Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Holidays from Newark Valley 2014!

Morgan is off to BYU ID



Last time nerfing with Morgan Bush!!





Love the books I got for Christmas!!!



MMMM. And sunny days in December!!
Elder Ricks and I both laughed about that bumper sticker!!

Jon Demming off to BYU
Texas Roadhouse with the Pierce family on Christmas Eve
















Mom and Dad,
This week was fantastic! Can't believe the second Christmas on the mission is already done! It's crazy how quickly time flies. It's really weird to think that Weston has only five months left on his mission!! Haha. It's crazy to hear about all the people from back home serving missions and spreading out all over the world. Christmas was great!! Really enjoyed your guys package and gifts, as well as the letters the young women and primary sent. This week was kind of slow with everyone being busy with the holidays, but we still saw some really cool miracles.  Started the week off going on exchange with Endicott with Elder Lin. He is so funny. So we now can only be on facebook for 20 minutes a day unless teaching a lesson, then we can stay on to finish the lesson. That new rule is to help the missionaries us their time online productively, rather than staying on for an hour if nothing is going on. President Wirthlin doesn't mind us staying on long, as long as we are teaching someone during that time. Elder Lin then said we will just have to set up a lot of facebook lessons so we could stay on all day, so we wouldn't have to go outside in the cold!! I laughed pretty hard. We also got to have dinner with a sweet family the Guthries. They have a tradition where the missionaries always decorate their Christmas tree that they have on the kitchen table, so Elder Lin and I got to decorate it before dinner!! Then Christmas Eve was a blast. We exchanged back, went caroling which was fun, and got to go to Texas Roadhouse with the Pierce family. The Pierce's are sweet. Their son Chase is 16 and he plays hockey. We went to dinner. Their cheesy bacon fries and steak are amazing!! I think almost everyone got a steak. It's the pierce's family tradition to take the 4 missionaries out to dinner on christmas eve. Then after dinner we came back, and Chase has a hockey net in his basement with a shooter tutor, so me and him played one on one for a bit. Man that was fun!! After family, Hockey is definitely the thing I miss most being on the mission. It felt so good to shoot the ball into that top corner again! Then Christmas day was a blast. Got to open up our presents, thanks again for the gifts and letters! Then we went down and watched the Bruno's open their gifts. We then had breakfast with the Cox's. We also had dinner with the Corwin's as well as the Cox's again. We played games with the Owego Sisters and Bruno kids Christmas night too. I won clue!! And played a few games of sequence as well!! So that was really fun!! Also got to call home and skype you guys of course, it was great to see all of your pretty faces again :)! Haha. Man Bear and Happy are huge!! After Christmas was fun too due to the miracles I get to see as I continue to serve. We picked up a new investigator named Bruce. He's sweet. His house looks exactly like a cabin, and he lives out in the country. He was a potential in the area book we just tried! He isn't sure about baptism yet. I think it might be because of the change that he would have to make in his life. But we are going to keep meeting with him. We also met with Emmy again, and had one of the most powerful lessons on my mission. When we arrived, she told us how glad she was that we had showed up because she just broke up with her boyfriend and he was the one who had our contact information, and she was worried that she had no way of contacting us. She was extremely relieved and grateful that we came back so we could get her contact info. She also talked about how interesting it was that we showed up at this point in her life when everything is going crazy and she is searching for peace and comfort. She even told us that everytime we come and leave she feels a sense of peace. So that was a great start to the lesson. We went over the 1st cornerstone (restoration) and she prayed at the end. When we asked her if she felt the spirit, she said that she felt peace and joy. We then told her she could have that more if she would enter into the covenant of baptism. She agreed and we set her with a date of February 28th. As we left, she demanded that we give her the Book of Mormon, because she had already read the Restoration pamphlet 4 times and had given the extra one we gave her to her little daughter and told her about us and the church she found. She said her daughter got all excited when she said that. The spirit was very strong, and I know that Elder Ricks and I meeting her wasn't coincidence, but rather it was the Lord leading us to those seeking for the truth. I love being a missionary and seeing how much the gospel does change and bless lives. Love you all and have a fantastic week!! 
Elder Richins



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