Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Week 64: Answers to Mom's Questions

1.  What holiday was it in Swaziland yesterday?  Dad thinks it was the King day where all the virgins come to be selected...  Caleb wants to know if you had to stay in your apartment for this holiday?  He was afraid that a bunch of virgins would be walking around topless and that the missionaries would be confined to their apartments because of it.
             The Holiday was the Reed dance! It is the holiday that the king chooses a wife and the women dance naked for him... So in the past all of the missionaries used to stay inside for a few days... But now it is just the missionaries that work in Ezlwini that stay out of their area for a week. They have been on divisions with other people all week to avoid walking in their area because of the women.

 2.  Tell us about Brian's baptism
            Brian's baptism was perfect! We did it after church and there was a huge turnout of members and even Brian's family came to watch his baptism, such a tender mercy. It was his family's first time to visit our church. Brian was not nervous at all, but he was so happy as he came up out of the water. I thought he was going to cry.

3.  How is Elder Brochier doing?  I can't believe he has MORE growths in his armpit!!!  Are they in-grown hairs?  What are they doing to treat him?  Are they treating him with medication?
             Elder Brochier is doing alright. His armpit is still growing viciously! I don't know what they are doing to treat him, but they are doing a pretty cruddy job if you ask me. They aren't in grown hairs, they are little demons that are possessing his armpit​.

 4.  Do you attend wards or branches?  How big are they?  How many active members?
             We just have branches here because we don't have a stake. We typically have an attendance of 50-100 people coming to sacrament meeting. It varies a lot depending on the week; it is very sporadic.

5.  Have you come up with some last minute advise for Devon?
             Yeah, there is a recording for Devon that I sent.

 6.  Can I send packaged seasoning packets in your package for Christmas?  I have been afraid to send anything that is a powder (ranch mix, taco mix, etc.)
             Yes, you can send seasoning packages. Elder Bird just got some not too long ago.

7.  When was the last time you played the piano/keyboard?
             The last time I played the piano... A few weeks ago. The keyboard at our chapel is broken, so it has been a while since I've been able to practice.

 8.  Give us a mile radius of how big your area is now?  Have you even walked your whole area yet?
             A mile radius of my area... I have forgotten how big a mile is. But my area has about a 20 KM diameter... I think, there are parts that I am not sure if they are my area or not, and I still have not been to some parts of my area... So the part that I know is about 20 Kms.

Elder Ryland Rash
Brian's baptism day!

Elder Rash speaking in church on the fly!

Getting water for his apartment

Brian and his family

Elder Chirchir, Brian's family and Elder Rash

"I do believe in FAIRIES!!!" 

American food!  The first time in over a year!  He was so happy!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 63: Answers to Questions from Dad

1.      What do you like most about Swaziland now that you have been there for awhile?
Now that I have been here for a while, the thing that I like most about Swaziland is a tie between the scenery and the people. I love the mountains and feel like I am driving up through Logan county and Cache Valley every time I mount a Khombi and go up to our area. The Scenery is just gorgeous! And I also have fallen even more in love with the people and their culture. A lot of people are just super nice and are willing to joke around with you and laugh (especially if you are a white guy that can speak a bit of their language). FYI My siSwati name is Jabulane Lekhwekhwe (Happiness Rash) Haha! But also the people can be my least favorite part as well. People here are far more racist towards whites than you would think. I have snide remarks and cold looks thrown at me wherever I go. If anyone back home complains that whites are racist towards blacks... Come to Africa... You'll see what racism is like- especially towards albinos. It used to be legal to hunt and kill Albinos and sell their bones for money. People are more civilized now, but the racism is still in full force.

2.      Tell us more about your area. What is the address of your home or do they have addresses?
My area... I don't have an address, and if I do I don't know what it is. But my area now covers Makholokholo, Nkoyoyo,  and Mpolonjeni.

3.      How big is your area now that you have redistricted the boundaries?
My area is massive now. Mpolonjeni is HUGE!  The Sisters previously had it and they use a car. They had that area BECAUSE they had access to a car. It is muito grande! We have barely scratched the surface, and we've been working there for about a week.

4.      Are you still enjoying being a DL?
I've gotten used to being Distric Leader. It is just a part of the mission. Wouldn't say that I "enjoy" it, but I've been serving as the District Leader for Half of my mission now. It is just a position to learn and grow a bit more. I am super grateful for the experience that I have gained, and I do enjoy divisions to get to know other areas and other missionaries. So I do enjoy that part.

5.      Is Chir Chir learning Portuguese? How is that going?
Elder Chirchir is learning Portuguese. It is going well... He hasn't been immersed in the language, but with the resources he has, he is doing well. His accent is terrible, but that will come with time.

