Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017: Email to Mom and Sketches

From: Parker

I've heard enough of the "you think you can be gods" and polygamy stuff that I've gone through all the stages of response. At first I was super excited to clear the air. A few months later I was frustrated with it. Now I really don't care or have any feeling one way or the other about it. We just teach it simply and quickly and move on. A lot of people mistake us for Jehovah's Witnesses and try to use JW-anti against us. Seems like they face a lot of the same problems we do.

E. and R. are getting baptized this Saturday! I don't even really know what to say about it. It's just been a miracle getting them to this point!

We went out this week to Haskell to see some of our less-actives and, man, is it a different world out there. People seem a lot more leery of visitors of any kind. Everyone's got a door gun. One of our less-actives wasn't sure if we were really missionaries. (He was super dodgy on answering any questions at all.) He still told us about the trip wire out back that he had. Said if we'd hit it he'd have come out shooting. In the end, though, he said we were welcome to drop by anytime.

That's about all that was exciting this week. We had zone conference and that was fun. They have interviews every transfer now and that's coming up this week.

Love you, Mom.
Elder Rice

From: Mom

BTW, we got your drawings and the boys were excited to see them. I don't know if they remembered to mention it in their emails.


From: Parker

Yep! Joshua mentioned it. I'll definitely have to send more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 21, 2017: Emails to Mom & Dad

Email to Dad

OK, I usually have pretty good studies! On the harder mornings, I've got some gum to keep me awake and that works well. Elder M. is an awesome companion, too. He's definitely a diligent worker and is really easy to get along with and is generally pretty positive. None of our disagreements last more than a minute. It's been a fun transfer and a half!

That's crazy he knows you (sort of). Elder M. asked me your first name so that he could get in contact with you. I didn't think it would actually connect!

Well, I planned on grabbing those pictures from Elder M. and sending some, but I guess his dad beat me to it, so I'll just have to be sure to take my own pictures more often.

Love you, Dad!

Email to Mom

Yep, I'm really glad I got Elder M. with me out here. He's a good hard worker and wants his mission to be a changing experience. Super likable, too, so it’s been a fun transfer so far.

Whoa, it’s like we got an entirely different dog! Not as bad as I thought it would look. I was expecting him to look all pink and fleshy.

I'm trying to do a little more letter writing and I've already sent some sketches home, so that should help you guys get more stories from me. I feel like I forget a lot of stuff that happens during the week and I remember it a transfer later.

Speaking of polygamists, I heard that whoever the prophet was of the FLDS group in Mexico was jailed or put in prison or something. A few people we talked to thought that was us. It’s super common out here to hear [about] the multiple wives. Also, a weird thing, someone said they'd be more inclined to join our religion if we still practiced it. Kind of strange.

We helped a guy a week ago put up a basketball hoop up for his son (not the easy kind with the base that fills with water and folds down) and he was super grateful. He saw us a quite a few times since then while we were out on our bikes and he told us he felt like God was leading him to talk to us. We'll have to see where this goes.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 13, 2017: A collection of emails and pictures

Email for Mom

Sister M. will probably put some [pictures] up in a little while, I remember her taking a few there [at Main Event].

Wow. I think I understand the reactions some people had when I told them Grandma and Aunt Amy were in it [Tabernacle Choir] and that you're trying out. That's a pretty thorough examination!

NO INIGO!! I really hope you don't have to shave him. We did just randomly check out the "dog wash/car wash" place next to us and one of the settings they had at the dog wash was some sort of coconut wash used specifically to get out skunk smell. I don't know if you could find something like that somewhere, but that might be an option.

We had Elder D. come out with us last Monday and I can say that it seems like Oklahoma puts out some pretty good missionaries. He's doing a three-month trial mission (health-related challenge) and he was definitely on the ball in all of our lessons. I'd attribute it to lots of opportunities to go out with missionaries and the spiritual preparation put in by diligent scripture study.

Thanks so much for the package, Mom! The shoelaces also came just in time because I just tore a set this week. The comics were fantastic! I didn't see the picture from sacrament, though. It must've missed getting put in.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

Email from Dad


Your companion's dad just reached out to me. He knows someone that I work with. He sent us some really great photos. Try to stay awake in scripture study. You never know when someone is going to take a picture. :D

Mom said the pictures made her tear up. She misses you, as do we all.

Your companion tells his parents that you are a good companion and that you get along really well. Keep up the good work. I always knew you would be an excellent companion because you have always been an excellent brother (and son)!


Email from Companion's Parents

Hi Jason,

Our sons are missionary companions in Oklahoma City. We told our son in our email today that we went to RootsTech over the weekend. From that, he found out that you work at FamilySearch. So I reached out to our friend who also works there and he shared your email address with me. I have attached a few pictures from their mission adventures together. You may already have some or all of these pics, but just in case ...

Z. has really enjoyed working with Elder Rice. He said that your son is extremely knowledgeable in the gospel, kind, and easy to get along with. It seems like he always defers to Elder Rice with the more difficult gospel questions, so I’m so happy that Z. has him for a companion. I hope that Elder Rice is enjoying his time with Z.

Best wishes to you and your family! We pray for our sons every day!!

D. & M.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 6 & 7, 2017: Emails for Mom & Dad

Email for Mom (Part 1), Feb. 6

Well, this weekend was a little nuts, but fantastic at the same time. One of our investigators, E., was going to get baptized on February 11, but due to some family health problems, we've moved him to March 4, which will be R.'s baptism by the way. He had an amazing spiritual confirmation finally that the Book of Mormon is true. As he put it, "When I put my mind to something, it gets done." It's a little crazy. Most of those I've extended that commitment to, they always had some slight level of reserve, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering the commitment he's had to reading, praying, and coming to church.

This is just a quick email for today. The mission president and all our zone are doing a p-day, so we're getting to email tomorrow. Just a heads up!

We're headed out right now. They're taking us out to some place called Main Event. Not sure what it is, but they said be on time.

Elder Rice

Email for Mom (the rest of it), Feb. 7

Okay! Now I can respond.

Woohoo! I'm sure there are going to be a few upset that you're leaving Primary with how well things ran. I remember a few times when I was in Primary that there were no teachers in the class and things went nuts. Also, I don't think I got to hear what kind of tests Motab [Mormon Tabernacle Choir] puts you through to join.

I didn't think we had many less-actives in our ward. I remember a few, but I guess I wasn't so involved with the whole list as much as I am now.

Hmm ... I'm thinking I'm going to stick with my plan to serve out the mission, but I'm going to keep praying about that. I want to be more sure about the whole thing. I'm pretty sure the mid-transfer departure would put me too close to the UVU start date, but I think It'll give me time enough for BYU-Idaho.

So I found out that the time limit on these computers doesn't limit to just one hour with an optional hour extension. (I'm not sure exactly how much time we can extend, but it’s more.) So If I need to finish an email properly, I can do that now instead of a skimpy little message after the fact. President Mansell would still like us to keep it around two hours, though.

We got to do a bunch of bowling, air hockey, and laser tag at Main Event. Tons of fun, but we're probably not headed back there too soon. It has kind of a Boondocks atmosphere.

I kind of gave the highlight of my week in the last letter with R. We're super excited, to say the least. He's absolutely amazing in the journey he's taken. Every commitment, he's been amazingly diligent in studying and keeping. The only thing I feel like we had to do, was be in the right place at the right time and worthy to teach. He's had the desire from the beginning.

Love you, Mom! I'm happy you'll be getting this little bit of rest!

Elder Rice

Email for Dad

Funny enough, right after I read your email, one of the library workers walked up and started talking with us. She's a huge family history buff and has gone to a few Roots Techs in the past. It might be a door in to teach her!

Also, I met someone out here briefly who says that you know him from work. I can't remember his name, but his boss worked with you or something like that. Just thought I'd let you know, just in case you knew who it was.

Mom mentioned that you got to meet with a bunch of representatives from European countries. Does Portugal's Portuguese have a pretty different accent or can you tell? And did you learn anything interesting in the meeting?

This week's been nuts with all the exchanges suddenly thrown on us. We had our traveling AP drop call and let us know he wanted to do an exchange, then the president's son shows up 10 minutes later and we have to re-plan to make good use of the split. Now we've got a newly ordained missionary coming out with us today and we have a member previously scheduled. Plus, more members asking to come out with us. It’s a good problem to have, but I'm definitely going to need to make back up plans for back up plans for back up plans. If all that fails, I've seen miracles worked when it does, so I guess I shouldn't worry.

Love you, Dad!
Elder Rice

January 30, 2017: Emails to Mom & Dad

Email for Mom

Whoa! Tabernacle Choir? I thought it'd be a while longer before you tried out. I didn't know there was a music theory test. How intense are the try outs? What other tests are there?

Here's some pictures from this week:

Joe Bray

Zone temple day!

This guy came out with us for most of our time in Haskell, our furthest corner of our area. He was baptized a few months earlier and he came and asked when he could go out with us!

More to come ...

So the daily schedule for was changed by Salt Lake [Church headquarters]. We have planning in the morning instead of the evening, and lunch was reduced from an hour to 30 minutes. They're letting us determine when during the day we want to have personal and companionship study. All dinners should be at 5 p.m. if possible.

Tracting has run a little dry (excepting the past two days), but we've gotten a few referrals, all leading to new investigators! I've definitely been able to see how we can't do this work without the Lord. Plans fell through a lot this week and yet we always managed to have the most productive time at those points where the plans failed. The disappointments never outweigh the miracles and blessings.

Love you, Mom!
Elder Rice

One of the less actives we met had 14 four-wheelers. Here's a few.

Email for Dad

I don't have more than a minute left on the computer timer, but I just wanted to say I love you. Thanks for the emails and council. The mission is doing another obedience focus, so we're all trying to figure out what to lay on the “altar of sacrifice.” Sorry the emails have been sparse. I've been pretty slow at emailing and I miss emailing quite a few. I'll set a better order to who I respond to first.

Elder Rice

One More Thing

President Mansell is setting up a day half way through my last transfer to send missionaries home early if they need it for schooling. I'm thinking about it, but I'm not sure. I had my plan set that I was going to go the full allotted time, but after President called, I'm thinking it over again.