Monday, June 9, 2014

Working Hard

 Time is going by so fast, I just don't even know what to say. I have been struggling to keep my eyelids open for the past five weeks. Haha, doesn't help that I am the driver. Just a few days ago as we were praying before we left the car to go and see a family I fell asleep right in the middle of the prayer. It was pretty funny. We've been waking up and 6AM and going on a five mile run. I had this goal in Dallas, but wasn't able to complete it. I wanted to run 100 miles in one transfer. It looks like that I am going to be able to do it this transfer. I am so thankful to have a companion that pushes me and has truly helped me become a better person. I have learned so much from my companions and have really learned the importance of choosing an eternal companion that will help me learn and grow.
     Celentria unfortunately was not baptized this weekend. She is still having a bit of trouble with the Word of Wisdom. She is doing great right now and things are really looking great for this weekend. I am so excited for her. The ward is really looking up. Our bishop has been a lot more supportive and has actually come out on team ups with us! We had some really great experiences going out with the members. It is so important to help each member that comes out with you have a spiritual experience. This week we took out with us a High Priest in the Ward named Brother Williams. We went and so a potential investigator that we met a few days before. When we went over the lady we were looking for wasn't there. Her sister was the one that answered the door. We asked if we could share a message about Christ with her and she let us in. The lesson went great! I love teaching so much. I love helping people and lifting their vision. We invited her to be baptized and set a date for July 5th. Her name is Raven and she is awesome. Brother Williams was so impressed that in priesthood this Sunday he shared his experience with the body of the Priesthood. It was a very good step in the right direction for the ward.
     Lately I have been studying in depth the Fall and the Atonement. I don't have much time to write all that I have learned. My plans are to write a book when I get home. I am publicly announcing this. So whoever reads this has to keep me accountable. I love the scriptures. They have truly become my best friend on the mission, and I am so comfortable with them.
      This week we had mission council, it went really great. I learned a lot and love being around all of those missionaries. I really love President Harding so much and am so grateful to have him as my mission President. He is an amazing man and I have learned so much from him. I feel like this mission is the best mission in the world. The culture and the structure of it truly makes a saint. President Harding is so inspired. This mission requires so much of its missionaries. I am so grateful to have served here in Georgia under President Harding. I have learned to be obedient and submit, I have learned to work hard, and I have learned what I want for my future.
       The reality of me going home still hasn't quite struck me. Honestly, I can't explain it. I have always told myself, "When April hits, that is when I will feel like I am going home." and then April hits and I say, "When May hits, that is when I will feel like I am going to go home." Still didn't hit me. Then finally, "When June hits, that's when I will feel it." I realize I am going home, but I just don't feel like I am really going home. I am still in the same routine, still doing the same ol' thing, still working hard. Home just seems so far away, but I know that in reality it is only a week away... I don't know how I feel. I really can't put it into words. Because it just hasn't hit me with full force. I think that it will hit me when I am standing at the pulpit giving my departing testimony. Maybe then. I just am so scared. Honestly, I am terrified. But excited for the future, but terrified to go back into normal life. I don't want to lose what I've learned. I just want to keep it with me forever, and I am going to. On Thursday Elder Wahlen and I made a list of commitments that I am going to do when I get home. I am not going to write all of them down here, but I do intend to keep them all. They are written on the inside of my mission scriptures. I intend on keeping them all. I intend to continue to grow spiritually and be a great missionary when I get home. Ugh, I just don't know what to say. I just don't know if I am ready to leave. My heart is here now with the people who I have truly come to love. I have put my whole heart into this work, and it just doesn't seem fair that I have to leave it all. I am so grateful that I will have the chance to come back here sometime soon.
        Well, Brother Tackett is for sure going to come and hike Mt. Timp with me in the 3rd week of July. And Brother Asper is going to be there when I get home! At least I will have some part of Georgia with me when I get back home. I am so excited to sit down with Brother Asper and discuss doctrine. I can't wait to share with each other the new things that we have learned in our studies. It is going to be so hard for me to keep my composure when I see him again. I don't think that the members and investigators will ever realize what they have done for me. I don't think they will ever know the lasting effects and lessons that they have taught me. I am so grateful for every experience that I have had, good and bad.
       I can't wait to hug and kiss my mother and sister when I get home. I can't wait to hug my Dad and Brothers. I can't wait to take a long road trip with my Dad and just talk about life like we used to. I can't wait to share with everyone the things that I have learned about the Gospel and about life. I can't wait to apply them all and raise an
eternal family.
      I love you all so much,
-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, June 2, 2014

Brett Got Baptized!

