Friday, July 17, 2015

Email sent July 13, 2015: "Speakin' Dat Spanish"

Hey folks,
So seriously I only speak Spanish now. It's been rough a little bit but after about 3 days I've had some serious come to the light language moments. Elder Hernandez is my new companion. I think he's the first companion that I've had who is shorter than me. So that's been fun. He's also really affectionate... like, a lot--lots of hugs hahaha! I don't mind but it's just like a 180 degrees different from Elder Swingler that I'm sometimes a little shocked.

But overall this week we saw some serious miracles. So we met a new investigator last week named Francisco. He's from Venezuela and he's been here since March. Well he's accepting the Gospel super well and came to church yesterday! Afterwords, a family from Venezuela invited him to our dinner and they cooked some traditional Venezuelan food. He was super grateful. But the funny part was that we sang a hymn in Sacrament Meeting about how the people in Zion are happy for keeping the Word of Wisdom. After the hymn Francisco was like, "What the heck is this?" Like literally he turned and said that to me in the meeting haha. So we taught him the Word of Wisdom and it was a super powerful lesson. The spirit was super strong. We really think he can be baptized before I head home. We won't push him to, but we really think he can. 

We also had a super spiritual lesson with this guy named Oscar. He's a past investigator that had been taught a ton and had a baptismal date but fell off for some reason. We stopped by and he let us right in. Almost immediately started telling us how stupid we are for believing in Joseph Smith and that the Book of Mormon is a load of... well... he used a pretty negative word. But randomly at the end of his rant he said that he still wanted us to come by and read the Bible with him. Elder Hernandez and I sat there for a second and then I told him that he doesn't understand why we pass by. He started to tell us that yeah he understood, but I interrupted him and said that he didn't. Then we taught him about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It was so amazing to see the change in him as we taught and testified. Elder Hernandez teaches so well for the time that he has in the mission. We could literally see the spirit working upon Oscar as we taught him. We left and he said he would read and pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is true. 

I'm so excited to be with Elder Hernandez. He's so humble and he has such a desire to work. I'm happy for how my 5 weeks will go :) 

Sounds like everyone has some good things going for them! The house is almost finished, people are healthy or getting even healthier. I love you all :)

Elder Rodabough

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 5, 2015: "New Companion"

Yeah so we just got transfer calls today! So Elder Swingler is going to the Stone Mountain area with Elder Lambson. We all served together in the Riverside Branch before they split it and Elder Lambson is really patient so I'm really happy with the transfer. I'm going to spend the next 5 weeks training another missionary! So he's already been here for a transfer and so I'm just going to finish training him. He's literally from Mexico. Like I'm going to be teaching him English. So my last 6 months here in Lawrenceville finally make sense. Get here with Elder Castro and teach him some English. Then 4 1/2 months training Elder Swingler. Now, teaching someone English while training. The Lord has a plan for sure. haha

It's good to hear that everyone had a super awesome 4th of July! Man, I really hope taht we keep the tradition of buying a ton of fireworks going. I'm so excited to have some good solid family fun time when I get home. 

Bailey & Bobby: Good to hear that you've made some goals and you're working towards it! Keep it up and be honest with yourself. The Lord will only give us strength if we are humble enough to accept it. A good indicator of how willing we are to accept the Lords help is how well we accept the help of others. Bobby you've been looking more and more hipster as my mission has gone on. I've enjoyed seeing the evolution. Thank you for supporting my sister and my nephew! 

Dad & Mom: Sounds like the house is going good! Basically you guys could've moved and it would be the same thing haha. You guys are doing a ton to help out with everyone. I know that the Lord has been blessing you openly, and also in secret in ways that we don't even understand. 

Madison and Cameron: WAY TO BE CAM WITH THE BOARDS!!!! And Madison way to be with sticking to your guns in management. Be able to stand strong, and be able to be humble as well. 

I love you all :) I am so excited. I've been doing "trunky" math. 40 days! If I did my math right.... Don't worry. I'm not that "trunky". 

Love you all! 

Email sent June 29, 2015: "I Hate Technology"

Howdidly-Doo team!

Yes i do still start every letter to my mission president with this title. So far he hasn't said anything about it. 

So this week we were having a pretty normal week. Tuesday i went on exchanges with Elder Pena my district leader. He's one of my closest friends here in the mission and so i was super happy to spend some time with him. We taught a part member family where the husband is not a member. In the past, he's been pretty against the church and between the husband and the wife they've actually done a lot of terrible stuff to each other. The wife is semi-active but not the strongest of testimony. Elder Pena and i went in with the intent of teaching about the sabbath day and working on getting him to come to church. 

The lesson was all over the place for awhile. The wife kept doing personal attacks at her husband and he just sat there and took it. She also brought up some random deep doctrine questions whenever the focus wasn't on her. We basically just testified of how the sacrament/Jesus Christ is meant to allow us to leave things in the past and move on with life. Starting again. We shared in Alma 5 about having a changed heart and then invited the husband to be baptized. He agreed for the 25th. It was way legit. We just basically indirectly rebuked the wife for not allowing her husband to repent and also taught the husband about repentance. Two birds with one stone! 

The rest of our weekend was actually filled with trying to figure out this new "Area Book Planner App" that the church has created for us. It's super confusing and has some glitches. They also gave it to us with 2 days to learn how to use it before we had to report our numbers. We were all super frustrated but we actually figured out how to use it. It's going to be a huge help for us in the field once we figure it out. 

It sounds like everyone is doing good for the hand they've been dealt! I thank each and every one of you for doing what you can to support one another and to life one anothers burdens. We truly are fulfilling our baptismal covenants.  (Mosiah 18)

Bobby: thank you so much for what you're doing to help support my sister and your family. I know that the Lord IS blessing you for your efforts. I am grateful for all you do brother. 

Bailey: Well it sounds like your surgery this round was like a kagillion times better than the first one! Be patient. That's what i've been working on a ton lately. What's helped me is literally stopping what i'm doing, closing my eyes. Taking a deep breath and asking the Lord to bless me with the Holy Ghost to calm down. I know you are  strong. Now give yourself the time you need to get even stronger. 

Cam: You've got these Boards. For sure. You've worked your little hiney off studying and sacrificed a lot. Make sure you include some gospel study in all of that. That way you can rely on your own strengths, and include the enabling power of the Atonement and the Holy Ghost in your tests.

Madison: You seem to be just truckin along great haha. Thank you for supporting your husband and being patient in all of this. 

I love you all a ton. I look forward to seeing you all again in 6 weeks :) 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent June 22, 2015: "So Things Just Got Pretty Crazy"

So.... we just actually got into a minor car accident not more than an hour ago.... It was pretty crazy. I went to Walmart with another Elder to print off some pictures and he could get his watch fixed. We were leaving and I had a green arrow to turn left so I started into the intersection. I looked left just in time to see a guy barreling into the intersection. I slammed on my brakes and started honking and the driver looked up and swerved at the last minute only scraping our car, but slamming into the front wheel of the car in the lane next to me. No one was injured but Elder Bartholomew and I were a little shaken up for a second. We really felt blessed by the Lord. Basically if I hadn't looked left I'd probably be seriously injured or dead. But the Lord seems to have other plans for me!

Our car after our accident

On another note we had to drop a couple of investigators because they didn't want to progress. It was a little hard and I was concerned that Elder Swingler wouldn't want to. He loves all of our investigators a lot and so i was prepared for him to put up a fight. But he actually brought up the subject of dropping a couple of investigators. He also rebuked this catholic mama and read some of Moroni 8 with her. I was squirming in my seat while he read a verse that says anyone who baptizes babies denies the Atonement, but she took it well.

We are focusing a ton on finding this next week. We haven't had to great of finding weeks and so we're going to do a lot of door knocking, in the hottest week of the summer, wearing ties, holla. But I know the Lord is going to bless us for working our hardest. We are definitely going to find some solid new investigators this week. 

Wow it sounds like life is pretty crazy back home! I'm glad to hear that Grandma and Grandpa Gunn finally "Decided" to move into an assisted living apartment. I'm especially glad to hear that Grandma is looking better than she has in months. NICK IS GONNA BE A DADDY??? Way to be champ. I'm excited to meet the rug rat when it comes forth. When do they know the gender? Also the Basement seems to be making progress! Hurrah!!! And Bailey being at home is way better than being at the hospital :)

Guys, I'm so sorry that things are hard right now. I am so sorry that I can't do anything to help. I will be there in a few weeks to help everyone get things sorted out. I love you all so much!

Email sent June 15, 2015: "More Crazy People, Cat Goals and Bosnians"

So basically this week we found little to non new investigators which wasn't to bad, but everywhere we go we seem to find like a ton of people from Bosnia. Like I'm not joking, a ton of people. Like I would say that we talked to more people from Bosnia than people who speak Spanish. It was weird. But they're really nice people surprisingly. I think we should take a family trip to the former Soviet Union.

So basically we didn't have a really eventful week this week. Which I decided the reason why is that we aren't trying to have fun as we do the work. So we decided to make some, "different" goals this week. I don't know if I told you guys about this but when I was an English missionary, Elder Hamer and I tried to catch all of the feral cats that would roam our neighborhood. Elder Swingler and I realized here in Lawrenceville there's also a ton of feral cats. So during our week planning on Friday we made the goal of catching a feral cat this week. We have a huge window by our study area and one of them doesn't have a screen. So we decided that every night after we did our planning and journal writing, we would lure cats to our window and then try and catch them. We'll see how it goes. I hope I don't get scratched. 

So yesterday we had a lesson with a woman that lives at the top of our area. We had dinner with a family that lives by them and so we decided that we would take the 19 year old daughter with us to the lesson with her. This investigator is.... interesting... like a lot of other people that we've taught. So we went into the lesson not expecting what to happen. We start off the lesson and we taught about the spirit world since that was where we'd left off of on our last lesson. We asked her a question, and then it went into a 20 minute, well rant, about how catholic people come to church immodest and that our investigator doesn't like it when women bend over and you can see their chest. We were all uncomfortable to say the least. The family of the girl who came with us and our investigator are from the same country originally and so we asked her to invite her to come to church. She invited her and she agreed! So we're excited to see how things go with our investigator in a gospel essentials class.

I am so sorry to hear that insurance won't pay for the flood. I'm sorry I can't be there to help you guys. To be honest its hard to see you all going through these trials and I can't help you guys out... But I promise I'll be there to help you when I return. Keep being strong guys and I know that we can get through it all together! Glad to hear that Bailey is going to be discharged from the hospital today!! I hope all goes well for recovery bails! You all have been, and will be in my prayers! I can feel yours and know that our Father in Heaven hears all of them! 


June 8, 2015: " iPads, Teaching and Priesthood"

So this week was interesting to say the least! We received our iPads but they're super awkward to email on so we came to the FHC to email. I'll try to send some videos today as well of us or some pictures. It's really nice these days. We can look at our emails every time we get connected to the internet we just can't respond. So if you guys email me during the week I can see them and see how all of yall are doing! Overall I'm still not sure how I feel about the iPads. They're really nice for teaching, but nothing is in Spanish for us.... So basically we have to use some weird methods to get them used in our teaching. But we do get the Gospel Library app so our studies are going to get way crazy!!! I just got a loaner since I'm going home in two months.
We actually had some amazing teaching appointments this past week! At the end of the week we have 6 progressing investigators. We invite everyone to be baptized on the first lesson and we say straight up that this is the only true and living church that has authority to perform baptisms. We're getting super confident and we're actually giving the spirit things to testify about during our lessons. Surprisingly enough, people react pretty well to it actually! We have a mother and daughter-in-law who accepted a baptsimal date for the 4th of July. We think it'll be a fitting celebration of America's birth. Spiritual birthings? yes? No? I think yes. 

We've had some good chances to exercise our priesthood this past week as well. So on Sunday we had a lesson in Priesthood about the need to be worthy to exercise priesthood in a moments notice. Then that night we got home and were walking around our complex trying to go see an investigator. We saw these two black girls and one of them just collapsed, like hardcore collapse. We ran over to go help her and she got up, walked a few steps and then collapsed again. Then we really got concerned and then she finally collapsed a third time. All the other black mammas were coming over to help her and then an ambulance was called to come see her. My comp and I looked at each other and I asked, "Priesthood?" and he looked at me and said, "Priesthood". We walked forward and said that we were ministers of Jesus Christ and offered to give her a blessing. She accepted and so we gave this 16ish year old girl a blessing in the middle of this crowd of people in the middle of our apartment complex hahaha it was crazy! But the best part was that the spirit was so strong as I was giving the blessing. And afterwords a woman came up to us and asked if she could learn more about what we believed and so we're going to refer her to the Sisters that live in our complex! 

Guys, I know this past week was hard. But iIhad a wonderful thought this week as we were teaching the Plan of Salvation. In the pre-earth life we knew of our lives here on earth. We knew of the struggles and trials we would face. And despite all that. We still came. We still knew of the joy that would be able to have by having families. We knew that the joy would outweigh the sorrow and pain. It gave me so much comfort. "Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they MIGHT have joy". Our joy is dependent upon on how we use our agency and how we react to our situations. I love all of you. I know we are an eternal family. Man, we really must be righteous if we're facing this much opposition haha. 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent June 1, 2015: "A Crazy, Crazy Week"

So basically this week was full of awkward situations, amazing spiritually led lessons and some sad feelings. But the awkward situations were funny so it was ok!

So we'll start off with the awkward situation. So on Friday we were invited by some English Elders to have a food eating contest with a family in their ward. We had Memorial Day dinner with them and part of the conversation included food eating competitions. So we agreed and went over with the idea that the whole family would be there. We get there and there isn't a single adult there... Well... sort of. There was a girl that had just finished her first year at BYUI. But it was her, the 18 year old daughter of the family, and a 17 year old priest. We were pretty uncomfortable the whole time. And to make it worse the food wasn't ready when we got there so we had to sit and wait as I basically had a high school flashback. But we ate and then ran out of the house as soon as possible. Never doing that again... 

