Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 63: Work Today, Win Tomorrow

Hi Family! Hi friends! Hi everyone who still reads these!

This week was SO STINKIN GOOD. We're in Harare right now for MLC. I swear I spend more time on the bus to and from Harare than I do in Kwekwe. But I picked up my new companion on Monday, Sister Ziqubu, and we hit the ground running! We are having such a good time together and have laughed more this week than anything hahaha. She's teaching me zulu and so all you hear in our house is click click clicks. We've had a mice/rat/every creeping thing ever infestation in our house this week. It's like the animals think we are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where visitors are welcome. But guess what? THAT'S NOT THE CASE! Soooo we have a dead rat in the house somewhere but don't know where...oops. 

My companion and I have a motto of "work today, win tomorrow" and I don't know if I've ever worked so hard as we did this week. You know the shop til you drop? Nope, we worked til we dropped and it was amazing. We had back to back to back to back lessons every day and saw so many people. And you want to know what? WE HAD TWENTY INVESTIGATORS AT CHURCH! What the!! It was the greatest feeling in the world. NOTHING can ever replace hard work. 

"Open your mouths and they shall be filled": This week we had the most incredible experience. We met this mama on the street and made a return appointment with her. When we went to teach her, her husband joined as well and they had both read the Restoration pamphlet. They are super involved in their church and so the lesson had the potential to be really bible-bashy. Those people asked more questions in one lesson than I've ever had in my entire life! The spirit in that lesson was incredible. They would ask these crazy questions and we knew exactly the scriptures to turn to. The spirit truly filled our mouths and at the end the baba said to us, "I have no doubt that what you're teaching me is true". Best restoration EVER!

Less-Actives: So I've been less-active with seeing less-actives, but Mbizo has resurrected me a little bit. There was this brother in our ward, Brother Ngirande, who was less-active when we came to Mbizo. We would see him after church after he didn't show up and say, "We didn't see you at church today!" and he would say, "well, sisters, it's because I'm less-active." Man. I have never met anyone who knew as much as he did that he was less-active. WELL, he's been coming to church for the past four months, and got called as a counselor in the bishopric this week! How stinkin cool! 

One of our recent converts, Elsje, gave a talk in sacrament meeting this week about testimony. It was so touching and reminded me the importance of each of us having our own personal testimony. Elder Bednar taught us that the oil of conversion cannot be borrowed. As we share our testimonies, we strengthen our testimonies. So I challenge each of you to find a way to share your testimony this week to cheer someone up.

I love missionary work, I love Zimbabwe, I love the Book of Mormon. Have a great week!!

Love, Sister Richards 

My posterity!! I trained Sister Park, Sister Park trained Sister Mzunga (right), and now Sister Mzunga is training Sister Clark!

my dearest companion, sister ziqubu

with Usher the G, who's getting baptized next week

with my homies Ezra and Usher

have you ever tried teaching the Law of Chastity to a 9 year-old?  Good luck. 
my mirror cracked so these are the remnants on the wall

 there was one day we were SO hungry and didn't have any money for lunch and were too far away to go back home, but then an investigator gave us sweet potatoes!! it was seriously an answer to prayer. mana from heaven!!!

usher drawing a car in the dirt

have you ever found out at 9:00 pm that the mission president is coming to interview you the next morning but your car is so stinkin dirty so you wake up at 6:00 in the morning to wash it while still in your pajamas? yep, same. 

Edwin's family has a business of selling matemba (small fish) so we helped them pack for awhile one day. 

Edwin's family has a business of selling matemba (small fish) so we helped them pack for awhile one day. 

soooo I got out of the car to see that I was surrounded by wild dogs. And this is the pose you assume when you realize you are surrounded by wild dogs. Thank you to my companion for being the paparazzi, always ready. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 62: Kwekwe Round FOUR

Helloooooooo family

That's right, my friends. I'm staying in Kwekwe for another transfer! I'm totally pumped about staying in the promised land, but saying goodbye to Sister Mpiyakhe was SO HARD. Oh maiwhe. You would've thought someone died in our house. It's been tears nonstop since saturday afternoon. Sister Mpiyakhe was the South African sister I never had, and I will miss her more than anything. We were lucky to serve together for as long as we did (5 months!), but now I'll be training a new Sister Training Leader, Sister Ziqubu! My fourth South African companion! She was in my MTC group AND HAS A CLICK IN HER NAME. So this transfer will be awesome! 

President loves to do this thing where he puts me in an area with 4 missionaries, and then takes 3 of them out, gives me a new companion, and tells me to take over both areas. WHAT. So we're white-washing half of Mbizo, so pray that we don't get lost and can find all of the sister's investigators! White-washing round THREE. 

This week we spent most of our time in Harare doing exchanges with two companionships there and had a great time! I worked with Sister Anyano from Uganda and Sister Plothow from Orem. We saw many tender mercies and miracles in the area and overall had a great time.

EDWIN: Edwin got baptized this week! We've been teaching him since I got to Kwekwe, so like forever really. We actually contacted his Dad on the street who invited us back for a lesson, but then Edwin ended up being the one who was the most interested. The Lord works in mysterious ways! I was teaching the investigators class on Sunday and asked for a couple volunteers to share their experiences on how baptism has blessed their lives. Edwin raised his hand and share that before he met the missionaries he had been planning to take his life, but after he learned about the Book of Mormon, all of those thoughts have completely vanished. When he entered the waters of baptism, he could feel that his sad self was left behind and he had started a new, happier life in Jesus Christ. We had no idea he had ever felt that way, but it was so sweet to be able to hear his testimony. 

MUNASHE: Munashe is 13 and was a referral from 12 year-old Tinashe who recently got baptized. Tinashe invited him to church after Munashe asked him for a Book of Mormon. We taught him the Restoration this week and emphazied the happiness that comes from the gospel, and also the importance of praying to know the truth. After the close of the lesson his prayer went like this: 
"Dear Heavenly Father, I am so happy to have two new friends, Sister Richards and Sister Mpiyakhe. I am so happy that they have taught me about the true church. I know this church is true and I want to come to church every Sunday. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." IT WAS THE SWEETEST THING. The faith this little boy had just made me cry. Stay tuned for his baptism.

I have a testimony of WORK. President Hinckley said the best antidote for worry is work, and it is so true! Being in the work of our Savior, whether you're a missionary or not, is the best way to push worry or sadness or anything terrible out of your life. work work work. There is no substitute.

Well, my friends. Ten transfers down, two to go. See you in 12 weeks!

Love, Sister Richards 

on the bus back to kwekwe from exchanges in harare

love my kwekwe

exchanges in highfields with Sister Plothow!

with member Tendakai, meaning "faithful"

helping Tsugirirai (meaning perserverance") with her dishes 

let's play a fun game: dirt or tan line?

highfields, harare

so in highfields there are neighborhoods called Egpyt, Jerusalem, Canaan, so on so on so on. 

When Jesus the Christ is just too deep, this is what happens. This is a nightly occurrence with Sister Mpiyakhe haha 

exchanges with Sister Anyango

last photo with our district with our zhing self timer complete with our car keys

Baptism of Brother Edwin (left)

had to say goodbye to ALL my kwekwe sisters!! they're all leaving me!! so tragic. 

 betcha didn't know i'm a professional banana chocolate chip pancake maker.

learning the art of the tafadzwa pose

last night at the ngirandes playing phase 10 after dinner.


we gave on of our ward missionaries a planner for when he works with us. we found this on the last page!

Sister Mpiyakhe wrote me reminder to-do lists on my wardrobe of all the things she reminded me to do every day. haha we may have been transferred, but have we actually been transferred?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 61: Invitation to babble in tongues?

Hi Family!

SO stinkin good to talk to everyone yesterday. Seriously it was the best few hours! I can't believe that's the last time I see your faces before I'm HOME! What?! And the best part was it was all in celebration of my cute MOM! I love you Mother Mary!!

This week was good! It was really long and really busy, but it turned out really good. It all started Tuesday morning at District Meeting when our District Leader, Elder Till, gave some fire. "You're doing great, but the Lord expects more. I can sense we're not giving it 100%" It was a great time for self reflection and we each found ways that we could improve in our missionary work! I was so grateful for his fire and for pushing us to do more. 

Exchanges this week were great! We trained three sisters from Gweru and had a great time. We've really been struggling finding people to teach, so we decided to act on the words of Elder Scott. He said something along the lines of "if you want to reach new height you've never reached before, you need to try something new". So during exchanges, we tried table contacting! We got a table from the church, set it up in the middle of the shops, and people FLOODED to us. We found so many new investigators, and our sacrament meeting attendance improved by SEVEN. Trying new things can be scary, but they work! Aaaand then we were late getting the sisters to the bus stop to Gweru, so we had to drive them haha. But we saw their big brand new house so it was worth it. 

Babbling in Tongues: You remember when Isheanesu was about to be baptized and his Mom decided to kick him out? Well our prayers have been answered and her heart has been extremely softened towards us and the church. This weekshe invited us over to bake with her!! So we went and she taught us how to make scones and it was a great time. Our answers to prayers can take time, but according to His will, God will always answer them. Then the funny part came at the end. As we were sitting enjoying our scones, she gave us fire that we don't speak in tongues enough at our church, and then proceeded to invite us over so that "we can all babble in tongues together and we won't know what we're each saying". Sooooo yeah praying for a way to get out of this one. 