Great news! Brett Swanstrom got baptized. I was lucky enough to attend his baptism this Saturday in Snellville. Goodness, I can't even express how much I miss that ward. They are just absolutely incredible. Bishop, President Roberts, Brother Tackett, and Brother TeWalt were there. It was so great being able to see all of them again. I miss them so much. Brother Rucker, one of my other favorite members, is Brett's girlfriend's brother in law. He is the one that really sparked the interest about the Gospel in Brett's life. Brother Rucker was not a member of the church when him and his wife got married. Brett knew Brother Rucker before he was a member. He saw how much this Gospel has blessed Brother Rucker's life. Brett has had a rough past has really made some incredible changes in his life. His baptism was just one of many leaps that he has made to becoming a better person. It is however the most important one he has made thus far. Brett has such an open heart. He was so much fun to teach because he just got it. I love teaching people who just get it. The message of the Restoration and Plan of Salvation just make so much sense. When you teach him you can see just the pieces of the puzzle connecting in his head. I love Brett, The Remund Family, and The Rucker Family.
We had a great experience this week. On Monday night we drove down to the mission home in Fayetteville to spend a two day boot camp with the mission Presidency. All of the zone leaders throughout the mission attended. Goodness, it was a great and humbling experience. I haven't had a chance to get to know a lot of the missionaries that attended this meeting. I knew a few of them pretty well and it was awesome. They were all just incredible and I learned so much from them. We had some good laughs and some good experiences. In the mornings we went on a run with President Harding and got to have some cool lessons. The first morning we went into the forest and President Harding starting to talk about the golden plates and Moroni. He then told a missionary to move a log and push around some dirt. You could see that there was something buried under the foliage. In the hole was some Book of Mormons that he gave out to us. It was a pretty cool little unexpected lesson. One of the best parts about being in the Eastern part of the United States is that the forests here really look like where Joseph had the First Vision. So I really felt like I was experiencing part of our Church's history. The next morning we went on a run and when we reached the lake we were running to President Harding handed us envelopes that had a letter from either our parents or from him in it. He invited us to go find a quiet spot and go and read. It was a very good spiritual experience. So relaxing. It was so nice to have an unexpected letter from my parents. I love them so much. My favorite part of the boot camp was President Jewkes training. President Gary Jewkes is a leadership trainer. He is a big deal in the business leadership world. He gave us a training on Franklin Covey's Speed of Trust cards. This is the second time that I have received the training from him, and I love it every time. The tools that he gives to communicate effectively are priceless. After his training combined with the spiritual experiences that I had throughout the meeting I felt like I left such a better person and missionary. It was however a very humbling experience. Being around such incredible missionaries sometimes is difficult. I was sort of envious of the missionaries that have so much time left and have so much more time to grow and progress. I am near the end... I know that I am not done growing or progressing, but I am almost done doing it in this sort of environment. I just don't think that missionaries really know or understand how quickly this time goes. And when missionaries would tell me that, I wouldn't ever believe them. I wish that I would have. Every second that goes by you won't be able to get back. You truly have to love every second of it.
We found some pretty awesome people this week. While doing a blitz with an Elder named Elder Berge. He's a great Elder. We found a family, the Arrynt family. Just an incredible family. We went over with their neighbor, Brother Knox. Brother Knox is the coolest. He is from Jamaica and is just so awesome. We took him over and a miracle happened. As we started to talk with Stewart (The Dad) he mentioned how his Comcast internet is down and how frustrated he was. Brother Knox said, "Well hey, I used to work for comcast. Let's go take a look!" Within ten minutes Brother Knox found the problem and fixed their internet. Instant best friends. We had a great lesson on the Restoration and they are really excited about all of the things that we had to share.
Well I am about out of time. I love you all so much!

-Elder Ryan Romero
Bidhop Clay

Brother Rucker

Brother Teawalt

Elder Schenik

Me, Sister Remund, Brett, and Marrianne

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Early Email having a Zone Conference leadership meeting on Monday

Today is Saturday, but we've been given some time to email today. Due to Memorial Day the mission's P-day got moved to Tuesday. However on Tuesday Elder Wahlen and I will be going down to the mission home for some training. So we won't have a P-day next week but are given some time today to write our families. 

Things went pretty well this week. I have a lot to write about, but as usual I don't have a lot of time to write it all. So I am going to try to cover as much as I can. 

This ward is interesting... It is very different from the Snellville ward. I am having a pretty difficult time here. I feel like a foreigner and the members are not very welcoming to me. I don't know why that is. I haven't done anything wrong or offended anyone. I just feel like since they know that I am going to be leaving soon, no one wants to take the time to get to know me or take me seriously. 

Over the past week I have been seriously pondering why God put me here in this ward. What am I supposed to do here? Why am I here? I know that God has a purpose for me here. I have come to the conclusion that God definitely wants me to have an effect on this ward in some way, but that perhaps God wants this ward to have more of an effect on me. The lesson is for me, not for the ward. If that makes sense... 

One of the benefits to being a missionary is seeing all of the different wards. It is incredible how different a ward can be. 

I don't know why. I just can't think straight right now and I am having a difficult time trying to write down all of the things that I want to write down. 

Our investigator Celentria is doing pretty good. She is still smoking... But we have faith that she is going to stop so that she can be baptized. We had a great lesson with her this week. She got very emotional as we talked with her about her life and how baptism and this gospel can change her life. Celentria is amazing and really just a good person. She has the best spirit about her. 

I really love Elder Wahlen, he is a great companion. It has been so awesome getting to know him and learn from him. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve alongside him. 

Well I love you All so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Week of Exchanges

This week I did not get to spend too much time in my area. I went on two exchanges this week. One with Elder Rogers in Snellville, and the other with Elder Smith in Jackson. It was a great week with some really great experiences. I am so greatful for the wonderful Elders serving here in this zone. Elder Wahlen and I had a pretty good week in our area. We really get along and he is definitely one of my favorite companions. He has taught me so much and I am so greateful to be serving here with him. 

     On Tuesday I went on an exchange with Elder Rogers in Snellville. It was a great exchange. I had the opportunity to attend his first district meeting, which went great, and to introduce him to all of the investigators and some of the mighty members in Snellville. It was really just a perfect day. Everyone that we wanted to see we were able to see. We saw Yolanda, Regina, Chelsea, and Angela. We went to dinner with one of my favorite members from Snellville, David Josue. He surprised me by taking us out to eat at my favorite restaurant in Snellville, Provino's! It is just this awesome italian restaurant that has the best garlic rolls ever! We found two incredible families that day. One of the people we found was name Secely, her and her son are now on date to be baptized. We also got to give a blessing to the friend of a member. He name is Kaya, and she is super awesome. To finish off the day I got to say goodbye to my other favorite Snellville member, Brother Tackett. We made his "secret recipe" ice cream (as he was making it he said it was secrect, but he would occasionally look at the recipe on the ice cream salt to see what came next in the recipe. Such a jokester. Haha). 

      On Friday I went on an exchange with one of my favorite Elders in the mission, Elder Smith! Elder Smith and I served around each other while I was in Dallas. Elder Smith is just an incredible missionary who I can see myself being lifelong friends with. I have the greatest respect for Elder Smtih. He is a quite Elder and keeps to himself. He reminded me a lot some of my friends back home. He doesn't say much when he is around other people, but he is a powerhouse of a missionary. I feel like Elder Smith has not gotten recognized for how great of an Elder he is, not that it is important to get recognized for your works. But I just don't think that people realize how great Elder Smith is. He is such a great teacher. When you get in a lesson with him you can tell of his sincere care and love for the people that he teaches. You can tell that he sincerely LOVES the Gospel. I really believe that he is one of the best Elders out here. Him and Elder Holt I really respect because you can tell of their genuine and sincere love for the Gospel. 
      Our exchange was awesome. Elder Smith serves in Jackson Georgia. It is the Southern-most area in the mission. and it is SOUTHERN. Goodness, this is probably my favorite places I have been in Georgia. It is the first place in Georgia where I was just in awe over how beautiful the surroundings were. The houses, the archecture and the people. I felt like I was in the movie Forrest Gump. The first lesson that we taught was with a guy named Arthur, he was a recent convert of almost a year. This man was Southern, you could hardly understand a thing that he said. Haha. The second lesson that we taught was with a part member family named the Knight Family. Brother Knight is not a member, but loves the missionaries. This was probably one of my favorite families I have met on the mission. I loved them to death. Sister Knight cooked us some great spaghetti and we ate and ate. After we ate it was time to have teach Brother Knight about the Restored gospel. Brother Knight gives all the missionaries nick-names. Elder Smith's name is Elder Smooth. He said that he only gives the missionaries he likes nick names, and some missionaries have to wait months to get one. We sat down and I asked Brother Knight what was holding him back from getting baptized, because he would make an incredible member of the church. He said that he had a problem with the idea of living day prophets. After a few scriptures and my time-machine analogy and our testimonies, Brother Knight annointed me with the nick-name "Brother K." Haha. He said that the K was for knowledge. Haha. He said that I really impressed him and that I was a great teacher and that the things that we taught he never really clicked before until that day. It was a great lesson. I really loved this exchange with Elder Smith. It was a great day. 

       I don't have too much more to write about. I am trying hard to get to know the ward and all of the things the members of it. It is hard because I know that my time is limited, and I am trying to do as much as I can before I leave this area. We have a few really great investigators. One of them is named Celentria and she is preparing to get baptized. She just has to stop smoking and she will be baptized. I have a lot more that I want to say, but I really just don't have time to say it all. 

       I have come to realize a lot about missionaries and mission culture throughout my mission. I have had such a great change to really get to know some amazing missionaries that have just impressed me so much. I have been so inspired by other people's testimonies and it has made me want to be more motivated and work harder. These missionaries aren't district leaders, zone leaders, or an assistant to the President. Just normal missionaries. I have come to realize that truly great missionaries are the ones that try their very very best, and do it because they love Jesus Christ and have a testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel. I have a testimony of the changing and enabling power of the atonement. I know that I have seen it work in my life and in the life of those missionaries that work hard and love the Savior. I love this church, and I love this gospel. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, May 12, 2014


I am out of Snellville =(. I really loved that place. I am very happy about what occurred this transfer though. I am now serving in the Conyers Ward. The Conyers ward is in the same stake as the Snellville ward was. I ended up just moving down the road. This last transfer I am serving as a zone leader with an incredible Elder named Elder Wahlen. Elder Wahlen is from Bountiful. He just turned 24 and is seriously just amazing. He's so full of faith, so positive, and has such a great work ethic. It is really an honor to be serving with him for my last transfer of the mission. I've known Elder Wahlen for awhile and have always thought that he was one of the best missionaries out here and have always wanted to have the opportunity to serve with him. I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed my to finish the mission this way. In a great area, with a great companion.
This week has sort of been a blur. I was not expecting to get transferred. I never ever enjoy packing. The Snellville ward members were surprised to see me go. It was really tough saying goodbye to many of the members and investigators there. Luckily I did not go too far away. In fact, I will be going back there on Tuesday to train the new District Leader that took my spot. I am really going to miss all of the members in the Snellville Ward. Bishop Clay was truly the best bishop I've had on my mission and he really was an example to me. President Roberts was one of the best Elder's Quorum President's I've had on my mission, he was so wise and really has become one of my heroes. Brother Cook was just the nicest guy and best team-up there is. I am going to miss him so much and all that he did for me. Brother Tackett, I can't wait to hike Timp with him in July. He truly did make the best ice cream as he said. Brother O'Dell, just a Gospel scholar with an incredible attitude. I am going to miss Brother McIntyre and him taking us out to go get hot dawgs at Rivals! Ugh. These are just a few of the members of the Snellville ward who I am going to miss very very much.
I am going to miss Regina and her family. I am going to miss Brother Ellsworth, and doubt I'll ever find an investigator I enjoyed teaching as much as I did him. I am going to miss all of the investigators there and really hope to keep in contact with them. I pray for them daily. It is so hard to leave an area. It is incredible how much love you develop for the people that you serve.
I am really happy to be serving with Elder Wahlen because he is helping me get really fit before I go home. Each morning since we've been together we've ran four miles, and are going to continue doing that. We have been working really hard and trying to talk with all of the people that we can. We have really been studying how to rely on the Lord, or how to involve him more in our daily lives. The way that we have prayed has changed and become a lot more sincere. We have been noticing miracles happen over the past few days and people just seem to be delivered to us. We don't have too many progressing investigators as of right now. But I am confident that that will change very quickly. This week is going to be a great week. I can feel it.
It was great being able to talk to my Mother yesterday. I love her so much. It is incredible how my love for my parents has grown on my mission. I realize that I would not be anywhere without my Mother, of course I wouldn't be living, but I do not believe that I would be here on a mission. If it wasn't for my Mother and her loving counsel, I would have made many terrible decisions, and wouldn't have gotten far. I have learned that the Gospel truly does bless families. It is made for the family. I know that because I have seen how this Gospel has blessed my family and helped my parents raise me.
Well, it is about time for me to get going. I can't wait to tell you about what happens next week!
-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Will I stay or will I go?

