Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall is in the Air!

Driving the van to the mission conference!!
Hey Everyone!!!

Glad to hear everyone is keeping busy back home! I was told by a returned missionary this week that when you get home "life keeps on going at the same speed." So you have to enjoy the moment, and I'm committed to finish my mission strong before I start the next chapter of my life. The Lord is hastening his work. One of the greatest blessings I have seen on my mission is that the Lord is constantly hastening the work of salvation. With tools such as the principles from How to Teach PMG such as short frequent lessons and really focusing on helping people have spiritual experiences as they meet with us, The new ideas of working with members that President Wirthlin started to emphasize, the new ideas that President Rogers has brought as he now leads the mission (such as to stop relying on How to Teach PMG as a crutch for teaching, but rather focusing on the principles and teaching by the spirit to the needs of the people), and our mission conference with Elder Randall K. Bennett of the seventy this last week, have all built on each other and raised the vision of the mission and have moved it more and more in the right direction. At mission conference, Elder Bennett emphasized several important principles. A big change in the mission is taking place. From now on, we are trying to make sure members feed us before 6 pm, so we can be out teaching and finding from 6-9, which is "prime time" for proselyting. This is a very big change. All my mission the culture has been you eat when the members sign up. And change can be hard. But Elder Bennett promised us great blessings as we kept 6-9 pm open everyday to proselyte. Another big change is he has invited us to now keep dinner appointments to 45 minutes. Which also is a big change, because members in upstate New York love visiting with the missionaries. Elder Bailey and I have followed the counsel so far, and miracles are being seen. I was a little skeptical of this change at first, but with Elder Bailey's enthusiasm and nothing really but my trust that this change is God's will has led to many miracles. Mission conference was on Friday. On Saturday, we picked up 4 new investigators. We also got 7 referrals from the people we visited with. And Saturday morning was the busiest morning of my mission. We started by talking to someone, who gave us a referral, and as we talked to people on the street we met more people and got more referrals. It was awesome. Elder Bennett stressed talking with everyone and not rationalizing at all not to talk to someone. This is the most important message these people will ever hear. So that's another focus Elder Bailey and I have stressed to apply. Elder Bennett didn't say we were bad missionaries at the conference at all. He lovingly told us that there was always room for improvement and that even more miracles even "the windows of heaven" would be opened on the mission as we courageously make these changes. So our investigators are doing really well. Rachel, the member referral who will be baptized November 14th, came to church yesterday and also watched conference last week! She seemed to love church. We taught her the plan of salvation this last week, and she told us how happy she has become due to the gospel and this new light now being in her life. She even said "Even my friends notice that I am a happier person." It's been great to see the changes and joy the gospel is bringing into her life, as it has been for me to see that change in many people these past 22 months. The Seeley family is also doing well. Their ride to church brother baker got sick and called and cancelled Sunday morning, but we were able to frantically get a ride. Alyssa came, but Ashley went back to bed when brother baker called and wasn't ready, and Sharleen was sick again. But Sharleen seems to still be reading, and they love having us over. We taught them the law of chastity this week, which is always interesting when you have smaller kids, but we covered the principles and Sharleen said she would talk to them more about it. In addition to the Seeley family and Rachel, we have many other investigators on date for baptism. We tried a former Zaire this week, and met his sister Alajha. We have taught them both the restoration this week and set them with baptismal dates. They are both in their late teens/early 20's, and seem pretty interested. Hopefully they will choose the keep their commitments and make their date. We also picked up Shadow this week, who is the boyfriend of Michelle Gates. He also seems interested. He prayed at the end of one of our visits to learn more about the Mormons. Which was really cool to see, because when we first met him a few weeks he didn't seem interested at all. But Michelle is definitely a good influence on him! He now seems pretty interested and we set a date for him to be baptized in December. We also picked up Kaylee and set her with a date. She is the fiancé of the grandson of a less-active member, Sister Rodriguez (Not the brother and sister Rodriguez who sent you pictures from dinner). She seemed really interested in the restoration, and prayed at the end and we set her with a date as well. We also talked to a guy named Dennis on the street, and taught him the resto and set him with a date as well. We also picked up a nonmember referral Kathy who agreed to be baptized in December. So we have 10 investigators on date now, which is sweet. The less-actives Sister Bailey and April are still doing really well to. Both of them were sick though so they weren't at church yesterday. The work is hastening. We also talked to a lady named Tammie on the street. She used to go to church, but since her brother died, she hasn't. We testified of eternal families and that she could see her brother again, but she said her brother wasn't in heaven. We then taught her the principle of redemption for the dead, and that everyone who didn't have a chance to accept the gospel here would in the next life. She said she had never heard that and it gave her hope. Unfortunately, she wasn't at her return appointment, which happens. Hopefully we will be able to get back in contact with her. But that's about it. The work is going great. I love you all and hope you all have a fantastic week!!

Elder Richins

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