Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Unexpected Transfer.

August 10, 2009

Dear Folks,
Thanks for the news, I'm glad you had a good vacation. By the way, way to
go to get your job back Mom!
If I don´t answer every question in my emails, it´s because I´m kinda busy and
focused here.
The news for this week: There´s news!
We´ve had some more lessons with the Arisa family, and we all get along great. they feel great about the message and are willing to change, all they really need to do now is stop smoking(and they already know that they´re going to) and they can get baptized. We already talked about it and they´re all stoked.
Also, we´ve found another family, Israel and his son, Juan David. They´re both great too and we just need to visit them some more before they can get baptized too! We ended this week with six investigators attending church this Sunday. That´s higher than it´s ever been in all my time here. The class for those who are investigating was full this week with our investigators and those from the other elders in the ward. I was so excited!
So, with all this success, I thought I might be leaving with transfers this week.
Usually we find out Monday night if we leave or not, but we got the phonecall last night. We put it on loudspeaker so we both could hear.
"Elders" our Zone Leader said, "You two will close Tierra Linda II this next week. You will continue to be companions and will open up Alhambra II." He was trying to be official, but at the last part I think he was trying to excite us. He failed. Now those baptisms we worked so hard to get go to two other Elders who can barely work because they are having personality conflicts.
Alhambra is the ward right next to ours. I move 25 blocks this week to another house. Alhambra has only managed to baptize before because they had a huge area. But now that´s gone, and we have to start from scratch. No investigators, and we know absolutely none of the members. So I was pretty shocked last night that after how hard we worked, and how far we´ve come, that they´ll finally close our area.
And so it goes.

I´m sending some photos of our area, but I think more of them are of Monserrate.
It´s a big catholic church built up on a mountain at the edge of the city, so we took plenty of pictures. My companion and I went with Elder Miles(he got here the same time I did) and Elder D'avalos.

That´s all for this week. Write ya later.
Elder Rickords

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3, 2009

Dear Folks,
Life here is good, as always. This week we had another lesson with the Arisa Family, and they're about all of our hope right now. They´re a great family that already has fellowshippers. It´s kinda of funny how we found them. Their dog is sick, so one of their neighbors invited us over to their house to pray for the dog, so we did, and we also got their information and a return appointment. They understand everything pretty well, but they need to come to church! We have another appointment with them tommorrow so we´ll see how that turns out.
We´ve been working a lot with the members, and I can really see a difference in them from the time I started here. A lot of them like having us over, and some of them like introducing us to their friends. Like I said, there´s been a lot of improvement, but there´s still a long way to go. My companion said to me after planning one night that he thinks they´ll close down the area pretty soon, he just hopes it´s after they take both of us out so we won´t feel like it´s our fault.
Transfers are next week, and since this is my third cambio here we´re pretty sure
I'll leave. But there is a chance I´ll stay for another month and a half. I´ll know
for sure next monday night.
Not much news for this week. Just working and studying and working some more. I wore a hole in one of my socks already, even though I have nothing to show for it.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rickords

PS Thanks for the package, my comp really enjoyed it.
July 25th, 2009

Dear Folks,
Thank you for the letters, they´ve really helped me. Not just this week, but every time I get a letter I feel more motivated and still want to work. So thanks for it all.
Well, this week the last of the Seventy left our area. The new headquarters of the new area will be in Peru. It was fun while it lasted, getting to hear some of the seventy talk in church a few times and getting to shake their hands when they came in. Sometimes they´d share something in one of our classes, which was also pretty cool. But now they´re all gone, which is sad. Oh well, I´ve seen a drastic improvement in our relationship with the members in my time here working with them. They seem to like the missionaries more than when I first arrived here. I hope we have done some good for them. This last week we had a few Family Home Evenings with members and non-members. We have a few new investigators that we´re pretty excited about, so we´ll see what happens.
Spanish is coming along great. I can get most of what they´re saying and they tell me I talk a lot more now. I´m making friends with some of the members, and I think they're pretty cool.
We had a baptism of 5 people the other day in the ward(the other side of course). It was a great service. A whole family. It started with the son who was baptized a month ago. Now even the aunts and cousins are solid investigators as well. They are a great family and I was happy to see them all so happy. They love the chuch and love that they have the gospel in their lives. I can´t wait till I see someone I´m closer too get that excited about it. Someday I´m sure I'll get to see it.
We played futbol today with some of the other Elders because the ban on sports has been repealed. They passed the ball to me and I actually made a few goals. Guess those YMCA programs were good for something Mom. I´m still going to talk to my comp about practicing some moves in the mornings because he has played futbol a lot.
Well how is everyone there. I want nearly weekly letters from my siblings to help me keep up with the young people. Also, I want news from Grandma and Grandpa every week, even if it is kinda short. Please give them an update about my letters every week as well.
Could you please send me the recipe for no-bake cookies and the oatmeal cookies as well. We wanted to try and make them for the Family Home Evenings we are doing.
Sincerely,
Elder Rickords

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 13, 2009

Dear Folks,
Sorry I forgot to tell you about the fotos. The one of me with the buidings is a great view of Bogotá. I don´t know if you can see the city very well, but when we´re up there at about 6 in the afternoon and the sun´s setting and the clouds are just right, it´s amazing! But that´s up in the hills where the people are sometimes pretty poor, it is sad to see. I'll try to send the fotos with something to explain them next time.
We still sing at every appointment we have with a member. My comp says we sound good, but I´m still not too sure.
Well, nothing happened this week, just more contacting, studying, teaching, and
working. I don´t know what to write, so please put in some more questions next time.
Me and my comp are good buddies. We talk a lot now and I think my spanish is
getting better. I still have a really thick accent, but I´m working on that.
We use the seminary videos a lot in our lessons. They´re even better in spanish. And yes, we quote them a lot.
Love ya all.
Til next week,
Elder Rickords

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 6, 2009
Dear Folks,
The address is correct. I have recieved a package, but I don´t know who it´s from
since the office Elders haven't picked it up from the mail office yet.
How is beautiful Burbank? How are all the wonderful people?
This week´s news: The mission is now being led by President Hacking, who took over this Tuesday. He´s from Utah, but served a mission in Argentina and has spent a good part of his life living in LatinoAmerica.
We had a meeting with him this Wednesday, where he and his wife introduced themselves. They´re both great and we´re all sure they will do a great job. He says we won´t change anything in the mission, but we´ll see about that in six months.
About my spanish, I don´t know why, but for some reason I feel more confident about it now, so I talk more and am making more connections with the people here. They started telling me this week how much better I have become. And this Sunday Elder Pino (of the seventy) told me I speak really good spanish for only 3 months.
As for the area, we have now made a new plan to win the hearts of the members, it
includes pan, dulces, and Noches de Hogar that will be nothing short of fantastico. We will also sing a hymn at all our lunch appointments( it was my comp´s idea, not mine). We also plan on crying if they don´t give us a reference, which was what the President told us to do. We may also start over on the door knocking, but my Argentino buddy doesn´t like the sound of that since it doesn´t work. But then again, nothing does work here anyway. I should know, I have personally seen every door knocked and every member visited.
Elder Acua±a and I are getting along great. We talk and joke, and it´s just great that he´s out of the hopeless stage I´ve seen the others gone through and is now in the happy and fun but still tragically hopeless phase necessary in this place. I think now that I know why my first comp was the way he was. He knew the area was ridiculously hard. But my current comp isn´t that way, and we´re best of buds just talking and drinking the maté.
Well, I'm sorry if my letters sound discouraging. I'm really working hard to feel the spirit and keep going. The Church is true and I'm holding on to that!That´s all for this week. Fotos should be coming soon.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rickords

PS What else do you all want to know?
June 29, 2009
Dear folks,
I thought you didn´t write me this week because it didn´t show up on the the screen for 20minutes, so this has to be short.
When I said my comp was good at everything, I meant it. He sings, plays piano, guitar,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and some other sports I don´t even know about. Yeah, this cambio(which is going to be more than 2 months) is gonna be a blast. We played basketball this morning, in the park, with people watching. yay...
His dad is a radio anouncer and is well known. My comp also cooks and teaches well, and makes jokes.
We´ll start knocking every door in our area again this week. We´ve ditched most of our investigators because they won´t come to church. They say they will, but they won´t.
We had our last interviews with President Camargo the other day. He started mine by saying "Elder Rickords, everyone in your group now has 7 or 8 baptisms, and you have none. But don´t worry about it. When you get transferred you´ll baptize like crazy. What the Lord is doing with you now is testing you and improving you like Joseph Smith." The interview ended with him saying "If you do everything you can and you still don´t baptize anyone, you´ll be fine." Sometimes it is hard because I feel like all have lost hope here. Nothing else to say. No improvement in my situation. I feel like I'm having to fight hard to keep any hope.

Sincerely,
Elder Rickords

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June 22, 2009
Dear Folks,
¡No tengo fotos! Tal vez la proxima semana. Estoy tratando para encontrar algunos,
pero es bien dificil en mi area.
Elder Drain left this last Thursday, and now I´m with Elder Acu±a. He´s from
Argentina and is pretty talented at pretty much everything. I think we´ll do pretty
well in the area, at least with numbers. He´s my third comp in two and a half months,but I´m getting the hang of this whole teaching people in spanish thing. However, there´s still a lot of room to improve.
I didn´t get any packages this week, just one other letter. It was the one from you with the talks for the plane ride. They were nice to read though.
Well, not much more to talk about. We´ve had a bunch of appointments with
investigators that aren´t progresing.
Don´t worry. We´re working hard here. The problem is that we need moth
investigators and instead all we have are cockroaches. (It depends on what they do with light)

Hasta luego,
Elder Rickords

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 15, 2009

Dear Folks,

Thanks for the questions, I’ll try to answer some of them. Well, about my life, the weather is fine. For a while it was sunnier than usual for this time of year but now it´s been raining a lot. It´s also pretty cool, so we wear our suits everyday. In the mornings and at night it gets pretty cold, but we stay pretty warm with walking and our sweaters if we´re just studying in the house.
The members feed us, for lunch aand we really appreciate it. Since food is so expensive here, that´s pretty much the only meal we get except for breakfast, which we make ourselves. Nothing new with the food, it´s pretty much normal Colombian, rice, beans, and meat with juice. I´m accustomed to it now, so there´s nothing that we eat here that really bugs me.
Cambios this week, which means Elder Drain leaves this Thursday, but I leave him on Wednesday at the office. My new companion is from Argentina. I hear he´s pretty cool and everyone I talked to likes him.
The Area Presidency has two new members, so two of them already left this area for their vacations before taking up their new assignments. The new Mission President takes over this next month, but the old one will live somewhere in the mission because he´s from here.
We walk a lot, sometimes we take the busses, but mostly we walk. We walk a lot.
I´ll try to get some pictures for next week, but there´s not much to take pictures of here.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rickords

PS Tell dad and Grandpa happy Father´s Day. I love them both and miss them. Tell Dad I work hard, follow the rules and do everything he taught me to. And tell them I love it here.


June 8, 2009

Dear Folks,

No I don´t have any pictures, but maybe in two weeks. Glad to hear that life is good. Hope you´re all enjoying this wonderful time of year.
Well, about me, we´ve now knocked every door in our area, and have found a few more people who might be interested, but they're not always consistent in keeping apppointments, which leaves us wasting more time. However, we will work hard until... forever. It looks like I´ll stay here for the next transfer, yay.
I feel kinda bad for Elder Drain. He said to me the other day “I kept trying to figure out why I was sent here for my last cambio. First I thought maybe I was here to baptize someone, then I thought maybe I should get things ready for the next transfer, but that´s not it...” So he´s pretty sure his purpose here is to train me, which is great since he was a Zone Leader and is very well known in the mission. So he keeps telling me things as we walk, and we practice teaching and speaking more than I ever have in the mission. I´m learning lots and only hope I´ll be able to remember it all, which is why I write it down. Anyways, next cambio I´ll be ready for almost anything.
About my area, we´ve lost contact with our golden investigator because he´s always “too busy”. He doesn´t return any of our calls and didn´t come to church this week. However, one of our investigators did come, which made us really happy. She said she would, but the night before she was having doubts. We have a few more investigators, but they are investigadores eternos, because they always come to Church but have issues that are keeping them from baptism. They´ve been coming for almost a year now, and we´ve really been pushing them to progress.
So I´ve been here for two months now, so I can understand most of what they say and can have a conversation with any one of them. However, most of the members in the ward keep telling us that we shouldn´t be dissappointed if our numbers aren´t very high. That´s a big problem, because if everybody expects very little of us it´s hard to get the members excited.
Well, that´s about it. I know why no one wants to get transferred here, but we make tons of contacts and this last week of the cambio is gonna be great.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rickords



June 1, 2009

Dear Folks,

Elder Alvarado has been transferred, and now I have a new gringo companion. He´s Elder Drain from Arizona. This is his last cambio, only my second, and it´s in the hardest, lowest baptizing area in the mission. I feel kind of bad about it, but he´s cool, but kinda quiet and a lot thinner than me. The apartment was kinda quite, but now we´ve started talking. Sometimes I find it hard to be me in conversation because I can only talk with a personality in english. But I´m learning lots from Elder Drain and I hope he can enjoy his last cambio.
So after this cambio half my district will be wiped out again, probably me too. My district has now become the place where the dying go to die, since three end their missions this transfer.
Now that my comp works we do 20 street contacts a day, but rarely get invited in. When we do, the people never let us in for another appointment. We had a special fast for one of our investigators who needs to find a job so he can leave his girlfriend. He´s been an investigator for almost half a year now but can´t be baptized because he lives with his girlfriend. Also, we have one bright ray of hope in a reference who is extremely interested in the church, but is very busy with work so we haven´t been abe to visit him yet. He´s our best bet for baptism.
So now we´re going around to all the members to get them excited and to ask for references. The members in our area are great people but not very excited about missionary work. We'll keep working on it. Also, I´ll be helping now with those English classes, and we're planning on using the Gospel for that. We´ll start with a hymn and our reading mterial will be the Liahona. Any suggestions on how to teach them all english?
I got my first letters from other people this week. Tell JJ I say hi, Paige too. It sounds like my blog needs updating, from what I hear. Also, tell everyone to use DearElder since it´s a lot cheaper than sending letters through the mail, I think. But if they do send mail, I think they have to send it to the office.
Well that´s about all for now.

Lots of love.
Elder Rickords

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 18, 2009

Sorry, no pictures this week. But I´m going to try to get some for next week.

Well, my week has been fine, as always, and this week is the end of my first transfer in the field. Yesterday Elder Barnard, who has 7 months out here, was called to be the assistant. Very unusual for them to be so young. I got to talk to him as he left, he said he doesn´t know why they would pick him (which is probably the reason) and he looked very shocked. He´ll be great though. He´s a great missionary. He kept saying There´s so many other elders who know more than me. I was under the impression that being the assistant didn´t necessarily mean you knew the most. If so,I should probably stop studying so hard in the mornings...
He also told me that my comp is gone this transfer, never to return to Tierra Linda. I don´t know who my next comp is, but I hope he works hard. So in our ward we will have my new comp, the new peruvian of last week, the retired assistant, and little old me,feeling kinda lonely that my district just got wiped out. This also means I´m the only one who knows the ward and the area. I want to learn a lot this transfer, so I´ve set some goals and want to stick with them.

This week with another elder, I went contacting(like we´re supposed to every day). We made a lot of contacts, and one lady told us we could come in! We taught part of the first lesson, and she told us we could come back. However, on the day of our return appointment, my companion decided that we needed to do other stuff that should have been taken care of earlier by other Elders in our District (get their baptismal clothing etc, and this was 3 hours before the baptism!). So we still haven´t visited her. I feel terrible about it, but I really can´t do anything about it. This too shall pass...

Well, at the end of my first transfer, it loks like I need to take a lot more pictures! I have a bunch, but there´s not much to take pictures of in my area. I´ll try harder this time. Also, all my clothing is fine and still looks new, and people like my ties! Son chevres!

The new Peruano is a little different, he's Elder Mullisaca. He seems to like me though. I haven´t figured out why. He won´t talk much about it, but he spent a lot of his life before the mission in a mine, by himself. He´s also the only member in his family, and he uses the freeby scriptures we hand out as his own. I think I´m gonna buy him a nice Libro de Morm³n before the end of this transfer. I like him, he's a good guy.

Spanish is great, I can understand better than ever. I think it has a lot to do with how for the last few days I told my comp we were going to study spanish and not shop for cookies, and he let me! I think it helps that I try to be nice to him and give little acts of service throughout the day(iron his shirt, make his bed, etc.).

I hope there´s more for next week. I hope P'day i better next week too. Without a
gringo buddy it was pretty boring and lonely without someone to talk to. The other two just sleep, Mullisaca y Alvarado, just slept all day.

Con mucho amor,
Elder Rickords

PS where are those letters from other people? And, most importantly, where are those packages! Tranguila, tranquila, it doesn´t really matter to me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 3, 2009
Dear Family,
Thank you for the letters, please feel free to tell me everything in the e'mail. My comp always takes more time than me anyway, so it would be fine to tell me more.
Besides, any letters or DearElders will take a month to get here!
Sorry to hear about your job Mom. What will you do now? Can you find another one, or is the economy too bad? Don´t worry, I know you´re a great teacher and the school will be at a great loss without you.
Well, we´ve been trying to preach here in Bogota. Our one invetigator with a baptismal date won´t return any calls and won´t find a time for more of the lessons, so that´s discouraging. We´ve done some more contacts in the streets, but they´re not really receptive to the gospel and usually give us fake addresses.
The last few days I´ve been pretty sick. I had a bad stomach ache and headache, had a fever, and felt weak when we were walking. Sister Camargop thinks I have an infection of the stomach. I guess it happens sometimes when food isn´t prepared properly. So I slept for most of yesterday, and I haven´t had anything except juice and saltines since yesterday. I hope tommorrow I´ll be normal again.
It doesn´t look like we´ll do transfers this month. I´m grateful, since that would put me with Elders from my group. Two white kids walking down the street without knowing any spanish!
But actually, I can understand almost everything they say now. I can understand more than I can speak, but soon enough I´ll have that down too. I thought I was doing well in the MTC, but when I got here, it sounded like a whole new language.
Looking forward to calling on Mother's Day! Talk to you then.

Love,
Elder Rickords

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 27, 2009

Hola,

OF COURSE I ATE THE FISH EYES! It´s just plain good manners. I didn´t eat much else really interesting this week, but I wouldn´t have a choice of eating it or not anyway. Most of the time the people cook the food and watch me eat it. I think they want to know what the norte americano thinks of their food.
Well, we started companionship exchanges this week, so I went to the Zone leaders´ area for a day since my companion is the district leader. While I was gone one of our investigators committed to be baptized! Our first while I´ve been here. Did I tell you about my area? It´s one of the richest parts of Colombia. It has a lot of apartment buildings that we´re not allowed to knock doors in, so we do all our
contacts in the street. It is also the lowest baptizing area in the mission and a while back my ward got dissolved because there weren´t enough active members. But it´s nice here, so the area presidency live in our area when they´re not travelling to other parts of Colombia, or Ecuador or Venezuela.
About the Spanish, I am not having too hard a time, I know that in time, with study and practice, I´ll get it. I work very hard, let me be clear about that. The people are very nice and understanding, and I feel very comfortable here. My Spanish is coming along fine... However, for the first week when I talked to people, they´d always say, ¨Oh, you comprehend well for a week (or however many days)¨ But after the first week they stopped saying that. I can understand most of what they say now, as long as they´re from Bogotá. It really is very clear and much slower than other forms of speaking spanish, I can already tell. Yesterday in our ward council meeting, I even understood what was going on. By next transfer I´ll be doing just fine.
Last Friday we had a conference with Quentin L. Cook. He gave a wonderful talk I was able to completely understand. You may also be interested in how he gave us an apostolic blessing for our work here. He also promised that whatever our circumstances at home are, this is the best possible thing we could be doing at this point in our lives. It will bring blessings not only to us and the people we serve, but also to our families and friends back home.
We also went to the temple this last week, all in Spanish. So that was kinda
interesting. The temple is also in my area, and it´s the only one in Colombia.
Well that´s about all for this week.
Love,
Elder Rickords

PS. You can reach me through DearElder, but that will take a while, so just have everyone else do that. Send packages to the mission office without valuable in them, and looking very Catholic like, with Crucifixes, Virgin Marys, and the works. You are the only contact I have had with the platano-free world for the past three weeks, so please encourage others to write me.
Hope you all are well back home, and that you do OK with your job. Nos vemos.

Friday, April 17, 2009

April 13, 2009

Hola,

We all got here on Tuesday night and everything was fine. We met the President and the assistants, and by Thursday morning transfers were over and we started to work. I can´t understand what these people are saying, it´s like they speak a completely different language. I cannot understand even the people who speak slowly. Oh well, the people here are nice. I have been assigned to Teirra Linda, one of the richest parts of Bogota. We have one progressing investigator, and we can't go tracting because the houses here all have guards that would kick us out. My companion is Elder Alvarado, he is from Costa Rica and doesn't speak any English. But he's nice and loves the work so I think we'll get along fine. The apartment is pretty quiet though, since it's just the two of us and we speak different languages.

Bogota is fine. It´s a lot like the US, and not too dangerous. It´s really cloudy though, and we have thunder and lightening every day. It´s also pretty cool, so we always wear our jackets while proselyting in the city. Our first night in Bogota we had hamburgers, probably to make us feel at home but in a way it was disappointing. So I was thinking that the food here was the same as the US, but the other day we had lunch with a member family and they served us whole fish. They told me to eat it and so I did. I ate what they ate, namely the meat, skin, fins, tail, and eyes. It actually wasn´t that bad. We have a lot of rice here, and a lot of juice. The only thing I´m sick of right now are platanos. Platanos are bananas that are cooked or fried. They are warm, squishy, and way too sweet. I need to work on liking them because I gag when I eat them, even though we have them every day...yay.

Well, don´t worry. It´s safe here and the people are really nice, but apparently it´ll take 2 to 3 more months to be able to understand them, at least that´s how long the other gringoes took.

Con amor,Elder Rickords

PS is this long enough? I´ll be able to write more once I understand what´s going on.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This was the letter we received the day after Elder Rickords entered the Bogota Mission. It is from his Mission President.


April 8th, 2009



Good Afternoon from Colombia,We just wanted to inform you and let you know that all of your sons arrived safely here to Bogotá. Your sons are great young men who are really ready to serve the lord. Even though they haven’t gotten much sleep these past few days your sons are eager to put their shoulder to the will and get to work! You can really tell that they have been raised by good families and we want to thank you for all your work and your support! Colombia is a beautiful country and it is marvelous place to be and especially to do missionary work!

The people here are so loving and are so grateful to have North American missionaries again! They are really humble and will give everything they have so that your sons can be comfortable even if it means sacrificing for them. The relationship that your sons make will be life long, and the missionary experience will really improve their social skills. It is really a blessing that your sons are here in Colombia and will be able to learn and speak Spanish! It will be a blessing not only to the people here in Colombia, but it will be a blessing to them throughout and after the mission as they take this with them into positions of leadership in the church, and work in the outside world! We just want you to know that your sons will always be protected and that Colombia is really a safe place. We have received more than twenty North Americans here in the mission and a lot of them have already finished their mission and we just want you to know that nothing has ever happened to them, in fact most of them didn´t even want to leave! Thanks again for everything and your support will be a great help to the Elders in their development of becoming an effective instrument in the hands of the lord.



P.S. Here below I have attached a picture of the Elders after our breakfast that we had together this morning.



Una Brazo Fuerte,Hernando CamargoPresidente Misión Bogotá Norte

March 13, 2009

Dear Folks,

Thankyou for all your letters. I hope you know that they do not make me homesick, and I like to know what's going on. Say hi to everyone for me, and give them my love. How is everyone? Is there anything new in beautiful Burbank? How's Matthew enjoying his own room?

This week we taught our first lesson entirely in spanish. It was hard, but we did well and we felt the Spirit. From now on we will teach the gospel only in Spanish for the next two years. We're working hard to improve our spanish, and we sit by the nativos at lunch. They have to learn english, and we need to learn spanish, so we talk a lot. In class we have covered almost all Spanish grammar and I can understand much of the scriptures in spanish.

This week's speaker was Elder Hamula of the Seventy. He spoke on the Plan of Salvation and our true purpose as missionaries. It was a good talk, and very powerful. Also, in another large group meeting, we learned about baptizing. I want you all to know that "the field is white" not just in a few missions, but all over the world. Sometimes in the church we say that some missions have little hope of baptizing people, but I want you to know that the prophets disagree. These are the latter days, and the Lord is gathering his elect across the face of the Earth. It is not incorrect to want a lot of baptisms, in fact that is a missionary's primary purpose. I also want to baptize many people so they can have the blessings I have recieved in my life.

Also, we go to the Temple every Friday. There is one family who went to England and found records and names of 70,000 people, I want to go back to England after my mission is over to see the rest of my family again, and also to see if I can do some family history work. But that is for later, and to every thing there is a season.

I want you all to know that I love this work. I am grateful for this opportunity to serve and help others come unto Christ, even if it is very hard. I testify that this church is true, that the power of God is again on the Earth, and that there are living prophets to guide and direct us today. Most of all I bear testimony of the redeeming love of our Savior and the infinite power of his Atonement. That all may be clean and stand blameless if they only obey the commandments and repent. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

With lots of love, Elder Rickords
Feb 20, 2009

Dear Family,

Thankyou for the letter. I sincerely appreciate it, since letters are VERY important to a new missionary. About my companion, his name is Elder Michael Larson and he is from Kayesville(?) Utah. He is very excited to be out here, and is very obedient and willing to learn. we work well together and have many things in common, but sadly not a deep love for movie quotes...

My classes are great. I have two great teachers, Hermano Allen and Farrell. We learn about how to teach, use Preach My Gospel, and speak Spanish. We do not have classes on Colombia, since the only missionaries that went there are old enough to have a higher paying job, or else aren't back yet. However, all the Elders going to Colombia have had problems with their visas and have been stuck here for up to 12 weeks. oh boy.

We go to the temple every week on Friday morning, and then it's P-day till dinner at 5 o'clock.

I do have to write a talk each week, but I have not had to give one yet. I’ve just prayed in spanish in front of the branch. This week we had M Russell Ballard as our speaker. He gave a very good talk on missionary work, of course. I enjoyed it heartily. We sang Called to Serve, but we don't stand up unless an Apostle walks into the room.

My district is fine, but we have no hermanas of our own. Thanks for the package also. It lets people know somebody loves me. Well, love ya lots, but my time is through. So please write me, and until next week, goodbye!

Elder Rickords