Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Rough Stone Rolling

 This week was a pretty good week. We accomplished most of our goals that we set for the week. We found new people to teach. We taught most of our lessons with a member present. And we regained contact with our investigator Claudie. This week flew by and I just don't know where it went. My mission seems like it is going by in the blink of an eye. I look back and it seems like yesterday I was riding to my first area with Elder Hansen and Elder Heimuli. I still remember the smell of my first apartment and everything about my first area. When I hit my eighth month mark it was the oddest feeling. Thinking that I am a third of the way through my mission just doesn't make sense to me. I just don't know how I will feel when I hit a year. That day is just right around the corner. 
    I want to just take a minute to tell you about how much I love all the Elders in my District. As a District Leader I made a promise to myself that I would have a personal relationship with all of the missionaries in my District. I can't stand leaders that put themselves on a pedestal and create a power distance between the Leader and the person they lead. I have experienced that before in my jobs and in the mission. The leaders of mine that I have respected most are the ones that I have been friends with. I feel like I have become best friends with the Elders in my district. I love them so much and they are all great Elders. I feel like that we have all come to grow together and be a team that wants to support each other and make sure that we are all fulfilling our callings. I dare say that we have the best District on the mission. 
    I'll tell you about one of the Elders in my District that I went on an exchange with this past week. His name is Elder Kimball. He is from Cedar Hills, Utah. This Elder love music, clothes, snowboarding, math, camping, and Apple products. I have never connected so well with someone Haha. It was the craziest thing when we went on the exchange and began questioning each other about their life back home. I felt like I was talking to myself. It was great. Unfortunately he has been out for only three weeks, so I will have to wait about eight months to hang out with him back home. He is going to be a great missionary. 

   So I'll tell you about Claudie. Our last lesson with Claudie was about a month and a half ago. Then She told us that she was going to go to Spain for a month. Luckily she is back now and we have been able to get in contact with her once she got home. Gosh, I love Claudie. She lightens my day every time I get to see her. She is from Africa and we just get along so well. We have been able to see her twice in the past week and both lessons went really well. Her neighbor is a member and we have been able to teach her with her neighbor. They are becoming really close. I think that is just a matter of time before Claudie joins the Church. She is so smart and really pieces things together. What we teach her makes sense to her and she really retains everything that we teach her. 

    I have really been getting consumed in missionary work. I am really getting the hang of things that we tough for me at the start of my mission. I am getting really good at working with people and using the members in the missionary work. I think that I am getting really good at uniting people under a purpose and helping them work towards that purpose. I am learning so much in the mission and I just can't want to see how much more I learn in the time that I have left. 

    Brother Asper is teaching me so much. I have learned so much about the scriptures, history, and life because of him. He is like my own personal BYU professor. He is honestly the most intelligent man I have ever met. His mind is just astounding. It is inspirational. I learn something new about him everyday. He grew up on a farm in Oregon. Later in his life he worked on the Lunar Module and met Neil Armstrong. He is just the most amazing person that I have ever met. I asked him if I could write his biography for him and call it "From the Farm to the Moon" I think it would be a New York Times top seller. 
    The people that I have met on my mission is what has affected me the most. The relationships I've made, the lives that I have seen change. I just know that God is so real and that he truly loves all his children. 

    Well I got to get going. I don't know if anyone really reads this anymore haha, but it will be a good thing for my kids to read. I love you all so much! 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Rough Start

This week was definitely a test for Elder Greene and I. I think that he is learning right at the start of his mission that things don't always go as planned in the mission, but I hope that he notices that when someone closes there door on us, God is opening a door for us somewhere else. This week has been full of bad luck. Brother Asper told us, "If you guys didn't have bad luck this week, you wouldn't have had any sort of luck at all!" He was there for us every step of this rocky week lifting our spirits and buying us girl scout cookies.
     This week everyone of our appointments fell through. They either canceled or just weren't there when we would knock. We had promising people bail on their comittments with us. To add on top of all of these people falling through, my iPod got stollen right out of our car while we were in a lesson. It seems like things were just coming at us one after another after another. This week was pretty Grim. At times I seriously felt like just giving up and falling on my knees. Door after door slammed in our faces. It really tested me, and I am sure that it tested Elder Greene. Now I know that this letter may be starting to sound like a downer, but please keep reading. God is good, he loves his children, and I know that he loves me. I knew this doctrine to be true, and I know that God's love will manifest itself in my life in many ways. While everything seems to be going wrong, and the walls on my mission life seemed to be crashing around me. I realized that I just need to change my point of view.
      The thing that has really kept me going was the relationships that I have built here in the Dunwoody ward. The relationship with the Aspers, the Wombles, the Beavers, the Kellers, the Bishop's family, and the Bennett family. I realized as everyone is rejecting me, and how Satan is wanting me to fail. I have a team of people here, back home, and in heaven rooting me on and wanting me to succeed. The Aspers, I can't even describe to you how much I love this family. My heart is filled with love everytime I step foot in their home. I know that my relationship with Brother and Sister Asper will last till the day we day and long after that. They are my parents in Georgia. When these members noticed how tough of a week that we were having they really stepped in and picked us back up. God's love for me manifested itself through the saints of his church.
      This letter I don't want to go into too much detail about the details of this week, because I pretty much covered everything that has happened. Although, I do want to tell you that I know without of a shadow of a doubt that this Church is true. Even if I leave this area without baptizing a soul, I will leave this area with a stronger testimony of the truthfullness of this restored Gospel than I've ever had before. This Church is true, and I am going to do all that I can to proclaim the truthfullness of this Gospel to the world. I have learned so much from the members of this ward and from my own personal studies that this Church is in fact the Church of Jesus Christ restored to the earth. More importantly I have had the spirit wittness to me that it is.
       I have learned so much on my mission, and I have room to learn so much more. Every day I learn something new. I am so excited for tomorrow and for what I going to learn from the scriptures. They are an endless source of knowledge. They are so true, and we need to read them.
       Well I hope that everyone back home had a good week. I hope to hear from anyone that reads this soon! I love you all so much and miss you all so much.
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fresh out of the Factory

My new companion is named Elder Greene. Yes he is a greenie, and his name is Greene. He must be so tired of that joke by now. He is from Bountiful Utah, another Utahn. The members keep saying, "Another one? Does Atlanta only get missionaries from Utah?" Well I think that they make a good point. Most of the missionaries out here are from Utah. Elder Greene is extremely quiet, and pretty shy. He doesn't have to much to say but I am sure that is because things are so new to him. He is a great kid, and has an outstanding testimony that could silence a room. He is going to be a great missionary. 
      Alright, I'll get down to the meat of this letter because I don't have too much time. As a greenie, I had to play a prank on my new companion. Seeing that I have been in the area 12 weeks now I have grown really close to the members and they were in on the idea of me pulling a prank on my fresh new companion. I am particularly close with a member named Brother Beaver. He is a professional DJ and is also studying Mechanical Engineering. We get along really well and he is just a character, funniest person in the ward. So he agreed to help me pull a prank on my baby. Our first time "tracting" we go to Brother Beaver's neighborhood. We are driving down the road and I tell Elder Greene, "When tracting you want to look for houses that have a lot of cars, especially minivans. That means a family lives there." I said this knowing that Brother Beaver has two BMW's, a Volvo, and a minivan all parked outside of his house. So when we passed his house I said, "Oh yeah, jackpot." While walking up I asked him if he would like to do the door approach, and he agreed to. When we walked up to the door and knocked Brother Beaver comes to the door in a pink sweater with his hair combed neatly to the side and said "Hey boys, what are you doing out in the rain? You are going to get all soaked. Come on in come on in. Meet my companion Bryan..." Haha. You can probably guess what Brother Beaver was playing the role of. Bryan is a guy that goes to the YSA ward that is currently living with them (but of course Elder Greene did not know about this). Elder Greene looks and me and I look at him (then immediately I turn around so that Elder Greene can't see me bust up laughing). Brother Beaver allows us to teach him and Bryan a lesson. To make a long story short, the lesson was extremely awkward. Haha. Everytime Elder Greene would look away Brother Beaver would look at me and just wink and start laughing a little. At the end of the lessons when we say our goodbyes Elder Greene goes in for a handshake and Brother Beaver goes in for a hug. I couldn't hold it in any longer and started to laugh out loud. Elder Greene still had no idea what was going on and I didn't tell him until we got back in the car. He thought that it was so funny. He was stunned, he had no idea that it wasn't real. He was impressed that I was able to keep my composure for the entire lesson. I think that overall it was a very good experience for Elder Greene. It turned out to be a really really good practice lesson for him. Because I wouldn't be surprised if he ran into that exact situation later on his mission. 
      Regarding the work, things are going okay. It seems like a few of our investigators have dropped off the face of the earth. It has been extremely hard to get ahold of them. We haven't had much luck. We haven't been able to talk with Tony and Kim since the last time we spoke with them. We weren't able to meet with Beth last week. I know that God will provide as long as Elder Greene and I are doing the things that we are supposed to do. I am doing my best to be a good example to Elder Greene and teach him all that he needs to know for the mission. I have been teaching him a lot about the Bible and how it is one of your best tools down here to relate with people and how to use it to help them understand the Restoration of the Gospel. He still has quite a bit to learn. But I think that he is progressing. 
      I am learning a lot over these past couple days. I can see that this next transfer is going to be one that is really going to change me. It is really going to test all that I have. I know that God has a lot in store for me, he has a lot of growing for me to do. I continuously think about who I am, who I am becoming, and who I want to be. There are so many things I need to change. There are so many things that I want to fix. I just know that God is in control, and that as I obey and do what he asks me to that he will take care of all those changes, and he will fix in me what needs to be fixed. I know that what God can make out of me is far greater than what I could ever make out of myself. 
      This transfer I am really going to work hard to put it all in God's hands. Everything that I have I am going to do my best to give to him. 

     I hope that everyone back home is doing well. I miss you all so much. May God Be With You Till We Meet Again. 
Elder Romero with Elder Armenta
Ryan and Brother Asper
Brother Asper and Ryan on the Guitars...Elder Armenta likes to dance
Thug Shot

The District
My mom away from home
The family that changed my life The Aspers

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another End of a Transfer

Has it really been 12 weeks since I came into Dunwoody? Where has the time gone. It seems like yesterday I was driving down up the I285 with my new companion coming to my new area. Now the time has come, the end of the transfer. This Morning around 9AM we got the call from the AP's telling us what is happening. Are you ready? Drum roll...... ta ta ta ta...... I am staying and training. Elder Armenta is leaving and training in another area. We were not surprised that this was going to happen. We are having 16 new Elders come in this transfer and only about 5 leaving. So we both figured we were going to be training. Also, that is what the AP's told as at the start of this transfer when they told us that they had to pull a few strings to keep us here another transfer. Now I am going to go into my rant about how much I love Elder Armenta. 
     Elder Armenta and I have become best friends over the past 9 weeks. We have become so incredibly close. I have always wanted a best friend and I feel like I have that in Elder Armenta. He is the nicest coolest kid I have ever met. He has been such a good example to me about how a missionary should be, but more importantly how a disciple of Jesus Christ should be. He is constantly looking for opportunities to serve other people whether it be making my bed while I'm in the shower, or taking up someone's garbage can to their house, or writing a note to a sick member telling them how great they are. He is consistently representing Jesus Christ. I am so sad to see him go. I don't know how I am going to survive without him. I know that God need's his help in other parts of the Atlanta Georgia Mission. His affect that he has had on me and the Dunwoody ward will be one that will stay forever. 
     I don't really know what the next six weeks have in store for me and my new companion. Sometimes I get nervous being a trainer. I feel like I still need to be trained. I do like having to be an example to a younger Elder though. It helps me strive to continuously be a better missionary. I am excited to learn about my companion's life and learn all about his interests, and talents. People fascinate me. Everyone has a story and I love hearing them. I hope that I can be to my new companion what Elder Armenta was to me. I hope that I can be a strong example of Jesus Christ for him to follow. I hope that I can help my new companion grow as much as possible and have myself grow in the process. 
      There is a lot of work to be done in the Dunwoody area. A lot of seeds to sow, and plants to harvest. I have a feeling that this next transfer is going to be a good one. The Dunwoody area is ripe and already to harvest. I am so glad that at least one of us is staying in the area to maintain the relationship with the members. Dunwoody is a powerhouse of member support, you just need to know where to find those key members. I and Elder Armenta know who those people are, and I am going to teach my greenie who they are also. I am so excited to take him around the area and introduce him to all the amazing members of the ward. I am so excited for him to meet Brother Asper and be awed by his Gospel knowledge. 

     Regarding the work over the past week in the area, things have been pretty good. Beth did not get baptized on Saturday. Somethings came up that are preventing her from being baptized, personal things. Nothing too serious, but they did prevent her from being baptized on Saturday. She should however be baptized fairly soon. We still have a strong relationship with Beth and she still has a strong desire to be baptized. There are just a few things that we have got to work out. 
     The best news from the week is that we regained contact with Tony and Kim! Turns out that they didn't get antied. Their lives have just been incredibly hectic due to Tony being out of work. When we drove into their apartment complex Tony drive in right behind us. We were so excited to see him, and surprisingly he was excited to see us. We went inside and sat down and talked with him and Kim. You could just tell that Kim was a nervous wreck from everything that has been going on. I had a feeling that I should ask Kim if she'd like a blessing, and she said yes. So I gave her the blessing and she got up with tears in her eyes because she was so grateful. It was truly a miracle that we got to see them that night. If we would have gone a minute later or a minute earlier we would have missed Tony and probably wouldn't have gotten into see them. It was so relieving to know that they still love us and still want us to come by. 

      Well I have got to get going. I am glad to be staying here another transfer I am excited for what the Lord has in store. 

-Elder Ryan Romero