Monday, June 1, 2015

The End and The Beginning

Today is my last day in Georgetown. Tomorrow Elder Truman and I will go to Manchester for Transfer Meeting. Then I'll go to the Temple in Boston for an endowment session with the Mission President and his wife. After that we go back to the mission home for the day, and we fly out on Wednesday.

The week before last, we got to go to the Boston Temple to see the Coa family be sealed as a family for time and all eternity. It was so beautiful. When I was here at the beginning of my mission, the Coas had a long way to go before they could go to the Temple, but they made it! It was great to see the results of living the gospel. They are so happy! And I'm so happy for them!

Everyone that came to the Temple that day. I'm in the back.



I have loved serving a mission. There were a lot of hard times, but everything I've learned and done, and everyone I've helped, and every time I got to share God's love with one of His children, it was all 100% worth it. I'm so glad I came on a mission.

And now I'm glad to go home; I can't wait to see my family. That's about all I have to say for now.

Elder Richins

Saturday, May 23, 2015

iPad and Almost Home!



​At the mission conference!


This week marks the first week that missionaries in the New Hampshire Manchester Mission can use iPads for proselyting purposes! All the missionaries were brought together in the Exeter Stake Center for a meeting. I was really surprised. I thought we would just talk about how to use them for teaching and stuff, but we talked first about being safe and about focusing on our purpose as missionaries, which is to invite others to come unto Christ. If we're using the tools we're given (iPads, phones, etc.) to invite others to come unto Christ, then we're using the tool right. There's a lot of concern about using them effectively. I honestly don't know how to use an iPad for missionary work. I wish I had the opportunity to learn how, because that would help me more in "real life" (what you're living right now) because when I get home (in like a week and a half) I want to continue sharing the gospel in every way I can. The constraint on my learning ability right now is time. And the fact that I didn't get an iPad because I have such a short amount of time left (but I did get to touch one!).


​Me with Elder Truman's iPad mini.



Things have been going well in the work. We'll be on our way to the Temple in Boston in a few minutes, so I'm short on time, but I do want to say that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the things he and his Apostles taught, are true. I've felt those things work in my life. I've gained a stronger testimony of them as I've searched the scriptures and prayed. I love God and I love my family. God Bless.

Elder Richins

Monday, May 4, 2015

SPRINT to the End

(Real time, Baby!)

Yesterday in studies I made a plan for the last four weeks of my mission. I call it SPRINT, which stands for:

Seek His Will (for you and others)
Pray Earnestly
Repent/Account Daily
Immerse Yourself in the Scriptures (Scripture Memo. and seeking answers to questions)
'Nother Testament (read it to understand the Atonement)
Totally Jacked (work out hard every morning)

I've found a really great way to account for my efforts every day (step 3), by having boxes to check for each letter every day on a sticky note. It feels more productive already to have this as my goal, and to have accountability pre-set for each day. I'm looking forward to this last four weeks. "Don't Run, SPRINT." Anyways, it's kinda goofy, but I think it will help.


Love,
Elder Richins

Got to go to the temple last week!


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Teaching Jeremie

April 30, 2015

Two days ago we met a man named Jeremie who lives in Haverhill. He was painting his grandparents' railing for their house and we happened to walk by at the time. When we approached him, he didn't put down his brush or anything, but he was friendly nonetheless. He said that he has Kleinfelters Syndrome, and that it causes him a lot of medical problems. At this point, the one that affects him the most is memory loss. Much like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates, he has to write down what he did that day and read it after he wakes up each morning, or else he won't remember it. We told him what we do as missionaries, how we teach people, and offered to teach him at his home. He said we could and gave his address.

When we visited the next day, he remembered us! Elder Truman and I taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel, and we talked about how the gospel could bless him in his daily life. He said that he has little or no religious background, but he was willing to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon (once that evening and then again the next morning) and then pray about the message we shared. We scheduled another appointment for tonight. We're excited to go back and see him again!

Love,

Elder Richins

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Elder Trochez and The Map

Dec 22, 2014


Map of our area, you have to tilt your head to the right.



Elder Trochez and I!



Friday, April 24, 2015

P-Day

Nov 24, 2014

Pictures! This is a toy store we play games at on P-Day and a selfie.



Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Pictures

Nov 3, 2104

In this picture it looks like I could fall into the ocean, but don't worry. I didn't. And there's rocks all around anyways.


One of two pictures I got with my companion the entire time I was with him.


The other one. With the rest of my district.


I looked out the window and what did I see? It's here.



Love,

Elder J. H. Richins of the Quorum of the 250 of the New Hampshire Manchester Mission.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Rough Week but Things Are Looking Up

October 20, 2104

This week we brought Marc, a member, to teach Alan with us. He participated in the lesson a lot, asking questions and providing insights in our reading in 1 Nephi. He invited Alan to church and Alan was so close to accepting the invitation. He has a few small concerns about getting to church, but we think he has another concern that he's not telling us. Either way, he did not come to church this week. We are going to hold off on the commitment to come to church for a little while so that we don't pester him. We'll focus more on his reading and helping him gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He told us this week how he first gained his faith in Christ. As a teenager he sprained his ankle one summer and was laid up for weeks. During this time he decided to read the entire Bible. As he read he started to like Jesus a lot, like a really close friend. Alan kind of has a distrust for people, and Jesus just seemed like a more solid person.

We also taught the Dorays. We just talked a little bit about scripture study with them and then read part of 1 Nephi 1 in the Book of Mormon. They had to go somewhere, so we didn't read it all so as to be considerate of their time. We plan on helping them, the kids especially, to get excited for the Book of Mormon by making scripture covers for Family Home Evening. Their family is way cool! We actually found out this week that they play Magic: the Gathering (a trading card game started in the 90's, still very popular) and my last companion, Elder Rees, taught me how to play. One person we teach, Joe, gave Elder Chisholm and I decks of cards and is going to teach Elder Chisholm how to play. I started poring over my deck, thinking up strategies, before I realized I could be using my time much better.


This few weeks has been kinda rough, but things are looking up.

With Love,


Jon

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pretty Cool (and old) Piece of History

Sept 22, 2014

Dear Mom,

That's right, your son got to hold an original copy of the Book of Mormon at the Maine State Library in Augusta! It was pretty cool. And pretty old.

Love,

Jon


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pictures!

Sept 15, 2014

Elder Richins Relaxing all cool-like



























Some awesome mushrooms we found on our hike. Ooh they look just like little creamsicles! Try one!

Our Hike (I'm getting so white)



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Unanswered Questions and the Balmy Days II

Sept 8, 2014

This week Elder Rees and I have been working hard to contact and teach people. We started teaching a man named Allen. He has met with the missionaries before and was left with lots of unanswered questions. When we first met him on his porch, he said he "knows enough about Mormonism to know it's not for him." But we asked what his unanswered questions were and he said he wanted to know why God allows us to suffer so much, why He didn't give us better human nature, and why He gave us free will if that would make us potentially self-destructive. When we came back on Friday we gave him answers. At the end, he said that he felt that even though he really wants knowledge, "I don't need to know the 'chemical formula' for temptation. I just need to know how to never give in to it." I think he was really taught by the Holy Ghost. I am so excited to see him follow through on his newly-found knowledge. We get to teach him again tomorrow.

We also got to bring a member teaching this week who we don't normally bring. Brother Zaugg came to teach Ryan with us. We taught Ryan about the Restoration of the Gospel and Brother Zaugg testified of the Book of Mormon and talked about his conversion. His took 14 years, he said, to which Ryan responded, "I hope it doesn't take that long for me." (I hope it doesn't either). Unfortunately he didn't come to church. He didn't have to go clamming because the tide was up at that time, so we're not sure why he didn't come.

Anyways, it was a pretty good week. We found out that one person we teach likes playing Magic: The Gathering, so Elder Rees got to take him on during one of our dinner hours. Fun time!

Us on a boat (a ferry to Monhegan Island, so it's okay.)

Me an' the Balmy Days II, Aargh!

With Love,


Elder Richins

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Exodus and Significantly Smaller Snowpiles

(realtime)

Last week we started teaching a man named Emmanuel. It was a snowy Saturday (the second to last snow day of the year) and I wanted to visit a member of the Church who hadn't been going since I was last in Haverhill. I didn't know if that was still their address. So when we knocked on the door, we were not surprised that they no longer lived there. But, the family that lives there now let us in. They were watching "Exodus," which I guess is a remake of the Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston? Maybe? Anyways, they let us right in and we got to teach them about Christ's Church on the earth in the past and now today. They loved it! Emmanuel especially was excited to learn. This week we taught Emmanuel again. This time he seemed a very different person. It had been a very rough few days for him. His faith had been shaken. After sincere prayer, he felt his problems only got worse. He said that he "saw no point in following God if all He is going to do is ignore my prayers." After hearing him out for a little while, we invited him to kneel with us in prayer and to invite the kids to join us. He was somewhat reluctant. Didn't want to make his problems worse. We finally convinced him to kneel with us, and the kids to turn off their video game upstairs to remove all distractions. I got to offer a simple, heartfelt prayer for him and his family in their trials. It was very short. The Spirit came into the room and after the prayer everyone felt it. We all looked at each other. All of Emmanuel's concerns for the moment left. He was himself again.
I have had similar experiences with prayer, where I've felt like I'm not getting what I want. After prayer, what changes the most is me. I'm grateful the Lord doesn't just give me whatever I want.
Really good week here in Georgetown. Most of the snowpiles are significantly smaller. Our front lawn is almost completely bare!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed General Conference!

With Love, 

Elder Richins

Monday, April 6, 2015

Being Chased (and Benevolent and...)

Aug 4, 2014

I learned something about myself this week. I'm not allergic to bees. They still hurt though. We were helping someone paint their barn and they were spraying a bees nest with a hose. And when they were pulling the hose back to the house, they rustled a bush with a different bees nest in it and those ones chased me.




Love,

Elder Richins

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Seven-Days-a-Week and the Stop Smoking Workshop

 July 28, 2014

We have some of the best investigators here in Damariscotta!

One couple, Joe and Livia, run a "lobstah" stand in town and they give us little bits of lobstah sometimes when we go there to see them. They treat it like some people treat candy. I've had more lobstah from them in the last two weeks than I've had the rest of my mission. This is the Joe that we street-contacted two weeks ago. We picked them up as investigators this week, shared a message about the Plan of Salvation, and then had a church tour on Saturday night and shared the message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. The church tour went smoothly, and they brought a friend with them who, in Livia's words, "needs God in his life." At the end of the Restoration lesson we invited each of them to be baptized and Livia said, "Well, I have to read the Book first!" This was a huge jump for her because when we asked them about the role of religion in their life, Livia kept saying, "Joe needs to be baptized," and we were inviting her to be baptized too. She was Catholic in Brazil, and didn't know she needed to be re-baptized. Now the only problem is getting them to church. They work seven days a week! Joe goes lobstering every day except Sunday and the stand is open every day, so they would have to get someone to work the stand for them. It just seems like a lot to ask for, one of their busiest days out of the week. But this is also a great opportunity for them to follow Jesus Christ by keeping the commandments to the fullest. I am so excited to teach them!

I don't know how common this knowledge is, but the missionaries (worldwide, I think) have access to a program designed to help people stop smoking. I've read the program and it helps eliminate the urge to smoke. I have not gotten to help anyone do the program yet, BUT FINALLY I'm going to get to help someone stop smoking this Sunday! A lady named Chrissy committed to stop smoking starting this Sunday, August 3rd with her husband, when we teach them the Stop Smoking workshop. She has been taught by the missionaries for a while and her husband has been coming back to church (he's a member) and two of her kids have been baptized.

We don't have any investigators with a baptismal date yet. Ellen is coming close. She's been to church many times over the last few years, but she still does not have a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet. She has a testimony of prayer and of Jesus Christ and of some commandments, but I think the main problem is that she hasn't prayed about it. It's important to know all the truth, not just a part.

This week has been busy, tiring, fun, spiritual. I hope you're all doing well!

 Love, 

Elder Richins

CPR and a Lobsterman

July 14, 2014

This week we taught Misty, an investigator, CPR (Church, Pray, Read the scriptures) in less than ten minutes. The Spirit helped so much in that lesson as we used the scriptures and taught from the heart. We also picked up a new investigator named Rhonda. She is the wife of a member who had his records removed. In our lesson she brought up concerns about what she heard we believe and then she resolved her own concerns and said, "Well, I guess the next thing I need to do is read the Book of Mormon to find out if it's true." When people say stuff like that, I get surprised. I love it when that happens because it shows that they understand what to do and also that they really want to know. I have high hopes for Rhonda, and I also hope we can get her husband and other family involved. We taught an investigator named Ellen the Word of Wisdom, but she's been coming to church long enough that she knows almost everything about it. I have only met her once, so I don't know what her concerns are about joining the Church, but I think she knows just about everything she needs to. I think she lives most of it, too.

