Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's Still True


Thanksgiving is upon us! There isn’t Thanksgiving here in the ARG but I´m sure we can find a turkey on the side of the road for dinner! Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year: football, food, and of course remembering what we are thankful for. Since living in Argentina for a last little bit, I have realized how blessed I am and how grateful I am for everything I have in my life! Please eat turkey, mashed potatoes and watch as much football as you can!
It was a pretty interesting week here in Salto, one I will never forget! We started this week up in the beautiful city of Mendoza to finish up some of my legal work so I can be an actual citizen of Argentina. After what I heard last week about America and the results of the elections, maybe I should be glad that I’m about to be legal in another country. Just kidding of course, America is the best. 
Taking a little break from regular missionary work is always kind of nice but it slowed down the work we had in Salto. It has become really hard to find people at home when we want to because everyone is working the whole day in the fields. This week many appointments fell and most people just weren’t home, so we saw a lot of precious time slip out of our hands, which was frustrating.
Probably the worst part of the week was when we went to visit our good friend Segundo, who had just returned from Buenos Aires after being there for 3 weeks. We were really excited to start teaching him again because he had a baptism date that fell through. We knocked on his door on Friday night and luckily, he was there. He walked out and immediately said, “I don’t want to talk to you guys anymore. I’m not from your church.” Then, he just walked back inside. This was a huge bummer. We don’t even know what happened and he never gave us a legitimate explanation, so we were really confused. Just a few weeks ago he was showing us his wife’s Bible and he was crying to us about her.  We’re assuming his family said something to him while he was in Buenos AiresJ. I thought we really had something going with him, but I guess not L.
On Saturday, we had a really interesting experience with one of our members, Hermano Eyvar. We went to the Police Station to do some service. It was a good chance for us to get noticed in the community and show people that we aren’t “spies.”  While we were finishing up our work, the police truck pulled in and they had a man in the bed of the truck whose face looked like a nice piece of rare carne meat and he had blood all over his body. Apparently, he had stolen a car, while under the influence, and crashed into a ditch and flew through the windshield. This dude was messed up! The cops threw him in the back of the truck like he was a piece of game that they had just shot. Half of the cops were laughing at him while the others were just yelling at him. This poor guy had no idea what was going on as he was crying and trying to explain himself. The cops didn’t even get him medical attention, just a hose to wash off all of the blood. Looking back, it was a pretty hilarious experience, but still I felt so bad for the guy. 
Later that night we had a killer lesson with Francisco as we basically told him he had to start showing progress or we were going to have to drop him. We made some Argentine pancakes with him and they were “the bomb.” With our good friend Luis, we taught him a great lesson and the Spirit was so present. The kid is so ready for baptism and loves talking about it, but he needs to show that he really wants to do it. So, we told him that Luis was relying on him for a ride to church in the morning and… he came through!! Oh, man! When I saw him walk through the door before Sacrament meeting, it was the greatest feeling. He even participated in Sunday School! Now we just need to make this a habit for him and he´ll be ready for baptism. He was the first investigator to attend church in Salto for a whole year, so we are really pumped for him. 
On Sunday morning, we received a call from the bishopric that we are a part of and they informed us that we were in charge of the meetings in the day. It was a little stressful but everything went smoothly and the meetings were great. Being in a bishopric for the day was so awesome. 
Our man, Daniel, and his wife are doing so great. One of their kids had a bad asthma attack on Sunday morning so they couldn’t come to church, but they were really sad they couldn’t come. His wife, Carla, still needed to be taught about the Restoration so we reviewed that with all of them and then we pulled out the Book of Mormon and she told us that she has already read up to 2 Nephi!! I saw that and I was soooo excited for them. They are such a great family and there’s really something special about them!
Well, in my studies this week I finished El Libro De Mormon in Spanish and it´s still true!! How lucky we are to have this great book in our lives. It´s the most true book on the earth and I am so grateful for it in my life because it has given me guidance, motivation, and inspiration. 
Enjoy the entire week of Thanksgiving! I love you all so much and I am so humbled to be missionary! 

It's gonna be another good week!


Elder Roderick

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Beliefs on a Pedestal

Another week flew by here in Salto. Like my Pops has always said, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” And, having fun as a missionary is simply just talking to people!
The start of the week went by soooo slow though; no one was home because they were working in the fields. Also, we were without bikes for the first couple days and so we had a couple of long, hot mornings (it got up to 98 last week).  So, let´s just say time wasn’t flying during those couple of days.
Elder Roderick poses in a typical Salto backyard (Yes, that's a pig.)
On Wednesday morning, we knocked some doors for a bit and eventually came across the house of an Evangelical Pastor. We don’t know for sure if he was actually a Pastor but it sure seemed like it. The first thing he did was tell us he wasn’t going to listen to us because we are only kids and therefore, we don’t know anything. Then, he asked us how our beliefs are different from his, and he was having none of our answers. He started quoting the Bible too; trying to prove that our beliefs are wrong. It was obvious that this guy just wanted to bash with us for a bit and make us feel bad about ourselves. The Church says to avoid these situations, of course, but this guy wouldn’t leave us alone. I only tell you this because I think this was the first time I have had to really defend what I believe in. Even though the conversation went absolutely nowhere, a really different feeling came upon me. It was like the Holy Ghost was on my right shoulder helping me first understand what this man was saying and then directing me about how I should respond. I also felt a strong presence of the Adversary trying to give me doubts and let this man’s words damage my testimony. As I reflect on it, this was a unique experience for me and I’m sure there will be plenty of other people who will try to tear me down.  I will never forget the feelings I had. It was like my beliefs were on a pedestal and someone was trying to break them down.
Pancakes with Santiago & Francisco
This week we also went back out to Tropezon, which is about 45-minutes away by bicycle, to talk with our investigator, Delia.  Delia is a really sweet lady who is probably in her 50s and claims to be an “active” Catholic. We taught a lot about prophets in our last lesson with her so we finished with that topic and then taught her about Priesthood authority and the Book of Mormon. All of these topics were very different things for her. I felt like part of our lesson was a little rocky, but Delia loves the thought of a living prophet. I eventually gave her the baptismal invitation and since she’s already baptized as a Catholic, we emphasized the Priesthood authority that we have and why that is important. Eventually she accepted! Yay!!
Uncle Alberto, Daniel & Elder Roderick 
We also had a great lesson with Daniel and his wife. Daniel is a total goofball and he loves to chat about whatever comes to his mind. Fortunately, his wife always keeps him in check. She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and she really likes it! They are such a humble family and they don’t have much, but they are always so happy with their two little kids. Teaching them has made me realize what is actually important in this life and what we should be focused on. We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ and really emphasized repentance and baptism so they can keep preparing for their baptism day. They are really accepting to everything we teach and there truly is a special Spirit present when we teach them. Also, their Uncle joined us during their lesson and he loved all that we were teaching and he wants to be baptized too! In fact, HE asked us if he could be baptized; we didn’t ask him. What a blessing!
This weekend we had the opportunity to have President and Hermana Goates with us for a special capacitation to introduce the new Christmas theme.  Yes, Christmas! It was so weird to be talking about it but the holidays are coming and missionaries have to work even harder during that time!
Also, this weekend we had our Stake Conference and we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from the President Goates and his wife, as well as the President of the Cordoba Temple. It was a great meeting and it felt so nice to be in the big chapel with a great number of people. However, the only bad thing about Stake Conference was that not many people from Salto could attend because it was so far away L. Even so, the meeting was way fun and it’s always great to spend time with President and Hermana Goates.
This week in my studies I came across a quote from Spencer W. Kimball that I have learned to love.
It´s not as much what we know that is important, as what we do and what we are.”

This quote can apply to everyone because at some point in our lives we have felt inadequate or out of place (like me every day in Argentina) but we can show people so much with just our actions and how we carry ourselves. I know that as I’ve tried to learn the Spanish language I will probably never speak perfectly, but how I conduct myself will show people how much I care for them.
I’m so grateful for the opportunity I have every day to be a missionary and just help people. I feel the hand of the Lord help me every day and it’s such a wonderful feeling. 

¡Hasta Luego!

Elder Roderick

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Fruits of Our Labor

HOLA AMIGOS                                                                                                   

It was another great week in Salto! At the beginning of the week there were some crazyyy winds that knocked out the power for a few days and the town looked exactly like a ghost town that you might see in a movie. It was freaking me out! Apparently, during the power outage there was a little jail break in a nearby town and twenty prisoners escaped to Salto where they hid in the fields. Fortunately, all of them were eventually caught. This event made an exciting start to the week!
This week was probably our best week of missionary work so far! We were able to go out with the two members who were called to help us and “Wow!” it was amazing to see how much of difference their participation made. We were able to teach Francisco with both of them present and it was so great because the three of them are such good friends. They helped us explain to him the steps he needs to take in order to be baptized. Having two of his good friends explain certain things, instead of two missionaries, made a great difference. Francisco knows all of the lessons and he has a great understanding of Church principles, but he really just struggles with attending church. So, it becomes tough for us when we don’t have a ton to teach him. Now it’s just up to him to make the conscious decision about whether or not he wants to be baptized.
Wednesday night was probably the most rewarding day so far here in the mission. We taught Daniel again, along with his wife and kids. Luis accompanied us to this lesson and it went so smoothly. The Plan of Salvation is always a little tough to teach because of the unique vocabulary and the complexity of the whole thing but, with the help of Luis, we were able to explain it clearly for them. Because they are a family with two young kids they loved the eternal family aspect of it all and it seemed like they were engaged during the whole lesson! We connected with them so well and it felt like we were all just a bunch of friends talking and discussing, rather than us two missionaries just lecturing. At the end of the lesson, we felt prompted to extend a baptismal invitation and they accepted!! We explained how we do it differently and they loved the concept. The Spirit was so strong during the lesson too and it was just so great; the best feeling ever for me. Nights and lessons like this one with Daniel and his family always make the long days of not talking to anyone so worth it. I’m so excited to help them start preparing for their baptisms!!
The rest of the week went really well and we found a couple of new people who want to talk to us and they also have families. “Yay” for eternal families! We went back to the “hidden neighborhood” to find an investigator and we got extreme responses from the people we approached while trying to find him. Every other person was either super nice and tried to help us find him or, they wouldn’t even let us get a word out because they knew we are missionaries. I was so confused. This neighborhood is technically the most dangerous one we have in Salto, so walking around in it always makes things more interesting!
We had another big zone meeting this week and it was such a great feeling to see another missionary who has less time than me in the mission! Oh man! I’m not the youngest anymore. What a great feeling that is. I’m still the water boy in the mission, but at least I have a back-up!
This week I really just tried to have as much fun as possible. Even with my poor Spanish, I tried to talk to everyone I could. I probably butchered half of the conversations, but like my momma used to say on the ski hill, “If you´re not falling, You´re not trying!”
As the work is starting to pick up here in Salto, so is the heat! Oh man! There have been a couple of really long hot days here and there is never a way to escape the heat, but we are all good! There were lots of miles covered on the bikes, which is always a good thing and there will be plenty more covered this coming week!


Elder Roderick

P.S. The one-year anniversary of the “Miracle on 17th”was yesterday. #GORAMS (even though they lost)