Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 9th

WOW! Thank you so much for the Christmas Package I love it all. You are the best. It came Tuesday morning and so we were able to have Christmas rerun and it was perfect. I am excited.
All right so this has been another busy week. Elder Boswell and I have been on lots of exchanges and witnessed lots of miracles. Great things are taking place here in the EMM.
One of the exchanges I went on was with a missionary from Sacramento named elder eggers. He has learned Chinese on his mission and is doing wonderful. He goes to BYU so we will be friends when he gets back….

So I have a bit of a confession. The Gregsons are an amazing office couple and are finishing up their mission this week and just took us out for lunch so my time is a bit short. We went to this little cafe in Knutsford and it had all these old fashioned bicycles with massive wheels. I had never seen anything like it but it was definitely English and the food was great. 
The longer I spend in this mission the more I appreciate how wonderful it is. I have come to see that there are many missions within the mission of finding teaching and baptizing. What I mean by that is we have the mission of building our companions, our families back home, the wards and ward members, those we have stewardship over, and lastly ourselves.  Each day my perspective grows and I learn more about the test of mortality. Everyone is at different levels of understanding and application but we have the fortunate opportunity to help people understand what it’s all about. How lucky are we? 
You’re all great.
Love, Richard
Dad- that is a crazy statistic where did you get that from? 20% LA Rms? Also, that sounds like great plans for when you come. I have a good idea for what we can do and whom we are going to see for the most part. I printed the talk and will read it later. Also I am familiar with that scripture in Moses and love it. Thanks    
Paige- no email? How is porters face?
Chareese-love the pictures thank you so much Darien’s baby is really cute.
Rowland-alright brother I will be honest I have been in a car for the past year+++. I am not so sure about 17 miles in the Grand Canyon. I was thinking more of a beach with a pina colada. However, if you both are really passionate about it I will. 

January 2- 9th


I loved the pictures! Thank you for sending them. Are you home yet?

Alright so this week was great. New Years Eve we went to a senior couple’s home, the Canons, and watched Narnia with a bunch of other missionaries. It was lots of fun. They fed us great food and pointed out all the doctrinal symbolism.  New Years day we were able to go back to brother wellingtons home. He is the man that wrote Lehis journey in the wilderness. We got indoctrinated for another 3 hours on ancient temples! Brother Wellington is an orthodontist and has done very well for himself. Sadly his wife passed away and all of his children are now grown up so he now has lots of time on his hands to research and study ancient history (he is probably only 50). He has so much knowledge and remembers it all, really he is an amazing man. There is now another book that I want to read and thankfully this one is only 60 pages. It is written by a woman named Margaret Barker, Temple Theology. She actually is not a member but has done lots of research on ancient temples and this book explains lots of the symbolism that we already believe that Joseph Smith has restored that most of the world has no clue about. She is a world renowned scholar and good friend of the church. Apparently she goes to BYU and gives seminars often. I look forward to sharing with you some of the things that she has discovered.

Alright I will keep this one short and to the point. Things are going great, still a little bit too fast but I love you all and hope life is wonderful!

Love, Richard

--No parcels have come yet but I am sure it will be here soon.

December 28th- Jan 2nd


It was great to hear from you on Sunday and I am glad that things are going well in Mexico. I talked to someone who had been to the ruins there and they said it all sounded a little far stretched…not enough evidence supporting the commentary given. Tell me what your thoughts are.

All right so we just had transfers today and it has been really busy. We just finished the finalized plans for this transfer and it is jam packed with all sorts of events. Because of all the things going on I have a feeling this transfer will go by faster than desired. However, we will make the most of it.

So I inquired a little bit about the travel logistics from London to Manchester. I was told that driving all depends on the traffic and flying is okay but can sometimes be a hassle with all the bags, checking in, waiting, etc. I think your best bet is to take the train. They have ones that go quite fast and will get you here in a little over two hours.

Okay so Wednesday night at nine o’clock you are going to come to the mission home and meet the Preston’s and me and have desert with all the other missionaries that are going home. Then I will go back with Elder Moss and spend the night at a flat whilst you go back to the hotel. Thursday morning I should be ready to go at about 9am.

About hotels... Manchester is about 45 min from Liverpool and Chester. From what I understand we are planning to go to the isle late Saturday night? My question is would you like to stay in one hotel the whole time in Manchester or would you like to move to Chester on Friday? Chester is also about 45min from Liverpool. Any hotel for Manchester in the city center is great. I know there is a nice Hilton only because it’s massive and can be seen from my flat. In Chester there is a nice hotel in the centre I think it’s called the Grosvenor hotel but I am not positive. On the isle we can stay at sister radcliffes I am sure or the hotel that the bullocks stayed at was called the sefton if I remember correctly.

My thoughts were…

Thursday- show you around Manchester/ Bolton sis unsworth for lunch, take you to the church history sites in Preston, take some missionaries out to a nice meal in Manchester for dinner

Friday- spend the day in Chester and go see some of the recent converts. Maybe go to a castle in Wales. Show you the beautiful country.

Saturday- take you to Liverpool see the docks and the cathedrals. Spend some time viewing the city. Travel to the isle.

Sunday- Church on the Isle. Sales for lunch or maybe dinner they already told me they are feeding us. Then off to explore the isle. Lots of places only a little time. Tell me, are we flying from the isle to Manchester to home or have you no booked any travel from the isle? We can fly to the isle or we can take the ferry. In the winter the ferry is about 4 hours and sometimes delayed because of bad weather and doesn’t travel that frequently. The only reason why the ferry might be what you want to do is because we will want a car for the short time we are there and if you wanted we could take the car on the ferry. I don’t know if that is cheaper or more convenient but I am sure you will be able to figure it out. My preference would be to fly but that is only because last time I travelled I on the ferry I almost lost my cookies. Yikes!

Hope this helps.

This week one of our recent convert fellow shippers was asking us about miracles. He wanted us to tell him some of the experience that we have had on our mission that was consider miraculous. Elder Boswell and I both shared a few stories and that was the end of it. However, as the day went on I continued to ponder on his question about miracles. I have been thinking a lot about it and the conclusion I have come to is that God is playing a major role in each of our lives but only sometimes we recognize it and when we do recognize it we consider it a miracle. I have found that as I spend more time thinking about all the blessing I have received in my life the more I see the miracles in everyday life. One of the greatest miracles I have come to recognize from this is that God loves us each so much that He is willing to help us constantly whether we recognize it or not.

A quote that I really like is “Memories are a testimony of the past, Faith is the testimony of the future.”  

Have a great trip!

Love, Elder C

All right so no package has come in the mail yet and the talk that Patti sent is from 09. It was a good talk but not the one I think you intended to send me. You can just send it when you get back no rush.

December 19-


I cannot believe it is already Christmas time and most of all I cannot believe that this transfer is beginning to finish up. Time has just been going ninety miles an hour and increasing in speed. Pray that it will slow down for me.

This week at sacrament Elder Boswell and I had two new investigators at church, Sara and Henry. Henry loved church and has been reading the Book of Mormon religiously, no pun intended. Sara is getting her PHD in electrical engineering and is 23. She is from Kent and has never been too religious but has recently felt herself wanting to know the big answers to life’s questions. She was street contacted by another missionary and is preparing for baptism on the 21st.

I have learned so much from President and Sister Preston and would love to tell you a few things but I don’t necessarily want it on a blog for the world to see...Too often we meet members who have been on missions or who have had children on missions and they want us to know that they too have been assistants or zone leaders or whatever it is and I just would prefer to keep things like that quiet. In the end it doesn’t mean anything but that you had an opportunity to serve. Having said that please do not post any of this.

This week, because of Christmas, we had transfer planning. Wow, it was truly one of the greatest meetings I have ever had on my mission. President Preston, Elder Boswell, and I met up early in the morning at the mission office and open a huge fourfold board with all the areas and missionaries. We then started with a prayer and began discussing the missionaries one by one and the area they were going to go and the companion they were going to have. There are many times when I have felt that I have received revelation but this was very special. Everything went into place. It took the whole day and then the whole of Saturday morning but as we discussed the individual needs and the circumstances surrounding each missionary we found the spot they were supposed to go. After having fifteen transfers at the disposal of someone else it helped me realise the importance of the decisions we were making. But most of all, we are not the ones making the decisions.

I look forward to speaking with you soon. I will ring at about 1pm our time. We have church at 10 and then a tea appointment at 230 and so I think this would work best. Sorry I know that is really early but it’s just one of them things. If you would like me to ring you after your church in the evening time that might work just let me know when the earliest you would be home by if this is no good. I probably wont get on my email and so if you email the office couple they will let me know. Sister Ringer and Gregson most amazing office wives ever! Also, sorry no skype you are just gonna have to wait a few more weeks to see my face.

Love, Richard

Ps. The Clasons sent me a little package and the Worthens sent me a check. The package you sent has not made it yet.  

December 12th-19


This has been another terrific week full of exciting experiences. First off I will tell you about a miracle in Bolton.

Whilst on an exchange with Elder Johnston (new missionary from billings Montana), He and I had an appointment up in Bolton (my first area). The appointment was confirmed but when we knocked on the door he wasn’t in. I remembered a Hungarian family that I had previously taught at the beginning of my mission, the Balogs. They were very close to baptism but needed to go back to Hungary and get married.

Unfortunately, transfers came and they lost contact with the missionaries. We knocked by and low and behold they were ecstatic to see us. They informed us that they were now married and wanted to know why no missionaries had come to see them. As we spoke they talked about the wonderful spirit they felt in their home many months ago when Elder Sturt and I were teaching them. They said it was the best and they wanted it back. After reading some scriptures with them we helped them understand the spirit is what had been missing. Elder Johnston committed them to baptism and they accepted. I am really excited and look forward to seeing how things go. The best part is Eva (the mom) doesn’t speak hardly any English but the one Hungarian missionary in the mission is serving in Bolton. So many lessons to be learned from one experience. First is never be discouraged (the original app. that we drove 30 min to and fell through) because we cannot always see the big picture. Second is, always listen to prompting that you receive. Third never lose hope sometimes people just need a little extra time. Lastly, there is no such thing as coincidence. If the man was home and we taught him there is no way we would have stopped by their home.

Another miracle is on our way to church we had little extra time and tried by a former. When we knocked by the man who we originally wanted to see wasn’t in but Henry who answered the door said, “I have 15min would you like to come in.”  He is from Lithuania and a converted Christian and speaks over 5 languages and uses them for his work. His family has no beliefs but he has always felt there is more out there. He knew a little about Mormons and his impression was that they are hard working prosperous good people. After we taught him he was really excited to read the book of Mormon and also accepted baptism. His only concern was he wasn’t sure if our values were conservative enough for him! Can you believe that? The best concern I have ever had to resolve.  

So over the next two weeks President and Sister Preston are having each of the missionaries come over to their house divided into zones (we have seven zones in the mission). We will have a specialized training and on top of that sister Preston will cook a full Christmas dinner. I do not know how she is going to do it because on top of making 7 full Christmas dinners she has to make an 8th dinner for the departing missionaries. Can you imagine the dishes let alone the work that would take? It will be a really fun experience for everyone though I am sure.  She truly is one of the best cooks in all of England.

That is exciting to hear that you had 26 baptisms in the stake! Do you know how much the Az mission baptizes in a year? What is the name of the mission we live in? Hope all is well and I look forward to hearing from you in a week.

Love, Elder Cunningham

Ps. we go into the office on Mondays and spend most of the day compiling data and making reports and preparation for baptism in the coming week emailing stake president reports etc. Also, I get to write this letter, which is wonderful because these computers here are the best! We go on lots of exchanges but less than the previous assistants because we have to worry about our own area. This past week we went on three

December 5th-12th


Wow, that is frustrating! Let me tell you that I spent a LONG time on last week’s letter and now I cannot even find where it went, why it did not send, or what I wrote about.  The good news is that I am still doing great and the gospel is true!

Okay so I have just made a large list of bullet points and just go over them.

