Monday, December 29, 2014

Jessica's Sixty Third Email! December 28th, 2014

Walked to the beach this morning. Magical! We totally were not planning on it and then when we were saying our prayers this morning I just got a CRAVING for the beach haha. And Sister Araja said she was good with going so we walked the loveliest walk to Bagasbas. Rice fields on both sides and a nice breeze and just perfect! Also so weird, did not feel like I was in the Philippines! There were so many people jogging and riding bikes, like all decked out in biking shorts and helmets and stuff. Like real exercise! Not so common here, it was awesome! Reminded me of walking down to the beach as a fam for our "training hikes" hahah complete with Fat Burger! Fun!

Anyway, SKYPE WAS THE BEST!!!! Oh my. I have the best family. SO good to talk to you and so weird that was the last time before I see you in real life!!! Scary! And all the better Emi made it! Such a good time! Glad to see you're all still a buncha jokers. Christie when I get home I've gotcha back with those bully brothers of ours ;) haha I love you all!

Wow!!! I am thinking back to last Monday and I 100% cannot believe that was only one week ago!!!! Monday Bishop texted and said the packages got to their house so we stopped by on our way home and they opened theirs up. So sweet mom! They loved all the stuff and you should have seen Amber eating those chocolates, the cutest! We brought ours home and opened it up and oh my. THE BEST. THANK YOU!!!! We got to decorate a Christmas tree! It was so legit, Thank you!!!! SO fun. I felt like a lil elf that night haha. I put in the Mormon tabernacle Christmas CD you sent and was setting up the tree, hanging the lights, making the craft banner. hahah It was golden, all of it!

Tuesday was the ward Christmas party! SO fun! SO many people showed up and it was a good time. We were gonna sing a song for our missionary presentation so all 8 of us were practicing before the party. Elder Merril and Elder Romanovitch are the funniest people ever. I just can't not laugh when we're all together. Have you seen Mr. Bean?? Well they are half like him and then Elder R. is half like the Don and Elder M. is half like Auz train and it just gets me every time. So funny. Wish I could film them but they're kinda camera shy :) The 3 of us are the only ones in our district of 10 who aren't Filipino. I think that the others think the 3 of us have ADHD hahah. They are so reserved and we are always just cracking up. Good times.

Wednesday we had some really good morning work and then Bishop got permission for us to go caroling with all the missionaries in the ward to less actives. It was fun. We went in tricies and were able to see a lot of our less actives so it was great! We put together spaghetti kits before we went out. Caroling on Christmas eve just like the good ol' days. Can't believe everyone was at the Heaps but me hahah. Fun!

Christmas!!! Woke up. Put the presents from the other package under the tree. Turned on the Christmas music and opened up our gifts! Thank you soooo much mom and dad! Loved it all and Sister Araja loved hers too. You are so thoughtful! Thanks!!! Then I made Christmas cookies while Sister Araja was getting ready to teach for district mtg the next day. We did our studies, went to a member's house for breakfast, then to Skype!!! After we talked to you we went to another house and got fed... then another... then another... then Bishop's haha. I was so full I really considered throwing up, but it was all so good! The members are so generous and insisted that we stop by! Too kind!

Friday we had district meeting and me and Sister Araja taught the workshop about 'Our purpose as missionaries'. It was great to really study that chapter that morning. Loved it. So much we need to be doing every day! I love being a missionary and really can't believe every day of 2014 I had this privilege! So blessed!

The rest of the week was back to normal with work and it was so good! We have been having some heart break this week with one of our recent converts who started smoking again and it keeps getting worse! We are trying everything! I even bought him a bag of lolly pops! If anyone has a suggestion, let me know please! :)

We had a miracle yesterday as well! You know the fam I told you about like a month or 2 ago who isn't married and has 4 kids?? They started the marriage papers! It should be this FEB!!! ahhh so excited! And the mom went into work late yesterday so they could all come to church. Complete! The whole fam! And the sacrament meeting topic was on the family proclamation. Couldn't have been better! And their little daughter Arleen is like my best friend and she sat next to me all 3 hours haha. Such a cutie.

Oh! Happy birthday Lindsey last Friday and Aunt Shauna right now! Love ya both! Mom, I gave our recent convert Julie-Ann one of the CTR rings you sent in that pouch and she said to tell you thank you! She loved it. Like I said, so thoughtful! I hope everyone has a lovely new years!!! Can't really believe it's gonna be 2015 in a few days! Trippy! This place is crazy for New Years haha. I don't remember so many firecrackers last year in Tigaon, but this whole week we've literally been walking around fearing for our lives and these boys threw a fire cracker SO close to us but luckily I saw so I pulled Sister Araja the other way, but it's sketch haha. Fun stuff.

The pics are going so slow which is such a shame cause I have SO many from this week!!! haha but I love you all soooo much!!!! Have a great week! Send my love to everyone at the cabin and enjoy the snow up there! Looks like fun!

Love, Sister Richmond

P.S. - Clarification for anyone who got our family Christmas card... in the "by the numbers" where it says the showers per week in Asia, that is referring to Christie and Daniel's backpacking trip, NOT ME!!!! hahaha I bathe everyday, usually multiple times a day! :)

Top 10
2. Christmas day in general
3. Christmas decorations from mom really turned our apartment into a winter wonderland! :)
4. Ward Christmas party
5. Christmas Eve caroling
6. Got fed like 5 times on Christmas
7. My lil buddy Arleen yesterday at church. Made me miss babysitting!
8. Yesterday all of us missionaries brought food to the church to eat before our meeting and Elders Merrill and Romanovitch both swallowed a Vienna sausage whole, actually Elder Romanovitch did 2 and a half hahahah. I was DYING
9. Morning walk to the beach
10. Just got the sweetest email from Sister Christensen who finished her mission here one year ago! She was vacationing in San Diego and was in 7th ward! Small world!

Amber with their package

 De Guzman fam with some of the goodies you sent

 Stuff from the 1st package from mom

 The lights

 And the craft banner

 The R.S. cooking for the ward Christmas party

 Then there was a fire hahah

 Elder merril

 District leader

 Elder Romanovitch on the right and Llanera in the middle

 Raymary, the 19 year old coming back!!!

 Cheekie and her kids. She's so sweet!!!!

 The 2 Mr. Beans

 Bishop and Amber

Sister De Guzman. They went all out with decorations

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jessica's Sixty Second Email! December 21st, 2014

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S ! ! ! ! Wooohooooo. It has finally arrived!!!!!! I am so pumped to talk to you all so soon!!! Let's all pray for good internet and not so many gamers this time around haha.

Hope everyone had a fun week!!!
I sure did! Minus this illness. haha I have such a horrible cold and it's just so ridiculous cause it's so hot outside and here I am walking around sneezing like crazy and just such a sore throat. Don't worry Chris, I'm using my oils! The honey and lemon does wonders! :) And you know when you have a super bad cough that you cough so hard that you start gagging (maybe that's just me??) well ya... that! So hopefully I'll be all healed up for Skype so I can hear you! ;) Butttt, all that aside, what a fun week!!!!!

On Wednesday I had exchanges with Sister Ngakuru! She is from New Zealand. One of my favorite sisters in the mission, hands down. She goes home in just a few weeks! Ahh but we had a great day. Worked hard, laughed hard, taught hard. We also had a dinner appt. that night at the stake president's mother in law's birthday party. I think she's upper 70's?? Still goin hard. Karaoke and all. Love it! Sister Naks and I were trying to whisper to the kids which songs to play cause there were some prime ones on that CD, they weren't havin it though!!!

Thursday, Mission Conference!!!!! Okay, you know how it was all just so devastating cause the party was split and all that... the Reeders made up for it BIG TIME. We watched FROZEN! Yes, as in the Disney one. I've never seen so many people ages 18-25 get sooooo pumped for a Disney movie. Oh you shoulda heard the room during the kissing parts haha. I love life as a missionary... it's the little things. After the movie and lunch we had a talent show. My district just sang a hymn, part in English part in Tagalog. So fast haha. The struggle was real. But there were some hilarious talents and so fun. Then we went in the chapel and the Reeders both shared wonderful Christmas messages. And ohhhh how the spirit was strong. We sang a ton of Christmas hymns and it was lovely!!! Christmas Conference is the happiest day of the year! Oh and I got a package from Kari Rich!!! SO many good snacks and toys for kids and so fun! Also, the pics of some of the 7th ward "babies". These kids are getting HUGE! SO crazy. I couldn't believe it. A year can do a lot to a person! And Catherine, my wonderful skuzin wrote me the sweetest note! Congrats to the Richmond fam's newest lawyer!!!! I've got some awesome cousins!

We were out of our area for a bit this week between exchanges and conference, but! We still had some quality lessons!!! And some where you just wanna strangle the people who still just will NOT read!!!! Just do it!!! sheesh! If anyone reading this doesn't read the B.O.M. every day, stop wasting your time reading this and open that thing up haha. It is our ROAD MAP back to Heavenly Father. I know we get closer to Him when we study His doctrine and the gospel of His son, Jesus Christ!

Oh such a cool thing! That guy I told you we found who was baptized at age 10 and hasn't been since. Now he's 19 and he came yesterday for the 3rd time and bishop talked with him and he will be getting the priesthood soon! He is so legit! Even gonna go later today to help the YSA set up for the Christmas party tomorrow! He's amazing!!! Makes it all worth it!!!!

We're also helping a recent convert and an investigator to kick their smoking addictions! They have made such progress this week!!!! So fun to see the CHANGE in people. Never stand still! Just gotta keep improving every day, every hour!!!!

Okay, well we are out of time but I'll Skype ya on Christmas! 12 noon!!!!!! CANT WAIT!

Merry Christmas!
xoxo, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. We watched FROZEN!
2. Christmas Conference!
3. Exchanges with Sister Naks
4. Got a letter from my recent convert Marez in Camaligan. She's so legit!
5. Referrals from the elders! hahah our boundaries are just not so clear so like 4 times we've accidentally crossed areas and tracked in theirs and them in ours! Great finding :0 JK, trying to figure out the lines! I think the river is the divider. No street names haha
6. 3 days till SKYPE!
7. Package from Kari. The kids love the flying pony toys!!!
8. This week is CHRISTMAS!
9. Finally just watched 'He is the Gift'
10. Quality people. Quality lessons. Quality times.

 Little piece of home!

 Welcome to the life of a white person in the Philippines! 
The ZLs getting photo attacked

 The best meal! Cannot wait to take you here mother and father!

 Exchanges with Sister Ngakuru!

 Train wreck of a talent

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jessica's Sixty First Email! December 14th, 2014


First thing is first. Bad news!!!! Mostly just a bummer with Emi and the fam but if you ask me, it's quite tragic! Chatting is now BAWAL!!!! Sooo, we can only send one email per person per week. This is one of those times when you just gotta trust the mission President because he is the best and obviously receives inspiration. And I really need the Lord's help to be a good missionary, so cheers to striving for exact obedience. This will be a test for sure hahah.

Other sad news... The mission Christmas party has been SPLIT!!! Most horrible thing you've heard in your life?! ya... me too. Mostly because I have tons of friends going home in January... from all over the world... and will never see them again! Breaks my heart so much. But again, can't complain against the Reeders because they are my life heroes. And on the bright side, our half of the mission conference is 3 zones and one of them is Labo. My girls Sister Moulton and Sister Campbell are in Labo so it won't be so bad I guess.

Has everyone watched the "HE is the Gift" video and shared it with friends and on Facebook?!?!? Hope so!!!! We actually haven't even watched it yet hahah. Tried at least 4 times but the internet just is so horrible and it hasn't loaded the last 4 weeks!!!! Hope it's good though!!!!! Share the gift!
Some other good news! Got a ton of mail complete with a letter from the 5-6 primary class in 7th ward. So sweet! Please send my love :)

This is quite an eventful week. Check this out... on Wednesday the 17th 4 of my best friends from BYU and fellow 22's come home from their missions! Welcome home Megan Bertha, Mary Lamphier, Anneliese Carter, and Hannah Scow!!! They all just keep on comin!!!!!! Also Daniel, Mary, Jess T, and Abby T all have their birthdays on the same day! So happy birthday! And Emi hits the big 1-9 on the 21st!!!! Enjoy all the celebrations everyone :)

Finals are going on so good luck to The Don and Casey and everyone up at the Y! I don't miss those!!!!!

The work!!!! The work was pretty good this week! We have 2 investigators who had baptismal dates, but they just are NOT keeping their commitments, so that will be pushed back. Invited another investigator to be baptized and he is pumped. He sat with us at church yesterday and I think he'll stay right on track.

We did a service project this week that was way random and kind of a waste of time. We went to a school, got fed and gave flip flops to little kids. But there were so many other volunteers. It was fun to see the kids get so excited though and throw their other flip flops with huge holes in the bottom right into the river! It was 2 wards of missionaries so there were like 12 of us maybe??

We went around and taught a bunch of members this week. Shared a Christmas message with them and asked who they could share the gift with. Told them to look the video up to really get pumped... even though like I said, we haven't been able to watch it! We ended up getting tons of referrals and we contacted most of them. Some real potentials!! Members are the way!!!!!

There is a girl from the ward who got back from her mission in Hawaii this week. Her name is Jessica. hahah so weird hearing my name like 100 times yesterday at church. She's great though and excited to work with us. AND! She brought 2 boxes of stuffing home with her. Said she'll have us over for stuffing. Score!

Not a super eventful week, (hence, no pics! Sorry mama) just lots of good lessons and miracles in the work!!!!!

I love being a missionary!!!!!! Especially at Christmas time. The church is true. The work is good. Only 10 days till Christmas! CANT WAIT TO TALK TO YOU!!!!!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Christmas Devotional last night
2. The area has totally clicked!!! Not a lost girl wandering around anymore!!!!!!
3. Sharing Christmas messages with members
4. Referrals!!!!!!
5. Zone training got me all pumped up to find!
6. Gonna go for a lunch date with Sister Moulton and Ronquillo right now at Shakeys!!! (PIZZA!!!)
7. Letter from Elder Pugmire in Guatemala and Sister Bertha in England! So fun
8. Sister Araja's aunt sent loads of kit katssssss
9. 10 days to Christmas!!!!!!
10. Service-ISH project

Monday, December 8, 2014

Jessica's Sixtieth Email! December 7th, 2014

Friends and family!!! Hello!!! What a week. To start, I do NOT love typhoons haha. As I think most of you know there was a super typhoon in the Philippines this last weekend. Our area of the Philippines wasn't really hit too bad. We were in lockdown for 48 hours in the church and we just got out a few hours ago, but so far I haven't seen much damage around Daet. We were very blessed!

So on like Thursday I think the Zone leaders texted that a typhoon was coming and to make sure the 72 hour kits and all of that were stocked. Then Friday they texted and said that Bicol region would be affected so we would be on lockdown starting at noon on Saturday. Well, since our apartment is only one story, that means we have to go to the church in case of flooding. Quite a hassle to be honest. So Friday I packed up most of my stuff just in case and put in in plastic up in the top of my closet. We weren't really expecting flooding, but better safe than sorry, right?! Friday we went out to work and everyone was telling us we needed to be inside and not walking around haha. They just don't know the life of a missionary. Even the slightest drizzle and they try to tell us to go home. Friday night Bishop and his fam had us 4 sisters over for dinner. Good food. Good company. Good time!
Saturday we did studies and stuff, then headed to the church at noon. I was literally hysterically laughing like a psycho person because it was the funniest sight. Like the sun was shining and here we were evacuating from our beautifully safe house. Bringing out jugs of water and loading the tricy up and stuff. We had a LOT of stuff. Food, books, clothes, just lots of stuff.

Saturday we just kinda set up camp in an empty bishop's office. Actually, bishop had a tent and we really were planning to set it up in the cultural hall! Camping at its finest. But we never got around to it. When we first got to the church they were having a meeting so there were lots of people. Eventually they were all leaving and this super kind sister in the ward was there and felt bad we would be all alone for the night since no other evacuaters came. So she and her granddaughter stayed with us. Such a sacrifice cause they didn't even have a change of clothes! So the 6 of us slept in the little room. Just had the little foam pad that they use for nursery aka... not sanitary. Luckily I brought my yoga mat! Woke up and got ready for church in the bathroom. We just had sacrament meeting and Sunday school but I was shocked at how many people showed up! They are in the middle of a typhoon and they just kept on comin!!!! Great meeting. Then we studied, got in a SUNDAY NAP!!!!! The life. Well, the sister who had stayed with us went home and bishop was leaving but he felt bad leaving us all alone so he made some arrangements! Had one of his counselors with a tricy go get a family who said they would stay with us. So nice of them! A mom, her two daughters and one of the daughter's husbands. The other one just got home from her mission and we spent the evening listening to her crazy mission stories!!!! And you all thought I was having crazy experiences; foreigners aren't even allowed in her mission! Anywayyyy, we were so blessed with so much love and support from ward members. Bishop did so much to make sure we were okay and cared for and everything. Even vacuumed for us and hooked it up with the aircon! This typhoon was a lot different than the last cause Glenda was SO crazy strong but only really lasted a few hours. This one wasn't as gnar but lasted like 2 days with really strong wind and rain. Could hardly even notice in the church though. This morning the family who stayed with us called their friend who is also our investigator and he came and got us in his pickup truck. We put all our stuff inside and sat in the bed of the truck. Pouring rain. So fun. Wish we got a pic. The rain was pelting my face and I'll admit I felt a little cold for a second. Felt like sitting on the ski lift! Which reminds me... how is Snowbird... will there be snow in April?!?!?

Anyway. Good week. We got to teach a lot in the beginning of the week so that was a huge blessing!!! I though a lot about Grandpa on December 6th. Can't believe it's been one year. I love that man so much!

Hope Sister Taylor, Katie Jett and Bailey all have wonderful birthdays!!!!! Dec 9 is such a party haha.  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! Thank you so much for the love and prayers!!!!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Kindness of Bishop and members during the evacuation
2. We had carolers at our apt last Monday!
3. Elders trippin at the pic of me, mom, and dad at Uncle Ray's wedding. Literally didn't believe mom was my mom. Thought I was the older sister hahaha. mama- you've got a fan club in Daet.
4. Cherry coke from Sister Deyro!!!!
5. Sweetest package from Sister Renfro! Personalized stationary :)
6. Dinner at Bishop's, love that family!
7. Dream come true.....
8. Safe from the Bagyo!
9. Got the house all organized again this morning!
10. Sister Rada's mission stories

Packed to evacuate

The homeless sisters