Monday, March 14, 2011

I Hope They Call Me On a Mission

What an amazing week! Hermana Ruplinger and I worked so hard and saw so many miracles as a result! Jorge's baptism is scheduled for Sunday. That means my last day in my area and I will have a baptism. Pray that all goes well. I am so happy!!!! He picked that day because he said he would rather die than have me not be there. hahaha....i love these people.
We went over to this less-actives house to teach her. She is really lonely and she had just gotten finished telling us her mom might have cancer. She cried for a long time. I was really glad we were there because I have a really good relationship with her and could give her a hug and listen. Well, she always loves to give us a snack right before we leave. She asked if we wanted a peanut butter sandwich. I said "ya sure". She then saw the jelly and asked if we wanted peanut butter or jelly. I said "both!" She then laughed and gave me a weird face. I thought she was going to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Well, 2 minutes later I have 2 sandwiches in front of me, one with just peanut butter, the other with just jelly. I almost laughed out loud. She just got here from Guatemala and still doesn't know a lot of the American customs and foods. She didn't know that peanut butter and jelly go together. I just thought it was so cute! I would take a bite of the peanut butter sandwich then a bite of the jelly sandwich. HAHA!!!
It is so weird to me that I will be home next week. It actually doesn't at all seem real. I just love this work so much I can hardly think about not being a missionary anymore. I know that the Lord has other things planned for me and I have other missions to fulfill in my life. It is just hard to come to grips with. I love the people here so much and I know it will be tough for me to leave.
It is often said that the hardest things in life are the most worth it. I have come to find that to be true. My mission has been the hardest thing I have ever loved. And because of that I am so grateful to be a missionary.
God knows us individually. I know that. I have trusted Him and He has lifted me to a higher place. A place where things are clear and joy is found. I know my Heavenly Father loves me because He has stretched me, pulled me, and challenged me, but He has lead me, lifted me, and sanctified me. He knows our trials, our fears, and our deepest desires.
Jesus Christ suffered all so I can be made whole. There never has nor ever will be a greater manifestation of love that of that day in Gethsemane when He suffered for the world that we might live again.
Joseph Smith did in reality, see God, the Father and Jesus Christ in that sacred grove of trees. His prayer was answered and mine was too. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. There is a power within the pages of that book. 
I am thankful for you- my family and friends. I have felt of your prayers and your letters helped me. Thank you for letting me have this opportunity to come closer to my Heavenly Father by serving His children.
I am so grateful for every experience I have had here on my mission. Every lesson, every chance I had to open my mouth, every time I had to ride around in the heat on my bike. I firmly believe that my life will be greater because of the decision I made to serve a mission. I am stronger. I am thankful because I have found myself here over these last 18 months. The scripture in Matthew that says "Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it" takes on greater significance to me because I have experienced it. I love the Lord! For "by small means the Lord can bring about great things."
I love you all so much!!!!! I will see you NEXT WEEK!!!!! 
Hermana Richards :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No Title

What a week! I wish I could express my joy and happiness to return to Galveston for a few days. It was exactly what I needed and was such a good experience for me. It just felt SO great to be on my bike again riding around next to the ocean and seeing all the people that I served. I saw basically the entire branch and they were all so exctied to see me. I didn't think little Victoria was going to let me go! I forgot how much I love it there. While I was there we visited a part-member family I worked with last summer. I know that it was inspired to have me go there because I had formed a good relationship with them. The Hermana cried when she saw me and she began to pour out her soul to me on how she had been feeling and trials she was facing. She stopped going to church because of some drama that happened within the branch. She was able to talk to me and open up. She said she hadn't felt comfortable with the other Hermanas to do so. I instantly felt that I was needed there at that time and no where else. It was so good to have the opportunity to go back to a place that has such a sacred place in my heart. I love Galveston. As we were riding our bikes I had the time to just think back on my mission and remember some very sacred and revelatory moments. These last few weeks have not been easy for me. I have had some very bitter-sweet moments that have cause a lot of tears. I am jsut so grateful for this time I have had to serve a mission. I wish I could explain into words the things I have learned and the many times I have felt the hand of the Lord direct me. Galveston helped me to remember all He has given me. It was a time and experience that I needed to just remember.

On Thursday we had the last day of our mission conference. Holy cow it was really hard.....I have just made some really good friendships and I basically bawled knowing that I had to say goodbye to some of these missionaries. It was just the last time to be there for mission stuff. I guess I sound like a huge baby....I am just sad to be leaving.

My week was just really good. BUT Hermana Ruplinger has been sick for 3 days straight. It has been an adventure. We have had to stay in a lot and I have been bored out of my mind in the apartment. I have done a lot of reading in my Book of Mormon. :)

I hope you are all doing excellent. I love you lots!!
Hermana Richards

Going Back to Galvy!

I am going back to my favorite island today! Well, its only for 3 days but I am super excited!! I am going on exchanges with an Hermana there which I think will be really good because Hermana Ruplinger needs to take over our area here soon and this will get her prepared. I am really stoked to see all my favorite people on the island and ot be riding next to the ocean on my bike.....ahhhh....good memories. AND it is totally hot here again. So I get to work hard and sweat my last month. The humidity is what kills me....and my hair.

It seems as though the crap hit the fan this last week. 2 of our part-member families that we are working with are on the verge of separation. We had a charming lesson(sarcastic) with one of them that resulted in him telling us he doesnt want us to come over and her begging us to never leave. She was in tears. It is actually kind of comical that we (Hermana Ruplinger and I), the ONLY 2 Hermanas in the mission with divorced parents are trying to help families from killing one another. interesting.......I have been praying a lot. I love these people and can ardly imagine not being here with them....even if everything is a tranny mess.

Our cute little 9 year old investigator(her dad is a less active) bought us these cute cupcakes on friday. They were like the gourmet ones like from the cupcakery. She said that we needed something sweet after a long week. I love her!

I feel like I always give you random details of my week. I guess I stop talking about lessons and contacts because I have talked a lot about it in the past. My email are full of nothingness lately. :)

One example that an Hermana in our ward yesterday used in our lesson I really liked. She talked about how we need to be like telescopes. Because they are usually on hills away from the grime and grossness of the owrld so that it wont obscure its view. that is just like us. We need to lift ourselves above and out of the world in order to really see and have a more heavenly view.

I love you bunches!!! I hope to get a good missionary tan this week on my bike in Galveston!
Hermana Richards

Here Comes the Sun

We have been on bikes a lot these last few days which means that I totally have my watch tan back! HAHA!! It is starting to get warm again which makes me happy because it is so much harder to do missionary work in the cold, just not as many people outside to contact. I love my bike becasue I am outside with all the people and am able to contact more. It makes me feel like more of a missionary.

We had a mission conference on Thursday and will have it every Thursday for het next 3 weeks. President Saylin is trying to get us all trained on some new material recieved from the brethren of the church. They make for really long days because from 7:30-6pm we learn and then role play. It is making me a better missionary even if I feel like I want to pull my hair out sometimes. :)

Dulce and Jorge have a friend that they referred us to and he is awesome! His name is Diego. Like off the kids show- Go Diego, Go! HAHA! We are meeting with him again today but he already loves reading his Book of Mormon. I called him to make daily contact and I asked about his reading. He then proceeded to teach me over the phone for 10 mintues about the doctrine of Christ and the importance of authority in baptism. Awesome much? I fully expect that in this next little while he will get baptized.

We went over to Hermana Latorre's apartment on Wednesday to help her wash her clothes. She simply cannot do it because she is still recovering from surgery. Well, as we were finishing putting her clothes in the drier I told her we would be back in 45 minutes to take them out because we have the goal to contact 10 people everyday per missionary. I told her that we needed a few more to be caught up. She then turned to me and said "what like 9?" HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! It was so true! She is so sassy. I really think that is why I love her so much. She is just an old version of myself.

We are doing a ton of great finding! We have our solid families that we are working with but need to find more investigators so we have hit the pavement and met some really great people that I am excited to teach. I pray that they will accept our message and progress.

At the conference on Thursday Sister Saylin gave a great talk on revelation. I realzed that I needed to turn more to my Heavenly Father for help in knowing what to do to help my investigators. I found myself relying too much on my own ideas and knowledge and not being so focuesed on receiving inspiration. I regret that. This last week I have turned to the Lord a lot in prayer and there is such a difference in the work. What a blessing it is to be a missionary!

I love you bunches!!
Hermana Richards

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!!!

There is this cute little black baby playing next to me and is totally distracting me. Two minutes ago she was offering me some of her fruit snacks. LOL!! I miss playing with little kids.

Turns out Jorge is not getting baptized this week. He is still working on Sundays. I have complete faith that within these next two weeks he will get baptized. I talked with Dulce about it for a little while on Saturday night. That conversation is sacred to me. She just told me some really great things and an experience she had with the Spirit. She is just a really amazing person. I want you all to meet her.

Last night we were at our dinner appointment and while the food was finishing cooking the little girl decided she wanted to decorate my nails. So now I have a rainbow of designs on all of my fingers. I am not sure that is what the white handbook meant by having "conservative nail polish"....I will have to take it off today. :( But not before I take a picture.

I am getting really distracted today because also the Elders were showing me family pictures.....sorry. I feel like I get too antsy at the computer nowadays. I figure in a few weeks I can fill all of you in.

We went by Hermana Latorre's house because she is still recovering from surgery. She was "teaching" us how to cook. I put teaching in quotations because she is basically blind and it was more than an adventure to have her teach us. She kept telling us(insisting to us) that she is going to teach us how to cook so when we get married we fed our husbands. HAHA!! She is so crazy/awesome! Apparently I was using the wrong type of spoon when mixing and that I needed to put more strength in my arm when I stirred.

Julia gave her testimony last night at a fireside. She did such a good job! She was super nervous and even wrote it out for me to read to make sure it was ok. When she got up there she told me she just decided to follow the spirit and not use her notes. It turned out fabulous!

Our district went bowling last week for an activity and I still stink really bad. They were all trying to teach me/ show me......ya, didn't work. :)

We are having a mission conference every Thursday for the next 3 weeks to get more trainings from the brethern---which means more role-plays! :( I told my comp this morning after we role played in comp. study that I feel like my life is a role play! LOL!!!

Whelp, my mind is blank. I love you all a ton!! Remember that sacrifice brings blessings and that the greatest joy comes when we are living the gospel.