Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 58: "I will go, I will do the things the Lord commands!"

We have had a really good week all around. We got out in the area, worked hard, met a lot of new people, sat with a lot of new people, and walked ALOT!!! One day we walked 20 miles!!! So I was really content with the work that we were able to accomplish. In the end, it all paid off- EASTER AND ZELDA CAME TO CHURCH!!!!! The whole family came with them; grandkids, kids, and friends of kids!!! It was such a good week for them all to come. Every single lesson during church was aimed and focused on Eternal Marriage, the Temple, and Family History work. That night when we went and sat with them they said that it was a sign from God that they need to get their Butts in gear (so to speak). So I really hope they continue progressing and taking steps to show their devotion to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please continue praying for them.

I went on a division with Elder Garcia this week and had a blast with him! It was a killer day as well- 15 contacts, 4 lessons, 6 referrals! We killed it together! So much fun.

Sunday night we were blessed with the opportunity to walk with the Son In Law of President Koch, Erik. It was a really good lesson. In fact it was the lesson with Easter and Zelda! He bore a strong testimony about how the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation has blessed his marriage and helped them make decisions together so that they may be an eternal Family and live with God again.

At church I was asked at literally the last minute to teach Gospel Doctrine to all of the members. They had opened with a prayer and a hymn, and then the 1st Counselor in the Branch Presidency had to go and they pulled me out of Gospel Principles to teach the other class... He said, "The manual is open on the table, I need you to go in and teach."
The natural man in me screamed, "What the Heck, Man?!? I have 7 investigators right here and you want me to abandon them and teach some class that you should be teaching?!?" But then the Nephi within me proclaimed, "I will go and do the things which I am commanded. For I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way that he may accomplish the things which he hath commanded them." (1 Nephi 3:7) So I told him of course I could help out. I walk into the room. Look at the manual. And the first thing that pops out to me is the phrase, Teach According to Needs, Don't Simply Teach a Lesson. As missionaries we learn, Teach People, Not Lessons. So on the fly I gave a brief training about Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching and how we need to Teach People, Not Lessons. We all studied the story of Ammon and King Lamoni in Alma 18 and 19. How Ammon continued to serve, followed the Spirit, asked Inspired Questions, and the results of his lesson with King Lamoni, Many were baptized and the Church began to be established among the Lamanites. The lesson turned out really well with a lot of participation on everyone's part. So I was blessed by the easiness of the task.

Lately I have been enveloped in the War Chapters of the Book of Mormon and I love Captain Moroni! What a Man! With the encounter of Zerahemnah, when they refused to depart with an oath of peace, Moroni returned his sword to Zerahemnah and spoke these words, "Behold, we will end the conflict." You can just picture the whole scene in your mind. The war stricken men, dirty, bloody, and masculine. You have some intense music by Hans Zimmerman playing in the background, and you can just see everything play out in all its manly glory as everything unfolds. Zerahemnah tries to slay Moroni. Moroni's soldier breaks the hilt of Zerahemnah's sword and scalps him with one swipe of his sword, and places the scalp on his sword and proclaims, "Even as this scalp has fallen to the earth, which is the scalp of your chief, so shall ye fall to the earth except ye will deliver up your weapons of war and depart with a covenant of peace."

I love the war chapters. 

Well, that is all I have for this week. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet.

Elder Rash

Elder Rash and Elder Brocheir trading shirts from their home countries

Krispy Kreme donuts for South Africa put a smile on my boy's face!

View of his area

Elder Martin delivering donuts from Jo'burg...what a TREAT!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Week 57: Praying for more success in Swaziland

Hello Family and Friends!

Welcome to another week here in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

This week as we were tracting, we knocked on the richest door I could find, to our surprise, the King himself opened the door. We sat down with him and his 16 wives and taught the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They will all be baptized next week....

Yeah, I wish.

But it was a decent week. A lot of walking up hills, a lot of sore legs and muscles, blisters, the usual. But we did have a new investigator come to church!!! Whoo hoo! His name is Bheki (Beggy). He is in his late 20's, he is a fire fighter, and he came straight to church after work. He worked all Saturday night and got off work at 8 o'clock on Sunday morning and came straight to church. He even came early!!! That is rare! We had sat with him and his mother 2 times this last week and he said that he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet after praying about it. I was so happy to see him come to church!

