Monday, December 30, 2013

Things are going to Change

    I got the call for transfers this morning. Looks like I am going to Snellville, whitewashing and training. This won't be the first time. Haha. I am excited for the future and pretty nervous. Whitewashing is not my favorite thing to do, it is can be confusing at times. I am just excited to get to work and get lost in my new area. My new companion's name is Elder Rose. I haven't met him yet but he is going to be coming straight from the MTC. I can't wait to show him the mission field and help him get aquainted with missionary life.
     This last week was a great week and I have so much to write about. I need to tell yall about Rex and Treena, Linda, Edythe, and David. This week was one of the most incredible weeks of my mission and I just hope that I can convey the stories well. Here we go.
     As you know we did the Secret Santa for Rex and Treena's friend on Christmas Eve. Treena's friend's name is Alisha and her son's names are Dillon and Talon. Last P-day Elder Robison and I went out to go and buy them their presents. We called Treena and asked her what they liked, and she told us that they like Lego's and Skylanders. And that was pretty much all that we had to go off of. Well we went shopping at Wal-mart (worst place ever to go around Christmas). I never realized that Lego's were so darn expensive! So we got some generic brand lego's that I am sure they are happy with. We got them this awesome Spiderman lego set, a lego batman game, two skylanders, some beyblades, a crayola marker maker kit, and techdecks. We got a lot of awesome presents. Bishop helped us out and gave us a 100 dollar gift card to Wal-mart. When we went to the checkout we were astounded by our shopping-expertise. All of these gifts rang up to $100.18. We were very happy. Haha. We went over to the Embry's home and wrapped them. The night came and it was time to head over to Rex and Treena's home. I felt like Santa walking in there with all of those presents. Dillon and Talon looked at us with big eyes because they knew that they were going to have a Christmas. Dillon is 12 years old and has bright red hair. He was very shy and quite, very worn out from the Christmas excitement and spent most of the time at Rex and Treena's sleeping. Talon is such a cute little eight year old and was very talkative and energetic. After talking to them for a bit we found out that they both LOVE spiderman, their favorite video games are Lego video games, and they LOVE skylanders. We were so excited for them to open their gifts and see what they got. I can't tell you the joy that I felt being able to give this family a Christmas. I can't explain it. The spirit was so strong in that room. Rex is kind of a hard faced guy that doesn't show much emotion, but even he was getting teary-eyed. Dillon and Talon loved their presents and Alisha couldn't thank us enough. Rex and Treena were so happy that their friend was able to have a Christmas this year and kept asking, "What can we do for you guys?" and we'd say, "You don't need to do anything for us... Just come to Church please!" This experience was amazing and it made for the best Christmas Eve I've ever had.
     Next was Christmas day with Linda! Gosh, I love Linda so much. She invited over for Christmas dinner in her little apartment. That place was crowded! But amazing. We got to meet all of Linda's family and friends and share the Gospel with them. Turns out we've met Linda's daughter and husband before. Elder Anderson and I tracted into them last transfer. They were really nice, but weren't too interested. This time we got to talk with them more and got to hear about Linda and Scott's testimony of the Book of Mormon. I think that it sparked their interest a little more. The dinner was amazing. Linda and Scott spent all day cooking a feast, and it was sooo good. We knew transfers were coming up and I had a feeling that this might be the time I got to see Linda. I told Linda how much I enjoyed teaching her and how glad I am that we found her. I told her that I was probably going to go, and she didn't seem too happy about that. She gave me a big hug and wished me luck where ever I went. Goodness, I can't tell you the crazy amount of feelings that I was having as I was walking out of that house. My heart was so full and I just couldn't contain the love that I was feeling for the people that I've served. As we were walking out of her apartments I got really quite and my eyes got all watery. Elder Robision said, "Now don't go soft on me Romero!" But I couldn't help it. I am just going to miss Linda so much. I care about her so much. I want her to have all the blessings that this Church has to give.
      On Saturday we went out with David again. We went to go and teach Edythe! This was such a great lesson. David and Edythe got along so well. David loves chess, and guess what! Edythe loves chess! Who would've thought? Edythe was very impressed with David and his testimony of the Gospel after being a new member. She agreed to be baptized on January 4th. I am so excited for her. After our lesson with Edythe we went out to eat with David and I gave him his Christmas present. He was very happy to get a copy of The Inevitable Apostasy. I included some pictures from him baptism and he was very excited to get those too.
      I have loved my stay here in Dallas. It has been incredible. I have loved every single second that I have had here. I have fallen in love with this area and the people who live here. I have had some of the most incredible experiences here in Dallas. Experiences that have totally changed my life. I am grateful for all the people that I've met and the new friends that I have made. I am really going to miss Dallas. I am going to miss Elder Robison. I am going to miss all of the investigators and members in this area. I am envious of the next missionary that gets to serve here. He is very lucky.
     I don't have too much more to say. It is time for me to wrap this up and get going. I love you all so much. I really really do. Getting to talk to everyone back home was great. I love my brothers and sister so much. I love my grandparents and cousins and I am so glad that I got to talk to them. I can't how much time has past. It is absolutely unreal. I have six months left of my mission, and I am going to go out with a bang. I am so excited for my new area and all the new amazing experiences that I am going to have. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon.
Love you guys!
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Holy Cow. Time has gone by fast. Too Fast. I can't believe a year ago I was in Dunwoody with Elder Armenta. So much has happened since then. I just can't believe it, I can't believe it has been a year. I am sorry for my amazement, but it is really just striking me as I sat down to write this letter. A year ago I was sitting in the Albanes home writing about how I wanted to bring home the best souvenir, the atonement. It feels like yesterday I wrote that email. I have grown and changed so much, and it is times like these when I realize it. When I have a specific day that I can reference back to. I have so much that I want to say and write about in this letter, so I am just going to go right into it.
      First off I want to thank my Ward back home for the package that I received from them. Thank you for all of the little notes, I read all of them and appreciated your kind words. I am so excited to meet all of the people that I have not got a chance to get to know or meet yet. Thank you so much!
      This week was a rougher week as far as key indicators go, but was actually not that bad of a week. We got to see a lot of our investigators. Elder Robison and I were able to give a lot of presents out to our investigators and other members of the ward. Edythe came to Church again and loved it. We were able to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and she enjoyed it so much. I love Edythe so much and am so glad that we found her. She is awesome. We were able to change out all of the batteries in her fire alarms so that they would stop beeping! She was very grateful for that.
      We had a great lesson with Linda and she just opened her heart out to us. She is just amazing. She was given some anti-mormon litterature and it just did not even phaze her. She has such a strong testimony of Joseph Smith, her heart is just so soft and she is so open. We will be having Christmas dinner with her and her awesome boyfriend named Scott. Scott is a great guy and has been very supportive of Linda and has been open to our message also.
      I have to tell y'all, I have never felt so much love for people before. I have never cared about people as much as I do now. That has been one of the grand transformations on my mission. I love people. I love them so much. My ability to love has just grown more than I ever thought that it could. I would do anything for Edythe, Linda, the Styles, Rex and Treena, David and his family, the Rice family, and I could go on on and on. It's not that I could do anything for them with the intentions of getting something back, like joining the Church. But I could do anything for them because I truly love them. When I am in these people's home, teaching them and telling them why I am there doing what I am doing. I mean it, I truly truly mean what I am saying. "I am here because I love you and your family. I know the Gospel can bless your life. It is the greatest thing that I could ever give to you. And I want to give it to you because I love you." I have said that my whole mission, from day one till now. But when I say it now, it carries a lot more weight. Because, 1. My ability to love a stranger unconditionaly has increased as I've come to understand how the Savior loves. And 2. My testimony of the Gospel has increased tremendously. So when I say "I know the Gospel can bless your life" and "This is truly the greatest gift I can give you." I truly mean it, because I know it. I just love these people so much. I love them because I've served them. Gosh Mom, you were always right. As my love has become more and more genuine you can tell that it has had an impact on the people I teach. My ability to love our investigators has increased as well as the members. Everytime we go out with a member or they feed us or whatever it may be that the members do for us I am just so incredibly gratelul. Whenever they drop us off I always find myself saying, "Thank you so much and we really love you." At first it felt like such a strange thing to say, but after Brother Crew and Brother Seawell would say that to us after we'd go out with them. It just felt so natural for me to say to everyone. I just love this ward. I love the people here. I love Dallas. I am so grateful to have served here.
       This Christmas is going to be amazing. I am so excited. Yesterday we called Treena and Rex and asked them if there was anything that we could do for them. They told us that they were pretty good, but their friend could use help. She has two kids and isn't going to have much of a Christmas this year. We told Treena that Elder Robison and I had some extra money and we'd go purchase the kids a few toys and we'd drop them off to her later Monday night. She was so grateful and very excited. A few minutes later she called us back just thanking us again, and said, "I would like my friend to meet you guys and you can give them to her in person. I want her to know who is giving these gifts." We thought that that was a great idea. Because now we will have the opportunity to meet Treena's friend and share the Gospel! I have honestly never been so excited for a Christmas event than I am to give these presents to this amazing family. It probably won't be much, but I am just grateful for the opportunity to give. It seems like as I've grown up that the spirit of Christmas has gotten less and less present. When I was a kid it seemed like the month of Decemeber would be the slowest month of the year, because I was just so excited for Christmas and I would count the hours till it would come. But as I've grown up Decemeber has just like another month... That warm feeling and excitement wasn't really there anymore. This year as I've focused on how I can help the people I am teaching and am around, and that feeling of Christmas that I had when I was a little kid has come back. However it is not because I am going to receive that sweet new toy I wanted all year, but because I am going to give that sweet new toy to a youngster that has wanted it all year.
      Along with being able to go get these presents for those kids today, I also get to go give another present to one of my recent converts! For one of my Christmas presents this year I asked for a copy of a book called "The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration." By my favorite General Authority, Tad R. Callister. I asked for this book so that I could give it to John Steele. My favorite member Brother Asper gave me a copy of this book because it was his favorite book. And now I want to give a copy of it to John, because it is now my favorite book. I wrote a little note in the front cover of it to John telling him how grateful I was to have been able to be part of his conversion. I told him what the book I was giving him meant to me and that I hoped that he would develop that same love for it. I told him how that book has just opened my eyes and helped me understand my other favorite books, the standard works, so much more! And I hope that it has the same effect on him.
       I am so grateful for this Holiday season. I am grateful for the birth of Jesus Christ and everything that he has done for me. This year I just hope that I can do more for him than I did this previous year. I am so grateful for my choice to come on a mission and serve the Lord. The blessings and gifts that I have received from that decision are more than I deserve. I am so grateful for the gifts and talents that my Father in Heaven has given me. I am so excited to serve him for the rest of my life and to spend these last months that I have giving him my whole heart and all of my time. I love my God, I love my Savior. I love my Family, and I love my friends. I hope that you all have a wonderful incredible merry Christmas!
-Elder Ryan Romero

