Monday, December 26, 2011

Las bendiciones de Navidad (Bleesings of Christmas)

Another year has come and gone by...


Well, if there is one thing that I would tell you this go-around is that Christmas is not the same as back at home. The Argentine traditions differ quite a bit. Let´s see if I can describe kinda what happened in the past few days with all of these fiestas and good times.

After we had our fun Saturday lunch at the nearby fair at one of the member´s stands(empanadas and lomos...Mmmmm), we stopped by one of our investigators houses and tried to teach a bit but there was no hope. Everyone is preparing for the parties that night. So we went in for the day and started our travel over to 25 de Mayo(the area of other Elderes in our District) where we planned to go and festejar mucho. We got there, enjoyed some many Argentine snacks and gaseosa(carbonation) and played card games, talked and just enjoyed ourselves until dinner which normally starts at 9...and it did. Ha. Dinner was pretty fun. There was a good selection of meats(chicken, steak, sausage, morsilla(a type of blood sausage in which the elderes dared me to eat...so I did), etc), pan(as always with every single meal that they eat here), coca-cola, sanwichitas, potato salad(but not as good as yours mom), and some other stuff. It was enjoyable to make one happy and super full. After the long dinner we sang some himnos of Navidad and then followed through with our little mini secret santa thing. Soon after that we had our before Christmas toast with what I believed to be non-alcoholic wine that Elder Galati brought for all to enjoy for the Felices Fiestas and then at 12:00 a ton of fireworks all went off and we enjoyed that outside for the next while. Then a few of them walked us back to the 25 de Mayo pension for the night. Since it was Christmas we surely did not want to go to bed so we stayed up super late playing cards and chatting till about 4 in the morn. Papá Noel didn´t visit me in their pension, he left my stocking in our pension so I had to wait a little more that usual to enjoy my gifts. My comp even has to wait until this Wednesday when he hopefully gets his package from Papa Noel. But anyways, after a bit of present opening on Christmas Day, it was time to go to church. This was definitely one of the highlights of these past few days, kind of a Christmas miracle placed in our path(literally...). We saw a man named Moisés that asked us about the church and what time it was at. We told him that we only have reunión sacramental today and it starts in a few minutes. It appeared that he walked all the way to the chapel at 9:30, the time that it usually starts, and found that nobody was there so he walked back. He walked back to the church with us. He told us that he just got here in Argentina 2 weeks ago from Bolivia to work in the fields for a time( like just about half the population here does) and he has had a little experience with the church but not much. He is a super cool guy and definitely is a hope for the future. Potential christmas miracle baptism coming right up!

We have a few other investigators right now that have been progressing a little bit. Next week I will probably have more deets to inform you about their progress towards eternal life and complete, neverending happiness.

I put up a bunch of new pictures. A few of them may be worth more than a thousand words. I will let you make up your own story with the esequia incident. I don´t think I have described exactly what esequias(I have no clue how to spell it, but this is how I would spell it) are. Well, I don´t think anyone here knows quite exactly their purpose is, but they are just trenches, usually filled with water that are on both sides of the road...everywhere you go. A lot of people just use them as a garbage so it makes it look even more gross and wasteful here. They are basically just mini canals.

It was really great being able to talk with the family for a while yesterday. It made me happy that everyone was enjoying their Christmas. I´m glad that all of the parties were fun and enjoyable as always. Have fun with the iPad. I don´t quite understand why the girls would need queen size beds because I am pretty sure they are not 6' 3". I quite enjoy sleeping on these twin beds with my feet hanging all the way off. Ha ha. I hope Mallory enjoys her new pink iPod and Maggie also with all of her toys. Enjoy the little break you get from school too. I heard it is not snowing way too much. Were you able to have a white christmas? I am glad to hear that Mallory still keeps me in her prayers every night. I am really thankful for that and it makes me happy. Make sure that you pray that some people can get baptized here and that we can keep working really hard.

Elder Hudgens and I are doing just swell out here in Bombal. We are still enjoying all of the awesome experiences that we are having. He is teaching me a ton about the missionary that I can be. We both try and uplift each other as much as we can so that we can use the Lord´s time as effective as possible. We are trying to teach a lot but a lot of times the people are just hard to get to sit down with us and just take a few minutes to talk about church stuff. I know Argentines as always getting way off topic and neverending talking. The mission wants us to keep our visits really short with everyone so we can have more visits with more people. That would be nice... ha ha.

I am super tired from the past few days, so this is will be all for today. It appears that we have some other things to do today like hacer some compras and perhaps jugar some ping pong. Vamos a ver...

Thank you for everything. The continuing prayers and support that I never stop noticing. Keep praying for me that I can have some more success while I´m out here in the service. Hope all had a good Christmas! Till next week.

Signing out is Elder Deven Larisch

PS: La Iglesia es verdadera! Sin duda

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

What a great Christmas it was and especially to hear Elder Larischs voice!!  He is doing great and loves the work and the people in Argentina.  The food is quite different and their eating times are very different--he said that he was still getting used to them.   They have breakfast when they wake up and then their lunch is their BIG meal.  He said it contains a lot of food and thats when they usually eat at the members houses and then after their lunch they have a ciesta for some time--he thinks cause it is too hot to do anything else and also, so they can sleep off some of what they ate!  Their dinner time is beween 9 and 10 at night! He said some days they are really hungry and some days they are really full. 
Christmas in Argentina is just one fiesta after another so they have had some fun these past few days!!
He was able to talk to all of us and we spent about an hour and a half with him!  The best present for me was when I heard "I LOVE YOU MOM!" 
My sweet friend Janay gave me this poem and I love it and thought that I would share...grab some tissues first!! 
Click on poem to enlarge
Merry Christmas!!





Monday, December 19, 2011

No está comenzando a parecer como Navidad...pero es el qué dirán "no necesitamos nieva para tener un buen tiempo"...(It is starting to look like Christmas..but who says you need snow to have a good time)

Yellow!


How is everything going on back at home? We had a good week. Ya know what they say, "When in Rome." It is now acercando(closening) to Navidad and we are sweating bullets 24 horas en un día y 7 días en una semana! I can´t wait till Christmas thought it is going to be really good this year even though I can´t enjoy it back home with the fam. Christmas here is a montón(a lot) different than back at home. Here, it is just fiestas, fiestas, and some more fiestas. And there is going to be a lot of tomando(drinking) and fun stuff like that. Oh yeah, and fuegos artificiales(fireworks). There are a bunch of rules on how to stay safe as a missionary, like you can only go outside at certain times and you can´t wear missionary clothes. We are going to be at members houses for dinners and mormon fiestas too so no se preocupe mom. Today, we have planned as a district a little festivity. We are going to be playing a bunch of games and we have a secret santa thing and a white elephant party. I will have to send pics because it is going to be something to remember for sure!

I still keep showing the pictures of family to a lot of the families that I teach and they love it. I definitely need more pictures though, you should try and print out some good pictures of me playing ping pong and other ones with family and friends that I don´t already have. I just need more variety. Ha. That would be great. Oh yeah, and if you could send some CD´s next time of some good uplifting music artists. If you could send me a CD of The Lower Lights, that would be good, I like their stuff. Thanks


Hmm, let´s see. With the investigators this week, unfortunately we did not have anyone show up at church even though we got more or less a 137 compromisos(commitments). We had a zone fast on friday for people to get baptized this month so let´s wait and see what blessings are to come and be bestowed upon us. We have a few new families: La familia Quiero and la familia Zapata. They are going to definitely have some potencial in the near future, they may have a good desire to learn more.

Elder Hudgens almost got mauled by a beardog, but unfortunately he escaped. So much for a good story...

Oh, and I gave my first discurso in Castellano yesterday which was pretty cool. They told us that we were speaking about an hour before Sacrament meeting so...we had to rush-prepare. It went really good. I talked for 10-15 minutes about how charity and service are one and how they can be more charitable and serviceful this Christmas Season.

I got my first hair cut by a ward member who had just got her hair cutting license thing. She did okay...but the definite highlight of that trip was that she lost her tortuga(turtle) because she put it outside and ran away. Ha ha. I have never heard anything of this sort until now but it was really true. We looked for it for about a half hour with no luck at all. I think I want a pet tortuga when I go home...

Well this is about all the time I have to explain the mission life this time. Time for a good Spiritual thought Christmas style. Okay, here´s a new one: This Christmas season, look past the gifts and Santa Clause and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Ha ha. Okay, maybe that´s not the most unique Christmas thought I could ever give. But really, that is the most important thing that we need to remember. I love Jesus Christ and this time of year even though it does not feel the same here. One of the finding ideas that we have been putting through initiation is sharing Christmas thoughts and testifying of Christ. What an amazing opportunity it is to go and be able to tell people my feelings of Christ basically every single day. Since I do it everyday, I am throwing out this challenge to all that are within the radius to hear this. I hereby challenge YOU to go out to one of your non-member friends or less active friends(if you don´t have any, just go talk to the nearest person) and share a message of Christ. Let´s see if you have the will to do this small task.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support that I always feel coming my way. I hope that you can all have a wonderful Christmas season and watch "It´s a Wonderful Life" or something like that.

I have attached a few pics. But even better news I have just recently thrown an album together on your account @ walmart.com so check it out. I hope Mallory likes it.

1. Zombie Dog

2. My Favorite Towel and future white elephant without the cropping

3. Our Goal for a White Christmas...

4. Baptism 1

5 Baptism 2 (Can´t remember if I sent these yet...l)

6 The other dumb dog that always comes to the pension begging for anything

7 Lexi´s best friend

8 Classy 1

9 Classy 2









Monday, December 12, 2011

¡Navidad se acerca! (Christmas is coming)

Buen Día Amigos y Familia,


I am doing pretty good this week. We were so-so successful this week because we are having some problems with our investigators just keeping their commitments. On Saturday night we thought that we were going to have a bunch of people at church with us because we were rockin the references and almost did half our goal for the week in one day! But unfortunately, sometimes Latinos just like to say "yes" and don´t do too much about it. That´s why it is kinda hard to misionar(the verb for "to do missionary work", yes it is a real word) sometimes here. For some of our investigators, they are part of part member families and they don´t really feel too much about the church and really just need to humble themselves a bit, so my companion and I came to the conclusion that the best approach is to pray for trials directed towards them. Nothing too hard, just some burdens that they will not be able to bear themselves.

I am still getting trying to get the hang of the language but every week I am definitely seeing progress. If there was one thing that I could wish for, it would be just to be able to understand what the natives are trying to say to me. I can always fumble around in my own words and still get the point across but I would be able to teach a lot more if I could understand them better. We have been spending time with this one member family(actually it is one of the part member families, we are trying to talk to their sister Rosa who is just lost in her life right now) that has been helping me a lot with the language. Before I came to Argentina, people were telling me that the Spanish in Argentina is very beautiful and almost sounds like they are singing the language. Correction. That only applies to certain people because I have heard some terrible slurry Spanish and I have heard some that is just fun to listen to because they tone up and down a lot when they are talking. I have also noticed how a lot of gringo Elders that are about to go home haven´t really picked up to good of an accent. My goal is different, I hope to leave looking and sounding like a Mendocino. Eh, we´ll see. Ha.

I am still getting used to the Spanish Church here. It is so different to hear everything in a different language in all the meetings! I think I was supposed to give a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday but it ended up that there was a primary program. Oh boy was that a treat. You know how they are really funny to watch when you are in Utah, well it gets just about tripled when you come to Argentina. Ha. All the kids are so funny because none of them knew what they were doing and it appeared like it wasn´t very well prepared. But nonetheless, it was a very good sacrament meeting. I just wish we could have had some of our investigators there to enjoy it with us. Oh well, next week! One other thing that is different is that Argentines do not have very good voices. A lot of times they don´t have anyone that plays the piano so they just sing A´capella and it does not sound very good... ha ha. My comp plays piano well so maybe I will dust of the good ol´ piano skills a bit and play some Himnos while I am here. Lucía, the old crippled lady that we baptized last week is doing amazing! She is so spiritually strong right now that she could move a mountain. She knows a lot and wants to help us out in the missionary work because she has some friends that she knows that need this in their lives. Superb!

Dang, I can´t believe there are already Christmas parties going on. Isn´t it like 95 degrees outside...yep, it is...like every day...Ha ha. We as a companionship are acually dreaming of a White Christmas. How could this be? you ask. Well, we actually are planning to have a few baptisms on December 24th. I wanna be dressed in all white on that day, so we are going to try our hardest to get these people feeling the spirit and knowing how important being baptized is. One thing that really helps in the missionary work is being bold and we are going to do just that.
 

The verdict is that they do not allow Skype-ing in this mission. It has something to do with obtaining the number or code for the U.S. or somethin. I don´t know. I will be calling though for sure and I will follow up with more information at a later time.


That is really awesome that Brandon is finally gonna leave and be a missionary. I bet he is just dying to get to be in the MTC for 3 months learning Ruso. Good luck to him!

Well, this is about all that I have time for this go-around. The Spiritual Thought of Elder Larisch this week is going to be more of a Spiritual Compromiso for you. Do missionary work! It helps out the missionaries SO much when you as a member are helping them out in their full-time work. Always remember that you have also partaken of the fruits of this Gospel and have the knowlege that others are searching for. Share your testimony with others. When you see missionaries, go up to them and give them a reference to someone who is maybe going through a hard time or who is going through important times in their life like a marriage or death or a newborn. A lot of times, that is when people may be searching the most for help with burdens and challenges. How amazing is the gift of the Atonement that we can be relieved of our burdens. Go and share this! Every member a missionary, as some general authorities would say it.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support. It is amazing how I can just feel the love. Lo envio atras donde vino, a mi familia y amigos.

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

¡La Iglesia es verdadera! ¡Sin duda!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Navidad en el verano esta Veniendo (Christmas in the summer is coming)

Buenas!


Yes Mom, I am getting all of your e-mails and it is probably definitely the best way to keep in touch with me. It is always good to open up the email and see lots there waitin for me. I am not exactly sure about the exact amount of time that it takes for the letters and pouch to get to me. I got a dearelder from Grandma this week. First letter of the mission! Woo hoo! And yes, the baptism all went well!!! Woo hoo! I´ll have to tell ya bout it later in the email. Yep, you should go on the google maps thing and find Colonia Bombal and drive around in it. It is definitely one of the most farmiest places I have ever seen! Going into the city here in Mendoza is just a whole different world, people everywhere and lots more stores and stuff. My area basically has nothing... ha ha. I just sent another copy of that other email and tried to make sure that the pictures went through. Hope you got em. Hmm, what do we do on P-day? Well, the first couple P-days we went to Shopping, which is just the mall, and basically just did whatever was fun over there and did some compras but I never bought anything. I am on the lookout for a stylin jersey that is cheap but classy. In Argentina there is a pretty big rivalry which could be related to the Yankees and Red Sox but in Fútbol. The two teams are Boca and River. I need to choose one soon because everybody is asking me team I am a fan of. I think I´m leanin a little more towards River. Ha. I don´t know. We haven´t really had the best P-days ever. We can´t even go to Shopping anymore because the offices just sent us a message that we have to stay in our Zone for P-days and Shopping is just about 100 yards out of reach. Bummer. Today, we are getting some of the Zone together and playin games and stuff in the church after we are all done doing our stuff today. I just always look forward to Ping Pong, even though there are only a few that actually like to play. I hear that there are some really good Latinos in the Ward. But yeah, there aren´t very many cool sight-seeing spots in this area at all. I would have to be in more of a tourist town area. Maybe in the future. The mission pres is one of the coolest guys I have ever met. It is always just awesome to go and have him teach us stuff. Thats how all mission presidents are. He is making a lot of changes in the mission so it may be a bit hard to adjust our ways but I know that it is just going to revolutionize this mission. The language is coming very slowly. I really just hope and pray that it will start to come a little bit faster so that I could participate more in the lessons and be more of a help. But even though I haven´t been able to speak much in Castellano, I feel like I have still been able to communicate my feelings and teach the people. The gift of tongues is awesome. I need to start praying more for the gift of the interpretation of tongues now. And last question, yes my comp is pretty awesome, I am learning a lot from him and we are doing pretty great as a compañerismo.

Well, it sounds like Elder Kenyon made it home safe and sound. Now he just needs to remember all of the amazing experiences he had on his mission and never forget it. And always carry around a small photo album of his mission pics so he can show them on dates so he can win a heart of one of those BDOGs(Beautiful Daughters Of God), wow, I haven´t used that abbreviation in a while. Jason, follow the advisement of the profeta, go find a woman!

Mom, that´s awesome that you got that new calling as a Missionary Correspondent! I have never heard of that calling before, it must just be special for you because we have a ton of missionaries in the Ward! So are you going to be gathering all of the other missionaries stuff so I can find out how everyone is doing? I guess both of the mail addresses that we have work, but people are sayin that the one that says casillo de correo is a bit faster. I don´t know. Try it out.

I´m sorry to hear about the passing away of Sister Wiscomb. I think I remember who she is now that you said that she worked at Southland. I hope the family is doing okay. I bet it was really hard for them. Wasn´t she pretty young?

It sounds like everyone is done with Thanksgiving and getting ready for Navidad over there. Thats cool that you got two trees. We are thinking about going and getting one at some market. Chirstmas is gonna be a lot different this year but it will still be really good. We got some good stuff planned. They celebrate Christmas a lot different here though, I will have to tell you more next time about their Christmas traditions. It has a lot to do with fuegos artificiales y tomando mucho...

This week for definitely had its very high ups and some más o menos days. Aight, I´ll start off with the downers for us. We can´t really say right now that we have any progressing investigators but we have a lot to work with. It is just impossible to catch anyone when they are home or have time to charlar(have discussions) with us. But we have a few that are just definitely in need of the Gospel in their life and are willing to listen. I don´t know if I ever told you this but the Area of Colonia Bombal, the area that my companion and I are in right now is the only area in the mission that uses bikes. But the news is that they have been arreglando(fixing) for the whole time I have been here. But, they are supposedly supposed to be here tomorrow. I´m hoping for the best because another big problem and reason why we can´t do much work is that the area is just HUGE! And we need some better way for fast transportation. The baptism and confirmation this week all worked out as was mentioned earlier and was one of the most awesome experiences ever. I got to do the baptism...in Castellano so it was a bit different than when I baptized Micah. We had to have both of us in the font because of her broken leg and stuff and the water was really cold because the ward had no gas for the water heater. I also had to dunk her twice because the first time she didn´t feel like she wanted to plug her nose so when I dunked her she lifted her hands up out of the water. She really did not want to do it again and tried to walk out of the font, but we were able to pull her back and do the ordenanza de nuevo(again).

Some other stuff that happened this week...Well, we saw a few little boys just squatin next to their houses and doin their business right in front of everyone. That was quite the experience. I guess it is one of the customs that they don´t have in the US... ha ha ha. Oh, yeah, and there is this dog that looks like it just went through infierno and back that has been hanging out around our pension quite a bit. I think I may or may not have had a few nightmares about that dog. If I see it I will have to snap a pic of it so you can have nightmares too from its creepy stare. I haven´t seen the crazy Bolivian man this week at all. Well, this email is draggin on a bit. I have even more stuff to tell ya but that will have to wait till next week. Let´s see if I can attach a few pics to this email for ya...

Thanks for everything and for all the prayers and support. I know I say this like everytime, but it really does have quite an effect for us that are out here doing our best to serve the Lord. We really can feel the Lord´s hand in all that we do as long as we are being obedient missionaries. Enjoy the Christmas season!

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

La Iglesia es verdadera!

PS: You should make an account on Walmart.com or some other picture website and give me the password and username and stuff and it may be a better way to give you all of my pictures. It is what my comp does and it seems to work good. Let me know so I could do it next week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Primer Bautismo? I think so...!

Hola!


Well, I am able to attach some pictures. If I were to attach all of the ones that I wanted you to see it would take a super long time and that is exactly not what I have as a missionary so...here are some pics for now. ¡Disfruten! This week was overall just a grade A week. The highlight of the week was by far Friday! What a day! I´ll start off with Friday.

Alright so at first it was just one of those days until just about after the ciesta(oh yeah, and by the way, the Argentines all take a ciesta every freaking day from like 1:00 to más o menos 4:00, just depends on the person. So it is very hard to contact people and catch people at that time of the day. It is also very very very extremely pretty hot at that time of the day and every other time of the day right now. It is very hard to find myself when I am not soaking wet...I know kindof gross, but that´s the way things are down here. Everything is kindof gross in my area. Oh yeah, and back to the other sentence...) then we started having success, we must have been doing something right. ha ha. We were able to talk to a few less active members and hear their stories and really befriend them and teach and invite them back to church. They didn´t come yesterday but we´ve got some pretty high hopes for them this week. The most awesome part of my mission so far to this point definitely happened at about 5 or 6 en la tarde that day with one of our progressive investigators, Lucía. She is this Señora that has been visiting with the missionaries for over two years and has gotten close to baptism but has never had strong feelings about getting baptized and has a lot of doubts about some of the doctrine. We arrived at her house and she told us that she didn´t really want us to come back because she has so many doubts and she doesn´t think that this is gonna work out. My comp É. Hudgens talked her into having just one more charla(discussion) with us. It is often hard to talk her into something, but this time I can surely bear testimony that we walked into that house holding the spirit of God with us. We had made a plan for her, and it was simply about how the gospel is supposed to be something really simple. We had a few scriptures to back it up for more understanding and after a bit I felt like she was starting to understand our purpose in helping her a bit more, but she was just missing something. While she was searching through her Bible that she had supposedly found something that was causing doubts for her with the Book of Mormon and all, I knew that she wasn´t going to find anything very valid. During that time I had that feeling or still small voice as some people call it. But this time it was a lot stronger and it was bringing things back to my memory that I learned in the MTC. I felt to ask her to see if she has prayed to know if José Smith was a true prophet of God. Very surprisingly her answer was a simple "no". So then obviously our next step was to commit that lady to pray to know, but even better is to actually pray with her to see if she actually does it right. She told us that she would do it but she needed to know how important for her it was in this prayer to keep it very simple and just ask one simple and specific question "Heavenly Father, was José Smith a true prophet of God" and I had the faith to tell her that if she prayed with real intent, she was going to receive an answer just like the scriptures say. She didn´t quite get it after the first prayer, so I made her pray again and after we were just going to take some time for silence so that she can stop and notice those feelings and the Holy Ghost change her life and truly testify to her of these truths. I won´t describe too much else, but it was surely one of the most powerful experiences in my life. The spirit is a wonderful thing. She commited to be baptized this next Sábado Dec. 3rd. I am so happy for this lady, that after more than two years she has finally felt these feelings of hope and peace in her life. I think they are going to give me the opportunity to baptize her because I´m new. That would be pretty cool, but hard too because she has a very broken leg(health care is reeeeeaaaallly bad down here). But a good experience nonetheless! Well, I hope I haven´t bored you with this. It was sure worth the time for me writing this history down. Ha.

Okay, let´s see what else have I been able to experience this week. Oh yeah, and after the visit with Lucía we were able to find two new families that are just golden. One whose son just passed away in an accident and is in desperate need of help from the Evangelio(gospel) and the other who has a big family and kids that are just crazy but she is really really happy when she is talking to us nevertheless and she wants us to teach her. Golden!!! A couple of our other families, the Familia Tejada and the Familia Cruz are being pretty hard with us right now. They both have one member of the church in their family but they don´t seem to talk much and know too much about Gospel things. I hope that we can keep teaching them and bring them to church to progress!

Oh yeah, the humorous highlight of the week is this crazy Bolivian Guy(there are tons of Bolivians in my area because they all come down here and rent casas to harvest all these crops with the farmland) that loves finding us when we walk next to his area and he talks to us about the most far out things ever. The first time we met him we thought he was going to rob us or something but he just wanted to tell us that he has been studying about the vida naturaaaaaaaal(emphasis on the "a"). He talked to us about he has found out new insights about the sun and the air and the water. Elder Hudgens asked him if he had been studying the earth and the fire also. He said "No! Fire comes from man........wait, yes also fire". Ha ha. Then he went off on some tangent about that because of Noah in the Bible he does not have to wear a tie. Then the next day he talked about more nonsense false doctorine stuff in the Bible. He would´t really listen to us, so he was just a waste of our time.

Thanksgiving this week was definitely not the same, it actually may have been one of the hardest days of the mish so far because we just planned all day long!! The mission is basically wanting us to revolutionize the way we plan so to start and practice and get good we are going to have to plan for 6 to 9 hours...yeah, it´s the truth. It was one of the longest days I have ever lived, no doubt. I didn´t even get any mail that day, I guess nothing has quite arrived here yet. Must take a while...

Oh yeah, and in the last letter I forgot to tell you about the dogs of Mendoza. There are perros EVERYWHERE!!! I guess the story is that the Argentines feel bad for the dogs because they can´t feed them and care for them but they don´t want to kill them, so they just let them loose to roam the streets. And I wish that you could just be in my area to really see how many there are.

The language and culture shock are starting to slow down and not be as big of worries. I am slowly being able to understand more of the people and am able to teach a lot more of the lessons that we teach. It is pretty cool to see how the spirit works with the gift of tongues also. I still haven´t had to give people kisses on the cheek but it seems to be a pretty popular way of saying hello. That´ll take some gettin used to... The people here are all awesome. They are all very nice. You can just go and talk to anyone and start talking about anything! It is really cool! My first time in a full on spanish ward was yesterday, it was a pretty cool experience! Got to meet all of the members. The ward is pretty big for Argentina, it has about 100-150 members.

The mission life is very very hard and sometimes not very fun at all but overall it is the most awesome thing that I could be doing right now in my life. I hope that everything is just going awesome at home and everyone is staying outta trouble. Thanks for all the prayers and support. Send me some letters of something so I can have some encouragement or something. Ha ha.

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

La Iglesia es verdadera!



Monday, November 21, 2011

¡¡¡¡¡¡MENDOZA!!!!!!! has a different keyboard than los Estados Unidos...

¿Como le va?
Well, this is it!  The time that we´ve all been waiting for.  Argentina is Asombrosa.  There may be way too much to say in this email for just this one week so don´t get too down because you won´t be able to learn about and experience everything that I have experienced the past week or so.  I kind of wanna do this in chronological order so...a ver si puedo hacerlo...
Left the MTC last Monday at about 11:30 en punto!  It was the ride of a lifetime getting to see the true outside world once again, what a privelege that was.  We went right on to the SLC port and took off to good ol Dallas/Ft. Worth port.  That airport was huge!  You have to take monorail things around to get to the spot you need to be.  Kinda reminded me of Disneyland.  That was also where my comp and I placed our first and last Book of Mormon, it was pretty smooth.  This guy wrote a book about networking or somethin like that and wanted to just give it to us to advertise it a bit, so...as missionaries of the Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días we knew what we were supposed to do.  So we proposed a trade, one book for another and gave him some info about the Church.  Hopefully he read a bit and visited mormon.org.  The flight to Buenos Aires was más or menos the longest 10 horas y 32 minutos of my life...but I did get to meet Ándres, the kind man that sat next to me and talked to him about religion and about his life.  He was a pretty cool guy!  That flight was where I finally started realizing that speaking English a lot was not going to be my hobby anymore.  Okay, I can´t go much more with this chronological order thing.  Let´s see I´ll just talk about some of the awesome stuff that has been goin down here in Mendoza.  Well, the Pres and the A.P.´s picked us up at the Mendoza airport and we had dinner with them at the casa del presidente.  It was pretty fun.  We slept over at the pension where the A.P.s are where I had my first amazing experience with a Bidet(I believe that is how you spell it...).  What a whole different world it is when you use a Bidet.  Before I used it for the first time one of the A.P.s gave us an introduction because some did not understand the importance.  He related it to the story of the bird poop.  He said something like: if a bird were to poop on your arm would you just pull out a napkin and wipe it off and be off with your day?  I don´t think that is what you would do... You would probably get some water to wash it off first.  That was his introduction to us of a Bidet.  That is one of the many new things I have been introduced to in the past week.  The familia Fajardo is a member family that we have been visiting a few times because they love to invite us over for meals.  I had to go to the bathroom while I was there so one of the other missionaries guided me all the way to the back of this place and believe it or not there was just this rectangle hole, I´ll let you use your imagination for the rest of this story.  Let´s see, what else...the food is very different here.  At the airport I enjoyed my last bag of some american treats that will be very much missed here such as sour patch kids and starbursts.  Some of the foods that I have had so far are empenadas(one of the main dishes here), argentine salad(whish solely consists of lettuce, salt, and oil), sub-like sandwiches with usually either breaded chicken or beef with added fried egg.  Sorry grandma but Elder Larson is not my companion.  He was one of the three that is training another elder.  I think he is with elder alberro.  My new comps name is Elder Hudgens.  He is from Heber and went to Wasatch High.  He said he knows Sarah Arnold pretty well.  He is a pretty cool missionary.  I think that I will be learning a lot from him and will be looking forward to the next 12 weeks of my training that I will get to work with him.  My first area in the mission is called Colombia Bombal and is pretty cool.  It is in what is called the campo here in Argentina.  That means that it is just nothing but farms everywhere.  This place came as quite a surprise.  The people here are very poor and have shacks as houses.  There are even a few groups of shacks called villas that are just the most povertous/dangerous places in this area.  I will try to get a picture of some of this area for you but I will be careful because I guess if you pull out anything looking somewhat expensive they are not scared to walk up to you and try and steal your stuff.  Don´t worry Mom, nothing to worry about...really.  I´ve got the power of God with me wherever I go.  Hakuna Matata!  Hmm, this email isn´t my most organized one ever.  Next week this will be a little more easy to read and more interesting.  Argentina is pretty awesome!  There is much more that I need to tell ya´ll but it is just going to have to wait for next week!  Don´t worry, it will come fast.  Thank you for all the prayers and support(oraciones y apoyo).  Oh yeah, the language here isn´t even spanish...what they tell you in the MTC is true.  When you actually get to your mission, you will find out that the language you learn in your mission is different than that that you have learned.  Here in Argentina, the people speak Castellano, which is a dialect of Spanish.  The people think that Español is from Spain, Castellano is the language(
idioma) that they speak.  ha ha.  Brilliant!  It is awfully hard to pick up what these people are trying to say to me.  After I meet them and tell them my name and stuff they don´t really care much to talk to me more because I am new and they know I will not be able to understand.  One other thing about every Argentine that I have met so far is that they are a very nice people and love families.  I have learned to carry around pictures of my family and friends and other stuff and they just absolutely love looking at the pictures and talking about them.  We have gotten a few new investigators interested in listening to our message through this finding method.  Pretty cool!  Whenever american missionaries show their families they think that they are so hermosa(beautiful) and think that we are all models.  Ha ha.  It is pretty funny.

