Monday, October 31, 2016

Gauges and God

My problem is I am finally a really, really good missionary and I only have 3 months left. That, coupled with the fact that I am in a troubled zone as the leader, really limits my time and I just want to be in the streets. However, the Lord has blessed us with people to teach and they are all progressing so much. We met Juliana just over a week ago and have taught her 6 times and she has already heard all of the discussions, understands them, believes them, and has applied them in her life. She is amazing. 

Another couple we are teaching will be getting married in a week and baptized the following week. Their names are Fernando and Gladis.

We are also teaching two young men, David (21) and Sebastian (16) and they are both progressing. I learned that you never really know who will accept the gospel. Sebastian is pretty hardcore and has gauges and is in a rock band. He had his friends over last night when we showed up to teach and I immediately thought - these punk kids with their makeup and piercings and tattoos and studded jewelry don’t want to hear anything. Half an hour later we were engaged in a pretty intense gospel conversation and they were are actively participating and asking lots of questions. They all accepted a Book of Mormon and want to learn more and follow Christ.

I am sorry for the lack of pictures. I don’t trust these computers enough to plug my camera into it. It is crawling with viruses. I love you nonetheless.

Elder Rich

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hit the Ground Running

I feel like I start off every email the exact same and so I am going to switch it up by telling a joke…what’s blue and white and…I got nothing but I feel that I deserve points for trying.

Anywho, this week was a real energy drainer with 5 days of traveling and meetings and no sleep and street vendor food. Don’t tell the president but our first day in our new area my new companion, Elder Ramer, and I slept almost 24 straight hours, woke up, ate dinner (bread and ham) and slept another 12 hours. We were beat.

We then started the process of getting to know a few members as well as our area, and tried to find some of the old investigators. There is very little information in the area book so we are basically starting from scratch, but the ward I am in, Pichi Pelluco, is absolutely amazing and the members are so willing to work. We were able to find a few people willing to listen and they both accepted the baptismal invitation. We have a couple lessons tonight and hopefully will be able to invite a few more.

Elder Ramer and I get along great, and I am excited to work with him. Being completely honest though, I am pretty ready to go home. I have no intention of slowing down or slacking off and I am really excited about my new sector, but hey I am missing my family, the gym, friends, movies, internet, carpet, washers and dryers, a kitchen bigger than 2-ft by 2-ft, girls, American food, and my grandmas. See you all in February!! But for real, I promise I am working really hard:)

Elder Rich

Monday, October 17, 2016

Emergency Transfer

Yes, I don’t have very much time again but this time because I just got an emergency transfer. I will be in the biggest zone of the mission in Puerto Montt. I will be doing a ¨white wash¨ or when both of us are new to the area and know nothing about the ward. I have no idea who my new comp will be but he has never been a zone leader and knows nothing about it. They called me Sunday night and gave me like 5 hours of notice and I am expected to fix the zone because it has not been working well. They gave me four weeks to have the numbers back to where they need to be.

Love you.
Elder Rich

I recived these photos in an email from Marcelo Vira Revas and according to Google translate he said, "You have a great son and he has given us a lot of love and spirit. Thanks and greetings from Punta Arenas, Chile." 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Quick Update

So nothing much happened this week. We spent a lot of time doing the transfers and everything that goes along with it -- picking up elders in the airport, taking them to bus stations, making sure they find their companions, delivering packages and letters, paperwork and much more fun stuff like that. We had a chance to teach Tiare though (Cesar and Cynthia's daughter) which was super spiritual and she accepted the baptismal invitation right away. She will be getting baptized within the next month or so. On top of that both Cesar and Cynthia are very excited to share the gospel and are inviting everyone they know to get to know us. I am hoping and praying that something comes from it.

I love you.

Elder Rich

Monday, October 3, 2016

Testify with Fire and the Holy Ghost

Wow, can we just start off by saying that conference was A-MAZ-ING. Honestly, how do people hear these men speak and then just not line up at the baptismal font? I especially enjoyed the priesthood session as well as the talk by Elder Lynn G Robbins. He is becoming one of my favorite speakers along with Uchtdorf and Elder Oaks.

The weather here really nice and I'm enjoying the work. I just found out I'll be staying here for another two months as zone leader. I am so dang happy.

Something that is a little less spiritual that has been going on for about a month here in Chile. So apparently there is some medium or something that received revelation and printed it out and published it online as the letters of salvation, or some crap like that. It seems that they target young people through social media, give them a list of scriptures and ideas from the Bible, and then send them out to fight with pretty much everybody. These people have cornered a lot of members and most of them just walk away or tell them to get lost, but many have also been affected by the information and things they say.

They yell at us in the street and say terrible things, but we are pretty used to that so to be honest I just thought they were Catholics or Anglican. I had no idea it was some new non-denominational religious movement. Well I did a division with another companionship and went to a different area for a few days while Griffin stayed in our area. The Elder I was with, Elder Gonzalez, has a broken foot and can’t leave much so we studied a lot in the apartment and left from time to time to go to lunch and stretch our legs.

On our way to lunch we walked through the main square of the neighborhood and were just lucky enough to walk through a crowd of these preachers. They started yelling about Joseph Smith and our Mormon bible – blah, blah, blah, and we just kept walking. We were still walking when one screamed to the crowd who was there listening that those who are of false faiths run at the sight of the truth and that is what we were doing. I have honestly never argued with anyone here as a missionary because I have never felt the slightest inclination to do so. However when they said that, something just exploded inside. I was SO angry and I was very surprised because being that angry was irrational.

I looked at Elder Gonzalez and he was already turning around and walking back. I told them they had already attacked us twice and that we were willing to walk away, but if they kept going then the biblical promise of being attacked three times would come to pass and they would be destroyed. To which one responded by opening his Bible and condemning us, our saints, our families, and pretty much anyone who had ever laid eyes on us. They talked about the Sabbath day and the Law of Moses and false prophets and many other things.

I picked up two of the Bibles they were using, handed one to Gonzalez and then we went to town. Short version: We taught the plan of Salvation and the doctrine of the three kingdoms of glory, that modern revelation is real and that Joseph´s ministry was prophesied over 3000 years ago. We destroyed the whole Saturday is the Sabbath thing and preached the true order of baptism. We established the reality of an apostasy and the need for a restoration and then finished with a prophecy from Jesus Christ himself - the wolves that attack the just. Then with the Bible proved they had either called Christ a liar, which is punishable by being stoned to death, or that they had disobeyed Christ´s law, also punishable by being stoned to death.

The leader of these guys didn’t know what to say and just started spewing out random crap. We responded by bearing our testimonies of how hard their hearts were and commanding them in the name of Christ to repent or to go away and continue serving the devil until Christ decides to strike them down. We told them to pray and ask God if these things were true and told them they were false prophets. The leader took his Bible back and stormed away and the other 10 guys that were with him left quietly as well. We told the people listening that the people who are of false faiths run at the sight of the truth. Then we turned around and went to lunch.

The church is true. We can come to know it the easy way by praying and asking, or the hard way by looking for every single answer in the Bible and being humbled by the Lord. Either way, it is still true.

Elder Rich