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Lot to Cover

 I honestly don't know where to start. I have so much to say, so much to cover, and so little time to say it all. I am sorry for not emailing last week. We had a Stake Missionary Christmas party that took up our P-day and did not allow me enough time to write an email. But some great things happened over the past two weeks that I want to talk about. Alright, I am just going to drive through everything as best I can.
     Let me fill you in on how David is doing. David is GREAT! He's come out to teach with us quite a few times over the last two weeks. I love this kid so much! He referred us to his friend who is just as awesome as he is. He came to teach the Style family with us on Saturday and then on Sunday he came to see a less active lady with us. I think that David gets so much out of coming out with us. You can tell that he is growing and learning more and more as he has these awesome missionary experiences. I am convinced that the best way to strengthen members of the Church is to get them to do missionary work. David and I get along so well and we are sure to be life long friends. He really looks up to me and I really really look up to him. I am so excited to remain in contact with him after I leave this area.
      We had an awesome new investigator named Edythe come to Church today. Having new investigators come to Church truly is the greatest. The joy that you feel when they walk into the Chapel can't really be described. It turns out Edythe is really good friends with a lady in the ward. They worked together for many years. What Edythe said to this member was awesome. She said, "You didn't tell me you were part of this Church! Why didn't you ever share this with me?" Haha. This statement shows that maybe our friends do want us to share our Church with them, and to not be scared because it may be exactly what they are looking for! I am very happy that we found Edythe.
      Ugh. I can't really even remember all of the things that have happened over the past two weeks that I wanted to write about. I had the intent of filling you guys in on all these things that have happened. My mind is so clouded right now that I cannot even think clearly. I am so caught up in an experience that Elder Robison and I had last night. It is all that I can think about. I guess that I just need to write it down. I am sorry that sometimes I don't tell all of my, funny, cool, interesting missionary experiences. I like writing, it is a way that I can get my thoughts organized and out of my head where I can see them. I may spend a lot of time writing about one thing that happened and leave out a funny experience that happened with me and Elder Robison. I think that in the end I and the reader (whoever reads this) gets more out of the short time that I have to write this. 
      A couple weeks ago we got a referral from some missionaries saying that this one guy wants to meet with us. Simply to make a long story short, this person's intent in meeting with us was to argue and to try and convert us. Which doesn't really quite make sense. Most Christians today believe that baptism is not escential for salvation. Thus they weren't trying to "Baptize" us. I love what my muslim friend Rizwan said as we were discussing religion. He told me, "Christianity is apparently the easiest religion to be part of. All you have to say is 'I am a Christian'. And there ya go, you're a Christian!" I thought his statement was very funny, and extremely true. When you look at anti-mormon attempts to "convert you" or "shake your testimony", and they may say, "We are telling you these things because we love you and are concerned about your salvation." Their real intent is to get you to deny the doctrines that you know to be true, because that is the only thing that will satisfy them. Because they don't care if you are baptized into their Church . Baptism is not an ordinance of salvation in mainstream Christianity, they aren't looking for you to DO something, because works are also not a part of their doctrines of salvation. All of you have to do is believe a certain set of beliefs, and you're good to go. What they wanted me to do was to deny what I know to be true. There are so many thoughts, and so many things that I want to say right now about this conversation. My mind is a doctrinal hurricane right now. I have never been so inspired and had such a desire to write a book on the doctrines of the Bible, and other scripture. That sounds really lame, but I am serious. I am going to write a book. I am going to get my thoughts down on paper. I am going to break down the scriptures and show that this all makes sense! I have learned so much on my mission. I have learned so much about other religions. I have learned so much about the scriptures. I have had so many amazing experiences and because of all of these things I just KNOW that this Church is true. Goodness people, PLEASE READ YOUR SCRIPTURES! Study the Doctrines, study the context, understand the history. What I got out of this experience is that hard hearted people will never come to a knowledge of truth because they DENY it. Our message, the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, it all makes sense. It just simply makes sense. The Christian world is in confusion and so divided because their doctrine does not make sense. They are searching for the truth, but they don't know where to find it. Like I said, I have a lot on my mind. I am sorry for this burst of random thoughts. My experience from this conversation follows the EXACT same trend that has followed with other anti-mormon individuals. They have NOT read their New Testament, and they surely have not read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. These folk's were not an exception to this trend. I want to make clear that my intent in this conversation was never to degrade, bash, or whatever. At the end of the conversation we all shook hands and no hard feelings were left between us.
       I love this Gospel. I know it is true, and I wish that I could just spend time writing and writing about how true it is. I wish each week I could just write about what I learned about in personal study about the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I wish I could just pour my mind out in these emails and show you truly how much I love this Gospel, how much I love the scriptures, and how much I love Jesus Christ and his Church. The Book of Mormon is nothing less than a miracle.  It's purpose is, "unto the dconfounding of efalse doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing fpeace among the fruit of thy loins, and gbringing them to thehknowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord." And that is exactly what it does. I love the scriptures. 
       Time is up and I have to get going. I love you all so much. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Birthday Baptism

David is now a member of the true and living church. He was baptized this Saturday, November 30th on his birthday. Everything was perfect and went through so smoothly. Thank you for all of your prayers. I can't stop thinking about the first time that I met David and the events leading up to his baptism. You can't deny the truthfulness of the Gospel when you witness it firsthand in your life, and other people's lives. This week has been incredible, and I have so much to tell but so little time to write it all.
      I'll start with Thanksgiving. This year I spent Thanksgiving with the Pettita family. They are an awesome family in the ward that loves the missionaries. We ate the works. Turkey, ham, stuffing, yams, gravy, and any other comfort food you could imagine. I was in paradise. It was an awesome Thanksgiving, but the greatness of this holiday did not end at the food. After dinner we texted all of our investigators and told them that we were thankful for them and their amazing families. Immediately after sending this text we got a call from Eli, one of our investigators that I tracted into the first week that I was here. Eli is best friends with a recent convert of the Church. I can't remember if I've told his story before, but he is awesome and has a great family and they are all from Kenya. Haha. That is Eli in a sentence. So he called us and said that he loved us and told us to come over that night to have dinner, and of course we agreed to that! So we went over there and they had prepared a feast for us. Mary, Eli's recent convert friend, was also there. She has been an incredible help in the progress that we've made with Eli. They made some of the greatest food I have ever had. I can't even describe it. Too good to describe with words. Haha. After dinner Eli told us that he wanted to take us over to his friend's house to meet him and his family. So we went and did that and got to meet a lot of new people who are interested in the Gospel! You just could not ask for a better thanksgiving than the one that I had.
      The following day we had another great experience with Eli. He wanted to take us over to the hospital to give a blessing to his friend who got injurred pretty severely. So we went over there with Brother Seawell and gave her a blessing and met another great family!
      The next day was Saturday, the day of David's baptism. And like I said before, everything went extremely well. Usually it seems like something always goes wrong on baptism day. Either people don't show up, they get cold feet, the font doesn't get filled, or something disasterous. But nothing bad happened. All went very well. Sister Bush brought a birthday cake for David and after his baptism we lit the candles and sung him happy birthday. Elder Robison and I were planning a little surprise for David after his baptism. David never has really had any nice church clothes, so we were going to take him to get some good looking clothes for his confirmation the following day. This inspiration was not only felt by us, but also by the Aldermans. After the baptism Sister Alderman came up to me and said, "We would like to go and get David a birthday present. Can we take him to go and get some new church clothes?" Of course you can! So we all went together and got David some great looking pants, white shirts, and some ties. He looked just like a missionary. Another awesome thing was that David's mom, Carmen, knows some of the members of the ward! She knows the Kellys and the Crisps! And she really loves them! Pretty soon we will be going over to the Kelly's to have dinner with the whole family. Oh, and one more thing, Linda came to David's baptism!! Linda is the investigator that David came to teach with us. It was Linda's first time being in the Church and she loved what she saw and felt. Like I said, this week was just full of miracles.
       I can't express how grateful I am for all of the things that God has given me. My heart has been full this whole week and I just can't get over all of the incredible things that have been occurring. I had the opportunity to bear my testimony this Sunday. My testimony was so easy to bear. It was not hard at all to bear testimony that I know this Church is true, because I've witnessed it with my own eyes. It wasn't hard to tell the ward how much I love them and how grateful I am for all of the service that they provide the missionaries. I am so grateful that I chose to come out and serve a mission. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I did not make the descision to come out and serve the Lord. My life would be totally different, and I would be a different person. I am grateful for every individual person that had a hand in helping me prepare and grow a desire to serve, without my friends and family I would not be here today. I love my parents and my brothers and sisters. Many times on my mission I will reflect back on my childhood and use my experiences to help teach. These experiences will come to me at a moments notice, not a preconceived thought. And while I speak about my past, and teach by the spirit, I realize that the Lord has been preparing me and building me up every single day that I have been alive. Some of my most casual memories, or seemingly insignificant descisions have grown and grown into the most important memories and life changing desicions as I reflect on my past. It is hard to explain... But I am just so incredibly grateful for my past. I am so incredibly grateful for my decision long before my 19th birthday that I wanted to go on a mission. And even with that desicion, trials were still very present in my life trying to stop me from going. I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I know that I am doing the right thing. I am so grateful for my parents. I love my Mother with all of my heart. I can't express how grateful I am for you, Mom. I am grateful for you dilligence and tireless effort it took to raise me. I am so grateful you had the courage to cut me down so that I could grow into who the Lord wants me to be. I know now that all decisions that you made in raising me were truly what our Father in heaven wanted you to do. I know that your love for is truly unconditional. I remember when I was young I would always ask you how much you loved me? And you would always reply, "To the moon and back a million times." I always loved when we would read that book, and throughout our experiences together I really came to know that your love for me even exceded the words you used to describe it. I also came to know through these same experiences that I loved you with an unconditional love, because even after our quarles, just minutes later we would be hugging and crying. I am so grateful you taught me how to truly love. Dad, you're my hero and I look up to you. I am so grateful for your example to me. You've raised me with the love of Christ, because you are truly one of the most Christlike people I have ever met. I have specific memories from my childhood of you going out of your way to help your neighbor and to do a good turn daily. For this I am incredibly grateful. I hope to follow your example as a future father, because I know if I follow in your footsteps, I will also be following in our Savior's footsteps. I love you both so much, and I can't wait to be with you again.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Elder Robison, Elder Anderson, David, Elder Romero

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm a Father. 6'4" 240 Lbs

 My new companion's name is Elder Robison. He is from Spanish Fork Utah, but has spent most of his life in Mesquite Nevada. He is a great kid and excited about missionary work. He is now my second half-black companion in a row. Haha. He is awesome. Him and I have a lot in common and I am very excited to be his trainer and to show him to in and outs of missionary work. This past week has been a good week and we've had a lot of great experiences that I am excited to tell y'all about.

      David is going to be baptized this weekend on his birthday, November 30th. Before Elder Anderson left we went over to David's to say goodbye and to discuss more with him about baptism. The spirit was so strong. We reflected with David on how far he has come from being an agnostic, to now feeling the Holy Ghost and knowing that he has a Father in Heaven. We invited him to be baptized this Saturday on his birthday and he accepted.
      It is incredible for me to look back on my experiences with David. He is so different from anyone that I've taught before. Actually, I take that back. He is exactly like someone I've taught before. And that person is Tony, in the Dunwoody area. Tony and David were both agnostic when I first met them. Teaching an agnostic is very different than teaching a Christian. They are very different than teaching the normal Georgian citizen. Yet in some ways you have to teach them the same way you'd teach anyone. By the spirit. Let me explain. When teaching David, you cannot refer to the Bible, because he's never read it and doesn't know if it is true. You can't refer to Christian doctrine that he may know to be true, because he doesn't know any Christian doctrine to be true. With David we had to start from ground one. In this way, teaching David was different from teaching a Christian. However, the process to having him come to know that this Church is true is always the same. By helping them have experiences with the Holy Ghost, and that is exactly how David came to believe that our message was true. Experiences create a belief. David's experiences have now formed a belief for him. His road to baptism was not an easy one. David has probably read more anti-mormon literature than any investigator I've ever taught. Much of this had no effect on him because it didn't clash with any of his pre-existing beliefs, because he didn't have any pre-existing beliefs. But some of it did create doubt, but through more spiritual experiences and study that doubt was swept away by the elightening power of the Holy Ghost. It's been amazing teaching David and watching him change and grow into a Christian. Please pray for him and his mother Carmen. She is also investigating the Church but has been unable to come because of her busy work schedule. She will be able to attend David's baptsim though!
      Now I want to share with you my awesome experience with Linda! Just a couple of days ago we got to teach Linda and her friend Valerie again! Valerie wanted to meet with us again. This was a very unique and special experience, because guess who came with us to help us teach this lesson. DAVID! Haha. He wanted to come out and teach with us, and so he came to teach Linda with us. I think that it was a great experience for all three investigators. David got to see what it was like to be a missionary, to hear different doctrine (Jehovah's Witness, and Pentacostal), and to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost. A couple days after the lesson you could tell that he felt the same way about Linda that we did, he cared about her just like we do. He was asking us questions like, "Do you think she is going to get baptized?" and while at Church, "Is Linda going to come to Church?" It was a really great experience for David. Linda is amazing. Her testimony is sky-rocketing, she is facing a lot of adversity in her Church about visiting with us. But she sternly tells them,
"I am going to read the book and decide for myself!" She already has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and can see how the truthfulness of the Gospel is present in the lives of its members. Linda just needs to come to Church and I have no doubt that she will be baptized within this transfer. She is awesome. Valerie is so kind and awesome. She is very supportive of Linda investigating the Church and loves hearing what we believe. You can tell that the things that we are teaching and begining to turn the gears in her head, and she is begining to ask more questions and become more interested. Everyone that surrounds Linda has just been so kind and nice to us missionaries. I feel like her choice to join the Church is going to open doors for others to join the Church after her.
       I can't believe that I have been out for 17 months now. I really don't know where the time has gone. My mission has just flashed before my eyes. I can't believe when this is all over I will be two years older. It just blows my mind. My mission has changed me, but in a good way. Like I've said in past emails, I don't feel like a different person... I still love all the things that I used to love. I am sure that I will still love the same music and movies when I get home. I still speak the same and use much of the same jargon I used two years ago. I haven't lost very many interests that I had prior to my mission. I still want to become a Bio-Medical engineer. I still want to do and become pretty much everything that I wanted to do before my mission. Sometimes this gets me down, because I expected to become a completely new and different person through these two years, but that doesn't seem to be what has happened. I realize that maybe that is not what was supposed to happen throughout my mission. Because I wasn't a bad person before my mission. My interests, desires, and personality before my mission may have not been too far off course what my Father in Heaven wanted for me in the first place... I don't feel like that my mission has changed who I am. I feel like it has highlighted the good qualities that I had, and helped me gain new interests in addition to my old ones. It has helped me gain new desires and dreams in addition to my old ones. It has helped me appreciate the things that I've already had. Throughout my life I have always wanted to write a book. That has been a dream of mine, and I have quite a few ideas for some pretty good novels. But never ever have I felt the way about writing a book as I do now. Not a novel, but a book about the Gospel. My love for this Gospel and its doctrines has been the number one thing that has grown within me throughout my mission. And now all I want to do is just write a Gospel oriented book. I have a very clear idea for the book that I want to write, and I think that it is very good. I can't wait to write it when I get home. I'd tell you about it in this letter, but I am scared that someone will steal it! Haha.
     Alright, it is time to get going. I love you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Saturday, November 23, 2013


 Transfers are here and I am staying in Dynamic Dallas and will be training once again. I love the excitement that each new transfer brings. The future is so bright for Dallas and I am incredibly excited to get a new missionary and to show him the ins and outs of the mission field. I am so excited to knock on his very first door with him and to watch with him the Gospel manifest itself in the lives of all of the incredible people that we teach. I can remember my first area, my trainers, my first apartment, the first door I knocked, the first person I taught, and the first ward I was in like it was yesterday. I believe that those first weeks in my mission were perhaps some of the most important weeks of my life. I am so grateful that I could have good, obedient, and wise trainers. I hope to be all that and more for my new companion.
      This week was definitely a step up from last week. Like I said in my previous email, I know when we have a down week, it just means that something good is waiting to come around the corner. And this proved to be so true. We've had many great lessons this week and so many incredible experiences. Unlike last week, I now have a myriad of experiences to choose from to share with y'all, but I have only time to select a few.
      I'll start of with Linda. This week we had the opportunity to teach our investigator Linda twice.The first lesson we taught her, her daughter, and her boyfriend. All very great and nice people. We taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and had an incredible lesson. Her daughter and boyfriend had a lot of great questions about how their church ( a Penticostal Church) is different from our church. We dove into the scriptures together and explained many of the differences and they seemed to understand quite clearly. I love the scriptures so much. I love the New Testament with all of my heart. I love serving here in the South where people believe in Jesus Christ. I love using the Bible to relate and come to common ground with the people here and show them that everything that we have to teach, and share comes out of their own book of scripture. When you do it in the right manner, it does not produce an argument or "bible bashing", but it produces a friendly and accepting envioronment where the Christians you're teaching feel that they can trust the message that you have to give. The Bible is so incredibly important to use when teaching the Restoration and other PMG lessons. And of course you always tie the lesson in and focus on reading and praying about our unique book of scripture, The Book of Mormon. Everywhere I go I carry around a mini New Testament in my pocket and a Book of Mormon. Since I've done this I've been able to "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." During this lesson we learned that Linda's birthday was on Friday. So Elder Anderson and I made a note of that and on Friday we went and sang Linda happy birthday and gave her a present and a birthday card we made her. You could tell that she was very touch by our thoughtfulness. We met with her again that Saturday night. Her best friend was there with Linda. Her friend is a Jehovah's Witness. An extremely kind and out going lady. She was very accepting of us and wanted us to teach her the first thing that we taught Linda. In the short time that we had with Linda and her friend we were able to teach all of the Restoration, a ton about the Book of Mormon, and parts of the Plan of Salvation. I must've been talking a million words per minute. This was another incredible experience that I had with teaching by the spirit. As I looked into Linda's friend's eyes and taught and testified, you could see that there was understanding and something being felt. Even though it was a short lesson, and much was taught. The Spirit of God was felt.
      We had a great lesson with David and Carmen again this week. We met in the Sandoval's home and watched a Church video and had a spirit filled lesson about the temple. Carmen's understanding of the Gospel is growing and so is David's. I feel like they will join the Church very soon. Carmen has been unable to come to church because she works on Sundays. She is working on getting Sundays off. Please pray for her. David came to church this Sunday and we had some great discussions about baptism and The Book of Mormon. He is still trying to seek his spiritual wittness. He is so excited about the Gospel though. He wants to come on team ups with us and wants to go tracting with us. Haha. It is just a matter of time before he sees that changes that have occured in his life, and the fact the truthfulness of the Gospel has already manifested itself in his life. Please pray for them both.
      The Style family came to church! All of the girls and they even brought a friend! They loved church and we are so excited about them! I love this family so much. I don't know what it is about this family but they are just so cool and I feel so comfortable around them. It is so easy for me to speak my mind and to make them laugh. They have a lot of potential to be baptized very soon. Please pray for this family!
      That is a quick rundown of what happened this week. I love being a missionary and I love teaching the Gospel. It is something that I never want to stop doing. One of my favorite things to do is to read my past journals from exactly a year ago and see who I was, what I was thinking and what happened exactly a year ago. This past week was the week that I entered into Dunwoody and trained for the first time. It is crazy to think that that was a year ago, it is also crazy to think about everything that has happened between then and now. It is like watching a movie that you've already seen, but this time you notice things that you've never noticed before because you already know the ending. It is amazing to see how God's plan rolled out before me. How when Elder Grassley went home and I was very upset because I really loved Elder Grassley, but if that wouldn't have happened I would've never met my most influental companion Elder Armenta. And how I was so dissapointed that I wasn't serving a foreign mission and then realizing that if I would've gone anywhere else than Atlanta Georgia I would've never met Brother Asper, who absolutely changed my life. My love for the Gospel and for Jesus Christ would not be what it is today without meeting the people that I've met. My knowledge and conviction of the Gospel would not be the same without meeting Brother Asper. I would not be who I am today without having come to Atlanta Georgia. It was amazing to read about my desire to leave Dunwoody after four transfers because I was so fed up with disappointment, not knowing that God's plan was to keep me there another transfer and assist in the Roldan family's baptism. When I look back at my experiences in the mission field I realize that God's plan was always so much greater than the plans I've had for myself.
       Thank you all so much for reading my emails. I love you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Rough Week

     It is hard to know what to write when you've had a rough week... This was one of those weeks that really tests your patience and your faith. I would like to take this time to reflect on the positive things that happened this week. Because in-between all of the canceled appointments and unexpected tragedies, there was some good things that happened. I need to really just sit down and think of the blessings that we've received this week.
     First off, the members of this ward are amazing. This morning we went with our best friend Brother Crew to go and put up American Flags along the highway for all the Veterans from Dallas that have been lost at war. It was a great experience for me. I was patriotic before my mission, and that patriotism has only grown since I've been on my mission. I have always had a deep deep love for the founding fathers and the people who've given up there lives to make sure that we maintain our freedom. Establishing The United States of America was incredibly important to bringing about a restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My heart breaks when I hear about unrighteousness in this nation's government, and I fear greatly for its future. The flags were very tall and large, I felt so patriotic as we'd run from the truck to the place where we'd post the flag. I am so thankful for people like Brother Crew and the other Southern Folk that still love America enough to sacrifice their mornings to pay there respect to their country. I know that as long as there are still people in the country like Brother Crew, Alderman and Hoddow, this country is going to be OK. Haha.
     Elder Anderson and I got to do service for this part member family, the Rice Family, in the ward that we have been working so hard to try and see since we've been here. We tracted into them on accident at the start of last transfer and has had pretty good contact with them ever since. The wife is a member, and the husband is not. They have the three cutest little kids. Elder Anderson and I love this family so much, we've had some pretty good opportunities to get to know them but we haven't had much of a chance to teach the husband the Gospel yet. We went over there with the Bishop one night and talked with Sister Rice on the front porch. We asked them if we could meet with them sometime soon, and she brought up that they are going to be busy because they have a lot of yard work to get done. I told her that we work for free, and that Elder Anderson can carry a lot of weight on his back, and I am really good at watching. Haha. Just kidding. Sister Rice said, "Don't let my husband hear that you work for free! He'll really put you to work." After she said this I yelled for her husband to come outside and sure enough he did. I told him, "Your wife says if you hear we work for free you'll put us to work. Haha. What do you need done?" And she sure was right, he put us to work! The next day we came by in our work clothes and totally cleaned out there whole front yard. It looked very good and they were very happy with our work. Sister Rice promises us that in the next week we will be able to have dinner with her and her family! So that was some good news.
     We got to teach Carmen and David again this week. I love teaching them so much. This week we taught them the Plan of Salvation. It is just amazing to see the change in David. As we teach the lesson, he just sits right there and teaches with us. His knowledge and testimony of the Gospel is growing and growing. Carmen really enjoyed the Plan of Salvation. It answered a lot of the questions that she's had. We've invited David to be baptized many times, but does not quite feel ready yet. We think that David will be baptized very soon and will baptize his Mother. That would be so awesome!
     I am sorry that this letter lacks much detail and probably isn't as interesting as my past emails... This week has really been a very tough week. I know that when weeks like this happen, it just means that something good is waiting to come around the corner. My mind has been really going this week. It's weeks like these that really get my mind stirring and I begin to ponder.
     Throughout my mission I have struggled with doubt, worries and fears. As I am sure all missionaries have. I am not a fearless missionary. I am not a perfect missionary. I am not the perfect teacher. And I am not the perfect anything. I have come to realize throughout this week that perfection is the destination, but it is not a destination that I am going to reach while on my mission, or even after my mission. I have really come to realize the need for a Savior. Because sometimes I feel like I try and try to be perfect, but I screw up. Because I know that I have a Savior it gives me reason, it gives me motivation to GET BACK UP and try again. I've scraped my knees many times while on my mission. I think that the most valuable thing that I've learned on my mission is simply to just try and try again. I have been reflecting on a scripture about this subject.
Perhaps my favorite scriptures, D&C 76: 58-60
"Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
I put the last verse in all caps on purpose. Because that verse has been going through my mind all week. They SHALL overcome ALL things. Ponder that! All things? Everything.
My mind can't comprehend that! It is incredible to me to think that I, Elder Ryan Romero, SHALL (that is a commandment) overcome all things. EVERYTHING. These problems that I am facing. These fears, doubts, worries I can overcome them because Jesus Christ overcame. "In the World ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer I have overcome the world." We will overcome all things, even the world, if we just stick to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and just GET BACK UP and TRY AGAIN. I invite you to go and look for all the scriptures that have the term "Overcome" in them.
Well I have got to get going...
I love you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, November 4, 2013

Good Things are Coming

     Good things are coming in Dallas. Slowly but surely. I would first like to update y'all on the status of our investigators. David and Carmen are doing very well. We got to have a great lesson with Carmen about prayer and why it is so important. She has grown up Catholic, but has fallen away from that faith. She hasn't really ever prayed formally for quite some time. The lesson was powerful and the spirit was so present. We had a great discussion and Carmen committed to read and pray vocally with David each night they are together. This lesson was a great experience for me and allowed me to reflect on all the amazing experiences that I have had with prayer. I forgot to write about this experience that happened just a couple weeks ago that I would like to share right now.
     Two weeks ago we scheduled a dinner with our investigator Linda. The dinner was to be in the Tatum family's home. We felt that Sister Tatum and Linda would really get along. We have been having trouble finding a good female fellow shipper for Linda. We hadn't thought of Sister Tatum before, so when Brother Tatum brought up the idea that his wife would be a great fellow shipper we took it as revelation. Haha. We scheduled the dinner with Linda and she seemed really excited. She was planning to bring her daughter and grandbaby. We saw her the day of the dinner and confirmed the dinner and gave her the address to the dinner and all seemed like it was going to go through smoothly. We were really happy about this dinner because we've really come to love Linda and really want her to come into the Church, it would help her so much. 
      The dinner was planned for 6:30PM. At 6PM she called us, and we missed it, so she left a voicemail telling us that she can no longer make it because her grandbaby is sick. I was so frustrated I wanted to just chuck the phone at the wall after listening to the voicemail. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Everything was planned, everything was perfect, this dinner with Linda was suppose to happen! Or so I thought. I tried calling her back right then and there, still frustrated. Luckily she didn't pick up. Because my intentions were not good. My plans were to let her know that it isn't very kind to make commitments to eat at somebody else's home and cancel minutes before. The Tatums have done a lot to make this meal happen, and now you're canceling it. Like I said before, LUCKILY she did not pick up. In my frustration I decided that I needed to pray and ask God for help. Immediately I got down on my knees and prayed and asked God why this was happening. Everything was going great, Sister Tatum is perfect for Linda, she will come into this Church if this dinner could just happen. Right after I spoke those words I got a thought, almost a voice that said, "They will come in my time and not yours." I recognized this council from the Dallin H. Oaks talk "Timing" that recently listened to. Right then and there I realized that this dinner with Linda wasn't suppose to happen, it was not the Lord's time for her. Then another thought popped into my head, "Text Daniel." So that is what I did. I realized this is a great opportunity to have another investigator in the Tatum's home. Maybe Linda canceled because somebody else was supposed to come. So right there, still on my knees at the foot of my bed, I texted Daniel and asked him if he wants to go to dinner tonight. Right after the text sent Linda began to call back and I answered. My frustration with Linda was gone and I told her that I hope everything gets better with her grandbaby and that we can reschedule and have dinner with her another time, don't fret over a thing. Right after that short conversation Daniel texted me and said that he would love to go.
      At dinner I watched God's plans role out before my eyes. Formerly we planned for Sister Tatum to fellowship Linda, that is the whole reason that we planned the dinner in the first place. Through the conversations at the dinner table Daniel and Sister Tatum just hit it off. Sister Tatum is a nurse, and Daniel is studying nursing. They both just laughed and joked around and it was awesome. Sister Tatum was so funny, she enjoyed Daniel so much she began to show him pictures of her daughter out in Utah. Daniel's face went red. Haha. It was all fun and games and you could tell that Daniel indeed was suppose to come to the Tatums that night. On the ride back with Brother Tatum, Daniel said, "You know, your house just has a great feeling to it. It is so welcoming." I turned to Elder Anderson and nudged him and said, "The spirit." Haha. Right at this very moment Daniel is with Brother Tatum doing service at the Bishop's Store House. He is doing pretty good. This experience with prayer was amazing and helped me learn that the Lord's plans are always better than our own.
     We are working with some amazing families right now. We are working with Rex and Trina who I love so much. Trina was supposed to come to a Relief Society event this past Saturday. She told us that she would try and make it if she could find a baby sitter, because unfortunately there was not a nursery at this event. Elder Anderson and I went to the Church that morning to see if she was able to make it. She wasn't there, so we knew that she couldn't find a baby sitter. We were really sad about this because at this event they were making "Families are Forever" decorative wall hangy thingys (you know, the normal  vinyl on wood things mormon decorative pieces). I really wanted Trina to have one to hang in their home. When I saw that she wasn't there I took of my jacket, sat down in the midst of woman, and got to work. Haha. The only boards that they had left were pretty scratched up so I decided to sand it out and make it look a little rustic. A half hour later I had the best looking mormon wall hangy decorative piece. I wrote a little note on the back for Rex and Trina. After all was said and done we got in the car and went to their home to drop it off. Trina was so happy to receive our gift. Giving her this gave us the opportunity to explain what it means in the Church when we say, "Families are Forever." She was amazing as we explained Temple marriage and sealings. We gave her a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. She told us that her and Rex were planning to renew there vows over the next year, and I told her, "Well you could be sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple by this time next year!" This thought really got her thinking. We are really excited to see what happens with Rex and Trina.
      Next family is the Styles family. I LOVE this family! These four girls and their mother are just the coolest nicest people. They are so intelligent and open hearted. Mrs. Styles is such a kind good-hearted lady. Yesterday we finally had the opportunity to teach them all The Restoration. These girls are just smart as whips, they understood everything! Mrs. Styles was very engaged in the lesson and had a lot of really good comments. She is very open-hearted and encourages her daughters to be open hearted too. After this lesson the family committed that they would read and pray about The Book of Mormon together. We are confident that they will.
     That is mostly it for our really progressing investigators right now. We are so happy with all the amazing people God has given us to teach. I just can't believe how far these individuals have come. It seems like just the other day that we knocked on their door. Please pray for them. Pray that they will receive an answer about The Book of Mormon. I love them all so much.
     I almost forgot, this week was Halloween! My favorite Holiday ever! This year we spent it at the Kelly's home. The Kelly's are one of my favorite families in the Dallas ward. Brother Kelly is a very successful business owner. They have probably one of the most well known home's in Dallas. It is referred to as the Governor's Mansion. Because that is indeed what it is. On Halloween they get thousands of trick or treaters coming through. Each year they invite the missionaries to come and hand out the candy along with a pass along card. Elder Anderson and I had the honors this year. We must've passed out over a thousand pass along cards and actually got to see a lot of people that we've tracted into! One of my favorite people that stopped by was a guy named Rizwan and his amazing family. Rizwan was a guy that we ran into at the start of my time in Dallas. He is a Muslim and loves learning about religions. We've had very good contact with him ever since we've been here in Dallas. He's a great guy. The best part of the night was of course getting to eat Reese's. Haha. My best buddy in the ward Brother Crisp took a picture of me with the Reese's because I was trying to hog all of them to myself. I would pass out worst candy first, and work my way up to the best candy. It went first the Woppers, then the Milky Ways, then the Snickers, and as a last resort the Reese's. In desperation that there would be some left over for me. Haha. It was all fun and games. I didn't end up taking any Reese's home. I realized that I don't want to relapse on my addiction. I've done pretty well not having them for awhile. So many fortunate children got a lot of Reese's. Haha.
     This week was a good week. I am excited for the events that will happen over the next week. It is always an adventure. I love you all so much!
Bro. George Bush the father
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Families

This was an incredible week. We've found two amazing new families, had the Trunk or Treat, and had to opportunity to hear from Elder Oaks! So many other great things happened this week. I will start with telling you about my experience this Saturday with Elder Oaks.
      We've known about Elder Oaks coming to the mission for about two months now. I don't know why I haven't mentioned that he was coming before in an email... Oh well. Well he came and it was amazing! It was my first time meeting an apostle. And I have to say, it was one of the most powerful spiritual experiences I have had. First I have to express my fear in meeting an apostle. I have heard so many stories about missionaries shaking hands with apostles and the apostles just staring into their eyes and knowing everything about them. I was very nervous to shake Elder Oaks' hand, not because I have anything to hide, just because I am not too comfortable with people peering into my soul. Haha. The mission took Elder Oaks coming to our mission extremely seriously, as we should, but it really made everyone quite scared. "Hair cut, shoes shined, suits pressed, teeth brushed, clean shaved, no talking, reading scriptures." We must've got that reminder 20 times before Elder Oaks'  arrival. The tension in the room was palpable. When Elder Oaks walked into the room and down the isle the feeling of the room litter ally changed. Elder Parker and I were sitting next to eachother and he turned to me and I turned to him and he said, "Did you feel that?" The room went from being tension filled to complete peace. When Elder Oaks was sitting up on the stand you could just tell that he was full of happiness and joy. He was just smiling and laughing and having such a good time. He was so human. He was not a robot. All the fear that I had of shaking his hand immediately went away once I saw him. Shaking his hand was great! I still haven't washed my right hand since Saturday.
      Elder Oaks has been one of my favorite (if not my favorite) apostle even before this meeting. I have always admired Elder Oaks. He is such an intellectual, so organized and straight forward. People like that are just my type of people. In his conference talk you can tell that he always follows an organized pattern. Of course this is because of his background, but I really admire his organization. He's given some of my all time favorite talks. Particularly his talk on Timing. From this talk you learn so much about Elder Oaks. You learn about his personal life and about his sense of humor. It is a really really amazing talk.
     In our meeting with Elder Oaks he didn't really follow any pre-thought-out outline when he spoke. He really just followed the spirit. I felt that that things that he said, I really really needed to hear. He spoke about the sacrament, and other missionary related things. As he spoke I just felt so full inside. I could not stop smiling. It was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I loved hearing him and his wife speak. His wife has got an amazing testimony and she is such a wonderful speaking. Our mission was so privileged in having the opportunity to hear from them.
     That same Saturday we had the trunk or treat. It is my favorite church activity of the year, because Halloween is my all time favorite Holiday. A member of the ward, Sister Embry, crocheted me and Elder Anderson beard beenies. So that was our costume! It was awesome. The best part about the night was that all of the people that we invited to come came! We had a totally of 17 none member souls there! We had Daniel, David and his little brother Anthony, the Style Family, and the Cowert Family! Everyone had such a great time. It was one of the best nights of my mission. I am so excited about the Style Family and the Cowert Family. We found all of these people through our own efforts, and they are all very interested in the Gospel. The Style family is a great family. There are four girls in the family. Shanell, Shadaysha, Stephanie, and Kristin. The mother's name is April, and she is so nice! We haven't had the opportunity to meet the Dad yet, but we are excited to meet him. Every member of this family is just so kind. Shanell and Stephanie came to church the next morning and loved it! Sister Kelly took them under her wing and they will be coming to mutual this friday. Their Mother is very supportive of them. The rest of the family wasn't able to make church because they had other things going on at that same time, but we hope to see them next week! Rex and Trina are another family that we tracted into. Rex and I really get along. Rex is a biblical scholar and through his studies he's recognized an apostasy, and now understands the need for a restoration. He's been reading the Book of Mormon and is gaining a testimony. He was so impressed by everything inside the Church, and how it is all organized. Because he knows that this is the same organization you'll find in the New Testament. His wife Trina is so loving and awesome. We got along really well. I am so excited about these two amazing families. The ward is really excited about all the people that we've been finding and have been coming to church. They are really getting excited about missionary work.
     The best part of the week was a lesson that we had last night with David and his Mother, Carmen. David's Mother hasn't really sat in on any of the lessons, but has been nearby as we've been teaching David. She seemed kind of aloof during the lessons and we didn't really know if she was interested or not. Carmen was actually the first person that we talked to when we tracted into the house. She didn't seem too interested so we just tried to focus on her son. Carmen has seen an incredible change in David, as have we. After seeing this change she told David that the next time we come over she want's us to teach her, and of course we were excited about this. This lesson was amazing. David was practically a missionary, helping us teach his mother, and testifying of the feelings that he has felt as he has prayed. I just wanted to see inside Carmen's head and see what she was thinking as her former agnostic son taught her about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. It was clear she was touched by the love and time that we've given her family. At the end of the lesson David gave the closing prayer, perhaps the first time his mother has ever heard him pray. The spirit was so strong and David's words were so sincere. After the prayer Carmen just looked up at me and Elder Anderson just gleaming with joy. She says that she wants to hear everything that we have to say. We are ecstatic about David and his family.
     Things are going really well in this area. I could not ask for better people to teach. We are so blessed, God's hand his truly been in every second of the time I've spent here in Dallas. I love it here. I love the members with all of my heart, and I love the investigators we are teaching. Brother Crew is my favorite, The Bush Families are my favorite, the Kelly family is my favorite, the Seawell family is my favorite, the Crisp family is my favorite, the Conyers family is my favorite. I just love this ward. I am so excited to have had the opportunity to serve here and to have gotten to know all of these incredible people. I truly feel like I am making friends that will last the rest of my life here. Wards that start with the letter "D" are just the best. I wish that y'all could meet these families. I wish you could meet George Bush and his father Miles Bush. They are hillarious. Happiest guys on earth and they just crack me up. George and I get along really well because we have very common interests. He loves cameras as do I and he's been very impressed with my camera knowledge. His father Miles is just the coolest guy ever. He's got a radio announcer voice (and he used to be one). He just has a great sense of humor. I love Dallas.
     Well I have got to get going. I love you all so much.
 Brother Alderman
 Brother Crisp
 Brother George Bush
Elder Anderson and Elder Romero

The Styles family

Monday, October 21, 2013

Big Changes for the Mission

I don't know if I have time to completely recount everything that has happened this week. A lot has happened. Sometimes I am overwhelmed trying to fit the most important things from an entire week in a letter that I only have about 30 minutes to write. My goal in each letter is to try to lift the hearts and spirits of those reading my letters, but when so much has happened in a week like this it is hard to pick and choose the best things that will do just that. I will  do my best.
     There are huge changes that are going to be occurring in the Georgia Atlanta mission. Changes that were very needed. I don't feel like it is necessary to go into detail (at least in this email) but I will tell you what I have learned from it all. Simply, there have been certain things that I did not quite agree with going on in the mission. I have not wrote about them in these emails, because I didn't feel like it was something that y'all needed to know about. But I have felt very strongly about a lot of the things that have been going on in the mission culture for quite awhile. Culture meaning the way things are handled, taught, reported, and carried out. And again, I won't go into detail. Many things have been happening that I have disagreed with, but let me make this clear, I did not revolt against them. They were what my leaders asked me to do, so I was going to be obedient. But in my heart, I could feel that things were not being done the Lord's way. I would do what I could to get my voice heard and I would pray for guidance. However, I always felt like I was kicking against the pricks. I felt like a heretic just thinking the thoughts that I was thinking, and having the feelings I was feeling. I was so confused and burdened down by the weight of not knowing what is right. I felt like the devil and God were raging inside me but I couldn't tell which side was which. Yet in my mind, when I felt closest to the spirit, I just knew in my heart and mind that things had to change because they were not being done the Lord's way. But I did not have the authority or the keys to fix it. I remember clearly my last exchange and the Elder and I talking about key indicators, and all sorts of other mission protocol. He asked me my opinion and I told him everything, and spilt my heart to him how I felt. I remember him saying, "Well Elder Romero, I agree with everything you're saying. But that is just not what they are telling us to do." And I said, "But what there telling us to do just does not feel right." and with tears in my eyes I said, "Elder, I want to do what feels right."
       The whole situation I was in reminded me a lot of my ninth grade geography class. I had a teacher that handed out reading material and a worksheet that we'd have to do for homework. The reading material and the worksheet did not correlate with each other whatsoever. So I never finished my homework. I remember spending hours trying to do that homework and being just so frustrated because it just did not make sense. I was failing the class because I would not complete the homework. The school got my parents involved, and told my side of the story, and my geography teacher told hers. To spite me and to prove that I was not completing my homework my teacher sent me home with a mound of homework from the other students in the class. To show that other students are completing their homework, therefore I must be lazy. Unfortunately for her, this tactic turned against her. As my mother and I looked through the other student's homework we began to notice that none of the students were getting the same answers for the questions. They were just filling in the blank spaces and she was marking it right. A student even put, "this class is stupid." and she marked it correct! In her attempt to prove my laziness, she proved her own. After our discovery we scheduled an appointment with the principal to show what we've found. While in the waiting room my teacher came in and with the homework in hand we showed her our discovery. After realizing her mistake she grabbed the papers our of my mother's hand and said, "I wasn't suppose to give you those. It is against school policy to give out other student's homework." And we were never able to show what we found to the principal... I ended up failing the class. However, I was honest. I could have easily turned out with a good grade in that class if I would have just did what the other students were doing. But I wasn't there to get a good grade in a class, I was there to learn. Throughout high school I did extremely well. I graduated with a good GPA, got into the college I wanted to go to, and even achieved all the goals I've set out to accomplish since my childhood. I know that it is in large measure due to the integrity that I had in my ninth grade geography class. This geography class seemed like it at the time it was going to stop me from achieving my goals. I know that because I chose to do what felt right, I was blessed by God throughout the rest of my schooling.
       Sorry for that tangent, but it does tie in with my original story. My purpose in sharing that story is not to compare the leadership or organization of the mission to my ninth grade teacher. My only purpose in sharing that story was to compare how I've felt through both experiences. This week we had Elder Evans from the seventy come and speak to our mission. Elder Evans is the chairman of missionary work for the Church. He is extremely important. We had our Zone conference on Friday, and he was our main speaker. It was a seven hour meeting. Within the first hour it was clear why Elder Evans was here, to call this mission to repentance. It was clear from all the topics that he spoke on that he was addressing the very issues in the mission that I had qualms with. Minute after minute I could feel burdens being lifted off of my shoulders. My feelings and thoughts were not, "Yes, I was right all along." Because I was never concerned about BEING right. I was concerned about DOING what's right. When he was speaking it was a sense of relief of knowing that my feelings and thoughts were not heretical at all. The spirit is real and was leading me to feel what was truly right all along. My prayers were answered and overall my concerns that I prayed about were addressed the way God would address them. That way being through the organization of the church, through the keys of the priesthood.
       President Harding was our last speaker of the conference. He said in the most humble way imaginable, "Elder Evans lovingly has called us to repentance, and we will do everything he asks immediately." I am so thankful for President Harding. I love him so much. I know President Harding is my mighty leader. My love and respect for my mission President only grew through this whole experience. I've never doubted his calling or his choices. I want to make that extremely clear. I love my mission President, and he has absolutely positively changed my life. I know that if it wasn't for his tireless effort and love for his missionaries that I wouldn't be anywhere near the person I know my Father in heaven wants me to be. I will follow him into any battle. I happy to have a humble mission President that is so willing to follow his mighty leaders wherever God directs. I don't know the every detail of why the events that occurred this week happened. All I know is how I felt, and what I saw happen. After the meeting Friday IMMEDIATELY all the things that I was concerned about got changed. And I mean EVERYTHING. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this church is ran by God. I've witnessed it with my own eyes this week. I know God answers prayers. This experience has honestly been so enlightening. This truly is the same organization that you find in the new testament. Elder Evans was Paul, speaking to the church of Rome, or Corinth. This whole experience only strengthened my testimony in how true this Church is.
      Now I know I've already written a lot. I wouldn't be surprised if most people just stopped reading in the middle of my ninth grade drama. But like I said, a lot happened this week. We found a great new family. Daniel and David are doing well. Please continue to pray for them. Brother Crew's wife had a heart attack, she is doing well though. I love Brother Crew so much. My heart goes out to this man. He has the biggest heart. Every time he ends a conversation with always asks us this question, "Do y'all have nourishment?" and never fails to tell us how much he loves us. I feel so much love in this ward. I just never want to leave it. The people here are just so loving and caring it brings tears to my eyes.
       Oh my goodness I just have so much to talk about! On Thursday we went to a devotional in Atlanta. And guess who was there?! Brother ASPER! It was the greatest thing ever! I got to talk with him and give him a big hug. He told me about how the ward was going and how much he missed me. It was so funny, within three minutes of the conversation he pulls out this folder and hands me a five page paper that he wrote on the premortal life. He says, "I wrote this this morning. I think it will come in handy for you." Haha. Who else does that? He is a scholar! I love him so much. I also got to see one of my other favorite people from the Dunwoody ward at this devotional, Sister Albanes! Her and I got along so well. We could always joke around. It was so nice to see her. That wasn't the last person I got to see from the Dunwoody ward though. The next day at Zone Conference I met Sister Whitehurst. The Whitehurst family was one of my favorite families from the Dunwoody ward. I don't think I wrote too much about them. Sister Whitehurst was very excited to see me and told me that her family missed me a lot, and that their son Jared really missed me. Jared and I were really close. He is a huge sports fan and could tell you any stat on any player playing any professional sport. NO JOKE. This kid had a photographic memory. She said that I was such a good influence on Jared that now he wants to go on a mission. This almost brought tears to my eyes (I say that so much, I really don't cry that often). There has not been a single thing in my life that has brought me more joy than being able to affect and influence other people for the good. Not a single thing. Hearing that Jared now wants to go on a mission seriously made me so happy.
       Now for my last and final thoughts. I want to end this letter with my testimony about The Book of Mormon. And encourage all to read this amazing book. If anyone reads any part of this letter, please read this part. The Book of Mormon is true. It is true, it is true, it is true. Please everyone, consider these things, and give ear to what I have to say! I just want to scream this out to the world. Jesus Christ is the son of God, Joseph Smith is his prophet an revelator in these last days, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is once again the Lord's Kingdom established on the Earth. And I know these three things because I have read, pondered, and prayed about The Book of Mormon! If you do not have a testimony of this Church, you've fallen away, or you are having doubts it is because you have not read (and I am not talking about a page, a chapter, even three-forths of the book. I am talking about the WHOLE book), pondered and prayed on The Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith could not have written this book. I have studied and studied and studied and studied. Joseph was 23 when the book was brought forth. He translated it in less than three months. There are two big theories that have been proven totally false about it's origins, and the only theory left that people are turning towards is that he wrote it out of his own mind, his own experiences from his life. Of course when you run out, or lack, any evidence to prove that he couldn't have brought it forth the way he said it came forth, you are going to either have to accept that he translated it from golden plates and accept the he was a prophet, or deny he was a prophet and once you've ran out of evidence that could prove the contrary (which the critics have ran out) resort to the theory that he dictated it out of his own mind. Isn't it obvious, that theories (besides the theory that Joseph wrote the book himself) were developed because everyone who knew Joseph, and lived during that time KNEW that Joseph was not intelligent enough to write such a profound piece of literature. People tried hard to find the ways Joseph could have written this book, because they knew he couldn't have done it by himself. Isn't it interesting how the critics developed theories to explain how the book could have come forth regardless of Joseph's incapability to write the book, and then go back and say that Joseph wrote the book as the theory to explain how the book came forth? When studying the history of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon all people will come to the same crossroads. Either you read with an open heart and pray about the book to know if it is true, or you don't. There is no other interpretation for The Book of Mormon. Either it is true or it is not. Let me tell you right now, no amount of research is going to prove The Book of Mormon false, or even true! The only way to gain a testimony about The Book of Mormon, and the thing that continually strengthens my testimony of The Book of Mormon, is to READ, PONDER, and PRAY about it. There is no way to know whether this Church is true of false without doing that. I invite all those who read this, whether you are a member or not, to read and to pray about The Book of Mormon. Because quite frankly, The Book of Mormon doesn't mean anything to you if it is false. All it means is that Joseph Smith was a criminal and that he deceived a lot of people. BUT IF IT IS TRUE, then it means the world to YOU. It means that God the Father and Jesus Christ love you, you can live together as a family for all eternity, the things that you've done wrong can be made right, you can go to a Church and be sure that the things being talked about are true, that there is a life after death, and that God still speaks today. Those things are so much more important to prove to yourself than to prove that Joseph Smith was a charlatan. Because if the book is false, then it won't affect you and it doesn't matter to you. But if it is true, regardless of if you believe it or not, it will affect you and it should matter to you. I want to tell the whole world that I know The Book of Mormon to be the world of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It has blessed my life. It has changed my life. Please consider what I've said and read The Book of Mormon.
"You don't know me - you never will. I don't blame you for not believeing my history had I not experienced it I could not believe it myself." - Joseph Smith (Journal, April 7th, 1844)
      I love you all so much. With all of my heart. I wouldn't take the time to say so much if I didn't feel love for all the people that read my weekly letters. I don't write back home to try let people know how great of a missionary I am or whatever a selfish motive may be. I really write back home so that all can see that this Church is true. Because the truthfulness manifest itself daily in my life out in the mission field, and I want to share my experiences with the world.
-Elder Ryan Romero
Elder Jordan, Elder Romero, Elder Macmahan, Elder Schneck, Elder Sandoval