Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 67: Tender Mercies Akawanda!

Family! Friends!

What is UP? This week was awesome! We saw tender mercy after tender mercy after tender mercy! We had 16 investigators at church to attend Ward Conference with us, and it was so happy. Transfer news comes this week which is INSANE. Where in the world did these past 6 weeks go? This transfer has honestly been one of my favorites of my mission, so Sister Ziqubu and I are hoping we stay together in Kwekwe so she can translate me! Last transfer LET'S GO!

We had five baptisms this week and they were especially sweet, because many of our candidates had been coming to church for months! Solomon, who is 11, wrote out his testimony and had Sister Ziqubu and I proof-read it before Saturday morning. It was the cutest thing!

Tender Mercy: After a really good week, Sister Z and I decided to cook a Sunday night FEAST. Seconds after we prayed and had started to eat, the power went out. Instead of moaning and saying not agaaiiin like we normally do, we looked at each other and we were like THE LORD LOVES US! We had power to cook our entire feast, and then we got to have a candlelight dinner. God is good!

Tender (Sister) MERCY: We received a referral from a recent convert in Kadoma this week. The Kadoma Elders baptized this sister just a couple weeks back, and she referred us to her sister named Mercy. My companion and I are not too familiar with the area where Mercy stays, so we parked the car at the church and walked up and down the streets of section 4 trying to find her home. We had been walking for about an hour and could not seem to find her house ANYWHERE. I started to wonder to myself if that house number even existed. Even the neighbors started laughing because they could tell we were so lost haha! Finally, we decided that we would come back later in the week with a member who could help us navigate around the area. We needed to get back to the car, so we decided to take this random street and crossed our fingers that it led back to the church. Well, to our surprise, this random street turned into being Mercy's street! We looked up and saw her house number right in front of us! We just stopped in our tracks and looked at each other with huge eyes. What in the world, how did that just happen! We found Mercy home with her family, and she invited us back for the next day. We walked with her to church yesterday, and after church she asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon. We laugh to ourselves because it was such a tender MERCY to find Sister MERCY. I have a testimony that if we do the right things, the Lord will forever be leading us and guiding us even if we don't know it!

Adonia: We've been hounding like every person in Zimbabwe for referrals lately, one of them being our recent convert Edwin. He kept promising and promising to show us his friends, but nothing seemed to be happening. Finally we told him, "Edwin, we are coming at 1:00 on Tuesday so you can take us to one of your friends to share the gospel. Sound good?" Well, a miracle came out of it! At 1:00 on Tuesday, Edwin took us to see his neighbor Adonia. We got to know him, shared about the happiness that comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and testified of the truthfulness of our message. He said to us, "Sisters, just as you have testimonies, I also want a testimony. I have never heard the word really get into my heart, but I'm starting to feel it now." As we taught him the message of the Restoration, I could really feel that Heavenly Father had prepared Adonia to hear this message! There are people ready to receive us, we just need to find them! I'm grateful that the gospel has not only touched my heart, but also Adonia's to believe that the restored gospel is here on the earth for us to enjoy.

This week, I finished the Book of Mormon. Before I read Moroni 10, I felt impressed to read the conference address by Elder Costa who spoke of the power of the Book of Mormon. He said for us to be able to know if it's true, we need to read, pray, and repent. I thought this was so interesting, because I have never thought of repentance as a way to come to know if it's true. As I read Moroni 10, I was touched by the words "Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him". One of the last messages the Book of Mormon has to give us is to be perfected in Christ, which is to repent! What better way to find out the book is true than to give yourself to Christ to be perfected in Him, just as the book testifies. I LOVE the Book of Mormon! I am grateful for Moroni's admonition to repent, and I am grateful for Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice that enables us to become perfect.

I love missionary work and I love Zimbabwe! Come what may and LOVE IT!

Love, Sister Richards

us pretending to be kombi conductors

love my companion, love ezra!

happy sunday!

sunday night feast

my cute people.


cute panashe. I feel like this one and I were really friends in heaven. I love this girl!!

 I think this might be my favorite picture of all time. Grace and Rejoice!

Dutchman's Pool. we saw a wolf here the other day.

taught two of our investigators and our primary president (pictured here) how to make cookies this week. super fun!

super nice

 I bake, my companion tastes! the most dynamic duo

 hand washing baptismal suits on a Saturday night!

eating peanut butter sandwiches on the lawn of the church with our ward mission leader, PRAYING that the water comes back on so we can fill the baptismal font. prayers were answered!! (sorry for the action shot, brother pilime)

Friday cleaning at the church to prepare for the baptism!

sadza made by sister sithole. nothing better honestly. vegetables made by yours truly.

