Thursday, January 23, 2014

A cool photo

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Christmas Nativity

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Our ward had a nativity! from left to right our Bishop, Hermana Elda, Anaiz, Hermana Miner, Cesar(an investigator), Hermana Sergio, yo, y Hermana Karen! I love her so much!

bahia inglesa

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a huge block of ice from our freezer

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photo of Maribel, Ariel and Miriam


January 13, 2014

This week was amazing. The spirit was so abundant all week I'm surprised I still had strength at the end of the week.
Maty left for Arica to visit his mom, but we left him with chapters to read, and he promised he would learn seriously again when I got bacl, and that he would be baptized. We have been praying so much for him, and I know that his answer was God's answer to our prayers and fasting. God knows how to change hearts.
Alberto got back from the mine and came to church yesterday! He's been debating between our church and the evangelical church where his girlfriend goes. He came to lunch with us yesterday at a member's, Mirsa's, home, who has kids his age, Nicole 22 and Jorge 30. We're good friends with them as well, and Santiago was there, so it was a very fun time, which was great for Alberto to be fellowshipped. He didn't know mormons could have fun! He should go to BYU and see haha. He went to a YSA activity last night as well with Santiago and Jorge and Santiago called saying he had a fun time and talked to a lot of people.
We had a few different lessons with Maribel, Ariel, Miriam, and Adalid. But Saturday was the best. It was a family home evening, so we started by singing Hark all ye Nations and introducing the Book of Mormon. We talked a little about what it is and what it can do for us. We talked about some of the history and then watched the Testaments. It was perfect. The spirit was quietly there the whole time, but as Christ came down and ministered unto the people, the spirit was strong, and there were tears from our investigators. When the movie ended everyone was wiping their eyes with big smiles on their faces, including me. We answered questions and bore our testimonies. Then, Maribel told us the worst news. She and Ariel are going back to Bolivia. Tomorrow. My poor missionary heart was broken. They are going back to be with their kids, and find the church there, but that means we can't teach them. I almost wanted to cry. They felt so bad to tell us. We said it was fine, as long as they found the missionaries there, which they said they would. We took pictures together, and on sunday at church we gave them a little presend bag we made for them with CTR rings in spanish, book marks, american candy, and our information so they can write us. It was hard to see them go, but I know that we'll see them again. And Mariam and Adalid are still here, so we are still going to teach them.
In almost all the scriptures I shared this week, I had felt impressed to talk about Jesus Chirst. I have been coming to know him  more and more throughout my time here. I love this one verse that reminds me of the Hill Cumorah Pageant when I read it, and I am filled with love.

15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I acreated the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. bI am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
18 I am the alight and the life of the world. I am bAlpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

He is the light of the world, and he is the light of my world. Someone who has almost nothing can have everything if he really knows Jesus Christ. I love my savior. And I love all of you! Have a wonderful week, and be as Christlike as you possibly can!

Hermana Richardson

Christmas in Chile-December 30, 2013

My dear Family and Friends!

This was such a lovely week. On Tuesday I made three batches of pancakes for our district breakfast and batches of sugar cookies for our less actives and investigators. All Christmas Eve we visited the less actives we're working with, Jorge, María, Rosa, and brought them all cookies. They were all so grateful for our visits, and Rosa even cried, saying we always come when she needs us. She also fed us big slices of Pan de Pascua (a traditional Seasonal Bread here, I'll make it when I get home) and cookies. Later we went over to Hermana Mirsa's home for a Christmas Eve dinner of rice, chicken, meat, papa mayo, vegetables, and postre (dessert). Her two kids Jorge and Nicole who are a bit older than us were there and Santiago too, a member in our ward who is a recent convert and is preparing for a mission, so we had a really fun time. We ate way to much through out the day, so by the time we got home, my stomach was exausted. 
Christmas day was amazing as well, as I had a delcious lunch of rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, bread, papa mayo, salad, jugo, and peaches and cream (a very popular dessert here.) And after I had the opportunity to skype with my family, which of course was one of the best parts of my day. After talking, we had a lesson with our Investigator Maribel. She and her husband are from Bolivia and are here without their children to work until they gain enough to go back and support their family more fully. She is so prepared! We talked about temples and eternal marriage and she wants to go to the temple so bad! We taught her again Saturday the whole plan of salvation, and she accepted everything. She even read the pamphlet the night before! She wants to tell her whole family about it and find a chapel and the temple near her home in Bolivia. We are so excited for her. 
We also taught Alberto this week. We taught him about the restoration of the gospel, and all his questions led into gospel principles and doctrines. He told us about how he is anxious to leave is old life behind because he doesn't like who he was before. We eplanied the atonement, baptism, and becoming new, and becoming a disciple of Christ. They both came to church yesterday, and both had a great experience! 
We brought Lukas and Andres to church yesterday as well! They are 12 and 13 and don't come often due to sports games and talent shows, as one is tall and really good at sports, and the other is an amazing singer. We had a lot of opposition sunday morning, waking them up by getting the dog to bark, and then the dog escaping and them trying to get him inside the gate, but eventually with a few minutes to spare, we made it to church. Pablo also came to church, and particpated in the ward council the third hour, making goals for the year! Fernando, a less active also came, these two twins who we taught a while ago came, and Karen's sister came and ah! so many people were there! Our attendance was increased by about 12 today! We were so happy so many decided to come and partake of the sacrament and become spiritually renewed for the week.
During our lessons this week we had been expressing how important it is to do the small things, pray, read the scriptures, attend church, and how these will keep us firmly rooted in the gospel. We made so many goals with families and individuals to pray everyday as families and by themselves. It is so fun to help others change and become better. I love new beginings! Just rooting out bad habits and replacing it with good actions and the light of the gospel. Ah, it's such a good feeling helping others become new, and helping them realize how real and how important this gospel is. I hope and pray that each of you has also realized this. There is much more to this life than just living! We have a God, our father, and he has a plan for us! Please follow it! You will be happier than you have ever or can possibly imagine. Heavenly Father loves you! Have an amazing week and HAPPY NEW YEAR! For me, a full year of service and love!

Hermana Richardson

Feliz Navidad! December 23,2013

This has probably been one of the most interesting Chirstmas seasons I have ever had. Chileans do not start celebrating until about a week before, so only just barely have there been lights on houses and little trees in windows. But, it has been a wonderful month full of service and love and helping others feel the Chirstmas spirit. 

We finally had a lesson with Maty! He said he's just been really confused and doubtful about different aspects of his life lately. We talked about if he still wanted to talk and see if he wanted to be baptized. He said that he still needs time to think about it, but wants to continue meeting with us. At one point during our talk, we were bearing our testimonies, and I looked at him, and bore testimony that God loves his children, and the God loves him, and will always be there to help him. Everything was quiet, and I saw a a slight change in his eyes. The Spirit was so powerful in that moment, it bore witness to me that what I said was true. I know he felt it. There was a power that confirmed the truth of what I had said to him. 

We're still teaching Oscar, but due to some legal affairs he might have to wait a little while to be baptized, unless it gets cleared up. We had our lesson with Victoria and her boyfriend, and she is so prepared. She accepts everything we teach, and makes an effort to learn on her own. She's so strong and smart and I feel so privelaged to teach her. She still has to be married, which is something we'll have to talk about when she returns from her trip to Santiago. 

On both Tuesday and Wednesday night the lights in our whole sector went out (which apparently is common in the summer to save energy). Both nights we had been teaching lessons, so we taught by candle light. I felt like the early pioneer missionaries, teaching gospel truths by candle light to faithful people looking for the truth. It was a cool experience. However, when we had to walk home, it was a little scary as it was darker than usual. We had a few members call us making sure we were okay and had gotten home safely. I love our ward :)

It was an absotultly wonderful week, and the work gets better and sweeter day by day. I love being in Chile and I love bringing others the happiness that I have. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Hermana Richardson

December 16, 2013

We had such a good hard working week! We did so much walking and looking as everyone has been so hard to find this week. Maty has been working a ton, and Hermana Miner still has not met him. We finally contacted Alberto even though his phone is weird, so we had two lessons with him this week. He said he would come to church, but his phone didn't work when we tried to call, and he didn't come. Cesar has been looking for work and working random shifts at Lider, the Chilean walmart, as a bagger (It's not a paid job, the patrons give tips) so he has been difficult to contact and couldn't come to church either because he was working. BUT, Oscar came to church! He took lessons from the other missionaries here, but left for a few months. Now he's back and is taking lessons from us and accepted our invitation to be baptized! He even read the pamphlets and the first pages of the Book of Mormon! This doesn't happen too often, so we were obviously really excited. We also received a reference for a Victoria. We visited her and she wanted a Book of Mormon to read! We have a lesson with her tonight. She has a brand new baby, Belen, but is living with her boyfriend. She wants to be baptized but doesn't know when she can be married. We're going to set a wedding date tonight with her, so I'm hoping she will let us help her plan the wedding! I want to plan a wedding so much! It's my dream! We'll see what happens.
So, since our investigators have been so ellusive this week, we decided to start working with less actives more. We really want to help our ward grow, so we've set a goal to increase our attendance with 30 more people. We want to go from 50 to 80 who regularly attend. It's a big goal, but we've written out and thought out and prayed about goals and plans that will make it possible. There are a few different families that we're working hard on to help them come. It might take a few months, but we will help these people. I know it.
We had our Chirstmas Conference with the two zones in our city. I sang a solo! Hannah would be so proud of me. Two of the Hermanas in the other zone asked if I sang, and I said I sang alto, so they asked if I would sing a duet for the conference. I agreed, came to practice, and they had me singing the begining of the song! It was a arrangement of Jesus Once of Humble Birth and Silent Night. They day of it went really well, and I was pround of myself for my first solo ever. I sang the harmony for the rest of the song, where I was more comfortable. It was so nice to sing harmonies, because I don't get a lot of chances during the week or at church. It went well and everyone told us how great we sounded. I was happy. 
The conference was filled with messages of Missionary Work and at one point we all sat in a big circle and read the christmas story and sang the corresponding music, just like we do every christmas eve. Sadly It didn't include all of us dressed as Mary, Joseph, Shepherds and me as the Angel. I miss being able to read the scriptures to my family while wearing mom's big white robe. But it still was good to read the story, even if I only half understood, as it was in spanish. 
With almost every family we visit, we have been sharing the mormon message video with a message of christmas service. Everyone loves it, and we always bear our testimonies on how simple service can impact lives. It brings the spirit so much, and everyone has been so willing to go out and serve! I absolutly love our ward. I can feel their love for us, and I know that they're always there to help us. It's so wonderful to have such a supportive group at our back. The gospel and church is just so wonderful that way. 
I absolutely just love this gospel. It is the most perfect thing in the whole world! God is perfect and his plan is perfect! I love being able to tell others about the love Heavenly Father has for us, and how they can change their lives. Yesterday as we contacted a lady sweeping her yard, she told us about her family and the hard times she has passed through. We invited her to our ward activity this friday, a primary activity for her daughter on saturday, and church on sunday. She is new in Copiapo, and we told her that we would be her new friends to help her around. She was so grateful, and I could tell she felt so loved. When we mentioned that we had a special message for her, and how she can live with her daughters with God, her face lit up. She looked beautiful with a wonderous smile on her face. I love making others happy, and helping others realize that there is peace and happiness in this life. We can always have hope for the future no matter what happens. There is always hope. I love and miss you all! Be the best member missionaries you can possibly be! The more we help and love others, the better Chirstmas we will have!

