Monday, June 9, 2014

Working Hard

 Time is going by so fast, I just don't even know what to say. I have been struggling to keep my eyelids open for the past five weeks. Haha, doesn't help that I am the driver. Just a few days ago as we were praying before we left the car to go and see a family I fell asleep right in the middle of the prayer. It was pretty funny. We've been waking up and 6AM and going on a five mile run. I had this goal in Dallas, but wasn't able to complete it. I wanted to run 100 miles in one transfer. It looks like that I am going to be able to do it this transfer. I am so thankful to have a companion that pushes me and has truly helped me become a better person. I have learned so much from my companions and have really learned the importance of choosing an eternal companion that will help me learn and grow.
     Celentria unfortunately was not baptized this weekend. She is still having a bit of trouble with the Word of Wisdom. She is doing great right now and things are really looking great for this weekend. I am so excited for her. The ward is really looking up. Our bishop has been a lot more supportive and has actually come out on team ups with us! We had some really great experiences going out with the members. It is so important to help each member that comes out with you have a spiritual experience. This week we took out with us a High Priest in the Ward named Brother Williams. We went and so a potential investigator that we met a few days before. When we went over the lady we were looking for wasn't there. Her sister was the one that answered the door. We asked if we could share a message about Christ with her and she let us in. The lesson went great! I love teaching so much. I love helping people and lifting their vision. We invited her to be baptized and set a date for July 5th. Her name is Raven and she is awesome. Brother Williams was so impressed that in priesthood this Sunday he shared his experience with the body of the Priesthood. It was a very good step in the right direction for the ward.
     Lately I have been studying in depth the Fall and the Atonement. I don't have much time to write all that I have learned. My plans are to write a book when I get home. I am publicly announcing this. So whoever reads this has to keep me accountable. I love the scriptures. They have truly become my best friend on the mission, and I am so comfortable with them.
      This week we had mission council, it went really great. I learned a lot and love being around all of those missionaries. I really love President Harding so much and am so grateful to have him as my mission President. He is an amazing man and I have learned so much from him. I feel like this mission is the best mission in the world. The culture and the structure of it truly makes a saint. President Harding is so inspired. This mission requires so much of its missionaries. I am so grateful to have served here in Georgia under President Harding. I have learned to be obedient and submit, I have learned to work hard, and I have learned what I want for my future.
       The reality of me going home still hasn't quite struck me. Honestly, I can't explain it. I have always told myself, "When April hits, that is when I will feel like I am going home." and then April hits and I say, "When May hits, that is when I will feel like I am going to go home." Still didn't hit me. Then finally, "When June hits, that's when I will feel it." I realize I am going home, but I just don't feel like I am really going home. I am still in the same routine, still doing the same ol' thing, still working hard. Home just seems so far away, but I know that in reality it is only a week away... I don't know how I feel. I really can't put it into words. Because it just hasn't hit me with full force. I think that it will hit me when I am standing at the pulpit giving my departing testimony. Maybe then. I just am so scared. Honestly, I am terrified. But excited for the future, but terrified to go back into normal life. I don't want to lose what I've learned. I just want to keep it with me forever, and I am going to. On Thursday Elder Wahlen and I made a list of commitments that I am going to do when I get home. I am not going to write all of them down here, but I do intend to keep them all. They are written on the inside of my mission scriptures. I intend on keeping them all. I intend to continue to grow spiritually and be a great missionary when I get home. Ugh, I just don't know what to say. I just don't know if I am ready to leave. My heart is here now with the people who I have truly come to love. I have put my whole heart into this work, and it just doesn't seem fair that I have to leave it all. I am so grateful that I will have the chance to come back here sometime soon.
        Well, Brother Tackett is for sure going to come and hike Mt. Timp with me in the 3rd week of July. And Brother Asper is going to be there when I get home! At least I will have some part of Georgia with me when I get back home. I am so excited to sit down with Brother Asper and discuss doctrine. I can't wait to share with each other the new things that we have learned in our studies. It is going to be so hard for me to keep my composure when I see him again. I don't think that the members and investigators will ever realize what they have done for me. I don't think they will ever know the lasting effects and lessons that they have taught me. I am so grateful for every experience that I have had, good and bad.
       I can't wait to hug and kiss my mother and sister when I get home. I can't wait to hug my Dad and Brothers. I can't wait to take a long road trip with my Dad and just talk about life like we used to. I can't wait to share with everyone the things that I have learned about the Gospel and about life. I can't wait to apply them all and raise an
eternal family.
      I love you all so much,
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, June 2, 2014

Brett Got Baptized!

