Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Week 51: Wedding planning is his second calling

*  Note from Mom:
This week Elder Rash answered some of my questions regarding Devon leaving on his mission.  So this letter doesn't have a lot for you to read, but there was enough to make me happy!
The wedding was amazing!!! It was super small, only about 10 people showed up, and they just signed the papers, took some pictures, and then went back home. The next day, Saturday, we had the baptisms of Tony, Carolina, and an 11 year old boy named Juaquim. Juaquim's parents are endowed members of the church, but he was never baptized. He was born under the covenant, but his family forgot to ever get him baptized. The baptisms were amazing! I think we had something like 25ish baptisms that morning, and 3 of them were from our Ward! Whoo Hoo!

The weather here is cooling down a lot. We wake up in the mornings and it is in the 70's F.

I play the piano every Sunday for sacrament meeting and have been sight reading most of the hymns. I don't know what has happened, but something has just clicked lately. With many hymns I just end up transposing it to the key of C to make it a bit easier, but for the most part I do a Sub Par job! So thank you Mom! English class has come to a halt... But we are trying to kick start it back up again.

Caleb, you finally shaved Bro! Atta boy!

I think that is all that I've got for you guys this week. Sorry it is so short.
I love you all.

I know that God works miracles in the Lives of all that choose to follow him. Real quick, I want to tell a quick experience. With Tony and Carolina, the day of their baptism they just so happened to bump into Tony's 'long lost father'! How crazy is that!? It is really his uncle, but he was the man that raised Tony since his father passed away. He told us that he was just standing around waiting for a Choppa to come home after the baptism and he started talking to this older gentleman. Well, one thing lead to another and BOOM! Connection! They realized who the other was! They had been separated for 15 years without any form of communication and his uncle was just passing through for about a week. He was visiting from Quelimane where he lives! So the Lord works miracles in the lives of those who are willing to follow him.

 Elder Ryland Rash

Tony and Carolina's wedding day!

Beautiful couple

Groomsmen with the bride and groom and the Senior missionary couple

The Happy Family with a silly Elder

Three of these baptisms were Elder Rash's and Elder Parker's

Happy Day!

I think she is too close for comfort.....

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 50: Serving in a gold mine!!!!

We have had an absolutely marvelous week this past week. I have seen so many prepared families accept invitations. So many miracles are taking place in Mascarenha!

This week we were able to sit with a new family named Alexandre and Domingas. Domingas is the sister of Sheila (another family that we have been teaching). We met Alexandre and Domingas at a small family get together that Rui and Sheila had, and we marked a time to pass by and meet with them on Tuesday night. Well, when that Tuesday night rolled around, we didn't know where their house was and couldn't get a hold of them, so we had to cancel with them. The next day we called and remarked with them to pass by on Thursday night. Well, Thursday afternoon rolls around and we get a call from our Zone Leaders telling us that they have found a golden family for us that showed up to their Ward that Sunday previous. So we meet up with our Zone Leaders and they explain the situation with us and explain the family to us and long story short, it was the same family! They had gone to church in another Ward because they were invited by their friends! We find their house, sit down with them, teach the Restoration, they have amazing questions and understand everything. Friday night we went back and taught them about the Book of Mormon. Alexandre was extremely excited! He loves reading, especially about religion and the scriptures, and they both committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Well on Sunday they came to church with us and after church we went and visited them one more time. Before the lesson, Elder Parker and I came up with a little plan, that we would teach about baptism, and mention the Law of Chastity to inform them that they would need to get married beforehand to keep the commandments. Well we sit down with them and they open up by asking some questions about Mormon chapter 9 and about how they can be baptized and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They further explain that Saturday night, Domingas had dreamed a dream in which she opened the Book of Mormon to that page and was reading it with her husband. So the next morning, she woke up and read that page with her husband! It talked exactly about everything that we had wanted to discuss with them! They continued to ask us questions about how they could be baptized and become members of the Church! To make a long story short, this family is golden. They have a baptismal date for the 25th of June!

Sorry if this letter may be choppy, but I'm trying to cram two weeks of stuff into the same letter.

For the exciting news for this week, we had 182 people show up to church and 32 of them were our investigators!!! Of those 32, there were 5 complete families!!!!!!!!! Mascarenha is a gold mine!!!

This week we have the wedding and baptism of Tony and Carolina! Everything is being taken care of! We are so excited for them and I will send so many photos next week to you guys of it.

All of a sudden, I am drawing a blank and can't remember anything else exciting that happened this week. But if I'm missing anything, I'll probably just have some new stories for you guys when I get home.

Oh, Elder Parker caught a cat fish in a puddle at an investigator's house last night. We were just passing by, and we saw a bunch of fish in a puddle. So they broke out the fishing pole and put some bait on it, after not too long, Elder Parker yanked out a baby catfish! It was pretty surprising!

Well, I think that's all that I've got for this week.

Tchauzinho! Until next week.

Elder Ryland Rash
*  Note from mom
Elder Rash received his "Hump Day" package and was so grateful for all the letters, pictures and gifts he received.  He admitted it made him a tad trunky, but loved it all the same.  Thank you to everyone who let me take pictures of your families and for those that wrote letters and drew pictures.  He loved it all!
Graffiti art all over the Grand Hotel (Elder Rash and Elder Parker)

Elder Rash with his "boys" Elder Nielson and Elder Perez

Elder Rash and Elder Parker

What a view from the top of the Grand Hotel looking out to the ocean

Show off!

The Grand Hotel that isn't so grand anymore

Elder Rash loves babies!

Elder Rash loves the kids!

Elder Rash and Elder Parker decided to fish in a puddle along the road....Elder Parker caught a small cat fish!

Week 49: No letter....but a quick e-mail from the mission home

"We are writing just to let you know that your son, Elder Rash, is doing great. He wasn't able to email you this week due to some difficulties in Beira (power outage, closed internet cafes), but all is well. He is doing great work and will be talking to you next Monday! Have a great week."

Os Assistentes

Missão Moçambique Maputo

Élder Stanley e Élder Hruby
*  Note from mom
Got a sweet message from Sis. Koch this week.  They were in Cape Town, South Africa having a mission president seminar.  She was able to meet Pres. and Sis. Dunn, Devon's soon-to-be mission president and wife, and shared with me all the wonderful things she learned about them.  She even sent me this wonderful picture of them that I will cherish always!
Pres. and Sis. Koch (Mozambique Maputo Mission); Pres. and Sis. Dunn (South Africa Johannesburg Mission)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Week 48 part 2: SURPRISE!!! Letter mid-week from Ryland!

So I'm not quite sure if I am now in my 8th transfer or my 7th still because transfers have been a little odd... But I am now with a new companion! Elder Parker from Utah! Straight out of the Mormon Factory itself! He is 20, has 4 and a half months on the mission, and I am super excited to work with him! I am really happy that he is here to take part and enjoy the fruits of Elder Perez and mines' hard work here in Mascarenha for the past 3 months. Elder Perez got transferred to an area in the Beira Zone called Maraza- and he will be serving with... Drum role please.... ELDER NIELSEN! That's right ladies and gentlemen! My two boys serving side by side! I am so pumped for both of them. I know that they are going to be getting work DONE in Maraza. Last week Elder Nielsen and Elder Nelson had a family married and baptized and they will be having two more weddings and baptisms this month from Elder Nielsen and Elder Perez. So exciting! As far as Mascarenha is going, the work is finally taking off in a positive direction! We got word yesterday that we now have ALL of the documents necessary to get Tony and Carolina hitched and then baptized! We should hopefully have the last document in our hands by the end of the week! Tony and Carolina will be married and baptized with their two daughters on the 28th of this month.

We also have another family that has started collecting all of the documents necessary for their wedding and baptism- Lorenzo and Amelia. With a miracle, they will also be married and baptized on the 28th. If not, we'll need to push back the date by a few weeks due to complications with documents.

Our third family that is also progressing fairly well is a part member family, Calisto and Tania. Calisto was baptized 8 years ago, but has been inactive most of that time. His wife, Tania, is 9 months pregnant and is ready to pop any day now. We taught them about the Law of Chastity last week and you could see the Godly sorrow that flooded Calisto's heart as he truly realized what he had done. But he has a determination to repent and has begun taking the necessary steps toward full repentance. Tania is super excited to be a mom and to be married. We will be sitting with them tonight to set a date with them for when they can be married and baptized.

Another really progressing family is Suite (sweety) and Sarita. We found him, contacted him once, and has been coming to church with his whole family each Sunday other than the Sunday that he had Malaria (a valid excuse to miss Church). But they both have prayed to know that the Church is true and they both had very interesting responses but both testified that they felt good about the church and that they feel that God answered them in the affirmative. For example, Suite told us about his dream that he had the night that he prayed about the Church. He told us that he was standing in a field and he heard his name. When he looked up he was encircled about by numerous white men. One of the men extended his hand, and as Suite reached for it, they all vanished and he was left alone in the field once again. I asked him what he thought it meant, and he said that it was an answer from God that the Church was true! I didn't argue with him. I have no idea what his dream represents, but the Lord works in mysterious ways to bring about the Salvation of many. Suite and Sarita have a baptismal date for the 11th of June. We have yet to teach the Law of Chastity, so we will bring that up shortly and have them start on the marriage process. Suite and Sarita have one 6 year old daughter, and they live with Suite's younger brother, his 2 younger cousins, and Sarita's younger brother. All have accepted baptism and will be baptized on the 11th of June as well.

Rui and Sheila are a family that we found as a reference from Lorenzo and Amelia, and they are neighbors. Rui and Sheila are a super young couple with 3 kids, from previous relationships. Sheila has a son and a daughter from previous relationships, and Rui has a son from a previous relationship. Sheila is 19 years old, and Rui is 20 years old. They are super welcoming and accepting of everything that they have been taught and they are extremely anxious to share the gospel with their family and friends. We have taught the Restoration and mentioned the Law of Chastity to them. They have already begun the process of getting their documents and have a baptismal date for the 11th of June as well. Sheila has been to Church once so far, and both have committed to come this week, so we'll see how it goes.

Our last family worth mentioning at the moment is a family called Billy and Rosa. Billy is a member of about 15 years and his wife, Rosa has been coming to church with him for the last 13 years, but they have just never gotten married, and she has never been baptized! WHAT?!? So we are teaching her and her two children of Baptismal Age, Maria (13) and Paulo(8). They have begun getting all of the documents that they need and will be married and baptized on the 24th of June.

That's all I've got for this week because I've got to go. I wasn't able to email on Monday because the internet was horrible and the energy was cutting in and out, so sorry about that... But you know.. Africa and stuff.

I know this church is the only true and living church on the face of the earth. I know that it is led by a modern day prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I testify that he is a prophet of God that receives revelation just as Prophets of old. I know that Joseph Smith really did see what he said that he saw. I know of myself that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know God lives. He is still a God of miracles. I know that he sent his only Begotten Son in the flesh to earth to suffer and die for our sins. I add my testimony to that of the innumerable before me, and I do so in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mom, Happy Mother's Day.

Dad, I love you.

Caleb- Shave.

Shelbie- Invite _______, or ______, or whatever her name is, to church.

Devon- Good luck with the mission Preparation. I'll see you soon.

Tobie and Austin- WTF?! I don't hear from you guys anymore.

Rocky- Don't die before I get home, okay?

He absolutely loves the kids, and I think they like him too!

Elder Rash and Elder Nielson

Just at the edge....can't get in the water!

Mother's Day Skype

What a beautiful sight!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week 48: Happy Mother's Day! No e-mail letter AGAIN, but somehow he was able to send some pictures....

*  From Ryland's mom:

We loved our Mother's Day Skype with Elder Rash!  The quality of the picture was not the greatest, but we could still hear his happiness for what he is doing.  He shared with us that his companion Elder Perez was getting transferred this week and that he would most likely be training again.  He was super excited for Elder Perez though.  Elder Nielson and Elder Perez are becoming companions!!!  Elder Rash's two sons TOGETHER!!!!  He shared with us some struggles he is having as a District Leader and asked for some advice from both Chris and Caleb.  Caleb gave him some really good council, straight from the scriptures....I was so proud!  He shared with us that they had a baptism last week that they weren't expecting.  A girl who has been attending their ward for the last 10 months has NEVER BEEN BAPTIZED and no one knew it!!!  Elder Rash was asked to perform the baptism.  He shared some information he knew about Devon's mission and brought up that he has also been thinking about meeting up with Devon in Johannesburg on his was home.  I was thrilled he was thinking like me!  I hope we can make it happen!  Piano practicing is going slow.  My heart sank as he told that he was struggling playing during church and was not able to practice like he would like.  DANG!!!!  I wish I wouldn't have given up on him and his piano lessons!  He shared his testimony in Portuguese, we said our "I love you's", then our goodbyes, and he was gone!  He smiled while I cried!  I love my boy and am so proud of him!

Surprise Baptism!

Week 47: No e-mail letter, but a few pictures....with NO CAPTIONS! UGH!

Elder Perez

I'm assuming this is water from a well, to be used in filling the baptismal font

Baptismal font.....but nasty water!