Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Brandon's Twenty Ninth Email! February 23rd, 2016

Woahh, week 30, weird. 

So this week was super, super crazy. Gives me anxiety haha.

First of all, transfers are this week, but Elder Gehring and I are both staying. I'm stoked, I love this area and we're both excited to work hard this change and see how the Lord blesses the area. But the whole week the uncertainty  bout transfers was kind of looming over us. Elder Gehring really thought he was going because this is the first time he'll be with a comp more than one transfer! 

So, after we emailed Monday, we swung by the bus terminal to see departures for the temple conference and saw we had to go to Durazno that night because we were leaving from there at 6:20 am. So we went home, got ready, and hopped on a bus. Slept there that night, jankiest air mattress for a 4 foot person. So practically slept on the ground haha. We had the temple conference on Tuesday, we had the conference first, I gave the spiritual thought, and we had interviews with President. He is so cool. So spiritually strong you can just feel it. I love talking with him, a really good example to all of us. Then we had lunch and a few more things, then we went to the temple all together and that was great obviously! I felt really sick, but it was still great! I am going to miss the Montevideo temple when I leave. Then we got to Durazno at 9:30 pm so it was too late to go to PdlT (Paso de los toros), so we slept there again, woke up at 5 to catch an early bus. Not super fun, but we arrived in PdlT and had to walk home in the CRAZY downpour. Needless to say, from our suits to our socks we were soaked. 

So Wednesday now, we had a funeral in the church, so we set up everything after we got home, then attended the funeral and went to the cemetery and everything. After lunch, we went to Francisco's to confirm the wedding on Thursday and he told us Alba walked out on him. That on Sunday she took all her stuff to go live with her daughter, because her kids didn't want the she got married. He was pretty sad, they've been together 23 years, but was still totally committed to get baptized. and said even if she comes back they won't live together without being married and will keep all of the commandments, and he is very sincere and honest, but I don't think she is coming back.

So Thursday afternoon he had his baptism interview and everything went well. He was very excited.

Friday, we spent literally ALLL day traveling to/in Trinidad so Elder Gehring could do a baptism interview for the sisters in our district. It's like 1:45 minutes each way, with a bus change, and then we spent lots of time in Trinidad waiting, so we went and made visits with the sisters to some people on the way, I had the opportunity to give a blessing to someone they are working with, and that's hard for me because you use Tu, which we like never use except for prayers...

Saturday, we spent ALLL day doing stuff for the baptism. Making programs, draining and filling the font (it was full when we opened it and smelled horrible), and cleaning and other stuff. We went by Francisco's house and he was super excited and already ready like 3 hrs before. So then we were there and everyone was showing up but he wasn't there yet, and we were getting SOOO nervous like what the! He never flakes! So he got there at 6:55, because he had been arriving so early to all the meetings he decided to leave a little later, but gave us a heart attack haha.

His baptism went great! He was so excited and the bishop and stake president were there and it was nice. Miguel, a somewhat recent convert baptized him, and he was really happy to do that also.

So Sunday I gave a 10 min talk on Missionary work, I think it went well, idk. It was fun because my spanish didn't hinder me really much as I was speaking. Then we had a normal day after that. 

Yesterday, we had weekly planning because we couldn't do it on Thursday, then in the afternoon made visits and even visited a few families because Elder Gehring really thought he was leaving haha. It was a calm day. 

Now we have the Conference with Elder Bednar on Friday, we have to go to Trinidad again on Thursday :/ but... it means someone is going to get baptized so really it's :))))

We don't have any progressing investigators right now, so we are going to focus on that a ton. We are going to have a more normal week starting next Monday. This week will be cool, it goes so quickly when you have breaks in the week with conferences and whatnot. 

Top Ten

10. We bought and ate chicken nuggets for dinner 3 nights ago! Sooo tasty! Only dinner I had this week :/ haha. Weren't chicken dinos, but they were good!
9. The week flew by. When we have a lot of work to do, it's wonderful!
8. I had the best biscochoes ever. Tons of mormons work at this bakery and we got fresh and hot ones on Friday before we got on the bus! And they gave them to us so cheap! Like a hot croissant with ham and melted cheese ahhhh.
7. We got raid cockroach poison traps and they have been working! Literally been sweeping piles of 50 dead cockroaches out the back door like every couple hours. A lot less now like constantly crawling around!
6. Sheridan Hoffman's birthday on the 24th of Febraury! Erebody should email her and wish her a happy B-day! She is in the MTC in Brazil and turns 20!!! Sheridan.Hoffman@myldsmail.net
5. Preparing the talk gave me tons of opportunities to learn about what missionary work really is. Sharing happiness with our brothers and sisters!
4. I'm staying in Paso de los Toros for AT LEAST another transfer!
3. I'm excited for the conference on Friday!
2. The temple trip was great, I love to go to the temple.
1. The baptism of Francisco! Even though he had such a tough week, he choose to follow the Lord and he is so happy. Everything went great, and I am so happy for him!

Love you all!
Elder Richmond!

This and the next photo are from the temple trip. Sunset over the fields. 
Too bad my camera doesn't capture the colors, but it is actually super beautiful.

Bus terminal at 5 in the morning. Had never been to a bus terminal before my mission! 

Taking refuge to put our stuff in plastic bags once we got off the bus. Pouring..


Spider on my backpack

Our church building!


Elder Gehring and me at the temple (Elder Gehring and Me, not and I.) 

This is Francisco! We couldn't take a photo in white because he got there with not much time! 
Keep in mind he is a guy from the field so he is still a little new with the tie thing! So great!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Brandon's Twenty Eighth Email! February 15th, 2016


First of all, the granddaughter of a recent convert has 15 months and is soo cute. Bluest eyes with dark skin and really curly hair. She always says amen at the end of prayers, and always says, "Opa," when she like almost falls, It is so cute!!! 

So we had an intercambio after our zone conference last Tuesday and I stayed in my area with the zone leader Elder Gomez! It was like half good half bad. None of the investigators were home so we made less active family visits and we're finding people through them and so that was the plus of the day. It was so hot. Another dripping-sweat-all-day kinda day. 

Another day, we walked to a member's house and it is in the middle of fields, and fields, that are like a mile or so from anything haha. We got there and her son was mixing cement and so we were like here, we'll help. So we layed concrete (really like 7/8 sand, with a little concrete) on the ground of a room they just built. I had done a couple things with cement before so I was the one laying it and spreading it and trying to even it out with just the garden spade that we had. It turned out well though, she was happy. I was completely wet by the time I finished haha. 

Yesterday I woke up completely wet from sweat (normal), but felt really nauseous. So we went to church and had priesthood. Then the Gospel principles was going to start but we went home for a sec and I threw up. I had a really bad headache allll day. Idk if it is related with these weird bug bites I have. They're not mosquitos. There is like a line of a couple in a row, and they hurt a lot more than they itch. Weird. But I feel better today. 

Also two things I'm really excited for! Tomorrow, we are going to Montevideo for my zone to have a temple conference (we get to go to the temple, and then we have a zone conf. with President and the assistants). It's like 4 hours of bus each way though, sooooo many fields hahah.

Then, the 26th of February, Elder Bednar is coming to Uruguay and we are going to have a conference with our mission and the West mission and we get to watch him live and like greet him after!!! So excited! 

I got assigned a talk for this coming Sunday. It'll be my first full talk in Spanish, 10 minutes. Wish me luck haha.

So Sister Sosa in my ward is soooooo sick! She called us late on Saturday night and we thought it was an emergency because two kind of older women live in her house, so Elder Gehring answered, but she asked the first letter of first name of Elder Gehring. We were so confused. But yesterday she gave us these sick Uruguay shaped leather key fob type things with a metal B and J for Brandon and Josh. They're so cool, and she is so selfless. She was at the ferria and saw them and thought of us! 

So we had a good week! We were able to be outside for more time than any other week so far! So one thing that was awesome this week was at the beginning of the week I had lots on my mind and was a little frustrated, but then Wednesday following advice of Elder Gomez, I spent more time planning meaningful goals. Each following day I really had in my mind that I wanted to meet these goals because when I put them I knew that they were what the Lord would want that we do that day. So everyday tried harder to meet the goals. Although not everyday we met some goals, it REALLY helped me focus this week, and at the same time the week flew by. I was really happy with that and just feel so much more involved each week. It's been something I really enjoyed. I also haven't read in english in like 4 weeks, besides my journal and any letters, but that's been really cool reading the scriptures in spanish a lot. It's really been helping. 

This coming week is going to be exciting! Francisco and Alba are getting married on Thursday at 10am. We'll be there for that. They have their interview on the 19th, and are getting baptized the 20th. They have a very basic understanding because they are not educated, but good nonetheless. The schedule is really tight and doesn't leave room for flakiness, so I'm a little stressed but I'm thinking everything will work out. A recent convert will baptize them (always the plan in this ward), which is cool because then they have a personal tie with someone even when missionaries leave.

We will have fish milanesa today! I've never tried them, but I'm stoked. This member always catches them for his family to eat, then his wife milanesafies them. We had THE BEST lunch on Friday. So good. 

