Monday, December 19, 2016

Week 80: I have felt like Job these last few weeks

Well this last week was not too productive. Elder Oliveira and I spent a lot of time at the house and at the clinic because of the abscess that I had. For those of you who were not aware, I had a abscess on my face on my jaw that took quite a bit of time, money and suffering to get rid of. Today I am pleased to announce that I am okay! Finally! The abscess is gone, and I am just recovering a little bit. Thank you all for your prayers for us missionaries. We really do feel your support and the power of your prayers.

Congratulations Dad on your graduation! I know you have been working for a long time to attain this goal that you have had. I know you have worked really hard, like you do with everything, to get your Master's Degree. I am grateful for the diligent example that you have set for me all my life. You do not cease to amaze me, Dad. I love you and I am so proud of you and your accomplishments.

Just a quick update. We are planning two weddings for January. Elizio and Clara decided to get married, Finally! Hercilio and Saquinna have been traveling for work, so we haven't seen them lately, but when Saquinna came to church yesterday, so that was good! We also found that really nice family Idelson and Suzana. They are already married and I have not been able to get ahold of them in a really long time. I know that they were planning a trip, but I don't know where they are. We really want to visit them, but it has been a while.

Well, that is all I have for now. I will see some of you on Friday when I Skype home.

Have a Good Week.
Abraco Forte!
Elder Rash

Note from mom:  Elder Rash really had a hard week last week.  Going to a medical clinic every day, 3 times a day, for 6 days!  He is feeling much better and says that he is 90% better.  The abscess was really bad a required lots of medical attention.  We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers on Elder Rash's behalf.  He has felt them and so have we!  No pictures that we feel we can post of the blog due to the nature of the pictures (all of the abscess that is really nasty!).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 79: No time to be sick when you are in the Service of our Lord

Firstly, Happy Birthday, Dad! I don't know your exact age, and I won't even try to guess, but I do know that your birthday was yesterday! Know that I was thinking about you and that I love you.

Secondly, Happy Birthday, Elder Hofeling! Elder Hofeling had his birthday on Dec. 9th and I hope everything is going well with him in the Philippines.

Thirdly, Congrats to Spencer Ellsworth on the mission call to France! That is Awesome! Welcome to God's Army!

Well this week for me was... Different... To say the least. For the first few days of the week, Elder Goes and I were running Nampula by ourselves; which was a little difficult. Both of us had important lessons that we wanted to have, and we just didn't have enough time to work both areas efficiently. So we weren't as efficient from Friday until the following Thursday when our companions arrived. 

Then, when our companions arrived, it seemed as if there were so many surprises that we had to take care of here. A young woman got her mission call, and so we were asked to plan a surprise party/reveal for her- she will be serving in Zambia and reports in Jan.

Friday was the only normal day that we had. We got out to work and worked for the full time.

Saturday we had baptisms planned in the morning, AND we learned that one of the members that we love very much , we learned that he had suffered a fatal accident and passed away the night before. His wife is in the hospital in critical condition, and his funeral was yesterday. So that has brought a gloom over the whole branch. Also on Saturday we were full with English classes, trainings, and other meetings.

On Sunday and Monday I was unable to leave the house because of Health Issues. I could hardly get out of bed at times. But now I am getting better.

My companion is Elder Oliveira. He is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is 26 years old. He is the epitomy of Christlike service, and Christlike love. He helped me out a lot while I was sick. He has been very patient with me and very loving. He speaks excellent English, and has 14 months on his Mission.

We are planning 2 weddings for the month of January. Elizio and Clara, and Hercilio and Saquinna.

I think that is all I have to report on for now.

Thank you all so much for your prayers.

Elder Rash
*  Note from mom:  Elder Rash has been seen by a doctor for his abscess that we found out is on his face!  His face swelled up and that's when it became a concern.  He is on antibiotics and feeling better.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Week 78: Ups and downs are part of being a missionary

This week was alright for us missionaries here in Nampula. We had ups and downs, but that is life, right? I also had a week full of surprises; to say the least.

I really don't have a whole lot to report on. With transfers and missionaries getting sent out of Nampula and some other surprises, Elder Goes and I did not get a whole lot of work done. We had to try to work two areas and run the branch at the same time, so we were not as efficient as we have been in the past weeks. Elder Taukiuvea ended his mission and went home. He left Nampula Friday night. Elder Osorio also left Nampula on Thursday to go down to Maputo. We were down two missionaries.

