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