No word on transfers yet... I am hoping that I will stay in the Snellville ward for my last transfer. I really love this ward. 

This was a pretty rough week. Chelsea did not get baptized this week because her parents will not allow her to be baptized unfortunately. She feels that she will be baptized, but not right now. We are going to continue to teach Chelsea and help her gain a stronger testimony. 

Brandy who we found last week and was awesome got antied by her family and won't talk to us anymore. We still have not been able to get into contact with Roger... Satan has really been working hard lately. 

We found two awesome new families this week. The Womac Family and the Williams family. Sister Womac came to Church this week and loved it. My companion and I taught Gospel Principles. It was about Jesus Christ's Church in the former days. My favorite subject. It was really a great lesson. Everyone was talking about it afterwards and it was just powerful. I really love teaching, I love using the scriptures. Every time I teach I can just feel the spirit speaking through me. It is truly an incredible experience. 

I can't believe that this transfer is over. Only one more to go... I don't know how I feel about that. I am very excited to go home and begin my life. I am excited to see all of my family and friends. I am excited to go back to school and start life again. I am sad to leave though, but excited. I am sad to leave all of the loved ones that I have in Georgia. But I still have awhile left so I don't need to think about it all yet. 

My studies over the past transfer have just been great. I feel like my understanding of the Atonement and Jesus Christ's role as the redeemer has grown tremendously. It is a subject that I really should have focused on at the start of my mission. I love this Church so much. I really really love the Restored Gospel! 

It never seems like I get enough time on these computers to express all of the feelings that I have. A lot has happened this week, but I just don't have enough time to write it all. I am very excited for Mother's day! I can't wait to talk to my family! 

Well I have got to get going. Love you all so much! 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lunch with the Beavers!

This was a pretty great week. We really did some good work this week. We were able to teach a lot of our investigators this week, and we found a lot of new people to teach. 

I have just a few things that I would like to share from this week. As usual, I don't have a ton of time, but I will try to get as much as I can in this email. 

First, guess who took me and my companion out to lunch this Tuesday?! Brother and Sister Beaver! Oh my goodness, it was the greatest. They drove down from Dunwoody and took us out to Applebees. I got to meet their new little daughter, Harper. She is the cutest! It made me so excited to see my new niece and nephew when I get home. This was probably my favorite part of the week. Catching up with them really was amazing. They told me about all of the great things that were happening in the Dunwoody ward and told me about the impact that I and my companions had to get things going in that ward. They expressed how grateful they were to have had the chance to get to know me and how much the members of the ward missed me. I can't wait to visit that ward again and see all of the members that I miss so much. They informed me on how the Roldan family is doing. They're doing great! And also how Tony is doing, he's also doing great too! It was just such a blessing, and really an answer to a prayer to be able to have lunch with them. Sometimes as a missionary it is really hard to notice the impact that you've had on people, or groups of people. I feel so lucky to have to opportunity to see the impact that I've had while I am still on a mission. 

Next I'll tell you about my lesson with Brother Ellsworth. Man, it was a great lesson. I truly love the Ellsworth family and expect to be friends with them for a long time after my mission. I love teaching Brother Ellsworth. After every lesson I feel like I've learned something new. I really feel like I have to rely on the spirit when I am teaching him because he asks the best questions. This week we talked more about The Book of Mormon and the Restoration of the Gospel. We talked about how The Book of Mormon is literal proof that there is a God, and that the Restoration is literal proof that there is a God. Either Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon, and made up the revelations. Or they were both given to him by God. It is incredible how The Book of Mormon speaks for itself. I believe that as Brother Ellsworth continues to read The Book of Mormon, he will continue to recognize the miracle of it. 

On a sad note, Roger is gone. We can't get a hold of him after he went to go visit his family in Tennessee. On a better note, Chelsea is doing great. She has come to all the activities over the week and we should be having dinner with her tonight in the Greene's home. I have to write really quick about the Greene family and about how much I love them! Brother and Sister Greene are really some of the best members I've gotten to know on my mission. Sister Greene is just dynamic. She is so forthright, but loving and non-judgmental. She is so accepting of everyone, but is not scared to share her own opinion and stand up for what she believes. Brother Greene is probably the best team up I've ever had. He is like having a third missionary with us in a lesson. He know's the PMG lessons very well and he knows how to teach them. I was so impressed the first time that I taught the Restoration with him. Brother and Sister Greene have the best relationship and are great examples to me as to what I want in a marriage and in a family. I love the Greene's. They have been the best fellow shippers to Chelsea. They have just wrapped their arms around her. 

I don't have too much more to write about. I just really love this ward and love this area. The people are just so kind here. I hope that I am able to finish my mission in this ward. 

I have got to get going. I love you all so much! 
The Shaffers

Me with the Chicks

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Parable…Why Do We Need Christ

This was a pretty good week. 

Chelsea came to church again this week and really loved it. She is awesome. The members love her so much. I have faith that she will be baptized soon. She is working on receiving her own witness that the things that we have taught her are true. 

Roger has been out of town with his family in Tennessee. We haven't been able to have much contact with him this week. We are hoping and praying that his family did not give him anymore anti-mormon material while he was up there. We will be seeing him this week. 

We got to teach a great guy this week named Brett. He is the boyfriend of a member of the ward. He is a really great guy and is looking for the truth. He really looks up to his girlfriend's brother-in-law, Brother Rucker, who is a convert to the church. I can see why he looks up to Brother Rucker because Brother Rucker is awesome. He has such a strong testimony and is just willing to help out with anything. When he first met his wife he was not a member but started to learn about the church because of her. At first he was just learning about the church because he Sister Rucker wanted him to, but during the lessons he noticed that the missionaries were answering questions that he's had for a long time. Brother Rucker is a great example to Brett. We are going to be teaching Brett this week with Brother Rucker. Brett has a baptismal goal for May 3rd. It is going to take a lot of faith and effort on his part for him to make that date. Please pray for Brett. 

Sister Cole got chickens! Free eggs. Great news. She got four full grown chickens and 40 chicks (now 37 because three have died). I love the Cole's so much. Pretty soon we are going to be working with Brother Tackett and build a sweet chicken coop for them. I love the Cole's so much. I feel like the luckiest missionary because I've had the opportunity to live with them and really get to know them. 

I want to write about some thoughts that have been on my mind. I hope that it will have some impact on whoever reads it. 

I am teaching a guy named Brother Ellsworth. Smartest man I've ever met. Seriously, asks the best questions ever. He is married to a member of the ward, but he himself claims to be agnostic. He was raised in an atheist home, but is not atheist. He says that you can't prove there isn't a God. So he is indifferent. He asked me a great question. Really, the best question I've ever been asked. It wasn't really a question, but more of a statement. One I've heard many times, but for some reason when he said it, it like stopped me. Like he threw a wrench in the gears of my thought. He said, "You know, I understand the whole idea of God judging between good and bad people. That makes sense to me. But why would God judge us on whether or not we accept a set of  beliefs?" I've heard that THOUSANDS of times on my mission. But this time when he asked it, I just couldn't even give him an answer. He stumped me. I could not understand why God would judge us on our beliefs. Why does that matter? As long as we are a good person we shouldn't we go to the Celestial Kingdom? His question made me so angry, because I just could not figure it out. After a good while of thought and study, I think I've figured it out. 

There were many good people before Jesus Christ came to the Earth. There have been many good people after his death, people who have not believed in him. I would even say that if Jesus Christ never came to the Earth there would still have been good and bad people. There have been many great moral teachers who have taught similar things to what Christ taught. Jesus wasn't the first one to be great moral teacher, nor would he be the last. So if the only thing that got us to heaven would be being a "good person", then wouldn't there be people that could go to heaven without Jesus Christ? I fully believe and agree that there are good people that don't believe in Jesus Christ. Some of the BEST people I have met have not been Christian. So then that brings up the question, why is Jesus Christ important? I've seen people be good without Christ, so then why would they need Christ if they are already good people? Because he did for himself, and for us, what no moral teacher or wise good person could do. He overcame death, and overcame sin. He was resurrected. He was divine. Something that could not be done by any person regardless of how good they've been. C.S. Lewis spoke on this subject, he said:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
The difference between Christ and Ghandi, who both were incredible people and led nations out of bondage through their teaching, is that one had the power to overcome death by themselves, and the other one did not. One had the power to forgive sin, the other did not. Simple as that. You follow either, you may become a good person. But there is only one that you can follow to be saved from death and sin. 

To go back to Brother Ellsworth's question, I want to tell you about this little parable that I came up with that I think will shed a different light on the judgement. 

Imagine you are short $500 dollars for your rent. You have a debt that if you do not pay you will be kicked out of your home. You will be homeless. The end of the month is coming up and your rent is due, yet you have no way to pay it. No job, no extra cash, no things to sell. Just before the end of the month your friend, who loves you dearly, says that he will pay your debt because he doesn't want you to suffer the consequences. He is not giving you the money because "he owed you" or for any other reason besides out of pure love. You don't deserve his favor. Yet he offers his hand to help you out. 

When his helping hand is extended you have TWO choices. To be proud, or to be humble. The proud would turn away his friend's helping hand. Not in a rude way. Maybe he'd just say to his friend, "No man, I don't want you to have to worry about my problems. I can figure it out on my own." Or, "No man, I can figure out some other way to pay. There is still time left." Regardless of his response, at the end of the day the proud will realize that there was no other way to pay the debt and will remain homeless. Not because he was a bad person, or even did bad things. Just because he did not accept his friends offer and was simply unable to pay the debt that he acquired. Him being a good or bad person had nothing to do with him ending up homeless. It was simply the fact that he was proud and would not accept help because he thought he could do it all on his own. The humble person would acknowledge that they could not do it on their own, and accept the friend's favor. Not only would he accept the friend's favor, but he would take the money and use it for it's intended purpose. He would do all that he can to show his gratefulness to his friend for saving him from being homeless. 

My point in this parable is that whether you are a good or bad person is besides the point! There is more to it than just that. Belief is defined as: an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists. An acceptance. God cannot force us to accept something. Whether we accept Jesus Christ's redeeming love and grace is up to us. To accept it we must acknowledge and truly believe that we cannot do it by ourselves. We must show him our commitment by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Faith in him, repenting daily, partaking of the sacrament, being worthy of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. That is how we "accept" our friend's favor or grace. So to go back to Brother Ellsworth's original question, "But why would God judge us on whether or not we accept a set of  beliefs?" I would say because there is no other way. Christ is the only way to pay the debt. We simply could not over come death and sin without him. That is just something us as human beings we are not capable of doing. Acknowledging that does not make us weak, but it empowers us. God is a perfectly just being. Just as that apartment complex would not be "just" to forgive that person of their debt. The consequences of forgiving debt would be fatal to that apartment complex. If they started to just forgive everyone's debt without payment, they would quickly go out of business. Because God is a perfectly just being he will excercise his perfect judgement. But because God is our loving Heavenly Father he has provided for us a Savior so that we can overcome our debt on conditions of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. We must humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God that he might exalt us in due time. To truly reach our highest potential we MUST be good people, but we also MUST be humble. 

