Monday, September 24, 2012

Sending E-mail from the Hospital...

 Don't worry I am fine. We were asked to give a child a blessing this morning. They said that it was an emergency so we rushed over. Right now the child is having tests done so we have some extra time so we decided to email from these computers. Pray for this child. He Cystic Fibrosis and they are most likely going to have to remove one of his lungs. I am very nervous to give this child a blessing, but I know that the Lord will do whatever he needs to do.
     This week was a pretty good week. We had to move Gaki and Brian's baptismal dates to the 30th because Brian has to work on Saturday. So we are going to do it Sunday before Church. They are both very excited to be baptised. Teaching both of them has been a privilege. I am so thankful for their spirits and the joy that they have brought into my life.
      I don't have too much time to write today because they don't allow us a ton of time on the computers here in the hospital. I also don't know when they are going to call us to give him a blessing. I want to talk about just a few things.
      I want to tell you about Glovia. Glovia and I have become very very close over the past weeks I've been in Decatur. I have had such a great start to my mission because of the examples in it. Elder Hansen was a great example of a missionary and a leader. Brother Berg has been a great example of a strong member. Glovia Pride has been a great example of a strong recent convert. Her willingness to help other people in the ward and he desire to learn are so Christlike. I have been pretty sick over the past week and she brought me Orange Juice this morning. Simple things like that just astound me. It has been a pleasure to get to know her and to have a friend like her in my life.
     The other thing that I wanted to share was a thought that came to me after sacrament meeting on Sunday. The thought came because of the lack of transportation our ward has. Over 60% of our ward has no transportation. So a lot of members carpool with each other. I don't really like asking people for things when I don't know how to repay them. I had to ask a lady named Sister Holder if she could give Gaki a ride to Church. Gaki's original ride fell through so she needed a way to get to Church. I felt very bad asking Sister Holder to give Gaki a ride because she was on the other side of town, but she was really the only person whose car wasn't already full. When I asked her she said she would without hesitation. I was so thankful but felt so sad because I didn't know how I was going to repay her. All I could do was just thank her, but that just didn't seem like it was enough. She wasn't asking for anything in return, nor did she expect it. I felt so in debt to her yet I knew that she wasn't expecting anything in return.
     My realization came in Priesthood when I was thinking about how I could repay Sister Holder. I realized that there was not much I could do. I could be nice, and show kindness and gratitude towards her action, but if she ever needed me to pick up someone I wouldn't be able to do it. I hated that feeling. So I kept thinking and I eventually started to think about Christ and compared Sister Holder's sacrifice for me to Christ's. That "in debt to someone" feeling grew tremendously. I realized that I will never ever be able to repay Christ for his sacrifice for me. Nothing that I ever do for him will come close to what he has done for me. My eyes immediately began to tear up and I felt really stupid. The lesson wasn't even about Christ or very emotional. I was just having a moment. Haha. I realized what Sister Holder had done was follow in Christ footsteps. That is all that he asks of us, and that is all that I can do.
     Well I have to go now. I hope to hear from all of you soon. I love you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, September 17, 2012

Time Flies By

Random Georgia Picture

     This week has been a great week. Quite a few awesome things happened. We have an amazing new investigator, who also has a baptismal date. Gaki has a baptismal date. I have learned so much this week and I can't wait to share some of what I have learned in this email! 

     First off, let me fill you in on me and Elder Shelley. Still best buds. We are just two peas in a pod. Haha. We work so well together. He reminds me a lot of my brother Taylor. He has a very similar style in his humor. I love being around him. Going on exchanges is tough. I always like to be back with my buddy Elder Shelley. Recently we got an awesome bread recipe from another Elder. The bread is so easy to make. You just take flour, salt, yeast and water. Mix it all together and let is sit over night. Then just pop it in the oven in the morning. We have done this quite a few times over the past week for breakfast. It is awesome having fresh bread in the morning. I am running out of honey though. I looove honey. 
                                                                               Elder Shelley and Elder Romero

     Okay, now time to get into the good stuff. Our new investigator's name is Brian. He is sooo awesome. Brian walked into the Church one Sunday. A couple days prior he was sitting by the sign outside the Church after having a terrible experience with his Ex-fiance. While he was sitting by the sign he had a feeling that he needed to go into the Church the upcoming Sunday. So he did, and he met us. I have never met someone so prepared to hear the Gospel. I have not heard of someone so prepared to hear the gospel. Of course I have only been out 3 months, but Elder Shelley has not met someone so prepared to hear the gospel either. 

      You cannot judge a book by its cover. My first impression of Brian was not the best, but I was too quick to judge. When we sat down with him and actually started talking we were quick to discover that this man has been searching his whole life for the truth. He has been studying the only scripture he knows, the bible, and has studied it DEEPLY. I have never met someone so learned in the bible. When we started to talk to him about everything that The Latter Day Saints believe. Baptism by proper authority, the laying on of hands, the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not one thing surprised him, or was even new to him! He has been searching for a church his whole life that has taught this, and has finally found it! He understood the Restoration and the need for it. Teaching the Plan of Salvation was a breeze. He named all the kingdoms before we even got to it! He told us every step of the Plan of Salvation before we even got to it. This man has never once studied the Mormon church, but he has studied the Bible. In the Introduction of the Book of Mormon it says that "We believe the Book of Mormon to contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel, as does the Bible." So many people say that our beliefs contradict what is said in the Bible. THAT IS SO NOT TRUE. Just talk to Brian Haha. We invited him to be baptized first lesson and accepted. He will be baptized on the 29th of this month along with Gaki. =)

      I don't really have too much to say about Gaki. Haha. She is just a great lady. Very quite, but very humble. She has a deep desire to do what is right, and she knows in her heart that this is right. She wants to see her family again so badly. She loved hearing about the Plan of Salvation and hearing about how she can be with her family again. She is going to make us FuFu the next time we come over. I have heard quite a bit about that African dish and I don't know if I am crazy excited for this meal... Haha. I am excited for the experience though! 

     I know that God is watching out for me. It is quite obvious that he is placing people in my path for me to teach. I have always wanted to have those wild missionary experiences where people are prompted to talk to you. Quite honestly, I didn't think it would ever happen. I was lacking in faith. This past week has been amazing and only because God made it that way. This Church is so true and I am realizing it more than ever. I am so thankful to have been called to the specific place I have been called to. I have no doubt in my mind that revelation from God has played a role in why I am where I am. 

     Well, I love you all. I hope that you all are staying true to the faith and growing in Christ. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two months in the Field

Today is my two month in the field birthday. It is crazy to think that it has been two months since I left the MTC. It seems like forever ago, and at the same time it seems like yesterday. When you let the world slip away, time really doesn't seem like it makes sense anymore.

Good news. We found Shaun! Bad news (and kind of good news) he got a job and we are having a tough time meeting with him because of his work schedule. He wants to meet with us but he works about the same schedule as we do. We are praying that we can meet with him as soon as possible. He is such a good guy. He works very hard and is trying to make a better life for himself. He is a prime example of someone who is humble and ready to hear the gospel.

This week overall was a pretty good week. Elder Shelley and I are best buds. Haha. We get along so well. I am so lucky to have had such great companions. We have been trying to get a little creative with the stuff we eat. We both don't like to eat unhealthy stuff so we have been attempting to make our own concoctions... We tried to make some Mexican chicken. I got this recipe from the Spanish Elders. The recipe called for 3 Chipotle peppers... but I like my stuff spicy so I put in 2 cans... Bad idea. I miss my blendtech blender. The blender we have at the apartment is terrible and the bottom came off while I was chopping up the peppers. Our apartment was a mess.

We have a new investigator, and she has a baptismal date! Her name is Gaki. She is from Africa and was once a Jehovah's Witness. She is a great lady and has a huge heart. She is really searching for the truth and looking to get on the straight and narrow. Her baptismal date is Sep 29. We are so excited for her. Her understanding of gospel principles is a little slow due to the language barrier. We have people in the ward that speak her language so we are going to have them come with us to help us out. She is progressing very well though. We are going to get Glovia to be her fellowshipper. Haha, you can't not love Glovia.

I don't have a ton to write in this email. This week kind of just flew by and wasn't super eventful. There were a lot of crazy things that happened on MARTA this week though. A man spraying cologne in his mouth and blowing his beer all over, a woman screaming bloody murder, and everyone dressed like fantasy characters for dragoncon. There has been a couple more weird events but I don't want my mother to worry about me too much. All I know is, public transportation is entertaining.

To end with a spiritual thought I wanted to talk about something I learned this week regarding how to become a better missionary. At district meeting we were talking about Preach My Gospel and how it is different from how they used to do missionary work. PMG focuses on the missionary first rather than the investigator. I realized that Preach My Gospel is meant to build is into better people, therefore making us better missionaries. The best missionary was Jesus Christ. The more like Jesus Christ I can be the better missionary I can be. I shouldn't have my focus to be more like an Elder that I admire. My focus should always be to be more like Jesus Christ. I love the Attributes of Christ chapter in PMG. I am trying so hard to develop those attributes and apply them to my life. I know that if I can become a better person, I will become a better missionary. I have already been able to tell a difference in myself and my attitude towards everything. The atonement of Jesus Christ is real, and is meant to change people and make them better. STUDY IT, and APPLY IT. I challenge anyone that reads this to go and read the Attributes of Christ chapter in PMG and strive to develop those attributes.

I must go now. I love you all so much and hope to have a spiritual filled letter for y'all next week.

-Elder Ryan Romero

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One Crazy Week

Hello everyone, 

Where to begin with my crazy week... 

     To start off I will let you know how I have been doing. I have been doing pretty good. My companion and I get along great. Our personalities are very different, but they compliment each other very nicely. He is a very quite Elder, and I am not. If he talked as much as I did, then there would be just way to much talking. We are quickly becoming great friends. We both have very similar interests in cars and motorcycles. Music... not so much, but we don't need to talk about that. I love finding things that I can talk about with people. I love showing people new things, and learning about new things. With Elder Shelley I have been able to do a lot of both of these. He is a great missionary and really understands the gospel. I learn more from him every day. 
      We have been running every morning. He isn't a big runner (and neither am I) but we are trying very hard to push ourselves in the morning. We both want to be healthier. Elder Shelley's mission is quickly coming to a close, and he wants to look as great as he can when he gets home. I hope to be as fit when I come home as when I came out... I am doing a pretty good job of it so far. 

     Okay... Now time to get to what has happened this week. We went to Shaun's house to check up on him and see how he was doing. As we were walking to his house we noticed a black table out by his mailbox. As his house came into view we noticed that there was charred furniture all outside his house. The windows and doors were all boarded up with blackness spilling from their seems. There was a fire. The house was completely destroyed from top to bottom. The house was made of brick so a structure was still there, but everything else was burnt beyond recognition... We quickly tried to call Shaun but his phone was out of service. We left a note on his mailbox saying that we are there to help, and that we love him. We still have not heard from Shaun... We don't know where he is, or if he is okay. Please pray for his safety, and that we will be able to contact him. 

     The event that I was most excited about this week was going to see Maxene. I was so excited to teach her again. We got along so well every time we talked and I just felt comfortable talking to her. The words I was supposed to say would just come when I was around her. I was so confident that us meeting Maxene was meant to be because I felt so connected with her. I would pray often for her, and I was quite sure that the lesson that we were going to teach was going to really speak to her. 
     As we walked up to her front porch she opened the door before we even knocked on it. She had her Book of Mormon in hand and said, "Hello Elders." As we said our greetings to her she handed me the Book of Mormon and I said, "Do you not want this anymore?" and she said, "No. I don't want to study with you anymore." and I said, "Did something you read concern you? Can we talk about this?" and she just said "No, I don't want to talk about it. We just can't meet anymore." That was the extent of our conversation. We shook her hand and told her that if she ever needs anything that she can call us anytime. She thanked us and went inside. 
     I did not know that I would feel the way I felt after that conversation. My heart was crushed. I don't think that people realize what they are to us missionaries, or at least to me. People are not a number to me. They are not a statistic. We are not there to increase the membership of the Church. We are there to bring people closer to Jesus Christ. We are there to love them, and be their friends. We are there to help them in every step it takes to get to baptism. I was not sad that Maxene denied me to teach her. I was sad that Maxene denied the blessings that I KNOW this gospel can bring into her life. I KNOW that the teachings of this Church can strengthen her family, because I've seen it in my own and others. I KNOW that this Church and the Book of Mormon can bring her closer to Jesus Christ, because I have experienced it! I KNOW that the knowledge of the plan of salvation could bring her hope in times of trial, because I have felt that hope in my life. These are the exact thoughts that went through my mind as I realized what was going on as she handed me that Book of Mormon. She wasn't handing me just a book, she was handing me the only way to find out if what I told her when we first met is true. 
     I love Maxene and all of the people that I teach. I see the truthfulness of the gospel manifest itself in the people's life. Christ's atonement, if used, will change people's lives for the better. I have seen that in the lives of the members and investigators that keep commitments and feast upon the words of Christ. 

     There are quite a few other things that have happened this week that I would like to talk about. I don't think that they would add much spiritually to this letter though so I won't put them into this letter. I love writing letters and telling people about my experiences. So ask me in a letter. 

     I want to leave you with my testimony that I know that I am not perfect. I know that because of Jesus Christ I can have hope to one day become perfect. I can hope to be married in the temple for time and all eternity to the woman that I love. I can wake up each day with the knowledge that I can try again, and I can overcome my weaknesses. Without him I would be nothing, and I could not hope for these things. He took my weaknesses upon him so that I may become strong, and I love him for that. I will try and live my whole life to prove my thankfulness for his sacrifice. 

I love you all.

-Elder Ryan Romero