"O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh ... Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh, ... therefore I will lift up my voice to thee ... my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen." (2 Nephi 4: 34-35)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hey Everybody!

Well this week I did something new! For the first time in my mission I moved to a new house. Wednesday my companion and I packed everything up in our house to move a different one which is MUCH MUCH better than where we were. Seriously it is so much better. One of the many new blessings I enjoy in our new house is not waking up early in the morning to the sound of the flock of birds that were living in our roof. Now we are neighbors to a family of members in the ward, the Mottos, they are great and have a special love for missionary work. In fact this Sunday, Irmã Motto brought a friend of hers to church and told us to sit with him during Sunday School. We have already planned to go back to his house this week with some other members to make sure that he feels welcomed and a part of the ward. This is yet another great opportunity and blessing that we have received.

Another awesome experience that happened this week is because of a new standard of excellence that our mission President has established. In this new standard of excellence we have to do 40 contacts every day. Just so you know, 40 contacts every day is A LOT! – haha but my companion and I resolved to do it, so we started talking to literally EVERYBODY and giving people pass along cards with our name and number. 

Then one day a woman called us, her name is Christiane, saying that she needs help with paying some bills. At first we thought she might just be wanting money and nothing else so we weren´t too sure about what we should do. We thought it would be best if we set up an interview with her and the bishop so he could decide what is the best course of action. Christiane talked with our bishop and they made some goals about paying the bills and having her learn about the church as well. The bishop suggested to her that she should come to church these next three weeks to really understand what our church is about and why we are willing to help anyone in whatever circumstance. So this Sunday she went to church. After the meeting I talked with her a little bit and she said that she loved everything and also wanted to meet with us to learn more about the church. It seems like every day we see the lord’s blessing and guidance in our work!

We also had the great opportunity to see a family be reactivated these last few weeks with the baptism of their son Arthur, which took place this Sunday.

Recently I have been fortunate enough to see numerous blessing and miracles take place. As we are obedient we can be sure that we will be blessed, but if we feel that we are doing all that we can and are still encountering difficulties don´t be discouraged as the prophet of the Book of Mormon, Lehi, said 

``For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility. Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation.`` (2 Nephi 2:11-12)

In our lives opposition must exist or there would not be purpose in our creation. It is the difficult moments that allow us to grow and be humbled to recognize the hand of God in all things!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Elder Rice

Monday, April 4, 2016

I´m gonna go ahead and start off with some pretty awesome news!! I found out this week that I will be able to extend my mission until febuary!!! Originally I would have gotten home at the beganing of December, but this week one of the mission secretaries asked me if I would want to stay until the end of the next transfer in January, without a second of hesitation I said  I would and then asked to see if it is possible to stay for even longer. The next day the secretary told me that I  would only be able to stay 4 more weeks after that transfer, but to me it didn´t matter every extra second that I  can have in the mission will be so worth it!

With the extension of my mission a few of my plans will change, like the fact that I was going study at BYU during the spring semester which starts January 6th. So I guess I´ll have to get in to contact with BYU about that now... But honestly as i have been on the mission I have realized that there is literally nothing that you can lose in this service but everything that you can gain!

This week was General Conference, and man was it good! Seriously every talk was more inspired than the last. and with these inspired words we had the chance to once again see the power the truth of the Gospel has to inspire the hearts of those who are prepared. 

Last week my companion and I found a new investigator Thatiane. The first time that we taught her she was pretty receptive and seemed sincerely interested in what were saying but nothing out of the ordinary. We taught her about the restoration of the gospel by the prophet Joseph Smith and how our church is the only one of the face of the earth that has the priesthood authority of God. As we explained this she seemed just a little bit skeptical, but we bore our testimonies to her and told her that she could find out the truthfulness of our statement by praying and asking our Heavenly Father. We challanged her to pray about this and to come with us to general conference and that if she went would receive the answer that our church truly is the only one with the priesthood authority of God. She accepted and said that she would go with us to the Sunday afternoon session.

After an especial inspired conference session I asked her if she recieved the answer that she wanted. She looked and me and said she had and wanted to know when we would go back to her house to keep teaching her!

I knew that she would recieve this spiritual witness with the words of the living apostles and prophets because they truly are men called of God. As we follow the counsel that they gave us this weekend we can be sure that our lives will be blessed and we will enjoy a more constant presence of the spirit with us!

I love our prophet Thomas S. Monson and i know that he and all of the men under his leadership are called of God. And although Thomas S. Monson may be our earthly leader the true head of this Church is God himself.

I love you all and pray that we can all give head to the words of the prophet.


Elder Rice
March 28, 2015

Hey everybody!

I gotta say the days fly by on the mission! Every second of the day there is always something for you to be doing, or someone for you to be helping.

This week as in the past week my companion and I have been blessed to see the progress of so many investigators, and less active members. Watching the difference that the gospel has in the lifes of those with whom we are working is the sweetest thing. There is a less active member that we have been visiting for about a month now, who wants to baptize her son but wasn´t coming to church. But these last two weeks she came to church and absolutely loved it. The best part was that nearly the entire ward knew her and went up to her to welcome her. Now that she has been these two weeks she has also started to get a little bit of the missionary fire in her. Because it has made her feel so happy again she invited her father who is also a less active member to come this next week and even gave a Book of Mormon to her boyfriend! It is so incredible to see the change that the joy of the Gospel can have in us.

Another investigator of ours Marcos has promised that he will get married with his wife so that he can be baptized as soon as possible. Usually marriage is one of the biggest things that impedes a couple from being baptized, but when we told Marcos about this commandment he gladly accepted! Marcos is a close friend of the second counselor in the stake presidency and has always been a little bit interested in the church but wasn´t until recently that he really wanted to learn what it takes to be a ``mormon``. In fact just the other day at church he leaned over to me and whispered, ``is it okay if I tell people that I am a mormon??`` I laughed a little bit and said ``oh, yeah, tell EVERYBODY that you are Mormon!``

In this area I feel that me and my companions have been so incredible blessed by the hand of the Lord. And I know that these blessings are coming because of our obedience to the commandments. In D&C it says the following,  ``I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.`` As we obey the lords commandments he is bound to bless us, and I can tell you that this is so true.

As I said my companions and I have been striving to be as obediente as we can. And these week Elder Ontiveros and I made some more goals on how we could be even a little bit more obedient and with our goals asked the Lord in prayer that he would bless us in our work to have more success. So after a long week of work I truly felt that we had done our best but unfortunately didn´t have as much success as I was hoping for. As we were waiting out in front of the church for all of the members and investigators to arrive, a man showed up that I half recognized. He asked us if the Church was having its meetings right now and wanted to participate. We gladly escorted him to the sacrament meeting and helped to sit with a member,(who he actually happened to know). His name is william and it turns out that me and my old companion Elder Rojas had taught him a few times but stopped visiting him because we could never find him at home. At church William told us that now he wanted to start frequenting our church! 

I know that this was a direct blessing from mine and my companion's efforts to be more obedient to the Lord. 

I love you all and want you all to know that as we strive to be more and more obedient we will recieve blessings from our Heavenly Father. Trust in him and not yourselves.

Have a great week!

Elder Rice
March 21, 2016

Hey Everybody!

Its been another incredible week full of even more blessings as we have tried to work diligently and obediently. Adilson was baptized this Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. All of the young men and women in the ward have completely integrated him and he particiates in seminary, and mutual. Its awesome to see how he has taken such a natural liking to the church and that he has been able to make such strong friendships so quickly. A young man in the ward Pedro baptized Adilson.

A few weeks back i think I wrote about the baptism of Ivan. He was recently married to a member of the ward Renata who is returning to the church now after being inactive for about 5 years. In the first week that my companion and I started working with them 9 weeks ago we had to set the most basic and simple goals. Just inviting them to read the Book of Mormon everyday was something difficult. We helped the both of them to quit smoking, and one of the biggest hurdles was getting them to wake up early to get to church on time. I still remember the first week I saw them arrive at church. Sacrament meeting had long ended and they came in the middle of the gospel principles class. For the next 4 weeks or so they always showed up late and at best caught the last 10 minutes of sacrament meeting. Now let me tell about the change that has taken place. These last two weeks the both of them get their early to be there for the entire sacrament meeting. Last night we were at their house talking to them and I asked them if they had been reading the Book of Mormon everynight. They paused for a moment and looked one at another and said ``we haven´t really been reading in order, we read one chapter but then when we have question we get the church manuals and start to study the things that we don´t understand looking up scriptures to learn more`` For the entire week they have been devoting about 30 minutes to an hour every night to study and read the scriptures. I can´t even explain how happy hearing this made me. They have literally let the gospel change their lives. Now they are both searching for new jobs as well that will let them have more free time to spend together and not work on Sundays.

The power of the gospel is this, it changes our lives as we simply try to do our best to fulfill God´s commandments.

``Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.`` Matt 11:29-30

The gospel is Christ's yoke and living these principles is so easy when you see the blessings that it gives us. I have seen so many changes in my life as i have been on the mission and in the lives of all those who have accepted this. Let it change you life as well!

 Love, Elder Rice
March 14, 2016

Hey Everyone!

It honestly just seems like every week things just keep getting better and better! In the Imperial Ward things just keep growing and growing! Before my companion and I had got here in this ward, the ward had gone one year without a baptism and the attendance was about 40.

In these last few weeks because of the efforts of many and the blessings of the Lord we have had 3 baptisms, with 3 more planned in this coming month and the attendance had gone up to about 75! The other week I wrote a letter where I had mentioned that I have seen so many incredible miracles here and I would like to tell you guys about one more that happened this week!

So it's Sunday morning before church, probably the time that missionaries are the most nervous during the week, waiting for investigators and all the members to arrive. Luckily this Sunday, all of the people that we had planned on to have a church came! After sacrament meeting my companion and I went with a few of the investigators and recent converts to the gospel principals class. And just a few minutes after it started a member entered with another man that I had never seen before and said, ``oh these young men here will help you out``. I helped him open up the scriptures and follow along with the lesson and it seemed like he really enjoyed it. I was really curious to know who he was, so after the lesson I stepped outside with him for just a second to get to know him a little bit. He told me that his name is Immanuel and that 3 years ago he had received a Book of Mormon from other missionaries. He said that today he felt that he needed to go to church and he wants to be baptized. He confessed to me that he as an addiction to drinking alcohol but that he wants to leave his old life behind and change. I told him that as missionaries we are here to help people do just that! 

Tonight we will go back to his house to help him start this change that he wants to make in his life. I know that he will be able to make this change that he so desperately wants to and i am so grateful that my companion and i have the chance to see this miracle.

Other than just this it seems like God is leading the work that my companion and i are doing here in the ward.

Ivan who was recently baptized will receive the priesthood this coming week and start to help out with the preparation of the sacrament. He is married to a woman, named Renata, who was recently reactivated in the church. And the changes that Ivan is making is helping her deepen her testimony in the church as well.

We have many, many other investigators who are incredible and I wish that I had time to tell you about each and every one of them. But I will simply put the name of a few who are preparing for baptism so that you guys can remember them in your prayers! Adilson, Marcos, Diana, Cida, and Camila!

My companion Elder Ontiveros is doing super super good as well. He know has two weeks in the mission and because of his contagiously positive attitude all the work that we are doing becomes so enjoyable. I am grateful to be with someone who is so upbeat no matter what is happening. There are sometimes when we have to walk about an hour to get to our lunch appointment in the burning hot sun of Cuiabá, and when we leave the house to start on the walk Elder Ontiveros looks up and says ``man I love walking`` haha, he is hilarious and a great example to me!

Remember to always have a good attitude and be a light to those around you! Love you all and hope you all have a good week!

Elder Rice
February 29, 2016

Hey everybody!

This week we had transfers! I will continue here in the Imperial Ward and I will receive a new missionary to train. I still don´t know who my companion will be, Presidente Oliveira will interview all of the new missionaries and then decide who will be their trainers.

As far as this week goes, I think it may have been the best of entire mission. In this area I have received a testimony that God really is a God of miracles. Too many times in these past 6 weeks my companion have happened to be in the right place at exactly the right moment. We have seen and felt the presence of God´s hand guiding us in all that we have been doing.

``27.Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men? 29. And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren,have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.`` -Moroni 7:27,29

Miracles are real, they have not ceased and they never will. God wants to bless each and everyone of us as we strive to keep the commandments that he has given us. The only explanation i can think of for why my companion and i have been so richly blessed is because of our dedication to not just live but love all of the commandments that our Heavenly Father has given us. If we simply obey we will receive treasures in heaven beyond what we can imagine.

This morning I was thinking a little bit about how I would express to all of you the gratitude that I have felt for all of the blessings that I have received and I felt impressed to bear my testimony about what a blessing a mission is. Serving the lord with all of my heart might mind and strength this past year has taught me more about how be a man than i could have learned in any other situation. There is no college, job, internship or any other form of worldly education that could have taught me a tenth part of what i have learned in the service of the lord. If you have doubts about going on a mission forget about it and go. There is nothing you could possible lose in spending 2 years of your life in the service of the Lord. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by going on a mission. It will and should be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life, but you will cherish these experiences for the rest of your eternity.

I know that this letter also goes out to several friends of mine who are not members of the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you are not a member, discover what mission our Father in Heaven has for you. Our Father has high expectations for each and every one of us if not Christ would not have commanded us to be perfect even as our Father in Heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48). I also exhort anyone who reads this email who is not a member to get to know the missionaries. And if you have already received our message receive again. It changed my life and continues to change my life everyday. It is all true, I know, I live and I love it!

My prayers and with each and every one of you! Love,

Elder Rice
February 23, 2016

Hey Everyone!

This week our ward, officially became a ward! For about 4 years this area was considered just a branch, but this last Sunday we had a ward conference and they announced it as a ward and we all sustained the new Bishop! Bishop Francis had already been serving as the branch president for about a year, so he already has quite a bit of experience with the members here in the area. He and his wife are both amazing people and have a ton of love for all of the members.

Another highlight of the week was mission tour. And actually because of mission tour is why i am writing my letter today instead of yesterday. A member of the quorom of the seventy, Elder Arnold, came to give us a training about how we can teach and invite others more effectively. Also a greater part of the meeting was spent talking about some changes that are happening here in the mission. The Brazil Cuiabá mission unfortunately doesn´t have the brightest past life, but our new president has started to transform this mission. I have been here ever since Presidente Oliviera arrived to serve as president of the mission, and from what I have seen him do I know that he is a man called and inspired by God. The changes that he is making here in the mission is changing my life and will change the lives of all those that live here in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. With the time spent talking about these changes that are happening I felt impressed with the importance of change in our lives. In every moment of our lives we should always be striving to become better and better. When we start to fall in to comfort zones is when we our progress stops and regression begins. 

``For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept,here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say,We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.`` 2 Nephi28:30

God will give us wisdom and experience as long as we seek after it, and the moment that we stop and think that we have enough, that is when we lose what we worked so diligently to gain.

This Saturday we are planning on having a baptism. Our investigator, Evan, will marry on Friday, be baptised s\Saturday and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost Sunday. He is completely prepared and loves everything about the Gospel, in his path of preperation for baptism he had to make many changes in his life and one of the was to quit smoking. He has gone about a week without smoking, but it is still a struggle for him. Please remember him and pray for him, he has all the desire to do what is right he just needs a little divine help.

Thank you to each and everyone of for your prayers and support that you give. I love you all and hope you all have a great week!

Elder Rice
February 15, 2016

Hey Everybody!!

This week I have to tell you guys about three things that happened!

First off lunch that we had at a member´s house. Thursday we had lunch marked with Irmã Irenil and Irmão Militão. I had already spoken to them once or twice at church but hadn´t had the chance to really get to know them, but every one in the ward speaks really well of them. So when we arrived at their house for lunch it was pretty normal to see a decent sized brick house. But when we stopped at the gate the owner of the house came out and told us that he lived behind his house. As we went around the back of his house we found a much smaller brick house which had clearly been personally constructed by someone who wasn´t exactly an expert in construction. The walls were a little crooked and the roof had holes which would definately leak water when raining. I was a little taken back by the simplicity of the house. When we stopped at the gate, Militão came out to greet us and had the biggest smile on his face! After greeting us the first thing he told me was`` Elder Rice I know this is your first time eating at your house so iI want you to understand something, when the Elders come for lunch it is a celebration!`` And he started to laugh ``your are at home, do as you please`` all of the food had already been prepared and Militão set a table just for me and my companion under the shade of a tree in the front of his house. As my companion and I started to eat I realized that we were eating with the only two plates and two sets of knife and fork they had in the house, Militão and his family used only a spoon or fork to eat and left over icecream tubs to serve their food, which they got inside the house, while our food was served on the table in front of us.

Needless to say I felt pretty undeserving of how we were treated but to them, it was the least that they could do. Militão told us about how the missionaries and the gospel changed his life. He smoked, drinked, fought, cursed and everything else you can think of he had done it. But shortly after getting to know the church his life made a complete 180 and now he is one of the strongest members of the church I have ever known. I can´t even explain the spirit of love that I felt there in his simple house, and I will never forget his example of service in the church.

Second: (and now these next two things will have to much quicker because I have to leave) was at Mateus´s baptism that we had this Sunday. The service was done shorthly after church and nearly the entire congregation stayed to watch his baptism and the primary did a special music number. It was a great experience for everyone that was there!

Third: Was the devotional about missionary work that my companion and I planned for Sunday afternoon. We had planned a special devotional with the presence of the stake presidency and the assitants of the mission, but unfortunately after a few unseen emergencies, the assistants and the stake presidency weren´t able to come. But all ended well as my companion and I gave a training about how we can naturally invite our friends to get to know the church. It was a great experience and everyone that was there enjoyed it!

Love you all and hope you guys have a great week!

Elder Rice