Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Email sent December 29, 2014: Christmas, Casts, Miracles and too much food!

Well my family, it was wonderful to talk to you guys! I really loved it actually. Sorry if I seemed a little awkward, I've just had a lot on my mind lately! But thank you for your love and support guys, seriously I appreciate it  :) It was good to see that everyone is happy and healthy (ish hahaha) and that you're all working hard.

Christmas Eve started out pretty crazy. We headed over to the doctors office so Elder Castro could get his cast off. I'd never seen how they take a cast off and to be honest it was terrifying to watch!! So the nurse walks in, grabs out this tiny hand held circular saw and then went straight to work. She just sawed right into his cast!!! I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it was still way surprising. He took off the cast and it smelled really bad haha. Again, not really sure what I was expecting differently, but still concerning none the less. We then spent the rest of our day passing out our Christmas gift which were pictures of Mormon Jesus to everyone. 

Our Christmas was pretty good, pretty low key to be honest which I was grateful for. After the weeks we've been having it was nice to have a calm day. We had Elder Castro drive us to our breakfast which was quite the experience. He only almost killed us once in the 6 mile drive and so we'll chalk it up as a win for now. He has his driving test on the 7th and I'm not so sure how it's going to go yet. We still are teaching him to drive but it's a slow process since he's a little nervous at times. It's all good though. We ate about 4 different times which was killer on my stomach. Lots of sweets, meat, and Hispanic fruit punch which was pretty strong. I wasn't feeling to good during the night and I actually threw up! hahaha it wasn't the best after Christmas sleep.
But there was a really surprising plot twist on Friday. We had interviews with President Bennion and he explained that if I wanted to I could extend till August 10th and get back the time I spent in Utah recovering. It was pretty crazy to hear. I just assumed that I couldn't get it back since I was gone for such a short time. I also don't know if I'ld even be able to with my scholarship responsibilities. It's something I'll have to talk about with Mom and Dad more in the future. But it's an option on the table if I want to. 

Last night though was the miracle of the week!! If not the transfer!! So a couple of days ago we received a call from the Acworth missionaries in the mission that boarders ours. They explained that they had a recent convert who's mother wanted to be baptized and had been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish. The same member called us last night asking if we had time that evening to stop by and teach the mother who wanted to be baptized. We went over and taught most of the first lesson and it went amazing. The woman, Carmen, accepted a baptismal date for the 17th of January! It's a quick date, but we think we can teach her and she seems more than willing to do it. They invited us to come over every day for the next week to teach the mother and so we're really excited to teach them! 

We've got some great miracles on the horizon for us here in Cherokee. We've also got some other new investigators that are way promising. The Lord keeps giving us people to teach. He must have a lot of trust in us!  
Love you all!
Elder Rodabough the second 

Email sent December 15, 2014: Our Little UN in Kennesaw

Well family, it's gearing up to be quite the interesting transfer over here in Kennesaw. So Elder Castro and I came together on Wednesday and he is so awesome. He is so humble and values his mission so much. He has such a sweet, peaceful demeanor about him and when he testifies it's just full of the Spirit. We were out tracting on Thursday when we received a text from President Bennion saying to call him immediately, so we went back to our car and I called him. He explained to me that I was going to receive a new companion the following day due to an emergency transfer. I wasn't too sure what to think but I said sure and as of Friday there's now 3 of us again here in Kennesaw. Elder Portillo the new elder with us, is from El Salvador by birth but moved to Utah when he was 16. He speaks fluent Spanish and has amazing English. It's been super hilarious to be honest. Like the other day Elder Castro was writing a letter in Spanish to a girl and he was asking me in English how to say words in Spanish, I would translate and then tell him how to spell the Spanish word in English. It was way crazy. Elder Portillo wants to learn Portuguese so he's studying that and I'm just sticking to my Spanish for now! It's like a little Central and South American HQ in our apartment. It's just a slurry of Spanish, English, and Portuguese.

On Saturday we had Angi and Lucy's Baptism!!! I'll try to send a photo later... Elder Auelua has the photos since I'm still feeling like an idiot for losing my camera in Winder.... But anyways... The service went awesome! It was really really long and included, 3 talks, a photo slide show of the life of Lucy, a musical number, and "Welcomes!" from three of the auxiliary units in the church. So it was about an hour and 20 minutes. It was ok, because the branch party was right after so we were good. The actual Baptism was the best part.  So Elder Long came all the way from Athens to baptize Lucy and so they went first down in to the font. She went down and up without a hitch, but then Angi went. She asked Hno Beltran to baptize her and when she went under he lost his grip and she ended up floundering in the font like a fish on the Deadliest Catch for a couple seconds. But she went all the way under so we were good! 

After the baptism we had the branch party which at first was pretty dismal. We were in charge of serving the plates but when we got there to serve there was hardly any food. Everybody got what they could and were all very thankful. Then we ended up writing Christmas cards to a member who fell asleep at the wheel a few weeks ago and ended up in jail. The climax of the evening would have to be when they brought out the pinatas. There were three for the three age groups. The kids, the teenagers, and the adults. The kids pinata took awhile, but the teenagers one went so fast. The second pinata was a horse and when it got knocked down the kids swarmed it ripping it to pieces. A member sitting next to us turned and said, "Have you ever seen the Walking Dead?" and then pointed at the kids. We were laughing so hard. Then we got our turns and Elder Auelua smacked it off of the rope and it landed in a huge thud on the ground. Afterwords there was music and dancing (which I refrained from!!!!) and we headed home.

We've got some good stuff coming up this week in the mission. Mission dinner, temple trip, and we also are going to the Portuguese Branch so Elder Castro can translate the activity they are doing there on the 20th. It's going to be fun!! 

For Christmas call, we're working on getting a place to Skype... Angi says we can go there but I'm not so sure.... I'll find out this week and then have her text you guys with some details. I'm looking forward to talking to you all!!! I love you all and I'm so greatful to know that we are all safe, and working hard. I pray for you all every night by name and I know that the Lord is protecting and guiding you all. Keep it real family.

Elder Rodabough the second

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Email sent on December 8, 2014: Portuguese Companion

Well everyone, we didn't have a hugely crazy week. I don't have a ton to report actually. My email next week will have lots to write about because we have one doozy of a week coming up.

So we had transfer calls today! Elder Long is going over to Athens to train a new missionary and open a new area over there. He's pretty dang excited, but kind of nervous for what's going to happen for the next 3 months. I know that he'll be a good trainer and will be able to have a ton of success over there. As for Cherokee, my area, things are getting a little weird here. So the Portuguese elders have been slightly disobedient and President Bennion has had to keep an eye out for them. So he decided to change things up and give me Elder Castro as a companion. He's straight from Brazil, he's been in the mission for about 6 months, speaks little English, and will have to make the transition from Portuguese to Spanish. It shouldn't be too hard of a change. The languages are pretty similar to be honest. I'm looking forward to having a very interesting 6 weeks coming my way. But what I'm not worried about is the work because Elder Castro is a super hard working missionary that has been a convert for about 3 years now. I've been told he carries a strong spirit with him as he testifies and I'm very excited to serve with him.

We also will be having the baptism of Lucy and Angi this Saturday!!!! Seriously guys, these two are so elect and prepared by the Lord!!! We just ate lunch with Angi today and she told us about how one of her friends approached her and told her if she really knew what she was getting into. Angi responded saying that while she doesn't fully understand the doctrine, and there may be stuff she doesn't fully agree with, she has seen the fruits of the Gospel in the lives of her children. She's seen them happier than they've ever been before. They don't fight as much, they work together more, and she sees that as a sign of this being the direction that they need to go. Lucy and Charlie have fallen head over heals for the church. On thanksgiving Lucy texted us saying how she's grateful that she has found a church where she feels like she belongs and feels loved and needed. They are so amazing. We might Skype with them on  Christmas so you can get to meet them!

That's all for me folks! I love you lots and I hear that everything is going good! Have a happy week!

Elder Rodabough

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Email sent December 1, 2014: Thanksgiving, Football and Accordians

For our week it was pretty interesting to say the least. 

Tuesday we had our zone conference with President Bennion and the assistants. It was dang good actually! During it they introduced a new initiative that the church is coming out with this Christmas called "He is the Gift". It's intention is to help the world once again remember the reason why we have Christmas in the first place. The church is going hard with this plan. They've purchased the major billboard space in Times square, they purchased the front page ad space on You Tube on December 7th, and even gave us new pass-along cards. You guys should check out the website!
Zone Conference

I went on a two day exchange with Elder Auelua after zone meeting that lasted until thanksgiving. It was funny actually we stopped by the house of a member in the Branch just to say hi. We'd been there for less than five minutes when I found a mini accordion sitting there. I picked it up and started messing around with it. The member said I could borrow it for a couple days and so that night I began to do what I now call, "The Accordion Surprise". We get into bed, and Elder Auelua and I started talking for about 20 minutes, you know, pillow talk as they call it on the streets. But as we finished up we both said "Goodnight!" and then it got quiet. I waited for about five minutes and then began. I'd hid the accordion under my bed and after a few minutes of peace and quiet, I jumped up and started playing it and jumping on my bed. Then I made the voyage from my bed to his bed in one fell swoop and jumped on his bed. He was quite surprised to be honest. As was Elder Long when we returned from exchange. But he got me back so we're all good. It's going to become a mainstay for exchanges with Elder Rodabough in the future. 

Then for Thanksgiving we all got together and went with the Hickory Flat Ward Elders and ward members and played football in the morning. We got a missionary team together and we got slapped as hard as the Seahawks/Broncos Super Blast year. We changed the teams around and had some fun after that. Afterwards we played some volleyball with a few branch members and Lucy Meyer came. Then we changed and headed up for our dinner with the Zapatas. They're a part member family that Elder Auelua and Elder Glaittli are teaching right now. They also invited the Pereyra family to come over and so it was a hoot. Hermana Pereyra is from Puerto Rico, and the women from Puerto Rico are known for being very energetic, crazy, and unpredictable. She later proved that by telling me she's planned out the next 8 years of my life which ends with marrying her daughter and being her son-in-law hahaha We had a huge feast and drove home very stuffed and filled. 

Elder Long at the Thanksgiving table!!!

Thanksgiving dinner friends
For Sunday we saw a huge miracle! So we've had an investigator in the area for the past 4 1/2 months now named Moses. He's partially crippled and can't work or drive so he's had a hard time making it to church. Getting a ride for him is near impossible since he lives at the bottom of our area but this Sunday a member agreed to help us out! He loved church even if he did sleep through most of it since he was exhausted from being active so much. But still it was so cool! Lucy and Angi are still going as strong as ever. Angi is going to be called as a primary teacher and she's so excited. Their baptism is on the 13th of December and it's going to be so wonderful!

That's about it for me this week guys! I look forward to talking to you all over skype in exactly 24 days!!! 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent November 24, 2014: Massive Amount of Thanksgiving Dinners

Que onda Familia! (what's up family)
Yeah, so basically we have like 4 dinners this Thursday... I would be lying if I said that I'm not a little concerned for how much food that will be but hey I'm down. Due to miles available to drive for us on Thursday we don't think we'll all be able to eat at all of the dinners we've been invited to. But Elder Long and I will for sure be eating 2. Elder Auelua and Elder Glaittli will probably be eating 3. Elder Glaittli is a little boy like me so I'm interested in seeing how this is going to go down. We're also playing in a turkey bowl with an English ward, and a volleyball match with the branch. So basically it'll be sports and food for a day.

This week wasn't to crazy for us missionary work wise. We tracted, taught some lessons and did all that we could. Well. we could've probably done more but that'll always be the case. We did what we were capable of and enjoyed our time. I'm really enjoying this transfer with Elder Long. He's really awesome and I feel like I can be myself way more around him. He never seems to judge me or anything like that.

I'd probably say that the best moment this week happened on Sunday. So the Meyer family, the white family we've been teaching that feel more comfortable in the Spanish branch, have basically become members without being baptized. For example, Lucy taught the youth Sunday School class this past Sunday! She was super nervous and got up at 6am Sunday morning and spent two hours preparing her class. SHE DID SO GOOD! What filled my heart with so much joy was at the end of her class she said, "I Testify that what we've talked out here is true and is of God." It was so amazing to hear her use Mormon lingo. And to testify of something!!! Lucy and Angi are so cool :) I love them so much and they are so elect. Elder Long and I Were talking about how we've taken their amazing story for granted and we've started becoming so much more grateful for the opportunity we have to teach them :) The Lord really has blessed us.

Love you all :) have a wonderful week! 
Elder Rodabough

Valerie's Baptism