Yesterday we met Joe, a lobsterman, while he was walking from the gas station with ingredients for his lobster rolls. This is a big "Talk with Everyone" moment for me, because he was a little far away and it was raining a little, so it would have been easy to not talk with him. But we did, and he was pretty interested. He accepted a Restoration pamphlet and a copy of the Book of Mormon. I'm just really glad we talked with him.

Love,


Elder Richins

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cheeseburgers and the Restored Church

July 7,2014

Tuesday I met Elder Daniels, my new companion, and we drove to our apartment just outside Damariscotta. We went to a food pantry at a Congregational church to help out, and later we got to visit Norm, a new-ish member, and the Doray family. The Doray family is sweet! The mom is not a member, but the husband and kids are. To be honest I hardly know them, but I love them already. I hope we get to visit them more.

On the grand ol' Fourth of July we didn't have a lot of plans. We visited Norm again and stopped in on another member, but in the evening I got to meet Benny. Benny was driving by the church one Sunday at 10 AM and decided to stop in. He was well-received and liked it so much he came back. Now he says he wants to join a church. When I walked in to his home, he asked why I'm here and I got to tell him everything I believe. It was such a cool experience to get to just tell him. He made us cheeseburgers and we taught him about Christ's church when He was on the earth and how the church was restored to the earth.

Saturday we got to power wash the Barker family's house. Then we got to build a deck with Brother Locke.

This place has some pretty awesome people. Not sure what this week holds, but I am so excited to get to work here. Hope everything's going well for y'all!


With Love, 

Elder Richins

Thursday, March 26, 2015

From Waterville to Augusta

June 30,2014

Tomorrow I will leave Waterville, drive to Augusta, meet my new companion there, and go to my new area. This last month has been so interesting. I have learned so much from myself, my studies, and Elder Sheriff and people. I want to share something that happened this week. We were leaving someone's home after a lesson and I felt we should talk to the people walking across the street. We did and shared a beautiful message about the gospel in seven minutes or so. We got their phone number so we could share more in the future. Immediately after, a Hispanic lady walked by with her two kids. We taught her in seven minutes too! She gave us her address so we could teach her again. I think she is really prepared to receive the gospel. And we were led to her. I am so glad we were led to her.

I'm sad to leave the people of Waterville, but glad to go where the Lord wants me to go. The friendships I have made here are going to affect me for the rest of my life. I feel so blessed to have served in this wonderful place.


With Love, 

Elder Jon Richins

Damian's Baptism

June 23, 2014

This Saturday I had the privilege of baptizing Damain Madison, an awesome, 10-year-old boy we've been teaching since before I got here. We taught him the day I came to Waterville and after a few months he decided that he wanted to be baptized on July 21st, the first day of summer. The baptism service was beautiful, and his dad, Dennis, made a cake, and so many people came. At church the next day, Elder Sheriff gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost. We visited him last night and he already seems a little bit different. I can see the difference the Holy Ghost makes in him. He was calmer and he has more light in his eyes. He's the same kid, but just a little different. I am so thankful I got to work with Damain. I am never going to forget him and his family.




With Love and Lovin' It, 

Elder Richins

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fantastic Father's Day

June 16,2014

This week was fantastic! The best part was church, and not just because I love church but because Dennis finally came! He hadn't come because he gets really anxious in crowds, but he overcame his anxiety to hear Damain sing for Father's Day. He stayed for the whole 3 hours of church. Damain is going to be baptized this Saturday and he asked me to baptize him. I'll include pictures next week. Teaching him and his parents is so much fun. He doesn't focus much, but he's 10, so we don't expect him to that much. I just know that when he reaches the age of serving a mission he's going to be a great missionary. And in not too long, he's going to be a great teenager. The gospel and the Church are going to bless him so much.

Sorry for the short letter,


Elder Richins

Friday, March 20, 2015

He's Getting Baptized! and My Hip-hop Style

June 9, 2014

Elder Sheriff and Bishop Crouse went to Terry's house on Saturday while Brother McLaughlin and I visited the Liberty family. Brother McLaughlin and I were a bit late getting back, so I thought Bishop would be a bit mad at us for being late. We got back to the apartment at 8:40 (we planned on 8:15) and they weren't there. We waited until 9:30 for them to get back. AND TERRY SET A DATE FOR HIS BAPTISM! He's going to be baptized on July 5th. He wanted to keep taking the classes for a while and then get baptized, but Bishop went in and told him that if he only questions and never does, he'll never get baptized. He has been taught by the missionaries for a while and finally all the work and prayer he's put into learning are coming to fruition.

So, you'll never guess what I found in our closet.







Love, 

Elder Richins

"Quick" Pamphlets and Lots of Prayer

June 2 2014

This week was great! We taught so many people. There's a man we teach named Terry who came to church this week and a lady named Josephine who also came to church. She came in late and sat in the back and left after the sacrament meeting so we didn't even know she was there until the Sister Missionaries told us. And I passed the Sacrament, so I have no clue as to how I missed her. Terry said that he believes everything we have taught him (the missionaries have taught him a lot). He has prayed every day since we taught him how, which is sweet!

So, Damain. He is 10 years old, and he has some pretty bad ADHD. Our lessons can get pretty sidetracked. So, our Mission President recently had people from the Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City come out and teach all the missionary leaders (like Elder Sheriff) a new way to teach using the pamphlets. It is SO FAST. Teaching quickly helped on Friday. We taught Damain and his family (including his dad, Dennis) the message of the Restoration. Dennis is still working on quitting smoking, but has not had coffee since last week. Way awesome! He also said he wants to go to church every week, not just on Father's day (when Damain will sing with the Primary). We see his heart change a little more every week. He said the closing prayer again this week at his own decision. He says:

"Dear Heavenly Father...
Thank you for this day and for sending the Elders to talk with us...
Please give me patience with Damain 'cause I get mad really easily...
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

So easy a kid could (and should) do it. That seems like a small step, and it is, but prayer has such a huge impact. I don't know what I would do without prayer. I'm really happy to see Dennis start praying.

Can't wait to see what this week holds!

Sinceremente, 

Elder Richins, King of Horses



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Elder Kingston and a Full Circle

The Lord decided to send me back to Georgetown, Mass! I pulled out my planners from the twelve weeks I was trained here. One awesome thing that happened this week is that we went back to visit Heather, who I met here over a year and a half ago, and this time she said we could come back and teach her and her son!
My new companion, Elder Kingston, is awesome. He's training me as a zone leader. He's also tall. He's also going home the same day as me and going to BYU in the Fall. Such an obedient and hardworking Elder.
I'm trying to figure out what the Lord wants me to learn and do this last 11 weeks on my mission. That's still a lot of time, so look forward to working hard and seeing great success here in Georgetown. God loves the people here. We'll see if we can't help them see that.
With Love, 

Elder Richins

A Pretty Sweet Week

May 26, 2014

On Monday we visited Maria and talked about the church tour and she still wanted to go, so we had a church tour right then. We called the Petit family and had them meet us at the church and Maria connected really well with them. The tour was really short, maybe 10 minutes, but you could tell she felt welcome at the chapel. She and her boyfriend, Ryan, planned on going to church this week, but she forgot that she worked this Sunday. She plans on leaving work early this week, at nine so she can be at church at ten. We've taught her maybe five times since the first time we talked with her. We've seen her change a lot in the last two weeks. She's happier, calmer, definitely more hopeful. You can see more light in her eyes. It's wonderful to see that change in her.



















It's been a pretty sweet week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jay and Too Many Cookies

May 19, 2014

We had an amazing lesson with a lady named Maria, who lives across the street from us. She questions how to find happiness with her family and hopes that heaven is better than this earth. I hope so too. She has a boyfriend and four kids. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation, which is God's plan for us to be happy, starting before we were born on this earth in the pre-mortal life and continuing through our life, death, and resurrection (where a body and a spirit are permanently brought together, so we won't die again), and a kingdom of glory, our inheritance from our Heavenly Father. We are SO excited to teach her again!

This weekend we had a church tour event, with a 10-minute tour and a 10-minute video. Not a lot of people came (though it was totally worth the few that did) and we now have TOO MANY COOKIES. We baked all of those.


So, we do this thing called "splits" where one missionary goes with a member of the Church and the other missionary goes with another member. So while Elder Sheriff went with Chris, I went with Brother Dick. Turns out, he and Jay (who we are teaching) come from the same hometown, and he ran with a really rough crowd there. Jay knew some of those guys, so he saw how much Brother Dick had changed. I guess it was a really big change because Jay was pretty impressed. Change. That's what it's all about. This week, I will change. Hope your week is as bright as mine!


Love, 

Elder Richins

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Elder Richins in the Ditch

May 5, 2014

Dear World,

We are tearing this place up! Things are going so well. First of all, yesterday we visited Jay and Amy, his girlfriend, to talk about the Plan of Salvation. We brought Brother Jackson to teach with us, and I didn't know this, but Brother Jackson is so enthusiastic about teaching. He teaches so clearly. And Jay and Amy felt like this Church might be the place for them. (We agreed wholeheartedly). Amy opened up a lot, and they both listened intently. It was interesting to see them talk about it across the table, like they were making the decision right then and there if this is what they want. They are so open to hearing it, but seeing them apply it and want to change is even cooler than getting to just teach them. Jay said it's like missing a piece of a pie, except he said he's missing most of the pie. The gospel really is the whole pie. It's the only thing that can make us complete. I am so pumped to teach Jay and Amy and their kids (who should all be coming to church on Mother's Day [where I'll be speaking about my mother])!

We also visited Jessica and just had a real heart-to-heart talk about her relationship with God. She wants to come to church, but she feels like she's not welcomed by God. Like God might not love her because of the things she has done. There should be no room in a person for a thought like that. I have felt like that before, and I know that thought does not come from God. He wants each of us to know He loves us no matter what. I hope our testimonies took root in her heart. She needs to know it's not "one strike, you're out" or even "three strikes, you're out," but it's as many strikes as we need before we make a hit.

Earlier this week we got stuck in a ditch. All the snow has melted, making the grass RIDICULOUSLY green and softening every roadside. We had someone pull us out by the axle with their truck. After we tried pushing it. Those are my black shoes.



We found a foosball table for free. We had to take it apart to get it in the back of the Chevy Cruze. Picture to be sent at a later date.


Awesome week. Even better ahead.

Love,


Elder Richins

Friday, March 13, 2015

Serving Evelyn

Apr 28, 2014

This week we helped a lady named Evelyn with her yard. Her husband passed away in November and she is having a rough time with it. She is too old to care for her yard, and she has some fallen tree limbs and things to take care of. Her tool shed is rotting, so we could climb in the hole in the back (the door is locked) to get an ax and bow saw. I feel really good about serving her, because she really needs it.

Even though serving a mission is really stressful right now, I love it so much! Every night before planning for the next day we point out where we saw the Hand of the Lord that day. Some of the coolest things come together for good. I hope y'all are doing well; the Lord definitely has His hand in our lives.


With Love, 

Elder Jon Richins

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Burden Lifted and a Dog Bite

Apr. 21, 2014


Elder Sheriff got food poisoning and we spent two days inside. We were not able to meet with the Madisons.

In happier news, we picked up six new investigators! One big, happy family! The Berards have been taught by the missionaries in the past. Yesterday we called to ask if we could swing by to share a message and bring some Easter treats. He said "It's a bit late for a message because I have work in the morning, but you can bring the treats." When we stopped by, everyone was still up and he invited us in. Our conversation around the table progressed towards the message we planned on sharing anyways, so we shared the mormon.org/becauseofhim video. I was surprised by how present the Spirit was. One of the girls was almost crying and a few of the kids talked about what Jesus Christ means to them. I would like to say that Jesus Christ means so much to me. Very recently I carried a weight that I wanted to get rid of. I prayed to have it removed from me. And He lifted it. He is so willing to lift us, our burdens, anything else we need lifted; he'll do it. He's so strong, just lifting things all over the place!

We had a really good Easter. We had dinner at an unnamed family's house, where I got bit on my face by a German Shepherd. Hope your Easter was as fun as mine!


With Love, 

Elder Jon Harrison Richins

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Elder Sheriff and the "Mormons" at Colby College

Apr. 14, 2014

Twenty-one. That is the number of selfies on my camera taken on the way to transfer meeting, where we picked up Elder Sheriff from Pleasant Grove, Utah. He has been out about 13 months and has served in Maine and New Hampshire. I am truly amazed at how well things have been going since Elder Sheriff came to Waterville. He just has such drive, and love for the gospel and the people here.

We visited the Madisons and helped Damian start his scripture study. He hasn't been reading from the Book of Mormon, but he has the Book of Mormon Stories picture book, of which he and his parents committed to read a chapter daily. Elder Sheriff had the awesome idea to have them read half in the morning and half at night and start each reading with a family prayer. Elder Sheriff has no shortage of boldness, and he showed it when he committed Dennis to read with his son as well as on his own. I believe that Dennis is an honest seeker of truth and when he reads the Book of Mormon he is going to find so much truth he's just going to explode. That's the best way I can describe it. He is going to have such strong faith and he's going to show it.

We went to a class on Mormons at Colby College (the class is called "Mormons") and answered questions about EVERYTHING. The students really wanted to know so much and it was an academic environment so they weren't afraid to ask the most excellent questions. I just love those students. They're just sweet!

I am so excited for this week; there is nothing we can't do!


Love, 

Elder Richins

Monday, March 9, 2015

Workout Equipment and Farewell to Elder Thomas

Apr 7, 2014

On Monday we had an interesting experience with Brother Dicker, a member of the Bishopric. He wants us to come over to help his wife come back to church, and our offers to visit have so far not aligned with their schedule. We were in the area near his home (which we rarely are) and we decided to take him up on an 18-week-old offer to give us some workout equipment. I wasn't even here when he extended the offer, but we decided to trade him the six donut holes we had just received at a meal with another family, in exchange for the workout equipment previously mentioned. We saw him and his wife stare at us from the house as we pulled in the driveway, though it was very dark at this point. We quickly prayed before going in. When we knocked on the door, Brother Dicker allowed us in, mentioning that we "should have scheduled ahead." Oh, no. He later told us that he had just gotten his wife to agree to have us over for dinner one night, and when we showed up she grilled him, "You said they were going to call ahead!" When we got in, first of all, their grandkids love us. Then, we had the perfect number of donut holes for their family. Lastly, as we shared our favorite scriptures (at Brother Dicker's request) the Spirit touched each heart in the room. It was so quiet, and everyone smiled. We prayed with their family before going downstairs to pick out weights. As Brother Dicker walked us to our car at the end of our 20-minute visit, he shared that Sister Dicker enjoyed having us in her home again. He called us the next day to thank us again. I think that our visit was an answer to his prayers. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers. The influence of the Spirit is often so subtle that we don't see it working immediately. I am so thankful that we can be led by someone with so much love and compassion.

As for Elder Thomas, he is leaving tomorrow. I will receive a new companion and continue working here. I am so sad for him to leave. He taught me SO MUCH. At the same time, I can't wait to meet my new companion.

Where to from here?



"Onward, ever onward, as we glory in His name!" (Called to Serve, Hymns 249)


With Love, 

Elder Jon Harrison Richins

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Whoopie Pies and a Difficult Week


Mar 31, 2014

This week was so difficult. Things have just been adding up for a while. I cannot describe how inadequate I have felt, how tired I have been, how much I have needed to pray, how much aid I have received, how much love I have felt from the Lord. I now have a testimony that prayer works. God is so willing to hear and help us. Not just in emergencies or when we have nowhere else to go, although He certainly does hear us then, but in any case where we need more than we have, we can turn to Him. This week has humbled me. I feel ready for God to make of me whatever He wants.

Now I just hope we get to stay here in Waterville a little while longer. Now that the storm is over, I want to see some sun, ya know? Transfers are next week, and Elder Thomas plans on leaving.

Risk with Elder Roberts while on exchange. My first game. I sent my red guys to attack the neutral yellow guys in Iceland so I could take control of Europe. We have Risk in our attic, and I considered playing it five ways against myself over the course of a week, but then I decided I have better things to do.


The first day I didn't have to wear a coat.



We are in a contest with the Sister missionaries to see who can fatten the other up more. Not really, but we do try to pawn our too-many desserts off on each other. These whoopie pies were found on our porch last night.



Love,

Elder Richins