We really saw the effect that all this caused when Sunday rolled around and only 134 people showed up to church. Like I said, we typically have 180 or 190, and we typically have 15 to 25 investigators, well I only had 5 investigators... Man, it hurt me.

But during church I was asked to play the piano for the branch, and I did a pretty decent job. I have been learning some new hymns and practicing quite a bit, so I was able to play for the branch without any problems.

My new companion will be Elder Oliveira- from Brazil. I am super excited to work with him! This will be my first companion that is not a natural english speaker! I really like Elder Oliveira. He is a great missionary and super obedient; so I am excited to see the blessings come to this branch because of him and his work here. Elder Goes' new companion will be Elder Draney- one of my companions in the MTC. The two of them should help each other out a lot and their area should progress really well.

I am excited for the new adventures that this next transfer will bring.

I know God lives. I know Jesus is the Christ. I know God loves us and that we are His children. Christ invites us to come unto Him and be perfected in Him. He did suffer and die for our sins. We can repent of any transgression that we commit. Repentance brings peace and exaltation. I am so grateful for the Atonement of my personal Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the work of the Lord. I am eternally grateful for the privilege I have to be a missionary and serve the people of Nampula and Mozambique.

I love this work. I love my Savior.

Elder Rash

*Note from mom:  No pictures this week.  Please keep Elder Rash in your prayers.  Sometimes, extra prayers are helpful.  He CAN do hard things!


Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 77: Patience is a Virtue

As a title for this letter I chose, Patience is a Virtue. This week I had an abnormally large number of opportunities to develop the Christlike Attribute of Patience, and boy was it difficult. I'll start at the beginning of the week.

On Monday I received my flight plans to fly down to Maputo for the Leadership Training. I was really excited to travel and see some old friends, some recent converts, some members that I love. I was excited to see other missionaries, to see President and Sister Koch, and I was excited to have the training from them, and the Thanksgiving Feast that they were nice enough to provide for us. Needless to say, I was excited. I waited patiently for Monday and Tuesday to pass and was scheduled to leave Wednesday morning. So I get all packed and all ready for the trip, and I show up to the airport only to discover that my flight had been cancelled... Ugh... Disappointment #1.

The airline told us that they would have a flight for us that would leave at 4am Thursday morning... Ugh... Disappointment #2. And they told us that we would need to be there at 2am to check in... Ugh... Disappointment #3. But, I kept my cool. I smiled and just kept forcing myself to think, "It will all work out in the end. It will all work out. It's Okay."

I went through my day as normal on Wednesday and went to bed a bit early so as to wake up at 1am to leave to the airport. I got there early and was the only person in the airport, but they hadn't started checking people in yet. So I sat down and waited about thirty minutes until they started calling specific groups of people to check in. I finally stood up to go try to check in but was not given the chance. Here in Africa there is no such thing as what civilized countries call, "lines". It just doesn't exist. I was in no mood to fight to the front of the mob and throw elbows and punches to make my way there, so I just stood and waited patiently for an opportunity. I stood there for 2 hours. I may have missed my flight if a nice Muslim man hadn't grabbed my bag, fought his way to the front and demanded that they help me. He was super funny and a huge help. I finally got onto the plane, and was then informed that the flight would be delayed an hour... Ugh... Disappointment #4.

"It will all work out in the end. Just smile, Elder Rash."

I got the Maputo exhausted. Went straight to the office and had the Leadership Training, then immediately had lunch, then we set up Christmas around the office, then I was privileged enough to go to T-3 and visit my old area. By that night I was exhausted! I went straight to bed and was immediately asleep. We woke up the next morning and I pretty much just sat around the office, got a little nap in, and practiced the piano for a few hours. There wasn't anything for me to do... 

Friday night my plane was scheduled to leave at 17:45... Delay after delay after delay we finally left at 22:30... Ugh... Disappointment #5

I got back to the house at 1:30 Saturday Morning, and woke up a few hours later for the baptisms that we had that morning. We had 8 Baptisms.

Anyways. After that long ordeal I really learned what it meant to be patient. I used to think it was gritting your teeth and holding your tongue until the trial is over. But it is so much more than that. 

"Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled."

