Monday, December 24, 2012

Una Blanca Navidad

I hope that everyone is very much enjoying their Christmas season. I am enjoying it here in Argentina! I don´t imagine myself giving you too long of a message today, because after all, I will be talking to you a bit over Skype. Well, I am enjoying Christmas here for what it is…ha. It is not exactly the same. At least we had a white Christmas though! We had our Mission Christmas Party on Wednesday. I am going to spend the night with a couple other missionaries and my ward mission leader(Hermano Quiroga) and maybe his mom…weird.

Romina Mesa was able to get baptized on Saturday! We had a really good service. Her mom and sister showed up and got emotional as they listened to a few talks and saw Romina get baptized. We are going to try and start teaching them more and focus on them so that they can follow in the steps of Romina. I am content because I have been praying for a white Christmas. Romina will be an awesome convert! We are hoping to have the opportunity of baptizing a couple other investigators. I am not sure if they will be able to make it for this week, but definitely a few more in the coming weeks.

The mission party in Mendoza included playing football(Americano), ping pong, better food than last year, and a new tie from Hermana Ávila. It was a very hot day to be outside, but it was worth it. I don´t know how I am living right now with this kind of heat. I am pretty sure that we are going to sleep on the roof tonight(should be a bit cooler) and see some of the fireworks. Talking about fireworks, there are firework stands on the corner of every block here. It should be even better than last year. We gonna have dinner and party a little with our ward mission leader and his mom and his wife. Should be an interesting party. It is going to be an asado. I´ll send pics next week. I wasn´t able to send all of the pics I wanted this week because my incapable computer. My cell number is 2644701260 just in case. You will probably have to call it the same way as last time.

Spiritual Thought
I thought that it was really cool what Brother Smith said. I feel very privileged to be carrying upon myself the name of Christ during this Christmas season. No matter where I am, I am a set apart missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ. I love this opportunity and try and cherish every moment I have to be so close to Him and His spirit. Christ is my savior.

Take care and I´ll talkt to ya tomorrow.
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
white christmas (Romina's baptism)
 Romina with Mom and Sister
happy post-baptism face
E. Egbert sleeping by church
white plaque
sunday meetings

Monday, December 17, 2012

Una semana joya(joya means very good or awesome in this sense)

An awesome week! It just feels like we did a ton and are also seeing the fruits of our labors. I love it when that happens. December is known for being one of the least succesful months of the year for the mission because of so much preparing for the fiestas that are going to happen at the end of the month(many would imagine the opposite because everyone is thinking of Christ at this time of year but...), but we are having lots of success finding people. This year we are going to have a WHITE CHRISTMAS! Ha. Romina Mesa is going to get baptized this Saturday. We had 7 investigators in church yesterday(very good number). Christmas is coming up! (8 more days!)

Gosh, it feels like this year has just flown right by me. I told you that the time would just be a blink of an eye mom. That`s awesome that Buster came home this week? How is he doing? We, in our ward, have also had a few homecomings this past week. Two arrived on Friday afternoon here to San Juan. He served a good mission. You can tell because when he saw us in church at 9:00 he ran over to us and told us he wants to go look for investigators with us to bring to church. Ha. I guess here, all the return missionaries do is give their testimony the week they get home. It is not a homecoming talk or anything big. I gave my first talk in this ward yesterday and it went pretty well. We also had 7 investigators show up for church. We have a lot of people that we are working with right now. True happiness comes when you work hard and are obedient. The blessings just flow as you keep noticing(counting) them.

The best news is that Romina is going to get baptized this week! All she had to do was come to church one more time(and not sleep in) and feel the spirit and the love to help her out with the decision of baptism. The service got announced in Sacrament Meeting so it is looking pretty sure. There are a couple others that may reach baptism in the next few weeks like Mabel Garcìa, Javier Flores, and the Kim Family(Koreans). Each person has their own needs and doubts which come with time so we are going to do the best we can with our teaching and prayers so that they can reach baptism in the next few weeks.

The 25th sounds great to me. We are planning that my comp will get on Skype at like 2:00 here(10:00 there) and I can get on right after at like 3:30(11:30 there). I think that is going to work out best for us. We don`t have sure plans for Christmas(Eve), but it sounds like we are going to go over to my ward mission leader`s house and party it up with a few other elders. I don`t know where we are going to go to use a computer. We will probably just use his the next day(25th). We have the big mission Christmas party this Wednesday in Mendoza. I am pretty stoked to go and see everyone and play some fùtbol americano and pong(I didn`t lose last year, we will see what happens this year ;) ). The ward is having a big cena(dinner) on the 21st and are going to do a live pesebre(nativity scene) using adults as well as the young ones. It reminds me of all the good times with Omi dressing us up and Opi reading in Luke 2 every 24th. Ha ha. Bad news, I got into my Christmas presents again this past week. I have my stocking sitting on the table in our room so it is always staring at me. I opened up a couple including the pez reindeer, socks, and balloon helicopter. Ha. I am going to make Christmas fun by not opening the things yet and playing with them on the 25th. Yes, I did receive the tree ornaments. Unfortunately, we do not have a tree up, but I hung all the ornaments on the wall above my bed. The happy birthday photo banner is also up above my bed. Ha ha. I liked that. I really really like the Christmas card a lot! Ha ha. Dad looks a lot different with this new haircut. Everyone looks great though! Maggie looks a bit more plump. Is Brooke still spoiling her with meatloaf?

It is just getting hotter and hotter here. We did service the other day and just got burnt to a crisp. We went over to a members house at like 8:00 to cut grass(yeah, it was kind of a richer neighborhood, but there was a lot of old people not being able to clean up their yard) and ended up staying till like 11:00. That is the time when you cannot just be walking around casually here, and that was when we were working the hardest to finish fast. Unfortunately, we didn`t put sunscreen on(sorry mom). But I learned my lesson, so now I will always put on sunscreen. The nats and mosquitos here are worse than anything at night. I bathe myself in OFF insect repellent often. Ha ha. I hope you are enjoying your winter.

That is awesome that Kelleen is going to Bahia Blanca!! I didn`t know she was planning on going on a mission. Is she 19 right now? I have heard very good things about that mission. It think the mission is a part of the Buenos Aires province. She is going to love being in Argentina. My advice is to not worry about Spanish at all because it will just come as she is obedient and working hard. Get involved helping the missionaries in the area first(something I didn`t do). Read the sister missionary thing that pops up when you enter into Try and find the drink mate(not pronounced the austrailian way) and drink it before you are a missionary so that you can tell everyone that you have tried it. I`m sure you can find it somewhere close.

I heard about the bad news in Connecticut just right after it happened. We were doing an ancient investigator contact and she told us to come in and and see what happened in our country. We said a prayer right there for the families of all of the victims.

Spiritual Thought
To receive a bit of revelation for the talk that I was to give yesterday, last week I listened to a lot of general authority talks. The theme that stood out to me the most came from a couple talks from last conference from E` Ballard and E` Bednar having to do with conversion. My talk obviously took that them and related it to the capacity and effectiveness of sharing the gospel daily. I really like one thing that E` Ballard challenged us to do daily in order to stay converted and have these type of missionary experiences. "There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference for every member of the Church, including you boys and girls, you young men and you young women, you single adults, and you fathers and mothers. That simple practice is: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help. Stay focused, just like the honeybees focus on the flowers from which to gather nectar and pollen. If you do this, your spiritual sensitivities will be enlarged and you will discover opportunities to serve that you never before realized were possible." I have been doing this lately and have been seeing the results. I find myself being even more of an instrument in the hands of the Lord and seeing my heart change more and more closer to Him every day. Be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, that`s about it for today. Have a good week everyone! I will be emailing again on the 24th and then I will Skype it up on the 25th! Woo hoo!
Elder Deven
La Iglesia es verdadera
ps. Mom, I am pretty sure it gets hotter than 107 here. It said that it reached 44 celcius the other day! Holy moley!
Sweating... always
Bowling at the hiper libertad last monday

Monday, December 10, 2012

Se ve como la Navidad (It looks like Christmas)

Good Day,
Another super hot week here in San Juan, Argentina. We are in the middle of a zonda(huge and hot wind storm). It doesn`t do my eyes so good. Good thing I don`t wear contacts anymore...ha. The bigger zondas are known to come in Enero(January). We had some fun this week doing more interviews for Los Pinos(an area that is having tons of success and will probably baptize every week this transfer), learning in the conference with Elder Resec(I don`t think that is how he spells his name), an area seventy, walking aful(a ton) trying to find some investigators(families) to teach and not having way too much luck until the end of the week, etc.

Yep, we are having some big success here in the district. One of the areas(Los Pinos) just found a huge family(13 kids) that is making lots of progress. I love having lots of work to do so that it keeps us busy. The first part of our week was really hard, but towards the end we had some more miracles happen to us and now we are going to have a lot of work to do this coming week. For example, bishop Manrique called us last night after he got back from the stake priesthood meeting and told us that a guy came up to him and told him that he wanted to receive the missionary lessons and be baptized. His name is Javier Flores. He is 19 years old and married. He comes from a member family it sounds like he is really stoked to become a member... ha. Wow. I called him last night and set up an appointment for tonight with bishop. He said he was very impressed by the projection for the next year for the priesthood organization(ha. I don`t know, I wasn`t in the meeting). It should be an awesome lesson. We have had limited contact with some of our other progressing investigators. Right now Mabel Garcìa is progressing the most. She came to church again(the second time in the time that the elders have been teaching her and her family(5 or 6 months)) and liked it so we just have to work toward a baptismal date. Romina Mesa is still keeping herself very busy. She went to Mendoza for the weekend to care for her grandma so she couldn"t make it to church, but at least she brought her book of Mormon so she can finally have some normal time to herself to read more of the book and pray about it to gain the answer to whether or not it is true. We have a couple other families that are somewhat progressing. We will have to see what happens this week. Our ward mission leader, Hermano Quiroga, is getting frustrated because we haven`t seen much success lately. But I can see us finishing off this transfer with a bang!

We had another day-long conference this past week. Elder Resec came with his wife(I think he just lives in Mendoza, but he is an area seventy or something and taught us lots of new insights from Preach My Gospel with the help of Presidente and Hermana Àvila. It was really good. We are starting to see an improvement in the mission in a lot of aspects. It was together with the two zones in San Juan so I got to see E` Johnson and a couple other old friends. That was pretty fun.

Wow, we are just walking a ton in this area. Everything is just so spread so far apart so we are not getting as many lessons taught as we were in Lìbano. We are still searching for a more effective way of working in this area. My feet kill. I have gotten some of the biggest blisters. Ha ha. I was hoping we would be able to rest and go beg someone for a foot massage for P-day, but I guess we are going bowling as a zone. Should be fun anyways.

I knew something was missing from this new area. I don`t really have any dog friends. Just a couple strays that I have given names to and the ones that are possessed and want to kill us in the streets.

The 8th of December here is called Day of the Virgen. It is the day when everyone puts up lights and decorates the tree for Christmas. I tell everyone that we usually do it in November and they look at me weird. They think that South American/Argentine holidays rule the world. "It`s beginning to look(a little bit) like Christmas" here in Argentina. Let`s hope that people here will feel the true meaning of Christmas and recognize us as representatives of Jesus Christ and let us seek refuge in their houses and quench our thirst with their fresh water in order to be able to share a very important Christmas message.

I can`t believe it is snowing over there. I am very jealous because it is starting to reach very high degrees here. The offices of the mission sent us an email that says that we can do Skype on the 24th or the 25th. What would be better for you guys? I have opened one more Christmas present(just because I knew what it was and I was in definite need(socks) because we dropped off our clothes on Tuesday to an hermana and we got it back on Sunday after church). Hopefully the others can wait a couple more weeks...

I will keep Mallory in the prayers. She needs to get better so that she can enjoy the Christmas season. That is AWESOME that Cade finally got his mission call! Missouri will be awesome for him. It is exactly where the Lord needs him for these next two years. There are people there now that are just awaiting his arrival. It is gonna be cool to be able to write him while he is on his mission but a bummer because we won`t see each other in a while. Is Dillon starting at all with his mish papes?

Well, thanks again like usual for all the prayers in my part. I know that they reach all the way over here to Argentina. I always pray for all my loved ones especially for my family. I hope that you can count all of the blessings. I wish everyone a general FELIZ NAVIDAD(that is Spanish for MERRY CHRISTMAS for those who don`t know).
Un abrazo,
Elder Dev Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
 New comp E. Egbert
Happy the Dog
Flia Solar
 The district
Comp Ties(E Larisch and E Johnson)
Visit from Elder Resec... San Juan and Chimbas zones together
Me and the Familia Vega

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

¡Transpirando Aful! (Sweating alot)

Dear Fam and other loved ones,

Another week has passed by. It has been filled with fun that includes: meetings, many companion exchanges, high moments with investigators as well as the low, and hey...ITS DECEMBER! AND IT IS STILL STINKIN HOT!

I may or may not be at this point of the season sweating 24/7. San Juan is just a treat in the summer. This area has been awesome in the aspect of the ward, but they don`t have a set "do the laundry for the Elders and receive many bounteous blessings" plan here. I don`t like that. With my sweating all the time I am most likely going to need laundry done more often. I miss that from Lìbano. Ha. But hey, good news is that I am still alive and breathing.

We have had awesome appointments with investigators and met awesome new families despite all of the families that are falling. That is just how missionary You take and work with the good families and plant seeds and leave be the families that aren`t quite ready yet to hear the restored gospel. We got into Romina Mesa`s house and by the end we put a fecha bautismal(baptismal date) for Sunday after church because our ward mission leader just wants her baptized because she is so ready. Like always, the opposition of the enemy comes in. We found out she has epilepsy and had some pretty bad convulsions Friday night and has been in bed for a while now. We think she will be all good to go for this week though, even though she has work on Saturday(we will have to work something out). Mabel Garcìa(wife of Alfredo, a recent convert in this ward), has been known as an awesome investigator for months and months but never came to church but yesterday she finally came and loved it all! She will be a near future baptism. The cool new family of the week is the Family Camargo(I think they are related to the Family Camargo that we rented from in Lìbano). They are a family of 7. They have 3 boys(15,14,13) that are pretty interested and are going to start getting involved in mutual with the ward and we gained the confidence of the parents on Saturday when they let us in their house. Hoping for the best with them. Oh, and how could I forget about one of the coolest families that I have met in the mission. They are a Korean family that some other elders are handing over to us. They have their part a bit later.

I have been doing a ton of companion exchanges with my district in my first week here because I wanted to get to know their investigators and also to get some more baptismal interviews done. The other Elders in my district are E` Meyers(Texas), E` Fraughton(Pleasant Grove, UT), E` Villegas(Viña del Mar, Chile), and E` Gòmez(Colombia). They are all hard working elders(both companionships baptized this past weekend). I don`t ever remember introducing my new comp E` Egbert very well either. He is from Sandy, UT and went to Hillcrest. He said that he knew Aubrey Duncan so we have a mutual friend already. He ran track and stuff in high school. He is 19 so he left on the mish just right outta high school. He has almost 7 months in the mission.
We had a couple meetings this week including a zone meeting yesterday right after the weekly zone leadership meeting(we didn`t even get to proselyte or anything yesterday because we were in a different far chapel for the whole afternoon). In Argentina, you spend a good amount of your life just waiting for buses. The transportation system could be greatly improved here. I love Argentina, but some governmental things could definitely be helped. We have a special conference tomorrow from E` Resec(I think he is an area seventy or something), the replacement for President Arnold(he got busy or something and cancelled). Should be good!

I got the letter from Gpa and Gma this week with the Christmas letters in it. Thanks fam! I also wish a Felices Fiestas(Argentine Style) to all my loved ones. Remember the true meaning of Christmas though!

Mom: No I have never been robbed. I liked your dream a lot. It made me laugh out loud a lot. I will spend some time pondering and praying about it to find out the significance. I bet you and grandpa are just looking forward to my homecoming even more! ha ha.

Somewhat Spiritual Thought:
This week with the big situation with the Kim(Korean) family I learned something new(or better) about a principle of the church. The situation is that the Kim Family lives right on the limit of the two stakes(Chimbas and San Juan Nuevo Cuyo), not only on the limits of two different wards. The street that divides them is also the division from Capital(Downtown San Juan) and Rivadavia. The Elders from Libertador Ward(the zone leaders from the other stake that I came from) have been teaching this family for 3 months and baptized half the family. They did not realize that this family was not within their limits until a day before their baptisms and they didn`t want to bitter them or ruin anything before. We are now just starting to care for the problem. The Hermano invited us over for a Korean asado(BBQ), the which was one of the most desirable things that my mouth has ever known. That night we focused our efforts on teaching them that we belong to a church of order. We are not counseling your family to attend the Rivadavia Ward just because you belong geographically to the city of Rivadavia and also pertain to the boundaries of our ward, but it is because this church is a church of order and God expects that we are obedient to that heavenly law. A bishop is not authorized to receive revelation for members out of his limits. The members will not be able to serve fully in a calling if it is not the ward that they pertain to. I actually did not think of it as that big of a topic, but when we look at it with the eyes of God we understand that even the littlest things go towards if we are obedient to the laws of God or disobedient to the laws of God. We are praying for the Kim family to understand this principle because the parents are not even baptized yet and it will be a lot easier for them if they just make the switch right now. I also pray that we can all notice even the smallest signs of disobedience so that we can show the greatest amount of gratitude and love towards our Heavenly Father. "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

I love you all and wish upon you good health and happy holidays. Keep Christ in your Christmas tree this year. Ponder that last sentence, I just came up with that.
Un abrazo,
Elder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
ps. Enjoy the tons of pics. We found a great place that has faster computers.