Monday, November 26, 2012

The holidays are flying by. It feels like Halloween was yesterday. Thanksgiving was better than Halloween. It is a holiday that they let you celebrate on your mission unlike Halloween. No one in the ward I am in now invited us to do anything for Thanksgiving, so we drove down to Decatur and celebrated it with my old ward. It was a very good Thanksgiving dinner. The Mallory's cooked a feast. We had all the Thanksgiving specialties, and some things I'd rather not try again. Chitlings, they are disgusting, never eat them. Haha. I got to see Glovia again and got to say goodbye to her. I am going to miss her so much.   I am going to miss the Mallory's. Especially brother Mallory and his southern accent. He can't pronounce anything right. Christmas is "Krimas" street is "skreet" straight is "skraight". Gosh I love that man.
Graffiti in a tunnel...not too shabby!

Elders at the last Zone Conference

Elder Romero and Sister Mallory

Elder Romero and Brother Mallory

Elder Romero and Glovia, a convert from Decatur

     The work in Dunwoody is alright. The difference in openness to our message due to geographical location and financial situations is becoming more and more apparent to me. People here are very wealthy. It seems like the more wealthy neighborhoods won't listen to our message at all. They open the door, give a sigh, and shut the door. It is very different from the poorer areas. The poorer areas the people at least listen to you. We have been doing most of our tracting in the poorer areas of Dunwoody. There aren't many, so we have pretty much covered all of it already. However, the Lord has blessed us for our efforts.
      We have two investigators with baptismal dates. Their names are Joe, and Junior. They are neighbors and good friends. We found them both within the last week. Joe is the father of one of our former investigators. He is a Jehovah's Witness but doesn't know too much about the religion. He is a very kind man and you can tell he really cares about Elder Grassley and I. He had many good questions. Questions that other religions just couldn't give him answers to. He loved the story about the restoration and Book of Mormon. Junior is a Vietnam vet. Very kind and funny country boy. Junior loves to talk. He loves to share stories with us and we love listening. He is a very kind man, as he would say, "Junior tries to be good to everyone."
      We were teaching Junior before we were teaching Joe. We talked to Junior about the restoration and the history of the Church. A couple days later we met with Joe and started teaching him. In the lesson with Joe we were explaining how Satan tries to mislead and confuse. While God's path is clear and simple. As we were talking about this Junior busts through the door furious. He was coming to tell Joe to never meet with us. He didn't know that we were meeting with Joe at that very moment. Junior looks at us very angrily and says, "You didn't tell me that you had multiple wives. I am not doing that. I don't want anything to do with you guys anymore." After he said that I turned to Joe and said, "See how Satan misleads?" Luckily we were there to straighten things out and calm Junior down. After teaching them and explaining things to them we invited them to both be baptized together on December 16. They both have a problem smoking so they said that they are going to help each other quit so they can get baptized and they are going to go to Church together. It was an amazing lesson that I could really see the hand of God in.

      Elder Grassley is great. He reminds me a lot of my good friend Ian Kelley. Haha. For those of you that know Ian that may seem really weird... But they are very similar. He has been having quite a few health problems though. He has diabetes and has been having really bad headaches since the MTC. We are going to the doctor today to hopefully figure everything out. Him and I get along great. We were into a lot of the same T.V. shows back home. He has been filling me in on what has been going on since I have been gone. We have a very similar sense of humor too. He is a great kid. I am trying my hardest to train him the best I can. I think I am doing a pretty good job. It is weird being in the position I am in when I feel like I was in his shoes yesterday... Sometimes I don't feel strong enough. I still struggle with things just as he does. Being a trainer I have been trying hard to stay strong for him.

      Well that is about all I have to say for today. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I love you all so much. I miss you all so much.

-Elder Ryan Romero.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Transfer, New Companion, New Area

I have been transferred. My new area is called Dunwoody. Dunwoody is in the Northern part of Atlanta. It is a much more wealthy part of Atlanta. When I first got my call to Atlanta I questioned whether or not I would even serve inside the city haha. Looks like I am probably going to serve half of my mission in the city. Dunwoody was recently closed to missionaries... I am now opening it back up. The relationship hasn't been the best between the missionaries and the ward, so I am hoping to repair that relationship. Besides getting a new area, I have got a new companion. His name is Elder Grassley and he is fresh out of the MTC. He is a great kid and we have a lot in common. Besides getting new area and companion, I am now a District Leader. I have three areas in my district. I have gotten to know most of the kids in my district pretty well because I am still in the same zone. I am very excited to serve all of them by being their new District Leader.

     Dunwoody is very different from Decatur. It is amazing how diverse Atlanta is. Dunwoody is a very rich part of Atlanta. I have seen more 100+ thousand dollar cars than I ever have in my life here. The work has been slow in Dunwoody in the past. I am confident with enough faith and hard work that Elder Grassley and I can make this area new and productive. We have already seen the fruits of our hard work.

     I feel very bad for Elder Grassley. I white washed into my first area and I didn't really enjoy it. At first it doesn't feel like you are doing much missionary work because most of your time is spent reorganizing all the paper work. Over the past couple days we have completely redid the map, and reorganized the area book. It took a lot of time. This area was a mess, it is no wonder it hasn't been productive. I know that when we leave this area, we are definitelty going to leave it better than when we found it.
     I don't have too much to say today. A lot has happened. The past week feels like it has been a month... The start of transfers always feels really slow. I don't know why I don't have much to say... The sky is gray today. I hate gray days. I am running out of time and I just don't know what to say. My mind is so full of thoughts, it has been running a million miles a second. I just can't wait to see what is down the road. I want to be the best trainer ever, I want to be the best District Leader ever. I just hope that I can stay strong for Elder Grassley and help him in any way possible. It is odd having someone who relies on you. It is really pushing me to be the best missionary I can be. I know how important that first companion is.
     My new address is 9105 Peachford Circle, Dunwoody, GA 30338. I hope to hear from anyone that reads this. I hope that all is well back home. I hope everyone is staying safe and doing the things that they are supposed to.
 Elder Romero and Elder Grassley-Dunwoody GA

I love you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, November 12, 2012

End of a transfer

Another six weeks have come and gone. I can't express how fast time is moving. It is crazy to think that only six weeks ago Elder Shelley and I were waiting in our apartment to find out where we were going to end up. We are still waiting for that call. I could stay here in Decatur, or go off somewhere else. I wish they would tell us sooner so that I could let you guys know what is happenning.
     As time goes on I can feel the world slip away. I can feel the desires of my heart begin to change. It sounds cheezy, I know. That is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does for you though. I still love music any music from heavy metal to indie rock, I still love to snowboard, I still love to go to concerts, I still love to play guitar, and I still love to talk about politics and conspiracy theories. As time goes on I can feel myself miss those things less and less. I can feel them just slip out of my grasp. I can feel my heart stowing them away until June 20, 2014. I am finding joy in the work. I am learning to trust the Lord with all my heart. This does not mean however that I don't have tough times. It just makes them easier to bear. I am begining to realize that going home from my mission might not be the happiest day of my life. It will once again be taking me from the things I have learned to love, and learning to love something new again. Watching the other Elders that I have grown to love and admire go home is harder than watching my best friends leave on their missions. It is something that I think only a missionary can understand. Watching Elder Hansen, Elder Heimuli, and soon Elder Shelley leave. I am realizing more more and who I want to become at the end of my mission. I don't want to be running towards the gate of the airplane when that time comes. I want to be walking towards it looking back towards my mission reflecting on the change that it has had on my life.
     This week has been an interesting week. I will start off with the good news. We have come across two new investigators. Their names are Joe and Josh. Great guys. We met Joe on the train. He is a very very interesting man. He owns a bar down in Midtown. He loves talking to us and is a very very nice guy. Josh is also a very interesting man. Josh reffered himself. His fathers side of his family is all Mormon. He wants to learn more. He is about 80% deaf and can only hear a little bit out of his left ear. He is such a friendly guy and loves meeting with us. Elder Shelley and I are so excited to see what happens with these two new investigators.
     Now for the bad news. The Crofts called us Sunday after church and told us that they no longer want to meet with us. They got antied at Church. The baptist church puts Homosexuals, Muslims, and Mormons all in the same bucket. They are all going to hell according to them. In most churches around here, if they find out you are meeting with Mormon missionaries, they will excommunicate you. Or give you loads and loads of anti-mormon litterature and tell you to stop meeting with us.
     I love the Crofts. I love them so much. We met with them twice after our first visit. Every visit was so great and spiritual. You could tell that they loved us and their hearts were so open. Mr. Croft thought that our message was facinating and would often say, "It just makes sense." Mrs. Croft told us that she wanted to adopt us. I just don't understand. It just does not make sense to me why? They loved us. They knew that The Book of Mormon was true, they would say it constantly. They knew that our message was true. The hate that other religions have towards Mormons makes me absolutely ill. I love the Crofts so much and hope to somehow continue to teach them. I'll do anything that I can to help them, but people have their own agency.
     That is about all that I have for you this week. Things are going pretty well. I hope to hear from some of you soon... Send letters (Not packages. Don't send packages till you have my new address) to the mission office over the next week until I figure out what is happening regarding transfers. I love you all so much. 
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall is in the Air

The trees are changing and I can feel the coldness in my lungs. Fall is here and I love it so much. Georgia is absolutely gorgeous in the Fall. Sometimes I just sit and look up at the canopy of leaves in wonder as the light shines through the leaves. God is good. He loves his children.

     Halloween is my favorite Holiday. I love scary movies, haunted houses, costumes, dry ice, and all the reese's. Halloween is a lot different on the mission. You have to be in your apartment at 6PM due to the stupid things other people like to do on Halloween. No dressing up or scary movies for me that night. It was a very tough day for me. I feel like I learned a lot that night while sitting at my desk pondering on how I felt.  I was reminded why I was out on my mission. To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I need to find more joy in this work. That is what Jesus Christ finds joy in, and what matter of people are we to be? Just like Him. Halloween was a turning point in my week. After my Halloween night I decided that I am going to work harder and become more lost in the work then I was before, and guess what? I found joy.

     After Wednesday we found two new investigators. When I decided to truly hand over my whole self to God, I could see his hand more clearly in my life. We decided to go down to the bottom of our area where the buses don't run and see a former investigator. After walked about two miles we get to the house and knock. No answer. I chose not to be discouraged and knew that we were being obedient, we were working hard, and God would bless us for our efforts. We decided to knock on a house two doors down and an old lady opened the door. We told her who we were and she said, "come in it's cold." So we came and sat with her and her husband on the couch. I began to introduce myself and tell her about our purpose as missionaries. I told her what we've given up, and why we do what we do. She was so touched she started crying. It was so cute haha. She said, "I don't wanna talk, you talk. I just cry when I talk." She reminded me so much of my Mother. I began to talk to her about Mormons and The Book of Mormon. I read her a scripture out of The Book of Mormon and she liked it so much that she asked if she could buy it off me haha. I told her it was hers for free.
     Once we were done introducing ourselves and The Book of Mormon it was about time to head out. She told us that when we pray to pray for her husband because he has heart problems. After she told me that I told her about the Priesthood and asked if we could give her Husband a blessing. She said yes, and her husband said yes. It was such a touching experience to give him a blessing. While giving him a blessing I could feel the words come to me and it truly felt like I was not talking at all. After the blessing he got up and shook our hands. It was a great experience.

    After Halloween we ran into a ton of people. It was as if they were just placed in front of us. There are so many instances of them this week that I really don't have time to write them all down in this letter. I could truly see the hand of God in my life this week.

     Tomorrow I am giving my first training. It is going to be at a zone training meeting, and the mission president will be there. I doubt very many people have had to give their first training in front of the whole zone and mission president. I have planned well though, and am confident that I will give a good training.

      A member in the ward is taught me how to make this pro-biotic drink. They are big hippies haha. They gave me this mushroom or "mother" to make it. You can buy the same drink in the stores, but it is four dollars a bottle. So they just make their own. Elder Shelley thinks I am a freak because I am so amazed by this mushroom and how it lives and excretes these pro-biotics haha. It is fun though. I love learning weird cool little things. I have learned so many things from the members. I learned how to make probably one of the best pepper peanut sauces last night at dinner. I love the members of the ward.

     Well it is time to go. I love you all so much.

-Elder Ryan Romero