1. As far as how big Manga is... I'm not sure... I don't have too much time in the area, but it is much smaller than Matola, I would guess. Everything here is much smaller and more condensed, also a lot poorer. Because Beira is composed of mostly the enemy political party, it doesn't get a whole lot of funding from the main government... So everything is much more run down. As for my area, I am serving in Mascarenha. Mascarenha is a part of the Manga District. We are preparing to have Manga divide into its own stake here soon. But my area was previously being worked in by one pair of missionaries that covered all of Mascarenha. And Mascarenha is MASSIVE. So it has been divided down a main road, and I still don't know exactly how big our side of the area is. I have really only worked in a small little group of our area because most of the members live within what we call our Center of Force. There are 20ish members within a 2 minute walk of each other. So we have been doing a lot of work in that area because the members are a huge help to us. In my area there are a lot of open fields that we haven't quite explored yet, and there are also super jungly areas. The neighborhoods are riddled with tiny little paths that can hardly fit one person. But for the most part, I don't know a whole lot about my area...
2. Elder Perez is from the South side of Chicago. Like, Hood Chicago. He is a super nice guy. From the moment I met him, I knew that we would get along. So he was a visa waiter for a transfer and served in Provo in a Brazilian Ward while he waited. It is a huge blessing to have him because he already speaks Portuguese at the same level or at a higher level than I speak Portuguese. But we get along extremely well. Our teaching methods are very similar and we both love the people that we teach, and we teach and make that love visible. I love the teaching style of Elder Perez. He is fluent in Spanish and so he has a way with the language that is different from any other missionary. He uses words and phrases is ways that other missionaries don't. The people understand the way that he speaks perfectly and he just has a gift with the language. He is full of the Spirit and brings it wherever he goes. He still has a lot to learn, but he is months ahead of other newbie's! I don't have any pictures with him this week, but next week I'll send some more pictures. But Sister Koch sent a picture already.
3. I will probably only see President and Sister Koch every 3 months at Zone Conferences and such. Sorry Mom.
4. There is a senior couple serving here at the moment, but they are going home next week and we are getting a new senior couple, Elder and Sister Wilkins (Americans!). I will get to meet them tomorrow because they are coming to have lunch at our house. I'll give Sister Wilkins your email, Mom so you can check up with her.
5. In the District that I am serving, there are 3 other people, Elder Perez, Elder Hiambili (from Angola), and Elder Roque (pronounced Rock- From Mozambique. His mission call is to Angola, but he is waiting for his visa.) So I am the only white guy in the district, and probably the worst at speaking the language...
6. As far as my first District Meeting, I gave a training on Obedience. That is why President sent a lot of us up here. The Beira and Manga area due to security reasons, all of the Missionaries have been moved to houses that are all in the same building. And with that, A LOT of disobedience has began spreading throughout the missionaries... And President is getting tired of it. So he has sent quite a few of the missionaries from Maputo/Matola who know a bit more discipline to help correct some of the missionaries up here. I hope that doesn't sound conceited, but there is a lot of disobedience up here, even from a lot of the leadership... So I gave my training on Obedience and how every rule/commandment has a blessing attached to it. On the mission, we will probably have the most rules and commandments than in any other phase of our lives, which means that we have the capabilities to receive the most bencaos do que qualquer outra pessoa, e realmente precisamos essa bencaos. Entao, we really need to be obedient in order to receive blessings for ourselves, our investigators, our families, friends, and everyone that we meet. Obedience is not an option. When we accepted our call we agreed to be obedient. We practically gave up our agency. There is not a choice of whether or not I should be obedient. We need to be obedient.
7. So this week has been filled with Miracles! Elder Perez and I didn't get to be in our area until Friday, and he didn't get here until Thursday I believe. But we entered our area with only 1 Investigator Family, and we haven't even had a lesson with them yet. But just in the 3 days that we were in our area, we have 3 families with baptismal dates, have met 3 part member families, have a massive teaching pool of really cool families that we have found, and have seen countless tender mercies. Our family that is the most promising is Eduardo and Dusha. They have 3 sons all under the age of 8, and we had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission with them. They understood, were attentive the ENTIRE TIME (which is rare), and they made connections and really good questions. They committed to pray as a family and ask God about these things. They have a desire to come to church, and I really like this family.
