Saturday, January 28, 2017

Brandon's Seventy Seventh Email! January 28th, 2017

Soy sincero, soy franco... Just a silly thing people say sometimes if they don't want anything! 

Alright so this past week was great! Elder Stevenson visited, then the meeting on Wednesday went well, we have more p-day time and more relax time in the morning and at night! Pretty fun haha.

Today we have the baptism of Michel!!! He is sooo rad!!! I can't even believe it! I'm so stoked for him because he wants to get baptized soo badly and knows why completely! He is sooo intelligent and cool and I'm pumped for him that he is making this decision that will impact his life so much!! 

Paula didn't go to church last week because she was sick, and she like threw up at the beginning of our lesson so I totally believe her, but she has been reading the LDM (libro de Mormon) and even reading it and sharing it with her mother and friends! She is so excited to come to church again!! And she also said that she is coming to the baptism this afternoon!! 

I feel like a weird zombie right now because I've just been throwing up for the past 16 hours! I feel so thin and fragile and I hate it haha... Elder Bravo and I ate food and we both got exactly sick at the same time! Such a bummer! 

Okay, so I don't have a ton ready to say, I didn't prepare well to write today (last night was a bummer), but I'll try to make it better next week! I have a splitting headache and stomachache and a TON of pain in my upper left rib area! Like what the!!! I always feel soooo grateful for full health after being sick for a bit! But now is not the time to get sick, or ever, really, I'm so busy all the time!!! 

I'm loving it here, I'm loving getting the opportunity to see real people make big changes in their lives of eternal significance! What a blessing it is to be able to share something that makes me happy with our Brothers and Sisters of God. I'm so grateful knowing that any pain, discomfort, or sadness I experience, Christ already experienced it to be able to understand my feelings, my point of view, and encourage me to keep going and to work in faith always. He Agreed to be our Savior because he loves us more than we can understand here in this life. 

No matter what we're going through, if we remember that we can always have hope and be happy!

I'm sure happy!

Casual shoutout to Sheridan for having the craziest 4 weeks with transfers and stuff and just rolling with the changes (REO speed wagon)!!!!! I wouldn't be so patient I don't think!

Love you guys!!!

Elder Richmond


 The old ghetto van
We already had to trade it back :(

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Brandon's Seventy Sixth Email! January 21st, 2017

Hey Family and loved ones,
This week was crazy, the week of transfers in our mission! So practically the whole week we were occupied in this. Monday was prep and Tuesday I had maybe one of the most packed days of my mission. We woke up at like 5:30 and were at the Cédula office at 7:20am. We actually got them super fast and headed to the medical place to get a check up. I passed (luckily with my lack of health lately), and then we went to the intendencia to get my driver's license. The guy hooked it up! Because I had my motorcycle license from California, all they do is transfer the license to Uruguay, so I now have a Uruguayan Driver's license for cars and motos! It was awesome. Straight from there, we went to the airport and picked up the new missionaries! After, we took them back to Carrasco, had meetings and trainings and welcome to the mission kind of stuff, then I had my driving test with Elder Wankier (it's a rule that the fleet manager has a test with each missionary) and it was so fun to drive after almost a year and a half! The van is a nice, new, clean, but gutless van haha. It was still very fun, we went to get alfajores for the cultural presentation. We had dinner and then met with President to assign Trainers to missionaries  It was faster this time because we talked about it a little before dinner and there were a lot less, so we got to bed at a reasonable time.

So that was all Tuesday. Wednesday, the trainers arrived, we did a presentation thing, then they met their new comps, went to tres cruces. The missionaries ending their missions showed up and we had lunch, then went to the offices so Elder Hayden could try to get an airline ticket bought for an Elder who JUST received his medical release… It's sad because he is so cool and I've wanted to be in his zone, but he might got to BYU so maybe I'll see him again.

The next morning we had breakfast and took those missionaries to the airport in the van with a trailer for their luggage. It was funny driving with a trailer and a van full of people for my second time driving, and although there were complications, Elder Hayden talked to SLC people and got everyone onto planes to get them home!
Wednesday and Thursday, when we had some hours in the afternoon and nighttime we had great lessons with our investigators.

One came to church on Sunday like always, and should be baptized on the 28th, but it depends on what his dad says. He should be cool about it, but the boy who is 15 wants to talk to him and make sure he'll never stop him from going to church because he doesn't want to make a promise with God, then have to break it. He is so legit and mature.

