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