Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Good night, sleep tight, and let the bed bugs bite.

Yeah, we're still dealing with bedbugs. It's the worst. We were sprayed again but I don't know how much it helped. President said we'd be doing a heat treatment in May. I just want them gone! They're so hard to get rid of and spread like crazy. I'm so paranoid that they're never going to go away and I'm going to take them with me my whole mission. Ew.

This week flew by as usual but it was so good!

On Tuesday we had a good lesson with Cindy with Sister Lewis. We watched a conference talk because Cindy was sick the weekend of conference and didn't get to watch any of it. She really liked it. We're still working on her overcoming her nicotine addiction. She gave us her other E-cigarette. We were stoked about that! We showed up to our Zone dinner at Brother Foxes with it and were waving it around. "Look what we got!" haha and then we threw it away. Cindy knows she needs to quit and wants to but it's so hard. I can't even imagine how hard it is. Later in the week we followed up and she said that she had bought a pack and smoked one. We were so devastated. We tried not to be too discouraging but encouraging by telling her we had faith that she can quit! The sisters in the ward have helped us out so much. Cindy is so happy to have friends! Member fellowship is so important!

On Wednesday we had a lesson with Joseph. He's 15 and is Native American. It's been really hard to teach him and help him understand the difference between culture and religion. He believes all of the Native legends about the creation, animals getting their colors, and stuff like that. He has been progressing though by reading the Book of Mormon assignments that we've given him! While we were teaching him we were able to ask some very inspired questions and Joseph finally opened up a little. He said he has been thinking about getting baptized! We also had another 15 year old boy at his lesson which was important so he could connect with someone his age! This really helped us out come Sunday because Wayde walked with him to church and was influential in helping Joseph stay 2 hours. Usually he leaves after Sacrament meeting and we've been really trying to get him to stay!

Thursday we taught a new investigator! Her name is Amada and she really wants to join the church. She's been attending for quite some time now but has been going to another ward in another area. We're excited to continue teaching her!

On Friday the YSA ward won the stake basketball championship! I wanted to play so badly! haha We went because an investigator was there. The Elders from the home ward are trying to transition him to YSA. We hope he'll be coming to Family Home Evening tonight and that we'll be able to have a lesson after!

Saturday we decided to have a district blitz because we've had a hard time finding investigators in the Riverview ward. We set aside one hour and prayed with faith that we would see miracles and we'd find new people. So the 4 Elders in our district went into our area to help us out! We all had success! We're so grateful to the Elders for their help and the potentials that they were able to find. We hope to be able to contact them this week.

It's going to be another busy but great week! I hope you all make it a great one too! :)

Sister Richards

​Always got to show off the butterflies! The conservatory has more than 2,000 fluttering around. The paintbrushes have nectar and the butterflies love that

​Here's us at the Laundromat drying everything on high heat to kill those bedbugs. We were so thrilled :/

​Here's cute little Brother Stokum. He's mid to late 90's I can't remember exactly! He joined the church just a few years ago! He is one of our ward missionaries and is so dedicated to his calling. Even at his age he comes out with us for visits

​Elder Biddulph and I totally matched at the track this week!

​These are some of my favorite sisters in the YSA. We all kinda matched too!

A Trip to the Mountains!

I hope everyone had a great week!

I really can't even comprehend how it's already Monday again. Time just flies by so fast. Every week feels shorter and shorter.

We started out this week on exchanges on Tuesday. Of course I was going into the biking area on the hottest day of the week! I had a great time with Sister Thomas. It's fun to go on exchanges with her! We went on so many together my second transfer while our companions were STLs and now she's my STL! We had this one encounter with this construction worker who said "I didn't know girls could be Elders". haha Anyway, he had attended our church before and he thought a bunch of things about our church that weren't true and we tried to set him straight. Nothing seemed to really get through to him. Sometimes in contacting I fear or feel awkward but I've been trying to be bold lately and I just testified to this guy and said "I know that this is God's church. I know that what we share is true. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know that being "Mormon" is for you." It was really cool experience. I hope it made a difference to this guy. He doesn't live in our boundaries and wouldn't give an address but we told him to request missionaries on Mormon.org.

Today in my personal study I was reading Elder Pino's talk from conference "The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel". It's such a great talk about how having an understanding of the plan of salvation gives us an eternal perspective and helps us do what's right! He said, "Understanding the plan will help people keep the commandments, make better decisions, and have the right motivation." This is so true in missionary work. We teach the plan of salvation and helps our investigators gain an testimony of it so they can make any needed sacrifices to keep commandments. The eternal perspective is the motivation! I couldn't say it any better than him: "Understanding this plan of happiness provides us with an eternal perspective and helps us to truly value the commandments, the ordinances, the covenants, and the trials and tribulations." Having an eternal perspective really helps us to keep the commandments, our covenants and endure an trial. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of God's plan!

