Friday, July 17, 2015

Email sent July 13, 2015: "Speakin' Dat Spanish"

Hey folks,
So seriously I only speak Spanish now. It's been rough a little bit but after about 3 days I've had some serious come to the light language moments. Elder Hernandez is my new companion. I think he's the first companion that I've had who is shorter than me. So that's been fun. He's also really affectionate... like, a lot--lots of hugs hahaha! I don't mind but it's just like a 180 degrees different from Elder Swingler that I'm sometimes a little shocked.

But overall this week we saw some serious miracles. So we met a new investigator last week named Francisco. He's from Venezuela and he's been here since March. Well he's accepting the Gospel super well and came to church yesterday! Afterwords, a family from Venezuela invited him to our dinner and they cooked some traditional Venezuelan food. He was super grateful. But the funny part was that we sang a hymn in Sacrament Meeting about how the people in Zion are happy for keeping the Word of Wisdom. After the hymn Francisco was like, "What the heck is this?" Like literally he turned and said that to me in the meeting haha. So we taught him the Word of Wisdom and it was a super powerful lesson. The spirit was super strong. We really think he can be baptized before I head home. We won't push him to, but we really think he can. 

We also had a super spiritual lesson with this guy named Oscar. He's a past investigator that had been taught a ton and had a baptismal date but fell off for some reason. We stopped by and he let us right in. Almost immediately started telling us how stupid we are for believing in Joseph Smith and that the Book of Mormon is a load of... well... he used a pretty negative word. But randomly at the end of his rant he said that he still wanted us to come by and read the Bible with him. Elder Hernandez and I sat there for a second and then I told him that he doesn't understand why we pass by. He started to tell us that yeah he understood, but I interrupted him and said that he didn't. Then we taught him about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It was so amazing to see the change in him as we taught and testified. Elder Hernandez teaches so well for the time that he has in the mission. We could literally see the spirit working upon Oscar as we taught him. We left and he said he would read and pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. 

I'm so excited to be with Elder Hernandez. He's so humble and he has such a desire to work. I'm happy for how my 5 weeks will go :) 

Sounds like everyone has some good things going for them! The house is almost finished, people are healthy or getting even healthier. I love you all :)

Elder Rodabough

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 5, 2015: "New Companion"

Yeah so we just got transfer calls today! So Elder Swingler is going to the Stone Mountain area with Elder Lambson. We all served together in the Riverside Branch before they split it and Elder Lambson is really patient so I'm really happy with the transfer. I'm going to spend the next 5 weeks training another missionary! So he's already been here for a transfer and so I'm just going to finish training him. He's literally from Mexico. Like I'm going to be teaching him English. So my last 6 months here in Lawrenceville finally make sense. Get here with Elder Castro and teach him some English. Then 4 1/2 months training Elder Swingler. Now, teaching someone English while training. The Lord has a plan for sure. haha

It's good to hear that everyone had a super awesome 4th of July! Man, I really hope taht we keep the tradition of buying a ton of fireworks going. I'm so excited to have some good solid family fun time when I get home. 

Bailey & Bobby: Good to hear that you've made some goals and you're working towards it! Keep it up and be honest with yourself. The Lord will only give us strength if we are humble enough to accept it. A good indicator of how willing we are to accept the Lords help is how well we accept the help of others. Bobby you've been looking more and more hipster as my mission has gone on. I've enjoyed seeing the evolution. Thank you for supporting my sister and my nephew! 

Dad & Mom: Sounds like the house is going good! Basically you guys could've moved and it would be the same thing haha. You guys are doing a ton to help out with everyone. I know that the Lord has been blessing you openly, and also in secret in ways that we don't even understand. 

Madison and Cameron: WAY TO BE CAM WITH THE BOARDS!!!! And Madison way to be with sticking to your guns in management. Be able to stand strong, and be able to be humble as well. 

I love you all :) I am so excited. I've been doing "trunky" math. 40 days! If I did my math right.... Don't worry. I'm not that "trunky". 

Love you all! 

Email sent June 29, 2015: "I Hate Technology"

Howdidly-Doo team!

Yes i do still start every letter to my mission president with this title. So far he hasn't said anything about it. 

So this week we were having a pretty normal week. Tuesday i went on exchanges with Elder Pena my district leader. He's one of my closest friends here in the mission and so i was super happy to spend some time with him. We taught a part member family where the husband is not a member. In the past, he's been pretty against the church and between the husband and the wife they've actually done a lot of terrible stuff to each other. The wife is semi-active but not the strongest of testimony. Elder Pena and i went in with the intent of teaching about the sabbath day and working on getting him to come to church. 

The lesson was all over the place for awhile. The wife kept doing personal attacks at her husband and he just sat there and took it. She also brought up some random deep doctrine questions whenever the focus wasn't on her. We basically just testified of how the sacrament/Jesus Christ is meant to allow us to leave things in the past and move on with life. Starting again. We shared in Alma 5 about having a changed heart and then invited the husband to be baptized. He agreed for the 25th. It was way legit. We just basically indirectly rebuked the wife for not allowing her husband to repent and also taught the husband about repentance. Two birds with one stone! 

The rest of our weekend was actually filled with trying to figure out this new "Area Book Planner App" that the church has created for us. It's super confusing and has some glitches. They also gave it to us with 2 days to learn how to use it before we had to report our numbers. We were all super frustrated but we actually figured out how to use it. It's going to be a huge help for us in the field once we figure it out. 

It sounds like everyone is doing good for the hand they've been dealt! I thank each and every one of you for doing what you can to support one another and to life one anothers burdens. We truly are fulfilling our baptismal covenants.  (Mosiah 18)

Bobby: thank you so much for what you're doing to help support my sister and your family. I know that the Lord IS blessing you for your efforts. I am grateful for all you do brother. 

Bailey: Well it sounds like your surgery this round was like a kagillion times better than the first one! Be patient. That's what i've been working on a ton lately. What's helped me is literally stopping what i'm doing, closing my eyes. Taking a deep breath and asking the Lord to bless me with the Holy Ghost to calm down. I know you are  strong. Now give yourself the time you need to get even stronger. 

Cam: You've got these Boards. For sure. You've worked your little hiney off studying and sacrificed a lot. Make sure you include some gospel study in all of that. That way you can rely on your own strengths, and include the enabling power of the Atonement and the Holy Ghost in your tests.

Madison: You seem to be just truckin along great haha. Thank you for supporting your husband and being patient in all of this. 

I love you all a ton. I look forward to seeing you all again in 6 weeks :) 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent June 22, 2015: "So Things Just Got Pretty Crazy"

So.... we just actually got into a minor car accident not more than an hour ago.... It was pretty crazy. I went to Walmart with another Elder to print off some pictures and he could get his watch fixed. We were leaving and I had a green arrow to turn left so I started into the intersection. I looked left just in time to see a guy barreling into the intersection. I slammed on my brakes and started honking and the driver looked up and swerved at the last minute only scraping our car, but slamming into the front wheel of the car in the lane next to me. No one was injured but Elder Bartholomew and I were a little shaken up for a second. We really felt blessed by the Lord. Basically if I hadn't looked left I'd probably be seriously injured or dead. But the Lord seems to have other plans for me!

Our car after our accident

On another note we had to drop a couple of investigators because they didn't want to progress. It was a little hard and I was concerned that Elder Swingler wouldn't want to. He loves all of our investigators a lot and so i was prepared for him to put up a fight. But he actually brought up the subject of dropping a couple of investigators. He also rebuked this catholic mama and read some of Moroni 8 with her. I was squirming in my seat while he read a verse that says anyone who baptizes babies denies the Atonement, but she took it well.

We are focusing a ton on finding this next week. We haven't had to great of finding weeks and so we're going to do a lot of door knocking, in the hottest week of the summer, wearing ties, holla. But I know the Lord is going to bless us for working our hardest. We are definitely going to find some solid new investigators this week. 

Wow it sounds like life is pretty crazy back home! I'm glad to hear that Grandma and Grandpa Gunn finally "Decided" to move into an assisted living apartment. I'm especially glad to hear that Grandma is looking better than she has in months. NICK IS GONNA BE A DADDY??? Way to be champ. I'm excited to meet the rug rat when it comes forth. When do they know the gender? Also the Basement seems to be making progress! Hurrah!!! And Bailey being at home is way better than being at the hospital :)

Guys, I'm so sorry that things are hard right now. I am so sorry that I can't do anything to help. I will be there in a few weeks to help everyone get things sorted out. I love you all so much!

Email sent June 15, 2015: "More Crazy People, Cat Goals and Bosnians"

So basically this week we found little to non new investigators which wasn't to bad, but everywhere we go we seem to find like a ton of people from Bosnia. Like I'm not joking, a ton of people. Like I would say that we talked to more people from Bosnia than people who speak Spanish. It was weird. But they're really nice people surprisingly. I think we should take a family trip to the former Soviet Union.

So basically we didn't have a really eventful week this week. Which I decided the reason why is that we aren't trying to have fun as we do the work. So we decided to make some, "different" goals this week. I don't know if I told you guys about this but when I was an English missionary, Elder Hamer and I tried to catch all of the feral cats that would roam our neighborhood. Elder Swingler and I realized here in Lawrenceville there's also a ton of feral cats. So during our week planning on Friday we made the goal of catching a feral cat this week. We have a huge window by our study area and one of them doesn't have a screen. So we decided that every night after we did our planning and journal writing, we would lure cats to our window and then try and catch them. We'll see how it goes. I hope I don't get scratched. 

So yesterday we had a lesson with a woman that lives at the top of our area. We had dinner with a family that lives by them and so we decided that we would take the 19 year old daughter with us to the lesson with her. This investigator is.... interesting... like a lot of other people that we've taught. So we went into the lesson not expecting what to happen. We start off the lesson and we taught about the spirit world since that was where we'd left off of on our last lesson. We asked her a question, and then it went into a 20 minute, well rant, about how catholic people come to church immodest and that our investigator doesn't like it when women bend over and you can see their chest. We were all uncomfortable to say the least. The family of the girl who came with us and our investigator are from the same country originally and so we asked her to invite her to come to church. She invited her and she agreed! So we're excited to see how things go with our investigator in a gospel essentials class.

I am so sorry to hear that insurance won't pay for the flood. I'm sorry I can't be there to help you guys. To be honest its hard to see you all going through these trials and I can't help you guys out... But I promise I'll be there to help you when I return. Keep being strong guys and I know that we can get through it all together! Glad to hear that Bailey is going to be discharged from the hospital today!! I hope all goes well for recovery bails! You all have been, and will be in my prayers! I can feel yours and know that our Father in Heaven hears all of them! 


June 8, 2015: " iPads, Teaching and Priesthood"

So this week was interesting to say the least! We received our iPads but they're super awkward to email on so we came to the FHC to email. I'll try to send some videos today as well of us or some pictures. It's really nice these days. We can look at our emails every time we get connected to the internet we just can't respond. So if you guys email me during the week I can see them and see how all of yall are doing! Overall I'm still not sure how I feel about the iPads. They're really nice for teaching, but nothing is in Spanish for us.... So basically we have to use some weird methods to get them used in our teaching. But we do get the Gospel Library app so our studies are going to get way crazy!!! I just got a loaner since I'm going home in two months.
We actually had some amazing teaching appointments this past week! At the end of the week we have 6 progressing investigators. We invite everyone to be baptized on the first lesson and we say straight up that this is the only true and living church that has authority to perform baptisms. We're getting super confident and we're actually giving the spirit things to testify about during our lessons. Surprisingly enough, people react pretty well to it actually! We have a mother and daughter-in-law who accepted a baptsimal date for the 4th of July. We think it'll be a fitting celebration of America's birth. Spiritual birthings? yes? No? I think yes. 

We've had some good chances to exercise our priesthood this past week as well. So on Sunday we had a lesson in Priesthood about the need to be worthy to exercise priesthood in a moments notice. Then that night we got home and were walking around our complex trying to go see an investigator. We saw these two black girls and one of them just collapsed, like hardcore collapse. We ran over to go help her and she got up, walked a few steps and then collapsed again. Then we really got concerned and then she finally collapsed a third time. All the other black mammas were coming over to help her and then an ambulance was called to come see her. My comp and I looked at each other and I asked, "Priesthood?" and he looked at me and said, "Priesthood". We walked forward and said that we were ministers of Jesus Christ and offered to give her a blessing. She accepted and so we gave this 16ish year old girl a blessing in the middle of this crowd of people in the middle of our apartment complex hahaha it was crazy! But the best part was that the spirit was so strong as I was giving the blessing. And afterwords a woman came up to us and asked if she could learn more about what we believed and so we're going to refer her to the Sisters that live in our complex! 

Guys, I know this past week was hard. But iIhad a wonderful thought this week as we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. In the pre-earth life we knew of our lives here on earth. We knew of the struggles and trials we would face. And despite all that. We still came. We still knew of the joy that would be able to have by having families. We knew that the joy would outweigh the sorrow and pain. It gave me so much comfort. "Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they MIGHT have joy". Our joy is dependent upon on how we use our agency and how we react to our situations. I love all of you. I know we are an eternal family. Man, we really must be righteous if we're facing this much opposition haha. 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent June 1, 2015: "A Crazy, Crazy Week"

So basically this week was full of awkward situations, amazing spiritually led lessons and some sad feelings. But the awkward situations were funny so it was ok!

So we'll start off with the awkward situation. So on Friday we were invited by some English Elders to have a food eating contest with a family in their ward. We had Memorial Day dinner with them and part of the conversation included food eating competitions. So we agreed and went over with the idea that the whole family would be there. We get there and there isn't a single adult there... Well... sort of. There was a girl that had just finished her first year at BYUI. But it was her, the 18 year old daughter of the family, and a 17 year old priest. We were pretty uncomfortable the whole time. And to make it worse the food wasn't ready when we got there so we had to sit and wait as I basically had a high school flashback. But we ate and then ran out of the house as soon as possible. Never doing that again... 

We had a wonderfully spiritual lesson as well this past week. So we had a referral from a companionship of English missionaries that we went to see and had a lesson with. They are teaching the son of the referral. The whole time Elder Swingler and I really strove to go by the spirit and ask inspired questions. She opened right up to us and we were able to teach about the Atonement from the Book of Mormon and invited her to be baptized. She didn't accept the invitation right away, but she said she would keep meeting with us and read the Book of Mormon! It was weird because apparently the English missionaries had to cast a spirit out of the house the night before. It clearly was inspired since we needed it out in order to have the spirit in the abundance that we had! 

I'm sure you've all heard about the sisters who were involved in the accident on Friday. We were all involved in a Mission wide fast on Sunday and we had Stake Conference here in Lilburn so the sisters were honored. As far as we know Sister Beckstrom's family is on their way here and she is still in a shaky recovery. Thank you for your love and support for the sisters. I knew Sister Barnard a little bit and Sister Beckstrom came out with Elder Swingler so he knew her from the Mission Home. Overall there was a weird feeling amongst the missionaries. But we all just feel the outpouring of love from the Bennions and the Spirit.

I hope that all goes well this week for everyone. I pray for you all on a daily basis and I know that I am heard. I love you a ton and I hope you know I love you guys :) Please keep doing hard things. And trust in the Lord to get them accomplished. I know that we are an eternal family because Mom and Dad were sealed in a House of God by one holding the proper authority. All of that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith so that we can return once again as families to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know this. And i know you all know this. I guess we just need to live it now. So live it strong. 

Love you all! 
Elder Rodabough