Monday, August 27, 2012

Fun Surprise

Moms and Dads:

We fed your sons tonight, and they returned the favor by feeding us spiritually.  Thought you might like to see how they are doing.

Brother and Sister Cairns
Twin Oaks Ward
Atlanta Georgia Stake

Start of a New Transfer

This has been a busy week. I got my new companion on Wednesday. His name is Elder Shelley. He is from Springville Utah and is a nice guy. Him and I get along very well. He has been out 20 months and has had a lot of funny experiences on his mission. I can see us working well together for this transfer. He is fairly quiet, and I am pretty loud. So I think that it works out pretty well. 
     We have had a lot of work to do. Our apartment needed a lot of cleaning up (not because of me of course). Our area book and map needed a lot of work (also not because of me haha). So we have spent quite awhile updating those two things. In the past my area has struggled. Elder Shelley and I are going to make this one of the most productive areas in the mission. We are both very determined people. We are setting our goals high and going to achieve them. 

      I had a great experience yesterday. I had the opportunity to confirm Glovia and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was very nervous to do this in front of the whole congregation. I did a pretty good job though. I just had to speak from my heart and the spirit told me what to say. I am becoming a lot more comfortable in front of the ward. I love all the members so much and am getting to know them all very very well. 
      I had dinner with Brother Berg a couple nights ago and had a great time. He and his wife are so awesome! She really did date Connor Oberst from Bright Eyes! She has all these stories about him and even pictures! My mind was blown. We talked a lot about music and even told me some cool bands to look up when I get home. I gave her the names of a couple favorite bands and told her to look them up. I love the Bergs so much. They make me SO excited to have a family of my own. They don't have much... But they have each other and they seem like two of the happiest people I have ever met. 
      Sad news, my best buddy Brother Lisonbee is moving in three weeks. He is our ward mission leader and is the greatest guy on the planet. He is such a spiritual giant and knows his stuff. He is very close with the missionaries. I was so sad when he told me he was leaving. I hope to stay in contact with him and remain his friend. 

      Remember Maxene? She is the lady I talked about awhile back. I met her on MARTA and I felt really comfortable talking to her. Well we have tried contacting her awhile ago and she was never home. The people home said to come back on Saturday. So that is exactly what we did. We came back on Saturday and knocked on the door and no answer... So we walked back down to the bus stop. A few minutes later Maxene walks down to the bus stop and says "Elder Romero?" and I was so surprised! She remembered my name and even walked all the way down to the bus stop to search us out! She told us that she was sorry she didn't answer the door because she was asleep. She invited us back up to her apartment and we had a fantastic lesson. We talked about the Doctrine of Christ and the Book of Mormon. She looooved it. She was so interested in the Book of Mormon. When the lesson was done she set her own return appointment. Maxene is awesome and I can't wait to become her better friend and help her grow spiritually. 

       Shaun is doing well. He has a baptismal date for September 8th. I think that it will probably be moved back though. He has a fear of coming to church... and church that is a pretty essential thing to becoming a member of the church. To help him over come his fear I invited him to take a tour of the church with us. We took him to the church and showed him all the pictures on the wall and talked about all of them. He loved it. We had a member come with us named Bro Thompson. He is an older man that rips on the saxophone. They really got along well. Shaun got his number and is hopefully going to come with him to church this upcoming week! 

        I am getting better at piano. I can play a few of my favorite hymns now. It is such a treat to have an opportunity to play the piano. I love things where I can see myself improve. I love growing and learning new things. I am learning a lot about many different kinds of religion. I am learning a lot about how churches came to be and what they believe. It is very very interesting. I am learning a lot of stuff from the members too. I found out something AMAZING a week or two ago. A member in the ward knew I was interested into going into Bio-Medical Engineering after I graduate from BYU. He told me that Georgia Tech and Emory medical school have a joint program where you can get your masters in Bio-Medical Engineering and become a Medical Doctor!!!! My two dreams combined into one program!!! I am definitely going to set my goals high and strive towards this.
        I  don't have much more time to write. I am doing pretty well. I have been quite a bit more stressed than I am used to and it is throwing me off my groove. Missions are constant change, and I am not the biggest fan of change. I like to get in my routine and stick to it. I know that is something that I need to learn to handle. I know that I have a lot of growing up to do. I can tell that I am becoming stronger and that I have grown up immensely since the start of my mission. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me in the future. I just need to keep having faith that his plans for me are better than the plans that I have for myself. If I can understand that, then this constant change won't seem so difficult. 

       I hope to have some interesting stories for y'all next week. Love you guys so much! Hope to hear from anyone that reads this. 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, August 20, 2012

Malory Family..I Love Them!

This is the Malory's. Brother Mallory, Sis Mallory and Quice Mallory (she is standing right next to me). 

This family feed one of the sets of missionaries every single week. They do not have a lot of money, or a lot of anything. Yet, they take the time to cook us a full meal every week. I care deeply for this family and their kindness. 

Quice is a very good cook. She went to cullinary school for awhile but had to stop due to funds. She is a chef and a restaurant near by. She always asks what I want on sunday and then she has it ready for me on Thursday. She is so kind and such and really cares about the missionaries. She made probably one of THE BEST DESSERTS EVER. She made me a chocolate lava cake. It was heaven. 

Bro and Sis Mallory are so kind. I love them so much. They are like a family away from home. They care about the missionaries so much because Sis Mallory never had any children that could go on a mission. She says that if she had kids on missions, that she would want what she does for us for them. 

I love them so much.

Two month Birthday!

Well I've got a lot to write about. 

Here we go. 

      So I finished up my first week and a half in Decatur. I like it here. Our apartment isn't as big as my last one and smells a lot more like weed than my last one did. Riding MARTA is nice because I get to talk to a lot of people, but it is frustrating having to wait for it to come pick you up. This morning was the end of this transfer. The AP's called us and we found out that I am staying in Decatur and Elder Rainsdon is moving to Dallas, GA. That means that I will be area leader... So I am suppose to know the area and bus routes and so forth... I haven't had much time to get that all down yet, oh well. I will have had four trainers/companions in less than two months. That must be some kind of record. 

      Elder Hansen goes home tomorrow, and I am extremely sad to see him leave. He has truly been like a father to me and has been such a great friend. I hope that when he returns back to Utah my family will try to gain contact with him. I can't wait for my mission Dad to meet my real Dad. They are so similar sometimes it is scary. 

     Okay, now time to get to the good stuff. Glovia got baptized on yesterday! It was absolutely fantastic. She is such a great lady. She wanted to have two people in the font out of fear that one wasn't going to be able to lift her back up. I guess if you were going to drown, a baptismal font wouldn't be the worst place for that. Luckily she made it out of the water. I love Glovia so much. I am so glad that I get to stay in this area with her. After the baptism she came up to me and said "Elder Ramara (She can't pronounce my last name), I want you to know that even though you only were with me for a short while before this occasion, you played a big role in what happened today. Thank you." It made me so happy that it almost brought tears to my ears. She has such a big heart and is going to be a great member of the Church. She always speaks her mind and is not scared to stand up for what she believes in. She was also exposed to anti, but yelled at the person trying to give it to her and said "you don't know the Mormons!" Glovia is quick to call us every morning and see how our day is going. It is clear as day to see the change that the Gospel has brought into her life. 

Glovia and her son after her baptism. Elder Rainsdon has red hair and Elder Schneider is the other one. 


     That was just one of the highlights of my recent Sunday. The other part of it happened later that evening. Saturday we were going to the ghetto part of Decatur/Atlanta (my area covers a large area of Atlanta) to see a less active member. On Saturday the buses run less often so you have to be smart with your scheduling. It took us about one and a half hours to get to where we needed to go. Then about another 5 mile walk. We finally get to the person's house and we knock and they weren't home. It was extremely disappointing. Not to mention that it started to rain. 
     On our way back to the bus stop we came across a man walking out of his house. We went up and talk to him about the LDS church and asked him if he'd be interested in talking more with us. He said "yeah, sounds good. I'll see you guys tomorrow." He was a very shy man, and we kind of just thought that he was being nice. We didn't really expect him to follow up on his commitment, but we stopped by Sunday afternoon anyways. We knocked on his door and he opened right up and invited us in (I was very surprised that he let us in because a lot of the time they just talk to us through the screen door). 
     So we walk in and start talking to him and learned a little more about him. I told him a little about my background and he told me a little about his. He has had a very rough life. He has two kids that live in Texas. He told us that they are the most important thing in his life, and he rarely gets to see them. After talking to him for about 10 minutes I grew such a love for this stranger. I knew that the gospel could change his life. I imagined him giving priesthood blessings to his children before they go off to school, and giving them one when their sick. I imagined him getting married in the temple and being sealed to his family for time and all eternity. I knew that there was a reason for us to be there and that he didn't just agree to meet us out of kindness, he truly is searching for something. 
     We started to ask him questions about his religious backgrounds and his expectations for meeting with us. He said that he wanted to know how the Book of Mormon came forth. We told him about the restoration, the first vision, and the translation of the golden plates. The whole time he could not take his eyes off of us, or the pictures we showed him. After, we asked him how he felt, and he said, "Words can't describe" and I said, "Is it good?" and he said "Yes, it is warm." I told him that is the Holy Ghost and he is a testifier of truth, a comforter, and a guide in your life. I told him that he has the opportunity to have that feeling with him always and it can be a constant companion in his life. I invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. 
      I began to tell him that he is taking the first step to changing his life, and that we cannot take these steps for him. We told him that he has to find out for himself if this is true. We shared with Moroni's invitation at the end of the Book of Mormon to read, ponder, and pray. He said that he would. 
      The best part of the lesson came at the end. We asked him if he would say the closing prayer, and he said, "To be honest, I can't. I don't really know how." We taught him how to pray, and how his father in heaven always wants to hear from him. He proceeded to say the closing prayer. To simply put it, I have never heard a more sincere prayer in my life. He told God that he wants the feeling he had with us to stay with him forever, and that he wants to know if this is true. It was a short prayer, but I have never felt the spirit so strongly during a prayer. 
     I don't know if this man will end up being baptized or what will happen in future lessons. I just know that the spirit guided that lesson, and that we did not convince him of anything. It was the Holy Ghost testifying to his heart that our message can bring peace and love into his life. Even if something happens to him in the future that makes him unwilling to progress. I know that we both cannot deny what we felt in that one hour lesson. 

    There is not a more rewarding work in this life than missionary work. I can't wait to take the things I've learned here and apply them to my life back home. I can't wait to have a future family and have the gospel in our lives. I know that God has a plan for me, and for all the people that I meet out here. I know he loves me as well as all of his children. 

I love you all and miss you dearly,

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ive got to be quick today-week 5 Atlanta (Decantur)

 The library in Decatur is very crowded. People are in line to use the computers so I have a very limited amount of time to write this email. I have a lot to say though. 

     Leasa Postell is now a member of the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. It was such a joyous event. I have never seen someone so happy and thankful to be baptized and confirmed a member of this Church. It was such a testament to the cleansing and comforting power of the Holy Ghost. She is a completely different person from the first time we met her to the last time we met her. Being able to be in the circle to confirm her was one of the greatest moments of my life. She was so thankful and happy you could hear it from her during the confirmation. I loved it. I have pictures from the baptism.

Leasa Postell's Baptism

     I want to talk about a lady from my other area that I was very sad that I had to leave. Her name is Sister McWilliams. She is such a great lady. She is a pretty old lady and has been a member of the Church for about 13 years now. She quit smoking when she became a member for 10 years then she had a stroke and wasn't able to drive herself to church anymore and picked the bad habit back  up. We were helping her quit the habit again and get back to Church. She loves the gospel and is such an amazing lady. Haha. She is so cute! (not in a weird creepy way) But she just says the funniest stuff! She says that when she has a mouth full of Life Saver Gummies her temptation to smoke goes away. So we promised to buy her a bunch of Life Saver Gummies. She was very sad when she found out I was getting transferred as so was I. I only met with Sister McWilliams a couple of times but my love grew her faster than anyone I have ever met before. I know that ability to love is part of the atonement that I have been able to attain over the past few months. Also... She has an awesome dog that looks like Rocky so I love going over there to see him. Haha. 
Sister McWilliams
Marta is awesome. If you don't know what it is, it is just like the UTA in Utah. Except, a lot weirder people ride it. Over the past couple days I have been able to ride it a lot and have gotten to talk to many great people. It has really helped me to be able to talk to people and break out of my shell. Last night I met a great lady named Maxene. I hope to meet with her soon. She loved talking with me because I made her laugh. I have never felt like a super funny person, but there are some people that I just feel very comfortable around and I can make them laugh (Isaac LaBleu haha). I am very excited to get to know her and help her come closer to Christ. 

     I am doing pretty well. I am still staying fit, I am studying my heart out, and I am praying my soul out. When you go out on a mission you sacrifice a lot. You sacrifice your family, friends, music, music, and music. You also sacrifice music. Did I mention that you sacrifice music? Yeah, I miss my music. I know that these sacrifices are making me stronger. I want to give up more to show God how dedicated I am. I know that by making sacrificing small things and replacing them with something uplifting we can grow closer to God. I challenge anyone reading this to think about what you can sacrifice and replace with something spiritual. That's my spiritual thought for this letter. 

     Time's up and I've got to go preach the Gospel. I moved my P-Day to Wednesday (Just for this week!) so that I can go to the temple with Elder Hansen for his last time. 

I love you all so much. Remember that you are all children of God who loves you. 

-Elder Ryan Romero. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Emergency Transfer

I am being transferred today. An Elder in our zone is being sent home today. He has some issues that he needs to work out that can't be taken care of in the field. Because I am in a threesome they are requesting that I take his spot. I am being transferred to Decatur, Atlanta. The Decatur Elders are in our ward, so I know my new companion fairly well. I went on an exchange a couple weeks ago with the Elder that is being sent home, so I have got to explore the area a little bit. It is a very nice area. It is about the size of Salt Lake City and is very "hip" so I should fit right in... ha. We only ride Marta around. So we don't have a car, or bike. So hopefully I'll get pretty fit walking everywhere. I will have a lot more funny pictures due to all the interesting people that use Marta.
     My new companion's name is Elder Rainsdon. He is a very nice guy and is from Texas, unfortunately he does not have an accent. I have had the opportunity to teach their main investigator too. Her name is G Pride and she is an awesome old lady. She is planning to be baptized on the 19th. I am excited to see what God has in store for me in Decatur.
     I am sad that I am being transferred just when I started to feel at home and just when our investigators started to really progress. I know that God has a plan for me. I know the Lord will provide a way for me to get through this, and he wants me to obey. I know that my mission is not about what I want. I am just a tool in the Lord's hands. If he wants me to be a shovel, I'll be a shovel. If he wants me to be a pole, I'll be the best pole I can be (Steven Colbert's new book reference. I am trying to be funny). I am very sad that I won't get to teach Leasa, Hindillo, or Antonio anymore. I love them so much. I know that Elder Heimuli, and Hansen will take care of them though.
     The mission is tough. It is not supposed to be easy. I know that just like heat and pressure turn coal into a diamond. This mission can turn me into an amazing husband, father, priesthood holder, and friend. I must be obedient and not resist when God chooses to put pressure on me to make me stronger. I must take it in and let it mold me into who HE wants me to become. I know that his vision for me is much greater than any vision I have for myself.
My new address is:  419 Rimington Ln.
                              Decatur, GA 30030
If you sent anything to me earlier and I haven't got it yet. My old companions will just give it to me at church. Be sure to send all new mail or packages to the new address I provided.
I love you all!
God Bless,
Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, August 6, 2012

Still don't have a library card..week 4 in Atlanta

Let me start off by saying that the libraries here are stupid. I gave them my proof of residency but they are still declining giving me a library card. They say that they are declining me giving me one because I am not a "permanent resident" in Dekalb County. Yet, they have still given other missionaries library cards. Okay, enough venting on that side of things. 

     Leasa did not get baptized this Saturday. Satan was working hard on her through her family and friends. Everywhere she would go she would get anti-mormon literature piled upon her. This was not the first time that this happened though. She has came across it before, and it didn't phase her. This time though she received a packet entitled "10 things the 'Elders' won't tell you." She came on the day of her baptismal interview (the day before her baptism) with the packet. She was crying and so upset about what some of the things were saying. Luckily we were in a members home. His name is Brother Yancey. He was a convert to the church at 21 and his family was completely against it. They piled anti-Mormon literature upon him too. He decided to find answers for himself and ever since he has been finding answers to the hard questions. He is one of the most well educated men I have ever met in Mormon history. He doesn't only study what the Mormon's say, but he studies deeply what the anti-Mormons say. He has started a couple organizations for people that come across anti. So I have to say, we were happy to have him there. 
     The things on the list made Mormons sound like Satan worshipers. It was full of lies, and if there was truth on the list it was taken completely out of context. We answered her questions and made her feel at ease. We reminder her about how she felt in the temple, at church, and with us. We told her that Satan cannot mimic the feeling of peace and happiness, therefore those feelings could only come from God. If we were a false religion, we would be the most false incorrect church on the planet because of the things that we believe. The fact is that Satan is not at the head of this Church. This is The Church of Jesus Christ and it is run by him. His gospel turns people from bad to good, from good to better, and from better to best. A false religion could not do that. Leasa sees it in us, and she sees it in the rest of the members. She says, "Y'all the most peculiar people I have ever met. I need to go to Utah and get some of y'all's water." By the fruits of this Church she knows it is ordained of God, because a good tree would bring forth good fruits. 
     We proceeded with the Baptismal interview and it was determined that the baptism would have to be postponed a week for things that happened looong in her past. She met with our mission president yesterday and talked with him. She came out of the interview teeming with joy, her heart was filled. She was saying, "I passed I passed I passed!" and came over to me and gave me a hug right in front of my mission president. Haha. I had to kind of stop her and say, "I can't do that Leasa. Haha." and then I gave her a little mini hug. We are planning for her to be baptized on Saturday. Keep her in your prayers. 

    This week has been a good week. I am so thankful for all the people back home that care about me. I love hearing from all of you. I am getting to know my area a lot better and getting to know the people in the ward a lot better. I love the people in my ward so much!! Brother Burg (I wrote about him a little while ago) is the best guy ever! If there is one person that I wish that everyone back home could meet it would be him. He came on team ups with us yesterday and he was awesome. He spent practically the whole day with us because his wife and kids were in Wisconsin and he had to stay down here for school. He is the funniest guy ever. He told me some pretty cool stuff about his wife. He says that he dated Connor Oburst (I probably spelled that wrong) from Bright Eyes. He says that he has written quite a few songs about her and that the song "First Day of My Life" is about her baptism. I still don't know if I fully believe him but if it is true, that is the coolest thing ever. I will have to talk to his wife when she gets back. 

    Good news. The lady from the library just came up and said that I could get a library card. She said that I can only have a temporary one for two months, and that I have to pay 15 dollars for it. Stupid government, always trying to take my money. So I will have some more time to write my letters. 

     While on my mission I have met a variety of people. I have seen extremely rich, to poverty poor. Most of the people in my area are suffering greatly from poverty. Some people don't have enough money to pay their electricity bill, or have enough money to keep their air conditioning running. If it wasn't for the Church many of these people would be starving because they can't purchase food. It absolutely breaks my heart. I know now exactly what I want to do with my life, and I am not going to stray from the path. When I return home I am going to devote myself to school and find a way to help people like this through the field that I want to go into. I know exactly what I want for my family, and I know exactly how to obtain it. I know exactly how I want to live my life and I have never been so sure of anything. One big thing is, I am never going to yell at my kids or around my kids (story for another time). 

     Well it is time for me to get going. I love you all and miss you so much. I also miss music. Listen to as much Thrice, Brand New, O'Brother, The Republic of Wolves, Taking Back Sunday, Lydia, Underoath, Saves the Day (their old stuff), and Death Cab for Cutie for me!!! I love you guys and will soon you soon (if 2 years is soon). 

God Be With You Till We Meet Again!!