Monday, November 9, 2015

Well, This Is It!!!!

Wow, I can't believe it is all coming to an end. This whole mission experience has been amazing and life changing, and I will be forever grateful for the change and blessings that have come. I know my mission has truly blessed me. I will always reflect on the blessings and lessons I have learned. But I'll talk to you all about that later in person.

This final week was wonderful. It started off with the wonderful temple trip!! To be in the temple again was amazing. I have a goal to go there at least once a week when I am back home. It was such a wonderful experience, and I felt the spirit so strongly. I love the temple!! Then we went to the Joseph Smith farm and the sacred grove right after that. It was awesome to be able to walk through and ponder. The day was actually really nice and unusually warm for upstate New York. I think it was in the high 50's or even 60's. But what struck me is that the grove probably looked a lot like what it looked like when Joseph went there to pray in the early spring. A few leaves remained on the trees. President Rogers said of the 3 times he has been to the grove, the day we went was the prettiest he had seen it so far. It was awesome. We then went to the gravesite of Alvin Smith and drove by the 4 corners, 4 churches on our way to lunch. After lunch we went to the Grandin building where the book of Mormon was published, and then it was off the the hill cumorah. The final destination for the day was the Peter Whitmer farm where the church was officially organized. I took lots of pictures!

In addition to the temple trip, we saw many more miracles this week. This great work will continue to hasten and grow. We found an investigator named Alma, who was actually a referral from our investigator Liam who lived in the zone leaders area. She was taught by Elders Summers and Morgan once, and then moved over to the southside. She came to church this week though. Which was amazing, because of all our investigators, I though she would have a hard time keeping commitments. But she loved church and is planning on going next week as well. Liam is also doing really well. He came to church with Alma, and also enjoyed it and said he and Alma are both coming next week. They want to be baptized on the same day. John and Jen are doing really well to. They also came to church. It was sweet for a last sunday, 4 investigators at church. They are also doing really well. We taught them the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ this week. We feel the spirit strongly every time we go over there. Zaire couldn't make it to church this week, but we saw him and he is doing really well. He still wants to get baptized and is planning on church this upcoming sunday. We have recently taught him the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. Those are always key lessons because it shows how willing the person is to repent and change and become. We also picked up two investigators this week. One was named Doc. He loved the restoration video when we watched it with him, and says he knows it is true. But then he says he has already been baptized. He isn't quite connecting the dots. Another investigator we picked up is named Janet. She's a nice older lady, but her significant other Mack is crazy. We have been over there twice and are going to have to figure something out. He totally monopolizes the conversation and says the craziest things. Email just doesn't do it justice. I will tell you all about it though in person. Also I know Elder Bailey's parents read this, so make sure you ask him about Mack when he gets home. Haha. Janet even realizes he's crazy. When I was talking to her, she looked over at Mack and Elder Bailey, and said "I wonder if he (Elder Bailey) has been converted yet." Haha it's so funny. He just spits out all sorts of random information. So I don't know where that's going to go. We also saw a lady crying this week who beckoned us to come over and pray for her. We gave her a priesthood blessing. She was really distraught. After the blessing she just looked at Bailey and said one of the funniest things I could imagine. She held out her arms for a hug and said "Let me love you." Elder Bailey's uncomfortable look on his face. Man. I'm going to miss crazy mission experiences. The Baileys are doing well to. Sister Bailey finally came to church, which was awesome. I'm really going to miss this work, but I am excited for the new experiences and blessings that are ahead in my life! I love you all so much. Thank you all for the support you have given me these last two years. Although it will be very sad to not be a missionary anymore, and I'm sure I will miss it, I do look forward to seeing and being able to visit you all again and to continue to build up the kingdom of God and be happy and have fun! I'll see you all soon!

With love,

Elder Tyler Richins

Monday, November 2, 2015

REPENT!


Mom,

The temple trip is tomorrow!! We get to go to the temple, the sacred grove and log home, the whitmer farm where the church was organized, the Grandin press, the Hill Cumorah, and the grave of Alvin Smith. So it will be a fun busy day seeing all of those church history sites. But anyways, the work just keeps on going up here in beautiful upstate New York. I can't believe how quickly it's gone by. I have really enjoyed my time up here and am going to do my best to finish strong these last few days. Anyways, the Seeley's are doing alright, we hope. They didn't make it to stake conference this week, and we got a text from Sharleen saying that the two girls feel "they aren't ready for baptism yet." So they won't get baptized this upcoming Saturday, but I'm sure they will. We are going to go see them Wednesday and just talk and listen to them to figure everything out. We should set them with a new baptismal date this week though. They both did well when we went over the baptismal interview questions with them this week, so they might just have been scared about the actual interview or something. I'm not sure, but I hope they are doing alright and will keep working towards making that covenant of baptism. In addition to the Seeleys, our other investigators with a baptismal date are doing pretty well. Liam didn't make it to stake conference. When we saw him yesterday,
 he was all frustrated because he waited for his ride a long time, but the ride never showed up. Turns out he forgot to change his clock for daylight savings. He should be coming to church this upcoming Sunday though. He's so funny though. He's just crazy and out there. In one lesson this week, he was like "Here's my old testament" and held out the book of Mormon we gave him. Elder Bailey and I chuckled about that! We also picked up another investigator whose real name I can't remember, because we just call him his nickname peanut. He's also interesting. He really thinks things through before he says anything, but his views and ideas are just insane. He asked us for some evidence of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon. (Physical Evidence). We briefly mentioned to him some of the archeological findings but really refocused on coming to know through sincere prayer. Ultimately that's how anyone can truly be converted and convinced of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel. Zaire, another investigator we have with a baptismal date, came to church as well. He's so sweet. He said he would be at church this sunday to. We also keep having cool experiences finding people. Tonya, a less-active we have been working with who has now been at church the past two weeks in a row, called us up for our appointment with her and asked if we could meet her at her friends house. Of course we said yes and picked up both of her friends, John and Jen as investigators and set them with a baptismal date. It was a really cool experience. Tonya did a perfect job at being the member fellowshipper as well. I love this work so much and am going to miss it very much. I love you all back home, and have a great week.

Elder Tyler Richins

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How Quickly This All is Coming to an End...I've Got to Make the Most of It!


Good old birthday celebration!!

Hey everyone!!

