Thursday, July 12, 2018

It Has Been an Honor


On Tuesday, I achieved one of my mission goals which was to preach the gospel in the snow! It got pretty cold and then, out of nowhere, snowflakes started to fall. How beautiful it was! It made me realize that I’ve certainly missed the snow.  It was such a great feeling to be walking around, preaching the gospel, in the snow.  Nothing stuck to the ground, but now the Andes Mountains, which surround Mendoza, are covered with snow.
            Finally, on Sunday, Estela and Nazarero, were able to attend church with us.  It was nice to see all of our hard work pay off.  It’s always a blessing to have the members help with the investigators by developing a friendship with them.  Nazarero already looks like a future missionary.
            The funny moment of the week occurred during a lesson we had with a new investigator who is a young kid. At the end of the lesson we invited him to get baptized and he said, “I can’t get baptized.  I’m a sinner! I smoke. I drink. I sin a lot!” It was a classic! I will never forget his reaction to our invitation. 
            Despite this rejection, we had another great week. It was pretty cold but that just meant people were at home, waiting for us to knock on their door. 
            Since this is my final letter as a missionary, I’m provided with a chance to reflect on all that has happened over the past two years. It truly has been such a privilege to serve a mission and be a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful to have a Heavenly Father who loves me and has trusted me enough to give me a piece of his vineyard in the Argentina Mendoza Mission.  Wearing a missionary nametag is such an honor and it’s an experience I will never take for granted. 
            I had the blessing of growing up in the Church and therefore, serving a mission was always a dream of mine. Now, this dream has been completed.  When I arrived in Argentina, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I was nervous, lost, and I didn’t know the language but I kept going because I knew I had received my answer.  God answered my prayers and I knew I just had to keep moving forward.  Now, I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. 
            I love Argentina.  Over the course of my time here I’ve fallen in love with the country, the culture and especially the people who have invited me into their homes and taken care of me like one of their own children. The people in Argentina have so much faith and they believe in God.  During my mission, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across the mission area and come to know people in different regions. The Cuyo Region of Argentina, the Providence of Mendoza, San Juan and San Luis are sacred ground for me and will always hold a special place in my heart. 
I have met people who have truly changed my life. I know God prepared the way for us to find each other in Mendoza, Argentina.  
            I know this is the work of the Lord and working in His vineyard has been the best decision I have ever made.  While sharing the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ with God’s children, I have never been happier.  I have played in big sports games, in big stadiums, with thousands of people watching but over the course of my mission I have been told that the message I shared was an answer to prayers (whether by a member, a less-active or an investigator) and that is the best feeling I’ve ever felt.  It beats a pick-6 or a game-winning touchdown!  
Over the past two years, I’ve never been happier and I’ve never been so sad, frustrated, disappointed, relieved and excited. I’ve never cried harder in my life but I also haven’t ever felt Christ’s love so powerfully. I know He has been by my side during every moment. He knows my weaknesses and my strengths, my imperfections and what I do well. I know I am nothing without Him.  As a missionary, I have just been an instrument in the Lord’s hands.  Through me, He has helped a few more of His children receive the Restored Gospel.  I am so grateful that the Lord called me on this mission and has used me to be an instrument in His hands.  
            I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is Christ’s church on the earth today.  It was restored almost 200 years ago through Joseph Smith, a 14-year old boy who had a question.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I have read it multiple times and with ever page I turn, it illuminates my mind.  I know Christ lives and is our Savior.  Repentance is a change of heart that we can make at any moment. Faith is a principle of power and the baptismal waters are the doors that open the path that leads us back to the presence of our Heavenly Father.  I love this gospel! It has changed my life and it motivates me to improve each day.  It has been an honor to share what I love with the people of Mendoza over the past two years. 

Peace out, 

Elder Roderick 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.

For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will beyour rearward.

 Isaiah 52: 7, 10-12

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Another Great Week

            This was another great week in the mission field. My companion got the cold that I had last week but he felt a lot worse, so we had to take a few hours off so he could get better.  LOL!  I had to play nurse on Tuesday and Wednesday but we’re all good now.
            On Thursday, I attended my final zone conference and I felt the same way I did during my last few weeks of high school when graduation was approaching and everyone was tired of the seniors.  LOL! I still can’t believe it was my last zone conference and I basically said “goodbye” to the mission.  Those of us who are leaving shared our testimonies and I had some time to reflect on what I’ve learned and experienced while serving.  The conference was great and we focused on progressing the work by having more spiritual experiences with our investigators so they can receive their answer when they are with us, instead of waiting for them to do it on their own. There is a ton of energy for the work.  We’re just trying to speed up the process so we can get people into the waters of baptism more quickly. 
            Our investigator, Solanje, who came to church last week is doing so well.  We were able to teach her again this week and get to know her a little bit better.  She is so eager to learn more and she’s really smart so she understands the doctrine very well. When we talked to her about baptism, she got very excited and said she is looking forward to taking that next step in her life.  Her father died 4 years ago and a few years ago, she also had a kid. So, when we taught her about the Plan of Salvation we had a powerful experience with her.  It was amazing to see the comfort she received when she heard about the wonderful plan our Heavenly Father has for us.  She is living with members right now so this makes it easy for her talk about the Church and ask questions about it.  Her baptism is planned for next Saturday, my last day in the mission field.  So, I’m pretty pumped about it. 
            We didn’t have a lot of time to find new people this week. So, we mostly just kept teaching the people we’ve found in the previous weeks.  Estela & Nazarero, Agostina and David are all doing well.  Agostina got a little frustrated with us this week because she is feeling a lot of pressure to get baptized, but she loves the Church, has a testimony and lives like a member.  So, we’ll see what happens with her…
            The other day, Argentina lost their match in the World Cup so the people were a little angry and riled up but now we have more time to teach them because they’re not watching the games. LOL!

S/O to Sissy in the D.R. with H.E.F.Y! 
Much love, 

Elder Roderick

Saturday, June 30, 2018

“The Field is White Already to Harvest”

Another week has come to a close.  Luckily, it was warmer this week, but the weather change hit me hard and I got a little cold this weekend. I’ll be fine though. 
This week we found an awesome family. The mom, Flabia, lives with her son, Uriel, and her parents. Flabia has a nephew who is serving a mission.  So, when we knocked on their door, they let us in and we had a great chat with them. The kid, Uriel, is a stud!  He’s 12-years old and he loves English and soccer. They had some knowledge of the Church, but not too much.  They accepted Moroni’s Promise and they’ve started to read the Book of Mormon together. They accepted a baptism date too! 
Our work with them was going really well, then on Sunday we had a little problem. We had a plan to walk to church with them so we went to their house and Flabia and Uriel were just finishing their breakfast and all ready to go.  Then, out of nowhere, Flabia’s mother, who was really sick and in bed, started shouting from her bed that they shouldn’t go to church because Uriel would be the only kid there and they wouldn’t feel comfortable.  So, they got in a big argument and we were just sitting in their kitchen listening to them argue, at 9 o’clock in the morning. Eventually, we left and went to church.  Then, we went back on Sunday afternoon with a couple of members and together, we resolved their concerns.  There truly is opposition in all things!
We are still teaching David, our homie who is on house arrest.  We’ve been trying to work with the police to get permission for him to go to church, but we haven’t had much luck.  Nonetheless, he keeps progressing. We’ve developed a strong friendship with him and it just kills me that he can’t get baptized!  The other day, we went to his house and we started to read the Book of Mormon together.  He told us he was in Mosiah, toward the end.  So, we read the story about Alma the Younger and David absolutely loved it. At the end of the chapter he looked at me and said, “I was really worried about this Alma kid but it sure makes me happy that he was able to repent.” David is such a stud!  It’s not very common for an investigator to tell the missionaries the story of Alma the Younger.  LoL!
Estela and Nazarero are still progressing but we’re frustrated because every weekend something comes up and they can’t attend church. But, the member who’s been helping us teach them has a child who goes to the same school as Nazarero’s brother, so they were able to make that connection. They have friends in the ward and they know what we teach is true. Now, they just need to get to church! 
We also had another great lesson with Agostina this week. All of the lessons we have with her are so spiritual and she has great desires to learn as much as she can. This week she came to our lesson with many questions about the church and our points of view on a variety of topics. She is only 18-years old, yet we have the deepest and most spiritual lessons with her.  The be honest, it’s getting frustrating because she is still so hesitant to get baptized. She has received her answer but she’s taking her time because she knows that baptism is a big commitment.  Even so, I’m confident that she’ll be baptized soon.
Yesterday, a member brought one of her friends from school, Solanje, to church with her.  So, that was a little present for us.  They are both studying nursing and now, they are living together.  We were also able to have a lesson with Solanje after church.  During our church meetings, we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon so she had a lot of questions about it.  We were able to clear up her questions and it looks like she’s progress and will continue to come to church.  Lately, the members have really been helping us find new people to teach and it is such a blessing!

"The field is white already to harvest" in Mendoza, Argentina!

Elder Roderick 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Gratitude for Great Men

First of all, I want to give a big S/O to all of the dads out there.  Happy Father’s Day yesterday! I was blessed with the perfect dad and it was also nice to have a day to think about my two grandpas who are always protecting me.  I truly do feel their presence continually and yesterday was a good reminder of their presence in my life.
The best part of the week was on the morning I spent with the Assistants, on an exchange.  We made the decision to go for a run in the freezing cold.  Running outside when it’s almost below freezing while wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt is an exhilarating feeling. We nearly killed ourselves but it was so nice to feel a little bit of adrenaline.  I think that’s something I’ve lacked while serving my mission.  LoL!
The most interesting part of the week occurred with a contact I made in the street.  We met a girl who is preparing to get married and she told us that she’d like to have a better relationship with God.  So, we went with her to her home and taught her about the Plan of Salvation.  As we were getting to know her I asked her about her wedding and all that good stuff. I asked if she was going to get married in a church and she said, “No. I’m not getting married in a church because they won’t let us.” I was a little confused but quickly understood as she continued, “I’m getting married to another woman.” LoL! I’m not gonna lie. It was an awkward moment! Yes, it was awkward but it will be a good memory.
This week I also had the opportunity to have an interview with the big man, President Panzacchi.  Every time we get together our relationship gets so much stronger.  He is such an amazing man and he has helped me so much over the past year, both with my work as a missionary and personally.  I know that most missionaries say this, but I truly am so grateful for my mission president.
We had a great week in the area.  We have a decent pool of investigators who we are teaching and we have seen a lot of progress among them.  The cold weather, however, is keeping them in bed on Sunday mornings. LoL! We have started to teach a girl named Tamara, who lives in the student apartment with the new member of our ward, and she is progressing rapidly.  On a recent Sunday, she just showed up at church. So, we started to teach her and she is awesome! It’s so much fun to teach her because she is my same age and it’s easy to relate to her and share experiences.  Tamara is studying to be a nurse and she is a very smart girl.  She told us that she hasn’t every been very religious but she said she enjoyed being at our church meetings. About five years ago, she lost her mom so we connected with her by teaching her about the Plan of Salvation.  It has also helped to have her friend, Nicola (the friend who brought her to church) help with the lessons because Tamara has a lot of questions and Nicola gives her a lot of help and support. 
Agostina is also progressing well.  This week we got a call from the missionary she talked to online when she looked up the church. This missionary just called to see how Agostina was progressing.  So, it was fun to talk to another missionary from across the Pond and to know that there are a host of missionaries who are working on her behalf.  Agostina has received her testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and she feels comfortable at church but she is still a little hesitant about being baptized. She’s scheduled to be baptized next week. So, if everything goes well, she’ll be in the water soon! 


