Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Last Full Day......

As I post Elder Richard's last "Missionary Post" it is with mixed emotions. This has been a WONDERFUL experience not only for our son but for our family! I will miss our special 'letter' on Mondays; but I shouldn't complain...I've had "Christmas" once a week for 2 years! I hope that I can share his letter with you and hopefully you can somehow see inside his heart and understand his feelings at this time!  Thanks to EVERYONE who has shared this journey with us....You have added so much to it!  ENJOY!

Hey Everyone!

As the last 2 years have gone by, I have often thought....What have I learned? Well, it's a hard question for me to ask...because I didn't want to come on a mission if I didn't know that God existed. I have learned that the mercies of the Lord are seen as the people I've taught DO what we invite them to do and the JOY that comes into their lives as a result of that has been amazing (for me to witness).

Another thing I've learned is that as people make big changes in their lives, they need support - and a LOT of it!

My mission has taught me how to really appreciate the gospel - as when a person calls late and asks you to run to the hospital and give them a blessing; or asks you to go to their home and bless their home for them. As I have served in these and other ways....seeing their faces light up or feel their sense of relief from the service you have given. Other times helping another missionary who struggles to serve a mission - and you've done all you can to keep them serving........and they keep serving!!!  YEAH!

It's hard for me to look back and remember the times people really have looked me in the face, trusting in God, knowing that He will provide......and my prayers have been answered! As I have 'waxed bold' so to speak, that's when God heard my prayers. It's an awesome feeling when you know that He does hear you. When I've borne my whole soul to him I have felt his love wrap around me in my most lonesome and troubled times.

The gospel is some times hard to understand or explain; and best learned not by asking questions but by DOING; following one who believes and then watching the signs that follow after one is obedient. (Many times AFTER we 'live' the commandment) then we better understand why the Lord wanted us to obey. I've learned that LEARNING comes by DOING; not just by reading.

I hope to continue my mission and serve until the end and I hope to have the support I need to make these very difficult changes in my life. The gospel is REAL...not fake. Remember - it's something to be DONE not just heard.

Read Ether 12:6 "....ye receive no witness until AFTER the trial of your faith".
Jacob 4:6 ".....and having all these witnesses we obtain a HOPE, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea." (Added by Susan)

I LOVE you all; thanks for all your love. I'll see y'all tomorrow!!!!!!!

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another GREAT Week!

Sooooo Everyone!                                                   10 December 2012

My ankle is slowly healing and we're getting along slowwwwwwww! When I got here in the area we didn't have any investigators; BUT now we have a really nice teaching pool. It's not a whole lot - but it's a great start. All the investigators are very promising.

I'm on exchanges with one of my zone leaders right now and it's nice to be in a vehicle for a change; although I still really like my bike. I'll be sending the bike home - hopefully before I go home. I've already got a bike lined up for me to borrow from a member.....so it's ALL GOOD! As far as funds go - I'll probably need @ $50.00 for traveling home; but I think I'm good; otherwise I'll let you know.

So for preparation day today we went to a gymnastics gym and played around! It was super fun! I loved running around and jumping all over the place - and yes - I'm good with my ankle. I took some time and rested a while. So in my OLD mission age - my back, head, arms and legs hurt....a lot! Hahaha!

Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil!

Boys will be Boys!

Shooting some Hoops!

(It would have been nice to have a picture of Elder Richards in there somewhere!)  Haha!

Elder Orr and I have had a lot of great teaching opportunities this last week. In one day we were able to contact 5 referrals and receive 5 more referrals.....so now we have to contact ANOTHER 5 people! Haha! It was SWEET! So the little time I get to go out we do have GREAT SUCCESS. Staying inside is really getting on my nerves.

So we're working really hard and getting things done. Regarding the woman who set herself for baptism on the 19th - it probably isn't going to happen as planned and we're thinking about pushing it back farther. We're having trouble getting a hold of her. (Such is the life of a missionary!)

Lately my bike has been doing great! Everything is working fine. When I get home I'll have time to tune it up again - seeing as how all the wires are stretching because of the weather here - which BTW it's not super cold but also not very warm either.

This week we have a Mission Conference in VA-Beach (My LAST ONE!) and it's going to be great seeing a bunch of great Elders and Sisters from the mission once again and for the last time as a missionary. Sad day  :-(   but it's all good!

Today we were out eating at Chick-fa-Lay (sp?). After we prayed over our food one gentleman thanked us for being so young and shook our hands and then ordered us lemon-aids. It was humbling and right away I remembered Matt. 5:16  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and GLORIFY  your Father which is in Heaven." and how important it is to live the gospel. Another scripture in Mosiah 4:10 "And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."...the part at the end...see that ye do them...! It was wonderful! We were really humbled to see how grateful that man was for our example. (Not to boast) but it is humbling to see people come to us like that. I love it!

I hope everything is great! Thanks for all the awesome stuff y'all do for me. I love to hear all the fun random stuff that goes on back home.

I love you all. Enjoy your week!

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another Week!

Hey Everyone!                                                3 December 2012

E. Richards in Newport News

This week has been really great and at times boring! GREAT because we have people to help teach the gospel to and BORING because I have had to stay in a lot because of my ankle. I'm scooting along and I'm trying to get through the hard stuff. I'm not wearing my navy boots. I left them in Glen Allen; but I do have a brace on every time we go out to work.

When I mentioned I bucked my bike, I meant that when I hit both the front and the rear breaks, my bike started to do a front flip. However, my front tire was on the ground and my back tire was up above my head. I ended up sitting on my bike and looking at the ground at the same time and I called it 'bucking' much like a cowboy....Hahaha! I use to do it for fun in Portsmouth on the grass and not so much on the concrete! :-(

The lady we're teaching is great! She wants to be baptized on December 19th but she has to be married first, since she's living with the opposite sex......so I won't be here (for the baptism) but it is an honor to teach someone the gospel.

Here in Newport News people love to learn more. They are more geared to learn about the gospel for some reason; than in my last areas....so the more we work the better. We've been going and trying to talk to past investigators but a lot of people will just approach us about the gospel. Missionary work is great when it's about helping the person wanting to learn more. I'm not here to get a million baptisms for numbers. As my companion and I just teach the lesson and mention baptism, they usually drive towards that on their own - such as the woman set for the 19th of December. She set that herself so...yeah...I love doing missionary work.

Since my accident, my companion is taking good care of me. He tells me how worried he is about me and it's really made me think about how safe I should be. Also, I've been thinking about how to strengthen my testimony. I try to do that by hearing testimonies given on fast Sunday and by reading my journal entries of past spiritual experiences I've had. I can't deny MY OWN WORDS AND THOUGHTS....and the Spirit comes as I remember why the gospel is preached. As the Savior said in Moses 1:39 "For behold, this is my work and my glory -- to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." it is His purpose and I know why I'm doing it also. It's great! Anything I can do to drive towards that in life and keeping in mind the Lord's guide lines in the scriptures then its going to be alright. God just wants us to trust him.

Anyway.....I hope y'all have a great week. I LOVE you all. Thanks for your e-mails.

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Week.....gone by...!

Hey Everyone!                                             Monday, November 26, 2012

So this week has been exciting! I twisted my ankle (again!) and almost got hit again on the road. (He's actually trying to give his parents heart attacks!).....but the great thing was I 'bucked' my bike....(?) I was thinking about throwing my hand back like a cowboy but thought, that wouldn't be a great idea!  Sooooooooo....................

Our week has been interesting. We've been teaching a lot of potential people; but no official lessons. I came in with no investigators but now, our efforts are paying off. Elder Orr and I work hard everyday to improve. We're working more this week to catch up on work that past missionaries have done also....so possibly we will have more to do next week - after we work like crazy this week to get things rolling more.

We had an investigator come to church with us this week.....and she loved it! She said she was thinking about baptism and improving her life. She even says that The Book of Mormon is the same but just with different people....which is true.

Our bikes are doing good. I'll be planning on sending my bike (home) about a week before I leave and just borrow a bike from a member...if I can.

