Sunday, October 12, 2014

More Pictures

10/06/2014 - General Conference Weekend

YO YO YO!!!!!!
YO how have you been!!! I hope St George was fun!!! Conference was so great!!! It is so important that we have a prophet that keeps the church on the straight and narrow. Every aspect of the church is so important!!! The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant and the plan of salvation is centered on Jesus Christ!!! Christ makes it possible for us to be crowned with that glory of exaltation.

General Conference was so good!!! I really enjoyed all the talks. I especially enjoyed Jeffery R Hollands how we have a responsibility to care for the poor even though they may have got themselves in the circumstances. I also enjoyed Neil A Andersons talk about Joseph Smith and how he brought about the restoration and the importance of his call. I liked Dieter F Uchtdorfs talk about God and the belief in the gospel. I liked in the priesthood session he talked about how priesthood leaders need to live up that standard. I like Dallin H Oaks how he further talked about we need stand up for our beliefs but respect others and be non contentious. I also liked the focus on the Sacrament and following the prophet and the importance that we have a prophet. I loved listening to the messages in Conference and the spiritual boost and re-commitment to live more righteously is gives me.

Russel really loved Conference. We have seen him progress so much the past couple of weeks. I am thinking he is going to make it to the 25th!!!! We keep praying for him everyday. We also finished the lessons with Sister Fresh and now we are just waiting for approval. A lady we contacted really loves talking to us and wants to learn more about the gospel. She also gave us a referal for us her neighbor Herb. We went and visited him and he is 94 and he played for the Negro Leagues in the AAA. He was telling us his life story how he played baseball for Spokane and New Mexico and how he was one of the first black people in the white leagues in the AAA. He threw the first pitch in the Mariners game a couple of months ago. He was really neat and wants to learn more about prophets!!!

So I have been reading the doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon in Spanish for language and personal study. I have especially enjoyed reading the doctrine and covenants. There is so many missionary scriptures. As members of the church of Christ we have an obligation as he said before his Ascension into heaven "Go ye therefore and preach all nations baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" We have a responsibility to share the gospel bodily and profoundly as a trump. This gospel will go forth boldly until it has sounded in every ear and is preached to every nation. The field is white and ready to harvest. We have a responsibility to find the lost sheep. It is wonderful to be apart of this work. The lord has recently revealed that he is hastening his work to prepare the world for the second coming!!! What A WONDERFUL CALL WE EACH HAVE to be a missionary!!! If we have a desire to serve then we are called to the work!!! I love being a missionary even though it can be hard and feel inadequate but it is so important that I give my time and know that I at least tried!!!

Love Elder Richardson

09/30/2014 - Staying in the West Bank!!!

I am staying in the West Bank this transfer. Another 6 weeks here!!! The work is going good. It was a a little bit of a slower week but all is well!!! I hope you are doing good. Ya I heard of woodys Passing. I am so grateful for the plan of salvation also and that we can be together as a family. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant, The heart of the plan of salvation, is the atonement of Jesus Christ. All that we do in the church point to the Lord and his holy house. I am so grateful for the temple Ashley and for the opportunity we have to be a family for eternity!!! I hope you will be able to get your endowment when I come back from my mission because it is so cool Ashley!!! I love attending the temple!!! I love the worship in the temple!!!

 I am still not able to speak an ounce of spanish.... I hope it comes soon........

Well this week was a little bit of a slow week. We got to have a lesson with Russel. He is still committed to baptism and is trying to exercise so he can walk. We can really see the Lord help him as he has been trying to keep his commitment for baptism. Sister Fresh is doing well also. She still can't quit but she is trying really hard. We told her if she reads the book of Mormon everyday the lord will bless her in her effort to quit. We are also continuing help Lorenzo getting excited for his call. He should have it this week. We can't even find Raymond. He is not home now. We think his girl friend kicked him out because we called his phone and she answered and said he is not here and hung up the phone..... Oh well

The weather here is still extremely hot and humid. It is weird to see Halloween decorations when it is still really hot. I can't believe it is in the 60s in Utah!!! Holly Cow!!!

We also translated again for the Zaballas. They cooked us some good enchilatas again and they brought some over later in the week also. We met another less active family named the Sandavols. They were really nice.

The week has been going good. On Saturday we gave a bunch of lessons to less actives!!! That was really cool. It boost our lesson count after a slow week. I am so excited for General Conference this weekend. I love hearing the words of the prophets and apostles!!! Today I finished the book of Mormon again!!! I have started to read it in Spanish and it is harder to understand but after reading it again I have gained a further testimony of it that it is true!!! It is so important for investigators to know that the Book of Mormon is true because if they know it is true than they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and they know the Church is true!!! If they read it and ask God with real intent with faith in Christ He will manifest the truthfullnes of it by the power of the Holy Ghost!!! I KNow the book of Mormon is true!!! I love this Gospel!!!