Great news! Brett Swanstrom got baptized. I was lucky enough to attend his baptism this Saturday in Snellville. Goodness, I can't even express how much I miss that ward. They are just absolutely incredible. Bishop, President Roberts, Brother Tackett, and Brother TeWalt were there. It was so great being able to see all of them again. I miss them so much. Brother Rucker, one of my other favorite members, is Brett's girlfriend's brother in law. He is the one that really sparked the interest about the Gospel in Brett's life. Brother Rucker was not a member of the church when him and his wife got married. Brett knew Brother Rucker before he was a member. He saw how much this Gospel has blessed Brother Rucker's life. Brett has had a rough past has really made some incredible changes in his life. His baptism was just one of many leaps that he has made to becoming a better person. It is however the most important one he has made thus far. Brett has such an open heart. He was so much fun to teach because he just got it. I love teaching people who just get it. The message of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation just make so much sense. When you teach him you can see just the pieces of the puzzle connecting in his head. I love Brett, The Remund Family, and The Rucker Family.
We had a great experience this week. On Monday night we drove down to the mission home in Fayetteville to spend a two day boot camp with the mission Presidency. All of the zone leaders throughout the mission attended. Goodness, it was a great and humbling experience. I haven't had a chance to get to know a lot of the missionaries that attended this meeting. I knew a few of them pretty well and it was awesome. They were all just incredible and I learned so much from them. We had some good laughs and some good experiences. In the mornings we went on a run with President Harding and got to have some cool lessons. The first morning we went into the forest and President Harding starting to talk about the golden plates and Moroni. He then told a missionary to move a log and push around some dirt. You could see that there was something buried under the foliage. In the hole was some Book of Mormons that he gave out to us. It was a pretty cool little unexpected lesson. One of the best parts about being in the Eastern part of the United States is that the forests here really look like where Joseph had the First Vision. So I really felt like I was experiencing part of our Church's history. The next morning we went on a run and when we reached the lake we were running to President Harding handed us envelopes that had a letter from either our parents or from him in it. He invited us to go find a quiet spot and go and read. It was a very good spiritual experience. So relaxing. It was so nice to have an unexpected letter from my parents. I love them so much. My favorite part of the boot camp was President Jewkes training. President Gary Jewkes is a leadership trainer. He is a big deal in the business leadership world. He gave us a training on Franklin Covey's Speed of Trust cards. This is the second time that I have received the training from him, and I love it every time. The tools that he gives to communicate effectively are priceless. After his training combined with the spiritual experiences that I had throughout the meeting I felt like I left such a better person and missionary. It was however a very humbling experience. Being around such incredible missionaries sometimes is difficult. I was sort of envious of the missionaries that have so much time left and have so much more time to grow and progress. I am near the end... I know that I am not done growing or progressing, but I am almost done doing it in this sort of environment. I just don't think that missionaries really know or understand how quickly this time goes. And when missionaries would tell me that, I wouldn't ever believe them. I wish that I would have. Every second that goes by you won't be able to get back. You truly have to love every second of it.
We found some pretty awesome people this week. While doing a blitz with an Elder named Elder Berge. He's a great Elder. We found a family, the Arrynt family. Just an incredible family. We went over with their neighbor, Brother Knox. Brother Knox is the coolest. He is from Jamaica and is just so awesome. We took him over and a miracle happened. As we started to talk with Stewart (The Dad) he mentioned how his Comcast internet is down and how frustrated he was. Brother Knox said, "Well hey, I used to work for comcast. Let's go take a look!" Within ten minutes Brother Knox found the problem and fixed their internet. Instant best friends. We had a great lesson on the Restoration and they are really excited about all of the things that we had to share.
Well I am about out of time. I love you all so much!

-Elder Ryan Romero
Bidhop Clay

Brother Rucker

Brother Teawalt

Elder Schenik

Me, Sister Remund, Brett, and Marrianne

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Early Email having a Zone Conference leadership meeting on Monday

Today is Saturday, but we've been given some time to email today. Due to Memorial Day the mission's P-day got moved to Tuesday. However on Tuesday Elder Wahlen and I will be going down to the mission home for some training. So we won't have a P-day next week but are given some time today to write our families. 

Things went pretty well this week. I have a lot to write about, but as usual I don't have a lot of time to write it all. So I am going to try to cover as much as I can. 

This ward is interesting... It is very different from the Snellville ward. I am having a pretty difficult time here. I feel like a foreigner and the members are not very welcoming to me. I don't know why that is. I haven't done anything wrong or offended anyone. I just feel like since they know that I am going to be leaving soon, no one wants to take the time to get to know me or take me seriously. 

Over the past week I have been seriously pondering why God put me here in this ward. What am I supposed to do here? Why am I here? I know that God has a purpose for me here. I have come to the conclusion that God definitely wants me to have an effect on this ward in some way, but that perhaps God wants this ward to have more of an effect on me. The lesson is for me, not for the ward. If that makes sense... 

One of the benefits to being a missionary is seeing all of the different wards. It is incredible how different a ward can be. 

I don't know why. I just can't think straight right now and I am having a difficult time trying to write down all of the things that I want to write down. 

Our investigator Celentria is doing pretty good. She is still smoking... But we have faith that she is going to stop so that she can be baptized. We had a great lesson with her this week. She got very emotional as we talked with her about her life and how baptism and this gospel can change her life. Celentria is amazing and really just a good person. She has the best spirit about her. 

I really love Elder Wahlen, he is a great companion. It has been so awesome getting to know him and learn from him. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve alongside him. 

Well I love you All so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week of Exchanges

This week I did not get to spend too much time in my area. I went on two exchanges this week. One with Elder Rogers in Snellville, and the other with Elder Smith in Jackson. It was a great week with some really great experiences. I am so greatful for the wonderful Elders serving here in this zone. Elder Wahlen and I had a pretty good week in our area. We really get along and he is definitely one of my favorite companions. He has taught me so much and I am so greateful to be serving here with him. 

     On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Rogers in Snellville. It was a great exchange. I had the opportunity to attend his first district meeting, which went great, and to introduce him to all of the investigators and some of the mighty members in Snellville. It was really just a perfect day. Everyone that we wanted to see we were able to see. We saw Yolanda, Regina, Chelsea, and Angela. We went to dinner with one of my favorite members from Snellville, David Josue. He surprised me by taking us out to eat at my favorite restaurant in Snellville, Provino's! It is just this awesome italian restaurant that has the best garlic rolls ever! We found two incredible families that day. One of the people we found was name Secely, her and her son are now on date to be baptized. We also got to give a blessing to the friend of a member. He name is Kaya, and she is super awesome. To finish off the day I got to say goodbye to my other favorite Snellville member, Brother Tackett. We made his "secret recipe" ice cream (as he was making it he said it was secrect, but he would occasionally look at the recipe on the ice cream salt to see what came next in the recipe. Such a jokester. Haha). 

      On Friday I went on an exchange with one of my favorite Elders in the mission, Elder Smith! Elder Smith and I served around each other while I was in Dallas. Elder Smith is just an incredible missionary who I can see myself being lifelong friends with. I have the greatest respect for Elder Smtih. He is a quite Elder and keeps to himself. He reminded me a lot some of my friends back home. He doesn't say much when he is around other people, but he is a powerhouse of a missionary. I feel like Elder Smith has not gotten recognized for how great of an Elder he is, not that it is important to get recognized for your works. But I just don't think that people realize how great Elder Smith is. He is such a great teacher. When you get in a lesson with him you can tell of his sincere care and love for the people that he teaches. You can tell that he sincerely LOVES the Gospel. I really believe that he is one of the best Elders out here. Him and Elder Holt I really respect because you can tell of their genuine and sincere love for the Gospel. 
      Our exchange was awesome. Elder Smith serves in Jackson Georgia. It is the Southern-most area in the mission. and it is SOUTHERN. Goodness, this is probably my favorite places I have been in Georgia. It is the first place in Georgia where I was just in awe over how beautiful the surroundings were. The houses, the archecture and the people. I felt like I was in the movie Forrest Gump. The first lesson that we taught was with a guy named Arthur, he was a recent convert of almost a year. This man was Southern, you could hardly understand a thing that he said. Haha. The second lesson that we taught was with a part member family named the Knight Family. Brother Knight is not a member, but loves the missionaries. This was probably one of my favorite families I have met on the mission. I loved them to death. Sister Knight cooked us some great spaghetti and we ate and ate. After we ate it was time to have teach Brother Knight about the Restored gospel. Brother Knight gives all the missionaries nick-names. Elder Smith's name is Elder Smooth. He said that he only gives the missionaries he likes nick names, and some missionaries have to wait months to get one. We sat down and I asked Brother Knight what was holding him back from getting baptized, because he would make an incredible member of the church. He said that he had a problem with the idea of living day prophets. After a few scriptures and my time-machine analogy and our testimonies, Brother Knight annointed me with the nick-name "Brother K." Haha. He said that the K was for knowledge. Haha. He said that I really impressed him and that I was a great teacher and that the things that we taught he never really clicked before until that day. It was a great lesson. I really loved this exchange with Elder Smith. It was a great day. 

       I don't have too much more to write about. I am trying hard to get to know the ward and all of the things the members of it. It is hard because I know that my time is limited, and I am trying to do as much as I can before I leave this area. We have a few really great investigators. One of them is named Celentria and she is preparing to get baptized. She just has to stop smoking and she will be baptized. I have a lot more that I want to say, but I really just don't have time to say it all. 

       I have come to realize a lot about missionaries and mission culture throughout my mission. I have had such a great change to really get to know some amazing missionaries that have just impressed me so much. I have been so inspired by other people's testimonies and it has made me want to be more motivated and work harder. These missionaries aren't district leaders, zone leaders, or an assistant to the President. Just normal missionaries. I have come to realize that truly great missionaries are the ones that try their very very best, and do it because they love Jesus Christ and have a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel. I have a testimony of the changing and enabling power of the atonement. I know that I have seen it work in my life and in the life of those missionaries that work hard and love the Savior. I love this church, and I love this gospel. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, May 12, 2014


I am out of Snellville =(. I really loved that place. I am very happy about what occurred this transfer though. I am now serving in the Conyers Ward. The Conyers ward is in the same stake as the Snellville ward was. I ended up just moving down the road. This last transfer I am serving as a zone leader with an incredible Elder named Elder Wahlen. Elder Wahlen is from Bountiful. He just turned 24 and is seriously just amazing. He's so full of faith, so positive, and has such a great work ethic. It is really an honor to be serving with him for my last transfer of the mission. I've known Elder Wahlen for awhile and have always thought that he was one of the best missionaries out here and have always wanted to have the opportunity to serve with him. I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed my to finish the mission this way. In a great area, with a great companion.
This week has sort of been a blur. I was not expecting to get transferred. I never ever enjoy packing. The Snellville ward members were surprised to see me go. It was really tough saying goodbye to many of the members and investigators there. Luckily I did not go too far away. In fact, I will be going back there on Tuesday to train the new District Leader that took my spot. I am really going to miss all of the members in the Snellville Ward. Bishop Clay was truly the best bishop I've had on my mission and he really was an example to me. President Roberts was one of the best Elder's Quorum President's I've had on my mission, he was so wise and really has become one of my heroes. Brother Cook was just the nicest guy and best team-up there is. I am going to miss him so much and all that he did for me. Brother Tackett, I can't wait to hike Timp with him in July. He truly did make the best ice cream as he said. Brother O'Dell, just a Gospel scholar with an incredible attitude. I am going to miss Brother McIntyre and him taking us out to go get hot dawgs at Rivals! Ugh. These are just a few of the members of the Snellville ward who I am going to miss very very much.
I am going to miss Regina and her family. I am going to miss Brother Ellsworth, and doubt I'll ever find an investigator I enjoyed teaching as much as I did him. I am going to miss all of the investigators there and really hope to keep in contact with them. I pray for them daily. It is so hard to leave an area. It is incredible how much love you develop for the people that you serve.
I am really happy to be serving with Elder Wahlen because he is helping me get really fit before I go home. Each morning since we've been together we've ran four miles, and are going to continue doing that. We have been working really hard and trying to talk with all of the people that we can. We have really been studying how to rely on the Lord, or how to involve him more in our daily lives. The way that we have prayed has changed and become a lot more sincere. We have been noticing miracles happen over the past few days and people just seem to be delivered to us. We don't have too many progressing investigators as of right now. But I am confident that that will change very quickly. This week is going to be a great week. I can feel it.
It was great being able to talk to my Mother yesterday. I love her so much. It is incredible how my love for my parents has grown on my mission. I realize that I would not be anywhere without my Mother, of course I wouldn't be living, but I do not believe that I would be here on a mission. If it wasn't for my Mother and her loving counsel, I would have made many terrible decisions, and wouldn't have gotten far. I have learned that the Gospel truly does bless families. It is made for the family. I know that because I have seen how this Gospel has blessed my family and helped my parents raise me.
Well, it is about time for me to get going. I can't wait to tell you about what happens next week!
-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Will I stay or will I go?

No word on transfers yet... I am hoping that I will stay in the Snellville ward for my last transfer. I really love this ward. 

This was a pretty rough week. Chelsea did not get baptized this week because her parents will not allow her to be baptized unfortunately. She feels that she will be baptized, but not right now. We are going to continue to teach Chelsea and help her gain a stronger testimony. 

