Monday, February 27, 2017

90: No letter, but lots of pictures from the baptisms!

Not a lot of time today, but I'm alive, I'm okay! We had a crazy week! Lots of rain! Lots of lightning! We baptized in the ocean! That was cool! My new companion will be Elder Carlson from Pocatello Idaho! I'm super excited! I don't know when he will get here... But I'll make a longer email next week. sorry this one is so short!

Elder Rash

Note from mom:  Not a great e-mail, but the pictures, videos and recordings were AMAZING!!!  He had a great week preparing for the baptisms.  It was a wonderful experience and a highlight of his mission.

Look at that smile!!!  Could he be any happier?!

What a sight!

Stripling Warriors in the Ocean of Biera!

Ocean baptisms are the BEST!!!

Trying to find water deep enough for the baptisms....baptisms were at low tide.


Getting ready to make covenants!

Such happy faces!
Luisa, Rebeca, Carlota, Eurico

Elder Rash, Elder Price and Elder Donker....he loves these missionaries!


Week 89: Loving those he is teaching!

This week has been a really good and busy week. Elder Smith and I have been working really hard to prepare a bunch of people for baptism on the 25th. We initially had 7 people scheduled for baptism on that day, but it may be only 4 that end up being baptized on that day. Let me just quickly explain each of them:

Eurico is the oldest child of a strong member family and he was not baptized a few years ago because he wasn't living with them at the time. Now he has been living at home for quite a while, and he has a strong desire to change. We have seen a massive change in the way that he treats his family and how they all get along. I know that the Gospel really does bless and change families for the better. Eurico has 18 years and is really committed to the gospel. The Ward has welcomed him with open arms and things are going really smoothly with him.
Carlota is the older sister of a really strong young man in our Ward. He always volunteers to walk with us or tells us to pick him up on a certain day and he will walk with us for a few hours, we can always rely on Juliao (that's his name) to help us out with Missionary Work. About a month ago he asked us to start teaching his older sister, Carlota. Ever since the first visit, she has absolutely fallen in love with the gospel and with the Book of Mormon! She keeps every commitment and her faith has grown a whole lot. She is a solid investigator who loves the church and loves sharing the gospel with others.

Rebeca is a young woman that was found right before I arrived in the area. We have been teaching her, her sister and her brother-in-law. All 3 have been progressing really well. She participates actively in Seminary, loves reading and studying the Book of Mormon with her brother in law, and loves the church! She has a really solid testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and will make a great missionary one day! She is 18 years old and loves teaching others about the gospel. We find her all the time sitting with her neighbors reading the scriptures and little pamphlets with them! Such a great missionary!

Then there is Luisa. Luisa was a reference from one of the members gave us. She has 17 years and has also been progressing very well. She has also had a massive change because of the gospel!

Those are the baptisms that we have planned for this week. We have some others planned for next month, but I'll update you guys on those as the dates approach.

As for an update on the mission. We did have a bad storm hit Mozambique after it hit Madagascar pretty bad. The area that got it the worst was Maxixe. Houses were destroyed, from my understanding there were few casualties, but it was a catastrophe. The missionaries there are okay. But it hit Maxixe really badly. A small storm hit Maputo from what I heard, but nothing too serious. Here in Beira and the northern areas, we only got heavy rain... Nothing too uncommon. So just pray for the people of Maxixe. They have a long road of repairs and cleanup ahead of them. So just keep them and their families in your prayers; especially Elder Nelson. He is a missionary that is serving here. He is from Maxixe and we learned that his home was destroyed. He knows a lot of people from there and his whole family lives there. So keep Elder Nelson in your prayers.

Now for Elder Rash's prophetic prediction of next transfer...

I am pretty sure that Elder Smith will be transferred next week and that I will get a new Trainee. That is all I really know... I have absolutely LOVED my time with Elder Smith! I have learned to much from him and we have done a lot of really good work together. I am also excited to train another new missionary! I just love training! I learn so much from these guys! President Koch had told me that I will be finishing out my mission as a trainer, so I think that I'll be getting a brand new guy straight from the States! I'm excited!

Well, I love this work. I love the Book of Mormon and I know that it is the word of God. I know that the doctrines that the Book of Mormon teach are true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true Profeta.

Have an amazing week family! I love you all.

Elder Rash

Elder Smith, Juliao, and Elder Rash

Homemade toys?

Kids making things to play with.

Beautiful sunset  in Biera!

Elder Rash, Elder Smith, and Carlota

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Week 88: Lessons learned and blessings received from serving a mission!

It was a good week this week and we got a lot of good work done. There were a few days where the work was extremely difficult, but we pushed through!

My abscesses are all gone and I'll be taking amoxicillin every day for the rest of my mission to prevent them from coming back!

Elder Smith and I are doing really well together!

As for your questions...

1. I don't know if I can narrow it down to one single greatest lesson that I have learned from my mission, plus I am still learning lessons each day, my mission isn't over yet...

But I would say that the biggest lesson that I have learned over these past two years is how to love people and see them through God's eyes. I have really developed a love for everyone that I come to meet and I feel an overwhelming desire to help them with the Gospel and the happiness that it brings to me.

I don't know if that is the GREATEST lesson that I have learned on my mission or not, but that is definitely something that comes to mind. I have learned a lot, Dad. I feel like I've grown up, you know? I just feel different. When I think of the stuff that I used to do or say back home, I just can't help but look down on myself for some of the stupid things that I used to do and say. I think I'm different, Dad. Sometimes it scares me too. I don't know if I still have the same desires that I had before the mission. I just don't know exactly what I want to do with my life. The mission has become my life, but I know that it is just a prepatory phase for the rest of my life, and I don't know if I'm ready...

2. I don't have many specific goals for the rest of my mission. I just want to lose myself in the work. I want to work hard without any regrets, and I've been doing pretty good these past few weeks. I don't have any regrets about the past month or two. I feel like I have become a consecrated missionary and have lost myself in the work.

3. My biggest surprise about serving a mission... I don't know. It has just become my life, so not much surprises me much anymore. I can say that I am surprised at how quickly I recognize the Lord's hand in our work. Something that seems so normal to me is the Lords hand in everything that we do, is still so foreign to other missionaries.   It has become my first thought to recognize the Lord's hand in our work. That change has been a huge surprise to me.
Love, Elder Rash

Note from mom:  No pictures or videos this week....but 10 recordings!  He sounds great and is making the most of his time left on his mission.  We are now in SINGLE DIGITS!!!  99 days until this man, who left a boy, comes home!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 87: Working hard and seeing the fruits of their labors

This week has been absolutely amazing! Of course it had its ups and downs, but Elder Smith and I put in a lot of good work and we were happy as we did it. 

It was also really nice to see the fruits of our labors on Sunday at church! As we have been working harder and harder we have seen a huge improvement in the Munhava ward! The average church attendance the last 3 months was around 90... These past few weeks we have been steadily increasing that number... 96, 115, and then this last week we had 142 people at church!!! Whoo hoo! We had to get more chairs just so people could sit down! That was such a good feeling! We had 23 investigators and 3 families!!! AHHHH! It made me so happy when people came to church!!!

We have really been spending most of our time working with Part Member Families and Less Active Families! It really is the best way to do missionary work! We are strengthening families and helping whole families eventually get to the temple, and as a bonus, these members become so much more willing to give referrals to the missionaries. They come to realize a mighty change of heart that happens within them and their family members and their desire to share the gospel with other people increases so much. Elder Smith and I have been so busy these past few weeks with teaching a lot of part member families that live in our area, and with a lot of less active and inactive families. And it is paying off! We are definitely seeing the fruits of our labors! The Bishops wife was inactive for a few months, and we started meeting with her and helping her, and now she has come to church for the past 2 weeks in a row! I have noticed a huge difference with Bishop and with his whole family! I am so happy that his wife is becoming active again so that they can go to the temple like they had planned a while ago. The gospel makes me so happy, and seeing the gospel make others happy just melts my heart.

I also just want to take a moment and let everyone know how amazing Elder Smith is doing! He is growing a lot as a person and as a missionary. He is so in tune with the Spirit and cares about everyone. When I get frustrated and lose the Spirit, Elder Smith is always there to calm me down, correct me, take the reins of the lesson, save the lesson and get us back on track to helping the investigators. Elder Smith is an amazing missionary and is helping so many people with his testimony of the Savior and his example as to how to follow Him. Elder Smith has helped me so much in my growth as a missionary and disciple of Jesus Christ. I am so glad that Elder Smith is my companion! We have learned so much together and we are doing such amazing work together! He really is a blessing to everyone he meets. His family should be very proud of him and the work that he is accomplishing here!

Well I think that is all that I've got for this week. I just want to close this letter with my testimony that I know this is the work of the Lord. I know that this is His church. I know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is evidence of that truth. I know that the Book of Mormon changes people's lives. I see it every day and know that that is true. I love this work. I know that this is the True church of Jesus Christ. I know that God lives and that he loves us. He responds to our prayers if we ask with a sincere desire to know the truth.

I love this work.
I love being a missionary.
Elder Rash

Note from mom:  Elder Rash is doing so well and is so happy!  We received 4 recordings this week!  YIPPEEEE!!!  He shared with us that the abscess on his nose is gone, but TWO more have surfaced!  He has come to the conclusion that he will have abscess the remaining of his mission.  He is taking amoxicillin at the moment, but knows that whatever is in his system is not leaving anytime soon!  He has a good attitude about it and is not complaining (at least to me).  Just some thing he is learning to deal with.  He said that he has become the expert missionary with abscess.  At Zone Conference another missionary was telling Sis. Koch about his abscess and Sis. Koch called Elder Rash over to give this elder some advice and she called him "Doctor Rash".  They got a laugh out of it!  If anything, this trial is teaching him how to help others!  Just keep praying that the abscess don't get too bad that he will have to come home early!

Elder Rash and Elder Smith taking a stroll along the beach after playing Futbol

Unnamed family that I'm sure Elder Rash loves!

Zone Conference with familiar faces - Elder Perez

Elder Rash and Elder Perez at it again!

This wonderful couple The Martins will be heading home this month.

Reunited with the Nampula Zone - Elder Goes

Elder Rash LOVES Elder Olivera

Apparently this is Elder Owens...don't know anything about him

Elder Rash and Elder Dutra love to clean their apartment together

These missionaries all had the blessing of serving with the Martins in Swaziland. 

I love this picture!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 86: He LOVES what he is doing!

Hello Family and Friends!

This week has been awesome! Elder Smith and I have been super busy with lessons and trainings! We had a really successful week and helped a lot of people! We had a great attendance at church and had 22 investigators! I gave a talk and tried to play the piano, but it didn't end up too well.

I'm sorry that I am so short on time, but this is all that I've got for this week. I love you all and hope that you are all doing well.

I love the mission. I love this work. I love my companion. And I love these people.

Com Amor,
Elder Rash

Note from mom:  Short letter for the blog, but 7 recordings, 4 videos and several pictures for the family!  He is doing AWESOME!!!  He loves his companion and the area he is serving in!  Some things we learned in the recordings:
1.  Had another abscess on his leg...kept squeezing it every day for a week and it is finally gone!
2.  Has another abscess on/in his nose...very painful!  He says, "I want my MOMMY!"  I loved hearing that!
3.  Water is a problem, so taking showers is a challenge (hence all the abscess).  He has been taking 3 cup showers....first cup is to get wet, lather up, second cup is to rinse, third cup is to rinse again any areas you missed the first rinse!
4.  They had 40 lessons in one week!
5.  The kids still love Elder Rash.  One little girl gave him flowers and a ring.  He has chosen not to wear the ring! hehehehe
6.  Elder Rash is super happy!

Elder Rash and Elder Smith at the beach

New hair cuts and probably the best pineapple EVER!!!

Elder Brochier is serving in Beira now!  Friends for life!

Goats riding ON TOP of the car!  CRAZY!!!

Their house pet....Little Rash!