Sunday, March 13, 2016

God's love will never cease

Good morning everyone!!! 

I can't believe another week has passed! How is it March?!?!? This week I hit my 18 month mark and I don't know how it's here already... 

We taught Trinity the plan of salvation this week! She's doing really well, she continues to read the Book of Mormon and her prayers are so sincere. She thanked Heavenly Father that we taught her how to return to live with Him. I love teaching youth! They are so sweet. 

We got to go do baptisms for the dead with Amelia on Saturday. It was such an incredible experience. She loved it and felt the Spirit so strongly! 

This week we visited someone who is going through a very difficult family situation and she doesn't think that God loves her because He is allowing it to happen. It makes me so sad to see people who lose faith in God when they experience trials. I'm so grateful to know that God allows trials to come into our lives to help us learn and grow and come closer to Him! I'm so glad I can testify of that and testify that the Savior will strengthen us to bear our trials. 

I bore my testimony for the last time in all our wards yesterday.... It was so hard. During the first one I just sobbed. I've never cried at the pulpit on my mission, until yesterday. It just hit me. Amelia got up and bore her testimony. It was so sweet. She said she was so grateful that because of her sisters she was there and she got to go to the temple. One of my other converts bore her testimony too and it was such a hard but special day. 

It's so hard to have to start saying goodbye! There just isn't time to see all the members I want to! The work must go on!

Have a great week! Remember that God loves you!

-Sister Richards

Monday, February 29, 2016


Hey everybody! 

This week was super great but I don't have much time since we had such a great preparation day! We went hiking in this really cool canyon! But here's just a little bit of what happened:

Trinity is doing really well. She's reading the Book of Mormon and has accepted a baptismal date! We are going to teach her again tonight. She really is a valiant spirit. Her mom is less active and none of her sisters are interested but she really wants to be baptized! We just need to figure out how we can help her attend church. She really wants to go with her mom and her mom has been sick a lot and working on Sundays.

We had really good lessons with Mel and Heather and our other investigators! 
The Furbushs got their temple recommends and yesterday Chris received the Aaronic priesthood! :) 
Ryland is also doing well. 
We had a potential investigator that the Craner family is fellowshipping join us for all of our meetings yesterday! That was really awesome. Another less active that hasn't come to church since she's moved her came yesterday!
There was this girl that Sister Call and I were working with that moved to the valley and I saw her car at her car at her old house so we stopped by and she was there. When she opened the door she was so shocked to see me STILL here. hahah She said "I've been gone for 7 months! What are you still doing here?!" It was so awesome. Now Sister Jones and her next companion will be able to continue to help her out!

The word is starting to spread across town that I'm going home- not many people knew- which was a good thing! But they are all so sad. The Furbushs said they're going to chain me up so I can't leave. I don't know how I'm going to say goodbye to everyone here. They're my family! It's going to break my heart. 

This transfer I've had a lot of time to reflect and I'm actually required with the church's new My Plan program to set goals for when I go home. This quote I found today sums up my experience: "When we assist Jesus Christ in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process." -Elder Sam Wong I'm so grateful for my mission and how it's "saved" or converted me.

Love you all! Have a great week :)

-Sister Richards

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

pure joy :)

This week was so fantastic; I don't even know how to adequately express myself and share everything! 

We got a new investigator! Her name is Trinity and she's another unbaptized youth. Taylor is just a gold mine for them and I LOVE teaching kids :) We taught her the Restoration and she said the closing prayer. I was on exchanges when Sister Jones taught her again but she read the material we left for her and has been talking to her mom about baptism!

We also had a great contact with a family of another faith this week, they were one of the member referrals we received and they just moved here a few months ago. They are strong followers of Christ, they study the Bible and they meet in other follower's homes. It was really quite interesting to talk to them! We testified of the Restoration and eternal families and they were about to send us off when I pulled out the Book of Mormon. I asked if they believed God would reveal His word to people in another continent and they said yes. We were able to share some passages about the Savior from the Book of Mormon with them and read Moroni's promise. We invited them to study it and they were interested and committed to! Sadly, we couldn't get a return appt since they were going out of town but there is potential! I know that The Book of Mormon has power, it is unique to our faith and is the witness that our message is true! 

We had exchanges this week and I went to Eagar with Sister Ballew. It was a good day! We were able to teach lots of lessons!
We had zone conference this week and it was so good and so inspired. I loved the trainings that were given. We had the opportunity to extend our own commitments to ourselves as the Spirit prompted had prompted us during the training and it was such a powerful meeting! It was all about change and I'm excited to work on my goals this week.

Our baptisms went so well! Ryland's was really good. The Furbushs was practically perfect! If only the font hadn't be drained right before. I felt bad the water wasn't too warm. Sister Jones and I thought we were doing so well! We had told them not to pull the plug after Ryland's but it all worked out. The ward support was incredible and the Spirit was felt so strongly. I couldn't be happier to have seen the Furbushs take this step closer to Heavenly Father. It was such an amazing experience. I couldn't be filled with more joy. Their confirmations went well yesterday and we got Chris a white shirt just in time for church :) This is only their first step though! This week they are going to meet with Bishop to get temple recommends and for Chris to receive to the Aaronic Priesthood.

I am so grateful I was able to join the missionary choir. After church yesterday we drove down to Mesa and had the missionary musical fireside "Seek This Jesus". It was such a powerful and spiritual experience!  I loved testifying of Christ through song. As a choir we sang This is the Christ and I Believe in Christ. Some other faiths joined us for the fireside and shared their testimonies through music too. It was so amazing! 

This week was definitely one of the best of my whole mission! I'm so thankful for the opportunities this week that I had to share my testimony and for the wonderful experiences we had and I know that there are more to come! I hope you all have a great week :)

Sister Richards


these sisters served or are serving in the Mesa YSA and this is one of our friends from the ward!
me and Sister Ylisaari!
On the way back up to the mountains today we had 12 missionaries in the 12 passenger van. It was tight! FYI: In this picture the car was stopped and we were getting gas :)
this sunrise was GORGEOUS! The sky was on fire :)

It was so good to see Sister Thumstedter! 
The Furbushs with all their friends in the ward and missionaries, minus Sister Ylisaari :(
After their confirmation! :)
some missionary friends at the musical fireside!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Good Morning!

It's a beautiful morning here in Scottsdale. I'm sitting on the back porch right now at the mission home just typing away my emails on my iPad, it's so slow but what can I do? The sunshine is so nice and it's so warm already this morning! I think I need to move to the shade. I'm in the valley because Sister Jones and I are participating in the missionary choir that will be performing at a musical fireside next Sunday. We came down the mountain with some other missionaries yesterday and had choir practice last night. We arrived in Mesa very early and didn't know what to do. One of the sisters that came down is my "granddaughter" she was trained by Sister Pazmino and she and I were dying to go visit people and president said we could. So we went to the YSA Ward just as they were getting out of church and got to see people. It was so fun and good to see old friends and bishopric. They were all so shocked to see me, it was great ☺

This past week was so incredible. We have had some really good lessons and we have been so busy because we are planning TWO BAPTISMS! Ryland and the Furbush family will be getting baptized this upcoming Saturday 😃
Words can't describe how excited, happy, and blessed I feel. My mission dream was to find a family and we did and I've taught them from the beginning, and this weekend they're going to enter the waters of baptism. They are so excited! It has been such a blessing to watch them grow in the gospel. Their progress in these last few months has been incredible. They have overcome so many trials and just keep pushing forward. I know that the adversary has really tried to halt their progress and they haven't let him. 
This is the first baptism this Ward has had in quite a few years and the members are being so supportive and willing to help! It's just so wonderful to see.

Like Alma and the other missionaries this is our prayer: 
Alma 31: 
34 O Lord, wilt thou grant unto us that we may have success in bringing them again unto thee in Christ.
35 Behold, O Lord, their souls are precious, and many of them are our brethren; therefore, give unto us, O Lord, power and wisdom that we may bring these, our brethren, again unto thee.

I hope in the next few weeks we can continue to find people to bring to Christ. I know we are bringing them again to the Lord. Like President Boyd K. Packer said, “It is important for a … missionary … to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them”." I know that we are not teaching anything new to these sons and daughters of God but connecting them to what they already knew! 

I am loving every minute of being a missionary. I know that I'm helping people remember why they chose to come to earth and what their purpose is here. I know that living the gospel, receiving the necessary ordinances and keeping those covenants will take us back to living with our Heavenly Father. 

I know the church is true! I hope this week is slower than last! Love you all!
-Sister Richards😊

Us Taylor sisters in our Valentine's Day Sunday best 😊❤️💗

My Mesa friends!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

finding, finding, finding!

Good morning everyone!

The edge of our area= wide open spaces

Anthony's baptism

 I hope that you guys are all doing well. We had such a great week! It was soooo cold the first few days of the week with a high of like 30 degrees with a biting cold wind but we got through it. This week has expected temperatures of 50-65 degrees. I don't know what is up with the weather- one week snow, the next sunny, then freezing, and then warm again. Everyone has been so sick around here, I think the constantly changing weather doesn't help!

So this week Sister Jones and I went down a few streets in one of our wards and we stopped by and visited all the members- most of them are older and at home during the day, score for us! We asked the members who their neighbors are and who they know that we could share the message of the restoration with, who they know that just recently moved in and we got 6 member referrals! That's huge for us! We contacted most of them and found a few potentials. One of them was a part-member family that is interested and willing to meet with us!

We had some really good lessons with our investigators this week. We had almost all of our investigators at church yesterday which was awesome! One of our potential investigators came too!

Yesterday we had such great fast and testimony meetings. It was really cool how each ward had a theme to the meeting, one was personal revelation, another the Savior. The Spirit was felt so strongly.  I am so grateful for the testimony that I have. I know it has been strengthened so much on my mission! I love being able to share the gospel and help others gain the same knowledge that I have come to know and that has blessed my life so much!

Love you all! Hope you take an opportunity to share your testimony this week :)

-Sister Richards

Monday, February 1, 2016

This is it, my last transfer!

Well as I told y'all last week- I am staying in Taylor to finish my mission. Sister Ylisaari got transferred and my new companion is Sister Jones from Grants Pass, Oregon! She has been out a few transfers and came from Scottsdale where it was 70+ degrees to up here where it's windy and snowing, and that's not the only major difference! This small town is a lot different than Scottsdale where she saw mansions and nice cars every day. She's a great missionary though and we're working well together and seeing success! Everyone here has a hard time believing that I am still here and they wonder what it is that I keep doing with all of my companions. I keep getting asked "how long have you been here?!" and well it's been over 8 months and by the time I'm done it'll be almost 10. Many have said "you must still have work to do here" and I 100% agree and am excited to work hard with Sister Jones my last seven weeks.

Baptism news: One of the families we have been working with that recently has started coming back to church will be baptizing their son Anthony this weekend! We're so excited for them. 
We have a 9 year old investigator, Ryland, whose family isn't active and we have been teaching him and seeing lots of growth and progress in him and his family and we set a date for him to be baptized the 20th of this month. 
The Furbushs are very excited for their baptism. Jenny hasn't been doing very well though and is afraid she might be back on dialysis which will cause her to have a port put back in which can't get wet... so we're hoping she doesn't have to do dialysis again! :/

This week we taught the Furbushs about missionary work. Amelia's young women's activity this week was also on missionary work and we and some returned missionaries were asked to help out with the activity. The young women were all given a mission call to serve right here in Taylor. It was a pretty neat activity. Amelia hung hers up at home. We discussed with the Furbushs how they can do missionary work and they plan on inviting their family and friends to their baptism. Amelia has already invited a few friends. Chris' family is still meeting with the Elders in Snowflake and Chris has been doing what he can to explain the gospel to his brother. Jenny is still sending materials to her friend in New York and talking to her on the phone about what she's been learning with us. It's just been so neat to see. We can see their conversion deepening as they desire to share the gospel with others!

So Sister Jones arrived in Taylor Friday night and we went straight to dinner and then had a lesson with Ryland and after his lesson it was really tempting to just head home a little early and get settled but I felt we needed to go see this inactive family we've been trying to make progress with for quite a while. The mom hasn't been to church in years and the daughter is 8 years old and hasn't been baptized yet. We were able to contact the mom's fiance who is also an inactive member and it turns out that he had a really rough day, he found out a family member passed and the start of this new year has been trial after trial for him. We were able to share a thought, our testimonies and a prayer with him and he was so appreciative of our visit. I'm so grateful that I listened to the prompting for us to visit them that night. He told us they've been thinking about coming to church and just thinking about it is a miracle for this family. He invited us to come backtonight to share a lesson and in the past we've never had success with the mom keeping appts but I hope now that Marcus is there and his heart is really softened right now that we'll be able to see them and bring them back to church and help the daughter get baptized. 

The biggest miracle of the week though was that our investigator Heather came to church for the first time! She's really shy and we've invited her a lot but yesterday she finally came. It was a huge step for her! :)

Things are going really well in the area and I hope we can work hard and see lots of success. I have faith that we will! I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Richards

So a wonderful Sister from Taylor owns Wild and Free Photography. She did a photo shoot with Sis RIchards and Sis Ylisaari. What great treat to get these is my email.