Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Exchanges

Hey everyone!! This week has been great. It flew by. Probably because Elder Ricks is the district leader so we went on two exchanges this week, and I left the area for both of them. Tuesday, I left to go on exchange with Elder Lin, who is companions with Elder Wilson. I worked with him in Endicott. It was way sweet and cold. And they share a car with the Johnson City Elders, and they didn't have the car that week. So we got to walk around, and it was very cold that day. Really windy and didn't get above 25 degrees. But Endicott is a sweet area, and Elder Lin is way funny. We taught their investigators Rose and Vern, as well as Lisa. Rose and Vern are interesting. They told me they feel the spirit everytime they come to church, but they aren't sure if the book of mormon is true or not and have had bad experiences with joining other churches in the past. But they were really nice. Then we taught their investigator Lisa, who is sweet. She has already read the book of mormon once, and is in Alma rereading it. She knows the church is true and loves it, but her catholic grandma who initially loved the missionaries apparently got really anti when Lisa got really involved. Elder Lin is from Hong Kong to, so I tested my chinese with him. I only remember hello, goodbye, thank you, and a few other phrases. But he said Hong Kong is very warm. Warmer than Arizona. And he didn't like the cold. I didn't really either. It would be great if I could play hockey on the ice and go inside like back home (the ponds have already started to freeze over, although not quite ready to skate on). But having to work in it all day outside makes me miss fall. Fall is definitely my favorite season here in New York. The months of September and October are very nice. Very mild climates and not too much rain either. Anyways the next morning Elder Lin and I had all of our appointments fall through. Then we went to zone conference with Elder Kacher of the seventy. Which was way sweet. Elder Kacher actually spoke in this last general conference. He started his training by asking us what we wanted help with. We then told him our zone's concerns. Lessons have gone up increasingly in the mission, but not investigators at sacrament meeting. Our member present lessons also haven't been where we would like them to be. So Elder Kacher taught us about making invitations to read, come to church, etc, be a spiritual experience and as he put it "activating their agency." It was way cool. He also showed us some sweet ideas to work with members and get them more involved in missionary work. Which was sweet. I've loved how much I've been learning the past few months about member missionary work and how important members of the church are in hastening the work of salvation. Then after zone conference, I went straight to Elmira to work with Elder Bybee, our zone leader. He's sweet. We taught 4 or 5 lessons together. I scared him pretty bad too. There apartment is way nice. I think it's nicer than the albany zone leaders. And it had lots of hiding places where I could jump out and scare him. One of the lessons we taught was to a less-active member named sister baldick. We read the book of mormon with her, and I asked her how she knows the book of mormon is true. She said "well I know it's true. It is right here." That doesn't mean it is true. There is plenty of literature out there that "is here." That doesn't mean it's true. Elder Bybee and I had a good laugh about. We also had a good laugh about the member we brought with us. He works at wendy's and I asked him how much beef they sell a day. I just wanted a rough estimate, but he went into all the details. How much the patties weigh, how much are sold a day etc, It was kind of weird. Oh the things that happen in mission life. Elder Bybee and I went with Elder Oloapu and Elder Ward to the gym early in the morning for exercise. It was so sweet. I miss working out at the gym. We also ate buffalo wild wings for lunch with them later that same day. (Elder Oloapu and Elder Ward were on exchange to, Elder Oloapu is serving in the Elmira ward with Elder Kunzler). Elder Oloapu was wearing Elder Wards brand new sweater, and spilled chocalate syrup all over it. Elder Ward got some cake and ice cream since it was his birthday. It was a sweet exchange. Then finally I got back to Owego with Elder Ricks Thursday night. The work here is going ok. We have dropped two investigators this week, and are really focusing on working with the ward members and part-member families. It's going to pick up. The church has a "He is the gift" initiative that focuses on Jesus Christ and the Christmas season, so that will definitely help us build our teaching pool. We picked up a very interesting investigator named Staci, who believes in God but not Satan. And doesn't believe in praying over the food or to start a church meeting etc,. So it will be interesting to see how things go. Love you all and take care. Have a great week.

Elder Richins









Buffalo Wild wings  






Elder Wards new sweater!! 
 Zone Leader Elder Bybee!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shirt Burning!







One Year Mark....
Burning of the shirt!
Mom and Dad,
This week was good. Can't believe I am already halfway done with the mission. It doesn't seem that long. I did burn the shirt though. Things are picking up in Owego although it is definitely getting cold. It has snowed the past 3 nights in a row, although it melts by the end of the day. This week flew by!! We  played volleyball last week on preparation day after email with the missionaries of the binghamton ward, the greene branch, and a member named brother butts. We are probably going to go play again today. We were able to see some progress in Brother Mercer. He has been trying to quit for years, and once he quits, he will be baptized. But he says it is so hard to do. He said that the Lord has never taken away his desire to quit, which frankly will never happen. He will always have the temptation, but the Lord will allow him to resist it as he puts his effort in. But the temptation will still be there. We taught him this week about the priesthood, and then it was my privilege to give him a blessing of counsel on how to quit smoking. He seemed a bit hesitant the first time we brought up the idea, but after the blessing, he said it was a good one and he felt like it worked. I can't remember the words exactly, but I do know that he will quit if he acts. That's one of the lessons that I have learned repeatedly here. Is that God respects our agency and ability to choose and act for ourselves. He doesn't make things happen for us. The less-active member Tom Thomas asked us to stop visiting. He says he can't believe in the Book of Mormon as the word of God, and we will probably have to drop our investigator Valery. She was showing progress, but she has gotten caught up with deep doctrine and won't let it go. She said a few weeks ago she couldn't find any fault with the mormon church, and know it seems she is using the deep doctrine as a reason to find fault with the church. Oh well. We are going to visit her one more time and see if she can drop the issue. If not, we won't be able to keep wasting our time. We taught her about how she has to have faith and stay true to what she knows to be true and not let her doubts get in the way. But she doesn't seem to be able to do that. But sometimes that's what happens.  You can't make people accept the truth. We did pick up Caleb this week. He is the husband of Amber, one of our investigators, and they have a little baby. It's going to be sweet. Teaching families is awesome!! We also started teaching a less-active named Brother Hartjen this week, the son of the active brother hartjen from Schoharie. He is very interesting. He told us that once he truly believed, and how he wanted to go on a mission, but then things happened, and now he doesn't even believe in God or Jesus Christ, but he is open to the fact that they exist. He also says that he "wants to believe the Mormon Church, because of how perfect it is. Every question and concern can be answered, you can live with your family forever, etc.," I then asked him  if he had ever read the book of mormon and prayed to know if it is true. He said that he had read parts of it, but never the whole book, nor did he ever pray about it and receive an answer from the Holy Ghost that it was true. And so We talked naturally about how important the witness of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon is. Hopefully he will read and pray about it. Because everything comes down to the truthfulness of the book of mormon. If it isn't true, then everything in the church falls with it. It is always cool to be reminded of that truth and the great blessing it is to me that I have a testimony of the book of mormon. I also went on exchange with Elder Wilson this past week, and during that exchange, I had some crazy experiences. A 14 year old that I taught in my last area  but stopped teaching messaged me about how the Jehovah's witnesses stopped by the door and she told them off by showing them the bible we gave her. I then asked her about Elder Bond (the new missionary with Elder Jepsen in Schoharie) and tried to get her to commit to meet with them. Out of nowhere she sent me pictures of her boyfriend and told me how they have been together for four months. It was so random and I had no idea what to do. Then a less-active who apparently threatens she is going to commit suicide texted us about that (and I at the time didn't know she often threatened that without ever doing it) so that was interesting. We do have thanksgiving dinner planned out. We will have it with the Knudsen's, who are the members that we live with. (Our apartment is part of their upstairs). We also went to two baptisms this week. One for the Vestal Sisters, and one for the Owego Sisters. Our district includes the Owego Elders (us), the Endicott Elders, the Owego Sisters, and the Vestal Sisters. This week will be good. I get to go to both Elmira and Endicott on exchanges!! Since Elder Ricks is the district leader and I'm his companion. Oh and happy birthday Mom!!! I love you so much and am so grateful for your incredible example and all that you have done for me. Take care and I love you all. Have a great week.

