A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, February 23, 2015

I presented my decision to the Lord, and He confirmed it with a warm sensation in my heart, that I should stay and finish my mission.

Last Sunday, I gave a talk in church about overcoming despair and discouragement. Tuesday was transfers! I´m still with Elder Sharp and still in Interlagos! The only change in our district is our district leader, Elder Medina, 26 from Peru. Cool fact: he has more time as a full-time missionary, than as a member (non-full-time-missionary). We had a special musical number, a quartet (including Elder Sharp and Elder J. Barker) with me on the violin, and a pianist. We played "I´ll Go Where You Want Me To Go". It was awesome! I said good-bye to many loved missionaries who are going home this week. Among them are Elder J. Barker, my old companion, and Sister Farnsworth, from our stake! It was hard to say good-bye, but I know that we´ll all meet up again, at least on facebook. After the transfer, President pulled me into his office for an interview to prep me to receive revelation in the temple. Then, we took the train and a bus to the temple. We saw the new film! It was such a great session. As I sat in the celestial room, I opened with a prayer, read my patriarchal blessing, then my mission call, then I prayed again. I presented my decision to the Lord, and He confirmed it with a warm sensation in my heart, that I should stay and finish my mission. On the way home, we ran into 10 Americans! First was a missionary from the Rio de Janeiro mission about to go home, second was a brother who had served in Goiania, and was visiting the temple. Third was a sister missionary from Rio also about to go home, and fourth and fifth were her parents. We met with them in the Walmart (I developed some photos). Six through nine were two couples of senior missionaries, one of which might be my distant cousin! There´s Richins in his family and he´s from Utah (near Box Elder, or something like that). One of them lived in Joplin for a time! We talked a lot and got a picture with them. They teach self-sufficiency trainings to missionaries before they go home. The last American was a nonmember who respects Mormonism, but does not have a religion. He used to work in O´Fallon, Missouri, where my vitamins are made. What a small world! On Wednesday, we had a tri-ward family home evening (we have one every week). On Thursday, we went to see Doctor Carmen. The doctor gave me more medicine and we are waiting to see if the drops are really taking a positive effect. My "up moments" are higher, and my "down moments" come a little more frequently, but I feel more hope. This week, I want to start working again. On Friday, we had a ward social about unity. It was pretty good! We had a miracle yesterday at church! Diane, a recent convert who works at the nursing home, convinced her boss to take two patients and another worker to church. One of these patients (Cristiane) is a less-active sister whose records need to be moved from Parque Pinheiros (no one knows she´s here), and the other (Maria Ducarmen) asked to be baptized! She just leaned over and asked what she needs to do to be baptized in our church. We marked her for the 7th of March. I feel really good about this! And, the other worker who came, Carol, brought her husband and two kids to church! And the boss, Ivanilson, stayed for priesthood meeting, and felt the spirit so strong! He was crying, and asked for a Book of Mormon so that he could study it this week in preparation for next week! We will go back to the nursing home this week to do a service project, and I want to take Bishop there. Diane´s son, Lucas, will have his interview with Bishop to recieve the Aaronic Priesthood. All of these blessings came because Sister Anhanha called us to tell us that Diane was moving from Jardim Campinas to our ward. Just imaginewhat would have happened had we not followed the Lord´s commandment to teach all the recent converts! Junior and Melissa, a less-active couple we are working with, are progressing well. Junior is going to switch jobs so that he can go with Melissa to church on Sunday. We also met Camila, a young woman who had gone to church in the past, and also received the missionary lessons. She showed up on Sunday, was introduced to us, and we will visit her today, to help her be baptized this Saturday. That´s our goal, I´m stoked. Alessandra will get her baby this week! And Davi went camping with the youth during Carnaval. Alexandre, a recent convert, lost his brother last week. His brother died in a shoot-out with a police officer. He apparently was a major drug dealer. We are going to work even harder to help Alexandre stay true to the faith and get ready to serve a mission. We are also helping another recent convert, Milton, prepare to leave to serve his mission this spring. Today, we will go to Santo Amaro to drop off Elder J. Barker´s tie that I made. It´s really cool. I forgot the adapter, so I´ll send you pictures next week. I´m going to play the violin in sacrament meeting next week! I love you all and I know that Jesus Christ lives! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, February 16, 2015

I won't leave until I know God's will for me

So, tomorrow, I will find out if I should stay or go. I´m going to perform at the transfer meeting, then President will sit me down and teach me out to recieve revelation, then he will send me and Elder Sharp to the temple. I´ll do a session, then sit in the celestial room, and I won´t leave until I know God´s will for me. Personally, I really want to stay, but I really want to know for certain that God wants me to stay. Then, on Thursday, I´ll go back to Dra. Carmen to follow up with the new meds. Last week was great, helping out the old folks´ home. I really liked it! We´ll be working really hard with these children of God to help them prepare to meet their Father in Heaven! Today, we will eat lunch with a recent convert. We´re working with her to take her to the temple to be baptized for her mother, who appeared to her in a dream. We plan on taking her there THIS WEEK. Pray for us! I love you guys so much! And I know that this gospel is true! We are in God´s hands. This is His world, and as we follow His will, we will be led to our heavenly home at His side. I love Him and I love Jesus Christ. I testify that They live in the holy name of Jesus Christ, amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins

Monday, February 9, 2015

I am a witness that Jesus is the Christ.

So, another week come and gone! It´s going by so fast! I don´t have that much to report. Not seeing much success, but we´re going to change that. We´re getting rain, so that´s awesome. If there´s anything worth saying this week, it´s this: I hope you have a great appreciation for Elder Sharp. Seriously, it´s not easy being my companion. He is helping me so much. If it wasn´t for him, I would have given up already. Every day this week, the depression comes harder and harder, more and more frequently. But he´s always at my side, to listen and to encourage. Also, he´s convinced me and I´ve decided that I want to learn to drive a motorcycle. But we can talk about that later. ;) Oh, and before I forget, I got my return date. I keep forgetting to tell you guys. I found out last transfer. I´m not sure if I should tell you guys because I´m afraid that Mom´ll get too trunky. But here it is: 20 October 2015. I´ll have 2 years and 18 days on my mission. I´m very pleased, because it previously was in September. So I just want to share my testimony with you guys. Like I said to Garrett, Ashton, and Ben in an earlier email, I would not be here if I didn´t know that this gospel is true. Without this surety, I would have given up already. Actually, I don´t know if I would have made it out of the MTC. But I testify that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. I know this. Certain events have happened on my mission, one of them was this week, that show me that God loves me, that Jesus Christ knows how to succor me, that the Adversary wants to destroy me, and that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father. I testify that we are on the Earth at this time for a reason, that is, to fight the good fight and stay true to the faith. We are here to build the kingdom of God where we stand, even Zion, the pure in heart, and the covenant people. I am a witness that Jesus is the Christ. I have gotten to know Him in my own small afflictions. He lives, and He is Almighty. Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, February 2, 2015

Today is P-Day Da Zona! Picnic and sports! Woo!

Boa tarde! How is my wonderful family? Hope you guys are well. Neither of the packages have arrived. Probably next week. So, my psychologist contacted Dr. Hargroder and they figured it out! Apparently, pills don´t work for me anymore. Because of the metabolic changes from the surgery, none of the depression medicine has been working, at least not enough to make a difference. And yeah, the vitamins are super necessary, especially B12. Until i´ve got the necessary nutrients in my body, there won´t be improvements. So, now my new medicine is in the form of drops (anti-depressant) and dissolving tablets (sleep). I also talked with the lady in the ward in charge of lunches. I have to really restrict my diet. We are pulling out all the stops to turn around this depression. Today is Super P-Day, or P-Day Da Zona! Picnic and sports! Woo! We need rain! São Paulo is going through a huge drought! Our water is being rationed by the government, and some areas in the mission don´t have water on a regular basis. It´s pretty rough! I´m getting better at the violin! And i´ve started painting (with ballpoint pens). Rachel would be proud. I made a tie. I´ll send pictures next week (remind me, please!) We had five people in church. Rogerio and Daniela took their three kids to church, the oldest, Jonathan, is marked for baptism. This week, with a huge help from Heavenly Father, we saved their marriage. Also, Daniela´s mom and sister are marked for baptism. The other two people at church was Rose (a super elect street contact who came to church by herself) and her daughter. They liked the church a LOT! We´ll follow up with them today. I got a haircut today! I love you guys so much! I know that this gospel is true, and that God loves me and all of His children. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos