Monday, November 24, 2014

Jessica's Fifty Eighth Email! November 23, 2014

Ahhh l just got back from the best district activity ever!!! I think I say that every time, but this was just so lovely!!! We went down to the beach this morning and hung out! Then we played a game of like kickball. Kinda! We used coconuts as the bases and a flip flop as the ball, improvising! But way fun. Attempted some jumping shots, I hate to brag but... it's my specialty ;) Then we ate at this beach resort, Catherines! Pizza, too fun!

Anyway! Such a good week! A lot of people asked me last week how the weather has been, so here's the latest!!! The last few weeks have been super rainy, like at least a few hours a day it rains, and sometimes the sun doesn't come out. But don't be fooled, still super hot!!!! To be honest I think I like the summer better, ehh undecided. But trekin around muddy roads in a skirt isn't my ideal. But when it's the work of salvation, who really gives a hoot about the weather, right?!

Also dad asked about the kabahays! The other 2 we live with. Love them! We have such a good time and just laugh so much when we're all home at night! They both are wonderful cooks, so that's a plus as well! It's already week 5 of the transfer-- I'm in disbelief! It FLEW! So next week are transfers, but I'm hoping there are no transfers in our apartment. I love my 3 Filipinas haha. Heck, I'm prayin for no transfers in the whole district!

OH!!! Got my packages and mail!!!! I got both the packages from you mom!!! Thank you sooo much!!!!! Perfect! And just in time because I think this week is thanksgiving! So I'm gonna make the pumpkin spice cookies for district meeting on Thursday! Might not have pie, but thanks to you mother, we'll still be celebrating!!!! (my district is 7 Filipinos, 2 Americans, and a Canadian... but we'll get them all on board with the festivities!) Also! Got a package from Aunt Shelley!!!! Thank you so much! A wonderful festive Christmas pillow case and a cute little cosmetic bag! YOU ARE SO TALENTED!!! Can't wait for sewing parties with the aunties! Thank you!!!! I got a ton of letters!!! Mostly from some of my favorite sisters serving in the U.S.!!! I love my friends so much!!! haha the elders who had all the mail gave it to me at church and they were so bitter!!! "Sister Richmond!! You have 10 letters!!! We were holding them over the open flame of our stove and were so tempted to burn them!!!!" hahah funny guys! Thank you all so much for the love! Oh and Sister Carr wrote me! Said she's new in the ward! Please tell her thank you very much for me!!! :) So kind!
Birthdaysss! Happy birthday to my cousin Jesse Richmond!!! It's been so long since I've seen him!!!! Also JD!!!! And Jessica Frandsen!!! Hope you all enjoy your special days! :)

Okay, so we have an investigator who will be baptized this weekend!!! Yes! Her name is Julie Ann. She's 17 and is so wonderful! She had her interview this last weekend and is all set! She had some doubts, as most people do. But! We were able to bear some powerful testimony to her that this is what God wants for her! Because I know that is true! This is what God wants for every one of his children! To covenant with him through being baptized in His sons name! It was the strongest I've felt the spirit in a long time. She had tears in her eyes and was fired up again to continue with the baptism! It's moments like that when it all pays off!

Hey! Have you all seen the directory thing on!? It is so legit! Pictures and all! I was looking through the 7th ward directory because I am not so much in the loop these days with callings and such! So many cute new couples in the ward! So fun!!!! Also! While Julie Ann was being interviewed we were indexing and working on family history!!! Have you all even logged on to family search? Cause according to that I am an only child!!! Also Grandma is so legit! Our tree goes back like 30 generations, we're talking pre-1000's!!!! So you should link up to me so I'm not all alone on there siblings!!! Thanks!!!

Hmm what else! Oh yes! Taught this guy. Born here, then moved to OXNARD of all places!!! Got a good laugh outta that one. Mother's home town. Gets me every time. So weird talking to him in English!!! I say some super awkward things when I try to small talk in English! Funny guy though, less active! We'll get him coming back! Also fun fact... he brought his 7 cats from the U.S. over with him.

Well, we are just about out of time so I will share with you all a scripture I read this week during my personal study!!!!! Mosiah 23:9 "...and I myself was caught in a snare and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance." Sometimes people think ahh I'll just repent later! Not so easy!!!! I love that he used the word sore. For me I picture nails on a chalkboard somewhere in the equation. We need to strive to be worthy and not justify our sins! Just a thought! :) Also in general I just love this part of the Book of Mormon when the stories of Limhi, Alma, and Ammon all end back up in Zarahemla with Mosiah! Must have been such a happy reunion!!!!

