Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Email sent December 29, 2014: Christmas, Casts, Miracles and too much food!

Well my family, it was wonderful to talk to you guys! I really loved it actually. Sorry if I seemed a little awkward, I've just had a lot on my mind lately! But thank you for your love and support guys, seriously I appreciate it  :) It was good to see that everyone is happy and healthy (ish hahaha) and that you're all working hard.

Christmas Eve started out pretty crazy. We headed over to the doctors office so Elder Castro could get his cast off. I'd never seen how they take a cast off and to be honest it was terrifying to watch!! So the nurse walks in, grabs out this tiny hand held circular saw and then went straight to work. She just sawed right into his cast!!! I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it was still way surprising. He took off the cast and it smelled really bad haha. Again, not really sure what I was expecting differently, but still concerning none the less. We then spent the rest of our day passing out our Christmas gift which were pictures of Mormon Jesus to everyone. 

Our Christmas was pretty good, pretty low key to be honest which I was grateful for. After the weeks we've been having it was nice to have a calm day. We had Elder Castro drive us to our breakfast which was quite the experience. He only almost killed us once in the 6 mile drive and so we'll chalk it up as a win for now. He has his driving test on the 7th and I'm not so sure how it's going to go yet. We still are teaching him to drive but it's a slow process since he's a little nervous at times. It's all good though. We ate about 4 different times which was killer on my stomach. Lots of sweets, meat, and Hispanic fruit punch which was pretty strong. I wasn't feeling to good during the night and I actually threw up! hahaha it wasn't the best after Christmas sleep.
But there was a really surprising plot twist on Friday. We had interviews with President Bennion and he explained that if I wanted to I could extend till August 10th and get back the time I spent in Utah recovering. It was pretty crazy to hear. I just assumed that I couldn't get it back since I was gone for such a short time. I also don't know if I'ld even be able to with my scholarship responsibilities. It's something I'll have to talk about with Mom and Dad more in the future. But it's an option on the table if I want to. 

Last night though was the miracle of the week!! If not the transfer!! So a couple of days ago we received a call from the Acworth missionaries in the mission that boarders ours. They explained that they had a recent convert who's mother wanted to be baptized and had been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish. The same member called us last night asking if we had time that evening to stop by and teach the mother who wanted to be baptized. We went over and taught most of the first lesson and it went amazing. The woman, Carmen, accepted a baptismal date for the 17th of January! It's a quick date, but we think we can teach her and she seems more than willing to do it. They invited us to come over every day for the next week to teach the mother and so we're really excited to teach them! 

We've got some great miracles on the horizon for us here in Cherokee. We've also got some other new investigators that are way promising. The Lord keeps giving us people to teach. He must have a lot of trust in us!  
Love you all!
Elder Rodabough the second 

Email sent December 15, 2014: Our Little UN in Kennesaw

Well family, it's gearing up to be quite the interesting transfer over here in Kennesaw. So Elder Castro and I came together on Wednesday and he is so awesome. He is so humble and values his mission so much. He has such a sweet, peaceful demeanor about him and when he testifies it's just full of the Spirit. We were out tracting on Thursday when we received a text from President Bennion saying to call him immediately, so we went back to our car and I called him. He explained to me that I was going to receive a new companion the following day due to an emergency transfer. I wasn't too sure what to think but I said sure and as of Friday there's now 3 of us again here in Kennesaw. Elder Portillo the new elder with us, is from El Salvador by birth but moved to Utah when he was 16. He speaks fluent Spanish and has amazing English. It's been super hilarious to be honest. Like the other day Elder Castro was writing a letter in Spanish to a girl and he was asking me in English how to say words in Spanish, I would translate and then tell him how to spell the Spanish word in English. It was way crazy. Elder Portillo wants to learn Portuguese so he's studying that and I'm just sticking to my Spanish for now! It's like a little Central and South American HQ in our apartment. It's just a slurry of Spanish, English, and Portuguese.

On Saturday we had Angi and Lucy's Baptism!!! I'll try to send a photo later... Elder Auelua has the photos since I'm still feeling like an idiot for losing my camera in Winder.... But anyways... The service went awesome! It was really really long and included, 3 talks, a photo slide show of the life of Lucy, a musical number, and "Welcomes!" from three of the auxiliary units in the church. So it was about an hour and 20 minutes. It was ok, because the branch party was right after so we were good. The actual Baptism was the best part.  So Elder Long came all the way from Athens to baptize Lucy and so they went first down in to the font. She went down and up without a hitch, but then Angi went. She asked Hno Beltran to baptize her and when she went under he lost his grip and she ended up floundering in the font like a fish on the Deadliest Catch for a couple seconds. But she went all the way under so we were good! 

After the baptism we had the branch party which at first was pretty dismal. We were in charge of serving the plates but when we got there to serve there was hardly any food. Everybody got what they could and were all very thankful. Then we ended up writing Christmas cards to a member who fell asleep at the wheel a few weeks ago and ended up in jail. The climax of the evening would have to be when they brought out the pinatas. There were three for the three age groups. The kids, the teenagers, and the adults. The kids pinata took awhile, but the teenagers one went so fast. The second pinata was a horse and when it got knocked down the kids swarmed it ripping it to pieces. A member sitting next to us turned and said, "Have you ever seen the Walking Dead?" and then pointed at the kids. We were laughing so hard. Then we got our turns and Elder Auelua smacked it off of the rope and it landed in a huge thud on the ground. Afterwords there was music and dancing (which I refrained from!!!!) and we headed home.

We've got some good stuff coming up this week in the mission. Mission dinner, temple trip, and we also are going to the Portuguese Branch so Elder Castro can translate the activity they are doing there on the 20th. It's going to be fun!! 

For Christmas call, we're working on getting a place to Skype... Angi says we can go there but I'm not so sure.... I'll find out this week and then have her text you guys with some details. I'm looking forward to talking to you all!!! I love you all and I'm so greatful to know that we are all safe, and working hard. I pray for you all every night by name and I know that the Lord is protecting and guiding you all. Keep it real family.

Elder Rodabough the second

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Email sent on December 8, 2014: Portuguese Companion

Well everyone, we didn't have a hugely crazy week. I don't have a ton to report actually. My email next week will have lots to write about because we have one doozy of a week coming up.

So we had transfer calls today! Elder Long is going over to Athens to train a new missionary and open a new area over there. He's pretty dang excited, but kind of nervous for what's going to happen for the next 3 months. I know that he'll be a good trainer and will be able to have a ton of success over there. As for Cherokee, my area, things are getting a little weird here. So the Portuguese elders have been slightly disobedient and President Bennion has had to keep an eye out for them. So he decided to change things up and give me Elder Castro as a companion. He's straight from Brazil, he's been in the mission for about 6 months, speaks little English, and will have to make the transition from Portuguese to Spanish. It shouldn't be too hard of a change. The languages are pretty similar to be honest. I'm looking forward to having a very interesting 6 weeks coming my way. But what I'm not worried about is the work because Elder Castro is a super hard working missionary that has been a convert for about 3 years now. I've been told he carries a strong spirit with him as he testifies and I'm very excited to serve with him.

We also will be having the baptism of Lucy and Angi this Saturday!!!! Seriously guys, these two are so elect and prepared by the Lord!!! We just ate lunch with Angi today and she told us about how one of her friends approached her and told her if she really knew what she was getting into. Angi responded saying that while she doesn't fully understand the doctrine, and there may be stuff she doesn't fully agree with, she has seen the fruits of the Gospel in the lives of her children. She's seen them happier than they've ever been before. They don't fight as much, they work together more, and she sees that as a sign of this being the direction that they need to go. Lucy and Charlie have fallen head over heals for the church. On thanksgiving Lucy texted us saying how she's grateful that she has found a church where she feels like she belongs and feels loved and needed. They are so amazing. We might Skype with them on  Christmas so you can get to meet them!

That's all for me folks! I love you lots and I hear that everything is going good! Have a happy week!

Elder Rodabough

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Email sent December 1, 2014: Thanksgiving, Football and Accordians

For our week it was pretty interesting to say the least. 

Tuesday we had our zone conference with President Bennion and the assistants. It was dang good actually! During it they introduced a new initiative that the church is coming out with this Christmas called "He is the Gift". It's intention is to help the world once again remember the reason why we have Christmas in the first place. The church is going hard with this plan. They've purchased the major billboard space in Times square, they purchased the front page ad space on You Tube on December 7th, and even gave us new pass-along cards. You guys should check out the website!
Zone Conference

I went on a two day exchange with Elder Auelua after zone meeting that lasted until thanksgiving. It was funny actually we stopped by the house of a member in the Branch just to say hi. We'd been there for less than five minutes when I found a mini accordion sitting there. I picked it up and started messing around with it. The member said I could borrow it for a couple days and so that night I began to do what I now call, "The Accordion Surprise". We get into bed, and Elder Auelua and I started talking for about 20 minutes, you know, pillow talk as they call it on the streets. But as we finished up we both said "Goodnight!" and then it got quiet. I waited for about five minutes and then began. I'd hid the accordion under my bed and after a few minutes of peace and quiet, I jumped up and started playing it and jumping on my bed. Then I made the voyage from my bed to his bed in one fell swoop and jumped on his bed. He was quite surprised to be honest. As was Elder Long when we returned from exchange. But he got me back so we're all good. It's going to become a mainstay for exchanges with Elder Rodabough in the future. 