Elder Richardson

09/23/2014 - Hola!!!


Dad was saying that the missionaries in Clinton teach about 30 lessons a week. That is a ton!!!
We are lucky if we get over 15. In other cities in Louisiana it can be more or less. My companion was in a Bayou town called Houma and he had 30 lessons a week. Baton Rouge and downtown New Orleans struggle and they are lucky if they get over 8. We do a lot of service though. Back at home when someone needed to move or needs help with their house, needs a lawn mowed, or needs help with their car they usually call the elders quorum. Not here. They call the missionaries. We have helped a lot with the Spanish Branch President move into his home. We helped him a lot on friday and saturday because he was throwing a bday party for his wife. At least that night he made a ton of food. It was really fun. We also mow a ladies lawn who was a relief society president but removed her records because she blames the church for her husbands death. Apparently she wanted the missionary that she really liked to come from Utah to give her husband a blessing. Of course the branch here has a ton of priesthood holders but she wanted that paticuliar missionary to give her husband a blessing...... Anyway she loves it when we share spiritual thoughts and read out of the book of mormon, She loves the people in the church but when you mention attending or baptism she gets really angry. We also walk her dog Winston who is a black Labrador retriever mix....

For my birthday I went on an exchange with the Zone leaders in Downtown New Orleans in Tulane University. We taught College students. There was one who was of the Bahai Faith. That was interesting..... We Taught two other less actives and one was trying to justify saying the F bomb. I felt so uncomfortable in that one..... The homes in the downtown area are extremely old. They look like they are going to fall apart.

I have been making it a goal to contact more people. I have been doing really good at that. I was able to contact a lady that was really excited about the pamphlet and she said it made her day receiving it. She really wants us to come back. Other people that we contact will take the pamphlet or book of mormon but they dont want us to come back. They tell us they are full of the Gospel already.

Russel is progressing really well. He is still planning on being baptized Oct 25. I hope he doesn't get to scared with his leg situation. He has been telling us that since he made that commitment that God will take that very seriously so hopefully he will get baptized. Hopefully I wont get transfer October 1. Tranfers are every 6 weeks. The past mission president kept them in 4-5 tranfers. The rumors with President Hansen is he will probably keep missionaries in an area for 2-3 transfers. Raymon doesn't have a baptism date anymore because you are suppose to come to church 3 times before your date but he didn't come again. He is really lazy so it was expected. Will continue to teach him and see what happens. We have a lot of potentals the problem is to meet with them. They never keep appointments so we have to try and catch them on the go. Time is not an issue down here to them. The people here are just kinda on the go. What ever happens happens....

We are still helping that one kid who is putting in his papers. The Stake President put in his call so he should be getting that soon. He comes from a less active family and he himself is kinda less active so I am suprised they approved his papers. We try to meet with him once a week.

The talk yesterday went very well. At least I think it did. I am not sure how my spanish was but I hope it was good....... That is so cool the Ogden Temple was rededicated. I am excited to do a session there. I really want to attend the temple so bad right now. I feel like I need that spiritual boost you get from doing an endowment session. We should be going to the temple November 1st so hopefully we will get to go!!!

The peace from the temple is undescribeable!!!\
I love you so much!!! Be safe!!!
Love Elder Richardson

09/15/2014 - Enjoying Life on the West Bank

I hope you are doing well!!!! I am so happy to be here. It is amazing. When I get back we are going to have to tour the big easy!!! It is really neat.

So on Tuesday we had a specialized training meeting with the president at the Stake Center in Meterie. He talked a lot about saftey. Dehydration is a big problem and bike accidents. An elder in our district went home on Saturday because he needs surgery on his knee. Other elders now have the car so we get more rides in the van.... WOOHOOO!!! At the specialize training we met the new church doctor that is over the southern missions. He worked at the Tanner Clinic in Layton. The doctor that he replaced though was Patrick Rose! I didn't know that. Apparently doctor Rose now lives in St George and is practicing still. We also talked a lot about finding people to teach and to find through the members.

So we taught Russel and read the Book of Mormon with him. He is still progressing and is still planning on being baptized the 25 of October. We taught Sister Fresh about the Word of Wisdom and she smokes a pack of Cigarettes a day. When we committed her to quit smoking she walked out of the church to her car, came back into the church with a pack of cigarettes and broke them in half and threw them in the garbage. It was really neat!!! She has had two since then but we fasted with her yesterday but I know she will be off of them really soon. So when we were walking out of our apartment we saw Raymon and he was smokin something that smelled way out of the ordinary... I am pretty sure it was weed. But was he HIGH on that stuff. So that will be interesting when we teach him the word of wisdom. We have been helping a lot of less actives out. We go to Daniel y Norma Zaballa a lot. They were the ones we translated for. They always want us over for dinner. They cook amazingly good food. They also came to the spanish branch sunday. They really want to attend the temple. So while I was at the spanish branch on sunday the high council asked if I would speak with him in church next week.... So I am giving a talk in Spanish next week on the temple...... I will need your prayers!!!

On friday the spanish branch president, President Fossati invited us over and we helped him more move into his new home and he cooked a lot of food and did like a party with us. Everyother friday the spanish branch does a family home evening with pizza and Fossati told us that the everyother fridays we dont have the FHE he wants us the entire west bank district over. The Fossatis are really good people. He has two sons o missions right now so since I have been in the West Bank he has treated us really good. On saturday both the english and spanish branches combined for their monthly party. It was really fun and there were lots of good food. Just before the party part of the West Bank blacked out. Even though there was no power the party still went on. We still had power at our apartment.

There are two branches on the West Bank. The West Bank 1st (english) and West Bank 2nd (spanish) the spanish one just was formed not even a year ago. We cover both english and spanish. There are 320 members in the English but only 140 come to church. The spanish has 140 and only 40-60 come to church. Louisiana struggles with activity. In the US it has the greatest percentage of less actives in the church that dont come. The church average is 70% of the members are active and Louisana is 30%. Before Hurricane Katrina there were two English WARDS that met at that building an Algiers branch, and a Westwego buiding and branch, and a Venice building and branch. After Hurricane katrina it destroyed the two other buildings and the people that evacuated basically lost everything and just stayed where they evacuated. The building was full on sundays before that happened but most of the members that lived there stayed in Texas or Baton Rouge. There are many abandoned buildings in Algiers where we cover. There is a huge apartment complex that is abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. Since then the Spanish population has really grown on the west bank. It used to be a White city but after Katrina the blacks moved in and the spanish moved in. The Hispanics live in the richer neighborhoods and the blacks live in what is called a shotgun home. Most of the black people dont work and so we usually teach those people during the slow hours and then we usually find the hispanics to be home later in the day around 7 because they work.

Yesterday we went to a stake Priesthood meeting in Metterie. That was really neat. They talked a lot about hastening the work and being worthy priesthood holders. I am so grateful to hold the priesthood. I know this church is true!!!! I love this gospel with all my heart!!!! It is through the gospel that we can be the most happy!!!

Love Elder Richardson

09/08/2014 - Hello From Nola

Hi Everybody!!!

So this week was a lot better than the past couple!!!! Now that we are starting to get to know the members they are feeding us. We are also teaching a lot more. It is hard being doubled into an area. We got really good Honduran enchilatas. I forgot to say but most of the spanish here are from the honduras... That is really weird I would have thought Mexico. They are really neat people and really kind. On the West Bank we cover the Algiers part of New Orleans but we got to go to The East Bank of New Orleans THREE Times!!! We went on Saturday for a Zone training at the downtown meeting house on St Charles and then we went this morning to translate for a hispanic member while he went to the doctor and then they fed us tacos for lunch and then as a district we went to the French Market!!! It was really neat. The only place we are not allowed is Bourban Street. I bought and Aligator head at the French market!!! We are going to have to come when I get back because it is really neat. That is why I am emailing so late is because we were there most of the day. We went to a store in the French Quarter call Pepper Palace and they sell hot sauce there. The elders kept talking about this pepper challange that they had done and wanted to do it again. So I decided to do it with them. They had this really hot pepper sauce to try on a little spoon that you had to sign a waiver to try it. Well I thought you filled the spoon full of it so when I did that the elders made a WOAH WHAT ARE YOU DOING apparently you are suppose to put a drop on so when I tried it UGHHHHHHHHHHH IT WAS SO HOT!!!!!!!!!!! I have never experience something so hot in my life!!! I was sweating like a sinner in church and tears were coming out of my eyes!!!! It was so fun but I felt sick after. They took a picture of all of the elders together and said they would post it on facebook so go on facebook and search Pepper Palace and check to see if you can see us. I really wanted to get an aligator on a stick and some jambalaya at the market but I didn't feel like eating anything after that. The downtown atmosphere in New Orleans is really neat. The street lamps are the old timey fire lamps and there is Jazz everywhere. There was also a lot of stuff at the French Market that was really cheap. We had so much fun.

Anyway the Work is going really well. My companion and I get along really well. I have so far been really lucky with companions. We have a second baptism date with Raymon. So Russel should be getting baptized on the 25 of October and Raymon committed to the 11 of October. I dont know if Raymon will be baptized that day because it is hard getting him to come to church. Russel has been going for over 6 months But Raymon has not been yet. So we saw Charles, the guy in the crypt, last week and talked with him a little bit and shared scriptures and helped him fix his bike. We came back a couple of days and he couldnt meet so I shared with him Mosiah 2 41 that the commandments help us be happy. He got really angry and said that the commandments were unnecessary and started to Bible Bash us like no other and then after that he asked us for food. We don't have much but apparently the last elders gave him money and food. We dont have much so he got angry about that; he was screaming at us....... Oh Well...... We got a lot of other solid investigators...... We showed Russel How Rare a Possession and he really liked that movie. We showed Raymon the Mormon Channel on Youtube and he really liked that. He really liked the mormon message about temples and said he wants to be sealed to his fiance there.

We have been doing a lot of Reactivation with the spanish branch. It is really hard because I just sit there and dont know what is being said. I can kinda get the jist of it. I shared a scripture with Daniel y Norma a honduran family that gave us the enchilatas and we translated for from Helamen 10 7 about the sealing power binding on earth and in heaven and they said that no one had invited them to the temple and they really want to come back to church and be sealed. Sister Fresh is progressing really well. She is really ready to be baptized. I am not sure when she can be baptized because the Branch President has to approve it but I think she will be soon because she is commited to keeping the commandments and has a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Elder Richardson

09/02/2014 - Still Here in Gretna

The loaner bike I had broke so my companion and I had to walk 3 miles back to our apartment. It was all in Ghettos ares and a lot of it goes under the highway bridges!!! It was night time also so I was just praying that we would not get mugged. I was so happy we made it home safe. I was able to get another loaner bike from an elder in our district who gets to use a car.... NO FAIR. I had it really good with you guys. We dont get any dinner appointments. We had one last week but they flaked on us; however a hispanic lady brought us some food one night. I ate that so fast!!! It was a nice treat to have. I have felt like a king just eating fishsticks. The only places to shop near our house are these dollar stores. This week we were able to go to samsclub and get hot dog buns and french fries with our fish sticks. One thing I have learned from my mission is that I am never leaving Utah to live somewhere else. It is crazy here!!!! Ogden is the Beverly Hills compared to this place. So we taught Russel a couple of times and he commited to be baptized October 25!!! I hope he keeps his commitment. That would be so cool. My companion has been out for over a year and has not had a baptism so that would be really cool for him. We are also teaching an excommunicated lady named Sister Fresh. She truly knows that the gospel is true. She really desires to be re baptized. The branch president said she has to take all of the lessons to be re baptized so that is really cool that we get to have a part in her repentance process. We were helping a less active member come back to church who really wants to attend the temple. He came to church but he did something inappropriate to a pregnant lady there and there was a huge argument and he left. It is so hard when you want to help people but it is hard if they don't help themselves.

We tried to teach Raymon but he keeps flaking out on us for lessons... We have taught a couple of other people briefly. A lady named Tania lives by us and iis interested in learning more about Jesus. Another guy that was in our area book named Charles is really interested about the church. He feels like he cant be forgiven of his sins. He told us he was apart of some club in California called the Crypt that he was in jail for. I don't know what that is... But he really likes the missionaries. Some pass missionaries helped him when he was contemplating suicide so hopefully we can help him and teach him that through the atonement he can be forgiven of his sins We have helped a lot of people in both branches. We helped the one hispanic lady that brought us over food with moving some furniture from the hotel she works in NOLA to her home. It was so cool we got to go to this really fancy hotel in Downtown New Orleans. The city was really neat. The hotel was really tall and we could see the whole New Orleans area from the top of this hotel.

We are also helping a young man in the spanish branch going on a mission. His family is inactive but he still comes everyweek. His papers are in so he is so excited to get his call. We still do a lot of biking. One thing we do a lot is deliver bibles to people. When you google free bible on google. and are the first websites that come up to request them. When they put in their information on the sites we get a text from Salt Lake to deliver them a bible. A lot of them freak out when we are at the door because they didn't relize they requested a bible from the mormons. They still take the bible but they are a little mean to us.

