April 20, 2015

Best Quote in a Market (April 20, 2015)

"You think about getting married, not about buying in a market!"

Elder Williams and I went to the market today because we have the same interests and therefore buy successfully together. While there, we ran into an awesome Mario piggybank and the guy there saw our interest and offered it to us for 10 soles. Elder Williams thought about it for a second, and the guy said the above phrase, which in itself was enough to win us over. So now we have a Mario piggybank and peruvian clothes from peruvian name brands that we bought afterwards. #Peruviangoodness

Anyways, it has been a good week. We ran into nine new people to teach, gave one of our investigators a Book of Mormon in English, took a selfie with the same one, and got a visit from the Mission President. President Rowley came to Negritos with his parents in-law to speak at our Branch Conference, and it was awesome because after a whole week of literally inviting everyone to come, we had four investigators there and a bunch of less actives. It was spiritually good. 

Then the highlight of the week came after a bacan lesson. Harold, the branch mission leader who was teaching with us, got a call from the Branch President asking him to come with us to the church. We went there and he expressed to us his great difficulties and his lack of hope in terms of things improving. I then felt impressed to ask if he wanted a blessing. It was weird because like....I´ve never blessed someone with a higher authority than myself. Nonetheless, after what seemed like a minute of pure silence he said yes. It was an amazing feeling and I can´t express it in words, but I felt a true power pass through me, and I have a even stronger testimony now that I possess the God-given authority of the Priesthood. 

That was pretty much my week in a nutshell. I hope you all have an awesome week and enjoy the end of this wonderful April season. ¡El fin se acerca! 

- Elder Dax Rich

It´s a Small World (April 13, 2015)

First Week in Negritos. I go out preaching with some young single adults in the ward. One of them tells me his uncle and his uncle´s family just got baptized in October. He then tells me his uncle lives in Pueblo Nuevo de Colán. *CD screech noise* I was like "WHHAAAT?? Who is your uncle?" Turns out it was the family I baptized when I was in Paita a while ago. I am now working on reactivating the other part of the family here in Negritos. Yeah, small world.

Things are going awesome with my new companion. He is pretty much my brother from another mother: video game expert, anime fanatic, user of excellent phrases, and a sage in terms of movie quotes. He might be the Aimee I have been missing for almost 2 years (he is 22 too so like, Aimee pues!) We are working well together and working hard to reactivate a ward that has been aflicted by trunky elders for a long time. It is hard, but I am excited.

Really, there are a lot of amazing things happening in my mission right now. I get up every morning, look outside at the ocean, and say, "Let´s get to work!" The weather is like Spring in the States, and the ocean is just so beautiful. The people are also so kind. For the first time in my whole mission, a complete stranger invited us into his house to use his telephone because we didnt have change to call with a public phone. No one does that!!! Seriously, there are amazing things about to happen.

I also gave a lesson this past week in Priesthood meeting on Sunday about Joseph Smith. It was full of doctrine, scriptures, and then testimonies of the members. Wow. It was good. It made me so proud to preach of a modern prophet. I ended with this favorite scripture of mine:

"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!"

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet today, and that the true church has been restored to the church today. May we all feel the flaming testimony that I feel in my heart, if not then a raging inferno!! 

Que tengan una semana buenaza!

- Elder Dax Rich

Welcome to the Celestial Kingdom (April 6, 2015)

The unthinkable happened. On my birthday, I opened up the email which had the transfers written, and the first name was "Elder Rich." We all were dumbfounded. My companion spent the whole week last week saying goodbye to the ward....and I was the one leaving. But, as we continued reading, we saw that I was getting sent to spend my last two transfers in the "Celestial Kingdom" of the mission: Negritos, Talara. It is called such because it is right on the beach, like Pueblo Nuevo, but more beach. A picture: http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/20748613.jpg

Craziness.