Charlton, the member who usually works with us, has really gotten lazy in writing on pamphlets these days hahaha

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 66: I am happy!

sup fam!

Another really crazy but really great week in Kwekwe! Sister Ziqubu and I are having wayyyyyy too much fun together and are seeing so much success. God is good!

First craziness was during exchanges, one of the sisters we were training got a call from President Mkhabela that she was being Emergency Transferred, so I was the chauffeur for the day. We drove to Gweru so she could pack, back to Kwekwe to work in the area, got her on the bus to Harare, and then drove her companion BACK to Gweru. I think we logged almost 350 kilometers that day! INSANE! The cops accused me a running a red light on the way (ridiculous, why would I do that), but a couple Books of Mormon later and I am ticket free :) 
Also the water shut off while I was IN the shower today. HIGH FIVE, ZIMBABWE!

So because God is a God of miracles, we had 20 investigators at church AGAIN. We are just in shock every week like what the even!!  We have been focusing on the sacrament so much with every investigator, so they're really understanding the importance of coming to church and are coming in numbers! I love Kwekwe.

 TAKUDZWA: So Taku. Oh taku. I like his name because it sounds like taco, but he's crazy! We tried teaching him the plan of salvation this week, but he was too drunk to get that much. He has this obsession of saying everyone is "kinda rude". "Did you meet my kinda rude younger brother?" "I have some kinda rude friends that want to come to church" stuff like that. Well as we were teaching him about Adam and Eve, we were asking him some questions to make sure he understood. As he was explaining to us he said, "Well because Eve was kinda rude, she ate the fruit and now we're here." Alright. We just closed the lesson there with our testimonies of how the Fall brought us here on the earth and how grateful we are that God had a plan. TAKUDZWA SHOWING UP TO LESSON DRUNK IS KINDA RUDE!

MAKANAKA: We're teaching a really great family right now, and Makanaka is the 10 year-old daughter who is stinkin funny. We were teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and really emphasized that Jesus didn't just choose anyone to baptize him, but chose John the Baptist because he had the priesthood. Well Makanaka raises her hand and says, "So, will John the Baptist be there to baptize me?" She was so serious and it was the cutest thing! All we could say was "abuda!" meaning he's not around haha. It was funny, cute, but really sweet. Even though John the Baptist can't baptize all of us, I am so grateful to have priesthood holders on the earth who can do the same thing as him! 

This week I gained a huge testimony of SERVICE! In District Meeting this week, I gave the doctrinal study on a section in Preach My Gospel "Go About Doing Good". Each of us in the district committed to praying individually and with our companions for unplanned service opportunities during the week. The results were crazy! Every single day Heavenly Father seemed to put us right in the path of so many people who we could help. Whether it was pushing wheelbarrows of fire wood, carrying fire wood (we did a lot with firewood), or helping with the dishes, Heavenly Father prepared so many opportunities because we prayed for them. So I invite each of you to ask Heavenly Father this week to help you find someone to serve! It will bring so much happiness into your life, I promise you!

Lastly, we had the baptism of Brother Munashe this week. He's 13 and is the cutest thing. He walks about an hour to church every week, and has a rock solid testimony. What I appreciate about Munashe is his prayers. He always tells Heavenly Father how happy he is. "I am happy that the sisters have come to visit me. I am happy that I can read the Book of Mormon" etc. I have tried to change my prayers lately into more gratitude than asking, and Munashe has taught me even to tell Heavenly Father what makes me happy. I am happy to be a missionary, to have a family, and to read the Book of Mormon! Tell Heavenly Father the things that make you happy and see how it changes your perspective on things. 

And most of all forever and ever, I AM HAPPY TO BE A MISSIONARY IN ZIMBABWE! 

Love, Sister Richards 

went to snake world today and it was TURTLEY awesome!

our snake world tour guide, moya. funny guy. 

the coobbbrraaaa. 

baby crocodile. so sick

with our new investigator tairiro! she is the sweetest thing in the world. baptism coming soon!

with makanaka, panashe, and gracey! 

sister ziqubu and member brother charlton with the kwekwe sunset!

