Thursday, February 26, 2015

3 Movies and a Skowhegan Exchange

Feb 3 2014

This week we had an exchange with the Skowhegan Elders. Elder Bagley and I were planning on going Family History Tracting and we actually made it to the driveway of the first house we planned on visiting before I realized the Spirit was telling us not to go, so we turned around and left the area and prayed for guidance on what to do. We felt impressed to visit Deven, a less-active member, and when we called he sounded excited for us to come over. He has started to turn his life around, leaving behind the depression from his divorce, and he attributes it to us visiting him last week and giving him a spiritual jumpstart. I don't know why this sticks out to me as a sign of real change, but he enrolled in Karate. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to come to church yet due to his job as a plow-truck driver. He is excited to come to church, though, and he committed to read from the Book of Mormon, which will help him strengthen his faith SO MUCH! And we are going to bring members of the Church to his home so when he can come he feels more comfortable!

We found someone to teach! His name is Jonathan and he grew up Christian and he has tons of questions! We watched The Restoration movie with him and he quoted John 3:16 as it was quoted in the movie! He's just so cool!

We plan on watching the full-length version of the movie with the Madison family. The movie is called Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and it's available on (probably also, but Elder Thomas has it on DVD. It should answer a lot of questions that Dennis, the father, has about what role Joseph Smith played in restoring the gospel to the earth.

We also watched Finding Faith in Christ with a family this week. It was so cool; after the movie we each took turns bearing testimony of how faith has helped us and how receiving an increase of faith could help us more. Elder Thomas has some of the sweetest ideas ever.

Elder Thomas and I have been trading off getting sick. Elder Thomas was sick after district meeting on Wednesday and on Thursday, and then I was sick on Friday, and then he was sick on Saturday.

I've been trying to use the time to read the Book of Mormon, so I can finish the 40-Day Challenge! People in the ward here are getting excited for it. One family just called us and asked if they could start it, and one man talked about it in church.

Things are going so well. This week will be amazing! I love you all and hope you're doing well.

With Love, Elder Jon Harrison Richins

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FamilySearch and a Forty-Day Challenge

Jan 27, 2014

Elder Thomas and I handed out tons of cards. We have been doing "Family History Tracting." Tracting is where you go door-to-door. "Family History Tracting" is where you go door-to-door telling people about free family history and genealogy resources. People seem much more willing to receive information about this free website. The majority of people accept cards; some accept cards but say they are not interested in Mormonism.

One miracle we saw from handing out cards occurred on Thursday. We knocked on a door and the man who answered said "You're Mormons? Come on in." That doesn't happen every day. "I'd have you sit down, but we just moved in and we haven't put out our furniture," he apologized. As we stood in his foyer, he introduced his family and told us about his career as an Army recruiter which led him to meet Mormons who became generals and sergeants and instilled him with great respect for our religion. He grew up in Maine.  He and his family are looking for a church to attend since returning to Maine and he was open to us stopping by any time. And he said he would look into family history.

Last night Bishop Crouse had us and the Sister missionaries in his home for dinner, a lesson, and a meeting. The lesson with his family blew my mind. Usually we teach the lesson. He said we didn't need to prepare anything. He talked about his conversion and then asked each of us to share our experiences as we were converted. Sharing helped me to recognize how important prayer is to my testimony. He is an amazing man; he did all this to strengthen his kids. Afterwards, we had a short meeting with him about how to help the members here do missionary work.

Elder Thomas started The 40-Day Book of Mormon Challenge; if the Young Men or Young Women complete the entire Book of Mormon in forty days, he will make them any dessert they want. And he was a culinary arts student before he was a missionary, so you know he knows what he's doing. The Challenge is almost halfway through, and many of the Youth have read almost half of the Book of Mormon. I'm not doing so hot. I have to listen to the Book of Mormon on CD for an hour a day and follow along. Some of the Youth haven't read much, but there's still time! I am so excited for them; their testimonies will explode!

This week is going to be amazing! Work hard!

Love, Elder Jon Harrison Richins

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christianity is Love in Action

Happy New Year!

I saw this sign in one of the chapels and had to have the quote. Just want you to know that even though we're a thousand miles apart, I still love you. Like a brother or sister, depending on who's reading.

This week we met again with David (I forgot his fake name) and talked with him about his experiences in Vietnam. He has seen so much in his lifetime. He was a medic, which means he saw a lot of people die. He was wounded and didn't tell his parents. After the war, he suffered from PTSD. When he joined the Church, he felt like it just made sense to him, and even though he is unable to attend church at this point he remains faithful. During our visit, he asked if there was a special place for those who died before they had a chance to live their life. Listening is so important with David. There is a place we all go after we die, something we call the Spirit World. We wait there until the Resurrection, when we all gain perfected bodies. But David wants to know if there is a special place for these people. I don't have an answer yet. I am so thankful for the scriptures, though, and the words of modern prophets.

I have to go. When I write my weekly letter to the Mission President, I usually don't take this long, but it took a while this week. Love you!

With Love, Elder Richins

Ketchup but not Mustard

In my efforts to catch up on Jon's blog, I will be posting every day until the end of time. We are still getting e-mails from Jon almost every week so if something is in real time, I'll let y'all know. Happy reading! --Jon's mom

Leaving Lyndon

Jan 13, 2014

I got the call Saturday; I'm leaving Lyndon.

That's the biggest point of news this week. This transfer was a bit more difficult than others. Elder Robison and I got along when it came to dinner and jokes and just talking, but we have different styles of teaching and working. Conflict ensued. We spent hours discussing what we each felt we should be doing. Fortunately, we didn't let it get in the way of actually working. It was frustrating, though. Good things about Elder Robison: he greatly cares for the people we work with, he is honest about his thoughts and opinions, and he really wants to do the right thing.

Lyndon has been an interesting place. Whichever missionary replaces me will love it. The members of the Church here are good, kind people, and the people on the streets actually stop and talk with you occasionally, though now that it's cold there aren't many left.

Another chapter of my mission ends, and another begins.

Elder Richins

These are the missionaries (all in cheap, plastic Christmas ties) I
have been working with for six weeks.

How close I got to Canada this week. Whew! Close one.

And Elder Robison, who I will miss.

Monday, February 23, 2015

One-hundred-and-something Inches of Snow

Dear World,
Yes, I am still alive. Despite the hundred-and-something inches of snow, Maine has, for the most part, been shoveled out.
Things are going really well here! A few weeks ago we asked a lady if she knew anyone who needed help shoveling and she directed us to a lady named Cheri who very much appreciated the help! This week we had the opportunity to teach her in her home with our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Osborne. I didn't get to be there because we were on companion exchanges for the day (I was in Saco), but I heard it went very well. She has so many questions, and she almost came to church this Sunday. She's a wonderful lady.
We also got to teach Jack and Donna, Brother Osborne's friends he introduced us to a few weeks ago. We gave Jack a copy of the Book of Mormon then, and he's been reading! Donna said she started, but is waiting until he finishes it. So we gave her a copy too! She was so excited to have her own copy!
I'm coming to the last three months of my mission. I guess it's a point where I have to think about what I need to do after I get home (like get a job), and I have to have an ever-increasing dedication to serving the Lord. I need to re-evaluate what I want to learn and do in these last few months. I've still very excited to serve here in this wonderful place.
God Bless,
Elder Richins

Taking care of the goats