October 9, 2013

First Week Of October (October 7, 2013)

So, Piura was a nice little break. It is a 5 hour trip both ways so it was a lot of sleeping and reading, which I was fine with. On the way back, we even got the treat of hearing a man stand up and give us a 37 minute (yes, I timed it) lecture on the poor health of the United States and how if Perú does not want to be like them, they should buy this miracle health drink that he was selling. It was very awkward but also very funny and I couldn´t help but smile the whole time. It was also fun to hear some Bon Jovi music in Español. I tried not to listen to follow the mission rules, but I did have to at least listen enough to hear the title so I could write it down for the post-mission. 
The food of the week is chifles: fried banana chips. They are light yet crispy and salty without being greasy. They are truly wonderful little snacks and they are only half a sole so it made my day when I got my hands on them. I will try to remember to bring back bags and bags for everyone to try (because it has to be authentically made in Perú, de verdad). 
Oh, but time out for sports. This week it was an all-out-war on the Gringo in futbol (soccer). I teamed up with 2 other hermanos from the ward and we played against my companion and some kids from the street, but really it just felt like everyone was against me 1) because I´m garbage at soccer and 2) because it is pretty funny to show up a 6 foot 2 inch tall Gringo when you are only a 4 foot tall Latino. I still enjoyed it, though. Quizás I will return just as good as the natives! 
The big news for the week, though, was the baptism for Hermano Andres this past Sunday. 2 hours before General Conference we decided to hold the baptism service for Andres and we actually had a pretty good turn out of members at the service. I got to sing in English for part of it and then lead the congregation in singing the rest of the hymns in Spanish. The baptism itself was also very interesting as Andres is quite old and so he struggled to get into the font and go under the water, but he finally was able to, and he had the biggest smile on his face afterwards. He then gave such a powerful testimony that he knew God lived and loved him and that he hoped his family too could know this through his example today of following the Savior. I really look up to this man and hope his family will be blessed for his faith.
Well that is all for this week. My prayers are with you all and I hope everyone is enjoying October! Gracias, todos!

-Elder Dax Rich

September 30, 2013

Greetings to all and a happy last day of September! I am hearing how wonderful New England is right now with the changing leaves and cool weather, and I smile and cry at the same time because here it is getting hotter and the sancudos (mosquitos) are multiplying by the millions. But that is okay, I will enjoy the Fall vicariously through everyone back home. So, first off, la semana en el pesado. My companion and I have been working a lot with helping teach members the missionary lessons so that they can feel more confident in sharing the Gospel and helping come with us to teach investigators (pretty crafty plan, eh?). Anyways, while we were teaching a family, their TV (which was on the BYU International chanel) suddenly started a program which was the General Relief Society Conference broadcasted from Salt Lake. So, we got to see the entire Relief Society Conference as well as see President Monson speak. I found I really miss hearing his voice, because a translator´s voice over President Monson´s just isn´t the same. Oh well, esta bien. The good news for this week is that I am going to Piura tomorrow and having a training session (but more accurately, a reunion) with my fellow MTC Piura elders, so the gang is getting back together! It is like getting to have Christmas in October! Also, at the end of this week is General Conference, and during that time on Sunday morning, we are baptizing an elderly man into the church. But, this elderly man is not just an old fellow. He is one of the most amazing people I have met here, so I am super excited. Perhaps a bit about him: his name is Andres and he is 83 years old. He doesn´t hear very well and needs a cane because he has severe knee problems, but he has the faith of a giant. He was one of the first people I taught when I came to Pampa Grande, and now I have the opportunity to see him be baptized. He is such an amazing example of love and faith in God. He told us that he wanted to set an example for his entire family of faith and diligence, and so he wanted to be baptized to cleanse himself of all the sins in his past and he wants to change everything he does that is not in harmony with the commandments of God. So, when we taught him about the Word of Wisdom and not drinkind coffee, he at first was surprised, but then said "if that is God´s will, I will do it" and by the next lesson he had thrown out all of the coffe and tea in his house. He trys so hard to obey every commandment we teach him and he prays with such love and faith to God. He is an amazing man, truly, and I am so excited to see him enter the waters of baptism next Sunday! Anyways, that really is about it for this week. We visited a very...interesting museum and historical site which you can see in the pictures, but really it is just a pile of sand that people lived in. Welcome to Perú! I hope all is going well for everyone back home and please know my prayers are with you all! Sincerely, Elder Dax Rich

September 23, 2013

So first off a super great scripture that has been super helpful for me personally and in lessons with other people. In the Book of Mormon, in the book of 3 Nephi, there is a stellar scripture about prayer and in Español it reads: "y cualquier cosa que pidáis al Padre en mía nombre, si es justa, creyendo que recibiréis, he aquí, os será concedida." I love the scripture so much, it just rocks! So this week I had a lot of fun with Spanish. First off, I took a Spanish comprehension test, specifically on grammer, and I got a 50%. Normally I would just hang my head in shame, but basically it means I went from 0% knowledge of Spanish 2 months ago to 50% accuracy in a fluency test. So, good day in Tumbes! I also gave my first talk in Spanish in church. The ward mission leader came up to us one day last week and said that he wanted us to give talks, and so my companion said, okay well my companion can probably talk for 5 minutes, to which the ward mission leader said nahhh he can do 10. Challenge accepted. I gave a 15 minute talk straight in Spanish. Point 1: Elder Rich. I also cool cultural experiences from the week to share with everyone in the Estados Unidos. First off is music. The music is jamming down in Perú, quite literally. People just turn up their stereos to full blast and play music for hours. We were walking and right in the middle of the street was 6 loudspeakers blasting Spanish dance music, and only 4 people were listening to it. Yet no one complained. People were just sitting out in front of their houses reading the paper, not caring at all. It was quite glorious for a music lover. We also have this obnoxious yet pretty cool catepillar train car that drives around every night playing a car alarm (literally, its horn is a car alarm) and busing around families with little kids who apparently love car alarms. But this little train doesn´t just go once around the block for the kiddies, oh no, it goes 10 times around this area from 9 until 11 everynight. It is quite interesting, obnoxious, and cool. I want one for when I go home. I also helped a lady redo her house. This was done by first moving the furniture to one part of the room, pouring mounds of dirt in the desired new area, pouring a mixture of soap and water on the dirt to help it compact, and then moving the furniture onto the new area. It was very unique, but nice and easy. We need easy home-maintence like this. With this little bit of time left I would like to share something I learned in my study of the Bible. First off, it has been interesting being in a Catholic-dominated country because the Bible is like the newspaper here: everyone just reads it casually everyday. Thus, we use the Bible pretty much every lesson and so I have been studying a lot from it. Anyways, I have found it interesting in the book of Éxodo (Exodus) that everytime people get blessings from God like crossing the parted sea to escape the Egyptians, getting manna from heaven, getting sweet water or even water from a rock, the people end up murmuring and wanting more. It is sillyness, but sadly it is the way of human nature. A good lesson for me to remember to count my blessings each day. Anyways, thanks for everyone´s thoughts and prayers. I read from Aimee´s blog that BYU didn´t fair too well against the U, and all I can say to that is obviously someone got paid off in that game. Crazyiness. Oh and another side note, I also keep wishing I had spell check here but I do not, so count your blessings! Sincerely, Elder Rich