I love you all so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, April 14, 2014

I could not have done it on my own

The library is very crowded today and I do not have much time to write. 

This was a very difficult week, but I've learned a lot. I think that it is weeks like these that strengthen me more than any other kind of "good" week. 

Roger and Chelsea both did not get baptized this week. Roger got antied by his brother and we've not been able to contact him as much as we were able to in the past. We were able to visit with him once this week and work out some of the issues that were brought up. It is amazing how Satan will try to deceive people. Roger also got antied by one of his classmates. Roger's classmate told him that Joseph Smith was assisted by a man named Peter Tosh in writing the Book of Mormon. It was something that I had never heard before. I was sort of excited to have heard something new, and more feasible than "Joseph wrote it himself." This time he had help with someone that I've never heard of before. During the lesson Roger looked up Peter Tosh on Google on his phone and could come up with nothing. Apparently Peter Tosh was a pretty good reggae musician... That's the only Peter Tosh he could find. It is incredible to me to see how Satan will work to deceive people with complete lies to stop them from making a covenant with their Father in Heaven. I know that God sent us to Roger in his time of need. In the upcoming month Roger's wife will be put on hospice. The Savior's hand is out stretched still to Roger. 

Chelsea has been preoccupied helping her Mother find a place to live. Chelsea's Mother and Father were divorced awhile ago. Chelsea's Father is a very successful business owner, and her Mother is living in poverty. Chelsea had a lot on her plate this week. We are still in good contact with Chelsea. She enjoyed Church this week. Please pray for her. 

I don't know what to write about. This week has really just been a blur. I've spent a lot of time on my knees pleading with my Father in Heaven to help these souls be protected from the adversary. It is incredible how much you can love these people, and how much your heart breaks to lose them. I just don't get it. Just imagine how our Father in Heaven feels. He loves Roger and Chelsea more than I can even imagine. 

Every now and then I ask myself the question, "What is the Lord trying to teach me?" I feel like this is a valuable question to ask yourself. It is much easier to view something as a lesson than a punishment. I have realized that the mission been designed by God to teach certain lessons to his children. Some of those lessons are specific to the missionary, and some of those lessons are general for missionaries. I would like to talk about one that I feel is general for missionaries. I've noticed that the mission is difficult, at least it's been for me. The hardest days I've ever had have been here in Georgia. I've had sleepless nights worrying about people and things. Days where it feels like the whole world is against me. Days were it feels like I've been forgotten. Heart breaking incidents I've wondered if I'm really doing any good. A lot of just very tough days. Are these days really necessary? I believe that they were. And I am more grateful for these days, than I am for any success that I've had on my mission. Because it is through these days that I've learned what I believe to be the most important lesson that I've learned on my mission. That lesson is that I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT ON MY OWN. As I look back I've realized that I've never been alone. I have never been alone in my trials. If I was truly alone, I would have been crushed and would have gone home months ago. I can accomplish nothing without my God, but with him I can do all things. That is a lesson I have come to know for myself after passing through trial and tribulation. 

I love you all so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero f

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not much time

I do not have a lot of time to write. So this is going to be brief! But I have a lot of great things to write about, but I will do them quickly. 

I loved conference so much! The subjects spoken on were so clear and so necessary for our day! I love that we have living Prophets to tell us what God wants for us today! It was awesome. We had almost all of our investigators attend a session of conference. 

This upcoming week Roger, and Chelsea will be baptized. We are so excited for them. They are both total miracles and really gifts from God. Watching their progression has been incredible. 

I just want to write quickly about Roger. Roger is amazing. I don't know if his wife is going to get better, but I continually think about how much God love's Roger. God loves Roger. The things that we've been able to teach Roger have given so much comfort to him. I can't stop thinking about the Lord's timing. Perfect. Roger needs our message, and he has received it. 

We really are doing great. Finding new people to teach, and they are coming to church and progressing. I love this ward and everything going on right now. 

I love you guys so much, 

-Elder Ryan Romero

Monday, March 31, 2014

An Incredible Week

      This was a very good week. A lot I have learned this week, and a lot to write about. Unfortunately I have less than 15 minutes to write about it. The library is very crowded today and I doubt that I will be able to get back on after this 15 minutes is up... 

      We had eight of our investigators at Sacrament yesterday. Unfortunately Chelsea was not about to make it this Sunday because she is in New Orleans with her family. But she is coming to a YSA activity tonight at the Greene's home. We had two new investigators come to church this Sunday. Garrett and Chris. We have been teaching Garrett for awhile, but is very hard to schedule an appointment with. He is a very busy guy. He surprised us that Sunday morning by telling us he wanted to come to church. Our other investigator, Chris, we found last week while tracting. Christ is a great guy, he is so awesome. He is twenty-four and just moved here from Ohio. He is very humble and ready to learn. When we picked him up for church yesterday he was going off about how much he loved The Book of Mormon. He has a baptismal date for April 19th. 
      Roger came to church again this Sunday. The ward is really falling in love with Roger. He is such a kind and humble man. Roger's wife is very sick and he told me this Sunday that things aren't looking too good for her. The ward has really been a great support for Roger and he is excited to get baptized on the 12th. If there is one thing that I have come to know for sure from my mission, it is that God loves his children. Roger has so much weight on his shoulders, and it is just incredible to see how the gospel is helping him cope with this difficult time. I love this man and am so happy that we've found him. 
       All of our investigators loved church this week. It was a very good Sunday. The ward members are astounded by how many non-members are starting to come to church. It was really amazing. I can't express how much I love this ward. It seriously brings tears to my eyes. And Annie Barthelus, here's your shout out! Haha. Now you have to bring Kaylin to church along with all of your other non-member friends. Tell your Dad thanks for the tredmill and that I love him so much! Your family is honestly one of my favorite families ever. Your Dad is so full of the spirit I love riding in his BMW and teaching the Gospel with him. Alright, back to the ward. The Snellville ward is incredible. I am making friends here that I know will last me the rest of my life. I really really home that I will finish my mission here. 

       It is the start of my second to last transfer. It just does not even feel real. Tomorrow is the first day of April. Ugh. I am so confused. I registered for my classes this Wednesday. I am very excited to go back to school and meet new people and just have a new start. I am so nervous that I have forgotten all that I've learned in my past engineering classes. I pray that I will be able to just jump right back into everything. The scariest thing for me about coming home is it is now the unknown. Just like coming out on my mission was the unknown because I didn't know what to expect. That is now how I feel about home. I just really hope a can adjust back to normal life. 

       One fun thing I'll write about is living at the Cole's. I love living with this family. They are so nice and so cool. I love all the animals that they have on their farm. I've convinced (it was easy) Sister Cole to get chickens. She was already thinking about getting some, so when I suggested it she jumped right on the idea. When I get home I would really like to be self-reliant. I know it is a far ways away until I will have the space to raise chickens, a goat, and rabbits. But I am looking forward to that day. Sister Cole needs help building a chicken coop, so pretty soon we are going to build one for her. I am very excited about this. She said that we could have all the eggs that we want! This morning I was playing the guitar outside and their cows came right up to the fence and started watching me. It was so funny. When I would stop playing they would start to walk away again. They cracked me up. 

       Well I love you all so much. I have got to wrap up this letter, I am out of time. 

-Elder Ryan Romero 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Incredible Week!

     Where to start. To start off I'll tell you the best parts of the week. This week we had eight investigators at sacrament meeting today. Not just eight non-members, but eight investigators that we are currently teaching! It was incredible. The Bishop and other ward members were amazed by how many people were at Church that Sunday. One of the big reasons I think that so many of our investigators were at sacrament was because I told them all that I was "preaching" this Sunday. Haha. Two weeks ago Brother Tackett asked me to give a talk on prayer.  Surprisingly it was the first time that I've spoken in a sacrament meeting on my mission. I thought that I would have been asked to speak a lot more. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to speak. 
      My amount of preparation for the talk was minimal...  I just did not want to worry about giving a talk in sacrament. We met with Brother Tackett on Friday night and he asked me how my talk was coming along, and I told him that I needed him to print out the Conference talk that he wanted me to reference. Haha. He was surprised that I hadn't started preparing it yet. I told him that I was planning on sharing a few stories and scriptures. He told me that I was going to be the third speaker and will need to have an "adjustable" talk in case the people speaking before go either too long or too short. I told him that I could do that. 
      Sunday came and the people speaking with me were Annie Barthelus, and Sister Keanum. Sister Keanum is one of my favorite people in the ward, I love her to death. Her and Brother Keanum are the coolest and are so easy to make laugh. Sister Keanum expressed to me earlier in the week how nervous she was about speaking in sacrament meeting. I told her not too worry, if she goes short that I could fill in the time. She surely accepted my offer... Haha. Our sacrament service starts at 10AM. Annie was the first speaker and she spoke for about five minutes. Then Sister Keanum spoke and took up just a little over five minutes. HAHA. When it was my turn to speak the clock was at 10:30. No Joke. Haha. Members from the congregation were looking at me during the intermediate song tapping their watches and started to giggle a little bit. I was in for a long discourse... 
        As I was walking up to the pulpit the Bishop grabbed me and told me that he could take up some time at the end if needed. As I got up to the pulpit the spirit just took over and I said all that needed to be said. I spoke for the whole period of time and it just flew by. I told three different stories from my mission about prayer and told of Joseph Smith's experience with prayer. I recited the first vision over the pulpit and the spirit was palpable. You could hear a pin drop. Surprisingly I took up the whole time without having to search for words to say. I really really enjoyed speaking. 
        After the talk I had three different members come up to me and tell me that they have a friend that they would like us to teach. Ryan Clay, the bishops son actually had a friend there that he wanted us to teach. It was just a great opportunity to let the Ward get to know me and to see my ability to preach the Gospel. Plus we had eight of our incredible investigators there!

       I have to tell you about a few of our new and progressing investigators. The first one being Chelsea. We ran into Chelsea while knocking doors. We actually didn't knock on her door, she was at a friends house. She told us that she did not have a church that she attended regularly and that she would like to start going to church. We asked her for her address and we realized that she lived right across the street from the Church! We've got to teach her twice since our first visit and she is just incredible. She is so prepared. She is super smart. And best of all, she is good friends with a member of the ward that she went to Elementary school with. Chelsea has a baptismal date for April 12th and I really really feel that she is going to make it. She totally loved Church this week! 
        The next person is Roger. Roger just showed up at church a few weeks ago and loved it. He was the guy that a wrote about awhile ago that was in a coma for a month. He came to church again also loved it! His wife in in the hospital and is apparently pretty sick. It really prohibits us from seeing him often because he spends a lot of the time at the hospital, as he should. We are hoping to get an opportunity to go and meet his wife and give her a blessings. 

