Monday, May 15, 2017

Week 100: LAST E-MAIL from Africa...Farewell Mozambique

As I've gone throughout my mission I've looked at the end of 2 years as the end of my time as a missionary. I always thought that as soon as I take off the tag all of those responsibilities are taken off with it; some days I could not wait for my time to be over, and some days I wish it would never end. I've come to see the mission field as a training ground, and the tag- training wheels. When the training wheels come off, it then becomes more vital that I apply all of the principles and skills that I learned while I had the training wheels. During these past two years I've learned a thing or two about myself and about life in general, and I'd like to just share some brief things in my last email and also share my testimony with you.
I took a look at my white shirts the other day and to me they still look bright, white, and clean. Then I put my shirt side to side with Elder Carlson's shirt and realized just how stained, dark, and filthy my shirts have become during the mission. What I'm trying to get at is that you never really notice how flawed you truly are, until you compare yourself to something perfect. As a missionary, that is what I have done every single day as I have tried to develop Christ-like Attributes. I have learned that I am lazy. I am prideful. I judge people very quickly. I am a hypocrite. I am dishonest. I have a low level of self-accountability. I am not the man that a lot of people see me as, and I am not the man that I wish I were.

I reached a point some time back where I became very discouraged as I realized how flawed I am as a person, missionary, Priesthood holder, etc, and it seemed absolutely impossible to obey the Savior's command when he said,
"Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." -3 Nephi 27:27

I thought about how distant I was from becoming like Christ. However with time I realized that I will likely never be able to reach that level of perfection in this life, but that's okay! It is my responsibility to try every day to put off the natural man and to repent of my shortcomings (Mosiah 3:19).

I am still very far from perfection and I find more and more flaws in myself each day; but I have come to look at these weaknesses as an opportunity to become stronger, rather than a hindrance (Ether 12:27).
I have also come to the realization of just how truly blessed I have been to have the gospel in my life. Something that I never recognized before my mission is how man blessings we receive from the Gospel. Back home I was surrounded by members of the church who applied fairly well the principles of the gospel and even those who are not members of this church still live a Christian lifestyle and are blessed because of it. My whole life I have been surrounded by the blessings of living the gospel and I did not know what life was like without that environment. Now I do. I see the destitute living conditions in which people live; not only physically, but also spiritually. I see an abundant lack of blessings in their lives because of an abundant lack of the gospel. I have been blessed time and time again to have the privilege of seeing the gospel make a change in people's lives. During the mission I have gained a much greater level of gratitude for how blessed I have been by the Lord to have given me a family who raised me in the gospel. I know that as we live the gospel and keep the commandments, we are blessed (Mosiah 2:41).

President Koch taught us numerous times that a testimony is the result of what comes into our heart and into our mind.      Heart    +      Mind     =      Testimony
He then proceeded to teach us that a testimony is not sufficient for salvation. We need to be converted. Conversion is a result of application of our testimony.      Testimony     +      Application    =     Conversion

As my testimony as been increasing and as I have continued to live worthy of the revelation that I receive, my testimony has been strengthened (Alma 32: 27-43). As I have applied that which the Lord has revealed to me, I have become more converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Alma 37: 41-43, D&C 50:24, 2 Nephi 28:30)
I took a look at my testimony these past few weeks and I noticed that my testimony has been majorly strengthened in 3 key principles; Scripture Study, Obedience, and the Love that God has for His children.

I have a testimony that the scriptures show us where to turn for a remission of our sins (2 Nephi 25:26). That through the scriptures we learn what we must do to be saved and follow Christ (D&C 131:6).
I know that obedience to the commandments brings blessings and happiness. Whenever we are obedient to the commandments of God, He blesses us. I was aware of this principle when I was at home, but during the mission I have really recognized that it is true. Obedience brings blessings and happiness (Mosiah 2:41).

I have also had my testimony strengthened about the Love the God has for us as His children (Romans 8: 35-39, John 3:16-17). I know that God loves us. He is our literal Father and everything that God does for us and all that He allows to happen to us is because of His eternal love for us.
What will I miss most about the mission?

The thing that I think I will miss the most about the mission and about Mozambique is the people. I have come to love Mozambicans. They are family to me. They are so humble, accepting, kind, accommodating, respectful and pure hearted. By far the thing that I will miss the most about the mission is the Mozambican people and their culture.
What will I take home with me?
-A deep love for the scriptures.

-A new view of people as precious children of God.

-A higher appreciation for my parents.

-A greater understanding of the Gospel and the Will of God.

-An understanding of the importance of the Family Unit.

-A love of the Temple.

-A desire to share the Gospel with Everyone.

-A stronger relationship with my Father in Heaven and with my Savior Jesus Christ.

-An increased faith in God and His promises.

-An Appreciation for Hard Work.

I wish that I had more time to write about the mission, but my time is limited. But to end I want to bare my testimony.
God lives. He loves us. Jesus is the Christ. He is our Savior and redeemer. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be saved from our sins. The Book of Mormon is the word of God and the most correct book on the face of the Earth. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He did in fact see what he said he saw. Thomas Monson is the living prophet of the living God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the earth.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

3 John 1:13-14

Elder Ryland Rash

The sun

has set


Elder Rash's

mission in

Maputo, Mozambique
Well Done thou good and faithful servants!

A piece of Elder Rash's heart will always be in Mozambique!


Week 99: Breaking records and ending his mission on a high note!

Our week was amazing! We are breaking tons of mission records! haha! Things are going really well! We had 44 investigators at church on Sunday, 6 families, we will have 17 baptisms this Saturday! We are just going crazy with work! Elder Carlson is LOVING the work! We are working SO HARD and he is keeping me really busy! He is an amazing missionary and more than ready to take over the area when I leave. He knows exactly what he is doing and how to work hard! We haven't had too much rain, but it still does fall every once in a while. The weather has been absolutely amazing! Really cool outside. I am still living with Elder Price and Elder Donker! I love living with these guys! We had a Zone Conference with P. Senna and got to know them pretty well. I really like them. They are super nice. Very different from P and S Koch! But I LOVE LOVE LOVE President and Sister Koch!

Elder and Sister Koch will be in the States for 2 months, and Elder Larsen and I are already planning a trip through Utah with some dates and we are gonna meet up with P. Koch and S. Koch and go to lunch or something!
As for Skype... I have decided that I am not going to Skype this Mother's day. I will see you guys a few days later and I don't see the need to talk to you guys... I know you really wanted to talk to me and see me, but I am going to be with you guys just a few days later. You can be patient.

I'm just kidding! So Elder Carlson and I will be Skyping from our chapel on Sunday afternoon (morning for you guys), at 7 am your time. Have everything set up and ready to go by 6:30, is that possible? Sorry it is so early, but it is the best time I could get. So Sunday Morning, 7am, you will see my beautiful face. I am not sure how quality the internet is at the chapel, or how good the camera on the laptop is, but if it doesn't work, I will just have to call you guys on the phone!
As for my agenda of going home. We will fly down to Maputo on Thursday and be there until Monday. I know that Elder Larsen's Dad will be there to pick him up, and they invited me to walk around with them for a couple of days and help Elder Larsen show his Dad around the city! So I will be with them on Friday and Saturday, probably. And I don't know the whole schedule that President and Sister Senna have for us... But I will let you know next week.

I don't know if I will be able to send you pics and emails. The upload speed is really slow... I'm sorry. But you will be able to see all of my pics of my whole mission in about 14 days! So don't complain!

I love you so much Mom. I hope you have a wonderful week. I will see you all on Sunday!
Elder Ryland Rash

Even missionaries need to take a break and enjoy a popsicle every now and then

Enjoying a beautiful sunset