.

Love Elder Richards 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

alright then Monday, October 12, 2015

Dear Fam
          Now I will tell of my week. The week in a word was ... good. It was kind of a normal week. This one guy that we are teaching right now has been seeing the missionaries for like a year. The other day we saw him and he told us this story, which is to long to repeat but it ended with him telling us that he is finally ready to change and be baptized! yeahuh! haha gotta love it. Hopefully that all works out and he can accomplish that goal.
        That was my short spiritual thing that happened.  Now I will tell you of the funny thing that happened. We met a guy on the street a little bit ago and we started talking. Well a couple of days ago he invited us over for dinner and we figured why not, barely know the guy but that's all good. He's Filipino by the way. Anyway, we went to the dinner. When we walked in, it was like a big kinda party dinner thing going on. Apparently he invited us to his family reunion/ birthday party dinner haha. The place was packed with Filipino people that apparently only spoke Tagalog and so we just kinda sat in the corner hahaha. We got our food and to be honest, I had no clue what I was eating haha. I did know what one thing was that I ate. It was squid tentacles. I could have not eaten the tentacle part but I figured I would go for gold and eat it anyway. In a word they were, chewy, not that much flavor but it was a strange kind of chewy haha. So yeah that was our dinner with people we didn't know at all, eating  who knows what haha. 
          Yeah, also that day was the exchanges with Elder Larsen again. I'm happy to report that this time no one got hurt haha. He didn't get a concussion and I didn't bite it on my bike like last time so that's good. 
         I'm glad to hear that everything is going well at home, always awesome to hear fantastic news. Love you guys and may the force be with you... always 

Elder Richards

PS I did get the stamps, thank you, and can I get some Skyline Chili. I've kinda been craving it haha

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Learning October 5, 2015

Dear Family,
            This week has been pretty good. You gotta love General Conference because it's like that only time that you get to rest and just listen to a bunch of awesome uplifting stuff. I don't really have a favorite talk because I liked a lot of them and I got something pretty nice from each of them. With the ponderizing thing, I was already working on Scripture Mastery so right now I guess my scripture would be 2 Nephi 9 : 28 -29. ( 28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
 29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.)

It was a little worry-some watching President Monson slowly sink and then just kinda like rushing through his talk to make sure that he got it all out. But it's all good because he got through it. It was nice and kinda funny, this was the first General Conference that I actually listened and stayed awake for the whole thing, haha. I think now that I'm a missionary, I appreciate all these things a lot more because they are all so awesome now and they used to just be cool in the past haha.
            Now I will tell you of the fun and new thing I did this week. For the first time in my life, I used a bidet (those special toilets). You prob don't care and don't want to hear about it, but I'm going to tell you anyways. So we are at dinner, at a members house having a jolly good time, as we always do. Then when my companion came back from the loo, he tells me of this mystical device that they had in the room of bath. I have always heard of bidets but I have never used one. So I stood up and went to go try out this magical instrument every one speaks of. I sat down made myself comfortable and next to me is a little lever type thingy. I thought that one would have to set it to the pressure they want and then press a button. But I was mistaken. I soon realized this when I cranked the thing on high and it shot me quite immediately. Out of sheer surprise I gave a little yelp. I quickly silenced myself so the others in the house would not hear me but it was too late. I could tell because they all were laughing like crazy on the other side of the door. haha So that my fun story for the week.
            This week has been good. It's not always easy but it is always worth it. I feel like I've learned some good things this week from General Conference and just going out and teaching.
           I love you all and pray for you all. I hope the best for you and may the Spirit be with you always.
                                                         Elder Richards

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tender Mercies September 28, 2015

Dear Family,
           So to start out, I will talk about the awesome lesson that we had with our new investigator Rose. She was a referral. She is very nice and super curious about the Church, wants to know everything-- she tells us, ha. When we started, you could totally feel the Spirit, she even cried when we talked about how God loves her. Then the really awesome part is when we were teaching about the first vision, she was looking at the picture of the first vision while we told of the account. After we finished, she looked up at us and said, "I don't know why, but I feel like this is true." Now on the inside I'm just like DING DING you are correct! haha But on the outside we taught her about the Holy Ghost and how he speaks to us. The Spirit was strong and it's always awesome to see how the Lord prepares people for us to talk to. 
          Other things that happened this week: First, we have dinner with this one family, literally every Tuesday. We were talking on Sunday and the point came up that I have never had In-n-Out burger before.  The mother's eyes widened as she said "Never had In-n-Out burger before!? Well, guess where we are going on Tuesday". haha So on Tuesday, September 22nd, I had In-n-Out for the first time in my life. To say how the experience went, it was... good. I liked the burger but the fries weren't too good, haha. When I told Sister Vamanrov (the mother ) this, she said, "Oh I guess that's alright because you grew up eating Five Guys so I guess it makes sense you would like it better" but I could tell her eyes just said, you're wrong. In-n-Out is better." hahaha. Good times. We went back to In-n-Out later and I got a four by four and it was pretty good. 
          Another thing that happened that actually kinda salty. We were like a 20 min bike ride from home and it was 8:30 so we had to be home in 30 min. While we were trying to figure out who we could try by in the next ten mins before we went home, I looked down at my tire and saw a little speck or thingy on my tire. I'm like "hmm, lets brush that off". As soon as I did, a whole ton of air was rushing out of my tire. Apparently the little thingy was a little thorn that had put a hole in my tire. Like I said, salty because now a 20 min bike ride became a 40 min walk or something like that. But in that moment I turned around and beheld the YSA Elders with their car.  (Elders assigned to work with the age group of Young Single Adults) Immediately I call them over. We disassembled the bikes and somehow fit every thing into the car and got a ride home. We got home on time and that was most definitely a tender mercy from the Lord that the YSA Elders just happened to be on just the same street that we were on. Nailed it.
   So I love you guys, keep things awesome and the Church is true, may the Spirit be with you ... always 

                                                                                                  Love, Elder Richards

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sup September 21, 2015

Dear Family,
         Well this week we found some investigators and they seem pretty solid, and I'm excited. That's a miracle but the thing that happened this week that I thought was kinda crazy was... rain. It actually rained in California. We got up and went for our morning run and it was raining, oh it was so nice. But the big prob with that is I'm pretty sure that California people aren't used to rain so no one knows how to drive in the rain, haha ITS A TRAP! haha
         An awesome thing happened this weekend. We had another baptism, yeah! It was a little stressful because of some planning things that happened but the whole thing went well and smooth so it was really good. Then on Sunday guess who was asked to confirm. This guy. Yup, so I was able to confirm Nu a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was my first confirmation and it was Awesome! the Spirit was strong. 
         So really it was a pretty normal week for me other then those things....and its the end of the first transfer.  The results of what's happening to me next are... wait for it ... I'm staying in the same spot with Elder Anderson. haha So nothing really changing but that's all good in the hood. 
         Just on a funny note, we helped set up a mid-singles dance. We blew up balloons and little blow up animals. But the funny part was after the lady that we helped set up the whole shindig was like I'm so glad that you guys helped because those balloons were filled with Elder air so I know that the Spirit was there. haha not wrong 😎 haha.
        General Conference is coming up and I'm super pumped for it. Pretty sure we get to watch it. You are going to have to send me a picture of the finished puzzle, if you finish it of course haha. 
          Well, love you guys and hope the best for you and that ceiling ha. The Church is true 
            Love Elder Richards

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Influenced Mistake September 14, 2015

Dear Fam,
            Well, this week was pretty normal but I will tell you the story of what I'm am going to call my "influenced mistake". There is a cheap housing complex that we go to and we were there looking for this less active dude named Alma. Usually I'm pretty good at remembering where the people live in this place, so I went straight for this one door but my companion implored me that that was the wrong door and it was the one next to it. But I was so sure that it was that door but we knocked on the other door. No one answered so we were about to move on to our next thing but I just went over to the other door and knocked on it anyway. As soon as the guy opened the door, I knew I was wrong, haha, but after a few words he expressed how he wanted to actually talk to us and asked us to come over later. So we chatted a little and I handed him a pass along card and went our way. As soon as the door shut, I looked at my companion and told him "told you that was the right door" haha. So yes, we missionaries are guided to those who are ready. I'm excited to see if this inspired mistake goes anywhere.
             Another fun thing that happened this week--we were biking through one of our nicer neighborhoods and then my companion yells "No Way" and pulls over immediately. I turn around and looked at the thing he found in someones front lawn. If i haven't told you already, my companion is obsessed with books and he loves books. The thing that he saw was a little free library. It was like the size of a big bird house that had a glass window that you could open. The best part was it was full of books that you could borrow. Elder Anderson thought this is like the best thing ever, ha. After looking at the little free library, I figured I would make a contribution to the collection. So I put a Book of Mormon in it with our number, haha. And now it's just time to wait haha. But it was a neat little thing, ha. 
            It's been good here but I won't lie, it's been hot. It got up to 106 the other day and it kinda stayed that way through the week.  I also had like three people tell me I'm going to get cancer because I'm so white, so that's neat, ha. It is finally starting to cool down. It's funny because while we are biking this one guy just asked us "hey, you guys stay here for a moment I'll be back".  So of course we waited and a few moments later he came back and gave us some water and then left. it was a very short conversation just hey, water, where are you from, ok bye. Not even mad. I think he was a member but not sure, ha, oh well. 
            I love you guys and I'm glad everything is going good. Church is true.
Love Elder Richards.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Temple day and bike wrecks September 8, 2015

Los Angeles Temple
Dear family,
           Since we had a Temple trip today, they moved our p-day to Tuesday ( just for this week, it is still on Monday). The Temple was awesome! It was so big. When I send you the pics you may get a better feel for how big it was. I couldn't even get the whole temple in one picture. It was so nice inside and it was a great experience. 
           The most exciting thing that happened this past week had to be (besides the Temple of course) exchanges with Elder Larsen. We both came out at the same time so we are brand new and we still don't know the area. We were in his area and of course we were on bikes. We had a little trouble finding places and getting around but it was awesome because while we were running around looking for this address, we actually ran into 2 new people that actually were curious about the Church. It was awesome. The Lord just prepares people and then puts them in your path. The other half of the day we decided that we would go into downtown, because they cover downtown, and get work done. But when we tried to go down there the first time, I was riding ( it was Elder Showers bike, since we were in his area) and the whole pedal and crank fell off. so I had to ride the bike like a scooter all the way back to the apartment. It was a struggle but we made it haha. Then after we fixed the bike we were determined to go downtown. We start riding again and now by this time it was a little dark. We were just bookin it, and then the road looked a little rough so we moved to the side walk. Along the side walk was just big bushes. In the middle this lady just walked out in front of me. Just to let you know she was completely fine. She was good. But yes, the right side of my handle bar hit her, and I was launched from the bike. Don't worry, I'm fine, just sore ha. But yeah, she walked away fine and after chillin on the ground for a little, I got up and was fine haha. It was all good but we decided that maybe this was a sign that we shouldn't go downtown haha because first the pedal and then the little accident haha. We just went back to the apartment. It was about that time anyway. So, that's what happens when 2 brand new missionaries get put together for a day haha. We got work done and it was a very interesting day.
           Another highlight of the week is when the APs, took us to a place for lunch called Rosscos. Apparently it's one of those "need to go to places".  All they serve is chicken and waffles and to be honest, it was really good. They had a picture on the wall of the people of Rossco with President Obama when he went there. They even have an order called the Obama special.
            In our area we have another place that is a place I felt we needed to stop by when we were in the area. According to big Kevin, it was my house hahaha. Ferris Buellers house ha. It was just funny. Got plenty of pictures.
             Oh and for our Labor Day thing, we decided to go back to Patricias haha.
         Yeah things are good in Long Beach and the Church is true, love you guys 
 Love Elder Richards