Well, before I get off let me just tell everyone maybe the best news I have ever received in my whole entire life!!!!! My sister has now told people so I can inform you that MY BEAUTIFUL SISTER AND HER HUSBAND ARE HAVING A BABY!!!!!!! Yepppp, I will be auntie Jess. Wish you all could've seen how happy I was the day I received that email a month ago. I kid you not, I cried! And the best part, I will be home!!! So if I seem especially giddy these days, just thinking of that cutie orange sized baby chillin in Christie's stomach :) 
On that note I hope you all have a lovely week and do what you can to save a soul!!!! 
Lots of Love,

Aunt Jess... I mean Sister Richmond!!!

Top 10
1. District activity this morning at bagasbas beach!
2. Packages and letters this week!
3. 7-11 hot dogs. I know, I used to get mad when the boys ate it in the car cause it made me sick. Well, now it's like a beautiful bite of the 4th of July!
4. Got some indexing in this week! I <3 family history!
5. Someone said I look like Brooke Shields this week for like the 20th time on my mission. Who is this chick?!
6. Made cheesy eggs for dinner! yep! SM has got that real cheese.
7. 1/2 day mission yesterday! We were in the group with bishop and his family!
8. We had a scheduled dinner apt. this week!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jessica's Fifty Seventh Email! November 16, 2014

Not a very eventful week. But it was wonderful as always. Full of progress for a ton of our investigators, nothing better!!!! We have this recent convert who was baptized a few months before I got here, Jasper. He's like late 20's. So he has this cousin, Brian, and he just moved in with him. He's like early 30's. So we decided to teach Brian. He was super open to us coming by and we've been able to teach him a few times. A few days ago we went by and Jasper's mom was gone so we couldn't teach. We decided to run over to Bishop's and see if we could teach there. They said of course because they are the BEST family. So we went and grabbed Jasper and Brian and headed back over. Bishop and the whole family sat in and just bore such strong testimony. As we were teaching I realized that's where the sisters taught Jasper all the lessons, right there at Bishop's house. Now it's just gone full circle and he's back in the same chair, but this time he's one of the ones testifying and teaching and ahhh. So cool, right?! Here we've got this recent convert just so pumped to help others find the joy of the gospel. We've got an active member who opened up their home to be a friend to this guy on his search for happiness. We've got the cutest baby ever sitting there, actually very unrelated actually, but cute babies just make every situation that much better! SO pretty much it was just such the ideal setup. We were able to share a strong message about the Book of Mormon and what a blessing it can be in his life! MEMBERS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. I hope you don't ever forget that!

We also had a lot of progress with the lady who I told you about last week. The one who isn't married to her husband, well technically boyfriend I guess?? haha just feels weird saying bf when there's 4 kids in the mix, but yes! That couple. We went over and just got everyone all rallied up and pumped for a wedding, and a baptism!!! They have 2 kids over 8 also, so they were so excited and said they will help get the wedding on the way. The little 8 year old girl said "excited na excited talaga ako na mabinyagan!" It was precious! So we were able to set goal dates with them for both the wedding and the baptism!

I told you the bishop here is incredible, right?! So hardworking!!!! He went with us to one of our lessons this week to a pretty eternal investigator, Randy. His wife is a member and he's gotten close to baptism many times. We decided to just be bold and really see what his concerns are. In the grand scheme of things, they were very minor. So we were able to clear those up and get him on date for baptism.

Like I said, lots of progression this week! Heavenly Father is just blessing us left and right. We're gonna get our teaching pool hoppin by Christmas!!!! Can't wait. This area is amazing.

Yesterday we had a cool experience to go to a group out in Basud. It's under our ward so we switch off going out there as support to the group. SO few people go, it's crazy! So we went out with the district leader, they're the ones over the group, and they were like, oh Sister Richmond, you're speaking haha. classic. So we were able to meet some of the members out there. There's only maybe 15 of them who attend and they just have sacrament meeting in the barangay hall, so like the rec center at home. But it was neat to see and really made me grateful for the 7th ward back home. Sometimes I just don't realize how blessed I am!!!!

Oh! Another fun thing! Our apartment is under construction!!! Too bad these pics aren't working today, I guess you'll see next week. But it's hilarious. Two of our door frames were destroyed by termites... so they had to rip out the cement and it's been quite the ordeal. They did it while we were doing weekly planning, struggle to focus hahah. And we had to talk to president to make sure it was fine and it's been crazy! Oh, and the best part... we haven't had a front door since Friday! haha we have a gnarly gate so it's impossible to get inside but it's still weird just having it so open. Been spraying tons of bug repellent before bed. I think we'll have a door tomorrow though, fingers crossed.

Well, I love you all tons!!!! Sounds like you all are doing legit things with your lives... keep up the good work! Studied a lot this week about the importance of work. It's a commandment. We can never allow ourselves to become idle! Talk about a guilt trip for all the wasted hours last summer on army wives!!!! hahah. Keep killin it!

Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Daniel and Christie's Halloween costume. I was dyingggggg. That pic is on my wall!
2. Met this Indian lady while tracting. We couldn't really talk to her cause she hardly knows English or Tagalog. She's been here for 4 years!!! Made me really appreciate the gift of tongues!
3. Met the weirdest guy. Chased us down to ask about God. Then part way through the convo said he was a Mormon missionary too. We were like uhhh where's your comp and name tag, I don't think so! So then after much questioning he admitted he just wanted our number. Said we couldn't give it but would give his to the sisters in his area. He said "so you're not looking for love" uhhh. strange people.
4. Safe even without our front door!
5. Extended some baptismal dates this week! It's go timeeee
6. Got to visit 2 members in the hospital this week
7. Learned how to clean out fish this morning! We got back from the wet market (cannot wait to take you there mother. you will DIE) and I pulled all the guts out of our fish! hardly even gagged
8. Sitting in this shop with a good handful of my favorite missionaries
9. Lindsey's airport pics!!!!! Enjoyed <3
10.   Why is number 10 always so hard to think of?! It's been a good week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Jessica's FIfty Sixth Email! November 9, 2014

Sounds like the fam all had a fun weekend home! Thanks for the pics and everything! We had a good week here as well! I was sick... like every sickness all in one haha but at least I just got it all outta the way so I should be healthy for the rest of the mission now...I think that's how it works, right?! We were still able to work though and had some great lessons! Oh my! Except for al...!!!! HEARTBREAK! He was on track for baptism, excited to go on a mission, the whole shibang! He dropped us! Had a chat with some of his Catholic leaders and... well don't wanna be rude so let's just say they changed his mind about the whole thing. (**brainwashed**) SO that was hard. We tried everything. Asked questions to respark his interest. Prayed with him about it, and so much more. But he was set.

I guess I haven't told you much about my companion actually, so here's a little about her... Sister Araja. She's from Manila. She'll be 20 in like 2 weeks. She's been in the mission for about 8 months. Her favorite color is purple haha. Not sure what info you'd wanna know but she's great and I love her! We get along so well. We are halfway through the transfer and haven't had even the slightest misunderstanding or anything. She's great!

Also a little more about Daet. I told you it's packed full of less actives, right?! SO many! But the ward is SO strong! Especially the bishop. SO involved in the work and works with all the sets of missionaries. He has the greatest family. His baby looks like a Filipino Cali Rich! Miss that girl! People here speak Tagalog!! It's awesome! No more mix of Bicol and not knowing if I'm just way worse at Tagalog than I thought or if people are speaking Bicol. Love it! Our area is super huge! Like a ton of barangays and so far, so it's taking me wayyy longer to learn the area than the last 2. But we're gettin there! Basically, I love it here.

Okay, super embarrassing story... (Not sure how public that blog thing is where you put my letters home... so anyone reading this just don't judge me haha) So we were leaving a less active's house and it was super dark. I stepped out and I SWEAR I saw a snake. So I ran back in the house yelling "ahhh may ahas, may ahas" There's a snake! Well Sister Araja goes out for a peek and comes back in laughing sooo hard. So I peeked out the door and... well it was a stream of water with some soap glistening in it moving JUST the way I think a snake would. I was pretty embarrassed when all the little kids were laughing at me hahah, but we had a good laugh andddd in a moment of panic I yelled in Tagalog so that was exciting. But... the snake incidents for the week did NOT end there!

We had exchanges this week with the STL's (Sister Training Leaders) and it was an ADVENTURE. Craziest 24 hours of my mission haha. I was with Sister Rosenberg from Australia and Sister Araja was with Sister Naks from New Zealand. SO fun. SO we went over Friday night and were just waiting for them to get home. So I'm calmly just writing in my journal when we hear SCREAMING. Then they came in with the other 2 sisters who live with them. One of the other sisters had cut her heel open and it was SO deep and horrible. Blood everywhere. So they were trying to clean it up but it was bad, so they called Sister Reeder and she said for us to take them to our bishop's house because his wife is a nurse and the other sisters didn't know where he lives. SO sister Araja went with the inured sister and her comp to bishops and I went to the pharmacy with the STL's... at like 11 at night. Too exciting roaming the streets past curfew haha. And like we had permission, so don't worry! So we went to bishop's, she got all fixed up, and we got home and to bed around midnight. Then up at 6 for their district service project. And.. just to make the day more exciting my voice was gone... like literally couldn't talk, had to whisper the whole day! It was soooo fun, and felt more like a hike than service cause it was soooo far in the mountains where we had to go. We cleared a field for these recent converts to plant their pineapples. But the hike was amazing to get there. Super muddy little trail and then we ended right by this river where the lady picked some fresh pineapple and cut it up for us. Dad, it was delicious! Reminded me of cutting up the pineapple with you for Sunday dinners! The best! we were just finishing up cleaning the field, the elders spotted a huge python! They caught it in this hole with sticks and knives and it was INTENSE. But they got it and skinned it to take home and they said they were gonna cook it up. Gross haha. But after the snake adventure, the member cooked us lunch... right out there in the middle of NOWHERE with a little pile of wood and a fire. And then we ate it along the rocks in the river. SO perfect I can't even explain and the pics just don't do justice! We did our companion study on the rocks while we waited for lunch to cook. Such a neat morning. Then we headed back and I just got to know Sister Rosenberg SO well. So many cool stories and we just talked the whole hike. She is so strong and loves the gospel so much. When we headed out for work we had to take this horse carriage thing to get there and the roads were sooo bumpy, but still neat. I always see them but haven't been on one yet. I still couldn't talk... so she did most of the teaching except when I would testify and scream as loud as I could... which sounded like a horrible alien mouse. But it was great. Learned lots from her as I always do on exchanges.

I was supposed to give a talk yesterday, but I just got my voice back this morning... so my companion is the best and she gave one instead hahah. Last minute, I owe her! K well this is wayyy longer than  meant for it to be, just had so much fun on exchanges haha.

I love you all! Got mail this week! Thanks for the letter Brandon!!! SO cute and sweet and he did it all on his own! You would be proud mom. Also got tons from my favorite missionaries, so thank you all so much!!!! WELCOME HOME LINDSEY!!!!!! Can't believe the first of my best friends is home... they're all just gonna start coming home in no time!!!!! Sister Heap is amazing, you all are lucky to have her back!!!! Enjoy the beach Linds :)
Love you all, have a wonderful week! Safe travels back to Utah boys!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Service project on exchanges
2. "Night on the town" on exchanges
3. Wrote all my recent converts this week for language study!
4. My voice is back! And I have a great comp who picked up the slack when it was gone!
5. Zone training. SUCH a strong spirit. So motivating to just get out and work harder than ever
6. Mail from my faves
7. A 75 year old lady worked with us this week! That's what I call enduring to the end!
8. The "BFF" club newsletter last week was the BEST! SO fun to hear all the updates on the family. And my grandma does water aerobics and is the COOLEST grandma in the world!
9. Last p-day we went to the SM here. Such good American food! Got some apple sauce!
10. We have a less active guy in our area and his wife is an investigator but he just won't marry her even though they've been together like 12 years and have 4 kids! We taught how important it is and then he said he doesn't have a ring or anything. So I found the fake diamond ring I had forgotten in my bag that a past investigator gave me and he proposed right then hahahaha. And their whole fam was at church yesterday!

 The elders did the 3 mnute challenge

 The place I thought I saw the snake hahha

 The legend

My old comp, Sister Ril and the American she is training! Zone training

 My OBSESSION!!!! Siomai!!!!!!

 I'd tell you how often I eat it... but it's quite shameful!

 That's us in the top right.  
Health book our less active made full of random pics hahahah

 And here is him fortune telling our lives. It was a HARD lesson!

 11 pm on the streets

 Sister Rosenberg

 My compppp


 Comp study

 Lunch on the rocks

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jessica's Fifty Fifth Email! November 3rd, 2014

Hello! And happy p-day :) It was a pretty good week here in DAET! We worked hard and saw MIRACLES. Oh! But first off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TJ AND HANNA!!!! Hope you two enjoy your birthdayssss!!!! Okay, so Monday night during personal study I was reading in Jacob, and I read this verse and it just hit me! The Lord is working WITH us. We are not working for Him, but WITH him. It was powerful and I realized I am so grateful to be a part of this work. A year and a half with Jesus Christ's name on my chest, such a great privilege. It was Jacob 5:72 "And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things."

This week rained, a lot, every day. It's raining right now... again. Haha I realized I do not love the rain when I am a missionary in the Philippines walking around dirt roads and trying to teach with rain pounding on metal roofs so loudly that it's impossible to hear the people. We pray for clouds. Not the sun, not the rain, just some clouds would be nice :) But yesterday I don't think it rained at all which was a nice break for sure! It's just a real struggle cause nobody wants to let you in when it's raining. Not sure why, but that's how it is.

The work was also a little harder this week because of All Saints Day. They don't really celebrate Halloween here, but Nov. 1 is All Saints Day. You honor everyone who has died. So people go and like sleep at the grave yard and party and it's crazy haha. So we had early curfew on the 1st. Other than the rain and holiday though, we had some powerful lessons! We have soooo many less actives here that sometimes when we are tracting, our potential investigators end up being less actives! But It's fun and we are really trying to get some of them back to church.

We have some really great investigators though. Julie Ann and Alje are both working towards baptism. There are some hard things they need to get through though, like Alje's work! He just started a new job and it's heartbreaking! He was progressing so well but then he works 8-8 every day now. No day off. So it's impossible to teach him :( We'll get him there!

There is also a recent convert who is amazing! He goes by boy. So hilarious. He works here so his fam is in a different place but he is excited to go visit them and teach them all he's learned about the gospel! He alwayssss gives us Milo (like hot choc stuff) and a snack when we are there. Such a neat guy. 

OH! Okay, I cut my heel open. So painful haha. Here's the quick version of what happened! There was a cat that kept getting into our trash on our front porch and so I had to keep brushing him out with the broom. Well I had enough haha. So I grabbed the poison spray we have for insects and rodents that is superrr gnarly and I sprayed him and the food in the trash in hopes that.. well I think you know. And as I was walking back in, the screen door slammed so hard on my heel and the metal sliced it right open. Luckily I have been blessed with another comp in the nursing major, so she got some gauze on it and I'm on the recovery! But I'm wearing flip flops at the moment (got permission from Sister Reeder) and it is sooo weird. Forgot how much I love flip flops! :)

I'm sure I'm missing tons, but it's too hot to think right now haha. It was a lovely week! OH!  I remember!!! Just some fast Sunday miracles! I fasted for a few different things yesterday that are VERY important to me. Today within 2 minutes of logging in I got emails from 3 people I fasted for and they all mentioned things that were EXACTLY what I was fasting for. It was such a neat thing to see how directly and quickly God can answer our prayers if that is His will and His timing. We just have to show the faith!!!! So have a wonderful week, and keep the faith!

Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Convinced my comp to walk this week.. a lot. Filipinos like to take triceys and padyaks, but sometimes the weather is just so nice (ish) and it just feels sacrilegious to not take advantage of the blessings!
2. I tried a hard boiled egg for the first time... not bad.
3. AND! A hamburger at this cute American-ish diner place. (Keep in mind I ordered this by choice! It had lettuce, tomatoes, AND onions! Loved it all so much. Never going back to ketchup only! :)
4. Had FHE and taught the kids how to play duck, duck, goose
5. Found a FAMILY! We've only taught them once, but oh the potential is so evident!
6. Now that I hit a year I sometimes go back and read my journal entries from 1 year ago. It's so entertaining. Such amazing experiences... and they were still in the MTC days!
7. Special area broadcast last night. Elder Oaks is in Manila!
8. Wearing Flip Flops. Like I said kinda weird, and it's cause my foot is hurt... so ups and downs??
9. One day this week without rain!
10. There is a 7-11 next door to the shop we email. Can you say Slurpeeeeee time?!?! :)

 Making their dinner

 THE DON!!!!! I got so excited, thought it said Brandon


We ran in the grocery store on Oct. 31 and they had HALLOWEEN cupcakes! 
I was in heavennnn

I really ate that burger. Shocked?? Me too

Complete with an American flag

 The FUNNIEST guy. Kept takin selfies with us

 Bishop on his birthdayyyy

 Accidentally kinda matching

Caring to my wound hahaha