Our branch doesn't have too much drama - as much as Wakefield - but it's awesome. I love all the leaders in our branch. Everyone just takes you in and loves you in our branch...it's great!

We also had a funeral this last week.....which was interesting.

It's pretty fun in our area. It's the downtown part of Newport News - but it's all good. We're also working with a youth on getting him to make right choices and serve a mission. He loves having us over and spending time with us; so we're going to have him come with us - if - he's not on house arrest this week.....but no worries!! I LOVE the people here....they're awesome!

So Elder Orr doesn't know of any one named 'Sam Orr' who served in Canada.....sorry..not related!

So the computer I'm on isn't liking my camera right now but I'll find someone who can transfer my pics to y'all - otherwise, I'll show you them when I get back.

Well, I LOVE you all and I hope y'all have an awesome week!

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello from the NEWS!

Hey Everyone!                                                    19 November 2012

I'm safe here in Newport News with my companion Elder Orr. He's from Logan, UT and he's been out 16 months.

Our apartment is sweet! It's got all wood floors and is really old. We just got some things fixed on it today actually....Haha!

We don't have any investigators but we're teaching alot....which sounds wierd; but in 'Preach My Gospel' an investigator is someone who has had a lesson and accepted and kept another one...so we're working hard to find a ton! But...it's all good! We've (my companion and I) got a good mood about ourselves (we work great together!) and we're going to change how things are done here. I love how close knit the branch is and how much the people love the missionaries. People reach out more here which is really nice. At church yesterday we had a really nice homeless guy at Church looking for coffee; so we invited him to our Thanksgiving Dinner last night and sent him away with tons of food and a flashlight from one of the members. We're hoping to see him next Sunday!

When I got the (transfer) call, I thought of Elder Carter (former companion) and how much he loved it here and how highly he spoke of it here; and how much I dreamed of serving here. Now I get to finish here....it's great!

Elder Orr and I work really well together and we're both trying to be obedient. It's a nice change from my last transfer; here we actually plan and work really hard. I just love staying busy and when my companion also strives to work - it makes my day; knowing that I'll be really busy doing productive things.

I lost my camera in my last area but the other Elders found it and it's on it's way here. As soon as I get it, I'll take as many pics as I can. We get up every morning and exercise every day. Now we're going jogging every morning as soon as we get up. Yeah, my lungs are on fire but it get's easier as time goes on. Besides, I think biking as hard as I can will be much easier if my lungs can take it more.... Haha!

Our Branch President is awesome. He makes sure we're safe. Every time we go south in our area, we text him at a checkpoint so he knows where we are in case something happens.

So since I've served in Portsmouth and in Norfolk, I like to call this my own little Bermuda Tri-angle...Haha! and I do like the water and the air ships that rocket the sky every day. It's nice to be back in familiar areas...it's been a while.

So, I can't wait for the bike to be put together when I get home. We'll be putting both together at the same time. It's going to be fun! Aside from rain gear, I would say the light but durable stuff and a top peak rear fender and front fenders for the Diamond Back.

It's good to hear that everyone is in a fitness mode. I can't wait to do morning workouts with everyone when I get home.

BTW, everyone reminds me of my time I have left, but it's no big deal! I have a list of things I'm going to do when I get home and that lessens my worry of my time left. Plus we have a ton to get done, so I don't have too much time to think about it anyway. And the time I do have left - it's not enough to really bother me. It's all good, we're staying busy and that's the way - a huh - a huh - I like it! YEAH!

I can't wait to begin this work when I get home. Recently a sister missionary that just came out asked what I'm going to do when I get home. I handed her my missionary work list and she said "Your actually going to do this?" and I thought, isn't that what Christ asked me/us to do - to do this the rest of my life? To bless those whose arms hang hopelessly down and to lift those in need?! Gosh, if I just helped others for two years and came back and didn't incorporate that into my life then my mission would have been in vain..

