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?


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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hey y`all

Another tiring week here in San Rafael! Well, I guess it is better that way. We were just everywhere planning a ton for the zone meeting on Tuesday and the zone conference with president on Thursday. It is good to be working very hard, but planning for meetings and stuff is stressful when you have it all in the same week. Oh well. Hey, I hit my 18 month mark this past week! Wow! I cannot believe at all that the time has flown by so flippin fast! We had a little party on Thursday to celebrate after the zone conference. This week I have had some of the highest moments of the mission and some of the lowest.

Well, as I said, I am pretty exhausted from all of the meetings this week. This time around I was very ready for a relaxing P-day. I think today we are actually going to some tenedor libre(buffet) place close by and then going to the stake center to chill. A couple elders wanted to do a ping pong tournament. All of the gringos(north-Americans) in our zone(5 out of 18) are pretty good at pong and a couple of them know how to beat me. So it will be pretty fun. Ha ha. After zone conference I got my first temple recommend interview in Spanish. He also gave me the recommend in Spanish that expires 3 months after the mission. I can`t wait till I get to go and pass through a session at the Buenos Aries Temple(in Spanish) on the way home! Dang, it is a lot tougher working with a comp who is in his last days because he talks about home more. Ha ha. I found a way to put it: I am really excited to go home and get off the mission sometimes just because I miss a lot of stuff(like every missionary does), but I really don`t want to give up being a missionary. These are my last 6 months of the mission though. Like everyone says, this is the best part of your mission and I need to work my butt off. And I will!

On Thursday after zone conference we went over to the other elders` pench and did the 18 month ritual of the burning of the pants. I at no time in the mission planned on doing this because it just seemed dumb. I ended up burning my favorite pants even! The think is that they were just the most worn pants ever. They had gotten holes and I patched them up with pieces of sock material(it was all that I could find! ha ha). And they were just falling apart. But they were the most comfortable. After the burning, we went and got ice cream. The assistants had to stay at our pench for 3 nights straight because they were traveling to and fro from one zone to the other and we just happened to be in the center there.

We have been able to feel the spirit very strong in the lessons and meetings that we have had this week. Friday was actually one of the days that we have been able to see the most miracles. Just back to back the whole day. One of our investigator crazy kids came with us and gave us all of his friends` families as referrals, Leonardo had a crazy experience with the Book of Mormon(he probably had some crazy dream of an angel coming to him to tell him it is true) because he saw a member neighbor and they talked for like an hour but we still don`t know what happened to him because he had to go to Mendoza yesterday for some mechanic job so he wasn`t able to attend church with us, Pedro finally is starting to get a testimony of the Book of Mormon, etc. We just saw a ton of miracles everywhere on Friday. Friday night Elder Barton prophesied the trial of faith that was to come on Saturday...and it sure did. Everything just went wrong...Leonardo went to Mendoza for the weekend, one of our new families lost a lot of interest, and no one was home!!! It was tough, but we got through it. I think we just had to sleep it off that night. This week will definitely be a lot more successful!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LEXI! Que la cumpla feliz, que la cumpla feliz, que la cumpla Luberta, que la cumpla feliz!!! In Argentina it is tradition to cake people in the face so...I did it electronically. It really should be pie though because you were born on pie day. We told the hermana that gives us lunch on Thursday to make us we`ll see. Enjoy your pizza!

That is awesome that Dillon got his call to Mexico! We will both be spreckin ze spanish juntos! He is going to love the mexican mission! He is going to baptize a TON of people over there. I heard that Mexico is second to only to Utah(Provo) in convert baptisms. So I think he will like that! I also hear that they are focused more on the ´open the mouth´ street contacts there, but I am sure they are slowly changing to working more with refererrals from members. Well cous, I´ll see ya in two and a half more years! Is joshy washy really getting married?? I wanna see a pic! What about Jason? Is he even trying? I can`t believe that dad got a new car!! Just lots of big news today! Send me lots of pics next week when you get it. Is dad going to give me the Altima? Because I would surely accept that gift if it is an offer...just sayin. Yes, I will make you tacos and other Argentine foods when I get home. And yes, I do very much miss baseball and all other sports a lot.

Till next week!
Un abrazo,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
Zone San Rafael

Monday, March 4, 2013

La iglesia verdadera (The true Church)

Hello everyone!
We have passed a pretty exhausting week! There have been lots of events that have just taken it out of us both including consejo for the zone leaders traveling to Mendoza at the first of the week, preparing everything for the zone meeting that we have to give tomorrow to the zone, finally finding our families that are progressing when we got into their house(we have a good handful of families now that we are working with), the most crazy sacrament meeting I have ever been in, a visit to the meetings of an evangelical church(The assembly of God), etc.

We ended up leaving to Mendoza right after P-day finished. We got the opportunity to enjoy our P-day at least. It was way cool to see a lot of my old comps and other elders. President and Hermana Àvila along with the asistants had a lot of good things to say and I think that if we apply the things that we learned about how to use the Book of Mormon in our teaching and the focus of the families(not just the one person in the family that seems interested), because behind every person there is a family(more people to baptize along with fulfilling the purpose of the church. Our zone of San Rafael has had an awesome week this past week and I think that we are just going to continue raising the bar as we work hard and apply the revelation that President has received for the mission.

As we have been finding our way around better in the area we have also been having a lot more success with our investigators. Leonardo, whom we have been trying to find ever since we got here(because he was the best investigator that the other elders left us), we have found and he has read up to Alma 39 in the Book of Mormon. He is an awesome guy and through the visits we have been able to help him recognize the answer to his prayers that this really is the true church of Jesus Christ. He has had his questions answered through the Book of Mormon. For example he had a few questions about the law of Chastity in our visit and we were able to answer his questions and teach him just by reading the chapter that he was in(Alma 39). Ha ha. Then he wanted to know about the place that we go after this life and what happens to us. Elder Barton and I both laughed because the next 2 or 3 chapters(Alma 40-42) have the exact doctorine that he wanted. He accepted the baptismal date for this Saturday the 9th, but unfortunately for some unknown reason he did not show up at church yesterday when he is needing one more attendance to be able to get baptized. Complicated. We also have been working a lot with another family(the Conejeras family) who have been passing lots of emotional problems because the girlfriend of Milton(the son) got sent off with her dad to Buenos Aires. Super long story that I am sure that you do not want to hear. But the two kids of the family, Milton and Jenifer, are recent converts to the church but the parents, Silvia and Arturo, are delaying because they need to get married. Silvia is way ready, but Arturo has a little bit harder of a heart, so we are in the softening process(gaining his trust) as on Saturday we went over and taught them how to make tacos. They were very spicy(I think I may have left that house crying), but delicious! We also found another big family on Friday as this kid came up to us in the street and asked us for a brochure with pictures(like tons of kids usually do) and my comp told him that he would give him one if we could meet his family. He took us back to his house and we met the family. A couple members had almost been baptized about a year ago. They couldn`t come to church this week but they said that we could take two of their kids with us. It was the most stressful sacrament meeting that I have ever been to. I got a little taste of what it will be like to be a dad(but 100 times worse because these kids were very uneducated in every way because they come from a VERY humble family). My comp and I both decided that we want about 0 children. I don`t know how our wives are going to take that. Ha ha.

One of the other families that we are working with(the Galdame family) is being really tough with us. They are super evangelical and wanted us to go to visit at least one meeting of their church yesterday. Seeing as there is no rule about visiting the meetings of other churches if they invite you, we went to try it out with the objective that they could soften their hearts to be able to come and just visit our church next Sunday. We went with them and it was a way different experience than that of our church. It was a very big building. They were basically having a testimony meeting(as it would be called in our church), but they would just go up there and sing. We were hoping to hear lots of doctorine so we could compare and contrast with what the Book of Mormon has that the Bible can`t really get across. But the thing was that there wasn`t even really any doctorine. One of the pastor guys turned to some chapter in Matthew and read the ask and you shall receive scripture and promised everyone that whatever thing they asked in the name of Jesus it will be given them. I got a weird headache throughout the whole thing because the drums and other instruments were really loud. I hope that we can have the spirit with us as we talk to Sandra and Juan to be able to express to them what we really felt without offending them or their church. I feel like it was a good experience for our testimonies because we can definitely feel something very different in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What a great blessing it is to be in Christ`s church.

We have another busy week ahead of us with a couple conferences happening here in San Rafael. To answer a few questions from the fam...As of right now, we don`t have a ward mission leader. He is selected and everything, but he needs the sustaining. His wife came up to us in church yesterday and told us that he is super excited for his calling. Ha ha! I don`t think she understood that you are not supposed to tell anyone until he is sustained in sacrament meeting. That is awesome that Cade is now in the mission field. I can`t believe that it has all happened so fast. I will probably have to send him a quick email. I will be anticipating the mission call of Dill. I`m not a prophet or anything, but Dillon is going to get called to the Argentina, Mendoza mission! That`s great that Dad is starting up the races again. And moving up to Expert category! Keep up the blue ribbon status that you have from last year!
Well, it is time for us to go. Thanks for all the prayers in my part.
Un abracito,
Elder Larisch
La iglesia es verdadera
 E Larisch has talent!!!
The group...