Monday, February 23, 2015

35 Degrees is WARM!

Mom and Dad,

This week has been great. It is still cold up here. Yesterday it got up to 35 degrees, and that's the warmest it has been in awhile. Seriously, it felt so nice.  Also, my camera stopped working this week. I thought it might be the battery, so I bought a new battery today for forty bucks. If that doesn't solve the problem though, I will return the battery and will probably have to buy a new camera or something. Let me know what the options are! That's good that the kids get to see Sarah. Elder Kunzler and I had a very interesting week this week. So Mike Glanville our investigator was supposed to come back home from England, but he ended up deciding to stay another week to week and a half. (I don't blame him). And Geri is also out of town for her daughter who is giving birth. In addition to that, we haven't been able to contact many of our investigators recently. So our teaching pool shrunk quite a bit this last week. It was discouraging, but Elder Kunzler and I determined that there must be people out there that we need to find to prepare to hear the gospel since everyone is either sick or out of town. However, Geri's good friend Esther (the less-active we have been teaching who had a stroke) came to church this week and loved it! She loves the members and wants to keep coming every week if she can. So that was a miracle. We also started teaching another less-active member, Carlton Gooding this week. That was a huge miracle because Elder Ricks and I had visited him before, and he was totally shut off to visiting with us or hearing the gospel. But Elder Kunzler and I thought we might as well try him, and he had completely changed. He was open and told us about why he went less-active, how he came in contact with the church (He was baptized in the Navy). We also went around to all of the churches and town halls and other stuff in the communities to get ideas for service projects. We also have kept on teaching Hector and he came to church again. I don't know what we are going to do with him. He's got a great heart and is the nicest guy you will ever meet, but he can't remember the principles we teach him at all. We gave him a "mock" baptismal interview to see where he is at, and he couldn't remember a thing. When I asked him about the sabbath, he gave me the answer for tithing, and then 2 seconds later when I asked him what tithing was, he couldn't remember. But He will get there. It is just going to take some time and we will have to be patient with him. Can't believe it's already the end of my 3rd transfer here in Owego. We get the call this saturday, and I will leave if I stay here as long as I did in Schoharie, which is crazy. I'm hoping to stay for one more transfer though, it's crazy though. Time really does fly in the mission field. But life is going great here in owego. Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Richins

P.S. Also this week we stopped by this sick Alpaca Farm and got to pet the Alpaca's so that was way cool! Love you all and have a great week!

Here is a really cool quote you could share with sarah. It's from M. Russell Ballard's talk do things that make a difference. I loved the talk and thing this is an awesome point he makes. 
"We all are the sons and daughters of God. Therefore, none of us, no not one, should ever have a low self-image. We belong to him. We must struggle always to keep in our minds that our ultimate goal is to inherit eternal life. We work, we struggle, we set goals, we practice self-discipline. We do all of these things to become our very best selves. We exercise our faith in God, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in his gospel which has been restored, and we build a strong faith in ourselves. If for any reason your faith in yourself is wavering tonight, gird up your loins and fresh courage take. Do what is necessary to kindle the bright, glowing blessings of faith in your life. Always remember, you are a child of God."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Listen to the Bishop!

This week has been great. It is crazy how time flies. I've heard utah and idaho and the whole west coast is having really mild weather. It's freezing up here. The last few days, we have had freezing temperatures, with the windchill making it feel between -20 and -35 degrees. President has asked us that we stay inside if it gets that cold unless we go to a set appointment. Sounds like you guys are really enjoying life back home though! And missionary life with Elder Kunzler is still great! We keep seeing miracles. This week, we set our investigator Geri with a baptismal date. We were told by her less-active friend that we had to be careful not to scare her off and not push too hard, because she felt that was happening and didn't want Geri to stop investigating. So we asked her how she felt about what we have taught her, and she said she felt that it was true. So we then said we would like to work towards a goal when she felt she could get baptized, and she chose April 18th. And we explained how if needed, we come move it up or back depending on how things go. It's been really awesome teaching her though. She's really solid and I definitely know that we were led to her, and her less-active friend as well. She is on fire to and is totally getting involved in the gospel again. It's been sweet! Hector came to church again, so that's two weeks in a row. He's doing really well and is progressing well. I gave him some of my hot chocolate to him in exchange for his coffee, so he's living the word of wisdom now to! Haha. We had a really funny moment teaching hector too. We taught him the ten commandments. After talking about not taking the lord's name in vain, we moved on to teach him about honoring the father and mother. I asked him how he and his siblings got along as they honored their parents, and he said "Pretty dam* well!" Haha it was so funny! We also had a crazy adventure with Brother Story this week. Haha Get ready. Brother Story is an 82 year old man, who we were advised to not take out teaching with us when the weather is bad. The bishop expressed his concern on that. But we had an appointment set up this week with a less-active member that was a single female, so we needed another male, and no one else could come. And it wasn't snowing, so we thought it was fine and called him up. He has a heart of gold, so we called him and he came. The drive there was fine. No problems at all. But it was a good 20 minute drive, the appointment was at 5:30. So when we got out of the appointment, it was dark and snowing...hard. And brother story's eyesight is not what it used to be. So we drove home. Nothing bad happened. We thought that we could take brother story out for dinner though, since he is divorced and didn't have any plans for valentine's day. So we drive to Owego from newark valley, another 20 minute drive. It's still snowing and it's dark outside. Brother Story hit's a chunk of ice that sounded like it got stuck in the muffler or something. He started to drive off the road, and I told him to be careful and to get back on the road. He didn't say anything, but soon after looked at me and said "Pardon?". He didn't hear me due to his lack of hearing. So I said oh never mind, it doesn't matter. We get to the restaurant, Calaboose grill. Turns out they had a special valentines day menu that was twice as expensive as the normal one. So shortly after being seated at the restaurant, we told them we had to leave, and the manager tried so hard to get us to stay. But we couldn't because of how expensive it was. So on our way back to the car, Bro Story falls down. I felt so bad. But he insisted he was fine! So we went to Arby's. I said "Phew, we made it we are safe." Right after I said that, Brother story starts pulling in to Arbys (left turn) and I guess he just didn't see the oncoming car 20 feet away, so Elder Kunzler and I yell and he barely swerves out of the way just in time. After all that, Elder Kunzler said the bishop would be so mad if he found out. Brother Story replied "Well don't tell bishop!" Haha we laughed really hard. So the two things I took out of that were always listen to the bishop. We had a few close calls that night. And the second is that I still think valentine's day is overrated. Thanks for all that you do back home. Love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Richins

February 9 2015

Hey everyone,
This week has been great. It's still cold and snowy here. We have probably gotten about 20 inches of snow or more this last week. But the work is continuing to hasten. We haven't seen mike recently due to him being on vacation up in England. He's hopefully still enjoying himself though. We are seeing miracles though with our investigators Geri and Hector are doing super well. Hector came to church this week and loved it. He is the one who is turning 80 next month and is scheduled for baptism on March 28th. We see him quite a bit each week with the restored teaching method and the short frequent lessons. It's been amazing to see him just open up though. When we first started teaching him, he was pretty quiet and just listened. But now we crack jokes with each other, and just have a blast whenever we visit with each other. He said after church he wants to keep coming if he can, and he's committed to live the word of wisdom as well, which is awesome! I'm so excited for him. He said that since he has started meeting with us, he feels like he has begun climbing up a ladder. And he has. I can definitely see the change that has come to him. He seems a lot happier than when we first started meeting with him. We also got to meet with Geri a couple of times this week, which was awesome. Geri is super solid but was really sick last week, so it was great to be able to get back in contact with her this week. She and one of the less-active members we are teaching are now being taught together and talking about it with each other when we aren't around, so that's dope! We taught both of them about the first part of the plan of salvation this week, and had a church tour with them. The church tour was sweet. We had brother bush and brother shumway come with us, and it was really powerful. Geri said she just wanted to keep walking more and more towards the front when she was in the chapel because of the spirit she felt! And the less-active member who had a stroke and can't really remember much about the church said she wanted to get rebaptized. Of course she can't, but it shows that she is ready to be re-activated. It's really sweet seeing the changes both of them have been making in their lives. Geri should have a baptismal date soon! We also had some fun this week! Haha. We brought brother story teaching with us, he's 82 years old. We took him up to the person we wanted to teach and he got stuck in the snow. And since he couldn't hear too well, he kept on pushing the gas when he was already stuck getting him more stuck, and turning the wheel the wrong way when backing out of the snow, haha. We got out though, which was the important thing. Also at the church tour, bro shumway used to date the less-active we brought teaching years ago, and they are both single, and they hit it off real well. Haha. It was pretty dang funny. Well, I love you all so much. Hope you all have a fantastic week. By the way I'm sending home my sd card today in the mail, so you should get it pretty soon. Love you all bye now!

Elder Kunzler's Mad Oregon Blackberry Buckle!  It was really good!!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

CURRY and My New Companion!!!

Hey everyone,

Well we got hit with a huge snowstorm! Probably 10 to 12 inches on top of what is already here! But it's been great. Elder Kunzler and I are just having a blast together. I found out some very cool things about him. He has cousins in a small southern town in Utah. He then told me how he would love going out there and exploring the boulder mountain and capitol reef national park, and getting burgers at slackers!! Haha. It was sweet. Both of us were very surprised the other knew what slackers was. But apparently, Elder Kunzler has gone down there once a year or once every other year. We do have Hector, the 80 year old man on date for baptism still. He didn't come to church this week because he was sick. He said he still want to come to church though. We picked up one of his acquaintances, I'll call her betty (even though that isn't her name). Elder Kunzler and I were really excited about betty. She accepted a baptismal date the first lesson, and she really seemed to be progressing. But she doesn't have a phone, and she said we could find her on facebook, and we couldn't. But we couldn't find her on facebook. A few days later we saw her again on the side of the road, and she said she wanted to come to church and that she would add us on facebook that night. She still hasn't, and when we went to where we were going to pick her up, and she wasn't there. Hector says she lies a lot to and uses people, and Elder Kunzler and I are pretty sure she was just using us for free help. Apparently she had been using hector for awhile, and Hector's landlord said that she couldn't come back.   a lot of people are sick here to. We haven't seen Gerri this week because she has been out with the flu. I tell you guys that though because it's sweet to see how much Hector is ready to change his life and how much making new good friends in the church is going to help him. Elder Kunzler and I both feel that we were led by God to him. So that's really cool, even though we were disappointed with the "Betty" situation. Mike is still doing good. We found out this week that he isn't coming to church because he wants his wife to come with him, and she has been really busy. She's an engineer and dealing with project deadlines. But other than church, he's doing really well. We haven't set him with a baptismal date yet, but he will get there. He's going to England for the next two weeks though, so it will be kind of hard not seeing him. He's so sweet. We haven't seen Gerri this week because she has been really sick with the flu, but she should be better within 2 days, and once we start meeting with her, she will get a date for baptism to. She's really prepared for the gospel. We also picked up this guy named Arthur. He's interesting. I don't know how long we are going to be teaching him. He is a single dad and the son of a less-active lady in our ward, and he was really interested in getting an update from us on the single adult calender in our ward. And he mentions that a lot. So I don't know how long we will be teaching him. I also think I might have gotten food poisoning this week, because I puked a few times Tuesday night but felt fine and went out and worked on Wednesday. Don't know what's going to happen with our investigator steve. He picked up smoking again. I was really upset. He will get baptized if he can just quit, but it's so hard for him. We also aren't teaching josh anymore. He says his wife doesn't want us coming over anymore. But it's sad, especially since you can tell he knows it's true, but he claims to be atheist. But it wasn't really going anywhere. But he will come around someday.

 Now for questions. I'm doing great. Still love being a missionary and seeing miracles everyday and how much the gospel blesses the lives of those who accept and live it. The potato bowls are when we put mashed potatoes and popcorn chicken in a bowl. I then put chipotle ranch dressing over it. It's pretty good. Interesting facts about owego. I did find one today.  A few years ago, it was voted "coolest small town in America." The curry was delicious. It was about as spicy as dad's, but he said he didn't make it too spicy so we could handle it. You know how curry is all liquidy in the crockpot? I can't remember exactly how we eat it back home, but at the Palia's we actually but it in bowls like soup and dipped Chibate, which is kind of like pita bread, and dipped it in the curry. It was so good. He also made another Indian dish along with it that is mostly made with egges, but I forget what it is called. Love you all though. Have a great week and take care!

Elder Richins

My new companion, Elder Kunzler
Brother Palia and Elder Kunzler

So Good!!!


I love Owego!!!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

January 26, 2015


Well this week has been great! It's been mild back home huh? It's still cold here. It's been around 20 degrees as the high almost every day the last couple of weeks, other than a few days ago when it was 36. But that day felt really warm. Haha.  Well, some fun facts about Owego. We are near where the company IBM started. It's a very rural area like Schoharie. The nerf wars are sweet. We have so much fun doing them. We didn't do one today though since it was a mission wide "de-junk day." Get rid of all the excess crap that has accumulated in the apartments over the past year or so. Glad to hear the family is doing well back home and is being blessed. Glad to hear you are still enjoying school mom. I have done some cooking for myself. I usually make burritos or sandwiches. I've also made chicken potato bowls and frozen pizza and such. Haha. Life is good though, this week was awesome. Elder Kunzler and I are having a blast. We are seeing so many miracles. He got here Wednesday, and he has met most of our investigators now, and he's way excited because a lot of them are close to baptism. We had a really cool experience with our investigator Carolyn. She's the one who believes in relativism and "doesn't want us to convert her." Elder Ricks and I taught her part of the restoration, and then had to go. But as Elder Kunzler and I visitied with her again, it was amazing to see how much she has changed. She finished reading the restoration pamphlet that we left with her, and you could tell the spirit touched her. She is now open to the idea that there is one true path for her, rather than her former relativistic "The religion that feels right for you is the truth to you." It was cool. We also visited with Gerri and Mike again. They are both going to get baptized. We just need to help them set dates and overcome their little concerns, but they are both on their way. We also picked up a new investigator named Hector who we set with a baptismal date. He's so funny. He's going to turn 80 in a few months, so when we invited him to be baptized he said "sure, if I'm still here." Haha. It was great. He also gave us cool eagle statues. Mine is now sitting on my study desk. We also had the bring a friend activity this week. Each month one of the quorums/auxilaries of the Owego ward is in charge of it, and everyone tries to come and invite their friends to do something fun at the church and introduce them to the missionaries. This month we had a sports/game night. I played basketball with some of the members and one of the sisters investigators. It was really fun to do that. Then afterwards we played a game called "battle of the sexes." It's men vs. women, and you have trivia cards to see who "is the superior gender." So the girls often get questions related to sports and outdoor activities and men stuff, and men get questions relating to baking and sewing. Also asks questions about famous male or female celebrities and stuff. So that was fun. We also visited Josh again. He's going to come around someday. Elder Kunzler, Elder Ricks, and I all can tell he knows the gospel is true, but is claiming to be atheist. We just need to figure out what his concern his. He loves to roller skate, and challenged me to play roller hockey one on one on a Monday. I told him if I won he would have to come to church. When I told him and his wife I play hockey, josh's wife turned to him and said "I don't know, it's kind of a risky bet." Haha. We also had dinner yesterday with the Corwins, who just got back from Hawaii. Desert was fresh pineapple they brought home with them! It was so good. Best pineapple I have ever had in my life!! And tonight we are going to the Palia's to have that curry!!! :D Love you all. Have a great week.

Elder Richins

My District!

Me and the Jolleys!!

Brother Palia

Brother Cox caught a squirrel this week!

Me and Valorie

Elder Ricks, Logan and Me with batman pjs!

January 19, 2015

Mom and Dad,

I did get the package with the tie. Thank you so much. No we haven't had the curry yet, but I can't wait. I'll let you know when I do. And this member from India is sweet. He's so willing to help us out as missionaries. Man, I miss chick-fil-a, and today is a normal preparation day. Something interesting about my area. Well the natives call Newark Valley "Nerk Valley". That's entertaining. Give me a week to think on it. We got on late today and I only have a half hour to email today because we just finished an epic nerf war. Haha. This week was great though. The work is still progressing, and some exciting things are happening. We got transfer calls last saturday. Elder Ricks will be going to Liverpool, which is up by Syracuse. I'm going to miss serving with that kid. Him and Elder Jepsen two great companions from utah that I'll keep in touch with. But I am excited because I will be serving with Elder Kunzler. He is so sweet. He's been in the same zone as me twice, and I can't wait. He like Elders Jepsen and Ricks knows how to have fun and work hard. Which is awesome. The work is really picking up here though. Mike is progressing. We still haven't gotten him to come to church yet, but I'm not giving up on him yet. We did find out his wife is buddist, so I would really love to teach her. I've heard from other missionaries teaching buddhists is fun, and I haven't taught one yet, so it would be cool. We also picked up a few new investigators this week. One was really interesting. She believes in relativism. The idea that whatever religion feels right to you is the truth for you. She also asked us if we were going to try to convert her. I though "well we aren't, the spirit is." Haha. We also picked up another sweet investigator named Gerry. She is really good friends with some less-active members in the ward who actually told her about us after we first helped her move her couch into her home. She said we could stop by, and before we went over and taught her, her good less-active friend talked to her about the Book of Mormon and answered questions about our church. It was sweet. Members are so important to missionary work. Our investigator steve, who already knows everything about the gospel and even deep doctrine went to the hospital with a blood clot on his lung. It was a blessing in disguise because know he has quit smoking and that was the barrier that prevented him for the last few years from getting baptized. So he should be doing that soon. We also picked up another investigator this week who hasn't gone to church in 20 plus years, but has a belief in god and definitely felt the spirit when we came over and taught him the restoration. The great thing I've realized recently is you never know the good you do. You teach a lot of investigators and less-actives, and only a handful of them are baptized or reactivated. But you influence their lives for good even if they don't. They might end up making a habit of praying every day because of your visits, or reading from the scriptures, and who knows, the fruit of our efforts might never be known in this life. Well I love you all. I hope you have a fanastic week. Hope everything is going well back home. Can't believe I've already been out 14 months. Time flies. 

Elder Richins.