Another investigator that came to church came for the first time and it was awesome! She cried during the class because of some deaths in her family and everyone comforted her and answered her questions about the plan of salvation. When we passed by on Wednesday, her countenance was different, although stressed with her boys, she was happy and hopeful. Finally out of a depressive state which she'd been in! She said she bought a long skirt to match the ladies she saw at church and that she is excited to go this Sunday. We moved her baptismal date up to the 4th of February. We have another lesson with her today. She said last time, I've felt now that you two arrived in the time when I was most sad, most depressed, and God sent you. I remember when it was, like  weeks ago almost. We were just walking by and paused to look at our agendas, her boy yelled at us and we looked over and just went and talked to her… Not a coincidence.

We have more investigators, some that even came to church, but we aren't in our area consistently enough during these weeks to be able to help them keep their commitments more like reading and praying.

So, pray for Michelle and Paula, that they can continue feeling their testimonies grow... (And that the father of Michelle can recognize the good of his son, he already has a strong testimony!)

Way to go Sister Sheridan Hoffman, if I were in a trio, I'd probably be grumpy, but she's had such a good transfer in a trio! It's always uplifting to read about a good exercise of faith!!

This coming week is LOCO! Like el pollo loco haha. People think it's funny that that's a place in the states. It's crazy how many cities and streets in La Jolla and San Diego are Spanish. Trips me out when I hear like El Cajon and I'm like wait, the place by my house? Haha

Elder Stevenson is coming on Tuesday for a conference! Our mission will be with the other mission with all of the DL's, STL's, ZL, from the two missions! It's going to be so cool!

On Wednesday, we have the leadership council, and then at 2pm we are watching the worldwide broadcast for missionaries! It’s a busy couple days because we have to plan the buses and also our presentation for the meeting on Wednesday!

So we had to give our mission van to the area offices for Elder Stevenson, so we got our old one back for now nicknamed “La Chancha” and it's so sick! It's so beat up, but it's stick shift and has a tiny motor with a turbo, so it's way more fun to drive. Here, to drive normally, you like have to pass slow cars and it makes it so much better now. Elder Ford´s brother drove it in the other mission like 4 or 5 years ago, then Elder Ford drove it before we got the new one, how funny is that?

Well…. Esteeee ,esteee, cómo es… I forgot to make a top ten again, sorry mom.
I love all of the Uruguayan sayings. They differ in different parts but they just make me laugh…

I bet lots are the same in Argentina where Travis is.

Well anyway, love you guys! Especially the ones that send me photos of Jack! Haha JK. But I'm excited to babysit him when I get home! Christie, I'll pay you to babysit him!

Love you family, shoutout to mom for remembering Saturday p-day!! 

Also! The sisters from my group went home! So crazy, it was funny saying bye to them at the airport, like where are you going??!

Tambien, I had to call the Brazilian MTC to ask when the sister was going to arrive so we could pick her up and it was so silly, trying to speak in portuguese. The guy was nice and was like you speak well, and I know that was a lie, but at least I was able to communicate enough to tell them what we needed. My two favorite words in Port. are: A gente and o vôo..

The next day, a mom called from Brazil saying she hadn't gotten an email from him yet and no one understood and I heard from far that she said missionário and was like oh, portuguese, and told her it was because we didn't have our p-day on Monday this week, so she'd get an email tomorrow and it was so precious. Moms, always looking out for their kids!

 Brandon says these first 7 pics are a mix of the end of last transfer and the beginning of this transfer

 Florida Bridge


Monday, January 16, 2017

Brandon's Seventy Fifth Email! January 14th, 2017

So I got on email, but we took a very important break to go make tacos! They turned out so dank!

Thanks everyone for the Christmas cards! It was great to see all of the different families that I haven't seen for some time now! Thanks Vann for your card also!

Are the Hatch's from our ward from Tempe, Arizona?

So this week, we had 4 intercambios! Each day from Tuesday to Saturday... it was crazy! I worked with Elder Cabrera, Elder Bess, Elder McMillian, and Elder Peterson.

They were each super fun and different days! I was comps with Bess obviously, then Elder McMillian is my bff from the MTC, and it was our first day ever together, so that was sick! And then with Elder Peterson, we had an amazing afternoon, so it was great. I was so happy to be able to work in my area again! It was really weird though, my comp and I each have almost like our own area and our own investigators for this week because we were apart the whole week! 

We found this really humble group of houses like 30 minutes walking from the next closest house. I want to buy trash bags and go pick up litter because there were precious, adorable little kids playing barefoot in piles of trash, it was so sad. We talked to three different groups of people there and they were all very accepting. It was amazing.

It's kind of a bummer because next week our area will be on hold starting from tomorrow until next Friday... because of transfers.

On Tuesday I applied for my Uruguayan identification, then on Tuesday I'll pick it up from this office in a cool part of downtown. We want to go get medical exams (for the drivers license), and go get our licenses but we may not have time to do all of that before the new missionaries arrive at like 11. So we'll go to the airport for that and start the whole process of that! 

I love thinking of the fact that God loves us today just as much as he did the people in biblical times, and he has called a prophet to help lead and guide and protect us like he had done before. Also, he revealed scriptures for our days, that he had prepared many many years ago for us!! Like if that doesn't show long lasting determined love, I don't know what would.

I forgot to do a top ten... sorry!!!

Love you all, Elder Richmond

With Elder Bess. We ate sooo much watermelon because it's so cheap. 
I don't know if I want to eat more. 

This is Elder McMillian

Those are the tacos we made today!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Brandon's Seventy Fourth Email! January 7th, 2017

So this p-day was probably my least restful of the mission haha. Elder Wankier, the senior missionary in charge of housing wants every zone to paint one house each transfer, so he talked the ZL and us into it first haha. This morning from like 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM we were painting our house. It looks better, but still has like kind of holes in the wall and cracks and stuff haha... but I'm glad we did it! 

This week was cool. So first of all, New years was crazy! I felt really really sick. Fell asleep and they woke me up at like 10 till so we got on the roof and the fireworks were crazy!!!!!!!!!!!! Like 360 degrees for like 20 minutes. Right next door shooting like huge ones haha it woke me up!!! 

The next morning I had a talk, and I literally used the exact scripture as Sheridan quoted in her email this week, 1 Nephi 17:50-51

50 And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done.
 51 And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?

I think that is so legit. I talked about how he had earned his faith by acting in faith earlier in the chapter when he was commanded to ascend a mountain and received the commandment to build a ship. He never doubted!! It's such an example! I was shocked when I logged on and saw her email haha. Very far away but still very alike huh? 

So last week in district meeting, this guy walked in the church and my comp and I went out to talk to him. He was less active and wanted to return and his wife wants to get baptized. They're legit getting married and she'll get baptized. They live on the other side of the division of the ZL's, but it was a nice experience to talk to this man so repentant of what he'd done and his true desire to fix it! 

So a short terp missionary had knee problems, and Elder Connor was going home two weeks early for school, so we didn't want to leave an area dead for 2 weeks, and had already talked to more short term missionaries (young men in Uruguay that live as missionaries for a little bit of time, I'll call them corto plazos from now on). So we had to go pick up the one that was serving, drive him 2 hours home to Maldonado, then we picked up actually his best friend to take the place of the elder going home. We got back to Malvin (there was the CRAZIEST storm!!!!! Trees falling and falling! Going 2 miles per hour on the freeway because no one could see!!!!) Then once in Montevideo, we picked up another corto plazo. Then we took the two to my house, picked up the missionary who was in a trio with the ZL's, took him and dropped off one corto plazo in Maroñas. Then, we took the other one to Las Piedras, and picked up Elder Connor. We traded them and took Elder Connor to the airport with the secretaries and he should be home now!! Haha it was such a crazy day! Like 7 hours of driving or more I think!! But it all worked and that's a miracle! Shoutout to these young men who are on summer break and were so down when we called and asked them to serve with a one days notice!! I admire how willing and ready they were to serve the Lord and help their fellow Uruguayans find Christ in their lives and be happier!!!!!

We had the conference for the missionaries who arrived 4 weeks ago and their trainers! It was great. My comp and I gave a presentation on understanding the spirit in missionary work. Everything went great during the conference and the new missionaries are AMAZING! It's crazy! So impressed! 

So I finally remembered to do a top ten! 

10. We painted our house... yeeee, more happy it's over haha
9. I have been blessed with great food this week between the conference and a perfect normal spaghetti dinner with the Eddy's with green beans and garlic bread. Literally felt like a normal dinner!
8. The weather has been great! (I wrote this before I remembered that terrible storm on Tuesday. There are trees everywhere!)
7. I go to Ciudad Vieja en Montevideo on Tuesday to do my papers to get my Uruguayan cedula! 
6. I love having great examples from my friends in missions! Sheridan, Holden, Connor, Ladd, and many others!!! Legit 
5. All the corto plazos worked out! It was crazy but now it's all good! 
4. Elder Connor finished his mission and everything went smoothly in his salida! 
3. The conference with new missionaries was great!!!
2. New years was unforgettable (even though I forgot that it was this week yikes)
1. I did a demonstration with my comp for sharing the Book of Mormon and I love telling people about it. I feel so strongly that it will always help us grow closer to Christ because we will learn more about him! Read it and you'll love it! 

Thanks for support always!! I love you all!! 
Totally forgetting something, but i just sat here for 5 minutes trying to remember, and it's not coming haha.

Elder Richmond

Beautiful Belloni! Trash piles/ sunset for dayz! 

The storm

Our house antes

Also, we have an intercambio for 4/7 days this week with Zl's. 
It's going to be crazy! Every day with somebody new!!