I feel like this is the type of patience that I was able to experience, patience with a hopeful outlook rather than a grim outlook on things.

After the long test of my patience, we were blessed enough to have 8 baptisms, 6 of which were part member families. It was such a blessing to see the gospel help these families take one more step closer to getting to the temple as a family. What a blessing!

I believe that is all I have for this week.

I know that God is mindful of His children. I know that he loves each and every one of us. I know that Christ died so that we can change and become better than we currently are. This life is the time for Men to prepare to meet God. We need to learn to live a Celestial lifestyle. The same person we are in this life is the same person we will be in the eternities. Where are you now? Where will you be in the eternities?

Jesus is the Christ. Joseph Smith was His means of restoring His gospel here on earth. Thomas S. Monson is His prophet today. This IS the Church of Jesus Christ.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all, have a good week.

Elder Rash

P.S.- Thank you so much for the videos and pictures! It was super good to hear your voices and see your smiling faces! It was absolutely impossible for me to recognize Holly. I literally spent 5 minutes trying to figure out who she was! I thought maybe she was a friend that someone brought along to help out set up lights at Nanny and Papas or something. Holly is a Babe Now! Dang! Reese, be careful. Keep an eye on her and keep your gun loaded. Haha! Brincadeira! I love you guys!

Note from mom:  Elder R. sent TONS of pictures and videos from the wedding celebration and from his Zone Leadership Training.  I wish I could put them all on here, but I don't have names or anything to go along with them.  So these at least give you an idea what his weekend was like!

Arrived back in Nampula just in time for these baptisms!

Zone Leadership Training in Maputo with some of his favorite missionaries

Wedding day!

Wedding party!

More wedding guests

And more....

and still even more!  It was a HUGE turn out of support for the couple!

Cutting of the cake.

The party went till dark

Elder R. hasn't been captioning his pictures, so I can only guess...they are washing dishes?

Teaching a lesson?

Being silly?

Look at Elder R's smile!

Being even more silly!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 76: And that's all he wrote....Happy Thanksgiving!

So I won't write a "Weekly Email" this week because I wrote a lot of long letters to Shelbie and Dad and I'll write a long one to you. But I don't have time to write a "weekly" one. Sorry.

Elder Rash
No pictures either....sorry everyone!
*Note from mom:  Elder R. will be flying to Maputo on Wednesday for some Leadership Training.  He will get to spend Thanksgiving with Pres. and Sis. Koch and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving feast!  He will fly back to Nampula on Friday and get back in time for 8 baptisms on Saturday.  He is looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with the Koch's and other missionaries from around the mission.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 75: We are living after the manner of HAPPINESS!

Well, another week down and yet another P-day that will seem too short, but I love this time that I have to relax for a bit and tell you all about how awesome this last week was!
The one word that I can use to describe the overall feeling of this week would be Joy. We absolutely had some annoying times and stressful times, but I feel as Nephi felt. That despite all of their tribulations in the wilderness, he and his family "lived after the manner of happiness" because they kept the commandments and did what God asked them to do. This last week Elder Taukiuvea and I journeyed through the wilderness, figuratively speaking, and we had a lot of tribulations, but because we were obedient to the mission rules and fulfilled our purpose as missionaries we "lived after the manner of happiness."

To begin, I must say that the universe has taken revenge on me. My whole mission I prided myself on not receiving a single abscess, and was involved in "helping" others get rid of theirs. I am not so proud to inform you that this week I broke my 17 month "Abscess Free" streak. I got an abcess at the beginning of the week and it was extremely uncomfortable. It only lasted a few days until I was able to squeeze it all out. It was only about the size of a marble, but it was a pain in my armpit! It was in the same armpit and in the same place as the Abscess that Elder Brochier had a few months ago. However, mine was not near as bad as his was. So that is my experience with an abscess. It definitely was not a walk in the park.
We also stayed super busy this week running around everywhere in preparation for our lessons, our Zone Training, and an activity that we had on Saturday. We had a really successful week with lessons having 30 lessons this week, 19 of which were with a member present. So we were moving every minute of every day to get to all of our lessons.

On Thursday, Elder Taukiuvea and I gave a training to the Zone about the importance of using the Book of Mormon in our missionary work. It is the cornerstone of our religion, it needs to be the cornerstone of our testimony, of our study, and of our teaching.

