Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 58: "Have You Been Drinking?"

Hi Fam!

Interesting week, but all is well! We just ran a sick house this week because we were both sick all the time! Who knows what was going on. But our people were still seen and we are still alive! We fasted yesterday because we need to extra help in the area, and broke our fast by eating a whole pan of brownies. Oops. 

On one of my sick days, I must've been looking no too awesome cause in the MIDDLE of the lesson, Tafadzwa stops and says, "Sister Richards, have you been drinking?" UH NO. I HAVE NOT. Hahaha there's a first time for everything, even the questions you get asked!

Other interesting things our investigators said this week:
Brother Khumalo: "I'm sorry, sisters, but the law of chastity just really puts me in a tight corner."
Brother David: "I want to be addicted to church." 
Brother Phiri (over the pulpit): "Feed the missionaries! Not because they're hungry, missionaries are never hungry. They're always full of the spirit."

besides all this craziness, we had some really great experiences this week!

FAITHFUL TO YOUR FAITH: This week we taught the Restoration to Michelle and it was amazing! We were discussing about Joseph Smith and asked Michelle how she was feeling about everything. She said, "Joseph Smith was faithful to his faith, and I think I can learn from that. I always want to be faithful to my faith." Now Michelle is already facing a lot of persecution from family and friends for taking the discussions, but the example of Joseph Smith has been an inspiration to her. Each of us as members of the church are forever blessed because Joseph Smith was faithful to his faith! Let us all be faithful to our faith and stand up for what we know to be true. 

"And it came to pass" - Mom share a really nice article with me awhile back that talked about the words "and it came to pass". Over and over again the Book of Mormon says these words, it never says "and it came to STAY". A ton of our investigators are struggling with really hard challenges right now. Like REALLY hard. So I opened up the Book of Mormon and shared with them these 5 small words. Everything hard things in life will come eventually to pass. It won't last forever. However miserable we are or however terrible life may seem, the bad stuff with pass. It's only the good things in life that come to stay. The gospel, family, etc. will never go away and that's the best news EVER. So if YOU, whoever you are reading this, are struggling with something hard, take heart in the words of the Book of Mormon. It came to pass, not it came to stay. 

I love the gospel, I love teaching it, I love (trying my best) to live it! Have a good week, my friends!! 

Love, Sister Richards 

 a favorite primary child, carol. i mostly like her for her name. 

brother khumalo being hysterical as always

 no electricity means candlelight dinners of peanut butter sandwiches!!

 discussing the deeper points of onion growth

sup kwekwe

fall throughs? help someone plant their onions!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 57: I'm In

Hey Peeps!

Good news first, water and electricity ALL WEEK LONG. Best week one ever! We had a nice Easter, reflecting on the life of the Savior. He truly is the light and life of the world. He is the reason we can have hope! We had a nice week full of baptisms, miracles, and watching the people of Zimbabwe relax for the easter holiday. Keep reading for more details on the relaxation of the city of Kwekwe...

Here's an average conversation with an investigator to tell you about our week:
Missionaries: "So when is a time that we can came back and see you?"
Investigator: "Eish things are tight, probably next week Friday."
M: "Can we come sometime this week?"
I: "Sorry, it's easter"
M: "Oh are you going somewhere fun for easter?"
I: "no just staying home and relaxing."
M: "So we can't come and see you because you'll be home relaxing?"
I: "mmm yeah. It will have to be next week." 
Moral of the story: every single one of our investigators was home but many refused to see us because they were too busy relaxing. WHAT. Zimbabwe. Why you gotta be like that. 

DREAMS: So when investigators start to tell you they had a dream, RUN AWAY. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. RAISE THE WHITE FLAG OF SURRENDER. Usually they'll tell you their old pastor came to them in a dream telling them they need to come back, or God has ordained them to be a prophet. Yeah, crazy stuff. Well David, one of my favorite people, has been praying for the past couple of weeks to ask God if he needs to be baptized again. This week he told us he had a dream. In my mind and I was like it's done. He's gone. BUT Sister Mpiyakhe and I were in his dream! We told him that he needs to be baptized again, but if he has any doubts, don't worry, his answer will come. Okay POWERFUL. So glad we're good missionaries in people's dreams haha. I do have faith that his answer will come, it might just take some time! 