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The Spirit of Christmas-December 9, 2013

This week has been so great! My new companion Hermana Miner is awesome and I love her. She's from Morgan, Utah. She makes me speak in  spanish all day which is really good for me, but we've compromised that at night when we get to the pension, after our long days we can speak in english. It's so wonderful to have a real conversation with someone. She's also been helping so much with all of my nuevita hardships. She has so many great suggestions for how for things pertaining to our mission. We're both two really different people, but we get along well and it's been great! We also had the Maray hermanas move into our pension as they were switched to Palomar and don't have a pension there yet. It's been so fun living with more people! Every night there's something new to discuss or something funny to laugh at. We have such a great spirit in our pension. It makes everything easier. 
It was a little hard this week, because I don't know our sector as well as I'd like to. We did a lot of walking trying to find and visit people. And we had a little bit of bad luck as almost no one was home. We had so many set appointments that everyone was so sure about, but when we would get to their house they wouldn't be there, and we would call and they would say how sorry they forgot to call and cancel. This tends to happen a lot. But usually near all these houses, there was a member nearby, so we ended up having about 10 different member lessons this week. There must have been a reason for that. I'm not sure what, but I guess our members needed some strengthening this week. 
I also forgot to include to interesting things that had happened last week. We had intercambios where I went to Chanarcillo, and helped dig a dog grave in someone's backyard. I got really really dusty, and the dog smelled terrible. It was huge and had died the day before. And we were digging through super hard packed dirt, so my arms were fairly sore the next day. Then that friday a member from our ward told us that another member's sister had died. We called her to give our condolences and she asked if we would come to the funeral that night and sing. So, we sang How Great Thou art, and Nearer my God to Thee for a funeral of someone I didn't even know. And Hermana Vera wanted me to sing alto, which I know a little bit, so I kinda just went with it. I'm getting pretty good at harmonizing. I was also chosen to play piano for the ward choir. Well, It wasn't really a choice or a calling, the director just assumed I would play because I'm the only one who can. We're singing Angels we have Heard on High, and the notes are too big for my small hands, so I do a lot of improvising. However, no one seems to notice, so it's all good. I've had a lot of opportunities to develop my talents this week, even if developing includes a lot of hard work and wrong notes. But I'm happy for this chance to grow. 
I am so excited for this week, as we're going to do our best to bring in the spirit of Chirstmas to every house we visit. We spoke on sunday, and I spoke about The Spirit of Chirst in Christmas and being a disciple of Chirst through service. Everyone told me they understood me and that it was a great talk. Success! I just hope that the spirit was there to inspire our ward members to reach out to others in love and service to help others this season. Hermana Miner challenged everyone to find one person before Christmas for us to teach. I am so hoping that everyone really could feel that strong spirit in the chapel and were inspired to really help us this week. We really need a miracle with a few of our investigators, which I know through God is possible. Pray for missionaries, pray for the work, pray for the hearts of many to be softened and prepared to recieve the restored gospel of Jesus Christ so we can help them be eternally happy! Have a wonderful week and be a disciple of Christ!

Hermana Richardson

First Cambio Done- December 2, 2013

Cambios! We both assumed nothing would change, but you know, right when I start getting comfortable, things just have to change. Heavenly Father is just putting me on the fast growth track apparently. Hermana Vera left today for Chañaral and I am staying and getting a new companion, Hermana Miner. I'll be picking her up from the bus station later today. 
But I'm excited for my new cambio! I'm still being trained, but I'll feel a little less new as I have to teach the sector to my new companion. Spanish is getting a little better. I'm understanding bit by bit, and can have conversations now with people. And I'm really starting to love teaching. I've been taking the lead during lessons because the training manual says I have to, but I'm really enjoying it. However, people have a hard time understanding me sometimes. Oh well, one day I'll get there. 
This week was also Thanksgiving! Hermana Vera and I had a lovely meal of chicken (because they don't really sell giant turkeys) mashed potatoes, rolls, fruity jello, and salad with apples and almonds. We sang some thanksgiving hymns, and I sang turkey land for her. She was thouroughly amused. We had a good time. 
 We had lost a few investigators to moves and other things, so we've been trying to find more people to teach. We had a lot of success this week and have some awesome people that we're teaching. Maty is doing so much better, and even yesterday as we were with him, said that thanks to us, he knew that this was the only true church! We're going to go visit him today as it is his birthday! We are also teaching Alberto a mine worker from Chile who has been praying! He hasn't received an answer, but I know he will. Cesar a painter from the DR who knows the bible really well. We have to prepare a lot to teach him. Fernando who is pretty young and really loves anime, he mentions it everytime we're together. He wants to learn english so he can read it haha. But he's super nice and really likes what we teach him. He attended a baptism on saturday and came to church and stayed the whole time! We're also working with a lot of less actives, trying to help more people make goals for the temple and families. We were really hoping our family history activity would kick start that desire. So far, we've had a good response, and this friday is the activity. I'll tell all about it next week!
We have so much work to do this week, but I'm so excited to get started! I'm really starting to love what I do. And the Lord has been helping me so much. Everyday I can feel him renewing my strength and desire when I just have none left. He's always there waiting for me to ask to renew my desire to speak more spanish and smile more. On saturday I was feeling reall uneasy about the new change, a little scared for a new companion and helping my sector without Hermana Vera. I fasted for faith and confidence to know that it will all be okay. And wonderfully the next day, my feelings of inadequecy and fright were starting to fade, being replaced with confidence and hope in the future. I understood a little more that day, and made a few contacts on my own, and talked to a lot of different people. I also got fed ice cream today (which doesn't happen a lot) so that was deffinitely a boost :) 
So, as of right now, I'm excited for what the new changes will bring, and I know that whatever happens, the Lord will bless me and help me as long as I am faithful to him. How amazing to have this knowledge in our lives. To know that we will always have our loving father right there to help us whenever we are in need. The Lord loves his children, and I love them too! Especially those in Chile :)

