Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 31, 2011

Hey Dad!

Sorry that I couldn't e-mail yesterday.  It was a holiday, so back to the good stuff. It's good to email you and use a computer!

These past few days have been great, awesome, weird, sad and EPIC...and also humbling.

On Monday (yesterday) we spent the day doing service moving pavers in 89+ degree weather in Newport News. It was nice to see this area in Virginia. All day of just constant sweat and agony, haha! (hard work) and it was fun! Doing service and enjoying working with our member mission leader Bro. Gruber.

Today we went to the hospital and gave a blessing to a member and spent a few hours with them to help give comfort. It's interesting to go through life having people completely depend on you and thank you for everything or even just for being there for them and I'm not even married! It's crazy.....but well worth the journey!

How's your week been? Anything exciting happen recently? It's good to hear from you and know that your ok.

Lately I spoke with President Perry about donating blood and he gave me the green light to do so - as I'm O- it's all good. The next hurdle I have to conquer is making sure Elder Carter doesn't pass out while I give blood.

The mission is going well; we're really stoked to have a zone meeting this Friday.

Recently we're having to go and work back from the bottom up to be able to find people; this area is so different so we mainly work by doing service - it's been fun!

I hope to send Cory and Laura some pictures soon. I got a letter from Cory this week and it really made my day! He's like the brother I never had. :-) Well, I hope you enjoy these pictures and I hope your week is going well.

I love you!

E. Richards

May 9, 2011

Hey Mom!

Thanks for the picture! I'm glad that everyone is doing well! That phone call really helped! I sure hope that things get better as time goes on.

After the phone call I spent time with the Harters and made some brownies while Elder Carter was talking to his family. It was really fun!

It's good to hear that the girls are doing so well. Although I didn't get to talk to Laura and Cory very much, it was good to hear their voices. I really enjoyed talking to Amy, Emily and the boys. Everyone sounds so different (well sort of). I really missed your voice mom. It is so nice to talk to you and listen to your advice! I'm glad to have a mother to remind me of the scriptures daily, and that we can relate on that plain. So again....


I love you mom! Thanks for all you do! Keep it up. I love you!

your son
Elder Richards

May 2, 2011 Life in the Service of Others! THE MISSION! HAHA!

Hey thanks for the e-mails!

I really needed it this week. It's been a humbling experience for me this week - but good!

Elder Carter and I get along at times; we are gradually understanding each other as time goes on. I'm enjoying it - it's hard, but exciting!

As far as missionary shinanagins go, the mission life is good. My finger got infected and started turning green. No medical help is really available because they don't accept our medical cards here; so I did a 'Don Richards' on it and fixed it myself. So it IS TRUE - I'm dad's twin!! Haha.....and now it's fixed. My upper jaw in the gums near the front of my mouth is in pain and has been for a few days.

The weather hasn't been REALLY violent lately; nor for any of the missionaries but we had, I think, 3-6 tornadoes touch down just 5 miles away from that's nice!  Apparently, where my last companion is serving they had 11 people killed just on the other side of the river from him - all by tornadoes. But the work must still go on.

I'm glad to hear that Amy's home and that everyone will be home by the time I call. If I call and no one is home just call me back after you get home. I hope that everyone will get to talk to me and that I get to hear everyone.

We're teaching a family here in the next town over in Waverly and they've run into a snag about tithing. It's a giant challenge to get them to accept baptism but we're still working on it.

Today we're going to get groceries and wash the car.

