Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Week of the 20s

Familia!                                                                                                                        
As I hit my 20-month mark in the mission and celebrated my 20thbirthday, it was the week of the 20s. I realized I’m getting old in the mission and in life! There is a big difference between 19 and 20-years old. LoL! I still feel like just a kid. On Thursday, for my birthday, we had lunch with one of my favorite families and we ate one of my favorite Argentine plates.  Then, we had a regular day with appointments all afternoon but we bought an ice cream cake so we could celebrate a little bit. It was an awesome birthday! 
This week was a great one here in San Miguel. We are teaching a ton and it feels like we are always in a hurry and running around the neighborhoods just doing our thing. On Saturday, our boy, Alejandro, was baptized! We had a few problems at the last moment, but everything turned out well.  The young men in the ward welcomed him into their circle with open arms and they basically did everything in the baptismal service.  One of the counselors in the Young Men presidency baptized him and two youth gave talks.  Then, on Sunday, the Young Men president confirmed him.  It truly was beautiful and the Spirit was so strong during the ordinations. Also, a couple of his family members were able to support Alejandro this weekend so, we were happy to see that happen. Whenever there is a baptism it adds some excitement to the ward so we are hoping to keep this baptism train going!
We also did a bunch of service this week, which included some construction work. Basically, every morning we got our hands dirty then we ate lunch and spent the afternoon running to all of our appointments. A tired missionary = a happy missionary. 
            We are still teaching our good friend, Ivanna, who asked us to teach her English.  She has turned into one of our most promising investigators. She is so eager to learn more and she loves everything we give her. She calls us her “little children” and whenever we are in her home, she treats us like kings.  She gives us tons of food and she even spoiled me a little bit on my birthday.  The only thing that is difficult about Ivanna is that she has been a Catholic all of her life and it’s tough to make a big change in religion.  Actually, we are teaching a couple of families who are so ready to receive the Restored Gospel but they also practice another religion and it’s difficult to make such a big change.  We’ve learned, however, that the best thing we can do is trust in Moroni’s Promise and pray that these people can take a leap of faith and open their hearts to receive an answer about the truthfulness of the Gospel!

Con Mucho Amor,

Elder Roderick 




Friday, April 6, 2018

The Church is TRUE!

¡Hola!                                                                                                                            

Wow! What an awesome week it has been and Conference weekend just put the icing on the cake! It was so exciting to be in the mission field during this historic General Conference where I could feel the energy and urgency in a place like Argentina where the Church is growing quickly. I got the chills during the final part where they announced another temple in Argentina, in Richmond, Virginia and in Russia.  I immediately thought of my boys, Taz and Andrew, because I know they were so excited to hear the news of the new temples in their areas. Even though the new temple in Argentina isn’t very close to Mendoza, the chapel lit up on Sunday afternoon because now it’s most likely that Mendoza will be the next city in Argentina to receive a temple!
With the opportunity to share the Easter message with everyone we possibly could, we had a great week!  The characteristic I love most about the people here in Argentina is that almost everyone is Christian.  Whether it be Catholic, Evangelical or another Christian faith, the people are very receptive this time of year when we are simply sharing a message about Christ and His resurrection. Even though the streets are filled with the smell of fish all weekend, I’ve learned to love my fellow Argentine Christians. 
As he is preparing for his baptism next Saturday, we are working a lot with Alejandro. He was able to watch Conference with one of the members and they told us they had a positive experience with him as they watched the sustaining of President Nelson.  Alejandro is a worker!  He’s 16 years old and he is such a stud. They thing I’ve noticed about him is that he already knows the way and the things we can do to gain a better relationship with our Heavenly Father so we can receive His guidance. Alejandro has been making a lot of changes in his life and we are all very anxious for this Saturday!
On Friday, we got together with the whole ward because it was a holiday.  We cooked a ton of chicken asado, played some games (Ya’ boy still reigns as Ping Pong Champ!), and had an Easter egg hunt to animate for the members how to look for their ancestors as well as to help them remember to look for people to share the gospel with.  It’s always so much fun to get together with the ward, share delicious food, laugh, and develop better friendships. Our activity was a success and we had the whole ward running around the chapel looking for eggs.  It was hilarious!
This week we also had some success in finding some families in our ward who are incomplete (not everyone in their family is a member). By simply going through the ward directory we were able to find some families to visit. Then, as we passed by their homes and introduced ourselves and our purpose, we were able to quickly gain their confidence and get them interested in the Restored Gospel.  There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a full family in their Sunday-best in church together on a Sunday.  We’re just trying to make that happen more often!
The highlight of the week was watching General Conference.  It was such a great honor to be able to sustain a new prophet and other General Authorities.  I love watching Conference in the mission field because I know that in many parts of the world, my loved ones are seeing and feeling the same things I am.  Two of the phrases that stood out to me were, “The stumbling blocks of failure can be used as stepping stones to success” and “Failure is a tutor, not a tragedy” as shared by Lynn G. Robbins.  Failure happens a lot in the mission field but it always leads to better experiences, life lessons, and more success.  Russel M. Nelson is the Lord’s prophet in these latter days and what we felt, saw and heard in Conference testifies of that statement!!   The Church is TRUE!
 
Have a great week,  Elder Roderick 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

“Let’s have a baptism and call it a fiesta!”

¡Hola!                                                                                                                        

The highlight of the week is that our investigator, Eugenia, got baptized on Saturday!  Elder Marcum and his previous companion found her the week before I got to the area and we were able to teach everything to her in just two weeks.  Her conversion was a quick one and she was able to make the big plunge on Saturday! She was found by the missionaries, crying outside of her house.  They presented themselves and taught the first lesson to her right on the spot.  Then, Eugenia went to church and began to make the small changes in her life that made it possible for her to become a member of the Church. Every one of her family members smokes and drinks but once Eugenia had her first child, she committed to stay away from those practices.  So, she didn’t have too many hurdles to overcome.
The coolest part of Eugenia’s conversion was the habit she developed of reading the Book of Mormon.  In the few weeks that we were teaching her, she read over twenty chapters in the Book of Mormon. So, on Saturday, Elder Marcum baptized her and yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to confirm her as a member of the Church! The Lord truly prepares the way for the people who are waiting to hear about and accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, we were able to use our English skills to teach a woman some English because she is trying to go to New York. She lives on our street and she always shouts to us in English.  It’s kind of funny! So, she invited us to her house and we didn’t really know what or how to teach her English so we used a Liahona we had that’s written in English. We tried to read, in English, some of the stories from the children’s section together. We started reading about the Creation which gave her a better idea of what we believe and it actually sparked her interest.  So, we ended up talking a lot more about religion than about English. Ha-ha! It’s funny because if she hadn’t talked to us, the odds are that we wouldn’t have entered her house because she has a lot of money and she’s a devout Catholic. Now, however, we have a good connection with her and we were able to share our message, which she’s interested in. 
Our other investigator who is progressing pretty well right now is the brother of a recent convert in the ward.  His brother was baptized in September and at that time, Alejandro didn’t have much interest in the Church.  However, two weeks ago he went to an activity with the Young Men and his mind was changed a bit.  He’s spending more time with the Young Men and he’s also started to attend church! He doesn’t have the best home life and it’s been amazing to see how the youth in the ward have helped him along.  We’ve decided that in this situation, we’re basically just Alejandro’s teachers because the youth have done all of the work and they’ve made our job so easy.  Alejandro is progressing really and well and we’re excited to see if he wants to take the next step in his life and join the Church.

Mucho Amor! 


Elder Roderick #MarchMadnessinthemissionfield


 


Thursday, March 22, 2018

#ElTerribleTrío

¡Hola Familia!                                                                                                          

My first week in Mendoza was a killer one.  Right after I received my mission call, I studied about my mission and I read all about Mendoza but up until this point in my mission, I haven’t seen any of the things I read about.  So, this week, I had was able to appreciate having the beautiful Andes Mountains on my side.  In the other areas where I’ve served there are just hills. In Mendoza, however, I get to wake up every morning to one of the most stunning mountain ranges in the world! As well, the grapes are legit the size of golf balls and of course, I’m trying to understand another beautiful accent. LoL!
            The news of the week is that during P-Day last week, I received a call from President and he told me that Elder Marcum and I would be in a trio.  So, now we’re with Elder Fernandez who is from Santa Fe, Argentina. This means that I’ve been companions with missionaries from almost all of the popular countries in South America! Adjusting to being in a trio has been a little strange.  For instance, during lessons with one companion it feels really natural to go back and forth with questions and points in the lesson.  With three, however, it’s a bit more interesting because we have to be careful to take turns and make sure everyone participates. So far, we’re getting along really well in our trio and it’s definitely a lot more fun in the streets and in our pench with two companions instead of just one.
            We spent the majority of the week getting to know everything in the area such as the members, investigators, less active members and the basics of the city.  Our main investigator is Eugenia who is a 23-year old single mom.  She has two kids and the missionaries in this area found her about two weeks ago.  She is progressing really well and she’s been reading the Book of Mormon like crazy.  She hasn’t ever really practiced another religion but she’s always wanted to find a church she could “belong to.” She’s gone through a lot in her life and this week she told us that since she met the missionaries and has been reading the Book of Mormon, she’s changed a lot.  In fact, she said that some people don’t even recognize her and can tell that she’s made a big difference in her life. We are getting her prepared for her baptism really quick!
            The highlight of the week occurred in the streets.  A less active stopped us and asked, “When are you guys going to eat at my house?”  We were so confused because we didn’t know who he was.  So, we chatted with him for a minute and he explained his situation.  He was baptized in 1996 and was the ward mission leader for a few years but then, he became inactive. Now, he is dating a Catholic girl.  So, when he invited us to his house we ended up teaching the first lesson to his girlfriend and she loved it!  She is Catholic but hasn’t gone to church in years. She told us that she’s open to listen to us and try some new things.  Then, on Sunday, they were able to come to church together and during our lessons there, we taught her about the Restoration and focused on the First Vision.  She told us that she believes in what happened to Joseph Smith and she also said that she loved being at church.  So, we are very excited for this couple and we hope to watch them make great progress!

Con Amor,


Elder Roderick  #ElTerribleTrío

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Adiós San Luis & Hola San Miguel

Fam!                                                                                                                          
Well, I’m not in San Luis anymore. I got transferred to Mendoza Capital.  Yeah, Baby! I’ve spent my entire mission hours and hours outside of the mission office but now I’m right in the middle of all the action. So, it’s nice to have a change. My new companion is the one and only Elder Marcum from Canton, Georgia!  He knows Big Roddy because Matthew served in his family’s ward just a few years ago. What a small world, no? My new area is called San Miguel in Las Heras, Mendoza.  It’s an awesome area and I’m pumped to be here because it will probably be my last area!
It was tough to leave San Luis and all of the wonderful people I met there, but I’ve learned that life in the mission field is full of “goodbyes.” Matias and Dalma came to the bus station to say, “bye” and it was one of the toughest “goodbyes” I’ve had. Even so, I’m so grateful to have met people who are so wonderful that it’s difficult to leave them.  I will miss everyone in San Luis but I’m excited for this final chapter in my mission.
Elder Marin and I had a nice last week together.  One afternoon, we were at lunch and the member gave us a typical meal of milanesa and mashed potatoes and as we were finishing the member asked, “Elders, Did you like the cow liver?” At first, we thought she was playing a joke on us but soon, we realized that she was dead serious. So, we ate cow liver without even realizing it.  Ha-ha! What’s worse is that on Saturday, we ate cow intestines.  So, those meals made it an interesting week.  The Argentines literally eat every part of the cow including the brains, tongue, intestines, everything!
The best part of the week was when we were reunited with one of our former investigators for the first time in two months.  We weren’t able to teach her for a long time because her daughter-in-law was very sick and she had to take care of her.  At that time, we sent the sister missionaries to teach her son and daughter-in-law but, her daughter-in-law eventually died! So, the sisters have been working with her son.  They’re just trying to help him feel better and get back on track after his wife’s death. So, the other day we taught a lesson to the mom and son with the sisters and it was such a great experience because they expressed their appreciation for what we do as missionaries and they thanked us for never letting go of them. It was pretty sweet!
I’ll load you up with more details about my new area next week! 
Love,

Elder Roderick