Sunday, December 10, 2017

An Evangelical Pastor - Round II

The BEST part of this week is that December has started! Our big focus now, as missionaries, is the Church’s initiative #LightTheWorld. Basically, our main purpose each day, other that teaching lessons we’ve arranged, is to spread this message to everyone we encounter.  One night this week, Elder Hobbs and I walked around and offered chocolate milk to people in our area and then once they were interested, we’d offer to show them the Christmas video that the Church made.  By sharing the message of #LightTheWorld we’re already full of Christmas spirit and it’s helped us get into more homes too.
On Tuesday, one of the Assistants came to our area to go on an exchange and see how Elder Hobbs and I are working together.  As it turned out, we didn’t have a lunch appointment on Tuesday, so we called the bishop to tell him that the assistant wanted to talk to him about the ward and missionary work. We made all of this up, just to get an awesome lunch from the bishops’ wife.  But, it worked perfectly because they served us a great meal and they had no clue that we set them up for lunch! Also, the bishop’s son, without knowing we’d brought the assistant to lunch, walked into join us and the first thing he said was, “This Elder has the face of an Assistant.”  Elder Hobbs and I were dying of laughter.  Our lunch date and exchange with the Assistant couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.
Since we had baptisms last week, we are desperate for a few more investigators. So, we spent a lot of timing knocking doors this week.  One night, as we were knocking doors, trying to share a Christmas video with people, we saw a little church tucked right into the middle of a neighborhood. At first, we thought the church was just a house, but right as we were about to knock on the door, we realized it was actually a church.  This made us hesitate to knock.  However, I thought to myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” so we knocked and introduced ourselves.  The family immediately let us in and offered us pizza and soda and told us to make ourselves at home.  As we talked with the family, we learned that the man of the house is a pastor and he has his own church. He also told us that he is “Christo,” which means Christ in Spanish.  I was taken back and I actually thought, “This dude is nuts,” but then he clarified that his last name is Christo. Haha! We continued talking and then the man told us that he is a gypsy! So, he’s an evangelical Pentecostal pastor who is a gypsy! We had a good little chat and he took us on tour of his church.  During the tour, I started to play his piano a little bit and now he’s trying to get me to play for him every week. The whole thing was a pretty crazy experience but the man was so nice and we even left him with a Book of Mormon. As we were leaving the last thing he said was, “Quit preaching about Joseph Smith and become an evangelical pastor!” Elder Hobbs and I were dying of laughter. It was a pretty hilarious way to end the night.     
This week as we were teaching Augustin, we decided to focus our lesson on Miguel, his dad. Miguel has always been present during our lessons with Augustin, but since he is so focused on having Augustin listen to us, he really never thinks about applying our lessons to himself. So, this week, we specifically taught Miguel about baptism and the Priesthood and we extended a baptismal invitation to him and he accepted! It took some convincing to get him to take this step, but after church on Sunday he felt a lot more confident and he’s getting excited for his upcoming baptism!

Have a great week!                                                                 

Elder Roderick

Sunday, December 3, 2017

One of the BEST Weeks

This week was probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far. Last PDay, we hiked to "El Salto de la Monedo" and it was one of the prettiest places I have ever seen. As we were driving up a canyon, I felt like I was in Utah again. We spent the day just chillin’ next to a waterfall and that it was a sweet little piece of paradise.
On Thanksgiving Day, we hooked up with the sisters in the ward and we made a chicken Asada (turkey is a bit expensive) and we also made some of our favorite dishes to share with the family who invited us over for dinner. Of course, our meal wasn't as delicious as Grandma Carolyn's gravy or Aunt Jill's Jell-O but, we did our best. We even went around the table and took turns sharing what are grateful for. So, we had a really good time.
On Friday, we met some kids in the street and we found out they are a group of kids from an Evangelical church who get together three times every week to receive help with their schoolwork. So, we talked to their teacher and we ended up teaching English to these kids for about an hour. Now they think we are their best friends so every time we walk into their neighborhood, we get tons of love. The kids even invited us to their church and soccer games.

We were in a lesson this week and one of our investigators Amalia, told us about her church and its beliefs. Then, she invited us to come to her church so we jumped at the opportunity to get to know another religion. So, on Thursday night we were super excited to go to the church BUT Amalia never showed up! We decide to enter the church without her and once we were inside, we decided to stay and enjoy the show. The music was awesome and the message was really inspiring as well.  It was a whole lot different than one of our Sacrament Meetings but we had a good time.                                                                                                                                  
Augustine and Juan's baptism 
The best part of the week was on Saturday! My boys, Juan and Augustine, were able to get baptized and make a covenant with our Heavenly Father! Everything went really well in the service. The only problem was that here, in Argentina, the water isn't the cleanest so the water in the baptismal font looked like lake water but, at least it was warm. I was able to baptize Augustine and it was such a good experience. A group of the youth from our ward attended the baptism to support Augustine so, he had a great experience. Of course, a mission isn’t all about baptisms but it's sure nice to see some of the fruit of our labors!
On Sunday, we had Stake Conference and one of the areas 70s came to talk to us. The entire Stake got together, including the ward from my old area in Villa Mercedes! While we were gathered at the Stake Center, I was able to see all of my old homies and converts. It was such a good feeling to see my boys, Pedro and Nano, in shirt and tie and looking so fresh! They both were telling me about their progress in the church and it was so good to hear about them. I also literally had ten members invite us to their home for Christmas Eve. So, we'll see what happens!

Have a great week, Elder Roderick

"God is greater than your problems" - Evangelical pastor who looks like Larry Bird

Elder Roderick and Pedro
Elder Roderick and Nano

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Service Work and Gratitude


First off, “Happy Thanksgiving” to my family and loved ones. Sadly, Argentina doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving so I’ll have to celebrate by finding a chicken asado for myself. Even so, I feel so grateful during this time of year for all of the loved ones I have who are cheering me on from back at home.  I’m also grateful for my ARG family and all they’ve done to help make the last fifteen months so unforgettable.
Again, the past week was super busy for us.  We gave a ton of lessons and met new people to teach, which was exciting. The best part of the week was Saturday. Our entire Stake went to a town called, Zanjita, to help with a service project. As part of the service work, the missionaries took the youth to go proselyting in the streets. Zanjita has a population of only 100 people so we were able to talk with nearly everyone in the town and pass out a lot of information pamphlets. There aren’t any members in this little town so it was fun to preach some new ideas to the people.  The coolest part of our work was watching the youth preach the Gospel and share their beliefs. When we approached someone, the missionaries would present ourselves and set up the conversation.  Then, the youth would take it away and share the good word!  It was so cool to see all of the work we accomplished during the day. The Stake donated a ton of clothes and food and painted a huge house. Our work reminded me of Mosiah 2:17:

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye
may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are
only in the service of your God.”

While knocking on doors this week we found some people from Ecuador who are in Argentina to study.  They were so excited to see other foreigners, so they immediately let us in to chat about life in Argentina.