Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 24: Miracle for Dayz

Family and Friends -

Great week here in Zimbabwe! Miracles are not ceasing in this land, and everything is going great. After hearing the news of the passing of Grandma Richards, I'm saddened and just in shock, really. I love that woman so much, and I'm humbled to be able to carry her legacy of missionary work on here in Africa.

This week we had 10 investigators at church, two of which attended for the first time and have incredible potential! First is Neville. The first time I met Neville I asked him if he has seen Harry Potter. He wasn't really amused. Anyways, he's 26 and just moved here in Mutare. He asked us about 1.4 million questions in the first 5 minutes of our contact about why there's so many churches and why can't we all just be nice to each other and all these things. So we taught him Restoration later that week, and it was probably one of my favorite lessons on mission. He got everything so well, and was pretty much teaching us. We extended baptism at the end, and he accepted! He came to church on Sunday, and really enjoyed it. We had a really powerful gospel principles class taught on sacrifice, and he was participating a ton and loving it! So definitely looking forward to his baptism at the end of this month.

Second is Nick, who is 20 years old. We met Nick while street contacting, and thought he was a total JOKER. We went and did a BRT (Building relationship and trust) with him and his friend Richard, and it was really awesome! He's super involved in the programs at Roman Catholic, but said he was willing to come and check out our church. Later in the week we had an appointment scheduled to teach the Restoration, but Richard has something unexpected come up, so we just taught Nick. Well I was totally bummed out by this because I thought Richard was the only one who had potential, but I was so wrong! Nick had just come from school and so he was wearing his backpack. We started the lesson and asked him if he had read the pamphlet we gave him, and he said yes. And i'm like uh huh sure I've heard that one before (I didn't actually say that outloud). Well we ask him to tell us about is and he explains in detail about the great apostasy and Jesus Christ establishing his church and the Book of Mormon and I was just like what. It was incredible! So we went over the whole restoration and it was so powerful! Well as we're wrapping up the lesson, I decide that I'm not going to extend baptism yet, but don't know if my companion is planning on it. Well she doesn't and so we're about to close and I'm saying "okay if there's no more question, we leave these things with you in the name of.." and he's like "wait I have one more question. Have you been baptized?" Whoa. So we say yes, and he says "Well I haven't been baptized before. At my church, they just pour a cup of water on you, and I've just never really felt good about that because that's not how Jesus Christ was baptized." DOUBLE WHOA. So we just went through everything and extended a baptismal date, and he accepted! He also participated a ton during our investigators class and kept saying how excited he is to keep taking the lessons. Miracles! 

Well. Sister Park and I didn't play any pranks this week or hide cakes from anyone. There is a ton of political unrest happening right now in Zim. People and places being burned, police men getting stoned, and other really horrible things. Fortunately Mabvuku is about 30 ks away from towne so we won't see any of that, but no missionaries will be allowed in towne for awhile! Which normally would really make me sad because you can only find oreos in town, but the tender mercies of the Lord are upon me because I got a package today with OREOS IN IT. Thank you family!!!! 

Well, my friends. Expect miracles in your lives, for they will come. Missionary work is the best!

Love, Sister Richards 

see all those sticky notes? BAPTISMAL DATES. 

 since our washing machine died, we've been hand washing these days. I got these little blisters on my fingers, and didn't wait long enough to wash again and they popped! I'm sure you all wanted to hear this story. 

the space to park the car is incredibly tight but i've gotten pretty darn good at backing into the gate as close as I can without hitting it. Also bethany I think right now is an appropriate time to tell you I once backed into your car but nothing happened to either of our cars so I didn't tell anyone. And i'm 8,000 miles away right now so if you want to get mad at I won't see it until next week. I hope everyone who reads my emails is getting a kick out of this right now

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 23: Eight is Great!

My family! My friends! My fans!