ISHEANESU: Ishe is doing well as a recent convert, and gave his first talk in church on Sunday! This week as we were teaching him about the priesthood, Charlton was there to be our member present. As we were reading Doctrine and Covenants 121 with him, Ishe asks Charlton: "Charlton, have you ever used the priesthood to exercise unrighteous dominion over someone?" to which Charlton replied, "Uh, I usually get these kind of questions in the Bishop's office..but..okay" and dodged Ishe's question and brought the lesson back. It was so funny! Ishe's questions will never ever stop, no matter how long the man has been baptized. 

MICHELLE: So we got a referral from one of the young men this week and were excited to go and see her. Shawn, the young man, told us that he and Michelle had been friends for about three years, and he's been teaching her about the gospel the whole time. Michelle has had some negative experiences at other churches, so her parents have decided she is not allowed to attend any church. So going into the first lesson, we were a little bit nervous about how her parents would feel about us coming over. We spoke with the mother right when we got there, and she was completely supportive of us teaching Michelle! We did How to Begin Teaching and just got to know Michelle, and it was incredible. I could feel the spirit burning within my heart. I have met few people more prepared to hear the gospel than Michelle is. She has this yearning to know the truth and believes that she can find it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but has been kept from the blessings of the truth until now. She accepted a baptismal date at the end, and we spoke with her mother who agreed to let us walk with Michelle to church on Sunday. When we walked into the church gates, Michelle stopped, looked at my companion and me and said, "I'm in. I'm really in." I am so grateful to be able to help assist one of Heavenly Father's choice daughters accept the restored gospel, because oh my goodness, He has prepared her!! 

"And I will give away all my sins to know thee" Alma 22:18. These chapters in Alma are some of the best chapters for us as missionaries to study, and I love it! I love this first prayer of the King, who wanted to know God so badly that he was willing to give away all his sins! Do we have that same willingness? Are we willing to give away all of our guilty pleasures and bad habits away so that we can know God? On mission, I've been able to work on some of my habits, and overcoming them truly has brought be closer to God and Jesus Christ. It's still a work in progress, but I know that as each of us identify ways we can improve and sacrifice to lets our old ways go, we will be able to know our Heavenly Father.

Have a great week, my friends! I love you all!

Love, Sister Richards 

At Echo Park, a game park in our area, to teach the youth at their youth camp!

They had a beautiful view! 

Baptism of Sister Sarah!

Macrage and Sarah


sweet sarah

my companion trying to be "american" and opening her mouth to smile hahahaha 

macragey crage

no better view that priesthood holders walking the streets of kwekwe!

my in the midst of playing doctor for my sick companion. yeah she's so sick as in cool, but one easter she was actually SICK as in ill. 

i got this cute dress for $2 on the street! 

easter sunday cooking! 

kwekwe! beautiful kwekwe! 

kwekwe! beautiful kwekwe! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 56: Conference Miracles!

Hi Family!

Another crazy busy week here in Zimbabwe! Transfers came and went, and Sister Mpiyakhe and I will be staying another transfer together in Kwekwe! She takes the cake for my longest companion. AND my trainer goes home today! How did that happen?! You know going home is SCARY close when half of your companions are already home!

We had Mission Leadership Council this past week in Harare, and it was a great opportunity to learn from the other leaders in this mission! March was not a great month for us. We had a goal of over 300 baptisms in the mission but didn't even get to 200. But all of the Zone Leaders were really nice to each other about each other's results for the month (which is totally rare) because none of the zones reached their goals. We all kinda got a slice of humble pie. BUT we're going to kill it in April and teach repentance and baptize converts! 

We went on exchanges with two sisters in Highfields and had a great time! We trained on incorporating the sacrament into each lesson that we teach. We've seen in our teaching when investigators know they come to church because of the sacrament, everything else falls into place! It prepares them to make the covenant of baptism, and focus their lives on Jesus Christ. 

We saw miracles because of General Conference! One of our investigators, Elsje, has been coming to church for almost the whole time we've been in Kwekwe. THAT'S A LONG TIME. She has been super hesitant to take the lessons and dodges us all the time, but always comes to church. Well she came to General Conference, and afterwards we asked her if we could come and see her at her house. To our surprise, she said yes! We went and do you know what she said to us? "I think I need to be baptized." WHAT?! She shared with us that the words of Elder Joaquin E. Costa touched her heart, and after hearing his message, she knew that she needed to be baptized. I came away from that lesson filled with the spirit and know without a doubt that each message we heard was straight from our Heavenly Father.

BUT REALLY HOW AMAZING WAS CONFERENCE THOUGH. We had 11 investigators attend with us and it was so great. I was so touched by each of the messages, especially about Jesus Christ. While I was in high school I memorized The Living Christ, but have recently made a goal to rememorize it. I was astonished to hear how much it was emphasized in conference! I was so grateful that the spirit had guided me to set that goal, and invite each of you to do the same! It may seem daunting, but I do have a testimony that it will bring you closer to Jesus Christ. 

I am grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to return to our Heavenly Father someday. How great is it to know that someday we can go home to Him?
 "The fact that our hearts yearn for something earth can't supply is proof that heaven must be our home"

Love, Sister Richards 

we have a large number of species of frogs in our house. who knows how. 

my companion and I playing "guess where this verse is in the book of mormon" while waiting for a less active to come out from the tree he was hiding behind to dodge us. i wanted to yell YOU'RE BIGGER THAN THE TREE WE CAN SEE YOU! we eventually gave up and left.

farewell dinner appointment with the sithole family. elder tsotesti is being transferred to bulawayo. 

our district

soooo yeah I'm not really sure what my companion is doing here hahaha. 

richiyakhe comin at ya live. 

so we were pulling in one night when we saw these two little kittens outside our house! we dumped our pamphlets out of a box and put the little kitties in it. we named them panashe and munashe. we had to let them out into the wild and it was a hard experience but they'll be okay. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Week 55: We Had Water All Week

Hi family and friends and everyone that I love!

I couldn't think of a subject line for this week, so I decided to let you in on some very exciting news that we had water all week long haha. But to add to that, this week was great! We were so insanely crazy busy but it was so great. We had two sets of sisters come to Kwekwe for exchanges, and it was so incredible! We have such amazing missionaries in this mission and it's such a privilege to be able to learn from them. We're now in Harare for Missionary Leadership Council so I'm pumped to be able to learn from my missionaries! 

We got stopped by the police on the way into Harare a couple times today (no Dad I wasn't speeding, don't worry) and they tried to fine us for our fire extinguisher and triangles and all this nonsense stuff. BUT after sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and giving away copies of The Book of Mormon, we got ourselves out of a $30 ticket! Share the gospel, my friends!! It brings blessings haha. 

We had a dinner appointment EVERY SINGLE NIGHT this week which meant SO much food, but also so much happiness haha. Our members are so great it's so fun to be able to help them with their missionary work. There were times where I thought I would not be able to stand up because I was so full. I forgot my camera some of the nights, but you would not even dream of how much food they give us. But welcome to zimbabwe where you gotta finish the plate! 

One of my favorite experiences of the week was with Brother David. On a day that we had about one million fall throughs, we went a visited a member and I was prompted to ask him for a referral. We see this member so many times a week, so I really questioned myself because i thought if this member had anyone for us to teach, he would've already told us, but I just decided to ask anyway. He gave us the name of David and we went to see him right then. It's been smooth sailing ever since! He has come to church already twice now, and is LOVING the Book of Mormon. Last Monday, we left with him the introduction to read, and when we came back on Wednesday, he had already read to chapter 7! What! He told us his experience with praying, and said that the feelings in his heart are what have told him that this book is true. I love it when investigators are able to recognize the Holy Ghost on their own, and I love the Book of Mormon and the power found within it even more! It strengthened my testimony on listening to the promptings of the spirit. Blessings will always follow!!

Lastly, we were able to witness the baptism of Sister Emily this week. She has been through more in her lifetime than I could ever imagine. She has been a victim of terrible things, and the gospel really has mended her soul. As she came out of the waters of baptism, my companion and I just looked at each other because the spirit just overcame us so suddenly! She looked so clean and perfect. I had never seen someone come out like that. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is so real, that even the most terrible of things can be washed away. Even the most wounded of souls can be healed. God loves us and He wants us to be happy, THAT is why he sent us His Son Jesus Christ. Never forget that.

I love missionary work more than anything in this world! It's the best thing EVER. Everyone be a missionary is see if you won't become as happiest person ever. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Love, Sister Richards 

exchanges with sister burt and sister smith!

ama missionaries

the front of emily's book of mormon. I love it! 

THE happiest day!

THE happiest day!

kwekwe district! me, sister mpiyakhe (south africa), elder tsotetsi (south africa), elder till (austria), sister wells (wyoming), sister arbon (utah)

with brother clive, one of our most hysterical investigators. 

kudakwashe, my favorite deacon. he had brain surgery not too long ago but now is back at it and kicking!

makanaka, meaning "beautiful" (left), and rachel on the right. makanaka is emily's little sister and came with her to church this week, and we assigned rachel to be her fellowshipper haha. 

my dear beloved companion whom i love and adore. 

with our squad