A selfie for mom!

A selfie for mom!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Depression hit really hard

Depression hit really hard! But I got to do an exchange with a good friend, Elder N Castro and get out of my area for a day. Plus, I got to see the wedding and baptism of two investigators, Francisco and Andreá that I found more than a year and a half ago! And we got to have the baptism of a little girl, Rafaela, whose mom we are helping come back to activity. I just got done with an interview with President. He´s doing everything to help me end my mission happy and diligent! He gave me a book (in english) "Drawing on the Powers of Heaven". I´ve read it in Portuguese, but now I´ll get even more out of it! Plus I bought an anti-stress coloring book. Sounds kinda pathetic, but I´ve seen it work on Elder Mota, and I know it´ll help me when times get rough. I´m also writing well in my journal (I´ve been writing in English since mom´s birthday) so I´ve got lots of stories for you guys. We´ll be working towards helping my converts go to the temple! Elder Mota and I are doing great! I´ll keep Grandma Richins and Grandma Frei in my prayers! Love you all! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, August 24, 2015

I want to have a pure heart.

So. There´s not much that I can report this week. I have lots of stories that I could tell, but I´ve got just a little bit of time, so I´ll just ask for a lot of prayers! The depression is being really annoying. I´m going through a lot of trials this last week. It´s best that i not go into details, but I´m fine physically and I´m still smiling. The mission isn´t getting any easier! ;) Our meeting with Elder Andersen was AWESOME! He is officially my new favorite apostle. I want to be just like him! I want to have a pure heart! I also loved our meeting (yesterday) with Elder Aidukaitis (of the Seventy). An amazing weekend! I know that they are called of God. I testify that the Twelve Apostles are indeed Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, special witnesses of Him. He lives. I testify of Him in His holy name, Jesus Christ. amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, August 17, 2015

I love Him and rejoice to testify of Him.

This week is full of great meetings! Last Sunday was ward conference, tomorrow is a leadership meeting, and Wednesday is district meeting. Saturday is a special two-mission conference at the temple with Elder Aidukatis of the Seventy and Elder Anderson of the Twelve! And this Sunday, we have a special stake conference with Elder Aidukatis! Today, I'm at the foot doctor for a follow-up, and we plan on going with Sister Dalton to get my suit measurements. Tomorrow, we will have a showing of "17 Miracles" at the church. So, Elder Ward was transferred to São Marcos ward, in the Embú das Artes stake, in the city of Embú das Artes, which is a couple hours away. My new companion is Elder Mota, from Fortaleza, Ceará, the city of Elder Almeida and Elder Pinheiro (former companions) and many other missionaries in this mission. He's 22 and the only member in his family. As you could see in the facebook photo, he's a little short. But he's hilarious and, when he needs to be, super spiritual. He definitely has some spiritual gifts for teaching and speaking. We're already great friends! I am so happy to be a missionary and a member of this church! How glad I am to be born into such a wonderful family, safe within the gospel of Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives and that He is our Savior. He is the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father. He is Almighty, All-knowing, and His mercy and grace know no end. I love Him and rejoice to testify of Him in His holy name, Jesus Christ. Amen! -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos

Monday, August 10, 2015

He loves us with an unimaginable love.

Well, I´m still here! And probably going to finish my mission here, too! Elder Ward gets transferred tomorrow! We´ve decided that we need to be separated anyway. We´re just having way too much fun. It´ll be good to get some young´ns to keep us old coots in line. Plus it was getting really trunkie. But I will miss his cakes and his "midnight blond" moments. We´ll definitely hang out after the mission (we may have even made plans already). So, the weekly activities in the ward are going great! They are being announced in church, and, last Sunday, schedules were handed out to all the members. The newly called Relief Society president and her husband talked about my Bible Study in both their talks last Sunday. I taught about the Fall of Adam and Eve. This week, I will teach about the ancient patriarchs, Abel, Seth, Enoque, Mathusalem, Noah, and Shem. It´ll be awesome! And in our movie night tomorrow night, we´ll be showing "Legacy". Lots of great stuff is happening. You´ll probably get pictures tonight and throughout the week from the members of the ward here. Can you believe that I will have 1 year serving in Jardim Mirna? I just love it here! I look forward to a wedding/baptism at the end of August, a visit from Elder Neil L. Anderson on the 22nd of August, the sealing of Vagner and Sueli, and many more wonderful things! This Sunday, I will perform with the ward choir at ward conference. I´m super excited! And I got the package! Thanks so much for the goodies! I loved the t-shirt and the mini-Captain Moroni. I´m reading through the Bible again. I´m going to start Job today. I am officially making a goal to finish the four standard works by the time I get home. Can you ask Bishop Belnap if I can do a special musical number at my homecoming? And if Mom could start practicing number 127 in the hymnal to accompany me that would be great! I´ll be singing this hymn: https://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/does-the-journey-seem-long?lang=eng. I´d also like to give a talk if I could. I testify that Jesus Christ is our own personal Savior. He loves us with an unimaginable love. He is our King. I love Him. I testify of Him in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins

Monday, August 3, 2015

I testify that families can be together forever.

Boa Tarde minha familia linda! This week was great! We had the baptism of Thiago, who´s wife, Cida, is returning to activity. After his confirmation, their baby, Laura, was blessed. It was so sweet! This week, he and Lucas, who was baptized a couple weeks ago, will be interviewed by Bishop to receive the priesthood and limited temple recommends! Tonight, we have a family home evening with Thiago and Cida, Fatima (who Mom has talked with on Face) and Marcelo, and Maria dos Dores, another of our recent converts. Today, I went to the foot doctor with Elder Ward. Mary, the podologa, also treated my feet, which as it turns out were in need of a lot of help (LOTS of dead skin, even under my toenail, which could lead to future problems). We´ll be going back there in two weeks. This week, i have another routine visit to Dr Carmen. Our showerhead exploded again, yesterday morning. We had to buy a new resistor. Well, Dad will be very proud of me, i think. So a week ago at ward council, i proposed that we open the church to the public with events every day (except monday, of course). So far, it is a success! The schedule goes like this: Tuesday is Movie Night (church movie) Wednesday is Game Night Thursday is Family History Night Friday is Bible Study (VT) Saturday is English class and Spanish class. Bishops from both wards are very happy with the new change, and people even bore testimonies of the things they learned in my Bible Study. That, plus the miracle baptism, have everybody very excited about missionary work. The miracle baptism went like this: We were doing visits with a member of the bishopric and all of our appointments fell through. Elder Ward, following a prompting from the Spirit, asked the member, Luis, who he would like to visit. He pointed out a house where an inactive member supposedly live. This member was Cida, baptized three years ago in a different ward. During the week, we passed by and left messages with her and her husband, Thiago, about the Plan of Salvation and the temple. But, during an exchange, Elder Ward (again following the Spirit) and Elder Greenwood stopped by and taught the Restoration. It turns out that this was the first time Thiago heard this message. They challenged him to pray for a testimony, then be baptized. He accepted. The next day, we went there with Elder Greenwood and he interviewed Thiago. Thiago admitted that he hadn´t prayed and didn´t feel prepared, plus he had already planned a trip to visit his brother on Sunday. But he insisted that if he didn´t drink, he would be baptized Sunday night. Elder Greenwood warned him that he needed to resist all opposition. He gave the following example: one of his long-lost friends from the North would come to São Paulo and invite him to drink with him. So Thiago went to visit his brother and he drank. Feeling terrible, he prayed all night that night. They didn´t even answer the phone when we called. Meanwhile, we felt a warm, calming sensation, and a voice told us not to worry about it. On Monday, Cida called us while we were emailing. She told us to come by that night because Thiago had received his answer. When we arrived at their house that night, Thiago shared what had happened. First, not long after Elder Greenwood´s interview, a long-lost friend of Thiago´s from the North texted him, saying that he was in São Paulo and invited him to meet up to drink, exactly as Elder Greenwood warned would happen. Second, after his long night of praying, Thiago was out for a walk to gather his thoughts. A woman appeared alongside him and gave him an evangelical message, then walked on. He read the message. It said something along the lines of: "The time to follow Jesus is not tomorrow, nor yesterday, but today. Stop making excuses. You are always prepared to follow Christ." Thiago showed us this paper. We asked him if he would be baptized this Saturday. Immediately, without hesitation, he replied "Yes, I will be baptized.". We passed by everyday that week preparing him. He gave up coffee the day of his interview, and had not touched alcohol since last Sunday. Meanwhile, Elder Greenwood finished his mission and returned home to Winslow, Arizona. The time came for his baptism. On Friday he was interviewed again. And on Saturday, he was baptized. Elder Ward made a big chocolate cake with strawberries, and he performed the ordinance. Thiago and Cida even brought their friends to come see the baptism, only half of which were members from her previous ward. Bishop and his family, along with the Relief Society president and her family and other members were present. It was a great night. The next morning, he was confirmed and Laura was presented. Luis, the member of the bishopric who had originally pointed out their house, bore a powerful and emotional testimony about the importance of member missionary work. He had never thought that his one or two hours spent helping us could result is such a marvelous thing as another family safe in Zion. I testify that families can be together forever, and that the power of God is manifest through sacred priesthood ordinances. I am so honored to be a part of this marvelous work and a wonder. I testify of the power of the Savior in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. -- Élder Thomas Richins Ala Jardim Mirna Estaca Grajaú Missão Brasil São Paulo Interlagos