Saturday, January 24, 2009

Whitney's arrival at Bush Intercontinental Airport

Whitney asked me to post some of the pictures and videos we took at the airport as a closing post to her mission blog. It's hard to believe that she has already been home for 10 days! The time has gone by so fast. It sounds like she had an amazing time in Russia, Estonia, Prague and Madrid. She will be speaking in church tomorrow so we are looking forward to hearing more about her experiences. It will be fun to have Sara and Justin here for the day too.

Welcome Home Whitney!!!

Whitney's younger brother Stephen waiting to say hello
It won't be long now!
(You know you are in Houston ...check out the cow in the space suit, waving the Texas flag -just to our right. LOL!!!)

The guys are getting restless ...looks like they are planning to rush the gate!
It's just a matter of time.
While we were waiting, a Russian passenger come up to us and grabbed the sign and turned it around to see what it said. She was really excited and started speaking to us in Russian. We could only smile and say, "Nyett!"

And's Whit!
Rostov, to Moscow, then Atlanta, and on to Houston. Yeah! Her luggage made it without getting lost.
Home sweet home~

She'll be busy for the next few weeks catching up on all of the videos, books and letters that have been piling up on her desk while she was gone.

She said that she is going through culture shock in reverse. Her bedroom at home is bigger than most of the entire apartments she's lived in for the past 14 months in Russia! I was sad that we forgot to get pictures of the yard sign in the front yard and the heart decorations but take my word for it ...they were great!

Thanks for all of the letters, pictures, prayers and packages that you sent for Whitney. She really appreciated your love and support and so did I. Take care and keep in touch. This is:
Mama Richards logging out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

no longer will write in this one-maybe mom will post the video of me meeting them in the airport but i have a new page now:

Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm back

Well, I hear that some don't believe that I'm actually back so.....
in order to prove that this is the real cecmpa Richards and not some imposter commie spy I will prove my identity by saying:
Theramin is the name of a keyboard that was created by Leon Theramin-not many know this fact but those who do remember a very hilarious evening full of red faces and tears.
Also, I happen to know the Million ways to be cruel dance and am infact doing it right now-you'll just have to take my word on that.
and finally....
"this is AAAAbviously HaaaaaaWHIT so you can F6 that!"
so yes, I am back and really tired and wanting to sleep so I will go do that now, but writing to say thank you-all of you even those who just prayed for me-it helped, it really did, I felt all of your support and it helped in the hard times-I of course have tons of stories, insights, and memories from the mission that I may blog about but it won't be here seeing as...well....this is my mission blog and I'm home now so I'll prolly either return to bitofwhit or....maybe make a fresh one for my fresh start etc....we'll see, but yea I don't have anyone's numbers because I have a new cell and my old one was wiped clean by a younger sibling so if you'd like you can email me your numbers 8)
I love you all and congrats to Carrie!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

From Russia with love

Hey Guys,

Just one quick note before I write president my "What I wish I would have known" email. I came in a bus from Volgograd and it was sooo long and uncomfortable but that's ok-lots of time to think. I am all over the place right now many thoughts and different emotions that it's too hard to explain but I guess I have the rest of my life to sort through them all 8)

I love you all and I love the opportunity the Lord gave me to serve His children here in Russia. Now I KNOW first hand that God is a God of miracles in that I survived and managed to do some effective service 8) I'm not sure if I lived up to His expectations of me but I tried and see this change as a great new beginning to a better and new life.

I know this church is true and that this gospel is perfect and I love the book of Mormon in a way I can't really express well. Can't wait to see you all.....I mean....ya'll 8)

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The final count down 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Next stop ...Houston!

I have to do this fast cause today we only bought 30 minutes to write home cause we have a lot to do.

I can't believe this is the last time I'll write from Russia. (We won't write again before we leave). I'm taking a train Monday night and will get into Rostov Tuesday morning and then that day do whatever and will be in the mission home that night and fly out Wed morning. I was doing pretty good on keeping focused and not feeling trunky but it was way hard to read all the different emails from president telling me about my schedule etc. and then reading about who I'll be seeing in the next few days -yikes! I'm trying to fight it but it's hard. It's ok though cause we have a meeting with a GOLDEN girl that we contacted on the street and we'll go for the baptism date and that will get me back on track for sure.

I can't even express how thankful I am to my Heavenly Father for the many blessings he has poured out upon me on my last transfer here. It has been so crazy. We have 6 or so progressing investigators (coming to church/reading etc.) and 2 baptismal dates, but we'll try to make it 4 before I leave here. I guess it's how it always goes huh? The Lord tests you and if you endure it well he showers the blessings down on you. I don't know if I could say I endured perfectly but despite hardships/lack of success -we kept working and trying and now I can say it was ALL worth it = every heart-breaking, hard minute of it. I mean....even when it was so hard I knew it was worth it because I could feel the Lord refining me and making me stronger, but now my heart is just so full of appreciation for what He is doing for us and for the work here. Right now it's prolly the most success that the sisters have ever had here in Volgograd. Everyone talked about how it is such a hard city, etc. (YEA RIGHT!) Nothing is hard if the Lord is on your side and helping.

I love my mission so much and it's just hard to imagine leaving ...I'm trying not to think about it too much because I don't want to start crying ...that's what my night train ride is for-to get it all out of my system so I can be happy when I see you guys. For all those who are preparing for or thinking of serving on a mission I have two words of advice: DO IT! You will NEVER regret it -this I promise. I didn't exactly have the easiest mission and yet I loved every minute of it -it's worth it -I promise! We need all the help we can get in proclaiming this gospel.

I love my savior and appreciate all the help He gave me these past 18 months and the desire He has given me to continue to study and deepen my knowledge of this perfect plan that God has prepared for us. I love you all and just ignore any depressed moods I may be in when I'm home it's not cause I'm sad to be home just cause I'm sad to not be in Russia anymore and hearing this great language and trying to help her people, and feeling the love and support of the Lord everyday. I love you all! and promise I'll try to work my hardest these last few days -we're even giving up language study to get extra time to work.

Cectpa Richards

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Snow-Bweem-Go-Dum" Happy New Year!

Hey everybody!

So we are writing real quick before we buy our groceries and go home for the night since prolly won't be open tomorrow. I will now give a typical grandma (babushka) blessing: I desire for you: health, happiness, a handsome husband and many children, everything good, but most important health. Yea ...that's what they say every time 8) and it still gives me warm-fuzzies. Hey ...better than them yelling at us and calling us "sektantee" (a sect).

Anywho, this past year has been amazing with all that I have experienced and learned. It's crazy to think that this whole past year was spent in RUSSIA speaking and working with the Russian people in furthering this great work -crazy. Things that I (ok ...really God) has managed to accomplish this year: I now understand and can speak Russian. I am bold when I talk to people on the streets or at the doors and no longer fear them or their rejections. I have matured as far as my taste buds go; now liking most if not all vegetables (fresh and cooked) and nuts, and soups of all kinds. Mostly only my immediate family would understand how big this is.

Um... what else....I have learned how to read maps and find my way in a new area, learn names of a bunch of people quickly (a.k.a. branch members) and have learned the joy that comes when we give ourselves to a better cause and trust in the Lord and see the miracles that result. I'm so grateful for my time here in Russia. It has literally FLOWN by and I cannot believe how little remains but am excited to continue to develop the talents and qualities that I have gained here and never become complacent with where I am. I have also learned the amazing art and necessity of goal setting and reaching. It's amazing how much I could have already achieved if I had mastered this principle earlier but I'm glad that I've mastered it and appreciate the Lord's role in being able to do this.

I'm so grateful for all the letters, packages, and even prayers and good thoughts that have been offered in my behalf. They have not gone unanswered. I feel all of your love and support so strongly and know that the Lord has continually supported me thanks to your prayers and well wishes. I love you all so much and am trying really hard to finish strong and continue this great work any way I can in my every day life.

I hope you all have a great New Year and take time to remember all of the amazing blessings that you enjoy (the biggest being the knowledge of the restored gospel!) and how the Lord has helped you this past year and how we can make ourselves worthy to receive the same if not better blessings in this upcoming year and help others enjoy them as well.

Cectpa Richards

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a very, merry Christmas!

Hey guys,

Sorry -it'll be real quick since I'll talk to you all later on. MERRY CHRISTMAS! It's always SOOOO weird on the mish -especially since they don't celebrate the 25th, but it was good all the same. We went over to the senior couples house and had a great big breakfast and watched the polar express. Sister Maxfield gave me a new winter hat/beanie, and a green scarf since my packages hadn't come in (don't ask me, don't know but no biggie-) Zone conference is next week and if not then, shrug, my comp will love it all when it comes -I don't care) and now we'll prolly go look at some Cd's and work a few hours and then it's your call!

Thanks for all your love and letters etc. -I hope you all have a great Christmas and really strengthen your gratitude and love of the Savior. Also, hehe (as far as I'm planning on -I'll still be around Houston in April so that's a big YES! for the Les Mes tickets -it's only my dream come true!!!!!!!!!!)

I love you all, you can get the commentary rundown of our phone convo from mom I guess 8)

Cectpa Richards