Monday, September 7, 2015

I'm Brigham Young! August 31, 2015

Dear Fam,
                It's awesome to hear that you guys are all doing great, even though the cat's being the demon spawn haha just kiddding but only low key ha. 
                I ran into my first nut or crazy man the other day. It was quite interesting. We are walking back from this one guys house. As we are walking back to our bikes, we see this guy in the distance and then out of no where he just screams, "Don't you dare mess with my marijuana or" and then he yelled some
other things that I cannot write haha. But yeah, he was just yelling at someone on the phone about this but when we got closer we realized that he didn't have a phone or anything. He was yelling at the air. Then as we were walking past he gets this huge smile and he's like "hey, you guys Mormon, right ?" us "yeah", him, "well, that's great. I'm Brigham Young!".  Then he just walked away while he kept saying, "yeah, I'm Brigham Young" ha, so that was pretty interesting.
                August and September are the hottest months out here in California. So I got here just in time to get the heat waves ha. The other day we went up to Whittier and it was 106 degrees. It was so gosh darn hot ha. Good thing we didn't have to stay there for long. Elder Larsen is from Arizona and he was just like, man it feels like home right now. 
                 We found out which day we get to go to the Temple, yeaah! We are going on the 8th of September to the LA temple. Apparently it is the second biggest temple so I'm pretty excited to see how it is. Of course we have to wake up dumb early to get there, but I'm not even mad.
                We visited this one less active guy and he's pretty interesting. He's a martial arts teacher so he has a black belt in mixed martial arts. As a side job, he's a bouncer for some clubs in LA. The one he works at apparently is open for only three hours a day and for 3 days a week. The least expensive table there is $5000.  The most expensive table is $75,000, crazy! But people like Kevin Heart, p-diddy, Rhiana and people like that go there. But what was really interesting is that he served his mission in Boise Idaho at about the same time as Keith I think. ( His name is Motuliki and he was the only Tongan Spanish speaker)
                But it's been good. the work is hard but the work is good. Love all you guys and the Church is true. 
              love Elder Richards

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Patricia's August 24, 2015

             Well, I have survived another week and it was awesome! Let me start off with telling the story of Patricia's. Patricia's is a restaurant that I really wanted to go to here every since Elder Showers described what it was to me. He said that it's this little Mexican place with really good food.  I said, "OK, what's so special about it?" Then he said, " Let me put it this way, it's the best tasting laxatives you will every have" hahaha--so I had to have it. The Bishop's wife asked us where we wanted to go for dinner :)  I was like Patricia's haha so that's where we went.  Wont lie, it was some good Mexican food, and as a plus the owner of it is getting lessons from the missionaries right now so we got a nice discount. But, oh man, after a little it just hit me like a train. Nothing happened, I just felt so bad afterwards haha but totally worth it though. 
             I won't lie, there are a lot of different kinds of people here--like there are Samoans, Tongans, Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, black, white, and Cambodian. It's just kinda a big pot of people. I got to go a Tongan baptism the other day and it was pretty neat. I couldn't understand anything when they talked in Tongan but it was still awesome because you could still feel the Spirit. Oh, on the subject of baptism, this one chica finally got baptized and confirmed this week! It was awesome! She was really happy and excited about it so it's been good.
           You know what's pretty funny? Everyone that goes into our apartment seems to notice one thing about my desk, the little missionary guys I have posted everywhere haha. I figured since I have them I might as well put them up.  Everyone just thinks they are pretty interesting. I just think it's funny that that's the one thing they notice haha.
            Thanks for all the pictures and all the letters. It's awesome. Hopefully my pictures go through so you can see my posterity line haha.  It's from my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and me ha. If you are wondering what that means, it just means that Elder Albretch trained Elder Adams and he trained Elder Anderson and Elder Anderson is training me. So yeah, it's been awesome and I love you guys, may the force be with you... always. And the Church is true.
Sunburn 2nd Day in Field
Love, Elder Richards

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 19, 2015...from the Mission Home

Dear Brother and Sister Richards,
                At long last here are photos of your son;  so sorry for the delay.   Elder Richards arrived safely (but somewhat tired!) in the California Long Beach Mission around 10 am August 11.  He spent most of the day here in the Mission Office learning mission policies and procedures, having lunch and meeting his new companion/trainer, Elder Anderson.  They them left to begin their missionary work together in their area:  Long beach 4th Ward, Bixby District of the Long Beach West Zone.  Elder Anderson is a wonderful missionary and will give your son a good start.  He cooks!!
                Thank you for sending Elder Richards to serve the Lord with us here in California.  This is a very special and wonderful mission.  President and Sister Tew are loving and inspired leaders, who do a great job.  We love them so much.  Thank you also for your love and support.
                If you ever feel a need to call or email us concerns or question, please feel welcome to do so.   We will do our best to help.

With best wishes,

Sister Grossnickle,
Mission Secretary

California Long Beach Mission

August 17, 2015

Hey Family,

That's awesome, that carousel was pretty neat, too bad for Luke though ha. But, yeah, I did get all the pictures, thanks.
So I'm finally in Long Beach and so far it has been pretty good. My companion is pretty cool, Elder Anderson, he likes to spit a bunch of quotes from stuff too and, apparently I'm like the only one that gets most of them haha but, he likes to read books so that's where some of his stuff comes from. But its still fun. He's only been out for 4 months and he's already a trainer but he's got his stuff down so I'm happy with my companion. He also has a pun or some joke or something for everything so it's always interesting to see what he will say next, ha. 
                  The morning that we had to leave to get to the flight, we left the MTC at like 3:00 in the morning so that was fun. When we actually got to Long Beach, I couldn't really hear anything, haha. The flight did something to my ear and everything that was said was muffled. It was a struggle but it went away after the first day. On our first day they were like "well since you got up at 3 in the morning we aren't going to have a training because we know that you will just fall asleep", which is true. So we are just going to get right to it and you guys are going to go street contacting".  It started out good for me but after a little I just didn't know what to say so it was a little awkward, haha ( and plus i couldn't hear what some of the people were saying because of my ears ha) but it was nice. After that we got our companions and our areas and we were off. I'm in the Long Beach west area right now. It's got some interesting people in it. We used to have a car but then apparently the zone leaders wanted it so they took ours, so we are on bikes now. Lame but I will have nice nice looking legs by the end of this. We also went to our fist dinner and it was at a Chinese buffet. So the members were like "go on, keep eating, the food never ends, come on". We were like "but we're full", so they said "ah, ok, so I will get you guys some more food anyway". Haha, they like to feed us so no worries there Mom, ha.
                 I already had exchanges with the District Leader Elder Showers, He's a fun guy too. So it was really nice because he has a car and the day we did exchanges it got up to like 100 degrees and the other Elder, Elder Larsen had to bike in the heat instead of me, haha. But we have to do some service so we were out in the heat anyway so didn't really escape it, but still haha. It was funny when it was over because it was late, and dark out right before we retire for bed. I was wearing my flip flops to get my stuff from Elder Showers after the exchange and Elder Anderson stepped on one of my flipflops.  For some reason, I just let out this huge scream hahaha. I don't know why I yelled or anything but it was too late. Everyone that was outside was looking around trying to find the origins of the noise and Elder Anderson and I are just laughing. Elder Showers was just like, "What was that! did something just happen?" I was just laughing and he was so confused, haha. I think that everyone might have thought that someone got hurt or shot or something. Who knows but it was kinda funny.  
                 On my second day in the mission field it happened... I got sunburned. What a surprise, right? I got sunburned all up and down my arms and got a nice watch tan from it. I brought all that sunscreen but still got sunburned. I guess it works better when I actually put it on, haha. Oh well, it was not that bad. It was just on my arms, I just thought it was petty funny actually. It's been hotter than usually every one tells me. It apparently is supposed to cool down and get back to its normal temp soon (which just means it will be in the 80s to 90s instead of the 100s haha)  That's all good, I can take the heat.
               I've had an awesome time so far. We have been doing alright in the teaching area and we have 2 baptismal dates for the next couple of weeks already. I'm excited and sure that it will be a good time serving the Lord in Long Beach. Well, I love you guys and may the force be with you... always
  Love Elder Richards 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Goodbye MTC August 10, 2015

So guess who showed up for a Tuesday devotional at the MTC. It was President Nelson, President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles! Won't lie, it was awesome. I was actually close enough to see the wrinkles on his face, in real life not even on camera, ha ha. It was a really cool devotional and it taught some great things about being disciples of the Lord. It was super cool.

