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.