Well this week was pretty good. Elder Bailey and I are still having a lot of fun working hard and seeing miracles as the lord hastens his work!! Ashley and Alyssa are both doing really well. They should be baptized and confirmed on November 7th and 8th. They seem to really enjoy us coming over and teaching them the gospel. It's been really cool to be a part of their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We saw quite a few miracles this week. In addition to Ashley and Alyssa doing really well, we also picked up a new investigator Liam. He's a party. He has a baptismal date for sometime in December. He's hilarious. He just says the craziest things. I can't wait to keep working with him. He gave us a hard time for being a few minutes late to one of our appointments, and he told Elder Bailey and I that we weren't friends with him because we lied to him. We forgot to bring the restoration dvd to one of his appointments when we told him we would. Haha. We told him we were sorry for forgetting though, and everything's alright now. Zaire is still doing really well. He apparently loves having us come over. A miracle Elder Bailey and I saw was that yesterday when we stopped by his mom answered the door. She has previously told us that she wasn't interested in meeting with us, but that it was alright for us to meet with Zaire. Well Zaire has been saying good things about us, and now she's open to meeting with us. Hopefully we will pick her up as an investigator this week. She even said she would have some food for us as well. Another miracle was meeting Tonya. She's a less-active member who hasn't been in the church for years. Elder Bailey and I were actually trying someone the zone leaders had told us they had talked to on the street, and she was walking and we talked with her and got her address and phone number, and taught her the restoration the next day. She's sweet and really wants to get involved with the gospel again. She came to church as well yesterday. She's going to progress really well. We met with Leone again, he's doing alright. We are worried that he is meeting with us more out of a curiosity rather than a desire to actually change. But hopefully we are wrong. We are going to teach him the plan of salvation today, which I think will be really good and help us to see where he is actually at. Our investigator Michelle is doing really well. She has also been reading the book of Mormon, and says that everything she is learning is what she was "taught when she was younger." Which she couldn't really have been, because she's not a member of the church. Maybe she's feeling that spirit that she has heard this before, in the pre-earth life. That's my only explanation. But she's doing well. We actually picked up her friend Stephanie, and her two kids Havana and Franklin as investigators and set them with a baptismal date. That was a really crazy lesson, because Havana, Franklin, and the two little girls are all under the age of 12, so trying to keep them reverent and focused was quite the challenge. We watched the restoration DVD with them. Unfortunately, Rachel dropped us. She simply said that the church wasn't for her. Elder Bailey and I were both really sad about that, because she had been making such good progress. I'm pretty sure she's been influenced by her peers though about the decision. But hey, maybe someday she will join the church. All of our other investigators aren't really progressing either and we haven't been able to see them as often as we would like. Hopefully we will be able to get back in contact with them and start teaching them soon. The temple trip is a week from tomorrow. We get to go to quite a few church sites as well as the temple, and will have lunch to. I know we get to go to the sacred grove, the hill Cumorah, and the shop where the book of Mormon was published. Life is good though. My last Zone training meeting was this week. It focused on charity, hope, and helping people keep their commitments. It was good, but it's weird to think how quickly this all is coming to an end. I've got to make the most of it! Love you all and have a great week!!

Elder Richins

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happy 21st Birthday Elder Richins!

 We  celebrated Ty's Birthday by Fishing in the Rain and Hiking through Capital Reef this past weekend!






Sister Heidi Garish from the Elmira Ward fed all six of the missionaries tonight to celebrate Tyler's Birthday! I have been missing him like crazy today so to get pictures and a text of him today was an answer to prayers!



Happy Birthday Elder Richins!  We Love You!!!

A Light Snow Fall!



Hey everyone!!

Thank you for the birthday wishes!! It has been a great week here in Upstate NY. This week I got my temple trip plans in the mail. Which was really weird but cool to see where we will actually be going. We will be going to the temple, the hill cumorah, I believe the Whitmer farm where the church was organized, and the place where the book of Mormon was published. So that will be a great experience to see all those places again. The work here is going great. It's crazy to think that the time left is so short on my mission, but I am making the most of it and am loving all the miracles Elder Bailey and I are seeing. The seeleys are doing great. We taught them a couple of times this week. We also gave the two girls a mock baptismal interview to see what they need help with understanding and where they are at. For and 11 and 12 year old, they did pretty good and seem ready. They didn't make it to church because their ride cancelled for the second week in a row, and he didn't cancel until about 15 minutes prior to church, so there was no way to get them there. But they were ready. And are still doing good. Rachel is also doing well. I went on exchange to corning, so I only taught her once this week out of the two times we saw her. But she is also doing well and should make her baptismal date of November 14th. We saw Zaire a couple of times this week. He's another investigator with a baptismal date that Elder Bailey and I found. It's been so cool to see the lord hastening his work and all the miracles that we have been seeing. We taught Zaire about the book of Mormon, and he has read 8 chapters on his own. So he is doing really well too! We also saw a lot of miracles not only with these families on date, but also with picking up some new investigators. One investigator we picked up Cyndy, was a miracle. We talked to her and she expressed how angry she was at God. She has lost some granddaughters, as well as her mom, all within the past year or two. She definitely believes in God, but like I said is very angry at him. We mostly listened, and testified to her about God's love and that her concerns would be resolved in time as she exercised her faith and learned more about the restored gospel. Amazingly as time went on in our visit, she softened up a lot. Her original hostile demeanor left, and we set her with a return appointment to teach her the restored gospel. Elder Bailey and Chambers went back, and Elder Bailey says it went really well. In fact they set her with a baptismal date. To see the spirit soften someone's heart like that was a huge miracle. We also picked up a girl Cassandra, as an investigator. Elder Bailey was sick this week, so on that day, I simply pulled out the area book and started calling former investigators. Cassandra is the daughter of a less-active member. She answered the phone, but freaked out because she didn't know who it was. But I sent her a text and she said she would be interested in meeting with us. Which was way cool. We taught her the restoration in her parents home where she stays on weekends, and the spirit was really strong. She seemed to understand it well and said she would be baptized as she comes to know it is true. We also picked up a guy named Rich. Don't know how interested he is, but he is willing to give it a try. But as we were leaving his house, we saw a couple of people, Josie and Leon are their names, sitting on their porch. We talked to them and they listened to the message of the restoration. They both admitted to having a belief in God, but they were definitely having their doubts, especially with some of the trials they have been growing through. I think they termed it when we asked them if they believed in God "A little bit." Leon prayed at the end, and told us how happy he was that we decided to stop and talk to them. Jennifer, one of their friends, came down and joined us in our discussion and seemed interested as well. It was really cool to see the Lord placing those people, seeking for truth and hope in their lives, to be placed in their path. The lord is very aware of the needs of his children. Life is going good though. It's starting to get chilly. It actually sprinkled snow a little bit this week, but it's supposed to warm up the rest of this week. Also the Bailey's made me some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert last week for my birthday!! Love you all so much and have a great week!!

Elder Richins

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall is in the Air!




Driving the van to the mission conference!!
Hey Everyone!!!

Glad to hear everyone is keeping busy back home! I was told by a returned missionary this week that when you get home "life keeps on going at the same speed." So you have to enjoy the moment, and I'm committed to finish my mission strong before I start the next chapter of my life. The Lord is hastening his work. One of the greatest blessings I have seen on my mission is that the Lord is constantly hastening the work of salvation. With tools such as the principles from How to Teach PMG such as short frequent lessons and really focusing on helping people have spiritual experiences as they meet with us, The new ideas of working with members that President Wirthlin started to emphasize, the new ideas that President Rogers has brought as he now leads the mission (such as to stop relying on How to Teach PMG as a crutch for teaching, but rather focusing on the principles and teaching by the spirit to the needs of the people), and our mission conference with Elder Randall K. Bennett of the seventy this last week, have all built on each other and raised the vision of the mission and have moved it more and more in the right direction. At mission conference, Elder Bennett emphasized several important principles. A big change in the mission is taking place. From now on, we are trying to make sure members feed us before 6 pm, so we can be out teaching and finding from 6-9, which is "prime time" for proselyting. This is a very big change. All my mission the culture has been you eat when the members sign up. And change can be hard. But Elder Bennett promised us great blessings as we kept 6-9 pm open everyday to proselyte. Another big change is he has invited us to now keep dinner appointments to 45 minutes. Which also is a big change, because members in upstate New York love visiting with the missionaries. Elder Bailey and I have followed the counsel so far, and miracles are being seen. I was a little skeptical of this change at first, but with Elder Bailey's enthusiasm and nothing really but my trust that this change is God's will has led to many miracles. Mission conference was on Friday. On Saturday, we picked up 4 new investigators. We also got 7 referrals from the people we visited with. And Saturday morning was the busiest morning of my mission. We started by talking to someone, who gave us a referral, and as we talked to people on the street we met more people and got more referrals. It was awesome. Elder Bennett stressed talking with everyone and not rationalizing at all not to talk to someone. This is the most important message these people will ever hear. So that's another focus Elder Bailey and I have stressed to apply. Elder Bennett didn't say we were bad missionaries at the conference at all. He lovingly told us that there was always room for improvement and that even more miracles even "the windows of heaven" would be opened on the mission as we courageously make these changes. So our investigators are doing really well. Rachel, the member referral who will be baptized November 14th, came to church yesterday and also watched conference last week! She seemed to love church. We taught her the plan of salvation this last week, and she told us how happy she has become due to the gospel and this new light now being in her life. She even said "Even my friends notice that I am a happier person." It's been great to see the changes and joy the gospel is bringing into her life, as it has been for me to see that change in many people these past 22 months. The Seeley family is also doing well. Their ride to church brother baker got sick and called and cancelled Sunday morning, but we were able to frantically get a ride. Alyssa came, but Ashley went back to bed when brother baker called and wasn't ready, and Sharleen was sick again. But Sharleen seems to still be reading, and they love having us over. We taught them the law of chastity this week, which is always interesting when you have smaller kids, but we covered the principles and Sharleen said she would talk to them more about it. In addition to the Seeley family and Rachel, we have many other investigators on date for baptism. We tried a former Zaire this week, and met his sister Alajha. We have taught them both the restoration this week and set them with baptismal dates. They are both in their late teens/early 20's, and seem pretty interested. Hopefully they will choose the keep their commitments and make their date. We also picked up Shadow this week, who is the boyfriend of Michelle Gates. He also seems interested. He prayed at the end of one of our visits to learn more about the Mormons. Which was really cool to see, because when we first met him a few weeks he didn't seem interested at all. But Michelle is definitely a good influence on him! He now seems pretty interested and we set a date for him to be baptized in December. We also picked up Kaylee and set her with a date. She is the fiancé of the grandson of a less-active member, Sister Rodriguez (Not the brother and sister Rodriguez who sent you pictures from dinner). She seemed really interested in the restoration, and prayed at the end and we set her with a date as well. We also talked to a guy named Dennis on the street, and taught him the resto and set him with a date as well. We also picked up a nonmember referral Kathy who agreed to be baptized in December. So we have 10 investigators on date now, which is sweet. The less-actives Sister Bailey and April are still doing really well to. Both of them were sick though so they weren't at church yesterday. The work is hastening. We also talked to a lady named Tammie on the street. She used to go to church, but since her brother died, she hasn't. We testified of eternal families and that she could see her brother again, but she said her brother wasn't in heaven. We then taught her the principle of redemption for the dead, and that everyone who didn't have a chance to accept the gospel here would in the next life. She said she had never heard that and it gave her hope. Unfortunately, she wasn't at her return appointment, which happens. Hopefully we will be able to get back in contact with her. But that's about it. The work is going great. I love you all and hope you all have a fantastic week!!

Elder Richins

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fishing and Fall!

Fall is in the air!

Got to experience the joy of fishing this morning!!!


Hey everyone!!

Wow. Life as a missionary is just great. Elmira is great and I love being a missionary. This week was great. It's hard to believe I'm on my last transfer already. It's gone by so quick. Well some of our investigators are doing really well. The Seeley family is doing great. Unfortunately Sharleen had some pretty bad pain so they weren't able to come to conference this week. But they love it every time we come over, Sharleen says she feels a peace brought into the home, and all the children have started praying for lessons when we come over. They are still reading the book of Mormon, and doing very well. We took Brother Tanner, a member in our ward who is also the stake patriarch and used to be in the Palmyra temple presidency. He's a spiritual powerhouse. We had a great lesson on the word of wisdom with them, as well as talking a lot about faith in Jesus Christ, and reviewing the priesthood authority with them. The minister that lives across the street from them tried to call Sharleen in the middle of one of our visits, and she was like "there she is, she sees your car." Haha. But they aren't buying into the rival ministers pleas to baptize them in their swimming pool at all!! Rachel Bradley, our member referral is also doing really well. We set her with a baptismal date for November 14th this week. She is so solid. Whenever Elder Bailey and I go over there, we can feel the spirit. She and the whole Seeley family have been prepared for the gospel. It's wonderful to see the Lord's hand in his work. In addition to those investigators doing well, some of the less-active members we are teaching are also really progressing. April and Sister Bailey both watched general conference this week, and both went to church the week before. So the district had a few changes. Elder Deka is headed up to Potsdam, and Elder Morgan is the new zone leader here. Sister Maughan left and Sister Hansen is the new sister here. We dropped all of our other investigators this week because they weren't willing to progress or meet with us. We are still seeing Scott. We laid down the law with him this week and he seemed like he was going to make some changes, but then he didn't show up for conference. So we will see where it goes with him. I also got to experience the joy of fishing this morning!!! Man Dad get my stuff ready and let's go on an adventure in a month!! Haha. But I still can't believe in less than a month I will be on the temple trip to Palmyra. But until then, I'm just going to focus on continuing to work hard, have fun, and see miracles with Elder Bailey. General conference was awesome, it always is. One of the speakers, Elder Randall K. Bennett of the seventy is having a mission tour this week. So that will be fun!  Love you all and have a great week!!

Elder Richins

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Last Area!




Elder Bailey and Me
View from our dinner appointment


Hey everyone!!

So this week was pretty sweet! We got transfer calls and Elder Bailey and I will be staying together for the next 6 weeks, which is the final transfer of my mission. Wow that's crazy. Still kind of hard to believe! But I will finish here in Elmira. Which I'm happy about. Elder Summers will stay here, and Elder Morgan will join him. Elder Deka is headed up to Potsdam. Sister Gass is staying here in Horseheads, and will be joined by Sister Hansen who goes home with me. But on to this week. The work is continuing to go really well. Elder Bailey and I are continuing to see miracles. We were able to pick up 2 new investigators that were both member referrals! One of them was Suzie, the Reeders friend. We had dinner with her, the Reeders, and the Farnsworths. We shared a quick message about general conference and talked a little bit about modern day prophets and apostles. The Reeders and Farnsworths all shared their conversion stories with Suzie as well. Which was sweet! She is taking care of some personal things and we were scheduled to meet with her again not this week but the next, but Sister Reeder is worried that it was too much of a push and is going to call her up and see if we can meet with her again. Hopefully she will. The other investigator that we picked up was Rachel! She is sweet and very prepared. We got a phone call from sister workman, a member who lives in Arizona but grew up here. She called her sister, Sister Magee (who is in our ward), for our phone number and let us know she has a friend who is looking for a church. We have been over twice and both times it has gone really well. Elder Baily and I feel that she will accept a baptismal date soon. She didn't come to church because she had a really bad headache, but she called us in advance to let us know she couldn't make it. Which shows that she is dependable. A lot of people just don't show up. We also brought sister hultz and her son Jack over to one of the lessons. Sister Hultz is a convert who really related well to Rachel. It was awesome. Rachel prayed about the restoration and the end of the lesson, and the spirit was really strong. Elder Bailey and I are stoked to keep working with her. Sister Hultz conversion story is pretty sweet to. She says that he Holy Ghost whispered to her certain things to look for in a church. When she found that none of the churches had all the requirements, she thought she should start her own church. Then she got the whisper from the spirit that she didn't have the authority and that was the last thing she needed to find in the church. And now she's a member of our church. Haha. Sharleen, Ashley, Alyssa, and Mackenzie are all doing pretty well to. Ashley and Alyssa came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it! They have us over for a quick half hour everyday. They are really progressing in the gospel and are totally going to get baptized. We also had a sweet experience that did make me chuckle a little bit with them. But first, here is a little background for this story. A few weeks ago, Sharleen referred us to a minister that lived across the street from her. So we went and knocked on her door, and she seemed open at first, but when she asked us if women could be pastors in our church, and we explained that men and women have different roles. She didn't like that. She said she knew God had called her, and she had gotten her pastoral degree online to prove it. (That's the background). Yesterday, Elder Bailey and I were reviewing the priesthood authority with them. And this minister comes up and says "So you all are getting baptized? That is wonderful. Praise the Lord." She acted all excited and very happy that they were making that step. When she left, Sharleen looked at Elder Bailey and me and said something along these lines. "Yeah, she has come over before and tried to get us to be baptized before quite a bit. But she isn't living how she should be and isn't working for God." Or something like that. That was a good chuckle and feeling of satisfaction right there. We got them to commit to baptism when she had been trying to, haha. But hey, the spirit and the truth works wonders right? Sister Bailey and April, two less-actives we are working with, both came to church this week as well! It was sweet! Unfortunately, a lot of our other investigators we are going to have to have the "do or die" lesson and see if they are willing to start keeping commitments, or we are going to have to drop them. It's sad because we have had some really spiritual experiences with people like Jessica, Nakia, and others, but they aren't willing to make it a priority. Which is really sad. But everyone has agency. Some others have a desire to do what's right, but just don't do it. Oh well. We also went with Elder summers and Deka and Brother Houghton up to Ithaca this week for a feed my starving children service project where we bagged food for people in poverty. Brother Houghton is a pretty funny guy though. Man one thing that will be fun at home is I'll be able to share experiences with you in person on my mission from my journal. A lot of funny things happen in Upstate New York! I'm stoked for general conference too! I love seeking revelation and inspiration from the prophets and apostles by going in with questions I have. I've really come to love conference from my mission. It's a great time to feel the spirit and seek inspiration and revelation. Can't believe It's already my last conference on the mission either! Crazy! Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Tyler Richins

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lobster and Filet Mignon!

Hey everyone!

Man another great week in the mission field is done. I love being a missionary and being able to see miracles everyday! One thing I have been seeing a lot in this area is picking up investigators, having really spiritual experiences with them and they pray and we set them with a baptismal date, and then we show up for our return appointment and they aren't there. As Elder Bailey and I have talked about it, we have realized that it is simply them not using their agency correctly, or not totally understanding why the gospel is so important. But If nothing else happens, we planted the seed that will be harvested later. So our investigators are doing alright. But yeah, we didn't see Jessica or Nakia this week, but we are hoping to either get in contact with them this week or we will probably end up dropping them. We did find a family recently though, and they are doing super well. There is the grandma and her grandkids. Sharleen is the grandma, and Ashley, Alyssa, and Mackenzie are the grandkids. They are all progressing really well! They have a baptismal date for October 31st. Which is awesome. They really like meeting with us. We have met with them everyday for the past 5 days. Sharleen says she understands the book of Mormon a lot better than the bible. Mackenzie has gone through so much in her life recently. She was atheist a year ago, and Sharleen said she never thought she would be baptized. So that's a huge miracle we have seen. We took ben gates teaching with us, and he related really well to them. It was another reminder of how powerful members are and how helpful they can be as we involve them in the teaching process. Our other investigators are doing ok. Scott didn't come to church again. And he really said he would be there. He knows that it is true, but he has a hard time keeping commitments. Hopefully we will be able to help him realize he needs to start keeping commitments if he wants to make his baptismal date of October 24th. We saw Yarilys and Jayleen Baker again. We dropped Yarilys's date for now. We are pretty sure she was antied. But her and her mom want to keep meeting with us and learning about the church. We feel that they need to come to church first before we will be able to set a date with them. So hopefully we will get them to church pretty soon here. Brother Sedlak, our ward mission leader came with us to that appointment. He's so sweet. He's really bold and doesn't beat around the bush at all, and we were able to find out where Yarilys and Jayleen's feelings were towards meeting with us. Which was good, and another example of how important members are in missionary work. We did teach ty again, although it was a week in between teaching visits. He says he still wants to meet with us, and we talked about meeting frequently with him, and he agreed to a return appointment but then got called into work and had to cancel. So hopefully he will start making more of an effort to visit with us. We did give him a book of Mormon though. Sister Bailey wasn't able to come to church because she was in too much pain on sunday morning. But we visited her a few times this week. Talked about repentance and accessing the atonement to help her understand she needs to act to be cleansed of her sins. It was a really powerful lesson. She said "I never thought of it like that." She has started reading the book of Mormon, so she is making progress. Emma was baptized last Saturday. And Bridget and Emma made it to sacrament meeting this week. Which was awesome. We are now focusing on helping bridget get to the temple. Man the Gates family are a party. You can't teach them all at the same time, they just point fingers at each other whenever something we are teaching is something one of the siblings isn't doing. We tried to teach chastity to bridget with all of them there, that was epic. Elder Bailey and I were appalled. We also picked up Ileene as an investigator. She doesn't seem to really care though, so we will probably have to drop her soon. Brittany and George are sweet. They are the Brewers cousins. But their mom isn't fond of the church, and the brewers were thinking of us teaching them at their place without the mom knowing... Yeah that's not going to work out. Haha. But yeah the work is still going good. We had zone conference and return and report this week, so that was more meetings than I originally like. But zone conference was sweet. We learned about what it really means to repent and be cleansed from our sins. We also had dinner with brother goette, which was sweet. Brother Goette is awesome! We went to outback. He's pretty well off and told us to get whatever we want, so after he ordered his two lobster tails, I ordered my filet mignon with mushrooms and cheese on top. It was really good! He was on a diet so he split one of the lobster tails between me and elder bailey. We all split a slice of cheesecake with raspberry sauce for dessert. He joked and poked fun of elder bailey for getting a burger, which was pretty funny! Anyways, I love this work! Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Richins

Emma's Baptism


Monday, September 14, 2015

More Miracles!

Me and Elder Bailey!!!

Our hike in Watkins Glen


Well this week was awesome! Elder Bailey and I are still seeing miracles as we continue to serve. We saw some awesome things happen this week. Where to begin? First off, we had an investigator back in August named Jessica. She seemed pretty interested, but after our first appointment, she hardly ever texted us back or anything, and pretty much dropped off. So Elder Bailey and I were headed to an appointment this week, and she was right there on the porch. Turns out she had moved out from her ex's place, and her phone number that we had was in his name, so that's why she didn't call or text us back at all. But it was sweet to run into her again as we were headed to another appointment. We got her new phone number, and she's moved right into our area. So we went and taught her the restoration later that night, and it was so powerful. We briefly went over the first few points, and then watched the restoration dvd with her and set her with a baptismal date! That was a really cool experience and miracle! We also had another miracle this week. It was while I was on exchange with Elder Chambers. We had dinner with Brother Tanner. Brother Tanner is the stake patriarch, and also was in the temple presidency. Super spiritual guy. When he said the closing prayer at our dinner appointment, you could just feel the spiritual power so much! But we went to an appointment with him, and that appointment cancelled. So we got back in the car, and Brother Tanner notices this person sitting on their porch looking a little sad. He said we share light, and should go talk to him. So thinking we had nothing to lose, Elder Chambers and I got out of the car and talked to him. Ended up teaching him the restoration right there, and it was sweet. Ty is the name of the guy we talked to. He even said "I needed some light today with what I've been going through, and I definitely have felt that meeting with you guys here. God works in mysterious ways." Or something like that. We also set him with a baptismal date as well. So that was another sweet miracle we got to see. I told Brother Tanner when we got back in the car that he needs to come out teaching with us more often and identify those people who are prepared. Haha. We also picked up another investigator Nakia this week. She was a potential who moved, but we called up the phone number and ended up visiting her the next day and teaching her the restoration as well. We will be setting her with a baptismal date soon. Scott, our investigator with a baptismal date is still doing well. We taught him the rat trap object lesson on faith. But he wouldn't set it off at all. He's way funny though. The bakers are doing alright. Yarilys now says she doesn't feel like the church is for her anymore. Elder Bailey and I are wondering if she got talked to by her parents though. Because she seemed way interested and even told her dad in front of us that "she knew it was true and that it was for her." But Jake Brewer who knows them well since he used to go to their church before he was baptized said that the church discouraged him from getting baptized when he was investigating. So that is another possibility! But we haven't given up hope on them yet.  We also have been seeing a lot of success with the less-active work here as well. We found a new les-active, Hope, that we started teaching this week. She definitely has a lot of potential. We had a really good lesson on the Sabbath with April this week. She will hopefully be finding a new job soon so she can get to church on Sunday. She really misses church and really wants to go! Bridget and Michelle are stagnant right now, so we are going to have to really get them to start keeping commitments or we are going to have to not meet with them as much, because we are here to work with people who are willing to keep commitments and change. With how busy I have been, I realize how much I am going to miss this work. I just can't wait to make the most out of these last few weeks! Love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Man I Love Being a Missionary!

Man I love being a missionary. Things are just so great! I'm still simply making it my goal to work hard and have fun these last few weeks. It's crazy I only have fall left until the nametag comes off. Anyways, this week was awesome. Elder Bailey and I are continuing to see the Lord's hand in the work. Elder Bailey is doing great. He has such great faith and optimism. I'm learning from him like I've learned from all my companions. He's really developing as a missionary though. We keep finding new people to teach every week while we are teaching. They just show up to a lesson we are having, and agree to start listening and taking lessons as well. But we are also as a result dropping some people that aren't really progressing. The Baker family is doing really well. We had an awesome experience teaching them the restoration this week with a recent convert, Louise Brewer, who is friends with their family (They used to go to the same church). Yarilys (the daughter) was already an investigator. Her dad Joe (a less active member) gave us permission to teach her and invite her to be baptized and all that. So we went over to teach the restoration, and picked up his wife as an investigator as well. And Joe was emphasizing how it's his families choice to decide whether what we are sharing is "right for them." And Yarilys straight up told her dad that she knew "it's true and it's for me." So it was awesome to not only pick up Jayleen (Joe's wife) as an investigator, but also to see Yarily's testimony of the gospel. Last week we picked up Julie and Katie as investigator's this week. It's awesome because they seem to be pretty interested. We also have picked up 2 other investigators Scott (their cousin) and Joe (Julie's husband) from . We set Katie with a baptismal date, and she definitely feels the spirit as we visit with her. She says that what we share really helps build her faith and she has a feeling of hope and peace and we meet. Or something along those lines. Julie is also very open to learning. Her pastor tells her it's fine for her to meet with us and he encourages it. Which is...interesting. But she has some interesting beliefs and opinions. We also met a less active named Dianne who came to church this Sunday. And she hasn't been to church in like 30 years or something. She also joined in on a lesson with Julie and Katie. We had a really funny experience also with Julie. We were talking to her on the porch and she just ripped some gas and was like "Excuse me, sorry I had kidney beans." Haha. Elder Bailey was dying and couldn't take it seriously. So that was fun. Also yesterday Elder Bailey and I were crossing the street, and this guy is driving a bmw, and he speeds up and almost hits us. Like when he passed us I was probably a foot to the side of the car. So that was interesting trying to be run over. I guess there is  a first time for everything. We are also seeing success with less-active work. In addition to Dianne, we also saw April, Michelle, and Bridget pretty frequently this week. We are still trying to get them to church and all that.  None of them have made it yet, although April is going to turn in her two week notice for work. So hopefully she will be able to start making it soon. Well that's about it for this week. We are going up to Watkins Glen for a hike today with our district. So that will be fun. Anyways, love you all back home and hope you have a great week!

Elder Richins

Also,

We had a sweet experience visiting a guy named Gary! He's actually like 500 feet out of our mission and in the Pittsburgh mission. But we didn't know that! We went up and played Foosball with him and then started teaching him the resto. But he interrupted the lesson by grabbing his boxing cards and showing us! Haha he's a great guy though who has been through a lot and could really use the peace and comfort of the gospel in his life! But we had to give him as an online referral so the missionaries there can teach him. But yeah that was fun and that's where the "Welcome to New York" sign picture comes in since we were in Pennsylvania. Part of Pennsylvania is in our area though. We also had a sweet dinner with the Mahanas (who are from texas). Texas beans and rice, with guacamole, cilantro, and a bunch of other good toppings. It was way good!! Anyways love you all and have a great week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

One Season Left :(

John Brewer had a birthday this week!


Wow its crazy that another transfer has officially started and summer is just about over. My two winters, springs, and summers are done in New York. I only have one fall left and then I will be home. Crazy. But I'm trying not to think about that. Haha.  Elder Bailey and I are doing work and seeing a lot of miracles in our area. He is progressing really well as a missionary too. This week we worked hard and picked up a few more new investigators. Unfortunately, some of the people we picked up last week have either lost interest or completely dropped off the face of the earth. We dropped Sykia,  Sharon, Messiah, Hannah, and Elijah. Which was sad. But I noticed that even though we dropped them right after teaching them, it wasn't a waste of time. On the way to one of their appointments, we picked up another investigator named Terri who seems more solid and interested in the gospel. She lost her husband 10 years ago, and is really bitter towards God. But she is open to us coming over, and she is really softening up. She even started praying again after we started visiting with her. So it was cool to think that maybe we picked up Sharaon, Messiah, Hannah, and Sykia, so we could come in contact with Terri. We also picked up her son Brian this week as well. Terri says it will take some time for her to find out, but she said she would be willing to come to church with us this upcoming Sunday. In addition to Terri and Brian, we also started teaching Rose. She's sweet. She has been to temple square and has a good image of the church. She is the mother of a potential named Candy that we visited. So there again is an example of finding someone to teach through people you are already working with. Which I honestly have seen a lot on my mission. I think that's how we picked up everyone else this week as well. We also saw a lot of miracles with the less-actives in this area this week. We taught April and she had her daughters there, who are non members. We read the introduction to the Book of Mormon with them and one of her daughters took a Book of Mormon and agreed to read it. So that was really cool. We are going to have to follow up with that. We also started teaching another less-active named Michelle. She wants to get to the temple, so we have been teaching her about that and hope to get her to the temple soon. Michelle is Bridget's sister. I think I have told you guys about Bridget. She is a less-active whose daugther is getting baptized in September, so we are teaching her the missionary lessons to prepare her for baptism. Bridget is really progressing as well. She came to church last week for the first time. And her daughter Emma came yesterday. We also saw another less-active Mr. Salatino, at pizza hut for lunch. We talked briefly with him and he wants us to visit and teach his kids. I also met him with Elder Hammond, so hopefully we get over there soon. He keeps on having to cancel when we set up for whatever reason. We also visited with a lady named Lisa. We didn't pick her up as an investigator. She lives in Rochester. But she was visiting someone in our area, and she is really troubled by the state the world is in and really wants to know the truth. She grew up catholic, but doesn't believe in it. She doesn't seem to know what to believe. We taught her (it was all over the place) about principles from the restoration and the plan of salvation. As we ended our discussion, gave her a Book of Mormon and the restoration and plan of salvation pamphlets. We gave her our number and she said we could friend her on facebook as well. But after that, I knew that God had put us there to talk to her and give her that opportunity to learn about the gospel. Little miracles like that are all over. Even though we didn't pick her up, it was really cool to see how God is aware of each of his children. That's about it for this week though.

