Dearest family and friends of mine,
Real quick I'm changing the way I'm sending out my emails. I'll send y'all my weekly instead of adding it to the blog. If there are any objections please let me know.
So this week was full of mixed emotions. First part of the week finishing packing and saying Goodbye to a bunch of awesome members in the Garrisonville ward. I will remember this ward and the people here, who are great to the missionaries. I am however excited to tell you about my new assignment. Remember about two weeks ago I told you that I got a transfer hint? Yes sir indeed it is come to pass. The prophecy given to me by President Smith has been fulfilled by my new assignment to serve in... drum roll please........ Downtown Richmond! Second part of this prophecy was me becoming companions with a prior companion. Elder Ellsworth. The only reason that this was been able to happen is because Elder Ellsworth departs from the mission April 21. So I've been given the exclusive honor to kill this missionary off. Along with me and Elder Ellsworth, the companionship we have been given a third companion, The most legendary Elder Woods. We live with two other Elders named Elder Morris and Elder Larson, who serve in the southern half of the branch.
Downtown Richmond is definitely the most interesting place I've ever served in. I arrived to our apartment on Wednesday, we unpacked and got ready to go out and experience our first taste of the greater Richmond area. Most of the proselyting in this area is done by street contacting. We've been out a couple times trying to find new people, since the area is lacking a little. People here freaking wacko man, one of the first people we met started rapping to us. A little vulgar, but it was sweet none the less. Most of the people we run into are VCU students on their way to class. We still contact them, but there are YSA elders, so we try to focus on some of the areas where the working class lives. Being with a prior comp is strange because we already know eachothers teaching styles, however it's fun to be in a trio because we testify like mad.
The crime rate in Richmond is pretty high. In fact, there's been about 18 homicides so far in 2017. Because of that statistic it's a rule for the missionaries serving Richmond to be in by dark so they are out of danger from all the gang activity. So the first days we were here we went proselytizing in the government housing area or the hood as some people call it. Usually the ghetto is probably a place you would like to stay away from. In fact, when we were knocking doors, we saw an officer of the law putting up a subpoena and then hurrying away. I asked him what he thought of the area, and he subsequently told us that we were braver to be there than he was. The Lord is truly on our side as far as the work is concerned in Richmond. A couple of the prior Elders have been near shootings, drug deals, or pretty much everything else that that you can imagine. It's all happened in he slums of Richmond. However through all these events we've always seem to be protected. Been told by mission president as long as we are obedient and diligent to keeping the mission rules we will be safe as we hasten the work of the Lord in Richmond.
We had the wonderful opportunity this weekend to hear from the general authorities of the church! We attended general conference from the Grace Road building in Richmond, which is a converted business complex. Saturday sessions it was just elders, and on Sunday we had other members of the branch come and watch it. One of my favorite talks given was by Elder Ronald A. Rasband. That talk was straight fire. Anyway if you didn't pay attention to that talk, go back and read it!
Love y'all so much! Richmond is the city of art so everytime I see a sweet mural I'll put up a pose and snap a pic! Talk to you soon!
~Elder Caleb Gibbons