Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 37: tears and sun and walking and broken records

Hello my people!

I've got a lot to say this week so hopefully I can get it all in!

TEARS: I was able to watch my first two baptisms in Zimbabwe, Albert and Wellington, be sustained to receive the Melchezidek priesthood on Sunday! Imagine! I seriously CRIED. We were just sitting there in Stake Conference, and they called both of their names and I was able to raise my hand and sustain them! It was seriously incredible. With so many transfers on mission, sometimes you just have to leave your recent converts having faith that they'll progress. But this week I was actually able to see it before my eyes! Albert was SO addicted to marijuana, and Wellington was in a gang that did funny funny things. And now they both have the higher priesthood! Miracles are happening here in Zimbabwe. 

SUN: This week we went up (maybe down, I don't actually know) to Bindura for exchanges. Everyone always says Bindura is one of the hottest areas on mission and I've always just been like yeah yeah yeah we're all hot all the time hop off of the complain train. BUT NO. BINDURA IS SO. STINKIN. HOT. I AM ON THE COMPLAIN TRAIN. Seriously. I thought I would lose my life for a couple seconds there in the sun, but it made me grateful to come back to Epworth where the sun was not shining (as) hot. 

WALKING: So while we were in Bindura, President Mkhabela came up to meet some of the members because they're thinking about opening another branch there. Well the first day I was there, we walked out to this family who walk seven hours to church every single week. SEVEN. That part of Bindura is just a rural area, and they have to walk seven hours to town to attend church, because they can't afford kombis. It was an incredible lesson we had with them. At the end, the mama (who reminded me so much of my own mother) asked to sing her favorite hymn, How Firm a Foundation, which is also my favorite hymn! She requested that we sing verses 1, 3, and 7. She just cried as we sang the seventh verse (and so did we), and said "I will never, no never, no never forsake, sisters. I will never forsake!" My own mother has spoken those same words to me and it brought feelings of love for my mother, and for my Savior Jesus Christ, who I vow never to forsake! 

BROKEN RECORDS: This week the mission broke the record of most number of baptisms in a week with a high number of 86! Imagine! 86 baptisms in one week! Our goal for the year was 2,000 and I think we'll get really, really close. The people of Zimbabwe are just so prepared for the gospel and I am so grateful to be able to be a witness of that. 

FATIH: My last thought is on faith. Faith is the first principle of the gospel, so it can often be one of the first things that Satan attacks. Discouragement, disbelief, doubt, and fear are feelings we each know well, because those are things Satan uses to try to diminish our faith. Our faith increases through obedience, kindness, selfless service, and hard work. Keep your faith strong. Satan will try to tear it down, but we have a gospel that is more powerful than him. 

I love Zimbabwe, I love missionary work, I love the gospel! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Richards 

Norber's Son!

With Sister Otieno and Stegelmeir on exchanges!

Welcome to BINDURA.

The family that walks 7 hours to church!

This is their sekuru. he is 114 years old!

With Sister Stegelmeir.

the mom and daughter

This is their home. Mama is putting the last born on her back.

ister otieno has this thing of holding my head all the time because I'm so short. haha i love her!

I made some coconut caramel popcorn this week. It was nice.

this is the road we walked on for 2 hours to get to ONE HOUSE. thanks, bindura. 

my companion and I enjoying the pockets on the dresses we had made this week.

our district is getting split up with transfers this week! it will be sad to say goodbye. loved this district. 

Can't stop Sister Mpiyakhe and I from doin our thaaang

made sadza for the first time by myself! it was awesome!!

more blessing and the book of mormon. powerful

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 36: Even if You Sing and Dance

Hi Everyone!

This week was okay! We're trying to find new investigators and the contacting is kind of tiring, but good thins are happening. One of our recent converts told me I'm too clever and will get myself into trouble if I'm not careful (what the heck), we finally got back electricity and water after a week (HALLELUJAH AMEN), we were able to baptize 7 converts, and we made some killer sadza and ma veggies. Good stuff happening.

Remember how I told you about Fungai and his tender mercies last week? Well he has asked to give the prayer in sacrament meeting this, and he was so nervous that he wrote it all out. The first thing he said in his prayer was "We're thankful for all the tender mercies that thou hast given us". Mine and Sister Namugenyi's eyes just popped open and we looked at each other and we're like YES! Conversion happening right before our eyes.

We've started teaching the security guard at the church while we wait for the other sisters to pick us up from our area. His name is Peter, and he's really great. We taught him the Restoration last week, and this week had a full lesson just on the Book of Mormon. We read through the introduction and Moroni 10:3-5, and then discussed for a long time with him. Just as the lesson was ending he said, "I will become a member of your church if I come to know this book is true. Even if you sing and dance and do funny funny things, if I know this book is true, there will be nothing stopping me from joining you". Shout out to the Book of Mormon for literally being the most true and powerful book in the world! We owe it all to you, my friend. 

This week, we were able to witness the baptism of Brother Nobert! It was so amazing. We had such an incredible experience with him again this week regarding the Book of Mormon. He's struggled because he says he knows that the Book of Mormon is true, but hasn't felt a confirmation from the Holy Ghost. He knew it, he knew it so much, but just was sad because he hadn't felt that feeling of Holy Ghost really testifying to him of it's truthfulness. I don't remember if I told you, but Nobert's son had a stroke about 6 months ago, and had just very recently started making progress. The first day Sister Namugenyi and I visited their home, he could not speak, stand up, or walk. As we've been going, he has improved so much. He can speak, he can stand up, he can even walk around the yard! Brother Nobert spoke to us on Thursday and said, "Sisters, I've received my answer. My son has gotten better because of the Book of Mormon. The answer has been in front of me the whole time, and I know that the Book of Mormon is true because of the miracle of my son getting better." Miracles! The Book of Mormon is not only true, but it has power. Serious power.  After his baptism, he bore a powerful testimony and I could not stop smiling! I love that man.  

Rely on the Book of Mormon and you can do anything. "And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son. And even all this can ye do if ye will." It's our choice! Let us choose the Book of Mormon, let us choose Jesus Christ, let us choose happiness. 

Missionary work is cool, Zimbabwe is hot. Stay alive, my friends!

Love, Sister Richards 

mai mangwende put me in african attire and then we made sadzda and ma veggies. it was niiice

weekly planning supported by the one and only, MARY RICHARDS 

baptisms for days 

had a sisters activity at lake cleveland today. very windy. very nice. 

brother nessan, the rc who told me i'm too clever, posing. the funniest

us pretending to be brother nessan on a very large rock 

went to tanzanian club for lunch last monday. goat stew, rice, and chapati. SO STINKIN GOOD. 

my companion's camera has a funny funny filter but this is us at tanzanian club

my beloved companion

me taking selfies on my companion's camera in my rain coat 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 35: Black in Complexion

Hi Family! Hi Friends!

Eish where to begin with this week. Craziness. We've had rain like nobody's business, we haven't had electricity for four days, we've walked and walked and walked and walked, I pierced my companion's ear, and two of our most promising investigators told us they were prostitutes. So I guess you could say everything is alright haha. Missionary work is so good, though. The work is progressing and we're probably baptizing 7 next weekend! 

The funny for the week. Brother Machama is a recent convert who is really powerful. We went over to his house to ask him if he would come to a lesson at Brother Nobert's house later this week. We were trying to describe Nobert to him and really all I could say was that Nobert is like 10 feet taller than the average person. Well B. Machama just sat there for a minute thinking, and then said, "I saw a very tall man at church who was black in complexion. Do you think that was him?" HAHA. I lost it. Everyone in our ward (and in Zimbabwe) is black in complexion except for the missionaries in the ward. Hahaha it was so stinkin funny. But yes, Brother Machama, I think that was him :)

TENDER MERCY: So Fungai and Kurren, who got baptized a couple weeks back, started the Book of Mormon this past week. We discussed 1 Nephi 1 with them, and in the last verse it talks about tender mercies. So we explained tender mercies, and gave them the challenge to look for tender mercies in their week, and when we came back they would share with us. Well yesterday we went over to their house just for a second to drop off some pictures. It was raining a little bit, but not much. Literally the SECOND we stepped into their house it started to DOWNPOUR. I have NEVER seen rain like that before. NEVER. So we sat down and we're just chatting and one of us said, "wow we are so lucky the rain started right after we walked in. Fungai just looked at us and said, "No, not lucky. That is called a tender mercy." It was so cute! Look for tender mercies, my friends. They are everywhere!

Brother Nobert! I love him. He's getting baptized this next week, and is loving the Book of Mormon. We taught him The Gospel of Jesus Christ this week which is outlined in 2 Nephi 31. After the lesson, Nobert, in all seriousness, just said, "Why is the Bible so big?! All I need to know to get back to God is in this little book!" It was the funniest thing. The Book of Mormon is simple, powerful, and contains everything we need to go back to our Heavenly Father. 

Oh yeah, and about my companion's ear piercing experience. When she was younger she went to get her ears pierced, but only did one of them because it was so painful haha. But thankfully, one of my favorite movies, The Parent Trap, taught me how to pierce ears so she was in good hands, and now the ear is pierced. After many, many screams of terror and about 20 minutes of drama, the ear is pierced. MISSION. 

Love you all! Thank you for all the love and support you all offer to me. AND MOM THANK YOU FOR THE OREOS I ATE THEM FOR BREAKFAST!

Love, Sister Richards


zimbabwean rainbows. 

more rain selfies

the ear was PIERCED. i have a 20 minute video for proof.

me being happy in the rain

me being domestic (sweet and sour chicken. it was killer)

I named him Albert. He was missing a leg.

no electricity, no problem. the work goes on!

found a nice caterpillar. I don't remember what I named him. 

 shortly after these pictures were taken I received a call from some important guy asking if I would be the new face of National Geographic. I kindly declined.

I made Emmanuel sign in three different places that he would stop drinking. It's working!

Zimbabwe in the rain

companion and more blessing.

fungai (tender mercy!) and his sister, charlotte. and more blessing again. 

 more of zimbabwe

also we have to burn our garbage because we don't have a garbage man. here's a nice picture.