Elder Roderick 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Answer


This week, a lot of interesting things happened. I had to maintain a conversation in Portuguese, we unloaded 1,000 bricks from a truck, received news that we can’t watch the World Cup and it almost snowed. 
I spent my first week with Elder Aguilar, my New Mexican friend and final companion. He’s from Puebla, Mexico and he’s been serving for about ten months. He has a ton of energy for the work and he’s made me excited to work through my last transfer.
We have a new member who moved into our ward and he is living with a group of young men who are students, like he is. Their house is basically like a dorm where they all share a kitchen but have their own bedrooms and bathrooms. It’s been so cool to watch this member bring all of his friends/roommates to church with him. This group of students is made up of the new ward member, his friend who is also a member, another friend who is less-active and about eight other young men who aren’t members. Literally, for the last three weeks, since he’s been attending our ward, he’s brought someone new to church with him. The other day we went to their house and had a big group lesson with everyone who was there. It was a little hard to gather everyone together and get started but it ended up being such a cool lesson. It was awesome to sit back and observe a bunch of college kids, from all different backgrounds, discussing God and religion. There was a variety of experiences and opinions shared and it was awesome to observe. Each of the kids are so smart and they have interest in the church so I’m excited to see what happens with them. 
Our miracle girl, Agostina, is progressing very well. The ward members have helped support her as she progresses in the gospel and we’ve had some awesome lessons with her. On Friday, we had a lesson with her about baptism and we know she is more than ready to get baptized but she’ hesitant because it’s a huge commitment. So, in the middle of our lesson she stopped us and said that she feels like in order to know if she’s ready to get baptized, she has much more to learn. I had the feeling to tell her that the best thing she could do would be to ask God. So, we stopped the lesson, knelt together and Agostina prayed. She asked God what she needs to do and if baptism is the next step she needs to take in her life. It was such a sweet and humble prayer. After the prayer, Agostina had a big smile and a glow on her face. Then, she told us that while praying, she felt something that she’s never felt before and that she thought it was her answer. Like the scripture in Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” Agostina asked, searched and knocked and God fulfilled His promise and gave her the answer she was waiting for. 
We are also teaching Estela and Nazarero, a single mom and her 15-year old son. For quite some time, they have been looking for a church to attend but they haven’t felt comfortable anywhere. They have been studying our doctrine, along with the Bible, and every time we go to their house, they tell us how our doctrine aligns with what they read in the Bible and with their beliefs. They told us that they are anxious and ready to take the step of being baptized by someone who holds the correct authority from God. Interestingly, Nazarero loves to study the Bible and he always shares his thoughts and asks questions during our lessons. I sure wish I was like him when I was 15-years old. 
The other day we also found an awesome family who lived in Minnesota for eight years. First, we met the wife while she was outside sweeping her porch and when we approached, she spoke to us in English. This encounter really took us by surprise and it was actually quite hilarious. She told us that she and her family were devoted Catholics and had never spoken to any Mormon missionaries before. But, they were open to learning more. Hopefully, we will have some strong lessons with them. If it turns out that they’re not interested, maybe they can at least help me brush up on my English. Haha! 

It’s getting cold down here and the mountains are dusted with snow. It’s so beautiful!

Have a great week! 

Elder Roderick

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Witness to a Miracle

One of the highlights of the week was celebrating the holiday, 25 of May, which is the day of the Argentine Revolution.  It’s a pretty big holiday so all of the businesses and stores were shut down for the day.  The people celebrate by eating the traditional Argentine foods and by dancing the cultural dances.  In the morning, we got together as a ward and celebrated by drinking the famous mate and enjoying treats.  The Argentines are full of pride for their culture and they love to celebrate every chance they get. 
This week we experienced a miracle.  A few weeks ago, Elder Fernandez and I were knocking doors in a neighborhood we weren’t familiar with. We hadn’t really considered proselyting in that part of town, but on this particular morning, we were prompted to go there. We didn’t know why, but we followed the prompting and went.  Apparently, as we were working, a young girl was watching us through her window and she wondered who we were and what we were doing.  So, she looked us up on the internet. (It’s a good thing she didn’t think we were Jehovah’s Witnesses! LOL!) Through her internet search, she got in touch with a missionary in London who works online with people who want to know more about the Church.  They chatted for a while and this girl, Agustina, was able to learn more about the Church.  Then, out of nowhere, we received a text from the missionary in London who told us about Agustina and her desires to learn more about the Church  
So, we got in contact with her and met her on Wednesday morning.  She told the story of how she found us.  On the morning we were working in her neighborhood, she saw us and she expected us to knock on her door but we didn’t.  So, she did a Google search about us because she had been feeling like she needed to get closer to God and she thought we could help her.  This desire made it easy for her to receive us. We met her and we were surprised because she received us so eagerly.  Actually, she was very anxious for our visit.  Agustina is 18 years old and is baptized in the Catholic Church. She is also a very smart girl. She plays volleyball and is about to start studying medicine in college. During our first visit, we just got to know her we talked for about 15 minutes.  Then, on Friday night she came to a ward activity with us. 
In order to join us, she even missed one of her volleyball games. She said, “I play every game and never leave the court so it’ll be nice for the other girls to play a little bit.” Hahaha..  During the activity, she opened up to us and told us that she wanted to feel closer to God. Many things have happened previously in her life that have prepared her to receive the gospel today, including the death of her father and an accident that nearly left her arm paralyzed.  All of the members got to know her and they asked us, “Elders, how did you find this girl? She’s amazing!!” We just replied, “We didn’t do anything.  She found us!” 
On Sunday at church, she participated in all of the classes and continued to interact with the members she met on Friday night at the activity.  She honestly looked like a long-time member. Then, after church, we walked with her to her house and she told us how much she liked the services and how comfortable she felt at church. “What do I have to do to be part of your religion?” she asked.  So, we had a little chat about baptism and she said she wants to get prepared to be baptized soon. We really still haven’t had a legitimate sit-down lesson with her, but she is so golden.  Like the scripture says in Alma 24:22, “Thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to salvation of His people.” The Lord truly works in mysterious and always completes his promises.  
Perhaps the funniest part of our week occurred during a lesson we had with an older lady.  We completed our second lesson with this investigator and at the end of it, we tried to set a baptismal date for her.  However, she rejected it because she said that she wants to learn more about the Church and feel more comfortable with the teachings before she commits.  We tried to explain that setting a date was just a goal, but she still rejected us and said, “So, you’re telling me that if I go on a date with a guy, after the second date I already have to sleep with him. Is that what you’re trying to say?” Oh, man!  I was dying inside and couldn’t help but burst out in laughter.  So, we said a quick prayer and just finished the lesson on that note.  Older ladies certainly keep me on my toes! 

With love,

Elder Roderick 

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Elder Fernandez and I were sitting in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday and we heard something that caught our attention.  After the sacrament service, the Bishop was announcing the program and out of nowhere we heard, “Then, our ward missionaries will follow with a brief message.” Well, that was news to our ears!  We had 5-10 minutes to get some thoughts prepared and before we knew it, we were at the pulpit speaking to the congregation.  LOL!  It’s a good thing we were paying attention. 
We had a great week in Mendoza and we spent most of our time looking for people to teach.  When we actually get invited into a home, we’ve been focusing on sharing messages that are twenty minutes or less.  This allows us to teach more people in the span of a day.  
The other day, we found Marisa and Mara who are a mom and daughter.  They accepted our message right off the bat! Due to some bad experiences in other churches, Marisa is looking for a new place to take her daughter.  Simply, she’s looking for a place where they’ll feel comfortable. She’s been to a lot of churches and is still looking for the right one.  When we met them, we quickly shared our message of the Restoration and then Marisa said one of the most powerful prayers I’ve heard.  We knelt down together and she asked our Heavenly Father to lead her where she needs to go and asked if our message was true.  It was simple but powerful!  Then, we just stayed on our knees and let her meditate for a second.  A warm feeling of peace came over us and when I looked up, there was a big smile on her face. I will never forget her ear-to-ear smile or the look she gave me. The Lord truly answers the prayer of anyone who asks will real intent and faith in Christ.  I have no doubt about it!
            Our friend, David, is progressing a ton.  He has read a large portion of the Book of Mormon and has faithfully gained a testimony of the truthfulness of our message.  Every time we go to his house, we begin with a prayer and then he just tells us what he’s been learning and gives us a recap of what he’s read in the Book of Mormon. Every time we’re with him, I’m stunned by his comprehension of what he’s read and of what we’ve taught him.  He understands everything so well and he earnestly wants to learn more. He has a goal to finish the Book of Mormon in two weeks and if he keeps up his current reading pace, he’ll reach his goal. There’s a lot of religious contention in his house but he is able to ignore it because, as he’s told us, he’s received his answer and he’s going to follow it. We’re trying to work with the police so David can get permission to go to church with us.  So, keep him in your prayers!!
            Banti and Florencia are doing well also.  Banti is learning a ton and the other day while we were preparing him for his baptismal interview he taught us the message of the Restoration from the perspective of a nine-year old.  It was pretty hilarious to hear his thoughts and rendition of the message.  He’s a really smart kid and he’s getting prepared for his baptism.  Hopefully, he’ll be baptized soon.  We’re just waiting for a little more support from his family.
            On Friday, we had our Zone Conference and it was one of the best conferences I’ve participated in.  Here in Mendoza, the work is progressing steadily. I had to teach about the importance of ministering to the members as well as the investigators and about how to gain their confidence and trust.  We are truly on the Lord’s errand and ministering to our sheep is our outlook. One thing we’ve implemented in the mission is saying every prayer, in every lesson, on our knees.  It’s just so much more powerful that way and we are able to have more spiritual experiences with our investigators.  We’ve learned that it’s these experiences that help them gain a testimony. Every night we return to our pench with dirty pants, but kneeling in prayer truly makes a difference.
            “If you are ever too tired to stand up, KNEEL.” 
                              – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Elder Roderick