6.      How well do you think your Portuguese is now?
I don't think my Portuguese has changed all that much, aside from my accent. I have started using the Brazilian Portuguese because that is what I am surrounded by. I speak with Brazilians every day and still speak portuguese. I think my language may have even improved. So that is good.

7.      Are there any strange things they eat in Swazi?
The foods that they eat here in Swaziland are pretty much the same as the foods that they eat in Mozambique, except here they eat a lot more beef. But it is typically just rice, or pap, with some type of soup or stew. That is the norm.

8.      What cultural customs do they have in Swazi?
The culture customs are pretty weird. We are approaching the Day of the Reed Dance. Which is the day that the King chooses a new wife. The government takes all of the virgin young women between the ages of 12 to 18 up to the mountain to perform some ceremony and practice a dance, then on the day of the Reed Dance, all of the young virgins dance shirtless in front of the king so that he can choose his new wife... Yeah, pretty weird. They also have some weird rituals to tell if a young woman truly is a virgin or not. When they go up to the mountains, every young woman has to cut a reed that is growing by a river and hold it in their hand as they walk down the mountain. If the reed stays straight and upright, then the woman is a virgin, but it the reed bends and withers, then she is not, and is not allowed to dance for the king. Weird, right? Also the marriage traditions are odd.

9.  Have you learned any other African languages?
 I've been learning siSwati a little bit, and it is coming along nicely. I can say a lot of things, but understanding people is a different story. They speak so fast.

10.  How long do you think you will stay in Swazi?
I am pretty sure that I will stay here in Swaziland for a few more months. I wouldn't mind staying here until Christmas, then being transferred at the beginning of the year. Most Americans stay here for about 4 transfers, and after this one, I will have been here for two. So I will probably have two more and maybe a third. I should be here still for Christmas

11.  Is the work getting any better? Are you feeling the fruits of your hard work yet?
The work is getting better. We will be having Brian's baptism this week and I am so excited! I am starting to see the fruits pay off. I really hope that we can have Easter and Zelda's baptisms this next month. Continue praying for them.

12.  What words of advice do you have for your brother?
I'll send some stuff for Devon next week probably. alright?

13.  How is Elder Brochier recovering after you preformed the "surgery"?
So with Elder Brochier, he is okay! The abscess did leave eventually, but now he has 7 in the same armpit! Nice, right? I will not be performing anymore surgeries.

You guys need to send me more pictures from home! And some recordings! Okay?
Well, you ought to feel special Dad. Took all my time writing you this week, instead of Mom. So this will also be my weekly letter. You may post what you want and take out what you want. But this is it for the week.

Elder Ryland Rash

Divisions with Elder Larsen...Ryland loves this guy!

Having fun with Elder Larsen...PLUS, riding around Ryland's area in a CAR!!!!  What a treat!

No running water in their apartment for a week!  They have to walk down to a creek and fill this bucket with water.

Elder Brochier is recovery well after this "surgery"!

Sharing water with Elder Bird and Elder Brochier.  Bucket showers all week!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 62: Finally saw some Africa wildlife....

So this week has been quite the busy one. Last Monday the Martins put us through a "Cross-Fit Challenge"! I just about died! It has been longer than a year since I last worked out as vigorously as we worked out! Crazy! Also, our area just got even bigger. We added an area called Mpolonjeni to our area and have been hitting it super hard, so we've been busy there all week finding new people and teaching new people there.

On Wednesday I was on a division with Elder Nunes and showed him around some new parts of his area that we gave him, and that was a decent division... I really enjoy being with Elder Nunes, but all of our lessons fell, and we ended up just walking around, knocking on doors, and almost walking without purpose. I don't like that. I hate not having plans. But it was fun to be with Elder Nunes.

This week I have been busy realigning our district's boundaries. Because of some certain situations, it has become necessary to take some areas from a companionship, and give to others. So we have been getting to know some new area that we have, and trying to refigure stuff out. It has also been a stressful week with a lot of odd stuff happening. One of the Sisters in our Zone had what seems like a mini heart attack or something like that and was in a the hospital. It may have been a stroke too because she was also paralyzed for a time as well. The other companionship of Sisters also had their car hit by another car, and so that had to be dealt with. So it was quite a stressful week, and even more stressful for the Sisters, I'm sure!

