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