Thursday, September 21, 2017

Get Them Married


One thing I’ve learned while being on the mish is that you have to take advantage of P-Day, our day in the week to relax from the work and have some fun. Last week our Zone played paintball and it was honestly such a fun time. I think it was first time in the last thirteen months that I’ve had an adrenaline rush and, to be honest, it was very needed.  We played outside in a forest, right next to the neighboring Andes mountains, which provided the perfect backdrop for this great memory. 
            This week was one of the those that are kind of a blur because the days flew by and I feel like I blinked and it was already Sunday again. To start the week out I did exchanges with Elder Garmendia, one my pench mates from Mexico who is a youngster in the mish. When I came to this area we divided into two sections.  So, while the exchange with Elder Garmendia, I had an opportunity to I get to know the other side of the area/ward. We actually taught a couple of awesome lessons together and it was fun to be with one of the younger missionaries and feel his energy for the work.
            Also, this week we had a couple of great lessons with Franco and Karen, a couple we came in contact with a few weeks ago. Something that is really cool about them is that they met with the missionaries a few years ago and they were about to get baptized.  However, they moved and lost contact with the missionaries and didn’t follow through with their baptism plans.  They are a young family and we had an awesome lesson with them about the Plan of Salvation and we talked with them about what they have to do on earth in order to get to the Celestial Kingdom. The first step, we explained, is baptism.  So, they are both really excited to prepare themselves to get baptized. Now we just need to get them married!
            I think one of the most difficult things we come across here in the Argentina mission is that we find such awesome families who are ready to receive the Restored Gospel, but their not married.  This makes their progress toward baptism so much slower and it’s frustrating for them and for us.  But, we’ll be good. 
            One of the better parts of the week was our lesson with Roxanne and Marcello.  Recently, they have gone through some rough times as family but the other day they told us that they have seen a difference in their home ever since we’ve been visiting with them. During our lessons they always have such great questions and sometimes I just wish we could teach them everything we know all at once. Overall, they are progressing really well.
            We are also still working with Emily and we’re trying to soften her father’s heart so he will allow her to enter the waters of baptism.  It breaks my heart because she is so ready to make a covenant with God and she has the desire to do so but her father still wants her to wait until she’s older. It’s been tough to soften his heart, but we’re hopeful.

Have a killer week and GO UTES!

Elder Roderick

P.S. This week we saw a mother feeding her baby while riding on the back of a motorcycle.  That’s something you don’t see every day.  Ha ha!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Evil Wind, a Ladies Man and a Baptism

Occasionally in San Juan there is a “Sonda” which is a strong, hot wind that comes from the North of the country and is actually very dangerous because it causes headaches, fevers and chills.  This week, I met the thing.  We were out working in the afternoon when we started to feel the wind and to be honest, it got the best of me.  That’s for sure!  I had a huge headache and I felt like a zombie walking around.  So, I had to take the afternoon off and take a nap because I was legit dead.  Fortunately, I’m feeling better now.
We spent a good amount of time this week with President Panzacchi because we had interviews as well as Zone Conference.  I had a good interview with President and he gave me some great advice about prayer.  As missionaries, we pray a lot with the people that we teach, and personally.  He invited me to take some time before each prayer to just sit back and think for minute about what I want to say.  It actually works really well!  Since we pray so much, sometimes I get lazy and repeat things but now it’s easier to make my prayers more personal and more effective.
During our Zone Conference, we talked a lot about our teaching skills and how we can have more effective lessons with our investigators.  Now, we are trying to have more frequent lessons that are simple and shorter instead of longer and deep doctrine filled lessons.  By doing this, we can have contact with our investigators more often and we can teach more lessons during the day to more people.  We also focused on how we can explain the Apostasy more clearly to our investigators so they understand that the Church of Jesus Christ was truly lost and it needed to be restored by some homie named, Joseph Smith.
A very cool thing happened to me this week.  I was able to baptize a member in the ward who had fallen away from the church and wanted to be rebaptized.  This member is a big dude so they had to call on the biggest Elder, which happened to be me, to baptize him. So, I baptized him and luckily, everything went fine. I basically baptized myself because I had to make sure he went all the way under the water.  Ha ha.
One of the funny things that happened this week occurred when we were talking to a man, who is about 60-70 years old, outside of his house.  We were just chatting with him and trying to teach him. So, we asked him for his name.  He said, “My name is Martinez but the girls call me Jorgito.” I was legit dying of laughter at this older man who was telling us that the ladies have a nickname for him.
We were able to have some awesome lessons with Ayelen, who is one of our best investigators right now.  Like the majority of Argentina, she’s Catholic so we have found a lot of differences in our beliefs but she always has such good questions. Her questions are awesome and they tell us that she’s actually listening to us and paying attention.  We talked with her about the Book of Mormon and shared that it’s important because it provides evidence of the Restoration.
This week we also taught the Torres Family and they are progressing really well. Pablo, the father, is the son of the bishop in the neighboring ward.  So, they know a lot about the church.  One thing that I love about teaching them is that the wife, legit, fills out the pamphlets that we give them.  She underlines or highlights the parts she likes.  So, when we go to their house for our lessons with them, they are always prepared with good questions.  Now we just need to get them married!

