28 October 2013

Week 41: Sorting Beans from Rocks and the Miracle of the Pumpkin

FAMILIA!!
October 28, 2013
So, yall have more pictures now! Thanks for the new camera! I got it on wednesday, and you can tell that I have been on a rant with picture taking now..
 Am I serving as a Spanish Missionary in the South, or what?
We had so much fun living the Mexican life as close as we can live the Mexican life here in Tennessee. Have you ever sorted beans and rocks? Or gone to a house where there is a live cow and then when you leave the cow is skinned? Biked around the hills of Tennessee.
 It was Mariana's birthday and we got her a present. I also have a picture of her family. (Bety, Oscar, Joselyn, Mariana, and Berenice)

 
The pumpkin picture. We carved pumpkins with our investigators Enrique and Adalida. They are so cool. We also ate dinner with them and made tortillas. My heart is so big in love with them! They had an amazing faith promoting experience in getting money together for the pumpkin. Really, the Lord multiplied their money so that they could have five dollars to carve pumpkins with them. I will never forget the story that they told us.
haha. We had some great experiences this last week. Seriously, we are so blessed when I look back at my week and see all that the Lord has helped us with. We are having some really rich experiences. It is amazing. I wish I could tell yall more about it all, but hopefully you can get the gist with pictures.
 
How many progressing investigators do we have now? TWENTY. We are swamped with so many things that we can do. It is awesome. How many investigators came to church? NINE. Why aren't these people baptized?!
We are still doing lots of work in Smithville. I love it here. I'm learning to rely on my Lord and Savior more and more each day.
I miss you so much, but I know that at the end of this nine months it will all be worth it. I'm learning to consecrate it all to the Lord and to learn of His will.
Love you all. you mean so much to me. Keep praying for my investigators, I can feel it!
Con Amor, Hermana Rich
p.s. enjoy the dress up district meeting photos!





21 October 2013

Semana 40

October 21,2013
FAMILIA
We had another lesson with Enrique and Adalida last night. SO SWEET. Tomorrow we will be cooking with Adalida. I'm so excited. I feel so much love for them when we are in their house. I'm really not sure when they will be baptized or how all of the legal things will work because they will need to finalize their divorces in Mexico and then marry each other, but they are so amazing.
This last week we have been able to teach so many families. Can you beleive it? We are following up with about 400 referrals in our stake. All of these referrals came from the surveys that we had the public fill out at the Warren County fair. We have 3 sets of missionaries in this area now (an english set of elders and sisters and us) and we are doing our hardest to visit all of these referrals. Sister Jensen and I have taken on several referrals in this other town over called Smithville. Let me tell you, SMITHVILLE=ZION. We have found so many gems up there. We are doing mostly English work in Smithville, but it is so rewarding. We found a family of 7 the other day. A FAMILY OF 7. We taught all of them in their pretty run down trailer with all of them sitting on their parents bed listening to what we had to say. When we came back a few days later, three of the girls and the Mom (Crystal) all had their Books of Mormon out and had so many questions for us. We probably haven't gotten through a complete lesson yet because they keep overloading us with so many questions. (What a great problem to have as a missionary!)
Before I got my mission call whenever I thought of what my mission would be like I pictured myself teaching in a run down house, in the middle of nowhere Central America with critters and all around... who would have thought that exactly what I pictured myself doing is what the Judkins family is like. It is a trailer that has been added on to and the house is pretty... humble. Really, we go into the most humble places out here in good old Tennessee and Kentucky. I can't even describe to you what their house is like. But I can tell you that I saw a rat running above us while we were teaching... yum.
So cool to be able to teach such a large family. We know that the Spirit directed us to these people!
Something that has been really hard for me on my mission is teaching so many people that I absolutely fall in love with, but not seeing them repent (aka keep commitments like go to church, read, pray... follow through and be baptized.) But guess what our numbers were last night with taking on the fair referrals. NINETEEN progressing investigators. I guess we are doing something right (because the Lord is blessing us with so many of His children who are ready to repent), even though my heart aches for my brothers and sisters who choose to use their agency and not change.
I can't beleive that my mission is halfway over. It scares me. At the beginning of my mission I would think a lot to when I would come home and all the things that I would do. I wanted to be on my mission, but I still thought about what my life would be like after. The longer I have been on my mission, the more I can't even think about going home. I can't leave! There are still so many things that I need to learn, so many things that I need to change about myself, and so many of my brothers and sisters that I want to share the gospel with while I'm still a FULL TIME MISSIONARY (Every memeber a missionary, right?)
Like I've talked about in a couple of my other emails, I've been struggling to gauge if I'm actually a "successful missionary" I keep trying to compare my outward success to that of other missionaries, but as our stake president here in the McMinnville Stake (where I have spent pretty much most of my mission) has told us there are FIVE things that we do as a missionary, and we only have control over ONE of those things:
1. WARN- We choose who we talk to
2. TEACH- Our investigators choose if they want us to teach them. Sure we control what lessons we give and how we deliver it, but "nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach."
3. INVITE
4. BAPTIZE
5. RETENTION WORK
Like I've written you before, the only thing that I have control over in misisonary work is who I choose to warn. Everything else is dependent on other people.
Sorry I have to go. I love you. I miss you all alot. I've learned a lot about getting my priorities straight on my mission.
1) The Gospel 2)Our Family
LOVE LOVE LOVE

Hermana Rich

 p.s. dad asked me to send a couple pictures of our investigators... unfortuantely I don't have that many. I do have one with betty and oscar's daughters though! the angle on this picture is super weird, and my companion and I look really silly, but I hope you enjoy!

16 October 2013

Samana 39

Familia!

So I read my email that I sent you in that I sent you last week that also made it into the Proselytor. My mission is not my own. Still trying to learn that! Too bad I've been out on my mission almost half way and I'm just barely learning things that I wish I knew all along. I still have to remind myself that my mission isn't my own...
My mission will be a holy place for me. It really will be! I hit 9 months this month. CRAZY.

I've loved being able to enjoy the gifts of the Spirit on my mission. 
I've never prayed harder on my mission.
I've never cried harder for someone else's salvation. 
I've never hungered more for an answer of my own, but more importantly I've never hungered more for an answer for someone else. 
I've never had more confidence in the promise in Moroni 10:3-5.
I've never had so much gratitude fill my heart. 
I've never wanted something so much more than to see the people that I've come to learn make the right decision and follow the Lord and His commandments.
I've never understood more about my Savior than my mission. 

I think a lot about how as missionaries we are sitting on the sidelines trying to cheer our investigators, or less actives on. We are there on the sidelines of the game trying to help them endure to the end and make sacred covenants. It hurts so bad that I can't just get them to come to church, quit smoking, read the Book of Mormon FOR THEM. It is so hard having to depend on someone else's agency all that time as a missionary.... but I know that that is exactly how the Savior feels. He knows what is in store for us. He knows that this is just a short time and that if we endure it we will be exalted on high. All of us who are going through a mortal life are out there on the playing field and we have a Savior who is there to not just cheer us on the sidelines, but play along side of us, pick us up on his shoulders and carry us to the end. We don't need to play this game alone,  we have the Savior there for us. 

There is an amazing talk that I read by Brad Wilcox about Grace. I've never understood Grace before like I do know. The amazing thing about Grace is that it is always there and that the price has already be paid. 

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will never sink more deep into my heart than it has on my mission. I'll be honest, I never understood it before, but I think I'm finally coming to that point where I know I will need it for the rest of my mission, the rest of my life and the rest of eternity. I don't need to play this game alone-- I have the Savior. 

What is our purpose as missionaries? "To invite others to COME UNTO CHRIST." To teach them that they don't have to play this game alone. He is there waiting for us to depend on Him. Man, this is still a lesson I'm trying to learn... but I'm so grateful that my mission is helping me learn that. 

So did I ever tell yall that I kind of have a baptism from my first area of Manchester? I really think it is so funny that I came back to McMinnville where I'm literally only 20 minutes away from my first area. My trainer, Sister Smith, was in Manchester for about 6 months and came away with only one baptism.... and it wasn't even Spanish! But man, this guy Dallas is SOLID GOLD. I don't know if I already told you this last week but I had the opportunity to teach this guy Dallas who was dating Tahsa, the daughter of the RS president whose house we were living in... we really only had one solid lesson with him, but the Spirit was there. That was MONTHS ago. After that lesson that we had with Dallas he went away to basic training for 10 weeks where he really started to go to church and investigate in North Carolina. He ended up getting baptized in July when I was still in Hopkinsville, KY. I only saw it on a mission newsletter and I was a little bummed that I never got to hear about that baptism. Fast forward to last week I was in Manchester helping the missionaries out there and got to see Dallas. He shines so bright with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is amazing. He was already a solid guy, but so much more amazing to see him now. What Sister Smith ended up telling me was that what had helped Dallas get through what became immense opposition as he was joining the church was the Spirit that he felt during that first lesson. THE GOSPEL CHANGES LIVES. Dallas and Tasha got married last week! Their reception was in McMinnville and I was able to go with Sister Jensen. So cool that the rest of their life is changed by something that I was able to be a part of. I'm so grateful that I was able to see some result of my effort as a missionary. It meant to so much to me! I'll be honest, my mission is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but somehow the Lord provides me with tender mercies which continue to make it worth it for me. 

This last week we set FOUR BAPTISMAL DATES and had ELEVEN INVESTIGATORS at church yesterday. Our branch had 37 people at church yesterday and TEN WERE INVESTIGATORS. Crazy, I know. Do you want to know the funny thing? Of those 4 baptismal dates that we set, none of them actually came to church.... Sister Jensen and I thought that was interesting so our goal this week is to visit all of the 11 investigators that came to church and help get them to baptism! 

Cool experience last night we were so lost as to where we were supposed to be and who we were supposed to visit (literally every appointment fell through) ... so we stopped and prayed again where we needed to be... who came to our mind? Enrique and Adalide who came to church yesterday. 

We had an amazing lesson with this couple! Enrique was taught by missionaries years ago and they had an amazing influence on his life, it is incredible. Those Elders loved him so much. I've never seen a grown man cry with so much genuinity as I have Enrique. I love them already so much! And yesterday they asked us how they could be baptized. SO AMAZING. They will have some difficulties helping them get to baptism (they aren't married, they were both married to other people in Mexico --- oh no, don't even want to think about trying to work on their divorce in mexico...) but they are ready to baptism and the Lord is truly leading us to those who are ready to be baptized! 

Again, my mission is not my own, but I'm so blessed to be a part of this great work! 

Sorry I rambled about a lot of things! Thank you for your prayers. I feel them! We are making so many advances with our investigators. Please keep praying for

Erika, Betty, Oscar, Mariana, Jocelyn, Jennifer, Cory, and Valentin

Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

celebratory smoothies when we set a baptismal date

Burning tights for 6 months and a skirt for my 9 months

random tractor...

Northcutt Cove! Look up the history there!







07 October 2013

Samana 33 Decisions for Eternity

Semana 38
Famlia!
Did you LOVE conference? I came to Conference with a lot of questions that I needed answered and I'm so grateful that I did. The Lord listens to us. I loved so many of them, but I've been thinking a lot about Elder Nelson's talk. He talked a lot about how our decisions shape our eternal trajectory. DECISIONS FOR ETERNITY-- that is something that I'm really going to focus on this week. I know that there are small, little, everyday decisions that we make as a missionary that can make a difference in someone's life. For example, choosing to talk to someone on the street, listen to music that isn't approved or just plain slacking on language study. I make so many choices everyday that are either leading me closer to the Lord and the Spirit, or farther away. I forget that so many of my decisions are affecting the people that the Lord has given me to teach. Sometimes the responsiblity is really heavy, but I'm working on even making my little decisions count for the better.
Unfortunately I am on a time crunch to email you all this week, BUT SO MANY GOOD THINGS HAPPENED. The hand of the Lord is in the lives of these people and the missionaries. Something that I have really come to learn is that my mission is not my own and that I need to stop trying to make it anything but the Lord's. I've really struggled with trying to see "success" the way that I want it (aka baptisms) but really I just need to stop worrying and let the Lord take control.
Want to hear of a fun accomplishment of Hermana Jensen and I did? We went on a juice fast for a whole week. SIX days we didn't eat anything and just juiced. (A member in our ward bought us a juicer so we just juiced fresh fruits and veggies all week) Talk about learning how to master our appetites! It was really crazy, but I think that I can apply learning how to master our appetites a lot to what Elder Nelson said yesterday in his talk. I felt like a lot of the talks were centered on putting the Lord first. That is really something I've been trying to work on these past couple of weeks. Like I said, this isn't my mission, it is the Lord's. I'm really learning how to consecrate my will to His will, and I'll let you know, it is a daily battle.
SO MANY MIRACLES I wish I could write you about, but I can't. I loved the authorities talks about praying for our missionaries by name and their investigators. Could you please pray for a couple of our investigators by name? These people are so close to baptism I can't even tell you. I would love to be serving in this area when they are baptized. I don't know if that is the Lord's will. I know the Lord loves these children and I know that He wants what is best for them. I'm grateful that I get to be a part of that, even if it is just a small part.... but I also know that they could use your prayers. Sister Jensen and I are working really hard to make help these people accomplish what the Lord has in store for them!
Betty, Oscar, Jocelyn, Marianna, "Betita",
Erika
Jodi
Mom, can you send me my medicine? I'm going to run out probably this week. I really need some synthroid.
Dad, should I get a flu shot out here? I've never gotten the flu before, but I've never not haven the flu
The weather is getting SO COLD again. (Can you send me some socks mom? Last night it was pouring rain and Sister Jensen and I didn't have ANY kind of umbrella, jacket, boots or anything. We were at the church, didn't have a car, or a ride. We said a prayer before we left. We prayed that He would bless us for being obedient and I also prayed that He would lead us to whom He had prepared. WELL because we didn't have a car or anything so we were led to tracting in an area in the dark where we had never been before.... We were hesistant at first, but then we forgot ourselves and found these super prepared 14 year old girls.... here's the story: We knocked on this sketchy house and this kind of questionable guy answered the door. We didn't know what to do and honestly what was going through my head was "Man, how long ago did this guy get of prison." (A thought I need to repent of...) but anyway he looked at us and said, oh you are here to see Heather. And we just nodded our heads even though we had no clue who Heather was.... So he let us in and he brought us to his daughters room. We got in there. She said we could come sit on her bed like it was no big deal, we took off our jackets (by then we had gotten hold of our jackets) and we sat on her bed still wet from the rain. We asked her if she knew who missionaries were. She said she had never met them, but someone had dropped off a book of mormon at her house last week. WHAT DO YOU KNOW? She was actually a fair referral that we had tracted into. We taught her and her friend about the Book of Mormon and she accepted a return appointment and said she would read and pray about it! MIRACLE. We were led to her. I KNOW WE WERE SUPPOSED TO FIND HER. Man, just think if we had thought of ourselves and chosen to not go out or take the easy way that evening and avoid being in the rain. One of her questions for us was if God speaks..... remember one of the talks yesterday about that same thing? Well, we promised her that GOD DOES SPEAK TO US TODAY and that the Book of Mormon is evidence of that. Such a tender mercy of the Lord for guiding us to meet Heather and her friend. The Lord is so in the details.
Familia! I wish I could say more, but I would like to leave y'all with this word of wisdom that our investigator Betty told us. I wrote it on the back of my picture of the family that I carry around in my scriptures (forgive my spanish on this one...)
3 cosas yo quiero mi familia a recordar
1. Dios existe
2. El Amor de su familia
3. Sea humilde
La Mejor Madre
-Ecsucha a sus hijos
-Quiere su hijos
Con Amor,

Hermana Rich

30 September 2013

Semana 37

September 30, 2013
Semana 37
FAMILIA!!!!
Are you excited for conference this weekend? I can't beleive that a year ago my entire life changed. It's crazy. I hope you are coming to conference with questions though! That is something that I learned from my first mission president-President McKee (who by the way, I won't be suprised if he is called as a General Authority... look out for it. He is AMAZING). Come with a question and the Lord will enlighten your minds. He wants to answer your questions, sometimes we just have to be willing to come and ask Him for help. I've learned that a lot on my mission.
Wow! So much happened this week and so much happened yesterday. Quick thing that happened to me yesterday: One of my best friends (Dania Frandsen) got reassigned to California for her mission and I talked to her on the phone yesterday at a member's house. (She just went into the MTC last week to go to Brazil on her mission but she got reassigned for her visa) She is living with a member in the english ward here in mcminnville's parents house in California and they were on the phone so I said a quick hello. Do you remember when I wrote you that I also saw her on my birthday when I was at the MTC? THE LORD IS LOOKING OUT FOR ME. I guess Dania is the closest thing that I can get to talking to someone who won't be distracting for me when I'm on my mission. Really, the Lord is looking out for me. I can feel that He is looking out for His children, too.
The other day Sister Jensen and I were doing a role play for Jocelyn (the fourteen year old in the family of Betty and Oscar-- our family that is SO CLOSE to baptism) and I can tell you that I HAVE NEVER FELT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG IN A ROLE PLAY/ I have never felt more love that Heavenly Father had for one of His children than in that role play. The Spirit was magnificent. I will never be able to describe it but Sister Jensen and I couldn't deny what we felt.
Betty and Oscar are SO CLOSE to baptism. We were able to have some members in the ward come over and give them a Priesthood blessing and we made a huge breakthrough with Jocelyn. She said that she felt the Spirit in a way that she had never felt it before. We are excited.
Nolan is turning one this week! Oh my goodness. I can't beleive it. I am going to write a letter today and I hope it gets to him soon, even if it gets late. Has he learned how to walk yet?
We are working with so many people that are so close to baptism, hopefully we can really see somethings happen this transfer. I'm getting super antsy to see a baptism of my own. A couple of weeks ago I found out that Letty (a lady that Hermana Healey and I taught) in Hopkinsville got baptized. I was really sad that the Elders hope there didn't tell me because I really wanted to be there at her baptism. I've been able to help people teach that eventually were baptized, but I still don't feel like I've been able to see a baptism of my own. I'm learning a lot about humility and patience....
Well, I hope you are doing well and that you are being a missionary at home. I love you so much! Yesterday I was looking at a picture of our family in Sacrament. Betty and Oscar's three year old daughter, "Betita" was looking at the picture and we looked at everyone in the family and she pointed to them "Madre" "Padre" "Hermana" "Hermano" (three times) y "Bebe" (for Nolan).... I love you family. I'm so grateful that each one of you is my own.
Please keep praying for me. I can feel them and I definitely need them. I'll keep praying for you, too. Sorry this is short again, but I'm trying my hardest to make sure I'm lost in the work.
Con Amor,

Hermana Rich

23 September 2013

Semana 36 Self Defense

Mi Querido Familia,
 
TRANSFER NEWS: Sister Jensen and I are staying together! We are super excited to stay because we still feel like we have a lot to learn from each other.
 
Last week at the fair we got to talk to several people at the booth. There was this guy that I talked to for quite a bit of time who looked like he walked out of Duck Dynasty. Well the other day we were trying to contact this older lady we met doing service and instead of running into her we ran into Jerry, the guy I met. Well, we got into conversation with him and he is straightup from the South. Long story, Sister Jensen and I got taught self defense from Jerry. I feel pretty confident that I could throw a good punch now, haha.
 
It is funny. I haven't really felt like there was that one person I met on my mission who I felt like was the entire reason I went out to this specific plase, but someof the random people that I meet on the street make me wonder. I guess there is something that we have in common that I'm supposed to connect with them about.
 
We do a lot of service here, so it has been helpful to put a good name out for the church here. I love doing service, not only because it is a break but I love representing the Lord here. I feel like I'm giving something back to him.
 
Today we also rode our bikes over to the church. It was about a 20 minute bike ride, but I love being able to actually look like a missionary. haha. Like I said, I love riding the hills of TN.
 
We had 7 investigators at church yesterday and set a baptismal date with this lady named Constance. haha. I'll keep you updated on what happens with Constance, she is sure a character. I love the people from the South who just love the Lord.
 
Sorry I don't have much more to say. I heard that BYU lost to Utah, that's a shame :/
 
Working my hardest to keep my focus on the Lord and on the Savior. I just have to keep thinking that I'm doing all of this "BECAUSE I LOVE THE LORD."
 
Thank you for everything that you do for me family, I love and appreciate you all so much!
 
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich
 
"No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace."
"God is like oxygen. You don't always see it, but you know it is there."
"God will make you the man that your dog thinks you are."
"What if Jesus was only as committed as you are to him?"
"I did the math and you need to stop here."
"He died for you. Are you living for Him."
"Excercise: Walk with God, Run from the Devil."

"Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise, the stronger it gets."

16 September 2013

Semana 35 The Lord Loves his Children

September 16, 2013
Hola Familia!
Hey Family! Hope you are doing well!
I'm still enjoying good ole TN. It is such a special place down here. I absolutely love it here.
This week we have been doing the Warren County fair. The English Elders here worked the fair booth all last week and we came on the evenings. We have received about FORTY Spanish referrals from it. So cool! The booth had these surveys at it where we asked people to fill out four simple questions about what their interest would be in learning about the gospel. This mission has been having a lot of success with these surveys and I'm super excited to be serving in an area where I can be apart of it! It's been an amazing way to find a lot of prepared people.
I've also been doing another "40 day fast" like I did in my first area but this time I'm focusing on a lot of different things. Sister Jensen is doing it, too and the blessings are amazing. We have so much more power in our lessons because we are a lot more worthy of the spirit. I have never had more powerful lessons than in the past couple of days. It is amazing. Definitely one of the best things about being a missionary. I know that my setting apart and ministerial certificate give me authority, but living worthy of the spirit gives you power.
 My companion Sister Jensen is awesome because she is so willing to be obedient and want to do the things the Lord expects of us. My whole mission I've either been the greenie, trained the greenie or greenie busted (which is being someones first companion after they have been trained.). It is awesome. I'm already one of the "older sisters" in the mission just because I came out right as the wave of new sisters were coming in, but it is such a blessing to still be around the fire of missionary. I still feel like I have that fire and I hope I never lose it. Can you believe that we are getting TWENTY new sisters this next transfer, then after that ANOTHER TWENTY? So cool! A lot of them are English, but still it will be cool to see the mission change even more.
Can I tell you about a few of the people we are teaching?
Jodi and Leo: They were a golden family that we got from a church hq referral and we have had some amazing lessons with them. She is American and he is Mexican and they have a 5 year old boy. They just barely texted us a few days ago that they are going to be going to church with someone else. HEARTBROKEN. We feel like they might have been antied.. we are praying and hoping that we will be able to get in a lesson with them. The hard part is I know that they felt the spirit in the lessons that we taught them. We were really blessed to have super focused lessons with them and I know that they know that the church is true. I'm afraid it is more of a Social Conversion v. Doctrinal Conversion. :/ I sure hope it pans out...
Betty y Oscar y Familia: SUCH AN AMAZING FAMILY that sister Jensen and I are privileged to teach. A family from Mexico with 3 girls. We had an amazing lesson with them last week where the Spirit was undeniable in every place of the room. They have had all the lessons but there is something holding them back.... we don't know what it is. They want to be baptized as a family and we can tell that that is something really important to them. Their 14 year old daughter Jocelyn seems the most hesitant.... we are trying to focus our attention on her and have made some really amazing breakthroughs, but we can tell that there is still more that she needs. She is Cougar's age and I can tell how strong "friends" play a role into an 8th grader's life. It is really sad because I can really tell that importance of having good friends at that age... We are hoping and praying that they are ready soon. Another concern that we are worried about is that all of their extended family is Catholic. I know that that is a major obstacle for a lot of the people we are teaching who receive a spiritual witness that it is true, but are worried what others will think.
Erika: SO AMAZING. This could potentially be a 3 generation LDS family. Her daughter and grandson are already members and she goes to church every week. Erika's mom lives in Honduras right now and she is waiting on her mom to come up her before she gets baptized. The hard thing is her visa got rejected until October so we have no idea when she could make it up here.... Again with her we can tell there is something deeper holding her back and we are thinking it is her fear that her mom won't approve of her getting baptized. Erika is so amazing and special. She knows the gospel is true and believes it so much. Her and her daughter Isabel are also teachers so it is really fun being around them.
Do you have any ideas for what could help our investigators?
I can't even describe to you how special this branch is down here in McMinnville. The branch is small and a lot of the members are English members who speak Spanish, but there is such a love for all of the people here. I've loved serving in an English ward, but now I feel like I'm getting more of what my mission call asked me to do: Preach the Gospel in the Spanish Language.
Transfers are next week. If I get transferred I will have only been in the area for 4 weeks, but I've been so incredibly grateful for the time I've been here. Like I told you in my last couple of emails: I know that the Lord is in the details and that He is looking out for us. This area was literally an answer to my prayers! We have so many progressing investigators and always have an investigator coming to church every week. Now we are just working on helping them act on the testimony they already have so they can be baptized soon...
Thank you for all of you who decided to read my whole email. I ranted a lot, but I hope you know that I love the mission. I've finally been out long enough to look back and recognize the challenges that I've faced and the ways that it has been hard, BUT I know that the Lord has been there for me during the past 8 months.
He loves his children and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to be able to see the love He has for them. My eyes have been lifted and my heart has been touched to see and feel how much He loves then.
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

Cactus... yum! Fried snickers, even better!


No joke we just eat cactus in this mission, haha. I thought you would get a kick out of a cactus picture, haha. Have you tried it yet, cause it is pretty nast. I think I'll stick with some grits (which I tried for the first time last week, and the week before that: COW TONGUE)

 The next one: Please enjoy me and sister jensen teaching away... (this picture was not posed.... just kidding, but I still love it)
Oh, and we just go to fairs on this mission, really, I love the South! 
We have been working at our fair booth all this last week and we were right under the grandstands. Can't say I didn't sing a lot to some of the country music they were playing. Live bands? YES. Karoake? Okay.. it was pretty bad.... 

Also I would send you the picture of us eating fried snickers, but my companion and I look pretty nasty in it, so I will save your eyes from that one..
Hermana Rich

15 September 2013

Random Photos from the Mish

My two favorite members from Manchester where I started my mission. I LOVE SISTER ANDERSON AND SISTER COLLINS. They were so good to me when I was in the area a couple of months ago. We ran back into them at zone conference and I was so excited to see them!
Going to the Temple with Hermana Jensen
Doing service when we were on exchanges for a few days. Hermana Jensen and my former companion Hermana McNab are in the picture too!
Tortillas con Lubia (our investigator)


Semana 34 Biking the hills of TN

Hola Familia!
Yesterday I gave my first talk in Spanish since I've been in the mission field! I bore my testimony last week in Spanish but yesterday 5 minutes before sacrament started the branch president here came up to me and asked "Are you ready to give a talk?" ha. He was serious. 
We set a baptismal date last week and they still haven't been to church yet. I love setting baptismal dates, but it is so hard to see the fruits of those labors. I think a lot of the time a person will go through several dates before they actually commit.
There will be lots of new English sisters coming into the mission this month so they have been getting more and more strict. It's been fun getting to know our district out here a lot better. We are the only sisters in the district, so my campanion and I have really been feeling the need to lead out of example.
We went to the temple on friday. It was so nice to go! I can't believe it has been 6 months since I went last. In a lot of ways I can see how I have changed, but I also feel like I'm definitely not where I want to be yet... so I'm grateful I have 10 more months to get to where I want to be.
We have been doing a lot of fairs out here in my mission where we have people take these surveys and then we go out and contact them. This last weekend we went to help some missionaries in Crossville, TN contact their referrals. Man, I love the South. Every house but one we contacted was a trailer... haha. Also, we met this guy named Si who looked like he was straight up out of Duck Dynasty. Duck Dynasty is a huge thing out here, too. It's crazy. I think I'll be pretty in to it when I get home from my mission, haha.
This week we didn't have a car so we were biking and walking a lot. This has been my first area where I have really had to bike but I'm really grateful for the opportunity. At the end of the day we are so gross and disgusting, but I'm grateful for the sense of fulfillment that we feel when we come home. PLUS we had some really cool finding opportunities come out of it. 11 new investigators! That is a big deal for us! But seriously, these hills are pretty brutal. Hopkinsville was really flat but McMinnville is suuuuupper hilly.
A couple of cool stories:
Last week we did some service for a member by helping train his German Shepard. We put protective gear on our arm and had the dog come and attack us. Pretty crazy.
Mom! When I went to the temple I met an Elder Jorge Jimenez that went to Provo high school. He is fresh into the mission field but he completely remembers you! He asked for your email. I will have to forward you a picture next week.
MIRACLE: Remember how I'm serving in an area right next to where I started my mission? WELL technically we are the Spanish Branch for the stake so yesterday the sisters in Manchester said that they were going to bring a family of 5 to our branch here in McMinnville. When they brought the family guess who it was?! MY FIRST INVESTIGATOR EVER ON MY MISSION: AURA?! Do you remember me writing yall about her? She is from Guatemala and has a million kids. It was amazing to see her at church. I remember when I first met her I had so much greenie fire, but then we kind of lost contact with her and I was eventually transferred. What do you know though, she came to church yesterday and said the lesson in sunday school was an answer to her prayer. AMAZING. The Lord is in the details and I'm so grateful I was able to see her come to church. I love McMinnville a lot, but if the only reason I were to come to this area was so I could see Aura at church... it might just be worth it.
The Lord takes care of His children. I know that. I haven't been able to see the entire process of meeting and investigator to when they are baptized, but I still know that I've been able to fulfill some kind of purpose in each of the areas I've been able to serve in.
 I'm going to try and work on writing things down during the week to write to you, sorry this email is so spacey.
I love you! Keep praying for me and for the people I'm able to meet out here and teach. Missionary work is such a roller coaster ride of emotions all the time... I can't even describe it. I think this will mentally be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life especially as I'm becoming more and more aware of my weaknesses. Thank goodness that we can repent with rejoicing and rely on the Atonement in our lives!
I love you all! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for all the personal emails, sorry I can't write to you each individually more.
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

02 September 2013

Semana 33

2 Septiembre 2013
Hola Familia!

Mi primera semana en McMinnville. 

Wow! McMinnville is definitely a place of miracles, I feel like there are a lot of good things that will be happening here and I also feel like I am getting the numbers that I deserved in Hopkinsville. 

In a lot of ways we feel like we will be reaping the blessings that the other missionaries sowed. 

I think it is funny how missionary work works like this, we all get transferred around but we somehow continue the work.

The Lord doesn't need the missionaries, but the missionaries need the Lord. 

This week I ate cow tongue! It was actually my first day here in McMinnville and I'll admit it really wasn't that bad. 

It is funny serving in McMinnville being a Spanish Branch. I feel like the work is so different. I love it though, but the dynamics are super different but there is definitely a more humble spirit here because we all have to be friends.

Last Friday we got a Church Headquarter referral and when we went to go and contact it. SET A BAPTISMAL DATE! FAMILY OF THREE. 

It was my first church hq referral and Sister Healey and I would pray about getting one in Hopkinsville, but then we never did.... of course my first week with Hermana Jensen and I we got one. 

Sorry this is short, there are other missionaries waiting to email, if I can I will write more, but love you and hope to hear from you soon!

Hermana Rich

19 August 2013

Week 31 "The week that nothing happened."

Hey Familia!

Hope you have a fantastic week!

I can't beleive it is already P-day. 

This was the first week of the new transfer and I've decided to call this email "The week that nothing happened." We had a good week though! But it seems like we are in the same routine so it does feel like not much happened to us. Anyways, I'll still try to give you some quick updates.

Can I tell y'all some really exciting news! My MTC companion Sister Sasser got her visa! She's been serving in the Virginia Richmond Mission for over 4 transfers and she's heading down to Argentina next week!

Updates from Hermana Rich:

The Church is True. I know it is. 

We are still struggling getting our investigators to church, but we know that we are working hard everyday. We've been able to see a lot of miracles here and that is super exciting. We helped set a date with a family last night. The other sets of missionaries have been teaching them but we were at their house for dinner. He's originally from Haiti, so that's pretty cool. I've been out on my mission for too long though. Last night when we were at their house Brother Xantus (the guy gettting baptized) said he was Haitian. Sister Healey then said, "so that means you from?" And I immediately responed, "Haitia" (but I said it like Asia with an H :/) Woooops. Haitia? I don't know where that came from. 

We taught a lot of RCLA (Recent Convert Less Actives) this week. It was ridiculous, but it has been really cool. We are trying to help a lot quit smoking, it's been a challenge. It's one thing helping our investigators quit, but another helping a baptized member.... 

We had 9 member presents this week! Which is a big deal for us! I remember my first transfer I only had one, maybe two member presents?

Carmen and Ciro haven't been to church yet... so that's a bummer. Neither has our investigator Jazmin who I've been teaching for forever. She quit her job though! But now she has started school...

We did however try and reset a baptismal date with Jesus. He's a character. We got really bold with him the other night and told him that God sent us in his path so that he will be baptized. He is someone that really wants 

Sister Healey got proposed to by Angel last week. He proposed to me first a couple of weeks ago, so I was a little disappointed, but I think they will be happy together. haha. We haven't seen a lot of progress with Angel lately. For a while we took a break from him because he pretty much told us that he didn't want to change at all. However, we felt like the Lord kept pushing us back to meet with him, so now we usually come over and read from the Book of Mormon. Nourishing that seed, I guess. 

The Elders who serve here in Hopkinsville are really... mature? We see them a lot because we cover the same area. Last week before ward council they put a snapping turtle in our apartment and today they put hair gel on our car door handles. 

Kentucky weather is ridiculous. It is pretty much always raining. We had some memorable lessons on people's porches last week.

Did I tell y'all that I ate venison meat loaf last week? I would have been fine if it was just venison, or just meatloaf. But venison meatloaf? After she told us what it was I just kept trying to get it down and not think about it. 

Yesterday at church they did a pretty cool third hour combined meeting on Duty to God. Is that something Cougar is doing? It looks pretty awesome so I hope he is because I think that will definitely help prepare him for the Priesthood and to eventually serve a mission someday!

I hit 7 months last week. That's crazy. Before I know it I will be home with y'all wondering what happened to the time. 

Sorry I rambled a lot in this email. 

I love you. I hope you are all doing well! You are in my prayers.

Hermana Rich

12 August 2013

Week 30

Week 30
 
August 12, 2013
 
FAMILIA!
 
This week it will be easier for me if I send forward you my weekly email to my mission president because it covers a lot of the same things I would probably like to tell y'all anyway.
 
I can't wait for you to read about Carmen. I seriously love her so much. She is such a sassy Puerto Rican lady. She has been living in the United States for about 10 years now and this is the first time that missionaries have found her again. And of course, Sister McNab and I (my first companion in this area) found and started teaching her boyfriend (/husband, they pretty much act like husband and wife, but we will need to work on getting them married....) our first transfer here. I will always be so grateful for the opportunity I had to meet Carmen because it really testifies to me that there is a purpose for Hopkinsville Spanish to be here even though we haven't had any Spanish baptisms yet. The Elders and us have been tag teaming teaching a lady named Letty and she is supposed to be baptized next week, so we are really excited about that. She is definitely prepared and her son just got baptized yesterday!
 
We still love Sister Carlisle like we wrote y'all last week. She is sooooo cool. I hope I always stay in contact with her after my mission. It's funny that on my mission I have gained a lot of new grandparents, most of them through the members we teach. Like I said in my email to President Andersen, we are experiencing some major breakthroughs with the less actives we are visiting. I'm glad that I'm able to see the fruits of those labors if anything. There was one lady who I never met for 2 and a half months who I kept calling and knocking on her door. Then last week, guess who came up to me and asked if we were the Sisters that kept coming to her door? SISTER DORVIL. And guess what? She is an RM who spoke
 
She is also from the Bahamas! And Letty is originally from Bermuda! I'm still trying to keep a list of all the people I have been able to share the gospel with that are from different countries. It's so cool! I never would have thought that this place would be such a melting pot!
 
Also, remember when I told you all about Angel?  Well, we ahve been teaching another one of his uncles and his wife. THEY ARE SO AMAZING. I love this entire family from El Salvador. I can't even describe it. A couple of weeks ago Sister Healey and I were thinking we needed to start seeing Angel less because he made it so obvious that he didn't want anything do with changing and eventually becoming baptized. Sister Healey and I wanted to stay focused on our purpose-- instead of just visiting with him all the time-- we wanted to make sure that we were focused on those who were ready to change and accept the restored gospel. But throughout the week we kept having this nagging feeling like we needed to go back and see him. I don't know why, I'm really not sure when he is going to change or want to change, or his whole family for that matter. They love the Catholic church. They are a very special family though. I can really tell. I can tell that Heavenly Father is very mindful of them and that is why He keep sending them back to us. Have I told that we are also teaching Angel's uncle and aunt? They are so amazing. I feel the spirit everytime we go over and there and visit with them. And they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I'm not sure if they are ready to change from their Catholic beleifs, but it is definitley a start.
 
Letter to President Andersen this week:
 
"President Andersen!

Miracle Mail from Hopkinsville Spanish Sisters! We are both so excited to stay in this area because we both feel like we have got some unfinished business to take care of here. Also, here is a MIRACLE.

When I first came into this area I met this cute, sweet man from Mexico. We met him tracting trying to find an old potential. His name is Ciro and everytime we met we could only sit on his front porch because his wife was gone in Puerto Rico for the summer. He was always super nice, but we got to the point where we were only meeting him every so often until we could meet his wife as well. WELL his wife came home Puerto Rico last week and called us and asked when we were coming over. On the phone she called us "Hermanas" and everything. Then when we went over to the house she hugged us and embraced us, kissed us on the cheek like they do in Puerto Rico and when we sat down with her she told us she was a baptized member! She was baptized 30 years ago and was an active member in Puerto Rico for three and a half years!!!!!! We were dying we were so happy. At that point Ciro was in the room so the only thing I could think of to do was to teach the Restoration again. We taught it and Carmen remembered a lot of it. When we gave the first vision she was crying so hard. The Spirit was so strong. I have never felt it more strongly on my entire mission. You could not deny it! Carmen remembers and she knows it is true. She knows that she needs to come back. We told her that it was "un milagro" that God sent us to her again. She knows that. We committed Ciro to be baptized. He was pretty hesistant, but she said that she knows he will get baptized. It will just take him some time. She said that when he would call her in Puerto Rico he would talk about us. Ciro will be a tough egg to crack, but I have no doubt that this is a decision these two are going to take together. Carmen could not deny her feelings abou the power of Restoration and the testimony of the Prophet Joseph.
President, it was amazing. I have no doubt about it. I've been easily discouraged here in Hopkinsville wondering why we aren't seeing success in the form of baptisms, but I know God has his children here that he is mindful of. I feel so priveleged to share this message of the Restoration with my long lost brothers and sisters, especially in the Spanish language. These people need to hear this message. Carmen is going to be our main focus this next transfer. Heavenly Father is ready for her to come back and to take Ciro with her.

We have a couple of progressing investigators who know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the biggest obstacle that we are overcoming is helping them recognize that this is the true church of Jesus Christ becasue a lot of them feel really content and happy in their Catholic life.

President, we have been able to "find those that will receive us" but I feel like we are struggling to find people who are actually searching for the truth of this gospel. They will receive us as missionaries and they love us as their friends, but its been hard finding those who are ready to change.

We did find an investigator named Jesus who is seeking. He is seeking what is God's will. I know that if he is really and truly sincere that he will be baptized. I just know it. I'm not sure if I will be able to see his baptism, but I know it will happen. We could really use some help with him getting him to FOCUS. He likes to talk the whole time we teach him
Then there is Jasmin who is one of the most prepared people I have met on my entire mission (and she actually found us, not us finding her), but I think Heavenly Father is still trying to teach me about patience. She has been working a lot so we have not been able to see her or teach her as much as we would really like to. I really hope I get to see it happen with her President!

Thank you President for all you do! I'm so grateful for you and your lovely wife! Interviews were very edifying, I'm so grateful for that. Thank you for reminding me that Heavenly Father will suffer me to come to this area so that I can even just find the "one lost sheep" who is prepared right now to accept the gospel.

Also, we are seeing some amazing breakthroughs in our less active work. They are coming back! Sister Carlisle is just one of the many blessings we have been able to experience while I've been here. Although it is discouraging our Spanish investigators still are not making it to church, we are having a lot of English returning members! The ward is going to grow so much!

We love and appreciate all that you do!

Sister Rich"
 
 
The Lord is blessing us. I'm so grateful for that. I feel like my faith has been tested a lot here. I have really doubted whether or not I had a lot of faith because I didnt feel like we were seeing miracles, but all of the missionaries around us were. It is hard to accept that we can still be successful missionaries although we aren't having the baptisms like we would like too.
 
Before I go I need to share my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that my testimony about him and the work he did has grown so much for me on my mission. We have to share it everyday but I finaly feel like I can bring convincing power to my words. We have had a lot of investigators who have questioned the validity of Joseph Smith and I feel like it all cumulated for me when I recited the first vision for Carmen last week.
 
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God. I know that he saw God the Father, and the Son Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet that would restore the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth in these Latter Days. I know that although he may not have been a perfect man, what he did to bring about the Book of Mormon and the sacrifices he made were perfect. He was a man called of God and he gave his life to seal his testimony. I feel priveleged to know that I had ancestors who beleived his testimony, sacrificed what they had because of their beleif, and walked along side of him. I am so grateful for the testimonies of my ancestors because it has brought me to where I am today.
 
We also had a lesson with our investigator named Larry last week and I cried after we shared the first vision with him. It had no affect on him and he was solid as a rock during it. I cried becasue I knew that story was true and I was so excited to share it with my brother, but he wouldn't beleive me. How could something that I knew so strongly to be true have no affect on someone else? It was hard, but we made it through it.
 
Thank you family for all of your love and support. Thank you for your prayers. Sometimes I wonder why I'm not more discouraged while I'm out here. I wonder why I haven't reached my breaking point yet, but I know that that is becasue y'all are praying for me. Somehow I find the strength to continue to "preservar hasta el fin!"
 
Con Amor,
 
Hermana Rich


05 August 2013

Week 29: Slugs, Artists, Mirrors and Flirting

Week 29
August 5, 2013

FAMILIA
I hope y'all enjoyed that title. It pretty much sums up this week for us. 

First of all, MIRACLE YESTERDAY. We still haven't had any of our Spanish investigators at church, but a less active we have been working with came to church AND bore her testimony. It was amazing. Sister Healey and I couldn't even hold in all of our joy. 

This is the story that I sent to my mission president, so I figure I'll just copy and paste:

"Yesterday Sister Healey and I had one of the BEST Sundays we have ever experienced in this ward. We have been visiting this less active named Sister Carlisle and on Saturday night she asked us if she could follow our car to the church building, so she could know how to get there. She was a really active member when she lived in Franklin and went to church in the building right next to the temple, but she hasn't been to church since she's lived here in Hopkinsville- and that has been a couple of years. After she followed us over to the church we said goodbye and said "See ya tomorrow!" but she told us "I'm not promising anything." WELL the next day we were heading into the church building and saw her shaking hands with the Bishop. When we passed by the Bishop he told her that he had never met her, but had the prompting to say "Welcome home." 

Well, fast forward to sacrament meeting we sit down next to her and I had the prompting to go up and bear my testimony. When I came and sat down again she gave me a hug because it was a pretty emotional testimony for me where I bore my testimony about the Plan of Salvation. Then you know those last five minutes of sacrament meeting where no one wants to go up and everyone just sits there in silence? Well, imagine our surprise when Sister Carlisle got up! Sister Healey and I were just about going to die. She bore her testimony about how for years she had avoided the Elders, then one day the sister missionaries and "Sister Pam" came to her door and she answered. She also talked about how coming back to church was like "coming home" and how grateful she was when Bishop told her "Welcome home." Later Bishop was asking us how much he should push with her. We told him that she had told us once that she was someone that needed her own time and not to be pushed.... then he said he chatted with her just as she was leaving the building. He told her that he would take things on her time, but she just responded "Bishop, I'm back." WE ARE SO EXCITED. 

We get so many false promises about our investigators or our less actives coming to church so we are so grateful when others are able to make the leap and actually be there. We have such a big place in our heart for Sister Carlisle. She is amazing. 

It's funny President. I feel like I haven't been able to see a lot of the "success" that I would like to as a missionary, but when I get those miracles that are small and are tender mercies, it makes everything else so worth it. I can't explain it. I think the Lord wants me to learn a lot of patience and gratitude. I guess I have to recognize and be grateful for all of the little things before I can see that BIG MIRACLE that I'm looking for. 

The church is true. I know it is. I can't deny it. "

Oh and Sister Carlisle is a super talented artist and author. When she becomes famous someday I will be sure to let everyone know that I met her when I was serving my mission in Kentucky. It's funny, I feel like I'm adopting a lot of grandparents here in Kentucky. I think it fills the hole I have to still have grandparents of my own that are living. They are all amazing and they have really touched my life. 

Oh, and slugs. The other night after companionship prayer Sister Healey and I were getting in bed and it was already 10:30... when she notices this baby snake in the corner of the room. We spent about ten minutes examining it when we realized it was a gigantic slug (okay, maybe it was only a couple of inches.) It was a funny night trying to get rid of it out of our room and we were super over-dramatic about it. Sister Healey is going to have a blast once she makes it to Argentina, isn't she? haha. 

Mirrors... remember my Nacho Libre story last week with the corn field? Well, I guess I have awful luck with this car because last week we were driving through some pretty intense construction and we were driving past those big orange construction barrels. Then you know, all of a sudden this giant orange barrel comes and hits the side mirror and then runs away.... haha just kidding it. I hit a construction barrel going about 40 miles an hour and nicked the side view mirror. The only damage I did was take out the mirror part of it though... I guess I hit it just right? Hope y'all enjoy the picture I will attach. 

And flirting. We feel like we have so many investigators; and we have some really good relationships built up with them. I still feel like I have the "greenie" faith and hope that all of the people we meet are in some way prepared, but I'm getting pretty tired of teaching all of these young hispanic guys where we feel like there is so much potential.... but no, they just want to flirt with you and never make any commitments like coming to church :/ We're not sure what we are going to do with our investigator Jesus :/ 

I love you family! Sorry this email is so short, but you are all champs! 

Con Amor, 

Hermana Rich





29 July 2013

Week 28 "WE FOUND JESUS"

Week 28 
July 29, 2013

FAMILIA! 
Well, there were quite a few funny things that happened to me and Hermana Healey this past week.

I guess one of the most exciting things that happened was..... WE FOUND JESUS. Well, if you really want to get technical, his name is more like the Spanish Jesus....
Last friday night Sister Healey and I were directed to this area to go and do some work. We've been able to find Spanish there before so we decided to go and check it out. Well, first we meet this older lady sitting on her porch and talk to her a while, then her daughter comes out and starts talking to us. She had been taking the lessons years ago and she still remembers the names of the sister missionaries who taught her! It was super cool that we were able to find her again. It was an English contact so we will see if we decide to go back and do anything with it or not. I remember saying to my companion, "I wonder if the missionaries who taught her originally were praying that missionaries would find her again..." WELL then the next door we decide to knock on is a house where we have seen hispanics go in before (yeah we are pretty creepy like that) and guess what? It was that awkward-you-are-knocking-on-their-door-and-then-a-car-pulls-into-the-driveway-and-you-are-standing-on-their-porch-and-they-are-like-"whoarethosewhitegirlsstandingonmyporch?maybeifIspeakspanishtothemtheywontknowwhattodoandthentheywillleave..." Well, did we fool him! We are some white girls that speak some broken Spanish! haha But we started talking to him and he speaks English as well and his name is Jesus and he is from Mexico. After we said hi and everything he asked us what we had to teach him.  He said that he had been taught by missionaries before and that they made a big impression on him. Well, Jesus seems like a pretty golden investigator. He is looking for the truth and he knows he is missing something in his life. Man, we sure hope that we can continue to teach him and that he will be able to recognize that we were specifically sent to him again. We were teaching him again last night and he told us that he thinks a lot about the Elders who first taught him. He hopes that they are still serving God and that they are doing well raising their family... then he told us he hopes the same for us. It was really cool. Jesus is definitely prepared and I know that the Gospel is everything that he needs and is looking for in his life right now, it is just a matter of if he wants to change or not. 

Sister Healey and I have been talking a lot about the people we come in contact to. I have faith that the people we meet have been prepared in some way to receive missionaries. It has been disappointing that a lot of them are able to come to know for themselves that it is true, or that they believe it is true, but they don't want to change at all. We work with quite a few less actives who are like that too, they just don't want to change. They don't want to quite smoking. They don't want to stop working on Sunday. They aren't ready to put God first. I wonder a lot about why I was sent to this area if I'm not seeing anyone become converted and really make those steps to 

One of the things that I love about my mission call is that we meet so many people who love Jesus. The people in the South LOVE JESUS. And most Hispanics with their Catholic background LOVE JESUS. They love God, they recognize that He is the most important thing in their life and that He has done everything for them. I think that is one of the reasons I was called to "preach to the Lamanites" in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. I was supposed to learn something from these people who love God and love Jesus so much. I'm grateful for my mission because it is teaching me that we really do need to put God first in front of everything else. One of the biggest things that has brought me to my knees on my mission is making sure that I am doing what is most pleasing to God. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it feels like other missionaries are driven my numbers and they are so number oriented. I know that God counts numbers, but I also know that He is the first person I should be reporting to.

On Saturday Sister Healey and I met our first Jehovah's Witnesses. We hear a lot about them and somehow they always find the Spanish houses before we do. Not going to lie, there have been a few times where me and my companion discover some JW material on the porch of an investigators house and we sneak it into our bag... 

Back to Saturday: Well, it was kind of funny because Sister Healey and I already looked like little school girls in our skirts and blouses eating ice cream (we found the ice cream man... ) and then we saw them walking back to their car. They were the cutest little hispanic family dressed up in their 

Oh, another story I'll have to tell yall about when I get home. We were visiting our neighbor Bonnie trying to use our time effectively before 9:00 when we needed to be in. Bonnie is a super Christian and we asked her to pray for us before we left. She prayed for about 10 minutes super passionately and then went off into speaking in tongues. When Sister Healey and I got into our house we just looked at each other like... "uhhh... did that just happen? Yeah, that happened."

Another funny story to lighten the mood:
So, Hermana Healey and I were driving out to our ward mission leaders home out in the corn fields of Kentucky (soooooo pretty) and we were jamming out to your EFY 2008 Cd when.... I start quoting Nacho Libre.... you know "Git that corn outta my face!" and I look over to enjoy the beautiful Kentucky corn field scenery then almost run into a ditch.... I freak out and swerve back onto the road and my companion just sits there cracking up. It was one of those brilliant moments where the Nacho Libre quote couldn't have fit more beautifully. 

We also had 14 people in attendance at our Spanish FHE this week! Which was awesome because our "Mission Mom" (Sister Andersen) was there in attendance. The Spanish speaking members are really starting to pick things up. At the end of the FHE they were like "So who is bringing the treats next week? "Who is teaching the lesson next week?" It was really awesome. I think one of the most rewarding things is when MEMBERS take the lead in teaching situations. Missionary work goes so much more smoothly when members are leading. I hope that I can apply that when I get home from my mission. I hope I can always be a missionary when I get released. The Lord is really hastening and we get to see so much more of that when we are out on the Lord's errand. 

Well, I should probably peace out soon. I love you. I hope you are all doing well. Good luck with all of life's endeavors and remember the lessons that I have learned from the people here in the South to just keep putting the Lord first and everything else will fall into place. 

Con Amor,

Hermana Rich

"Let Jesus in your boat, he will calm your troubled waters"
"You can't alter the past so leave the past at the alter"
"The best ability is dependability"
"Believe in Jesus. Just do it."

Semana 32

Semana 32
26 de Agosto, 2013

FAMILIA!

Nuevas noticias de la Hermana Rich!

La Hermana Healey recibe su visa!
Sister Healey got her visa! We found out Friday evening and then Saturday afternoon we found out I would be leaving the area to serve with a sister in McMinnville, TN. It is the Spanish Branch right next to where I was serving before in Manchester, TN. I remember when I left Manchester I thought that I was going to come back. And I guess I did in a way.... maybe I have more to do in the area. 

Entonces, this morning Sister Healey and I drove our car down to Nasvhille and I'm already in McMinnville with Hermana Jensen. She was also serving with a sister who got her visa to Argentina. She's only been in the are two weeks, so lots of good things await the two of us for the next four weeks of this transfer. We've got lots of new people to meet and relationships to build. I'm excited that we will both be getting to know the area together because we will both have to depend on each other. 

Our last week in Hopkinsville was full of lots of miracles! Jesus and his friend came to church and we feel like we were having so much success with the recent converts and returning members that we were working.
Funny thing that our first Spanish investigators at church was my last Sunday in the transfer. The ward is excited to take over Spanish for us even though we won't be there anymore.
The Lord keeps the work progressing even without the missionaries. That's a beautiful thing. The Lord could do the work without the missionaries, but he still uses to do fulfill a purpose. 
I did hear today that they will be sending a Spanish senior couple next week! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THIS AREA NEEDS. 
The Lord is in the details. 

I was sad when I found out that I was leaving Hopkinsville, but I know I had a purpose there and I know that I fulfilled it. There was an Elder talking to us who I feel like helped put it into perspective: the Lord knew the work that we were going to do in Hopkinsville and that is why He sent us there. He didn't send us there to fail, but rather the Lord is in the details of our life and in the details of our investigators and our mission. 
I feel like I'm ready for the change and I know that I grow the most when I get transferred. I'm ready to grow more and to become more of the person that my Heavenly Father would have me be. I prayed and fasted last week that I would become what He wanted me to become, I made a lot of new goals for myself, too. I think this is exactly what I needed. 

I'm excited to serve with Sister Jensen! She is from Cedar City, Utah and is also a 20 year old missionary. 

Hasta la semana que viene!

Con Amor

Hermana Rich

22 July 2013

Week 27

Week 27

July 22,2013

Familia!

I don't have much time, so I will make it quick!

That picture of Rae Dell really struck a cord with me. I hope she is doing well. I love her so much and I will be heartbroken if I am not able to say goodbye to her. I know my personal testimony of the Plan of Salvation will increase so much more though. It really is the Plan of Happiness, isn't it?

We are working hard and are teach about 25 lessons to investigators a week (which is a lot considering we came from nothing in this area).
Kentucky skies are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. 
The bugs love Hermana Healey's legs, but I've been able to get through it pretty well. 
Our investigators love having us come over, but a lot of them aren't keeping commitments. We have also run into a lot of them falling back into their Catholic beleifs, so it has been a challenge overcoming...
 Our Spanish is getting better though and we are able to better communicate ourselves. So that is definitely a blessing! 
I just finished the whole Book of Mormon again. I am so grateful for it and I hope I study it for the rest of my life and that I continue to have copies and copies of it for different theme studies that I'm doing.

We are learning a lot about patience with our investigator Jasmin right now. She is so hard to catch at home, but everytime we see her she is so happy and takes things in so well. She is so prepared and I know that if anything, Hopkinsville was reopened to Spanish work for her. All of the struggles and disappointments that I have experienced on my mission opening up new areas will all be worth it for Jasmin. She is a 17 year old girl though and is really busy all the time. So please pray for her!

Well, I should go! Love you all! Grateful for Heavenly Father's plan that will keep us all together!
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich


08 July 2013

Week 25

Querido Familia!

July 8, 2013

How was the good ole Fourth of July? Sister Healey spent dinner at a member's house and then had to be in our apartment by 7:00. After planning we built a fort and watched "17 Miracles." Let's just say there was a consistent flow of tears. But it was really fun. That makes for two fourth of julys down and one more to go before our whole family is together. Just think, the last one where we were all together (2011) was Pre-Nolan time. Who will be the next addition to the family (cough, cough, Katie & Nick?) (cough, cough KC?) (cough, cough or will it be me who brings someone else in? haha). Hope it was grand!
And can I please take some time to bear my testimony about how powerful 17 Miracles is. Yall should watch it. It is beautiful. After I watched it I couldn't do anything but be grateful for the pioneers who took their trek to Zion. I don't know if I have told yall this, but there are a couple of members here in our ward who are really big into Kentucky history with the church. There is a lady in the ward who bought me a book that was published all about Kentucky and church history. Charles and Sarah are in it. Did you know that Charles is the only Kentucky-born apostle? Pretty cool, eh?

This week: Well, we didn't have any investigators at church this week, that was a bummer. Jasmin still hasn't been to church, so that means we are pushing her date back, again. I really hope it happens with her and I hope that she is able to be baptized before school starts for her.

We have several investigators who are progressing though, including an older gentleman that we have been teaching who lives in an old folks apartment complex. We will probably have to pass him off to the English Elders soon, but he is a hoot.He is so sincere, we just love Larry.

There have been a lot of TMI stories that have happened to us this week, but Sister Healey and I are staying strong together. Sorry I don't have as much to say this week. I forgot my camera card as well so I don't have any pictures to send yet. 

So last night Hermana Healey and I went to go and visit an investigator who we had only met with once before. We got there and then I noticed a snake on the AC box on the outside of their house! GROSS. Just then, the husband was pulling into the driveway and we were able to get his attention to it before IT SLITHERED INTO THEIR HOUSE. Ah, we tried to come in and have a lesson with Erika, but then all she could think of was her husband in the other room who was moving furniture, doing something with a hammer and vaccuum and walking back and forth between the room and outside.... In other words, Sister Healey and I liked to call this event: the Garden of Erika. The snake was such a distraction! And it was definitely a distraction from Satan. We were only able to share a quick scripture with her, but hopefully we can come back soon. 

Love you! Hope you are enjoying your summer! Send me lots of pics, sorry I can't respond back individually! 

Con Amor,

Hermana Rich

01 July 2013

Week24

Querido Familia
July 1, 2013

We had our first investigator come to church! It was our neighbor Tina. She speaks English, but it was still pretty exciting to see her there and to go around with her. 
TRANSFER NEWS: Hermana Healey and I are staying in the area! It wasn't too much of a suprise because she is still in training. I also feel like we have such a strong connection with so many of our investigators and some of the less actives, or recent converts that we are working with that it just wasn't quite time for us to leave yet. If we stay together for another week she will be the longest I have had a companion on my mission (My longest is only 7 weeks... I guess that is longer than I've even had a boyfriend... oh wait, haha) 

I have had some great laughs and some good times with Hermana Healey. We are thinking she will probably get her visa sometime this transfer... so hopefully we can have a baptism before then! 

We set a baptismal date with Jasmin! But then she couldn't come to church :/ So that will set us back a little bit. She is such a sweetheart. The cutest 17 year old, awkward teenage girl from, braceface from Mexico! Pray for her and our other investigators. I would really appreciate that. 

We are getting a new mission president this week! I'm kind of nervous, but it will be a good time and I think we have all come to terms that it is time for the McKees to come home. They have given so much to us in their service. They are an incredible family and have made such a difference in the Tennessee Nashville area. 

Love you family so much! Hope you are enjoying life and summer. Soak up the summer sun for me! I've never been this white in my life! 

Stay safe and send me some pictures of fourth of july. Sad I am missing another one, and will miss next year's too. I'll be thinking of you. 

Love you!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Rich

"Let Jesus be your rock so you can be on his roll"
"Does God seem far away? Who moved?"
"Christian is our trademark, not a question mark."
"Get in touch with God through KNEE-Mail."


24 June 2013

Week 23

June 24, 2013
 
Familia!
 
We had our second Spanish FHE! This time there were nine people, and they were all from Hopkinsville. That is a success because last week we relied so heavily on the Clarksville Spanish Elders to help us out. We had one less active, three members, a member's friend, and two investigators and then some of their kids. Sister Healey and I taught the 10 commandments with hand signals and that was pretty fun to get everyone involved.
 
The Broadcast last night was pretty cool! It was sad to see it at the Marriott center though. I feel like that place is another one of my homes... but some really cool things were said. I'm super excited to see what changes come in the mission for us, and my new mission president was in the crowd somewhere, that's a weird feeling. I don't know if I have told you this, but the Tennessee Nashville Mission is a pilot mission for facebook. President McKee in his email today wrote about pushing more of us missionaries to get on facebook.I have the option to be one if I would like, but I really don't know how I feel about being a facebook missionary to  be honest, but we will see if the Spirit directs. I just think that there are so many better ways I could be using my time here in Hopkinsville. There is so much finding that we need to do and so much more building to really prepare the way for a Spanish branch....
 
I wish I had some funny stories to tell you, but everyday is funny with Sister Healey. We always find something to lift our spirits. We don't take any pictures, so hopefully I will be able to change that soon with the new camera you sent me! (Thanks Dad!)
 
Also, Nolan looks so different. Sorry to break it to you fam: he is the best looking one of us all... haha. But he is so big, I can't beleive it! And Cougar... hair cut soon? Your hair looked so good before I left... I like it short...
 
Hopkinsville Miracles?
 
I will tell you about an investigator of ours named Jasmin! I think I might have mentioned her before... I found here with Sister McNab last transfer. We had a really amazing first lesson with her and soft committed her to baptism. It was awesome! Then she kept being busy... had school... and then finals... and then she went to Mexico... but then didn't really leave for Mexico... but then did leave...it was a mess. Sister Healey had only met her once but then last friday we went to try and see if she was back from her trip to Mexico yet. When we got there she answered the door, and let us in. She got out her book of mormon that we had left her and she told us she had only read a little bit of it. We asked her how much she read and, what do you know? She was in 2 Nephi 4.... are you kidding me? So then her aunt came into the room and asked about the book. I caught her aunt up with the Restoration (try giving that lesson in 5 minutes or less) and then we taught the Plan of Salvation with them. We asked them to be baptized for the 14th of July and they are both praying about it. The next challenge is getting them to come to church on Sundays. Hispanics are hard to get to come to church because they work ALL THE TIME. Also, the church building here in Hopkinsville only has services in English, so we will have to find someone to translate for us. I guess these are all just little things on the road of miracles that Heavenly Father has in store for us.
 
Angel and Oscar were also the investigators that were able to make it to our Spanish FHE. We heard a rumor that they are moving to Nahsville. I really hope that is not true because they are awesome! Super funny and such a blast to have around. Angel has prayed about baptism and wants to be baptism. We haven't been able to have him come to church yet though... so we will have to do some adjusting for a baptismal date....
 
There is also another investigator that we have been working with named Roberto. We met Roberto trying to contact an old potential named Fernando. Instead he answered the door and started asking us questions. He had a lot of good questions and since we spoke to him in English the conversation flowed so naturally. We have taught him a couple of times now and he came to one of our Spanish FHE's a couple of weeks ago. The other night we had a lesson with him and he went off talking about how he didn't think it was coincidence that we knocked on his door looking for Fernando, but found him. It was amazing how he recognized for himself that we were sent to him. It is also crazy that he is in Hopkinsville because there are so many reasons for him to not be here.... he is stationed at Ft. Campbell military base and his wife is stationed at Ft. Knox. He was at Ft. Knox and his trying to get back there, but he will be in Ft. Campbell for a while until he can get out there. If there is anyone prepared, it is Angel, Roberto and Jasmin... I can't even tell you. I haven't had any baptisms my whole mission. Before coming out, I knew that I didn't want baptisms to be just a number to me, but it is getting to me that I'm almost a third of the way through my mission and I haven't had one yet... I know there are so many miracles that lay ahead for Hopkinsville and I know I have worked so hard to be here. Opening new areas is tough, especially when I'm still learning all a lot about missionary work. Also, I got another cold virus... again! I swear I have had the same cold virus four times on my mission already! I was feeling really sick on Saturday, but was still trying to convince myself to go out and work. Let's just say, I had a "conflict" with the curb... in a mission vehicle... so Cougar, don't feel too bad about your accident in dad's car. Your sister out in Kentucky left a nice mark on the bumper of the Lord's Ford Fusion...
 
There is also a maintenance guy that works on our apartment a lot. He saw our apartment loaded with all kinds of church material and one day asked us for a book of mormon. We gave it to him willingly, then yesterday we saw him around the apatments. We asked him if he had had any time to read and he said that in his spare time he tries to... and what do you know? He tells us he is about a fourth of the way through it in Mosiah... are you serious? haha.
 
We are also teahing another neighbor who likes to sit out on her porch at night. Awesome person to visit for the awkward 8:30 hour? YES. Well, if anyone needs the gospel, it is Tina. She is super cool though and we love being able to talk to here when we can. We gave her a book of mormon yesterday, so I really hope she reads it. I'm not sure how long it will be until we can get here to read the book, but
 
Also, have y'all heard of Duck Dynasty? Well it is huge here in the South and I think you should start watching it. 1) So you can give me an idea of what it is like 2) So y'all can have a better insight into what Hopkinsville, Kentucky is like :) Haha, let me know.
 
Also, we find out about transfers next week, but I feel like I should be staying. I feel like I still have so much more of a duty to fulfill here in Hoptown, and I feel like I'm still waiting to see the fruits of my labors.
4 people pryaing for baptism, 3 progressing investigators and others who are starting to come out of the woodworks. Please start praying for them to be able to make it to church! That would be super awesome if they could come. I know a lot of them know it is true and I just want them to be able to come to church to help them in their conversion process...
 
Love ya fam. Still trying to work my hardest, but I never feel like my hardest is good enough. Sister Healey has a saying, "The Lord is easily pleased, but not easily satisfied." I am working so hard, but still trying to satisfy the Lord here in Hopkinsville.
 
Good luck with all your endeavors family. Can you beleive it is almost July? THAT's crazy. I'm sorry I don't have time to write y'all back individually like I would like too, but I feel like there is always so much more that I could be doing that I'm not. I have to learn to how prioritize through it all.
 
But...
Mom & Dad: good luck refinancing the house!
Cougar: good luck with football this summer? and piano lessons! you don't beleive how incredibly blessed you are to have that opportunity
KC: awesome news about ragnar! and you are moving to Arizona this summer?
Katie, Nick & Nolan: hope the fam is doing well. is there another one on the way soon?
 
Love y'all.
 
Hermana Kristy Rich