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