Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013: First Baptism and Elder Oaks

This week has been amazing!  I'm sorry I emailed so late in the day, we've been moving a member all day so I don't have much time to write or post the pictures from the baptism since we left our apartment in such a rush. Next week I’ll have the picture of the baptism up.

Saturday was actually the most eventful day of the week. I had other experiences but I hope I can really share them with you another week.  Saturday was amazing. We had the opportunity to hear from Elder Oaks of the Twelve. He came and we had a combined meeting with the Atlanta Mission and the Atlanta North. I got to see Elder Angilau, Elder Bowcutt, and Sister Fennell--graduates from Bingham.  It was super cool. Elder Oaks is really an amazing guy also. He's not as big as I thought he was or seems to be. He's still tall but I'd say he's about 6'2. He shook hands with everyone in both missions.  We all looked into his eyes (He made direct eye contact with all of us before we could move on hahaha) and he said "hello” and “Thank you Elder/Sister" to everyone. I felt so much love for him. He spoke on lots of things-whatever the spirit prompted him. President Wolfert expected it to be about obedient, but I guess we're doing alright with that because he didn’t talk about obedience.

That night we also had a baptismal service for Bryan. We had his baptismal interview on Thursday and I went with Zone Leader Price and Elder Galvez went with Zone Leader Colman for a lesson with S, who seems a bit nervous about being baptized.  But after the baptismal service, the only thing she said to us was, "I just want my water to be warm!" She's so sweet and the water furnace wasn't on.......

But on Sunday I had the opportunity to stand in the circle as Bryan received the Holy Ghost. It was honestly one of the most spiritually powerful moments of my life. To talk about the spirit, to feel the spirit, to tell how much it will bless people’s lives and then to actually give the Gift of the Holy Ghost to someone--It's amazing. I love it so much.

Mom, thank you so much for the packages and your card! I was able to decipher all of your writing so we're alright there hahahah. I don't know how much I will get to write to Dad, Madison and Bailey, but please tell them I love them so much and thank Madison for the package. I hope Elder Galvez doesn't find my food, since he eats like a horse, but he was on exchanges with another elder when I received the package.

Much love,
Elder Rodabough the second


Monday, October 21, 2013

Email sent October 21, 2013: Elder Oaks is Coming!

Here is what happened during me past week. 


We had our P-day at the huge house again. This time I played basketball and Ultimate Frisbee. I jammed my finger pretty bad and it got really swollen so they had to cut it off. Other than that it was a really good P-Day. Or i just jammed it and now I'm totally fine and not in harm’s way. The Spirit of the Lord is with me every day and I feel so spiritually filled. And I have all my appendages….hahahahahah…I'm a terrible child. We also went to a bamboo forest behind the house and it was so pretty and calm!  Until Elder Jex got there, then it just got wild. He started climbing up the bamboo shoots and made it like 20 feet up and then he fell.  He's fine.


We've started doing all Spanish days every other day and we started on Tuesday. It was pretty difficult since it was district meeting and I couldn't really talk to anyone and joke around, but it was a good day of realizing how much I need to learn. It really made me realize how much more I could be doing to learn the language.

Elder Hansen, from the other companionship in the ward left on Tuesday as well.  He was a super funny guy that is from Salt Lake as well.  He is 20 and was a ski bum for two years, but then decided to serve a mission and start doing something with his life.  He was assigned to speak English, but when he got here he was switched to Spanish, without any Spanish training.  It was a hard 12 weeks for him to say the least. After Tuesday he was switched back to English speaking. He wasn't too happy since he was making really good progress in Spanish and now he's not even speaking it.

We also had a lesson with S again. We taught her about the commandments and she committed to stop drinking coffee and to live all the other laws. She doesn’t really have a problem with any of the other laws but we'll see.... I don't doubt she does. She's so Christ-like and loves the gospel as she's been learning it.


We taught BP again and he's really making a huge progress in the gospel. We taught him about the Restoration and he really seemed receptive to it.  He's also just a really funny guy.


Well, it pretty much rained all day so I'm again so thankful you sent me the rain jacket ma! We then had a lesson in the night with Familia M. We've been a little concerned about them since they've been having trouble with consistently reading.  I love that family so much and they're so nice.  I just want them to progress in the gospel and to find happiness through baptism.  They're so close.  They just need to exercise faith to receive an answer and then to have real intent to act upon the answer they receive. We brought Familia S with us and they bore strong testimonies about seminary and the Book of Mormon. Then Elder Galvez asked me to teach about the Book of Mormon and prayer in the conversion process. I didn't know what to say, but for some reason i just didn't even think about it and I just started talking in Spanish.  I was able to teach, ask questions, understand questions, and bear testimony to Familia M about the Book of Mormon and the power it has to change our lives. I felt blessed by the Lord to be able to open my mouth and try to help them come closer to Christ.


Since Elder Galvez is the new district leader now, he has to do exchanges with all the missionaries in the district. So he started with Elder Vance and Elder Chilcote. Elder Galvez went up to inner Cumorah, and Elder Chilcote came with me. Once again, the two missionaries with the least experience, together, managing an area. Let's just say it was a hard day. We were driving back when we realized we didn't have the cell phone so we had to go back to Cumorah. Then we had to look through Cumorah for Elder Galvez and Elder Vance. We eventually found them and then we drove back and got stuck in traffic. Then our dinner appointment called and told us that the only time they had to get us food was right then. So we had to go to Subway and get lost along the way.  We had an appointment with a team-up waiting for us the whole time and then the appointment with the team-up didn't even work. Then things started getting better. We taught two lessons that went decently well and then went back to the apartment.


It was Stake Conference which was hilarious. We had Elder Aidukaitis of the First Quorum of the Seventies come and he is just hilarious.  At the adult session of conference on Saturday he asked "Is anyone here investigating the church?" to which three people on the front row stood up. Elder Aidukaitis then said, "You know, this meeting is for members only, so after the meeting you have two choices. You are either baptized and join the church (long pause) or we have to kill you!" Then he laughed so hard he shorted out the microphone for a second.  Man he was so cool! He talked about missionary work and how members need to do their part. My favorite part was when he talked to missionaries and said that if the members don't do their part that's no excuse not to work at all.  We still need to be doing the same things and working our hardest.


Saturday night we also talked to BP and Familia D about attending Stake Conference at the Technical College which was like 30 miles away. They didn't have a ride, but we told them we would try to find them one. We finally got them a ride an hour before church and they wouldn't answer their phone.  So we just went over and woke them all up and told them to get ready since their ride was coming to pick them up. We sat and waited until Hermano Lopez came to get them and then we left. They showed up and BP listened to the whole thing. He's committed to be baptized this Saturday!

We also had a huge party/dinner to attend at Famila S de Mexico and their extended family. She wanted to have a Family Home Evening. Elder Galvez and Elder Amaro, the two native speakers, taught a lesson on The Plan of Salvation. After we had 4 more appointments and passed out 3 Books of Mormon. IT was really cool to see.

We also taught S about the commandments again and invited her to be baptized this Saturday as well. She was a little hesitant and said she needed "more faith", but our team-up, Hermana S said, "The thing about faith, is that it requires us to act." and then she told about how faith is about action.  She basically taught the first three parts of The Gospel to S again.  S has agreed to be baptized the 26 of this month.

I got your packages and I'm so happy to have a camera! Thank you for sending me my jacket as well. I just bought a winter coat and a little jacket at Marshalls so when it gets cold like it is more and more each day. I can keep warm. Holy crud! I totally underestimated the cold. It's just so flippin’ wet down here and a little cold makes it feel like you're swimming in a frozen lake, but with these coats now I'll be fine. I actually kind of like it.

I'm so glad to have the opportunity to serve the lord. Sunday I was feeling pretty inadequate and like this is more Elder Galvez's missionary work. But then he was talking to me and he said, "This is hard. This is the hardest thing you are ever going to do, but Elder Rodabough it is worth it. Every day it is worth it." Ii really want to make every day meaningful as though it is the last in my mission and that I can serve as hard as I can.

Oh yeah something else?!?!?!  ELDER OAKS IS COMING THIS SATURDAY!!!!  Yeah he's coming to speak to the Atlanta Georgia North Mission and the Atlanta Mission. We're all super excited and we know that it's going to be awesome. President Wolfert left the whole mission a voicemail and said that Elder Oaks is just going to come and speak on whatever the Spirit prompts him to speak on. FOR TWO HOURS!!  Man, I hope that one day I can do that for 10 minutes let alone two hours. We're super excited!!!


Elder Rodabough the second--Your favorite son

Monday, October 14, 2013

Email sent October 14, 2013: This past week has probably been one of the most blessed weeks in my life and my mission

(As always the names of investigators and ward members have been removed for their privacy)

Dear Family,

I dislike that the only day I can write is on Mondays. SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN and I want to write you and tell you the second they happen.  This past week has probably been one of the most blessed weeks in my life and my mission.

We had a Noche De Lugar, Family Home Evening, with a family in the ward. Hermano S is an awesome guy and is so strong in the spirit and is just down right hilarious.

We had a Zone Meeting.  Elder Galvez and I provided training on "Casting Out Our Nets" from Luke Chapter 5. We discussed about how we need to talk to everyone--no matter what  and that by talking to people we will accomplish our goals.

We also met a guy named L, who lives with V, a 14 year old girl who's the only member in her family.  We found out that he was actually baptized when he was 12 in Mexico, but hasn't been active since he was 13.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to church.

We met a crazy guy when we were out contacting. He tried to explain to us that the American continent didn't exist before Christ and that his purpose was to create it for us to inhabit. Hahahah--it was a pretty funny moment for us and Elder Galvez almost started laughing when he heard it.

We also taught a kid named P. He's a 17 year old kid who's so nice and loving to his family. He just has a super hard time focusing and staying on topic.  Most of the time he just asks us questions and then we answer them.  Sadly though we can't even understand his questions, despite the fact that he speaks English!

We taught the M family again and we followed up on our challenge to A to be obedient to her mom for two weeks. She'd been.....somewhat…. (hahaha) and her mother had more than enough to tell us of her doings.  My favorite part of the lesson was when A was talking about how much her mother smothers her and is super controlling and then argued with her mom for a minute.  R said, "Oh Dios, Paciencia." which means “Oh God, patience”. I honestly just burst out laughing and R joined right in with me. A didn't think it was that funny, but we sure did. What was sad was the fact that R hadn't read and hadn't prayed. She was so closed to us and the Gospel and she has a hard time accepting the message.

We also taught S about the Gospel of Jesus Christ the third lesson and she accepted everything about it and still wants to be baptized on the 26th of this month. We're doing everything we can to keep her on track and she's doing great. What was interesting about S is that she had read. She'd read and prayed about everything we've been teaching her. That's been the most amazing thing about my mission--seeing the difference between people who have and those that haven't read. You can just see it in their eyes and faces. They have a greater light and love for the world.  They are more willing to talk to us and are so much happier.

We taught P again and found out that he's had an on and off again problem with smoking. Since he's been hanging out with a girl named C, who is actually the person we were talking to when we met P, he's been smoking again. His mother is very concerned for him. The mother actually has a sister who's a member out in Utah. If P doesn't go back to school she says she's going to send him out to Utah. This may actually be a blessing and he can be baptized out there if he isn't here. He says he loves reading the Book of Mormon, but he doesn't actually do it.....

Later that day we had a missionary experience you only hear about and you hope you have, but rarely happens. So V, throughout the week when we saw her we kept inviting her to introduce the Book of Mormon to her mom and ask her to read. When we were with P on Wednesday she texted us and said that her mom had been reading and couldn't stop. We were super excited, but were honestly a little skeptical.

We went over and the first words V's mom said to us was "Sit". We sat down with her husband/boyfriend of 13 years who's very Catholic and we started talking. She then pulled out her Book of Mormon and started teaching her husband from it. She'd read 1 Nephi and half of 2nd Nephi in two days and knew that the book was true--all on her own. She'd loved the book and knew that her Catholic faith wasn't the church of God and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is. It was so cool.  Her husband/boyfriend isn't too happy about it. She says she wants to be baptized, but she can't move out of her apartment because she can't get a job due to her illegal status. She wants to wait two years until V can work and support the family.  We hope that we can convince her and help her realize that if she has enough faith that the Lord will prepare a way for her.

We had the opportunity to attend the baptism of the daughter of the second counselor in the Bishopric. It was so amazing to see her be baptized. Familia M attended and Y was super touched by the video they showed about family and how the gospel can bless it.

We had 10 investigators at church!!!!!  HOLY WOW IT WAS AWESOME!!!! Familia M, S and her son who hasn't listened to us at all but seemed interested after church and a woman named F who's been hard to get ahold of. Her friends that were staying with her for the weekend are members and brought her and helped us teach her the gospel as well.

Know that I’m praying for you guys every day night and in the middle of the day whenever I have time. For all of you, thank you for your letters and love and I hope that you all are safe and filled with the spirit.

Elder Rodabough, the second.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Email sent October 7, 2013: "General Conference Yo!!!"

I am going to write another day by day account of how my week went.  It was both a good and bad week.
We had a Zone wide P-Day. We played soccer and Ultimate Frisbee for about two hours.   It was a grand ol' time!  But then I lost my planner so that's been kind of hard to deal with. It had all of the numbers and addresses we had, but luckily Elder Galvez is really good at remembering all of that.
We had our usual District meeting which went fine. I really like my District, but I just fear they're a little lazy sometimes. hahaha. Then we had a lesson with Familia S. I really love this family and they invited us for dinner and a lesson. We got there a little late and ate dinner and talked the whole time about our lives as missionaries. They were so interested about how we live and what our responsibilities are.  When we started the lesson and were about 5 minutes into it, the wife stopped us and told us that she felt uncomfortable changing her Catholic faith and that she didn't want to take lessons from us anymore. We asked her if she had read the chapters we had left for her and she said no. Neither of them had read. The week before they'd read all of the chapters and their hearts were so open and receptive. But when they didn't.... We tried our best to convince them, but they didn't want to hear it. They asked us to come back another day and talk, but they don't want to talk about the Gospel.
We had the trainer follow-up meeting with all of the elders and sisters who came with me and our trainers. It was really nice to see Elder Young and  Elder Chilcote who came with me out here and to the MTC.  We ate some lunch and we received a new book about how to handle being a new missionary and how to handle some things. I've read out of that book every day this week. It is greatly needed by missionaries. We also had a new investigator who's dating a girl member of the branch. He's Pilipino and he says he wants to join so that the girl, will marry him.  I an glad she's sticking to her faith and putting it first, but I am worried he's joining just for that. We'll do our missionary work like we do. He doesn't speak Spanish so that'll be interesting.
Thursday was hard. I didn't have the spirit with me all day on Wednesday.  I wasn't happy with my mission.  The next day I was reading in Ether 12:27. It talks about how through coming to the Lord in humility, our weaknesses will be made strong. I loved it and have tried to be as humble and as thankful to the lord as I can. That day I prayed for the Lord to help me with tracting since President Wolfert has asked us to tract for 2 hours each day.  The first 12 houses didn't answer or they slammed the door. I was feeling pretty down. I asked "Why aren't we having success?"  Then I realized that the Lord was testing me. If I truly want his help, I need to be humble and endure with patience. After this thought we had much more success and set up two return appointments.

We also taught a lesson to Familia M, our only progressing investigators at the time. We taught them about the Law of Chastity since when they came to church they weren't immodest, just not the most modest. Elder Galvez showed them a really easy and funny way to check if your clothes are modest. Sing the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. If you reach up and your shirt comes up and shows skin, nope.  If you can see your shoulders, nope. If you kneel down and your skirt doesn't touch the floor, nope and if you touch your toes and you can see your back, nope. It was a really good lesson and afterwards we talked about how our bodies are temples. One of the daughters really took it to heart and I could tell she respected herself much more after the lesson. They agreed to be baptized and watched General Conference at their house on Sunday.
We had the chance to show some real service today.  A couple of days ago we talked to a non-progressing investigator and at the end of our conversation he said, "When are you guys coming over to mow my lawn?" He meant it as a joke, but we told him Friday at 4 pm. He just laughed and walked inside. I wish you could've seen his face when he came home and Elder Galvez and I were mowing and weeding his yard. He was so thankful and he was nearly speechless. I hope that he can feel the desire to read and feel God's love for him like we love him.
I loved conference. It was amazing. I loved the talk given by Edward Dube of the 70. it was great. We watched conference in the chapel with all of the missionaries that attend that church with their wards. It was really great, but not many members came. We totally understand since the Spanish translation on TV is super awful and you can hardly see a thing.  Lots of members were watching from their homes and we loved it.  After the first session we went over to a sister's house and ate pancakes with her. Her son just left on a mission and we think she wanted to somehow feel close to him. She's also asked if she could come on lessons with us. (Sounds a bit like you mom).
We continued to watch conference and loved every minute of it. After conference we went and taught an investigator.  She's a tiny little woman with two sons and was recently divorced. After a lesson on the Plan of Salvation she accepted to be baptized!! She said she was going to come to conference, but felt that her dress wouldn't be good in the Lord's eyes.... Wow that was cool. She's feeling the desire to be modest and we haven't even taught her. Man she's Elect!
Elder Rodabough the second.