As you all know I have been transferred. I whitewashed into the Snellville Ward. I am training a new missionary and his name is Elder Rose. Great Elder, I'll tell you more about him in a minute. I came into this area with the understanding that this area had a car. Because normally the assistants will tell you if you need a bike or not in your new area, and they did not mention anything about a bike when they called me. When I was dropped off in my new area and realized that there was not a car I was confused. Turns out that my new area is a bike area. Unfortunately the Elder's whom we replaced packed up their bikes with them when they got transferred. Looks like I am going to get fit again, I'm excited about that. Currently Elder Rose and I are on foot as we track down some bikes that we can use.
Elder Rose is fresh out of the MTC, and it is quite obvious. Elder Rose and I did not get into the area at the same time. His arrival was delayed due to a flight not coming in on time. Luckily I got to spend some quality time with my new Bishop. His name is Bishop Clay and he is a great guy. Elder Rose was dropped off at the Bishop's house and seemed a little shell-shocked. Probably due to the 3 hours of sleep that he was running on. He was excited to finally be in the field though. To tell you a little about Elder Rose, he is from Sandy Utah and just graduated high school. His height is a little shorter than mine, and he is pretty quite. He has a POWERFUL testimony of this Gospel and is so excited to see its changing affects on the people that we find and teach. Like I said, he is a pretty quite kid, but he loves this Gospel and knows it is true. He is a sincere missionary and is only out here to please his God. Those are my favorite type of missionaries. I am excited to get to know Elder Rose even more and to become his best friend. I feel like the Lord has given me Elder Rose for a reason. I know that I can be a very good influence on him and to set a positive tone for the rest of his mission, and for the rest of his life. I am dedicated to loving Elder Rose and being as patient and helpful as I can to him, an opportunity that the Lord has given me times before in my mission, but I'm afraid I have not lived up to the calling. I am going to be the best example and friend I can be for the short time that I have this new missionary.
The members of the Snellville ward have been extremely helpful. I am excited to be serving here and the future of this ward looks bright. They have had some difficulty with missionary work in the past. The trust in the missionaries of this ward has been limited in the past. I do not know the reason for the whitewash, nor do I need to know the reason. I am sure that the missionaries that were here before me were sincere and love the Lord. All I know is that the Bishop and Ward Mission leader expect me and Elder Rose to make a significant effort to gain a strong relationship of trust with the members of the Snellville ward. I feel that is something that Elder Rose and I are very capable of doing. Luckily, I've already gained quite a bit of rapport from our Ward Mission Leader. His name is Bro Leonard. His son is dating a girl named Bellen Albanes. That last name might look familiar because I have surely wrote about that family in past emails. The Albanes family was one of my favorite families in the Dunwoody ward. Bellen Albanes was on her mission in Salt Lake City while I was serving in Dunwoody, so I haven't had the chance to really get to know her. But Sister Albanes has told me a lot about her. Well, I guess Brother Leonard was texting the Bishop the first night I can into the area and asked who the new missionaries were, and Bishop said, "Elder Romero, but haven't got the new one yet." Brother Leonard was with his son and Bellen as he received this text from Bishop. He told his son and Bellen who the new missionary was and Bellen says, "Oh wow. Well there is only one Elder Romero. And my mother LOVES him!" Hahaha. Brother Leonard told me this story last night as he was taking us home. I was laughing so hard. I love the Albanes family so much. Brother Leonard told me after this conversation that that is exactly what he is looking for me to gain in this ward, relationships with the ward members like the ones I had in Dunwoody.
I will tell you about a lesson that we had with a part member family this week. Their name is the Ide family. The family just consists of Sister Ide and her non-member husband Bro Ide. We had dinner with them on new years day and had some great conversation. We had some good casual conversation over the feast that Sister Ide prepared for us. I asked Sister Ide about her conversion story and it was powerful. I then turned to Brother Ide and said, "You're not a member of the Church, is that right Bro Ide?" And he said, "Not yet." Hahaha. Well I jumped right on that answer. After some more conversation we found out his two qualms that have held him back from joining the church. He felt that it was arrogant of the Church to claim that we are the only true church, and that it was also not fair to say that only people baptized into this church will inherit the kingdom of God. We were able to answer address those qualms he had and explain them clearly, he said, "Well, you make a good case." Hahaha. We asked if we could come back on Saturday and teach him the Restoration to address his concerns further. He agreed. So we came back on Saturday night with the Bishop to teach the Restoration. This was a powerful lesson, and we went in depth into the scriptures. My love and knowledge of the New Testament and other scripture has overcome my love and knowledge for almost anything else. I have become so good at teaching from the scriptures. I told Brother Ide at the very start of the lesson that to grab his scriptures and that we are going to "step into the scriptures." As if I was the guy on Reading Rainbow. Haha. But for reals I told him, "We are going to go back into the New Testament time and see what life was like back then. We are going to understand and visualize how Christ's Church was back then." Scripture after scripture we painted a picture together of Christ's Earthly ministry and the Church he set up while he was here. We learned about how that Church was ran after he left, and we learned about what happened to that Church. As we went from the Gospels to Acts to the Pauline Epistles to Peter and Revelation, it felt like we were there. As we stepped into the scriptures it became so clear to Brother Ide that Christ did set up the only true Christian Church, and that you had to be baptized into that Church to enter into the Kingdom of God. It became clear that an apostasy did indeed occur, therefor there was a need for a Restoration. It was an incredible lesson.
I am so excited for the future. The unknown that exists in this area excites me. Elder Rose and I are going to do amazing things in this area, with God's help anything is possible. I love you all so much. I can't believe how much time has gone by. It is so strange to me. I love you all.
-Elder Ryan Romero