Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 11: Well, Obvious

Another week down in Chitown!! 

A little bit of a difficult week, but we're trying (again) to bring this area back to life! We're back in our Chi Town house, and there are padlocks everywhere cause a couple more people have tried to get in. But we lock literally EVERYTHING all of the time so there's no way anybody's getting in. 

First off, we were able to witness the confirmation of three of our investigators yesterday! It's really been amazing to watch these young men completely turn around their lives as they've come to a knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And then, we were able to sustain Brother Albert and Wellington to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. So stinkin awesome. I was just sitting there in sacrament meeting just marveling at the fact that I was able to be apart of two people receive the priesthood! Brother Albert has already started Temple prep, and is going with the ward next winter to Johannesburg to go through the temple! What! I'm so happy for him.

We started teaching someone new this week named Brother Lloyd. He's 20, and is so incredibly prepared! Early in the week, we taught him the Restoration, and he was asking so many good questions and just trying to understand everything, and the spirit was just so strong. Then later we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon, and I've never met an investigator who is so interested and fascinated as Lloyd is! We just gave him  a short passage to read and pray about before next time, but he said he wants to read the whole thing. Haha. Brother Lloyd that's a pretty long book. Anyways, so we extended baptism by the end, and he was kind of hesitant because he feels like he doesn't know everything yet. And we explained that it's okay and it will come with time, but once he does know that these things are true, will he get baptized. His response? "Well, obvious." So stay tuned for the baptism of Brother Lloyd. haha. 

We had a Family Home Evening with Brother Godfrey's family (Brother Godfrey is getting baptized next week, I am so excited!), and they brought us what they called "African Chocolate". And I'm like sweet I love chocolate. So they hand me a chunk and they're all chomping on this stuff and so I'm like okay must be pretty good so I throw a huge chunk in my mouth. STRAIGHT UP CLAY. I'm not even kidding you. Sister Jili was trying to signal to me not to eat it but I was just so excited to have this chocolate, BUT NO it's clay. Apparently it's like a winter treat or something. Ugh it was so sad bad. Do not eat african chocolate, you will regret it. 

Also, last thing. We were contacting SO much this week to try to find new people to teach. Anyways so we're contacting this guy and I invite him to church and everything and then he says something in shona and then I replied in shona and we just went back and forth for a while. And then after I walked away I was just like what the heck just happened. I just had a full on conversation in SHONA! Just call me a Zimbabwean, please.

"The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best medicine for despair is service. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired" President Gordon B. Hinckley 

Love you all!!

Love, Sister Richards 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 10: Peace out RATS

Hello Family and Friends!

Interesting week for sure, so I'll try to remember everything that's happened.

We've all mostly recovered from the robbery, except for we keep realizing how much stuff they actually took. Like when I wanted to go running, I realized they took my nikes. Probably a sign from the heavens that I don't need to run for the rest of my mission! Hah just kidding, but really, so upset at these robbers.I liked those shoes.

We've been staying in Highlands this week at the transfer house, which has been a sheer joy *que sarcasm*. The transfer house is scary scary scary. It has rats. As in RATS. These are not the rats you think of in America. These are african rats. Like the size of cats. So pretty much you just try to go to sleep to the sound of rats in the ceiling. But tonight we're moving back to Chitungwiza, because they've finally fixed all the locks and the gate and everything in the house. So I'm so excited to leave those rats behind! I did see one in a lesson this week, and just about DIED. I saw it 6 or 7 times and oh my gosh, my heart was racing and I was just trying to get through that lessons FAST. Didn't help that these boys were jokers so they were asking so many random questions and I'm just like PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE BEFORE I DIE. But it's okay, I made it through.

We were supposed to have a couple more baptisms this week, but every single person decided to go out of town. How does that even happen? So we're crossing our fingers for this next week. We've really gotta step up our game, because last transfer we had a couple pairs of Elder who baptized 17 each. So we've got some serious work to do.

But the good news is, Brother Godfrey and his wife were married this week! We've been working with them so much because you can't get  baptized without being legally married, so we are so happy! He'll be baptized next week. The mama goes to a different church but we have faith in her still. Although, Brother Godfrey did show up late to his own wedding. Classic. That man is late for everything. We joke that he'll probably be late for his own funeral haha.

I'm just happy that we're going back to Chi Town tonight! I've missed the majesty of that house. I'll take every second I can get in there. In my personal study this week, I was in Mosiah, which I love. We're told that sometimes we are given trials so we can "stand as a testimony that the Lord doth visit his people in their afflictions". And how true that is! Many things have happened to me on mission so far that have strengthened me, and I can now stand as a witness that God does not forget us.

I hope everyone had a great week! Love you all!

Love Sister Richards

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 9: First Bhabhatidzwa!

Family and Friends!

This week was somethin else. But we can start with the good stuff!

Yesterday, we had five baptisms! Brother Tau, Godwin, Welsh, Albert, and Wellington were all baptized and it was so, so happy. It's been incredible to see their journeys from the first day we met them until now. I have been amazed by the faith that each of them have in our Savior to completely turn their lives around.

The second counselor in the bishopric gave some remarks at the end of the baptismal service and said something that I really loved. He looked at each of these newly baptized people and said to them, "To you, my brethren, I say, 'Welcome Home'". Wow, that hit me! C.S. Lewis once said, "The fact that our hearts yearn for something earth can't supply is proof that heaven must be our home". The gospel provides that little bit of heaven here on earth to make us feel at home. Whether I'm in Utah, Ghana, or Zimbabwe, with the gospel, I am at home!

