Monday, January 9, 2017

My Testimony

January 9, 2017

Hello Hello and welcome to another segment of, "The Life of a Missionary in the Best Mission There Ever Was" (for those of you that don't's the CALIFORNIA FRESNO MISSION!!!)

HAHA Hope everyone had a great week!!

This week Elder Blume and committed 5 people to baptismal dates!!! We do this because we "Fear NO Man!" (for those of you that have read the Riccardi letter, you understand that).

On Tuesday we found a new investigator named Isaac. He has a pretty interesting conversion to coming to Christ. He attends a satellite church to the Nazarene church in Visalia. He and his wife are youth teachers there. Anyways, the other day he started texting us and asking about things that we are pretty sure he got anti-ed about and hardly gave us a chance to respond before sending something else to us!! Eventually we had just enough space to send a couple messages off to him and now we are going to see him tomorrow. I'm not exactly sure how this is all going to go down; but I know he wants to Bible bash (mostly cause the told us to bring our books and to be ready....) I know I'm not going to Bible bash, but I'm still a little nervous I guess. I want to testify boldly with the Spirit of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. And if he doesn't adhere or listen to the Spirit, then we'll leave. I don't think he understands that there is NO Spirit whatsoever in Bible bashing. So pray for me and Elder Fernandez (we're going on exchanges in my area tomorrow) that we will have the Spirit with us in that lesson with Isaac. All I really want is to help this man feel the Spirit and not believe the anti stuff he seems to now believe. We'll see how it goes!! 

We also got to meet with Edward and Elida twice this week. They are kind of slowly progressing. They didn't come to church this week (Elida was sick so last night we went over and gave her a blessing!!). Elida read from the Book of Mormon but Edward did not. They do feel the Sprit when we read together though!! So that's exciting! We talked about marriage with Edward and the mood changed a little. Haha he started firing questions at us and then we got to talking about temples! So we left them to pray about getting married and baptism on February 11! Before we left, Edward said something along the lines of, "If I'm going to get married again, I'm going to have a big one and go out with a bang!" I love him. He's so awesome! 

I love all our investigators!! This week we also found a guy named Ricky who we are hoping to go have lunch with at the pizza place he works at today after emailing! We set a date with Ricky for February 18th. He's lived a crazy life, a lot of the people we teach usually have. But he wants to give it to God. Something he struggles with, as I'm sure a lot of us do, is that he knows that God has forgiven him of his past, but he has a hard time forgetting them. I'm excited to keep working with Ricky.

The Exeter ward had their fast Sunday yesterday, and based on recent events (he experience with Isaac), I decided that I was going to bear my testimony (well...actually the Spirit told me I was going to go give my testimony...).

SIDE NOTE: For those of you who don't know, I have this super irrational fear about getting up behind the pulpit. I'll do almost any other kind of speaking event without too much stress, but behind the pulpit at church; I feel as though hands are never colder and my stomach has never been so scrambled. So the fact that I voluntarily went up there and bore testimony is HUGE!

Ok sorry about that!! SO I went up to the pulpit and....I froze and ran out of the ROOM! Haha just kidding, I was so overcome with the Spirit. I went up there and I very boldly testified of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and I want to bear it to you guys too! 

I know the Book of Mormon is true with all my heart. I don' care what anyone tries to tell me, show me, etc... It's still true. You could give me physical evidence that the Book of Mormon is not true and I still wouldn't believe it. Because the Spirit DOES NOT LIE. GOD. DOES. NOT. LIE. 
I know without a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith acted out in pure, innocent faith when he prayed to god and asked which church was true. I know he saw God the Father and His Son, Our Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that because of that experience, my life has been changed forever. And if you don't know that this message is true, PRAY! Ask God, with REAL INTENT if it is true. I can promise you, that He will answer that prayer with a YES!! In one way, shape, or another, if we are humble and listening to our Father in Heaven, He WILL manifest the truth of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration to you by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And if you do know this message, it is our sacred duty as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to proclaim the truthfulness of this message to the world!! Or if we're worries about what the world has to say, which we shouldn't be, then at least tell your neighbors. As it says in D&C 88: 81, " hath been given every man that hath been warned, to warn his neighbor." We've all been warned. So we have an obligation to God to do something about it. 

