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

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