Elder Richins

Monday, November 10, 2014

Milking of the Cows!







And the Milking of the
Cows!!!! 


Oh. We got to hold Tom Thomas's rabbits too!! And Remember Brer Rabbit? 
Brer Rabbit!
Mom,
This week was good. Now that I have been here in Owego for a full week, I've got a bit more of an idea of what I like about the area and what I don't.  And I just got to sending that package today actually.So you guys should get it this week And I did hear about your surgery. Everything will go well!! And don't worry about it. Take your time!! I'll try to give them a call this week as well. Now for Owego. I'm serving here with Elder Ricks. He is from Pleasant View, Utah, and is really into motorcycling/fourwheeling.  He has been out since April of 2013, so we neither of us are very new. When I got to the area, we didn't have many investigators of less-actives we were teaching. It felt a lot like when I got to Schoharie. And like Schoharie, the teaching pool is going to increase. The investigators and less-actives we teach here seem to have the same concern. They all are mad at God and don't understand why trials are in this life. So Elder Ricks and I taught the Plan of Salvation a few times this week. So the place we live is called Newark valley. And the area is a lot like Schoharie. Rural with lots of hills and the big Susquehanna river running right through Owego. All the leaves are gone now to, so it looks pretty dead here. Owego is a bit busier, but that is the Sisters area, so we don't go there. I do cook quite a bit more in this area than others, which has its pros and cons. We visited a few times with our investigator Valery this week. She's sweet and very funny. She will just make unusual connections with what we are teaching her and blurt them out. Haha. But at least she is listening to what we have to teach her. She has a testimony of the book of mormon, and is scheduled for baptism in January. She asked Elder Ricks and I quite a few questions, so we decided to start from the beginning with her. We taught her the restoration/1st cornerstone experience, and it pretty well. It got off to a rough start because when we asked her what she saw in the 1st picture of the restoration pamphlet, she told us that Jesus was just going to sacrifice that lamb later, and jumped right into the mosiac law. (She reads the old testament quite often). That was interesting. She lets details from the old testament hang her up a lot, especially since she doesn't have the Joseph Smith translation. I'm so grateful that we have the Joseph Smith translation. It clarifies understanding from the bible so much. Luckily Brother Cassin (the member present) was able to maneuver the lesson back on track after that rough beginning. She prayed at the end and said that there was no doubt with what we were teaching her. It was awesome. We also taught her the 1st half of the plan of salvation this week. Again she got hung up on the nature of God, and it is hard to keep the Spirit in the lesson when your investigator has some hard feelings towards God and voices them in the lesson. Spirit goes right out the door. But we will keep working with her. She will turn around. I know it. We are also teaching a less-active member named Tom Thomas. He's way sweet and very funny. But he has a daughter who has some sort of mental/emotional or physical health issue that she was born with, and he doesn't understand why God allows that stuff to happen. He doesn't seem to have a testimony anymore, but he is willing to meet and find out if its true, so I'm excited to see what happens with both him and Valery. Starting this week, one of the new things President Wirthlin wants the Owego zone to keep track of his how many active member lessons we teach. It's really important as a missionary to visit with members to help them feel the spirit, gain trust in us as missionaries, and help them do missionary work. We've been teaching a lot of active members the new teaching method and how to use facebook to share the gospel. We had some very interesting experiences with a member who I will call brother Joe (it's not his real name). First we went over to his house and showed him how to share media from church websites on facebook. Then he turned on his TV, and showed us all the foreign channels he likes to watch. I didn't watch, but asked him if he could understand anything they were saying. He said they didn't, and realized I was thinking to myself "then why does he watch it." Apparently he likes to see what foreign countries think of America. Then he came and taught Brandon Hill, our recent convert with us. We read 3 nephi 19 with him. And when we read verse 18, which reads "and behold, they began to pray, and they did pray unto Jesus calling him their lord and their God." Brother Joe then goes on to explain to Brandon that we pray to Jesus because it is through him that we communicate with the Father...Elder Ricks and I just looked at each other. I just was thinking what the heck could we say to get this false doctrine out of the lesson without making brother Joe look bad. I then said that is why we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, because is our advocate with him. And that is what we do. Pray to him directly in the name of christ. After I said that, Brandon just said that makes sense. I was so relieved haha. It's always interesting when experiences like that happen with members who come teach with you. We also picked up a few new investigators this week. I had a unique experience with facebook. We scheduled to teach Stacey Eddy, a less-active member over facebook. She invited one of her friends to join in on the chat with us. She actually texted us in advance to make sure it was ok. Of course it was. So we picked up Jacklyn without meeting her in person yet. Sister Eddy said after our lesson she wants to feed us this week with Jacklyn and another one of her friends. It was really cool to see that and how facebook and technology can be used to further the work of salvation. We also taught a lady named Amber on her porch. We got to the Apostasy in the Restoration pamphlet, but she had to cut us short due to her baby crying. It was dark outside. Hopefully we will meet with her today and finish it. We also picked up an old lady who goes by Peg. She's sweet. She has pictures of Jesus all over inside her house and actually had a restoration pamphlet standing up on her microwave. It collected quite a bit of dust though. She cancelled our return appointment though, so we will see how that one goes. Nothing really changed with the Mercers this week. Oh the Hoffmiers. They are the people we get to milk cows for. We had a pretty good lesson with Brother Hoffmier. We read Enos with him. He left the TV on though so he could look at the cute girls. And he's like 60 or 70. I was laughing so hard and jokingly said amen to that and I would enjoy it to. But then everytime my eyes seemed to go to the TV he called me out on it.... We also went over to milk the cows this week. And when Nancy Hoffmier showed us how to handmilk them, I asked her if she could shoot the milk into the cat's mouth (like in TV). She tried but the cat ran away. Then she squirted me in the face. It was pretty funny and gross. Well I love you all and have a great week!!!

Elder Richins

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Companion...Elder Ricks!





Susquehanna River





Me and my new companion
Elder Ricks!







Mom,
I love the Sissons!!!!! They are so funny and cool!! Elder Jepsen and I love them. I want to go hunting with him when I get off the mission. Did he show you pictures of his house, or talk about Ambit energy at all or the Brigham beard? Haha I miss them so much!! Leaving schoharie was bittersweet. Monday and Tuesday Elder Jepsen and I tore it up. We picked up a few new investigators and taught 9 lessons in those two todays, and monday is pday. Then I went to transfers in Utica. It was sweet because I got to get a picture with President Wirthlin and see a lot of good old friends. It's weird that Elder Lords, my zone leader who was 13 months into his mission when I came out went home. I miss Schoharie and Elder Jepsen a lot. We had so many adventures there. But Elder Ricks (my new companion) is really cool and I'm excited and confident for the new adventures that await me here in Owego!! So I will start with the apartment. It is actually part of the upstairs of Bishop and Sister Knudsen's house. They are awesome. We are located in Newark Valley and cover Newark Valley, Candor, Berkshire, and part of Owego. The Owego sisters cover most of Owego, Apalachin, and Nichols. We get to do laundry at their place and use their computer and ipad for facebook. I scared Sister Knudsen pretty badly today. Bishop and her both leave for work really early in the morning. Elder Ricks was loading laundry and I was by the fireplace, and Sister Knudsen came back in for something and didn't know we were there. I just said morning and she jumped pretty bad. I must admit I've had really nice apartments on my mission. I'll hit a year without ever having to use a laundromat. Anyways, the ward here is smaller than Schoharie. Only about 80 people attend each week. I also forgot what it was like to share a ward with another set of missionaries. I can't remember if I told you Elder Jepsen and I were the only two missionaries in the Schoharie ward or not, but we were. Now we share the ward with Sisters. So naturally we get fed a lot less here. But I'll live. Halloween was sweet. We got permission from President Wirthlin to watch the Saratov approach on halloween with the Knudsen's and the Owego Sisters. It was so fun!!! We aren't teaching a ton of people here, but that will change real soon. My testimony that there are people ready to receive the gospel was strengthened so much in Schoharie. I got there and we had one investigator and maybe one less-active we were teaching by my 2nd week there. And when I left we had gotten up to 15 investigators and 8-10 less-actives. And I look forward to doing the same thing here!!! And the few people we are teaching here are really awesome. We have an investigator named Brother Mercer, whose wife is a member who joined a couple of years ago. They are so sweet. We just need to get Brother Mercer confident enough to quit smoking, then He will be baptized. They have pretty bad health problems too, so it is hard for them to come to church. He used to love horseback riding though!! Elder Ricks and I decided to start over with the lessons for him, and he mentioned in the lesson how one 24 hour day to Heavenly Father is 1,000 years for us. I'm pretty sure he is the only investigator I have who will ever say something like that in the lesson and knows that much about the gospel. We are also teaching a lady named Valorie. She is interesting. She's sweet on her good days, but she has bad days too. When Elder Ricks and I went over there the first time, I was able to meet with her. We didn't have a male with us and she lives alone, so we thought we could meet with her real quick on her porch. Elder Ricks said that they had done that before in similar weather to what is was that day, but she didn't remember, because she wasn't too happy. So we rescheduled for the next day, and she was a completely different person. So we will see. I asked Elder Ricks if she is bipolar, and he said he wasn't sure, but he wouldn't be surprised. We are also teaching a sweet recent convert named Brandon Hill. I didn't realize before my mission how much some missionaries are involved in working with less-active members and recent converts. But he's way solid. His mom was also recently reactivated, and the rest of their family isn't active, yet. We also have these investigators, the Hoffmiers, who are farmers and taught me all about cows and the difference between a cow, 2nd heffer, and 1st heffer. We also milk their cows for them for service, so that will be sweet. It's getting chilly here. Snow can come anytime now. Also yesterday at dinner with the Richardson's I got to dish out everyone their chicken. We were starving since it was fast sunday, and I gave Elder Ricks the smallest piece. It was so funny!!  Love you all and hope you have a great week.
Elder Richins

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Brother Ed and Sister Joan Sisson in Utah!



Our family had the privilege of meeting Brother and Sister Sisson from the NYUM!!!

They came to church with us.  Brother Sisson bore his testimony about how important missionary work is and how grateful he is for the elders that taught him and his family the gospel.  He told of the day the missionaries collected all the sap from his maple trees during

the day so
that when he got home from work that evening he would be able to spend time with the missionaries listening to their message rather than collecting the sap.  He said his life would never be the same after that and that he loves this gospel and missionary work!




Brother Sisson has gone on many splits with Elder Richins and says he is doing an amazing work.  He says he has seen Elder Richins grow immensely over the past 4 months and that we will not even know him when he gets home because of the amazing change.  Sister Sisson has fed him well and loved to spend time with him while Elder Richins worked on her deck and helped cut and hammer their new home being built.


Our family is forever connected to the Sissons and we are so grateful for such amazing people in the NYUM that watch over and love our missionaries there!


Transfered to OWEGO!!!!! Lots of Goodbyes in Schoharie

Mom and Dad,
Yes I am going to Owego, right down by the susquehanna river!! It's crazy to think I will be right by the river that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were baptized in. Well, this week was good. I'm very sad to be leaving Schoharie. Probably because I wasn't expecting it. I mean, I was in Scotia 7 and a half months, so I was sure I would not leave. But I was just finishing my 3rd transfer here, so I wasn't sure about Schoharie when calls came on Saturday. I wanted to stay one more with Elder Jepsen. He has been great. We get a long so well.  We work hard and have fun while doing it. I honestly don't think I have laughed more on my mission than these last 12 weeks with him. The members here are hilarious too. I can't wait to come back here someday. Elder Jepsen will be training a brand new missionary. This is a great place to start off the mission. I get to go to the transfer meeting in Utica on Wednesday. I am very excited. You don't always go to the transfer meeting in Utica when you get transferred. It wouldn't make sense for me to have gone when I came here from Scotia, since they are literally right next door to each other. But anyways, I'm going to miss this place a whole lot. We had some pretty sweet lessons this week. The Kargs are doing, ugh. They didn't come to church yesterday. Last week they didn't come because of Brother Kargs knee, but I'm not convinced that was the case yesterday. Sister Karg is doing great. She's totally getting reactivated. She posts so much stuff about the church on her facebook. And she wasn't when we first started meeting with her. She has really progressed. Brother Karg (the nonmember of the family) has a testimony of the priesthood. He can't read real well though, so I'm not sure how he will gain a testimony of the book of mormon. He will get baptized someday though. We have made more progress with them than any other missionaries ever have. Brother Karg told us that himself. We have become such good friends. I will miss them. Bill Sherling is doing great. He will be considered reactivated soon. He came again yesterday for the full 3 hours. That's two weeks in a row. We have seen such great progress with him. In addition to that, we picked up a couple of new investigators this week, both on exchange with Elder Buck. Elder Buck (like Elder Jepsen) is also from Lehi Utah. He struggles in the morning. I just tried to help him improve. We picked up a college student named Cathryn who goes by Cat. She was sweet. She asked us what our difference is from the catholic church, lutheran church, etc., She's way prepared. We couldn't teach as much as we wanted because her friend came up the porch while we were teaching and told her it was time to study for their big test tomorrow. It was dumb. Oh well. We also picked up Jalissa, the 12 year old daughter of our investigator Nancy. We scheduled a return appointment with Jalissa, and when we came back we crashed a halloween party. But when we saw we were the missionaries, they said Nancy loves it when we stop by, so that is really exciting. We also saw our investigator Constance this week. She is sweet and prepared. Her son Xavier has some form of autism, and he is like 4 years old. So it was really hard to focus during the lesson. She is very sincere. We have seen a lot of progress in the members of the ward to. Elder Jepsen, Brother Bryant (the Ward mission leader), and I have really been focusing on helping the members get more involved about missionary work, and we have seen so much more involvement. It's one of the great lessons I learned here. As a missionary, you can't just expect a referral, you have to work with the members to get them by helping the members know how they can share the gospel with their friends in a non threatening way. But Elder Jepsen and I have seen miracles. In this area, I went from teaching less than 10 lessons a week to teaching more than I ever have. There are people ready for the gospel no matter where you go, it just takes faith and hard work on our part. Also visited George Pynn, another less-active we have been started meeting with. It was interesting. We went over at like 7 (he lives in an old folks home complex) so he opened the door and had already gone to bed. So whenever I asked him a question during the lesson, he would just say "I can barely breathe right now." He was way tired. It was funny. Yesterday I started saying goodbye to everyone. It's sad. I love this area. Also got to see a less-active, Kevin Sisson yesterday. He's sweet. He's the one who had the deer that Elder Jepsen and I helped put on his wall. Elder Jepsen and I aren't sure why he's inactive, because he has a testimony and showed us how some prophecy Brigham Young made about the last days had recently been fulfilled. So he knows the gospel and has a testimony. He served a mission to, but that doesn't matter if you don't endure to the end. His son just put in his mission papers, and his girlfriend isn't a member, so there is tons of potential there. As we said goodbye, he looked at us and told us it was no coincidence that Elder Jepsen and I were serving together and crossed paths with, that it was meant to be and we influenced his life for the better. Chills went down my spine when he said that especially because him and I really connected. He knows  about (and I think has some connection ) to fairview and mt. pleasant, so I told him about our cabin and we really connected and he just opened up. I know the Lord calls us to go where we need to go. So Owego, here I come. My new companion will be Elder Ricks. Have a great week family. Love you all and take care.
We saw a fox and this is our district this past transfer!!!

The Coyers, another great member family


 The Cooper family and Elder Jepsen and myself
 Victor is the recent
convert we have been working with who wants to go on a mission!
Me and Victor messing around.





 Ed and Joan Sisson and their dog! (they are coming to Utah and may stop by...I gave them your contact info)
Joe and Phyllis Sisson 
The Vanderwerken family (one of them)

Kevin Sisson, me and the deer we hung up!!!