Today in my personal study I've been hitting a part in faith that is leading me to study Jesus Christ. So I started Matthew and looked through Christ's genealogy. The Spirit was very good during my study.  I feel the more I break down the scriptures for my understanding that I'll be able to finally understand faith in its going really well. One thing that I've realized in order to understand the scriptures is that the gospel has to work 1. through us wanting to know and 2. searching it out (taking the effort to know about it) and 3. actually doing it (acting on it) and the thing that I've found where the Bible mentions about 'a perfect religion' is what it wants us to do with our lives. Like the word of wisdom, the way we think (how we look at the world around us) and helping us understand where that line is. The confusing part is that those who saw that line (the few reformers in history) felt something was missing. That's where the Book of Mormon comes in. Once we actually act on the Bible and study out the teachings in it, we can better see that line. The Book of Mormon helps cure or make sure that the knowledge of the Bible is correct. Then that leads us to ask...where does the Authority come from.....where did it go?...and how can I get it. That's also where the Doctrine & Covenants comes help us understand how these things came into place...that also includes the JST and the Pearl of Great Price (Moses) and the book of Abraham.

IT'S AWESOME and it only gets better. The one thing that put's it all together is being a missionary. A member who acts and who does.....that's how we can understand how it all works. If we can forget ourselves with life and try to live a Christ centered life with the gospel as our foundation, then success will just fall in place. Read 'Faith' in the B.D.

The more I read and study Christ and ask myself a million questions on every angle, the more I will see those blessings.

Faith also works by first going and having a trial then the reward. Christ didn't show himself to the Nephites until AFTER the trial of their faith. So if we want to have more faith we share our testimonies and we accept those hard times ahead. At the end our trials will help us to gradually change our desires to be in-line with God.

Sorry about my gospel tangent on that...haha!

I hope all is going well.

I can't wait to talk to y'all and the girls. I love y'all.

Your son/brother

Elder Richards

April 25, 2011

Hey Family,

We're going to be doing our phone calls on Mother's Day after church. Our church gets out at 1p.m. ET and we're 3 hours ahead of yeah!

I hope everyone will be there so that I can hear all your voices. Let me know who will be there and who won't. If dad is gone, that's ok, President Perry gave me special permission to call a 2nd time so that dad will be there when I call.

We just had interviews the other day with President Perry and he was incredible! He said he was really impressed with my wisdom of how I go about studying. (Not to be prideful). He is a spiritual giant! Right now I'm studying Faith, and the Holy Ghost. It's EPIC. I'm hoping to make my time in study a time that I can feel that I'm in the temple. My prayers are going well too. It feels the same way, with the new things that come to mind as I pray. I think if I were to advise Laura on the gospel, I would relate faith. Her action to get rid of cigarettes is an act of that, if she keeps doing that (acting on the doctrine of the gospel) she will continue to receive a witness of the gospel and eventually have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Things have been going well with me and my companion. We're still working things out and we're enjoying the companionship of the Holy Ghost in our lives. One thing I'm learning is to put my trust and worries on the Savior. To do the best I can and try to do great things.

As I was studying faith I thought of looking in my planner at something I wrote down. I can't remember where I saw it but it reads: "Faith is greater then to have a pure knowledge of things". If someone says that they believe that they can't have faith then it's true that they won't get anywhere in life. So we need to ask ourselves questions all the time about that subject. How do I grow faith? What is faith? How can I apply faith? So it's some really cool things.....especially in the scriptures.

Mom, I'm stoked to hear that your living the missionary schedual. It's really great, and that your working out too. With that order of things that your doing, personal study will be more balanced and spiritual. After we have worked out, showered and eaten breakfast - it's awesome how much more focused we get when we go by that order. It's cool to see how much I've changed because of just that one thing. Also companionship study is equally good as well! To enlighten each other on subjects is incredible! It's really good to council on the scriptures during that time also. It puts into perspective how and where we should go in terms of what we do every day. It's AWESOME!

After my EPIC pain in my back, I asked my companion to give me a blessing. He did and after that event I wrote in my journal and the next day when I woke up the pain was no longer there. What I learned by that is that I can't just sit around and wait for the pain to leave, the Lord needs me to act on it (having faith) and it worked!

As the days go on my companion and I are becoming more joined by the Spirit and it's going very good. It's not easy to learn about the principles of the gospel but it's well worth it and to be an instrument of the Lord.