Have a great week!

Elder Roderick

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A Letter by Candlelight


One of my favorite things about the area of Villa Krause is that there are tons of food trucks on the big streets and almost every night, on our way back to our pench, there is a big chorizo waiting for me.
            This week we saw a lot of changes in our mission schedule.  In the past, our schedule has been to study for a bit in the morning and start working by 9:30 a.m.  Then, we’d come back to the pench after lunch to finish our studies and leave again at 4:30 p.m.  Here in Argentina, the siesta is the time right after lunch where, legit, everything closes and it’s time given to the people so they can take a nap in the afternoon.  Our new schedule requires us to complete all of our studies in the morning and then go to lunch with a member and then work until it’s time to go back home at 9:30 p.m. The other big change is that now we can 
drink the famous Argentine drink, mate, so we’re pretty 
pumped about that.  Change is always good and we’ve 
seen a lot of changes with our new president. 
            During the last week, we found ourselves with a couple of people who have some special needs.  All in one week we taught a blind man, tried to communicate with another man who is deaf and two more people who don’t know how to read.  Each one was a very humbling experience because they made me realize how lucky I am.  Through sign language, we were able to communicate with Sebastian, who is deaf.  We were able to communicate with him for a while and he wanted to buy us something to eat.
            We taught Humberto a couple times this week and our lessons were awesome.  Two weeks ago, Humberto approached us on the street because he was familiar with the church and he had contact with the missionaries a few years ago.  Like a lot of people in Argentina, he thought that Joseph Smith is our God.  So, we helped him understand what we actually believe and straighten out his presumptions.  His new understanding of the truth has increased his interest in our message and he wants to get baptized soon. When Sunday rolled around, he was able to get more familiar with the church as he sat with us during the classes and Sacrament Meeting.  The best part about his church attendance was that the members received him so well and Humberto felt very comfortable in the chapel!
            This is short letter this week.  We haven’t had any power this weekend and my candle is about to die out. Haha!

I love you,

Elder Roderick

Friday, September 1, 2017

ZERO Respect and Prepared Investigators

Well, this week was actually a pretty awesome one. It seemed like every day something crazy happened.  First of all, I’ll start with the big L of the week. I was chilling in a lesson, just doing my thing, and like every family here in Argentina, the family we were teaching had five dogs. I’m pretty used to dogs running all over the place, so this was nothing new.  We were sharing a lesson and a dog started sniffing my feet and as I reached down to give it some love, without even hesitating, it marked its territory by peeing on my scripture bag.  All I was doing was trying to preach the good word of the gospel and the dog gave me ZERO respect. But, that family ended up accepting our baptismal invitation, so that made things a little bit better.
            This week we also had some more great lessons with Rozanne and Marcelo.  Every time we are in their home, it feels like there is a special spirit present.  It truly feels like they have been prepared to receive our message because all of their interest in other churches and doubts about God are finally being erased.  One of the coolest things we saw this week happened when we were approaching their house for a lesson. We saw their nineteen-year old daughter reading the Book of Mormon outside.  My companion and I saw her, then we just stopped for a second to soak in what we were seeing.  It was pretty awesome! Every time we walk out of their house it really feels like I’m walking on Cloud 9 because the Spirit is always so strong.
            We also made another homie this week.  Luciano approached us and talked to us; instead of us doing the work and approaching him.  He is twenty-four years old and to be honest, he has had a pretty rough life because he has basically grown up on the streets.  He approached us one morning because he wants to become closer to God and eventually leave the life that he knows.  We actually had a really good conversation about repentance and we taught him that the best way to truly repent is to get baptized.  He immediately accepted the invitation because he basically just wants to start a new life. He hasn’t had a family to push him a long and give him expectations. Despite this difficult lifestyle, Luciano is such a stud. He told us that the other day something just clicked in his mind and he realized that there is so much more out there in the world for him.  I just pray that Luciano can progress toward baptism so he truly can leave his difficult life behind.  
            We had the awesome opportunity this weekend to hear from Ronald A. Rasband, as well as a couple of Seventies.  One of the coolest things about being far from home is being able to hear and receive support and love from the church leaders who are in charge of the South America South Region. The Church is literally all over the world and it’s so cool to see how much the church leaders love every member in world and to witness how much they sacrifice to help us.  Of course, in Salt Lake, we have the church headquarters fifteen minutes from our house, but this weekend, when I was thousands of miles from home, I felt like I was home because it was broadcast from Salt Lake.  LOL!
            One thing I started to do this week, while I’m reading the Book of Mormon, is look for all of the times that Christ is mentioned and mark all of the different names Christ is given. I’m also marking all of the remarkable things He did on the earth.  It’s amazing to see how much the people in the Book of Mormon knew about Christ and His life before He was even born.  The Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Jesus Christ.
            Happy Birthday shout out on Sunday to Princess Emily and Big Marv who is killin’ it across the ocean in London.  Go UTES!!

Elder Roderick