Monday, December 21, 2015

Brandon's Twentieth Email! December 21st, 2015

So we had our mission Christmas conference. It was really nice. It was all songs and we had lunch and saw friends from our group and stuff. I am really enjoying this Christmas season because I feel like I have gotten to know the life of Christ so much more and actually understand a little bit more of what he actually did for us. There is a phrase in the Plan of Happiness pamphlet that says something like "Jesus Christ's Atonement makes eternal life possible," and that is so true. That is so important to understand. I'm happy that I have been able to learn just a tad more about that.

One song I really loved was "Oh Holy night". I really loved that.

Kaysea Watkins served in El Pinar! The Laveiga family knew her and I was like wait! I totally know her! I've been on tons of trips with her, our families were like always together!!! Kinda crazy to know she has been in the same house here in Uruguay haha. Side note. Their son says he hates Americans and refuses to acknowledge me so that's a little interesting.

The cake prep finally payed off!!! I made the cake, after 2 weeks of getting ingredients in different places, (crushing cloves because they don't have ground cloves), making applesauce, and a lot of compromises, I made the cake! It wasn't mom standard, but it was fun to do. 

I also made Banana Bread and that was kinda bad also, our oven is horrible!

This email is gonna be short.

We have one investigator who is great! Her name is Natasha, and she came to church this Sunday. She is really great and is like interested and we have already taught mostly everything so we will see how that goes this week!

I'm excited for Skype, I'm excited knowing I have a package from mom and Sheridan coming!

We (He and his companion) got along pretty well this week. I practically for sure am leaving this change so I don't wanna take anything for granted haha. 
Well I'll talk to you Friday, but here is my top ten NOT IN ORDER.
10. Skype with family and Sheridan this Friday!
9. Christmas conference!
8. Going to the beach today, seeing little waves. So grateful for San Diego.
7. Banana bread!
6. Making the dank birthday cake!
5. Natasha is legit! 
4. Christ's sacrifice in our lives!
3. 3 Nephi 5:13
2. Oh holy night
1. Healthy, happy, and all good in Uruguay!

 Elder McMillian! Dunna why I look so white!

 Elder Balke and me in the bus (yes, it is me, not I)

 Ward activity Saturday night.

 Banana Bread!!!! Didn't turn out great hahah

 Apple sauce cinnamon spice!!



 Happy boy

 Dankness. (Not as dank as from mom)

 Happy. Fat.

 Gave half of my half to Elder Stewart for his birthday today (refrosted the sides)

 The beach today. This would probably be the sickest point break ever. 
These were like knee to waist longboarding waves. Looked so fun. Peeling

 Longest point break ever on the right swell?

Elder Rodriquez from Peru

Brandon's Nineteenth Email! December 14th, 2015


This week has been pretty good! Still working on compatibility, and that is like improving slowly I´d say. Gonna be an interesting Christmas! 

So some random things first. Mom, I made the chocolate frosting and for once the stuff here tasted the same! It was SOOOOOOO good!!!!! Thank you! Could you maybe find directions so that I can make applesauce to make the cake? And also in the recipe, 1/2 tsp of what kind of cloves?

We had an end of the year dinner as a ward. It was super fun. So Elder Balke and I gave a short presentation (each group did something short), and we shared the Christmas videos from the church with some scriptures also. But my USB card tripped out, deleted one of the videos, and showed all my photos of family and Sheridan as we were setting up haha. But the presentation was good, and then we had food and desserts and it was fun to talk to some other people for a change!

I gave my first blessing in spanish this week to a lady in our ward... kinda different in spanish! But I was happy because I didn't mess up haha.

We have been practicing as a zone to sing in the Christmas conference, but yesterday was the stake Christmas music show thing, and we sung in it. After, we got to watch the rest of the show, which was really fun! Then we got ice cream after as the dessert that they handed out!!

Tomorrow we have the mission Christmas conference, I don't know what it is, but we are there in Malvin until lunch! I hope it's fun! I think every zone is gonna sing a song maybe?