Love,

Elder Tyler Richins.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back in Elmira with My Trainee!

My Trainee- Elder Bailey, Brother Rodriguez, and Me



Me and Elder Hammond




Hey everyone,

Wow it's crazy to think that I only have 12 weeks (2 transfers) left to serve the lord as a full time missionary. I think of all the companions I have had for two transfers and how fast that time went by. I'm definitely going to make the most of it. It was a little sad to leave Herkimer with all the success Elder Villejo and I saw. But we did have a blast and it is good to be back in Elmira. My trainee's name is Elder Bailey. He's from Gilbert, Arizona. He's 6'4, good at basketball, and is way excited to be out here. And we saw a lot of miracles between this last Wednesday to today. Elder Hammond and I worked hard, but we left the area with no investigators, although we did have a lot of less-actives to try and part-member families and potentials. But we have really been blessed by picking up 7 new investigators this week. The first investigator we picked up is Elijah. He is friends with the brewer family and elder Hammond met with him on exchange and said that we could totally pick him up. So Elder Bailey and I did. He's really interesting though. He's 17, and he doesn't have the best background growing up, I guess you could say. We taught him twice. Yesterday he was yelling at us though and kept asking us how we could believe in something that we can't see. But he believes in God even though he hasn't seen him. I asked him about that and he just got quiet. So it will be interesting to see where that goes. He's a good kid I think, we just got to figure out how to teach him without him getting all mad and frustrated. We also picked up Sykia, Sharon, Hannah, and Messiah as investigators by just talking with them on their porch and teaching them the restoration. It was powerful. We went back and just taught sykia, and she said she had read the restoration pamphlet and prayed to know if it was true and believes it is true and knows joseph smith is a prophet! We set her with a baptismal date of October 10th. Sharon, Messiah, and Hannah weren't there for the return appointment, but hopefully we will see them again soon and set them with baptismal dates as well. We also picked up two other investigators by talking with them on the street as well. We picked up a lady named Jessica. She is really nice and believes in God, but she doesn't understand the bible to well. So we went over her belief in God with her and talked about how our purpose is to help her understand her relationship with and come closer to god. She even looked at her friend and said "these guys might be the answer we have been waiting for." So that was really cool to see the lord's hand in that. We also picked up Stephanie, who used to go to church but her church shut don't and she won't get baptized until she finds a decent church similar to hers. But from her description, it sounds like her church was very similar to ours in structure, and we are really excited to be working with her as well. We should be meeting with all of them again this week. We also talked with Brother Sylvia this week. He has been inactive for quite a few years. It's sad because he says he doesn't have a testimony of joseph smith anymore. But he once hyper extended his knee, and he couldn't walk. He then got a priesthood blessing of healing and was able to walk right after they lifted their hands off his head. He still says that that is the first miracle he has ever seen in his life. He also said he used to not do all the bad habits he has now when he was active in the church. But we are going to work with him. I see a lot of potential with him and his family! We also talked to a few other people on the streets that we have scheduled appointments with, so Elder Bailey and I are going to be busy! Which is good. I hate not being busy! But I definitely continue to see the lord's hand in his work. Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Richins

This Week in Herkimer!


Grandma countryman and her family from Herkimer!
Me and elder villejo!

Hey Everyone!

Well this week in Herkimer was great I served with Elder Villejo for the week. He came out a transfer before me, so he only has 6 weeks left. But he still works hard and we had fun and saw a lot of miracles this week! But wednesday I will be headed back to Elmira with a brand new missionary. I"m stoked to train! Now all I've got to do is finish strong and stick to the task. So this week with Elder Villejo was fun! He is from the Philippines originally but moved to Hawaii. We did work this week though and picked up four new investigators! The first investigator we picked up was Gene. He's interesting. We did service for him and then  talked to him about Joseph Smith. He's really skeptical about the Joseph Smith story and thinks that Joseph smith just made the whole thing up. So we talked a little bit about how he could know through sincere prayer and studying the book of mormon. He's been through a lot though. He's really skeptical about everything since when his son died, his pastor came over to comfort them. He said their son was appearing to him in dreams, but then the pastor and gene's wife ran off together. And he said he was reminded of that when he prayed about Joseph Smith. But hopefully he will sincerely read and pray. That's what you need to do to get an answer. Another investigator we picked up was jerry. That was a sweet experience. He is living with his brother and brother's wife right now, who we were referred to. So we went over to try them and  jerry walked around the corner and started talking with us! We were all over the place answering his questions, but ended up talking a lot about the restoration and we all felt the spirit really strong. It was way cool when we said it wasn't a coincidence that we met though. Jerry agreed that our meeting wasn't a coincidence either. He even said "normally I would have told you guys to leave and try another time and I would have avoided you, but something compelled me to talk to you guys and you guys are actually really cool."  It was a sweet miracle. He gave us his phone number to, which he said wasn't something he would normally do.The spirit definitely softened his heart! It was awesome! We also picked up Shelly through tracting. Which was awesome. When we knocked on her door and she said "yes" to us sharing a message I was taken aback because that hardly ever happens. She has recently lost a lot of family members, so we talked with her about the plan of salvation and how a close relationship with Jesus Christ can really help us in our lives. She said our message brightened her day, and we got a return appointment with her for tomorrow! The final investigator Elder Villejo and I picked up this week was Brandon. He is the son of Sister Snyder, a less-active member. He went with her to the mormon church in the south when she was taught by the missionaries and baptized. He said he didn't mind it, but he didn't understand why Christ had to die for us. So we answered his questions and taught him the restoration. He said it made a lot more sense after we talked to him. We are going to play basketball with him and some of his buddies later today. But he definitely has a lot of potential! I bet he will get baptized. His friend zack was there to. He wasn't that interested though and was a little distracting during the lesson. But they are both good kids! We also had some very interesting/funny experiences this week. We met with the Herkimer elder's investigator ellen, who apparently is transfigured and read us how the god of buddhism is the same as the god of christianity. I was quite taken aback. We also met another lady named rose, who talked to us and I was hoping we would pick her up as an investigator. Turns out she believes that lucifer had a son named satan, and the devil is satan's son. So lucifer really isn't to blame. She also believes christ sinned because he made the o ryan's (governing forces of the universe sta) mad. He came to her in a dream crying because he messed up and mad e them mad apparently. So those were two very fun experiences. We laughed a lot about those two experiences afterwards. Grandma also is in herkimer. She is really sweet. She feeds the missionaries every day here if they don't have a meal, and has been for 40 years. She is way funny to. But yeah herkimer has been fun, but I am stoked to head back to elmira! Love you all back home and have a great week!


Elder Richins

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bats in My Belfry/Bag!

Partying on the way to Mission Conference

Corning Museum of Glass

Opened this bag in our apartment up and he was hiding in it. Spooked me a bit!!

Hey everyone!!!
 
This week was great. So to start off, I have a little surprise. Elder Hammond is a visa waiter, and he is going to brazil this week. He is serving in the  Brazil Recife mission. I'm excited for him. So for this week President told me just to pack a week's supply of stuff and I will be headed up to Herkimer for the week until the transfer on Wednesday August 19th, then I will come back with a new companion to Elmira south. And since he told me to only come with a week's supply of stuff, I know I'll come back to Elmira. Which is sweet! But yeah. My companion in Herkimer is going to be elder villejo. Everyone here in Elmira is telling me to get a diamond. Apparently Herkimer is famous for that. The glass factory was really cool. We didn't have time to make any glass, but we did get to see it blown. Maybe when we come tour the mission we can do that. And we will definitely have to go to lake placid as well!! But yeah. Elmira is doing pretty well though. The brewers are still doing good. John got interviewed by the bishop to receive the Aaronic priesthood yesterday, and he passed so that's exciting. He, Jake, and louise are really sweet. The gates haven't really made any changes since last week, we did teach them tithing. They still didn't come to church though, which is frustrating! We also officially dropped Ronnie. So the work is slowing down a bit. But it has so much potential. We just need to find the elect. The swicegoods are headed in the right direction though. I think they have made the most progress out of anyone I have taught the first 4 weeks here. Philip, the nonmember is opening up to us which is awesome. We taught them the restoration. We really felt the spirit. Philip walked out of the room when the spirit felt the strongest. Haha. I was wondering if he did that on purpose or not! I hope he didn't. I'll have to point out the spirit the next time we teach him. But April (she's less-active) has also started to open up a lot to us and has started making comments in lessons and stuff. She didn't so much at first. I asked her to bear her testimony of her conversion to the restored gospel when all 4 of us were in the room and she did. That was really sweet. I think they can really progress and I'm excited to keep working with them once I get back. I also went on exchange to corning this week, which was fun. I went with Elder Medearis. That was an adventure. I went on Friday, and apparently in corning Friday is the day when they are involved in service and don't really do much "typical missionary work." We helped the Methodist church with their "meals on wheels." We just deliver meals to the poorer people in corning. Then we went to the senior citizens center where we played mopped the floors and then played pool with a few of them. Chuck, Gary, and Gary were the people who played pool with us. It was really fun. Chuck kept on chewing out Elder Medearis for losing the game for them (they were on a team and me and Gary on the other) because he missed easy shots and shot the eight ball in the wrong pocket or something. Then after that we went and played ultimate frisby with members of the branch. Also we went to buffalo wild wings this week when we exchanged. It was me, Elder Medearis, Elder Chambers, Elder Summers, Elder Hammond, and Elder Deka. They have a deal on Thursday's where their boneless wings are only 65 cents a wing, so we each had 1 wing of almost every type and started at the mildest and worked up to the hottest. That was fun! We also had a mission conference this week, which pretty much took up all of Tuesday. But it was really good. President Rogers trained on rededicating ourselves to the work and being full purpose missionaries, meaning having a balance of finding, teaching investigators, activation and retention efforts, etc,. So that was really good. It's crazy to think I only have about 3 months left. Everyone keeps reminding me of that, which makes me want to make the most of this time left even more. I can't believe how fast it has gone by. It's weird because when people ask about coming home, I am excited to see you all again and such, but it will be very sad to stop being a missionary and just worrying about that. So it's going to be bittersweet. Well hope you all have a great week everyone! Love you all!! 
 
Elder Richins

Monday, August 3, 2015

Serving with All His Heart!

This is an email we woke up to this morning.  So great to hear from those Elder Richins is serving with!!! 






Good Morning. 

I hope this letter finds you well and happy. Last night my wife and I had the missionaries over for dinner. Your son was there also. I over see the missionary work for the stake, so I was able to meet him some time ago in another unit. What a great missionary he is. A joy to be around and is easily found to have a smile on his face. You have great reason to be proud of him. He is a hard worker and is serving with all his heart. The Elmira Ward where he is currently serving is THE ward most of the missionaries want to serve in. We are very missionary minded and care for these young people as though they were our own children. Rest assured he is well cared for and being looked after. Thank you for your sacrifice. 

Best Wishes

Gil Rodriguez

Never Go Inactive!


Hey everyone!!!
Wow can't believe you are going to Mongolia without me!! It's going to be so much fun though! Have a blast!! It's going to be so much fun! This week has been great though up here in Elmira south. The work is continuing to hasten, and elder Hammond and I are just working hard and doing everything we can to build up the area. So with it being the end of the month and elder Hammond and I driving a little too much earlier in the month, we walked around a ton this last week. But we did see some success in finding new less-active families to teach and such. We met with Sister Ellsworth for the first time this last week. She's a nice sweet, older lady who was baptized years ago and it sounded like she was pretty active for quite a long time after she was baptized to. But never go inactive. I've learned that and had that knowledge confirmed many times on my mission. No matter how many spiritual experiences you had or how strong you think your testimony is. You lose knowledge and truths as you stop living the gospel. Many less-actives claim they have a testimony, and then they have these beliefs that are false. But Sister Ellsworth is a very sweet lady who agreed to start reading the book of Mormon, and that's the key first step. So it will be exciting to see where it goes with her. We also taught another sister, Sister Dennison this week as well. She also claims she still has a testimony, and she seems to still have a lot of the knowledge that your typical member would have. We just talked about the book of Mormon with her as well. I've really learned on my mission that reading the book of Mormon changes lives because it brings the spirit into our lives. So that's what we taught sister Dennison as well. We need to figure out why she is less-active though. We also met with Joe this week. He's sweet. He's another inactive member who has a wife and two daughters that are non-members. We went over and got to know him a little bit, and when we asked him if his family were members of the church he simply responded "they will be." So that was really cool. We taught him how the gospel blesses families and God's love for each of us, and committed him to study the restoration pamphlet so he could help us teach his family when we came back to teach the restoration (1st cornerstone) to his wife and kids later that week. Unfortunately they forgot or something because they weren't there for our return appointment. But he is sweet. His favorite NFL football team is the 49ers, so me and him related really well on that. He also gets free tickets to the Elmira Jackals (ECHL) games. When I told him I love hockey, he said when hockey season starts and he gets some tickets we would have to go to a game together if President approved it, which would be sweet! But I'm excited to work with Joe and his family. Hockey last Monday was awesome too! I loved being able to play again. It was me and brother Bontorno (the member who plays and has all the gear)  and me vs. Elders Hammond, Deka, and Summers. It was so fun. Even though we lost 2 out of the 3 games. We also taught April again this week, and her non member husband Philip sat in. We watched because of him and talked about the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ! It was great! He loves fishing, so I've talked a lot with him about that, and he's definitely opening up. Hopefully we will pick him up as an investigator soon. It is so cool to see him opening up though. I've seen that a lot on my mission as well. You relate to people and show them you are just a normal person out sharing these truths that you love and have changed your life, and they then take interest. We also visited the Gates family a few times this week. They are just hectic. Man those kids are the craziest peeps you will ever meet! It's so hard to keep them focused, and Bridget (their mom) is always trying to keep them under control and they just don't listen! They had a friend/possible relative over who sat in on the lesson and was just interesting. He tried to convince us of an angel appearing to people in California by showing us the fakest youtube clip ever! When I asked him where he heard about it and he said there was proof of it on youtube I just thought "oh boy hear we go." Haha. We also were walking this week and met John. It was an interesting experience. He has a hole in his throat, so he can't talk at all and was trying to communicate with us and I was trying so hard to understand him. But he was so nice and gave us some water and v8 vegetable juice. We were walking that day, so I was really grateful for that! He told us to come and visit him again to! So that's sweet. The brewers are doing good. They are a lot of fun. John is so funny! He just loves the missionaries and tells us how awesome as soon as he meets us. I love them! Also had some interesting experiences this week that reminded me of how long I've been out. We were at a dinner with the Gabrish's, and we asked them how they met and how they knew each other was "the one" they were going to marry and Sister Gabrish told us you just know. She then asked me how long I've been out and when I told her she said "oh so this conversation was really helpful since It will be you in a few months." That was really weird to hear her say that and kind of frightening. I'm going to take my sweet time when I get home though. No rushing it. Another experience was when I was on a split with Elder Summers and we taught kyle, a less-active. We watched two brothers two with him and the episode they were on was about the older brother getting used to life after the mission since he just got home. So yeah. The time has gone by so quick and I've got to treasure these last few months. Stick to the task til it sticks to you. Beginners are many, but enders are few. I've loved my mission so far, and can't wait for the experiences that lie ahead of me these last few transfers. Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Richins

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sticking to the Task!

Fun times with sisters at the lake! Didn't have time to send this one last week!

I wasn't too happy about this last Monday...

Mowing the Lawn!


Well, this week was pretty good. Elder Hammond and I are still just trying to pick the work up and see miracles. We actually did see more new people this week than last, so that was really good. One of the families we are teaching, the brewers are really sweet. They are all recent converts and love the missionaries and the gospel. However we definitely will need to review the lessons with them though. To see how much they remembered from the first 3 lessons, Elder Hammond and I played jeopardy with them. The questions were all based on the first 3 lessons in chapter 3 of PMG. John Brewer is really funny to. He always goes for the hardest questions and gets really into jeopardy. We also taught them about priorities and putting the gospel first in their lives. That went well. But they didn't make it to church because he had a job to do this Sunday and Louise and Jacob couldn't find a ride.  The Gates are doing alright. They didn't come to church this week because they were going to go camping, but they didn't. But we taught them the teabag object lesson (for the gospel of Jesus Christ) and went over the hand signals for the 10 commandments as well. They should be coming to church. Bridget definitely has the desire to. Hopefully they will get there. Ronnie isn't progressing at all. We had a really good lesson with him. He was really upset about how stressed he was with life and how people always come to him for help and stuff like that. We mostly just listened and shared some scriptures with him about overcoming trials and the atonement of Jesus Christ, and talked about the peace and happiness the gospel brings. It went really well and it looked like he was going to start keeping commitments, and then he didn't show up at church after he said he would be there. We might have to drop him this week. He's a nice guy, but he might need a break from the missionaries. We will figure it out. We also taught April again this week with brother Magee. We did the priorities lesson with the ping pong balls and rice again (like we did with the brewers). April should be active, but she just needs to get Sundays off work. But bro Magee was a boss teaching. His testimony and ability to relate to April reminded me of how much better appointments go if we get members to come with us. I've really gained a testimony on the importance of members in missionary work on my mission. We also saw the Clarks this week. Sister Clark is the one who doesn't come because she got offended. Her husband Dick is a non member. Very friendly though. We just got to know him since he wasn't there the first time we went over to their house and shared a quick message on the savior's love for all of us. They seem like they are having us over just to be nice, but they don't seem too interested. We are going to teach them the plan of salvation this week, hopefully that will go well and spark their interest. I also had a fun time at the stake event we had on Saturday. It was awesome because since I'm in the owego stake, I got to see the Larsons, Knudsens, Brunos, and Bishop Demming again. We also played two hand touch football with a bunch of missionaries and members which was way fun. It's weird though because these past few weeks when people have been asking me how long I have been out and I've said 20 months and they say "oh so you are almost done." It's so weird how fast it has gone by. But you have got to stick to the task til it sticks to you and finish strong. I can't wait to see what miracles and experiences await me these last few months of my mission. Love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Richins


Dad,

 I forgot to mention this in my big email to the whole family, but we had dinner with the bontorno family, and brother bontorno is sick. He plays hockey. And we are going to go play indoor hockey today at the church. President approved it as long as we don't get hurt. Haha. So I am way stoked for that. Hopefully I will be able to shake off most of the rust. Love you dad and have a great week!!
Ty

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Working Hard!

Me and Sister Whitley!

Porkie and Louise! Great people in fulton!

The Warthens in Fulton! Love that family!

Me And elder Jackman!

Mormon lake!




Hey Everyone,
 
This week was quite interesting. Now that I have had a bit more time to be here in Elmira, I can tell you a bit more about the area. Elmira is sweet. The ward members here are so solid and supportive of the missionaries. It's been great. The teaching pool is slowly building up. Elder Hammond is pretty cool. He has only been out for 6 months or so, but he's got a desire to be out here. We both really just want to work hard, have fun, and get the area booming again since it was closed for the 6 weeks prior to us both being here. We teach some pretty cool people too. The Brewer family is doing awesome. They are all recent converts. They love having us over though, and Jacob and Louise both want to serve missions. Jacob also loves coming teaching with us, which is very helpful. Our only investigator right now is Ronnie, and he has been investigating for a long time! He says he wants to get baptized, but then he just doesn't keep the commitments. So we will see where it goes. We taught him the rat trap object lesson on faith to him this week, but we couldn't really meet with him otherwise. He had to reschedule. If he doesn't make some progress this week, we will drop him. The Gates are a less-active family we are working with. They are super cool. They should be active. They believe it's true and everything, but they need transportation to church. But we have a ride for them already set up, so there is no worries there. They weren't there yesterday though because some of the kids were sick. Those 3 families are the people Elder Hammond and I have been seeing since we got here, but this last week we were blessed to find some new people to teach as well. We got to teach a less-active named April for the first time. She is really sweet. She has a testimony of the gospel and everything, but she needs to work on sundays. So we are going to try to help her figure out how to get to church, because she wants to be there, she just can't right now. But the lord will provide a way as we all exercise our faith. But it will be sweet working with her. We also met another less-active, Sister Clark. She is interesting. She claims she still has a testimony of the gospel, and was very friendly to us and we definitely felt the spirit as we visited with her. But she was offended by someone, and hasn't been to church since. Which is really sad. So we will see where that goes. She and her husband (a non-member) go to some church (I think Methodist) and are very involved in it. So we will have to see where that goes. We also have been able to meet with quite a few members and have been able to get a few member referrals here as well. . We met quite a few other people who couldn't schedule appointments or cancelled them, but we will find those who are looking. But I know the work will continue to hasten here One sad thing that happened this week was that the horseheads sisters closed. One of the sisters had to go home and the other one went up to new Hartford. It stinks though. We were going to have such a fun transfers. We were involved in a harmless prank war with them. Don't worry, we made ground rules so it wouldn't interfere with the work at all, break any rules, or lose any members trust. But we had some sweet plans for the prank war this upcoming transfer. But now it's just us and the zone leaders in the ward. The zone leaders here are way cool, Elders Deka and Summers. But that was kind of sad. We went up to Mormon lake with the sisters though before they had to leave. We also had dinner with the Rodriguez's. They are sick. Brother Rodriguez is a huge runner, and runs half marathons and all that. Sister Rodriguez is a chiropractor who will adjust our backs for us, so that's going to be really nice. Another sweet member is Pammie. She is so fun! WE always have a blast when we go over and visit her for dinner or to do service. But that's it for this week. Love you all back home and have a great week!
 
Elder Richins