Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mission Success

“The real success of a mission is not measured on a chart. It is etched in your heart and in the hearts of those whose lives are eternally changed because of you. Share your testimony often. I have seen nothing in a missionary that exerts more power and positive influence than the bearing of pure and simple testimony. Your testimony is the first step in the conversion of those whom you teach. Have courage to invite others to change their lives and come to Christ through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the gospel.” - Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander of the Presidency of the Seventy

Friday, May 30, 2008

Regresa con Honor

This video is for Gabo and Jimmy. These young men will be such GREAT missionaries. Gabo will turn in his papers soon. I am so happy for him. Heavenly Father certainly has blessed him. Prayers have been answered.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Changes Already ??

"Man, I can't believe this change is almost over. This is the fastest change in my whole mission. This month of May flew by, I don't remember anything. It's crazy. Only week more, and I will have a new's all good. I love this work, it's the most important work in the world. I'm glad you're all happy, and that you're good in health. I love you so much Dad and Mom, and thank you for everything you do for me."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wild Weather

Well, to start off this week, all is well here in Tarapoto. It's rained a bit here this past week. One day it rained pretty hard, and it was nuts. Let me explain. Okay, so the night before, we were planning to visit a menos activo (less active member). We went to his house the next day at 2pm, and we got there right as it started to rain. Then it picked up a little bit, and we were just sitting there watching it out the window and door, because they had a tin roof so we couldn't hear anything or let alone talk. We were just waiting for it to pass, then it started to hail, but (it was) like the size of gum balls and pure ice, haha, not the weak stuff we get in Utah, but ice. That was weird, because it's super hot down here. They said it was the first time they have seen that here in Tarapoto. Then things got bad, haha. Then came the wind, and we were looking out the window and it was like you see on those hurricane videos on the Discovery Channel. The trees were blown sideways, and you couldn't see like 20 feet in front of you, because of the rain and wind and it was all gray. But don't worry, we were inside the house.. under the roof.. well at least we were haha.

The roof then lifted off of the cinder blocks like 3 feet, and slammed back down. Me and Elder Evans looked at each other. We could read each others minds.. "uh, this isn't good". Next came another gust of wind and it ripped the roof right off of the house... and it wasn't a small roof.. It had rafters and tin, and it was a good size. It ripped the rafters and all the wood and tin and threw it like 3 houses away. Man, it was cool. I wasn't really scared, but only worried about where the roof landed, and if any people were hurt. We hurried and got all of their stuff out of the rain, and we were all soaked and man, it was nuts, and the family was crying. Then it all stopped... and the sun came out, and it was scorching hot again. Ya know what the weirdest thing is? This all happened within 5 minutes or less. The storms come and go that fast. Well, all is well here, no worries. The Lord protects us, and (it was) just another grand experience to add to the list. Love you all... Take care...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Missionary's Prayer

Today I am frightened.
My heart is beating a silent fury.
Before me are my family and friends
I love so much and must leave behind.
Pray that I might have courage.

Today I am studying.
With all my intellect I am diligently preparing.
Preparing for the days ahead,
That I might be an effective tool in the hands of God.
Pray that my mind might be clear and alert.

Today I am homesick.
The memories of fun, school, family crowd my mind.
I almost long to return to the carefree days of my youth.
Pray that I might feel the spirit of love.

Today I am successful.
The doors of those seeking truth open to me.
They are receptive to the word.
They will be baptized!
Pray that I might be humble.

Today I am discouraged.
Lowly I trudge home through the rain.
Pondering the slammed door,
The cruel hasty words, the laughing jeers.
Pray that I might have faith.

Today I am happy.
The light shines in my eyes.
From within me I have found joy.
Today I have lived close to the spirit.
Pray that I might always find this joy.

Today I am sad.
Reluctantly and with tears in my eyes
I must someday leave this country and the people
I have taken into my heart and loved.
Pray that I might always remember.

Today I am full of love.
Love for the Lord who called me on this mission.
Love for my family who supports me.
Love for the friends who installed the desire within.
Love for those who had faith in me.
Love for those who prayed for me.
But remember today, today,
I miss you. I love you. I need you.
Pray for me always.
I am your missionary.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Words of Wisdom from Peru

This advice is taken from an email we exchanged a couple of weeks ago. I sure love my son, and appreciate his help.

"Mom, I'm sorry, but if you say the words “ I don't really expect it to” or stuff like that.... you're not having faith. I do it all the time in the mission, like for example, I say, "Man, I hope these people go to church, but I doubt they will". If you have doubt, you don't have faith. We all need to work on this part of our faith. We say we have faith, but then we say and think in a different way. Never say the words, "I doubt it", or "I don't expect it". Always think the most positive, and don't let those words enter in your mind. Don't let them. I love you mom and you are a great woman of great faith... Don't worry, we all have faults, and none of us have perfect faith, that's why we're here on this earth. I love you mom.. Thank you for teaching me this lesson... I love you."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good Companionship

Elder Evans and Elder Rich>>>>>>>>>

"I love having an English speaking comp. We help each other out. I love it. We're working hard and the Lord is helping us. Remember, strive to read the Book of Mormon everyday. It's tough because everyone is so busy, but don't forget to do that, and say your prayers. Don't let Satan tempt you otherwise."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goodbye to Elder Toolson

We will be traveling to Arizona this weekend. We will be dropping off Landon's birthday package to Elder Toolson's family. They are going down to pick him up on June 2nd, as he is finishing his mission. This is what Landon had to say about it:

"That’s cool you will get to meet her (Elder Toolson's mom). Give her a hug for me, and tell her I love her and her son. I saw pics of their family. Elder Toolson was one of my best leaders. I love him".

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rainy Days

"I'm glad the weather is good for you guys. The weather is always good down here, haha. It rained the other day pretty good, but the people said, "Ahhh that was nothing", so I'm still waiting for the big storm baby, haha."

Note from Gwen : Yesterday was rainy in Tarapoto, and now there is fog today at 7am. Gabo says there are not seasons in the jungle, only rain and sun :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

Okay, well this week, I had the most humbling experience of my mission and my life so far. I don’t know why it hit me so hard, but it did. I'll never forget it. So this family, the parents and two kids. They are such a strong family. So they aren’t the richest people in the world. They work to provide directly for the family.

Well, the mom has a job that she works on Sunday. So we told her that the Lord will bless her, and to just ask for time off every Sunday for the mornings. We thought that her boss, who is a Saturday worshiper, would understand and be reasonable. Well, Saturday night, she and her husband were talking, and they decided if they're going to follow this church, because they know it's true, they are going to do it with everything they have, and complete every commandment, not just a few. So the mom asked for time off, and the boss didn’t give it to her. The boss said, "If you don’t come to work, you won't have a job". Well needless to say, she came to church, and now she doesn't have a job anymore.

They're suffering and are poor, but they are happy and blessed in other ways they couldn't be, by working on Sunday. I cried for them. I felt so bad, but at the same time, through all the pain suffering and poverty, there was a spirit of love and of knowledge that they are right with God. I can't really explain it that well, but wow… I'll never forget it, and let's say I'll never take a job that puts me to work on Sundays. I love you all and I testify that you will be blessed for not working on Sundays, and keeping that day holy. I love this gospel and I love this work. I love you all.

Here are pics of the Church in Tarapoto

Friday, May 16, 2008

Love One Another

'A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.'

Elder Rich, Americo Putpaña Chujandama, Elder Evans

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wonderful Waterfall

This is the Ahuashiyaku waterfall, “The Laughing Waters”. Just 9 miles from Tarapoto, it is actually made up of three falls, each of them cascading down more than 164 feet before plunging into a vast, clear pool where swimmers can float, watching the sun dip into the surrounding jungle foliage. This is paradise.

The missionaries visited here on their last P-day (05/12/08). Looks like they had a great time.

Here are some Pics

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Somos Patas (We are Dudes)

Just arrived home late this evening, and Jose Gabriel Arevalo, a good friend of the missionaries, had emailed some pictures ! This is fantastic ! Click here to view more pics.

Ups and Downs on Sunday

"We had a baptism last Sunday (May 11th). A guy whose family are members and he has been listening to the missionaries for a good time now, like 16 companionships (haha) and Elder Evans got it done. His name is Americo Putpaña Chujandama. He is 55 years old. It was really good."

Landon also mentioned during his phone call, that he and Elder Evans were confronted by a man on the streets on Sunday (Mother's Day), they were criticized for not being home with their MOMS, and not being good sons. I guess Landon took offense at that, and told the man in no uncertain terms, that his mom wouldn't want him ANYWHERE ELSE at this time in his life, except on a mission. That's my boy !! Gotta love him.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy and Thankful Son

Hey mom and dad. It sure was good to hear from ya. You both sound really good... and happy.. and that means I'm happy. Keep on praying and doing the things the Lord wants. Every day is the same rhythm and gospel, just different people. I love you both and am so blessed to have you as my parents. Thanks for everything. I love you.

Hey grandparents, I love you all. Thanks for coming up last night. You all sounded really good. I love you all and thank you for all your support, letters, and love.

I'm learning so much. An elder told me the other day, and I was thinking about it, and it's so true what he said... He said, "You know they ask us 19 year olds to come to a country, learn a language, teach 1000´s of people, learn new areas within days, and at the same time; keep organized, and be patient and loving. Our minds grow so much, not only our knowledge, but all of our skills and talents."

I was blessed with so many talents and gifts in the pre-life. I'm so grateful. I know how hard it is, but with the Lord it is possible. I love you all and wish you all the best. I pray for you.

Today we're going to the waterfalls. I don't know what to expect, but I'll take tons of pics and I'll be careful, no worries.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Phone Call

Landon called last night about 8pm, with the "Pre-Call" - we talked for maybe 5 minutes. He sounded great ! Tonight he will call about 7 pm. As you can imagine, we are thrilled.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Note to the Fishers

Hey President and Sister Fisher. Man, I love you two. I am now "knee deep" in the work, and loving it. I am so very grateful for your examples, and now I really understand the plan and I can't even explain how much I owe to you guys. You two really are the reason I am where I'm at. I still remember the days of home teaching with Bishop Fisher, and how much I learned, but yet how much I was missing, not taking full advantage of who I was with. Thank you so much, and now I realize alot more. We are in different parts of the world, and talking in different languages, but the work and the spirit are the same. I love you both and thank you for your examples and love. What a day it will be, to be together again. I hope I will have the opportunity to serve under you again Bishop Fisher. I love you both, thanks again. Love your Elder from the 6th ward. Elder Landon Rich

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Learn through Study

"Man, I'm learning so many things on my mission. I'm reading the Prophet's words, and I'm studying in the Doctrine & Covenants, I mean really studying it. Word for word... I am only in Section 19 and I have been doing it for 3 weeks or so now. I love it and I am memorizing a lot.. I love it.. I hope all is well in Morgan, and I love you all and take care."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

P-days in the Jungle

Last P-day we played Ultimate Frisbee at the church. We didn't play very long, because it is hot. Then we went back to our rooms. Pretty lame, but oh well.. Today we're going to eat ice cream and then clean and get ready for our interviews this Wednesday. Nothing too exciting yet. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Good Week

Well this week has been good. I think it's the fastest week of my mission. Really, I blinked and it was Sunday again, and then I'm emailing again. We worked hard this week and it was good. The jungle is cool. There are so many slangs and different words that mean different things, and I love it. It's like code talk, haha, it's fun.. Plus, it's in Spanish, so its even more code talk for you guys, haha... We teach so many good lessons, and with members we have spiritual experiences and everything, and they are so happy.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Note to Vanessa Salazar

Sister Vanessa Salazar posted a note in Landon's guestbook today (see sidebar). I am responding here, because I don't have her email address.

Elder Rich did have a burst appendix about 5 years ago. He was very sick. So sick, that he had to have emergency surgery, and spend about 10 days in the hospital. After the surgery, doctors filled him full of very strong antibiotics for many days. He couldn't eat for almost 10 days, because his bowels wouldn't work, and his lips were sore, and we kept them moist with lip balm. I hope your grandmother gets better soon. If she gets worse, please get her to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible. Our prayers are with you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Testimony

I feel I'm teaching with more power. My comp told me when I teach sometimes I'm almost yelling, haha, I love it.. I actually am feeling confident with the Spanish. I can teach really clear and well, and really, to be honest, I can feel my testimony and I know it reaches to their hearts... I feel something different now.. a good different... a powerful different.. I don't ever want to lose it... I love this church and this work. I know it's true and I'm so grateful for Joseph Smith and his contribution to this church.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lima vs. Tarapoto

"It’s a little different than Lima.. actually it's a lot different. I like the weather and the people and just everything.. but the thing (that I miss), that I loved about Lima, is the success."

"When we were in Lima, there were tons and tons of people that would listen to us, and progress, and actually get what we're teaching, but here in the jungle it's different. They don’t progress.. "

"And really, I'm tired of teaching the Law of Chastity..... No one is married, and they don’t want to be… it's tough… but we're getting along. We're finding new people everyday, and talking to everyone to try and find someone who is married. We don’t have very much success, but I know the Lord will bless us as we do the things were supposed to be doing."

Friday, May 2, 2008

P-day Fun

You may remember a week or two ago, Landon wrote home that he and Elder Dallin Peterson (Kaysville) had met with their zones for an early morning futbol game. Here are some pics.......

Roger was really surprised at the uniforms, and he asked Landon about it in a letter. Here is what Landon had to say about the whole thing.....

"To answer your questions.. our zone bought them (the soccer uniforms) in Lima, for 14 soles ($4.66) for all of it.. Shorts and a Jersey, it's awesome… You like them I know, haha.. Heck yes we won the game… Do you ever know me to lose? haha Just kidding, but no, we really did win… it was a battle, but it was fun…. Ya, I know I'm skinny, haha, but don’t worry, I'm in good health.. I'm not in shape by any means, and I don’t have any kind of muscle in my body, haha, but I'm in good health.. Let's just say I'll be coming home and lifting the little baby weights.."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Streets of Sand - Smell of Smoke

Here in the jungle, everyone has motorcycles and these 3 wheeled motor things that are fast !! The roads are sand too. There are a few (streets) that are cement, but most are sand and dirt.

Another thing I love about the jungle and this area I'm in..... they always burn stuff out in front of their houses.. like in the smells like campfire all the time, I love camping, and it smells like it all the time.