On Sunday, Easter and Zelda and our other investigator, Brian, all came to church! I was so happy! Brian is preparing to be baptized on the 27th of this month! With Easter and Zelda, it will probably be next month! I also was asked on Friday morning to give a talk about Missionary Work for 10 minutes on Sunday, so I also had to whip that together (which wasn't too hard... You know, these day I live for Missionary Work) ALSO! We have started teaching the Temple Preparation class to the members that are preparing to go to the Temple somewhat soon. And by we have started teaching, I mean I have started teaching. But at least the first lesson was really simple. I pretty much had to teach about the Plan of Salvation- which is something that as a missionary you study a million times. But I must say; I am loving this class! It is full of those elect people that have a strong desire to go to the temple, and they are advanced enough in the gospel to understand what we are teaching, and to ask quality questions about the Plan of Salvation that even cause me to think! So I love the Temple Preparation Class!

Today for P-day, the two Zones went to do a hike together in Ezulwini! We hiked what is called Execution Rock (I bet you can guess why it got that name) It is a super tall mountain with a steep cliff that they used to throw people off. Well on the way there we saw Impala, Gazelle, Warthogs, Baboons, Wilde-beasts, and Zebras! At one point during the hike, Elder Nielsen and I spotted some Zebras in the brush in the jungle, and we started to stalk them! Eventually we got close enough to almost touch them! Like, 5-10 feet away! Crazy! So majestic! We kept walking and heard this massive pounding noise! As we look up, we saw about 10 Wilde-beasts stampeding almost directly at us! I felt like Simba as Mufasa swoops in to save him, then dies- "Wake up, Dad" (Quote from the Lion King)

When we made it to the top of the mountain, it was gorgeous! Even better, I got to see Elder Nielsen and Elder Watteyne again! I have missed those guys so much! It was so good to chat with them and hang out with them for a while.

I also forgot to mention that Elder Brochier has gotten an abscess in his armpit! A massive one! about the size of a golf ball in his armpit! And it has been hurting him ALL WEEK! So Junior Doctor Elder Rash swooped in with his amateur surgical skills! And by that I mean, "Elder Brochier, bite on this wooden spoon! I'm going to take this razor and cut open that sucker while you scream in pain. Then I'm going to squeeze it with all I've got, Okay?" It sounds like a stupid idea, but us idiots thought it was a good idea. To make a long story short, his armpit is much better now.

Well, because of time, I've got to go, but thank you so much for your prayers on our behalf. I have really felt them this week.

I know God lives. I know that he hears and answers our prayers. I know that as we approach God, we will draw near unto us and strengthen us.
Elder Rash

Had apartment inspection and made cookies to gain some brownie points with Sis. Martin

Zebras!!!!  So close he could touch them!

Execution Rock with some wonderful missionaries!

Elder Watteyne, Elder Nielsen, Elder Rash

Flags of the countries he is loving!

Cross Fit Challenge
Personal times for the challenge
Trying his best to do better than the guy next to him
Elder Martins really worked them hard!
Free haircuts for the missionaries
Elder Rash thinks he is a pro.
Letting Sis. Martins practice on him
He finally took over and did it himself!

Elder and Sis. Martins are so good to our missionaries.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Week 61: ROAD TRIP!!!! A trip down memory lane

These week was a vacation for me! I don't mean that in an Apostate Missionary way, but I will explain what I mean...

So the week started out like any other week. Monday and Tuesday rolled by, and Wednesday afternoon I got a call from Elder Larsen telling me that we would need to go back to Mozambique the NEXT DAY to renew some documents! So we got everything ready, and Elder Larsen, Elder Nunes, Elder Payne and I all headed out for Mozambique on Thursday morning at 5 in the morning! We had a road trip with all the BOYZ back together, we got there, did some documents, then we had all day to do whatever we wanted. So Elder Larsen and I went on a date and skipped down Memory lane. We went to lunch together, ate ice cream, and then we went to walk in our old areas in Maputo to visit our recent converts and our old families. We first walked in Magoanine for Elder Larsen, then we went to T-3! I can't tell you guys how happy I was! I spent all of my time at Jose and Felicidade's house visiting with them! The whole family was home! Including 2 new additions to their family! Apparently Felicidade became pregnant shortly after I left T-3, and gave birth to two twin boys 2 weeks ago! Crazy! After I left T-3, Marcos and his 4 kids were all baptized, so was Joaquim- the Son of Jose and Felicidade. I was also able to call Elder Parker in Mascarenha and found out that Bile and his wife were married and his wife, daughter and son were all baptized! Also, Joaquim (that 11 year old boy that we baptized) we had been teaching 5 of his friends and they were all baptized! Also, there were 2 other baptisms of people I had helped find there in Mascarenha, and  Lorenzo and Amelia will be having their wedding in a couple of weeks and will be baptized! Whoo hoo! That made me so happy to hear! That all of our hard work there in Mascarenha finally has paid off! That trip made me so happy!

We came back late Friday night, and I miss Mozambique so much. I love Swaziland, but I miss Mozambique...

We also had a service project on Saturday with the Martins. We cleaned the Yard of Easter and Zelda! Their wedding date is the 27 of August! Whoo hoo! I am so excited for them! They are finally progressing very well!

Well, I'm out of time! I love you all!

Elder Ryland Rash

Elder Rash, investigator Bryan, Elder Chirchir

Kids of a family in the ward...their parents are taking a temple prep class that Elder Rash is teaching

Day date with Elder Larsen in Maputo

While in Maputo visiting a family Elder Rash taught...Joe and Felicidade with their children

They had twins two weeks ago

Visiting the mission office before heading back to Swaziland

Road trip with the gang! (Elder Larsen, Elder Nunes, Elder Payne)

Grave yard that Elder Rash found with unmarked graves (he thought his dad would like these pictures)

Unmarked graves

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Week 60: Short on time, but lots of pictures

*  From Elder Rash's mom:
Ryland was short on time, so just sent a quick note to let us know he was alive and will be staying in Swaziland with Elder Chirchir.  Still having a few struggles, but having a better attitude.  Prayers are welcomed and felt by thank you!

These Elder's high jacked Sis. Koch's phone and had fun with it!

All together for interviews with Pres. Koch


She loves the missionaries in Mozambique/Swaziland and is so good to them!

The King of Swaziland's "castle"

Elder Chirchir contemplating

District Leader training with Elder boy sure does love his son!

I kinda love this picture! <3

Week 59: I Stand All Amazed!

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine

To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!

Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

As I contemplated what I should write to you all this week (knowing that Mom will probably read this in front of the whole family at Lake Powell), this hymn came to my mind and I contemplated it all day on Sunday, especially during the Sacrament. Without fail, every time I hear this hymn, my mind reflects on the scripture in John 15:13, which reads- "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."   We are Christ's friends as we do whatsoever he commands, as we learn in verse 14.

It blows my mind every time I think about the Atonement. That "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

That because of the great and infinite love that God has for us, he provided us a way so return and live with him. That for ME- a sinner- Christ suffered, bled, and died. Oh it is wonderful to me! I know that through Jesus Christ that we can be perfected, and that God loves us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 38-39)
I know that God lives. I know Christ is our Savior. I know that God loves His children and answers their prayers. I know that through Jesus Christ, all can come unto Him and be perfected through Him. I am grateful to be on the Lord's errand. I know this is His work.
13 Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. 3 Nephi 5:13
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy. (Alma 29:9)

Okay, now I will step down from my soap box. But I did want all of you to know that I have a testimony of these things.

Anyways... I remember Caleb did this during his mission, so let's see if I can remember everyone's names. Now, forgive me in advance. Some of the younger ones weren't even born before I left, and some were very small still, so I know I will forget one or two or maybe three names... It doesn't mean that I don't love you, but it is just that I don't know you, Haha! So here we go;

Hello to...
Mom and Dad
Tobie and Austin (and hello to the little fetus that is inside Tobie. If she hasn't already told you that she is pregnant... then this is awkward...)
Caleb- Shave your face.
Devon and Rebecca (everyone look quick! Devon is smiling because the person who is reading this said Rebecca's name!) Haha! I love you Devon! I'll see you soon.
And Shelbie, Minha Princesa
Reese and Melissa
Troy and Jodi
Heath and Laura
Morgin (Mo)
JD and Cassie
Coby Jay
and the little baby girl that I can't remember her name... I'm sorry.
Jeremy and Debbie
I forgot the next little girl's name...
Matt and Dustie
I don't know if Kamee and Tyson are there but hello to Kamee and Tyson
And of course Hello to Grandma and Grandpa!!!
Also, hello to Grammy when she reads this.
And if I forgot anyone who is there...
(Insert Name Here)

Sera muito dificil voltando para casa porque ninguem vai me reconhecer! Ainda, vos amo muito.

So hello to all of you Lake Powellans! I hope you all have an awesome week! Please stay safe. Make memories. And cherish the time that you guys have together. You'll all miss this time when it is passed. So make the most of it. I hope we can have the whole family together again next year. Just to announce to everyone, I come home on the 22nd of May, of 2017. So I'll see you all relatively soon.

Well, I love you all. Miss you, and I pray for you all very often. I feel your prayers and thank you for all the support you have given me.
Elder Rash

Burning garbage close to their house

HUMP Day Camel made it and Elder Rash is sharing with his friend Elder Brocheir


Elder Rash speaks very highly of Elder Brocheir. you can tell they have become close friends

Fog every morning

Easter and Zelda

Easter and Zelda's family