Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Brandon's Sixty Fourth Email! October 25th, 2016

So let's see, I'm really unorganized right now and don't have a lot of time, so this will be a weird letter.

We have transfers tomorrow. My comp is going to Durazno and Elder Bess is coming. I've met hime, he is American, really nice I think, but don't know him so I'll tell more next week haha. But I'll be here one maybe two more transfers! I will now be the oldest in the house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Along with another elder from my group (I don't know him very well, was in the other district in the MTC, and he is coming in the other area. First time in the same zone as someone from my group!)

Tomorrow they leave at 8:15 and we'll be in a trio until our comps arrive on the bus around 4ish I think. I think I'm going to switch desks, but I'll miss Elder Vallecillos a ton, he is so cool, a real friend! 

We had a district lunch on Wednesday after the D.M. and it was so sick! The sisters made millanessa and brought alfajores, we brought french fries, the Walls brought salad and dessert, the Elders drinks, so nice! 

The intercambio with Elder Ford was crazy. He is staying one more change! He extended his mission. And so that's sick! We helped break up a dog fight. It was crazy. I really enjoyed their area because it's the city and there are sooo many people to talk to! Elder Ford is so fun to be with, it was a fun day.

We had a sick lesson with this young family where we had left them two copies of the Book of Mormon and they had written their names on them, he drew a sick picture of Christ on the inside cover, and they legit read and understood everything, which is awesome because they have a humble situation. It was so exciting to see they had read and to see people acting to get closer to God!!! I was so happy leaving from there! 

We also have had some good lessons with a few new investigators. We looked at our numbers for the change, if we did a certain number of contacts, we always found new investigators, but if not, not really. So I want to go crazy this next change haha and talk to every person, dog, and horse I see. 

So I didn't do a top ten. Sorry! Totally forgot. It's so funny how forgetful I can be! Worried I'm forgetting something now with the transfers hahaha. 

I love you guys. I love the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I love learning about Christ because I can understand his sacrifice for us just a little bit better. He loves us, always has and always will! He gives us the opportunity to make it back to our Heavenly Father who is waiting for us to succeed!!! I wish everybody could know these simple truths.

Have a great week, Elder Richmond

 The best district ever!!!
We had a district lunch on Wednesday
Okay I look super fat, not sure why, and it looks like I'm not wearing a plaque, but I am hahah. 

 Our green drank that we make in the mornings feat. spinach

 Our district lunch

 Our lunch yesterday.. whoops haha 

 These random cows were just staring at us sooo hard. 
Like they all stopped in their tracks and were dead silent... soooo funny!!!!

Cemetery by our house

 Our transfer in a foto haha 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Brandon's Sixty Third Email! October 17th, 2016

So first of all, my comp and I have been doing exercises really hard every morning. It helps both of us focus more during our studies, and just feel with more energy throughout the day. Friday we did legs and did some new workouts and we are both still sooooo sore. Like the past 3 days have just been walking with splints on my legs I feel like. We look like robots I think.

Another thing. Montevideo sends out to the zones a thick plain black nylon bag weekly with whatever other packages for letters and things. We go pick it up from the bus agency and so we go, show them our passport, sign something and take this stuff. We send it back in a day or two with return mail to the offices. Throughout my mission people have yelled C.I.A. at us and I understand why more now. It looks kind of funny. And like in ties and white shirts. I was laughing when someone yelled it and I was like what do they... then looked at us and was like, hmmm, this isn't normal.

I really like the scripture in Romans 8:16. Most people feel that they are a child of God, it's just natural. If we don't, we just need to get a little closer to God so the spirit can let us feel it.

This week I had an intercambio with Elder Peterson in San Ramón and it was great. We had a few lessons, and I did the baptismal interview for their investigator, this 20 year old guy, who got baptized on Saturday! It was a great experience to be able to chat with someone who is ready and prepared to get baptized. He has lived a rough life but has changed so much and humbly wants to follow Christ. I really enjoyed the opportunity to do the interview. 

During the intercambio he had the movie about Gordon B. Hinckley and it was sooo good! I don't know how I've never seen that before, but he was such a great man, I love reading his talks now.

We actually went to the baptism on Saturday night to support them because it's the first baptism in the zone this transfer, it was great, and really spiritual. He was crying as people talked after the baptism. 

Thanks parents because I ordered myself a nice quad in spanish for Christmas! Don't know when It'll come, but the order is in at least haha.

Two funny stories. (To me at least)-
We walk and kids in high school always yell HELLO HOW ARE YOU (it's the phrase they learn) and I didn't want to respond good, and you? Because that's the example phrase, so I said how's it walking? And then we take like 2 steps and Elder Vallecillos and I just start laughing because that sounds so weird in english. I got mixed up because that's normal to say here in spanish. Literally my english is dying.

Yesterday morning my comp and I both woke up a tad early in the morning and were lying down still and I was like, "Hey, the weird knife things we use here in Uruguay to eat are so weird." And he was like, "What knife things?" Then I snapped out of my dream and realized that I had totally imagined these knives with bottle openers to eat with and I was like, "Wait, they just use normal utensils here?" And we both started laughing. Not very funny when I write it.... urt.

So we are going to drop an investigator who always commits but never does. It's kind of a bummer, but really he isn't improving anything, and is going to think that this religion isn't right, but he's not doing it right. So it's better he waits until he is ready to act on beliefs, but still hard to tell them we won't be passing often like we have been.

We have a cool investigator who is 27 and we had some good, spiritual lessons with him this week. His life has gone bad in the last 6 months due to a car wreck and family problems, but he is really smart and wants to believe. So we'll keep working with him. He came to a branch activity on Wednesday, but didn't come to church because he was out late at a wedding at night, kind of a bummer. 

We didn't have anyone in church. It's been a bummer. I try to still enjoy church, but when we're waiting for people who say they'll go and don't, it's a little distracting. I give a talk next week I just remembered haha.

We've been doing a lot of contacts because it's been hard to get references, and we met a lot of cool people, mostly yesterday. We even have a lesson tonight with a couple we met yesterday, so pray that they're there! That's so common here. We set a time, and they just are not there. Frustrating. 

I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I'm so lucky to know what the Book of Mormon is (not Smith's book haha) and how it can bless us. 2 Nephi 9 explains what happens when we pass away very clearly. I was loving it this morning. 

It got super hot now. It's so nice. Like sweaty and everything haha. Then rained, then hot again. We made tacos today for lunch and it was so good! I'll send pics I think!

We have intercambios with the assistants on Friday! I think I'll be with Elder Ford! He will only have 4 days left in his mission!!!! That's so crazy!!!! So I think I'll be the last intercambio of his because we're the last zone. That'll be kind of sad to say bye. He is like a brother to me.

Top Ten.

10. The nice, hot weather
9. Cool people that we meet doing contacts! 
8. Exercises being a fun part of the day
7. I love our district! I look forward to D.M. We're making a district lunch on Wednesday after our meeting.
6. Intercambio with Elder Peterson
5. E. as an investigator! Good lessons. Honest intent.
4. I love my comp. We have a good time together always.
3. Sister Wall fixed my pants! Like 3/5 of them! She was the lead seamstress at Nordstrom for lots of years and like pulled in the waist, lengthened them and tapered them a tad, and fixed the pockets, and it all looks brand new!!!! So crazy! 
2. I have been getting better at understanding the scrips which has been really fun for me! I'm enjoying it more and feel more self sufficient with the scriptures.
1. Doing my first baptismal interview was a great experience that I won't forget! 

I love you all, have a great week!!!

Elder Richmond

 Silly photos we took today haha

 Un matecito

  This train smashed a truck in our area last week! 

 The baptism in San Ramón!

 Elder Batty always looking so stylish haha 

 Best orange I've ever eaten in my life!

 Our "plaza date" we have every 2 weeks. 
Super peaceful and I love it.

 The tacos we made today.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Brandon's Sixty Second Email! October 10th, 2016

The Improvement Era-
I think that's the name of a church book or something, it's in my brain, I think from footnotes. 

Anyyyway, this week was still an improvement from last in our area and in the zone as a whole so that was good! It's a little hard seeing or hearing of my friends' weeks in Brasil because it sounds a bit more action packed haha, but it's good here in Uruguay. My companion and I are great friends and I just really enjoy it. If he were lame it'd be kind of tough because we get so many hardcore rejections, like 70% of the time. We get so surprised because they are sooo humble financially. Literally like wood and corrugated tin shacks but turn us down as if they were living the life. We joke that they want to go opposite day on Alma 31.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADD GROM. Hope it's good, I heard you in Utah so yewww..

I don't know what's going on but all of my pants are like 4 inches too big in the waist. Hermana Wall, the senior missionary here with her husband, is going to bring them in for me because she was a seamstress. And fix pocket rips / dog bite holes.. I've been on one pair of pants for the last bit because they're all suffering. But I'm not sure if the pants stretched or what, but they're so big. 

We had more lessons this week compared to last week, and we finally found new investigators! Two families, and a cool guy who got hit by a car while being policeman and his life has turned upside down since then. We are really excited to teach them, and they're super cool. We fasted to find families to teach (very rare here) and so far it's going well!! 

I have studied 2 Nefi chapter 2 so much this week and I love it. Every verse has such good doctrine about why we should make good decisions. I wrote a letter to my senior year high school gov/econ teacher because he asked me once about what Mormons believe is the nature state of men, good or bad, and I don't remember what I said, but when I read this, I thought of him and wrote him a more complete answer. Kind of funny, but I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I thought, why fight it?
I really love how it talks about the fact the Christ's atonement lets us have agency, and repent when we make bad choices, so that we can shake off the natural man and ready ourselves to pass on to the next life. Christ is so central in everything.

Here in Florida everyone is into San Cono. Apparently you give him money and he makes you rich, but if you stop giving him money he curses you. And of course he is just a figurine, so that's a big stumbling block in this area. Very interesting. I don't understand where this comes from....

Well that's like all of the stuff that I remembered to write down I guess. We had one day where we met like 3 people whose lives had been DESTROYED by alcohol, drugs, or infidelity. It makes me so sad. It is so emotionally weighting that sometimes we walk out of charlas and I am just shaking inside trying to not sit down and cry. I just keep going to try and help other people follow the commandments. Happiness is following the commandments of God. I wish so badly that all of my closest friends from church, high school, whatever could just see the effects so clearly of what happens when you follow or don't follow Christ in your life because it would be casi impossible to not follow after seeing. 

Well, that sounds negative, but I am so happy knowing that we can overcome all of this sadness and trouble by repenting and trusting whole-heartedly in Christ as our redeemer who will help us back to God.

I love him, and I love the Book of Mormon because I learn more about him in it. 

Top Ten

10. We did HARD workouts everyday. Like so sore. But rewarding
9. Our district is SO Cool
8. The Eddy's are so cool. Sister Eddy emailed me a cookie recipe because I told P. Eddy that we wanted it. And he came to our ward on Sunday and was telling us about the BYU football game.
7. The Walls, the senior missionaries here are sooo nice! We've been helping him staple on fly screens to his window sills each p-day
6. I got surprise letters from Sheridan during the week because the Walls went to Montevideo. 
5. My comp is so cool and easy going, but works hard.
4. We finally got to do service on Saturday morning. Moving a ton of dirt and leveling it.
3. 2 Nefi 2 is so amazing. This plan is perfect.
2. We finally found new investigators so hopefully we can find more and get things rolling
1. We found families. I think this will be the first time in my mission teaching a family.

I love you all.

Elder Richmond

 Horse track in our area. We cross it almost everyday which is fun haha

Oil with a little bit of food :) Sunday lunch

 We were kidding around saying we need to follow the WoW (Word of Wisdom)  more after President Monson's talk so we work out and then make smoothies with fruit and soy protein.

Cool fields haha

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Brandon's Sixty First Email! October 3rd, 2016

So this week was so cool! It totally flew by, and there are some things that didn't work out totally how I'd want, but we have this week to change that! 

So we have done lots of contacts to try and get things going more here, of course asking for references too, but when we go by for set lessons, the people almost always say, "fa, vos sabés, estoy por bañarme," literally almost EVERY TIME! We are thinking... are they always in the shower or is this the next dumb excuse?! Haha kind of frustrating, but whatever....

We made a lot of food this week! Zapallitos rellenos. Fajitas, and other stuff I feel, but super dank! Elder Vallecillos likes cooking so that's cool. We honestly get along great, so although the work has been slow, it's been fine because we just want it to get better together! 

So on Thursday we had interviews and we went first, we actually did most of the interview together, then a little bit one at a time. It was great; President really seems like he just wants to help us. Sister Eddy sent with him DANK cookies for the missionaries. Then we went to lunch with President at this super nice restaurant, it was so funny. And he like pulled out these papers and random people who we've contacted who were around like saw us and just looked confused because President was wearing his suit and had his briefcase, and nice car. But it was good. Our zone can do better, the city is awesome, so that's what we were looking at! 

Then, we left with him after our language study, and it was so rad! We had 3 lessons and he brought such a cool spirit to the lessons. The people opened up to him and it totally helped us with them. Our investigator J. needs to stop smoking and his girlfriend like supports him, but when President told him that he would live a better life if he stops, it had a strong power to it. It was great, then he dropped us off at the church, then took off. 

We had another lesson with J. on Saturday and he and his girlfriend (he is 22 and she's 16) odd? But she looks like she's 22 so idk. Both said that they were going to conference. We even had the lesson with a member who is his neighbor and life long acquaintance, but he never showed up. Really disappointing because he had a baptismal date that now he won't meet, but we'll keep working with him and see if he can muster up the faith to act. 

I loved Elder Bednar's talk. I think it's good to hear in spanish because we can saber acerca de Jesucristo or we can conocerle a él. The difference is key, and it's meaning is intrinsically different! We need to know Him know Him, not just know about Him! 

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and modern revelation that we have. These two things together help steer us straight and know why the things that we do are important. I am so grateful to know that God reached out to us through a prophet. I love knowing that I can learn about Jesus Christ thanks to the Book of Mormon. It seems hard to have the faith to act, until you realize how much is on the line. 

I forgot to think of a top ten for this week, but everything was great. This week we are going to talk to literally everybody, no matter how mean or uninterested they look. I'm excited for that. We are using the B.O.M. more than ever before, I love that. And the visit by President was great.

I love all of you, have a great week! 

Elder Richmond

 We turned our desks towards each other per consejos of Elder Teixeira 
but now it's SUPER hard to pass the mate.

 We made Zapallitos Rellenos! 
They´re so good! With ground beef and cheese inside. 

We made Fajitas one day when lunch fell through! 

We got ice cream for a celebration of conference 
(apparently a habit everywhere to get ice cream after priesthood session) so my comp and I got it. 

Our district ate lunch at the senior missionary's house today for lunch! The Wall's!! 
They are sooo nice! She made lasagna and it was SO good!!!!