A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lots of old friends and lots of new friends!

It´s so good to be home. I´ve decided that I´ll just go to Joplin to visit, then return and live in Jardim Mirna.... is that okay? Well, I guess we can talk about it later (I´m joking). But yeah, I´m back in my "terra natal", where I grew up in the mission. I´m with Elder Almeida again! Woo hoo! I´m to be his last companion before he finishes his mission on May 5th and returns to Fortaleza. (Genisblau, formerly known as Elder Paiva, will visit São Paulo on the 7th). It´s AWESOME to be here! Lots of old friends and lots of new friends! It´s so great! Just in these first three days, we saw a wedding, we had a baptism (CONGRATS for Paulo!), a service project, and we got cake three times! And I got to eat from one of the three BEST pizzarias in our mission, after almost a year and a half without it. So, I had to say goodbye to Interlagos. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be... I´ve got lots of great friends there. I´ll definitely go visit before I go home. Elder Sharp was called to be secretary of houses, so he´ll be working in the office during the day, and in his area of Santo Amaro at night. My package already arrived, so I´ll go get it on the way home from the psycologist on thursday. I´ll open it right then and there to give Elder Sharp what you sent for him. We went to the temple last Wednesday! It was so great! I was the registrator for the baptisms! It was such a powerful experience. Some of the missionaries were crying so hard, as they were baptized for their immediate family members who had passed into the spirit world. Heavenly Father was so proud of us! We did the baptisms, confirmations, initiatories, and endowments for our ancestors. I want to do more! As we left the temple, I stopped by the distribution center and felt impressed to buy a Book of Mormon in French. I later found out why. Here in Mirna, we have an investigator from Haiti. She is still struggling with Portuguese, and studies the Bible in French, her native language. So, I was able to present her with a copy of the Book of Mormon in her own tongue. She was so grateful! We plan on baptizing her this week. I´m so happy to be back in Mirna. We´ve got lots of work to do, I know that we will have success. I testify that Jesus Christ lives and loves us, and that, through baptism, we become His. And He will never forget about us, nor forsake us. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. I love you guys! Have a great week!

Wow! What a week!

Wow, what a week! PAULO WAS CONFIRMED AS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH! I had the privilege of confirming him and also giving him the gift of the Holy Ghost! Later on in the meeting, he recieved the Aaronic Priesthood! He wants to baptize his whole family! We´re going to help him! MARIA DOS DORES WAS BAPTIZED! Irmá Maria was about to give up, when we taught her about temples and family history work. She felt the Spirit of Elijah and decided to continue on the covenant path! Now, we will help her three grown kids to also come to church! She will be confirmed next Sunday! FRANCISCO AND ANDREIA NEED YOUR PRAYERS! This is the last week we have to mark their wedding in the city hall. Please join us in asking for help from Heavenly Father that we will be able to mark their wedding. They are willing to temporarily separate (in order to keep the law of Chastity) to be baptized. This action is authorized both by President Dalton and Bishop Mario. THREE YOUNG MEN RECEIVED THE PRIESTHOOD! These three young men were once less-active, one of which was found and taught by Elder Paiva and I. Three more recent converts also were sustained to their offices in the Aaronic Priesthood. In total, there are SEVEN priesthood holders in Jardim Mirna. It was so great seeing the Priesthood power grow in one ward! BISHOP GERALD CAUSSE WILL SPEAK TO US! This Friday, as a mission, we will meet in Santo Amaro with Mission São Paulo South to hear the words of Bishop Gerald Causse of the Presiding Bishopric. I´m really excited to hear what the Lord has to tell me through one of His chosen servants! I hope my brother and sister will watch this week´s Worldwide Broadcast about strengthening testimonies! More about it on the church website! A TEMPLE IN CORDOBÁ, ARGENTINA! This week, the temple in Cordoba will be dedicated and consecrated to the Lord. One more House of God in the world means that Satan´s power over the hearts of men will be weaker! This is so much needed in today´s world of disasters and distractions! ELDER ALMEIDA WILL GO HOME... After completing an honorable two years (and a little more), Elder Almeida will go home to Fortaleza, Ceará next Tuesday. He is such a great companion! It´s a privilege to serve with him again and to have been trained by him. I testify that this church is true, and that as we embark in the service of God, we are allowing our Heavenly Father to bless us with more blessings than we can count. President Thomas S. Monson is our prophet. He talks with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Salvation is only found within the bounds of holy sacred covenants made in temples. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He opened the way for us to have our families forever. I testify of this in the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm being transferred tomorrow.

