Come Follow Me

Come Follow Me
"And he saith unto them, "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt. 4:19) As the New Year begins, we, the members of the Willow Wood Ward, invite you to Come and Follow Him!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Elder Brennan McEwan

Hey Family,

Things are still going pretty well here at the MTC. I'm just about finished with week 3, which means that  I leave six weeks from today. Woo. In other words, I'm down to the entire training time for missionaries learning lesser languages like Spanish or Filipino or whatever. Or, three times longer than missionaries preaching their native language spend here. Thinking of which, our zone just lost a huge part of itself today when a whole bunch shipped off to the Philippines. Oh, and I also have bumped into Justin Thiel a few times here as well. He showed up Wednesday, but I'll still be here for about four and a half weeks after he leaves. :p

I know this week my vocabulary is getting good enough that I can say an entire (basic) prayer in Cantonese, and we do it pretty regularly. Also, me and my companion have enough vocabulary to at least give an okay first discussion. We actually had a really good lesson on... Thursday? Anyway, we were just teaching one of our teachers in investigator persona, but it felt like we actually had the spirit with us when we taught, and I think we actually touched our teacher. We also had the opportunity to teach a real investigator. She was already pretty committed (She gets baptized next month), but we were able to share some of our favorite scriptures with her, and she was very friendly and accepting of our crappy Cantonese. Well, semi-crappy at least; I feel like I'm at least getting somewhat competent with the few words I do know.

… (other elders) both spoke really good Cantonese already so they gave us a few good pointers about the language. For example, apparently blessing the sacrament is dangerous business for a noob like me. I guess "Holy Water" (which is apparently in the Cantonese version) is only a vowel sound away from "Toilet Water" (or "pool water," but that one's less funny). I guess once in a while a little old guy in his ward would pop up and tell him to stop blessing toilet water. What a fun language.

Oh, and I've managed to acquire a nickname here. The) guys that we play volleyball with almost every night next door call me... (If you are reading this out loud, you should take some guesses before reading on.)


Yup. I'd say the name resulted about 50/50 because it's a derivative of "Mc-Q-wan" and also because of my Aryan good looks. Or skinny whiteness. Something like that. Anyway, they really figured out how hilariously tall I am when I successfully spiked the ball downwards at them from the very back of the volleyball court. After that, I think the nickname just kind of flowed out of our volleyball games.

The only other real thing that I remember this week was that my companion and I are having a small (mostly joking) disagreement about how to best organize the classroom. (Also overcrowded) Unfortunately, my stupid desk is too short to put my legs under it - I either have to tuck my legs under me, or I have to put them in front of my desk. Unfortunately, if I put them it front, they get tangled up in my companion's chair so he can't wheel back and forth over and over. We tried to scoot things over so that we could both be satisfied, but then the other side of the room complained that the wall was making them claustrophobic. Sigh. Six more weeks, right?


Elder McEwan

Monday, August 26, 2013

Elder Brandon Wallis

So our week had some awesome things happen!!! We had a pretty good lesson with Bill, he got a lot of concerns out in the open. Basically he's looking at the Book Of Mormon like it should be a textbook. He wants facts and well... he's not going to get too many haha. So we're working with him, and he's getting more open to the idea of actually coming to church and trying it out. Beau made a major break through! We went to just stop by and see how he was doing, and he brought up the subject of Baptism! He asked US what the "rules" were to our baptism. So we just gave him a quick lesson on Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity and Tithing. And about what the actual Covenant or promise is between him and Jesus Christ. So he said that some of those things he'd have a really hard time with, but he said he does understand and respect all of it. He also said that knowing us and coming to church and getting to know the people, he's had a closer relationship with the spirit than ever before. He's really making some headway! He also really likes the idea of the Priesthood. So next lesson we're going to go over Joseph Smith a little more, and share the First Vision, and offer a blessing to give him strength to try these new things out. We also went and had a lesson with Ferman and Denice. Their son Taylor came and sat in on the lesson! We haven't been able to really talk to him other than a quick "hello" AND he was asking questions and getting involved in the discussion! So we're really excited about him. We were also able to finally set a Baptism date with Jackson! Both his parents went kind of less active for a bit and he wasn't baptized at 8. So he's 9 now and feels ready for baptism! He and his parents decided on October 5th. The work is definitely progressing! We're picking up new investigators here and there, and our current investigators are making progress. I love this Gospel and this Church. I know that I have been called by a Prophet of God to teach the people of New Mexico. We are all God's children, so we're all brothers and sisters! I feel very honored to be able to take part in this Work.
Elder Brandon Wallis

Elder Seth Garner

I have such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ! My testimony grows stronger and stronger every day as I witness others feel God's love. I cannot deny the feelings I have had that God lives, and that he loves us too! Elder Ballard promised the leaders of my mission that they could find, teach, and baptize someone within the month of August. Aaron Gadbury was a former investigator who drop off the radar a few months back. His kids have been baptized, and he was ready for baptism as well, but things came up in his life, and he backed off. This last week we got to see him, and committed him to be baptized on August 31. He wasn't too sure, so we had him pray in front of us to know if it was what the Lord wanted him to do. We knelt down, and Aaron prayed. He said that he felt good, and that he just knew that things were going to work out for he and his children. People can get wrapped up in the things of the world, which only bring them temporary joy. Lehi said that God's love is an everlasting joy, which is desirable above all. Living the Gospel will lead us to the Tree of Life, and we will be able to feel God's love, and feel eternal happiness, which worldly things cannot give. God's plan for us is so perfect, and if we bridle all of our passions, are bold, but not overbearing, then we can help others feel God's perfect love, which is desirable above all other things.
       Elder Garner

    There has been a lot going on this past week. It's hard for me to even write down what is happening! It is kind of like in the Book of Mormon, when you read, "I cannot write a one hundredth part of what happened". Crazy to think about, because there is so much in that book! First off, we were able to reach our goal of twenty lessons again! We got twenty-six, and are continuing to find work! I love the people that I am able to help, and I will always admire their examples.

Alright, Aaron Gadberry wasn't able to come to church this week, BUT we are going to get him this week, and help him quit smoking so he can still be on track for baptism at the end of this month!  Dennis is preparing for baptism! He has been reading the Book of Mormon, praying to know that it is true, and to know why Mormons are always so dang happy! I cannot wait until the Spirit testifies to him that the Book of Mormon is true!

Last Saturday, we street contacted a man just outside of a potential investigators home. As soon as we started talking to him, he noticed our name tags, and noticed that they have Christ's name on them. He went off on how Christ has helped him so much, then he asked us where our church was, and wanted a ride to attend! His name is Abdohli Kamali, he is from Iran, and has been living in the States for a month. We got him a ride to church yesterday, and he had a wonderful spiritual experience. He had to go back to Iran yesterday to get the rest of his family and sell his home, but will be back in late September. Something that is cool about serving in San Diego, is the majority of our investigators are from a different country! The tricky part about teaching people from Iran is that their lives could be in danger if they convert to Christianity, then go back to their country. So we have to get special permission to teach Muslims and people from the middle-east. Abdohli said that when he gets back, he wants to come to church every week! We will just have to wait a month or two... It is a blessing to be lead by the Spirit. Abdohli knew that we had crossed paths for a reason, and that God had sent us. We said a prayer with him after we had met, he started bawling, he kissed our hands and thanked us. It was a humbling, touching experience.

Things seem like they can't get any better, but they do. I have loved my mission, and I love the people I am able to help!  It's time for me to get going now. I know that the church is true, I know that God loves us, I know that he speaks to us today through a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, so that we might return to live with our Heavenly Father again.


Elder Garner

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elder McCade Tracy

August 5th
Mama! I'm doing really well! This past week has been a really good one, yeah I'm used to the bike again and I've been able to maintain my weight and as of yesterday I'm now 188.7 lbs! Yes, it is a 4 plex, I'm closer than I was before they split the area. We're continuing to have our teaching pool grow, we're now up to about 17 investigators, this past week we were able to get 8 new investigators from contacting, media referalls and our former investigators from a couple years back. Sister Fitzpatrick is in the other area by about a block and a half. High - Yesterday, I was able to be the answer to someones prayer as their cousin was in a rough situation with an Ex and she needed someone to stop by and kinda start this chain reaction to figure out the best way to get her out of this horrible situation, I wrote it in my journal so I will never forget it. Low - Not being able to do a whole lot of work on Thursday, because we were helping an investigator, for the other area, move and I planned it for about three hours and instead it took about 6 hours to complete a simple move. Yes, we're getting along just fine. The teaching is going really well, we've been able to trade off very nicely while teaching so we're both speaking a fair amount of the time during the lessons. I have tried, I'm very blessed to have that gift and to have all the opportunities to help out those in need, whether they be other missionaries or investigators that we feel prompted to go visit. I look forward to each day, and the challanges that it brings. Because I know that no matter what it will be for my benifit to help me learn and grow into the man that God knows I can become, all I need to do is trust in Him and work as hard as I can each day to make sure that I don't feel like I've failed to fully represent the Saviour at any time of the day. 

August 12th
Mama! This last week has been really good! Even though I got caught out in the rain not once, but twice this week! We have a lot of investigators right now, but the one who is progressing the most right now, his name is Trent Hold, he is an ex-Amish Menonite and before we met with him, he had came to the branch five sundays in a row without us even knowing! We finally met with him this past week and he's already reading everything (BOM, D&C, Pearl of Great Price) and before we could even start teaching the restoration, he told us that he already knows that Joseph Smith is and was a Prophet of God and he knows and believes that Thomas S. Monson is the Prophet of God on the earth today! Elder Gallagher and I were just in complete shock and awe that someone who we just barely met already knows so much about the church and wants to continue learning about it with us! We aren't really sure about when he'll get baptized because of his work schedule (he owns and runs a funeral home so he's always on call) but I know that he'll be a really strong member of the Branch :) High - Meeting Trent and having him tell us that he knows the church is true! Also to be able to teach some amazing people as I'm still in the area for the time being. Low - Only having 1 person to church yesterday, and having a few appointments with some solid investigators fall through The new thing that I learned this week was how to teach little kids, one of our formers is a, now 9 year old girl, and she loves to meet with us. It's going to be interesting to see how this goes. That's awesome to hear about all the great stuff that has been going on at home, I thank you for all the love and support that you give and send me. This last week we taught 18 total lessons for the 3rd week in a row Love you all and Miss you like crazy!
Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

 August 19th
Mama! I know! For some reason this week has slowed down just a little bit, we had Elder Nash of the Seventy come and speak to us on Wednesday and that was AMAZING! He's also from Centerville, just the stake right above us and he told me that all the best missionaries come from Centerville, so that was really good to hear. I still cannot believe that the chart is already filled up that much! It doesn't feel like I've been on my mission for that long, but I know that you'll be filling in the R before we know it :) Trent is doing great, he came to church yesterday and we'll have to call President Woodbury about him because he told us that he smokes occasionally, but I know that he's willing to do what it takes to get baptized on the 31st! Breianna is doing better now, she is done working at Wendy's and she starts at the Home of the Innocence today, it's really good because she'll be able to quit smoking while she's working there and she'll definately make her bap date for Sept. 21. We only had Trent at church yesterday. High - Having so many spiritual experiances this week, that on Saturday night I was too mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted to really move! I wrote all of how I felt and what I experianced in my journal and I will never forget how I felt and what I experianced during these past few days. Low - Just having a lot of good appointments fall through and not getting to teach as many people as we wanted to this week. I learned that we have the truth, more than I knew before, I also learned that when I am filled with the Spirit my words have so much power to them and it doesn't really sound like me when I am the one speaking. We did not get caught in the rain this week, transfers will be on Sept.3 I feel like I'll be staying in Shively for at least one more transfer and I'll be able to finish a lot of the work that I was so blessed to start. Just the people in the area, I just love it so much and I know that there are many more people here who are ready to hear the Gospel and want to accept it when they hear it from us. Thank you for all your love and support!
Love you and Miss all y'all!
 Love your Son and Missionary,
Elder McCade Tracy

