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