Monday, October 29, 2012

I am Learning!

  I am growing. I can feel it. Physically, I think I've grown an inch. Spiritually I've grown a mile. My first journal is filled up. I have successfully wrote in it every day since I've been out. I occasionally look back and read my old entries. There are a lot of differences between the new entries and the old ones. My hand writing has improved quite a bit, haha. Most of all I can see the change in myself from these old entries. I won't go into too much detail, but the mission does amazing things for an individual. I still have a long way to go. I look at all my friends in the mission that are going home soon, or have already gone home. I look at Elder Heimuli, Elder Hansen, and Elder Shelley and I wonder what they were like when they first came out.  It makes me so curious as to what I will be when I am finished with my mission. There is so much for me to do, so much for me to learn. It is crazy to think that I am still in the beginning of my mission because I feel like I have already done and learned so much.
     My new mission President, President Harding, is absolutely amazing. He reminds me so much of my Dad it's almost as if I never left home. You can tell that President Harding has a deep love for all his missionaries. I was invited to go to a leadership training meeting this Wednesday. I don't know for sure why I was invited to go because I am not in a position of leadership. My guess is that I will be training next transfer. At this meeting I got to hear him speak. His vision for the mission is to make missionary a better person, therefore making a better mission. That is the whole purpose of Preach My Gospel. I am so thankful to have him as a mission president. I know that I have become a better person because of his influence.
     I have been really sick over this past week. My sinuses have been clogged and my ears won't pop. It is very annoying. I feel like I just got done being sick, and now I am sick again. I don't know what my problem is. I probably keep getting sick from all the stupid germs on Marta. I had dinner with a couple doctors and they took a peak inside my ears. They said that they are pretty swollen up and I should probably go get them checked out. So I probably going to go do that pretty soon.
     As far as missionary work goes it is the same as last week. We have been trying and trying. Still not much success. I know that God has plans for me though and I have seen them throughout this transfer. If I would have gotten transferred last transfer, then I would not have been able to see what happened to my recent converts. I would never know that Gaki has become such a strong and active member of the church. She attends every single week. She goes to all the activities and brings her grand kids. We have grown so close and she truly loves me and is thankful for me. I would have never known what happened with Brian. Brian had to move to North Carolina to take care of his children while his ex-wife cares for her mother who had a stroke in Tennessee. I am so thankful that God chose to keep me in this area and give me the opportunity to watch the seeds I planted grow.
     I have been able to help a couple less active members regain their activity in the Church. One of those people being a man named Ray. He has had a very tough life. I can't go into detail, but just trust me, this man has a tough life. He went to the doctor a couple months ago and found a growth under his chin and around his neck. The doctor said that it may be Lymphoma and that he needs to go see a specialist. When I first met Ray he wanted a blessing before he went to go see the specialist, so I gave him one. We met with Ray on a consistent schedule and a few months past and he still did not make an appointment to see the specialist. I told Ray that if it is cancer that time is not your friend and you need to find out what it is as soon as you can. He shared with me his concern about finding out if it was cancer or not. He told me that he just doesn't want to know. He said that he didn't have much to live for anyways so he just didn't care. I felt so sad for Ray, I wanted to help him so badly but I couldn't make him call the specialist. Last week he called me and told me that he made an appointment to go see the specialist. I was so happy. Then yesterday I walk into the chapel and I see Ray for the first time. My joy overtook me and I ran to him. The first question I asked was, "did you go to the specialist" and he said "yes, and they determined that it wasn't cancer." It was one of the first times that I saw Ray smile genuinely. I was so happy for him I gave him a big hug. I was so happy to see him at church. I was so happy to see him taking steps to getting a better life. These are the moments in my mission that I just want to press pause and live in forever.

     I hope all is well back in SLC. I love you all and miss you guys SO much. I hope to hear from you over the next week.

     Last thing I'll say is that I am proud to be a Cougar. I think that I was the only BYU student in the crowd of missionaries that was allowed to go to the game. You can bet Bronco could hear me from our nosebleed seats. I am so happy that I got to go to that game. GO BYU!

Love you all. The Church is true, Jesus Christ Lives.
Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, October 22, 2012

This week not much different than the last...