The temperature has been so hot this week! Like 90 all the time, even at night usually. Like 80's in the night. I like it more than the cold for sure but It's just crazy wearing dress clothes and a tie haha. 

So this week, we had to go to the Brazilian consulate so that my comp could sign something. He really doesn't like to ask anyone questions such as which bus to take, so we walked 30 blocks in the city! hahah yeahhhhh. So we went to Montevideo and spent the first half of the day there. 

The power just went out for like 30 minutes because there was a gnarly storm that rolled through like today/this morning!!!! 

This week was like half and half good. Some of our investigators are like so so and my comp just wants to stop visiting all of them haha, but if we do that we'll have no one because he doesn't like to talk to people either haha. We have one girl named Natasha who is really really good, and speaks english so that's nice haha. So the lessons are like half english half spanish.

This week went by quickly, a few days we practiced the song as a zone, but it was sooo hot. Other than that, not sure what else to report. 

WE Skype in 10 days!!! 

I emailed mom, but do you guys have a time when we can't? I'm gonna try and plan it this week for sometime between 11am and 3pm San Diego time for the 25th of December. I'll give you a specific time next week! I'm excited!

Top Ten:

10. Chicken millanessas that I had last week on p-day were so good! 
9. Someone taught me how to read a little bit of music and I can play top hand to silent night!
8. Going to Montevideo was kinda fun to see!
7. Lunch with Juan! He is super cool, 22 years old, and always cooks us really good lunches.
6. The end of the year dinner was super fun!
5. We have been getting along better. Better...haha
4. Chocolate frosting! It was sooo nice!!!
3. I have Christmas music now! Sheridan sent me some! 
2. Christmas Skype in 10 days with Family and Sher!!
1. We actually had like a good first half of the week. I wish it was always like that!

Love you guys!

Elder Richmond

 Sketchiest looking hospital ever. Looks like tower of terror

 In Montevideo, 18 de julio

 A torta frita with the chocolate frosting!

 So hot all week

End of year dinner

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brandon's Eighteenth Email! December 7th, 2015

Hey family and friends!

This week was great! 
So Wednesday was the new transfer cycle, but it was a normal day for us. One new sister in my district, Sister Madison Gillman who totally knows Madison Stolk! It is crazy! She knew her nickname mad-dog and everything, thought that was funny.

This week was a good week because we had a LOT more lessons than last week, and new investigators that really have potential and I'm really excited about that. One of them is a lady named Sandra and she is like so faithful, but doesn't know really where to put her faith. She is so nice, and we'll see what happens this week. 

And the other is Natasha. She lived in Maryland for 13 years, she is 16 now, and she totally speaks english, like better than spanish (although she speaks spanish perfectly too), which leads me to the fact that I got to teach in english a bit this week! The lessons were like half spanish half english, to clarify things more simply we would speak in english, and it was so comfortable. We also watched the restoration in english and it was great. She is new to the ideas of religion, but so far she likes what we have taught and so we are excited for her.

This week my foot pain finally went away. I started limping slightly to try and cushion it and wrapped it in this ghetto ace bandage (thanks Elder Rae), and after three days of this it stopped hurting! So much better now! 
The food this week was particularly good, I'm not sure if I'm getting used to the oil, or if it was the week itself. I made french toast one night too and that was sweet! 

Today we are going to have a lot of free time, and this week I think we will travel to the other mission in Montevideo so my comp can sign some papers for the Brazilian military reserve. I think I figured him out more, like his personality. It helps me try to understand some of the things he does that I don't really agree with, but it's all to learn I guess hahah.

It's really cool when you have studied something, and thought about how it would make sense to the person you are teaching, then improve it, then later see how it actually improves. My spanish is improving (still slowly), but to the point where I can have more normal conversations, and can actually explain myself mom. It's kind of hard to pray in english now, I feel like I don't remember the words because the only time I speak english is Tuesdays sometimes.