I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Richards

Sister Thomas and I on exchanges

the cabin in Payson

We had a great time in the mountains at the Relief Society Retreat!!

​Seeing pine trees was like home!

What an Awesome Surprise!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hello Everyone!

Happy Monday everyone! 

The weeks are just flying by! Sister Pazmino had a great week as we saw two of our investigators make some great progress! Cindy has quit the E-cig! She also shocked us yesterday by coming to church all three hours even though she wasn't feeling well! She kind of hit rock bottom last week when she was in the hospital and I think she's been humbled a bit and now she's ready to progress. Because of the busy-ness of our Sundays we cannot attend all the church meetings with her which is actually a blessing. We have found such a great member fellowshipper for her- a wonderful widowed woman in the ward and she has invited Cindy to sit on the "Celestial Row" as they call it with the other older and single women! Cindy just loved that. We were so happy to see her stay all three hours. We told her we'd continue to teach her these next three weeks to help her prepare to be baptized on May 2nd. The other thing that shocked us was that we've been trying to get Cindy to do family history work with us and she hasn't been to excited about that but she told us that she wants to! She's definitely making progress and we're so happy for her!
The other investigator is Kalyn from the YSA. We taught her the Restoration and Sister Pazmino committed her to a baptism date next month! She wasn't referred to us by the YSA members but there are many members who went to High School with her at Westwood and they are so excited and really want to be involved! The sisters in the ward have invited her to the fireside this Saturday and have planned a game night for afterwards just to fellowship her! We're excited to follow up on Kalyn's Book of Mormon reading. She think that just us visiting her is a sign and her answer but we tried to convey she needs to pray and read to receive her witness that what we taught is true. When we taught her the Restoration lesson this week I feel the Spirit so strongly as I looked her in the eye and recited Joseph Smith's First Vision. I know that he was a prophet of God and did see God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

As missionaries we really try to receive member referrals. We've been trying to do some Facebook finding with our members. Right now there are so many RMs in the YSA and other members doing missionary work and having missionary experiences- it's awesome!!! Sadly, all of the people they are inviting to meet with the missionaries are in another area. It's been hard to receive any referrals for our ward but we are so happy to see them inviting friends from school, their coworkers, etc to learn more about the Restored Gospel! Members really are so key to help us and the work progress. We really saw that with Cindy this week and hopefully it will be the same for Kalyn. This past week we had some of our ward missionaries out doing visits with us which was awesome! The one night we weren't having much luck, everyone was cancelling and no one was home so we decided to try and contact this referral that Sister Pazmino and I had already tried to contact quite a few times and that night she was home! She was caught off guard a little by our visit but we introduced ourselves and invited her to learn more about the plan of salvation. The member we had with us couldn't have been more perfect as they are both young mothers and could relate as this woman's daughters were running around. We were able to pray with Shanita and her daughters and we were able to set up an appointment for this evening! We're super excited and hope it all works out! 

Here's my member missionary plug- help the missionaries out and go out with them! 

Last night we attended a music fireside and some recent converts bore their testimonies- it was so great. The Spirit was so powerful! I'm so glad we are having firesides because our recent convert Tania is currently working on Sundays but is able to attend the firesides. She thinks she'll be able to attend the upcoming one this Saturday with Elder Andersen so we're going to try and help her prepare by studying conference with her! Elder Andsersen has asked us to come prepared with our favorite talk from General Conference and our goals and plans of how we're going to apply the message! I think this is such a great invitation! It's one we've actually been using in our dinner messages. 

Our other RC- Lexi will be out of Rehab at the end of this month. We don't know where she'll be moving to but Bishop Arnett hopes she can stay within the ward. We have received so much help from the members. They are so good at picking her up and taking her to church. This next week she will receive more free time so she'll be able to attend FHE hopefully and start receiving her new member lessons- finally! She has been such a great missionary in her rehab program. She's been bringing friends to church a lot. 

We volunteered at Butterfly Wonderland for the first time on Thursday and I loved it! We are able to interact with so many children and families in such a non-threatening environment. Usually people see missionaries and run but here we're able to help them enjoy some of God's most beautiful creations! I really hope that our interactions with them will help them be open to missionaries knocking at their door. It really is a great service opportunity and is so fun! I'm grateful to be able to participate!!! 

We have a very busy and exciting week coming up. We have planned visits nights with our ward missionaries to less actives, a "touch the temple" night with the YSA where those unable to go to the temple will be watching Meet the Mormons at the Visitor's Center, more volunteering at Butterfly Wonderland and we'll be going up to the mountains to Payson for a Relief Society women's retreat! We're super excited President has approved us to attend because their will be two women attending whose families are potential investigators. And we'll be attending the fireside with Elder Andersen. 

I'm so grateful to see this work move forward! Thank you all so much for your support and prayers! 

Sister Richards

​Being a missionary in YSA sure has it's perks! We were able to attend the Stake Luau activity which is the biggest event of the year! Delicious food and fire dancers! Everyone was able to be greeted by the Sisters with a lei at the entrance. Two of our potential investigators came! 

​here's a picture of our zone! Such great missionaries

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I don't have much time to write so here's my week in pictures!

​The spirit of the Easter Pageant is incredible! They do such a wonderful job! The stage and props and costumes are all just so amazing. Over 500 people volunteer to put on this 10 day show! We really enjoyed taking the people that we're working with. 

​We went to the Easter Pageant so many times and loved it! Here are some pictures of us with the cast! The girl in the pink is our investigator Kalyn. She really loved the pageant! She's super awesome but super busy so she's hard to catch and to teach!

​the place was packed.... 12,000+ people some nights!!

Happy Easter from Sister Ruggles, Kaufusi, Pazmino and I

​Our whole zone watched General Conference at the church with our investigators! I loved conference so much! There were so many good messages. I loved the talks and testimonies of the Savior

​waiting for the pageant to start!

​I'm happy to say that even after 7 months I'll be spending ANOTHER transfer here in Mesa! I love it here so much. I can't believe everyone here isn't sick of me yet. I love being a missionary and know this transfer will be great!

This last week we had one really cool experience when we contacted a referral that we received. The people we ended up contacting were these girls living in a sober house. One of them is 19 years old and has been sober for about a year. She told us that she had started doing heroine when she was only 15. We showed her the Easter He Lives video and she loved it. She pointed out that she liked that it said it doesn't matter who you are or who you were. We were able to testify to her that that is true. It doesn't matter. Our Savior is there for us no matter what. I love sharing the message that He Lives!!! I am so grateful to have been brought up in such drastically different circumstances. I am so grateful I had the Gospel to direct my life. I know that everyone needs it and I love sharing it! 

hair trimmed.. nails done.

​there's me in the blue and Sister Kaufusi pushing me!

have a great week! 

Sister Richards

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Bedbugs, Boxers (dogs), Butterflies and a BAPTISM!

So yeah.... we go into some really gross apartments sometimes and we brought home some disgusting little friends that like to multiple in your bed and suck your blood. Fun stuff we've been dealing with this week.... You have no idea how disgusted I am. 

I hate dogs. Everyone here has a dog. We leave people's places everyday with hair all over our clothes, drool too. This week we went to a ladies house with two big Boxers that wouldn't stop jumping up on us- and they're HUGE! They wouldn't stop clawing down our arms and backs. It was all I could do not to kick the dogs or leave the house.... 

Butterflies!!! We get to volunteer at Butterfly Land as a Just Serve project! It's really cool! They have one of the largest conservatories in the West! We were able to walk through the exhibits this week as part of our training in preparation for starting this week. They receive butterfly chrysalises from all over the world!

Mer's baptism was so awesome! It was really such a spiritual experience. The ward helped out so much and I really think that her nonmember parents were touched. In her confirmation Mer was blessed to be a good example and missionary to her parents. I know one day they'll accept the Gospel! 

We had some other good lessons and were able to contact a less active member in our ward this week who came to church yesterday! We also were able to attend the Easter Pageant with a part member family this week! The Easter Pageant is so amazing! I'm so grateful for the 500+ people who volunteer to make it happen because it is such a good missionary opportunity! 

Enjoys General Conference this weekend! Happy Easter! We are excited this week to use our Because He Lives pass along cards and share our testimonies that our Savior lives! His sacrifice and death has made our Heavenly Father's plan possible. Because of Him we can overcome challenges and difficulties in this life and find peace and happiness! I hope everyone takes the chance to discover our Savior Jesus Christ's sacrifice, embraces His teachings and shares this message! Check out Helives.mormon.org and #BecauseHeLives ! 

I love you all!

Sister Richards :)

​Last week we rode in a Transformers car!!!!! The Rally Fighter is PRETTY SWEET!


​I love this adorable girl!