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