Monday, September 30, 2013

Dynamic Week in Dallas---Rough Stone Rolling

  As our ward mission leader Brother Crew would say, "This was a dynamic week in Dallas!" In the most Southern accent you could conjure up. I love that man. Really though, this was an amazing week. Elder Anderson and I worked hard to find, teach, and invite. We had some awesome miracles this week and met some great people. We spent a lot of time just out talking to people. A lot of great experiences. I love getting out of my comfort zone and opening my mouth to proclaim the restoration of the gospel and having it be filled. There were two amazing instances of that this week. I went on an exchange this week and I asked the Elder I was with, "What do you want most as a teacher? What do you want to be able to do?" and he gave a great reply, "I want to teach by the spirit." and I asked him, "Well Elder, how do you know that you are teaching by the spirit, or when you've taught by the spirit?" and he said, "That is a good question." I began to explain that I know that I am teaching by the spirit  when the words I speak are not my own. They are quite literally being given to me as I open my mouth. I know that I have taught by the spirit when I am just as edified by that lesson as the person I taught was. There were two instances this week where it was clear to me that my words were not my own.
       The first was with this lady when we were tracking. She opened her door and said she wasn't interested because she was a Seventh Day Adventist. We asked her if we could pray with her and she said that that would be okay. After the prayer I felt inspired to ask her how the Seventh Day Adventist's beliefs differed from most protestant churches. She was kind of caught off guard seeing that I was so willing to hear what she had to say about her faith. After showing my openness she really opened up too. We were able to teach her the entire restoration, and then some other amazing things. She was astounded and loved every bit of what we had to say. While I was speaking during this lesson I could seriously listen to the words that were coming out of my mouth and knew that they were not my own. I was not taking thought as to what I was going to say next, I was just speaking and it all made sense. Elder Anderson and I walked away from that door just astounded. Immediately after we walked away from the door Elder Anderson turns to me and says, "Did you hear yourself?" Haha.
       The second instance of teaching by the spirit was in GNC. Yes, the health store. Haha. This GNC just opened up by our house and we wanted to check it out. So we went in there and there were two workers in the store. One of them had a best friend that was on a mission in Brazil. He mentioned that he went to seminary once with his friend. I asked him if his friend ever had the chance to share his beliefs with him. He said that he has heard quite a bit from his friend. He then said that their beliefs differ in some areas. I asked him what beliefs they differed in, and he said that he didn't believe that The Book of Mormon is necessary to have apostles and a prophet today. Immediately I began to teach about the apostasy and the restoration of the gospel. Just opening my mouth and watching it be filled with the words I should say. We spent about 40 minutes in that store discussing back and forth with the two workers. They both agreed to read and pray about The Book of Mormon. Not once was there ever arguing. Not once was there ever a feeling of bitterness. I am telling you, if you know how to tell our story you don't have to argue! I love the restoration, like I say in every letter. It is the best news to every Christian. But you have to know how to teach it.
       During this exchange the Elder asked me how I became the good teacher I've become (and I am not sharing this story to pat myself on the back, but to make a point). I asked him, "What do you really love, what are you passionate about?" and he said, "Well I love fostering animals, acting, and books." And I said, "How long could you talk about those things for? Could you talk about them to anyone? Because I can tell you love those things since we've started this exchange. It is clear to me since I've started to get to know you that you are passionate about those things. I guarantee that you could make me love, or at least interested in animals, acting, and books just because I can tell that you LOVE them so much. Even if I had no interest in them at all at the beginning of the conversation, just the enthusiasm that you have for those things makes me excited and want to learn more. That is how we HAVE TO BE about the Gospel when sharing it with others. And we cannot be this way unless we truly love and are passionate about everything that we teach the way we love and are passionate about our other interests. If people can see that you truly LOVE the Restoration of the Gospel, there isn't someone that would not take the time to listen to you." I shared with him how when I first came out on my mission my love for music, snowboarding, and electronics far exceeded my love for the Restoration. Those were the subjects that I could talk to anyone about. Throughout my mission that has changed and my love for the Restoration exceeds my love for anything else, and people can see it, and that is why they listen to me. I think that this is a very important lesson that I have learned on my mission. You have to LOVE what you do, or else people are probably not going to love what you have to share.
       Real quickly to update you on our investigators. Pam was not able to make it to Church this week, but is still doing very well. We are meeting with her soon. David came to Church and loved it!!! Things are going great with him. We are very excited.
       I love you all so much!
-Elder Ryan Romero

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Bumpy Week

This week was a bumpier week than usual. Along with those bumbs were some miracles. We had an investigator come to church this week. Her name is Pam! She is awesome. We found Pam the second week of the transfer. She is so funny and just awesome. She loves Elder Anderson and I. She is a great missionary herself and tells everyone about us and the light that we bring her in her life. In fact, she brought her friend to Church with her on Sunday! And her grandson wants to be baptized! Pam is awesome, she really gets our message and really loves the spirit she feels. She is really looking for a change in her life, and I know that that change that she needs in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
     To quickly update you on the other people we are teaching. David is doing good. We are having an FHE with his family tonight. Pray for that! Michael has been out of town but we are meeting with him on Tuesday. We have found some really good fellowshippers that are going to relate well with Michael. We are really excited about these people.
     To tell you more about Dallas. Dallas is a small town. Really small. Well not CRAZY small. But pretty darn small. The people that have lived here, have lived here forever. Brother Crew is the man of the town. Literally, he's won that award. Haha. The old time members have grown up here. The ward is pretty small, there are a lot of less-active people (which is going to change). I can not even express to you how much I love the people here though. I love this ward. Let me tell you about a few people. Alright, Brother Seawell: This man is awesome, he's memorized all of JSH. He is so funny and loves to come on team ups with us. Brother Alderman: This man is SOUTHERN. Grew up in Georgia and you can barely understand him when he speaks. But he has a big heart of gold. I seriously love this guy so much. He drives a big truck that he is really proud of. Brother Askea: Southern old man that would take a bullet for the missionaries. He's a womanizer. Haha. Gotta love Brother Askea. Also has a big truck that he is proud of. Brother Haddow: This guy is my hero. He is an AMERICAN. Straight laced freedom fighter. Rides a motorcycle. Convert of the Church. Has an armory in his basement. The Bush Families: There are 3 Bush families in the ward and then their Sister who is Sister Kelley (also a family that I love) The Bush's are like my brothers away from home. Way into technology and they own their own business. I have made a deal with them to start up a branch of their business in SLC once I go home. I am stoked to work with them. There are many other people in this ward that I could go on and on about. I love Dallas so much. I can't even explain. I already told you about Brother Crew in my previous email, but I want to emphasize again how much I love this man! I am never going to forget this guy. He is the best Ward Mission Leader anyone could ask for.
       Alright. So the event that I would like to tell y'all about is an experience that we had with this one very anti-mormon fellow. We knocked on this guy's door and he started to talk to us. He expressed that he is getting a masters degree in theology and that he knows all about us. We asked if we could pray with him and he declined saying that we don't pray to the same God. This man was very eloquent and seemed very knowledgeable. He began to go off that Joseph Smith was just a charlatan that found a way to fulfil his wordly desires. All things that I have heard before. He began to go into doctrine and expound. This man assumed that as a clean cut Mormon missionary that I did not know anything about Joseph Smith's life, because there are quite a few things about his life that 90 percent of Mormons don't know. He kept talking to me like I was an ignorant boy. Keep in mind that we did not argue, bash, or fight. In fact the conversation was quite calm. It was not worth arguing with him or correcting him on incorrect "facts". As he began to talk and talk it became quite clear that in reality he knew nothing about Joseph Smith. Just the normal things every anti-mormon chooses to research. After all this research he didn't even know how old Joseph was when he translated The Book of Mormon, the amount of time it took, and the names of the people whom he translated it with. It was quite clear that this man overlooked the miracle of the Book of Mormon all together. After all of his rhetoric I had one simple  question to ask him, "How do you explain The Book of Mormon?" And his fickle answer was, "Well Joseph Smith wrote it. I've written many books, his just happened to 'catch on'." As if the Book of Mormon was a 1830 version of Twilight or The Hunger Games. This man even overlooked the importance of reading The Book of Mormon. When I asked, "Well have you read and prayed about it?" I already knew his answer before he gave it to me, "Well parts of it. I've never cared enough to read the whole thing." So tell me Sir, how could you know a book is FALSE before you've even taken the time to read it. I refrained from saying this, but surely was thinking it. Instead I said, "Well Sir our invitation to you is to read the Book of Mormon. I've read it and I know that it is true. We are not here to argue, we are here to invite. If you do not want to accept our invitation then we don't have much more to discuss." Our conversation ended in a handshake and goodbyes. I learned A LOT from this conversation though. This man, as intelligent as he was, could not explain The Book of Mormon. Like LeGrand Richards says, "You don't have to argue, if you know how to tell our story." If someone wants to disprove this Church they are going to HAVE to disprove The Book of Mormon. Otherwise this Church will stand and progress and not be stopped. Unfortunately for the critics of the Church the book is true. And that is why they have not been able to come up with a better answer to explain the origins of The Book of Mormon than, "Well he wrote it, and people fell for it." When you look at the facts the coming forth of The Book of Mormon was an absolute miracle. And anyone that reads, studies, and prays WITH A SOFT HEART about that book will know without a shadow of a doubt that it is true. All those that refuse to read it will never come to the joy that it brings. The joy that we can in fact live after this life, with our families, and progress and grow. There are so many other things that you come to know after knowing that this book is true. Combined with the Bible it reveals or restores the truth and confounds false doctrine. Without the Book of Mormon we are truly just as Paul says, "Carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the slight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive." I love this Church, I love this Gospel. It is true.
I love you all,
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, September 16, 2013

Week two in Dallas--Miracle upon Miracle

    Miracle upon miracle. This was an amazing week. John Steele was baptized on Saturday, and it was amazing. His life is going to be changed by this forever. I am so happy for him. Luckily I got to attend the baptism and so did Elder McMahan. John was so glad to have us there. John's baptism was a huge event for him, as it should be, but he made it a great day. He always told Elder McMahan and I that if he got baptized he was going to go all in, that day was going to be unforgettable. He sure made it an unforgettable. John got himself a new suit, a hair cut, invited all his family and friends, and got loads and loads of fried chicken and macaroni and cheese from his favorite restaurant Bojangles. Haha. It was awesome. I am so happy for John and for his wife Peg, they have been waiting for awhile for this. And in one year from today they are going to go to the temple to be sealed. I swear I am the luckiest missionary in the world to be part of these amazing people's lives.
     Elder Anderson and I have just been working and working and working. We have found quite a few new pretty promising people. We found this amazing kid named David. David is about 19 and is interested in engineering! So him and I get along real well. He claims to be agnostic, but is very open and searching. He is a truth seeker. This kid is so smart! Him and I get along so well and we really relate with each other. I love teaching David. We gave him a Book of Mormon last week and he has been reading and really understands it and loves it. He has promised to pray and ask God if it is true. I can tell that he really enjoys talking with me and Elder Anderson. I am excited to see what happens with David.
     Unfortunately Michael was unable to come to Church this week. Hopefully he will be able to make it next week. We are still in contact with him.
      I had a good experience in Sacrament meeting yesterday. The youth speaker didn't show up so in desperation to fill those five minutes they invited me to go up and share a few thoughts and my testimony. Haha. I was very happy and excited to fill those five minutes. I have so much love for this ward. Every member that I have met has just an amazing story, and is so full of charity towards the missionaries. It was so easy to go up there and express my love towards them, because I truly did love them. I had a strange experience while I was up there sharing my thoughts. While up there I could hear myself speaking, but I wasn't really thinking about what I was going to say next. Words were just coming out of my mouth. Generally I am not the most comfortable and eloquent impromptu speaker. But when I got up there and started speaking I realized a genuine change in myself. Words were really being given to me, my mouth was being filled. I realized that I am really not the same person that I was when I left. My testimony of this gospel has increased dramatically. I was saying things that I didn't know or understand when I first came out in the mission field. But now I truly do understand them, and I truly do know them. I talked about love, missionary work, and the atonement. I could tell that I really got through to the members and really made an impact on them. It was a good opportunity to show the ward that I love them, and that I am ready to work and help bring there loved ones into the waters of baptism.
      I am so excited for my future in this area. Thank you for all the support that y'all send me from back home. I love you all so much.
Spiders are big in Atlanta!
-Elder Ryan Romero
John's Baptism

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Great Week

 Wow, did we work hard this week. Find, teach, baptize. Find, teach, baptize. Geez. Elder Anderson and I must've talked with have the people in Dallas about the restored Gospel this week. It is the first week of the transfer and we've almost filled up half of our potential investigator slots in the back of our planner. So many great experiences this past week. I will try really quick to share as many as I can as quickly as I can.
     I feel like every missionary has there "speciality". I feel like mine is the apostasy and restoration. I could talk about the apostasy and restoration for days on end. I'd have to say that my obsession all started with Brother Asper and his enthusiasm for this topic. He really is a scholar on the subject. I have come to notice, just like I mentioned in my last email, "If you know how to tell our story, then you don't have to argue." Our "story" so to say, is the apostasy and the restoration of the gospel. As I have come to learn how to tell our story in an effective, organized way. There truly is no room whatsoever to argue. It is amazing. As we've studied and studied WHY an apostasy occured, and HOW and WHY the restoration took place. And learned to explain it quickly and effectively to people, then they'll listen. It will make them think.  Even if the people turn me away, there is no way I don't have them thinking by the end of our conversation. Because it is impossible to read The New Testament the same way once you've come to an understanding of the apostasy and restoration. Haha. Gosh, I love teaching. I love this Church. I love our message. I am a fan of the best, and I love talking about the best things. Music, restaurants, movies, tv shows, and sports. I love our Church because it is the best. That is a bold statement, but you can't be scared to say it. It is the best because it is true. You study it, pray about it, and there is no other conclusion that you can come to. It is true.
     This week we've found eleven new people to teach and have four new investigators on date for the 28th to be baptized. Kathy, Kerry, Diane, and Michael. The only one I want to take time to talk about real quick is Michael. This guy is amazing. Elder Anderson and I ran into him while we were finding in this neighborhood. He was just sittin in his garage with his handgun chillin next to him and a rifle on the other side of him. Haha. The South... Michael looks like he is about 16, but he is really 28. The reason for this is he's had a double lung transplant, and a bone marrow transplant. I didn't even know that they could perform lung transplants. He is a walking miracle. This man loves God, because God is keeping him here. He knows a member of our ward. We taught him the Restoration, invited him to be baptized, and he accepted. He is a smart guy and has really got everything together. He spends a lot of time going around to hospitals seeing people who are in very tough medical sittuations to give them support. To show them that there is always hope. He is such a great guy. We are meeting with him again tomorrow night. Pray for Michael!
      This morning we helped an awesome family move. The Crisp family. They are moving to Utah. They are going to be staying in the ward for another three months. I just have to say, I LOVE THIS WARD. Everyone here is amazing and so cool. The Crisp family is awesome. They put there stuff in storage until they move out to Utah in January. They are letting me barrow their tredmill till they leave! They were going to put it in storage, but I just asked if I could barrow it until they leave. They said, "Of course! We'll save room in storage." Haha. This was a heaven sent gift. I am no longer on a bike, which means I won't get as much exercise. I got so fit in Lost Mountain, seriously, I've never been so fit in my life. I don't want to lose that, and that was a big fear of mine coming to a car area. But now I have my own tredmill! Haha. It was so funny, because the people that we live with own a tredmill. And last night I asked the wife if I could use it in the mornings to exercise. And she said (before I could even finish my sentence), "Nope, y'all got to stay in your part of the house." Haha. I can't wait for her to see that one day from me asking her that question, I get my own tredmill. Goodness, I love the Crisps. Haha. My other favorite member is our ward mission leader. Now this man is SOUTHern. And proud of it. His name is Brother Crew. I love this man to death. I could spend my life around this guy and never get tired of his stories. He is a politician here in Dallas. He is probably one of the most well-known people here in Dallas. He helped run Newt Gingrich's campaign. Haha. Him and I have some fun political disscusions (don't tell my mission president haha). He has some great stories and could tell you anything you want to know about the Civil War (or any other war). This guy is my hero. His love for the Georgia Dogs is only second to his love for maybe his wife. He's already given me a Dog's hat. He has four season tickets right behind the Dog's bench. He has me saying, "Go Dogs" after almost everything. Haha. He is awesome.
       I love this ward, I love my area, I love my companion. I love this work. There is nowhere on earth that I would rather be than preaching the true and restored gospel. I never want to stop. Yesterday we were driving down and I stopped the car and turned to Elder Anderson and said, "Elder Anderson, don't you just want to get on the top of buildings and scream the truthfulness of this message? Because that is what I want to do. I want to get on a building and just yell and scream to Dallas that this message is true!" I want the world to know it. I want to write books about it. I want to talk with everyone about it. An apostasy occured, and so did a restoration. What greater news for a Christian than that?
     I love you all so much. Especially my best friend Skella for sending me the coolest package ever!
-Elder Ryan Romero.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome to Dallas

 A new area and a new companion. I am now in Dallas Georgia with Elder Anderson. Elder Anderson has been out in the mission field for six weeks and he is ready to work. He is from St. George Utah. He is a big football player. He is going to play football for SUU once he returns home. He is a great guy with a huge heart. He has a strong testimony of the Gospel. He is awesome. I am very excited to be his companion, and to be a good example to him.
     This past week has been an amazing week. But before I tell you about all the great things that happened this past week, I need to fill you in about the miracles that I didn't get to tell you about in my last email. Alessandra! She is amazing. It was such a sad goodbye. Alright, so Alessandra was baptized last Saturday, and everything went perfect. The miracle that I really want to share is what happened Monday night. Monday night we had family home evening with my favorite family in the Lost Mountain Ward, the Sears. They invited Alessandra over to have FHE with them. The lesson was on the Holy Ghost. The Sears daughter, Abbey, taught the lesson and she did an amazing job. After the lesson Sister Sears opened up the lesson and asked us if we had any experiences with the Holy Ghost that we would like to share. Unexpectedly Alessandra shared an experience. As she started she began to say that she's felt the Holy Ghost throughout her life, "But then she stopped and tears started to slowly role down her face (not many, just like 4 or 5). She continued and said, but I've never felt it as strong as I have had since I have been in this Church. I know God sent you all to me, because there is no way I could deal with the things that I've been dealing with without this Church and the Holy Ghost. Sunday was an amazing day, and I know that I have now received the Gift of the Holy Ghost." There was no better way that I could have left the Lost Mountain area than hearing Alessandra bear her testimony. It was honestly one of the best moments of my mission. I will never forget her face and her sincerity as she bore her testimony, it is engraved in my mind. I am going to miss Alessandra so much!
       Alright, one more story. I can't remember if I have even talked about this man before. His name is John. Elder McMahan and I have been working with him ever since I got to that area, and McMahan had been working with him even before I got there. In total John has been taught for about 15 months. He is extremely intelligent. John is a stubborn man, haha. But in a good way. He is sincere. Goodness, I love this guy. John he puts missionaries through the ringer to see if you are capable. He sure put me through the ringer. We've met every week with John. He recently married a member of the Church and has been meeting with missionaries ever since. When I first met with John he considered himself sort of agnostic. After a lot of discussions, spiritual experiences, and amazing member fellowship. John is a completely different person than the first time I met him.
      His story is quite long, and I don't know if I have much time to tell it all. To make a long story short, John is going to be baptized on September 14th. This man has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith like you would not believe. He is going to make an amazing member of the Church. After a lot of blunt discussions with him, and a lot of spiritual experiences. He has began to pray, and received a witness that he needs to be baptized. This is huge! The ward has been waiting for John for a long time. He has been one of the most active and charitable "members" of the church for the last 15 months. He is a great guy. I found out that we were going to be transferred last Saturday. That same day we had the amazing opportunity to go the the Nashville Tribute Concert. Peg and John both came to the concert. When I saw Peg I want up to her and said, "Peg, I am being transferred." Haha. I thought her world just about ended. She said, "No! You can't leave. You are the Elder that is going to baptize John! No! Where is your mission President, I am going to talk with him." Haha. I did not advocate her idea to talk with President. But sure enough she hunted down President Harding in the crowd and gave him the fifth degree... Haha. Peg was not the only one to talk with him, but John too. Luckily John was a bit more understanding. Haha. The Tuesday before we left we asked Peg and John if we could sit down with them and have one last lesson. In this lesson we planned out John's baptism for the 14th!
       Things were great in the Lost Mountain ward, and I am proud of the miracles that happened there. I am so excited to be serving here in Dallas. This past week Elder Anderson and I have been working our tails off. We have been talking with EVERYONE and sharing our story. I can tell that Elder Anderson really loves the way that I do missionary work. He is very excited to be my companion. I am doing my best to teach him all that I know. When we first got together I shared with him my favorite quote from LeGrand Richards, "As a missionary, you never have to argue, if you know how to tell our story." This statement is so true. If you know how to tell our story, you never have to argue. We have really worked hard on being able to tell our story in the most affective way possible.