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!!!