Wow, I can't believe it is all coming to an end. This whole mission experience has been amazing and life changing, and I will be forever grateful for the change and blessings that have come. I know my mission has truly blessed me. I will always reflect on the blessings and lessons I have learned. But I'll talk to you all about that later in person.
This final week was wonderful. It started off with the wonderful temple trip!! To be in the temple again was amazing. I have a goal to go there at least once a week when I am back home. It was such a wonderful experience, and I felt the spirit so strongly. I love the temple!! Then we went to the Joseph Smith farm and the sacred grove right after that. It was awesome to be able to walk through and ponder. The day was actually really nice and unusually warm for upstate New York. I think it was in the high 50's or even 60's. But what struck me is that the grove probably looked a lot like what it looked like when Joseph went there to pray in the early spring. A few leaves remained on the trees. President Rogers said of the 3 times he has been to the grove, the day we went was the prettiest he had seen it so far. It was awesome. We then went to the gravesite of Alvin Smith and drove by the 4 corners, 4 churches on our way to lunch. After lunch we went to the Grandin building where the book of Mormon was published, and then it was off the the hill cumorah. The final destination for the day was the Peter Whitmer farm where the church was officially organized. I took lots of pictures!
In addition to the temple trip, we saw many more miracles this week. This great work will continue to hasten and grow. We found an investigator named Alma, who was actually a referral from our investigator Liam who lived in the zone leaders area. She was taught by Elders Summers and Morgan once, and then moved over to the southside. She came to church this week though. Which was amazing, because of all our investigators, I though she would have a hard time keeping commitments. But she loved church and is planning on going next week as well. Liam is also doing really well. He came to church with Alma, and also enjoyed it and said he and Alma are both coming next week. They want to be baptized on the same day. John and Jen are doing really well to. They also came to church. It was sweet for a last sunday, 4 investigators at church. They are also doing really well. We taught them the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ this week. We feel the spirit strongly every time we go over there. Zaire couldn't make it to church this week, but we saw him and he is doing really well. He still wants to get baptized and is planning on church this upcoming sunday. We have recently taught him the law of chastity and the word of wisdom. Those are always key lessons because it shows how willing the person is to repent and change and become. We also picked up two investigators this week. One was named Doc. He loved the restoration video when we watched it with him, and says he knows it is true. But then he says he has already been baptized. He isn't quite connecting the dots. Another investigator we picked up is named Janet. She's a nice older lady, but her significant other Mack is crazy. We have been over there twice and are going to have to figure something out. He totally monopolizes the conversation and says the craziest things. Email just doesn't do it justice. I will tell you all about it though in person. Also I know Elder Bailey's parents read this, so make sure you ask him about Mack when he gets home. Haha. Janet even realizes he's crazy. When I was talking to her, she looked over at Mack and Elder Bailey, and said "I wonder if he (Elder Bailey) has been converted yet." Haha it's so funny. He just spits out all sorts of random information. So I don't know where that's going to go. We also saw a lady crying this week who beckoned us to come over and pray for her. We gave her a priesthood blessing. She was really distraught. After the blessing she just looked at Bailey and said one of the funniest things I could imagine. She held out her arms for a hug and said "Let me love you." Elder Bailey's uncomfortable look on his face. Man. I'm going to miss crazy mission experiences. The Baileys are doing well to. Sister Bailey finally came to church, which was awesome. I'm really going to miss this work, but I am excited for the new experiences and blessings that are ahead in my life! I love you all so much. Thank you all for the support you have given me these last two years. Although it will be very sad to not be a missionary anymore, and I'm sure I will miss it, I do look forward to seeing and being able to visit you all again and to continue to build up the kingdom of God and be happy and have fun! I'll see you all soon!
Elder Tyler Richins
Monday, November 2, 2015
The temple trip is tomorrow!! We get to go to the temple, the sacred grove and log home, the whitmer farm where the church was organized, the Grandin press, the Hill Cumorah, and the grave of Alvin Smith. So it will be a fun busy day seeing all of those church history sites. But anyways, the work just keeps on going up here in beautiful upstate New York. I can't believe how quickly it's gone by. I have really enjoyed my time up here and am going to do my best to finish strong these last few days. Anyways, the Seeley's are doing alright, we hope. They didn't make it to stake conference this week, and we got a text from Sharleen saying that the two girls feel "they aren't ready for baptism yet." So they won't get baptized this upcoming Saturday, but I'm sure they will. We are going to go see them Wednesday and just talk and listen to them to figure everything out. We should set them with a new baptismal date this week though. They both did well when we went over the baptismal interview questions with them this week, so they might just have been scared about the actual interview or something. I'm not sure, but I hope they are doing alright and will keep working towards making that covenant of baptism. In addition to the Seeleys, our other investigators with a baptismal date are doing pretty well. Liam didn't make it to stake conference. When we saw him yesterday,
he was all frustrated because he waited for his ride a long time, but the ride never showed up. Turns out he forgot to change his clock for daylight savings. He should be coming to church this upcoming Sunday though. He's so funny though. He's just crazy and out there. In one lesson this week, he was like "Here's my old testament" and held out the book of Mormon we gave him. Elder Bailey and I chuckled about that! We also picked up another investigator whose real name I can't remember, because we just call him his nickname peanut. He's also interesting. He really thinks things through before he says anything, but his views and ideas are just insane. He asked us for some evidence of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon. (Physical Evidence). We briefly mentioned to him some of the archeological findings but really refocused on coming to know through sincere prayer. Ultimately that's how anyone can truly be converted and convinced of the truthfulness of the book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel. Zaire, another investigator we have with a baptismal date, came to church as well. He's so sweet. He said he would be at church this sunday to. We also keep having cool experiences finding people. Tonya, a less-active we have been working with who has now been at church the past two weeks in a row, called us up for our appointment with her and asked if we could meet her at her friends house. Of course we said yes and picked up both of her friends, John and Jen as investigators and set them with a baptismal date. It was a really cool experience. Tonya did a perfect job at being the member fellowshipper as well. I love this work so much and am going to miss it very much. I love you all back home, and have a great week.
Elder Tyler Richins