This week was not much different than the last. I am beginning to get discouraged. I can tell that people are seeing it in me and I don't like that. I want to be strong. I want to make it through these rough patches without a sweat. I am beginning to realize that life is just not like that. I want to be like Ammon and be able to convert a nation. I want to be like Amulek and give up everything. I want to be like Alma and dedicate my life to the Lord. I want to be like Moroni and not let Satan have any power over me. I am seeing that God has not asked me to be like them, he doesn't want me to. He wants me to learn to be the best me I can be. I need to find out what I was designed for. Maybe I wasn't meant to convert a nation or lead an army. Maybe I was just meant to touch a few souls and plant a few seeds. If that is what God has planned for me then let it be. I will keep trying to be the best me that I can be.
     The work here is hard. Especially during the election. People do like like Romney and idolize Obama. People have painted pictures of him in their house. They have tattoos of him on their bodies. They wear a clothing brand named "Obama" (I don't know if Obama really made his own clothing brand or it is some third party brand). People come up to us and asking us questions about the Church as if they are interested, then they start speaking slander about Romney and tell us that we are on the wrong side. They think that we represent Romney and not the Church.  They try and tell us what we believe from something that they saw on a youtube video. Regardless of what you say, there is no changing their mind. The only thing that you can do is just walk away and try to forget about that encounter. We are consistently getting political text messages saying that Romney is a baby killer and he needs to have a millstone wrapped around his neck and be sunk to the bottom of the sea. I don't know much about the election this year, but what I do know is that I am sick of hearing about it. Haha.

     My best friend in the mission is going home soon. Elder Heimuli leaves in 4 weeks. I don't know what I am going to do when he is gone. I have no doubt in my mind that God knew to have him as one of my trainers. Him and I get along so well. Everyone that I have been close to in the mission is going home.

     I don't have much time to write today because they are shutting down the computers for some reason at the library today... I wish that I could say more but I just don't have time.

     Some good news. I get to go to the BYU vs Georgia Tech game. This is definitely a tender mercy from the Lord. What are the chances? That I would go to this mission, and be put into this zone (only the ATL East and ATL West zones get to go). God knew that I would love to go to this game! It is going to be awesome.

Well, I love you all. I hope to hear from anyone who reads this over the upcoming week... See ya in 20 months.

-Elder Ryan Romero 


This spider was an inch away from crawling on my back at the train station. I hope this wasn't somebody's pet because it is dead now. Haha.

waiting for... and on public transportation. That is all I do. Haha.

Monday, October 15, 2012

In a Drought

This has been a tough week. The start of this transfer is not starting out as I would have hoped. We have no one. We are trying. We are working hard. We need to have stronger faith that God will provide a way. We have walked and walked and walked and walked. We have had doors slammed on our faces and people tell us to get off their front porch. I have had about as much of MARTA as I can handle. MARTA has recently been going through a time economically. Their prices keep going up and up. This could be due to the fact that none of their buses arrive on time and their weekend schedule is horrific. So people choose to no longer use it because it is not a source of reliable transportation. It is hard when you take two hours to go and see less active members. You get to their house and knock on their door and you hear people inside but no one answers. If they only knew what I've given up and knew the efforts and took to see them. They don't know though, and I can't blame them.      
      I think of Alma and Amulek. Amulek is probably one of my favorite people in The Book of Mormon. Right next to Ammon. Amulek gave up everything. He had a high status where he lived, and he was wealthy. He gave up all of it and didn't look back. He preached to his own people and they rejected him. They bound him and Alma up naked and made them watch as they burned all the people who believed their words. I can't imagine what Amulek must have felt. I can't imagine the "drought" he felt like he was in after that event. He had faith. He knew God had a plan for him. This event did not destroy Amulek but made him into one of the mightiest missionaries in The Book of Mormon. His hardest moments defined his character.
      Now I know that my situation is quite the same as Amulek's. At least I hope people aren't being burned to death in my area... Although, this is a hard time in my mission just as it was in Amulek's. I am not going to let the past two weeks discourage me, but define me. I will show God that even though I am praying my heart out, being obedient, and wearing the soles out on my shoes and not finding success. I will not give up. I will not give up on the souls that can benefit from Christ's restored Gospel. When times get tough that does not mean that my hard work and obedience is not paying off, it just means that I need to endure to the end and show God I am dedicated to him. Salvation was not meant to be easy. Even if I don't find success this transfer, maybe the success was meant to be found in myself. 

