November 24, 2014

Untitled (November 17, 2014)

Oh, what a week! 

First off: Trivia: Did you know that every 15 minutes, someone gets baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the northeast area of South America? Or perhaps did you know that the first branch of the Church organized in South America was in Lima, Peru? Yeah, neither did I until yesterday. Bacán!

This week Elder Evans of the Quorum of the 70 came. I could not believe it...he was hilarious!!! He doesn`t speak a lick of Spanish, so he talked in English and made sooo many Gringo jokes that literally only we understood. I felt bad for the Latins...but it was la muerte!!!! hahaha. At one point he said something and the translator translated his phrase as: "no pasa nada." The whole mission burst out laughing and Elder Evans asked why, and a Gringo yelled at, "it means "it sucks"!" The whole mission went dead quite, Elder Evans looked at President Rowley, and then after a pause said.....wellllll let`s try to keep this language appropriate for an old guy like me. We died again. I also seemed to be his favorite, because out of the 220 missionaries, he called me out personally several times: to be his partner in an example, to call me a "flirter" and make me an example of what NOT to do when saying hello to sister missionaries, and then to call me "fat" for eating too many Krispie Kream doughnuts. Like I said, this guy was la muerte!!! But, it was also super spiritual and I learned a whole bunch.
But, if that wasn`t enough fun, last night we were on the phone with some district leaders and we got a knock at our door. We opened it to find a young couple standing there who then proceeded to ask if we could teach them English in their house across the street. Elder Eddington and I looked at each other and instantly thought of the part in "The Best Two Years" movie when the elders look up at the heavens in answer to their prayers and the Hallelujah Choir plays in the background. It was pretty excellent.
There was also a load of other stuff, but I will suffice myself by saying that it was a good week. I look forward to Christmas and to talking with many of you in person! I hope you all have a great week and enjoy the pictures!!! ¡Cuídense mucho!
Elder Dax Rich

Adventures in Piura Central (November 10, 2014)

The adventures here never end. I am currently with Elder Eddington and ANOTHER Gringo, Elder Palmer while his companion is in Lima. 3 Gringos = Trouble. We also have a mission-wide meeting this Saturday so I will see EVERYONE from the mission in one meeting. It will be stellar! We will be listening to Elder Evans of the Missionary Board or something like that,.and I will get to conduct the music #drummajorstyle. We have a whole lot of adventures in store this week.

This past Sunday we also got to see something really special. A brother who we visited in the hospital last week came to church. He then asked to speak and told the whole ward that he had been diagnosed with an illness in which only 1 out of every 100 lived. He and his family hadn`t told anyone because of the seriousness of the illness, and he was sure he was dead. Nevertheless, he survived, and he testified to us that it was because of the blessing we gave him and the calling in the church that he had recently received that kept him alive. He told us he knew that the Lord had a job for him to do and that He saved his life so that he could fulfil his calling. Talk about a testimony on callings! 

Anyways, Elder Eddington and I have been doing great. We have a fangroup of 20 6-12 year old girls who follow us everywhere, even to church! We also got gold medals for our last acting pèrformance at a church event last week, so we are the coolest Gringo companionship around! 

I hope everyone is doing well and that you are all feeling the Savior`s love. May we all come unto Him in prayer and faith.

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Selfless Service (November 3, 2014)

To be to the point with this email, I can honestly say that one thing I have truly learned on my mission is that no matter how hard we may have it, there is ALWAYS someone with life FAR worse. Even today, as I was talking with another missionary, I found out that his parents gave him up as a little kid and want nothing to do with him and his adoptive parents aren`t members. Yet, he is here. I have met so many people who come from homes where their parents say the church is full of crazies and condemn their only child for wanting to serve the Lord on a 18 month to 2 year mission. I have met so many others that leave and find out that their mom, their sister, their baby brother, or even multiple members of their families have died while they have been out on a mission.
And those are just missionaries.
The members sacrifice even more. Last Sunday for example a 90 year old woman with cancer struggled up to the pulpit to testify of Jesus Christ and then say that she knew her end was near. I have seen other members who chose to be baptized at the threat of being kicked out of home as a single mother...and they chose to fear God more than man and were then baptized and kicked out of home. I see people who pay their tithing and have nothing. They have water and rice for food and sometimes fast.
I came on the mission saying I had it hard. A lot of tough stuff happened for me when I left on a mission, but I quickly learned that the secret is to love others and make their needs more important than your own. That is why this mission is the greatest two years. It is a time to forget oneself and serve others with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength. I testify as a 12 year member of this church, a 15 month missionary, and a child of our Heavenly Father that I am in the work of the Lord and that this is the only true church. Salvation cannot come by any other mean.
I hope you all have a great week. Pray sincerely and you will know that what I say is true.
- Elder Dax Rich

Going Gringo (October 27, 2014)

Well, I hate to say it, but it may just be better to have a Gringo companion...or it might just be that I have an awesome Gringo companion. Either way, I am quite, quite happy. It is awesome to have someone who gets my jokes and bursts out singing music from "Frozen" at random moments. 
"Do you want to build a snowman?" 
"Go away Elder Rich."
"Okay, bye."
Anyways, I am also loving my area. It is a ward but there is a lot of drama. So, who do you call when there is a "drama" problem? This guy. Good times. I feel like being Maxwell Smart again and solving all of the problems with my shoe phone.
Today, as a highlight, we went to the Miguel Grau Museum. If you want to know who he was, go on Wikipedia, but a summary: he is the navel super hero of Peru. He blew up some ships and died in ship warfare, but he also sailed around the world and visited NYC, so I gave him my respects. I have some pictures, but the "computer shuffle" as I like to call it (looking for computers in random internet cafes) made it impossible to find a computer that had a USB drive. Sorry!
Anyways, more adventures are to be had. I hope you all have a stellar week and lots of happiness. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

October 27, 2014

Dax "Big Z" Rich (October 20, 2014)

Well, big things happened. I am now a Zone Leader and am back in Piura Central! So, about half of my mission will be purely Piura Central. But, that isn`t the craziest part! *Drum roll* My companion, for the first time in Piura-history is a Gringo! (Well maybe not the first time in Piura`s history, but the first time in a super long time!) It is CRAZY to be with a Gringo! His name is Elder Eddington from Utah, and we are now the Dynamic Duo from the USA. Crazyness. 

Also, to add to the craziness, the national mailing system in Peru is on strike. Soooo, I wont be receiving any packages for a while, and thus I advise everyone who wants to to wait until this gets resolved to send me a package or even a card. Crazyness X2. 

It was quite emotional to leave Pueblo Nuevo, and I choked up a few times during this past week as I said goodbye to some amazing families. I have seen the Gospel bless and change families and I will miss this environment and opportunity to help the Gospel spread in a humble town. 

Well, there are LOTS of new things that I will be doing from now on. It will make the mission a lot more...interesting, let`s say, but I am excited for the test and hope to keep everyone involved and up to date on the exciting adventures of Elder Rich!

Thanks and best of luck to everyone! ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Last Beach Day (October 13, 2014)

Well, today marked the last P-Day for me in the beaches of Paita. And, to celebrate it nice and good, we went to the beach closest to Pueblo Nuevo: the beach in Colán. It is also the only beach you will find if you look at most traveler´s guides about beaches in Piura. It was quite sweet, but it turned into a big game of monopoly after a series of interesting events transpired. Oh well.

So, the week was quite an interesting week of emotions and faith. The highlight (besides the conferences) was a super cool moment I had on Thursday. So, if you all remember, a while back I sent an email about the "Book of Mormon Challenge" to prove if the book is divinely-inspired, or not. Well, Thursday, I took the REAL Book of Mormon Challenge. I have always heard stories of people praying, opening up the Book to a random page, and then finding the EXACT answer they needed to a question. I won´t tell you all of the details transpiring to the event, but I did just that. I gave a quick prayer, whipped open the book to a random page, read one first, and then thought to read the next verse too. Those two verses contained EXACTLY the information and guidance I needed in that exact moment. I was blown away, and my testimony of the Book of Mormon shot through the roof. So, thanks to this REAL challenge, yes, I do testify that the Book is divinely-inspired.
Well, next week were get transfers. I will be leaving and only the Lord knows where I will go. Let´s wait and see! I pray the best for everyone back home and hope that everyone is healthy and happy! Enjoy your October! ¡Cuídense!

- Elder Dax Rich

Going With the Wind (October 6, 2014)

My six months in Pueblo Nuevo are coming to their end. I spent part of the weekend this past weekend here in Paita and saw a few of the conference sessions, and prepared myself for what will be my penultimate week in Paita. Still much to do, but now I am kind of just going with the wind. Supposedly the President will be stopping by Paita tomorrow, and might stop by and check on us so that is exciting if not freaking intimidating, haha. Pero así es la vida.
The work of salvation keeps on rolling here. We are all working on getting more baptisms, meeting new families, and spreading the Gospel (which speaking of, is now VERY HARD because all of the workers in the mailing department in Paita have gone on strike so I can´t send ANYTHING until these people calm down and get back to work. Freaking strikes). We haven´t had many new things happen this week, but certainly I have had some great spiritual experiences through personal prayers and through my relationship with God. I hope everyone who reads this prays or at least gets the chance to pray once a day. There is nothing as special or as encouraging as a heart-filled, sincere, and faithful prayer. Truly there is a God in the heavens who hears our prayers and knows us perfectly. 
I truly do love being a missionary in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no other truth except that given by the Christ Himself. I hope everyone can be brought into the fold of the Good Shepard one day and that we can all be together as family and friends for all time and eternity. 

Gracias a todos y espero que tengan muy buena semana. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Milagros cada día (September 29, 2014)

That is the best part of being a missionary: looking for the miracle in every single day of your 18 months - 2 years. Sometimes they are a bit harder to find, but sometimes they are pretty obvious and give you an overwhelming sense of humility and gratitude.
To share one with you, yesterday was the first Sunday after the baptism of the family we baptized last week, so that meant it was the day of their confirmation. However, the daughter had repeatedly told us that it would be impossible for her to come. She had already gone through a brutal time asking for one day off to be baptized and one more time just wouldn´t fly. We prayed for her, but knew that sometimes the Lord has other plans. Well, obviously His plan was for her to be confirmed, because seconds before we closed the door to confirm her parents members of the church and give them the gift of the Holy Ghost, she ran through the door and took a seat in the front. We were pretty blown away.
I then had another HUGE spiritual experience seconds later when I was asked to confirm the father who I had baptized the week before and the little boy who I had also baptized the week before. (Confirming someone a member of the Church and giving them the gift of the Holy Ghost was the only ordinance I had not priorly performed, but I got my chance two times!) I felt the Spirit guide my words and thoughts as I promised blessings and transfered divine powers to these two sons of God. It was a very unique experience, and I physically felt exhausted afterwards haha. I felt like Ammon in Alma 27:
"Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength."
Yeah, basically it was a good week. Anyways, I hope you all have a great week, and I hope the Spirit of the Lord can guide each and everyone of you with the Light of Christ that dwells in each and everyone of you. May we all be spiritually humbled in preperation for General Conference this week! Todos debemos asistir! 

Mucho amor y muchas gracias,

Elder Dax Rich

September 22, 2014

Family Style (September 22, 2014)

Well first off (since I don´t have the pictures of these) I will share with you that I ran into two super-awesome elders. 1) Elder Tunney: my pata from the CCM who I hadn´t seen in literally one year! He is now a DL also and so during the District Leader Training, he was killing everyone with his jokes and wonderful charisma. Two thumbs up. 2) Elder Farias: my pata from Tumbes! Yes, he was a young man of a family who lived in my first area in Pampa Grande and wasn´t sure about going on a mission. Well, I tried to excite him and get him working on his papers, and well one year later, here he is serving in his own mission! He is now a full-time missionary in the Piura, Perú mission!!! Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

Okay, now for the family information. Hermanos y hermanas: may it be known that for the first time in my mission, my companion and I baptized an entire family!!! The Coveñas Rodriguez family was baptized yesterday (along with an 8 year-old son of our pensionista) and it was a day none of us here in Paita will soon forget. We did the baptism in Paita (because obviously we don´t have a chapel in Pueblo Nuevo #grupofamiliar) and sooo many people attended! I even organized a musical number with two youth playing violin and piano while the district (in the other picture below) sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Spanish (watch out David Archuleta, Elder Rich is making his debut in Perú). Each of the three family members then bore their testimonios of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each one spoke 15 minutes and I felt like I was in General Conference again...freaking hahaha. It was super spiritual and we were very happy and filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Now, to look for more families!

In our mission, our new emphasis is talking with EXCLUSIVELY couples in the street. It is super new and super hard for us...for many reasons...but it is exciting and we are running into very prepared people. 

I am super greatful for being here on a mission. I know this is the true church of God. There is no doubt in my heart. This is the truth and I pray with all the energy of my heart that everyone whom I love can one day come unto Christ and be baptized like this family was so that they too can be worthy to enter the Lord´s House and be sealed to their own families for all time and all eternity.

Thank you all for reading the blog and keeping up on the life of Elder Rich. ¡Les quiero y cuídense mucho!

-Elder Dax Rich
***pictures are posted under pages "pictures"

Fishing for Families (September 15, 2014)

As a mission, we are focusing hardcore on looking for families to establish the church in Piura, Perú. Every single letter, announcement, joke, call, etc. is centered on finding, teaching, and baptizing families. I also went fishing today. Hence the title, hahaha. I actually caught a little fish too, for the first time in my life. Good day.

Anyways, it has been a good week. We are doing lots of new things in Pueblo Nuevo, have lots of good people progressing and are pretty happy. My new companion is pretty stellar: Elder Rodas. We have a pretty good time, especially because his English is pretty good. We joke around a lot and work hard together to teach and find with the Spirit. 

It feels kind of weird to be in the zone now. All of my old mission pals have been transfered to other parts in Piura, and so I am kind of here on my own. It is kind of like I am old news. Oh well, I still get to enjoy the great weather! Seriously, we get COLD here! It is sooo nice. I will miss Paita when I leave next transfer.

Well, that is about it. Not too much for this week! Thanks to all y espero que tengan buena semana! ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Baptism, the First Ordinance of the Gospel (September 8, 2014)

Drum roll. I am....still here in Pueblo Nuevo! Yeah, that makes this my fourth transfer in the family group of Pueblo Nuevo. (6 months, ¡qué loco!) The cool thing is that I get to really take the helm know and work with all of the new investigators that we have run into. I hope to have lots of good news to report to everyone!

My new companion is named, Elder Rodas. He is from Bolivia and he has 9 months in the mission, so I am with someone with experience. (Yes!) He seems pretty great, so I look forward to this next transfer. 
This past week I attended two baptisms of two different families. It was pretty awesome. I also held this baptismal interviews two days before, so it was cool to interview them and then afterwards see them be baptized. They were also grateful that I left Pueblo Nuevo to see them on their big day. (Although, one of the little girls that I had to interview in the first family cried for like 20 minutes because she was scared of the "big, scary Gringo." Oh well, as my district would say to me, "sucks to suck, Elder Rich.") The baptisms were pretty crazy as there was no water in the town, so we had to fill the tank with buckets of water. Crazy stuff. However, the services themselves were very spiritual. I was invited to do another solo, and so for the first time since Tumbes, I sang a solo to "When I am Baptized" (in English!) with a sister from Utah playing the piano. It was quite the performance.

A lot has happened and I have seen a lot, too. Baptism really is only just the start to a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ. I see so many people falling away from Christ after their baptisms and I get so sad. The temple is the focus. It is my focus. I want to come home one day and get married in the temple to have an eternal family. That is the real goal. Baptism means nothing if we can´t enter in the kingdom of God with our families. I hope everyone can one day share my vision.

My love to you all, and I will try to send some pictures next week. Until then, ¡cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

But, It's Not My Wallet (September 1, 2014)

Another good ol´ week here in Pueblito Nuevito. We went on exchanges this week and I was with elder Benalcázar, so obviously it was a fiesta. We ran into so many families,  it was bacanísimo. I also learned a great gospel analogy that is part of my title. I will get to  that in a second.
First off, the highlight of the week. For the first time in MY ENTIRE MISSION, i have an entire family with a baptismal date, and their kids who are married are now ALL listening to us with their families. In total, it is four families who are progressing and one with the baptismal date. Transfers are next week so I will probably leave before i see the baptisms, but what a miracle. This area has only seen 3 baptisms in over a year, and now it will be getting a ton more. I truly am greateful and amazed at the blessings of the Lord.
Now for the analogy. For those of you who have seen Spongebob, there is an episode when Spongebob and his friend patrick try to teach a villian, Manray how to be a good person. It has been more than a year since ive seen this, so  fforgive me for the incorrect quoting, but I would like to quote one part and then apply it to the Gospel and how Elder B. and I feel about missionary work.
Patrick intentionally drops his wallet and Manray has  to practice being a good person by returning it to Patrick. Manray picks up the wallet and  says to Patrick:
Manray: Sir, i believe you dropped your wallet.
patrick:  Nope, that isnt my wallet.
manray. What? But I saw you drop it.
patrick: nope, not mine.
manray: Inside this wallet is a liscense, and it has your name and your picture. It is your card, no?
Patrick: yes, it is mine.
manray. okay, well I found this inside of your wallet, so that must mean that this wallet is yours, right?
patrick: that makes sense to me.
manray. then take it.
patrick. but its not my wallet.
Yes, it is sadly just like us and the Gospel. Here:

Us: the bible says the true church of Jesus Christ was established with prophets, apostles, and the priethood.
Them: that´s true.
us: Okay, well our church has prophets, apostles, both called of God, and the priesthood restored through the laying on of hands as taught by christ. therefore, our church should be the true church, no?
Them: that makes sense to me.
Us: then be baptized.
Them: but I already go to another church.
Elder Benalcázar had a good laugh about this. Anyways, that was my story for the week. The church is true, the prophet is true, and I am quite positive I am in the work of the Lord. Next week I may be writing from another part in Piura.
Until then, Cuidense.
- Elder Dax Rich

El Perrito y el Gatito (August 25, 2014)

So, it is official. Bon Jovi has many songs in Spanish. I don`t know if a favorite artist can become a mega-favorite artist, but Bon Jovi just achieved that level. Two thumbs up to Bon Jovi.
It was a pretty stellar week, as for the first time in my whole time in Pueblo Nuevo, we had FAMILIES of investigators come to church. We had in total 10 investigators in church yesterday, and it even wasn`t a normal church meeting: it was a conference of all the branches in Paita. So, who else was there but my mission president. It was like going to a meeting with Paul from the New Testament. The Spirit just slayed like every person there. I may get transfered soon, but I am pretty sure Pueblo Nuevo will see A LOT of baptisms in the near future. I was pretty content.

During the conference, we heard lots of good talks, but the title of this entry was the best talk I heard. It´s called "the Dog and the Cat." The speaker explained that, as we know, when the owner walks into his house, his dog runs up to him, showering him with love and wet kisses. The dog runs in circles around the master, barks his approval and gratitude, and evens does flips for the owner. The dog sees the man as the one who feeds, clothes, protects, loves, and helps him. Therefore, the man to the dog is God. The cat on the other hand stays on the couch, sleeping. It may even take off for a few days and come back when it wants. It sees the man as the one who feeds, clothes, protects, loves, and helps it. Therefore, the cat to the man is God, because he gets all of these blessings without having to do anything in return.

The speaker then asked who we were. Do we show our love, appreciation, admiration, and loyalty to the God who "clothes the lillies of the field" or do we just lazily do whatever we want and expect God to shower us with blessings? We must be anxiously engaged in a righteous cause and run to our Master as we serve Him in church callings and other capacities.

I truly liked that and thought about being like Lucky and Sugar (my dogs) and demonstrate all of my love for God as often as I can. I hope we can all learn from Lucky and Sugar and be anxious engaged in a righteous cause!

My love to you all! I pray the best for everyone and I hope you all have a "bacán week!"

- Elder Dax Rich

August 20, 2014

La gente esta muy loca (August 18, 2014)

So, we had a pretty crazy, yet pretty normal week here in Pueblo Nuevo. Yes, that is to say that every single week is a pretty crazy week here. We generally say the name of the title of the entry every single day. In fact, to prove it, we made a video of knocking a door. It was quiiite funny. I would send you all a copy, but well...I can´t. Just gotta wait a year!

With all of the craziness, I had a lot of experiences worth sharing, but to keep it quick I will share two small ones and then a big one.

First off, I got sick after I ate a very humble dish of Ají de Atún. It is like my favorite dish Ají de Gallina, but it has tuna. It caused me to become so sick that I had to sleep with a THICK blanket, my sweater, jeans, and socks. I was ready to die belly-up in the oceans of Paita. But, I am better now! (ish)

We also had a cool experience with prayer, where I taught a single mother with her 3 little kids the importance of prayer. They had lost the keys to their house and were searching all afternoon until we came. I instantly said, "did you pray?" Obviously, they didn´t and so we prayed.  Literally 4 minutes later, we found the keys. And that is why we pray, folks.

And then...sacrament meeting. I almost blew a fuse. No one was in the casa capilla at 10 AM (when we start) and so I started calling members at home. One family said, "Oh, I am sorry. I DIDN´T KNOW THERE WAS A MEETING TODAY." I was like, "What the freak??" Then, another family came in WITH THEIR WORK CLOTHES AND GOODS TO SELL. What lack of respect. But that isn´t it. 2 of the 5 Elders (which is a position in the Priesthood, not only for missionaries but for Priesthood leaders) did not come because ONE WAS SLEEPING AND THE OTHER WAS DRINKING.

