February 24, 2014

Not as Hot... But Still Hot (Feb. 24, 2014)

If any of you are reading my sister´s blog, then you will know that missionary life is crazy and stressful. Maybe my blog hides that fact, but the reality is that yes, life is very, very crazy as a missionary in Piura, Peru. There are lots of good moments to share but also a lot of... "¡asu macho!" moments. Luckily for the hearts and welfare of all at home, I am filling these digital pages with lots of good moments and testimony-building experiences. 

But to share a trail that has finally become a huge blessing: for the second (and more than likely last time) my favorite investigator/ good friend here in Capullanas has accepted the invitation to be baptized and after over 2 months teaching him, he is planning to be baptized at the end of March. I have prayed for this guy for weeks in just about every moment possible, and last night when we met with him he not only accepted baptism but shared some very neat experiences. He told us how he felt the Spirit so strong in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, how he always felt good when he read the Book of Mormon, and how he wanted to change his life and repent when he really got to understand who is Jesus Christ. He then said that after his baptism and all of that, he wants to prepare himself to one day serve a mission to give back everything God has given to him. (Baptism first, my friend!) But wow! Seriously, his testimony was like a shotgun of the Spirit because he literally blew me out of my seat and I could not say anything after that. Long story short, I am super excited to hopefully see the baptism of my good friend here.

I also got to take part in the baptism of a good friend of mine here. The other elders in the ward have been teaching him, but he is always visiting with me and likes to go out and teach with us. He is a fireball, and he finally got baptized yesterday! I will send the pictures next week.

Sorry that there are no photos this week, but the next time I will send some lovely pictures of the wedding we helped prepare and host as well as the "zoo" we visited today for P-Day. The highlight was truly the monkeys, but the zoo pretty much consisted of rabbits, dogs, and parrots: the three most common animals here in Piura. Regardless, we had a good time.

Thanks for all of the prayers and love sent down here in South America! I am sending up some love of my own as well as a "happy end of the hottest part of the year" here in Piura. 

Dios les bendiga y cuídense mucho

- Elder Dax Rich

"¡Espera! ¡Espera!" (Feb. 17, 2014)

As a wise man once said... "Well....that was an interesting week."

First off, logistics: I found out that my companion from the CCM, Elder Fordham is now in the office of the mission! It was very exciting to run into him again and get some time to chat (but this time in Spanish). After that, I met my new hijo: Elder Quispe. He is 20 years old and from Cusco, and he has a sister serving a mission also. Other than that...I know nothing else about my companion hahaha. Oh well, at least I am a Papi! 

Also, to demonstrate the fruits of language study in the mission: Watakushi wa Dax Kanemochi desu.  (Apparently in Japanese it is I am Dax Rich. Bacan.)

Okay, now the explanation of the title. We had stake conference on Saturday and Sunday, and it was nice and spiritual, and we had investigators there, and people were smiling and singing, and yeah. It was all a good stake conference should be, until a man bore his testimony. A returned missionary got up and bore his testimony, and then said something about how even though Joseph Smith was born 200 years ago, we can still appreciate his story today. Well, that was a mistake. In the congregation of at least 500 people, the man 3 persons to my right stood up and yelled, "¡Espera! ¡Espera! (in Spanish) My grandmother was born BEFORE Joseph Smith! Therefore SHE is older than him!" (Direct translation, by the way.) No one knew what to say or do, and the poor returned missionary stood speechless. We finally got the man to sit down and be quite, until the Mission President’s wife got up and started speaking, to which the man stood up again and applauded her. Yeah....it was certainly worth writing in my journal hahaha.

To finish off this entry for the blog, I´ll share a quick thought from my study of the scriptures. About 6 months ago, I had a meeting with the mission president in the CCM and he talked about how he loved the story of Nephi in the Book of Mormon, because Nephi grew so faithful and righteous that he got to the point that he just flat out hated sin itself. In 2 Nephi 9:49 his brother Jacob writes: "He aquí, mi alma aborrece el pecado." It is short, but it is awesome to see how both Nephi and Jacob grew so faithful and righteous that just sin itself became displeasing and horrible to them. It is certainly a goal that I want to set for myself: to one day also have such a hatred for sin itself. And that is the beauty of the Gospel: we can always improve ourselves and come closer to God. Anyways, I recommend for everyone reading the blog to study 2 Nephi chapter 9 specifically. It is just full of everything to explain this life, the next life, and well God’s plan for us really. 

Anyways, thanks to all for reading the blog and keeping up to date with me. I am praying for you all and hope that you are all seeing the Lord’s hand in your lives in one way or another! 

¡Gracias y cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

You "Stole" My Heart (Feb. 10, 2014)

Happy Pre-Valentine’s Day to all. May your week be full of love, friendship, and more love. To inspire everyone to express love, I´d like to share an experience this week of how someone demonstrated love for me. Actually, it was two fellows who came over to me, borrowed my money and keys, and were filled with so much joy that they forgot to return my possessions. Truly, this is the meaning of love.

That was the highlight of the week, I´d have to say, because well it was just a sad week. It was my final week with Elder Benitez, and while we finally got to start studying Japanese together (thanks Mom and Dad!) it was not enough to stop us from shedding a tear as we parted ways this morning. So, now I am sitting next to my "Papi." Yep, until tomorrow at 1 PM I am back with good ol´ Papa Chavez. We are both going to be trainers, so we are together until we go to meet our new hijos. The love just keeps going!

I apologize for not having a scripture this week, but I will just leave my letter with a few words of gratitude. Thanks to all who are reading and keeping up with my exciting adventures. Thanks to all who have been supporting my family with different challenges of health, time, and stress. Thanks to all of my friends and family for your thoughts and prays. Thank you all, and otra vez, ¡
Feliz Dia De Los Enamorados!

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

February 3, 2014

Yo-ho Yo-ho a Pirate´s Life for Me (February 3, 2014)

For those of you who know me well, no this is not an email update on One Piece. Very sad, I know. However, I have seen some great pirates here, especially on P-Days when we go to the market. There are about 5 or more of these folks on every single street in and around the market, and while they don´t have eye-patches or parrots, they do have thousands of great pirated DVDs and Video Games for 2 soles. Here I have seen Monster´s University 2, El Juego de Hambre 2: en Llamas, and Thor 2 being sold for less than one of our US dollars. If I didn´t have missionary rules, I would be so up to date on all of the movies that I am missing, it would be like I never left! Nevertheless, there are rules and I must obey, and thus I will anxiously await the moment in 18 months from now where I get caught up on all of the movies I have missed.

The great joke of the week: we were at a member´s house talking with some of the youth for like 30 minutes when one mentioned that it was the other`s birthday. We looked at each other, feeling silly that we obviously did not know, and thus decided to give her a gift. I whipped out a pamphlet of the Restoration of the Gospel and my companion wrote ¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS! on the back, and we awkwardly gave it to her. She looked at us like we were completely crazy, but in the end I think she will find these words to be more powerful than any other gift...or maybe not haha.

However, the real experience worth sharing was yesterday in our lesson with an "eternal investigator" which means he has listened to the missionaries for months and months and has never accepted or denied the message. Yesterday I just decided to throw down the guantlet and so I asked if he had ever prayed to know if the church was true. After a pause, he told us his story of how he had started out very much Agnostic. He never felt the need to believe or disbelieve in God. However, he said he always felt empty. He felt happy many times...but never complete. Never like he has meaning to his life. Never like he was more than just elements fused together through natural processes. Thus, he went through the works: Catholic, Jehovah´s Witness, Evangelist, etc. He said he even tried just a life of yoga to find more meaning, but he never truly gained more than a knowledge that God was his Father in heaven. Sure that made him happier, but he said he never truly "knew" God.

Until he read the Book of Mormon.

Long story short: the Book of Mormon brought him closer to God, closer than he ever had been before. He gained the knowledge of who he was, why he was here, and what life really was for him and everyone else. His only problem: he didn`t know how to truly know if the book was true. The secret from the prophet Moroni, (and now also Elder Rich) is read the book, ponder the words in your mind and heart, and pray. That is how everything falls into place. That is how God works. That is how we become more than just sacks of water on a planet capable of sustaining life. That is how we come to know that we are indeed children of a God with a plan for each of us.

Read.
Ponder.
Pray.

I love you all very much and pray the best for everyone. Stay safe and stay strong! I can`t wait to see you all again! (Ah, but I don´t have eyes. Yohoho! Skull joke!!!)

- Elder Dax Rich

February 2, 2014

Música Clásica, Árbol Genealógico y Fiestas de los Perros (Jan. 27, 2014)

So that is pretty much 3 different phrases to describe this week. Classical music, family history work, and a lot of dogs. A lot.

So with the classical stuff, we have this investigator who heard that I did some singing in my past and he was quite impressed, and thus we launched into a 90 minute discussion about music, singing, and well Pavarotti. Don`t worry, I also got a little lesson squeezed in at the end! But yes, I also have a now extensive collection of classical music in my room and thus I am constantly in an orchestral world of Gospel-centered thoughts. I am indeed quite happy.

We are also now, as a mission, working very tightly with family history work. We are trying to teach a lot of lessons with just about everyone about our families, their stories, and how we can help connect and bless our families (those who are living as well as those who have died!). The church has the biggest database in the world for family history work, and you all are welcome to visit it at: 
It is quite excellent indeed!

And well....there are just a lot of weird dogs here. Nobody keeps their dog on leashes or in their own houses, so there are just a million stray and crazy dogs. It is just always an adventure to walk the streets and try to read the mind of one of these bipolar canines. However, as always, I will sing praises to Poopy, the dog that comes to church every week. There just never was a dog as obedient as little Poopy.

Oh, also it wouldn`t be an Elder Rich email without one of the lessons I learned this week...in Spanish! So in the book of Ether in the Book of Mormon, there is an awesome little verse that is just so darn true. In Ether 12:27 the Lord Jesus Christ says to the prophet Moroni, "y si los hombres vienen a mí, les mostraré su debilidad. Doy a los hombres debilidad para que sean humildes; y basta mi gracia a todos los hombres que se humillan ante mí; porque si se humillan ante mí, y tienen fe en mí, entonces haré que las cosas débiles sean fuertes para ellos." Truly, we all have weakness, and they are all different for each one of us. However, it is our objective and it is quite possible to have these weakness becomes strengths for us, if we put our faith in the Lord. I will tell you all that I certainly have many weakness, and while I am not Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson now, I certainly am much stronger in at least one of my weak points as I have recognized the weakness, prayed diligently for help, and cultivated my faith. It takes time, but we can become "the Rock" spiritually if we put in our best effort and rely on He who has all power.

Well indeed this is all I have to share, so I hope everyone has a great and safe week admist snow and other peligros in the world! My prayers and love for all of you!

¡Cuídense mucho!


- Elder Dax Rich

Bueno....¿creería que hay más calor? Jan. 20, 2014

Yes...nothing but heat. That is life, I guess. But, ten buen animo: there is still a wonderful email for all to enjoy. Very short, but nonetheless a nice little cartita to share with everyone.

We had a meeting with the President this past week and we talked a lot about the plan God has for all of us and how it really is focused on Jesus Christ. The President talked with us a lot about really focusing on Jesus Christ in every part of this plan, and specifically his Atonement. Many of you probably have never heard of this word before, and rightfully so... because it means I need to share a message on it!  

We know Jesus Christ suffered for our sins on the cross, but would you believe He also suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane for our sins...and not just for you sins! He also suffered for literally every pain, affliction, heart-break, injustice, and sorrow we have and will ever face. We can be freed from all guilt, from all the chains of sin, sorrow, and shame if we just exercise faith. Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Therefore to invite everyone to exercise some faith: 2 invitations: 1) Pray tonight, just you and God in your own words from your heart. 2) Check out another awesome video that explains this concept pretty well (below). 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpFhS0dAduc

Well, as I said, this one is kind of short, but I hope this is a neat message for everyone! My prayers are with you all as well as my sweat. (Trust me, there is plenty of sweat here for all of you!).

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich


Another Week in the Hottest Place on Earth (Jan 13, 2014)

Sunburns, dehydration, and lots of chica morada. Yeah, that is the life here in Piura, Perú. With that, we have also experienced a lot of missionary success this week as well as a lot of wonderful experiences with the Spirit and helping people come unto Christ.

But, there are some things that most come first....like the dog in our ward. Yes, it is a sin that I have not written yet about the dog in our ward! Every Sunday, she follows her master to church, sits patiently under the seats during Sacrament Meeting, and then accompanies her master to every other class. She is the most obedient dog I have ever seen and she is just full of the Spirit! She also looks a lot like my old dog, Peaches, so just another reason why she is my favorite perrito here in Perú! 

We also went shopping today, and besides running into an awesome zampoña, a beautiful Catholic church, and awesome CDs of music from the Romantic era, I also encountered some great US movies in Español! My Big Fat Greek Wedding, in Español, Ferris Buller´s Day Off, in Español, and then the one that knocked me off my feet in excitement: "Cantando Bajo la Lluvia." Yeah, to sum it  up: awesome P-Day. 

I will keep this email short, so I will just leave it all at that. It is kind of like the plates of Mormon, the prophet. He only wrote an abridgement of everything, and if you want to hear more, you will have to patiently wait and study these words that you have now. (Yeah, a little apostosía there haha whoops).

Anyways, thanks to all! You are all in my prayers and thoughts, and I hope everything is enjoying a little bit of coolness in this Winter season! 

¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich