Monday, November 28, 2011

Primer Bautismo? I think so...!


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 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, 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  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!)

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)