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

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


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 niƱo 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 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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Second week in the MTC

Hello everyone!

The day has finally come when I am not in the group of the newest missionaries!  We get to say "Bienvenidos"(welcome) or "Buena Suerte"(good luck) to all of the noobs who have an orange dork dot (as we call it) on their nametag.  This week has been one of the hardest weeks of my life along with one of the most learningful weeks of my life.  At this point I have taught cinco lecciones(5 lesssons) to an investigator.  He is now our teacher and goes by the name of Hermano(brother) Brown.  Starting lunes(monday) of next week we will have two or more investigators at a me and my companion definitely need to find ways on how to prepare lessons faster.  One of the things that I have found out from this past week is that if you don't have the spirit with you in the MTC, you can't ever get much done.  In the second to last lesson with our investigator I very much was blessed with the gift of tongues and I was able to understand and communicate back with him the whole time!  Spanish is coming along just swell!  The new teacher, who was the investigator, kept pointing me out in class yesterday saying that I was a good spanish speaker and if my district has any questions they should talk to me...I'm not sure how I feel about that.  My district consists of 5 companionships: Elder Larisch and Elder Squires, Elder Wilson(DL) and Elder Harker, Elder Phenix and Elder Rose, Elder Wright and Elder Terris, and a threesome of Hermanas Collette, Ball, and Hafen.  They are all pretty cool people.  I will maybe send some pics home and give you a visualization on how things are goin here!  Today we had the opportunity to go to the Provo Temple!  Any time that we get to get some fresh air is quite the opportunity.  We always go out to the field for gym time.  Even more than getting some fresh air, we also get the blessings of the temple!

This week I was officially made senior companion.  Which doesn't really mean too much, it just means that I tell Elder Squires what to do and he has to obey my commands.  Whenever I want an ice cream, he gets me an ice cream.  Ha ha.  Just kidding, it doesnt really work that way, although it would be nice. 

Every Tuesday night in the MTC we have a special General Authority devotional.  Usually it is just people in the 70 that no one knows.  A few weeks ago it was Elder Holland(I very much so wish that I could have been there for that one!).  This week we had the awesome opportunity to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the 12!!!  What great words of wisdom he had to talk to us about.  He had a lot of uplifting words to say about us as missionaries and the great purpose we have in inviting the world to come unto Christ.

The last few days I have had a progressive cold that is really annoying!  It started with a sore throat, the next day it was just a really bad runny nose, then yesterday it was more of a headache, now it is a cough...and a runny nose...No Bueno! 

I don't have much time left today to write more in the email because I got distracted from another Elder earlier.  But if you wanna talk to me you should just write me a letter or somethin!  or send me cookies, brownies, or anything sweet... ha ha.  Missionaries love packages!!

Missionary Message of the Week:

The missionary purpose is to INVITE others to come unto Christ by HELPING them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end.
The reason why I capitalized the words 'invite' and 'helping' is because those are the two verbs/actions we as missionaries must do to bring the world his truth.  The investigator of the church must find out for themselves if the church is true or not through the testification of the Holy Ghost to their heart!  I am thankful for the eternal blessing of the gospel in my life! 

Con Amor,

Elder Larisch

The Church is true!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

First letter home...

Dear Family!

I am learning so much in the MTC! The first day was very hard for me though. After getting all of my books and stuff, I was sent to my classroom where my teacher spoke just about nothing but spanish... That was the time where I decided that I probably should have studied much more spanish before I even thought about coming here. After being confused for what seemed like a very long amount of time in my spanish classroom, Elder Squires walked in. Elder Squires turned out to be my official MTC companion. He is from American Fork, he loves ping pong, his birthday is August 4th, and loves this Gospel. I'm not sure if I could ask for a better companion. We have taught each other so much about the gospel and about learning the language in the few days we have known each other. It seems like I have known him for a year!

