Monday, August 22, 2016

Elder Witt & I Will Do Great Things!

August 22, 2016

Nyob Zoo,

Tuesday: We had transfers, Elder Harolds and I hugged goodbye and that was it. He kinda ran off after that. Haha he was ready to go home. It was a fun transfer together though. The rest of the day went pretty crazy after that!! SO I was paired up with Elder Hibbert (he's training too) for 2 days and served in his area. But getting to his area was the crazy part! SO missionaries are with their companions 24/7 except if you have special permission. Elder Hibbert and I got permission to SPLIT DRIVE!! WE had 2 cars that needed to go to his apartment complex so he and I got to drive by ourselves the whole way their. The trick to that is that we need still need to try to stay with in sight of each others cars, and trying to do that while driving in FRESNO, is SUPER HARD! But we pulled through! I had tons of fun serving with Elder Hibbert for the next 2 days though. It was pretty fun. He's a great missionary and I hope to serve around (or with) him again!!

Thursday: I got to meet my new companion, Elder Witt!! It was an interesting greeting, especially cause he ran away from me when I first met him!! Haha it was pretty fun though. We got back to Atwater pretty late that night so we didn't really have a lot of time for lessons but we went to a gas station to fill up the car we were using for the night. While there, we talked to everyone that came to the gas station. It was a really fun experience! We set up a few return appointments (they flaked...but still fun!!)! 

Friday: We met with Tom and had a pretty good lesson about the Plan of Salvation! He is starting to understand more and it's cool to see the growth he has made thus far!!! Still to anxious to set a baptismal date but it's ok!!! We'll keep working with him!! 

Saturday: Saturday I introduced Elder Witt to Winton!! Haha we spent basically the whole day there! It was super fun!!  We talked with everyone! So we and the Atwater 3rd Branch Elders (Spanish) made a kind of pact to talk to EVERYONE we see!!! And if you let someone pass you by or pass by someone, you have to do 5 push ups. It's been awesome!! We really do talk to everyone!! And sometimes while we're talking to others people still pass by so we have to do push ups but it's totally worth it! Elder Witt and I are going to do some great work this transfer that's for sure. With that being said, with all the people that we have talked to this week we have a TON of return appointments with people!! Now we just have to work on sorting out those who are truly interested and not!!

Sunday: Sunday was fun because we went to Yosemite for Sacrament meeting!!! I guess the Merced Stake goes and has a ward go up to a chapel in Yosemite every now and then. So we got permission to go and it was awesome! I was asked to speak...again...I gave a talk on Finding Answers Through Prayer, and for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE I enjoyed and felt calm speaking from behind a pulpit. It was a really cool experience that I hope to have again. That's all for this week!! I love you all!!
Elder Richardson

Dinner at a members house.  These are pictures that the member took and texted to mom and dad while was there (Bro. and Sis. Wilcox).  They have a daughter serving a mission in South Dakota.

Friday, August 19, 2016


AUGUST 16, 2016

Hey Everyone!, 
Monday: After emailing last week we played basketball for about an hour. Even though I have 2 pretty bad ankle injuries....I'm suffering a lot from it haha. Monday night we had dinner with the Pickett family. They are a fun family with 4 kids that are at home and then like another 4 that are living outside the house now. We had a yummy macaroni and cheese with sausages! It was delicious! After that we rode around and just talked with people for the rest of the night! Not  a lot of success but we shall prevail!!!

Tuesday: On Tuesday we met with one of our newer investigators, Mikayla, at Starbucks. We taught  a little bit of the Plan of Salvation to her but weren't able to get to much out of our mouths cause she is a bit of a talker herself. Afterwards, we drove down to Winton (we had the Spanish Elders car for some random reason...?) and met with Sister Tornabene. Sister Tornabene has had a hard life and still is. She is a super sweet woman though and has the coolest color of blue eyes that I've ever seen!! later on, we met with one of our investigators named Jasmine. Jasmine is 19 years old and works at the Taco Bell right next to our apartment!!! She has been taught by missionaries before but has decided to give it another chance. We taught the Restoration and committed her t pray and read to know if it's true!!  We are meeting with her either Thursday or Friday for another lesson.

Wednesday: On Wednesday we went on exchanges with the zone leaders (Elder Cummings and Elder Perkins) I went to the Hmong 5th branch (My HOME AREA!!!! <3) with elder Cummings and Elder Perkins stayed in the area with Elder Harolds until about 7 until they did some work in the Merced 1st ward (that's the other area the zone leaders cover). I HAD SO MUCH FUN!!! I loved going back into the Hmong branch for a day! I have forgotten so much of the already little Hmong I know. But it was still awesome though. We got to see 2 of my favorite recent converts, Phoua Moua (the first woman I ever got to baptize) and Nancy Vue (a 19 yr old hmong girl that got baptized in January. It was good seeing both of them and knowing that they are active and strong in the church! We also had 3 DINNERS THAT DAY!! WE had a 3, 5, and 7:30 dinners!! Elder Cummings and I were SOOOO stuffed by the end!! It was so good though!! TO finish off the night before bed, Elder Cummings and the rest of us played ping pong at their apartment. It was loads of fun! 

Thursday: We saw the Taccuba family and we taught Elizabeth (unbaptized 8 yr old.) about 3 Nephi 11 through 26 about Christ coming to the Americas. This little girl is sooo SMART and comprehends a lot of what we are teaching her!! She wants to get baptized so bad but he rparent swan tto wait till she turns 9 in November!! SO it's not too far away!! But still a little bit to go.

Friday: We visited Tom (we haven't been able to get in the last few weeks) and taught a little bit about the Plan of Salvation!!! 

Saturday: We had transfer calls!!!!!!! AND....I'm going to be training a brand new missionary!!!!! 

Sunday: Elder Harolds gave his farewell talk in the ward today. He's been a good comp that I have learned a lot from. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!! 
Elder Richardson

Hair parted on the other side to hide my shame


Elder Hopkins and I have matching shirts.

I saw Sister Zuleski -Hmong member from my              
Merced days at a restaurant.                                                    My comp leaving me?

Temple trip picture with Elder Moderos - He is in training right now.
We missed the zone temple picture.  


AUGUST 8, 2016

Nyob Zoo!,
On Monday, Elder Harolds and I went and got haircuts from Bishop at the Salon ( I had my hair re-cut because it's too long for missionary standard in my opinion). And then! I went and got my eyebrows threaded!! My eyebrows are on fleek again and I love them! The Punjabi lady that worked their sat me down and looked at me and asked me how I liked my eyebrows done. i told her and then she looked at me more and said, "Ok. I will fix this." And motioned at my whole face!! How rude right? Oh well! she's just jealous cause her eyebrows have never looked as good as mine do NOW!  Monday night wasn't super eventful, all of our set appointments fell through so we just talked with people for the rest of the night. It was fun though! I absolutely love talking to people about the gospel! 
On Wednesday at lunch, we went up to the Spanish Elders apartment and I asked Elder Mora if he would like to shave in my part more. He said yeah cause he has a straight razor that he has been practicing with and wanted to try it out on my head. About 5 minutes later I realized I had made the absolute biggest mistake of my life. i now have an inch and a half wide part that is shaved clean on the side of my head!!! It is HUGE!! After lots of laughs about the landing strip I now had on my head we had to get going to Winton. But before we left I shaved a part into the other side of my head and I now part my hair to the other side (for obvious reasons). Anyways, we biked down to Winton and had a really good lesson with the Wagner's (a less active family that is returning to activity) about the priesthood and how it can still affect them and their family even though they are an all woman household.  Later on we had dinner with the Wilcox's! They invited one of their neighbors over whose 14 and not  a member! We had an amazing dinner and then watched a video about John the Beloved and his point of view during Christ's life. It was an amazing lesson! If Michael doesn't move to Texas with his dad in the next few weeks (family drama), we will hopefully start teaching him and his mom!! 
On Saturday we picked up a new investigator named Makayla. She lives in this ghetto part of town where a lot of shootings and robberies happen daily. She is really cool though. She was a referral from the 2nd Ward Elders. She has  a friend in the 2nd Ward that she is super close with and she told us that because of her and her example she wants to take the lessons and hopefully baptized!! She is SO prepared! I know Heavenly Father has truly been preparing Makayla through out her 19 years to be ready to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ! We are going to see her again on Tuesday! 
That's all for this week! I love you all!! 
Elder Richardson



Had i seen these pictures before... I would have stopped it here... but wait it gets worse!!

Landing Strip on my head... needless to say, I part my hair on the other side now to cover it up.


AUGUST 1, 2016

SO this last week we had zone Conference on Tuesday and it was awesome!! I learned a lot about using our time here more wisely and how to better PRACTICE teaching with my companion! It was really awesome! I volunteered for almost every reading, Role Play, etc.. Basically whenever President Clark or anyone giving a training asked us to do something I shot my hand up just cause I learn better from hand's on experience! SO why not volunteer right!?!?! Haha it was awesome. After Zone Conference we went and had dinner with the Stake President over the Merced/ Atwater wards. President Schofield is a really amazing man who has missionary work ALWAYS on his mind and is always ready and willing to share the gospel with ANYONE!!

The next day (Wednesday), we had exchanges with the Atwater 3rd Branch Elders (Spanish). (Long story short, at zone conference my comp got made District Leader for his last few weeks so now we have to go on Exchanges with everyone in the District) Elder Harolds went with Elder Hopkins and Elder Mora came here with me!!! HAha I took him on an adventure!! We went out to WInton (like a 20-25 minute bike ride) and saw a few members. One of the members we saw had some BEAUTIFUL huskies that they sell as show dogs (that's a good business to be in if you know how to raise high quality dogs). Later on we biked to the other end of our area and tried to see a few potentials. Nobody opened up but we ended up running into a member from Idaho who was here in Cali doing summer sales for Pest Control. We talked with him for a while and he convinced Elder Mora and I that we need to do Summer Sales after our missions!!! It sounds pretty awesome!! 

On Friday, we went on Exchanges again, but this time with the Atwater 2nd ward Elders. Elder Harolds stayed in our area with Elder Talbot and I went to their area with Elder Toombs.
Elder Toombs and I had a ton of fun. On Saturday, he and I went and helped one of their members put sealant in their pool! SO there was 4 people total in this drained pool painting, and that day just happened to decide to be the single hottest day of the year here and completely baked us in this walled off pool!1 Haha it was lots of fun though. I'm just happy Arizona's heat has prepared me for something like this because about a half hour into it, the other 3 were saying how they were starting to get delirious. Meanwhile, I was hot, but was good to go and full of energy! They thought I was kinda weird because of that!! 

After we exchanged back, Elder Harolds and I had a lesson with Gladys (INV). We read Alma 32 with her about faith. We set a date for August 13th with her and she came to church the next day!! I love you all and hope this week is awesome for you!!1 

Elder Richardson 

Glady's son Geo wanted to put on my tag.



