Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

  The end of the year is here. Goodness. Time goes by so quickly. I love New Years. I loved setting goals with my family and making toasts to the new years and to our goals. I still remember the Goals I set with my family last year. It was to get into the BYU Mechanical Engineering Program and to go on a mission. I am glad to say that I accomplished both of those goals. I need to think really hard about what my goals are going to be this year. I have a few things in mind, but they are still in the making. 

      The highlight of my week was being able to call home. Hearing the voices of my loved ones really made my Christmas. It wasn't the presents that I opened, or the great food. It was being able to communicate with the people I love so dearly. It really brought a whole new aspect to Christmas that I never before realized. I have never had a Christmas away from my family. I have never spent a Christmas outside the state of Utah. I am sad to say that before my mission I didn't really understand much about Christmas. When I hit the age of about 14 Christmas kind of lost it's spirit. I assumed that it was just because I was growing up that Christmas lost it's spirit, but I have come to realize that Christmas never lost it's spirit. It was always there. I just got so caught up in the material things of Christmas that I lost my spirit of Christmas. While talking to my family I got that same feeling that I would get when I was young. Sitting in my living room with my family exchanging brother gifts and enjoying each other's company. The spirit there would be so strong and it would just warm my soul. While talking on the phone I got that same feeling as I did when I was young. It is too easy to take things as important as family for granted. I am glad for the opportunity that I had this Christmas to reflect on really what is important. 

      Not much has happened this week. The Roldan family is out on vacation this week for the Holidays so we didn't get to meet with them. We have met quite a few times with Tony and Kim, and they are really progressing. Kim calls us her sons. I told them that when I go home that I am taking them with me. Tony was excited because he wants to see the Salt Flats. Haha. I really love these two. Tony is so excited about The Book of Mormon. I have never seen anyone as excited about it than he is. He finds it absolutely FASCINATING. It makes sense to him, and he reads it to Kim every night. We are hoping that they will come to Church the upcoming Sunday. Tony has a few health problems that makes it kind of difficult for him to come to Church, but we know that they will come soon. 

      One of my goals for the new year is to really work hard. Harder than I have worked in the past. I really want to change and become a different person. Not a complete different person, but a better person. I want to have the integrity of the Apostles and truly have the same desire to follow Christ as they do. I want to know more about all the Scriptures. Every single book. My goal is to study my heart out. 

     I have got to get going. But I love you all so much. I hope that you all have a great new year. I hope to hear from anyone who reads this soon! I love you guys! 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Greatest Gift

It's Christmas Eve and I am far from home. At least the home that I used to know. The phrase, "Home is wherever you have the people you love" is  making more sense to me. I have come to the knowledge of the truthfulness of that statement over this Christmas holiday. What I didn't realize when I arrived in Atlanta six months ago was that I was coming home, a new home. A home very similar to the one that I left, except a lot bigger. The people that I love, truly love, aren't just in the Salt Lake Valley. They are here in Atlanta. They are the people I have served. They are the people's whose lives I have changed in someway. This is where home is for the next 18 months, because I am surrounded by people I love. 

     I want to tell you a story that happened recently (yesterday actually). It is nothing exciting but I feel that it is a real turning point for me in my mission. We were in a member's home and he was taking us around and showing us his house. He had a lot of children and he and his wife raised them in that very house. He decided that once they moved out from the house that the children could keep their individual rooms and decorate them so he could have a piece of the children's childhood once they moved out. So he took us around the home showing us each child's room. He'd tell us a bit about the child and show us the things from their childhood. It was very interesting to hear about their fun stories. Most of his children went on missions, in fact all of them. They went to Chile, Africa, Mexico, Russia, just all these awesome places. On their walls they had swords, spears, maps, flags, maps and all sorts of souvenirs from the places they served. Seeing these things made me really upset. I really wanted to go on a foreign mission. I wanted to learn a foreign language. I wanted to have all these cool things to bring home and show my family and friends. I wanted to learn a new culture. I wanted to teach my kids a foreign language and show them all the cool cultural things I've learned. When I saw all these things on the wall I instantly thought, "What am I going to bring home from Georgia? A confederate flag?" It made me really sad. Out of nowhere the thought came to me, almost a voice saying, "Ryan, these things are not important. You are going to bring home the greatest gift. Far better than a sword, spear or map. You are going to bring home a testimony, you are going to bring home the atonement of Jesus Christ. A gift worth far more than any language, cultural food or story. You are going to bring home stories of people whose lives have been changed. Your walls may not be covered with cultural souvenirs from the place that you served, but they will be covered with pictures of people who YOU gave God's greatest gift to. The atonement of Jesus Christ, and in turn you will receive that greatest gift also." It occurred to me at that very moment what my wall would be covered with and what my children would learn when they looked at my wall. It would be covered with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and my children would see that. My hope for them is that they would not be excited to go on a mission to bring home a spear or sword, but to bring home the greatest souvenir of all. The Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

      That is all that I really have time to share with you today. God's greatest gift to mankind is truly the Atonement of Jesus Christ. That is what we should be remembering on Christmas. I invite you all to partake of God's greatest gift. Read the scriptures, pray, repent, go to Church, serve a mission, serve your neighbor, serve your children, serve your wife. Partake of Christ's atonement and watch how much better your Christmas will be. I love you all so much. I truly do. I hope that you all have the best Christmas ever. 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another transfer week

Holy Cow, I'm starting my fifth transfer. I will hit my sixth month mark this week. That is absolutely crazy. Time is going by faster than ever. Elder Armenta and I are really doing work. We are working with so many people! This area has totally turned around since I white washed in. Goodness, I love this place. Dunwoody was the area that no one wanted to go to, but now Elder Armenta and I both don't want to go. The AP's called us this morning and let us know whether or not we were going to be moved this transfer. We picked up the phone and they said, "Well... Elder Armenta was going to go back to Lithonia, But... We have had people calling in from your area requesting that you both stay. So we had to move things around this morning, but you are both going to stay." This news was the greatest news ever. Elder Armenta and I are best buds, he is seriously my favorite companion. I love the members here. Right after that phone call we got on our knees and thanked God for allowing us to stay another transfer. One of the families that called the President was the Roldans. We had a meeting with them last night and let them know that there was a good chance that one of us was getting moved, and that we'd call them in the morning and let them know what is going on. After we got off the phone with the AP's we texted Bro Roldan and said "We're staying!" and he texted back, "We have the power! We prayed that you'd stay and texted your President." 

     The Roldans are amazing. We are continuing to teach them. Their daughter comes home from BYU today for the holidays. Having her there is really going to help us. They have committed to live all the commandments. Yesterday they stayed for all three hours of church for the first time. They are really really progressing. I love this family with all of my heart. Leaving them when I eventually do get transferred is going to be so difficult. I just hope that I can be here for their baptism. I can't wait for my friends and family to meet the Roldans. This family is seriously amazing. 

Elder Romero and Junior
     I want to talk about a member in this area for a little. His name is Brother Asper. This man has been a member for one and a half years. He is now the High Priest Group Leader of the ward. Next week the whole bishopric will be gone for the holidays so Brother Asper will be on the stand. There is only one word to describe this man, Inspirational. He will do anything to help us out. He is the smartest guy I have ever met. He studies everything. His desire to follow Christ is stronger than anyone's I have ever met. He has read about ever Church study material that you could imagine. He's read about every book from the most famous BYU religion professors you could find. The most amazing thing about Brother Asper is that studying and being kind and Christlike is just who he is. It is just part of his character. He is hands down the most inspirational man I have met on my mission, or possibly in my life. He's promised to come camping with me in Utah when I get back and come to my homecoming, so hopefully everyone will get to meet him. 
Junior, Elder Romero, Elder Armeta, Joe

     I don't have too much time today because we got a busy P-Day today. We have got a lot of cleaning to do! Things are going great here in Dunwoody. I am enjoying my mission to the fullest right now. I want to thank everyone that has sent/sending me a 12 days of Christmas present. You guys are the greatest. I am so thankful for everyone back home that loves and cares about me, and I want you to all know that I love and care about you too! I love you all so so much!! 

Merry Christmas! 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, December 10, 2012


  Elder Grassley is now back in Springville Utah. His headaches were getting the best of him and the mission doctor said that it would be best if he took care of them back home. I am really going to miss that kid. Him and I got along so well. I hope that they can figure out what is going on with his head so that he can come back out. I really want him to come back out.
     My new companion's name is Elder Armenta. This guy is the best. He is just like my friends back home. He is a short little soccer kid that wears size 7 shoes. Him and I have a ton in common. He knew a couple of my friends from back home. He knew quite a few of the kids on the Murray Soccer team. He was really good with my friend named Andy Christensen. He reminds me a lot of Andy. They are both the kindest kids ever. Elder Armenta is a great teacher, our teaching styles really compliment each other. I can see Elder Armenta becoming my favorite companion. I just hope that in a week in a half one of us doesn't get transferred... I wouldn't be surprised if one of us did.

     This week in my district we've had two emergency transfers. One with Elder Grassley and Elder Armenta. Then another with two other Elders in my district that weren't getting along. It was a crazy week, but a very good week. Elder Armenta and I are really working hard, and the Lord is blessing us immensely. We have great investigators that are really progressing. The ward is really seeming to turn around and love the missionaries again. People are just seeming to pop up left and right for us to teach. This whole area has taken a 360. It went from being an unproductive area to the point that they closed it to one of the most productive areas in the zone! The Lord is just amazing!

     The Roldan Family is really progressing. I see them getting baptized pretty soon. I have so much to say about this family. So many amazing experiences while teaching them to the point that everyone in the room was in tears. There is no doubt in my mind that God answers prayers, because I have been praying hard for this family and he has helped them out so much. I can't wait till my family in friends have the opportunity to meet this amazing family. I don't have much time today to talk about this family, but I want everyone to know that God is working in the hearts of this family.
     I want to talk about two people today. Tony and Kim. They are husband and wife, and they are proof that opposites attract. Kim is the most talkative enthusiastic lady I've ever met, and Tony is the most meek humble quite man I've ever met. Together they create one of the greatest couples I have met so far on my mission. They are both our investigators. To simply put it, they LOVE God and Jesus Christ. They are both very very well read on the Bible, and have been searching deeply for answers to their questions. When we told them about the restoration, Joseph Smith, and The Book of Mormon, it just made sense to them. Kim kept saying, "I keep getting the shivers." And Tony would say, "I have always wondered why... Now I know." Tony and Kim have been truly prepared to receive this Gospel. I have never seen someone so interested in The Book of Mormon as I have seen Tony. When he reads the Book of Mormon, he is IN to it. Goodness, I love them both so much. I wish that everyone reading this could just meet them right now!

     I am realizing more and more what is important in life. Everyday I am out here it becomes more and more clear to me what I want and need for my future and how I am going to get it. I know that everything that I am learning out here is preparing me for something that is going to happen after my two years is up. I just hope that I can learn everything that I am supposed to. I hope that I can become who God expects me to become. I hope that when I am done with my mission that I can continue to grow as much as I have out here. I love my mission, and I love what it is doing to me. I know that going on a mission is the only way that this change could have taken place in my life.

      I hope that all is well back home. I hope that all is well in the world, because I have no idea what is happening in it. I hope all that read this remember who they are, Children of God. I love you all!

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week Three in Dunwoody

     This was a good week. I can see God's hand in this work. He is helping me grow, and helping the work in this area grow. I can tell that I am truly getting lost in the work. The things in the mission are now far more important to me than things of the world. I am realizing what is important in life. My relationship with God is growing. My knowledge of him and his nature is growing. I can feel myself changing. I can feel the atonement working in my life. I just need to work harder, and trust in the Lord with ALL of my heart. I need to trust him that things back home are going to be taken care of. I need to trust him and have faith that he will take care of me and the people that I love back home. I know that if I can do that that I can get further lost in the work and grow even more.

     Things with Joe and Junior haven't changed much. Joe is still smoking, and Junior is smoking less. I have other people that I would really like to talk about right now, so I am going to majority of this letter talking about them. I want to talk about a family. This family is called the Roldan family. Everyone in the family except the 21 year old daughter who attends BYU is not a member. The daughter joined the Church two years ago. She is a very very strong member now and is encouraging her family to investigate the Church and become members. He family has been through 10 sets of missionaries since the daughter joined. We are now the eleventh set. I have faith that we are going to be the difference in this family's life.
     The Mother, Father, Son, and youngest Daughter are not members. The Son and Daughter are both very active in every program of the church. The son even goes to early morning seminary. The Roldan family is one of the most active families in the ward. They come to Church every Sunday without fail. The Mother and Father don't go to any other hours of Church besides sacrament. The children stay for all three hours.  This family is amazing and would make great members of the Church. They are such a strong and loving family.
     The Mother and Father both have a Catholic background. We have been able to answer a lot of questions for them that the Catholic religion just has not been able to answer. Yesterday we got them to come to Sunday school for the first time ever! They loved it so much. We met with them later that night, and they told us, "No other missionaries have ever got us to do the things that you guys have helped us do. Thank you for pushing us. I can tell that something is different about you two." They have a lot of questions about the Church. I love answering questions for people. I feel like there is not one question that this Church doesn't have an answer too. I love the hard questions because they push me to find an answer. We have been able to answer all of their questions so far. I can't wait to see what else they are going to throw at us in the next meeting.
      I know that this family is special. God has seriously played a HUGE role in their lives. He cares for this family as he does every family. This family is prepared. I am so excited to see what happens with them.

     Being in the "Bible Belt" I have really gotten to know the Bible well. I know the Bible quite a bit better than most people out here. I have grown a deep love for the Bible, especially the New testament. The Bible absolutely testifies of the truthfulness of this Church. There is not one thing that does not support our religion. Our Church uses every teaching in the Bible to its fullness! I wish that people could just realize that! If you truly read the Bible (not just one part of it) and study it (not just one part of it) then you will come to the conclusion that there was an Apostasy, and there was a need for a Restoration. It is so clear in every page of the Bible.

     Elder Grassley's birthday was on Saturday. We had a good time. I took him out to this great burger place and talked and shared stories. He is a great kid. We get along so well. His head is still bothering him but we are going to figure it out.
He is a great missionary and a hard worker.

     Well I hope to hear from anyone that reads this over the next week. My time is up, I have got to go. I love you all so so much!

-Elder Ryan Romero