Monday, December 31, 2007

Update from Peru

It was great to talk to you guys on Christmas, I loved it... but I spoke too soon when I said everything was great and perfect....we have been without water since that night I talked to you guys... It's the first time in my life I haven't showered in six days ! I know, I know, It's gross, and I probably have something growing on me, but oh well, the work goes on.

We have 3 baptisms this next month. One is Zanaida and Jim. They are married, and have a 9 year old girl. Zanaida is our pension. The other is Luis Garfius. He is about 45 years old, and just humble humble. We also found a family of 5, with 3 potential priesthood holders and they say they want to be baptized.

A normal day consists of walking, walking, and more walking, and sometimes riding in a combi (those van things)... its fun. My days are full full full... every minute is planned out.. I like it like that...I love this work.

We have to be in our room early tonight because of New Years. Oh well, just more study time and stuff.. having the opportunity to study the Book of Mormon every morning for an hour is amazing... you learn so much more everytime you read it. I love you all, and always remember that Christ is our savior.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Call

Landon sounded great when we talked to him Christmas evening. He loves his companion, Elder Jacobi (Ha-KO-bee) from Buenos Aries, Argentina. Elder Jacobi has been out 18 months, and has become very fluent in English, so this is a big help to Landon.

Landon is happy and upbeat about everything. He is about 10 miles north of the city of Lima, in Collique (Co-LEE-kay). This is a very hilly area, and reminds him of the hillside in North Morgan that is being developed, but with not so "nice" of homes. It is hot, but not too hot. He has no idea of the exact temperature. (I think I will send him a temperature gauge) At night he gets cold, and pulls the blanket up over him. He does not have fleas........yet. He assures me that he will, and there is no way around it.

Landon said he didn't want to make us feel bad, but he really doesn't think about us back here in Morgan at all during the day, and only for about 30 minutes at night before he goes to bed. He is too busy, and he doesn't know how you CAN'T be busy out there, there is SO much to do !!

He loves his pension, Zenayda (Zah-NIE-da) and her family. She is a good cook, and takes care of the missionaries meals and washing of clothing. The family let's them use their shower when Landon and his companion's water doesn't work, which is quite often.

Landon said that the Peru Lima North mission is the "best" mission in Peru. (Is that what every missionary says?) He said it is the strictest as far as rules, and that brings blessings to the missionaries. As far as investigators, they like to work with families, with a potential priesthood holder. Baptisms have gone down, but the retention of members is up.

The mission home is about 40 minutes away from his apartment, on a bus, or (Comb Bee) - that is how you say it, but I'm sure that is NOT how you spell it. It is basically a van, that holds about 16 people, no seatbelts, and the drivers drive FAST AND CRAZY on the hillside roads!! This is something I will be adding to my prayers....... Bless the drivers to be careful.

The language is coming, and he understands 80% of what is being said when it is gospel related. Otherwise, it's hit and miss. He can hardly wait until he becomes a pro at it. Landon bore his testimony at the very end of our phone conversation, and he went on for I would guess approx. 1 to 2 minutes, and it sounded great to all of us!

Thanks to all of you for the support.Landon is sorry he is not able to respond to all of your letters, but he wants you to know that he loves you, and appreciates all of your support and prayers in his behalf.

Where in the world is Elder Rich?

Some of you may be wondering just exactly WHERE Landon is ..... well he is about 4260 miles from Morgan, Utah (if the crow flies southeast)

He is on the South American Continent, in the country of Peru. If you were to draw a line straight North from Peru, for about 3700 miles..... you would run into New York City.
The LDS church has divided Peru into 7 different missions. Lima North, East, Central, & South. Also, Trujillo and Piura (Northern Peru), and Arequipa (Southern Peru).

Peru is one of 12 countries in South America. It has about 28 million people. The geography ranges from the desert plains on the coast, to the high mountains of the Andes, to tropical rainforests. It is a developing country with a poverty level around 50%. It is also home to the ruins of the great
Inca Empire,
Machu Picchu,
and the Nazca lines.

There are 195 provinces in Peru, grouped into 25 regions except for the Lima Province which does not belong to any region. The Lima Province is located in the central coast of Peru. It's capital is Lima, which is also the nation's capital. Despite its small area, this province is the major industrial and economic powerhouse of the Peruvian economy. The Lima North Mission covers the largest area of all of the missions in Peru (see map in red). It is basically (2) different areas; the northern part of the Lima Region and the Lima Province (city and suburban), and the large "jungle" area, with the main town of Iquitos which can only be reached by air or boat. Landon will spend time in both areas over the course of his 2-year mission.

Within the Lima Province, there are 43 districts. Landon's first area of assignment is in the Comas District, which is North of the city of Lima. It covers about 30 square miles, and is 460 feet above sea level. It is one of the most populous districts in the country, having 460,000 people. Comas used to be one of the poorest districts in Lima, until recently when parts of it developed into a middle class residential district. Despite this fact, there are still patches of poverty displayed, with shacks which lack running water and electricity.

Landon is in the Collique/Casuarinas "area" of the Comas District. If you are interested if viewing his area up close and personal:)

Click here for a Google Map

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And the Companero is.........

I was able to talk to Lawson Bullock, who returned from the Peru Lima North Mission on December 19th, at church today. He said that he was able to see the new assignments before he came home, and Landon has been paired with Elder Jacobi (Hah-Ko-Bee) from Argentina. Lawson said that Landon should really enjoy working with Elder Jacobi, and be pleased with him as his companero. Lawson looked great ! Not too skinny, and so happy and upbeat and outgoing. His mission homecoming report is next Sunday. I can hardly wait !

Friday, December 21, 2007

News !!! - But not from Landon

I spoke with Elder Jason Johnson, newly returned from the Peru Lima North Mission on December 19th. He said that he had called Zanaida, the pensionista (woman who cooks, washes clothes, and generally takes care of the missionaries) today, and she wasn't in, but WHO should answer the phone? Elder Landon Rich !! Apparently Landon was assigned to the EXACT same area that Elder Johnson had just left. He is in the EXACT same apartment, and has the same pensionista ! What a coincidence. The area (as near as I could tell from Elder Johnson) is in the Santadad Zone, city or area of Collique Bajo, Lima, Peru. Google Earth puts this a little North of the main city of Lima, and approximately 11 miles NW (as the crow flies) from the Lima Temple. The living conditions for the missionaries is not as bad as I had imagined. It seems Christmas has come early at the Rich household. Thank you Elder Johnson !!

Click here for pictures of Landon's first area

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cold here......Warm in Peru

As Landon goes out into Peru, away from the CCM and mission home, I have to wonder about his living conditions. I find myself looking outside here in Utah, and worrying if he will be warm enough in Peru. I have to keep reminding myself that in Peru it's SUMMER !!
I guess everyone here in Morgan, Utah doesn't need to worry about a "White Christmas"..... Click here to enjoy the latest rendition

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Today is the day !

The missionaries who arrived at the CCM on November 8th, and who have spent the past six weeks studying and working hard, are now going to be heading out "into the field" to their respective areas of service. We are anxiously awaiting word as to where Landon's assignment will be.
Click here for pics

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This Year For Christmas

I skipped the sales after Thanksgiving
The thrill just wasn't there
No pictures taken with Santa Claus
My decorating has no flair
His presents are shoes, shirts, and ties
Two suits and fun
I've bought him all white clothes because
This year I'm giving Christ my son

I've spent more time in the temple
Felt strength come from His words
I've reread November's Ensign
And my testimony stirred
Our family prays more frequently
My tears are quick to run
Abraham seems closer because
This year I'm giving Christ my son

I wonder how those Lamanite mothers
Gave their sons to war?
Or how the pioneers chose Zion
Their sacrifice was so much more
My loss will be his presence
I'll miss his smile a ton
For two years we will pray for him
I'm giving Christ my son

I stare at his face from long ago
I memorize his eyes, their shine
He's always hungered for the part of him
That makes his soul divine
The stories and lessons he always heard
His choice and mine are one
I'll put my faith in God's hand
This year, I'm giving Him my son

Past gifts have lost their glitter
I think I finally understand
Christ's birth should be celebrated
By giving Him a hand
It's because I know Christ lives and reigns
That all the packing's done
My gift has taken years to make
This year... I'm giving Christ my son

~ Author Unknown

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy and Anxious.....

I would say the overall "feeling" of Landon's latest email was HAPPY, with a little (lot?) anticipation for getting "out in the field". He, along with other elder's thought their first EARTHQUAKE (Dec 6), was sweet, exciting, cool, etc....... Landon mentioned that he and Elder Woolf had been able to get out in the city again last Saturday, to teach the people. "It was amazing. These people are so ready to hear it, and they just need to be invited." We will not hear from Landon again, until next Wednesday (Dec. 19) when he will be transferred out of the CCM. Lawson Bullock (from Morgan) will be coming home the same day. It is possible that they will get to see each other at the Peru Lima North Mission Home.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Culture shock

Landon has written home in detail about going out into the Lima South area about 2 weeks ago. He said, "This is the most humbling thing that has ever happened to me". He tries to describe the homes built on the mountains, the dirt roads, the lack of doors, windows, roofs, dirt/mud floors. The dogs, the garbage, the smell.....

He just can't seem to find the adjectives. He said that as they were teaching in a small home, sitting on 5-gallon buckets, that a hen and four chicks ran around their feet. A surreal experience for sure.

He loves the people, who are always so happy. A truly eye-opening experience for one who like most "Americanos" hasn't ever wanted for anything. How could you NOT be humbled. He has said, "Don't pray for me, please pray for the people of Peru".

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Elder Snowman

Elder Dallin Peterson's sister Makayla met a new missionary the other day. Poor Elder is in a MUCH colder mission than OUR Peru Lima North missionaries. Hope his mom packed HIS long underwear :)

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Day on the Town

This past Wednesday (Nov 28), President Crayk took the North American missionaries (the ones who hadn't transferred out into the "field") out to tour the big city of Lima. They visited the main town square where the President of Lima lives, went down to the beach, and also stopped at a soccer stadium. They wore "normal" clothes with no name tags. Landon said it was weird not being in a suit and tie. They took a bunch of pictures which we hope to have posted as soon as we get them.

Last night the missionaries were able to watch the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional. They enjoyed it, but it did bring on a little homesickness. Landon especially will miss Temple Square and the SNOW !

This is the first picture (ABOVE) that we have of Landon IN PERU !! Doesn't he look GREAT !! It just made our day. Thank you Elder Peterson, cameraman extraordinaire !

Click here to view more pics of this fun P-day