Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hey Everyone!

It's good to hear that everyone is doing well! Things here are going well! We are continuing to gain more trust with the Bishop of the ward and we're having appointments with people who are in part-member families and it's going good...a little slow...but hey.."no worries"!

Other than my latest bike spill last week things have been good. I have a GREAT companion to work with and some good roommates!!

Recently, we've been doing service for this family in our ward. Actually it's a HUGE family and only 1 person is a member. My companion and I both had a good talk with this member about how GREAT the Church is and how it's good to set the example for the coming generations. I loved being able to talk about a subject that I am very passionate about. Sometimes when you know a person it's easier to converse with them about things of great importance because there is already a trust built up with them. It's so nice to see someone's face light up; to see their smile and the look in their eyes. Great to see and feel that connection with them about what you are teaching. You can tell they need and want what you have (as far as the gospel)and it's a great feeling to know that you can give/share that with them!!!

My weakness is sharing that knowledge effectively and expressing it in a good way! I guess being a 'gamer' all those years didn't serve me very well. I know I won't be doing much of that when I get home; I'm going to stay busy fixing everyone's bikes.

Fixing my bike and helping other Elders with their bikes has been a great way to relieve stress for me. It makes me feel great to be able to help others; knowing that I know how to do it. Also, I'm learning that when I run across something I don't know how to do - I Ask someone that does to teach me. It's helped me to realize how important education is. Knowledge is soooo valuable! Not only can it further my skills...but down the road - I can fix it myself and save myself $20-40 dollars!!

The Scriptures are the same way! Has anyone ever played the telephone game? One person says one thing and by the end - it's something not even close to what the first person said.

Well, the Navy does something interesting that is similar. Once they get information, they ask for it to be verified from the last known source - to make sure that there are very few mistakes in the message.

The Gospel is the same way! Once we receive a message (i.e. a talk in General Conference, lesson, etc..) We need to take the initiative to pray to the Lord and verify the message we received. Once we do that, we can then ask Him for directions on how to apply that message (teaching) in our personal lives; or for a father, how to apply that teaching in our families. That way we have gained a witness that the message (teaching) is just and true.

Another analogy:

Regarding adjusting the Derailer on my bike! (the guide arm with two cog wheels on it in the rear of the bike!)

When the Derailer is out-of-line on the cassette (the rear gears) the chain can ruin the gears and eat away at the metal over time. It can also wreck the front gears. All because the derailer arm is not where it should be. It needs to be exactly in the right spot in order to work properly....spacing is everything!! There is much more damage that can happen when the derailer is not where it should be or lined up correctly.

So it is with the Gospel. We need to be in alignment with God in order to ride smooth, straight and true. We don't want any unnecessary breakage or miscommunication and we want to make sure the spacing is just right (i.e.the frequency of our prayers, scripture studying and honesty). The more we are consistent with our prayers, scriptures and in being honest, the more knowledge and inspiration we're going to get from the Lord.

So my question is: What adjustments do we need to make in our lives (how can we improve) so that we can be closer to the Lord? How can we go about finding out? Good questions...hope you search for the answers! I hope you enjoyed those simple analogies and that it made sense!

Following is a short summary of this past week:

* Got dirty while fixing our bikes! :-(
* Got in a 'hairy' discussion (lesson) with a Pastor! :-)
* Had another Pastor pay to fix our bikes! :-)
* Came at a perfect time in someone's life! :-)   :-)
* Saw a cadaver lab and got a human's dead body juices on our hands!!! YIKES!  YUCK!! AWESOME!
* Got rained on all day on our bikes and were SOAKING WET! and finally....

ENJOY...we did!

I love you all,

Elder Richards

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