Just kidding not my fans. My companion and I are actually working on building up our fan club here but like 98% of our fans are under the age of 5 so that's that. Anyways, such a great week in Z townnn. I love it here so stinkin much. I had a dream of the day I go home and it really stressed me out so I think I'm just gonna stay here. Sorry mom. This week I celebrated my half birthday (you gotta spice up mission sometimes) and it was very nice. 

Well, let me start out with my favorite quote from Dan in Real Life:

"Life is full of disappointments. Some big, some even bigger"

The disappointment of this week is that Mai Edgar didn't get baptized. Yes, I almost cried. But it's okay because she's getting baptized on 3 September! The wedding certificate from the court is just taking longer than anticipated to process, but everything with her is still so good. We were actually at her house last night for dinner, and she said to my companion and me "forget the color of my skin. I am your mother!" Haha she seriously is. She is my Zimbabwean Mother! (I would say african mother but my real mom lives in africa too)

This week we had Zone Meeting. We got a call the night before and I was asked to give the thought from the Missionary Handbook, and was specifically asked to "give fire". I was slightly offended, but then took advantage of the opportunity to share my deepest thoughts on obedience because some of the missionaries in this mission don't quite seem to understand that word. I tried my best to do it in a loving way. I think it went okay. Anyways. At Zone Meeting, our Zone Leaders spoke more on miracles again, and then asked us each what our baptismal goal for September was. After we had all shared, they told us each to double that goal. WHAT. So Sister Park and I are shooting for 8 baptisms in September, which is pretty much insane. Every day we just try and think of new ways to find people, and I don't know if I've every prayed harder in my life. We pray so stinkin hard for the Lord to help us reach this goal. But I think our prayers are being heard! We already have 5 people on date for September after this week, which means we only need 3 more. God is good!! 12 people came to church, which doubled from last week. So yes. Zimbabwe is good.

Can I just take a second to tell you all how stinkin great my companion is? We just laugh and laugh and have the greatest time together. She left the cutest note on my desk this morning and I almost cried I was laughing so hard. I don't think I have ever worked harder in my life at anything than Sister Park and I are working in the field right now. We just get home and COLLAPSE at like 8:30 and then start all over the next day. And let me tell you, it's the best feeling in the world. God blesses those who work, and we are starting to see those blessings!

I'm down to less than a year in Zimbabwe. What???? I love it here so much and the people are turning into my brothers and sisters. Have a great week!!

Love, Sisi Richards

my favorite meal

proof that we're working hard. my poor daughter.

Mercy! We've been teaching mercy since july and she accepted baptism on saturday! Miracles!!

sister park and I got flowers from our fan club this week (ourselves)

the best note from my comp. There's this drunk guy in our area named forester who always yells my name. "seesta reechadz!!" 

my comp and I enjoying our cake 

sister gondo, relief society president in our ward, is doing a fundraiser for her seminary kids to go to the jo burg temple. She's baking cakes so be bought one. it was so good that we hid from the other sisters and ate a lot of that cake. then we felt bad so we shared. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 22: Just One Voice


Mission is the best. Seriously THE BEST. Living in Africa is so hard sometimes but I love it. We had power and water for like 2 whole days this week, which stinks, but life goes on. 

This week was awesome! Remember last week how I said to expect miracles? This week we saw MIRACLES. So we put this giant sign in our study that says "Expect miracles, for they will come". On Tuesday we ate a five houses. Five. Do you know how many that is? Do you know how much food that is? So much. Every where we went they just kept feeding us and feeding us and feeding us. I have never hated food so much. My poor companion got sick and has been throwing up for the rest of the week, but she's getting better! We still got 29 lessons in for the week which is yet another miracle while having a sick companion. 

MAI EDGAR: Mai Edgar is the best lady every. She has been taking the lessons for about a year now, and last week we extended baptism and she accepted! MIRACLE. Then, this week we realized that we didn't ask her if she was legally married and we're like alright shoot she's not going to be baptized for like a month and a half. So we got back and tell her about the requirement to be legally married before baptism which costs $20, and she said "It's okay. I'm willing to sacrifice anything to keep my baptismal date". MIRACLE. $20 is a giant chunk of money this side. She tells us she has to talk to her husband to see if he will agree, and we were praying so hard that he would say yes! We came back on Saturday, and she sat us down and said "God is working miracles in my life. Every time I've asked my husband before if we can get married, we always end up just arguing. But this time he just said yes". BUT WAIT, it gets better. The husband comes in and tells us that he's willing to go to the court and pay whatever as long as his wife is happy. It was so great. Miracles. Miracles everywhere. So Mai Edgar is getting baptized on Saturday and it will probably be the happiest day of our lives. 

ALLAN: Allan is the guy we met last week that we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon. We set a return appointment with him for this week, and were looking forward to meeting with him again so much. That's all we could talk about! Our lesson before our scheduled one with Allan went a little long, and then we got a little lost on the way to his house, which was really weird because it's an area we spend a lot of time in. When we got to his house, we were about 15 minutes late, and his gogo said he was not home. We were crushed! As we were walking about, my companion turned around and say him running up the street. We were able to teach him the message of the Restoration, and it honestly was probably the most powerful lesson I have been in on mission. He was understanding so well, the spirit was so strong, and he was asking so many great questions. After we shared the first vision, he stopped and said, "Sisters, I need to be frank with you. I forgot about our appointment today. But as I was at school, I had an hour break, and I just felt something pushing me to come home. It takes me about 25 minutes to walk home, so it didn't make sense, but something just kept pushing me. When I was walking home, a friend stopped me and asked for help on an assignment, but I knew I had to come home. When I got here, I saw you, and I knew it was God who had pushed me home. The story about Joseph Smith is a miracle. What happened to him was a miracle. It may not seem like it to you, but what happened to me today was also a miracle. I can feel something when we talk and I think this is God telling me that there's something special about your church." Wow. Just wow. My companion and I walked away from the lesson just in shock. It was incredible. 

Expect Miracles, for they will come.

This is the longest email in the history of ever, so I commend every one who gets through it. Thank you all for the love and prayers sent to the missionaries in Zimbabwe. They are working!

Love, Sister Richards 

Three generational picture! My trainer and my daughter. Such happy times.

What happens when the power goes out and we have no food? oreos and peanut butter for lunch. FOR THE WIN. 

What can I say, Africa is turning me into a fashion icon. (the mornings are really cold)

I played doctor for my sick comp this week. I was instructed whisk all the carbonation out of sprite, add a teaspoon of salt, and make her drink it. This is her enjoying haha. 

Giant spider on our wall. you can't see him all but he's really huge.

Our beautiful calendar. all the little words are return appointments and the colored sticky notes are baptismal dates. hashtag ORGANIZED 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 21: Ni Hao!

Hello my people!

What a stinkin awesome week. Too much good stuff to share and I have like .00005 seconds to email (so I probably won't be able to respond to everyone, I'm sorry), but I'll try my best.

So we started off the week with training meetings for all the trainers. Pretty much we were just told that the first few weeks are mission are so crucial for the trainee so we better not mess things up. No pressure, right? Then we got all of our companions! They came in a big group, so all together we were almost 30. My companion is Sister Park and she is the best! I seriously love this girl so stinkin much. She's pretty much just an asian version of myself, so we're having a lot of fun together. She is a really, really hard worker. Like crazy hard. Our area is the size of stinkin Russia so I was praying for a companion that likes to walk. And she does. So we're safe. 

SO like I said, Sister Park and I have been having fun together. A little too much fun. She's full Korean, so we've been having fun telling people that she doesn't know any English. The night before district meeting, we called our District Leader and asked him to bring a Book of Mormon, Preach my Gospel, pamphlets, or really any church material in the Korean language because my companion "knows no english". HAH. They fell for it so hard. The next day at District Meeting they bring all these language study manuals and all this stuff and I'm like wow okay thanks this will help so much. So she goes all of district meeting without saying a word, and then they ask her to give a prayer and I say, "oh it will be in Korean, is that alright?". So she gets up, everyone closes their eyes, and she just goes off in english. I opened my eyes and everyone was just like looking up and their jaws were on the floor. It was hysterical. People in the area always yell "Ni hao! Ni hao!" and will keep on yelling until my companion responds. It's not even korean hahaha. 

BUT we are focusing in the area, don't you worry. We contacted about 17 katrillion people this week, and have a lot of return appointments for next week which is exciting. We were able to extend two more baptismal dates this week, and get two more investigators confirmed! So all is well in Mabvuku. Our Zone Leader gave us great advice in DM: Expect Miracles. When we are exactly obedient, we can expect miracles. And we for sure have been seeing miracles in our area this week! We're teaching someone new named Allan. We were in an area we don't usually go to that often, and the appointment we had set was a fall through. So we're all moping around so sad that this appointment fell through (we were really excited for it) and Allan approached us in the street and asked if we would teach him about the Book of Mormon. We were able to sit down with him right there, and I seriously have never seen anyone grasp the concept of the Book of Mormon so quickly. It was incredible. Sister Park and I just walked away from that lesson and were like WOW. It was a miracle for us. The Lord knew the previous appointment with fall through, but put someone in our path for us to teach who really needed the gospel. Missionary work is the best!

So I said I had no time, and this was forever long so now I reallllyyy have no time haha. But I love you all! Have the greatest week! 

Love, Sister Richards 

This is me practicing how to be non high maintenance while holding a chicken head

Me being happy in Africa

The training sisters!

The training sisters!

The training sisters!

My cute companion!

The trainers and trainees!

The trainers and trainees!

My feet usually look like this at the end of every day. Dirt or tan? You decide.

Haha an Asian and a white person. We think we are so funny.

Carolina! That is me!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 20: Call Me Maybe?

Family! Friends! Everyone I Like!

Well the subject line doesn't really have to do with anything important but the funniest thing happened to Sister Walbeck and I this morning. The APs came and took our companions to their new areas, so we were left to take kombis to town to email. The kombi driver put in his phone and started playing Call Me Maybe! He didn't play it once, or twice, but THREE TIMES. You better believe Sister Walbeck and I jammed out harrrddd core. Then the guy next to us turns to us and says, "I thought you guys weren't allowed to listen to this kind of stuff..". Shoot. He's a member. SO we calmed ourselves down and and remembered that a lot of people are watching us and we probably shouldn't jam to our favorite song in the ninth grade. Lesson learned.

This week was great! We went on exchanges to Chitungwiza and I got to be with Sister Jili and it was the best thing ever! I got to see some of my recent converts, and then give Brother Lovemore fire for not showing up to his baptism. He's the one who thought that when Mormon compiled all the plates he wrote the footnotes to the Bible on there too. Hahaha he's my favorite human.

We were able to baptize three people this weekend, so it was awesome! Each of them bore powerful testimonies, and it's just so humbling to think you helped them gain that testimony! God is good.

AND transfers happen today! I'M TRAINING! What the heck! My daughter flies in tomorrow from the MTC and I'm so excited to meet her. Her name is Sister Park and she is from the states. Best part is, Sister Walbeck is training too and we're staying in the same house! It's seriously going to be the best thing ever. So we'll be here in Harare town for the next couple days doing horrible training meetings and what what but I'm just so so excited. Sad to say goodbye to Sister Ngwenya, but excited to see what the future holds.

A sekuru (grandpa) spoke in church this week and said something that totally hit me about work. "Doing nothing is the hardest work there is because you can never stop to rest". So true. Time is one of the most precious resources God has given us, and so we need to use it to work hard! There's no better feeling in the world than coming home from a long day in the area and just collapsing because you're so stinkin tired. Workin hard or hardly workin?

Everyone have a great week! Oh yeah I forgot to say that I ate chicken brain this week. Totally gross but I buried it in my sadza and soup so I couldn't taste it. 10/10 wouldn't recommend it.

Love, Sister Richards