Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 16 Davis Pool Service in Africa

I feel like I just had P-day yesterday! This week has flown by! I will apologize in advance and warn you that this letter will be quite short... Sorry...

But, it has been a good week! But first off, Happy Birthday Tobie!!!

Parabens a voce! Nesta data querida! Muitas felizidades! Muitos anos da vida! That is the happy birthday song that they sing here! It means; "Congratulations to you on this dear day! Many happies (there is no real direct translation for that) Many years of life!" So happy birthday on the 30th Tobie!

So we have 18 investigators with a baptismal date marked! We will be having a massive baptismal service on October 17 with 3 of our investigators, and a few of other Missionary's investigators!

But Elder Badger got bit by a stray dog on Sunday Morning as we were walking around to check on our investigators before church! I was a few paces ahead of him, when I heard him scream! We've got no idea why this dog bit him, but it wasn't even that bad of a bite. It didn't break skin, it bit him on his ankle, and the bite didn't even put holes in his pants or his socks. But he was pretty worried, so our Mission President's wife told him to go to the hospital. So we left church a little early and went into the city to get him looked over. The doctor wants to be cautious, so we have to go back every week for the next month to get a series of Rabies shots for Elder Badger.

This week I also had my first hard rejection. We were knocking on doors, and we could hear this kid playing inside of the gate of this rich house. So we knock on the gate, and the little boy comes to the door and he is this super cute little boy! I'll never forget him! His name is Yuma, and he went to call his Mom, who then comes walking out with this Mulato(tan) baby in her arms. We ask if we can talk to the Dad of the house, and so she goes and calls him! She was super nice, and super welcoming to us, and Yuma held my hand as he walked us to the door. Then, The Portuguese man comes to his door. We explained that we were Missionaries and that we'd like to share a message about Christ with him and his family. Then, extremely rudely, he said, "No. Leave. Goodbye." And he walks back into his house. Man, I was so upset. Matthew 19:24. I'm tired of rich people thinking that they don't need Christ or any sort of religion at all!

But the day got a little bit better as we tried another rich house! We entered the gate, and female after female after female came out of the house to greet us! There were probably 7 girls from ages 5 to 15 that came out, then finally a man came out! We introduced ourselves, and he was very nice! We were invited to come back another time, but what made me really happy was when I saw their pool!! I asked him if I could look at his pump for his pool. Surprisingly, it is extremely similar to pools in the states! He had a sand filter, Chlorine pool, that was a little dirty, so I grabbed the pool net, and cleaned it up a little bit, checked the chemical levels, and he was extremely impressed! So Papa, if you ever want to take Davis Pool Service International, I've already got some connections here! Haha! So that made me pretty happy!

The Mozambican little girls here are so adorable! With the beads in their hair and all! At a family night, they wanted to sing with me, so we just sang hymns while everyone else watched Carrossel- a really family friendly Brazilian show. But this week was super good!

So as for the super spiritual experience...

I was super frustrated as to how our night was going, and we were just walking along when I heard a voice say, "If you want us to stay with you, you have got to change." In that instant, I changed my attitude, and then realized that we had passed a family without even talking to them! They had this cute little baby, and so we turned around and talked to them. We have yet to sit down with them, but I feel super strongly that they will be good investigators. So that was the super spiritual experience that I had.

Well, that's all that I've got this week! I'm sorry, again. But I'll try to do better! I love you all! I love this work. I know God lives. I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God.

That's all from this side of the world!


Elder Rash

Back alley of Matola


"I'm so happy to be in Africa!"

Young Single Adult activity with the ward
Streets of Matola

Always smiling!

African Mural

Music and Arts

Atta fruit

Week 15 Another Weird Fruit

So this week was a little rough...

