Saturday, August 10, 2013

Stewardship letter

My Mission
I don't believe that there is any other place that a young man of my age should be other than on a full-time mission serving the Lord.  I do not have a doubt that we, the ones who sacrifice these two years, chose to do this even before coming to this world.  I believe that God has been preparing me as well as these people I have come to know for larger purposes having to do with His work and Salvation.  I have had countless experiences in my mission when I can say that the spirit of the Lord has guided me to help another stray soul. As the Book of Mormon missionary Ammon said speaking to his brethren after his mission, so do I feel now. "That (I) have been made an instrument in the hands of God to bring about this great work."  I feel  like my whole mission has truly just been preparing me for the things that God has waiting for me in the future.  I helped numerous people grow nearer to Christ, but I think the largest growth has been in me.  I have learned various important life principles including goal setting, extending and fulfilling commitments, effective teaching, living a gospel centered life, and many more that I could continue to name.  I will surely be one of those return missionaries that cannot go a day without reflecting back on the things that I have learned.  I consider myself privileged to be able to have concluded my time as a missionary and to continue along the path towards eternal life.

My Testimony
"Without doubt" is certainly the phrase that illustrates the position of my personal testimony right now.  I will continue to liberate myself from forming doubts as long as I continue building my foundation upon the rock of my redeemer so that "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon (me) to drag (me) down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which (I) am built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  I have learned that a testimony is something that no one can take away.  The prophet Joseph Smith had powerful and definite words.  'I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it."  He had an experience that changed his life from that moment onward.  I consider my mission to be the same.  Because of the eternal truths that I have become familiar with, I feel a larger mantle upon my shoulders and a larger responsibility to glorify God.  The newly equipped armor of God bestowed upon me in these last two years will be of a large help for the challenges that wait in the future.

I'm HOME...

Deven arrived home at 10:20 this morning!!  What a wonderful reunion it was for our family!!  Deven had been up for over 24 hours and flying for over 21 hours.  He was exhausted!  His first meal back at home was Chinese food from Panda!  Thanks to our families and friends for supporting him for these past 2 years!!
 The waiting crew...
 The best HUG ever!!
 So proud of my boy...
 Together Again!!
 The famous candy bar poster from the Aunts...
Welcome Home Elder Larisch!  We love you!

Monday, August 5, 2013


Holy Cow!!!
I cannot believe that the time has finally come!! It has been an emotional few last days here in the mission with a few still remaining. I am the happiest and saddest that I could feel right now. Yes, it will be a challenge to handle the bitter-sweet return to the house. The truth is that I do not want to take off the missionary tag and stop being a missionary. I look back and love every single moment of being a missionary for the past 2 years even through the trials because I have seen so much growth. My mission president asked me an interesting question in my final interview yesterday after I finished telling of an impacting experience in the mission. He said "Why do you think, Elder Larisch, that God would allow you to have that experience?". The greatest answer is because He loves me and desires my personal growth.

I love it when I can see the fruits of my labors. Many people would think it means that I love seeing the baptisms of my converts, but it is actually that and much more. After the testimony I got up and gave for this last fast sunday, many of the young men got the courage to stand up and thank me for the service and the example I had been for them. For me, with the understanding of what the 2 year mission can do in the salvation of a young man with the duty, I felt like I had given a push to all of the young men in this ward and also helped out my Heavenly Father out even more with his big goal He has for every one of us: to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". I also actually am starting to see lots of fruits coming out of the people that I have planted seeds with. I feel it is appropriate to quote the words of Ammon to his brethren coming from the Book of Alma 26.

" And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites(the Argentines), were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work."

This realy is the specific blessing that God has given me in my mission. That I could be made an instrument in His hands to bring about his great work. I just hope that God will now help me care for all of the people that I have helped change.

"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day."

I know that they are in God`s hands and He will take care of them. Ah man, I can`t believe that I will be home in just a few days. I can`t wait to see the fam and have a great shindig for a week before I have to split off to college! I am way freakin excited! The plane ride alone should be fun. President told me that it is unlikely, but with a bunch of luck, I could see another missionary on my flight home. That would be cool. I haven`t found my cyprus card yet, but the good news is that my awesome comp, Elder Steeves is buying my speakers for some american dollars, so I will have some money to get some PANDA EXPRESS in the the airport in Atlanta!! Woo hoo! I finally get to stop eating fideos con tuco, argentine pizza, and milanesas every single day!

I can`t wait to see the whole fam. Who is planning on being at the airport? I think that after all of those hours of flying/traveling I am just going to want a nap. Ha ha.

I passed a pretty normal birthday here in Argentina. I worked hard the whole day at least! A sister from the ward made me a huge cake so that was pretty fun. Not quite the same without the fam, but we partied a bit here with the boys in the apartment. Ha. Presidente Avila told me yesterday in the super awesome final interview that I was permitted to go to centro one last time and get a few last-buys. I got a few more things to bring home. I hope you like what I am able to bring. Ha. I don`t know if I will have much luck with the alpargata stuff, but we will see. The final interview was super awesome! I now have a super vision of what I want to achieve in the future. He made me realize that the mission was really just a preparation for my future and next mission...starting my eternal family. We talked a lot about girls and how to get the right one. Ha ha. That was fun. I want to get married.

Well, this email has been quite all over the place. I guess it kinda shows my nervousness of the big change that is about to happen! Well, I will see you in 4 days 18 hours and 10 minutes! I`m not counting down...


Un abrazo,
Elder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
 Happy 21st Birthday

Final interview with Pres. Avila and his wife!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Me quedo para dos semanas (I remain for two weeks)

Holy moley! I surely just passed the fastest week of my mission. I feel like I had NO time! It is crazy when my comp is getting ready to leave home as well as set up for a baptism and be in charge of other baptisms throughout the whole zone! In our zone of godoy cruz we baptized 8 for the month, which is really good compared to the rest of the year! Our baptism of Lautaro also turned out super well! We also had to attend a ward baptism that morning because the family asked my comp to baptize the kid. It is crazy how much preparation goes into each baptism on the part of the missionary. Lautaro and his family are super happy and ready to be fully active and serve in the church.

Well, I really don`t have much time at all this abnormal P-day. President called me earlier last week and told me that I would be using the same day as the missionaries that leave at this end of the transfer to buy souvenirs and have dinner and testimony meeting at the mission house. I just went and bought a few souvenirs. The alpargatas were hard to find with polka dots and stuff...ha ha. So I just got some cheap white ones. The bad news is that they don`t come in Mallory`s size. I will have to find something else maybe in these next two weeks to make up for it. I got a few other things also like a mate set and Argentina socks, etc. You will find out in a couple weeks.

I wish I had more time, but I promise that next week will be a much better...last letter of the mission!!! It is just starting to hit me. Ha. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you transfers! I am staying in my area of Luján de Cuyo and I am receiving Elder Steeves to teach him the area in a quick two weeks. Should be good!

I love you all and thanks for all of the happy birthday`s! Ha. Mom, don`t get stuff for my birthday, just a couple things to go back to college smoothly would be nice. Ha. Thanks!!

Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Monday, July 22, 2013

Snowing here/3 Weeks anyone?

Everyone seems to have the countdown going strong. I wasn`t sure before, but now I know that I have less than 3 weeks left! It is coming up fast! My comp is going home this week so I have no clue what is going to happen with this area. I think that President will just send me someone new and they will have to learn very fast the area. Or he will just wash this area with two news and throw me some random place for 1.5 weeks. Oh, and guess what! It snowed here in Mendoza this weekend! I will send you some sick pics so you can check it.

I feel ready to come home and continue on with life only because I know that God has other things prepared for me after the mission in the real world, but it is going to be flippin hard to get back to the world. I just love being a missionary more than any other thing right now and the spirit that I always feel. I know that I won`t ever get to have such an experience like this ever again in the rest of my life. It is really incredible how much one has the potential to grow in the mission field if they are submissive to the spirit. I truly can testify to all of you that this is God`s work and that he always in every aspect of the work. Most people can only gain this testimony if they have been able to serve with this calling. I think that now is the time to be counting all of the blessings that I have been given in these last two years. I love the work!

Speaking of the work. It is looking good for this baptism this weekend with Lautaro. There is always opposition like in every baptism. This one right now is bringing all of the church records to this ward so that his recently-activated father can baptize him. We announced it yesterday in church though so it should all be good to go. My comp gets to have a baptism on his last day here. Lucky man. Lautaro is a way smart little kid. His family is way awesome and nice. We are going to have a huge asado after the baptism on Saturday as a farewell for Elder Howard, my comp. They also offered to have a party for me on my birthday. Ha. There is also another investigator family in Mayor Drummond, the other area, that I know pretty well because of the exchanges that we do. I truth is that I only spend like 50-60% of the time in my real area, Luján, because of all the exchanges and interviews that we are doing. I get to know a lot more people in the zone. Transfers are one week away. I am curious to know what will happen with me for the next 1.5 weeks. My last transfer of the mission...

That is awesome that the girls got to go to efy. Brooke was the only one that emailed me, but I am sure that Lex had a good experience also. I hope it made a change in their lives and that they find ways to keep that spirit with them. I will for sure keep keeping grandpa in my prayers. I am amazed to hear once again in the mission that grandpa just keeps fighting. He is an extraordinary man to be able to pass all of these trials. I am stoked to be able to see him. Tell him to get his casting arm better becasue it will not be the same having to cast for him in the boat.

For a bit of a spiritual thought, I would like to just share a little something that has been inspiring me this week. We were able to visit and show the family history work center to a couple less actives and investigators and got a little bit of Elijah`s spirit inside of me. We actually just happened to pass a happenstance of listening to a super cool talk by Truman G. Madsen called Elijah`s mission and learn and feel more about family history work and the true importance and divinity from God`s aspect of the family and it`s significance. I like this quote because it mentions our true objective living upon this earth: literally follow and become like Jesus Christ. Here is a quote:

"You do have problems that you can blame on them, and if you forgive that and choose to stand close to the Lord in the process of purifying your life, that will affect your whole family – in both directions. You are not alone. There is no way that you can regain solitary and neutral ground. You are in it – in involvement. And this I take it is one of the profound meanings of that long laborious allegory in the Book of Mormon; Jacob’s allegory of the tame and wild olive tree. If you take a wild branch and graft it into a tame tree, if it is strong enough, it will eventually corrupt and spoil the tree all the way to the roots. But if you take a tame branch, and graft it into a wild tree – in due time, if it is strong enough, it will heal and regenerate to the very roots. You will then have been an instrument in the sanctification even of your forbearers. To be that kind of branch, and achieve that kind of transformation – backward and forward, is the greatest achievement of this world. But to do it one must be great, one must be linked, bound to the Lord Jesus Christ. He must be mighty. Why he must be something like – a savior, and that is exactly what the prophet Joseph Smith said you are – saviors on Mount Zion. And how are you to be saviors on Mount Zion he once asked in a discourse, and I’m paraphrasing? By going, first building, then going into the Temples of the Lord, and in your own propria persona – in your own first person presence, to go through – for and in behalf of loved ones, all of the ordinances… Sealing all of them, culminating in that final linkage that binds for time and eternity. Saviors, redeemers, of your families.”

It is also our responsability to become saviors. What a great blessing and great duty it is that we have in these last days of doing the work in the holy temples for our ancestors. They are waiting.

Well, I hope that everyone is doing well. I hope you enjoy these last few letters, because I will most likely be seeing you in approximately 18 days! Woo hoo! Have a nice 24th pioneer day. Careful with the firework shows.

Love....Un abrazo also from,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aguantando los desafìos en la misiòn (Enduring challenges in the mission)

Well, we had another week here. It seems that the more time we are passing here in this area, the harder it is to progress in finding and teaching people. We are for sure going to have a baptism on the 27th. That miracle kid that came to church last week is a way cool kid and so is the family! Probably be one of my last baptisms of the mission seeing that I only have a few weeks left...not that I´m getting trunky or anything!

How was the Lake Powell trip?? Yeah mom, the pictures did make me homesick. Ha ha. One of my favorite places in the world to be is Lake Powell. I will just have to work on my patience till next year. It looks like you had a ton of fun at least.

We are still working super hard as always just trying to find those elect that God has been preparing. I trust that this new church tour program is going to be super awesome for the mission once we start getting the hang of it. I don`t know if I will be here to be able to see all of the fruits that come from it. Fortunately, we were able to plan tons of recorridos(tours), but unfortunately, all of them fell through. Argentina is just not really a place of much commitment(also looking at the low marriage rate and listening to how much people "live with each other"). Many people here don`t want responsibility or don`t want commitment.

At least we are finally going to have a baptism after this ward has had a pretty good baptism drought. The kids name is Lautaro Gonzalez.

We are seeing the Arbol de la Vida plan slowly get put into action in the ward. This next Sunday it should be up and we should present it! I hope that I will be able to see a change in the ward due to the tree before I leave.

One question...okay, a few. You haven`t talked to Bishop about the date for my homecoming talk yet have you?  Jimmy said that he finally was able to get into our apartment at snow gardens! That should be pretty sweet! Do we still have the computer that I used my first year to bring and use again?

I have been seeing as a focus in the mission and from the church leaders here lately the importance of doing things in the Lord`s way because it is the best. A quote from that John Huntsman talk that you guys put on my ipod before I left comes to mind. Huntsman quotes President Hinckley talking about his priorities schedule to be able to have success in life.
1. Our Eternal Spouse
2. Our Eternal Children
3. Loyalty to our Employer/Profession
4. Commitment to our Church Calling
5. Attention to one`s Personal Fitness and Health
Kinda a cool thing to keep in mind in those times of life when you need it.

Thanks for everything. See ya in a few weeks!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
ps. having trouble again with sending pics.