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Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Date: December 24, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Hello!
This week was a pretty good one! It's been a little slow because all the people in the area have gone home for Christmas and so
NYC is pretty much all tourists this week but we still have managed to
stay busy! On Friday we went and sang carols In Times Square and
handed out "He is the gift" cards! It was really handy because we have
the huge bill boards there so people were recognizing us with the
cards and signs! Anyways yeah it was really cold though. Saturday was
pretty cold too! Monday I went on splits with another elder in my
district and it was really fun. He's a awesome kid and I enjoyed it
quite a bit! We also had a really cool experience, we were standing in
the doorway at one of the down town chapels and this guy came and
knocked on the door to see if he could come in. So we let him in and
he asked if we had any ministers or priests, so we told him we were,
then he told us a story about how he had been guided here by the
spirit and when he saw the name Jesus Christ on the door he knew he
was home. So that's awesome! He then asked us to pray with him so we
did then we were talking to him and he said that he had just lost his
job, and then we told him that he came to the only employment resource
center the church has on the island and that we could help him with
some resources to find a job. So we got all his contact info and we
turned him over to the senior couple that works the resource center
but he said he's going to come to church for sure on Sunday which is
awesome! Then yesterday we had the zone get together to sing carols
in front of the New York public library. And everyone wanted to sing
and no body was really going to talk to the people listening, so I went
out and started talking to people and gave out a ton of cards and
showed the video a couple of times it was awesome! So today the zone
is having a Christmas party that I'm gonna head to but I'm looking
forward to Christmas! Have a Merry Christmas and remember, "He is the
gift"!

Elder Richards


Me with a Portuguese man who spoke no english and has no clue what I'm doing he just decided to get in the picture with me, so I'm like that's chill.
I like pizza, and that was good pizza!
This is me chillin with a lion in front of the library

Monday, December 22, 2014

Date: December 22, 2014
Area: Manhattan South
Companion: Elder Sprunt


So this week has been pretty good, we got to meet with one of our investigators Penelope, she's really interesting. She doesn't believe in God, and is investigating the church because of her boyfriend so we are working on building a foundation of faith in God right now, it's definitely something I didn't expect! I've still been sick this week.
Which really stinks, it has been going around our zone. We had the mission Christmas devotional this week. And it was really good, there were a couple of fiascos but everything ended up running mostly smoothly. My narration part was pretty easy. But president Morgan's talk/remarks were really good. I enjoyed them very much. He was talking about Christmas Eve 100 years ago how usurping World War Two they quit fighting on Christmas and instead enjoyed themselves with there enemies. And he just talked about how Christ brings out the best in everyone and can bring peace to war torn battle fields. It was really good and gave me a lot to think about. All In all it was a good week, I just wish I would have been feeling better so I could go out more, but hopefully I will recover soon. Hope you all have a great week and a merry Christmas!

Elder Richards

Monday, December 15, 2014

Date: December 12, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Hi everybody,
this week has been the roughest one yet, Thursday and Friday I was not feeling good so we didn't go out. It was no fun. Saturday I felt good enough to go out so we did. We went to the New York New York stake Christmas concert and we got to usher people then watch the concert which was pretty cool. Sunday we met with John our investigator, he's really solid but anyways he gave us a baptism date which is January 17th so that's way awesome. I'm really happy about that. He is really cool. It's been way, way cold here lately and rainy which is pretty tough but it's whatever. We got a new ward mission leader on Sunday too and he seems really awesome. I'm really excited to see how the work hastens with him. We have been giving out a whole ton of he is the gift cards which is really awesome. Hopefully people are going to the website. Yesterday president Morgan called us and had us deliver some book of Mormons to a hospital it was quite a event because the hospital was on the complete opposite side of the island but president asked us so I got my companion to go with me. Right now it's Wednesday morning and I'm on a train to Ossining I'm headed up there for the final rehearsal for the Christmas program. So that's awesome. I think I'm still a little sick/getting sick again. But I've got some medicine to take which will help I hope. Anyways I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Richards

On the train to Ossining

Grand Central Station

Date: December 04, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Week Eight
So this weeks been pretty slow, we had transfers on Wednesday and nothing really changed except one of the elders in our apartment got transferred and we got elder Snow. He's pretty cool. Thanksgiving was pretty alright, we weren't allowed to proselyte. So it was a slow day, but we did go to one of the members from our wards fiancés family Thanksgiving dinner which was nice. It was pretty good. It was a little interesting also. We had the winter fest at Lincoln square this last Monday, it was fun. It was the church's public relations deal. We gave out hot chocolate, but the whole Lincoln square area was full of cool stuff like bands and restaurant and cool people making ice sculptures it was a pretty fun night. But other then that this weeks been pretty slow. I've been developing a lot of patience this week with my comp. not much more to say on that subject. We are working with a recent convert who is trying to find the origin of language.
He's a pretty interesting guy. But we are having Book of Mormon study and he is really interested in the plan of salvation chapters in Alma and we always have pretty good conversations. I got to go see the "He is the gift" ads in time square it's really awesome I've been handing out the "He is the gift" pass along cards like candy which Is really awesome we haven't had anybody contact us from if as of yet, but I think we will get something from it. It's a really awesome campaign.
It's definitely inspired. It's been really cold and windy here but it hasn't snowed yet which is crazy. But I'm expecting it any day now.
Anyways hope you all have a great week!

Elder Richards
Date: November 28, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

So this week it has been really chilly! And basically all of our investigators were and are out of town for thanksgiving. So that stunk so we worked with some recent converts and some less active members a lot! Christmas lights are starting to go up everywhere here and it's getting really pretty! We have been giving out book of Mormons like candy which is good I hope they will turn out to bring some investigators from it! Also the church is doing a cool campaign for Christmas called, He is the gift", and they have supposedly bought a ton of Times Square ad space, and it's in our area so I'm definitely going to go check it out! A cool thing I learned in one of my studies is that almost all the wicked people are searching for something where they will never find it, they are searching for true happiness, but it will never be found in sin and inquity. I just think it's so true.
Living the gospel will bring you joy! Tomorrow will be interesting. We aren't allowed to go proselyte tomorrow so we will be confirming a lot of appointments today. Anyways I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Richards
Date: November 19, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Week six,
This week has been cold. Really cold. Anyways this week has been pretty slow which is disheartening. My companion is allowing my patience to grow. A lot of the people we teach had mid terms this week so we didn't get a whole ton of lessons which stinks. It's a little bit of a let down. One of our recent converts came to a lesson drinking a coffee too which really stunk, so we have been working with him. But this week has had a lot trials, but hopefully next week will be better. We gave out free hot chocolate in front of Will Smiths house in "I am legend" on Saturday, and we were asking people what they were thankful for, it was really cool. We met some very interesting people also. But over all it went pretty well I think. The weather has gotten significantly colder this week which stinks. I don't know how homeless people live on the streets here. We have also been asked to give a ton of blessings to people this week, it's really cool that Heavenly Father trusts us with his power, it's so awesome. Nothing to crazy happened this week, transfer calls are on Saturday, so I am excited to see who is going and coming, I could even move. I guess we will see. Anyways I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all the support!

Elder Richards
Date: November 12, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Week five.
So this week has been really wild, so to start off we had the craziest story happen Wednesday night, so we have a really creepy and not very nice building supervisor, who we don't think is 100% mentally there. But anyways he always bangs on our door between 2-5:30 in the morning with a hammer because he thinks we are "running and jumping" in our apartment. So he's nuts and I guess he has threatened to injure the other elders who have lived here before, anyways. So he was letting a homeless woman live with him for two weeks and I guess they got into an argument or something because he kicked her out and she came back at like 10:25 at night and started buzzing every apartment in our building over and over, and so at this point I put in ear plugs and went to sleep, but from talking to the elder who lives with us, he finally answered the buzzer to get her to stop and she wouldn't and then somehow she got in the building, and she was just yelling in front of our crazy building supervisors apartment, which is next door.
That he assaulted her and stole her mail and her checks, so the other elder answered and opened the door to ask her to be quiet and I guess she was trying to coax him to hit her, so he was just like I'm not going to hit you I'm going to just ask you to leave, and she wouldn't stop so he closed the door and she started yelling at our door, so at this point he has his comp wake us up and ask us what to do so we called the zone leaders and they asked the APs and they said to just call the police and have them take her. So we did, and we told the lady and she quit and left then two hours later the cops show up and we tell them what happened so they say to just call them again if she comes back, so we finally go to sleep, next morning during our person study she returned and was going nuts and our crazy neighbor let her in and we just hear a lot of yelling so we tuned it out then we hear doors slam and she was banging on our door wanting us to let her in and for us to call the cops, so we didn't let her in but we did call the cops, and they showed up a hour later after the fighting had migrated to the first floor, and they interviewed them for a additional hour, so then the police came and asked us if we had anything to say and we just said they are both nuts, anyways. About ten minutes later we see them take our neighbor who was handcuffed into a police car and we have no clue what happened to the crazy homeless woman. But our neighbor was back the next day so we don't know what happened but the mission office talked to the land lord and basically said we are moving unless something changes and seeing how we are the best tenants the building, thing have changed, he only hits our door every couple of days now and he leaves us alone which is nice, we still may be moving though. But yeah a lot of crazy stuff happened a crazy homeless man made a another begging homeless man a turkey sandwich on the subway, he literally stopped the man during his, please give me money talk, and made him a turkey sandwich! Then afterwards he put the bread and meat away into one of his garbage bags and started knitting and talking to himself again! It was bizarre, we also had zone conference this week and it was really really good, I really enjoyed it! I really like my mission president!
He gave some wonderful insights on the lords love and it really helped me. He also asked me to narrate the missions Christmas devotional. So I'm pretty excited for that I'm a little nervous too. This week has been kind of disappointing lesson wise though. A lot of our investigators had mid terms or were out of town so we did tracting and contacting which is always interesting anyway . I hope you all had a great week love you miss you.


Elder Richards
Date: November 05, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Week four!
Well this week has been pretty good, nothing too wild has happened. We met with one of our investigators this Thursday, her name is Krystal! She moved here from china 2 months ago! And her boyfriend is a member who was baptized six months ago in Taiwan, anyways she's learning so much! And she's growing so much it's awesome! The only problem is she's currently living with her boyfriend, and she's got here own room and everything but it's still a problem so right now we are talking to members in the ward to see if we can get one of them to move into the apartment and either Krystal or Basil (her boyfriend) moves out so she can be baptized! She really wants to be! So we are kinda like real estate agents right now, but yeah anyways.
Halloween was interesting we had to be in our apartment at five, so we did alot of cleaning! And we watched crazy people run around the streets from our apartment window it was pretty uninteresting though. I got to bed early! Anyways the day after we met with one of my companions converts from a recent area and he decided he wants to get married really soon, but he doesn't know who he wants to marry so we told him he should probably start to date, anyways right after our lesson our YSA ward Halloween party started and it was pretty cool, me and my companion had dinner and introduced one of our investigators to all the ward members them we had to leave because it was getting late! The next day was Sunday and it was really good! We had a really really amazing testimony meeting! I learned so much! It was awesome the spirit there was amazing! And it was also the New York marathon that day! We weren't allowed to go anywhere near it but it was still really cool to see all the runners swarm the streets afterwards with all their medals and cool jacket/blanket things! It would be kinda fun to run it one day! Oh! I almost forgot we were I'm Times Square the other day and it turns out we were on TV, we were talking to a member who saw us behind the NBA panel of some sort. It was last Wednesday at seven o clock here so five in Utah time.
Anyways it's been really fun lately, today we are heading to the temple on a subway and some random black guy was just standing in the door of the subway yelling I'm stopping this train and the doors of the subway just kept opening and closing and smashing him, a cop finally pulled him out of the doors it was really weird.
Anyways, I made a recipe for dinner Sunday I learned from one of the awesome members here named Steven! It's called coca cola chicken and it's really good! I'm surprised at how many different foods I have tried here! I got Brussels sprouts the other day! And they are interesting not my favorite but not bad either! But yeah afterwards on Sunday night we did some less active look ups at night and it got really really cold! But I didn't freeze which is good! Then Monday we had a really good lesson we brought Steven with us because he's getting ready to serve a mission and we went to a less active member who the bishop asked us to go see and it was really cool his testimony was so awesome! The spirit was really strong! And she asked if I would give her a blessing! I was really nervous! But it was really amazing!
It was my first blessing that I had actually given I had anointed oil before and consecrated it but I had never been the one to give the actual blessing. It was really cool! And Tuesdays been pretty good we had district meeting which was good nothing major!
I met brother Reid, the senate majority leader. He was leaving the chapel as we were going in to our sacrament. Anyways the white handbook says I'm not supposed to give any political thoughts as a missionary and also in my letters, but let's just say I washed my hands after meeting him.
Anyways hope you guys all have a good week! the church is true!
Elder Richards
Date: October 29, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

So! Week three! The highlight of the week was we had a baptism! It was a guy named Pat and he started taking the lessons in April and was off and on but the last couple of weeks he decided he wanted to change his life, and pursue the gospel! And he's awesome! He's really dedicated to the gospel! So that's awesome! His baptism was so cool! It had such a sweet spirit there! He bore his testimony and it was really simple but powerful! But it was really cool! But that was one of the highlights! Elder Sprunt and I found out we were giving talks on Friday night so while we were filling the font on Saturday we were writing out talks! I based mine on the talk president Eyring gave in the April 2012 general conference called "Mountains to climb!" It's one of my all time favorite talks! And I would invite you all to read it. It's really helped me but anyways the talk went well, it really blended with the other talks so I see that being Gods hand in inspiring me what to do! Also I got to take a train from grand central up to Scarsdale Monday for a new missionary training at the mission home! It was really amazing! We talked a lot about the gospel of Christ and president Morgan just gave us some really inspiring insights and thoughts on the doctrine of Christ which was really cool! He just got home from Palmyra and there was a mission president training there that Elder Holland and Elder Bednar gave there, and he told of some of the stuff he learned! It would have been really amazing! They also got all the new missionaries a leaf form the sacred grove and told us this really cool metaphor about how missionary work is like the leaf, and how if we focus on Christ and look to heaven we will become colorful and develop personality, and it's really cool! So yeah! Grand Central station is really cool! I will send some pictures! Nothing that crazy happened this week. I'm really getting the hang of the subways, I saw some African American woman get into a brawl at McDonalds, and it seemed like something that I would see on twitter when I was home. It was bizarre for sure. We did a street contacting thing as a district outside of the temple on thirst and we were asking how people saw Gods hand in their lifes. Me and Elder Sprunt didn't get much success but people were much more willing to talk to the sisters though, but whatever! We would still call it a success, street contacting here isn't really the most successful thing in the world here, a lot of people just ignore us when we do it. But we still try and we can only go tracting in the projects here and those get sketchy sometimes! Everybody thinks we are detectives and we meet some real characters. But it's still work! Our most successful form of contacting people is chatting on the subway because they can't walk away, and most people are usually polite if we catch them on there. We found out that the corner we walk past everyday it's the south west corner of Central Park in Columbus circle, but anyways Joseph Smith and Parley Pratt both preached the gospel there In front of Central Park on milk crates, so I'm gonna get a picture of me doing the same to send home! It's just amazing the gospel has been taught on that corner for that long! And that the prophet of the restoration walked the same streets preaching the same gospel out of the same book! It's just amazing I think! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Have a good day!
Date: October 22, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

Week two! This weeks has had a lot of ups and downs. Nothing major has really happened we taught a lot of lessons and that's good and one of our investigators is having his baptism on Saturday so that's a really wonderful thing. I have been enjoying the work. We have two new investigators this week so that's a really good thing too they both sound really promising and I will enjoy teaching them! They both have a lot of questions too which is good. We met a Chinese lady on the street who is a member in china town and she was telling us her old bishop was good, but she says her new bishop is a Chinese communist and she wants us to spread the word that he is one.
But from what I understand the Chinese wards here are very unique and have some interesting trials. But it's cool! Later we met a homeless black man who was just in the streets and when he saw us he started chanting Brigham Young louder and louder. So that was interesting. And then another person said we needed to give her forgiveness and let her live in the temple. So yeah we met some very interesting children of God this week. I'm very blessed though to have all these new investigators! We have also been majorly blessed with a lot of dinner appointments which are amazing. Our investigator Pat who is being baptized on Saturday is such a cool guy. He was born in Shenzhen China and immigrated here and he's been taking the lessons for a while but has finally gained a testimony and a desire to be baptized which is really good. He is really really excited for it. I've been running to the temple every morning with my companion. And we go into the ward building part and my comp plays basketball or jumps around but I've been doing an ab workout. So that's good it helps me wake up so I can not be tired during personal studies. New York City is really weird. It's a lot bigger then I thought but it's a lot easier to get around In then I thought too. So I guess ginger ale is huge out here everybody drinks it and I can't figure out why, but whatever! Hippies! Food is way expensive here also! But it's been a ok week. I'm looking forward to next week a lot. Hope you all have a good week!

Elder Richards 
Date: October 16, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

From: Brayden Richards
Date: October 15, 2014 at 7:10:16 AM MDT
To: Robert Richards
Subject: Dad's letter

Hey dad! I just wanted to tell you the craziest thing that has happened so far! I didn't want to include it in the other letters because I don't want mom To freak out! But anyways it was really funny scary and weird all at the the same time! So on Friday night we have our dinner appointment with brother and sister dickamore, they are the second counselor and wife in our ysa ward. So we look up the address and it's in Harlem, so it's a little sketchy but what ever. So we jump on the subway and start heading up there. And the subway gets reaLay sketchy after you go north of Central Park, anyways we go on some really weird subway line and get to the station so we head up to the street and it looks like we just came into black person central. They are everywhere in their little lawn chairs and there are cigar stores everywhere. So we just keep walking and this bearded white guy come up out of nowhere and is like you fellas headed to the dickamores, and we are like yeah. So he just decides to tag along. So I'm thinking this is weird! So we get to the apartment building and up the stairs to their apartment and nock on the door, and sister dickamore opens the door and she is like way familiar but I can't figure out where I've seen here. Anyways she welcomes us in and then she welcomes the bearded guy in too! And he finally introduces himself as mcdougal. And I guys he is just their really good friend. So I'm like calming down now because he's not a homeless man, and it turns out he is really funny and a nice guy. But anyways we walk into the kitchen and there is brother dickamore and he is even more familiar. So I'm trying to think of where I've seen them but I can't remember. So we start chatting about the neighbor hood and they tell us about this really sketchy diner across the street that they are pretty sure is a drug dealer due to they open at 10 pm and close at 4 am and the people that leave look both ways before the leave the door way. Anyways this becomes more relevant later in the story. So we help them set the table for dinner and we have dinner and just kinda small talk about life in New York and home, and so all of a sudden we hear a gun shot. And we look out the window and there are herds of black people running from the diner sp we go back to eating and about a minute later we hear," dat niggas got a *cemsored* fake *censored*gun, man up you *censored censored* and we look out again and there are all the black people just running everywhere it's a madhouse down in the street. Anyways we go back to talking again when we hear two more really loud gunshots and black ladies screaming so we look out and it's mass chaos in the street so we kinda are like this is way weird. And so we go back again to the dinner and then in about five minutes all these sirens and police cars show up. And there is a guy laying in the street! So they haul him off in a ambulance and the cops put up crime seen tape everywhere! So I'm getting kinda shaken up because this is my second night in New York and I witnessed a shoot innin! Anyways we decode to give a spiritual though and we are talking about nephis faith when all of I sudden I know why they are so familiar..... They are Adam and Eve in a temple movie!!! So I immediately ask them if it's true and they confirmed! They are from my favorite one! The one with the normal satan not squirrly one or the bald one! The one we saw when I got my endowments! Anyways they are way cool! So after we chatted for a while we hurried home and had to cross the police tape! But I'm not dead! And I had dinner with Adam and Eve and someone got shot outside their apartment! New York is crazy! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week One In South Manhattan

Date: October 15, 2014 
Area: Manhattan South  
Companion: Elder Sprunt

So, week one in south man, its nuts I don't even know where to start! I guess I will start with what happened after I sent me email last week! So I go and my companion elder Sprunt gives me a metro card which lets me ride all the subways and buses in all five of the Burroughs in New York. So we head out of the church building and up through the parking garage, and then left down the street. And I find out where we are is called Ingwood, it's on the far north part of NYC. So we walk down the street and then we get on a subway, and it's wild. Crazy people love the subway! And I thought it was packed when we got on, but I would soon find out it was practically empty! Anyways we rode the blue line all the way down to 59th street or Columbus circle, so I come up out of the subway with suitcases and a giant box, and I'm in the middle of Manhattan! It's nuts! I can see the corner of Central Park! (Which I as of now haven't gone too!) so I follow elder Sprunt to our apartment which is through a mall down five streets and over one avenue. If you guys want to look it up its on the corner of ninth avenue and fifty fourth street above a grocery store! So I walk into the stairwell. And it smells way funky. And I prayed that our apartment won't smell like that! And luckily it doesn't. Our apartment is pretty much a really long strip of rooms, but it has a lot of windows so that's good! So I dropped off my stuff and left to go to the temple which is a couple of streets up! And it turns out that the temple also has a ward building/stake center in it. So that is where we meet a lot of our investigators because they stop by on their way home.
So we taught a lesson to a man named Anderson and he was baptized two weeks before I got here, but he's really cool we taught him about scripture study. Then we went to my first dinner appointment with two of the members from our ward. (We serve In the YSA ward) and we went to a place called A.G's kitchen. It was really pretty good! Then we went back to the homestead.
We have done some tracting in the projects, but from what I understand it's not very successful. But if we talk to just one person in two years of tracting it would still be worth it. Anyways most of our investigators come from member referrals. So we really try to make sure we are working with the members here. We do get to talk to quite a few people on the subways though but most of them just ask if we have seen the Book of Mormon play, which I guess is still playing. The subways are pretty crazy. I have seen a lot of people jam into one little subway car. And it gets tight! Also the subways aren't the cleanest they could be so I carry hand sanitizer in my bag. I haven't seen any rats yet though. Which I guess is pretty good! I've actually surprised myself at how I am starting to learn how to work the subways and buses to get where I'm going! I can definitely see heavenly fathers help with that! The subways are pretty sketchy though the lights will just randomly turn off and on and I swear the brakes are going out on half the cars. But nobody has died from it yet! The craziest thing I've seen on the subway was a homeless man trying to sell a magic pizza box, but I've heard stories of much worse happening.
On Sunday we got to go to a fireside with elder Perry presiding and he spoke! It was really good! He challenged everyone there to go to a website called faithcounts.net I guess it's a website put out by many different churches including our own, but he said if we would share the posts and use the website, faith will become prevalent in America again which is a pretty cool promise! A funny thing happened during the fireside too, some homeless man must have snuck into the congregation but during the opening hymn he stood up on his bench and danced to the hymn. So that was pretty cool for the first fireside on my mission.
Everything here is really expensive! I'm quite surprised! But it's whatever I guess! I've been to Times Square! Madison square Washington square And I've walked past Central Park a ton! I've also walked past the 9/11 memorial, but we didn't have time to really look at it but I'm definitely going to go back, just walking by it gave me chills.
I saw Will Smiths house from “I am legend”! And the Seinfeld diner! So yea for Hollywood! We got to teach a brand new investigator on Sunday too! He's a investment banker so he's going to be hard to meet with but he already has read to Alma in the Book of Mormon so that's amazing! I think he is going to be a wonderful investigator! And we are meeting another lady on Friday and from the phone calls she sounds really promising too! I'm excited! Anyways that's been my week In summary! Have a good one!

Love ya,

Elder Richards