Thursday, March 3, 2011

February 28, 2011

Well, Nick did get transferred on his first transfer. He was transferred to Wakefield, Virginia. It is southeast of Richmond. It was a difficult experience for him, as he doesn't enjoy change very much. I guess he is kind of a home-body like me!!  Here is what he says about being in his new area:

Things are going well. This week has been good and my new companion is AWESOME! (His name is Elder Christensen). He is super nice. He set out the rules and I listen and do! (Yeah for obedience!!) We both get along REALLY well and we joke with each other alot - so it's good. He's a GOOD missionary and I understand why President Perry sent me to him. I hope that I can do the work well and accomplish things. I'm trying to have better habits and want the work to progress here in Wakefield.

It's a really quiet town here except when the train goes by during the day and at night - while I'm in bed!!! The apartment is ok. It's a 100+ years old so there is tons of history here. It's good ! We just cleaned it today, except all the ants in the shower, so when I shower I try to stay on the other side of the bathtub. Ha! Ha! But it's not that bad!

Our area is 600 square miles; we're in a car and we've got bikes too. Our mailing address is: P.O. BOX 964 - Wakefield, VA 23888. Be sure to pass my new address along to the ward and the 5th branch.

Tell the Bipperts I said 'hi' and a big thanks for the single branch letters and the package they sent! The slippers they sent were too small for me so I exchanged with a missionary in Clover Hill by the name of Elder Pounder (who is amazing!) so we were all happy! :-) I'll try to send a letter to those who wrote me and such - but it is really hard to find the time to do so....(I guess it's good that he is busy doing the Lord's work!!)

Some crazy stuff happened my first Sunday here in Wakefield, but I'll write you those details! We've got work to do and oh - btw our branch here meets in an old Quaker's chapel that was bought by the Church. It's weird to have a church with stained glass windows everywhere and a basement that we use.

Well, I hope that all is well and that everything is okay. Be sure to tell Jay Jex, Jeffrey Jex, Natalie Broulot and Jeff Bates that I will write them soon and also Jacob Nuttall.

I love you all and your letters just really helped me here in Wakefield. THANK YOU SO MUCH - you're all AMAZING!

I love you and I hope that all will be well with you.

Your missionary, Elder Richards :-)

I too, would like to express my thanks to everyone that has taken the time to write to Nick on his mission. It has helped him tremendously. For him to go and be moved around a lot is a difficult thing for him - but a great learning experience. Again, Thanks! We love and appreciate all of you!

Don & Susan Richards :-)

February 14, 2011

Hi Folks!

The other day I had an interesting experience teaching a member couple. Elder Wright and I were planning on teaching them about sacrifice and the benefits of it. As I was praying in my heart for my companion (during the lesson) the Spirit brought to my mind scriptures and a video from that I should share. Not really knowing why I should, I chose to switch gears on my companion and go with it. I also shared my testimony. The lesson went so much better and the members were very much more responsive. It was a great feeling to have the room filled with the Spirit.

We're also teaching this woman Gloria. Out of nowhere she asked if I was the missionary that had had a hard time in life before my mission. I said "Yes" and she wants me to speak to her son and give him some counsel as he is young and looking for a better way in life.

As we enter into people's homes they always seem to know that we are servants of the Lord. Even if they are not members, they call us "Jesus' people" - so it's interesting!

Transfers are in about 2 weeks and it's really hard for me to keep my cool because I'm really comfortable with my companion. If you would pray for me to change my mind-set that would sure help! I need to look at it as something exciting and not scary! I'm having a great time here in Virginia and with all my district too. We are really like a family and its going to be hard when we get transferred.

Dad - I'm glad things are going good for you with Ardex. It made me think of D&C 121: 44-45 where he talks how "blessings come down as the dews from heaven."

I hope to get some letters written to you this week because I'm having some awesome spiritual experiences; but if I can't - just know that the Spirit here has been like Isaiah's experience in Chapt. 6: 8 where he states "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." I feel that same way when I feel the Spirit - I have the desire to share to ALL THE WORLD!!!

Elder Richards includes a few more stories regarding the Midlothian Ward and area that he was in:

The other day Elder Wright and I were teaching a lesson to some members about testimonies. About half way into the lesson I got this feeling and thought I should bear my testimony to their son; who was just kind of watching around the room. It looked like he was confused about something. I felt that he was looking for something. So I looked at him as I bore my testimony, "I know that the simple questions that we have may seem pointless and useless, but I know by experience, as I have been lost before, that the only way I know for these questions to be answered is to cry to God about our problems. I know that as we pray to the Lord and if we are open-minded we will receive an answer. It may not come right away, but I know by experience that God knows us, He knows our names and who we are. I promise that these things are true, that the Church is true and I know that The Book of Mormon is the true word of God."

After we left, Elder Wright said, "Elder that was amazing! Their son needed to hear that." I said "What do you mean? I felt the Spirit needed me to speak to him and that the Spirit was very strong." Elder Wright explained that the son was inactive and he had some other serious problems (of which I won't write about) but he needed to hear that.

I don't always know why the Spirit does what it does, but I know that if we don't act on those things at that very moment then we will lose someone; and I can't stand anyone being lost in the world without the tools and the skills given by God so we can be a success.

I am learning every day to learn to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit and I'm growing every time I try.

Another experience I had with Elder Carpenter. We were teaching an investigator who only gets to see his family on the weekends because he is addicted to pain killers and cocaine. One thing that he said was that he didn't feel any hope and that he really needed help. I was again prompted to bear my testimony and after doing so, telling him that there is hope. He started to cry and we ended up giving him a blessing and then we went on our way.

Elder Wright and I were teaching a lesson to a less active girl and her non-member boyfriend. He asked for a Book of Mormon and then he gave the closing prayer, after we asked him to. It was interesting to see his reaction to the influence of the Spirit and how his member girlfriend was again interested in the church.

The more experiences I get the more I will write. It has been incredible to see that if people put their trust in the gospel the more they will be blessed because of it.

FYI the Midlothian Ward (my ward) has a few members and are ready to take in new members at all times. The fellowshipping is ready to happen but the new members are not coming yet. More interesting facts about those in our ward:

* A lot of our members know the people on
* The owner of ALL the Marriott hotels is in our ward!

Well, I love you both and be sure to say 'hi' to the family for me.

Love, Elder Richards