On Saturday we had an activity for the youth and YSAs. We had a massive Minute to Win It competition and everyone loved it! We had a decent turnout and I expect even bigger turnouts in the future.
We have been working really well with the members and teaching references that they give us to teach. Our recent convert, Nora, has been a huge help to us. We taught her about the importance of Missionary Work a few weeks ago, and she got super animated and excited about it. She was a little bummed when we told her that she can't serve a full time mission, but she has really magnified herself in the way that she has assisted us in the Branch. She directed us to her Brother and his family, and her sister, Gina, and her family. Both families are super nice and Gina has a strong desire to change her life around.

We also have made an effort to work with Part Member Families and all of the baptisms that we are planning for the 26th of November are part member families. We will have 7 baptisms for the 26th, and 2 more the following week. Hercilio and Saquina will be opening the marriage process tomorrow, will be married on the 26th, and baptized the following week! I am so excited for them!
On Sunday we saw all of our hard work pay off when we had 194 people at church! That is huge for us! Of those 194, 26 of them were our investigators!!!!! Awesome!

I have a testimony that as we follow the will of God that our lives become much easier. If we yoke ourselves with the Lord our burdens become lighter. I love missionary work and the privilege I have to devote my time to the Lord. I am far from perfect but I am trying to do what is right.

I know God lives. I know He loves His children.

Until next week.
Elder Rash

*  From Elder R.'s mom:  He sent pictures this week, but mostly of his abscess.  Not something I want to share with everyone.  Hopefully he will send better pictures next week!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 73 & 74: Power outages, sickness and success

This week was not too exciting as Elder Taukiuvea was sick with a fever for most of the week. He is doing just fine now and this week we will be out working hard again, something I missed.

Okay... So as we were using internet, it stopped working and I lost all that I had typed... So I'll write in more detail next week. I am sorry.

I love you guys. I know what I am doing is where I need to be. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love the Lord. I love this Work.

Mom, I am sorry for the shortness of this letter.

Elder Ryland Rash


Hey Family and Friends, sorry these past few weeks did not contain the most detailed of letters (to say the least), but I'll try to cram the better part of the past weeks into one letter.

We had Nora's baptism and this past week we had 6 more baptisms here from Elder Osorio and Elder Goes.

The Halloween Activity was canceled because of a lack of participation and planning; it isn't as huge of a holiday here, so nobody was really that excited. But now we are planning a talent show for the 19th of November. A talent show just like we had in Mascarenha while I was there.

Yesterday and church we had 21 investigators show up, which was awesome! We have been having a lot of success with our members. They are proactive in inviting friends and colleagues to church and other activities and introduce them to us. So we have found quite a few investigators by means of references from members. We also are teaching a lot of part member families and planning their baptisms for the end of the month. Hercilio and Saquina are doing well. We should get the last of their documents this week and open the marriage process on the 11th. Everything is still running smoothly for their wedding on the 26th, and their baptism the following week. Belmiro and Berendina say that they want to keep the Law of Chastity and are willing to get married, but that they will need a bit more time than just a couple of weeks. They still come to church every week as a family, and they are still super nice, but the baptismal date has been postponed to an unknown date. But we will be meeting with them tonight to talk to them about it.

On Sunday, it was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and Edel (that man that I told you guys about that had the dream about the Book of Mormon) he got up and bore his testimony and told his story about his conversion. I have never seen a chapel more focused on a speaker before. Nobody moved a muscle as they listened to his powerful experience with Prayer and receiving answers from God. Tears were shed, the Spirit was so strong, and I know he strengthened others with his testimony.

I know I said I'd write a lot, but I am now out of things to write about... So I wish everyone a fantastic week and send me letters and pictures and videos! I miss you guys! Have a good week.
-Elder Rash

Nora's baptism

Elder T., Nora and Elder R.

Nora and family

Elder Goes and Elder Osorio

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 72: Prayer and The Book of Mormon bring souls to Christ

This week was jam packed with work to do. Elder Taukiuvea and I have been running around all week from lesson to lesson all over our area. We polished off our week with 36 lessons! Now I don't know what thing are like in other missions, but for me, this was a personal record. We have been giving it everything we've got in our area and we are seeing the blessings that come from our diligence.

Hercilio and Saquina are now planning their wedding for the 26th of November and are super excited for their baptism the following week. (I'm not sure if I mentioned that in my last letter or not).

Belmiro and Berendina both came to church this week, are both studying and understanding the Book of Mormon, and are really excited about baptism. They have strong testimonies that the Book of Mormon is true scripture and I have noticed a huge spiritual change in their lives. When we first met them, they didn't even know HOW to pray; now when we start the lesson, both are extremely excited to pray and talk with God. They almost fight to see who gets to open the lesson with a prayer. Their daughter, Nizia, is as adorable as ever and also LOVES to pray. They always tell us the funny stories about how at night she asks if she is allowed to talk with Heavenly Father. This family is so precious and has been changed already by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be teaching them this week about the Law of Chastity, and I hope and pray that they will be willing to get married quickly so that their baptism can still happen soon.

Our other family that we were preparing for the 26th, Elizio and Clara... I got extremely upset with them this week when they told us that they need to push back their wedding until maybe February or January... They have been pushing their wedding back for about 8 months now and I don't know they will ever decide to keep the commandments and repent. We made it very clear that they need to repent, but they still just didn't care. We got really disappointed, really sad, a little mad, and got in their face a little, spit enough fire to just singe their eyebrows a little, and in the end we dropped them until they are ready to commit and repent.

On Wednesday this week we had a division and I walked with Elder Osorio in his area, and Elder Goes walked with Elder Taukiuvea in our area. It was a super good division and the most spiritual part was when we visited one of their new/golden investigators named Edel. He is one of the most wealthy men I've ever met here in Mozambique, one of the most intelligent people I've ever met in my life, and also the nicest and most family oriented person ever. When we sat down with him in his mansion, we began talking about the Plan of Salvation and he had a lot of great questions, and really understood and loved the answers that we gave him. At the end of the lesson, he told us that he knew the Book of Mormon was true, and then he proceeded to tell us about his experience with Prayer and the Book of Mormon.  He told us that for the first 5 nights after the Elders first met with him, that he prayed diligently hoping for an answer, but never got one. He said that he started to get discouraged and when the Elders gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, he had more hope, and continued to pray for a few more days. Then he said that one night he prayed to know if these things were true- just like he had done before; if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and if the Book of Mormon was true, and if this Church is the TRUE church on the Earth today. He closed his prayer, and went to bed. He said that he was awoken in the middle of the night by a light in his room that startled him at first. He sat up and saw a man sitting at the foot of his bed, dressed in a white shirt and tie. The man stood up and walked out of the room. A little afraid, but also curious, Edel followed him out of his room, down the hallway, and into the living room that was completely illuminated by 3 other men, dressed the same way, sitting on his couches. The fourth man sat with his collegues, and Edel sat in the available chair. When he looked at the men, they didn't have faces but pure light radiated from them that made it difficult to look at them. They told him many things that he said he didn't remember, but the thing that he did remember, was that each of them testified of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of all of the things that the missionaries were teaching him. He said he couldn't tell how long they had been there, if it had been 5 minutes or 5 hours, but they eventually left, and he woke up in his room. He said that he didn't know if it was a dream or if it had actually happened, but it felt real to him. He tells us that he felt a peace that he had never before felt. He sat up from his bed, grabbed his copy of the Book of Mormon, and began reading it. That it enlightened him. That he knew it was the word of God. He tells us that he knows that the things we have been teaching him are true. That he cannot deny them. And that he is a little scared that God has trusted him with this testimony. He is afraid that he will mess up in the future, that the Lord has trusted him with a great responsibility that he isn't sure if he will be able to fulfill. He told us that he needs to speak at church and testify of what had happened to him, and about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon- we told him that he can take a few minutes at Fast and Testimony meeting.  As he told us his story, the Spirit was almost tangible in the room. The Spirit touched all of us that day, and strengthened my testimony that God answers prayers. He strengthened my testimony, and I know that he was telling the truth.

I know God lives. I know He speaks with His children. I know He loves us. He sent His Son to save us from sin. Christ showed us the perfect way to salvation. We have those restored truths today because of a living prophet. Joseph Smith was a true prophet- The Book of Mormon is evidence of that. Read it. Ponder about it. Pray and Plead about it.  God answers prayers. This is my testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

*Elder Ryland Rash*

*note from mom - Again NO pictures or videos....not gonna lie...I am a tad bummed!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 71: Weddings, baptisms and exercise

We had a really good week with a lot of good quality lessons.

We sat with Belmiro and Berendina and they are such a golden family! They understood the Book of Mormon perfectly just after reading the introduction, and they wrote down notes and summaries of what they understood. When we showed up, they asked us questions about the Book of Mormon, and at the end of the lesson, Berendina asked us one more question.

"We really feel that we need to be baptized. We really want to be baptized. What are the steps that we need to take before being baptized?"

We told them about faith and repentance and committed them to be baptized on the 26th of November! They are super excited!

That same day we sat with Ercilio and Saquina and talked about weddings with them. Ercilio decided that he wants something as simple and as small as possible. We told him that it is possible to just sign the documents if that is what they want. We could see the wince of pain on Saquina's face as he said that that was exactly what he wanted! Haha! I know that she wants something more special than that, but the quicker they get married, the better! So they will also probably get married and baptized on either the 12th of November or the 26th. But they are both progressing really well.

Our third couple that we are preparing for marriage is Elizio and Clara. They are that part member family. We took the Branch President with us to talk with them about baptism and repentance. Now we are just waiting on a response from them about their wedding. I have a feeling that they will also decide to be married at the end of November.
We are planning a couple of baptisms on the 29th of October. Nora and Josefina will both be baptized. Nora is so awesome! We've only been teaching her for a couple of weeks, but the change in her is already so apparent. She is always so much happier and you can see her physically light up when she talks about the gospel and the happiness it brings her! She is super excited for her baptism! Josefina is also progressing really well. She is a police officer and has to work on Sundays sometimes, but she has a burning testimony of the things that she has learned.

For an activity that we are planning for Halloween, we are teaching the youth how to dance Thriller by Michael Jackson, and we are going to present it at the Branch Activity. So that has been super fun. We have practices every Wednesday and Saturday. It is super funny to watch them dance!

I also found this week that we have P90X3, and so Elder Goes and I have been doing P90X every night and it is kicking my butt! But it is going really well.

That's all that I think I've got for now. We are working really hard with the members and finding a lot of quality families.

Until next week.

Elder Ryland Rash
P.S.  no pictures, videos, or audio this week....sorry!


Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 70: General Conference, teaching, and making memories!

We had a decent week this past week. We weren't able to get as much missionary work done as we have in the past weeks because of different things that came up. For example, on Saturday we were asked to download conference to watch as a branch, and it took us 4 and a half hours to download the sessions! Just stupid stuff like that came up and wasted a lot of our time in the area.

As for an update on our investigators, we found a lot of new families this week and they have a lot of potential.

We also still have Ercilio and Saquina, and we are still waiting on their decision for their wedding and baptism. He had to fly to Maputo for work and so we haven't seen him in a few days, but we will be visiting them tonight to follow up with them.

Casiano and Ercilia have not been coming to church, and so we may drop them if they don't come next week.

Elizio and Clara are another family that we have been teaching for a long time. They are a part member family that needs to get married. They took a trip down to Beira this last week and they got their documents that they need for a wedding. The only thing holding them back is that they want a big wedding with the whole family... Ugh...

Like I said we found 5 new families this week and they seem somewhat promising, but we'll see what happens this next week and I'll let  you all know.

On Tuesday we had an activity with all of the YSA's and Youth and we made Smores! It was so nice! Definitely something that we will be doing again on our own.

HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY, MOM!!! I love you and hope you had a good Birthday! Know that I was thinking about you on Sunday! I love you!

I think that is all I've got for this week.

Oh! We watched Conference in English during the week and I thought it was amazing! The theme that I noticed was the message of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Two of my favorite talks were Elder Gary E. Stevenson and Elder Holland.

Elder Ryland Rash
Watching General Conference

Young Single Adult Activity - making S'mores

Elder T

Elder Rash enjoying his S'more

Roasting marshmellows takes patience

Oh my heavens......

Elder Rash's shoes are looking bad!  Found a guy that will add some tread to them.

I don't know if they will last another 8 months!

Making S'mores with these handsome missionaries

Making FACES with this cutie pie!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 69: "Fourth Floor, last door"....EVERYONE deserves to hear the message of Jesus Christ

So in response to recent complaints, this letter will be a bit longer than they have been the past few weeks. So quit whining...

So, just to review and to catch up.

