Saturday, August 10, 2013

Stewardship letter

My Mission
I don't believe that there is any other place that a young man of my age should be other than on a full-time mission serving the Lord.  I do not have a doubt that we, the ones who sacrifice these two years, chose to do this even before coming to this world.  I believe that God has been preparing me as well as these people I have come to know for larger purposes having to do with His work and Salvation.  I have had countless experiences in my mission when I can say that the spirit of the Lord has guided me to help another stray soul. As the Book of Mormon missionary Ammon said speaking to his brethren after his mission, so do I feel now. "That (I) have been made an instrument in the hands of God to bring about this great work."  I feel  like my whole mission has truly just been preparing me for the things that God has waiting for me in the future.  I helped numerous people grow nearer to Christ, but I think the largest growth has been in me.  I have learned various important life principles including goal setting, extending and fulfilling commitments, effective teaching, living a gospel centered life, and many more that I could continue to name.  I will surely be one of those return missionaries that cannot go a day without reflecting back on the things that I have learned.  I consider myself privileged to be able to have concluded my time as a missionary and to continue along the path towards eternal life.

My Testimony
"Without doubt" is certainly the phrase that illustrates the position of my personal testimony right now.  I will continue to liberate myself from forming doubts as long as I continue building my foundation upon the rock of my redeemer so that "when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon (me) to drag (me) down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which (I) am built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."  I have learned that a testimony is something that no one can take away.  The prophet Joseph Smith had powerful and definite words.  'I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it."  He had an experience that changed his life from that moment onward.  I consider my mission to be the same.  Because of the eternal truths that I have become familiar with, I feel a larger mantle upon my shoulders and a larger responsibility to glorify God.  The newly equipped armor of God bestowed upon me in these last two years will be of a large help for the challenges that wait in the future.

I'm HOME...

Deven arrived home at 10:20 this morning!!  What a wonderful reunion it was for our family!!  Deven had been up for over 24 hours and flying for over 21 hours.  He was exhausted!  His first meal back at home was Chinese food from Panda!  Thanks to our families and friends for supporting him for these past 2 years!!
 The waiting crew...
 The best HUG ever!!
 So proud of my boy...
 Together Again!!
 The famous candy bar poster from the Aunts...
Welcome Home Elder Larisch!  We love you!

Monday, August 5, 2013

¡ME VOY.....A LA CASA! (I GO AWAY..... TO THE HOUSE!)



Holy Cow!!!
I cannot believe that the time has finally come!! It has been an emotional few last days here in the mission with a few still remaining. I am the happiest and saddest that I could feel right now. Yes, it will be a challenge to handle the bitter-sweet return to the house. The truth is that I do not want to take off the missionary tag and stop being a missionary. I look back and love every single moment of being a missionary for the past 2 years even through the trials because I have seen so much growth. My mission president asked me an interesting question in my final interview yesterday after I finished telling of an impacting experience in the mission. He said "Why do you think, Elder Larisch, that God would allow you to have that experience?". The greatest answer is because He loves me and desires my personal growth.

I love it when I can see the fruits of my labors. Many people would think it means that I love seeing the baptisms of my converts, but it is actually that and much more. After the testimony I got up and gave for this last fast sunday, many of the young men got the courage to stand up and thank me for the service and the example I had been for them. For me, with the understanding of what the 2 year mission can do in the salvation of a young man with the duty, I felt like I had given a push to all of the young men in this ward and also helped out my Heavenly Father out even more with his big goal He has for every one of us: to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". I also actually am starting to see lots of fruits coming out of the people that I have planted seeds with. I feel it is appropriate to quote the words of Ammon to his brethren coming from the Book of Alma 26.

" And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites(the Argentines), were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of God! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work."

This realy is the specific blessing that God has given me in my mission. That I could be made an instrument in His hands to bring about his great work. I just hope that God will now help me care for all of the people that I have helped change.

"Behold, the field was ripe, and blessed are ye, for ye did thrust in the sickle, and did reap with your might, yea, all the day long did ye labor; and behold the number of your sheaves! And they shall be gathered into the garners, that they are not wasted. Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day."

I know that they are in God`s hands and He will take care of them. Ah man, I can`t believe that I will be home in just a few days. I can`t wait to see the fam and have a great shindig for a week before I have to split off to college! I am way freakin excited! The plane ride alone should be fun. President told me that it is unlikely, but with a bunch of luck, I could see another missionary on my flight home. That would be cool. I haven`t found my cyprus card yet, but the good news is that my awesome comp, Elder Steeves is buying my speakers for some american dollars, so I will have some money to get some PANDA EXPRESS in the the airport in Atlanta!! Woo hoo! I finally get to stop eating fideos con tuco, argentine pizza, and milanesas every single day!

I can`t wait to see the whole fam. Who is planning on being at the airport? I think that after all of those hours of flying/traveling I am just going to want a nap. Ha ha.

I passed a pretty normal birthday here in Argentina. I worked hard the whole day at least! A sister from the ward made me a huge cake so that was pretty fun. Not quite the same without the fam, but we partied a bit here with the boys in the apartment. Ha. Presidente Avila told me yesterday in the super awesome final interview that I was permitted to go to centro one last time and get a few last-buys. I got a few more things to bring home. I hope you like what I am able to bring. Ha. I don`t know if I will have much luck with the alpargata stuff, but we will see. The final interview was super awesome! I now have a super vision of what I want to achieve in the future. He made me realize that the mission was really just a preparation for my future and next mission...starting my eternal family. We talked a lot about girls and how to get the right one. Ha ha. That was fun. I want to get married.

Well, this email has been quite all over the place. I guess it kinda shows my nervousness of the big change that is about to happen! Well, I will see you in 4 days 18 hours and 10 minutes! I`m not counting down...

I LOVE YOU ALL AND AM EXCITED TO SEE YA. TAKE CARE!

Un abrazo,
Elder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
 Happy 21st Birthday


Final interview with Pres. Avila and his wife!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Me quedo para dos semanas (I remain for two weeks)

Hey!!!!
Holy moley! I surely just passed the fastest week of my mission. I feel like I had NO time! It is crazy when my comp is getting ready to leave home as well as set up for a baptism and be in charge of other baptisms throughout the whole zone! In our zone of godoy cruz we baptized 8 for the month, which is really good compared to the rest of the year! Our baptism of Lautaro also turned out super well! We also had to attend a ward baptism that morning because the family asked my comp to baptize the kid. It is crazy how much preparation goes into each baptism on the part of the missionary. Lautaro and his family are super happy and ready to be fully active and serve in the church.

Well, I really don`t have much time at all this abnormal P-day. President called me earlier last week and told me that I would be using the same day as the missionaries that leave at this end of the transfer to buy souvenirs and have dinner and testimony meeting at the mission house. I just went and bought a few souvenirs. The alpargatas were hard to find with polka dots and stuff...ha ha. So I just got some cheap white ones. The bad news is that they don`t come in Mallory`s size. I will have to find something else maybe in these next two weeks to make up for it. I got a few other things also like a mate set and Argentina socks, etc. You will find out in a couple weeks.

I wish I had more time, but I promise that next week will be a much better...last letter of the mission!!! It is just starting to hit me. Ha. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you transfers! I am staying in my area of Luján de Cuyo and I am receiving Elder Steeves to teach him the area in a quick two weeks. Should be good!

I love you all and thanks for all of the happy birthday`s! Ha. Mom, don`t get stuff for my birthday, just a couple things to go back to college smoothly would be nice. Ha. Thanks!!

PERSEVERAR HASTA EL FIN
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Monday, July 22, 2013

Snowing here/3 Weeks anyone?

Wow!
Everyone seems to have the countdown going strong. I wasn`t sure before, but now I know that I have less than 3 weeks left! It is coming up fast! My comp is going home this week so I have no clue what is going to happen with this area. I think that President will just send me someone new and they will have to learn very fast the area. Or he will just wash this area with two news and throw me some random place for 1.5 weeks. Oh, and guess what! It snowed here in Mendoza this weekend! I will send you some sick pics so you can check it.

I feel ready to come home and continue on with life only because I know that God has other things prepared for me after the mission in the real world, but it is going to be flippin hard to get back to the world. I just love being a missionary more than any other thing right now and the spirit that I always feel. I know that I won`t ever get to have such an experience like this ever again in the rest of my life. It is really incredible how much one has the potential to grow in the mission field if they are submissive to the spirit. I truly can testify to all of you that this is God`s work and that he always in every aspect of the work. Most people can only gain this testimony if they have been able to serve with this calling. I think that now is the time to be counting all of the blessings that I have been given in these last two years. I love the work!

Speaking of the work. It is looking good for this baptism this weekend with Lautaro. There is always opposition like in every baptism. This one right now is bringing all of the church records to this ward so that his recently-activated father can baptize him. We announced it yesterday in church though so it should all be good to go. My comp gets to have a baptism on his last day here. Lucky man. Lautaro is a way smart little kid. His family is way awesome and nice. We are going to have a huge asado after the baptism on Saturday as a farewell for Elder Howard, my comp. They also offered to have a party for me on my birthday. Ha. There is also another investigator family in Mayor Drummond, the other area, that I know pretty well because of the exchanges that we do. I truth is that I only spend like 50-60% of the time in my real area, Luján, because of all the exchanges and interviews that we are doing. I get to know a lot more people in the zone. Transfers are one week away. I am curious to know what will happen with me for the next 1.5 weeks. My last transfer of the mission...

That is awesome that the girls got to go to efy. Brooke was the only one that emailed me, but I am sure that Lex had a good experience also. I hope it made a change in their lives and that they find ways to keep that spirit with them. I will for sure keep keeping grandpa in my prayers. I am amazed to hear once again in the mission that grandpa just keeps fighting. He is an extraordinary man to be able to pass all of these trials. I am stoked to be able to see him. Tell him to get his casting arm better becasue it will not be the same having to cast for him in the boat.

For a bit of a spiritual thought, I would like to just share a little something that has been inspiring me this week. We were able to visit and show the family history work center to a couple less actives and investigators and got a little bit of Elijah`s spirit inside of me. We actually just happened to pass a happenstance of listening to a super cool talk by Truman G. Madsen called Elijah`s mission and learn and feel more about family history work and the true importance and divinity from God`s aspect of the family and it`s significance. I like this quote because it mentions our true objective living upon this earth: literally follow and become like Jesus Christ. Here is a quote:

"You do have problems that you can blame on them, and if you forgive that and choose to stand close to the Lord in the process of purifying your life, that will affect your whole family – in both directions. You are not alone. There is no way that you can regain solitary and neutral ground. You are in it – in involvement. And this I take it is one of the profound meanings of that long laborious allegory in the Book of Mormon; Jacob’s allegory of the tame and wild olive tree. If you take a wild branch and graft it into a tame tree, if it is strong enough, it will eventually corrupt and spoil the tree all the way to the roots. But if you take a tame branch, and graft it into a wild tree – in due time, if it is strong enough, it will heal and regenerate to the very roots. You will then have been an instrument in the sanctification even of your forbearers. To be that kind of branch, and achieve that kind of transformation – backward and forward, is the greatest achievement of this world. But to do it one must be great, one must be linked, bound to the Lord Jesus Christ. He must be mighty. Why he must be something like – a savior, and that is exactly what the prophet Joseph Smith said you are – saviors on Mount Zion. And how are you to be saviors on Mount Zion he once asked in a discourse, and I’m paraphrasing? By going, first building, then going into the Temples of the Lord, and in your own propria persona – in your own first person presence, to go through – for and in behalf of loved ones, all of the ordinances… Sealing all of them, culminating in that final linkage that binds for time and eternity. Saviors, redeemers, of your families.”

It is also our responsability to become saviors. What a great blessing and great duty it is that we have in these last days of doing the work in the holy temples for our ancestors. They are waiting.

Well, I hope that everyone is doing well. I hope you enjoy these last few letters, because I will most likely be seeing you in approximately 18 days! Woo hoo! Have a nice 24th pioneer day. Careful with the firework shows.

Love....Un abrazo also from,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aguantando los desafìos en la misiòn (Enduring challenges in the mission)



HELLO!
Well, we had another week here. It seems that the more time we are passing here in this area, the harder it is to progress in finding and teaching people. We are for sure going to have a baptism on the 27th. That miracle kid that came to church last week is a way cool kid and so is the family! Probably be one of my last baptisms of the mission seeing that I only have a few weeks left...not that I´m getting trunky or anything!

How was the Lake Powell trip?? Yeah mom, the pictures did make me homesick. Ha ha. One of my favorite places in the world to be is Lake Powell. I will just have to work on my patience till next year. It looks like you had a ton of fun at least.

We are still working super hard as always just trying to find those elect that God has been preparing. I trust that this new church tour program is going to be super awesome for the mission once we start getting the hang of it. I don`t know if I will be here to be able to see all of the fruits that come from it. Fortunately, we were able to plan tons of recorridos(tours), but unfortunately, all of them fell through. Argentina is just not really a place of much commitment(also looking at the low marriage rate and listening to how much people "live with each other"). Many people here don`t want responsibility or don`t want commitment.

At least we are finally going to have a baptism after this ward has had a pretty good baptism drought. The kids name is Lautaro Gonzalez.

We are seeing the Arbol de la Vida plan slowly get put into action in the ward. This next Sunday it should be up and we should present it! I hope that I will be able to see a change in the ward due to the tree before I leave.

One question...okay, a few. You haven`t talked to Bishop about the date for my homecoming talk yet have you?  Jimmy said that he finally was able to get into our apartment at snow gardens! That should be pretty sweet! Do we still have the computer that I used my first year to bring and use again?

I have been seeing as a focus in the mission and from the church leaders here lately the importance of doing things in the Lord`s way because it is the best. A quote from that John Huntsman talk that you guys put on my ipod before I left comes to mind. Huntsman quotes President Hinckley talking about his priorities schedule to be able to have success in life.
1. Our Eternal Spouse
2. Our Eternal Children
3. Loyalty to our Employer/Profession
4. Commitment to our Church Calling
5. Attention to one`s Personal Fitness and Health
Kinda a cool thing to keep in mind in those times of life when you need it.

Thanks for everything. See ya in a few weeks!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
ps. having trouble again with sending pics.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

¡Dios beniga a América!



Hello!
Another good week in the mission. I was able to do a lot of exchanges this week so I wasn`t way too much time in my area, but we still saw tons of miracles. We went to consejo on Tuesday. It was weird because we didn`t have to go on a long bus ride or anything. We are already just right in Mendoza.

In consejo, my mission president gave us lots of new stuff including the new principal way that we will be teaching the first lesson to potential investigators. The new big thing is doing organized church tours! I have already been doing church tours my whole mission once in a while, but the first presidency following up on the words of Elder Perry in the transmission the other Sunday has sent us a packet that informs and has guidelines for how to carry out an effective church tour. We are going to present it to the zone tomorrow in our zone meeting. I think it will definitely change missionary work here in Argentina. We did practices when president taught it to us and we could feel the spirit super strong and testifying of the things that we do in church and that they are true. Bummer that I won`t get to see much of how it all unfolds seeing that the time is winding down bit by bit here. I talked to Presidente Avila on Tuesday and he told me that you guys sent him the email and that we might as well just change the date back to the 9th of August! Two days less. Oh boy! Hearing that Braiden is already home and that Lexi has her countdown is making me anxious. Ha ha. Only a couple more weeks left! Faa!

It was good to celebrate the 4th of July this week. We found an american flag here in the apartment a couple weeks ago so we were able to do the pledge of allegiance and stuff. God bless America! The 9th of July is Argentine independence day. Should be fun. Too bad they don`t do fireworks because it is too cold.

Doing exchanges this week was pretty awesome! On one of them, I was able to go back to one of my old areas, San Ignacio, where I was for 6 months of my mission! It was way weird to go back there and work again. We did some visits with Bishop Ruiz and his wife and another visit with Bishop`s dad and his wife. Super good visits! Bishop says that I have improved a lot in my teaching from a year ago. Ha Ha. That made me feel good. I could see him being some general authority some day or a mission president just because he is such a stud. His dad invited me over to lunch for the next week. What a boss! We were able to go and pass by Ofelia, one of my converts from that area. She is doing awesome and seemed really happy. She loved the surprise so much that she gifted me a couple jars of jam and a bag of lemons from her huge lemon tree in her backyard to take home. I was able to show the elder I was with tons of old investigators that I taught there so hopefully they can bring them back. In the other exchange, I went with Elder Wahl(my old comp from San Juan) to his area and visited a couple awesome families that just needed a push in the water. Ha ha. The Lucero family has been listening to the missionaries for freaking ever and just keeps saying that he wants to learn more before he wants to get baptized. In the lesson we were able to share a couple important scriptures with him in Mosiah 18 and Alma 34 to get him understanding how he is going to progress in his knowledge and towards salvation. The only way is to get baptized. We got far enough for him and his family(4 in total) to get baptized this next Saturday. Turns out that that night something happened and he told his wife that he didn`t want to get baptized and none of them showed up to church yesterday. Bummer. His wife called the elders crying because she didn`t understand why. Well, I am going with them again tomorrow to see what we can do. The patriarch or the head of the family is usually the hardest one to teach the gospel, but when the spirit touches his heart, he will follow Christ and so will the family.

Well, we had a cool miracle in our area this week. We had a member that just moved here that was living in Maipù for a while pull us over in the road. He said that he was new and they were recently reactivating in the church and they want their son to get baptized. They came to church yesterday and we put a baptismal date with the son for the 20th of this month! I love baptisms! Ha. They look like a way awesome family! Other than them, we are struggling/looking way hard for good, committing investigators to be able to prepare for baptism.

Recently, those words from my mission president have been going through my head of being able to endure to the end of my mission. If I serve a good mission through till the end and then flop and not care about the rules, the dedication will really just be a lie. Strong words, but they help me to obey all of the rules until the last day.

I hope that the fam has a good time in Lake Powell! Send lots of pics next week so I can feel like I went. Ha ha. I can`t believe that you have the flight plans already! 10:21 on the 10th. Flying all night is going to be a killer. I probably won`t even be happy to see all you guys being so tired... Ha ha. Just kiddin. But really, I will probably have to take a nap asap. You making plans to take me to panda express and carls jr and stuff? Ha. I can`t wait to have different food!

Well, anyways, I love you all and hope that everyone has good health and success with the plans this week. Prayin for ya.
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

HI

Hey there!
I can`t believe that you guys are passing the 100 degree mark already in June! Here is is getting really cold. Big coat and gloves everywhere. It is not way too fun to shower because there is only a few minutes of warm water and the only heaters are in the bedroom. I feel a bit spoiled though because the big comforter blanket on the mission is probably one of the best ideas. The whole mission I have been comfy warm while others have to use gross apartment blankets with their sheets. Definitely worth taking up a bit of space in the suitcase for it.

Well believe it or not, I only have 6 weeks left being a missionary. I finally have been able to set a date with my mission president for the 11th of August. I will leave that Sunday it looks like and get there on Monday. That is 6 weeks from yesterday! It hit hard yesterday when I noticed that when I probably gave one of my last talks in the mission(they told me 20 minutes before the meeting started). I only have a little more time out here so I am planning on taking advantage of every minute.

This week has been pretty good. We are still working super hard and finding lots of miracles. The people that the elders were preparing to baptize before me are now kinda going downhill so we are looking hard for new people to teach. The top prospects right now have fear of sitting down and having a lesson, need to get divorced then married, need days off work, etc. We had a few people come to church though so that was pretty awesome! Two brothers of a young man recent convert showed up. We will need to get the parents permission to baptize and we can start completing that family.

We have zone leader council tomorrow and we don`t have to travel because the offices are just here in the zone. It is nice being close. We have some awesome plans to improve in the zone this next transfer. Actually I just got way stressed because I am putting together a big plan called The Tree of Life with the zone that we are going to use in the wards here in Godoy Cruz, but my computer just froze and had to change computers so I lost everything. We have to finish it for sure today so I don`t have much time to tell ya much more about the week. I`m glad the girls had a good time at youth conference. Lexi, stay away from the weird kids like that. Sorry this one is so short, but know that I love you and pray for you every day. Keep praying for me.
Un abrazo,
Elder Deven Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lujàn de Cuyo

Hello!
Yeah, it is another one of those times that I just get way frustrated witht the computers that I am using here because they have so many problems! But hey! We had an awesome transfer week here in my new area of Lujàn de Cuyo. I love the new ward and the investigators that I have. I feel like it is so much easier to love the people here and work super hard probably for a couple reasons: it is my last area so I have to give it all, and the people are more open here closer to Mendoza when in San Rafael, I found it a lot more dificult to love people like I am supposed to. I think this will be an awesome last few weeks of the mission!

First of all, that was a weekly email full of new stuff. That is awesome that dad is working for Fuji now! I don`t know what benefits come with that, but I`m sure dad is happy and that it will be great for him and the fam. That`s good that Mallory had a good birthday. I was thinking about how cool it would be to go home and while I am still set apart as an elder to baptize Mal. The last baptism of the mission. Ha. It may be complicated because of me arriving in the middle of the week. Why did omi and opi sell the house in paraguna? Wasn`t opi doing lots of renovation and work there lately?

I also had a dream about coming home the other week that I forgot to mention in the last email. I told about it in my testimony in my last zone conference the other week. I was home and I got dressed and went downstairs and was talking with you when you noticed that with my jeans I had put on my white shirt and a tie along with my missionary tag. You took off my tag and said nicely that I couldn`t wear it anymore and set it on the table. I started crying and just stared at the tag thinking about the mission. It was a pretty clear dream up to that point but I am pretty sure when I was looking at the tag, tons of mission memories passed by. Pretty crazy dream though. My missionary tag means a lot to me because it represents all of the life-changing experiences that I have had and especially all of the people that I have met and helped in these two years. I hope that moms dream is not how my homecoming is. ha ha. You better be there waiting for me. I am still waiting on the secretary to talk to president about my official leave date. Because of transfer week and getting a new mission secretary, things are slow. I will let you know ASAP.

Here in the Godoy Cruz zone, the biggest in the mission with 12 companionship's, things are going very well. We are looking to hit our baptismal goal this month and in my area we have lots of investigators that are doing well. There is still a lot of finding to do though. We may be having a baptism this week if we can get a good spiritual visit with Juan, that came to church yesterday for the second time. We found a pretty awesome couple while trying to find the house of one of our converts here. A really stiff/closed lady with her interested living partner(they are sadly not married, like just about every other couple in Argentina...). We gained their trust and came back the next day and had one of the coolest visits that I have ever had in the mission. I felt may have felt more guided by the spirit and recognized it in that visit than at any other time in my life because I said things that I thought I never thought I would have had the boldness to say. I literally had to declare repentance to this daughter of God because she was so blinded by the enemy in many aspects. The spirit obviously did something to help this lady because she said that she felt something that she had never felt before. It kinda reminds me of Zeezrom or any of those other Book of Mormon characters that were against the church until they had someone preach and declare repentance to them or else they will have eternal sadness at the side of the master of lies. SHe had a big change of heart and now instead of rejecting prophets and denying that God loves his children, she is exercising her faith and following the path of repentance to receive real happiness. It was just a cool visit that really impacted me and kinda got to my heart a bit more. This is not our work, it is God`s work.

My comp Elder Howard is from Florida, he ends the mish in 5 weeks, and he is a pretty good guy.

The broadcast last night from the marriot center was flippin sweet and will change missionary work(especially in Argentina if the leaders actually listened and will apply it). Super good stuff! Go watch it in your free time on lds.org. It should be right there on the front page.

Have fun at youth conference. Go in with a good attitude even though it is weird to dress up. It is super spiritual and you will remember it for the rest of your life. Good stuff. Love you all!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

ps. On the countdown! Ha 






Monday, June 17, 2013

Me voy

Hey,
Wow, that is a really sad picture of Mallory. Almost as sad as when my sisters had to leave me at the MTC...ha ha! I still keep that one in my photo album to show everyone how much my family loves me! Mallory needs to start being more careful because she has already had stitches too many times in her life. Well now that she is going to turn 8 years old HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALLORY!she will be able to come to the age of responsibility, as the church says, and make decisions that wont get her hurt like that. Baptism being one of those good decisions. I am still looking forward to that day when I can baptize her.

I forgot to put a HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROOKE! in the last email, even though I told her personally, but there ya go. Hope it went well for ya.

While we are still on the subject of telling people happy days, I will include one more: HAPPY FATHERS DAY DAD!. It is one day late, but it should be worth the same. Hope you had a good day and the family spoiled you a bit in some way. We here had a huge ASADO with the elders quorum on saturday to celebrate a bit, even though we are not all fathers yet. I feel bad because I may have broken minorly the commandment of the word of wisdom and eaten way too much meat than I should have. It was just too good and satisfying. I will have to have more self control next time.

Well, some other important and fun news is that we received transfers this morning! The news is that I am going to leave my area and go to Godoy Cruz again! Only this time I will be going to the zone leader area of Lujan. I always wanted to go to that area, so it should be awesome. My comp is Elder Howard. He was in San Juan/Chimbas with me for a bit and he was comps with my son Elder Johnson for a couple transfers. So I know him a bit. It is a little nerve racking, I think that is the right word, knowing that I am probably heading to my last area of the mission this time. No more exciting transfers for Elder Larisch. Unfortunately I still do not know 100% when my leave date is. I talked to pres about it, but they are now seeing how the flight plans and stuff will be so that they can assure it then they will inform me. 100% that it will be in between the 12th and 15th of August though, so if you need to start making plans...there ya go.

Well, unfortunately we weren't able to get anymore baptisms this last week in the area Pueblo Diamonte, but the good thing is that I feel really good with the way that I am leaving the area. In the missionary manual Preach My Gospel it talks about leaving the area better than you found it, just like we learned as boy scouts camping, and I feel like I have definitely done that. I we have made large improvements with the ward here with the stake pres and bishop and I am leaving a few great families that will for sure get baptized this next month. My convert here, Leonardo, hasn't come to church in a few weeks nor have we seen him unoccupied lately with work, but I will definitely stay in contact with him to keep him active. I fear that he unfortunately has fallen into the pride cycle as have the nephites of old. After he got baptized he has gotten bounteously blessed with blessings of much work which limits a lot of time for the Lord in his life. I am looking to use my time very wisely in Godoy Cruz now that I only have like 8 weeks left. Gotta work hard!
Love you all!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

El èxito ya viene (Success is coming)

Hey,
Well, this has been one of those very challenging weeks in the mission seeing lots of things fall and not work the way that you would always hope. The zone is not doing so hot. Our baptisms fell through again and no one came to church. I could go on naming other problems like how our ward doesnt support us or how about a quarter of the zone is going home in a week so they choose not to work their hardest and just chill, but I won`t mentiont them(ha ha, even though I just did vent a bit more). I am trying my hardest to keep a good attitude and be the optimist to show my faith and hope for the future.

In the ward, we are seeing a lot more support and love from the less-actives than the active members(which is odd). They are the only ones that will truly help us with our investigators and understand what missionary work is and the importance of it. The more time I spend in the wards here in Argentina, I get reminded of how blessed we are to live in Utah, the hometown of the church where it is the strongest and where there are not huge leadership problems. In my patriarchal blessing it talks a little about how I will be learning more about church administration. In my mission I have seen a bit of both sides and how it changes the church in that area.

Apparently we will be having a special missionary broadcast by the first presidency and the apostles on the 23rd of June that all of the bishops and stake presidents along with the missionaries and it will be mandatory to attend. I pray that it will help us out a lot here.

My comp and I are working really hard to be able to find, teach, and baptize people here in our area. We are finding and teaching a lot! But I guess we just have to wait to see the fruits of our labors until it becomes God`s will. Kind of a bummer because I will most likely be leaving this area next week(next transfer) so I won`t be able to see a lot of these people get baptized. One of them, Mariano, wants me to baptize him, but he is waiting till his member girlfriend travels here from Chile so she can watch the baptism. She will get here in mid July so I don`t know how that is going to work. They will get married ASAP also which should be cool. He is a super prepared investigator! The reason Vanesa and her siblings didn`t get baptized in these last weeks are for many reasons, with the latest being that she has to stop smoking. Apparently she had been lying to us telling us that it was not an addiction for her. Oh well, we will see if we can get her to commit to stop smoking in the next few days. If she can, we will see three baptisms this next weekend.

A cool experience/highlight of the week was finally being able to meet one of the recent converts this ward has named Juan Morel. He is a short, middle-aged man from Paraguay and is one of the most positive and outgoing people that I have ever met here. He has a super testimony of the church with many stories. He knows a bunch of languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Guadanì, and some English. He can`t come to church because of his work, but he is willing to come with us to do visits often and help us out in the work. He just made my Saturday so much better after having some negative experiences with members just because of his smile and attitude. I remeber how that was a feature that President Hinckley always thought was really important and I am agreeing because of personal testimony. Positive people are fun to be around. SO BE POSITIVE!

The weather is staying the same down here switching between super cold and uncomfortably hot in the afternoon every day. Not much is changing too much here. Love you all!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hello!

How is everyone doing back at home? It was good to get a couple emails from the fam this week. This week has been pretty good for me here. Kinda long...but good. We went to Mendoza for Consejo, we got lots of rejections, we got lots of trials of faith, etc. But the good thing is that we are starting June of Purification here in the zone that will help us become more obedient, work harder, and be more intelligent with the Lords time.

It is a bummer that the baptisms didn't go through again this week due to the enemy working full force once again against us. Vanesa and her two siblings were going to get baptized but we had a couple problems. We went to go do the interview and she didn't quite pass due to some small doubts that she still had and never told us before and the fact that her dad, who is an anti-Christ who only visits her every so often who would not be very happy to hear that she is about to get baptized in the church of Jesus Christ. So we have had to keep our distance this last weekend, but everything should be good for the baptisms this weekend. I am sure hoping so. We are also working a lot with a new investigator, Mariano(22), that just got here from Chile who listened to the missionaries a bit and wants to learn everything over again. He and his family have felt the spirit very strong, especially in the first visit that we had with them here. He came to church yesterday and loved it so we are hoping his family will gain the courage to come next week. It is sometimes a struggle in church because sometimes the members don't know how to change their teaching a bit according to the audience. For example, in our priesthood class the teacher had the subject of exaltation and ordinances of the priesthood/temple and didn't quite teach it for someone new in the gospel. Oh well, I guess that is what we are for, to answer all of the questions. Ha ha.

We were hurting a bit this week finding new investigators due to a lot of stiff-necked people that we have met. It is a good lesson to help me learn that there is definitely opposition in all things like the scripture says.

I emailed my pres just barely and told him that you would be getting home on the 11th so he will change the return date and I will let you know. I'm sure it will be right around there.

My studies are going pretty well now. I am reading in the Libro de Mormon again going through and marking all of the characteristics and attributes of a true disciple of Christ. The other day I passed a scripture that my mission pres mentioned this week when we were with him in Mendoza. It is found in Jacob 1 19 and says

And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

Thus, true disciples of Christ are leaders and this scripture is directed to all leaders. Basically everyone in the church is a leader of some sort, especially the ones that have the calling upon them. Presidente Avila taught us that normally in our church we do not believe in taking other peoples sins upon us(especially as A of F 2 says) but if we accept a calling that gives us responsibility over other people, we must teach them the word of God with all diligence to make sure that their mistakes don't become our fault. Kind of interesting to think about.
Thanks for everything! Love you all.
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Locro (stew)

Hey,
We passed another great week here in San Rafael. Unfortunately we had a few complications with Milagros`s preparation for her baptism so that will be delayed for a week or two. Oh well. Some of the big things that happened this week were the ward activity for the 25th of May(Argentine patriotic day), working our butts off to get the numbers that we needed this week, and not too much more...ha ha. Kind of a normal week.

It is tradition for the Argentines to eat Locro, a heavy soup-type of food that has a lot of meat, on the 25th of May every year. It is really good, but after you are done putting a few bowls in your belly it is hard to stand up and walk like missionaries do. We had to go stop by the pench because I got lots of heartburn and minor stomach pains so I took a few tums and a 10-15 minute lay-down-on-the-bed-and-complain break. I work my Argentine pride tie also. We had a bunch of investigators at the activity but it is just super hard sometimes to get the members to be their friends. This may be one of the hardest wards that I have worked in through the mission.

Milagros kinda got cold feet a couple days before the baptism and doesn`t think she is ready so we are pushing it forward a bit, but on the other hand, Vanesa, Ayelèn, and Luciano are progressing a ton and are for sure getting baptized this week! Vanesa even wants to presente(bless her baby) in church. I hope that everything goes well. We are working with like 6 different families right now. Finally have lots of people to teach and baptize, now that I am probably about to leave the area in a couple weeks. Oh well, some missionaries have to do their job of planting the seeds as well as harvesting as they say.

We are going to start a zone purification this week which should be great for the zone. We are going to start with a fast on Saturday to start June of Purification in order to leave things behind that impede the spirit from being with us continually and also to have more faith. Should be fun.

Well, I don`t have way too much time today, but I hope that everyone is safe and sound and healthy up there. I love you all and keep you always in my prayers.

Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
 Not sure what these pics are about...

Monday, May 20, 2013

Buscar Milagros (Search for miracles)

Hello!
Another greeting from here in Argentina! This week I have some pretty good news! We had a super awesome week with missionary work! We are seeing miracles all over the place and seeing a lot of progress here! I think we got the best numbers that I have ever gotten in my whole mission only without the baptismal number...but we should surely be getting that this weekend!

First off we started off well even on Monday, our P-day, and on Tuesday getting a couple good lessons with our progressing investigators. Then Wednesday came along which was the day of interviews with Presidente Àvila. After we finished with our personal interviews, the assistants came and worked with us for the day as we split up and just went and looked for miracles. We ended up meeting a ton of people and we saw a ton of success. We also learned a couple new effective strategies of finding people in the streets. Ha ha. Never too late to learn new things about missionary work. One lady that Elder Garcìa(Assistant) and I found basically poured out her soul and got emotional to us and told us that her husband passed away a couple weeks ago and she was super interested in our message of the plan of salvation and of eternal families. This actually happens to us often, but I felt more this time because of the faith that I was having that day in my desire to see miracles. I am surprised at all of the lessons that are taught to us as missionaries out here about faith. I thought I knew what it was before the mission and understood it perfectly but I was very wrong. It is one of the coolest principles of the gospel by far!!

Yesterday in church I think we, the missionaries, basically ran the church... ha ha. Bishop called us Saturday at 10:00 pm to tell us that we had to talk...normal for bishops in Argentina to advise us 12 hours before or less of that we have to talk in sacrament. It was good though. I reviewed with the members in my talk a resource that was given to the members in the church during the time of President Hinckley called Feed My Sheep. Which is a guide for showing members really what they are supposed to do in missionary work. Then it was no surprise that our Sunday school teacher didn`t show up to teach our Principles of the Gospel class to new members and investigators...so I taught it. And in priesthood, the member of the high council in the stake designated to our ward did not know how to teach very well as we were learning about temples yesterday so we had to help him explain many things in the temple also because we had a couple investigators and new members that we didn`t want to get confused. It is very hard as a missionary in Argentina to have a peaceful Sunday at church... ha ha. At least it is a lot of good experience for the future callings that I will have.

Milagros, the daughter of our recent convert Leonardo, along with her boyfriend Nicolàs, came to church because we went and had breakfast with them in the morning. They are progressing a ton! Leo, sadly still does not have the Aaronic priesthood because the ward has delayed the interview too long so...the plan is for Milagros hopefully to get baptized on Sunday after church and after Leo can get sustained by the ward and receive the priesthood to baptize his daughter right after! That will be one of the best experiences of the mission to watch, I am sure of it. Leo has been desiring that she gets baptized for a long time now. She has fallen in love with the Book of Mormon and is hooked to the story. We have been telling her that for the past two months but sadly she never opened the book. It has power!

Since I just barely finished Doctrine and Covenants, I have decided to start the Book of Mormon over again and have a focus. After a making a list of topics I could mark, I decided to mark all of the parts that impact me on the topic of being a true disciple of Christ. I have found many already including even a couple parts before in the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. He by far is one of the best examples of discipleship obviously because he was chosen by God to be the dispensation head prophet of the most important and last dispensation in all of time. In his testimony when he is chatting with Moroni in his room, Moroni tells him that his name will be taken for bad and for good by the people of the world. This phrase made me remember of something that a seminary teacher taught me one time. That if we, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, are not hated by anyone we are failing at being true disciples of Christ. Any faithful member should have this same prophetic announcement upon them also that their name will be talked for good and for bad. If we are always sharing the gospel with others, there is a 100% chance that we will get rejected at some time. We are in the dispensation with the most faithful and obedient children of our Heavenly Father along with the most rebellious and disobedient. We must always remember in those moments of rejection whose name we carry upon our countenance. It is not our message that we are sharing, it is surely His. I love this gospel and I know with all my heart that it is true.

I love you all and wish you a happy, warm month of May while over here I am freezing my face off!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
day with the assistants
huge hamburguesas!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

te amo madre (I love you mother)

Hey!
Well, I was already able to see all of you last night on Skype so I don`t know if there is way too much new to tell you. Ha. It was awesome again being able to talk to you and see you even though you couldn`t see me there. I will make sure to attach a pic so you can see what it was like for me. I hope that mom was able to have a great Mother`s Day! I have always been and am and will be super grateful for all of the sacrifices that you have made so that I could get to be where I am now. You, once again, easily take the trophy for MOTHER OF THE YEAR! I wasn`t able to write any cheesy poems this year...but you know how much I love you!

My new comp is from Sandy, UT and is named Elder Bennett. He has 17 months in the mission and I am training him as a new zone leader here in San Rafael. He likes to work hard so I think that before I leave here we will be able to see a lot of success! I hope that we can start changing this zone a bit because we have got some tough missionaries here. Lots of them are ending the mission.

We are seeing some progress in our investigators. It still is the hardest thing in the world to get them to come to church, but they are obtaining their testimonies of the restored gospel here a little there a little. Our convert, Leo, is doing just about everything he can to bring his daughter to church early in the morning but it seems like she is just not going to budge. Once she starts reading the Book of Mormon and praying regularly she will easily make it to church. It is always like that. The book of Mormon and and prayer are some of the most powerful and easy ways that our Heavenly Father can speak to us. If only every investigator just understood that... Our other investigator that had a baby when we didn`t even take note that she was pregnant is going to get baptized at the beginning of the next month with a couple of those little kids in the fam. Vanesa is her name. We have actually been able to see big changes in her since the first visits. The whole family is just very uneducated and didn`t really understand anything in the beginning, but now Vanesa can remember just about everything from the lessons that we have taught her. Miracles!

I will make sure to keep Opi and grandpa Fletcher in my prayers. I still plan on going fishing with Grandpa right when I go home if his casting arm is in condition or not. I can`t believe Kim is turning 40 already. She is getting kinda old...ha ha. That means that she was my age when I was born. Cool.

Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
  Happy Mother's Day Skype
 Elder Bennett from Sandy, Utah
 The piano Man
Where's waldo???

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hola...

Hello!
Dang, it has been kind of a tough week. We have had lots of bad weather, lots of upliftments then just being dropped down, lots of being unfocused about future stuff(in a way it is a good thing because I feel a lot more secure about what I am going to do in the future), etc.

We were hoping and praying a lot that Elder Barton would be able to be here for the baptism of this family that we have prepared, but as always something crazy/unexpected happens to ruin the plans. Maybe it is just the will of the Father. We had an awesome visit with Vanesa and the family on Saturday preparing them for the baptismal interview and for church the next day(because it was essential for them to get baptized this next Saturday). We even bought her a cheap alarm clock so she could wake up on time for Sunday. They are a VERY humble family and they have no way of waking themselves up, especially on a Sunday. We passed by on Sunday morning to walk to church with them, but one of the kids came out and told us that the ambulance had to come and get her at 5:00 AM to take her to the hospital because she was going to have her baby...and the first thing that was going through our heads was "she is pregnant???" ha ha ha ha ha ha. We didn`t say it out loud, but it is sad how we didn`t even know that she was pregnant(she is a bit overweight). So it looks like the baptism is off for a couple weeks or so. It is a bummer for my comp, but oh well. Some things just don`t work out the way you want them to.

Another problem we have had is the terrible weather. I believe that it has rained here more than my whole mission put together. We are having to wash our clothes twice as much because we just get soaked like every other day. It has put a toll on the amount of work we were able to do this week, adding upon how my comp is kinda losing it. Ha. He is going to Germany for a few weeks before school because his family now lives on a military base because his dad is a doctor. He gets to see his family next Wednesday at 11:00 AM. He is super stoked to see the fam and leave the missionary life as well as getting sad to leave being a missionary and helping others with their salvation full time.

He has been finishing his stewardship letter this week that he has to turn in to Presidente Àvila and his stake president so he has been thinking a lot about the future, so I have too. I had a bit of time to search different schools and pray about it and stuff and I think that I want to go to the University of Utah. I am not sure if I want to go back to Snow. The U is not quite as cheap as Snow, so working for a bit may be necesary along with looking for financial aid. My idea is still that I can come back and work for a bit and spend time with the family maybe looking for an eternal spouse in the Salt Lake area. Ha ha. I think I am sure about the not coming home early to start school right away, but maybe I could just take a couple classes from a nearby college. That might be hard though too set up now and may be too late. But then go full out starting in the spring. My comp and I have also been talking casually about future careers and stuff. He is going to be a large animal vet and I was not 100% sure yet. I printed some stuff out on some health careers that I wanted to look into and I think I have changed from the physical therapy view and I feel really good about studying to be a dentist. Nothing I have ever thought about too hard before because it never called my attention. It concords well with my patriarchal blessing and it is one of the best careers to go into right now with many benefits. So yeah, that is the update on what I feel about the future life. I just will have to find a good job to keep me busy bringing in some cash for when I get home.

Well, this is the last week of the transfer. I just have to endure this last one out and I can receive a new comp and we can start working super hard again. I want these last three transfers to be the best of the mission. We`ll see what we can do.

I am glad that I have sisters that can at least get super good grades in school. I wasn`t terrible, but I will always have those guilty thoughts about how I wish I did better in high school so that the rest of life could be easier. Keep up the good work and you will all be rocket scientists some day! Ha. That is great that there are more missionaries leaving. Wasn`t it Kelleen that is coming to Argentina? Joe is coming home already?? Wow, that means that everyone starts to come home...oh boy. I will keep Bro. Heaton in my prayers this week.
Till next week,
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera

Monday, April 22, 2013

Andando (come on!)

Hello!
Life is going alright here in the mission right now. We are kind of plateau-ing with the zone. Not seeing too much improvement in a lot of aspects. We had a couple cool miracles pass us last week with some investigators though so it is looking pretty good. My comp is getting closer to ending his mission(2 weeks...).

With our investigators this whole last week, we barely saw any progress and advancement and we were getting down on ourselves. During planning on Thursday, we decided to do a fast on Saturday especially for this one family we are teaching so that they can get baptized. We did the fast and that afternoon on Saturday in the lesson we had with this family, they basically just had a huge change of heart and said that they were now all wanting to get baptized. I have no clue what happened in their hearts for them to change that fast, but I know that I am going to be fasting more often. We put baptismal dates with all of them(Mirta, Vanesa, Ayelèn, and Luciano) for this next Saturday because they needed to go to church one more time. The unfortunate thing is that they didn`t make it to church yesterday! Ugh! There are way too many trials in the mission. Ha ha. Maybe it wasn`t God`s will for them to get baptized this next week. Who knows, maybe my comp will be able to baptize his last week here in Argentina!

Elder Barton is rounding the corner and starting to realize more that he is going home as he gets his classes ready, receives his flight plans, writing his stewardship paper for the end of his mission, etc. We are still working hard though. That is a good thing!

The bishop called us on Saturday night and told us that we are assigned talks for sacrament meeting. In our ward they do a missionary work sunday each month on the third sunday. We both had to talk for like 20 minutes. Good thing I had a couple talks prepared, so I just went off of those. I think that one of the big blessings of being set apart as a missionary is that it is not too hard to put together a quick talk and give it. ha ha.

Leonardo, our convert, is progressing a ton! He finished the Book of Mormon now and is starting to read all the other books that we gave him. He loved the preparing to enter the holy temple booklet and had tons of questions. That was fun. Ha ha. I can`t wait to go back to the temple when I finish the mish. Leo is doing all he can so that his daughter, Milagros, can get baptized also, but she loves to sleep on Sunday mornings...

We are also starting to work more with our less active member families because we are finding lots of part-member families. Maybe we will be baptizing and completing more familes in the near future. It is just really hard to work with inactive members.

We did an activity this week with puppets. It was something the ward mission leader put together. We basically did a puppet show on "the life of a missionary", but not really. Ha. I don`t think we got much of what the missionary work in the ward needed, but oh well. At least we had fun with puppets...I´ll attach a pic.

The San Rafael zone is not really going anywhere. I am just kinda doing all that I can right now as a leader as well as waiting patiently for transfers to see some new missionaries in the zone...ha ha.

Today, we have plans to go visit a bodega(winery) because it is basically my comps last p-day(because we may be going to Mendoza next monday) and he hasn`t been to a bodega yet. There are plenty here in San Rafael so that should be fun.

Sorry I didn`t give too many details on the piche(armadillo) last week. The answer is yes, it was pretty good. It was one of the fattiest things that have ever eaten. It is not clean. It makes you feel like just taking a long shower and eating about 4 pounds of laxatives and tums to get that thing out of you as fast as you can. Armadillo burps are worse than fish burps. Ha ha. 
Thanks for all the prayers. Love you!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera 




Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Armadillo en mi panza (Armadillo in my belly)

Hey,
We had a better week and got a lot more work done than the last. Our investigators are progressing but they still are not coming to church. Elder Barton is getting nearer and nearer to the end of his mission. I am starting to think about what my future is going to be like after the mission.

I don`t understand how two areas can be so different. When I was in my last area in Chimbas, it wasn`t this hard to bring people to church, but here it is the thing that is taking the most toll on all of us. We are working with complete families but the members aren`t as willing to help. It makes a huge difference. It is still possible to baptize people without members working with you, but with them it makes it a whole lot easier. We are basically still working with the same few families and trying to get them to take more steps. The Esquivel family and the Cortez family. Leonardo, our recent convert, is the head of the Esquivel family and is being a great example for his daughter and those of the extended family that live in the house. The next big step is bringing them to church. The Cortez family needs to have member involvement in the lessons and then they will start to gain their tesitmonies. We are praying a ton for them.

Elder Barton, my comp, is nearing the end of his mission as he only has 3 weeks left. It is tough sometimes being with a missionary like this because a lot of them seem to "burn out" towards the end. He is staying somewhat strong. Ha. We are working hard, but if he is going to wake up at 6:30 he is going to need the siesta in the afternoon to rest his eyes for a bit. Ha ha.

My comp is getting all of his classes and stuff ready at BYU and it gets me wanting to get more ready for the future. President, towards the end of the mission, gives us permission to look at schools and jobs and stuff, so I will spend some time on that and get back to ya. I may need some help on some of that stuff. Actually, is there a way that you can send me my Snow information. How to get into my snow account so I can look at my credits and stuff to see what I need. I would appreciate it. I can`t remember any of that stuff.

Last week was a lot colder and this week is pretty hot again. I love the unpredictable weather. This P-day, we went to Valle Grande, a beautiful place up there in the mountains of San Rafael. It was good up there and we had a good time, but we had a little trouble getting back. That is why I didn`t write yesterday. I will send some pics. We ate armadillo for lunch with our asado on Sunday with members. That was fun. My first brain that I have ever eaten was armadillo brain. Mmmm. I´m sure that Lexi would love it. She always loves stuff like that. I´ll bring some back for her.

Thanks for the prayers in my part. I wish everyone well till next week!
Un Abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera




Monday, April 8, 2013

La Conferencia estuvo manso (The Conference was meek)

Hey,
That`s super awesome that in one week I became a `new cousin` twice! I am glad that everything went well with the births of Whitnie and Hudson. Just making the big family that we have that much bigger. We had a so-so week here. The zone, after transfers has just been falling quite a bit. We have the zone meeting tomorrow so this will be one of our chances to elevate the zone. Wow, General Conference was pretty flippin sweet! The talks were super awesome and I feel like I was very able to feast upon their words.

Some of my favorite talks were Holland(I just love the way that he is able to grab our attention so much that we are on the edge of our seats the whole time. I think everyone looks forward to him every time to take a great part out of the bible and interpret it into a way that just makes everyone's jaw drop.), Andersen, the first presidency in the priesthood session(namely Utchdorf), etc. We missed out on a few talks on Sunday because they were trying to kick us out of the enlish room and some of the stake leaders here did not know what they were doing. Oh well. I think it was pretty obvious that one of the big themes of this conference and one of the main things that God wants us to know through his living prophets is that we need to put more focus in our home and family. I was able to point out a reference to that principle in almost every talk! Must be important... The most important eternal work that we can do is under our own roof. If everyone did it perfectly, we would have a perfect world. Family is the most important social unit. My comp loved Elder Clayton`s talk...ha ha. He wants to get married ASAP!

The other North Americans in our zone(Elder Chase and Elder Larsen) were able to baptize in between sessions on Sunday. That was a pretty cool experience for them and that family.

We had some really good visits with some investigators this past week. We did a couple exchanges and we had consejo and conference and other distractions from our area, but we did the best we could. We watched the long Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie with Leonardo, his daughter, her boyfriend Nicolàs, and other kids there. After the movie we were able to talk about the movie and feel the spirit super strong. Many of the kids got emotional because they were feeling something they had never felt before. Leonardo bore his testimony so strong in front of them and really put the words of Elder Holland to the test. What Leo told the kids was that he truly `believed` that what we were teaching was true and that is why he got baptized last week. He is a huge stud!!! Those kids have to get baptized now. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, Leo and the kids were not seen this whole weekend at any of the sessions of conference. Dang! We will still see a lot of progress in them equally this week.

It is crazy to be with someone who only has 4 weeks left until they are going to split from the mission. He isn`t getting way too bad yet, but he will probably want to do anything but proselyte during the last few weeks. Gotta endure till the end!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera


Monday, April 1, 2013

Bautismo de las Pascuas

Happy Easter everyone!...from yesterday.

I hope everyone had a great Easter Sunday and was able to have fun with the eggs and bunnies as well as take some time to think about Christ which is the reason of why we celebrate this day. I missed the family a lot yesterday. None of the bigger holidays in the mission are the same without the family. We passed a so-so week as a zone here in San Rafael. We gained lots of elders that are not the biggest of workers so it kind of complicates things for us a bit here. There is work to be done. But hey, we baptized Leonardo this past weekend!! It was awesome!

It was definitely a baptism that we had to work for pretty hard this past week. The enemy was throwing just about everything he had in front of us including not being able to find baptismal clothing, him almost not passing the baptismal interview, working with a tough ward mission leader, etc. We are just glad that he was able to get baptized, that it was a great spiritual experience for him, and that his daughter, Milagros, is way happy for him and supports him and will soon be following him into the water. He finally felt the spirit a lot in sacrament meeting this time! It was awesome to see him with his arm around his daughter because she came to see his confirmation. I think that it was one of the happiest moments of his life finally feeling good about bringing his daughter to a church that he fully trusts in and has a stellar testimony that it is true. That is what the mission is all about!!! Helping families become closer to each other as they get closer to God. Good stuff.

Church was good yesterday because they actually remembered that it should be Easter themed(both Christmases and Easters that I have passed in the mission, the wards didn`t really put any focus on the theme of the holiday). The church here lacks a lot of organization/preparation. They are always just everywhere with their talks and meetings that they are very hard to follow. Preparation is a very important thing so it makes it easier for the ones who attend to feel the spirit. The spirit is going to be in the church every Sunday because it is the Lord`s Church, but sometimes it is really hard to feel it if you don`t seek.

Can`t wait to see pics of the new cousins coming from Kim and Lynsey. I have a lot to keep in my prayers this week. I hope dad can get better for his trip too. We totally forgot that it was April Fools today. It always catches me unexpectedly there at the first of the month so I can`t think of any good jokes. Oh well. By the way...I´m not 100% sure, but I think that I may have just made you two grandparents... Good ol April Fools jokes. That sure wouldn`t be good at all. The pie we had was bought from the store. The only thing that we make here is pan de banana(banana bread). Ha ha. Simple, fast, and tasty. That is awesome that Stephen is home. Send him a "Que te pasa chabòn. Te mando saludos de Mendoza, lo cual serìa mejor que Còrdoba..." I haven`t gotten any packages or letters but we are going to Mendoza tonight.

I am way stoked for Conference this weekend! We are going to hear many awesome things from inspired men. It is always great to hear what the prophet of God has to tell us for these modern days.

My keyboard is terrible today and we are a bit hurried because we have to travel to Mendoza today for the zone leader consejo. But I will attach some pics and stuff.

Thanks for everything! Love you all!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La Iglesia es verdadera
My cool Easter egg
Baptism of Leonardo


Monday, March 25, 2013

¡Me quedo! y ¡Semana Santa! (I remain! and Holy Week!)

Hey family!
Well, we have reached the end of another transfer in the mission. I can`t believe that I am already in transfer 13 out of 16. That sure puts it in view for what is left for me. 4 transfers are going to fly by! This week was pretty good. We have seen a lot of progress in a lot of our investigators and we have had miracles that have permitted us to teach the families of our investigators. The dream of every missionary. Transfers came! We had stake conference.

Well, like every six weeks you are probably(or probably not) on the edge of your chair waiting to hear about transfers. It wasn`t too big of a surprise this go-around but I am going to be staying here with E` Barton to end his mission. We always made jokes about how I was going to be killing him(ending his mission) in the end of it all. I am just curious to see what this transfer will be like. I hope that he doesn`t die too bad here because we sure have a lot of work to do. There was a lot of changes in the zone but unfortunately we are still going to be only 5 gringos(northamericans) in the whole zone. Oh well.  It looks like we may or may not be having a baptism this week with Leonardo. He has a super testimony of the Book of Mormon and that will be what carries him to get baptized this Saturday. He has come to church twice, but in his experiences he has not enjoyed all his visits. He came to a testimony meeting and a week ago when all the women in the Relief Society got up and cried and told each other how much they loved each other(because it was the anniversary of the Relief Society or something). He was expecting to come and feel the spirit as he is enlightened by clear doctrine. More good news is that we are now teaching his daughter Milagros and his nephew David. Surely they will follow Leo into the waters of baptism. We finally got the mom(Vanesa) of those stinkin kids that we have brought to sacrament a few times to church. She brought six little kids this time so it was just all craziness! I think that she was able to learn a ton in stake conference though. It was a really awesome conference. It was a satellite broadcast and Elder Russell M. Nelson was presiding. He gave his talk in Spanish as well as a few other general authorities. It was really cool to see the gift of tongues going to work with the leaders of our church. He may have had a very very thick gringo accent but he was understood the same. The talks given by the authorities were perfect for both these families that we are teaching!! The focuses were parenting and finding answers to questions. I don`t think it is a coincidence that those were the two exact and specific things that our investigators needed to hear about. It is a huge shame that Leo couldn`t make it but we are going to tell him all about it if we cannot obtain a recording of the conference.

We found the best ice cream parlor in the world the other day. It is called La Delicia and we may or may not be spending the whole day over there today. The only bad thing is that it is kinda super expensive. Oh well.

That is awesome that Lex is going to prom. I hope that everyone has a FELICES PASCUAS this weekend and that our family can win big money in g-pas Easter egg hunt. Here in Argentina it is the Semana Santa(Holy Week). I think it is more of a Catholic thing, but our church kinda celebrates it also. Should be fun. That is great that Kim is gonna have the baby soon! I will look forward to seeing the pics! Yeah, I hope the package gets here. The offices sent us an email saying that it has been hard to get the heavier packages for some reason. I hope my package made it though! The weather is starting to get better here. It still can`t decide if it wants to get hotter or colder. I have worn my sweaters often though. I hope to never see so much heat again in my life as I have here. Well, more like not wearing missionary attire while walking outside all day in that heat.
Love to all of you.
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La igesia es verdadera
 Pie day...3-14
St. Paddy's day shake

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Aumentano el ànimo en San Rafael (The mood in Aumentano San Rafael)

Good Morning!
I can`t believe that I am already in the last week of this transfer! Time just flies by when you are having fun and working hard. This transfer for us in Pueblo Diamonte has been difficult with getting people to commit(but that is how San Rafael is...a bit harder), so we haven`t been able to get anyone baptized, but this next transfer we have a lot prepared. The awesome news is that we have a couple sure baptisms for the first few weeks of the next transfer! The zone San Rafael is actually doing really good right now. We baptized 5 this past weekend! Which is incredible! Good stuff.

Leonardo, our best investigator, is progressing a ton right now. He came to church(sacrament meeting because he had to leave after because his dad was visiting from Buenos Aires) with us and accepted a sure baptismal date. He told us about his experience with the Book of Mormon. He told us that he woke up at like 3 in the morning and felt some weird impression to pick up the Book of Mormon and read where he was at in the book. He is a stud and was already in Helaman so he picked up and read in Helaman 3. The spirit touched him in a way that he had never felt before. He felt at peace. He read about a door that leads to Christ and some other stuff. In the visit I referred him to 2 Nephi 31 where it talks about how the gate is only through repentance and baptism that is the strait and narrow that leads to Christ. He took this experience as a sure answer to his prayers! Finally he has gotten an answer. I know that God will always answer our prayers no matter how long it takes. We are on His timetable, not ours. During one of the visits this week his daughter joined in and we taught her the plan of salvation. He always said that he didn`t raise his daughter in any church for the reason that he didn`t even know which one was the true one. I reflected on that a little bit. Would I raise my kids in my church if I wasn`t even sure it was God`s true church? She is receiving our teaching now and I am sure that she will follow her dad by a couple weeks into the baptismal font. There are also a lot of other kids in that house that all live there so we have some work to do. Leonardo is going to be the missionary. Ha.

We also have a lot of other people we are trying to work with, but they are just so hard with keeping the commitments that we are getting impatient. It is sad having to drop investigators, but it is very necessary sometimes so that we are not wasting time with people who are not willing to change so that we can find the elect that are waiting for us. Our ward really helps a lot with the investigators we drop or stop visiting as much because they continue visiting them.

My comp was sick for a few days this week. He just stayed in bed while I tried to keep myself busy doing stuff. I hate sicknesses in the mission(and all other times, but mainly in the mission) because you stay in the apartment and realize how much you are missing and the things you could be doing out in the area. He got better though thank goodness.

Everyone has been talking about the new pope here! It is just the biggest news that they have ever heard. Most people seem pretty happy and think that it is going to be very good for Argentina. In sacrament meeting our bishop got up and told us that the first presidency sent him a congratulating letter and that we also should show respect to the new pope. He sounds like a really good guy. He went through a tour in the Buenos Aires Temple in that time. He is a big shot here in Argentina. Yeah, 90% may profess to be Catholic here in this country but i would say that maybe 5-10% of those practice their religion. It is a common phrase here to say that you are "Catholic" when you are just not interested with religion. Ha ha. I cannot count how many times that has happened to us when we make a contact.

It looks like you are still staying busy over there. I am glad to see that Lexi had a good birthday/pie day. I can`t believe I have a 17 year old sister! That is old. Don`t get married before I get home! The car looks awesome! I really like the color. Does dad like it better than the Altima?

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND POPS! I HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD ONE!

I have probably got to agree with you, you definitely do have some good kids. ha ha. But that has all to do with the parents. I am reading through Doctrine and Covenants right now and there are some good passages on that. Parents have a great responsibility. Keep up the good work. Ha! Advice from your kid.
I love you all.
Un Abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera