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Monday, January 30, 2017

Splits with 9 Young Men

Well how is everyone doing back home? Everyone still alive with all the snow that is going on?

This week was another great week here in the Philippines. It was really just another week of work with nothing to crazy that happened. I have to laugh at Elder Tagal and I this week during our finding because we went to every single adult house this week who has a boyfriend/girlfriend and told them to invite them over so we can teach. We are doing whatever it takes to get new people. The best part is we actually had some pretty good progression from these SA's.

Yesterday Elder Tagal and I had 9 young men go on splits with us. I don't know if any of you have done that before but holy cow it was a party. Maybe not the best idea when it comes to work, but you are guaranteed a good laugh and a lot of people looking at you like "what the?????".  It was so much fun. 

I miss and love you all. Have another great week!

Elder Richards 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Splits with Elder Meyer

Hey All,

I am so pumped that the Falcons are going to the Super Bowl. 
LIKE WHAT THE HECK??? ATL representing! RISE UP!

It was great to see and go on exchanges with Jordy this week. Holy cow he is a great missionary who knows his purpose here and will do what it takes to be successful. We had some great stories but none that we are able to say over email because they may be a little inappropriate for a younger audience ;) jk

I had a great experience yesterday. I decided to fast for a few reasons and about half way through the day I was just pooped. You know when you have no energy and no desire to keep going. I was at that point and didn't even want to walk anymore. While we were at a members house, I bowed my head and said a prayer begging Heavenly Father for strength just to go on because I really didn't think I could. After that prayer from the heart, I can't tell you what happened to me, but Elder Tagal and I decided to contact a referral, and the lesson we had with her was the most powerful lesson I have had yet on my mission. It was one of the lesson that sends shivers down your spine and brings a smile to your face as you walk away. We weren't able to teach lesson 1 fully only the point on families, but at the end we asked her to give the prayer. As she offered this prayer a feeling came over me and everyone in the room, and this sweet lady began to weep and cry to our Father in Heaven. I can't exactly tell you the point of the lesson that really touched this lady, but at the end of her prayer, with wet eyes she looked at us and said "Alam ko na kung ano sinabi nyo ay totoo. Nakadrama ako ng kapayapaan habang ikaw ay nagsalita sa akin" or in English "I know that what you guys said is true. I felt a certain peace while you guys spoke to me". From this short lesson I learned 2 things. How powerful prayer is when it comes from the heart and has righteous purpose behind it and how this gospel is for each one of us and it can be felt even in the first sentence you speak.

Good thing I didn't cut any part of my body this week. I ended up not getting stitches thankfully. 

Love and miss you loads.

Elder Richards 

Pic 1 and 2: coolest kids in Hagonoy. 
The one on my left, her name is Monique. She pretty much
 is one of the coolest.
Pic 2: We decided to try and learn how 
to drive motorcycles without a wheel ;)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Can you believe it's been 6 months?

Hey Ya'll,

How is everything?? Sounds like life is still moving on for you guys. Before I say anything else I had something a little crazy happen this week that reminded me of my mom. As I was cooking lunch one day, I tried manhandling a can of food to open it... well let's just say that the can of food won and split my finger open. It was a pretty good cut and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Mom you are probably wondering how this relates to you, and no you aren't as painful to me as being cut ;) but this made me realize as I cut my finger open all the stuff I had to do in order for it to heal. All the medicine I had to take, and treatment I had to do to heal myself. And as I thought back to all my times when I was younger when I got hurt, you were always the one who took care of me. I never realized how difficult it is to take care of myself, even in the little things like this, so I can't imagine taking care of other people, especially considering how amazing you are at it. SO thank you mom for all you did for me when I was younger. I sure did take it for granted and regret that right now. 