MIRACLE: The miracle this week was with our 9 year-old investigator, Usher. When we met him, he was on holiday staying at his Grandpa's house next to one of our members. Well, schools opened this week, and Usher went back to live with his parents, meaning we would no longer be able to teach him. We were sad, but prayed that Heavenly Father would provide a way we could still teach Usher. Well we were walking in section 10 when I hear this small voice scream "SEESTAH LEECHAHDS!!" To our surprise, it was Usher! Our Elders Quorum President, who is a friend to Usher's Grandpa, spoke with him about Usher's lessons. This led the Grandpa to speak with Usher's parents and told them that Usher needed to live with him until his lessons with us were finished and he was baptized. What a miracle! Teaching him the Plan of Salavation was hands down the funniest thing EVER, but I can't wait to see him enter with waters of baptism! 

This week I gained a stronger testimony of the power of simply doing the right thing. When we are in the right place at the right time, Heavenly Father blesses us, even with miracles. We found so many new investigators this week from just simply being in the field. They were just placed in our path! "If there be no righteousness, there be no happiness" If there is no obedience, work, and effort, there be no happiness! Heavenly Father will ALWAYS bless us for doing the right thing. 

I love you all! Thank you for your continual prayers and support. Have a great week!

Love, Sister Richards 

my companion put her xrays on the door to our room and put heart, might, mind, and strength in the appropriate places hahaha. 

 we had the gweru sisters here for exchanges so invited the other kwekwe sisters over and had TACOS

table contacting!

table contacting!

new mission house (MANSION) in gweru. 

wrap around balcony??

are we on mission or on vacation?? gweru are you calling my name??

so every exchange I go on with sister burt, one of us gets FRIED. this time it was her. 

I hope one day we serve together! she's the best!!

sooo yeah. we did a service project this week where we washed all of a family's laundry. they have a lot of kids. my hands can testify. 

with investigator sister rose. she is so stinkin funny! 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 60: laugh your lungs out

hey fam and friends and everyone I love

This week was good! I found CHOCOLATE CHIPS in the funniest hole in the wall shop today!! I won't tell you how much money I spent on them, but I will tell you next week how stinkin good the cookies will be that we'll make tonight! We had an amazing Mission Leadership Council on Tuesday - the mission is doing so well! As of the 30 of April, we had 794 baptisms, which means we're well on our way to our goal of 2,000! Our missionaries are working so hard and it's the best sight to see EVER. 

Procrastination: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT procrastinate the day of your (repentance) HAIR WASHING, CLOTHES WASHING, AND DISH WASHING. Because then Kwekwe will decide to shut off the water and you won't be able to eat or wear clothes or do your hair. Just a warning. 

Laugh out your lungs: Brother David, who is still interested in being addicted to church, made me almost cry laughing this week. When I was on exchanges last week, I left him The Law of Chastity to read. When Sister Mpiyakhe and I came back, she asked Brother David what I had left him to read. He starts laughing his head off. He points at me and said, "Ahh Seestah Leechahds!! Why would you leave me this book?! I didn't know the church could provide such books!! When I read it, I laughed my lungs out. I laughed my lungs out!!!!!" He said he laughed his lungs out probably like 15 times that lesson. He ended up committing the living the law of laughing your lungs out, so all is well.

Kudakwashe: This week we were able to teach Kudakwashe about the Book of Mormon. He's been reading it on his own and is doing really well. At the end of the lesson, Sister Mpiyakhe and I testified of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon. After we finished he said, "I too want to testify that the Book of Mormon is true. It has brought me hope when I thought it could not be found." It was a very sweet moment. The Book of Mormon is filled with hope, and I have found hope in it's word. In a increasingly more challenging world, we can find hope through that book. 

Usher: Usher is the cutest little 9 year-old in the world. He's been coming to primary with a boy named Ezra, and we started to teach him this week. We taught him a the child version of the Restoration (the best version), and we came back yesterday to find that Usher had memorized Moroni 10:4-5! It was the cutest thing EVER. By the power of the Holy Ghost we truly can know the truth of all things!

I love missionary work, I love Zimbabwe, and I LOVE THE FACT THAT THIS WEEK IS MOTHER'S DAY!! WOOHOOO!! 

Love, Sister Richards

 on the bus home from MLC in Harare

say SADZA!!! 

beef stew, vegetables, and sadza at the kofis (our favorite members)

love this family to bits!! 

We're teaching a little boy named Usher. His best friend Ezra is helping him read about the Book of Mormon. 

did some service at a less-actives house. we took all the maize off the cobs!! i love doing this. AND the family came to church on sunday!! score!! 

our favorite little girl, joyce!

fried fish and sadza. SO GOOD.

we made a cake for the elder in our district who's going home, but completed it with our extra nametags haha 

we cooked this week. it was a miracle 

so we tried this whole healthy eating what what, but at the end of the day, cake overcame the salad. 

after we took this picture, this 82 year old man exclaimed that I am his "partner" and then tried to hug me. got out of that house reallllll quick. 

Ezra, Usher, Sister Mpiyakhe, and The Book of Mormon!

even Usher is catching on to the open mouth smile! YEBO! 

KFC run with the other sister training leaders in harare before MLC! Love these girls so stinkin much.