JULY 25, 2016

Haha so we had a crazy, as well as awkward, week.
On Monday, we were at a part member family's home for dinner (part member family is one person is a member, the spouse, boyfriend, etc... is not. Anyways, we were having a great meal and about to get into the lesson when the mother of the member knocked on the door. We continued to go into the lesson with the mother there. We shared a video and at the end we were starting to talk to the nonmember parent about re-taking the lessons (he's been taught before). As we were about to extend the invitation, his mother-in-law started telling him how he needed to get baptized, sealed to his family, etc... and kept telling him about how bad he's gonna feel if he doesn't get baptized and so forth. She went on for about 10 minutes and my companion an I kinda came to a conclusion about the nonmember parent. He has never really shown a true desire to learn. He's just felt pushed into it (forced). And that's not how Christ's gospel works. People need to want to learn before getting into the gospel. You can't be forced or else you won't apply it to your own life. After we both had this thought, we ended the lesson really fast. After we had a closing prayer, I walked up to the nonmember parent and asked him to read Alma 32 from the BOM  and asked him to pray about it and that we would call him in 2 weeks to see if he would like to meet with us or  not! We can't wait to call him next week to see what his answer is!! 

On Tuesday we had a lesson with a new investigator we picked up named Tom. He's an older gentleman who fought in Vietnam. He lives like right next to our apartment (literally, 2 doors down). We taught him The Restoration and the Spirit was strong there. He seemed to accept it. he's just a little embarrassed that he's never heard of it before cause he's so old and we're so young. We told him that it's completely fine and that if he does the reading that we ask him to do and keep meeting with us he will be understand in no time! We're going to go see him again on Saturday morning at 9AM!! 

Tuesday night we went to go meet up with Fry at the canal but he wasn't there!!! 
We saw him again on Thursday night and we accused us of not showing up!! Haha he forgave us somewhat though and we're going to meet him again at the canal tonight!! Wish us luck!! 

On Saturday night we had a Pioneer Day celebration in the field behind our church. It was awesome!! We had burgers and hot dogs and fun deserts!!They had fun little pioneer games too!! Including the stick pull game!! Anyways, the members told my comp and I that we should go against each other. We went twice and had no winner. On the third try, we snapped the stick in half! So that leaves the question...
What happens when an unstoppable force clashes with an immovable object? (fruit for thought (;  )

After that we got all age groups from primary age to adult and played Ultimate Frisbee (my comp and I played in out proselyting clothes!!! Anyways, I was put on the same team as the Bishopric (my comp was on the other team). We ended up slaughtering them 10-4!! HAha it was really fun to run around in proselyting clothes and play sports. The only downside was the field was filled with fire ants so my feet have a lot of bites! But...the pain is worth the glory of being on the same winning team as my 50+ year old Bishop!! 

That's all for now!! Love you all!! 

Elder Richardson

Meeting with investigators here at the canal.

Put me on one of those Puppy Calendars!!  


JUNE 18, 2016

This week we talked with basically everything that moved! I love talking to people about the gospel so much. It's honestly the best thing to talk about and leaves you feeling so spiritually high!! I absolutely love it! 
On Monday, Preparation Day flew by. But after Preparation Day we went to go contact former investigators in our area. The first one we tried was on the phone in his garage when we got to his house so we went and knocked on his neighbors door as not to be rude and interrupt him on the phone. Nobody answered so we went back to his house and noticed his garage was shut but all his cars were still there. We then went and knocked on the door loudly and rang the doorbell and NOBODY answered it! You could hear people inside but they were obviously hiding from a 19 and 20 yr old....Haha oh well though. After that we just started street contacting people in that neighborhood cause everyone and their dogs (literally) was outside taking a walk. We ran into a lot of nice people that weren't interested. Finally, as we were heading to the end of the neighborhood to start our journey home, we ran into this girl named Gabby. She's 17 yrs old, going to be a senior in high school and is Christian. We are going to go see her tonight at 7:30

On Tuesday, we went and saw the Tacubbas (less active family that is starting to reactivate). We went over and taught their 8 yr old daughter(she's preparing for baptism) the Law of Chastity. Let me tell you...even the dad didn't know how to teach that without having to teach her things she didn't really know about yet. It was pretty awkward...but we made it kid friendly! We talked about "nono squares" and how you shouldn't touch or let somebody else touch inside your nono square. So overall it ended well! Later that night we were out street contacting and we met a girl named Chrissy. She's 18 and just graduated, her parents are Methodist but she's not. We got to talking and ended up teaching her the message of the Restoration on the spot. It was a really good lesson. We scheduled to come back Saturday but came to find out she was moving Saturday to Chico, California. We are sad she is leaving but will definitely make sure she has missionaries visiting her up there!! 