We've had to stop meeting with a lot of our investigators simply because they weren't keeping commitments. They haven't been coming to church, they having been keeping meetings with us, they haven't been reading the Book of Mormon, and they don't see any of it as a big deal! It can be quite frustrating at times. You can't learn how to swim if you don't get in the water! You can't discover that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint is the True Church of God if you don't read the Book of Mormon, go to Church, pray, and do the Things that the gospel teaches! It's as simple as that. Read the Book of Mormon. Pray about it. If you have doubts about what Joseph Smith saw, ask God- He was there, and He will tell you!

Anyways, our stats for this week were a little weak...

13 Investigators with a Baptismal date marked

Only 3 Investigators at Church

9 Progressing Investigators

5 new Investigators

So yeah... Kind of a cruddy week, but there is an excuse... Sort of.

So this week we had 2 Divisions in a row! We had one that was planned and we knew that we were going to be having it, but the next day there was a training for all of the Leaders in the Zones. So all Zone Leaders, District Leaders, and Trainees had to go into the city for most of the day. So that day, I quickly got paired up with an Elder that had only been out 2 transfers longer than I had been!!! I was a little worried because I'd heard him speak Portuguese before, and he has the Whitest Accent ever! During ALL of the lessons, I'd have to repeat what he said so that the investigators could understand him! So it was an interesting day. But that night, when Elder Badger and I were back together, I had a SUPER spiritual experience that completely changed my day! Up to that point, I was upset, frustrated, and really annoyed with my companion. But after this experience, everything changed. I won't go into detail, but I will simply say that D&C 84:88 is 100% true, and I saw that scripture fulfilled that night.

Then on Saturday night we had a Family Night with the Ward Mission Leader and a bunch of other members that lived nearby. Needless to say, we pretty much hosted a Young Single Adult activity! We had a bunch of kids my age over and we taught a lesson, sang some hymns, then played some games!!! I felt like I was back at home, just joking around with these members that I got along with so well! We took videos, pictures, danced around a bit, and apparently I'm quite the dancer, and didn't know it! Everyone just had such a great time! So that was super fun!

I tried another weird fruit this week as well! This one is called an Atta! It's about the size of an apple, and you rip into it, and it has the consistency of gooey moist bread, has a Lot of seeds in it, and tastes like a cross between and mango and a banana! So it was interesting, but delicious!

I think that's about it for this week! Again, I'm sorry that it isn't too long of a letter, but it was a slow week...

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers on my behalf! As Sister Kinnaman said, "Do you know how many people are praying for you?" So thank you for your prayers, and know that I'm praying for you all as well! I try to mention as many people as I can, by name, in my prayers at night. Trust me, there are times where I've been on my knees for over an hour! I love you all! This Gospel is true. There is no better way to say it. If you learn it, Live it, Love it, you will be happy- I promise you!

Com Amor,

Elder Rash

Masala fruit

Masala fruit

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week 14: Activating the Inactive

Well, another week in the life of a Missionary for the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saint has come and gone! This week was pretty
bland for the most part except for an activity that we had with all of
the Ward Missionaries that turned out really well! But first off...
Our Numbers;

14 Investigators with a Baptismal Date
13 Investigators in Sacrament Meeting
15 Progressing Investigators
3 Families at Church
11 New Investigators

So this week was pretty good for numbers!

I don't have a whole lot of time this week to write, so I'm sorry to
say that this email will be shorter than usual... So, I'm sorry Mom.
But yeah, like I said, nothing exciting happened this week. But we did
have an AWESOME activity with the Ward Missionaries! We wanted to get
them super excited about missionary work! So we had them go on a
search for the "lost lambs" that we had hidden pictures of throughout
the Chruch Building! So we related that to the 300 Inactive Members of
the Ward!!! We have 405 registered and baptized members in our Ward,
and only have a Frequency (Attendance) at church of about 100 people
every week. So we have a LOT of work to do with Less Active Members.
Then we talked about the 3 Things that EVERY new Member needs; A
Responsibility, a Friend, and Nurturing with the Good word of God! We
had Corn Meal, Water, and a stove- the 3 things that are essential to
make Chima! Then we gave them 2 of the 3 things and told them to make
Chima! It is impossible to make Chima without all of those 3 things,
just as it is difficult for a new member to stay active without all 3
things that President Hinkley said that they need! Then, I made 2
batches of cookies the night before. One batch I made normally, and
they were good cookies, the other batch, I left out the sugar, and
dumped in A LOT of salt! So the symbolism was how our lessons with our
Investigators are with a Member present! The lessons with the Members
present are SO much better! So the Ward Missionaries were SO much fun!
So hopefully we get a lot more participation from them in the coming

