Thursday, March 24, 2016

Week 2: Next Stop: Zimbabwe

Family and Friends!

Another amazing week down in Joburg! Still loving every second here, and the sunshine is amazing. 

On Sunday, we had a great Ward Council meeting, and a really beautiful sacrament meeting. I spoke on the power of the Book of Mormon and I'm so glad that was my topic. I LOVE that book! We sisters sang How Great Thou Art for the musical number and it was very nice. We had a great FHE that night with great games and AMERICAN candy (thank you Sister Ashton!)

This week, Sister Buthelezi and I finished up our lesson with Brother Dunn and Jake, and Sister Adjua. We worked soo hard with Sister Adjua and she finally accepted the invitation to be baptized! We extended the invitation and I was totally expecting her to say no because she was so hung up on the fact that she was already sprinkled with water  as a baby, and then she said yes. I just looked up and her and was like "wait are you serious" haha probably not my best response but I was PUMPED! Then today, we had to teach President Ashton as an investigator and it was so nerve wracking! But we taught the Plan of Salvation and it went so well.

The leadership council got to ride in the car with President and his wife to the Joburg temple on Tuesday and on the way home we stopped at McDonalds!!! Let me tell you, I have never tested anything so amazing in my LIFE! We've been eating horse for the past week (not a joke) so fries and ice cream tasted like heaven oh my goodness. That night in companion study and prayer, Sister Buthelezi said and I quote, "we are very much grateful that we got to go to mcdonalds, as my companion was so crazy about it". Yeah it was a big deal.
We still don't have power in our rooms so we can't plug anything in BUT we did find this fan thing that we dry our hair with now after we shower. It's changed my life.

We leave this Tuesday morning at 4 am for Zimbabwe! I am so excited!! I'm really sad to be leaving all friends here at the MTC (all 9 of them) but I can't wait to teach people for real! Sharing my personal witness of the gospel always brings tears to my eyes, and I never imagined loving sharing the gospel as much as I do.

Thank you all for your emails and support, and next week you'll hear from me in Zim! 
"Called to know the richness of his blessings. Sons and daughters, children of a King."

xo Sister Richards

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Week 1: Bless the Rains Down in Africa

Family and Friends!! My peeps! Everyone!

I have now been in the MTC for 8 days in Johannesburg, South Africa and am loving every single second! Seriously, who would've thought. I have a great companion from South Africa, Sister Buthelezi (boo-tah-lez-ee), and we work so well together, and are having the best time! Sister Erickson, Walbeck, and Ziqubu (zee-(click)-oo-boo) are the other companionship, and let me tell you, these girls are my best friends!! I am slowly, but surely, learning Shone, Zulu, and xhlosa (klosa). Zulu is really clicky, and I'm getting the clicks down pretty well. They're just hard to say really fast. But in the words of Sister Ziqubu, "Sister Richards, you're practically African". Oh stop it, I'm blushing. 

I got made Sister Leader the first day we were here, so it's been great being able to learn how to be a leader! President and Sister Ashton are so incredible, and I've already learned so much from them. 

Joburg is beautiful! It's been raining like crazy every day, and it gets pretty loud in the atrium. It's so pretty having everything green here, and it's the perfect temperature down here! We went outside for Book of Mormon study the other day, and our teacher, Sister Neo (nay-oh), said "oh no it's too cold out here" and all of the utah sisters were like "are you serious!! this is so warm!!" and we're just sitting there taking off our cardigans and basking in the sunlight. I'm guessing it was a solid 70 degrees out there. We got to go to the Joburg temple on Tuesday so Sister Ziqubu and Elder Chaparadzda could go through for the first time. Such a cool experience. 

Our teachers are absolutely AMAZING! I don't know if I've even been in a place where the spirit is so strong, and these teachers know the gospel like it's nobody's business. They can recite hundreds of scriptures, and I am learning sooo much from them. Sister Neo and Van Zyl (fun-sale) are our morning teachers, and Brother Kubekah, Ventzel, and Moshani are our afternoon/night teachers. They all act like our investigators, and it's so hard to keep their names straight haha. 

I'll spare you my real feelings on the food, but know that I am alive and well. Also, cranberry juice will get rid of the taste of ANYTHING. Seriously. The toast is good, though. And the chocolate pudding.

My testimony has grown more in the past 8 days than I ever could have imagined. I've learned to recognize the spirit more clearly, and I can testify to each of you that if you open your mouth, the spirit will fill it with words. I went into District Meeting on Sunday not knowing what I was going to say to my sisters to help them, but as soon as I opened my mouth, the spirit took over and we had an outstanding meeting. Each one of mine and Sister Buthelezi's investigators has accepted the invitation to be baptized, and I could cry every time they say yes.
There is no place else in the world I would rather be than in South Africa right now preaching the gospel. I love this gospel with everything I have! The Lord truly is hastening the work, and I can hear it in every testimony of the elders and sisters here (all 9 of us). Let's preach this gospel!!

I'm really sorry that was so long, but there's just so much to say! As the Africans would say, I am "so much grateful" for each of you. Your testimonies have gotten me where I am today, and the people of Zimbabwe will be able to hear your testimonies through mine.

This is Africa's time. This is C Rich signing off. 

Sister Richards