I can't believe that it has been 6 months. It's crazy how fast it has gone and how much more there seems to be. I have mixed feelings about it all. To answer about Elder Meyer, I actually played basketball with him earlier. We talked about life and how crazy that we are actually here. We also reflected about home and how much we miss it all at times. I think we both realize how amazing our lives were back at home and then to come here and see how life is for others. Humbling. We are going on splits on Thursday so I am excited. 

I am doing really well. I feel like I experience every feeling there is each and every single day. BUT I have learned, there is only limited time in each day, so why waste it being mad or frustrated. Of course there are still moments that you will have those feelings, but in those moments you have to dig deep, take a deep breath, and just smile because we have a loving Heavenly Father who is just giving us blessings left and right. So yea, smiling, and being thankful is what helps me get through every day. 

We don't have any baptisms coming up soon but we do have a good amount of investigators. Rowena is in a struggle at the moment and not wanting to go to church. Mainly because she can't afford it and has a child that keeps her up all hours of the night. But she still needs to realize that in order to receive the beautiful blessing and opportunity to be sealed in the temple, she needs to sacrifice and go to church. That's the big word, sacrifice. It's one of the hardest things to do, but if you think about it, it's not really even a sacrifice, it's more of an investment for what we will get later after this life. She is just such a great person.

Most emails my family says "let me know if there is anything I can do for you," I guess I really don't need anything except for you all to tell every one here to accept our message. Like holy cow, I just don't get why people won't accept sometimes? You know the feeling of just wanting to drag people by the necks to church or make them listen to you. But it is alright, I am learning some very essential qualities of Christ that I want to learn. So can you work on that everyone?

My week hasn't been too crazy, I am just doing what missionaries do. Thats is spreading the gospel to all those that say "Hey Joe" haha if you don't get the joke it is because you haven't experienced life in the Philippines. Have a great week and I love you all!

Elder Richards

Me and My favorite person in the Philippines
Elder Meyer
My gouged finger.
Basketball with the district

Monday, January 9, 2017

Back to the Grind!

Hello everyone!! 

Hey Momma, First I would like to say that, really you're going to sale the Saturn? I guess Luke won't be the "coolest" kid at Bingham like his older Brother and learn how to drive a stick.  ;) lol hahaha but that is cool. 

Lets be honest mom, I know you to well (considering I am basically just a duplicate of you), I have learned a lot from you and take what you say to heart.  I remember my first weeks with both my comps and they were the hardest times for me.. but as I looked for the good in them, which there is good in everyone, it changed my outlook and relationship with them. I have come to absolutely love both my comps for different reasons. And I know that as we look for good in each other, the Lord will open our heart to them.

I can only imagine the feelings dad has had this last week, I remember how highly dad always talked about Lavell. It is sad to see him go. I am glad he got the chance to go to the funeral to say goodbye, and it sounds like ya'll got to see a lot of cool players from the past and get some closure.

How has the snow been treating everyone?? Anyone froze to death yet?? 

Well it was another great week here. Not to make anyone to jealous, but it is still flip flop weather here... 

For some reason we just can not figure everything out with Rowena to get her baptism done before I have the chance to be transferred. It seems like every-time we get so close, another problem occurs. My fingers are crossed that everything will work out, but I will be slightly heart broken if I am not able to see her get baptized. 

I finally ate balut for the first time this week. (If you don't know what it is, definitely look it up) I overcame my chickenness and stepped up to the plate and did it. It wasn't half bad... I slightly wanted to punch myself in the face after buuutttt I am still alive. If you want to know what it tastes like, imagine a 3 day old, luke warm boiled egg that stares back at you as you eat it and is crunchy.

A cool experience I had this week was after the disaster of last week with no investigators at church, this week we focused on LA's. Elder Tagal and I had 8 LA families show up to church. It was pretty much one of the coolest things to look back at the doors and see a family walk through together I can't quite say the word but it was incredible.
As I was reading this week I came across a quote that said "You can't have faith in someone you don't know". Come to know our Savior!

I hope everyone has a great week!

Love you all!

