Monday, March 31, 2014

Email sent March 31, 2014: Training a new missionary

Make room Rodabough family since we'll be adding another Rodabough to the mix this Wednesday....I'm training a new missionary!  That's what you call your new missionary--your "son". and I'm his Dad hahaha.   On Tuesday this past week I got a call from the Assistants. Elder Eldridge asked me if I'd been having some morning sicknesses or some cravings for chocolate. I responded with, "No? Why the heck would I..... Oh....." to which Elder Eldridge replied, "You're going to be a Dad, Elder Rodabough!!!". Yikes. I'm a little nervous to say the least. I don't have Spanish down at all and I'm in Winder, which would be difficult even if I wasn't training. So really guys, I could use some prayers this week.

We got the transfer call already and Elder Bacon is going to Johns Creek, the area right next to Peachtree where I just came from. He'll be with Elder Long who I've served around for most of my mission. He'll be back in the Norcross Branch where I was for 6 months and he's so excited! He's been in Winder for 6 months and while he's loved it, he's ready to leave. I won't know who my new companion is until basically 10 minutes before he walks in to the meeting. He'll get here tomorrow and I'm super excited to meet him. There's two spanish missionaries coming in and one of them is a "Visa Waiter" for Spain. Elder Long knows him from home and President Wolfert told me when we had a meeting on Thursday that I'll most likely train him. We won't know for sure until Wednesday!  Sadly, aside from that not really much happened hahaha--life in Winder. It's the best.

Whoa it sounds like a lot is going on back home! Bailey's having a baby shower as well! Isn't she due in June? So she'll be doing tons of flying in those two days being 8 months pregnant? Sorry, I'm just a little bit concerned about it all. But hey, I'm 1500 miles away. I would love some photos though!! Wow, all of this sounds so far away but really is just within a month and a half! That's super crazy!! Time has flown by so fast and I can't believe it. Madison and Cameron I assume are still just a workin' and a learnin'. Good for you. I love them so much. 

As for your activities Mom and Dad, please keep them up. It'll take time for them to work but when they do they'll be the talk of the town!!! Maybe to help out increase some attendance, try including some other wards and make it sort of a mini stake activity? It's something that the Winder and Fort Yargo wards do that seems to work for them really well. By the way, is Frozen even good? It just sort of appeared for me one day when me and Elder Galvez were walking in Walmart. Thank you so much for everything you've done for me!!! I feel your prayers and feel the support from you all every day! I'll tell you how my "son" is next week and I'll send a picture! 
Elder Rodabough, the second

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some more photos

My most recent baptism--such a great girt!  President Wolfert came!  Take a look at Elder Thomas's pants.  We had to run around to find him some so that he could do the baptism. 

This is what the Winder area looks like

Email sent March 24, 2014: Soccer, Scoliosis and my Birthday

Cake made for Elder Rodabough by a member of his branch.  Looks delicious!
Hey, I forgot--Did I tell you guys I got food poisoning? I can't remember, but I did a couple weeks ago. We ate some bad bacon and that is funny since Elder BACON and I were sick. We were just sick for a day so we're all good now.
So this week was really great! We did some really good work with less active members of our branch.  We realized there's 5 less active families in our area that attend the branch in Athens and the ward up here in Winder. We spent the week visiting them and reading the Book of Mormon with them. The branch mission leader had also been planning with our help an activity up in Winder that we could invite all the less active members and our investigators to. On Saturday we had a huge grilling party and played soccer in the field next to the church for most of the evening! It was super successful!! We had 3 less active families, two investigators, and basically the whole branch in Winder playing soccer, eating and talking to each other!!! We were so happy and we counted over 50 people there. Everyone was so happy and we're thinking about having a monthly activity at the church here in Winder or in Athens. These type of activities are awesome for everyone!!!  

We also saw yesterday that two of those less active families came to church!!  One woman who just lost her first born son in a motorcycle accident a month ago came to church and had the most spiritual experience. The closing hymn for sacrament was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" which is actually really different in Spanish, but more beautiful. She was crying so hard and afterwards she said, "I'm so glad I came back! I feel so different!" She really was feeling the power of the Atonement in her life. 

We also played some soccer and football with some kids in a trailer park after a lesson we had planned fell through. The son of our investigator came running up with like 10 of his little friends and asked if we could play around for a little bit. The parents of the kids came out of their trailers to see us playing with the kids and some, who had been a little "un-friendly" when we knocked on their door, invited us back again! Soccer is the new contacting tool!!!
We had a good lesson with our top investigator Maria O and she's been reading the Book of Mormon on her own as well. She just doesn't have the courage to ask her boss for a Sunday off and to work on Monday instead so that she can come to church.  It's also funny since she always says, "I want to go to the temple with you guys!" but she's really talking about church. She attends a church called "El Tabernaculo de Fuego de la Fe." which is called the Tabernacle of Fire of the Faith. But she really likes the LDS church and even got into an argument with her friend who said that we don't believe in the Holy Spirit and defended us! 

Also on Sunday, we saw a chiropractor who lives in the Winder ward. He said that I've got some scoliosis! He said it's not bad but recommended that I see a chiropractor at least twice more during my mission since I'm up on my feet so much more. He also gave me some other advice that I'm going to be working on. He says not to worry and that I'll be fine. It felt so weird being positioned and cracked like a roll of packing bubbles, but it was really nice feeling afterwards. 

Today we're going to see a museum of Barrow County, (probably not going to be that entertaining), but after we have a free tour of a local "Mason Lodge" for the Freemasons. The Fort Yargo elders talked to the people and we're going on a tour to see what it's like. I'm actually excited to see what it's like!

I hear the new mission president coming in July is a cool guy, but he's going to have a real hard time being as close to awesome as President Wolfert is. Sister Wolfert called me today and wished me personally a happy birthday. If that's not love from a mission president I don't know what is! haha Yeah, I got my birthday package and thank you so much!!!!! I was so happy to get it and now Elder Court comes and lays on my bed everyday when they stop by. For the new shirts I'm so grateful since I've ruined a couple of the other ones and summer is coming up so short sleeves will be a necessity. Elder Bacon and I have been listening to the Macdonald guy CD this week and we really like it a lot! The Called to Serve rendition on the CD is probably the best I've ever heard! Thanks again so much!!!

Well family, aside from that I'm so glad that I'm out here and loving every minute of it. I've got a suggestion for you guys that really has made my last week so much better.  I've started something called a "Blessings Book".  Every night I write down one blessing/miracle I saw that day. It's been really nice to look back and see how blessed I really am! It's just an idea, but I've seen it help a lot :) 
Love you all so much!!! Have a good week! 
Elder Rodabough the second

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Email sent March 17, 2014: Saturday was Super Stressful!!!

Good week, just Saturday was super stressful!!!!
So on Thursday we had our Zone Conference with half of the mission. We had Elder Erich W. Kopischke from the Seventy come and gave us some training. He's from Germany and yes, he does sound and talk with the same mannerisms of President Uchtdorf. It was a fun 6 hours to say the least. When he got to the pulpit his first words were, "I literally do not have an agenda. I did not prepare anything and we will now set the agenda of this conference." He then asked us to write down a question we needed answered and taught that if we come to meetings or conferences with questions that need answered, and if we focus on that question for the duration of the time, we will receive an answer.  He then just talked about other various questions that missionaries in the zone had. It literally was a Q&A/Training for about 6 hours plus lunch. It was really awesome. We learned so much about how to work with less active members and how to see if an investigator needs to be "Put on the back-burner for a bit" aka drop them.
During the lunch though the office staff were inspecting cars for cleanliness. Elder Bacon and I along with the two other Winder elders had spent the Tuesday before vacuuming and scrubbing the heck out our car which is a 2013 Chevy Cruze.  Then the morning before the conference I went over it again with a towel and cleaned the dirt that had come. When we arrived at the conference, we sprayed Windex on the windows and took everything out of the car. We also made a little box organizer in the trunk. We totally had the cleanest car!!! And we got 150 extra miles for it!! Which we are in desperate need.
On Saturday we had G's baptism. We got to the church at 2:00 pm and the baptism started at 4:00 pm. We were setting everything up in the area by the font when the Branch Mission Leader came and said they do the service in the chapel and then just go to the font to watch the baptism. So we put all the chairs back in the Relief Society room. The font was disgusting so Elder Bacon got in there with a mop and cleaned the whole thing. We started filling the font and then we found out that the water in the font filled slower than a melting stick of butter sliding down a hill. So we prayed that the water would fill enough for the baptism and went out to do the rest of the prep. People started showing up at around 4:00 pm, which is when we schedualed the service to begin... So we waited until 4:30 pm. President Wolfert also showed up at around 4:00 pm and that just added to the stress!! G and Elder Bacon went in to get changed. Then one of the sisters came up to me and told me that G had changed her mind and wanted Elder Thomas to baptize her. So we had to scavenge the church for pants while Elder Bacon and Elder Vance ran to their apartment and got Elder Thomas a white tie and some extra clothes. Then the service began.  We got to the ordinance and we realized that we hadn't told G how it was going to go down--like where to put your hands or anything like that (our bad). Meanwhile the water had filled to barely her knees so the water was really low, but it was filled enough. Elder Thomas had to baptize her twice hahaha.  After the baptism President Wolfert told me in that sweet, kind, loving voice that he has, "Now Elder Rodabough, maybe you might want to go over what's going to happen before she gets in the font." We finished the service and we headed out for dinner.  There were many many more things that happened before that and during it, but I didn't want to bore you with the details.  Anyway, she was baptized and it was a wonderful experience.
Winder is going well and I appreciate all of your prayers for the area. Elder Galvez told us that they will most likely keep the area open for another transfer since we had the baptism. So all the prayers are appreciated!  Love you guys so much! Have a good week and know that I pray for you guys all the time!!
Elder Rodabough the second

Monday, March 10, 2014

Email sent March 10, 2014: Apostles, Crazy people from Nicaragua and Baptism

This week is titled,
"Apostles, Crazy people from Nicaragua, and baptism."
Sounds pretty interesting though right?
Well, this week was another week for Elder Bacon and I. Things here in Winder are starting to pick up actually. We're getting pretty creative with finding ideas and we even are starting a weekly Spanish Story Time at the local library for all the kids and their parents. We're going to be reading stories that are in Spanish and English so that they can learn a little bit of both during the time. Then we will teach the first lesson hahaha just kidding. The library wasn't to sure of that idea. SO... I guess we'll just stick with Goldilocks and the Three Bears and other childhood classics.
Really the most memorable parts of the week were Saturday and Sunday. Saturday the Georgia Atlanta Mission and the Georgia Atlanta North Mission got together to hear Quinton L. Cook from the Quorum of the Twelve come and speak to us. He was in town already on an assignment and wanted to speak with all the missionaries.  It was really awesome to see everyone that I've served around and some other friends in the Atlanta Mission. There's also a new missionary sister from South Jordan that I know that's been out for 3 weeks. It made me realize how long I've been out--a whole 7 months.... yeah I'm a real grandpa. 
The program started out with the Area Seventy from Atlanta speaking. Elder Court and I are pretty sure that he used to be a Baptist preacher from the way he spoke to  us. He was waving his hands in the air, yelling at one point, and testifying with the "sweet words of Jesus".  The Area Seventy from our mission got up after and said, "Wow. There were a few times during that where I wanted to yell AMEN!!! and Hallelujah!!!" Then Elder Cook got up and talked to us for about 30 minutes. He spoke on what we need to do to increase our faith in the missionary efforts. It was really good and I learned a lot. Sorry, I don't have my notes with me to recount exactly what he said... But know that It was good! I do remember one part though that blew all of our minds. Elder Cook was bearing his testimony and then he paused and said, "I know the voice of the Savior." and we all were like "WHAT?!?!" So, basically I learned that Jesus talks to all of the Apostles. Fun fact there. Elder Loveland thinks that it's just the spirit, but we know better. Jesus loves his Apostles.
Then on Sunday we had another super awesome, faith building experience. We went into Branch Council and were just giving our weekly report on how our investigators are doing. When we got to our investigator G, who's also the niece of one of the council members, we gave our report that G is close to baptism, has a "Faith Date" for the 22nd, but is still looking for more of an answer before she makes the step of baptism. The sister from Nicaragua, G's Aunt, stopped Elder Bacon and said, "Elders, you're wrong!  She's ready right now for baptism. She know's so much about the Gospel and she know's even more than you!!!!." We were a little shocked to say the least hahaha but she just kept going. She told us how G has just been messing with us and knows that all these things are true and on and on and on..... We waited and then calmly expressed to her that we have been hearing different things from G's own mouth during the lessons and that we are a bit confused. Also, that we haven't taught all of the lessons yet and are spacing out the commandments, trying to teach to her needs. The sister then yells at us, "You're not done?! Why not? You've had 4 lessons and that's how many there are! and on, and on, and on. We tried to explain, but then suddenly the sister turns to the council and says, "Let's just plan her baptism now!!!" Then they all just started talking at once. We tried to explain more and all the members were just explaining how the investigator mind works, and how they knew more about how the conversion process works since they took part in it themselves and basically just treating us like we're a bunch of kids... But then the stake representative stopped everyone and asked the sister, "Have you been present during the lessons?" She replied, "No." Then he asked, "Do you know exactly what she has told the missionaries?" She replied, "No." The stake rep, then said, "Sit in on the next lesson with them and see for yourself sister." I love stake representatives. They are so helpful for missionaries. Basically just members that understand how missionary work goes. Please, let the missionaries do their work!!!  But, that wasn't even the craziest part of the Sunday!!!! After the meeting, Elder Bacon and G herself walked up to me as I was greeting people. G told me that she wants to be baptized this Saturday the 15th!!!!!!!! I was so shocked! I asked her why and she turned to Alma 32.  We'd only read a verse from that chapter the Wednesday before, but she'd read the whole thing and read verses 17-18, about expecting a sign from God, but is that really faith? She looked up at us and said, "I've been expecting an answer that's not going to come, I know this is true. I know what the Lord is asking me to do." So....We're having a baptism this Saturday!!!!!!!  The Lord truly blessed G thorugh the power of the scriptures. The scriptures have the power to change the heart. The Book of Mormon is the evidence that the Lord has restored his church is the key to knowing. At this very moment I cannot even express the feelings I feel!  I know for a fact that these things are true. I've seen the power of the Spirit, the power of the scriptures, the power of the Lord. It's just so amazing.  We're a little stressed now though from the shortage of time that we have to teach her a few more commandments.  We've got the Word of Wisdom and if she has a problem then we're going to have to change her date... But we don't feel like she does, at least we're praying that she doesn't! If you could please include G in your prayers I would be so appreciative. She really needs the guidance of the spirit.
Basically that's what I have for you this week. I know it's pretty long and pretty detailed, but hey, that's Bryce for ya!!!  The kitchen looks so good and I'm so glad that it's finished!!! I really like the floors! I'm just sort of getting that everything's changing!!  I'm also glad you got the gift. Elder Long gave me the idea a month ago and I really liked it. It was really easy to do and I used one of the shirts that the missionary before me left. But... I do need some more shirts haha.  Other than that, I'm pretty good! I'm using Advair again since we're running every morning and playing soccer. I'm good for the month but I'll need some medicine probably next month. 
Love Elder Rodabough the second!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Email sent March 3, 2014: A busy, but good week

Busy, but good week!
Mom in answer to your questions:

1) No I'm not the District Leader. Elder Vance, who served by me back in Peachtree is the District Leader. We're getting a little frustrated with being in that District. We understand that he and Elder Thomas are the other set of misionaries in the Branch so we need to work together.,but we have to drive close to half an hour every Tuesday to get down to the meeting. Then our dinner appointment is also in Athens in Tuesday, so we have to spend an entire day in Athens just figuring out what to do and not doing any work in our own area. We hope to get changed to a district up here so we don't have to spend so many of our miles that we're allotted each month. We also have to drive down to church as well every Sunday
2) Yes I took my bike when I transferred, but the car here doesn't have a bike rack since they never bike. I left the bike at the Dacula church building and the Zone Leaders will pick it up in a couple of days. We asked if we could do it last p-day but it's out of our Zone and the Assistants wouldn't let us go get it. But it's safe. I hope to use it before I leave Winder. One p-day I want to just ride it around with Elder Bacon and two other missionaries that are on bike next to us.
This is a challenging area. This was probably one of the most challenging weeks of my mission. But man, I learned how much I've actually grown out here.  So basically I learned that Elder Bacon is exactly like how I was when I got out here. I was frustrated a lot when things weren't coming through for us and I was upset that we weren't seeing the "Fruit" of our area. What I learned is that if you just keep working, keeping going, and just keep a smile. The Lord will bless us. Apparently I'm a very patient person now. I'm just seeing what we have in this area and not what we don't have. We've got two really promising investigators, each with their own problems to overcome, and they're doing great. 
We had a lesson after church with a girl whose aunt is a member from Venezuela and it was great. She's really trying to find out if this is the best path for her--if this is where the Lord wants her to be. The spirit was so strong and our team-up really helped us explain the whole polygamy thing hahahahaha. She told us, "I saw something on the internet about a man having 4 women?" to which Hermano T responded, "Well, I've got 4 women." She stared at him in shock and then Hermano said, "My wife, my daughter, my other daughter, and my niece!" we all burst out laughing and then Hermano explained it really well. Aside from that things here are doing great. It's interesting that we don't realize how much we've grown until we are with someone that needs you to have the traits that you yourself needed. It's just amazing to see how the Lord will put us through challenges, trials, and adversity to help us learn how to do something--way, way, way down in the future. I'm really excited for this chance that we have to work here in Winder. We just want to have a baptism. We're not expecting one or demanding one--we just want to show that Winder (still the cutest little place in Georgia) was opened for a reason. We don't have much more time to accomplish this, but we're determined to do so.
Don't feel bad about going on family trips without me. I've got my missionary brothers to spend time with and there's a family up here that basically feeds us twice a week. There's a woman who's white, but married a hispanic man that we call "Mama Joe". I'm not sure how much she likes me, but she loves Elder Bacon and so she's willing to do anything for us. For example we tried to hold a soccer game for our investigators this past Saturday and she invited all of her husbands friends to come hahaha. They all live in Atlanta, but she did her best to get them there. Also, she apparently prays every night for us to find a large pocket of Hispanics that we can teach for months at a time. She's the best. That game killed me and Elder Bacon though. We're exhausted, but we still are running every morning to get back into shape. We're going to need it if we're going to play the game every Saturday. I'm out 7 1/2 months now so I'm almost at a year hahaha not counting though, and you shouldn't be either!  Family, I love you all so much.
Elder Rodabough, your son