Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Oh Little Town of Salto"

Christmas wishes come true for Elder Roderick 
Santa Claus is coming to town!                                                                      
This week I tried my best to get in the Christmas Spirit and it worked a bit better. We shared the Christmas Story with a couple of people and that helped me feel a little buzz of this great season. Salto isn’t the biggest city out there and there’s not the pretty lights on the houses but we are doing our best out here! I think one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the Santa on the Coke cans and at least we got those out here. Who needs the snow and Christmas trees when you have Santa on Coke cans?
This week was a much better week out here in the field for us. I don’t know if we just had better timing or maybe better luck, but it was a great week. We got back in touch with all of the homies! We are still working really hard with Daniel and Carla and we had some great lessons with them this week. I’m really trying to get Daniel up to speed with everything because Carla has been learning so much outside of the lessons, on her own. While in the lessons he always participates, has questions, and prays but we gotta get him to do more when we aren’t in the house! Carla is literally a “golden investigator” and we want the same for Daniel. So, let’s hope for the best!
Welcome to the little town of Salto de las Rosas
We were also able to get back in touch with our boy, Francisco, and we talked with him about obedience. Like most 17-year old kids he isn’t the most obedient but that is what we are here for, to help him along! The problem is that he lives with his grandma and uncle and he’s in the middle of some legal work to make his grandma his guardian. So, we are doing our best to work with them so he can be a member soon. We set some goals with him and our awesome member, Santiago, just got back from working in Valle Grande for a month so we’re praying he can help us with Francisco!
We were also able to find Alberto again.  He’s Daniel’s uncle and he’s a really hard person to find sometimes.  So, as soon as we heard he was in Daniel’s house, we jumped at the opportunity to teach him. This was the first time we had actually taught him alone. So, we tried to help him catch up with some of the things we have been teaching Daniel and Carla. He lives hecka far away so we are relying on Daniel and Carla to help him out as well. He always tells us how many problems he has in his life so I’m really hoping we can teach him more often and help him find more happiness and joy in this life!
Also, this week we were able to teach our man, Omar. The thing that is tough about Omar is that he works as a mechanic and never really has a fixed schedule. He’s good friends with everyone so, when someone has a problem with their car or moto they go to Omar. So, basically, we have been passing by his house every single day to see if he’s busy or not. He’s really receptive and has a couple of kids so when we taught him about the Plan of Salvation, he loved it. Most of the ideas and principles are really new to him so we are hoping for the best. Simplify and Intensify, Baby!
Lunch with Luis and his family
The best part of the week was our Sacrament Meeting. I’m not going to lie.  My first few weeks in the tiny Salto Sacrament Meetings were really rough. Adapting to the few members and just the style of Salto was pretty rough. But, the last two weeks have been awesome. This week after Sacrament Meeting, we had a little party to celebrate Christmas and it was soooo much fun. During a lunch appointment that we had this week we talked about how Salto is really small, of course, but at the same time we all know each other so well and we are like one big family. Of course, it’s not the most ideal ward, but it’s such a blessing as a missionary when we have an investigator like Carla who comes to church and the ward just takes her in, like a family. So, on Sunday when we had a big meal as a ward, it really felt like a big family dinner and I haven’t had one of those in a while so it was really fun. 
Well, it’s crazy to think that Christmas is this week! I’m hoping we can get in a couple more doors to share the story of Christmas or #ILUMINAELMUNDO. We’ve got to take advantage of this wonderful time of year!
I’m sure it will be weird to be on the other side of the Skype Camera on Christmas Day but I’m soooo pumped to talk to the fam! I just hope they can have some fun without me this year.
Enjoy the best week of the year and of course, never forget why we have this magical time of year. Jesus Christ truly is our light in this world. When we follow His perfect example, we are choosing the right!

“Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalice”

“I can do all things in Christ, who strengtheneth me!” Fil 4:13


Elder Roderick

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hola Elder Mena!

