Sunday, March 1, 2015

Seems like you and dad have had a crazy week with everyones health problems. I did recieve the package. Thank You so much!!! You guys are awesome.

So I will be staying in the Westbank for another transfer. It is really rare to be in an area for 5 transfers. Missionaries who have been in the area less transfers than I have are leaving. I really thought I was going to leave this transfer. Oh well. The lord has something important for me to do here. I am so happy I will be here in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Hearing from the stories it sounds really fun. I have already had King Cake and that is really good.

Last week we were able to see Sister Morino and walk her talks. After we were talking to her about Gods love and how he loves us so much he gave us his son to die for us. We told her that through the Saviors atoning grace we can be redeemed from Sin and death. We talked about how it is important we make the effort to do better, and to repent of our sins. She told us she made the desiscion to come back and get interviewed by the branch president to get re baptized!!! We are so excited! We are hoping and praying that she will come back. She said she wanted to get baptized the end of February when her daughter will be in town.

Yesterday we were able to finally have another lesson with Victor and Leslie. We kept trying to get another lesson with them but they have been so busy. It was wonderful because Sister Ortega was there to answer questions. It was more of a question and answer lesson that covered the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and Baptism. He had really good questions. Even Leslie was answering questions.

Some fun things we were able to do this past week was we got to go to Cabelas after our meeting in Baton Rouge. it was so awesome. I will admit the meeting was so spiritual than I went to Cabelas and I thought I was going to die. I was so trunky and was wanting to go hunting. It was awesome to be able to see the many animals and taxidermy. I may have bought a calender that had the theme of Labradors hunting. We also had a dinner sunday and the family had the superbowl on and refused to turn it off HAHA. so we saw the patriots win the super bowl. HAHA

We also visited other same old people and Less Actives but the Highlight of this week was the entire mission met in Baton Rouge for a special instruction by Elder Quenton L Cook of the Quorum of the twelve Apostles! When he walked in the chapel we all stood up. He was flattered but told us to sit down. He was so humble. He had us all get to shake his hand. IT WAS SO AWESOME Also with him was Elder Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Booth an Area Seventy. He gave a talk on # things for us to know. 1. You are Ward and Branch builders. You are to assess what the branch needs. If there is a lot of less actives than you work on that. If the ward has many active members then use the members to find teach and baptize people, but we are not marketing Salesmen or Jehovah's Witnesses and do not appear that you are those. 2. You are the message. How you appear and and deliver the gospel shows their is something different about you. 3. Do not compare your success with others. Just because you have less baptisms or activation means you have not failed. You have succeeded when you have invited!

After he opened it to question and answer. It was really good. Someone asked how we address the Priesthood policy before 1979. He talked about how we have very good records of what happened and why. He talked about the church never segregated wards. Some were allowed by permission. Black aborigines were not under that restriction. The main reason the extermination order on the Mormons in Missouri happened was because we were opposed to salvary and it was during a time when Missouri wanted to be a slave state. He gave two reason why that restriction could have been in place. 1. Around that time was when blacks were given equal rights in South Africa and that it is hard for a man who is not free to hold the priesthood. 2. It may be a faith tester for us and them. During biblical times there were restrictions on those of certain descents who could not hold the priesthood. The main thing he talked about was that it was received by revelation to change that. he talked about how much President Monson, Boyd K Packer, and L Tom Perry talk about that event when they gathered in Prayer of the most holy manner and recieved revelation that the time had come for them for men of African descent to recieve the priesthood. He finished that question by sharing a scripture from the book of mormon that the gospel is for everyone, male or female, black or white, and bond or free!

Another question was on feeling satisfied with your efforts. He talked about how it is the adversary that makes us feel we are not doing our best and that our efforts are insignificant. He said that the mission is a progression. We cannot expect to be the perfect missionary in one day but that the entire mission is a learning process. He also said but that does not give us the excuse to not work hard. He talked about an experience when he was in a meeting with the other 12 and the first presidency and they were having a testimony meeting. Just that weekend Gordon B Hinckley dedicated a temple in Japan flew to address leaders in China. Flew to dedicated a temple in Australia, and dedicate another temple in the US. An apostle during his testimony talked about how President Hinckley needed to rest and that he was overwhelming himself. When it was Gordon B Hinckley  turn to bare his testimony he said you can never work to hard in this work and if it makes me dies quicker than so be it. HAHA

One question was asked about how missionaries are assigned to their missions. He talked about how a member of the twelve assigns missionaries and that they don't receive feelings that someone in that area needs them or that a missionary can only convert certain people in that area but that it is two things. 1. The missionary will benefit spiritaully from the president of the mission president there. And 2. That the culture, ethics, and people will help the missionary grow, learn and become converted. He said a successful mission is if the only person that has become converted is you. No one else.

 One of the last questions was asked how his view of the gospel have changed since he was called to an Apostle and he said he would answer that with his testimony. At the end he shared his experience of being called to the quorum of the 12 apostles. He was called into President Hinckley's office the thursday before general conference. he went staight to the point and extended the call to him to serve as a member of the 12 apostles. He talked about how much weight he felt on his shoulders after that meeting but the great peace he has felt that he recieved being in that quorum that for a surety he knows that the church is true. He talked about how as an apostle you are definitely a special witness of Jesus Christ.  He talked about how he knows the voice and will of the Savior Jesus Christ, the great Jehovah. He said the foundation of our belief is the knowledge that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, the great and mighty Elohim, and that he sent his son, even Jesus Christ the great Jehovah, to suffer and die for us. The spirit was so strong when he said that. It was a very describable feeling that came into the room.

I am so grateful we had the opportunity to listen to some of the leaders of the church. On sunday Elder Hallstrom spoke to the New Orleans Stake and talked about the importance of the gospel. I am so grateful that we have prophets seers and revelators as there were in Ancient Israel, and that the windows of heaven are not closed. That God through his son speaks to his servants on the earth. I know this gospel is true. I know that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of the living God.          

I love you so much mom!!! I miss you!!! Have an amazing week!!!
love Elder Richardson
That is amazing that you had a relaxing Christmas and that you have been able to relax this break. Do you guys have any plans for New Years? Hopefully you like the scarf. I know you prefer black. Hopefully it wasn't a trashy one.....

I cant believe it is almost 2015. I just got used to writing 2014. I can't believe how fast 2014 went by. It seemed like this year was really focused on the mission. I remember last year after christmas was when I started doing my papers and then I received the call the Wednesday after Valentines week.... Holy Cow I can't believe it went by so fast.... This year is going to go by very fast. It felt like yesterday when I was dropped off at the airport. I love being out on the mission. It is going to go by so fast.

So the week was really good. On the 24th there was a shooting in the mall at our apartment. Only one person died. It happened with a fight over shoes in the Footlocker.... Only in New Orleans The district goes to the mall at the end of each transfer to do contacting. I wonder if hey will have everything cleaned up by then. Here's an article about it

For Christmas Eve we ate at a members house. They gave all 10 missionaries a $15 subway gift cards. That was really nice so the district is going to do something nice for them. On Christmas we all got to skype our families. After Skype we watched how to train your dragon 2 and the Lego Movie. I really liked the lego movie. How to train your dragon 2 I thought was really stupid.

The 26th we visited some people and shared Alma 7 with them and related it to New Years resolutions. On Saturday we visited a couple of people including the Hoffmans. They are so excited to attend the temple. They really want to go, and they are doing all they can to prepare. It was awesome because we shared Alma 7 with them also and related it to New Years resolutions. They talked about how they are starting to do Family Prayer and want to hold family scripture study. We also talked about ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood for him and shared stories about how wonderful it is to have a father who holds that priesthood and can give blessings and presides over the home with that authority. It was really awesome on Sunday because Brother Hoffman passed the sacrament. It is so cool to see a family progress to someday being sealed in the temple.

On Sunday we took the sacrament to two people in our area. We have been taking the sacrament to a Hispanic member in a rehabilitation center. He really appreciates us coming by because we are one of the few people who visit him. We also took the Sacrament to Sister Ortega because she had to work at the hotel she works because of the New Years tourist. She told us she was going to have to work that day and asked if we could come by. We were able to get permission from the Branch President and we went over with the Sisters. It was perfect timing when we went over there because her son in Spain had just emailed her that he didn't want to have a relationship with her and that they should part there separate ways. She was really upset and really hurt. We were able to be there to comfort her and share scriptures of comfort and share a Mormon Message with her that talked about the blessing will always come to those who live the gospel of Jesus Christ, but sometimes they do not come until later. I learned yesterday that not only are we here to bring people to the gospel, but we are also here to strengthen the members.

I hope you have an amazing week. I miss you and love you so much!!! Thats good you will have 9 o'clock church. We will still be at 9.

Love Elder Richardson


So we got the call yesterday and Elder Walker and I will still be in Algiers in the westbank. Only one elder is getting transferred from our district. December 17 is the next transfer. That one will most likely be a small one because it is around Christmas. With the car we have seen so many miracles. Now that we don't have to spend half of our day biking a trip that takes only a couple of minutes with the car, we have been able to meet with more people and have new investigators. We were able to have a Restoration lesson with Herb Simpson, the 94 year old who played in the Negro Leagues and AAA. He really loved it. He hugged the Book of Mormon and said he felt the spirit. The only problem will be to get him to church because he is a deacon at his church. We were also going through the Area book and we found a Hispanic lady potential that was contacted about 4 years ago. We stopped by and she though we Jehovahs Witness. We taught her a restoration lesson and she loved it and said that is all made sense because there are so many churches but this one we can know for ourselves through the Holy Ghost and the Book of Mormon and we have prophets and believe in revelation. Her husband came home and she was so excited to tell him about the gospel. Another miracle we saw also was while we were walking to an investigators house a lady was struggling to take soil bags out of her trunk. We offered to help her and took them by her garden areas. We asked if there was anything else we could help with and she said yes to come back and help her with her garden. Yesterday we helped her plant some plants. She was so impressed with us and wants us to come back and teach her about the gospel. Yesterday we had a lesson with Sister Fresh and it went extremely well. We are continuing to help her with her addiction so she can be baptized. She lost her job but she looked to it being from god so she could go to the addiction recovery at our church on St Charles Ave.

Halloween was..... interesting. We had to be in the apartment by 6:00 unless a member took us.  After visiting a couple of people we were at Walgreen's getting our Flu shot when we got a call from Manny a member in the Jefferson Ward on the East Bank. He called us about a halloween party. He has all of the missionaries at his house a lot and cooks for him... He owns his own restaurant so he does fairly good and is well known in New Orleans. He actually got Meet the Mormons here in Louisiana. Any way he ended up taking just me and Walker to this fancy party on a private street just off of St Charles. Lets just say the owner of the Saints lived across the street from this house and this house had a 2 million dollar painting. It was crazy. There were some Louisiana big shots there. His friend that was doing the party was a big time clothing designer. She was really nice and she was telling us her grandpa was LDS and lived in Ogden. There was Alaskan shrimp, russian pork, and so many fancy foods that i did not know of..... The people there thought we were dressing up as missionaries for Halloween. They would come up and say "I love that broadway show" We had to end up giving them a pamphlet to prove it to them. After the party Manny picked up the Zone leaders and we went and got pizza. It was fun.

Saturday we were able to go to the temple. It was really beautiful. It was really small, but it was able to provide the same functions as all other temples in the church do. The changing room was probably the size of Megan's room. The Ordinance rooms were fairly plain but the celestial room was fantastic. It was a small room but the chandelier was still wombo gumbo.   They also had a new movie!!! There are three movies now!!! It was really good but the other two had better acting. This one had good special effects and the creation part was amazing. I love the feeling of attending the temple and taking part in that sacred worship!!! It felt so peaceful. Most of the branch did Baptisms instead of endowments and I provided half the names. Word got out really quick whose names they were and now a lot of the members want me and Elder Walker to come over and teach them family history. Yesterday we were at a members house and they made us dinner. It was pork and mashed potatoes with the cream of mushroom gravy. It brought memories of moms same dish..... We were able to teach him and find over 20 names for him. When we got the car we started to get a ton of dinner appointments...... I don't want to go fat!!!! The Branch in January will start to focus more and family history so I hope I will still be around to help with that.

Last week we were also busy visit President and Sister Fossati. She ended up having Breast Cancer so we were there to give her a blessing before her surgery were able to visit her a couple of times after. I think they caught it early enough that they won't have to do Chemo. They are very good people to us so please keep them in your prayers.

I hope everything is going well. I miss you and love you. I can't believe how fast the time has gone out here!!! STAY SAFE!!! Watch over Dad Ashley Megan and Gauge!!!
Love Elder Richardson
It sounds like you guys have been extremely busy with church. That is cool that Kaden got his mission call. Please tell him congrats for me!!! Also PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell Rita Murray Thank you for me. Thats cool that megan is going as Darth Maul. At least it is star wars and not some Rated R movie character. Thats cool that you got to make the Olive Garden soup. I made Gumbo a week ago with the pack and sausage links. It was good. I do want so Olive Garden Though. Ashley has stopped emailing me. I called on her last week about it and she just sent me an I love you right after...... Oh well.......