I know that God lives, that He sent His Son to die for each and every single one of us so that we can and will live again. 

I love you all and hope you know that I know this church is true and that you know it to be true in your hearts too.

In the name of our Beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Richardson

Happy New Year - Work Hard

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!! 
This week was fun (like always!!)

This past week Elder Blume and I committed 3 people to baptism! One of them is named Kim, she's a cool black lady that lives up in Woodlake. She basically already studies a little bit from the Book of Mormon every day from what we understand!! We committed her to be baptized on January 21st! She has mentioned that her doctor tells her she needs to drink a cup of coffee every day to lower her blood pressure...not sure how that works. But there are ways to go through and around!! If she has faith like Elder Blume and I do, she will prevail!!! 

The other 2 are named Edward and Elida. Edward and Elida are a couple hat have been meeting with missionaries for 2 PLUS years!! And they have only ever been to church like 1 or 2 times!!! They are a split family and have a total of 4 kids. Edward says the missionaries are "Good Luck" because whenever we start coming around; good things happen in his life. He has also said to our faces that he felt good reading out of the Book of Mormon. Elida grew up Catholic but never really felt she got to choose the religion. So she is searching to join a church for herself. We committed them to be baptized on February 11! BUTTTTTTT...we still need to get hem married! WOOHOO!

Unfortunately, none of them came to church on Sunday.

Also, we are teaching a woman named Sabrina ha we have committed to baptism as well! She's got 2 kids named JazMain (pronounced Jazz-Main, isn't it cool?!?! Mom is white, but daughter is half black) and Ricky. They are 5 and 3. We don't have a solid date for her yet but she has been reading the Book of Mormon!

And last but not least!! My companion’s birthday was on New Year’s Eve!!!!! He turned 20!!!!! On New Year’s Eve we proselyted till 5 and then got picked up for dinner (Our cars had to be parked by 6, but we were allowed to be out with members until 9). We went over to a member’s home and had breakfast for dinner and then just hung out with them until it was time to go home!! Then we planned and went to bed!! SO nothing too crazy!! But still fun!! 

Love you all!! Have a fantastic week!!! 

Elder Richardson

Christmas - God Blesses Every One

December 26, 2016

Merry LATE Christmas EVERYONE!!!!!
I hope you all had a very wonderful Christmas this week!!! I know I did!! We only found 2 New Investigators this week but boy almighty, let me tell you. I got to have lots of fun spreading joy this week. 

Elder Blume and I knocked some doors in the Farmersville (neighboring city we cover) Elders apartment. One of the doors we knocked we had knocked a day prior and talked to a woman named Brittany. We set a kind of appointment with her for 2PM and we were coming by to double check if it was still ok to come by. Instead, a woman named Lisa answered. At first, her intentions were to just tell us to leave Brittany alone and shut the door. We got her talking though and eventually she opened up the door and actually talked with us. She wasn't very interested in the message we had to share, but while talking we found out her family wasn't going to be getting a tree for Christmas, let alone presents for her 3 KIDS cause they couldn't afford it!! We said a prayer with her and she closed the door. Immediately, my mind was racing and I told Elder Blume and then the Farmersville wanted to contribute to the plan. We were going to make sure this family was going to have Christmas this year!!! We went to work, Elders Fernandez and Facer went and bought toys at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, and then we all went to Save Mart and bought a tree and ornaments using a $50 gift card a member had given to us. We hurried back to Farmersville and wrapped and decorated the tree. You could definitely tell 4 Elders had put this tree and the presents together, but we still did it. We went and knocked on Lisa's door and she was speechless...and then started crying. I can't even begin to tell you happy I was at that moment. To see the joy on this woman's face was incredible. It made my Christmas.
I love serving people every day. Although I don't always see the same joy on everybody's face like I did this woman's, I know that the gospel creates joy and happiness 10 fold what the woman probably felt. And that's why everyone needs to know it

Later on that night, we had dinner with the Rogers family. They're an older couple that have adopted 6 little girls (all from 6-8)!!! And one 9 year old boy. At dinner, Sister Rogers cam and asked us a favor. We were going to stay for a couple extra hours after the kids went to bed and then she wanted surprise the kids by waking them up and having the "catch Santa delivering their presents". I got to get dressed up in a Santa suit and my companion went up in the attic and after I "left" he pounded and pranced around making it sound like reindeer riding away off of the roof!! It was awesome!!! Those little girls will definitely NEVER FORGET THIS Christmas. And neither will I. I love you all and want you all to know...that long ago, a babe was born in a manger. And because of what that child did for you, me, and everyone, we can live with our Father in Heaven again. 
Love you all,
Elder Richardson

Operation Christmas For Our Neighbor

Christmas at Stake President's House


My failed mansion gingerbread house.                    From home! What is Christmas without a BALL!

