Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 77: Patience is a Virtue

As a title for this letter I chose, Patience is a Virtue. This week I had an abnormally large number of opportunities to develop the Christlike Attribute of Patience, and boy was it difficult. I'll start at the beginning of the week.

On Monday I received my flight plans to fly down to Maputo for the Leadership Training. I was really excited to travel and see some old friends, some recent converts, some members that I love. I was excited to see other missionaries, to see President and Sister Koch, and I was excited to have the training from them, and the Thanksgiving Feast that they were nice enough to provide for us. Needless to say, I was excited. I waited patiently for Monday and Tuesday to pass and was scheduled to leave Wednesday morning. So I get all packed and all ready for the trip, and I show up to the airport only to discover that my flight had been cancelled... Ugh... Disappointment #1.

The airline told us that they would have a flight for us that would leave at 4am Thursday morning... Ugh... Disappointment #2. And they told us that we would need to be there at 2am to check in... Ugh... Disappointment #3. But, I kept my cool. I smiled and just kept forcing myself to think, "It will all work out in the end. It will all work out. It's Okay."

I went through my day as normal on Wednesday and went to bed a bit early so as to wake up at 1am to leave to the airport. I got there early and was the only person in the airport, but they hadn't started checking people in yet. So I sat down and waited about thirty minutes until they started calling specific groups of people to check in. I finally stood up to go try to check in but was not given the chance. Here in Africa there is no such thing as what civilized countries call, "lines". It just doesn't exist. I was in no mood to fight to the front of the mob and throw elbows and punches to make my way there, so I just stood and waited patiently for an opportunity. I stood there for 2 hours. I may have missed my flight if a nice Muslim man hadn't grabbed my bag, fought his way to the front and demanded that they help me. He was super funny and a huge help. I finally got onto the plane, and was then informed that the flight would be delayed an hour... Ugh... Disappointment #4.

"It will all work out in the end. Just smile, Elder Rash."

I got the Maputo exhausted. Went straight to the office and had the Leadership Training, then immediately had lunch, then we set up Christmas around the office, then I was privileged enough to go to T-3 and visit my old area. By that night I was exhausted! I went straight to bed and was immediately asleep. We woke up the next morning and I pretty much just sat around the office, got a little nap in, and practiced the piano for a few hours. There wasn't anything for me to do... 

Friday night my plane was scheduled to leave at 17:45... Delay after delay after delay we finally left at 22:30... Ugh... Disappointment #5

I got back to the house at 1:30 Saturday Morning, and woke up a few hours later for the baptisms that we had that morning. We had 8 Baptisms.

Anyways. After that long ordeal I really learned what it meant to be patient. I used to think it was gritting your teeth and holding your tongue until the trial is over. But it is so much more than that. 

"Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious. It is the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully. Patience is related to hope and faith—you must wait for the Lord’s promised blessings to be fulfilled."

I feel like this is the type of patience that I was able to experience, patience with a hopeful outlook rather than a grim outlook on things.

After the long test of my patience, we were blessed enough to have 8 baptisms, 6 of which were part member families. It was such a blessing to see the gospel help these families take one more step closer to getting to the temple as a family. What a blessing!

I believe that is all I have for this week.

I know that God is mindful of His children. I know that he loves each and every one of us. I know that Christ died so that we can change and become better than we currently are. This life is the time for Men to prepare to meet God. We need to learn to live a Celestial lifestyle. The same person we are in this life is the same person we will be in the eternities. Where are you now? Where will you be in the eternities?

Jesus is the Christ. Joseph Smith was His means of restoring His gospel here on earth. Thomas S. Monson is His prophet today. This IS the Church of Jesus Christ.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all, have a good week.

Elder Rash

P.S.- Thank you so much for the videos and pictures! It was super good to hear your voices and see your smiling faces! It was absolutely impossible for me to recognize Holly. I literally spent 5 minutes trying to figure out who she was! I thought maybe she was a friend that someone brought along to help out set up lights at Nanny and Papas or something. Holly is a Babe Now! Dang! Reese, be careful. Keep an eye on her and keep your gun loaded. Haha! Brincadeira! I love you guys!

Note from mom:  Elder R. sent TONS of pictures and videos from the wedding celebration and from his Zone Leadership Training.  I wish I could put them all on here, but I don't have names or anything to go along with them.  So these at least give you an idea what his weekend was like!

Arrived back in Nampula just in time for these baptisms!

Zone Leadership Training in Maputo with some of his favorite missionaries

Wedding day!

Wedding party!

More wedding guests

And more....

and still even more!  It was a HUGE turn out of support for the couple!

Cutting of the cake.

The party went till dark

Elder R. hasn't been captioning his pictures, so I can only guess...they are washing dishes?

Teaching a lesson?

Being silly?

Look at Elder R's smile!

Being even more silly!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 76: And that's all he wrote....Happy Thanksgiving!

So I won't write a "Weekly Email" this week because I wrote a lot of long letters to Shelbie and Dad and I'll write a long one to you. But I don't have time to write a "weekly" one. Sorry.

Elder Rash
No pictures either....sorry everyone!
*Note from mom:  Elder R. will be flying to Maputo on Wednesday for some Leadership Training.  He will get to spend Thanksgiving with Pres. and Sis. Koch and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving feast!  He will fly back to Nampula on Friday and get back in time for 8 baptisms on Saturday.  He is looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with the Koch's and other missionaries from around the mission.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 75: We are living after the manner of HAPPINESS!

