Monday, March 27, 2017

Brandon's Eighty Fifth Email! March 25th, 2017

So last night we made a cake for our investigator family's daughter because they do not have much, and last night they mentioned it was her birthday tomorrow like in a relaxed way. We left and were like let's make her a cake! So we baked it last night and frosted it in the morning and swung it on over there. That family is great! They have so many financial difficulties that I really do understand their struggle to not work Sunday morning, but they said that they will go tomorrow and trust in the Lord. I think it is sad to see how hard it can be for a family just to get by, and shows the importance of good decisions early on in life. 

We have had a lot of success this week finding people to teach, and have met some people with the most serious of problems that you could ever have. It's so sad. Drugs, selling drugs, prostitution, babies at such young ages, that could all be avoided by just following the commandments... One investigator's little sister is 14 with a 5 month old baby. It breaks my heart but at the same time gives me the best motivation to keep trying to let everyone know that there is a better way! Safety is found in following the commandments! 

We had two conferences this week and three intercambios! It was super fun, always something new! One conference in Florida and another in Las Piedras! One day I got to work with Elder Hayden and it was sick!!!! He is such a good friend, I miss him in the offices!! We had a sick day teaching and everything; a little 4 year old was throwing sun tan lotion bottles at us, and we made pancakes for the house at night with our dank non-stick pan! 

We could finally sit down and have lessons with lots of people that I met a long time ago!!! Lots with good potential!!  It was awesome, I felt so grateful to finally have those people be at home and be able to listen a little bit more.

This p-day we actually had a lesson in the morning that was firm, so we went, then after we went and had a super fun day at the Eddys' high school playing soccer. Then football Americano with the office elders and family Olsen of the other mission! 

Elder Powell Naylor and Elder Ryan Layton, both from my BYU ward are comps as AP's! They both end their missions soon, 11 weeks, and 5 weeks! 

This coming week we will go to a far zone on Tuesday, do divisions and stay the night in the farthest zone, Melo, and have divisions, then come home on Wednesday! Then we have new missionary conference on Friday and that'll be great! 

Sorry mom, I forgot a top ten, but I love the Book of Mormon, my family, sharing the gospel. I got a wonderful card from Sheridan with her perfect handwriting, and a package from my family. Played American football on a grass field, had divisions with a good friend, and got to eat pancakes... so good week! 

We taught the sabbath day to lotsssss of people because we need people to come to church and see that it's a good thing if they're ever going to get baptized! Like everyone has a baptismal date, but that'll never come to happen if they don't go to church! 

Love you all, keep it piola! ---- Michel our RC always says that and he is sooo sick!!!! He gave the best talk ever last Sunday!!!! Like literally better talk than I'll ever give in my life with scrips and his testimony and funny but not overboard and gosh he is so rad!

We got to play with the other mission today for p-day at the kids' high school!! 
We played football and it was so fun!!!! 
Powell Naylor, and Ryan Layton from my BYU ward are the AP's in the other mission and are comps!!! 
It was sick to see them today!!! 

From our intercambio with Elder Millia and his comp Elder Alvarez

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Brandon's Eighty Fourth Email! March 18th, 2017

Well, last night we had 6 elders in the house and we each bought a liter of chocolate milk of different types and had a taste test. We all drank one kind, then switched, and personally, I like colet the best! I love chocolate milk! 

So this past week we had two multi-zone conferences and after each we had divisions with the Zone Leaders. Then yesterday we also had one with a companionship. I was with Elder Alvarez, Elder Bess, and Elder Cabrera! It's sad, every time I'm with Elder Bess now, our day turns out kind of lame. I don't know why, like people not there etc. The other two days were awesome work-wise. It's fun being with past comps, like I can see how I'll be friends with them after the mission! 

So we have one neighborhood and in that we have found lots of investigators lately. We have found three families which is awesome! One family of 6, one of 9, and another of 6!!! So they have all said that they are going to go to church on Sunday, which would be so funny! Haha obviously lots of times they flake out, but we are going to pass by their houses in the morning and possibly walk with tons of them down to church! That'd be like another 5th of the ward or more haha...

