Keep in Touch!

This blog distributes my emails weekly to anyone who reads it. If you would like to personally message me, please contact me at

Monday, August 31, 2015

Miracles take Work

Shalom, Shalom! San Antonio is still blazing hot, the bikes have been
fast and the work of salvation is rolling forth! I do not believe that
I have ever been so busy in my life. Perhaps the only moment that
could rival the amount of business would be Wednesdays on my second
semester in college, where I started work at 4 in the morning at the
Clyde Building on BYU campus and didn't get off of campus until the
end of Barbershop Choir practice, which usually ended at about 9:00.
Otherwise, no other point in my life have I had so much to do. And
never in my life has it been so rewarding.

On Saturday we had a wonderful lesson with a family of four. The
missionaries knocked on their door about a month ago and have been
trying to teach them a lesson ever since, and my great companion Elder
Nebeker and I as well as a member of the congregation came to the
lesson. The family was so touched that we came and discussed with them
the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we offered them a
Book of Mormon they said that they would read it together as a family
every night, even when their sons (Who are trying to get on the junior
olympic soccer team) were out of town on a tournament. It was quite
amazing to see how much they agreed with us, and were willing to
accept our invitations. To me, it was a great testament of why we do
missionary work. The holy spirit testified of the truthfulness of our
message so strongly during that 45 minutes we had with them. With
people like the Silarios, one cannot help but expect miralcles of
missionary work in their life.

Unfortunately, miracles take work to happen. You can't put on a
nametag and say you are  representative of Jesus Christ and expect you
to turn your coke into pepsi every day. Just because you know and
follow the doctrine of repentance and humility doesn't mean everyone
is going to recognize you as a man of God. Goodness no! Miracles take
work. Many miracles happen only after all we can do, then the
beautiful gift of grace kicks in. Nephi, the son of the prophet Lehi,
only received a spiritual witness of his father's words only after he
read the scriptures, prayed to know of its sayings, and pondered
deeply and humbly. The legendary stripling warriors were saved from
the sting of death only after exercises diligent faith in the commands
of there leader, Helaman. They did not miss an order, they did not
falter in their belief, they simply did the work, even when they were
chased across the countryside, confronted in heavy battle, and faced
with starvation. Likewise a miracle such as the Silario family cannot
happen unless Elder Nebeker and I have done all we can do to fulfill
our purpose as a missionary. Which almost always includes work.

One of the most efficient and helpful things that Elder Nebeker and I
have done is work with members to help them in their missionary
efforts. As missionaries, we have been working alongside many members
of our church to help their personal work of salvation. We do not care
who does, we just want people to come unto Christ and the fulness of
his gospel! It is not our place to steal the blessings of missionary
work from the members of the church. It turns out that if we are the
only two people inviting people to read the Book of Mormon, come to
church, go to mutual, have family home evening, it isn't the most
productive and uplifting thing in the world. But as we help members go
about fulfilling their duty of opening their mouths and preaching the
gospel lovingly and accordingly, there's a lot more missionary work
going on. And, like the investigators that we teach, we follow up with
them, see how they did, and then decide what they can do next. We
don't meet with members for us, we meet with members for them. So they
can receive the blessings of heaven. This is something that Elder
Nebeker and I, along with a little help from other leaders, have been
trying to implement in our areas.

When you are a missionary, you are given the opportunity of a
lifetime. Every day you have the goal of, "How can I be a better
person? What can I do to better serve my God?" Most days this is hard,
because of work, family, sports, quilting, whatever it is. But when
you are a missionary, you have 24 hours every day to to see what you
can do more. It's quite the blessing. And I admit, it isn't what I
thought it would be. But there is one thing that I always knew it was
going to be, it was always going to be worth it. And it is!

Peace, Love, and Happiness,

Elder Richard Hall

Richard went to the baptism of this young man, who he taught in his last area.

This is his new companion from Wendell Idaho

Monday, August 24, 2015


I've been transferred! My time with my wonderful companions Elder
T and Elder A has been untimely ripped and I'm out of my the
Texas San Antonio East Stake. I've been shipped off to a land of gated
communities. I am now covering the Evans Ranch and Indian Springs ward
in the Hill Country stake, and oh my goodness is it hilly. This is my
first area where I have to use a bike, and my hindquarters are
beginning to feel the agony of uneven ground. Luckily for my
companion, Elder N, and I, our two wards don't cover a whole lot
of area. But it does take us about an hour and a half to get to the
far part of our boundaries, and you can count on every single road
being uphill or downhill. It makes me wonder why all of the rich folk
decided to dwell here. The temple is also close by. It is about a mile
and a half from our apartment, and it is on top of a gigantic hill. We
can always see it coming back to the apartment after a long day's work
on the bike. It's a beautiful and comforting vision of why we do
missionary work which would feel much better if I wasn't drenched in
sweat, making my pants a fair two shades darker.

For my mother and father, the name N may sound familiar. That's
because Elder Nebeker comes from the small town of Wendell, Idaho. If
you looked on google maps, it's the town about 10 miles down the road
from my home town, Jerome Idaho. Yep. The world doesn't get much
smaller when you are a member of the church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints. Believe it or not, we actually ran Cross Country
against each other back at home. And now here we are, in San Antonio
Texas, both of us drowning in humidity and giving others the gospel of
Jesus Christ. It is really fun. Elder N is very quiet, so his
training style involves a lot of me tripping over myself and finding
out what works best for me, while he gently corrects and uplifts after
I do it. I love this guy already.

I am living in an apartment with another set of missionaries who cover
the area right above us. Out of the four of us, I am the only one that
isn't Spanish called. In the apartment the three other missionaries
jibe and kibitz in Spanish, and I sit quietly at the table and read
the Book of Mormon in Spanish, trying to pick up something they're
saying. It also makes me lie down at night and think, "I should have
taken another year of Spanish in high school". Well, too late now
Elder Hall.

I'm struggling to find things to write about in this letter, because
there hasn't been too much that has happened. There's a lot of
potential in this area, but right now Elder N and I are laying
down the ground work for the work really begins to go forth. But
missionary work is just like any other work. You have to come up with
a plan before you can do anything. Both of these wards are fairly new,
and the ward boundaries changed less than a year ago, so we are trying
to get the members excited about strengthening the Kingdom of God
through missionary work. Missionary work is hard if there is only two
people who are trying to bring people into the church, but it gets
easier if the members become missionaries too. It's also a lot more
fun! So what Elder N and I are doing is trying to get our
investigators too be taught into the houses of members, and let them
know where the members are in the area. That way they can be assisted
in their spiritual conversion to the church of Jesus Christ by
socially converting to it along the way.

There is a Christian song called "The Body of Christ". It basically
talks about how beautiful it is. No, not the literal body of Christ,
but the church of Christ. Each Christian takes upon them the name of
Christ, and come together to worship in a body. Paul discusses how
each person who believes in God is essential to the group, one can't
do it without the other. If there is one thing that I could leave with
you this week, it is that Christianity is an organized religion, and
that Jesus Christ is the head of it. He has a church on this earth
that has proper authority from God, and that the holy spirit will
testify of it to you when you are ready. God needs every person on his
side, he is reaching out to all of us, his arms are always open to
those willing to come unto Him.

Keep it easy,

Elder Richard Hall

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dear Dad, kind of

Don't get fooled by the subject, this email is for everyone.
Whenever I write to my father I think about the old TV show MASH,
because there would be an episode where Hawkeye wrote to his father,
and almost everything he said would start with, "Dear Dad". It just
made everything so personal and intimate, as if his father could see
everything that I was saying perfectly. So I thought that if I really
wanted you to see and feel what I see and feel by addressing everyone
like this. Here goes nothing.

Dear Dad,
It's transfer week. Tomorrow I get to find out if I stay in my area,
if my companions stay in my area, or if nothing is going to change. I
have no idea, it's going to be in the Lord's hands. I hope that I stay
with my two companions Elder A and T. They are such wonderful
examples of what a disciple of Christ should be. They are incredibly
diligent and their purpose as a missionary is always amplified through
their works. I wish one day to be as good of missionaries as these two
wonderful young men.

In Texas, I wouldn't dare suspect to find anything that would remind
me of BYU, or anything concerning my college days, but, lo and behold,
it happened. We were having a inter-zonal soccer game with about 24
missionaries from all around San Antonio this morning when someone
I've never seen or met ran up and gave me a hug. It was way weird.
Turns out, I'm good friends with one of his closest friends, Ben
Everett, and I lived about 100 feet away from his cousins in my
apartment complex at BYU. We were all in the same ward at one point!
Crazy stuff. Crazy, crazy stuff. He even lived in MAN205, the same
place where my brothers Todd and Keith lived before him. His name is
Elder R- no, not Rhyme-shoe-shul, Rhine-chisel. That's how
you say his name. He's super happy and he wore a shirt that was a
velociraptor with the face of Robert Downey Jr. on it. The Robert
Downey Raptor. Precious moment.
Also, during that soccer game, our team rocked it. Then again, we had
two Mexicans and an Argentinian on our team, so that helped. I also
was about 4 pounds lighter after the game, which still puts me about
10 pounds heavier than I was a month ago. You'd be proud of me Dad, I
know it.

The workload of the lord has been immense this week. we had about 25
lessons with people who came from all walks of life. Two of our
lessons came from B and M, a Catholic couple in their early
40s who are very interested in going into the temple to be sealed
together as a family. We had an excellent lesson on the Plan of
Salvation that by the end both of them were crying and literally
asking us "What does it take to go to the temple?" "What can I do to
be Mormon?" The spirit of the Lord is working tremendously within
these two, and their two young boys. You would never have expected
them to have a fifth of Jack Daniels lying there in the living room
while we taught the lesson. Of course, it is purely ornamental. I
think we can change that.
The food has been amazing this week.

For the third time in just five weeks I had Brisket. Sweet Babies! Why
doesn't the whole world cook Brisket? it is the second most delicious
meet I've ever had, next to In-N-Out Burger. Nothing beats an In-N-Out
burger in California.

Hey Dad, next week I will have spent two months on a mission. Wow. So
much time, and yet so little. Many times I think about it in a light
of fractions. "Wow, 2 months. that means 1 out of the 12 people I'll
meet on my mission I've already talked to. I've already had 1 out of
my 12 P-days. 1 out of 12 dinner appointments with members who
appreciate missionary work. 1 out of 12 Sacrament meetings. Where has
the time gone? Have I done enough? I only have 11 more of these before
it's all gone, and I'm just brother Hall again."
Being a missionary is powerful! Talking to others about Jesus Christ
our lord and Savior 24/7 is the greatest gift I have been given. It is
an excellent privilege that I can't dare think that I am taking for
granted. As god said, "Behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring
to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." I am the vessel by
which His work and glory comes forth. If you have the chance, go talk
to a missionary. Let them talk to you. My favorite favorite favorite
part of being a missionary is getting to know people- getting to love
them. Care for them. I cannot express how great it is to go and talk
to someone about whatever they need. This is His work and His glory.
Dad, I know that you are a great man of faith, but so help me if there
is any doubt or speculation, follow the example of so many before you,

With Love,
Elder Richard Hall, your son

I hope that you felt my message on a little more personal level this
week. I love this church. I love what it does to people when they
fully commit to it. I love you! I trust you! All in!

Elder Richard Hall

P.S.- Some pictures of our district. I am about 6'1, and I'm one of
the smallest people there.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Brother F

Last night we were going to our dinner appointment in the lovely
little suburb town that we cover. In it are mainly people that are
enlisted in the Air Force and fly planes at the base not too far from
our own apartment. But then again, not everyone is Brother Fairbanks.

Who exactly is Brother F? Well, after meeting him, I can
promptly tell you that he is the most interesting man in the world.
Don't believe me? That is because you have never met him. At age six
brother Fairbanks was adopted into a concert Mormon family whose
father was in a stake presidency. For the twelve years of his life he
spent multiple days out of the year spending time with apostles who
came to visit his father, and he even became close enough to them that
he calls them affectionately Uncle Gordon, Uncle Russell, and yes,
Uncle Tommy. At age 11 he began to do ballet classes in upstate New
York. At age fourteen he became the youngest soloist to perform
professionally at the Washington DC opera house and ballet center. Not
only that. But he was also the first African American soloist in about
15 years. At age 19 he received a call from Uncle Tom asking if he was
going to serve a mission or continue in his prodigious ballet career.
After getting accepted to be the first American to dance in the Hong
Kong ballet troupe, he turned it down to go serve a mission in the
Philippines, where he was a branch president and served as President
Oak's assistant for 18 months. After his mission he was a professional
ballet dancer whose career ranged from playing alongside Matthew
Broderick and Hugh Jackman on Broadway, meeting 25 different
presidents and prime ministers, and beating a Russian for the title of
best ballet dancer in the world. I'm not joking. Now he is living in a
suburb in San Antonio for who mows why, and working for the
government. When we asked exact,y what he did for the U.S. Government,
he very politely said, "I work for the government." He is also on a
texting relationship with the prophet of the church.

Holy Gosh! That's amazing! Literally I don't think I met someone with
a story more miraculous! And yet here he is, talking to us and being
so appreciative that we were there,min icing the spirit of the lord
into his house. My companion from Mexico said in a jagged English
accent, "I have never seen more light in a man before" but here is
brother Fairbanks, talking to us and loving us, even as we are. What
made him most interesting is that he knew that the best part of his
life was the gospel, not anything he did in this world. Truthfully, he
was the most interesting if not the most peculiar man I've ever met.

As miraculous as brother Fairbanks is, even he realized that there is
something greater on is life. He knows that what we do in this life is
of little use if we do not have the presence of God in our lives. I
know that he loves us. I know that I am here, talking and meeting and
preaching to so many magnificent people on this mission, and that
every one of them matter to God, no matter how big or small there
accomplishments are. Today I a, rather hard pressed for time, but I
want to let everyone know that God lives, and that he loves all of us.
In Texas, Idaho, Germany, it does not matter. In happiness, despair,
sin, righteousness, he loves us. In the smallest of faiths to the
greatest of wisdoms, I know that he has a love for us.

So what can we do because of that? What will we do with this
knowledge? You can see what I have done, and I have seen what the
investigators of the church whom I am teaching have done, and now I
ask you, what have you done? What can you do? There is always room to
improve, and that is a blessing, far more than a curse. We are all
evidence of his mercy and justice.

With truthful and earnest love,
Elder Richard Hall

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lead Kindly Light

Hello Friends and Family!
This week seemed to rush by. Everything about it seemed to just zip
along. There was a lot of good things and bad things and sad things
and wonderful things, but most of all, these were all missionary
things. This has been the first week since I have been out that I felt
like I was an actual missionary. I'm not so much of a young,
inexperienced kid so much as a missionary who is fully grasping the
purpose of the work and putting it to good use. Don't get me wrong,
I'm still inexperienced and unknowing, but I am finally gaining
confidence. Confidence is a term that accompanies me on the stage of
theaters, but I mainly was shy and not very bold in other aspects of
my life. Now I am getting the hang of not only knowing that something
is true, but also being BOLD with it. The message I have is important!
Listen up! I'm a very submissive, casual person, but I'm getting the
hang of this confidence thing.

I was driving the car after a dinner appointment and we were listening
to some church music. It was here that I found out that Elder Tovar's
favorite band is The Doors. So not only is this guy a wizard at
soccer, from the heart of Mexico City, one of the most respected
missionaries in the San Antonio, and a fantastic cook, his favorite
band has Jim Morrison in it. This guy is great. The rest of the night
I had "Riders in the Storm" in my head as we cruised through the
blazing heat of Texas, through neighborhoods and lush grasslands that
seem to sprout from the cracks of suburbia here in San Antonio.

Last week I talked about how I struggled to find love for other
people, including strangers. That sounds bad, but surprise, I'm human.
Luckily, God answered my questions and relieved my thoughts. People
have been so nice to me this week. We were walking down the street to
visit one of our investigators when we saw a man barbecuing in his
front yard with his kids. We were simply going to leave a card with a
picture of Jesus Christ and our contact information on it, but the man
refused to let us go until we had some of his barbecue wings. And oh
my goodness, The wings were from heaven I tell you.
Now, a complete stranger just shared with us one of the most
delicious, delectable things that I didn't even know existed, and I
feel so much love for him now. I wonder if converts to the church feel
the same way.

We were teaching one of my favorite investigators of the church is a
16 year old named Matthew who understands doctrine better than most
Bishops and Seminary Teachers. He also is completely devoted to
martial arts and studying literature and religion. In his house he has
copies of Dracula, Les Mis, the Quran, the Torah, Old Man and the Sea,
and he just reads them when he isn't working out. Sometimes he has the
best questions ever. For instance, when we were talking about how our
bodies will be perfected after the resurrection of Christ, he stopped
us in mid-sentence and said, "Wait, so if I wanted to split and Oak
Tree in half, by kicking it, I could do that?" You bet, buddy. You

Sadly, he doesn't want to be baptized in the church quite yet, but we
did have someone who did just get baptized. It was my first one! I
didn't get to baptize him, but to quote Paul, "For Christ sent me not
to baptize, but to preach the gospel" (1 Cor 1:17). As a missionary,
our goal isn't to dunk people into the waters of baptism and get them
into church and be a weird mormon like me. That's not my goal at all.
It is to invite others to come unto Christ to help them receive the
restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to help others understand
that if they want to know their God more, and to serve him, then
baptism, faith in Christ, repentance, they are all part of coming
closer unto Him. Our message invites people to give them a knowledge
of their own, so they can participate in beautiful ordinances and
covenants, such as baptism.
And believe me, it was beautiful. The spirit was so strong there as I
taught Thomas the lessons and saw him be baptized in front of his
friends, both members of the church and nonmembers. And the spirit
professed its presence ever greater when I was able to lay my hands
upon Thomas' head, along with my companions and the Bishop's, as we
gave him the gift of the Holy Spirit. If There is one testimony that I
can leave to you, my friends, my family, my loved ones, sons and
daughters of God, it is that He Lives! And that he has a plan for us,
and you can find it in its fulness in his church, the church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I wish to finish this brisk email (But one written much better than
last week's. I reread it after I sent it. It looked like I took my
thoughts into a blender for 5 minutes and them spilled them onto a
page) with a piece of personal study from John 12
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with
you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he
that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the
children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did
hide himself from them.
I only have 23 more months of walking in the light of Christ
continually. That's it! Then I'm off to the world, where finding,
clean, simple, loving light can be hard at times. When we feel the
light, happy, joyous, thankful, what shuold we do? Hold on to it. Take
it for everything it's worth. When you offer some time up to read the
scriptures, make it worth every minute. If a stranger says hello on
the street, smile and make a stranger a friend.You'll notice that the
moments that you have light will grow longer and longer, and
eventually, you won't find that it is missing.

There is a God, and he loves us.

Elder Richard Hall

P.S. Here are some pictures from the baptism! And a bonus of my
companionship and a member of the congregation who's about to serve a
mission in England. I got to know him well in this month.