I got to use my cooking stuff yesterday!!! We made chocolate chip heart pancakes (valentines day) and maple syrup!!! It was so good! Ghirardellii chocolate chips THE BOMB. Ugh, love chocolate. Also, think I have enough maple extract for like 5 gallons of maple syrup haha. It takes 1 quarter teaspoon for like 2 cups of sugar and a cup of water, if I'm not mistaken right now.

Also, rained on Thursday I think it was. Biggest blessing ever!!!! Although the crazy wind and rain were SO loud on our metal roof.... But I still woke up sweaty, but it wasn't so hot outside!


Top Ten

10. It rained!!! Maybe our tangerine tree will grow better now!
9. I went on a double decker bus back to Durazno after the intercambio, we sat in the front on the second story and it was sooo fun!!! 180 degree view!!! Saw tons of shirtless crazy cowboys, the route with tons of cows, and they were so funny and like hollering and stuff.
8. The lunch we had on Friday. Like 3 different mini meals that were not pasta with sauce, and ICE CREAM
7. The pancakes last night (super chocolatey) and got to use all my new cooking stuff! Love the wire whisk. So random haha
6. All of the support from friends and FAMILY 
5. The conference with Elder Bednar. Very excited
4. Temple tomorrow!!!! So peaceful.
3. The goals really were something I enjoyed this week. Really helped me focus and try and be productive
2. The day of Saturday was filled with lessons with investigators. Time spent in lessons is always the best!
1. Francisco and Alba are getting ready to change so much! Married and baptized! Excited for them! Nervous for everything but excited!

Love you all, so excited to be here, even when cockroaches fall on me while I'm cooking and touch my legs while I'm praying :)))))))))

Elder Richmond

P.S. Just got a letter from President saying Dengue Fever is in Uruguay! yayyyy...


The chapel at sunset from our roof on Sunday

Pancakes yesterday

This is the Sosa family. 
Sofia on the bottom left, then Rosanna, then Alba (recent convert), then abuela. 
I don't know her actual name haha.

Lunch from last pday!!!

Where we do cyber! ha.

 Upstairs in the attic. Can't even stand up straight.

Walking to nowhere

Sweaty and gross. Messing around as we walk,
but really cute kids once we got there.

This is where we put the cement floor. 
The little girl man-handling the cat

I love the view from my desk. 
This cool purple tree and the church.

Using my cooking stuff!!!!


Matching jerseys

Cool thing Hermana Sosa got us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Brandon's Twenty Seventh Email! February 8th, 2016

Well, another great week here in Paso de los Toros.
Like always, I'll send pictures a little bit later.
This week had its ups and downs, but I am really grateful for some really cool things. 

First of all, kinda non-spiritual things:
It is hot. My white shirt is wet all the time. Not like I'm sweating a little, but like my shirt is see through wet and I am literally dripping sweat. Never imagined wearing dress clothes in the heat. But one plus is the members always take pity on us and give us water or coke or pomelo. 

We had another intercambio with the zone leaders after our zone conference on Friday. It was fun, but the plans fell through and we helped the elder misisonary couple take a fridge from one of the sister companionship's house. So we walked a lot and it was very hot haha. But at least not cold!!!

I got so spoiled this week. I had two packages from mom, including the biggest/heaviest package ever shipped, another little box from the Stolks, and another package from Sheridan! I was literally package wrestling to walk to the bus station and then home from our bus terminal. But so grateful for all of it! I fixed my other shoes, so I'm using those now, because I have like blood blisters on my toes from my other ones (a tad small). And Now I have like American treats for a year or two... SO stoked on all of it! The Stolk's Richmond notepads are actually perfect too! Thank you! 

We went to this cool bridge right by our house one morning when 7 plans failed and we had like 30 minutes. It was really cool. Paso is weird, it like is city, but then walk five minutes and you're in a field where you could walk for 5 days and not come to anything haha. So it was cool, when we crossed the bridge we were in the campo... I'll send pics later!

I worked out really hard at the beginning of the week, and it was great. I haven't been able to since because intercambio and rain, but I'll start up again. I was so sore though. I did squats and lunges and stuff and like felt like my legs were worthless haha. So painful, so I just need to do it more so they're more used to it.

Now, for our week. Well, Elder Gehring has been having bad migraines which is a bummer, so we have had some time where he couldn't leave. But the time that we have been able to be out has been great. Seriously we are so blessed all the time when we are out in the streets! Everyone is so nice and cool. The only down side of that is there are tons of girls here that we like have to avoid because they just say sketchy stuff. It's weird, I think there are a lot more girls than boys in this town. But besides that, the friendliness is great! We talk to tons of people all the time and it's more like the difficult thing here is following up on people we have found, instead of finding people like in El Pinar. 

So also, this sister in our ward is so cool. We stop by her house a lot to say hi and to teach another lady that lives with them, recent convert, and she had a family night with a family with five kids. She met the inactive mother and invited her and the whole family came including the husband, and they had a great night and so we are going to get set up with them. I'm excited!

Also, Francisco and Alba are both set to get married the 18th, and then baptized on the 20th. They are legit country people, so can't read, but are so great, and really have such a resolve to follow Christ in their life. I love listening to him give simple testimonies of Christ and the church. They totally understand the essentials, albeit just the essentials, but that is the key! 

I'm almost halfway done with the B.O.M. in spanish. I understand all of it now, and now I am working on learning new words. I was kind of deducing the meaning of words, but now I want to learn and incorporate them. I wasn't reading the B.O.M. (in spanish) all that much my first and even second transfer, but now I'm loving it (in spanish). I've been marking diligently too. Sometimes tries my patience. 

Top Ten.
10. Breakfast. (Elder Marley cooked a dank breakfast so I started copying him. Sautéed bell pepper and onion, add scrambled eggs, then add beans.)
9. Fixed my mom comfy shoes so my feet will be kinda happy!
8. Fun satisfying workouts in the morning make me feel so much better during studies/during the day.
7. The Stolk's notepads they sent me. So perfect for reminders/notes around the house (ponderizing)
6. I've been planning my personal studies better the night before so I wake up excited to study a specific material.
5. Package from Sher with PEANUT BUTTER
4. Incredible package from mother. Probably on the poor Sister's "bottom ten"... the one who carried it from her house to the church. They had it in their house cause they were in Montevideo last. So sad to see her walking around the corner like grasping the giant box.
3. Days when we have a full day planned, and just have a full day of lessons. I want it to be like that almost everyday! Minus some time for finding obvi.
2. The member missionary work from Hermana Sosa in our ward!!!! Such an example.
1. SO best for last. We had talked to these other county folk like last p day when we left, super cool and like clean cut and nice, and kind of casually invited them to church because we had to go. That was it. We were in sacrament meeting and nobody else had showed up (4 people had committed to come) so we were pretty bummed. Right after the opening prayer they walk in the door and we went out to receive them and then a member did too, it was a miracle. They were awesome. Elder Gehring and I taught the Gospel Principles class on eternal marriage and it was great, They've been married for 40 years and loved hearing of temple sealings. 

So we are going to see where that goes. 

Great week. Shout out to Sheridan for killing it in the MTC.

Love you all, Elder Richmond

 This is that one bridge I told you about in my email

  More from the bridge

More from the bridge

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Brandon's Twenty Sixth Email! February 1st, 2016

Wow, that's Crazy, week 27. I hit six months this week!

So this week, we started off doing splits with the Zone leaders and I went to their area, and it was so cool. We had SUCH a cool lesson with this member and these two guys teaching the restoration. The missionaries had given him a Book of Mormon and he said he feels good when he reads it and elder Ford asked, "Why do you think you feel like that?" And he said, "I think it's God's way of telling me it is good and true?" And they said that they will get baptized 20th of February.

We got our lights AND our water fixed in our house. The electricity like blew up in hall of the house so we had to call the electrician, he came and fixed it and we bought bulbs and now everything works. The next day we called the plumber and he came and fixed it and so now our house works how it should! Literally a miracle!!!!! The problem with the toilet was that there was a half can (chopped in half) of sardines lodged completely blocking the pipe. What theeee....

So I bought baking soda at a pharmacy and they had a legit scale. I had lost 20 pounds since I left, while wearing all my missionary clothes!!!! I was kinda shocked! 

So I had something cool happen for the first time on my mission this week!!! We contacted a guy by his house, then had a lesson right there right then. I've wanted to do that so many times and finally!!! He was great, he turned off the radio when we walked over and got out chairs. After teaching the Plan of Salvation he said that he would like to get baptized! 

Francisco is still set to get baptized the 20th. We visited him a couple times this week. He is great. Always at church before us haha.

One funny thing. This really cool family, the Sosa family, is so funny. Elder Gehring had given them ibuprofen one day and they couldn't figure out the child proof cap so they called it Latin proof also haha. I was dying. They are so funny.

So today we are going to Durazno to hang out with the zone at the church there. I'm sending pictures after because we have to go to the bus terminal now!! Love you guys!!!
I'll try and think of a Top Ten later!

Elder Richmond

Fields inbetween Paso and Duranzo... there is nothing.

 The cool church in Durazno. It's so nice!

The plumber pulling out the sardines can....

 And this cool bamboo stick we had. Works for workouts

 Tie Burning!! 
Have two videos but without one drive it's pointless...

Zone activity today. It was actually really fun. The zone is 6 elders 6 sisters. 
We ate lunch and played games.