Porter flag

Porter flag

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.