Unfortunately, Easter and Zelda have yet to come to church. I know that they have a desire to change their lives, but they haven't been coming to church. They read the scriptures, are trying to quit smoking, and are trying to do a 180 with their lives, but every sunday she wakes up really sick. As I said, she has cancer and is really weak. Smoking doesn't help. And she is really sick a lot of the time.

She loves the scriptures and reads everyday from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants. I just wish that they would come to church.

We have been working really hard and have been ever so slowly building up a decent teaching pool. I just hope everything keeps improving.

Well, we'll keep working hard and persevering. Thank you all so much for your prayers and keep em coming. We need them. The People of Swaziland needs em.

I love Missionary Work. I know I am on the Lord's Errand. I know He lives. I know He loves me.


Congrats Sarah Barker! You'll kill it in Australia!

Congrats to AJ Karem! As you continue to grow in the gospel I know that more happiness awaits you than you have ever known. I'm proud of you Man! Keep it up!

Happy Birthday Grandma Starr! You don't look a day over 29!

Shelbie, Stay away from boys. You are too young. Haha! And just a shout out to all you boys:

Stay. Away. From. My. Sister.

The Church is True.
Elder Rash

Happy 4th of July (Elder Nielsen, Elder Rash, Elder Watteyne)

God Bless America (Elder Rash and Elder Larsen)

The Brazilian Crew

Elder Larsen

Elder Nielsen

Elder Watteyne

Dessert made by Sis. Martin, Elder Sharpe and Elder Larsen

Elder and Sis. Martin taking care of our missionaries

Tracting in the clouds

Selfie with Elder Brocleir from Brazil

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 56: Zone Conference with a General Authority

So it has been a pretty slow week. We had a lot of meetings and a Zone Conference and we had a visit from Elder Ellis, and that was super neat and super inspirational.

So on Tuesday we spend quite a bit of time in the Royal Police Station here in Swaziland. Elder Chirchir has been asked to work on getting a police clearance report from the government here so that he will be allowed to go to Mozambique when he receives his Visa, which should be soon. So we had to go to the Police station for a LONG time... Inefficiency. That is the only word I can use to explain my experience there.

On Wednesday we had a boat load of meetings with the Zone Leaders, District Meeting, and a Zone Training, then we cleaned the Chapel afterwards, celebrated some birthdays, and went out to lunch. Because of all of this, we didn't leave until about 3 o'clock to our area.

On Saturday we had our Zone Conference! That was really a spiritual experience, also a stressful one. In preparation, we were running around like chickens with their heads cut off to fix last minute things that had been forgotten, or misplaced, or weren't working. It was pretty hectic. But after everything was sorted out, we were able to relax and enjoy the spiritual training that we received from Elder Ellis. The biggest thing that I took away from his training is when we studied John 10:1-14. We learn that Christ is the Good Shepherd. As we read this scripture, we applied it to ourselves. How we can be "Good Shepherds". We need to know our sheep and be known of our sheep. We need to love our sheep and give our lives to our sheep. If they trust us and know our voice, they will follow us, and no one else. But also, people will follow who treats them right. If a sheep knows the voice of a Bad Shepherd, it will still follow him because it knows his voice and will not follow a stranger. We can also apply this to parenthood. Whose voice to our children follow? Who is their Shepherd?

I also have a pretty funny and frustrating story that happened to us yesterday as we were contacting some houses. We saw a man sitting outside by himself, and we thought we would contact him. So we approach him, introduce ourselves as missionaries, and he replies, "Listen guys, I went to church today! I got there at 8, and was there all the way until 8:30 am! I have my church, I worship God. Thank you very much, but right now I just want to enjoy my Beer. So get out of my sight!"...  "How Christlike," I thought as I walked away so furiously confused as to how people can worship God one moment, and then later that night get so hammered drunk that they don't remember any of it the next day. You cannot serve God and Mammon.

Well, that is how my week was. Today we have a 4th of July Barbeque with the whole Swaziland Zones, so it should be a blast!

I know this work is true. I know God lives. I know he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for our sins. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is the living prophet of the living God. I know that The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is a true record of God's dealings with his people. I'm proud to be a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ and Proclaim His name as the "Sound of a Trump."

Elder Ryland Rash

Being fed at Zone Conference

Swaziland Zone Conference with Elder Ellis of the Seventy

Stripling Warriors (Elder Larsen, Elder Rash, ?,?, Elder Nielsen)

Family Home Evening

"I saw a pillar of light"....he couldn't resist

Happy Birthday Elder Chirchir (with Elder Martin)