Transferred to Exeter

December 19, 2016

Hello all you WONDERFUL PEOPLE!!!,

SO...this last week was crazy, insane, and wonderful all at the same time!!! I got transferred down to Exeter, back in the mighty Visalia ZONE!! And it's wonderful! My new companion's name is Elder Blume. He is AWESOME!! He and I are like 2 literal peas in a pod! He is super funny. We love to goof off (which is good and bad, but we're getting a handle on it). He's been out just a little longer than I have. He's from the Ogden, Utah area.  He turns 20 on New Years (mom you should send him a gift!). He's the 2nd out of 5 (I believe...he's not in the room right now so I can't reaffirm that). Overall, Elder Blume is a fun, hardworking, serviceable (he's the most service minded missionary I've ever met! ),and very humorous!

Exeter is pretty cool. I'm in a car!! After almost a year of biking, I finally made it back to a car area!! Woohoo!! We actually cover a few different cities besides Exeter. We cover Farmersville, Woodlake, Three Rivers, and a few other places. We even are allowed to go proselyte up in the Sequoia National park area (but we don't have the miles for that)! We have a good amount of investigators. But we are going to be cracking down this week on whose going to progress an who is not. 

We found 3 new investigators this week (well...they're all new to me). We found a Scottish family (William and Chelsea and their 7 year old daughter Tabitha). They are really cool and very bible versed. They are interested in how we believe that we have prophets here on the Earth today and that they are like prophets of old. We actually found out that earlier in William's life...he was baptized a member of our church!! It was crazy! 

The other two are named Ray and Sasha. They are a referral from one of the members of the stake presidency here. We went over to another members home and taught them the first lesson. It went very well. Sasha had questions bout why we need to be baptized an why we need to have the priesthood to do so as well.

I hope everyone is having a WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!! And if you haven't had the chance yet...go check out the Church's new Christmas video! It is AMAZING!! GO to and check it out!! 
Love you all,

Elder Richardson

District Pictures

Willing to do the Work = Blessings

December 5, 2016

Dear family and fiends!! ,

The work is progressing!!!! Elder Thornton and I had a GREAT WEEK!!!
We found 4 New investigators and set 2 baptismal dates!!! 
One of my all time favorite experiences this week goes as follows:
On Saturday there was a parade in Merced that we (missionaries) are allowed to go to (I went to it when I was in Merced last year). Up until this point, Elder Thornton and I had been out of area for a day and a half because of Zone Conference (which was wonderful) and a surprise exchange with the zone leaders in there area (also lots of fun!). We weren't going to be meeting our goals for the week if we went and wasted a couple hours there. SO we (we were the only ones in the entire zone that didn't go) decided to stay back in our area and work. We WERE NOT DISPLEASED!! Heavenly Father SHOWERED us with so many blessings throughout the day!!! We talked with so many people who said that we can come back this week!!! And then, we knocked on a potentials door name Randi. Randi's brother, Levi, opened the door and said Randi wasn't home. We asked him if we could share a message about Jesus Christ with him still and he said YES!!!! We went inside and taught him the Restoration and invited him to be baptized on the 24th of December...He said YES!!! HE then told us how he has felt that he needs to get back into church and we set up a return appointment to come teach his brothers (they're twins apparently, his brother are) on Tuesday!! We are so excited to go back and know that our Father in Heaven blessed us for not going ot that parade!!

I love you all and know that miracles ARE REAL and WILL HAPPEN as long as we are faithful and are KEEPING GOD'S COMMANDMENTS!! (BEING EXACTLY OBEDIENT!!!) 

Love you!!

Elder Richardson