      The people in the Twin Oaks Ward are amazing. There are so many great examples to me there. The two that I love the most are Brother Berg and Brother Saldana. They both are amazing fathers. They always have a child in their arms. Even when they bare their testimony, teaching a lesson is priesthood, or walking in the halls. They are being the best fathers they can be. They respect their wives and will do whatever they can to help them out. They magnify their callings in Church and often feed us great food =). I love these two men and their amazing wives. I know EXACTLY the kind of future father I want to be. I can tell the difference in their lives compared to the fathers in the ward that don't help out their wives or magnify their callings. They just aren't as happy. They aren't as happy in their lives, relationships, or in their home. 

Well I have got to get going. I love you all. I love hearing from anyone that reads these letters. 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, October 8, 2012

Transfer time-

     It is the start of my third transfer. Time is truly flying. It seems like yesterday I entered into the mission home and met President Snow. Time is moving fast and I want to savor each moment I get in the mission field. I have been looking back at my journal and I read some of my older entries. I can already tell a change in me and my thoughts. I hope to keep changing. 

     The start of this new transfer is quite slow. We don't have very many investigators... Yet that is how the start of last transfer started and we had faith that we could be successful and we were. Last transfer we were the most successful area in our zone. I am confident that God will provide a way for us again to be successful. I know that with enough faith anything is possible. 

     Conference was fantastic. Sadly, this is probably the first time I have stayed awake for all 5 meetings of conference haha. I payed very close attention and took a lot of things from conference that I am going to apply to my life. I am so thankful to have prophets, seers, and revelators who we are promised will not lead us astray. While watching conference you can feel the love and guidance from our Heavenly Father working through his appointed people. This world is chaotic, and we need the guidance of our Heavenly Father. I just feel that if the whole world could watch conference and listen to the speaker's guidance. The world would be such a better place. 

     The big announcement. Woman can now go on missions at age 19, and men at age 18. This was a bigger announcement to me than the new Iphone! This is AWESOME! I have a couple of friends that are girls that have previously told me that they were thinking about serving missions. I don't know if any of them are reading this but if so, GO! Go on a mission, and serve the Lord. You will not regret it, and you will be forever blessed for it.Our Sisters in the mission are amazing and are very successful missionaries. I am so thankful that the Lord has made missions more accessibly to woman in a probably more convenient time in their lives. I know that to many woman this is probably the best news they have received. I can't wait to see what kind of an affect this is going to have on missions around the world. 

     Brian and Gaki and doing pretty well. Brian has had a pretty tough week, but the members of the ward are helping him out. Gaki is just awesome. I can truly feel her love for Elder Shelley and I. She is a great lady. I can't wait to see what they come to accomplish in the time I have left to serve in this ward. 

     The transition of transfers is a pretty slow time. I wish I had some awesome stories to tell you. The truth is the past couple days have been very slow. We keep praying that things will pick up in our area and that we will find more people to teach. I'd ask for your prayers. 

     I love you all so much. God be with you till we meet again! 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, October 1, 2012

Lots of Photos:)

Elder Romero, Brian and Elder Shelley

Elder Shelley, Gaki, Elder Romero
Sept 30,2012

Bishop of Decatur ward, Elder Romero, Brian, Gaki, Elder Shelley

Elder Romero, Brian, Elder Shelley

Motivational Pic With his friend from home, Garrison Green at airport leaving for missions

Big Big Week

Sunday Sept 30,2012
Bishop of Decatur ward, Ryan, Brian, Gaki, Elder Shelley

  Brian and Gaki and now members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were both baptized on Sunday before Church. Yesterday was one of the happiest moments I have had so far on my mission. I had the opportunity of baptizing Gaki, and confirming Brian. Brian was baptized by the Bishop and confirmed by Elder Shelley. It was such an experience that I will never forget. 
     The baptism started at 8:30 AM before church. We could not do it Saturday as we originally planned because Brian had to work. We had to baptize them this week so that they could receive the Holy Ghost this week in sacrament meeting (because next week is conference). Neither Gaki or Brian has source of transportation. Finding them transportation was not extremely difficult. The Bishop was going to pick up Brian and Gaki's daughter was going to bring her. When we got to the church Brian was there but Gaki wasn't. I was very nervous due to the fact that the baptism started in 5 minutes. I called Gaki and asked if she was on her way. She said that her daughter hadn't picked her up yet and my heart immediately sank. She lived 15 minutes away from the Church... I thought the first person that I was going to have to opportunity to baptize was not even going to be there! I said a quick prayer in my heart, and no later than 10 minutes later I see Gaki, her daughter, and grand daughter coming down  the hall. They must have been driving pretty fast. 
      The baptism got started pretty much on time. Gaki can get dressed quick. I sat down in the seats in front of the font with Gaki on my right and Brian on my left. I look over at Brian and he had his head down praying. I look over at Gaki and she turns to me with a big smile and says,  "I am giving my life to God." When Gaki said this it really struck a chord in my heart. Our only worry throughout teaching Gaki was her understanding of what we were teaching her. She is from Africa and her English is pretty broken. So when we'd ask her what she learned from the last lesson, she had a tough time communicating in English what she had learned. When she turned to me and said "I am giving my life to God" I realized that her understanding of what we have been teaching her is better than anyone's. She knew exactly what she was about to do, and she knew exactly why she was doing it. She had felt the spirit during our lessons and that is what confirmed to her that what she was doing was right. Regardless of our teaching skills the spirit is the best teacher, and it testified to Gaki that what she was doing was right. 
      Brian was baptized first. Right when he came up out of the water he said, "Yes!" He was so happy to be baptized. When I opened the door to go into the side of the font to baptize Gaki, Brian was there just weeping. I gave him a big hug and he said, "I love you man, thank you." When I stepped down into the water and showed Gaki where to stand I was very surprised by Gaki's calmness. The last two women her age that I have seen getting baptized were very nervous to go under the water. Gaki was not scared one bit. I turned to her and asked her if she was ready and she said that she was. She went down into the water and came right back up. I asked her how she was and said "great!" with a big smile. We went back and got changed and then came and sat in the seats in front of the font. When I sat down Gaki turned to me and said "I gave my life to God." Later Glovia told me that Gaki was saying to her daughter and grand daughter that she loves it here and she is never leaving. I was so impressed by Gaki and Brian's dedication to following Christ's example. 
      The baptism finished about 20 minutes before sacrament meeting. Before Gaki was going to be confirmed she decided to scare me again by just disappearing. Sacrament meeting started and Gaki and her daughter were no where to be found. I was so stressed I couldn't help but laugh. Five minutes into the meeting I get a call from Gaki and I go out in the foyer and there she is with her daughter. Her hair was put down into braids and I immediately knew why she left. Her hair was pretty wild after the baptism, so they had to go do something about it. Haha. In sacrament we had three confirmations. Gaki, Brian, and HINDILLO! Hindillo was baptized on Friday! Three people that I loved dearly were about to receive the Holy Ghost. Hindillo was confirmed first by the bishop. Then Gaki was confirmed by Elder Shelley. Goodness, I love this lady so much! Right after she was confirmed she gets up and I go in for a handshake and she pushes my hand away and just give me a big hug! I was took me by surprise but it was so touching. It was then Brian's turn to be confirmed by me. It was absolutely an honor to confirm Brian. He has been waiting for this moment most of his life. As I was confirming him you could tell that he was getting very emotional and I just know that it is because he knew his search for the truth was over. After I was done confirming Brian he gets up and give me a big hug too. 
       After their confirmation they stayed up on the stand and were presented to the congregation. You could see the joy and excitement in all of their faces. When the Sacrament Hymn started Elder Shelley and I look at each other and just smiled. During the sacrament I felt so at peace. I knew that I had done a good job and that Heavenly Father was proud of me. Yet I knew that none of this happened because of my own efforts. Gaki and Brian were placed in front of us by God. There is no doubt in my mind about that. They were prepared by the Lord to hear our message and all we had to do was bring in the harvest. I am so thankful that God let me have this experience. 

      When I came out on my mission I was scared that I might not get a baptism, that I would not be a successful missionary, or that I might not affect anyone. I am so thankful for choosing to come out here and serve God. I am so thankful for the experiences that he has given me. I have seriously had the best start to a mission that anyone could ever have. I am so blessed. 

      I hope that y'all enjoyed this letter. I hope to hear from everyone the upcoming week. I am not being transferred so my address is not changing this transfer. So don't be scared to send me TONS of mail. Haha. 

I love you all sooooo much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero