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