Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Día Mundial de Servicio (World day of Service)

Hey there! How is everyone doing?

We had another super busy week here like always. Some of the main events were zone conference, world service day, and a baptism in Líbano B.

Dang! Are you serious, the Giants took it this year? What did Detroit have that let them get so far? River Platte and Boca(the two big teams from Buenos Aries) played yesterday and had a draw. We accidentally got a glimpse in a few houses as we were proselyting. Ha.

It has kinda been a tough week. We got disappointed many times for people not keeping their commitments or not even being home to teach them. It has taken some patience for the both of us, but we know that it is just another one of those "trials of faith" that Heavenly Father is putting in our path so that we can become stronger. I just know that if the mission was easy and if we were baptizing every week, we wouldn´t even be able to learn anything or pass any real hard times. So...I, in a way am grateful for the opposition that we are battling against because it makes us turn to the Lord more and seek His help.

We are still working with Elizabet and Omar even though we have been visiting sparingly this past week. Elizabet has a testimony of the Book of Mormon because she has read the entire thing and prayed about it. The enemy now is just doing what he normally does and attacks in the precise moment so she has a hard time following through with her baptism. Omar still needs a testimony. They should get baptized on the 10th for sure! Just need lots of faith-filled prayers and real conversations with my Heavenly Father to get a little more help with this situation.

Juliana Acosta(9) came to church. That is great, but we need the family to come. Right now in the mission, we are just focusing a ton on finding families to teach and baptize. Families are really the most important unit in society. Eternal life is a principle built around the family. We have a few great families that we are working with, but it is super difficult getting them to come to church for their own separate reasons. "Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you." We will be truly asking in every prayer that we do for families that are ready to hear the gospel. Miracles happen!

Yep, we had zone conference again. It feels like we have it all the time. I still don´t know how president and the assistants do it. So we were all together at the stake center for all of Friday for that. President focused a lot on ch. 10 in Preach My Gospel and the assistants taught us about how we should be working with our area books and our agendas. Zone conferences are always great opportunities to learn.

Supposedly it was World Service Day on Saturday. I am not sure if it was a church thing or some sort of holiday, but we spent all morning doing service. It was pretty sweet! We split up as a stake and cleaned up like 3 plazas really well! I had part in planting trees, cleaning up leaves, painting light poles, having fun on the teeter-totter, and digging some holes. It was a really fun and charitiful activity. I will try to get some pics to ya.

I did my first baptismal interview this past week for Cecilia Dominguez(Líbano B, the other elders in the other half of our ward), who now is one of the newest members of La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días. She was super prepared and just ready to get baptized. Her mom wants also wants to get baptized, but is not yet prepared so it may be a week or two. We weren´t able to go to the baptism because we were still doing service, but I heard it was a great baptismal service.

Well, Halloween is this week...We don´t have too many plans. We are just going to try to go to as many houses as we can on Wednesday and share a cool message(I still am not quite sure how we can share a Gospel Message when we are trying to focus it on Halloween...) and give out tons of caramelos(candies) to the kids. Halloween isn´t really a holiday here, but you can find a couple people here and there that will probably want to celebrate a bit. Should be fun. I don´t know what I am going to be yet, I will probably just take Mallory´s advice and be a missionary. I am only going to have to ask mom to send me that one tie that I wore to my first homecoming dance(white and orange) on super-express shipping for Halloween. Ha.

Un abrazo cariñoso,
Elder Deven Larisch
La Iglesia es verdadera and I´ll be looking forward to seeing mom and dad´s halloween costumes...
 Day of service...

Monday, October 22, 2012

¿Día de la Madre? (Mother's day)

¡Buen Día!
What up chicos? How is everyone doing eh?
Another good week in Argentina. We had some fun activities go on this week including our trip to Mendoza, exchanges with my district, and argentine mother´s day.

We took another one of those nice, long bus rides all the way to Mendoza. I was able to get through the whole book of Romanos in the Santa Biblia and still have enough time for a little siesta to rest my eyes. I was accompanied by my loyal companion Élder Johnson and a bunch of the newer missionaries on the bus. Élder Johnson and I got to do some proselyting in plain centro Godoy Cruz. A little bit tougher than here in San Juan because the people are all way busy there. We slept over at the big office pench(pension) and I got to go and hang out with the senior missionary couple in our mission, Élder and Sister Ence(they are from some small city up by the bountiful temple), and go buy facturas(yummy, sweet bread things) for all of the others that were doing trámites (paperwork) with us so we didn´t go hungry. It was kinda a long day, but I got through it.

Starting to get accustomed to the district leader stuff. Had a pretty good district meeting on tuesday with getting my Élders all excited to go get work done and be super successful in their missions. I went to Rawson(another area) to do exchanges with Élder García(Uruguay) while Élder Henrie(Delta, UT) went to my area with good ol´ É Johnson to do miracles! And that is just exactly what happened. I swear that every time we do exchanges, we get boosted with extra spirit juice or something that just leads us to amazing people and helps our investigators to progress even more. É García and I visited their top three families. In the first family(La familia Sanchez), the woman can´t get baptized because her boyfriend(for 20+ years, multiple children) doesn´t want to get married yet until he knows he really wants to be with her...ha! She is going to pray to God specifically about if she needs to separate herself from him or if there is a chance of getting married, so she can finally get baptized. In the second family(La familia Guevara), there were some investigators that weren´t really progressing that well or fast, but we found the niece of one of them who was going through a lot of problems. We don´t know exactly what we did or what we taught in that lesson, but she had a change of heart. She wouldn´t even look at us when we first entered the house, but by the end she was participating actively and wanting to go to church and get baptized so that she can leave the live she is living now behind her. I love that part about the mission. Just seeing what the Lord can do in anytime from a few seconds of changing the heart of one of his children. Cool stuff! We see it every day! The third family(La familia Martinez) is the one that they had been working with most. When we got there, the dad was smoking and drinking a ton. We focused on the family and how we could help him with the addiction program that we use as missionaries. We made a calendar and everything so that he could leave these things behind. All the family but him came to church so they should be getting baptized this week! Woo hoo! I thought that maybe you could enjoy just a taste of what we are doing out here. I feel like these families are my investigators also because I am working so much with them. It is cool to see the mission from a different angle now and work with more people.

Our top investigators in Líbano, Omar and Elizabet Rodriguez were not able to come to church because they were too busy with Mother´s Day stuff, but they are progressing a ton. In the last couple visits, we have seen a love for the Gospel of Christ grow within them. Elizabet has read the whole Libro de Mormón in just a week or two, and we caught her while she was in the middle of the guide part at the end(english book of mormon doesn´t have a guide like this one, it is pretty cool). She has a couple small kids so she has been up late some nights, so when she is bored or something in the middle of the night, she reads! We are hoping to help them get baptized after church this week if it is possible.

Yep, it was mother´s day yesterday. I can´t believe that you would all forget about mother´s day like that. ha. Kidding. All of the argentine elders got to call/skype their mothers last night. Sounds like fun. Don´t worry ma, there is only two months till Navidad.

Love you all! I send an abrazo to all those that are willing to receive it!
Elder Dev Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
Super Hot!! We ate a hamburger there when we went to Mendoza this week
Hermana Camargo, our Argentine mother. We had to make her something...
21/10/2012 Argentine Mother´s Day
Shaving Mordisco and Negra
Hermana Prado always makes us use very professional looking plates when we come over for lunch

Monday, October 15, 2012

Donacion de sangre (Donation of blood)

Another good looking week here! We had some cool miracles happen to us(like every week, but maybe I will give an account of one or two of the experiences in the weekly letter), we went and donated blood again, started getting(and putting my district...) to work in my district, and we are preparing many more people for baptism(we just have to work hard so more people can reach that point).

I can already tell this is going to just be a good transfer from the first week. We worked hard(or hardly worked, one of the two) to find miracles and have success in these coming weeks. We got Elizabet Rodriguez(wife of Omar Rodriguez, other golden investigator) to church yesterday. We will have to see if that goes anywhere. They both have baptismal dates for the 27th of this month. We went and ate breakfast with them yesterday morning to make sure that they would come to church like they had committed. Omar, sadly had to stay home because he had to wait for his sister or something. ¡Que lástima! Other awesome old and new investigators that we have are Cristián Sorias, Santiago Sosa, and Juliana Acosta. We are also trying to work more with complete families(isn´t the church all about families?) so we are trying to include everyone in the teaching as much as possible.

One miracle that happened to us started with an "open the mouth" in the street with this old guy(Julio Carrizo) sitting on the side of the road. He had the strong stench of wine(thank goodness I was never a heavy wine drinker), but he was still in tact for the most part. He was a good guy and told us to go visit his family that kicked him out because of his drinking. So went to go contact the referral but they weren't home, but as we were walking away this woman came up to us and asked us if we could come and do a prayer or something to help out her old mother(easily in her 80´s) because she is in deep depression because her husband passed away recently. So we went and gave her a blessing and directed everything towards teaching about the plan of salvation to all who were present there. It was a spirit-filled, emotional visit for them and I think they are going to let us back in to continue with more teaching. They just work a lot(biggest impediment in the progress of an investigator of the church), so we hope we can get in again soon. We went back to the house of Julio´s family and taught them also. They are really good. These people have also given us some really good referrals of families that have had someone pass away that all live on the same street. The street "Recabarren" is gonna be a good working street for us in the future. Hopefully we find éxito(success) there.

Yeah, we ended up donating blood again. On Tuesday, I was on exchanges with É Tinoco(Zone Leader) in my area visiting Elizabet Rodriguez. She told us that she is looking for blood donors because her sister-in-law needs a transfusion stat. We told her that we could do it and see if we could get more people involved also to obtain even more help. So that night, working with the Zone Leaders and the stake pres., we were able to organize a quick blood drive for the next morning with all the missionaries(except for élder Johnson because he just donated blood for one of our other members a couple weeks ago. ha ha). Even a few other members from the stake came. We were able to acquire 14 donations(pints I believe) of blood for Elizabet´s cuñada(sister-in-law). She was pretty content after hearing about how much we got done for her. It was a really cool experience to see a service project like that carry itself through.

Being a district leader is a little bit different than earlier, but it is pretty fun. I didn't know I had to direct district meeting on Tuesday already so I just made up something on the spot and did something real fast. Verifying every night takes up a lot more time which means less time for other stuff...oh well. At least I am learning a lot right+Freak, my keyboard is messed up so I don't know how to do question marks anymore. I just know that we are going to have tons of success in the district this transfer!

I'm glad that the family back home is doing well! Thanks for the conference talk! I am going to print off a couple of my favorites so I can read and study them as well as listen to them. That is awesome that Payton got baptized. Baptisms are definitely one of my favorite events to attend for sure! It sounds like Cade is just about ready to put on one of those black plaques and get out in the field right now. The sooner he gets out, the sooner I can see him when he gets back to talk about how awesome he is. Lexi already looks like a registered nurse. Wearing those scrubs, I would probably trust her taking my blood or takin out stitches or something. How come dad didn't ever dress up like Santa when I was asking girls to dances+ Thats one pretty cool dad!

Well, till next week. Keep on praying for all those missionaries in the Lords vineyard!
Un Abrazo,
Elder Dev Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
Sweet reunions with...E. Hudgens,
and E. Wixom,
and E. Toledo,
and E. Daybell!!
Isreal Street
Service project...
giving blood for Elizabet's family
break time
baptism of Nicolas Vega
and his family who came to support him
bus ride to Mendoza with E.Schirner for meetings
saying my good-byes to E. Galati  :-(
more good-byes... :-(

Monday, October 8, 2012

!Me Quedo! (I remain)

Hello there!

Well, I don´t know if I will ever be able to complete this email fully because there are so many things that I need to tell you all. Crazy week! Consisting of the Leadership Meeting in Mendoza on Wednesday morning(had to wake up at 4:00 to catch the bus), the following day was part II of the training meeting(Mendoza), baptism of Nicolás Vega, the sessions of General Conference (including the amazing news of how young men can get out at age 18), transfers, becoming a district leader, and saying goodbye to Élder Galati.

I don´t even know where to start. Well we found out transfers this morning! The Lord is going to bless me with another transfer here in San Juan. I´m staying! It is going to be really cool finishing off some of these baptisms that we have started here. We are working with some really good families. Élder Johnson has ended his training so we will now be able to go out and work in the mornings! Should be a whole new experience and we will get a lot more done.

Along with staying, Presidente is moving me up to District Leader so I will have a little more responsability as we go about this transfer. I´m going to have have latings and half gringos in my district also. Let´s hope they are all ready to work and be successful as a big team. It will be me, Élder Johnson, É López, É Rojas, É Garcia, and Élder Henry(gringo).

We also got the opportunity to go and send off É Galati yesterday at the Terminal. Oh boy was that an emotional roller coaster ride into my future. Leaving the mission is not going to be an easy feat. It makes me want to work even harder so I don´t have any regrets whatsoever by the time it touches me to leave the mish.

I feel like we just had one of the busiest week this past one! We didn´t have time to do anything because we were either running from place to place or sitting in a meeting. I´m not going to lie though, I always enjoy listening to Presidente Ávila speak to us because he never bores me and I always take pages of notes because he is one of the most inspired men I have met. I left Wednesday morning(4:00 bright and early to get to Mendoza on time) with É Shirner and É Alberro and a couple other elders from the other zone in San Juan(Chimbas). All of the leaders(District and Zone) were there in Mendoza so I got to see all of my old comps but É Wahl(É Squires, É Hudgens, É Wixom, and É Toledo). It was way cool catching up with everyone and taking sweet pics. Also learned many key things in the meeting. Slept over at the offices and waited for my comp(É Johnson) to make it to Mendoza with É Marsh(from Riverton) so we could make it to another day of training meetings. It was all good stuff!

Returning home Thursday night from Mendoza we had to bust our butts getting ready for the baptism because there were still things to prepare. We invited everything we could and made sure every little thing was prepared. The service on Friday turned out really well. They had a lot of family show up and the service was very spiritual, until the end when I sang a solo while directing the music to "Families Can Be Together Forever"! Can you believe that no one including the Bishop and Mission Leader and my comp would sing more than the voice of a little mouse? Incredible! We are going to follow through with the confirmation the next week due to the Conference this weekend.

Other prospects for the near future to enter into those waters of baptism are Omar(33) and his wife Elizabet(23) Rodriguez(both awesome!), Juliana Acosta(9), and a couple other good lookins attached to less active families and recent converts that we are workin with.

I swear that they do this on purpose! The prophet makes it so that each General Conference every 6 months just gets better and better! My favorite sessions were Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning. Top three talks(most inspiring or most useful to me) would have to be... Russel M. Nelson(ASK THE MISSIONARIES!!!!!), President Monson on Sunday Morning(received lots of grade A revelation for questions that I had), and Elder Holland(just because I wasn´t able to even take any notes on his talk because my eyes were glued to the screen, AMAZING TALK!). Actually, I loved all of the talks, but I just wanted to point a few out. I took lots of notes as usual because General Conference is one of the best times to receive revelation. If you didn´t go into Conference with any questions that you have about life or anything, write down and study your questions by using the conference talks! Some of the repeated frases or topics from this conferecence were "conversion/mighty change of heart", "Atonement", and "Built upon the Rock". There were more though. If things are being repeated a lot by general authorities, you know that if you work on those things, you will find much happiness in the future. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect, just like Him.

Wow, can you believe the cool announcements by President Monson?? Young men can now get out on missions at age 18 and young women at age 19(Lexi, Brooke, and Mallory? Ha. Study your Patriarchal Blessings and pray to ask Heavenly Father if you need to go. He answers prayers). Crazy! That changes missionary work a ton in the world. It is exactly what we need right now in the church. More missonaries! It is very evident even in my mission with about 25 missionaries leaving this transfer and only like 4 coming in. It is essential right now to enlarge the amount of missionaries in the world. I hope that all the young men that are still thinking about it, can realize that their time is running out. 18 years old is not that much. Listen to the conference talks and follow their counsel so that you will be ready and prepared to enter into the Lord´s service when he calls you. "If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work."

1 Now behold, a amarvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the aservice of God, see that yebserve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand cblameless before God at the last day.
3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are acalled to the work;
4 For behold the afield is white already to bharvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in cstorethat he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;
5 And afaith, bhope, ccharity and dlove, with an eeye single to thefglory of God, gqualify him for the work.
6 Remember faith, avirtue, knowledge, btemperance, cpatience,dbrotherly ekindness, fgodliness, charity, ghumility, hdiligence.
7 aAsk, and ye shall receive; bknock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.

Don´t just memorize this inspired scripture about missonary work before leaving on your mission or doing any type of missionary service, but apply it to your life. Understand what it means to serve with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, as well as apply the ten attributes included in verse 6.

I love missionary work. I love being a missionary, I love bearing my testimony every day. I love living a purer life. I love blessing the lives of others through proclaiming the truth. I love feeling the healing power of the Atonement. I love my Savior. Nothin better than serving the Lord.

Thanks for supporting a needy missionary with your prayers. Love you all!
Un abrazo grande,
Élder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera!
 saying our goodbyes :-(

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Otro día en paraíso (Another day in paradise)

Good afternoon from the blessed land of Argentina! Elder Larisch here to give the weekly update.

The weather in San Juan today is about 24 degrees Celsius and a bit too windy for my liking. Especially because I left the pench without a sweater today. What a poor decision. Well, ya learn from your mistakes. Am I right?

Reporting in week 24/9/2012 to 30/9/2012... We had a pretty good week this go-around. Many happy moments accompanied with blood, sweat, and tears, and blisters. We had various service projects this week(that is where a few of the blisters come from. I have found out that I have baby hands). Such a good feeling doing service(physical labor for needy). Even though we are not raising our numbers for the week in lessons taught or new investigators, we are able to bless the lives of others and even help strengthen their faith through our example and hard work.

We have been working a lot with Agustina, Joel, and their fam to get more people baptized. We are working with one of their referrals to a family of 10. Wow, that would be SICK if we could start working with these to families together! Let´s hope for the best because they are all over the age of 8... We are preparing the baptism for Nicolás Vega this weekend, from a recently activated less active family. It should be an awesome service this Friday. I don´t know when we are going to do the confirmation because of General Conference, but it will most likely be this week. Omar(another investigator) wasn´t able to come to church and has been working a lot lately (vending vegetables in a cart all day), so let´s hope that he can find time to meet with us and get baptized the following week. He is super awesome, and his wife even started opening up to us a lot also. That is a very brief investigator update. You´re welcome.

Well we only have one more week in this transfer. Next week you will be getting news on if I stay or if I go(now) to another place. I´m pretty sure that I will be stayin here with Elder Johnson for another transfer even though we won´t be in training anymore. He is putting on his big boy pants, and you know what that means, we won´t have to stay inside the pench until 12:00 every day doing the 12-week study program. Don´t get me wrong though, the program is a miracle and has given us lot´s of success, but I like workin in the morning. Élder Galati is going home this next week(our District Leader and other Elder in our ward), so that will also be a big change of environment. No matter what, after this transfer, a lot of stuff is going to change.

Well, I don´t know who is stoked for General Conference as much as I am. We just bought our conference ties(and a missing belt and a few pairs of socks to replace the holy ones that I have) so I would say that we are pretty ready. Take out your ballpoint pens and journals for taking notes because we are going to receive the word of God(Amos 3:7...if you will). I don´t want to jynx anything, but I am just writing this so if it really happens, I can look back at this in a few years and say that I predicted it but yeah...Mendoza temple...

We had our interviews with Presidente Ávila this week. I still can´t believe that our president is human. He goes so long without eating and sleeping that I know that he is the Lord´s servant and he is receiving an outpouring of the spirit to help all of the little missionaries that he has under his wings here in this mission. I love the interviews because they are an awesome time to ask questions(because this man knows all). Good times.

Dang, I am just going to have a lot to tell you next week I just don´t know how I am going to do it. We have a few trips to Mendoza(for the renewing of my Visa or something and for training pt. 2 from Presidente), we have a baptism, we have general conference, and we have new transfers.

Spiritual Thought:
More of a "Watch this video!" type of spiritual thought to realize what is going to go down this weekend in Salt Lake and feel the spirit of General Conference. FYI, I understood the one from Mexico and Brazil(thanks to Gma and Gpa Fletcher).

"The heavens are indeed open, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, the Church is founded upon the rock of revelation."

-Our beloved living prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson

That is all for this week. Thanks for all the support/prayers. Till next week.
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera