Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Week 11: Mozambiquen Food

Well Heidi Ho family and friends! This week has absolutely flown by! It has been jam packed with fun, spiritual, and emotional experiences! I'll just try to cram all of the experiences into this letter! But before I forget, I need to tell you about eating at investigators houses! So the mission rule is that we're not allowed to eat at other people's houses for a couple of reasons; everyone is just so poor that we don't want to become a financial burden on anyone, and with the means that they have to cook and prepare food on... it isn't the most sanitary of places to make meals... So missionaries typically get sick when they eat with natives. But we were meeting with this investigator around dinner time, and people typically eat and we teach them during dinner, and it typically isn't a big deal. But this investigator had made a meal specifically for us. We tried to deny, but he insisted. He said that is was super important to him because he was accepting us as his Blood Brothers, as he put it. So we reluctantly sat down at his dinner table, while his wife served us a heaping portion of Chima and Feijao. Chima looks like mashed potatoes, but it is made out of corn flour and water, and you just boil it and whip it and stir it until it is the consistency of really thick mashed potatoes. So we ate this Chima with Feijao, which is a bean/beef/cabbage mixture that is SUPER delicious! Luckily, the investigator had bought us Dragon's to drink. Dragon is a super good energy drink, like a Monster. Now, you might be thinking, "Elder Rash! You're a missionary! Why are you drinking Energy drinks?!" Well, energy drinks are terrible for you, yes, but they kill most of the bacteria that we may have consumed by eating with these natives, so we're allowed to and encouraged to drink them on rare occasions. Anyway, we eat this delicious Mozambican dish, drink this Dragon, teach a little lesson, he gives us hugs and we left! We ended up dropping him because he wasn't keeping commitments and wouldn't come to church, but it was my first time eating with a native, and I thought I was going to die!!!! But yeah, Mozambican food is delicious! I'm gonna learn how to make Chima, just because it is super good!

Our daily schedule goes like this;
Wake up at 6:30
Get ready, eat breakfast and we are out the door by 8 or 9 to do some contacting/tracting/visits
We get home at 10 or 11 and do studies/lunch
Then we leave at 16 for our lessons!
We stay out the rest of the day until 21! We typically don't eat dinner just because it takes up time, so we just eat a big lunch! But yeah! that is the typical day!

The baptismal dates are as follows;

Lidia (a 17 year old young woman that we're teaching)- Sept. 24

Joanna (an 11 year old young woman that we're teaching; she lives with her aunt and uncle that are members)- Sept. 5, but may be pushed back to Sept. 12

Rita ( a 25ish year old woman that is the neighbor of some really awesome investigator family that we have)- Oct. 10

Gina ( a 38 year old woman, single mom, 4 kids, two of which are baptismal age as well)- Oct. 10

Francisco and Louisa (a really young family with one newborn daughter, Louisa is 18, and Francisco is 21)- Oct. 10

Bento and Edilta (a suuuuuper awesome family that comes to church every week, keeps commitments, are super nice, and give us references! they are the family that brought Rita to church and gave her to us as a reference! Edilta is 18, and Bento is 21! they have a 9 month old son named Belview and he is super cute! Bento's younger brother lives with them, he is 13ish, and they all come to church every week!)- Oct. 17

Helder and Marcia (They're in there mid 40's and they are SO awesome! They have 3 kids- Patrick (17) Solange (14) Junior (10). These kids are absolute geniuses! We just stopped by to say hello, and Junior started asking me questions about the book of mormon, and he started quoting Enos!!! Like, he had memorized the story of Enos and was quoting a few verses! I even pulled out my BoM and checked him, and he was almost perfect!)- Oct. 24

Ernesto and Carlotta (A part member family, he was one of the first members to be baptized when the missionaries first came to mozambique, and she isn't a member, they have 3 kids, one of them is 9, but this family isn't progressing a whole lot...) Oct. 24

Silva and Vitoria (He is 33, she is 28, they have 2 cute daughters both under the age of 8, He is muslim, she is christian, but they seem to be progressing quite a bit. They are a super cute couple and I can picture them in temple clothes being sealed as a family!) They don't have a date yet...
Euzebio and Gilda (they are a young family as well with 4 young kids, 1 of which is older than 8. they don't have a date yet, but we want to give them the date of Oct. 31)

So those are all of our Progressing investigators. we have Probably 15 other actual investigators, but we haven't had much time to meet with them!

My favorite Investigators are Bento and Edilta, and Helder and Marcia and their families! Helder and Marcia and their kids remind me of home. They just have a really close relationship and we had Family Night with them a few weeks ago and it was just really nice and fun! Bento and Edilta are like our best friends and they are super willing to follow christ!

Our typical P-day;

From 8 Until 18 we go and do Internet for 2 hours, go shopping at ShopRite (Which is the equivalent of Mozambican Walmart) for an hour or so, we clean the house, have lunch, do studies, and just relax. here in a couple weeks though, a store called GAME will be coming to Matola. GAME is owned by the same people who own Walmart, so that will be super cool! But from 18 on, we go to lessons and meetings, and it is just like any other day.

But I absolutely love the kids here! Every little kid knows our names and we taught them to chant our names, so every time they see us coming they just start screaming our names! And they don't stop! We'll be 100 yards away and they'll still be screaming our names! So we're pretty famous! Dad, you'll be proud to hear that your magic trick with your ring has become famous here! We do it all the time for the kids here, and it just blows their minds! Well, darn, I'm out of time... I'll try to get more in next week! I'm super sorry! Tchau! I love you all! 

Elder Ryland Rash

Church on Sunday

Matola Zone Lunch

Matola Zone Lunch with President and Sister Koch

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 10: A Day Without Electricity

Sorry this letter is just a tad bit late due to some complications this week! So we woke up Sunday morning and the power was out. We didn't think it was a big deal because the power goes out all the time and comes back on in a few minutes, but the power was out all day and didn't come back on until we were just coming home for the night (So around 8:30ish). Because of this, all of the internet cafes nearby had massive problems with their internet, and the one that we can typically rely on didn't pay their internet bill this past week, so they didn't have internet anyway! So we were running around the city trying to find some place that we could use the internet, but to no avail! The worst part was that so many missionaries needed to use the internet, but everyone was having the same problem! So all of us missionaries have had to take shifts at the one internet cafe that is working! Anyway! Now for the week!

So the work is going great! Absolutely fantastically! We have 16 investigators with a baptismal date marked, 8 investigators that came to church, and we got 10 new investigators this week! Man I love this work!

We met a white guy this week!!!!! What?!? We've seen plenty of white people around every once in a while, but we haven't talked to one yet! So as we were headed to a lesson, we passed a little bar that we stop by occasionally to grab a soda, but as we were approaching it, there was a white guy sitting in my seat! As soon as a saw us, he yelled, "I love you guys! I love you guys so much!" His name is Kevin, he was buzzed, he is about 50 years old, and he talks exactly like Austin Powers and even uses the words, "Baby, Groovy, Funky, and Lingo" and other stuff like that! He was wearing the coolest shirt I've ever seen in my life! It was a VW Bus and in the front seats were Yoda and Darth Vader! But Kevin is awesome! He was born in England but raised in Zimbabwe! He proceeded to explain to us that if Women ruled the world, there would be a lot less wars and poverty and sadness! We bid him farewell but he insisted on buying us Cokes, so we accepted, then went on our way! We ran into him later and talked a bit more, but he was awesome! I wish I could include everything about him, but sadly, I’ve only got limited time on here! Anyway, as we were walking to another appointment, we were greeted by yet another drunken old man. I couldn't understand a word he said, but stopped to shake his hand, which he proceeded to take my hand and kiss it! I didn't think much of it, and took it as a sign of respect, but I was completely surprised when he shoved HIS hand to my mouth to kiss it! I didn't know what else to do! Reluctantly, I kissed this old, drunk, Mozambiqan's hand! Now don't get me wrong, I love these people... But not everyone has the cleanest hands in the world... So yeah, I love drunken people!

We had the opportunity this week to give a blessing to our Bishop. He was super sick when we visited him on Saturday night. He was all wrapped up on his sofa in a blanket, and we talked with his family for a while, and then offered him a blessing. He accepted, a blessing was given and we went on our way. The next day at church he was lively as can be, you never would have thought that we was miserable the day before! Shee!!! The Priesthood Power of God is real!

People say "Shee!" A lot here. It is like saying "whoa" but you just yell SHEEEEE in a really high pitched tone! The higher the pitch, the more surprised you are! Haha!

The language is coming along really well! I can function pretty well on my own and can actually have pretty basic conversations with others! I love this work! We're short on time, if you've got any specific questions, you can just send them to me in an email! I'll try to send more next week!

We have a bit more freedom with the way that we arrange our time. Missionaries in the states do studies in the morning because there is little work to be done in those hours, but a lot of people are home around those hours, so we either go out and work, or on P-day, we go and use internet! I haven't gotten sick at all even though we ate with some poor investigators, and the bishop a few times, the food is awesome though! So delicious! But we typically make our own food! I've got a picture of something that we made! But we've been using the crockpot a lot lately! The fruit is delicious! The Mangos will be in season in October, so I'm excited for that! I haven't seen any houses with pools in our area! We live in Matola G which is a province of the City of Matola. We have the only official church chapel for church, so if you can find the chapel, we live behind the chapel and more south. It is about a 30 minute walk from our house! Our area covers Matola G, H, F, Trevo, and a part of Fomento.
Well, I love this work. I love the people here. I know that this is the Lord's church.

Até mais!

Com amor,
Elder Rash

Elder Rash

Dinner in Mozambique

Elder Badger

Walking the Dusty Streets of Matola

He Says He Understands Portuguese....Apparently Not!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 9: Family Home Evening in Mozambique

So this week has been absolutely AWESOME! Before I forget, let me just mention all that I really want to talk about that Happened this week; Family Night with an investigating family, going to Trevo, my trials on Wednesday, going to Fumento, eating with investigators (that was scary), and STAKE CONFERENCE!!!

Okay! So first, Family Night! So Monday night, we sat down with a family that has been progressing investigators for a while! Helder and Marcia and their 3 kids; Patrick, Solange, and Junior!!! They are an awesome family! Patrick is 17, Solange is 14, and Junior is 9! They are so cool! But for family home evening, we brought a glass bottle and a box of matches to play a game! Everyone starts with 10 matches and you take turns stacking matches onto the open top of the bottle, if any matches fall off, you take them and the goal of the game is to get rid of all of your matches! It was super fun, and the family absolutely loved it! We compared the game to our testimonies! That we must build them on a sure foundation so that they can be strong! So it was a super good lesson! I feel at home with this family! They remind me of my family, just the bond that they have, they are a super strong family! Plus the kids are all geniuses! They LOVE reading the scriptures and keeping commitments and going to church, and they love talking to the missionaries!

Next is Trevo! Trevo is a part of our area that is Super Far away! It is about a 2 hour walk from our house, or a 30 minute choppa ride, so missionaries hardly ever go out there! But we finally did! And it was awesome! Trevo is where a whole lot of less active families live in our ward and we are working on getting a list of them, so we can go to Trevo, and work in Trevo a lot to strengthen that area and reactivate a lot of families!

I'm running out of time, so I apologize, but we also went to Fumento!
Another area that is kind of far to get to, and I love Fumento!!! It is so humble and I just love it! The first day we went there we didn't have any luck! No one was home and we felt like we wasted our time!

But a few days later we were inspired to go back! This time, we went deeper into the neighborhoods and found an awesome family that has been prepared by the Lord! We started talking to a guy at his gate, and he said, "Wait, I'll be right back!" He went into his house and came out carrying a paperback copy of the Book of Mormon!!!! We asked him if he had been reading it, and he said, "Of course! All books are good!" So I have a super good feeling about him! We're definitely going back to talk with him and his family this next week!
I don't have time to talk about eating with the investigators, just know that I haven't gotten sick from eating with them... yet...

STAKE CONFERENCE!!! This was the first Stake Conference EVER in Mozambique! The entire stake was organized, people were called to stake callings, A STAKE PATRIARCH WAS CALLED!!! (Patriarch Mateus) And it was just awesome!!! President and Sister Koch spoke, along with some other speakers from the stake! Surprisingly, I could understand about 75-80% of it, and it was all in Portuguese!!! I give all credit to this last Fast Sunday! I fasted that I'd have an increased understanding with the language, and I'd call it a miracle! Since that fast, I've been able to understand just about everything that people say! So that has been a huge testimony builder for me!

Also, just real quick! People here are just numb to pornography, it is just everywhere, practically; on posters, flyers, billboards, they even have TRADING CARDS with women dressed rather inappropriately!

Kids play with these cards all the time, and they don't think it's bad! But this week, we saw some kids playing with them, and we payed them 20 Met to burn them!!! 20 Met is like 50 cents, and they buy the cards for 15 met! So we had some kids go get some oil, and some matches, and we had a little fun! I took a video of it (don't worry, you can't see anything... The cards were all turned upside down)! So that was fun! We did that in Fumento!

Anyway! I wish I had more time, but I'll set aside more time next week, I promise! Sorry if I haven't written any of you back yet. We're only allotted 2 hours, and you would not believe how quickly it flies by!!!

But I love you all! I'll answer more questions next week!

I love this work! I hope everything is going well at home!

Com Amor,
Elder Rash

***It takes about an hour and a half to walk from the top of our area to the bottom, and about 2 hours to walk the length of it. Our area is in the shape of an L or a V and I sent a picture of it on drop box, so you guys can look at it, but our area is huge! We’re constantly discovering areas that we've never been before! I love it!***

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 8: This Is Exactly What I Signed Up For

So we've been teaching this family, Bento, his wife Edilta, and their 9 month old son Belview! I actually helped find them, and they are awesome! We met them while we were tracting and doing door contacts (Which we do a lot because it is so successful here) and so we clapped at this house, and the boy walking by told us to just walk around to the back of the house to talk to them! So we did! We went around to the back to see a line of shacks behind this house. We knocked on the first little shack and a man came to the door- Bento! He invited us into his humble shack so that we could teach his more about Christ (People love Jesus here) and he rolled out a bamboo mat that we could sit on because he didn't have any chairs and he didn't want us to sit on his dirt floor. So imagine this house; the dimensions are probable 10 feet x 10 feet x 10 feet, right, but the "living room" is smaller than my bathroom back home because the house is divided by a curtain into their room, and the "living room". So tiny hut, dirt floor, tin roof, and this young family invites the two white men in to teach them more about Jesus!!! I love it here! This is exactly what I signed up for!!! I absolutely love it here! 

Anyway, we sat on this dirt floor and taught the Restoration. These people are so receptive to the message, and we committed them to baptism!!! We need to get them married first, but we'll work on that one. But the people here are so receptive. If you walk up to a house, they will immediately bring out chairs for you to sit down and share a message with them, and people are always stopping you on the street to ask for pamphlets to read about Jesus! I love it here! And people get a kick out of the white guys speaking dialect to them, they just laugh every time, and sometimes they even try to drag you into an alley because they thought it was so funny ;) Haha!!!

 But yeah, we have 11 investigators with a baptismal date marked, we got 17 new investigators this last week, 10 investigators at sacrament meeting, it was just a killer week!!! We're working with a lot of investigators on the marriage process! It is a long process that requires a lot of documents and it is a complicated process, so we're working with a lot of people on that! So yeah, I just love it here! There weren't any super crazy stories this week that I'll share for my mother's sake, haha, but it was an awesome week! I absolutely love the work here, and the people here. I love waking up to a gorgeous sunrise, seeing the gorgeous sunset, and seeing stars and constellations that I've never seen before! The people here are the nicest people that I've ever met! Everyone is so friendly and loves talking about religion! You can get people's phone numbers like crazy! They'll tell you exactly where they live, and no one is afraid of anyone because they trust people here! Ah! I love it here!
The food here isn't that bad either! There are Padarias everywhere, which are just bakeries, but you can buy a loaf of freshly baked bread for 5 Meticais, which is a few cents in American Money (1 US dollar is about 40 Met) and it is delicious bread! So we have to cook all our own food, but it isn't too bad! I'm definitely learning how to cook better! Yeah, kind of an uneventful week, but it was super fun!
Oh! I forgot! I love playing soccer with the kids in the streets! Kids are always at the Campos, which are just fields with soccer goals on either ends, and I love just taking a few minutes to play around with them! It is quite humbling to have an 8 year old kick your trash and embarrass you with all of his friends laughing at you! But it is fun! I get a KICK out of it!
Well, that's all for this week from this side of the world! Until Next week!
I know that God speaks to us today. I know that he has called a prophet and that He truly does receive revelation for us from God. I know that as we follow the teachings in the scriptures and from modern day revelation that we will be able to return and live with our Father in Heaven again, WITH our families, for time and all eternity. I love this work. I know that this is the Work of God and that I am on HIS errand. I invite all to read the Book of Mormon. Begin with prayer, read, ponder, and pray to know of the truthfulness of it. I promise that as you do so with faith, with a real desire to know what the will of God is, I promise that you will receive an answer from God. I leave this promise with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Ryland Rash
Elder Rash Giving Tour of His Apartment

Elder Badger in their Kitchen

Elder Rash's Bed with Mosquito Netting

The Bathroom

The Zone Leaders and Roommates
Note from Parents - Mistie chatted shortly with him at Midnight AZ time - 9 am Matola time. He has running water. He has electricity most of the time. He gets 2 hrs of internet time for $5.00 each week. As you can tell he loves it there! We thank everyone who has prayed for him since he left.