Yeah, so I lost track of time and will have to write a small letter this time. I´m doing okay. It´s been a really stressful week, with lots of good stuff. We took Junior and Melissa to the temple and taught them about eternal marriage, and ended up talking to President Pinho (who is now an area seventy) We did two service projects! I´m being transferred tomorrow. The ward is pretty sad to see me go, and I´m already missing this ward. We´ll have a family home evening with Bishop and Junior and Melissa tonight. Packing bags and getting everything ready to go. I love you guys a lot! Thanks for all your support! I´ll talk to you next week! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, April 6, 2015

What a Holy Week this was!

What a holy week this was! To start off, we had a great meeting as a mission after the transfer on Tuesday! A brother came and talked to us. He has some kind of disease which results in his legs not having any skin on them. When he was born, the doctors said that he would not live more than 20 years. As a young adult, he had a dream where he saw Mormon missionaries, and a beautiful church, and a pool of water. The next day, he ran into the missionaries and demanded to be taken the nearst chapel. It turned out to be the same one from his dream. He asked if there was a pool of water inside. Then, he refused to leave the chapel until he was baptized. A few years later, he prepared himself to serve a mission. Although his stake president was hesitant (because this brother have much difficulty walking, especially in dress pants, which stick to and tear at his exposed legs, causing him to bleed) he sent the application to church headquarters. This brother´s call arrived a little bit later. He told us a few stories from his mission. In the end, he served an honorable, full-time mission, without complaining, baptizing many. He bled 2 liters of blood every night. That should be impossible, but this brother prayed every night for strength from God. And he recieved it! He not only changed the missions of his companions, but he also caused a ripple, affecting the salvation of generations. He baptized the Maia family, in Goias, Brasil. A little girl later born into this family grew up and is now serving in my mission. SIster Maia as since helped many more people. It was so cool to see how one man´s decision to not give up, despite excruciating pain and difficulty, can affect so many people! On a funny note, I got to eat two of my favorite foods on Tuesday. Liver and chicken heart! So good! We went to the psychiatrist´s office on Thursday. Dr Carmen says that I am making excellent progress. We will keep reducing the sleep medicine and upping the anti-depressant. Our goal is for me to not need the sleep medicine soon. W had to go back there the next day to pick up a perscription that I forgot to ask for that I needed (look at our dedication to making me better!) Since Friday was a holiday, there was very little traffic. But we took the train, and there were so few trains that they only came every 30 minutes. It was really annoying, because we had to wait so long and the train was still packed full of people! Good thing we got cat tongue McFlurries at McDonalds! On Friday morning, we had a very special experience. Our goal (President Dalton, Elder Sharp, and I) was for me to be healed by the end of last transfer. For some reason or another, neither Elder Sharp, nor I, felt ready for this blessing last Sunday. But he came and talked to me, after I had just calmed down from an anxiety attack. It had been bugging him the whole week. He begged me to help orient him on this. I responded that I just didn´t know if I was ready, or if I had the faith. After a long talk, we decided to listen to the Spirit. I felt that we should read John 10:27 (actually, the thought was put into my heart and my head). It reads: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" The scripture touched our hearts, and we prayed fervently for faith to perform the blessing. Then, I recieved the priesthood blessing. I can testify that I felt something leave my body. It felt as if my mind had opened, that the dark clouds of depression were scattered and I saw light for the first time in a long time. It was glorious. We both knew that it was a miracle. When I was set apart as a missionary, President Pulsipher said that I would have wisdom to know what and what not to put into my body, and also that I would listen to what the doctors have to say, and do it. This counsel, along with confirming revelation, tell me that I am not yet 100%, but as I keep taking my meds faithfully, I will get there. But I can testify that Heavenly Father had mercy on me and gave me a much needed, and very helpful head-start. Conference was wonderful. I took so many notes! It´s like I got so many tips on helping me endure to the end happily! I got so much revelation! I´ll definitely be looking back on these notes after I finish my mission. It seems as if every conference gets better and better. How great it is to be taught and prepared by prophets and apostles who talk with God! It´s amazing! All thanks to a loving and loyal Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to Him. I testify that He sent His Son, His Only Begotten Son, to suffer and die for all of us. The infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ gives me so much strength! He suffered for me, so that my load could be lighter, so that I could never be tempted, nor have problems, greater than I could bear. He took upon Himself all of my sins, sicknesses, weaknesses, and pains, and mistakes, so that I did not have to suffer them all by myself. It´s wonderful to know that the Mighty God of Israel, the great Jeovah, condescended to earth to save me. He even died for me. Jesus Christ broke the bonds of death. He was resurrected on the third day, and He lives today. Because He lives, I will be able to live forever, not just on this earth, but in the eternities with my family, friends, and my Heavenly Father. I testify of Jesus Christ and everything that He has done for us, His younger brothers and sisters, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I'm so excited to watch general conference this week!

