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Monday, July 3, 2017

Last Birthday of the year, MOM!

Hey everyone!

Momma Momma Momma... Happy Birthday again!!! I sure am glad that everything went so well.  I love you so much and I am so grateful for what a great mom you are! I may be licking my lips at the current moment wanting some of that cheesecake.. hopefully you are saving me a slice ;)

I honestly can't believe that I will be home in less than a year. Parts of me are like, holly cow time is just flying, but then the other part is like... wait one more year?? I think the second coming may happen before that ;) lol jk

This was a week to remember, It was actually pretty hard to say goodbye to President Bertin. We really didn't do anything special but Elder Estoque and I ran over to there house a few hours before they left to say goodbye and give them a note. That last good bye was a little difficult and sad. I think it was hitting them pretty hard that day. They both had tears in their eyes as we were walking away. Its hard to describe the feelings that we had. It was like happiness for them, but also sadness because they will be missed so much.

My new MP is pretty much opposite of Pres. Bertin. The new MP is a successful business man. and you can tell in the way he talks and interacts with people that he is a sales guy. I have only had 1 or 2 meetings with him, but in those 2 meetings he had me walking away feeling like I could move a mountain. He will be a great asset to the mission. And I would say that I get a long with him pretty well. 

Best thing in the mission was last night actually... it was about midnight and all the sudden a got a call from an Elder. He in a panic said, someones breaking into the Sisters house. And somehow, feeling I hadn't even blinked yet, had my clothes on and was in the car booking it over to the sisters house. You may be wondering why I am saying this is the best thing... Well first, I learned how much I truly love these missionaries and the charity that God has blessed me with. And second, nothing at all happened to the Sisters which is the biggest blessing of all. The funny part about that story is, with the MP's permission I took my roommate with me to the sisters house in case somewhere was there, and my roommate is a big ole Polynesian who looked at me as we were about to show up and said, "no body messes with our Sisters". And it was such a true statement. 

I love you mom and hope you all have a great week. Keep being awesome and staying strong.

Elder Richards

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Birthday in the Philippines!

Hi all!

Thank you so much for all the Birthday emails, I loved reading each one, it sure makes me miss everyone.

Well can you actually believe it... I am finally 19!!! What happened there??? Man has age taken its tool on me though. I have grey hairs now, my body aches constantly (look at me, I sound like dad ;) lol jk )
It was actually a really good birthday though. It was really just another day of work but it was just more enjoyable. And honestly Sister Bertin is to sweet to me for getting me some cake and what not. I sure am going to miss them.
My thoughts for this email are going to be all over the place to be prepared ;) 

I sure do miss doing family parties with the Ostlers. I miss AO a ton and playing football and what not with the cousins. Hopefully when I get back, AO and I can still take the 2 younger ones in all the sports. But I think they are both bigger than us now so... who knows...

As for Cortlan. Actually his name is Karl but Cortlan is just his like nickname or something. But he is honestly a great guy. He is half black (dad is from Detroit), and no wonder I am great friends with him. I just attract black people wherever I go. Its a skill really ;) but he served a mission in Baguio a few years ago, and then went less active because he has had a lot more trials and heartbreaks happen in one year than most have happen in a lifetime. He really is a happy guy and me and him are always laughing when we are together. But the way I started to work with him is when I first got to the area I heard that he was the ward mission leader, but that he has been less active for a few years. Well I thought to myself, that just isn't right. So I found his number and texted him just saying that I was new to the area and would appreciate it if he would show me around. Well he accepted and everything sense has been history. And now he has returned back to church for the most part and works with me once or twice a week. And just an FYI, he is fluent in English. That is why he is so good ;) He has been so good t me, even made me a cake on my Birthday

Everything with the MP is good at the moment. President Bertin has opened up so much in the past few weeks its crazy. He like smiles a lot now and jokes around. I really enjoy being around him. I am a little worried for him to leave but am also really excited to meet President Hughes. I have heard nothing but the best about him so I am just looking forward to it. But there are a lot of things to do in preparation. 

FTR... I loved the packages. Everything in it was literally gone within 24 hours. But I can't lie, I didn't share the Biscoff spread one bit. It may be thousands of calories, but so worth it. And yes the powder is awesome. If you ever get time, please send another thing of protein powder. Its the only thing that motivates me to stay in shape haha

My favorite experience this week was a lesson with the Pader family. This is a part member family where the dad and the mom are not the members. But one of their daughters is and is active. Well before this lesson I am about to describe, I just need to first mention that the dad gets drunk every opportunity he has and I have never heard him say or do anything spiritual what so ever. So I was on splits with brother Karl, and the thought came to my mind to strengthen their faith by teaching about faith. And what happened during the lesson I can not say, because I can not recall the exact words that Brother Karl and I said. But somewhere along the line, the message was taken into their hearts, and tears where brought to their eyes. And the very last statement/question that was brought to my mind was something along the lines of "we always say that we have faith, but what are we doing to show our faith?" The father looked up to us and said, a change needs to happen. Now as I mentioned earlier, the father has never done anything spiritual ever, but to close that lesson, he gave the closing prayer. A very cool sight to see.

I miss you and love you so much. Please tell everyone thank you so much for all the birthday wishes in the group email!!!

Elder Richards 

We were able to do a service project with the Senior Missionaries at the Landfill

Birthday cake by Cortlan

Cortlan and Elder Richards

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Father's Day, Birthday and Birthday!

Hey All!

First off Happy Father's Day to the best dad around! You have been such an example to me and I have realized it even more since being out on my mission. Thank you for the wonderful example of what a man is and should be. Love you Dad!  Second, Happy 12th Birthday to my favorite girl Chicky (Mallory). You always makes me laugh. Lastly, Happy 70th Birthday to my Papa! You have always been so supportive of me, love you!

Well I can't lie one bit, I wish I were there swimming and enjoying the summer months of just relaxing. I am glad to hear Mally had a good birthday and enjoyed it. She still cracks me up with everything she wants. I still don't completely get the hammock thing but if thats what she wants, then why not. I will tell you what though, I would do anything for a Zaxbys meal or a Chic fil a sandwich. Talk about 2 places I am missing so much at this moment. 

That little story of Luke complaining about going to Youth conference or High adventure and then really enjoying the event is funny. It reminds me way to much of myself. I had to many experiences like that when I was younger. Oh what good times.

Thank you so much for the package mom. It honestly was the high light of my week. Nothing is better than walking into the office and the secretary looking at you and saying, "Someone has a special surpriseeeee" ;) All the treats were delicious that it only took me, my comp, and the 2 other elders we live with to finish it all in under 24 hours. Kinda of pitiful but it is what it is. :)

My week this week was a crazy one. When ever transfers come around, madness also comes around. It just seems like there is so many little things to do that they always seem to add up. But its is ok. I survived. Everything went smoothly for the most part and now its on to another transfer. 

My cool part for this week comes from some thoughts I have been having. This past week I really struggled finding some self confidence. Don't ask me why, because I can't say exactly why. It was just one of those weeks I guess. Well one day I was pondering and thinking to myself, "God, am I becoming what thou needs me to be? Am I even making a big difference in peoples lives? Do I have any strengths or am I just full of weaknesses?" After these thoughts, I decided to say a prayers just pouring out my thoughts to Heavenly Father. And as I prayed, nothing but peace came over me and the part of my blessing that says "I am proud". That comfort and tat short line helped me get through the rest of the week with gladness in my heart.

For this coming up week, its going to be full of workshops, service activities, and getting more ready for the next President. So in other words.. its going to be another crazy week. Yay ;)

I hope you have a great week!!!

Elder RIchards 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Happy Birthday Bro!

Big shout out to the coolest 16 year old out there! Hope your Birthday was awesome Luke. Thanks for being such a an amazing brother. I look forward to our many laughs together when I get home.

Oh how lovely are pdays. You know how sometimes you need those vacation days... well I need this pday. 
I am happy to hear that the St. George trip was a good time. That was one of my favorite parts of my last summer home. Chilling, going in the pool, playing with the little munchkins, and just laughing was a good way to do it. And we both know those donuts are soooo good. Oh how much I wish I could go back for a week and party it up again in St. george. That was honestly such a fun week and looking back how dorky and dumb me and Zack were, but I still wouldn't trade it for the world.

I can't believe that Luke is already 16 and is about to drive. Talk about weird. And what car does he get for the time being?? And I expected nothing less than for his bday present to be a little fridge with Dr. Pepper. That is to funny. 
That is awesome to hear about Nikki. Good for her for accomplishing that goal. I don't know if you are going to Boston to be a cheerleader or more going to get away and enjoy the northeast ;)

I am in disbelief that Nathan has a baby and that Jeremy will have a kid soon. The sad thing is both of them are probably going to come out of the womb taller than me... so thats a little disheartening for me but great for them. They are going to be great parents.

As from the mission front. Nothing to crazy happened this week besides it was transfer week. I still have the same companion, but the amount of work we had this week was tremendously large. It seems as if the stress is affecting the color of my hair. I think I am getting grey hairs. I don't know if that is from the stress or me getting old (I mean I am about to turn 19 and all ;) ) haha 

I have not received any packages yet, but I will make sure to keep an eye out for them. But no guarantees they stay unopened until my birthday.

But my cool experience for the week this week is from reading a talk this week by Elder Uchtdorf about patience. Patience has been my focus for the past few weeks because lets be honest, you can never have enough patience in your life. Well the talk goes on to say in one part something along the lines of, patience isn't just enduring, but it is enduring well. Sometimes as we sit there doing nothing in our trials, we think we are enduring or have patience, but in the end, that isn't enough. True patience require faith and action. Now if we fall to the temptation and lose our patience and become impatient, then we gain a symptom of selfishness. 

I love you and will always be praying for the family. I hope you have a great week.

Hey mom, you are also my favorite ;)

Elder Richards 

The Luke smolder :)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Happy Birthday to my DAD!

FIrst off Happy Birthday to the best Dad ever! Words could never tell you how much I appreciate and love you. Thanks for being such a great example to me.

All I have to say is... blessings, on blessings, on blessings...
First of all that is so cool to hear about Papa. I am not to sure what a retirement home looks like, or what the benefits are, but if it was going to be a year wait and he some how got in, they must be something good. 
I can't believe its been over a year since I graduated high school .It feels like yesterday we were going to dinner with grandpa and grandma. And grandpa looked like he was just miserable in the pictures we were taking together. haha still what good times. Enjoy the summer break though mom. Soak in every sunny day you get off. And make sure to live the good pool life for me. 

I can't believe Megs is leaving. For how crazy that girl is, I sure do love her. She has been so sweet to me and to the family it seems like which I am so appreciative for. She will do a great job and I think will change a lot on her mission. Some people in Florida need that personality of Megs. 

Everything in the office is so good. I never knew I could be so busy in the world and actually be wishing that there was more time in the day so I could finish everything. It seems like everyday we have something important that needs to be done. Definitely the best part of being the AP is driving the car with air con. Pretty much the biggest blessing to me. I sure have come to love President Bertin. Even though him and I are very different in personality and thinking patterns, I have learned a lot from him and he sure has made a change in my life here. I don't know to much about the knew guy besides he is from Utah and has had several high callings in the church. 

I will email luke and try to encourage him to play but maybe football just isnt his passion anymore. I sure do miss that guy more than I know. I haven't quite laughed here like I did back home. Its like there is this nudge to have one of those moments where I can't breathe because I am laughing so much, but nothing is funny enough to me. 

I am happy and proud to hear about Mally. She sure is an amazing person and I hope she continues to love school and life. 

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder Nielsen (my old comp). And lets just say that I love being with that guy all the time. We seem to always be talking and laughing. It was a great day but a very difficult one for me because Elder Nielsen goes home in a week, so that is the last time I will be able to work with him. I can probably say that he has one of the biggest influences on me since I have been on my mission. I learned so much in the 1 transfer I was with him. 

As I was reading this week, I have had a pull to read about the great Apostle Peter. As Elder Holland states and as we read in the book of John, Peter, after the death of Christ, went and did again what Peter had done before. He went fishing. Like being with the Savior for those few years had not been enough to change him for his entire life to be devoted to the gospel. But when the Savior appeared to Peter on the shore of Galilee that one morning, the savior stated a question 3 times that would make Peter the GREAT Apostle. The question was simple... "Peter, lovest thou me more than these things?"... 
Ponder and ask yourselves the question that the Savior asked his future great Apostle. 

I love and miss each one of you so much. Have a great week and be safe!

Elder Richards

Monday, May 29, 2017

Temple Visit

Hey everyone!

I was able to go to the temple last week and it was just so uplifting. It was my first time in about a year, and now I wish I could go every week. The prompting and peace that comes to you in the temple goes deep.

My most influential person for the week is, Elder Ballard. This is because I read a talk by him that cut me deep. There was a part where he was a stake president and he was interviewing someone to go on a mission. And Elder Ballard asks if the young man knew if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the young man looked and said, well I am not a 100% but I feel good about it. Elder Ballard looks at the young man and says, let me give you a challenge, I will let you go on a mission as soon as you can bare testimony to me that you know that Joseph is the prophet of this last dispensation. This cut me deep because I realized that we need to always be developing our testimony in Joseph. If he is true, this church is true, if he is not, then everything we believe go with it. 
One of my comps did leave because he had to do a special assignment in another part of the mission.  

I have not received any packages sadly!!

Love you again!!!

Elder Richards

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hanging with the Legend

Hey All, Hope everyone had a great week

I am doing alright. Not to much has happened this week. I just have a few good stories/experiences that I would like to share.

1. Exchanges with the Legend... Elder Meyer. So I don't even know where to begin this besides saying that I just enjoy being with and working with Elder Meyer. Even though we have never been comps, we seemed to have a certain unity about us. (I believe its the cousin power) But each lesson we had was interesting to be apart of, and awesome to see and feel the spirit work among us. For how strong the spirit was the whole day I will not forget the last part of the day when it just started pouring cats and dogs outside. Its about 8 pm, pitch black and all you see are 2 big Americans just booking it down the side of the street with no umbrella, laughing at 1 another and getting drenched. 

2. So we were driving down the street the other day and all the sudden we saw this guy pull out a gun on another guy... as you can imagine I crapped my birches and turned down the next road!
As I was reading this week I came across apart in a talk by Elder Ballard, when Elder Ballard recalled a story when he was in the quorum of the 70 at the time, and was invited to join the nightly prayer of the first presidency and quorum of the 12. President Benson gave the prayer and at the end of it Elder Ballard goes on to say that the spirit was so strong that it brought him to tears. And the part that hit it so deeply is when Elder Benson said, "Father, we pray above everything else, that are labors for today have been acceptable unto thee." Can we pray each night and say something along the same lines? Or would we know we would be lying to ourselves because we held a part of ourselves back from doing what we should be. 

I love and miss you all,

Elder Richards

Best quote: "believe in miracles"
I love my mission. I can't even summon the words to say how this mission has changed my heart and I.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mothers day to all the Mothers out there. Bless each one of your hearts for helping us kids through out the years. I know it is hard for us to say it sometimes, but we love you all and appreciate all that is done for us!
To my mom, I am forever grateful for you in my life. I am not sure quite what I did to deserve a mother like you, but I sure am the luckiest. I still laugh whenever I am talking with members here and I show them a picture of the family, and they always say, you look just like your mom. It cracks me up and makes my day every time. Just so you know mom, no matter how much I deny it, I am basically your mini me. I have come to that realization. Thank you for your example mom. I wouldn't be who I am today without you. I love you so much mom and hope you have a great day. Make sure the other 2 munchkins take good care.

It has been a great week in Camarin. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges again this week twice. And may I first say that exchanges are some of my favorite things to do. Just so many opportunities to learn and get to know all the missionaries. Elder Nightingale (who is in the picture with me) was the high light of my week. He is this enthusiastic Elder from Australia, who grew up in Hong Kong, then moved to the Czech Republic before his mission and then will study at BYU. So this man has taken the term, been around the world, to a whole another level. But as we were on exchanges he showed me an attitude that has stuck with me for the week. No matter how many people wouldn't let us in, Elder Nightingale would always smile and just tell a joke. 
"Life is to short to not be happy. So smile and laugh more"   Words to live by.

We had a lesson this week with a member. Her husband had died a short while ago, then her son died not to long after. So this poor ladies life has been through the hardest of times. Well during the lesson about enduring to the end, the story of Derek Redmund was brought up. And for everyone who is not familiar with this story, look it up you tube. But this sweet lady compared herself to this Olympic runner. She said something along the lines of "I have been hit down almost to the point that I could not get up, but no matter what, I will finish". She touched my heart with her sweet spirit and motivation to finish strong.

I love and miss you all. Have a great week. 

Elder Richards 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Oh the food! (Nasty)

Hey all,

Another great week has come and gone!

Coolest thing about my week was Elder Uhler and I got done teaching a lesson today and the sweet old lady we just got done teaching said, i am going to by you 2 some treats. And of course, Elder Uhler and I had no complaints with that because usually treats consist of chips and bread and what not. Well this little lady came walking over with her plate of food and she set it down in front of us. And as soon as she did I about threw up... What was on the plate was dugo (cooked pigs blood), tenga (pigs ear), and pigs intestines... Elder Uhler and I looked at each other with nothing but terror in our eyes. And the things about the Philippines is you cant deny food or say you don't want it because it is very rude... So the only other option was to plug the nose, close the eyes, and just chew away!!!

One cool experience I had this week, or kind of a mind opening things, is the past week I have really struggled with my new comps, just because being in a 3 some is hard. And someone usually gets left out. And I am the person, which is okay. Also my comps have very very different personalities than me so the meshing at first was difficult. But I remember saying a prayer the other day and saying, Heavenly father, let me some how find love in my heart at this moment and not yell at my comps. And as soon as those words left my mouth, the thought of, "well what are you doing to build the unity" came to my mind. And I sat there with what I know was a blank look on my face. Like one of those faces you get when you know what you have been doing is wrong and the Spirit is right. So from that moment on I tried my best to see where they were coming from, and to serve them. And it has been such a learning experience for me again to realize how serving others, helps you love them. My comps are Filipino. One is from Bacalod and the other is from Mendinow. Elder Gumban has been in the field about 20 months and my other comp is about 15 or a little more. So they are pretty established in the mission. I do have a deeper connection and love with my new comps.

Thanks for all the prayers sent my way! Have a great week.

Elder Richards

Thursday, May 4, 2017

New Area!

Hey all,

I am sorry my email is going to be a little short this week. I am literally slammed packed all day and have very limited time to email!

But just a few thoughts from my week...

-AP life, not nearly as glorious as I thought it would be. Its not even that it's super stressful, I am just so exhausted 24/7. For example, usually you are supposed to leave at 1 pm and return at 9 pm. Well I am usually out the door at 8 am and don't get back till around 10 pm. Sooooo just exhausting. 

-I have seen the Lord comfort me this week. There have been so many times this week where I have asked myself, why am I here? Why am I doing this? I don't know how much longer I can hang in there? And each time one of those statements/questions has popped into my head, a certain phrase has always gone into my head...
"I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be" (little current bush). This phrase has given me hope that this is Gods plan. He sees and knows what I am facing. And he is always shoulder to shoulder with me even in the lowest times.

-My new area is straight city. And let me say that the city is a a lot more crowded and more ghetto than my previous areas. But thats ok, because I was raised in the ghetto right, Dad? ;)

I love you all and sorry for the lack of time to write an email.


Elder Richards

Monday, April 24, 2017

Time for a wedding


So mom, this just wouldn't be real life if I didn't irritate you in little ways like giving you vague emails. But we both know I have never been good at sharing my feelings ;)

This week has been all over for me. All the way from happiness to my heart dropping to the bottom of my stomach. But its always good to start with the good stuff that happens so that is where we will begin. I had an opportunity this week to go to a wedding reception which is a little different here than back home. I guess the biggest difference is it is just so loud from all the partying that is going on. Which no complaints here, the bigger the party, the more people to OYM. Filipinos know how to cook though. It seems like the food, more like the rice is endless. It was a great time.

As for the stressful part of the week. I was called by President Bertin last night and he asked me if I would become his new AP. So that is kind of exciting but as soon as the words left his mouth, my heart dropped 5 feet. I couldn't even put words together to give an understandable response. If you want to know my emotions at the current momen I am full of feeling unqualified. I am worried no one will respect me, but that is alright. I can only do all I can and trust the Lord and Pres. Bertin. I am only a little sad to be leaving my area. Since I haven't been here too long, I haven't bonded with the ward too much. So it makes leaving a little easier. As for my new comps, they will be Elder Gumban and Elder Estoque. But more to come on them. I don't know them too well besides that they are great missionaries who know what they are doing. 

So I was able to get my drivers license last week and it was probably the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me. I always thought that I was going to have to do some tests and maybe a test drive, but no. All they did was look at my eye, make sure I had 2 feet and handed me my license.... I was at a loss for words also. But hey, watch out people of the Philippines ;)

I miss everyone back home and hope that everyone is having a more than great week. 

Namimiss kita (missing you all)
Ingat kayo (take care)


Elder Richards

Finally a picture of Elder Neilsen

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter #heisrisen

Hey All!

First, did you get my videos??? Hopefully that makes up for the past few weeks of no pictures.

Man I sure do miss spending weeks at at Mimi's house. And I thought we made a deal that you would send me some snicker doodles right? ;) And you know Kevin is clutch with the movies. Good to hear that some things never change.

As for me I am doing alright. I am still alive and kicking which is always a positive. One thing I really enjoyed this week was that I was able to go exchanges with the AP's this week. But that wasn't the cool part. The cool part was that Jordy was there and we pretty much had a sleep over at the AP's house. It was so funny because we were laughing all night and just being goof balls. I sure do love that guy. I hope that one day we can be comps. 

Outside of that it was actually a really stressful week. We had a few big things happen in our zone which caused some of the missionaries to get ET's. Or emergency transferred. So I had to deal with all the pressure that comes from that but its all okay now. Elder Nielsen and I have been doing great together. We seem to just be laughing at everything. We have found a way to find the fun and good in every little thing which is good when you do the same things everyday. 

This week we have been so busy on exchanges and running all over the mission we haven't had much time to work in our own area which is hard when you are trying to get progression. But a cool experience we had this week was we got done with a meeting around 7:30 and were thinking, should we go back to work or just go home and what not because we hadn't eaten or anything. Well we decided to go to work and as we were walking to our area I thought to myself, "father, please don't let us waste our time". And within 5 minutes of tracing we had found a family that was way receptive and so sweet to us. SO it showed me that when you do all you can do, Heavenly Father answers prayers and is wanting to help you.

Sadly I have not been able to go to the temple since the MTC but hopefully it will be soon. Fingers are crossed.

Outside of that not much happened. I miss you guys and hope you are having a great week.  

Elder Richards


video video

Monday, April 10, 2017

Watching Conference

Well... I can't believe it is already Monday. I feel like I was just at this same computer shop doing the exact same thing I am doing right now.

I guess first I will update you on the journal challenge. I do have to admit I did miss 1 day also, but I was good all the other nights. The biggest thing I realized from it is all the little blessings and things that are happening to me. In life it feels that all we look for sometimes is the big miracles the happen. The things that change lives, but as I finally took time to reexamine my day, I realized all the little things that Heavenly Father is giving me. It makes you grateful for each single day, and not just the days when miracles happen. Each day is a blessing in a different way. We just need to look at the bigger picture to understand that. 

Conference was really good. There wasn't a talk that was life changing to me but a lot of just great talks that allowed the Spirit to be present. I would say that Holland and Bednar gave some of the best talk to me. Every time they speak, especially Holland, I feel like he is right in front of my face speaking to me in person. One part that really stuck out to me was when Elder Bednar said, "Be worthy, stay worthy". The reason this hit me so deep is because there are so many little things we do in life that aren't in tune with God. And it is the little things that add up and then make it feel like there is a burden on our back that we just can't seem to bear. But the word worthy means you are clean in every aspect of your life. With worthiness comes no added weight, but more of a feeling of peace adn love that helps you stand back up. 

I was able to get your package and thank you so much. The pictures were so funny to look back on and remember all the memories. I can assure you, the Biscoff was gone with in 12 hours lol. 

My favorite fruit is mangoes for sure. 

A moment I really enjoyed this week was visiting an RC named Charity. This lady's story breaks my heart, because after 10 years of being married, adn with 2 kids, she found out that her husband had been cheating on her. She has been devastated and been moving around non stop for a few months now because in the Philippines the laws are different and the husband doesn't have to pay her money or anything. So she is literally broke and still taking care of 2 children. But as we were finally able to meet with her the other day, she said something that stuck out to me. "Pinagpapala ako ng Diyos" (God is blessing in me). And as I looked around, while sitting in a house made of scrap metal, I felt nothing but heartache and love for this woman. A woman who literally has nothing to her name, but two daughters and her faith. But to see the look of happiness in her eyes, brought me to almost tears.

I miss and love you all so much!

Elder Richards 

Monday, April 3, 2017

A whole Family to church!

This week has been pretty good. We had a family come to church this week that we are teaching but the hard part is no one else seemed to go. My goal is to get over 10 people in church, and I thought that last week was the week it was going to happen, but somethings happened and we didn't reach the goal. It is all ok, but just a little disappointing. But its time to wipe that off and get back to work.

My comp is doing great. He is actually a stud of a teacher and just a great guy. People seem to love him so it is making the work load easier and not putting so much stress on me. I would say I am still struggling with the language a little because I am speaking English so much. Thats really my biggest problem I have. 
Our teaching pool is doing great. We have a lot of receptive potential people, but then again potential is the worst word ever. We are really right now trying to get that potential in the baptismal font. 
This work is amazing. By far the hardest and most stressful thing I have ever done, but such an amazing blessing that I am thankful to be a part of. 

Who influenced me the most this week was Jacob, the brother of Nephi. Something about reading when he is preaching to the people really touched me. The part that hit me the hardest was when he was speaking of father letting their children and wives down. Something about how life is coming so fast and before I know it I will have a family of my own just hit me. 

The best thing that happened for me this week was we were finally able to get a whole family to church this week. It was the first time I have had that my whole mission. So heart touching for me.

I don't watch conference until next week. I am really looking forward too it.

Elder Nielsen and I have kicked our efforts up to 6th gear. And it is amazing the things and miracles you see when you are giving everything you can. Chicky asked me a question, and the question was how many houses did I visit this week. As I sat here pondering it, I probably visited over 200 houses this week. And that is 200 more houses that have heard the gospel. Very cool when when you think about it and even more cool when it all works out.

I love you all. I miss you like crazy!

Elder Richards

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The HEAT is on!

Hello everyone,

Well it has been another great week here in the Philippines. Just another week of working hard and sweating non stop. For everyone back home who still thinks it is pretty cold, I will switch you places ;) the heat kicks my butt at times.

Any who, Elder Neilsen and I had a baptism this week. Her name is Mary Rose, actually she is the sister of Meryl who we baptized 2 weeks ago. A cool thing about Mary Rose is we thought we were going to have to push back her baptism until April 1 because of a few things, but she literally sat Elder Nielsen and I down and begged us to be baptized last Saturday. It is so amazing to see the faith of people and the desires they have after feeling the Spirit.

One of my favorite people in my new ward is Sister Judeth. The reason she is one of my favorite is because she is one of the very few people who is not afraid to share the gospel with others. And the way she talks during lessons, its like she is a missionary herself. She has such a strong spirit to her. I have seen the joy and blessing that come from sharing the gospel at all times. She is definitely converted in the gospel. You can just feel it when you are around her.  

I am still eating lots of rice :)  For my day to day life, my breakfast comes from the tree outside our house. We just grab the fruit from it and eat that. Kinda of unsanitary.. but it's delicious. The lady below us still cooks us lunch, she is the greatest and we usually end up cooking our own dinner.

I was able to participate in a funeral for a member who passed away this week. Filippinos celebrate deaths different than in America. Basically we did a little singing and then just ate.... like ate and ate and ate. That is how Filipinos celebrate everything. From something good that happened to something bad. 

I miss you all and hope everyone has a great week. 

Inagt po kayo diyan (you guys take care over there)

Elder Richards

Fruit from the tree behind us!

Baptism for Mary Rose

Monday, March 20, 2017

8 Months down!

I can't believe it been 8 months. Were does time go ???
 Another transfer has come and gone and it looks like my comp, Elder Fackrell, is leaving me. My next comp is guess what... another American. His name is Elder Nielsen. He is the old AP so I am excited to see how hard working this guy is. I know we are going to get a lot of work done. I am going to miss the missionaries in this zone so much. I just love them so much. Like I can't put my love for these people into words. Just my heart is so full.

As for my health, I am doing better. I was bed ridden in the morning but then when it came time to work, we gave it all we had and pushed ourselves. Our investigators are doing great, we actually got my first family to church this week so I am beyond excited at the moment.

To answer your questions,
Filipinos love there Bench. I don't know if you are to familiar with that brand but it is big here.

The most inspirational person this week was Elder Uhler. He is the elder from Virginia who I get along great with. The reason why he influenced me so much is because I have seen him become converted in the gospel right before my eyes. This gospel changes people, and when you see it first hand, it makes it that much more personal.

We didn't get to do any service this week sadly besides just being nice to everyone on the street,
I miss and love ya momma. Do you have any more questions by chance??
And don't worry I will send you pictures.
Love you