We had a wonderfully spiritual lesson as well this past week. So we had a referral from a companionship of English missionaries that we went to see and had a lesson with. They are teaching the son of the referral. The whole time Elder Swingler and I really strove to go by the spirit and ask inspired questions. She opened right up to us and we were able to teach about the Atonement from the Book of Mormon and invited her to be baptized. She didn't accept the invitation right away, but she said she would keep meeting with us and read the Book of Mormon! It was weird because apparently the English missionaries had to cast a spirit out of the house the night before. It clearly was inspired since we needed it out in order to have the spirit in the abundance that we had! 

I'm sure you've all heard about the sisters who were involved in the accident on Friday. We were all involved in a Mission wide fast on Sunday and we had Stake Conference here in Lilburn so the sisters were honored. As far as we know Sister Beckstrom's family is on their way here and she is still in a shaky recovery. Thank you for your love and support for the sisters. I knew Sister Barnard a little bit and Sister Beckstrom came out with Elder Swingler so he knew her from the Mission Home. Overall there was a weird feeling amongst the missionaries. But we all just feel the outpouring of love from the Bennions and the Spirit.

I hope that all goes well this week for everyone. I pray for you all on a daily basis and I know that I am heard. I love you a ton and I hope you know I love you guys :) Please keep doing hard things. And trust in the Lord to get them accomplished. I know that we are an eternal family because Mom and Dad were sealed in a House of God by one holding the proper authority. All of that was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith so that we can return once again as families to the presence of our Heavenly Father. I know this. And i know you all know this. I guess we just need to live it now. So live it strong. 

Love you all! 
Elder Rodabough

Email sent May 26, 2015: "Well We Are Together for One More Transfer"

Hi Team,
Well we are emailing today since we had Memorial Day yesterday and President Bennion had us switch P-Day to today. We had a regular District Meeting yesterday and it's been sort of weird having a change in Districts because we were having such a solid time with our other District and the new members of our District are a bit more... dull.... But the District Leader, Elder Pena and I have been coming up with good ideas to have some fun but still learn and grow.

We did still have our transfer calls yesterday and we found out that Elder Swingler and I are going to stay together for one more. I'm not 100 % sure how I feel about it but I'm not really asked to agree, just asked how I'm going to react. So I'm going to take it as good as I can and work hard for a baptism. We didn't have a chance to baptize during the training so we hope that we can do it during this next one. I really hope the Lord is preparing some humble prepared soul for us. But if not, I'll find satisfaction in the work :) because when you do the work of the Lord, you always find joy :) 

I love you all so much and it looks like you guys have had a blast going to Moab! Man, I wasn't jealous at first of all of your trips but this one looked way fun. We definitely have to do stuff when I get back guys PLEASE!!!!! 

I love you all so much and i pray for the well being of all of you daily :) I know the lord has blessed our family. Without a doubt. We are so blessed :) 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent May 18, 2015: "The Week in a Nutshell"

Ok team,

So this past week was pretty fun overall. We didn't have to huge of miracles like last week but we had tons of little miracles that helped us long the way! I went on exchange this week with the Zone Leaders. I went to their area and Elder Lamb who is formerly a Spanish missionary and who served in my area and so I didn't have to worry about leaving Elder Swingler in the area. We had the chance to do some service which involved cutting down some trees and apparently I've become quite the expert on it. The member couldn't get his chainsaw working and so I looked at it and we figured things out. I mixed the oil and gas and was able to get it running. Apparently I've used enough chainsaws on my mission to use one pretty well. 

On Sunday we had an awesome Family Home Evening with a young family in the Branch where we made some "Silver Plates" and we wrote "The Book of the Guadarrama" on the cover of it and we wrote our testimonies of the church, the Book of Mormon, or whatever we felt like in a language that this Family Home Evening book we found in our apartment showed us. It went really well since the husband has some issues about his testimony and we think it helped him a bit. We told them to bury it in their yard but they don't really have a yard and so we told them to bury it in their storage closet haha.
We really have some high hopes for this week in lessons. We should have some solid progressing investigators after this week and so we're getting pumped for what happens. We hope to have a family of 7 on date for baptism before the week is over. We've been praying for some miracles and for opportunities to put people on date for baptism and we trust in the Lord. 

Sounds like from everybody's email that people are going to have a good week. Everybody down in Moab! FREAK! I want to go hiking so badly.... There is nothing here but trees and forest creatures that I periodically see splattered along the road. I saw an armadillo the other day, that was a first. 

Elder Rodabough

Email sent April 27, 2015: "Yeah Whatever, I'll Just Suck it Up"

What's up team?

So this week was pretty low key to be honest. We had a meeting on Tuesday up in Norcross at the good ole' Norcross building where I started my mission. It was crazy to think about how I started my mission there over 17 months ago. We had a meeting for a bunch of missionaries that have learning disabilities and so Elder Swingler and I were invited to go. It was a really helpful meeting and we learned some great learning techniques that we're going to start using. 

Then on Friday night we drove down to Lilburn to do exchanges with the Assistants. I don't know if I told you guys but Elder McArthur, my comp in Sugar Hill and my best friend out here is the new assistant and so it was just like we were companions again. He's not to happy being an AP haha the stress is pretty killer but he's not a murmurer so he's hunkering down to work. The APs go on exchanges with the Trainers and Trainees for two days in their area. So we spent two nights and a day and a half with them. Friday night to Sunday afternoon. It was so much fun except for when McArthur and I were doing service and I looked down and saw a whole baby spider colony crawling up my body to lay eggs in my ears or something. I didn't wait around to see where they would end up and so I ran away screaming like a little girl. McArthur's comment was, "Your lucky this family only has girls so that the neighbors don't think anything's up." 

Then Sunday is when things got CRAZY!! So last Sunday they announced that they were going to change the Branch Boundaries between the two Spanish Branches here in the Lilburn Stake. So Sunday we had church at the Lilburn building instead of the Lawrenceville building. Basically what happened is that they took 1/3 of the Riverside Branch and moved them to the other Branch called Stone Mountain. With that area they also took half of our members, our Branch Mission Leader and all of our missionary minded members. They also moved the Lawrenceville Branch to another building in the Stake, an extra 15 miles from our apartment. They took the other companionship of Elders out of Riverside so it's just Elder Swingler and I. Basically I decided that I'm going to spend the rest of my mission here reconstructing a Branch and getting this rolling again as to the missionary work. We have about 2 investigators now haha. It's like Winder all over again!! hahaha

We're going to be fine though. Elder Swingler is really positive which helps, but has no idea what any of this actually means for us haha. Oh how ignorance is bliss. 

I love you all so much! I'm happy to hear that you are all doing well in your prospective lives and locations! Keep it up Rodaboughs. There are hard things to be done and nobody better to do them than us. COWBOY UP!!! 

Elder Rodabough the second

Email sent April 20, 2015: " Counselors, Baptism and Eccentric Members"

Well hey der folks!
So this week was a ton better. The district saw a ton of success and also a lot of change. So Sister Jones, the closest sister friend that I had here finished her mission and they ended up removing the sisters from the Lawrenceville Ward all together. They put in a companionship of Elders. It was a little concerning because the sisters had someone on date for baptism this Saturday! But luckily the Elders that were put in are amazing and so they had everything under control. I was able to do the interview for the investigator named Tony. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission talking to him. He has taken to the Gospel so fast and is so faithful. At the end of the interview he offered the prayer and prayed so purely. He pleaded with the Lord to remove all of the negativity, the sins, and all of the evil inside of him at his baptism. So that he could become a new creature. I was crying at the end of the prayer. 

