Monday, January 25, 2010

Y, si.... (and yes)


(Elder Zivic is a 70 presiding over Argentina. He visited Gavin's branch yesterday for church so I am including a little bit of information about him. What another great experience for Gavin to have as a missionary!)

Elder Claudio Daniel Zivic believes that when we are striving to live right, we can trust that God will guide us.

Elder Zivic was born on December 19, 1948, to Latter-day Saint parents Sergio Jorge Zivic and Eleonora Zalewski Zivic in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a 15-year-old runner, he ranked second nationally in his age group in the 800 meters. His greatest desire was to compete in the Olympics, and his coach, a former Olympic decathlete, believed he could do it—if he would only give up his reluctance to compete on Sundays.

“I had to choose,” says Elder Zivic. “In the end I felt competing wasn’t what the Lord wanted for me.”

Elder Zivic faced another difficult decision when it came time to choose a vocation. For four straight years of secondary school, he had to take an additional end-of-year test in accounting because he did so poorly in the subject during the year.

“I really didn’t like accounting,” he says. But when he prayerfully considered his career path, he felt strongly that he should go into accounting. Trusting in the Lord, he received his accounting degree from the University of Buenos Aires and enjoyed a career as a certified public accountant.

Elder Zivic can see the Lord’s guidance throughout his life. “If we’re living right, He will bless us,” Elder Zivic says. “Things will fall into place most naturally.”

After his military service, he and his wife, Dina Noemí Alvarez, were sealed on January 9, 1979, in the São Paulo Brazil Temple.

Prior to his call to the First Quorum of the Seventy, Elder Zivic served as elders quorum president, institute teacher, bishop, stake high councilor, counselor to a stake president, temple ordinance worker, regional representative, president of the Spain Bilbao Mission, and Second Counselor in the South America South Area Presidency



Hey Fam,
It's great to hear from my family on Mondays. I really do look forward to Monday's wondering how you guys are doing. Sounds like things are going pretty well. Congrats about the mission call mom and dad. That's so cool. You guys will be getting set apart this week? I swear someone told me that you guys don't start your calling or mission, whatever it is for like a year...this whole thing is just confusing. But exciting! (To clarify Gavin, your dad and I have been called as Inner City Spanish Speaking missionaries here in SLC. We will be set apart within a couple of weeks. We start training on Feb. 13th-14th. We have been asked to serve for at least one year. It seems that most people love it so much, they extend, so we shall see. Hope that helps!)
I'm glad you got my letter. I was going to write a letter to everyone in the family for Christmas, but then I had a fight with time and lost! Obviously! But, emails are good. I hope Jon and Ash are doing well. Haven't heard from them for awhile. Is Jon still in China? (He's home now). I still don't understand how he can speak Chinese. What a stud.

Zone conference was great! Pinemar is so nice. I took a picture of the chapel I'll send it to you sometime. It's the only Chapel I've seen without a fence. It has like a little wood fence, but you don't have to open a gate or anything. It's super nice there. Usually when it's super nice two blocks down you get a gnarly villa, but there it's just a nice feeling of comfort. I enjoyed my stay.

So, guess who came to our branch yesterday? Elder Zivic came and spoke to our ward. I think he's on vacations here with his fam. His son served in Utah and he knows Draper. He said he's going to get on our water problem which would be sweet. I kind of have a beard right now for not shaving today. It hurts so bad without water. I just couldn't do it! It's so annoying to not have water. I can't imagine what it will feel like to finally take a real shower. But, anyways, this last week... como me fue? (how was it?) ummm fue...(ummm it was)...ha, it was alright. We're working with what we've got and trying to get people to progress. As much as we want to just act for them, they've got to do it for themselves like Elder Bednar said. But things will get better, I'm sure of it. We weren't actually able to find Matias this week, but he is golden. I'd love to see him get baptized. Only time will tell. But he will get there. Well, I got to go but hope things are going well and that you are all feeling the spirit de vez en cuando (once in awhile). You will know you're living right if you feel the spirit every now and then, but if it's been awhile since you have, arrepentios y sed bautisados!!! (Repent and be baptized)!!!
Elder Rice



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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Christmas letter 2009

These are photos from Gavin's first area in Solano but since the following letter speaks of this time, I am posting them here.







Big D y Veener Weener,

Merry Christmas ma' y pa'! I just thought I'd write you and tell you how much I love you guys. It's been a long time since I've written a handwritten letter. There's not much time and email is so easy. I'm sorry for not being better. But, Feliz Navidades! I LOVE Christmas on the mission. It's not at all the same. I basically feel as if holidays don't exist. Especially Christmas here in the heat. But, it's still great. I'll get to spend every other Christmas with the family. I love our family so much and have gained such a different love/respect for you guys. The love you have for your kids is easily compared to the love that Christ has for us. I know you would do anything for me and I hope you know that I'd do the same for you guys. I have been so blessed in my life being born into our family with such strong testimonies of the Gospel and perfect examples. You'd think I'd be perfect and unable to mess up with the examples I have been given. But it's not like that. It just leaves me with no excuses! No J/K. But seriously, I'm so grateful for the mission. Without it I don't think I'd ever appreciate my family as much as I do now. Without the mish I would probably be one of those in-active fools who gets bothered when missionaries clap/knock my door. It's done so much for me and really set my future for me. It's helped me to set my priorities straight. I cannot wait to face life with my wife and raising my family in the church with the Gospel and our kids being born into the covenant. I really know what's important in life now and I love having that knowledge. It makes so much sense to me. I'm so grateful for my testimony and know it's something we can't take for granted. We have to strengthen it ALWAYS! Because if not, we'll risk our salvation and it all starts with something as little as not going to Church one Sunday. I've seen it so many times. Then they quit praying, reading and next thing you know they're working Sundays and the next year they say "oh yeah...I used to be Mormon" or they just stupidly get offended and quit going to Church and lose eternal blessings. It PAINS me so bad when I see that happen. I HATE it! Just like good ol' King Benjamin said, "We gotta put off the natural man cause it's an enemy to God and not be of the world and worldly things." Mosiah 3:19. This scripture is amazing. I'm so grateful for the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I don't understand the atonement fully. Probably never will, but as I learn more and understand it more and put it in practice it really does heal us and has made the biggest difference in my mission. Just like Preach My Gospel says on page 2..."As my understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase." So true! Something I've learned, (cause I hate reading), but WHY do we have to read the scriptures every day? The reading only does us good if we apply them to ourselves in our own lives. Otherwise, we're just reading and feeling the spirit in that moment while we read. Like in 2 Nephi 32:3, as we FEAST on the words of Christ (in the scriptures) we will know everything that we should DO!

Mom, I never told you but you answered my prayers when I was in Solano by sending me the scripture in Isaiah 41:10. I LOVE it. and it was what I needed in that time of my mission. So thank you. I've shared it many times with people and told them how you were an answer to my prayers without you even knowing it. But lucky for me, I have you as a mom who is worthy enough for the Lord to work through you to answer other peoples prayers. I'm so thankful for you mom and dad. I love you guys so much. You both do so much for me it's ridiculous. But I love it! haha Just like you guys serving missions and all I am just following in your footsteps. Thanks for setting us on the straight and narrow path. You guys are amazing parents. I hope you have a great Christmas. Remember the true meaning of it. GIFTS! haha NO, just like Amy Grant once told me..."Glory to the newborn King"!

Love your son

Aguanta Los Estados Unidos!!! Vamos a Mundial!!!
Let's go USA in the World Cup!

The scripture Gavin is referring to in Isaiah 41:10 says:

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

The quote that went along with this scripture was from Lorenzo Snow. He says; "In this life we send our missionaries into the world. We select our young men and give them missions to travel among the nations. It is not one of the most pleasant things that might be imagined for a young man to start out, not having had any experience, to go to a land and among a people that he knows nothing at all about, and in many instances does not even understand their language. He realizes that he will have trials, troubles, and difficulties to cope with, and many things of an unpleasant character. In one sense of the word, he parts with his friends unpleasantly; but it is an important duty that he feels now called upon to perform, and there will arise from the performance of these duties honor, and eventually glory and exaltation".
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The Art of the Part...

No response needed....

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Aloha!

Hi family,
Well, this week went well. We have found a family that had listened to the charlas (discussions) before but then something happened with the elders. I don't know what it was but for some reason they didn't let them come by anymore. They are letting us come now though so things are well. The dad has a disease or something that's crippling him as we speak. I think it sounds like MS or something. They're not married and the two girls that live with them are from the mom. They are really good people though and we have only the highest hopes for them. Also, we found the coolest, littlest guy ever. He's probably like 20 or 30 something. Just the most humble guy. He works at Mundo Marino and has been skating since he was 11. He's way cool and way nice and loves to talk with us about God. We think we'll be able to take out a baptismal fecha this coming week. Pray that he accepts it. He would be an awesome member and a great addition to this little branch. I love the little guy.

The downfall of the week is that it's so freaken hot! We went all week without water. We finally have a tiny bit like it was for my first transfer. It complicates things and makes life difficult. I can't stand the humidity and heat without a shower. On Monday after playing futbol all day we got back to the pench and my comp took a shower. He got out and said that there was hardly any water, in fact, not any! We were in a super rush to get to the familia Garcias house so I had to bathe myself with a cup of water from the fridge. It was so cold and terrible. Luckily though at that time little drops started coming from the sink. I held a cup under the drips and every few minutes had a little more to wash with. So, after a long while, I was fully bathed! After that, we didn't even have a drop. We had dirty dishes we couldn't wash, water we couldn't drink and without showering it was pretty miserable. If there's one thing this area lacks, it's water and water pressure. But besides that, things are looking up. We have a family here from Jujuy (I served in Jujuy Gav) who is way cool. The dad served in Bahia Blanca the year I was born. They're cool. We're going to play soccer with the kids sometime and then ask them to do divisions! Suckers! Tomorrow we have zone conference in Pinamar. Probably the nicest area in the mission. Well at least the prettiest. I'm kinda excited. It should be great!
Love,
Gavin

All dressed up and nowhere to go!

Some pretty stylin' Elder's!
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Oh the joys of running water...

Our lovely pipes!
One of the reasons we have no agua!
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That's a pretty "stiff" drink of water!

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Bringing in the new year Argentine style!

video



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Monday, January 11, 2010

Word!

Hey family,
I'm sorry, I really don't have a lot of time. I was going to send pics but I'll have to do that the next week. We are super rushed and hurried because we've got to get back to our area. We are in Santa Teresita right now. We finally played futfol! It's been forever! I loved it! But man, am I out of shape! I ran the little field once and thought I was going to pass out. But, thanks for the emails ma and pa. Sorry I don't have time to respond to them personally, but mom you had a questions, and no, I haven't received that package with the pics in it. And yes, I got the Christmas one with the shirt and ties. Thanks a bunch. The way you wrap the boxes, I'm not sure anyone could get into them. It takes me like 10 minutes with a knife! But thanks so much. I love stuff, esp. stuff from the states...I may be repping an Argentine jersey right now, but it's just a cover. I'm proud to be an American. Just like the song says. But, we played futbol with my district and the zone leaders. Elder Alvarado is the new zone leader from Panama. I love the Central Americans. They're so much fun. They rock! I was in the same zone as him in Monte Grande. He's a cool cat, but oh yea, you also asked what we do all day because our investigators are working 24/7. Well, we listen to excuses from everyone, and we do a lot of contacts, and try to find new investigators. We're trying to involve the people from Buenos Aires that are here on vacations. They pass the sacrament, bless it and give the talks and teach the classes. It's pretty funny actually. I think they love it, cause they feel needed. Especially the RM's. But the work has been a little downer so we're going to see what we can do differently so that it improves. We're going to super poner las pilas! (Pull out all the stops)

I'm excited to hear about Ash and Jon's trek experience as ma and pa. Someone fill me in on that. I know they'll love it and be the favorite parents. Well, it's freaken hot here, but at night it gets kinda chilly which is amazing. I don't want to leave the coast. Last year was terrible in the heat. I remember just waking up multiple times every night and covering myself in water then trying to go back to sleep. I best be counting my blessings.

Saludos a todos! Los amo!
Love Elder Rice

P.S. Tell Greg congrats! I love that guy! I'm down on going to his wedding in the Hawaii Temple...fyi!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bring on 2010...Happy New Year!

Today was transfers. It was exciting...me and Elder Conuenir are staying together here in San Clemente. We kind of saw that coming but I'm glad we're staying together. He's cool. I like the kid. We are with Elder Gonzales from Santa Teresita right now as he waits for his comp Elder Wheelhouse, to arrive from Buenos Aires. I'm excited to have another American in my district. I haven't had an American for the past few transfers. So, that will be nice. San Clemente is so packed right now, it's a joke! It used to be so "tranquilo". It's crazy how fast it changed. Our little store place, chapel was filled on Sunday with members from Buenos Aires. There was a guy from the stake who was from Quilmes 3. I was so happy to see him. He let me know how everyone is doing in that ward. I miss that ward. That was a great ward. I was pretty bummed to hear that Jorge, aka Alma the Younger has gone inactive. That guy inspired me. I just hope that he didn't get back into drugs. He was so scared of doing that. But, good news, a way cool guy name Joe from that ward is going to go on a mission. He's 25 and had a bunch of problems with his parents just as he was preparing to leave to serve. Then his parents separated and he was going to go but then his dad died and so Joe had to basically provide for the family. Now he can finally go. He had to write a letter cause he was border line on the dead end of being too old, but he is the coolest guy. He'd do divisions with us and when I left, he became the mission leader. He learned English by watching movies.

Anyways, the work here has been pretty hard. You'd think it would be easier with tons more people, but we haven't seen a lot of our investigators for a long time because they all work 24/7. We have been really blessed here though so I'm sure we will find a family to baptize. We're going to really strive to baptize this transfer because as of now, nothings looks promising. But I like our chances.

New Years was pretty cool. A lot of fireworks. We went up on the roof and watched them, and then laid in our beds and listened to them. There was a lot! Last New Years I slept right through everything. I just remember being so exhausted. It's so hot here right now. It's like a constant sticky sweat. It's great. Well, I hope you are enjoying the cold. I want the cold, you want the heat. We can never have what we want...why is that? You decide!
Love,
Gavin Phillips Rice
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