You know, some Elders told me when we first got here that days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days, and that is soooo true. After the first Sunday, the days felt long but the week went by super fast to me. Now its my last day at the MTC and I'm so excited to actually get out to Long Beach. Today at the MTC we decided to practice street contacting people. I went on splits with this one missionary, Elder Bischoffs, and so we were walking around just talking to random people. After the first couple people and sharing an uplifting thought, we saw this one guy walking towards us. We were like lets talk to this guy. So we get to him and say hey and he's just like "sorry, I don't have time" and then literally starts running away from us. We just sat there and watched him shrink into the distance. It was just salty because he ran away before we could even say anything, haha, good one. One of the teachers that was supervising us at this little shindig actually went to Long Beach for her mission. She was telling us about some people in the mission and about the areas that we will be serving in--except Compton because the Sisters aren't allowed in that area. I wonder why... haha, psych. That makes sense but it was good to hear more about it. 

We had a Sister in our zone that was going to this random set of islands and their language was the most fun this to try and read. It was like having really bad English and you don't learn it in the MTC. You have to go and learn it in the field. The Book of Mormon was super fun to read in her language.  Everything you say sounds like you have a Jamaican accent. Bok Blong Mormon is how you say Book of Mormon. It was great. 
Just to let you know, I won't be able to get those cookies you sent me which is actually super upsetting. I didn't get it today and I won't have time to get it when I wake up because I have to wake up and get ready to leave by 3:35 in the morning to go to Long Beach. That is going to be interesting but, like I said, I'm super pumped to go. 

Love you guys and thanks for everything. May the Spirit be with you.
PS Alma 29:9 an instrument in the Lords hand to bring some soul unto repentance and this is my glory.

 Love Elder Richards  

First Week August 4, 2015

Yeah, I got your message the day after she left but don't worry, we took the picture of the three of us before she left. I saw Luke and Ellen on my first day. Luke caught me before I left lunch and then at dinner I was sneaky and caught Ellen by surprise, ha ha, she ended up freaking out and then crying. Oh well, it was all out of love.

I've been in the MTC for a week now and it's been a lot of hard work but it has also been really good. My companion and I get along quite awesomely and I feel lucky to have Elder Oniki as my companion. I also have a pretty awesome district. It's awesome to see that we all come from different backgrounds but we are all here for the same purpose. I have had a lot of Spiritual and awesome experiences here at the MTC. They keep us busy all the time. Mostly we are in class or trying to come up with lessons for our investigators but its all good. I just hope I can remember most of  the stuff they are teaching us. Now I'm settled in but I'm only going to be here for another week. I am excited to actually get in the mission field and serve the people of Long Beach.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm jealous that I can't be there for the Color Run but I'm kinda busy you know, ha ha. I hope you guys have an awesome time there and I know that it will be fun. We get a short amount of time to exercise or gym time and we have decided to play sand volley ball. It is awesome! Love me some sand volleyball!

Yes, my p-day is on Tuesdays.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The people I room with are also pretty awesome. They are all finally starting to get used to the idea of a "Pover*",  ha ha. They all thought it was super weird and didn't make sense at first but now they are starting to acccept the Pover! ha ha      (*"Pover" is short for Party Sleep Over)
Well, it's nice to know that you guys got Moo back, ha ha. That cat has low key problems.(and if you do not understand what low key means, please ask bet or Ryan, Joe and Tanner) Hopefully the cat doesn't poop everywhere or tear everything up like he used to do. And it's nice that you saved moving Beth in so i didn't have to have to move any boxes or bed for her, just kidding. It's nice to hear that everything going well at home and just know that I love all of you guys                                                                 

Friday, July 31, 2015

I'm alive July 31, 2015

Well, I have survived the first couple of days in the MTC. At first it was a little intimidating but now that everyone has gotten to know each other a little bit, it's actually pretty nice and fun. I've got a cool companion, Elder Oniki and he's from Utah. He knows like everyone in the MTC and I only two, haha. I actually saw both Elder Richards (Luke) and Sister Richards (Ellen) on my first day, ha. Elder Richards caught me before I left dinner and it was awesome to see him. I get the whole companion thing now with him, haha. I surprised Sister Richards and she freaked out and hugged me in front of everyone in the cafeteria, haha. We got some looks but people knew what was up, ha. I love all you guys and the Church is true. May the force be with you.