We also went to see the mission counselor. She's actually a Marriage and Family Therapist as well! So I was able to talk to her about her practice and DBT training haha. But I also have been feeling especially stressed about training Elder Swingler, so I asked to talk to her as well. It was a really wonderful talk and during it I realized that Madi and Bailey, we have a very excellent father. And while yes, he is a therapist haha, he still is an amazing father who loves to help us. 

Now, for the funniest part of the week. So last night we had a lesson planned with an awesome potential investigator that we had met on Saturday. We got the most enthusiastic member who helps out a ton with missionary work, (basically he's a lot like mom haha just Hispanic) to come with us but when we got there to the lesson, they didn't show up... So we waited and waited and finally we decided to just go teach the lesson without them. We taught from the doorway--No male present.... :( , But as we were leaving the member called us saying she was still going to come and meet our investigator! So we walked back up to the same door we had just been at for 20 minutes and explained the situation. Our member showed up and basically just invited herself into the house and talked with the mother and niece who live there.  They are super awesome. But here's where it got interesting.... So we were about to wrap up the chit chat and leave when Hna Lupercio, our member asked if our investigator would like to have a Family Home Evening tomorrow. The investigator said sure! Then.... Hna Lupercio said, "Now, my house isn't big enough, so can we have it in your home?" We were like "WHAT???" But the investigator said "Sure"! We don't know if she realizes what she's getting into. The Lupercios have 5 kids, and both companionships of elders... Wish us luck guys...

Overall things are going great here in Lawrenceville :) I'm really happy :) Thanks for all of your prayers guys I really can feel them. I hope all is well back home and that you are all keeping Holy! 

Elder Rodabough

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Email sent April 13, 2015: "One Rough Week"

Well family, I don't know what we did to deserve such a week, but good heavens it was a rough one. We like to think that we're just being tested--hahaha

So Monday we actually had a really spiritual experience. So we were returning home from trying to see a few investigators to no avail. As we pulled into our apartment complex, Elder Swingler and I both felt prompted to go see a 17 year old investigator named Pedro who lives at the back of our complex. So we parked and walked down the complex and knocked on his door.  His mother opened the door and said that Pedro wasn't really in a good condition to speak to us, but he stormed passed her and said he wanted to talk. So we sat down and he asked if we could pray. He was acting a little weird and we could smell a little bit of alcohol on his breath. After we ended the prayer, Pedro was crying. We let him cry for a minute then asked him if he was ok. He said that he had found out that even though they had just gotten there a week before, his mom is looking to buy a house somewhere else... He explained that he felt no hope for a future. That he was tired of having his life yanked out from underneath him time, after time, after time. Now before I go on I don't know if I've ever explained about Pedro, but for the duration of Pedro's entire life, his mother has gone from man to man looking for support, but ending up on the street, with another baby on the way. He hasn't had a great past. 

I asked him if we wanted to change. Pedro responded by saying that he wasn't capable of change. Then he cried a little bit more. After a minute he looked up at us and said something amazing. He said, "I knew you were going to come. Something told me that it would be you guys on the other side of the door when I heard the knock. And I know you can help me." Elder Swingler and I were dumbfounded.  We taught him about the Atonement, and how through the Atonement, no matter who we were or are, God only cares about who we are going to become. We asked him to pray right then and there and ask God if he is capable of change. Pedro offered a prayer and we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon with Alma 36, the conversion of Alma the Younger. A few days later on Thursday we stopped by again and he was so happy. He said he'd read the chapter that very night in the bathroom but fell asleep shortly after. He said he woke up the next day completely free of the despair that he had felt he weeks leading up to that night. 
I testify of the power that the Atonement has for us. I know, that through the loving sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ we can receive strength when we need it. When it is beyond our physical ability. And that through the Atonement, all that is unfair in this life shall be made up. All of our losses, will be recompensed, and we can be together with Christ. It was such a wonderful week guys. It was so rough and included damaging our car, getting yelled at by a member for an hour straight, not having a single teaching appointment the whole week. But was so wonderful to have been an answer to someone's prayer. I know and testify that the Lord knows us. He hears us and will act according to our faith. I was reading in D&C 10 today and between verses 49-53 the Lord says that by "the faith in their prayers" they shall receive the blessings they desire. I know of this principle. 

I love you guys so much! I know that we are doing the best we can do in our perspective states, jobs, etc! Keep it up team!
Elder Rodabough, the second

Email sent April 6, 2015: " Don't be bad at me--this is a short one"

I'm sorry this one will be short!!! We had a great week.

We went to the mission counselor and found out that Elder Swingler has Traumatic Brain Disorder from shoving a key into a light socket when he was 8. The left side of his brain was apparently damaged which explains his struggles with reading and memorizing.

We had a super sweet lesson with an investigator where we showed the Because He Lives video when we were teaching the Resurrection during the Plan of Salvation. The spirit was so strong! They agreed to be baptized if they come to know that the Book of Mormon is true. Things are beginning to look up for us in Lawrenceville!!!

Conference was amazing! Although I am greatly concerned for the health of Elder Packer, Elder Hales, Elder Scott, and President Monson. I know that the Lord will protect them and give them help, but I invite you all to keep them in your prayers.  Before the first session on Saturday, which started at 12:00 noon here, we had an Easter Egg Hunt with all the missionaries in Lawrenceville and we all really enjoyed it. 

Things should be fun this next week. We have a lot of investigators to see and we continue to have a lot of success. I will repent and send a longer email next week .

Elder Rodabough

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Email sent March 30, 2014: "What is going on here?"

Pretty solid week when it comes to finding investigators if I do say so myself. we found 7 new investigators and the majority of them were couples and various members of a family. We have some solid appointments this coming week which we are excited for. Our biggest struggle the past couple months have been changing new investigators into progressing investigators. So this week we're going to focus really hard on the new investigators that we have in order to get someone on date for baptism and progressing towards making covenants with God. Let's get it on.

We actually made investigators out of our neighbors! We helped them move in and then offered to come back and do a Blessing on their home and they agreed! We're going back this week to teach them about how families can be more united with the Gospel. We also had a really cool moment last night with a new set of investigators. 

So we had an appointment set up which we were half an hour late for. The wife of our potential investigator answered the door but looked so stressed out that we said we would come back. The mother of the wife came out from behind us and asked us to come in and pray for her. As we went in the wife explained that her mother had been diagnosed with Dementia and that had been causing some big problems in the house in the past week. We could feel such a lack of hope and lots of despair as we entered so we sat down and said the prayer. The spirit descended so strongly during the prayer. Everyone calmed down and we were able to talk about trials we face in life and how they are for our benefit. We talked about how the Lord will never give us anything that we cannot overcome. I explained that my sister was sick and that my family had been facing trials as well, but through the Savior Jesus Christ we have been able to be strong. We asked if we could come back next week and they said sure! 

We've got some really good things working in our area. But overall the morale has been really low in the district. We had our meeting changed to Thursday this past week instead of Tuesday and it was much later in the afternoon. We started the meeting and there was a complete absence of the Spirit in the room. I gave the first training and halfway through it got to be too much. So I stopped and asked "What is going on here? Why is the spirit not here?" Sister Jones, (who is a "hommie") said "There is no spirit here. Let's kneel down and pray." So we all kneeled down right then and there and prayed. The Spirit filled the room. Later, as we were talking a bit more about our problems as a District we all felt like we've been running into a brick wall over and over again. We didn't know what to do, so we went down the hall and invited President Bennion, who was in the building doing interviews, and he came and trained us on faith and patience. I'll have to explain to you guys his training because it was amazing. Mom, take a list of the things that I've said that need some more explaining and when I get back I'll lay it all down on the table for you guys. 

It was a really good week overall and we're working hard at it. I love you all so much guys. Thank you so much for your updates on how things are doing. I know that sometimes I don't respond individually, but to know at least what is going on with everyone brings me some peace. I love you all so much!


Emails sent March 23, 2015: Elder Zwick--The Man, the Legend, the General Authority

Hey team!

I feel like team is a bit more appropriate now in lieu of March Madness. or as we call it el Locoro de marzo. Ok nobody really calls it that. A member back in Marietta told me like 3 months ago and I just remembered it now. 

This week was a bit slow on the Proselyting portion, but we still were able to see some miracles! We were able to attend two meetings with Elder Zwick of the Seventy though! He's had the coolest life ever. During a meeting a missionary asked him how we're supposed to work with the members if not all the members of a ward/branch council don't show up to the meeting. He responded by explaining how in 1969 he opened Bolivia on horseback and build the church building out of adobe in towns that had never seen a white person. He then asked, "do you think I had support from the branch council? Do you think we had a branch council?" I made it sound like it was a lot more stern than how it actually was but everyone was just hushed in one moment hahaha. 

We had two meetings, one on Wednesday evening, and a full day zone conference Thursday. Wednesday was with three stakes. The bishopric and his counselors, the branch mission leader, all ward missionaries, and all members of a ward council were invited, attendance was low from the riverside branch.... But overall it was awesome. He talked about working together as a ward council and then focused on missionary work in ward councils. he asked that members of a council be prepared to answer 4 questions. 

1) The names of investigators that came to church last week
2) The names of all progressing investigators 
3) Who are the fellowshippers for these investigators
4) WHO will be TAUGHT in your house this week

It was awesome :)

Thursday was all pretty much a blur of everything together. Sister Zwick talked a lot about prayer and the language of prayer that we need to have. Thee, thy, thou. She said that some people think that it's weird, but to our father in heaven, it shows we respect and look for his council. She talked about the healing power of prayer for a bit as well. Elder Zwick got up and basically announced right out of the gate that the mission will be receiving iPads on the 20th of may. I'm marginally excited. Because it'll give me 3 months but at the same time I doubt I'll have time do really learn how to utilize or really get to utilize them. I think I'll just pass actually... He also talked about Virtue. How we need to between now, and May 20th, purify and sanctify our minds, thoughts, actions, our beings to prepare ourselves. Challenge accepted. The coolest quote that we actually put on our door was when he quoted Oliver Cowdrey and said, "Never, stop ceasing until you see the face of God." He then said, "My fellow Elders and sisters I have not ceased striving since my mission, and I don't plan on until my last breath." 

Anyways! I love you all so much! have a happy birthday this week Mads! I love you a ton! Keep up the good work and remember not to be bums! 

Elder Rodabough the second

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Email sent March 16, 2015: The Suarez Family Baptism

Well team, the best thing that happened this week was the baptism of the Suarez family! So I'll focus a bit more on that than the other days of the week. Basically we tracted and found some crazy Jewish Guatemalan guy that played us bahmitzva music for the first 20 minutes of our lesson. Remind me to show you that video when I get home.

The Suarez baptism was actually a really sweet experience. We'd been preparing the whole week this past week getting everything ready. Usually with a baptism there is always one thing that goes wrong so I was expecting something the whole time. But as the baptism got started nothing had happened! The service was great, the fellowshipper of the Suarez's gave a beautiful talk about the process of baptism and it's purpose. Then we had the baptism which went awesome! Secret time: I have a huge fear of watching someone get baptized. I'm always worried that something is going to go wrong, so of course I was asked to be a witness for the baptisms. Then the youth sang the Youth Theme for 2014 "Come unto Christ" and it was really beautiful. 

Aside from that that was the highlight of our week! We have Elder wick of the 70 coming to the mission to do a mission tour. We have about three meetings with him this week so we probably won't get a whole lot of proselyting done... But we are going to work hard!  I Love you all so much! 

Elder Rodabough the second
PS: Best quote from Elder Swingler this week:  "So my two main goals right now are 1. Finish my mission and 2. Be bigger than Van Halen and be a guitar master." 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Email sent March 9, 2015: I Got Food Poisoning

So yeah I got food poisoning this week the day of transfers. That wasn't fun at all. So we ate with a family from the English ward this week that I knew from Sugar Hill. We ate Tuesday right before transfers and the meat she served us was questionable at best... But she said she worked in a French restaurant so we didn't question. She didn't mention why she said "Worked" instead of "Work" however... But anyways. I woke up on Wednesday morning throwing up... And then I had to go to the mission office and grab my new missionary. Elder Galvez drove me actually! So I had the chance to say goodbye to him before he left. He should be up in Utah in two months and so I hope he comes and sees you guys!

My new missionary's name is Elder Swingler. He's from the US but spent 10 years in Columbia growing up until he was 16. He speaks amazing Spanish so I don't have to worry about teaching him anything. He really likes anime and lots of other things that I've never done before. But alas, he has a great desire to work and so I will use that to build our relationship and work hard.

I'm so sorry I don't have anything to write.... I will have so much after this week though!!! The Suarez's baptism will be this Saturday!  Keep them in your prayers! You are all in mine and I know that the Lord is watching over us :)

Elder Rodabough

Email sent March 2, 2015: I Am Training Again

Yeah so yeah I'm getting a new missionary this Thursday. Elder Castro is going back to the Portuguese Branch and isn't sure how he feels about it, but I know he'll be fine :) he's just got to work and apply all the lessons we learned the past three months together. I've really loved my companionship with Elder Castro guys. I've never felt like I've worked the hardest that I can like I have with him. Ok.. Maybe Galvez... But Castro is a close close second when it comes to level of work done and dedication to the work.

Speaking of Elder Galvez!!! He's finished this Wednesday!!! I get the chance to drive him to the mission office and I will appreciate the heck out of those 15 minutes we'll have together. The mission is changing so much these days... It's pretty crazy. All of my best friends and missionaries that I've looked up to the past 18 months are all going home. When Elder Galvez comes up from Guatemala you guys have to meet him!!! I WOULD LOVE THAT SO MUCH!!!!

This week was really super cold. It snowed twice but here the snow is basically hail. Satan was being a real punk this week and whenever we would be tracting it would be hailing like crazy. Elder Castro isn't used to the cold, so we had to take some breaks and when we would stop the hail would stop. Then the second that we started knocking again it would start hailing again!!! I wasn't happy to say the least. Not one bit. But we had some really amazing miracles!

THE SUAREZ'S ARE ON DATE!!!! Well the mom and daughter who are non-members are on date for the 14th of March. I was so excited when Adriana, the mom, said she had decided a date :) We really love this family and they are so awesome :) They are the most mormony non-mormon family that we've ever taught haha. LIke for example, we had a Family History Day for the branch for sunday school and priesthood/reliefsociety we just looked for names of ancestors with the branch members. We learned how to do it on Thursday and then helped the members. I helped a woman find and request temple work for 3 of her brothers who have passed away and her father. She was so excited and almost started craying. It was a really cool blessing to be apart of. Hey real fast dad! Grandpa's initatory and endowments have not been done according to the records! It says that you have them reserved to do, but I would love to do them when I get home. Please! 

Aside from that guys that's about it. Know that I love you guys and am looking forward to seeing you all on August 15th. Holy flip that's too soon....

Love, because I love you,
Elder Rodabough the second

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Email sent on February 23, 2015: Elder Castro Quotes and Love/Hate Graphs

Well team it sounds like it was an interesting, dramatic, and cold week for all of us.  Sadly my week was mostly more cold than those other things.

This week we mostly had a roller coaster of lessons and progression with investigators. Tuesday we had a solid day after P-day planned that I was super excited for that all fell through... I was feeling pretty disheartened to be honest and actually just sat down on our coffee table just staring at our map. But luckily family, whatever the Lord has given us is always enough! The Lord gave me an awesome companion with Elder Castro and he gave me a really spiritual pep talk which helped me out. We didn't have a huge miracle that night, but we went into the next day having a lot of faith. We went on exchanges and I stayed here since I'm the one with the drivers license between the two of us. Elder Hodson an English missionary came with me and we saw so many miracles! We found a couple new investigators and taught a lesson to one of our investigators named Jose who's so GOLDEN!!

Basically we spent the most of the week knocking on doors and following up with a bunch of potential investigators. It was funny since Elder Castro isn't accustomed to the cold--as in, the coldest it's ever been in his city in Brazil is 60 degrees. So we'd knock for 30 minutes and then warm up for 10 minutes in the car.  Speaking of Elder Castro, I decided one day that I would write down all of Elder Castro's quotes that made me laugh. Here we go team: 

Me: I need to shave again before we go. 
Castro: Ok then... Dumbledore.

Castro: Are you Disney?
Me: What?... Am I Disney? Why?
Castro: Because you're destroying my dreams.
Me: Does Disney destroy your dreams Castro?
Castro: .....Sometimes.... Yeah....

*We kneel down to pray*
Castro: Whoa! I understand Kenna so much more... You're beautiful....

*during the prayer*
Castro: Please bless sister Welker... I MEAN ELDER!!!

Well family, it was a good week for us overall. We've had some real learning experiences with the Branch President here in the branch. He was a super successful missionary, taught in the MTC, met his wife at BYU and taught us how to use the Book of Mormon more in our teaching in the middle of our branch council. It was pretty direct and forward. I liked it. 

Also here we go a real fast Hate/Love Graph

20% My awesome district
15% Elder Castro quotes
30% Eating with the other elders in our apartment
25% Playing soccer with the Missionaries in the zone
10% PMG DVD's

40% The cold
40% When investigators don't accept baptismal invitations
20% When we have a low amount of miles and can't go anywhere...

Elder Rodabough

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Email sent February 17, 2015: Charity and Icesicles

Howdy there family!! 
Well this week we had to change our P-day to today due to the fact that Presidents Day was yesterday and all the libraries were closed. So we went out and worked on our Monday.  Here is what happened day by day this last week:

On Monday last week we played dodge ball and I also looked up those apartments that you wanted me to at USU. I don't have time this week due to that we're in a library not the FHC but next week I will find a whole lot more now that I know what we're looking at cost wise. Tuesday I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders which during I felt a strong impression that I need to increase charity towards my fellow man. Elder Barnett, my ZL, is a huge example of love for everyone and I want to have that same love. 
Bunk beds we made with our Zone Leaders.  I was a little nervous about sleeping in the top bunk.
Wednesday we exchanged back and we taught English class that night. It was so awesome because the lesson was on "How to Say a Prayer" and had tons of references to the Restoration planned into it. In the lesson hand out there was even a picture of the First Vision haha. So I dared Elder Welker, who's teaching the class, to teach the restoration during the English lesson. Which he did! We had like 3 investigators in the class and it was hilarious to watch him teach the Restoration in Spanglish.

Thursday when I had a chance to do studies in my own apartment I decided to begin my study of Charity and to pray with "all energy of heart" like it talks about in Moroni 7. During my studies I read the examples of Charity that were given in PMG and then afterwards I prayed that the Lord would give me an opportunity to grow in Charity that day. During the day we taught a way amazing Cuban family and invited them to be baptized. THEY SAID YES! And we're going back this Thursday to set a firm baptismal date.  We were also invited to go to a Relief Society activity that night and we went not expecting what would happen. So we got there and the sisters asked us to share a message on Charity, which we all had been studying that day! After our little mini-lesson, the sisters brought out a huge box of food and then told us that they were going to express their Charity by chipping in food and giving it all to the two companionships in the Branch. I was speechless. I was suddenly filled with so much love for the branch and filled with love for them. To know that the Lord hears my prayers and will answer them that fast was so amazing as well. IT was a huge testimony builder for me. 
Food given to the missionaries by the Relief Society.  We felt the LOVE!

Saturday I had a cool opportunity to translate for a baptismal interview for an investigator that Elder Augustus and Elder Welker, the other missionaries here. I did her first interview but she had a problem that required that a member of the mission presidency interview her as well. We had her interview the morning of her Baptism and it was so amazing to hear her story. She's gone through a lot, and bears quite a lot of scars from her past decisions, but she was ready to make it right with the Lord and be baptized. At the same time, Elders in another ward had a baptism an every companionship in my district had an investigator there! It was really an amazing blessing to have so many people there. Later at the baptism in the branch, we had an investigator there as well. The Lord is really working miracles here in Lawrenceville. 

Sunday we had dinner with the Suarez family, the part member family that is super close to baptism. The mother and daughter, Adriana and Echery, are so close to baptism and during dinner we talked about what day would be best for her baptism. She said either the 14th of March or the 28th. We were pretty dang surprised since she's been dancing around date for the past 5 months!
It was so cold this week, I wore my sweat pants beneath my pants all week
 Over all it was a really amazing week and I'm so happy to hear that all of you had a good Valentines Day! I hear that Laine is quite the cutie and I'm so excited to get to know him better when I do get home. Speaking of that.... I gave it a lot of thought this past week and I don't know if President Bennion emailed you guys or not... it sounds like not.... but I decided to stay for another month and I'll head home on August 14th. It's a Friday and so we'll have a couple days to be together before I head up to Logan for Ambassador responsibilities. President said he would submit the date to headquarters and get back to me as soon as possible. I know it's not the date we originally planned, but I feel really good about it. I really feel the spirit as I think about it. I feel confidant. I love you all so much and hope you can all continue to grow in the spirit. I love you!

Elder Rodabough the second. 

Email sent February 9, 2015: Cooking and Missed Opportunities

Hey family!
So this week we didn't have a whole lot of things happen. We had a lot of set appointments and nearly all of them fell through. Luckily our investigators still want to meet with us so we're hopeful for the future. The branch here in Lawrenceville is so supportive and most of our current investigators are member referrals of people that members invite to church. So the support from the branch is there, we have the skills, and now we just need to make the schedules to match up!  We know that the Lord will bless us and give us many opportunities.

Basically we've been cooking a lot the past couple of days. Our lunches and nighttime snacks are pretty awesome! We've made a lot of eggs, black beans, rice and other lunches. I'll send you guys some photos! 

We also had a zone conference this past week where we had all the missionaries who are going home in the next two transfers bear their testimonies. It's crazy how many missionaries are going home that I've got to be good friends with. Elder Auelua and Elder Aubrey both bore their testimonies and it blew my mind to realize that they have 10 weeks left. It put into perspective my time left here in Georgia. I started to think about how sacred this place is to me. I've loved my mission so much family. I've loved it all. I still have some time left, and so I'll keep serving as much as I can! 
Zone Conference
Elder Castro is doing good if any of you were wondering. Branch President Tefteller also speaks Portuguese and so they have a fun time speaking together. He really loves all of the elders in the Branch and he actually said during branch council, "If we utilize the missionaries we have with us right now, we will see miracles." It really made us feel good about ourselves and feel really motivated! 
We've got a lot to do this next coming week! I know that the Lord will protect, guide, and love us as we work with all of our heart might mind and strength! :) 
Elder Rodabough, the second

Monday, February 2, 2015

Email sent February 4, 2015: A Miracle a Day

Oh my word family this was such an amazing week!!!! We've basically got a miracle for every day of the week! So I'll give you a play-by-play. Speaking of Play-by-plays, Elder Jessen, an office couple worker, gave me a pretty detailed account of the last 10 minutes of the super bowl. Que lastima... (What a shame...) They should have done a run-play....

We had an awesome district meeting and afterwards Elder Welker and I went on exchange. I'm the district leader, again, so I figured I could start my exchanges since I don't know anything about the area.  We had a pretty rough day of tracting, but had an appointment with a less active at 8:00 pm. So, we got there and his non-member in-laws who are visiting from Mexico wanted to watch the Restoration since it was an assignment given by the other elders. We watched it and the Spirit was so strong. The father-in-law kept asking a ton of questions about the movie as it played and so afterwards we taught them about the Restoration in more depth. We invited them to be baptized and they said yes if they read and find out more about the church! They go back to Mexico next week so we're just going to prep them for the missionaries down in Mexico.

Well, this wasn't really a miracle, but sort of. We were tracting before the sun went down to try and find some potentials and as it got dark we headed back to the car. Reach into my pocket. No keys... So we searched up and down the street for an hour looking for them until we ran out of light. Then we called the Vehicle Coordinator to come and let us in to our car with a spare key. He told us it would take half an hour for him to get there so we settled down to wait. But on the way to us he got into a small car accident so we had to wait an hour and a half. He and his car were fine. But eventually he let us in and we found our keys in the trunk of the car.... Not really a miracle, but it was a funny story. I made a bunch of videos as if we were lost in the forest and Elder Castro was going crazy. It was almost like a Lord of the Flies thing. But not really. 

I'm not sure if I'll be able to contain what really went down this day in an email, but I'll explain when I get back. Basically my entire understanding of my purpose as a missionary of the Gospel changed in 6 hours. We had two men from the church missionary department come to the mission an discuss the results of a survey we took a month ago. They taught us about baptismal invites and effective planning. But what they taught for the first hour was the Gospel. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I've never had such a learning experience as I had in that hour. Basically what it came down to was if we aren't inviting people to be baptized on the first lesson, we aren't fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. It was intense, but so beautiful at the same time. I'll explain later. Then we taught a lesson to our top investigators Adrianna and Echery Suarez. They're a part member family and we had an amazing lesson about the temples and eternal marriage.

We started going to every members house that we could and invited them to fast for Adrianna and Echery for fast Sunday and invited a bunch of members to bear their testimonies about how the Gospel has changed their lives.

Went to a mega church. It was weird. Didn't feel the Spirit. They used a weird translation of the bible. I'll tell you about it later. 
EVERYBODY WE INVITED TO BEAR THEIR TESTIMONY DID!!! Also all the members that we invited to fast came up to us and asked about Adrianna and Echery. Also a bunch of members that we didn't invite came up and bore their testimonies as well about missionary work and baptism. It was literally an hour of just intense Spirit. Holla. 

Monday, Today:
We're going to a trampoline place for an elders 22nd birthday. I'm excited. I love you all!!!

Elder Rodabough, the Second

Sheny at the Temple

Email sent January 26,2015: Whitewashing in Lawrenceville

So this week I don't have a real lot to talk about. Basically we got here on Wednesday after a way crazy morning. So we got up, wait, let me change that, I got up at 4:30am to shower and finish packing my things to put them in the car. Then we drove to Lawrenceville and dropped off all our stuff. The apartment wasn't too clean so we spent most of our Wednesday cleaning the apartment, which is huge by the way!!! Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and lots and lots of space. It's nice because we have lots of room to do activities.

We basically spent most of our days this week tracting, meeting some members, and doing service as a Zone for the Red Cross. We went to the Lawrenceville housing department houses and broke up into groups going from house to house installing smoke detectors and making fire escape plans with the residents. It was really fun actually since a lot of missionaries here in the Zone are some of my closest friends here in the mission. It was a really cool experience actually.

Sorry I don't have much to report actually. Elder Castro and I are just working hard and doing our best to find people. This is going to be a really challenging transfer to be honest. But we are ready to do the Lords work. For the Lord we go hard.
Love, Elder Rodabough the Second
                  Elder Aubrey (One of my best friends here), Elder Sousa, another Portuguese elder.
                                             We wore fire department vests. We felt cool.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Email sent January 20, 2015: Baptisms and Belts

Howdidily-Doo family!

In case you were wondering, which you probably won't, yes I do begin every letter I send to President Bennion with Howdidily-Doo. He hasn't said a word about it, so I assume he's ok with it. 

So family it has been a wonderful week! Sorry for the lack of an email yesterday. Due to MLK day we had our P-day changed to today. But alas, I will email you all a wonderful letter describing our week. Paz, Calmense... 

So this week it was pretty awesome. We had the baptism of Carmen on Friday. We thought everything was planned but as we woke up on Thursday morning we realized that we hadn't done a program for it! I was going on exchanges so Elder Castro and Elder Portillo were able to go and get it situated. I'm glad I have two companions I can count on to be honest. It's pretty nice. But on Friday, as time got closer and closer to the baptism more things kept happening. We got there at 6 to begin filling the font for 7pm, the time of the baptism. Carmen wanted it warm and so we filled it with as hot as water as we could. During that process, Elder Castro told us he didn't have a change of clothes, since he was the one going to baptize her. So he and I ran back to the apartment while Elder Portillo translated for the interview. Oh, which they thought was going to be held at their house, so they had to fly over to the church so that a member of the mission presidency could conduct the interview. Then while waiting for the baptism, nobody showed up, not even Carmen until around 6:50 hahaha Hispanics. So we postponed the baptism a little bit to wait. Carmen then informed us that they didn't have baptismal clothes, despite the fact that they'd told us they had some.... got that situated. Then the daughter, Maria, asked us what she was supposed to speak on during the program, which we set a week ago haha so I just had to wing my talk based off of what she said haha. IT was a pretty interesting baptismal service if I've ever seen one. Because during all the waiting, the water cooled and was cold hahahah. 

After the baptism we had a really interesting night. Elder Portillo and I have some fun playing little pranks on Elder Castro. So while Elder Castro was using the bathroom, we closed the door to the bathroom and shut off all the lights in the apartment. Then we waited in the laundry room with belts. Elder Castro opens the door and immediately starts freaking out. He was yelling things like, "Where are you guys? Don't be stupid! I'll find you!!!" And at one point he came running out of the bathroom with a can of Febrez spraying it in the air. I guess trying to make a smoke screen for defense. But he ran back into the cloud and yelled, "OH IT"S IN MY EYES!!!" At that point we came out of the laundry room and started lightly, and I emphasis LIGHTLY, whipping him with the belts. He had a Nerf gun and shot me in the face so we thought it was equal. I love this companionship!

But alas, transfers are this week. It's pretty crazy actually what's happening. Elder Castro and I are staying together, but going to whitewash in Lawrenceville. I'm happy to take a challenge like this under my belt. The first time I whitewashed I was being trained and so I'm happy for the chance to do it when I actually know what I'm doing! I don't know my address but I'll email you guys next week to let you know :) I love you all so much and I loved getting emails from you all this week :) Have fun! Keep being strong! Guarden la ley de Castidad!!!

Elder Rodabough the second
Happy Penguin appreciation day!

Email sent January 12, 2015: Keeping it Kosher in Kennesaw

So this was a really awesome week for the majority of the District this week! So for us we had a really good week all full of miracles. I'll just give some highlights of the funniest and craziest moments.

On Monday we ate with the Ayala Family and did a Family Home evening with them. We decided to teach a basic Plan of Salvation lesson and have everybody draw their own Plan on paper with Crayons. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Ivy (10yr old daughter): Do we draw Adam and eve with clothes or without clothes?
Hno Ayala: Depends if this is before or after the fall! Let's keep it clean and put clothes Ivy.
Me: Who are some people who will live in the Telestial Kingdom?
Seth (12 yr old son): Hitler!
Ivy: Miley Cyrus!!!!
Elder Portillo: Well, we've reached that point in the world. Good to know...

I love the Ayala Family hahaha

Tuesday I got to do an exchange with Elder McArthur which was so fun. We got together and he came with Elder Castro and I. We didn't have a huge day planned to be honest but he didn't really care. He knows that we're working and there's always that one day of the week when you have nothing planned and you just look for potentials. But at night we had a super long talk till about 12pm. We mostly talked about sacrifice and the eternal principles behind it. Yeah we have super deep doctrine conversations because we're cool like that. We also talked about how much we look forward to hanging out with one another after the mission. He's probably my best friend out here in the mission. You'll all like him. He's super sarcastic.

Friday, I had a super mega blessing come my way straight from the clouds above. You all remember Sheny right? The little tiny Guatemalan lady that we baptized back in January of last year? SHE WENT TO THE TEMPLE!!!!! Elder Galvez called me Thursday night telling me that we both received permission to go to the temple with her. So on Friday I exchanged with Elder Galvez and he got a member ride form the Norcross Branch down to the temple in Sandy Springs. It was so wonderful to see her. She makes me feel like a good missionary haha. But to see someone finally get the blessings that come from the temple after one year of activity was so amazing. To see why we baptize. Not to get people in the waters of baptism, but so that they can get to the temple. It was nice to do another session in Spanish though! The veil worker was mumbling a ton so it was a little bit harder this time through. But I made it!

Saturday we taught Carmen who's getting baptized this Friday and Sunday she came to church! We were able to teach her along with another super prepared girl named Estefania. She's like 20 yrs old and wants to make a bunch of changes in her life. She didn't come to church yesterday, but we'll do our best to see her again this week.

It's been a really awesome time here in Cherokee Spanish. It's been everything that I've ever hoped for. We have transfer calls next week and it's looking like a real toss-up. I might stay, I might go, I'm up for a transfer, but I could just as easily stay. President likes keeping people towards the end of 6 months in an area lately, but I'm just going to keep working no matter where I am. That was something nice I learned last transfer when I was a little disappointed that I wasn't going to train. But as I thought about it I realized something very deep. It doesn't matter hahaha. It doesn't matter where I am because I'll be doing the exact same thing everywhere I go. The Lord has prepared people everywhere, so I'll just go find them wherever my boundary limits are.
I love you all so much and hope you are all having a good time! Keep it fresh Rodaboughs!!!
Elder Rodabough

Email sent Jenuary 5, 2015: Teaching, Teaching and Teaching

Well family we didn't have a super crazy filled week. But we did see a steady stream of miracles come our way which was amazing!!

So with Carmen this week we had the chance to teach her 5 times which was really nice. We had the chance to bring members from the branch to the lessons so she could get to know people and at church Hno Estrada (who we brought him and his wife) sat with Carmen and her daughter who was already a member named Maria. She's just really happy with the church and mentions every time we teach her how she feels like she's found a real truth and is happy she found it after all these years. She's around 70 I think... So retention of info is low.... but the Spirit is high during the lessons so we're ok!! She actually just changed her baptismal date to Friday the 16th! We're a little scared about how much time we have to teach her since she's out of town for the whole business week. But she gets back on Saturday so we'll be able to finish the lessons with her.

But the coolest miracle that I saw this week would have to be on Thursday, New Years Day. I was in Roswell on exchange with the Cumorah Branch Spanish Elders. I stayed in Roswell which I'm pretty familiar with and was with Elder Wood. He's a fairly new missionary, only been out about 7 months now. We went out tracting and I was super determined to teach a lesson with Elder Wood. So much so that right before I left I just muttered quietly out loud, "Ok, Lord, I'm walking with the faith that we're going to teach someone during this time. Help me with that please." We walked to a complex and the very first door we knocked on a white guy opened it and said "Hold on let me go put on a shirt." Then he came back and invited us right in without us saying a word. We sat down and started talking to him. When he opened the door I noticed he had a probation anklet on and so we got to talking about that. (He brought it up...) He went on to tell us that he'd had enough with 2014 and was ready to make 2015 a better year. That he'd made enough mistakes, he said as he motioned to his anklet haha, and he wanted to start over again. We taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and explained that through baptism, he could have a new start and be clean again. We invited him to be baptized and he said he would think about it and "try out the fruits".  It was such a wonderful blessing and testimony grower that the Lord really does hear our prayers and bless us according to our faith. It's happened multiple times since I've been back where I say a little prayer in my heart for a lesson here, a door opening there, and he does answer! Not everytime. Because if it did happen that way, it wouldn't require faith, and that's not how the Lord works! haha

I love you guys so much!  Have a wonderful week!
Elder Rodabough