Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 6: This week has FLOWN by!!!

This week has been pretty crazy!

First off I gave 7 blessings this week. They were wonderful and the spirit was so strong. I've never been more grateful to be worthy of the priesthood I hold. We had zone meeting this week which was a lot of fun. It was nice to get out of our area and see some new scenery.

We took our car in to get serviced that morning as well and expected it to be done by about 1 or 2 by the time zone meeting ended. Well it turned out there were more problems with it than we thought. Long story short we got a different car for the next week or 2 and we didn't get to our area till 5:30. And we had been asked that day to teach institute at 5:30. After institute we headed to our 7 o'clock regular appointment. Well that fell through. It was dark and storming so there was no one on the streets so we just contacted a few referrals then went home. That was the worst day this week.

There have been lightning and thunder storms every night this week. Thunderstorms here are crazy! I had gone to bed and passed out when all of a sudden BOOM! Elder Thompson and I jumped out of bed. It was thunder. I have never heard thunder so loud and so frequently in my life. I can honestly say I felt like I little child again who's afraid of thunder.

So Saturday all of our evening appointments fell through and we were frustrated. We wondered what it was we were doing wrong. We decided to go to Leratos, a 10 year old girl who was recently baptized, and her mother who is considered less active. We had tried to visit Sis. Richards, Lerato's mother, about 2 weeks ago when I first got here but no success. So we got to the house and Lerato was outside playing with her friends so we stopped and played jump rope with all of them for about an hour or so. About 7:00  Lerato invited us in and we talked with her mother. She proceeded to tell us how she had thought to call us that day but just kept ignoring the thought to do so and then all of a sudden we showed up. She said it was an answer to her prayer. We then knew why our evening appointments fell through. It was an amazing experience. She has been going through some depression and has been trying to get out of it and the doctors have her on a ton of meds that don't seem to be helping. She just opened up to us. She expressed that she enjoys talking to us because she knows she can trust us and everything she tells us wont spread to other members. We were able to talk to her and share some scriptures and help her a lot and regain some hope. We then gave her a blessing. She's amazing and so friendly. After that we headed home.

We hopped on the highway to head back. The highways here are so different from the states. People can walk on them and you see so many people just walking along the highway. The speed limit is 120km/hr or about 60-70mph. And there are no street lights. It was a Saturday night so everyone was drinking and partying. So back to the story. We hopped on the highway and began to head home. Not too long later we came up on some cars with their hazards on. We figured it was an accident. As we came up on the first car we saw something in front of the car and I figured it was the bumper. It turns out it was a body... Not too long before we got there a man had been hit. He was dead. I'm assuming he was drunk and in the middle of the road but who knows. It was so sad. We pulled off to the side of the highway and just sat there in disbelief. Apparently this is normal in Africa and my district leader has seen 8!

So Sunday was the Primary Program. About 5 min before sacrament started Sis. Panyapanya told us that we were singing in it! I didn't really have a choice so I did anyways. We sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth". After the program and church everyone told me I was a wonderful singer and that I did a great job. I've never heard that before. I've always been told I'm the tone deaf child lol. But the primary program was so cute.

Regarding dad's question about what the church is like here, the church leadership here struggles. It's been said that the church in Africa is in the Kirtland stages like it was in America 100's of years ago. So leadership is definitely different. As well as programs. The church is definitely growing here and has some improvement. So it's been kind of different to me and kind of awkward but I'm getting use to it because that's just how the church is here and they don't know any different. Although the people and their knowledge in the gospel is different than that of other places, the teachings and gospel is the same.

I know this gospel and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints is the true church. That is why I am on a mission. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you next week.

Love Elder Rash

If there are kids in the street, he is playing with them!

What a handsome boy!

He loves the kids!!!


Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 5: Opening my mouth is getting easier

Hello friends and family!

This week has flown by! I don't really know where to start because all of the days melt together and I don't really remember what happened. I'll try my best though.

So this week was really busy. We had full days every day. Friday we went to the temple and it was awesome. It was nice to get a break and get out of the area.

So in our flat it's just me and elder Thompson. But 2 other sets of missionaries in our district live in the same compound as us just in 2 different flats. So each set of missionaries get their own flat.

On Saturday we did 2 service projects and had a Brai (barbecue) after at the members house. We didn't get back to the flat and showered till about 3 and then I went on exchanges. The DL went with Elder Thompson in our area and I went with Elder Ansumana, from Sierra Lione, to his area. He's just finishing up his first 12 weeks. It was really fun and it was nice to get to teach with someone else and talk to someone else. We get along really well.

I learned last night that Elder Thompson knows my cousin Kimmy. They were apparently in the same art class at Snow college.

Sunday morning I got a call from a member of the Branch Presidency and he asked me to give a talk on the pre-earth life/plan of salvation. He called right before church!! Well I gave the talk anyways. It went alright. I'm use to teaching the plan of salvation simply, that when I went to give my talk just on the pre-earth life I kind of forgot some of the specific points I was going to talk on. Oh well. I love the kids here! There's a little boy about 3-4 named Kapelo in the branch and I played with him basically all of the last 2 hours of church. He's so cute! When I was sitting on the stand before sacrament meeting he came up on the stand and started talking with me.

On Sunday we attended a baptism for the Glen Ridge area. They are part of our district. There's Glen Ridge, Pimville, and us Protea Glen. Us and Glen Ridge share the same chapel. They are in a ward and we are in a branch. All 3 of those areas are within Soweto. So my area is Soweto. So on my map you can mark Soweto Dad. We currently have 5 investigators on date for baptism. We have about 10 progressing investigators, and we have about 25 people we are teaching and that could be considered progressing soon. The work is going great here!

Thapelo attended the baptismal service on Sunday. We are still trying to work with his mom to move his baptism date sooner. They went and met with him the day we were on splits so I'm not sure where we're at with his mom. Apparently she wasn't there when they visited him so we haven't been able to talk to his mom.

So the weird things I've eaten since being here. Yesterday we were fed chicken livers! They actually weren't that bad. They just had a weird texture. I had fish this week, not my favorite, but I downed it anyway. I've had pap a lot! It's not bad. It seriously has no flavor. Its pronounced pop by the way.

I love it here. Although I'm exhausted at the end of everyday it's worth it. I love preaching this gospel. Before coming out on my mission I was scared to talk to people and was super nervous doing it, let alone about the gospel. Now it's so easy and natural for me. Sometimes I just have to push myself to make the effort to talk to someone but once I do its smooth sailing from there. I know this gospel is true. I love and miss you all. Talk to you next week.

Elder Rash
Temple Day with the Zone

Look at that smile

Two cool missionaries

Service project...clearing a field with a palm tree branch

He called this an "Africa garbage can"

Just grateful he was in this picture

Stole this from Sis. Dunn.  After the temple they meet together and have classes.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 4: HELLO from Protea Glen South Africa

Hello Friends and family!
Unjani?(how are you) I'm not going to talk about my last week in the MTC because it was a repeat of the first. My first week in the field has been awesome! I am in Soweto Zone but in the Protea Glen area. It is so diverse here! It's a township and has some pretty nice homes with walls around them, decent a little rundown homes, and shacks. It's crazy.

My trainer is Elder Thompson from Mt. Pleasant Utah. We don't have much in common, he likes music and other stuff like that. His background is a little crazy. He has 18 siblings. You might wonder how. Well he comes from an FLDS family and his mom is still a polygamist. He told me he grew up with the gospel but wasn't a member but always thought he was. He says this FLDS group isn't as crazy and far off the path as those in Colorado City and places like that that you see on the TV shows. He says they lived the law of consecration and polygamy but everything else was the same as the LDS church. Apparently they say the LDS church is the true church but the prophet is just the president of the church and doesn't hold all the keys. It's a weird story that I don't have time for. So he was confused and didn't know if what he was living was true so he searched and came to find out that he wasn't living the gospel and that that was all wrong and so he was baptized in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had thought he was a member all along but wasn't baptized with the proper authority and priesthood. So he's 24 and a convert.
Our area is awesome. The first day we went shopping and I gave a Book of Mormon to someone in a matter of minutes. Right now we have 2 investigators on date for baptism for the 30th of October and they are amazing. We have 5 more potential ones that should be on date very soon. One is Thapelo. He is a 15 year old boy who loves the gospel. He's been taking the lessons for 3 months. The reason he isn't baptized yet is because since he's under 16 he has to go to church consistently for 6 months. As soon as I met him I knew he was ready for baptism. We talked to President Dunn and asked if we could set a baptismal date and he said yes if we think he's ready. He came to watch General Conference and had so many of his questions answered by the end. When we asked him if he felt ready for baptism he said he didn't feel worthy. Our hearts sank and the way he was describing it, he made it sound like it was a serious situation and we kind of hinted to it and tried to help him without actually coming out and asking if it was a morality problem and then we finally asked him what it was and he said it's because he gets angry easy! That's how ready he is! He's so righteous that he thought getting angry would make him unworthy. So one of the talks in General Conference answered that question and concern for him. So we went ahead and he was going to pray for the 23 of Oct. to be baptized. He was so excited and then the next day told us that his mom wasn't against him getting baptized but wanted him to wait till the end of the year so he knows for sure he wants to get baptized and won't leave the church. I could see this kid being an apostle one day that's how amazing he is. He read the Book of Mormon cover to cover in 1 week of getting it. He carries it with him everywhere! We're going to work with his mom to see if he can get baptized earlier.

The food here is good. We eat a lot of chicken and rice. We get fed about 4-6 times a week. My favorite thing is dumbolo. It's like a homemade bread but is steamed. It's weird and hard to explain but is so good!
I love the kids here!!! They flock around us everywhere we go. I love playing soccer with them and doing the African handshake with them. I'm starting to learn Zulu and know a few phrases. One of the members is a Zulu teacher and is determined to teach me.

I love this gospel and this work so much. I've never been more tired in my life but it's worth it. I'll talk to you all on Monday.
Love you! Elder Rash

Questions and Answers
1. Tell us about your companion/trainer?
He is from Mt. Pleasant Utah. Use to be FLDS.
2. Tell us about the MTC experience?
The MTC was good but about a week to long. It got tiring and repetitive
3. Tell us what you know so far about your area?
I am in Protea Glen. It's actually about a 20 min drive from our flat so we drive to our area. Oh yeah i forgot to tell you guys I've been driving!!! it's crazy!!!! But Protea Glen is within Soweto
4. What is South Africa like?
I love South Africa. It's so diverse. You'll see nice houses and then 1 min you'll see squatter camps which are a bunch of tin shacks clumped together
5. Are you experiencing culture shock?
Eh. Not really. I did but I'm over it.
6. Tell us about your MTC companion?
I had 2 companions. The first was from Botswana we got on each other's nerves kind of and then we ended up getting transferred within our district. My second one was Elder Griffin from Utah. Senator Flakes son was in my district so that was kind of cool but he was annoying. He went to Botswanna
7. Did he go to Johannesburg or somewhere else?
Both went to Bots
8. Tell us about your District in the MTC?
it was the best district. Elder Cox from Austrilia, who I love, went to Joburg and he's in my zone so that's awesome
9. Did you have a zone leader in the MTC?
Yeah. One went to Durban and one went to Bots
10. Give us an idea of what your daily routine has been in the mission field?

wake up study leave about 11 for our area then go to appointments and if we don't have any then we contact

Welcome to the Mission Elder D. with trainer Elder Thompson

Beginning Orientation at the Mission Home

Being instructed by Pres. Dunn

Welcome Elder's to the mission

First selfie from Elder D. 

Hopefully he will get better at telling what the pictures are about...

Playing soccer in the street with the kids!  He LOVES this!

Stopped in the road and the kids just swarm!  You can tell he loved it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week 3: He as arrived safe and sound into the loving arms of Pres. and Sis. Dunn

Dear Brother and Sister Rash :

 I am happy to report that your son, Elder Rash, has officially arrived in our mission! 

 We are so delighted to have him safely here with us in Johannesburg. He seems happy, looks great and is excited for his service as a full-time missionary. Thank you so much for helping him prepare for this sacred duty. Attached please find a photo of him with Sister Dunn and myself. Also attached is a photo of him with his new companion, and his official mission photo card which will be on our transfer board for the next two years, and which I hope will also find a place in your home.

After meeting your son this morning, we conducted a brief orientation at the mission office where he received an overview of all mission-related issues including instructions on flats, mission rules, hygiene, mission vehicles, allotment cards, health and safety. We will also meet with him and his companion for a lunch and follow up training at the mission home on Thursday. Because of the overwhelming amount of information, all content was then provided to him as part of a Mission Policy Manual that he can refer to and review in the weeks and months ahead. 

I also had the wonderful opportunity to interview your son and get to know him as he begins his mission. Again, he appears ready and eager for service. Based on my impressions about your son he has been assigned Elder Thompson to be his trainer and first companion, and his first area is Protea Glen. Please look for an email from your son this coming Monday which is his preparation day, where he will no doubt be sharing his impressions of what is usually always a very hectic but exhilarating week. 

In behalf of my wife and our entire mission please know we are so thrilled to have Elder Rash in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission. We are committed to doing all we can to make his mission the incredible, life-changing experience it should be. To that end if I can ever be of assistance to you or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With Love and Best Regards,  

Pres. and Sis. Dunn

Elder D.'s trainer, Elder Thompson
Elder D. with Pres. and Sis. Dunn

Mid-week e-mail from the MTC Mission President

Brother and Sister Rash ,

 Just a quick note to let you know how grateful we are for your son these past weeks at the MTC.  He is an exemplary young man.  He is obedient, strong and yet humble. We love his  “quiet” and happy nature.  He is a fine athlete at any sport the Missionaries play.  He is very well prepared and has a very strong Spirit about him and the Lord loves him and so do weJ.   

A fine young man like your son doesn’t happen by accident.  It is obvious that you are wonderful parents and you have sent out “one of the very best.”  President Ashton (past mission president) and I have said many times, that he would have been a great leader in our previous mission.  We anticipate that he will be a great leader in the Joburg mission as well.

In fact, the only thing wrong with him is that he will be leaving next week!  Then we will be like you and missing him very muchJ.


Sister and President Ashton SAMTC

Elder D. had the opportunity to go with half of the missionaries in the Johannesburg MTC to the Johannesburg Temple.  What a beautiful sight so see these worthy young men!  Armies of Helaman right there!