Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scottish Highlanders!

Mom and Dad,
This week was great!! I got the last package with the contacts!! Thanks for the two ties by the way!! I love them!! This week was sweet!! While there are challenges to being a missionary, you always see miracles and get to see the work of the lord move forward unhindered. This week we had a sweet lesson with one of our more solid investigators, mike. He's the one from sri lanka. We were able to visit with him twice this week. The first time we just read the book of mormon with him, and the second we talked about the first half of the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation lesson was awesome! We took one of the new members, Sunny Palia with us. Sunny is from India, and he and Mike connected right away! It was really sweet. He even talked about how if he came to church, they would sit together and their families would talk together. Sunny also has a daughter the same age as Mike's little girl, so that was really sweet. Members are so sweet here, and missionary work goes so much better as the members and full-time missionaries work together. We also had dinner with the Palia's this week as well. Sunny is sweet. Like I said he is from India and used to belong to the sikh religion. He even showed us a painting of his dad with a beard and turban, and said he used to look the same. He also offered to make us authentic Indian curry the next time he feeds us, so I'm really excited for that. He's sweet! We also were able to pick up two new investigators this week, David and Yoloda. They are the nicest old couple you could ever meet. But they were kind of hard to teach. He's one of those people who doesn't run out of things to say. But he made us laugh! He said some pretty darn funny things, like "in every religion, there's people who are super devoted, who kind of believe, and who believe as much as the dog believes." Haha. He also said "Moses, Muhammed, and Joshua were all sent from God. Moses got punished though since he didn't get to go to the holy land, he went to heaven instead, so I guess it wasn't that bad of a punishment." He's a riot. We also picked up Lori as an investigator! She's really nice. She has read the book of mormon before, and she's open to talking about beliefs. But she doesn't like all the people who go to church sunday and then don't live like they should be living. She also doesn't believe in absolute truth, which is actually a very common problem here in Upstate new york. But when we invited her to be baptized she said maybe. We are going to go over the book of mormon with her this week. And that's the key. If she reads the book of mormon, she will progress, no question. The book of mormon is so important! I was able to see another miracle this week with one of the less-actives we have been working with. She said the first time we met with her that she didn't think she needed to come to church, but would let us come over and visit with her. Since then we have taught her and her less-active brother that lives with her the restoration cornerstone, the book of mormon cornerstone, and the first part of the plan of salvation. She has been reading the book of mormon, and has started reading it with her non-member nephew and niece that come over quite often. They were present in our most recent lesson on the plan of salvation, and both want their own copy of the book of mormon. She also asked what time church starts. So there is progress there. Seeing people accept the gospel is so awesome. I can't wait for all of the siblings that go on missions to experience the joy that comes from being an instrument in the lord's hands and being a part of his work, and seeing him work miracles in saving souls. We also had a lesson with the bruno children, recent converts this week. They are awesome. Logan Bruno is a little energetic 8 year old. We never get out of a lesson laughing. We were teaching them about physical and emotional health in from the strength of youth pamphlet. Sister Knudsen explained why satan became the devil and how he tempts us to do things to put our health and bodies at risk. Logan then said "and that's why Satan has horns." Haha. It was really funny. Elder Ricks and I got a great laugh about that. We also met Jeff Harvey this week, another less-active who's super busy and said we could certainly visit him, but good luck catching him when he's not working on his farm. But we did get to see his donkeys and Scottish Highlanders and get pictures with them. We also had another nerf gun war here at the church where we split into teams and play capture the flag. If you get shot, you have to go back to your base. And you try to find the other teams flag and bring it over to your side of the building. It was way fun!  I hope Sarah is doing well. By the way, the new mission president was announced. His name is Jeffery Rogers and he is from St. George! Crazy!! And President Wirthlin was at our last district meeting. Love you all and have a great week!!

Me and Elder Ricks with
Scottish Highlanders!!!

And More Nerf!!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New Year!

Haha that's sweet. I have to admit those pictures make me miss home a bit. Tell the Murphy's I say hi back!! Family and Hockey are the two things I miss most! I'll definitely be playing with my brothers and Dad a ton when I get home. Hopefully I will still be decent, but I'm sure it will come back. But the sacrifice is well worth it!! This week was sweet. We did a lot of finding this week. Not just tracting but knocking on the doors of people who said they would be interested in hearing more about the gospel in the past or former investigators. It's crazy to think how fast time flies though!! No more Christmas, New Years, or Thanksgiving's as a missionary. Man I'm loving my time out here. I've learned so much and have been blessed more than I thought possible. This week was really good. On New Year's Eve we had to be in by 6:00, so we got permission from President Wirthlin to watch the movie "God's not Dead" with the knudsen's. It was so good. I really enjoyed it. I won't spoil any of the details for you guys!! We also had dinner with the Knudsen's that night as well, and Elder Ricks, Sister Knudsen, and I played phase 10!! It reminded me of the good times we played at the cabin. I was ahead the whole time, but Elder Ricks won. We were both on phase 10 and both had phased, but Elder Ricks had phased first and sister Knudsen went out since it was time for us to go up to bed.  Anyways, we got to teach Emmy again this week. She couldn't meet in person, so we taught her on facebook. We shared the "because of him" video and talked a lot about the atonement of Jesus Christ and the blessing it is in our lives!! She's sweet. It's great to be able to teach people online too. We also had a church tour with Mike, the investigator from Sri Lanka. He's sweet. It was funny though because when I showed him the library and explained how all the work in the church is voluntary and there's no paid ministry, the member with us was like "technically" and went in on how the general authorities are "looked after." Haha. Man It's always interesting when members who you ask to help teach you go into the deep details like that. I just hope Mike didn't get confused! We also had two lessons on the Book of Mormon this week, one with our investigator Sandy and one with our investigator Bruce. Sandy is sweet. If you remember we picked her up back at the very end of November, but she was so busy over the holidays that we literally couldn't meet with her in December at all. When we picked her up, we found out she lost her husband back in April, and we really felt the spirit when we taught her the restoration. So we went over and taught the book of mormon cornerstone to her. She's really interested in reading it and said she would read it and would pray to know if it is true, which is awesome because as we learn in PMG "the Book of Mormon combined with the spirit is your most powerful resource in conversion." So if she reads and prays about the Book of Mormon, we are set. But she and Bruce both got the concern that our religion exalts Joseph Smith, which I don't really get how they get that concern. But we simply explained how he is a prophet, like moses, not like the Savior Jesus Christ. Bruce was an interesting lesson. He said he would look at the Book of Mormon, but we aren't going to convert him. So we might just have to stop teaching him and let him look at the Book of Mormon and let the lord soften his heart. Stacey, the less-active we have been teaching who should be active, finally came to church yesterday and she bore her testimony. It was so powerful. She talked about how she's been going through a hard time recently and the one thing she has been able to hold onto is the the gospel. She also expressed her gratefulness to the missionaries and all that we have been doing to help her, and that she looks forward to getting to know the members of the ward better. It was sweet. I love seeing lives change as they embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a joy that I can't describe, and I've felt it so many times on my mission as I've seen all the miracles. We also got to do some service for one of the Owego Sisters investigators Rachel, and she has some really funny friends. We were helping her and her friend move all the stuff out of her friend's apartment, and one of her friends named Fred is so funny! He told us how hard it is to argue with an idiot (referring to rachel). She then told us to use the dolley for some chairs, which wouldn't have worked. So we just carried them and she accused fred of not using the dolley on purpose because she suggested it. He then turned to me and said "see, you can't go right with these women." I was laughing pretty hard. That's crazy to think Nate is on the homepage of the High School Hockey website. That's sick. And that video of Mike is sweet too. Was that a real save, or did the person purposely shoot it so mike could catch it? I couldn't tell since it was in slow motion. Owego has been really warm recently but it just got really cold. It's 21 degrees today, and it's going to keep dropping. But it's been nowhere near as cold as last winter. Last winter was like this from the beginning of december all the way till the end of February and I think even a little bit into March. Can't believe I come home this year. Aww that's so crazy. Love you all and have a fantastic week.
Elder Richins

President Wirthlin showed up to district meeting. 

And the Jolley's took us out to dinner in a restaurant that used to be a jail. 

Snowstorm's this week!! And what a name for a bar! 
 Duck with a fro.

And beautiful sunset!!