Well, another week down and yet another P-day that will seem too short, but I love this time that I have to relax for a bit and tell you all about how awesome this last week was!
The one word that I can use to describe the overall feeling of this week would be Joy. We absolutely had some annoying times and stressful times, but I feel as Nephi felt. That despite all of their tribulations in the wilderness, he and his family "lived after the manner of happiness" because they kept the commandments and did what God asked them to do. This last week Elder Taukiuvea and I journeyed through the wilderness, figuratively speaking, and we had a lot of tribulations, but because we were obedient to the mission rules and fulfilled our purpose as missionaries we "lived after the manner of happiness."

To begin, I must say that the universe has taken revenge on me. My whole mission I prided myself on not receiving a single abscess, and was involved in "helping" others get rid of theirs. I am not so proud to inform you that this week I broke my 17 month "Abscess Free" streak. I got an abcess at the beginning of the week and it was extremely uncomfortable. It only lasted a few days until I was able to squeeze it all out. It was only about the size of a marble, but it was a pain in my armpit! It was in the same armpit and in the same place as the Abscess that Elder Brochier had a few months ago. However, mine was not near as bad as his was. So that is my experience with an abscess. It definitely was not a walk in the park.
We also stayed super busy this week running around everywhere in preparation for our lessons, our Zone Training, and an activity that we had on Saturday. We had a really successful week with lessons having 30 lessons this week, 19 of which were with a member present. So we were moving every minute of every day to get to all of our lessons.

On Thursday, Elder Taukiuvea and I gave a training to the Zone about the importance of using the Book of Mormon in our missionary work. It is the cornerstone of our religion, it needs to be the cornerstone of our testimony, of our study, and of our teaching.

On Saturday we had an activity for the youth and YSAs. We had a massive Minute to Win It competition and everyone loved it! We had a decent turnout and I expect even bigger turnouts in the future.
We have been working really well with the members and teaching references that they give us to teach. Our recent convert, Nora, has been a huge help to us. We taught her about the importance of Missionary Work a few weeks ago, and she got super animated and excited about it. She was a little bummed when we told her that she can't serve a full time mission, but she has really magnified herself in the way that she has assisted us in the Branch. She directed us to her Brother and his family, and her sister, Gina, and her family. Both families are super nice and Gina has a strong desire to change her life around.

We also have made an effort to work with Part Member Families and all of the baptisms that we are planning for the 26th of November are part member families. We will have 7 baptisms for the 26th, and 2 more the following week. Hercilio and Saquina will be opening the marriage process tomorrow, will be married on the 26th, and baptized the following week! I am so excited for them!
On Sunday we saw all of our hard work pay off when we had 194 people at church! That is huge for us! Of those 194, 26 of them were our investigators!!!!! Awesome!

I have a testimony that as we follow the will of God that our lives become much easier. If we yoke ourselves with the Lord our burdens become lighter. I love missionary work and the privilege I have to devote my time to the Lord. I am far from perfect but I am trying to do what is right.

I know God lives. I know He loves His children.

Until next week.
Elder Rash

*  From Elder R.'s mom:  He sent pictures this week, but mostly of his abscess.  Not something I want to share with everyone.  Hopefully he will send better pictures next week!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 73 & 74: Power outages, sickness and success

This week was not too exciting as Elder Taukiuvea was sick with a fever for most of the week. He is doing just fine now and this week we will be out working hard again, something I missed.

Okay... So as we were using internet, it stopped working and I lost all that I had typed... So I'll write in more detail next week. I am sorry.

I love you guys. I know what I am doing is where I need to be. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love the Lord. I love this Work.

Mom, I am sorry for the shortness of this letter.

Elder Ryland Rash


Hey Family and Friends, sorry these past few weeks did not contain the most detailed of letters (to say the least), but I'll try to cram the better part of the past weeks into one letter.

We had Nora's baptism and this past week we had 6 more baptisms here from Elder Osorio and Elder Goes.

The Halloween Activity was canceled because of a lack of participation and planning; it isn't as huge of a holiday here, so nobody was really that excited. But now we are planning a talent show for the 19th of November. A talent show just like we had in Mascarenha while I was there.

Yesterday and church we had 21 investigators show up, which was awesome! We have been having a lot of success with our members. They are proactive in inviting friends and colleagues to church and other activities and introduce them to us. So we have found quite a few investigators by means of references from members. We also are teaching a lot of part member families and planning their baptisms for the end of the month. Hercilio and Saquina are doing well. We should get the last of their documents this week and open the marriage process on the 11th. Everything is still running smoothly for their wedding on the 26th, and their baptism the following week. Belmiro and Berendina say that they want to keep the Law of Chastity and are willing to get married, but that they will need a bit more time than just a couple of weeks. They still come to church every week as a family, and they are still super nice, but the baptismal date has been postponed to an unknown date. But we will be meeting with them tonight to talk to them about it.

On Sunday, it was Fast and Testimony Meeting, and Edel (that man that I told you guys about that had the dream about the Book of Mormon) he got up and bore his testimony and told his story about his conversion. I have never seen a chapel more focused on a speaker before. Nobody moved a muscle as they listened to his powerful experience with Prayer and receiving answers from God. Tears were shed, the Spirit was so strong, and I know he strengthened others with his testimony.

I know I said I'd write a lot, but I am now out of things to write about... So I wish everyone a fantastic week and send me letters and pictures and videos! I miss you guys! Have a good week.
-Elder Rash

Nora's baptism

Elder T., Nora and Elder R.

Nora and family

Elder Goes and Elder Osorio