Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 50: "More Than Ever"

Hey Fam!

This week was kinda slow and really rainy, but obviously still good because we're missionaries in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission and that's the best thing that could ever happen to your life. Transfers came and went and after many prayers, Sister Mpiyakhe and I are staying together here in Kwekwe! We saw so many miracles this week and the Lord is really playing a huge part in our work here!

During some of the rain this week, I'm guessing temperatures were around low 70s or high 60s. Well we freaked out because we haven't felt freezing temperatures like that in a very long time so we piled on the tights and the sweaters and the scarves. The next day we were back to mid 90s and were so happy to welcome our usual Zimbabwe back!!! Who knows how in the world I will ever go back to Utah winters..

MIRACLE: We went to see a referral named Felix who is 13 years old with a member named Siyabonga. We walked into his gate and started speaking with him and what not. Well his older brother, Bruce, walked in right after us and said he wanted to join our lesson so we were like okay sweet! Just did a BRT with them both and the spirit was strong and everything was great. Set a return appointment and said the closing prayer. Bruce said, "I didn't need to come back to the house, but something just pushed me to come back. I didn't know what is was before, but now I know it was God. I needed to meet you sisters." MIRACLE. We're seeing Bruce and his wife Tendai later this week and are praying they progress in this gospel. "Behold, I am God, and I am a God of miracles"

ISHEANEUSU: Man oh man oh man. So Ishe has been doing so well, right? Well his Mom is an avid member of this pentecostal church called Zaoga. They're really into the glory hallelujah praise Jesus stuff complete with dancing and drums. His Mom was really against him coming to our church, but still let him go. Well things changed this week. It got really, really bad. She came home one day while we were teaching him, pretty much kicked us out, and the next day took Ishe to a bunch of different pastors who just read him volumes and volumes of anti-mormon material. Imagine! So we weren't able to see him for a couple days, but were finally able to see him on Friday. He just let everything out. He pointed at the church and said, "This is where I find peace. This is my home. I can't let anyone take that away from me." Eish our hearts broke. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon that gave him a firm enough faith in Jesus Christ that he is able to get through this! His parents have decided to kick him out of the house because of his decision of getting baptized. He has such a great attitude about everything and we admire his faith so much. Oh my gosh. We were a little hesitant but we asked him if he still wanted to be baptized this Saturday. His response? "More than ever." So incredible.

D&C 54:10 "And again, be patient in tribulation until I come; and behold I come quickly and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early shall find rest to their souls." Something I"ve learned on mission is that this life is short, and there's no time to waste! Many times during tribulations we can lose our peace because of the turmoil around us. But if we seek the Lord early, we will find rest to our souls. Why waste time and seek him later? Open the door for the Savior now and receive peace and joy. I love that!

Being a missionary is the best. Being a member of the restored gospel is the best. Everything is the best. Have a great week! I love you all!

Love, Sister Richards

Kwekwe Zone

my comp being fly as always

last pic with kwekwe district. elder hamblin was transferred to harare. poor thing. 

sister mpiyakhe brought me breakfast AGAIN and it wasn't even my birthday!

spent a good couple hours taking out my companions braids and she had the coolest fro afterwards!

I realized I had never sent pics of our mbizo house before. so here you go.

ee that FULL BODY SHOWER? it can turn any bad day around. seriously.

my companion and me sitting on Charlton's front porch, enjoying the end of our p day, enjoying a cool can of coca cola while we wait for isheanesu to show up for his lesson. african standard time is a real thing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 49: "Thumbs Up to the Book of Mormon"

Sup Fam!
Thank you for all the birthday wishes! My companion spoiled me rotten with breakfast in bed and birthday cake. I prayed STINKIN hard that we would have water on my birthday. The first thing I did when I heard the alarm at 6:30 was run into the bathroom (actually I walked cause I was still like half asleep) and checked to see if we had water. and BAM we did! Tender mercies for dayyyss. 

Also a word of caution to you all: try your hardest to not fall asleep while saying your prayers at night because if your companion happens to turn off the light while you're praying you might wake up super confused and wonder what the heck is going on and then fall off your bed. I mean not that I'm speaking from experience or anything, but I may or may not have a giant bruise on my hip right now...

TREY: So Trey is a recent convert of two weeks, right? Well guess what? He gave his first talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday and it was literally the best talk I have EVER heard! His topic was "Becoming a Latter-Day Saint". Here are some snippets from his talk that I wrote down:
"Becoming a Latter-Day Saint has taught me that joy, light, love, and wisdom are there for those who are lost"
"Life is full of challenges. No matter who you are, we all have challenges. But as Latter-Day Saints, we simply overcome them"
"I don't mean to boast, but I'm proud to be a Latter-Day Saint. It is a privilege" 
WHAT? How stinkin incredible is that? The whole congregation was just smiling and we all gave the loudest amen ever!

ISHEANESU: Ishe is doing so well! He has expressed to us his desire to change so many times. He always tells us he knows what the right thing is and he wants to do it so bad, but it's so difficult for him to just actually do it. We were scheduled to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him, but felt impressed to just focus on faith only. We left him Alma 32 to read and them came back a couple days later to discuss it. We had a really great lesson on nurturing and helping our faith to grow by acting. We emphasized that faith without works is dead. The spirit was incredibly strong in the lesson and we knew that things were about to change for him. Yesterday we were able to follow up on everything. After the opening prayer, he just started talking and could not stop! He told us that he just knelt down one night and told Heavenly Father how much he wanted to change. He was scared of some of the effects of the change but just told Heavenly Father that he trusted in Him enough that he knew everything would work out. This week he made some DRASTIC changes that he has been wanting to make for years, and to his surprise (but not to ours), everything has worked out. He attributes it all to the Book of Mormon. He committed to reading the Book of Mormon every single morning and he told us that he got the strength to change from the words of the Book of Mormon. At the end he just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said, "So thumbs up to the Book of Mormon, I guess." Haha. We were able to teach about repentance that day and he committed to repenting of his sins. Wow. I wish you could see the change from the first day we met with him to now. It's HUGE. The Gospel is working complete miracles in his life!
The best part of that lesson was Ishe's prayer at the end. He said, "I'm so grateful to have the gospel in my life at this time....actually it came kind of late" then he paused for a couple seconds "but I guess better late than never, right?" and then kept going with his prayer. Hahahaha so great.
Wow. I just love being a missionary! There is NOTHING better than going into the area and teaching the restored gospel. Something I learned HARD this week was Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit. Never give up! Times get tough but everything will be okay! Everyone have the best week! Love you all!
Love, Sister Richards

Kwekwe Zone Sisters

Sister Companion!!!

Mbizo Sisters

Best companion award goes to HER!!!

chelsea is leaving for boarding school this week so we had to get a pic 

the oh so famous Isheaneus Mwoyo

church mirror selfies like it's our job

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 48: "Breathe Life Into Her"

Sup fam
This week was crazy but good! We had a nice time at MLC in Harare for a couple days but I was soo happy to come back to Kwekwe...until we got in a car accident. After a long couple days at hospitals everyone is okay and doing well! I wasn't hurt at all so I was the designated talk to the doctor person. Unfortunately I didn't watch enough of those doctor shows at home to know what in the world was going on but everything turned out fine haha. We had 12 investigators at church and even had a baptism this weekend! Good things happening here in Mbizo. 
First off, on our way to Kwekwe for the first time, our Zone Leaders told us Kwekwe is the hottest place on the earth. Well in my mind I was like okay please stop being dramatic I've been in Zimbabwe for like a year now but NO! KWEKWE IS THE HOTTEST PLACE ON THIS EARTH. OH MY GOOD HEAVENS. I'm turning brown. Well like half of me in sunburnt and the other half is brown. Thanks, Kwekwe. 

PRANK: Soooo Isheanesu is like the biggest joker/liar investigator I've ever met. During our first lesson he told us he was a satanist. NO. Also he told us his name was Nigel when we fist met him. How do you go from Isheanesu to Nigel? But this week we gave him a taste of his own medicine. He heard about the accident and so we told him my companion was unconscious in Harare. So he showed up to his lesson at the church with his best friend Charlton, and Sister Mpiyakhe was hiding behind the pulpit. I made up this big sob story that my companion hasn't woken up in a couple days and now I'm just a missionary alone looking for a new companion (he doesn't know how missions really work yet). Pulled out the fake tears and they totally bought it. Well Ishe is like the most difficult person to get to pray but through my tears I asked him to say the opening prayers and obviously he did because he felt bad for me. Wow that guy PRAYED. He asked God to breathe life back into Sister Mpiyakhe. Also said that he cannot let this team break up. He went on and on and on and he thought I was shaking because I was crying but I was actually laughing. He said Amen and then I said Amen and then Sister Mpiyakhe said Amen from the pulpit and they turned around and their jaws dropped and then they stormed out of the chapel. IT WAS SO FUNNY. We got them back so bad. Then we had a nice lesson on the Plan of Salvation and everything is good. 

This week Ishmael came to church! What! I seriously thought this day might never come. We've kind of tip toed around him at times because he's a muslim, but this week I just felt really impressed to make it a BIG deal that he needs to come to church. And then he did! AND THEN in the investigators class, they asked him to give the closing prayer. Oh no. I just looked at my companion and we are like what is going to happen because like half of the time he prays in arabic in our lessons. Well we had just had a lesson about prayer and how we need to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Well he got up and started praying in shona and I"m like okay this is good and then at the very end he paused for a second and then quietly said in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. Ishmael! Wow. I was so happy. It's so true what Elder Ellis said in our Zone Conference that every investigator progresses at their own rate. With some investigators. you can extend baptism in the first lesson, and for those like Ishmael, it can take them even weeks to pray, but he is still progressing so well. I can't wait to hear about his experience at church!
We're teaching a really sweet lady named Eurita right now. We taught her the Restoration yesterday and it was so powerful! We taught her how to pray at the end and he gave us the closing prayer. After, she was just BEAMING. We asked her how she was feeling and with the most giant smile on her face she just said, "I am just so happy. I feel so happy". That's what the gospel of Jesus Christ will do to ya! Her baptism is coming up in a couple weeks and we are so excited!
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! So much love coming from all over the world. I love each of you so much and wish you the best and happiest week!
Love, Sister Richards

Zone Conference with Sister Bondo from Malawi

Reunited with Sister Selcho in Harare! The happiest reunion.

So Elder Jeri is on vista wait here on his way to South Africa! He used to work with us as our member present back when I was in Mabvuku!! 

elder jeri and my companion

sister mpiyakhe and me after MLC! gooooddbye harare

 after the accident my companion was way sick. so i brought her these banana pancakes in bed. 

Alice's baptism this week! She's 13 and has been coming to church for about 3 months. This girl loves and reads the Book of Mormon likes it's nobody's business! She is so converted. The happiest day!

the tanline coming along nice nice

Monday, February 6, 2017



What an incredible week! So much good going down this side! I hope I can fit it all in. Sister Mpiyakhe and I are here in Harare for our first MLC (Mission Leadership Council) and are so excited to learn from the other missionaries in the mission. It will be a good couple of days.

So Nthando, our hysterical ward missionary, hit the jackpot again. In one of our lessons, an investigator told us she really loved reading Shakespeare. Well Nthando jumps in and says, "Would you know Shakespeare if you saw him?" and Elsje said, "well, yeah" to which Nthanda replied, "I am Shakespeare". Okay what the heck. Another 10 seconds of silence. "Alright alright it was a joke". First he claims he's Jesus the Christ, and now he's claiming Shakespeare! The kid's a hoot. 

This week we had Elder Ellis of the 70 here for Zone Conference. We drove down to Gweru for the day and had seriously the most powerful meetings EVER. We were all asked to prepare a 5 minute talk on 2 Nephi 9 and then Elder Ellis was going to choose one Elder and one Sister to present. So we all walked in and he shook each of our hands and asked where we were from. Then he gave a presentation, and with my luck, I was chosen to give a talk. I was so nervous but it went really well. Afterwards he shook my hand and said, "Sister, that was the best talk I've heard in a really, really long time." Then, we had a meeting for District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders where he trained us on helping Jesus Christ's sheep. I cannot even tell you how powerful it was. I came out having learned so much!

SOOOO we had our very first baptism this week! Ah! Wow. What a spectacular day. Trey is 17 years old and is one of the most incredible converts I have ever met. I could not be more confident saying that we taught repentance and baptized a convert. He worked SO hard on cleaning himself up with both Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity issues and truly was a changed person as he entered the waters of baptism. He bore a powerful testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon in his conversion AND of the Word of Wisdom! It was so incredible. He came to a lesson with us on Sunday and was saying all the right things. My heart was just overflowing with joy. He has expressed his desire to serve a mission. There's really nothing in the world that brings more happiness than seeing a child of God truly repent!

Lastly, we taught this couple who were so in love and it was so gross and we were like okay sorry we're just trying to teach the gospel here. Well at one point in the lesson (keep in mind we're trying to teach the Restoration) the guy turns to his fiance and says, "YOU are my chocolate." Alright well back to the First Vision...

