Monday, December 26, 2016

December 19 and 24, 2016: Collected Emails

To: Jacob Rice
Date: December 19, 2016 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Jubjubjub

Well, it sounds like you're doing pretty well back home. Make sure to make the most of the holiday break.

We had kind of a funny experience this last little while. We got some peppers from Brother T. (the ward mission leader in Duncan) and the south elders challenged Elder J. and me to eat them whole. These are peppers called "dog's teeth." (That's exactly what they look like.) I wasn't at all up for burning my taste buds off right before dinner. Elder J., on the other hand, popped it right in! He's super sensitive to spicy things (or so he tells me) so I'm not sure what got into him, but he immediately started sweating and he tried to spit it out the car window. (We were driving.) The wind blew it right back into his face and eyes! It definitely wasn't funny in the moment, but it's all laughs now! Just a random story—thought you might be interested.

Love you, Jacob!
Elder Rice 😬


To: Nathan Rice
Date: December 19, 2016 at 12:06 PM
Subject: A little about the mission

I hope that one finger doesn't end up gimpy. It's not too important for writing, though, right?

So I'm just going to share a little about the mission, considering it's coming up here for you.

Get good at budgeting! We've got $135 a month for food—no more, no less. A lot of healthy stuff might be a little more expensive, but I've found that every little bit of healthiness counts. Living on ramen is an awful experience. So that stuff's kind of obvious.

Try to wake up every day at 5:45 and do a little exercising. The white handbook will tell you 6:30, but in truth, it’s harder to wake up then. Get your showering and breakfast done 7-8. Then we basically study and prepare for the day from 8-10. You'll never have been more interested in the scriptures, but for the first little while, you ought to spend most of your time in Preach My Gospel. If you try reading before the mission, don't start at the beginning. Read the sections for the first three lessons and know them by heart. You'll be way ahead of the game. The MTC and mission will help it become more natural. (No rote recitations!)

Always commit to making your companion your friend, but don't sacrifice standards if they're living the "lower law." You'll see that living the lower law is not easier.

Preparation day will have a lot of spare time (usually). You'll do laundry, emailing, shopping, and anything else you need to prepare for the week. The rest of the day is open for approved activities.

Sorry if that all was pretty dry. I'll tell you about something exciting next week.

Love you, Nathan!
Elder Rice


To: Everyone
Date: December 24, 2016 at 1:53 PM
Subject: Epistle General


Well, I'm talking to all of you tomorrow, so I guess I won't say much in this email. Just wanted to let you know, I'll be jumping on around 3:15 using FaceTime. I've got pictures this time!











Lost my name tag for a minute. Modified Elder R.'s. No one ever noticed! (To be honest, nobody really reads the tag except for the Jesus Christ part.)



Not quite as good as the actual scene.

 
To: Jacob Rice
Date: December 24, 2016 at 2:15 PM
Subject: Re: Broseph

Guess what! Got another cool story! Make sure to share this one with everyone else. One of our investigators, S. C., came to our church for the first time this last week. We had been planning on setting a baptismal date with her all ready, but before we started to extend that date to her in the lesson, she told us a dream she had that Sunday. She saw Jesus Christ baptizing a large group of people and then he turned to her and said, "Prepare yourself for your new life!" She's getting baptized on February 15!

Well, that's it for now.

Love you, Jacob!
Elder Rice

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December 19, 2016: Emails for Mom

12:26 PM

Yes! Thanks for the packages! The peanut butter bars have been awesome and I even convince Elder J. to eat some, despite the diet.

That sounds like a WAY cool book! [Stone Manger] I hope it's still around when I get to it. Hope that helps you get into the Christmas spirit.

Just as a heads up, our p-day was moved to Saturday of THIS week. I don't know how that's going to affect everything for you, but I think we've found a place to FaceTime, so you'll get to use a big screen!

So, D. and K. told us they've determined that there's nothing in the Book of Mormon that contradicts the Bible, and D. is thinking that maybe the only reason that they've heard so much bad about it is because Satan is attacking it. HA HA! He's already said that he's more Mormon than Church of Christ!

D. and S. have been doing equally as well. We mentioned a little bit about what baptism was right as we were headed out the door and she said, "Hmm, being baptized would be nice." She came to church again this week too.

Well, that's about all I've got for this time.

Love you, Mom! Have a Merry Christmas!
Elder Rice


12:27 PM

Oh wait. I just realized that p-day being changed doesn't change our Facetime date. My bad.


12:33 PM

Also, one last cool thing. I think I already told you guys about this, but I'll tell it again.

If you remember L. R. (one of our investigators in Edmond), we got to teach him all the lessons and then he moved to Idaho. I just learned a week ago that he pretty much immediately got baptized when he got there!! He also moved again and is attending a ward in Louisiana and is very happy about it.

We'll probably FaceTime after 3 p.m., but if anything changes we'll let you know Saturday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December 12, 2016: Emails to Mom & Dad

Email for Mom

Thanks for sending those packages! Sorry I didn't get you much of a [Christmas] list. Nothing seemed to come to mind.

We had awesome success with the ward Christmas party on the 10th! We had our investigators S. and D. and their kids come and they liked it enough to come to church the next day. S. likes that it's not judgmental like all the other churches and the kids had a blast in Primary. D. is just interested in learning more. They said they'd come back next week!

The Primary did a Nativity play, and it was pretty awesome. All the less actives and investigators that came loved it, even with all the sheep milling about randomly and bumping into the shepherds and wise men.

Love you, Mom!


Email for Dad

Wow, I finally lost track of the months [left on mission], and now I have to re-forget. Great. :-p

I forgot where Grandma and Grandpa are moving to. Is it really going to be that far? Also, thanks for the Christmas tree! Actually, the Church News [used for packing] had a perfect segment for one of our investigators, so that was cool, too. Elder J. has been trying to eat healthy this last little while, so half of the advent calendar candy has ended up mine. He's pretty grateful anyway, though.

So did letter writing become more difficult for you later in your mission? It's kind of like I’ve hit a wall with it. I try to think of things to write, but nothing comes up.

With this Christmas initiative [Light the World], it's been a lot easier to focus on the real reason for the holiday. Last Christmas initiative was a lot less interactive.

That's probably the best white elephant trick I've heard! [Windows Vista manual packed in a MacBook Pro box.] I bet they almost believed there was something good in there!

Love you, Dad!
Elder Rice

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December 5, 2016: Email for Mom

So we picked up a bunch of investigators this week. D. and K. aren't in a church right now, but they are very open, as they're still trying to figure out what kind of Christian they are. D. studied in divinity [school], but has just ended up with a kind of non-denominational view. Matt and Emily are in a church right now, but Matt is very new to Christianity and wonders sometimes whether it's just man-made or not. One of his questions was about what happens to those that don't ever hear about Jesus Christ? The P. family doesn't have a church right now, as their last pastor died. They're all good readers and said they'd read the Book of Mormon.

As for T., she's slid back a little bit. She's not drinking coffee or tea, but smoking has come back hard as the holidays come close. She's also picked up a boyfriend, which could mean bad things if it follows the same track as most of Oklahoma. They're not living together at least.

We're thinking we might have to drop a few of our investigators, one of them being A. They love having us over, but there's just no will/desire to improve. Hopefully it changes, because it'd be really sad to have to leave some of them.

It would be awesome to have some homemade peanut butter bars for Christmas.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 28, 2016: Emails for Mom & Dad

Email for Mom

I don't know what's up with the seven-week transfer thing. It's still too far out and no one around me seems to know. I'll email President Mansell and see what's up. [Question about whether Parker's mission time will be extended two weeks.]

I've seen these little marble Christus statues around. If it’s not pricey, that would be cool [for Christmas]. I'm still trying to think of good ideas. I actually started the grocery list writing thing already because I was tired of going and forgetting. I'll be doing the same for the Christmas package.

Elder J. is pretty cool [new companion]. He's a hard worker and is big into America, the Constitution, and the Marines. He's looking to go into it after the mission. We're getting in pretty good shape too, as all four of us are getting up at 5:45 to exercise. Not having really any problems so far. He's a little stressed about a shoulder injury he's got. It got worked on, but it's been acting up lately, so we're hoping it's nothing serious. Gotta get it checked on Tuesday.

We had five Thanksgiving dinners over three days and have leftovers for at least a week. Never been so full in my life. Kind of a good and unpleasant experience at the same time.

Abravanel Hall sounds like it was a blast! I don't know what a [Messiah] Sing-In is, though. I figure it's one of those sight-read only singing deals. Maybe sometime I'll get that, but for now, I just listen for the base part playing and try my best to follow.

Missionary work has been pretty solid so far. Picked up seven new investigators, all of them wonderful people with pretty solid commitment to actually try out what we're teaching them. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, though. It's been a good start to this transfer. I've got high hopes.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice


Email for Dad

Weird [referring to the predatory tower that stole Jason's car]. You'd think that you'd have to be warned about these parking spots for them to tow you away. Kind of lame, but I guess if they can live with it. Sounds like your business trip was a pretty awesome adventure!

I hope you'll get everyone at home to take a look at the church video "Light the World." It's definitely something I'm getting excited for coming up here. I think it'll be a good thing to keep the right spirit this year. We're using it a lot in missionary work as well.

Love you, Dad!
Elder Rice

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 21, 2016: Email for Mom

So I'm hearing this thing in the mission—and I'm not for sure on this—but it sounds like there's going to be another seven-week transfer extending my mission by another week. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

We'll be well fed out here this Thanksgiving. We've had five members and two investigators ask us if we could come over that day.

I always seem to forget what I want to ask for [Christmas] whenever I sit down in front of the computer. It's a pretty similar situation with my weekly shopping. I just bring that up because Nathan mentioned it.

I got a new companion this transfer—Elder J. I'm kind of sad to see Elder H. go, but it seems like Elder J. is a pretty awesome missionary, too. He's from West Haven, Utah. Things have been a little slow this week with getting situated and all, but I'd say that we've got a good transfer ahead.

Love,
Elder Rice

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 14, 2016: Email to Mom

Yeah, five years ago if anyone told me that Donald Trump would be president, I’d have laughed. (I guess, assuming I even knew who he was or cared.) We've met a lot of people who are associating the "sounding of a trump" in the scriptures [1 Corinthians 15:52] with our new president, saying it’s a sign the end is near.

I did get my bank card, and I cut up my other one into little bits and put those bits in several different trash cans. I don't know if that was a necessary step, but I did it anyway. My absentee ballot got to me a day too late. I filled it out, then saw the send by date on the envelope. That's fine, though. I wasn't too concerned.

Things have been going well, but our bikes have been really suffering. I popped my front tire on I don't know what. Elder H. had his left crank arm wear out on him twice, and the front tire of the bike he borrowed had the front tire spontaneously blow up without him even touching it, and I somehow popped Elder R.'s front tire without even going off road or hitting anything (to my knowledge).

We did, however, talk to TONS of people on the way walking to our far distant appointments and quite a few invited us back. It seemed like there was an unusual amount of people who just left their front doors open.

T. is now able to come to church as well! We're trying to help her to baptism around early to mid-December.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 7, 2016: Email to Mom

Got the package! I'm guessing that with all the pencils and paper I'm getting, I should probably do something with them. I'm pretty proud of myself, because I normally don't control my candy intake too well when I have it, but this time I've limited myself to two or three pieces a day. I guess the Word of Wisdom lesson got pretty well ingrained from having to teach it so much.

This last week was pretty solid! We've been trying to schedule appointments two days or so apart with each of our investigators and it's made it easier to help with Word of Wisdom issues and just keeping things fresh in their minds. T. is still making the climb and we're looking at a baptism date in early December.

So President Mansell has cut out all STMs because we're having a zone conference every transfer. He's also approved movies like The Best Two Years and other LDS-spiritual-churchy movies to be watched ONLY on holidays (probably just Christmas, Halloween, and maybe New Year’s). He's also allowing us to write letters to family during lunch (which was apparently not allowed previous). Lots of big changes. It's cool, but a little weird at the same time.

Broke out the coats yesterday. It's finally a little chilly.

I'm glad we don't have to deal with too much of a religious mix. [This comment is in response to a story I told him about the religious diversity of my mission.] Most people here are Christian. The only thing we've got to deal with is people thinking we're of the devil, but sometimes they go off on Muslims or Catholics instead. We just try to stay out of the religious battle, because I've seen too many people turned off from a church because they badmouthed some other group.

Love you, Mom! Thanks again for the package. I'll have to think over the Christmas one. Probably more drawings from everybody.

Elder Ric

October 31, 2016: Emails for Mom and Dad

Email for Mom

Thanks so much for sending the package! It's at the mission office right now, though. The sister at the mission office said it got sent to Edmond. I'll probably get it November 1, because of MLC that day. Elder H. will grab it from someone at the meeting.

So today we don't do anything. Preparation for the day is done, and we're not supposed to proselyte on Halloween evenings. It does make things a little easier, but with MLC the next day, that's a little too much time this area doesn't get worked.

So T. has been taking the Word of Wisdom lesson really well! She's really working on stopping smoking, tea, and coffee. We're working hard to keep her cutting it down. Adam has brought his smoking down to half a pack.

So there are challenges in every area, but each has one big one. The big one for Duncan is coming to church. It seems like no matter how sincere they are, no matter how proactive they are, even if they promised Saturday, we wait outside and no one comes. It seems like we need to find better matches for fellowshipping.

There's also five big hornets in this really small library computer room hovering around the side I'm on. That's a challenge, too.

That's so crazy that K. is home! I'll admit, I still dread the homecoming talk. Now he can share all the crazy stories that you can't share in an email!

Love you, Mom! Have a fun Halloween!


Email for Dad

Thanks for the preachiness. I'd be worried if you didn't send me something like this every once and a while! Sorry I haven't gotten to a specific email for you in a while. You and Mom usually send the best emails of the week, so thank you.

What was the best thing that helped you with reactivation? We're having a hard time with that here in Duncan. People get all psyched up to come to church and then they don't do it. (Seems like a trend among all groups here.)

Well, everyone is headed out and the hornets nested in the room are getting squirrely. I love you, Dad. Thanks for caring enough to be preachy.

Elder Rice

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October 24, 2016: Emails to Mom & Nathan

How did Nathan get his hand cut?! Was he trying to stop the blade or something? Those were some gnarly looking pictures. I'm glad they were small photos. (Nathan sent me the super detailed ones, though.)

I haven't opened the package yet (actually I don't know if I have it yet), but thanks, Mom! I love you!

So A. is now making some really good progress. He's been cutting down his smoking and now we're cutting down from a pack a day slowly until his wedding day. By then, he'll be ready. He's really itching to join the Church, actually. He's been really awesome in coming every week. He's even got his dad watching the BYUtv channel, and everyone in his house cut down from an average of five packs [cumulatively] to only one a day!

T. has had crazy amounts of work lately (working at Walmart), but she's reading and praying. Her schedule this next week though is pretty free and clear!

This week we had two families come and ask us to help them teach their kids. J. and N. and M. and B. all have kind of fallen away from churches, not thinking they were necessary. But recently they've found out that their kids don't really know who God or Jesus is. As we've been teaching them, they've become REALLY interested in the Church. The best kind of miracles!

I've seen how true that quote is out here. It seems like the more relaxed and distanced a person is from religion, the worse their life is and the more bitter they become. There are rare exceptions, but for the most part ...

We have an STM today, so I'll have to be short.

Love you, Mom!


To: Nathan Rice
Subject: OUCH


Well, I hope you know not to do that again. I don't have a ton of time to email, but I just wanted to say that I love you, your finger looks gross, and I hope you're ACT went well. Maybe you gain ambidexterity by the time it's all over!

I don't know what pain pills you're on, but please be VERY careful. I've met a pretty good number of people with lives destroyed by prescription pill addiction.

Yessss! Use the Sympathy, Nathan! Hope you feel better. When I heard you cut your finger nearly off I freaked out. Next time don't touch the sharp dangerous pointy end of the power tool, please. I really like your Mr. Fox drawing, too, by the way.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 17, 2016: Email for Mom

It sounds like you had the perfect Primary program! Ours was good, but there was still a little unruliness.

Probably the only thing more I’d want [for my birthday] is a bunch of pictures drawn by everyone.

So T. and A. still honestly want baptism, but it seems like work, sickness, and whatever else becomes more difficult to overcome the further we go. I'm sure they'll get there some time, but I'm really pushing for soon rather than three years from now.

I guess the best thing is that one of our less-actives we visited who wasn't at all interested in coming back went out to Utah and came back wanting to become active and have his wife baptized a member! Not sure what changed yet.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016: Email for Mom

Well, I'm wearing a 32/34 [pant] right now and that's pretty comfortable. I think homemade cookies and zucchini bread might be pretty good, thanks!

We actually just had our Primary program a couple of weeks ago! Everyone did amazing for how young they were and the investigators loved it!

We knocked around a little last night, but everyone was watching the debate. Considering how much people hate it, you'd think they'd rather talk to missionaries! It's not quite that bad I guess. That's an exaggeration, though. We found a good solid few people who wanted us to come back.

When the Hipster Llama becomes a shirt, send me one!

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Wednesday! Here's some photos:



I got to confirm the guy with the beard.

Elder R.'s birthday!


October 3, 2016: Email for Mom

Okay, first thing: I don't know if you could, but I heard something about monkey bread and thought, "Mmm, that would be good on my birthday!" Also, another set of slacks would be nice. Navy blue.

So I can't remember which session it was, but I think that there was a very inspired talk in there for you on the subject of happiness. I don't know how well it relates when you've got the seasonal depression tossed into it.

Well, I'm glad to hear that mostly all is well. I'm running out of time and I'm in a guest login. I'll try to find a way to continue emailing, but for now this might be the last one. I have been asked by the mission president to make the email to him priority.

Love you guys!
Elder Rice


Email for Mom Continued

OK, got a little more time.

What is county commission? Man, it seems crazy how much further along in life they [the C.s] all are. I still remember everyone like they were eight years ago (even though I've visited since then). So what's A. looking at becoming?

Things have gotten really busy in T.'s life as of recent and, when we visit, it’s only for a couple of minutes. We're taking Sister M. out with us to this next one so I hope we can have this go through.

I love you Mom and hope you're happy through the winter months.

Elder Rice

P.S. I have been using anti-cavity mouthwash every morning and night and I've been flossing more than I ever have (and brushing consistently). I don't know what it is, but I've got some fear about getting a cavity on the mission.

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26: Reap What You Sow

Well I guess I deserved that. No emails this week. Hope you had fun at Michele's!

So things went pretty good this week. Our new investigator, T., heard us talking about our Book of Mormon class (she's in the same apartment complex) and decided herself that she's coming this next Thursday. Still committed to baptism, but we've got the Word of Wisdom lesson next, and she's got cigarettes and sweet tea to drop.

Duncan's a pretty small town. It seems like our investigators see us everywhere! The Duncan South elders' investigators refer us to lots of people in our area. It's kind of a good and bad thing. Lots of potentials to teach, but if something goes sour ... well, nothing's happened yet. In fact, I think we fixed a lot of those old offenses since we've been here.

The mission president is drastically reducing the amount of meetings we go to so we can spend more time out on the street. As much as I love the spirit I feel at the meetings, I'm excited to be able to have more time.

Love you guys!
Elder Rice

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016: Eh ...

I spent a little time emailing some people who complained that I hadn't sent them an email in a while and now I'm running out of time. I'll try to jam in as much as possible. Really sorry about that. I did get some envelopes and stamps, though, so I'll send letters.

We've been trying this thing called “lightning visits,” which are two-minute visits with members to share a miracle and help get them excited for mission work. Got a cool miracle from that! We had set aside some time for finding and were in the middle of it when we realized we were pretty close to a member's house. We started heading that direction to try out the lightning visit technique, but on the way we didn't have any miracle stand out to us from that day. (It was still pretty early.) We kept walking towards their house and just a little down the street, someone yelled at us to come over. It was an older man and he said he didn't have much time, but he mentioned to us that every Mormon he's met (mostly in the Navy) were the most "serene" and upright people he'd met. He saw some missionaries about a week ago and committed that next time he saw one he'd ask for the Book of Mormon. He said he didn't really want any of the lessons, but we still managed to work in a two-minute restoration lesson, anyway. We left our numbers with him and ran off to tell the member about it. Two referrals in the works right now.

I've been checking out this book Elder H. has called the Book of Missionary Answers (or something like that). [The Missionary’s Little Book of Answers, by Gilbert Scharffs] I didn't go in too deep, but I'd highly recommend it. It's pretty solid.

Love you guys! Really sorry again!
Elder Rice

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 12, 2016: To Mom and Dad

Sorry this is a quick group email to you, but I'm really running short on time. I just wanted to let you know I love you guys and I'm grateful for all that you sacrificed to get me out here, even though I probably don't know the whole of it.

Thanks for the emails every week, and especially thanks for the package! I put the camel on my back planner cover so I see it whenever I pull it out. Elder H. wasn't much for the Corn Nuts, so I ate his.

Love,
Elder Rice

September 6, 2016: Email for Mom

We had no clue at the time that they were robbing the place. We thought it was her sister. From what I hear, she's already caught. We didn't really need to give a description. The whole thing (search and arrest) happened without us knowing. From what the neighbors describe, they already sort of knew who it was from the get go.

I really liked that poem! I'm not very good at articulating what it is I like about it, but I really like the tie it has to the Brother of Jared's experience. Maybe it’s just how effective the image conveys the idea. Thanks for sending that.

So I'm at the first week past the year mark, and now looking back, that wasn't a very long time. I know some elders out here who were really excited to get there so they could start counting down, but now that I'm here, I don't see what the excitement was about. We burned one of our old useless shirts for the occasion, but I think all of us just kind of wished it would go a little slower. Not that we don't miss you guys.

Elder H. taught me how to play Magic. The last guy I thought who'd know. He's a big wrestler, threw and won state shotput, played football, and worked on his uncle’s ranch in the summers. Turns out he's also a huge fan of Legend of Zelda, Halo, and Magic. I have to admit, the game's pretty fun, but it sounds like the cards are a little pricey. I don't think I’ll be jumping into that one.

I'll need some time to think about my birthday. Right now I'm just focusing on our new baptismal date for Oct 29! Our investigators here are amazing! We were sharing with Tish the plan of salvation for the first time, and she actually started tearing up a little at hearing it. I'm always amazed at how much this means to people. I think I just take it for granted most of the time.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016: Duncan

Tracted into three new investigator families. So far so good.

So it turns out I'm in a four-man district. I'm in Duncan North. It's me, Elder H. (MTC companion), Elder B. (in my MTC district), and Elder R. (Elder B.'s trainee). It's a pretty fun group so far, even though it feels a little cut off out here in the boonies.

So. Elder H. and I went to visit someone we met a while ago who seemed really interested in learning more. She said we could come over anytime, so we came back later. When we got there, the garage was partially opened and we saw some people in there. When we knocked on the front door, they ran into the house. There was a different girl who answered. We just guessed it was her sister. She said they were all devil worshippers and weren't interested. We wished her a good day and left and didn't return for a good long while.

Later, we found some investigators across the street who are pretty interested in talking all sorts of religion with people. When we mentioned the whole thing across the street, they decided to go and talk to them (without us knowing) and see if they would reconsider listening to us. Turns out they actually still wanted us over and the girl we were talking to wasn't her sister. She was robbing her house. Yep. Kinda crazy.

Thanks for the recipes! I'll have to start trying them out.

And yes I have been playing the piano. I don't get to a keyboard all that often, but yeah.

I haven't received any from Joshua until this week. Also, if he sent me any of the previous emails again, they're not showing up.

Love you guys!
Elder Rice

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 2016: Transfer Day

Well, Elder B. and I are out! They're "shot gunning" the area with sisters. This transfer has been crazy for everyone. Seems like everything's switched.
  • Elders can now serve in campus areas like OU and UCO.
  • The AP area is in OU.
  • One of our current APs is a normal missionary and it's not even near the end of his mission.
  • We won't be having two zone leaders per zone. It’s just one "Zone Lord."
  • Everyone will have a chance to serve in a leadership position.
Maybe that all doesn't seem weird to anyone else, but for us it seems like a big change. Anyway, I'm going to Duncan, OK to serve with Elder H. I'm pretty sure that’s the same Elder H. that was my MTC comp. I hear good things about Duncan, too, though it might be about another ward in Duncan.

I'm going to miss Edmond, too. I feel like there's been a lot of progress here, but it also seems to have a ways to go. I think the sisters will do well with this ward.

I'll let you know my new address next Monday!

Love,
Elder Rice

P.S. Can I get the recipe for Butter Beer? And maybe a few easy, quick recipes?


For Mom
Agh! B. looks so OLD! Dad told me about his ride on the Cannibal. That's pretty hilarious.

So we've been spotting MASSIVE hornet-wasp-things all over the place. They're mostly black with yellow spots on them, and they're each the size of my (or Dad's) thumb in width and length. No exaggeration at all. Heard anything about them?

The weather here's been strangely good. It’s been in the 90s most of the week, so we're happy. Apparently we're going to have a "good ol’ fashioned" winter here, too, with lots of snow this time.

Our ward mission leader told us of the amazing "Tigernado" Oklahoma had a few years back. Kind of funny actually. I've been trying to find a thrift store Tigernado shirt for a while now. I guess a few years back there was a tornado that went over the zoo and let a bunch of animals loose, including a few tigers. They were spotted later on the highway. No animals died.

Love,
Elder Rice

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 1, 2016: Solo Missionary

Email for family:

Yesterday we had the "traveling AP," [assistant to the president] Elder V., spend the day with us. He's been visiting different companionships a day at a time to help the president get to know the missionaries better. Pretty fun! We didn't get A. to church again, though. He's got a seriously busy schedule, but I think it should be clearer this next week. His wife has opened up to us as well, so I think if we can get her on board as well, there won't be so much struggle.

It seems like most of the people we've been talking to here in Edmond don't want to acknowledge that there is a truth about God and that it's not subjective. If you have some good scriptures on definite truth, please send them my way.

Also, I went on an exchange with our zone leader, Elder B., to his area in OKC. It was a weird day. We were talking to someone on the street and, right after, the notorious "C. the Basher" rolled in. We were talking to her (as she tried to get us to join NORTHchurch), when someone else drove up to us who was apparently a friend of Elder Rasband's grandson. He tried to convince one of us while C. went for the other. We kindly (in a non-bashing sort of way) turned them away. Soon after someone else tried it. This has apparently been happening to Elder B. for about a week. He goes home this next week to Pleasant Grove.

Well, it looks like San Francisco and Oregon were amazing! We don't really have scenery in Oklahoma, but we have awesome people and that makes up for it.

Love you guys! Hope you had fun and have a fun rest of the summer!

Elder Rice


Email for Mom:

Thanks for the photos, Mom! I was wondering if you could send me the recipe for Mongolian Beef. I can't remember exactly how it’s done.

Also, I learned a lot from Elder B. about keeping your cool when someone is trying to aggravate you to Bible bashing. There's never really a reason to start one. We were actually able to turn the situation more in our favor, as we're getting C. to come to church next week. Hopefully she's not too contentious.

Love you, Mom!

July 25, 2016: Miracles

This all started a little after lunch with J. and T.

We kept from being robo-missionaries, talked with as many as possible, and found some awesome potentials. We dropped by an investigators house (E.) and, as it turned out, his mother was locked out due to a broken door handle and he was out of town. We grabbed our other investigator, A., and asked if he could help us out with it. She was very grateful and actually gained an interest in learning. A. offered her a ride on Sunday and it looks like they're both coming. We then met with A. and challenged him to pray. He hasn't believed in God since he was 17 and last prayed at 14. He said afterward he felt a "glow" and said he'd keep praying. C. (another investigator) has had a super busy schedule and is only able to meet with us for short stints. She did let us know, though, that she's been reading the Book of Mormon in small pieces and, as it turns out, a couple of the guys working on her house are returned missionaries and spent some time talking to her and encouraging her in reading and praying. Biking home at 8:40 p.m., we met M. out mowing his lawn. He was married to a Mormon for 20 years and had met with the missionaries. He invited us back at a better (earlier) time.

Yep, we were pretty happy.

It was pretty awesome to have J. out and finally meet T. They're definitely a good pair and I hope he'll be able to come out to Utah and meet you guys sometime, though I imagine that might be difficult with school and construction. Also, Pokémon got them, too. I guess I also realized that I need a few more photos sent home, so I got a few. I imagine J. could tell you better about T., but from what I got, he's got a good sense of humor and a fair amount of sarcasm. Pretty cool all around.

Photos:

Temple day

Top Golf earlier today




Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016: Email for Mom

Oh! I remember now! That stuff [Dole Whip] was really good!

Thanks for making sure someone got in contact with me. I think we set everything up now. We had something like five calls about that one day :P

Yeah, nearly hit a few Pokémon Go players. Not really, but they probably should keep their eyes up when crossing the street.

M.'s doing great. He's getting closer and closer. It seems he's tied to the Church on a spiritual level and is using his intellect to continue to sit on the fence. I guess the emotional attachment just isn't there yet. Anyway, He's got quite a few friends now and seems to be more and more inclined to switch. It'll still take some time. I wish we could just find out the clear root of his concern, but it seems sometimes like it's just stubbornness.

It's weird that that old house [Amy’s house] won't be in the family anymore. Seems like it’s been around for forever.

So A. didn't come to church, but we figured out why. He's finishing his house by himself and can't get any reliable help, and has to move out of his apartment before his lease is up in two weeks. He's still wanting to come to church and he jumped on the opportunity of our offer to help him move in. He's definitely felt the spirit. I think he'll join.

Love,
Elder Rice 😬

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 11, 2016: Email for Mom

So the new mission president created a new mission [Facebook] page alongside the main one which will have more pictures and is specifically for the three years they will be there. It's basically the same name as the old page, but has "Mansell" after it.

The new mission president has a real fire about the work. He wants to come out to a lot of lessons and join us in some P-days. He's really pushing for growth. He also had some really cool experiences in being called, meeting with Elders Holland, Oaks, Bednar, and another one (I forgot who).

So Nathan was talking about Dole Whip, too. Is that just a thing now?

Well, all the other elders are herding us out, so I'll try to finish quick. Thanks for supporting me, I don't imagine that this area has seen its end of struggles yet.

If you remember M., the Catholic-almost-Mormon, we're really starting to learn how to help him and figure out why he's been straddling the fence. Pray for us in that. He's been at this for two years.

Love,
Elder Rice

Friday, July 8, 2016

July 5, 2016: General Email

So we've got three brand new investigators! And pretty good ones, too!

Z. we found after trying Edmond 2nd's referral over and over again. He lives right next door and has been looking to get back into church, but didn't know which one he wanted to try and where to start. We just caught him outside as he was off to work.

S. we've mentioned before. She's agreed to come to church and wants to take the missionary lessons. Her husband is less active, but is looking currently for a job that has Sundays off. (He works for TSA.) They're both super nice and know they'll be happier in the church. Pray for them please!

Andy we ran into X. because Z. had some beef with him and thought it would be kind of funny if we went over and knocked. We tried it out. He basically let us just go on and talk about the Church as he worked a little on his house. He said he's been out of religion (and just plain belief in God) for quite some time, and actually really wants to get back into it with his family. He said that he was thinking if he ever came back, it'd either be with the Jews or the Mormons. He'll have a few challenges, but he says he really thinks this might be what he's looking for. He's way cool and is friends with pretty much everyone on the street. He's just too good to not get baptized! Definitely pray that we can help things work. He should be coming to church this next Sunday.

Well, we didn't get to see the 4th of July because curfew wouldn't allow it, but we definitely heard it! Oklahoma apparently does Independence Day really big! Hope the Rice family firework show was fun!

Also, we've had three random members from other wards come up and offer us ice cream, water, dinner, and Gatorade. It seems like there have been quite a few tender mercies thrown our way.

I'll ask what kinds of things our Primary president does for reverence. Our ward is really young here, so I'm sure there's been a lot of different tactics.

Love you guys! Be safe!
Elder Rice

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tooken

I'm posting this video here because Elder Rice wants to see his brother Nathan's handiwork, but he's not allowed to go to YouTube.

video

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20, 2016: Finally

Well, it's been crazy and is about to get a lot crazier. We were out on bikes tracting and ran into  the Edmond 2nd [elders], who had accidentally wandered into our area. When we sorted everything out, we gained four new investigators, one with a baptismal date. They also suggested a few streets and we tracted those. Three more amazing potentials. We must have been directed to bike out that far, because biking in 105+ degrees with 90% and up humidity has been very ... character building. We just got asked to give talks this next Sunday on modern day miracles through missionary work as well, so we've got some preparing to do. Also, the final check up x-ray for my leg is this Wednesday. I've been running and biking on it without pain for quite a while now, so I think I'm back to normal.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! It sounds like Dad had a crazy awesome camping trip! I'd be pretty well done with camping for a while, too. Thank you for loving us enough to desire growth. I never thought you needed to do much, but it seems like you're a lot happier for it. I hope I can do the same when I get to being a parent. Thanks for being patient with us and your example of selflessness in service. I hope that you know that we (brothers and Mom) all love you and how important you are to us. Hope you had a good one. Also, if it's OK, it would be cool to hear the story that made you guys laugh so hard.

Just got the OK from President Walkenhorst for having a meal with J. and T.! We'll give them the heads up. Also, President and Sister Walkenhorst are going home sometime this week, if that hasn't been spread around yet. We're definitely going to miss them, but I'm sure they're ready to rest for a little while.

I'm sure there's something else I wanted to say, but maybe I'll remember it while emailing someone else.

Love you guys.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
Elder Rice

Mom's email:

Yeah, I don't know why, but STMs have always been on p-day out here. Not sure if it's a mission policy or not.

I don't know what Elder A. put in his letter to you guys, so when you quote from it, it's all new to me.
Seems like Nathan's doing a pretty good job with the face paint thing. That would be an awesome job to do. I hope he enjoys it.

Thanks for the package! I shared most of it with the other elders, but I made sure to keep the Kit Kat. I've got some random junk that I think you guys might like as well, one being a 1976 and 77 Ensign. I also figured out how I'm getting the bike home thanks to Elder M. Don't have to worry about that for awhile.

The work out here is great! I feel like we're finally pulling Edmond out of it's slowness. It's not been much on the part of us. All we do is stay ready for when these opportunities finally come along.

Two families that Elder L. and I taught pretty extensively got baptized over these past two weeks. I wish I could've been there, but if the baptism is with an investigator from a previous area and its been a full transfer since we left, we're not supposed to go back. I know they're doing awesome, though.

Love,
Elder Rice

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 13, 2016: Opportunidad

So I mentioned last time that Elder B. was a Spanish missionary. That means we have language study, which means I'm trying to learn Spanish. Awesome so far, though I need to test myself more to see if I could actually speak any of it to someone.

We squashed the spider before it could get our toes, and the spider was much less impressive looking after being squashed. Maybe Elder A. got a photo. I'll see.

I'm pretty sure I have J.'s email. As for her coming down, I'd have to ask and that might leave a week to wait. I'll see what the ruling is.

This week was a little weird, but definitely good. We had a big long conversation with two guys, C. and J., who were pretty cool. C. liked to talk a lot and was very interested in what we believe, not so much for conversion, but for simple curiosity. Though he's Baptist, we seemed to have convinced him of the existence of the "spirit world," but he's not all the way there yet. He's probably headed back to Texas. J. is very quiet (at least in comparison) and actually had us over for dinner that same night. We shared a short message with him, C., and a few of their friends (one looked like a rep from Life.Church). That was kind of interesting because at first C. talked a lot on religion before we started and I had already pulled up Mosiah 2. Funny thing was that he went on and talked about pretty much everything in the section I was going to use. When I read out the scripture, they were super focused and a little surprised by the end. J. invited us to come back anytime. Hopefully it turns out.

I got late to emails today (sorry about that) and for some reason there's been a ton of STMs [specialized training meetings] out here in Edmond. Its' awesome because of all that goes on in it and I always feel great after, but it makes p-day hard and it's only on p-days that STMs can happen. So I hope I'll find time to email next week a little more.

Love you guys!
Elder Rice

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6, 2016: New Transfer

So right now I'm what they call in this mission a "breaker." Elder B. has just come out of being trained by Elder H. in the Norman Spanish ward and I'm supposed to help cut any of the bad habits. Doesn't seem like there's any, so I guess its just working on OYM (open your mouth). He's from Florida and came out because of a promise made to Elder Richard G. Scott and a great personal conversion to Christ and the power of the Atonement. He also likes to talk like Yoda. We're working on exact obedience so that Edmond can be a strong missionary area again, and more importantly, to "baptize converts" (finding those that will have lasting conversion).

We were able to find quite a few people just yesterday while tracting around a previous potential's house. J. had a friend who had converted to the LDS church about 20 years ago and talked to him a ton about temples, eternal families, and other things to do with our church. He passed away just a little while ago, and now J. wants to know what it was that made him so happy.

We also were fortunate to find a gigantic brown recluse spider under Elder A.'s jacket. Fortunate in that we spotted it before it got someplace. It was a little bigger than a half dollar coin. It scurried toward us pretty fast, but I smooshed it. Day saved. Needless to say, we're spraying down the apartment.

Congrats to R. and D. [Primary baptisms]! Best decision of your life!

Also I don't know if you've seen K.'s emails, but you should read this week's. Definitely a fantastic missionary.

I hope everyone is feeling better now that summer has started. Use it wisely.

Love,
Elder Rice

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31, 2016: A Little Success

In response to Dad's email:
Let it be known, I thought Captain America was the best from the first movie (exempting the first Avengers, when Hulk was the best).

So we got to finally meet S., the lady who's staying at the R's. She's way cool and super prepared! She's even read through the Book of Mormon and says it answers a lot of questions she's had. She seemed tentative at first about it, but she's said that she'd have no problem with meeting with us now!

Our prayer for L. to be able to find a buyer for his house was answered and we're lucky enough to have him for about one more month to teach. He wants to be baptized in Blackfoot in his friend's ward. He's stopped reading anti and he's said that he wants the Book of Mormon to be true just from all the goodness he sees that comes out of it.

We're going to be giving a brief little "training" in elders quorum this next Sunday on how to turn home teaching into a rewarding missionary effort (as requested by the quorum president). Pray that we'll be able to help them find inspiration in carrying that out. Also, pray that transfers goes smoothly.

Thanks for the thoughts on Memorial Day, Dad. Love you!

Elder Rice


Email for Mom:
Sorry I didn't email earlier! Yesterday the library was closed and today we did service at the HOPE center and had lunch with the ward mission leader, Brother D. Elder A. is being transferred to Norman and I don't know the mailing address for that yet. Transfers is tomorrow and I will be companions with Elder B. (I haven't seen or heard about him yet.) Looking forward to meeting him! I might be senior companion for the first time. I don't think it'll change much of anything except I'll be driving.

Also, Nathan let me know that you're not very happy about the whole missing the fall semester cut off. I've heard that there have been some missionaries that are able to work with the mission president at going home from a week to a transfer early. If that'll relieve any stress I can look into it. I'm all right if that's what works best, but I'd like to go for the full allotted time.

So it seems like life in general back home is becoming crazy for everyone or at least that's what it sounds like from the emails. I guess it's kind of an interesting thing to watch the seasons of trial. This week has been a little crazy here as well (not as hard as it seems you guys have it), but I remember what Brother T. said. He had been going through a personal season of trial, which included a broken $400 heating unit (I think that's what it was). His first feeling was definitely frustration, but then he thought about how the Lord had blessed him and that not so many months before they would've just gone without a heater. But God provided him the means to pay $400 without debt. I'm grateful for the fact that all of you also are blessed with the means—physical and spiritual—to get through this, if not now, then later.

Thanks for the poem, Mom! I don't really see how they could've interpreted the poem that way if they went back and looked at the second and third stanzas, but maybe they wanted to put a certain spin on it. I liked the poem, though I thought it was a little depressing. I hope that's not the pattern that we (PaNaJoJa) follow too closely. [Note: PaNaJoJa is a family portmanteau of all four boys' names.]

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016: Fortune Cookies

Email to Mom:
Elder A. is pretty cool. He'd said he was going to send you guys an email or something awhile back. I thought it had already got to you. And no, no one got bit by a snake. We did see a tiny snake though, which leads into the fortune cookie thing.

Well, we dropped off all the cookies and came by some of the streets the next day. TONS of people actually answered their doors (unusual occurrence out here) and we got a few return appointments. The only guy who mentioned the fortune cookie, though, was a little sketched out. Elder M. and I (we were on exchanges) spotted this little snake off to the side of the door in a pile of leaves and we used a stick to kind of move the leaves around to find it. The guy came out (he was about 25) and said he was NOT OKAY with what we were doing, whatever it was. He explained that he was on edge that day because he opened a fortune cookie that said, "We will be coming to your house. Open up." I know what the order said, but he seemed a tiny bit paranoid, so we decided not to mention the whole fortune cookie thing. He's still willing to meet with us, though!

Congrats on the poems! Maybe you should make a poetry book! She might have been the only one to say it, but other's might be thinking it.

I'm already paranoid about getting a cavity, so I'm doing pretty well on keeping my teeth in good shape. No need to worry there.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice




Email to Dad:
It sounds to me like you didn't like the hike.

Well, we tried the fortune cookie thing. It seemed to work pretty well, though I can't prove that it caused the success we saw.

Elder M. shared some really cool insight that he had on 1 Nephi. Nephi attempted to get the plates from Laban three different times. The first plan was to just ask him for it. The second was to trade all their precious things for it. We know how those plans turned out. The third plan was to just go and do as the Spirit directs. When we plan as missionaries, we plan something and a backup to that something. Sometimes those plans start to not mean anything because we plan without any real hope of the appointment turning out. But Nephi did everything in his power to make his plan A and his plan B work. Only AFTER putting in that effort did the Lord provide the way. We are expected to put in all our effort, and if our strength fails or our minds can’t seem to manage grabbing the answer, then he comes in and shows the best way.

The members here are awesome! The Bartletts were moving out and let us raid their pantry for supplies as they were planning on leaving a lot of it. Then a new member in the ward provided dinner for us and surprised us in giving us a huge load of groceries! She says she usually does that for missionaries because she hopes that someone will treat her grandchildren the same on their missions.

Love you guys! Remember to send Elder A. something back! (He thinks you guys are way cool.)

Elder Rice

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016: Email for Mom

Disney Infinity died?! That's crazy! That kind of stinks.

We got a bunch of referrals for new investigators this week, and three of the less-active members that we were working with are officially active now. So lots of good this week, but no crazy stories.

Last night Elder A. and I both dreamt that he got bit by a snake, so we'll have to see if he survives the week. Also, Elder A. made this bet that I was going to get a package as we drove back and that it would have the fortune cookies in it, and that I would have to call him prophet if he got it right. I didn't think it would happen, but I said that he'd get a package with at least one cookie in it, and then he'd have to do the same to me. Oddly enough, he actually did get an entire package full of homemade cookies.

That's interesting that Jacob is so good at reading directions. I wouldn't have guessed it. That'll be awesome for him in school!

L. is like a rehash of the whole experience with Sister T. (who's still doing well from last I heard in Shawnee). He's pretty well determined to get baptized and already has awesome fellowship in the ward, but he's reading all the low-key anti-Mormon histories. We're more prepared for it this time. He's actually giving the Book of Mormon a really good read through. I just don't think he's quite yet willing to accept any prophets after Joseph Smith, and he's not quite a fan of the Word of Wisdom. He's willing to give it a try, though. Pray for L.!

I brought all my camera cords this week and it turned out that none of them were the right one.

... Just kidding, here's some photos:

Me and Elder A. 
Me and Elder A.

Before lightning storm at 7:30 p.m.

Lightning strike during the 7:30 p.m. storm

Tornado Weather

Some high-wind damage (not tornado damage)

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 9, 2016: Hello ... Again

I don't know what to write about. I did remember a cool/crazy story when we were out tracting though. I think I told this to one of the brothers though. I'm not sure who.

So we were street contacting and found a guy out on his porch smoking (as is not uncommon out here) and we came over and started talking to him. He seemed fairly normal for the most part, and he talked a little about his time in the military. We started to steer the conversation towards the gospel, and he seemed to agree with every point we talked about. However, he seemed to throw in little things here and there that were strange, like seeing ghosts. We decided to just keep going along, because who knows? Then he started to tell us about how he can see angels standing on top of the stars at night shooting golden gospel arrows at people, and he described a battle he had with the neighbors who were trying to kill a little blue angel. The Holy Trinity came to his aid and they ran off the neighbors.

I would've thought he was joking or trying to run us off, but I could tell from the seriousness of his tone that he wasn't. He was a nice enough guy anyway, though, so we left him with our testimonies and a Book of Mormon (which he said he'd read) and went on our way.

Sister R. is housing a lady who is going to school here in Oklahoma. Apparently, not only has she read the Book of Mormon, but she's been working up the courage to come to church. We were just excited that we could teach her. (Most college kids are in the UCO sisters' age range for teaching. We've had to hand over a lot of investigators after finding out their ages.)

Heheheh. So I brought my camera and I remembered to bring a cord, but I brought the cord to the wrong camera. I'll see if anyone else here has something that I could use to send them.

Also, I wasn't at all homesick up until the call last Christmas! Even then, I normalled out pretty quickly after. You just have to think about all the blessings you have from being out here (which are not a few) and then you're ready to go.

I love you guys! Stay safe, and thanks for the fortune cookies. Our hail beats out your hail (2-inch to softball-sized). Haven't had any tornado warnings or large storms here for a while.

Elder Rice

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016: Mother's Day Update

Well, we found a place to Skype from. Sister R. (the one we're related to) is letting us Skype at her house. Did I mention she found out we're also related to the H. family in the ward? and it looks like we might be connected to the G.s as well. As for the time, we'll get that today. I'll let you know this time.

Yeah, I thought the break wasn't that bad, and maybe it wasn't and the orthopedic just didn't want to risk it. Anyway, he's allowing me to walk on it now so I can spend more time on the street and less in the car.

The idea for the cactus was to just be that one elder apartment that has a cactus that you have to take care of. "If you can't take care of a cactus, then how will the Lord trust you with investigators?" (Elder A.)

So the first storm of tornado season passed through. Seems like there's been a lot of hype recently for tornados, and then they don't end up happening or the storm is less than they thought. We only had a few small tornados out here, none very close to us at all. It rained a crazy ton though. Norman got hit with two-inch hail. So far, no problems.

It's actually kind of funny. The Oklahomans who are transplants get worried about all the storms and are glued to the TV, and the native born just walk out of their trailer home with drink in hand and sit in their lawn chair to watch the storm. "Bring it on!"

That's only a slight exaggeration. It seems that no one goes to shelter until the tornado is literally on their street. Crazy!

Thank you for the video. I don't think I entirely fit the description, I remember plenty of instances that exempt me, but I'm glad I helped somehow.

Well, I learned the importance of persistence this week. We visited a potential investigator for the fourth time and finally made it in the door. He has a few Mormon friends he's been talking with and has committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying.

L. and his daughter came to church again this week. It was a little weird though. The first testimony given was by a less active business man who used it as a platform for his "Extreme Word of Wisdom" book and quoted Jerry Springer.

More guys from the elder's quorum are planning splits for home teaching, so we're pretty happy.

We've got zone p-day pretty soon here and I'm going to have to get going, so sorry this was less personalized. Also, I do want to try that fortune cookie idea I mentioned a while back.

Nathan: Thanks for the pin and title and especially the comments.

Joshua: Good, don't be dramatic. Yes, you should still be the game maker. I'll try to remember the story for you.

Jacob: I still don't get the soup thing, but thanks for giving inigo a turn. Be nice to that farmer.

Love you guys. Read the King Benjamin address this week.

Elder Rice

video

Nathan presenting his Eagle mentor pin

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 25, 2016: Looking Up

It's been pretty slow in Edmond for a while. Up until this week, things were slowly getting better. Then all of the sudden, we have things to do. We got a referral for a man named L. He's about 60 and has a sweet Boston accent. He's had a really good experience with the LDS church in Blackfoot, Idaho, but also a bad one in Pocatello. He's really open to converting and came to church with his daughter this last Sunday. He gave Elder A. a crazy looking sports coat, and because he didn't have anything my size, I got a cactus. Yeah.

L. and F. from Shawnee made a baptism date a few weeks ago.

We also got to go on splits with Brothers A. and G. They're both way awesome and we did a little home teaching with them. Sister A. is on track for temple marriage!

This week we plan on following up with Brother R.'s list of less actives. If this goes like I hope it will, they'll come to church and maybe they'll have non member friends we could teach! We'll have to see.

I'll get back to you on the plans for Mother's day. No one's said anything yet.

So, what's Dad going to be doing in Philadelphia? Also, didn't get a reply from J. I just want to make sure she got it.

Thanks for the advice, Dad. I don't always know what I need to hear, so sometimes I'm glad to get some instruction. I haven't had much homesickness though. I've [heard] there's a "wall" at the year mark though, so I'll keep it in mind.

So our unusually long transfer just ended (seven weeks long). They say this will actually set my mission a week longer (woot!). I hope that doesn't adversely effect anything.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016: Member Work

So this week has been unintentionally focused on less-active work. The members of our ward as of recent have been calling us up to help them with finding less-active members and do home teaching. I think personally this is the direction the Lord wants us to take to find investigators. There's been a stress on getting referrals from less-active members in the last zone conference, so here's our chance to do it.

Leg's almost completely healed. I'm glad. I don't like crutches and I've been asked a few too many times what happened.

Here are a few jokes I heard:
  • Did you hear about the two radio antennas that were married last week? The wedding was okay, but the reception was fantastic!
  • I have been trying to come up with names for twins I ever get them and I think I've found the best two. I'll name one Juan and the other Amal. The only problem about twins is that I'll probably have a difficult time telling the difference, so if anyone ever asks, I'll just say "If you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal."
Thanks for the poem, Mom. I'm not the most poetic person, but I liked it.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016: Heheheh

Y’all freaked out when I said [my leg] was fractured! Well, it's pretty much done. I got my brace off because the orthopedic [doctor] said it was overkill for the break I had. Based on what the MRI says about the ligament down there, I might be able to walk on it soon.

Awesome news! Our new investigator K. is a quarter through the Book of Mormon! She's a self-labeled "cradle Catholic" and has a lot of friends in her neighborhood that are LDS. Pray for her to recognize her answer!

M. bore his testimony again in church. He's finished with his ninth time reading the Book of Mormon and says he absolutely believes we are doing the Lord's will, especially in exercising the power to bind on earth and in heaven (in reference to the temple). Right now, we're just trying to help him feel more a part of this ward. M. loves people, so he's probably pretty attached to his Catholic congregation. He's pretty dug in, but it seems that the priests are going to try and give him an ultimatum soon, because he preaches out of the Book of Mormon on occasion and that doesn't go well. He believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, but he won't believe the "one true church" idea quite yet. He's stubborn, though, and won't deny anything else the church teaches.

Seems like Mom fits right in with all the top tier poets from that picture. Weird. You're like Studio C, sort-of-almost-famous! You'll have to send me the poem if it's not too apostate.

I knew T. from both Hannah Holbrook and Centennial. That's really unfortunate. We'll pray for his family. [School custodian who recently died in a motorcycle accident.]

Happy birthday, Inigo! (and Nathan :p)

I don't have any photos because I've been out of batteries and haven't gotten any. I'll get some today (batteries and photos).

Love,
Elder Rice

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 4, 2016: Fractured

From Parker at 11:38 AM

So this week was pretty awesome! We set a baptismal date with a brand new investigator, K. She's Catholic, but knows a lot of Mormons and has a lot of close friends that are [Mormons]. Also, we had a lesson with M., who has been coming to church for forever even though he's Catholic and is reading the Book of Mormon through for his ninth time. He believes it’s all true, but believes that the Catholic's priesthood was simply dormant during the dark ages. I don't know exactly how to help with that. He might just be worried because he takes up housing with the Catholic priests. Funny, though, he shares the Book of Mormon with everyone. One of the past elders told us about how he stood up on the bus and declared that the Book of Mormon was not a testament of Brigham Young or Joseph Smith, but of Jesus Christ, and is entirely true. He handed out some seven copies. We're working with him to convince him to be baptized. Also, the guy in the Lotus must've either been high or just didn't remember us, because he drove past us again and was totally friendly this time.

Conference was awesome! I loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk in priesthood and Elder Holland's address. Charity is the root of righteousness; pride is the root of wickedness.

Strangest meal I've had: Got a meal from a member of some sort of chili. After we ate it they told us it was year old dear meat. They FOUND the deer dead on their property and stuck it in their freezer.

Strangest conversation: We were out tracting and met a man who told us that he helped the Holy Ghost fight his neighbors to protect one of the blue angels that had fallen from off her star. Blue and red angels sit on top of stars and you can see them at night shooting golden arrows of the word of God to fight devils. Joseph Smith is a prophet alongside Gandhi. He definitely believed every word he said.

Love,
Elder Rice

P.S. I twisted my leg and fractured my fibula wall running last p-day after emails.

From Jason at 12:03 PM

Mom just called me. She read your email and wanted to know if you are kidding about breaking your fibula or if it is a late April Fools joke. She is fairly alarmed that if it is true she should have received some notice about it from someone. She wants me to call the mission office to verify. So if you get this, know that I am going to call. If it is a joke, you had better let me know right away.

Love,
Dad

From Parker at 12:05 PM

Not a joke. I should be better in a little over a week, though. The work hasn't slowed, but it was kind of dumb on my part.

I'm not sure why you weren't contacted, though. Everything's good, though. The fracture was extremely small and there's hardly any pain. We actually had one of our best weeks in Edmond despite everything.

From Jason at 12:12 PM

How did you do it?

From Parker at 12:15 PM

Horizontal wall run on a mat in the church gym. I had done something like 20, but I twisted my leg pretty good on the mat on the last one.

Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016: (No Subject)

Thanks for the Easter package! I offered a few times, but no one seemed to want any candy. (They're all trying to go on a diet.) But I've been doing really well about portioning sugar and making things last so I won't eat it all in three days. Speaking of which, I'm glad to hear your diet is working, Mom! It always seemed like you guys didn't get the results that you wanted out of it so that's great to hear. I've been sketching in that book you sent, so I'll actually have something to send back to you guys.

So, working with the ward auxiliaries has really helped a lot. We had quite a few less actives come to church last Sunday (though it was Easter), and we've picked up a lot of new potentials and new investigators. Things are still a little slow, but its definitely picking up! Also, we're not really tracting the same street twice. We're just dropping a few fortune cookies at some houses on the way to an appointment, so it shouldn't cut too much time.

On the way to do a little finding, some guy in a really nice Lotus drove up to us and at first I thought he was a member or just a nice preacher stopping to say hi or something. Nope. We got raked over the coals on some long rant. We weren't too bothered by it, especially considering immediately after there was a youth of a less active in our ward that we had met with who biked up to us and told us about how he decided to drop atheism and Buddhism and become Christian! He met with his grandpa who spent some time discussing with him about it. His mom also said that some of his best memories are with the missionaries, so we'll have to look into it.

After that, we tracted in a trailer park and as it turns out, we tracted past the house where the guy with the Lotus lived. He and his friend came out and anti-ed us again. He actually kept us just long enough to run into a mother and daughter that were just getting home. They're our newest investigators now. Funny that something bad was immediately followed by something awesome both times.

As for finding through members, we've been meeting with a less active, Brother C., who does this thing called Dagorhir, which is like medieval fighting turned into a sport almost (super nerdy, but cool at the same time). We actually ran into him and a bunch of other people at practice and we talked with some of the people sitting and watching. One lady's mother was a Mormon and had missionaries come visit her quite a bit. She said she'd be willing to listen to the lessons if we came back next week.

No need to get me an absentee ballot. I'd only know a few people to not vote for.

Happy Easter! Love you guys!
Elder Rice

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016: Rices

So all that tracting and street contacting didn't avail much except for a bunch of referrals for the other Edmond missionaries. That's okay though, because we found someone really awesome AND in our area at our apartment's Easter egg hunt (our apartment actually isn't in our area). We also colored an Easter egg picture to look like a Book of Mormon for their drawing contest. Didn't actually stay for the hunt though. Just got some potentials and left.

So to fix the whole tracting problem, we decided that we needed to work more with the ward. We set up an appointment with the bishop and he gave us a great list of less actives, part member [families], and few member families to focus on. We're going to be doing a lot of work with auxiliaries as well. Also, why don't home teachers take up the offer to have missionaries help with home teaching? I'd actually like to know.

So we had dinner yesterday with a Sister R. When she saw my tag and heard I was from Kaysville, she knew right away that we were related. She's the niece of Grandpa Rice and actually came to the funeral. She really liked how all the sons got up to talk and loved the BYU fight song being sung at the end. She's way nice and we talked about family history for a while and about Grandpa's family. I think she sent something to Mom through Facebook. She's also a beast at running and biking, and showed us only two handfuls of the medals she's won in those (she's really competitive). She also had an awesome referral. She says that she's already said at times, “There's nothing really keeping me from joining your church.”

So we had a great idea for tracting. The past week I bought a box of fortune cookies and have been opening them up a day at a time. Elder A. opened up a cookie that said something like, “A great opportunity will knock at your door. Open it.” We were thinking that it would be awesome if we could drop a bunch of those in mailboxes the day before we came and tracted into them! We just don't know where to get personalized cookies.

I didn't even think about the camera date! Now it looks like I'm some apostate scrub! Oh well, I'll fix it later.

Love you guys! Remember God lives and loves you, and watch the new Easter video the church put out! #Hallelujah

Elder Rice

P.S. Always pray before you eat your fortune cookie. It doesn't work if you don't.

Sister R.'s family tree made by Annie Rice. She's Margaret Rice's daughter.

March 14, 2016: NONDESCRIPT TITLE

Well, the first full week of Edmond was really slow. Every area is a little different I've heard. I have hope, though. I've heard that in the past Edmond has been the "promised land" for missionaries, so all we have to do is work hard, stay obedient, and work with the ward, and we should see some real improvement. Looks like we'll still end up doing a lot of tracting though, looking at previous missionary's work.

I sent the apartment number in another email, but it’s 102.

Also, Mom, you said that Grandma and Grandpa have sent me a few emails awhile back. I haven't received them. Are they sending it to the right email?

Mom's haircut picture is blank, but that's okay. I'm sure it’s glorious to behold.

Thanks for the S.U.C.C.E.S. email, Dad. I don't think I need three hours worth of it, but I'd definitely like to see more.

Your missionary talk story reminds me of a joke I heard in Shawnee:

There was a Preacher who had passed on a while back who found himself at the waiting room before the pearly gates. The man was a little nervous, even though he was surely a holy man. Peter came in and rewarded people one by one with their gifts before they entered their final destination. The line dwindled until there was only one man ahead of him.
He was a short, Hispanic man who wore a taxi driver's nametag that said his name was Pablo. He was a simple man who had taxied all his life and had a few vices such as smoking and every once and a while grabbing a drink on the job. Peter came up to Pablo and said "Oh, Pablo, we've been expecting you!" and handed him a scepter and crown and let him through a door to a crowd of cheering angels.
When the preacher saw this, he was no longer nervous, saying to himself, "If he that's how he was received, how great will my reward be?!" Peter came in and came to the preacher. "Oh, we've been expecting you as well! Here's your reward!"
The preacher was shocked to find a tattered traveler's cloak and a staff, and the door opened to a dreary wasteland. "What is this!? How did I get something so bleak when that man in front of me got what he got?! I gave sermons every week!"
Peter replied "Oh, well see, we don't judge based on works, we judge based on performance. Whenever you gave a sermon, as long and eloquent as they were, everyone fell asleep. Whenever anyone taxied with Pablo, they prayed their hearts out the whole way!"
I hope I told that well enough. It was pretty funny when I heard it first.

Here's another one I heard here in Edmond: What do you get if a man is dyslexic, agnostic, and an insomniac? A man who stays up all night wondering if there really is a dog.

Love,
Elder Rice

Here's a few photos:

We're crammed with all the suitcases in the back of the car.

We found a super cheap place to gold on p-days. I don't know how we
managed to get a hold of golf clubs, but they're in our apartment.


Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016: Deja Vu

Coming into Edmond is a lot like when I came into Shawnee. The work was at a slow point. But it’s actually not too bad! I actually know what to do and Elder A. and I have been seeing a lot of miracles! We got the first investigator in about a month on the first day out, and even though we can’t seem to meet any less actives, all the people we meet along the way are really prepared and we’ve gotten a lot of really good potentials from street contacting! Elder A. and I are getting along pretty well. I didn't think it would be a problem anyway.

We met a really awesome potential from Nepal, in an apartment complex, played a game of jackpot with some of the neighbor kids outside, and met an old potential after weeks of being unable to contact them, all within 20 yards. I'm really surprised how much kids like the pass along cards!

I hope Inigo still likes those pigs [toys] when I get back! That sounds like a ton of fun!

I don't know what else, to say about it. I haven't been here even a week, so maybe I'll have something new next time.

I just realized Elder A. used my camera cord for the photo printer back at the apartment and I forgot to grab it. I've got photos though, so next time there'll be some.

Love,
Elder Rice

Monday, February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016: Transfer Doctrine

I'm outta Shawnee.

Dang it.

But it's all good. I'm going to Edmond 1st Ward, where I hear many good things are going on. My new companion will be Elder A., who had been in our district for three of my six months out here, so this will be cool. Shawnee is pretty much set for Elder L. to train his new companion (this is his second "son"). I'm pretty happy about that because when I got here, it seemed that nothing was going on, and that's not the most enjoyable way to start.

Yep, six months out here in Oklahoma. Lucky for me, time seems to be moving pretty normally (except for this last transfer). Hopefully it stays this slow.

I'm glad to hear that everyone is doing well, except for the homework ... I can't say anything about that without being hypocritical but

>:T

M. is an investigator again! We dropped by randomly one night and she just happened to be home. We had originally dropped her because she was working two jobs and wasn't home ever, and would not keep commitments. Now that her cousin has moved out, she hasn't had to do near as much work. She said she's been really wanting to get back into church and has seen the difference between where she was and where she is now. When someone isn't ready, drop them, record them in the area book, and revisit them. They'll be ready at one time or another.

So, the sisters found while they were out tracting one of the "potentials" we were really trying to get in touch with that we left the Book of Mormon with. She seemed to be avoiding us, from our perspective. But when she talked to the sisters, she told about how she had actually just recently finished the Book of Mormon in the space of about four weeks and said it made a lot of sense. She had her old phone busted so she couldn't contact us.

Joshua and Jacob, stop picking at each other.

Love,
Elder Rice

Shawnee North and South