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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First week in Scottsdale and seeing an old friends at Zone Conference

Pictures from the MTC

Hello everyone!

This past weekish has been really good. The weather has been nice and hot, not much rain since last Wednesday which I am happy about! Sister Andrus and I have been very busy contacting and teaching people. The sad thing is the most contacting we do is with less actives and recent converts, not that that's bad but we need some progressing investigators! Our investigators right now are Victor and Cameron and they are pretty stagnant right now, not much growth or progress towards baptism. Victor is worried about being rushed and his family is against him joining the church but he comes to church and activities and takes the lessons well. Cameron is a heroine addict, his mom deals it. He's struggling to stay strong with his current situation. He really needs to move out but he doesn't have a job or anything but he's been trying to get one. He knows the church is true but really needs to overcome his addictions. I was really shocked to see that there's so much poverty, so many homeless people here and such a drug problem!

We had mission conference on Saturday and I was able to shake Elder Nelson's hand! It was such an awesome experience and conference. The spirit was so strong throughout the whole meeting. All of the counsel that was shared with us was so good! Two other member's of the seventy all spoke, it was really uplifting. Elder Nelson was just really funny and shared some really neat stories and things with us. I saw Elder Clegg but he had already left when I tried to find him after. I got to catch up with Elder Andrew! He's doing really well.
​I'm so excited for General Conference to hear from all the apostles. We've been inviting everyone to listen and watch General Conference. I know that we will receive the guidance and inspiration that we need from our prophet and apostles!

The YSA ward is great. Our ward mission leader is awesome as well as the bishopric. They are really pushing member missionary work right now and they are so willing to help give rides to our investigators and less actives and they come teach with us!

Has anyone seen the new Mormon movie Meet the Mormons yet? They had an early showing here and everyone said it was really good. I'm excited to see it and take our investigators to it!

Hope everyone has a great week! Start prayerfully preparing for General Conference!

Love you all,
Sister Richards

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hello friends and family!

I've made it!!! I arrived in Scottsdale Monday morning at 9:00 am. We were met at the airport by President and Sister Sweeney, our APs and some awesome senior couples. They took us to the Mesa Temple Visitors Center and we got a tour and were told that we can use it any time and bring investigators! So cool!!!! We also get to go to the temple for the Christmas lights and for the Mesa Easter Pageant! I'm excited about that! We have lots of flexibility as far as mission boundaries. We will also be able to attend the Phoenix temple open house! Lots of stuff going on around here. Oh and we have mission conference on Saturday with the Mesa mission so I hope to see Elder Andrew and Elder Clegg!!! ELDER NELSON will be there. So exciting!

Um it's really hot and I feel really gross and sweaty all the time. It's been soooo humid because it's monsoon season and it's been raining A LOT. It's flooding the freeway and stuff.. The first night I went contacting in downtown Scottsdale. It wasn't as ritzy as I would have thought. But I followed some inspiration and we found this man who was golden! He believes in God, prays, knows he receives answers and has faith in prayer and said he walked into a Latter-day Saint church once and really liked it. We were like YEAH THAT'S US. It was so great. He asked where the nearest church was but we didn't know so we took his info to send some missionaries to him! First contact- first referral!

Now the juicy stuff... TRANSFERS! My trainer is Sister Andrus. She's from California and is a Sister Training Leader and pretty much the bomb. I know I am going to learn so much from her. We are serving in..... THE MESA YSA 1ST WARD! Woohoooo! I'm excited but a little nervous, there's a lot of RMs and Sister Andrus said it's a little intimidating sometimes haha

My MTC comp is now in the mountains. We live with Sister Lopez and Kufusi and they are our Spanish Hermanas and they serve on the Rez! There are 6-7 Indian Reservations in the mission and they send Spanish speaking Hermanas and the dark missionaries there.. So I don't know if I'll ever end up there!

We have some investigators right now that we'll be teaching tonight and later this week. We get to stop by YSA activities and stuff so that's fun and the members feed us and really help with the work so that's exciting!

I have only been here two days so I don't really know what else to say... it's beautiful here! I love the palm trees.

I love you all!

-Sister Richards

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Week in the MTC

Dearest Family and Friends-

I hope everyone is doing well! So much has happened these past few days I hope I can tell you about all of the good stuff!

First off, thanks Grandpa and Grandma for picking me up and dropping me off. Wednesday wasn't as crazy or stressful as I thought it might be! 
My companion is Sis Christensen from Florida and there is one other companionship of sisters in our district- Sis Goodman from Texas and Sis Dodson from Georgia. They are great! I love them so much. Sis Christensen and I are very similar and get along very well! There are 3 companionships of Elders in our District and they are.. well, great too hahah. They all just graduated and are pretty immature but have great testimonies! They sure do try our patience.. We have a great Branch Presidency. Sis Christensen and I are Sister Training Leaders which is pretty exciting. We just serve and love all the sisters! But right now there's only the two sisters in our district and the other district is all Elders and so is the district that's entering today so that's a bummer.

My schedule..
Us sisters wake up at 5:50 and go to the sisters workout class which has been awesome! kick boxing, yoga, step aerobics and so on. It sure wakes us up! Then get ready, get breakfast, then we go to our classroom and plan, personal study and companionship study. Then we have lunch and more time in the classroom where we are taught such great lessons from our teachers Brother Call and Sister Gwynn! Then we have gym and we have played volleyball and basketball and run the track! Then it's back to the classroom for more class... Woohoo! Thursday Sis Christensen and I taught our first "investigator" Don. He's great and has been progressing as we teach him more and more. We also teach other more random people at TRC. Yesterday we taught a member in AZ over skype which was neat! At first teaching made me really nervous but it's getting better and I'm gaining confidence with more practice!
Sunday was great we had mission conference in the morning and heard some great talks from our MTC presidency. Sister Christensen and I were in and out of leadership training all day for our Sister Training Leader position. Testimony meeting was really powerful! We ended the day with an awesome devotional and later we watched Elder Bednar's talk The Character of Christ. It was life changing. I recommend that everyone watches it. We also had a great Devotional last night and us sisters sang in the choir! Elder and Sister Sitati spoke to us about the importance of our missionary work. It was really powerful.

I've seen so many friends here from home and BYU and it's been so great to see familiar faces! I love the MTC and the Spirit that we feel here. I've been learning and growing so much and my testimony is definitely being strengthened! 

I leave Monday morning for Scottsdale!!!!! Our flight leaves at 8:30 or something. So just a few more days left! 

In the words of Elder Sitati- "The Restored Gospel is the greatest gift you've ever received and is the greatest gift you could ever give" I know this to be true! I'm so grateful for this Gospel and the opportunity I have to share it! I can't wait to get to Arizona next week!

Love you all!

Sister Richards