Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year

Hello everyone! 

We had such a wonderful week and such a great Christmas! It was so good to see and talk to my family! My favorite thing that we did was go Christmas caroling with our zone to the people that we are working with. It was so fun and everyone loved it and us even though we're not anything like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

One of our few progressing investigators dropped us this week- doesn't want to meet with us anymore, which was super sad but I have faith that we will find new people who are prepared to receive the restored gospel! 

We knocked over 100 doors this week tracting and found quite a few potentials! But they're all for other wards and other missionaries. We found this man named Chris and his girlfriend/wife Kim. They have a really interesting story as they just moved here from Maryland and have next to nothing but they seem really prepared. We were able to teach them about the Book of Mormon and they committed to read it and pray and come to church! It was so neat! I really hope the Elders can continue to help them progress. 

I'm excited for this new year and all that it will bring! 

Sister Richards

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!

"Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. Without Christ, there can be no fulness of joy. Without His birth and His Atonement, we would have no Intercessor, no Advocate with the Father, and no Mediator who makes it possible for us to return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father and live together as eternal families."
-Bishop Gary E Stevenson, The Reality of Christmas

I love the Christmas season and I'm so grateful to be testifying of Jesus Christ and sharing His gospel while the world celebrates His birth. He is our Savior and Redeemer and because of Him the plan of happiness is possible! 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! 

With love, 
Sister Richards

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Still 60 degrees here in Mesa..

These past few days have been crazy!

We were without our car for a few days so we had to walk a lot and got rides from people and our area is pretty big. I sure appreciate having my car now after going without it. Sister Lyons has also been sick since she arrived in the field and seems to be getting worse rather than getting better. I hope she can get feeling better soon so we can start working hard! 

Our new ward is wonderful. They welcomed me by having me speak in Sacrament meeting yesterday. They're really great and seem to be very missionary minded. Everyone is so shocked to find out that we're both "greenies" and that we have less than 4 months of experience between the both of us but they're really supportive and I'm excited to serve in a family ward! With babies screaming and all Sister Lyons and I both agreed it feels like home. 

Without our car and with Sister Lyons being sick it was hard to have a productive week but we still had some really good lessons. Nathan, one of our YSA investigators has been keeping his commitments to read and pray and he commited to be baptized. He also said he would come to church- and he did! Regardless of the talks in Sacrament meeting about preparing for Eternal marriage (typical YSA...) he said that he wants to come again next week! :) I am super excited to continue to teach him. At our first lesson I was skeptical if he would progress but he has soo much! He is really starting to see a difference in his life as he has started to pray and read the scriptures. 

We had a few lessons with our investigators in the Riverview ward. Neither one of them came to church though.. which was a bummer.
We're really hoping that as sisters we can get in and work with the sisters in the ward that the elders couldn't. 

We're still having lots of success right now with the He is the Gift initiative. I hope you're all celebrating Christ this Chrismas season. He is the gift!

I love you all! 

Sister Richards

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This week I ate Cactus!

and guess what? It's actually pretty good. It's put in pico de gallo and I loved it! 

This past week was great! We found a FAMILY while tracting. They aren't ours to teach but they have a daughter that's YSA and we started teaching her. Our Zone has seen many miracles as we've been tracting and sharing messages about Jesus Christ. So many hearts are softened for the Gospel during the Christmas season.

Tania's baptism was soo good! The spirit was so strong during the baptismal service. She was so excited and so ready to be baptized. Her brother was able to do it and I am so grateful I was able to be there for her! 

Transfer news: Sister Andrus has gone up to the mountains! She'll be serving in Show Low and then going home in February! I am staying here in Mesa and continuing to serve in the YSA ward and will now be covering the Riverview ward as well. My companion is Sister Lyons. She is a brand new missionary from Mississippi! She's really great! I'm excited to see what this next transfer with her brings! 

I hope you all are having a wonderful Holiday season and are spreading the Christmas message! 


Sister Richards

Pictures- Sister Lyons, me and Sister Andrus and the family that feeds us the delicious Mexican food, including the cactus! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's December!

Family and friends-

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My companion and I sure did!

This week we will have a baptism for one of our new investigator's. Her name is Tania and she has been taught by missionaries for years. Her family has all recently joined the church and now she is ready! She's so great and we're really excited!

We have another new investigator named Nathan who isn't too sure about religion but we've taught him how to pray and he's had some incredible experiences and has felt a huge difference in his life as he's started praying! We have only taught him a few lessons in a few weeks because he wants to take things slow but he has great potential!

We have seen some tender mercies as we've been tracting! We have been able to find many potential investigators and I've been loving the opportunity to testify of Christ and share the He is the Gift passalong card. Many people's hearts are softened and are more open to hear our message this time of year and that is why we have the He is the Gift initiative! If you don't know what it is check out Christmas.mormon.org and look in your December Ensign!

On Black Friday my zone went to the Riverview shopping mall to advertise with posters the He is the Gift initiative while everyone was driving by and shopping! We had lots of success and the Spanish Elders got a new potential investigator because of it! We had signs for people to honk and everyone was honking at us and waving and taking pictures. It was really fun!

I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to share my testimony of Jesus Christ this Christmas season. I know that He is the greatest gift. I'm so thankful for Him and that I can be a disciple of Him in sharing His Gospel!

Have a great week! Next week is transfers! I'll email on Wednesday!

Love you all!

Sister Richards

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mykaela didn't have enough time this week to write a group email. But a good friend of hers from the Young Single Adult Ward that she serves in sent me some great pictures of her. I'm so grateful for the great people in Mesa that feed her and watch over her, and for the wonderful friends that she has made there.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hello Everybody!

Hello everybody!

It's crazy to hear about all the snow and how cold it is at home when it's 75 degrees here. It doesn't even feel like November. I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.

This week was really good. Our mission tour with Elder Lawrence was really really good. The mission has some new expectations and rules that are going to help us create a better mission culture! We're always striving to be more obedient and focused missionaries! 

This week we found out that Benjamin moved to Milwaukee which is a major bummer. I hope we helped plant a seed and that we can get his new address to send missionaries to him there! We have 2 new investigators that are pretty solid that we hope we can help start progressing! 

We were able to do a lot of service this week. Service is such a great opportunity to soften hearts and help people be open to our message! 

We were able to watch the Phoenix Temple Cultural Celebration and the Dedication. President Monson and President Uchtdorf came. Watching the youth made me think of the incredible experience that I had in the Boise temple celebration. It's so exciting to have another temple here in this area! 

During this holiday season I hope we all remember how much we have to be grateful for and reach out to those in need. 

With love,

Sister Richards

We love our Church! 

​I saw Elder Clegg at the Mesa temple Visitor's Center!!!

there's dutch in AZ!!!! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Crazy in Scottsdale!

​Hello family and friends,
This past week was crazy and pretty hard and disappointing. First off- I had four 24 hour exchanges in seven days where I was with Sister Thomas while our companions evaluated and trained the other sisters. This made for interesting days because she doesn't know her area very well since she just got there and in my huge area we didn't have the car so we walked and were bums looking for rides.
The awesome potential, Benjamin, that I wrote about last week hasn't been home, and hasn't returned our responded to any of our calls or texts. I don't know what his situation is but hopefully we can teach him sometime. Another one of our investigators moved and he doesn't have a phone so we can't contact him and don't know where he is so he's basically dropped. Our investigator teaching pool is depleted. It's time to involve the members and do some serious finding! Young single adults are so unpredictable and unstable. They move around a lot and many don't have phones so it makes things interesting and more difficult.
Our success this week was in less actives. We had 3 come to church this week! Two of them came for the first time in a long time. One of them we are helping to overcome addictions and another we did some service for and have been teaching the lessons as practice.
Some other fun things that happened this week:
I made and baked an apple pie from scratch at a Relief Society Activity
I planted a garden
We had two meals paid for by some very kind members when we were out to eat
Some upcoming things:
Tomorrow Elder Lawrence is coming to give us some training
This coming Sunday is the Phoenix Temple Dedication! 

I'm so grateful to be a missionary! I know the message that I share is true! Thank you all so much for the love, support and encouragement.
Have a great week!
Sister Richards

Sister Thomas and I on exchanges!

​my friend Jenny who was my next door neighbor at BYU :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Jabari is a missionary too!

Hey everybody!
Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween! The missionaries here all had an awesome evening! We were busy in the temple all evening. I think that going to the temple on Halloween is a really good tradition! It's much better than just staying inside.
On Thursday we were finally able to meet up with a potential investigator named Benjamin. We found him when we were tracting in our assigned complex. It was quite the miracle to find a YSA potential while tracting! We met him at the church for a tour and our plan was to teach about the Book of Mormon and prayer. He was really surprised by the differences in our church compared to others. He was looking for crosses and stained glass.. He has a Catholic background, he's from Chicago and has basically no knowledge of the church other than many of the typical misconceptions. We had invited to him to come to the Visitor's Center the night before with some other people we're working with to watch a movie and he thought we were going to brainwash him like some missionaries were doing on the Simpsons or something. It was pretty funny. His interest was sparked in Mormons because of the basketball player JABARI PARKER, he's a big fan of his. This had me ecstatic! He said "I didn't know Mormons could be black". Everyone has to know how cool of an experience this was for me. He asked so many really good questions. He even asked how he could join, if there would be a church if he happens to move, he asked about missions and if he would have to serve one. We were able to clear up a lot of things for him. We taught a little bit about the Restoration but mainly focused on the Book of Mormon. We invited him to read and pray about it and invited him to close our lesson with a prayer. It was such a sincere prayer, it almost had me in tears. We asked him how he felt and he said he felt really good and we testified of the spirit and taught him how the Holy Ghost gives us good feelings when things are good, right and true. He feels he really moved here for a reason and that God has brought us to him. He's so prepared! I'm so excited to continue teaching him!
I hope you all have a good week!
With love,
Sister Richards
Happy Halloween from Sis Andrus and I!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Happy Halloween

I can't believe I've already finished my first 6 weeks. Time really does fly! My transfer news is that I'm staying here in Mesa with my companion! I'm super excited about this because I love working in YSA and the weather is going to continue getting nicer and nicer. It's still in the high 80s and 90s right now and feel really hot!

This week was really good. We had many good lessons and we made it to the temple open house again! I also was able to go to do baptisms in the temple with our recent convert Crystal. It was a really good experience. Lately it has been temple, temple temple around here and I love it! For Halloween us missionaries get to go do temple work all evening cause they don't want us out. I'm so excited!

This past week I've really realized how hard this life can be and how blessed I have been. We're working with and have many members in our ward experiencing some really hard times. One convert's dad passed away this week and her mom is also sick in the hospital, another convert has cancer herself and has a few years to live and one of our member's mom's has cancer and I can't even imagine
​ what they're going through. It breaks my heart. I'm so grateful to know that there is someone who know what they're going through. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered for all pains and afflictions that we would experience in this life. He is the only person who knows exactly what we're going through and will help us through it. I know that we can rely on Him and our faith in Him will strengthen us to overcome anything that we experience.

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

With love,
Sister Richards

Monday, October 20, 2014

Its The Climb

Hello everybody! 

This week was really crazy but good! 
Victor still doesn't have a date.. But we took him to the Phoenix temple open house and it was soo beautiful. He loved it! He wants to take his family this week. We really hope that that happens. We had a group of 11 at the open house, some ward members and less actives. It was really good. I can't describe how breathtakingly beautiful this new temple is. Victor loved the Celestial room and the sealing room. 

So missionaries usually don't do much tracting-door to door knocking but my zone does because we're trying to show the stake that it's not very effective and we need them to be the finders! The complex that we tract in has many mexican families and tons of little kids running around that see us almost every time we go there so we've made quite a few friends!

Finding YSA potentials has been really difficult and if we do find some nothing happens because they're so flaky! So we still don't have many investigators but our recent convert Crystal is doing great and I love teaching her the new member lessons. Most of the time we go to teach her she has a lesson or something to teach or share with us. Right now she's working on family history to find her family names to take to the temple to do baptisms and we hope to go with her this week! 

So since we don't have many investigators a lot of our work is with less actives and there are tons of less actives YSA age. It's a pretty critical time as far as testimony and activity in the church! We have been working with many and two came to the temple open house and another two came to church yesterday! That was a highlight of our week. 

I'm a Facebook missionary! Some of you might have seen my posts. We should be getting iPads before Christmas so we're starting now to use this tool. We can use the internet to do so much good and "share goodness"!

The subject-This morning part of my zone got up at 4am and we drove to Scottsdale to hike Camelback mountain. It was the hardest hike I've ever done! It wasn't even really hiking it was like rock climbing almost the whole way up. We were thinking about Miley's song on our way up haha Of course the view at the end was worth it and we got to see the sun rise! 

I read this scripture in my study this week. Omni 1:26
26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.
I know that it is through Christ that we are saved. Through faith in Him we can do and overcome anything. I am so grateful for His Atonement that allows us all to be forgiven.

Love you all!

-Sister Richards

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Family and friends-

Thank you all so much for the support! I had a great week! Today for emails I focused on catching up on personal emails so I don't have much time for a week's summary but here are some pictures! 

Love you all! 

-Sister Richard

Monday, October 6, 2014

This week was great! Thank you everyone for the emails!
I had some great experiences teaching some lessons and I LOVED General Conference! It was so good. It really puts everything into perspective and helps us get our priorities straight! I saw a few themes- personal conversion, remembering how important and sacred the sacrament is and following the prophet!
This week I had some fun experiences:
-when I was on exchanges the back bike tire was stolen while we were in a lesson and I had to carry the bike home
-I was bit by a dog (not badly, don't worry)
-I got about 40 mosquito bites (shout out to Madi, I now feel your pain)
-I had some authentic mexican food. so good!
-Victor watched all 5 sessions of conference! we're going to get a baptismal date I know it!
Make sure to go back and study the conference messages! and go see Meet the Mormons, it comes out this weekend!
Love you all!
-Sister Richards

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pictures from Week 3

sister Andrus and I had to do a training on planning so we "planned" our outfits! haha
Elder Terrazas is our Zone leader being funny in the back!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey everybody!

This week flew by so fast. I seriously can't believe its pday already.

My companion is the sister training leader so she and the other STL Sister Hurst have to go on exchanges with the other sisters in our area. This week they started those exchanges and every time they go on exchanges Sister Hurst's companion Sister Lee becomes my companion! I have to admit that I was not very excited about this... This means one or two days a week I lose my companion and most often my area and I go to Sister Lee's area to work for the day. The exchange this week was on a day when we had some really good appointments set up, a great dinner appointment with our friend Nohely- a recent convert, and we had an awesome fellowshipping activity with our ward. Instead of these things I had the wonderful opportunity to bike in the 100 degree heat and sweat like crazy with Sister Lee! However we were able to do some service with the zone. We spent the morning cutting down the weeds in this jungle of a backyard and ripping out tree stumps. We were also able to contact some people and we taught a scripture study class. So it ended up being a good day. I'm really trying to love these opportunities I have to work with Sister Lee and just go with the flow! No matter who I am with or where I am my purpose is to do missionary work!

We had some good lessons this week with Victor and with Jesus and Hector. Victor is excited for conference and hopes to have some questions answered. Victor and Hector were at church yesterday which was cool! Hector is less active right now but such a great missionary. Jesus is his friend and an investigator that we're working with.

Funny story- we were trying to contact a potential investigator in this one apt complex and we starting talking to this man who was about to leave on his bike. He was a really funny guy and among other things he said he didn't want to talk to Christians. The man we came to visit ended up asked us to come back later that evening. When we returned our friend on the bike was still there and the potential we came to visit wasn't answering the door. Anyway our bike friend said if you want people to be home when you come to visit you should put your picture with a message saying the time you'll be stopping by and they'll be there. hahaha Sister Andrus and I were like uhhh alright, you have a good night and we left.

Saturday was so crazy. It poured all day long and the streets were so flooded! I've never seen so much water covering the roads. But we made it to the general women's meeting and it was so good! I loved how the theme was able temples and preparing to go to the temple! The temple should always be in our sights, it should always be our goal. Our vision and purpose as missionaries isn't the baptismal font- it's the temple! We want everyone to receive those blessings.

Oh and about the subject...
We knock on doors and no one answers, a lot. The people we have in our area book as former investigators and potentials usually have moved and such.. Yesterday we were in an apt complex and we knocked, no answer. But we heard this cat meowing like crazy. We found it buried in the bushes, about a month old and probably starving. We went to another door and knocked and the neighbor across the hall opened up and started talking to us. Come to find out she loves cats, we told her about the cat we found and she said "hear take this crate and rescue that kitty for me". It was quite the adventure. The cat was acting crazy and was so scared. This woman went to BYU and knows all about Mormons but has no interest which was a bummer but we did bring her some happiness. She said we must come back and visit, for we're godparents now and she's going to name the cat sister or something since we saved it hahaha

I read this quote this week and I'm really trying to apply it. "The greatest mistake you can make in life (in my mission) is to be continually fearing you will make one." -Elbert Hubbard.
I'm working to overcome my fears of street contacting and teaching and to heed President Uchtdorf's counsel and fear no man- from his talk "Fear not, I am with thee". It's a good one!

I hope everyone has a great week! Enjoy General Conference!

Love you all! :)

-Sister Richards