Sunday, July 30, 2017

Events in Mendoza

This week in Argentina we celebrated “Friends Day” and I learned that it's actually a huge holiday down here in the ARG. On Thursday, the people were going crazy and there were tons of parties everywhere. It was kind of weird to see but it was so nice to see the town buzzing a little bit. So, “Feliz dia del Amigo” to all of my amigos out there, especially my homies out here in the mission field. LOL!
We spent over half of the week in Mendoza so we didn't have much time in our area, which was a bummer. Legit! We only had Monday night after Pday and Saturday and Sunday in our area but we were able get some good work done. On Wednesday, we had a meeting with President Panzacchi and his wife.  The meeting was for my companion and all of the other missionaries who are being trained right now. It was a good chance to learn more from our new president and get to know him a little bit better. It was also nice to get a review of some of the things that missionaries learn during their training.  As well, it was nice to be with some Elders for a while because my companion and I are accompanied by too many Hermanas in Alvear. LOL!
We had the meeting on Wednesday and then on Thursday we had a free day in Mendoza because it didn’t make sense for us to travel five hours back to our area because we had legal work to do on Friday. So, on Thursday I was planning to get into the actual city of Mendoza, but my plans fell through. LOL! We ended up going with the President’s Assistants to their area on exchanges and it was actually a lot of fun. Their area is right outside of Mendoza which means there are tons of people and it was really different from the areas I have worked in. So, it was interesting to get to know more parts of the mission. By just trying to talk to everyone we saw, we worked our tails off.  In my short time with them, I learned some new teaching techniques and I realized that there's no such thing as a “perfect missionary.” So, it was nice to learn from their example. 
On Friday, my companion had to do some legal work to become a citizen of Argentina and then on the way back to Alvear there was a problem with the bus so we ended up being on the bus for eight hours instead of the normal five. It wasn't too fun but we were able to get back.
We had another good lesson with our friend, Juan, this week. His daughter is preparing to go on a mission so Juan is really concerned about all that a mission entails. Even so, her plans have given us a good chance to help him become familiar with the Church and help him feel comfortable sending his daughter out into the mission field. This makes our lessons with him so spiritual because he is very concerned for his daughter and it gives him some motivation to learn more about the Church and investigated a little more. Now I'm just praying he can take a leap of faith and follow the great example of his kids.
On Sunday, a nice old couple, who are about 80-years old, let us in to their home and we had a great little conversation with them.  Then, as we were about to leave, they poured out their hearts to us and told us about all of the loved ones they have lost lately. Legit! They told us they are just waiting for their day to reunite with their loved ones. To be honest, it was kind of sad to listen to them because they seem so confused about what will happen in the next life so it was really nice to be able to teach them about the plan that God has for each and every one of us. I'm praying that they can understand the things we teach and really take them to heart so they can have an eternal family.
We had a nice quick week here in Alvear and we have some really good things going on in the area. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress our investigators can make!
I'm bummed I missed Colter Bay but that butter by the dam will always be there for me. LOL! I hope you guys had a good time and didn't miss me too much!

Have a great week!

Elder Roderick

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Promising Investigators and a Pig Encounter


Well, I can officially say that it’s pretty darn cold down here in the ARG. This weekend it got down to 0° Celsius and there was a bunch of wind, so it was a cold one! I’m not sure if it’s really that cold, but when it’s 0° Celsius and you’re on a bike, the cold wind will really get to you.  My companion, who’s from Peru, has never felt cold like this before so it’s kind of funny to watch his reactions to it.  Even with the cold temperatures we haven’t seen snow yet, so we’re still praying for it.
            This week flew by and like always, we covered a lot of ground on our bikes. We made the mistake of visiting an investigator who lives 8 km away while there was a wind storm. On our return trip if literally felt like we weren’t covering any ground on our bikes because the wind was so strong.  We looked pretty ridiculous! We got some pretty weird looks from people, but that’s nothing new!
            We had some awesome lessons this week. My good friend, Juan, who is the father of three members of our branch, is really progressing. With his kids present, we taught him about the Restoration and it was probably one of the best lessons I’ve participated in during my mission.  The coolest part of the lesson was that Juan’s kids were there and they testified to him of the truths we were teaching and of the Book of Mormon. They encouraged him to read the Book of Mormon and to go to church. During the lesson the Spirit was so undeniable and nearly everyone was brought to tears. The main thing I felt was the love that everyone in the room had for my friend, Juan, and the important thing is that he felt it too. When we taught him about the Apostasy, he said he felt a hunger to learn more and a desire to “cure his hunger.” The lessons we had with Juan and his family were definitely the highlights of the week.
            We also taught Javier, who is the brother of a couple of members and like our lessons with Juan, we were able to teach Javier with his family present to testify and bring the Spirit into the room. Javier believes everything we teach him but he’s just a little lazy with the commitments and reading assignments we leave with him. This is frustrating but we have such great lessons with him and we’re hoping his family can push him along to read and learn for himself so he can gain his own testimony. 
            This week I also had another experience with a pig.  We got to a member’s house right as they were trying to move some pigs so they could make baby pigs (this is serious stuff down here). There were two pigs in one pen and apparently, they don’t like each other.  The goal was to move one pig out of the pen and into another.  So, we all lined up and made a little pathway for the pig that he could walk through and just be guided into his new pen. But, unexpectedly the wrong pig sneaked out of the pen and I was the closest one to it.  Legit, it charged right at me! This was no piglet!  This pig was HUGE! In my football days, I had to take on some pretty big dudes, but a 300kg pig definitely got the best of me. It escaped right past me and then the chaos began. The family has a huge property and a couple of enormous dogs that are trained to kill animals. So, I had to sprint after the pig while the family tried to hold back the dogs so they wouldn’t kill the pig. Legit, it was chaos and like my last pig encounter, I was freaking out. During his escapade around the farm, the pig nearly ran me over.  Fortunately, it all worked out and we were able to get all of the pigs in their proper pens but the entire experience really did a number on me.  Not gonna lie! Another week; another L.
            So, this week I chased a pig and nearly died in the process.  With my district, I also took a boxing class on PDay and it nearly killed me too. But, other than those near-death experiences, it was a great week. The boxing class provided us with a great opportunity to do “companion inventory.” We went at each other really hard for a few minutes and it was really fun! I also learned a few moves I can use if anyone tries to rob me.