One of the wives came to an activity on Wednesday, we had a family night in the church on Wednesday and she brought three of her four children!!! It was so cute seeing the girl who is eight and her brother who is 9 like jump around in a circle SOOOO excited because they were going to go to church!! It was great, but it's kind of sad because these families were starting very early before they were ready or expected and they all are kind of just fighting through the week to week..

The conferences have gone well. We share a video from this December training to mission presidents and talk about it, and President talks about receiving personal revelation which is so important to everyone, not just missionaries!!! I recognize it soo much now that I'll have to make big decisions when I get home, and without looking for guidance from God, I have NO clue how I'd make these decisions!!! He wants us to make good decisions and is willing to help us make them!!! 

I am excited to have more time at home to study the scriptures for as much time as I want each day!!! Like obviously I'll have things to do but I can prioritize my day, and that'll be great. I want to learn more about the bible, not just the stories but the background and history of the events, otherwise I don't think I can really understand all of it...

There are so many funny things that people do each day... like to try and avoid us like we're poison haha!!! It's funny, and some guy a little older than me got SUPER angry because we contacted a lady who was apparently his girlfriend and he like yelled threats and she was like váyanse!!! So we left... Our area has sooo many great people, and it also has like the, "Learn by their example what not to do," which is so sad. I know that they can break that streak but sometimes it's hard.

I more than anything know that Christ and God love us because they have done so much to help us ready ourselves to return to our Father!! I love 2 Nefi 31. The whole chapter talks so clearly about what we should do, why, and how!!! 

I can't wait to squeeze Jack's little cute face!! Christie and Daniel, you have the cutest kids ever! 

Love you all!!! 

Sorry mom, maybe I'll think of a top ten and send it later!!! 

Elder Richmond

UPDATE: Here is Brandon's top ten which is not in order

-Playing basketball on a wood court with people who play
-Finding new investigators
-Multi zone conf. going well
-Divisions going well
-Chocolate milk testing panel
-Dad's Jeep project
-Auz getting teefs out and birfday
-I really like our house of four missionaries
-The simplicity of the Book of Mormon
-Being able to be happy despite random inconveniences, something I´ve gotten a little better at.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Brandon's Eighty Third Email! March 11th, 2017

I'm eating craisins! Right now! I don't think that I've ever eaten a little box of raisins, now look! haha and I actually like them. It's sad really, how much food I didn't like before that I like now. Lots of times I'll eat something and love it, and it's something that I would've hated to eat before! I don't know why it took me coming here to make that happen....

Anyway, this week we had Leadership council, and training for new district leaders on Tuesday and Wednesday. It went well, I think that my portion of the meeting on Tuesday went well, but I don't know. I just know that I'm less nervous now. Not because I love talking in front of people, but I think because I feel that these things are so important, and they are like tools to help people find Christ in their lives, so the desire that I have to share that outweighs me being uncomfortable.

Wednesday was good, like everything has gone really smoothly, people showing up on time, people making buses, and it's great! I'm so grateful! Been so lucky!

Thursday we had a pretty normal day. We had a meeting with President because in 2 months a GA (General Authority) is going to come to our mission!! We had to fill out a questionnaire with him and some of the questions were really funny, like how well do the missionaries do their exercises? Do you how well you (talking to President) do yours? hahah

Yesterday we had divisions with a companionship that president asked us to do. One of the missionaries arrived here a week ago and is from Arizona, so it was fun working with him! We had a good day, found new investigators, and had a sick lesson with this investigator who is 18. Brazil just passing the border in Artigas, and is super prepared!!! Im stoked!!! (No idea what Brandon is saying here, sorry.)

These coming weeks will be crazy!!! We have like the same conferences that we had last transfer, so we'll be going out on Tuesdays and Thursday to other zones, but this time President will drive and we'll drive separately so we can bring the ZL (Zone Leader) back to our area after the conferences while he does interviews so that we can have divisions! SO we have planned to do divisions with the zone leaders in all 12 zones, including the conferences! I'm stoked though because now our area won't die while we're gone like three days a week! Now we'll get home a little late, but we'll be able to leave in the afternoon like everyday except for when we go real far to 33 and Melo! We did the math and from the planned time that we have out of our area, it comes out to that we are in our area 66% of the time, and that's not including unplanned, so now we'll be able to have a lot more time! 

I feel so happy and stoked working in the streets and teaching new people and talking about Christ and his eternal love and sacrifice for us! The missionary who I had divisions with yesterday told me something. He said, "When you talk, you always are smiling, do you try to do that?" I told him no, because it's true, I'd never thought about that. I think that I'm just really, really happy to be here and I love telling people about the fact that they can have an eternal family! I love my family and I'm excited to have my own wonderful family. (Christie's pics of JJ kill me!) Families are so important. I know that they can and are meant to be an eternal unit!!! 

I love my Heavenly Father, and I am very grateful that somehow I was born into a family that had this wonderful gospel in their lives!!

Love you all! 

Elder Richmond

By the way, what is the berry from which craisins are made? 

March 16th turning 19... weird!!! Hope you have a good one!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Brandon's Eighty Second Email! March 4th, 2017

Hahaha they have so many funny sayings here. We were inviting a guy to go to church and he said this phrase like 30 times and my comp was like, well, brother______ that's great, we see your desires to be honest... 
they just say it as a saying though so he got all confused...

Well this week was crazy.. Sometimes I feel so sketchy and then I'm like oh this is what I'm supposed to be doing...
So we had transfers, super busy!!! Sunday we had a dank dinner at the Eddys' as a farewell for Hayden and Palomino leaving the offices. Hayden is going to be a ZL in NORTE, close to here. Palomino to be ZL in Melo, on the border of Brazil.
Monday was meetings and busy. Training my new comp in the things we have to do.

Tuesday was when we got the new missionaries, and it was good, we did our little welcome/training thing and my comp even spoke in english with the english speakers, it was really fun! That night we had the meeting with President to make the assignments. He is super legit and did lots of work before transfers to prep and so it all went faster than normal...

Wednesday was changes and we did training for the trainers, then there were lots of little things that had to be done like taking people here or there but it all worked out for a great time! The Eddys invite us over late after the finishing missionary dinner and fed us dinner also! So nice! 

It was really stressful because bus reservations, change notifications like sending out transfers, all kind of stresses me out because I don't want to forget anything! 

That night was crazy. Went to bed at 11, woke up at 12 to take one sister to the airport. She was the only one that had that flight so I went with Elder Childs and took her. It was so weird being with her at like 1 in the morning! Like normally that'd be so bad haha. She is really shy, but the last sister from my group that left! So then right when we got back to the hostel at the temple, we took three elders to the airport. All 4 of them went to Peru. 

Then slept for another hour when we got back. Then breakfast, then we took another group at 11:30, another sister at 2:30pm, and another elder at 6:30!

Such an aiport day. Little work done in between each trip.

Yesterday we went to the temple!! It was so awesome! Just my comp and me because we'll be with President in Conferences during each of the temple trips, so we went yesterday. Then we had a meeting with President Eddy and Sister Eddy and they took us to lunch! 
***Sister Eddy wanted mom to know that I eat lots of vegetables with them, which is true. It's like the only place I eat them when I think about it***
Then all yesterday we spent the whole afternoon making bus schedules to send to the bus guy, making schedules for interviews, planning the leadership meeting, and doing the visual stuff for that.. I love being in the streets so those long periods of time tire me out!! But, we got lots done so that's good! 

Wednesday afternoon we got some time in our area and had a great time!! I love it! We had a lesson and kept inviting people to join us and they were all very open and we had a great lesson! 

This next Tuesday we have the leadership council, then district leader training, then the following week we start up the same round as last transfers of conferences and intercambios!

I'm excited, our house is so clean already. My comp and Elder Vanderlinden (one change behind me) both are the new guys and are clean, so our house, although still ghetto, is clean and neat RN. SO HAPPY!!!! No more wilted wet lettuce underneath the faucet on the counter!! 

Mom, I forgot a top ten, sorry!

I love you all, the temple is an amazing place where you really can feel God's love. Go to it.

Elder Richmond

The new office elders in here too.. 

                                                                   Elder Mora is my new comp!

 Driving, at the temp!