I am currently serving here in Nampula with my companion Elder Taukiuvea. He is just about to go home and only has 9 weeks left until he leaves, so we are trying to stay focused and work hard during the tail end of our missions.

We have been doing a lot of finding recently because they just got done having some weddings and baptisms right before I got here, so they had been busy with preparing those families, and so now our focus is on finding families. Lately we have been doing a pretty good job at it. We have been working really hard with the members at getting references from them. We currently have a family- Ercilio and Saquina. They are a reference from the first counselor in the Branch Presidency, and they are super nice! We taught the Law of Chastity last night and are preparing them for marriage and baptism on November 12. They told us that they would discuss this date and let us know when we pass by on Friday. Ercilio is ready for a quick and simple wedding so that they can get baptized; Saquina, on the other hand, is a woman. She wants a big party, the dress, the cake, the whole shabang! I hope Ercilio is able to convince her into a simple wedding. Saquina has also been a huge help in inviting her neighbors to receive our visits. In fact, this week we will be sitting with two families that live next to them and teaching them about the Restoration. So I hope all goes well with that.

We also have a new family; Casiano and Ercilia. We have only sat with them once, and the husband came to church and also to an activity at the church, but the wife stayed at home because they have a newborn baby boy. They had promised to come to church yesterday, but he said that he had to run some emergency errands and wasn't able to come. We marked a visit with them and we hope that they will all come this next week. They are a really nice and beautiful family that would be really blessed by the gospel. So please pray for them.

We also have a few other families that we have been teaching, but they have been kind of getting on my nerves these past few weeks because they haven't been keeping commitments and I won't take the time to write too much about them.

We have begun focusing our efforts more centralized around the chapel, which means that we have been knocking doors in a lot of apartment buildings... We haven't been having too much success. We knocked an entire apartment complex of about 25 doors and were only able to sit with about 2 people... And with these two people, we will probably be dropping them this week. They don't look too promising.  The same thing happened in 5 other apartment complexes that we hit up. So we've moved back out to the neighborhoods right on the outskirts of the city, which is where we have all of our progressing investigators. (note from mom:  After reading this part of Ryland's letter, I instantly thought of Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from the General Women's Conference last week.  Ryland hasn't heard this talk yet, but I hope when he does, he understands how important it is to knock on every door and share with EVERYONE our Savior's plan of Happiness!  Never give up or discouraged!  Someone will  be grateful you knocked on THEIR door!)

So I understand that this last week was General Conference. I am going to be downloading it today and watching it during the week, so I'll write about what touched me in my next letter.

This past week we had 2 baptisms in our area and a child of record baptism in our Branch. We had Casilda who is a cousin of one of the RM's and also Deolinda, who is the aunt of another one of the RM's. At the end of the month we should also have a few more baptisms of some part member families, and in November is when we should really pick up with the new families that we are finding, November will be a busy month with baptisms and weddings.

Well I think that is all I have got for this week. Sorry it isn't as long as I was hoping, but it should do. I love this work. I love being a missionary. I love seeing the gospel change peoples' lives. I love my Savior. I know He lives. I am so grateful to know that through His atonement that we can all be cleansed of our weaknesses. I love my family and am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that we can be together for time and all eternity as we live worthy of the covenants that we have made with God.

I know this work is the work of God. I love being a Missionary.

-Elder Rash I (Not to be confused with Elder Rash II who is serving in Jo'burg)

Elder Ryland Rash

Elder R.'s first baptisms in Nampula

Baptismal font that they fill with a hose

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 68: I love NAMPULA!!!!

I love it in Nampula so much! I am so much happier with my companion, with the other guys in the house, and I feel like I am just able to work so much harder and more effectively in Portuguese! I enjoy being a Zone Leader, I am able to help out a lot more people and I interact with other missionaries and their investigators on a much more regular basis.

So here in Nampula the branch already has a branch president and his counselors. The President is a return missionary that served about 15 years ago or something like that, his name is President Chimit (Pronounced Schmit). So in Nampula we don't have any elders in the presidency, however, we do have in the other areas of our Zone. In Tete we have an elder in the Presidency, and in Maxixe we have both of the Elders as the counselors to the Branch President. But in all of the areas here in our Zone the branches depend a lot upon the missionaries.

As for our daily routine... It is still pretty normal.

We get up, do our normal morning routine, studies, lunch, and we typically get out by 12 or 13 and we come back around 2030 because we exercise at night plus everyone's doors are closed by 2000. Our daily routine here is pretty much the same as everywhere else in the world with a couple of exceptions.

So, on Sunday night we went to a birthday party of a member here named Maxx. He is from the Philippines and owns his own school. There is actually a high population of Philipinos here in Nampula, and only 2 of them are members. They are from the Northern part of the Philippines and Maxx  is super nice, same with his whole family. They invited us for the party, and we sang karaoke, ate a lot of really good Pilipino food and just hung out with about 30 philipinos!  It was so much fun! I talked with a lot of them about Elder Hofeling and asked a lot about the Philippines and stuff like that! A fun night. 

So, today is a holiday in Mozambique.... Mozambican Independence Day!   All the internet cafes are closed so we are using a computer at the church building.  We only have one computer here, so we are taking turns using the computer for P-Day. We live 20 yards away from the chapel, our house is right behind the chapel.

As for Elder Rash

Welcome to Africa, Man!

How are you liking it so far: Is it completely different from what you were expectingI know that it was for me. Well keep up the good work, enjoy the MTC while you are there, and work hard when you get out of there! I love you Elder. Stay safe. Keep your head on a swivel.

That's all I have time for!  Love you all so much!

Elder Rash

"Old Man Head" you see it?
Branch Saturday Activity

What a turn out!!!

Birthday Party for Maxx

Trying to make his daddy jealous....I know it's a necessity, but mom doesn't like seeing this...

Message to Elder D.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 67: Zone Conference, traveling, area, and responsiblities

*  From Elder Rash's mom:  This e-mail are answers to questions from his dad.  So it doesn't really have a flow to it.  But I didn't know what questions were asked, so I'm just posting it as is!
Hey, so my zone practically covers 90% of Mozambique.

We have missionaries in Tete, Nampula, Chimoio, Maxixe, Quelimane, and had missionaries in Marromeu, but it got closed down because the war was getting too close to the city. The areas that we have missionaries in is pretty much the entire province in which they are serving, so there are no boundary limits.

We don't currently travel to visit other missionaries, but we are talking to president to see if we can get some divisions arranged. Each flight would be about 2 hours long or so.

Every other Transfer we have to fly down to maputo for a leadership conference and every other transfer we have to fly down to Beira for Zone Conference. So each transfer we are on a couple of planes to get from place to place.

Nampula is massive and 90% of the population is Muslim, so we never work in the city because that is where they all are, so we work in the outskirts of town. I love Nampula and the branch here. They are so excited about missionary work and give referrals like crazy! They are such a big help. We are really pushing to divide the branch into three so that we can become a district. We used to have an attendance of 200 here, but this past week we had 126 because the missionaries were out of town for half of the week at Zone Conference.

Once you've seen one part of Mozambique you've seen it all. The only difference about Nampula is that there are some cool mountains surrounding it, and the city is more spread out and bigger. The streets are wider, everything is more organized and clean.

Elder T is awesome! I also just call him T, so don't worry if you don't want to spell his name. We get along really well. He is really relaxed and chill, but is good to work with.

Zone Conference was really different  because of the new stuff I have to deal with, but it was good. Sometimes I wish I could just go back to being Junior Companion without any major responsibilities.

As a Zone Leader I don't do much, I just make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing, and give them ideas to fix any problems that they have. The main thing that has changed about me is that now I have to be even more of an example. So that has become a big shock to me. I wasn't asked to serve in this position because of what I have done in the past. I was asked to serve here so that I could grow as an individual.

Hey, can you guys send me the emails that Devon sends home so that I can see them. I wasn't able to subscribe to the automatic thingy.

During our time in Beira I was able to pass by and see Tony and Carolina. Tony is still super active, but Carolina has gotten a little weak. She lost her baby that she was pregnant with- a baby girl...

Thank you guys so much.
Elder Ryland Rash
Zone Conference in Biera

Three Zones:  Manga, Biera, Nampula

Human Tug of War with President Koch

Serving the missionaries during Zone Conference

Role Playing during Zone Conference

Quick visit to see Tony and Carolina while in Biera

African Sun Set

Dinner with the missionaries

Getting a ride is so much better than walking!

Nampula Zone

Heading back to Nampula after 3 days in Biera for Zone Conference