Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 46: Disappointment is hard

Well another rough week, but also extremely rewarding as well. First I will begin with an experience that had me on the edge of tears.

So as many of you know, we have had a family for quite some time named Eliza and Duarte- a family that we thought was golden! We got them started on their documents for marriage, and as soon as they started those, they stopped coming to Church! What the Heck! So we went by on Friday night to see what was going on with them and to teach about the Day of the Lord. Let me teach a little bit of Portuguese so that this argument makes sense. So in Portuguese, the words, Saturday, and Sabbath, are the same word, but with only one difference. The Capital "S" means the day of the week, and the lower case "s" means that it is referring to the Sabbath "Sunday". So we told the husband that he has to come to Church. That it is a commandment. As we started getting more bold with him, he began getting a lot more defensive and argumentative. He told us to show him in the scriptures where the commandment was. So we gladly opened to Exodus chapter 20 to show him the commandment. Then he proceeded to try arguing with us for 10 minutes about how the "s" in the bible was an upper case "S" and that it was referring to the day of the week. He told us that some other church worshipped on Saturday because that is how they interpret that scripture. Then I told him that false churches are always misinterpreting scriptures and I basically called that Church false. He laughed in my face, told us that we didn't know how to speak or read Portuguese. The Spirit was not in that lesson. On the spot, we dropped them. We told them that if they wanted to see us again that we are there every Sunday at 9 and they are welcomed to come. We didn't close with a prayer; we just stood up and left. The look on Eliza's face as we left broke my heart. A couple of weeks ago they were our family most progressing, now they don't do anything.

But, when one door closes, the Lord will open better doors to those who have faith. We met a man named Suite (Sweetie) as we were knocking doors. He recently moved into the neighborhood with his wife and daughter and still haven't gotten completely settled into their new house. We got his number and invited him to church and only talked to him that one time. That Sunday he showed up with his whole family and stayed for the whole time. We came to find out that they are really good friends with the First Counselor's family! We visited Suite and Sarita this past week and met his brother and 2 cousins that are living with him. We taught about the Restoration and this family is full of genius's! It all just makes sense to them! They all accepted our invitation to pray about our message and they accepted a baptismal date for the 11th of Junho. The following Sunday, all 6 showed up to church! Whoo Hoo!

Our other family that God has been preparing is Tony and Carolina! Their marriage process is coming along well. They've been coming to church each week but are behind on the marriage process by 2 days, so we need a miracle to get them married by the 14th of Maio. But they are keeping the Law of Chastity really well. Tony tells us that sometimes he has to run away from her so that he can keep keeping the commandments! Haha!

As for everything that happened on Sunday, we woke up without any power or water. Great. The whole city of Beira and Manga were without power all day. At church I wasn't able to play the keyboard because there wasn't any energy. But I also was asked to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting. I chose to speak about obedience- Mainly about coming to church. I talked about the sacrament, about the 10 Virgins and how they were told that they didn't know the Bridegroom because they came late and the door was closed to them. I compared it to the Sacrament. They come late and aren't able to know Christ by taking the Sacrament. Our problem is that at the beginning of Sacrament meeting we have 30 people, and after sacrament we build up to 180 people! And you thought that Mormon Standard time was bad. Now just imagine Mozambican Mormon Standard Time. It is horrible.

We've been getting rain still, but it hasn't been too bad.

Elder Perez is doing really well. We still get along really well and the area is progressing a whole lot.

Last week we did play futebol with President Koch and it was a whole lot of fun! He is really good! You could tell that he was much better in his prime but was now limited because of physical limitations. But it was really fun.

I think that this is all that I've got for this week. If you have any specific questions feel free to call us at 843987305, (it only costs $20/minute). Or you could just write me an email and ask.

So, have a great week. Devon, I'll see you here in a couple of months. Good luck with the mission call. Mom, you can let Sister Koch tell me when Devon is coming here. Alright?
Elder Rash

Soccer has become his favorite sport!

P-Day fun with this team!

Elder Rash with his "posterity" - Elder Perez, his son, Elder Nielson, his son, and Elder ?, his grandson

Week 45:Prayers and Priesthood blessings

So this has been a good week as far as numbers go, but our golden families have come to a screeching halt in their progression. At church yesterday we had 20 INVESTIGATORS!!! Whoo hoo! Also this week we contacted more than 20 references!!! We were so blessed with members in our area that were willing and ready to introduce us to their friends and families. 