I'm sorry Mom. You have now reached the end of the letter... Please
don't be sad or mad! But before I go, imagine me singing this Song!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to You!
Happy Birthday to Shelbie, Elder Poulsen, Morgan Sappington, and
Anyone Else that I don't know about.....
Happy Birthday to You!!!
Feliz Aniversario!

I love you all! Give em Heaven Out There! I'll talk to you next week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 13: Excited To Be Staying In Matola

This past week was the last week of my first transfer in Mozambique!!!!! It flew by so fast! It was crazy! But good news! I'm staying here in Matola for another 6 weeks! In fact, not a whole lot changed in our Zone, pretty much everyone is staying! But I've been praying for this! I have absolutely fallen in love with our area! I love the people and wanted to be here for all of the baptisms and weddings that we'll be having this transfer! Speaking of Weddings... Parabens Tobie e Austin!!!!! I watched the videos and saw the pictures and it made me so happy! I'm so proud of you guys! My advice for you is the same advice that God gave to Adam and Eve; "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth!" I'm so glad that I could be a part of the wedding! It made me feel special, so thank you guys! I wish you both the best of luck!

But our area is doing great! We had...

13 Investigators with a Baptismal Date
7 Investigators at Sacrament Meeting
14 New Investigators

So it was a pretty decent week!

Now, I don't know what it is about me that just makes drunk men flock to me, but it seems like there are always drunk men that want to talk to me! So yesterday was a holiday here in Matola and Maputo that honored the military! So all of Matola and Maputo had work off. Naturally, everyone got plastered-drunk! On two separate occasions, I was approached by visibly drunk men, and they just gave me the biggest bear hug ever! I felt terrible because I would go to investigators houses smelling like alcohol! Alcohol is very bad... Don't even touch that stuff... But yeah, so that was one experience! Another crazy experience was as we were walking down the street and I saw this little Mozambican toddler! As we got closer, this little girl looked EXACTLY like Emmy, Tyson and Kamee daughter! She was a Black Emmy! So that reminded me of home!

This past Wednesday, we had Elder Hamilton of the Second Quorum of the 70 come and visit our mission! We had the opportunity to shake his hand and receive training from him. As I shook his hand, I was anticipating him to ask how I was doing, so when I shook his hand he simply said, "Hello, Elder Rash." Nervously and awkwardly, I spouted out, “I’m fine, thanks! How are you?" He gave me an odd look, and I walked away feeling like the biggest idiot in the entire building! I didn't feel so bad when Elder Almeida, from Angola, came and sat down next to me and told me he had responded to Elder Hamilton in Portuguese on accident... Elder Hamilton doesn't speak Portuguese! And apparently a bunch of other missionaries had really awkward encounters with him as well! But the training he gave was absolutely wonderful! I learned so much and was just entranced by everything he was saying! I was completely immersed in his words and was so edified by the Spirit! At the end of his training, he opened up for questions that anyone might have. I had written down some questions that I wanted to know from my personal study a few weeks prior. I raised my hand, asked my question, and waited... And waited... And waited... All while he just stood and the pulpit contemplating my question. Eventually he turned to President Koch, and said, "Would you like to give it a shot?" President Koch partially answered the question, and then Elder Hamilton stood up again and answered my question as well! My question was, "How is my faith and hope related to the Agency of others? I understand that there is a power in faith. That faith can move mountains! So if I have faith that investigators will come to church, or that they will accept a doctrine or a baptismal date, how does that influence their Agency to choose? Does it influence their agency at all? And then what is the point of my faith in a desired outcome, if the Agency of others can cause the desired outcome to not happen?!" This question came about as I was studying in the Faith section of Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel.

I'm sorry my letter is a little bit late, I'm sorry if it caused any problems for anyone, but Monday was a holiday, as I said, and all of the stores were closed, so we pushed P-day back by 1 day! So I'm sorry about that! Well, I think I'm out of things to write about! Mom, I hope this lengthy of a letter will suffice! I love you all! Oh yeah, Congrats to Samantha Smith!!! Zimbabwe! That is crazy! You'll be my neighbor! There are quite a few people from Zimbabwe here in Matola that I've met! Good luck understanding their English! Haha! But they're cool! Anyway... That's all from this side of the world!

Elder Ryland Rash

Not exactly sure but we think this is a dried up water well.


Close up of the well

Ryland's Family

This is what Ryland said about the picture of the family....

"So this is Bento and Edilta with their son Belview and Bento's brother, Esdor!  This is MY Family!  We found them, and I hope we get to baptize them this transfer!  Whoo Hoo!  They are my favorite family!  That is their house, which Edilta is standing in the doorway.  There are other doors that you can see in the background, and those our other "house".  They're really just small rooms.  But we have another investigator, Rita who lives in the room right next to them in that door you can see just next to my left shoulder!  Hope you guys like this picture!  Love you guys!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Week 12: Odd Fruit

So here's what’s up from my part of the world!

We've had to drop a few investigators this week... I absolutely hate dropping investigators. A couple that we were teaching wasn't coming to church, were having marital problems that we couldn't really help with, so they'll be talking with the Mission President to help them with their problems... And we also had to drop another family. The Husband is already a member, but extremely inactive, and the wife says that she is only taking the discussions so that she can follow her husband... So they aren't too committed to the Gospel. So with these two families we're going to take a break from them for a while... But other than that this week was pretty good! Here are our stats:

14 Investigators with a Baptismal Date Marked
9 Investigators attended Sacrament Meeting
21 Lessons this week
17 New Investigators!!!

So the work here is just going crazy good!

Recently we've been trying to work a lot with the inactive members of the ward. We typically have about 100 people attending church, which isn't too bad. But when you consider that there are 405 registered members of our ward, and we only have a 25% turn out rate, we realize that we have a lot of reactivation work to do! So that is going to be our focus for the next little while!

We're getting nearer to the end of the transfer, and I'm pretty sure that Elder Badger is going to be finishing up my training! But he isn't sure! He has a friend that is coming into the mission this next transfer and is hoping that he'll be able to train him, so he is kind of hoping that he gets transferred to train him. You might think that I am offended by that, but I'm really not! I understand that he's got a friend that he wants to spend time with. But I don't think anything is going to change this transfer!

I'm so excited for the next few transfers and I really hope I stay! We have a lot of investigators scheduled with their baptismal dates in the next couple of transfers! As for the baptism we were supposed to have on September 5, we had to push it back a couple of weeks. Her name is Joanna. She is 11 years old and her Aunt and Uncle that she lives with are semi recent converts who are working to go to the temple! Her Aunt and Uncle are solid members of the church and Joanna loves Church and comes every week! The reason we had to push her back is because she lives out in Trevo, which is the furthest part of our area, and we haven't had a whole lot of time to go out there and teach her. But you'd better believe that we'll be out there a lot in these next couple of weeks!

Our investigators, Bento and Edilta, are just doing great! We've started on their paperwork to get them married so that they can get baptized! They are so solid! They come to church every week; they are super fun to be with! I love them so much! We meet with them about 3 times a week, and see them all the time! I love them so much!

I've had quite a few encounters with drunken people this week, and an Elder in my district almost killed one... This drunken man was walking toward them on the street and bumped into them pretty hard. He went tumbling into the street, and had it not been for a slow moving Choppa, he would have tumbled into busy traffic! The drunken man bumped into this Choppa which sent him tumbling back onto the side walk! Drunken people are crazy here! I love talking to the drunken people just because it is super funny, plus they make for good stories home! Haha! But, for my mother's sake, I'll try to keep those encounters to a minimum!

Congratulations to Tobie and Austin! I'm so excited for you guys! The Temple is an amazing place. Being on a mission and teaching the doctrine that families can be sealed for time AND eternity has really become a huge deal for me. I really wish that people realized the importance that the temple can have in their lives. Marriage in this life is "till death do you part." How sad is that! That is depressing! That is NOT how God intended Marriage to be. When God married Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he intended them to be together forever. If they had not partaken of the fruit, they would have been married together for eternity. Love is not temporary. God intends a man and his wife to be together forever. EVEN after death. Through the blessings of the temple, families can and will be together after death. The same love, relationship, and respect that they have for one another will carry on into the life after death. Death is not the end; I promise. Every time I watch the Mormon Message, "Because of Him", I can't help but feel of the Great Love that God has for each and every single one of us. Imagine sending your firstborn son, like a lamb to the slaughter, to die so that your other children might live. Imagine the suffering, the pains, the ridicule and mockery that Christ endured. He did it for you. He did it so that you can experience happiness. So that you can have the opportunity to return to your Father in Heaven. So that you can be cleansed from the sins and stains of the world that we live in. Imagine the love that Christ has for you. He knows exactly what you are going through; because He experienced it. He has felt every sickness, every worry, every pain, and every heartache. He has felt that sorrow that comes with a miscarriage of a child. He has felt the pain of watching your children make wrong choices. He has felt the heartache that accompanies divorce. He has felt EVERYTHING. You can and should turn to Him. Use His atonement. Turn to God. Trust Him. And He will never let you down. Okay, let me step down off of my soap box.
Today should be pretty cool! We're going to the snake market! Believe it or not, they don't sell snakes there! The missionaries gave it that name because the little shops zig zag in a snake pattern, you know? Like a squiggly line! But they have a lot of traditional wood work there that you can get for really cheap! So we're pretty much going souvenir shopping!

This past week we ate some pretty odd fruit! It's called Masala! Imagine a large caramel apple! That is what it looked like, but then you crack it open like a coconut! Inside is this ball of something green that you have no idea what to do with it! It is slimy, squishy, and all stuck together in one big ball, so you take that out and take a bite. Imagine eating brains, or mushy bananas, and it tasted like mushy bananas! But there are Hundreds of seeds in it as well! They are about the size of marbles that have been flattened a little bit, and they are perfectly smooth! The fruit was delicious and odd! I'm going to bring the seeds home and plant the tree to see if it grows! Haha!

So on Tuesday night we had a meeting at the Church building! When the meeting was over, Elder Stewart heard some rain! So I got super excited and ran outside just to find that it was dry as can be, without a cloud in the sky! I came back inside and could still hear water pouring down somewhere! I opened one of the doors to one of the rooms, and saw water spilling down from the ceiling! After some inspection, I climbed up into the attic and found that the hot water heater had burst somewhere internally and water was pouring out of it. Bishop and all of us missionaries eventually got it shut off and cleaned up, but it was pretty crazy! That took up our entire night, so we didn't have any lessons that night!

Well, that's all I've got for now! I'll let you know how transfers go next week! This transfer has absolutely flown by! I love you all!

Elder Rash

Ficus Tree that reminded Ryland of Home

Wire and Soda Can Race Car that the children make and push with sticks. Check out Ryland's shoes....no way to ever keep then clean and polished on dusty dirt roads.

First sighting of African Wildlife

View from roof of apartment

View from Apartment

View from Apartment

View from Apartment

A Badger and a Chicken

Mozambique Sunset that Ryland Loves

Out at Night

Elder Hamilton Touring the Mission