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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