Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013: What a week it has been!

What a week it has been! I'm going to do another day by day like I did in the MTC. It just helps me form my thoughts better.  (We have removed the full names of the investigators to ensure their privacy).
Well, Tuesday was kind of hard. We went over to G's and the first thing she did was give us the Book of Mormon back. Her mother found her reading it again and was upset with her. The mother thinks that it's not being fair to the Catholic religion because that's what she's a part of and not fair to ours (Which we don't really understand) because she says that if G's heart isn't fully in it then she's just wasting our time. We tried to explain to her that G can't know everything all at once and that change comes through time and faith and she agreed. But her mother won't hear it and we can't talk to her since she leaves at 6am for work and doesn't get back till 11pm.....
We said a prayer with G and I pleaded with the Lord for help and to guide her in her decision as to what to do. When I looked up she was crying and looked so desperate like she had no idea what to do. Her light has been growing stronger each week and Elder Galvez and I really love her, but she has to make her decision. We're going back over today to see how she's doing
Elder Galvez and all of our district had to help translate at Parent/ Teacher Conferences for 6 hours. Elder Chilcote (who I met in the MTC) and I don't know enough Spanish to help, so they sent us out together to my appointments and to do some contacting. On the way over we were both really nervous because we've only had 4 weeks in the mission. When we got there we said a prayer and asked the Lord for help if we worked with faith. We taught 2 lessons, met a new family of investigators, talked to 9 other people and placed two Books of Mormon. Elder Chilcote says it was his most productive day in the mission so far. Not bad for two rookies!!!   Then we went and ate at a family in the Branch, Familia C. I love them but I don't know how Nick (Holmquist) can do that--understanding Argentinians. They're so hard to understand and I always feel so stupid after the dinners since I didn't understand anything they said....
We had a team-up with Hermano Solis from Mexico and a member of our branch.  He came with us to some of our appointments. However, the two we had scheduled fell through. I was feeling so bad that he came with us for nothing and also because both of the appointments were really promising. We had one more to go to and I was feeling pretty desperate. On the drive over I said a prayer and asked the Lord for a chance to teach and for him to prepare someone for us to bring to the waters of baptism. I promised him that if we would work our hardest to find them, he would help us find them.  We went to the door, knocked, and it opened!! I hadn't met this investigator before but she is a little woman the height of Madison. She invited us in. Her name is S. We taught her Lehi's vision and she was very interested. Hermano Solis is an amazing teacher.
Friday was a great day. We had the oportunity to teach a new family named Familia S de Guatemala. (That means "Of Guatemala"). We went in just expecting that they hadn't read and that we would just have a normal conversation and invite them to read more. When we asked the husband, he said that he'd read the whole chapter we had asked him to read, (3 Nephi 11) and then he told us what the chapter was about. We were shocked. No one has ever done that before!!!!  Elder Galvez and I looked at each other and asked if we could start with a prayer. That was the best lesson ever. Familia S is amazing. It's an unmarried couple with two girls one 10 and the other a 1.  They asked us questions the whole time about what we were teaching and when we finished we asked if anything was unclear. They immediately began to ask about prophets and they listened intently. They said they would keep reading and that they would like to feed us when we come back over on Tuesday.
Then we went to Fiesta de Naciones. This is party of nations. It was a huge party put on by all the branches around.  All the different members from all the different South American nations serve food, dance and play music from their countries. I loved it so much!!!! To see how we're all different, having different cultures, beliefs, food, smells, but that we are all united as God's children is so amazing to me.
We helped a Familia C move out of their apartment. They're a great family. We then taught our other investigators that we're working really hard on. They are the Familia M. It is two sisters each with a daughter and they are so great. Their babysitter is a memeber and she has the best testimony.  They accepted the invitation to be baptized later in October.
We then got invited to attend a Pentecostal church by one of our investigators. That was...... interesting. They sang a song for 40 mintues and "Poderoso Dios" about 76 times. This means "Powerful God". The pastor sat next to me and said "Hello, I bless you" to which I responded, "Hey! That's... so nice of you to do. I really appreciate that."
We had fast and testimony meeting. Familia M and the guy who invited us to the Pentecostal church came. I had the chance to bear my testimony. I was super nervous about my Spanish so I wrote down my testimony. But when I got up there I just pushed it aside and felt the spirit so strongly. Next week is general conference so we really hope Familia M comes and listens to the prophet.
Elder Rodabough, the second

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013: A Difficult Week

This week has been a difficult one but I know that this coming week will be better.

 We have an investigator who has a problem with being a bisexual and she doesn't seem to really understand how that it could be a bad thing all that much. We taught her a little bit about the Law of Chastity and she responded very well to the first half, about marriage and keeping our bodies sacred and safe. But then we had to go and I didn't get a chance to talk to her about her problem. Elder Galvez was a little upset with me for not bringing it up sooner. I was really wondering why he would be upset since it is a very sensitive subject. But this is how he explained it--She trusts us and to beat around the bush for a period of time and feel awkward about bringing it up, then that's not having trust in the relationship. Next time we meet with her we're going to address her problem and show our love and the Savior's love for her and that he wants what is best for her.

And now for some other details…. 

Every day we go running for about 3 miles (yes, I can now run three miles straight without stopping), however I don't seem to be losing weight.  Probably due to the fact that sometimes we get fed twice a day by investigators and members alike. These people are so friendly!  They feed us lots of tamales.  For breakfast I have some cereal and toaster waffles. THE DOLLAR STORE IS SO GREAT!!! I have so many boxes of blueberry toaster waffles and for so cheap. Dad you taught me well!!!!

They sent Elder Loertscher home on Saturday. He had a seizure and hit his head and can't remember anything beyond age 15.  That's so sad. He wanted more than anything to serve the Lord with all his heart for 2 years. I also wonder how Collin is doing.

This week should be a doozy. I’m leading all the discussions and doing all the contacting because I feel like I haven't been growing at all and that I'm the same as when I left the MTC. Elder Galvez is determined to help me grow and to have my faith grow.


Elder Rodabough--the second

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013: Feeling better about the language and learning to be a missionary

Forgive me if I leave anything out.  I have a lot to write!!!
This week has been, not difficult but it has had its challenges just like every week will I assume. I had the chance to give the Joseph Smith part of the first lesson "La Restauracion" twice in the same day and while it wasn't perfect I have the First Vision memorized so that I can give that part. One guy I taught had lots of questions about prophets and Joseph Smith right after I finished. I thought he was really feeling the gospel, but as I listened to his questions I realized it was because I didn't explain as well as I thought ha ha ha, but I still was so grateful for the opportunity to share that message that has changed the world.

Our apartment has gotten somewhat better this past week. Elder Galvez washed our shower curtain today. Apparently it's white!  I hope it doesn't give us some sort of disease ha ha ha, but we got a new vacuum from the Zone leaders and so we should be good.  So don't send a cleaning crew, we are gone the whole day so we don't have time to be there. Oh, and it's against the rules--that too.
This week has been great, but this past Sunday was a hard day for me. We've been teaching a 16 year old girl named G (note: We are not using the name of investigators on the blog) and she was progressing amazingly.  On Sunday when we went to go see if she was coming to church she informed us that when she asked her mom if she could go her mother wasn't too happy. She had a prior experience with church members who drew on her St. Mary picture when she told them she was Catholic.  G then told us that her mother told her not to keep talking to us and to give the Book of Mormon, which she was reading every day and asking questions about frequently, back.  It was heart breaking, but we're going to see if we can stop by someday and talk to her mother about it. G has four younger siblings who are the sweetest little kids ever. There are 3 little girls all under 10 that just love Elder Galvez and climb all over him every time they see him no matter how much he tries to get them off. Please pray for G and her mother. Please.  She really needs help because her life the past year has just been awful. Their dad left them and was a drunk and her mother works from 6am and gets home at 11pm every night leaving G to take care of them.  I know that the power of prayer is extremely helpful and can truly be felt across the world no matter where you are.

We had another investigator who had committed to attend church but never showed up, and wasn't home when we stopped by after to see if we could teach him a lesson.  But we still have a lot of people that we can teach and talk to. Elder Galvez was complaining yesterday that we were so busy and didn't have a chance to go meet more people. I responded with "I know!  Isn't it wonderful?" We are talking to so many people and sharing the Gospel. 
The language is still coming along. Elder Galvez helps me feel strong when I talk about how little I’m learning. I've really progressed a lot. I've gone from getting every 8th word to every 4th word--improvement.

Keep loving the Lord and please, please turn to him when you need help. If you're feeling small and weak then turn to the lord. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.
Much Love to all I miss you guys!

Elder Rodabough the Second

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Farewell Tie Strikes Again!

Another friend--Wyatt Merrill wearing the Farewell Tie.  Elder Merrill will be serving in Mexico City.  He had his missionary farewell on September 8th.  Good luck Wyatt.

Monday, September 9, 2013

First Week in the North Atlanta Mission


Things are great, but very difficult. This past week we had a girl commit to be baptized but we can't find out where she lives now!!  She moved to a new apartment in a new complex.  We don't know which apartment is her apartment .  Her name is Ana Rojas and she's the sweetest girl. She's 18 with two little kids. That happens a lot out here. We taught a 17 year old girl with a little boy yesterday.

The spirit out here is so strong!! The people are so ready to receive the gospel and I love the members of my ward. There's a Spanish branch called the Norcross branch which has 160 members but only 40 active! I'm actually in the Peachtree corners area not the John's Creek area like I said--ha ha. Sorry my bad.  I love doing the work and meeting people they are so nice!!!   Elder Galvez and I live with just us two and yes, I did get your package. I catch Elder Galvez eating my cliff bars a lot ha ha ha. Our apartment is super nasty since the elders before us were apparently pretty lazy but going through some hard times. 
On Saturday we were walking around.  We drive mostly though.  I haven't ridden my bike once!  Anyway, we were walking around and a guy stopped us and invited us into his friend's house to his son's birthday party and we ate some tacos.  He didn't allow us to talk about the church. Then we left, but they all were so nice!  I do my best to speak Spanish but its so hard. Elder Galvez does 99% of the talking and I just lag behind and say something here and there. I'm honestly pretty down about it.  It's been a hard week with the language, but I know that if I lose myself in the work the Lord will help me .I'm fine and am being fed daily with no dangers experienced so far.

I love you so much mom and I hope that your cleaning abilities will help me out later when we clean our apartment.  I'm so thankful for all the lessons you and Dad taught me. I see how much you both helped me and loved me now that I'm in the field. I'm sorry we didn't get to talk much on Tuesday, but know that I was holding back tears the whole time because I love you so much. I don't think I'll have time to write Dad and Bailey but tell them I love them with all my heart!!!  I'm so terrible. I emailed 3 other people before I emailed you guys...... I'm so sorry. But know that next week you'll be the first person I email  and then President Wolfert, who is a great guy by the way.
Elder Rodabough the second.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pictures of Mexico City

Elder Rodabough leaves for Atlanta

They're letting me write today and I will try to call tomorrow either in Atlanta or Mexico. If it's Atlanta, shoot for around 12 noon. That's in Atlanta time so you'll have to figure that out. If it's Mexico....It'll be more like 4 am in the morning, which is like 3 am in the morning for you. My bus from the CCM leaves at 3am and then my flight leaves at 7am. I'm not so sure how Atlanta airport is going to work honestly.  By that I mean that the two other elders reporting in with me are eating lunch with their teacher who's flying back with us. I have to stick with them so I might just get dragged along, but if that happens I'll call.  I hope President Wolfert allows me to call or at least email.

Speaking of earliness--this morning I got up at 2:45 am to walk Elder Adams and Christensen to the bus and then I waited half an hour for Hermana De La Vega to get on her bus. I got up again at 5:45 am to say goodbye to two elders that live in our casa and then me and one of their old companions walked back to the casa and slept till 6:45 am.  Hermana Winters left at 2 pm in the afternoon for her flight to El Salvador and tomorrow it's my turn. I'm worried that I'm going to be exhausted, but I'll just sleep on the plane. The rest of our district (Elders Jordan, Clark, Owen and Jones) along with 15 other Elders y Hermanas are on my flight along with a handful of American teachers that are heading back to Provo for the semester. Both of my teachers--Hermana Sherwood y Hermano Russell will be the flight with us. Hermano Russell is going to be an Apostle someday, so there's no way we're going down. Sadly however, Elder Marchello has to stay behind a day and leaves Wednesday.  He's the only one staying for an extra day. He also got evicted from our room (ha ha) he has to stay in a casa across the CCM.

Yesterday was Fast Sunday, and we had testimony meeting in our branch. We're down a district, so there's only 4 (Districts A,C,D and E), but it was still a very full meeting. I loved hearing all the testimonies in Spanish, English, and Spanglish (ha ha). Then we had a devotional video given by Elder Todd Christofferson of the Twelve and a class with President Pratt about the Atonement and Grace. It was all very interesting.

I got the coolest souvenir here in Mexico. The head maintenance guy here at the CCM is named Melquisidek, (same as Melchizedek) and he makes leather scripture cases with pictures that he cuts into the leather by hand.  He also puts your name, a scripture, and your mission on the cover and sizes them to whatever scripture size you want. I got a case for my Spanish quad and it's so cool!  My favorite moment was when he was over at our casa getting our orders one of the boys asked him if he'd been a member his whole life. To which he replied, "My name is Melquisidek. Of course I've been a member my whole life." He made me a scripture case and I put D&C 121:7-8 in Spanish (Which I can read) on the back. On the front is a profile carving of a Mayan guy holding either a scroll of scripture, or a flute or a pipe. We're still not sure but it looks awesome.

Anyway I’ll call tomorrow when I get the chance. I love you so much and know that I am happy with what I'm doing and what I will be able to do. My teacher Hermano Russell today told me, "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't baptize. Don't let anyone tell you an area isn't good. When you get to a new area, don't ask what has been done, ask the lord what he needs to be done."

Elder Rodabough the second