Tuesday, June 24, 2014
I would not give up my mission for anything!
Boa tarde, todo mundo! First things first: do not watch the news about São Paulo. None of you need to be seeing what´s going on here, because it´s CRAZY! But it´s not super dangerous. Just don´t watch the news... I´m super excited for Brasil to destroy Mexico in the World Cup. It´s not fair that the U.S. has to lose so quickly. It´s in the "group of death" with Portugal and Germany, two of the best teams in the world... By the way, I love soccer... I got the package! PEANUT BUTTER! It´s heaven! I´ve still got some, just a little to pay for a haircut (a missionary from Fortaleza), repay a member for taking our baggage to the mission office, and a little more for me and my companion. It was a great package! Thank you SO MUCH! I loved it! I´m working on a package to send home! I just need to save up enough money and JA ERA! I´m taking lots of pictures and tomorrow (P-Day was moved because we have to stay in our apartment on the days Brasil plays) I will put them all on the pen drive you sent. I hope they all fit! At least, I´ll put as many as I can, starting with the MTC. I´m also keeping up diligently in my journal (never missed a day) so I´ll have lots of stories to share! Also, you may want to look around on YouTube for a video about my mission. It´s really good! So, we had transfers! I´m staying in Palmares (Casa Grande), but Elder Pinheiro went to Guarapiranga, and Elder Greenwood went to Ranieri. Elder Florentino´s new companion is Elder Parraguez, from Santiago, Chile! He´s really cool and has a sweet accent! And my new companion is... ELDER J. BARKER! He arrived with me in Brasil! He served for 8 months in Michigan before receiving his visa. We met in the airport in São Paulo and we conversed in the van going to the mission office! He´s from Springville, Utah (my first American companion in 7 months!) He´s 20 and awesome and sings really well and is District Leader (6 out of 8 months of my mission so far have been spent as companion to the District Leader). This Saturday, we are going to make a visit to Jardim Mirna, my last area, to go to the wedding of an awesome couple. Elder Paiva and his companion will be there, too. Sueli was a less active member, who hadn´t gone in years, and Vagner is non member. But after we started visiting them, Sueli returned to church and Vagner started working toward baptism. Finally, they will be married legally and Vagner can be baptizd! I´ll go to their sealing next year! Their daughter is preparing to serve a mission next year! It´s going to be so great to return and see the fruits of our labor in Jardim Mirna! I´m really excited for this week. We had to stop teaching all of our investigators because they didn´t have enough desire to continue and already weren´t progressing. But a less active young woman, Vanessa (15) returned to church yesterday! She had only gone to church two times, once before the baptism, and once after (to be confirmed), but lost the desire to go back. Finally, after 5 months, she returned. And she is starting to do family history work, and wants to serve a mission, and has a brother and a mom who can be baptized. And her mother, Cisera, makes us cake (already happened three times!). It was truly a miracle brought about by hard work and following up. And of course, it wouldn´t have happened without the help of a family of members who live nearby, who invited them to a family home evening. This week was really edifying! I´m making more friends, growing more spiritually, and learning so much about almost everything! I can´t image what my life would be like had I not chosen to serve. And I can´t believe that I´ll be 19 in less than a month. I´m super grateful for the age-change for missionaries. These are the last days and God is preparing His children at a younger age, to combat the forces of Satan as he tries to destroy us at a younger age as well. I finally read the talks from the last Priesthood Session. What a great conference it was! I loved what President Uchtdorf said about sleeping through the Restoration. It´s true that the Restoration is still happening. What is being restored? The kingdom of God on the Earth. Is it here yet? No. Then what does that mean for us? That there´s still much work to do. We are pioneers. We may not have handcarts, nor do we have to cross oceans or wade through snow or be martyrs, but we are still pioneers: builders of a great nation that will one day fill the Earth, with Christ as its perfect king. This the better world for which we must battle the forces of the adversary. The World Cup has begun, but, as Presidente Pinho reminded us, there is a greater battle being waged. This war has just two opposing teams: the army of God an the army of the devil. We are all enlisted, we are all on the field. We just need to get in the game, and quit sleeping through match. I´m really excited to work harder and make more goals and bring souls unto my Heavenly Father. I know that He exists and that this war is real. I know that the people who I see on either side as I walk down the street, are my brothers and sisters, and that they are perishing in darkness, whether they know it or not. I am a witness to the power of Jesus Christ in the lives of these people. It is only through His Gospel that we can find hope in this life and happiness in the next. Through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, which is: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins (by the authority of the Holy Priesthood), receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, which includes keeping the commandments of God, and making sacred covenants with Him. I know that this is the only way to return to our Father, and the only way that families can be together forever. I´m so happy to be here. I would not give up my mission for anything. It´s making me who I am. These two short years will determine the course of the rest of eternity. If I stay faithful here, and do everything I can, then I will have the tools to continue on, after the mission. I love working alongside the Master in His vineyard. I invite all to come join us in this great work. I promise that you can never go wrong when you trust in the Lord, return to Him, and stay with Him. Christ lives and He loves us. This is His church. President Thomas S. Monson is His prophet. I and my companions are His messengers and we represent Him. It is an honor and a privilege, and is available to all who are willing. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I love you all so much! Have a great week! Love, Elder Richins