The most exciting part of my week was receiving a new companion! I said,
“Goodbye” to Elder Hyer on Tuesday and then later that afternoon I received Elder Mena. Elder Mena is 21-years old (Yes, the same age as my brother. That’s weird.) and he is from a small town in Southern Chile. Right now, in Salto, he is about six hours from his house. LOL! This means we are only speaking Spanish 24/7! I asked him how much English he knows and all he said was, “No mucho.” It’s definitely a challenge, but I love it. Chileans are known to talk really fast and the people in Salto have their own special way of speaking, so it has become a little more difficult to know what is going on all the time but, it’s a great challenge. Learning a language has been one of the most humbling things I have ever done. Nevertheless, I’m so excited to be with Elder Mena. He’s been in the mission for 21-months so I hope he can teach me a thing or two!
This week was actually really stressful for me. First, I was stressed and anxious about receiving a new companion and then, I was worried about being in charge of all of the plans and making sure we were doing something meaningful for every hour of the day. I shouldn’t have been as stressed as I was but showing Salto to a veteran missionary was not as easy as I hoped it to be. 
This week also felt like a short one because of the transfers and a of couple problems with the pench and our bikes. After five days without water I was finally able to find the root of the problem and go to town on a pipe. If you too are having water problems, just call Elder Roderick.
I wanted to “Open the Mouth” this week and use the Christmas initiative to find more people. The initiative is so awesome and I was hoping we could find people to share it with. To keep it simple, we didn’t have the success that I had envisioned. Instead, there were a lot of slammed doors and unhappy people. But, I am starting to enjoy just knocking doors and talking to everyone I can. I think that half of the time, those I approach don’t understand exactly what I am saying, but I’m having fun doing it. Also, Argentina had two very random holidays this week. I think one was to celebrate the tourists in the country?? So, I’m hoping the people were just trying to enjoy their holidays and not actually avoiding us.
Even so, holidays are hard on missionaries because during them everyone is doing whatever they want to celebrate. We had so many set appointments fall through! The people celebrate hard for a few days, and then on the following days they are hecka busy catching up on the work that they missed. Many times, I found us sitting outside an empty house without any idea what we were going to do next. This scenario is not exactly what I wanted to show Elder Mena for his first week with me but all we can do is maintain a positive attitude and keep working!
We have started to do a lot of work with the less active members to try and strengthen the ward and excite them for the Christmas season. This actually worked really well! The best part of the week for me was having 18 people attend church. This was the highest we’ve had during my time in Salto and so I was pumped. I was talking to Carla, our awesome investigator, after the church services and she said, “This is actually really fun!” Yes! I love it baby! 
Speaking of Carla and Daniel, our work with them has become frustrating because Carla is so ready for baptism. If we didn’t have the problem with the Law of Chastity and them not being married, her baptismal service would be next Friday, and then she would receive the Holy ghost on Christmas. Obviously, this a dream for me but we are still working really hard with them. We decided to set a date with them to make a decision about getting married, but right now they are still hesitant. They are soooo close!!
This week I read a talk from Uchtdorf and he basically talked about if we try to find the bad in people or situations, of course we are going to find bad things! No one is perfect! Instead, we need to always look for the good things in life! Especially as a missionary, I have learned how important attitude is. Days are tough and long sometimes but I love the grind!

Please keep Daniel and Carla in your prayers!!

I love you all so much! 

Elder Roderick

P.S. Please keep the Christmas spirit going as much as you can because it feels nothing like Christmas down here! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

¡Hasta Leugo Training Wheels!

Well, the big news of the week was that we got the transfer calls last night and I´m staying in Salto! My new companion is Elder Mena who is from Chile and I´ve heard great things about him. Of course, this means I’ll only speak Spanish all day, every day so it might be a little tough, but this will give me an awesome opportunity to get my Spanish really goin’. I´ve learned a ton of Spanish already but now that I´m using Spanish exclusively, I hope it can get a lot better. I´m excited to see the progress of our new investigators too!
This week I finished my training, the month of December started and I hit my 4-month mark. All of these things are crazy for me to believe!
This week was also a pretty busy one. We started off the week with exchanges in Parque Molino with the District Leader. El Molino is actually a fun little town which is known for the little mafia that runs the neighborhood. As a missionary, this makes our experiences a little interesting, especially when we are gringos. But, of course, nothing happened while I was there. I spent a couple of days with the District Leader, Elder Toone, and it’s always fun to change companions for a little bit. We were able to teach some of his investigators and it was so much fun to meet with new people and share the awesome message that we have. The only not so fun part about these two days was that El Molino has zero trees and the sun was as powerful as ever. I was dying in the heat and we covered a ton of ground on our feet.  This made me miss our good ole bikes in Salto. A member told us that it got up to 104 degrees on Sunday and it´s only going to get hotter! I think it’s safe to say that Summer is officially here!
Back in Salto, we taught Daniel and Carla the word of wisdom and the Law of Chastity, both of which can be difficult to comprehend for investigators. With the Law of Chastity, we kind of have a problem because we found out that Daniel and Carla are not married. L  They told us that they have talked about it in the past but they just decided back then, that it’s simply just a piece of paper. That seems to be the attitude with most of the Argentina people which stinks, but we’ll work with them. It took a while to explain the importance of marriage and why it is needed to be baptized. I think they were a little hesitant at the end of the lesson, which is understandable, because marriage is a pretty big deal. But the thing is, if they know that the things we are teaching them are true, then they will see the importance of marriage. Also, they told us if they do get married they want to have a little party or something so I might be putting on a wedding party soon! But, the best part of this situation is that they are a family and eternal life with our families is the greatest gift we can receive in this life and they understand that, as well as the requirements to get to that point.
Elder Roderick & Elder McCabe at the Open Chapel 
After we taught them on Friday, Carla and the kids came to church on Sunday and it was soo amazing to see our members just make them feel comfortable and show them the ropes during Sacrament Meeting. Elder Hyer and I just sat in the back and watched our members take care of the kids and explain everything to Carla. It truly was the coolest experience. Last night, we went over to their house to follow up with them and we basically just poured out our hearts to them. We shared how we were inspired to find them. (We probably knocked on their door 10 times before actually being able to find someone home.) We told them that we are here because we want them to be an eternal family. It was actually an awesome lesson. I really hope and pray that they feel our love and can act upon a response they receive from our Heavenly Father about this decision.
 A few weeks back while we were at Daniel’s house, we met a man named Omar Rissi and he expressed interest in our message but we went almost a month without finding him again. All of the people in his little neighborhood don’t really like the missionaries so it was nearly impossible to find him again. Omar is such an awesome guy though. He’s probably in his 60’s and he doesn’t have much of a religious background, which can be difficult sometimes because so many things are new to him, but he’s so sweet. When we followed up with him this week he had already read what we had asked him to read. He is such a stud! He hasn’t been baptized before and I hope we can help him reach that point sometime soon!
Elder Roderick and the Sisters following the Open Chapel
The bummer part of the week was during the Zone Meeting on Friday we found out that the mission is not having a Christmas party. L Apparently, the Church is cutting funds and even when President Goates offered to pay for it all, the Church still said, “no.” I guess the Grinch lives in Argentina!
The best part of the week was the Open Chapel we had for the whole Stake of San Rafael. There is a Senior Missionary couple who is assigned to hold Open Chaples all over South America and they basically take care of everything. It was so much fun for us because we saw a lot of people come the open house who aren’t members and there were some less actives who attended as well! It was a long night of entertaining people and we got back to our pench very late and very exhausted but it was soo worth it!
I’m excited to stay another transfer here in Salto and get a new companion! Please pray for Daniel and Carla and their decision about marriage!

I love you all so much!!

Elder Roderick