Monday, May 4, 2015

April 6, 2015 Tree Tapping and Syrup Collecting







Tree Tapping and Syrup Collecting


Sap from the tree is actually really clear!
Hey everyone,

This week was great! Elder Kunzler and I had a lot of miracles and sweet things happen this week. So now that Hector is baptized a member of the church, we can take him teaching with us. We are doing that in addition to visiting him (although now that he's a recent convert we see him less and will start to get him more and more used to the missionaries not being around) but we took him to teach Valorie with us. Valorie is really interesting. Elder Ricks and I taught her when I first got her, and we became really good friends, but we had to drop her because she was really contentious and angry with God. She has huge misunderstandings about the nature of God and thinks he is totally different that Jesus Christ in character, which of course isn't the case. Anyways since Elder Ricks and I dropped her, she eventually started coming back with the Jolley's to institute. So Elder Kunzler and I decided to give teaching her another try, because she is really looking for peace and happiness in her life. We took Hector to teach,and she asked a few questions about the old testament. She thinks that God is unmerciful and has no love towards the people in the old testament. And she is convinced because of the challenges she has faced in her life that God doesn't love her and she is destined to darkness after she dies. Then one of the most powerful miracles in my mission happened. Hector testified of God's love for him and how he felt the hand of God touch him as he was baptized. The spirit immediately filled the room. Valorie was in tears, and nothing else was said. And Hector had never previously said that to Elder Kunzler or myself. It was really cool to see where hector's testimony is at, and how confident he is in the gospel. I studied Valorie's concerns after the lesson, and the concerns she had were because she doesn't fully understand those scriptures in their context and she doesn't see how the new testament and the book of mormon complement the old testament. So it's rough. But hopefully she will get there. We also are teaching mike again regularly, but he didn't show up to the church to watch any of the sessions of general conference. He knows the gospel is true, but he hasn't yet been to church or committed to baptism. I heard from another missionary though that in Sri Lanka (Mike's the one from Sri Lanka) they are very "relaxed" about their religion and even though they might think of themselves as catholic or lutheran or whatever denomination, they might not be as committed and serious about it as we know we ought to be. Which I think might be the case with mike. Because he loves us coming over. He prayed the first time we visited, and the spirit was so strong. After his prayer to know if it was true, he looked up at Elder Ricks and I and said "I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God." (That was another one of my really powerful spiritual experiences on my mission). So we will have to figure out how to get him to keep his commitment to come to church. Brother Mercer is doing really well. This week he expressed that he doesn't really have the desire to quit smoking, and he would be ready when he was ready. The next lesson with him we read Alma 34 and were very bold with him about trying to quit smoking now. It went well. That was a really cool lesson. He was really humble about it to and hopefully now is willing to change. Esther came to church for the sunday morning session of general conference. She is doing really well. She says she considers Elder Kunzler and me family. I know she will soon be re-activated. Ever since we knocked on her door after she had been absent from the gospel and the church for many years and had forgotten just about everything about the gospel, she has loved everything we have taught her and her testimony and conversion are strengthening. She says she feels so much happier now that she has the gospel again in her life. I know I say this every week, but we still haven't met with Geri. She was supposed to come to a lesson this week, but she didn't. But Esther says she is still reading and still loving the gospel. It's just been hard because we want to teach her so much because she is so prepared for the gospel and she loves meeting with us, but with going out of town for a few weeks for her grand daughter to be born and now being sick for a few weeks, it has been forever since we visited. Hopefully we will see her soon, even though I have said that the last few weeks. General Conference. Man General Conference was so sweet! I love general conference so much! I've really learned to love it on my mission because I've gone into conference with questions, and I've always gotten answers. I'm pretty sure that Esther loved conference as well. But favorite talks, man there were a lot of amazing talks. I loved Elder Holland and President Uchtdorf back to back, as well as Elders Bednar and Christofferson back to back as well. I was really impressed with Elder Ballards talk in the priesthood session too, on the greatest generation of young adults. I loved how conference stressed the importance of family, marriage, and priorities in life. Because I've learned that on my mission. So many people could be doing better things with their time, and we all get distracted by technology or other things that aren't necessarily bad, just not the best. But I love you all so much! Have an amazing week and Happy Easter!!

Elder Richins

PS It snowed yesterday, but today it is up in the 70's and I think it might finally be warming up for good.

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