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!

Love,
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 LDS.org 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!

Love,
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 fairmormon.org. This is an apologetics resource that covers historical as well as doctrinal issues. She can access the question/answer wiki here: http://en.fairmormon.org/Main_Page

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


Parker,

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,
Dad

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.

Love,
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: