Monday, October 27, 2014

Email sent October 27, 2014: There are Mexican Medical Clinics in the US of A!

This week we had an interesting time. Since I'm in a trio right now and there's only one other companionship of elders in my district I decided to go on exchange with both of the Sandy Plains elders in their own area. Usually we switch areas but since I could just go to their area and not have a problem it sounded like a good plan. I really liked going actually! It was sort of interesting tracting with Elder Croasdell and Elder Bloomfield. They're both really new in the mission and so it was sort of fun to watch them struggle a bit haha not in a sick way but just in a "Yeah I remember that" kind of way. That same night we went up to Canton to a part member couple that the wife has basically been a dry Mormon for like 5 years now and hasn't been baptized. She told us that she felt like this was the time to be baptized and so we are going back Tuesday to teach the first lesson and put her on date for baptism. 

Thursday we had the baptism of an 8-year old who's mother just randomly said on Sunday that they were having his baptism on Thursday and asked Elder Long to baptize him. We got there on Thursday and nobody was there at the starting time. Typical for Hispanics.... But another 45 minutes went by and only like 15 people were there. We knew we just needed to get started and so we started the service. At the point of baptism, Elder Long and Christian, the kid, got into the water and Elder Long decided to really make sure he wouldn't have to do it again so he basically picked the kid up and shoved him under the water. The kids comes up out of the water looks at Elder long and then says, "DOUCHE!!!" and then walked out of the font hahahaha we were laughing so hard. 

Friday we were all feeling a little sick, Elder Auelua feeling the worst. Two members of the Branch work at a doctors office not to far from us so we went down. We got there and were honestly confused as to whether or not we were in the right place. There were plastic patio chairs for the waiting room and when they called us back we were put into a closet--I mean literally a closet. There was a sliding door like for a pantry as our door. Basically it looked like what I imagine the clinic in Mexico looked like mom and dad. The bed was a gurney from the 1970's or 60's, and the doctor is a really religious guy so there were crosses and pictures of the Virgin Mary everywhere. We ended up waiting for 2 hours for the doctor to come to our room and when he did, it was so worth the wait. So the doctor comes walking in and he's wearing a hunting vest and carrying a flashlight. He sits down and starts talking to us about our missions and asks where we're from. He asks Elder long and then explains all about the time he's spent in Arizona. Then he asks Elder Auelua and talks to him for another 10 minutes about his experiences there. He pulls out the flashlight, looks down our throats, and then listens to our chests, tells us more about Jesus, writes some prescriptions and then we left. But not before he gave us a painting of Jesus for our apartment. He was such a nice guy and didn't charge us anything for his service.
Auelua didn't want to leave the apartment the rest of the day and Elder Bloomfield was also sick. So Elder Long and I grabbed Elder Croasdell and we went and did some work and then helped with the English ward's Halloween party. We three were in charge of the Doughnut eating contest and it was super fun. Then we all got into a pie eating contest and Elder Croasdell won with a record setting 23 seconds. It was a fun time.

Saturday, Elder Auelua continued to feel sick so Elder Long and I napped for a bit, then we went out to the car and put all of the Gel window clings you sent on the windshield and now call our car "The Nut Van". Good times. Later that night we went to the Branch's Halloween party and did some trunk or treating. We ran out of candy so we ended up giving photos of the temple and Christ out to all the kids. I really love the Cherokee Branch. The members here are so cool and amazing. 

Sunday we had the chance to teach Lucy again. We taught her the Gospel and Angie her mom and Charlie her brother sat in on the lesson with us. The lesson went really good and at the end Lucy wanted to change her date for some week in January. We talked to her about the fact that if she begins putting off her date the Adversary will have more chances to keep her from being baptized. We also were talking to Angie because she's been putting off her date for quite some time. After we testified of baptism and the blessings, they both agreed for the 6th of December! The Lord really is blessing us and changing the hearts of our investigators.

That's about it for this week! I love you all so much and know that you're all in my heart, mind and prayers. 

Elder Rodabough the second

Email sent October 20, 2014: Another Good Week

We've actually had good week this week! We had the chance to teach Lucy twice this week. She's the sister of a recent convert and her mother has been investigating the church for about 4 months now. We finished teaching her the Plan of Salvation on Thursday and then taught her the Restoration after church yesterday. Angie, the mother is doing good as well, she just has some fears as to whether or not she's making the right decision about letting her kids be baptized and whether or not she should be baptized. After sacrament she was crying and we took her into a side room with a member who's been fellowshipping her and gave her a blessing. Afterwards we started talking and she basically has been going through the whole, "My children are growing up and I can't be there to care for and protect them all the time" thing that I think all mothers go through. Lucy is 14 and Charlie is 12. So basically a mother midlife crisis. She just needed to vent for a while and so we just sat, listened, and taught for about 2 hours. 

On Friday we also went up to the Tennessee-Georgia Boarder to talk to a less active member that is only less active since he lives an hour and a half from the church. He's going to be moving soon so we went up and talked to him and read some scriptures with him. Then on the way back down we stopped in Canton GA to follow-up on some referrals that we have and look for some places to tract since President Bennion is considering opening up the Canton Spanish area for the first time. There's... work to do for now. But honestly I'm afraid of another Winder area happening. We'll just see what happens. 

With our investigator Jorge though, we had a huge surprise this week. I don't know if I've ever mentioned anything about Jorge the past transfer but he's the brother of a member who attends the branch. He called us a few weeks ago telling us about his desire to be baptized. At first we were ecstatic, but as the lessons have gone on we feel as though he's doing it for the wrong reasons. His parents are going to be in town at the end of the month and he wants his father to baptize him, and we've been starting to think that that's the reason why he wants to be baptized. So to try and clear some things up, this past Saturday we went over with the plan to go over the baptismal interview questions with him. It didn't work out. We were halfway through the questions when a problem came up. We then spent the next hour and a half listening to him explain the problems that he's faced, or currently facing in life. We would've been fine if it hadn't been for the fact that he then told the same story again, and then again, each time adding or taking away little facts to make the story seem a little different. We explained to Jorge that he would need to be interviewed by someone who has more authority than us and he did not react to that well. He gave us back The Restoration DVD we had just given him and said, "Until I have this interview and this man tells me that I can be baptized I'm not going to learn anymore. Which we felt was just an overreaction.
Saturday we also finished up lumberjacking all the trees in Hermano Strougo's yard like we did last week. It was long and hard but we got it done. It's just started getting cold here the past couple days, but has been sort of bipolar here and we have a cold spell, and then jumps back up to 75 degrees for another couple days. Which still isn't as hot as it usually is, which is a blessing! If you decide to come back here, we should do so around this time of year when the entire state turns red yellow and orange. you'd love it mom!

I love you all so much. 

Elder Rodabough 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Email sent October 14, 2014: Lehi's Dream Team, oh and I got to use a Chainsaw!

Hey family!!!

Sorry my letter is a day late! They changed our P-day to Tuesday this week since yesterday was Columbus ay and all the libraries were closed. 

So this week we had an awesome Zone training meeting on Wednesday. It was the first Zone meeting where I had Elder Angilau and Elder Denton as my Zone leaders and they are so cool. I've already talked about the super Christ-like guy Elder Angilau is, but Elder Denton is just as Spiritual. He's a convert of two years and has probably one of the coolest conversion stories I've ever heard. The Spirit was really prevalent during the whole meeting and it was super funny since right before the meeting the sisters in my District made us headbands in honor of our new District name. "Lehi's Dream Team". So we wore them the whole meeting and then at the very end the Sister Training Leaders gave us all little handmade swords and we all sang "Behold a Royal Army" and waved our swords around in the air. 
Lehi's Dream Team
After Zone meeting I went on exchange with Elder Bloomfield in my District. I went to his area on bike and had to use his bike since his companion is so huge I couldn't even ride his bike!! It was nice to be on bike for a day--working hard and all. Elder Auelua, Elder Long, and Elder Croasdell came and grabbed us after doing service and we went to lunch. Afterwards we all ended up at our apartment.
We went and taught Jorge, our investigator with a date for Nov. 1st a lesson and finished the remaining parts of The Restoration and the Gospel that we hadn't gotten to afterwards. he understood everything and keeps getting more and more excited with the things he learns. 

Friday we had a lesson with Charlie Meyers sister, Mom, and Him. Charlie was baptized about 2 weeks ago and his mother still hasn't made the decision. Our intent of the lesson was to help Angi, the mother, realize that she has enough light to walk by and make decisions. So we decided to watch the "Patterns of Light" videos by David A. Bednar. Lucy came to a lesson for the first time and she sat through the videos and felt The Spirit really strong. We taught all about the Holy Ghost and invited her to be baptized. She agreed and we set a Goal Date of Nov. 8th. We might need to move it around with some things in their schedule, but she seems pretty interested!!!

On Saturday I also learned how to operate a chainsaw! We went all lumberjack and got to help a member cut down two monster trees in his yard and haul the branches to his back yard. We were there for about 6 hours and afterwards we were so exhausted! 
Sunday Lucy came to church and Jorge came for the classes. They both really enjoyed it. Afterwards we had interviews with President Bennion. It was pretty enlightening since he bascially told me there's only about 4 Spanish Elders in the mission he trusts to train and I'm one of them. So there's a high chance I might be training this next transfer instead of opening up the new Spanish area in Canton, the northern part of the Zone/Stake. 

I love you guys so much! I'm so greatful for all of your emails and love! Have a good week!

Elder Rodabough the second 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Email sent October 6, 2014: Conference and Conversion

My goodness! All of you had such wonderful experiences with Conference! I know that by spiritually preparing ourselves to hear the word of the Lord at any church meeting and coming with questions and listening to have those questions answered, that something that is said will be an answer from the Lord. Please do not forget what you learned, but more importantly apply what we have learned.

So, basically the first half of our week was spent driving. On Tuesday we drove from Kennesaw to an area just outside of the mission to get our car fixed.  We then drove to Lilburn to the mission office to get a rental car. This took up our entire day since we returned to our apartment at 8:30pm. The next day our plans were shot again since our car was fixed, so we made the same drive again.... returning at 7:30pm and going to dinner.

Alas, we were able to work on Thursday and Friday. Elder Auelua and Elder Long stayed in the area on Friday and I was called to go down to the Missionary Leadership Counsel. This meeting is usually for only Zone leaders and STL's but for some reason, all of the District Leaders were invited. It was honestly one of the best meetings that I've ever had the privilege to attend. There was a training given by 5 missionaries about setting goals using the acronym of S.M.A.R.T. with each letter meaning something different. The last one was Time-bound. We were discussing about how to make our goals based off of a certain time-window, but then shifted as the training went on. We started discussing about how the amount of time we are given isn't important. Whether we have 2 months or 18 months or 22 months in the mission isn't what we should focus on. But instead we should focus on the time we have been given to go about doing good. Not how much time, but what we choose to do with the time we have been given.

Conference was also a wonderful experience. I don't have my notes on me right now so I can't share with you exactly my most favorite parts. What I noticed from everyone's talks was the numerous references to the Savior. That while knowing of the Savior is a wonderful blessing and should be sought after, BECOMING like the savior is what we need to do. To learn of him and attain the attributes of Christ should be a goal that we have.

Oh!! Before I forget! I had a cool story to tell you guys that I forgot about last week. So when I go back to the mission I heard the conversion story of a man named Leroy Strickland. He apparently was baptized in the Fort Yargo ward (Winder Area) back in august. As I listened something seemed so familiar about it. But then I realized why!  Many moons ago I was in Winder Spanish, training a visa waiter named Elder Barney. We were tracting in the rain, in a trailer park that had been hit up by missionaries like 5 or 6 times in the period of 8 months before we'd gotten there. We knocked on some guy's door, he was white, and told us to go away since he was packing to go to the hospital. We asked if we could at least get out of the rain and stay on the porch for about 5 minutes but he said no. So we kept going. We walked up a hill to knock on some more doors and then the man yelled for us to come back. I didn't want to go fearing that we would just be chastised more. But my Greenie, Elder Barney looked at me and said, "Why not?" So we went down and met him. He invited us in an we were there for more than an hour. He told us all about his experiences in Vietnam and how he was scared from them.  As a result he had tried to take his own life on past occasions. He also mentioned a lot about his wife who had passed away, but whose spirit constantly visited him and on multiple occasions actually kept him from taking his own life. We chatted, tried to teach a lesson, but ended up leaving and giving him a copy of the Book of Mormon and testifying that by reading he would find peace. We gave the referral to Elder Rahman and Elder Howell, and left.

Fast forward to transfer day the week I was back. Sister Iketau was walking by and grabbed by arm really fast. She looked at me and said, "You were the one who found Leroy Strickland right?" I looked at her and said that I didn't know who she was talking about. "He was in the Stathum Trailer Park, he served in Vietnam? Is in a wheel chair right now? You gave him a Book of Mormon?" explained Sister Iketau. It came to my memory that yes I did know him. She then told me, "Well he got baptized!" The referral we gave passed through two more companionships before it reached Sister Iketau and Sister Wilcox and they taught him.  Apparently, due to his tours of duty in Vietnam, Leroy was terrified of water, but after a blessing he had no fear and was baptized. Upon coming out of the water, the veil was taken from his eyes and he was able to see his wife.  It was an amazing story to hear. To know that if we hadn't been in that trailer park, on that day, or given him a Book of Mormon, Leroy probably wouldn't been baptized at some point.  We were able to be a part of his conversion even in a small way. It was a large testimony building of No Effort is wasted.

I love all of you so much family. Please keep being active in the Gospel. Reading, Studying, Praying, having frequent, personal experiences with the savior, and living our lives in order to have those experiences.
Elder Rodabough