Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting in the Zone

I am not going to lie, this week was pretty stressful because I am trying to get a hang of being a zone leader, and teach the amount of lessons they want us to teach, and run all the errands we have to run, and memorize all of the financial codes so I can keep the missionaries safe, and remember all of the legal processes and places I need to go to get documents, and get used to a new companion while being one hundred percent obedient to the rules. Is crack cocaine against the rules?

But we also found a few really cool people last night and that made the week worth it. There was a total blowout carnival here and the city was crazy. It was freezing cold outside and every girl between the ages of 16 and 26 were running around in basically their underwear dancing. There were huge floats and plenty of cigarette smoke. It was pretty awesome and I laughed a lot.

We fought our way through the crowd and met a kid named Lisandro and the guy is golden. He accepted the restoration right off the bat.

I love you.  Eat some Taco Bell in my honor.

Elder Rich

Monday, July 18, 2016

Meat, Miracles, and Meetings

So we finished out “The Week of Rich” pt. 2 with another asado (a huge hunk of beef and another of lamb) and more soda than I thought it was humanly possible to drink between four people. We also worked very hard, I might add, and broke our record for lessons taught and houses entered. So I guess Wiz Khalifa was preaching wisdom when he said, “Work hard, play hard.” 

This week was full of changes and adjustments. I moved over to Austral, which means “southernmost,” and started my life as a new zone leader. This week was so cold that I almost froze my giblets. [Only funny if you've seen "Christmas Eve on Seasme Street."]  My companion is Elder Christiansen and he is a great guy who will teach me a lot. It has been a while since I have been companions with an American and someone who has been in the mission more than a few months, so even though I have a lot more responsibility, it has been a relief in some ways.

My second day I had to help lead a big meeting of all of the leaders in our zone and help come up with a focus that would help the missionaries work better and more efficiently while at the same times inspiring them spiritually. It turned out really well and we have already seen the fruits of working together as a companionship.

We were able to see a lot of miracles and have those experiences that you only hear from in the church magazines. We entered the house of a man named Mauricio and taught him about the Book of Mormon. He told us he knew it was true and that we had answered a question he had had for many years. However, it turns out he is just visiting from Porvenir and we wont continue teaching him, but the elders from Porvenir will do a great job. I have come to learn that true love is not caring who scores the goal but just playing as a team. Porvenir has been struggling and this might be the push they need to start working like the machines I know they are. I actually felt glad that we won’t teach him at the end of it all, and recognized just how many blessings God had sent me at the same time. He really is wonderful.

I have many more stories but not more time. I look forward to story-telling and spiritual moments together in the future.

I love you all.

Elder Rich

I just had to get a photo with these little members from Ecuador. What they lack in stature they make up for in love, hospitality, good food, and jokes.

I made hand weights out of cans and concrete. Crossfit should hire me

My homemade weights that I made by welding two metal discs to a bar.

There were some regrets that went along with "The Week of Rich."

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Week of Rich

Happy birthday to me! This week was awesome and filled with blessings, party, and miracles. The Elders from Porvenir, Elder Cabrera (my best freaking friend), and Elder Goncalves from Brazil were with us all week. We had an awesome P-day and then split up and went out to teach. I love all of my past companions, but when Elder Cabrera and I get together we are unstoppable. In two hours we taught 3 lessons and 5 people accepted a baptismal date. We went home and had a huge ¨asado¨ which is Spanish for big-freaking-hunk-of-delicious-meat. The thing weighed like 20 pounds and we ate the whole thing – just the four of us.

That night as we were all in a coma on the floor, Elder Cabrera tied a towel on his head and raised a title of liberty. But instead of declaring freedom and righteousness, he declared the beginning of “The Week of Rich”. The only rule we had is that we would only celebrate as hard as we worked, and that is exactly what we did. We split up and worked hard ALL DAY and then had fun at night. We had so much success and now have around 10 full families listening to the lessons.

We also had a big stake activity that was a Colombian dance. The missionaries had permission to dance and we about died from heart attacks and lack of air. These Latinos know how to dance.

I received a call last night, on my birthday, and I am changing areas. I am not going far, only about a mile, and they called me to be a Zone Leader. My new companion will be Elder Christiansen and I am excited to work with him. He is a good guy and I know he will teach me lots of good things and help to strengthen my testimony.

I also wanted to send a shout out to the 77 people who sent me emails this week. I love you all but just don’t have the time in 60 minutes to respond to 77 people. I will just reply by group:

Morningside 6th Ward- You guys are awesome. I have never felt so supported and loved than in our ward in St. George, UT. I can never thank or payback all that you did for me as I got back on my feet this last summer and tried to continue to serve the Lord. I am a product of your Christ-like love and healing love.

Garn Family- It seems to me that we still continue to put the “Crazy” in “Family”. I was so grateful to hear that you were able to gather together and share a few good days of family time. I love what Hailey Savage told me in an email. She said that these reunions are awesome and it is hard to miss them, but I guess heaven will just be a huge reunion. Shane is going to have a permanent acne-stache from all the “Signs” that we are going to play.

Another shout out goes to Carla Hinostroa in Ancud, Chile. I received word she was baptized a few weeks ago and this blog is the only form of communication we have for now. Just know we missionaries haven’t forgotten you and still love you and pray for you.

Wishing you all the best. May God bless you.

Elder Rich

Elder Rich and his birthday meat or "asado"

Elder Cabrera and Elder Rich with their roast beast

Elder Rich's birthday feast

Elder Goncalves (Brazil), Elder Rich (U.S.), Elder Cabrera (Paraguay), Elder Amaya (Columbia) celebrate meat and the birth of Elder Rich.

Elder Rich's 20th birthday celebration.

"Joaquin - a recent convert I interviewed for baptism."

The Columbian themed stake dance party.

"Elder Amaya fell pretty hard this week and sliced his hand open. I used tweezers to pull a bunch of rocks out of his palm then gave him stiches. Elder Cabrera is a doctor so we had some good supervision."