Monday, November 16, 2015

I don't know how I'm going to handle the snow!

 There was a little blizzard today... It's been so cold! It's been a great few days since y'all heard from me last! Sister Ylisaari and I have been working really hard. Some have asked so I'll let you know that her English is very good. She studied English in school for about 10 years so no problems there! Everyone is always so shocked when she says she's from Finland. It's very rare to have foreign missionaries but we're starting to get quite a few more in our mission. 

Some highlights and thoughts from the week:

Prayers for missionary opportunities are answered!
The Craner family had us over for dinner a few weeks ago and as our message we committed them to create a family mission plan and start praying about people that they could share the gospel with and they are wonderful and faithful members who love missionary work so they did! Last week Sister Craner texted us and said they had a friend who wanted to come back to church and asked if we could come teach a lesson at their home. Wow! We were so excited! That's the best kind of situation: a member inviting us to teach someone in their home. I wish that happened more often! Sister Ylisaari and I were very inspired in our preparation for the lesson because it went so well. This young man has been inactive for almost 10 years and has started to desire change in his life. He has challenged himself to read the Book of Mormon in 30 days and he's started praying. We testified of God's love for him and that repentance is possible because of the Savior. The Savior's arms are extended to all of us to come unto Him and I know He is anxiously awaiting any who have strayed to come unto Him (3 Nephi 9:14- one of my favorites!)

We need prophets.
Many members in this area are being excommunicated because of apostasy. Many are losing their testimony of the prophets. It is so sad to see. Another foreign exchange student was at Pernille's lesson and she started to try to tell us that President Monson is a false prophet. I know that God always wants to have a prophet on the earth to lead and guide us. I know that President Monson is called of God and he will never lead us astray. How sad that people think that we no longer need prophets in our day. Now is the time when we need a prophet most! All we could do was testify to her and invite her to pray about it.

The Atonement is there for more than sin.
We have been meeting with many people that are struggling with depression lately. It makes me so sad to see. I'm grateful to be there to lift them though and testify of the Atonement. I loved Elder Oaks talk from conference "Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ" He quoted President Packer who said “He had no debt to pay. He had committed no wrong. Nevertheless, an accumulation of all of the guilt, the grief and sorrow, the pain and humiliation, all of the mental, emotional, and physical torments known to man—He experienced them all.” I know that this is true and that because of those things that he experienced for us He is there to strengthen us. Elder Oaks also quoted President Faust who said “Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, He can help the weak to be come stronger.”

I love missionary work! 
Yesterday we had a great lesson in Relief Society on missionary work. I feel like President Benson who said "I have tasted the joy of missionary work. There is no work in all the world that can bring an individual greater joy and happiness." I have felt that joy and happiness! I challenge you all to do missionary work to and promise you that you will feel such great happiness! 

Make it a great week! :)
Sister Richards

Sorry I didn't get a chance to post this from November 11th

It's preparation day finally! And the news for this transfer is that I am staying in Taylor and my new companion is a new missionary from Finland. I can hardly pronounce her name. I feel so bad. It's Sister Ylisaari (ooh-lee-sahree with a rolled r sound). She is wonderful! We have a lot in common and I think we're going to have a lot of fun together. She is my first companion to really like working out hard and we worked out hard this morning. I'm excited to stay here and serve with her! My friend Brady Stimpson from high school served in her home branch! It's such a small world. 

The Furbush family is still doing great. Heather is still reading. Mel Chee is still being Mel Chee.  We have lots of work to do this transfer. I'm very excited. 

This last week I experience some very trying things. I was sick, we got rear-ended (not too bad but my neck and shoulders hurt- typical whiplash), then Sister Thumstedter and I were ETed (emergency transferred) because the sisters that live next door weren't getting along and it was a horrible way to end the transfer. It ruined all of Sister T and I's plans to say goodbye and eat with members, teach people for the last time, and get pictures, etc. It was really hard. But it's a new week and I'm ready to get to work. 

It was great to drive down to the valley and see so many friends at the transfer meeting. Pretty much all of my friends were getting transferred this time. Sister Ylisaari was expecting warm weather, a nice change from the cold in Finland but she's in Taylor and it's cold here. Poor thing. She didn't pack any warm clothes so we had to do some shopping with Sister Sweeney after the meetings. Then we finally got on the road.
I was really worried about the drive at night through the mountains. The weather on the rim wasn't expected to be good. The temps were below freezing and the road was wet. We hit some snow at some parts. The worst was our near-death experience of almost hitting a large deer. We got some food in Payson (about an hour and a half into the drive) and on our way out of town these cars were stopping in the road and I was traveling on the outside lane so I couldn't see what was going on. The speed was increasing and I was approaching 50 mph and then I saw 4 deer from the other side to my side of the road. I started slamming on my brakes as one crossed the road and then I knew there would be another one coming right after and I about closed my eyes I just knew we were going to hit it but it just stopped right before our car and we came to a stop. I cannot believe that we didn't hit that deer head on. It was such a miracle. I know that God was watching over us last night. I'm so happy that nothing happened to us. I would feel so responsible as the driver of these sisters. I feel so blessed. I'm so so so grateful. I was super tense after that and we still had another hour plus to go. I was super cautious and we finally made it to Taylor at about 8:30 last night. Boy did I express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father last night. and I sure did sleep good last night. 

I'm so grateful for you prayers on my behalf. I am grateful to do this work. I know that it's the Lord's work. I love you all and I'll write you more on Monday

-Sister Richards

My new companion all the way from Finland!

We did some service with the Elders helping an investigating family
burn trash on their property. It was interesting.... There is lots and
lots of trash

Us out in the snow today!

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