Leaves are almost gone! :(

Mom,
Thank you so much!! I did get the birthday package!!! It was so sweet!!! I loved the ties, the candy, the sweaters, everything was so great!! I didn't get more pumpkin pie, but we had delicious brownies and fresh-baked apple pie with the karg family yesterday!! It was so sweet. The kargs are doing well. Sister Karg is on fire. She is totally going to be re-activated. She's keeping commitments real well. She even posts things about the church and stuff from mormonchannel.org and lds.org on her facebook page all the time. It is so cool to see how much the gospel can change lives. And it looks like I got the vial for oil just in time. Brother Karg messed up his knee, so they couldn't come to church yesterday. But we gave Brother Karg a blessing of healing. Elder Jepsen anointed the oil and I sealed it. My testimony of God's love for each of us individually and the power of the priesthood is strengthened every time I give a blessing. The words just come to you and you know it is the spirit. We asked Brother Karg what his thoughts were on baptism. He said he isn't ready yet. We did have him pray at the end of the lesson, and he prayed that he and his family would be able to make it to church though. He will definitely get baptized, it's just a matter of timing. We have seen so much progress in them already. We also had zone training meeting this past week. It was on the book of mormon and how we could use it more effectively in our study. The zone leaders set up an activity where we wore blind folds and were taken outside the church. Then we had to hold onto a string (the iron rod) in order to get back in the church. On the path there were rocks and logs we had to hop over, and other missionaries who would try to get us to let go of the string. When we got to the end, we took off our blind folds and pondered the scripture 1 Nephi 15:24. It was really cool to see how important the book of mormon really is to each of us. There was one part of the training I was disappointed about though. We didn't get any fruit or similar thing at the end of the activity. But it was way cool. We also had to practice reading the Book of Mormon with our investigators and less-actives and using it to answer their questions and resolve concerns. Since we want them to read the whole book of mormon from front to cover rather than just skipping all over. And I found that wherever we were in the Book of Mormon, we can have our questions and concerns answered. I also got to go to Hudson again this week. Elder Jepsen and I this transfer will go on 5 exchanges. I got to work with Elder Davis this time. He's cool. He goes home in January. (He came out with Elder Johnson). We visited with a lot of less-actives again. We got some cheesecake from sister szepezzy. It was really good. Elder Jepsen pointed out today that in 2 months we will be making our 3rd call home of our missions. Time flies!! Elder Koyle goes home in about 7 weeks. Crazy!! Bill Sherling and his 7 year old son Nick (Bill is another less-active we work with) came to church and stayed the whole 3 hours!!! Brother Sherling is making really good progress!! We also picked up a new investigator name Jeanette this week. Elder Jepsen and I tracted into her. It was such a tender mercy. She definitely felt the spirit. After the lesson she explained how she couldn't meet with us anymore because she lives with her boyfriend's parents, and she didn't think they would like us coming over. She actually said that we were lucky to catch her when she was home alone and she could actually take the time to listen to us. Then we offered to teach her over facebook, and she was very open to that and we gave her a book of mormon. I realized after the odds of us knocking on that door at the only time she could have accepted our message and thus allowing us to make contact with her. The lord is very aware of us, and my testimony of the gospel has been strengthened so much by serving a mission. Oh, and the cold is setting in. We had some rain this week that has taken a lot of the leaves off the trees, and yesterday was about 40 degrees. The winter is definitely coming. So I was very grateful for the sweater. Love you all so much and have a great week.

Elder Richins

PS.

Transfers are a week from this wednesday, and the call comes this saturday. So the next time I email, I'll know if I'm staying in Schoharie or not. Today we just cleaned our apartment and car, and got our flu shots. It took forever for them to figure out the missionary medical insurance. And elder Jepsen hit his head at walmart and had to fill out an accident report. Everyone wanted to make sure he was ok and asked him if he needed anything. He asked for a water bottle and they gave him the nicest water bottle, ice-cold for free. Oh Brother!! He conned them!!

 More Fall and me with Elder Davis and Elder Jepsen....Most of the leaves have fallen off!