Then for Thanksgiving we all got together and went with the Hickory Flat Ward Elders and ward members and played football in the morning. We got a missionary team together and we got slapped as hard as the Seahawks/Broncos Super Blast year. We changed the teams around and had some fun after that. Afterwards we played some volleyball with a few branch members and Lucy Meyer came. Then we changed and headed up for our dinner with the Zapatas. They're a part member family that Elder Auelua and Elder Glaittli are teaching right now. They also invited the Pereyra family to come over and so it was a hoot. Hermana Pereyra is from Puerto Rico, and the women from Puerto Rico are known for being very energetic, crazy, and unpredictable. She later proved that by telling me she's planned out the next 8 years of my life which ends with marrying her daughter and being her son-in-law hahaha We had a huge feast and drove home very stuffed and filled. 

Elder Long at the Thanksgiving table!!!

Thanksgiving dinner friends
For Sunday we saw a huge miracle! So we've had an investigator in the area for the past 4 1/2 months now named Moses. He's partially crippled and can't work or drive so he's had a hard time making it to church. Getting a ride for him is near impossible since he lives at the bottom of our area but this Sunday a member agreed to help us out! He loved church even if he did sleep through most of it since he was exhausted from being active so much. But still it was so cool! Lucy and Angi are still going as strong as ever. Angi is going to be called as a primary teacher and she's so excited. Their baptism is on the 13th of December and it's going to be so wonderful!

That's about it for me this week guys! I look forward to talking to you all over skype in exactly 24 days!!! 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent November 24, 2014: Massive Amount of Thanksgiving Dinners

Que onda Familia! (what's up family)
Yeah, so basically we have like 4 dinners this Thursday... I would be lying if I said that I'm not a little concerned for how much food that will be but hey I'm down. Due to miles available to drive for us on Thursday we don't think we'll all be able to eat at all of the dinners we've been invited to. But Elder Long and I will for sure be eating 2. Elder Auelua and Elder Glaittli will probably be eating 3. Elder Glaittli is a little boy like me so I'm interested in seeing how this is going to go down. We're also playing in a turkey bowl with an English ward, and a volleyball match with the branch. So basically it'll be sports and food for a day.

This week wasn't to crazy for us missionary work wise. We tracted, taught some lessons and did all that we could. Well. we could've probably done more but that'll always be the case. We did what we were capable of and enjoyed our time. I'm really enjoying this transfer with Elder Long. He's really awesome and I feel like I can be myself way more around him. He never seems to judge me or anything like that.

I'd probably say that the best moment this week happened on Sunday. So the Meyer family, the white family we've been teaching that feel more comfortable in the Spanish branch, have basically become members without being baptized. For example, Lucy taught the youth Sunday School class this past Sunday! She was super nervous and got up at 6am Sunday morning and spent two hours preparing her class. SHE DID SO GOOD! What filled my heart with so much joy was at the end of her class she said, "I Testify that what we've talked out here is true and is of God." It was so amazing to hear her use Mormon lingo. And to testify of something!!! Lucy and Angi are so cool :) I love them so much and they are so elect. Elder Long and I Were talking about how we've taken their amazing story for granted and we've started becoming so much more grateful for the opportunity we have to teach them :) The Lord really has blessed us.

Love you all :) have a wonderful week! 
Elder Rodabough

Valerie's Baptism

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Email sent November 17, 2014: Diggin Trenches, Chopping Trees and Exchanges

So this wasn't too eventful of a week to be honest.  Which is good! Sometimes we need some peace and calm! We ended up doing a lot of service this week and I was on exchanges for most of it with other missionaries. I found out a few weeks ago that I'm now what they call an STL, and no I do not mean Sister Training Leader.... I'm a Spanish Team Leader. Which basically is a sister training leader but with Spanish Missionaries. I basically go on exchanges with the Spanish Elders in Canton who I already see on a daily basis and the Elders of Cumorrah--one is Elder Hansen, one of my good friends in the mission and the other is Elder Wood.

Tuesday we had Zone Meeting with Elder McArthur as my new Zone Leader. It was cool to see how much more powerful of a missionary he has become in the last few months since I was companions with him. Afterwards I went on exchange with Elder Glaittli, the new Canton Spanish Elder who is companions with Elder Auelua. He's a fairly young missionary. He only has about 8 months in the mission and so his skills are still new. He's a good man.  Thursday we ended up digging up a cable for a member in his back yard. He told us that the line had been cut somewhere and so he wanted us to dig it up and find it. We were about 4 feet away from where the cable was, digging only about 6 inches down to find it, when abruptly it cut straight down. We kept digging and digging and digging for about an hour and made a 3 feet deep hole in the freezing ground until we gave up. We later learned on Sunday that the cable was actually fine, but the switch to turn on the lights in the yard was fried....

Friday we did exchanges with the Elders in Cummorah which went well. Elder Wood came with me and we had a good time. We found a new investigator and we have an appointment with him tomorrow. Oh speaking of appointments! So that super cool family we stopped by ended up dropping us hardcore. So we went over the Sunday before to stop in and see how they were doing and her husband was there. Apparently after we left they got into a huge fight and she texted us on Monday saying not to come back. I felt super bad since I was the one who pushed for us to go over on Sunday. But I'll learn and keep going.

Saturday we helped translate at the a church clothing drive they were doing for the battered women's shelter and DFCS. It was cool to go and help people and see them be blessed. Then we went to Cummorah to exchange back just to find them in the middle of doing service and we were there for about 2 hours more. We were about to leave when Elder Wood decided to tackle chopping down an entire tree with a  hack saw.... Let's just say we were there 2 hours more.... total of 4 hours.... Dang. But it was nice to help and we counted our blessings.

This week we've got some good plans and Elder Long and I have like 10 people to follow-up with. We pray we have a good week and I know that you all will as well!

Love you all!
Elder "Rody" Rodabough

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Email sent November 10, 2014: My Futures so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

So to start off the week on Monday we climbed Kennesaw Mountain, an old Civil War battlefield just outside of the mission. We got approval and I went with the ZL's. Elder Long had already hiked the mountain and so he went and played football. I drove about 3 companionships and the ZL's came with us as well. It was a pretty normal hike and along the way we found a Hispanic member family that was climbing. I was walking along side them and chatting when I realized that the 10 year old son was hiking with his 2 month old puppy!!!! I was like "Dude what are you doing?!" The poor thing was freezing cold and shivering like crazy so I took off my sweater and wrapped the puppy up in and he just curled unto it and went to sleep hahaha. 

We had a pretty awesome District meeting on Tuesday where we basically just discussed how we want the District meetings to go. I'm honestly getting tired of planning District meetings and not knowing if the members are getting anything so I decided that we would basically plan them together. We ended up just discussing the vision of the District, accountability, trainings, and how we would have fun and learn at the same time. It was pretty legit if I do say so myself.  After the District meeting I went on exchange with Elder Bloomfield in Sandy Plains. We decided to go tracting for the rest of our day since they didn't have any teaching appointments. We were just knocking a neighborhood and following up with people when we started discussing about tracting in general. Mostly about cool experiences and miracles we had seen from it. Basically I was trying to help him see the miracles that the Lord has already given us. I asked him how it had gone in his other area and he explained that he basically just went tracting to kill time and it had never had any success from it. Dang it. So we decided that we were going to put our faith in the Lord hardcore to find someone that we could talk to and have a really good experience with. Right before we were about to leave the neighborhood we found a woman that we were able to share a scripture with, talk about trials in life and how through the Savior we can overcome them, and then she asked where we had services and if everyone was invited. We told her sure and then got her phone number so that they could come by again. PRAYER ANSWERED!