But, in other news. Felix, our most intense investigator got his baptismal interview done yesterday and his baptism is set for Friday. Even though I won´t be there, it is sooooooo exciting!! I felt so happy for him. In the conference, I also received other tender mercies, as LOADS of the less actives who I have been teaching for my whole time in Tacalá came to the conference. I was humbled and grateful that my work made a difference in their lives. 

My birthday was spent getting egged, floured, and caked in the face. I ate BBQ, tacos, brownies, cake, french toast, pancakes, and drank lots and lots of Chocolate Milk. Sure, this took place in the course of three days, but boy oh boy do I need to exercise! I think I put on 20 lbs in one week!

And more about my transfer: I have stepped down as Zone Leader: well more like I got removed as Zone Leader, but received a very nice phone call from the President explaining to me that my new area is in trouble and needs a strong missionary, so he decided to send me here. I felt quite humbled. I am now with Elder Williams (my second Gringo companion) from Oregon. He is older than me, but has only four months in the field....so I will be doing some hardcore teaching. It should be fun.

I hope you all had a great Easter. I got to think a lot about Christ these past few days and am so grateful for His sacrifice. I love Him very, very much and want to share Him with the world. He is the Light and the Life of my world, and my Hope. I know families can be together forever, and that is the greatest motivation I have to continue forward. Have an awesome week.

Love,

Elder Dax Rich

The End of the 20th Century/Year (March 30, 2015)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZqTRSVA1YA    He Lives short video

Post this on Facebook, Twitter, whatever is popular now on the web. Do it. People will be blessed for this. Pretty cool deal, right?

Speaking of videos, today I finally got to see "Meet the Mormons." I agree with Mom. It is a nice movie and has a good message about the church but I feel like they missed something pretty critical #bookofmormon. I mean, it is the keystone of our religion for a reason, pues! Oh well....when I became a big, famous movie director I will make a "Meet the Mormons 2" and it will talk about Pure Doctrine!!! hahaha.

Anyways, it has a been a good week here in Tacalà, Piura, Perù. I saw Elder Rodas today. Our investigator who would not accept anything we taught has been reading the Book of Mormon and is now in Jacob. Because of his desire to read, he has changed a LOT and now put his own baptismal date for April 10th. He will be interviewed this Friday and be baptized the next. The couple who came to church two weeks ago saw the Joseph Smith movie and felt the Spirit really strong. They have been reading together every night and recently read 1 Nephi 13 and 14, and instantly understood what the "Church of the Devil" was. It was pretty amazing. They are planning to get married and later be baptized. They are really miracles in the vineyard of the Lord.

Well, it is my last email as a 20 year old churre. I think it is pretty funny: the 21st birthday is spent drinking in bars and I am going to be in the Stake Center listening to General Conference. #beingmormon. 

I hope you all get the chance to hear at least ONE talk this conference weekend, hopefully being one of the talks from the Prophet himself or from Richard G. Scott (my favorite Apostle). Happy Easter Weekend!

- Elder Dax Rich 

And Now Behold, Can Ye Dispute the Power of God? (March 23, 2015)

In my long quest to finish the Book of Mormon for the 4th time in my life before the end of my mission, I crossed upon the story of Alma the younger. This young lad was destroying the church, but saw an angel and became one of the most powerful prophets of the entire Book of Mormon. His change of heart story is so strong and I love to ponder on the story and apply parts of it to myself. As I read this time around, I was impacted by the words of the angel to Alma:

"And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

And now behold, can ye dispute the power of God?"

Through faith, prayers, and fasting, we can help literally anyone come unto the faith of Jesus Christ. He has all power and loves us, so quite easily He can help someone change their heart (even if it is very hard) and come unto Him. But, we need to do our part. I am seeing lots of blessings in my mission due to faith, prayers, and fasting, and invite you all to do these 3 things as well to see the power of God in your personal lives.

It was a week full of meetings and a sketch that we put on to tell the story of Alma with his missionary companion Amulek. It was lots of fun and I got to act like a "pata" from Lima. If I find the video, I will send it to you. No worries.

I hope you all have an awesome week! Read the Book of Mormon. Do it. The church is true. God lives. Jesus Christ is His Son. Joseph Smith was a prophet. It is the greatest truth I know of. May we all come to know and feel these things for ourselves as well. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Miracles Every Week (March 16, 2015)

First off, I included the music to the video I sent last week. I love this music and hope you all can enjoy it if you want to think about the Savior. (No worries, there aren`t words so people like me will be feliz).

As the title indicates, it was a good week this week. Like 3 weeks ago, we got a text message with a reference for a young-ish man who lives in our area. He was pretty interested, wanted a Book of Mormon in the first visit and (long story short) we lost contact with him a week later. It was pretty sad but we continued. Then, this week, we decided to contact a woman sitting outside of her house. When we shook her hand, she instantly said, "You guys finally came!" (In Spanish, of course yohoho.) We were pretty scared actually because usually that means the person is crazy, but it turns out that she was the wife of the guy we were visiting! We thus entered in her house, taught them both the Restoration, and the wife said she had wanted to read the Book of Mormon for years because of a co-worker who was such a great example to her. We left the book with her and invited her to read it and pray about it.

When we came back for the next lesson, I saw something that I have never seen in 20 months in my mission. The couple told us that they had been reading the Book of Mormon every night as a couple and personally, the husband understood everything he read (to the point that he began asking us questions at another level of comprehension), and the wife after praying about the book received a spiritual impression so strong that she began to cry. She told us that it was the most powerful prayer she had made in her life.

Elder Montero looked at me... I looked at him....and the Spirit hit us like a ton of bricks. Wooooow!

The family then said they would come to church on Sunday, which they did. And to even further prove their sincerity, for the first time in 8 years, there was a torrential rainstorm Sunday from 7 am to 10 am. Church starts at 9am. The roads were LITERALLY rivers. Yet, they got in a motortaxi with us and went to church with 50 other faithful members. Woooooooooooow!!

While they can`t be baptized because they aren`t married, they are literally the most prepared people I have ever met in my mission. I was truly humbled and testify that the Lord is preparing people everyday to learn about the Restored Gospel.

I will let you all know how things go with this family. I love you all very much and hope you have an awesome week. ¡Cuídense! 

- Elder Dax Rich

Personal Progress on the Road to Exaltation (March 9, 2015)

So, after a series of pretty-deep lessons with doctrine up to my neck, I got to thinking about the progress of all of us as human beings and realized that there are four levels on our progress as humans to return to God.

1) Recognize that there is a Supreme Being

2) Recognize that Jesus Christ is the Savior.

3) Recognize that there is a true church on the earth.

4) Endure to the end.

I realized that literally every person can be placed on one of these 4 levels, and the end would be to complete all 4 steps. Cool stuff, right?

Then came P-Day. It was quite bacán. The girl who recently got baptized invited us to her house in the farmlands outside of Piura to celebrate the birthday of a sister in our zone. So, our district, two members, and the sister who had her birthday and her companion went to the farmlands where Maracuyá grows abundantly, animals are crazy, and people cook like Boy Scouts. Amen y amen! We left super early to travel there and got back pretty late, but it was truly an adventure filled with charades, nerf guns, and lots and lots of pictures. I hope you all get to enjoy the pictures!
This past week, I saw this movie again, and I was reminded of how much I liked it. It depicts the Spirit World well and explains the atonement well. If you have interest, you are invited to watch it, even though it is kind of old. 

Anyways that was basically the week for me. I hope you all have an awesome week! ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

March 9, 2015

Rapid Nigatsu (March 2, 2015)

#goingjapanese

So nigatsu (February) is gone and now we are in sangatsu (March). I am quite excited for this month as it is the beginning of my last 4 months in the mission Peru, Piura. There is still much to do, but the future is bright (as is the sun). 

This past week we had a baptism!! We baptized a girl with a rock-hard testimony, and even though the service itself was small, that investigator who is super hard in his heart and refutes everything we teach came and afterwards said he was desirous of being baptized but didn´t feel worthy. Can you say, "Locasasasasazo!"

Yesterday, the convert: Sister Judith Reusche, invited us to a HUGE lunch with the other elders and sisters. It was a 4 course meal to break the fast with amazingly delicious dishes from Piura: chicharrón de pescado, other dishes that I forgot how to say, and a pie of maracuyá. I was in heaven...until we left to preach. Almost died of stomach pains hahaha. Nonetheless, it was lots of fun.

Anyways, it was a great week, and I even ran into a scripture worthy of sharing. I read Omni this week where like 4 different guys write about their lives, and Omni himself writes only 3 verses about his entire life. To summarize his personal life he says:

"Wherefore, in my days, I would that ye should know that I fought much with the sword to preserve my people, the Nephites, from falling into the hands of their enemies, the Lamanites. But behold, I of myself am a wicked man, and I have not kept the statutes and the commandments of the Lord as I ought to have done."

I read that and thought for a good while. Why did he say that he was wicked to describe his life? Then I realized that it was to teach of the importance of repentance. Maybe we aren´t the best of people, but we don´t have to feel like at the end of our lives we will be condemned to stating that we are wicked people. If we repent, we can leave the past behind and start off with a clean slate. Omni taught one of the best principles of the Gospel in one verse. Right on, Omni.

I hope you all have an awesome week. My love to you all. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Una Quemadaza (February 16, 2015)

Basically I set the religious world on fire this week through contacts and a nice little talk I gave at church. #thebesttalkievergave.

First the contacts:
For respect I won`t say exactly what religions I took on this week...but it was basically like a "Day of Defense" kind of thing. I will mention one religion though (for the sake of the story). We contacted a soon-to-be Jehovah`s Witness who insisted that her church was true and wouldn`t let us say a word. So, I wrote on a card a scripture reference and said that before she talked with the missionaries of that church she should read this scripture to know where to find the truth. It was a reference to a scripture that doesn`t exist in their Bible and on the back of the card was a reference to mormon.org. #quemada

Another noteworthy moment was when we actually got into the house to teach the family. The wife was MAAAAD hard of heart and tried to bash our religion. However, she forgot that I have 19 months in my mission and so I blew every single statement she made out of the water with Bible references. At the end, her husband confessed that he now doubted his religion and was willing to pray to see if Joseph Smith was a prophet. His wife practically kicked us out, though hahaha. #quemada

Anyways, I was really impressed with how certain the evidence is of Joseph Smith and the church he reestablished on the earth. I know that evidence doesn`t make a testimony...but it certainly is a good way to start the ball rolling.

Then came my talk yesterday. I talked about conversion and what impedes conversion: namely the act of not doing the basics as well as pride. It was a quemada for many members who currently complain about going to the temple and whose prayers are not sincere. It was also a huuuge quemada on a great investigator that we have who is so prideful that he won`t let the truth enter into his heart! So, I went Elder Rich style on him.

It was a week where I saw this Book of Mormon come to pass, quite literally:

"And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;
Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.
Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.
And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God."

I know that this is the church of Jesus Christ, the only true church on the earth. I know for evidence, I know for faith, and I know for the power of the Holy Ghost. No man can be saved except through the saving ordinances performed in this the true church. It is something I know more than any other fact in the world, and I pray that we all can gain a solid testimony of this through prayer, through the faithful study of the Book of Mormon, and attending church in order to renew covenants with the Lord.

Que tengan una semana muy buena. ¡Cuidense!
Elder Dax Rich

The Music Man (Feb 9, 2015)

This week was actually a super spiritual week. Like....spiritual warfare.

Mostly Sunday.

It all started when one of the guys who has a baptismal date set came to church and shot down the sister missionary teaching the Gospel Principle class. She was talking about how God has a body like us, but perfected. He interrupted and said "well you are obviously just assuming, because no one has seen God in person since Christ`s ascension into heaven." She didn`t know how to respond, and while I regretfully didn`t stand up to defend the truth, I declared in my head, "well then you need to see if Joseph Smith was a prophet." During that Sabbath Day, I was reminded of the importance of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. They are the key to this religion and the proof that this church is true. That is why there is more opposition against them than against any other book or any other man in the history of the world. My testimony was strengthened even more as I remembered the words of Joseph Smith`s first vision:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

That helped me know that Joseph Smith was a prophet.

Then came the night.

I sang again, but this time in Piura Central, and this time not only did I sing the song "Creciste" but also, "Asombro me da" (in English: I Stand All Amazed). Wow wow wow. Never have I got to testify like that through music. Never have I been able to make so many people cry. Never have I felt the Spirit so strongly after a musical performance. As I sang of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I was reminded of the words of the Savior when he spoke of his suffering:

"Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."

We had that same day seen the movie: The Saratov Approach, and I was reminded that the Lord suffered not because he was desirous to suffer, but rather because He loved his father. That is why He was willing to suffer. That is why I am willing to serve a mission, because I love my Heavenly Father...and my earthly father. I am eternally grateful for the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

That helped me know that Jesus Christ lives and loves me.

I hope you can all come to feel that those two truths are certain. Joseph Smith was and still is a prophet of God, and Jesus Christ lives and loves us, as the head of his church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Cuídense mucho,

Elder Dax Rich

Miraflores + Piura Central (February 2, 2015)

It is pretty funny. My current zone and my old zone have joined together twice during the past week. The first time was to participate in a Piura city-wide service. So, 5 zones were put into the city to clean up, and it just so happened that Piura Central and Miraflores were joined together. Go figure.
Then, today we went on the craziest P-Day adventure thus far. We all got up at 5 AM to go to some waterfalls in the outskirts in Piura. It was a 2 and a half to a 3 hour journey to get there and then another hour to walk up the mountain to get to the falls. It was intense, but the pictures were well worth it. Seriously, I for sure discovered a gift in leadership here in my mission. It was STRESSFUL but I kept everything moving like clockwork (Humility included).
It looks like this coming week I will be doing another gig in Piura Central to sing for their graduation ceremony for Seminary and Institutes. I seriously need to get this song recorded for everyone back home.
Well, there is always a lot to write about, but for now I will keep the rest of the stories nicely wrapped up and waiting for you all when I get back home. Enjoy the pictures!! ¡Cuìdense mucho!
Elder Dax Rich

Que No Parela Fiesta (January 26, 2015)

Allow me to start my email with this great quote from Gordon B. Hinckley (the prophet before the current one in our times): "No te preocupes, las cosas saldrán bien."

Many adventures took place this week: yesterday, for example, I played chicken with a drunk on his motortaxi. #almostdied. Luckily, it "missed me by that much" yohoho. I also met a girl who is suuuper similar to my sister. I think of her now as "Latin Aimee." I miss Aimee. I got to ride in the President´s car to do room inspections, which was awkwardly awesome. I found a bakery close to our apartment and have been eating "cachangas" nonstop (ya fueron mis ejercicios). We placed a baptismal date with 4 guys for this coming month. And...well maybe I will expound a bit on these last two:

First off, today we went to Papa John´s with President Calderon: the first counselor in the stake. He took us and Sister Workman and Sister Maidana out to thank us for the music last Sunday. It was super fun as we also went with some other leaders who I knew from my time in Santa Julia. We laughed a lot and I got to know everyone a lot better. There is a picture attached below. 

The other story is a little more serious. On Saturday we were going home a bit late after a long lesson and got a call from the Assistants to the President. They said they were in an emergency and needed the 10 Zone Leaders in Piura to rush to the center and search every bus station for an elder who had escaped from his companion in Paita and was now on his way home to Lima. We rushed over and I said a quick prayer to help. After searching 2 stations, we ran to a third, found that a bus was getting ready to leave, and got on to look for him. We couldn´t see anyone that looked like an elder so we left. However, before leaving the station, I felt impressed to ask if the driver had a list of the passengers (something that seemed dumb because I mean....we are in Piura, Peru, pues). Surprisingly, he did, and the elder´s name was there! We called the AP´s who zoomed over, got on the bus, talked to the elder, and left without him. They said "yeah, he is going home. We can´t stop him." My heart dropped. I felt so sad and wished I knew what to say to change his mind, but couldn´t think of anything. We left, and then suddenly one of the assistants stopped short, and ran back. Five minutes later he, his companion, and the runaway elder came walking out of the station. Long story short, yesterday we talked with the APs, who said the elder changed his mind after talking with the President and APs and was going to stay. I know the Spirit works through us to do the Lord´s work, and that this work is the most important work anyone could ever do here on this Earth. May we all one day come to feel that this is true.

That is enough of my adventures for the week. ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

No Longer Am I A Sister Missionary (January 19, 2015)

As is custom: once a missionary exceeds 18 months in the field, he finally is worthy of becoming called an elder (since sister missionaries only serve 18 months). I completed 18 months 2 days ago, so now I am official! 

So, first things first: Happy Birthday to Bishop Larry Rich! He turned 34 yesterday and is looking forward to a year full of success and family!

In other news, I have been living the crazy mission life. Yesterday, I sang a solo at the graduation for Seminary and Institute in the stake center. One month ago, the stake president of Miraflores (my current zone) called me out from Piura Central to ask if I would sing this solo to a song that a friend of his wrote. He said that Hermana Workman (who was with me in Paita a few months back) would play the piano and a future missionary would play the violin. I accepted, and yesterday I performed for a group of about 200. It brought back a lot of memories and made me super super happy...and I also scored like 15 pictures with girls, 3 petitions to get the recording of my performance, and many girls asking for my number. No, chiste, I can`t call girls here besides the mission president`s wife, so I didn`t give out my number. But it was pretty funny being hounded by girls asking if I was the next David Archueta and super spiritual as well.

I also have been having a blast with my new District Leader, Elder Schreiber: my first companion in Pueblo Nuevo. We do crazy things together (such as turn our group of 5 missionaries into One Direction), and we are just crazy fellows together. The picture I attached is of us at Chili`s with some other Elders in the zone. 

The area of Tacalà is also super amazing. They have had like 20-30 baptisms in just one year, and the members are super-amazing. I hope to learn a few things in this last area that I can use back home to help the work progress even more!

I hope you all have an awesome week and que el Señor les bendiga muchísimo! 

¡Cuídense!

- Elder Dax Rich

January 13, 2015

The Last Area (Maybe) January 12, 2015

So, I got transfered from Santa Julia to the (even more) desert area of Tacalá. I was pretty surprised with the transfer, so I didn´t get to say good-bye to too many people, but well, here I am! This may be my last area in the mission, so I am excited to get to work here. I am now with an Elder from Bolivia named, Elder Montero. (Photos to come!)
 
To share just an interesting thought: before I left Santa Julia, I had the chance to talk with the bishop there. He shared with my companion and me an interesting talk from Elder Packer (of the modern-day 12 apostles) about trust. He said that in the talk, Elder Packer asked who of all of the apostles was the most loved. Obviously, it was John the Beloved. Christ even asked him to watch over His own mother. However, Elder Packer then proposed another question. Who did Jesus give His church to? It was Peter. Elder Packer then asked why would Jesus give His church to Peter if He loved John more? The answer is, as he explained, because it is better to be trusted than to be loved.

I thought about that a whole lot, and realized that in every aspect of life, that is true. It is better to be trusted by others than to win their affection, for trust is much more personal. I hope that in this last area I will be able to win the trust of everyone, so as to serve them to the best of my ability.

I hope everyone has an awesome week and that everyone gets the chance to come a bit closer to Christ. I know He lives and died to allow us to repent completely of anything we have done. I know the church is true and that we have a living day prophet as well as living day apostles, just as in the time of Jesus Christ. May we all come into the fold of the Good Shepard.

Cuídense mucho,
Elder Dax Rich

January 12, 2015

La "Segunda" Navidad (December 23, 2014)

My title is a play-on of the Spanish hymn "La Primera Navidad." Sorry if no one got that....awkward!
 
Well, there are a million and one things that are happening this Christmas season. I have had many crazy experiences, like controling a crowd of crazy children and parents who celebrate Christmas by break-dancing with Spiderman, singing with Santa Claus in front of a Coca-Cola fountain, and going on adventures with people from all over the world. #intentionallynotgivinginformation

I´ll try to send back pictures in the following weeks, I am just in a far-away internet cafe today, so sorry!

However, if I can share one thing with everyone: it would be a piece of my Christmas Spirits:
Christmas is "mas" about "Christ" than anything else, but as we know, Christ is our family. Therefore, the family is just as important. I say this because I hope everyone can understand that if they are to have a truly wonderful Christmas, then those two things must be together. May we all remember that the Savior of the World was born as a babe in a stable and then lived and died for us. He died so that if we follow Him, we can live forever with our families.

I wish everyone could come together and praise the Lord like the choir in this video, and I know one day, billions and billions will get that chance. I hope that everyone who reads this will be in that group. May we all come and praise the Lord and remember that in a "silent night" the world was forever changed.
 
I love you all so much, and I pray for each and everyone of you (many times by name!) each night. I want the very best for each of you and I know it is only through Jesus Christ that we can have true joy in this life and the next life. 

Con todo el amor en el mundo,
 
Elder Dax Rich

Noche de Luz (December 15, 2014)

¨It´s Christmas time in the city¨ of Piura. And to celebrate, the sun is getting hotter, the people are getting drunker, and the Catholic church is now doing weekly parades through the streets. #welcome2piura.

However, the Mormons are also celebrating with lots and lots of music (as well as special guest appearences from Elder Uceda: President of the Area). This past week, the neighboring ward put on their Christmas Program, and this week it will be our turn to do so. We are preparing with a program called ¨Noche de Luz¨ a special word and song program with a live Nativity. I love the music as it is all full of Christmas cheer and a rich spirit of peace, especially the last song: Silent Night. As I sing that hymn I think of the words to the scripture:  
 
¨and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.¨
 
What joy to have been out in the fields that night of Christ´s birth and to see a prophecy fulfilled: the prophecy that a new star would shine forth and lead to the resting place of the Savior of the World. That same joy is the joy I hope we all can feel this Christmas season. 
 
And of course, I know that peace and joy is not the most common thing in the world to find nowadays. Therefore, the video I want to share is based on another favorite hymn: Abide With Me
 
I know how hard finding peace can be, and therefore I echo the inspired words: when life gets dark and dreary, dont forget to pray. I know there is a power inside of prayer that can change the night to day, that can soothe the troubled spirit, and can bring meaningful answers to a lost life. Peace can only be found through its Prince. Light can only be attained through its Maker. I hope we can all follow that new star through prayer and faith to the loving arms of He who gave His life for each one of us. I know Jesus Christ is the Living Son of God, and I know it is our purpose in life to follow Him. May we all do so and have the best Christmas ever.
 
Con amor,
Elder Dax Rich

Christmas Trials (December 9, 2014)

What a week! So, after lots of adventures and a wonderful Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency of the Church, I got to participate in a service project that all of Peru did yesterday. It was a holiday in Peru, so the church took advantage of that and made a HUGE service project to clean up our respective towns. We had 50 people in the yellow t-shirts cleaning for 5 hours, and we certainly had a blast! It was neat to see the smiling faces of the neighbors who had lived for so long with garbage mountains outside their front door. Cool stuff!
Oh, and the video and scripture for this week!
 
This video is one of my favorite Mormon Messages of all time: sorry if you have already seen it. However, it talks about overcoming problems, something I have seen a lot lately. It tells us that the way to do so, is through Christ.
As Moroni, an American prophet once said:
 
"I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.
We must have faith in Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world and He can lift the fallen soul. I trust in Him and pray that His light can rest on each of you this Christmas season. Please know that God knows each of you and what each of you are struggling through, and that He will help you, because He loves you. Just have faith.
 
-Elder Dax  Rich

The Christmas Season (December 1, 2014)

So, after a wonderfully filling Thanksgiving dinner with Elder Perez and Elder Palmer, we changed our sights to the next transfer, as today we have transfers! At Thanksgiving, we decided to put a Peruvian twist on things, and we ate Empanadas, Chicken, Mashed...ish Potatoes, and lots of Chocolate Milk. It was quite the Latin-American party. We also then had interviews with the President who was very thoughtful (? I am losing my good English vocabulary) as we talked. It turns out he was thinking about how to make transfers LOCO. He succeded. He transfered Elder Eddington, and closed the family group in our zone, so Elder Perez and his companion are both being transfered. It was an emotional night for them last night as it was for many who had surprise transfers. Nonetheless, we continue...at least until Christmas!!!
The big thing now in the Missionary World is something called "He is the Gift." It is this big missionary project worldwide to share the Gospel this Christmas season. Thus, I feel that to take advantage of this event, I will do the same by sharing my testimony and great links to videos about Christ this month. (Kind of like last year....except not).
 
Here is one of my favorite Mormon Messages: a video that doesn`t exactly talk about the church, but does say why we need Christ in our lives. I watch this video and think of what Christ said to the American people here almost 2,000 years ago:
 
"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life."
Christ is the light and if we can just be humble and pray with a sincere heart and real faith, we can know that He lives and loves us. That is the real gift of Christmas. No physical gift can wipe away tears, mend broken hearts, or lift fallen spirits quite like He who gave His life for us. I pray that everyone can enjoy this Christmas season by truly coming unto Christ through prayer and by keeping His commandments. I mean, He gave us his very life as a gift. We can at least try to give back a bit of ourselves by doing what He said in this scripture and "look unto [Him]."
I pray that you all know how much I love you and wish the best for you. Have a wonderful Christmas season, and I look forward to writing more next week! Until then, ¡Cuídense mucho!

- Elder Dax Rich

Thanksgiving Thoughts (November 24, 2014)

Sometimes there are just weeks where there isn`t much to say. It is in those weeks where I feel the best thing to say, is the most important thing to say.
Recently I read this scripture in 3 Nephi when the Lord Jesus Christ came to America. It reads:
 "And it came to pass that Jesus blessed them as they did pray unto him; and his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof."
There really isn`t much better than that. I don`t know that any of us could imagine a smile like that. It is a smile wider than a football team after winning homecoming, it is a smile brighter than a missionary getting home after many months of service, and it is a smile more heartfelt than a father coming home after weeks on a buisness trip. It is the smile of a loving Lord and Savior. The Gospel really is just that: Coming to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father who sent His Son. 
That is why I want to help others come to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the Lord`s church. It is here where we can truly feel that same, unexplainable smile enveloping us with each and every day. It makes me so grateful to be here and to have a family united in the church. I know this is the true church, and I know families can be together forever. I felt that in a special way this week. I know it to be true. I pray for all of you, and many others not in this list, and I just hope and pray that one day we can all be together in the Lord`s kingdom basking in the warmth of that Godly sonrisa (smile). 
 
Que tengan una semana tan especial, especialmente este Día de las Gracias. I am thankful for my family, my testimony, and my loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. My love to you all on this very special week.

- Elder Dax Rich