On one occasion, we asked a young man of a member family if he had any friends that we could visit with him, he took us out for about an hour and led us to 5 new families! One of these families that he led us to is named Kenny and Francisca. When we met with Kenny, he was just about to get hammered drunk with his friends, but he invited us to teach him and all of his friends. We had a quick little lesson with them, and then he invited us to come to his house to say a prayer for his sick daughter. We went to his house and began talking with him about his life and about his drinking and smoking problem. After a couple of minutes he broke down and began to weep. His wife wakes up every morning and begs him to give up his addictions, his parents plead with him to stay home so that he doesn't go out and drink, and he told us that he wants to give it up but that there is a part within him that won't let him give it up. He explained to us his problems for about 10 minutes, and the Spirit sucker punched me in the gut and I felt as though we should offer to give him a blessing. Elder Perez agreed, and we gave him a blessing and promised him that if he truly wanted to give up his addictions that the Lord would help him and give him the strength and desire to do so. During the entire blessing, Kenny wept and the Spirit was intense. After the blessing, we told him that he could not go back to his friends house that night, and that we would call him that night, and every day to check up on him and help him in any way that we can. When we called him last night, his phone was out of battery, but when we called him today he told us that he has been at home ever since the blessing and has been taking care of his wife and daughter. I really hope that he uses his agency correctly from here on out. Agency is one thing that I've come to love as a missionary, but at times it is the biggest obstacle- Sometimes people are too stupid to deserve their agency. But we'll keep checking up with him and help him out.

This morning we played futebol with President Koch at a somewhat decent field that we discovered. We ended up playing from 11-12 and I got scorched!!! So I'll be in some pain for the next couple of days, but it was all worth it. I've really developed a love for futebol. In the past, before the mission, I used to see an empty field and imagine two end-zones and yard markers, but now I look at an empty field and I think, "Man! If you were to put a goal on each end, that would make a PERFECT futebol field." It's weird what immersion in a new culture can do to you.

Big Shout Out to Elder Bryce Janes!!! Little Rock Arkansas is blessed to have you! Welcome to the Best Army in the Eternities! Love you, Elder.

Devon, I want you to know that I pray especially for you every night before I go to bed. I pray for numerous things for you. 1. I pray that you will come here to Mozambique so that I can train you! And 2. I pray that you are preparing yourself sufficiently for your mission. I love you and I'll see you here in a couple of months, Alright?

Well, that's all I've got for this week. I love you all and hope everything is going well at home.

Com todo meu amor,

Elder Rash

Beira Futebol team with Pres. Koch!

I don't even know what to say about this......

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 44:Brazilian Portuguese is NOT Mozambique Portuguese

Welcome back to another week in the life of a white kid talking about God in Africa in a language that he hardly knows! Get ready to dive into the normal life of a Mormon Missionary here in the Mozambique Maputo Mission!

So this week was actually pretty nice week! We finally got to see General Conference, or at least parts of it. We were unable to see the Saturday session because we had to stay at home while some workers fixed a busted water pipe at our house. Our house had been flooding for about a week now, and the worker finally came. But Conference was nice from what I was able to understand! When the church translates the Conference to Portuguese, they have a Brazilian do it, and Brazilian Portuguese is very much different than from what I am used to hearing. So it was pretty difficult to understand the thick Brazilian accent during conference, plus I was kind of on Primary Control throughout the sessions, so that was also quite the distraction. But from what I gained from it was really inspiring! I'll be downloading all of Conference and listening to it in English this week.

This past week was a little tough as far as the work goes. Elder Haimbili had his companion, Elder Roque, receive his Visa and he left for Angola at the beginning of the transfer, but his new companion, Elder Evangelista, still hasn't gotten here because of Visa problems he has to stay in Maputo. So we have pretty much been working in 2 areas in order to help him out.

This week we also gave a blessing to a child of one of our investigating families. Tony and Carolina have a 3 year old son named Santos that woke up one morning and his eye had completely swollen shut! Nobody knows what happened, but when we showed up, we told them that we were able to give a blessing and they asked us to give it to him. The next day, the swelling had gone down quite a bit, he was able to open his eye, and the pain had completely disappeared. I know that God uses worthy vessels to bless his children here on Earth. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have about the Restored Priesthood power that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith.

This week we didn't have English class, piano practice is going well. I've started playing at different meetings and get-togethers and during Sacrament Meeting.

Well, that's all I've got for this week. Maybe next week I'll have something more exciting.

I love you all so much!

Elder Ryland Rash

Their investigator Lorenzo.  He is scheduled for baptism on May 28th.

Homemade Corn Dogs!

Celebrating Mozambique Women's Day (kinda like Mother's Day).  Their bishop threw a party for all the sisters in the ward.

Tania is an investigator.  Her baptism is set for April 30th.  The baby is not hers.  Ryland just likes carrying babies!

left to right:Relief Society President, Ryland with baby, bishop's secretary, Elder Perez, Counselor in R.S.

Eliza and that is her baby Ryland is carrying around in a sling!

Look at these beautiful women...and Elder Rash

More beautiful women

Lunch on the beach for P-Day...beautiful view from their table

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 43: Staying together with Elder Perez and words of advice to future missionaries

Hello Family and Friends!

          I am pleased to report that I am still alive and well! Plus, Elder Perez and I will be staying in Mascarenha together for at least one more transfer! I've got a sneaky feeling that this may be my last transfer here in Mascarenha as well. I've heard some things through the transfer rumor web of the mission that lead me to believe I may be transfered next transfer; which makes me sad, but also gets me fired up to baptize as many people as we can in these next 6 weeks!