We as a zone are singing in front of the whole mission December 15th, when we have our conference of Christmas in Malvin. I'm excited for that. We have an end of the year dinner for the ward December 12th, this Saturday, and we are giving a like 10 minute presentation for that.

That's all for this week! Till next Monday!!

Top Ten

10. Cinnamon rolls last night were great
9. Christmas skype is super duper soon
8. Understanding of spanish more and more
7. The members in our ward are awesome and are starting to feel like home.
6. The weather is super enjoyable right now. Kinda hot, but nice
5. We had such a fun day last Wednesday. Lesson to lesson to lesson the whole day.
4. My foot pain is gone!
3. Got to teach a lesson in english, super fun
2. We have more new legit investigators!
1. Sheridan got her Visa to Brazil!!! Lots of time Brazil has problems with the visas! Sweet!

Sorry, these are the only fotos for the week. Nothing really crazy happened and I don't want to ask my comp really to take pics, so these are the cinnamon rolls I made last night! They were dank!!!!!! I used Sheridan's recipe and modified the topping a little and it was so good.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Brandon's Seventeenth Email! December 1st, 2015

This week was great! Maybe not so successful by all standards, but during the week I worked really hard to work on our companionship unity and made some progress! I tried asking just tons of questions about him and his family and everything to try and let him know I care and I think it helped. We spent more time this week in good moods, at least like warm waters and I was really thankful for that. Obviously we´re not like perfect but a little bit of improvement is great right? One thing that is kinda funny is he like tests me. He will ask me do you know ______? Then after, "Okay then tell me what it is," and if it isn't perfect according to the words then he says you don't know it okay.  Definitely good to humble myself! 

So last Tuesday we were in charge of creating and explaining the practices for district meetings (we do the practices as a zone) and it was fun. We had like 40 minutes to do them and it was nice because we planned together and it helped us like open up to each other more. It was also nice, people after told me my spanish was good and that made me happy.

We did a service project this Saturday and it was great. We added to a cinderblock wall and ran a wire type fence around the house of this lady in our ward. We did it with the elder's quorum president and two brothers in our ward and they're all super fun, so it was really cool! She is so sweet and grateul and gave us like pieces of cake as we did it.

Thanksgiving was funny! I didn't realize it was Thanksgiving until 8:30 pm when we bought milk and saw a member and he asked me what we were going to do to celebrate! But it was good! Maybe no turkey but we did have lunch! 

Other than that, we have been teaching practically the same people. We have more references to contact, but I think they're pretty cold references but still!

I'm really excited to be here. I have learned a lot of random things that make it better and make me more comfortable, (french toast was a really nice thing for mid-week dinner! Really easy and cheap).
Also personal studies have been really good this week. I'm really excited because now I can read The Book of Mormon in spanish and understand allllmost everything. I realized this week as I was practicing my pronunciation, "Wait, I actually know whats it's saying," and it was really exciting for me.

My companion and area are the same. We both stay! Today we went to the temple and it was great! I loved it, then we went to the shopping place next door and after 18 weeks I FINALLY have a watch! So happy! and now we are emailing, so yeah, great day! 

Not sure what else to say! I know I'm forgetting stuff but It's okay! I'll remember for next week! 

Top Ten!

10. The rice with cream of turkey is strangely good.
9. I get to Skype in a month and Christie already figured it out!
8. We were walking and four Americans stopped and talked to us! It was two guys and their wives, and they gave us chocolates! They were so nice!
7. I finally got a watch!
6. We did the practices and it worked out!
5. The service project was super fun
4. (Check it out. Not gonna spoil it.)
3. The temple was great today! Loved it. I think the best time yet.
2. Reading the B.O.M. in spanish and understanding is something really exciting for me.
1. Sheridan went through the temple and had an amazing time like everyone will who gets to go through! Always so cool when someone goes through for the first time!

Love you all!
Elder Richmond

 The goodies Jill Hoffman sent me! (I'm soaked from the rain)

I was so happy with the Oreos.. haha so happy! 

Rice with cream of turkey for Thanksgiving!!! 

                                                             Us like in back of our church building.

A little horse born this past week

 Me at the offices of the mission, last P-day!!

Our District

M&M brownies (I received the packet from the Hoffman Family) and they were so good! 

This is our zone (minus the leaders Elder Carroll and Leite) in El Pinar!

A little box i made for my hymnbook! 
I love this picture of the temple!

 Today at the temple

 My New Watch!!! YAY!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Brandon's Sixteenth Email! November 23rd, 2015


So this week had some ups, and it had its downs!!!!
We started to teach this kid from a part-member family, and he has a baptismal date, but we think he doesn't actually need to talk to the missionaries. We´ll figure that out for sure this week though.

Victor, our investigator was getting more and more committed, and then he died. It was really sad when we passed by his house and his wife told us. We were with him the night before he passed away, but it was really, really sweet what she told us. She told us that this past two months since Elder Rae and I met him he has been happy, and excited to learn more, and told her the night before he passed away how great the family history work was, and how he loves when we pass by, so because of that she invited us to start teaching her.

Other than that, this week was even harder than last week in terms of homeslice. Tuesday he took more food and I asked him to ask me if he wants my food, and he like got mad and was legit mean until Thursday when we had weekly planning and did comp inventory and I just said I think it seems like you don't like me, is that true? And he said no, and since has been like back to what it was last week, which isn't like fun and happy, but sure better than the 3 days..

I got a package from Jill Hoffman!!!! It couldn't have come at a better time because I have like only bus money for the next week, and it had soooooo many treats and goodies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reeses, M&m's, Oreos, Pringles, and more!!!! I still have the Trader Joe's brittle!!! Thank you so much Hoffman family!!!!!!!

I've had like some sharp foot pain this week starting Wednesday, but I think it's getting better starting today. It legit scares me when something with my body is a little weird cause I would be so mad if I got hurt and had to come home. I never knew that actually happens, but since we walk all day, you can't be hurt and be a missionary here!

The weather is weird. Last week we had a couple days of downpour, then the next day is like burning, but the burning days are 10000000 times better than the cold!!!!!! 

Today we had an activity in Malvin, and the bus was PACKED both ways. Super annoying, literally like just pressed against everyone, so uncomfy, 1hr bus ride haha. The buses are interesting but I'm getting better at them. Homeslice doesn't navigate, like never, so I'm always the one that has to decide where we are gonna get off and which buses to take... it's a little stressful but good. 

I need to figure out a skype acount!!! Idk how skype works! I can't use FaceTime because the people here don't have Mac's, but Christmas is coming up and I do not wanna miss out on that! 

Other than that, not sure what else to say. Trying to be patient with happiness, but sometimes it's hard.

Other random thing, we have lunch from the members everyday, either in their house or we use old ice cream tubs (everyone does) and they give us like food to go. This week we had rice and an egg. Then pasta. Then soup and chivitos. Then pasta. Can't remember the others. 
But I eat mayonnaise and tomatoes ahora!!!!! The food almost always has it, but yep, Brandon Richmond eats chunks of tomatoes.

Okay, gonna try and send some pics, but this computer is a laugh riot.

Top Ten

10. The Relief Society President told us that in 9 years in the ward, we're the first elders to bring back all of the food tubs the members give us the next Sunday, separated and with sticky notes for which family they pertain to, (I do it myself) so that made me happy.
9. I made an alfajor milkshake! Milk and a love play punta bellena alfajor and put it in the freezer! It was dank!
8. I really loved lunches this week! Aside for a day or two it was like super dank ere' day
7. We did tracking in an other area  Like the other week, but we actually got references for the other elders this time, it was good
6. Two kids here in El Pinar lived in the U.S. before and speak english so I like did a long contact in english, it was fun being able to say what I wanted!!!!
5. I'm totally used to not eating breakfast or dinner. Or when I do eat it is like a nice sweet surprise! 
4. My package from the Hoffman's was amazing!!!!! REESES!!!!!!!!!!
3. Letters from Sheridan on Tuesday REALLLLYLYYYY helped during a hard week
2. When we passed by for the house of Victor, it was because we felt like we should, we had planned other things but when we arrived we knew why.
1. Victor is now in a better place, and his wife has the opportunity to experience what he was begginging to. THE GOSPEL BRINGS MORE HAPPINESS TO ANY LIFE, from what seems like a waste to a life nearly perfect.

