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Monday, September 4, 2017

Transfer Day


Well I just got done with an exit day, and I can't lie, it makes me sad and happy all at the same time. Sad to see all my great buddies going home and feeling like time is flying and my time here will be done before I know it, but at the same time happiness knowing that I will be seeing you pretty dang soon. 

I still am in disbelief that Jeremey has a kid. Like when did he decide to grow up?? I still think in my mind I am going to see him play at high school with mimi! The baby is adorable though, and I figure the baby will be taller than me by the time i get back. lol And tell mimi I love her and am in dying need for some snickerdoodles ;)

Thats good to hear Carl sent some pics. He is a great guy. Sure do love him. We get along so well!

The mission is going great at the moment. The best thing this week was having 3 baptisms. Mary Grace, Nily, and Leonisa. These are 3 of my favorite people. The moment that really touched me was when sister Leonisa and I were standing outside, waiting to get into the font, then she looked at me with just tear filled eyes and said "thank you for everything". The reason this hit me so much is becasue before, I never had really saw much emotion out of Leonisa. She is more of a tougher type who doesn't like to show much emotion. But in that moment as she thanked me, I felt the Spirit of the Lord as strong as I may have ever felt it. It reassured me that this is His work. And that he will continue to soften the hearts of the people and change them. I honestly just can't put into words the love and the feelings I have as I do this work. It honestly is one of a kind.

The hardest part of the week was figuring out transfers. President Hughes has really given us APs a lot of responsibility which is great, but at the same time is very stressful. So this past week has been nothing but late nights full of stress about transfers. But things I feel like are okay and figured out now. 

Thanks for all the love and support.

Elder Richards

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sorry so short


Real quick, I was able to go back to Hagonoy this week and see some of my favorite people. I love that place. I talked to Rhose and her family. It was nice to check in on them. I will write more next week, it has been a crazy week with missionaries going home.

love you all,

Elder Richards

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I love to see the Temple

First of all, hot darn that poor car of mine.. I mean yours ;) I can feel for that teenager, its always the hardest conversation to have saying you wrecked the car. At least I never wrecked your car ;) LOL

I honestly can't believe that Joey is already home from his mission. I still remember him giving me drives to school and him giving his Farewell talk. Just reminds me how fast time does go. 

As for me right now I am doing alright. I still do really enjoy being with me comp. He sure has took a big burden off my shoulders. President Hughes is having me and my comp basically go around the mission each day and work with other missionaries to push them. So I don't spend to much time in my own area. I am pretty much on the run 24/7 going places to work with others.

The best thing about the week I would have to say would be being with Elder Uhler. Me and that guy have really just hit it off and I just freaking love him. I was able to go down to the temple with him and Jord today and it just has been so refreshing and much needed. Honestly the comfort and peace at the temple is real.
The hardest thing this week would have to be, eating consistently. I am getting so out of shape and it is really killing me. I just don't know what to do to control my eating. I still have the appetite of what I used to have but I don't do nearly as much working out. So any advice in that category? I know you been doing so well so if you don't mind sharing the secret ;)

And if you are sending a package, I would love some pills that would give me a six pack ;) jk

Love and miss you all!

Elder Richards

Monday, August 7, 2017

Great, wonderful, fantastic week!

Hey everyone,

Well it has been such a great week this past week. I got a new Comp and he is awesome! I can't lie, honestly the biggest blessing that has happened to me. His name is Elder Gurtiza. He is from Baguio and he is such a good guy and I honestly just enjoy being around him so much. He was a tender mercy given to me. 

I know you love experiences and stories..

I have realized in the past week how powerful the Spirit is and how it knows exactly where you need to be in the exact moment. I had an experience this past Saturday that reemphasized this to me. I received a prompting to go to an investigator of ours at 8:45 in the morning which is very unusual. But I decided to not think twice and just go. And everything that happened after that decision was incredible. We showed up to the house, the sister was in the front just a wreck. Crying to the point where her eyes where so swollen she couldn't open them. We were in complete shock and didn't know what quite to do at the moment but I asked if we could come in to help out. As we entered the house, it was full of trash just thrown every which way. And as soon as we sat down this sweet lady just opened up to us. She was told about all the heart aches and agony she was having and how no one was there for her. After listening to what was going on we opened up and told the story of Joseph Smith in section 121 of D&C. And in the matter of the hour and a half we were there and after sharing our message, we went from seeing a girl that looked like she had been through hell and back, to seeing a girl smiling, thanking the Lord, and telling herself that she can do it. And this all came from me following a simple prompting.

Love you all,

Elder Richards 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Just another week

Hey y'all!

I can't believe that Luke is growing up so much. Like who would have ever thought that Luke would be getting a job ;) like that little boy with snot always in his nose is finally growing up. I miss him so much.

Where did summer go is the question? It seems like every year summer goes by faster and faster... Sometimes I wish there was a pause button but other times I am grateful that time does fly..

Tell Paula and them that I miss them and I am definitely taking Paula up on that meat loaf. I could really use some good home coking right now. Canned foods get old after a while. 

To answer your questions..

I saw Cortlan (his real name is Carl) yesterday. We worked together for a few hours and had a great conversation. He has had a really tough past few weeks, as have I the last few weeks, so it was nice to be able to talk with someone else and kind of vent in a sense. It was really good to see him though.

I absolutely LOVE the senior couples. THey are pretty much my saving grace while I have been here in the office. They are always spoiling me and just giving me motherly and fatherly advice as if I were their own children.  will do my best to do everything I can for them!

For this past week, I can't say to much has happened. Its just been busy busy busy. I already told you how I talked to my MP about the companion. Sooo I don't know what will happen next. I'll keep you updated.

Love and miss you loads.

Elder Richards

Monday, July 24, 2017

Faith beyond belief!


As things for in the field. Things are going great. We had 3 baptisms last Saturday which was amazing. It was the Merlan family. Honestly as they were being baptized and confirmed I gained just so much love for them. Like I just wanted to go up there and squeeze each of them so gosh darn tight!!! And the spirit I felt at their baptism was undeniable. They truly are loved by God and they truly loved God themselves.
Something funny is last night we had a training for the new trainers, and Elder Meyer was called as a trainer. Well after the meeting President Hughes gave us some money to go get some food. So we went out to eat and Elder Meyer and I were busting up laughing the whole time. I really enjoy being around him. I'm not sure others like being around us because we are so loud and laughing 24/7, but I really enjoy it. 

I have realized is how much the Lords hand has been in my life, especially in my mission field. I have noticed this especially on my exchanges that I go on with other missionaries. I say this because I was called as an AP young in the mission and I have the opportunity to go on exchanges with much more mature and older missionaries than me often, and they always are expected to learn from me. Well I am not that great in Tagalog, I lack as a teacher, and am overall just not that fantastic of a missionary. But each time I have gone on exchanges, Heavenly Father has filled in all my weaknesses and has helped me help others and have such successful days. You may be thinking why this is so important to me, the reason why is because the last thing I wanted as an AP was for the other missionaries to not take me seriously and the only way through that is by being and living and sharing the message the best way possible. And Heavenly Father has helped me do that during these times.

Love and miss you!!!!!
Elder Richards 

Monday, July 17, 2017



Holy cow we made it through the first year! I am proud of us both, mom! :)  The great thing about that is they always say that the second year goes by even faster. Its crazy to think about the trials and challenges we are put through but also the help and comfort that we are given in those times. I am sure we can both say that this past year has brought a lot of growth for each one of us. 

My favorite thing about the new MP is how enthusiastic he is about the work. And his enthusiasm is almost contagious. When ever he speaks I just want to get out there and get to work.

Funny experience, well I don't know if it is really haha funny but I just have to laugh now looking back on it. Well on Saturday night we ran out of water in our house. (Here in the Philippines you have to buy jugs of water, you can't drink from the tap because it isn't purified). Well we got home kind of late on Saturday and noticed that all the water was gone, and it was to late to go and buy any. So the next day on Sunday, me and my comp looked like fish out of water because we were so gosh darn thirsty. So after church we decided to go home and try and figure something out. Well in our brilliance we decided to boil water from the tap so it kills all the bad germs and then drink it. And I realized something as I was sitting there drinking boiling hot water, that when dire circumstances happen, dire efforts are needed. But don't worry everything is alright now. We survived and got some water now so everything is alright. 

As for a spiritual, I would probably have to say sis Merlan who is getting baptized next week. During her interview this past week she confessed to having an abortion. We were heart broken to hear this because Sis Merlan is such a good person. Well because abortion is very serious she had to be interviewed by President. After the interview, Sis Merlan walked out with tears of gratitude in her eyes and says, I feel like the weight has just been taken off of me. This touched me because I had seen the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ change the life and feelings of this sweet lady. 

1 year down and 1 year left. 

Love and miss you all!

Elder Richards 

Monday, July 10, 2017

A new Mission President

Hey All,

I am so glad you got to go the the homecoming of the MP, I sure do love the Bertins. Pres Bertin is a man of very few words but does have a strong spirit. Sis Bertin on the other hand is one of my favorite people ever. She can just make you feel like a million bucks all the time. She sure was a life saver in my mission and especially the past few transfers. I am glad you were able to find their chapel because I totally spaced on getting their ward name for y'all. 

I can't believe the 4th has come and past. That is my last big memory when I was back home. What a good time we had, and what a way to send me off. And the fire works are always the best part of it all. 

The things with the MP right now are great. We sure are dang busy. Seems like everyday we have something to do to help him out and not allow this mission to go up in flames. It's hard though because we haven't been able to proselyte much. So its a feeling of, man we really aren't doing anything but at the same time we are so busy.

I actually saw Jordy on Monday but I was so sick that I could barely speak so I wasn't able to talk to him much. 
Best thing about  my week this week was I had subway for the first time in like for ever. And no matter what subway you go to, it is delicious. I sure was homesick for the 20 minutes I was there.  But on a more spiritual note, the best part was the Merlan family. Its a family of 4 that are going to be baptized next saturday. The best part is they had the clicking part this week during one of our lessons and talk about one of the coolest things to see with the physical eye. The look in there eye when the click happens and you can tell that they finally get that everything we are saying is all true. 

My favorite thing to eat right now is champorado (chocolate rice!!!)

I sure do love and miss everyone. The crazy things I keep telling myself is that this is my last july 10 and tomorrow will be my last july 11 and so on and so forth. Just crazy how time goes. I will be home before we both know it.

Thanks for all the prayers.


Elder Richards

First Flat Tire

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 in personality. Pres Bertin was soft spoken and so kind and filled with the spirit. The new MP is a business man and you can tell in the way he talks and interacts with people that he is a sales guy. Super funny and outgoing. 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