Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas from the South Pole

Just wanted to send you all my love this Christmas season. I am very grateful to have each and every one of you in my life and appreciate all of the support you give me. Let us remember our Savior and enjoy the small moments we have as friends, family and children of a loving and merciful Heavenly Father.
Kindest regards,

Elder Rich

Monday, December 19, 2016

Santa Photo for Mom

Mom, I actually did get you a Santa picture and it is such a funny story. So we did this big activity in a town called, Alerce, as a zone. We got all of the missionaries into one zone and did an open chapel with tours so people could come see what the Mormons are all about.

I got assigned to just walk the streets for four hours with invitations and invite people to go. I paired off with Elder Tilley my “grandson.” We had been walking for several hours and we were both sweaty and tired and were just wandering aimlessly. We walked past a small side street and I glanced down it and saw a huge birthday party for this little kid. There was a trampoline and a craft table; the whole show. I was about to keep walking when Santa comes walking out of a house and starts taking pictures with the kids. I stopped and looked at Tilley, and all he said was, “Are we about to crash a birthday party?” I didn´t even respond. I just headed back down the street.

We ended up taking pictures with Santa who was very cool about it. The best part is that one of the guys says to me, “You can only take a picture with him if you take one with my wife.” I figured they were being cool, so I would be too and just snap a quick pic.

After that HER mom, the grandma, asks for a picture. So I pose and smile and just before 3 on the picture count down, grandma grabbed a hand full of Elder Rich booty. She just giggled and shuffled away. Then the teenage daughters wanted pictures, then all the parents, then the kids. Literally two white missionaries crashing the party was the best thing that ever happened to them. I laughed for an hour straight afterwards. So I am sure Chilean social media is full of pictures of Elder Tilley and me, and one of them is of a very surprised Elder Rich being grandma groped. Priceless.

Love you,

Elder Rich

Elder Rich and Old St. Nick

Elder Tilley, Santa Claus, and an unnamed Chilean party goer.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Baptisms and Big News

We received travel itinerary for Elder Rich! He will be leaving Chile on Feb. 9 at 11:00 a.m. and arriving in St. George on Feb. 10 at 2:50 p.m. He only sent the short note below with some great photos of Puerto Montt and Alexis' baptism.

How heart-broken would you be if I got home without a suit? I gave away a suit in Punta Arenas to a kid that did not have one and one of the kids [Alexis] getting baptized here feels really bad because he doesn’t have a suit and is about to buy one that he can not afford. I am getting to be a little too big for my black suit but wanted to ask your permission before giving it away because that means I am getting home in stained slacks and a travelers jacket.

Also, did you know that I love you? Just checking.

Elder Rich

Puerto Montt, Chile, is in full summer bloom. 

Puerto Montt is beautiful between 8:00 and 9:30 at night. 

Puerto Montt at sunset.

Puerto Montt overlooks the Pacific Ocean. 

Elder Rich and Alexis coming out of the font at the baptismal service.

Brothers in the gospel.

Alexis and Elder Rich 

Alexis and his family with Elder Rich and Elder Ramer. Alexis received the Holy Ghost the same day his brother blessed the sacrament for the first time. The Spirit was very strong that sacrament meeting. 

I trained Elder Greenwood and am his ‘father’ here in the mission. He is training Elder Tilley and I am therefore his ‘grandpa.’ This is a family portrait of my posterity.

Three generations of posers

Monday, December 5, 2016

That Kid is Going Far

This is probably the only email I am going to get out today because I have to coordinate all of the interviews that president has with the missionaries in the zone. We had the baptism of Alexis this Saturday and it was so cool. He looked so good in his suit and the testimony that he gave afterwards was the cherry on top. He was so nervous and did so well. He told me right before we went into the water, "Thank you for being like an older brother. I needed one." That kid is going far and wants to serve a mission and I hope he does. He will help lots of people.
Love you,

Elder Rich

Elder Rich's parents received this photo from some another parents who were their to pick up their son. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Remember When We Got Real Letters?

These computers are really slow and I have to catch a bus in ten minutes for a big leaders meeting in Osorno. The baptism was amazing and we also had a marriage so that Gladis will be eligible for baptism this week.
Elder Rich

Juliana and Elder Rich at her baptism 

Elder Rich and a nice view of the volcano.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Life Changing Experiences

Gosh. I was just in the bus terminal and I was overseeing all of the transfers and I got to talk to a ton of new missionaries and they were all telling jokes and talking about the elections and singing songs I don’t recognize and lots of other stuff. I felt like Winston in New Girl when he gets back to the states from playing basketball and goes to his job interview. When I get home, I am going to have to lock myself in a room for a month and catch up on pop culture. I also just found out I am staying here in Pichi Pelluco (WOOT WOOT).

So Elder Ramer and I had a baptism this week, and it was a very small and simple service. Sebastian is a really good kid who has grown up in some pretty tough circumstances and he talks so reverently about God and Christ now that he knows them. It is really special.

I also had an experience that changed my life this week. We were walking and these drunk guys started yelling at us, which happens a lot, and we kept walking. I don’t know why but I felt drawn back. I walked over and started talking to them. We talked for a little and then I just sat down next to them and asked one about himself. I was shocked to hear that in the last year he had lost his mother, father, daughter, and then wife to cancer. He cried into my shoulder as he talked about how he hated his life. He admitted that he didn’t agree with the way that he was living, but that in all reality he didn’t have much to live for anyway. He asked me why God had done that to him and all I could say was ¨because He loves you”. It was really eye opening to me and made me more able to love and not judge.

We will be having a baptism every week for the next 3 weeks. This week I am really excited for Juliana. She is so ready to make this covenant.

I love you,

Elder Rich

Elder Ramer, Sebastian, and Elder Rich at Sebastian's baptism

Sebastian's baptism

Puerto Montt is a port city known as the gateway to the Andes Mountains. Those are two volcanos on the horizon. The Osorno Volcano is on the left, and Calbuco on the right.

A view of the Pacific Ocean from Puerto Montt 

In the distance is Calbuco, an active volcano.