Elder Zach Benard

How to strengthen families and how I can help, was a question asked for a lesson from mom and here was his answer.

When people are struggling in their relationships or with their families, we ask them if they are praying and reading the scriptures together. Most of the time they say no and we tell them that God can't help them have a better family if they don't tell Him that they are struggling and need help. Then we say He will give you ways to help your family and give you answers through the Book of Mormon. We then invite them to pray and read together and tell them we'll follow up with them.

I think always being there for family home evening was how I helped, even though somedays I didn't like the family, I still knew it was important so I joined in. In a way, it was like a “set appointment” for me.

He related to us, in answering a question from Sister Green about his favorite scripture, that it is Mormon 9:21 - “Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever;he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.” “At least that's the one I chose out of 3 other ones...I just can't say I have a favorite scripture yet because the whole Book of Mormon is great and now I love it, so I don't know what my favorite verse would be but my favorite story is the Alma the Younger story and how he made a change from bad to good and helped being people to Christ.”

He was recently transferred to Ashland so he is just getting started since he and his companion were transferred new into the area. 

Elder Derek Fisher

Sorry! Sorry sorry sorry, I know it's been a couple weeks since my last email. Just want you all to know that I'm alive and doing well. These last couple weeks have been an adventure! I don't know where to start. For one thing we had our first batch of new missionaries come in so we've spent a ton of time planning/preparing the transfers. Not only that but because only 6 missionaries went home and 24 came in we had to prepare to open a ton of new areas. In our ward we have 4 Elders, 2 Sisters, and the Office couple (8 missionaries in one ward). I anticipate within 6 months each ward will at least have 2 elders and 2 sisters. The work is truly hastening, with this many missionaries though it's going to call for more member missionary work to be done. Thus I believe we had the Work of Salvation broadcast not to long ago. Lets see what else has happened? We found a day to go to Tagaytay with the Bacoor zone the other week, It's nice to have a half day off every now and again. What else? Oh for the last 2 days we've had very heavy rain, good thing I'm driving now haha. The other day it was an adventure to get home driving through thigh high flooding. Sorry my camera is broken so no fun pictures. Today we went to the rescue of some missionaries who's apartments have flooded though. Lets see, oh one bit of good news is despite the business of the Assistant lifestyle we managed to have a baptism this week! I love this family. It started as we found ourselves riding in a Jeepney with a member on her way back from church in our first week in the area. We asked her if she knew someone we could teach and she mentioned how her mom is less-active and her father and brother aren't members yet. We felt the need to change our plans and visit this family. In the first month the mother returned to activity. After that things seemed to fall into place for that family, the father and son started going to church. As they prayed for a way the Father managed to get Sundays off of work despite the fact that he hasn't been able to get Sundays off for years (he works at the Philippines Airlines). In so many other ways I witnessed how living the Gospel has blessed this family, sure they made sacrifices, sure it is hard work, but nothing can compare to the feeling of living the Savior's teachings. Just the other day they made the decision to follow the Saviors example and be baptized. It's days like this that I love being a missionary (not that there are any days I don't). I love this work, I may not be the best at it, I may not be the most skilled, or the most fluent in Tagalog, or the most well versed, but I love it. I fully plan to end my mission the way I started. Thank you all for your love and support. Until next week! 

Elder Fisher

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elder Colton Price

I want to tell you about the people here in Greenville.
Greenville is a small town a little smaller than Centerville, just no mountains. It has an old style down-town street with window shops and things like that. But what I really want to talk about are people, and I haven't done that yet.
We found a family of three a weekish ago. They are Chris-30ish, Karah-30ish, and Cameron-10. They live just down the street from us and they just moved in. We found them on the street and they offered to help them move in. They aren't married, but we hope to change that. They are such a sweet couple. The first time we met them we gave them a Family Proclamation. Karah read it and even looked us up online. They are so sweet and we have a return appointment set up for this Wednesday. They have such open spirits. They don't know it yet, but you can see in their eyes that they are searching for truth. They want to find the peace of mind that only the gospel can bring.

We had a baptism this past Saturday!!! Nicky got baptized by her father in law this past Saturday, and it was amazing! She had been investigating the church for about 8 months before this day. She slowly gained a testimony, and is now such a blessing to the branch. She is doing her family history work already and is using her husband's profile on familysearch so that she can see if the temple work is done or not. How neat is that! She has such a sweet testimony of the gospel that stems from knowing that the Holy Ghost has guided her throughout her life. She is very sensitive to the spirit.
I want you to know that the reason I am out here is because of the people. The Children of God that come back to the fold make it all worth the work. Be a friend to the friendless, strengthen the feeble knees, lift up the hands that hang hopelessly down.
love Colton

I know that Jesus is the Christ. He has redeemed this world and our souls from an awful state of misery and hell. He lives as the Son of God. He loves each and every one of us. Heavenly Father loves us. He selected us out of all the creations in the spirit to come down and be just lower than Him. Psalms 8:5 says that we are created just lower than the angels, but the footnote on angels goes to the greek translation meaning "God created us just less than the gods"
We each posses divine nature! We have the potential to become like God! Oh how great the goodness of God! This church is the only church upon the face of the earth that has the authority and knowledge to perform ordinances and make covenants necessary to return to live with Heavenly Father. Joseph Smith is the prophet that was called to restore the church to its fulness and glory. He was called by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to be the tool used for the restoration of the fulness of the gospel. This fulness is found today in the King James Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is Divinely inspired scripture, written in the past to cry from the dust to our generation. Its soul purpose is to testify of Christ. It is the truest book on the earth today.
Thomas S Monson is the Prophet today. Of this I have no doubt. He is inspired and has my full support.
I bear this witness in the name of Jesus The Christ,
Elder Colton F Price

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Elder Colton Richins

My heart is with the family! I was thinking about McKay all day Wednesday! I kept looking at the watch, telling Elder Dunford, "he's probably leaving the house now...." "They're probably eating lunch now!" "Oh my heck, he's at the MTC now!" haha. Elder Dunford now knows perfectly well that McKay has entered the MTC. But I hope everything is okay for you guys. I got an email from him and I was super stoked to see that he was able to write when he first got there. Because I didn't want to wait another week! Sounds like he is loving his comp! It's a bummer that he will only be with him for 2 weeks. Maybe he'll serve with him again in the field.

Well this week has been crazy. Me and Elder Dunford have experienced the miracle of a lifetime! You know when you hear about those stories of people who are totally ready for the gospel AND baptism (a huge difference in just being ready for the gospel) comes up to the missionaries and wants to be baptized? Yeah...well me and Elder Dunford had one of those experiences! Oh my heck. I never thought I would have one of these experiences. But it happened. So 2 weeks ago, me and Elder Dunford were contacted some dude in the town square...I saw out of the corner of my eyes that there was this guy on his bike just staring at us. I made eye contact with him during the conversation with this other guy and he made a motion that he wanted to talk to us after we were done with him. So after talking to the guy (sadly he didn't want anything to do with us) but we talked to this man and we were a bit hesistant at first because usually when this happens it is just people that want to bible bash with us. He made it short...he said "My name is Luis, here is my information (hands us half of an envelope with his personal information written on it) and I have been looking for you guys for a very long time. I would love it if you guys could make a visit to my house and we can talk!" The dude lives about 30 minutes away by car from the main city in which we work. So we arranged to go over there with a member. We were still kinda expecting him to bash with us. But when we went over there this last week, he was super attentive and the spirit was incredibly strong. This man lives in the poorest conditions I have ever seen. I am not even kidding. I wanted to take a picture of it it was so bad...but I didn't want to seem offensive. He lives in basically a rock with a tin roof over it. As far as space is concerned, he has sufficient living space...but you go inside and it seriously looks like a giant cave. We went with Miguel Silva (the member I always talk about...who took us on that awesome hiking adventure) and Miguel said, "I don't care what religion he belongs to. He cannot keep living in these conditions. We have got to do something about this." Miguel is such a freakin boss. He took down the phone number of Luis's social worker person, and was going to call him to work out something. He told us on the way back that "If we preach the gospel and then let him continue to live in those circumstances, we clearly do not believe in what we are preaching." The lesson went really well, and Luis prayed about the Book of Mormon while we were there and he said he found a profound inner peace. We made another visit on Saturday and he accepted a baptismal date for the 24th of this month! And here is the biggest thing....mother, he rode his bike to church. 2 and a half hours in the blazing sun he rode his bike to church...and 2 and a half hours back! You know a man is dedicated and seriously has interest when he is willing to do that! Never have a found a man in Portugal that has had that same dedication! It is truly a miracle.On Sunday after church Miguel invited him to go eat lunch at his house. And he had a really good time. We then met with him after to teach him more...and at the end of the lesson he said..."So...24th of August. What do I need to bring?" Mother....YOU DO NOT FIND PEOPLE LIKE THAT HERE! It was such a miracle! And well needed as well...we have been struggling finding people that we can teach. So this has been just the coolest miracle ever! If everything continues as it is (and we hope so very much that it does) then there is no doubt that he will be baptized on the24th of August! Also...this'll make you have even more respect for him...He needs to have surgery on his spine and on his knee. (he showed us this huge lump on his knee that needs to be taken out) And he STILL rode his freakin bike to church. This guy is incredible...he's in his late 50's too. This is a very big example for ALL of us. Would we be willing to do the same thing as him to be able to go to church to renew our covenants? If not, let us work towards this goal. To be able to have that big of desire to go to church that we would be willing to ride 2 and a half hours in the blistering heat (in a freakin suit at that) to be able to worship the Lord! He is an inspiration to all of us. This week let's all ponder how we can be more willing!
Other news...well with the changes in our zone it has been pretty difficult. We have received some missionaries that are causing a bit of trouble in the zone. Our last zone was so perfect and so it has been such a bummer to have to deal with so much crap. Elder Eddington's new comp (the greenie that I have told stories about...who lives with us) he is from Cape Verde (you know how great of experiences I have had with them... :) ) and he has been causing a bit of trouble since getting here. I don't see the point in writing about the stuff that we have had to deal with since he has gotten here...that wouldn't benefit anybody...but needless to say me and Elder Dunford will probably be talking to President this week about the situations. Wouldn't be completely surprised if there was an emergency transfer this week. Sigh. I hate that. But it ticks me off to see missionaries come out here who cause trouble to the mission. We come to the mission to be blessings...not burdens. And poor Elder Eddington is just trying to make the right choices...but he can't really do anything about it. He has vented to us a lot...and has been in tears a few times this last week. I feel a lot for him...and it kinda breaks my heart to see him like that. I'll let you know what happens with the situation. and Elder Dunford went over to Miguel's earlier this week after having a lesson with Luis...and Miguel taught us soooooo much. I would like to talk about one thing that I never thought about. He talked to us a little bit about the Atonement (as he was talking to us I was just writing down a bunch of was quite funny) He asked us a question. What happened after the Lord said "Father if it be possible, take this cup from me!" And I said...well he said "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." And Miguel said....before that...I had no idea. He showed me in the scriptures something very interesting. After he asked the Father to take this burden from them...there is a semi colon. Miguel reminded us that a semi colon implies a pause. He then went on explaining that we the Lord said that...we have no idea how long we waited before He submitted to the father's will. I even remember reading a talk that said that when the Lord said that there was silence in the heavens. We had no idea what would become of the human race. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine all of us up in heaven thinking of the horror of being completely lost. The scriptures are very clear in saying that if the Atonement was not made...we would be LOST. And we would be delievered to the devil in endless torment. We would NOT have the chance to progress spiritually and become like God. I'm sure this pause seemed a lot longer than it actually was. 30 minutes may have seemed like 5 hours, as we hoped with all of our might that the Lord would go through with the Atonement. And when He uttered the words "nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." Can you imagine the relief that we felt. I can imagine such relief, but such horror to watch the Savior of the world pass through more pain than any human soul could EVER endure. Bear in mind that Jesus Christ did not have to do what he did. He was already perfect. He could have already been saved with God the Father. We would have been lost. Oh my heck. After pondering about this, I felt the love of my Savior increase drastically. I bear testimony that He lives. And that He loves us. No one would EVER go through what He went through unless that love was perfect and infinite.
There was much more that he talked about...that I have safely in my new study journal (unfortunately my bag was never returned...)
I am happy to hear that everything is going well at home! Things here are answer to your question...yes being district and zone leader has been very busy. Lots of stuff to do. But we still manage to get work done and the Lord is blessing us. I'm not perfect...but I can honestly say that when we strive to be the best we can be, striving to be obedient at all times...everything just works out. And we feel a lot better about who we are, and what we do!
I love you so much! Hope everything is going well and that you have a great week! Your in my thoughts and prayers!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins
Elder Richins and Elder Dunford

Elder McKay Richins

HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if you got my letter but ya my P-Days are Saturday in the MTC so just expect to hear from me then. We can now email! Thank you for the packages and the letter. You have no idea how much that meant to me especially because I was going through such a rough time at the beginning. It was so weird because I would have such amazing experiences one minute and then be devastated the next minute because I thought about you guys back at home. I have been on my knees so much that they are sore and are bruising. But it has helped a lot. Getting your packages and letters erased those messages from my mind that I couldn't do this... Why am I here?... so I can do this! I have a family back home who cares about me and I just felt the love. THANK YOU and I know Heavenly Father really is listening to my prayers. But just some key points to this week... There is so many things to learn in so little time. It is crazy how deep into the doctrine we get here and its mind blowing. We have been digging deep into prayer lately and I now know why we pray. It is to become one with God's will. Also huge news.... Me and my comp Elder Worthen have become the new Zone Leaders for our Zone until we leave. Oh my goodness.... this is crazy. There are so many responsiblilites to do. It has been stressful but really a blessing to be trusted by the Lord to do this even though it is only for the rest of my MTC time. So I am in charge of about 6 districts of about 6 to 8 missionaries each. That is nuts mom! Ah!!!!!!!!!!!! And another big thing is that we already have to be teaching an Investigator role played by a teacher who they met on their mission and they critique us after every lesson so it is very intimidating but I think our first lesson we taught was pretty good. We have another lesson to teach today around 1 so wish us luck! Also sorry... I forgot my camera back at the room :/ so I will remember to send pictures next week I promise! Anyways thank you again for the packages. I am eating like a king! Also a couple things I need... I got in trouble because I didn't have my immunization record so I need you to send that to me ASAP! I also need more hangars... and lint rollers... and MY PATRIARCHAL BLESSING! AND MY RING! so please and thank you :) I miss you guys like crazy and know that I think about you everyday but I am doing a lot better and I am starting to realize my purpose as a missionary and it is awesome to feel that and have confidence every time I go to class although classes take up 10 hours of my 16 hour day... and it also sucks because we have to wake up at 6 instead of 6:30 because our breakfast is at 6:45 and we have class at 7:15. So that kinda blows. Anyways I love you so much and can't wait to hear from you again! I hope this was a good letter... sorry there isn't really much to say in the MTC... And I don't know if I told you but I talked to Ford because I got moved to the New Wyview campus so I got to see him a couple times and talk to him. It was great. Anyways have a good safe week and I love you all! ALSO P.S... My flight is August the 19th at like 9:15 or something like that so be expecting an EARLY phone call. If I get to call you.. I hope. They haven't told me. Okay now I am done. Thanks for everything Mom! Love you!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Elder Colton Richins

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe that McKay is going to be gone a week from Wednesday! It doesn't even seem real to me! But I hope he knows that I am with him every step of the way in this first little bit. I don't know what challenges he may face for the first chunk of the mission (seeing as the challenges that were so difficult for me at the start only apply to my mission) But I want him to know that I will do everything I can to support him for the first phases of the mission! Although, I have no doubt that he is going to be an incredible missionary! He didn't write me today (which is understandable) But I was really looking forward to reading his talk. I have been studying about the Atonement lately...and I just wanted to see what parts he talked about. The Atonement is such an amazing subject, with so many different directions to take. I am sure he did a fantastic job! I am super grateful for the support that I received from the family for the first quarter of my mission. And with how amazing our family is, I have no doubt that McKay will receive the same!
Well this last week was absolutely insane! We ended the week with 2 baptisms! (I know...I forgot to mention last week. :) ) We have been working with the son of Domingos (our recent convert that was baptized about 2 months ago) And we went through a lot of stress to make it is a pretty complicated story...but I will do my best to sum it all up. Domingos, as you know, is divorced...roughly divorced at that...and Ruben lives with his mother but visits his dad frequently...actually if it was Ruben's choice, he would choose to live with his dad. He's been at his dad's house practically the whole summer now. Anyways, we marked Ruben for baptism a few weeks ago and we tried to get Domingos ready to baptize him. However, when the subject was brought up to his mom, she said absolutely not! So we were pretty down about that, but when we talked to Domingos he had told us that the court agreement was that both parents had equal rights in the decision process for their children. Then Domingos talked to the assistant to the president that is over our zone, and they talked about the situation...then the assistant told us that we could go ahead with the baptism. After leaving the house...we felt very uncertain about going through with it. So we prayed...and we felt very peaceful. So we decided to trust in those feelings and to go along with it. Later we started feeling doubts again...and decided to pray about it soon as we started praying about it, the doubts were taken away and we again felt peace. After receiving the confirmation we decided to go through with it for sure. As we were visiting with Domingos and Ruben one last time before Ruben's baptismal interview, Domingos was talking to him about staying strong after baptism. He then said something super cool and very touching to me. He told his son to follow my example. To hear my recent convert tell his son to follow my example, and knowing that he remembers and knows my situation was very touching. It was just super cool. Our bishop had been meeting with Domingos recently to see if he was ready to perform the ordinance of baptism. Unfortunately, Domingos is still trying to work on a few things, so he was unable to do it. So Ruben said that he wanted me to baptize him, which was also very cool! So it was a very cool baptism. And Domingos is going to talk to the lawyer to try to get full custody of Ruben, because that is what Ruben wants. He's a very intelligent boy. He's 10 years old, but he is super intelligent!

The other baptism was the son of one of our less actives that recently returned to full activity in the church. His name is João Carlos. He was a pain to teach...he is a 12 year old boy, but he acts like he is 5....very big difference between the two boys that were baptized. Not much to tell on this story except for the fact that he was a pain in the butt to teach. :/ I'm not a big fan of teaching kids...unless they are in a family that is all getting baptized. :) (don't worry I'll attach pictures)
Other than that we also had another really cool miracle happen with Carlos and Jessica. I have told you about the struggle that we have had with them over the past few weeks. Well we went over there on Wednesday and they said that they had noticed a difference when they were trying harder to get an answer to everything then when they had slacked off a ton. So they were ready to try harder. Jessica knows that everything is true. She is ready. However Carlos said that he was still unsure about everything. He really loves the doctrine of the temple and eternal families, but he wasn't sure if everything was right. We taught about revelation through prayer and through the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson we all kneeled and had Carlos say a prayer to ask about the Book of Bormon. We sat in silence for quite sometime after the prayer. Finally he got up and said..."I don't feel anything." Ugh. So we told him that the Lord answers in His own time and when we show him that we actually are willing to do what it takes to get the answer. So he said that he would keep praying and reading. Well...we came to find out that very shortly after we had all left (we were with a couple of our youth members their age) Jessica was watching TV, and Carlos was on the computer. At the end of a show that Jessica was watching there came on a song in the closing credits that was called "I've got friends that do" by Tim McGraw. And Carlos all of a sudden became very interested in the song, he closed the computer and took the remote to turn up the song. At the end of the song it talks about how hard it must have been for God to give the world His Son, to suffer and die for us. And during that part he got super emotional (as did Jessica) and they just cried and cried together during the song. When we talked to him on Saturday he said that he took that for an answer to his prayer. It was his personal revelation! That was incredible! So he has finally received an answer and they are going to pray for a baptism date and we are going over there later tonight before we catch our bus to Lisbon to talk about it! So we are going to be going into full wedding and baptism mode pretty soon here!
Lastly there is Patricia. My heart just breaks for her. She's the girl I told you about last email that we have noticed has scars all up her wrist and arms from cutting herself. She revealed a little more to us about her story. She doesn't live with her mom anymore because her mom didn't treat her like a daughter. She has a brother whom her mom treats like a son...but she said that she was just always treated as a family friend...and that really hurt her. She is currently living with some random lady that took her in who treats her like a true daughter. She also said that last year her mom was diagnosed with cancer. And although she had passed rough times with her mom, she was still her mom and she loved her. And that was very hard for her. She said that sometimes it is hard to find the strength to live. It just kills us to hear. We met with her on Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon. And between that short time, on Sunday afternoon I noticed that she had fresh cuts on her left wrist...I just imagined her sitting in her room performing that awful task. She needs the Gospel...a lot. And we are hoping and praying that Heavenly Father will change her life very soon! She is a very sweet girl...but has lived a messed up life. She is marked for baptism for the 17th of August. So we will do our best to prepare her for then. We just want her to embrace the peace and happiness that the Gospel brings. (she also told us about a new wolverine movie that supposedly came out. :O :O :O ..) Eh hem. Not important. ;) so that is the latest with her.
Last, Elder Dunford, and the sisters in our district decided to have a huge street meeting! We took out a table with posters, pamphlets, books of mormon, passalong cards, and DVD's. We pitched it in the middle of this huge town square type deal. And we stood behind the table and just started singing hymns. When people passed by 2 missionaries would stop singing and contact. It got to the point where there would usually be at least 2 missionaries singing, and then the rest of us would spread out and contact people that would be in reachable distance of our table. Lots of people shrugged us off...but there were was a decent amount throughout the hour and a half that we did it that listened and took some material. We got some phone numbers, and gave out lots of pamphlets, Books of Mormon, and DVD's. It was a really cool experience! I never thought that I would have a "Soap Box" moment in my mission! It was cool. 
Anyways, that was our week! Tomorrow is Jedi Council, so I am excited for that. And yeah...Kyle said right. President isn't the most warm and fuzzy guy out there...but he is a very powerful man. He knows what he is doing and that is all that matters. I would like it if I could be buddies with him...but he's just not that kinda guy. But he is an AWESOME president nonetheless.
I hope you have a great week! I love you so much. Good luck with everything and let me know if there is any small thing I can do from a billion miles away! :D I love you!
Elder Colton Wayne Richins 

Elder Bremen Acord

I have a really busy week this week, we have 4 baptisms this weekend and we have to start getting this couple ready for a wedding in a month. They are the most awesome couple ever and they are getting married and baptized the next day. Fretson and Crizolita. I don’t remember if I have told you much about them, but when we found them, they were living in this tiny rented room with their 10 month old kid Rafael. Neither of them had a job. We taught them for a little bit and when they accepted marriage, the next day, Crizolita found a job. Fretson still just stayed at home taking care of his kid. Still that one job wasn’t enough and this week their power was cut to their tiny room. Then, after teaching them the Word of Wisdom, Fretson decided to make a sacrifice and stop his habit of drinking coffee. Yesterday, he found a job. They are a miracle family. I am loving sooo much being able to teach them. My area is sweet. Okay, well, I love you guys soooo much and I hope that everything is going well for you guys back at home. Thank you all soooo much for everything you do. Have a great week! 


Elder Acord

Elder Brandon Wallis

Los Alamos is starting to explode! If you know the history of the place, it's one of the few sites for the Manhattan Project where they made the Atomic Bomb. Thankfully it's not literally exploding but the Missionary work here sure is! We have several investigators that are looking very promising. A few of them we're planning on inviting to baptism here pretty soon. The members up here are helping out a lot, and are getting more and more excited about Missionary work. Ferman and his wife Denice are two of our investigators that we're very excited about. We can tell that they have definitely been prepared to receive the Gospel. We also have some ancient investigators... Bob is 85, Bill is 89! Both of them are super nice and love having us over. Bob is reading and praying to know if he should be baptized. We have several other investigators that we're still getting to know and are trying to schedule times where we can teach them again. 
I testify that the field is white and ready to harvest. Not just in foreign countries or just here in New Mexico. Missionary work is happening everywhere! Including Utah! Every member a Missionary. That phrase has been told to the members of the Church for a few decades now. If you're wondering how you can help the Missionary effort, be a friend to a non-member. Invite them to hear the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! Do it out of love, not out of duty. The primary characteristic of Love, is Loyalty. Jesus Christ is the head of this Church and He has inspired Prophets in these latter days to call His people to The Work. I know this Gospel is true. I know that it is the only way to find TRUE HAPPINESS in this life, and ETERNAL JOY in the life to come. Share the message of the Gospel and the blessings that come with it because you love your fellow brothers and sisters. I have found this to be the best motivating force in Missionary work. Love. I love this Gospel, I love my Family, I love my spiritual Brothers and Sisters. I want to do my best to help them find the blessings and joy that come from the knowledge of the Restoration. I leave my testimony and witness with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Wallis

Elder Riley Harris

Riley is doing great!! We are so proud of him. He has been transferred a lot through his mission and he finds that frustrating as he feels he has had the opportunity to open many doors but not able to finish the work he has started, leaving it to other missionaries who come behind him. We keep telling him that he has planted the seed and that's what matters. We are proud of him and have seen much change in him over the year that he has been out. There have been a ton of changes in his area including a new mission president, President Richard Hanks (son of Marion D. Hanks), and several new missionaries. This past week alone, they received 32 new missionaries. Each mission is expected to reach 250 missionaries each. That's up about 100 -125 missionaries per area. It's exciting!! I love this kid!! I think you will be able to get a glimpse as to why. Here are some excerpts from his letters over the past month as well as his new address...again.

 June 26, 2013 I think that it's awsome that you are doing so well at your job. I am so glad that you are somewhere that you not only love working, but also can take part in this work. It's so amazing and it's so true!!!! I can't express enough how true it is. In my studies in the morning I keep finding things that prove it's true. I can't doubt it becuase it's all right there in black and white. Also President Holzapful has been going off on how we are the only church that actually believes that our families can be together forever. Everyone believes otherwise but the churches they attend don't! They also believe that heaven is where we go and do nothing but sing praises to Jesus all day for all eternity. President Holzapful has said, "That's the very deffinition of Hell!" I can't agree more. We can become so much more! It all just makes sense!

July 8, 2013 We got to meet our new mission president this week. He seems like a really great guy! I loved one of the quotes he gave. It was if you were convicted of being a christian, would there be enough evidence. That one really struck a chord with me. It is such a good way to really think of life! 

July 15, 2013 So I heard some big news when it comes to missionary work... by the end of the year we are getting Ipads!!!! Yep We will be able to teach lessons and stuff with I pads and I phones. It will make things so much easier because we will be able to carry our area book, ward roster, scriptures, and videos all in a convinent tablet! There have been missionaries testing it and have actually been teaching lessons through skype to people. Like from here in the states to Australia! The big bug they are having is getting the missionaries in the area to the investigator. The work is definetly moving forward though! Well I'd better go. I love you Mom! I miss you tons! I also would like to let you know that I know this work is true. I know that this is Jesus Christ's church on the earth once again, and that it was restored through Joseph Smith. I know that both you and dad have tried to set the example in having us go to church and I will forever be grateful. I know understand why you both would get upset when we didn't go. It's the same way Heavenly Father feels when we don't go. I love all yall and I love the Lord with all my heart. God Bless!

July 22, 2013 This weeks been pretty good. As you saw from the pictures we got to light stuff on fire! totally against the rules, but when Sister May and Elder May say it's ok then we can do it right? It was a lot of fun! So yes I am being transferred again! I am really bummed this time too! We had just started making some serious progress with people and helping them be ready for baptism! There is this one lady named Kaycee. She is a newly wed, and has been taught for the past year. She keeps telling us that knowing if the church is true is a personal thing and when she feels she has done all the research to know if it's true then she will ask God. Totally backwards if you ask me so we decided to take a different approach this visit. We told here that we are really official representatives of the church so any questions she has she could ask us! We talked about the degrees of glory and how she felt like people could settle for a lesser kingdom because they would still be with Jesus or the Holy Ghost. We told her that if you were in a lesser kingdom that you would be able to have Jesus or the Holy Ghost visit you. The key word was VISIT. we also focused on how you would have that constant reminder that you could actually have better because of the visits from Jesus or the Holy Ghost. It helped her a lot and she has progressed a lot since then. We are really excited! David Lee decided to move his baptism. It will now be the 17th of Aug. He doesn't feel like he will be able to give up drinking and smoking for after baptism. We have got him to commit to going to addiction recovery classes to help him out with that. Hopefully it works. No it will work!

 July 25, 2013 Here's my new address 146 Commerce St. West Point, Ms 39773

I know that this Church is true and that Joseph Smith is the prophet God called to restore it. I also know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I am grateful for the sacrifice that the savior made for all of us, and am especially grateful that I've been able to see it work in others lives. The biggest thing I know to be true is that this is NOT a dead religion. We are all called to work WITH the Lord as missionaries. The second coming is upon us and we are to get as many people prepared to meet him as we can. It's time to nut up or shut up and get crackin' on bringing your friends unto Christ. We are to uplift one another as well. I know that even though no one is perfect in there lives we can be made perfect through the blood of Christ. We are to LOVE our neighbors, bless them that curse you, pray for those that dispitefully use you. If we are not united how can we win the war between good and evil? I also know that the bible is true. Even though it is just dead words on dead trees written by dead people that it still is good to read. We shouldn't stop listening to the Prophet or others of Gods chosen servants though because they are LIVING SCRIPTURE! Just like our LIVING CHRIST! We shouldn't be like these other dead religions that just act like they are good people on Sunday then turn around and back bite, and do evil things just because it's not Sunday. We are to be Steadfast in Christ and try to live as he would live! The tomb is empty and Christ is coming. Be prepared. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Elder Colton Price

Hey guys!! I am sorry that it is a weird week but its transfers tomorrow so we put preparation day on Wednesday. 
So to answer the big question...yes, I am getting transferred out of Huntington. It is like leaving another one of my homes. I am so excited to see where I end up after this. Elder Callister isn't terribly happy that I am leaving him alone. I told him that we will definitely have to catch up when we see each other at meetings and such. 

I want you to know that I love you all so much!! It has been somewhat rougher trying to wait until Wednesday to email you. I hope you know how much it means to me that you support me. Likewise I hope that you know that I support you and all that you do. I was told of a previous Elder in this are that went on his mission and his parents told him that if he left they would disown him. He went anyway and he wasn't fazed at all. His parents told him via his sister that they had moved and he was not allowed to know where they had gone. He still wasn't fazed. I am so glad that I didn't have to go through that. 

Yesterday at a lesson that we had with an investigator named Jeremiah we asked him to say the closing prayer. He did such a good job, but Elder Callister and I had to try not to laugh our heads off when he said "thank you for bringing the Mormon mercenaries to me..."  I have been called several names on my mission and I gotta' say, Mormon mercenaries is a new one...and an awesome one coming from our investigator. 

I bought stirrups for my bike yesterday and installed them, it will be nice not to have the dress shoes slide off of the pedals because they don't have a good tread for pedals. 
OH YEAH!!! I haven't written you about my crash yet! 
Elder Callister were on route to our service thingy we do every friday for the salvation army. The bike ride is maybe a mile...max. We were just doing the normal routine when we ride- no hands on the handlebars just cruisin along. We were almost there and I went to turn left into the front of the church and lock up to the bike rack in the front, but I forgot to tell Elder Callister that this was the plan. So I slowed down and started turning left and managed to turn right in-front of no hands Elder Callister. He managed to grab his handlebars and slam on his breaks before he hit me going about 12-15 mph. He only got minor scrapes on his hands but MAN...MY BACK TIRE IS AWFUL. We took it in to the bike shop and they said that it is as trued as it will get...except for the hop in it caused by a bent rim, so now no matter what I am riding on I hit a bump with every revolution of the tire. :) I am having a blast on my mission!!

I wan't you to know that I know that what I am doing is Gods' work. I am a servant of the Lord, a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ. I also represent the Price Family, and I bear both names with pride. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. There are no words to describe how I feel about His infinite Atonement. He alone was prepared and chosen, before this world began, to be the Savior. I love Him. I am so grateful for the relationship that I am building with Him and Heavenly Father. He is my advocate to the Father; He is also my dear friend. I value His trust and strive to always be worthy of it. This is His Gospel and it brings us to the very presence of Heavenly Father if we follow it exactly. I know that Heavenly Father wants what is best for us. We are His children and He rejoices when we do what is right. I know that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration. He was the tool in Christs' hand that allowed this marvelous work and wonder to be cut out of the mountain without hands. "No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing...The truth of God will go forth...until the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."