Love you all, Elder Richmond

Monday, November 16, 2015

Brandon's Fifteenth Email! November 16th, 2015

Hey Family!!!

This week I am developing patience! Homeboy is a little hard to be with always, cause he makes it so apparent that he doesn't want to be with me, or at least acts like it! Haha he like walks behind me, and crosses the street for no reason I think just to walk away from me. I wait for him sometimes or cross the street too. I don't understand. It's a bummer, but it's alright. I'm focusing on trying to help people in El Pinar but then it seems like I'm trying to fight another battle also, which doesn't help. He gets really mad really easily and then for hours it's just him like talking about how people don't know anything. Okay sorry, just haven't talked to anyone in a week haha

Also he took some peanuts that I bought, which isn't a big deal, but they were like totally in my stuff so he went through my stuff I guess.

So something cool is there are fireflies here! Every night I feel like I'm at disneyland in what is it, Pirates of the Caribbean? Makes me happy haha.

Mom, could you PLEASE send me the recipes that I asked for last week? The Apple Sauce Spice cake and chocolate frosting, and now I am going to add the chocolate bunt cake please!!!

Dad, could you please send me two photos of my CT-70? Thanks!

I made Lemon bars last night with lemons from our back yard! They were pretty good actually!

Things I didn't include in the voice recording were we went to Salinas and handed out Book of Mormons and it was fun!

One funny story!

So we were walking and there was a couple probably about 25 years old and I said hi to them completely normal like I say hi to every one and then like 200 yards later I felt someone behind us and the guy was like fast-walking up to us and yelled, "AYYYYAYYYAYYYY VOS! Tienes un falta de respecto!!!" And he went into this huge rant about how I was hitting on his girlfriend, and he was super mad, but I was like, "No I said hi to YOU, I have my own girlfriend, and as missionaries, we are not here to flirt or find girls," and he ended up calming down enough to shake our hands before he left, but I thought he was gonna punch me haha.

Other than that, our investigators aren't keeping their commitments, which is pretty frustrating. We received like 5 references this week and they are good so hopefully next week I have good news!!! I am happier more and more each week now that I can actually talk and communicate myself. It's more fun to be recognized as a real person!! 

I love studies in the morning, I wish our investigators could see the big picture always!!! 

Sorry I don't have more crazy cool spiritual experiences, but hopefully in the week that's coming!

Top Ten!

10. Nobody can hear us sing in the morning, don't think my homeboy knows how the tunes work
9. I feel like I can relate to dad's flea bites on his mission because of all the bites I have!
8. Open Chapel in San Jose de Carrasco, it was fun!
7. The references we received!
6. When I told the guy about Sheridan he finally calmed down
5. Times when homeboy isn't super cold to me are a nice change!
4. I am developing patience, actually working on it consciously, and it's working.
3. Austin finished his Eagle Project!! Congrats AUZ!!!
2. Sheridan is going through the temple soon! The temple is so cool and anyone who hasn't gone should probably get baptized and enjoy it :)
1. I am enjoying learning the culture, and learning spanish; but most importantly learning more about the things that are sure to always bring us happiness in this life, and allow us to take advantage of all that will come thereafter.

Love you all!!!  

 Silly pictures of us one morning before we started studies!

 Elder Carrol and me

 The Family History Day!

Lemon Bars!

 This was this morning. My foot. So dank

Also from this morning..
This is the super nice stake center