September 16, 2013

September 9 and September 16 letters

Always A Good Time Out Here (September 16, 2013)

Another really good week out in Tumbes! First off, it sounds like I will be in Tumbes for 16 more weeks, so past Christmas. This also means I will be in one of the most heavily mosquito populated areas of my mission for Christmas, the prime time for mosquitoes to party. So while everyone back home has a white Christmas, I may have a red one... because my whole body will be swollen from mosquito bites. So funny. Oh also an interesting fact about Tumbes and Perù in general: Tumbes and Lima (and maybe more, but for sure these two) are considered to be in different time zones, but the difference is only 5 minutes. So for TV programs, they will announce (por ejemplo: Finding Nemo 21:00 Lima, 21:05 Tumbes). It is very different, but I guess it means they are more accurate in terms of being on time.

I also got one of the most baller haircuts ever last week. My companion and I went to a very sketchy little hub of shops and walked into this tent where like 20 hair-cutters were huddled together. Right when we walked in, they all started waving their barber knives (or whatever you want to call them) and I just awkwardly walked to the first one I saw. The lady gave me a nice haircut, and then spoke in Spanish afterwards, to which I just nodded and said "Sì." So, she began to massage my head, and then my neck, and then gelled my hair. She then spoke more in Spanish and so I said "Sì" and so she whipped out her knife and gave me a Sweeny Todd-like shave (minus the blood), and then put cream on my face afterwards to make it nice and smooth. In total, my experience cost about the equivalent of $2.25. It was by far the best deal ever.

But, now to something a little more spiritual. On Tuesday we went to go meet with a new investigator and found that his daughter was extremely ill. The family needed to take her to the doctor`s but due to time and money, they could not for 2 more days, and so they were very discouraged and turned us away immediately. However, we offered to give the daughter a Priesthood Blessing, and explained that it was a blessing with the power and authority of God, but only worked through faith both on the recipient`s end and the family`s. The family agreed to the blessing, and while I did have a lot of problems giving a blessing in Spanish, I did finally complete my part and my companion did his part. Afterwards we left quickly and said we would stop by later that week. Well, we stopped by Friday, and we were instantly welcomed in. The family told us that the blessing caused a miracle to happen. Right after the blessing, the daughter pucked again, but then suddenly stopped moaning and was able to sleep. The next day she then said she felt totally fine, and was walking and had no pain. So, the family cancelled the trip to the doctor`s and the daughter had been totally fine ever since. It truly was a miracle, and so we used the experience to talk with them about the Priesthood of God. I had never seen the Spirit work so hard on a family as I did with this family. I know the power of God is real and exists in our time to help people just as it did in time of Jesus Christ. I am constantly impressed at the power of the Holy Ghost in people`s lives, and I am so glad I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to proclaim the Gospel of Peace to a people who need to know that God is real and knows everyone of His children.

Everyday is another adventure, but I can`t write them all here, because I need to save some for my own journal! Hahaha, anyways thanks for everyone checking in on me. I hope all is going well back home, and know that you are all in my prayers everyday. 

Ever onward,
-Elder Dax Rich

Week 2 in the Field (September 9, 2013)

A lot of interesting experiences happened this week here in Perú! It is a fantastic mission and I know I will be experiencing some truly remarkable experiences here as time goes on.

First off though, I wanted to say something about JR. I Heard about JR when I called home from the airport after the CCM, and I just cried right there in the airport with my friends. JR was such an inspiration to me, and many other people, of following your passions and loving other people. JR always showed extreme kindness to others and I only remember how much he helped me and cared about me. I know it was because of his amazing character that he was blessed so dearly in life. I also know that we will see him again. In fact, it is because of that reason (and many others) that I want to be out here. The message of the Gospel of Jesús Christ is many things, but one big part of that is the plan for all of us to live with our loved ones again. People need to know that there is life after this life and that this isn´t the end. It breaks my heart when I see people break down in tears beliving they just lost a loved one forever. And with 9/11 just two days away, memories of that pain for others resurface in my mind. Specifically, we taught a 14 year old boy yesterday who just lost his mother and has now decided to join a group of boys who drink, party, and do drugs. As we taught him he cried and said he wanted to change. He knew his mother would not approve of his choices and he felt so dirty. We testified that the message of the Gospel of Jesús Christ would bring peace and guidance to his life, and I shared a scripture in the Book of Mormon, Alma 40:11-12. The scripture talks about what is after this life, and that after this life, those who had good Works (like this boy´s mother, and JR) will be received into a state of happiness, a state of rest. I know that is so true with all of my heart. I want everyone to know that truth and that is just one reason why I am so glad I can be out here and preaching this Gospel.

Also, to add some notes on culture here: the food is suuuper baller. The portions are unhealthily large and the food is muy rico (rich). I love the food here. However, there are other parts about the culture that take some getting used to, for example: women breastfeeding right in front of you during a lesson. We literally would be sitting there teaching and the mother would just lift up her baby, whip out her breast, and keep talking like it was nothing. Very different indeed.

Okay, lastly: baptism. Saturday was the baptism for a new member of the church, and we asked for his friend to do the baptism. It was so powerful to see a friend baptizing a friend into the Church of Jesús Christ, and we were all so excited and moved by the experience. Also, we have challenged two other people to be baptized, and while I don´t want to baptize many people myself (because I think it is better if they have a friend in the church do it to make it more meanigful and memorable), I may baptize one of them! So, in the next month I may have a baptism under my belt to share with everyone!

Also, the coolest Word in the world is my last name when pronounced by a Latino. It is just so funny: it is either Elder Reeeech or Elder Risssssssh. I just smile and say, exactly! (I also like Elder Rico, but I am not suppossed to go by that.)

Anyways, thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers! You are all always in my prayers. I hope everyone is enjoying a new school year and a new month as well. I look forward to hearing from everyone as time goes on!

Elder Dax Rich

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