Lauren has a talk (like a speech) at church tomorrow.  You are all welcome to attend.  Services start at 9:00 am Sunday.  She'd love it if you could make it.  Here are the details...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
8140 Racine Trl
Austin, TX 78717
9:00 am

Here's what we know about Laurens trip home:

Yesterday was Laurens last day in her area in Joao Pessoa.  She probably said lots of goodbyes and then in the afternoon traveled across the city to the mission office with other missionaries to have an 'exit' dinner with President and Sister Hall.

This morning, very early, she got in a van and traveled south about 2 hours to the city of Recife.  There she attended the temple with other missionaries who are also going home.  Hopefully she also got to meet up with Waldemar y Herminia Arballo. An awesome couple from Brazil that we knew here in Round Rock.  They are serving as missionaries at the Recife temple.

TAM Linhas Aéreas
After attending the temple she was off to the airport to catch a 12:30 flight to Sao Paulo.  Sao Paulo will bring back lots of memories!  Being in the same place she started 18 months a go will probably make it sink in that she's really coming home.  She has a layover of 5+ hours in Sao Paulo then gets on a red-eye flight to Detroit.  She'll wake up landing in Detroit around 8 in the morning tomorrow.  Then wait another 5+ hours in the airport for her flight to Austin.

She should arrive at the Austin airport at 4:00 tomorrow.  That's a 31 hour trip!  We can't wait to see her!  She doesn't know but we're taking her to Rudy's after the airport. 

Remember the open house is Saturday from 6 to 9.

You waste time and happiness just wishing your time away for the next thing to come along. Be happy where you are at and be patient. One of my companions had a hard time and I explained to her that you have to choose to be happy now. Some people think I´ll be happy when, i go home or next transfer or next area. or whatever. That is a lie. You have to chose to be happy now. The people with the other attitude are never happy. Life is just an eternal journey. Being happy just at the end is choosing to never be happy at all.

This week sister carvalho was sick so we didn't get to work like we wanted too. I love missionary work and this week was awesome cuz it was wellingtons baptism! it was amazing! im sorry i forgot to bring the camera for pictures! but it was great! Damião baptized him and his mom came. she is blind so i described it to her as he was walking in the baptismal font. She was soo happy. she cried and really has a testimony too and during the hymn she told me she wanted to be baptized too, that she had already talked with her husband but needed permission. We are praying that he is ok with it and will accept it too! Valmir also went to the baptism. A family member had died and he had just been to the funeral, but he came. It was very faithful of him,this week we went and taught him and we helped him see that his faith is growing. a few weeks ago the first part we marked in the book of Mormon was Alma 32. then he went to church by himself and when i asked what part he liked the most he told me the exact verses. 26-28. he is very observant and quoted his favorite part of stake conference. He said he was just going to learn about the religion,but well we helped him see that his faith is growing and he can gain his own testimony and but he needs to be committed to do his part. we are super excited for him too. He has decided to look for his testimony sio its awesome. We also started teaching adeliane and her son. She is really excited to go to church and read and pray. She read the Restoration pamphlet and loved it and really wanted to know about Moroni

Oh! big news! so it rains like everyday the past 2 months maybe more. It rained so much yesterday that the machines that pump water to the town flooded. So they had to turn them off to prevent problems. That means that we are without water. For 5 days. This was normal in Tibiri, but we had a neighbor that had a well so we took showers from the bucket. now the 4 of us have 30 liters for the next 5 days! drinking water, toilets, dishes and shower-aka sponge bath... gross. Sister De Oliviera was joking saying the city Bayeux is literally turning french for the next 5 days hahah. yuck but nothing we can do. Oh man i remember laughing when i read that in the missionary handbook, missionaries should take a shower everyday when possible. well try to catch some rain water :) jk

I'm stoked for this weeks work and adventures of the french city of Bayeux! haha Beijos! Sister Richardson

Lauren has 2 weeks left on her mission. No, we cant believe it either!  Her last couple days she will travel from Joao Pessoa to Recife.  There she will go to the Recife Brazil temple with other missionaries who are also going home.  On Friday 8/5 she will fly from Recife to Sao Paulo to Detroit to Austin.  A 31 hour trip!  17 hours in the air, 14 hours waiting in airports. It will be a day full of mixed feelings; leaving the people she loves and served for a 18 months but also coming home to friends and family. 

If you live in or near Austin and you'd like to greet her with us at the airport you are welcome to come. She'd love it! Her flight should arrive at 4:00 pm on Friday August 5th. After the airport we are taking her directly to an undisclosed location - so no paparazzi please.

You are also welcome to come to an open house for Lauren the next day on Saturday 8/6 from 6 pm to 9 pm.  Please drop in and see Lauren. You can come anytime before 9 pm. Our new address: 510 King Eider Lane, Cedar Park. (map)

If you know Lauren but are not in the Austin area you can see and talk with her on Skype.  It's free.  She has an account and can see her and talk that way.  Email and I will pass your 'skype name' on to her so she can see you.  If you don't have Skype then now's your chance.

Recife Brazil Temple

Notice the soccer ball on the nose?  Yes, this is a Brazilian airline - TAM - her first flight is on one of these.

Yes, that's Lauren... No, that's not really the king of pop - but looks convincing!

Here she is presenting him with a free Book of Mormon.

Go For What You Want
And Don't Forget The Faith
Look At Yourself
And What You Doin' Right Now
Stand Back A Minute
Just To Check Yourself Out
Straighten Out Your Life
And How You're Livin' Each Day
Get Yourself Together
'Cause You Got To "Keep The Faith"

Sometimes when there is no water they wash clothes by hand. She seems to be having fun.

We think Lauren painted this - not sure. This keeps them cool at home.  Looks like it gets lots of attention. From her blog page, you can CLICK on the pink fan blade to see what it says.

Thought we better put these two pictures on her blog before it's too late.  This was in the very beginning of her mission.  A 'Greenie" is a new missionary.  She's not green now - but way back in the beginning it looks like she was.  Even the her shirt is green.  The flag of Brasil is on the table in front of her along with all kinds of green things.

Don't Mess with this Texan Sister!

Got TEXAS? Lauren does.

She loves Texas (and Brazil and Colombia too)

Get ready y'all!  Over the next 6 weeks we will be posting the best pictures from her mission.  Videos too.  As Lauren would say we're "fixin" to blast you with pictures!  Hang on for the ride!

LAUREN ARRIVES HOME 4:00PM 8/5/2011 (FRIDAY) You are welcome to come to the airport to welcome her home. She'll love it!

I'm super excited to continue working until my very last minute as a Sister. Its been the best thing in the world and i cant even express all the love i have for being a missionary. I try and tell the youth about what its like but there is not possible way for them to understand until they go and give it their heart.

Girllede & Lucas
Found out amazing news this week. Lucas who was inactive, we were able to help him get to church! he is 20 so he can go on a mission and would be a wonderful missionary, but he didn't have the desire and wanted to get married to his girlfriend Girllede. Well they are ala Bayeux centro so sister de oliviera and siste Barreto are taking care of them, but a miracle happened! well, Girllede is catholic and even wanted to be a nun before. she has been coming to church for like a year, but for some reason the missionaries never taught her. she lives in another area in joao pessoa, but always comes here with her fiance. She knows the church is true and is going to be baptized!!! Then she was talking with Lucas and asked why he doesn't go and be an elder? why he didn't have the priesthood and she started crying and he looked at her and said he´d go on a mission!!!!!!! she may even go as well!!!!!! We have been working and praying soo hard and his family and the ward even more! it was sooooo amazing to know that he is going to be a missionary. Their future moved completely. just for the decision to serve a mission. His eternal future is completely different now. way cool.

We met Pedro yesterday! just contacted him on the street and he is 24. likes religion and has never been baptized. his concern is mattew 24:5 authority and falso Christ and prophets. he doesn't drink smoke or party. and will come to church next Sunday! we marked his baptism for 2 weeks so we're are really excited to help him gain a testimony and get prepared!

Young Women
tomorrow we are going out with the young women to teach their friends. they are super excited to go on a mission so it will be way fun to help them learn about it and teach their friends the gospel too.

Dancing Cows in the USA
we had lunch with Bishop Silva. suuuuuuper cool family and they are super humble. love them tons. well Bishop yesterday started talking about this cow on TV that was in the united states. he saw it dancing on TV and insisted that cows really can dance. hahah. you know people here think the US is suuuper dangerous? haha

Yesterday we saw abunch of people at the park doing capoeira! swwwuuuaheeeett! its a dance kind of light fighting. it originated a long time ago and is a brasilian tradition. Way cool. look it up on you tube.

The Lighthouse 
also today we had zone pday! at the lighthouse in joao pessoa. the most easter point of the americas! a picnique and taking pictures. with the brasiian and texas flag :) way fun. AND REEGULAR clothes that was fun!.

Priest with Rock Band
Proselytizing this week down liberdade there was a catholic porciession for maria and all the cars lined up and were driving behind the statue of maria and there wqas a carro de som. the huge cars that are speakers. ill send a picture next week. and there was a rock band on top with the priest. we waved when they drove by and he blessed us. it was cool.

I love you!!! Sister Richardson

This is the eastern most point of all north and south America.  Lauren is here with her zone on a p-day. This is called Ponta Dos Seixas. It's closer to Africa than it is to the opposite western border of Brazil.  It's 3 times closer to Africa from here than to Florida.

P-day at McDonald's.  This might have been the only McDonald's she saw on her mission.  Not sure why she's making this face... did she find something in there?  Is it really small compared to a Mighty Fine burger back in Texas? 

Who's the scariest? (the one without the whiskers) If you don't think so - then you don't know her...

In the video below, Lauren is reading some of her favorite verses from the scriptures. (Link here) We were only able to figure out what she was reading because we know Spanish.

"Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.  Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless. Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;  For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;  And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligenceAsk, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen. before God at the last day.

PLEASE WRITE LAUREN!  She loves getting letters since she can't facebook or email while on her mission.  Letters only take 10 days or so to get to her.  She has 60 days left so please send her a note and let her know how you're doing.
Her address is:

Sister Lauren Richardson
Missao Brasil / Joao Pessoa
Rua Dep. Jose Mariz #515
Joao Pessoa

Sister De Oliveira got a new companion. she is training too! sis haygood and i are still here in bayeux and sis de oliveira will be in bayeux centro. that is exactly what we were wanting!!!

Yesterday we went to João pessoa and hung out in the escritorio all day while sister De Oliveria was waiting for her companion. we got to eat at subways! right across the beach! we couldn't go across the street, but it was beautiful even just to see it! perfect weather and not to sunny. we were there with some of the elders who were training too well we were all waiting for subways to open. and then a bunch of kids came over. they were in high school and they sat down and started talking. I decided to go over there and talk with them there were like 6 boys and asked them their names and then just talking to them. Subways opened and they all ran in front of us to get the food. dang it. but it was ok. so we were in line and one of the boys was in front of me and i was debating if i should try and talk to him or not, cuz i didn't want the manager to get angry and he was fixing to order his food, but i couldn't resist and just talked to him. He actually looked like my friend Loren who served in Russia his name is lucas and is 17 he was way cool.taught him about the plan of salvation and who and why we need Jesus Christ that all of us wouldn't have a way to get back to heavenly father because we sin. we needed a salvador. He is going to church this Sunday, but he´s in the elders area so i wont see him anymore

Also we got to hear fro Elder Arújo! He is the new seventy of our mission and he is suuuupper coool!!! HE taught us a ton of stuff and he is super on fire about missionary work . ILOVED it! He talked ab out how the biggest sin of misisonary work is not opening your mouth. Just talk to everyone and Obedience! being 100% obedient and giving it your all. Ive been thinking alot now that I'm at the last 3 months. How do i want to be different how can I be better. I wish i could of known all this at the start of my mission. Or understood it really. I knew somethings, just didn't get it really. I just want to focus on doing my 100% and really giving everthing ive got cuz the people and God deserve it. I worked really hard before, but i have to do more now. its time to apply EVERYTHING. trust in the Lord and GO. I'm supper happy here in brasil. its the best. I'm excited to be with sister Haygood. she´s really chill and loves the work. she is from Arkansas so if we are going there by chance when i get back we can visit her family.

sister Richardson

Well so this week was great :) Sister De olivieira, sister haygood and i each had our first falls on the mission. pretty good for a year and 2 months. So its been raining a ton. I slipped hardcore on some mud and really should have broken something cuz i fell big time. just a tiny bruise tought. :) Sister haygood slipped in the rain walking up the steps and got a bloody toe and blood blister and sister De olivira slipped without the rain.hahah but she fell right on her knee. and scrapped it up big time. she has knee problems so i was supper worried, but shes ok now. she was the only one that realy got hurt. Weve been having fun thought becuase i lost my umbrela so we just go out in the rain. last tuesday we got poured on 5 times but nobody got a cold :) Weve been having a lot of fun together and learning alot. everyone says trios are hard, but so far we are a great team.

This is a note from Lauren's dad, Joe.  I just had to get these pictures up on her blog when I saw them.  We are so proud of Lauren and the sacrifice she is doing for the Lord and for the people of Brazil.  He has really blessed her, her companions and the wards where she has served.

This picture below reminded me of some scriptures about missionaries feet. Looks like missionaries throughout history have had to walk for years.  Lauren and her companion walk many hours every day - probably 10 to 15 miles a day in the hot sun!  You can tell by these wonderful tan lines... When Lauren first started her feet and ankles would be swollen by the end of the day.

And O how beautiful upon the mountains were their feet!  And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that are still publishing peace!  And again, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who shall hereafter publish peace, yea, from this time henceforth and forever!" (Mosiah 15:15-17)

"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15)

"Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!" (Nahum 1:15)

This is a map of their area.  She says it's an hour walk from one end to the other.  No cars - just feet!  Sometimes they catch a bus but not often.

Well Elizete is progressing a ton. This week we went over to teach the first lesson again and she surprised us that she has quit smoking! It’s been a whole week now! She smoked since she was 10! That's 35+ years. She said her mom did in a pipe and she thought it was pretty. 

She is so happy to stop and feels free, cuz she was a prisoner to it, angry and agitated when she did smoke and when she didn’t too. It’s interesting to see how keeping the commandments leaves us free and breaking them makes us prisoners. Another couple is having super difficulties, they drink and drink and the situation just gets worse and worse, cuz they never escape the problem, just worsen it and are not themselves and fight and feel like hurting themselves or others. 

I knew these things were bad before my mission, but here I can SEE how it actually works. I just think of that scripture that talks about the devil leading people carefully down to hell. Because it is so true, starts by a little bit today a little tomorrow and then next you’re the drunk guy passed out on the street every afternoon. Brain-dead. It's sooo sad that people don’t want to listen to the commandments that bless us.

GOT TP?  We ran out of toilet paper and found this in the church.

WOW!  Almost as good as IHOP back home!

Lauren with one of their investigators

Well, work is going good in the new area, bayeux centro. the members are giving tons of references, Thursday the entire day until 7 was references! The members are awesome! Next week we're going to have a noite de integraçao an activity for people to bring their friends and its all about missionary work.

Conference was great! i love the talks and all the things i was able to learn from the speakers and the spirit. it was so neat to hear all the apostles and i cant wait to get the conference liahona to read. especially because the priesthood session is always really good. really cool hearing elder Bednar thinking he got revelation to talk about revelation her in joao pessoa.(read or watch)  What stood out to me most was the talk by and he said we will be Judged first for what we do, our actions and second for what we desire. We might have good intentions in our hearts, God will take that into consideration, but we have to act. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 26). You need them both. we had several people that came too and wellington came to 3 sessions. he loved it! Even took out his earring, and we never said anything. ALmir and his mom came, and elizete, elisangelas mom.  

Wiliana is progressing, shes been to church about 2 months now and yesterday after the conference she ran up smiling and super happy to let us know that she knows the church is true. She is a super sweet girl and she deserves to be happy. Well anaflavia is still going and teaching with us and she is thinking a lot about serving a mission! hahah! we are super excited and she totally is liking the idea.

Sunday we were walking to lunch and on the way i said hi to a lady like normal. Then that evening, yesterday, when we went to almirs. It was late, 8:30, and we felt like we should stop by.  I clapped my hands (in Brazil you clap your hands in front of the house instead of knocking on the door) and called out almir!   Then a lady came to the door and opened a mini door and stuck out her face and smiled! Which was kinda weird cuz ppl normally look a little weird or confused. She opened the gate an said "i knew you would come, i saw you today, down there and you said hi and god told me in my heart that girl in the black dress, those two girls, are going to your house today looking for your son." Man i felt the holy ghost so strong and a peace and it was amazing that she knew that we would come. i don't remember her face when i first saw her, but isn't it amazing how God puts the people in our path!!!! God is really in control and he has a plan for us, we just have to do what is right!!! man and she has soooo much faith. her other son has past through many trials too, but man after she told us i just loved amlir so much and heavenly father too cuz i have the opportunity to be an instrument in his hands. i get to see so many miracles and how many of his children are suffering. everybody needs the gospel. Jesus Christ fixes everything and seeing it makes soo much difference in my life to see these people broken and now made whole. Being a missionary is the best thing in the world!