Elder Richards 

BTW I saw Jordy on Tuesday and that was great. I just really enjoy talking with him and getting caught up on life. We haven't gone on splits or anything but hopefully soon.

My first Balut. Yum! 

Rica Joy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year!

I am happy to hear that you guys had a good week, even with no one really home. Still some quiet time is nice at times, but not all the time as you know. Good thing Lukey is back in a few hours, I am sure he will add some noise. Dad says Rocky got sick, good thing he isn't dead yet. When do you guys head back to school?

This week for me has been pretty rough. Nothing is worse than standing at the doors of the chapel with such high expectations, waiting for your investigators to just find out that no one shows up. I really have never been a failure in my life, but when your branch President and members look at you and ask where you investigators are and you have to loo at them in the eyes and say no one showed up. Nothing makes you feel more like a failure than that. This week we also had the least amount of lessons of my mission, seems like everywhere we went no one was there, or they were busy and didn't want to hear our message. It has been pretty rough going down the same streets everyday, and seeing the same things, and getting no progress anywhere. For how much I love Hagonoy, I wish there was a fast forward button to next transfer. So yea basically just another day as being a missionary, feeling like a failure every other day, then tomorrow always comes and gives you another opportunity to do something better. 

I really don't have much great things to say, and as they always say, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. 

For New Years, we went to Genice's and had a BBQ. The food was actually pretty good, but nothing like a good South BBQ like in Georgia. Sadly we had curfew at 6:00 so basically all we did was sleep. I think this is the first year I haven't experienced the count down or the party of New Years. It can be rough at times being a missionary but oh well... Happy New Year.

I still haven't seen Jordy yet but that is alright, it will come soon enough. It is kind of funny that we have called each other every night trying to find an excuse about our work in the field just so we could talk. haha

If you have any other questions let me know and I would be happy to answer them.

Love and miss ya.

Elder Richards 

A good ole' Filipino BBQ

Haven't forgotten my roots and what my momma taught me. 

Christmas in the Philippines

Mommacita it was so nice being able to talk to you guys. I truly do miss you guys so much. I already wrote President Bertin saying that we should be able to Face Time once a week ;) haha I am looking forward to Mother's Day, now that is for sure. 

Merry Christmas sa inyo lahat!!!

Let me first say that Christmas away from family just ain't the same... 
But for Christmas this year, Elder Tagal and I instead of doing the usual thing of going to member's houses and eating al their food, we decided we would serve on Christmas day. With our Branch President, we cooked food and then took it and gave it out to all the homeless people on the streets. It was such a great experience. In 18 years of Christmas's I finally felt the true meaning of Christmas. The feelings may have been different than the ones I had as a kid, but I do know I was filled with love. The look in these families eyes as I handed them food was priceless. 

I had quite the adventure as I was trying to Skype with  my family on Christmas Day. There was a major typhoon here going on, so as I was on my way to the computer shop, a blackout hit all the sudden and I thought to myself, this would happen. So in a scurry I started booking it to another computer shop, and of course it starts pouring cats and dogs. So I finally took a tricycle (not like in the U.S.) to a members house (Genice's) just drenched head to toe. But to make this story good, I was finally able to Facetime (the Skype wouldn't work) with my family. The funny thing about talking was since I was at a members house and they have kids they spent as much time saying hi to my family as I did. :) I'm just glad that in the end it was able to work out.
I miss you all and hope everyone has a great 2017! Love ya

Love, Elder Richards

And once again thank you so much for the gifts. I wish you could see Elder Tagal and I balling it up in our apartment! You are to thoughtful and sweet! (And good thinking on getting the rim that allows you to be able to dunk, you are clutch mom) But I can't lie, the food you sent for us to make was delicious but I got a little homesick while cooking it. The smell brings back memories of being at the house lol. ;)

Christmas with Members
Waiting to open gifts

Rocking the matching Jammies like a boss!
We love to be twins!