  • 2 Nephi 2:26
26." And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given."

We must learn to act for ourselves and for our own salvation.

I hope everything is going really good, that's nice that dad got some time to himself. I too pray for Laura and Cory and Amanda and David and so does my mission president. I hope we can learn how to put more of our lives in the hands of the Savior. I'm trying to do that in my studies.

Let everyone know that I'm looking forward to saying hello over the phone on Mother's Day. I still don't get any correspondence from them yet so I'm really hoping they'll be  home for this phone call. Thanks for putting together Cd's for me. I hope y'all have a safe drive to Utah and back.

Tell everyone I said hi and I hope y'all are safe, enjoy that drive and listen to the Spirit often.

I love y'all

Elder Richards


April 18th Letters

Hey Mom! Thanks for the email and testimony. Things are going well here. We're setting about 4 people for baptism and our branch is going well. I'm teaching the young priests - mission prep and we're teaching them how to plan - while also refining our own skills.

Tell the ward members I'm very grateful for their letters and a big 'thank you' from me! It's good to read those letters every now and then.

My new companion is Elder Carter. He is 6 ft. 4 in. and just towers over me. He's nice, very organized, clean and snores at night! Ha! Ha! He teaches me a lot and occasionally jokes around; but still keeps our duty in mind. Our district is good!

How are the challenges going that I sent you? I hope everything is going well and that you're seeing blessings from service.

How are the girls and everyone else? I hope they're doing well. Amy's letter just made me so glad that she's in the church and active. I hope and pray that y'all are getting missionary experiences and spiritual opportunities.

I've been having to learn to deal with my companion's changes and helping him cope with the area; but it's going well - but really stressful. Other than that it's all good, no worries. The food is good and the insoles are comfy! Thanks for the stories and the goodies.

Some missionaries in this mission have abused the privilege of using mp3 players with the internet so we're all sending any internet capable devices home - so if your ok with sending me some classical music by CD that would be great - also some piano music and any efy music and Mormon Tabernacle Choir would be great!

Thanks again for the quotes, scriptures and hymns that you send...

Love you!
your son Elder Richards

Hey Dad - Thanks for the email. The weather is ok. We were teaching some potential investigators at their home in Surry (just north east of Wakefield). They are pentecostal and the wierd thing is that she started speaking in tongues! When the storm hit we were still at their home teaching them so they shared an evening meal of spaghetti with us. It was good but not as good as yours.

The drive home was awesome! The windshield wipers going as fast as they could - still couldn't keep the water off of the windshield. Crazy!!! We're teaching 4 people the gospel and we're going to be setting them for that's good! I hope they accept our invitation. My companion Elder Carter is from Pleasant Grove, Utah and has served most of his mission in the projects of the cities of Richmond, Norfolk and Newport News. This is his first real time to be in a car for over a year.

He's nice, teaching me to be organized and gives lots of suggestions. Sometimes I get stressed by him but I love his attitude and I'm doing fine.

We all have interviews with Pres. Perry this Saturday. Elder Carter gave me some really good advice for study and it's going well. I try to think to myself that I came out here to change and refine my character and gospel understanding. I feel that I'm going to be enlightened well from now on. In my journal with my scriptures and ensign I will add a little J-1, pg. 2 (J=journal and then the number, and the page in that journal) on the side of verses or articles in the ensign and refer those references to my journal and then write my thoughts and add the references in my journal. That's my new way of study and it's been going well.

I hope everything is going well and that you enjoy the extra sleep. I keep praying for ya and for the family so keep me posted on how things are going. I'm not sure if the girls are going to write me while I'm out on my mission, so if you could keep me posted of how they're doing.

I love you dad and I'm glad that you write me. It really cheers me up hearing from you and mom and knowing how things are going.

I hope work is going well and life is doing good.

Your favorite son, Elder Richards

D&C 101:16