¡Un Abrazo Grande!

Elder Roderick

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Shout Out to My Life Partner

This week flew by and before I knew it, we were already back at church. We started the week by celebrating one of the best holidays, the Fourth of July. In our District Meeting on Tuesday (July 4th) we sang, “My Country Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful” while eating some M&Ms. So, we were pretty patriotic. We didn’t have any fireworks, or a poolside barbecue, but we were able to celebrate a little bit down here in the Arg.
The highlight of the week was a quick trip to San Rafael to meet the new boss of the Argentina Mendoza Mission, President Panzaechi! In order to get to know him, we had a little meeting with President & Sister Panzaechi and their daughter. We chated about the mission for a little bit and it was nice to feel the energy he has for this beautiful work that we do. More than anything, I could just feel the excitement he has to be here in the mission. His Uruguayan accent is a little funny but he is a total stud and I'm excited to see the changes that he will make in the mission.
On the way to San Rafael, my poor companion got a little sick and ended up spending the entire bus ride in the bathroom. So, in hopes that he could feel better and get back on his feet, we spent the remainder of the day in our pench. There isn’t anything worse than being sick in the mission, so I was feeling in for my little dude. It gave me a good chance to read a lot of scriptures and wash my clothes. So, it was all good.
A few weeks ago, we helped a member move houses and during the move I started talking with one of his friends who came to help. This friend and I created a bond quite quickly because one of the first things I did was attempt to yank the cigarette he was smoking it out of his mouth. LOL! I started talking to his son, as well, and as we talked about God and the Bible and all that typical stuff. We had a great chat and then they said we could pass by their house whenever we wanted.  Therefore, during the week we put their invitation to the test and we paid them a visit.  They opened right up to us and basically told us to, “Feel at home.” We started chatting about what we do as missionaries and their religion and all that good stuff and the first thing his son said was, “I will never believe in Joseph Smith.” He said this before we had mentioned anything about Joseph Smith. In retrospect, it was actually pretty funny and it’s given me some motivation to teach my new homies more about the truths we preach.  Mauricio and Alberto have turned into my new homies here in the ARG and they are anxious to learn more. I'm really pumped for them!
Over the last few weeks we have been meeting a lot with Walter who is a 47-year-old dad.  He is very religious and he knows a ton about the Bible. Legit! Every time we bring up a new principal, he knows where he can find it in the Bible. This is good and bad because he loves to contend with us, especially about the book of Mormon. But, he likes to read the Book of Mormon and he told us to that if he really receives an answer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, he will for sure get baptized. So, now we are just praying that it's time for him to receive his answer about the truthfulness of the things we are teaching.
One thing I really focused on this week was really listening to the people we teach. Sometimes it is easy to just respond very quickly with an answer that will prove our point, but this week I really tried to focus on each person’s needs and how we can really help them come unto Christ. This worked really well because the Spirit was so present and because of this, we were able to address the needs of the people we teach!
Sunday in church we were assigned to talk in Sacrament Meeting for an entire 15 minutes, which was a little stressful because the only time I have talked that long was at my farewell, about a year ago. Ha ha! I talked about missionary work and it ended up going very well. I focused on the role of the member in this great work and I shared some thoughts from David Bednar’s talk in the last conference. He spoke about how it doesn’t matter where we are called to serve. Rather, what is important is that we are called to serve. I used the great example of my boy, Parkin, and told his story about receiving three different mission calls and then almost getting deported from Russia. All of the members loved that story and some didn't even believe it was true! A big shout out to my Life Partner for being the best example to us of not worrying about where he’s serving but just wanting to serve!

Have a good week!!

Elder Roderick