Yep, so the language is very difficult right now.  But I have already noticed the amazing increase in understanding this week so it´s all good.  The younger the people are, the easier they are to understand.  We just happen to be in an area that is just filled with ancient people that are not understandable.  Some of the old señoras that we talked to spoke a different language that they speak in Bolivia called Quechua.  It is pretty crazy!!  Well, at the mall today I bought some ping pong gear because the word on the street is that they have tables in all the churches.  Grandma, this time it is actually not a joke.  We have about a half hour to play so I am going to end this.  Don´t worry, I´ll only play on P-days.  I am here to work the rest of the week.  The mission is stellar!  Estoy muy animado for the rest of my mission to gain new knowlege and experiences to share for the rest of my life.  Again, thanks for everything!  I am doing awesome here!  I send my love to everyone back in the hometown.  Paz fuera(they don´t say any of the dumb phrases that we made up in the MTC here in Mendoza...ha ha).  Sorry for not much of a spiritual thought this week...lets see: The mission is awesome and very spiritual.  That is it for this week.  But no lie, I have continued having many amazing spiritual experiences here during studies all morning and trying to teach.  Well, chau(that is the most common good-bye phrase here). 
Con todo mí corazón,
Elder Deven Larisch
P.S.- I will try and send home a bunch of pics home next time!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He made it to Mendoza safe and sound!

Dear Family Larisch:
¡¡Your son Elder Larisch has arrived in Mendoza!!!
Last night they flew into Mendoza and were received by our mission president, President Avila, and his wife Sister Avila.



Attached are some pictures taken during the last 24 hours. Enjoy! And know that your son is safe and sound and smiling here in Mendoza!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

He's on his way...

Deven called us last night from Dallas and said that he is finally on his way!!  He sounded good but was pretty tired.  He said he had plenty of emotions that he was feeling but for the most part he was super excited to be heading to Argentina! He said that at the last minute one of the elders in his trio stayed back with some anxiety issues and might need to stay back for awhile. That was a part of the emotions that he was dealing with!  All the family got to talk to him which was great, but after Mallory talked to him she said he sounded sad, and that made her sad too, so we spent the remainder of the night going over how neat it is for him and the awesome experiences he will have.  The best part is getting out Danny's OLD mission pictures and letting her see a little of what Dev wil be experiencing!! 
Deven said it was quite wierd to have been in one place for 10 weeks and then getting on a plane going somewhere far away--he is going to fly all night and get to Argentina around 9:30 the next morning.  Then he said that they would probably get into a van and travel for 12 hours to get to Mendoza.  I can't wait to start hearing about some of the experiences that he will be having!!  Oh and by the way I did tell him that most of us who read this blog DON'T speak spanish so hopefully his emails will mostly be in English!! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

More pics from the MTC


Mom, I love you THIS much!! haha


Dev found a good friend from high school

Sarah...this pic is for you!!  He looks really proud wearing the tie you gave him!!!

One of Dev's teachers




Nice look boys!! Dev where are your church socks...


Pues...Finalmente! Lunes es el Dia! Felicidad para siempre! (At last...Monday is the day! Happiness forever!)

Hola!
Para limpiar algunos malentendimientos, no he salido el CCM todavia(para todo quien siguen mi blog y escriben mi correos electronicos. Que bueno! Tengo solamente tres mas dias adentro el CCM, entonces you puedo pasar once horas en un avion! Yo he recibido mis planes de viaje por una segunda vez(only 3 more days in the MTC and then I get to spend 11 hours on a plane)...jajaja(this means ha ha ha en ESPANOL). Im flyin from SLC to Dallas/Ft. Worth, then all the way to Buenos Aires. And who knows what happens when we get there. They say that there will be someone there to guide us to where we need to go and his name will be Alberto. I don't know if that means that they will put us on another flight to go to Mendoza or we will take a van or a bus, or maybe we will just walk...jajajaja. I think I am just about all ready to go. Im glad I had this last P-day to do all my laundry and write last letters and emails and go to the temple.

El idioma de Espanol esta seguramente veniendo muy rapido. Por causa de no tenemos un distrito grande(solamente un companerismo(que tiene un trio(y estoy en este companerismo))) hemos estado ponido en un otro distrito que no este progresando mucho. Yo creo que hemos estado guardado en el CCM por un razon. Esta semana, yo aprendi mucho mas acerca de mi testimonio y otras cosas que estan yendo a ayudarme mucho cuando estoy en el campo. Todavia yo tengo mucho para aprender, pero yo puedo dar un buen leccion uno sobre la Restauracion!(The language of Spanish is certainly coming very fast.  I believe we have been saved here at the MTC for a reason.  This week I have learned much more about my testimony and other things that will help me in the field.  But I can give a good lesson one on the restoration!) Since you are probably sick of using google translator, I'll try and describe the rest of my week en ingles.

Well, the highlights of this week for me were realizing that there was a reason that Heavenly Father kept us here and delayed our VISAs, and the other reason is that I am muy animado that I got my travel plans and am going to leave to another country, to speak a different language, to teach the true and restored Gospel to everyone that will hear me! Tengo un poco miedo y estoy un poco nervioso, pero la mayoria de mis sentimientos son acerda de anima y felicidad para que yo pueda continuar esta gran obra! (I'm a little afraid and I'm a little nervous, but I am so happy that I can continue this great work!)


Let's see, what else happened this week. We have had a lot of change since the two other Elders in the district left. We have been put in a lower district, I am in a trio, and all of our progressive investigators are new. I guess thats good in a way because I need some help and practice with street contacting and it's always good to practice the first discussions a lot! We have also got to be able to formally teach our new district spanish during our class-time. Teaching is a whole different world than learning.


My huge meta(goal) with my teaching right now is to simplify. Missionaries who are out or who are preparing, it would be good to just look through the lessons in Ch. 3 of PMG and just get to know the Doctorine very well and simplify the lessons, then simplify them more, then more. That is how you get to the roots of each lesson and really understand what the point is in that lesson. A lot of times we are just playing around in the ramas(branches) of the tree, but to really have an understanding, you need to find the raizes(roots).


Spiritual Thought of the Week:


Jesus Christ. What do you know about Him? What do you want to know about Him? What role does He play in your life? What has He done for you? What has He done for the world? What role does He have in the Plan of Salvation? ...Then ask yourself, does He love me? In the scriptures it talks about Jesus Christ being the way, and in and through Jesus Christ we obtain Salvation and Eternal Life, which also says in the scriptures is the greatest gift from God. God's ultimate goal for all of his children in for us to become like him and have everything that he has. Jesus Christ is the way. God, through Jesus Christ created the world, he created us...what can he not do?


Thanks for all the prayers and the continuing support. I'm doing my best to serve the Lord. I send my love home!


Con Amor,


Elder Larisch


La Iglesia es verdadera!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Probablamente debo ser en Argentina...pero esta bien! (Probably should be in Argentina...but that's ok!)

Hola todas las personas!

Last week's email was a bit different...ha.  I was getting nervous about my whole luggage situation, but I think I am all cleared up on that now.  Well at least I hope so.  Maybe this is the reason why the departure date is delayed.  The more I think about the how we don't have our VISAs yet, the more I think about the work that Heavenly Father still wants me to in the MTC.  He probably/definitely knows everything that is best for me, I know that for a fact.  The travel people say that the VISAs should be coming sometime very soon and they will give us a new departure date soon thereafter we have received that stuff.  I thought it would be pretty cool to get re-assigned for a bit to somewhere stateside for a month or so...but hey, it's wherever the Lord wants me I will go(1 Nefi 3:7). 

Let's see, what else happened this week...I got to host the new missionaries again! Miercoles fue un dia muy ocupado para mi.  Porque en la mañana I was able to host the a few new missionaries, which was fun, but the missionaries that I hosted didn't really like to talk too much(or they were just scared outta their mind because it was their first day in the MTC), so it kinda felt like I was giving a tour to myself and conversating with mi mismo.  Oh well.  The other thing was that night, Elder Squires and I were chosen to be missionaries that do a role-playing thing in front of all the new missionaries(which just about scared me out of my mind: 1. because it was in front of a huge group of people and 2. because I had to do it in English...).  I'm pretty sure we did a really good job, I may have spoken a little Spanglish, but hey whatever floats that boat. 

I'm not quite sure what is going to happen when the rest of our district leaves to their state-side missions because that is when the teacher has nothing more to teach.  I guess we may just be traveling to other districts and helping out the zone with our class-time hasta salimos a Argentina.  That reminds me...I cannot wait until I can use my Ipod and play some sort of music.  That is one of the things that is killin me most right now.  Oh well, necesito perseverar hasta al fin... del CCM(MTC).  Oh and I can't wait to go to Argentina and wear my sweaters.  I just don't want to pull them out of my perfecly packed suitcase for now.  Even though it is going to be the middle of verano en Argentina todavia I will wear them.

One of the many funny things that happened this week(because I can't remember all of them) was when we were talking to one of the senior missionary couples about Argentina.  He was talking about an Elder that he knew(I actually think it was his son or something) went to Argentina and brought back an Argentine mujer(woman) and got married in the U.S. and had ten kids!  His direct quote was "Be careful Elders, those Argentine women are very fertile."  Ha ha!  These senior Elders here are hilarious and fun to have conversations with because they just talk about the most random stuff.

Semanalmente Mensaje Espiritual:

I was reading a bit more in the October Ensign(because it is the only tangible one that I can get ahold of right now and also because it is just stellar in just about every way...because the Libro de Mormon is also stellar) and I came upon the article/talk thing by Elder Walter F. Gonzalez.  It talks about Moroni's Promise and breaks it down into five simple steps:

1) Think about it
2) Pray diligently
3) Ask the right questions
4) What do you intend
5) Don't miss it

For me, this gives me a whole new insight on Moroni's Promise found in the last ch. of Moroni 10:4-5 and is an awesome help for me on how I can better and more often receive personal revelation. 

Agredezco mucho a todas las personas que envian su amor en mi direccion y por todas las oraciones para mi.  Doy gracias.  Y espero que todas las cosas son buenos para ustedes!  Les amo mucho! (Thanks much to all the people who send their love in my direction and all the prayers for me.  Igive thanks and I hope all theings are good for you-I love you very much!)

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

La iglesia es verdadera!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A phone call

Last night at 8:56 p.m. I got a phone call.  My heart about went out of my body as I heard HIS voice...he said he was coming home...I said no you are not...and he said ok , I think I will stay here longer...and I said what...He said that the visas had not arrived yet and that he would have to stay in the MTC for another week and a half to two weeks longer!! Poor Deven--but he was still upbeat and said that he was doing great!!  I will keep you posted on when he leaves the country!!  I was so giddy last night I had a hard time sleeping!!  I love that kid!! (even though he gives me a heart attack once in awhile)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Casi alli (almost there)

Hola!

I'm gonna get straight to the good important stuff.  So lets see... mom, I got my travel papers and I leave the MTC @ 6:00 in the morning and my flight leaves at 9:50 @ SL airport.  Im flyin Delta.  So that means that I will most likely be calling you anytime around 8-9:30 or somethin around there...ha.  So just try and be ready that morning I guess.  I have a four hour layover in Atlanta, GA so I can call you when I get there also.  I am set to arrive in Atlanta @ 3:35 PM Atlanta Time so I will call you anytime around then... so just be ready anytime then i guess.  I have no clue what time I will actually be calling so...Then I leave Atlanta @ 7:50 PM Atlanta Time.  Then I go straight on a 10 hour flight to Buenos Aires and the church takes care of me from there I guess.  The are not sure if I will be flying or driving to Mendoza.  So, we'll see. 

So I am also able to bring one carry-on bag which the weight limit for it is 40 lbs and not more than 45 dimensional inches and must be small enought to fit under a seat or in an overhead bin.  It says that a backpack is a carry-on though so...I am not sure.  It says that I can bring a carry-on and a personal item.  I will ask again but it can't hurt to come and drop off a carry on bag because they are fine with parents coming and dropping things off at the front desk if it is situations like this.  I will see what I can do.  I just became a little lost in thought...Ha.  I just hope this all works out.  Maybe I should pray...

Well other things I got to do this week that I don't have time to explain because I have been looking through these other travel papers and stuff but I will give you a brief overview of this week.  It was the last week of being a Zone Leader so I was able to enjoy the blessings of that.  I was able to be a host missionary.  That was a pretty cool experience to go stand on the curb and welcome in a few new missionaries and take them around.  I had In-Field Orientation yesterday which basically consists of everything that we don't learn from the teachers in our class such as finding people and working with members.  Oh, and Elder Squires and I just got a notice in the mail that says that we have been chosen to be in a role-playing activity thing in front of all of the new missionaries next week so this should be pretty interesting to host then be missionaries in front of them.  I wish I had more time to expound on my week but time is killing me right now so I will have to tell more next time! 

Somewhat Spiritual Thought:

Well, there is this old man that just walks around on my floor where my classroom is, and I am pretty sure he doesn't even work here.  He must be a volunteer or something.  But whenever he goes into the bathroom(I happened to have been in the bathroom with him about 5 or 6 times in the past week) he without fail every time he says to the Elders "Remember Elders, the Gospel brings peace, but this room brings relief."  Ha ha.  And I'll leave you with that!  Gracias para todo su amor y sus oraciones! 

Con Amor,

Elder Deven Larisch

La Iglesia es verdadera!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Una nueva llamamiento(a new call)

Que tal?!

This week has been an interesting one.  I know it but it is going to be hard to remember and explain.  The past three weeks or so just seem like a blur to me.  It is crazy how fast time flies here.  I have already been here seis semanas and tengo menos de dos hasta salgo el CCM.  Pues, there are about two main things I remember from this week...

Well, first thing is first... Last Sunday my companero y yo were called as Lideres de Zona(Zone Leaders).  Just when I start to feel comfortable and start to smooth right in to the MTC, they call me as a Zone Leader... It has actually been a pretty big blessing this week so far because I get the opportunity to help out each member of the Zone individually and we solve problems and make this Zone the best it can be.  There wasn't any new Districts coming into our Zone this week but next week when we get a new District, we get to go through orientation with them and teach them and give them tours.  I'm lookin forward to next Miercoles y Jueves for sure!  It has been a lot more of a toll on me being a Zone Leader though.  Taking care of things in other districts often takes time out of personal or language study time and sometimes even out of class time.  I have found myself on my knees more than ever this week for help with the Zone and for help with me.  I know that God listens to my prayers.  I have already seen miracles happen here and I believe that this is just a preview of what the next two years is going to be for me. 

The second thing is that we had the amazing opportunity to hear from another apostle for Tuesday Night Devotional!  That makes it three in the seis weeks that I have been here.  One of my favorite apostle speakers, Richard G. Scott, came and addressed us on many important things that apply to us as missionaries--as should anyone that comes and speaks to us in the MTC...ha ha--.  He spoke about some of the following:

~Don't go anywhere without having some sort of pen or pencil to write and paper to jot down spiritual things anywhere whether you are walking down the street in midday or waking up in the middle of the night and have a cool spiritual impression.  He said that we can't control when the Holy Ghost works, but we can capture it.  We need to pray to the Lord to receive these feelings and help us stay worthy to do so also.  If we are casual about the spirit and don't acknowledge what it was, it will diminish. (D&C 8:2)

~Show the Lord how much you appreciate his guidance and direction in your life and he will continue to bless you more--vice versa--

~I thought this was really interesting.  A large amount of his talk was focused on what we are supposed to be doing after the mission and about finding an eternal spouse...that's weird to think about right now.  But it is very true, it is the next step in life and it should not be pushed forward.  One profound comment that he made was "Hanging Out = Idleness in Flocks."  Elder Scott said to seriously consider starting an eternal family soon after the mission, start it early, and the Lord will guide you if you follow thru prayerfully.

~I also noticed that Elder Scott always asks really good and sometimes profound questions that really get you thinking.  If you get the chance to listen to him look out for these questions and apply them to yourselft.  I need to study how to ask questions like this to help me with my teaching.

~Usually when Elder Scott comes and speaks to the MTC he takes time after and shakes every individual hand or every missionary.  This time he for some reason told us that he could not do that.  But I could still feel the genuine love that comes from him to us so it is okay. 

~The last thing that I thought was awesome about his devotional was his testimony.  The testimonies of special witnesses of Jesus Christ(apostles) are very powerful and bring the spirit like nothing else.  You can really tell that these men have testimonies where they really know and not just simply testify of these sacred truths. 

Now, as I said the last few weeks have been a blur to me so it is hard to remember anything else, especially because I have been so busy with new responsiblities.  But at least I have the important stuff down.  I also want to take this space in this weekly report to apologize to all those who I lied to in the last report.  There really is no ping pong or mtc dances here... ha ha.  Just wanted to see the reactions and let you in on some jokes we have here.

The Spanish Frase of the Week made up by the District is: Estoy in lo mismo barco-------->I'm in the same boat

I hope that comes of good use to you in your daily activities and conversations.  Thank you for your time to read this.  Thank you for all the prayers!  Love you all!

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

La iglesia es verdadera!

Friday, October 14, 2011

If I were serving time...menos de tres semanas mas!

Hola!

Looking back on this week I guess I have to say that it has been pretty good! 

On Saturday, we found out something very interesting about our progressive investigator Ernesto.  We were teaching him the last commandment before he could be given the green light for baptism the following Monday, which was Obeying the Law of the Land.  At that point Ernesto confessed to us that he was an illegal immigrant...not really knowing what to do, I just tried to make it sound like he could still be baptized, even though I didn't think he could, and told him that he would have a meeting with the mission president an hour or two before his baptismt the following Monday.  We weren't able to talk to anyone who knew the answer to if an illegal immigrant from Mexico could be baptized so we just waited to see if he got baptized.  It turns out that the church's stand on that is that they can get baptized.  I never knew that.  But I am going to count that as my first baptism--even though it wasn't 100% real. 

For this weeks Tuesday Night Devotional we had the awesome opportunity to hear from the General Relief Society President Julie B. Beck.  She is a really cool person who brought a spirit with her when she spoke.  Her topic was the importance of families and temples.  She also talked a bit about her childhood and how she lived in Brazil for a time because her Dad was a mission president.  She talked a bit about the church and missionary work in Brazil and it was cool (<--- I need to get some better descriptive words in my vocab don't I?) to hear that.  She also talked about how we relate some of the things we teach to what most people care about the most, Families.  The Creation makes it possible for God's family to be on Earth.  The Fall makes it possible for the multiplication of families.  The Atonement makes it possible so that families can be sealed and have the opportunity to be like God.  She also taught that the 3 most important lessons I can learn on my mission work around one word: Love.
1) Love your Companion
2) Love the People
3) Love your President
It may be hard for us to love some people that just do not seem loveable.  Our Heavenly Father doesn't have that same feeling about his children.

Another big thing that happened this week was a random mandatory move from residence halls.  So for about 4 hours yesterday morning, we spent moving furniture and our own stuff into a new building.  I went from being nice and comfortable in a room with just my companion and I to a room filled with 6 beds and 5 other elders.  Que malo!  But at least the showers are pretty nice in the new building.  The showers in the old building were mucho cold! 

I also found out this week that my departure date has been moved up a few days so now it is on 11/3...which believe it or not is now less than tres semanas!  Santa Vaca!  Times sure flies here in the CCM when you look back.

I am starting to see myself progress in Espanol tambien.  This week I have been able to read almost fluently from the Libro de Mormon.  Only rarely do I have to go and look up a word that I don't quite understand.  It is really cool to read the book in a language other that English also because sometimes it is worded differently and can produce new insights and look at things from a different perspective.

I think that is just about all that I have time for today.  My time is almost up.  The Weekly Spiritual Message is a bit out of order today.  You can just look at the Tuesday Night Devo parrafo for this week.

The Frase of the Week is: "Que'es arriba?"  Simple, but straight to the point and English contraction style.  What's up?

Adios por Ahora!

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

Friday, October 7, 2011

Post GC/Hump Week

Hello! 

Yes, that is right it is my hump week this week.  Officially halfway!  Well, we actually had a Devotional on Tuesday from Elder Lionel Kendrick of the setenta who said "it is important that you elders realize that you are not "serving time" here in the MTC like a prison or something, but you are here to serve the Lord on his time."  So...but if I was serving time I would be exactly halfway today!  The Devotionals were awesome this week.  On Sunday, Chad Lewis--played for BYU and helped take the Eagles to the superbowl later--came and talked to us.  He was a really good speaker and talked a lot about making the best of your mission because you "only" get two years to serve the Lord full-time at this point in your life.  Elder Kendrick also gave a really good talk about how thin the veil is when you are on your mission and the complete truth that the Savior is helping us every moment on our mission as long as we stay worthy. 

I don't know if this General Conference was the best Conference in history, but it sure felt like it here.  One thing I did that helped me get the most out of conference was to ponder certain questions of my soul and write them down.  I didn't quite know if they were going to get answered or not or what to expect.  But I know that Heavenly Father is watching over every single one of his children.  I got my questions pretty much answered in the first two or three talks of General Conference.  I'll share just a bit about some of my favorite talks.

I very much liked Elder Tad R. Callister's talk on the Book of Mormon.  The Bible itself can be interpreted in many different ways.  That is exactly why there is so many churches in the world right now, because after the death of Christ and his apostles, wicked people changed the Gospel and many other things about Christ's church.  But(here's the good stuff), put the Bible and the Book of Mormon together and you get a plain and simple truth with one interpretation(Eph. 4:5).  With these two books you get the fulness of the Gospel.  What is that?  The fulness of the Gospel is simply what a child of God needs in order to return back to the presence of our Heavenly Father with our loved ones.  I liked so much more about that talk because I have such a firm testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I don't have enough time to talk more about it though so go watch it yourself on LDS.org.

I also liked Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita's (I know, I can't pronounce it either) talk on what is important in missionary work.  He told a story about an investigator who accepted the message and took the lessons just because of the appearance of the missionaries.  Loving the families is so important in missionary work.  Our main message is to tell families that they can live together for an eternity.  It is a message of love, hope, and faith.  He said to bring 3 things with you on your mission: 1) A desire to preach the gospel  2) A developed testimony  3) Love for others.

All the talks were great, and they can be insighted in many different ways.  No two people think the same exact way. 

Well an update on the week...

I am starting to eat more, solamente because the food is very good here and they have too much variety so I wanna just grab every plate and shove it down my throat.  So...if you have any dieting or self-control advice, don't be afraid to share.

The MTC dance last night was wild.  It was 80's night so I bet you could imagine how fun that was.  The dances are always the best part of the week!

Ping pong in the basement of the residence hall during free time gets pretty competitive!  We play for hours on end with all of our free time.

But really...I met a chinese austraillian elder and it was probably the coolest experience I've had in the MTC so far(well not really).  He looks asian but sounds just like any other Aussy.

Well, I'm just about out of time.

The Spiritual message of the week is found on LDS.org under the General Conference tab...(I don't have enough time to write a spiritual thought this go-around).  Enjoy!

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

Friday, September 30, 2011

And then there were five..

Dear subcribers to my weekly report,


I give this title to my weekly report because of an event that happened in my district this week. Believe it or not half of my district including three hermanas and two elders have left and ran off to the Republica Dominicana(Dominican Republic...) MTC and left us to suffer the last six weeks. I keep seeing elders and hermanas coming out of the mail room with blue packets labeled flight plans and I get a bit jealous. I am going to miss the old district but it will be very nice to have some more personal time with our teachers. Since there are only two companionships that means that we are going to be teaching a heck of a lot more also! I am already teaching two or three lessons a day. I talk to the more experience elders who have been here for like six or seven weeks and they are telling us that planning and teaching lessons is going to get much simpler when it comes to week seven because we have spanish down a lot better along with the lessons.


Let's see what else do I have that happened this week...I am starting to understand Espanol a lot more than the first day! I guess I am making some progress...ha. One of my teachers is from Chile and speaks super fast and slurs his sentences really bad and he expects us to understand most of what he is saying. This teacher is also really cool because he is also a professional badminton player. He participates in badminton tournaments all over north and south america!


My weekly weight check in is not so good news. The cafeteria had some ultra good food this week so I did partake of much of it. Since coming here 23 days ago I have gained about 6 or 7 lbs. No bueno!


The tuesday night devotional this week was an elder from the quorum of the seventy named Ron E. Clarke...I think. He gave an amazing talk to us about the importance of the Holy Ghost in our teaching and what resources are most important to a missionary.


This past week has probably been the hardest for me since I got here. Minor discouragement hit me a bit earlier in the week for some reason. I think it was right before a class with Hermano Trigo(the Chilean Professional Badminton Player) but now I am over it. Serving a mission is not a selfish act. It is important to realize that I am going to go through really hard times here but I know that through the Lord all things are possible. Because of all the help that I have needed recently, my knees have started hurting. My testimony of prayer has grown so much in the past few weeks. I have found some things that I wasn't including in my prayers before I left on my mission. If you want an answer to your prayers, then try going into a quiet place and pray sincerely with real intent and Heavenly Father will reveal his answer to you. Before your prayer, picture Heavenly Father right in front of you. It is also really important that we realize that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he is our friend. He is there to help us.


I feel like I have much more to say in this email but I cannot remember. I accidentaly left my journal in my classroom. I only have a few minutes left anyways so I will just end with a message:


Spiritual Message of the Week:


One thing that is really cool is starting at the beginning of the Book of Mormon in first nephi 1 and reading for the first few chapters noticing when it talks about family. You can learn many cool things by studying in that section of the Book of Mormon about families.


I have been reading and studying a lot about prayer during the past week and have found some really good scriptures. If I had my journal with my I could tell them to you, but that is not possible right now. The power of the holy ghost and prayer work hand in hand with each other and give an amazing result.


1 Nephi 15:11
the famous Moroni 10:3-5
I have more, but I can't remember them so you'll just have to deeply study those two. They are both great!


That's it for this week! I hope all is going well!


Con Amor,


Elder Larisch


La Iglesia es verdadera!
Addition...-----> Oh! And I can't stop thinking about General Conference this weekend! Classes are cancelled on saturday!!! Wooooh! But more importantly we get to hear the words of God throught his prophets!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pictures from the MTC



Famous window at the MTC
BUSTED!!!


Deven's MTC companion Elder Squires from American Fork

Deven said they get along great and it feels like they have known each other a long time!!
Deven's district

WOW-- That only took him 3 weeks to grow...Argentinian mustachio. 
Not sure where he found the facial hair at the MTC...Let's hope it wasn't in the dumpster too!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

La Tercera Semana en el CCM

Hola!

I can't believe that I have already been here for more than two full weeks!  The time in the CCM(MTC) goes by really fast and really slow at the same time.  The weeks go by fast and the days go by slow.  This week had its ups and downs.

On Wednesday, our service morning of the week, I went and weighed myself and found out some not so good news... my metabolism is finally starting to fail me, or I am just eating way too much more than any human being can handle, not sure which one.  They always just have such good food and make me want to grab like four plates at a time...then I eat all of it!  I gained 5 pounds in the last week.  I also haven't been running as much because we have been playing softball like everyday for our gym-time.  So I am going to have to start watching what I eat...that probably won't do much either because I will just eat everything that I watch! 

This week we had another AMAZING opportunity to hear from another quorum of the twelve member!  After sacrament on Sunday the branch presidency handed out October Ensigns to everyone saying to study it and read all of it before Tuesday Night Devotional and then bring it to the devotional.  It doesn't happen very often that the MTC just hands out an issue of the Ensign to every missionary there so we were all thinking that someone from the first presidency was coming to speak to us, but we still got it good with an apostle.  Russell M. Nelson and his wife came and spoke to us about the Book of Mormon--because that was what the special edition of the October Ensign was.  It was an amazing talk from the both of them and the Ensign is also great!  I encourage all of you to go and read it.  It has got some really important stuff in there including Ezra Taft Benson's famous Book of Mormon talk many years ago in a general conference.  Hearing two apostles in a row each week makes me excited to hear from even more of them this coming conference in a week.

We also got two new progressive investigators this week--Ernesto and Gustavo--whose parts are played by both my teachers, Hermano Brown and Hermano Trigo.  Teaching is really cool but really hard at the same time.  I have been having a hard time preparing and being organized with the last few meetings, but hey, that's what practice in the Missionary Training Center is for right?

A few other Elders and I are really cool and have started translating some English phrases into really terrible Spanish.  For example:
Como le gusta estas manzanas----> How do you like them apples
Cualquiera---->Whatever(This one is actually something they say.  Hermana Arcos, a tutor here taught me that)
Cierra la puerta----> Shut the door
Que en el mundo----> What in the world!(This may or may not be the most popular one...)
Paz afuera niño exploradora----> Peace out boy scout

And many more!  I will put more in next time for your entertainment.

This week when my companion and I were walking out the bookstore we saw a garbage can full of books so me, being myself, went and checked it out, because I am a big fan of dumpster diving for free things, or just free things in general...The books turned out to be tons of misprinted in some way FHE books in different languages like Tagalog(the only one I could even remotely recognize...).  I grabbed tons of them and found out that they had a section of colored pictures which consisted of a bunch of pictures from Christ's life and also some relating to Jose(Joseph) Smith.  Jackpot!!!  So we made a huge collage in nuestro cuarto(our room).  The next day we went back and found more treasures like a big broken heater and a long panoramic picture of the BYU bookstore taken back in like the 80's or somethin...so forever ago!  That is also one of the main masterpieces of art in our room.  Those finds had just about completed my week! 

How about let's finish with some bad news.  I had to get a shot yesterday.  And they gave me a sparkly band-aid, I wasn't going to deal with that.  So I complained a bit and they gave me a Toy Story one which was much better.  And the good news is that I probably don't have to get any more shots,

There have been a lot of things that have happened this week but I don't quite have enough time to write all of them.  But you got a good feel of what has happened here this week. 

The spirit is amazing here in the MTC.

The spiritual thought of the week is to go and read the whole October Ensign!  Well, if your a busy person and have things to do and people to see, I would recommend even just reading the amazing talk by President Benson.  It brought up some great points back to my memory.  The Book of Mormon is a very powerful book and is also the most correct book on this earth.  I agree with Joseph Smith's words of "a man can get closer to god" by reading it and abiding by it's teachings.

The Church is true!

Con Todo Mi Amor,

Elder Larisch