This week was CRAZY! On Monday, we went to the mission office (I got my package!) and we went to Kalunga, an office supplies store. They had Sharpies. Legit Sharpies.... I got one. On Tuesday, I went and worked in Jardim Mirna with Elder Almeida (sounds familiar?) and we visited Paulo and Thassya! We helped them to set a goal of when they will go to the temple to be sealed! The goal is September 15th! It´ll be so awesome! I pray for them and for this goal every day. On Thursday, we had a PANCAKE BREAKFAST! So, there´s a member in our ward with a daughter who lives in Idaho Falls (YEAH). She was visiting São Paulo and decided to bring ingredients for PANCAKES and BLUEBERRY MUFFINS! She ran into the sister missioaries, and got our number, then called us on Wednesday night, inviting us to eat with her and her mom. There was PEANUT BUTTER and MAPLE SYRUP! It was a dream come true. And, she gave us the rest of the pancake mix and the syrup, along with more muffins and Nerds candies! It was so cool! We talked with her in English. Her 7-year-old daughter doesn´t even speak Portuguese! It was so trunky! Elder Sharp and I will visit her family once we are in BYUI. On Friday, we had a service project. It was awesome. I chisled a hole in a wall. How can it get better than that? On Saturday, we ate lunch with a sister whose son just got back from his mission in Fortaleza. It was really weird seeing him in person, for we had only seen pictures of him. His mom asked "why is it that you guys don´t tell us everything that happens on your mission until after?" We responded that it would scare the folks at home. She disagreed. Then her son told her about a murder that happened right in front of him. She changed her mind. Yeah, I´ve got lots of stories for you guys after the mission! :D It´s getting a lot cooler and starting to rain more often. Good bye summer, I´ll see you in Idaho! This transfer, I will be in Interlagos for a week or two, and then I´ll be transferred to Jardim Mirna and work with Elder Almeida for his last transfer! I´m really excited! I love you guys so much! Thanks for your prayers! I want you to know that I know that this work is true. This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is the only true and living church. I´m so excited to watch General Conference this week. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet. He and the other Apostles are prophets, seers, and revelators that talk with God. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Interlagos (antiga Cidade Dutra) Estaca Interlagos Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos