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

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