James 1:23-27 states:  23."For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natual face in a glass:  24.For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25.But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26.If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27.Pure religion and  undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

So, I will strive to make a difference. I hope that I can arise to be a new saint, a new person, someone who can bless others. I hope I can be the person God needs me to be. A simple list is all it takes, ideas and then planning to accomplish my goals....So I need everyone to help me do missionary work.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day - safe and sound, feeling loved and secure.

I love you all!

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

P.S. Below are 2 videos he sent......hope you ENJOY!  They're great!



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

His LAST Transfer!

Hello Everyone!                               13 November 2012

Transfer calls came this last weekend. My companion is staying here in Glen Allen and I'm getting moved to Newport News, 3rd Branch. It is the smallest biking area in the Virginia Richmond Mission. I'll be with an Elder Orr, of whom I know since I was in Portsmouth. This last and final transfer is about 4 weeks long and I'm going to try to make it my best!

My new area is all in the ghetto, so pray for me that I'll be safe and protected. I'll need it and also pray that my (beloved) bike doesn't get stolen.

Since that call, things have been getting better. We're getting ready for my departure and I'm hoping it's a quick one. (Like ripping off that band-aid!) I just want to get it over with.

Heather, the lady who called you the other day is a potential investigator. She didn't have a Book of Mormon and I didn't have a spare copy to give away, so I just gave her my small military set. Hopefully, she'll read it!

Dad - when the bike arrives, it doesn't have the chain and the front break doesn't work. I'll fix that when I get home. I am excited to ride with you when I get home though...and I hope you are feeling better today from your cold. Bundle up and sleep lots! It's all Good!

Today on the way to the library, it's pouring down rain, so right now I'm a little wet, but it's all good! I'll dry out soon.

It's been exciting to hear about the new software the church is using for family search and I can't wait to get into all the genealogy stuff when I get home. Last week we went to our ward genealogy center and helped a few people out with the computers. I also got a nice lesson on how hard it is to get research done.

My finances are doing ok and so is my bike right now. Also, I want to make sure that I'll be running on the ground as soon as I get home. I was wondering if y'all scheduled a time with the stake president for my release yet.

Things are going good right now. We'll be checking in with Vince and Kay tonight and see how things are going. Since our last lesson, they were more involved, so that was great!

Well, that's all I can think of for now.

I love you all and thanks for your expression of love. It makes me emotional everytime I read about your love for me and for others.

Tell everyone I said 'hi' and "It's all good."

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints

Elder Richards also sent a link to the following video for me and his 3 sisters! What a great son and brother! He's the best!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!....The past week!!

Hi Family!                                        5 November 2012

This past week has been full of things we are doing!!! The person who is set for baptism is Pam. She's really stoked to be learning more and recently she was rushed to the hospital. We went and gave her a blessing and she said "I just love that Light and Tingle I feel". She came out the next day and is feeling much better.

We had another non-member come to church yesterday and our Gospel Principles class was FULL TO THE BRIM! It was also nice to get to see everyone at church too.  One of our investigators has been looking for something better in her life. She's come to the right place. She lives next to some members just a street away and they are really involved in her progress.

This week we're teaching Pam tomorrow and we're also teaching Vince and Kay! They called us last week and (asked to see more of the blessings of the gospel brought into their lives); so we're looking forward to (sharing more with them).

Last night we ate at a non-members house. The couple are Catholic and are ROMNEY supporters!!!! They have seen us ride past their house often and invited us in last night! We enjoyed meeting with them and hearing all sorts of great stories. It was great to know that there are always people that support us in our efforts and who care for us also.

Recently, my bike has been doing well. I'm getting ready this Wednesday to ship the 'Diamond Back' bike to you there in Washington. I'll let you know when it's going to get there....!

Today our beds are going to be thrown out and we're getting air beds giving the bedbugs NO PLACE TO HIDE!! We're going to be getting some (diatanatious earth ??)  to sprinkle around our room to kill the remaining bedbugs.

Transfer calls are also this weekend and then transfers will be next Thursday. I don't know if I'll be staying or going; but I hope to be staying. But...if I get moved then it's all good!  :-)

Well I'm going to finish for now.

I LOVE you all and thank you for all the pics and the replys!

Elder Richards

Virginia Richmond Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints