Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015: Post-Christmas

Christmas is over and New Year’s doesn’t really mean much to a missionary besides people postponing a return appointment, so things are a little frozen right now (har har har). Freezing rain came through just this morning and the other elders left it up to me to drive, which is funny considering the one other experience they had with me driving. I’m not going to talk on that.

It was awesome to see you guys again! I just want to clarify on something that I think I may have misrepresented. Teaching on a mission is awesome, and definitely a necessary thing. I just wanted to convey that there is a ton that goes on that we don’t get the chance to do. I love being out here anyway.

Well, we started teaching one of our neighbors the discussions. He’s a retired preacher and a Vietnam veteran and we helped him move in last week. He’s really spiritual and already believes a lot of the things we do, like the Apostasy and learning through prayer. He’s told us he has a lot of free time so he’ll definitely be reading the Book of Mormon and he’ll sincerely pray about it, and we can come by anytime.

So, I have had the experience with people confessing to us, but that really hasn’t been a hindrance. People out here just like to talk. A lot. Honestly that’s fine by me because then we get to know them really well and I’m still not the biggest talker, but we have a little difficulty keeping the lessons on track and getting out on schedule.

We gave talks in church on Sunday and it went pretty well. We didn’t have a ton of people there because of the weather, but everyone who was there got excited about doing mission work, or I at least I think they were.

I can’t believe Kent is reporting [in October]. He hasn’t been out that long has he? And Daniel, too! What am I doing four months out already? Hope this doesn’t pass me by too quickly.

Still enjoying it out here. When we have more work it’s more fun. Love you guys and Happy New Year!

This is from this morning. Thanks for the camera!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 20, 2015: Week of Christmas

I did get the package, thank you. I'm working on finding out what time [for Christmas day phone call], though. I'll be sure to let you know before the day.

I loved the drawings! All the other elders were really impressed by Nathan's drawing. I liked Joshua's comic a lot and am looking forward to the other's he says he's making. Jacob's inside joke picture was pretty funny, too. [Pictures inserted below]

What's "emeritus" mean?

It's been pretty difficult to fight off all the Star Wars spoilers flying out here. The gist of what I'm hearing is that it was better than the prequels, but not quite up to the hype level. I'd say that's a win for them, considering the massive hype train that led up to it.


Thanks for the email, Grandma and Grandpa! I think the exact same thing. I guess I should just be better at pointing those things out. In Preach My Gospel it says that all objections should be answered using the Book of Mormon, and that the only real question stopping them is whether the Book of Mormon is true or not. Some of our recent investigators seem to think that the book can be true, but Joseph is not a prophet.

I laughed a little bit at the photo of Inigo eating Jacob and the little bit about Inigo poking around in the snow. I forgot a little about those things.

Here's one of my Christmas photos:

Got to go. Love you guys and have a merry Christmas!

Elder Rice

My weird Christmas photo:

Christmas pictures from Nathan, Jacob, and Joshua:

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14: Email Chain

In this entry, I included emails from me and my husband to give context to a few of the things Parker talks about.

From: Parker Rice
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:16 AM
Subject: Transfers

I did get the coat and thermals, but I didn’t get the others. Maybe I didn’t pick it all up or it just came later. I’ll check today.

Transfers turned out just fine. Elder L. is pretty cool, so I’m not worried anymore. I do have to be careful though. All the other elders visit the blog, so I can’t bag on them. Not that I would, of course ... *cough*

It’s definitely a plus that he’s seen Over the Garden Wall, though.

So we revisited a bunch of referrals that we couldn’t seem to get a hold of before and got a ton of return appointments. At one of the houses, we almost didn’t go to because we couldn’t find the street (some parts of Shawnee are laid out weird). When we finally got there, we met a lady in her car who just happened to be on her phone with her daughter who was confirmed a member just that day. She said, “I was just saying to her, ‘There’s two guys on bikes who just rode up. Yes, they have ties. Yes, they have tags. Yes, they say they’re missionaries.’” She didn’t actually live at the house, but was related to the lady living there. Because of that experience, she let us in and we got to set up a return appointment. Kind of cool that we just pulled up in time.

We also taught a lesson with Sister T. Her husband has been becoming active again and she wanted to know what this religion is about. She is very thorough and analytical in her search and sometimes she asks the questions like, “What about Emma Smith after Joseph died?” She has faith that Joseph is a prophet, and in the possibility in modern prophets, and wants a temple marriage, but has a lot of questions and is looking for resources for personal study (she seems stuck on it and is a little frustrated that she can’t find answers). She goes to and has studied through the canon. Do you have any books on it? Know of any? She’ll probably still be baptized, but we just thought it would be helpful. (This is also the lady who invited one of our other investigators to church a while back.)

Her son is also now investigating again. He let us know after the lesson about his personal search for God over the years. He has some interesting beliefs (such as reincarnation), and believes that our church is the closest to what God had intended, but he rejects organized religion. He still wants to know what our church is about and has come to church. (He is the 23-year-old mentioned in the previous email). We’re going to go ahead with the lessons and try to answer the questions he still has about God/life/purpose and hope that he’s open to the Spirit bearing witness. It may be hard for him though.

It’s been a lot of fun out here so far and I’m feeling that the work is going to really pick up this week. Thanks, Aunt Alisa, for the email! Thank you for sharing that experience. It really strengthens my faith in modern miracles. I’m getting to enjoy the fulfilling of some out here.

Merry Christmas!

Elder Rice

From: Merrijane Rice
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:23 AM
Subject: RE: Transfers

Just a quick response about resources for Sister T. She might try This is an apologetics resource that covers historical as well as doctrinal issues. She can access the question/answer wiki here:

I’ll think about what books she might be interested in this week. Right off the top of my head is Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, by Richard L. Bushman.

From: Jason Rice
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:25 AM
Subject: Letter from Dad 12_14_2015


Sorry this is so late. Nathan was on the computer last night with homework and I couldn’t get to it. We have had a HUGE snowstorm. We received over a foot of snow. It would be great except for two things. First, it is very heavy and I had to shovel it by myself. With my back, that can be a challenge. Second, Nathan got in a small fender-bender this morning. The truck has barely a scratch, but the other car has a messed up back left bumper. No one was hurt but Nathan said that he feels a little dumb. I told him that it was just his lack of experience and not to worry about it. Apparently the other car slid off the road heading up out of our neighborhood just before turning on to the road going over the overpass. The truck started slipping and instead of keeping his foot off of the brake, he pushed on it hard causing the truck to continue to slide in the snow. I had just told him how to handle such a situation. But I think until you have actually experienced it, it is hard to understand. I will take him driving tonight to practice.

We had a couple of Christmas parties last week. But best of all, I got to provide a small orientation to one the new apostles, Elder Renlund. Both he and his wife are really sharp and I hardly had to say anything at all in way of explanations.

Sorry this is so short. I just came in from shoveling for the second time. I’m a little tired. I’m not going into the office because traffic is so bad.

I love you,

From: Parker Rice
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Snow

I think you’d find it interesting to know that it was 76 degrees out here just yesterday. I don’t know what’s the deal with the weather out here, but it’s all over the place.

You could probably get Nathan and Joshua to shovel out the driveway in the morning if they wake up early. Don’t throw your back, old guy.

Elder Rice

From: Parker Rice
Date: December 14, 2015 at 10:53 AM
Subject: For Mom

The coat you sent is awesome. I was burning up even with the wind and rain when we were biking. Funny that earlier that day it was 76 degrees (I don’t know if you caught Dad’s reply).

Thanks for the references as well. I’m really excited to share those. With all that you’ve taught me about those kinds of things I haven’t had a problem with any of the questions she’s asked. I know some of the answers and have faith that there are answers to the ones I don’t know.

I’m not at all worried about this next transfer. As a district, we all seem to be getting along and working hard so everyone’s excited for the future. I still think that some of the ward misses Elder S., but with how awesome Elder L. is, I think we’ll be fine.

Did you see Sister L.’s dancing elf videos? If not, ask!

Love you Mom,
Elder Rice

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7, 2015: Forgot Something ...

Family Email:

Okay, so I was cleaning up (because Elder S. is getting transferred) and I found my stack of cards I got from home and realized that I hadn’t sent any thank you letters back. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the birthday gifts and all the packages you send. That sweater has saved me on a few occasions already. Also thanks to Elder K.’s mom, who sent me a card even though she doesn’t know me. Thanks Aunt Amy and family for your card (yes, I got it). I know these are all a long past due, but I really do appreciate your love and support. I really hope I didn’t miss anyone there.

I’m not getting transferred, but as I said, Elder S. is. It’s a little stressful just because I’m not sure what this new companion will be like and we could stay companions for quite a while. Apparently Elders tend to stay a long time in Shawnee (Elder S. was here for six transfers). I’ll also have to lead for a while because Elder L. won’t know anyone.

I’m not sure what type of coat works. Elder S. had a very similar coat to that olive one I wore, so something like that would work (or maybe that coat if you can find it). And no, I haven’t heard of that sauce, I’ll keep a lookout though.

So this week we continued out Christmas initiative with the #ASaviourIsBorn cards. We put together a video of people at the mall sharing what they thought about during Christmas in one word and that really helped us talk to a lot of people. I hope that we start to see the results soon, though. We had to drop quite a few investigators who weren’t ready to progress. Kind of sad because they said they wanted to be baptized, but they just wouldn’t keep any commitments.

We also helped out an elderly sister by building a gigantic ramp from her house. It was a two-day project and we were extremely tired, especially with Fast Sunday the next day. It was a good Sunday, though. One of our investigators brought her 22-year-old son to church. He had been through some really humbling experiences and I think that might have brought him out. He’s really cool and it seemed like he enjoyed church, so we hope he’ll sit in on the lessons.

We’re Christmas caroling once a week now and that has been really helpful in finding potential investigators (besides just being a really fun and spiritual experience).

Elder J. volunteered me to play the hymn for district meeting and Elder S. volunteered me to play the hymn for priesthood meeting. I didn’t know any Christmas songs, so I just chose “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” and prayed that I wouldn’t mess it up. I didn’t do too bad I think, but there were a few a cappella (I think that’s the spelling) portions of the song. Elder S. seemed to think it was pretty funny.

We visited with more members this week, and with how well that investigator’s son was received I think the ward is making progress.

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season. I’m really getting into it, but in a way that I haven’t tried before. Christmas out here really is just about the Savior. I haven’t heard the name “Santa Claus” more than three times thus far and all the decorations are Christian ones. Maybe that will change, but I hope not. I feel that you all know the true meaning of Christmas, but just to make sure you don’t forget, try to make this the first of a long line of Christ centered Christmases.

Love you,
Elder Rice

Email to Mom:

I kind of wrote to you a lot in the family letter, but I’ll see if I can share more.

We had to drop F., even though we set up a baptismal date for her two weeks ago. She really wants to be a member, but her boyfriend is living with her and he’s married and won’t get a divorce. She can’t seem to get to leaving him, even though he’s not doing his part. It’s just a hard situation. There’s no pretending in her when she says she wants to be baptized, but she won’t take steps—like coming to church or reading the Book of Mormon—to do it. At one point, she was coming every week for six months. Now she’s in a depression and has a hard time doing anything, even praying.

I’m also really nervous about transfers. As much as I know that whomever I get will probably be a good person, I’ve seen how it can be difficult with other companionships. With Shawnee, I feel we need to just get down to work, not have to sort through personal problems before we can do anything. Maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Here are some pictures I got on my flash drive:

Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015: All right, all right

First Email

Okay, I realize looking over my emails that I haven’t really answered any questions. I thought I was, but guess not. So I’ll get a few out of the way quick:

1. My camera doesn’t connect, but the other elders let me put my SD card in theirs, so that works. Sorry about not sending more photos. My camera just always skips my mind.

2. In the way of warm clothes, I just need thermals and a coat I can do service in.

The weather out here is fantastic. We biked in the rain at 32 degrees with tons of wind. And everyone is saying that it’s not even close to being done. It’s all good, though. We're still having a lot of fun besides the weather and when we’re soaked through, people like to invite us in. ...

Our Thanksgiving was awesome. We helped one of the south elder's investigators (CJ) cook Thanksgiving dinner at the church. We went to the M.’s for lunch and the L.’s for dinner, and both meals were amazing. Lots of turkey, stuffing, and potatoes. We played this hilarious game called “Things” after dinner. Someone draws a card with a topic on it like “what you do to get rid of unwanted guests” and everyone writes down a response and passes it in. The card reader reads the responses and everyone tries to guess who said what. If you’re guessed, you’re out for that round.

I’m still getting hungry looking at what you ate. I’ll have to see if they have cottage bacon out here.

You’re going to need a ton of those hurl tags. [This is in response to a picture of Joshua's hurl award from Scouts.]

I miss being out at those parties, but only a little. I’m loving the work out here and I’ve still got growing to do. I can’t think of anything super interesting that happened this week. We met a lot with less-actives and they were all super appreciative that we came to visit with them.

I don’t know if you’ve checked it out yet, but there’s a new Christmas video on We’ve been given some cards to hand out to people and our Christmas initiative is to spread the gospel by focusing on explaining why it was so important the Savior was born. So far, it’s been pretty successful. Elder S. and I had our neighbor download the video onto his flash drive and as a result, she spent a good amount of time on the site. She really liked the video and might be more interested in hearing more about us. We also handed out cards in a traffic jam last night. People were a lot more appreciative than I thought they would be.

Maybe I’ll do what Elder K. does and send a photo of some of my journal entries. You probable wouldn’t be able to read my handwriting though.

Let me know how I can write better letters. Love you guys and may God be with you.

Elder Rice

Second Email (response to Jason about Christmas gifts)

I bet Nathan would like Star Wars stuff. I don’t know what’s on the market much these days. I’ve heard Battlefront is out. I bet he really wants that.

As for me, I think a bunch of chocolate would be good. Maybe a pomegranate, some nuts, and an orange. Something Star Wars-y would be cool, too.

I'm glad the Charlie Brown movie turned out good. I was a little worried they’d just bank on the name bringing in money.

Oh, and this is just a quick response email. My letter to mom is sort of a letter to everyone. I’m going to try to make better time to write a separate one to each of you.

Elder Rice

Monday, November 23, 2015

Email to Nathan: Difficult Things

I’m not sure I can write about anything else you asked, so here’s a bunch of difficult things:
  • Biggest one, recognizing my own pride. Everyone in our district has noticed that we’re all a lot more prideful than we thought. It’s caused a few arguments and for me it’s caused a lot of stress and forgetfulness. We’ve been working on it out here in Shawnee north and south areas and the results have been great. It’s like Moroni said, you must clean the inward vessel before the outer vessel. We’ve been able to help the ward much more now that we’re working in unity.
  • Another thing is dropping investigators. On the 20th, Elder S. went on exchanges so I got to be the lead for the day. In the first lesson, I had to drop an investigator who really wanted to join and is way cool, but has been making no effort for months now. I don’t know what happened, but she now has a baptism date for April 9 (way far away). I’m going to have to take the lead on the next lesson with her on Friday (always the exchange day). Considering she still hasn’t kept the commitment to go to church, we’re going to have to let her know we can’t teach her anymore. We’ve already taught her all the lessons multiple times.
  • Getting haircuts from your companions and being heckled about it for weeks, that’s also really hard.
We haven’t had Thanksgiving at this point. We’re probably just going to go to a member’s house. We did have a Thanksgiving party, though. Not as many less actives showed to this as came to the Halloween party, so we didn’t get to make any new friends.

I don’t remember saying anything about sending drawings back, but I guess I’ll do that. Joshua wants me to start writing letters home, so I’ll send it in there.

Love you guys,
Elder Rice

November 23, 2015: Life is like a companion's hair cut ...

Elder K. sent the unfixed haircut pictures. Elder S. “fixed it,” and we had K. C. actually fix it. She cuts and does hair for a living and gives us free haircuts. She was pretty ticked off and told all of us that “From the time you guys get into Shawnee to the time you leave, I own your hair! Don’t touch it unless it’s for gel.” The only reason we cut our own hair was because she and her daughter were sick for a few days. I did not want that hairstyle.

Anyway, I’m not sure what you mean about a sweater or shirts. Maybe we need to check the mail today. Thanks for the tips on ward fellowshipping. We’ll make sure to explain that in the future.

So we’ve been talking about this study with some members of the ward that the church came out with. It talks about three different types of mission work:

  1. Missionaries do all the finding and teaching of investigators. At this level, there are about 30 baptisms a month in an entire mission. Retention is very low.
  2. Missionaries find investigators and teach with a member. Here the investigator gets to meet a normal person instead of a weirdo in a suit. They also get a friend/acquaintance right off the bat. Baptisms per month go from 30 to 100 and retention is about half.
  3. Members refer friends and acquaintances and take the lead in fellowshipping and teaching. The missionaries do the only job they were technically called to. The investigator feels they have someone to turn to if they have questions and is converted spiritually and socially. Members know the area better than any missionary and will be there after the missionaries leave. Baptisms jump from 100 per month in a mission to 300 and retention is really high.

This is really the reason why we’ve been stressing this. We do teach all our investigators, but the president wants us to actually be focusing on the members and less actives. Well, I already know you guys know the importance of member work so I’ll get off that topic.

We got to see a pretty cool instance of the hand of the Lord the other day. We caught R. and J. (some of our investigators at our apartment complex) and they had been moving a ton of storage from their container because it had a massive leak and had someone break into it. We came and offered our and the south elders’ help, and we’re going to be doing that Tuesday. That's not it though.

R. brought us up to check out this big glass table she wanted to give away and Elder S. and I said, “CJ could use that” at the same time. CJ is one of the south elders’ investigators who’s gone through some really hard times and didn’t have a table at all. (I’m sure Elder K. has written about him). R. came with us to deliver it and the way CJ was just so excited to get it and R. was excited to give it made everyone’s day. Still smiling about it.

The best way to drop pride is to be thankful for the things we have. And its a good thing Thanksgiving is this week because our district (and apparently in a lot of other districts) have been focusing on that. When you get down to it, we all have a lot more pride than we think. We’ve all been taking a lot of advice from the talk “Beware of Pride.” It says that it is the source of contention. Contention says, “I’m right” or “my way is the best” or “at least I’m not/at least I’m better than/at least I don’t ...” If there is contention, look closely at yourself, because you’re probably not going to pay attention if someone else points it out.

Happy Thanksgiving. Love you guys,

Elder Rice

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16, 2015: No Subject

Just had Elder S. cut all our hair. Kind of a mistake.

I’m not sure it looked bad (the others liked it), but it wasn’t professional. Luckily we were able to save it. Elder S. had to save his, too, after Elder K. cut his. It’s all right now. Definitely not trying it again.

Mom’s haircut was pretty good, though. Sister L. showed all of us the picture and everyone agrees. You looked too young to have a missionary out.

I had a cool experience with member visits. We met with the M.s to talk about getting the ward excited for mission work (which has been a struggle), and Sister M. mentioned she had met with the lady I met and gave a blessing to last week. She says that she [the lady] had been doing family history work and she has felt the entire time that her family has been with her. That brought to mind only one thing that I remembered in the blessing that just kept running through my head as I gave it—that as she went through her trials, she would be supported by family and close friends.

So our ward has had a hard time with fellowshipping. I think that most people in the ward know someone should be talking with investigators, but that seems to be the problem. It’s “someone,” instead of taking action. I’m worried about some of our recent converts and investigators. I don’t know what they’ll do once we leave.

We’ve been biking a lot in the rain lately and it’s been getting colder and windier. Please send more long sleeves. Size 15. I couldn’t wear the ones you sent for my birthday.

... I hope this whole thing with the homosexual parents baptism thing gets cleared up. The rule makes sense when you actually think about it. The Church is all about families, and doesn’t want to cause division between parents and children because of the parents choices. And withholding baptism isn’t a punishment. Baptism is a commitment and a promise to God to live his standards, not some magical “AND NOW YOUR SAVED!” thing. But you said it was a small uproar. I hope it stays small.

I already heard from members about the bombings, so I’m not going to go on that tangent. Glad Inigo’s better. Joshua let him mash the keyboard to send me a letter and it sounds like things are all good.

I’m sending Christmas presents home.

Elder Rice

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Email to Nathan

I’m not sure why I didn’t include these in the group email, but here you go.

Well, we had to drop J. as an investigator. He’s been too affected by drugs and every time he’s on Xanax he starts trying to prophesy to us and just wants to bible bash (which is interesting considering he doesn't care much for words “written and misconstrued by man” and doesn’t like large portions of the bible). We just thanked him for his time and asked that if he felt like hearing our message, he could call us. He was a nice guy besides.

Also, during exchanges a guy who wanted to bible bash with us swerved out of traffic and in front of a bunch of cars to tell me that I prayed to Adam and that the devil led us. We let him know our beliefs, left him with a Book of Mormon, and asked him to read and pray about it. We thanked him for taking the time to come and share with us his beliefs and praised his faith in Christ. He stood frozen (looking a little unsettled) and we rode away on our bikes. Sometimes turning the other cheek gets the best reaction.

I heard you guys got Over the Garden Wall on DVD. You guys are going to have to watch that for me while I’m gone. I forgot I was going to miss that this year.

I haven’t met Mrs. A., but everybody else I know. Your new digital media teacher surpasses my expectations. I hope you learn a lot from him. I’m excited to see what you can do when I come back. I hope I’ll be able to pick it back up enough to be able to work on a game with you. I’m all ready a ton more self motivated than when I left. Enough “trunky” talk.

There are opportunities everywhere to meet new and interesting people. Extend yourself and make new friends and learn about new things for me this year. I’m running out of time to email, so tell Joshua and Jacob “hi” and I love and miss them, too. Hug Inigo for me. I’m glad to be out here serving the Lord and hope that all of you will be courageous in making the same decision.

Elder Rice

Email to Joshua

I sent an email to Nathan last week so now it’s your turn. Prepare yourself (draws sword).

Mom says you invited girls over to watch Over the Garden Wall. Well played Joshua, well played. Glad you guys are having a great time at home. I just realized I forgot to send that book to you guys, and with your Lord of the Rings reading, I bet you’d like it.

I just had the prompting to give a little forewarning. Be careful if you’re watching any anime back home. We’ve seen some problems come from it out here of a moral issue. Make sure you run it by Dad or Mom before you watch anything. Also, that kind of gamer/adventurer/sci-fi and fantasy culture may be really fun and interesting, but as with any culture, if you delve in too deep you’re going to find corruption. In country, it’s drugs and lax Sabbath day practices. Same with skaters and boarders. In ours [anime], just about everything is prevalent (drugs, swearing, atheism, pornography). Be careful about the friends you make. I’ve had to drop some in the past because they were more about the culture than just having fun. Enjoy the things you like, but don’t dig yourself into the culture.

Now I’ll stop preaching and just talk a little.

I hope you are making lots of friends, or at least a close group of good friends. I don’t remember what classes you’re taking this year so just tell me a little about what’s going on in school. Get you and your brothers to finally send me some of your drawings please. I liked your drawing of Greg, by the way. It had me whistling the OtGW theme that entire week.

Don’t forget about night games. I doubt Nathan will organize it, just considering how much he played in the past. Those games will keep the youth of the ward close and are just a fun thing to do on the weekends. We have a lot of things to do at our house (I didn’t even realize it until now), so invite people over a bunch. If you find my BANG! cards or my samurai sword cards, you’re welcome to use those whenever. I can’t hold onto everything while I’m gone. Except the One Ring. No touchy my ring.

I can’t believe how awesome light sabers are! I didn’t think much of them before, but the thrift shop lady just gave me one for my service and now I use it for everything. Example: We have an investigator board where we use the Spirit to guide us to who we should visit. I tried that thing Inigo Montoya did with his sword being guided: "Father, plees, guide my sword..." I probably shouldn’t do that, but it was just kind of fun. Elder S. thought it was funny.

Keep an eye out at home. It feels weird not knowing exactly how things are going while I'm gone, so just make sure things are all good. If you have any questions of any kind about anything, email me. I pretty much summed up my week in the group email to Mom and Dad. I didn’t think I would have so much time to write you, so sorry if it was brief.

Keep sending emails. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I really do like to hear from you guys. Take care of yourself. Sorry if this email was weird at all.

Elder Rice

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2015: Re: Email from Mom

All right, first, I do have sheets. Elder M. left me his and I’m going to wash them. Second, I’m not sure what our address is. I’ve gotten those Bang! cards though, so it must’ve worked at least twice. I’ll check and make sure what the address is though.

You’ll be glad to know that I’m finding time to practice the piano out here, so I’ll be playing the hymns in no time. I’ve got hymns 116 and 142 down (but I already sort of knew those) and I’m working on 155.

That discussion with the lady was pretty rough. Sister L. said the spirit was definitely strong and speaking out, but I think that it might have been saying, “ELDER RICE NEEDS HELP!” It’s a lot better to teach with members, is all I have to say. The rest of exchanges went pretty well. Elder B. and I committed two more people to baptism, a wife and son, and the less-active husband to getting the Aaronic priesthood to baptize his family.

Larry has cut down his whole-pack-a-day (20 cigs) to only six cigarettes a day. He’s looking so much healthier and he’s definitely happier than we’ve ever seen him.

Poor Inigo. Why does he have to be so sick all the time? I hope he can get over all of this.

It’s awesome you got to go out to St. George. Sounds like it was fun. Sister C. reminded us to always be thankful for moms and take every opportunity to say it. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me so well about the gospel and doing your best in keeping me on the path. I’d not be out here if it weren’t for that, and I wouldn’t be getting all the blessings I am now. Love you, Mom.

Elder Rice

Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015: Great Progress

First email
Subject: Re: Letter from Dad Nov 01, 2015

Love you, too, Dad. This is just a quick reply. The only thing at transfers that happened was that Elder M. (Elder K.’s companion) went home after his full two years and the new guy in is Elder H. He’s teaching Elder K. Spanish so he can become a Spanish missionary as well. Also my companion became district leader. He’s not happy about it.

Second email
Subject: Great Progress

I’ve got to be really brief.

So the big shirtless guy I talked about in the first email being out here (K.). He’s reaping the blessings of gospel living. He’s not sick any more. He’s not arguing with his wife anymore. He’s even got two brand new semis for his trucking. He really wants to be able to come to Church and I’m thinking he’ll want to be baptized.

L. has toned his smoking down in two weeks from four packs to a half to one pack a day, and drinks one pot of coffee instead of three to four. He’s seeing great benefit and is excited about all the money he’s saving.

I got to give a priesthood blessing to a lady in the nursing home who was recovering from a leg amputation and I’m not sure what happened in the prayer but she was wiping away tears afterwards and the member we brought said it was impressive. I’m just glad I didn’t mess it up. I know it isn’t really me that should get the credit. The Spirit is a great thing to have and I probably couldn’t do any of this without God’s guidance.

R. and J. got to come to the ward trunk-or-treat and the nonmember wife of one less active that started coming to Church got to be really good friends after going through the scare alley together. The wife of the nonmember then invited R. to come to our Church. I hope that all the members can come to have that kind of mindset, to reach out and make new friends.

Gotta go. I’ll send a better letter next week

Elder Rice

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2015: 19

Wow, I spent all yesterday feeling old and being told I was old, and now all the emails I’m receiving are “Your soooooooo old!” Elder S. has assured me that that doesn’t necessarily mean I'll have to grow up.

Thanks for all the presents and the cake! That had to have been one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had! I’m actually most excited about the pajama pants. I really do wish that I had gotten some pictures from you guys though. Get on your homework for my sake!

We committed yet another investigator to baptism. She’s just been really excited whenever we come over and she loves what she learns at the lessons. Her cousin who’s temporarily staying isn’t so interested, but he’s nice and isn’t against her joining, so it’s all looking good.

Well, we went on exchanges this last week and it was just me and Elder K. in his area. We planned for the day and everything fell through. Funny thing though is how it all still worked out. We prayed as to which potential investigator we would visit. We both chose the street. We figured out that the address given to us didn’t exist and decided to just tract the street. One house had a less active and non-member couple, and the non-member wanted us to come and start the discussions with them. Then someone just walked up to us as we went along and asked us if we could come and share the lessons with him and his wife (he was less active as well and his wife a nonmember). We got four new potentials in 30 minutes.

The next day worked out to be that we couldn’t exchange back, so we tried some other potentials. Same thing happened that happened the day before, except they weren’t couples. This is actually really interesting because Elder K.’s area had been pretty dry on people open to their lessons.

I got to visit the Instant Care [Immediate Care] center for the third time this week. The first was from Elder K.’s diet/workout pill mishap, the second from Elder S. getting a weird rash, and third from Elder S. getting stung by a bee (he’s allergic). He and Elder M. had been cutting some really tall grass down for a member during exchanges and he ran over a beehive with a lawnmower. Bees flew everywhere and crawled all over everyone. The only one to get stung was the allergic guy. As a side note to that, they tried to smoke the bees out by burning some dry weeds in a pot. And that’s how the two most responsible and grown up missionaries started a member’s lawn on fire.

Then I went on exchanges with the zone leaders the very next day.

Thank Inigo for the email. It’s good that you figured out what it was.

I’ll send an email to all my brothers as well (if I don’t run out of time here). I might mark some of them to not be shared online.

That reminds me. What the flip!! I thought you were going to just post a few emails of mine on Facebook every once and a while. Now I’m hearing from Elder K. that I’ve been indirectly writing my own personal blog?! or something?

I’m actually not that upset. It just seemed kind of a surprise. I guess I’m just going to have to mark which emails you can share or not.

Thanks for all the love and advice. May God be with you.

Elder Rice

Happy birthday, Elder Rice!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

P-day Activity: Corn Maze

October 19, 2015: Baptism Date

Well, we’ve finally got one. Our investigator T. has agreed to a date to work towards. We never really had a doubt. Every time we met with him, he was really energetic and when we showed him the baptismal font he was talking about it like it was something he was going to do, not just consider. He also has mostly member friends who tell him everything about the church. Really I think they did most of the work, and we just are here to welcome him in.

We met another investigator when we were out street contacting, but I don’t know how this one’s going to turn out. We met J. a while back. He’s an extremely good guy and very zealous, even though he doesn’t belong to any specific denomination. He’s actually come out and said that our church is really the only logically true church. His search was very much like Joseph Smith’s and he had been through tons of trials to get where he is. He likes the LDS church because we live what we preach (something he does himself well) and because he believes that the Lord’s house is a house of order. He cried several times as we shared our message and a couple more in praying to know if it was true.

Our second visit with him didn’t go so well. He’s got depression and is taking some serious medication with it. We had caught him before he had taken it last time, but this time was about 15 minutes after. He seemed in a haze and was not open to the Spirit (or he thought he was). We’ll give it another go, just to make sure it was the medicine and not him that was rejecting our teaching. He’s still open to having us over.

Thanks for all the insight for the other investigators I shared with you guys! I’m going to consider that in planning the lessons.

I didn’t hear anything about the pictures I sent. Did you get them?

I don’t think I’ve ever been this organized in my life. I’ve still got a ways to go and a lot of growing up to do (a lot). I’m working on sharing the gospel at all times and I’m finding there are so many moments that I pass up. Talking to random people is a lot easier now, but I’ve got to start noticing all the opportunities.

I want to say this before I end my email time. I don’t remember much about how our ward worked with missionaries and nonmembers/less actives, but I remember that the youth did really well in fellowshipping. Don’t leave it to the youth. Missionaries go and find, but if those investigators can’t find someone to look to in this new world they’re in, they won’t stay in. Do your best in being real friends to these people. I promise that the Lord will bless you in your efforts.

For my birthday, I don’t want a ton. I need one more long and short sleeve shirt, a pencil sharpener, a bunch of pictures drawn by Nathan, Joshua, and Jacob, and the Dodge City Expansion. (We’re good so long as it’s not interfering with mission work, which it’s not.)

Elder Rice

After District Meeting Lunch

Tuesday, October 13, 2015