Ladies and gentlemen. If you thought Jeffery R. Holland knew how to burn people in English, then you should have seen how I burned these folks in Spanish. I spoke to the group about a story in the Book of Mormon of a fellow named Lehonti who ended up dying because he gave into a little temptation. I pointed (indirectly) out the people by using selling and buying on the Sabbath as a temptation, drinking with friends and family as another, and well just plain laziness. The commandments DO NOT change. I think I said that like three times. Anyways, let´s just say I was full of the Spirit in a righteous fury, and I ended my talk with a powerful scripture from the Bible with another fellow who was tempted to leave his high position to basically sin. In Nehemiah 6:3, Nehemiah said simply enough,

"I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?"

Amen, hermano. We do not have time to sin. We do not have time to work on the Sabbath day. We do not have time to be lazy and say, "well everyone else is doing it, therefore I can too." The Lord will come soon and we just do not have time to be dumb and take the commandments for granted.

Yes, it was a crazy week, but I am eternally grateful for being here in Pueblo Nuevo. It is a fantastic blessing and will provide me with a powerful testimony for when I come home.

I love you all and pray the best for everyone! ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Be Not Afraid (August 11, 2014)

So, this was another crazy week. Seriously, Pueblo Nuevo is like a constant learning experience. It tests everything I know about missionary work, and then some. It tests all of my leadership abilities, and puts loads of responsibility on my shoulders. If I grow at all on my mission, it will be because of the little town located 40 minutes from Paita, Peru. 

But, because I am left with 5 minutes, I will keep it short and just share an awesome thought that came to mind as I studied the story of my favorite person in the Book of Mormon: Captain Moroni (for full story on Captain Alma in the Book of Mormon, haha). In one part of his story in the huge war, Moroni sent a letter to his enemy asking for a few things, but also testifying that God was helping them win the war. It was interesting that he bore his testimony, because his enemy didn`t believe in God, and what`s more is that he was an old member of the church, but then left and completly denied God and all things related to it. Yet, Moroni was not afraid to testify of the truth of a living God. It was a lot like Paul in the Bible who said,

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."

I truly believe that it is important to be firm in the faith and in our testimonies. There is a living God who loves all of His children and wants their salvation.

My love to all, and I pray for your success this week! ¡ Cuídense!

- Elder Dax Rich

¡Hasta la vista, hermanito! (August 4, 2014)

So, now there are 3 of the Richs out on the Lord`s errand. And we still haven`t found the 3 Nephites nor found out where the Garden of Eden is. Oh well, that just means I have goals for my last year, yohoho!

Lots of crazy, crazy things happened this week, but to keep it short: my companion is going to Lima this week, we have an awesome family who we are teaching...who probably will never come back to church because of a CRAZY testimony meeting, and we played missionary mafia. I have never learned so much about the culture of the mission in a 30 minute-block of time.

Admist all of the craziness, I did run into some great stories. I did intercambios with an awesome elder, Elder Benalcazar (who also wants a Book of Mormon in Japanese, just throwing that out there, Mom) who studied part of the story of Captain Moroni with me. Captain Moroni is one of my favorite leaders in the Book of Mormon who just seems to always be 2 steps ahead of the enemy. His story is crazy, crazy good, and I will leave you all to read it (from Chapters 43-60 in the book of Alma). However, I want to share one part from my study...when Captain Moroni raised the famous "Title of Liberty."

Captain Moroni saw that his great enemy was growing in strength, but also turning the hearts of Moroni`s friends against God and against the government. So, Moroni took action:

"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land" 

Moroni decided that the best course of action was to change the vision of the people. They could only see the iniquity and the temporary pleasures of revolt and anarchy. However, Moroni knew that true happiness and freedom existed in the family, with God, and in trusting in the law of the land. Therefore he created a title to literally raise the vision of his people. I hope we can all see the Gospel as this title. The Gospel improves our eternal happiness through families, God, and obedience, and if we keep our vision fixed on this higher plane of existence, we will find a greater sense of joy, purpose, and faith.

The Book of Mormon is the best. I am so glad everyone in my family is serving the Lord in different ways and that we are all enjoying the miraculous power of the Book of Mormon. I pray that you all can come to "feast upon the words of Christ" for quite truly "(they) will tell you all things what ye should do." It is the best book in the world, and I am so grateful to be a member and a missionary for the church of God established nuevamente on the earth in these latter days.

I love you all and pray the best for everyone.

¡ Cuídense!

- Elder Dax Rich

August 1, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños a: Aimee, Utah, y Perú! (July 28, 2014)

A week of birthdays! Two elders in my district, my own sister, the state I was born in, and the country in which I am serving my mission (although, only Peru´s birthday is today, so really just happy birthday to Peru).

Today also happens to be transfers, so as you can imagine, it has been a crazy week. I could tell you about all of the crazy adventures we had this week, but I will just leave it up to my pictures and your imaginations to imagine what happened. All I can say is that I have some great pictures to share with everyone when I get home.

Amidst all of the parties, travels, and gifts, I got my hands on the Liahona with the conference talks from April in English as well as the Doctrine and Covenants DVD box set in English, so I went on a studying spree in English this past week. Therefore, I do not have one scripture in particular to share with you this week nor one talk to share (because I read so many good ones) but I did want to share my testimony of the Restoration after all of the things I read.

That is the first missionary lesson: The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This message is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the (logically) only true church of God on earth. However, logic alone cannot sell the message to the world. For that reason, God called a boy named Joseph Smith to be a modern-day prophet and to later seal the testimony of the restoration with Joseph´s own blood. Later (as depicted in the movie "Legacy" in my lovely D and C box set DVD) God sent the "Mormons" to various states to not only build His kingdom but to suffer afflictions and abuse. Our story is sealed with the terrible opposition that was presented against us: just as was the case with the prophets of old and just as was the case with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

I love that God does not just give us a testimony on a silver platter. That would be too easy. That wouldn´t let us have a testimony built of steel. There MUST be opposition in the face of the truth so that the truth can shine forth like a diamond on a piece of black cloth. I am also grateful for my testimony that has been forged (perhaps not through bloodshed or terrible abuse/opposition but rather) through the difficult trials presented to us in these Last Days. I know this church is true and I am so excited that next week the Rich family will have three of its members serving the Lord in his vineyard.

This truly is the work of salvation, and I have not a single doubt of it.

- Elder Dax Rich

July 31, 2014

That Awkward "After the 1 Year" Mark (July 21, 2014)

My one year was Thursday. And now here I am: a veteran in the mission. A lot has happened, and while I will save the good stuff for the homecoming: I will write about the biggest highlight of the week and well also one of the biggest of the mission: My return trip to Lima. 

Thursday, I got sent to Lima. So, I got to be in the exact same spot that I was literally one year ago. At 10 PM July 17, 2013 I entered the Lima, Peru airport....and at 10 PM July 17, 2014 I again entered the Lima, Peru airport. It was one for the journal. I also compared pictures from one year ago, and saw I have lost a lot of weight. #winner. But, what made the trip even better was that the next day I got to go back to the temple and do the entire service in Spanish (without help, whaaaat). It was insane. I received answers to one of the biggest problems/questions of my mission. I cannot tell you all because of the sacred nature of it, but man was it something I will never forget. 

To sum up a lot of my year, I decided to share parts of my personal study from this past week (it is crazy how everything I read in the Book of Mormon applies to my everyday life). I have been reading the words of the American prophet, Alma to his wild, rebel of a son Corianton. Alma talked to his son about the importance of missionary work and said:
" Behold, I say unto you, is not a soul at this time as precious unto God as a soul will be at the time of his coming?"

I thought about that and realized it really is how I feel too. I wish everyone could come to know God the way I know Him (if not, even more than I know Him)! God loves each and every one of His children, and wants to save them all. However, many people are kept from God only because they don´t know where to look, or just don´t want to. It is my prayer that all of my friends and loved ones can come to find God through prayer, scripture study, and binding covenants with Him. There is no greater joy than this.

However, Alma also cautioned his son with this one phrase that will forever be impactful to me:

"Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness."

The world justifies sin. God does not. God knows that ALL sin makes us sad... and maybe not in the moment, but on the eternal perspective it does. I see so much iniquity in the world, and the worst part is that people accept much of that iniquity to be part of life. They say that the alternative, namely choosing the right, is incorrect or even stupid. As a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ, and as a child of God, it hurts me to see just how sick the world is. However, my joy is that Jesus Christ will come to earth again and cleanse the world in preperation for its exaltation. My only wish is that all those important to me can be on Christ´s side when that day comes.

That is why I will continue doing my best for one year: with the hope that I can help many people in Peru and in the United States (and maybe in other parts of the world, who knows) come unto Jesus Christ and find the perfect joy that I find everyday in Christ´s Gospel. I look forward to that homecoming talk and to waffles the first morning!

Mi amor a todos, y gracias.

- Elder Dax Rich

July 15, 2014

That Awkward "Almost 1 Year" Mark (July 14, 2014)

My one year is Thursday. I don’t get to write on Thursday (1 because I have a meeting with the President and 2 because it isn’t P-Day yohoho) so I have decided to split my one year email into two emails: one this week and the other the following week.

The missionary manual says that we shouldn’t come out on the mission with the expectation that we will change, meaning we shouldn’t come out here looking to see the world and find ourselves. That would be selfish. We are here to serve other people. Also, as I have seen, we change all on our own out here, and whenever you take a second to stop and look around; you see how much you have changed and how much this world has changed as well. 

I feel like if anything, I have become more of a "Jonathan Edwards" in that I am quite forceful with the doctrine of the Gospel. (However, I still think "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is super dumb; sorry, Johnny.) I certainly feel like the Gospel of God is very clear and we, as humans, are the clowns who decide to say "no" to something as wonderful as "eternal happiness." For that, I don’t mind burning people with my words and scriptural citations. 

However, I’m not saying I have become a priest or a Pharisee or something like that. I just finally understand what Jesus Christ said when He said the only scripture I memorized in Seminary: "If you love me, keep my commandments."

I can’t lie and said I was super good at keeping the commandments before my mission (nor can I say that I am perfect now), but I see the difference in STRIVING to keep the commandments and saying "meh, no pasa nada con los mandamientos (basically that the commandments mean nothing)." The commandments keep us happy and safe, as said in one of my favorite hymns (also from Seminary):

"Keep the commandments: in this there is safety, in this there is peace. He will send blessings. Words of the prophets: keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace."

Truer words have not been spoken (er...sung). God ALWAYS blesses us, even when we outright deny God. It is crazy how much He loves us. None of you can even fathom how much He loves each of us. I did some bad things before, and yet God ALWAYS blessed me. I’m here now, and I get to see the joy of living every day as a servant of the Lord. It is unexplainable. Sure, at first it was insanely hard, and I wanted to go home, but as I kept the commandments, I received that safety and peace.

I want nothing more than to help each and every one of you who reads this to come unto Christ. He told us how: faith, repentance of our sins, baptism by immersion with the CORRECT authority, the receiving of the Holy Ghost, and working hard every single day to be the best you that you can be. It is hard, but the prize is an eternal family in the kingdom of God.

The best part is, I don’t need to convince you. Just pray. Another of my favorite hymns is "Did You Think to Pray?" Any question, fear, problem, etc. that you have can be resolved if you get on your knees and pray. That is what I have learned and it will forever bless my life.

I will write more the next week too, but for now I want to express my love for all of you and my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom established once again on this earth. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God who saw the Father and His Beloved Son. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today who sees and talks with God. And, the Book of Mormon is the most correct of ALL the books on earth. No other book will bring a man closer to God than this sacred text. It changes life: it has changed mine and will continue to do so until the day I die.

Gracias a todos y gracias por ser parte de mi familia. [Thank you to everyone for being a part of my family.]

- Elder Dax Rich

Just Look! (July 7, 2014)

First off: MY BROTHER FROM PANAMÁ GOT CALLED AS A DISTRICT LEADER! Two thumbs up to my amigo: Elder Benitez. Super happy for him.

 Well in other news, I am closely approaching that one year mark! It was super weird on the 4th of July remembering what I was doing one year ago. Crazy where life takes us!

In the world of Elder Rich, I have been working like a fireball here in my little Pueblito Nuevito. We keep running into families who just are so prepared to hear this message of a restored Gospel. It is pretty humbling and awesome. We also have had lots of spiritual experiences, like with one brother who just went through a divorce and is trying to get over his alcohol addiction while at the same time win back his wife and 6 year old daughter. It is sad, but super cool to see how the Gospel is helping him become the man he wants to be. We talked about eternal families with him, and woooow was the Spirit strong. Not a dry tear in the house. It was an experience worthy of the journal. I certainly am thankful for the blessings we receive as we work on the Lord`s work of salvation. 

Now, as full of joy as I am for running into families, I also am quite frustrated, for you see we run into people, explain something SO important, SO revolutionary, SO impactful, and the people just go "meh" I have the Bible. I am saved already. As I studied the book of Alma this week, I found that I was in the same boat as Alma. You see, Alma said in chapter 29:

"I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

It truly is joy beyond words to be the means through which the children of God can find reconciliation with Him and therefore be brought to a higher level of being and happiness. It is something of which I too glory. However, when Alma ran into a group of hypocrites called the Zoramites, he talked of their state as one similar to the people in the time of Moses. Alma said that Jesus Christ was the symbol that Moses raised up in the wilderness (the serpent on the staff), and that just as the people wouldn’t look at the serpent, these Zormaties wouldn’t believe in Christ. Speaking of Christ, Alma said:

"Behold, he was spoken of by Moses; yea, and behold a type was raised up in the wilderness, that whosoever would look upon it might live. And many did look and live.

But few understood the meaning of those things, and this because of the hardness of their hearts. But there were many who were so hardened that they would not look, therefore they perished. Now the reason they would not look is because they did not believe that it would heal them."

I share Alma’s frustration but just a bit more fuerte: WHY WON`T YOU PEOPLE JUST LOOK? Literally it is as easy as let the missionaries come into your house, share a 30 minute message, and afterwards pray to God. Literally your entire life changes. It is sooo easy, but people are just like those in the times of Moses: "meh, I don’t wanna look." It drives me crazy, but hey that is partly why this work isn’t a cakewalk.

I am very grateful to be a missionary and to serve in Piura, Peru. I know this church is the true church of God: the same that His Son established a little under 2000 years ago. We have a living day prophet, 12 apostles, and the power and authority of God to do all that His Son did as recorded in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The work is true, the people are great, and God just never ceases to amaze me.

Disfruten su semana y gracias por leer mis cartas. Mis oraciones están con todos de Ustedes. ¡ Cuídense mucho!  [Enjoy your week and thank you for reading my letters. My prayers are with all of you. Take care!]

- Elder Dax Rich

Pueblo Loco (June 30, 2014)

It is the new name we came up with for our area. I can’t tell you all the things that are going on here, because #rules but maaan oh maaan, I am learning A LOT. Things have happened here that have caused me to really be a leader, to really solidify my faith, and to learn how to teach, but in a whole new way. I am pretty much going through another training myself! But, I cannot thank the Lord enough for the chance I have here to do some good. We have come into contact with a between 9 and 14 families in just 2 weeks, and have invited many of our investigators to be baptized. My faith is augmenting a lot, and I can honestly say that my God is a God of miracles. You will all see that one day, if you haven’t already, I promise every last one of you that. 

Speaking of training: today is my companion’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Elder Villalba! I just kind of feel bad, because there is literally nothing to do in Paita besides the beach. Oh well.

And then, well just a bit on my personal studies this week. I was reading about an American missionary from like 2,000 years ago and his testimony about God. He said, "Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel." It hit me pretty hard, because it was kind of what I feel. I have learn to appreciate God and His Son, Jesus Christ beyond words, and my faith in them has grown to exceed anything I would have thought before my mission. This missionary named Ammon, then said,

"yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

Poetic, yet also very much how I feel. I love God and I love that He restored His church on the earth. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord´s kingdom established on the earth and that only this church has the power of God to unite families beyond the bands of death. I pray that everyone who reads this will one day come unto God and receive the life, light, joy, and salvation that Ammon and I speak of. 


- Elder Dax Rich

June 25, 2014

Building Some Faith (June 23, 2014)

So, I ran into quite the book this past week during my two days with a Gringo companion. It is a book called "The Day of Defense" by an LDS author, and it basically defends the LDS church with every possible counter-argument that other churches could use. It was pretty good: but I would say the last part was the real hook, line, and sinker. It´s called the "Challenge of the Book of Mormon" where basically it defends the divinity of the Book of Mormon by showing how literally impossible it would be for Joseph Smith to write the Book of Mormon in his situation. It is a 33-part challenge and I included it at the end of this letter if you´d like to check it out.

Then, I got to meet my new hijo! His name is Elder Villalba: a brand-new 18 year old from Ecuador and he is quite the go-getter! We contacted for just about 3 days straight and ran into 3 families, gave one man who had recently lost his 18 year-old daughter the baptismal challenge, and had a total of 10 new investigators in 3 days. It was very, very crazy, but quite exciting. I am excited to train this new elder and get some good done! I really look forward to changing this area a lot more than anyone else has done here in over a year. Good stuff to come!

Also, during a study with Elder Villalba, I ran into a great scripture in the Book of Mormon. In Mormon chapter 9 verse 19, the American prophet Moroni also gives a defense on the Book of Mormon. He says to everyone who doesn´t believe that God would give the world another set of sacred scriptures:

"Why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles."

 I certainly see just how powerful God is and full of miracles He is as well. God is and will always be God, and He will always want the best for His children. That is why He gives us modern revelation and more of His word as time goes on. This knowledge has certainly help build my faith in God and my faith that in one more year, I will be back home yet a changed man. #esperanza.

Anyways, hope all is going well for everyone back home. Love you all and hope everyone knows that. I also hope to come home and sing the hymn: "Love is Spoken Here" with my family for a meeting or for some event. It is just a winning hymn.

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

"The Challenge of the Book of Mormon"   Review the list below to see if you could write a book similar to the Book of Mormon under conditions comparable to those experienced by Joseph.
  1. You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
  2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
  3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
  4. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 2200 B.C. to 421 A.D.
  5. You must write a book with 102 chapters, twenty-five of them about wars, ten about history, twenty-one about prophecy, thirty-two about doctrines, five about missionaries, and nine about the mission of Christ.
  6. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
  7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
  8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.
  9. When you start to produce this record covering a period of over twenty-six hundred years, you must finish in approximately eighty days.
  10. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever (this does not include grammatical errors, etc).
  11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you. You must start right where you stopped previously.
  12. Your history or record must be long, approximately 777 pages with over 500 words per page.
  13. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language (William Shakespeare added thirty).
  14. You must announce that your "smooth narrative" is not fiction, but true—yes, a sacred history.
  15. In fact, your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
  16. You must publish  it to  every nation,  kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
  17. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise:  "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
  18. Tens of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 178 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth is manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  19. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.
  20. There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book (except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, etc.).
  21. Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations, of which you will write about, is not known when you publish your manuscript.
  22. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
  23. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their thousands of years of history.
  24. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care.   You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.
  25. After 178 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproven, but all are vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin rise and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
  26. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 178 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.
  27. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 178 years.
  28. Three honest, accreditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.
  29. You must hear out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer declaring to you and those three witnesses that your record is true, and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of it—and that they do.
  30. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight, and that they handled them and felt the engravings thereon.
  31. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their deaths.
  32. You must talk a friend into financing your book with the understanding that he or you will never receive any monetary remuneration from it. This person must mortgage his farm to have it printed. You must sell the book at cost or less.
  33. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for twenty-four years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God.

June 23, 2014

Gotta Train ´Ém All (June 16, 2014) letter on the 9th

Out with the one companion, in with the new hijo. I am now the District Leader in a grupo familiar who is a training a new missionary. Talk about a lot to do! I am with an Elder in my district for the next two days and so Wednesday I will go to get my new companion. Therefore, next week I will send you all the great details.
As for this week, well it was quite the adventure saying goodbye to my old companion and getting a 2-day party in Lima. So, a Little about Lima. We flew to Lima and did some paperwork one day, and for the whoooole afternoon we sat and ate 8 pizzas (for 10 people) and then walked the streets in Lima. The people literally just dropped us off at our hotel and said they would see us the next day, so we decided to go on some adventures through Lima (pictures next week). We saw some great sights, ate some great Chinese food, and then the next day we were terribly lied too as they promised to take us all to the temple (which would have been my first time since the CCM in the temple). Needless to say, we were all quite angry, especially the sister missionaries. Girls.

We also had a party on our last night as a district, and we all got over our emotional goodbyes, in preperation for our new assignments. I certainly felt like I had grown a lot in my testimony in this one transfer of 6 weeks. I felt like I grew in my purpose as a missionary, and I felt a stronger sense of meaning, hope, and faith. I hope that as time goes on the work I do here can translate into blessings for all of you back home.  I know the work is true and I know that this is the only true church of God. It is something that no one can deny to me and something I hold quite dear and true to my heart.

I hope everyone back home enjoyed their Father´s Day, and that everyone felt the importance of their family during this important holiday. Families are central to the plan of God, and more than anything else He wants us to be with our families forever. (Just another reason why I wanted to get to that temple in Lima!) I hope everyone marks on their calenders the opening of the Hartford Temple so that you can all be there when it is open!

Thanks to all and my love to everyone! ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

June 2, 2014

Pensamiento Espiritual [A Spiritual Thought] (June 2, 2014)

So just a quick little something to send your way:

This week I read an awesome little scripture in the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon and I thought I would share it with you all.

In Alma 5:62, the prophet Alma ends his discourse to a group of people by saying, "I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life."

I thought that was an awesome way to sum everything up. Our purpose in life as children of God is to come unto Him and to have eternal life with our families. It doesn´t matter who we are, of what faith we are, or where we are in life: the invitation is for all to come unto God, be baptized by His authority, and enjoy the fruits of eternal life.

Hope you all have a great week! Love to all!

- Elder Dax Rich

See Scott Grow (May 26, 2014)

En serio, I think C. Scott Grow has the best name in the quorum of the 70 in the church. Anyways, he spoke to the whole mission and all of the leaders in Piura and Tumbes this past week. It was one of the best and one of the most different conferences of the church I have ever been to. I truly hope I can talk to an audience one day with the same spirit and ease that this elder in the church did. 

I will share with you all some of what he said. He talked about three things specifically: faith, personal revelation, and the power of the Atonement. I could not believe some of his stories and words on faith, but wow did it augment my faith. He talked to us about how we could and should set high goals on baptisms and seek the Lord´s help not only to make a goal, but to carry it out. He talked to us about how when he was a mission president, missionaries with real faith prayed and received the revelation to plan things like 23 baptisms in one month. What was crazier, is that all of those missionaries who faithfully prayed and trusted in God, accomplished those goals! I was blown away, but now I certainly will do my best to increase my faith and trust that this is the Lord´s work, not the work of Elder Rich.

He also gave us one piece of advice that he said would be the key to life after the mission and for the eternity. He said the secret to this life is to show your family you love them, specifically your wife (or husband). He said that we can say we love our families as much as we want, but when it comes right down to it, the true key is if our family can say that they feel our love. Certainly something I will remember and something I will remember to apply now and until the end.

Anyways, not much else to share in this short time so I will just wish you all the best and tell you all how excited I am to come home next year and eat BBQ. Seriously, I miss that more than my box collection of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Why Do I Need Jesus Christ? (May 19, 2014)

It is my line-catcher, "Why Do I Need Jesus Christ?" For various reasons, this week I decided to dive into chapter 1 of the guide, "Preach My Gospel" which talks about the purpose of missionary work. I thought nice and hard about that and read a little on the subject, and I thought the best thing I could do this week is just write about what I learned and felt.

And it all starts with a story in my favorite book, "The Book of Mormon."

A guy named Alma was pretty bad. Like...really bad. He went around beating up members of the church of God, was a delinquent, and did not really believe in God. What made the picture worse was that his dad was the prophet of the church. Awkward. 

To use his own words, I will tell you a bit of what happened to Alma...and in English, no worries. In Alma chapter 36, Alma writes his story and tells how an angel of God appeared to him. The angel explained that God sent him because his loved ones had been praying very hard for him and the angel was on the errand of the Lord to tell Alma to repent. Alma said that after this visitation, he was, (as he writes) "racked with eternal torment, for my soul was harrowed up to the greatest degree and racked with all my sins.

Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments."

It was a suffering like he couldn´t even write, but afterwards he writes, "And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!"

Thanks to Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice for every single one of us, Alma received the freedom from the depressing chains of his sins and errors, and was brought into a state of joy and light that surpasses all understanding and explanation.

What I like about this story is that Alma didn´t realize he needed God...but boy, did he need God. He might have been happy living his life, but he could never have been TRULY happy, because he didn´t know who he truly was, why he was on the earth, and what he was meant to do. That is why I am a missionary. To help people who don´t even realize they need to be forgiven of their mistakes, to fill in the gap they cannot see in their lives, and to realize their divine potential.

I am very grateful to be here on the mission, and I pray that all can come unto Jesus Christ and be freed from the void of darkness that envelopes this sickened world. Gracias por leer el blog, y ojalá que todo sea bien con Uds. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Mother's Day (May 12, 2014)

To be frank, the highlight was yesterday: calling home. It was great to see everyone and talk to friends and I am just blown away at how much everyone has grown! Almost at that one year mark!

So the week. Well...maybe just Saturday and Sunday. Those were full of the action. Saturday was an activity for the mothers in our area...all 4 of them. Since there aren´t many mothers in our area, the whole district from 40 minutes away came down with their branch of members and we made it a whole big event (with more like 10 moms haha). Anyways, remember how I said I was in a very, very, very different place than any before? Yeah, well I got to prove that during the activity when 5 minutes before the activity, the leader of the group called and said he wouldn´t be coming and that we were on our own for the program. So, in 5 minutes, I made a 2 hour program for the mothers to enjoy. It ended up silly, sweet, and well...special, but all in all, everyone left quite happy. Good times.

The next day furthered that proof when I was sitting with the 4 active members of the group waiting to start church, and a random man entered the house asking for money. We explained we were about to start a church service and when he found out we were "Mormons" he began his attack. He tried to trick up this clever Gringo, and he threw down the big "What do I need to do to be saved?" card. Luckily, in the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ has explained the answer to that question in 5 steps: faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I explained it to the man and referenced this scripture here:

(from the words of Jesus Christs to the inhabitants of Ancient America in 3 Nephi 27: 19-20) "Y nada impuro puede entrar en su reino; por tanto, nada entra en su reposo, sino aquellos que han lavado sus vestidos en mi sangre, mediante su fe, y el arrepentimiento de todos sus pecados y su fidelidad hasta el fin.

 Y éste es el mandamiento: Arrepentíos, todos vosotros, extremos de la tierra, y venid a mí y sed bautizados en mi nombre, para que seáis santificados por la recepción del Espíritu Santo, a fin de que en el postrer día os presentéis ante mí sin mancha."

It is just that easy. If we have faith in Christ, if we pray, read the scriptures, and cultivate our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, then well we can start down the path to repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end of our lives as dedicated servants of the Lord. You want to be saved? Come unto Christ.

That is one of the best parts of being a missionary: I get to see how coming unto Christ changes lives. I hope and pray it can do that for everyone back home as well. The world promises happiness, but Christ promises joy (an eternal form of happiness), and that is what I get to share with people every single day. I invite everyone, here in Perú and back home, to take the challenge and see what is it like to come unto Christ.

Gracias a todos y cuídense mucho,

- Elder Dax Rich

May 5, 2014

¡Bienvenidos a Pueblo Nuevo! (May 5, 2014)

I am now in my 3rd area in the mission: Pueblo Nuevo, in the beaches of Paita. It is very, very, very different.

For starters, it is green. 

But more, I am now in something called a grupo familiar which is basically when the church has so few members that it can´t be a ward nor a branch. So, we have church services in the house of the missionaries...our house. There are 16 members in all of the town, and well let´s just say it is very new for me. I am the District Leader here, but Pueblo Nuevo is 40 minutes from the heart of Paita, so I am 40 minutes away from my district. There are lots of new experiences, challenges, and lessons that I am going to face here, and it is sure to be an exciting story to share with you all!

The last few days in Capullanas were excellent, yet also sad. Saying goodbye to good friends was very tough, but I got some very neat gifts and pictures that I want to share with you all (but I forgot my camera in the house, so I will send the huge wave of pictures the next week!. Until then, I will just let you all know that I am here in my new area and that all looks good. Thanks for keeping up with the blog and being a part of my adventures!!

¡Cuídense muchísimo!

.Elder Dax Rich

Oops (April 28, 2014)

Lo siento, I apologize but this week I will not be sending an email. Like the first time in 9 months, I know! Oh well, at least you can all enjoy the photos. I hope all is well with everyone and I hope to share lots of good things with everyone next week.....when I will probably be in my 3rd area in my mission. 


Amor a todos,

Elder Dax Rich

Even Missionaries Get Vacations (April 21, 2014)

So, I am going to Ecuador tomorrow. Bacan. I will take lots of great photos and get lots of stuff to remember the experience. It is kind of a strange story, but to keep it short, I will be going for the day and will return to good ol´ Piura in the night. Just a cool little piece of my life to share with everyone.

Yesterday ended la Semana Santa as we all celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What made last week even cooler was that VICTOR WAS BAPTIZED. Yeah, Bacan. He was baptized last Friday night, the day we remember the death of our Savior. ¡Que simbolismo! As Victor ended his old life and began a new life as a disciple of Jesus Christ. As said in the New Testament, when we are baptized, we are baptized by immersion to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: 

"Porque somos sepultados juntamente con él para muerte por medio del bautismo, a fin de que como Cristo resucitó de los muertos por la gloria del Padre, así también nosotros andemos en vida nueva." (Romans 6:4)

It was a powerful service and a wonderful reminder to me of the power I hold as an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. It is the same power of Jesus Christ and it is given to all males of God´s church who strive to stay worthy of its immense power. I was humbled and touched by the baptismal service. I know this is the church of Jesus Christ, the same church as He established almost 2000 years ago. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God who saw God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ. I know the Priesthood is here on the earth and exclusively exists in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I hope you all had a great Easter and had time to remember Christ as well as your own families. Thank you all for your prayers and support. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

"I´m Still Here" (April 14, 2014)

The title is from a great song from the movie, "Treasure Planet" which I got to see a part of this past Sunday when we ate with members (the life of crazy missionaries in Piura). I tried to be obedient and not watch, but when I heard this song, and in SPANISH I just gave up. It is called "Estoy Aquí" in Spanish and it did give the English version a run for its money.

ANYWAYS, the real story of the week is how we met a lot of new investigators this week, but the one highlight especially was a 45 year-old man named "Juan." Juan came to church yesterday and came to my Gospel Doctrine class (I usually teach the class solo, so it has kind of changed from the class of the missionaries and ward mission leader to the class of Elder Rich). After the class, he came up to me and asked if I could visit him in his house later in the afternoon, to which I said yes and well yeah...we went to his house. As we talked with him, we learned of his past as an alcoholic, a partier, and well just not a good dad, and he told us that all of that changed when he heard about the "Mormon church." We talked for a while and he expressed to us his desires to be baptized to change his life and be a better father and example, and well we ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. He said "Nunca voy a olvidar este momento" (I am never going to forget this moment, something I have not ever heard on my mission, to be quite honest) and then told us how he wanted to make a deal with God that as he would read the Book of Mormon, God would help him in return to stop drinking, stop using drugs, and start being a real light to his family. The Spirit was indeed quite powerful and well, his story may end here for me because we will not be able to personally continue teaching him, but I can be very sure in saying that one day we will see this man as a greatly changed man: a good father, a good example, and a good follower of Jesus Christ. 

It is a moment like this one when I can just testify to the ends of the earth that this is the work of God. It doesn´t matter what people say or do against the work, because it will continue to spread to every tongue and every nation until it has penetrated in every ear of every person on earth. I know this is the true church of Jesus Christ and I know he wants all of us to return to live with him again. We just need to make the decision to exercise faith, repent of our sins, make covenants with him, and endure to the end of our lives continually abounding in good works.

Gracias a todos y ojala que todos vayan a sentir el amor de Dios en esta semana. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

April 11, 2014

The After-Party (April 7, 2014)

General Conference coupled with 2 birthday parties made this weekend super, super bacan/wonderful. The bishop and his family threw a party for me to thank me for all of the service I personally have done in the ward, and my district came to celebrate and eat my cake…er I mean, share my cake with me. It was a very fun party that ended with cake in my face. 

We then left and the Elders went back to my room only to stumble upon another birthday party, where our friend Alex (the professional baker/chef) made a cake "de tres leches." Needless to say, I died and went to heaven, but also gained about 30 pounds.

Then the next day was General Conference, and I must share just 5 thoughts that answered prayers for me and also were just very powerful. 
1) from the Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland: Pure Christ-like love can change the world.
2) from President Henry B. Eyring: People resist the love of God, but He does not give up on them, and neither should we. 
3) from the Apostle Richard G. Scott: Helping other to feel your love helps them to feel the love of God.
4) from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Be thankful for the rain, not just the rainbow.
5) from the Prophet Thomas S. Monson: The real test of courage is an inner-battle: to do what is right even at the cost of friends, status, etc.

I really learned a lot from Conference and invite those of you who didn{t get a chance to see it to check it out at or here:

The best to all of you and ¡Dios les bendiga! ¡Cuídense muchísimo! 

- Elder Dax Rich

March 31, 2014

20 Years Later (March 31, 2014)

I thought a lot this past week about where I have been. 6 months ago I was in Tumbes, Perú learning a new language, learning how to teach the Gospel of God, and following around a 22 year old Peruvian from Mokewa. That felt like a lifetime ago. But to go back just one year, I was sitting in my dorm room in BYU studying for finals and stuffing my face with fast food due to college-life stresses. Now if I go back 5 years, I was in high school with different goals, different challenges, different ambitions, different attitudes, etc.

And now.

I am a Gringo missionary in Capullanas, Piura, Perú serving as a leader of a district of missionaries as well as training a new missionary from Cusco, Perú. I have 8 months in the mission, I am más o menos fluent in Spanish, I enjoy eating aji de gallina and tuna (a red, spiky fruit native here in Perú), and my goal is to help people come unto Jesus Christ. How things change in 20 years! 

To keep the B-day message short, I invite all of you to check out General Conference this Saturday and Sunday. It is a broadcast from Salt Lake City where the living prophet of God (like Moses, Abraham, Enos, etc.) will speak to the world along with the 12 modern-day apostles (like Mathew, Peter, John, etc.). They is literally nothing like it. If you have a question or challenge in this life and you need guidance, write down this problem on a piece of paper, go to conference, and as you listen carefully, you will receive the revelation to answer your needs. Pretty cool, huh? The best part is it works! So, after the awesome party on Friday (wink) I invite you all to watch a session of General Conference.

I hope you all know how much I love you all and pray for you. I pray that you back home will recognize the Lord's hand in your life. He lives and loves His children. That is the fact I know more than anything else in the world.

Muchísimas gracias. ¡Cuídense mucho, amigos y hermanos!

- Elder Dax Rich