 LOOK WHAT I FOUND (not the same as diet, but as close as zimbabwe can get)

"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, delcaring my word like unto angels of God." D&C 42:6

our ward mission leader Brother Pilime! I love this man!

with my dearest zulu companion!!

our ward mission leader Brother Pilime! I love this man!

with my dearest zulu companion!!

munashe's baptism!

love this kid to bits

mbizo bizo

service opportunity: went and saw a less active member in the hospital! another answer to prayer!

thank you auntie claire for the package! 

thought about killing the spider, but then read the picture right next to it...

dinnner appointment food. the plate weighed at least three pounds. BUT the plate was clean an hour later. The spirit definitely had something to do with that

craziest emergency transfer day! got to be with my daughter in the area and it was the best!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 65: Preach About the Animals!

Hi Family and Friends-

Sooo this week was really interesting in a lot of ways. But Sister Ziqubu and I came out alive so I guess that's what's really important!

1: DO NOT have a lemon eating competition with your companion. You will get very, very, very sick.
3: Don't let your Zone Leaders who live an hour away leave their scriptures in your car on Friday nights after baptismal interviews because then you will have to return them.

On a brighter side, Zone Conference was great! I got to see some of my mission and home friends that I haven't seen in months! Our presentation on the area book was great! I made a truce with an Elder from Lone Peak that we wouldn't say mean things about each other's high schools to each other anymore. So overall a really successful Zone Conference!

When I was contacting with a sister from Bulawayo on exchanges this week, we met this crazy man! We invited him to church, and in return, he invited us to stand for animals. "You stand for Jesus, I stand for animals! When you preach about Jesus, please preach about the animals!" He promised us he would come to church if we would give him a couple minutes to preach to the congregation about animals. Safe to say we weren't too disappointed to not see him at church on Sunday...

The Book of Mormon: We're teaching this really incredible couple, Christopher and Melody Sibanda. They've been reading the Book of Mormon together every day as a family, and have received strong witnesses from the Holy Ghost that our message is true. They both mentioned that when they are reading they feel peace. I realized that Satan can imitate some of the feelings we have such as happiness and excitement, but he will never ever be able to imitate peace. Another couple we're teaching have been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon as well. When we asked them about their experiences, Brother Zulu said he felt "joyful" and Sister Zulu said, "my heart was filled with faith". The spirit we feel when we read the Book of Mormon is powerful, no wonder it is our most powerful tool in conversion!

Brother Khumalo: My favorite old grumpy sekuru. He's really been struggling with quitting smoking, so last week the Kwekwe Elders came to give him a blessing. This week we went so see how he was doing. Before we had even sat down, he told us how his life has changed! On his way to work, he lit a cigarette, and in his words, "I almost collapsed! My whole body just got sick and I could do nothing but drop the cigarette. I gave the rest of the pack to my neighbor. You people have power!" The priesthood has power, Brother Khumalo! When he said the closing prayer, he said  "I can't believe I was wasting my money for nothing. I can't believe I was burning my money!" Haha that man is the best. I have a testimony of the priesthood!

This morning I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 21. The Lord is speaking to the members of the newly organized church when He counsels them to receive Joseph Smith's words "in all patience and faith." The Lord then promises them this: "For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory." All of these blessings were promised as they simply obeyed the words of the prophet. Most recently our prophet has asked us to read and ponder the words of the Book of Mormon DAILY. I strongly believe that the blessings promised to the Saints then can also apply to us as we heed the counsel of President Monson. Read the true blue book!

I love you all! Enjoy the summer sunshine for me!

Love, Sister Richards

brother khumalo!!

eating oranges with brother khumalo from his tree

 cutting onions in style, and because i was crying

us trying to be happy after tragedy struck our life like 80 times that day

getting the padlocks cut off our house so we could get in....

a Friday night well spent cleaning out the baptismal font!

the WINDIEST and DUSTIEST day of my mission!! we both chose the right hair do for the day!

got to go on exchanges with my MTC companion, Sister Buthelezi!

 I've been companions with every sister in this picture haha!

found my daughter in Gweru!!! i love her!!!

Gweru sunset!

how can you tell if sister ziqubu and Richards have been cutting onions?

So President Mkhabela asked me to bring him chocolate chip cookies to Zone Conference (favorite sister award? ;)) and I conveniently remembered that at 10:00 pm the night before..oops.

and then the flour exploded all over me