Monday, November 30, 2015

A Little Q&A

Elder Rich must be having some very busy P-Days. He only had time to answer a few questions from my letter and didn't write any other letters to us this week. I was able to exchange a brief Q&A with him while he was online sending his email. So, this is our brief update for the week.

Amber: Be faithful. Be happy. Remember to dance and be silly!

Elder Rich: We for sure danced and were silly this week. Elder Frausto and I organized a huge ward party and we had a crazy good turn out. It was a talent show and we had almost one hundred people show up. Of those people, 25 were investigators or inactive members. I played the guitar and sang a couple songs and then Elder Frausto and I along with the assistants put on a big sketch where we basically taught the first discussion with plenty of wit and humor. It was a riot and we have a lot more people to teach now.

Amber: I'm so glad you received our Christmas package. Be honest, did you break into the Almond Roca already?

Elder Rich: The almond roca is already gone! I shared most of it with the members.

Amber: That is the most Christlike-thing I think you've ever done. A boy that good deserves another can! What songs did you sing at the Talent Show? Please tell me that you sang something by Enrique? Or did you stick with church songs?

Elder Rich: I sang “Collide” by Howie Day and “Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel and then a bunch of songs in Spanish that they all know. Not to brag but I had several people want to pay me to play at parties and stuff. I am pretty humble about it.  My camera is have problems connecting to the computer so I won’t be able to send photos this week but I am trying to get it figured out. 

I love you.

Elder Rich as Captain Moroni. Nice abs, Captain. Elder Frausto as Santa Claus.

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Know That My Redeemer Lives!

This week was just kind of brutal to be completely honest, but also so amazing. I am finding that the harder we push ourselves spiritually, the more the devil is allowed to beat us down using the wicked around us. He tempts us with all his power and I think the two things I learned this week are 1) the devil is a real being who is set on destroying me, 2) God is just as real and infinitely more powerful.

We had three other people accept baptismal dates and a few more people talked to us in the street out of nowhere asking to hear what we preach. We are so excited to be teaching these people and to work together with the members to help them understand what we teach. We have also helped to reactivate four families these past couple weeks and we had almost 65 people in sacrament meeting this week as opposed to the 30 we had when we first got here. We are changing this area slowly but surely.

As always, success comes with trials and tests of our faith and will power. Cristobal did not get baptized and it looks like it might be a while before he feels ready. We’ve had people reject us so hard-core, I almost could do nothing but laugh. We knocked on one door and the guy slammed it in our face after swearing at us and saying things about Joseph Smith I could barely understand. My hand happened to be in the door when he slammed it and it basically shredded my hand. It bled for so long and is now the color of a nice chocolate pudding pie. Another day we knocked on a door and a super nice old lady answered the door and was about to invite us in the house. Out of nowhere, some guy came up and started yelling at us and told us to leave and never come back. I said, “Very kind of you. Have a nice day you two.” This prompted him to throw stuff at us, and try to fight me.

Although I think my defining moment this week was when we were walking down a street in the ghettos on our way to the house when I noticed my shoe was untied. I knelt down to tie my shoe in front of a house where a guy was washing his super nice Audi. He had taken off one of the tires and it was still on the jack. I looked up and all I said was, “Hello sir,” and kept tying my shoe. He picked up his bucket and dumped all the water on me over the fence then slammed the bucket down on my head. I stood up slowly and looked at him through the fence. I noticed the hose had wrapped itself around the car jack and I was standing on the other end. All I had to do was slide my foot backwards and his expensive car would come crashing down. He noticed the same thing and his eyes got super big. I could almost literally feel Satan pushing my foot with all his might to get me to do it, and the thing that scares me most is I wanted to do it.

Dripping wet in my now ruined shirt and tie and with blood running down the side of my head from the bucket, I bent down and picked up the hose, and handed it to him. I told him, “You should be careful with that car jack, they are not always very stable.” Then I just walked away. If I had not walked away, Elder Frausto and I would not have received the spiritual prompting that we had immediately afterwards. It led us to visit a young woman that we hadn’t seen in like three weeks. We arrived and she opened the door then just cried when she saw us. She had just been about to commit suicide. She had the letters written and the noose was tied but then she said one last prayer. The moment she said amen, we knocked on the door and we were able to help her and get her the professional help she needs. She is now coming to church and is a happy, happy person.

I share these experiences not to scare you guys, but to show you that GOD IS REAL. He is protecting me. I never feel scared or unsafe. Things are going to happen but I invite them to happen because I KNOW without out a doubt that He loves me and has my back. He just needs someone brave enough and faithful enough to do what He asks. I will gladly be that person even though it requires experiences like these. They are hard and sometimes hurt. There was a night this week where I sobbed into my pillow for about two hours while I prayed and begged for strength and success. Elder Frausto just left me alone and let me get it of my chest. I felt so crappy when I finally laid down. I was about to close my eyes when I had a feeling that I cannot describe. It was the absolute love of God. Elder Frausto told me the next morning that he could hardly sleep because of the light that surrounded my bed the whole night.

God is so real. He loves you so much. Pray every night to be strengthened by Him and to feel that love. Be ready to do the things He asks of you. You do not have to be afraid because your are in His care. I bear my testimony that these things are true.

I love you all. Remember Christ in these weeks that come.

Elder Aidan Rich

Monday, November 16, 2015

Unspotted from the World

This week was the crappiest and most miraculous week ever. Elder Frausto and I have been doing something called the ¨Purification¨ and basically it is a 40 day fast like the one Jesus did. Just as Christ fasted for 40 days from food and water, we fasted from all things worldly or things that could distract us from the work. The promise of this activity is that it will be the most difficult and most rewarding thing in your mission.

We started this Purification a little over a month ago and right off the bat it was hard. All of our investigators found excuses to not listen to us, dogs were meaner, people said and threw things more and more often, girls were more flirtatious, the members were always busy and never wanted to work with us, and it was ALWAYS freaking raining. This last week 16 straight appointments failed and every time we left with a member to teach, we couldn’t teach anybody.

I had just about had it and Elder Nogales (one of the assistants) and I were walking in silence down a huge flight of stairs when we saw a teenage girl sit down towards the bottom and start to cry. As we got closer this purification kicked right in. I not only knew what to say to her, I knew her name, age, what had happened to make her cry, I knew her parents were divorced, and all the hurt she had inside. It was absolutely amazing to experience this feeling. As I got closer I said, “Javiera, everything will be okay, I promise.” She looked at me absolutely dumbfounded and after a short conversation where I explained to her all her problems and the solutions to all of them, without her giving me any sort of information beforehand, she gladly accepted the discussions and we have an appointment with her in about an hour.

This wasn’t the only time. With my other companions, I found three other teenage girls and one man about 30 years old who were obviously sad. I knew their names, situations, and what I needed to say to them. They all cried, and one girl, Daniela, even fell to here knees and cried into my hands after I said everything the Lord needed me to say.

I testify that God is a real being who loves and knows you PERFECTLY. You matter to Him. Bad things are going to happen in this life, as it is part of the plan and the promise you accepted as a Spirit child of God. However, just as in Mathew chapter 14, the greater promise is that the hand of Christ is always extended to save us from disaster and darkness. May we strive to confide less and less in ourselves and others around us, but more and more in the hand and timing of God.


Elder Aidan Rich

Monday, November 9, 2015

"Weak Things Become Strong"

Elder Rich was called away on missionary business and wasn't able to send a general email to share with everyone, so our family would like to share the brief, sweet letters we received from him this week.

Addie, Andy and Anna- 

I just started to write back to the family, but we received a call and there is a woman in our ward who had a pretty bad fall and needs us in the hospital. She asked for us to give her a blessing so I have got to go right now. I read all of your letters and your pictures made me laugh from a deep happy place.

I guess I want to share really quickly the importance of preparedness and worthiness. I have to leave because a woman needs a worthy priesthood holder and asked for us by name because she knows missionaries are pure. I cannot explain the joy that that gives me. I am far from perfect. None of us are perfect. But being worthy and ready always is something of immeasurable importance.

I love you three so much. In a way that only an older brother can. You are all so special. GOD LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVEN UNDERSTAND. Never let anything, anyone, or any situation make you think otherwise.

Know that I think of you always,

Elder Aidan Rich

First of all, I freaking love you. Just thought you should know. And keep beating Andy, just like a good steak it will make him more tender…or at least that’s how I always justified it.

I thank you for all of your spiritual insights. One thing that really hit me was the Sermon on the Mount. He says so very simply, “Ask and it shall be given.” I was knocking doors with one of the APs and I was so frustrated. This scripture came to my mind in almost a “duh” kind of way. I prayed right there in the middle of the street and invoked the power of my sacred calling as a missionary and the priesthood I hold, and asked for at least one of the next seven doors to be someone prepared to hear me. Literally 30 seconds after I said, “amen” a woman asked us almost word for word if we baptized people because she was looking for the church of God and knew we preached. About five minutes after that she agreed to take the lessons and be baptized if she felt the Spirit.

Moral of the story, if we have a bad habit or a weakness, just ask to have it be made strong. I might not happen in thirty seconds but the promise is that it will happen. Ether 12:27 makes that so clear.

I love you so much Mom. I always end my emails this way but it’s because there is no better or truer way to do so.

Elder Rich

We got an inactive punk kid to come be a missionary with us for a day.

I made homemade buns and burgers because I couldn't take any more potatoes and pasta. 

Chilean In 'N Out Burger