Yesterday, we started teaching our first lesson to our progressive investigator. Oh yeah, did I mention that it was in Spanish??? The progressive investigator is a teacher from the MTC that acts like a person investigating the church. His name is Benito Juarez and he used to live in California, but he moved to Provo to follow his novia(girlfriend), who is going to BYU. He has heard some things about the church from his girlfriend but he still needs to be taught many truths. His dad and mom are both catholic and presbyterian respectively so he knows about religion, he is just confused. In our lesson yesterday, Elder Squires and I taught him about the restoration and Jose Smith. We commited him to pray and ask if Jose Smith es un profeta verdadera(true prophet) least I hope we did. We had to improvise a lot because we did not have time to finish our lesson. Elder Squires read a lot off of the paper that we prepared to help us and didn't leave me much to read so I relied on the don de lenguas(gift of tongues) to help me say and ask the things of Benito that el Espirtu Santo(the Holy Ghost) and I felt necessary. We are to teach him tonight... I need to practice my spanish a lot more if I am going to say the things I need to say to Benito.

The food here at the MTC is asombroso(awesome)! I'm not the biggest fan of the chocolate milk...well it's just okay to me, just tastes the same as at home...but what I do get at every meal is about 4 glasses of pure apple juice! Que delicioso! Coming into the MTC, I did not know that there was going to be such a seleccion de comida(food). If you want to get something healthy like a salad, you can. If you want to get a doughnut...well you can do that too! I need to control myself though or else I will not be able to fit in my pants...

I encourage all of you young men or young women who read this that are contemplating on serving mission to pray about it! And keep praying about it until you receive a strong feeling from the spirit. Make sure that you pray with sincerity from the corazon(heart). The MTC is an experience that will change your life as it already has mine! It is so crazy the amount of change I have already seen in myself as I have listened to the spirit and had a good attitude. I know that spanish will eventually come to me--hopefully sooner than I think.

Well, I only have a couple minutes left to write so...I would like to share one of my favorite scriptures if not my favorite scripture. Matthew 4:19-20 says something along the lines of this:"And he said unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And they straightway left their nets and did follow him."(I don't have my scriptures with me right now so it is not exactly a direct quote... but I love that scripture especcially right now because of me being a missionary. Grandpa Fletcher, even though we didn't get our fishing trip in before the mission. I want to let you know that I am preparing for the biggest fishing trip of my life!

Thank you for all the examples! Im out of time in ten seconds!

Con amor, Elder Larisch

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Final good-byes and he is OFF...

making sure they made the weight limit

giving one last squeeze to Maggie

Deven got them each an Argentina flag to remenber him by

army of Helaman lined up to greet us

Dev was quite surprised that his dad could lift him up

first thumbs up

and then another thumbs up--even the host gave me one!! I knew then that he will be OK!!

One sad car ride home :-(
Wow, what a day is all I can say!!  The day started out great with all you can eat french toast at Kneaders (a favorite place of Devs) and then home to finish packing.  His arrival time for the mtc was 12:55 p.m.  We left the house around 11:30 and headed to Provo...and ended up at the Provo Temple grounds.  We all got out and took a few pictures and walked around.  There were soo many missionaries there doing the same thing as us, and it helped me to know that they were having the same feelings as we were.  Well, it came time to say our goodbyes and give our last hugs and then some more tears showed up :(  It was hard for me to know what to say because the emotions were so strong, yet I was soo excited for him and this new chapter in his life!! Then we were off to the mtc which is just across the street.  We pulled in and saw all the missionaries in their white shirts--what a sight that was to see--and the minute Dev opened the door they were right there asking him where he was from and where he is going to be serving.  They took his luggage and we gave him a hug and he was off!!  And at that moment I felt half of my heart leave and I knew it wouldn't come back for 2 years!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

First Baptism

Deven had the opportunity to baptize before his mission.  His cute cousin Micah chose Deven to baptize him.  Deven said that was soo cool and he felt very blessed that Micah chose him to do that!  What a neat day that was for me and Deven!! Thanks Micah!!