Brandy who we found last week and was awesome got antied by her family and won't talk to us anymore. We still have not been able to get into contact with Roger... Satan has really been working hard lately. 

We found two awesome new families this week. The Womac Family and the Williams family. Sister Womac came to Church this week and loved it. My companion and I taught Gospel Principles. It was about Jesus Christ's Church in the former days. My favorite subject. It was really a great lesson. Everyone was talking about it afterwards and it was just powerful. I really love teaching, I love using the scriptures. Every time I teach I can just feel the spirit speaking through me. It is truly an incredible experience. 

I can't believe that this transfer is over. Only one more to go... I don't know how I feel about that. I am very excited to go home and begin my life. I am excited to see all of my family and friends. I am excited to go back to school and start life again. I am sad to leave though, but excited. I am sad to leave all of the loved ones that I have in Georgia. But I still have awhile left so I don't need to think about it all yet. 

My studies over the past transfer have just been great. I feel like my understanding of the Atonement and Jesus Christ's role as the redeemer has grown tremendously. It is a subject that I really should have focused on at the start of my mission. I love this Church so much. I really really love the Restored Gospel! 

It never seems like I get enough time on these computers to express all of the feelings that I have. A lot has happened this week, but I just don't have enough time to write it all. I am very excited for Mother's day! I can't wait to talk to my family! 

Well I have got to get going. Love you all so much! 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lunch with the Beavers!

This was a pretty great week. We really did some good work this week. We were able to teach a lot of our investigators this week, and we found a lot of new people to teach. 

I have just a few things that I would like to share from this week. As usual, I don't have a ton of time, but I will try to get as much as I can in this email. 

First, guess who took me and my companion out to lunch this Tuesday?! Brother and Sister Beaver! Oh my goodness, it was the greatest. They drove down from Dunwoody and took us out to Applebees. I got to meet their new little daughter, Harper. She is the cutest! It made me so excited to see my new niece and nephew when I get home. This was probably my favorite part of the week. Catching up with them really was amazing. They told me about all of the great things that were happening in the Dunwoody ward and told me about the impact that I and my companions had to get things going in that ward. They expressed how grateful they were to have had the chance to get to know me and how much the members of the ward missed me. I can't wait to visit that ward again and see all of the members that I miss so much. They informed me on how the Roldan family is doing. They're doing great! And also how Tony is doing, he's also doing great too! It was just such a blessing, and really an answer to a prayer to be able to have lunch with them. Sometimes as a missionary it is really hard to notice the impact that you've had on people, or groups of people. I feel so lucky to have to opportunity to see the impact that I've had while I am still on a mission. 

Next I'll tell you about my lesson with Brother Ellsworth. Man, it was a great lesson. I truly love the Ellsworth family and expect to be friends with them for a long time after my mission. I love teaching Brother Ellsworth. After every lesson I feel like I've learned something new. I really feel like I have to rely on the spirit when I am teaching him because he asks the best questions. This week we talked more about The Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel. We talked about how The Book of Mormon is literal proof that there is a God, and that the Restoration is literal proof that there is a God. Either Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon, and made up the revelations. Or they were both given to him by God. It is incredible how The Book of Mormon speaks for itself. I believe that as Brother Ellsworth continues to read The Book of Mormon, he will continue to recognize the miracle of it. 

On a sad note, Roger is gone. We can't get a hold of him after he went to go visit his family in Tennessee. On a better note, Chelsea is doing great. She has come to all the activities over the week and we should be having dinner with her tonight in the Greene's home. I have to write really quick about the Greene family and about how much I love them! Brother and Sister Greene are really some of the best members I've gotten to know on my mission. Sister Greene is just dynamic. She is so forthright, but loving and non-judgmental. She is so accepting of everyone, but is not scared to share her own opinion and stand up for what she believes. Brother Greene is probably the best team up I've ever had. He is like having a third missionary with us in a lesson. He know's the PMG lessons very well and he knows how to teach them. I was so impressed the first time that I taught the Restoration with him. Brother and Sister Greene have the best relationship and are great examples to me as to what I want in a marriage and in a family. I love the Greene's. They have been the best fellow shippers to Chelsea. They have just wrapped their arms around her. 

I don't have too much more to write about. I just really love this ward and love this area. The people are just so kind here. I hope that I am able to finish my mission in this ward. 

I have got to get going. I love you all so much! 
The Shaffers

Me with the Chicks

-Elder Ryan Romero