Everyone have an awesome week! Love you all!!

Love, Sister Richards 

Trey with his little sister Chelsea.She joined the church about a year ago!

The happiest day!

Trey got so close with Bishop that he asked Bishop to baptize him!

Allison, who's a member, invited Trey to church for the first time in December. And now he's baptized! We're secretly hoping they're going to get married. 


sunlight and my companion. so powerful. 

surprise selfie caught mpiyakhe off guard. love you companion!!

sup comp

 ishamael made us beef stew and rice this week. so nice. 

brownies and ice cream and a cute companion and a sunburn. what more does one need?

exchanges with sister kayembe for DRC congo!

soo we had a Dinner appointment last night that fell through. but then we made our own dinner. no da, no problem. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 46: God Is Our Lovely Heavenly Father

Family! Friends!
Another AMAZING week in Kwekwe! We are enjoying so much here and the work is sweet. So sweet. We were able to extend baptismal dates to six more investigators this week and they all accepted and are all preparing. Miracles! We had 21 member present lessons this week and it was just so great. We're working like it's nobody's business and we come home from the area just BEAT. It's the best feeling in the world!

Life as an STL is not that different but more exhausting. Our first week of exchanges was really good but totally wore us out! We had two sisters from Gweru come up for a couple days and it was really fun to be with them and help them enjoy their missionary work! We were sooo tired after they left. As in completely DEAD. In one of our lessons we had after they had gone, my companion started teaching the restoration by saying "God is our lovely Heavenly Father" instead of LOVING Heavenly Father. Hahaha. Hopefully we don't wear ourselves out too much this week. We have two more sister from Bulawayo coming tomorrow.

This week we had a really amazing experience with Ishmael again. We've been taking everything really, really slowly with him because he doesn't have a Christian background. The first day we met him he told us he didn't believe in Jesus Christ at all. He had heard people speak about Him but he didn't know anything for himself. Well this week we had a huge breakthrough. For a number of lessons, his commitment was to pray and ask if Jesus Christ really is the Son of God and then to notice if he felt anything in his heart as he prayed. Well this week, he finally said he got his answer!! He said as he continued to pray and ask, he felt something in his heart telling him that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Incredible. As we were bearing testimony at the end of the lesson, one of us testified of the living reality of Jesus Christ and he jumped in and said, "me too! I know that He lives!" This was just one of the many miracles we have seen this week. God is blessing us with so much.
We're also teaching someone name Isheanesu, meaning God is with us. He's 23 and was a referral from his best friend named Charleton. Ishe's parents go to a Pentecostal called Ziojah, and so he's been going there but didn't really like it. He said "As the pastor was up there yelling and asking for money with people shouting hallelujah, I just thought to myself, 'is this how I would feel if the Savior was teaching me?' and that's when I knew that church was not right." He had a really really powerful lesson on the restoration, and at the end he accepted a baptismal date for the beginning of March. He said, "In two years, you'll be seeing me with a black name tag teaching this same lesson." Folks we have a missionary in the making!
I really love a quote by Henry B. Eyring which has meant a ton to me this week: "Life (or I add Mission) at it's longest is short. What we do here determines the rest of our condition for eternity. God our Father has offered us everything He has and asks only that we give Him all we have to give. That is an exchange so imbalanced in our favor that no effort would be too much and no hours too long in service to Him, to the Savior, and to our Father's children." Don't give up, shamwaris. Even if you're tired, just keep going. If you keep going, there's a reward better than anything you could ever imagine waiting for you! NO effort is to much and NO hours too long!
I love missionary work, I love Mbizo, I love the gospel I love life. As my nephew Daniel would say, "Everything in my life is awesome!" Have a great week everyone!!
Love, Sister Richards 

one of my many battle wounds of the week. clumsy kills. 

this church in our area has a tree with so many monkeys. so stinkin cool.

how we feel when we get poured on. rainy season please go away

fresh guava from someone's tree. it was nice.

so we had a DA on monday. we were helping sister kofi dish out in the kitchen on this table, and then just carried the table into the living room to give to people. haha i love zimbabwe!

she made some killer beef stew with rice, and butternut!

MIRACLE: we saw these oranges on this lady's tree so we went to ask her if we could have some (welcome to zim) and they invited us into their house and accepted a return appointment! amazing family. We call these "salvation's oranges"

 exchanges with sister burt! so fun.