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Monday, December 19, 2016

Just another week

Hey all! It's been a pretty easy week with not much going on. I wish I had some great stories but it really was just another week of work and hoping for Christmas to be soon.  I forgot to take pictures this week. I am so sorry, since I fogot this week, I will allow you guys to Skype me ;) LOLl jk. Promise I will take lots of pics this week. Sadly no baptisms this week. 

Love you!

Elder Richards

Monday, December 12, 2016

It was a Beautiful White Christmas Saturday!

Hey All! Well this week has been jam packed with a little bit of everything. 

I guess I will start with the White Christmas baptism. Let me first say that it was amazing to see 18 people baptized at once. As full time missionaries we had the opportunity to see the baptismal candidates a song. While we were up singing and I was looking at all these candidates dressed in white, I felt the Spirit. It was a confirmation of the work we were doing was right. My district did awesome at White Christmas. Of the 18 baptism, my district alone had 11 of them. And there were 3 districts present at the baptism. 

Now for a little bit of unhappy news. Rowena was not baptized on Saturday. They weren't able to get married in time before. This was heartbreaking to me at the time, but I guess everything happens for a reason. I am just going to keep telling myself that. For a little bit of happy news. We did have 1 baptism. Her name is Jane, and she is the niece of one of RC's. (Recent convert).  It was amazing to have a baptism, but hot darn I wish everything would have worked out in time with Rowena. I guess another Saturday will do. 

Outside of that we have been jam packed going every where during December. I don't mind being busy. Better busy than having nothing. I miss you all so much and hope everyone has a great week. 
2 weeks till Christmas!!! 

The White Christmas Group

Cute Jane

Day of Service
In the Christmas Spirit

How cool!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Feeling super Grateful!

 Hello all. I am missing seeing you all, especially during this Christmas time. It's not the same feeling when you don't have a White Christmas, but I guess the heat will do for me right now.
This week has been another week of working hard. Rowena should have everything figured out for Dec.10th to be baptized so I am more than excited and thankful right now. All the prayers, long nights, discussions, blisters from walking to her house, tears are now finally paying off with her baptism this Saturday. I can't even put into words what I feel at this moment. I want to scream at the tops of my lungs "YAY"!!! 

I am not gonna lie it is hard at times when I know it is Christmas season and I can't go to parties with my family. It makes me look forward to Christmas a little bit more. I hear my mom is making the family do service, and let me add that I think that is a great idea. Before my mission I wasn't the biggest fan of service. I was selfish with my time and did not have the desire to serve the Lord's children. But since being on my mission I have felt something grown within my heart. A feeling of love for everyone that is here. I don't know what has developed within me, but I love serving people. And I love serving people so I can see them smile. Not to say that I served. To me, a smile from a child makes anything worth it.

Elder Tagal cracks me up. For some reason he thinks I am really good in Tagalog (which I am not) and is always telling me his life stories in Tagalog. Truly I don't know what he is saying half the time, I just pick up on certain words, but when he starts laughing I know he just said something funny, so I start cracking up too. You know when you fake a laugh, but then it turns to a real laugh because you think you are funny for faking a laugh? Yea... I have done that a lot this week. But I love it. I love hearing his stories and how enthusiastic he is about everything. It really makes my day to just laugh with him, even if I don't know what is going on. Laughing for no reason just makes the heart feel better. So if you are having a rough day or a bad moment, just laugh at something and remember that everything will be ok. 

Love and miss you all! Have a great December week! Be safe in the snow! Bundle up, drink some hot cocoa, watch some TV, and laugh! 

Elder Porter Richards

First pic: Elder Tagal and I, with Maggie. Child of sister Genice.
Pic 2: Genice's kids
Pic 3: That is what I made for Thanksgiving. And we put up that little tree so we could feel the Christmas spirit.
Pic 4 & 5: We went to a museum for an activity and they had paintings all over walls.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Is it Christmas yet?

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving this past week. Not being in America during Thanksgiving is so different. Since of course it isn't celebrated here in the Philippines, I bought a little Thanksgiving myself and I decided to cook all the best Thanksgiving tradition foods for my comp and I. Since we don't have an oven or microwave it was a little more difficult to cook. The food wasn't quite the same in texture and taste, but it still felt like I was back home. After dinner Elder Tagal and I put up a Christmas tree. Actually we bought one of the like 6 inch Christmas trees at one of the stores and decorated that, so now we have some Christmas spirit in our apartment. 

Sounds like it's been pretty cold out there. I am not going to lie I wouldn't mind seeing a little snow or feeling a cold breeze right about now. I am just sweating as I type this email ;) The BYU game sounds like a good time. It's hard to even picture being at a football game now. It's been so long since last season.  Also, thank you for the Christmas boxes. It has taken all my effort not to open them and see what Santa has for me ;) and p.s my comp was beside himself when he realized that one of the boxes was for him. He has never been able to open a present before on Christmas, which is sad but know that you have made him so happy. He says how much he can't wait till Christmas. I'm not sure who's more excited, him or me. 

Everything here is going quite well. Rowena is figuring out her marriage issues right now, so she should be ready for baptism on Dec. 10th I am beyond happy for this because Rowena has been the first person I feel like I have personally touched in my mission. Everyone says that their are certain people you will meet on your mission for a reason, and I know she is one of those for me. Nothing has made me happier than seeing her and her family progress in this gospel. There is a certain joy you feel when you help someone rekindle the light of Christ inside them. 

I love and miss you all. Hope everyone has a great week and a good start to December.

Elder Porter Richards

Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from the Philippines

How is everyone doing? Quick congrats to all my Bingham boys, to my cousin AO your still my idol!!

My comp for the week Elder Miller was gone was Elder Lorenzo. He is as we say in Tagalog "estig". We did a lot of great things the week we were together. He is really great with members so I definitely took note of that and how it can improve me as a missionary. 

My new companion is Elder Tagal. He is from Cagayan Valley, which is somewhere in the Philippines, but I couldn't really tell you where. He is a great person in general. His best characteristic is he has a desire to work hard which I love. He is also very giving and loving which I can always learn from. He always wants to be serving me and others, so I know that he is an instrument in the Lord's hands. He struggles with English, but that's alright because my Tagalog has improved since being with him just for a week. Even though there are times where are communication is difficult. I have learned that if you smile and enjoy where you are at and who you are with the language barrier doesn't matter. Elder Tagal tells me stories all the time that I don't know what he's truly saying, but I just enjoy laughing at them any way. It makes the time we have together more great.  I honestly love this guy to death. I know these next few transfers will be challenging but I know I will learn a lot from him.

I had my first baptismal interview that I was conducting. I don't know who was more nervous, the 9 year old I was interviewing or myself. All said in done though I survived. The kid was quite smart and knew every answer to my questions.

Our work here in Hagonoy is doing alright at the moment. We have been getting punted a lot lately which is okay. It can wear on you a little bit when it is 3 o'clock and you are sweating, but smiling is always the trick. Smiling is the cure to all trials in life. 

Rowena has some struggles with obtaining her marriage license, but everything happens for a reason so maybe Dec 10 isn't the timing for her, but I do know that one day, she will be baptized. 

Love and miss you all. Have a good one. 

Lastly, Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Elder Porter Richards

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tears of Joy for Vaughn and Mikko

How is everyone doing now? So I hear Trump is the new President? What is happening in America? I guess that could be good too.

Well were do I begin for the week. Elder Miller left and that was hard but I am happy for him to get home to his family. I had a new companion for one week named Elder Lorenzo. He is such a nice guy. I have enjoyed being with him. He is as we say in Tagalog "estig". We did a lot of great things during week we were together. He is really great with members so I definitely took note of that and how it can improve me as a missionary. 

Friday was another good day until I got a call from the Zone Leaders telling me that I was going to be a trainer. As soon as I heard those words a little bit of a panic attack happened. I know I have so many inadequacies and am not ready for the responsibility. I do not think I have ever prayed so hard in my life after receiving that news. Personally I just don't know if I am ready, but I do know that I can be strengthened with the faith I have. 

On Saturday I had the opportunity to baptize 2 of our investigators. Vaughn and Mikko. After the ordinance while we were all changing in the bathroom we were standing there in complete silence. All you could hear was the weeping that was taking place. The Spirit was there with us and you could feel it. I remember just looking at these 2, thinking to myself, these 2 are children of God. And all the hard work that just wears me down day after day is worth it. It's for moments like those, where you can look someone in the eyes, and know that the Spirit has touched that makes me continue to work so hard.

On Monday we had transfer announcements. I already knew I was going to become a trainer so I wasn't really expecting to much, but as the ZL's were reading what was going on in the mission they got to my name and said congratulations Elder Richards, you are training and you have been asked to do one more calling, you are the new District Leader of your zone. I already knew and felt all the pressure I was under for training and I thought that hearing this news would put me over the edge, but something came into me and reassured that everything will be alright and I was called for a reason by an inspired Mission President. I look forward to the opportunity to become close with my District members and for all the experience that I will gain from this. 

Please keep praying for our White Christmas here in the Quezon City North Mission on December 10th. Your prays are heard and are helping so much.

Hope everyone has a more than good week. Love and miss you all.
On our way to an appointment.

Elder Richards

Baptism of Vaughn and Mikko
Elder Lorenzo
Our District.

Monday, November 7, 2016

4 months down!

Hello to all! 

How was everyone's week? Everyone survive? 

Well there's another week that has come and gone. It's crazy how fast time goes by sometimes. In the moment it feels never ending, but then I think back, and woaah, 4 months has gone by.
This week was primarily spent visiting a lot of people because it was Elder Miller's last week. So teaching wasn't much, but it was still nice to visit members and be able to build relationships with them. 

Elder Miller leaves tomorrow which blows my mind. I feel like yesterday I was walking off the Jeepnie for the first time in Hagonoy and seeing Elder Miller. I truly will miss that guy. 

2 of our investigators, Mikko and Vaughn (they are brothers), had their baptismal interview on Saturday. It should have gone all smooth but when only Mikko showed up Elder Miller and I looked at each other and were like what the heck? Mikko said Vaughn was still sleeping at their house. I have never truly been so upset at someone as I was in that moment. Elder Miller and I decided to walk to Vaughn's house and go wake him up. As we were walking and I was just so frustrated, I thought to myself, nothing good will come from being mad. So in that moment I tried with all my might to smile. We finally reached Vaughn's house, and the lock was on the door. SO no one was home. I sat there in devastation, but with a smile on my face. Elder Miller and I made the walk back to the church, only to learn that Vaughn was there and in his interview. Oh how those words brought a true smile to my face. I learned from that if we smile in times of trial, God will always help us out. Because times of despair have not come to last, they have to come to pass. If you always see the good in what is going on in life, God will help you and bless you more. 

I would love your prayers over the next month. We have what is called a White Christmas coming on December 10 which is a mission wide day were everyone should have a baptism. Thanks in advance.

Love and miss you all. Hope everyone has a good week.

Elder Porter Richards

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Hello to all my loved ones and Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween here and it's really not celebrated like in the United States. We celebrated by cleaning our apartment this morning. After being at the wifi bar it will then be a normal Pday with shopping, cleaning our clothes and reading. The only thing different with today is we can't go work tonight because since it is Halloween people party a little to much and things could happen to missionaries. So we have to have a curfew of 6:00 pm just in case.   :)

The weeks continue to get better. My companion, Elder Miller, his visa expires a week earlier than expected so he is actually going home a week before transfers. So I will get a new companion for a week, then a different companion a week after. Sadly we didn't have any baptisms this week but that is ok. Everything is on the Lord's timetable and He truly knows when everyone is ready to make covenants. 

My mom asked me how often we get fed by the members in our ward. Elder Miller and I do not get fed to often by members here. We are actually in quite a poor area so most people can't afford it sadly. But I do have to say that even though they do not have much, when they have an opportunity to give Elder Miller and I a treat, they don't even think twice about. And just to give you an idea of how generous these people are, 1 dollar there goes to about 47 pesos here. And meryenda "treats" cost about 7 pesos. And most these people can't afford that for their families. Very heart breaking to think that people can't afford 10 cents worth of food to feed themselves. Very humbling in several aspects. Here in Hagonoy we only have Jollibee if you have ever heard of that. Its an even crappier version of McDonalds. But its all we have so you gotta love it. :)  Other areas have actual restaurants like in America but like I said, the place I am assigned isn't to wealthy of an area. We do eat at Jollibee's about once a week just because it is so easy and we don't have to cook. 

Some of my favorite people in my area just had a baby. Rowena and Nikko. Rowena is an investigator and Nikko is a less active. Their baby's name is Rica Joy. They told me when we were visiting them at the hospital that I was the Godfather. As you can imagine I was pumped. Lets just say that I am going to spoil Rica Joy while I have the time here. My Goddaughter deserves the best ;)   (yes I am a protective over her.)

As my time continues to be less and less with Elder Miller, I have come to have a certain love for him. I have learned the good, the bad, and the ugly from him. I sure will miss him and the comfort I have being with him. I had another companion exchange this week with Elder Gumban. It is always cool to learn from other experienced missionaries. One thing that Elder Gumban that told me, when the opportunity presents itself, you bare testimony on the Restoration with everything that is in your heart. Yes people can deny your message or not believe what you are saying, but people can not deny the feelings you have or the feelings they have after you testify. 

I hope everyone has a great week and continues to love where they are at in life. Miss and love you all.

Elder Richards

Monday, October 24, 2016

They needed it more than I did

This week had a little bit of everything. It started with companion exchanges which went great. I went with Elder Lorenzo, and lets just say that this guy is a stud! I can tell he is a spirit lead teacher because I could not tell you what he actually said when he was teaching, but I could feel the Spirit with every word. I learned a lot from him on how to become a better missionary. The next day though I woke up just sick as could be. I woke in just in the sweats on numerous occasions, but the hardest part is I was still so cold. Quite the predicament, cold, but sweating. This cold/flu lasted a few days but I still worked everyday. And I am glad I did because I had a learning experience that I will not forget. As Elder Miller and I were out proselyting I remember just thinking, "Why am I doing this? I should just go home right? I mean I am sick." A phrase then came to me "Because of Him".
No phrase has hit my quite as hard as this did at this moment. So after thinking this I took one more step, then another, then another until we reached the appointment. After that appointment I began to think to myself the exact same things as earlier. But the phrase once again popped to my mind. So I did as I did before, I took one step at a time until the day was over. I know that if we always think remember that whatever we are doing is for Him, we can find the energy and desire to go the extra step or the extra mile.

On Saturday we had a district baptism and our baptist was Sister Angelica. She is such a cool person and her whole story is one that I will never forget. The crazy thing that happened is while we were at the church, I left my bag in relief Society room while we went to the chapel to hear the talks that were to be given. When I returned to my bag, all the zippers were open, and my wallet was gone. I was l, crap, now? Well of course being at a baptism I didn't want to make a stink about anything so I kept quite until everything was over. So after the service I informed anyone and asked if they had seen anything. No one knew anything or saw anything so I was a little sad because there were things in my wallet I needed of course. So I said a quick prayer in my heart, and just then I got the feeling everything would be alright. While we were eating dinner at the church, someone came up to me and said, "Elder Richards is this yours?" And lone and behold it was my wallet. All the money was gone, but my bank cards and the important stuff was in there. Always remember God answers prayers. I do wish who ever took my money also took a Lesson One pamphlet.

Look on the bright side of all things.

Love and miss you all. Hope all have a good week.

Elder Richards

Elder Miller and Elder Richards with some members
Another Scenic view of the Philippines

The "Bucket Shower" and bathroom.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Typhoon Karen

Hello everyone from the rainy Philippines, 

How was everybody's week this week? Hope everyone had a good one and is enjoying life. 

Well this week was interesting to say the least bit! It was a slower week when it comes to the work, but a little extravagant when it comes to just being in the Philippines. We had Typhoon Karen hit us this week yesterday. The storm wasn't to bad itself but where I am assigned it floods even when there is just a drizzle out.  When it rains here it rains like cats and dogs for hours. The floods got pretty bad. We weren't able to go to some of the areas because the flood was literally  high enough that  you couldn't get in the door. Directly where I live though it wasn't terrible. It got to about almost shin to knee high. The worst part about it is you just have to take your shoes and socks off  before  you walk i n it. And the water you are walking in is just.. . gross... Elder Miller and I did survive and I enjoyed the new adventure. I know another storm is coming and we are preparing for it.

This week was the first time I really felt disappointed while being in the field. Every night we got home there was just a feeling of dissatisfaction. Its hard to put into words the exact feeling but it was something I did not like. I decided to pray and ask why is this happening? Why do I feel so bad? As I knelt down, I couldn't even get words out of my mouth because a feeling came over me like I already knew why this feeling was there. I had become complacent with myself this week. I had not strived to become better than I was yesterday. So this was a prayer with very few words that needed to be spoken. I learned a lot though. Trials help us learn to grow, and we need to strive to become better day by day. When complacency sets in, you are going down a hard path.

One great thing about this week was I did receive 2 packages. One from my Grandma and Grandpa and one from my family. Thank you so much for the treats. It made my day when I got back to the house and was able to see all the treats that they had sent me . You guys are too sweet to me. The best part wasn't even the treats though, it was just the feeling of love and feeling of home. Love y'all for that.

Here's a couple of answers that some have asked me: I wash my clothes by hand. It can be a pain sometimes because of the amount and the time and effort that go into it, but it sure does humble me in a way that I have not had before.

I haven't eaten anything too crazy recently, but I am learning to cook most Filipino food. To be honest most food is cooked the same, just a few different ingredients.

Strive to better than you were yesterday. I love and miss you all.         

Elder Richards

Walking around after Typhoon Karen

Monday, October 10, 2016

Conference Weekend in the Philippines!

Hi all!

I am a week later than everyone in General Conference. Thankfully we were able to watch conference in English. The Spirit and authority that the Apostles talk with blows me away! The love and compassion these men have for each one of us can definitely be felt through the broadcast. To think if they love us that much, I can only imagine the love our Heavenly Father has for us. They truly are inspired men.

This week was another good week. You can never really have a bad week when you are doing the Lord's work and will. I have learned that we need to just be grateful for everything we are given. When you recognize the little blessings we have been given, the more thankful you become. 

It has been raining A LOT this week. Which made going to the Butterfly Sanctuary even more beautiful and green. (See picture below) (and yes I am holding a Machete like a boss!) 

I don't have any blow away stories this week, but I can say that the Lord is with us always. While walking back home after an appointment, it was pouring rain and I had forgotten umbrella. The walk was about half a mile. As I was walking the flood began to rise little by little, I started to think to myself, "Come on Heavenly Father, why now?" It was a long enough day as is, why allow it pour rain on us? As I was walking in frustration, the song "Army of Helaman" came to mind. As I began to sing in my head the warmest feeling came among me. It allowed me to remember that everything was going to be ok. I will survive. (Truth: It could always be worse.)

I love and miss you all. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Elder Richards

*Other picture is a small bamboo bridge we have to take to get to another village.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hanging with the Teenagers!

Well where do I begin this week?
This week had its moments but somehow when you are at your lowest, Heavenly Father will pick you right up.

On Wednesday I was having a rough day. I still can't understand these Filipinos well at all, I haven't been given the gift of tongues yet but I keep patiently waiting and practicing, I also can't seem to stop sweating some days, and to top it all off we didn't have any water in our house so we were quite dehydrated. So you can see where I am going with this, it was a rough week!

I was sitting in a lesson with Sister Angelica (who is a progressing investigator) when I was hit with such a touching experience. Sister angelica has had trouble with the Word of Wisdom/coffee, My companion and I had been praying that Heavenly Father would help her overcome this challenge in her life. As we were sitting there in the lesson we asked her how she was doing with the word of wisdom. She looked us in the eyes and said I haven't drunk coffee in a week. Me being quite shocked asked her in my broken Tagalog, "Sister, why is that?" She said every time she drinks coffee, it hurts her stomach and brings up such bad heart burn that she can't drink it. Now you may be thinking that Elder Richards is crazy for being so happy about this. But I know that the Lord answers prayers in any way possible. Whether it be by a miracle or by causing heart burn. :) The Lord will help anyone. Remember when times get hard to talk to the Lord about it. He wants to help us, but He also wants us to ask for His help.

We had a branch half day mission on Saturday and Elder Miller and I were separated and I was put with a few teenagers in the ward. It was my first opportunity to lead a whole lesson in Tagalog by myself... Lets just say I still have some work to do, but I had a great time. I am so impressed with the teens here in the Philippines, they have so much strength and love.

Elder Miller and I continue to hasten the work here in Hagonoy. We had another baptism this week which is awesome. Sadly we won't be able to have one this week because we have the opportunity to watch conference (we are a week behind everyone). I have heard conference was great and touching.

I love and miss you all. Hope everyone has a stellar week.

Elder Richards

The Awesome Filipino Teenagers!

Elder Manapori

Monday, September 26, 2016

Young love!

Kumusta po kayo!

Friends and family I have missed you guys a lot. The work in the Philippine continues to hasten day by day. 

Elder Miller and I had another baptism this week. She is a 14 year old girl named Princess. She comes from a part member family, so the old missionary saying of part member families are the "gold mines" is a very true. As you know, some 14 year old can have attitudes occasionally. So the night before Princess's baptism we went over to make sure she was prepared and what not. Well we brought up her "ex boyfriend" and all the sudden a flip switched in Princess's mind and she became so hard/grumpy to talk with. Like every time we brought up baptism she just said, Elders nope.. I'm not getting baptized anymore. And Elder Miller and I looked at each other like, what the?? We worked it all out eventually but I forgot how much drama young love is. 

It hard to put into words everything that you feel and experience on a mission. From the heart aches and tears, to the smiles and laughs. All I can really say is, this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is the most rewarding as well!

I hope everyone has a great week. Please tell the people you love how much you love them!  Praying for you all,

Elder Richard

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Rose by any other name.

Good morning Y'all from the Philippines. 

Hope and pray everyone is doing okay. 

This week has been a touching week to me. Elder Miller and I had our first baptism this week (Rose). Rose has had quite the journey to be where she was on Saturday. Rose has been such an example to me in the short amount of time that I have been able to get to know her. Her husband did not want her to get baptized and two nights before her baptism, he told her that he would divorce her if she got baptized. Of course this broke my heart and we told her we would understand what ever decision she would choose. The next day when we went to see her, she looked us in the eyes and said I know what I must do. I am going to be baptized. This brought so much joy to my heart. I know how big of a sacrifice she was making. When Rose came out of the water after being baptized, this feeling took over my body. I can not put into words what I felt, but I do know something now. I know our Heavenly Father loves us. I know He lives. I can't say what will happen with her husband but I have a good feeling things will work out. 

