Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 33: Moto in the Ghetto

Hello my friends!

This week was crazy, but really good! I'm now in Epworth, which I'm convinced is THE HOTTEST PLACE ON PLANET EARTH. Moto means "fire". And Epworth is like the way ghetto of Harare. So I call it Moto in the Ghetto. Kinda catchy but mostly sad because it's so. stinkin. hot. My companion is from Uganda and is named Sister Namugenyi. She is the cutest and we are having so much fun together! She just finished her training, but things didn't go so well, so it's like training all over again. I'm getting better at understanding her accent. We're seriously having fun together though. She the queen of contacting so we contacted about 5 million people this week, and we had 14 come to church so it was awesome! Good things here in Epworth.

I'll send pictures of the warm welcome I got from the animals in our home (happy halloween for sure). The house has been kind of an adjustment, but it's okay! We're washing by hand and bathing out of buckets again, but everything is bo bo. Oh yeah! So our District Leader has this thing of saying "bo bo", which is short for "iri bo" meaning it's okay, or it's good. So Sister N and I have picked it up and always say bo bo. And now all the little kids chase us around in the area and say "bo bo, seesta leechahds, bo bo!". It's stinkin cute.

The work here is moving! We had a wedding this weekend, and had two couples get baptized! We were able to extend a couple more baptismal dates this week so everything is bo bo. Trying to get the wedding organized was a mess though! We had to run to town and get passport pictures and call the whole country of Zimbabwe to try and find a marriage officer and all these crazy things, but it ended up turning out really nice! Pictures to come.

This week, I accepted a challenge from our District Leader, Elder Monesa. He challenged the district to try and just take a Book of Mormon to the area to teach with, and leave our bibles at home. I was a little hesitant, but this whole week I only took a simple copy of the Book of Mormon with me. I was scared because I didn't have any of my markings, and was nervous someone would ask me a question that I could only answer with the bible. But no! ALL questions can be answered with the Book of Mormon. The spirit really guided me in certain situations to know exactly where to turn and what scriptures to use. People here know the bible like the back of their hands, and as the Book of Mormon says, "we need no more bible!". As missionaries we need to open from the Book of Mormon and read with our investigators so they can gain a testimony. My testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the guidance of the spirit grew immensely this week, and I'm so grateful for the conversion power of it's words!

The Book is blue the church is true!!

Love, Sister Richards 

Such a warm welcome to the Epworth house. Joy.

got all my pics so everything is bo bo

n an area called "overspill"


the book is blue, the church is true!

Zim ft Sister Manugenyi!

yeah the baptismal "font" needed a bit of work before the baptism!

wedding time!

me being domestic. 

"companion act natural and pretend you like cooking"

my (new) kiddos!

this little girl came up and said "I can read cherungu!" (english) and we read through the restoration pamphlet together! so stinkin cute!

fungai and kurren got married and then baptized 20 minutes later! they were a referral from elder and sister davis. such happy times!

Yesterday at church with my new friends. More blessing is the little girl. She is Kurrens and fungais daughter.


my house sisters! love these ones.



Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 32: Sister Eppy

Hi Family! Hi Friends!

So transfers are here and I'm OUTTA HERE. Im still in Harare which is kinda a bummer, but I'll be going to Epworth doing following up training on Sister Namugenyi! She's from Ughanda and is so cute and sweet. I'm really excited to work with her! The ward missionaries now call me "Sister Eppy". What. Anyways it's only like 20 minutes away from my last area so things should be interesting!

Funny stuff first. So I ate these beans this week that expired in 2013 and I didn't know (why we had expired beans in our cupboard I HAVE NO IDEA). Anyways so I totally had this allergic reaction and my lips and my tongues swelled up and since I'm a fairly (incredibly) dramatic person I was throwing a tantrum. Well Sister Wells was like okay chill take this benadryl and I did and I was fine. Well we get to our first lesson and I start feeling funny funny funny. Like wisdom teeth funny. And I cannot stay awake. So we walk out of the lesson and Siser Park is like uh are you okay and I was like NO I AM NOT OKAY. Anyways I was so out of it and so tired for like 2 hours but then my body went back to normal. DON'T TAKE BENDARYL AT 12:00 PM

Next, David. David David David. He always has something funny to say. So we passed by his shoe stand on Tuesday just to say hi, and we asked him how he feels now that he has the gift of the Holy Ghost. He turned to us and he was so serious and said, "Oh my dreams have changed! I see fish. Big fish, small fish, even me as a fish swimming in the water!". Uh. What the. Yeah David I'm not quite sure that's the Holy Ghost. I LOVE  HIM!

So we had two baptisms this weeks which was awesome. Anesu, who is SO POWERFUL, got baptized and it was the best. I'm missing so many baptisms and marriages in Mabvuku which I'm 400000% devastated about but it's okay. It was pretty heart breaking yesterday though, Nyasha said, "right when I need you most, you have to go". MY HEART. But Sister Park will do such a good job here. I have much faith. 

Lastly, my testimony of the role of the Book of Mormon in conversion has grown so much here in Mabvuku. Sister Verity this week told us, "You know, I didn't used to understand this book. But once I prayed about it, my life has changed". The Book of Mormon, combined with the spirit, is our most powerful tool in conversion! I know it's true and I love it!

Well everyone have a great week and pray that my companion and I don't get extremely lost in our area! Love you all!

Love, Sister Richards 

mm sadza and beef stew. so stinking good.

mad squad we bad

Had a giant open house at church this saturday. The one of the left is an RM from ZHM, and the one on the left is our District Leader, Elder Nkhonjera from Malawi. 

went on exchanges with my mother this week!

coke and donuts. powerful. 


Law! He's the stinkin cutest. He was so happy after he got baptized. The smile!

Sister Walbeck and I saying goodbye to our peeps. Goodbye Mabvuku! 

I pretend every pregnant lady is abby (well, not anymore). The belly!

my kiddos! I will miss them

half district selfie

the whole district. so happy.

i will miss them!

Wellington and Nyasha! Their wedding will be soon and then baptism. I was so sad to say goodbye to them

my wardies

more of my kiddos!

my ward missionaries

Sister Jeri. Yo I CRIED saying goodbye to this one.

Sister Peterson has been in the office the whole time I've been here and is leaving tomorrow! We are all so sad. This is after our crying fest. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 31: Tino Fara!

Hi Family! Hi Friends!

Everything here in Zimbabwe is so good! Minus Sister Park and I dying for like a day everything is great. We ate this pizza on Monday that was SO GOOD (pictures coming) but apparently our bodies didn't think it was as great because we spent the whole next day throwing up. I had to give a presentation during Zone Meeting that day, but fortunately I made it through without a catastrophe. Anyways we were still able to go to the area that day for a couple hours so iri bo! 

Sister Park and I are getting all the pranks in that we can for our last week together. Sister Walbeck got this very, very minor cut on her foot, and we told her that it was extremely infected and needed to be scraped out with a hot knife I told her I experienced this same thing at girls camp, and since mission is zimbabwe is kinda like girls camp, she believed us. No one was cut with a hot knife, don't worry. But it was really funny. She was getting all ready for it. Also I got the most giantest splinter in my foot, so sister park had to perform surgery. Fortunately I came out alive, and I even got pictures of the procedure. Everything in the area is so good, and they're even thinking of splitting it in half because it's so productive! Transfer news comes this week so we'll see what happens. 

Brother innocent: He and his wife are doing so well! We taught the restoration to her, and Innocent was there contributing and loving every second. After we finished the first vision, we asked her how she felt. She spoke quietly, but her answer was powerful and sincere: "I feel so good. Everything just feels good". We scheduled an appointment with them for this coming week, but they ended up calling us to come back on Friday because she wanted to discuss the Plan of Salvation so bad. It was so cute! We asked her if she had prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and Innocent jumped into the conversation and said, "She had a dream too!". We asked her about her dream, and she said, "Not much happened. But we were together and we were just so happy". At the end of the lesson, they both just said how thankful they were for the gospel because it's bringing their family together. Innocent never goes out to drink with his friends anymore, but wants to stay how with his wife and kids. The gospel truly was made for families! Innocent was not able to come to church, but his wife did and brought her little sister with her. The members there were so welcoming to her and I think she had a really positive experience. We're working on their marriage right now, but as Innocent says, "We will be in the church of Jesus Christ no matter what. You will see". 

Sister Verity: Sister Verity is the sister of our Elders Quorum President, and she just moved in with his family. She moved away from her husband because he was abusive, and wanted to be a polygamist. Obviously she did not agree with this, but they couldn't seem to make things work, so she moved in with her brother, President Ruvinga. She came to church with him last week, and we started teaching her that same day. We taught her the Restoration last week, and gave her a couple verses to read in Mosiah 24, one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon! She read the verses where the Lord spoke to Alma and his people, saying that he would ease the burdens upon their backs. When we came back, we asked about her experience with reading and praying. She said, "When I was reading, I really could feel that God loves me. After I put the book down, I could feel the burdens being lifted off of my back. I know that this book is true." Sister Park and I just looked at eachother with emotions of pure joy and happiness. Sister Verity has faced so much opposition, and believe me, her burdens have been heavy. But through the power of the Book of Mormon, those burdens are being eased and she can feel the love on God in her life. The spirit is such a strong power, and the Book of Mormon is the absolute best!

Brother David was confirmed this week, so we told him he needed to be early to church. Church starts at 8, so we were assuming he would show up at like 7:45ish, but no. 7:00 on the dot. In his words, "The earliest bird catches the fattest worm." Hah. The guy's a hoot. 

Everything is great. Everything is wonderful. Zimbabwe is hot. Mission is cool. All is well. 
TINO FARA! (we are happy)

Love, Sister Richards 

the pizza of death

Sister Park performing surgery on my foot



the other sisters baptized our next door neighbor this week. her name is chanty. so stikin cute!

went to tanzanian club to get some good food today. the best. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 30: Straight Outta Ruwa

I'm running out of ways to greet you all at the start of my emails but fortunately King Benjamin has taken care of that for me:
"My friends and my brethren, my kindred and my people"

This week was good! It was full of sunshine, the spirit, DIET COKE, laughter, general conference, and ended off with a sadza party.

Our washing machine has been very less active lately, so I've decided to just hand wash all my clothes. Hard work, but it's not too bad. SO last p day I walk into our bathroom with my arms full of laundry ready to dump them into the bathtub, and do you know what I saw, sitting in my bathtub?  A RAT! So naturally I threw my clothes up in the air and started screaming and running around the house like a mad woman, but Sister Wells came to the rescue and got the rat far, far away from our home. (sister park claims it was just a small mouse, but it was most definitely a rat)

Saga onto spiritual stuff. This week we followed up with Brother Innocent to see if he had received an answer to his prayer about the Restoration. He told us how he had such a feeling of peace come over his body as he prayed. That night while he was sleeping, he had a dream. In this dream, there was someone speaking to him telling him that what the Sister Missionaries were teaching him was true. I had the biggest smile on my face! God answers prayers in so many ways, and I think He knew Innocent needed this answer. He expressed to us his desire to stop drinking, so we are working with him on that and also getting his marriage worked out. My favorite part about Innocent is that after the first time we taught him, at the end he said, "I've got to tell my family about this!". This reminded me so much of Lehi, and how he desired that his family would partake of the fruit as well. We're teaching the family as a whole this week, and are so so excited!

We're teaching this boy named Aneisu, meaning "God is with us". He's 16 and wears a wife beater and these really short yellow shorts every time we teach him haha. He's come to church three times already, and is so sharp! We taught him Restoration yesterday, and it was SO POWERFUL. Yo. Pretty much he just rehearsed the whole pamphlet to us, and bore his testimony about the priesthood being restored. He came to conference so he saw President Monson speak, and told us he knew that man had the priesthood. Anyways he's writing exams on the 24, but said he wants to be baptized on the 22 so it will give him extra help. So stinkin cute! The two ward missionaries who came with us told us that lesson was going down in history as the most powerful lesson they've ever been to. 

This week I had such an amazing time listening to conference. So many insights came to my mind, and I felt like many of the speakers were speaking to missionaries! As I was reading in Mosiah this morning Abinadi is speaking to wicked King Noah and his priests. He says to them, "Ye have not applied your hearts to understanding; therefore ye have not been wise". This struck me really hard. I love the part that I'm at in the Book of Mormon because I feel like it's like General Conference with King Benjamin and even Abinadi speaking to us. I know that the Lord has put me in this book at this point in time because He's trying to tell me, "Sister Richards, you heard the words at Conference, but it won't do anything for you until you apply them!". Some of my goals include more sincere repentance, more fervent prayers, and recognizing the diamonds from the pebbles on the path that I am walking.

Last happy thoughts: the grocery store in Mabvuku has started selling COCA COLA LIGHT which is the closest thing to diet coke here. I'm in heaven. Also we had a sadza party with the ward missionaries and we made the most giantest pot of sadza. It was nice. Pictures to come.

My friends, be wise and apply the things we have learned at conference! I love you all and am so much grateful for the support you give me out here!

Love, Sister Richards 

also MAJOR SHOUT OUT to my senior year chemistry partner, Elder Winter, who sang in the MTC choir in conference! I owe my A- in chemistry to you, my friend. 

sister mawonera's birthday was this week and they invited us over for dinner!

eating freeze its in the area and trying not to die of heat 

our best district tshirts yet

white toes, tan feet

having fun at our sadza party

so. much. sadza.

ward missionaries