On Thursday, we had a "hand-off" lesson with one of our current investigators, Doug. he lives in Turlock and so he will no longer be meeting with us. We have a member that lives outside of our ward and mission boundary but has permission from the First Presidency to come to our ward cause it's closer. So, because of that, we are able to leave our mission boundary to go see these members (isn't that cool!?!?). So we set up a lesson for the Turlock missionaries to come to our members house and we were there so that we could introduce Doug to them. It was a good meeting and I am excited to hear about Doug getting baptized. I didn't really get to now him but I know that he is prepared for baptism that's for sure. He's a great guy and is going to be a great member of the church in Turlock! 

On Saturday, we had dinner with Gladys and James and had a great lesson with them afterwards. We talked with them and Gladys said that she and James had talked about her baptismal date (Aug. 6)  but that they had never prayed about it. We bore powerful testimony on the power of prayer and how we get answers to our prayers by acting on them and committed them to pray and read Alma 32. 

Gladys and James came to church the next day. They only stayed for Sacrament but it was still good to see them there! They said they would come next week and we are going to hopefully see them on Saturday.

That's all for this week though! Love ya!1

Elder Richardson



JUNE 11, 2016

Wat up Yung Sons!,
This week was CRAZY!
Monday: After emailing we went and said bye to lots of members and then went to watch fireworks (we didn't touch them though!!). It was sad to say bye to all the members in Visalia but I'm excited for Atwater. So our area is pretty big. We cover half the city of Atwater and then the city of Winton and Cressey, all on bikes. So needless to say, I have probably already biked more here than I did in Visalia. It's awesome though! 
On Wednesday we biked down to Winton and spent the day there. Before when I was covering that area in the Hmong branch I had a car and it seemed like an ok town. On a bike, I realize that it is ghetto and sketchy!! Lots of poverty and mean looks come our way. I counted and about 10 out of like 30-40 people I waved at in their cars waved back. I still love to wave and throw a gigantic smile their way though! It makes a lot of people smile too! Who knows! Maybe my smile made their day! Cause not everyone here is on the best position! So if 2 guys in white shirts with corky smiles make their day I'm happy to do it! 
We talked to a lot of people this last week and now have like 5 return appointments with people this next week!! Hopefully something good comes of them!! 
On Saturday, we committed one of our Investigators to baptism!! His name is Larry, he's 46 years old and VERY humble! We taught him about how baptism is a commandment for all of us while on this Earth life! (John 3:5) He said he didn't know that but now that he does he NEEDS to be baptized! We set a date for the 23rd of July! Unfortunately, he didn't come to church so we have to push his date back. He'll be ok though! 
On Sunday we set ANOTHER baptismal date as well! Her name is Gladys. She is in a part member family (boyfriend is a member) and has 2 kids (Geo is almost 2 and Liam is almost 1). We committed her to august 6th! We were very up front with them though. Gladys and James (boyfriend) are excited though and ready to take this step in the gospel! That's all for this week! Love ya'll!

Elder Richardson

Goodbye Visalia - Here's just a few I said goodbye to:
Reyes Family                                                               Nicole

7-11 Wrestling Max Reyes, he thought he could beat me - BIG mistake.

7-11 My comp doesn't like pictures too much... Elder Harolds.


JULY 4, 2016

Happy 4th of july everyone!!!!,
This past week was definitely a crazy fun one! So the temp here has gotten up to about 105-110 (still nothing like AZ heat but a little hot) and we have been cruisin through it on our bikes all week! 
On Monday Elder Sparks and I got done with all of our regular Preparation Day stuff and went back home and did the most incredible thing...we napped!!!! Oh my goodness it was so amazing! We took a 2 hour nap and both of us woke up feeling like we were on top of the world! I've honestly forgotten how amazing naps felt!! Definitely one thing I need to start doing on more Mondays! 

On Tuesday we went to A&W with a Brother barton (member) for dinner. I've never had their root beer straight off the tab...IT was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! I've never had root beer that good before! Later that night we went over to John's (Investigator) house to have a lesson with him. He wasn't at church on Sunday and sent us a text saying that he wanted to meet with us. We went over and he expressed some concerns with us and almost tried to drop us. We don't go down easy though!! We talked more and committed him to read 3 Nephi 11 and to pray about it with REAL INTENT. And if he does that. Then he will get his answer to know if he should get baptized the 9th or not.

On Thursday we went over to this less active ladies home and washed her dog Pookie for her! She recently just got out of a surgery to get her toes shortened cause one of them was abnormally bigger than the other 4 on her right foot. She has metal rods sticking out 3 of her toes right now (kind of gross to think about). But it was pretty fun to talk to her and wash the dog! 

Later that evening we took one of our investigators named Bill to a baptism that was going on that night. Bill is a Nazarene and has been for  awhile but passed our church once and said that something, "told him he needed to go visit that church". We told him that was the Spirit and he loved it. The baptism was amazing!! The Spirit was so strong. On the way home Bill talked about how he liked a talk that someone had given about the Holy Ghost at the baptism and wants to feel it more in his own life!! It was awesome! he wasn't able to make it to church this last Sunday but we know he will come soon!!! 

On Saturday we had transfer calls!!! And....(drum roll!!!) I'm getting transferred!! I'm heading back to the Merced Zone to go serve in the Atwater 1st War! (Atwater is about 10 minutes from Merced). My companion that I'm going to be serving with is named Elder Harolds! I have seen him around before and know that he's from Texas and that he is actually going home this next transfer! i'm excited to serve with him though! 

On Sunday some members invited us to go watch fireworks with them. They live right behind a country club that does fireworks so they have the best seats to watch them from!! It was lots of fun! 

Hope all of ya'lls 4th of july is amazing! Love you all!!

Elder Richardson
This is us washing Pookie

This is the Avengers apartment: 

This is the last Avenger District Picture before Transfers:

Elder Taylor and I                               Elder Johnson & I w/ Elder Woodman in background


JUNE 27, 2016

SO this week was a BLAST!!!
On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference and it was amazing! We really stressed the importance of our teaching skills! Cause we are great at finding people to teach! But for some reason our mission is starting to lack in our teaching skills! So our mission has what we call "Ferocious Finding" and now we're starting what we call "Turn-up Teaching". We are really focusing on letting people know why we are coming over to teach them and our purpose in it all! So basically, the basics!! It was a great zone conference.
Later that night, Elder Sparks and i went out with a member and his son to go see a referral that we had gotten the day before. His name is Miguel and he is a TRUE TRUTH SEEKER. He is just looking for the truth and something that is going to help strengthen his faith that he says has really been shaken and broken down lately! He is so awesome and is ready and willing to learn!! we are going to see him again on Friday and we can't wait!! 
On Wednesday we committed 2 of our investigators to baptism!! 
1.Bill Tloa, he's a Nazarene that his super religious! We taught him about how he will be able to see his wife again (she just died in January of cancer) and tied it back into the priesthood and taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved it and said the he knows the Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God like the Bible. we invited him to be baptized and he said yes!! We're meeting with him later this week to talk about a date.
2. John Gatewood, he's a former investigator from a year ago that we recently came into contact with!! He has some of the most sincere prayers i have ever heard! He knows the Book of Mormon is true and loves coming to church!! We invited him to be baptized on July 9th and he said YES!!!!!!!!! 
We're so excited for the both of them!! 
That's about it for this week though! It was just a great week over all!! 
I love you all!! 

Elder RIchardson