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