Elder Kerr- he is incredible and actually came back this weekend to attend the mission home fireside. We asked him all sorts of questions about leadership, correction, what he has learned from the brethren, favorite books, etc. he spoke a lot about agency and the importance of choice. He also talked a lot about not settling. He said to make sure that when I go home I make it to the temple every week.

YSA Ward- This was my second Sunday and it went very well. Last week there were only about 40 YSA and our goal has been to double it in the next few months. This past week there was a huge push from the stake presidents of Manchester and Ashton and so this Sunday we had over 100. It was wonderful and one of the best fast and testimony meetings I have been to in awhile. Plus we had both stake presidencies. Lots of power in the room.

Mission Home fireside- The mission home fireside on fast Sunday was wonderful again. Nicky and Mathew from Chester came and they are doing incredible. You would not believe the change. They are so happy and excited for their baptism on the 17th! I bought Mathew a children’s reader and he loves it!

President Business- President took Elder Boswell and I to his business for a lunch that he had to say a few words at for some workers that are leaving. He doesn’t work there anymore but his children still run the company. It was great and you would not believe how much everyone, whether in the church or not love President!

Elder Boswell- I love my companion. He is an incredible missionary and we are actually going to be roommates at BYU in the fall!

Liverpool/ Newcastle- Been on exchanges in both areas and I love Liverpool. It’s dark, dirty, dingy, and yet has a special spirit that is so strong and so great. We taught 5 on the spot lessons in only 24 hours. Unfortunately all of the recent converts of mine have moved back to china but the good news is I have been able to keep I contact with them. They are doing great! Newcastle is where the Schafers live (rob and alias friends) we didn’t get to stop by and say hello but it was good to be in their area.

Zone Conference Temple Donaldson- WE had zone conference this week at the temple. It was wonderful and the spirit was so strong. Elder Boswell and I were able to go on both days tue and thur. The mission is split in 2. Before going into the first session we ran into President and sister Walker who is the president of the Preston MTC now who is also the former temple president of SLC temple! We asked him what advice he had for us before going to the temple. He and his wife (president Hinckley daughter) wrote a book on understanding the temple. He told us that every sentence in the temple relates to Jesus Christ atonement. He said to focus on one sentence apply it to Jesus Christ atonement and then relate that to your life. It is great. You should look for the book.

President and Sister Preston- they are truly so incredible. I have really been able to learn so much from them in these past few weeks. President takes so much time on each individual. He truly cares about the one and ministers “one by one” like the scriptures say. They are wonderful!

Weather – the weather is cold but it hasn’t snowed yet so that is a good sign!

Dylan- All right before I leave you I want to tell you about a miracle. Whilst getting ready for a meeting president called us and told us he was going to be 20 min late. We were in the car so we looked for a place pulled over and started finding. We weren’t too happy about the area seeing as though it was predominately Muslim but we only had a few minutes so got out. Speaking to everyone, I found a Chinese man went up to him and went I got closer he said “HEY!” This young mans name is Dylan and I used to teach him about a year ago in a different city. He had been back to china and had moved around but God literally placed us in his path. It was an incredible experience that just goes to show that this is God’s work and he is in charge!!!!! 

Love, Richard

Paige – the house looks quite posh! Nice job and thank you thank you for the pictures
Rowland- thanks for the email. Glad things are going well. you don’t look chubby from the pics
Chareese-thanks for the emails, candle light tour sounds like a blast. 

Ps. Assistants have never before had an area in the EMM. You could say that elder Boswell and I are the guinea pigs.  Elder Kopischke (the area 70) really wanted us to have an area so that is why we have whitewashed into the YSA ward. Things are going well. It is busy busy busy but it’s a wonderful opportunity to balance the mission responsibilities and the responsibilities of the area.

Pps. Tell the Carrolls to tell Ramsey I cannot email.

Sorry I have not proof read this and have typed as fast as I possibly can! I LOVE you lots!

Sorry again the letter didn’t send!
Oh and I love the pics of mom and dad very classy!

I don’t know what questions you have but if I didn’t answer them just put them at the bottom of you letter or separate them somehow! :)

November 21st


Where to begin… This has been another busy busy weekend. We had two stake conferences and one of them was a change in the presidency. Because of that Elder Kerr and Elder Kopischke (of the 70) came to speak. Whilst here the two of them wanted to get out on the streets and do some missionary work. Elder Boswell and I spent the whole day with Elder Kerr driving him around the mission to different teaching appointments as well as teaching two of our investigators. It was great.

Elder Kerr is an amazing man from Scotland and has children in the Manchester stake.  We have actually had the chance to meet him a few times before but this was a new ball game.  Whilst in the car we asked him question after question and he answered every single one of them. We went and taught one of our dated investigators with him and he committed him to baptism (he hadn’t accepted yet). His name is Kyron from the British Virgin Islands and he is now dated for Dec 3. Thank you Elder Kerr! 

Another miracle is that we went to Bolton so Elder Kerr could teach a French family with the missionaries there. We were supposed to pick him up at 6 and it was 6:05 so we started knocking some doors in a nearby area. We were already out of time but this little English family opened the door and let us in. In about ten minutes we taught the restoration and they all accepted baptism. They were so grateful for our visit and are extremely excited for when we return (or the other elders). 

Also, we stopped by the knights (the family that we witnessed their sealing) and the parents weren’t in because they were at the hospital delivering their 10th child!

This weekend we are going to have a baptism of three amazing people. Gerard and his mum and a friend named Lincoln. The only reason why we are baptizing Gerard’s mum is because the missionaries were teaching Gerard who is a YSA and when she saw the change in him she wanted to start being taught. She will go to the ward just down the road. Lincoln is just another YSA who the missionaries found who is now good friends with Gerard.

I am very excited about being in the YSA ward but I have yet to attend because it was stake conference. It was great because I got to see lots of people from my previous areas. Our new area covers two stakes, which is the size of all of Manchester and Greater Manchester. Everyone within the two stakes that is YSA is supposed to be attending the YSA ward. If any of the missionaries are teaching YSA they have to hand them over and then Elder Boswell and I will travel and teach them. We might not be the most popular missionaries in the mission after this but it is what the investigators need.  Dad asked about whitewashing. President Bullock did whitewash and so does President Preston I just was never involved with one.  Also, Manchester University is the largest university in the area.

Elder Boswell is a fantastic missionary and was trained by Elder Ridley the first assistant who I went on an exchange with at the beginning of my mission. We had a great transfer on the Isle and are having an even greater time now.

Love you lots! Hope all things are going well. If you have any more question please let me know.

PS. The great thing about being in Manchester is all the formers that didn’t get baptized I can follow up with and make sure the ordinances take place!!! Liam and Nicodemus

November 17th

This has been one of the busiest weeks of my mission, but also one of the best. I am now serving in the heart of Manchester in the YSA ward. It is the only one in all of Europe. My companion is Elder Boswell who is my first companion that I served with on the Isle of Man. Great things are going to happen. We are literally walking distance from Piccadilly and it is quite exciting. I will be here for the next two transfers and Elder Boswell will stay my companion. 

Saying goodbye to the Chester ward was just like saying goodbye to the Isle of Man. The Chester ward is one of the best wards in the whole mission and I left with lots of friends. I think I had to make more phone calls last weekend than ever before leaving an area. I spoke to Elder Eliason the other day and he said that everyone is doing very well. Hopefully, if time permits, I will be able to go back to a few of the baptisms.

Elder Boswell and I have whitewashed into the YSA ward and so it will be quite a new adventure. We have a large teaching pool already and an endless supply of potentials.

Love you lots! 

Dad- Thank you so much for the letter you wrote.  Although it’s only a page that would have been extremely bothersome to write!  Also, I am really looking forward to going. It shall be quite the adventure. When it talks about these “trips” in your letter what is it talking about? Also, this mission president that wanted you to write him, is he involved in the Jeff flake side of things or byu?

Mom you are great! I know you know the rules!!! J xoxox This letter is short but I fill you in a little more on Monday!