28 October 2013

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

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
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."
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

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


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
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",
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