Sunday, April 26, 2015

Good Bye Pulaski...Hello Fulton!

So said my goodbyes in Owego. Man I'm missing the people there a bit. It always happens when you leaven an area, because you have served them and grown so close to them. But I'm excited to move forward and see what wonderful
things are in store for me these upcoming months.So Pulaski is sweet. I've never taught on my mission as much as I have taught here in Pulaski! We have a few sweet investigators and a ton of less-active members we are working with.
 I think we had 4 people we were teaching come to church this week. So that was awesome. The ward is awesome to. Great member support. By the way, that picture was taken by addie kerr, the daughter of brother kerr, our ward mission leader,
 who is a boss to. He had Elders Wilcox, Purdy and I out for dinner at stefano's before splits (where a missionary goes with a member so we can get more teaching appointments in). We had pizza and wings, which are really good here. I love teaching Alan to. He's one
of our investigators and he is so freaking funny. He has a bell that he rings whenever he really gets excited or feels the spirit in a lesson. He's schizophrenic though and all over the place! But his comments are so funny and random it's
been sweet Teaching him. I'm going to miss him, which leads me to another thing that was a bit stressful about this week. I will not be serving in Pulaski the remainder of this transfer. I One of the elders in the zone had to go home early
due to medical reasons, and since I was in a trio, yesterday I got the call and was emergency transferred to Fulton! So that's where I will be at, not pulaski, which by the way, is one of the best salmon fisheries in the world. Darn. But
oh well. Everything works out and I know I am meant to be here in Fulton because the lord is in charge of this work. There are people here that I can touch. And so I'm serving with Elder Ward, from layton utah. He's really nice and
seems sweet, but he's been sick and so yesterday I pretty much cleaned up the apartment, put names in my GPS again. That was dumb. I just got done saving everyone for Pulaski in and now I've got to do it again. And my GPS isn't
charging when I plug it in, so I have to figure out how to fix it. So the emergency transfer and the gps being dumb isn't helping either.  So yeah. Pulaski was sweet, I would have loved to have served there a bit longer than the 6 days I
was there, but like I said the lord has a different plan for me and I've just got to roll with it! But yeah so hopefully this week without being emergency transferred (knock on wood) getting the gps fixed and doing work, and meeting everyone
here in Fulton, I'll be able to tell you guys a bit more this upcoming week about Elder Ward since I'll actually know him a bit (we became companions yesterday) and the area.
Love you all back home and hope you have an amazing week!

Elder Richins

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Off to Pulaski!!!!!

 First off, transfer calls came this week, and after 4 transfers in Owego (2 with elder ricks and 2 with elder kunzler) I will be going up to Pulaski tomorrow! I am so excited for this new adventure. Pulaski is north of Syracuse right on lake ontario, and everyone has been telling me one thing since I've gotten the call. Salmon Fishing is huge up there. I am so stoked! I can't wait to get up there and see that! Maybe some members up there will have some fresh salmon we can eat!!! It's supposed to be really pretty up there. I'm going to be serving in a trio with Elder Wilcox and Elder Purdy! It's going to be so much fun! I've heard serving in a trio is way fun! I can't wait. But like always, it's sad to leave an area with all the people you've come to love and develop friendships with. Geri, Mike, Esther, Hector, Stacey, and Valorie. I am going to miss the people here so much! I'm really going to miss elder kunzler to. I've learned a lot from him and we have had so much fun together. He, Elder Ricks, and Elder Jepsen have all been really sweet because of how hard we worked, but we also had so much fun while we did it, which is what you have to do in life! I've also learned a lot from being the district leader these last two transfers and I've really grown! But It's going to be sweet up in Pulaski. This will be the farthest north I have been in the mission so far! So this week was good. Elder Kunzler and I saw a lot of miracles. Esther is still doing well, but she didn't come to church again. But she will be active soon. I know it. She was really sad that I was leaving to. She's hoping I get transferred back before I come home (even though I don't), and she said she would love to meet all of you guys when we come back and visit the mission!  The Palias also said they would love to meet all of us and feed us authentic Indian Curry when we visit!! Hector is doing pretty well. He's poor though and he's really worried about paying tithing, but he agreed to meeting with Bishop Demming and talk about his finances so he would be able to make it by. The Bruno's are doing well. I love those kids! I'm going to miss them so much! Elder Kunzler and I had crapes with them and the knudsens for lunch yesterday. Man, I'm going to miss the knudsens a lot to! We also saw quite a few miracles finding people this week. Elder Kunzler and I have worked really hard, doing everything we can to try to build the teaching pool, and we saw some pretty cool miracles happen this week! We had fifteen minutes before a dinner appointment with the Roglers (who fed us delicious deep dish pizza! It was so good)! We decided to tract for that time before and the first door we knocked on was the door of Jennifer, who said she was having some questions about her religion and had heard some weird things about the mormons which she laughed about and said sounded pretty absurd! But she said it wasn't a coincidence that we knocked on her door because she was seeking for answers at that time in her life! It was so cool. We also knocked on another door of a lady named Anne, who let us right in and told us how she believes  that God and Jesus Christ are seperate distinct beings (Godhead) rather than the trinity. And she asked her pastor about it and he couldn't answer. It's not everyday you find that type of person. We also were able to get in contact with Jeffrey this week, a sweet less-active who is totally cool with us coming over. And we taught Dave, another less-active member who is way cool and chill about meeting with us. We taught him about the atonement, and he really seemed to open up to us at the end of the lesson. It will be cool to see where Dave and Jeffrey go. (By the way, in Upstate New York, there are a ton of less-active members, and a lot of them have moved or whatever and their addresses aren't even correct on the ward roster. So we do a lot of work not only with teaching the less-actives and getting them to re-activation and conversion, but we also do a lot of fixing up and updating the ward rosters). Valorie is still doing...well I think she will accept the gospel someday, but she's got aways. We had dinner with her, Hector, and the Jolley's yesterday and a quick lesson which went really well, but she seems to have one really good lesson and then a bad one and it just keeps on going! But I hope she will get there someday! But like Scotia and Schoharie, I've seen miracles here in Owego. Lives have changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've loved working with all the awesome people here. I can't wait for the adventures and experiences awaiting me in Pulaski. I am praying for salmon fishing on a preparation day! Love you all and have a great week!

Elder Richins
Meet the Mormons Movie Night!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

March 23, 2015


This week has been good. I am excited for this week though because the work is going to pick up. I know I said mike was supposed to be back in town this last week, but he is moving in april and had to travel some more this week. But we do have a set appointment with him tomorrow, so it will be good to get back in contact with him. This past week was good. The dentist was nice. So Geri got home this last week, but we haven't been able to teach her because while she was out of town, she got really sick and might possibly be having surgery, so hopefully she gets better soon. I can't wait to start teaching her again once she does get better. Esther didn't make it to church this week because she has come down with something and is really sick to :/. So it's been a slower week. With the restored teaching method (how to teach pmg) and the short, frequent lessons every other day, it opens up a lot of time when some of the people you regularly see are completely out of it. But Hector is still doing great. I still can't believe how far he has come. We have been practicing baptismal interviews with him and reviewing the gospel principles that he needs to know to pass the interview, and he's ready. It's one of the greatest miracles I have seen on my mission. An 80 year old man who has a really bad memory (he doesn't even remember our names) has felt the spirit as he has gone to church, he has learned to pray on his own, and he can remember the principles of the gospel that we have taught him with the help of the holy ghost. It's all about our desires. Out of all the people I have ever met, Hector has one of the greatest hearts. He is so kind and loving towards his neighbors and friends, and his desire to do the right thing is so strong. It was strong right from the beginning. But I was worried that we wouldn't ever see him remember a single gospel principle. But now he can pass the baptismal interview with ease, and he loves how he feels as he comes to church each week. His baptism is this saturday, so that will be sweet.I also got to go on exchange with Elder Gailey this week. I went to Endicott while his companion Elder Wing went and worked in Owego with Elder Kunzler. Endicott is sweet. It reminded me a lot of Scotia. Since I've been in 2 rural areas for so long now, I've forgotten what it is like to be in the cities and suburbs. I love rural areas, but one nice thing about city and urban areas is you can just walk around and talk to people on the streets. I seriously think I saw more people out on the streets that one day in Endicott with Elder Gailey than I do usually in a whole week in Newark Valley. Haha. We got to teach their investigator john. He's really sweet. He knows the church is true and everything, he just needs to quit smoking and he will be baptized! Then Elder Gaily and I went to the Ross family for dinner. Man they are so sweet. Their whole family likes Zelda, Adventure Time, and Harry Potter. So I had a blast talking with all of them! They also had a little chihuaha that was full of energy and peed when visitors were there. Elder Gaily got peed on and they washed his sweater for him during dinner. It was so funny! Haha. Thankfully I didn't get peed on. I made didn't let the dog hop on me or over me at first when it was all excited and running around. We also had stake conference this weekend. It was really good. There were a lot of good talks on conversion and serving others. I have to admit though, my first stake conference with Elder Clayton Christensen (the guy who wrote the power of everyday missionaries) coming and speaking was awesome. Elder Christensen's talk was one of the best talks I have ever heard in person. It snowed a couple of times again this week. Hopefully it will warm up and stay warm! It isn't too bad though. Not January/February cold. Also steve mercer came to church! That's the first time he has come while I have been here. So that was a huge miracle. We didn't even realize he had come because he sat at the very back during stake conference and left as soon as the meeting was over to beat the traffic! Haha. Sounds like you guys had a great time at the cabin! Love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Elder Richins

March 16, 2015

Mom and Dad,

This week has been good. I'm super stoked because of how the work is going. Before that though, I will update you on some of the sad things that happened this week. Katrina dropped us. Her mother in law and husband expressed their concerns to her about meeting with us, and she said she thought it was best that she didn't meet with us anymore. It was a real bummer, because she had some powerful spiritual experiences when we taught her. Hopefully she will accept the gospel down the road. Elder Kunzler and I didn't see it coming, especially since we thought Brett was warming up to us. We also had to drop another investigator, Bob Seymour as well. One of the things I've observed on my mission is how hard it is drop people. You really come to love them and begin to have a small understanding of how much God loves them! Now to the good stuff. We have a meet the mormons movie night coming up in April that Elder Kunzler, Myself, Sister Mayer, and Sister Collette, (the owego sisters) and Brother Cox, our ward mission leader are putting on. We are trying to get all of our investigators, less-actives, and recent converts that we work with there. We also are trying to get as many active members to come and prayerfully select a nonmember friend they could bring to it as well. We've made flyers, are going to get it in the newspaper and pennysaver, and are doing everything we can to advertise it. I'm really excited for it. We are hoping to get a lot of contacts and new people to teach from this event, and it's a great way to get the members involved as well. Members are crucial to success in missionary work! If members have the missionary mindset and help the missionaries serving in their ward/branch the best they can, the work just goes so much better! Hector is doing great. Teaching Hector has been a wonderful experience and I've learned a lot from it. He turned 80 yesterday, but I had no idea how much he could change when we first taught him. He never went to school, he can't read, and he has a really hard time remembering things. At first, he agreed to be baptized, but I wondered if he could ever get there. As the weeks have gone by he has changed so much. He's been coming to church all along, but I've wondered if he comes just because we invite him. (He's really lonely). But now he's praying on his own. I already told you how he said his first, non-recited prayer last week. But his prayers are improving and he can just about pass a baptismal interview now and will be baptized in a few weeks! The great thing I've really learned though is that the lord looks on the heart. Because Hector has probably the greatest heart of anyone I have worked with on my mission. It's also continuing to warm up! Which I am really excited for. We also had zone conference this week. The Assistants trained on consecration and President Wirthlin had the regional family history consultant come and they trained us on family history and how to use it as a finding tool. They even tried to convince us that family history isn't just the thing you do once you are retired! Haha. But I loved the assistants training. You really need to be consecrated to see true miracles and blessings come on the mission. As you do so, not only does the work go better, but you are also changed yourself. And I'm not going to lie and act like I'm a perfectly consecrated missionary or person, because no one is. But it is a process we all strive for. So I pondered on things I could do to become more consecrated for the rest of my mission. It was really good. Hopefully Esther is doing ok. She didn't come to church yesterday because she has been in the hospital with blood clots, we are seeing her tonight so hopefully she's doing better. Also Mike and Geri are actually getting back in town this week. (They've just been extending their time out of town again and again) but I'm excited to work with them again. The Mercer's didn't come to church :/. They need to actually keep their commitments. They are under a lot of stress right now because they are trying to find an apartment since they are being kicked out of their house in a few weeks and they still haven't found anything, so hopefully that will all work out. Love you all and have a great week!!

Love Elder Richins

March 9

Hey everyone!

This week has been sweet! Elder Kunzler and I have seen a lot of miracles this week! So to start off, we found a family this week!! Which is sweet. Katrina and Brett and they have 3 kids, a 4 year old boy and 2 year old twin daughters! Brett doesn't believe in God, but Katrina is way open and we set her with a baptismal date for May 2nd! We are really excited. We found her in the records, and I had already tried her many times, and they had never been home or hadn't answered. But the lord prepares people over time, and you never know what's going to happen! We taught her the first cornerstone experience. She prayed at the end and everything, and it was sweet. One of the best lessons Elder Kunzler and I have taught together probably since Geri and Mike went out of town! You can really feel the spirit when the investigator/less-active is engaged and wants to learn in addition to the missionaries. I've noticed that on my mission. The most spiritual lessons have been when the one being taught is also involved in the lesson and wants to learn. When we went back a second time, we watched the restoration movie with her, and she remembered everything, and she was really into it to! Her little twins also got excited every time they saw a deer or a horse or something, haha. Also we saw another miracle with Hector this week. So since he has such a hard time remembering the principles, and even though he had started to remember things a little bit, Elder Kunzler and I were concerned he was meeting with us just because he is lonely. So we prayed about whether we should drop him or not, and we visited him and did "how to begin teaching" with him again. It was really cool, because our prayer was answered as we asked him why he met with us and if he wanted to get baptized for him, and not for us. We even asked him if he would still want to go to church if we were completely out of the picture, and he said yes. He said a non-recited, heartfelt prayer out loud at the end of a lesson for the first time this week! So he is really making progress! We also took a member, Brother Raymond with us to teach him and the Mercers. Man brother raymond and hector could be best friends! Haha. The Mercers are still doing well to! Brother Mercer didn't come to church though because he set his clock back an hour, so hopefully he isn't stagnant again. He's been off and on the whole time I've been here, but this is the most solid and sincere desire and willingness to make the commitment to come to church I have ever seen. Hopefully he will get there this sunday! He said he would and that there would be no "excuses this time." But I'm way stoked for this new transfer with elder kunzler. Geri (who has a baptismal date in april) and mike (the sweet investigator from Sri Lanka) have both been out of town forever, but both should be back this week. So Elder Kunzler and I are going to be as busy as ever! It's also warming up here. It's 45 degrees outside, and I'm so happy and running around in a short sleeve shirt. It feels like a heat wave! Love you all and have a fantastic week!!

Elder Richins