       Probably the best experience of the week was having dinner with the Reynolds family! On Saturday they invited us over to have a BBQ with them. I can't tell you how much I love this family. Regina, Alvin, Dantavian, Tre, LaClaudia, and Lil' Kingston. Gosh, I love being in there home. Kingston is two years old and is the cutest kid ever. He out-ate Elder Anderson and I, and I AM NOT KIDDING. I have a video of it. This little kid was an endless pit, I have no idea where the food was going. Regina is incredible. She cooked almost the whole meal, and she is blind! She made the best Mac and Cheese, baked beans, rotisserie, and bunt cake I've ever had. She is so capable and is really an inspiration. Her 100% blindness does not hold her back. She is an incredible person. She told us all about the different books and things she's been reading. She is just awesome. We talked with them more about getting married and I really feel that it is going to happen soon. They are meeting again with the counselor this week and hopefully everything will go well. I love love this family. 

        Well I am running out of time. This ward is awmazing. I love this area. The people that we are teaching are just solid and really progressing. I am going to be staying in Snellville for another transfer and hopefully till the end of my mission. Brother Barthelus is going to let us barrow his tredmill and put it in his apartment. Awesome. Well, I have really got to get going. I love you all so much. 

-Elder Ryan Romero  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Come and Gone

I'm 21. I can't believe it. I am so old. Haha, just kidding. 

I've had an interesting week. 

My birthday was Saturday and I got a cool birthday present. Elder Quentin L. Cook came to speak to our mission on my birthday. This is our second apostolic visit as a mission. It was pretty cool. My favorite thing about having these visits from the apostles is just to see how normal and human they are. They are not up-tight robots. Elder Cook came into the chapel laughing and smiling. Shaking hands and just happy. He said some very powerful things. He talked a lot about why missionaries are called to missionaries are called to specific missions. He said some things that I haven't really thought of before. He said that one of the over-arching reasons missionaries are called to certain missions are because of who their mission President will be. I have such a strong testimony of this. I have no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons that I was sent to this mission was because of President Harding. There is just absolutely no doubt about this in my mind. My mission president has taught me so much. The things that he has taught me have shaped me into a different, more successful and focused individual. I love my mission. 

We moved apartments this week. I hate moving so much. I really hope that this will be the last move I have to make on my mission. I am just not a nomadic person. I like having a home. This move was a long time in the making, and I am just thankful it is over. It is really great to have a home again. We are all settled into our new apartment. We are living in the basement of a member. The apartment is huge, and very nice. We have a gas stove, this is heaven! Haha. I feel so spoiled. We live on a horse ranch. The members that we live with, the Cole's, have like six horses. Saturday morning I went jogging in one of their pastures and as I was jogging this gianormous horse came right up next to me. It scared me to death. I stopped running and the horse stopped walking and we just stared at each other. It was really awkward. I just kept running and I think that he was okay with me using his field to exercise in. They have the cutest little mini horse named Hershey that is my new best friend. When I run in the morning I like to pet him, he'll come to me when I call his name. Haha. I am happy with the new place that we live in, I think that it may be the last place that I live in in Georgia. 

I had a pretty good birthday. Not too eventful of a day. Not too many people knew that it was my birthday. It was kind of a lonely day, but it was a good day. I just can't believe it will be my last birthday in the mission. It seemed like yesterday I was with Brother Asper having my birthday party at his house with a bunch of awesome people. 

We are teaching an awesome new investigator named Roger. He is on date for March 22. He came to Church on Sunday and really enjoyed it. He was a marine and now is disabled. He was in a coma for a whole month, he is a walking miracle. He really loved our message and the Restoration. 

Regina and Alvin are doing well. They did not get baptized on Saturday unfortunately. They are going to go to relationship counseling today, and we are meeting with them tonight. I really hope things go well. Maybe we can make a plan for a wedding tonight! Pray, I hope that all goes well. 

We had a pretty cool miracle this week that I will write about real quick. This week we had dinner with a the Morton family. Sister Morton brought up this lady in the Ward named Sister Frank randomly and told us that we should visit her. The very next day we were having dinner with the Mullins family and Sister Mullins brought up, randomly, Sister Frank too. This time she told us about Sister Frank's neighbor whose wife committed suicide. After Sister Mullins brought up this same member we knew that this was no coincidence, we needed to see Sister Frank! The very next night we went over to her house with Brother Byrd and got to chat with her for a bit. Within five minutes of conversation she brought up her neighbor and told us that we should go and see him. After the conversation we walked over to her neighbor's home and knocked on the door. He answered and was very kind and told us that he couldn't talk right then but to come back. He told us his name, William Peppers, and we set an appointment to see him again. The next day we had Zone Training Meeting and we talked a lot about planning and we pulled out our planners. I was sitting next to Elder Holt and he saw that I had an appointment with William. He turned to me and said, "You know a guy named William Peppers? Elder Tshuma and I met a guy with that name in Wal-mart whose wife committed suicide." Immediately I remember him sharing this story with me about a month ago. Him and Elder Tshuma were in Walmart picking up a prescription and William came up to Elder Holt and asked him about his name-tag. Elder Holt thought at first that he was going to pick a fight, but after he asked that question William began telling him about how he just lost his wife. They got his information, but have not been able to get ahold of him again. After Elder Holt reminded me of this experience I told him about how the Lord through the members led us to visit Sister Frank and then led us to William. We were both astonished. Haha. This work is true! What are the chances that we would meet William again like that? There is just no way. And we didn't run into him randomly. It isn't like we were just knocking on doors and stumbled upon him. We were TOLD to go there. Incredible. God must really love his children. I know that he loves William to lead missionaries to him twice. 

Well, I don't have too much more to say. I really love you all. 

-Elder Ryan Romero