con mucho amor,
Hermana Richardson

Family History-November 25, 2013

Happy Brithday Hannah! Also Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for my lovely sister and family whom I miss so very much.
However, this week was so exciting! We had a lot of weird and awesome experiences. During one of my training sessions we had to watch video clips from the missionary web site about how to find and teach using family history. I was pretty excited to try this new approach, as was Hermana Vera. She mentioned to me that family history is what got her mom to start coming back to church. So, we talked about what we could do to incorporate family history in our teaching and finding.
We talked to the bishop and asked if we could plan an activity for the ward and whomever else would like to participate. He agreed, so we've started planning for Friday the 6th to have a family history exhibition where every one will bring their completed tree, photographs, family heirlooms, recipes, food, whatever defines their family.
 We started talking to people about family history. The success we received was HUGE! We first mentioned it to Jorge, a recent convert, and his grandmother who we have been trying to teach for awhile. When we mentioned the activity and brought out the pamphlet with the tree, pages to fill about your family, and information, she was so excited. She started to fill out her pamphlet and promised to finish it and bring to to the exhibition. This happened with many different families. Nico and Maty's Stepmom who always leaves the room during lessons let us give her a lesson because we said it would be on family history. She excitedly took the pamphlet and said she would fill it that day and bring it to the activity. Every family and person we have taken this to has readily agreed to fill it out and come.  We even got stopped in the grocery store when we had been talking about it with a less active.
 It also helped us with Luis, our newly recent convert. We had a lesson where we explained that his journey is not over. His baptism was the gateway to the path. Now, he has new goals, such as the temple. We intertwined temple work and family history to explain that he has so much to do and look forward to. Sadly, he moves back to Santiago tomorrow, but we're going to contact the missionaries and bishop there to make sure they take good care of him. 
So many wonderful things came from that one training session we had. We are so excited that this has opened up new doors for us and we can't wait for our activity. 
We had to postpone Maty's baptism as he didn't come to church this week. He didn't tell us why, so we're going to work with him more this week to try to keep him on the right track. His father isn't too happy with him so I think he's a little aprehensive. 
We don't have a whole lot of people we are teaching, so we've been trying to find more through contacts, but most haven't worked. As well as a good week, it was also very difficult and sad, as we lost a few people. It's so hard knowing you can help others, but they don't want to accept your help. I just hope and pray one day they will come back to the fold realizing that this is God's way and the only way we can ever receive a fullness of happiness and joy. 
Every week is hard, but it is filled with moments of immense joy that make it all worth it. I this gospel so very much and I love sharing it with others. I am so grateful for everything Heavenly Father has given me. And because he has given me so much, the least I could do is share my happiness with others full time for a year and a half. I have never been more appreciative of all that I have been given ever before in my life. We have so much to be grateful for! How wonderful is our God! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hermana Richardson