Monday, February 24, 2014

Email sent February 24, 2014: "Well, I'm Living the Boonie Life"

This week's letter/email is titled, "Well I'm Living that Boonie Life!"
I love it here so much. The area is called Winder (pronounced Wine der), but we cover the surrounding 80 miles and the towns within that area. Our branch president doesn't want us to go down into Athens to do work.  You would love it here so much! The town is so little but has a Walmart so don't worry--funny.  All the buildings are red brick and built way back in the 40's and 50's. It's your classic American small town. The people are really friendly and everyone is basically related to each other. In the apartment building we live in there's three other pairs of missionaries within 100 yards of us. There's not any other place where the missin can rent apartments. There is one thing missing from the area--an abundance of Hispanics. This is going to be a challenge, but Elder Bacon and I are up to it. The Winder area has existed in the mission for less than a year and was created to support the number of missionaries coming in. Elder Bacon has been here for 4 1/2 months and he's starting to lose a little hope. He loves this area and the branch (which is a 30 min drive down to Athens) and he wants the area to survive. He's pretty much settled on just getting a baptism while he's here. They're considering closing down the area if we don't show some fruits.  I'm feeling a little pressure, but really something amazing has happened. Instead of feeling stressed and overwhelmed as I often do, I'm pretty calm but determined. We decided that we're going to work hard and do our best. We want to show that all of the time missionaries have spent here hasn't been in vain and that we're going to get a baptism. We're just going to have to look a lot to find on though.  So we basically have to get a baptism this transfer or they shut it down. And even if we do get a baptism, I don't know if the area is sustainable. We tracted for 5 hours on Thursday and got close to 30 contacts only 2 of which were Hispanic. But were not going to give up. I'm just going to have patience and keep working and talking to all the southern folks. I'm glad I'm familiar with southern accent thanks to Grandpa Sid, since sometimes I have to translate for Elder Bacon hahaha.  We're just going to do our best. We're going to go out every day, we're going to ask for plenty of referrals, and we're going to look for the Hispanics and teach with as much spirit as we can have.

I'm again using the cleaning skills you embedded into by brain and when the ward missionaries for the Winder Ward came over they said "Wow, this actually looks clean!" Don't worry I'm making you proud Mom!  Elder Bacon is a hard worker and loves being a missionary.
My mission debit card is out of money. I bought some stuff that I was missing in the apartment, but I still need some other stuff.. I need food and some other stuff so can i just buy it with my home debit card? I'm sorry, but I don't really have another choice!! I'm planning on buying a lot of stuff from the dollar store! Yea, Dad taught me well, but there's some stuff that I need from Walmart.  Love you so much! And know that despite everything, im having a wondeful time and I know that I'm here in Winder for a purpose :)
Elder Rodabough, the second

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Valentines Day--Just Me and My Valentine

Email sent February 17, 2014: "Another Big Storm and Transfers"

This week was quite the boring one. Well, for at least the first four days. Monday was a fun P-day. Tuesday we weren't permitted to use our cars and simply walk. We tried taking a route through the forest between our complex and the street we wanted to be on. That ended up being a bad idea. After a half an hour of trekking through the forest crossing a little 2 foot stream and a big 20 foot river, we made it through muddy and ready to go back home. But we just kept going for the rest of the day and the recent convert we went to go see gave us some sandwiches so it wasn't all that bad.

This might not have been the smartest move....
Then Wednesday we spent all day in the apartment since we were told not to leave due to the fact that it wasn't snowing, but raining ice down upon us--quite literally. It was just like a little hail, but like it was raining the whole time. So Elder Jex and Elder Pickett from the English ward came over and we played Risk for 4 hours. We had power the whole time but there were some missionaries in the mission that didn't and have to have firewood dropped off. But we were just all right cozy playing Risk.  Then we walked down the street to the Waffle House. I love the Waffle House. It's the best. We went today as well!  On Thursday we could leave and head out after about 3:00 pm. Elder Jex and Elder Pickett were again over, but the sun was out and melted the inch of ice off of the roads so that we could drive. Friday I went on exchange with Elder Chilcote and Saturday we had a branch party for Valentines Day. Mom would like the Hispanic people. They like to dance no matter what age they are. The 55 year old First Counselor was apparently shimmying on a level that would challenge even Dad. On Sunday I really loved Priesthood meeting. We started talking about fathers and how often we talked to them. The teacher went through every brother there and asked when they last talked to their father and what did they talk about. Most of their fathers live in their original countries of residence so I assumed that they hadn't spoken for some time. But the brother with the longest time was only 2 weeks. Every brother had spoken to his father. It really touched me and made me think back about all the time we got to spend together as a family and also of the time I chose not to spend with you guys. I hope that you can forgive me for the times I chose not to be with the family and with my friends or downstairs.  I really wish I had spent some more time with everyone. Don't worry, when I get back I'll spend all the time with you guys, but then I'll have to go to college hahaha.
 Well transfer calls just came in! I'm going to Winder, Georgia with a kid who just got done being trained.  So I guess I'm going to learn a lot more Spanish when I'm the senior companion and have to do 80% of the talking. It's about to get real. The Winder area is a tiny branch with less than 50 people.  I 'm looking forward to that. It's also a huge area with a tiny Hispanic population so that'll be fun. I'm looking forward to working with my new companion. Elder Bacon. yeah. Bacon. Everyone send me their jokes so that things don't get dull with that kid. He's been in the mission 4 months and just got done being trained about a transfer ago. So let's see how that goes. Elder Galvez is still the Zone Leader out in Athens and Elder Barney, who came out with me is going to be the Zone Leader in Athens with Elder Galvez... I kind of hope I'm not the District Leader so I don't have to report to Elder Galvez. I fear that he's going to expect a lot out of me and come down on me a little hard. I also hope that Elder Barney is ready for the level that Elder Galvez works at. It's pretty intense. Elder Coleman, who's been my Zone Leader my whole mission, is now the AP. We all called it. He's so flippin' perfect. he's a really good missionary and really my role model here. If I come back even half of the missionary that he is, I'll be a good man.

Grandpa is continuing to progress and it does seem like the siblings are going over to help out which is nice. Dan really turned in his papers?! That's awesome!!! He'll be a good missionary. He knows how to help people and has a good heart.
Elder Rodabough the second

Just hanging out in a bamboo forrest on my Pday!

Email sent February 10, 2014: "Setbacks and Accomplishments"

This week was a good one! We again had some setbacks, some acomplishments, and some faithful experiences. We have about 5 investigators that are progressing so steadily, keeping commitments, reading, praying, we have had return appointments. Then this week everything kind of stopped, but we didn't let that get us down at all. We just kept going harder and harder. We didn't have as much success as I expected. I think I finally figured out why things are harder then they were 2 months ago. I'm not looking at my blessings. I'm just looking at all of the setbacks. I'm letting things just get me down and keep me down. But I really want to change that. Dad's little thing on happiness helped me out a ton. Thanks for that Dad! I shared that with my district at district meeting and all of the sisters wrote it down--none of the elders ever writing anything down for any training hahaha.
Tomorrow we're expecting to get another big snow storm! We got a message from President Wolfert saying that he wants us all to park our cars tomorrow and go out on foot. They have no idea how big of a storm it will be.  As far as we know so they're going to play every hour just by ear and see if we need to return and have another apartment day. I really wouldn't mind if there was a huge storm that kept everyone in because that'd mean we could go see people that we can't seem to get in with!
I got a package from Elder Kelley this week! He sent me just a bunch of crap around his apartment and some pass along cards that they give out. Apartently he gave a little speech at a high school about America, only he didn't know that it was an all girls high school.  He was halppy to say the least. I'll try and forward the picture. Adam sent me a photo of his name tag in a sandy beach.... and Noah went to a place where fish eat off all the dead skin off of your foot. My friends are hilarious. Quinn got called to serve in Lisbon Portugal and leaves in May!!! I hope you already knew that! He's so excited to serve!


Aside from that things here are going well. I got Bailey's package for Christmas/early Birthday. You can ask her about it.... hahah nice one Bails.
Love you guys so much!!! Keep up being the awesome parents you are!
Elder Rodabough the second.
PS. Look forward to seeing the package! Love you so much mom and dad!

Monday, February 3, 2014

"Storm of the Century"--Georgia Style

Cars left abandoned on the streets of Peachtree Corners


I am confused as to what all of the fuss is about...and yes, I still wear pink socks!


Email sent February 3, 2014: "Storm of the Century"

Oh yeah we had the "Storm of the Century" down here in Georgia. On Tuesday morning we had a call from President Wolfert telling us that we would have to be back in our apartments at noon and then back out on foot for the rest of the day. Then around 2pm the Zone Leaders called us back in since there were so many freakin accidents happening in the streets. So we spent the rest of Tuesday indoors...bored as heck. Elder Mayo and I played RISK for 4 hours to try and kill some time, but 2 person RISK isn't all that fun hahaha. The next day we got another call from President Wolfert saying "Elders and Sisters, people are trapped in their homes and cannot leave. This is a great opportunity to go share the gospel with them since they can't go anywhere else!"  So that's what we did. We went on foot the whole day and it was hilarious. There were people running to the QuikTrip gas station and getting groceries, people walking everywhere, cars just abandoned in the streets since they couldn't get up hills or driveways. Some of the cars had huge bashes in them from sliding around into each other or curbs or signs.  Everyone bascially just gave up for a day. I'm just getting ready for Noah to make fun of me. He bikes around in Denmark in about 3 feet of snow every day and that's required! We had 2 1/2 inches and the whole state shut down. So we went out and taught some lessons. We found a new family of investigators and they seem pretty cool. We weren't able to get back in with them at the end of last week which was a little disapointing, but we're going to keep stopping by this week.
Other than that things are going pretty good here in Georgia. It's supposed to be 60 degrees most of this week with some light showers and then they say we should get another snow day with 7 inches next week or later this week. I can't imagine what that will be like.  Oh yeah, this was a funny moment as well. Elder Mayo and I walked to get lunch on Tuesday right when it started snowing. We were watching the news at the sandwich shop and the weather people had a little ruler and were measuring the snow saying, "We've already got half an inch!!!!" to which I replied. "You know, in Utah they use a yard stick to measure the snow...." We had a good laugh about that.
The work is going pretty good.  We've had some trouble getting back in with some people, but we're keeping our hopes high. Elder Mayo is very good at keeping his calm and not getting over stressed. We're still working hard and we're finding people every day to keep teaching. We've got some investigators that are progressing, but it's shaky. We've got some good plans for them to help them progress, but you know--agency.  Elder Chilcote and Elder Long in Johns Creek had the first investigator from their area at church in over 6 months. Johns Creek is sort of a gray area for Spanish missionaries. But they're really picking things up. The rest of the district is doing amaznig as well!  The branch just did our missionary goals for the year. They're pretty lofty. They want to have 2 baptismal services a month. For a branch that had only 10 convert baptisms in a year and six coming from Elder Galvez, Elder Mayo and myself in the past 5 months, they've got some work to do.  They all seemed really focused and willing to help. We just had Stake Conference where the whole emphasis was missionary work and "Hastening the Work". The Church News that we just received is all about "Hastening the Work" as well. I love the enthusiasm the church has.
I've got about 3 weeks until I'll most likely leave Peachtree Spanish. One of the other missionaries that Elder Galvez trained (My missionary brother) called us yesterday looking for a referral. He says that he's predicting that we'll just switch spots, me to Gainsville, him to Peachtree. I'm pretty sure I'm going to Marietta, Georgia. But I'm not really counting my eggs before they hatch. I'm kind of just taking the stance of, "Whatever happens, I'll be cool."
We also had an hour period yesterday where we didn't have anything going on so we went to the local Hispanic Catholic Church as well for about 20 minutes. It was.... well I've never been to a Catholic Mass before, but it pretty much fit what I had imagined in my head. Lots of repeated prayers, lots of people standing and then sitting down. To be honest we stook out like a sore thumb. We understood everything that the Father was saying, we were just the only white people there.... So we were getting some funny looks hahaha
I'm certainly warm here with my coat and those hand warmers! Don't worry about me, I'm pretty good here :) Love you all so much!
Elder Rodabough the second
I have finally eaten a corn on the cob on a stick (and you all know how much I love corn...said sarcastically).  I am now officially a real Spanish speaking missionary.