Thursday was probably one of the coolest teaching days I've had on the mission thus far. We went by and taught a long time investigator named Moises, or Moses in English if you had trouble understanding ;) The only thing that has been keeping Moises from getting baptized is that he can't get to church. He can't find a ride and the closest member lives far away. He also is paraplegic on the left half of his body from a fall from a ladder.... So that kind of puts a damper on things... But we started talking about the Holy Ghost and he told us how badly he wants to be baptized so that he can get the Holy Ghost. We promised him that we would be able to find him a ride to church if he would be ready. He said yes and we said a prayer and left. Next we went over to a less active/part-member couple and started talking to the husband. He's known about the church for years and loves everything about, but it he just can't get work off to go to church.  We taught him a little bit and found out that's he's super chill and such a nice guy. He showed us his nice 1983 dodge truck that's mint blue and Elder Long wanted to buy it so bad haha. Later that night after dinner we decided to go out for just one more half hour before we had to go back.  We followed up on a referral from the Atlanta missionaries that border our area and it ended up being a mother and daughter who loved the feeling they had when the Elders were over. The mother doesn't understand a lick of English but she could understand like 1 out of 20 words she said. We taught the premise of the first lesson and the spirit was really strong. We have an appointment today with her so we'll see how it goes!

I'm really enjoying my time here in Cherokee! Things are going well here! I love you all and have a good week!

Elder Rodabough

Monday, October 27, 2014

Email sent October 27, 2014: There are Mexican Medical Clinics in the US of A!

This week we had an interesting time. Since I'm in a trio right now and there's only one other companionship of elders in my district I decided to go on exchange with both of the Sandy Plains elders in their own area. Usually we switch areas but since I could just go to their area and not have a problem it sounded like a good plan. I really liked going actually! It was sort of interesting tracting with Elder Croasdell and Elder Bloomfield. They're both really new in the mission and so it was sort of fun to watch them struggle a bit haha not in a sick way but just in a "Yeah I remember that" kind of way. That same night we went up to Canton to a part member couple that the wife has basically been a dry Mormon for like 5 years now and hasn't been baptized. She told us that she felt like this was the time to be baptized and so we are going back Tuesday to teach the first lesson and put her on date for baptism. 

Thursday we had the baptism of an 8-year old who's mother just randomly said on Sunday that they were having his baptism on Thursday and asked Elder Long to baptize him. We got there on Thursday and nobody was there at the starting time. Typical for Hispanics.... But another 45 minutes went by and only like 15 people were there. We knew we just needed to get started and so we started the service. At the point of baptism, Elder Long and Christian, the kid, got into the water and Elder Long decided to really make sure he wouldn't have to do it again so he basically picked the kid up and shoved him under the water. The kids comes up out of the water looks at Elder long and then says, "DOUCHE!!!" and then walked out of the font hahahaha we were laughing so hard. 

Friday we were all feeling a little sick, Elder Auelua feeling the worst. Two members of the Branch work at a doctors office not to far from us so we went down. We got there and were honestly confused as to whether or not we were in the right place. There were plastic patio chairs for the waiting room and when they called us back we were put into a closet--I mean literally a closet. There was a sliding door like for a pantry as our door. Basically it looked like what I imagine the clinic in Mexico looked like mom and dad. The bed was a gurney from the 1970's or 60's, and the doctor is a really religious guy so there were crosses and pictures of the Virgin Mary everywhere. We ended up waiting for 2 hours for the doctor to come to our room and when he did, it was so worth the wait. So the doctor comes walking in and he's wearing a hunting vest and carrying a flashlight. He sits down and starts talking to us about our missions and asks where we're from. He asks Elder long and then explains all about the time he's spent in Arizona. Then he asks Elder Auelua and talks to him for another 10 minutes about his experiences there. He pulls out the flashlight, looks down our throats, and then listens to our chests, tells us more about Jesus, writes some prescriptions and then we left. But not before he gave us a painting of Jesus for our apartment. He was such a nice guy and didn't charge us anything for his service.
Auelua didn't want to leave the apartment the rest of the day and Elder Bloomfield was also sick. So Elder Long and I grabbed Elder Croasdell and we went and did some work and then helped with the English ward's Halloween party. We three were in charge of the Doughnut eating contest and it was super fun. Then we all got into a pie eating contest and Elder Croasdell won with a record setting 23 seconds. It was a fun time.

Saturday, Elder Auelua continued to feel sick so Elder Long and I napped for a bit, then we went out to the car and put all of the Gel window clings you sent on the windshield and now call our car "The Nut Van". Good times. Later that night we went to the Branch's Halloween party and did some trunk or treating. We ran out of candy so we ended up giving photos of the temple and Christ out to all the kids. I really love the Cherokee Branch. The members here are so cool and amazing. 

Sunday we had the chance to teach Lucy again. We taught her the Gospel and Angie her mom and Charlie her brother sat in on the lesson with us. The lesson went really good and at the end Lucy wanted to change her date for some week in January. We talked to her about the fact that if she begins putting off her date the Adversary will have more chances to keep her from being baptized. We also were talking to Angie because she's been putting off her date for quite some time. After we testified of baptism and the blessings, they both agreed for the 6th of December! The Lord really is blessing us and changing the hearts of our investigators.

That's about it for this week! I love you all so much and know that you're all in my heart, mind and prayers. 

Elder Rodabough the second

Email sent October 20, 2014: Another Good Week

We've actually had good week this week! We had the chance to teach Lucy twice this week. She's the sister of a recent convert and her mother has been investigating the church for about 4 months now. We finished teaching her the Plan of Salvation on Thursday and then taught her the Restoration after church yesterday. Angie, the mother is doing good as well, she just has some fears as to whether or not she's making the right decision about letting her kids be baptized and whether or not she should be baptized. After sacrament she was crying and we took her into a side room with a member who's been fellowshipping her and gave her a blessing. Afterwards we started talking and she basically has been going through the whole, "My children are growing up and I can't be there to care for and protect them all the time" thing that I think all mothers go through. Lucy is 14 and Charlie is 12. So basically a mother midlife crisis. She just needed to vent for a while and so we just sat, listened, and taught for about 2 hours. 

On Friday we also went up to the Tennessee-Georgia Boarder to talk to a less active member that is only less active since he lives an hour and a half from the church. He's going to be moving soon so we went up and talked to him and read some scriptures with him. Then on the way back down we stopped in Canton GA to follow-up on some referrals that we have and look for some places to tract since President Bennion is considering opening up the Canton Spanish area for the first time. There's... work to do for now. But honestly I'm afraid of another Winder area happening. We'll just see what happens. 

With our investigator Jorge though, we had a huge surprise this week. I don't know if I've ever mentioned anything about Jorge the past transfer but he's the brother of a member who attends the branch. He called us a few weeks ago telling us about his desire to be baptized. At first we were ecstatic, but as the lessons have gone on we feel as though he's doing it for the wrong reasons. His parents are going to be in town at the end of the month and he wants his father to baptize him, and we've been starting to think that that's the reason why he wants to be baptized. So to try and clear some things up, this past Saturday we went over with the plan to go over the baptismal interview questions with him. It didn't work out. We were halfway through the questions when a problem came up. We then spent the next hour and a half listening to him explain the problems that he's faced, or currently facing in life. We would've been fine if it hadn't been for the fact that he then told the same story again, and then again, each time adding or taking away little facts to make the story seem a little different. We explained to Jorge that he would need to be interviewed by someone who has more authority than us and he did not react to that well. He gave us back The Restoration DVD we had just given him and said, "Until I have this interview and this man tells me that I can be baptized I'm not going to learn anymore. Which we felt was just an overreaction.
Saturday we also finished up lumberjacking all the trees in Hermano Strougo's yard like we did last week. It was long and hard but we got it done. It's just started getting cold here the past couple days, but has been sort of bipolar here and we have a cold spell, and then jumps back up to 75 degrees for another couple days. Which still isn't as hot as it usually is, which is a blessing! If you decide to come back here, we should do so around this time of year when the entire state turns red yellow and orange. you'd love it mom!

I love you all so much. 

Elder Rodabough 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Email sent October 14, 2014: Lehi's Dream Team, oh and I got to use a Chainsaw!

Hey family!!!

Sorry my letter is a day late! They changed our P-day to Tuesday this week since yesterday was Columbus ay and all the libraries were closed. 

So this week we had an awesome Zone training meeting on Wednesday. It was the first Zone meeting where I had Elder Angilau and Elder Denton as my Zone leaders and they are so cool. I've already talked about the super Christ-like guy Elder Angilau is, but Elder Denton is just as Spiritual. He's a convert of two years and has probably one of the coolest conversion stories I've ever heard. The Spirit was really prevalent during the whole meeting and it was super funny since right before the meeting the sisters in my District made us headbands in honor of our new District name. "Lehi's Dream Team". So we wore them the whole meeting and then at the very end the Sister Training Leaders gave us all little handmade swords and we all sang "Behold a Royal Army" and waved our swords around in the air. 
Lehi's Dream Team
After Zone meeting I went on exchange with Elder Bloomfield in my District. I went to his area on bike and had to use his bike since his companion is so huge I couldn't even ride his bike!! It was nice to be on bike for a day--working hard and all. Elder Auelua, Elder Long, and Elder Croasdell came and grabbed us after doing service and we went to lunch. Afterwards we all ended up at our apartment.
We went and taught Jorge, our investigator with a date for Nov. 1st a lesson and finished the remaining parts of The Restoration and the Gospel that we hadn't gotten to afterwards. he understood everything and keeps getting more and more excited with the things he learns. 

Friday we had a lesson with Charlie Meyers sister, Mom, and Him. Charlie was baptized about 2 weeks ago and his mother still hasn't made the decision. Our intent of the lesson was to help Angi, the mother, realize that she has enough light to walk by and make decisions. So we decided to watch the "Patterns of Light" videos by David A. Bednar. Lucy came to a lesson for the first time and she sat through the videos and felt The Spirit really strong. We taught all about the Holy Ghost and invited her to be baptized. She agreed and we set a Goal Date of Nov. 8th. We might need to move it around with some things in their schedule, but she seems pretty interested!!!

On Saturday I also learned how to operate a chainsaw! We went all lumberjack and got to help a member cut down two monster trees in his yard and haul the branches to his back yard. We were there for about 6 hours and afterwards we were so exhausted! 
Sunday Lucy came to church and Jorge came for the classes. They both really enjoyed it. Afterwards we had interviews with President Bennion. It was pretty enlightening since he bascially told me there's only about 4 Spanish Elders in the mission he trusts to train and I'm one of them. So there's a high chance I might be training this next transfer instead of opening up the new Spanish area in Canton, the northern part of the Zone/Stake. 

I love you guys so much! I'm so greatful for all of your emails and love! Have a good week!

Elder Rodabough the second 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Email sent October 6, 2014: Conference and Conversion

My goodness! All of you had such wonderful experiences with Conference! I know that by spiritually preparing ourselves to hear the word of the Lord at any church meeting and coming with questions and listening to have those questions answered, that something that is said will be an answer from the Lord. Please do not forget what you learned, but more importantly apply what we have learned.

So, basically the first half of our week was spent driving. On Tuesday we drove from Kennesaw to an area just outside of the mission to get our car fixed.  We then drove to Lilburn to the mission office to get a rental car. This took up our entire day since we returned to our apartment at 8:30pm. The next day our plans were shot again since our car was fixed, so we made the same drive again.... returning at 7:30pm and going to dinner.

Alas, we were able to work on Thursday and Friday. Elder Auelua and Elder Long stayed in the area on Friday and I was called to go down to the Missionary Leadership Counsel. This meeting is usually for only Zone leaders and STL's but for some reason, all of the District Leaders were invited. It was honestly one of the best meetings that I've ever had the privilege to attend. There was a training given by 5 missionaries about setting goals using the acronym of S.M.A.R.T. with each letter meaning something different. The last one was Time-bound. We were discussing about how to make our goals based off of a certain time-window, but then shifted as the training went on. We started discussing about how the amount of time we are given isn't important. Whether we have 2 months or 18 months or 22 months in the mission isn't what we should focus on. But instead we should focus on the time we have been given to go about doing good. Not how much time, but what we choose to do with the time we have been given.

Conference was also a wonderful experience. I don't have my notes on me right now so I can't share with you exactly my most favorite parts. What I noticed from everyone's talks was the numerous references to the Savior. That while knowing of the Savior is a wonderful blessing and should be sought after, BECOMING like the savior is what we need to do. To learn of him and attain the attributes of Christ should be a goal that we have.

Oh!! Before I forget! I had a cool story to tell you guys that I forgot about last week. So when I go back to the mission I heard the conversion story of a man named Leroy Strickland. He apparently was baptized in the Fort Yargo ward (Winder Area) back in august. As I listened something seemed so familiar about it. But then I realized why!  Many moons ago I was in Winder Spanish, training a visa waiter named Elder Barney. We were tracting in the rain, in a trailer park that had been hit up by missionaries like 5 or 6 times in the period of 8 months before we'd gotten there. We knocked on some guy's door, he was white, and told us to go away since he was packing to go to the hospital. We asked if we could at least get out of the rain and stay on the porch for about 5 minutes but he said no. So we kept going. We walked up a hill to knock on some more doors and then the man yelled for us to come back. I didn't want to go fearing that we would just be chastised more. But my Greenie, Elder Barney looked at me and said, "Why not?" So we went down and met him. He invited us in an we were there for more than an hour. He told us all about his experiences in Vietnam and how he was scared from them.  As a result he had tried to take his own life on past occasions. He also mentioned a lot about his wife who had passed away, but whose spirit constantly visited him and on multiple occasions actually kept him from taking his own life. We chatted, tried to teach a lesson, but ended up leaving and giving him a copy of the Book of Mormon and testifying that by reading he would find peace. We gave the referral to Elder Rahman and Elder Howell, and left.

Fast forward to transfer day the week I was back. Sister Iketau was walking by and grabbed by arm really fast. She looked at me and said, "You were the one who found Leroy Strickland right?" I looked at her and said that I didn't know who she was talking about. "He was in the Stathum Trailer Park, he served in Vietnam? Is in a wheel chair right now? You gave him a Book of Mormon?" explained Sister Iketau. It came to my memory that yes I did know him. She then told me, "Well he got baptized!" The referral we gave passed through two more companionships before it reached Sister Iketau and Sister Wilcox and they taught him.  Apparently, due to his tours of duty in Vietnam, Leroy was terrified of water, but after a blessing he had no fear and was baptized. Upon coming out of the water, the veil was taken from his eyes and he was able to see his wife.  It was an amazing story to hear. To know that if we hadn't been in that trailer park, on that day, or given him a Book of Mormon, Leroy probably wouldn't been baptized at some point.  We were able to be a part of his conversion even in a small way. It was a large testimony building of No Effort is wasted.

I love all of you so much family. Please keep being active in the Gospel. Reading, Studying, Praying, having frequent, personal experiences with the savior, and living our lives in order to have those experiences.
Elder Rodabough

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Email sent on September 29, 2014: Well We Jumped Our Car 9 Times This Week...oh and a Baptism!!!!

Well family it's been a pretty long week if I do say so myself. The week started off normal and we went around doing some good work. Last week we received a call from the brother of an active member telling us that he would like to be baptized and we were freaking out. So we taught him a lesson this week and it went really good. His name is Jorge and to be honest we're not so sure about his intentions for being baptized since his first question was if he had to be a member to marry a member since there's a woman in the branch he's checking out.... But he also has a lot of questions about God and the Savior so we think he's legit.
Then on Friday I had the chance to go on an exchange with Elder Angilau! He graduated from Bingham with me and  we've served around each other mulitple times and now he's my Zone Leader. Guys, he's such a wonderful man. He's so humble, calm and has just a wonderfully pure heart. We updated each other about those from Bingham that we still write and everyone seems to be doing good. The funniest part was at night when we were going around to meet some members that Elder Angilau doesn't know and we stopped in on this sister in a wheelchair. There wasn't a male present so we couldn't stay, but as we were leaving I had a strong prompting to offer a prayer with her, but ignored the feeling. It didn't go away so I mentioned it to Elder Angilau when we were at the bottom of the drive way. He said he'd had the same feeling and then trying to be funny and over dramatic intentionally he tossed the keys in the air and kicked the air at the same time. But unintentionally, he ended up kicking the keys into a huge hedgerow and out of sight. We then spent the next 20 minutes looking for the keys and laughing since it was so funny. We eventually had to swallow our pride and ask the member whose house we had just left, for a flashlight. We found the keys and offered a prayer, the member laughing the whole time.

When we got back from exchange, that's when the problems started happening..... While I was with Elder Angilau in his area, Elder Auelua, Elder Long, and Elder Angilau's companion, Elder Denton, were busy jumping the car 3 times in the space of 2 hours.... For the rest of the Saturday we ended up having to jump the car whenever we turned it off. We traded with the Zone Leader's last week for their huge mini-van so we can have more room for Elder Auelua and to haul around some Elders that live near us. Apparently there's a faulty battery or alternator and we can't be seen by the dealership until Tuesday.  Oh well. Life goes on.

We did have a wonderful experience Saturday! We had the baptism of Charlie Meyers! He and his mother have been investigating ever since Charlie went to scout camp with the branch. He's 12 and is such a cool kid! He's in a robotics club at his high school and takes advanced math. He remembers everything he's taught and has strong friends in the branch. There was another baptism going on at the same time which we didn't know about so we ended up using the font first. When Charlie got baptized I guess somehow the drain got unplugged and was draining before the next baptism. We were about 20 minutes ahead of the other service so Elder Long and I figured we should just turn on the water and it should fill up a little bit more and then turn it off right when the others went into the font. We went about our merry way and sat in the rest of Charlie's service, but as I was sitting there I was super nervous about the font overfilling. I just shrugged it off and told myself to calm down. I then had a huge prompting to go check on the font. I got up and ran into the bathroom where the controls to the font are and heard people saying, "Where are the controls? The water is about to overflow!" hahahah The water was about to come over the top step and into the bathroom and so I ran past everyone and turned it off. haha Thanks Spirit, you always help me out.

That's about it for my week guys! I love you all so much! have a good week!

Elder Rodabough

Elder Rodabough and Elder Long 

Eder Auelua, Elder Rodabough and Elder Long

Elder Auelua, Elder Hanson, Charlie, Elder Long and Elder Rodabough at Charlie's Baptism

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Email sent September 22, 2014: Cherokee Area and A Good Transfer Week

Dear Family,
A good transfer week if I do say so myself. Elder Long, Elder Auelua and I had a good week together and the work here in Cherokee is everything that I dreamed it would be. Thanks to Elder Long who for the past two transfers just tracted and tracted to find people to teach we have lots of investigators and lots of people close to baptism. Elder Auelua and I are shocked and excited! 

On Saturday in the Branch, which half of the members speak English anyways, we had El Dia de Naciones! This is The Day of Nations Party that we had in Roswell last year when I was still being trained. It was a lot smaller this year since the English wards were not invited to participate due to the small size of the branch.  Despite that it was still a night full of latin food, music, and humor. The Latinos have a pretty weird sense of  humor if I do say so myself. My favorite skit was this young married couple from Peru who had this box "machine" that if you tossed something in it would return doubled in size. Really the husband was just sitting inside the box throwing the stuff back out. The wife threw some children's pants, some dimes which turned into a dollar bill and a candy bar. The last thing she threw was a baby doll for some reason. This made the machine stop working and it fell over and the brother jumped out wearing a diaper and pacifier and ran around the room. It was pretty funny actually.

Then on Sunday we had our investigators at church. There's a mother and son pair that are Americans and don't speak a lick of Spanish, but want to attend the branch more than the ward since they feel more welcome and the son has friends there. They're received all the lessons and her son has a date for this Saturday, but she has some doubts still. She says she wants to learn more but we think there's something else. Either way she learned a heck of a lot during the Gospel Principles class on Sunday. She was the only person that attended, and so Elder Auelua and I translated for her. The teacher gets up to teach and I ask, "What chapter are we in?" to which he responds, "I don't really follow the book to a T.  I basically teach what I think the class needs to hear." I responded with, "Ok... so what are we going to learn about?" "The Great Apostasy" he replied, and man did he teach the Great Apostasy.  He went into the historical background, the organizational side of it about how the Church of Christ was formed and our investigator is coming from being a Roman Catholic. So after class, she had a lot of questions. She seemed very content and wants to learn more. 

That was basically our week! I love you guys so much! Have a wonderful week and Pray on!

Elder Rodabough the second

Email sent September 15, 2014: It is Great to be Back!

Just a quick note:  Bryce was home in South Jordan from August 7, 2014-September 10, 2014 to have surgery on his jaw.  This is his first email after returning to his mission.

Hello Everyone,
Well family it's been quite the interesting week if I do say so myself.
So on Wednesday on my flight to Georgia there were like 20 other brand new missionaries. When I say brand new I don't mean, MTC trained, but like heading to the MTC brand new. The majority of them were going to the England MTC and were just so filled with nervous excitement. I sat next to one on the flight out. He sat on my right and a woman who wasn't a member sat on my left. So my thoughts are, "Sweet, I have 3 1/2 hours to drag out this contact and do all that I want. I can be casual." Nope--every time I was trying to tie a conversation into the Gospel, the little missionary sitting next to me would perk up and add in. He was doing his best which I was super proud of, but he just sort of killed it at times hahaha. He's going to be a good missionary though, he has such a pure heart.

When I landed in Georgia the Residori's picked me up and we went to an early dinner and then we drove back to the Mission Home since President Bennion wanted to "Debrief" me about the MTC and what went down there. He also had me over for dinner with Sister Bennion. We had a great conversation and then he took me over to the Assistants apartment where I was when there was a glorious reuniting of Elder Coleman and Elder Smith. Love those guys. Then from Thursday-Sunday I was shipped out to Peachtree Corners South English speaking to fill in for Elder Court who was needed in the office for technical support. So I was with Elder Bowers, who's currently being trained by Elder Court. He's the nicest guy ever!! He's like a gentle giant since he's like 6'2 and 300 lbs. It was fun to watch him ride a bike because he's surprisingly fast for a big guy.  The area is the same as my first area, so I was able to go and see Vivi!!!!!! She's grown up so much and I started to cry when I saw her and sorry Dad but I was a little bit disobedient since I gave her the biggest hug ever! She's grown up so much and still attends church on a regular basis. It really did my heart good to see her. It made me feel like a good missionary :)

Sunday and today I've been with the Assistants. Yesterday for dinner we went to a members house called the Dennises. They are famous in the mission for a food challenge they offer called "THE LAW" which consists of two huge plates of Haitian food, a bowl of fruit, a slice of carrot cake, and 10 snickers ice cream bars--that's just to complete the law. The competitive part of the law is how many snickers ice cream bars you can eat after you get past 10. The record for the most ice cream bars is 24, including the 10. Elder Auelua is the record keeper. He's a huge Hawaiian boy that Elder Galvez trained before he trained me. I am not ever going to try to challenge that at all.  I would most definitely throw up!  Then we were in the mission office until 2am getting the logistics for transfers figured out. I just read in the Book of Mormon or wrote letters. 
Luckily President Bennion allows the assistants to sleep in the Monday after transfer calls, so we actually slept in till 10am hahaha we didn't intend to go that long, but it just sort of happened.  We then made all the transfer calls and it was funny since typically the new assistant makes the transfer calls. Elder Smith and Elder Coleman wanted the calls to go faster so they had me make calls so now there's a rumor going around the mission that I'm the new assistant. Oh wait, I haven't told you where I'm going....

I'm off to Cherokee Spanish! It's in the Kennesaw Ward area and is the only Spanish area in the Marietta Zone. I'm going to be in a trio with Elder Auelua and Elder Long. Auelua and I are on special assignment to see if a second area can be opened in the zone to accommodate the high number of Spanish missionaries. If there is we'll open the area in next transfer. Everyone says that there is a good number of Spanish people in the Northern part of the zone so we will most likely go up there. They just don't want another Winder Spanish area where there's no Hispanics and they eventually have to close down the area. 

That's basically it for me! Tomorrow we pick up the new missionaries and then Wednesday I'm off to Cherokee! I love all of you so much!

Elder Rodabough

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Email sent July 28, 2014: Baptisms, Bible Bashing and Biking

Dear Family,
So this past week we had to do a ton of exchanges since our little episode with Elder Arnold pushed us back on all of our exchanges. I actually spent 3 days in the Sugar Hill Ward this week. Tuesday we went to the Pilgrim Mill District Meeting to see how those are going. The district has had some trouble in the past with communicating and working together. They all seem to have some different agenda  ideas a little bit, but after transfers they all seemed much more positive and happy. I attribute it to Sister Beasely, she's a champ. 

I had the chance to go on exchange with Elder Pena (the N should have a little swishy thing above it). He's the elder who recently lost his brother due to a brain bleed. He's also one of my closest friends in the zone. I just treated him as if everything was normal since during District Meeting. He seemed fine. He didn't really bring anything up until that night after we finished a lesson early and just decided to take a "Faith Walk" around our block to talk to anyone. I asked him, "Elder Pena how are you doing?" to which he responded with something I wasn't expecting. He said, "I'm figuring out Gods plan for me." I was just taken back for a second. He went on to explain to me that while he was so sad about his brother and for a little bit was angry and considering going home for about a day, he had a realization. He told me that he realized that his brother isn't only his earthly brother, but by the power of the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ that he can be with his brother after this life. Elder Pena explained that he realized that he was needed here in Georgia, to bless/help the lives of the people here and that he could do much more good here, then back at home.  Elder Pena is one of the most amazing people I've ever met. He truly is an example of the believers. 

That same day we also taught one of the final lessons with the Patierno's before we had Leah's baptism. When we arrived to the lesson the tension in the air was clearly present. We knew that something had just happened that had driven the spirit out. As we sat down and started the lesson the feeling continued to stay. We were just talking at them and they weren't responding. We were teaching about temples when suddenly I felt that we should show pictures of the temple. Sister Patierno pulled out her laptop and then fell into love with the temples. She looked through them for at least 20 minutes at all the photos and immediately the spirit filled the room. It filled so strongly that Elder Pena and I both felt impressed to talk about being sealed as a family together. They accepted and later in the week Sister Patierno and Leah committed to live the Word of Wisdom! Bro Patierno has a little bit of a Word of Wisdom problem, but is so loving of his family that we know he will realize that he can overcome his problem and be sealed. 

Then on Wednesday I went up to a town called Cumming to the Coal Mountain Ward on exchange. The Youth Conference had spent the weekend at a ranch fixing the entire thing up and hadn't finished a ton of the projects that they'd started. So we went up to help. We got there and this guy walks up to us and throws us a shovel and points to a patch of ground and said, "We need a two foot deep trench that runs 15 feet dug." and walked away so Elder Squire and I spent the time doing that hahaha. 

Friday we did our final exchange for the week and I went to the rich commonwealth that is the Sharon Springs Ward. I went with Elder Thompson who's in his first transfer in the mission. We ended up going to this mega church's youth Bible study that they have in their parking lot. The companionship had been invited by some girl they ran into and the second he said that we were going I had a bad feeling. So we get there, and first off, the kids at this Bible study were the nicest kids I've met out here. We all sit down and more and more kids start showing up and talking to us and just being teenagers. But one kid sat down next to me and immediately started asking questions. I was happy to answer them, but as time went on I could tell he wanted to prove my entire religion wrong. So I just bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how I had recieved an answer by the spirit until I was blue in the face. It was a good testimony building experience. 

Saturday we had the baptism of Leiah Patierno! She's from a part member family who we randomly ran into tracting and wanted us to teach their daughter. We've been working for the past month to teach  this famliy and their hearts have really been softened by the gospel. The wife much more then the husband, but still they're all working. I sent the photo so you can see them! Then today, and get ready for this one Bobby, Elder McArthur, our Ward Mission Leader and I went mountain biking! He invited us up and we went on some trail behind the College of Northern Georgia. It was actually fun! The whole time I was having Vietnam flash-backs to when we went biking as a scout troop, but this time we were having a really good time!

Oh family, do not worry I will work hard this coming week I can promise you that! I love you all so much and I hope you all have a good week!
Love, Elder Rodabough, the second

Monday, July 21, 2014

Email sent July 21, 2014: "I Move the Stars for No One"--Elder Aubrey

As for this week we had interviews with President and Sister Bennion on Tuesday and Thursday. He wanted to interview each member of the Zone for 15-20 minutes each. This meant that he needed close to 5 hours to do all of the interviews. We broke it up into two different groups for the two days with half of the zone one day, the other half the next. It was sweet since we have to go to every District Meeting as Zone Leaders and we were able to go to every single one since they had them on Tuesday and for this week Thursday. Our interviews were on Thursday and we only had about 5 minutes with the President and Sister Bennion.  President's first words to me were, "Well Elder Rodabough it sounds like you and Elder McArthur have had an interesting few weeks huh?" We chuckled for a bit and then he mentioned that the weekly letters he receives from the Sugar Hill Zone express the most trials, but he also sees the most miracles. It was interesting to me that he would bring it up, but he's right, sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.  On Thursday we had a bomb dropped on us by President. Elder Thomas (you guys met him at Christmas on my call)  has been facing some serious depression and other mental medical issues for the past 6 months and finally he along with President Bennion decided to send him home to get some extra help. I was really sad at first since Elder Thomas is one of my best friends in the field, but I felt comforted knowing that he will be receiving the help he needs.

Well that's enough about depressing news. We also saw some super awesome miracles today as well. For the past two months Elder Hamer and I, and now Elder McArthur and I have been teaching a man named Bill. Bill has had a really rough past--probably the most rough past I've ever heard. Despite that he knows that we were sent by the Lord to help him and he's been very responsive. He just has a huge problem trusting people in churches since he's been kicked out of about 4 or 5 during his life. During the last two lessons he's called for his step daughter Celeste to come out and listen. Her first question to us the first time we sat down was, "How old do you have to be to be baptized?" We were a little shocked, but answered her question and then kept up with the lesson. This past Wednesday we invited a member to come with us as a team-up.  We taught the lesson and Celeste was very involved and attentive. As we were leaving our team-up Bro. McLeod stopped us and said, "Elders you've done a great job helping Bill, but you're here for her baptize her." Then he hopped on his motorcycle and drove away.  So we're going to start teaching Celeste.

Aside from that it was pretty normal week actually. We had a funny experience on Saturday night though that made me decide to never drink but will mess with drunk people even more. So we were tracting and we stopped by these two guys that had been drinking. One was a little buzzed, but the other was hammered drunk and barely standing. We asked them where they were off to and the super drunk guy responds, "We're goin' to see Satan!!" He then starts talking to us about God and telling super weird but hilarious jokes. Then he comes up really close to Elder McArthur and asks, "Is your mother alive?" The following conversation then occurred.
McArthur: Yes she's alive
Drunk: Is your dad alive?
McArthur: Yup he's still kickin!
Drunk: Are your grandparents alive?
McArthur: There's where we start losing them. They've both passed.
(Drunk man then grabs Elder McArthur by the arms and shaking him back forth in a fit of drunken yells)

It was probably one of the most memorable memories of my mission. Then as we were leaving he yells, "Don't trip on Satan!" I'm so glad people like him exist. 
Elder Rodabough the second

Email sent July 14, 2014: Babysitting

Well family. I'll be honest. This was probably one of the most difficult weeks of my entire mission. And nothing even happened to me!!! 

On Monday we got a call that one of the Elders in a trio companionship had run away. This Elder had been having some obedience and work problems so he'd been on all of our radars. So the Assistants sent us up at 10:30 pm to pick up the Elder and bring him down with us for the rest of the week. Let's just say that we got home at 2:30 am after much "discussion" and still got up at 6:30 am the next day and did Elder McArthur and my first Zone meeting together. It was awesome by the way. No big dealio. After the meeting this Elder was under the impression that he would be returning to his area and when I informed him he wouldn't be going back to that area he was less than happy. So much so that he refused to leave the car to go into a restaurant with the other Elders and tried to run away from the car when we pulled into a drive thru.  We spent the next 7 1/2 hours in our apartment doing our best to explain to this Elder why he wasn't going back to his area. We finally got out to work at 7pm. The next day we had many other similar experiences but were able to do much more work. FInally on Friday we had exchanges with the Assistants planned. Before we left President Bennion wanted to speak to the Elder. I won't go into detail about their conversation but let's just say that our Assistant named Elder Smith, this Elder, and I went back to his area and grabbed his bags. So basically we did glorifed babysitting. The saddest part of all this was the Elder and his testimony. I'll explain in more detail when we are all back together in a few weeks. 

On Saturday we also recieved news that a brother of an Elder in our Zone had suffered a brain bleed was more than likely dead. There were also 2 other family tragedies in the Zone as well. I know that this seems as a sort of negative email. What I learned this week was to have charity towards our fellow brothers and sisters. We felt so much love for the Elder and just wanted to help him. But we can't help those who don't want help. 

I love you all so much and i hope that you all know that I know that Christ is my Savior. That we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that he just sent us a little miracle Laine that we now can love :) I'm so proud of the people you are, the parents, sisters, and brothers that you are. Thank you for everything that you all have done for me and I hope that one day I can sometime repay you. Have a wonderful week and have fun being a mom Bailey! 

Elder Bryce Thomas Rodabough the second

Email sent July 7, 2014: Little Laine

I am so excited to hear that I'm an uncle!!! Uncle Rhodey is what they call me and the legend begins. I'll keep Lil' Laine in my prayers as well as Bailey and all of you. You already are all in my prayers but I just wanted to let you know you still are ;)

For the 4th of July we didn't really do a lot. Elder McArthur and I were on exchanges and I was with the Famous Elder Aubrey. Mom you might actually know his mother! She works at the Developmental Center and her name is Jodi Garner, Aubrey, or Florez. She works the graveyard shifts but maybe you know her!  Anyways, Elder Aubrey and I were on exchange and it's surprising since on holidays where they say that there's lots of people to talk to.  There are, they are just busy.... But alas, we kept tracting.  We went to dinner with a family that lives on Lake Lanier. The couple that lives there are in their 70's and have the Sisters live in their house as well and I'm so jealous we don't live there.... But me and Elder Aubrey went and ate some huge burgers. The member just talked about the government and old Cold War stories. It was just fun to be there with Elder Aubrey. He's been out about 16 months and I really look up to him as a missionary. Figuratively and literally. He's a tall boy.
I feel so bad that I haven't had much to write about.... Well we did meet a really cool lady yesterday on Sunday. We were wondering what we should do since our dinner ran really long and all of our potentials fell through. So we just pulled into a neighborhood and started tracting. This neighborhood was kind of like Ammonihah. They didn't really want to listen to us and we were getting a little frustrated. We were just sort of walking around the neighborhood and we found a woman outside gardening. We started talking to her and she was really open to the message. She accepted a Book of Mormon. We are seeing her next Sunday. Lately finding has been really difficult for us and so we were so happy to find someone to teach! 

I'm just out here having a fun time with Elder McArthur. Like I mentioned we're sort of in a heavy finding stage, but we are really hopeful for the future! I love all of you so much and I'm excited that we have un Nino en la familia!!! Oh by the way when I get back I'm going to cook us up some good Argentinean tacos. They aren't the healthiest, but they are the most delicious things ever!! Just a quick FYI. 

Have a wonderful week family! 
Elder Rodabough the second

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Email sent June 30, 2014: Elder McArthur

Pues mi familia, 
You want to hear about my companion? Well I'll tell you about him! His name is Elder McArthur. He's from Byron, Wyoming, population 470. But he's not weird thank heaven. He's 6'4 and he's hilarious. I'll explain him with this one story.

Last night we ate over with the Bowman family. Sister Bowman's father is the Stake President, President Gault. So the whole day we'd been thinking of a good message to share at dinner. We get there, we eat dinner, and as we go to share the message, Elder McArthur looks at me and says, "I've got it!  It's going to be great!" So we sit down and Elder McArthur begins to share the following story. 
"There once was a boy who wanted to learn Tae Kwan Do, but when he was born he didn't have a left arm. He looked for a master but they all turned him away. Finally one accepted him as a student, but the master only made him practice one move for weeks. Finally the boy asked the master why he was only learning this one move. The master responded with, "You are ready for a tournament." So the boy goes into a tournament and wins his first match. He asks the master how he is winning with just one move and the master replies with, 'If you win the tournament, I'll tell you how you won.' So the boy ends up winning all of his matches and the tournament. When he asks the master how he did it the master told him this, 'The one move you learned is the hardest move to do in Tae Kwan Do. The second thing, Is that to counter this move, you have to grab the person's left arm."  Then Elder McArthur said. "I'd like to read Ether 12:27 with you all." 

So basically he gave a karate kid parable but with a one armed twist!!! The whole time I was trying so hard not to laugh. I nearly lost it when he told the end of the story and asked to read Ether 12:27. My gosh he's so hilarious. He's also really spiritual though and can talk to anyone about anything. I'm really excited for this next transfer. The Zone is doing awesome! We've got such a stacked Zone full of super powerful missionaries that know how to work. Like the ones in your ward Mom and Dad, the missionaries in the Sugar Hill Zone are going to baptize. It's awesome. 
I love you all so much family! Have a wonderful week! 
Elder Rodabough the second 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Email sent June 23, 2014: So I Killed Him!

Dear Family,
Well, I killed my first missionary.... It wasn't to bad. He didn't get too "trunky" or anything. He was just having some troubles with wondering about what was going to happen when he gets home. It was really sad actually his dog died about 4 days before he was to go home!! 

Aside from that there's not really anything that's too note worthy. Well actually! I do know the name of my companion--Elder McArthur! He came out with me and we were in the MTC together so I know him pretty well. He's a really funny guy and he's 6'4 so it's going to be a little funny seeing us walk next to each other. The Zone for the most part is staying together and actually we're getting some trios coming in hahaha. English trios are hilarious because the Wards are already stacked full of companionships. 

This week was pretty good!  We taught and put the daughter of a less active family on date for July 26th! We don't want to baptize the daughter and then have the family go less active again like they did with one of their sons. So we put the daughter super into july so that the family can return to church. As for basically everything else... There's not much to say. President Wolfert leaves this Saturday and President Bennion comes in on Friday and they're only together for a couple of hours and then the Wolfert's will leave!! 

Sounds like the family is doing great! Bailey should be poppin out Lil' Laine in the next couple weeks. I call July 12th-16th. Those are the days that I call her having Laine. If I'm right, Bobby owes me a dollar. If not, Cam owes me a dollar. It looks like the animals have begun to switch allegiance to Mom. That will change when I come back.... And I really want to go to Nick's sealing! Even if I have to be on pain killers and a little bit of blood leakage, i want to be there!! 

I love all of you so much! And I'm so glad to hear that everyone is doing well!!!
Elder Rodabough the second

Monday, June 16, 2014

Email sent June 16, 2014: Baptisms and Blood

A quick update on Elder Rodabough's cyst:
Bryce had a biopsy of the cyst in his jaw on Thursday.  We are waiting the results of the biopsy.  The oral surgeon feels strongly that it is an OKC cyst (long name that is abbreviated to OKC).  It is not generally a cancerous cyst, but it is a very aggressive cyst.  Because the cyst has now returned for the third time it is highly likely it is this type of cyst, but we won't know for sure until the biopsy results are in.  The mission  president and the missionary medical committee have however decided that Bryce will be coming home to have surgery.  The oral surgeon believes surgery can wait for a few weeks, therefore Bryce will remain in his mission until after the next transfer before coming home for surgery.  We spoke to the mission president's wife on Friday night.  She said that Bryce will be coming home on August 7th. He will need to remain home until he is fully cleared to work for 16 hours a day by his oral surgeon here.  I have spoken to the oral surgeon here.  Bryce will have an appointment with him on August 8th and we have a tentative surgery date of August 12th or 13th.  We anticipate he will have a 2-3 week recovery.  As you will read Bryce isn't thrilled about coming home.  We learned from the mission president's wife that Bryce is resolved to coming home, but wants to get back to Georgia as quickly as possible.
Dear Family and Friends,
Quite a week it has been. Not one that I wish I had to have dealt with, but none the less it's been an eventful week.
On Tuesday I did my first ever zone meeting as a Zone Leader. We had missionary leadership council the Friday before and from that Elder Hamer and I knew exactly what it was that our zone needed to be trained on so that they could increase their effectiveness. We decided that would be baptismal invitations. Our entire meeting was dedicated to the baptismal invite. Whether it is inviting in the first interaction, setting expectations at lessons of what our purpose really is as missionaries or how we can consecrate ourselves and purify our hearts so that the spirit can reside in us, all of it was about baptismal invites. I gave a training on how we as missionaries can consecrate ourselves and what consecration really means. I felt like it was a good training! I felt the spirit testify through me of how the missionaries in the zone can uproot that last root which keeps us from submitting ourselves fully unto the Lord. It was a really good meeting and we set some high expectations for the zone. Our zone focus is 5 baptismal invites a week. We challenged the zone every day to invite someone and we've been going through the District Leaders to get a running total of how many invites are extended.
Then came Thursday... Which I am pretty sure all of you have already heard enough about. The biopsy really felt weird though!! He numbed my jaw clear up to Cloud 9! The best reference I can give to it is in the scriptures when it describes Laman and Lemuel as "beyond feeling," but the worst part was is that I could still "feel" everything!! Not the pain, but I could totally feel him grinding on my jaw bone... haha.  It only took 30 minutes and then he sent me back out into the world. I even went tracting that day! I was filled with gauze and spitting out tons of blood but hey Elder Hamer and I went out and even invited someone to be baptized that very day. He said yes to a soft commitment but we haven't been able to get back in with him. I only spit up blood for about 2 days and then it all closed up. I'm still a little swollen, but I'm doing great.
Basically everything else you all know about after talking to Sister Wolfert, so I won't fill you in with the details all over again. This isn't even in the same universe as to what I want to happen, but I'm going to do it so that I can get back into the field all over again.  Looks like I'll be seeing y'all in a month or two!
Love you so much!
Elder Rodabough the second

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Email sent June 9, 2014: The Cyst is Back

To the readers of this Blog: 
Elder Rodabough's email from this week is below.  Just some information so you understand this email--Elder Rodabough appears to have another cyst in his jaw.  He has had two previous cysts in this same location one that was removed when he was 12 and again when he was 14.  We received a phone call from a dentist in Georgia last Wednesday letting us know that he had seen Bryce, done a panoramic x-ray and that the cyst is there in all of it's glory.  Elder Rodabough is having a biopsy completed this Thursday June 12th and then we will know better what will be the next step.  What is certain is that Elder Rodabough will have to have surgery to remove the cyst.  At this point we do not know if he can have surgery in Atlanta area and remain in the mission field to recover or if he will have to come home to have surgery and recover.  If he does need to come home, he would be home for about 1 transfer which is 6 weeks.  As you will read in the email, Elder Rodabough does not want to come home.  We understand his feelings, but also want to make sure he is able to recover appropriately.  To say the least we are very, very worried about Elder Rodabough and are praying for him and the oral surgeon who is treating him. 

Dear Family,
I bet you've been waiting for this email huh?
Ok I'm not in any pain. The exam was painful because the dentist was shoving an instrument into my mouth, which is always uncomfortable. I'm still up and working, running every morning, and actually getting some muscle from benching every Monday and Friday  But! About this past week.
Towards the beginning of the transfer Elder Hamer and I were ripping out a floor and I noticed that I kept having a really bad taste in my mouth coming from my jaw area. It was just a nasty taste that came into my mouth when I was physically active. I just shrugged it off though and kept going. A few weeks later I noticed that the taste was coming into my mouth just as we were walking around.  I called a dentist office that the mission told me to call.  This dentist office has dentists and an oral surgeon who are members of the church and are all in the same ward here in the Sugar Hill Stake.  Elder Hamer and I went in for an appointment on Wednesday afternoon.  I explained everything that has gone on with my jaw in the past and what I'm feeling now. They did an panoramic x-ray and I did see the big black blob--"Hello Cyst". Then the dentist went in with some instruments and found that I have a big pocket in my gums that he said is about 10 millimeters deep. He was a little surprised at how deep it was and has the idea that some food has gotten back in there and has been rotting, because lately my breath has been pretty bad as well (or so my companion tells me). So he gave me some medicated minty mouthwash, that I've now had to use 4 times now and which I use every night.
The dentist, Dr. Schwindermin called President Wolfert and explained the situation. It sounds like he called you too.   I have an appointment on Thursday June 12th with the oral surgeon to determine what he wants to do. The oral surgeon told Dr. Schwindemin that before action is taken he would like to do a biopsy to see what it really is back there. They don't think it is a Dentegerious Cyst like it was before.  It is probably another type of cyst that is called an OKC Cyst which stands for something I don't even know how to spell.  President Wolfert says that if I'm only going to be down for a week or so that I could stay in the mission home with Sister Wolfert (who's so sweet and caring that it's like the Mother Mary reincarnated) and be ok. We had mission leadership meeting this past Friday and he asked me how I was feeling and reassured me that all would be ok and taken care of. He told me not to worry and I am going to relay that same message to you. Do. Not. Worry.
Now, I want to clarify one more thing. I DON'T WANT TO COME HOME. I don't care what anyone thinks--I do not plan on coming home. I'm not ignorant or unrealistic I'm just explaining that coming home is not a part of my plans. I've had the most intense and difficult 3 weeks of my entire mission because what's been happening is spiritual change. I feel as though I am now being changed by the Gospel, changed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am opening my heart and allowing the spirit in. It's a work in progress and I do not want it to be hindered by coming home even if just for a short period of time. But what's really more important is that the Zone here is doing amazing things. The work amongst the missionaries here is exploding. This past week was record high numbers for the Zone. Total lessons that were taught were 408. The usual ranges anywhere between 300-330. The Lord is hastening his work, and lately Elder Hamer and I haven't been able to hasten ours as fast as we would like to, but we are getting so close with so little time left. Elder Hamer will finish his mission at the end of this transfer and I will be training a new Zone Leader so I can't leave now. The Zone shouldn't have to deal with that.
I need everyone to realize that everything is going to be ok. It doesn't matter what happens because we are living the Gospel. We need to simply invite the spirit to come into our lives, study the scriptures for answers, and pray for guidance and clarity. By doing so we cannot fail. We can be tried and tested, but we cannot fail. The Lord will not allow it. What I've started to come to realize is that the Lord, while he wants us to plan, he wants us more to pray. While he wants us to try, he wants us more to trust. And while we might feel we know how to handle a situation, he really knows what's best. I trust in the Lord. I will accept whatever does happen, just know that I'm not so happy if they decide to send me home. For now I'm just going to keep working hard. My appointment is this Thursday so I'm sure you'll be receiving a phone call from the oral surgeon. The people in the dentist office are so understanding and loving towards missionaries. They're such cool guys. We walked in and immediately I noticed an Ensign on the coffee table amongst all the other magazines haha subtle missionary work.
I love you all so much and appreciate your prayers. I also testify of the power of prayer and the spirit. Love you all!
Elder Rodabough the second
You can see the cyst on the bottom left of this x-ray. It is shaped much like an egg or a jelly bean.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Email sent June 2, 2014: Zone Conference and Lost Sisters

This week was really eventful to say the least! I'm going to have to shorten everything since we're going on a hike to some waterfalls. 
On Tuesday we had Zone Conference with the Athens, Cornelia, Lilburn, and Sugar Hill Zones which was about 140 missionaries. President Wolfert addressed us and it was one of the most emotional talks I've ever heard. It was all about consecrating ourselves to our missions, what we are willing to give up to be dedicated to the Lord. Then he invited us to a month of consecration for the month of June. We have a list of what President feels are the most common disregarded rules in the mission field and committed us to for one month being exactly obedient to the rules.  We then had Sister Wolfert come up and say goodbye since they leave at the end of the month of June. It was such a sweet talk. Sister Wolfert is a wonderful woman. You should go to their homecoming!!! It'll be in a couple of weeks and Elder Hamer will be there so you'll get to meet him if you want and he just offered to sit by you if you guys want. He'll tell you all about how the last transfer has gone with me haha

On Sunday we had a super scary moment. Every Sunday all the District Leaders report in numbers from their missionaries. This is the ONE NIGHT were you HAVE TO BE IN COMMUNICATION with the mission leaders. One of the sister companionships wasn't accounted for.... Their District Leader had no idea where they were and no one from the Ward had heard from the sisters in two hours. We called the Assistants and then sent the District Leader over to their apartment. Elder Hamer and I were ready to just drive up to Gainesville to go find the sisters. We were imagining some heroic rescue involving kicking down doors and saving the sisters from kidnappers or something. But when the District Leader called us the sisters were just at their apartment and had left their phone at a members house and just figured that all would randomly be ok. We were so relieved that the sisters were ok and that no harm had been done to them. We said a prayer before we were about to call the Assistants asking for their protection. 
But aside from that I was also very humbled this week. I'm becoming to realize that it doesn't matter my abilities as a teacher, leader, or anything, I just have to love the Zone and look after their well being. Really Elder Hamer is one of my best companions. I've learned so much about how to love, teach, and how to be a good person more in the past three weeks than ever before my mission. 

I love you all so much! have a good week and be strong! 
Elder Rodabough, the second

We find the weirdest things by the side of the road--Really a dead dear with a balloon tied to it that say
"Get Well Soon".  Welcome to Georgia!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Email sent May 19, 2014: What an Adjustment

Ok guys, this has been a weird but awesome week. So I spent Monday, Tuesday and the first 3 hours of Wednesday with Elder Jensen from the Athens Ward. His companion had been a visa waiter as well so he was thrown in with me up in a Spanish area. Tuesday wasn't anything special. Just said goodbye to the members in the area, and then cleaned the apartment and organized the area book until 1am haha.  I was dang tired the next morning.
Since then I've been struggling to figure out this whole English thing. I mean it's my first language, but the way the work is done is so different. I've honestly just felt a little lost and confused this whole past week.  Elder Hammer, my new companion is really experienced as a missionary. This is his last transfer before he goes home. He's got a lot of knowledge and a lot of things to teach me and I'm just doing my best to soak it all in. With his help I'm going to get used to things. The last Zone Leader before me was also a Spanish missionary so he already knows what I'm feeling right now and is being super patient and loving. 
We've seen blessings in our area already! In one week alone we've found and taught tons of people and already have two people on date for June 7th! We're not to sure how secure they are but one of them is so awesome. Her name is M and she's seen some messed up stuff. The father of her son was a "Drug-Lord" as she calls him and she and him kind of did some messed up stuff... But she really wants to change and start again. She's already been to an LDS church before and has seen the missionaries so she already knows that this is a good place for her and her son. 
This zone however, is facing some hard times. My first Friday here we had a big conference call with all the Zone Leaders and President Wolfert and we basically got chewed out! We went first in reporting "Total Baptismal Commitments" and for our entire zone with 19 companionships and the second largest zone, there's only 3 people. President immediately began to sort of make examples out of us to work harder and push our zones to see the potential they have as missionaries. After the call Elder Hammer and I  had a long talk about our expectations for the zone and how we can better set the example. We decided to invite one person a day to be baptized and we haven't missed a day once.  But the weirdest thing i would say was church. It's just so... functional. I'm so used to the chaos of the Spanish branches, working around it and working with the chaos. But in the English wards, it's so different. I felt like I was in a foreign country! hahaha but the Ward is actually super awesome and so supportive. They've been so helpful and they are the most organized ward in the mission I've seen on my mission.  Aside from that I've not got much more to report. 
I'm so happy to hear that Bailey is home and working on resting, but sad that Bobby is sick now. It's good to hear that you'll all be together this coming week at Tahoe! I know we'll all be apart but I hope that you guys can still have fun without me. Make me a promise that you'll do your best guys Ok? hahaha ;) 

Love you all so much!  Have a good week! 
Elder Rodabough the second