On our first day in the area together, Elder Perez and I decided to do some exploring. So we went walking and ran into this massive open field. We talked to some kids playing futebol, and then headed out. One of the little boys started following us, and soon explained to us that he is a member! He is 11, his name is Bruno, and he walked around with us for about 2 hours showing us the houses of members, his friends, and helping us know the area. He went back home, and later that night when he contacted the house of Eduardo and Dusha for the first time as we were prompted, we sat down to have a little lesson with them, and Bruno came running from their house!!! Apparently his family is really good friends with Eduardo and Dusha. Bruno sat down in the lesson with us and was actually a key part in teaching about the Restoration! But this week was absolutely full of tender mercies.
8. My biggest fear of my new assignments... FAILURE. I've been entrusted with quite a bit. I spoke to President Koch during my interview with him and he told me that I have his full trust... That is scary. Here is some stupid kid from Arizona, 10,000 miles away from home, teaching people that he doesn't know, in a language that he doesn't know, PLUS he has to teach a new missionary how to be a better missionary, PLUS he has to lead other missionaries and whip them into shape when needed. The thing that worries me the most is that since being out of training, I've been winging it as a missionary. I have yet to have a companion that is older than me on the mission besides my trainer. I feel like I wasn't sufficiently trained, and then was thrust into leadership roles blindfolded. At times I feel overwhelmed because I not only have to worry about myself, my comp, and My investigators, but also two other missionaries and THEIR investigators. So I feel like if my District doesn't improve, then I have failed in my responsibilities.
9. In our apartment, me and my comp, Elder Nielsen and his companion, Elder Nelson (That is funny, right? Elder Nielsen is training a new missionary Elder Nelson from Mozambique.), and we have Elder Rispress and Elder Carvalho, the Zone Leaders of the Beira Zone. Our house is a nice house... ish... As far as houses in Mozambique go... It is a really nice house.
10. Missionaries in Manga- 18
11. So we actually live in Beira and we live in close to the city. So it is a 10 minute walk to get to the main city of Beira. But we take a 30 minute choppa ride to get to our area. Our area includes the Airport here in Beira, so if you get on Google earth and look at the Airport in Beira, you will be looking at my area- Mascarenha.
12. The weather this week has been very rainy. It has rained nonstop for the past 2 days... and it floods really badly here... and guess what, I don't have rain boots, and none of the boots at our house fit our feet, Elder Perez and I have big feet. Our house has flooded a little bit, our area has flooded a lot, and so yesterday we wrapped our feet in plastic bags, put on our shoes, and went to work just trudging through the ponds! But it has been pretty nice with the rain. I will say, it is much better to come home at the end of the day drenched from rain, than from sweat. Also, I don't have a rain jacket and I left my umbrella in the South, so I've just been walking in normal clothes, but I actually like it a lot. It is a warm rain, so it is refreshing.
I hope this answers all of your questions! That took forever, so you can just use this as my weekly email this week. I love you Dad.
Just a funny story.
We were walking down the road in our area, and Elder Perez has been surprised by how relaxed the dogs are here compared to Chicago dogs, so when he saw a dog just laying down in the distance he said, "Yo, that dog is just straight up Chillin'!" As we approached I realized that there was more to it than just that. "That dog has been chilling for too long, Man." I said. We got closer and saw the tongue hanging out, and it was completely still! We both just busted up laughing!
Well, I've got to go. I wish I could write more. But I love you all.--
Elder Ryland Rash
|Saying Goodbye to Elder Ellingson who was going home|
|Reunited with Elder Brown|
|Saying Goodbye to this sweet father, Marcos, and his boys....Elder Rash is really sad that he didn't get to witness their baptism (they had asked him to baptize them)|
|More Goodbyes - Jaime, his wife Kashyta, his sister Yara and baby boy|
|The morning he left Matola, with Elder Walton|
|Short companionship....lasting memories (they did a tie exchange...Elder Lorimer took Ryland's favorite tie!)|
|He loves Elder Silva from Brazil|
|Flying into Biera to get to his new area in Manga|
|Back with Elder Nielson for a few days...they are like the Pied Piper...he says the kids just start following them!|
|His new area in Mascarenha|
|This rock looks like his thumb!|
|Group of boys playing futebol which I think is soccer|
|My crazy boy!|
|Seeing more green and jungle in his area|
|Elder Rash in his new area with his new companion, Elder Perez|
|Welcome to Mozambique Elder Perez|
|These boys are going to do AMAZING things together!|