Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jared gets home Decemer 31st

Sorry I haven't posted any of Jared's letters the last few months. He is finishing strong in Valpo Indiana as a zone leader. His release date is the 31st and his homecoming talk will be January 10th at 11 am at 3511 North 180 East. Hope you can come!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Chicago chronicles

So, transfer calls just happened, and I found out I will be training a new missionary again. Elder Lewis will be serving up in Buffalo Grove. I'll miss him a lot - he was a great companion and really helped me make the transition into the city more smooth than I could have asked for! I can't wait to see him later on in the mission in the other areas he serves in. As for training, I'm excited and nervous to do it once again! But I know the Lord will help us out. Also, we'll have a car once again starting Tuesday, so that will be a blessing for sure. ;) Elder Lewis and I saw some great miracles this week, and I think I know why. He and I have started a "40 day fast", where we fast from little things that may poke at the Spirit. Each night we report to God how we did on our list of things, and each morning we ask for His help in fasting from those things that day. It has really helped us slowly become more consecrated and change our desires, and I'm so grateful for the blessings we've seen from it. This week we did our contacting activity, which was a lemonade stand at the "L" Train Roosevelt stop. It wasn't as warm out as we were hoping, but we did manage to talk to a number of people who took materials or signed our "We will pray for you" poster. To generate attention I also drew out the Plan of Salvation with chalk next to our stand. Overall it was a great experience, and even though we didn't see as many people as we had hoped, we still learned from the activity and got to send off a few referrals. In other news, Alijiah got baptized! Her entire inactive/part member family attended, and it was a great service. Even though it was a ward baptism and not an investigator baptism, I'm still grateful to have been a part of it and also to be the one to confirm her. After it was over her grandmother told me she wants to start coming back to church eventually, so that was also cool to hear. :) I hope everyone's doing okay at home! Let me know if there are any specific things I can pray and fast for this Sunday, as I ask you to do the same for me. Love, -Elder Jared Richardson image1.JPG image2.JPG image3.JPG image4.JPG image5.JPG

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

mini miracle 3-30-15

A miracle Elder Lewis and I had this week was finding the Tupayachis, a less active/part member family that are basically the equivalent of the Robles family from "the District". They are so ready to come back and are already agreeing to having us come to dinner weekly, which is a huge privilege and blessing. I'm so surprised that the Lord would bless us out of no where with such a wonderful family to help bring closer to Christ! The wife had a bad experience with the Hyde Park Ward in the past, but she's agreed to give it one more chance this week on Sunday. I think she enjoyed it! We'll be cooking breakfast for them Saturday morning and watching conference with them on Saturday. :) The church has released a new Easter Video called "Because he Lives" which we hope to use creatively this week. The other night on the CTA train I asked someone if I could share it with him. He surprisingly agreed and later thing to me for showing it to him and for having the courage to talk to a stranger. I'm so grateful that the spirit helped me share the Gospel in creative ways, just like how Elder Perry wants us to. -Elder Jared Richardson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moving Along-March 22

This week was a lot harder than I anticipated! While Tuesday mainly consisted of moving things from our old apartment into our new one, and on Friday we cleaned out the old apartment with help from our district, we had very little in the way of appointments this week. Because of the boundary changes and the new area we've taken over, we really don't know anyone around here, including a few investigators the last Elders left us with. To count my blessings though, I have a car now, a much nicer apartment, and some new responsibilities as District Leader. Despite being "whitewashed" (missionary slang for being transferred into an area that both you and your companion haven't been in) I'm excited to work here in addition to most of my old area. Instead of just covering the sketchier black neighborhoods in the Hyde Park Ward, we also now cover many Hispanic neighborhoods, which are full of potential as well. :) Running District Meeting went decently. I actually covered the wrong lesson from Preach My Gospel for the week, but I still did my best to teach by the Spirit. If nothing else, we had an excellent roleplay at the end, where I had each companionship teach the Restoration. Each missionary was only allowed to say one sentence at a time before their companion could speak. The other two companionships in our district both have a new companion, so I think this exercise helped them get to know each other a little better, and I think everyone enjoyed it! Thanks to everyone who prayed for John (a member I mentioned last week). We still haven't been able to meet with him but from what I understand his situation will be getting a lot better soon. :) I'm really grateful that the Lord has trusted me with this area, companion, and responsibility to look after the other missionaries in my district. I'm also really grateful for the trials I've experienced thus far on my mission that help me grow and uproot my complacency. Love you! Hope things are well. -Elder Jared Richardson P.s. It's snowing like crazy again. 0_0 Guess I better break out the boots again.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Subtle changes-March 16th

Well, looks like I'm in a car again. The big news of this week is that the West Elders will be leaving while Elder Lewis and I move into their apartment. We'll be taking over their area and continuing to work in ours, with the boundaries slightly changed. I'll be taking the role as district leader as well. I'm excited for the change but also really sad to lose two great missionaries, Elder Sami and Elder Sharman. The work is going to be a lot different having a car instead of walking! Jamie's baptism went excellently. He was baptized and confirmed by the Bishop of our ward, and all the Elder missionaries got to stand in the circle for it. At the end of the service Jamie stood and bore his testimony of all the little blessings he's noticed since making the difficult lifestyle changes to qualify for baptism. Being able to be here and witness his baptism has been such a privilege, just as all the baptisms I've seen have been. Jamie's a great example to me; I can't wait to see him serving in the church later in life. He'll be a great leader. As I mentioned last week, we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the 12 apostles on Saturday, as well as Elder Rhodes of the Seventy. It was a very spiritual experience, getting to hear from a prophet, seer, and revelator. He was so energetic and animated in instructing us about missionary work! What stood out to me the most is him telling us to be more creative and vigorous in our work, that the Lord trusts us with these iPads and these areas. I left the meeting feeling so uplifted and pumped to be a missionary! I don't think I'll ever look back and say to myself that serving a mission was easy, but I'll definitely treasure the time I've gotten to spend here. Hebron, Lake Villa, and Chicago have been radically different from each other, but they're all special in individual ways. This work is true. The Spirit testifies to me so strongly so often of how the Lord is involved in His church. He leads it, and those who are willing to humble themselves will experience so many blessings from it. I'm so grateful and blessed to be a representative of Jesus Christ, even when failures come and difficulties arise. I love you all and wish you could participate with me in this work - would you all be willing to pray with me this week that this ward's transition works out? Also for Debbie Jordan and John Hicks, who are going through some hard family issues but we can't reach out to right now. Thank you so much. My love goes out to all of you. :) Have a great week! -Elder Jared Richardson

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Servants of the Lord-March 9th

The main highlight of this week was hearing from Elder W. Craig Zwick (of the 70) as well as Brother Hemingway (the director of online proselyting in the Church). They came and spake to us as a mission on the trust that the leaders of the church have placed in us, as well as the new guidelines concerning using our iPads. This week we'll be receiving our new ones, and we'll basically be doing a restart on training and learning how to use them in the field. We'll also be off Facebook for a while, just as a heads-up. Hearing from a servant of the Lord was such a great experience. He gave us some wonderful counsel and things that I hope to directly apply to the work down here in Hyde Park. And, we've just been informed, L. Tom Perry of the 12 will be coming to our mission to speak to us this Saturday! We will be fasting and praying to spiritually prepare to learn from what he has to say to us. I'm excited, to say the least. This Saturday will also be Jamie's baptism, which I'm also trying to prepare for with much anticipation. He has progressed so well and is qualified to enter into the church as a fully-fledged member. I'll be sure to report on how it goes next week! I love having so many Elder missionaries in this Ward to work with. Granted, it does make it more of a temptation to want to merely hang out when we gather together, but I love having so many friends close by and working together for the same purpose. This week I had a wonderful "exchange" with our district leader, Elder Sami (who came out at the same time as me). My day with him mostly consisted of tracting, but we found a couple of awesome potential investigators, and I feel we learned from each other as we worked in his area. As an added bonus, things are finally starting to warm up and all the snow and ice we've trudged through these past 5 weeks are melting a bit! We're surrounded by worldliness down here in southside. I've never felt in danger physically yet, but some of the things we've seen and heard while proselyting are hard to witness. But as I once quoted in a Facebook post: Even though I accept that darkness exists, I choose not to dwell there. There's still a lot of good in the world, and we should do everything we can go continue sharing goodness and inviting the Spirit into our lives. I hope this was long enough of a letter for you all to swallow, haha! Thank you for your prayers, as always. You are all in mine every night. I promise to make you all Chicago dogs when I get home one day. :) Love, - Elder Jared Richardson

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 2nd-Chicago Chronicles

Despite being a little sick on Tuesday I'm happy to say that we worked hard this week! I'm still astounded at just how much walking we do here compared to my past areas. I enjoy the little things of living in the city however, such as seeing the Chicago skyline in the distance, walking around the White Sox stadium often, and wondering just how many people live in a square mile radius here. We eat out a lot more often as well, but we try our best to avoid it. As I've mentioned before, a lot of our time is spent stopping by less active addresses and seeing if the listed members still live there or not. Sometimes it's a little monotonous knocking on doors that no one answers, but this week we had the miracle of meeting Lisa, a member who let us in! Right after ringing her doorbell and climbing up her stairs we heard her yell, "Is that Elders? It's been over seven years and I've never had Elders find me here!" After chatting for a while she said she'd be willing to come to church next Sunday! I'm so glad to have met her out here after many fruitless stop-bys. Yesterday we had Stake Conference at the Rockefeller Chapel, which really is more like a cathedral than a church building. Elder James B. Martino of the Seventy came and called a new Chicago Stake President. It was a great service! On Tuesday we will be having another mission-wide conference where Elder W. Craig Zwick of the Seventy will be coming to speak to us, and we will also be learning more about online proselyting and be receiving our new iPads. I've been fasting to have an open heart and learn a lot from this meeting, and I'm really looking forward to it! - Elder Jared Richardson

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

feb. 16th letter

The wind is fierce, but it hasn't stopped us from working! We've been walking and walking and walking and occasionally taking the bus, and walking some more here in the Hyde Park Ward, contacting many referrals we've received and knocking on the doors of less active members. We stay out of some neighborhoods after dark but I've never particularly felt in danger anywhere yet. In sadder news, we had one of those heartbreaking moments where a golden investigator of ours stopped us because of pressure from his family. It's really unfortunate when this happens, but all we can do is try and be positive and move on. On the other hand, Jamie (our other main investigator) is progressing well and is excited to get baptized in March! He's a great guy, and has been really generous to us in giving us rides to church. We'll be taking him out for Chicago dogs tomorrow. :) Love you everyone! Sorry for the short late email. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know, or if there's anything I can do for you all! - Elder Jared Richardson

Chicago Chronicles Feb.23rd

Good morning everyone! I hope you're all nice and warm today. I'm definitely finding more and more opportunities to be grateful for little things I used to take for granted, such as a washer that doesn't eat up my quarters, or being fed more than once every other week, or a warm apartment. It's freezing in the mornings here!! It makes it a challenge to get out of bed sometimes, but I just have to remember what the Lord expects of me. He's blessed me abundantly in adjusting to this area, and I'm determined to continue acting on my faith. And that's what faith really is - action. When we show the Lord that we're willing to put some effort forward, He takes care of the rest. One miracle this week came when the bus took us especially early to an appointment, and we were left wondering how we should spend the extra time we had. After saying a prayer, we determined to walk west until we ran into someone. The first person we saw we talked to - a security officer. We had a great chat with him and he accepted a Book of Mormon! I'm so grateful that rather than use our time unproductively and by showing the Lord that we were willing to act, He put someone in our path to talk to. :) Today our investigator Jamie is giving us a tour of the forensic science lab he works at! I'll be sure to send pictures if we take any. I love you guys! This week went by extremely fast. Perhaps the rest of my mission will as well! - Elder Jared Richardson

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chicago Chronicles Jan. 26th

Dear Family and Friends, Hello! This week went by rather quickly for us. We have one or two new potential investigators from tracting, but not much else in the way of increasing our teaching pool. I want to make finding and planning to be our focuses this week to better prepare Elder Leslie, should he have to take over the area. He's doing great, by the way! I love our companionship. Maybe it's just because we trained together, but I feel pretty close to him. Unity has been a strength for us. I wouldn't say we've reached our full potential of being the most hardworking missionaries ever, but I fully intend to repent and recommit ourselves to do much better. One cool thing that happened this week was Corrine, who contacted us last-minute and requested to meet with us. She has investigated the church off-and-on for over ten years (TEN YEARS!!) and recently felt very unsettled in her life. She asked us to pray for her to know what to do. She basically told us that apart from a few doctrinal disagreements, she would most likely join the church if her husband wasn't so against it. We promised her that God really does answer prayers, and if she sets out to do something she thinks He wants her to do, He'll provide a way. Today we're playing shuffleboard and Kübb (a Swedish block-knocking game) at the McLaws' house. :) I wish I had more to report back on, but that's pretty much all I've got. Has anyone learned anything from their personal of family studies that they'd like to share? Love, - Elder Jared Richardson

Monday, January 19, 2015

Letter January 19th

This week blew by pretty quickly! We picked up a new investigator who requested a Book of Mormon via mail. He's an older gentleman who had many frankly weird perceptions of the church, but he came to the other Ward yesterday (by accident) and seemed to enjoy it! We'll see where that goes. Apart from that, we don't have much to work with. The majority of our time is spent stopping by less active members in our ward directory and tracting here and there. Not much shoveling since it's been warming up recently. The people I'm most concerned with are our young recent converts in the ward, particularly Chief and Don Busch, and Jacob Bos (who converted a year ago). None of them have had much of a desire to come to church, and I really want them to feel loved in this Ward. If everyone could keep them in your prayers that would be fantastic. I hope all is well in the Homefront. I want to do the best I can out here, as I may only have two weeks left in this area. I love you! Thanks for the letters and encouragement! - Elder Jared Richardson

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chicago Chronicles 1/12/2014 - ONE YEAR DOWN, ONE TO GO!!‏

From now on I'm not going to count down the months. :) Also, in an effort to try and keep a working attitude, if anyone asks me how long I've been out I'll simply reply, "Over a year." It was a good, cold, long week. We shoveled for a lot of people (yay!), had two meetings, and tried helping loading people's groceries one night in an effort to find new people (but weren't too terribly successful). The wind is insane out here, but we're layering up. While we still have a very small teaching pool, the Lord gives us small tender mercies now and then. One was finally getting in and having dinner with a semi-less active family that I've wanted to visit with since I first got here. Another was having several members call us asking for help on a day that we had very little planned. I'm so grateful for moments like that. :) Another thing I'm very grateful for is the time we're given to study the scriptures. I feel I'm learning so much more than I have in church or seminary. Maybe it's because we learn and teach doctrine 24/7 as missionaries. I love you guys! I hope you're all doing well. I hope this next year will be stellar! - Elder Jared Richardson