I hope everyone has a good week and remember when life gets hard, pray to our Heavenly father for help. He will never let us fall or bear more than we can.  
Elder Richards and his new best friend Umi

Elder Richards 

Fish Dinner

Monday, September 12, 2016

Enjoying every minute.

Hello to everyone. I hope everyone is doing well. 

The Philippines is still hot and humid, so no change in weather yet. This week has been a little of a struggle for me personally. Its been difficult to be in lessons and be restricted by the language barrier that is placed before me. But at the same time I have learned more and more about humility and trusting in the Savior. No matter how difficult it was for me at certain times during the day, the Lord always blessed me in a little way that always allowed me to smile. Whether it was going to an appointment where the investigator spoke decent English, or being followed by 20 little kids walking down the street who were constantly laughing, the Lord will always give you little blessings for you to be able to make it through each day. Make sure to always be looking for the blessings in life and appreciate were you are. 
Beautiful Sunset.

Elder Miller and I have 3 new investigator with a baptismal date. Please keep them in your prayers that they keep them. The work here in Hagonoy is ready to harvest as it says in D&C 4. Know I miss and love you all. 

I hope everyone has great week. 

Elder Richards

Our apartment
Elder Richards and Elder Miller

Ricki, Rose and Umi

Monday, September 5, 2016

Loving Hagonoy!

Hey All!

It has been a good week in the Philippines. As of right now there are 8 baptisms lined up. Some of them may fall through but that is okay. One thing I have learned is people do have their agency, and no matter how bad I want these people to accept, it is up to themselves at the end of the day. As a missionary I can only continue to testify with all my heart, and pray for them constantly. 

Currently Sister Rose is scheduled to be baptized on Sept. 17 and Princess on Sept. 24
One family we have been able to teach is the Alcantara family. They were baptized a few months ago but we have had to finish up the RC lessons with them. We have become close with this family and their kids. This past week Ricky (the father) was able to receive the Aaronic Priesthood at the age of 29. The look in his eyes after he revived it and blessed the sacrament that Sunday is priceless. 

The ward here has been so sweet to my companion and I. The members try to feed us as much as possible. I struggle within myself to eat at members houses. The heart breaking thing to me is, usually when they feed us, it means their own kids won't eat.

I couldn't tell you why I am so happy on this mission but I am. It has been nothing but hard work and sacrifice. But for some reason, I just love it here. I love being a missionary in the Hagonoy Branch. I love feeling the Savior's love for me and these people. I love the testimony I have been able to build in this gospel. 

Something funny, So out here in the Philippines there is a TV star named Alden Richard. And the past week whenever I have introduced myself, people keep getting my confused with him, thinking that I am Alden or a cousin. Its nice to be noticed for whatever it is. It definitely has been a good conversation starter with everyone!

I miss and love you all. Hope everyone has a great week.

Elder Porter Richards

Enjoying a PDay near the fish pond  

Out of the MTC and into the Field

This week has been one of the coolest weeks and one of the hardest weeks I have ever had in my LIFE. 

It started out with on Wednesday we were taken to a chapel to meet our companion and see what area we were going to be serving in. Holy cow was I scared out of my britches. I got assigned to Elder Miller, he is a great guy who only has 3 months left on his mission. So I am his last transfer. That in a sense motivated me because I am not going to send him home on a bad note. We are assigned to the Hagonoy Branch, which is right near the coast. It took us 5 hours to return to our house after we got assigned because of the traffic... and we had to take a Jeepney. Let me say, Taking Jeepney with 3 things of luggage is the biggest hassle. Jeepneys are already super squished but put in 3 suitcases and you literally have no room. 

One thing that is kind of funny is there are 15 trainers and 2 of them are Americans, I was the only American to get paired with another American. We got to apartment at 8:30 at night and still hadn't eaten dinner. It was a long day. Our apartment is small. But it is only my companion and I staying in there so it's not terrible. We have no dishwasher, no laundry machines, no microwave, and really no appliances in general. It definitely takes some getting used to like to do you laundry by hand and not be able to cook food.

Sadly we weren't able to do any work that Wednesday night but it was alright because I was dead tired from all that travel. The next day we went out and it was just crazy. Like I have said before, these houses aren't even houses. And the hardest part is here in Hagony when ever it rains, it Floods... and it rains everyday. So most houses we go to to teach, they are flooded. This just makes it interesting to find a place to teach because the people don't want us to come into their house so we don't ruin our clothes or anything. That just shows their love and respect for us. 

On your first day out you have to ask someone to baptism. They just want to throw you in the fire. I was a little nervous. We met a girl (Kat) on the street who was asking us about the church so we asked to see if we could teach her. Kat accepted our invitation and we went in and taught about the Restoration. At the end my companion hits me, and in the broken Tagalog I had, I asked Kat if she would like to be baptized. She paused and said she maybe would. She wants us to first come back and teach her more before she makes the final decision. It was nerve racking to ask, but I just had to have faith in the Lord that he would help me out, and He did. Right now there are currently 5 people scheduled to be baptized in my area, it's incredible. Everyday my testimony grows more and more. I know the Spirit guides this work.

 On Sunday I had to give a talk during sacrament. I was really nervous but as I was sitting on the stand, I realized how much I love these people. So when I got up, I first apologized for the English, but I just told them how excited I was to be able to serving with them and how I was looking forward to getting to know each of them. I concluded with a simple testimony and then saying how much I already love them. These people have the biggest smiles and the sweetest spirit. I can feel Gods love for these people.

My ward is awesome and are super nice and understanding with me. I know I am going to continue to struggle with the language, but with the faith I have, Heavenly Father will help me through this challenge.

Love you all!

BTW.. I tried chicken feet for the first time... And all I can say is the thought of eating it is a lot worse than the actual taste. I still have not tried balut.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Letter from the Mission President

church logo 

Zabarte Rd. cor. Ilang-Ilang Street, Almar Subdivision
Camarin, Caloocan City

25 August 2016

Mr and Mrs William Richards
11129 Snow Peak Lane
South Jordan, UT 84095
United States

Dear Brother and Sister Richards:

Sister Bertin and I are excited to have your son, Elder Joseph Porter Richards, with us in the Philippines Quezon City North Mission.  He completed his training in the Philippines MTC and he is now officially working in the mission field.  We had the opportunity to meet with him and get acquainted.  We were impressed with his testimony and desire to serve the Lord through his mission.

We feel that he is well prepared to serve the people here in the Philippines.  He will have the privilege of changing the lives of many people as he teaches and takes them to the waters of baptism.  His life, in turn, will also be changed forever through his experiences here. 

We would encourage you to follow the advice of Elder M. Russell Ballard and obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel.  Tell your missionary that you are studying it and ask him to share with you the things he is learning as he studies.  This will bless your family and your son.  We want him to be a “Preach My Gospel scholar.”

Missionaries serve with an “eye single to the Glory of God.”  Their entire focus, therefore, needs to be on their work and ministry.  Help and encourage him to do this. Please do not mention how much time is remaining for him, or special events you may have planned for him on his return, as this will only act as a distraction to his service.  With your encouragement he will mature and progress beyond your expectations.

We have enclosed pictures taken upon Elder Richards’s arrival.  Please make an extra special effort to keep in contact with him through email or letters of encouragement and support. When missionaries receive letters in the mission field, it is the highlight of their week.  Please encourage your missionary to be obedient to the mission rules. Being obedient to these rules will help ensure the spiritual and physical safety of your missionary.

For your information, Elder Richards’s release date has been set for 27 Jun 2018, to coincide with the mission’s transfer day schedule.  Please be assured that we will do our very best to make this a wonderful and fulfilling experience for him.  Thank you for your support.

Sincerely yours,

President Bertin's Signature
President Kim C. Bertin

Philippines Quezon City North Mission

 Elder Richards and President and Sis. Bertin                              Elder Miller and Elder Richards