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.