So Russel ended not getting baptized. He was not ready yet. He is still smoking. He told us he stopped but told us when we went to check on him that he was still smoking..... He is extremely poor and he gets his cigarettes from the buds off the ground and collects a bunch and lights them in a bottle and smokes that. We are going to need a lot of help from the branch. Oh Well.... We will continue to work on him... He still wants to work to that goal though, we are thinking maybe in December.... It is crazy to see how Satan can influence the hearts of men so strongly. But it also takes people different amounts of time to gain a strong enough testimony to not only Know but do. The Sunday last week we got to sing Soy Un Hijo de Dios with the Spanish branch kids in the primary program. It was combined with both branches during the program. But in that song, "I am a Child of God" one of the lines used to be "Teach me all that I must Know", But President Kimball asked to change it to "Teach me all that I must do" because we need to act on our faith in Christ. We need to be nice to others worship christ, keep the commandments and repent, Not now those things.

Even though that could have destroyed the week, We decided that it was not going to let us be depressed but would make us work harder. We taught plenty of people. We also gave sister Fresh a topic to study on and we are doing family home evening with her and the sisters. We gave her a lesson and she shared what she studied on. Then she started teaching us and the sisters how to Crochet.... I really sucked at it. It really helped her to not smoked but we got a call from her yesterday that she was fired from her job sooo..... hopefully she can find another one.

The past couple of months we have gotten a less active more active named Travis. His mom last week was in the hospital so we went and gave her a blessing. Now his parents want to learn more about the church because it has changed Travis so much. We were able to share a little bit with his father and he really liked it.

We helped out at a food bank. That was really neat. I had to sort the expired bread and throw away the moldy bread. But it was really neat to help those in need. We also went to do service for a less active lady that lives in Jean-Laffite in the Boyou. That was interesting.... She is recently going through and abusive divorce and she was either laughing or crying.... It was really akward to be there but it felt good that we can help her and give her service. We put up a fence and we also put a metal roof on the shed. When we were putting up the she the metal sheets wouldn't grip on the shoes so I had to lock my feet to the top of the roof and lay on my belly hold another elder feet to put on the roof.... It was really sketchy but fun.

Elder Walker lately has been going through some health problems with his lower area and they found out that riding a bike damaged some of the area which has caused some pain soo..... We got a car!!!! I am so happy we get to ride in a car and not bike!!!! My body feels so much better. We have been able to get more lessons this past week. Elder Walker is doing a lot better. The area will still be a bike area so when he goes...... the car goes.... :( hopefully we both stay this upcoming transfer on the 5th. I like Elder Walker and I like the Car...... SOOOO I would be very sad if one of us got transfered.

Last saturday was the Fall Festival and trunk or treat. I got to be one of the missionares that judge the chili. The winner of that was Brother Mark Neal. Me and Elder Walker visit him to help with his family history and to just share scriptures because he is divorced and he his kids dont want to have a relationship with him. it is really sad because he is one of the most nicest and helpful members in the branch. We also got to decorate the trunk and give out candy for the trunk or treat. We gave out the big candy bars so we were the cool missionaries in the district. Elder Walker is obsessed with batman and I like batman also so we did our trunk batman themed. It looked really cool. Some of the missionaries dressed up. Elder Walker wanted to go as batman but we still had to have our missionary attire and so he went as bruce Wayne and had a batman mask. I wore a sweater vest and flat cap to look like a 20s person. I looked really ghetto. Then all the missionary companion-ships switched tags. The spanish branch was in charge of the haunted house at the party, It was really neat that the branches get together for parties. The branches are close to the Savior and the church even though they are small.

I am so grateful for the gospel and for the opportunity we have to go to the temple this Saturday!!! I am extremely excited for that. That is one thing we have tried to get less actives to excited for is the potential they have to take part in Temple worship. A couple of people this saturday will be going out for there own endowments.

I am glad that you are doing well. How is Gauge. I still have not received a picture. Is he fat?
 This is a greatest knowledge in the World to know that Jesus is the Christ and that we can live with our families forever through him. Yesterday we were talking about Eternal Marriage in Gospel principles and I am so grateful for the great example you and dad are to be married in the temple and honor each other!!! I love this gospel that gives us the greatest knowledge that we can be together forever. What ever happens we will always be together!!! LOVE YOU
Love Elder Richardson