We're teaching a man named Brother Hudson right now, who is so incredibly prepared, but needs to work through a few difficulties before baptism. This week he said to us, "Sisters, ever since I have started meeting with you, something in my life has changed. Things are getting better. God is working wonders in my life."  The people of Zimbabwe are so in tune with the spirit, and God truly is working wonders in their lives.

Just to let you all know, our home was broken into this week during the night. The details of the incident are hard and quite painful, but the other three sisters and I are safe. I can say with complete confidence that angels were surrounding each of us, and that the Lord was keeping a close eye on us. We are so blessed to have been protected. We'll be staying in Highlands for awhile in the transfer house, and it has not yet been decided if we will return back to Chitungwiza.

I thank each of you for the prayers that you offer for the missionaries of this church each day. They are needed, and they are felt.

This week will forever be monumental as I witnessed my first baptism(s) on mission! I sure do love it.Unfortunately no pictures this week. The pesky thieves took my camera. They left my scriptures and that's all that matters!

Love, Sister Richards

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 8: Promised Land Round Two

Family and Friends!

What a blessed and happy week in the promised land! Transfers were this week and I'm more than happy to be staying here in Chitungwiza with Sister Jili. This week was hot. And when I say hot I mean HOT. I pray for winter every day. 

But the heat was the least of my worries, because we had THIRTEEN investigators come to church this week! We've come to this point where we contact so many people every week, that someone new will come to church and we won't recognize them and we'll just think "oh shoot, I hope that's the Elder's investigator because I have noo idea who that is". Anways, we only had two surprise investigators that we didn't recognize who came to church, and one of the guy's name is Elvis. Nice guy, still have no recollection of every contacting him, but we're just thrilled he made it to church. Wish I could say he was wearing blue suede shoes, but he wasn't. 

We have twelve investigators on date for baptism right now, and I'm so happy! We've worked so hard with these people, and it warms my heart to see them entering the waters of baptism. We joke that the Chi Town Elders are going to get pneumonia because we're giving them so many people to baptize. 

We got a car this week! *angels singing in the background* We drove into the area in under 10 minutes and there were tears in my eyes. Not really, but close. Our area is so far away and so big, and this car is changing our lives. 2015 toyota corolla. We named her Snow White. That used to be my name in our Zone, but I'm not longer white. Mostly just red with a little bit of tan. So our car fits the name a little bit better now. 

I ate a lot of very, very interesting food this week of which I will spare you the details, but know that I am okay and still breathing. I'm going to make you all sadza when I get home so I can share the love.

"And they were all [missionaries], and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all - they were [missionaries] who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted"

Whatever your calling in life may be at this moment, Mom, Dad, sister, brother, teacher, student, anything, who can put yourself to this scripture. Although the the battle the strippling warriors faced was different from the battles we face today, we can strive to acquire these same attributes. They were valiant, courageous, strong, true, and trustworthy. Oh, how I love the Book of Mormon.

Mother's Day was probably the happiest day of my life, and I love you all so much! Thank you for the encouragement, and for putting a permanent smile on my face!

love, Sister Richards

sadzda and kovu. mm this stuff was actually really good

the clouds are prettier in africa. every time I say that to an african missionary they laugh but it's so true!

blurry but in our new car!!

sister jili calls these kids my "choir" Because they sing my name every time I walk down the street! "seesta leechahds! seesta leechahds!"

Monday, May 2, 2016

Week 7: Fresh & Blessed

Good morning Chitungwiza!!!

What a remarkable week in Chi Town!! Ah I love this place more and more every day.

Bad news first, well there is no bad news, because we had eleven investigators come to church! ELEVEN! Can you even believe it? To think that just 6 weeks ago our area was closed because it was "dead". Eish!! We are in the midst of bringing Chitungwiza back to life! I just sat in sacrament meeting and wanted to cry because I was so happy so many came. Truly a miracle!! 

Okay I guess there is a little bad news once I think about it. Relief Society was on tithing, and our teacher gave us total fire! The whole time she went on and on about how there is absolutely no excuse to not pay tithing and how we cannot rob God and we'll be in big fat trouble if we don't give 10 percent. Which is all mildly true, but I was just cringing the whole time because I could tell our investigators were so uncomfortable. We haven't gotten to tithing yet with any of them so I was like noooo it's okay the Lord will bless you for paying tithing it's okay! So I think we're going to have some serious questions to answer this week.

Mom, I am turning into a chef. A real life chef. I cook dinner for the house every night. This week we had Chicken a la King (my faavvv(, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Steak Stew, and then we made Samosas on saturday night after an investigator taught us how. No caterpillars this week, or sadza. Sooo many blessings.

We taught Brother Kelvin this week, who is my favorite haha. He's 19 and is a gangster. He wears the gold chains and when he talks I just have to try not to laugh. After teaching him the Plan of Salvation, I asked him how he felt knowing that God had prepared a way for all of us to return back and live with Him. His response?  "Sister Richards, I feel fresh. Fresh and blessed." And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The POS makes Bro Kelvin feel fresh and blessed.

I don't really know what more to say except for our area is really coming to life, and we are finding so many people! We have some baptisms coming up on the 15 and 22 of May, and we are so excited! Sister Jili is still the best ever and we just laugh and work and laugh some more.

Mission is Zimbabwe can be summed up in one verse of scripture:
"...and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God"

Have the best week, and HOLLER cause this week is Mother's Day!! Can't wait to see your cute faces!!

Love, Sister Richards