          To start my email I want to write a more serious note to all future missionaries that are leaving here soon, planning on leaving, preparing on serving, or are at any stage of the mission preparation process. To all future missionaries- If you are not ready to go on a mission, DON'T GO. I beg you. Don't leave home on a mission because it is what you SHOULD do, or because you don't have anything better to do. Go on a mission when you are ready. When you know WHY you are serving a mission. I have seen too many missionaries go home early for things that they should have taken care of before the mission or even more stupid things that they did ON the mission. Just because you have the Stake President put his hands on your head to set you apart as a missionary, just because you wear a nametag, just because you have a calling to be a missionary, doesn't change you one bit. You are still that stupid 18-20 year old teenager that you were in high school. I am still that stupid 18 year old goober that was a total bum in high school. Yes, the mission will change you, but only if you let it- only if you are humble enough. President Brigham Young taught, “If you go on a mission to preach the Gospel with lightness and frivolity in your hearts, looking for this and that, and to learn what is in the world, … you will go and return in vain. …Let  your minds be centered on your missions”.  So my advice is prepare now. Don't go until you personally are sure that you are ready to serve.  Don't go because you are afraid that people will judge you for waiting. If you're not ready, you are not ready. You have until you are 26 to prepare. So start now. Get your lives in order so that you are ready to go on a mission and serve the Lord with all you Heart Might Mind and Strength- leaving behind all personal affairs.  I testify that as you do so, that not only will you pass through the mission, but the mission will pass through you.

Now to answer Mom's questions...

1. English class is going really well! We have about 25 people now and it is constantly growing each week. We are teaching about 80 investigators and 20 percent members. We teach every week at 15 o'clock and it is really fun. I feel like a lot of people are learning quite a bit from us.

2. A typical P-day for us consists of waking up, doing studies, buying groceries, then going to play gator ball- which is a sport that the missionaries made up years ago that has been passed down from generation to generation. Then we go to use internet or to go eat, and then we have time to do whatever else we need to do for P-day. Group activities we do pretty much every P-day. Because all of the missionaries live so close together it is really easy to coordinate activities together.

3. We are about a 20 minute drive from the beach, and the city is only 10 minutes from the Beach. The Stake Center is right on the beach. And so we pass the beach quite often.

4. Our area is quite massive and if we were to walk our whole area we would be walking a lot. But we have our area of force within our area that we have all of our investigators there. So we only walk about maybe 10 miles at the most per day. We use the choppas to get to our area each day. They cost 9 metecais per person, which is about 20 cents.

5. I spend about 1000-1500 metecais on groceries per week depending on my frugality. And we pretty much only shop at ShopRite, the WalMart of Mozambique.

6. How do we decide whether or not to go to a new part of our area or not? Well there are quite a few factors that come into play... Do we get bored with the areas that we normally go to? Does the Spirit direct us there? Have we had success in other areas out there? Are there Members that live out there? It is difficult to decide and it is a gamble. You could spend a whole day exploring new areas and end up wasting your day because no one wants what you've got. Or you could stay where you have success and help those that you've got. OR you could explore a new area and find a family or two that are prepared... There are a lot of things that go through your mind as you try to decide if you should explore or not.

7. I meet with our District every Tuesday for District Meeting. Previously we were not in the same house, but Elder Nielsen and Elder Nelson switched houses with the other members in our district so that we could all be together in the same house. So now, yes, we are all together.

8. Nobody really celebrates Easter here. They recognize it as a holiday, but there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny, Egg Hunts, or anything like that... And now that I think about it, America is Weird! Who's idea was it to have a Bunny run around and hide random colored eggs? Bunnies don't even lay eggs, America! How does that in any way represent Easter? But here they just recognize it as the Crucifixion of Christ.

9. As for Piano... I have yet to start teaching anyone the piano- I've managed to avoid that one. But this last Sunday I got roped into playing the piano for Sacrament Meeting. Mom, I sight read 3 hymns that I had never played before. They asked me 2 minutes before we started if I could play for them, and I told them I'd try. And I certainly did try. It was by no means perfect, but it was decent. I am the only missionary that can play the piano in our area. It is me, Elder Perez, Elder Haimbili (Angolan), and Elder Evangelista (Brazilian). So I've got a lot more practicing to do.

Mom, I hope that makes you happy! I answered all of your questions!

THIS LAST SUNDAY WE HAD 5 FAMILIES AT CHURCH!!!!! Whoo hoo! Booyah! Suck it SATAN! I think that that's all I've got for this week! I love you Family! Oh, one more thing, when Devon get's his mission call, I don't want to hear anything from you guys, I just want to watch the video for myself, then I want to read the letter. So on DropBox, put a video of the openning, and a picture of the call. OKAY?!?

Elder Ryland Rash
No names were given, but I'm assuming these are people he is teaching or are in his ward

Green rice fields - Machambas

Stripling Warriors

Pretty tree.....he said it reminds him of the tree from Lehi's Dream

He found me some COWS!!!!!

He found a dairy in their area that sells pasteurized milk.  He says he hasn't had pasteurized milk in 10 months!  Happy Day!

This is the investigators house in the middle of a Machamba field.  He has to walk through lots of mud and water puddles to get to this house

He loves the kids!

Lion King!