Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Things are getting crazy in Georgia

Email sent January 27, 2014: "Go put your hands on that woman and heal her!"

This week is titled, "Go put your hands on that woman and heal her!!!" Yeah, it's gettin' real Baptist Crazy Christian this week. But before I get to that....
I'm so glad to hear that while things are slow, Grandpa is progressing. He's alive and that's what I think we should all focus on. I know that is not necessarily going to make the next couple months of recovery easy, but at least you have someone to take care of. Tuesday I was honestly pretty worried about him!  We had interviews with President Wolfert so when he didn't say anything about news from home I felt way better.  This week I prayed very hard to have the Lord bless me with charity. To have love for these people that I don't even know that well, but are children of our Heavenly Father. There are some missionaries in the District that are giving me some trouble and I honestly believe that if I hadn't prayed for charity I wouldn't have been able NOT to explode on them!!!  Through the power of love we can work through our problems and bear our burdens as well as each other's burdens.  I hope that through all of this with Grandpa you will all pray for charity.
Ok, now for some of the crazy stories of this week...
I did exchanges with Elder Coleman, Zone Leader because we go with them once a transfer. So it's the middle of the night and suddenly my sheets just fly off my bed and I just stare up into Elder Coleman's smiling face. After about ten second I just asked, "What's up?" to which he replied, "Nothing" and then went back to bed. I asked him what time it was and he said 1:00 am and then fell right back to sleep. Apparently he's a sleep walker.
Ok, so I had the best non-spiritual experience of my mission yesterday. We didn't have an appointment so we were just driving to see a recent convert when we passed a huge church named Victory World Church. I've wanted to go inside for months now and I saw that it was my opportunity. We pulled over and went in to see the service.  And my 'lanta it was awesome!  We walk in and it's this huge concert hall and there's a Christian rock band playing (pretty good music too if I do say). There's people standing up in the aisles and in the seats just waving their hands in the air and singing along to the songs, praising Jesus and what not. Here's where it got crazy. The song ends and the preacher gets up and starts talking about being healed and says, "We're going to play a song about the blood of Christ.  If any of you need healing, just raise your hand up and one of our pastors will come and heal you because we believe in the power of the laying on of hands!!"  Meanwhile my companion leans over to me and says, "You know what's funny? We're the only two people in here actually able to lay our hands upon someone." Just then this old black woman grabs his coat sleeve and say's, "You see that woman over there? Go pray for her. Go put your hands on her and heal her!!!" To which my companion replied, "Umm....I don't think I can do that." The woman then pulled him down into the seat next to her and just taught him all about being healed and accepting Jesus Christ into his life, all the while telling him to go heal her. Then she prayed for us and we got out of there fast. It was hilarious.
I would suggest that everyone read Mosiah 16. It's a great chapter about the Resurrection and the Atonement of Christ. I have been reading it and it has made such a difference in my life.  I love you all so very much. 

Love your son,
Elder Rodabough the second

Me and Elder Amaro before he left for home


Email sent January 20, 2014: "Replace Fear with Faith"

That's a really good idea Mom to have less active members feed the missionaries. It's actually suggested in church manuals and in our mission binders they gave us at the beginning. Less actives have become a large topic of our branch. The branch has the records of over 168 people, but only on average 80 attend on a regular basis. President markos gave us a list of less actives to go see since he hadn't heard from them in awhile and sadly, not a single one of them actually live there any more.... So in reality there's only about 120 people that live in the area. There are so many people that have gone unaccounted for and have been lost. Really it was kind of a sad moment in branch council when we had to report this. Elder Amaro and elder Thomas for the past two transfers went though all the members in their area and only 6 families or single people live there.... The Elders quorum president is starting a new program to really get people to do their home teaching. To go out and visit these families that need helpe and support from the ward. I'm glad that you've helping the lost sheep mom. I think to often we think of them as just those who haven't found the gospel, but I think it's more of those who were a member of the fold, and have strayed from it.

This week was really long to be honest hahaha we worked really hard and had some good successes, just not where I expected to see it.  But really I'd say my most favorite part of the week is when on Wednesday we went to this place called "The Co-Op Ministry". It's a place where those of the Christian faith come together and give clothes, bread, and other household items that those in need can get. It's a joint group between 100 different churches that helps all of the people in the norcross area. Missionaries have gone over there for years to give service.  Elder Galvez and I never really gave service, so Elder Mayo and I are going every Wednesday for a few hours to translate and to help sort things. It was really just a nice moment to help people out with basic items that they need to survive. I'm so glad we went. I really have tried to have more faith. This past Tuesday at district meeting I was leading and I took a few moments to say some words. I'd had a thought the night before and I wanted to share it with them. I talked about things we have to do as missionaries that scare us, then I invited them to replace their fear, with faith. Faith that if we try, the Lord will supply the miracle and the blessings that we need.

 Other than that it was a good week. We worked hard and met some really nice people that we hope will accept the Gospel. I'm sorry my letter isn't to long, but I don't have much to say. Today we've having an "Elders P-Day" since the sister missionaries have a "Sister P-day" once a month and we felt left out, so Elder Coleman and Elder Cooper our Zone Leaders organized it. We're going to have a tie exchange, (Little weird if I do say so myself) and then we're playing 4square. Yeah 4square has gotten to be a big thing out here hahaha it's the new ultimate Frisbee!!!!
Love your son,
Elder Rodabough the second

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Email sent on January 13, 2014: "This Week Has Been Pretty Hard"

Well this week was pretty hard. We had some trouble getting in with some people, but when we didn't think we would teach anyone, the Lord would bless us with someone! Really we just saw a lot of litttle miracles this week.  We didn't have so much to do and a lot of our appointments fell through. We kept going as much as we could and we found some cool people that we hope to keep teaching. Some of them we couldn't get back in with last week so we're going back this week periodically to see if we can get in with them and teach them again .I've just come to a realization this week about how important home teaching really is. There's one of our recent converts, Luis who expressed that he doesn't want us coming over and doesn't want to go back to church. When I asked his home teachers if they'd gone over since his baptism they said no and didn't even know who he was.... That's really sad to me. I don't know if that's the reason why he doesn't want to come to church anymore, but I mean at least it would've helped.  Really the blessings from home teaching are amazing. I was reading in the General conference copy of the Ensign and in one of the talks by President Monson I think it was "True Shephards" it said, "Home teaching is just missionary work, but with members."   The Elders Quorum President here told me that while he loves the drive to get baptisms that our Branch President has, he is scared that a lot of people have been left behind or forgotten about. Please don't let people get left behind. We need to find all of the lost sheep. Oh one thing, try to find a talk called "The Fourth Missionary" by Lawrence E. Corbridge.  It's really good!
My favorite part of this week was on Thursday when a guy called us saying that he'd spoken with the English missionaries and he said that the wanted to hear our message in Spanish. We got really excited and so on Saturday we went over to his house to meet him. We're pretty sure he's not in our area, but he actually called us for this appointment and so we felt like we had to go. We went in and taught the first lesson. The whole time he had this big smile on his face and was participating in the lesson. We left and called the English missionaries to tell them about it. Then one of them said, "Oh my, I kind of feel really bad. Guys... He's actually a member" and then burst out laughing. Yeah. That guy just wanted to mess with us hahaha and he speaks English. So we called him back and pretended like we didn't know. We invited him to church and he was like, "Oh Elders I don't know if I can make it." So then we said in English, "But Brother Francisco, you should ALWAYS be coming to church!!" to which he burst out laughing and apologized for it. It was pretty dang funny if I do say so myself. We still counted the lesson. hahaha  To be honest that was about the only thing that was funny or memorable this week. We had lots of little things happen, but I'm kind of forgetful. I've been forgetting to write in my journal so I need to get better at that.

I'm glad that Davis could give a longer homecoming talk! I really want to hear Nick's, Sam's and Davis's Spanish. They had the chance to be in a foreign country so that they could be surrounded by all the culture and language. But here I'm pretty bombarded with the cultures of like 10 countries and then English ontop of that.... But hey, I'm learning a lot actually. I feel like my Spanish has really improved. But I still speak like I've got 5 months in the mission.  Elder Mayo helps me out a lot actually to improve my Spanish.  I'm glad to hear that everyone is getting used to the new ward and their new callings. That would be cool to have Dad teach the Gospel Principles class. The guy that teaches it in our ward is pretty crazy. He's funny and the investigators and recent converts really like him so it's helped us a lot.
Family, I do love you all so much and I really am having an amazing time being out here on the mission even though this week has been pretty discouraging. This is really the best time of my life. Elder Mayo and I had a really good talk yesterday about how our companionship is going. I realized that I've been really hard on him. He's not used to working at the level I do so he's been sort of stressed out the past six weeks. We're going to work on finding the same level that we can work together. If you have any advise for me I'ld love to hear it!   Things here are hard, but they're still going. We're actually so blessed. Noah told me that he teaches about five lessons a week and we taught three in one day! I know things here are going pretty good here in the mission, it just seems hard right now.
Love your son,
Elder Rodabough the second

Monday, January 6, 2014

Random Pictures sent by Elder Rodabough

Picture of me drinking...and driving.

What?  They sent me English tags--where's the Spanish!

Email sent on January 6, 2014: "Holy Crap That Actually Worked!"

Well six months in my baby area won't be bad--I guess. We got transfer calls today. Me and Elder Mayo are sticking it out here in Peachtree Corners. Elder Amaro is going home this Thursday. Elder Thomas is being moved over to Athens with Elder Vance who just left an area in our District last transfer. This all means that Elder Mayo and I will have what we call a "Whitewash" here in the Johns Creek area. This area is kind of a hard area. There's no real way to tell where the Hispanic people are so we just kind of blindly try to talk to people and sometimes catch someone who is Hispanic. I'll still be the District Leader so we'll see how that goes. I'm going to do my best and not worry about the "why".  I really thought I would be transferred so I just figure that there's someone here I need to find, teach, and baptize. I'll just go and do that and the Lord will show me the way.
But really this week was pretty good! We had S's confirmation this past Sunday which was really special. We've been waiting close to two months for that moment so I was very happy to take part in it. On Saturday she moved into an another apartment close by so we helped her move. Everything fit in except her couch which wouldn't go in the door. Finally after about an hour of deliberation, Elder Amaro yelled, "I know what we can do!" and ran away. He came back with a long rope and tied it off the balcony. Then they carried the couch down the stairs and tied it to the rope. We then hoisted the couch up three stories into her apartment to which Elder Amaro replied, "Holy crap that actually worked! I didn't think it would really work but it did." There's a drawing I've done so you can really see how amazing it was. Me and Amaro pulled it up the whole way. I didn't know I was that strong--Scripture power!
I'm sorry to hear that the ward was changed.  I got my positive attitude from you. You're doing so good at looking for the good in things. Really you're the one who taught me that. There is a reason for all for this. There really is a reason for the change you just need to figure out what it is. I knew they would put a new church on that big lot! I always knew it would be one! Let's hope we get switched to that one! New everything!  Thanks for the pictures of my bedroom at home.  I really like my room by the way.  I do like that it still has some of my flair in it--like my art and my instruments.  Dad sent me pictures of the kitchen.  It looks pretty darn trashed. I'm glad you've got that tarp/sheet/biohazard tent thing up.  Looking forward to all the changes when I see them!
Love you all,
Elder Rodabough, the second