Wednesday, June 28, 2017

¡Hola Elder Ramos!

Welcome Elder Ramos
It was a short, quick week down here in the ARG. I spent another few days in Mendoza Capital waiting for my companion to arrive and on Wednesday afternoon I received "my kid." His name is Elder Ramos and he's from Peru. He lives a little south of the area where my cousin, Cole, is serving so it's been fun to make that connection.  Elder Ramos is 19 years-old and he's fresh out of the MTC. He's a very funny kid and, due to my consummate training, I'm pretty sure he'll be the assistant to the President one day.  
I spent two days in Mendoza just "Opening the Mouth" because I was waiting for Elder Ramos to arrive.  Working in the big city was a lot different than what I'm used to. So, in order to get people's attention, we had to be really creative.  I felt like it was more difficult to get people to talk to us in the city and although it was challenging, it was still really fun.  We had some funny rejections and made a couple of new friends so I guess I can say it was a great start to the week.  
During the capitulation for the new missionaries it felt so good to be in the trainers spot. I had some time to think back about how I felt when I was in the chair of the new missionary and it seems like it was only a few months ago.  I'm not gonna lie, it felt good to not be in the place of the new missionaries, who looked nervous and uncertain as they were introduced to their trainers.
Father's Day Treats
As I've introduced Elder Ramos to the mission, my main focus has been to help him feel confident and unafraid of talking to people and knocking on doors.  I just want him to be able to talk comfortably with strangers.  In essence, when you want to teach someone how to swim you just need to throw them in the deep end and help them until their head is above water.  It's the same with missionary work. An effective way to teach someone to do something new is to just force them to do it until they feel comfortable. So, as I showed Elder Ramos the routine of the mission, we had a fun and productive week. 
Over the weekend, we had a promising and memorable experience with a couple who live next door to a member.  The member invited them to an activity and that is how they became familiar with the church.  When we knocked on their door they were quick to tell us that due to their 22 year-old daughter's death, they had lost their faith. They told us that they had prayed so hard for their daughter to live and she didn't. During this time they were expecting an answer to their prayers and they felt like they didn't receive one so they abandoned their faith.  Despite this initial conversation, we had a really good lesson with them.  We taught them about what constitutes true faith and shared our understanding of eternal families. During the lesson, I remembered the time when my Roderick family fasted and prayed for our Grandpa Bill, even though we knew his chances for survival were very slim.  I remembered being in a room with my family and crying as I held onto my momma because I knew Grandpa was going to die.  The main thing I recalled was my momma comforting me as she told me we would be able to see our Grandpa Bill again. I remembered the comfort and peace that came over me at that moment and I felt prompted to share my experience with this family.  My personal experience and feelings provided an ideal opportunity for me to testify of the great plan of happiness that our Heavenly Father has for every single one of us.  It's my prayer that we can help this family find their faith again and take the steps necessary to become an eternal family. During this lesson the Spirit was very present and it provided the type of "spiritual high" that missionaries strive for. 
Enjoying wings in the Mendoza Mission Office 
Overall, it was a great week in Alvear! We've got some momentum with a couple of our investigators and I'm looking forward to helping them progress.  
I'm happy to give a big "Happy Birthday" shout out to my boy, Roddy! 22! Man, you are old! And, of course, "Happy Father's Day" to my awesome Dad and all of the wonderful men who have shaped me into the young missionary that I am today.  Friends, coaches, church leaders and family members have truly made a powerful impact on my life! 

I love all of you so much! 

Elder Roderick  

Promising Investigators

This short three-week transfer has come to an end and I'll be staying in Pellegrini.  I'll also be training a youngster, straight from the MTC! I'll meet him later this week in Mendoza, so that promises to be exciting.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of teaching an Elder about how we get things done in Argentina! 
This week was exceptionally good because I received a letter from my cousin, Cole, that had been circulating since January 2016. LOL! #southamericaproblems
We were able to catch up with one of our friends, Brandon, who is 13 years-old and enjoys chatting with us about God and the Bible. Since he's so young, I think his questions and our conversations about religion are pretty incredible. Brandon is very smart and we're working toward getting his entire family involved in our lessons so all of them can understand what we have to share.  Brandon has also asked me to help him with his English homework and this is a service that I've been looking forward to providing. So, that's been fun and it's also allowed me to keep my native language sharp! LOL!
We also had a couple of great lessons with Isabel who is the mother of one of the recent converts in the ward. She is definitely one of the greatest ladies I've ever met! She has turned into my mom/grandma down here because she's always on my case about my lack of clothing in the cold Argentina winter weather.  However, her scolding doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I appreciate it because she always invites us into her home and gives us a hot drink. She treats us so well and she loves our message but her progress toward baptism is slow because she's still recovering from her husband's death and her family is in the process of moving.  Even so, she has a baptism date for July 1st so I'm praying that all goes well for her until then.  
Another investigator who we were able to teach this week is Maxi.  He is 20 years-old and he's the boyfriend of a member.  Through his girlfriend's family, we have been able to get to know him and start teaching him. I'm praying that we see the same results with Maxi that I saw the last time I was in this situation where an investigator was introduced to the church through their girlfriend (Victor). I'm looking forward to watch Maxi progress because the lessons we have with him are awesome.  He asks good questions and his girlfriend is always right there to support him and help him.
This week felt short because we made a quick trip to Mendoza to do some legal work for my companion. We had a little break in our missionary action but it was awesome to go to Mendoza where we were able to see the mountains covered in snow! They aren't like the mountains we have in Salt Lake but, it was still a beautiful sight! My plan was to sneak up into the mountains so my companion could see and feel snow for the first time, but it didn't work out for.  Nonetheless, it was fun to cruise around the beautiful city of Mendoza and jam out to EFY tunes. LOL!
The city of Alvear is full of religious excitement, which makes our job easy, but we're trying to get people to listen to our message rather than just stare at us: the crazy Gringo and Brazilian in white shirts and ties.  I've also learned that some of the religious excitement is actually religious contention.  Literally, there is a man who lives on a busy street that we pass on every day and when he sees us, he yells at us and accuses us of stealing the bikes we're riding on. 
I'm really excited to stay in this little town and especially to have the challenge of training. "Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future.  The Lord will not forsake us... If we will put our trust in Him, if we pray to Him, if we live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers." Gordon B. Hinkley
Have an awesome week and send me a postcard or something and read Ephesians  6:10-18!

Elder Roderick 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Our Message of Happiness

We had a pretty good week which included a couple of funny moments that I will never forget and some great lessons as well! Also, the weather was a bit warmer and the sun peaked out a couple of times so that made for some nice days. In the pench, we have the heaters on full blast basically the whole day because it isn’t insulated very well. One day I was warming up next to a heater and I guess I got a little too close to it and I burned a nice fat hole in my pants. I'm still taking Ls on the daily! SMH!
Lately we have been teaching the mom of one of the recent converts in the branch and it has been going really well. Ever since her son got baptized, she has wanted to learn more and eventually get baptized as well. They have been going through a pretty rough time because her husband died about two months ago and that hit the family pretty hard. But, it has been really cool to see how the things that we are teaching them bring them the joy that they have been missing in their home. Of course, misisonaries  like to see some people progress toward baptism when we are teaching them, but what I really notice is the happiness that our message brings to help anybody in any situation, regardless of baptism.
One morning this week we saw a group of people in a park surrounding a statue and we wanted to check it out because there was a good amount of people there to talk to. We got there and we noticed flags from like five different countries and tons of different kinds of people. As we were listening, we noticed that it was a celebration for some kind of independence holiday. Argentina has a really strong Italian influence and so they had Italian flags and people were even talking in Italian. It was actually really cool. Everyone was looking at us weird because we really stood out in the crowd! LOL! And then, a Catholic priest went up and prayed and did the little hand signs and we were the only people that didn't do it and legit everyone was starting at us at this point. I just wanted to see if we could talk to some people and instead we stuck out like a sore thumb! 
Another cool experience we had this week was in a lesson with one of our street contacts. We went to his house to teach him, indentify his needs and learn and how we can really help him receive the restored gospel. First, we started talking about families and the importance they have in our lives. Then, it was really cool because quickly found that our message could help him. Apparently, he feels like he let one of his sons down because he didn't have much time to care for him. But, we were able to share the happiness our message brings to families and explain that through the ordinances of the restored gospel we can live with our families forever! The joy that we saw on his face was unforgettable! Then, we were able to talk about repentance and how we really can be saved by the atoning sacrifice of our Savior! The happiness and relief we saw on his face was amazing and it was a moment I will never forget.
The rest of the week was filled with lots of biking and a bunch of teaching. One day we went 45 km to a little town that used to be a branch and we found a bunch of member families and more people to teach but the only problem is that it is pretty far from the nearest chapel. The day that we made the trek out there was Saturday and we were fasting and that wasn't the best idea. I was completely dead when we got back to the pench. It was cold and we just biked for like an hour and a half. But we made the trip fine and we were basically laughing with each other the whole time.
Also, I have challenged myself to start learning Portuguese with my Brazilian companion. It has actually been really fun and as a companionship we are trying our best to learn English, Spanish, and Portuguese. I probably won't be able to progress too much but it's so fun to learn new words and practice how to pronounce everything. In our district, there are two sisters; one from Brazil and another from Utah. So, we have all three of the languages going through our district meetings. I told the district that we need to learn all three languages so we can be united as a district. LOL!
Everything else is going very well and back in the never ending Argentine fields, I feel right at home! Don't miss me too much when you're in Europe, Fam!


Elder Roderick