Well I hope the bike comes. I hope maybe we get some dinner appointments because I am getting sick of eating hot dogs mac and cheese fish stick and top roman.... ewe!!!

Love Elder Richardson

08/25/2014 - Here in Gretna

It was so nice getting your email. It was kinda a long week. I live in Northern Gretna and we cover Belle Chase Highway and everything north of that. We mostly cover Algeires. It is kinda Ghetto. There is a lot of drugs and prostitution that goes on here. We talk to some interesting people. We were talking to someone that told us she had HIV. That was interesting trying to talk about the Book of Mormon with her. Anyway we are teaching a couple of people. We are teaching a guy named Raymond who lives in our apartment complex. He knows the church is true and wants to be baptized but he didn't come to church. He is 20 years old and has 3 children and a fiance. We really felt the spirit when we were teaching him the restoration. We are also teaching a man named Russel who has been coming to church for 5 months now. He has all of the lessons but he is afraid to get baptized because he is in a wheel chair. He wants to get baptized when he can walk again. My companion and I are looking into what handicap services are provided for those in wheel chairs who want to get baptized. There are a bunch of people that we can teach but we have to go to their houses because a lot of the phone numbers dont work so a lot of our day consists of biking. we bike  over 20 miles a day. So we bike over 100 miles a week. My butt is sore from riding that loaner bike I cant wait until I get my actual bike...... It is so hot!!!! Especially while riding a bike. My collars on my white shirts are really BROWN.

We have given a lot of service but it is mostly to the hispanics that our moving out. We gave over 20 hours of service between me and my companion. The Branches are interesting..... The english branch used to be a ward but after Katrina more than half of the people in the ward moved out. Most members live north of New Orleans The people are nice. The branch mission leader wants us to visit the branch members so they can go on splits with us then the less actives then investigators. They really want the branch to be a ward again someday.

The spanish branch was really small. My companion who has been serving in Louisiana for over a year now was shocked how small it is. There is a lot of members in the spanish branch they just get easily offended. The Both branches have 4 missionaries out in each of them so they do have a variety of members. The branches I am assigned to are the 1st and 2nd West Bank Branches.

The English branch president says the LOUDEST AMENS!!! It is a little more different here than it is in Utah. We have one lunch appointment this week with a hispanic family that is moving out and a dinner appointment. The Branch mission leader feeds the entire district sunday nights during branch mission coordination Other than that we are on our own. The district likes to go out to eat after district meetings on Tuesday.

My companion is the district leader. He is way better than my last district leader. He likes to run too. On the first day we ran for exercise than we realized how much we biked...... So we dont exercise in the morning. Most areas have cars except for New Orleans. He is a really cool companion.

The CCM was mentally exhausting, here it is physically exhausting!!!!! The biking is long and sketchy. PRAY THAT I WONT GET RAN OVER!!!! Some of the drivers in New Orleans are CRAZY!!! The loaner bike kinda sucks so it has to be on a low gear, and the roads and side walks sucks to when there is a bump the chain will a lot of times come off. It is so frustrating.

We also did some tracking...... I didn't like that. It is really sketchy and ineffective. I am glad today is P day. I may just take a nap today because I am so exhausted. I hope it starts getting a little better but I remembered how frustrating the CCM was the first week but then it got better after that so I am trying to keep my head high....

The mission president is really nice. Him and his wife were very kind. He grew up in Burley and went hunting when he was a kid but he told me he didn't liked it too much... A lot of the older missonaries dont like him because he is a little more strict than the last one. I thought this one was lenient on the rules way more than the mr grumpy president from the CCM. He is very loving.

The apartment we live in is really nice. it is two stories and it is just has me and my companion. We come back home so exhausted and sweaty.

So far we have just been teaching english. We have done a lot of service for the hispanics. When we stop by the hispanics house for investigators they are never home. We meet a lot of interesting people on the street. I tell you about those when I get home. We are about the only white people here. Everyone is Black. We get asked for money a lot. One of the elders in our district has a taser and the sisters have pepper spray. I dont blame them. We try to get back between 8 and 9:30. Nothing good happens here after that. There are a lot of fights in the evening.

The elders here are really pushing to make this a facebook mission. They brought up a good point with the president because a lot of the people here do a lot of their work off shore so doing facebook lessons would help tremendously. A lot of people in the branches were not there on sunday because Troll season just started. Crab Lobster shrimp etc. Craw fish is during June and that season just finished.

I have not seen a alligator yet but theres not many places to see them here. I miss the suburbans in Clinton. I am not built for the city...... I have been really out of my comfort zone.

Love Elder Richardson